Hiiiii you guys.I'm getting everything in my mom's house steam-cleaned and sanitized and her bedroom special de-fogged and the air-conditioning system cleaned and the filter changed. My brother made me reschedule them the other day because they called and said "we're going to be late is that OK, we're only now headed up to Baltimore and I was like "fine wev I'm here all day" but then probably 15 minutes before they would have arrived my bro decided it was 'too late in the day' for all that to happen. By which he meant he was too stoned I guess since afterwards he just watched youtube videos of minecraft. I have a migraine and it's so loud and smells weird grrr. And he won't be here at the end of the day to help me put my mattress back on my bed because he's missioning to WVa for a day to get packages and clean up the cabin he's renting from his neighbors as construction finishes on his place. Eh. It's cool, we've all been doing our best around here, we need to stick together. (I've had this open for ages so they're done now. The guys were extremely nice. One of the men had his father murdered right before his eyes when he was 11 years old--he was a serious gambler and owed money to the wrong people, and ended up getting gunned down on the sidewalk by his house in broad daylight. The other of the two men was really interested in Narnia's governmental structure, harsh laws, and enforced housing integration, which he'd never heard of before, and we really spent like half an hour discussing whether such a system would work in America and why not if not.)
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My mom was smoking three packs a day at the end, up from a pack a day for years. My fine-I'll-just-start-calling-her-my girlfriend-in-law asked her about it and my mom said, somewhat slyly, at the point where they were worried she was drinking again because of the way she was acting, that she 'wouldn't be able to for much longer.' So, some part of her knew even as the main part of her was convinced that with all of us having impossible-to-characterize sub-variants of lupus and crohn's and stuff she was immune to cancer (I see how it makes sense, don't ask.) She's scared about coming home and wanting to smoke, so we're trying desperately to get the cigarette smoke smell (which she now, naturally, is very sensitive to--she could tell once she went to get something out of her purse four days after surgery that the lining just stank of smoke) out of everything.
It was her birthday yesterday. Her old pc laptop was crippled with malware, so the three of us kids kicked in to get her a macbook air. We were going to get her the big new iphone six, but even with her on my sister's phone plan and shit the cost was getting so adjacent (like, heading towards $800?!) that we decided, fuck it, and went for the laptop. Then we thought, extra fuck it, her sight isnt improving, we'll get the 13-inch. Happily she mentioned twice in conversation just before we opened gifts how broken her old one was and how unhappy she was about it!
We're all behind the 8-ball on christmas gifts. My sister and I are going to buy my brother an AK-47, that's easy-peasy I guess. (He just got himself a new 9mm handgun and it is so hard to rack the slide that when he handed it to me I was like...it has...two safeties? It lessens recoil, but only if you chamber the round every time, thus making the gun...not be an automatic anymore soooo. Humorously it's got that brushed-nickel finish so popular on kitchen fixtures; I don't think of guns as having design fads, really.) I mean, she happens to know where to get one. I have something for my husband, a minor prezzie but because he's tripping out about finances he won't want me to get him anything anyway. But look, the IRS finally finished investigating my granddad's estate, and released the last money remaining from the sale of his house. My husband and I have two joint accounts, one here and one in Narnia. Joint. Accounts. My brother blanched, even. It is a gesture of trust and love. I feel like if I hand him a check in the high five figures he has to just zip it about how he's freaking out. But maybe he could say, you just made me spend $12,000 on plane tickets and computers and guns and jewelry so I'll freak out all I want. I bought jewelry for my sister already in Asia, she's super-easy to shop for. I'm made of fail wrt my girlfriend-in-law, mom, and children. Fuck, and my dad and step-mom. I'm going to order my dad one of those 'General Sherman heat a peach tour' t-shirts if I can ever get my most minor life motivations in order. Instead I am polishing silver and re-arranging china and decorating the mantelpiece with cedar rope and nandina domestica and red glass ornaments in clear vases, because that totally is not a neurotic way to avoid serious problems. Fuck cancer right in the ass, man.
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Seems like a good place to throw in a conversation about the two cops recently killed in Brooklyn.
But I appear to have crippled my stand-mixer. Christmas cookies yesterday, and I had a big lump of hardened brown sugar that I thought I could manage by just throwing it in and letting the (heavy-duty KitchenAid) whack it around for long enough to pulverize it. Instead, it jammed immediately, leaving me with a big lump of hardened brown sugar now covered in my last pound of creamed butter. Because I don't know when to give up, rather than throwing it all out and starting fresh, I spent a remarkably long time trying to make the mixer break it up -- I'd chip away at the lump with a butter knife, turn the mixer back on and give it another whack like that, repeat ad infinitum. I figured I wouldn't do the mixer any harm if I kept on checking to see if the motor was getting too hot. Which turned out to be wrong.
The sugar did eventually break up, the batter worked out, the motor didn't overheat. But somewhere near the end of the process, I realized the mixer didn't have any torque any more. All the speeds still work if the beater is unloaded, but even a soft batter stops it. I can't quite visualize what I think is broken, but there's got to be a stripped gear someplace, enough left to drive the beater but not enough to keep it from slipping under pressure. (Although I'm really surprised I didn't notice a noise when it happened.)
Anyway, anyone have a diagnosis or a referral to the webforum where people discuss fixing household appliances? (There must be one.) I'm not going to do anything before Christmas, but I think the Boxing Day project is to go after it with a screwdriver and see if I can find the problem, which will allow me to discover that there's no way to obtain the necessary part. Really, we're going to end up getting a new mixer, but I hate to let the poor thing die after sixteen years of hard work without even trying to see what I can do for it; it's a nice solid piece of machinery.
JRoth writes: Good concept, well executed, interesting results. Most interesting to me, through the first 3 minutes, is Bo Diddley saying, "I don't understand what they're doin'. Never have."
Speaking for myself, I'd say McCartney, but I can't tell if that's real affinity or just a kneejerk rejection of Lennon hagiography. I never liked the idea that, between these massive and coequal talents, one was obviously a heroic genius and the other a sentimental hack.
Heebie's take: I have no idea which Beatles songs were written by which Beatle. But McCartney wins on longevity, whereas Lennon wins on lankiness.
The title of this article is kind of nonsensical, but the article itself is interesting - I hadn't realized how much effort people put into suppressing MJ's 1995 song "They Don't Care About Us". (All I remembered was the Jew me/Kike me line being controversial.)
Apparently radio stations were reluctant to play it and one of two videos - a prison video made by Spike Lee and Michael Jackson - was banned from TV. The article implies that all this was in response to the black anger message of the song, rather than the Jew me/Kike me line. The prison video is at the link.
Heebster, we will be in Pittsburgh at Rft's mom's for Christmas. Can you put up a post to see if there's interest in a meetup on Tuesday 12/23 or maybe Friday 12/26? There's a nice bar, 1947 Tavern, within walking distance of where we'll be staying, but we could potentially also do it at the Squirrel Cage for comedy value/Moby's convenience.
So says Snarkout.
Confidential to Snarkini: Yes I can!
Dairy Queen writes: Sadly, I believe this article is on to something.
There are only two requirements for an on-demand service economy to work, and neither is an iPhone. First, the market being addressed needs to be big enough to scale--food, laundry, taxi rides. Without that, it's just a concierge service for the rich rather than a disruptive paradigm shift, as a venture capitalist might say. Second, and perhaps more importantly, there needs to be a large enough labor class willing to work at wages that customers consider affordable and that the middlemen consider worthwhile for their profit margins.
Uber was founded in 2009, in the immediate aftermath of the worst financial crisis in a generation. As the ride-sharing app has risen, so too have income disparity and wealth inequality in the United States as a whole and in San Francisco in particular. Recent research by the Brookings Institution found that of any US city, San Francisco had the largest increase in inequality between 2007 and 2012. The disparity in San Francisco as of 2012, as measured (pdf) by a city agency, was in fact more pronounced than inequality in Mumbai (pdf).
(note there are links in that quote that I couldn't for the life of me reproduce)
One (among many) question suggested by the article is whether the technological middle man of uber and its ilk is key to preventing collective action by labor, or the kind of "learning the trade, moving up the ladder" dynamic claimed to exist in Mumbai (does it really?) or whether it is a question of deeper social structures.
I confess that "If the APR of loan sharks is so excessively high then why don't they own the whole world?" is not a question that it would ever occur to me to ask, or, having read it, find particularly puzzling.
I've had my iPhone 6 (the smaller of the bigger ones) for about a month now, long past the time that I would have grown accustomed to it and decided that Apple knew better than I what I would enjoy, so I can now state definitively that this phone is too damn big, a pain to hold, and not nearly as enjoyable to use as the 5/5s. Bring back the smaller ones, damn it; I kind of hate this thing.
There's a lot more to say, but I think Josh gets the nut of it. I'm flabbergasted that the movie was pulled. Have people sign a waiver with their tickets. The publicity would be fantastic.
And soothing. But not the type of thing that will generate much of a discussion, I suspect.
This guitarist is the worst. I like her because she made me laugh, but you might like her for her sheer shirt and lack of pants.
Unrelated, the 20 most popular websites by year, since 1996.
J, Robot writes: The NYT's recent coverage of problems at Rikers has been both fascinating and upsetting (though it matches what Law & Order had led me to suspect). The union head appears to be popular with his members, but I wonder how well he is serving them in terms of their day-to-day safety.
David Mumford and John Tate were asked to write an obituary for Alexander Grothendieck for Nature magazine. Then they were rejected for writing too mathy an obituary, which you may read here. Mumford is upset over the lack of mathematical literacy. I don't think the editors picked the best examples to convey to him why it will be incomprehensible - and I don't think the column was unsalvageable - but I think Mumford is out of touch with the mainstream Nature reader.