October 24, 2009

There is pink.


But there is also orange.

Shed a tear for the orange and its desperate problems.

The gourd man.

Does anyone care about the gourd man?


What of his ailments and tribulations? There is no pink here to get your attention. There is nothing to be aware of.

I bought a pink sweater.


Then I felt like I had a Breast Cancer Awareness sweater.

Why has a disease been permitted to claim a color for itself? Pink is one of the all-time great colors. It speaks of youth, freshness, prettiness, and health. Please let pink be pink again.

Who doesn't want to wear the ribbon?

Rush Limbaugh cares more than you do.

(Via Will (the commenter).)

(And, by the way, I am no fan of the old Rush Limbaugh TV show. In particular, I hate to see his audience reacting to him. He's much better on the radio, where he gives you the feeling he's talking just to you. I loathe seeing a group of people feeding him audible appreciation. I find it quite icky.)

It's the Cancer Awareness Light-Up Pen.


The fine print says:
A portion of your purchase will be made to various cancer support programs throughout the united states whose mission is to provide the ongoing research and education it takes to find a cure. Thanks for your support!
And thanks for your spurious failure to capitalize "United States." It helps us not trust you. I don't know what you think you're saying you're going to do with "a portion of [my] purchase," but I'm here to say that if I buy that awful pink fuzzball, I will be taking my entire purchase with me.

"Early Detection Saves Lives" and "Lights As You Write" — nice capitalization. Too bad it doesn't light up when you have breast cancer.

Look, it's a police car.


A breast cancer awareness police car:

DSC04855 copy

Breast awareness gone mad.


The Wisconsin State Capitol, photographed last night. Why is it lit up pink? Why is anything pink pink these days? Pink was once a sweet, cheery color associated with little girls. And now it means cancer. That one special cancer that petulantly insists that we acknowledge its existence all the time. I will not be ignored, Breast Cancer stamps its feet again and again. Breast Cancer! Leave pink alone!

At the Cupcake Cleavage Café...


... you can try on anything you want.

October 23, 2009

"Yes I wasn't wearing any clothes but I was alone, in my own home and just got out of bed. It was dark and I had no idea anyone was outside looking in at me."

"I am a loving dad. Any of my friends and anyone knows that and there is not a chance on this planet I would ever, ever, ever do anything like that to a kid. I never had a conversation with anyone, never saw anyone. Didn't cross my mind, came and got coffee. I mean if I stood and seemed comfortable in my kitchen possibly it's natural. It's my kitchen."

I'm all for letting Eric Williamson off the hook. But you have to be an idiot not to know that when it's dark outside and the lights are on inside, if the windows are uncovered, from the outside, the interior of the house looks lit up like a theater stage. If it's light outside, and you are relying on natural light inside, the interior probably looks dark from outside. Now, when it's dark outside, duh, you can't see the people outside. But that's all the more reason why you don't want to walk around naked with the lights on and the curtains open.

"Imagine that you had just cooked this unbelievable souffle and someone said, Would you prefer to present it on an earthenware plate or this gorgeous exquisite plate that’s been made by some crazy artisan?"

Isaac Mizrahi explains why a fashion designer wants to display his clothes on a tall, thin, beautiful model.

"Have no fear when Soupy's here."

And now, Soupy's not here!
Critics were unkind, calling ["The Soupy Sales Show"] "a mishmash of mediocrity" that was meant for "kids with low IQs." But viewers lapped it up, making it the No. 1 local show by 1962. A survey at the time revealed that more than a third of Sales' fans consisted of adults. Some of them were hosting pie-lobbing parties in their basements....
Were you, like me, a teenager in the 1960s? If so, did you cry a tear when you read that the charming, silly comedian has died? Here's a clip from his, which meanders seemingly pointlessly and ultimately gets to his novelty dance-hit "The Mouse":

Don't be afraid that you can't do it
There is really nothing to it
Shake with your hands wiggling from your ears
Make like a mouse push your feet down and cheer...

Hey, do the Mouse...

Don't be afraid that you can't do it
There is really nothing to it
Just follow me and I'll get you through it
Have no fear when Soupy's here
This post is about Soupy Sales, but I've got to throw in a second topic. "The Mouse" got me thinking about all those dance hits from that era. Didn't they all emphasize how easy the new dance was? Don't be afraid that you can't do it. There is really nothing to it. Didn't they all have that lyric? I challenge you to find one of those old dance songs that told you the dance is pretty complicated and you might not be able to do it.

There are so many of those old dance songs. There's Marvin Gaye, doing "Hitch Hike." See how easy that dance is? It's all in the arms. There's Smokey Robinson and the Miracles doing "Mickey's Monkey." Sorry the linked clip doesn't show you how to do the monkey. (Here, this makes it really easy — and reconnects with our kids' show theme.)

A favorite old dance song of mine is "The 81" by Candy and the Kisses. One thing about "The 81" is that no one I knew had the slightest idea what the 81 was supposed to be. Was it just a song with no dance? "There's a new dance going around they call the 81. Everybody's doing it whether they are old or young." But not only wasn't everybody doing it, nobody was doing it. Nevertheless, put on your dancing shoes, feel the beat, get with the groove, and, most importantly, form a big boss line.

"This is not a good path for kids if the relationship isn’t going toward marriage."

"So I waited until a day when the farmer and I were holding hands, walking between rows of corn higher than our heads. And I told him that I can’t keep bringing the kids to the farm because we’re not getting married and I’m scared the kids will get hurt. The farmer didn’t say anything for five minutes. And then he said, 'Okay. Let’s get married.'"

"[W]hite Americans do not realize how black they are."

"Even their whiteness is partly scavenged from the fear of - and attraction to - its opposite. From the beginning, in its very marrow, this country was forged out of that racial and cultural interaction."

Englishman Andrew Sullivan bestows his revelation on us, on the occasion of his disgust at something Pat Buchanan wrote. Buchanan's column is "a travesty of history" and evidence of "America's tragedy of self-forgetting." I don't really need Sullivan's help with American self-remembering, but I did need to read Buchanan's column — which I wouldn't have done otherwise — to get what the condescension is all about.

"Traditional Americans are losing their nation," says Buchanan, channeling the discontent of those people who, Obama once said, "get bitter [and] cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations." Buchanan not only includes the "bitter clingers" quote in the column: he enacts it.

Sullivan is mainly out to discredit the notion that "traditional Americans" are white Americans. Would that matter to Buchanan? I doubt it. He's speaking of the political issues of the day, describing the views of a demographic group, and rejecting the idea that their attitude arises from racial animosity.

ADDED: Instapundit writes:
“WHITE AMERICANS DO NOT REALIZE HOW BLACK THEY ARE.” Well, possibly. I mean, unless they’ve heard of Elvis, or Rock ‘n’ Roll, or something. Or unless “Pat Buchanan” and “White Americans” are identity sets. Which to a certain class of know-nothing they may seem.

October 22, 2009

At the Dry Leaf Hotel...


... curl up with us.

Those "progressive" cities white people like?

They're really white.

(Via this diavlog.)

"Court Deals Blow to Owners of Apartment Complex."

A NYT headline that makes James Taranto say: "So Much for the War on Drugs."

In the sweat lodge of doom: "There were people throwing up everywhere."

If you are crowded into a small space — about 24 feet wide and 4 1/2 feet tall— with 50 people and one person throws up — for any reason — if you have any sense at all, you will leave immediately. Imagine the space being very hot, and everyone feels bad, and multiple people are throwing up. Yet you stay. You are out of your mind in that very special way that involves ceding your responsibility to a guru, and he's urging you one, telling you the vomiting is "good for you," that it's "purging what your body doesn’t want, what it doesn’t need." You can't even struggle back to that dim light of consciousness that warns that "what your body doesn’t want" seems to be life itself. Get out of the sweat lodge! But you paid $9,695. Get out of the sweat lodge!
About 90 minutes into the ceremony, [orthodontist Dr. Beverley] Bunn said, someone yelled in the darkness that a woman had passed out just after [the guru James Arthur] Ray closed the tent door between rounds. Dr. Bunn said Mr. Ray replied, “We will deal with that after the next round.”...

Mr. Ray’s company, James Ray International, made $9.4 million in 2008 from events including weekend seminars with titles like “World Wealth Summit,” videos and books, including the 2008 best-seller “Harmonic Wealth: The Secret of Attracting the Life You Want.”...

“James Ray stood by the door of the tent and he controlled when those rounds began and ended,” [said Thomas J. McFeeley, a cousin of one woman who died]. “He called for more and hotter rocks that were brought into the tent between the rounds. He instructed people inside that you could not leave during the rounds. If you had to leave, you had to wait until the end of the round.”...

On a conference call Mr. Ray held last week for sweat lodge participants, Dr. Bunn was shocked to hear one recount the comments of a self-described “channeler” who visited Angel Valley after the retreat. Claiming to have communicated with the dead, the channeler said they had left their bodies in the sweat lodge and chosen not to come back because “they were having so much fun.”
Yes, read that again. A channeler is reporting that the people who died voluntarily crossed over into the next world during the ceremony, decided they liked it, and chose to stay. Dead.

Clearly there is a lawsuit in the works. And Ray has a good big pile of money. You can see the competing stories about whether his followers chose to stay or were blocked when they tried to leave. Whether they fell for his idiotic explanations or tried to prevent escape, he should have to pay. Still, how can people be so stupid. And 50 people can push one man out of the way. As they should have done, after the first hurl.

Losing our religion.

Only 57%, down from 71% in 2008 and 77% in 2006.

The Meanings of Balloon Boy.

Here are 5:
Liberals Take Their Cues from Balloon Boy...

Balloon Boy Is Out To Get Rush Limbaugh Too...

Balloon Boy Is The Defining Symbol Of Our Times...

Balloon Boy Is The End of Activism...

Balloon Boy Was Magical, When We Still Believed In Him...
Oh, surely, there are more than 5....

"The case against inviting the BNP to appear on Question Time is a case for censorship..."

"... the case, in other words, that (in the opinion of those who make it) the BNP's policies are so abhorrent and so liable to sow hatred and division that they should be excluded from this form of public discourse altogether.... [I]t is unreasonable and inconsistent to take the position that a party like the BNP is acceptable enough for the public to vote for, but not acceptable enough to appear on democratic platforms such as Question Time. If there is a case for censorship, it should be debated and decided in parliament."

A hot debate in the UK. 

More here.

"Yeah, I also don't like having the idea of 'the void' thrust upon me while I'm driving."

"I'm afraid of that phantom crazy impulse to drive my car into the oncoming headlights."

Lifehacker and me.

You know me, the generic student.

LOL. I love the way they credit my son John Althouse Cohen on the picture, which was taken in May 1981, as I was studying (and lactating). John was born March 17, 1981.

"It’s time for President Obama to do what it takes to win a war he has repeatedly and rightly called a war of necessity."

Dick Cheney rips into Barack Obama.

Well-said and richly deserved.


You know, Dick Cheney was once a student here at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. Have we ever done anything to honor him? I think it would be interesting to start a movement to have a monument to the man erected here in on campus. You could do a Michael Moore (or Uncle Jimbo) -style film project: Go around with a clipboard and try to get people to sign a petition.

Erstwhile Yale Law students Heide Iravani and Brittan Heller settle the lawsuit they brought against Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey, Pauliewalnuts and Sleazy Z, etc. — the AutoAdmit commenters who wrote those nasty things.

I've written about this lawsuit many times, and now, because the terms of the settlement are being kept secret, it's hard to comment. I would like to know if the real goal of the lawsuit was to destroy the various individuals who had written under pseudonyms. Did the claims have much chance of success? Not knowing how much if any money Heller and Iravani extracted from the men they sued, it's hard to say. That dollar amount is an important fact — kept secret — that has to do with whether the legal process was used mainly (or only) to inflict public exposure on people who took advantage of the ability to write pseudonymously on the internet. That is an important free speech issue, and I would like all the relevant information about it. Heller and Iravani got the names they wanted. I want the numbers.

"Leaping wolf snatches photo prize."

A headline that had me picturing the wolf doing a dramatic Kanye West move on some awards show.

October 21, 2009

At the Winter Rye Inn...


... you may reveal one more day of growth.

Barack Obama has an enemies list.

Another occasion for the tag "Obama is like Nixon."

"Naked Coffee Guy Update."

Think about when it really should be a crime to be naked in your own house.

"We don't want people to panic... But I'm admitting that American medicine has overpromised when it comes to [cancer] screening."

"The advantages to screening have been exaggerated."

The latest from the American Cancer Society. Rush Limbaugh's take:
How in the world can it be exaggerated to go in and get tested?...
Folks, I just find the timing of this amazingly coincidental when Obama's trying to push a health care plan that tries to condition everybody to less and less testing in order to reduce costs.

"I love the whole world..."

I Love xkcd from NoamR on Vimeo.

(Via Boing Boing.)

"Having a black man hobbling around on national TV in an Indian costume trivializes both of America's original sins — the enslavement of Africans and the genocide of indigenous peoples."

"At least get him out of the public eye. Those who want to keep the team's racist name are quick to say it's honorific, a term of endearment that shows respect for Native Americans. And yet, inadvertently though it may be, Chief Zee stands as pitiful proof to the contrary. How can supporters of the name claim to care about indigenous peoples when they care so little for the Indian caricature of their own making?"

"Will the BBC save Jack from falling down the hill, find Little Boy Blue's sheep and keep unhygienic Goosey Goosey Gander out of my lady's chamber?"

I think all those nursery rhymes seem too gruesome (or filthy) for children. Kudos to the BBC for protecting us from the despair that is Humpty Dumpty.

The new winter rye crop.

At Meadhouse:


"... religion is on the decline... when the time comes that religion shall be discarded..."

Spoken in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1789 — whence inaccurate predictions have flowed for more than 2 centuries.

"The effect of the rule below will be to grant drunk drivers 'one free swerve' before they can be legally pulled over by police."

"It will be difficult for an officer to explain to the family of a motorist killed by that swerve that the police had a tip that the driver of the other car was drunk, but that they were powerless to pull him over, even for a quick check."

Chief Justice John Roberts, talking tough about drunk driving, as he dissents from a denial of certiorari, in a case where the state court said it violates the Fourth Amendment to pull over a driver based solely on an anonymous tip. (The police responding to the call did not see the driver do anything wrong.)

Some state courts have said this is not a search-and-seizure violation and some have said it is. How important do you think it is that this interpretation of federal constitutional law now varies from state to state? Should the U.S. Supreme Court become involved when a state has given what might be an overly generous meaning to a constitutional right? Or can we tolerate this diversity of interpretation?

Roberts displays empathy for potential victims of drunk drivers, but what about empathy for the decent driver who might be the target of some fellow citizen who decides he wants to make trouble for you? There's that ex-boyfriend/asshole neighbor/right-wing blogger having 2 glasses of wine with dinner and then heading out to his car for a super-careful 3-mile drive home. Let's call the cops! Is the world out of whack if the state of Virginia thinks the right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures requires a bit more than an anonymous tip?

"'Jesus's face' spotted on the toilet door in Ikea Glasgow."

Oh, yeah?

Well, I found Mary on that rock in Blue Mounds.

IN THE COMMENTS : bagoh20 said:
Heresy! Ikea? He was a carpenter, for his sake!

Yahoo sends the message that women are not welcome.

Yahoo certainly doesn't want to send the message that women are not welcome.

Not now that you noticed. But before, it seemed like a really good idea to have lap dancers at your company event.

Impressive status, no?

"New York City top cock."

"Are you seriously wanting this [parking] spot so badly?"

A $5 million lawsuit arising out of a deliberately run-over foot.

The blogger's response to a legalistic letter: mockery.

"... copious mockery, so that it becomes highly ranked in search engines where other people you threaten can find it and take heart."

There are new moves in the law game, and the old moves may backfire. It's fun to watch the way power evolves on line.

ADDED: Obviously, I need to link to BoingBoing to help the strategy.

AND: Nice to see Instapundit linking to BoingBoing again for this, really helping the strategy. And I like his "You're ugly too" kicker:
Plus, even the clothes were ugly. As ugly as the behavior. Ugly, ugly, ugly. Just thought I’d point that out.
Well, if they are required to take it down, they should replace it with a crudely drawn stick figure with the caption "artist rendering" underneath it.
Chip Ahoy responds:

October 20, 2009

Airport. Airplane. Airplane. Airport.







"I just wanted to give those animals some antidepressants."

That's what Chris (my son) texted me after he saw "Where the Wild Things Are," which he did not like.

"Can I blog your quote?"


"Anything more I can add?"

"The movie had the worst ponderous quality you could imagine in an adult art movie with the inaneness of a children's tv show. I can't imagine any child enjoying it. It also had a loud, abrasive element when Max was playing with the wild things that really came across as being a vision of childhood from someone who hates children but remembers being depressed as a child and therefore feels a vague connection to depressed children."

And that last part is definitely the longest text mesage I've ever received.

I listen to a 17-minute Glenn Beck riff.

You know, I've never watched his show or paid attention to the various clips that float around, but I listened to this 17-minute Glenn Beck riff, mainly because I've been meaning to blog about this Anita Dunn/Mao business. I found Beck quite engaging and humorous and articulate in a low-key (yet excitable) way. He has some interesting locutions. (I liked "non-nefarious reasons.") He's a good TV character.

As for Anita Dunn... what's that thing she's doing with her tongue? Did she eat a lot of peanut butter before going up to do her speech? Man, that is unattractive. But as for what she said:
"And Mao Tse Tung said, 'You know, you fight your war, and I'll fight mine.' And think about that for a second. You don't have to accept the definition of how to do things, and you don't have to follow other people's choices and paths, OK?"
"It is about your choices and your path. You fight your own war. You lay out your own path. You figure out what's right for you. You don't let external definitions define how good you are internally. You fight your war. You let them fight theirs. Everybody has their own path."
And if killing millions of people is right for you, don't let anyone stop you. You have your own path...

I can think of some non-nefarious reasons for saying that. Dunn is a bit of an idiot, and though she is the White House communications director, she's not too good at communicating. She doesn't seem to know that things you say can be looked at in more ways than the one you intend. I wonder how long she'll be kept around. Is there a bus coming along that path of hers?

Witches punished.

In India.
Five women were paraded naked, beaten and forced to eat human excrement by villagers after being branded as witches in India's Jharkhand state.

Correspondents say the abuse of women who are branded as witches is common, but rare footage of the incident has caused outrage across India.
The power of video overtakes the power of superstition.

Girls love the gay guy, Adam Lambert.

It makes perfect sense:
[A] gay man with an unabashed affection for eyeliner and nail polish has emerged... as a new American sex symbol. "I think it's beautiful," Lambert says. "That's the way it should be. It shouldn't matter what a person's sexual preference is — it doesn't change their appeal."...

"There was one woman in Jersey who was actually gorgeous," says Lambert. "She had obviously had a couple of cocktails, and during an after–show meet–and–greet, she just slithered up next to me and started kissing my neck. I was cool with it. But then it started to get a little weird because she was, like, moaning. She gave me a note that said, 'I want to make out with you, here's my number,' and I was like, wow, this is crazy. But again, it's cool. Because yeah, I am gay, but I like kissing women sometimes. Women are pretty. It doesn't mean I'm necessarily sleeping with them...."

"I don't see how all this is any different than—let's take a modern sex symbol like Brad Pitt. How many of these women who fantasize about him actually get to sleep with him?... It's all fantasy—that's what entertainment is."
Accordingly, he grapples a naked lady in a photoshoot. It's all fantasy.

In the Forest Café...


... you can get lost in thought.

"[I]t now appears there is little chance that the climate change negotiations in Copenhagen in December will produce a comprehensive and binding new treaty on global warming."

Who's more authentic Tom Waits/Bob Dylan or Britney Spears?

Musician Jack White thinks out loud:
"I don't know if Tom Waits and Bob Dylan are as authentic as I think they are. Perhaps they're not."

..."Sometimes you start thinking that maybe Britney Spears or someone like that who's doing exactly what they want to do in the way that they best know how, is more authentic than any of those people you could mention."
Think about it.

What psychological phenomena cause people to bond with right-wing radio they way they do?

CNN investigates the psychological mystery:

I found that over at Hot Air, where there is scoffing at the liberal network's attitude. Yet I wonder what was so wrong there? Is it that CNN wants to psychoanalyze the interest in right-wing radio? Although I think it is absurd to characterize conservatism as a disease that needs treatment, I am strongly drawn to analyzing why people believe what they do and why they find satisfaction in some ideas and not others. I don't think there is anything more compelling than that, and I've come to realize lately how much this orientation of mine underlies my blogging and my real-world relationships.

Remember when I got into that conflict with libertarians? It was because nothing interested me more than the psychological mechanisms that brought people to libertarianism. The libertarians were insulted and insisted on keeping me at the abstract level of judging their ideas in the terms that they used to state them. I wanted to penetrate into their psyches, and I know that's outrageous and annoying. It does fuel this blog though.

In a conference or a workshop or faculty meeting, when people talk, I never listen only to the ideas they  are expressing. I think about the psychology revealed by their choice of words, how long and intensely they speak, their facial contortions and tics, and the look in their eyes. (Revealing typo: I originally wrote "the look in their ideas.") I don't really know what their inner life is, and I realize they may have problems or illnesses or all sorts of secret things that are manifested as they speak, but I am always thinking about who they really are. I imagine how I would develop this character if I were writing a novel.

Now you might ask, following my lead: What is it about my psychology that makes me do that? Good! We are on the same wavelength. I want to think about that too. And I'm not ashamed of this psychoanalytic orientation of mine. What is life for if not to try to understand each other on a deep level? It's much more interesting than politics or law. Or rather: Politics and law are interesting because they spring from our humanity.

So the best question about right-wing radio, in my view, really is: What psychological phenomena cause people to bond with it the way they do?

ADDED:  "I heard the voice of america calling on my wavelength, telling me to tune in on my radio... You never let me down...."

About that rock.

Our delightful commenter Chip Ahoy has his way with the "sweet stone face" I put up on the blog last night.

Man chokes to death on a hot dog, and the police are looking for the murderer — somebody who attacked him back in 1965.

A 44-year-old assault is now a homicide.

"Deleting crude or offensive statements may make everything neat and tidy, but it also obscures unpleasant realities and prevents enlightened readers from addressing them in bold and creative ways."

Earlier this month, Andrew Sullivan attacked me because of some comments that appeared on a post I wrote. (My post tweaked him for his obsession with Sarah Palin's womb, and a few commenters said some mean things about him.) Today, Capital Times editor John Nichols defends me. (Why is he defending me now? I suspect it's because the Isthmus article, siding with Sullivan, is still ranking on that newssite's "most popular articles" list. That is, here in Madison, Wisconsin, it's still an issue.)

Nichols writes:
If a forum is truly open, it will attract its share of blustering bigots....

My view, for what it's worth, is that those of us who used to buy ink by the barrel but now discourse digitally should offer our views and then step out of the way and let our friends and foes have at it. As such, I've enjoyed more than my share of nasty comments about my sexuality, my mental health and my penchant for using the word "penchant." But what strikes me is that the crude comments invariably attract responses that check and balance them. Deleting crude or offensive statements may make everything neat and tidy, but it also obscures unpleasant realities and prevents enlightened readers from addressing them in bold and creative ways.
I appreciate Nichols's support for free speech... and for me, even as he says that I "tend[] toward the right edge of the ideological spectrum." Tend toward the right edge? I hope he means side. But if he really means edge, chalk it up to Madison, Wisconsin, where conservatism is right-wing extremism.

October 19, 2009

A sweet stone face.


Found in Blue Mounds State Park.

Madison, the 2nd best place in the country to raise children.

100 cities ranked best to worst. (Detroit is worst.)

Madison, the long view.


Do you see it — about 25 miles away? Look for the Capitol.

(Big enlargement. (Large embigment.))

The Democrats' extremely regressive tax.

"An excise tax on high-end health insurance benefits is an extremely regressive tax on the middle class."

Well, obviously.

At the Long Tongue Café...


... lap up some lunch and blab all you want.

Jonah gets a bad sandwich.

Jonah Goldberg says:
The other night, while eating a cold, dry semi-stale ham sandwich that I had purchased from a Wolfgang Puck Express station at  O'Hare airport, I wrote on my Twitter feed (I just can't say "I tweeted" with a straigh face. It sounds like someone is too delicate to admit they passed gas)...
Just don't "straigh" too far from the subject of your post. It's sandwiches. Sandwiches and selling out...

By the way, I think the expression "passed gas" is too delicate, so feel free to use the expression "I tweeted" next time you fart.
"Is there any top professional in any industry who has sold his soul more completely than Wolfgang Puck? he puts his name on airport crap."

I got some interesting responses. Some defend Puck on the grounds that he is in fact a great chef and "cashing in" isn't the same thing as "selling out."
I like when a celebrity chef risks his name on a fast-food franchise. He'll be motivated to make sure it's good. So Wolfgang owes Jonah a sandwich. I'm glad there are somewhat better places to eat in airports now, and I hope they get even better. Meanwhile, my experience with the Puck brand was eating here 2 nights in a row, the night before and the night after Meade and I got married on a mountain in Colorado. It was fabulous! The meals (and everything else).

Back to Jonah. He's trying to draw a distinction about good and bad cashing in, and he asks readers who is "America's number 1 sellout." But there are no comments over at The Corner, so feel free to answer that question here. And let's hear about some good sandwiches.

(Photo of an old mustard ad, which was covered in plastic and under bad fluorescent lighting at the Mustard Museum.)

Bathtub mustard, fungus...

I was out and about with my cameras yesterday in the vicinity of Mount Horeb. After focusing on fungus with my fisheye...

(Photo by Meade.)

... I was peeping at the Bathtub Venus at the Mustard Museum:


Obama legalizes marijuana.

As long as you live in Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont or Washington and have a sympathetic doctor and — what? — a headache?

Meanwhile, if you don't live in one of those places and/or you don't want to dissemble about why you want to use marijuana, you'll have to wait longer for the pleasures you assumed would have to be legalized as soon as the people who were young in the 1960s got old enough to fully infiltrate the government.


Background, from "Dreams From My Father":
I had learned not to care. I blew a few smoke rings, remembering those years. Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it. Not smack, though....

Junkie. Pothead. That's where I'd been headed: the final, fatal role of the young would-be black man. Except the highs hadn't been about that, me trying to prove what a down brother I was. Not by then, anyway. I got high for just the opposite effect, something that could push questions of who I was out of my mind, something that could flatten out the landscape of my heart, blur the edges of my memory. I had discovered that it didn't make any difference whether you smoked reefer in the white classmate's sparkling new van, or in the dorm room of some brother you'd met down at the gym, or on the beach with a couple of Hawaiian kids who had dropped out of school and now spent most of their time looking for an excuse to brawl. ... You might just be bored, or alone. Everybody was welcome into the club of disaffection.
So let's be clear. You can have marijuana for your medical conditions. (It's kind of the "blue pill," isn't it?) But you can't be using it to flatten out the landscape of your heart or to blur the edges of your memory.

Got any recipes?


The Paul Krugman Theory of the Disparate Effect of Partisan Annoyance.

He posits:
I have a theory here, although it may not be the whole story: it’s about careerism. Annoying conservatives is dangerous: they take names, hold grudges, and all too often find ways to take people who annoy them down. As a result, the Kewl Kids, as Digby calls them, tread very carefully when people on the right are concerned — and they snub anyone who breaks the unwritten rule and mocks those who must not be offended.

Annoying liberals, on the other hand, feels transgressive but has historically been safe. The rules may be changing (as Dubner and Levitt are in the process of finding out), but it’s been that way for a long time.
What? This does not connect with my observation of the world. What is he thinking of? Can we get some examples? A counter-example is what just happened to Rush Limbaugh (though I think Rush has taken names and will look for ways to take down the people who came after him).

I love the way Krugman is completely open about wanting to sic the liberals on Dubner and Levitt. And don't they deserve it for daring to look critically at climate change issues... and for pleasuring themselves with transgressiveness?
The “tell”, I’d suggest, is that once you get beyond those for whom the decision about whom to laugh at is a career move, people don’t, in fact, seem to find mocking liberals funnier than mocking conservatives.
I can't even get beyond that sentence. Krugman is never going to with the Nobel Prize for Syntax.

But here's a humor idea if we're talking about humor ideas. How about mocking whatever deserves mockery at any given time? I'm mocking Krugman right now, for example, mainly because he doesn't make too much sense. You know, that is the tell, not making sense. You must really want to take down Dubner and Levitt, because you are blogging repeatedly and incoherently against them. Without transition, you went from a theory about annoying liberals/conservatives — by questioning their beliefs and policies — to a theory about what's funnier.

Now, the Ste[v/ph]ens, Dubner and Levitt, are about to make a ton of money with "SuperFreakonomics" — as they did with plain old "Freakonomics" — and that is, indeed, pretty annoying. I think it's pretty clear that Krugman is irked that contrarianism sells and that — in a media world where liberalism dominates — there's a temptation to veer right just to be exciting. Krugman, I think, would like to make sure that that sort of transgression is punished. It's just not fair — I picture him thinking — for people who are supposed to be liberal — to reap $$$$ by hurting liberal causes, so let's damn any liberal who doesn't toe the liberal line as a careerist


I followed Krugman's Digby link and see "this kewl kidz and mean girls nonsense from the press has to stop." Krugman seems to have missed the "z." But he might be better off that way. I looked up "kewl kidz" and "kewl kids" in Urban Dictionary and got nothing. I looked up "kewl" and the #1 definition, by a wide margin is:
1.  A stupid way of spelling "cool". Made up by morons.
"I'm a stupid whore who spells cool "kewl"
So, I'm thinking it's not too cool to write "kewl" — and certain it's uncool to write "kewl" and link to Digby.

October 18, 2009

Looking down on the fall foliage: 3 views.

From the hotel in Washington, D.C.:


From the airplane flying into Detroit:


Back in Wisconsin, from a lookout tower in Blue Mounds State Park:


At the Cabinet Café...


... don't keep yourself all boxed up.

(The photograph is a detail of "The Bureau of Bureaucracy." I liked this depiction — in veneer — of a gap between a pillar and a tree stump. What it means to say about govenment, I'm not too sure. I tend to enjoy surrealism, free-floating.)

"We men have complicated relationships with our penises...."

"We follow them (that’s why they’re in front). They tell us what we like. They have minds of their own. We anthropomorphize them; some give them names (I don’t; it’s just it). So when I see mine looking like an emaciated, depressed, shrunken old man in a hospital bed, well, it’s hard not to empathize."

Hey, guess what?

Gah. Don't give them any more attention. I'm not even blogging that. No link. Ignore.

"Then why don't you get William F. Buckley to kill the spider?"

I love this scene in "Annie Hall":

I was watching it this morning because I'd made an allusion to it in the comments over in the "Althouse in Washington" post — which, not too surprisingly, no one seemed to get. It wasn't the stuff about William F. Buckley. That's just the thing that makes me laugh the most — and also I thought I might be able to encourage my Woody Allen-o-phobic right-wing readers to go ahead and watch the clip.        
What?  Did you go to a rock concert?... Was it heavy?  Did it achieve total heavy-ocity?... Why don't you get the guy who took you to the rock concert, we'll call him and he can come over and kill the spider....

What is this?  What are you, since when do you read the "National Review"?  What are you turning in to?... Why don't you get William F. Buckley to kill the spider?...

Are you going with a right-wing rock-and roll star?  Is that possible?
IN THE COMMENTS: EDH not only identifies the allusion, he remembers this clip of me in "Annie Hall" mode:

My "where is the camera?" response is also like the lobster scene.

Paul Krugman censors the comments on his global warming post.

"I’m going to block comments here, because I know it will be overwhelmed," he says.

What is the theory here, economist guy? You don't want too many people on your webpage? The obvious theory is that you don't like what people are going to say on your post that demands that we all bow to the scientific consensus on global warming. As Barack Obama likes to say the time for debate is over. We need to shut up now.

Krugman, like quite a few others, is writing about the new Freakonomics book — "SuperFreakonomics" — which says some inconvenient things about global warming:
The chapter [on global warming] opens with the “global cooling” story — the claim that 30 years ago there was a scientific consensus that the planet was cooling, comparable to the current consensus that it’s warming.

Um, no.... What you had in the 70s was a few scientists advancing the cooling hypothesis, and a few popular media stories hyping their suggestions....

What you have today is a massive research program involving thousands of scientists...

And then we come to a bit of economics. The book asks
Do the future benefits from cutting emissions outweigh the costs of doing so? Or are we better off waiting to cut emissions later — or even, perhaps, polluting at will and just learning to live in a hotter world?

The economist Martin Weitzman analyzed the best available climate models and concluded that the future holds a 5 percent chance of a terrible-case scenario....
Yikes. I read Weitzman’s paper, and have corresponded with him on the subject — and it’s making exactly the opposite of the point they’re implying it makes. Weitzman’s argument is that uncertainty about the extent of global warming makes the case for drastic action stronger, not weaker.
I don't see what's all "yikes" about taking an economist's assessment of the chance of something happening and then drawing a different conclusion about what policies ought to be adopted. And Krugman is accusing the authors — Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner — of misrepresenting what Weitzman said. I haven't read Weitzman or "SuperFreakonomics," but on the face of it, the accusation is incoherent.

And Krugman blocks commenting, on the purported theory that he can't be overwhelmed. Ha ha. He would be overwhelmed by comments saying he hasn't made a coherent point.  He's hoping we will bow to his economics expertise and the fact that he's read Weitzman, he knows Weitzman. And it's harder to make gullible NYT readers buy that when the comments are ruthlessly poking holes in it.

The global warming "consensus" is all about telling us to stop talking and bow to expertise. That pose is laughable in a world of new media where you can no longer turn off the comments.