For those of you who enjoy the company of women in the bedroom, what would your thoughts be, were you attached to a woman who decided to forego reconstructive surgery? Specifically around sex and bedroom antics. (This isn't an end-run around Jammies, fwiw. He's easy to talk to on this subject.) I'm just curious of how a survey of more people would shake out.
Also, obviously, we all age and our bodies get droopy, dry, and gray. So I'm not looking for consolation - just genuinely curious how the reactions would vary.
Stormcrow gives us sports: In the wake of the attempted thugging of Richard Sherman following the his NFC championship post-game interview, a couple of good reads on the culture of the NFL which also happen to feature well-educated black players:
1) Emily Bazelon on the Richie Incognito/Jonathan Martin bullying case, "The Best Report on Bullying I've Ever Read."
2) A piece at SB Nation, "The Rejection of Myron Rolle, the NFL Wanted hHm ... Until He Was Named a Rhodes Scholar."
Bodes well for Michael Sam.
And in non-football sports, as ogged said, the greatest keeps turning up.
[Note: Title is a quote from the Kathy Bates character in The Waterboy. ... not that anyone needs to be told that.]
As has been discussed in TFA, I have some moderate lucid dreaming ability. The primal one is the ability to pull the ripcord and say "fuck this I am out of here" when the next level of torture is unveiled. "Nope nope nope," says my brain as I wander through the flames in search of my badly injured children, through all the rooms with the cheap wallpaper peeled back in charred strips, who can't call out to me because someone would hear and kill them, "nope," as I try to ease the pain in my arm by squeezing out a long thin needle of glass from the flesh it's embedded in, "nope" because it's forced in for a moment by the pressure of the fingers on my other arm, enough to stop my breath for a moment, and then out in a greasy, bloody glide like a blackhead from hell, but that's only the one, and moving the skin to squeeze them out just means I can feel the rest scraping on the bones in my forearm, like the needles in a blood gas test when the phlebotomist fucks up, "nope and fucking nope" and I'm seen aaaand we're out of here. But things have to be very bad indeed before this can work.
Secondarily I can find weapons. This is good. I mean, it's part and parcel of things being bad, in that I need weapons, but when the thing starts happening I can say to myself, "there's a shotgun in the next room and dammit there's a box of shells!" and indeed there will be a shotgun leaning in the corner, safe and bluish. Being aware that you're dreaming is the start of having control over your dreams, people say; I never really read so much about it. I cultivate it on purpose. I've told my kids about it that they should practice staying asleep after they know they're asleep and see what they can make or do.
Girl y said she will make whatever food she wants in the world. "It's not truly satisfying though, dream food," I said. But then I realized this was mainly based on the opinion of Sara in The Little Princess, and that since my child wasn't starving it probably didn't matter. We all agreed flying was what you wanted, though it has dangers. Usually you can't get far off the ground and it's more like underwater ballet in Karo corn syrup. If you take a dive off a building in New York it can go badly. And you don't wake up when you die, that's foolishness. It depends how badly you can convince yourself you hurt. I said that when grownups got this power they all did the same thing because grown-ups are weird and gross. "What?" "Dudes, just guess! Grown-ups are weird and gross, right?" "We don't know." "They have sex with whoever they want." "Aaaack that's stupid. They could be flying!" "Yeah, you think that now!"
I had not generally thought myself to have made any particular progress in this area had I not been woken up while dreaming, so much so that I was convinced it was the middle of the night. It was, in fact, my maid bringing me breakfast in bed at 10:30 a.m., but let's gloss over that. I am sick, after all! My brain had constructed awesome Dune fanfic architecture on the Harkonen homeworld, Geidi Prime, I think. It was really formal Japanese interiors with ebony, extremely simple and beautiful, if tending to the Spartan and gloomy. And who was there to sex up the place but Sting when he was actually hot from the Dune movie! (Of which I am fond. The movie I mean.) And nothing untoward was taking place at that very moment. I was some other Harkonen cousin of his. But the whole thing was a set-up, obviously. And here I have to give my brain 10,000 points, because if you are going to have total control over the situation it should be interesting; the whole point of the holodeck is that you are Mary Sue, all the time. I only felt regretful that I am not remembering my dreams all the time and am mildly inclined to request being woken up at odd intervals to see what else I am doing in the holodeck.
A really fine piece by Roger Angell. Worth making a few minutes to read it.
I just eavesdropped on the best conversation at Hawaii's ballet class. One mom said to the other, "I've had the most stressful day. Battling traffic in and out of Austin, to get to my doctor's appointment, where I had to...[voice drops]...pick out my new boobs..." and so of course I began listening intently.
The doctor was encouraging her to go high-profile, whereas she was inclined to go moderate-plus, which was the same diameter, but the nipple sits 1.5 cm lower. The two moms were really quite likable. I'm not mocking them, although I do love the names of the breast sizes. Then the second mom revealed that she'd gotten new boobs three years ago, and was quite happy with them. She couldn't remember which size she'd gotten, but she'd brought in photos and said "I want to look like this", which was her advice to the other mom.
I was working on preparing my number theory lecture for tomorrow, and kind of wishing I was doing something less self-evidently dorky, not that I wanted to be included in the conversation, exactly. But a little.
Some very cool demographic mapping. Better for regional, rather than local, detail, but still very interesting.
Sir Kraab writes: I'm continuing my mid Atlantic tour next week in Pittsburgh, Feb. 22-28. Shall we meet? What day is best for people?
JP Stormcrow writes: Submitted without comment. The start of an excellent (dare I say) longread by Caitlin Flanagan on fraternities).
One warm spring night in 2011, a young man named Travis Hughes stood on the back deck of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity house at Marshall University, in West Virginia, and was struck by what seemed to him--under the influence of powerful inebriants, not least among them the clear ether of youth itself--to be an excellent idea: he would shove a bottle rocket up his ass and blast it into the sweet night air. And perhaps it was an excellent idea. What was not an excellent idea, however, was to misjudge the relative tightness of a 20-year-old sphincter and the propulsive reliability of a 20-cent bottle rocket. What followed ignition was not the bright report of a successful blastoff, but the muffled thud of fire in the hole.
Also on the deck, and also in the thrall of the night's pleasures, was one Louis Helmburg III, an education major and ace benchwarmer for the Thundering Herd baseball team. His response to the proposed launch was the obvious one: he reportedly whipped out his cellphone to record it on video, which would turn out to be yet another of the night's seemingly excellent but ultimately misguided ideas. When the bottle rocket exploded in Hughes's rectum, Helmburg was seized by the kind of battlefield panic that has claimed brave men from outfits far more illustrious than even the Thundering Herd. Terrified, he staggered away from the human bomb and fell off the deck. Fortunately for him, and adding to the Chaplinesque aspect of the night's miseries, the deck was no more than four feet off the ground, but such was the urgency of his escape that he managed to get himself wedged between the structure and an air-conditioning unit, sustaining injuries that would require medical attention, cut short his baseball season, and--in the fullness of time--pit him against the mighty forces of the Alpha Tau Omega national organization, which had been waiting for him.
--WhatsApp! The Times says this will fuel the debate about whether new media companies are overvalued. Funny, I would have that it would end it. But I have no solid opinion, because...
--Here's Google, moving seriously into the internet provider business, which is surely a recognition of the fact that it might be the transmitters, rather than the producers of content, who end up on top, which is a reminder that things are changing very quickly and we don't really know what "the internet" will look like in five or ten years. A point reinforced by recalling that...
--Flickr could have been Facebook, and Yahoo was once king.
Well, probably not. Some of you might be, but I figure the taunt will work for most of you. I am continually impressed by how much I like skiing without ever getting significantly better at it. I suppose going more than once every two years or so would probably help.
Also, impressively more tiring than anything else I ever do. I was nodding off at about 8:30 last night, and slept like a rock until seven.
When you are around someone a lot, it happens not infrequently that one person tosses keys/a toy/a burp cloth/etc to the other person. "Here, catch," one person says, and lobs.
I maintain that it is a courtesy, upon the successful catch, for the thrower to say "Nice catch!" to the recipient. Especially if the catch is one-handed or the throw is from across the room, so that you're not just being sarcastic. Jammies maintains that complimenting someone for catching is like complimenting them for not tripping over door jambs or hitting their head on the cabinet.
Now let's all agree with me. Go.
J, Robot sends in the longform essay Gravy Boat: My Week on the High Seas With Paula Deen and Friends. It's one of those articles where the author desperately wants to make fun of the subject, but also recognizes that that is like shooting fish in a barrel. And the author is also perpetually surprised that she herself is in such a ridiculous situation, but also the situation is legitimately ridiculous. But also, normal sympathetic people populate ridiculous situations, at times, which muddies your descriptions of how ridiculous everything is.
The average Deen cruiser is a woman in or fast approaching her sixties, slightly overweight but not obese. She was likely born (or spent a great deal of her life) in the part of the Southern United States that could be colloquially referred to as "Dixie," but may live somewhere else now. This is almost certainly not her first cruise, and there is a 1 in 4 chance it is not her first Paula Deen cruise. She is either widowed or divorced. She thinks Paula got a bum deal. She is wearing at least one thing that is the color aquamarine. She is white.
Race comes up a lot, for obvious reasons.
Everyone on the boat is racist and nice. Including me.
The non-Deen cruisers are racist. The amiable mother of a former Miss Virginia is racist and has a tenuous grasp of the concept of slavery: "Don't I see [Paula] walking around with a black fella? He's her bodyguard or something? That right there shows she's not racist." The urbane gay couple visiting from Los Angeles is racist: "Filipinos are pushy," one of them explains shortly after telling me he is "not okay with" Deen.
The Deen cruisers are racist, dismissing out of hand the notion that Paula's use of the n-word was somehow offensive to black people.
I am racist, because I get upset at the black people in our group for not acting like I think black people should act on the Paula Deen cruise (i.e. frosty and indignant; or at the very least incredulous).
and still later:
Here are the places where I hear people say the word "nigger" while on vacation:
in the sea
in a hot tub
at pajama brunch
in a bar near the casino
in the ice chamber of a sauna
It seems to be a hard topic for the author to write about.
Sir Kraab writes: Any D.C.'ers want to meet up on Tuesday, February 18th? It's a weeknight and it'll likely be ridiculously cold, so I won't take it amiss if folks would rather not come out. The fact that the 18th happens to be my birthday shouldn't affect your decision one little bit.
Bumped and updated:
DC Meetup #2: Hey, all. Don't forget that there's a second meetup in the works for Saturday, 2/22! The tentative plan involves two parts--the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Zaytinya--with the whole thing starting sometime mid-afternoon. Please use this thread to RSVP, as it would be great if we could get a headcount for the bar/restaurant by at least a few days in advance.
--Stranded in Lubbock
I was recently in a situation where a few high school seniors were asked what their superpower would be, in an ice-breaker situation. (They did not hear each other's answers.) They all answered some form of spying - I'd be invisible, I'd be able to read people's minds, etc. The reasons were all very extrinsic - I'd know what people really thought of me, so that I'd know if I should quit talking and leave, I'd know who is phony, etc.
I remember a few years ago, the question was floating around: power to fly or be invisible? I remember thinking that invisibility was such a foolish answer, because you already have the power to be by yourself. If you want to be by yourself, then do so. I thought it was about feeling self-conscious around other people and wanting to be left alone. It didn't dawn on me until this weekend that it's about you spying on other people.
My stunning lack of insight aside, now "invisibility" just seems like the immature, youthful answer - sure, at age 18, we are all obsessed with everyone else's opinion of us. Hopefully we learn that everyone else is equally self-obsessed, and thus not paying that much attention to you, and we can get on with things. Like flying.
I read The Skies Belong to Us a few months ago, and it's a marvelous read - a sort of mundane look at the 60s and 70s, because the individuals are so damn ordinary and lives so humdrum. But then, of course, they up and go hijack a plane, or they are affected by someone who does so, which is wild and dangerous and yet generally people did not get hurt. (By design - the airlines were powerfully preventing a mandate for metal detectors, because the cost of metal detectors far outweighs the cost of a dozen hijackings per year. Therefore the airlines were doing everything possible to make the hijackings safe, which meant a policy of saying yes to all demands. Which of course escalates the demands.)(Oh my god there are so many parts that I'd love to tell. My very favorite hijacking is the one which eventually led to Castro agreeing to an extradition policy with the US. One of the very last hijackings before the epidemic ground to a halt.)
My point: it is clear that the impulse to hijack a plane is the impulse to shoot up a school or public space, or blow up yourself or a group of people. They're all angry, disenfranchised ordinary people who want fame and attention, and have no exit strategy whatsoever. The lack of realistic exit strategy is particularly interesting to me - they're all essentially terrorists, and being susceptible towards being a terrorist transcends time and place.
Confidential to I forget who: Someone - maybe peep? - mentioned something they'd like to discuss about this book and I've been curious to what it was. Please remember.
Angry liberals are just as goofy as paranoid libertarians!
The angry liberal has distinctive characteristics just like the paranoid libertarian. He is distressed by significant social ills and seeks someone to blame for them. The social ills--inequality, inadequate health care, bad schools--are large ones. But it makes little sense to get angry at rich people for causing them. Most rich people are simply people who chose to go into medicine, finance, or business and then did well as a result of a combination of talent and luck. Others are heirs to family fortunes. The huge level of inequality that currently exists is mostly the result of social trends, not the bad acts of identifiable rich people. Although there are law breakers and other assorted bad guys among the rich who deserve our ire, just as there are among the poor and middle class, it makes no sense to be angry at the rich as a class. We don't get angry at our friends and relatives who manage to get rich while following the rules. We are more likely to congratulate lottery winners than to condemn them. But then we cheerfully (or angrily) hate wealthy people in the aggregate because they are prospering while others suffer or stagnate.
Yes, inadequate health care and poverty wages are the result of trends, not because individual rich people made decisions. Or at least not identifiable decisions. Or maybe we couldn't identify which decisions were bad. Or maybe the rich people just blur together.
I don't know why I'm linking slate except I found this irritating.
(Note that I found this easier to post about than the Dunn verdict, or the guy in Arkansas who shot and killed a fifteen year old girl who was egging his car, or all the gun rights stuff that's swirling around.)
I guess the Core Curriculum doesn't include speaking to other humans.
A University of Chicago student was found dead in his dorm room over the weekend, a discovery that was made after complaints of a foul odor ... It wasn't clear when [the student], 20, died, police said, but his body was decomposing when found Saturday at the campus' International House and it had been eight days since he had last used his university key card to enter the residence hall.
Things that make me say "neat!": Sugru.