January 27, 2007

Things I read/watched but don't quite feel like blogging about this morning.

1. People kind of hate real estate agents.

2. Maybe you really don't have to save that much for your retirement.

3. A developmentally disabled guy reacts to opposition to a group home for the developmentally disabled.

4. An autistic woman demonstrates what she considers to be her language.

5. One night, back in the 60s, Bob Dylan did a call-in advice show on the radio.

6. Allen Shawn wrote a book about his phobias, but maybe he's not all that phobic.

7. A law and economics professor did a study that correlates earnings to skin tone.

8. Professor Bainbridge gives up on the "magazine" format for his blog.

9. The Swampland bloggers are squabbling.

10. Hillary Clinton needs to get some more votes in Iowa.

11. Powerline is at a conservative summit of some sort.

12. People don't like to shop at The Gap so much anymore.

13. Seminary students don't necessarily feel like becoming ministers.

14. An episcopal rector mocked parishioners and got in trouble.

15. An ugly incident upset people on a campus.

16. Elia behaved badly on "Top Chef."

17. People are talking about Libby and Rove and Cheney.

18. Bush is resigning himself to an Iraq resolution.

19. A guy had amnesia.

20. Angelina Jolie might be in a bad mood.


AllenS said...

So many options, so little time. I'll take this one:

rector? Hell, it damn near killed her!

class-factotum said...

From the Angelina story (yes, I'm shallow) -- this is one of those perfect Freudian slips, a la "A recruiter will call to discuss your qualifictions" that I found on Big Food Company's job site:

In the early days of Brangelina, Jolie got a bit of a pass for her unconfirmed roll in the Braniston split.

David said...

Those topics are so typical of the 'me' generation perpetually locked into a vision of the world viewed in front of a very small mirror.

Ann, thanks for your self-control as my interest in these topics is matched only by your lack of enthusiasm .

As Frasier's Kelsey Grammar stated in one memorable episode, "My interest in your problem is so small it could not begin to be discovered by a scanning electron microscope!"

Words to live by!

Anonymous said...

"A psychogenic fugue"

Sounds my kind of music.

PatCA said...

Re the retirement savings issue, it's interesting that the media are finally admitting that all the doom and gloom stories they have printed were not the whole story (and probably planted by financial services PR firms).

There is also lots of debate about what exactly is our savings rate. Retirees are actually withdrawing savings, so as the country ages, the savings rate will appear low.

So stop worrying and go take a nice vacation!

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

How about the story of the latest invention, the caffeine-laced donut for people whose coffee doesn't get them high enough?

Tim Sisk said...

Re: Trying to Keep Divinity

When I was a seminarian at Candler (mentioned in the article) probably only half of the students intended to enter parish ministry which was always surprising to me. (Seminary ain't cheap!) One Episcopalian said he was attending just to learn more about God. Some of the problem was institutional, Candler had for several years made it much more difficult to be both a student and a pastor (serving churches as a student appointment). That began to change, however.

The other curious thing was how many students were older; we called them "second career". A large part of the student body headed toward parish ministry came from this group.

Dave said...

Re the autistic woman's YouTube video. She also has a site, here in which she seems to use conventional language quite well, at least in its written form.

I guess I'm confused: are autistics able to write coherently but not speak conventional language coherently?

bearbee said...

North Carolina fatigue. Is the water being tested?

Some other story links.

Guilford Almost everyone who is characterizing the event was not there, and is merely repeating, and may be distorting, what others have told them. Media reports have also been distorted.


Mouthpiece ...they were minding their own business...

Kirk Parker said...

The #1 and #2 links both go to the story about saving enough (or not.) Any chance you still have the real link for the "hate realtors" story?

Anonymous said...

"The resolution does not guarantee the successful healing of Grace Church, " the churchwardens wrote to their fellow congregants. "That is up to us all."

...How very Episcopalian if I may dare to venture, and quite like the dear old Church of England.

Aren't they rather missing the point here?

The clue is in their name...

Gratias agimus Deo et Patri Domini nostri Iesu Christi

...and so forth.

Cedarford said...

1. Bob Dylan doing call-in advice?
I'd pay for a transcript of that.

2. How about the Long Beach Halloween hate crime convictions of 8 black females out of 30 involved in an stranger on stranger attack on 3 white girls?

3. How about LA Weekly getting all over the LA Times for suppressing the news of the Long Beach attack for over a month? Then refusing to mention the serious nature of the attack (fractured skulls for two of the white girls, concussions for 3, one facing major reconstructive surgery from 12 broken facial bones)?

4. Elia on "Top Chef" is an interesting story. A dozen episodes where she kept her honor intact and appeared likeble, then two episodes where she revealed she was yet another backstabbing snake of a contestant. This year it looked like they cast for the show not on talent, but on degree of potential personality defects that could emerge for "drama!!".

5. Why, instead of caffeinated donuts - can we not just cut to the chase and get methedrine-laced coffee beans?
"Crank-berries", anyone??

Susan said...

Re: The Gap. Maybe they should take their Banana Republic division back to the orignial safari-themed store. Great fun atmosphere and super khaki clothes. Ever since the change: yawn.

Anonymous said...

Why aren't seminairians entering parish ministry? There aren't enough Episcopal churches to hire them. Supply exceeds demand as the ECUSA continues to shrink.

But one reason isn't money -- the fired pastor is apparently making >$80K per year (if salary + benefits = $126K).

Where do I sign up?

Simon said...

Richard - it's genius! Now you can have coffee doughnuts in the morning, coffee beer in the evening, and cofee flavored coffee drinks from Starbucks at all points in between. ;)

Let me briefly share my recent coffee-related outrage. One of this country's worst crimes against humanity has been the refusal of anyone to sell drinks in sizes that mean anything, because (IMO) no one wants to be seen to be selling a "small" drink. We're subjected to endless quasi-french or italianate absurdities like "grande" and "venti." I was at an airport earlier this month, and as usual, just asked for a medium cup of coffee. Usually, the staff give me a filthy look and give me what I ordered, but this lady construed my request as a request for their latest abomination: this particular stall now sells coffee in sizes "tall", "grande" and - shudder - "mega." Paging Edward Gibbon.

YAMB said...

I think this is the link to the hate-realtors story.

Did no one ever realize that all the groups that, for the last 20 years have been pushing us to save more for retirement have a vested interest in our doing do? I.e., they make money when we save money using their services. The biggest scam is assuming some high percentage of your working-years salary will be needed in retirement. Ha. I won't be paying for child care, retirement savings, college savings, FICA, or my mortgage when I'm retired; those categories consume well over half my family's current income. (Yes, I will likely need to spend more for health care/health insurance.)

Simon said...

^^ That's my best shot at a George Carlin impression. ;)

Simon said...

Re 11 and 18, that reminds me of an observation that Bob Wright made on bhtv recently, that people are running from the label "conservative." I don't think that's true, I think conservatives are running from Bush, because he's never been a conservative and his agenda no longer really coincides with ours. And of course, in light of the Greenburg book, he can't even point to his record on judges.

SteveR said...

I am not sure why people "hate" real estate agents. I love the one I'm married to and so do her clients. Gee maybe that's why she's making money at it.

Anonymous said...

Back to this list of things I haven't read yet am prepared to blog about:

Over here, estate agents have long been despised as middle-men -women who make an unconscionable amount of money as Pandars who tell Troilus that he is getting a cracking girl in Cressida, when the truth is that she is cracking up or even falling down.

'In need of some modernisation' = a semi-ruin. 'The perfect opportunity for creative re-design' = a total ruin.

In Dante-esque terms they are regarded as being slightly less damnable than perverts, but more so than pond life.

More or less then on a par with management consultants. (And speaking as one such mancon, I rather resent the company I am forced to keep.)

vbspurs said...

Not that this Althouse smorgasbord isn't fun, but it seems Ann is suffering from a wee bit of burn-out.

When the stories are presented this way, suddenly though, I don't feel like commenting. This may be a good thing. :)

Anyway, people don't shop at the Gap anymore, because like Benetton in the 80s, The Gap is soooo 1990s.

Now, it's Juicy Couture, or bust.


vbspurs said...

^^ That's my best shot at a George Carlin impression. ;)

LOL! Loved it.

You forgot the nuns, though.


bearbee said...

Re: earnings, skin-tone and lawsuits, will the results lead to more finely tuned affirmative action standards? Is there a skin-tone-o-meter to precisely establish applicant skin tone and will 'the 11-point scale' become the standard measurement and incorporated into affirmative action hiring/employee review practices?

Height being an identified factor, is there a skin-tone to inch correlation, that is, does height change the outcome if, of two applicants, the darker skin-toned applicant is taller? When is height a negative, that is, being too tall or too short?

Will personnel directly responsible for hiring/promotion/salary adjustments, undergo brainwave studies to ascertain and adjust for discriminatory impulse toward skin-tone/skin-tone-height?

Just curious if the study was specific to evaluate skin-tone and earnings, or a by-product of another study?

Palladian said...

21. Althouse podcast listeners suffer through 27th day of disappointment as new podcast fails to emerge.

Palladian said...

22. Althouse blog commenters rejoice as comment moderation misery is ended.

Mike said...

I take retirement saving seriously. Having too much money in retirement is a problem I think I could live with!

Simon said...

vbspurs said...
"[I]t seems Ann is suffering from a wee bit of burn-out."

Wouldn't you, if you had to read every comment offered here? ;) (Hence, perhaps, Palladian's 1:53 PM comment).

vbspurs said...

Wouldn't you, if you had to read every comment offered here? ;)

Seriously? Wow, poor Ann. I thought she just clicked on "approve" after seeing the poster's name, without reading the exact commentaries.

(Hence, perhaps, Palladian's 1:53 PM comment).

Not that Palladian is not elegant, but I was rather hoping no one would post that!

The height of sophistication, my grandmother once said, is indifference tempered by silence.

But then that's why we unsophisticates blog.


MadisonMan said...

There must be a way to write one sentence that touches on all 20 topics, but it's nice outside and I'm going skating.

Simon said...

Victoria - indifference being simliar to "coolness", Brian Eno has a lovely little commentary on that point on U@'s Making of the Joshua Tree DVD. He regarded it as being very important to be uncool, because being cool was about detatchmentment and a feeling of separateness from the concerns of the world, something he sees as being quite bad. I thought that made a lot of sense as an argument for wearing one's heart on one's sleeve (I was also reminded of Eno's riff by a comment Ann offered a few weeks ago to the effect that blogging requiring a person to put themselves out there, even at the risk of getting shot down).

Anonymous said...

My universal human emotion of bullshit detection registered at the autistic woman's video. "Interacting" with the non-sentient physical world and accumulating sensory input is not equivalent to language. You cannot communicate with coat hangers, knobs, water, and paper. Also, her impression that she is somehow persecuted or considered a non-person appears to be largely delusional. Who is against her? Who thinks that she is a non-person?

I would bet a crisp twenty that about three quarters of her fawning commenters on YouTube would count What the Bleep Do We Know? and I Heart Huckabees as two of their favorite movies.

OddD said...


I believe the autistic woman communicates in normal English using Facilitated Communication.

This gets debunked every so often.

I've seen it work, in the sense that I've seen a brain-injured child use it to "speak" languages that her mother (who was helping her) did not know.

Also, I've seen cases where, as the children improve, the mother moves from motoring the finger, down to the hand, the wrist, and in some cases, just a hand on the shoulder. At the last point, the child is typing on a computer keyboard.

Not saying I understand it, just reporting what I've seen, and that "debunkings" never seem to show the kids as they progress from the severe motor control to mere physical contact.


Considering the degree of hostility in your message for a person you don't know at all and don't understand at all, the idea that said person might feel persecuted seems not so far-fetched to me.

We have a very simple equation in our society: If a person can't act normal, they're stupid. If Stephen Hawking couldn't manage that talking computer, people would be talking to him like an infant and sitting him in front of the TV to watch "Teletubbies".

But brain injuries can have a wide variety of effects and they seem to correlate with high-intelligence in certain areas. The child I've spent the most time with picks up foreign languages in hours.

This is not a "mystical negro" thing, either, in the sense of giving these kids mystical/exalted status: One doctor whose specialty is kids with these kinds of problems told me that some of their blood tests came back with evidence of (some compound resembling) LSD. Without speculating on how and why, such a finding correlates with experiences the kids report, like being able to "hear" colors or--perhaps in this case--talking to inanimate objects.

Anonymous said...

"Wouldn't you, if you had to read every comment offered here? ;)

Seriously? Wow, poor Ann. I thought she just clicked on "approve" after seeing the poster's name, without reading the exact commentaries."

[Take the italics for read, 'cos I can't make it work.]

...This happened to me to me as of today and I don't know whether to be honoured that I've entered some inner-blog circle of approval or merely that I can no longer depend on Prof. Althouse [be still my beating heart] - or her people - actually having to read and approve my every seductive word.

I may even have to start sending e-mails. My QUERTY mentality simply can't cope with obmxkv's.

Anonymous said...


Considering the degree of hostility in your message for a person you don't know at all and don't understand at all, the idea that said person might feel persecuted seems not so far-fetched to me.

Hostility? You're reading something into my comment that isn't there. Naming bunk for what it is isn't being hostile. I have no problem with her behavior. I have a problem with calling this behavior language when it clearly is not.

OddD said...

Not hostile? You said: "her impression that she is somehow persecuted or considered a non-person appears to be largely delusional."

Maybe that's not hostile, but if I'm surrounded by people punching me and you tell me I'm imagining things, that's possibly worse than hostile. The comments that I saw ranged from outright hostility to "this person doesn't really exist", which I would consider a form of hostility.

Brain-injured people experience this daily, often from people who are supposed to be friends and family.

As for "bunk", you say "You cannot communicate with coat hangers, knobs, water, and paper."

If you and I--having largely similar functional perceptions of reality--were to sit down and discuss this, I'd still disagree. Communication with inanimate objects is one-way, not non-existent.

I've seen kids like this who can hear an "off" television as clearly as if it were on. I've not read enough on her site to tell whether she feels the communication is two-way. But even if she does and even if that perception is delusional, it still could be considered language, if only the way Elvish or Klingon is.

This is not as black-and-white as you make it out to be.

And I thought Huckabees was okay but I've never been able to sit through Bleep ^_^

Anonymous said...

Communication with inanimate objects is one-way, not non-existent.

No. Communication requires that something else receives the communication. Inanimate objects cannot do this. Also, communication in its purest sense is not synonymous with language, so arguing that she is communicating with the water, knob, paper, whatever, is not even sufficient.

But even if she does and even if that perception is delusional, it still could be considered language, if only the way Elvish or Klingon is.

No. Elvish and Klingon are made up languages, but they are languages with syntax, and you could certainly sit around with someone else communicating in them.

And I thought Huckabees was okay