Friday links! And so it begins edition

And so it begins

Perhaps ironically, the beginning of something only exists in retrospect. We remember some series of events as a thing that happened and identify their leading edge, but that edge is by definition nothing when we first experience it. You can only see the beginning when you know the rest, and you don’t know the rest at the beginning. The exception to this rule is events we were expecting. We knew those would happen all along, and their beginnings are eerily recognizable, as if we were reading the third act of a novel instead of the first draft of history. Today is Friday. We all knew it was coming. The week is over, but one thing is paradoxically certain: it begins. Won’t you say you knew it all along with me?

And here comes that third party you asked for. The bad news is that it’s even more insane than the second: the liberal super PAC Progress Kentucky has offered its support to state Tea Party groups hoping to defeat Mitch McConnell in the 2014 Republican Senate primary. It’s possible that Keith Rouda, a field organizer for both PK and, is the Kentucky Tea Party’s false friend. Surely they see through his plan to help the state GOP find a more sincerely conservative candidate than the Senate minority leader. But it’s possible their vision stops at exactly that point:

“I guess the fear would be ending up in the Dick Lugar situation where you oust the incumbent and end up with a Democrat,” Louisville Tea Party President Sarah Durand said. “But I really think if Sen. McConnell can’t garner some enthusiasm within the Tea Party, which is going to be very difficult at this point, then he’s going to have a really tough road ahead in this election cycle.”

We don’t want to lose McConnell’s seat for Republicans, but if McConnell doesn’t win us over, [grinding noise] he will lose. Thus we run aground on the far shoal of the Lousville Tea Party’s capacity for reason.

They are a proud people, however, and they love Ted Nugent—what Kevin Weatherly of LA’s KROQ called “dumb rock, red-state rock.” The inevitable disintegration of rock music as a popular form has cast its shadow over installment five of The Winner’s History of Rock ‘n Roll, Steven Hyden’s attempt to chronicle how we killed the goose. Did you know that New York’s last contemporary rock radio station shut down in October? It happened: rock is now jazz. Mr. Gorgonchuck’s dire prophecy has come true:


Meanwhile, among things that arguably might be more important, Mark Bittman has called out the Surgeon General for not doing anything about junk food. I assume he read Wednesday’s Combat! blog post about addictive food, followed the link to the Times article, and then stole my idea to write his Times column. It’s not really the same idea, but still. Some say it could be more than a coincidence, like the decades we’ve spent increasing our consumption of corn syrup and the fact that we all weigh 350 pounds.

That measurement of the average national weight is not totally precise. It’s really hard to weigh things, particularly theoretical point charges that are themselves the basis for mass, such as Higgs bosons. Ask the boys down at CERN. The good news is that they have found a Higgs-like particle and measured its mass at around 128.5GeV. Great Scott, I presume you are saying. That would mean the vacuum of space is in a metastable state, and it will eventually revert to its lowest possible energy value via a phase change. And yes, that would end the universe as we know it—if you believe that our mass estimates of a theoretical particle provide accurate data to use in applying our correct understanding of quantum mechanics to cosmology. If that is the case, I refer you to our discussion of the rules governing wishes in 2nd Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.

I also refer you to this:


I’m Dan Brooks, and I cannot stop listening to sitar music. It’s been Ravi Shankar interrupted by Satyajit Ray during work hours around here for the last month. I haven’t liked a form this unpopular since ska. I feel young again, like a girl of twenty!


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  1. “‘We don’t want to lose McConnell’s seat for Republicans, but if McConnell doesn’t win us over, [grinding noise] he will lose.’ Thus we run aground on the far shoal of the Lousville Tea Party’s capacity for reason.”

    I feel like you are failing to account for two things. Choose the one which you find more compelling:
    1. Sarah Durand, as a tea party functionary in the political mileau, has some clue about how politics works. She knows that by threatening Mitch McConnell to make concessions, she gets more of what she wants. This is smart because they’re going to vote for him anyway. His name is irreproachable, and even if it weren’t, there isn’t a Republican in the race which could compete with him. Seems pretty logical. As logical a democrat seeking to have the Republican ticket split. Just realistic, if not dirty, politics.
    2. Sarah Durand, is an idiot, and does not realize that splitting the vote between two republicans will elect a democrat. However, this sort of uncompromising idealism are the clothes the tea party puts on. Vote for the guy who promises to shake up the status quo. Business as usual and traditional politics are dirty, and as a tea partier, you are committed to a pure and just notion of America. How is it a failure of logic to vote for a tea party candidate here? One might say “hey idiot, that candidate is funded by the democrats to foil your plans” but that’s like saying “hey color-blind person, see green.” They don’t care and can’t. You can’t foil a tea partier who believes herself to be above political games, i.e. compromise in all its forms.

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