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Archive for September, 2012

Music Fridays – When Good Instumentals Go Bad

Posted by middlerage on September 28, 2012

I’m not a music historian, so I can’t say for sure the following two songs are instrumentals (Jazz maestro Notsonieuw is welcome to chime in here), but I’ve always known them as instrumentals. So when I came across versions with lyrics I took an interest. The title of this post is tongue-in-cheek, because actually I like these lyric-ified versions (just not as much as the regular instrumental versions).

With or without singing, a couple of fine Jazz numbers. First up is Sarah Vaughan singing the theme to Peter Gunn. And, oh man, that low, sultry voice. Sexy.

Second up is Oscar Brown, Jr., singing to the Jazz standard Work Song. And as a bonus, Nina Simone (and her amazing voice) also singing Work Song.

Updated since first draft to add the incomparable Ella F. singing Take the A Train. This take blurs the lines since the lyrics are few and sound ad hoc. A bunch of her song is scat which is just vocal instrumental, but there are some actual words going on in heerha.

Enjoy:

Posted in Thinking 'bout music | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

The C’s of Climate Change

Posted by middlerage on September 26, 2012

Conservatives, Caution, Conference, Carbon Tax, Cap -n- Trade, Complementary, Compliments, and Criticisms.

This week, Duke University is hosting a conference for conservative opinion on Climate Change (née global warming). Specifically, what to do about it (which implies the good news that at least these conservative conference-goers admit there is global warming (and grudgingly, human-induced global warming)).

Jonathan Adler is an environmentalist and a major contributor to the libertarian/conservative legal blog The Volokh Conspiracy. He is blogging about the conference, and you can read all about it here: Dispatches from the Duke conference on “Conservative Visions of Our Environmental future.”

So as my readers know, I am a climate scientist and a liberal. However, I object keenly to thinking any one side has all the answers, and I object to being so insulated that one becomes stupid through their bias to one side. So I read “Dispatches” with enthusiasm and an open mind, and I can say that a really excellent point (though not exclusive to conservatives) is What can we do about it? More to the point, Is the problem of dealing with climate change outside our current technological abilities? Another excellent point, (that I think conservatives do a much better job of bringing up) is, Do fixes end up throwing the economic baby out with the bathwater, rendering the whole issue disastrous?

In a bizarre and ironic way, liberals and conservatives are concerned about something quite similar: We won’t have any society if we don’t stop climate change/We won’t have any society if we do stop climate change.

Some of the usual suspects are at the conference: The Heritage Foundation, and perennial gadfly deniers the Heartland Institute (represented by a spin-off called the R Street Institute – apparently, according to Adler, there was contention in the ranks after a stupid billboard comparing global warming believers to the Unabomber, which led to the “less crazy” spinning off a new institute.)

The big thing for conservatives and libertarians alike is to let market forces combat climate change, and their favorite player is a carbon tax. It’s a sad confession to make (being keenly interested in combating climate change) but I’m not really clear on the difference between carbon tax and capNtrade. But here is where I think wise people separate themselves from the jabbering masses – I want to listen and learn from all sides. One of my main complaints about teaching global warming is that people refuse to acknowledge experts: You don’t have to go out and collect, repair, control, and analyze climate data to come up with your own conclusion, just like you don’t have to go to HVAC school to learn how to repair your air conditioner, you rely on experts, and I am comfortable assuming the conservative policy thinkers are more expert than me in economic theory; if they prefer a carbon tax… then okay!

Another thing about conservatism (the good kind, not the whacko fundamentalist kind) is that it is cautious. Approaching major policy decisions with caution is a good thing, (why… it’s the better part of valor). If implementing sweeping and austere global changes to energy use and economics doesn’t solve global warming then we are stuck with two(!) problems: climate change AND an economic crisis.

But enough with the compliments, now for some criticisms. What about this “conservative vision” in the conference title? Are they proposing to be complementary with a “liberal vision”? Or are they proposing to replace the so-called liberal vision? When it comes to fouling our own nest, should there really be a political divide? And does this mean that if there is a “liberal vision” for environmentalism, that liberals are smarter, because they got the gist of the problem quicker? (Hey you opened the door, not me).

If you read the dispatch linked above you will see that, happily, the conservative speakers begin by conceding that human-induced climate change is occurring. Thank you. FINALLY. However, I submit this is a day late and a dollar short. Just as I said above, there are experts and we need to defer to them – there is no way to know All. I hate the oft-used protest against “Appeals to Authority.” My goodness, do not defer to the authority of your gastroenterologist when s/he wants to give you a colonoscopy. Your plumber knows pipes and charges half as much. Sheesh.

Anyway, here is a taste of the conference, and I think it shows how intelligent and reasonable people can work together in intelligent, reasonable ways (Note, I don’t agree with everything said):

Former Congressman Bob Inglis (R-SC), President of the Energy & Enterprise Initiative, delivered the conference keynote. He opened suggesting that the reason conservatives are not more active in environmental policy debates is because many conservatives don’t think they have answers to many environmental problems (and there is a tendency to deny the existence of problems that one’s political agenda cannot solve). Since leaving Congress, Inglis has sought to convince conservatives that conservative principles can provide solutions to serious environmental problems. According to Inglis, if it’s not profitable, then it is not sustainable, so the key to solving environmental problems is to encourage things that can be profitable. Although he said he’s more comfortable with government interventions than some on the libertarian right, Inglis argued muscular free enterprise has greater potential than liberal altruism or government mandates.

The primary thrust of Inglis’ talk was the need for carbon pricing. Inglis argued that conservatives believe in accountability, that regulatory uncertainty discourages investment and economic growth, and that conservatives have always argued for tax reform and creating sound economic incentives. For these reasons, Inglis argued (quoting Arthur Laffer), that it makes more sense to tax carbon emissions than income

Posted in Climate, Politicks | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Phrases I Like – A Shotgun of Updates

Posted by middlerage on September 24, 2012

So this set of phrases are all related (in my head) for purposes of this post.

Quite some time ago I wrote about British phrases that tickled my fancy, and there was one I couldn’t remember at the time. Too clever by half should’ve gone on that earlier list. It’s not a phrase I use, but I get a kick out of it every time it rolls off some actor’s tongue in a Brit TV show. What exactly does it mean? How can you be half again as clever as you need to be? I think it means plotting so many steps in advance, that you don’t see the important move needed right now.

Continuing in the British vein is another phrase that just sounds sublime in a Brit accent: Don’t get your knickers in a twist. There’s just something about ‘twist’ in an English accent that gets me all tingley. “Keep your shirt on, I’ll be right with you!” i.e. don’t get your knickers in a twist – ‘knickers’ being the funny name for underwear they use “over there.”  We Americans are probably more familiar with knickers being old-fashioned dress shorts for schoolboys.  And I don’t want to be unPatriotic… I’m also a fan of the American version: Don’t get your panties in a bunch. A very handy phrase, because sometimes people need to calm down and stop making mountains out of molehills. Know what I mean?

But what happens when you need to admonish yourself, or at least admit you’ve got your panties in a bunch over something? Another one of my favorite phrases is A Bee in One’s Bonnet (hat tip to reader switbo for reminding me of this). This phrase isn’t in quite the same category as the above, which are frank put downs, while bee/bonnet can have complimentary or proud connotations: I’ve got a Bee in my Bonnet over our eroding privacy in this country and as such I will blog about the issue.

The continuing Roster of Phrases I like:

  • Got a bee in one’s bonnet
  • Don’t get your panties in a bunch/knickers in a twist
  • Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill
  • Too clever by half
  • I’ve got to go say hello to Earl on the big white telephone (for when youse gots to vomit)
  • I’ll be there with bells on!
  • Madder ‘n a wet hen
  • Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life
  • Beat like a red-headed step child
  • Bob’s your uncle
  • Like carrying coals to Newcastle
  • A real belt and suspenders guy
  • Truth is stranger than fiction
  • Peace through superior firepower
  • Shut your freakin’ piehole
  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
  • Expect the worst, hope for the best
  • He’s so big he must go bear huntin’ with a switch
  • As big as your head
  • Better than a sharp poke in the eye
  • Piss or get off the pot
  • Tear him/her a new asshole
  • Put some mustard on it
  • Now you’re shittin’ in tall cotton
  • Raining to beat the band
  • Back-handed compliment (Damning with faint praise)
  • Hotter than a two dollar pistol
  • Brown as a berry

Contributions from readers and the Phrases They like:

  • Like herding cats (from switbo)
  • Spat the Binky (Dummy) (from Annie)
  • Hottern’ two rats fucking in a wool sock (from the muddledrambler)
  • Gird your loins (from Mark C.)
  • Put your best foot forward (from Mark C, who actually dislikes this phrase, haha)
  • Grinnin’ like a fox eatin’ shit from a wire brush (from Mark L.)
  • This is a fine kettle of fish (from anonynurse)
  • Chile so hot it burns twice (from Fatman)

Posted in Phrases I like | 2 Comments »

 
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