1. On Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, the meddling mother of the Juliet in a contemporary Romeo and Juliet couple had been murdered. The boy and girl were very much in love and neither was saying anything that might implicate the other, and both were confident that the other wouldn't betray them. The police found out, by other means, the details of what had happened (the girl had killed her mother), and Detective Olivia Benson, played by Mariska Hargitay, told the girl that the boy had betrayed her, and proved it by reciting details the girl believed only the boy could know. Crushed that the boy didn't really love her, the girl confessed.
I hate Detective Benson so much I'm practically quaking. Yeah, I know the police are allowed to do that, but my reaction to that particular lie was just visceral. In fact, I even hate Mariska Hargitay now. Seriously. I'm wondering why she didn't refuse to play the scene.
2. In Persepolis 2 (which is non-fiction), Marjane Satrapi is out in public in Iran, wearing lipstick. She sees some of the regime's thugs about to conduct a raid, during which she'll be arrested for wearing make-up. So she preempts them by calling them over and accusing a random guy sitting on a stoop of having said indecent things to her. He pleads with her to tell them that he said nothing, but she says "How dare you say those things to me and lie about it!" and the man is taken away.
I loved Persepolis, and bought it for people, and made them read it. I could barely finish Persepolis 2, and I'll never forgive Satrapi or buy another of her books.
Since Ben W-lfs-n practically linked to it himself, am I allowed to link to a picture of him, or is that all the clueing that you need?
From the Incompetent Attorney:
A triple edition of relationship advice from the IA!
I learn the hard way so you don't have to.
The answer to:
"Why didn't you take her out to dinner?"
"She's anorexic because she used to be a model."
The answer to:
"Am I your consolation prize because you didn't like her?"
"Jealousy and fear of loss are paths to the dark side."
and finally, and I can't stress this enough, the answer to:
"You swear you didn't touch her at all?"
"I only touched her once to brush her hair out of her face while she was going down on me."
You know, I never did get a satisfactory answer to this.
I'm stuck on the last storyline mission of "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas." The walk-through says I should complete the firefighter missions to become fireproof, but I simply cannot imagine making it through all twelve. Is it really so hard just to use the extinguisher?
With the caveat that I will ignore all your advice, do you have any suggestions or requests about the design of the reading group blog? My initial impulse is to make it a slightly modified version of Unfogged; perhaps with a wider main column and the ability to view an entry and comments on the same page. But if there are other things you want or hate, or other sites whose design you think are particularly well-suited to a reading group, or features that you think would be nifty, let me know and I'll look into them. (This will all be in Movable Type.)
If, when speaking to a co-worker, you, for no reason discernible to anyone, take his last uttered sentence and render it in song, you will hear chuckling from behind many walls, and people might begin to call you Tom Jones, which they will not mean as a compliment, but which you may take as one.
Oh man: I really should have worn this on my date with PG.
Would it be funny to replace "wand" with "wang" in the Harry Potter books, you think? Yes, it certainly would.
Ok, this is funny in a "what in god's name were you thinking?" sort of way.
An in-house video meant to prepare San Francisco 49ers players for dealing with the media backfired on the NFL team Wednesday after it was leaked to the San Francisco Chronicle.
The 15-minute film, featuring racist jokes, lesbian soft-porn and topless blondes, features the team's public relations director, Kirk Reynolds, impersonating San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom in the mayor's office and other city scenes.
Reynolds opens the film sitting behind the mayor's desk, then goes to Chinatown, where a 49ers team consultant uses racial slurs about the Chinese community. Next comes a topless, lesbian wedding filmed at a strip club and officiated by Reynolds, again impersonating the mayor.
"I know the courts say we can't do this,'' Reynolds says before the happy couple engages in heavy petting. "We make our own rules here in San Francisco.''
Reynolds then goes to SBC Park, where acting as "mayor'' he throws out the opening pitch, then takes a bribe from the catcher, who thanks him for supporting "hookers and booze.''
The San Francisco Chronicle has the video, though predictably, their host seems to be overwhelmed at the moment.
(I do feel bad for Reynolds. I mean, lots of things on this site could hang me just as easily.)
A Masa reservation is a sought-after status symbol? Um, my hosts got our reservation the day of our dinner. We sat their all night and the place was never more than half-full. So typical of the Times: never let facts confuse the story's easy conventional wisdom. Better not to actually call Masa or show up there, if you discover something other than your lazy assumptions, it could complicate matters. Fucking retards.
Shoot me when it doesn't even occur to me that price might be a barrier to acquiring something. If I offered every resident of New York their very own Gulfstream G550 for the generously discounted price of $30 million, some people might still consider the plane a sought-after status symbol. And whaddya know, here's what the Times says about reservations at Masa.
In the country's largest cities, otherwise prosaic services have been transformed into status symbols simply because of the price tag. In New York last year, one salon introduced an $800 haircut, and a Japanese restaurant, Masa, opened with a $350 prix fixe dinner (excluding tax, tips and beverages). The experience is not just about a good meal, or even an exquisite one; it is about a transformative encounter in a Zen-like setting with a chef who decides what will be eaten and at what pace. And it is finally about exclusivity: there are only 26 seats. Today, one of the most sought-after status symbols in New York is a Masa reservation.
When Felt was on trial for authorizing illegal break-ins during the 1970s at homes of people associated with the radical Weather Underground, Nixon testified on his behalf.
And after Reagan pardoned Felt in 1981, he received a bottle of champagne and this brief note from Nixon: "Justice ultimately prevails."
Yes, I'm just nabbing Kevin Drum's top two posts. Bob Woodward's story of meeting Mark Felt is amazing; a chance encounter that ends up bringing down a president.
And the conservative list of the "Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries" is hilarious (though I'll be sad not to be able to read them over cold gruel when all the liberals are sent to the gulag). Honorable mention, On Liberty??
Ok, I heard back from my professor, who recommends the Stambaugh translation. A few of you already have it, which is good, and Amazon ships it for free, which is also nice (even if $31 is a bit steep).
Go ahead and buy it, and we should all have it by the time the site is ready to go.
Amare Stoudemire: Wow.
For the Spurs to keep the lead during that Phoenix run, in Phoenix, was very impressive. They're good.
Oh no! The Swede is moving! But, but, what about meeee??
This really sucks.
Tyler Cowen quotes Dan Akst on why soccer is becoming more popular in the U.S.
There's just one reason: black kids don't much play it yet, and the white kids need something to be good at.
(This isn't, by the way, a "blacks are better athletes" point; just saying that they do dominate the popular sports here. A lot of this stuff is psychological: the best white players in the NBA (and they're very good) are foreigners--Nash, Ginobili, Nowitski, Ming, Gasol--because white kids in the U.S. are, by and large, scared of black opponents; intimidated and defeated even before the game starts. On the one hand, blacks know this, take pride in it, and use it to their advantage. On the other hand, their power is rooted in the whites' belief that the blacks are savages, and liable to become violent.)
The response was great, and I'm excited about the reading group. I've got a call in to a former professor to ask him about the best translation to use, and I'm working on getting the other site up and running. I'll let you know in the next few days which book we'll use, and I expect the site to be up in a week or two.
We'll start slowly, as the first sections establish the terminology and method, and demand a lot of care. From there, we can see how people think we ought to proceed. There'll be more updates, and eventually I'll have to get in touch with everyone participating to give you all logins to the new site.
Have you seen this yet? You can't tell me moments like this aren't worth torturing a few innocents.
Just checking out at the grocery store, and asked the cashier how she was.
"I've been better."
"You've heard the saying 'When the tiger's away, the monkeys will play'?"
"No, I've never heard that saying."
"I've heard 'When the cat's away, the mice will play'."
"I'm just good old-fashioned Chinese."
That's awesome. We're so domesticated.
Ok, two facts first. 1. I'm a complete and utter fine-dining whore. Whereas I think people who spend a lot of money on cars, engagement rings, cell phones and the various other status doodads of our modern life are fools, if someone tells me he spent $400 on dinner and it was delicious, I think "Now that's living right." 2. I think I'm right. My mother is a fantastic cook and hates to eat out--she thinks she can eat better at home and that it's a waste of money to spend even $50 on a dinner for two. The last time she was in town, I forcibly took her to a fancy restaurant and forbad her from looking at the menu. After dinner she said, "That's not cooking, that's art." Go mom.
Still, all that said, this, from baa's genocidal co-blogger in green, cracked me up.
Sure, I'm around -- maybe we can have an artisanally crafted dining experience together. Here's some data, by the way. The management consulting company I work for has handed out a flier about the interns/employees joining on this summer. Of the nine people asked "What are you looking forward to experiencing in NYC", the following number mentioned ...
Anyway, the obvious place for us to go is Masa, lest we fall too far behind Ben H in social class (the New York Times, in its recent multi-part ode to its own fatuity, called a Masa reservation "one of the most sought-after status symbols in New York"). Mesa has falled off somewhat since its celebrity owner lost on "Iron Chef", but it would be easier to get a reservation. Mezze is a well-reviewed Greek restaurant. Perhaps by the time you get down here someone will open a restaurant called "Massa'", where for $350 prix fixe you can be treated to the epicurean delights of an antebellum plantation.
Even the two people who are not big fans of Sir Charles must admit that it was hilarious the other night when he responded to being teased about his weight by claiming that "man boobs" were "in."
Well, I think little more needs to be said about Memorial Day here. The issue that interests me more, as a problem, than showing respect to the families of the dead is how to properly honor the dead without glorifying their dying in the eyes of those who have to decide whether to serve. We still make everyone read Dulce et Decorum est, right?
Pretty cool results from new MRI studies.
New love can look for all the world like mental illness, a blend of mania, dementia and obsession that cuts people off from friends and family and prompts out-of-character behavior - compulsive phone calling, serenades, yelling from rooftops - that could almost be mistaken for psychosis.
Now for the first time, neuroscientists have produced brain scan images of this fevered activity, before it settles into the wine and roses phase of romance or the joint holiday card routines of long-term commitment.
In an analysis of the images appearing today in The Journal of Neurophysiology, researchers in New York and New Jersey argue that romantic love is a biological urge distinct from sexual arousal.
It is closer in its neural profile to drives like hunger, thirst or drug craving, the researchers assert, than to emotional states like excitement or affection. As a relationship deepens, the brain scans suggest, the neural activity associated with romantic love alters slightly, and in some cases primes areas deep in the primitive brain that are involved in long-term attachment.
The interesting upshot is that they're positing differences between three things: sexual arousal, romantic love, and long-term commitment. Since we have three terms for those things, this isn't exactly news, but it's cool to see the MRIs reflect what we believe, and we do tend to think of them all as part of a whole.
Most intriguing to me was this bit:
In the new study, the researchers also saw individual differences in their group of smitten lovers, based on how long the participants had been in the relationships. Compared with the students who were in the first weeks of a new love, those who had been paired off for a year or more showed significantly more activity in an area of the brain linked to long-term commitment.
Last summer, scientists at Emory University in Atlanta reported that injecting a ratlike animal called a vole with a single gene turned promiscuous males into stay-at-home dads - by activating precisely the same area of the brain where researchers in the new study found increased activity over time.
The stay-at-home-dad gene! (That's a really bad term though, because we haven't heard anything about how they feel about kids. In fact, I'd like to know how brains light up when people think of their kids, as opposed to parents and spouses.)
You might be following the debate at Crooked Timber about the appropriateness of making political arguments on Memorial Day. I find myself agreeing, in outcome anyway, with Orin Kerr. On days devoted to mourning, we owe the greatest respect to the sensiblity of the mourners. The president's disgraceful appropriation of their grief and the sacrifice of their dead authorizes no response from those of us who know better. On this day only, we ought to stand silent, even in the face of false piety, because it doesn't ring false for everyone, and those to whom it's a comfort have the greater claim.
Tomorrow, and every other day, everything changes. Then our other obligations regain their normal place, and etiquette no longer trumps conscience. So, more tomorrow...
A few quick links.
Dick Cheney is "offended" that Amnesty International says the U.S. has mistreated prisoners at Guantanamo.
Noodling, meaning fishing for catfish in the mud with your bare hands.
Mark Fuhrman is a radio talk show host (am I the last to know?).
Who's a national treasure?
Do you have your answer?
Well, you're wrong. Because the answer is Deborah Solomon, who does those brief blurby interviews for the NY Times Magazine. Why do I love her so? Because she can make you sympathize with anyone. If she interviewed Saddam, you would feel bad for Saddam. Really, you would hate yourself for it, but you'd think, "Damn, poor guy." Now, Larry McMurtry isn't evil; in fact, he's good, but you can still see what I mean if you read the interview. She's not at her worst, but still, poor guy.
By the way, Larry's son's James' first album is really good (the later ones, just ok).
(I don't actually have any idea where to stick the apostrophes in "Larry's son's James'".)
I just saw Crash, which I much liked. At first, I was leaning toward the attitude of the bad reviews--unrealistic, over the top--then I realized that it's not meant to be realistic at all, it's the racist id of the city, unleashed and dramatized. When you look at that way, what Denby says.
So, there's this part in The New Pornographers' song "The Laws Have Changed", where they're singing "form a line", and for some reason, it struck me that they should be singing "Fomalhaut". I mentioned this to Husband X, saying "anyway, there ought to be a lot more rock songs about Fomalhaut, don't you think, or is that just me?"
Husband X, looking at me real weird: "that's just you."
Hey, but did you know that Fomalhaut is surrounded by an icy disk of proto-planetary material, maybe with some planets in it? See artist's conception here. Man, I fucking love Fomalhaut. And it's only 20-odd light-years away; maybe I'll get there sometime!
There's no substitute for three dimensions. I so didn't have professors like this.
PG is a cutie, and I'm not just saying that because we had sex for the last five hours. (Ok, I think we might have brushed against each other once, when we were walking and I started to turn before she did.) The whole blog-meeting genre is impossible, because it's the rare person who is nasty enough to dish honestly right after meeting people s/he's become friends with online. But my only dish is good dish anyway: I admit that based on PG's writing, I thought she'd be a little nastier, but she is, in fact, really sweet. I'm not sure I know anyone more easy-going. How boring is that?
We had chi-chi veggie food, which I hate to admit was really good, and then set off looking for a psychic. The first psychic was closed, the second psychic's sign was still up, but the office had been gutted, and looking inside the third psychic's place (was this a great neighborhood or what?), all we could see were two guys who looked for all the world like spiders waiting for someone to step into their trap (not like to con, but to mug). We skipped it.
So we walked around. We walked around before dinner, because we were early, and we walked around after, because there were lots of people about, and it was fun. Yeah, great planning on my part. I had a good time. PG is like her blog: full of stories about things big and little. I now have a pretty good handle on her life story as an adult: "So I was standing around one day, and this stranger came up to me and said 'Boy, do I have the perfect job for you!' and that's what I did for the next few years." (Perhaps not a direct quote.)
There you have it. Six hours, no animals harmed, and you didn't really expect us to have sex, did you?
I forgot to mention: Met PG's dad, who actually said, "Have her home by 9."
And...PG is off to Asia, so the fact that she hasn't posted doesn't mean I have her locked in a trunk, in case that sort of thought occurred to you.
PG's version: Here.