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Today's Lesson

Posted by Becks
on 07.28.07

Close Your Blinds.

A bunch of us were at a rooftop party tonight where we could see into an apartment across the street where the couple was having sex. They did put on a helluva show; it was no one act play: good pacing, scene changes, kept the action going without an intermission so they wouldn't lose their sizable audience, and even a surprise ending. I never would have guessed that after he was finished he'd go get a huge towel from the shower to de-sweat himself and then thoroughly wipe down her back.


 

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Beat Me!

Posted by Ogged
on 07.28.07

I know this is silly, but the guys whooping at the end puts such a smile on my face. Summary: two guys in a Civic drag race a guy in a Ferrari, who is at first unwilling to dignify them with a response, but finally, in an act of charity which thrills them, blows them away.


 

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Early Rotten

Posted by Ogged
on 07.28.07

Help a brother out, people. A thread in my fancy new rashguard is coming out. Can I fix this (if so, how?), or should I take it back and hope they'll exchange it without a receipt?

Exchanged! You guys are so helpful. Take the rest of the day off.


 

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So Why Don't We See More Skinhead Quiz Bowl Teams?

Posted by Becks
on 07.28.07

This is a bizarre article.


 

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Playing Doctor

Posted by Ogged
on 07.28.07

A very good, if depressing, Times article about the variability of cancer care, how many patients get substandard care, and how much the patient herself has to take the initiative to get the best care. If you don't read the article, here's the short version to keep in mind: if you're diagnosed with cancer, be sure to get a second opinion at a major cancer center.

There's also a video report about a different patient.


 

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Mega Good

Posted by Ogged
on 07.28.07

I know even the swimmers don't care about this one, but Kitajima's form is so good--streamlined throughout, no hip bob--that I'm posting this anyway. Of course, he still cheats on the pullout....


 

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Ends and Means

Posted by Becks
on 07.27.07

So here's a story for you philosophers out there: some community groups in D.C. are trying to reduce the number of drive-by shootings to prevent innocent bystanders from getting shot. Great! I'm an innocent bystander! And I'd like not to get shot!

Their methods? By trying to change the code of the street to one where only cowards do a drive-by shooting and real men shoot their victims face to face. And by asking for the help of current prisoners to enforce this code: "When these jokers come into prison for doing a drive-by, don't make it comfortable for them...Make it like they're a rapist."

This, I have a little more trouble with. Liberal guilt or legitimate concern?


 

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Footballer

Posted by Ogged
on 07.27.07

David Beckham has, as the physiologists might say, lots of leg muscles.


 

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Summertime Listmaking

Posted by Becks
on 07.27.07

I feel like this summer has gone by way too quickly and that there's not all that much of it left. It's going to be September before you know it! Those bastards already have back-to-school signs up!

Time to make an inventory of things to do before summer slips away.


 

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In Response To Popular Demand: Alberto Gonzales? Perhaps Less Than Perfectly Veracious.

Posted by LizardBreath
on 07.27.07

TPM collects reporting on FBI Director Robert Mueller's contradiction of AG Gonzales's testimony before Congress.

For those who haven't been following the story, it goes back to the incident when Gonzales tried to get a hospitalized John Ashcroft to reauthorize a surveilliance program over the objections of the deputy Attorney General who had the authority during Ashcroft's illness. (Ashcroft, in a remarkable and commendable display of reasonableness, told Gonzales to go pound sand.) Gonzales testified before Congress that the subject under discussion was not a program authorizing surveilliance of 'terrorists' but intelligence activities generally -- Mueller has now flatly contradicted him.

Is this the lie that's going to finally trigger a real showdown between the administration and Congress? Maybe -- I have a hard time telling the difference between testimony that looks obviously dishonest to me, and testimony that Congress, or the media, will regard as dishonest enough to make a fuss over, and we've seen plenty in the first category already. I'm not sure what makes this more egregious than a dozen other incidents in the past. But if this starts the house of cards falling, I'm all for it.


 

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Bots, No Mercy

Posted by Ogged
on 07.27.07

Clinton Yates has overtaken our man Kriston Capps. This aggression cannot stand. Kristonbots on, please--and since there's no need to maintain the appearance of propriety, use multiple terminals if you know how, and don't expect to turn them off until the contest ends.


 

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Killed

Posted by Ogged
on 07.26.07

So now maybe Pat Tillman was deliberately killed by his comrades. God knows what happened that day, but we do know that there was a coverup afterwards, which might be ongoing. One incident among hundreds, but really, so much is utterly rotten.


 

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Our Little Cousins

Posted by Ogged
on 07.26.07

This is somewhat disturbing.

And though rats have yet to produce an Albert Camus or design a better mouse trap, a host of new behavioral studies makes plain that the similarities between us and Rattus extend far beyond gross anatomy. ... tickle the nape of a rat pup's neck and it will squeal ultrasonically in a soundgram pattern like that of a human giggle. Rats dream as we dream, in epic narratives of navigation and thwarted efforts at escape ... Rats can learn to crave the same drugs that we do -- alcohol, cocaine, nicotine, amphetamine -- and they, like us, will sometimes indulge themselves to death. ... If a rat has been trained to associate a certain sound with a mild shock to its tail, and the bell tolls but the shock doesn't come, the rat will inhale deeply with what can only be called a sigh of relief. ... "Rats know what good sex is and what bad sex is. And when they have reason to anticipate great sex, they give you every indication they're looking forward to it.

And maybe most notable:

[Researches] were astonished to discover that rats display evidence of metacognition: they know what they know and what they don't know. Metacognition [is] a talent previously detected only in primates

On the one hand, there's the obvious problem that we do incredibly cruel things to lab rats, and the thought that they have personalities and inner lives is really troubling (of course all animals can feel pain, but it seems different when we think they can think about pain). On the other hand, and I can't be the only psychopath who feels this (where's gswift been, anyway? I speak for the Culture!), it seem right and necessary that we have dominion over the animals and I swear part of me thinks my life is richer because my species is making some other species somewhere suffer. Not that this is a defensible position, but like I say, I can't be the only one who feels this strange resistance to being humane to animals (not in any specific instance, but institutionally).

Of course, you're all hippie bleeding hearts and will swear up and down that you have no idea what I'm talking about. That's ok, I write for History.


 

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Bot Stations!

Posted by Ogged
on 07.26.07

Hottie Capps is under attack from Clinton Yates! Fire up the Cappsbots! Windows users can download bots here. Mac users, get instructions from the Mac people in comments. Aaiiieee!

Jesus makes a good point. If you start a bot, please follow this thread so you can stop it when the time comes. We had a bit of a problem with a runaway bot last time.

OK, Stop the bots I think we're safe for now. Good work, O distributed computing power.

Recognition: Here.


 

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Fringe

Posted by Becks
on 07.26.07

This has to be the most over-the-top NYT Styles Section article I've read in months and that's obviously saying a lot.


 

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Pool Porn

Posted by Ogged
on 07.25.07

We're all familiar with the canonical examples of men unable to keep their eyes to themselves, and of course we've all been there. But it was only today, when I'm sleep-deprived and not quite in control of myself, that I realized how incredibly involuntary and compulsive the urge to look can be. While the old lady was trying to get into the pool, a second lifeguard--a young lady, who, god forgive me, couldn't have been older than twenty--came over to help ("Sophie, do you remember me from the YMCA?" "NO!"). I must have stared--I'm talking unsubtle and obvious staring here--at her incredibly pert bottom for a solid ten seconds before I thought to myself, "What the fuck are you doing?" So I turned my head away, but it was like her incredibly pert bottom (did I mention that it was incredibly pert? And that she'd just gotten out of the pool, and was bending over to talk to the old lady in the wheelchair? Dear Allah, why??) was the most powerful magnet in the world, and my eyes were just little metal filings, blowing in the wind. It took real effort, like I was doing some kind of neck strengthening exercise, to keep from turning my head toward her again. I know that you, my peeps, won't judge me, but moments like these remind a guy that he's going to be just a (slightly) less hairy primate until he dies.


 

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Weirdest Sounding Sentence I've Agreed With Today

Posted by Becks
on 07.25.07

Bruce Schneier:

Honestly, I don't care if someone is carrying a water bottle, wearing a head scarf, or buying a one-way ticket, but if someone has a block of cheese with wires and a detonator -- I want the FBI to be called in.

 

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The Good, The Bad, The Pool

Posted by Ogged
on 07.25.07

Rashguard purchased, worn, approved. This one is magically stretchy in the arms, so it doesn't ride up when you swim, and it took surprisingly little time to get used to having it on. Added about half a stroke to get across the pool, but that's negligible when you're not racing. Oneill rules, Body Glove drools.

And if Harry can handle learning that Dumbledore is no saint, y'all can hear about seventy-something guy today. He arrived a couple of minutes after ninety-ish wheelchair lady. While the lady was being helped by her nurse to prepare for entry, seventy-something guy started to get in at the other end of the same lane. He was, of course, completely oblivious to wheelchair lady and the lifeguard waving him off. "Hey seventy-something guy," says I, "she's about to get into that lane." He looks at me, then looks across the pool, where the lifeguard is making a "no go" signal and where ninety-ish wheelchair lady, obviously using all her strength, raises an arm and says, so that we can just hear her, "Noooooooooo." Then he looks back at me and says "Then she has to be fast!" [Plop.]

Rarely has gross injustice been so funny. But when he got to the other end, it was impressed up on him that she was going to use that lane, so seventy-something guy shared with someone, and damn if ninety-ish wheelchair lady didn't swim her laps. All was well.


 

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Mercy

Posted by Becks
on 07.25.07

I know this is the "all hotness all the time" blog right now but I just wanted to say that I'm glad to hear that the grand jury in Louisiana decided not to indict the doctor who had been accused of administering lethal doses of narcotics to four elderly patients that she didn't think would survive Katrina. I've been following this for a while and it's such a heartbreaking story - I can't imagine what the situation must have been like for a doctor to believe that was in the best interest of her patients. It's a sad and horrible thing to have come to pass but I don't think it's just for the government to abandon its citizens in a disaster and then turn around and prosecute them for the decisions they felt were the best they could make under those unimaginable circumstances.


 

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How Dare You?

Posted by Ogged
on 07.25.07

It's so sad when suspicion and recriminations mar the joy of happy fingers, clicking.


 

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Cups Runneth Over

Posted by Ogged
on 07.25.07

An important video message from Catherine, who is, by far, the hottest media type (female, off air) in DC.


 

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Attention All Hackers

Posted by Ogged
on 07.24.07

I don't think any of your are running any bots to help Catherine win, but if you are, please turn them off, because the contest coordinator has informed her that he'd like to avoid that this year. Let's discuss in comments.


 

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Let's Do This

Posted by Ogged
on 07.24.07

First things first with the hottie contest: we're all voting for Catherine. Last year, the winner got only a few thousand votes, so we can swing this goddamn contest and Catherine is like a sister to us, and we want to sex her up like that. Click through and scroll down, people, this is way more important than haybeeus.

Second: be nice. These aren't celebrities; they're regular folks who happen to be hot, so talk up your preferences, but don't insult anyone (other than your fellow commenters, obviously).

Third: shut your yips about lookism and sexism, you scolds. No one is sadder than I am that blogging has come to this, but, alas, this is what the kids are talking about today.

And now for my expert analysis of second place. Using my power of Blink, I immediately narrow the list down to three: Karin Brulliard, Liz Gorman, and Andrea Bruce. I know you lizardbrains don't think Andrea Bruce is that hot, but she looks so sweet and smart. Totally the first one I'd ask out (after Catherine, who is like a sister to me). As for Brulliard, I dunno, I'm just a sucker for that look, ok? Another picture here. So wholesome! Then we have Liz Gorman, who looks like she might actually be beautiful, and also has a little bit of a dirty look that reminds you of your (your, not mine) crazy Craigslist sex fantasies. Yup. See? And...daaamn. Liz Gorman wins! Second place!

Now go vote for Catherine, you lechers.


 

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It's An Honor Just To Be Nominated...

Posted by Becks
on 07.24.07

OK, we all know that's bullshit. So let's vote and get Kriston the crown of Hottest Media Male. That Ezra punk has got to go.

And if you do win, Kriston, I want an acceptance speech vlog with you wearing a beauty queen sash and a tiara.


 

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Donaghy

Posted by Ogged
on 07.24.07

This crooked ref in the NBA is seriously bad news. I think Simmons is right; the league has to deal with this in a convincing way, or it might be the beginning of the end. I'm just not sure what they can do.


 

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Good Luck

Posted by LizardBreath
on 07.24.07

To m. leblanc, washerdreyer, and any other readers out there taking the bar. It sucks, but you'll pass.


 

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A weekly hortatory ritual

Posted by Ben
on 07.23.07

Friends,

In response to the requests made last week, I'm pleased to announce that tomorrow, I'll do a show, 12-2 pm PST, consisting entirely of tabla music played by a wind quintet using synthesizers, with saxophone and clarinet accompaniment provided by an electronic drum set tricked out with samples of said instruments.

No, wait, that's not right at all. But! It will involve Nico, the Black Twig Pickers, Marnie Stern, Rational Diet, the Eyesores, Liz Allbee, and Grachan Moncur III. HOW CAN YOU RESIST? Also, the entire first hour works so well I wish I didn't have to interrupt it for ding-dong announcements.

I forgot to mention that Rational Diet's lyrics are taken from Daniil Kharms.


 

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Water-Upon-Ground

Posted by Ogged
on 07.23.07

What's going on with the floods in the UK? Are we about to lose a bunch of commenters? Swim! Swim for your lives!


 

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There Are No Courses For Your Damn Horses

Posted by Ogged
on 07.23.07

A while back, I was sitting in a Manhattan restaurant with a friend who was noting how beautiful the neighborhood was. "What?" I said. "It's all buildings!" The sun on the bricks, the bright old signs, the splashes of contrasting color, and more, were all pointed out to me. All this I can appreciate in an intellectual way. But I had the same "What? It's all buildings!" reaction when Alif Sikkiin posted this picture and wrote, "Living in a place that's beautiful ... [appreciative stuff] ... I'm pretty lucky for having lived here."

This is all a matter of taste and comfort, of course, but it's still fascinating to me that Alif (and many others, obviously) find that view pleasing whereas I start thinking about how long it would take before I hung myself if I had to look at it every day. All that relentless rock...holy cow, urbanites. At least I'm not driving up your real estate prices.


 

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They get letters.

Posted by Apostropher
on 07.23.07

"Gay, people. Buck naket."


 

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Starting The Week Off Classy

Posted by Becks
on 07.23.07

Discuss.


 

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Poemery

Posted by Ben
on 07.22.07

Ogged occasionally talks about poets and poetry than which none higher-faluting can be concieved; I, therefore, take it upon myself to remedy the situation, having recently caught sight of some translations of the work of recently deceased Russian poet D. Prigov done by the redoubtable languagehat, here and here. The one of interest:

So a woman kicked me in the subway
Well, a little jostling's not so bad
This woman, though, did it six ways from Sunday
She went too far, and so the whole thing had
To sink to the level of the unnecessarily
Personal - of course I kicked her back
But right away I told her I was sorry -
You see, I as a person am above all that

I would also like to know if any readers have recently been through Gatwick, where one can apparently experience this wondrous device.


 

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Swarth Ascendent

Posted by Ogged
on 07.22.07

There were no free lanes when I got to the pool today, so I was about to sit down and wait when Wingnut (immigrant hating) Lifeguard swooped in--"Hang on, Ogged!"--no doubt hopped up on the Red Bull he favors, and kicked out an old man and his blond grandson for insufficiently lap-swimmy activity, and turned the lane over to me. "There you go, Ogged."

After I swam, I headed to the grocery store for a sandwich and the young man at the deli counter blew off the rich-looking blond-haired, blue-eyed lady who was there before me to help me first.

Things are changing in this country, I can feel it.

Will I think of you when you're all in Gitmo? Yes, with bitterly satisfied laughter.

Was I wrong to accept these favors? One could argue that I was, although I believe that the particulars, of which I self-servingly keep you ignorant, absolve me in each case.


 

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There's Still Someone Out There Who Makes Me Feel Like An Optimist

Posted by LizardBreath
on 07.22.07

Cosma Shalizi, on whether the administration can be restrained through Congress's appropriations power. In response to a Mark Kleiman post suggesting that Congress defund the White House's political operations, he writes:

Are taxes collected by the executive branch? Yes. Are Treasury bonds sold by the executive branch? Yes. Is money printed by the executive branch? Yes. Are the checks to pay for government operations cut by the executive branch? Yes. For Congress rather than the President to control the budget, executive branch employees must be so unwilling to break the law in response to orders that those orders will not be given, or, having been given, not be followed -- and those employees not just being purged.
I'm sure most of the relevant civil servants are praiseworthy bureaucrats, but it would be interesting to know how many of the people running the OMB, for instance, think they swore fealty to the President's person.

While the first quoted paragraph is absolutely right, I still have a fair amount of faith in the bureaucrats not to go along, en masse, with open disregard of unambiguous law, and more importantly, with longstanding practice. Look at the US Attorneys purge -- the administration was purging their own political appointees for disloyalty. I'm pretty sure that if Congress could successfully defund any part it liked of the Executive, that the relevant civil servants would obey, leaving the White House hanging if they attempted defiance.

But I linked, rather than just laughing at the thought. I'm not as sure as I once would have been.



 

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Modern Love: Passive-Aggressive Pronouns Edition

Posted by Becks
on 07.22.07

This week's article, about a woman dating a guy who is still living with his ex-wife because they can't afford to sell their house and find separate places, is one of the most blatant examples of "how can this person write this column and not expect shit to blow up in their face?" Like:

I have a confession to make. I have since started knocking things off tables and countertops. Her sunglasses, her lip gloss, hairpins. These are my small protests, my attempts to disrupt her comfort, to dislodge her, perhaps. I imagine her looking for the missing items and finding them mysteriously scattered under chairs and couches. If suspicions arise, I can always say the cat must have done it.

Not anymore, lady.


 

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