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An Open Letter to the FDA or Whoeverthehell

Posted by Becks
on 07.08.06

To Whom It May Concern:

My right leg was hurting on and off last week. I'm not sure why, probably stress. I suppose you could say I had "unexplained calf pain". And you know what? Not once did I think "Hey, you know what I should do? I should go get a vibrator and hold it against my leg."

Therefore, I deem your warning labels unnecessary.

Sincerely,
Becks


 

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David Bowie

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 07.08.06

I was listening to "Young Americans" the other night, thinking, "David fucking Bowie. Dude." Sure, the tequila helped, but David Bowie: what a rocker.

Some cool David Bowie facts that I learned as a teenager:
(a) one of David Bowie's eyes is gray and permanently dilated as a result of being hit with...Jeff Goldstein's cock.
(b) he had an older brother who was committed to a mental institution.

There's not much substance to this post, but I was reading the Frisch thread and it was like, hey, they're talking about David Bowie too! It's like we're all on the same wavelength!

Also, can I share one of the reasons I'm a little bit in love with Cala?

jummy's right hand: Someone set us up an insult!
jummy's left hand: We support this insult and do declare that we shall defend it.

Main screen turn on! It's you!


 

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Relapse

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 07.08.06

How odd. Michelle Malkin informs us that Jeff Goldstein has been on the receiving end of some unpleasant comments from Deb Frisch, who has, apparently, done this sort of thing before. Now Frisch is out of a job.*

The puzzling part of this is that ridiculing Goldstein isn't hard at all. Retardo Montalban has already done all the heavy lifting. Why bother being genuinely creepy and completely unamusing when there's so much good material to work with? (This raises the even more fundamental question of why anyone would want to begin wading in this cesspool in the first place. For that I have no answer.)

*She was an adjunct in the psychology department at the University of Arizona; she didn't, as Malkin claims, "hold a prominent teaching position."


 

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Still Rockin' In The Clean World

Posted by Alameida
on 07.08.06

So, I'm doing pretty well. Naturally AA is the perfect place to meet all the crazy Singaporeans, so that's nice. All of the younger women I've really liked so far have...also been heroin addicts? And the younger guys also. I remember thinking I had to quit in 1998 when Time magazine had some mopey hipsters on the cover to explain that Heroin: Is Back. I was like, all right, this is obviously getting played out. But perhaps the appeal is evergreen. I have been a bit on the jumpy side, some trouble sleeping (but hey, it ain't like quitting heroin! Mmm, itchy.) I had a kind of humorous moment in my psychiatrist's office when I started to bite a little piece of dried skin on my lower lip, although I was kind of talking at the same time, and then a thin strip started to come off, and thinking to hasten things along I bit that too, and then my lip was bleeding everywhere. So not coming across with the relaxed vibe. Less Wellbutrin all 'round! I have to say there was a little part of me that wanted her to say, great, here's a bunch of pills ending in -pam (like valium and all its pals), even though I know that would be counter-productive. On the whole the not-drinking part has not been as difficult as I worried (I mean, walking past alcohol for sale, seeing people drink, etc.) but the being sober all the time part is tough. Everything's so bright and loud! And sharply defined! And it seems to go on all the time, too. I don't know why I was never informed of this state of affairs before.


 

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Rock over London, rock on Chicago

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 07.08.06

Sadly, No is on the irritating video rampage. Check it out. I found "Mr Roboto" extremely moving, but nothing compares to seeing Wesley Willis perform "Alannis Morissette." Did I ever tell you about the time I saw him in concert? Surprisingly, alcohol was involved.

Me: Wesley Willis you are a rock star in Jesus' name!
WW: You bet your ass I am.

Then after the show he gave head-butts to all the pretty white girls.


 

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The Tao of René

Posted by Ben
on 07.07.06

In his introduction to Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre Walter Kaufmann makes the bold claim that existentialism is the only philosophical position to (probably) have been invented by ordinary folks many times over in the course of ordinary life (or something like that). Surely, though, we ought to be skeptical on each count: what Joe Sixpack would come up with Sartre's analysis of bad faith? And who could deny that what has been now for some time common knowledge about how to win dates and sexually influence people is, in nuce, nothing other than precisely René Girard's theory of mimetic desire?

Consider the well-known book, and later movie, The Tao of Steve. I have neither seen the book nor read the movie, but I have it from a trustworthy source (crgre jvyyneq, I think) that the Tao of Steve is: not to care. Or to give the appearance of not caring; of self-sufficiency; of unity and self-regard. For instance we hear of Steve striking up a conversation with someone—and then leaving the bar. Now you might say that this is just the familiar advice "be self-confident", or the sort of thing one might find in The Rules—and of course it is, though if I recall aright Steve predates the Rules. This example, however, is instructive in its perspicuity, for of what does that particular bit of behavior remind one if not the Underground Man, at pains to demonstrate to Zverkov and co. that he doesn't care if they don't notice him not caring about them, and who therefore stamps back and forth for hours on end, pointedly not caring? "Be self-confident": what is this advice but precisely the advice to be a coquette, but in Girard's sense, not in Freud's? The coquette is the one who, by appearing to desire herself, makes herself seem desirable to others, whose subsequent real desire of her underwrites her continued desiring of herself. It is true: a relationship founded in this manner has a bit of a problem with reciprocity, but no system's perfect, and might it not anyway be the truth of the matter?

I really, seriously think that someone should get Girard on the talk show circuit.

For your amusement, I have reproduced below the last lines of several poems by AE Housman, as selected by Brad Leithauser.

But you will die to-day.

And there they died for me.

And died because they were.

And all you folk will die.

Before I die for ever.

To lay me down and die.

And I lie down alone.

And there lie they.

To-night to lie in the rain.

And cannot come again.

‘No, my lad, I cannot come.’

And wilt cast forth no more.

Sleep away, lad; wake no more.

Sleep on, sleep sound.

Lays lads underground.

There’s nothing but the night.

But this will last for long.

Whence he never shall arise.


 

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Ogged Blogs!

Posted by LizardBreath
on 07.07.06

Post-surgery. It was cancer apparently, but hadn't spread. Under the fold, a really gross kidney cancer fact that Dr. Oops told me:

Your vena cava, the big vein that returns to your heart, comes right out of your kidney -- it's a big wide pipe. Apparently, a kidney tumor can, if it takes the idea into its head, start growing up into the vena cava, making a sort of horrible cancer sausage extending up toward the heart. Presumably this did not happen to Ogged.


 

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I Hate Not Believing Anything I Read Anymore

Posted by LizardBreath
on 07.07.06

Sure, maybe it's true that some morons were planning to flood the NY financial district by blowing up the Holland Tunnel (and, I suppose, reversing the effects of gravity so that water would run uphill. At which point who needs to blow up the tunnel? Why not just flood the city from the harbor -- unless the UN pays you ONE MIIILLLION DOLLARS! But I digress.)

But I read this and assume that, for some level of invented (maybe there was absolutely no reason to take it seriously, but there were some idiots goofing around about it, maybe it never happened at all) that the whole story is invented nonsense, planted for political purposes. The elections are coming, so the terror alerts are going to kick into high gear too. I don't like being cynical -- naive optimism suits me much better. Can someone make that possible again?


 

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Important Summer Fact

Posted by LizardBreath
on 07.07.06

Chicken pieces to be grilled should be marinated first in yogurt. (Put whatever else you want in the yogurt -- lots of garlic works well -- but the yogurt is the important bit.) It's something to do with the acid in the yogurt; the chicken is wonderful.


 

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Do you know who I am?

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 07.06.06

David Hasselhoff kicked out of Wimbledon:

Hasselhoff, who has fought a long battle with booze, yelled at staff: “You should let me in. Do you know who I am? I’m The Hoff.” Hasselhoff then downed beer after beer and was later seen staggering... Security chiefs ordered Hoff out. One guard said: “He was steaming drunk.”

And the superficial has just the right plan of action:

If I was David Hasslehoff I'd be asking every single person I ran into if they knew who I was, and then I'd follow it up with "I'm The Hoff" and then punch them in the stomach and continue on my way.

This is almost as good as walking up to people, asking "who's the boss?," then punching them in the face while saying "Tony fucking Danza!"


 

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Anti-feline machine

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 07.06.06

A friend of mine has a problem. He lives next to Crazy Old Guy, who started leaving food out for stray cats a few years ago. Predictably, there's now a colony of feral cats living in Crazy Old Guy's shed. These cats-- not fixed, producing alarming offspring-- now crap all over my friend's yard, which, in the summer, is kind of a drag. Flies, odor, and so on.

Irritatingly, Crazy Old Guy claims that they're not his cats, even though he lets them roam around his house.

My friend actually gets along all right with Crazy Old Guy, and it would be sad to ruin that relationship by, for example, killing a lot of cats, or having them taken away to the shelter, or whatever. But my view is that once he disavows responsibility, he has no grounds for complaint if they go away. Is this too harsh? What's the right course of action in a situation like this?


 

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That Explains It

Posted by Becks
on 07.06.06

Scene: Interior of a minivan driving through Midwestern suburbia. BECKS and BECKS'S MOM are talking.

Becks: In all the time we've lived here, I don't think I've ever seen a protester outside that abortion clinic. I'm really surprised considering how conservative this area has become in recent years, especially since it's across the street from a school.

Mom: What abortion clinic?

Becks: The one on that corner. (points) [Hometown] Reproduction Services.

Mom: That's not an abortion clinic. It's a Kinko's.


 

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It's Got Nothing To Do With Hostility To Religion.

Posted by LizardBreath
on 07.06.06

Lots of people are blogging a story about a Jewish family who was driven out of their homes in Delaware for fear of the escalating retailiation being directed against them; they had, with the ACLU's help, brought a suit against the local school district objecting to the degree of Christian proselytizing going on in the local schools,and in response had their home address publicized and were being harassed. Bitch PhD makes an excellent post about having been hesitant to blog it, because liberal outrage about a story like this would just feed the image of liberals as hostile to religion, and then being ashamed of (and obviously, overcoming) her reluctance to blog about injustice for fear it might make her look bad.

This is exactly why it is so important not to concede, even implicitly, that liberal positions on the separation of church and state reflect a general hostility to religion. They don't at all; lots of the strongest advocates for separation of church and state are themselves religious. They reflect a hostility to people doing or advocating things we strongly disapprove of, like co-opting the power of the state to proselytize for a particular sect, in the service of their religious beliefs, and to the widespread attitude that religious motivations for policy are worthy of more deference and respect than secular motivations. The hostility isn't, at all (barring the odd enthusiast like PZ Myers, who I feel no need to apologize in light of much more widespread hostility to atheists among religious people), to religion -- it's to a particular set of objectionable policies that particular groups of religious people engage in. If we argue these points from the assumption that liberals are hostile to religion generally, we lose, because the vast majority of the US is religious, and we lose on false, stupid grounds, because most liberals are also religious and aren't hostile to religion at all.


 

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Fontana Labs' "how to be a hit at parties"

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 07.06.06

Here are some tips to make you even more successful at summer barbeques.

(i) Don't bring your dog. Especially don't bring your dog if you haven't asked the host or if you weren't really invited to the party. Or both.

(ii) If you do bring your dog, don't tie up the dog in a manner that transforms the dog's perfectly natural desires to hang out with you and to eat hamburgers into shrubbery-destroying mayhem.

Follow these simple rules for great summer fun!


 

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Surgery

Posted by LizardBreath
on 07.06.06

Ogged is losing a kidney as I write this. Any directed good thoughts would, therefore, be apropos right around now.


 

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Cooperating With The US In The GWOT Is A Crime Now

Posted by LizardBreath
on 07.05.06

In Italy, apparently.

Marco Mancini, the second-in-command of SISMI, the Italian intelligence agency has been arrested, along with his former boss, General Gustavo Pignero, for his part in the extraordinary rendition/kidnapping of Abu Omar.

Assuming I'm not misunderstanding this (I should still be working, so this is tossed up without a detailed reading or a good understanding of what's going on. Yeah, I know. Sue me. It's a blog.), this is why attention to international law is, you know, a good thing. Because if law enforcement officials in other countries fear arrest for helping you out, that can have a kinda deleterious effect on your anti-terrorism efforts.


 

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Take this, Bitch!

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 07.05.06

As part of my effort to remake Unfogged into a home-improvement blog, I thought I'd pass along my choice of window treatments. I know, I know, I could have just made my own curtains out of discarded bras and Judith Butler page proofs, but the heart wants what it wants.


 

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Grant, One Of Our Greatest Presidents?

Posted by LizardBreath
on 07.05.06

Scott Lemeiux links to a post by Nathan Newman that I'd wanted to think about and respond to; sadly, non-professional thinking is off the radar for this week, so don't look for anything thoughtful from here.

But Newman's argument, that the image of Grant as an ineffective president presiding over a wildly corrupt administration, is the result of systematic disparagement by those in the decades after his tenure in office who disagreed with his strong commitment to racial justice, is an attractive one. I haven't done the reading or thought about it enough to pass judgment on what I think of its accuracy, but I plan to as soon as I get back to it. (Particularly interesting looking was A New Birth of Freedom: The Forgotten History of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, an article co-written by Newman. I haven't read it yet, but no one's stopping you.)

Further thoughts: I'm not going to blog much today really -- I'm gone again after this -- but what attracted me to Newman's position is that it makes so much sense in relation to Grant's military career and memoirs. The Grant I learned about in school is the same one that Pants described learning about in the comments below (and in liberal NY, we were also firmly taught that it was hopelessly naive to think that the Civil War had much to do with slavery); a vague nitwit who doddered around the White House while everyone else in the Administration robbed the country blind. Grant's military career and memoirs, on the other hand, show him as remarkably sharp, and particularly as being a remarkable manager and judge of personnel. Hearing someone say that the Grant I learned about in high school was a calculatedl slander resolves something that's been bothering me since I read Grant's Memoirs (which everyone should read).

Also, people have been recommending books on Reconstruction:

Edmund Wilson's Patriotic Gore

Eric Foner's Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution

Michael Perman's Reunion without Compromise: The South and Reconstruction, 1865-1868, Road to Redemption: Southern Politics, 1869-1879 and Struggle for Mastery: Disfranchisement in the South, 1888-1908.

The Southern Homestead Act by Michael Lanza

(I'm putting these in the post to remind myself to buy and read them. As of now, I've read none of them.)


 

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For All The Lawyers Out There

Posted by LizardBreath
on 07.04.06

I'm billing time.


 

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Furnishing

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 07.04.06

Talk of human sexuality disgusts me. Let us speak instead of interior decorating.

Here's my conundrum. I recently painted my living and dining rooms. The living room is furnished (see here and here for the shapes, though the colors are different), and once the window treatment arrives, it will be complete, insofar as rooms can be complete.*

But the dining room, not so much. Right now the main problem is thinking of something attractive but not outrageously expensive to do with CDs, which take up a lot of room and are, let's face it, intensely ugly. Drastic solutions that I've considered: put everything on a hard drive and stash the plastic in the basement; throw out my stereo and listen to nothing but AM radio.** Is there some way to avoid clutter, store the discs (a few hundred) in the room, and remain solvent?

*Unfogged open-thread topic: what items are in the set of "holy shit! it costs how much?"-- that is, ordinary things, owned by most middle-class people, that are surprisingly expensive. Window treatments are definitely included.

** I can get the Jim Rome show on my fillings if I tilt my head right.


 

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Tie Me Up, Tie You Down

Posted by Becks
on 07.03.06

Teofilo has a good post up about the ways people reacted differently to the men and women who shared their sexual fantasies in BitchPhd's recent sex threads. As he quotes Jackmormon:

The women seemed so much more able to admit to even unflattering desires; the men felt guilty--or were made to feel guilty--about deviant desires.

Teo goes on to say:

You can see this most clearly in a series of the comments on the men’s thread where one man admits to S&M-type fantasies and another tells him that his desires could be very upsetting to women and feminist-type men...This is in sharp contrast to the women’s thread, where several women mentioned similar fantasies and other women, even if they themselves didn’t have or understand such desires, voiced their support. B mentions in the post introducing the men’s thread that men seem to have difficulty talking about sex, much more so than women, and I think this dynamic has a lot to do with that. When women talk about their fantasies, no matter how kinky or unusual, they’re just exploring their sexuality in a healthy way that is to be encouraged (at least by liberal, sex-positive people like those engaged in these discussions), but if men mention anything with even a slight tinge of violence or aggression, or even just desires that are significantly outside of the perceived norm, the default assumption is that they’re potentially dangerous because, you know, they just might act on those desires and that would be very bad. Indeed it would, but is there really any evidence that they will? Why are men with S&M fantasies considered potential rapists while women with similar fantasies are encouraged to pursue them (or at least not discouraged)?


 

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