How does one steal a pig?
This month, 150 pigs -- each one weighing more than an average grown man -- disappeared from a farm building in Lafayette despite deadbolts on its doors. Farther north near Lake Lillian, 594 snorting, squealing hogs disappeared last month, whisked away in the dark.
Hypothetically, I ask.
My friend Sally and her girlfriend Rachel recently broke up. Rachel has the most amazing case of pronoun switching I've ever witnessed.
Throughout the relationship, Rachel would assert hurtful things that Sally was going to do, in the future. At the time, Sally and I analyzed that Rachel was insecure, and liked the reassurance that Sally would never do such a thing to hurt her. Nope! Rachel just had her pronouns backwards, and was informing Sally of all the things that were in store for her*.
At other times Sally told me "Rachel says I never hear what she's saying. I don't know what to do to convince her that I am listening." ...yes, exactly.
Being the annoying spectator, I'm fascinated by this method of conducting your business. I get that it's mostly unconscious, and that it's a product of two things: 1. a failure to imagine that someone else operates differently than you, and 2. avoiding admitting that you're the type of person that does these things.
Still, it is so strange to see such a flagrant, repeated demonstration.
* Sally isn't innocent. I'm sure she pulled her own baggage on Rachel, too. But that's not the topic of the post, and projection isn't a specific weakness of Sally, and plus I only hear Sally's side of the story so it's terribly one-sided as far as I know.
Walking past the Wall Street protests this morning, I saw a guy holding up a sign reading "Zionist pigs steal from us all" (I'll swear to the Z.P., I man have garbled what it is they were doing.) Standing next to him was a pleasant young man with a hastily written but clear sign with an arrow pointing to the other guy and saying "This c0cksucker speaks for himself alone".
I suppose the answer to wrongful speech really is more speech.
They took down the local Chamber of Commerce sign, which made me sad, because it was this 70s sign written in font somewhere in between this:
(from). What is this font?
A: I would say the only American food—aside from Native American—I enjoy is apple pie. When I traveled in America and had to stop at horrible places to eat … with other people … apple pie was the only thing I could tolerate on the menu.
B: Yeah, there's a lot of terrible food in America.
A: Except for Berkeley and San Francisco…
B: Oh, San Francisco, get out of town. [something about one of those transalpine institutions, an Italian bistro, follows]
Now they're talking about whether or not one of them is authentic, and astrology.
Jammies and I were invited to do this race by our contractor, who is putting together a team.
How fit do you need to be? First, complete slackers need not apply. Basically, you should be in good physical condition. At a minimum, we recommend that you are running regularly (3-4 times a week), work up to at least runs of 5-7 miles, be able to do 15-25 push-ups in a row, be able to bang out 6 pull-ups in a row (especially the guys), and be able to swim 50 yards without stopping (although you can skip the water obstacles).
That doesn't sound out of reach. But it does sound completely inadequate for a ten mile run interspersed with these 20 obstacles. (A-frame monkey bars, with random ones greased. Hauling a log up and down slippery hills. Running through fire. Jumping off a ledge into a pond and swimming across. Waist deep mud. Etc.)
I think we will decline, mostly because we don't know the teammates, and if you think you're going to be the weak link on a team, it's better to already have a friendship with your teammates. I'm still intrigued, though, and sad to let it go.
Chris Bertram at Crooked Timber posts on a number of contradictory political beliefs he holds, or at least beliefs that seem to indicate that we should be moving in different directions. And they're all, roughly, beliefs I hold as well, and do seem tricky to deal with coherently:
Belief 1: As a keen reader of Paul Krugman, Brad DeLong (yes, really), our own John Quiggin and other left-leaning econobloggers, I believe that most Western economies need a stimulus to growth, that austerity will be counterproductive, and that without growth the debt burden will worsen and the jobs crisis will get deeper.
Belief 2: As someone concerned about the environment, I believe that growth, as most people understand it, is unsustainable at anything like recent rates. Sure, more efficient technologies can reduce the environmental impacts of each unit of consumption, but unless we halt or limit growth severely, we'll continue to do serious damage. There are some possibilities for switching to less damaging technologies or changing consumption patterns away from goods whose production causes serious damage, but the transition times are likely to be long and the environmental crisis is urgent.
Belief 3: Some parts of the world are just too poor to eschew growth. People in those parts of the world need more stuff just to lift them out of absolute poverty. It is morally urgent to lift everyone above the threshold where they can live decent lives. If anyone should get to grow their consumption absolutely, it needs to be those people, not us.
Belief 4: The relative (and sometimes absolute) poverty that some citizens of wealthy countries suffer from is abhorrent, and is inconsistent with the status equality that ought to hold among fellow-citizens of democratic nations. We ought to lift those people out of poverty.
As among those four beliefs, I think (2) and (3) are morally the most weighty ( (2) to the extent that effects of environmental damage are going to immiserate people). The problem is that they're the furthest from anything actually politically achievable, so I end up focusing politically on (1) and (4). You do hear people talking about lifting the global poor out of poverty by free trade sometimes, but when it's attached to a specific political action, it often seems to be an excuse for dismissing the claims of workers in wealthy countries without actually doing anything to benefit people overseas, which makes me systematically suspicious of anyone I don't already trust on that issue.
I think, or at least I hope, that environmental protection can be reconciled with economic growth -- the US's air and water are cleaner than they were in the 60s, and we've grown a lot since then. There's a lot of work to be done moving to a less environmentally damaging way of life, and doing that work seems as if it could fuel growth as well as anything else. Balancing the claims of the global poor against the local poor is harder -- on a specific policy issue-by-issue basis, I want to believe that they're not really opposed, but that may be wishful thinking more than anything else.
As (relatively new?) commenter Rance poignantly notes, NMM to REM.
I file this one along with "Persons of Note Who Shuffle Off, Which persons I Hadn't Realized Had Still Been Alive".
And then I file it a second time next to the Velvet Undergrond, under "Bands People Really Seem to Like; I Should Figure Out Why Someday".
"JOHNSTOWN, Pa. - A western Pennsylvania school district has decided not to stage a Tony Award-winning musical about a Muslim street poet after members of the community complained about the play on the heels of the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks."
Snarkout sent this along to Neb and I, along with "Who knew that Barbara Eden and Alexander Borodin were tools of international jihad?"
I noted that they opted instead for Oklahoma!, and humorously quipped "Whereas Oklahoma! is clearly free from any tenuous connections to terrorism."
Neb really appreciated this, and in fact praised the joke in excess of its actual humor. That Neb. At any rate, he did coax me into including it in the post, so there you have it.
I've been having an even harder time than usual having any kind of thoughts about politics that seem worth blogging (and worth blogging is a low, low standard). I think it comes down to the fact that whatever the current administration says they're going to do has very little relevance to anything that's likely to happen: I can't work up much of an interest in Obama's deficit reduction plan because there's no shot that anything like it will make it through Congress.
I suppose I could read the new Ron Suskind book and talk about how awful it reveals Obama and the administration to be, but I have an ingrained belief that books like that are all bullshit with an only accidental relationship to the truth: not that anything in them is necessarily false, but that you don't know any more about what's true and what's false after reading them than you did before. And if I'm going to be reading something that doesn't actually inform me, I'd usually rather it had either hard-boiled investigators or dragons in it.
On Saturday evening, Jammies and I were eavesdropping on some drunk college-age boys walking behind us. One of them kept insisting that girlfriends need too much attention, specifically his, but really all girls want a lot of attention.
Finally he flagged our attention, and we vaguely pretended we hadn't been eavesdropping, and he asked "Do girls like attention? A lot of attention?" Implied: within a relationship.
"Yes," I said. "They do. So do boys. People like attention from the person they're dating."
His friend nodded emphatically as though I confirmed his perspective. So I gather the argument was whether or not girls were especially needy.
"We were together for a year and a half, and I always gave her a lot of attention, but now it's like she wants a lot of attention and I don't want to do it anymore."
"Break up with her," I said.
"She's a great girl, though..." he said, "We've been together for almost two years and I'm 20."
I nodded, and turned forward again.
Then their conversation went like this:
"Do you think X is hot, even without make-up?"
"Y is really hot, but I'm not sure she's hot without make-up, but X is really hot even when she isn't wearing make-up."
..and on and on. Isn't it important whether someone is actually hot, or just faking hot, or not hot at all, but their body is hot, but not when they reached in that awkward way the other day? That was so gross?
I swear to god I was about to throttle them. What an aggravating, commonplace conversation. I know how common and rehearsed those conversations are. It's the ubiquity that is so irritating.
Fortunately we turned down a side street before I boiled over, because I don't really know what I would have said.
Online gossip is apparently devastating rural America. This is one of those NYT stories that doesn't make a whole lot of sense without additional information they haven't provided, like: is online gossip actually having negative real world consequences in any measurable number of cases, or are we just picking anecdotes; is there any reason to think there's a difference in the way rural communities handle online gossip from the way urban or suburban communities do; and is there any reason to think that online gossip is any different from the regular offline kind? The whole article came off as "Man, those inbred hicks are mean. And the Internet is scary!"
But I think we can all agree that people who spend their time gossiping anonymously in Internet fora are losers.
I'm probably a terrible person for finding those family stick-figure bumper stickers kind of distasteful. They just seem sort of smug and boastful, and I end up uncharitably assuming that the people who want that sticker on their Honda Odyssey (come on, it's always a Honda Odyssey) are papering over some deep, unacknowledged conflict.
And that's totally unfair of me. Because this one I spotted is really rather cute:
The flutter-tongued 'bone moves the arrangement into "masterpiece" territory.