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Plot

Posted by Ogged
on 09.27.14

Here's an idea for a movie. Feel free to use it, but cut me a check if you make a ton of money. A guy (let's make him successful, with a nice family) is scrolling through the news when he comes across the murder of an old ex. A couple of days later, he reads about the very similar murder of someone he had a brief fling with. He finds this sufficiently strange that with some misgivings about being a nut, he starts contacting people he's slept with--first exes, with whom he has friendly but awkward conversations, then flings, who sometimes don't even remember him and who he barely remembers--none of whom take the threat entirely seriously, with varying degrees of good-nature or annoyance.

Then one of those women is murdered (either after some false alarms or immediately after the conversations are shown--I trust your artistic vision). Now the movie really starts, and I think you can go two ways: either a frenetic Greengrass/Bourne action fest where each of the remaining women is convinced of the threat and begins a transformation into a MacGyver/Panic Room badass, or, a thriller with several moments of comedy where the guy has to convince everyone he's slept with that their best chance at staying alive is to converge in one place and mount a group defense.

(Now imagine this movie with the genders reversed. A woman's* exes are being murdered. You could cast Clooney, Pitt, Bill Fucking Murray, and Channing Tatum as the surviving exes, go with the convergence plot, make it jokey and a little explodey, and make a billion dollars.)

I leave the denouement up to you, although I suggest that the villain either be undescribed completely, or some stranger who picked the nexus nearly at random and internet-stalked his or her past, just for the hell of it.

* Susan Sarandon? Sandra Bullock? Halle Berry? Sigourney Weaver?


 

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Oily Green Bag

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.26.14

This may be how a crazy person thinks: I just bought a bag off Ebay for $35, and it arrived and I love it. (Green bag here, if you care about such things.) It's everything I want in a purse: to make me feel like very fancy lady in the 60s without actually subjecting me to crumbling linings and wonky, aging zippers.

The madness begins: I want to buy a second one, because I'm neurotic about using and wasting this purse I love (which really was rather inexpensive). It's so much easier, psychologically, to use something up when you know you have a back-up. I've fallen into the trap before with beloved jeans or shoes where I stop reaching for them because the occasion isn't sufficiently important. (This is kind of the premise of Elaine's sponge-worthiness measure, I suppose.) Anyway, how common is this back-up purchasing? Do you still love me?


 

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The Swagon

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.26.14

Want to bicycle safely? We've solved your problem, Texas-style.

After the birth of our first child in 2012, my wife and I looked at our lifestyle and decided we just didn't feel safe getting out on the roads anymore now that we had our little guy. But we still loved road cycling and certainly didn't want to give it up.
I had to do something about the situation and thought, "What if there was something that could proactively keep us safe and visible out on the roads so we could still enjoy the sport we loved?" That's when the idea for Swagon hit me, "How about an on-demand escort vehicle that we could use on our everyday training rides?"

There's a demand for it, and it keeps cyclists safe. Nothing at all odd about hiring a car to escort your bike.


 

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ATM: O Captain! My Captain!

Posted by Apostropher
on 09.25.14

Roosevelt Humbert writes:

"Yvtugf jvyy thvqr lbh ubzr naq vtavgr lbhe obarf. Naq V jvyy gel gb [qryrgrq]."

Fb, vg znxrf zr fnq gung cneg bs lbh vf pbzcyrgryl fuhg bss sebz zr.
Arvgure bs hf pna uryc ubj jr srry. Lbh'er lbhat. V'z byq.
Lbh ner va gur zbzrag. V nz guvaxvat bs zhpu shegure qbja gur ebnq.

Whfg xabj guvf....V pner, irel zhpu. V jnag bayl gur orfg sbe lbh...nyjnlf.
V nz urer.

Love, [Chorus teacher/drama teacher]

Your 18 year old son is a senior at a boarding HS. This teacher accidentally sends the above-email to you, instead of your son (names are the same). Should teacher get fired?

[Apo says "holy shit". Conversation continues.]

I immediately called my son who denied any physical contact or overt suggestions of physical contact. He is an extremely honest and mostly poised young man and I believe him. This happened two days ago. I haven't spoken with the teacher. But I met with the Dean of Students. The headmaster just emailed me to say:

Guvf nsgreabba V zrg jvgu Ze. K gb qvfphff gur vffhr ng unaq. Qe. ____, Nffbpvngr Urnq naq ______, bhe PSB, wbvarq gur pbairefngvba. Gur zrrgvat jnf cebqhpgvir naq jr ynvq bhg rkcrpgngvbaf naq n pbhefr bs npgvba sbe zbivat sbejneq. Jr gnxr guvf znggre frevbhfyl naq unir erfcbaqrq va n frevbhf jnl.

Ze. K jbhyq yvxr gb gnyx jvgu obgu bs lbh naq rkcerff uvf erterg nobhg guvf znggre. V gbyq uvz gung V jbhyq nfx lbh obgu vs lbh jbhyq yvxr gb unir fhpu n pbairefngvba; vg'f ragveryl hc gb lbh. V jbhyq or cerfrag be ercerfragrq ol n fravbe nqzvavfgengbe.

He then talks about meeting with my son and that my son feels comfortable staying in the class. I will be at the school Friday for parents weekend.

Apo's take:

Again, holy shit. Here's the thing: in the abstract, yes, of course. As much for the Coldplay lyrics as anything else. In the concrete, though, things are rarely as simple as they seem, and it isn't clear to me what exactly happened that preceded the misdirected email, which really strikes me as more sad than threatening. If I were your son, I wouldn't want any part of what might well be the most uncomfortable parent-teacher meeting in the history of the genre, and my gut says he should get the deciding vote here. If it were my son and he was comfortable remaining in the class, I'd be inclined to let it go and suspect that this teacher is now sufficiently mortified that it's quite unlikely to happen again. But I'm aware that on questions like these, I tend to be in the forgiving libertine minority against the brigades of virtuous principle here, so: commentariat?


 

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What my kid did.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.25.14

You may remember that Jammies' aunt died over the summer, and we went to her funeral. The aunt has a granddaughter who is six. Hawaii and the granddaughter get along pretty well.

At the reception, after the burial, the granddaughter really broke down for the first time, and was inconsolable. She lived close to her grandmother, spent a lot of time with her, and it seemed like it really hit home that things had changed. We all felt really awful for her.

Yesterday, Jammies and I found out a new detail: apparently, at the burial, the two girls had been huddling close together, and Hawaii kept whispering: "That's your grandmother, all burned up. Her ashes are in that box right there." Hawaii said this more than once, and yes, it led directly to the granddaughter's meltdown.

OMFG. I am so sorry for the cosmic wrong in which I played a part. Teaching your kids not to be monsters is unpredictable business.


 

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Because We Have A Theme Going

Posted by LizardBreath
on 09.25.14

Talking Points Memo links another unjustified police shooting, this one on camera with clear audio and no ambiguity. The victim lived and is now out of the hospital, which makes it possible to notice that the audio is so horrifying it's funny: the (white) cop pulled up behind a (black) driver who was getting out of his car at a gas station, asked the driver for his license, and when the driver turned to reach into the car for his wallet. immediately shot him, and then there's an extended conversation where the indignant but surprisingly reasonable driver asks for some kind of explanation, and the cop, rather than being stunned by the enormity of what he's done, first justifies his actions and then tells the driver he was being pulled over for a seat belt violation (Driver: "I just took my seatbelt off then!")

The emotional tone is amazing -- the cop really doesn't seem to think he's done a thing wrong. He doesn't seem kill-crazed or malicious, either, exactly, just as if he thinks shooting someone for obeying his orders in a way he decided to find frightening was a reasonable thing to do. I, as per usual, want the cop serving time. And to be fair, he has been fired and is facing charges. But man, without this video, what do you want to bet he'd have gotten away with it completely?


 

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#FreeSimmons

Posted by Ogged
on 09.24.14

It's the birth of political consciousness among American sports fans. I can feel it.


 

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4-Chan and Ebola

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.24.14

As Helpy-Chalk says elsewhere, "Can we stop using the word "prank" in reference to what 4chan does? Even in quote marks? This is a deliberate attempt to kill large numbers of people. It is clearly a crime under the laws of any country. I'd like to see someone arrested."


 

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Reminder

Posted by Ben
on 09.24.14

This is a good post.


 

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A Quandary

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.24.14

My friend's kid does competitive gymnastics. The way it works is that parents pay money to the gym for practices, and then for each meet there are coach's fees and gym fees, for whichever gym it's held at.

Now, not all kids go to the same number of meets - first, there are more meets for the older kids, and at all ages there is a regional/state/national competition, so you compete in more meets if you perform better.

During the season, they hold a bunch of fundraisers, with the intent to reimburse the parents. So the question is:
A. how do you equitably distribute the booster money in a situation where there are unequal costs? Some of the unequal costs are predictable up front - the number of scheduled meets - and some are more unpredictable - how far your kid advances at the end of the season.

B. how obnoxious are the parents who imply that their kid should earn them a bigger share, because their kid will advance further because their kid works harder than the lazy kids?


 

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"I found myself wishing that Whitehead had written about a man"

Posted by Ben
on 09.23.14

Apparently this is super old news but it's new to me, since when that review appeared I had already stopped reading the NYT book review, and, I mean, are there words? I think there are not words. But there are some funny images in the twitter thread, which makes this perhaps a little bit more current.


 

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Location

Posted by Ogged
on 09.23.14

I've been reading quite a bit about which places can expect what kind of climate in the future, and this article brings a lot of the information together nicely.

Alaskans, stay in Alaska. People in the Midwest and the Pacific Northwest, sit tight.

That's basically the conclusion I came to, though the article, like a lot of pieces that consider this question, takes a pretty narrow view of desirability, and considers only change, and not the baseline conditions that make a place desirable--the West Coast, for instance, still has all those fault lines to worry about. Alaska must, as well, but I don't know where they are, and whether existing population centers are threatened by them.


 

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Not Cute

Posted by Ogged
on 09.23.14

In the way that newspaper comments reveal the racism of one segment/generation of the population, I think Twitter reveals the sexism of the younger set. Twitter reaction to "The Fappening" (respect to whoever coined that, I must say) has not been kind to notions of progress. I was going to complain about Twitter's abuse reporting mechanism, which is kind of a pain (multiple pages, required note field, asks for real name), but I reported someone this morning, and not only is his tweet gone, it looks like his entire account is. If the penalty is going to be (in online terms) severe, it makes sense to have a reporting process that requires some dedication, but I'd still like to see them streamline it a bit, and have an option to just flag something as offensive which would trigger a review after some number of people have done the same.


 

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The Waterfall

Posted by Ogged
on 09.23.14

I've been sitting on this booty-eating post for a week because I couldn't think of what to say. If you like to eat booty, great, and if you like to have your booty eaten, great. Does it make you gay if you're a guy and you like it? That's so stupid I'm going to assume the "controversy" is fake.


 

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The Other Huxtable Effect

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.23.14

I'm pretty fond of Clair Huxtable. And Elvin is a pretty great character himself.


 

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Sugar Parents and Children

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.22.14

Knecht sends along How Sugar Daddies Are Financing College Education. If I were writing a college essay on this, I could legitimately start it with "Since the dawn of time...", right?

In a nutshell, when college girls do high end prostitution under vague but lucrative terms, it's not quite as squicky as when people do it under more severe economic duress. But still squicky. I can't tell if I'm trolling about girls and women yet again or not, but Knecht sent it in. Blame him.


 

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Issues

Posted by Ogged
on 09.22.14

Poet/memoirist Mary Karr dated David Foster Wallace for a while in a relationship that by her own account was very stormy. Keep working on that anger!

The not-purely-gawking part of my interest is in these lines, where Karr, who has embraced Catholicism, reveals what may have been an argument between them.

...go bother God, who shaped
that form you despised from common clay.
That light you swam so hard away from
still burns, like a star over a desert or atop
a tree in a living room...

The extent to which Wallace's moralism would have fit into the Christian tradition, despite his efforts to express it in other ways, is a pretty interesting question.


 

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Solo

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.22.14

All this violence from NFL players is totally unacceptable. But when Hope Solo does it, it's totally different.


 

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