Check it out, almost every day until and including the first of march there's some worthy concert in my fair city and environs.
A blog should be for sharing the novel and unique, right? Yet I like conventional things. I mean, I love things merely for how conventional they are. So if I would have liked something anyway, and it happens to be conventional, I sometimes love it doubly so, just for sharing it with so many people.
(I know, this makes me meta-obnoxious. But I felt I needed a disclaimer to post the following video. Also, I love the dancing that begins at 2:30.)
I've been watching it all morning. It's just wonderful. I love how he kisses the women in the crowd, and I love the screen shots of kids and marquis signs, and obviously the dancing.
The baby urinates about half a liter of urine every day and the baby also swallows some of the amniotic fluid which is replaced a few times daily.
I guess when you're just hanging out in a sensory deprivation chamber, you end up drinking your own urine. How embarrassing.
Also, I like this website, because it's the only pregnancy website I've ever seen that has given a nod to the option of abortion. At the page for being 6 weeks pregnant:
If the pregnancy is unexpected, then confirm it through proper pregnancy test and decide about continuation. A woman has to give a proper thought to family planning as a lot many issues are involved like physical and mental preparation, contraception, conceiving, medical history, financial planning, baby care, gap between two babies, continuation of job or career and so on.
A proper thought indeed.
I just came across the 30th January, 2009 number of the New York Times. Don't look at me like that—these things need to ripen. The times. They need to ripen. You see? It's a little joke, between you and me.
The cover story is about Blagojevich, about his last day in office. On A14 there's an article about his being removed. You can't tell on the online article, but in the print edition there's a little subheadline, saying the IL senate was "Unmoved by 11th-Hour Protests of Innocence". However, what they mean is "protestations".
The article about Blago's last day contains this curious statement: "he set off on a six-hour trip … allowing a reporter and a photographer from The New York Times to accompany him at the newspaper's expense". It seems odd to note that the reporters are present on their own (or their own company's) dime. Surely that is an unnecessary disclosure! And surely there are occasions when the reporter's travel is at least partially subsidized by the reported-on, and yet there is no disclosure of that.
This drip-drip-drip of penny-ante tax problems among Obama's nominees (the latest is that the nominee for Secretary of Labor's (Hilda Solis) husband just paid off a bunch of old tax liens on his business) is driving me nuts. What kills me about it is that I'm simply not sophisticated enough to be certain whether the kinds of issues that have popped up are genuine bad behavior, in the sense that the Obama administration did a bad job by not catching them during vetting and eliminating the nominees on that basis, or whether, as I suspect, they're really all the sort of thing that anyone with complicated finances (which, honestly, is going to be the next thing to literally everyone professionally eligible for this kind of job) is going to have something comparable to lurking in their records.
I do have a strong suspicion that it's the latter, based on the fact that none of these should have been new information - Daschle's thing was out for months, so was Geitner's, and this was a matter of public record, even if the administration was blindsided by it. And that drives me batshit, if true - I think there's a pretty strong shot that there's no way to fill a Cabinet with people who don't have things of this caliber in their backgrounds, without abandoning all the actual professional qualifications we should be emphasizing.
Obama's been very clear that he wants a clean, ethical administration. But that's not workable without a clear, pre-existing set of standards about what counts as unethical - if we let the media and the Republicans make up those standards on a case-by-case basis, there's no way to move forward.
One time I went to Poland with my parents and grandmother, about 5 years ago. We were there for a conference, only I didn't really have to do anything, and so I stayed awake on the plane ride over, because there were movies and TV to watch, and I think you could even play video games. I just figured I'd crash when we got to the hotel, and jet lag would sort itself out.
But we got to our hotel, we were met by someone from the conference who whisked us away to a tour of a castle. I was very tired.
At the castle, we went from cobble-stoned room to room, getting told about tapestries, and I fell asleep standing up, and toppled right over.
I kind of caught myself as I hit the ground, and woke up, and I was so disoriented and confused. My big emotion was a wave of shame and embarrassment, in this really little-kid way. I felt like I'd thrown up in school, or wet my pants or something. It was a really odd, long ago feeling, that I hadn't meant to violate some etiquette of a basic bodily function. It wouldn't have been so intense except I was still half-asleep and disoriented, and couldn't quite get a handle on what was happening.
Everybody was sort of perplexed, but sympathetic, and I was guided over to a bench by the gift shop to sit by myself for the duration of the tour. Which also felt like elementary school all over again: being led through a maze of a castle that was too complicated for me to understand, and then being parked somewhere for my own good. ("Am I in trouble, Mom? It wasn't my fault.") (At the same time, the adult Heebie was very glad to go to sleep on the bench until everyone finished the castle.)
So that's that. I was reminded of this story recently. Here you go.
My house ended up hosting a self-described hobo last night. He's been traveling around for several years and all over the place: from Alaska to Mexico; from Seattle to New York.
And he was willing to abide my incessant questions with charm and detail. He had a surprising wealth of information about how trains move around the US, Canada, and Mexico. Caveat: consistent throughout his literature was a proscription against posting any of it online (and I'm hoping to respect that proscription here).
My walk-away question: given the existence of a particularly knowledgeable subculture, one which, as a matter of principle, wants its gathered information to remain under the radar, might not the rail industry or the government (municipal, county, state, or federal) reach out to those folks for helpful improvement ideas? And if so, how?
Our houseguest certainly had ideas.
Felix Gilman, who comments here some, mentioned awhile back that he'd written a fantasy novel: Thunderer. And then a week or two ago, Henry Farrell mentioned at Crooked Timber that he'd read it, and thought it was excellent. I realized in the comment thread that it was Felix's book, and that I hadn't read it for a very bad reason - I'd looked at the cover art, and was convinced that it wasn't my kind of thing. (To be precise about what put me off about the cover art, I looked at it and thought "Piers Anthony. Maybe Alan Dean Foster." I'm not going to defend this reaction as sane, but it's the reaction I had.)
So I read it, and Farrell's right - it's really very good, and not remotely in the teenage-heavy-handed-whimsy genre I expected from the cover art. (This is a real problem buying books online - I wouldn't have made the same mistake in a bookstore, because I would have read a couple of pages. For some reason, the 'look inside' option on Amazon doesn't seem to work for me the same way.) Farrell mentioned Mieville, who is certainly a natural comparator, although looking back on the book as a whole, Moorcock is who I found myself thinking of, in terms of the underlying instability of everything.
I hesitate to write a more detailed review, because anything interesting I have to say about it is negative - to the extent I like something, I get stupid about it, and don't have much to say, but I can spend hours niggling away at inconsistencies or perceived flaws*. And I could nitpick the heck out of this (for one thing, a very major plot element turns out to be pretty much a McGuffin, in a way I found unsatisfying), but that would give you all a false impression of how much I liked it, which was a great deal. (Anyone interested in how hard I can nitpick at a writer whose work I adore, and of whom I am a fan whose enthusiasm borders on the lunatic, should read my comments on the Charles Stross event at Crooked Timber.) I've ordered the sequel, and after I read it I'll tell you how it was - my guess, based purely on the first-book/second-book thing, is that it'll be an improvement from a very solid beginning.
* This is probably a good place to note that while I offered a general "I'll review anything anyone's written" to the commentariat, I have not lived up to it. A couple of people sent me books, and in neither case could I summon up either crazed enthusiasm or anything interestingly negative, leaving me stuck for something to write. Sorry about that.
We've been hearing for years about how, come February 17th, if you turn on your old analog television set, you're going to see static. And apparently the "get out the message" efforts have been deemed unsuccessful, and they're probably going to decide to delay the end of analog television broadcasting until the summer, to buy themselves more time.
I believe that if they say they haven't reached everyone, then maybe they really haven't. But taking an extension is silly. Instead of abruptly cutting off all broadcasting on the 17th, or whenever, you should instead spend 1-2 months, during which on every single analog channel you broadcast a fixed screen which says, "Analog television service has been permanently discontinued. To recieve your free digital converter box, or find out more information, call 1-800-Im-a-hermit or visit www.Ileadawellinsulatedlife.gov." Then you just let those messages air until the calls are trickling in at a sufficiently low rate. Problem solved, no?
Jonah Goldberg loves bacon ostentatiously.
1) A big warm huggy thank you for this thread, which inspired me to call the next draft the Good Enough Draft, and I sent the goddamn dead stinking albatross off to the editor late Sunday night.
3) Hanging out here at Unfogged for the past ~2 1/2 years has really had a humanities-style educational effect on my ability to pick apart arguments and say more precisely what I mean. I am not exposed anywhere in my real life to anything close to the ruthless precision demanded of one's arguments here. But it means that now, when politics or something comes up in conversation, instead of getting flustered, I now have the agility and speed to listen for where the other person is making leaps that I disagree with, and I can phrase what I object to. This is so, so great. (Then I get flustered when they don't play by the same rules.)
4) It's my birthday! Everyone has to be nice to me all day!
I got my W-2 today. I was a bit outraged to discover that the payroll company had printed ads in the margins. That might be a new low in advertising.
At least the ads were only for tax preparation services. I'll be really worried when they're for Cash4Gold.
The practice of ostentatiously declaring one's love for, and ostentatiously consuming in quantity, bacon, is, EQUALLY, like that of straight girls kissing each other in bars, except without an obvious application specifically regarding attracting members of the opposite sex.
Everyone to whom I've suggested this, almost without exception, has assented after only a moment's thought, which suggests to me that I have articulated a great but unrecognized Truth of the Age. Note that in each case the parties to the action orient themselves against a largely fictive (in the relevant milieu, at least) Puritanism and correspondingly with a largely fictive hedonism; that there is basically no risk for the parties involved (because, again, their actions only purport to go against mainstream acceptability); that it is highly conventionalized and, therefore, basically phatic (no one could get like kudos for lauding pork belly, which is, unsurprisingly, just as fatty, or even other cured pork products—though I suppose that upscale people can also get some cred for going nuts over guanciale, as long as they say, or know their auditors know, that it is bacon made from jowls); that each is aligned with an annoying ethos of wish-fulfillment; and indeed that each is basically annoying and tacky.
 The bacon case fits with the general apotheosis of childish things. This XKCD is telling, I mean, more than because known idolator of opting out of adult responsibility, and owner of a fucking ball pit, R. Muttroe has contributed to the ostentatious bacon trend. As we see from the fact that the "narrative I" had to someday realize that he could make himself bacon, bacon had up to that point been regarded as something which is provided—I don't think I need to say, by one's parents, of a weekend—such that we can conjecture that by making himself bacon, he is, in an act of self-infantilization and world-evasion, both sucking and giving suck. Pancetta just doesn't play that role. The girls-making-out case is left as an exercise for the reader.
Around two years ago I started blogging here, and put up an "About LizardBreath" page. And I've blogged about most of the things mentioned; lawyering, liberal politics, the labor movement, my kids, not golf. But there's been a glaring omission, mostly because it's the most cripplingly dull topic imaginable. (Ten points to anyone who guesses the topic of the post before clicking on 'read more'.)
I just finished a couple of doilies, and after starching them and pinning them to a board to dry flat, I thought to myself, "Self, on some level, this is almost as engrossing as swimming, although probably with a smaller constituency among the readers."
The main problem with this as a hobby, is that I don't actually have a burning need for doilies. Luckily, producing them is difficult and time-consuming, so I don't have too many to dispose of.
Fascinated questions about thread crochet welcomed in comments.