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Leaving Bedford Falls

Although I nearly missed it, most of you are probably aware that last Wednesday Thursday was Christmas (see, I really did almost miss it). My relationship with Jesus Day is unique, an adjective chosen in order to sidestep a bout of reflective self-analysis. The day has been one of tradition and rememberance. Both in common culture and in my own.


Proletarian Revolution

Because my internets are abuzz with chatter about this year’s Che Guevara hagiography, here’s a bit from a Ché biographer:

Islamic Redevelopment

Juxtapose this against yesterday’s demo of the house on Polk Street:

Al-Shabab, an armed group fighting transitional government and Ethiopian forces in Somalia, is desecrating religious shrines in the south of the country, Al Jazeera has learned.


Hit That Sh*t, Mr. Prez

In a most untimely manner, Time has published a series of photos of Barack Obama from 1980. This was before his awakening to a political calling, back when he was a layabout weedblower and part-time cokehead. And, if I recall correctly, when he was still Barry the Hawai’ian, before he started crafting his Afro-Barack identity.


Double Your Waste

More fuzzy-minded righteousness from the same sort of folks who gave us food miles:

Use Both Sides
(warning: link has annoying auto-play soundtrack/video)

This campaign has a simple objective: to give paper another chance. We hope to convince everyone that we can—and should—use both sides of paper.


Me, too

I am just so tired and disgusted by the hipster attitude, seen everywhere from this book club to the writers at Salon, to a dozen other places (and people I’ve met) who like to pretend that popcorn culture is something more than it is, and that when you don a pair of Lisa-Loeb glasses and add a dash of sarcasm, you’re a wildly witty and informed consumer who is deconstructing the stuff and appreciating it on a meta level.



Everybody's guilty of something, and they know it.

Quoted from: The Barrister at Maggie’s Farm

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The Voice of Victimhood

From a press release by the Northside Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC):

NCRC volunteers have identified over 500 North Minneapolis residents who received adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) in 2007 or are currently delinquent on their mortgage payments. On Monday December 1st- Thursday December 4th from 5pm-7pm we will be going out in groups of 2 to visit these residents to make sure they know they may be able to get a loan modification by working with a foreclosure prevention counselor at one of several local agencies. The counseling is free of charge.


The Cost of Greed

It has become common wisdom that greed on Wall Street is a primary culprit, if not the sole culprit, for current financial instability. Those investment bankers have figured out how to get politicians to make main street pay for their overindulgence. And it isn’t fair that we all suffer for their greed.

Barry’s Pizza

Barack Obama likes mediocre pizza. A reviewer for Slice (a pizza blog) had this experience:


Working Like a Dog

As evidence that the world has amazing technology and plenty of surplus wealth, a college professor has decoded one of music’s mysteries:

The opening chord to A Hard Day’s Night is also famous because, for 40 years, no one quite knew exactly what chord Harrison was playing.


Sometimes the Sky does Fall

A fellow from the exurbs of New Orleans credits his mobile phone for saving his life. Not by enabling him to call for help, but by stopping a bullet.

"Something hit me in the chest really hard, " said Richard, who initially thought he had been struck by a rock kicked up by the motor.


Stimulating Language

There seems a wide consensus that last spring’s fiscal stimulus plan didn’t work. Americans used their $600–1200 rebate checks to pay down debt rather than buy more goodies. But why, this time, did the government fail to achieve its intended outcome?

They used the wrong word. Had it been called a “bonus” instead of a “rebate”, people would have regarded the money differently.


A Parent’s Perspective

“Do it for the children!”

Yeah, heard that one before. What happens to “the children” once a person has their own children to care for?

How the Nigerian Email Scam Works

The e-mail pitch is familiar to most people by now: a long-lost relative or desperate government official in a war-torn country needs to shuffle some funds around, say $10 million or $20 million, and if you could just help them out for a bit, you get to keep 10 (or 20 or 30) percent for your trouble.

All you need to do is send X-amount of dollars to pay some fees and all that cash will suddenly land in your checking account, putting you on Easy Street. By the way, please send the funds though an untraceable wire service.


Two Amens

I’m not sure how they’re connected, but I like both sentiments.

Excerpt A:

Americans are the most arrogant people in the world. And we're proud of it.


Running Backward

You have to concede that the West is in a race to abdicate everything that made it great.
Quoted from: Roissy in DC.

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A Condo by Any Other Name

The neighborhood in which the Negative Railroad is headquartered recently updated its brand identity. I was involved in the effort. We’re an old neighborhood, with some blocks settled for well over a century. Decades ago the City gave us a name, Audubon Park. With that bit of identity pre-established, our branding committee was spared this exercise:


President Mutt

Another item of evidence suggesting the President-elect is a race-obsessed man:

It must be the first time in recorded history that the leader of the Free World has proudly described himself as a “mutt”. At his first press conference as President-elect, Barack Obama sought to project the gravitas that his post requires.


Irritating Phrases

Oxford University’s top ten most irritating phrases:

  1. At the end of the day
  2. Fairly unique
  3. I personally
  4. At this moment in time
  5. With all due respect


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