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Surf's Down

Posted by Stanley
on 07.11.09

I saw a surf-rock band tonight. They were doing mostly covers, in a sort of historical narrative style. That is, the singer would introduce the song and talk about its role in the history of the genre. I can't even decide if it was an annoying approach. I'm thinking: yeah, probably.

Confusing was his charge that the Beatles killed surf rock, because he never offered any explanation for the claim. I have no idea what he was on about, but he was rather enthusiastic about the matter.


 

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Actually, I rather dislike breakfast*

Posted by Stanley
on 07.10.09

The National Prayer Breakfast is just weird, right?

It's one of those things that lots of people agree on, few or no people are willing or able to do anything about, and, yet, every time I read about it, I say to myself, "Really?! That happens?!"

*True statement. Breakfast, meh. Just give me coffee. I'm holding out for lunch.


 

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And then I found five dollars.

Posted by Stanley
on 07.10.09

I think I had a panic attack, but I'm not exactly sure.

Backstory: a few months ago, I had an unusually (for me) vivid dream. Eekbeat and I, driving on some highway on a rainy night, approached an expansive suspension bridge that looked like this one.

In the dream, we ended up pinned in the bridge's left-most lane, which also happened to be under construction. Specifically, the construction crew had removed the entire lefthand railing, and, as the shit luck of some dreams go, we ended up tumbling off the edge and hurtling towards the icy depths (icy depths! there were icy depths, I tell you!) below.

It was one of those falling dreams, the ones that pop you out of sleep fast and out-of-breath. And something about it really struck me in a way that dreams rarely do. (I'm not someone who tends to remember many dreams let alone dwell on them.)

Fast-forward to last Friday. I was driving to New York after work, and the Delaware Memorial Bridge (the one in the picture above) came into sight. Even though Eekbeat wasn't with me and it wasn't raining, apparently (1) night driving and (2) similar-enough-looking bridge qualified as sufficient conditions to trigger a full-fledged emotional shit show.

I turned the radio off. I white knuckled the steering wheel. I focused on breathing. And I talked myself into calming down enough to Just. Do. This. Thing.

Obviously, I got over the bridge without incident, and afterwards I felt really rather silly about the whole thing. Even writing it down now makes it feel even more trivial. But it was really weird. The kind of weird you tell the internet about.


 

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Racism is dead in America!

Posted by Ben
on 07.08.09

"When the minority children got in the pool all of the Caucasian children immediately exited the pool," Horace Gibson, parent of a day camp child, wrote in an email. "The pool attendants came and told the black children that they did not allow minorities in the club and needed the children to leave immediately." …

"There was concern that a lot of kids would change the complexion ... and the atmosphere of the club," John Duesler, President of The Valley Swim Club said in a statement.

Classy!

 

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Meritocracy and Elitism

Posted by LizardBreath
on 07.08.09

Usually I don't link to stuff unless I have something to say about it. But Ta-nehisi Coates has a post up about Obama and mediocrity and elitism, and the democratic ideal as Ross Douthat sees it embodied by Sarah Palin, and about how all those things look different from a black than a white perspective. I've got nothing to add, and there's not a paragraph that works to pull out and quote as a teaser, but it's really worth reading.


 

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Don't go to the dentist

Posted by Ben
on 07.08.09

You might be forced to listen to Talk of the Nation while a cruel man probes your gumline. Were you aware that 80% of callers to NPR are idiots? But, also, that the host of Talk of the Nation is content to observe that such-and-such will be the so-and-so's argument, without considering whether it actually has any merit, at any time? (A public plan might be so popular and so much better than everything else on offer in this country that private insurers would shrivel up and die, and then we'd be left with socialized medicine, which is apparently bad in itself and not because (as one might have thought) it would be less efficient or effective than privately-provided medicine.)

One of the callers did ask whose idea it was to tax health care benefits, and one of the guests said it was because, well, this shit doesn't pay for itself! A curious fact: taxing health care benefits is supposedly something that Republicans want. And yet the given justification for doing so would also support raising taxes generally, say, on those who have tons of money.

John Podesta was also a guest and he was not vociferous or cogent (in the classical sense) at all. Had I been free to call in, I would have attempted to do so, in order to ask him why no one edits Yglesias.

In conclusion, I hate everyone.


 

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Talking in a coffee shop at all is basically begging everyone else to listen anyway.

Posted by Stanley
on 07.08.09

When I was getting coffee this morning, I overheard another customer explaining to her two friends the details of some study she had recently read. The study was a comparison between drinkers of mochas and drinkers of lattes, with the conclusion that mocha drinkers tended to be lower income (she quoted something like $30K-60K vs. $60-90K for latte drinkers).

I walked away at this point, but it's been nagging me. Even if the correlation really is there (and the data came from, well, I have no idea), what was her point? What was this trend supposed to say about drinkers of the two different beverages, or about people in those income brackets? It was all sounding like a bit of hooey, but of course I didn't actually stick around to hear the point, so I don't know.

The broader lesson here is, if I'm going to eavesdrop, I really need to go all in. Otherwise, it'll pester me all damn day.


 

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Talk Me Out Of It

Posted by LizardBreath
on 07.08.09

Anyone who recalls the recent conversation about my possibly commuting to work by bicycle can laugh at me when I tell them I don't actually own a bike at the moment. But I need one -- Sally's been interested in taking longer rides than just around the park, and who knows, I might do the work thing.

And I'm thinking of a folding bike, something like this. It seems to solve the where do I lock it up problem, as well as the what if I want to commute one way but not the other problem -- I can just leave it in my office. But I don't know if there's some fatal flaw to folding bikes, such that only an idiot would buy one. Anyone know anything about them? (Lurkers with knowledge, please weigh in.) Also, helmet recommendations?


 

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Nature bites.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.06.09

I had a new experience the other day, that of being ambushed by a nest of hornets. I got 14 stings. My dad got 7. Or maybe they were yellowjackets.

We went jogging. At the top of a hill, we found a little trail, which we decided to explore. One offshoot ended ten yards or so from a street, so we traipsed through the bramble to see if we could recognize the street and figure out where we were.

Mid-traipse, in what felt like one unified attack, my legs burst into painful stingy bites, and we both started shrieking and swearing. There were tons of them. We started sprinting out of there as best we could, given that we'd been picking our way through fallen trees, and then we charged up the hill from the trailhead.

At the top of the hill we paused, winded, to assess the damage. And the fuckers caught up with us and swarmed us again. We commenced with the shrieking and sprinting at once. When we finally seemed to have outrun them, we still had to deal with the one I discovered inside my shirt, who stung me five times before I took off my shirt and Dad took it and killed the hornet.

The whole way back to our street, they kept reappearing one by one. I wondered if we were emitting some smell that was making new hornets show up, or if these were stragglers who had really chased us a half-mile.

Back at our street, I was so freaked out and rattled that I bailed on the last half of our run. I just wanted to get back to the B&B and get in the shower and convince myself that nothing was dive-bombing me anymore. I was super jumpy and frazzled for the next hour.

Most of the stings stopped hurting much fairly quickly, except for the the two on my left ear, which hurt like a bitch all evening. My dad's finger swole up. That night, while I was asleep, all fourteen stings started itching like hell, which is about the current state of things. Ibuprofen and benadryl and cortisol are all nice things.


 

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Sunk Costs

Posted by Becks
on 07.05.09

This weekend I walked out of the movie Public Enemies. The decision was 60% driven by a gradually-worsening headache precipitated by the piercing glow of the bright white screen of a jerk in the front row who was texting on her phone the entire movie (I chewed her out her en route to my exit) but put over the edge by the fact I couldn't get into the movie at all and couldn't handle sitting through the remaining 90 minutes of a too-long film. I felt rude since I was there with friends (sorry!) and I don't expect to make it a habit but it did feel oddly liberating.

The only other time I remember walking out of a movie before it ended was Jacob's Ladder, and that's because my father was offended by the numerous sex scenes and made us all leave. When was the last time you walked out of a movie?


 

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