September 26, 2009

At the Closer Look Nightclub...

DSC04411 copy

... let's talk intimately.

AND: Here's the more distant view of the butterfly (moth?). [Thanks to commenter Seneca: "Butterfly. Moth antennae are fluffy."] And, from the same beautiful herb garden, a hummingbird.

ALSO: Thanks to Instapundit for linking. By the way, when my titles designate a post as a "nightclub," "café," "tavern," "restaurant," or some such place, it means you can use the topic thread to talk about anything you like. It's an open thread, so don't think anybody in there is hijacking the thread or disrespecting my photography.

AND: Chip animates my first photo:

"The need for a cheap apartment in part led Mr. Carroll home to Inwood in the summer of 2008, in spite of his history with the neighborhood."

In “The Basketball Diaries,” Mr. Carroll used the nosy old ladies on its park benches and the reactionary hard-hats in its bars as a comic foil....

[B]y the summer of 2008, his childhood address at 585 Isham Street in Inwood might have seemed like a peaceful place to write.

The focus of the ground-floor apartment was the desk, a padded cart beneath it to elevate his aching leg.
This part of the story caught my attention, because I have spent the last 4 days — post-toe-op — with my foot elevated on pillows to keep it from throbbing.
There, he plowed through plastic bins of sliced pineapple, a reward for a session of hard work.

The only decorations were a poetry event poster and a photo-triptych of Kurt Cobain. For months, boxes of books remained unpacked and the windows were bare. “He said that sometimes neighbors would smile at him, and he was just sitting there in his underwear,” [his friend Martin] Heinz recalled....

Mr. Carroll was alone the day he died. A neighbor peering into his window apparently saw him slump to the floor and called 911, [his brother Tom] said. (“Classic Inwood,” joked Tara Newman, a friend who also grew up there.)
There is reason to leave the windows bare and to live in a neighborhood of nosy people. You don't have to die alone.

The hummingbird.

Today, in Olbrich Garden.

ADDED: The man you hear saying "I've never seen anything like this" (twice) is not Meade. He's just another man visiting Olbrich Garden today. He was with the woman who said — about the bird — "He just doesn't really care about us." The man also says — in the end, when the bird returns to the branch where he started — "He's got home base." Here's a still of the bird who doesn't really care about us back at home base:


In the Bliss Café...


... could life be this beautiful?



"I don't want to be seen now, because I am like a lizard. It is horrible."

"I would like some way to disappear where people don't see me any more at some point."

Of course, there is a way, and Michael Jackson found it.

Vintage Japanese matchbox labels.

japanese matchbox label, originally uploaded by maraid.

A Flickr set. Via Metafliter.

We have a president who doesn't even believe we are the good guys. True or false?

Did you hesitate? Because you shouldn't even have to hesitate.

Did you hesitate?
No. I went right to false.
No. I went right to true.
Yes, but I said false.
Yes, but I said true.
I'm still in hesitation mode. Come on, Obama! Help me out here. free polls

What are you supposed to think when you go to your local neighborhood grocery store in Madison, Wisconsin...

... and you just want some sparkling water — mineral water, club soda, seltzer, whatever — and the store has a choice of exactly one thing, and it's this...




Possible thoughts:

1. Is this a crazy — possibly drug-induced — dream?

2. Oh, no, America is over!

3. Is this the Chocolate Factory?

4. Voluptuous women are pulchritudinous.

5. It has been determined: a. choice only makes people unhappy, b. best brand is Naleczowianka, and c. everyone must express delight with perfectly happy dance, like this:

"Barack Obama's amazingly consistent smile."

Barack Obama's amazingly consistent smile from Eric Spiegelman on Vimeo.

Via Glenn Reynolds, who admits he does the same thing.

People who pose for a lot of pictures — successfully — develop a natural-looking, reflexive smile. Don't mock it. It's very useful. I went through most of my life feeling awkward doing photographs as if it was phony to smile when it wasn't backed up by genuine happiness or amusement. You don't have time to summon up real feeling or its simulacrum. You're not filming an Oscar performance. Just do that winning, automatic smile for the camera and save your worries about real human feeling for less artificial encounters.

The death of a census worker.

"A part-time census worker found hanging in a rural Kentucky cemetery was naked, gagged and had his hands and feet bound with duct tape.... The word 'fed' was written in felt-tip pen on 51-year-old Bill Sparkman's chest... 'The only thing he had on was a pair of socks... And they had duct-taped his hands, his wrists. He had duct tape over his eyes, and they gagged him with a red rag or something.... And they even had duct tape around his neck... And they had like his identification tag on his neck. They had it duct-taped to the side of his neck, on the right side, almost on his right shoulder.' Authorities have refused to say if Sparkman was at work going to door-to-door for census surveys before he died."

Can we speculate about what happened here? If I had to guess, I'd say that Sparkman, doing his census work, encountered a criminal enterprise — perhaps a drug lab — out where people thought no one would — or should — be coming around.

"President Obama must also reaffirm that — should diplomacy fail — all options remain on the table."

The Iran sanctions bill.

September 25, 2009

Alicia de Larrocha "cultivated a poetic interpretive style in which gracefulness was prized over technical flashiness or grand, temperamental gestures."

"But her approach, combined with her small stature — she was only 4-foot-9 — was deceptive: early in her career she played all the big Romantic concertos, including those of Liszt and Rachmaninoff, and she could produce a surprisingly large, beautifully sculptured sound. Even so, it was in music that demanded focus, compactness and subtle coloristic breadth that Ms. de Larrocha excelled."


It was a theme day on the blog today.

Did you notice?

"If the cow had the cognitive ability to form thought and speak, would it say, 'Where’s the milk? I’m not getting any milk.'"

What the judge said, explaining why he was dismissing animal cruelty charges brought against a police officer — Robert Melia Jr — who induced 5 calves to suck on his penis.
[Judge James J.] Morley went on to explain that children are comforted by pacifiers and perhaps cows are equally pacified by police officers in these cases: “They [children] enjoy the act of suckling,” the judge said. “Cows may be of a different disposition.” You are allowed to throw up in disgust at this point.
Morley ignored that one cow head-butted Melia in the stomach and appeared far from happy. The prosecutor objected that the cows were “very upset” by Melia’s action and stated “I think any reasonable juror could infer that a man’s penis in the mouth of a calf is torment. It’s a crime against nature.” The problem is that New Jersey does not currently have a ban on bestiality as opposed to animal cruelty.
If New Jersey wants to prosecute people for this kind of behavior, it has to have the appropriate statute on the books. What Melia did with animals may be disgusting, but it is more disgusting to convict human beings of crimes they have not committed.

Andrew Sullivan presents — without cynicism — Bill Clinton's explanation of why he's now for same-sex marriage.

And the explanation is a big, verbose mush:
I think, what made me change my mind, I looked up and said look at all of this stuff you’re for. I’ve always believed that—I’ve never supported all the moves of a few years ago to ban gay couples from adoption. Because they’re all these kids out there looking for a home.... So I said, you know, I realized that I was over 60 years old, I grew up at a different time, and I was hung up about the word. I had all these gay friends, I had all these gay couple friends, and I was hung up about it. And I decided I was wrong.

That our society has an interest in coherence and strength and commitment and mutually reinforcing loyalties, then if gay couples want to call their union marriage and a state agrees, and several have now, or a religious body will sanction it, and I don’t think a state should be able to stop a religious body from saying it, I don’t think the rest of us should get in the way of it. I think it’s a good thing not a bad thing. And I just realized that, I was, probably for, maybe just because of my age and the way I’ve grown up, I was wrong about that. I just had too many gay friends. I saw their relationships. I just decided I couldn’t, I had an untenable position.
Clinton is a master blabber, but what did he say? He's not even for a right to marry, only for leaving it up to the states: "if gay couples want to call their union marriage and a state agrees...." He's only implicitly admitting that the Defense of Marriage Act — which he signed — was wrong. He doesn't even apologize for what he did back when he had actual power to do something. He's presenting it all as a personal journey of his. He's older and wiser. Bleh!

Clinton signed DOMA when he thought it was in his political interest, and I suspect he thinks it's in his political interest now to embrace same-sex marriage. I can understand Sullivan enthusing over whatever high-level support he gets for his big cause, but I would find him a much more interesting writer if he would shine a sharp, critical light on everything.

"Matthew McConaughey Cannot Stand Up By Himself."


"I just can’t take it any more" — shouted in Arabic by Gaddafi's translator.

75 minutes into the nonsense.
"He’s not exactly the most lucid speaker," another Arabic interpreter said. "It’s not just that what he’s saying is illogical, but the way he’s saying it is bizarre. However, I think I could have made him sound a lot better."

"It was less risky to have a useless poll than one that actually measured where health care stands with voters."

Mickey Kaus channels paranoia.

"People laugh at metal detectorists. I've had people go past and go, 'Beep, beep, he’s after pennies.' Well no, we're out there to find this kind of stuff, and it is out there."

Terry Herbert, the greatest detectorist of them all.
Since the July day when his detector picked up traces of the hoard beneath a field in Staffordshire, a Midlands county that was at the center of the ancient Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia, Mr. Herbert said, he has been seeing piles of gold in his sleep. Awake, he has quietly celebrated his triumph over all the people who mocked him in the years when a typical day’s finds amounted to little but scrap....

He said that on the day of his discovery he reworked a mantra that he regularly used for good luck. “I have this phrase that I say sometimes — ‘Spirits of yesterday, take me where the coins appear’ — but on that day I changed ‘coins’ to ‘gold.’ I don’t know why I said it that day, but I think somebody was listening.”

Zezozose Zadfrack Glutz, who are you?

I'm seeing that name, I think, for the first time, in the obituary of the repellent murderess, Susan Atkins. (It was Atkins who boasted that she "stabbed [Sharon] Tate, tasted her blood and used the blood to write the word 'Pig' on the front door of the house.")
In 1968, Ms. Atkins gave birth to a son. [Charles] Manson — who by all accounts was not the father — had her name the child Zezozose Zadfrack Glutz. While he was still a baby, the child was removed from Ms. Atkins’s care and later adopted.
Manson had already given Atkins the name Sadie Mae Glutz. I wonder if the (renamed) Zezozose Zadfrack ever got it into his head to go searching for his biological parents, the way adoptees so often do. I hope not. But surely, there are men born in 1968, who know they were adopted, who have stopped to wonder if they are Zezozose Zadfrack Glutz. Do you ever look in the mirror and think you're rather cute, but maybe you're cute like this?

"Respect the vision of Frank Lloyd Wright and look to the future and forget the towers.”

Do you know about the Lamp House? What do you think of this proposal to raze the surrounding buildings and construct a giant glass box all around it?

Brenda Konkel champions the buildings slated for destruction:
[She] said what makes the Lamp House charming is the fact that it’s surrounded by other historic homes, in a largely intact historic neighborhood. “Coming in and tearing out six houses just destroys the neighborhood,” she said. “Moving the Lamp House is insane. Part of what’s special about the Lamp House is that it was put in the middle of the block on purpose.”
Here's her blog post showing those other houses, which are really ordinary. But I guess that's the idea. The Lamp House looks distinctive because of the contrast to the other old residences. Putting all that new glass around it would create a completely different effect.

But is that so wrong? I'm thinking of the Temple of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum in NYC. Yes, it's radically out of context, but that's what museums always do to things. The real question is whether the recontextualization is good.

Master theorizer Malcolm Gladwell is highly successful at seduction.

But if he's got a theory about why, he's sure not explaining it to Sean Macaulay.

"Save the Boobs" — it's a breast cancer public service announcement, so you can't complain?

First, here's the PSA:

And here's a "making of" background video:

Here's Dan Neil writing about it in the L.A. Times:
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and a new crop of public service announcements leverage male lechery to an astonishing degree. The latest and greatest is a spot called "Save the Boobs," from the Rethink Breast Cancer charity...

If this were a Budweiser commercial, the bluestockings, psalm singers and family focusers would be going completely mental, but in this case the morals police have no grounds to object unless they want to come off as somehow pro-breast cancer.
No grounds? If you have one good cause, it's supposed to be perfectly okay to undercut other causes? And why does Neil imagine the opposition to sexist advertising as coming only from bluestockings, psalm singers and family focusers? Is feminism in such deep eclipse?
In recent years, the increasing frankness of breast cancer PSAs has been a bright spot of adult sensibility in what is Americans' generally neurotic relationship to the female anatomy....
Well, I would have thought that feminist critique is adult and is (or at least can be) non-neurotic. But Neil does get around to talking about feminism:
Feminist film theory has a name for the camera's eye here: The "male gaze," which is to say, the camera's view is that of the male spectator and unseen protagonist regarding the female as an object (cf. Laura Mulvey's "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema"). This is the camera's-eye of pornography and it's inherently misogynistic. The "Save the Boobs" spot spoofs the male gaze and turns it into something positive.
So it escapes the misogyny charge because it's got a good cause or because it's a spoof? Those are 2 different things. And yet, as a matter of feminism, I don't think either good cause or spoof gets you off the hook.

September 24, 2009

"Mr. Obama is teasing Mrs. Obama. 'You’re standing on the wrong side of me.'"

"She moves to his other side. He says, 'I’m just teasing.' She stares straight ahead with a smile."

Oh? What kind of smile?

"Hello, Mr. President we honor you today! For all your great accomplishments, we all doth say 'hooray!'"

All right, now, I'm really outraged. It's one thing to lead the little children to sing the praises of our leader. It's quite another to make them learn lines like that.


If you think "doth" is funny, listen to the David Sedaris segment of "The Drama Bug" episode of "This American Life."

The Honda u3x 02.

Way less dorky than a Segway, no?

It's so easy to get rid of Obama People.

Yosi Sargent bows out.

I wonder what it would take to get Obama to resign. Probably not all that much.

"President Obama yesterday did his best impression of a high-school sophomore participating in his first Model UN meeting, retailing pious clichés he learned from his pony-tailed social studies teacher."

Rich Lowry talks about Barack Obama's U.N. speech.
Has an American president ever expressed such implicit hostility toward his own nation's pre-eminence in world affairs? Or so relished in recalling its failings, or so readily elevated himself and his own virtues over those of his country?...
"For those who question the character and cause of my nation," Obama said, "I ask you to look at the concrete actions we have taken in just nine months." In other words, he's the redeemer of a nation....
Ugh. Sigh. And I thought Gaddafy was the clown. But that was yesterday, as I watched TV with the sound off, under the influence of post-toe-op drugs.

I'm torn. I was just thinking that Obama would have been so much better if he had made foreign policy the centerpiece of his presidency instead of perversely investing his reputation in complicated health care puzzles. Now, I'm thinking perhaps we're better off that he's gotten hopelessly distracted by insoluable insurance problems.


You know, Lowry's description made me think of Mr. Van Driessen on "Beavis and Butt-Head." I was going to embed some apt video clip of the hippie teacher — maybe something with him lecturing the boys about world peace — but all I could find was this and my inner Nancy Pelosi scolded me about this balance between freedom and safety.

Senator Kirk.

Replacing Senator Kennedy.
... Mr. Kennedy’s widow, Victoria Reggie Kennedy, and his sons, Edward M. Kennedy Jr. and Representative Patrick J. Kennedy of Rhode Island, had urged Mr. Patrick to appoint Mr. Kirk, who worked for Senator Kennedy in the 1970s, and later served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee....

Mr. Kirk, 71, is chairman of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation in Boston. Several friends and associates described him as low-key and laconic, a shrewd political strategist who could have run for office himself but decided he preferred a behind-the-scenes role.

Who should play Gaddafi?

Some amusingly close matches.


Zazie, the cutest ever girl in film:

Najibullah Zazi, one of three men held in U.S. terror probe, indicted for conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction.

Another boring Democratic loser calls criticism of Obama racist.

"I don't want to pick a person, say, he's a racist, but I do think the way they're piling on Obama, the harshness, you kind of feel it. I think I see an edge in them that's a little bit different and a little harsher than I've seen in other times."

This time it's Walter Mondale, and you've got to at least give him credit for speaking in the most mealy-mouthed and boring way possible.

Jeez, I almost feel like calling it mush from the wimp.

Do we want a wall of separation between religion and news?

Amazing video of a little girl not getting hit by a car:

Via Boing Boing, where the commenters express revulsion at the newscaster's reference to a "guardian angel."

Do we want a wall of separation between religion and news?

When it comes to the 3 aspects of softness — surface smoothness, bulky feel, and drapability — we love our old-growth toilet paper.

"It's unbelievable that this global treasure of Canadian boreal forests is being turned into toilet paper. . . . I think every reasonable person would have trouble understanding how that would be okay."

When Axelrod starts yammering inapt polysyllabic "e" words, you know he's lying.

"That is not endemic to the kind of reforms that we are proposing... We're not into symbolic expedition here."

That really jumped out at me, from an interview with Wolf Blitzer, who asked Axelrod to explain why health care reform can't permit private insurers to sell their policies across state lines:
AXELROD: Because we are trying to do this in a way that advances the interests of consumers without creating such disruption that it makes it difficult to --

BLITZER: Why would that be disruptive if Blue Cross and Blue Shield or United Health Care or all these big insurance companies, they don't have to worry about just working in a state, they could just have the opportunity to compete in all 50 states.

AXELROD: But insurance is regulated at this time --

BLITZER: But you could change that --

AXELROD: State by state.

BLITZER: The president could propose a law changing that.

AXELROD: That is not endemic to the kind of reforms that we are proposing or that --

BLITZER: Why not, why not?

AXELROD: We're proposing a package that we believe will bring that stability and security to people, will help people get insurance, and will lower the cost impact and pass the Congress. And that has to be the test. We're not into symbolic expedition here.
What a strange way to talk. And what a good question from Blitzer.

What's so bad about hypocrisy?

"Does it matter how much salt Mayor Bloomberg puts on his food?... It reminds me of how people love to point out that Al Gore and Thomas Friedman don't do the best job of minimizing their own carbon emissions."

"A Rather Depressing Gallery of Fat Superheroes."


Wait. This doesn't depress me:

That completely cheered me up! I'm really happy about Big-Hair/Big-Everything Wonder Woman.


And I like that whole blog, Unreality. For example, check out "15 Music Album Cover Replacements to Match the Title."


No sooner do I knock the NYT than I see I'm in it!

Scanning the NYT for something to blog, I said "Has the mainstream news become less substantial?"

On the assumption that my subjective feeling is correct, I want to ask why. A few ideas:

1. They're losing readers, and they think they are losing readers to softer media and it will help to soften up.

2. They're losing money, and they've cut back, so what we're seeing is filler.

3. They know their readership is largely female, and they think fluffier stuff is what women want.

4. They just love Barack Obama so darned much that they want lots of comfy newspaper-upholstery for him to loll about on.

"Oh Millard Fillmore/You're like Happy Gilmore/We all should chill more/Like Millard Fillmore..."

Composed by Seven Machos in the "School kids learn to praise Obama" post after Peter Hoh said:
The teacher(s) only get a pass if they were working on a song that included the names of all the presidents, with student composers suggesting verses for each.
And Miller said "kinda like '50 Nifty United States'," causing Seven to snark, "It's 57. Up your game!"

And Peter continues to serve up moderation:
Until I get proof that these are not some Freeper spawn doing a satiric skit, "Public School in the Age of Obama," then I'm going to have to assume that they are plants.
Yes, we won't be fooled again. Remember when this faked us out?

Some things are just too good/bad to be true.

"Those durned climate models."

"Hey, its sorta like those durned economic models! Alan Greenspan belatedly acknowledged the now brutally apparent shortcomings of our computer-driven economic models.... Quick! Let's ram through some economically devastating (but state empowering) climate legislation before the science catches up with the hysteria!"

Sotomayor and baseball (and Brad Snyder).

On the occasion of Sonia Sotomayor's throwing out the first pitch at a Yankee game, Tony Mauro talks to my colleague Brad Snyder:
The University of Wisconsin Law School professor has written extensively about the long relationship between the Supreme Court and baseball, and he already thinks Sotomayor is "the most important federal judge in the history of baseball besides Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis." Sotomayor's 1995 ruling as a federal district court judge ending the baseball strike...

Judge Landis... was the first federal judge to become known as having "saved baseball," back in 1915. The Federal League had filed an antitrust challenge to Major League baseball, claiming it was a huge illegal trust. Knowing it was a hot potato, Landis sat on the case without acting on it until the Federal League folded. Landis then became baseball commissioner. "Justice Sotomayor is a much better judge than Judge Landis," said Snyder.
And here, you can buy Brad's excellent books: "Beyond the Shadow of the Senators: The Untold Story of the Homestead Grays and the Integration of Baseball" and "A Well-Paid Slave: Curt Flood's Fight for Free Agency in Professional Sports."

September 23, 2009

Somewhere in New Jersey: School kids learn to praise Obama.

Via Drudge ("SHOCK VIDEO").

Can anyone explain the difference between how are these children are being used to elevate Obama and the Robotic Floor Tiles in the previous post?

UPDATE: More info on the school and the reason for the performance:
[T]he superintendent of Burlington Township schools says [it] was held in February as part of Black History Month "to honor the contributions of African Americans to our country."
But Andrea Ciemnolonski, the parent of another one of the students in the video, said the song was part of a second-grade project on a variety of topics related to the month of February, such as Groundhog Day, Valentine's Day and Presidents Day....
"Alteredbeat," the YouTube user who posted the video on the Internet, told that the video was first put online by Charisse Carney-Nunes, an activist and author of the children's book "I Am Barack Obama," which her Web site says "allows children to see themselves through the inspirational story of President Obama." Carney-Nunes has been promoting the book during visits to schools on the east coast.
It seems that it's easy (and dangerous) to confuse the typical inspirational stories used to celebrate Black History with Obama's present-day political power.

Robot Floor Tiles — an infinite walkway.

Amazing but practically useless, from Hiroo Iwata, of the University of Tsukuba.

The video is pretty cool, but the voiceover is in Japanese:

"ACORN Sues Hidden-Camera Filmmakers, It should be fun to do discovery on this one."

Glenn Reynolds is pretty sure ACORN is falling into a trap.

Yes, it's almost as if the real point of the videos was to provoke a lawsuit that would open ACORN to the legal intrusions of discovery. And of course, Giles and O'Keefe will get even more publicity, and it shouldn't be hard for them to attract aggressive legal counsel and a hefty litigation fund.

And here's Barney Frank on O'Reilly today:

"The engine of unbridled capitalism, with its unfair system of thought, has reached the end of the road and is unable to move."

"Selfishiness and insatiable greed have taken the place of such human concepts as love, sacrifice, dignity and justice. The belief in the one god has been replaced with self-belief."

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the U.N. — as reported in the NYT.

Hey, I hope he really did say "selfishiness"? It's a cool coinage. Like there's something really suspicious about the selfishness of capitalism. And it stinks after 3 days.

AND: Elsewhere in today's U.N. speeches, Gaddafy said: "Perhaps tomorrow we will have a fish flu." Think about it.

Moammar Gaddafi loves Barack Obama, Rush rants about a rant, etc. etc.

I'm looking for a full text of the rambling remarks of the Libyan lunatic, whom I watched on TV with the sound off as I lay here on the sofa, post-toe-op, waiting for Sister Morphine to come around again and whom I read about in this comment from Chip Ahoy (in the Black Wasp Café):
Muammar Gaddafi with his jet-black hair + black brimless flat-top hat = droopy Mickey Mouse ears.

I used to have Mickey Mouse ears. Also had a devil Halloween costume with a pointy red tail that I used for pajamas when Halloween was over. I used to run around the house with both the mouse ears and the devil tail pants until the tail fell off the pants and the ensemble was ruined.

That's what Gaddafi reminds me of.

This WaPo report will have to do for now:
[W]hen it came to America's 44th president, Gaddafi offered only warm words, calling him "our son" and "our Obama," and saying, "The election of Obama is the beginning of change."...
Oh, there's almost no text in that article. I want the words of the Moammar Mouse. Dammit. I'm going to have to resort to the Rush Limbaugh show transcript (which I listened to on the podcast this afternoon as I drowsed on my Limbesque drugs):
KHADAFY:  This is an historic event. One day the black doesn't go where the whites go and cannot be in a bus where the whites is, now the American people, the black African Kenyan voted for him and made him a president, this is a great thing. We're proud of that. You are the beginning of a change. He did go for a change but as far as I'm concerned Obama is a glimpse in the dark for the four years or the next eight years and I'm afraid that we may go back to square one. How can you guarantee America after Obama? Can you guarantee after Obama how America will be governed? No one can guarantee America. We are content and happy if Obama can stay forever as a President of America.

RUSH:  Now, what are we supposed to do here as American citizens?  Here is this lunatic who openly applauded the return of the Lockerbie bomber, had his own son escort the bomber back from the UK, gets off the plane out there in Libya, through a cheering throng, this lunatic shows up today, makes a speech, "We love Barack Obama, and we want Barack Obama to be president forever. If he can't be president forever it's back to square one." He's talking about our president....

RUSH: Folks, now, don't forget, I'm holding here in my formerly nicotine-stained fingers, it's actually a YouTube video, we got a transcript of it here, of June 11, 2008, and in it Libyan leader Moammar Khadafy says that Obama suffers an inferiority complex that might make him behave whiter than the white.  And the inferiority complex that he suffers is that he's really a Muslim but he can't admit it.  So Khadafy, you know, right out of the Star Wars bar scene today up there making a speech, "We love Obama, president forever, black man in Africa, our son." Now, you gotta keep in mind that Khadafy keeps calling him our son, Kenyan, Khadafy says he's a Muslim.  Now, I'm wondering, did the Obama administration go to Khadafy today and say, "Look, do not celebrate Obama, it is not going to be helpful, Moammar, if you go out there and celebrate Obama."  Just like they told him, "Look, the deal is, we're going to release the Lockerbie bomber, but you don't have a celebration for the guy," and they did do that, and Khadafy flipped 'em off.

Maybe the Obama administration did go to him and say, "Look, Moammar, we love you, man, but you can't start praising Obama. You can't start praising him because it's not going to help us."  Maybe they did it and he just didn't listen to them like he ignored them on the Lockerbie thing.  If I'd gone to the United Nations and made a speech and I've got Moammar Khadafy following me praising it, I'd really question myself.  I would ask if somebody injected me with some mind altering poison.  It doesn't seem to bother these guys.
Ranting about a rant.  That makes sense. On drugs.


If we get down on our knees and beg, will you come back?

"Well, remember, this was the speed diavlog. You should have heard the long version, the one that killed my computer. That was hot."

My response to the commenter at Bloggingheads who said, "I must admit, when I saw the headline, 'Ann and Emily remember their bad-girl days,' I got my hopes up."

We had to start over. The first 12 seconds of Take 2:

And in the high-speed do-over, we gave only 1 minute and 38 seconds to our bad-girl days:

As for the long version, it died along with my computer, and I'm not really sure what I divulged. It certainly was not, as one dorky commenter at Bloggingheads guessed, that I "drank a lot of alcohol in college." My response to that libel:
Really? Drinking was not at all the practice of the day in my little corner of the University of Michigan, known as East Quad. We mocked squares elsewhere on campus who drank and went to football games and the sort of thing you kids today might think of as wild. We thought of you as "straights."

I disclaim responsibility for anything I'm writing here as I'm recovering from toe surgery and — legally! — high on opiates.

Here I lie, in my hospital bed....

I'm back.

Everything's fine. I'm back home, lying on the sofa with my foot in the elevated position, slightly loopy on Percocet.

Thanks to all the cool doctors and nurses and the University of Wisconsin Hospital. Thanks to all of you for your good wishes. And thanks to my beautiful husband.

ADDED: Where I was at 6:38:


IN THE COMMENTS: Our ghost, Sir Archy, tells a tale of surgery/death.

Speed Diavlogging.

There's a new Bloggingheads, with me and Emily Bazelon.

It's a really short one, because my computer died in the middle of our first attempt at recording.

ADDED: I blogged this with my iPhone, in my Outpatient Surgery enclosure at UW Hospital.

At the Black Wasp Café...


... please carry on without me. As I told you last night, I'm getting surgery on my toe this morning. I'm due at the hospital at 6:30 a.m. Don't weep for me, just keep the blog going. I'll be back as soon as I can. Possibly on drugs.

September 22, 2009

"Captain Bezu Fache carried himself like an angry ox, with his wide shoulders thrown back and his chin tucked hard into his chest."

"His dark hair was slicked back with oil, accentuating an arrow-like widow's peak that divided his jutting brow and preceded him like the prow of a battleship. As he advanced, his dark eyes seemed to scorch the earth before him, radiating a fiery clarity that forecast his reputation for unblinking severity in all matters."

From a list of 20 putrid sentences written by Dan Brown.


... Bissage.

Sunday morning talking heads.

Nicely drawn.

"I must blend in to survive, I cannot be different."


"Law students today, however, are like single women over 35. They’re desperate — and firms are warier of committing to them."

Speaking of desperate... when desperate for a joke, piss off women.


I'm getting surgery tomorrow. Nothing serious. It's completely confined to my right toe. It's as far as possible from my head, where — it seems to me — I mainly reside. Surgery anywhere near the head is dire. Even a yanking out a tooth is a great intrusion. But a toe.... How concerned can you be about a toe? But a toe can hurt quite a lot. I know that. For the pain, I've had steroid shots right down into the joint, and now, instead of more of that, some grinding down of bone is planned. I won't be pirouetting for a while.

"Astronaut urine spotted in skies above North America."

That glowing streak of light was just "a fortnight's worth of astronaut waste."

Let Biden eat cake.

"He chatted with Ben Nelson, grabbed himself some cake and started gobbling whilst peering philosophically out the window. Obviously, Biden, a frequent Dem lunch guest earlier this year during the heavy lifts on stimulus and sundry, ain't there for the cake."

"I think John McCain would have been worse. How about this? I think John McCain would have been worse for the country than Barack Obama. How’s that?"

Watch CBS Videos Online

Hmmm. Maybe I should start watching Glenn Beck!

I got that clip from Think Progress, which notes: "Beck is causing consternation for many right wingers these days."

Ooh! Consternation! Bring it on.

And in case you forgot: "How McCain lost me."

At the Color Infusion Restaurant...


... it's time to leave the gloom of the Gray Morning Café.

In the Gray Morning Café...


... I haven't got too much to say. You?

September 21, 2009

"The Hofstra University gang rape that wasn't."

Emily Bazelon writes:
Let's agree that something disturbing happened to that 18-year-old woman at Hofstra. Something she feels awful about. Any good, right-thinking feminist, and any good girlfriend, would encourage her to talk to a counselor about her story. The problem is that by going to the police and then recanting, she fit into a new story that backfires on her and on feminism in an ugly way. She becomes the false accuser, and the boys, like the Duke boys, become the victims. In these moments of recantation, all we can talk about is how wrong she was. And then we lose the conversation that happens at a level beneath the law: about how these late-night moments in a random bathroom that everyone regrets can stop before they start. I'm not sure how you do that. But I wish this was where we'd go, now that we know that whatever happened to this girl, it wasn't the legal definition of rape.
Most of the terrible things people do to each other are not crimes. And we also do a lot of terrible — and often sexual — things to ourselves. I think, on the whole, women would be better off if they stepped up to the adult work of taking responsibility for themselves. The men in this incident were awful too, but ladies, say no to awful men. Don't let men define what good sex is. And certainly don't let them act out their idea of good sex and then decide that you wanted something nicer.

At the Wildflower Café...


... flourish, untamed.

"If I'm ever 82 years old and acting like that have someone put me away."

What George Bush said about Jimmy Carter.

From the same article — with juicy bits from a new book about Bush:
For a commencement address at Furman University in spring 2008, Ed Gillespie wanted to insert a few lines condemning gay marriage. Bush called the speech too "condemnatory" and said, "I'm not going to tell some gay kid in the audience that he can't get married."...

Laura Bush... "was secretly a Democrat for all intents and purposes, though it really wasn't much of a secret."

"She wasn't clean, and it made him mad."

"According to the source, Clark was 'a control freak' who insisted on lab cleanliness and 'had issues' with the way Le kept her lab and her research mice."

Does this refrigerator turn you on?

"... Corey Mintz is so proud of his well-stocked, spotless refrigerator that he sends pictures of its interior to girls he's wooing and has used it in place of a headshot on his online dating profile..."

"Zooey Deschanel Gets Married."

Zooey Deschanel Gets Married? That's the headline? Ben Gibbard gets married.

H.G. Wells.

Google pays subtle tribute.

It's Wells's birthday.

Speaking of Wells, here is a radio clip with Wells, H.G. and "my little namesake, Orson" (who needs to drop that extra "e," Wells says):

"They are the biggest bunch of crybabies I have dealt with in my 30 years in Washington."

Chris Wallace on the White House, after Obama went on all the Sunday shows but his.

ADDED: Video [not the same quote as above, but the same idea]:

(Thanks to Loafing Oaf.)

"Was the NEA coordinating with the White House to push their agenda on a group of artists eager for and reliant upon the NEA for grants...

"... or is the NEA telling the truth that this call 'was not a means to promote any legislative agenda'?"

Asks Breitbart, who promises "explosive new information" at noon today.

We were encouraged to bring the same sense of enthusiasm to these “focus areas” as we had brought to Obama’s presidential campaign, and we were encouraged to create art and art initiatives that brought awareness to these issues. Throughout the conversation, we were reminded of our ability as artists and art professionals to “shape the lives” of those around us. The now famous Obama “Hope” poster, created by artist Shepard Fairey and promoted by many of those on the phone call, and’s “Yes We Can” song and music video were presented as shining examples of our group’s clear role in the election....

It is not within the National Endowment for the Arts’ original charter to initiate, organize, and tap into the art community to help bring awareness to health care, or energy & environmental issues for that matter; and especially not at a time when it is being vehemently debated. Artists shouldn’t be used as tools of the state to help create a climate amenable to their positions, which is what appears to be happening in this instance. If the art community wants to tackle those issues on its own then fine. But tackling them shouldn’t come as an encouragement from the NEA to those they potentially fund at this coincidental time.

September 20, 2009

Does Barack Obama regard our presence in Afghanistan as an "occupation" — like the Soviet occupation?

From today's "Meet the Press" transcript:
DAVID GREGORY: ... We've now been in Afghanistan for eight years.  The Soviets pulled out of Afghanistan after ten years.  Are we committed to this war for an indefinite period of time?  Or do you think, in your mind, is there a deadline for withdrawal?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I don't have a deadline for withdrawal. But I'm certainly not somebody who believes in indefinite occupations of other countries. Keep in mind what happened when I came in. We had been adrift, I think, when it came to our Afghanistan strategy. And what I said was that we are going to do a top to bottom review of what's taking place there....
Note that Obama failed to distance himself from the implication in the question that perhaps what we are doing in Afghanistan is like what the Soviets did. And his introduction of the word "occupations" seemed to let it slip that he actively makes the comparison between us and the Soviet Union. I found that rather disconcerting.

"People who kill other people and strangle them is a very personal thing because they are actually looking at you as they are dying."

"Think about what anger and rage anyone would have to have."

"I will pay you $1 to sit in my bathtub full of noodles while you wear a one piece bathing suit."

"I will not be home, nor will anyone else while you do this. I will leave the key for you, and you will sit at your leisure. DO NOT bring any sauce. I will season the pasta after I return home prior to dinner."

That's #5 on a list.

I like #11 too. I think it could be a movie:
"Tuesday night around 11:30. On 53rd btw 1st and 2nd. You came out of the subway and I followed you. You looked over your shoulder, saw me and started walking faster. I ran up, grabbed your arm, took your purse and ran away. I've done many a snatch-and-grab but no one has ever stuck in my mind like you. There was a quick moment when our eyes met that I felt something strong. I think you felt it too. If I wasn't so shy (or so committing a crime) I would have asked your name. I, of course, later got your name from your drivers license. So Jennifer if you'd like to get together for a drink sometime get back to me."
And by the way #14 is not weird. I know exactly what they were doing.

"Two phantom figures — Wednesday the rat and Four Hundred the cat — are the restless hallucinations who urge Jani to do what she calls 'bad things.'"

A first-grade girl with schizophrenia:
That week, Wednesday told her to find a place to jump from 50 feet. Jani told her parents about Wednesday's command but informed them, "I'm not listening."...

On Sept. 10, while at school, Jani said, Four Hundred told her to run out of her classroom three times....

When Jani is discharged [from the hospital], she will not return to school. "I'm better at keeping her out of her psychoses," [her father] Michael said. "Special ed is just not set up for a child with schizophrenia. And it's difficult to trust anyone else to do what we do for Jani."

The Clozaril has helped, overall, but it will never extinguish the mysterious animals and little girls that frolic in Jani's "other world," which she calls Calalini.
Very sad.

Kseniya Simonova, animating in sand.

"Sand artist, Kseniya Simonova, who moved audiences to tears as she won Ukraine’s Got Talent... drew a series of pictures on an illuminated sand table showing how ordinary people were affected by the German invasion during World War II.... The Great Patriotic War, as it is called in Ukraine, resulted in one in four of the population being killed with eight to 11 million deaths out of a population of 42 million."

"I must have read the novel a hundred times, and could recite lengthy passages from memory, without exactly understanding everything."

Says Kenneth Anderson about "Brave New World."

I don't think I've read anything 100 times — except maybe the Sermon on the Mount and Marbury v. Madison. Have you? Do whole passages reside in your memory simply because you've read them so many times? ("It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department...") Or have you made a point of memorizing pages of text? ("Think not that I am come to destroy the law...")

Anderson, responding to my quoting of Aldous Huxley, gives us his favorite Aldous Huxley quote:
I have been told by an eminent academic critic that I am a sad symptom of the failure of an intellectual class in time of crisis. The implication being, I suppose, that the professor and his colleagues are hilarious symptoms of success. The benefactors of humanity deserve due honor and commemoration. Let us build a Pantheon for professors. It should be located among the ruins of one of the gutted cities of Europe or Japan, and over the entrance to the ossuary I would inscribe, in letters six or seven feet high, the simple words: Sacred to the memory of the world's educators. SI MONUMENTUM REQUIRIS, CIRCUMSPICE.
I put the link there for the Latin, which is the punchline. Punchlines in Latin, knocking educators. That in itself is funny.

"Mr. Edwards once calmed an anxious Ms. Hunter by promising her that after his wife died, he would marry her in a rooftop ceremony in New York with an appearance by the Dave Matthews Band."

Poor Dave Matthews, getting caught up in that ghoulish slapstick.

IN THE COMMENTS: Ralph L said:
He'll need a big helicopter to lift the Dave Matthews Band bus over that rooftop.

(If you don't get that, read this.)

And William said:
I can sympathize with Edwards. My wife is lying in a coma, and the doctors do not expect a full recovery. The whole experience has been very traumatic, but I have learned a valuable lesson. When I get my license back there will be no more DWI on my part. And that's a promise.... But that's not the immediate problem. My wife has all sorts of hot friends visiting her, and you should see the nurse on the night shift. My problem is how do I approach the touchy question of post mortem dating with these attractive women. I don't want to appear insensitive, but life is for the living... I would welcome the advice of any Edwards' voters on this difficult subject.

"What made the lone, piercing cry of 'You lie!' shocking was that it breached a previously secure barrier."

Frank Rich opines:
It was the first time that the violent rage surging in town-hall meetings all summer blasted into the same room as the president.
Violent rage? Think what you will about the forceful expression of outrage — I've often read it in Frank Rich columns — it's different from physical violence. And no one thinks Joe Wilson was about to do something physically violent.
Wilson’s televised shout was tantamount to yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater.
No, shouting "Fire" in a crowded theater causes fearful running for the exits, and it's actually the right thing to do when there actually is a fire. That's why Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. wrote:
The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic.... The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.
I wonder why Frank Rich wanted to evoke Free Speech case law when his aim in this column is to bemoan vigorous speech. I suppose he just meant that neither "You lie" in the House chamber or "Fire" in a crowded theater is good.  Except that "fire" is good when there is a fire, which leaves Rich's analogy setting up the argument that shouting "You lie" during a presidential speech is desirable if the President really is lying. But that's absurd. We'd never get to the end of these already seemingly endless orations if that was the rule.

Back to Rich:
When [Wilson] later explained that his behavior was “spontaneous” rather than premeditated, that was even more disturbing. It’s not good for the country that a lawmaker can’t control his anger at Barack Obama. It gives permission to crazy people.
Not every impolite outburst equals uncontrolled anger, and I don't remember Rich caring about all the angry statements that were aimed at George Bush. I remember him making them. He and lots of other brave dissenters loved calling Bush a liar. I don't remember back then hearing anybody propounding the theory that free speech needed to be tempered lest it give "permission to crazy people."

Do we need an independent prosecutor for ACORN?

Chicago polisci prof Charles Lipson makes the argument:
Independent prosecutors should not be appointed lightly. But in this case, there are good reasons why Atty. Gen. Eric Holder and other political appointees in the Justice Department should step aside. First, although no allegations have yet touched the Obama campaign, ACORN did have significant ties to the campaign and other progressive causes. Published reports show that ACORN and its subsidiaries received some $800,000 from the Obama campaign to get out the vote. Second, ACORN is intimately tied to the Service Employees International Union, one of President Barack Obama's most powerful and vocal supporters.

ACORN's close ties to the progressive movement and Democratic Party mean that there will be little public confidence if Holder decides not to pursue an ambitious investigation and ultimately prosecute....

What we have seen on tape cries out for a serious, independent investigation to determine if ACORN and its affiliates are a criminal enterprise, whether they have spent federal grants lawfully, whether they helped taxpayers file fraudulent returns, and whether they violated laws prohibiting tax-exempt organizations from engaging in partisan politics. These are big questions, and the public needs to know that Washington's answers are fair and impartial.