Smasher and I were talking about our weekend plans last night and I said that I needed to get my oil changed. He asked where I was going to do it and I said that I was still trying to track down a nearby Jiffy Lube, since there aren't any near our house. He looked horrified and then I realized he had meant "where are you planning to park your car while you change your own oil".
I've never changed my own oil. In fact, the thought to do so had never even crossed my mind. It's weird to think that there are things that people used to do for themselves that, not only have I decided I'd rather pay someone else to do, but that I didn't even think to try doing myself first.
Via Daniel I see that PZ Myers has done that thing with that wafer. Someone sent him a Qur'an and he had to be mean to that too, but what caught my eye is that he used the new M.A.S. Abdel Haleem translation.
Coincidentally I just got one of these and it's really good. A very readable translation in contemporary but not overly casual prose (it cuts out the annoying "thee" and "thine" stuff, for example). It has only the English text, not the Arabic, which means it's more compact and physically manageable than another well-respected version, the Muhammad Asad translation. (Asad's has English text, Arabic text, English-alphabet transliteration, and extensive notes, as well as a little calligraphy, which results in over a thousand pages and a weight that Barack Obama could use for curling.)
Ironically enough, this means that the Abdel Haleem edition is, as far as I know, the best translation for the casual reader who might be deterred by some of the off-putting language of the old-school translators. If PZ had stuck around until almost the very end he might have learned something interesting.
Surah al-Kafiroon [Abdel Haleem translation]:
In the name of God, the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy
Say [Prophet], "Disbelievers: I do not worship what you worship, you do not worship what I worship, I will never worship what you worship, you will never worship what I worship: you have your religion and I have mine."
(Yusuf Ali translates more broadly: "you have your way...")
Judith Bonesky of BILD (I wish I were making this up) works out with Barack Obama:
He goes and picks up a pair of 16 kilo weights and starts curling them with his left and right arms, 30 repetitions on each side. Then, amazingly, he picks up the 32 kilo weights! Very slowly he lifts them, first 10 curls with his right, then 10 with his left. He breathes deeply in and out and takes a sip of water from his 0,5 litre Evian bottle.
Farley is impressed because he is a milquetoast academic. And because I am too I admit it would be impressive to do a set of curls with 70 lb dumbells. Fortunately we hear via comments that Obeefcake curled a total of 70 pounds, not 70 in each hand. (The mistranslation was announced via a CENTCOM press release.)
D-squared just got married. Women throughout the Internet rend their garments in mourning.
He's also got an interesting post on Richard Posner's line that "The managers of corporations have a fiduciary duty to maximize corporate profits." Posner is saying that corporate managers trying to behave in a socially responsible fashion are essentially stealing from stockholders -- they've been entrusted with the stockholders money, and are instead spending it on their own social goals at no cost to themselves, rather than doing what the stockholders trusted them to do, making as much money as possible. D2 does some nice analysis of how impractical it would be to actually try to decide objectively whether a socially responsible course of action would or would not "maximize corporate profits" in the long run.
I've always thought Posner's claim was idiotic for a slightly different reason. Corporate managers do have a duty to manage a corporation in what their business judgment tells them is the interests of the shareholders. But there's no reason to think that the shareholders' interests are limited to maximizing profits.
Think of a closely held corporation -- the CEO is also the sole shareholder. Clearly, if she wants to, e.g, pay a living wage, use green manufacturing methods, give to charity, whatever, with corporate funds at the expense of profits, she's not doing anything wrong regardless of the corporate form. And plenty of sole proprietors do that sort of thing. Now say the shareholders are a small group of family members that form a consensus that they want to operate in a socially conscious manner, and they hire corporate officers and instruct them "Keep the business running, sure, but we want you to keep the donations to soup kitchens going, use non-polluting methods, and make sure the employees are living well. Once you do all that, we'll take whatever level of profits you can generate." Again, the corporate officers wouldn't be doing anything wrong by following instructions, and there's nothing all that implausible about such a business.
What Posner is doing is taking as an axiom that shareholders in large corporations have no goals other than maximizing their monetary returns, despite evidence that businesspeople managing their own money often demonstrate other goals: while a sole proprietor can balance different values, a corporate manager is required to be a sociopath. As an axiom, that's nonsense. Under US law, generally, corporate managers are trusted to use their "business judgment" to manage the assets they're entrusted with, and shareholders who disagree with that judgment don't have much in the way of recourse other than selling their shares, and investing in something run by managers whose judgment they trust. I can't see any reason to treat the judgment of the corporate managers on what goals a corporation is going to pursue with any less deference than their judgment as to how to pursue those goals.
I'm sure there's a swipple entry on how white people desperately long to find the genetic pie slice that makes them not-quite-white. My grandpa played golf with a Cherokee once! I do identify with this, even though that's totally embarrassing to admit.
What is it then? I think it's fatigue of white guilt, and desire for a magic bullet to put you on the indignant side of racism instead of the perpetrating side.
White guilt isn't doing you any good if it leaves you tired and resentful instead of fired up and raring for change. But it's hard to maintain enthusiasm for change as an adult. (Current Obama enthusiasm aside.) Do men get fatigued of male guilt, if they are aware of the thousand little paper cuts that women come in contact with regularly? I assume they do.
Why does it seem like these are the only two options, if you're aware of a problem that doesn't affect you: feeling guilty or unbridled enthusiasm for change? (Or the weaselly option, spinning the problem so that it does affect you. "White privilege hurts me too!") Anyway, you do what you can do, and go to sleep at the end of the night, and ultimately you only have to answer to yourself. But still.
(Heading courtesy of Paul Barman.)
Surely I can't be the first to have thought of it.
The first I heard of a petition against Fox News alleging racism was on a music blog. And, sure, it makes sense for them to cover it, given Nas' involvement, but I would've thought it more newsworthy.
And the best video summary of the controversy was on…The Colbert Report? Meh. At least you get to see Geraldo make a further fool of himself by rapping. Video after the jump.
So, I haven't looked at Unfogged in 3 weeks. I want everyone to give me a highlights reel. Do I already not know about some important catch-phrase or something? Did Heebie break the site? Get to work, countless minions.
These are much better pictures of Lohan than those stupid Marilyn Monroe recreations were.
This story about Duncan Hunter is hilarious and bizarre:
Hunter's staff contacted the embassy in N'Djamena, Chad, last week to see whether Hunter could distribute food at a camp. Hunter also wanted to put together an outing to hunt wildebeest and distribute the meat to refugees.
Solving food-distribution problems by showing up and shooting stuff: certainly not my first policy instinct. But then, a Hunter I am not.
Via here, a stunning array of photos of Beijing readying itself for the Olympics. Along with Yglesias' recent transit porn post about new subway lines in the city, these shots amaze me with how quickly such a massive event comes together.
I also confess that the Olympic Games make me irrationally giddy in a warm, fuzzy, kumbaya-world-peace kind of way. Admittedly, it's a fleeting feeling.
So, I went to see a nurse practitioner today, on account of some health complaints I've been having. She wanted a stool sample, so I asked her, "what do I look like—a bar?"
Seriously, though, NPs don't get enough respect. We really shouldn't give them shit.
So I gave it to the lab tech. Hey-o!
Pic (NSFW, obviously) below the fold.
You've been great. Try the chocolate pudding.
Saabs are born from jets; jets are born from McCain's forehead. Wisdom; Athena; Zeus-- truly, older than the Messiah, and scarier.
NickS sent me a link to this Henry Abbott article on the new pinnacle of posterization.
And when it comes to using basketball to humiliate your opponent, there is a certain scale. Shooting a jumper over someone is maybe a one. Beating someone to the hoop for a layup might be a two. Dribbling through your legs as you do so could make that worth three, dribbling through their legs as you do might get you up to six. Sevens are garden variety dunks and blocks, while there is a special carve out somewhere around eight or nine for using your crossover to make the defender actually fall over.
But up at the top of the humiliation hierarchy, right there with doing many of the above things with the game on the line, is an explosively humiliating move whose handy shorthand might not belong on this family-friendly website. We can call it the I'm-jumping-so-high-as-I-dunk-over-you-that-my-crotch-is-in-your-face move.
Here in NC, this is known as Greg Paulus' Green Tea, but Abbott is writing about this Nike ad campaign featuring junk-in-your-face dunks. Specifically, the one ad captioned "That Ain't Right", which has sparked accusations of homophobia. Severely overheated accusations, if you ask me (which nobody has, of course, but that's never stopped me before). Honestly, if this is what passes for homophobia these days, then we're making great progress.
On a vaguely related note, the WNBA had its first bench-clearing brawl last night. Equality is on the march!
You know, for most of my life I've lumped toxins in with holistic healers and soothing New Age music. (Did I ever tell you about the time that I stopped to read the ingredients on the pills that the accupuncturist guilt-tripped me into taking? And one of the ingredients was feces of flying squirrel? It's true. And it was a ludicrous 5 pill a day regimen to boot.)
Anyway, I'm gradually coming around to the world of scary toxins. BGH was the one that first infiltrated my consciousness. More recently I've become appalled by the stories of BPA. (See here and here.)
It's so frustrating that we've taken the job of avoiding toxic chemicals and handed it to the individual. I don't really have a clear idea of how much effort I feel like putting into the task of eliminating these chemicals from my life. I'm very lazy, see. Fucking quandaries.
It was determined at dinner tonight that Miriam Magdelirium may or may not be a good band name. I'll withhold judgment for now. Just go nuts with band names. It's been a while.
Experimental data appear to confirm the speculations of Cummings, Christ, Kanabrocki, and Bazin (1987): most people are dicks. This guy is totally a dick, though this guy is an even bigger dick. Failure to distinguish degrees of dickishness can, it's true, render one a dick. And this guy? We didn't even need to run the tests.
Now you can chat on your new The Dark Knight party line till your heart's content! Gab to all your friends about who's dreamy and who makes you gag, in the latest Batman thriller to hit the silver screen. Spoilers ahoy, girls!
(For the record, I haven't seen it yet. I have issues with movies over two hours. But you, you Requestysaurus, gab away. Spoilers allowed in this thread.)
Great news that he's in custody, but thanks to Yglesias I appreciate an under-reported aspect of the story, namely, that the dude has a fascinating head of hair.
Amazing hairline and impressively full-bodied, sure, but what keeps me coming back for another look is the color range. If I were on the lam I definitely wouldn't take the time to get highlights. He looks a bit like an early George Michael.
Also, just because the window's open, Glenn Reynolds is a tool:
A PREDICTION: If Barack Obama is elected President, he'll be far more warlike than President Bush, and far more warlike than his pre-election rhetoric suggests. Because before he's elected President, attacks on America are just attacks on America. But after he's elected President, attacks on America will also be attacks on Barack Obama.
A dad-to-be writes:
I'm hoping that the agglomerated wisdom of the Unfoggedetariat can help me with some brainstorming. My wife and I are expecting twins in about three months or so, and we expect that once they arrive, we won't have the energy to cook for ourselves in any meaningful way. Certainly, friends and family will help out where they can, but at a certain point we'll be expected to fend for ourselves; in order not to starve to death, we're planning to stock our freezer full of meals that we can reheat with ease once our hands of full of babies.
We have some ideas--lasagna, pasta sauce, soups, stews--but I have no doubt that folks have some favorite freezable and reheatable recipes. Would they be willing to share them?
I didn't even know that Madonna was fooling around with A-Rod or whatever but New York magazine gets it right.
History has established two fates for pop icons: (a) Die young or (b) Fat Elvis. Kurt Cobain chose the first fate, while Britney Spears is embracing the second. Since Madonna never seemed like the found-dead-in-a-hotel-room type, a reasonable person might have assumed that, by now, she'd be well into her quaaludes-and-peanut-butter stage. But no.
[If] her creative output has diminished, her true skills remain world-class. Remember when she kissed Britney at the MTV Video Music Awards? The calculated "shocker" that left you both slightly embarrassed and truly impressed? All you could do was sit back and mutter, "Well played, Madonna. Well played." Now, in A-Rod, she's claimed another victim with her hyperbaric cougar charms. She's proved not to be a publicity whore so much as publicity's madam....Flash forward a thousand years, and there Madonna will be, among the rubble, immortal, and shtupping Wall-E. And whatever's left of humanity will no doubt still be watching and thinking, Well played, Madonna. Again.
I'd like to thank NPR for consistently reporting that the "war crimes" that bin Laden's driver have been charged with are not war crimes under the Geneva convention.
For clarity: the actions he's been charged with are terrible and if he's guilty, he should be punished. But that doesn't excuse using language dishonestly to lump his actions in with genocide and I'm glad at least one news organization isn't letting them get away with it.
If you were Amish, would you join the church after your rumspringa? I kind of think I might have. I haven't strayed that far from my parents' lifestyle, (although I'm not sure what a Unitarian rumspringa would have entailed anyway.) I think I might have been attracted to the dutifulness and sense of inevitability that returning to the Amish community would come equipped with.
I knew a particular Orthodox Jewish guy in college who gushed to me, "Traife meat is the best! It tastes soooooo good! I eat it in private. Don't tell anyone religious." I know there are a fair number of Orthodox agnostics who mostly are Orthodox because they value the in-groupness of their community. Would you cheat on the bullshit rules if you were a member of some super religious sect that you mostly enjoyed being a part of?
I like to think that I'd cheat on the bullshit rules and keep it real between me and myself, but in actuality, I probably wouldn't.
I hadn't gone through and looked at the referral logs for some time, but I just did now. A bizarrely high percentage of the search engine referrals to Unfogged are just for the string "sex". Which I thought seemed odd since, while sex is certainly an evergreen topic here, how deep into the google pages must someone be to get past all the actual sex sites before they landed here, right? Well, turns out it's all getting directed to a weekly archive page from last October, presumably as a result of the NSFW image linked in this post. Seriously, something like 1/4 to 1/3 of all the referrals the site gets. Paris Hilton wins again.
Winning search strings from the past few days are behind the fold.
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Yesterday our soccer game was at 2:30; today's was at 12:00. Sometimes playing in the Texas heat really makes you feel like you're going to keel over.
If you had about seven hundred words in which to recommend a band, would you waste the first two hundred and thirty on boring irrelevancies (second entry)? Or would you instead reason that having to resort to such tactics is a sign that you should be recommending a different band, one about which you actually have something to say?
I dreamt last night that I was talking to a young lady in some public place or other. Towards the end of the dream-conversation I asked after her phone number, and was matter-of-factly denied it. Exit young woman; curtain.