The host re-enabled the site but only on the condition that we shut down comments until we can figure out what's going on.
Feel free to complain or make witty observations on the nature of a commentless Unfogged here.
Speaking of mix tapes, I once got one from a woman in Minnesota that started this way:
(1) Pretty dreamy (for a boy from Long Island)
(3) Bound and gagged
Heh. (You can tell from the time of posting that my life has been going downhill for quite a while.)
UPDATE: the third song was actually called "gagged and tied." It's another That Dog bit.
The pediatric emergency room at St. Lukes/Roosevelt, 113th and Amsterdam? Really very pleasant and well run. Lovely people. If you have an injured child, I can't say enough good things about them.
On the other hand, holding your four-year-old's head while a nervous resident puts stitches in his face is no fun at all. (It's under his chin, it won't scar much, it wasn't that big a thing. Still no fun.)
But this part of the human race to which God has promised pardon and a share in His eternal kingdom, can they be restored through the merit of their own works? God forbid. For what good work can a lost man perform, except so far as he has been delivered from perdition? Can they do anything by the free determination of their own will? Again I say, God forbid. For it was by the evil use of his free-will that man destroyed both it and himself. For, as a man who kills himself must, of course, be alive when he kills himself, but after he has killed himself ceases to live, and cannot restore himself to life; so, when man by his own free-will sinned, then sin being victorious over him, the freedom of his will was lost. "For of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage."(4) This is the judgment of the Apostle Peter. And as it is certainly true, what kind of liberty, I ask, can the bond-slave possess, except when it pleases him to sin? For he is freely in bondage who does with pleasure the will of his master. Accordingly, he who is the servant of sin is free to sin. And hence he will not be free to do right, until, being freed from sin, he shall begin to be the servant of righteousness. And this is true liberty, for he has pleasure in the righteous deed; and it is at the same time a holy bondage, for he is obedient to the will of God. But whence comes this liberty to do right to the man who is in bondage and sold under sin, except he be redeemed by Him who has said, "If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed?"(5) And before this redemption is wrought in a man, when he is not yet free to do what is right, how can he talk of the freedom of his will and his good works, except he be inflated by that foolish pride of boasting which the apostle restrains when he says, "By grace are ye saved, through faith."(6)
One post can't hurt, right? I'm resurrecting Ogged from the dead because we have an opportunity to perform a mitzvah for horny non-girly girls everywhere. Becks laments,
I went out with someone for a while earlier this year...and he told me that it took him about an hour to work up the nerve to kiss me because he couldn't figure out if I wanted him to or not. This hour that he's not sure whether I dig him or not? Is with both of us sitting on the couch back at my apartment after our date. I, apparently, can even invite a guy back to my place and still not transmit enough signals to let him know it's OK to make a move.
It's all well and good to tell Becks that she needs to signal her interest, but the fact is that most of the traditional feminine signalling methods--the batting of eyelashes, the hair flip, the head tilt, the coy giggle--are deeply unnatural to a lot of women. There isn't, but needs to be, a vocabulary of gestures--defined in detail--that these woman can use without feeling ridiculous or as if they're compromising themselves. I'll start with two, y'all will come up with others that won't be quite as good, but might be serviceable anyway.
-- When the two of you are walking along, side by side, gently sidle up to him. You can give him a little bump, or just walk a few steps touching shoulders. This is easy; it doesn't require control of any facial muscles; you probably won't even be looking at each other, but it communicates affection, and reminds him "body!"
-- When he says something that might plausibly be construed as funny, instead of trying a cute giggle, give him a little whack on the head cum hair tousle. Since guys are constantly trying to be funny, you should get an opportunity to do this every fifteen seconds. You can modulate the proportion of whack / tousle to communicate just the right degree of "you're pretty ok, dude / you should fuck me now."
Matt McGrattan explains why Megan is having dating problems in the thread below by noting that Americans are all pathologically weird about dating. This links up to something I've thought a fair amount, but can't quite get into a tidy form that convinces me -- the following is an untidy attempt.
Seriously, I think he's right, that Americans are pathological about entering into relationships, and I think it's about weird conflicts around sexual puritanism. Our social culture is all post-sexual revolution, accepting that adults have sex with each other, but we simultaneously don't approve of people who do have sex without a strong emotional connection. Relating to someone romantically (admitting that you 'like' each other, in the eighth grade sense of 'like', or even that one of you 'likes' the other and the other is open to the idea) but not sleeping together pretty fast is unusual -- most people (in my social millieu and to the best of my knowledge) are having sex or imminently planning to almost immediately after a romance starts, if it isn't a self-evident disaster. But, as noted above, there's still a lot of disapproval (internal and external) about promiscuity and casual sex.
People end up in a double bind -- admitting you've got romantic interest in someone is tantamount to an immediate agreement to sex, but casual, frivolous sex is bad. So you can't admit that you're interested at all, unless you're certain enough that you really want to be in a full scale relationship with the target person that sex is allowable -- you have to go from zero (just friends) to sixty (true love) in no time flat. And you kind of have to do this simultaneously, so that neither one of you looks unattractively overeager. (This is complicated by a certain amount of sexual double-standard, making it harder, or at least less likely, for women to make the first move, but that's not the basic problem.)
A culture where casual romance (non-serious, flirty dating, with no necessary implication that sex was on the cards) was more normal could work with the American reserve around having sex. A culture where there was less negativity around having sex (which is my impression of Britain, for example -- although it's not based on much and I may be wrong) could work with the American assumption that a couple with a romantic interest in each other is going to screw immediately. The combination we've got, though, seems doomed to leave people acting like neurotic middle-schoolers.
Scooter Libby apparently said yesterday* that Bush specifically (through Cheney) authorized him to leak the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq to reporters in summer 2003, when the administration was working on discrediting Joe Wilson. (Sorry, ‘leak' should be ‘informally chose to declassify selected bits of without telling anyone else at the time that it was declassified.') Of course, it was while leaking the NIE that Libby told reporters that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA.
Back in 2003, Bush's position on all this was:
Listen, I know of nobody -- I don't know of anybody in my administration who leaked classified information. If somebody did leak classified information, I'd like to know it, and we'll take the appropriate action.
So Bush here was either flatly lying – he knew exactly who leaked the classified information under discussion – or being an incredible weasel. The thought process would be something like this: ‘I don't know about anyone leaking any classified information. Of course, I authorized Scooter to leak the information you're talking about, but it wasn't classified, because I authorized it. I guess you wouldn't have any way of knowing that. Pity you all didn't think to ask whether I knew of anyone in the administration who leaked information that outsiders might have thought was classified but wasn't anymore.' This is the same weasel that Gonzales used in his confirmation hearings. Is there anyone out there still standing by the theory that Bush is, in any way, personally honest?
*The link is to an NY Sun article, and I've gotten the page to open one time out of three that I've clicked on it. I'll move the link to something that works better when I find another version of the story. Update:Better link courtesy of Gary Farber.
Thrill! to the sounds of Lou Harrison, the Stanley Brothers, and Pierre Vervloesem!
Even though there are three people still waiting for their advice, I'm going to give some advice to someone who didn't ask for it, Megan of From the Archives (I did ask permission). By now you have probably heard of her plight, but if not, read her posts, so you'll know the context for the following wisdom won from hard experience:
I've had some long droughts in my life too, and though my rack's far from enormous, I am generally considered kinda pretty, and a lot of people think I'm interesting, so I felt hopelessly perplexed about the man problem a lot (although I'll freely admit to being fairly picky, in the sense that there are a lot of people I find insufficiently interesting). Advice to dress differently is bad; my dress varies from totally basic to superfemme, and it doesn't change how men respond to me (okay, that's a lie. The way you dress can affect the level of attention you get, but it won't affect whether you're seen as available and responsive, which may be part of your problem). What does greatly affect the way men see you is your body language and eye contact, and it would be great if you could learn to change your body language to signal availability and sexual interest, but as I'm sure you know, that's very hard to do if it doesn't come naturally. I've forced myself to do things like make sustained eye contact with guys I thought were cute in clubs, and though it's always worked, it was near physical pain to overcome the voice shrieking, "But he might think you're interested!" in the back of my head. So here's what helped me: the internet.
You're obviously already trying this, since you're inviting your blog readers to mack on you. I just want to encourage you, and perhaps advise any other readers who might have a similar problem to do the same. Have you tried the Salon personals? Even Craigslist, though it may appear on the surface to be a cesspool of subliterates, is actually read for fun by a number of interesting people, so if you write a good headline you'll probably get lots of email, most of which you can instantly delete, but some small portion of which will be promising. Heck, you can link to your blog in your ad. As a lot of other people have said, consider branching out beyond Sacramento; the Bay Area is just chock full of eligible bachelors, I'm sure, and how long is the drive? Two hours? Not so bad.
The biggest advantage of internet dating is that it puts lots of single people that you'd never meet in your normal circles at your fingertips, but that's not the only edge it has on the conventional kind:
1) Though it's often said, and it's true, that you can't know if you're physically attracted to someone via an internet personal ad, you can better screen for intelligence, so in the end it all evens out. (The cute guys in clubs I beckoned always became significantly less attractive when they opened their mouths.)
2) If you are good at expressing yourself in writing, which you obviously are, it's easy to put your best foot forward.
3) I have no idea if this pertains to you, but it does to me: my ability to focus on someone or even stay coherent is inversely proportional to the number of people at a particular gathering. I make the best impression when I'm only dealing with one.
4) Perhaps most relevant to you, the situation is pre-established as potentially romantic. No need to sort out the other's intentions, wonder if he has a girlfriend, is gay, or is entering the priesthood. At the same time, this establishment takes place without you having to feel like you've signaled interest to someone who may not be interested in you, you've been girly in some undignified fashion, or you've compromised yourself in any way. When you're out with the person, if the conversation is fun and animated, I give it 90% odds that he's interested (you're cute, after all). If you think the conversation has been fun and animated, you're interested, but you think you haven't sent explicit romantic signals because that's not the kind of gal you are, it might not be a bad idea to kiss him, maybe just on the cheek for starters; just because he can't work up the nerve to do the deed doesn't mean he doesn't want to be kissed.
I'm not going to lie to you. You will go on lots of bad dates. But it only takes one, and then you could be set for years. The other thing to remember is that dating is work; on Avenue Q the muppet of your dreams might happen to move in next door, but you live in Sacramento, and if you really want a fella, you have to commit to a search, take breaks if you need to, but not let yourself get discouraged, because it is very easy not to do that work, to feel sorry for yourself, to let yourself slide into sexual dormancy, and not get what you want and deserve.
We had a discussion a few days ago about Sen. McCain, and why a liberal would have to be seriously confused to vote for him. While his positions generally (pro-Iraq war, pro-South Dakota's abortion ban, pro-teaching ID in schools, etc.) should be enough to make the point, this story illustrates the attitude. McCain thinks that illegal immigrants are necessary to the economy, because Americans won't do menial labor. His exact claim was that Americans wouldn't pick lettuce if the pay was $50 an hour.
First, this is nonsense. My 66-year old mother would pick lettuce for $50 an hour – admittedly, she's strong, and in good health, and her whole life she's been doing manual labor (flight attendant) – but the only reason she's retired now is that she got laid off a few years ago and hasn't a hope of making anything near that much. Second, it's the kind of nonsense that, if he thought about what he was saying at all, means that he doesn't know, or doesn't believe, that there are Americans out there who are in genuine need and who are willing to work as hard as they have to in order to care for their families. Does he honestly believe that a man or woman with children to feed and educate would turn down a job at that pay scale if it were the best they could do? Or does he think that the only reason everyone in the country isn't making that much now is that we're too lazy? Finally, it's dripping with contempt for the undocumented immigrants: picking lettuce is such a horrifically awful job that no American would do it at any price, but for the seething masses of immigrants out there, the chance to do it is a boon.
Now, this is one infelicitous line in a speech – by itself it's not an unforgivable sin – but if it gives any kind of picture of his thinking, he's not on our side. (Via The Talent Show.)
I saw this and immediately rushed to Unfogged to blog it, but Unfogged was down. Then I thought I'd just put it up at my own site, but then YouTube was down. Then YouTube came back up but not Unfogged and I thought yeah I could post it at my site but it really makes so much more sense here and I would feel a bit silly just pasting the same post at Unfogged that I'd already put up at apostropher though I don't guess that really should matter because it isn't like anybody is going to hassle me about it but still it just doesn't seem quite right and goddamn those stupid spammers that are keeping me from sharing what should be a specia-- AAAAUGH!
The web-enabled planets have apparently re-aligned now and who loves you most of all, monkeys? Apostropher does, that's who. The clip begins with a woman stating knowingly, "I think the women in the audience are going to like this one." What follows is quite possibly the gayest (in the good way) thing that I have ever witnessed. And I have watched dudes having sex so, y'know, I ain't just whistling Dixie here.
The link tunnel goes Uffish via Queerty via Someone in a Tree, who challenges "anyone to prove that the video below is not a perfect synthesis of gayness. [...] The bizarre thing is that I have the impression it was performed for a straight audience. And was broadcast on A&E. I think I need to start watching that network more often. For the culture, of course."
It's completely safe for work, for what it's worth.
I feel that the issue of gusts of wind that blow your skirt up, cursorily referenced in comments, has not been adequately addressed in this space. You will be relieved to know that, as I noted in the comments at Tempting Defiance, though I forgot to put on underwear under my skirt today, I am fortunate not to work in the draft-prone financial district, and I am safe at home, the day having passed without incident.
Update: OMG, I forgot until now that today is my half-birthday. More crucial information to contemplate.
I'm going to be in Chicago (exciting four-day trial training program. Woohoo!) at the end of the month, and I'm free in the evening on Thurday the 27th and Friday the 28th. Are there any Chicago-area commenters who would like to meet up for drinks or dinner? Kotsko? IDP? Anyone else?
Not surprisingly, Hoyt himself disapproves of such tactics. In his account, the perpetrator is Nguyen, who misread his intentions (he claims he was already mid-masturbation when she stepped onto the train) and then humiliated him by posting his picture on the Web. He says he didn't even realize he'd been photographed. "Even so, I wouldn't imagine somebody throwing it up on the Internet for millions of people and destroying your life like that," he says. "It's one thing to take it to the police. But on the Internet, I read a lot of people saying, ‘That was not too cool of her. That was really screwed up.' "
Hoyt believes that if he and Nguyen had only met under different circumstances, she might really like him. "You know, she'd go, ‘That guy's pretty cool. He's got this restaurant, and he's fun,' " Hoyt says. "She'd probably want to go out with me."
Yeah, probably. "And he enjoys exposing himself in public. Fun!" I'd like to note, for the record, that the title of the NYMetro piece, "Onan the Vegetarian," is inspired. Also, this:
Since 1994, when he was arrested for a lewd display on the 8th Street N/R platform, his thrill-seeking hadn't gotten him into trouble with the law again—until recently. Hoyt says he doesn't make a habit of touching himself on the subway, but he occasionally reveals his penis in other settings. [...] As for his R-train exploits, Hoyt says, "I've met women who enjoy it. After this incident happened, I had a woman tell me, ‘You know, that sounds exciting to me.' She wouldn't mind being on the other end." [...]
In the weeks after Hoyt's highly publicized arrest, his restaurants received prank calls on a daily basis. "Do you have sperm on the menu today?" inquired one caller. A blogger discovered Hoyt's name was an anagram for "hand toy."
At least we finally know what happened to Lowell Thurber.
The Capitol Police are apparently going ahead with seeking an arrest warrant for Rep. McKinney. There has to be a security camera that caught this (wouldn't you think?) and I really, really want to see the footage.
Hitting the police? A very bad, silly thing to do. Hitting anyone? You really shouldn't. Rep. McKinney appears to be less calm than the Platonic ideal of a Congressperson should be. But, if we see this on tape, and it turns out that she flashed her ID (as she says she did) and reacted to being grabbed by slapping the policeman's hand off her, and they're going to arrest her for that, then I am going to start crying racism and harassment. For this to be worth an arrest, she'd better have slugged him.
Update: Here's an article saying the security camera shows her walking around the scanner, but not the confrontation. I'm surprised that there aren't cameras with coverage of the entire lobby, but I suppose if there aren't, there aren't. I'd still like to see the footage played, though.
2d Update: In comments, Emerson reminds me of this story, demonstrating how we react when a powerful white guy gets into a shoving match with security.
3d Update: Apparently Representatives don't uniformly wear their pins. Quote from Rep. Mark Foley: He's "not a big pin-wearer, I don't like to damage the suits."
I've got a Tuesday morning puzzle for you all. It's a good one.
Before I post the puzzle, I wanna say that this thread is for (1) cock jokes and (2) discussions of possible solutions to the puzzle. This thread is not for poking around on the internets for the answer and then pasting it in with no spoiler warning. I suppose discussion might inevitably lead to the answer coming out in the thread, and also, though it took me about three hours of on and off thought to figure this out last night, I could see some very efficient thinkers getting it in a lick, so use your judgment about how best to preserve the mystery for your fellows, or whether that's still possible.
You have Some Terminal Condition, which necessitates taking two pills a day: one Pill A and one Pill B. If you neglect to take either pill, you die; if you take more than one A or more than one B, you die. If you don't take them at exactly the same time, you die.
This morning you are going through you usual routine. You pick up your bottle of A Pills and gently tap one into your palm. Then you pick up your bottle of B Pills and tap it, but two pills accidentally fall into your hand. You now hold three pills (one A and two Bs), you don't know which are which, and they are completely indistinguishable from each other. The A Pills are the same color as the B Pills, they are the same shape, same size -- they are identical in every respect. Man, your doctor is a dumbass. But he's a rich dumbass, because he's charging you $10,000,000 a pill! So you dare not throw any away.
Thus, the puzzle: what can you do to ensure that you take only one A Pill and only one B Pill today, without wasting any pills (either today or in the future)?
Via Defective Yeti
Update: Starting at around 130, one of the answers is given away. Nobody give away the missionaries or the petals until I get a chance to think about them!
So Tom DeLay won't be running for re-election. I figure we can take this as a sign that he doesn't think his legal problems are going to get resolved smoothly.
(Update: Link updated.)
The Washington Post discovers middle school abuse of Axe body spray. Unfogged Meetups: Always on the cutting edge.
"Let me just tell you," said John Burley, principal at Forest Oak Middle School in Gaithersburg, "there are days when I walk down the eighth-grade hallway . . . and I am nearly asphyxiated."
And it is Axe -- launched in France in 1983 and introduced in the United States in 2002 -- that is the brand du jour. Although manufacturer Unilever maintains that its target market is men between 18 and 24, boys as young as 11 are dousing themselves in the spray that "leaves guys smelling great so they can concentrate on more important things -- like how to get the girl."
The suggestion -- that Axe will help with the ladies -- is woven throughout its marketing and advertising and may be why company officials declined to comment on the body spray's appeal to younger teens. Click on Axe's Web site, and it offers this handy factoid: "28% of all males at Spring Break are arrested pantless."
Make no mistake, even among sixth-graders, girls are a big part of the Axe effect.
"I was watching the commercial, and there was this guy and he was mobbed by a bunch of girls, and I thought, 'Wow, that's tight! ' " said Asean Townsend, 12. "So I went to CVS and bought it."
The whole article is just one cringeworthy preteen moment after another, with my favorite being:
Axe retails for about $5 and has become such a part of James's life that he spends half of his $10 monthly allowance on it. It's so important to him that when asked to paint a still life of four things that were meaningful in his world, he included Axe, along with a CD, some dog tags and a pair of dice.
If they don't start checking their facts before posting nonsense to UNSENET. Like all right-thinking persons, after I see a movie, I start reading reviews of it. In The Onion's review of Brick, we encounter the following beginning of a sentence: 'Nonsensical terms like "reef worm" and "yeg" pepper the rapid-fire dialogue'—but "yegg", which is so spelled, is not a nonsensical term at all! It's not exactly a la mode anymore, but it just means "safe-cracker". It was even in the TV show of record, The Simpsons, in the episode in which Abe Simpson and some crinkly cronies volunteer their services to nab the Springfield cat burglar ("Son, we want to help you catch that plug-ugly yegg", quoth he). Granted, examples in the OED of its use don't exactly span a wide range of dates, going from 1903 all the way up to 1906 (though as a verb up to 1926), but it's hardly "nonsensical".
What is nonsensical is that the author of this review just assumed that because he hasn't heard of this word, it must be nonsense. What rank arrogance! What journalistic laziness! This younger generation—it's revolting.
My friend's date just canceled on her for this casino night thing she's supposed to go to this weekend so she asked me to be her plus one. I owe her a favor and figure Open Bar + Fabulous Prizes = Why Not? As two highly competitive people, I figure there has to be a strategy we can adopt going in that will maximize our chances of winning one of the Fabulous Prizes. After all, unlike going to Vegas, we're not looking maximize our absolute winnings, just our winnings relative to the other participants. Any gamblers/gamers/math geeks with ideas?
Obama gave an interesting speech on energy independence and climate change over the weekend, attacking the Bush administration's policies, and offering some alternatives. Very much the sort of thing I'd like to hear from a presidential candidate.
I spent the day playing with Sally in the local part (kicking around a soccer ball, poking mud with sticks, trying to figure out how closely one can approach a goose before it flees) and today my face and arms are bright fuschia and painful. Has something happened to the ozone layer lately? I swear I've never gotten sunburnt in April before.
Last night I went with my friend Lorraine to dinner at Sacred Chow and then to the NYU production of Into the Woods. She recently broke up with her boyfriend of two years, who she'd really believed she'd marry, and it was an emotional and hostile breakup, but within three weeks she was dating again. Last night she regaled me with stories of a hot British television producer she bedded in Argentina, and she was in a fluttery anxiety over whether she'd get a call from the suave computer programmer who cooked her an elaborate dinner in his apartment the other night, but she did, so she had the satisfaction of minor drama that resolves happily.
After I heard of her romantic adventures, we said simultaneously:
Me: I think it's worse to have an amicable breakup
Her: In some ways an amicable breakup is worse.
And I told her that I got crushes and all, but whenever I seriously contemplate dating someone else, I just think, "Oh my God, I'm going to have to have sex with them, and I'm going to be all freaked out by intimacy, and are they going to make me feel bathed in love and acceptance like Graham does? Odds are pretty darn slim." (I mean, could Taylor Hicks really be so good to me? Yesterday I talked to him (Graham, not Taylor) on the phone around noon and told him I was nervous about talking to Lorraine because I'd been so stupid and flaky about checking my phone messages lately, and she had good reason to be mad at me, and he called me back at five just to check in with me about how apologizing had gone. Who else would take such an interest in my little dramas?)
And she said, "It sounds like you still want to be with him."
And I, unreasonably irritated, said, "Well I can't, because he broke up with me, unless maybe if I said I wanted to get married, and I don't want to get married."
And then I felt quite grumpy, and perhaps inordinately susceptible to being moved by Into the Woods, but I was moved, so if you're a New Yorker and want to see it, it's playing today at 3:00 (never say I don't do anything for you, Weiner).
She has all this anger she can use to steel herself against her happy, gooey memories of her boyfriend, and can go out and have a fabulous love life, but I don't know when I'm going to manage to venture into the Grahamless wilds. I have a sinking feeling I might not manage until he gets another girlfriend, which would make me searingly jealous, and thus angry. I'd like to innoculate myself against such unpleasantness by snagging myself a fella, even a temporary one, before he finds a woman, but I can't while I'm not mad at him--see, it's a catch-22.
P.S. I also told her about my seekrit blogging alter-ego. I decided that when it gets to the point that I have two Unfogged-related social events in a week, it's unreasonable to conceal its existence any longer. I broached the topic thus: "This might make you think I'm really geeky." Simultaneously, we said:
Me: But maybe you already think I'm really geeky.
Her: That's okay, I already think you're really geeky.
She was amused to hear I play something of a minx on teh internets.