Pride has kept me from posting this until now, but today when I was coming back inside from the pool, a woman had to dodge to avoid me running into her because I was checking out someone else. God, the utter shame. This is particularly embarrassing because I take some pride in being subtle about checking people out, and don't, other than with one or two close friends, engage in hot chick talk--one doesn't want to encourage leering culture, you see, nor does one want women to feel that they're always being checked out (What? Unfogged? This is different)--but there was no doubt about what was going on when the woman had to dodge me. My head was turned away from her and away from the direction I was walking, pointing right at the very hot woman going the other way. The cruel irony is that I see the woman I was checking out every day in her bathing suit, and I was just curious about how her body looks in clothes.
Inspired by my professional woes, a reader writes in:
I'm wondering how to deal with a co-worker whom I suspect is mentally ill.I'm a professional in a smallish office, and am not in the HR department. A secretary is assigned to me and one other person, and we've worked together for two years now. Joannie is a very good secretary: she does all of the various required tasks with skill and enthusiasm. She looks for challenges, taking on new duties when she can, and handles them well.
In my experience, she is always honest with me about work. With respect to her personal life, though, I think the stories she tells range from improbable to wildly unlikely. From time to time, some detail of some story she's told, maybe about her childhood, or young adulthood, will be demonstrably false, or inconsistent with other stories. [E.g., Joannie says she lived and tended bar in Austin, but has never heard of Lone Star Beer. Another: she claims to be a native speaker of a foreign language with which I have some familiarity: her written communication in that language is so bad, in terms of both grammar and idiom, that it looks like she may have used a dictionary to pick out words.] Again, she does the work well, and her prior non-professional experiences aren't relevant to it. I'm not really bothered that she thinks I'm dumb enough to believe this stuff, since she seems to think highly of me otherwise. I rather suppose that she doesn't think I'm paying close enough attention to catch the contradictions. I do wonder, though, about the mental energy required to keep straight a fairly complex fantasy past, and the stress this may cause.
She is out sick fairly often. This is a serious annoyance for me, but other staff will help out, and I can be fairly self-sufficient. She usually calls in, and her voice sounds too sick to be true, if you know what I mean. Sometimes the excuses sound plausible, often not. In fact, she's been out the last two months, and is getting ready to come back. She's given me different and contradictory explanations of why she's out. They don't add up, but I suppose she'll have been forthcoming with the HR people. And it's not really my business if she's got mental health issues.
Or is it? Should I play along with her stories? Ignore them altogether? Let on that I don't believe her, but don't think the less of her, in her professional capacity? Is it really OK for her to make up a physical injury as a cover story?
This sounds harsh, but I don't think there's anything for you except react to her absences the same way you would if you didn't think she were nuts (that is, if it gets to the point you'd be thinking about firing her without the weird stories, then do the same thing you would with a less peculiar employee), and maybe see if you can sensitively point her toward any EAP program your company might have (any company big enough for an HR department has an EAP program, right?) or any other source of assistance.
As a layperson, she sounds mentally ill to me. She reminds me of a roommate I had in Samoa, who was clearly not right, and had the same pattern of elaborately unbelievable stories, at least once told to people who had active roles in the story and knew it didn't happen. But she also got her work done fairly well. So I don't know -- I guess, if her work's acceptable, ignore the fantasy life, and if it's not, it's not, whether or not the cause is mental illness. Mineshaft -- any better ideas?
I saw five previews for movies yesterday. One was for Beowulf, about which my feelings are already known; one was for a straightforward apologia/propaganda piece for fascism at home; and one was for a straightforward apologia/propaganda piece for empire abroad.
Why didn't Becks tell us about the topless pools in Vegas?
And musn't there be a thousand people who could have written the hell out of an article about them? Too bad the Chronicle didn't give any of them the assignment.
I haven't been following the news or blogs much lately (and I might add that I'm generally in a better mood day-to-day as a result), so while I had a vague notion that some unpleasantness was happening in the financial markets, my understanding of it amounted to "something something housing bubble something subprime something." I suspect that level of non-comprehension is fairly widespread, but Andrew Leonard has put together a nice, easily comprehensible summary of the current market freakout.
Bonus for Unfogged readers: he not only does it through an analogy, it's an analogy to the Super Bowl.
If business meetings were like internet comments. Looks like the same group that did the Flagpole Sitta video.
First off, it was fantastic. I haven't laughed that hard at a movie in a long time.
But on to the point of the post: as we were exiting the theater, AWB posed a good question that we didn't have time to discuss. What percentage of the enjoyment of teen movies do you think comes from nostalgia vs. schadenfreude vs. the purience of watching hot young things get it on?
I'm on a biggish project, and unusually for me, I've been assigned a junior associate to do research for me. (So far my career has been junior at a big firm, so no supervision; midlevel at a small firm, so no other lawyers to supervise; and senior at a big firm that really staffs leanly -- almost everything I've been on has been just me and a partner, no one to supervise. So, this is pretty new for me.) So far, so good. Unfortunately, his work seems consistently kind of slipshod. I've worked with him once before, and got a memo that looked like a ransom note -- cut and pasted in unmatching typefaces, and substantively weak as well. Today I asked him a question, got a preliminary answer that sounded screwy and checked to clarify that he understood the question, and then later in the afternoon he came back with a couple of cases that addressed an entirely different question. (I wanted to know something about wire fraud as a RICO predicate act, asked the question giving him the cite to the wire fraud statute, and got back RICO cases on securities fraud.) So, I re-explained the question, and sent him back to look again.
I can just keep on doing that -- sending him back to do useless work over again until he comes up with something useful -- but I'm wondering if anyone has ideas on how you tell someone to straighten up and fly right generally. He can't actually be as incapable as he seems, and I don't want to stress him out to the point where he becomes even less useful. So, does anyone who manages people know how you tell someone to "The next assignment I give you? Do it as if you were a better lawyer than the guy who did the last one I gave you," in a fashion that's actually likely to be productive?
There's some genius in Times pieces like this one about home pools that cost several hundred thousand dollars and up, in simultaneously encouraging the culture of consumption and display, and mocking it just enough for people who are put off to get a satisfying snort ("according to pool builders and designers, the drive toward the fabulous pool has been fed by a combination of people spending more of their time outside and a certain competitive acquisitiveness among their very rich clients"), but not so much that any of those acquisitive people would take offense. I think this is called "knowing your audience(s)."
I see that nothing can dissuade you people from peevishness and pettiness. In this thread, only funny comments are allowed. Unfunny comments will be deleted. I am the sole and final arbiter of funniness.
Update: This is a lot of work. You can go back to being your regular unfunny selves now.
Cindy Crawford's kids really are inappropriately good-looking. And WWTDD reminds my why I like to read it.
He's 8 years old and he's probably been laid more than I have. I'm not gonna lie to you, I have absolutely made out with chicks who weren't even half this beautiful, and that's probably not flattering for anyone involved.
"Reticent" means "reluctant to speak." It is not a synonym for "reluctant" generally. Perfectly well-educated people get this one wrong all the time, and it drives me nuts. Rule of thumb? If you want to follow the word "reticent" with the word "to", go do something else rather than continue writing -- it's clearly going badly.
I want to somehow organize and tag my photos on my laptop so I can search them locally on my computer. I want them tagged in some kind of open standard way so that if I switch to a different type of software, the tags go with them and I don't have to retag them. Ideally, the tags would even import up to Flickr with the pictures.
Is there a way to do this? On a PC?
Overhearing two coworkers having a conversation about the merits of one's fast food salad versus the other's fast food burger, I tried to determine the healthiest option for them by turning, of course, to the internet and instead got this:
We regret that Wendy's cannot provide product calorie information to residents or customers in New York City. The New York City Department of Health passed a regulation requiring restaurants that already provide calorie information to post product calories on their menu boards -- using the same type size as the product listing. [link - Becks]
We fully support the intent of this regulation; however, since most of our food is made-to-order, there isn't enough room on our existing menu boards to comply with the regulation. We have for years provided complete nutritional information on posters inside the restaurant and on our website. To continue to provide caloric information to residents and customers of our New York City restaurants on our website and on our nutritional posters would subject us to this regulation. As a result, we will no longer provide caloric information to residents and customers of our New York City restaurants.
I'm sure a lot of the Libertarians out there are smiling and saying "this is what you get" in a little sing-song voice but I think this is complete crap. I've been in two restaurants that decided to comply with the law early (both Subways) and thought it was great. I think having that information right next to the prices really does influence buying decisions and I also think that's a good thing. I hope other people feel the same way when the law goes into effect and pressure Wendy's into ending this douchebaggery. (Or that NYC responds by changing the law and makes them.)
And, although I'm a bit afraid of bringing this up and derailing the thread before it starts, for me, having the calories displayed put hard numbers to the claim people have been making for years that unhealthier foods are marketed more heavily in poorer neighborhoods. While it's always been the case that the Manhattan Subway I go to puts its healthy sandwiches at the fore while the Brooklyn Subway I go to tends to push things like its meatball subs, having the numbers with it makes it seem all that more despicable. I was standing in line at the Brooklyn Subway looking at the board and thinking "This is a restaurant with a lot of healthy choices. Why am I only seeing all of these signs for 900 calorie subs?"
Yah. Sure. Yoo betcha.
Update: It's tonight! And Minnesota lurkers are welcome. Check the thread for time and place, in case that changes.
If you're wondering what the administration is up to in declaring a large part of Iran's military a terrorist organization, there's some pretty convincing analysis here that it's a way to make an attack on Iran seem authorized by the Authorizations to Use Military Force passed by congress in '01 and '02 for attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq. The linked post also argues that this is a sign that the war-mongering Cheney faction is once again ascendant.
1. I know someone who claims to have multiple personalities. She brought this up once in an emotional/confessional context, and has never alluded to it again. Since it's a touchy subject, I haven't ever brought it up. She is definitely crazy, and was obviously badly abused as a child, but she always seems like the same crazy person to me. Isn't that whole multiple personalities thing pretty much not true? I keep watching her for the idiot man-child personality to come out, but nada.
2. I really want to get "unfogged" tattooed in gangsta gothic font on the small of my back now. Tastefully, in an arch with scrolls, let's say 3 inches across. I almost brought it up today with my husband but chickened out. Is that the kind of thing you should spring on a dude? Or am I just worried he'll talk me out of it, even though it's obviously an awesome idea?
In keeping with today's crazyman ranting theme, I note for the record that Rudy Giuliani scares the crap out of me. Josh has been good on this, but the fact that I wish got more attention is Giuliani's willingness--eagerness, you might say-- to postpone an election. Right now is a particularly bad time for a guy with authoritarian impulses to become president.
I was listening to Bob Dylan crooning away a few days ago, and even though I was thinking "Ain't that the truth, brother," it occurred to me that the line in question would strike a lot of people as nearly tautologically banal.
Some of these memories you can learn to live with and some of them you can't
A lot of Dylan, especially later Dylan, where there's much less metaphor and playing with the language, is like that. Still and all, it seems like part of genius or profundity (or a kind of genius or profundity) is knowing what's important to say, and Dylan's still got that in spades, if you ask me.
Even if I escape to Canada, I still have to pay taxes to the Empire? Seriously? Anyone know what this means, practically speaking?
(No, I don't have any definite plans, but I did like the idea of my taxes paying for some old lady to stand in line for a hip replacement instead of helping make the Death Star fully operational.)
I think destroyer's comment over here deserves its own thread: What is the worst sex advice you've ever received?
Start with an unpopular opinion that you genuinely hold.
1. Strip it of nuance.
2. Assert it confidently.
3. Defend it as if the very fate of humanity depends on your intransigence; preferably with increasingly implausible ancillary claims.
4. When hopelessly cornered, admit the nuance. Claim it was there all along, only an idiot would think otherwise.
I just picked up David Markson's The Last Novel at Green Apple Books, on the strength of the first ten-odd pages. I have to admit that I found myself a trifle captivated, which explains the purchase and all, but I'd have a hard time explaining why. After all, at least so far, the book is rather commonplace.
I got to the wall just in time to hear Wingnut Lifeguard reveling in the NRA's triumph against San Francisco's proposed gun ban. "The NRA shot that down. This is still America!" I couldn't resist a "Not for long, Wingnut Lifeguard." "Not mine! They're not getting mine! Cold steel dead hand. Wait, what's that guy from Ten Commandments?"
Please give a shout-out if you're coming in the comments so we know how many seats to save.
More of a sociological question than a theological one. Every so often I cruise by John Hagee while flipping through channels, and I'm always impressed by how much his voice and his preaching mannerisms make him come across like a parody of evangelical Christians. Bloated, pasty physical appearance, slicked-back hair, weird vocal style-- where does all of this come from, and why is it that in some communities it's no impediment to media success?
In a few weeks I'll be meeting with my new freshman advisees, and I'm wondering what to say. Among the many ways of going wrong: (a) the overly-earnest approach, encouraged by the institution, that involves a serious discussion of the liberal arts education, the values of our institution, and so on; and (b) the overly cynical approach that assumes students are already completely jaded about the rhetoric involved in (a) and want only to get as drunk as possible.
My inclination is to avoid the grandiose rhetoric and focus on more quasi-practical advice. Think back, o learned commentariat, and tell me what thoughts might have been helpful at the very start of your undergraduate careers.
Kevin Drum has two posts on what exactly just changed with FISA. It's worth clicking through and reading his posts, but the upshot is that, while there was a lot of talk about technical problems requiring a change in the law, what has actually changed if I understand this correctly, is that now no warrant is required for eavesdropping on calls if the justification is 'foreign intelligence' (that is, not limited to terrorism. Intelligence related to EU trade policy is 'foreign intelligence') if the conversation is: (1) between two foreigners overseas; (2) between a foreigner overseas and a person within the US; (3) between two people in the US, citizens or not, so long as the conversation is believed to be 'concerning' people overseas. Update:Spackerman has more.
A sample conversation that could be eavesdropped on without a warrant under current law, if I'm understanding this correctly, would be a conversation between a member of Congress and one of her staffers, so long as the eavesdropper believed that the subject of the conversation would be a French trade official's reaction to new regulations on the import of unpasteurized cheese.
So, this thing sunsets in six months. How does one efficiently use that six months to communicate to Congress that it had better get fixed, or very bad things will happen to them?
Karl Rove is resigning and will leave at the end of this month. I assume that anything anyone in the executive branch does from here on out is intended to keep them out of jail. I expect TPMmuckraker will have the scoop in due course.
Not that I'm the sole arbiter of the rules around here, but people keep on talking about what you're allowed to call yourself around here, mostly in response to my incessant crabbing about it. The following is my understanding of first THE RULES, and second and separately, my own IRRATIONAL PREFERENCES.
(1) Have some sort of consistent name. Name changes should be minimal and made reasonably transparently, so people don't get confused about who they're talking to.
(2) No impersonating other commenters, no dual identities. People do and have impersonated each other for a quick joke, but keep it transparent. (On dual identities, we've got a poster and at least three, maybe more commenters who have an online presence under their real names, even occasionally commenting here, and also comment here pseudonymously. That's fine as long as the pseud doesn't get involved in discussions about the real name, if you see what I mean.)
(3) If you have something to talk about that's too embarrassing or sensitive to be associated even with your standard pseudonym, use 'George Washington' or other dead president or world leader. Obviously, this means you shouldn't use a dead president or other world leader as a pseudonym on a regular basis -- save them for limited discussions of sensitive stuff.
People screwing around with this stuff might get asked to leave. That's it for the actual rules.
MY IRRATIONAL PREFERENCES
These are all based on 'names that will make it hard for me to keep track of who you are, and so I'll get confused and embarrassed about not remembering more of what you've said in the past.'
(1) No unadorned common first names. Dave Jen Matt Rachel? All bad.
(2) Adding a trailing initial doesn't help. Obviously, we've got a bunch of these, and the ones we've got (DaveL, DaveB, NickS, whoever else) I know already, so don't worry about it. But for new commenters, if you pick a name like this, I will grouse at you and have trouble keeping track of who you are.
(3) Short sets of initials. Again, eb, lw, mrh, I know who you are now, but anyone else contemplating commenting, trying to keep these straight hurts my head.
(4) Variations on 'Lurker' or 'Anonymous'. Look, this is just like not signing the comment. I don't like talking to people if I don't know if I've talked to them before, or if they're the same person I talked to last week. This gets less annoying as the name gets more individually identifiable -- someone calling themselves A. Nonny Moose wouldn't particularly irritate me. It's just not knowing if this week's 'anon' is the same as last week's that I don't like.
These aren't rules. The only penalty for violating them is that I will bitch, and I will have trouble interacting with you in any fashion that involves remembering what you said last week.
NEITHER RULE NOR PREFERENCE
Having a clever, witty name. Look, it doesn't matter how clever and witty it is, the fifth time anyone sees it, it's not funny any more. Nothing wrong with cleverness, I'm all for it, but having a stupid pseudonym is absolutely fine with me. Look at what I call myself. Don't hold back from commenting because you can't come up with a witty enough pseudonym.
This concludes perhaps the boringest post ever, and now to return to drafting my brief.
How should I dress for the Opera?
San Francisco Opera does not enforce any dress code for audience members. Our patrons wear anything from jeans and Birkenstocks to tuxedos and ball gowns. While black-tie dress is traditionally reserved for opening nights and special events, we invite you to make an occasion of your night at the opera. Dress in whatever it is that makes you feel your best.