This is pretty fascinating - Roger Ebert writes about what it was like to accept that he'd never eat by mouth again.
I give you "The Travellers' Curse after Misdirection", by Robert Graves:
May they stumble, stage by stage
On an endless Pilgrimage
Dawn and dusk, mile after mile
At each and every step a stile
At each and every step withal
May they catch their feet and fall
At each and every fall they take
May a bone within them break
And may the bone that breaks within
Not be, for variations sake,
Now rib, now thigh, now arm, now shin
but always, without fail, the NECK.
I propose the creation of a bar, or café, or salon, or the like, to serve as a central gathering place for young men of fashion, who are additionally (or perhaps not additionally, perhaps this attribute comes as a "gimme" with the former specification) supercilious, condescending, or otherwise given to exercises of glib wit, and who maintain a lively interest in bicycles and bicycling; this place to be called the flip-fop hub.
Even more so than My Parents Were Awesome, I'm finding Keggers of Yore surprisingly compelling viewing. Fashions change, but booze-fueled revelry maintains its basic character across generations, apparently. While browsing the pictures, though, I was struck by how profoundly the smoking standards have changed. Christ, nearly everybody smoked back then, and it makes me wistfully nostalgic despite all the, you know, cancer and stuff.
I've probably told this story before, but when I was in high school, the Kroger I worked in had ashtrays on both ends of every aisle. Customers picked through produce with cigarettes hanging out of their mouths. When I arrived at UNC as a freshman, professors were still announcing that you couldn't smoke in class, but there were ashtrays in the halls, and the bowling class that filled one of my two PE requirements reserved two lanes at the end for the smokers. Which were crowded, I should add. The bottom floor of the undergrad library was the smoking floor (probably not so great for the long-term health of books), and the graduate library had two smoking lounges on every floor.
And then in a flash, it was gone. North Carolina—Tobacco Road itself!—just outlawed smoking in bars (and soon, no drinking and no talking), which seems just bizarre. In related news, I bought only one pack of cigarettes during 2009! It was while I was on vacation at the lake and, as with drinking before lunch, felt appropriate to the setting. Not smoking has been easier than previous attempts, mostly because now they're five bucks a pack at convenience stores (a quarter a cigarette? insanity!). Turns out all the tracheotomy and parentless children PSAs in the world can't compete with big-ass excise taxes for modifying my behavior.
Colt McCoy's injury! We don't know what it is, though. If you had to choose between throwing Colt McCoy or Buster off a cliff, who would you choose?
I've been in faculty workshops all day. At one point I was reminded of a poem called "When I'm a Teenager...", that I wrote when I was maybe six or eight. It went on for pages, but mostly because I illustrated it thoroughly. The only stanza I remember is:
Going to a party
Staying out all night
Listening to the Beastie Boys
That'd be all right.
This stanza was illustrated with a dog on a surfboard, at the beach. I really did say Beastie Boys, too, and it's just dumb luck that my older brothers were listening to someone with some staying power, or else that stanza could have easily read Listening to Till Tuesday/That'd be all right.
This is the second post that I'm seriously considering deleting. This just isn't particularly embarrassing, or even interesting. At best it will jog people's memories to post some magnificent sonnet opera they performed at age seven, which would actually be sufficient reason to post this. The post I deleted was about when it is not helpful for someone to offer you their arm, because you feel rushed and flustered. Boring! Faculty workshops make for terrible blogging.
Complete the sentence: Despite Risks, Internet Creeps ____________.
Oh look, a young Danish mother with her baby. What's she saying? She's looking for the father of her baby. She's not embarrassed that they had a one-night stand, but she doesn't do it very often, either. He was a tourist, and she doesn't know his name. She's not looking for alimony or payments, she just feels like she owes it the father to try to inform him. And isn't she pretty! She speaks English very well, with a wonderful accent. What a treat.
Except this is an actress, and this video was made by a Danish tourism company. I guess I don't understand marketing.
The matches work like this: competitors alternate between three-minute rounds of boxing and four-minute rounds of speed chess with one-minute breaks in between to get the gloves off and hunker down at the chess table. The winner is determined by knockout, checkmate, or referee decision.
So that's how Chess-Boxing works. Not quite like you would expect:
The chess-boxing combo traces its roots back to a 1992 comic book, titled The Nikopol Trilogy, in which the men of the future box on a chessboard floor.
So there's no Queen of Hearts style live action figures fighting it out on each move for mastery of the square. Alternately, I would think you'd try to get the little plastic pieces to fight each other.
Finally: Leibniz and Newton developed calculus independently and simultaneously. We've discussed how this happens with baby names; everyone simultaneously realizes that they should name their baby Sophia to set her apart from the Jennys and Sarahs they grew up with. Apparently this happened with Chess-boxing, too:
European chess-boxing arose independently from the American hip-hop community's efforts to train children in chess alongside martial arts like Jujitsu.
Huh. Via Cecily.
The person with front page status isn't necessarily the one experiencing the loss, so I hope I do these justice:
1. This is the two year anniversary of Andy Olmsted's death. Here is his farewell post. This was brought to my attention by Witt, and I'm sorry I didn't read his work back when he was alive, and sorrier still for those who miss him.
2. Bradlands died very recently and unexpectedly, described (by Snarkout) as "Brad Graham -- pioneering gayblogger, old-school MeFi user, epic SxSW host, coiner of the term "blogosphere" (for which he apologized), and one of the most generous people on the Internet". This gets at the number of old internets people who are feeling the loss, and this gets at what a funny guy he was.
I suppose if you have a group whose primary goal is adherence to the current Western beauty standard, then you can't really fault them further for enforcing that standard. The dating site "Beautiful People" axed a bunch of members who gained weight.
This op-ed (from a month ago, and was well-linked at the time) is a good summary of why the individual morality of our Go Green! Recycle! Swap Your Lightbulbs! corporate-generated message is a terrible vehicle for producing effective action against climate change, compared to collective action and smart public policy. In fact, that the Go Green! consumerism is counter-productive because it makes us feel virtuous, which saps our will to do anything more effective.
Ok, fine, I bet we agree on that. And yet I would totally buy a zero-emissions vehicle like the Nissan Leaf if it were available and affordable. There's really no contradiction between the first two paragraphs; I'm just reflecting on how I feel tugged by personal morality even though I think it's a terrible overall approach to addressing climate change.
I drive too much. Jammies and I live halfway between our two jobs. My commute is about 25 miles, and takes about 40 minutes. I carpool 1-3 times a week. I drive a 1994 Volvo with 200K miles.
I would personally have a lighter conscience if I drove a zero-emissions vehicle. Right now my plan is to keep driving my Volvo until the second-generation of something affordable becomes available, and at that point I'd be willing to pay more than I otherwise would to comfort my weary, aching conscience.
So my roommate came back from her winter travels with a gift for me consisting of (1) a big and stylish Las Vegas mug and (2) a kit for growing your own giant saguaro cactus. I am grateful.
In fact, I'd like to fashion the mug into a plant holder of sorts but wonder:
- This plant must need drainage holes; can I drill holes in a ceramic mug, and, if so, how?
- Such a mug may not be a good place for such a plant. Is it appropriate?
- Wikipedia suggests that a saguaro can grow very tall and very old. Am I getting into something untenable here?
- What kind of soil would I need to add beyond the supplied starter soil?
In sum, don't buy me gifts, or I might wring my hands about them.
Kids today, however, will take up with whatever will have them, it seems:
To ask, for example, why the child bangs when provided with a banging scheme and a compliant object to bang with is much like asking why she breathes when provided with lungs and air. (Cognitive Development, p 66)
I am recently spurred to be more linky. Ogged was really well-suited to blogging, and in his absence we're suffering a bit from repetitions of topics. Maybe my New Year's Resolution will be to try to jazz it up a bit.
2. Consequences of body-scanning from a non-able-bodied perspective.
(I like this sentence, about the Christmas bomber guy: "the perpetrator had an incendiary device strapped to his leg, and managed to set his own pants on fire." LIAR LIAR!)
3. Advances in lip-reading technology. This is reminiscent of this link from the page that called it to my attention how unlinky we have become. Also please note that in that archived page, Unf links to a newfangled radio show called This American Life. How cute!
"The extent to which he can recover seems to me depends on his faith. He is said to be a Buddhist. I don't think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith." - Senior news analyst Brit Hume, on Fox.
My cousin's fiance came from a quite religious background, and said that my cousin's family were the first "good, secular people" she'd ever known, and it kind of turned her world upside down. I've known other smalltown Christians who have only known that dichotomy as well. This is a perfect example of the type of thing of why I call 25 the age of moral accountability. Sometimes it takes awhile to realize you've been quite sheltered.
On the other hand, I'm pretty sure Brit Hume is well over 25, and has met a wide variety of people in his life. How old is the Fox News Network?
Via Sir Kraab
The novelty of blogs has completely worn off, and the bloom is off the rose of facebook and twitter as well, so we can stop and take stock of what these things will relax into, permanently.
Here are my predictions:
1. Facebook will stick around, especially for people born before 2000. It will find its niche as an interactive rolodex machine. If I want to get in touch with my old friend GrubbyButt, I basically go to their interactive Yellow Pages page, acquaint myself with pictures of their kids and spouse, and send them a message.
2. Twitter will die out nearly completely, save for those filling two roles: either some artistic knack for being unusually entertaining in 144 characters, or commercial promotions. The typical person won't know anyone who tweets, but will follow one or two tweeters that they discovered via recommendation.
Who starts blogs that have a reasonable shelflife at this point? You have to be able to generate, and generate, and generate. I don't trust the statistics about blogs, since, for example, I regularly get friended by LiveJournal Bots.
Categories of stable blogs:
1. Scrapbookking purposes: a record of kids growing up, with boring anecdotes and notes for friends and family.
2. Personal diary/musings for posterity
3. Ongoing, sustainable passion
But I think the Unfogged model* - blogging-by-directionless-tidbit - holds the least promise for the future kids. There is too much competing conglomeration machines. It doesn't hold any attraction unless you have an audience, and the area is too saturated for a new otherwise-typical tidbit-based-blog to grab an audience.
Facebook has currently usurped much of the fuel that used to fire blogs. As the novelty wears off Facebook, any predictions as to where that fuel will find its next home?
*And in fact, Unfogged is not nearly as linky as it used to be.