While I'm as disgruntled as anyone working in a law firm, probably more disgruntled than most, either I've worked in some unusually civilized firms, or law firms get a consistently unfair rap. It's not that they aren't often dehumanizing and awful places to work, but I don't have any first-hand experience with partners who throw things or are verbally abusive, and I haven't heard many first-hand stories about incidents like that. I get the feeling that a lot of the stories come from lawyers who feel that an accurate description of what it can be like to work in a big law firm doesn't sufficiently convey the true awfulness of it; I know the grudges I cling to are over stuff that really wouldn't sound like much to someone who wasn't trying to do my job. I could be wrong, of course: maybe other associates get obscenities screamed at them more often than I do.
I find myself actually warming up a bit to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I saw them back in 2002 and it was a train wreck of a concert -- total ass. It was SO bad, it has become the punchline of many jokes between me and my friends and we all came out of there wanting to smack Karen O. Hard. (Did respect and like Nick Zinner, though.)
However. I find myself actually liking some of the songs off of Show Your Bones. Watch -- I'll start liking them just as a backlash begins, giving up my ability to say "See, I hated them all along."
This (admittedly superficial example), along with the arguments in the True Believer thread about whether it's possible to change the minds of Republicans, got me wondering -- what dearly held beliefs of yours have you changed in the last few years? What persuaded you?
Kevin Drum lists some reasons why liberal blogs tend to avoid Israel. As usual, it seems right to me. I avoid these conversations as much as possible because of the high risk of running into someone who's extremely enthused, totally convinced, and learned in the obscure lore of the conflict. Not a good time.
This also sounds right:
As near as I can tell, most conservatives simply take the uncomplicated stance that Palestinians are terrorists and that Israel should always respond to provocation in the maximal possible way. The fact that this hasn't worked very well in the past doesn't deter them. Liberals don't really have a similarly undemanding position that's suitable for the quick-hit nature of blogging.
One fine instance of this comes from the end of this long post by Hugh Hewitt. Responding to Greg Djererjian's endorsement of restraint, he says
Spoken like a fellow far from cities on which rockets fall. How would the United States react if scores and scores of rockets fell day and night on San Diego and Seattle? If terrorists operating from safe havens in Mexico and Canada crossed our borders, killed our troops, and kidnapped others for hostages.
Hugh himself is often the target of rocket attacks even when he's not on the front lines of the war on terror.
I went to dinner and drinks tonight with RightWingRyan, my token conservative friend, and his lovely wife. We hadn't gone out in about a year so I was curious to hear if he was at all doubting the Republicans or had started to sour on the administration. Nope -- Bush is doing a bang-up job on the economy, the war, and everything else. Oh, and global warming is bullshit.
Lindsay Beyerstein links to a story about an FTM transsexual scientist who's written an article in Nature about how differently his work is received now that people know him as Ben rather than Barbara.
(Sorry about the light, and low thought-high linkage posting. I've been working.)
Whenever the topic of breast implants comes up, at least one of the male commenters pipes in with some kind of "I can't tell the difference" comment. Is this for real? Are guys really that clueless? It seems so obvious. How can you not tell?
I generally don't post or comment on issues relating to Israel and the Palestinians, mostly because I don't feel educated enough to have an informed opinion in any but the vaguest sense, and it's such a bad tpic to be blithering on about uneducatedly. That said, I found this post of Hilzoy's informative, and the situation is looking grave enough that figuring out what's going on is starting to look important.
Yeah, this deserves promotion from the comments.
YNGWIE MALMSTEEN threatened to kill a fellow passenger on a flight to Tokyo, Japan after the woman poured a glassful of water on the guitarist.
The passenger, who had no prior contact with Yngwie, allegedly overheard Malmsteen making derogatory comments about homosexuals and decided to show her disapproval by emptying the contents of her glass on the hefty axeman.
Hefty axeman. Nice. Here's a picture of the event, only it's in a forest, not a plane, and instead of a woman it's some weird warrior dude, and instead of water it's a potion of magic elixir, but you can definitely tell it's Yngwie because even though he's in Medieval Times or whatnot he still brought his Strat, just in case some magic-user conjured up a Marshall stack.
UPDATE: you want the money quote, don't you? Yeah, I knew you did. What a great alert sound that makes. What, Yngwie? I've got mail? Thanks.
Part of my to-do list today involved learning Mozart's Symphony 41, which includes this fun line:
(Bass clef; one flat in the key signature; eighth-note= 72.)
The f# means starting on the d string, so my initial thought was just to stay there. This lets me play the high d with the octave harmonic, which helps to hide the shift down to the a. Cons: the b-flat to c# augmented second is kind of uncomfortable on that part of the neck, plus getting back up to the c natural is another intonation hazard.
So I gave in to what I imagine is the usual way of doing things-- play the first three notes on the d string, then go up the g string. At first this seemed obviously better because it's easier to play the line in tune. But there's a serious down side: I have to cross strings to play the d-a-c-natural bit, and that doesn't sound as smooth as it should. Plus it makes the line harder to pull off in one bow. (I could shift back and forth on the g string, but that's too messy.)
Right now I'm back to my first thought. The intonation got better with a little effort, but it's still annoying me. I'll see how it works in rehearsal, then, I predict, blow the whole thing by missing the entrance wondering about which fingering to use. Snakes on a plane, man. Snakes on a plane.
Chuck Klosterman bashes the creators of Snakes on a Plane for taking input from the blogosphere because filmmakers shouldn't change their movies based on audience feedback. God forbid. It's not like Hollywood does that already or anything.
And would curl up into a little ball and whimper like a kicked dog if I were either of the lawyers described herein. But it sure is funny. (With thanks to Idealist.)
In the end, I didn't wind up cooking my groceries on the Fourth. The green substance may have had something to do with it. But that Friday, I carted the over to my friend Kim's house, and we made marinated tofu fingers with spicy peanut sauce and kebabs with my brand new grill pan. Those things are amazing. Sixteen paltry dollars, and you have a grill on your stovetop. I didn't make the corn, because we had no margarine, and when I tried to make it days later it had become kind of nasty. But that evening, everything turned out smashingly--we ate on the Promenade on the East River, and Kim said it was the best meal she'd had in weeks--especially the spicy peanut sauce, which we liked so much we scooped up all the extra with baby carrots. I shall share the recipe with you all, although it should be noted that I can't vouch for the proportions, since I eyeballed. I may have made my sauce extra lemony.
1/3 cup (80 ml) plus 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/3 C. (80 ml) light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 pound (450 g) extra firm tofu, cut into 10 thick fingers
10 wooden skewers
1. To make the marinade, combine rice vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, and crushed red pepper flakes in a 1-quart saucepan. Gently warm over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Pour into a shallow baking dish and add the tofu fingers.
2. Marinate 4 to 12 hours, turning several times.
3. Insert 10 wooden skewers deeply into the tofu fingers, and grill the fingers on the barbecue for about 5 minutes, turning frequently to avoid burning.
SPICY PEANUT SAUCE
1/3 cup (80 ml) unsalted crunchy peanut butter
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon hot sauce
To make the peanut sauce, combine all the sauce ingredients in a bowl and stir with a wire whip until smooth and creamy. Serve the tofu fingers with the sauce on the side. The sauce can be made a day ahead and refrigerated. Makes 2/3 cup (160 ml) sauce.
See, this is how it starts. First you start letting teh gays marry, and the next thing you know, they want to play sports. Sports! Is there no American institution the New York Times won't assault?
There’s a hot old guy modeling naked for my art class. The lighting in the pose is beautiful, and he has powerful, sculpted legs that look like they belong on a statue. His face is handsome and chiseled, and from my position below the platform he looks like he’s staring off into the upper distance with steely resolve. The effect kind of disappears when he puts on his clothes: shorts, a white polo shirt, and loafers. Then I notice his combover, and it’s like, “hey grandpa.” Still, if my husband looks like that when he’s sixty, I will be lucky indeed. Anyway, I was dishing about how handsome he was with a woman who’s probably about fifty during the first class, and then during the second I overheard the following:
50 year old woman (somewhat breathily): Did you ever model? I mean, for clothing?
Model: No, I just started here last Thursday.
50 year old woman (claps hand to her chest): You’re kidding! You’re incredible at it, you know.
Model: Thank you.
50 YOW: And you have such a handsome face.
I was simultaneously amused and a bit scandalized. I think it should maybe be off limits to hit on the naked models. It would definitely not feel kosher if it was a woman. Meanwhile, I got to hear my teacher excoriate the guy painting next to me in her small, quiet, anxious way. He suggested he wanted to bulk up the model in his painting, “make him more masculine.”
“I’m very concerned by that,” said my teacher, knitting her brows. “Are you doing an ad for a muscle magazine? This model is perfect and whole just how he is. What you said was not compassionate.” She gestured to paintings by Rembrandt he had in his paint case. “Those paintings are compassionate. Why would you want to cosmeticize the world when you can portray it truthfully?”
I love my teacher a little. She is awfully dogmatic about faithful representation in all ways. But that makes her a great person to learn how to see from.
Misha, the true face of the right today:
So keep that in mind. Should we ever make the mistake of capturing any of the perpetrators of the war crime against PFCs Menchaca and Tucker alive, we can forget about interrogating them in order to catch the rest, according to the Supreme Whores. Well, unless they’re willing to give up information if we ask “pretty please?”, since anything other than that has been deemed illegal by those blackrobed tyrants. Are we exaggerating? Try doing anything to those mutilating darlings of the Supremes in order to extract life-saving intel from them, and then wait for the Supreme Whores to decide that you were “humiliating” them in doing so.
Five ropes, five robes, five trees.
Some assembly required.
Now we can create a comments section isomorphic to Patterico's! I can't wait for the fun hijinks. (I am sort of curious to see who says no, this is not ok, but it's not like it matters much.)
UPDATE: Riehl World View does come up with condemnation:
I'm not going to condemn that from Misha because I don't see it as anything other than hyperbole and it's Misha's blog and a matter of free individual speech. But I will say something about Greenwald, as he seems determined to make himself the most annoying little twit of the Left - perhaps, in his mind, a star.
There's obviously lots of bad stuff going on right now, but this is something:
The Pentagon memo, issued last Friday and released today, orders that all detainees be treated in compliance with what is known as Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, a passage that requires humane treatment and a minimum standard of judicial protections for prisoners.
The White House spokesman, Tony Snow, said today that the Pentagon memo was “not really a reversal of policy’’ because detainees were already being treated humanely. A top Pentagon lawyer also insisted, in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee today, that the memo “doesn’t indicate a shift in policy.”
For the half-empty side, I note that hearing this on the radio really struck me-- this is news?
I promise to stop with the Goldstein stuff. But I can't resist this thread, which juxtaposes mildly interesting discussions of literary theory (authorial intent! it's like my sophomore year of college all over again) with even more interesting instances of blog nastiness. The best of the internet!
Just last night Husband X and I were discussing the possibility of such a home. There could be art therapy with people who understand your special needs, where the recovering insane pop genius could first weave potholders, then make dreamcatchers incorporating found objects, move on to wax-resist ukrainian easter eggs, and finally carve a 12-inch EP out of lightweight yet durable balsawood. That Neutral Milk Hotel guy, Jeff Mangum, would finally be able to get off the streets. This dude is clearly headed there too (I say this based on the music alone, which I highly recommend to everyone except Ben, because he's too cool to like it). Surely someone from the Incredible String Band needs to get help at the SBMHDPG as well, if only CBT for the acid flashbacks. Ooh, and maybe Cat Power could do a retreat there and get over her stage fright! If it didn't work, at least she'd have the potholders. And I hear they do a great juice fast.
I sort of gather this woman's true stories from life as a clerk in a porn video store were widely linked about sometime back in the day, but I never read them until just now. Hilarious. You may need the hand sanitizer...of the mind!
There is a new title in the straight section: V8. The caption says "Four in the ass and four in the pussy!" It was the first box that has given me pause in a while. "Sweet Jesus," I thought, "Where would everyone stand?" Calmer reflection and the laws of physics have convinced me that they can't possibly mean penises, or at least not all at once, but I'm afraid to turn the box over and find out for sure.Now I'm all curious (pouts). But there are also touching moments like this:
I used to feel happy for elderly gay men who rent porn because they finally have an outlet after all these years, but completely creeped out by elderly straight men. Now that I’ve been at the store for awhile, I’ve progressed. I’m creeped out by both.
There's not getting it and then there's really, really not getting it.
Here are some quotes from a pro-abortion person, Miss Caroline Weber, who wrote an article at The Onion online magazine.
I had to check the archives to make sure I wasn't falling for meta-satire, but no. This guy was completely serious. I didn't read many of the 240+ comments, as I expect them to mostly be variations on a theme, but about ten down, this one captured it well: "I'm pro life, but sweet Jesus you're an idiot. For your next post, how about a passionate speech on the need to immediately free Prince Albert from the can?"
There's an inviting but unsettled area on the conceptual map, and I'm thinking of claiming it. Most people are all "sure, joking about toddler-killing is bad, but so are threats of cock-slapping" or "no, you must say only 'toddler-killing is bad,' nothing else."
I say: let us say yes to the killing of toddlers. After we kill all the toddlers, we will kill all people who allude to the chirping of crickets to condemn silence.*
Here is more if you want it. For the record, I think S,N! should just say that there's not much evidence that Jeff Goldstein or anyone but Deb Frisch doctored Deb Frisch's comments. There is, however, compelling evidence that Jeff Goldstein is disturbing and toolish.
*Woe indeed to a toddler who uses allusions to crickets in this way; this is worse, even, than a toddler claiming to understand Russell's theory of types.
The 'chickenhawk' argument is still percolating along over at Apostropher's. I posted a comment there which summed up my thinking on when it's an appropriate jibe to make, and why. It's not that veterans or military men have any special right to be deferred to on matters of military policy, it's that people advocating belligerent policies have a tendency to rhetorically imply that their belligerence reflects their own personal qualities -- military knowledge, 'realism', even personal courage -- and that those qualities give their policy preferences more credibility. It's not a substantive claim, it's an implicit, rhetorical claim, and that's why the appropriate response is mockery: pointing out that policy belligerence is absolutely unconnected with first-hand experience with 'military reality', and that if advocates of belligerence are going to try to make the argument about personal bravery, and first-hand experience with war, and familiarity with military realities, many of them are going to come up short.
It would have been silly and pointless to call Thomas a 'chickenhawk', or raise the issue of his lack of military service at all, if he'd been content to disagree with the Hamdan plurality on the law, or on the appropriateness of deference to the executive. When he decided for rhetorical purposes to attribute the plurality's wrongness to Stevens' unfamiliarity with the realities of war, though, he laid claim to a superior status -- that he was more knowledgable and realistic about war because the outcome he advocated was more ruthless (after all, if he were making a purely legal point, where do the realities of war come into it at all?) -- and that rhetorical claim deserves mockery. It deserves mockery whoever makes it, whatever their personal history, but when someone with no military experience directs that claim at a war veteran, the mockery writes itself.
So I propose a truce: if people with belligerent views will stop laying claim to superior personal knowlege, or valor, or military realism on the sole basis of those views, I'll stop making fun of them for it.
I know that part of what makes this funny is happening across it at the Volokh Conspiracy, but still.
1. If a person likes Green Day's sound, but not their politics, what other bands might the person enjoy?
2. What do you recommend as an entry-level shotgun for a pre-teen? It's really important that the stock be short, to accomodate short arms. If the shotgun will only be used on clay birds, and never for hunting live animals, is there any disadvantage to 28 gauge or .410?
Wait, what are the cultural affiliations of this blog? I can't quite make them out...
When I was at the theater to see Superman, I had to sit through the trailer for "Lady in the Water," the latest from M Night Shyamalan. It looks intensely painful. Like Signs, only with water! It's a haunted swimming pool! If you're going to be a one-trick pony, at least have one good trick.
Jesus, soccer is lame. But Crooked Timber threads are funny so go there if you want to read some Zidane discussion.
After looking at the video, I'm struck by how non-violent the thing was. After hearing about it, I'd assumed Zidane head-butted the guy on the head and maybe broke open his nose or something. But he hits Materazzi in the chest; the Italian characteristically flops and acts as though he's been gut-shot. Think about the angles involved and keep in mind that this is Zidane's skull contacting something below head level. That's a weak hit-- it's basically a shove.
Jesus, soccer is lame.
While I was over at Gary's I ran into a post called "Most of this really is horse shit" and yes indeed it is. It's an article by Dinesh D'Souza about how America is great (true!) because of how the poor flourish (not so much!).
*update: do read Gary's post for a more serious response and some good links to relevant information.*
I excerpt some fun paragraphs but I won't take all the fun of complaining about them. If you pick out the thing that most annoys me, I'll pretend that I'm sending you a very special prize!
In the United States, on the other hand, the social ethic is egalitarian, regardless of wealth. For all his riches, Bill Gates could not approach a homeless person and say, “Here’s a $100 bill. I’ll give it to you if you kiss my feet.” Most likely the homeless guy would tell Gates to go to hell. The American view is that the rich guy may have more money, but he isn’t in any fundamental sense better than you are. The American janitor or waiter sees himself as performing a service, but he doesn’t see himself as inferior to those he serves. And neither do the customers see him that way: They are generally happy to show him respect and appreciation on a plane of equality. America is the only country in the world where we call the waiter “Sir,” as if he were a knight.
The moral triumph of America is that it has extended the benefits of comfort and affluence, traditionally enjoyed by very few, to a large segment of society. Very few people in America have to wonder where their next meal is coming from. Even sick people who don’t have money or insurance will receive medical care at hospital emergency rooms. The poorest American girls are not humiliated by having to wear torn clothes. Every child is given an education, and most have the chance to go on to college. The common man can expect to live long enough and have enough free time to play with his grandchildren.
Ordinary Americans not only enjoy security and dignity, but also comforts that other societies reserve for the elite. We now live in a country where construction workers regularly pay $4 for a cappuccino, where maids drive nice cars, where plumbers take their families on vacation to Europe. As Irving Kristol once observed, there is virtually no restaurant in America to which a CEO can go to lunch with the absolute assurance that he will not find his secretary also dining there. Given the standard of living of the ordinary American, it is no wonder that socialist or revolutionary schemes have never found a wide constituency in the United States. As Werner Sombart observed, all socialist utopias in America have come to grief on roast beef and apple pie.
What a big dumb movie this is. What's so frustrating about it, I think, isn't just that the basic story has so much interesting material to work with, but that the movie takes pains to point this out only to leave almost all of it behind. Superman's back among his adopted people after a long trip to the wreckage of his home, but his brief moment of sadness and reflection don't go anywhere. Lois has written a celebrated essay on why Superman's not needed, but (as some reviewers have pointed out) we have no idea what she says in it, and halfway interesting questions about the role of a Superman among ordinary people fall by the wayside. Lex Luthor is plotting an evil real-estate scheme [sic], and he occasionally makes noises about the triumph of human intellect over superheroes, but none of this is used to explain why he's such a dick. You get the idea.
I know, I know, it's a summer movie. Fair enough. I'd be less irritated if it replaced character depth or Big Theme musings with cool superheroic action, but no. We get long slow stretches of uselessness instead, and still the relationships don't make any sense. These people don't have to be cartoons.
I was surprised to find myself thinking a lot about Gary Farber when I was watching this film, though not because of his striking resemblance to Brandon Routh. The comix aren't my thing, but I can understand how they're someone else's thing, and I have a lot of sympathy for people who love them so much having to see them treated so badly.
(Asides: couldn't we just lose Clark Kent completely? He's kind of annoying, he couldn't possibly be fooling anyone, and I've kind of lost track of why Superman needs an alter ego in the first place. I know Gary will get pissed at this, but, honestly, Lois hooks up with Mr Tights and doesn't notice the eerie resemblance to her goofy colleague? Also, Kevin Spacey? We get that you can do campy. Thanks.)
So guess where I am? Home. And guess why? Because Buck's out of town, and the bus that was supposed to show up at 8:15 to take the kids to summer day camp hasn't gotten here yet. (They went to the wrong address, and then drove off. This despite the fact that I was on the phone with the camp at 10 minute intervals from 8:25 on, asking what was going on. They didn't tell me that the bus driver thought he'd been to my address already until we'd been standing on the goddamn street corner for an hour.) They claim that another bus will show up real soon now. [Okay, it just did.]
This was not a good day to slouch into work three hours late -- I've got things I need to do.
The link to this week's Modern Love. Which isn't even about love this time. I guess the "Love" part is less important than the commitment to writing that makes you want bang your head against the wall.
This week's topic hits close to home for many of us - it's about a girl and her Internetical friends and acquaintances. (The author does deserve credit for probably being the first person ever to call Fark "beautiful and touching".) While I feel like I should have liked this article, as I recognized some things that the author described, I instead found it even more annoying than most weeks' columns. Perhaps it's because the author seems to be using all of the online stuff for score-keeping - who has the most friends on MySpace, how many sites she can join, etc. Who cares?
Sorry about that. I thought a Deb Frisch comment here would be a fun way of continuing our "people we talk about showing up in the threads" streak, but the resulting tiresomeness wasn't worth it at all.
Sadly, No comes through with a funny way to say "wait, who's uncivil?"