May 13, 2021

Patchwork garden.


"A few weeks ago, I met my first Millennial grandparent. I was interviewing a woman in her late 30s..."

"... about President Joe Biden’s new child-tax-credit proposal, and she mentioned that it would benefit not just her two young kids but her older son’s kid too. The incidental meeting was a reminder both that Millennials are getting older and that they are doing so without growing up, at least not in the way that many of them might wish. The woman I interviewed does not own a home, nor is she anywhere close to affording one. She has nothing in the way of savings. Nevertheless, she is a grandmother, catapulting into middle age."

From "Why Millennials Can’t Grow Up/ Today’s economic conditions are not just holding Millennials back. They are stratifying them, leading to unequal experiences within the generation as well as between it and other cohorts" by Annie Lowrey (The Atlantic).

ADDED: How did anyone "grow up" in the past? We had "economic conditions" back then too. I'm not blogging this article because I agree with it. I just thought the notion of millennials as grandparents was interesting. I myself am still not a grandparent, but I had to stop and think that my sons are old enough to be grandparents, and I am therefore old enough to be a great grandparent!

"In a sharp turnabout from previous recommendations, federal health officials on Thursday advised that Americans who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus may stop wearing masks or maintaining social distance in most indoor and outdoor settings, regardless of size."

The NYT reports. 

“The science is clear: If you are fully vaccinated, you are protected, and you can start doing the things that you stopped doing because of the pandemic,” the C.D.C. said in a statement on Thursday.

The new advice comes with caveats. Even vaccinated individuals must cover their faces and physically distance when going to doctors, hospitals or long-term care facilities like nursing homes; when traveling by bus, plane, train or other modes of public transportation, or while in transportation hubs like airports and bus stations; and when in prisons, jails or homeless shelters.

In deference to local authorities, the C.D.C. said vaccinated Americans must continue to abide by existing state, local, or tribal laws and regulations, and follow local rules for businesses and workplaces....

Great. I hope my locality takes the cue.  

It's about time that those of us who've taken the vaccination get a return on our willingness to participate. The tables need to turn, so that those who are holding back are incurring the burden. There's no difficulty getting a vaccine for yourself now, so it's become unreasonable to demand that the vaccinated limit our freedom for the sake of the unvaccinated. Incentivize progress.

UPDATE: Our local newspaper says:

Dane County’s local COVID-19 mask order will remain in effect at least until May 18 as officials review new guidance from the the Centers for Disease Control that loosened masking rules for vaccinated people. 

It takes 5 days just to think about this — this, the same thing they've been thinking about for months. I'd say it shows they don't care how much they hold back commerce, social life, and individual freedom. They should have been ready to receive the new CDC report and declare an end to the mask mandate immediately. If they could think of the idea that we need to wait until at least May 18th, they could think of the idea of ending the mandate. It's not complex, given all this time and the new CDC report. Pathetic!



"But what I’ve been learning through TikTok is it’s always better when you keep it simple. There’s this balance of having enough stuff in there that it’s layered..."

"... so it has rewatchability, but not so much that you don’t know what to look at. For this video, we shot it first and then tried to figure out what we would green-screen behind me. I searched some different 3-D-asset websites to find a horse. We decided to have the horse grow and shrink to inject humor into the drama. It could have worked as a PNG that scales up and down, but I wanted that feeling of it getting bigger above us, so I learned just enough on Blender, a 3-D program. With each video, I watch a few more tutorials. I feel like a TikTok try-hard. I wish I could just do a quick thing. Maybe one day I’ll get there."

Said Lubalin, quoted in "12 Video Creators on Their Hardest Edit Ever/It’s all fun and games until you need to shrink a horse" (NY Magazine). 

Here's the video he's talking about, "15,000 pound horse" (from his brilliant "internet drama" series, which appropriates text from other people's random internet conflicts and sets them to music).

"The guest was initially stopped because her shorts exposed a significant portion of her buttocks. She was given multiple opportunities to change or cover up..."

"... but refused. Instead, she responded with profanity and offensive conduct, including further exposing her buttocks." 

Six Flags responds to the woman who Facebooked her outrage at being asked to leave the amusement park because her shorts were extremely short. 

From the Facebook post: "Then [the park police officer] proceeded to follow me and grabbed my shoulder to turn me around and proceeded to tell me my shorts were 'too short.' I committed no crime and proceeded to walk to my boyfriend as I am autistic and have a hard time talking to officers. She followed me yelling and calling for backup... [W]e were about to leave and were blocked by your female officer from leaving and she pulled out her cuffs and demanded my ID. When we asked for probable cause their answer was 'because they are the police.'"

Video clip at the link, showing part of the interaction with the cop. Without the full context, I'm not going to opine on what the cop did. I'm wary of these videos that begin after conflict has escalated. But I support the park's requirement that guests keep their buttocks in their pants! By the way, the woman with the shorts is a petite and pretty white woman. The cop is a large black woman. Whatever the buttock exposure policy is at Six Flags, it has to be the same for whites and blacks, for the slim and the fat. Enforcing the policy on this woman is, I think, evidence that Six Flags is treating all its guests the same. Rules are rules. No exceptions.

"Those who are least engaged are very comfortable working from home. Those who are überly engaged with the company want to go to the office two-thirds of the time, at least."

Said Sandeep Mathrani, the C.E.O. of WeWork, quoted in "WeWork’s C.E.O. says ‘least engaged’ employees enjoy working from home" (NYT).

So even the "überly engaged" only want to go in 2/3 of the time?

Having people show up at the office is a good way to test dedication — make sure you've got the right kind of people working for you. Not these balky people — people with a life of their own, working intermittently — efficiently — and doing what-all with their extra time. In the office, claiming any time of your own takes craft and stealthiness. I mean how often do you have sex or take a nap or whatever? If you're really "engaged" with your work, you just lock in and go like a machine, until 8, 10, 12 hours fly by. Obviously, the boss wants the engaged worker, and don't you want to be one too? Don't you want the non-engaged gone from your workplace? Another way to phrase that is: Would you hire yourself?

Backyard protractor wheatfield.


Yes, it's our backyard. Yes, it's a wheatfield. Obviously, it's in the shape of a protractor — an old-time-y open-center protractor.

"Found this on the side of the road in my neighborhood. Thought it was a brain, then dissected it and now I have no idea."

"Lots of small lobes, fuzzy inside, rubbery?... The dark part almost looked like fabric, although it could have picked that up from the ground. It did not smell like formaldehyde, it smelled kind of sour. It was rubbery and stayed together fairly well, but soft and easily crumbled into the 'lobes.' Found in a residential neighborhood."  

Said the man who posted on the whatisthisthing subreddit, only to find out the thing he'd become fascinated by was dog shit.

And isn't that a metaphor for life itself? 

Well, maybe but don't talk about that on r/whatisthisthing. The moderators will crack down on you: "This thread is locked because the hundreds of now removed comments discussing 'how amazing this thread is' are not considered helpful, and thus violate our rules. The item has been identified and there's not much else to say about it."

It's a subreddit for identifying the item, not for taking off and having fun with your random bullshit, even when the item is shit.

"We are closed" is trending on Twitter.

For the Annals of Lateral Thinking: Ohio makes vaccinating into a million-dollar lottery.

Governor Mike DeWine announces on Twitter: 

Two weeks from tonight on May 26th, we will announce a winner of a separate drawing for adults who have received at least their first dose of the vaccine. This announcement will occur each Wednesday for five weeks, and the winner each Wednesday will receive one million dollars.

The pool of names for the drawing will be derived from the Ohio Secretary of State’s publicly available voter registration database. Further, we will make available a webpage for people to sign up for the drawings if they are not in a database we are using. The Ohio Department of Health will be the sponsoring agency for the drawings, and the Ohio Lottery will conduct them. The money will come from existing federal Coronavirus Relief Funds.

To be eligible to win, you must be at least 18 years of age or older on the day of the drawing. You must be an Ohio resident. And, you must be vaccinated before the drawing. We will have further, specific details tomorrow and in the days ahead.

I know that some may say, “DeWine, you’re crazy! This million-dollar drawing idea of yours is a waste of money.” But truly, the real waste at this point in the pandemic -- when the vaccine is readily available to anyone who wants it -- is a life lost to COVID-19.

You could spend $5 million on ads cajoling people — or shaming them — into getting vaccinated. One way or another, it costs money to complete the vaccination project. The great thing about the lottery idea is that it's an effort to reach minds that are not primarily oriented to science — people who are emotional and transrational.

Am I making up the word "transrational"? I had to look it up. I can't credit myself with coinage. There's a whole Wikipedia article, but let's see if it means what I — in my thwarted word-coining effort — had in mind:

May 12, 2021




"Liz Cheney is a bitter, horrible human being. I watched her yesterday and realized how bad she is for the Republican Party."

"She has no personality or anything good having to do with politics or our Country. She is a talking point for Democrats, whether that means the Border, the gas lines, inflation, or destroying our economy. She is a warmonger whose family stupidly pushed us into the never-ending Middle East Disaster, draining our wealth and depleting our Great Military, the worst decision in our Country’s history. I look forward to soon watching her as a Paid Contributor on CNN or MSDNC!" 

So blogs Donald Trump. I got there via Memeorandum, not because I check Trump's blog with regularity. The link went to the post page, not to the blog proper, and I was thrown for a moment by the words just above the post: "back to feed."

Those words appear right next to an image of Trump bent over a table, and, without looking more closely, I thought: He's back to feed — feed upon the other politicians, upon the journalists, upon random tidbits of American culture. We're all a grand feast for him! I think of Robert Bork's "I think it would be an intellectual feast...."

But of course, "back to feed" was a hot link, a place to click, that would get you back to his "feed," that is, his blog. If you're on an individual post page of my blog, the hot link to click on says "Home." It would be weird if it said "feed." But this is an out-and-proud blog, and Trump's blog is trying to seem like Twitter. Arguably, Twitter is a blog — "micro-blogging" — but it's different from a blog because all the blogs are interwoven in one humongous feed. There we feed/we are the feed.


I learned a new word just now. Seeing it in a headline — "Clooneys gazumped me for French vineyard, rival buyer says" (London Times) — I thought it might be a made-up word. But the OED identifies it as a slang word that goes back to 1928:
1928 Daily Express 19 Dec. 2/7 ‘Gazoomphing the sarker’ is a method of parting a rich man from his money. An article is auctioned over and over again, and the money bid each time is added to it. ...
1934 P. Allingham Cheapjack xv. 189 Grafters speak a language comprised of every possible type of slang... Quite a number of words are Yiddish. These include ‘gezumph’, which means to cheat or to overcharge. 
1971 Guardian 8 Nov. 13/2 ‘Gazumping’—a system of profiteering by double selling and pushing prices up—is creeping into the property market... The word is car trade slang for selling to one buyer and then, as values rise, to a second buyer.

It means "To swindle; spec. to act improperly in the sale of houses, etc."

As the Times article notes, gazumping violates French law.

Guy Azzari, the buyer’s lawyer, alleges his client had agreed a price of €6 million (£5.14 million) in August for the six-bedroom 18th-century bastide set in 172 hectares that include woodland, an olive grove, a vineyard and an ornamental lake.

The seller is accused of raising the price after the offer was accepted, and it says here that there's "no suggestion that the Clooneys did anything unlawful, or indeed knew of the alleged gazumping." 

"Gazumping" should not be confused with "galumphing," which is one of the many words coined by Lewis Carroll in "Jabberwocky." "Galumphing" is clumsy, heavy walking. And we know the dashing George and the lovely Amal would never do that.

He left it dead, and with its head/He went galumphing back....

That's got nothing to do with celebs attaching their names to the trendiness of rosé wine.

"I picture 5 people in a barrel... A table made of bread etc... Green garbage-less grass stretching in yoga poses..."

Meade writes, in a text that quotes this:
"A group of five people sat around a campfire in a barrel next to a table of bread, donuts, oranges, graham crackers and water. Green grass with no garbage stretched out between the clusters of tents.”

The quote comes from an article in The Wisconsin State Journal, "City softens approach to close homeless camp, explores options for men's shelter site."

I had to read the quote carefully to see what was so funny about Meade's interpretation and then I laughed a lot. 

A group of five people sat... in a barrel next to a table of bread.... Green grass... stretched out.... 

Of course, the problem of homelessness isn't funny, though if you have the patience to read the linked article, you might find the slow-moving confusion of city officials something to laugh at.

FROM THE EMAIL: Douglas is reminded of the 3 Wise Men of Gotham. Here's the nursery rhyme:

Three wise men of Gotham,

They went to sea in a bowl,

And if the bowl had been stronger

My song would have been longer

But what's the story behind that? Wikipedia explains

"I do miss the quiet, the strange peace, the empty streets, the feeling of solidarity among those of us who stayed, who don’t have country houses or parents or fancy friends with guest rooms."

"Perhaps this is because it reminds me of the East Village I moved into 40 years ago, when streets were deserted at night; when you could make out on your doorstep for an hour and not a soul would pass to catcall; when you knew your neighbors, knew the shopkeepers. We’re all in this together, that was the feeling. Despite the dirt, the rampant crime (one block west boasted one of the city’s highest murder rates, as drug gangs fought for turf), we were a community. Just by buying bread at the bakery around the corner (sturdy semolina, nothing fancy), I was invited to dinner at Phyllis’s, the counterwoman’s, house and later to her granddaughter’s wedding. The block was bustling with seemingly indestructible old women—Polish, Sicilian, Irish, Spanish—who would, before sunset, drag folding chairs to the sidewalk to watch another day dwindle.... This is how it felt during lockdown. Passers-by might be few, but those of us remaining, we were in it together. Fear of crime might be replaced by fear of contagion, but if fear doesn’t drive people apart, it can drive them together."

From "'Sometimes I Miss the Lockdown' On silence, solidarity and a feeling, a year later, of life on thin ice in the city" by Thomas McKean