March 28, 2017

I resist Glenn Loury's label for — me — "contrarian," explain why, and offer an alternative label, which he then readily slaps on himself.

The label is...

"If one wants to be active, one mustn’t be afraid to do something wrong sometimes, not afraid to lapse into some mistakes."

Wrote Vincent Van Gogh to his brother Theo.

Quoted at Brain Pickings, which expands to something said by "the great Polish-born British mathematician, biologist, writer, and historian of science Jacob Bronowski":
Evolution is built up by the perpetuation of errors. It runs counter to the second law of thermodynamics by promoting the error to the new norm so that the second law now works on the error, and then a new error is built up. That is also central to all inductive acts and all acts of imagination. We ask ourselves, “Why does one chess player play better than another?” The answer is not that the one who plays better makes fewer mistakes, because in a fundamental way the one who plays better makes more mistakes, by which I mean more imaginative mistakes. He sees more ridiculous alternatives… The mark of the great player is exactly that he thinks of something which by all known norms of the game is an error. His choice does not conform to the way in which, if you want to put it most brutally, a machine would play the game....

"C’mon fellas. You know what this is? You know what this says? You’re going back to work."

Said President Trump to the coal miners who stood around him as he signed an executive order, setting in motion the undoing of some of what President Obama put in place to fight global warming.

I think this will be equally entertaining for those who love and those who hate Trump.

That's quite an accomplishment:

"I'm a heading out Wisconsin ways/2000 miles to go/Madison, Milwaukee, sets my heart aglow."

"I'm a coming to that dairy state/My heart's a beating fast/I'll pick my banjo gently there/And twiddle my mustache...."

He never performed it and we don't seem to have the music for it, but Bob Dylan wrote 3 verses of lyrics for a song about Wisconsin. The handwritten lyric sheet — which you can see here — is being offered for sale.

I like that he mentions Madison — along with Milwaukee — and also says his home's in "Wow Wow Toaster" — presumably Wauwatosa (the home of Governor Scott Walker).

Also at the link is a facsimile of a Wisconsin State Journal article about a concert Dylan played in Madison when he was 23:
With a vocal style resembling an 80-year-old man with a nasal condition, Dylan still does the near-impossible when he belts out his self-written tirades again the ills of the world....

In no song, however, does he present a solution.
In other Dylan news:
The Bob Dylan archive in Tulsa, Oklahoma is now open to select groups and individuals with qualified research projects. Those hoping to view and use the archive at the Helmerich Center for American Research at the Gilcrease Museum will have to submit a Research Associate Application to the librarian and a list of relevant items from the archive's online finding aid.

Looking for petroglyphs.



In Capitol Reef National Park, March 9th.

Feel free to explore about any subject in the comments (and to use The Althouse Amazon Portal to pursue any shopping needs).

"A Daily Mail front page that declared 'Never mind Brexit, who won Legs-it!' next to a photograph of Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon and British prime minister Theresa May..."

"... has prompted widespread outrage," The Guardian informs us.
Inside the paper there was was more ogling at the female leaders, with a headline reading: “Finest weapons at their command? Those pins!” A column by Sarah Vine referred to Sturgeon’s legs as “altogether more flirty, tantalisingly crossed … a direct attempt at seduction”.
Ludicrous, of course, but The Daily Mail is very trashy, so who looks unless we're in the mood for utter garbage? DM seems to be at least 50% about how women look.

Here's the page:

I love this satirical response to DM:

It's not fair, since these politicos don't work for The Daily Mail, but it fits for my long-time "men in shorts" theme.

IN THE COMMENTS: Paddy O said:
Are there any pictures of the Queen sitting like that? I doubt it. Though, Princess Dianna was well-known for her legs, with some claiming she singlehandedly took down the pantyhose industry. I suspect the DM is making a commentary of sorts. Kind of like Althouse's old "let's take a look at those breasts" post. Show leg, people notice leg. Front and center legs get a highlight. It's worth noting that the satirical response includes men doing leisure activities, whereas the women are in a business/political situation. Are there examples of men in shorts meeting together to discuss significant national transitions? That would seem to be the equivalent.
I said:
You know, this makes me think the photo op really was botched. They don't have to be on low, cushioned chairs. The photographers shouldn't be at such a low angle. It's distracting to have the legs occupying so much foreground, diminishing the significance of the heads.

The legs can be there, and I like seeing women in skirts, but whoever set up the photo op should have arranged things to make the women seem more dignified.

What if the men — properly clad in suits — were absurdly manspreading? We'd all laugh at that.
Here's how Margaret Thatcher looked, wearing a skirt and sitting next to Reagan.

Here she is sledding:

AND: Here's a New Yorker article by one of my favorite writers, Janet Malcolm, about photographing Queen Elizabeth in 2011:
My first impression was of a vaguely familiar elderly couple posing for a formal portrait in a corner of the palatial Minneapolis hotel ballroom where their fiftieth wedding anniversary is being celebrated. The pair were seated on an ornate settee, and my attention was drawn to the woman’s sturdy legs in beige stockings, the right knee uncovered where the skirt of her pale-blue silk dress had hitched up a bit as she settled her ample figure into the settee; and to her feet, in patent-leather pumps planted firmly on the fancy hotel carpet. Her white hair was carefully coiffed, in a sort of pompadour in front and fluffy curls on the sides, and her lipsticked mouth was set in an expression of quiet determination. The man—a retired airline pilot?—was smaller, thinner, recessive. They were sitting a little apart, not touching, looking straight ahead. Gradually, the royal couple came into focus as such, and the photograph assumed its own identity as a work by Struth, the plethora of its details somehow tamed to serve a composition of satisfying serenity and readability.

"He really wanted to make it, but he was really busy drinking alcohol... and having sex with women who were not my mother."

Said Megan Mullally, talking about her father on Alec Baldwin's show "Here's the Thing."

Her husband Nick Offerman broke in: "Some people are able to juggle those pursuits."

Mullally: "Yeah."

Offerman: "But he was more of a specialist."

ADDED: I originally thought that was Baldwin's voice, but TML in the comments said it was Offerman. I relistened and agree and corrected the post.

"The Democrats will make a deal with me on healthcare as soon as ObamaCare folds — not long. Do not worry, we are in very good shape!"

Tweets Trump.

Depends on the meaning of "very good shape." About to collapse... great.

That tweet was right after "The Republican House Freedom Caucus was able to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. After so many bad years they were ready for a win!"

Sometimes losing is winning.

Make me think of the old Bob Dylan quote: "She knows there’s no success like failure/And that failure’s no success at all."

This NYT health-advice article is getting a lot of attention...

... but I'd like to see an answer to the problem raised by the top-rated comment, which I'm not going to quote here.

The article is "Training Your Brain So That You Don’t Need Reading Glasses."

"They are a highly respected couple, and Schumer made a scene, yelling, 'She voted for Trump!'"

"'The Califanos left the restaurant, but Schumer followed them outside.'” On the sidewalk, Schumer carried on with his fantastical filibuster: '"How could you vote for Trump? He’s a liar!" He kept repeating, "He’s a liar!"'"

Oh, come on. People aren't aloud allowed to have vivid political conversations in a restaurant? I think it's nice that Chuck Schumer displays his opinions and personality in full public view. If you don't like hearing what other people say in restaurants, have your own exciting conversation, or eat somewhere else.

And, by the way, did Ms. Califano — wife of Jimmy Carter's HEW Secretary and daughter of the founder and long-time chairman of CBS — not have the wit to mouth a comeback for "How could you vote for Trump? He’s a liar!"?

Anyone with the wherewithal to stumble into a voting booth should be able at least to get to: "Hillary's a liar." It's almost easy to leap right into Oscar Wilde territory: "Considering the opposition, how was it possible not to vote for a liar?

ADDED: I'm looking back into the career of Joseph A. Califano, Carter's first HEW Secretary, whowas fired by Carter in 1979. Why? Here's a 1981 Christian Science Monitor review of Califano's autobiography:
In July of 1979, when Jimmy Carter was disastrously down in the opinion polls and was considering a purge of his Cabinet, Washington lawyer Edward Bennett Williams told the author of this book, "You ought to hope he fires you. The guy is through and it will give you a way out."

Carter obliged and effectively dismissed Califano, his Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, along with four other members of his Cabinet. As a device to restore Carter's popularity the maneuver failed....

Califano [tells] how it felt to be high up and inside and on the receiving end of a barrage of biting and peremptory notes from the President, ordering him to do this or that. [H]e tells what it was like to be a Cabinet member who launched a major campaign on the hazards of smoking, only to have the rug abruptly pulled out from under him by a President who was all too aware of the impact the powerful North Carolina tobacco growers could have on his prospects for reelection. And he tells how it felt to be accused by Carter of disloyally leaking secrets to the press when, as Califano and other members of the Cabinet saw it, the prime culprits were Hamilton Jordan and Jody Powell....

Califano shows Hamilton Jordan intervening again and again with the words, "I don't know anything about the merits, but I know the politics for the President."....
Hamilton Jordan was 32 when he became Jimmy Carter's Chief of Staff.

"She found him sitting up in his bed staring wide-eyed, his bloodshot eyes looking into the distance as his glowing iPad lay next to him."

"He seemed to be in a trance. Beside herself with panic, Susan had to shake the boy repeatedly to snap him out of it. Distraught, she could not understand how her once-healthy and happy little boy had become so addicted to the game that he wound up in a catatonic stupor."

From "It’s ‘digital heroin’: How screens turn kids into psychotic junkies," by Dr. Nicholas Kardaras in The New York Post.

ADDED: The purple-prose description, oddly enough, makes the mother sound more psychotic.

Why doesn't this NYT article say one word about climate change/global warming?

"Inhabitants of Maldives Atoll Fear a Flood of Saudi Money":
[Some people in the Maldives] are bracing for a life change they fear could be catastrophic, after the Maldivian president’s announcement in January that leaders of Saudi Arabia were planning a $10 billion investment in the group of islands where Mr. Ahmed lives, known as Faafu Atoll....

Saudi Arabia has for decades spread its conservative strand of Islam in the Maldives by sending religious leaders, building mosques and giving scholarships to students to attend its universities. The Saudis are building a new airport terminal, and have pledged tens of millions of dollars in loans and grants for infrastructure and housing on an artificial island near the capital, Malé....

A year later, Prince Mohammed returned to host a week of parties. He and his entourage took over two resorts, said a person familiar with the plans. That person said guests had flown in night after night on private jets to attend the parties, which featured famous entertainers including the rapper Pitbull and the South Korean singer Psy....
Nothing says "conservative strand of Islam" more than Pitbull...

... and Psy...

... unless "conservative Islam" is about rich, louche men mindlessly enjoying themselves.

But when I see the word "Maldives," what I think is: Islands that will be underwater soon. And I think that I think that because of articles I've read mostly in the NYT. Why is Saudi Arabia investing $10 billion in such bad real estate?

Maybe the answer is: For Saudi Arabia, $10 billion is a good price for a few decades of glamorous indulgence.

But I would like some discussion of the topic in The New York Times.* This is a long article. About the Maldives. How can you write about the Maldives and not address the #1 thing about the Maldives that you've been telling me about for years?

* Examples: "Threatened U.S. Pullout Might Help, Not Hobble, Global Climate Pact" (published yesterday, "Maldives Environment Minister Thoriq Ibrahim - chair of the Alliance of Small Island States whose members fear they are at risk from rising sea levels - urged continued U.S. participation in Paris"); "At the U.N., a Free-for-All on Setting Global Goals" (May 2014, "Island nations like the Maldives, which lies less than six feet above sea level, worry more about what rising temperatures will do to the sea"); "Borrowed Time on Disappearing Land" (March 2014, "[T]he melting of much of the earth’s ice... is likely to raise sea levels and flood coastal regions. Such a rise will be uneven because of gravitational effects and human intervention, so predicting its outcome in any one place is difficult. But island nations like the Maldives, Kiribati and Fiji may lose much of their land area, and millions of Bangladeshis will be displaced.")

"Those kids will grow up to be evil."

A comment on "What a year it’s been! Ivanka shares adorable photos of her sharing spaghetti with baby Theodore as he turns one" at The Daily Mail.

I'm reading The Daily Mail this morning because Instapundit (at Facebook) linked to this other thing: "Super fit personal trainer and champion bodybuilder told she's OBESE by bungling NHS nurse who claimed her BMI was too high and told her to 'eat less move more.'"

For the record, here's my opinion on the "obese bodybuilder" article, which I posted on Facebook:
I understand a performer wanting to do PR, but this is a bit ridiculous: "I was made to feel as though I was overweight, over-eating and I felt a knock in my confidence." [ALSO: "It left me feeling belittled, insulted and confused."] Come on! I'm sure BMI is an inaccurate basis for assessing individuals. Everyone knows it's not a good fit for someone with big muscles (though who knows what this person looked like on the day she went to the health clinic?). But wouldn't this person know that and take it into account rather than experiencing "a knock" to her "confidence"? It's just another trashy DM article feeding off an entertainer's interest in self-promotion. What's DM's BMI?

March 27, 2017

Red rock landscape.


In Utah, on March 9th. With Meade.

Use the comments for late-night and overnight discussion of whatever you can get going.


Elon Musk's new company — "focused on developing the capabilities of the brain through technological augmentation."

Trump is amused by the "very, very glamorous" desk.

Seriously hardcore resistance to travel.

In the "Muddy Boots Café," where I alluded to our recent sojourn in Utah, rhhardin said:
I can take the somewhat wind-sheltered daily bike route to the more distant Kroger or the exposed route to the nearer Kroger, for getting out of the house; and nice wifi at home.

What more do you need?
It helps if you're repelled by travel, say from early exposure to world-spanning business trips. No exoticism is worth the hassle and motels. You're always looking forward to getting home.

Glenn Loury and I resist the resistance to Trump.

In this hot new episode of Bloggingheads (recorded on Friday), Glenn Loury objects strenuously to the effort to treat Trump as abnormal, and I agree. Despite that basic agreement, we find a lot to talk about:

The tags indicate the range of subject matter. The topics listed at the BHTV website are:
The “normalizing Trump” debate
Trump’s desire to keep judges “in check”
Political posturing around Gorsuch and Garland
Should judges infer that Trump wants a Muslim ban?
Glenn defends the Shelby County ruling on voting rights
Ann defends Citizen’s United

At the Muddy Boots Café...


... you can talk about anything you like... including leggings — already under discussion here — why Meade really wanted to take this picture of me, and whether we could be happily mediocre in southern Utah.

The mud on my boots is not from Utah. Those would be my other boots, the ones with the orange mud. These are my new boots, the ones I told you I was buying from Amazon, and, as you know, I like to remind you to support this blog — if you like it — by doing your Amazon shopping through the Althouse portal.