Book threads are always fun, right? Since it's already been determined to what one should listen of a fall night, I suggest … fall books! Here is a list of some books that, it seems to me, would make for good autumn reading. In some cases I haven't read the books in question in a while, so I might be completely wrong. You have the option of contributing suggestions in the comments, evaluating the thesis that Isak Dinesin's Winter's Tales is actually best read in the winter, or pooh-poohing the whole idea of the seasonal reading of serious readings.
A Month in the Country by J.L. Carr (which has apparently been made into a movie, which is, to me, surprising)
Turtle Diary by Russell Hoban (in large part the existence of this post can be traced back to Bedtime for Frances being mentioned in the latest New Yorker—this has also been made into a movie, which I already knew, but I just found out that the screenplay was by Harold Pinter, of all people)
Kokoro by Soseki Natsume
Le Grand Meaulnes by Alain-Fournier
Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami (maybe)
And, chosen on the basis of its beginning in the dog days of summer, The Rings of Saturn by W. G. Sebald
It saddens me that the one reader we used to have who might have gotten the title no longer seems to be with us, but nevertheless I say to you that I was surprised to read in the most recent New Yorker I've received that Bolton's nomination "with the rank and status of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary" had been resubmitted. I have only two points: (1) I'm very pleased to see that "plenipotentiary" is still used, even if only in certain formal contexts (2) I would like it if someone would tell me just how plenipotent a plenipotentiary is these days. If confirmed, could Bolton just go sign or say whatever?
I just noticed that The Wire's Cheese and Randy both have the last name Wagstaff. If this has been mentioned on the show (or elsewhere), I missed it. Clearly, there's a plan to rule the universe brewing for seaon five.
Oh: And you know who's totally cute? Ms. Duquette.
Furthermore: I've argued convincingly here in the past that Penelope Cruz is funny-looking and unattractive. That opinion was based on still photos. I've since seen her in a couple of movies. Penelope Cruz is pretty hot.
The prospect of cross-dressing kindergartners has sparked a deep philosophical divide...
Fascinating Times article about kids who identify strongly with the opposite sex. It's easy to make fun of California talk like "kids who aren't gender-typical," but you only have to think about suicide rates among gay teens, and the misery of a lot of the ones who don't kill themselves to get an idea of how harrowing it might be to grow up as a transgendered kid.
The risk of supportiveness seems to be that you might reify a phase, and end up saddling the kid with an identity that s/he might otherwise have outgrown.
Dr. Kenneth Zucker, a psychologist and head of the gender-identity service at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, disagrees with the "free to be" approach with young children and cross-dressing in public. Over the past 30 years, Dr. Zucker has treated about 500 preadolescent gender-variant children. In his studies, 80 percent grow out of the behavior, but 15 percent to 20 percent continue to be distressed about their gender and may ultimately change their sex.
But honestly, it seems like it would be quite difficult, given the resistance of almost every other human on the planet, to err by being supportive. If they're going to outgrow it, they'll have plenty of encouragement and support. I might do a follow-up post on gender roles, but for now, just one piece of advice to the parents of "gender-variant" kids: move to Northern California. I can't think of another place in the world where you'll have a better chance of acceptance. These people are probably going to spend thousands on therapists and counselors, but the most important thing is to put the kid in a place where s/he'll have some allies. Land of fruits and nuts, baby.
"I have a small penis, but..."
One that Cadenhead doesn't highlight could be the mouseover text for the Unfogged logo: "I have a small penis but fortunately I make up for it in my intelligent and most witty banter."
What an imbecile! Dennis Prager on Keith Ellison's desire to take his oath of office with his hand on a Koran ("the bible of Islam," Prager helpfully explains):
He should not be allowed to do so -- not because of any American hostility to the Koran, but because the act undermines American civilization.
First, it is an act of hubris that perfectly exemplifies multiculturalist activism -- my culture trumps America's culture. What Ellison and his Muslim and leftist supporters are saying is that it is of no consequence what America holds as its holiest book; all that matters is what any individual holds to be his holiest book.
Forgive me, but America should not give a hoot what Keith Ellison's favorite book is. Insofar as a member of Congress taking an oath to serve America and uphold its values is concerned, America is interested in only one book, the Bible. If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don't serve in Congress. In your personal life, we will fight for your right to prefer any other book. We will even fight for your right to publish cartoons mocking our Bible. But, Mr. Ellison, America, not you, decides on what book its public servants take their oath.
Volokh says most of what needs to be said about this from a Constitutional point of view, and politely. Two good points: if the point of the oath is to make the person swearing it more mindful of his duty, it hardly helps to use a book he regards as less sacred. (This point would be more fun to harp on if Islam didn't regard the Old and New Testaments as genuine but misunderstood revelations.) Second, take it away, Eugene:
A Senate website reports that Presidents Franklin Pierce and Herbert Hoover (a Quaker) didn't swear at all, but rather affirmed. If a Bible was present (the site is silent on that), it wouldn't have been used as a swearing device. Nixon, also a Quaker, did swear, apparently on two Bibles. This didn't seem to help.
Via Yglesias, and I will punish him for it.
Via d-list internet celebrity Catherine, The Sartorialist, who seems to go around New York snapping pictures of the snappily dressed. Pretty cool stuff. Of course, it goes without saying that all the guys are gay ANGBWE.
Proof that online communities that are rooted in the real world and use virtual space merely to facilitate interactions are not necessarily virtuous. Can we banish these people to a SL island? Please?
Warning: extreme geekiness. I call upon the good will of the Unfogged Geek/Tech Contingent to aid me. The moment of crisis [krinein] has not yet arrived, but I'm moderately troubled by—my nights moderately disturbed by—my tears moderately in my beer over—this line that I see when I run df -h:
Filesystem Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/md0 233G 222G 12G 96% /home
12G might strike you as a lot of space, but a lot more was available before, and 96 is a lot per every one hundred. My current setup is this: I have two 250 gig SATA drives in a RAID 1 array with my home directory on it, and a (mostly empty) 100-something ATA drive with everything else. I don't want to spread things out from the array onto the other drive, because the whole reason for the array is that I wanted to placate my paranoia about a drive crash and all my schoolwork, music, etc going away.
Now! One obvious thing to do would be to put in another drive and expand the array, but there are only two SATA inputs on my motherboard (plus there's only so much room in the case), so I can't just cram another drive in there. In an ideal world I'd just get something like this (or this! yowza!) and a controller—a really long term solution, y'know?—but that's not really going to be feasible. Now some have suggested that getting multiple external enclosures would be cheaper than getting one big external enclosure (which is obviously the case), but I don't know if that would very smart technically, since I'd be hampered by the number of USB 2 inputs I have (only one firewire rules that out, and one of the USB things either doesn't work or, more likely, was never plugged back into the motherboard) and, since these would be RAIDed together, everything would have to go out over multiple connections and it all just seems terribly inefficient. The only other thing I can think of, though, is to get two larger drives, replace one of the drives and rebuild the array on it, and then put the second of the two larger drives in, and basically have the same setup I have now, but bigger. But that seems to postpone the inevitable (though how quickly I could really fill up 500 gigs is not clear). So, uh, ideas?
It's probably obvious that this post is mostly just rambling, so feel free to talk about bestiality or whatever in the comments.
UPDATE: We should get this for Labs.
An hour of googling hasn't helped me; maybe the resident geeks can. You'll notice that Unfogged isn't cached in any search engine results, which is just as we want it (so we can take down the site and pretend none of this happened when Labs comes up for tenure). But because I don't know how to keep RSS feeds from being cached, I've had to exclude them from being crawled entirely (here's our robots.txt file). That kind of sucks, since it will keep us from turning up in Google's Blogsearch, which indexes feeds rather than pages. Now, it doesn't make a lot of sense to keep feeds from being cached, since all the online readers work by caching. I was hoping that there was some way to keep regular search engines from caching the feeds, but which would just be ignored by bloglines and the like.
Over the past couple of weeks, I've had the same co-worker come to me a couple of times and say, "I saw someone who looked just like you! It was amazing!. Yeah yeah, that's interesting, hmm, yup. But she's managed to produce pictures, and it turns out that she's completely insane. I'm not sure how to break it to her that the fact that the pictures don't look at all like each other should have been a clue that they don't look at all like me. [Note to readers: they don't look like me. Well, maybe the Cyrus the Great one, a bit.]
My last filling? No novocaine.
It's not that bad! If your cavity is small, you should try it next time! The pain was no worse than stubbing your toe and lasted all of two minutes. So much better than having a numb mouth for hours. When my dentist suggested it, I thought he was on crack but I'm now totally recommending it to all of my friends. And you get to tell people and they look at you like you're ONE CRAZY MUTHAFUCKA.
Check out Lindsay Beyerstein with the cover story in the New York Press. It's about ads on sidewalk sheds (those structures that protect the street from construction above), which are apparently illegal in NY, despite being all over the place. And we're not talking about guerrilla marketing for little local products or stores, these are big professional ads for national brands.
This raises an interesting question that comes up all over the place -- what does it mean to be illegal? There's all sorts of behavior -- speeding and illegal immigration are two of the easier categories to come up with -- that is formally against the law, but that we as a society clearly aren't genuinely working to eliminate. Penalties are ineffectively light, and they're only erratically enforced. Similarly with ads for escort services -- presumably the police could systematically go through them and arrest every one that turns out to be offering prostitution, but given that they're always in the paper, the police don't seem to.
So if something is done openly and commonly, without substantial fear of reprisal from law enforcement unless they're specifically antagonized by something further, does it make sense to think of it as illegal?
(And back to Lindsay's article: NYC seems to have a lot more of those sidewalk sheds than other cities -- I wonder if they stay up longer than necessary so that people can illegally rent the advertising space. If that's the case, then I really want enforcement to kick in -- I hate walking under those things.)
I'm in no position to criticize anyone for spending too much time online, but does Second Life freak out any of the rest of you? If you haven't heard of it, it is, as best as I can tell, a visually rendered virtual community, the distinctive trait of which is that the members engage in commerce with real money. Recently, a "citizen" made enough in-game money to become a real-life millionaire.
Part of me thinks, "why didn't I do that?" and another part of me--the part that expresses the narcissism of small differences--thinks that Unfogged is rooted in the real world, and uses virtual space to facilitate interactions, while Second Life seems like a replacement for the real-world.
World Cup skiing events were cancelled this week for lack of snow in the Alps. This sort of thing really gives me the creeps -- the climate seems to be getting grossly different than it was even when I was a kid, and there's no indication of where it's going to end up or when it will stop.
And I like skiing, but it seems as if assuming there's going to be snow at a resort anywhere within a couple of hours of NYC is less and less reliable every year. Not that this is an important effect of global warming, but it annoys me.
I've been dragoonned into baking a cake for a baby shower for someone I don't know -- the only requirement is blue icing (boy expected). I suppose I could just do chocolate with a blue buttercream, but does anyone either have an interesting idea or a favored recipe to link to? As long as I'm doing this, I might as well entertain myself with it.
I logged into Nerve this evening. I idly clicked on one of the recommended profiles the site displays in the lower left corner of my home page, and as I read through it, even though I'd never met the man, it slowly dawned on me that I was reading the profile of...an Unfogged commenter! What's weird is that he lives far, far away from me, so there was no logical reason for the Nerve recommendation algorithm to spit him up, except that the algorithm wants Unfogged commenters to have sex with each other. I wrote him and told him I was Tia, and hilarity ensued. The rest I'm leaving vague to protect the inno--uh, me and him.
Y'all, I just saw the funniest commercial. I haven't been watching much TV lately so, I'll admit, I could be way behind the times on this. It's not available on YouTube but some stills are on Flickr so I will recreate the experience for you below. Click on the links in order.
(And I'm not naming the company because I don't want them to be all "woo! viral marketing!")
According to a study of Connecticut mental patients conducted during the 2004 election, the deeper the patient's psychosis, the more likely the patient was to support Bush. However, that wasn't what the study was aiming to discover. "The study was an advocacy project of sorts, designed to register mentally ill voters and encourage them to go to the polls, Lohse explains. The Bush trend was revealed later on." Apparently, psychotics tend to gravitate toward authoritarian personalities.
Pardon me while I chuckle.
We'll be putting together a Flophouse Guide with details on location, parking etc. closer to the actual date. Hopefully, the above should be enough information to start making your plans. If not, please drop us a line at the email we have set up for the occasion.
I regret to report that the Flophouse is at capacity for that weekend and we are out of couches and corners to offer. If you are looking for a place to stay while in town, please give a shout in this comment thread and hopefully others with room to spare can volunteer or you can find someone willing to shack up with you at a motel for the night. (And if you do that, we all expect details afterwards.)
I hope we'll see lots of you there!
Taking a tip from Lifehacker, I just started using Cooliris, which is a massively cool browser extension. When you hover over a link, it pops up a nearly-full-sized preview of the linked page, without taking you away from the page you're on. Perfect for following links in search results or comment threads, without losing your place or going back and forth. (Note though that all of Lifehacker's commenters hate it. Try it for yourself.)
While I'm on the topic, let's have a thread about browser extensions that people can't live without. I use Firefox, and in addition to keyword quick searches, the one thing I'm most dependent on is All-in-One Gestures. Some people use keyboard shortcuts for everything, but I like to use the mouse, and only use the keyboard for typing. With All-in-One Gestures, I can open or close pages, go back and forward, reload, resize, etc., all with the mouse, without using the menus. You?
Saheli writes in to ask:
I'm trying to find a good national donation pool for homeless shelters that's secular--i.e. not the salvation army--but efficient and dedicated. It's cold. . .Any ideas?The Salvation Army bell-ringers are one of my pet peeves - they've been off my charitable giving list since they snubbed the gay and lesbian couples in my neighborhood after September 11. And if you believe in equal pay for equal work, I suggest you pass that kettle by and give your money elsewhere. To broaden Saheli's original query: What charitable organizations do you consider worthy of your time or money that people might not know about?
And on another holiday note, Cala in comments asks:
See, my family are homebodies and watching the ball drop on TV and/or falling asleep at ten counts as an exciting night. I've done the random mosh party thing a couple of times, but I'm looking for something that a couple would do, going-out-wise. Dinner-dancing. An excuse to wear a cocktail dress and look hott. Any ideas on where to start looking? Restaurants? Hotels? Bars? I'm socially inept.
And Peyton! Guhhhhh, what a fucking dickwad. "Hey, Dad! I've memorized the playbook!" "Hey Dad, want to go look at your old game films?" "Hey Dad, I audibled to a slant-and-go pattern!" Fucking brownnoser. Hey Peyton, I just threw two picks and blew a game to Tennessee because I'm not as good as you! Isn't that exciting? Fuckface.
And Rex Grossman:
Yeah, I see Jones open on the flank. But fuck that. Dumpoff passes are for faggots. I'm fucking Sexy Rexy Grossman. I can get that ball in there. And, even if I can't, I bet I'll be able to pull it off the next go round. I like throwing the ball long. It makes my dick hard.
I bet that's exactly what he's thinking. It would explain so much.
A book I wouldn't mind reading. Though I can't see why the blurb calls it "the most provocative philosophical view ever defended", since the book's very title alludes to the dictum, common knowledge for millenia, that best of all is never to have been born, and second best is to die young.
At what point in a relationship do you have the awkward "so, what's your explanation for why so few black lawyers are making partner?" conversation?
You can hate the government and the press, just by reading this post.
Oh careful commenters, I'm going to disable comment preview for a while, since there's either something strange going on with the server, or we're having a denial of service attack (cue W-lfs-n to tell me I don't know what the hell I'm talking about). Comment carefully, lest you be scorned.
Apparently the Administration is planning to assimilate the US, Canada, and Mexico into an EU-like union with a single currency, the "Amero", without legislative oversight or anything. Colorado Republican Tom Tancredo is quite irate at the prospect.
Hey, if it's the way to get the US-Mexico immigration relationship rationalized, I'd be all for it. Still doesn't mean it's likely to happen anytime soon.
So the crack about Borat was more true than I realized. The Kid is very old-fashioned.
...during a screening of Borat at Universal Studio chief Ron Meyer's Beverly Hills house two weeks ago
"Bob [aka Robert Ritchie aka KID ROCK!!] started screaming at Pam, saying she had humiliated herself and telling her, 'You're nothing but a whore! You're a slut! How could you do that movie?' - in front of everyone.
There's little to add to what the Superficial says about that episode:
You don't marry a hamburger and throw a fit when you find out it's delicious.
A number of you will be converging on our nation's capital in late December for the APA conference. Who all is interested in a meetup?
UPDATED AND BUMPED: Friday or Saturday, people? And if we go with the day other than you what you suggest, you should take it totally personally and as an indication that we like other people better than you.
UPDATE THE SECOND: The meetup will be Saturday, December 30 at the Florida Flophouse. Keep an eye out for more details closer to the date.
Sadly, after three glorious months of marriage (weren't there, in fact, three marriage ceremonies?), Pamela Anderson and Kid Rock have filed for divorce. I have little to say except:
1. I used to feel a little bad for Pam Anderson, but she seems to have adopted a Barkleyian/Emersonian "fuck 'em if they can't take a joke" approach to everything and she doesn't need my pity.
2. I was amused that the two choices for grounds for dissolution of marriage (on page 2 of the filing--pdf) were "irreconcilable differences" and "incurable insanity."
3. Also on page 2 of the filing, Pam Anderson's signature totally has titties in it.
But this is a really, really big deal. The voting machines in the FL-13 district malfunctioned and lost 18,000 votes, and swung the election for the House in that district, and there's no obvious way to fix it. This has got to stay in the news.
Rush Holt (D-NJ) is planning to introduce a bill requiring that all voting machines have a voter verifiable paper trail (I'm actually not completely happy with that, in that I want the paper to be the legal ballot, not just an auditing mechanism. But it's something.) and it wouldn't be the least useful thing you might do with a couple of spare minutes to write your local paper, or your local Representative, and point out FL-13 as the reason that we have to pass Holt's bill or something like it.
It's official. The state of Wisconsin still considers it bestiality, even if the deer is dead.
An interesting approach to contraception:
The treatment being developed at King's acts by preventing the longitudinal muscle in the vas deferens contracting to propel sperm out of the penis.
This sounds about as effective as the time-honored "I promise I'll pull out" method of birth control.
Over the weekend, NYC police killed Sean Bell (and injured his friends) the day before his wedding as he was trying to leave a strip club with some friends. They apparently thought someone in his party had a gun. As the party was in their car, trying to leave, an undercover officer pulled a gun on them and told them to stop -- they tried to drive away, hitting an unmarked minivan full of police, and possibly the undercover officer (who does not appear to have been injured) and then the police started shooting.
What drives me insane about these stories (Amadou Diallo is another one that comes to mind, there were a couple of other Giuliani-era shootings -- I'm remembering a kid eating a 3Musketeers bar with a shiny silver wrapper that looked like a gun to a cop, and a really unpleasant one where the guy who got shot was an off-duty cop) is that the conversation always seems to be about whether the police made an honest mistake that they aren't morally culpable for. And the answer there is usually that probably they did: the police aren't sociopaths, they don't have any reason to want to kill random innocents, this sort of thing is probably going to almost always be an honest error where they thought the guy was genuinely dangerous and the cops shouldn't go to jail. That's easy.
But they are terrible at their jobs. The reason why we allow the police to walk the streets with loaded weapons is that we trust their training, and competence, and good sense, enough to know that they aren't going to hurt anyone unless they have to in order to keep the rest of us safe. And a policeman who gets rattled enough in what he thinks is a dangerous situation that he starts shooting when there was no need for it, is a policeman who is too poorly trained, or too nervous, or too stupid to be allowed to walk the streets of a dangerous city with a gun. He's not keeping us safe, he's making life more dangerous for the rest of us.
A policeman who makes this sort of error -- shooting into a carfull of unarmed people for no better reason than they got scared and tried to get away when someone pointed a gun at them -- should lose his job. The Diallo cops should have lost their jobs. I don't need to see them in jail, but I need to know that making that kind of mistake removes you from the opportunity to ever make that kind of mistake again.
John Quiggen has a funny anecdote about the misuse of endnotes and adds,
While I'm on this subject, is there any excuse for persevering with endnotes in books*? They're just about useless, (those that don't give something worse than useless like "ibid" or "loc cit"). If the material is of too little interest to be included in the main text or in footnotes, and can't be omitted altogether for reasons of academic nicety, couldn't it be placed in a supporting website?
I'm sure future scholars will love that. John and others seem to be having a problem with flipping back to the endnotes, which is disruptive, and even worse when one only finds a maddening "Ibid." Jim Henley says,
I get a little disappointed by endnotes that are only references. But what I most dislike are endnotes that are almost all mere references except for maybe one meaty codicil per chapter, because I either want to know I have to flip to the back every time I hit a superscript, or I want to know I can wait until later.
Here's what I do: before I read a chapter or section, I read all the endnotes. Usually, most will be citations, and a few will be meaty asides. Because I'm all fired up with the anticipation of reading the chapter, the asides, which are tantalizing in their gnomic way, are easy to remember. Then I read the chapter, and even if I don't recall the numbers, it's quite obvious what the asides were meant to explicate. All the knowledge, none of the flipping back and forth.
Sure, you all say you love Kots/ko, and would do anything for him, but how many of you signed up for a Nerve account today so that you could find him a match? Eh?
So far, I think this woman has potential. (The rest of her profile screencapped here and here.) She's not entirely his type, and there are things to niggle at (I'm praying that "appreicates details" is a joke), but she seems smart enough to keep up and also to get him to maybe dance a little bit (gaining in booty what he loses in self-respect.)
Brad DeLong sends it.
I approve of the retention of the Vesper, and the Parkouriffic early chase scene, but the subversion of poker rules for cheap tension wins only my disapproval.