By Kyle | October 15, 2015
A rant about how language gets reduced to tiny cartoon faces.
By Kyle | April 1, 2013
In my Sunday column (extra bonus this week), I ask: If Down Syndrome children aren’t suffering, and they aren’t, then why are we so afraid to allow them to come into existence?
By Kyle | January 16, 2012
Why 2012 is shaping up as a great year for conspiracy theorists in my Sunday column.
By Kyle | December 24, 2011
My wife Sara Austin gave birth to our second daughter today. Felicity Larkin Smith weighed in at 7 pounds 11 ounces and has a shock of dark hair. Within hours, she had calmed down and wore an expression that said, “I’m not convinced, but feel free to try.”
By Kyle | October 13, 2011
Hardcore, battle-tested, iron-willed jarheads are getting their eyebrows sculpted and tweezed like fashion models. Oy.
It was just last month that it suddenly dawned on Lt. Col. Jerry Turner, commander of 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, at Shinwar, that some young men under his command had eyebrows shapelier than Nature intended.
Lt. Col. Turner dismisses the trend as one of those kids-these-days mysteries of a younger generation. A tall 43-year-old from Sacramento, with an aw-shucks grin and free-range brows, the colonel just shakes his head when he spots pruned arches beneath camouflage caps.
“I don’t get it, I just don’t get it,” he says. “And you’re not going to get me to get it.”
Stories like this one make the promise of death a little more gentle. Really, who wants to be around as all of this plays out?
By Kyle | May 11, 2011
Being named “Most Likely to Succeed” in high school is a heavy burden, say recipients of this honor. High schools are cutting back on bestowing such grave and fraught designations. One ex-most-likely-to frets thus:
“Being noosed with ‘most likely to succeed’ is like lugging an albatross to every job interview, new relationship or writing endeavor,” says Blake Atwood, 30, of Irving, Texas, and a copywriter for a law firm. His 80 classmates at his Lorena, Texas, high school bestowed the label on him in 1998. Recalling these expectations just deepened his self-doubt during a six-year period after college when he wasn’t working in his chosen field, as a writer, he says.
Somebody tell this guy that he might have had a better chance at success if he had chosen a field in which he was skilled. He doesn’t much sound like an able writer when, given a chance to show off in the Wall Street Journal, he deploys a mixed metaphor — and at least one of those metaphors is a cliche.
By Kyle | April 19, 2009
George Will is anti-blue jeans. I have a massive amount of respect for the guy, but I think his age is showing here. Blue jeans are simply the most comfortable, durable option in below-the-waist wear…and America has become a better place in accepting blue jeans in almost any situation. Michelle Malkin defends blue jeans here.
By Kyle | January 17, 2009
The islands of the Great Barrier Reef off Queensland, Australia need a caretaker-blogger. So many respondents applied that they crashed the Web site.
By jic | November 2, 2008
A petition to legalise marriages between humans and cartoon characters has attracted more than 1000 signatures. Go on, guess where.
By Kyle | May 25, 2008
Note: On May 18, my daughter Summer Austin Smith was born.
A LETTER TO MY DAUGHTER
by Kyle Smith
May 25, 2008 —
Welcome to the world. Thanks for coming along. I was pretty much out of column ideas.
At present you know me as the seemingly irrelevant figure lurking somewhere in the hazy background behind Mommy, the beautiful lady who sings Gershwin to you. When you learn to speak, you may address me as “Pater.” I write this four days after your birth. In case something happens to me – perhaps I am destined to be disappeared by a Canadian extremist group or run over by the 1 train (which I probably deserve; I’m one of those people who sticks his head out over the subway platform and peers seethingly down the tunnel) – allow me to leave behind some advice for you to read at a later date, when adolescence starts to jangle your personality or you contemplate a college that costs $150,000 a year.
Know when to hold ’em. Know when to cheat.
No matter what boys may tell you, they are only interested in one thing: sports.
It was genetically pre-ordained that you should chafe at taking orders from people who are stupider than you. Try not to murder them.
Wear sunscreen. I can get sunstroke from a reading lamp, and your mom is so pale she looks like the illustration of a ghost in a Bronte novel. As a matter of fact, try not to go outdoors much. It’s noisy and there are bugs.
When the idiot winds blow and the darkest hour looms, you can’t go wrong with a P.G. Wodehouse book. I’ve left 45 of them to get you started.
Oh, and pessimism is overrated. A great man who will (as you are my daughter) give you many moments of wild joy once stated, “I have to admit it’s getting better.” At the time of your birth, this was a minority view, which is one reason it is worth looking into. (The more widely-held observation is: Cry, and the world cries with you.)
Thirty years ago the air of the city of your birth was choked with car exhaust. At the end of the previous century, the streets were feet deep with horse manure and urine. Most things get better as the decades skip by. (Exceptions: George Lucas movies, the songs on top of the pop charts, traffic). It is becoming routine to live to be 100, middle-class people are buying vacation property, and communication, information and entertainment are virtually limitless and almost without cost. Futurists predict that someday, possibly within your lifetime, cancer will become a manageable chronic condition, cars will run on hydrogen and the final investigation into Princess Diana’s death will conclude.
I’m not going to say I was starved for entertainment before you came along, but you are one splendid little wriggler. Watching you grip my finger never gets old. Your conversation shows room for improvement, though without saying a word you have taught me much, such as the unfeasibility of keeping socks on mini-feet and the mighty power of advanced cuddling. Daily my vocabulary expands with words that sound like Jazz Age hipsterisms (“Boppy,” “SnugRide”) and my swaddling skills approach the grandmaster level. And all of this while you lie confused and burrito’d in your yellow blanket.
Providing those Canadians don’t get me first, the mind reels at the fun we are going to have together. Learning to swim? We Smiths are so buoyant we practically have flippers. Trips to France? Je m’en occupe. Best Billy Wilder movies? “Sunset Blvd.” is going to blow your mind. Questions about sex? Talk to your mother.
When I can’t be with you, though, keep your strength up the way I have: with vast quantities of junk food. Be kind to animals, except Yankee fans. Drive as if everyone else is a maniac. Don’t waste too much time in front of the TV, spend less than you earn, cultivate vegetables and friendships, be confident yet modest. Do not take any crap from, or give it to, anyone. I wish you zesty days and superlative nights. I wish you music and laughter.