A meal and a shill.
I just ate pepinos locos for the first time. First, the woman took a big dill pickle and cut it into four spears, which formed the base of the dish. Then she put chopped jicama, cucumbers, peanuts, gummy bears, and these things that looked like Twizzler strands but were actually Salsaghetti. Then the whole thing was doused liberally with chili-lime sauce and chili-lime powder.
Those dark green things are gummy bears. It was super weird! But good! I like overpowering amounts of chili-lime, and the rest was just texture.
Fuck you, NYT. "What the Republican Health Care Plan Gets Right" is not worth the steam coming out of my ears.
I'm so bad!
A colleague shared this Kraft ad on my FB page, for Mother's Day. You don't have to watch it. The premise is that a mom is winkingly acknowledging that we all swear like a sailor in front of our children, our not-so-guilty secret because we Moms* are edgy and transgressive about potty mouths.
1. "Swear like a mother" is a really nice turn of phrase.
2. Argh, do I really come across like the prissy, uptight person who winks and says, "I said shit in front of my children!"? UMC white motherhood is such a depressing box to be placed inside.
*I kept wanting to say "we neutered Moms" which is of course the wrong adjective. I guess "suburban" is what I'm looking for. Oh, the self-loathing.
Guest Post - Scalzi on Entitlement
Nick S. writes: John Scalzi had a good post about how entitlement can creep up on people (and eat their brains).
[Imagine a writer hitting fifty] Our writer's body is thicker than it used to be, and slower, and creaks. He's not young anymore nor ever will be again. He's not one of the Young Turks; he senses he's barely part of the establishment. The new writers coming up treat him like just another writer; he's not an influence, he's just another jobber in the word mines. His upward path -- that clear and tractable path, the expected and one would dare to say entitled path -- is not the path he's on. He's on a path that has plateaued and indeed may be starting to run downhill, getting steeper as it goes.
How did this happen?
Well, our writer thinks, it can't be because of him; he's done the work, put in the words, is writing at the same level he always has. He'd been up for awards, back in the day, and doesn't know why he shouldn't still be. And it can't be just be because sometimes, despite your best efforts, things don't happen for you -- that you could have been in the right place at the right time but weren't, and someone else was, and they got a boost and you didn't because on occassion that's the way it goes. No, things don't just happen, things happen for a reason. ...
Heebie's take: I dunno. The worst entitlement seems to be from people who did have things break their way, again and again. The people who watched other people get the breaks may be very angry, but that's different than feeling entitled.
On the other hand, I am very much not the kind of person described in the post! I never did have a particularly promising trajectory in the first place, and I can blame my problems on white men without being accused of entitlement. I can't believe white men are making me proctor a boring final exam and then grade it. White men made me drop and break my earring this morning.
Ratfucking your healthcare.
OMFG. So the house got their vote through. >:(
I mentioned this is the comments, but it's occupying a large portion of my mental bandwidth, and so I thought I'd post about it: we're elevating our house this summer. Pretty much yesterday we irrevokably decided to do so, although we haven't signed any paperwork.
The basic details, for newbies: our house is about 4' off the ground. Heebieville floods regularly, and twice disastrously in 2015. During the latter of those two floods, the water was within a few inches of our floorboards.
We have not gotten a warm round of high-fives for doing the responsible thing. The most common reaction is that people good-naturedly tell us we're nuts. They say:
1. If it ain't broke, why fix it? If water had never actually gotten in the house, why elevate? (The water was equally high in 1998, which is when the house was built, at that flood level.) My answer is mostly "because of my anxiety about flooding!" but more seriously, isn't it a fairly sure thing that flooding will get worse due to global warming? Maybe not - maybe we'll become a desert - but I seriously see this as a 70K hedge against global warming. This will move us from the 100 year flood plain level to the 500 year flood plain level.
2. Why not move? Heebieville is pretty limited. To get a central, walkable neighborhood, you're either looking at a tiny house - say 1000 square feet - or a house that's far more than 70K more than our house.
(I suppose I'm mostly posting to organize my thinking in response to mostly skeptical responses.)
The worst part is that we'll have to move out. They said 3 weeks, and conventional wisdom says to double the cost and triple the time, so we think that around 6 weeks we can start getting testy and that we should be home at 9 weeks. The whole thing is very overwhelming, but become more real by the day.
What shall we buy David Brooks for his wedding?
The registry got taken down, but this funny commentary is still up. My impression from scanning the registry yesterday is that it was mostly tasteful, expensive, metallic and white. It's a little stretch to make fun of it, but totally and completely worth undertaking.
So really, why the fuck was the police officer using a rifle?
Ever Since The Hypatia Scandal, I Support The Ferguson Police Department
I don't have time for a proper post about this, and as I've said, I'm out of touch, and can't identify the core of truth in the crazy, so I hesitate to opine. But it sure does seem crazy.
Usually, an article like this, abstract and argumentatively complex as it is, wouldn't attract all that much attention outside of its own academic subculture. But that isn't what happened here -- instead, Tuvel is now bearing the brunt of a massive internet witch-hunt, abetted in part by Hypatia's refusal to stand up for her. The journal has already apologized for the article, despite the fact that it was approved through its normal editorial process, and Tuvel's peers are busily wrecking her reputation by sharing all sorts of false claims about the article that don't bear the scrutiny of even a single close read.
Kill Kill Kill
Manjoo has a fun question up on Twitter.
What's the order in which you would drop Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook from your life, if forced to -- from first to last.— Farhad Manjoo 🐣 (@fmanjoo) May 2, 2017
He explains that he means to include all subsidiaries, which, ok, but you can't take that literally, because you wouldn't have a usable internet if you excluded Amazon's AWS. My list would be:
Facebook: I'm not on it, or Instagram, or WhatsApp etc.
Google: I switched to DuckDuckGo a few weeks ago and haven't missed Google Search. I use gmail, but I also have a bunch of accounts on other services that would be easy to use. Maps and Waze are tougher, but the fact is that Apple Maps or a Garmin in the car will get you pretty much everywhere, and Yelp and imitators can get you local info. Youtube would be the toughest of the Google products to give up, because there's no good replacement, and it has so much good obscure stuff on it, but when have I ever done something essential on YouTube?
Amazon: It's hard to count up the sheer amount of time shopping on Amazon has saved me. And tracking down products, without a million reviews, would be onerous. Giving it up would be the most significant life change, by far.
Will Bunch putting his finger right on the issue.
But it's a mission that makes absolutely no sense. In the wake of Trump's election, the Times earlier this year launched the most ambitious ad campaign in its history, including a 30-second spot that aired during the Oscars at a cost of $2-2.5 million (or enough to hire 10-15 Pulitzer-quality investigative reporters for a year...just sayin'). The core message: "The truth is more important now than ever." That selling point struck a chord: Digital subscriptions to the Times reportedly skyrocketed.
Then, weeks later, the Times threw good money after bad to hire a columnist to say don't believe anyone who's selling you "the truth" and that scientists, pollsters, and -- by implication -- their professional cousins who report the news for outlets like the Times are smug jerks, probably peddling crap. What's more, in trying to stir up uncertainty over climate change, he was aiding and abetting Trump's fact-free, pro-fossil fuel political agenda. That's exactly the opposite of what new subscribers thought the Times was promising in those ads, to be a force that would counteract Trumpism. And now a number of Times editors and reporters seemed baffled that so many readers are hurt and confused. They don't understand their own business model, or brand.
All these things are true:
--the Times does a lot of great reporting
--the Times kowtows to power
--most of Times management seem to be bozos
Guest Post - "It's magic coming out of your mouth. I didn't say good magic."
Minivet writes: Bannon's racist crapsack of a screenplay and what happens when actors try to do a table read. Fascinatingly surreal article which leaves me with zero interest in actually watching the accompanying video.
Heebie's take: What is this thing?
"The Thing I Am," a late-1990s screenplay that Bannon wrote with a collaborator, Julia Jones, which moved Shakespeare's "Coriolanus" to Compton during the Los Angeles riots and reframed the clash between the Romans and the Volscians as a gang war...
Oh sure, of course.
It was somehow less interesting to hate on McMegan during the Obama administration.
What interests me is "Why was the north willing to invade another country over slavery?" Mobilizing a huge population for altruism is rare.— (((Megan McArdle))) (@asymmetricinfo) May 1, 2017
The hate-joy is countercyclical.
via you, over there
At one point, I heard a This American Life episode about a guy who got interested in cryogenics and ends up joining a society. After a couple years, one of their members does in fact die, and they freeze him. Then the officers and whatnot sort of flake out, and it falls to this guy to start taking care of the body - checking on temperatures, etc. Then the money starts running out, and another person dies, and this poor shmuck finds himself in this horror-web - lugging bodies-in-capsules to various storage shelters, racing to find dry ice, continually checking thermostats, bodies defrosting, etc. This horrible trainwreck. Sort of like the bury-the-body scene in Blood Simple. I can't remember how it ended, but hopefully he got caught before too long and some sympathetic judge agreed that the crime was its own punishment.
When I started writing this, I was going to compare it to this guy who briefly worked on the Fyre Festival and then bailed - the equivalent of one of the early cryogenics society officers who had second thoughts around the time a guy actually dies and needs to be kept frozen. But now the comparison doesn't feel as apt. Fyre Festival is much more like that elderly lady who redrew the 19th century face herself. Or maybe analogies don't always enhance the humor.
Oh hey, here's the transcript for the cryogenics episode.
Bob Nelson: We had to keep a pump, an electronic pump, pulling the vacuum 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. At Chatsworth, the temperatures got up to over 100, 110 sometimes. And that was death to these vacuum pumps. They couldn't take that heat. The pumps would burn out and need to be replaced, and it just got worse and worse and worse. I was there, I would say, virtually every day.
Sam Shaw: After Bob opened up the tank, it was never quite the same. The vacuum was shot, and the liquid nitrogen would boil away to nothing. Bob was constantly refilling the tank with coolant at a few hundred bucks a pop. Sometimes, he wrote checks from his personal bank account. Sometimes the checks would bounce.
Doesn't your life seem comparatively nice?
Guest Post: Three (and a half) folk-tales
Nick S. writes: I happened to read an old Paris Review interview, from 1972, with James Wright, a poet that I hadn't heard of. In it, te tells three stories, which I think go well together, in that they are all, in some way about showing grace in response to the hardships of life.
There is another Irish tradition I'd like to mention. It is based on sheer arrogance, the determination to live. Poetry can keep life itself alive. You can endure almost anything as long as you can sing about it. Do you know Raftery? Anthony Raftery, from the eighteenth century, blind and illiterate, who carried a hand harp. He was standing in a bar and someone asked, who is that poor, frail old man leaning there in the corner with a harp in his hand? Raftery turned around and said: "I am Raftery, the poet, full of hope and love, with no light in my eyes, and with gentleness that has no misery, going west upon my pilgrimage by the light of my heart, though feeble and tired to the end of my road, and behold me now, with my back to the wall, playing music unto empty pockets."
Now that we are almost finished, I want to tell you two stories. The first is one of the tales of the Hasidim, from western Poland.
There was an orthodox Jewish tailor who knew that on the day of atonement he ought to attend the services at the synagogue. He did not go. The next day he met his rabbi. The rabbi said, "All right, let's have the excuse."
The tailor said, "I decided, Master, that yesterday I would go in the back of my shop and talk to God myself."
"All right," said the rabbi, "what did you say to him?"
"Well, I said, 'God, you know everything, and you know all my sins. But for your convenience I will repeat them. Once when I was young I slapped a child in the face. Once when I was a tailor I made a pair of pants for a man and instead of giving him back what was left of the material, I kept it myself. I've probably committed a few more and I can't remember them, but God you know everything and you remember them. And as far as I know, that is the extent of my sinning'."
"Go on," said the rabbi.
"Then I said, 'God, you have allowed children to be born without eyes. You have allowed the human race, whom you created, out of their own unhappiness to kill each other when they did not even know each other. You are all-powerful, you know everything'."
So the rabbi said, "Go on."
The tailor said, "I told him, 'God, let us compare our sins. If you'll forgive me mine, I will forgive you yours'."
The rabbi paused and then shouted, "You idiot! Why did you let him off that easily? Yesterday was the day of atonement. You could have forced him to send the messiah!"
In the eighth century, there was a man named Mansur-al-Halaj who entered the city of Baghdad. He was a Sufi. The Sufi were a Muslim sect who had heard about Jesus, and they believed that Jesus was a saint. There are many of them, but al-Halaj is my favorite. This is what he did. He went to the chief authorities of the city of Baghdad and he said, "I am going to try to live as Jesus lived. I know what happened to him"--eighth century, remember--"I remember what happened to him, and I know that if I try to live as he lived, you will be frightened, and I know what you will do to me. And I want to tell you beforehand that I don't hate you."
Well, they gave him the fish eye and said, "Well, here's another nut."
Then he went out and talked to people saying, "Why don't we try to love one another?"
Finally they got him. They crucified him. They cut off his right hand and his left foot and crucified him upside down. And at dawn he was still alive. The vizier--ah, Henry Kissinger--came out and said to him, "Were you flying through the universe again last night?"
And as he died he said, "No, I was just hanging here, alone with the alone, among the stars."
I've got one more for you. It's a gag, a Muslim gag. You'll like it, it's very nice. One of my best friends in the world is a man named Ghazi Ghalani. He is from Iraq, from Baghdad, and I used to see him in St. Paul all the time. There used to be a bar, a piano bar, called The House of Ming. And I would get this phone call saying, "Hello, Jim?"
"Ghazi! Where are you?"
"I am at The House of Ming. Come on down and have a drink."
So I would arrive, and there would be this ninety-year-old woman playing World War I torch songs. And Ghazi would be sitting there. He looked like Danny Thomas. And I would say, "How do you feel, Ghazi?" Now in English if you ask somebody how he feels, and he feels lousy, he'll say, "I feel lousy."
But Ghazi used to do the prayer gesture, and then he would say in Arabic, "If my family traded in shrouds, people would stop dying."
I like all of them, and find them moving. But I am amused that, in that group, the Jewish response to hardship is argumentativeness (both in the Rabbi's arguing with the tailor and in the suggestion that the proper approach would have been to argue with God.
Heebie's take: I have no take!