March 29, 2023

Sunrise — 6:47.


"'I’m going to have to tell shorter stories,' Mets announcer Keith Hernandez said this month..."

".... after rapid pitches (and quick outs) interrupted his anecdotes. A half-inning barely gave him time to recall his minor league days in Tulsa long ago, when he hit Leon Russell’s nightclub to see Eric Clapton or Freddie King."

By "returning to the past," he means that in the old days, the games averaged something like 2½ hours, and in recent years, the average had elongated into 3 hours 11 minutes. Under the new rule, which sets a 15-second clock — 7 seconds for the batter to get ready and 8 seconds for the pitcher to start the windup — we seem to be returning to the old game length.

"It’s amazing how hearing the umpire yell 'Strike!' or 'Ball!' as a penalty, just because you have dawdled an instant too long, can speed up a fellow’s metabolism."

Sounds a little nerve-wracking. And too umpire-y. Too officious. Why were we watching? Maybe we loved the languors and the anecdotes.

"Genuine users are rightly outraged at the idea of being blackmailed into paying Musk to prove who they are."

"These people — the signal amid the Twitter noise — are, after all, a core component of the value of the network. So of course they shouldn’t (and won’t) pay — and so their visibility on Twitter will decay.... In a further twist, only paying users will get a vote in future Twitter policy polls — meaning Musk will guarantee populist decision-making is rigged in his fanboys’ favor...."

Writes Natasha Lomas in "Twitter is dying" (TechCrunch).

"Last year, federal prosecutors in the [Washington D.C.] U.S. attorney’s office chose not to prosecute 67 percent of those arrested..."

"... by police officers in cases that would have been tried in D.C. Superior Court.... In an interview, Matthew M. Graves, the Biden-appointed U.S. attorney for the District, said his office was continuing to prosecute the vast majority of violent felonies. He said prosecutors were declining less serious cases for myriad reasons, including that the city’s crime lab remained unaccredited and police body-camera footage was subjecting arrests to more scrutiny...."

"Not every time, but most times, you select Twitter and put the name 'The Kinks' in there, and it warns that it could be quirky stuff, like a porn star or kink porn."

"Of course it isn’t. We’ve been the Kinks. It’s a band name that we’ve had since ’63. We used it perfectly fine all of these years. I think this needs to be cleared up, because it puts people off, having a warning sign on their posts. You think you’re doing something you shouldn’t do. I hope there’s someone out there that can do something.... I’m a big admirer of Elon Musk and his work. Maybe they’ve set a program into motion that they can’t sunset. I don’t know. They must be able to unravel it somehow...."

Said Dave Davies, quoted in "We Are the Viral Tweet Restoration Society/The Kinks’ Dave Davies says Twitter is suppressing his band’s content—and he knows why" (Slate).

"If it’s happening to us, I’m sure it would happen to a lot of people with slightly devious names. The whole idea of being creative, it’s to come up with new things, or different and unusual things. So, it’s going to put a damper on creative ideas.... I can choose what words I want to say—'hello,' 'good day,” and 'how are you'—and it shouldn’t be limited by certain rules or regulations, which might rule that you can only say 'hello' and 'goodbye.'..."

"Appropriately titled 'Tightness-Looseness Across the 50 United States,' the study calculated a catalog of measures for each state..."

"... including the incidence of natural disasters, disease prevalence, residents’ levels of openness and conscientiousness, drug and alcohol use, homelessness and incarceration rates.... The South dominated the tight states: Mississippi, Alabama Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Louisiana, Kentucky, South Carolina and North Carolina. With two exceptions — Nevada and Hawaii — states in New England and on the West Coast were the loosest: California, Oregon, Washington, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Vermont...."

I'm going to read "Fear pervades Tennessee's trans community amid focus on Nashville shooter's gender identity."

At NBC News. 

The headline signals that we are to prioritize empathy for members of the trans community because they are experiencing fear rather than to want to find out what happened and what role transgenderism may have played in the murder spree. This is the idea that just to talk about the subject or to want to understand and analyze something having to do with transgender people is already inflicting a harm: fear. The message is: Don't even think about it, move on, because your attention is hurting vulnerable people.

This, though three 9-year-old children were murdered, along with 3 adults, and our natural empathy would go to them. Instead, we're expected to look away because trans people feel fear of what you might think if you think about it. Indeed, fear pervades the trans community — at least in Tennessee.

From the article:
Within 10 minutes of police saying that the suspect was transgender, the hashtag #TransTerrorism trended on Twitter.

I reveal the name of the puzzle cited in yesterday's post, "She feels that curves are far more appealing than angles...."

I didn't want to spoil the day's "Name Drop" puzzle, but now that I've updated the post, I'm afraid you won't see it and some other new material that I added there, and because I think some of it is kind of cool, I'm going to repeat it here, after the jump:

The annoying use of "you" in headlines these days is especially annoying when they assign mistakes to you that you haven't made.

I found this one especially irksome: "Why You Fell for the Fake Pope Coat/The pope didn’t actually wear that great jacket, but a lot of people were ready to believe he did" (The Atlantic).

I didn't think this really happened, did you? The Atlantic article explains "why" something that didn't happen — my falling for the fake Pope coat — happened and offers to help me not make such non-mistakes in the future. I haven't read the advice about not falling for AI-generated images because, on my own, I'm experiencing and developing skepticism and powers of observation and common sense.

In the case of the Pope's coat, it's way overdetermined that he didn't wear that. The Pope is unlikely to ever be anywhere so cold that a coat like that would even be comfortable. And if he was, he'd have to wear more of a hat than his usual minimal beanie, and he would need mittens. The source photo had to be taken indoors, probably on a fashion runway. And it screams "fashion." And the Pope never wears things that speak of fashion. It's always only traditional garb. Finally, what's he carrying? A water bottle? The Pope is never going to hydrate while out walking. I'm sure he has people to provide him with water if he needs it, but he'd never dangle a plastic bottle from his fingertips.

March 28, 2023

Sunrise — 7:14.

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"I once felt that I would rather die than go blind. Now I feel the opposite. Daily life has a renewed delight and vigor."

"I am learning new things constantly. The most ordinary tasks, like going to the post office, have become terrifically interesting. In terms of everyday life, I feel that I am finally in there, more mindful and alert, more fully present. I have chosen curiosity over despair. When my disability was invisible, I irritated strangers constantly — they thought I was rude or dithering or both. People are impatient when they don’t know why you’re holding up the line. Now that I signal my disability with a white cane, I find that I have tapped a well of visible kindness.... Like a Buster Keaton film, my life is full of mishaps and averted disasters...."

Writes Edward Hirsch, who has been going blind for 20 years, in "I Am Going Blind, and I Now Find It Strangely Exhilarating" (NYT).

Beautiful! And I like that he brought up Buster Keaton. I've watched 3 short Buster Keaton movies in the last month — "Neighbors," "The Goat," and "Playhouse":

Blaming Michael Cohen for the Manhattan D.A.'s difficulties indicting Trump.

I'm trying to read "How Michael Cohen’s Big Mouth Could Be Derailing the Trump Prosecution" (NY Magazine).

Key witness Michael Cohen and his pathological need for media attention have not been making things easier.... He clearly thinks very highly of himself and seems to have little awareness of his limitations.... He appears constitutionally incapable of telling the same story twice in the same way.... He is also obsessed with taking down his former boss Trump... [H]e could be confronted with inconsistent or problematic past statements.... 

"U.S. prosecutors on Tuesday charged a Wisconsin man with firebombing a conservative anti-abortion group's office last May..."

"... just days after a leaked draft of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling overturning the nationwide right to abortion became public. Hridindu Sankar Roychowdhury, 29, was arrested at an airport in Boston after authorities said DNA from a thrown-away bag containing a partially eaten burrito had helped them identify who caused the May 8 fire at Wisconsin Family Action's office."

"For a long time, the dominant thinking about Latinos was that they complicated the Black-white binary that has defined race in the United States."

"Recently, though, some Afro-Latinos have argued that Latinos have reinforced it. There are Black Latinos and white Latinos, who each experience the world differently. [Nancy López, an Afro-Dominican sociologist at the University of New Mexico] has argued that Latinos’ different experiences stem from their 'street race,' meaning how they are perceived when they walk down the street.... 'Now we’re just gonna mix race, ethnicity, and origin, everything,' she told me. 'It’s all the same. We’re all the same color. No, that’s not the reality. And to say otherwise is to eradicate our ability to document inequities based on what you look like.'... [I]t is hard to imagine what the shared racial characteristics of Latinos are. Proponents of the combined question say that the experience of anti-Latino discrimination defines Latinos as a race. This seems to grant too much power to non-Latinos to define who Latinos are, and doesn’t acknowledge how Latinos, even if they are racialized, are racialized differently depending on factors such as skin color and class background...."

Sunrise — 6:53.

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"A Russian man who was detained by police after his daughter drew anti-war pictures at school was sentenced on Tuesday to two years..."

"...after being convicted of discrediting the armed force. But in a dramatic turn of events, a court spokesperson said the man, Alexei Moskalyov, had fled house arrest overnight and his whereabouts were currently not known.... [H]is daughter, a sixth-grader, refused to participate in a patriotic class at her school and made several drawings showing rockets being fired at a family standing under a Ukrainian flag and another that said 'Glory to Ukraine!'"