I saw a Mini. Not one of the new ones, which are unavoidable, but an original, with right-hand drive even. Most amazing: it's about a third of the size of the new Minis. No kidding. Like a big go-kart.
Also, a pizza delivery guy driving a BMW.
I can't stop myself. I've added Tim Burke's Easily Distracted, because Tim is always thoughtful and fair and interesting. He also blogs at Cliopatria, which is often very good, and sometimes, well....
Also added Mimi Smartypants, because she writes things like this.
Gabe, a compulsive gambler with an emotional age of about eighteen months and possibly the shrillest person on the planet. I am puny and weak and not at all handy with a shovel, but I would gladly roll up my sleeves and bury him alive just to make the noise stop.
And finally, I added Rivka's Respectful of Otters, which is just damn solid, and which you should be reading.
Cobb: laptop, wireless, new jammies.
I think we all enjoyed having the childfree people visit here, but they're the gift that keeps on giving. I hadn't read much of that thread, but I did remember a couple of posts that made me suspicious of what was going on. Sure enough, a check of the IP addresses reveals that Erin, Ari, Nicole, Jennifer, and the nameless author of several posts, including the instant classic that started,
you childfree pople are really idiodic. we decided to hav kids. you dident. thats yuor fuckup not ours
were all the same person. That's the same person who wrote,
It seems to me that this anonymous person has a personality disorder.
via matt y
Folks, if you just want to chat, there is the Unfogged chat room. You'll have to figure out how to use it, but I think you're capable.
To keep the blogroll manageable, I dropped Tbogg, because I don't think Tbogg gives a damn.
More: I also dropped Bitch PhD, both because she gets plenty of linklove elsewhere, and because, well, I don't find the tone of her blog congenial. Misconstrue this to your heart's content.
While I'm at it: I dropped Atrios, also because I don't find the tone congenial, and he doesn't need my link, and dropped Volokh too, mainly to make room in case I want to add some new blogs.
Mark Schmitt's daughter is...Mark Schmitt's daughter.
Nice try blaming it on the city, Mark.
Eugene Volokh responds at length to criticisms of his bloodlust post.
Tim Burke also has reflections that are, as always, worth your time.
Via Drum: the Washington Post reports that Congress will subpoena Terri Schiavo:
Republican leaders in Congress moved today to prevent the removal of a feeding tube from a brain-damaged Florida woman, saying they would subpoena her to appear on Capitol Hill and thus require that she be kept alive.
This woman is in a persistent vegetative state, so I'm sure her testimony will be fascinating to watch. I hope that the members responsible for this will stand up and take credit as she's rolled in. (I might have more sympathy with what some will see as a hail-Mary attempt to keep her alive if this weren't Congress.)
Majikthise has more on this, if you can stomach it. M:
Michael Schiavo is Terri's legal guardian, the courts have determined that Terri wouldn't want a feeding tube, and Michael asked the doctors to take the tube out. That's really all there is to it.
One lesson to be learned from this: if you have strong end-of-life preferences, document them early and often. The problem here arises from the fact that there's room for argument about what her preferences were. (There are all sorts of interesting theoretical worries here, especially if you're suffering from an Asian disease, but let's leave those for another time.)
Via Enrique's long lost cousin, the happy news that the second best show on television will be renewed for a fourth season. It'll be interesting to see what they do with the fourth season, given the surprising finality of season three.
As for the best show on television, I discovered something interesting while poking around HBO's site. The next episode introduces a character named Francis Wolcott, who has some sort of devious design on the camp. This character is played by an actor named Garret Dillahunt. The very same actor who played Jack McCall (the man who shot Wild Bill Hickok) in a multi-episode appearance in the first season.
Can those cocksuckers do that? Has Hollywood run out of actors all of sudden? Being older than 5, I understand that the people I see on TV are other people just pretending, and so I might see them again, pretending to be other people. But shouldn't a series at least try to be internally consistent?
Iranian-American guys dress like no one ever told them about the end of disco. Hit it.
I'm one of those immigrant kids always desperately fighting the stereotype, so, as I've mentioned before, I wear the same very plain clothes every day. But, a while back I was shopping for shoes and saw a pair that had "Iranian Disco Boy" written all over them. I don't know how else to explain what happened next other than to say that suddenly there was a cruel joke that I had to play on myself. So I bought them. I bought them laughing. And I still get a kick out of putting them on.
Today, we had a chair salesman in the office. Mr. Fashionable. Because he talks about industrial design, I guess he needs to know all about design. So he came in, looked me up and down (literally), we talked chairs for a while and then he said, "Where'd you get your shoes?" Uh, trying to remember, and then, "What do you think of these?" (Showing off his shoes.) And then some stuff about the designer with a long foreign name and how they're similar to some-other-foreign-dude's and he was looking at another pair, but got these because they were $200 (!) less. "Oh, those are nice," I said, even though they were truly fugly shoes.
Every junior-high cell in my body was recoiling. "You are not having this conversation. You are not having this conversation!" I know precisely one fancy-schmancy brand of dress shoe--Taryn Rose--which the guy who sold me my suit tried to sell me. But I was so totally out of my league, it would have been pure foolishness to pretend I was a player. I kept my mouth shut. We talked more chairs, exchanged business cards, and he left.
Ok: And check out this dude, and look at his "best attribute."
Sherry has a cool idea: answer those damn google queries that bring people to your site. Just look for her "Google Day" posts and keep scrolling.
You know what the liberal response to Eugene Volokh's frank bloodlust reminds me of? It reminds me of conservatives who insist that "abstinence only" programs will work, despite all evidence to the contrary. People need to slice each other up just like they need to screw, and while I'm grateful for the amusement of seeing my liberal brethren pull out the "Whoa, Betty, he's not just tolerating it, he seems to enjoy it" line, might I suggest that we move this discussion back to Earth and say: Given that we humans need to get a little barbaric every now and again, what's the best way for the state to manage our bloodlust? If you ask it that way, a cruel public death for a child-molesting serial killer seems like a damn good answer.
(And, you might consider that a people that has gotten out of the habit of seeing itself as an agent of cruelty might, say, bomb the shit out of another country--for its own good--without batting an eye.)
UPDATE: The more I think about this, the more I think SomeCallMeTim and Ben W-lfs-n have it right. SCMT wrote,
this program of ogged's looks like the worst of both the Right and the Left. Here we have the cruel and vengeful God of the Old Testament (Right) married to a social engineering program intended to make society as a whole less vengeful
And Ben said,
a society can't simply self-consciously decide to change its attitude about something like violence
Those sound right to me. I do think pent-up bloodlust is a serious problem (you knew that I thought that, right? Not that I thought we should just have more of it...), but the kind of direct government management implied in this post probably wouldn't do much good. More like: a society's attitude toward violence is bound up with lots of its other characteristics, and those play themselves out, until some new configuration comes along. We hang on, and try to do a bit of good in whatever very limited way that we can.
Big thanks to everyone who commented. That was really a very good and helpful thread.
There's another use of "ringing" in musical contexts-- to do some ringing is to be a ringer, as when you're hired in to an orchestra (often those of smaller colleges or community groups) for just the last rehearsal and the concert because there aren't enough players in a section. I showed up for a thing like this once and asked my stand partner about the conductor. "Stands up, heads down" was the reply, which I still think is a great way to say that the guy running the show is an idiot & we should just escape with minimal damage. Leave other folksy expressions if you're inclined.
Why is it that even though I know the new Star Wars movie is going to suck, the trailer still looks so fucking awesome. Answer me that, young commenters. (via Amygdala). Also, how can it be that Lucas, whose sweet tooth has only grown more ravenous for saccharin as time goes by, is planning to wrap things up with a full-bore tilt into evil? Seriously, what's up with that? Are there going to be raver ewoks in a split-screen to make it all OK, or what?
All this talk about sweet rhymes has reminded me of something funny. I used to always sing to...sister X, hmm, let's call her "Uma". "Uma...can't be faded/she's the Uma from the motherfucking street/can't be faded/she's the Uma from the motherfucking street." So, when she joined/formed the girl's auxiliary of this Puerto Rican gang, they called themselves the "CBF Crew". Isn't that cute? On reflection, I probably should have been advising her to avoid the gang life and so on. But they were a pretty wussy gang, honestly. They sold crack and all, sure, but the Crips would really have schooled these guys. This was when Uma was going to public high school for a while.
Her other most noteworthy act there, I think, was when she made friends with this girl who had one of those fake babies to take care of. You know, to stop you from getting pregnant? Yeah, Uma insinuated herself with this girl to the point where she was asked to babysit the computerized doll and then...aww, this was pretty mean, actually, but she burnt it all up with cigarettes and hung it from a tree. Um. Uma insists she had some other, really good reason to hate this girl, but I'm skeptical. She's totally different now, though. Mostly.
Are there real (or smartly invented) words for these?
Regarding inventing a shared last name upon marriage:
I'm looking for something that evokes both the earnest good intentions and the basic narcissism of this practice...
is there a word or phrase for a word whose useage indicates that the speaker lacks precisely those characteristics that he is trying to denote by the use of said word? I'm thinking of the word "classy"; I find it impossible to believe that anyone who uses the word has the characteristics they mean by the word.
Ever since posting about irritating wedding rings, I've had Dre's couplet from "keep their heads ringin'" in my head:
Your rhymes sound like you got 'em at Stop-n-Go
Dre came to wax you, just call me mop-n-glow
Discuss your favorite rhymes. Even though baa is not internationally known, he's been known to rock the microphone, so I'm hoping he will drop lyrical science.
I thought this was Marv Albert's line.
And while we're on the subject...couples taking made-up names on marrying: cool or stupid?
A friend who's a mother and has spent some time online kept referring to the "hostility against mothers" that she found, and I kept saying, "what hostility?" Haha!
Try googling "childfree." Or, if you're brave, check out alt.support.childfree on usenet. This is a world where mothers are "moomies," as in "moo-cows," and kids are "crotch droppings." On the charming Childfree Ghetto blog, you can hear,
Only one downer; the brat abducted from her white-trash momma at the Greyhound station was found alive, and it looks like momma's story is true. Damn. I was so hoping for photos of the tiny little battered body, and momma's eventual teary confession. I bet she'd look good in an orange jumpsuit.
Of course, there are lots of fucked up people on the internets, but the point, as my moomie friend informed me, is that these fucked up people flock to the mommy blogs, and leave nasty comments and send vile emails. They're a lot more visible to blogging moms than they are to the rest of us.
I'm long overdue in linking to some great stuff at Kotsko's place. Read one, read them all, send him hate mail, I don't care.
Everyone will die alone--is really funny.
A pseudonymous blogger reveals his/her identity--hint: initials are B.W.
Kotsko lays a righteous smackdown on the embarrassing KC Johnson.
Kotsko auto-orgasmically contemplates the wonderfulness of his own name.
Good for Salon for calling attention to Vera Hall, whose voice is so amazing that I only listen to her once every few months, as a treat, but they can't have looked very hard for her music. Deep River of Song: Alabama, published by the great Rounder Records, has a whole slew of her songs. Here's the Amazon UK page, which lists the artist for each track, and lets you listen to samples.
As this NYT article details, it's possible to do a perfectly fine oyster roast inside. Even in SC we do it like that sometimes, if it's raining or too cold. For those who have never experienced what surely must be the height of gastronomical pleasure, a Low-Country oyster roast goes like this: at the low tide nearest to the party time, you go out and get a bunch of oysters. Then, you build a wood fire between two pieces of concrete, and lay an inch-thick piece of steel over the concrete andirons when it burns down. Spray the oysters off with a hose first, then put them on the metal; cover with a wet burlap sack and let steam for a few minutes. Then you pour them out onto a newspaper-topped table and let your guests eat while you cook more. When I was too little to use an oyster knife I used to go around the party, from guest to guest, getting each person to open me one oyster, and then make the rounds again. Sometimes you get one of these tiny little crabs that live in there, all scalded red by the steam; you can eat them whole. I have found a pearl, too. I consider the perfect accompaniments to be: an equal amount of spicy boiled shrimp; melted butter with lemon; homemade cocktail sauce; corn dodgers (like hush puppies with corn inside); saltines; and beer. (But I liked that the people in the article made chili dogs). Not a balanced diet, exactly, but...mmmm. I'm scared to eat oysters in Singapore, even down at the $75 a head champagne brunch at the Fullerton. It's just too hot here. I'm getting my third Hep A and B vaccine soon; maybe after that I'll be more adventurous.
OK, that was fun and everything, and thanks ogged for starting this off, but let's try that again. From my point of view, the thing that is so interesting or satisfying about mommy blogging (and blogging in general) is that taking care of small children is a somewhat atomized task. A whole day spent with little people can get pretty boring. Hearing someone say "mom?" every five seconds all day long--boring. Likewise, iteration no. 100 of the new Justice League game? Boring. For me, reading blogs and blogging are ways to stay connected to the world of adults without going through the medium of the world at work. Even when I do have contact with other moms during the day, it's relatively rare that I share a lot else with them, and minute discussions about introducing solids can get pretty old. Via the magic of the internet, I am connected not only to the world of politics, but also to a world of moms like me, who are easygoing, social misfit freaks. Or former freaks. That's nice. It's comforting to hear that other people's kids are also crazy, that they themselves are crazy, and that crazy shit is always happening to them. Now, people can go ahead and comment on how the internet creates a new social space in which people who might otherwise never talk can have mutually fruitful exchanges, like hearing cock jokes they never heard before. No, more meaningful.
1) Some more women have to comment on this thread. If no women have commented yet, and you're male commenter #, say 30, then just hold back a minute. Ain't going to kill you.
2) No withering comments involving pigs, lipstick, claims that breeders are boring, blah blah blah. If you feel like that, why not mosey over to a more congenial thread and comment there? We all win!!
3) Avocados are tasty, and I don't want people to front on avocadoes. Also, eating high-calorie foods does not, per se, make people fat. Taking in more calories, from any source, than you expend, day after day over a period of time, makes people fat. I'm not interested in debating this point.
A really fine post by Kieran Healy, which brings together some of main points torture opponents have been making in a very clear way. Read it, or at least bookmark it to send to your torture-supporting acquaintances.
There are lots of new and exciting things about blogs, but for my money, they most significant development so far in blogdom is the rise of the mommy blogs. For all the progress that women have made, in terms of power and opportunities, one thing hasn't much changed in a few thousand years: we still conceptualize the world in terms of a public and private sphere, and women are still identified with the private. They can enter the public sphere much more easily than they've been able to for much of history, and they can go back and forth between the two (not quite so easily, but the boundaries are permeable). But we still think of two spheres, held apart. And when women are in the private sphere, they disappear. They become mothers or housewives, with all the layers and layers (and layers) of sedimented meaning and expectations that those roles have.
But it's different with the mommy blogs. First, there's the simple fact of the extreme porousness of categories in blogdom. Strictly "political" blogs can link (and they do) to "mommy blogs," and suddenly there's a direct communication between moms and a political audience. And what that audience hears is, to my ears at least, something astounding and new. The mothers are profane, and horny, and pissed, and funny, and, still, devoted, and protective, and nurturing. What's more, they write intelligently and in detail about how a particular bill, or urban plan, or school board, affects their lives. The real speech of mothers, and their commentary as mothers on what we're used to thinking of as "the political" is, suddenly, itself part of political speech.
Maybe I've been ignorant, but when I read these these voices I think, "holy shit, this is a massive change." More prescient people than I will have to guess about where this is headed. It would be nice to think that we'll get less bullshit about mothering with mothers yelling back so immediately. Or maybe just less bullshit in general with such immediate feedback from the people that so much legislation affects. Maybe. It's also possible that the greater visibility of the real work of mothering will lead to more energetic efforts to control and normalize its practice. Already in the generally supportive mommy-blog community, one hears the occasional "You're a bad mom!" I expect that will get worse before it gets better.
Still, holy shit, this is a massive change.
Matt Yglesias writes,
Note that real wages have been stagnating or slightly declining (mine have been slightly declining, and, frankly, I'm getting pissed about it), evidence of a slack labor market.
Look, Matt's the best political blogger around, bar none. I used to think he was a punk, but the breadth and depth of his blogging is pretty amazing if you read him daily, and it's absurd that he's probably making a bit more than a generous grad school stipend. And I say these things despite the fact that he finds time to comment here occasionally. If I were Matt, first, I'd get rid of that silly facial hair, but more importantly, I would go on strike. No more blogging until some wealthy benefactor ponies up to keep the words coming. Two weeks tops before someone sees a great PR opportunity, realizes that for, say, $60,000 a year, he could plaster his name or the name of his foundation on a heavily trafficked site, and get lots of blog love for ever and ever.
It's going to take the very last bit of my self-control not to watch the movie that's on right now:
Not Just Another Affair: A swinging lawyer (Gil Gerard) falls for a celibate marine biologist (Victoria Principal) opposing him in an environmental lawsuit
God help me.
I've been trying to write a serious post about "mommy blogging" (yeah, I'm sure you can't wait) all day, but I even had to go home for a while because I'm so foggy and it's just not happening. What my brain can handle is basic disagreement, so what's the story with Roxanne's dis of Lost in Translation? Appended to her list of ten best movies of the aughts is this:
Now, if any of you lists Lost in Translation, I shall have to kill you.
Harsh, dawg. I was keen on it back in the day (check out the much-missed jhp's great comment about Lileks) and it's still one of my favorite movies. I understand that some people will come to hate something just because other people like it, but that can't be the case with Roxanne because, uh, she's a popular blogger and we know how reasonable they are.
Here's a verb that was new to me: gaslight. Just heard it on L&O, and it took a while to track down a definition.
It means to manipulate a victim into questioning his or her own sanity and, if all goes well, to thereby actually drive the person insane. The term refers to the great 1944 suspense film "Gaslight" in which a greedy Victorian husband (Charles Boyer) conspires to convince his innocent wife (Ingrid Bergman) that she is going mad, the object being to make his planned murder of her (for her inheritance) appear to be suicide. Mysterious footsteps, "misplaced" objects, and inexplicably dimming gaslights (thus the title) are all part of his nefarious plan.
Cool, eh? Wikipedia traces it back a bit further to the play the movie was based on.
Have we become cool enough to have our very own backlash? Over at Modern Kicks, Miguel writes,
I have to say, I've never been a big Unfogged fan, but "Alameida" - if that is her real name - makes it worthwhile.
I know he's giving props to Alameida, and that now he might like the site, but you have to admit, there is *definitely* some backlash there.
This is fun, we can all play! (Via Matt). Bold the places you've been, underline the places you've lived, and italicize the place you live now (none of the above for me, natch).
Alabama / Alaska / Arizona / Arkansas / California / Colorado / Connecticut / Delaware / Florida / Georgia / Hawaii / Idaho / Illinois / Indiana / Iowa / Kansas / Kentucky / Louisiana / Maine / Maryland / Massachusetts / Michigan / Minnesota / Mississippi / Missouri / Montana / Nebraska / Nevada / New Hampshire / New Jersey / New Mexico / New York / North Carolina / North Dakota / Ohio / Oklahoma / Oregon / Pennsylvania / Rhode Island / South Carolina / South Dakota / Tennessee / Texas / Utah / Vermont / Virginia / Washington / West Virginia / Wisconsin / Wyoming / Washington D.C /
There sure is a whole lot of middle of the country, isn't there? I mean, so I hear. Some of these states I've more or less just driven through, like Arkansas or Delaware. Which reminds me, I took the Greyhound from west Texas to D.C. one time (54 hours!) when I was in high school, and one of the other guys on the bus was a Soviet defector. He had somehow gotten permission to go to some conference in Mexico, but he had to change planes in the US. During the stopover, he just hid in the bathroom and didn't get back on the plane. He had abandoned his wife and two kids in the process. Now he was headed to NYC to try and find work. We were driving through Arkansas, and he saw that the licence plates said "Arkansas: Land of Opportunity", and he said "maybe I should get off here?" With one voice, all the passengers on the bus, and the driver, said "No!! Go to New York!" I hope things turned out OK for that guy. Since the Berlin wall was about to fall anyway, maybe he even got reunited with his family...if they would have him.
I probably shouldn't say this, but speaking of Fear Factor, there's some weird sexual thing about making the women gag on gross stuff that accounts for most of the show's popularity, don't you think?
This is really an attempt to get Mitch Mills and Alameida to share their stories about eating gross stuff, but I went to a new local Chinese place last night, and, feeling adventerous, asked the waiter about something listed just as "Crispy Ear." "What is that?" He thought for a while, couldn't come up with the English word, and finally just grabbed his ear. But they were out (out of season?) so I didn't have to decide.
I ordered regular old stuff, some pork cutlet thingy and, what was a bit surprising, a salad that turned out to be huge, spicy, and fantastic; easily a meal and truly fresh and salady--not typical of the chinese places I've been anyway. But before any of that arrived, I was served an on-the-house-special appetizer. On one side of the plate was what looked to be diced seaweed in garlic, which was great. On the other was something the waiter called "skin." "What kind of skin?" "Yes." Given the stale jello consistency of the thing, and our "ear" conversation, I was pretty sure he meant what he said. Later, the owner explained that it was a dish served in her hometown in China--pig skin, steamed, then boiled, then something-I-missed for ten hours in marinade. Not quite as good as stale jello, but not bad either.
Unfortunately, the most exotic food I've probably ever had, at a another ultra-authentic chinese restaurant a couple of years ago, was all unrecognizable, and no one there spoke much English. Also, I once ate cow testicles. Which I probably would have liked if I didn't know.
Oh Yeah: And another thing. Something one hears a lot is, "That Chinese restaurant must be pretty good, I always see a lot of Chinese people in there." That seems exactly wrong to me. Chinese people will eat anything. (You never see Chinese people on Fear Factor, do you? While everyone else would be saying "Eww, gross!" the Chinese dude would probably say, "Damn, leftovers again?") What's true is that if a Chinese place is full of old white people, then it's probably bad and bland.