No no no no no! The important thing about Belle's Wonder Woman cake (actually, this link) isn't Ogged's crushlife. It's what would happen if Invisible Girl had a slice. (Yes, it'd be a DC-Marvel crossover.)
Well, of course it would be dangerous and gross, as any familiarity with anatomical adaptations for transparency (or with this Natalie Angier story in this week's Science Times) makes clear:
No matter how they make the bulk of themselves disappear, transparent animals must deal with two functions that are hard to hide - eating and seeing. Food that is being digested does not line up in well-ordered, potentially crystalline stacks, and what good does it do to have a windowpane frame if dinner is on widescreen view inside?
Many transparent animals tackle the problem by having as minimalist a gut as possible. "They make it into a tiny sphere that actually casts a very small shadow," Dr. Johnsen said. "That's how we find these animals. We look for strange little globes floating in the water."
Other marine spirits have needle-shape stomachs tethered to muscles that, regardless of the animal's orientation, keep the pin gut pointed up and down, almost shadow free.
Eyes are also hard to disguise....
Think she chews with her mouth closed?
From Eric Leonard at KFI News:
Federal agents later verified the musicians' story.
"We followed up with the casino," Adams said. A supervisor verified they were playing a concert. A second federal law enforcement source said the concert itself was monitored by an agent.
"We also went to the hotel, determined they had checked into the hotel," Adams said. Each of the men were checked through a series of databases and watch-lists with negative results, he said.
2. A flight attendant identified the air marshals to Jacobsen in order to prevent her from causing a scene or crisis.
The source said the air marshals on the flight were partially concerned Jacobsen's actions could have been an effort by terrorists or attackers to create a disturbance on the plane to force the agents to identify themselves.
Air marshals' only tactical advantage on a flight is their anonymity, the source said, and Jacobsen could have put the entire flight in danger.
Michelle Malkin flogged this story quite hard, especially on rumors of evidence that the Syrians weren't musicians at all. Malkin isn't just a blogger -- she's also a real journalist and prominent voice in the right-leaning part of the corporate media. She could have phoned the marshals herself, but mostly she just read blogs (and The Washington Times!), and talked only to scaremongering rumormongers and to Jacobsen herself.
How does Malkin respond to the KFI story? She pretty much ignores it all, just pausing at the end to challenge the air marshals' spokesperson's statement about whether the flight crew was as terrified as Jacobsen was.
It amazes me that KFI News, a talk-radio outfit I don't think I'd ever heard of, can show up a powerful media presence like Malkin just by stepping past the rumors and the overactive imagining and doing plain old journalism -- asking direct questions of people who should know. I spend a lot of time complaining (out in the world) about the corporate media's habit of just relaying statements of government spekespeople -- but the better point is that an informed public needs both the facts and the processing. Facts without processing is really bad, but processing without the facts is ridiculous.
(KFI link via Eschaton.)
I know Ogged has a little crush on him, so I'll try to be gentle...
This post from Kevin Drum is completely confused. As many a commenter points out, its awfully odd to call the Washington Post buying Slate from Microsoft consolidation of the media. Its more like the New York Times Co. selling one of its many papers to the Tribune Co. Its little more than a reshuffling of media properties, with no impact on the choices consumers will have.
It seems to me that this post voices the fundamental confusion of people who complain about media consolidation. What these people care about it not the number of choices people have when it comes to media outlets. What they care about is hearing the viewpoints they agree with. Kevin is (I think) really worried not about the content marketplace becoming too consolidated, but worried about the content marketplace not giving him what he wants. But except at an extremely high level of consolidation (which our antitrust laws will always prevent), there's always going to be enough space in the marketplace for all sorts of differing views. Whether you get what you want will depend on how popular your preferences are.
Belle earns her passport from Xanth with a display of Magical Cakebaking Power. And some musings on the lameness of Invisible Girl. Whether or not the Wonder Woman of the cake is pictured in her invisible plane is your call to make, dear reader.
The headline to this story kind of gets your hopes up that it was J. Lo's butt that exploded, and not just the butt of someone who wanted to look like her, but its pretty funny all the same.
Ehrenreich's new column is on abortion, and it's connected to some of the points discussed below.
Kate Hoffman, for example, who aborted a fetus with Down syndrome, was quoted in The Times on June 20 as saying: "I don't look at it as though I had an abortion, even though that is technically what it is. There's a difference. I wanted this baby."
Or go to the Web site for A Heartbreaking Choice, a group that provides support for women whose fetuses are deemed defective, and you find "Mom" complaining of having to have her abortion in an ordinary abortion clinic: "I resented the fact that I had to be there with all these girls that did not want their babies."
Yes, this seems rightly ridiculed, but then we hear that
The prejudice is widespread that a termination for medical reasons is somehow on a higher moral plane than a run-of-the-mill abortion.
I'm not endorsing this view, but I'm not sure it's a prejudice, either.
Kevin Drum gives us this gem from NRO: Howard Dean voted for incest! Details:
In 1983, a Vermont legislator named Elizabeth Edwards introduced a bill to allow a 65-year-old woman to marry her 86-year-old maternal uncle, despite incest laws banning the match. Edwards, a Republican (only in Vermont, kids!), figured that incest laws were primarily about preventing defective offspring, and her neighbors Ramona Crane and Harold Forbes were too old to bear children. "They're a super-neat couple who don't have any money, and they just have each other, and I think they should be able to get married if they want to," Edwards told United Press International for a February 23, 1983, story.
And Dean, along with 72 other members of the legislature, voted for the exception. Now, there is a serious point to all this, namely that voting behavior underdetermines intentions. Howard Dean didn't vote 'in favor of incest,' exactly-- the measure did not say "we hereby endorse incest, so have at it'-- and if he had, nothing about his own attitudes toward geriatric familial love would immediately follow. This is important to keep in mind when watching TV commercials claiming that, say, Kerry voted against funding US troops in Iraq. No, he didn't. He voted against a particular bill in a context where it was [redacted] certain that there would be some kind of funding package. It's not like Kerry proposed leaving Spc. John Q. Public high and dry in Tikrit.
Maybe some of us swing-staters are just a little cranky from all the ads.
I'm glad to see "guitarface"-- the weird expressions people make when playing-- is finally getting the serious attention it deserves. The NYT:
But then Mr. French, who owns a management company and still tours in full makeup with Twisted Sister ("We always looked like a bunch of middle-aged hookers, but now we really do") showed how his look can change into a tortured but blissful squint when playing high notes at the top of the guitar neck and then relax into a kind of pouty, elongated gape with the lower notes.
Put yours on now. You could win a cool guitar.
Hooray, I'm going away for a couple of weeks. I'll be flying, and you can bet that I'll be watching out for McNugget-munching musicians. Unf and Fontana, knock yourselves out.
By the way, how does Annie Jacobsen demonstrate that her terror wasn't just about her own racism?
Before I'm labeled a racial profiler or -- worse yet -- a racist, let me add this. A month ago I traveled to India to research a magazine article I was writing. My husband and I flew on a jumbo jet carrying more than 300 Hindu and Muslim men and women on board. We traveled throughout the country and stayed in a Muslim village 10 miles outside Pakistan. I never once felt fearful. I never once felt unsafe. I never once had the feeling that anyone wanted to hurt me. This time was different.
1. For Jacobsen, brown-skinned people in India are equivalent to brown-skinned people from Syria. How can she claim that she's not viewing the world through skin-colored glasses, when she tries to legitimize her fear of these Syrians (and ultimately, of Saudis) by holding up the time she spent with Indians? She might as well say that she doesn't fear black Americans because they're black -- she once spent a lovely vacation in Jamaica.
2. Of course she's not afraid of Indian terrorists blowing up the plane, when she's in their country. Their customs may be odd, but that's okay in India. It's just when foreigners try acting foreign here in the States that she feels she has to involve the authorities.
3. I'm glad that Jacobsen felt so welcome on her visit to India. I suspect that some of her actions there might have aroused curiosity and maybe even offense or suspicion on the part of her hosts, but it's good that no one there let fear of America manifest itself as a police interrogation.
I saw this at Salon. It's the harrowing story of how Annie Jacobsen was terrified by a group of Syrian men (one of whom was holding -- for a while -- a mysterious McDonald's bag) on a recent flight. It's a great example of how our fear turns brownness into terrorism.
Mostly, there are two possibilities:
1. They were a band of terrorists, on a terrorism "dry-run."
2. They were a band of musicians on their way to a wedding gig, and they had the misfortune of being observed (I'd say microscopically) by a grandstanding hysteric.
Michelle Malkin believes Jacobsen (more or less) wholeheartedly, and she does her part to spread
the terror awareness:
I will be doing a lot of flying over the next few months, and I will act--without apology or shame--as the Jacobsens acted on their flight. As much as possible, I will be aware of what's going on in front and in back of the planes I ride. I will pay attention to detail. I will remember faces and gestures and odd objects. I will write things down. I will pester the flight attendants, discreetly, if I witness anything of concern. I won't hesitate to contact authorities if my gut tells me that danger is imminent. And I will be prepared to fight for my life.
My question to you, Michelle: will you observe everyone so minutely? If you see WASPy white people who dispose of their discarded hamburger wrappers in the lav, whose eyes dart around suspiciously, who dash to the lavatories right before final descent, who read little (possibly religious!) books for comfort -- will you warn the flight crew that there are terrorists aboard? You should, because you should be ashamed of your shameful terrormongering.
More: Does no one who's terrified of mysteriously safeguarded objects play a musical instrument? Musicians are protective of their instruments -- especially on airplanes -- even if the instruments are not shaped like regular American guitars.
I have never understood why lefty types get so exercised about Fox News. I won't dispute that Fox is no model of objective journalism. However, it seems worthwhile to keep a few key facts in mind. First, its a cable news channel. Do you really think anyone's watching? Even assuming anyone is watching, do you actually think Fox is converting (or brainwashing) its audience? My sense has always been that people turn on Fox because that's the viewpoint they want to see. No one's being convinced to vote Republican because of Fox - they've already consumed that particular pitcher of Kool Aid. There are hundreds of good channels out there - find one that doesn't make your blood boil and ignore FNC.
Or act like a bunch of quasi-fascist tools. Whatever works for you.
I should know better than to take the bait, but I'm hooked. Brooks' latest is the inspiring tale of Charles Hill and Molly Worthen, a pupil turned biographer. Or it is until the end, when it turns into Andy Rooney:
Why can't this happen more often? It is no accident that Worthen and so many others are drawn to a teacher who is not a lifelong academic, but who was active in the real world. Yet our universities operate too much like a guild system, throwing plenty of people with dissertations at students, not enough with practical knowledge.
Why aren't there more scholars, like Hill, Gaddis and Kennedy, who teach students to be generalists, to see the great connections? Instead, the academy encourages squirrel-like specialization.
Why can't the NYT afford columnists who know what they're talking about? Why can't Brooks see that the difference between the Great Connections and the Fatuous Misuses of Historical Examples requires some...expertise? If we could solve these great mysteries, we could take fledgling steps to an editorial page worth reading.
Really, the complaint is so simple: there are reasons why specialization works the way it does, and why many people in academe followed a conventional path to the tenure track. (Hints: think incentive structure & tenure requirements, the fact that the university has departments other than political science, and the opportunity costs and investments of graduate school, respectively.) But there's not a trace of curiousity about any of this in Brooks' column. Instead, we get a feel-good story and a lovely sentiment about how it would be so much nicer if things were better.
How does a (quarter of a 4500-person) crowd of Linda Ronstadt fans react when Ronstadt dedicates her performance of "Desperado" to Michael Moore and encourages them to see F911? They spill their drinks, walk out of the room, tear down posters, and demand their money back. The show was at the Aladdin in Las Vegas -- how does the Aladdin react? They have security guards escort Ronstadt out of the building and tell her never to return.
The left's arguments and anger may be great for energizing the choir and even for swinging a few swingers -- but an enormous fraction of America still thinks that "negativity" about the president is inherently unpatriotic. It may be possible to win an election without those people, but it would be nice if it weren't the case that after every election half of America is furious at the other half for destroying the nation.
Now that Ogged is off pursuing other projects for a while, I guess I have to take up some of the slack. So here's a weighty post designed to get you thinking. I'll try to do that from time to time. That, or post pictures of hot dog stands with funny names. I can't decide what will work better.
This article has been getting a lot of play in the right half of the interweb thingy, but not so much in the left half. Here's the conundrum it puts me in. I generally support abortion rights. I've always figured that the best answer to the life begins at conception point is that, no, it really doesn't, and so abortion (or at least some abortions) is morally acceptable. Having drawn that distinction, a woman's motives don't matter in her decision to terminate a pregnancy - its a matter of privacy and her control over her own body. But this article makes me rethink these conclusions - I haven't suddenly concluded that life begins at conception, but I do start to think that motives ought to matter. And in particular, when you have the motives expressed in this article, you ought to be sent to jail. Because you're certainly going to be sent to hell.
Any of you philosophizing types want to help me out on this one?
Animation we can all agree on, from JibJab.