I only figured this out last night, so I can't be the only one who needs a tip. You know the Sprite ads with "Thirst," the jive-talking Lil' Penny rip-off? What he says at the end of each ad is "Show 'em my motto."
Ah, at last, Wonkette interviews (and names) Washingtonienne. You really should read the whole thing. A couple of things struck me. 1) Confronted with a real-life soulless ass-fucker, Wonkette is clearly the shocked Maroon. 2) Bizarro internalization of her job status by Washingtonienne:
...people are sad if they're interested in such a low level sex scandal ... I just think it's so silly. The blog is really about a bunch of nobodies fucking each other.
Hard not to read that as: I'm such a peon, I just can't get worked up about losing my job and being nationally outed as someone who has a sex-for-money "arrangement."
Apparently, there will be a story (with picture) in Sunday's Washington Post. In the meantime, her picture has been posted here.
Fantastic (clear, direct) article in Salon by Philip Robertson on al Sadr and the situation in Najaf. I've been in a fog about what's going on there, and this helped more than anything else I've read.
Remember when Belle's sister was accosted at the WWII re-enactment? Today, she comments over Examined Life to give the true skinny. (Gotta love a woman who has to get the real story of her own drunken fight from a bystander....)
Well, you guys got the story sort of wrong. I think I might have told it to Belle wrong though, since it happened really fast and I was very drunk. Last weekend I got one of my comrades to give me a play by play since he was standing right there when this all happened.
When the German said he'd like to put it in my ass he grabbed my shoulder and leaned forward to better express himself. I said a simple "fuck you" and brushed his hand away. He reached for me again and grabbed my shoulder, then I kicked at him in the balls. He "dressed right" and avoided a ball shot so I only ended up kicking him in the leg. Once his friend saw that he grabbed me from behind and picked me up in the air. I tried to get out of his grasp and headbutted him and kicked his shins. So he threw me down and I got up and got him and his friend on the ground and there we were all screaming at each other and kicking and whatnot. The reason my comrades say they didn't intervene was because it happened so fast and they couldn't believe what was happening in the first place.
If I had it to do over again I'd do it exactly the same way.
I don't think she means that last bit. I think she'd actually get him in balls the second time around.
The masturbation post below reminds me of something else I've been seeing more of lately: simulated ejaculations in commercials. The most recent one that I've seen has a guy on the beach searching in vain for a way to open his bottle, when along comes a young woman who grabs the bottle, hooks the top into his belt buckle, and pops the top which (while they're both holding the bottle waist-high) causes the contents to go splurting out, to much merriment. And a year (or two) ago, there was the Bud ad (with Cedric the Entertainer?) where the guy runs to the kitchen, grabs a couple of bottles of Bud, does a dance because he thinks he's about to get lucky, and rejoins his date and opens the bottle, which (again, held waist-high) splurts all over the woman.
Are these intended to make the commercial more memorable? Is the effect supposed to be sublminal, or are we supposed to get together with our buddies and say, "dude, have you seen the Bud ad were Ced comes all over his date?" My first guess would be that the ad folks just think it's really funny to put come shots in commercials that whole families will watch together (ok, that is funny).
And what's with the ejaculate-on-the-face motif in contemporary porn? If you watch porn from, say, the 70's, you don't see much of it (ok, I'm really generalizing from narrow personal experience here; I think I've seen two porn movies made in the 70's, but I've read confirming things!). The standard explanation (did you know there was a standard explanation?) is that porn has just become "harder," but that's fairly meaningless, because it doesn't really tell us why it's become "hard" in this way.
I have a guess as to why I think people like those scenes, but it only gives us part of an answer (feel free to jump into the comments--I won't out you if you post anonymously--I'd really like to know what people think). Ejaculating on the face gives us the one "real" moment in porn, where the female performer becomes human: the flinch. Suddenly, the facade of the silicone-pumped, moaning sex machine gives way to an image of a woman who just got something salty in her eye. I haven't thought through why that is so appealing; why making it suddenly "real" is what people want right now. (There's a less savory take on this, of course: that people get off on the fact that she doesn't like it, that that is the thrill. That explanation goes along with the notion that semen is "dirty" and the woman is debased, which, again, is supposed to be the thrill. But I really don't have a good answer to why semen would be considered dirty, and why we'd be so keen to debase women.)
In what has to be a first in Illinois politics, Republican Jack Ryan has assigned one of his campaign workers to record every movement and every word of the state senator while he is in public.
That means Justin Warfel, armed with a handheld Panasonic digital camcorder, follows Obama to the bathroom door and waits outside. It means Warfel follows Obama as he moves from meeting to meeting in the Capitol. And it means Warfel tails Obama when he drives to his campaign office.Do they really think this will help win votes? Josh links to the candidates' web sites, but why not contact Justin Warfel? His
Via (who else?) the apostropher, I see this story of a Christian support group for chronic masturbators. Now, all the funny things you think when you hear that are in the story, but there are a few details that I didn't quite anticipate.
First they capitalized on an existing spoof -- the "Save the Kittens" e-mail campaign -- which featured a photoshopped picture of a kitten being chased by two snarling red monsters and the phrase "Every time you masturbate....God kills a kitten." Gross said the euphemism "killing kittens" made it easier for people to talk about masturbation. Although the e-mail was widely disseminated, some people were offended by a video spin-off of the campaign, which showed a cat being thrown across a room.
So, if I understand correctly, masturbation, which they engage in regularly, is so bad that they'd rather think of killing kittens. Don't we already have quite a few euphemisms for masturbation? Couldn't they have come up with one of their own? I dunno, maybe "saying a Hail Mary-Ann" or "doing penance with the rod?"
Next there was a television commercial featuring a dwarf and the tag line, "Porn stunts your growth." The ad ran on MTV and on television shows targeting young people, but was pulled after a dwarf-empowerment group called Little People of America found it offensive.
I haven't heard any objections to this (not work safe; actually, just not safe).
And I love where the guy from the competing anti-porn group accuses them of not being "fruitful as a ministry." Dude, they are so fruitful. They've got weeks of saved up fruit. Look out!
Fontana says, "Your next assignment is to explain why baseball leads to better writing than football, despite being more boring to watch."
The speed and violence of football can obscure the fact that it's probably the most cerebral and intricate of the major sports. But football is intricate like a machine: We can even trace the half-step by which the tackle was late in pulling that let the cheating safety slip through to make a play in the backfield. The coordination of all the human parts is amazing, but football would be intellectually engrossing even if we replaced all the players with robots that each went to a designated spot at the snap.
But baseball is a game of possibilities. Even a good play could have been good in a different way. The single to the opposite field could have been a double pulled down the line. Each play consigns infinite possibilities to oblivion, but we're always dimly aware of them, even after the moment has passed. It's a game of what might have been: Sorrow and nostalgia, for the real and the imagined past.
And baseball is a game of characters. In football, each player is either more or less fast, strong, disciplined. But in baseball, we might suffer at the hands of our impetuous lead-off hitter, or root for the second-baseman who ranges everywhere in the field and seems to get infield hits in the same scrappy way he fields grounders. A languid pitcher can add thirty minutes to a game, a mean one inject a note of fear.
Put these characters on a stage, doing things the rest of us can only crudely imitate, with the shadow of baseball past and their own what-ifs looming over them, and you have all the ingredients for a modern mythology. And that's precisely what you get. Young men who mostly fail, but sometimes amaze, trying to beat each other, and somehow live up to the past. Baseball might not be much fun to watch, but it's wonderful in the telling.
"Do you believe in anything?" he said the soldier asked. "I said to him, 'I believe in Allah.' So he said, "But I believe in torture and I will torture you.' "
With attention focused on the seven soldiers charged with abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison, U.S. military and intelligence officials familiar with the situation tell NBC News the Army's elite Delta Force is now the subject of a Pentagon inspector general investigation into abuse against detainees.
According to two top U.S. government sources, it is the scene of the most egregious violations of the Geneva Conventions in all of Iraq's prisons.
The conventions do not apply to stateless terrorists — the so-called non-enemy combatants like al-Qaida suspects caught by the United States in Afghanistan.
But as Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has made clear, the Geneva Conventions do apply in Iraq.
I'm all for redemption, and now that Ben H. of the Bandarlog seems to be trying not to be a genocidal prick, I'll extend a cautious welcome back. He recently bought a home, and recounts his feelings while dealing with a plumber.
Before the sure-handed technical competence of the blue collar thaumaturges I rely on to make my toilets flush, boiler run and such, I feel a little sheepish ... what's gets to me is an emasculating sense of incompetence; to be confronted with one's own helpless idiocy, if only with respect to a very small corner of human experience. But it is not unimportant what corner the ineptitude pertains to: the manipulation of basic physical objects and systems. Self-respect is intimately connected with mastery: mastery of skills, mastery over one's environment. Sure, I may have achieved a certain degree of mastery over the manipulation of symbols (to borrowing a rare useful Reichianism), but that sort of mastery seems like a mere echo, analogy, of the sort of physical mastery that a plumber exhibits. In the face of this sort of competence, my abstract skills seem feeble and factitious.
Way back in the day, before many of you were reading, in a post (the rest of which seems misdirected now) I wrote,
never underestimate the feelings of inadequacy white-collar men have regarding blue-collar men. The great nightmare of academic/white-collar men is an educated fireman. [It gets worse.] We just can't compete with that. You think investment bankers buy expensive gear and go climb rocks because they love the outdoors? It's because they're not carpenters! And if you want infantilization, get inside the heads of those my ilk (I see the site logs, you educated white-collar boys better jump into the comments on this one) when we go to the mechanic or need work done on our homes. If a child were to "fail" into a blue-collar job, it's probably true that the parents would be horrified, but once the status-course of study is completed, it would be all those parents could do to keep from bursting with pride that, despite their class, they raised a real man.
Go on, admit it.
Bastards! This is so wrong! (But I'll try it this afternoon and let y'all know how it works.)
Whatever happend to that email you sent? How long did it sit in someone's inbox before it was opened? Or maybe they never got it? Was it even opened at all?
When you use DidTheyReadIt, e-mails that you send are automatically and invisibly tracked. The instant the recipient opens your message, DidTheyReadIt automatically notifies you.
MORE: Well, it does work, but it's also pretty easy to block. It seems to work by embedding a hidden URL in the sent message, which is then loaded by the recipient. The URL points to didtheyreadit.com's servers, so they get the same information that a webmaster gets about his site: the visitor's IP address, which can also give you a location and an organization (your ISP or your company, if you're at work), as well as the time it was loaded, and the software used.
But, if your mail reading software offers the option to "redirect" incoming mail (that's not the same as "forward"), then you can pass the message along (to yourself, if you like) and the URL will be visible and won't load in the background.
In addition, a quick scan of the headers of an email from someone using didtheyreadit.com gives them away, as rampellsoft.com, their server, is listed as the sender (this also makes messages from didtheyreadit.com users very easy to filter).
In short, I wouldn't use it, if only because the recipient could pretty easily figure out that I had. And I can't imagine that most email clients won't soon have a way to block things like this completely.
A funny post at Tony Pierce about Glenn Reynolds, but also noteworthy for the pic of S Rushdie with his new wife. He's so overchicked.
Chalabi's house raided by US and Iraqi forces. Adding insult to injury:
Aides to Mr. Chalabi said members of the raiding party had helped themselves to food and beverages from the refrigerator.
Hey, pal, we paid for those drinks.
I know these (blair pelted with powder; schroeder slapped) seem like pranks, but they scare the crap out of me. Is it that easy to get close to the leader of one West's major democracies? What do you think would happen if one of them were assassinated? The fringe is looming.
Baseball's boring enough, but baseball fans have executed a true Aufhebung of the game's essence.
Randy Johnson's perfect game against the Braves Tuesday night was the 15th in modern baseball history, which means since 1900. To give you an idea how rare that is, in the same period, the presidency of the United States has changed hands 17 times.
Johnson ... is the third pitcher born in 1963 to throw a perfect game. The other two are David Wells and David Cone. No other year has ever produced three perfect-game pitchers....
Only two other years have produced two perfect-game pitchers. Len Barker and Dennis Martinez were born 54 days apart in 1955 -- the closest of any pair of men who have thrown perfect games -- and Tom Browning and Mike Witt were both born in 1960.
One more factoid: Though Johnson, 40, became the oldest man ever to throw a perfect game, he is also the second youngest man on the planet to have thrown one. Today's bar-bet fodder is that the only man born after Johnson to own a perfecto is Kenny Rogers, who was 29 when he threw his 10 years ago.
There are plenty of wonderful moments in baseball. The knee-buckling curve when the hitter expects a fastball, the 19-pitch at-bat, the positioning of the infielders with 1 out in the ninth. Yeah yeah. So why do so many people (even people who can recognize the game's niceties) find it so damn boring? Ok, now I'm going to be more serious, so you can address knee-jerk defenses of baseball, accusing its detractors of lacking sense and subtlety, to the first part of this post.
The trouble with the boring sports (baseball, soccer, hockey) is that each bit of action is--structurally, or temporally, or probabilistically--too far removed from a meaningful consequence. There can be dozens of beautiful plays in a game without a single score. In basketball, by contrast, a wonderful play almost always either results in a score or directly stops one. (Football is somewhere in between, with scoring dependant on intermediate steps, but the intermediate steps--yards--count.)
Ok, I think that's an insufficient explanation, and now that I'm even more serious, I'll drop the boring/exciting division. Some people like to play, some people like to compete. There are people who, even when they're playing catch, must think of some way of determining a winner (first to drop five balls loses, etc.). Others just like to throw the ball back and forth (which, I must say, can be a wonderful, calming, and silent communion). Now, I don't know if these preferences extend to other parts of one's life, but, given the previous paragraph, it seems to me that those who like to compete will prefer basketball and football, those who like to play will also enjoy the other sports.
Hmm. On re-reading, this sounds like it might be right, but it might be utter bullshit. Insights?
Even for the normally barbarous Israeli government, this is low.
There are serious rumblings that a military draft might be reinstated. This discussion won't go anywhere unless we make a distinction (and prepare to make it over and over in the coming months). There are good reasons to have a draft, and there are ways to make a draft that's much more fair than the one we had during Vietnam. But that's a very different issue from whether the government can collect bodies and ship them to Iraq to shore up its ruinous enterprise. We can grant that the state has the right to force parents to put their children at risk, without granting that it may engage in ad hoc emergency conscription to save itself from its own poor planning.
So, if there's to be a draft, it should include the following provision: no one drafted may be sent to Iraq for three years. No cleaning up your mess with the blood of other people's children.
MORE: Brad DeLong adds,
But the more important thing is that we have already reinstituted the draft--in a peculiar way. Reservists--who thought that they were standing ready to reinforce the regular army in a serious war while the general draft and total war mobilization got underway--have discovered that that's not their role. Their role is to be drafted at a ferocious rate precisely so that the government can fight its war in Iraq "on the cheap," without disturbing the lives of college students who might demonstrate and attract TV cameras.
Does everybody want to be a Mafia don? Emily Miller is Colin Powell's press aide; the one who tried to cut off Powell's interview with Tim Russert, right in the middle of a question. In any event.
In 2001 Miller was working as press secretary to then-Majority Whip Tom DeLay when she lashed into Post Magazine writer Peter Perl while he was doing a profile of her boss, screaming: "You lied! . . . You betrayed him! You twisted his words! . . . We don't know you. You don't exist. . . . You are dead to us." A DeLay spokesman told us yesterday, "Tom thinks Emily did a fine job for him."
The Poor Man asks, "Hey, married people: how does it feel today?"
While I was unblogging over the weekend, two major stories ran: Seymour Hersh's latest installment about the Abu Ghraib mess, and a Newsweek article that, if anything, is even more disturbing. (Reading about Alberto Gonzales calling provisions of the Geneva Conventions "quaint" made me as angry as I've been in a long while. If there's a hell, Alberto Gonzales will hear his kids' sweet voices spelling Q-U-A-I-N-T for eternity.)
Do read both long pieces, but you can start with Fred Kaplan's must-read that summarizes and explains the implications of both. Just start reading...
Good lord, there's a real blog by a guy chronicling his use of penis enlargement pills. He's measuring progress in millimeters (for accuracy).
Ok ok, while I can't say, "I shouldn't make fun," he is quite serious, and has become a chronicler of others' attempts as well. Many are reporting success, for what it's worth. Frankly, it sounds to me like the pills would just as soon make you drop dead as make your penis bigger (though see 4a), but life is full of risks, right?
Salon has picked up Eric Muller's call for an investigation into Paul Clement's testimony before the Supreme Court regarding torture. Gratifying to see this story move along, and to have helped it just a bit.
Brad is far too kind. It's a matter of simple fact that every decision this administration has made to curtail (or simply suspend) the rights of detainees has been approved by Alberto Gonzales. The White House Counsel is not the president's personal attorney, and his job is not to spin rationalizations for the president's (advisor's) whims. Gonzales has been playing chicken with the Congress and the Supreme Court since 9-11 and it's long past time for people to remember that he's also a public servant who can be called to account.
You know, I don't generally like clever, geeky types, but real-life Pac-Man in Manhattan is inspired.
via geisha asobi
Sometimes, I really love Lucianne.com. Here's a thread about a Washington Post article headlined
Khamenei accuses US of stupidity
Ripper1, identified as an "Editor, Teacher" responds,
He is a Muslim and he is calling hte US stupid!
It's not just me, right? Where's Fontana when you need him?
I was just about to give Brian Leiter props for this post, but then, almost as if he can't help himself, he had to go and be Brian Leiter again. In a post about job prospects for philosophy PhDs, he writes,
(In that regard, I was utterly astonished to see Erin O'Connor (English Penn) remark on retired blogger "the Invisible Adjunct" (an adjunct history teacher who has now given up trying to find a permanent academic job): "I have to wonder whether any of the gainfully employed academic historians who have publicly mourned the fate of IA have tried to find a place for her--a real, lasting place for her--in their profession. It's obvious from IA's site what a fine teacher and scholar she is--the Invisible Adjunct's blog may quite reasonably be read as one of the longest and most eloquent job interviews in history." Perhaps this was meant as a joke [hire someone based on their blog?]. The simple fact is we know nothing about the Invisible Adjunct's actual job qualifications: where she got her degree, the quality of her scholarly work, who her references are, what they think about her work, etc. It is very possible that she is a terrific candidate, who has been screwed over by bad luck or systemic injustice; it is equally possible that she's a mediocrity. We do not know. Why romanticize the situation?)
I dream of a world where Brian Leiter pokes around just a little before he starts typing. In the much-linked Chronicle piece about IA, we find these relevant facts.
...[she is] someone with a Ph.D. from a top-tier college, publications ... [attended] an elite graduate school in the United States ... [got] a campus interview at an elite research university, but came in second
So we do know, even by Leiter's standards of academic worth, that she's not a mediocrity. But what's distinctively Leiterian about the comment is how casually he dismisses the possibility that a blog could tell us anything about a job candidate. I stopped blogging back in January, but, oddly, the Chronicle, Village Voice and Boston Globe didn't jump on that story. IA's blog was extraordinary: For the clarity of her thought, and the grace of her writing, and her erudition, and her ability to keep a community of opinionated cranks civil, focused, and genuinely helpful to one another.
Once again, Leiter might want to pretend that no one else has ever seen the inside of Academe, but the rest of us know that the ability to think and write clearly already, and all by itself, makes IA more qualified than an embarrassingly large number of happily tenured academics. It's hard not to read Leiter as saying, "Sure, she's really smart, and she writes well, and does a great job moderating discussions, but is she qualified?" The academy that asks that question of its prospective members needs to think hard about what it's doing to itself.
UPDATE: Leiter has updated his post.
I learn from Weatherson's site that a newspaper article on IA did report that she went to a "top ten" graduate program and was once some kind of finalist for a "top" job. Even putting aside the worry that journalists are a bit loose with terms like "top ten" [I've had journalists refer in conversation to Duke as a "top ten" or "top" philosophy department based on the reputation of the university], this still doesn't support any conclusion about IA's employability. This is all minor, in any case.)
I'll just note that casually speculating about whether a real person, who is not unlikely to read one's post, is a "mediocrity" and then dismissing one's errors regarding that person's academic record as "minor, in any case," make for one very good example of what it means to be an asshole.
No pictures on this one, but Balasubramania posts this excerpt from an opinion in a case involving Vanna White.
Vanna White is a one-role celebrity. She is famous solely for appearing as the hostess on the "Wheel of Fortune" television show. There is nothing unique about Vanna White or the attributes which she claims identify her. Although she appears to be an attractive woman, her face and figure are no more distinctive than that of other equally comely women. She performs her role as hostess on "Wheel of Fortune" in a simple and straight-forward manner. Her work does not require her to display whatever artistic talent she may possess.
That's not very nice. It especially unkind to slam Vanna for what, on a more charitable interpretation, is her ability to make her job look easy. I mean, in all these years, have you ever seen her trip, or--even more impressive by its absence--yell out the answer as the moron du jour keeps buying vowels?
I guess Kerry really is writing off the South!... Hello? Do Americans want a first daughter who parades around in a dress Paris Hilton would be embarrassed to wear ? And shouldn't she have, you know, thought of that?
Mickey, has all the vigor gone out of your loins? That body isn't losing any votes.
But let me be as serious as possible under the circumstances: I'll bet dollars to donuts that that dress wasn't see-through live, but only appeared see-through in flash photos. Take a look at the Winona Ryder outfit here and here (pictures found here); you see the same effect: black fabric with flash = see-through. But in these two photos, the same dress, shot without flash, is opaque.
Now, having seen Mickey on TV a few times, I'm aware he's not exactly Ralph Lauren, so let me point out something else that should be obvious. No young lady not raised by wolves would go out in an outfit she knew to be transparent while wearing what look, for all the world, like white cotton sport briefs.
Ms. Kerry just got a very embarrassing lesson in the ways of black fabric and dozens of paparazzi flashes. Imagine, if you can manage it, that dress without the flash effect; it's actually quite modest. Let's not blame the victim, eh?
UPDATE: There's another picture of Alexandra Kerry. I'll repeat, with greater confidence, there's no friggin' way she knew the dress would be transparent and picked that underwear.
MORE: Mickey thinks Catherine's comment at #5 is particularly helpful, but Catherine misses the point: She assumes that Alexandra Kerry's dress is see-through, but my point is that the dress is not see-through except when photographed with a strong flash. That dress would go for a mint at auction. Pick a charity, Ms. Kerry, turn over the evidence!
FINALLY: Mickey gives up.
Disappointing news: kf reliably hears Alexandra had a rep in college for being "incredibly nice."
DECIDED: From the Washington Post.
A film publicist on the scene, who asked not to be identified, blamed camera flashes for baring all. "It really was a very appropriate dress and that was an unfortunate result of the flash effect; she looked very classy and very good," he told us.
Ok, this one's done.