Saturday, May 30, 2009

God, Guns, and Ace - A Guest Editorial

The following is a guest editorial by a long time friend and talented blogger, Ace Smith.

An old friend of mine recently texted me to say my Facebook profile pic (see left) was coming off "a bit creepy". This was the cyber equivalent of earnestly taking someone aside at a dinner party to politely inform them they are embarrassing themselves in mixed company. I replied that the pose I struck was quite deliberate, a form of performance art, really; a hyperbolic caricature that reflects what my urbane friends (mostly Canadians) think about Americans who cherish their 2nd Amendment freedoms. Bluntly, we're all insane zealots.

As expected, I’ve had more reaction to this nifty self-portrait than to anything I’ve ever posted on Facebook or written on this blog, including the time I wrote pseudonymously as an intelligent person trapped in a mongoloid’s body (this was way before Down Syndrome suddenly became all the rage after the Palin pick). The reactions were decidedly mixed. Some people were on to the spoof and laughed along. Some were mildly alarmed and jokingly questioned my sanity. Some said I likely torched any lingering aspirations for a political career. Some congratulated me on the purchase and wanted to go shooting with me. Some wondered why I would ever want a handgun in the first place because, "you know, "guns kill people".

Some, perhaps envisioning an imminent rampage, expressed concern for my family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors. Some chastised me to varying degrees, the most extreme of which I found quite hilarious. One person, with whom I have not spoken in nearly 20 years, added me as a Facebook friend for the express purpose of sending me a blistering private message. In a nutshell, they said they always knew deep down I was a disturbed individual destined for the electric chair, then immediately de-friended me.

Needless to say, the more absurdly over the top reactions were exactly what I had hoped for. Perhaps it’s a perverse pleasure, but I love drawing out the real loons that walk among us. The routines, banalities and courtesies of everyday life tend to obscure nuttiness. In general, that’s sort of a good thing; nuts are destabilizing entities that tend to provoke nutty reactions from the otherwise sane in return. Personally, I’d rather out the nuts and take my chances, if for nothing else but to know who to avoid. Thanks to my inspired self-portrait, I now know there are a couple of acquaintances I should maintain a safe distance from in case they once again become completely unhinged about something as trivial as a picture.

Ace Smith

Ace Smith is an Ex-patriate Canadian now living in the greener, freer pastures of the United States of America.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Media Madness...A Review

In the forward of Father George Rutler's delightful book, Coincidentally, he bemoans the downward spiral of our educational system, the death of wit, and the ability to cite obscure trivia and factoids. The book is a collection of strange coincidences and chance that even had my father, a gifted Catholic theologian and scholar, reaching for reference books to clarify a few chapters. Father Rutler made no apologies for this, as he did not want to be another stone on the chest of our ever eroding standards of scholarship. He wrote that during a lecture, a student once asked him if the term World War II implied that there had been another war that preceded it.

James Bowman, another author of great wit and wisdom, seemed to have been of a similar mindset when he wrote his last impressive tome, Honor, A History. However, his latest book, Media Madness, be it by chance or design, is a much more accessible read.

A brief book by most standards (at 130 pages), Media Madness explores the death of real journalism and the media's obsessive narcissism. At one time, even John Stossel believed that the media's bias was an innocent one, and explained that most journalists were simply unable to see that their reporting was hopelessly liberal. In an interview over a decade ago, Stossel explained that even when armed with seemingly overwhelming evidence, trying to point out the left-wing political bias to his co-workers at ABC was like "hitting my head against a brick wall". After the most recent American election, where even MSNBC boasted a slogan of "Change" in the last weeks of the campaign, I doubt anyone can accuse the media of naiveté any longer.

Of greater interest though, is Bowman's examination of the media's obsession with "bias" or the appearance of being unbiased. This is a phenomenon that has crept into the general populace as well. I often receive bizarre emails from people who are incensed that my blog lacks neutrality or objectivity. The fact that my conservative blog is becoming increasingly dismissed by the left because it is "biased" is an unnerving example of how a malady of the media can quickly become contagious.

As Bowman argues, the media's obsession with bias and neutrality is leading to the demise of political discourse, and even the corruption of our political culture itself.

The book is amusing, thoughtful and sobering, and is a great follow up to Bernard Goldberg's Bias. James Bowman is an invaluable, sane voice clamouring to be heard over the cacophony of absurdity that is the mainstream media.

Buy this book. It's one of the must reads of the year.



Wednesday, May 20, 2009

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Change!!

First things first. The site looks the same as it did before I announced - with much aplomb - the possibility of a newer looking, more interactive site. After much consultation with my staff the vote was tied by a technicality, and the deciding vote was left to me, as this has been my wash pot for over a decade in one incarnation or another. My choice was to keep the site the way it is. As a libertoid conservative who lives by the axioms that there's nothing new under the sun, you can't feed a starving bear cotton candy, and a prostitute can't tell the cops anything if you stick her in a suitcase and throw her over a bridge, I held steadfast against the fickle mistress of "change".

Everyone is peddling change these days, and you can argue that it started from the top down (the office of the POTUS) or from the bottom up (the dirty Chicago cast of characters who ran the daily in and outs of then Senator Obama's campaign). Either way, it spread like locusts - soft drinks, car dealerships, even the major new networks were rallying around the banner of change, as if they ever needed to make honest ladies of themselves. I get an eerie feeling that there are Trotskyites in the basement when a product like Pepsi revamps its image by updating its slogan to "change" and morphing its graphic icon to more closely resemble that of the President's campaign emblem.

Not to suggest that my webmaster is a closet new-New Dealer with an Obama '08 bumper sticker on his car. To the contrary, his last ditch effort to sell his new format was an attempt to appeal to the free market spirit in me, proposing that their was a slim chance that the site could generate revenue through ads - regrettably, "slim" was an understatement.

Paul's mock-up site showed some admirable work, but after much deliberation, Claire and I decided that "The Straight Hype" would remain a plain jane, content-driven site. People come for meat and potatoes, and that's what we want to keep giving them, until forced to abandon our current template by our service provider.

More to come, as the fancy catches me. Enjoy the sounds of Blue October as you cruise into the weekend.



Friday, May 15, 2009

The French Connection

Sorry for the misleadingly sexy title, there are no grand events to wax philosophically on today, French or otherwise. There will be no blogging by numbers this weekend - at least until the end of the weekend - due to a family re-union.

One matter of note which may be of interest to my loyal readers is that my web-master, the esteemed Mr. Paul Leger of The Saint John Seadogs fame, is going to pitch a format change to Claire and I tomorrow afternoon, which he assures me will greatly improve the look of the site, allow for more content such as a by-line for updates from our links, an improved layout, and a section to show case any books I'm currently reading. I like the classic style we're presently using, but Paul is adamant that the change is needed for aesthetic (among other) reasons. Please email me at and let me know if you are aching for a new look or like the current format.

Have a great weekend everyone. On deck, a review of James Bowman's Media Madness, and some dirt on what Pelosi knew from inside the beltway.

Here's some Louis Prima to put the finish on your Friday!



Thursday, May 07, 2009

Weekend Ahoy!!!

Cén chaoi 'bhfuil tú everyone!?! Just a couple of quick items before we jump in and tread the cyber waters. A person or persons unknown have started a site with a similar name selling "Straight Hype" T-shirts. There is no explanation given as to what the group's aim is, or if they have any grander purpose than to sell one style of T-shirt. This site is in no way affiliated with mine, and I would like to remind everyone of the dangers of buying anything from a site that is not well recognized or lacks security features. Keep your credit cards in your wallet. We are not into any sort of merchandising as of yet - although these beef jerky business cards sound like a promising start.

It's time for blogging by numbers.

1- I have a couple of quarter century old Archie comic digests I keep around for commode related purposes, and one of the issues promises "action to the max". This promise is juxtaposed by Arch and the gang having a leisurely outdoor picnic. To be fair, Jughead is complaining about how while a winter picnic may be pest-free, there are still far too many girls around, which could lead to some tension back at Pop Tate's later on. For the record, Jughead is supposed to be a teenager in his sexual prime, but is almost phobic about woman. You get where I'm going with this? (Expressions like "action to the max" qualify as what Claire and I refer to as "soul pain".)

2 - President Obama is promising some big ol' budget cuts as a form of anesthetic to conservatives before he appoints what is sure to be a radical liberal judge to fill the vacancy soon to be left by departing judicial activist Justice David Souter. The problem is this - when you crunch the numbers, the cuts only shave off .5% of his monstrous $700 billion spending bill. Cutting back spending, no matter how small or large, is not a spending cut - it's a decrease of an increase. In this case, a very, very small decrease. Hold on to your wallets.

3 - In our continuing effort to trudge screaming all the way into this brave new world, we are pleased to announce that "The Straight Hype" is now on Facebook. The fan club was created by our glue sniffing web master, the esteemed Paul Leger. You may join by clicking the following link.

4 -Chris Branch, a high school friend of mine, passed away this weekend. He was a spirited young man who loved the outdoors. Our prayers go to his family and friends.

5 - Anyway, have a great weekend and groove out to the sounds of Doc John.


PS - We are working on the problem with the Facebook link. Some have had success by searching for "The Straight Hype" in the upper right hand corner of their Facebook home page. We hope to have this resolved soon.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Place your Trays in the Upright Position

Everyone agrees that airplane meals are culinary abortions, but - from the Associated Press;

BANGOR, Maine — A British woman allegedly had an in-flight meal of prescription drugs, wine and liquid soap — before trying to bite the crew of a London-bound jetliner.

Galina Rusanova punched and kicked flight attendants on the Chicago-based United Airlines flight after downing two or three bottles of wine, prescription drugs and liquid soap from the jet's lavatory, prosecutors said.

As the scuffle escalated, Rusanova snapped "like a dog" while trying to bite an attendant, prosecutors said. The FBI said the Russian-born London resident had gone to Los Angeles to visit a man she met over the Internet and was returning Wednesday when her flight was diverted to Bangor.

Rusanova appeared in U.S. District Court for a detention hearing there Monday, where she's charged with assault and interference with a flight crew.

No one answered the phone at defense lawyer Matthew Erickson's office.

An editorial note from Joe;

To me, the only thing that rings false about this story is that it claims that British woman was in possession of soap, which I believe the British avoid the way a North American would avoid a person sneezing repeatedly while lamenting about their awful trip to Mexico.



Friday, May 01, 2009

The First 100 Days...Who Cares?

There's much ado in the media over President Obama's "First Hundred Days". The media has an almost creepy obsession with anniversaries. They love anniversaries the way parents love to put a gold star on a poster every time little Jimmy makes poopy, or the way Ted Kennedy loves to snort cocaine off the backs of strippers. Like their annual Watergate obsession, this is another event I am refraining from wading too deep in.

I believe this whole nonsense started with FDR, another unapologetic socialist, but at least FDR was a guy who had a solid enough brass set to throw down the gauntlet after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour. MSNBC loves to constantly remind us that they believe Obama is Roosevelt incarnate. Their resident pod personalities like Keith Olbermann love to slam the former administration for all sorts of imaginary "war crimes" like enhanced airport screening, but conveniently forget to mention FDR's unlawful rounding up and detainment of 120,000 Japanese-American citizens from the Pacific Coast.

I tried to watch some of the news coverage on this 100 day nonsense, and immediately switched the channel after hearing a CNN reporter say "It's like....I don't know what to say. It's like he was born to do this job."

CLICK! It was game over for me at that point. There was a time when many conservatives, like John Stossel and Bill O'Reilly, believed that CNN were just naively blind to their own biases - kind of like how some people don't realize their favourite pair of low rider jeans don't look the way they did 40 pounds ago.

There can be no such delusion anymore. CNN as a whole (with the exception of Sanjay Gupta - the coolest dude on earth) have started to slime their way over to MSNBC's side of the gutter. Anderson Cooper's snarky new attitude combined with the Tea Party fiasco leaves little doubt that the media is grossly underestimating the ground swell of conservative backlash that will come to haunt Pelosi and company in 2010. It seems the only person in the MSM who has not competely taken leave of his senses is Chris Matthews, who has apparently lost that "tingly feeling" and is launching stinging attacks on the President.

Where was I going with this...I forget. Too much wedding and family stuff on the go lately. Have a great weekend everyone, and enjoy the sounds of the young and very talented Sondre Lerche.