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Hear and Now

Posted by Stanley
on 10.23.10

So, you people love to hate on public radio. It's pretty much the only thing I listen to when driving around. And I've taken AWB's suggestion of using back episodes of TAL when cleaning. (In fact, I've expanded the suggestion, and Ira Glass now regularly accompanies me during showers.)

I also tend towards a podcast for the second half of working out—usually Car Talk (which I tend to miss when it comes on the air) or A Way with Words (for which Sifu Tweety has declared his unabashed hatred). More recently, I've leaned on Snap Judgment quite a bit, though the host is sort of overbearing, and the show goes a bit too far in the direction of Hey-Did-You-Notice-We're-Playing-Hip-Hop-Music?! Still, good stories.

All of which is to say, it occurs to me that there are no doubt good radio programs that you lot, despite your avowed hatred of public radio, are hogging all to yourselves. I demand this selfishness cease forthwith. Share and share alike. I'll go first: BackStory is good and comes from this neck of the woods. What are you hiding?

And anyone who suggests The People's Pharmacy will be promptly Juan Williamsed. Hear you me.


 

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Timing

Posted by Stanley
on 10.22.10

I'm probably behind the curve on this one, but I hadn't realized until today that the morning Virginia Thomas placed the phone call to Anita Hill's office was also the morning that the NY Times piece raising questions about Thomas' activities with Liberty Central first appeared.

That is, I was aware there were questions about Mrs. Thomas' political involvement (though admittedly I hadn't realized we were talking hundreds of thousands of dollars in anonymous contributions—a wee bit troubling, that), but the fact that she placed the phone call the very same day the article appeared strikes me as extra-special odd.

Of course, it could just be a coincidence, and I'm not sure why it raises my eyebrow. But it does. The whole thing's just weird.


 

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Shameless Self-Congratulation for a Minor Personal Accomplishment

Posted by Stanley
on 10.21.10

Remember when I was disappointed that I didn't get under eight minutes running a mile as fast as I could? Well, 7:29 tonight, bitchez. Plus, I seriously almost puked when I was done.

Consider this a free zone for boasting about your own recent personal victories, be they minor, life-altering, or otherwise.


 

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I hear the drinks are bitter

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.21.10

I have it on good authority that the next big thing is pre-Prohibition cocktails. Doing some quick calendar math, it looks like this was a hot new trend in....take the coefficient of rural Texas...times the small children factor...plugged into the pregnancy matrix function...carry the one...borrow from the tens column...last February. Yes, my computations show that this was a break-out trend last February. Neat! Anyone tried anything good?


 

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I like "Do not want"

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.21.10

This glossary of gifs is totally cracking me up.


 

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Fresh Salt Tonight?

Posted by LizardBreath
on 10.21.10

JP Stormcrow's in town, and will be at FS after work today. I'll be there for a quick drink, and anyone else with the evening free should show. Off to swimcourt!


 

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Mexican drug wars

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.20.10

College student named mayor of Mexican border town after no one else applies.

One Mexican criminology professor told the Arizona Republic that getting elected to public office in Mexico "is like winning a tiger in a raffle."

I'm really not clear on what exactly has ramped up the violence in the past few years to such astronomical proportions. Near the end of the article:

More than 23,000 people have died in the country's drug violence since President Felipe Calderon declared war on the drug cartels in 2006.

So is the violence a direct result of some policy of Calderon's? This Q&A describes the violence but doesn't explain why. This PDF says it's a combination of the drug cartels losing power, and both supply and demand of illegal drugs decreasing. None of that makes that much sense to me. Is it US border policy? US immigration policy? What exactly changed to make the violence spin so wildly out of control?


 

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We can't let Texas hog all the textbook fun

Posted by Stanley
on 10.20.10

So, this happened:

A textbook distributed to Virginia fourth-graders says that thousands of African Americans fought for the South during the Civil War -- a claim rejected by most historians but often made by groups seeking to play down slavery's role as a cause of the conflict.

But what I really, truly love? Is the author's self-defense:

Masoff defended her work. "As controversial as it is, I stand by what I write," she said. "I am a fairly respected writer."

Please assume some version of that statement is appended to end of everything I write and say from this day forward. "As [adjective] as it is, I stand by it. I'm a fairly respected [category of person]."


 

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God Save the Queen...14% on her car insurance by switching to Geico

Posted by Stanley
on 10.20.10

If the morning radio is to be believed, the UK crowd is reeling over David Cameron's new austerity plan, featuring cuts! cuts! cuts! across a slew of government programs.

Most heart-warming was word that "Total Royal Household spending will fall by 14 per cent in 2012/13".

That's really quite generous of these royal people. I bet it really raises the spirits to know the monarch is still out there taking it on the chin for the good of the people.


 

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We are not who we are.

Posted by Stanley
on 10.19.10

My grueling social calendar has dictated that I dress as Fabrizio Moretti for Halloween. His style seems to consist of the kind of clothes I already wear, two sizes smaller, plus a small leather jacket.

This is really uninspiring. Please inspire me with tales of your much crazier (or even slightly less boring) Halloween costume plans.


 

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Bees

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.19.10

I just got a text message from the Heebie U Emergency Team that there is an active swarm of Africanized bees on campus. Huh. I don't really know protocol for this one. Still not scared, but differently not scared than I'm not scared of the Lord. I have to assume one of you all scaredy-cats desired that these bees would visit my campus, but I haven't yet divined your ulterior motive.


 

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God Forbid They Should Have Hired Some People

Posted by LizardBreath
on 10.19.10

The latest iteration of the foreclosure mess is just incredible. I'm not finding a good summary to link to (I'll edit one in if I find one later), but it appears that the notes, the literal pieces of paper that constitute homeowners' obligation to pay their mortgages, were not transferred properly when many or most securitized mortgages were resold, and may in many cases be completely lost.

People are calling this fraudulent, and it certainly opens the door to fraud. You can't enforce a mortgage if you don't have the note (or can establish what happened to it), because the function of the note is to be the official record of the homeowner's obligations. Without the original note, you don't know exactly what the parties agreed to, and anyone can say anything, which is how people are getting foreclosed on when they aren't actually in default. But the original problem doesn't seem (insofar as I understand it, which is vaguely at this point) to have been motivated by a desire to commit fraud, it seems to be that the people running the incredibly profitable mortgage securitization businesses were overwhelmed by the volume of paper they would have had to process to do it properly, and just weren't willing to hire the (junior, cheap) lawyers and paralegals they would have needed to keep track of the papers.

That's the spirit of 'financial innovation', I suppose. Invent a new line of business that's incredibly profitable, but would be labor-intensive to do properly, and resist cutting into profits at all by paying people to do what's necessary to make it function. Money flows from consumers to investors, and any attempt to spend it on actually providing the services advertised is wasteful -- paying people to do real work is a cost that needs to be eliminated. This kind of thinking is why unemployment is so high.


 

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I Whip My Hair Back And Forth

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.18.10

Will Smith's 9 year old daughter Willow has a kind of awesome song out:

(This is not the same as the I Love My Hair muppet video that NPR was talking about today. Somehow I feel like if I don't mention this video, ten different people will link it in the comments.)


 

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Patently Untrue

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.18.10

On the board out front of a church near here:

The Lord fulfills the desires of those who fear him.

First off, who fears the Lord? Nobody, that's who. Everyone who believes, believes that the Lord loves them. Those who also believe in a bad guy also have at least one good guy who mentally holds them tight at night. At most I can see fearing turns of fate or natural disasters and believing that the Lord holds all the cards. But that's not quite fearing the Lord like my niece fears monsters. (But boy do you hear that point - why you should fear the Lord - harped on, in fundie circles. By which I mean the occasional fundie radio station that I linger on for a minute out of curiosity.)

Second, is there anyone on earth whose experience would confirm this quote, that those who are fearful of the Lord actually get all the goodies they want? No, there isn't. The only way to believe this quote is to do those mental gymnastics where the desires of those who fear the Lord must have nothing to do with the predictable desires of the rest of the us shmucks.


 

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I loathe election season

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.18.10

And I loathe media stories about how monumentally outsized spending on election commercials has been this year, which then say crap like, "Some attribute the growth in advertising dollars to states and voting districts which allow early voting, thus extending the campaign window. Others attribute the rise in spending to the recent Citizen United decision." Yes. It's impossible to tease these two equal forces apart. I guess we'll never know.


 

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Do me a favor, New Yorkers

Posted by Ben
on 10.17.10

Go see this seven-hour-long theater piece related to The Great Gatsby and tell me about it, because I can't see it myself.


 

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Associations that are forever burned in my brain:

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.17.10

When I was a kid, we used to sing for one of the verses to "Signs, Signs", (Tesla version):
Well the sign says everybody in the left lane
Must turn left at the light.
So I drove up to the middle of the intersection
And I took a right!

To "I'd Love To Change The World", by Ten Years After, we sang
I'd love to change the world....
But I don't know what size it wears.

To "Every Time You Go Away", we sang
Every time you go away, you take a piece of me with you.
You should keep going away. Because then there will be nothing left and I'll stop singing this song.

The meter doesn't make much sense.


 

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