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It is good that people like this exist

Posted by Ben
on 09.16.06

How to make a pizza, the definitive guide.


 

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We Are One

Posted by Ogged
on 09.16.06

So crazy Muslims are "offended" by the Nazi-ish Pope, and anything we say about it will be framed by the fact that a Christian and a Jewish nation are trying to gin up another war against a Muslim country. No thanks.

Actually, Jacob Levy (that's a Hindu name, right? Whatever, praise the one true god that he's blogging again) gets it exactly right.


 

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Count Me With The Chumps

Posted by Ogged
on 09.15.06

Take a look at this picture, form your impressions.

Keep forming those impressions, before you take sides.

Now, be it known that Ann Althouse is nasty old crone. There's no excuse for a post like this.

Jessica reacts.

I don't read Feministing, and I have no idea what they blog about. But if you look at the full-sized picture, you can see that it's an utterly mundane scene, and attacking a young lady basically because the outline of her breasts is visible is just base in a way that's surprising even from someone I esteem as little as Althouse.

Folks: Insty just linked to this, because "nasty old crone" is convenient for him. For the sake of your sanity, I suggest not arguing with the people who drop in. As for me, I'm outta here today. Have fun!


 

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Extra! Extra!

Posted by Apostropher
on 09.15.06

Once again proving that you just can't trust a New Zealander to do an American's job.


 

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Ethical dilemma

Posted by Ben
on 09.15.06

Is it worse to copy recipes out of an unpurchased copy of Cook's Illustrated (which will remain unpurchased) in an independent bookstore than in a big chain, or is it about the same?


 

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We've All Learned Valuable Lessons

Posted by Ogged
on 09.14.06

Jessica Biel again. I'm going to go to sleep now, and dream of a world where the ladies are magnanimous about being bested.


 

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Lawyerly Complaint

Posted by LizardBreath
on 09.14.06

How come Westlaw puts case citations on their site in an odd, non-Blue Book format? I know I'm so lazy it's a wonder I remember to keep breathing, but it would be awfully nice when I look a case up online to be able to cut&paste it into a document without editing the format. It's not a huge deal, but it's such an obvious feature that I don't understand why it doesn't exist.


 

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Nyah

Posted by Ogged
on 09.14.06

I bought the Timbuk2 Blogger bag, in brown/orange. It just fits my laptop, and is the perfect size: compact, but big enough to hold a weekend's worth of clothes. And I like how it looks. However...I stopped a woman in the store and said, "Is this ugly?" (Meaning the bag.) She said, "It depends on where you're going to use it. In the mountains, it would be good, because it would be visible." Bwhahaha. I laughed, and she said "It's not bad." Aren't people nice?


 

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Unfwatch

Posted by Alameida
on 09.14.06

Look! It's unf!


 

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Cheers

Posted by Becks
on 09.14.06

I usually try to keep a low profile when traveling abroad but it's kind of hard when you're at an international sports competition supporting Team USA. I've had a number of conflicting emotions -- of course I love my country and support our team but I have trouble joining in with all of the chanting and flag-waiving and stuff. I don't know what it is that makes me feel that the German and British and Mexican cheers for their country seem joyful and genuine but the American cheers seem obnoxious and in-your-face. And they're pretty much the same cheers! For some reason, just that they're coming from Americans makes them seem more aggressive.

At the same time, I feel pained at the way other countries are acting towards us, like booing our kids (and only our kids) just because they're from the United States. Fucking Team Canada is booing us, if that tells you something. Gah.


 

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Accessorize Me

Posted by Ogged
on 09.13.06

Help me shop, boys and girls. I need a bag. I need a bag to carry my laptop, and I'd like it to also work as an overnight/weekend travel bag. Ideally, I could pack my laptop and a few clothes all at once, but I'd like something compact enough that I wouldn't feel like a fool carrying it to the local cafe (not that I ever do this, it's just a guideline). I have a laptop sleeve, so the bag doesn't have to have one; if you have a case to make pro or con on built-in sleeves, I'm all ears. Further requirements are that it can't be a backpack, it has to be an over-the-shoulder strap kind, and it has to accommodate my laptop, which is 14 x 10.45 x 1.4 inches.

Possible buys: this bag, called "the blogger," which is a good thing (but which might be too small). Or this one. Or perhaps this one. Or maybe something I haven't considered. I turn this over to your collective experience.


 

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What Really Happened

Posted by Ogged
on 09.13.06

Some of you sent pictures of your cocks to Ben W-lfs-n.


 

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I can no longer serve as your go-to source for Jason Fortuny news

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 09.13.06

There's now a blog devoted to hating on RFJason and publishing his information. Soon I will begin to pity.


 

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HBO, So Awesome

Posted by Ogged
on 09.13.06

The Wire, whose fourth season just began airing, has been renewed for a fifth season. Five seasons is what the producers originally planned for the show, so all is right in the world. (via imaginary friend Unf.)

And Wire backlash? Already?

And: Also from Unf, a very cool blog that is having Wire week.


 

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Might as well have a good attitude about it.

Posted by Apostropher
on 09.12.06

My twentieth high school reunion was this past weekend (not for the school from which I graduated, but the one from which I was expelled). I didn't go to any of the official events since, predictably, I'm not on their official mailing lists, but I did go to the unofficial late night gatherings. I had known one woman in attendance pretty well while I was there, but all I'd really heard of her in the interim was that she'd been married and divorced twice. When I arrived at the bar Friday night, she looked pregnant, but of course I waited until she confirmed the suspicion before I said anything about it. Verbatim exchange:

Apostropher: So how far along are you?
Her: Thirteen weeks and three days.
Apostropher: So, do you know whether it's a boy or a girl?
Her: Honey, I don't even know who the daddy is.
Apostropher: Well, okay. I, uh, wasn't expecting that answer.

The following night, friends who had attended the afternoon luncheon reported that she'd shown up wearing a t-shirt that said "Birth control is for sissies."


 

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Fight Fiercely, Harvard!

Posted by LizardBreath
on 09.12.06

Derek Bok, the interim president of Harvard, just announced that Harvard is ending early admissions. This is a wonderful decision -- one of the social issues that bothers me the most is the way in which our society sorts people by class by putting procedural barriers in the way of those who Just Aren't Our Kind. Early admissions was a nightmare for those college students who weren't confident of their ability to pay, but were stuck committing to a school before they heard about financial aid awards, and was exclusionary for students who didn't have the guidance to know that their odds of admission were going to be much higher if they applied early.

The whole thing was another example of how knowing the rules isn't enough to let you navigate the educational and professional world, you have to know the real rules. And if you don't -- you were silly enough to believe that your college applications were really due in January? -- well, it was your own fault for not paying attention. Let's hope the other selective colleges are shamed into following Harvard's example.


 

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Mwah-ha, the French Champagne!

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 09.12.06

Via LGM, a hilarious video of a drunken Orson Welles trying, with limited success, to shill for Paul Mason. It's like someone remixed my earliest memories in drunk-style.


 

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Fortuny update

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 09.12.06

The AP has picked up the Jason Fortuny Craigslist outing case. According to the law professors quoted in their story, the legal issues are somewhat murky:

In this case, however, the men who replied to Fortuny's posting did not appear to be doing anything illegal, so the outing has no social value other than to prove that someone could ruin lives online, said Jonathan Zittrain, a law professor at Oxford and Harvard universities.

Whether Fortuny violated any laws is less clear, he said.
''It's one of those questions that could find its way onto a law school exam because it is comparatively new territory,'' Zittrain said.

On the other hand, there are reasons to think that he might be screwed:

Kurt Opsahl, staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said Craigslist would be protected under federal law exempting service providers from liability for what their users do. Fortuny's liability under Washington state law, he said, rests on whether the disclosures are of legitimate concern to the public.

''As far as I know, they (the respondents) are not public figures, so it would be challenging to show that this was something of public concern,'' Opsahl said.

Wendy Miller (aka "demure"), Fortuny's co-conspirator, claims in comments on her livejournal that she and Jason have (free) legal representation, but it's not clear if their lawyers are friends donating time or heavy-hitters looking to establish precedent. If the law is as ambiguous as Zittrain says, this seems like the kind of case that might draw in some interesting groups on either side.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Fortuny is being uncharacteristically coy:

Fortuny did not immediately respond to e-mails from The Associated Press, and calls Monday to his telephone number generated a message saying the subscriber ''is not in service.''

Huh.


 

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A post occasioned by a viewing of The Illusionist

Posted by Ben
on 09.11.06

Would I have noticed Jessica Biel's lips to the extent and in the way that I did, had not LizardBreath pointed out their likely collageniferousness? Perhaps not, but we'll never know, because my noticing of said lips was definitely along the "hmm, seem a little inflated" line. Especially given the actress who plays Young Character Portrayed By Biel. How could her lips ever have become Biel's? Simply not possible. Also, after the movie, my mom commented on Biel's ass, and I could barely keep from cracking up.

Would I, even if I had already seen the movie previously, or read the story on which it was based (suprisingly not written by Brooks Hansen, even though the movie made me think of his books for the first time since I read either of them, which would have been sometime after Perlman's Ordeal was published, in (watch me now) 1999), have been able to follow the plot of the movie? Probably not, so if anyone's seen it who actually did understand the whole shebang, and isn't afraid of incurring the spoiler-related wrath of future witnesses, that person or those persons should maybe help my feeble brain to comprehend.


 

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And...

Posted by Ogged
on 09.11.06

This should be its own post. Thanks to everyone here. "Blog" is a silly word, but the support from the people here assembled made a big and real difference in how I felt through these past months, and it's very much appreciated.


 

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Woot!!! (aka No More Excuses)

Posted by Ogged
on 09.11.06

I had my follow-up endoscopy last week, and just got the biopsy results a few minutes ago: all clear, no stomach cancer.

Here's the story I haven't told yet. After the U of C told me they were pretty sure I didn't have stomach cancer, I wound up, while tracking down some slides, on the phone with the original pathologist who diagnosed stomach cancer. Pathologists are not people people.

P: Did you have the surgery yet?
M: Actually, the University of Chicago and Northwestern both think I don't have stomach cancer.
P: What do you mean?
M: They think what was on the slides are artifacts.
P: How can they be artifacts if I saw them twice?

Aaaargh!! Then:

P: So what did they recommend?
M: They think I should have a follow-up in three months.
P: But no more than three months, because this is quite a nasty tumor.

Aaaargh!!

So the past three months, being cut open aside, have not been quite as light-hearted as I would have liked. But that's all over now. Cancer-free, baby!

(I also got my latest hemoglobin reading today. I shouldn't tell you this, but it's now higher than it was even before the surgery. Nothing like iron pills and red meat three times a day to pump out the red blood cells. Downside: being exhausted after walking a couple of blocks means I'm just really really out of shape.)


 

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Is Veronica Mars A Bad Person?

Posted by Ogged
on 09.11.06

She's a "pretexter."

To get copies of phone records, home addresses or other bits of revealing information, Gandal has often pretended to be one of those owners when calling phone companies. The tactic is called "pretexting"—and Gandal is good at it. "I've got many voices I use with customer service reps," he says. "I can talk as an Hispanic, a black"—even an older person, which he demonstrates credibly. "If they want me to put my wife on"—if he needs to impersonate a woman—"I say she's in the hospital after just having throat surgery. Then I call back and I talk like this," he croaks. "They don't challenge me."

Not only is Mars an incorrigible pretexter, she often uses the people around her, even resorting to emotional manipulation, as with the young police officer. The more I watched the show, the more bothered I was that she was acting pretty damn callously.


 

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Five Years Later

Posted by LizardBreath
on 09.11.06

The strangest thing about September 11th for me is that, although I'm a lifelong New Yorker, I wasn't traumatized by it. Oh, I was frightened that day, and for weeks afterward (actually, my worst moment in terms of fear was when a plane crashed in Queens a month later. It turned out to be an accident, but my instant reaction was "Oh my God, it's just going to keep on happening, forever.")

Even though I live in Manhattan, I live literally as far as you could get from the WTC -- I couldn't smell smoke, I didn't have ash settling on my windowsills, traffic wasn't even disrupted. I was on a six-month maternity leave, and didn't have any reason to go downtown for all of it. And through some fluke, I don't know anyone who was in the towers, and while I certainly know people who lost people, no one I'm close to lost anyone important. One idiosyncratic reaction I had was a feeling of a personal intrusion in that someone had taken my stuff -- the WTC buildings were a useful landmark, I went through that subway station fairly often, they were something that 'belonged' to me and had been taken away. But mostly I reacted to the attacks the way you react to a tragedy that happens on the news.

I'm embarrassed confessing this: I feel like I'm not a New Yorker on some level because I wasn't personally affected.


 

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Since we're talking about meeting people online

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 09.11.06

Via the Bandarlog, a funny compilation of personals from the London Review of Books. Looks like Kotsko put one up:

Sure, I could spend all day trying to shoe-horn Slavoj Zizek into a personal ad, but when we finally get to meet I'm going to spend the whole time just staring at your breasts. No illusions at box no. 18/13.

Indeed.


 

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So Right, It's Wrong

Posted by Ogged
on 09.10.06

Apparently, Facebook, which all the kids are using, screwed up.

But alas, it turns out that even among the MySpace generation, there is such a thing as too much information.

That threshold was reached, unexpectedly, earlier this week when the social networking site Facebook unveiled what was to be its killer app. In the past, to keep up with the doings of friends, Facebook members had to make some sort of effort — by visiting the friend’s Web page from time to time, or actually sending an e-mail or instant message to ask how things were going.
Facebook’s new feature, a news “feed,” does that heavy lifting for you. The program monitors the activity on its members’ pages — a change in one’s relationship status, the addition of a new person to one’s friends list, the listing of a new favorite song or interest — and sends that information to everyone in your circle in a constantly updating news ticker.

As anyone who has ever been an internet stalker knows, it's not the one big thing, but the dozens of little things that tell you "who" someone is. That's the same fact that makes safeguarding our privacy so difficult. We're willing to tolerate lots of small encroachments on our privacy precisely because they are small. But all those pieces are being assembled, either by companies or political parties that want to sell to you, or by the government that wants to have an excuse to "deal" with you. I'm not sure what can be done about this. It seems too much to hope for that information will just go away, but strong privacy laws, particularly about what information may be used for could be our best bet.


 

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Demographic Shift

Posted by LizardBreath
on 09.10.06

As of 9am yesterday, soccer moms shifted slightly but perceptibly toward the left politically.

I've never done this before -- do people bring doughnuts or something for the other parents hanging around? Sally had an excellent time, and the coach seemed reasonably pleased with her for a first day -- she's big, strong, and fast, and presumably figuring out where the goals are will come in time.


 

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Going Soft

Posted by Ogged
on 09.10.06

Much as I love the fact that there's football, glorious football, on my television today, I'm immediately reminded of something I think I've commented about before. When I was a younger man, I loved the big hits, but now I think about how much it must hurt and I worry about the injuries. Partly, this is an emotional reaction, and might have to do with the fact that I'm older than most of the players now: they seem like real people who might need to be protected a bit from their own youthful recklessness, and I don't want to see them hurt. And partly it seems like there are more serious injuries than there were even ten years ago, and often, by mid-season, about half the teams are playing without some key player. That takes some of the fun out of fandom, insofar as we like to see whether a plan for a team will come together, and an injury means that we'll never know.

So, flag football?


 

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Jesus Fuck

Posted by Tia
on 09.10.06

I don't know what kind of vibe I had on the subway home this morning, but at one point when I looked up, every single man in my half of the car, total three, all of whom were sitting apart from each other, was looking at me. I thought this was weird when I noticed of it, but went back to my reverie about something the stunningly brilliant Jackmormon said to me recently, which I want to kiss her and thank her for. Still in my reverie thirty minutes later, after having changed trains from the 7 from Queens to a train into Brooklyn, walking home, approaching my house, when one of the men from the first train walks up to me and says

"Hi Mami," (he's Latino) "You live round here?"

He goes on to ask me if I have a boyfriend--I say yes--then tell me he'd like to know me better. I said, "Look, I don't know if you followed me but I think you did. I'm uncomfortable and you need to leave me alone."

He said, "Oh, I understand, your boyfriend around here."

I walk past my house and around the block, though now I realize the mistake I made was to turn north instead of south, totally implausible since I had walked south from the subway to get to my street (either that or he was following me the whole time), since when I was back in the entry way to my house, looking for my keys, for some reason I turned around, and he was across the street. I was somewhat paralyzed in the entryway until my downstairs neighbor came in, and I told her what had happened. She said she'd seen the guy and in fact wondered what the fuck his business was since he was just standing around. She went out to look to see if he was still on the street and said no, and I went out to look. We were talking about it in rather loud voices when she realized he was across the street hiding behind a car. I decided I was going to go talk to him about it because in my experience the best way to deal with stalkers is to communicate to them very, very early on that you will call the police and otherwise fuck with their shit if they do not leave you the fuck alone. Then when he saw me walking towards him he walked away. I have since informed my roommates of his description, so if they see him again I can call the police.

Basically, it is now my intention to report every fucked sexist thing that happens to me just to harsh on y'all's mellow.


 

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In The Jeans?

Posted by Alameida
on 09.10.06

Megan wants advice on becoming more handy at fix-it tasks and a more stylish dresser (not simultaneously. A wedge heel is no help when mitering). Her commenters seem to have more handyperson skillz than style (our own LB excepted). Any thoughts? I'd be interested to hear from anyone who, as a result of conscious effort as an adult, changed their style of dressing for the better. I've always been interested in clothes and dressing up--fascinated by it, even. I know plenty of people just don't care that much. Is it possible to learn the rules of stylish dressing from the book, as a grown person, or does it have to start early, unfold organically from within? Or you can just start talking about the fact that it's logically possible, given the huge number of women who have been forced into prostitution as girls throughout the world, that some unknown number of them might have had an early-arising, deeply personal kink for rough sex such that the whole experience was sexually pleasurable for them. It'd be pointless feminist denial of neutral empirical possibilities to flatly state such a thing is impossible, after all. Go on, fuckers. I double dog dare you.

Look, a baby turtle! Oh noes a seagull!


 

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You'd Think A Nation Founded As A Penal Colony Would Be More Understanding

Posted by Becks
on 09.10.06

Some travel advice: when you declare nothing to Australian customs and they later discover that one of your suitcases is filled with fruit, beef jerky, and trail mix, it's probably best not to tell the customs officer that you had no idea because you were just taking a suitcase onboard that you didn't pack yourself. Especially when said suitcase belongs to a minor unrelated to you that you are taking out of the country. And especially when that minor is already getting suspicious looks from airport security because his ethnicity could be mistaken for Middle Eastern.


 

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Unbox, You Have A Problem

Posted by Ogged
on 09.10.06

When you rent a movie from Amazon Unbox, their player downloads a protected WMV file to your computer. Unfortunately for the geniuses at Unbox, WMV was cracked before the service even went online. It was trivially easy for me to create a DRM-free copy of the movie I rented. That means I can send it or upload it wherever I want, I can burn it as many times as I want, and it's a good bet that any DVD I burn it to will play in a regular DVD player. That's all illegal (and, in fact, I deleted the DRM-free file), but it was so easy to strip the DRM that it effectively didn't exist; we're back to the honor system. (The fact that the crack creates a copy is significant because the original file is intact, and when the Amazon software goes to delete it after my rental has expired, it's none the wiser.)

(I'll only be mildly surprised if the DMCA says that I will go to jail unless I contact Amazon to let them know about this.)

I've been sanguine about music piracy, because in my experience, most people actually buy more music when there's more of it available for free: they're exposed to more music that they like, and so they buy more music than they would have. But movies aren't really like music, in that for a lot of people, one viewing is all they need to get all the use they want. Thoughts?


 

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