"It is easy to confuse what is with what ought to be, especially when what is has worked out in your favor."
- Tyrion Lannister

"Lannister. Baratheon. Stark. Tyrell. They're all just spokes on a wheel. This one's on top, then that's ones on top and on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground. I'm not going to stop the wheel. I'm going to break the wheel."

- Daenerys Targaryen

"The Lord of Light wants his enemies burned. The Drowned God wants them drowned. Why are all the gods such vicious cunts? Where's the God of Tits and Wine?"

- Tyrion Lannister

"The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends. It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace. They never are."

- Jorah Mormont

"These bad people are what I'm good at. Out talking them. Out thinking them."

- Tyrion Lannister

"What happened? I think fundamentals were trumped by mechanics and, to a lesser extent, by demographics."

- Michael Barone

"If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to."
- Dorothy Parker

Friday, April 10, 2009

Why so serious, Ludwig?

I thought it was funny that at the beginning of the film Happy-Go-Lucky, the happy-go-lucky protagonist wanders into a book store where Ray Monk's biography of philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein is on display. Alexander Waugh - son of the satirist Auberon Waugh and grandson of the novelist Evelyn Waugh - has a new book out on the Wittgenstein family.

From Wikipedia: "In 1929 he decided, at the urging of Ramsey and others, to return to Cambridge. He was met at the railway station by a crowd of England's greatest intellectuals, discovering rather to his horror that he was one of the most famed philosophers in the world. In a letter to his wife, Lydia Lopokova, Wittgenstein's old friend John Maynard Keynes wrote: "Well, God has arrived. I met him on the 5.15 train.""

Thursday, April 09, 2009

The Newsweek cover story on Paul Krugman by Evan Thomas was pretty good, but it missed some things.

It does get at what's appealing about his demeanor, like "One thing he still has is a smile that plays around his face when he's talking, almost like he's looking at himself and thinking, 'What am I doing here?'" "He is an unusual mix, at once nervous, shy, sweet and fiercely sure of himself." "Krugman is "not a prima donna, he wears his fame lightly," and that Krugman is not resented among his academic colleagues, who can be a jealous lot." And "Ideologically, Krugman is a European Social Democrat. Brought up to worship the New Deal, he says, "I am not overflowing with human compassion. It's more of an intellectual thing. I don't buy that selfishness is always good. That doesn't fit the way the world works.""

In the beginning of the piece, Krugman is quoted commenting that he hasn't received any outreach from the Obama administration. Thomas doesn't give a possible explanation until later in the piece: "In the 2008 election, Krugman first leaned toward populist John Edwards, then Hillary Clinton. "Obama offered a weak health-care plan," he explains, "and he had a postpartisan shtik, which I thought was naive."" In fact during the primary Krugman was fairly critical.

Monday, April 06, 2009

A few days ago, I wrote that Stereolab would be my pick for favorite band, if I had to choose under duress.

So by coincidence, a couple of days later they note at their website with characteristcally good-spirited humor that they'll be taking a "Hiatus/Sabbatical/Pause/Intermission/Breather."

Dear All,

As we recently made #51 with Emperor Tomato Ketchup in the Amazon 100 Greatest Indie Rock Albums of all Time we feel that our work is done for the moment.

We have had to cancel the last two shows that we were scheduled to play, apologies to all that had bought tickets, and there are no plans to record new tracks.

Duophonic are working on the release of Chemical Chords 2, we also have plans for a new Switched On and remastering of the back catalogue.

We are are all going to have a bit of a rest now after nearly 19 years and work on a few other projects.

The website will still be updated and disks released but there won't be any new Stereolab product for a while.
100 Greatest Indie Rock Albums of All Time

In the earlier post, I listed their influences such as Krautrock. But really they are sort of sui generis. Or a new synthesis. Imagine humanity survives another 500-1000 years and evolves slightly. It avoids environmental cataclysm and economic catastrophe and nuclear war. Sterolab would be this future humanity's American idol winner or teen sensation like the Jonas Brothers or Miley Cyrus transported back in time.