Cleveland: Keeping Christmas at Home
Ramona: The War on Happy Holidays
Richard Day: Cold in Minnesota, and in the Hearts of Men
Good morning and Happy New Year! (The exclamation point is always required after "Happy New Year", if I'm remembering my Strunk and White correctly. Also, "Happy New Years" is incorrect. So is "Happy New Year's.")
I should be in San Francisco right now. The plans had been made, tickets bought, room and board at the ready. A family Christmas vacation awaited. But then, life got in the way.
It got in the way in the form of a tiny, old Boston Terrier named Max. My wife got Max before we were together and at the tender age of 22. He’s been with her through the ups and downs of life. While we have other dogs and always will, Max is the dog of her life. And now, at the age of 14, Max is winding down. He has congestive heart failure, and has been battling a sinus infection that won’t go away. He still has a lot of life in him, enjoys his normal routine and attacks food. But the fact is, he could leave us at any time and needs care. [Read more]
Every few years, a group of mindless political operatives shriek loudly about how I, William K. Wolfrum, am a racist. This, my friends, is an exercise in futility, as I am obviously not a racist. Nonetheless, these hateful smear mongers continue to pursue these charges.
These charges are baseless, and come from words that appeared at “William K. Wolfrum Chronicles” years ago, such as:
“Opinion polls consistently show only about 5% of blacks have sensible political opinions.”
“If you have ever been robbed by a black teen-aged male, you know how unbelievably fleet-footed they can be.” [Read more]
You've probably read that eight Ferraris, a Lamborghini, and three Mercedes, traveling at a highly-efficient 80 to 100 mph, crashed when one of the Ferraris had to pass a slow-moving Prius, and hit a slower-moving guardrail. In a twist of irony, after causing the accident, the Prius was the only undamaged vehicle. This $3 million debacle proves that Priuses, and other non-ICE vehicles, represent a hazard to normal traffic. Maybe Priuses should be made to drive on the sidewalk, where they can't obstruct efficient, high-speed drivers. [Read more]
There has been much heated discussion in these pages over whether liberals should support President Obama in the 2012 elections or embrace an independent candidate. In the absence of any credible challenger, these debates have been largely hypothetical. That is about to change.
I am happy to introduce two exciting new candidates who have emerged from the political muck like avenging swamp monsters from outer space. What they lack in experience, charisma, good judgment, and the semblance of any political agenda, they more than make up for in the intangible quality that some call panache, some call chutzpah, and some aren't quite sure what to call. I give you Kat Nove and Jeni Decker. [Read more]
After the Thanksgiving Day gluttony is over and after our teams have either won or lost (Our biggie between the Lions and the Packers went horribly awry for my loved ones, poor dears.) and after we've taken our tryptophan-induced naps, the next fun thing to think about, talk about or plan for is Black Friday, our annual Big Huge Shopping Extravaganza. It's the day when primitive survival skills kick in and the absolutely-must-haves traditionally go nuts and stampede in scenes that make even NatGeo watchers go "Wow!".
There are no great libertarian thinkers. Libertarianism is the absence of thought.
Lately, libertarianism has gained some weird popularity in the U.S. Sort of like Garbage Pail Kids did, but more offensive and less intellectual. Somehow, a growing group of maniacs has decided that things like paying taxes and making sure their handicapped grandma doesn’t die is an affront to their personal liberty.
I used to go by the theory that there are no homeless libertarians, but now I realize that was in error. The homeless are the quintessential libertarians, with no freedom-sapping things like shelter or clothing taking away from their personal freedom of licking the cheese off a three-day-old McDonald’s wrapper. [Read more]
Paul Solman interviewed former IMF chief economist Simon Johnson on the PBS News Hour this evening. I often read Johnson and James Kwak at their blog, Baseline Scenario. Towards the end Solman and his cohost urged viewers to watch this video, The Ballad of Diamond Jim on Youtube.
The video is annotated by Solman and Johnson below.  [Read more]
Andy Murray hasn't lost a match since the US Open. He led Great Britain over Hungary in Davis Cup, beat Donald Young to win Bangkok, beat Rafa Nadal to win Tokyo, and just defeated David Ferrer 7-5, 6-4 to win the Shanghai Open - worth 1000 points - and now replaces Roger Federer as World #3.
But it may be part of a plot: [Read more]
Bob Dalrymple and his girlfriend, Kathy Neal, are leaving Michigan and heading for Colorado, because, Bob says, the economy's suffering, the winters in Michigan are too cold and it's time for adventure. He wants to go someplace warm. That's what he says. His two kids live in Colorado, but apparently they've neglected to tell him there's a reason crowds of retired Snowbirds aren't descending on the Centennial State. It's snowy and blustery and cold there in the winter!
WARNING: Hot graven images ahead. Turn back if you believe Jesus' image on toast should remain a miracle and not be used as a promotion by clever, sacrilegious Vermonters for a Made in China toaster. (It's International Blasphemy Rights Day today but I swear I didn't know that when I chose this segment. Not that I'm not okay with it. I am.)
I can't believe it's not butter! In Wisconsin there is a law on the books that forbids restaurants, schools, hospitals and prisons from serving margarine instead of butter. This weaker version of a 1897 law has been on the dairy state's books for 44 years but most restaurants can get around it, since the interpretation of the law these days is that if a customer asks for margarine it's okay to give it to them. No mention of how the margarine is delivered to table -- in plain sight or disguised as something else. (The bovine version of "Don't ask, don't tell".) [Read more]
I swear, the weirdest thing going last week was the Tea Party debate hosted by Ted Turner's brainchild gone wild. (When I heard that the once-venerable CNN was going to give free air-time and thus a large dose of credibility to yet another crazy bunch hell-bent on taking back every single right and privilege afforded us by hundreds of years worth of struggle by our more forward-thinking ancestors, this is what I said out loud: "Waaaaaahhhhhtt??" (Most people I know uttered a variation of WTF??? but it was all I could muster. Trying to save an ungrateful country is exhausting.)
In a stormy meeting on Thursday, Tea Party Republicans in the House of Representatives rejected Speaker John Boehner's compromise with President Obama over the schedule of the President's speech to a joint session of Congress.
The White House had sent Mr. Boehner a request for President Obama to address Congress on the evening of Wednesday, September 7. Such requests are considered routine and have been approved 47 times since 1962 without challenge.
But in the volatile political climate of 2011, nothing can be taken for granted. Many Tea Party-affiliated Republicans had campaigned against wasteful speechmaking in the 2010 election, and 216 had signed a "No New Speeches" contract sponsored by Grover Norquist's fundraising organization, Americans for Talk Reform.
"Americans don't need more speeches," argued House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in an hour-long discourse from the House floor last week, "They want the folks in Washington to shut the heck up." [Read more]
A few weeks ago, when I wrote about the Bulwer-Lytton contest for the worst first sentence of a novel, I had no idea there was actually a worst novel in the world, too. The consensus, from what little research I've done on the subject, is that Amanda McKittrick Ros is the author who wins, hands down. (A literary group that included Tolkien and C.S. [Read more]