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Chuck For President

Posted by Ogged
on 02.16.08

Charles Barkley, still the best. (The "fake Christian" stuff starts around 3:15 in.)


 

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Nailed

Posted by Ogged
on 02.16.08

Stuff White People Like.

Awesome.

via megan


 

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Frenemies

Posted by Ogged
on 02.16.08

The lede says it all.

Saudi Arabia's rulers threatened to make it easier for terrorists to attack London unless corruption investigations into their arms deals were halted, according to court documents revealed yesterday.

So Al-Qaeda is now de facto muscle for the Saudi regime? (Oh, and the threat worked.)

via the arabist


 

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The Cost

Posted by Ogged
on 02.16.08

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days: wow. Start with Lemieux and follow the links. I'll just add a couple of things: Vlad Ivanov's performance is fantastic and Anamaria Marinca's performance might be the best I've ever seen. Finally, one thing that the reviews don't really grapple with is the conception of friendship that animates Otilia. Or is it friendship at all? Anyway, worth considering and find a way to see this movie.


 

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Some music ogged might like

Posted by Ben
on 02.15.08

Actually I already know that he likes one of these … but which one? That is the task you face. Determining that, that is. Also, you people might like these things too, right? Give it a shot.

Christopher Denny singing a song about Dasein's temporalization (presumably no relation to Sandy).

Fire on Fire singing a song about being FRIENDS! And hangmen.

Sam Amidon singing a song about something or other. I'm listening to a different track from the same album ("Prodigal Son") and can't remember what this one's about.

In the latter two cases I'm prepared to endorse not just the songs on those review pages but the entire alba as well.


 

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Nice Touch

Posted by Ogged
on 02.15.08

This quick snap was all I could manage, and it doesn't do justice to the very lovely woman with the yellow scarf on the yellow Vespa.


 

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No Good

Posted by Ogged
on 02.15.08

This interview with Darius Rejali about his book on torture is fantastic. You'll be able to vanquish all your torture-loving relatives at holiday debates after reading it.

(With bonus answers about truth and reconciliation commissions.)

via the arabist


 

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Film At 11

Posted by Becks
on 02.15.08

New brothel business model: you can have sex with our prostitutes for free if we can film it and put it on the internet or you can pay and we won't show the world that you're a perv.


 

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Get 'Em

Posted by Ogged
on 02.15.08

Rauchway, at the close of a short piece worth reading in full, says,

As my colleague Kathryn Olmsted points out, the parallels between Nixon and Bush are not merely incidental echoes: They result from a continuity of personnel who intend to concentrate national power in the hands of a Republican president. Congress was able to thwart this the first time. Now we run the risk of allowing our adherence to the electoral calendar delude us into thinking that we can simply let this administration pass. But we cannot. If the Bush administration slips from us uninvestigated, without acknowledgment of and atonement for its wrongs, the Nixonian nightmare will have become American reality.

Do you think that's right? It's hard to separate desirability from feasibility here, and I wonder what Rauchway imagines "atonement" might be, and whether it won't be much harder (if it's possible in any event) to have thorough investigations if the resistance is from people trying to keep themselves out of jail, rather than merely trying to save their shameless selves some shame. And, while we're at it, do you agree that hearings are necessary, or would it be better--as I think Kotsko argued the Democrats must believe [update: here]--to deliberately fail to acknowledge the constitutional crisis, because widespread belief that we are a nation of laws is in this case more important than whether we are in fact.


 

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Ballad Of A Ladyman

Posted by Becks
on 02.15.08

It may not be Valentine's Day anymore but I think that S-K's Carrie Brownstein gets it exactly right when it comes to rules for making a mix CD for your sweetie. In part:

1. Be able to back it up. If you feel self-conscious about intimacy anywhere but in a bedroom, with the shades drawn and the lights off, then don't put "Love in an Elevator" by Aerosmith on the CD. And you shouldn't put Al Green's "I'm A Ram" on the mix if you're more like Bambi or a cuddly Golden Retriever puppy. This is what's called false advertising
2. Don't put a song on the CD that you would be embarrassed to listen to in the same room or car as the person whom you made it for.
There's nothing worse than that false sense of confidence as you lay down some dirty, sexy track on the mix. Sure, "Whole Lotta Love" seemed like a good idea at the time, but when the two of you are driving up the coast and he pops the CD into the car stereo, you don't want to have to avoid eye contact when Robert Plant starts moaning during the break down.
3. If the relationship is new, or you merely have a crush, go easy on the messages in the songs. You don't want the recipient to feel like they're being pursued by a crazy person.

That said, you could easily violate 1, 2, and 3 by including Sleater-Kinney's Let's Call It Love in your mix but, damn, that's a mighty sexy song so I think we should make an exception:

My dear, look at my face
I've been waiting for you in the same old place
Jewels could spill from my cup
But it's all locked down, and I'm all locked up
A woman is not a girl
I could show you a thing or two
Come on let's go to the mat
Hit the floor honey, let's battle it out
C'mon let's play a game
It won't hurt just say my name
Roll the dice, take your card
Let's see if your number's up
Pony up and try and guess my hand,
What have I learned from experience?
Let's call it my royal flush,
I can show you what to do with it

Slow moves and dirty tricks
Want it like you never have
Timing and tiger strength
Strategy will put you past
Show me your darkest side
And you better be my bloody match


 

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Progress in philosophy

Posted by Ben
on 02.14.08

In the essay "The Puzzle of Imaginative Resistance", Tamar Szabó Gendler quotes from A Man in Full:

Once they got into the room, she proudced that little cup from her handbag, and they did the thing with the cup, something he had never heard of in all his life. He had lost his mind to her demented form of lust. Danger! Imminent exposure! That thing with the cup!

The point of the quotation is to get at what SG calls "the that thing with the cup problem", the problem being that

The problem with that thing in the cup is that there is nothing that it its to be that thing with the cup in this (the actual) world, and there is nothing that it is to be that thing with the cup in the world of Serena and Charlie Croker. There are no extra body parts, no extra positions, no extra ways in which something that is not arousing in this world is arousing in that world (doing you-know-what with the cup, for instance). But despite this, it is nonetheless true in A Man in Full that Charlie Croker and Serena did that thing with the cup, and that they enjoyed it.

Well, maybe at the time no one knew what "that thing with the cup" was. Evidently even Wolfe didn't know—or anyway that's what he said. But I don't think, in this crowd, that I need to point out that it's by now quite obvious what it is that they got up to, the perverts.


 

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That's Not What A Heart Looks Like

Posted by Ogged
on 02.14.08

On Valentine's Day, our thoughts turn to love. Love crackles across the fibers of the internet, as if a million million eager squirrels simultaneously chewed through the lines on every block in every hamlet in this great nation. True love.

What do I love?

I love that Britney Spears, America's pop icon, just married an Afghani guy named Adnan. I love that she did it after being saved from the clutches of the guy who was drugging her; a guy named Osama.

I love Charlize Theron, because she's not afraid to camp it up.

And I love her because she's always been willing to share her butt.

Is that a bad reason? Fuck you, and happy Valentine's Day.


 

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I walk a fine line between two kinds of tiresome

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 02.14.08

On the one hand I am very much with those who find Valentine's Day to be one of those irritating holidays ginned up to sell things and so I can't get excited about the pearl-clutchers who are all OH NOES about, say, an elementary school celebrating "Friendship Day" instead of the traditional cupid-centered festivities. If there are eternal verities, this is not one of them; please move along.

[The other hand has gone missing.]


 

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Hearts and Flowers and Whatnot

Posted by Becks
on 02.14.08

It seems like a lot of the articles leading up to Valentine's Day this year have been of the depressing "nobody can make it work" variety. I wonder if this is a cyclical thing or if writers have just run out of the happy ones or if mean ones make better copy. Maybe all of the journalists nationwide just got dumped.

The worst was on CBS News Sunday Morning last week - they had a profile of a divorce lawyer who said that many of his clients paid extra specifically to make sure their soon-to-be-ex would be served with divorce papers on Valentine's Day. And, if that weren't bad enough, he said the new trend he's seeing is clients paying someone to film their spouse getting served.


 

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Megan Wants Your Smut

Posted by LizardBreath
on 02.14.08

And surely you're not going to disappoint her?

It's a little Valentine's Day literary exercise.


 

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Achoo

Posted by Becks
on 02.14.08

The New York Times blog has a post up about "presenteeism", people who come into work sick, and how to discourage it. This has always been a problem with places that don't have paid sick leave, but I expect that it's creeping even more into companies that do offer benefits because of the shift from separate vacation and sick leave to "paid time off" banks that combine both. After all, when a person is faced with the calculation of "Do I come in sick and infect my coworkers but save a PTO day so I can go on vacation with my family later this year? Or should I stay home and use a PTO day for the sake of not infecting my coworkers?", they aren't being a completely irrational actor by choosing the former. (I'll leave a point about externalities as an exercise for the reader.)

What is your criteria for taking a sick day off?


 

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Perhaps Obama should make a point of sticking his foot up your ass

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 02.14.08

A minister in Tennessee circulates an anti-Semitic flier and Instant Pundit opines:

Perhaps Barack Obama should make a point of condemning this.

Surprise: the minister is black!

Via everyone. Look, it was either post this or throw the computer out the window.


 

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No Take-Backs

Posted by Ogged
on 02.13.08

Some people don't hold back. Or is this just how politics works?

Some [superdelegates who are unsure of their support for Hillary] are folks who owe the Clintons a favor but still feel betrayed or taken for granted. Could that be why Bill Richardson, a former U.N. secretary and energy secretary in the Clinton administration, refused to endorse her even after an angry call from the former president? "What," Bill Clinton reportedly asked Richardson, "isn't two Cabinet posts enough?"

Brutal.


 

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The Ancient Nineties

Posted by Ogged
on 02.13.08

David Greenberg makes the case that the Clinton presidency was a lot more successful than Obamaniacs concede.


 

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RM Hare built the bridge on the river Kwai

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 02.13.08

Very few others will find this interesting, but so what-- I had no idea that RM Hare was involved in the construction of the Burma Railway as a POW in WWII. Amazing!

I recently saw "The Bridge on the River Kwai" and found it a bit disappointing.


 

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Ask The Mineshaft: Mo' Money Edition

Posted by Becks
on 02.13.08

A job seeker asks:

As a precondition to an interview, I have been asked to sumbit my "current and desired salary". What should I list for my desired salary to give myself the most room for negotiation? Do I throw out a number now or is there a way to fudge providing this information until after I have a better feel for the situation?

 

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Huh

Posted by Ben
on 02.13.08

Crooked Timber has a new category according to which to classify (one might even say, categorize, pronouncing it with emphasis on the second syllable) posts.

The kid in front has been taking lessons from Labs, I think.


 

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Penes

Posted by Ogged
on 02.13.08

Olivia Judson has another great entry at her NY Times blog, this time about what we can guess about Tyrannosaurus rex penises. It's a great lesson in how evolutionary biology proceeeds, plus, cock.

If you like it, you should really get her book, which is hilarious and sneakily informative.

There was also a TV show, which proved too racy to air in the US (this clip is priceless).

By way of disclosure, I know (or knew: I haven't seen her in years) Olivia a little bit, and yes, every single person who meets her develops a crush on her, because she's just as great and funny as you'd hope from reading her.


 

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No Wonder The NY Post Endorsed Him

Posted by Becks
on 02.13.08

Sometimes I wonder if there are journalists secretly pulling for an Obama win just for four to eight years of headline punning potential.


 

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50 (More Or Less)

Posted by Becks
on 02.13.08

Megan's recent post on California secession reminded me that I meant to blog about this article in Good magazine about the Vermont secession movement. I can't imagine gaining or losing a US state -- it doesn't feel like anything that could happen in my lifetime, although I realize that the experience of my generation is actually a historical anomaly.


 

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Chesapeake Primary

Posted by Becks
on 02.12.08

While it has nothing to do with D.C., Maryland, or Virginia, I'm linking to this picture again just because it's so dang yummy.

[Photo via G.p, photo by Matt Wright.]


 

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Chris! Chris! Chris! (Not That It'll Probably Do Any Good In The End).

Posted by LizardBreath
on 02.12.08

Senator Dodd has pledged to filibuster any FISA bill that emerges from committee with telecom immunity intact. Everyone get poised to call your senators to support him. You could even go ahead and do that now.


 

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Calamity

Posted by Becks
on 02.12.08

Not really, it's just that whenever I type "Cala meetup", it sounds a bit like the word "calamity", which is fun to say. Calamity Jane!

So, New York, where are we having this thing tomorrow?


 

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Slackers, All Of You

Posted by Becks
on 02.12.08

Except slolernr, for whom this article was written:

Professors, it's been said, are the worst-dressed middle-class occupational group in America. Instead of being role models, we've convinced everyone to slum.

It goes on to say:

Some sartorial underachievement is aimed at furthering a "nurturing" atmosphere. The classroom setting should be non-confrontational, it's argued, with professors and students hangin' out as buddies.
But it doesn't work, except perhaps for sexual poaching.

Well that explains it, then.


 

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So, What's New With You, Khalid?

Posted by Ogged
on 02.12.08

I had to read the opening paragraphs of this story a few of times before I was convinced that I had read them correctly.

The Bush administration announced yesterday that it intends to bring capital murder charges against half a dozen men allegedly linked to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, based partly on information the men disclosed to FBI and military questioners without the use of coercive interrogation tactics.

The admissions made by the men -- who were given food whenever they were hungry as well as Starbucks coffee at the Defense Department's Guantanamo Bay prison -- played a key role in the government's decision to proceed with the prosecutions, military and law enforcement officials said.
FBI and military interrogators who began work with the suspects in late 2006 called themselves the "Clean Team," and set as their goal collecting of virtually the same information the CIA had obtained from five of the six through duress at secret prisons.
To ensure that the data would not be tainted by allegations of torture or illegal coercion, the FBI and military team won the suspects' trust over the past 16 months by using time-tested rapport-building techniques, the officials said.

That's right. After the prisoners had been tortured, they were interrogated "again" without torture, because somehow the slate was magically wiped clean and that information isn't tainted.

And "clean team?" What was the original team called?


 

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Ask The Mineshaft: Meals And Money Edition

Posted by Becks
on 02.12.08

A reader asks:

I have a friend from an old job who I still keep in touch with, and consider a good friend although we don't see each other often. Every month or two we get together for dinner to catch up - we take turns covering the check, and it's always a great time. We're supposed to get together in the next week or so for a belated birthday dinner - his birthday, on me. It's been a slight issue once or twice in the past that he seems to think I have an income substantially closer to his than I do (in fact he knows I do not, but claims he also does not have much money, as most of it is "tied up" in architectural projects. It should be noted, however, that he picks me up for dinner in a BMW). I've bitten the bullet/pretended to be an adult in the past, but I'm especially low on cash at the moment and all the places he's proposed are some of the most expensive in DC. Not the very most outrageously priced, but not really within my range. I said he should pick a place, keeping in mind I'm not loaded, and his response was something along the lines of, Come on - don't be cheap on my birthday! Then suggested I choose from this list: Proof, Indeblue, Zengo, DC Coast, Zola. I really don't have a ton of extra money at the moment, though, and if I did, I'd be more inclined to drop the cash for a nice dinner with a boyfriend. I don't want to offend him - especially because he's been very generous with me in the past - and don't want to feel like a cheap young jerk, but am not sure how to broach the topic again, as I've already agreed. Halp?

 

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More Ill-Informed Kenya-Blogging

Posted by LizardBreath
on 02.12.08

Interesting interview with L. Muthoni Wanyeki, executive director of the Kenya Human Rights Commission. HeShe describes the violence going on in Kenya as being much more top-down and controlled than one would think from reading the NY Times and listening to the BBC:

It's important to understand this violence not in the way it's being presented, as though it's... people resorting to deeply-felt innate feelings of tribal hatred and resentment. Actually, the violence has taken very specific forms, the worst of which are highly organized. We've said consistently that we initially saw three, then four forms of violence, the first two of which have mutated and intensified.
The first form was disorganized, spontaneous protest at the announcement of the result - or the supposed result - across the country. That has largely died off or been suppressed. The second form was organized militia activity, beginning in the Rift Valley but then spreading out from Central [Province] in particular. In the Rift it took the form of deaths, destruction of property, displacement of people and so on, but has been responded to by the reactivation of existing militia organizations - like Mungiki - that are now moving out from Central trying to recapture territory that they believe has been lost or ceded, given the displacements that have happened.
Mungiki is an organized militia organization. It began really as a sort of genuine social movement out of internally displaced people from the politically-instigated clashes in the early 1990s. It was very quickly co-opted however by [former President Daniel arap] Moi, by different elements within the regime, to act during times of elections and political organizing. The problem is what you do with a group that's armed, that's trained, once you no longer need them for political purposes. They then took on the form of a protection racquet or mafia within low-income areas of Nairobi and other cities, basically providing protection to citizens and business people within these areas for a fee.
The third form of violence that we saw was the really extraordinary use of force... in trying to contain the protests... largely in Nyanza Province, where most of the deaths that have occurred have been through extra-judicial killings. There's been a very uneven pattern of police response [to protest]... a very heavy deployment around Nairobi in Uhuru Park, where they were trying to prevent ODM [the opposition Orange Democratic Movement] from mobilizing their rallies. Very insufficient security was provided to IDPs [internally displaced persons] and... extreme [police] presence in the stronghold of ODM.
The fourth form of violence is more recent and it has to do with a kind of communal response to the return of IDPs - people hearing their stories, then getting incensed and organizing revenge or retributive attacks on minority communities in the Central and Nairobi areas.

(Note: If you check the title, this remains 'ill-informed' blogging. I've got no prior idea who this guywoman is, what hisher political interests or affiliations are, or anything else. Anyone with more informative links, please put them in the comments.)


 

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Proof that artists don't know what they're doing

Posted by Ben
on 02.11.08

Coppola is producing a remake of The Conversation, incorporating post-9/11 paranoia instead of personal demons. What? If that's the case odds are it won't even be recognizable as a remake of the same movie. (It's a remake of The Birds, but with mafia hitmen instead of birds! It's a remake of Night of the Hunter, except Mitchum's character is actually a nice guy who's trying to reform!) I really can't imagine what motives could possibly be behind this (surely, if the remake's at all like the original, not financial). There is absolutely no reason to remake the movie; if you really wanted to make some kind of political point with it, there would be no reason to have to update it to make explicit reference to current affairs, since only someone too stupid to actually be alive could fail to be able to watch it and put two and two together. And anyway the only explicit reference to politics in the original is a scene in the hotel when Caul's television is on and we hear something about Nixon. That just happens in passing, though. (And Caul formerly worked for a DA, if you like, but this is really weak sauce.) It is, after all, primarily a psychological movie.

I just watched the movie again today so I'm freshly prepared to be outraged by all this (I imagine mcmanus will be as well). I know we've got some Conversation-haters hanging about here but surely they can at least concede that it needn't be remade. I am kind of curious as to how it will develop: what will the pacing be like? what will become of the scenes with Caul's, uh, friend, and the party after the convention? will the conversation surveilled be explicitly political or terroristic or will it once again be an entirely private affair? what'll the sound be like? how much will it suck? Etc.

Of course, I also thought there was no reason to remake The Manchurian Candidate and I've heard that the remake was actually tolerable, so, y'know.


 

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A Problem And A Solution

Posted by Ogged
on 02.11.08

All this talk of settling and romance reminds me that it's been far too long since I posted this Chris Rock line (audio, NSFW).


 

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Unfogged: Helping Start Marriages, Not Just Destroy Them

Posted by Becks
on 02.11.08

Let's say that an Unfogged commenter was going to propose to his girlfriend sometime soonish. Suggestions for how to do it?


 

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Outrage On

Posted by Ogged
on 02.11.08

However will Republicans turn the country's attention back to terror, and make Democrats choose between principle and looking "weak"? How about show trials of the most notorious detainees, with the death penalty in play? Welcome to the campaign.


 

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A Request

Posted by Becks
on 02.11.08

I'd really appreciate it if people would keep from hijacking non-political threads into political discussions, as has happened a number of times over the last few days. I know emotions are high about the election but we have plenty of political threads around here and some of us would like an occasional break from election talk.

When I want to unwind and read something funny or light or about relationships, it really annoys me to open the comments and find out it's really people screaming at each other about what somebody said about Hillary or Obama. If you want to talk politics or have new information about the election to post, please put it in a thread about the election. There's always at least one of them on the front page.


 

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Isn't Kenya Partially a Marketing Problem?

Posted by LizardBreath
on 02.11.08

Violence is continuing in Kenya, which seems particularly awful because of what's being lost. Kenya's been peaceful and reasonably prosperous for generations, now; the age-old tribal conflicts that everything in Africa always gets blamed on are things that for a lot of Kenyans really have to be dragged up out of distant memory. Until the last few weeks, when the political conflict over the recent elections has sparked ethnic cleansing of neighborhoods, and plenty of intertribal and just opportunistic crime and violence. People who grew up in a country where your neighbors were your neighbors, and you had no particular reason to be afraid of anyone, are now going to live out the rest of their lives feeling that anyone who's not a family or tribal connection is someone who might, under the right circumstances, try to hurt them.

Obviously, I haven't got any political solutions. But shouldn't the UN, or some NGO, have been blanketing the country for weeks with posters on every flat surface pointing out that Kenya isn't the kind of place where people set buildings on fire with other people inside; that if everyone settles down and keeps their heads, the political situation will work itself out somehow, but civil society won't disintegrate. Posters, radio commercials, public appearances and concerts with every Kenyan celebrity that can be hired to stand up and talk about peace, understanding, and inviting your neighbors from other tribes over for dinner, all of that seems like it could make a huge difference in this situation, and couldn't possibly cost much compared to the alternatives -- there has to be money in the UN peacekeeping budget somewhere enough to pay for endless hours of Kenyan radio time.

Maybe someone's doing this kind of thing. But if they aren't, why not?


 

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I'm Sufficiently Into You

Posted by Ogged
on 02.10.08

I see you've already discussed the "You should settle" article and B and Cala have said what needs to be said about it. Just a couple of notes.

The author doesn't do a full troll, but you can see that she had a reasonable thesis, but needed to punch it up for interest and "consider whether you're using trivial reasons to rule out men who might be fine mates" became "settle!"

Second, there was this priceless bit of logic from a "Chris."

Then there's my friend Chris, a single 35-year-old marketing consultant who for three years dated someone he calls "the perfect woman"--a kind and beautiful surgeon. She broke off the relationship several times because, she told him with regret, she didn't think she wanted to spend her life with him. Each time, Chris would persuade her to reconsider, until finally she called it off for good, saying that she just couldn't marry somebody she wasn't in love with. Chris was devastated, but now that his ex-girlfriend has reached 35, he's suddenly hopeful about their future.

"By the time she turns 37," Chris said confidently, "she'll come back. And I'll bet she'll marry me then. I know she wants to have kids." I asked Chris why he would want to be with a woman who wasn't in love with him. Wouldn't he be settling, too, by marrying someone who would be using him to have a family? Chris didn't see it that way at all. "She'll be settling," Chris said cheerfully. "But not me. I get to marry the woman of my dreams. That's not settling. That's the fantasy."

Ah, the best laid plans. I was looking at links to the article, and it turns out that Chris has a blog. In his comments, someone asks whether the surgeon ever settled down.

She did. With another guy. Almost immediately. They're very happy. And expecting. Me? I got more wild. Bachelor-for-life!

No doubt.


 

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Fly Boy

Posted by Becks
on 02.10.08

Every week, the New York Times profiles a frequent traveler and asks for their tips on how they do it, what they've learned, crazy things they've seen, etc. I'm hoping to see a profile in a couple of weeks of a person who punches this guy:

[The flight from Johannesburg to the United States] is enough to drive anyone crazy. My solution is to go into the restroom halfway through the flight and change into workout clothes. I then do a full hour of calisthenics, crunches, push-ups and lunges in the aisle of the plane. I'll ask the stewards for a lot of those steamy washcloths, and then retreat to the restroom for a sponge bath.

 

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Modern Love Roundup

Posted by Becks
on 02.10.08

* No wonder the Modern Love column sucks so much. The editor can't write.

* Modern Love essay contest for college students! I think Flannery O'Connor would argue that the NYT is subverting the educational system.

* More evidence of 2: Modern Love Breeds Book Deals

* And Modern Love hates the gays.


 

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