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Bay Area meetup

Posted by Ben
on 09.18.10

Help celebrate Chopper's new gig and the downtime he has before it begins! The plan, such as it is, seems to be to meet this Saturday, the 18th, at The Trappist, to drink beer.

Expressions of interest hereby solicited.


 

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"Or do you want to stop right now before any issues?"

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.18.10

Stay classy, Kenneth Kratz. In Wisconsin!

Via Snarkout


 

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In the Crunchy

Posted by Stanley
on 09.18.10

Last night found me at a country-ish rock show (spectating, that is, not playing). On a set break, a group of us got to chatting: what was the most commonly mentioned state in country music (a non-specified "Carolina" had featured heavily so far in the evening, but that was probably more to do with the lead singer's biography than any single fundamental truth about the nature of country music lyrics)?

Which conversation quickly segued to: what's the most commonly mentioned type of booze in country songs (group consensus was whiskey, then beer, with wine qualifying for a somewhat dodgy honorable mention)?

Which conversation then moved on to the much more titillating topic: what's the least likely combination of place name and beverage to make it into a country song (so, for instance, say, a song that mentions a Mai Tai and Nunavut)?

Which conversation got really absurd really quickly in a way that kind of felt like a conversation with you lot, so I felt obligated to share.


 

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You kinda knew, but now you know for sure.

Posted by Stanley
on 09.17.10

Sir Kraab sends along this update to the Joaquin-Phoenix-being-weird-on-Letterman story from 2009. Turns out: it was for a movie!

[Director Casey Affleck's] new movie, "I'm Still Here," was performance. Almost every bit of it. Including Joaquin Phoenix's disturbing appearance on David Letterman's late-night show in 2009, Mr. Affleck said in a candid interview at a cafe here on Thursday morning.

"It's a terrific performance, it's the performance of his career," Mr. Affleck said. He was speaking of Mr. Phoenix's two-year portrayal of himself -- on screen and off -- as a bearded, drug-addled aspiring rap star, who, as Mr. Affleck tells it, put his professional life on the line to star in a bit of "gonzo filmmaking" modeled on the reality-bending journalism of Hunter S. Thompson.

Anyway, according to the NY Times story, the film's getting lousy reviews. But it piques my interest:

Most mockumentaries, in the way of "This Is Spinal Tap," wear their foolishness on their sleeves, leaving no doubt about their character as fiction. But Mr. Affleck, who is married to Mr. Phoenix's sister and has been his friend for almost 20 years, said he wanted audiences to experience the film's narrative, about the disintegration of celebrity, without the clutter of preconceived notions.

I'd pay $5—er, however much movies cost nowadays to see that.


 

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Such Great Heights

Posted by Stanley
on 09.16.10

I wouldn't say I'm afraid of heights, but the video over here of a guy scaling a 1,700-foot-tall transmission tower gave me a little spell of vertigo.

Nothing like the bridge thing, but wow, yeah. Uncomfortable.

So, you know: by all means, watch it!


 

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Of Import

Posted by Stanley
on 09.15.10

Recently, over dinner and in a group setting, I was privy to the claim "everyone in California is getting veneers", the claimant going on to express how weird a person with veneers looks. No doubt, this claim was employing hyperbole, for surely not every single resident of and visitor to California is carted off for cosmetic dental surgery. Rather, it seems, the crux of the argument being presented was that the percentage of Californians who don veneers is higher than the percentage of the populations of the other forty-nine states of the union (let alone the territories) who themselves make use of these dental façades.

At the time of hearing this claim, the concept of dental veneers was entirely new to me—so new, in fact, that I found myself pausing the conversation so that it could be made clear exactly what, the fuck, we were talking about here. Which, the fuck, it was.

All of which came back to me recently when, for the purposes of research and development, I undertook the burden of watching the music video for Katy Perry's "California Gurls". (I won't trouble with a link to it; I'm quite sure you've seen it already or can find it if you haven't but care to.) As I sat watching, a combination of the repeated mentions of the Bear Republic and the curious appearance of Ms. Perry's teeth brought the aforementioned dinner conversation rushing back.

Which is a long-winded way of asking: does Katy Perry have veneers? Is that the weirdo look this one dinner guest was on about?


 

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Handles for lovin'

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.15.10

My mother was round until she was 15 or 16, and I was pretty round until then, too, and it's looking like Hawaiian Punch has inherited our body type. I have a bit of trepidation around this. I'd like to raise her so that she has a different interior monologue about her body than I had about mine.

I'm more just observing that I'm wary about this path, and I'm not necessarily looking for advice. I've got a very clear idea of exactly what message I want to convey, and that I plan to be on the lookout for clues about what attitude she's developing, and have concrete talks about the underlying assumptions. Etc. By the willow tree, by the pond, in the mist, while her brother and Jammies are bonding over their differently cut schlongs.

Anyway, it's too bad the world isn't a nicer place. Also I can't remember the euphemism for chubby girls' clothes that used to go hand-in-hand with husky for boys' clothes.


 

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You are not my lawyers; this is not a request for legal advice

Posted by Ben
on 09.14.10

One of my many email addresses consists solely of my family name and the name of a very popular email service, conjoined by an "@". As a result of this, and (I suppose) disorganization, bad memory, or related factors, I very frequently get email that is intended for people who are not me, but who do have my family name. Mostly I write back to these people and inform them that they have got hold of the wrong person, and with a few exceptions they even believe me and stop. One person, however, has been very persistent in making this mistake.

He has now emailed me an offer to join his company's advisory board. (As an advisory board member, I would be granted a "nonstatuory" option to purchase 30,000 shares of common stock!) The document attached to the email does, admittedly, contain an address and salutation for someone who is not me. Also, the line for the signature contains his name printed under it. Nevertheless, it was emailed to me. Perhaps the mistakes are in the document. My question is, if I print out, sign, and return this, who becomes a member of the board?


 

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It sounded like good news; I was immediately suspicious.

Posted by Stanley
on 09.14.10

Here and Now's Robin Young just mentioned (though I find no mention of it on their website) that President Obama was "set to name" Elizabeth Warren as the interim head of the forthcoming consumer financial protection agency. Has that been reported so assuredly anywhere else? A cursory search isn't turning up anything.

Anyway, if true, that would be almost unmitigated good news, right? ("Almost unmitigated" because her term would be shorter, she not having been confirmed by Congress. Although doing the appointment this way might actually be savvy politics, camel's nose under the tent and all that.)


 

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Formula, Hooray!

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.14.10

I don't have too much of a dog in this fight myself, but I'm entertained that Old Navy thought it was a good idea to pick a fight with Breast Is Best cohort.


 

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Like The Rest Of Them Are Any Different

Posted by LizardBreath
on 09.14.10

I just voted for Charlie Rangel in the Democratic primary. My theory here is that short of corruption with clear political effects (a literal quid pro quo), or really large-scale theft, there's no reason to think that minor tax evasion and that sort of thing actually distinguishes one candidate from another. I don't so much think scrupulous financial honesty is unimportant, as that it's not something you can ensure by voting against candidates for the sort of petty stuff that's been hauled out against Rangel.

Policy positions are easier to see, and more relevant to the job he's doing for me, and on that metric, I'm still for him. Now tell me I'm a chump.


 

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Totes Ebes

Posted by Stanley
on 09.13.10

Hey, interesting: Roger Ebert presents At the Movies. Links to things Ebert's written recently always make me think, "Crap. I meant to be reading him."

Anyway, the show looks interesting, and the preview is below.


 

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Bleagh, spirituality

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.13.10

Quick bleg: Has any one here read Refuge, by T/erry T/empest W/illiams? I'm thinking about picking it for my turn, at book club. (Hence the google-proofing, in case I go with it.) Both of my carpoolmates loved it and recommended it highly, but I'm worried it's too...uh...spiritual for my tastes. The cover, at least, took a page from Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Anyone confirm or deny this?


 

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Schoolgirl/fixie crossover

Posted by Ben
on 09.13.10

Horizontal Dropouts


 

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Dance, Varmint!

Posted by LizardBreath
on 09.13.10

Some British researchers asked a number of women to rate male dancers, and analyzed the difference between 'good' and 'bad' dancers, working toward an attempt to see if dancing acts like a mating display in other animals. Looking at the two alternatives (there's video at the link), it appears to me that bad dancers, in this study, were doing "The Robot", and good dancers weren't. So that's your tip for next weekend.

Actually, what struck me is that there wasn't any discussion at all of the relationship between the dancing and the music -- capacity to work with the beat didn't seem to be an issue, although I'm not sure if that was because the women surveyed didn't care about it, or because the researchers excluded it as an issue. Given that fear of exposure of my total lack of rhythm is what keeps me from dancing, mostly, if it's true that watchers generally don't care, that'd be great, and should be broadly publicized.

(Link from Andrew Sullivan.)


 

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How I got so wise

Posted by Ben
on 09.12.10

I wasn't kidding when I referred to listening to Ted Cohen tell racist jokes. You can listen too (mp3 link)! The interview (Cohen slips into lecture mode quite quickly) mostly concerns metaphor and metaphorizing. It is nice! (Though I am predisposed to like it.)

I was moderately amused to hear him apparently have to remind himself, the first time he mentioned her, not to refer to Anscombe just as Elizabeth, though after the first mention of her family name he does proceed only to use her second.


 

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Sweaty feet and the shoes that contain them

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.12.10

I'm baffled by this trend. Also the other day I was thumbing through a Land's End catalog and didn't recoil as reflexively as I used to, so I think I'm losing my edge.


 

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Anxiety!

Posted by Standpipe Bridgeplate
on 09.12.10

I'm undergoing a Major Life Change tomorrow.


 

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What a shit I've been.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.12.10

I loathe this article. Some of the tips are completely reasonable: "Understand why sustainable food should actually cost 50 to 100 percent more than industrial, conventional food" and "Don't expect a farmer to have year-round availability and selection" and "Don't compare prices between farmers who are trying to do this for a living and those that do it only as a hobby (and don't have to make a living from what they produce and sell)."

But wow are they dwarfed by the condescending I'll-expose-your-privilege tone of voice ("Guess what? You are NOT changing the food system. Not even close") and tips such as "Know the names of more farmers and ranchers than celebrity chefs, including at least one you can call by first name -- and ask how their kids are doing" and "Pay for your values. If it hurts, don't have fewer values, just eat less food (sorry, but most Americans could stand to do a bit of this)."

Here's a tip for the author: Your message would be more effective if you didn't piss off your target audience right out of the gate.

On a broader point, this a self-destructive tactic that liberals do constantly, that conservatives don't do nearly as much. Liberals often preach with a subtext that you should feel bad about yourself for your privilege and greed, or else you should be pitied, you poor impoverished pitiable thing, living in poverty, who deserves pity under all that sadness. Conservatives implicitly congratulate you for deserving every penny of your wealth and encouraging you to take umbrage with all the grubby fingers grasping for your pennies, them, those assholes over there, trying to steal your money. This guilt-pity/indignance dichotomy is stupid and counterproductive. At least for our side.


 

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