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Every 10th Shade of Gray.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.05.12

Digested read: Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James is funny.

"But Sir," I exclaim. "I'm still a virgin, so I will have to draw the line at fisting."
"You drive a hard bargain, Miss Steele."

 

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Goatye

Posted by Stanley
on 05.04.12

"Been dreaming I could strangle you and it felt so wonderful" actually quite nicely captures the vague creeptastic feeling the original Gotye video gives me. I mean, his character in the video is a bit of a creeper, right?


 

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Assorted aggravations

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.04.12

1. Guest Post from Witt

The fact that this was entirely predictable doesn't make it any less awful or maddening.

Way too many Americans -- particularly children -- are winding up in emergency rooms and operating rooms with rotten teeth.
A February study by The Pew Center for the States found that preventable dental conditions were the primary reason for more than 830,000 emergency room visits in the U.S. in 2009, up 16 percent from just three years before.
Experts say emergency room care is 10 times more expensive than routine dental services. ER care for preventable dental problems -- not from trauma -- often runs $1,000 or more per episode, while a preventive exam and cleaning in a dental office is $60 to $100.
The Pew study noted, for instance, that there were more than 115,000 dental-related ER cases in Florida in 2010, at a cost of more than $88 million. Nationwide, in 2009, the study noted, 56 percent of children enrolled in Medicaid did not receive any dental care, even a routine exam.
"The fact that so many Americans go to hospitals for dental care shows the delivery system is failing," said Shelly Gehshan, director of the Pew Children's Dental Campaign in a statement. "The care provided in an ER is much more expensive and it generally doesn't solve dental problems."

2. Rebuttal to an unbelievable assault on Black Studies graduate students, which ran in the Chronicle of Higher Education, of all places. It includes such gems as:

Then there is Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, author of "Race for Profit: Black Housing and the Urban Crisis of the 1970s." Ms. Taylor believes there was apparently some kind of conspiracy in the federal government's promotion of single family homes in black neighborhoods after the unrest of the 1960s. Single family homes! The audacity! But Ms. Taylor sees that her issue is still relevant today. (Not much of a surprise since the entirety of black studies today seems to rest on the premise that nothing much has changed in this country in the past half century when it comes to race. Shhhh. Don't tell them about the black president!) She explains that "The subprime lending crisis, if it did nothing else, highlighted the profitability of racism in the housing market." The subprime lending crisis was about the profitability of racism? Those millions of white people who went into foreclosure were just collateral damage, I guess.

WTF, Chronicle?


 

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I felt like BALB

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.03.12

Dear Heebie,

[Speaker] will be presenting service awards at the dinner tomorrow. He has asked that I ask each of you to provide him with a fact about yourself that your co-workers would not know about you. This fact will become part of your introduction as you receive your service awards on Friday evening. Even if you are unable to attend, we ask that you still submit your fact. Thank you very much!

Sincerely,
Administrative Shmuck

Dear Shmuck,

Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend this dinner. Here is a secret fact about me:

- I have a secret identity and a whole alternate personal
- Jammies and I are trying to figure out a novel sex act
- I just finished having my period
- I understand cohomology theory
- My child has an extensive narrative around peeing in the bathtub
- I enjoy playing soccer and reading in my free time.

Thanks!
Heebie

I bet everyone will be surprised to learn this delightful detail about my life.


 

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Squirrels just wanna have lunch.

Posted by Stanley
on 05.03.12

I've had this bird feeder leaning against the side of my house since I moved in, back in October. This week I finally got around to setting it up in view of my office window. Almost right away, it attracted a cardinal. I named him Ike, because the Cardinals were the mascot of the high school in my hometown, which high school was named in honor of the thirty-fourth president.

Then yesterday, it was a pair of brown-headed cowbirds (one male, one female; sorry no photo). They're brood parasites! How exciting.

But most importantly, Mineshaft, I write to you about the visitor below. The overwhelming consensus of non-internetical friends is that this rodent intruder must be stopped at all costs. Whereas I'm feeling rather laissez-faire about the ordeal and am disinclined to intervene.

What says the 'tariat? And what about bird feeders in general: are they history's greatest monsters in some way that I had not heretofore conceived? Because I'm rather enjoying the damn thing so far, but I'm always ready to learn of new ways in which I'm being a terrible person.

ardilla.jpg


 

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I will hazard these statements

Posted by Ben
on 05.02.12

Obama's letters on life and literature, immediately postcollegiate edition.


 

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Lovely Music

Posted by Ben
on 05.02.12

Look, bandcamp isn't just for "popular" culture! Someone has up on there his performance of William Duckworth's Time Curve Preludes, which if you like music which is pretty but not "pretty" you will like. ("Musically, The Time Curve Preludes focus on one principal melody, which is based on the Dies Irae, and include hints of Satie, Bluegrass banjo picking, and, on occasion, the piano playing style of Jerry Lee Lewis, all held in musical space by a durational architecture based on proportional time", but, as I once read about some of the tracks on Hans Reichel's Lower Lurum, you'd never guess it's avant-garde from listening.)


 

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Help me, Mineshaft.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.02.12

Sissy Spacek was on NPR and they asked her about playing the lead part of Carrie. A long time ago, I read Carrie, and I remembered how Sissy Spacek's Carrie is very skinny, and in the book, Carrie is fat. And the following line from the book popped into my head:

[Carrie] had breasts that looked like twin watermelons, and a butt that looked like twin something-elses.

Or maybe the butt was twin watermelons, and the breasts were something-elses. I have no idea why I momentarily retrieved this line from its 20 year vault in my brain. At age 14, I could not figure out what on earth the something-elses were, but I was super curious.

And now...I still don't know! I just know that, wow, what a terrible sentence. I turn to your collective wisdom to help solve this riddle.


 

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What doesn't kill you

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.02.12

I know you all hate theories on people who are conservative. Let's go! In this context, by "conservative" I mean people I interact with locally who are mostly uninformed about politics and care somewhat, and have terribly wrong instincts about politics.

I've noticed that these people are obsessed with the loss of small obstacles/injuries when you protect a group of people against the big, awful obstacle/injury. For example, (and I'm making this up), it might go like this: a small amount of bullying toughens kids up. If we micromanage kids in order to prevent bullying, we're inadvertently eliminating a lot of character building opportunities. (A corollary: the really BIG disasters - the kid committing suicide after being bullied - are really so rare that we don't need to protect against them.)

Or, (making up this one too): learning to not be scared of small injuries on the playground. If you get some small bumps and bruises, you start to realize that getting bumps and bruises isn't that bad, and you stop limiting yourself. But if we go overboard with safety measures, then the kids will lose all these opportunities to get bumps and bruises.

There's a kernel of truth - you do grow when you overcome obstacles. But this idea that life might cease to have obstacles is so bizarrely batshit paranoid that I have to believe they're actually rationalizing outsized obstacles in their own childhood. In other words, they're so defensive and paranoid that people are attacking their childhood and culture that they hear "Bullied kids sometimes commit suicide" as "The amount of bullying that you personally received would make today's sissy kids commit suicide, and your childhood ought to have been sanitized, too."


 

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Looks Like Dewey LeBoeuf Is Going Under

Posted by LizardBreath
on 05.02.12

Or maybe merging with another big firm. I don't have any particular insight, but BigLaw is not a safe, comfortable place to work these days. Here's an AmLaw article from a couple weeks ago talking about what happened.

I wonder what the profession of law is going to look like, structurally, in a decade or so once things have settled down. The career track I was looking at out of NYU: BigLaw associate, then either make partner or peel off to a smaller firm, an inhouse job, or government, doesn't look like anything anyone's going to count on from here out.


 

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It's been a while since we talked cooking

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.01.12

1. Whenever I'm sauteing onions, little specks of hot oil keep flying on me and it's not very fun. Am I using too much oil?

2. We've now been regularly cooking about three meals per week for a little over a year. (The other nights are things like frozen nuggets/pizza/sandwiches/cheap restaurants.) It seems to be a permanent fixture, which is good! Jammies' blood pressure has dropped about 10 points in the past year. I'm taking credit.

I'm ready to try a new batch of recipes, mostly because school is almost out. Here are my preferences:
- I do not like to chop. I especially do not like to chop really hard things like carrots or tiny things like garlic. Yes, I have good knives. I'm willing to chop one item per meal - an onion, a bell pepper, etc. All other ingredients must be something I can tear, or use scissors, or come frozen or minced or pre-sliced.
- I've gotten the hang of a few intuitive dishes - saute onions and garlic, throw in a bunch of assorted vegetables, and/or fish, and/or shredded chicken. Throw in things like soy sauce and mustard and olive oil and ginger and lemon juice, but maybe not all of those in one single dish. Serve with rice or bread or noodles, or whatever, as long as it's a really starchy bloated carbohydrate.
- Here's the super easiest pasta ever: shred deli ham into a bowl. Toss in a bag of frozen peas. Toss in half a bag of shredded parmesan cheese. Stir in your pasta. Sprinkle with nutmeg, salt and pepper. That's my kind of recipe!
- A few recipes that I know pretty well at this point - a bean corn salad, a few more pastas, some soups.

I never use the oven, though. (Besides for chicken nuggets and pizza.) Should the oven be in rotation?

Tell me your terribly easy best recipes.


 

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Fuck you, Google

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.01.12

I barely do anything with Google Plus, but I have an account there, under this pseudonym. Tthis morning they emailed me with various notices. At the bottom, it recommended that I connect with three real life friends, none of whom know about heebie-geebie's existence.

First, god fucking damnit - I hope none of them got an email asking if they know Heebie Geebie. Second, I hadn't added Jammies to my Google+ list, but he is a gmail contact of mine. In other words, in order to recommend these people, Google mined my contact list - not just my Google Plus circles.

I've since deleted my Google+ account, but I'm still pissed and paranoid.

(Also, since all the search engines prioritize sites you've visited before, I can't predict whether or not my various sites would show up if they were to google my name, to try to figure out who it is. I hate that you can't see what turns up if someone else does a search.)


 

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Airport security

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.01.12

Kip Hawley, former head of the Transportation Security Administration, gives five ways to reform airport security:

1. No more banned items
2. Allow all liquids
3. Give TSA officers more flexibility and rewards for initiative, and hold them accountable
4. Eliminate baggage fees
5. Randomize security

The entire article is worth reading.

h/t Rotten


 

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People Did Have To Be Doing Something On The Veldt

Posted by LizardBreath
on 05.01.12

I spend a fair amount of time making fun of people who argue that all kinds of exciting new science means that we now understand the innate structure of the human mind and can therefore demonstrate than non-white people are stupider than white people and women are stupider than men (or some subtler variation that nonetheless explains why white men have the vast majority of the columns on the op-ed page of the NYT and the Washington Post). And I'm very comfortable with that -- I haven't run into any such arguments that weren't very worthy of being made fun of.

Nonetheless, exciting new science researching the innate structure of the mind is interesting and real. Obviously, the biologically determined nature of the human mind determines a great deal about what we can do -- whatever the effects of social conditioning, it doesn't explain the difference between human cognition and, say, rhinoceros cognition. Neat article on a Dr. Elizabeth Spelke at Harvard who studies human cognition using babies:

Dr. Spelke is a pioneer in the use of the infant gaze as a key to the infant mind -- that is, identifying the inherent expectations of babies as young as a week or two by measuring how long they stare at a scene in which those presumptions are upended or unmet. "More than any scientist I know, Liz combines theoretical acumen with experimental genius," Dr. Carey said. Nancy Kanwisher, a neuroscientist at M.I.T., put it this way: "Liz developed the infant gaze idea into a powerful experimental paradigm that radically changed our view of infant cognition."

No particular news hook, but the description of her research is fascinating. (h/t Tweety).


 

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This? It's the Chinese symbol for circa 1999.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.30.12

When everybody started getting armband tattoos and lower back tattoos, or sleeve tattoos*, or any trend-based tattoo, I kept wondering what would happen when the trend was over.

Now we know. You mostly don't notice their dated tattoo, and if it comes up, they look a little sheepish and say "Yeah...I was really excited and young/drunk/my tastes have changed..." It just became no big deal. It's just, tautologically, a dated tattoo, which is a new category but not the outsized embarrassment that I thought it would be.

* I still think these sometimes look great.


 

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Oh look, a bunch of shitheads shitting all over everybody

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.30.12

Wal-mart is corrupt. Mexico is corrupt. And hey, Walmart plus Mexico is corrupt. It does sound like the violations were ridiculously extensive.

The idea, he said, was to build hundreds of new stores so fast that competitors would not have time to react. Bribes, he explained, accelerated growth. They got zoning maps changed. They made environmental objections vanish. Permits that typically took months to process magically materialized in days. "What we were buying was time," he said.

Via J, Robot


 

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Guest Post - Shearer

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.30.12

Elizabeth Warren is currently catching some flak for apparent past claims to be Native American. In my opinion this is totally deserved since by any reasonable standard she isn't. I expect Unfogged opinion may differ.

Heebie's take:
To my grandmother's great sorrow, my cousin has never sat down with my grandma and officially come out of the closet to her. My grandmother has said "All my friends have gay grandchildren, and I have J, but I'm not allowed to talk about him!" She feels so left out.

On occasion, liberal people do clunky, tone-deaf things in their enthusiasm about equality and their desire to not be lumped in with racist white people. This is not the most savviest move Warren has ever made, but I can't get worked up about it either.


 

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