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With my unicorn alongside!

Posted by Stanley
on 12.12.09

If I got super rich, I'd __________.

The first one that came to mind tonight was "bike across the country".

What would you do?


 

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Passing the time

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 12.12.09

Well, I'm proctoring exams from 8:30 until 4:30 today. And grading. I feel humbled and gladdened to update you all with the news that Our Favorite Student is, so far, rocking her Cal II final exam. (Before you ask, "humbled" because you're supposed to fake humility when really it's because I'm such an awesome teacher.)


 

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More Of A Hypothetical Issue, But Still

Posted by Becks
on 12.11.09

I was emailing with a friend the other day and she sent me some links to some jewelry she liked and thought of putting on her Christmas wish list. I don't wear or shop for jewelry often so it had been a long time since I looked at a jeweler's selection. What I found striking was how little is offered in yellow gold now. 75-90% of the jewelry for sale at the sites she linked to were either white gold or platinum.

I always look for jewelry in yellow gold because that's the color of my mother's jewelry, which I'm going to inherit someday. If anything would actually get me to wear jewelry, it would be sentiment and tradition, so I've always had an eye towards what would go with mom's pieces when buying the little I have. I have to wonder if I'm painted into a corner, though -- I'll get mom's jewelry but will my ability to match it be seriously constrained in the future?

Again, this is more of a hypothetical because I don't really wear or buy jewelry, but I'm more curious how this came to be. When did everything switch over to white gold and platinum and why? The platinum thing makes me wonder if there are two opposite forces at play -- people wanting to show off that they can afford something even more expensive than gold but also liking the convenience that you can match it with more affordable silver pieces. Or has white gold/platinum really always been this popular but I never noticed since all the women in my family wore yellow?


 

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Ask The Mineshaft: Window Treatments Edition

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 12.11.09

I'm trying to hang curtains in my office, and apparently I bought the wrong nails, or have the wrong kind of walls, or something, because every single nail is getting bent instead of being a good little nail. Help that doesn't require me to go back to a store?

There are other nails in my walls, and not all of them seem to be thicker than my nails, which are pretty skinny. So I know it can be done. I got about 4" above the edge of the window, which seems like it would be above any framing or whatever.

Basically I just can't drive these particular nails in, so I thought someone might have a clever hammering technique.


 

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Democrats are from Mars, Republicans are scared of Mars

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 12.11.09

TPM has a graph showing that states with parents who spank their kids correlate with states that voted for McCain. This is the perfect example of "They're Threatening My Lifestyle" politics. Obama's going to take away your guns and your Christmas and make you effete.

Obviously I haven't read the book that this graph came from. I've got, like, internet to read. From the TPM post:

The psychological terms that match these colliding worldviews are authoritarianism and nonauthoritarianism, which we measure by asking people about their child rearing preferences. Those who favor obedience over self-reliance and respect for elders over independence score high in authoritarianism. Those who favor the reverse are the nonauthoritarians.

I think there's somthing else going on. What I'm struck by is how fear-based this movement is. It's the monkey tightening his grip on the bananas, even though he can't get his hand out of the cage. Fear is almost always a hugely counter-productive stance to operate from, (even if there is something legitimate to fear.)

In general, I believe that you quell fear by listening, not by accomodating. (The result may be accomodation, but that would come out of the conversation.) The problem is that this fear that They're Threatening My Lifestyle won't be calmed and put away, becasue it's being fanned aggressively by the media and pundits.

I firmly believe that when fear is the root cause of an issue, tinkering with anything else is just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. So we have a seemingly intractable problem: a fear that can't be calmed, and you can't interact productively with scared people.

So the only solution is to cut, cut, cut. Ditch the pretense of bipartisanship with politicians pandering to a scared base. Just quit pretending there's any interaction to be had with the fear-based contingent of the Republican Party, and figure out what you can pass without them.

(Oh look, a post making red state/blue state general assertions on the internet. How novel.)


 

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Alberto Gonzales in Esquire

Posted by LizardBreath
on 12.10.09

I'm sure you've all seen this already, but check out Gonzales on firing the US Attorneys:

We should have abandoned the idea of removing the U. S. attorneys once the Democrats took the Senate. Because at that point we could really not count on Republicans to cut off investigations or help us at all with investigations. We didn't see that at the Department of Justice. Nor did the White House see that. Karl didn't see it. If we could do something over again, that would be it.

Stop me if I'm wrong about this, but isn't this a clear statement that Gonzales' firing of US Attorneys was done with the intent of "cut[ing] off investigations or help[ing the Administration] with investigations"?  Which is a confession of quite a serious crime: either attempt to violate 18 USC 1503, or, if the firing had any actual effect on criminal investigations, a completed violation of that section.  (I think that's the applicable section, but anyone with more federal criminal experience than I should check me.)

And of course he implicates Rove and "the White House" in his criminality.

I get that there are political reasons not to prosecute, but can we get some public acknowledgment that the man's confessed to a crime?

Update: It has been pointed out to me by our annoyingly perspicacious commenters that I misread Gonzales: the investigations he refers to are Congressional investigations of the firings, not criminal investigations conducted by the US Attorneys. So a confession that Gonzales knew the firings wouldn't bear investigation, but not an explicit confession of criminal motive. Sorry about that.


 

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Now Walk it Back

Posted by Stanley
on 12.10.09

I found myself in traffic court this morning. (It has been officially determined that I was not a Reckless Driver, in case you were curious.)

I noticed the judge's tendency to walk back the charge in almost every instance. Speeding 46 in a 25? We'll make that 44 in a 25. Running a red light? We'll make that Improper Driving. Etc.

While I appreciate the tendency to weigh mitigating factors, I was wondering if this sort of thing incentivizes officers to over-charge. For instance, a police officer who's used to a judge walking back his charge might err on the more severe side of possible charges, knowing full well that the judge is just going to march it back anyhow.

I was also wondering (1) whether this walk-it-back phenomenon resonates with other people's traffic-court experiences and (2) how this works in the more-serious-offenses criminal courts, where there's a prosecutor and grand jury handling the charge.


 

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Change clothes and go.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 12.09.09

I feel like Lady Gaga deserves to be famous. I just think she is awesome. She is such a famehound, but it feels outlandish and electric instead of Paris Hiltony. Perhaps because she's talented and wears wild outfits. I love Bad Romance. I love the second half of the song in particular, after about 3:30. I feel like she is singing about someone in particular and her heart is absolutely breaking, as she sings "I don't wanna be friends..."

Also Jammies played the new Jay-Z album for me and I thought it was really good. Worth getting. (Remember this song? It's still good. Not on the new album or anything relevant about it.)


 

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Ask the Mineshaft: Who gets the turtle, all the way down?

Posted by Stanley
on 12.08.09

An anonymous and soon-to-be-divorced asker inquires about pets and divorce. Is a (possible future) decision to put down the cat a mutual decision for the exes? Asker thinks it should be.

I'm inclined to agree, if things shake out that way. Which is a total non-answer.


 

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RST Video

Posted by Stanley
on 12.08.09

I find this video oddly catchy. Not sure why the guy is supposed to be, uh, Eastern European(?). But hey, timely!

On a completely different note, this one didn't go exactly how I expected. For instance, I didn't expect him to keep dishing out the numbers (which sound, more or less, correct to this vaguely-paying-attention person). I didn't expect charts (about whose accuracy or relevance I know nothing). I am sympathetic, if less hitty.


 

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The delightfully sordid Arcade Comeaux

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 12.08.09

First, the guy's name is Arcade Comeaux, which is so cinematic. Second, he's been in a wheelchair for over ten years. Faking paralysis for a decade! Yowza. He is one bad dude, serving time for sexual assault, sometimes of children, lots of stabbings, and generally being one bad dude.

While being transported, handcuffed, in his wheelchair, he pulled out a gun and ordered the drivers to pull over. Then he gets up, out of his chair, and forces the guard to change clothes with him. Eventually Arcade Comeaux escapes on foot.

The manhunt begins! A week later, tired, hungry, and barefoot, Arcade Comeaux is captured. Furthermore, this all takes place in Beaumont, which is well known for having the most ludicrous accent in the South, according to me. It sounds like a parody of a southern accent. So you should picture this all unfolding amidst the swamp and Spanish Moss, acted by Yankees apparently doing a terrible job of a southern accent, but actually nailing the Beaumont twang perfectly.


 

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Baby talk

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 12.07.09

There is nothing new in this post.

I'm just very frustrated at the moment that if you dress your child up in bright colors, everyone assumes she's a boy. Like, bold yellow, red, and green. Unless there's a signal on the clothes, like a ruffled sleeve or cutesy embroidery. I'm just annoyed that nothing can possibly be androgynous. On Saturday we had Hawaiian Punch in a dark blue shirt with colorful stars all over it, and she was mistaken for a boy a few times. This isn't really evidence, but I thought stars signaled girl and was surprised to find out otherwise.

I don't really care if she gets mistaken, and I certainly don't blame the acquaintances. I blame Big Baby Clothes. Stop co-opting all bold colors for boys and let's just have babies.

Oh, I could put something new in this post, after all.

At our soccer game on Saturday, one of the women on the opposition has played with us in the past, and so everyone knows her. Let's call her Sarah. When she subbed out, someone on her team called out, "Now that you're a new mom, you're taking breaks all the time!"

So the next time she was nearby on the field, I was all OMG Congrats! We talked about babies a little bit.

I started noticing that she was playing unbelievably well. My first game back, I was practically in tears. My brain seemed utterly disconnected from my slooshy waterbed-of-a-body. Everything was so hard.

Afterwards, I went back and started raving about how tough she was. I just couldn't believe it. She let me go on for a little while, and then gently said, "Um, Heebie, we adopted."

Ohhhhhhhhhh....I went back to congratulating her and said something about my failure to keep an open mind and congratulations! Again! Bye now!


 

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Captive Audience

Posted by Stanley
on 12.06.09

After getting cheesed-off about the issue in comments, I was determined to write a more thoughtful post about the for-profit prison issue. Turns out, it's frustratingly difficult to turn up much of anything useful. What I've got so far:

  • At some point awhile back, some federal prisons began using the TRULINCS system for exchanging electronic messages with approved friends and family. This was a federally administered program, paid for out of a trust fund, I hasten to add, not tax dollars.
  • Some time this fall, at least some TRULINCS prisons switched to a new private service, Corrlinks, which is run by a private for-profit company, ATG.
  • At the time of the Corrlinks switch, at least some new federal and state (Iowa is mentioned) prisons began introducing Corrlinks where previously there had not been any electronic messaging services.
  • The Corrlinks FAQ is vague on the matter, but there can be a charge to the inmate for sending and receiving each message, and it seems to vary by prison. (This charge per message sent or received is the part I find absolutely ludicrous.)
  • As a separate but related matter, I've heard some anecdotal shitty things about UNICOR but can't seem to find anything useful.

So that's all I've got. I was hoping someone might show up in comments with some more helpful resources. I'm interested in the for-profit issue generally. The e-mail thing just managed to push me over the edge for some reason.

Or you guys could talk about organic sheep herding or something.


 

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Takes All Kinds To Make A World Go Round

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 12.06.09

Last night, a friend encouraged me to check out this place. They get all their dairy and eggs there. Everything is raw and natural and clean and healthy and, she and her husband testified, tastes phenomenal.

After you make your purchase, they ask you what you'd like to pray about. Then they pray with you. The customer in front of my friend answered "For Obama to die tomorrow." The woman who worked there declined to pray about that, and did some general purpose prayer instead.


 

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