March 4, 2009, 5:12 am
Pity the poor debt collector, who must needs collect on the debt of one who has departed this vale of tears with no estate to settle his earthly obligation. Observe her stress, her yoga mat. Ponder the careful control of her emotions and voice, the sympathy with which she calls the family of the deceased. How hard she works to convince them that this is the final rose to lay upon the grave….
…. ignore the fact that one of the risks of being a credit card company is that your customers may die without the assets to repay you, and the business has insurance to protect them against such eventualities. Ignore the fact that paying the debt is not merely a nice gesture, but transfers responsibility for the debt to a family that may be struggling. Ignore the fact that the collectors are not required to state that family of the deceased is under no obligation to pay debts….
January 28, 2009, 3:31 pm
It’s not the trouble you see, it’s the distance you have to fall.
Dating A Banker Anonymous (DABA) is a safe place where women can come together – free from the scrutiny of feminists– and share their tearful tales of how the mortgage meltdown has affected their relationships.
Psst: it’s not “anonymous” if you tell the New York Times your name. Also, this is a put-on, right?
January 27, 2009, 1:10 pm
December 17, 2008, 7:19 pm
Rick Warren? Really? I’m afraid so. Rick Warren, who compares homosexuality to incest and pedophilia. Rick Warren, who labels advocates of the social gospel Marxists. Rick Warren, who makes common cause with James Dobson and his ilk. Rick Warren will give the invocation when President-elect Obama is inaugurated.
What does this mean? In terms of policy, let’s hope very little. But in terms of symbolism, a great deal. As a statement from People for the American Way notes, this elevates Warren, who has already airbrushed his rough edges so effectively that many observers think he’s a moderate, into a position of bipartisan authority. And that’s a real shame, although I suppose it should help boost bumper-sticker sales.
Update: John Cole provides a reasonable counterargument. I remain unconvinced.
Update II: As jazzbumpa notes in the comments, Bérubé brings the hammer…
December 1, 2008, 3:21 pm
I’m sure everyone’s seen this. Were these starving people, desperate for the last potato? Out of bread? Clean water? The last match in the frozen North?
Well, Walmart had some really good deals….
I can’t quite describe how angry this news made me, but to describe it as making me want to be madly religious just for the curses I could call down* begins to approach it.
What the hell is wrong with us? Jesus wept.
*You know, like D&D clerics. Holy Smite.
October 20, 2008, 10:12 pm
Would it surprise you to learn that in rural Wisconsin, at the end of the 19th century, there was poverty, failure, vandalism, arson, domestic violence, disease, depression, alcoholism, insanity, suicide, and murder? Michael Lesy’s Wisconsin Death Trip (1973, reissued 2000) is built on the assumption that it will. The book consists largely of clippings from the Badger State Banner, of Black River Falls, Jackson County, WI, and images by Charles Van Schaick, a local commercial photographer. After some 200 pages of grim citation, Lesy steps in to comment directly:
Pause now. Draw back from it. There will be time again to experience and remember. For a minute, wait, and then set your mind to consider a different set of circumstances….
The book certainly made a strong impression on me when I saw it as a boy. Reading it now, I have to wonder what the fuss was. The people in the pictures…
August 12, 2008, 9:08 am
It’s sad that Hayes might be remembered for Chef and Shaft as much as for anything else, because he had a lot more going on musically than the parody-ripe lascivious baritone routine. Keep in mind this was the guy who co-wrote hits like “Soul man”* and “Hold on I’m comin” and also helped produce a lot of the Stax mid-60s output.
Samples from his solo career: try Walk on by from Hot Buttered Soul. (If it sounds familiar it might be because a loop of the intro is playing in Jizzy B’s club when Charles Johnson shows up to kill him. I hope hip-hop wrote him a big check.)
If you must, here’s a live Shaft with an intro by Jesse Jackson. But if you want something from that record, try Soulsville (Eric will enjoy the robust reality of this one) or a short version of Do Your Thing.
Never can say goodbye.
*it’s not the song’s fault, really.
August 1, 2008, 12:00 pm
Walmart is scared that a rising Democratic tide might mean a reinvigorated labor movement. And when Walmart is scared, we should all be scared, right? Because Walmart is America. And organized labor is the Soviet Union. Or something.
Once again, via Stephen at cogitamus. I’m telling you, if you’re not reading that blog, you should be. Although, come to think of it, if you start, my links will be even more boring. Hmm, I seem to be trapped on the horns of a dilemma.
July 25, 2008, 9:58 pm
On this day in 1999, Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France. It was the first of what would be seven consecutive victories for Armstrong in the most difficult and magnificent bike race in the world. At the time, I was a fanatical cyclist; I shaved my legs and everything. And I had followed Armstrong’s career from the early years, when his was the name everyone knew, when he was this incredibly gifted, brash kid (Must all Texans be described as “brash”?) who later would win a World Championship and two Tour stages. He was going to be the next Greg Lemond.
Then he got cancer, which very nearly killed him. And I, like most everyone else paying attention, assumed he was finished as professional bike racer, a gig widely regarded as among the most physically demanding pursuits in the world of sports.
So it was that the 1999 Tour became such a transcendent moment — and not just for…