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A Faith-Based Post

Posted by Stanley
on 04.11.09

Okay, so Jesus was the son of this dude, God. And God was, like, wicked cool. But more importantly, Jesus was a bunny rabbit. But not like a hoppity-hop bunny rabbit, rather a dude in a bunny-rabbit suit in a shopping mall—in your home town! Are you with me so far?

Okay, good. So then Jesus (the bunny-rabbit dude) was all, "Oh, man. I hate hard-boiled eggs! I'm gonna get rid of a bunch of 'em!" But he wasn't all that serious about it.

Still, the people were like, "[Sigh] Okay, Jesus Hoppy Hopper, whatever. What should we do?" And He said, "Lo, yo, make sure to take all your hard-boiled eggs and dip 'em in some colored shit, 'cause I'm gonna hide the fuck out of 'em!" And then that happened.

But! Jesus Bunny couldn't get down all the chimneys to mess with stuff (as he had just done awhile back at Christmas—at the time dressed like some old, jolly fat guy). So instead he asked the adult-type people to hide the hard-boiled eggs.

And that's why Easter's happening.


 

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Today I am singing this song.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.11.09

Carl Thomas - I Wish
Uploaded by cedrax

I really do like this song, but it's got to be the most poorly written song ever. Is there a sweet spot where you can violate so many conventions without any apparent self-awareness that you're doing so, that it becomes good again? Or am I being too strict? Maybe he's being all jazzy and free-form and I ought not put Carl Thomas in a box.

Violating the sanctity of off-blog communications, this one time I linked this song for redfoxtailshrub, and she observed that it sounds like the kid in the back of the carseat who's just making up the lyrics as he goes along. I found that hilariously accurate.

(But I really do like the song.)


 

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How Was This Not Published As A 'Modern Love'?

Posted by LizardBreath
on 04.11.09

The New York TImes Magazine is very kindly providing free publicity for a website where rich men can make arrangements with young attractive women who are willing to have sex for money. Best part is a patron of the site musing about how the woman he pays for sex thinks about him:

"It's very clear with this site that she's getting something out of this, hopefully emotional support and mentoring advice and fun in bed, but also something financial, so don't come back to me and say that you were used or that I left you high and dry," he said. "I like that aspect of it, but on the other hand, it would be nice not to have the money involved, because you always wonder: would she still want to be with me even without the money? Does the money make me more attractive than I really am?"

Oh, I dunno, what's your guess?

To get back to all our previous discussions about prostitution; this sort of thing is much less horrifying to me than straightforward prostitution, largely because the opportunity for the woman to back out of any particular encounter is so much better. It's still repugnant in the same kind of way, though, and the jerk quoted above is a pretty good example of why: from the rest of the article, he thinks he's attached to the woman he's paying. But by paying her, he's put himself in a position where he can be laughably and intentionally blind to what's overwhelmingly likely to be going on her head; he's bought something that feels to him like a relationship between two people, but that doesn't involve the subjective experience of the other person at all.


 

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A littl salting and no saver

Posted by Ben
on 04.10.09

Something there is that cries out for parody: scire licet, the all too ubiquitous food blogger method, of introducing or eliciting interest in their posts (as if their readers' presence weren't already a sign of interest), to be seen at Smitten Kitchen, for instance, and at David Lebowitz' site, and most fulsomely at Orangette (it comes as no surprise to one with his eyes open that the latter has written some sort of food-oriented memoir, as if that hasn't been done to death), all of whom write as if they are trying out for lifestyle-magazine columnist positions: nothing very characteristic, but much in the way of personal information (my mother made it impossible for me to appreciate anything but the most perfect coq au vin; I was going through my old photo albums and saw a picture of me, a youth, enjoying the following dish, which I recreate here with loving attention, but also the following tweaks that only the adult me, a rebel in my less youthful youth, could have come up with, and thus I make it my own; this recipe comes from my close friend so and so, who served it first, sweetened, at her wedding and then—savory—at her husband's funeral—I present it to you in the spirit of profanation); a level of enthusiasm well within the range of the repressible; everything done with an eye to rendering the thing unintimidating, approachable, and something You can Do Too, and basically a bunch of bloviating fauxlksiness that causes your humble correspondent, who is himself not the one to effect the parody, even if he did find himself warming to the thought in the previous parenthesis, to—well, it would be a lie if he said he clicked away, but at least to scroll in a rush to the bottom, where (in this as in all things) the good stuff lies, to wit, the actual fucking recipe, thanks much, and to roll his eyes, hoping that, if the trend does not pass, at least its parodist might arrive swiftly, and do such parodizing as Harry Mathews would quake to look upon, this latter having performed a similar service for an earlier age (though certain writers, notably those employed by Saveur, press on, whether in outright ignorance, in self-deception, or in steadfastness and absurdity, we cannot know) when he wrote a piece about country cooking from central France for an audience that thirsted for the authentic, the taxing, and the passionate from the old country—one can also hear the piece read aloud, though the introductory portion is, unfortunately, painfully NPR.


 

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Not So Black And White

Posted by Becks
on 04.10.09

About a month ago, before Bobby Jindal's disastrous response to Obama's speech, I was out with some friends and we were discussing the possibility of a 2012 Obama-Jindal matchup. A friend of mine who is Indian-American was wondering how that would affect turnout and how many people's heads would explode if they had to choose between two non-white candidates.

Had Yglesias been there, it sounds like he would have agreed with my hypothesis: that by the end of the race people of South Asian descent like him would be considered to be "white". As Yglesias discusses in the linked post, the color lines determining who is "white" and who isn't have changed throughout our history and are trending towards a "not-black" definition. My Italian relatives only started to be considered white about 40 years ago, something I'm reminded of when we have a funeral in our family and visit our family plot in the "colored" part of the cemetery. I can see a lot of people changing their definition of who counts as "like them" more readily than giving up their racism.


 

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From our favorite student's final exam:

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.10.09
2n-1 x 7n+1 = 2n x 7 = 14n = 1
7n+2 2n-2 7n x 2 14n

I think what I find most galling is the lack of thought to write something like "2n x 7 = 14n". Yes, a bunch of 2s times one 7 will give you a bunch of 14s. Do you really think that math is a matter of writing down a bunch of crap that just looks like math? (The student is in the midst of incorrectly applying a convergence test to a series.)

I don't know why I've declared private war on this student, except she is so persistently earnest in asking questions that belie gigantic misunderstandings of math, and so determined to tune me out when I give her a straight answer about how much background she's lacking.


 

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Additionally, a dog bit a man.

Posted by Stanley
on 04.09.09

ABC News is advising me via a Breaking News e-mail alert that the Dow is up 200+ on so-and-so's record profits. Outside of people actively trading stocks right this very second, who the hell cares?

This sort of reporting drives me batty. It really seems no more useful than telling me, say, that the Cubs won a baseball game yesterday. And if I cared about that particular shit show, I'm quite sure I could easily find the information.

Moreover, when the report goes the other way (imagine, if you could, "Dow down 200+ on news of Obama hating beets"), it's just as unnerving. Yes. The market is fickle and volatile, particularly in recent months. No need for the faux-urgent reminder.


 

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So very entertaining

Posted by Ben
on 04.08.09

Ripped off! Tonight is just like any other night.


 

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I would play ghetto games, name my kids ghetto names.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.08.09

This is sort of insane, but I'm starting to enjoy writing thank you notes. I bought a bunch of innocuous stationary, and I've got a system where the gift stays in the living room until the card is written, and then gets put away in the nursery. The whole task has the rhythm of a task where you're actually making forward motion in realizable-sized steps. Plus I'm getting good at cranking out the cards, and plus I really am touched by everyone's generosity, so it's kind of a feel-good chore to review what each person got us.

When I was very small, we had two guinea pigs named Hokey-Pokey and Hawaiian Punch. I thought those would be good baby pseudonyms to go with Heebie-Geebie and Jammies for our rich e-life. I'm leaning towards starting with Hawaiian Punch for the first, and saving Hokey-Pokey, just because the symmetry of Heebie-Geebie and Hokey-Pokey seems a little unbearably sweet right off the bat.

Her real life name is much better. It's not just for Matt Sarinson's grandma and Skee-Lo lyrics anymore.


 

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TMI

Posted by Becks
on 04.08.09

Interesting post by Robert Cringley on Three Mile Island's meltdown and lessons we can learn from it. I especially appreciate that it reinforces my belief that one of the reasons business is increasingly troubled is because of the fetishization of MBA culture and the fact companies are being run by people with a business background instead of domain experience.


 

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There Will Be No Heartwarming Story For The Styles Section

Posted by Becks
on 04.06.09

As those of you who went to the meetup know, my phone broke last Friday. I had to go three whole days without phone calls, texts, knowing what time it was, mobile email checking, mobile Unfogged and RSS reading, and Twitter. "Maybe this will be a liberating experience!" some said.

No. No it wasn't. It sucked.

I learned no inspiring lessons about how life is better if you stop and smell the roses. I learned that life is really freaking hard and much suckier if you don't have a phone.


 

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FFML

Posted by Becks
on 04.06.09

I love a good internet meme as much as the next person but I really, really hate "FML". For the uninitiated, "FML" comes from the movie Superbad and stands for "Fuck My Life". My problem: whereas "Fail" expressed a similar feeling, it was associated with the action and didn't have the same fatalistic attitude. Language can affect mood and emotion and I can't help but think that repeating "Fuck My Life" over and over primes at least some people for a more negative or depressive response to things going on in their lives.


 

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Henry Cowntent!

Posted by Ben
on 04.06.09

L-O-O-K! Some kind soul has uploaded many videos from the Henry Cow 40th anniversary box set DVD to youtube! SEE Tim Hodgkinson's womanly face emit halting French! THRILL as Chris Cutler flails about! COVER YOUR EARS as Dagmar Krause sings!

Beautiful as the MoonTerrible as an Army with Banners!
Living in the Heart of the Beast in parts one, two, and three (collectively these are shorter than the version on In Praise of Learning, whereas Beautiful as the Moon—Terrible as an Army with Banners is significantly longer—so it goes)!
A Phil Ochs tune!

Bonus Dagmar content: Surabaya Johnny. Someone uploaded a really crap mix of "War"; don't listen to it.


 

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Okay, so Mothersbaugh is Guaraldi, but who's Devo?

Posted by Stanley
on 04.05.09

Wes Anderson films seem to draw acclaim and criticism of roughly equal vehemence. I'm on a wishy-washy middle ground, and explaining why will serve only to cement my place firmly outside the ranks of film critics.

For instance: Bottle Rocket: not so much. Rushmore: great! Everthing after that: eminently watchable and not much more.

Luckily, an actual film critic has been holding forth about Anderson and his influences. Video and essay at the link, but most interesting to me:

When I interviewed Anderson for a 1998 Star-Ledger article about A Charlie Brown Christmas, directed by the late animator Bill Melendez, Anderson cited Melendez as one of three major influences on his work, so we'll start there. Anderson told me that he and his screenwriting collaborator, Owen Wilson, conceived Rushmore hero Max Fischer as Charlie Brown plus Snoopy. He said that Miss Cross, the teacher Max adores and will draw into a weirdly Freudian love triangle with the industrialist Mr. Blume, is a combination of Charlie Brown's teacher and his unattainable love object, the little red-haired girl. Anderson and Wilson even made Max a working-class barber's son, just like Peanuts creator Charles Schulz, and gave Seymour Cassel, the actor playing Bert Fischer, glasses similar to Schulz's.

But Schulz's impact manifests itself in deeper, more persistent ways--particularly in Anderson's characters who, regardless of age, seem, like Schulz's preternaturally eloquent kids, to be frozen in a dream space between childhood and maturity.


I had never made the Peanuts connection, but it really does make sense. And it's a great excuse to re-watch Rushmore, if I can just track down that slacker of a friend (he's like Pigpen) who borrowed my copy...


 

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Wasted On The Young, Indeed

Posted by Becks
on 04.05.09

My brother's Facebook status messages have been putting me into a rage. For the last three days, they've been a constant stream of "Spring break has started. Sooo booored.", "Spring break. Nothing to do.", "Spring Break is so lame", etc. I can't even remember the last time I had a whole week off. Actually, looking at my calendar, I see it was a little over a year ago. A few days ago, I'd been thinking back to my summer vacations when I was young and I couldn't even remember the feeling of having a whole summer free.


 

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Ask The Mineshaft: Stimulating Edition

Posted by Becks
on 04.05.09

Kind of a departure from our usual query, but an interesting one:

I'm wondering [about] the Recovery Act and associated recent federal legislation and spending. I'm curious to know what direct impact it has had on people's lives so far.
For me, the main effect is that my paycheck has gone up a little, because I'm now allowed to deducted more of my monthly transit expenses (limit used to be $120/month for pre-tax deductions from your paycheck, now is $230/month).
Otherwise, the impact I'm aware of is all secondhand or speculative -- people talking about COBRA extensions, rumors of how my city is going to spend its youth jobs money this summer (apparently some Clinton-era pipelines are getting cranked open again), etc.
I'm also keeping an eye on http://stimuluswatch.org/.

Have you seen any stimulus money flow your community's way? Benefit directly? Or does it not affect you at all?


 

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