— Troy McCullough (@TroyWSJ) August 1, 2014
“I’m going to have to act alone.”
Brendan O’Neill writes: Remember when masturbation was something everybody did but no one talked about? It was not most people’s idea of a conversation starter. Certainly nobody boasted about being a self-abuser. It was seen as a sorry substitute for sex, a sad stand-in for intimacy.
Self-Love: The Perfect Cause for Our Narcissistic Times
Not any more. Masturbation has been reinvented as ‘self-love’, a healthy and positive form of self-exploration. Where once schoolboys were told it was a sin, now they’re told it is essential to good health. An NHS leaflet distributed in schools advised teens to masturbate at least twice a week, because ‘an orgasm a day’ is good for cardiovascular health. The BBC is getting in on the act, too: its teen advice site insists masturbation is ‘good for you as it helps relieve stress’ and ‘can help you sleep, and it may even help your genitals keep in top working order. It also allows you to explore what you enjoy.’ And we wonder why so many teenage boys become addicted to internet porn.
[Explore the book "The Joy of Self-Pleasuring: Why Feel Guilty About Feeling Good?" at Amazon.com]
Last month was International Masturbation Month, the brainchild of Good Vibrations, a purveyor of sex toys for singletons. Its aim? To spread the message that ‘self-satisfaction is a healthy, accessible form of pleasure’. ‘It’s Masturbation Month! Give yourself a hand!’ say the organisers. According to the Good Vibrations brigade, masturbation is just as good as having sex with someone else, and in some ways better. It is ‘the safest form of sex a person can have’. Your hand is unlikely to give you an STD or break your heart, so it’s preferable to intercourse with another living, breathing, unpredictable human being. Read the rest of this entry »
Know Your Enemy
1. Cup of drawn butter
2. Plastic bib
3. Fistful of moist towelettes
– from the Lobster Self-Defense Handbook
For WSJ, Elizabeth Gunnison Dunn writes: Summertime, at its very best, announces itself in little rituals: the sprint down the beach to feel the ocean hit your toes, the beer yanked from an ice-filled cooler. Up and down the New England coast, the first lobster of the season emerges steaming from an aluminum pot and is served with a little cup of drawn butter, a plastic bib and a fistful of moist towelletes.
“Claws like boxing gloves, prized for its hefty size…”
– Human Predator, describing targeted species
Then there is the second lobster, likely tossed in butter and mayonnaise and piled on a toasted roll. The third one might arrive by way of a creamy bisque. By then, most of us have come to the end of our lobster repertoires. We’re out of steam.
“I look for the lobster that scares me the most.”
– Chef Michael Hung
Lobster might be the ultimate totem of the seaside experience.Though it looms large in the summer vacationer’s imagination, it has traditionally been pigeonholed into a tediously narrow range of preparations.
“This scrumptious shellfish is nothing to be intimidated by.”
– Wall Street Journal, promoting shellfish combat tactics
This is a shame, because lobster has so much to recommend it. It’s sustainable, for one, in an ocean full of creatures being fished toward extinction. It’s lean. It has also, in recent years, become a bargain.
The cost of meats, fish, poultry and eggs has risen, overall, by almost 8% in the past year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but lobster is getting more affordable. Thanks to a glut of so-called soft-shell lobsters—the delicate specimens in new shells caught off the coast of Maine in the summer months—the past three seasons have delivered deals for anyone buying close to the source. Consumers at the seaside this summer are finding local prices as low as $5 a pound, as much as 50% below where they were a decade ago. Read the rest of this entry »
GAZA CITY — Less than three hours after a three-day humanitarian cease-fire between Israel and Hamas went into effect Friday, the truce broke down when clashes between Israeli forces and Hamas fighters erupted and militants fired rockets into Israel…
Gaza militants captured an Israeli officer in the southern Gaza Strip just as the cease-fire was falling apart, said a senior Israeli military spokesman. Two other Israeli soldiers were reported killed…(read more)
Advocacy for Terrorists Masked in the Language of Compassion: The Evil Sentimentality of the Pro-Hamas LeftPosted: August 1, 2014
Rarely has civilian death been so propagandized by so many of our fellow Americans. Oh, now, I know they’ll protest this characterization. They hate — just hate — the horrific loss of life in Gaza. They hate it so much that they’re moved to wax as eloquently as they can about the horror of death in schools, in mosques, in hospitals — all the places where people are supposed to be “safe,” supposed to seek “refuge.” They can’t stop writing about this death, emoting about this death. And they write and emote until you can almost see the splash of their crocodile tears on your computer screen.
They love peace, you see. They love it so much that they attempt to use every one of their God-given gifts to make you feel what a Palestinian widow feels, to make you stand in the shoes of a man weeping for his lost son. Feel the ultimate anguish. Hear the wailing. Don’t look away from the blood or the rage or the tears.
Have hundreds of thousands of parents and children and aunts and uncles shed similar tears in Syria? Look away from that. No, look away. I mean it. I need your eyes to focus back where they should — on that dead Palestinian child…
From Intercollegiate Review, May 2013, a timeless classic. Read the whole thing here. Career advice from my newsroom hero, supreme champion pugilist of punditry, brilliant bombshell of bodacious badassery, Mollie Z. Hemingway:
There has never been a better time to consider a career in journalism.
Newspapers are thriving, magazines are innovating, online journalism listicles are becoming more substantive, and cable-news talking heads are shouting at holograms.
Journalists are living up to our reputation as the country’s most trusted profession (at least compared to IRS agents and American Airlines customer-service representatives). Whether it’s our nuanced and thoughtful analysis of hot-button topics such as gay marriage or our tenacious coverage of the terrorist attack in Benghazi and Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s abortion clinic in Philadelphia, people know you can count on us to get the story right.
Would you like to succeed in this environment? As a long-time reporter and media critic, I’m happy to share tips on what to do if you want to make it in modern journalism.
Don’t Sweat the Details
Is there a difference between an Evangelical and an evangelist? Who cares? Don’t know the technical reason why Christians celebrate Easter? Will anyone really notice? Do you confuse the author of Hebrews with Paris booksellers?We all do! Whether you’re reporting on important U.S. Supreme Court decisions or how many people died in a terrorist bombing, what’s most important is getting the story first, not getting the story right, particularly under the pressure of a 24-hour news cycle.
Don’t Question Authority
If the powers-that-be suggest that a terrorist attack on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11 was the spontaneous and direct result of an unseen YouTube video with junior high school production values, who are you to be skeptical?
If these same authority figures suggest that therefore it’s dangerous for Americans to speak freely, share their religious views, and express their artistic sensibilities however they want, you should probably just join them in calling for restrictions on these First Amendment freedoms.
Likewise, if a politician suggests that the reports of scandal surrounding his administration are overblown, leave him alone already. Would he lie? One good thing to remember is that, generally speaking, only Republican politicians mislead. The sooner you figure that out, the more quickly you’ll be on your way to working at the New York Times.
Recently, some journalists asked the military about reports that the armed services were cracking down on Evangelical Christians. Military spokesmen assured the reporters that there was nothing to worry about. The good reporters figured that meant the case was closed.
Remember Your Job Is to Advance Narratives, Not Report Facts
CNBC’s John Harwood said recently, “Those of us in political-media world should just shut up about ‘narratives’ and focus on what’s true.” Spoken like a real nobody. We’re in the Golden Era of narratives. Facts are for old-timers. Take the story about the Health and Human Service Department’s Obamacare-inspired regulation requiring all employers (regardless of religious objections) to provide employee insurance covering birth control, sterilization, and abortifacients at no cost to the employee. Would you rather report the actual details about this, including claims that it is an unprecedented restriction on religious liberty, or simply call any attempts to fight it part of a “war on women”? Exactly. You know the right thing to do.
Eric Cantor delivered his final remarks as the House majority leader in front of a full chamber on Tuesday, thanking his colleagues for their service and urging them not to take their positions for granted.
Although “too many are left wondering if we can be an America that works, an America that leads,” Cantor remained confident that Congress and the nation as a whole would continue to be a shining light in the world, pointing to some of his legislative accomplishments as examples…(read more)
[Below is a video of Cantor's speech, before he put on the costume and performed the sentimental farewell song.]
— Variety (@Variety) July 31, 2014
CHINA: PLA Lets Foreign Press Attend Monthly Briefing for First Time in Bid for Greater Transparency, WH RespondsPosted: July 31, 2014
Allowing foreign reporters access to the monthly press conferences of the People’s Liberation Army presents a challenge to the U.S. claim of unparalleled transparency.
From the South China Morning Post - Associated Press in Beijing reports:
Not many years ago, foreign reporters in China trying to call the country’s secretive military couldn’t even get a connection because phone numbers assigned to the journalists were barred from ringing through to the Defence Ministry.
“We especially hope that international society will have a correct and objective understanding of the Chinese military.”
This morning, the White House issued this statement:
“We believe that sending members of the White House press corps to China was the right thing to do. It is not, as some of our friends in the Republican party have suggested, an effort to limit press freedom, or retaliation for unfavorable coverage of the president.”
On Thursday, members of the foreign press were finally permitted to attend the ministry’s monthly news briefing, marking a small milestone in the increasingly confident military’s efforts to project a more transparent image.
“Look, we let these folks in the press keep their cell phones, and some personal effects. We gave them free transportation, courtesy of the Air Force. They’ll eventually be permitted to return. We’ll do our best to get them home by Christmas.”
– President Barack Obama
Restrictions still apply and there is no sign of an improvement in the generally paltry amount and poor quality of information released by the People’s Liberation Army, the world’s largest standing military with 2.3 million members.
Officers who oversee the briefings say the new invitations reflect a desire by the top brass to allay foreigners’ concerns over fast-expanding budgets, vast hardware improvements, and an increasingly clear determination to use the military to assert China’s interests and territorial claims. Read the rest of this entry »
William Kristol weighs in:
…the overwhelming reason to kill the bill is that it’s not going to become law anyway. The president and the Senate leadership have made clear they’ll never accept it. So what’s the point of passing it? Leadership’s answer is—well, we’ll get credit for trying to do something. But will they? From whom? The mainstream media? Then the media will focus on what further compromises the GOP leadership will accept in September, on why Republicans won’t go to conference with the original Senate bill or parts of it, and on splits in GOP ranks about immigration…
…The president’s approval rating is slipping to historic lows. Let it continue to slide. Don’t bail him out by jamming though a bill that divides Republicans, will confuse voters, won’t become law anyway, muddies responsibility for the border fiasco, and takes the spotlight off what should be the focus of the August recess–President Obama’s failed policies and Congressional Democrats’ support for them…(read more)