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Names

Posted by Ben
on 09.01.07

I would be more likely to believe the <TITLE>ular claims of this website (namely, that it's "the social networking platform sweeping the globe") if its name didn't sound like a cross between a condiment and a language family.


 

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Turn up radio

Posted by Ben
on 09.01.07

Dragon Ash, y'all.


 

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I'm Holding Up My End Of The Deal

Posted by Becks
on 09.01.07

If I'm going to share my moniker with a public figure, I'd prefer that they make headlines like "Becks Is Superawesome" instead of "Oh Becks! America Hardly Knew Ye" (via BitchPhd) or, worse, "Becks' Body Cracking Up".

Shape up, dude.


 

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Damn Kids

Posted by Ogged
on 09.01.07

No one cares what I post on the weekends, right? So...I was looking up info about hanging leg raises to an L (of which I can do precisely one with good form, and about three cheaterly, and hurt for days afterwards), and I'd like to go on the record consigning freakishly strong and flexible 65 pound kids to hell. To a V with weight??? Screw you, kid.


 

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I Shed A Tear

Posted by Becks
on 08.31.07

I'm sure I speak for the majority of Americans when I say that I don't know how Tony Snow managed to survive on a mere $168,000 a year for so long. The suffering, it's heartbreaking.

Why am I [leaving] -- because I ran out of money. A lot of people at home are saying, well, what do you mean, you make all this money. Well, you know what, I made more money when I was in my previous career. And I made the decision not to say to my wife and kids, you know, we've finally saved up all this money and done these things, and you're just going to have to give them away so Daddy can work at the White House. We took out a loan when I came to the White House, and that loan is now gone. So I'm going to have to pay the bills.

Look, I can see how someone (espeically with health issues) might feel like they should grab an opportunity that would make them more money so they can save up a nest egg for their family. But to do it in a way that sounds like you're crying poverty when you're giving up a position of power that allows you to influence policy that could help people who are really in poverty is bullshit.


 

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Holiday. Celebrate.

Posted by Ogged
on 08.31.07

To the best of my recollection, I was a perfect boyfriend and fiance in every way except that I could never remember when holidays fell, so I would fail to plan ahead by taking days off around the holiday, or booking tickets, or any of that, which drove the Ex crazy, since we'd have a bunch of days off and I'd be all "Huh, it would have been cool to do something...." But now that I'm living la vida loca, I have to say that I love the feeling I had this morning of coming in to work and finding out that Monday is a holiday. That's even better than finding money in an old jacket pocket.


 

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The Good Old Days

Posted by Ogged
on 08.31.07

Over at John & Belle's, Kip Manley comments,

One's first "Instapundit is a right-wing hack" post is always a cherished memory. I do not think the fact that mine is dated 12/20/2002 accrues me any especial benefit.

(I smell a meme! Bloggers, start your search engines!)

That's great. Belle links to her own revelation, from some time in 2003.

Lately I've been wondering, has the Instapundit been losing it? Or is it rather the case that he's always had a vein of unpleasant right-wing flackery and I didn't notice at first because I was caught up in the magic of blogging? Now, I feel kind of sacreligious saying bad things about the Professor, what with me reading his site every day, and his working his carpal-tunnel stress-addled fingers to the bone blogging for us during tornadoes and all - not to mention his having kindly linked to our site before.

And I quoted an email I got all the way back in April of 2002.

So I've gotten into this blog thing a fair bit lately. I started off liking Instapundit a lot. He seems to be getting a lot more right wing lately. Not sure why that is.


 

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Tee Vee

Posted by Becks
on 08.31.07

Over Labor Day weekend, FX is going to be running a marathon of the episodes of Damages thus far. You should watch it. It's utterly delicious trash and Glenn Close is fabulous. Ted Danson, too. (Really!)


 

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Maybe I'm Not Too Late For That Elite Athletic Career

Posted by LizardBreath
on 08.31.07

Gina Kolata, in yesterday's Times, notes that in local women's road racing, winners of the older age brackets are often faster than winners of the younger age brackets. (It's not quite said explicity, but the assumption is that elite runners slow as they get older, just as you'd expect.)

Apparently it's as simple as committment and training -- older women who run often train and compete harder than younger women. Huh. Maybe I'll take those new shoes out and go win something.


 

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MSP

Posted by Becks
on 08.30.07

Hey! I was out with some people tonight and remembered that I once got sorta-kinda-almost picked up in the Minneapolis airport. Story below...

Six years ago, I was flying from Dulles to Undisclosed Western State and a girl on our flight had some kind of diabetic attack. When we landed in Minneapolis, they brought EMTs on board and wouldn't let any of us get off the plane until she was stabilized. It took a long time and all of us missed our connecting flights. We had to stand in a looooong line to get a hotel voucher and rebooked for the next day and the guy in line chatted me up the whole time we were waiting. We got along well and it was all flirty-flirt and we ended up assigned to the same hotel. We had a drink or two at the hotel bar and he invited me up to his room and....I totally chickened out and wouldn't go!

(*bangs head against wall*)

Younger self, what were you thinking?!


 

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Gigantic new Whole Foods in Tustin: A Review

Posted by Ben
on 08.30.07

I don't know whether one should better call it "opulent" or "decadent". Kind of amusing to see a big-box Whole Foods sharing a fucking humongous shopping center (you wouldn't want to walk from end to end; it's all just asphalt and pissed-off drivers) with multiple other big-box retailers, none of whom have WF's yuppie cred, but than which WF is no bigger or boxier, just higher-falutin'.

One can dine—or lunch—at multiple little locations within the store. However, none of them will properly clean the yucca they serve you, so that you will find yourself munching on a bit of the little fibrous core that runs through the length of the root, providing its strength*. Space is not used terribly efficiently. Among the small-time boozes the section of Belgian beers is prominently labeled as such, so that one may snoot it up all the more efficiently. On the other hand, they have a zillion varieties of tapioca and rice puddings, and many mollusc-rich seafood salads. Prices are lower than in the SF bay area. Basically, this places wishes it were the seventh floor of KaDeWe.

I do wholeheartedly (in a structural sense) approve of the attractive Iberian-looking women in sundresses shopping there.

* when I write my "Wittgenstein on Successful Management" book (these are basically just self-help for MBAs, right?), the last sentence of §67 of the PI will undoubtedly play a large role.


 

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Chores

Posted by Becks
on 08.30.07

Even if it means more housework, I'm hoping that marriage at least means less annoying housework. As in, there are certain tasks around the house that I absolutely loathe, specifically vacuuming and laundry, and if the tradeoff for finding a guy who would take care of those chores was that I spent more time ironing and doing the dishes, I think I'd be OK with that.

Dating sites should start having entries for preferred and dispreferred chores so that you can be sure to find someone complementary.


 

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Tea for two

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 08.30.07

Kevin Drum has a good post up about the Craig arrest and links to this column by David Ehrenstein about the tearoom tradition. I'm fascinated by the old community folkways and in a sense sad to see them fade, though I realize they're in decline because the world is a better place.

I (distantly) knew someone who was arrested in a train station bathroom in the 60s. The police and even-the-liberal-academy weren't very understanding, and my sense is that after the ostracism the rest of his life was spent more or less going through the motions. So sad.


 

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Comments

Posted by Becks
on 08.30.07

A confluence of events:

* From The Archives's Megan's post about the future of professional comment moderation
* Teresa Nielsen Hayden getting hired to do just that for Boing Boing
* McMegan institutes the first comment policy for one of the blogs at The Atlantic

The care and feeding of a comments section is a very difficult thing and I know that Unfogged could never have created the sense of community that it has today were it not for Ogged's active participation in the comments here. It's a really hard to set the right tone for encouraging interesting (or at least fun) discussions and, if I had to describe to someone how he managed to do it, I don't even know if I could.


 

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Mercy Followup

Posted by LizardBreath
on 08.30.07

Becks posted a while back on Dr. Anna Pou, the doctor who was prosecuted, but ultimately not indicted, for injecting several patients with morphine and sedatives after Katrina, possibly causing their deaths.

Newsweek has an interview with her, explaining what happened.

Tell me about conditions from Wednesday night until Thursday.

By the time Wednesday evening came around, if you can imagine in our mind, there is a central area that is a sea of people. A lot of very sick patients in that central triage area. It's grossly backed up. Few patients had been evacuated. So there was just enough space to walk between the stretchers. It is extremely dark. We're having to care for patients by flashlight. There were patients that were moaning, patients that are crying. We're trying to cool them off. We had some dirty water we could use, some ice. We were sponging them down, giving them sips of bottled water, those who could drink. The heat was--there is no way to describe that heat. I was in it and I can't believe how hot it was. There are people fanning patients with cardboard, nurses everywhere, a few doctors and wall-to-wall patients. Patients are so frightened and we're saying prayers with them. We kind of looked around at each other and said, "You know there's not a whole lot we can really do for those people." We're waiting [for help]. The people in that area could have [been evacuated] by boat but no boats were coming. I would do what I could with the nurses: changing diapers, cooling patients down with fanning. It wasn't like, "I'm a doctor, you're a nurse." We were all human beings trying to help another human being, whatever it took.

Were people still dying at this point?

Every now and then a nurse would say, "Dr. Pou, this patient isn't breathing any more." Or I would be fanning patients and watch them take their last breath. So that's basically what it was like Wednesday night: kind of a feeling of helplessness, frustration, sadness. It's sad. You look around and think we live in the greatest country in the world and yet the sick could basically be abandoned like this.

What happened Thursday?

On Thursday morning we were told nobody was coming and we had to fend for ourselves. Everybody was kind of like at a loss here. What is plan B? Or plan C?

At what point did it become clear some patients wouldn't make it out alive?

I think when we went to reverse triage. It was always everybody's hope that every single person would make it out of the hospital. Everybody did everything to make that happen. What you have to do when resources are limited, you have to save the people you know that you can save. And not everybody is going to survive those kind of conditions. And we knew that. People were dying. People were dying in the hospital. Not through lack of effort. Healthy people were getting sick. Employees' family members were getting sick. People from the neighborhood came in getting sick. We were trying to find insulin for people. It was a mass of people--very chaotic. You have to realize there were people everywhere, not only patients, but 2,000 people in the hospital. That is a lot of people.

Tell me about the decision to administer painkillers to the nine people on the seventh floor.

There were patients, all of us knew, still remaining in the LifeCare unit. They were category three [in the reverse triage system]. We all believed eventually everybody was going to leave the hospital. We just didn't know when or what was the time frame. So we knew that patients were going to be there for long time. We knew they were going to be there another day. That they would go through at least another day of hell. Basically it was decided to give the patients sedation.

She had no clean water, no electricity, there was no help on the way, and she was prosecuted for giving painkillers to dying patients in pain. Unless Attorney General Charles Foti, who was ultimately responsible for the decision to prosecute her, had, for some reason, an entirely different belief as to what actually happened, he should be ashamed of himself, and so should everyone else who went along with the prosecution. (Via the J-Train, guestposting at Majikthise.)


 

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Or Was It Detroit?

Posted by Ogged
on 08.29.07

Thoughts on the American empire, and its decline.

In 1970, the United States was ruled by a corrupt Republican regime; it is hard to suppose that there was substantially less institutionalized racism at that juncture then now. Nonetheless, it seems likely from here that, had the same event happened then, New Orleans would have been well en route to a rebuilt renaissance by 1972. This is a fairly simple economic deduction: that infrastructural repair and reinvestment would have been a lot easier to come by before the long economic downturn that began in 1973. Or, to rephrase the matter in terms of Giovanni Arrighi's Braudelian analysis of the United States' "long Twentieth century," wherein he holds that the peak of the US cycle of accumulation was 1973: the seemingly singular decision not to rebuild New Orleans is exactly the mark of an empire in decline. It's structural, not singular at all. The abandonment of a great city to time and tide is indeed both symptom and mark of empire on its downhill slide; it bears noting as well that pathetic, delusional and desperate regimes are equally an indicator of this decline.

That New Orleans was the first city to go (or was it Detroit?) means, among other things, that it won't be the last....

 

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The Wide Stance

Posted by Ogged
on 08.29.07

Slate Video might turn out to be ok if they keep doing things like this re-enactment of Larry Craig in the Minneapolis airport bathroom.


 

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Pool Chatter

Posted by Ogged
on 08.29.07

1. Under the clear sunny sky, in the crisp water of the pool, the woman next to me said, "We're so lucky. Think of all the people in the world who are working in sweatshops right now."

Gee, thanks, lady.

I'm moving to the Hamptons.

2. Heading back to my locker, I saw a young man confusedly fumbling with my locker and then the one next to it, so I went up behind him and said "You touched my locker." He said "Oh, oops." See how I made the element of surprise work for me?

3. I did you guys proud: the new hot blonde in the bikini was totally chatting me up, but I made like I didn't notice and answered all her questions dispassionately and with just enough detail to be boring.


 

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The finer points of academic etiquette

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 08.29.07

Is it permissible for a faculty member to get with the lady friend of one of his graduate students? Answer: the question presupposes a misleading deontic vocabulary that obscures the fundamental point, viz. this is frikkin awesome.


 

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Get Back

Posted by Becks
on 08.29.07

So I've been noticing my back starting to hurt a little bit lately. I figure this is something that, while not a problem now, will only get worse with time until it crosses some line into awful. I need to do whatever I can now to reverse what's going on and nip things in the bud.

I'm trying to be more conscious of my posture (when standing to start; I should also work on my sitting posture but that's more confusing) and was thinking a new laptop bag that didn't pull me so much to one side might be in order.

I'm thinking my sleeping position needs fixing, too, but I'm not sure how to do that. For a while now, at least a few nights a week, I've been sleeping in a quasi-sitting position using a ramp made out of pillows so that my head is elevated. I have allergies and other sinus problems and this seems to be the only way to keep things from pooling in my head and turning into a sinus infection. I can tell this doesn't give my back much support, though, so this isn't a great solution if it keeps me from getting sick but means I'll throw my back out someday.

Any suggestions?


 

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Display

Posted by Ogged
on 08.28.07

On a different note, this video, via thinking in type, is funny. It reminds me of the scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark. You'll know the one I mean.

Best with the sound off, I think.


 

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A Note To The Laydeez

Posted by Ogged
on 08.28.07

Keep it real.


 

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Boston Meetup Thread

Posted by Ogged
on 08.28.07

Apparently y'all are floundering. Next Tuesday after 8 or next Thursday evening. Go!


 

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Problems That Get Easier If You Aren't A Libertarian

Posted by LizardBreath
on 08.28.07

Jim Henley and Megan McArdle, among others, have been talking about how, exactly, a libertarian goes about supporting laws that ban cruelty to animals (laws that they do both support). The difficulty, if I understand it correctly (and I easily may not -- I'm responding to the posts generally rather than to specifics therein), is that (1) as libertarians, they generally believe that laws should be restricted to prohibiting behavior that infringes on someone's rights, but (2) it's hard to come up with a rights-based reason to prohibit cruelty to animals. If the animal has a right not to be tortured, it's hard to explain why it shouldn't have a right not to be slaughtered and eaten, but very few people, and I'd guess almost no libertarians, are going to stand up for laws prohibiting carnivory.

While I think of myself as someone who's very concerned about human rights, and rights-based theories of civil liberties, part of what keeps me from thinking of myself as a libertarian (oh, there are other reasons, this is just one) is that I don't have any problem with regulation in order to prohibit or discourage conduct that's wrong*, even if it can't be framed as rights-violating. I don't think it makes much sense to think of animals as having rights -- does a Cape Buffalo calf have a right not to be made the subject of a tug-of-war between a pride of lionesses and a crocodile? What good would it do it if it had? But it's still wrong to torment animals or otherwise treat them inhumanely in any way, and I can strongly favor laws that forbid such conduct (and favor much stronger laws and regulations than we've got in the commercial livestock-raising context) without needing to justify them by an appeal to the rights of the animals involved.

Another way to think about it is that while I have a broad sense of civil rights, such that it would be wrong to make regulations that infringe on them unless necessary to keep me from infringing on someone else's rights (free speech, freedom of worship, freedom of association, freedom to travel, privacy and security in my home and body, and this certainly isn't an exhaustive list), I don't think there's a catchall "right to do anything I like so long as it doesn't infringe on anyone else's rights" that should prevent regulation of conduct that there's no particular right to engage in.

If Michael Vick wants to tour the country giving speeches about how great it is to torture dogs, I think that's wrong, but I think he has a right to do it, and so it would be wrong to stop him by force of law unless his speeches were somehow infringing on someone else's rights, which I can't see how they would be. If he wants to actually torture dogs, while I don't think the dogs have a right not to be tortured, I also don't think he's got a right to torture them. At that point, society is perfectly entitled to say that torturing animals is wrong, and there's no reason not to prohibit it and to put him in jail for violating the prohibition.

* Who says what's "wrong"? Why, society, through the democratic process.


 

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Larger Lessons

Posted by Ogged
on 08.28.07

If I had a very smart mustache, I could draw important conclusions from what the Iraqi cabbie who'd been there in February told me. But I don't, so I won't. What I can tell you is that when your cabbie is falling asleep, small talk becomes a matter of life and death. As the car began to drift and his eyes began to droop, I knew I had to say something...to keep us alive! We'd already talked about Iraq and politics and a bunch of other stuff, so--yes, I debased myself in order to live--I asked him about the weather. That didn't capture his interest, so I asked him about this kids, which perked him up. What if he hadn't had kids? This is why having children is so important to the survival of the human race.

Back home, I had a jihad-ready cabbie who was enraged that I live so close to the airport, but that traffic was bad enough that he wouldn't make it back in time to get into the short line. He didn't drive fast so much as he drove angry. Then he asked me if I would mind getting out short of my place and walking so that he could take a shortcut back to the expressway. Sure bro, ogged is love; enjoy those virgins.


 

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Curious

Posted by Ogged
on 08.28.07

What's this I hear that impotents can't become priests? Seriously?

Kotsko, this seems like your area.


 

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Like D-List Internet Celebrity

Posted by Becks
on 08.27.07

McMegan has a post up about the movie The King of Kong (which you should all see, btw) and how:

It's...a great sociological treatise for anyone who's interested in status concerns. In response to those who are worried that economic status competition is making us all worse off, people like Will Wilkinson have argued that modern society is so excellent precisely because it offers us proliferating status hierarchies in which to excel. Or as Tyler Cowen once told me, the secret to happiness is alternative status hierarchies, combined with self-deception.
...
If you've ever spent time around competitive rock climbers, for example, you'll know that they really do believe that being the world's best alpinist is superior to being, say, Secretary of State, even though most people would rather meet Condi Rice than Reinhold Messner. Indeed, in many cases, their status hierarchy is inverted; being a total loser is better than being a certain sort of corporate cretin. And these aren't people who have chosen to opt out because they can't make it elsewhere; they're not noticeably less popular, intelligent, or competent than people who seek success in more traditional ways than a sub-four-hour solo of the Eiger.

What say you? Do any of our Hottest Media Type, Off Airs have anything to say about alternate status heirarchies?


 

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I Had Blocked It Out So Well

Posted by Becks
on 08.27.07

Reading Dahlia Lithwick's Emily Yoffe's account of going shopping with her tween daughter sent a shiver down my spine. Not because of its revelations about how trampy young girls' clothing is getting (that's old news well covered on this blog) but because I was shocked to learn that a parent and child could go shopping together without it ending with one of them in tears. That's so not the experience of my childhood.


 

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Going, going...

Posted by LizardBreath
on 08.27.07

Gonzales.

Not that whoever replaces him is likely to be any better.


 

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Rarely is the question asked...

Posted by Apostropher
on 08.26.07

...is our children learning?


 

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Even more ridiculous

Posted by Ben
on 08.26.07

We've all long known about The Ridiculous Trio and their Stooges-playing ways. And we equally know about The Thing's way with rock tunes, whether alone or alongside the Cato Salsa Experience and Joe McPhee, though perhaps we don't care so much about that in this context, since it is not ridiculous and doesn't employ a tuba. But I have, through the good grace of emusic, recently encountered a cover of "Black Dog" done with a tuba, guitar, and drums (not by Drums & Tuba, though, but rather by Sérgio Carolino, Mário Delgado, and Alexandre Frazão).


 

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Great Moments In Attorney Advertising

Posted by LizardBreath
on 08.26.07

This firm has ads on the side of NYC buses, playing off its name with a picture of sharks' dorsal fins. I may quit to go work for them, on the basis of that ad alone.


 

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Smokes

Posted by Becks
on 08.26.07

Why do writers of celebrity profiles feel compelled to tell us the brand of cigarettes that celebrities smoke? Maybe the writers and/or smokers among you can enlighten me. I doubt the writer is getting a kickback for the product placement from a tobacco company so I can only guess that the author thinks it is revealing something about the subject. Is there really something to be learned about one's character by knowing that they smoke Parliaments versus Marlboros?


 

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