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Another pickle for the knowing ones

Posted by Ben
on 05.11.13

What is it about "Not Fade Away" that makes it such a superior tune? Has the question ever been resolved?


 

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Tragedies

Posted by Ben
on 05.10.13

An illustrated series. One on tragickal whateverness, for instance.

This one doesn't seem so bad, though:


 

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Various

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.10.13

1. Hey, you got your LaTeX in my gmail. Hey, you got your gmail in my LaTeX.

2. The possible proof of the ABC Conjecture. Great read, via Snarkout.


 

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Your fault

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.10.13

This is an astonishing bout of parent-blaming. Among other things, parents are individually responsible for the obesity epidemic, clingy kids, the high childhood injury rate, and that our adolescents are a collective mass of irresponsible little shits. Basically if you don't send your kid to a Finish school, having given them a Korean waistline and Chinese obligation towards their elders, you've pretty much failed.


 

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You know sometimes words have two meanings

Posted by Ben
on 05.09.13

The origin of Castle Grayskull was related in the read-along book "Castle Grayskull" as once being the beautiful "Hall of Wisdom," the "center of Eternian culture and a storehouse of all knowledge of the universe." The Hall was the meeting place of the Council of Elders. One day, the elders saw a vision of a beautiful woman dressed in snake armor (note that this description matches early versions of Teela AND the Sorceress, see for example, making an intended identity with the Sorceress very possible) who warned of future danger and also the coming of He-Man. The elders concentrated all of their power into a magical orb. The elders then magically transformed the Hall of Wisdom into Castle Grayskull in order to frighten away intruders and protect the orb. This was to have all taken place several centuries before the coming of He-Man. The Castle was then largely forgotten until Man-At-Arms eventually led Prince Adam to Castle Grayskull, where Prince Adam became He-Man using the Sword of Power.

Of course they want you to think that there will be (a) a future danger and (b) also the coming of He-Man, and these are two totally separate events. But that's not how prophecies work! This is a classic case of prophetic irony; the actions of the Elders laid the groundwork for the takeover of the Hall/Castle by "Prince" Adam (probably not really a prince at all), who, because the castle was abandoned, was easily able to gain control of the Sword of Power and, I assume, the magical orb too.

I hypothesize that these elders were not creatures of flesh and blood, but were, rather, skeletal. Why else would they have changed their hall into "Castle Grayskull"? And who else in the modern era stands out as the rightful inhabitant of a castle so denominated than Skeletor? It is obvious to me that Skeletor is merely trying to reclaim his legacy from the usurper Adam, who has, however, managed to win popular opinion over to his side.


 

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The Triangle Part

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.09.13

Text: Can I please have a review? I've been working on this one forever.
Heebie: Ummmmm...Here's what I'll agree to:
1. I'll download the book, and I'll read the beginning.
2. I'll make a post about the existence of the book, (after having it on my kindle for a little bit of time)
I may or may not read the whole book, and may or may not review the book...it just sounds like a homework assignment.
Text:I gladly accept. Thank you.

I did download the book. Then a month passed and I had a baby and houseguests and it turns out I'm about 4% of the way through. So far it's easy to read, though. It's not something you'd have to slog through. If you're looking for something to read, let us know how you like it.


 

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Grim

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.09.13

Hyperbole-and-a-Half writes more disturbingly honest things about depression.


 

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Terrible Teachers

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.09.13

What's the worst thing a teacher ever said to you?

John Dickerson: In seventh-grade math class I was a new student at this fancy private school and I finally got enough courage to answer a question, and the teacher said, "That answer makes no sense. It's like if I asked you what color the chalk board is and you said 'fast.' " It really took me aback because until that point I didn't even know fast was a color.
Torie Bosch: My high school health teacher was a conservative Catholic who told the class that he was not comfortable teaching sex ed and thought that it did not belong in the classroom, but the district was making him do it. He made us all calculate our dates of conception, and then asked everyone whether that was near our mother or father's birthday, their anniversary, Valentine's Day, etc.

I've mentioned before being obnoxiously targeted by my high school math teacher.


 

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Cleveland Kidnapping

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.08.13

I know there's been a little bit in the comments about the crazy Cleveland kidnapping case, but I bet there are interesting links that you all can pool in this here thread. I don't have any.


 

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Haggard Merle; And Other Things We Called The Dog

Posted by LizardBreath
on 05.08.13

Raccoon Girl*; Boat-nose Girl**; Pizza Face†; The Bitebitebitesnappitysnappitysnap‡; The Whirling Cloud of Death||; Heelbiter¶; The Spotty Dwarf¶¶; "That's Some Hyena-Lookin' Shit" §; Crazy Dog§§; Salami Girl||; FuzzalaFuzz; PuppalaPup; FluffalaFa; The Bestest Fuzz That Ever Was; and all the variations possible of her actual name.

Nafanua.jpg

We had to put her down today -- she never really recovered from the stroke or whatever it was a few months ago. The vet couldn't figure out anything treatable wrong with her; fifteen is just really old for a dog.

She's the only dog I've ever had, so I don't have much of a basis for comparison. When other people talk about good dogs they've had, they don't sound much like DogBreath: as you might have picked up from her list of Homeric epithets, one of her most memorable personality traits was a tendency to bite us when cross, or excited, or trying to communicate something, or bored. (In her defense, she never left a mark on anyone with her teeth in fifteen years of frequent biting. For a dog with the jaw strength to disassemble a cow-femur from the butcher effortlessly, this showed astonishing control. Bad manners, but pinpoint precision.) She hated children, and generally anything smaller than her -- it was tense while the kids were little and had little friends over, because while I was pretty sure she wasn't going to damage anyone, I was also pretty sure she'd snap if cornered, and explaining to someone's parent "Oh, she bit your kid a little, but not to do her any harm" seemed like a bad conversation to have. But we managed to keep her protected from scary kids for as long as necessary, and there never was an unpleasant incident. (Well, one, but they were pretty close friends and knew her well enough not to get bent out of shape over a nip.) On the 'not liking anything smaller than her' theme, she was terrified of kittens -- a couple of kittens with their eyes barely open chased her away from her food bowl once when we were visiting Buck's parents.

She never played fetch; while she liked it if you threw things for her, the game was keepaway. If you wanted the ball back, it meant finding out who was faster. And it wasn't you. She loved playing tug, but played to win, which meant that she wasn't above biting you to get you to drop the toy. She loved the snow. In a deep snow, she'd run as fast as she could, bounding in and out of the snow like a dolphin. And she was perfectly camouflaged in snow in the woods -- mottled light gray and black in a way that turned into a rock or a pile of sticks with snow on them as soon as she stopped moving for a moment.

She wasn't a food thief (oh, there was the occasional incident, but mostly you could leave food out on a counter or the table without worrying about her), and she was the most delicate dog I've ever hand-fed; she could take anything from your hand without touching you at all with her teeth or tongue. She didn't chew things destructively: she destroyed one pair of shoes when she was a puppy, but nothing since then. Didn't even like chewtoys much; we'd get her a rawhide bone occasionally, and they'd just sit around.

She wasn't fond of other dogs; mostly she kept her distance, except for a select few she'd play with. Our dogwalker Karen had a bunch of giant Rottweilers that she loved; she'd bite their ears and jump on them, and chase them off their dog-beds when Karen was sitting her if we were away. And there used to be a pair of Golden Retrievers she'd play with -- running alongside while the retrievers played fetch. But mostly she preferred not to socialize.

She was very beautiful: I always thought of that as more a cat than a dog thing before her, but half of the fun of having her around was just having a lovely animal posing decoratively around the apartment. And for some reason her feet smelled exactly like cornchips. This would be a good thread to tell stories about good dogs of your own: objectively they were probably better dogs than she was. But I'm going to miss her anyway.

_______
* She had a big black spot over one eye when she was a puppy that made her look raccoonish. As she grew, the spot got proportionately smaller, so the resemblance faded, but the name stuck.
** In profile, her snout looked like the prow of a canoe.
† Head on, her face had the precise proportions of a slice of pizza, as well as being similarly mottled.
‡ She was always uninhibited about expressing her opinions, even when negative.
|| Particularly, she used to sleep on the foot of our bed. Which was fine, until Buck or I kicked her in our sleep, at which point she'd wake up and spin around at high speed, snarling and biting us. It only happened once or twice a night, and we got used to it.
¶ She was a sheepdog. I figure a certain amount of heelbiting comes with the breed (well, breeds. She was part border collie and part Australian shepherd, but all sheepdog).
¶¶ She was a surprisingly wolfy looking dog, with a shaggy grey coat and a generally wolfish looking build and face. One day at the Bronx Zoo, we were watching their wolfpack, and my father started wondering how they'd react if we tossed her over the fence to socialize -- she was about half their size, and didn't have a tail, but other than that would have fit right in. This turned into an extended impression of the wolves, vaguely socially embarrassed, wondering where the spotty dwarf had wandered in from.
§ We didn't actually call her that -- some guy commented on her on the street once when I was walking her. We got similar comments a fair amount; people thinking that she was some non-dog animal that it was peculiar of us to be walking on a leash. She really didn't look anything like a hyena, though -- I'm not sure what exactly he was thinking. Jackal, maybe? Except that they're not shaggy.
§§ When she got really excited, she would occasionally just sprint back and forth through the apartment, vaulting anything in her way, with her head tucked down and her ears back. Amazingly, we only had a downstairs neighbor complain about this once. The guys downstairs are saints.
|| We got her from a working sheepfarm in NY State that sold puppies from their sheepdogs; we found out after the fact that they weren't much on veterinary care. The day we got her home, she started having seizures, and when we took her to the vet we found out that she was half dead from worm infestation. The vet wormed her, pumped about a pint of saline under the skin of her back to rehydrate her, and sent us home with ferret milk (I have no idea) to get some food into her. She wouldn't look at the ferret milk, and we were worried that she wouldn't eat anything, until Buck noticed that she was focusing on the salami sandwich he was eating. So we hand fed her bits of salami, and she never looked back.


 

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A bit more like 'romantic punk'

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.08.13

Celebrities who are really in touch with their punk roots. Via Emerson at the other place.


 

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Math on the Job

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.07.13

Is it supposed to be upsetting that most Americans don't use math on the job? I don't find it to be. Possibly because I also think the whole subject of algebra - the bottleneck math class for the more students than any other - is often horribly structured (by textbooks) so as to be impossible to teach well. Students should know enough algebra that they can take a meaningful course in statistics, as part of being trained to be good citizens, and only more if it suits.


 

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Family Resemblances

Posted by LizardBreath
on 05.07.13

I noticed something odd about my reactions to my kids the other day. Sally, as I've mentioned here before, resembles me very strongly; face, body type, body language. Since she's grown to my height, people have been commenting that from a distance, they're not sure who they're looking at. And she's (what I dearly hope is) charmingly snarly and morbid when she's not putting on a front for public consumption, in a way that's very familiar from inside my head and people who have to deal with me, as well as being academic in the same sort of way I was, including being the same kind of very convincing fast-talker I've always been. And she's a flurry of untidiness, capable of disarranging a perfectly organized space in moments with a few strategically discarded objects, as well as being completely incapable of tidying anything without heroic efforts, again, in a way I've been living with all my life.

Part of the upshot of this, in terms of my parenting, is that while I'm generally fond of her, I get all excited and interested about the things about her that are nothing like me: I chatter about the rugby playing because jockishness generally, and the tough-kid aspect of rugby particularly, are completely alien to anything I was ever like. (It's not really a feminine stereotype, but think of me in high school as the classic 98 pound weakling.) I probably chatter less about it, but I'm equally enthralled by the way she's somehow picked up an interest in clothes and makeup, without much help from me, and by the way she sort of functions normally in social groups, as opposed to being the sort of withdrawn little nerd I was. It's endlessly fascinating watching someone who's so much like you that it's hard not to view them as a sort of alternate-universe version of yourself, out there being and doing things completely differently than you ever would.

Newt, none of this comes into play. He's delightful, having lucked out by drawing most of his personality from his father (warm, affectionate, capable of cleaning things without being distracted by shiny objects), but while I see bits and pieces of myself in him, and it's neat noticing them when they surface, I'm never tempted into identifying with him at all. It's a much simpler feeling parenting relationship. I wonder what it would have been like if we'd had a girl who took after Buck, and a boy who took as strongly after me as Sally does.


 

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I Think We Can Still Nix The "Bomb Japan's Nuclear Power Plants" Thing, Though

Posted by Alameida
on 05.07.13

OK you guys. One of the worst things about our beloved yggles' apparently slow but steady decline into an intelligent, highbrow version of McMeganism is that bob mcmanus was right about everything all along! Continuously, from a billion years ago when Matt was at Harvard*, mcmanus was complaining about his bloodless technocrat core, and how he and (later) Ezra were gunning first for Cardinal David Brooks' position, and for eventual election as Pope Broder IX. (Smoke emerges from the windows of the top floor of the Washington Post's offices.) While Jesse Taylor would have to labour for his bread and not have time to be an intern? And conventional wisdom would abandon digby en masse once she was unmasked as a woman, despite everything being just another edition of "what digby said?" And then, fate took Steven Gilliard from us also. bob mcmanus has said 250 kinds of crazy wrong and sometimes hurtful stuff anything he thought would get a rise out of us in his day, but I think we've got to give him some propers on this. And this one hurts. Why? Whhhyyyyyyyyyy???!??!?!?/1!??!?

*I cannot be bothered to assess the literal truth of this claim, nor, I think, is it possible to RThat Other Dude'sFA in this case. But you all know what I'm talking about, anyway.

P.S. I really have known the blogger in question a long, long time, and personally like him a lot. So much so that I have been reluctant to post this because he is a good guy and I feel rude. And Lord knows it's not like I took some oath to serve the truth or something.

P.P.S. I have also met McMegan. She seems to have been adequately brought up.


 

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Wealthy Homes

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.06.13

When we were in the hospital with Ace, we watched a marathon of Love It Or List It. (My choice. I was in the mood for something mindless and without a plot.) The premise is this: A family is dissatisfied with their house. They pick two budgets - one for remodeling, one for buying a new house. A real estate agent tries to find them a new house, and a designer remodels their existing house, and at the end of the episode, the family picks the winner - whether they'll stay in their remodeled house, or buy one of the houses that the real estate agent shows them. (The agent and the designer do not change from episode to episode.)

The budget for remodeling tended to be 50K-150K, and the budget for buying tended to be 600K-900K. What's striking is that the families aren't presented as particularly wealthy. (I think it's filmed in Toronto.) They're presented as relatable, average families, and their list of housing demands is presented as what they need to get by, not to live a life of luxury. Something something overton window.

Unrelatedly, a blogger I read moved from Austin to Houston about a year ago. She allows details that imply they're very wealthy, but it's not exactly the topic of a personal blog. Anyway, she's remodeling the Houston house, and the other day mentioned that they were removing the pool from their backyard. She posted some pictures of big construction machinery tearing up the concrete.

Then she went on to discuss the future plans for the backyard...including a pool. Just in a different spot in the backyard. I agree that the new spot is preferable, but that is a special kind of wealthy, to decide to move a pool from one location to another in your new backyard.


 

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Poetry slam

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.06.13
"Love is in the air. Breathe it in deeply for distribution throughout the body and soul. Enjoy the day. Be in by 10 or 10:15."

You are my darling commenters. Extend your typing towards a poem of your own. Don't be a little bitch.


 

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Gilman's Westerns

Posted by LizardBreath
on 05.06.13

Crooked Timber is having one of their book events on Felix Gilman's last two books -- The Half-Made World and The Rise Of Ransom City -- this week. I have a post up there now, but it'll be followed soon by other people who are likelier to make sense.


 

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