December 7, 2004

Anonymous lawprof?

I say this is a law student, very awkwardly imagining what goes on in a lawprof's mind. Clue to law students: we don't sit around obsessing about how much we don't like you and how we can hurt you. I have never in twenty years of teaching law school encountered a law professor who had an attitude like this about students.

UPDATE: I should note that I don't like to link to this this blog. I'm only linking to it because it has been double linked by JD2B and linked by Volokh Conspiracy, How Appealing, and various law student blogs, which means that many law students and prospective law students are likely to read it and have their anxieties about law school stoked. On the positive side, the blog offers an opportunity to hone one's critical reading skills. I think you can find evidence in nearly every sentence that the author is a law student. Now, there is nothing wrong with writing a fictionalized blog from the perspective of someone other than yourself--and this blog does identify itself as fiction--but readers seem to be assuming the writer is a lawprof adopting the veil of anonymity in order to reveal the dirty secrets that he's in a position to know and not a law student projecting his own emotions.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Eric Muller has renamed this guy "Anonymous Law Student" and is having fun pointing out his obvious gaffes.

A emailer suggests that the writer is a former law student, based on today's post, which has the fictional lawprof serving on what the writer clumsily calls the "re-admission committee," but which an actual lawprof would probably call the Retentions Committee. Perhaps, our writer has failed at law school. (Maybe it's that possibly nonfictional drinking problem.) Which law school is it? I wonder. I Google "re-admissions committee" and discover that a couple schools do have a "re-admissions committee." If I were looking for the blog writer, I'd start at Fordham Law School.

By the way, do lawprofs use the U.S. News terminology to refer to their schools? I think the expression "first tier law school" is mostly law student talk. A lawprof is unlikely to introduce himself as a "tenured law professor at a first tier law school."

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: An emailer with some experience talking to lawprofs says he's heard the term "first tier law school" used to identify their schools when those schools are in the lower part of what U.S. News calls the "first tier" (that is, its top 100). Those at higher level schools would tend use the smallest available rounded off number and say they teach at a top 20, top 30, or top 40 school.

Things that remind me of Pop.

Yesterday, one of my posts was on the Rip & Read Blogger Podcast, so I gave it a listen. It was funny to hear the reader read my paragraph out loud and then say something like "Yeah, I agree with that." It reminded me of my grandfather, Pop, who used to read the newspaper, and if he ran across a sentence or two that seemed interesting, he'd just read it out loud to whoever was in the room and then maybe add a little comment. My grandmother (Mom) did that too, come to think about it. Was that a widespread practice among people who were born before the days of radio? It was a bit like blogging, wasn't it?


... the semester just ended!


Nina has made it back to her homeland Poland, arriving in Warsaw and taking the train to Krakow. She writes:
I love Warsaw and I am fiercely protective of her. Krakow, the beauty queen, did not suffer in the way Warsaw did in the twentieth century. Warsaw has scars like the kid who once had a bad case of acne. Scars that are difficult for others to understand. Scars of destruction followed by poverty. Warsaw has grit and determination to make something of herself and I just love her to death for it.

Once when colleagues traveled here and later showed me photos they took – I remember vividly one of a decrepit park bench – I cried. Is this the way you see her? --I asked.

Loving her as much as I do allows me to look critically as well. Driving in from the airport is revealing. These are the streets I remember: blocks of apartments that westerners regard as quaintly decrepit in their ugliness. I think—oh how happy are the inhabitants! They have their own apartment in Warsaw and they have their neighborhood and I bet they feel at home there.

Go over there and read it all and see the photographs. More, much more, will surely ensue.

Awards I've never cared about.

The new Grammy nominations just came out, and I couldn't care less. Back in the 1960s when I really cared about new music, the Grammys were clueless and irrelevant. Check out what won record of the year and album of the year back in those days. I'll never get over the feeling that the Grammys are utterly pointless.

Fear of tall buildings.

How do you build up the urban center of a city with a central landmark that everyone wants to be able to see from any position on the ground?

A miswritten law.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals notices a nonsensical "and," retrieves the original parchment signed by President Clinton, and the case of a man convicted of distributing child pornography is remanded for resentencing, permitting the judge to impose only a fine.
"It is inconceivable," prosecutors wrote, "that Congress meant to permit judges to impose either a fine or a 10-year term, and nothing in between, on first offenders."...

Judge [Gerard E.] Lynch, when he sentenced [Jorge Pabon-Cruz], called the 10-year penalty "unjust and harmful." He said that it had "the potential to do disastrous damage to someone who himself is not much more than a child."

The fortuitous discovery of a drafting error enabled the judges to wriggle out of the mandatory sentencing I presume they hate.

"People now just let thoughts drool out onto the screen."

The NYT reports on abysmal business memos. What makes this front page news? Haven't business memos always been badly written? ("Whadya Know" has long ridiculed business memos on its "Thanks for the Memos" feature.)

The hook in today's Times piece is that email is making people write badly in new ways. The young can't write business email because they are carrying over the style they developed in text messaging and personal email. Older workers are finding their language skills newly exposed as email replaces the telephone. Things that sounded fine spoken are an embarrassing mess written down.

UPDATE: I just corrected two typos, which, I'm told, were "ironic typos."

So why don't I just admit it?

I set up a poll the other day asking readers to help me understand why my blog qualified to be nominated in the "Best Conservative Blog" category on the Weblog Awards. (And feel free to vote for me again!) As I write this, 718 people have answered my poll, and the big winner seems to be "Because you really are a big right-winger, so why don't you just admit it?" with 29.8% of the vote. So, what, am I supposed to "admit it" now?

The way I see it "Because you really are a big right-winger, so why don't you just admit it?" is like "moral values" coming in first on that exit poll in the last election. It's first, because another, better option has been broken down into two ideas. In the exit poll, "moral values" did not place first if you combined Iraq and war on terrorism percentages into a single "national security" item. By the same token, I think it makes some sense to make one item out of "Because you live in Madison, Wisconsin and are so far from the local norm, which is a conservative distinction worthy of note" and "Because you've devised a fascinating, individualized way of being conservative." This "individualistically conservative" option is polling at 40.6 percent.

What I'll admit is that I prefer that interpretation of the poll. I'll also admit that the option I believed to be the most accurate explanation when I wrote the poll is the one that is coming in last: "Because they were scattering blogs they wanted to nominate into various categories and that's just where you ended up." And I can see a theory for putting that into a single category with "Because the vast right-wing conspiracy has a plot to win you over through positive reinforcement" under the theory that it's not about me at all but something the pollmaker was up to. That option is polling at 29.7%, practically the same as "big right-winger."

UPDATE: An emailer has a better answer:
I think you're missing an important feature of internet polls: The
funny answers win, not the correct ones. :)

For instance, the last place option, the one you think is correct, is
the only answer that was written seriously, instead of amusingly. I
think it's the correct option too. Yet, I voted for "Because the vast
right-wing conspiracy has a plot to win you over through positive
reinforcement," because the concept amused me...

Don't worry, I read your blog precisely because I see you as NOT being
a right-winger, but instead a common-sense moderate.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Another theory:
[T]he real reason for the best conservative blog nomination is a vast LEFT-wing conspiracy to get you labeled as a right-wing blog so that leftists won't read it... :)

The shunning instinct on the left is powerful, I've noticed.

December 6, 2004

The economics of religion.

Business Week has an article about the economic analysis of religion. Here's an interesting passage about terrorism:
The idea that religion involves rational choices extends even to suicide bombers who strike in the name of God. Studies show they are far from depressed loners or brainwashed robots. Instead, says Eli Berman, an associate professor of economics at the University of California at San Diego, suicide bombers typically are motivated young men -- and, rarely, women -- from average backgrounds. Berman, who has studied Hamas, the Taliban, and like groups, says the bombers share a sense of obligation to what amounts to a "mutual-aid society." Says Berman: "They think of themselves as making great sacrifices for a cause -- the way we would think of pilots in the Battle of Britain, or the way the kamikaze thought of themselves."

How should the West fight such terrorism? Berman says one approach would be to promote prosperity through freer markets, which would reduce the supply of potential bombers. [George Mason Professor Laurance R.] Iannaccone gives another answer to the question in a paper called The Market for Martyrs that he presented earlier this year to the American Economic Assn. He argues that the supply of would-be terrorists is impossible to suppress. Instead, it makes sense to reduce demand by disrupting the "firms" that sponsor them.
The article mentions that Adam Smith wrote about religion in "The Wealth of Nations." Here's a passage from Smith that I've used in my Religion and the Constitution class.

A drawing for the last Monday of the semester.

This was drawn while I listened to someone else speak last week, so let me use it to mark the last day my Monday-Wednesday-Friday class will listen to me speak. Who knows what doodles they've drawn in the margins of their notebooks? I suppose with laptop computers, far fewer doodles are drawn and far more games of solitaire are played. Of course, one could compose a blog entry. If I went to law school these days, I'd have a laptop, and I'd keep my fingers typing constantly, mixing observations about the teacher, my classmates, and my mood with the substantive content of the course. After class, I'd cut out the extraneous material as I compressed my notes down to a study-able outline. If I had the time, I'd paste the cut material into another document which I'd compress and rewrite for whatever insight and humor I could find. If I had the nerve, I'd make that a blog entry. Yes, now that I think about it, law school would be much better with a laptop and a blog than with a Pelikan pen to doodle in the margin of a legal pad.


Really "the other side of the ocean."

Keep an eye on Nina's blog this week:
In this one month I am privileged to be spending time in four cities and two villages that have easily been the most important places in my life. I have work to do, yes, but I also have time to spend with my Polish family and pals, and then with my residing-on-the-East Coast family.

And she's dedicated to blogging:
I have already told my sister (who lives in Warsaw) that I will basically not leave her apartment because I have too much blogging to do and so she may as well not coax me into any other activities.

Seriously, ever since I started blogging in January, I have wanted to post from Poland. I am traveling with my computer and my camera and my tested trusty world Internet access (dial-up, but oh well), so I should be fine. Ocean is crossing the ocean and she and I can’t wait to plunge right into my homeland with vignettes of life as I know it, remember it, miss it. The next 24 hours may be thin on writing as I am on a bus, then in the air, then in the air again, then on a train. But after that, if you are curious about life Over There, tune in.

December 5, 2004

Bob Dylan on "60 Minutes."

For the first third of the "60 Minutes" interview, I am racking my brain trying to figure out who he reminds me of, with his deliberately taciturn answers and his odd, wary look. Then I realize it's Tom Waits, maybe somewhere around the point when he says he always thought you were supposed to lie to the press (as opposed to God and to yourself). I can't tell how much he is playing a role and how much he is just a sad, strange guy. He speaks of his writing as magical, not in a boastful way, but wistfully remembering how the songs once flowed out of him. He recites...
Darkness at the break of noon
Shadows even the silver spoon
The handmade blade, the child's balloon

... and wonders at how a person could just come out with something like that. But maybe he does know and pretending not to know is part of the mystique act, the lie he's been telling to the press and to the world. But what's his motivation? Who knows? If I had to guess I'd say that he's afraid he doesn't have enough inside to reveal. The phantom Bob is much more substantial.

The interview ends with Bob seeming to want to stir up a Robert Johnson-style legend of making a pact with the devil:
ED BRADLEY: You're still out here, doing these songs. You're still on tour.

BOB DYLAN: I do, but I don't take it for granted.

BRADLEY: Why do you still do it? Why are you still out here?

DYLAN: Well, it goes back to that destiny thing. You know, I made a bargain with it, you know, long time ago. I'm holding up my end.

BRADLEY: What was your bargain?

DYLAN: Get where I am now.

BRADLEY (smiling): Should I ask who you made the bargain with?

DYLAN (laughing): With, with, with, with, you know, the chief, the chief commander.

BRADLEY: On this earth?

DYLAN: On this earth, and in the world we can't see.

Dylan purses his lips, maybe to keep from laughing at himself or laughing at Bradley for letting him get away with saying such things.

Harry Reid on Scalia and Thomas.

The new Senate Minority Leader, Harry Reid, was on "Meet the Press" today. Tim Russert questioned him about Supreme Court nominees:
MR. RUSSERT: Let me turn to judicial nominations. Again, Harry Reid on National Public Radio, November 19: "If they"--the Bush White House--"for example, gave us Clarence Thomas as chief justice, I personally feel that would be wrong. If they give us Antonin Scalia, that's a little different question. I may not agree with some of his opinions, but I agree with the brilliance of his mind."

Could you support Antonin Scalia to be chief justice of the Supreme Court?

SEN. REID: If he can overcome the ethics problems that have arisen since he was selected as a justice of the Supreme Court. And those ethics problems--you've talked about them; every people talk--every reporter's talked about them in town--where he took trips that were probably not in keeping with the code of judicial ethics. So we have to get over this. I cannot dispute the fact, as I have said, that this is one smart guy. And I disagree with many of the results that he arrives at, but his reason for arriving at those results are very hard to dispute. So...

MR. RUSSERT: Why couldn't you accept Clarence Thomas?

SEN. REID: I think that he has been an embarrassment to the Supreme Court. I think that his opinions are poorly written. I don't--I just don't think that he's done a good job as a Supreme Court justice.

Is that the tack the Democrats are going to take if Scalia or Thomas is nominated to succeed Chief Justice Rehnquist? Scalia has an ethics problem, and Thomas is an "embarrassment"? Roundly acknowledge that Scalia is brilliant, but slur Thomas as someone who can't even put his written opinions together?? It is my observation that liberals tend to lapse into the lazy belief that those who don't agree with them must be stupid or evil, and to me Reid's remarks look a bit like that. But I realize the Senators can't get away with opposing a judicial nomination on the ground that they simply disagree with their opinions. They've got to say the person either has an ethical problem or isn't smart enough. I'm prepared to put up with the Democrats hashing through the duck hunting controversy if Scalia is nominated, but to attack Thomas's intelligence is shameless. Even now, Reid is signaling to the President not to choose Thomas. Reprehensible!

UPDATE: Calling attention to Reid's attack on Thomas are: CNN, Washington Post.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Stuart Buck comments on Reid's remarks and quotes lawprof Mark Tushnet as saying, "It's nearly impossible to find anyone who is dispassionate about Justice Thomas." I'm glad he said "nearly." Let me make it easy for people to find someone: I'm dispassionate about Justice Thomas!

Protesting the "racist dress code."

A few days ago, I wrote about a protest planned for this Friday aimed at bars with dress codes deemed "racist." The MSM news coverage is thin--as well it should be. Fortunately, Law and Alcoholism has a detailed account here.

UPDATE: The Badger Herald reports on the protest. And The Daily Cardinal also reports: "When asked about the success of the protests, [Racist Dress Code Coalition spokesperson Kate] Losey was optimistic. 'I think we pretty much shut down their business,' she said." Both of these student newspapers do their reporting by interviewing a leader of the protest. Compare that to the eyewitness blog entry linked above. The reports are totally different. Either their were 60 or so highly effective protesters or there were 6 or 7 highly ineffective protesters. Those damned blogs, ruining media clarity even at the student level!

ANOTHER UPDATE: Law and Alcoholism mocks the above-cited news coverage.

Is it a blog if you only post once a week?

The Becker-Posner blog has finally checked in, with a post from Judge Posner. He begins with an introductory statement about what blogs are and then: "Initially we will be posting just once a week, on Mondays."

Is it a blog if you only post once a week? Maybe the answer is if you're Nobel-prize-winning economist and a federal circuit judge it is. Posner notes:
The rules of judicial ethics preclude Posner from commenting publicly on pending or impending litigation or participating in politics, as by endorsing candidates.

What an impediment to blogging it is to be a federal judge!

Anyway, welcome to the biggest new bloggers in the blogosphere.

UPDATE: Conglomerate answers my "Is it a blog?" question, but not really all that differently from the way I answered it. I don't care all that much about policing the meaning of the word, but I do think there is a sort of pseudoblogging, especially by MSM, that is really just column-writing, relabeled. Here's an example of a Madison newspaper that has a button to hit for its "blogs," and all you get is a collection of weekly columns. Those are not blogs!

Why I can't watch Nancy Pelosi.

Nancy Pelosi is on Fox News Sunday this morning, and I'm just fast-forwarding through the whole thing. It's nothing she's saying. I'm not even going to wait to hear what she says. It's that crazily overlifted face. The eyebrows are halfway up the forehead, and the eyes are in the permanently over-opened position. (Is this the same face lift people were commenting on back in January, or has she had the facial flesh rolled up a few more notches?)

She looks perpetually surprised and startled. Just looking at her, I find myself raising my own eyebrows and opening my eyes too wide. How can a person who needs to be a good communicator subvert the expressive power of her own face? It's one thing to keep an impassive facial expression to avoid getting wrinkles, especially if you're only resisting frowning and scowling. But it's quite another to have your face surgically adjusted into what looks like a very emotional expression that never goes away. You can never get back to an expressionless face and you can never show a true emotion again. Whoever looks at you feels a sense of alarm, either because they are simply reacting to the expression they see on your face as if it were a real, human expression, or because they are horrified, thinking about what you actually did to get your face to look like that.

UPDATE: Sissy Willis agrees. You know, I don't have anything against plastic surgery per se. If people want to spend their money and go through all that pain and trouble, it's their business. My problem is with losing sight of what is good and bad, focusing on lines and sagginess, and not seeing the overall effect. This is probably the doctor's fault as much as the patient's. Lines and sagginess are objective facts, and the overall effect is more subjective. The doctor can say I removed the bags under your eyes and the hoods over them, didn't I? Wouldn't the patient have pointed to those specific things if he didn't? And if the overall effect is really weird and inhuman, the doctor can deny that. The patient may deny it too. I think it may be inherent in the nature of facial surgery that the work will focus on the objective flaws and not take enough account of the subjective look. I'm perfectly happy to have men and women make themselves more beautiful through surgery, but I'm afraid surgery will not only detract from beauty but will detract from the capacity to perceive beauty.

A genuine doodle.

Exactly what if feels like to listen to a moderately interesting speech:


UPDATE: This email amused me:
Gloriosky, you're channelling the chaps who carved the wall art in the ancient Incan or Mayan Temples!

Quick, tell us how the Egyptian pyramids were constructed before you fall out of this trance!

Things I don't want to pay for.

The NYT reports--on the front page--on a new weight loss drug:
With an analysis limited to those who stayed in the study, rimonabant resulted in an average weight loss of about 19 pounds, Dr. Pi-Sunyer said. In comparison, patients who received a placebo and who, like the rimonabant patients, were given a diet and consultations with a dietician, lost about 5 pounds in a year.

Patients hit plateaus after about 34 weeks, when their weight loss ceased. If they stopped taking the drug, they gained back all they had lost, but the hope is that if people continue taking the drug indefinitely, they can maintain that weight loss and gain health benefits, Dr. Pi-Sunyer said.

For 14 pounds, you'd take a drug for the rest of your life? And I suppose you'd want the government/insurance companies to pay for it? Because obesity is an illness, right?

"Weighted to the rabid right-wing blogs. "

They are complaining about the Weblog Awards over on Metafilter--mostly, it seems, because Fark is beating Metafilter in the "Best Online Community" category, but also more generally:
what's up with these awards? I've never heard of most of the sites, it must be heavily weighted towards the politcal blog spectrum, and then also weighted to the rabid right-wing blogs.

That does so little to help me understand how I got nominated for "Best Conservative Blog." (Remember, you can vote every 24 hours. And vote in my "help me understand" poll.)

Traveling to Libya.

The Sunday Times Travel Section has an article on Libya, and I was just blogging about traveling to Libya—not because I want to go there myself, but because Michael Totten just came back from Libya and had some nice pictures. Click on the slideshow at the NYT article. Here's a telling passage:

Back at the hotel, I bought some of the most amusing stamps I have seen anywhere, a set titled "American Aggression." … [T]hey featured not only the requisite defiant images of the Colonel but also a series, in blazing comic book colors, of enormous Libyan surface-to-air missiles annihilating fully armed American fighter jets.

I guess things are going relatively well if that can be experienced as amusing. And then there's this:
The Tuareg fancy themselves as desert swains. Encouraged by their reported success with European women, various members of our Tuareg posse regularly hit on the unmarried women in our group, flattering them at the same time they unintentionally insulted them, by explaining, in halting French, their preference for "large" women.

"I'm not that big!" complained one oft-approached woman, the investment banker from Seattle.

Come for the 140 degree heat, stay for the sexual harassment.

Way too early.

For no good enough reason I'm up at 3:30 a.m.—not up in the staying up late sense, up for the day. Ugh! But I look out into the dark and see the Sunday NYT is here, and that makes me happy. Making extra sure not to lock the door behind me, I run out and grab it. I pile up the sections in the order that seems right for today. I open the magazine to the puzzle page. I know it's not an acrostic week, so what is the second puzzle? Diagramless! Okay. My second favorite second puzzle format.

December 4, 2004

What the hell kind of a mansion does Althouse live in, anyway?

My property tax bill from the City of Madison just arrived. It's $11,926.89.

Help me understand my nomination.

I've been puzzling for two days over why I was nominated in the Best Conservative Blog category over at the 2004 Weblog Awards. As you may know, despite my puzzlement, I still encourage readers to go over there and vote for me. But before you go, help me understand the nomination by answering this poll:

Bob Dylan on "60 Minutes."

Reports are out on Bob Dylan's "60 Minutes" interview, which airs tomorrow. It sounds as though he pretty much says what he says in his book, which I've read (and blogged). Nevertheless, I've set the TiVo. It will be nice to see old Bob saying whatever the hell he wants to say. UPDATE: Ralph the Sacred River explains Dylan's moustache. And let me add this: Dylan has never used the word "moustache" in a song, though he has twice used the word "beard" (including the "very weird" statement "I like Fidel Castro and his beard," chosen to provoke the farmer in "Motorpsycho Nightmare" into throwing him out of the house.) ANOTHER UPDATE: If you spell "moustache" "mustache," however, you do get a very famous one:
Inside the museums, Infinity goes up on trial Voices echo this is what salvation must be like after a while But Mona Lisa musta had the highway blues You can tell by the way she smiles See the primitive wallflower freeze When the jelly-faced women all sneeze Hear the one with the mustache say, "Jeeze I can't find my knees" Oh, jewels and binoculars hang from the head of the mule But these visions of Johanna, they make it all seem so cruel
An emailer had to remind me. I should have remembered this one! I have actually blogged at length about these lines before. To that post I'd add that the presence of Mona Lisa and mustache in the same verse ought to remind us of the famous Marcel Duchamp artwork, especially since "mustache" halfway reappears right next to Mona Lisa in the form of the word "musta." So which is the right spelling? According to the Columbia Guide to Standard American English, "mustache" is more common, but "moustache" is not entirely a British spelling. Anyway, looking up the spelling question, I ran across this, which is kind of funny. There, now, have I made up for my earlier, woeful omission? YET ANOTHER UPDATE: My comments on the actual show are here.

What's next for Oliver Stone?

Page Six has this:
OLIVER Stone plans to explore the possibility of an affair between former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President Ronald Reagan in his next movie. Stone has apparently always been enamored of Baroness Thatcher, now 79, and wants to cast Meryl Streep ...
I think it would be great fun to see Streep play Thatcher. I don't know about the affair part, and I can't say I trust Oliver Stone to do anything right at this point, but Stone might actually do better portraying people whose politics he deplores. I remember the Nixon movie being fairly good and suprisingly sympathetic to Nixon.

If the cost is the same, does flavored or unflavored matter?

It matters a lot to some people when the state hands out free condoms:
Providing [flavored] condoms actually promotes sexual activity, said Julaine Appling, executive director of the Family Research Institute of Wisconsin.

The government "isn't even subtly saying, 'You're going to do this anyway, so you're going to be safe,' they're promoting it," Appling said. "When they came out with flavored condoms, (it says sex) is another form of recreation."

It's hard to picture the person who would decide whether or not to have sex based on whether the condom is flavored, but Appling's point is that the state, by choosing flavored condoms implicitly says sex is fun and thus promotes it. Obviously, though, the state's real intention is to make condom use seem fun, but there is no way to neatly contain the effect of the message. Interestingly, it's federal money that pays for these condoms, but the states are allowed to choose the type they want. Such are the benefits of federalism: the various states can make decisions that suit the preferences and tastes of their own citizens.

My eyesight and a doodle scrap.

Sometimes I get so involved in staring at the computer screen all day without taking a break that my eyes hurt and I can't see well the next day. Part of it is a failure to blink often enough -- as if I just don't want to take the time. Few people in this world have worn hard contact lenses as long as I have (since 1964), and I'm just conditioned not to pay any attention to eye irritation. But that last post is irritating the hell out of me, that Reznor 90s-font-nostalgia GIF. Remember when that hard-to-see fontage was everywhere? Remember Might magazine?

I'm sure there are great 90s graphic design nostalgia sites out there. Send me a link if you know of one.

Meanwhile, this is the last weekend of the semester, a good time to get some exam writing done. So today's doodle comes in the form of a scribbled post it, part of a scrambled corner of my office desk:

December 3, 2004

Trent Reznor, languishing in doom.

I wanted to go over and check Nina's blog, so I use the low-tech method I usually use, which is to type in the first few letters of her URL. "NI" is enough to make Safari fill in the rest, but I'm overeager and I type "NIN." I find myself magically transported to the Nine Inch Nails website, and I'm curious enough to wonder what Trent Reznor is up to. (Despite my advanced age, I have been to a Nine Inch Nails concert -- and loved it!) I click on current and the most current entry is November 4th:

I was going to say: Good God, man, you're almost 40. Get it together! But then I thought. What does it matter? Reznor is languishing in doom. Isn't that his source of artistry and inspiration?

UPDATE: Actually, Doom doesn't want Trent Reznor!
Trent Reznor has spoken on the official NIN website about Doom 3 [and] the reasons why his work did not make it into the game...

New frontiers of pleasure.

James Wolcott enjoys his colonoscopy:
I had a colonoscopy yesterday, an experience I highly recommend to anyone and everyone who should be tested. The Demerol drip alone was worth the price of admission. As the room began to float and time melted around the edges, I regretted even more keenly never having visited an opium den.

Actually, I think if you do find yourself in a medical situation where drugs of this sort are involved, you may do well to go into the frame of mind where you enjoy them. I know what a Demerol drip is like from having a C-section. I kept drifting in and out of a dreamworld, sometimes while holding the baby. I struggled constantly to get my grip back on reality, my reality at the time being something that, unlike a colonscopy, I wanted to participate in. Nevertheless, I also could tell how pleasant a place Demerol-world might be to visit (if you don't mind losing yourself).

That reminds me of this, which I read earlier today:
Dr. Mary Holley, an obstetrician who runs a Mothers Against Methamphetamine ministry in Albertville, Ala., and has interviewed men and women addicted to meth, said sex is the No. 1 reason people use it.

"The effect of an IV hit of methamphetamine is the equivalent of 10 orgasms all on top of each other lasting for 30 minutes to an hour, with a feeling of arousal that lasts for another day and a half," she said.

If that sounds great (as opposed to, say, painful and horrific), consider the consequences:
"After you have been using it about six months or so you can't have sex unless you are high," Holley said. "After you have been using it a little bit longer you can't have sex even when you're high. Nothing happens. It doesn't work."

Well, naturally. The brain is a regulator. If you overstimulate your senses, your brain thinks it is helping you out by resetting normal at that higher level. Now if you go back to the mere stimulation of ordinary life, it's going to feel agonizingly deficient.

In search of the Christmas spirit on State Street.

UPDATE: The photos that originally appeared on this page were uploaded to — an Apple service that I paid for. Apple discontinued the service and the pictures were lost. I've tried to restore them using, but it couldn't be done.

State Street Brats is decorating with inflatables this year. In this first picture, you see that the Statue of Liberty is still there, serving as a beacon to bratdom, but three sledding snowmen have been added:

At this end of the outdoor seating area, the usual Bucky has been replaced by a candy-cane wielding snowman:

Most of the holiday imagery is not at all religious. The emphasis is on greenery and lights. Many stores sell tree ornaments that are little bears wearing Wisconsin sweaters. But if you're looking for something sacred on State Street, there is always the Sacred Feather, a hat store. A hat makes a nice present. You can go buy a hat and make a contribution to the Salvation Army on your way in.

And there is also the New Age place, which has this sign in its holiday window:

Well, you can think about that. Or you can think about the question that occurred to me as I was putting up these pictures: why would a snowman wear mittens? Seems quite dangerous, actually.

"Best Conservative Blog" update.

I'm keeping my eye on this "Best Conservative Blog" vote, where I'm currently running in 5th place (out of 15). Just after me is Right Wing News, which, judging from its name, is way more into the enterprise of being conservative. Nevertheless, I encourage readers to vote for me. It's not an award for "Most Conservative Blog," and it's my only category. Somehow I missed out on "Best New Blog."

I'm not trying to promote conservative ideology, just saying what I think from my outpost in Madison, Wisconsin. Whether I deserve extra credit for managing to be at all conservative in Madison is a harder question than you might think. I might be naturally contrarian. Anyway, Madison is a great source of blogging material for me. It's been an inspiration.

I will say this too, something I've been meaning to write for a long time. In blogging, I have repeatedly noticed the tendency toward inclusion from the right and exclusion from the left. That is, people to the right of me tend to notice the points of agreement and respond in a very positive way, overlooking or tolerating the points of disagreement. People to my left tend to notice any points of disagreement and react negatively, which I find quite boring and unattractive. Of course, it is also a terrible political strategy.

UPDATE: Note that you're allowed to vote once a day. You have to wait 24 hours before revoting. So go ahead and vote every day. That's the way it's done.


I'm anxiously watching the Q-School leaderboard this weekend, as my nephew Cliff Kresge struggles to keep his status on the PGA tour. The first two rounds did not go so well. Today is the third round, out of a total of six harrowing rounds. The top 30 will make it onto the tour.

"This is a great victory of all people who have been standing at the square, a great victory for Ukrainian democracy."

The NYT reports on the court's decision here.

Puffery and bathos on NBC.

NYT TV critic Alessandra Staley writes with disdain about the Tom Brokow sign off on NBC:
However sad it was to see Mr. Brokaw leave on Wednesday night, it was sadder to watch NBC milk the transition for every drop of bathos and promotional padding. On "Today" and a special "Dateline" this week, the changing of the NBC news anchor was pumped up like the finale of "Friends." Mr. Williams's ascension was festooned with all the hoopla of a White House wedding - or funeral. One spot shown last evening on WNBC cameoed Mr. Williams's profile, solemn and bowed, against a backdrop of Nancy Reagan mourning over her husband's coffin.

I think NBC is desperate to retain its viewers, but letting your desperation show is usually a bad strategy.

I love when Staley punctures pomposity, but don't always agree with her, like here:
Mr. Williams was quick-witted and very funny on "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" on Tuesday night, making self-deprecating jokes and gracefully tacking around his host's more barbed questions.

No, no. "Mr. Williams" was corny and show-offy as he trotted out scripted material. I had to look away out of embarrassment for him.

By the way, I couldn't care less about losing Brokow and gaining Williams. I don't watch any of the nightly network news shows, and I could easily TiVo them and watch them at my leisure. I dislike the hammy tone of the presentation. I'd rather read the news or just catch up with the news on one of the cable news networks.


The Badger Herald reports:
Wrongfully incarcerated for 18 years, Steven Avery received $25,000 in compensation from the Wisconsin Claims Board Thursday....

DNA evidence successfully exonerated Avery from the rape conviction in 2003. By the time he was released, his wife had divorced him and two of his children — twin daughters less than a week old at the time of his imprisonment — had turned 18 years old.

Why only $25,000?
The $25,000 in damages was the maximum the board could award Avery under state law, according to Mike Prentiss, spokesman for board member Sen. Scott Fitzgerald. In ignoring the $1 million request, the board referred the case to the state legislature, which would have to change a state statute to allow for greater damages.

The legal work was done by law professors and students in Wisconsin Innocence Project here at the University of Wisconsin Law School.
UW law professor Keith Findley, one of the Innocence Project’s co-directors, said it is obvious a change must be made to allow those wrongfully convicted to claim more in damages.

It is obvious that the compensation cap is far too low. I don't think it's right, however, to say that someone was "wrongfully convicted," as the student reporter wrote, if he received a fair trial. If the DNA test that powerfully refutes other evidence was not available at the time and the evidence as weighed at the time of the trial was sufficient, the conviction itself isn't wrongful. Nevertheless, the man suffered terribly and the state ought to choose to give him far more than $25,000 -- not from a sense of culpability, but out of compassion.

UPDATE: As an emailer pointed out, Avery recently filed a lawsuit against Manitowoc County, seeking $36 million in damages. You can see in this linked article that the man was convicted based on the eyewitness testimony of the victim. I'm not a legal expert in this area, but it seems to me that the testimony of a rape victim is sufficient to convict a person, even when there are many alibi witnesses. The factfinder would have to weigh the credibility of the witnesses. A credible eyewitness could still make a mistake, unfortunately. We know from the DNA tests, which became available later, that the man was innocent, but his conviction is not necessarily wrongful. There's still a question whether failing to perform the DNA test and detect his innocence earlier was wrongful.

Doodle of the day.

A surrealistic still life discovered two days ago while idly wandering with the penpoint on my notepad and listening to a talk.

December 2, 2004

Christmas at the State Capitol.

Here is the beautiful state Capitol building in Madison, Wisconsin. The statue in front represents our state motto, "Forward." Note the wreaths along the balcony:

[Photograph no longer available]

In the rotunda, there is a Christmas tree, called a "holiday tree" for official purposes. There will be a ceremony tomorrow at 11:45 am to turn on the lights.

[Photograph no longer available]
You can walk up to the mezzanine level and see the top of the tree extending above the railing:

[Photograph no longer available]

At this level you will also find a full-sized replica of the Liberty Bell:

[Photograph no longer available]

You'll also find the Wisconsin Constitution (which begins "We, the people of Wisconsin, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom..."):

[Photograph no longer available]

And you'll also find this large sign. The fine print says "Freedom from Religion Foundation."

UPDATE: I'm sure readers can come up with their own commentary on that sign in the last photograph, but let me add my comment nonetheless. That sign represents a concession to the Freedom from Religion Foundation, which is very critical of the tree. But the sign is extremely disrespectful to religious people and should be considered offensive not only by those who are religious but also by anyone who cares about treating other people with respect and about preserving a civil, pluralistic society. The sign can't properly be defended as a way to balance the tree, because the tree is not an expression of hostility to non-Christians. It is a festive, lovely object associated with the Christian holiday. I haven't looked closely at the ornaments, but I don't think they express hostility to atheists. If atheists want equal treatment, they might celebrate secularism or reason or nature, which the sign does up to a point. But about halfway through, it switches to outright nastiness. We wouldn't accept balancing a menorah with a swastika. Even atheists should object strenuously to this sign. The sign aligns atheism with reason, but what is reasonable about antagonizing the rest of the community? Reason demands that you align yourself with the facts, and the assertion that religion only "hardens hearts and enslaves minds" is clearly false.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Armchair Philosopher has some thoughts on the sign, which, along with some email I've received, has made me think more about the way that sign is phrased. It is phrased as a creed, an assertion of faith -- of all things. The first sentence, in its use of "may," reads like a prayer. And why mention the solstice unless you have some mystic tie to paganism?

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Sissy Willis comments on the sign. In case you, like Willis, are not familiar with the Freedom From Religion Foundation, here's its website. You may not be too suprised to learn it is based in Madison. Here is its own explanation of the sign:
This is the ninth year the national freethought association's sign has been placed in the Capitol. The Foundation seeks to balance the yearly nativity pageant which takes over the Capitol, the many Christmas activities, a menorah with a religious sign and other displays of religion at the Wisconsin State Capitol.

"The nonreligious are 14% of the U.S. population," according to Annie Laurie Gaylor, Foundation co-president. "If religious activities are going to take place in the Capitol, then there should be representation of the views of Wisconsin's nonreligious citizens as well.

"Our sign reminds citizens of the real reason for the season, the impending Winter Solstice (Dec. 21), the shortest and darkest day of the year, which signals the return of the sun. The Winter Solstice has been celebrated for a millennia in the Northern Hemisphere by festivals of light, decorations of evergreens, gift exchanges, parties and feasts.

"Freethinkers don't mind sharing the season with Christians, but we think the natural origins of many of the customs of this time of year should be acknowledged."
Note the presumptuousness of saying that the 14% of citizens who are not religious would feel represented by an anti-religion sign. And the sign does not does not even begin to try to educate people about the pre-Christian cultures who originated many of the customs that have become part of the Christmas celebration. In fact, if you're going to acknowledge that the lit-up tree represents the widespread human search for ways to raise the spirits in the darkest month of the year, why let the tree bother you at all?

UPDATE: What happened to the photographs? Apple, after collecting money to allow me to have a page at, ended the service and made all my links go dead. I've worked to replace links where I can by using (the Wayback Machine), but these photographs cannot be retrieved by that method.

Did I violate the Establishment Clause by putting the Christmas cases before the Christmas break? I mean, the winter break.

In my "Religion and the Constitution" class, I deliberately put Lynch v. Donelly and Allegheny v. ACLU last because they deal with Christmas decorations on public property. Lynch and Allegheny both involve creches (only one of which is held to violate the Establishment Clause), and Allegheny also involves a Christmas tree/Menorah combination (which is held not to violate the Establishment Clause). It seemed fitting to end the course that way. But why did it seem fitting? I wonder how many times in the long semester of talking about religion I said something that could be characterized as a violation of the Establishment Clause. Proposed exam question: if you had to argue that one thing about this course violated the Establishment Clause, what would it be? [Note to classmembers: that's not really the exam question!]

It's the lunch hour here, and I look out the window and see the first snowflakes of the season. Snowflakes are the theme used for the lamppost decorations on State Street. How thoroughly devoid of religious imagery can you get for your "winter holiday" theme? Maybe I'll go out and take a walk up to the Capitol Building, where there is a Christmas tree, which we officially call a "holiday tree." Tomorrow, a lighting ceremony takes place, but I'm going to assume the tree is up and in a condition to be photographed.

ADDED: A picture of the lamppost snowflake:

[photo unrecoverable]

"End the Racist Dress Code."

That's chalked on the sidewalk outside the law school here in Madison. Two local bars are named. What could be the problem? The Badger Herald reports:
The dress codes in question at Brothers’, Johnny O’s and Madison Avenue ban such clothing items as sports jerseys, athletic wear and bandanas. Brothers’ also bans sleeveless t-shirts, hats not facing forwards or backwards, wave caps and headbands.

In an interview, Jon Okonek, owner of both Johnny O’s and Madison Avenue, denied any ties between the dress codes he puts in place and racism.

“How can you be racist against an article of clothing? We turn away 100 white people to every one African-American person,” Okonek said.

Okonek also said that the dress code his venues enforce encourages patrons to be on their best behavior. He said patrons who abide by the dress code “behave better and respect the place more.”Students at the meeting see the dress codes at Brothers’, Johnny O’s and Madison Avenue as racist, specifically discriminating against African-Americans.

The students have planned a picket at the two bars for tomorrow:
At their picket Friday night, the students plan to hand out fliers with information about their cause. Their goal is to convince patrons of the bars to go somewhere else for the night, specifically somewhere that does not have “racist” dress codes.

UPDATE: I don't go to these bars, and maybe some Madisonians who do can email me and correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me that one reason a bar owner might want to impose a dress code is to make the place more appealing to women and get a better balance of the sexes.

"Best Conservative Blog."

So this blog is nominated for "Best Conservative Blog" in the 2004 Weblog Awards? This will do wonders for my reputation in Madison, Wisconsin. As long as I'm nominated, though, I'd be happy to win, so don't hesitate to vote for me.

Does a boy gymnast have a right to compete on the girls' team if a school only has a girls' gymnastics team?

Here in Wisconsin, the boy was barred:
"I just want to be able to compete and do gymnastics," the Stevens Point Area Senior High junior said. "I never really looked at it as having an advantage over girls."

The school's athletic director, Mike Devine, says the issue is simple: The state's sanctioning body for high school sports, the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association, does not allow boys to compete in girls sports.

"As a member school, we have to enforce their rules," Devine said Wednesday. "And we're not going to put the team at jeopardy. They would have to forfeit meets because he would be considered an ineligible player."

Unfortunately, the boys' events are also different from the girls' events, so it is hard to understand how this would work. Wouldn't the girls events -- especially uneven parallel bars -- be dangerous for a boy? The boy does practice with the girls' team and competes in YMCA events. The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association doesn't have boys' gymnastics competitions because not enough boys are interested.

Drawing of the day.

I'll go with the tough woman image today. Note the double eyes.

Women as news anchors.

Maureen Dowd comments on the lack of female news anchors.
I know that women have surpassed men, in many respects, by embracing their femininity and frivolity. Katie Couric and Diane Sawyer, who mix news with dish, cooking and fashion in the morning, are the real breadwinners of their news divisions, generating more ratings and revenue than the cookie-cutter men of the night.

Yet, as Mr. Ailes says, "network anchoring is still Mount Olympus." I checked around for feminist outrage, but couldn't find any. Women told me the nightly news was an anachronism, so why shouldn't the anchor be? "Caring about having a woman in the showcase or figurehead role seems so 80's," one said.

Ailes's isolated quotes in this column make him sound like a jerk. (But how can a blogger complain about isolated quotes?) But it may be true that not enough people care about the mere gesture of giving the slot to a woman. People have to also want to watch the show, and they need to get the right woman or that won't work.

I can't imagine watching Katie Couric or Diane Sawyer as a nightly news anchor. These women have cultivated an appalling image. I rarely stop by those network morning shows. (If I watch morning news I flip around among the cable news stations. I'd rather have grizzled, old Don Imus on than those horrible network shows.) Both Couric and Sawyer appear insane to me. Couric with her giant Joker smile and Sawyer with her murmuring smarminess. I don't think they are insane. I think they have crafted a demeanor that reflects an opinion of the audience, which is: women are soft in the head. I see nothing feminist in wanting either of them as a nightly news anchor.

Elsewhere in today's Times is this story about Court TV anchor Nancy Grace.
Nancy Grace, the delightfully irascible star of Court TV, is never short on opinions - fiery, unabashedly blunt opinions. Ask her about defense attorneys, and she'll offer the following: "Their job is not to seek the truth; their job is to get clients off."

She's developed a great female style: beautiful, tough, sarcastic, passionate. Has anyone on TV ever sneered so well? You want a fashion tip from Nancy?
"I put everything in my bra - money, pen, paper," Ms. Grace shared in forthright way. "Never carry anything. I learned that from being a prosecutor walking through housing projects to find witnesses."

December 1, 2004

The Wheels on the Magic Bus.

Roger Daltrey, who has 10 grandchildren, is doing a children's video: "The Wheels on the Bus." And the Who are working on a new album, which just means Daltrey and Pete Townshend are working together, the other two being dead now.

I was a big Who fan in the pre-Tommy period. I was actually a member of the Who fan club before their first album was released in the United States, strictly on the basis of "I Can't Explain" (and maybe "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere"). I never cared much for the 1970s supergroup and all the over-touted reunions of the later years.

You are now entering the awards season.

The minor film awards are starting to come out. For example, the British film awards:
The London ceremony was attended by a raft of stars, including Christian Slater, Kelly Brook, Billy Zane and Gillian Anderson.

Is that the raft floating downstream toward oblivion?

The National Board of Review awards also came out:
"Finding Neverland," a fictionalized account of the creation of children's classic "Peter Pan," was named best film of 2004 by The National Board of Review on Wednesday in the first major award of the Oscar season....

"Finding Neverland" director Marc Forster, who was shopping in a supermarket store when he heard news of the award, said his film offered an optimistic tale of mortality and growing up.

"We live in very dark times right now," he said.

I guess he's working on the draft of his anti-Bush Oscar acceptance speech.

Hey, he got press.

And you just helped him. But isn't that art? I mean in the pop art/performance art way.

"How are you going to respect movies?"

I've already blogged about the real extra we're looking forward to seeing on the "Alexander" DVD, but there's also this, from Video Store Magazine:
The possibilities for disc extras are plentiful, from a reality-vs.-Hollywood study of the three-hour film and a look at the luxurious costumes to Greek mythology features and a behind-the-scenes documentary shot by Stone’s 19-year-old son, Sean.

While excited about the DVD future of Alexander, Stone isn’t entirely enthusiastic about the format itself. In fact, he thinks DVDs will destroy today’s cinematic experience.

“It’s the end of movie-movies the way we know them,” he said during a Los Angeles press event for the film. “It’s like mail-order sex, Internet sex. It’s an easier way to access the person. It’s not good for us.”

The DVD format cheapens movies, he added.

“If you walk into a room with 5,000 DVDs, how are you going to respect movies? How do you know the good ones?,” Stone asked. “It’s going to the LCD — the lowest common denominator. It’s making movies into supermarket-shelf items, which is probably the best you can get at Wal-Mart. … It’s hopeless.”

Yes, it really is terrible when people aren't limited to the crap that happens to be playing at the theaters in their town. If you know you can watch any of thousands of movies, "how are you going to respect movies?" Well, maybe if Stone tried making a movie that isn't atrociously bad.

And how about showing a little respect for your audience? Is there any reason at all to bring up Wal-Mart, other than to accuse the audience of lacking any discernment, tossing DVDs into the shopping cart along with the toilet paper? Stone wants people to be limited to what's in the theater so he can impose his film on them. He was planning to rely on their lack of discernment, wasn't he?

UPDATE: Stone recently invoked Wal-Mart to express his contempt for President Bush:
“He’s worse than Nixon in his vulgarity. He looks like he shops at Wal-Mart. That’s not what the president is supposed to be. He has no intellectual curiosity and is proud of it.”

Blawgging, conlaw.

Here's Ambivalent Imbroglio's piece from the Student Lawyer magazine talking to law students about reading and writing blogs. I'm quoted in there. So is Prof. Yin, whose post led me to the article.

Going to Ambivalent Imbroglio's website to get the link made me see this post of his:
You know you’re a professor of Constitutional law when you tell jokes and then have to explain ... them and then you still have to tell your listeners you’re joking.

Then he tells an anecdote in which the lawprof's original joke included the fact that he was describing a cartoon.

The thing about conlaw is that it's actually strange enough that if you say something as a joke, the students are prepared to believe that really might be part of the law.

A new distinction.

To each his own!

The hallucinogenic tea case.

The U.S. is seeking Supreme Court review of a Tenth Circuit case that relied on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to bar the federal government from enforcing drug laws against Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal. The drug in question is "hoasca tea," a hallucinogenic.
"Compliance with the injunction would force the United States to go into violation of an international treaty designed to prevent drug trafficking worldwide, which could have both short- and long-term foreign relations costs and could impair the policing of transnational drug trafficking involving the most dangerous controlled substances," acting Solicitor General Paul Clement wrote in a court filing.

Here's Prof. Marci Hamilton's excellent analysis of the legal issues in the case, including why there is no claim under the constitutional Free Exercise clause and how the Court of Appeals could rely on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act after City of Boerne v. Flores (which held that Congress's Fourteenth Amendment power did not support the act). Hamilton, you should note, is a strong advocate for the government's side of the argument.

UPDATE: The United States has won a stay:
Justice Stephen Breyer, acting on behalf of the full court, granted a temporary stay to give both sides time to file more arguments with the court.

Property taxes in Madison.

So what kind of property taxes do you pay? Here in Madison, the tax on the average house, worth $205,359, is $4,458.

News about "Alexander."

1. Those Greeks who were suing to vindicate Alexander's sexual reputation are calling it off until they get a chance to see the film. Critics caution against it.

2. Angelina Jolie reflects on her performance as Alexander's mother:
"I connected to her as a mother. I don't think I could have played her if I wasn't a mother... As a mother, I truly understand that you will do anything to protect your child. Yes, she is a dark, wicked person, but as an actress, you have to make the audience believe that her motives were pure. She always put her son first."
Judging from this article, motherhood has totally undermined the once-great entertainment value of Jolie's private life. Oh, well. 

3. Here's quite a sentence from Anthony Lane's review in The New Yorker:
Farrell comes across here as twitchy, straw-haired, and buzzing with sexual mystification, as if he had researched the life of Anne Heche by mistake, and he seems bewildered by the film’s demands, uncertain whether to opt for a stiff-backed action man—an unironic legend, the sort of role that nobody has been able to master since Charlton Heston retired—or a tortured, more modern spirit, his taste for love dulled by his addiction to fame
4. The bogus homophobia angle appears in the Philippines press:
Would a big sector of our society raise hell about the film if it did not present without doubt the sexual and love choices of Alexander, the man? Look at all the tirades, they all point to things like the shaved legs of Farrell, his blonde locks and how they are wrongly dyed. One smells here the ether of homophobia rather than the essence of good taste.
Is anyone raising hell? I'm sure Stone dearly wishes hell had been raised.

5. Colin Farrell raises some hopes about the DVD version:
“I have no problem showing my ****,” says Farrell. “In fact, I did go naked in A Home at the End of the World, but they cut it out. During test audience screenings, they were advised it was too distracting. I don't know. I see my **** every day and am not distracted. But, hey, who knows? Maybe you'll get to see it in the uncut DVD version.”

A deserted city.

Don't miss Michael Totten's great pictures from Libya (via Instapundit). I was entranced by the pictures of the deserted city of Ghadames, especially the beautiful traditional Ghadames house. Googling to find out something more about Ghadames, which I had never heard of, I learned that the name means "yesterday's lunch." I see that this is referred to as "cake and icing architecture." Here's another picture of the interior of a traditional house. Here's a collection of Ghadames pictures. Here's another. Fascinating!

For those who eat Haagen Dazs by the pint.

A great gift idea. This puts the idea of taking my lunch to work in a whole new light.

A drawing for today.

I would have gotten started blogging late today anyway, because I overslept, but not this late. I'm starting this late because Blogger has been down all morning. I wasn't going to go with this drawing today, because it was not my mood when I started trying to post today, but it's a good time to use this one, which is, I know, the kind of drawing that makes people say, I'm worried about Althouse. This drawing also seems to say something about Jeremy's dying weblog, which I talk about in the previous post.

Jeremy writes a Dear Blog letter.

Jeremy Freese says he's "just not that into" it, but I think there is more going on in this relationship than he's letting us know. Let me repeat here what I wrote over there in the comments section:
Jeremy is going to break up with his blog because not enough people have posted comments. But if all of you post a comment here to show that you do love Jeremy's relationship with his blog, maybe they won't break up. ... This isn't enough enough. You didn't comment hard enough. Jeremy's relationship with his blog is dead. [Audience weeps.]

Jeremy was the inspiration for all us Wisconsin profbloggers. He set the tone and invented a style, which we played off of. So please, people, clap if you believe in Jeremy Freese's Weblog.