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Seriously, Just One Whiff

Posted by Becks
on 12.06.08

Via Armsmasher, our new theme song.


 

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Generation War

Posted by Becks
on 12.06.08

When I was home over Thanksgiving, I was talking to my parents about work and my father mentioned something about his pension, which guarantees him 2/3 of the income from his three highest-earning years upon retirement for the rest of his life, with 2/3 of his salary being more than I presently earn. Hearing that he's guaranteed that sum for the rest of his life caused a flare of anger that only went away when I reminded myself a few moments later that that meant he shouldn't have to rely on me for help in retirement (or had better not, at least). Even if the market bounces back, there's no way my generation can ever hope to get that from our 401(k)s and, well, it pisses me off.


 

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I think this is awesome whether or not you like cats.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 12.05.08

Via Jammies via videogum.


 

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Ask the Mineshaft - Sadistic Games Edition

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 12.05.08

Commenter Feldspar (how soviet-sounding!) writes in with the following:

Dear Mineshaft,

A friend of mine is creating a board game wherein the participants answer awkward questions about each other. I was enlisted to help as I am "one of the most awkward people" she knows. Unfortunately, I'm such a natural that I can't try to be awkward. Thus, I am hopeless at creating new questions on my own. What are the go-to awkward questions for Mineshafters?

Some examples:
1 List two shortcomings of the Sig. O of the person sitting next to you; if the person next to you is single, list two shortcomings that might keep them that way for awhile.
2 Move ahead one space for each month you wished your previous relationship was over before it actually ended. If you have never been in a relationship lasting more than a month, you can move ahead two spaces out of pity.
3 Name the person in the room who is the biggest failure. Move ahead one space for each reason you list.
4 Pick the person whose hobbies you think are the biggest waste of time, and explain.
5 Briefly explain a resentment you still harbor from your childhood; move forward one space, or three if you produce tears.

-- feldspar

Dear Comrade,

This game sounds miserable to play, but a thread of questions should be good times! I'll kick things off with:
- Who's childhood probably was most torturous, and based on their personality, what would be the source of such torture?
- Pick the person in the room to whom you're most attracted, and ask them "Why won't you sleep with me?"

Mineshafters, take it from here!


 

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My, what big apples you have

Posted by Ben
on 12.04.08

Hey. Hey. Yeah. I'm, uh, I'm gonna be in NYC for a weekish starting on the 16th. I think Becks will be there too, that weekend. The weekend of the 20th, I mean. I'm going there to meet, uh, an emissary, from foreign lands, like (speaking of, I should make some sort of arrangements on that score). I dunno what she's doing. She's not—we didn't discuss it.

Maybe we could have a meetup, or something. Maybe we could talk about it in this thread. I don't know. It's so hard to, you know, to know these things. But we can try.

In other me-related news, I'm going to be a doing another radio show, finally. Not regularly or anything, just a one-off, 2-5pm (unless it's 1-4pm) pacific, December 24th. The title: Songs, Drones, and Refrains of Death, after the song cycle, doncha know.


 

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The Harper Image

Posted by Stanley
on 12.04.08

In comments BG asks:

Can we have a thread on the Canadian governmental crisis? (That's probably a bad word to use, but the right one escapes me now. Suggestions?)

Yes we can! This CS Monitor article seems like a good basic summary:

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is fighting for his political life, launching a public relations blitz after a coalition of opposition parties formed an alliance this week, vowing to topple the Conservative minority government reelected only seven weeks ago.

Including this analysis:

"Harper has really betrayed the public trust by not acting like a statesman," says Lisa Young, a political science professor at the University of Calgary. "To have done this at a time when there are people losing their jobs, when the economy is this bad - it's shocking. He really assumed that the opposition parties were so weakened, he could get away with anything. He obviously miscalculated."

And this forecast:

The Conservatives' fate now depends on how Governor General Michaelle Jean decides to handle the situation when she meets with the prime minister. She has three options: calling an election should the Conservatives lose a vote of confidence in the House of Commons on Monday; allowing the proposed Liberal-NDP coalition - with the backing of the Bloc Québécois - to take power; or allowing the Conservatives to suspend Parliament until next month, effectively defusing the political showdown.

I know basically squat about Canadian politics (you could say I know Nunavut—ha!), except hearing someone on NPR comment that this might be the worst Canadian political crisis EVER. I'm hoping some regulars (and irregulars?) might offer something more substantive than that.


 

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One unmentioned benefit is that more people might get the Colombia/Columbia distinction correct

Posted by Stanley
on 12.04.08

Yglesias proposes splitting the current District of Columbia into the 51st state (the State of Columbia) and a federal district (complete with a map of the proposed district).

If the recent marriage-debate thread serves as a guide, I like seemingly-reasonable-yet-totally-implausible-and-unlikely-to-happen policy proposals. So this one gets a big thumbs up from me.

For Democrats, this would mean two new Senators and one new Representative. It would also uphold the basic America idea that citizens should be allowed to vote and should be represented in congress. It would be totally constitutional. And though Columbia would be a small state, it would have a larger population than several current states.

Republicans, obviously, wouldn't like the idea. But I don't think there are serious arguments of principle against it. Strangely, though, Democratic leaders don't seem interested either.

Yeah, it's a definite non-starter. But I like it!


 

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Holiday Presents Thread

Posted by LizardBreath
on 12.04.08

Me, I need to know what the really good Wii games are. Anyone have advice, or need help with picking out presents?


 

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Brown Chicken, Brown Cow

Posted by Stanley
on 12.03.08

Not that I don't appreciate the splendid decor of this German brothel. But my my prudish nature has me squicked on the "so pretty but, ew, people did it there" thing. That's my problem, I guess. So, no brothels for me. It's settled.


 

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Also they should make Rick Ocasek the new CEO of all three

Posted by Stanley
on 12.02.08

I'm annoyed by a trope I've heard a few times in conversations about the Big Three and a potential "Stimulus Package" from Congress. It's the notion that UAW has to take a bath just like the investors do, because, hey, they both took risks and now we see they lost.

So flatly wrong-headed is the comparison that I don't even know where to begin.

Relatedly, the Big Three are headed back to DC and they're all driving there after the hubbub over the separate private jets to their last appearance. I guess that's better, but they should probably carpool in a Honda or Toyota, as penance. Better yet, take a bus. Or! A train!


 

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Yeah well your mom dresses you funny.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 12.02.08

I got lectured this morning by the ob-gyn for excessive weight gain, and now I'm excessively irritated and defensive-feeling. "Average weight gain at 21 weeks is five pounds!" he said. I was like, "How is that possible?" Because I've been starving. And also happily gorged myself all Thanksgiving break, which had nothing to do with increased appetite. Stuff just tasted good.

He said, "Well, many women lose up to twenty pounds in their first trimester, due to morning sickness and nausea. So they've just begun putting on weight at 21 weeks."

I was like, "Why would I aspire to that? If they're bringing the average way down?" (I was so, so defensive. Really aggravated. I was a chubby kid, and I felt like I'd got sent to the principal's office. But also I was furious, because what he was saying is totally meaningless.)

He said, "No, no! It's not unhealthy for the baby if the mother has severe morning sickness. It's unpleasant, but one of the many paths to a healthy baby."

I was like, "Sure, but doesn't it make the 5 pounds quote totally meaningless?"

He said, "It's the best we have. We don't have statistics breaking up the health of the baby according to when people gain their weight."

He also told me 1) I can expect to gain 60 pounds this pregnancy at this rate,
2) I should perhaps trying walking for 30 minutes after I eat,
3) He has women that come in the clinic and start at 250 pounds, and they end up with a net weight loss over their entire pregnancy. And then they gain it back after they deliver. I couldn't tell what the hell was the point of this. Are we gloating over the presumed misery and weight patterns of a fat woman? Is he trying to scare me into flying straight?
4) I should avoid heavily refined sugars. (This is probably true.)

After I left I thought of all these things I wanted to tell him, like, "I'm still jogging 3-4 times a week." (because then he'd fawn over my hallowed status as a jogger? Because then he'd take it all back and say, "OhhhhH! I didn't realize I was talking to someone VIRTUOUS!"? Yes, please. Also I donate to charity.)

Also I wish I'd been like, "Ok, if 5 pounds is average, what's the healthy range?" That would have been the meaningful question to ask, but I didn't think of it until I was in the car. Also I'm perfectly capable of finding out that information online, but then I don't get to rub it in his face that this would be a more meaningful piece of information to give your patients.

I prefer the take home message on this site:

Our thoughts...

Unfortunately, many pregnant women spend a lot of time and energy worrying about their weight gain. This is no doubt a reflection of our society's obsession with weight and how we look. An obstetrician we know once said, "The worst thing you can give a pregnant woman is a set of scales!" and we tend to agree with him.


 

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My pillar is solid concrete all day long

Posted by Ben
on 12.01.08

I don't really know what to make of this, but perhaps you do.

Via no woman.


 

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Lazy Ask The Mineshaft (All Questions Reconstructed From Memory)

Posted by LizardBreath
on 12.01.08

Sifu Tweety finds himself faced with a conundrum. The fine institition of undergraduate learning he attends will give him a BA in some computery-related field shortly, or a BS in the same department if he puts in another semester or so's worth of classes. The question is: does anyone (that is, grad schools) give a damn about the difference between the two degrees?

I know nothing. On the other hand, I find myself in the possession of a strong belief that no grad school will have any interest whatsoever in which degree he gets. What classes, specifically, he took, probably. But not which degree.

Nonetheless, he shouldn't listen to me due to complete ignorance. But someone here should know. Mineshaft? (And Tweety should, obviously, correct my statement of the problem to the extent that I've garbled it.)


 

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Maybe too clever

Posted by Ben
on 12.01.08

This ad, I mean:

The finest mind in the academic world conceived this ad, but it was his secretary who took two and half hours out of her day to collate his angst-ridden ramblings, phone the LRB and pay for it on her own credit card. He's basically looking for an affair with a twenty something idiot tart who needs good grades. I'm looking for a better job, a decent pension package, and a man to 50 who's great in bed and doesn't make condescending comments about every damn book I read. Man, 57. Or his secretary, 43.

Whence else? This one isn't half bad:

My profile here boasts the index carding skills of Miss Marple, the sexual ambiguity of Tank Girl and the wardrobe of Cadfael. Kinky junior librarian (F. 34), lurking in the boondocks of XY9802, tripping over re-evaluations of Nick Cave in back issues of Parallax and her own hem line, WLTM nice academic man or woman to 40 unphased by evening wear once described as "Mrs Doyle Does Dallas". No Linguists.

Otherwise slim pickings this issue. Nothing that even approaches this bit of lapidary brilliance.


 

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The Anti-Ogged

Posted by Becks
on 12.01.08

My new BFF Ta-Nehisi Coates on dating:

Look it's hard enough to satisfy the basic carnal needs--it's even harder to satisfy those needs, and satisfy the basic emotional and mental ones too. There is a good chance that your long-term relationship will one day fail. A great way to up the chances of truly epic fail, hot grits, I'm talking hot grits fail, burn down the mansion fail, is to shrink the pool of your potential partners.

For comparison.


 

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Dirty Laundry

Posted by Becks
on 12.01.08

Sommer tackles the burning question of our day over at DCist -- more than whether Hillary Clinton should have been picked for Secretary of State, a debate about the acceptability of the Slanket has been sweeping the District. A shocking number of unexpected people have been coming out as pro-Slanket apologists. To me, they appear to be nothing short of the end of the human race -- who's ever going to get laid wearing a Slanket? If we all adopt them, humanity is doomed.


 

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Dropping out of grad school means you wind up on the streets, it just takes time

Posted by Ben
on 11.30.08

Onetime resident drunk Michael alerts us all to onetime resident reasonable conservative and seemingly swell fellow Ben A's house's having burned down.

I don't know what this post is about, but I think I'm in favor of mammoths.


 

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Posted by Ben
on 11.30.08

I slept funny and now my neck hurts.


 

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Modern Love: This One's A Little Different

Posted by LizardBreath
on 11.30.08

Modern Love this week is a slightly different class of train-wreck than usual, and an interesting one. The writer is sort of happily married, loves her husband, loves her children, loves the domestic life they share, but has no interest in sex with her husband. And the lack of a sex life makes him miserable, and his misery makes her miserable.

It seems like such a devastating, and such an insoluble problem -- how to be in love with, and make a life with, someone whose sexuality is seriously incompatible with yours. Open marriage, while it seems as if it could be a solution, is socially and emotionally impossible for a lot of people, including the couple in the essay. And if not that, what can a couple in that position possibly do?

(Admittedly, I lost a lot of sympathy for the writer's difficulty in that she doesn't simply have a very low sex drive, she just has a sex drive driven by novelty -- it's not that she's fundamentally uninterested in sex, she's uninterested in sex with her husband because they've been together too long. Someone in her position with no sex drive, I'd think of as in a genuinely tragic position. Just being unable to sustain interest past the beginning of a relationship, on the other hand, sounds like a character flaw. What, after all, would Modern Love blogging be without judgmentalism?)


 

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For Wire Watchers In Withdrawal

Posted by Becks
on 11.30.08

I just watched the series finale of The Shield and, damn, what an amazing show. Not as rooted in reality as The Wire but the character development over the course of the series, especially the last season, was some of the best on television. Do yourself a favor and check it out from the start.


 

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