The New York City Meetup (and with Pictures to Prove It!)


That’s right! It happened, it was lots of fun and we wish you could’ve been there.

Ricochet members and the good people of America’s Future got together on the Hudson River to enjoy free drinks, free food, absorbing conversation, many laughs and the excitement of making new friends. We owe a big thanks to our very own Alex Rosenwald and Rob Long, along with America’s Future’s Larry Gillheeney for organizing the event and providing the former two; and we owe a thanks for all who attended for taking care of the rest.

I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say everyone had a good time. The persistent rain interfered with our plans to enjoy an outdoor gathering on the water, and hampered the “crawl” portion of the event a bit, but freedom-lovers know how to improvise!

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The bar crawl is picking up steam. Not only is Rob Long gonna be there, but James Lileks is in too! But we want more VIPs. We want you! If you haven’t heard already, Ricochet is teaming up with America’s Future on Saturday, May 14th to celebrate freedom (and free drinks). All members are invited! […]

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Shakespeare and the Spaceman


I’m not sure if how long it’s been since I’ve seen something as funky as HBO’s miniseries Station 11. I couldn’t really say with confidence that I liked it, and describing it would be an even more challenging endeavor. But the overwhelming critical praise it’s received isn’t something I’ll debate now. At Rotten Tomatoes, the paradoxically titled “Critics Consensus” runs as follows: “Station 11 rewards patient viewers with an insightful and thematically rich assertion that–even in the post-apocalypse–the show must go on.” In this instance, I can live with a product of the Tomatometer.

In a very confined nutshell, the show concentrates on a group of touring Shakespearean actors who ritually circle the Great Lakes… in the immediate and intermediate years after a swine flu pandemic effectively wipes out the world as we know it. The show also includes, among other things, a large cluster of survivors isolating in the fictional “Severn City” regional airport; a creepy prophet dude in overalls who’s manipulating children into suicide bombings; a former movie star, who, even after a relatively unrelated death, manages to be central to the whole story; and a graphic novel, the eponymous Station 11, about an astronaut trapped on a broken space station.

Yeah, it’s weird. And that’s about as much as I can expand on without getting lost in the weeds of unnecessary, and bespoiling, explication.

The Germiest Place in America


I really love New York City. I like moving fast through a place where, headphones in, every soundtrack I can think of fits beautifully. It’s strange because the city has an over-abundance of so many things I don’t like. Crowds, cold weather, depersonalization on the street, constant phone usage, expensive… everything. But it comes together like one of those cocktails that are heavy on bitters and other icky tasting stand-alone ingredients, yet comes out surprisingly delicious to me. 

After collecting a few offers from friends and family for a free place to lay my head, I’ve cashed in for a two-week trip. It should give me almost enough time to indulge in one of my favorite fantasies: living in a new exciting place. It’d be hard for me to leave my beloved New Orlean–and also I can’t afford it–but I’ll still say I haven’t ruled Gotham out yet.

Even though the city’s biggest critics rely mostly on established fact, there are a lot of aspects of its bad rep that I’d say belong in the undeserved column. For instance, I’ve never found this place to be much meaner than any other place I’ve visited; on a Sunday stroll through Brooklyn with my nine-month-old nephew, it occurred to me that the challenges of having a baby here are probably offset by the advantages (depending on one’s parenting style to be sure); and while the city is known for its dark blue voting record, from a maunderer’s perspective, the Founding Fathers’ implicit commandment that “Thou shalt mind thine own business” seems alive and well.

A Hat Tip to Those Who Do the Right Thing


In a dreadful sort of way, there’s nothing unusual about this story that caught my eye the other day. An esteemed university–Brown, in this case–is receiving pressure from faculty and students to reject the expansion of a campus research center, called the Political Theory Project (PTP). Naturally, this is due to the center’s mission and funding. I’ll let readers decide which is more predictable: that the problematic funding is “coke” money (the most objectionable kind. Spelled K-O-C-H) or that the problematic mission is to “investigate the ideas and institutions that make societies free, prosperous and fair.”

The concernee’s typical blah-blah-on-paper reads, “The Political Theory Project presents itself as representing a seemingly neutral ‘freedom of ideas’ because that sounds better than their actual project of making sure rich people stay rich and most people of color stay poor.” Indubitably. All learned persons know that keeping people of color poor is essential to an economy that makes people rich. One needn’t an Ivy League degree to find that the world’s richest reside in Africa and Central America–but I digress.

With discussions intended to bring “established researchers with alternative perspectives the opportunity to present their research in direct dialogue” one might see little downside for higher-ed. Recent events include the following: Noam Chomsky and ambassador Dennis Ross (debating America’s support for Israel); Michael Eric Dyson and Boyce Watkins (in a congenial rap on the effects of hip-hop lyrics); and Steven Pinker and Paul Krugman (measuring the extent of humanity’s progress). These conversations may seem harmless enough, but they supposedly belie PTP’s insidious agenda. Right-wing Kochheads from the Federalist Society, Cato Institute, and the American Council of Trustees and Alumni have been given a platform to spew their… opinions.

Summits, Addresses, and Drones


There aren’t many Presidential farewell addresses of which Americans have much familiarity. One of the few, possibly the most famous of them, may well owe most of its notoriety to some silly little moviemaker incapable of swallowing the hard truth that his favorite commander-in-chief was simply killed by some silly little Communist. Just a few years prior to John Kennedy’s assassination, his predecessor identified two threats, “new in kind or degree,” to a great nation that rose out of the ashes of a great depression and a great war. Your average chatty mediocrity rails against the first — like I said, it was in the pictures! — but the second is a bit more current to the far out future-times of right now.

Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Fax and Fixations


“Something about ‘Unity'”

In one of his most well-known slippery statements, President Biden stumbled onto something unusual: a genuinely worthwhile observation. To be more precise it was a distinction, and, if only the man knew how to throw together a sentence, it might’ve stuck. Granted, it would have been a lie. But, irony aside, I’d almost have been moved to salute it. As things stand, the not-so-mildly contemptuous defense that follows is the best I can do.

“We choose unity over division. We choose science over fiction. We choose truth over facts.” He said it, a few attendees whoo-ed! (How I wish people “whoo-ed” less.) Then he just skipped along to addressing his “folks” and blah-blahed his way to a pitch about joining him, which he naturally prefaced with an, “If you’re interested…” Yeah, his speeches are about as bad as the feathery pillow fights of interviews, co-starring a weak press. But Biden and his brigade of blathery buttheads know what they’re selling: fax machines…. in the age of the internet.

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Not so fast, Michael Jackson!  So this came up in Rushbabe’s post thanks to everybody’s favorite “Stina,” and I thought instead of deviating from Babe’s OP anymore than I already have, I’ll whip one up of my own. So the most obvious question is “How do we get young people here?” But perhaps the more […]

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We Win, They Lose (Or How I Learned To Love The Fireworks)


Ronnie had a way of getting to the point, didn’t he? Further, he was correct much more often than he wasn’t. Betting against America is folly, and I suspect it’ll stay that way for some time. This isn’t to say keeping that our republic will ever be an easy task, but losing it is harder than most seem to think. Perversely, the assumption that our best days are overlooks like one of a few topics that enjoy a bipartisan consensus. (I mean… C’mon, man!)

If You Come At The King, You Best Not Miss


It was bound to happen, he’s been looking more and more like a conservative for a while now. So now they’re coming for David O. Russell, quite possibly America’s best working movie director. Russell has made some of the most beautifully twisted motion pictures, and just like Louis C.K. people are shocked to find that such essential creators are, or at least have been, pretty twisted themselves. C.K. makes jokes about the ugly thoughts most wouldn’t dare utter, David O. makes movies about an America off its rocker.

My purpose here isn’t to get into the thing that the director of The Fighter (2010), Silver Linings Playbook (2012), American Hustle (2013), and 2015’s Joy (possibly the most emphatic ode to Capitalism since Whit Stillman’s Barcelona) did a decade ago, nor do I care much to ponder on why the journalist Laura Bradley has decided to make it the public’s business; I’d rather just write a bit about a filmmaker whose movies deserve more attention from a justifiably Hollywood-weary right.

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Sometimes I can’t help myself. I knew what I was gonna get with Amazon Prime’s series The Boys. And tasty junk is exactly what I got. I can’t not-recommend it enough, but man do these guys know what they’re doing! It’s got everything your average fanboy wants and the politics are mostly well-played, which is not to […]

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The Privilege of Police Hatred.


When I was in the fifth grade, a neighbor from a nice family, and a close friend of my older brother, was arrested. I’m not sure how, and I think the why was purely out of boredom – unfortunately, unassuaged by codeine and alcohol – but, long story short: he burned down a house that was being constructed. I was told that he stood at the scene of the crime until police arrived, and then decided it was time to run. He was caught. In response to a local reporter asking why he ran, he was quoted thusly: “I hate cops.”

Only The Real Rick and Morty Can Save Us.


I’ll start by saying that my intention here is not to get anybody on the site to become a regular viewer of a raunchy SciFi cartoon, but I recommend reading the post below – and if you have time, watch the clips I carefully picked (in total, they shouldn’t take up more than 8 minutes). Rick and Morty is a show about God’s dislike for the blindly religious; meaning, of course, bureaucrats.

Quote of the Day: A Representative and His Duties


“Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.” — Edmund Burke

I knew a man, one of many pleasant anachronisms in my life that I did nothing to deserve. His friends called him “Bill.” We, his family, called him ” Papa.” He was born exactly 88 years ago, but I only first met him 59 years later. He was my mother’s father, the leader of an 11-member clan, and eventually a grandfather of 18. Things haven’t been the same since we lost him two years ago; such a man is not easily replaced. I might not go so far as to call him “great” – there will not likely be any institutions named after him, no statues either (thank goodness!) – but a good man is hard to find, and William Joseph Taylor was an especially good man.

Calling him an undertaker is fitting. Though he didn’t spend a lot of time preparing bodies for services, but he reopened the business his grandfather, John Irving Taylor, and Oscar Modeen founded in 1909. Papa’s undertaking was not limited to the funeral business. He and his wife of 66 years settled in Tequesta, FL, after leaving West Hartford, CT, in 1968. There, at 36 years of age, he worked tirelessly for his new community – then still aptly considered “The Village of Tequesta.” Involvement with the Jupiter Medical Center, Jupiter Pavilion (a hospice center) the Palm Beach County United Way, the Jupiter Tequesta Athletic Association, St. Jude Catholic Church, and the Florida Association for Retarded Persons were among his extra-curricular activities. He opened the first movie theatre in the area (it was, unsuccessful in part because his eldest decided to give candy to her friends). One time I asked him if he had ever seen a movie called The Last Picture Show. He gave me a knowing grin, and replied with a simple, “Yeah.” He knew I thought he was a lion. I really do still.

Music That Makes Me Thankful That I Met Conservatives


I joined Ricochet for a simple reason; they were putting out a product worth supporting. Rob Long’s pitches about the content behind the paywall left me unconvinced – sorry, Rob. I can’t recall how long it was before I begin lurking around the right Feed, but I know where I first started participating: Ricochet’s “What Are Listening To” group. My little experience with conservatives growing up left me with the impression that these people don’t care much about art – or art people are interested in, anyway. I still don’t think I’m wrong about the right as a whole, but I guess Ricochet isn’t all that normal.

Here is some of the great pop music that I’d likely have never encountered had I not joined this site. (I’m intentionally excluding the excellent tunes I’ve heard since Clifford Brown decided to gift us with this Group Writing theme.)

In Shambles (And They’re Glad)


Im’a school kids
and tease ’em and please ’em
For the treason,
that’s the reason
Im’a squeeze ’em
-Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, No Need For Alarm

There’s a saying you may have encountered if you know any liberals inclined to sympathize with the ugliness that followed George Floyd’s murder. They say, “If people loved Black people as much as love Black culture, there wouldn’t be a problem.” Most of the people who make this point are Black themselves, or they are young. My experience with the young ones has shown me a couple of things: most of them are talking about Rap music, and that their attraction to it is borne of the same feeling that motivated Norman Mailer’s “white negroes” of the late 1950s. Boredom.

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Every clear night, there are these little shiny dots that come out from the sky. Using my own perception, it seems natural that I would come to the conclusion I’m told is incorrect. I’m not the big one, the star isn’t the little one; The star isn’t really above me – not strictly speaking – so […]

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Who could possibly want to die in a year such as 2020? Even if the year itself has been slightly confining, surely there is plenty to do – or at least do virtually. Anybody who’s anybody didn’t live this long to die now! Dying is probably boring, and, if it isn’t, then it’s most likely […]

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