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You don't know the half of it, buddy

Posted by Ben
on 11.21.08

I spent a large part of today driving down the 101 from SF to my lovely home town, and since the car charger thing for my CD player is busted, I spent a slightly smaller large part of today listening to absolutely terrible radio. Did you know that many advertisements are overtly sexist? One station had a feature called "one minute in a woman's head". Enlightening!

I heard a bit of a country song. The singer was relating that "these days, there are men who get facials". He went on in the next line to say that these same men get manicures. I believe, though, that that is a stereotype which experience will not bear out in all cases.


 

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Point for Mr Davies

Posted by Ben
on 11.21.08

I asked the brewmaster, Jean-Marie Rock, which American beer he likes best. He thought for a moment, squinting down his bladelike nose, and narrowed his lips to a point. "Budweiser!" he said. "Tell them that the brewer at Orval likes Budweiser!". He smiled. "I know they detest it, but it is quite good."

From the 24/11/08 number of The New Yorker.


 

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When did you hate Bush most?

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 11.20.08

How much damage can one sorry Bush cause in two last months? I think the nicest thing about Obama is being free from this feeling of helpless rage when Buch does something that totally dumbfounds you.

I think my quintessential dumbfounded-by-Bush's-shittiness moment was when he vetoed expanding CHIP, claiming that it was because it didn't go far enough.

(Second link via B.)


 

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Ablutions of The Mordeh Shoor

Posted by Alameida
on 11.20.08

I was just, y'know, readin' the archives, and the comments to this post made me laugh in a bittersweet way. Not even that it's the most spectacular thread ever, but it's very like itself.


 

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Sorry about the wedding fatigue.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 11.20.08

I hope I haven't squandered everyone's attention span for talking about weddings. The last post was a super rough draft which I didn't mean to post. (My heart sunk to my toes when I got in last night and saw that it was up there. I was feeling congested and tired and crappy, and it felt like I had blown something crucially important. MY ONLY SHOT AT ADVICE, RUINT!)

I hadn't gotten to the questions yet, for one.

The actual questions are:

1. Clearly we can tier the guest list in order of priority, to ensure that we keep the numbers to 120. What kind of RSVP rate have you all had? Do you run into the problem of people not returning the cards at all? What was your yes rate from out-of-town guests? (Many of our guests are out-of-town.) How many months ahead of the wedding should the "RSVP by this date" date be?

2. I'm pretty sure we can bargain down the Crappity Inn on the room prices, given the proximity of so many other hotels. What would you all find a reasonable price for an ordinary hotel room along a highway?

3. Are there other staple old timey prom themes besides Under The Sea? In a red/gold color scheme? The idea of hosting a cheeseball 50s dance really appeals to me, and takes the sting out of the wedding industrial complex for me. (Plus we're keeping it low-key and doing it ourselves, and so it helps that everything is supposed to look homemade.)

Extra facts to emphasize:
- We're currently planning on holding the ceremony in Small Town, which makes the move to Capital City either a pain in the ass, or we have to find a ceremony spot that's not as sentimental and local to us.

- We will have a 6-month old ourselves, so keeping it at a hotel is particularly convenient for me and Jammies.


 

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I Think There's A Problem With The Methodology Here

Posted by LizardBreath
on 11.19.08

Mark Liberman at Language Log has a post criticizing people who made fun of Sarah Palin's syntax. The post points out that there's nothing remarkable about natural speech that doesn't look like elegant prose when it's transcribed:

the thing is, almost everyone's natural speech almost always needs some of this sort of editing. Consider this passage from an earlier president's town hall discussion of social security privatization ("Trends in presidential disfluency", 11/26/2005):

Would um would the g- uh would- and I think- but I think most people just think uh if the risk is gonna b- if there's gonna be a risk taken, I'd rather take it than have the government take it for me, I don't think it's very complicated, so I think that those who believe that- that it's safer and better for people to have the public do the investment, or the government do the investment, have the- have to bear that burden.

That was William Jefferson Clinton, who has been called "with the possible exception of Ronald Reagan, the most effective public speaker as president since Franklin Roosevelt".


And I've seen versions of this argument a bunch of times, about Palin recently, and over the past eight years about Bush. The conclusion is that people who make fun of the way Bush or Palin speak are pretty much making it up out of pure political opposition: that you could make fun of anyone at all as an incoherent speaker with just as much justification, and so the mockery has no basis in anything real.

Now, as a litigator I've seen my own speech transcribed by court reporters, and it's a shattering experience; speech that sounded perfectly fluent coming out, and that people appeared to understand, looks grotesque on the page. It's absolutely true that an accurate transcript of anyone's speech, no matter how clever they may be or how coherent they sound, is not going to look like well-crafted prose.

But at that point, we've got an argument that proves too much. If even the clearest speakers' speech often looks incoherent when transcribed, then this argument establishes that no one can ever be validly criticized as an unusually incoherent speaker. And that can't possibly be right -- some people do sound clear and logical when they talk, and other people sound error-ridden and confused.

Doesn't it seem more persuasive to assume that there is a difference between competent, coherent speech and stumbly, confused speech, but that looking at transcripts, rather than listening to the speech as produced, is a poor way of distinguishing the two? This would also explain why some people, like, say, Bush and Palin, do get mocked as poor, confused and confusing speakers, while others with just as many political enemies, like Clinton, don't actually get made fun of on those grounds, regardless of how bad a transcript of their speech may look.

(Now, this doesn't mean that any particular criticism of a politician as a bad speaker is justified. But you can't point to a bad-looking transcript from a good speaker and use it to prove that there's no such thing as a poor speaker.)



 

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Ask The Mineshaft : Wedding Bells are Aggravating Edition

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 11.19.08

Dear Mineshaft,

My fiance and I are planning our wedding for next fall. We'd like to hold the reception at a hotel because we'll have a fair number of guests with babies and toddlers. Ourselves included. (The plan is to get some college students to baby-sit after parents put the littleuns down, and just to call if the tyke starts crying.)

We'd like to hold the wedding and reception in our small town instead of Capital City up the road, because it seems easier to be close to home and we're all about the easy. The problem is that there are extremely limited options in terms of hotels with ballrooms.

There are two. (There are actually probably fifty hotels within a three mile radius, just lining the highway on either side. They just don't have ballrooms.)

There is the extravagant, conspicuously ostentatious brand spankin new convention center, and the nice old crappy hotel with a small ballroom.

Here are the factors to weigh:

1. If we had our druthers, we'd love to invite about 175 people. The crappy ballroom holds 120 people. We'd be cutting it really tight in terms of numbers, depending on the RSVP rate, which is obviously unpredictable.

2. The color scheme and gaudiness of the convention center (reds and golds and super high ceilings) seems like it would prohibit the theme that I got all excited about: Under The Sea. (Goes moderately well with our ceremony locale; more details here.) The Crappity Inn would be easy and awesome and totally Old Timey Prom once we got it decorated.

3. The price of the hotel rooms at both places is exasperatingly high, for small town rates. But at least it's a bargain at the gaudy convention center ($150 for a suite with 2 flat-screen tvs, group rate of $130.) whereas it's a total rip-off at the Crappity Inn ($130 for a normal room, haven't gotten an answer on the group rate yet. Could possibly bargain.)

So possible suggestion points: charming theme to decorate


 

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Douchesuit

Posted by Apostropher
on 11.19.08

The Smoking Gun:

Claiming that he has been unfairly branded a "douchebag" in the book "Hot Chicks with Douchebags," a Las Vegas man has filed a libel lawsuit against the volume's author and publisher. Michael Minelli, a 27-year-old club promoter, claims that the inclusion of his photograph in the book has subjected him to "hatred, contempt, and humiliation" and has resulted in "friends, acquaintances, coworkers, employees, and strangers alike" calling him a "douchebag." As seen below, Minelli's photo appears on page 202 of author Jay Louis's book, which was published in July by Simon & Schuster. In the book, Louis noted that Minelli's "popped-collar, spikey-haired presence was so far beyond regular douche, so far beyond uberdouche, he could spontaneously create a new element on the periodic tables--Douche Nine."

Mr. Minelli joins three hot chicks from New Jersey who have filed suit over their appearance in the book "which they claimed was 'vulgar' and presented them as 'females who date dubious men.'" Well ladies, if the douche fits...

Anyhow, now I'm off to get a root canal, which will hopefully put an end to the throbbing pain in my head that I've been graciously hosting for the past week. Enjoy your day!


 

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Boys And Toys

Posted by Becks
on 11.18.08

Via email (not sure if they want credit for this or not): an examination of the sociology of sex toys and gender. Why does today's culture view women who own vibrators as empowered and sexually confident but men who own similar sexual aids as lonely losers?


 

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Not Just Elgin Anymore

Posted by Becks
on 11.18.08

Wanna see something creepy? Log into Roost and check out the thousands of houses in Detroit, Michigan selling for less than $10,000.


 

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Drink Drank Drunk

Posted by Becks
on 11.17.08

I still contend that Hot Pockets are the best late night drunk food, Jim Gaffigan be damned. I'll take this fight to as many blogs as it takes to prove my case. Sara claims that the title goes to the sad quesadilla. (My version of that, made only late night while drunk, is cheese melted in the microwave on melba toast.) My friend Mark's favorite was always Entenmann's crumb donuts from the corner deli. Make your case for the best drunk food.


 

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I hear we're going to make you read the dictionary AT GUNPOINT

Posted by Stanley
on 11.17.08

Step onto the political scene, and you can expect a political response. Which makes statements like this a bit odd:

"People of faith have been intimidated for simply exercising their democratic rights," the statement said. "These are not actions that are worthy of the democratic ideals of our nation. The end of a free and fair election should not be the beginning of a hostile response in America."

But an even odder response is to talk about (via yggles) some sort of "Secular Fascism":

Okay, platitude time: violence is bad, and people that acted violently in any protest—pro- or anti-Prop 8—should be dealt with like anyone that violates the law against being a fuckhead and hitting someone (or however that law is written).

But the notion of an highly organized, violent, militant, secular Left sounds like a Monty Python sketch. It doesn't exist and, for practical reasons, wouldn't work anyway (we'd shoot ourselves in the foot daily if we had that many guns), not to mention the whole granola-crunch, non-violent, peace-loving-DFH streak.

But more seriously: why is secularism in the public square bad for religion?


 

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Holiday reading thread

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 11.17.08

As long as conversation is veering this way anyway, let's have a book thread. I've got two gift certificates, one to Amazon and one to Barnes and Nobles, and I like good books. What do you recommend?


 

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Pain In The Neck

Posted by Becks
on 11.16.08

Mommy bloggers must be the only thing scarier than babies. I was reading about a controversy that has erupted on the internet about an ad Motrin made targeting their product at moms who carry their babies in slings and might get some back pain as a result. Seems logical to me -- my neck hurts when I carry my laptop a lot and that weighs far less than a baby. Apparently this idea is completely insulting and offensive or something.

Somebody explain this to me.


 

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