This NYT Styles article about whether FTM transexuals are letting the lesbian side down is sort of boring, although the prospect of newly minted men playing sports at women's colleges is funny. There are obligatory "The L Word" references--hey, why isn't ogged watching that? I don't know whether it's actually supposed to be good. Certainly there's 0 chance it's as good as Deadwood. Anyway, the main thing I was thinking was, damn, they make some realistic looking dudes out of lesbians these days! (This was the focus of the article. I assume there must be straight women who want to become gay men out there.) It's still difficult for surgeons to create a penis for a woman. I think you're stuck with a permanently semi-hard penis, since they can't engineer erectile tissue. Let's see, the wikipedia article on phalloplasty tells us that "There are several types of erectile prostheses, ranging from simple rods that have a hinge so that the neo-penis can either stand up or hang down, to elaborate pumping systems." A hinge! Kind of awesome, frankly. There's no way they can move your clitoris to the end, either, so...what, you have an incredibly sensitive place about 1/2 inch along from the base? Bring on the oral sex, baby! I wonder if everyone who gets the operation goes for the full 10"? I totally would. Buck Angel (Transexual with a Pussy TM) hasn't gone this route, obviously, but he does have a blog. A blog with a contest you can enter to fuck him in a porno while wearing an identity-concealing mask, I might add. I don't know why we've never run one here at unfogged.
Not an actual update but a reflection on re-reading before publishing: I can't believe I mentioned Deadwood up there. I'm just going to leave it.
Three Veronica Mars posts in a week? It's the accelerated post-surgery TV review. I just finished season two, which was fun, but my dispassionate assessment is...meh. Too much going on, too many ends that didn't seem tied up, and mainly, a villian that just wasn't all that believable. Maximum Evil on the rooftop? Didn't buy it. In any case, on to Deadwood.
Armsmasher's hosting -- or if he doesn't want to, you can all fight it out. If anyone shows up who doesn't know how to play, some kind soul find the rules for them, wouldja?
I am a very high-quality woman. I know that sounds arrogant, but let's consider the facts:
* I am not Jacqueline Passey.
You can all try to date me now.
Now that we know that the would-be terrorists were actually woefully underprepared and had selected a method that, even in ideal conditions, would have been pretty hard to pull off, about how long can we wait before someone releases a movie in which a bunch of inept bumblers try to shock and intimidate a large nation using primitive but effective tactics, only to fail hilariously in one pathetic wise after another? It could be like Bottle Rocket (or that one recently-remade Ealing comedy whose name I, being completely unfamiliar with the whole style, do not remember) on a grand scale. Just imagine the physical comedy possibilities that an attempt to perform some delicate chemistry in the straitened circle of an airplane restroom affords!
Over the past few days, I've seen a bunch of liberal blogs saying things like "Even nutty wingnut X is criticizing George Bush." Might I suggest that we're being played, and that this is part of Keep the White House '08, in which Republicans will say that George Bush screwed up, lost his nerve, and made a situation in which only a steady Republican hand at the tiller can save us? The right response to these attempts to distance the Republican party from George Bush is, "he did what he did with the full support of you and every other Republican in the media and the Congress."
I've been playing around with the accidentally released AOL search data and it is certainly entertaining. Just for kicks, I looked up the search strings that led the AOL users to Unfogged. The list is behind the cut.
a silver dish bellow
alexis bledel naked
garrison kellior jokes
goggle gay sex
hiccups during a meeting hiccups during a speech
hookergate gay prostitutes
how to do pop n lock dance
japanese fear factor little piglets
jerry buss girlfriend
men crush flat by platform shoes
natalie portman revealing pics the professional
nun kidnapped in singapore
poem i had no shoes til i saw someone with no feet
psychological meaning of dance with me
tina fey facial scar
what guys want from the gay guy
what my girl does not want to have anal sex
why i think michael jordans in a genius
www.easy game chets
You can all love your Buffy and whatever else, but Veronica Mars wins hands down for characters being hilariously nasty to each other. Here's the background: Logan and Trina (your friend, Alyson Hannigan) are brother and sister, the millionaire children of a washed-up movie star. Logan is in high-school, and staying temporarily with his friend, the billionaire son of a software mogul. Logan is also having an affair with his other friends' step-mom, Kendall Casablancas, a shamelessly gold-digging former cheerleader. Ok then.
Kendall: That was perfect, baby. Oh, it feels so good to be with you, I just want to be with you all the time.
Logan: Uh, bit of advice: when looking for a sugar daddy, at least pick the richest guy in the hotel suite. ...I'm sorry. Did that hurt your feeling?
Kendall: I can't believe you just said that to me. Doesn't this mean anything to you?
Logan: It does. It means I'm getting laid. And I owe your village a goat.
Trina: Wait a minute. Are you, like, sleeping with my little brother? What is he, thirteen?
Kendall: Thirteen? He wishes. So, is this your much older sister I've heard nothing about?
Logan: Oh yes, where are my manners? Kendall Casablancas, Trina Echolls. Rode hard, meet put away wet.
Trina: I'm guessing she's the wet one. Well, I'd love to stay and chat, but I've got places to be.
Kendall: Where? Is there a club where you, Dedee Pfeiffer, Joey Travolta, and Melissa Rivers all meet for drinks?
Trina: There is. I don't think you'd like it, it's twenty-one and over. We're hitting an after party at Chuck E. Cheese, though, if you're free. 'Kay, well, I need him in bed by ten p.m. sharp. He's got school tomorrow. 'Night, all.
Logan: Well, the joke's on her: she came over to borrow my video camera. The girl does love a good exit line.
JonBenet's killer: creepiest guy ever? You can see video at CNN right now. Aren't people supposed to blink when they're stressed? Blink, dude! Who hired this guy to teach second grade? And shouldn't there be a law that if you're a grade school teacher and you ever go to Thailand, you should be put in jail?
So as more details of the 'blowing up planes with liquids' plot come out, it appears that "Home Secretary John Reid, Britain's chief law-and-order official, acknowledged that some of the suspects would likely not be charged with major criminal offenses." But, but, they were conspiring to kill thousands! We know that, don't we? And they were just about to, any day now, which is why we can't carry water on planes any more! Well, maybe not any day now: " the would-be bombers wanted to carry out an al-Qaida-style attack to mark the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 strikes, but were too "inexperienced" to carry out the plot." Actually, it appears that many of the 'bombers' "did not even have passports, which given the efficiency of the UK Passport Agency would mean they couldn't be a plane bomber for quite some time." But absolutely, "if the terror cell members arrested in Pakistan and Britain had appropriate weapons and explosives training, they could have emulated massive attacks like those five years ago in New York and Washington as well as the July 7, 2005, London bombings."*
There's a perfectly reasonable chance that some of the people arrested were planning to hurt people, and that if they'd been left alone, they might have managed it. Yay for law enforcement. But at this point, anything that the Administration (ours or in the UK) releases about a terrifying new terrorist plot is pretty much guaranteed to be mostly bullshit. That's why we need them out of power, so we can start taking this stuff seriously again.
(Via Ezra Klein and Andy Sullivan. It's also worth reading this Making Light comment thread on the practicality of mixing up liquid explosives from reagents on the plane (surprise: it's apparently low), and for Times Select subscribers, Bob Herbert on the reliability of the kind of information you get by threatening people's families with torture (surprise: also low.))
Update: An interesting description of the practical challenges related to brewing up a batch of TATP out of peroxide and acetone in the airplane bathroom. Via Kevin Drum.
* And if my grandmother had wheels, she'd be a teacart.
I'm confused. I know I've been away from the blog for a while, and now that I'm back it feels like the rules have changed. If I were asked to make a list of the things it's ok to make fun of people for--things they have no control over, not lame shit like "being mean"--I would have said, off the top of my head, "being fat," "being ugly," "being a fresh off the boat immigrant," "being a Republican," "being hairy," "being dumb," "being really short," and "being stereotypically whatever ethnicity/race they are." In the past couple of weeks, I'm pretty sure I've been told that none of those are ok. So a question for the Unfoggeteriat: what things that people have no control over is it ok to make fun of them for? You can answer "nothing," but if you do, please realize that that is pretty much the very definition of "humorless" as red-blooded Americans, for whom I believe I speak in this matter, use the term. Thanks for your help.
Sitting here in my mom's quiet suburban home, we're nightly serenaded by the chirping of crickets. Just a few minutes ago, we heard what sounded like a cricket caught on a power line, making what I can only describe as a cricket shrieking sound. It was loud enough that my mom and I both wandered over to check it out and discovered that it was coming from right outside my window. We fetched a flashlight and saw...a mouse. How does a mouse make that sound? By catching and devouring one massive living cricket. I'll go have my nightmare now.
I know I have crazy liberal ideas about how government should work, but don't you think that if the residents of your state
have reported seeing and hearing a mysterious animal with chilling monstrous cries and eyes that glow in the night. The animal has been blamed for attacking and killing a Doberman pinscher and a Rottweiler the past couple of years.
And then this turns up dead:
That someone might want to, you know, go check it out?
Wildlife officials and animal control officers declined to go to Turner to examine the remains. By Tuesday, the carcass had been picked clean by vultures and there was not much left of the dead animal.
After about a dozen people online and off recommended Veronica Mars, I finally succumbed. If you haven't seen it, it's something of a cross between Alias, with the sleuthing hottie, Buffy, with the banter and big high-school issues, and The O.C., with the decadent westcoast debauchery. I've only watched season one (and a bit of season two), but I admit that I enjoyed it. The dialogue is self-consciously clever, but far more enjoyable than the make- you- want- to- kill- everyone- on- the- screen-not-nearly-as-clever-as-you-thinkness of Buffy; Kristen Bell as Veronica is appropriately cute-but-not-beautiful and believably smart (pretty rare in actors, don't you think?) and I love the scenes between Veronica and her dad, who is a great dad.
There's also a pretty well-executed theme of class conflict throughout the show, and I have no idea what or whether high-school students think, but the high-school stuff seems realistic to me. It's also nice that interracial relationships are treated so casually. And I'm glad that just about everyone on the show is totally hot. Carrie Bishop? Hell yeah!
Minor gripes: Teddy Dunn, who plays Duncan Kane, has very, very little charisma, and though Francis Capra is ok as the leader of the motorcycle gang, it's impossible not to think "that Capra?" every time I see him, and that detracts from his wrong-side-of-the-tracks toughness. Also, sometimes the show is a bit too The O.C. for my taste.
Trivia: did you know that Harry Hamlin and Lisa Rinna, who play the Echolls, are married in real life? Given how their relationship goes in the show, I thought that was pretty awesome.
Overall: fun stuff!
Beautifying your neighborhood, one pile at a time. The one with the pigeons is my favorite.
At the end of the last thread on women and weight, a couple of people started bringing up men and height -- how acceptable it is for women to dismiss men as categorically unattractive because they're too short. This is something where I'm not guiltless -- at 5' 7", I've only ever been involved with one man shorter than I was (for those who read all the comments, the lobster hypnotizer.) While most men are still taller than I am, odds are that if I weren't using it as a standard I would have dated shorter more often than that. And I do find tall, particularly very tall, an actively attractive quality.
I think what's going on here is enforcing gender norms: something that's going on for most of us is the belief that men are supposed to be larger and stronger than women, particularly in a romantic context. Lobster H's height never gave me a moment's pause, and I think it was largely because he was a heavily muscled fireplug of a guy -- there wasn't anything like a question about who was stronger. But short (particularly shorter than a romantic partner), in a man, reads as feminine, and feminine as sexually unattractive. (Similarly, while few men will judge tall women as objectively unattractive, lots of men are reluctant to date taller. If average height for men is 5' 10, and for women is 5'6", I'd bet that a 6'0" woman suffers nearly as much of a romantic penalty as a 5'4" man.)
So, I dunno. This looks like another job for "Can we stop aggressively enforcing rigid gender roles already?" Even if shortness is marked as a feminine quality, there's no reason that a little femininity should be the kiss of death, romantically, for men.
Pa(ma)ndagon links to a Details article characterizing these women:
among others as looking like
Guys, if you ever want to talk to a woman who isn't insane again, you have to cut this shit out.
1. Democrats should use the phrase, "the difference between security and blowing stuff up," to criticize Republican national security policy.
2. The Cost of War website is great, but what we really need is one short (scrupulously honest and well-sourced) page that says, "for the amount of money spent on the Iraq war we could have done all of the following:" Followed by a list of things like "put an air marshall on every single domestic flight," installed three high-tech bomb scanners at every major airport," "inspected twice as many containers at our ports," "stationed around-the-clock guards at every major chemical plant," etc. Specific, concrete, comprehensive; not abstract stats like "hired one million more policemen." I imagine it would be a very impressive list.
Kevin Drum, Josh Marshall, and Ezra Klein are all posting about how they used to be calm, civil, moderate types, and have become much more partisan and aggressive due to the current poisonous political atmosphere coming from the Right. While they're three of my favorite bloggers, and I like the moderate, civil tone, I don't understand the process of radicalization they've gone through.
Or, rather, I don't understand where they were beforehand. There's nothing uncivil, or immoderate, about noticing and pointing out when someone is telling you things that are demonstrably untrue. There's nothing uncivil, or immoderate, about knowing that there are people in power who disagree with you about desirable policy goals, and knowing that if you think your goals are important, you have to defeat the opposition to get them enacted. And there's nothing new about partisan insanity coming from the right -- the video 'establishing' that Clinton was a murderous druglord was being circulated over ten years ago. While civilly engaging with the opposition's arguments, and being convinced by them if they are, in fact, convincing, is always a sensible thing to do, being cynical about the motives and tactics of everyone in the political world is equally a necessary and sensible thing.
So I'm not understanding what happened to these guys -- where they are now seems perfectly sane and rational, but I can't quite picture where they thought they were starting from.
One of Tyler Cowen's readers is thinking about joining the Peace Corps, and wants to know if it's useful or pointless dogooderism. As an RPCV -- Peace Corps Samoa, 92-94 -- I figured I'd put up my thoughts on the subject.
The substantive work I did wasn't all that useful. I was teaching math and science to high school senior equivalents, and it was really kind of pointless: first, the students had been very poorly taught before I got them, so was trying to teach calculus to kids who weren't solid on long division, and I couldn't do much to make the syllabus more appropriate to the students because I was prepping them for an external exam (think AP) at the end of the year. Second, while my educational background was a lot better than was available on the local job market, there were local teachers available who had enough math to do my job perfectly well, and they would have been able to do it better than I did, due to better cultural communication with the kids, and greater experience -- teaching's difficult, and no one's terribly good at it in their first two years. My value to the Samoan government was solely that I was free, because the US paid my salary, and they would otherwise have had to pay a Samoan teacher to do the same job. I was the equivalent of a cash payment of about $3500/year (a teacher' s salary, if I've done the math right) to the Samoan government.
That said, my issues are program-specific. Peace Corps is very different from one country to the next, and I had the impression that PC Samoa was particularly pointless -- Samoa wasn't greatly in need of the sort of assistance PC provides well, so another country's program might have been better.
However, and this is the big kicker, while I don't know how useful PC is generally to the people we're trying to help, I'm very certain that it is incredibly, incredibly helpful to the US's image abroad. Samoa gets a lot of foreign aid, because it's both poor and peaceful. Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and China all had programs costing tens of millions of dollars in road building, harbor dredging -- expensive, useful stuff. The US gave very little aid comparatively, but a whole lot of Volunteers, and we got the credit for everything. No one cares if you buy them an office building, but a couple of dozen twenty-somethings going to the village dances and trying to help people, even if it's totally ineffective, is spectacular PR. If I were graduating from college and wanted to do something patriotic, rather than simply charitable, joining the Peace Corps would be high on my list. (And if I were the US government, I'd be pushing PC into more Muslim countries, even loosening the safety requirements, for this very reason. If you could get people to volunteer for assignments that dangerous, getting PCV's into schools all over Afghanistan would, I bet, have an incredibly positive effect on attitudes toward America.)
Dikembe Mutombo has raised $29 million to build a 300 bed hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where he's originally from. $15 million of the funds are a personal donation from Mutombo himself. It's named after his mother, Biamba Marie Mutombo, who died when she couldn't get to a hospital due to unrest in the streets.
Given that this is a dedicated Mutombo fansite, I figured you'd all want to know.
A friend and I went to see the movie Half Nelson this weekend, which is about a crack-addicted inner-city middle school teacher. It was very good (I'd highly recommend it) but afterwards I reflected that there are large number of careers that I would be interested in doing that I could never pull off because I'm not responsible enough, teacher being one of them. Sure, if you're going to set the bar at "don't smoke crack in front of your students", I'd be OK, but there's no way I could consistently get my ass into a classroom at 7:30 every morning.
As our conversation unfolded, I realized that crises didn't scare me as much as more mundane expectations of responsibility. Like, at work, if the whole computer system crashes and I have to run around to get it back up RIGHT NOW because 400 people can't do any work? No sweat. I've got that covered. But expect me to be at work by 8 AM to run diagnostics to make sure the system is up? That's too much pressure. The same thing when I think about having kids and stuff. The idea that Hypothetical Kid might fall and break his arm and I have to take him to the hospital? That doesn't scare me at all. I know I'd have that under control. But I'm totally afraid that I would forget to drop HK off at day care and he'd be home alone all day in his crib.
Rob Helpy-Chalk's anecdote is too good not to pull up from comments.
You know, strangely, my daughter's pretend life has been becoming weirdly violent lately. Other three-year-olds have imaginary friends, but Caroline and her cohort have an imaginary enemy. His name is Jack. One day, when I was charged with watching the little crew as the played in the backyard, Caroline's friend A. announced that she was going to "shoot Jack with a gun" because he had "stolled our stuff and then fibbed." I said, "A., I don't even want you pretending to play with guns." A. responded by whispering in Caroline's ear that she was going to feed Jack ice cream with poison sprinkles.
A Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Labor Department, Karen Czarnecki, has a regular paid gig as a "conservative analyst" on a PBS show. She also appears frequently on Fox, and less often on other channels, as a conservative pundit. Apparently none of her appearances have involved identifying her as a high-level Administration appointee rather than as Jane Conservative off the street.
She seems to be in the clear ethically -- she's on her own time, and isn't doing anything wrong -- but since when do theoretically impartial newsmakers give a representative of an organization a soapbox without identifying their affiliations? It's like having your car column written by a VP at GM without mentioning it. Goodness only knows what PBS was thinking -- "Please don't cut my funding again," maybe? (via TPM Muckraker.)
On my way to the bookstore I saw a license plate reading "MENTSH." I interpreted this as a variation on "mensch," which let me muse a bit about how calling yourself a mensch means that you probably aren't. What other predicates are in this general category? (That is, predicates such that self-ascription is inconclusive evidence against the ascription's truth.) "Modest"? "Virtuous," too, maybe, as well as "extraordinarily moronic."
I'm offline for a bit. I'll return with exciting travel stories.
Something to keep in mind when looking at George Bush's very low approval ratings.
The first administration of the first century of the American Third Millennium will, in my estimation, be remembered as one of the biggest failures of that century. Bush's great failure was, not invading Iraq, but not weathering the adversity that followed through acts of real leadership, and then pressing on with the necessary military destruction of the other regimes he, himself, named as most dangerous five years ago.
I'm hoping we can get through the next two years without any major disasters, and then I'm looking to elect a real war leader to the White House - somebody with a warrior's temperament and a leader's skills. George Bush has neither. He is a dangerous failure, and America will be well rid of him.
As an aside, I was watching a History Channel program on Genghis Khan that had a visitor to Beijing shortly after GK's pillaging and burning of it saying that "the streets were slippery with human fat."
I'm in my mid-twenties. Recently, in the fluorescent glare of a friend's bathroom, I looked in the mirror and saw two hairline cracks forming in the crease between my cheek and my upper lip, and two others bracketing my mouth like undersized parantheses. I'm not happy about this. It's not just vanity about looking old; as these things become more pronounced, I think they will wind up making me look cruel; my mother has a very prounounced cheek fold and she looks fairly sour, even when her face is at rest, because of it. Even though I'm concerned about a wrinkle and not a fold, I think it will produce the same effect. Is there something I can do to stave off wrinkle formation? I know there are anti-wrinkle creams; do any of them work? (And why is it that a wrinkle cream and an anti-wrinkle cream are the same thing? Shouldn't they be opposites?) Help me, LizardBreath; you're my only hope.
Gnarled in Gnew York
Sadly, I'm the wrong blogger to address the practical end of this to -- despite my recent spa visit, I've got no depth of knowledge about beauty treatments. I rub drugstore lotion (Lubriderm: favored by hospitals nationwide!) into my skin in the winter, when dryness makes it hurt, and I wash daily. Every so often, in a fit of "Women are supposed to do this sort of thing, aren't they?" I buy some product that someone else mentions, and use it for a bit, and then realize that it has no visible effect whatsoever and stop. So maybe there's something effective out there, short of the crazy stuff like getting Botoxed (which, don't do it. It makes people look really weird. And it's injecting poison into your face.) but if there is, I don't know about it. Readers and co-bloggers, particularly the rosy-toed Alameida, who seems to be on top of the complex and beguiling world of cosmetics?
On the larger esthetic issues, really don't worry about it. On the straight vanity issue, you know that the incipient wrinkles you mention are approximately a million times more visible to you than to anyone else. Dollars to doughnuts (a phraseology that inflation has made archaic, given that a doughnut costs about a dollar these days), if you're in your mid-twenties, ten years from now you're going to be attempting to point these wrinkles out to someone and they will mock you because the wrinkles are still going to be awfully hard to see.
On the 'looking cruel' issue -- I've never met anyone who I knew well enough to form an opinion of their character, where I thought their face was misleading. Assuming you aren't a cruel person, lines on your face won't make you look like one; they'll make you look like whatever sort of person you are. Even if they're the same lines that make someone else look cruel, on you they won't, at least not to the people who know you well enough that you should care about what they think.
So relax. But stay out of the sun. I hear it causes wrinkles.
I had what I call a "situational crush" on Kyle. I do that sometimes, if I'm bored and need to liven up my daily routine a bit. I'll create a random crush on, oh, the guy who gives me my coffee every morning. So I can look forward to seeing him, have a flirty-flirt, and go on with my day unscathed. It breaks up the routine. I will also create a situational crush if I'm having a particularly great time in my life - (doing something that is out of the ordinary routine). Sometimes the situational crush will blossom into something significant - but more often than not, it's just something to pass the time in a more pleasant way. I believe that a lot of actor marriage breakups begin as "situational crushes". As in: Okay, I am making this movie in Mozambique, and I am out of my ordinary routine for 4 months, home is far far away, I am SO busy doing this movie ... and so .... hmmm ... my costar ... let me just get a little crush on him to make my time here even MORE fun and sparkley and shimmery, etc. If you're married, then the Mozambique situational crush can turn into a tabloid debacle - but if you're not married? Have at it!!Situational crushes don't need to go anywhere. Situational crushes don't need to be referred to, spoken about, or acknowledged. You do not ever need to declare yourself to your situational crush (ie: "I have a wicked crush on you. Will you please kiss me before I go insane?") . Nothing even needs to HAPPEN with the situational crush. It is just there to be enjoyed, savored. Situational crushes are also good if you are bruised a bit from heartache, and don't feel ready to risk it all again - and yet don't want to traipse through the boroughs of Manhattan having sordid one-night stands. Because there is very little risk in the situational crush. You can pretend you're 13 years old again (but without the baby fat, and crank calls, and horrific social rituals). You can have a crush without needing ANYthing from it. You can just enjoy the other person, and get a little stomach fluttery at the thought of seeing them ... A situational crush can remind you, in key moments, in low moments, that you are still alive. That you are still capable of having those feelings again. Again: without the risk. Did I mention that part? Without the risk. That's my favorite part.