I've watched my fair share of Buffy, and even seen an episode of Firefly, and never liked either, but Serenity is really good.
This concludes your profound review.
Oh: But, they totally could have beamed the message to Mr. Universe.
Jesus H. The Ex is living in NY at the moment, and last night she woke up in her fourth-floor apartment to find a stranger standing five feet from her bed. She yelled a loud-as-she-could "Hey!" and the guy ran out the fire escape (making off with the roomie's laptop).
She and her roommate (whom she's known for a while) both seem remarkably composed. They've extra-double secured the window that the guy must have come through, and apparently the cops were shocked that the guy had been able to get in in the first place.
In the grand scheme of city crime, this isn't even a blip, but it's not hard to imagine that, for a lot of people, it would be enough to drive them from the city, or even cities generally. Maybe not even initially, but after realizing that they hadn't been able to sleep for a month, or that they were carrying around a gnawing unease.
I'm inclined to think catalogs of unusual foreign words are mostly bunk, and it doesn't help that I can't even tell what the Persian words in this article might be. Regardless, we all like to read lists of such things.
Via the apostropher, a so very very good response by Barack Obama to groups on the left who are angry that any Democrats voted to confirm John Roberts, and a response, more generally, to calls that Democrats shouldn't compromise. Read the whole thing to see a politician who "gets it," both in terms of the issues, the language that will resonate with his audience, and broad political strategy. These two paragraphs in particular seem downright wise.
According to the storyline that drives many advocacy groups and Democratic activists - a storyline often reflected in comments on this blog - we are up against a sharply partisan, radically conservative, take-no-prisoners Republican party. They have beaten us twice by energizing their base with red meat rhetoric and single-minded devotion and discipline to their agenda. In order to beat them, it is necessary for Democrats to get some backbone, give as good as they get, brook no compromise, drive out Democrats who are interested in "appeasing" the right wing, and enforce a more clearly progressive agenda. The country, finally knowing what we stand for and seeing a sharp contrast, will rally to our side and thereby usher in a new progressive era.
I think this perspective misreads the American people. From traveling throughout Illinois and more recently around the country, I can tell you that Americans are suspicious of labels and suspicious of jargon. They don't think George Bush is mean-spirited or prejudiced, but have become aware that his administration is irresponsible and often incompetent. They don't think that corporations are inherently evil (a lot of them work in corporations), but they recognize that big business, unchecked, can fix the game to the detriment of working people and small entrepreneurs. They don't think America is an imperialist brute, but are angry that the case to invade Iraq was exaggerated, are worried that we have unnecessarily alienated existing and potential allies around the world, and are ashamed by events like those at Abu Ghraib which violate our ideals as a country.
Time for some knowledge-building:
Ok: I've taken the poll down, because it was causing the page to render screwily. The results:
Where does that put us, Ms. Franke-Ruta?
That's it?! Based on the last eight years of living in Washington -- where I sometimes feel like the last yoga hold-out -- I'd have thought the practice of yoga was much more widespread. And that got me thinking. I bet you could actually devise a pretty accurate test about how close you are to the center of the left based on what percent of your friends do yoga. And if your male friends do yoga, too, well then, that's about all that needs saying about what community you're living in. You might as well be eating flax seeds.She's probably right, though 7.5% is higher than I would have guessed, now that I've properly internalized my post '04 election alienation. I don't do any typical yoga regularly, but I do do something slightly wackier, which I swear works. As you know, my heart occasionally likes to choose its own, non-standard rhythm. Often, it gives me some warning that it's considering this, and I can try to head it off. Enter the apan vaya mudra (mine doesn't come with nifty beams of light). You put your fingers in that position, and I swear it helps your heart calm down. Try it out the next time you're palpitating, or whatever it is that you do.
Awesome: a trailer (video) for Shining, which is The Shining if it had been a feel-good family movie.
Ok, it's the middle of the (blogging) day and I count ten substantive posts by Yglesias on three blogs. He's so much smarter than Tom Hilde.
You know how when you're in the bathroom with someone, and you're both facing the mirror, some people look at you to talk to you, and some people look at you in the mirror? Now I know which kind of person my boss is.
At work, there are some people I need to call only when something goes wrong. They pick up the phone, I tell them it's me, and their voice falls, they try to act cheery, but I can practically see them slump down in their chairs. Makes me feel horrible, even though it's almost always something their company has screwed up. (And no, it wouldn't be appropriate to call them just to say "hello" at other times.)
Have any of you heard of this Getting Things Done book? The typically smart Ben Hammersley recommends it highly, and an effective, non-loony organizational scheme sounds like just the thing right now.
Some of our winger friends--first rate legal minds, every one--are on about the fact that the indictment of DeLay doesn't say what he did. As I understand the charge of conspiracy, all Earle needs to show is that at some point, DeLay was informed of the funneling of funds and said something like "Ok." The end.
In fact, I'd guess that DeLay's involvement will be easy to prove. The bulk of the case will go to showing that the transfer of funds from one organization to the other was intended to circumvent the law. Without someone (credible) willing to testify, that's a pretty tough case to make. And like I said below, I sure hope Earle can make it, because if he can't, it's going to become very difficult to use the law to check corrupt politicians.
From the annals of idiosyncratic language use, law professor and blogger Ann Althouse.
To be a great artist is inherently right wing. A great artist like Dylan or Picasso may have some superficial, naive, lefty things to say, but underneath, where it counts, there is a strong individual, taking responsibility for his place in the world and focusing on that.
Here's a good test case: right now, at 1:41pm EST (almost exactly an hour after the story broke), Insty, Captain's Quarters and Hugh Hewitt have nothing up about the DeLay indictment. (The Corner mentions it, but doesn't have a coherent line on it yet.) Let's see when they acknowledge it, and how similar or dissimilar their responses are.
Thinking about my self-congratulations in the previous post, I think "George Bush doesn't play by the rules" isn't the line I'd go with today. What about "George Bush tries to skate by"? That seems to capture the privileged, spinning, corrupt, corner-cutting, no-plan-having nature of this administration. Of course, we're not running against George Bush anymore, but we can try.
You've seen it elsewhere, but I really want to type it out: Tom Delay has been indicted.
(On the other hand, it's really damn sad that this country is governed by such a corrupt bunch of people. Here's hoping this is the beginning of the end of that, and we can get back to the normal levels of corruption that we miss so much.)
Hey [blogger self-congratulation ahead], maybe I should get back into the political blogging business:
What's the one-sentence knock on George Bush? ... Here's my nomination: George Bush doesn't play by the rules. From the Iraq war, to the South Carolina primary against McCain, to the outing of Valerie Plame, to putting political hacks into career civil service positions, to not holding enough press conferences, to refusing to release records, to his National Guard service…all of these are examples of not playing by the rules ... because Bush is running on "boldness," he'll keep doing and bringing up things that can be called reckless, or indifferent to the rules. And we should also keep in mind all the ongoing investigations of Republicans. Every trickle of news about any of them will feed the "not playing by the rules" beast. Having a counter to the "bold"/"strong leader"/"decisive" persona lets us shift the debate to facts and outcomes, which are overwhelmingly in our favor.
Have I mentioned that I'm involved in a competition? My HDL (good cholesterol) is 79. A friend's is 83. I'm gonna beat his butt (and have a higher HDL count). And now I have a new weapon: booze. I knew that alcohol was supposed to be "good" for the heart, but this is news to me.
The major benefit of alcohol seems to come from its ability to boost levels of HDL, the good cholesterol that helps keep arteries clear of plaque ... "Depending on the individual, you can get increases of 10 to 30 percent in HDL in a week," says Harvard epidemiologist Eric Rimm. "Nothing else in the diet can have such a dramatic impact on HDL in such a short time."
Bwahahaha! Because, you see, this friend is a devout Muslim. No nip at the bottle for him. Victory is mine!!
(If you, like my Ex, feel compelled to point out that statistically, my friend and I have equivalent levels of HDL, just go bang your shin into a sharp corner, ok?)
Oh, and the new news in the article is that all alcoholic drinks have this health benefit, not just red wine. (But only in moderation, lushes.)
I'm not sure how I came across this metafilter thread about whether Odysseus' tomb has been found (based on that article? I'd have to say "no"), but it does contain a great line:
Did you know that scholars have now proven that the Iliad wasn't written by Homer, but rather by another Greek with the same name.
I've never understood the heated authorship fights around Shakespeare either. Whoever wrote the plays, that was Shakespeare; what more do you need to know?
It must some kind of milestone for blogging that now people are expected to know about blogs in cocktail-party detail, but not to actually read them. In fact, I think the milestone is something like this: there isn't much of a distinction between blogs and mainstream media anymore, and not really even a distinction between professional and amateur online writing; the operative distinction is between professional and amateurish writing. (What does that distinction have to do with the Playboy cheat-sheet? Nothing. It's my news peg, amateur.)
Tia beats me to something I've been meaning to post about. Clive Owen has a distinctly average looking wife (married 10 years), and Tia says that she likes him better because of it. Absolutely. Famous person w/ average-looking partner might be the best example of "keeping it real." My impression is that there's a great temptation for famous people to couple with equally famous people; both because of their own insecurities, and because it seems to be a good career move nowadays. Anyone who can resist is probably someone of good character.
(I was originally going to do a post about this with Roger Federer as an example. But it turns out that his girlfried was a hottie, and she's just put on a lot of weight, and screwed up her hair color.)
[I'm going to be upset if academic blogs don't link to Fontana's supergood grad-school advice post just because it contains the word "fellatio."]
On a different topic entirely, what do the people of blogdom know about soy products? I have this notion in the back of my mind that some people are convinced that soy is a tool of the devil, and will kill me. But then there are the Japanese. Is there an informed consensus on this?
If I were Chris Rock (and I'm not), would I be allowed to make a joke about the black woman I just saw in a brand-new Bentley at the Taco Bell drive-thru?
As Young Ben heads off to his first days of graduate school, I thought it might be a good time to offer words of advice to others at the very start of their graduate careers. Ben's talent and charm will carry him through with no problems, I'm sure, but for any interested parties I offer these opening salvos. Add your own in comments!
1. The most important thing: recognize that graduate school is not at all college+1. It's a job-training program designed to qualify you for a very specialized line of work. You're a professional now. Act accordingly.
2. As a corollary of (1), keep in mind that your relationship with your faculty is completely different from an undergraduate's. In some ways this is good: you're halfway a colleague. In some ways this is bad: you're completely dependent on them. Getting abused, harassed, or mistreated? Any of the official lines of complaint might well result in a lukewarm letter of recommendation, which pretty much kills your chance at a job. Never make the mistake of thinking that you're one of them.
3. In case you're unclear about what (2) means: it entails that you should not [behave badly]. I know you're really drunk, but respect the boundaries.
4. Partly because your work is all-consuming, and partly because of the strange relationship mentioned in (2), you need to have some kind of outlet outside of your academic life. This will cushion you when, inevitably, the professional life hits the skids. If you can, make nonacademic friends. Keep up at least one hobby from the old days. You need to blow off some steam once in a while.
5. Keep fit. I'm completely serious about this.
6. Listen to your peers. At the start of my program, I got invaluable advice from older, wiser heads. Keep your ears open to learn the ins and outs, the standards, the expectations, and so on. No need to reinvent the wheel.
7. In any department there are stand-up, heart-of-gold people who are on your side. There are also [bad people]. Find out who's who, and don't take their word for it. [Appearances can be misleading]. Bite your tongue and bide your time, honky.
8. Do your fair share. From time to time, there will be annoying obligations. Go to the parties. Attend the receptions. Take the visiting speaker to lunch. You're building a little goodwill, and it can really help to be seen as a team player if things get rough. Being a good citizen is a good thing.
9. Network like mad. Meet people and impress them with your cleverness.
10. Don't waste time whining about the market-- you could be working with that energy. My advice: every six to twelve months, surface for air. Go meta about your career choice. If you're not enjoying graduate school, if the work isn't moving you, if it's not paying off as you'd hoped, consider dropping out. If you decide to continue, don't think about it until six months later.
11. There's no shame in dropping out, either. Smarter people than you are flourishing in nonacademic careers, and I invite you to bite their asses if you think your "Dr" means anything.
12. Enjoy it. You'll probably never be around such smart, interesting, and completely fucked up people ever again. It's good times.
I'm sure I've contradicted myself, come across like a jerk, whatever. I'll amend as appropriate.
Hey, I think W-lfs-n started classes today. Good luck, Ben! Don't get kicked out!
It's really depressing to be leafing through real-estate listings, and catch myself learning to skip over anything that looks nice, because while I can't afford anything, I really can't afford any place I'd want to live in. Cheapest listing so far: a 2-bedroom condo in a not-so-great town, in a drab sanitorium-chic building, for $450,000.
On the other hand, I had a great tan in February.
I've been intrigued by swimmer Ian Crocker since he thrashed Michael Phelps and broke his own world record in the 100M butterfly; especially after reading this great quote from his teammate.
"It's amazing someone so sedate can create so much power at the drop of a hat."
(This is Crocker's dough-boy face after setting that world record. Dude could play baseball.)
So I paddled over to his website, where I learned that not only is he a big Dylan fan, but his nickname is...Teh Crockah.
Teh Crockah is hereby named the official swimmer of Unfogged.
Everyone thinks they want smart kids, but do they really want smart kids?
My daughter Maude was 5 when she realized that Barney had only one expression. She couldn't stop laughing when she noticed this. She ran around the living room with this psychotic Barney smile which never changed, and then started saying, "I'm happy. I'm sad." She laughed some more and then screamed, "Help me! I don't know how to feel."
Brilliant, and disturbing.
For the three of you who care (we are a full-service online magazine), and who missed the three seconds that the swimming world championships in Montreal were on TV in the States, you can download video of the races here.
This cracked me up.
Why does China have to spend millions on new repressive opinion-blocking technologies and new complicated anti-speech rules when it could just adopt TimesSelect across the board and accomplish the same thing more efficiently and with less controversy?... The NYT might even lease its proprietary TimesSelect technology to threatened dictatorships around the globe as a turnkey solution to their Internet dissent problems. Worried about subversive pro-democracy agitators? Just make them part of TimesSelect's premium content and they'll never be heard from again!
No link for you.
It's hard to read about Pat Tillman and not get very depressed that he's dead (and was killed by friendly-fire, at that).
Interviews also show a side of Pat Tillman not widely known — a fiercely independent thinker who enlisted, fought and died in service to his country yet was critical of President Bush and opposed the war in Iraq, where he served a tour of duty. He was an avid reader whose interests ranged from history books on World War II and Winston Churchill to works of leftist Noam Chomsky, a favorite author.
Baer, who served with Tillman for more than a year in Iraq and Afghanistan, told one anecdote that took place during the March 2003 invasion as the Rangers moved up through southern Iraq.
"I can see it like a movie screen," Baer said. "We were outside of (a city in southern Iraq) watching as bombs were dropping on the town. We were at an old air base, me, Kevin and Pat, we weren't in the fight right then. We were talking. And Pat said, ‘You know, this war is so f— illegal.'
I don't just mean that he was a liberal, though that's nice. What I admire is the unusual mix of principled, brave, patriotism, with the political sophistication to make the distinction between fighting Al Qaeda and attacking Iraq. What a waste.
Just saw Grizzly Man, which I'd forgotten about for a while, but which you really ought not miss if it's still playing where you live. If you haven't heard of it, my dear biscuits, it's the story of Timothy Treadwell, who lived among Alaskan grizzlies for 13 summers, before he and his girlfriend were finally killed by a bear.
I expected a nature documentary, intertwined with the story of an eccentric naturalist. It's more accurate to say that it's the strangely riveting story of a complete nutcase, who managed to shoot unbelievable video.
Finally, a lot of reviews call this "heart-breaking," and I do feel bad for his girlfriend, but Treadwell himself is crazy in a very funny way, and really, he couldn't have gone out any other way.
Big ups to Lindsay Beyerstein who has quit her job in order to become a reporter. She's looking for advice about how to do it, so head on over if you can help.
I had some loco moco for lunch yesterday. That's a mound of rice, hamburger patty, fried eggs, onions, and gravy. Mmmmmm. Actually, I can imagine it being divine, but what I had was only ok; the patty wasn't the greatest, and there should have been more gravy. But I'm very pleased about this new Hawaiian place.