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Drains

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 12.18.15

I got my surgical drains out this morning! I had no idea that there was a full 12" of tubing under the skin under each side. Holy shit. The nurse just kept pulling more and more out. Jammies and I had been guessing maybe 2-3" on the drive down. I do feel much more comfortable now.


 

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Sometimes You Know They're Your Kids

Posted by Ogged
on 12.18.15

My wife was trying to take pictures of the kids, and the older one, who always makes a face for the camera, dropped the act and confessed: Mom, I'm trying, but I don't know what to do. My boy! Smiling for the camera always feels so strange, but it turns out that my discomfort is a sign of great virtue. A virtuous, vestigial, embodied resistance to the commercialization of joy, if you will.

The photographic smile, Kotchemidova argues, was a byproduct of an increasingly sophisticated advertising culture focused on telling cheerful stories about products. By the 1920s, companies were using pictures of smiling models to sell everything from canned vegetables to cars. Employing the same visual language to sell cameras, Kodak and others had -- in a very meta way -- installed the smile as one of the "standards for a good snapshot."

Stop smiling honey!


 

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The new hope awakens or something

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 12.17.15

So are you going to see Star Wars tonight? This is a judgement-free zone.


 

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Try do have more rhythm, everybody.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 12.17.15

Musical people in my FB feed love posting things like this:

December%2017%2C%202015

They really don't like it when you clap on 1 and 3. Eventually I googled it, and everybody says basically "we white people need to be clapping like black people, really." So there you have it. Do try to have more rhythm, okay?


 

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Shkreli

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 12.17.15

Aww, a feel-good story.

Also, why did the Wu-Tang Clan only make one copy of an album?

Via you, at the other place


 

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True Crime

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 12.16.15

Everybody is sharing this story on Facebook:

An 18-year-old said she was attacked at knifepoint. Then she said she made it up. That's where our story begins.

I guess it's compelling enough that I'm sharing it too, and the main character is very, very sympathetic, but I feel like distancing myself from it anyway. Why is this the story that makes everyone's jaw drop? Because of the salacious rapey-bits? Because of the semi-tidy ending? Because the criminal is highly straight-out-of-a-crime-novel? You might as well read it if you want to hang out on my facebook feed and know what everyone is talking about.


 

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I Laughed

Posted by Ogged
on 12.16.15

 

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Guest Post - youtube famous

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 12.16.15

Smearcase writes: I don't know if this would entertain unfogged. I didn't make it through it, but then I don't make it through most things. The gist of it seemed to be "it is really unfair that I am insufficiently famous/have to have a job."

Heebie's take: It does seem unfair!


 

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Carson, Cruz, Or Trump

Posted by Ogged
on 12.15.15

I hadn't read Saletan in probably ten years, and nothing in this column convinces me I was wrong, but I have been playing the same game in my head: if you had to choose between Carson, Cruz, and Trump for president, who would you pick? I think the way to pick this--actually, check that: the way to pick any system you want, for whatever it is that you want a system for, is to pick the one whose mode of failure you'd find most bearable, because that's probably what you'll be living with.

I said a couple weeks ago that we haven't even come close to the limits of bigotry and violence that Trump supporters will sign up for, and Trump shows no sign that he's willing to pull back before he gets there. The worst-case of a Trump administration looks like business as usual in most respects, except that things could get very ugly for minorities, both as a matter of official policy, and through the legitimation of violent nativism. It's very hard to sign up for that. But! The other guys!

Carson sure seems genuinely nuts. Not kinda narcissistic or "bipolar," or with some quirky beliefs, but doesn't have a super duper firm grip on reality nuts. Isn't convinced that Ben Carson isn't the savior nuts. Saletan is reassured that Carson doesn't seem mean, but that just makes me nervous that Carson can convince himself he's doing the right (nuts!) thing in all situations. He seems like the kind of guy who could convince himself that we should use nukes, maybe just this once.

Ted Cruz is one of the least likable public figures of my lifetime. It's hard to imagine him having a moment where he's genuine; there might not be a genuine Ted Cruz at all, and just thinking about the satisfaction he'd get from being elected makes me want to find a different universe to be in. Every progressive cause and advance would be attacked from day one, and we'd have to hear the most disingenuous, smarmy bullshit every day for four years. You would, I promise, long for the days of listening to W speeches.

So, I pick...Cruz. The other two guys make me fear for the stability of the country, but with Cruz--married to a Goldman Sachs exec--the country would merely be much, much worse.


 

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Rejected.us

Posted by Ogged
on 12.15.15

Just for software developers right now, but a nice idea for anyone: stories of rejection from people who are doing well.


 

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Flint

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 12.15.15

Aaaaaugh! "In Flint, Mich., there's so much lead in children's blood that a state of emergency is declared". Remember that time we all talked about how lead is bad for you?

The Hurley Medical Center, in Flint, released a study in September that confirmed what many Flint parents had feared for over a year: The proportion of infants and children with above-average levels of lead in their blood has nearly doubled since the city switched from the Detroit water system to using the Flint River as its water source, in 2014.
The crisis reached a nadir Monday night, when Flint Mayor Karen Weaver declared a state of emergency.

That poor city. Holy shit. (They have since been switched back to Detroit water.)


 

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Only Positive Results

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 12.15.15

Enjoy Trump's medical report:

Over the past 39 years, I am pleased to report that Mr. Trump has had no serious medical problems. Mr. Trump has had a recent complete medical evaluation that showed only positive results. Actually, his blood pressure, 110/65, and laboratory test results were astonishingly excellent.

(My blood pressure is astonishingly BETTER than Trump's, fwiw.)

Via


 

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Kotsko On Trigger Warnings

Posted by LizardBreath
on 12.15.15

Roughly, he's for warning people about upsetting content, but against calling them trigger warnings. Which makes perfect sense to me. PTSD triggers are a specific kind of thing, highly individual to the person being triggered, and really not the kind of thing that generic warnings are going to address. Being upset by upsetting material is something worth knowing about in advance, though, even if you don't have PTSD and aren't being triggered.

On the other hand, possibly the horse is way out of the barn on this one, and 'trigger warning' really does now mean 'warning that something upsetting is going to come up; nothing specific about PTSD implied.'


 

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Guest Post - Travel Writing

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 12.15.15

Nick S writes: Interesting interview about a book project which combines travel with literary writing in a way which doesn't sound pretentious. But I'll pull this bit about travel and Tarot:

Tell me about the tarot. You funded a lot of your travel with tarot readings, right?
I've been learning for about ten years, I've only been reading for other people really since I started travel for the book. and that was because I ran out of money. Yeah, what would you like to know?
I think there's this stereotype of literary culture, where people who read books are all materialist atheists, basically. Whenever somebody bucks that trend, I'm automatically interested.
I wrote this thing for the New York Times about becoming a tarot card reader, and before it came out I was like, Oh, fuck, nobody's ever gonna hire me to write for anything intellectual ever again. I was really terrified.
It was so compelling--such a thing that shouldn't work and did. Not even in a mystical way like, Here's your future, but in a way of helping you think and feel differently about what's happening to you. I got a spectacular reading by an amazing woman and had to know what that was all about. I didn't know anything about the tarot at that point, anything about what the cards meant. Then it was just a really long learning process, and the learning process was kind of terrible, because the books about the tarot are nonsense. They're either super-serious occult studies or it's the Oh you need to manifest your dreams! bullshit. Those are the two ways of thinking about it and both have an intellectual poverty.

Heebie's take: For context:


Each chapter pairs a person and a place, so that she considers Rebecca West in Sarajevo, Maud Gonne in Galway, Claude Cahun in Jersey Island, William James in Berlin.

She really hates Jean Rhys!


 

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Negotiations

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 12.14.15

How about those climate change tactics? I don't really understand, even after reading that, but hey. I am allowing myself to feel a smidgen of relief that there was actual worldwide temporary cooperation on the topic.


 

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Slashed

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 12.14.15

This was from Friday, but did we discuss the layoffs at Saint Rose, which also hit longtime blogger Scott Lemieux? Wtf.


 

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Guest Post: JRoth

Posted by LizardBreath
on 12.14.15

JRoth's take, with my reaction under the fold: Elsewhere, people are talking about, and praising, Scott Lemieux's post (The "Qualifications" Dodge) about the affirmative action case, and how we shouldn't be talking about whether or not Abigail Fisher was "qualified" to go to UT. Now, I take his general point, and don't think it's wrong as such: treating admission to college or hiring decisions as some sort of objective test in which you can definitively rank every candidate, and you should only make offers starting from #1 on down, is factually wrong and the basis of a lot of muddled/bullshit thinking on race and merit.

BUT. Fisher's claim to deserving a slot at UT is explicitly based on the (supposedly factual) claim that she would have been admitted except for AA letting less-qualified applicants jump in front of her. And if that were true--if she were clearly more qualified, based on what semi-objective numbers we have, than thousands of admitted applicants (of all races), then proponents of AA have a really hard argument to make, because (white) people feel that injustice viscerally. However, that underlying fact claim is pure bullshit. No matter how you slice it, she was, at best, in the large mass of students who are at the margins of acceptance.

And once you're in that large mass, you need to make an argument for why you deserve admission. And the whole of her argument is, "I'm white." She's the fucking embodiment of white entitlement: if I'm qualified, I deserve it, and POC can go jump off a pier. IOW, she's exactly the test case AA advocates should want. But, in the classic manner of liberals who don't want to be on their own side of an argument, we're eager to concede that she totally deserved to get in, but for reasons of history and blahblahblah, please dismiss our argument out of hand, because we just conceded the high ground.

To be clear, on the narrow issue of "should we describe her as 'unqualified'?", I almost definitely say no: it's probably not true in any meaningful way, and I don't think that needs to be said to make our point. IMO the clear winning argument (rhetorically, I don't know/care about the legalities) is this: "5,000 other Texans just as qualified as Fisher also applied. 2,000 got in. Why does she think she should have been one of the 2,000? Because she's white. That's her whole case."

LB's take: To the extent JRoth's actually disagreeing with Lemieux, I think Lemieux is righter. In the context of talking about affirmative action, thinking of applicants for a college or a job as more or less qualified, as if there were an objective ranking of merit that people could be put in at the application stage, and any deviation from that ranking in terms of who is admitted or hired would be an injustice, is a concession that affirmative action is unjust.

A better way to think about it is that we can sort people into qualified or unqualified for any position -- there are people who shouldn't be hired for a job or admitted to a college because it is clear that they won't be able to manage. But within the group of 'qualified' people, you're making decisions on a bunch of arbitrary and often irrelevant criteria: in the absence of affirmative action, those are going to favor the socially dominant groups, and in its presence, things will be more equitable. And under that framing, Fisher was perfectly reasonably qualified for admission to UT Austin. What she wasn't was entitled to admission, and she didn't suffer an injustice when she wasn't admitted, but if she had been admitted, that wouldn't have been a wrong thing to happen either. Still, calling her 'unqualified' uses a framing that's very bad for advocates of affirmative action, and Lemeiux was right to push back against it.


 

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Guest Post: Academic Lurker

Posted by LizardBreath
on 12.13.15

AL says: I found this on 3QuarksDaily. The type of writing and general academic culture the writer describes certainly sounds familiar in terms of what was current in, say, 1995. My impression back then was that the kind of extreme anti-humanism the article describes was already sort of played out. Anti-humanism really was the hip thing in lit crit/cultural studies during the 80s and early 90s. What I'm in no position to know is whether it's still as dominant as the writer claims. LB noted that the tone sounds like Ayn Rand talking about liberals, and conservatives (and libertarians) do love to rail against that stuff, although they usually just call it postmodernism instead. It's entirely possible that the author is just engaging in conservative culture wars grumbling. Maybe someone who is closer to the current literature/cultural studies academic world can weigh in.


 

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