October 31, 2009

At the Storefront Tavern...


... come in, warm up, and talk to me.

For Halloween, the First Lady is a leopard and the President is "a middle-aged dad."

"The first lady was dressed as a leopard, with a smear of eyeliner, fuzzy ears and a spotted orange-and-black top. The president was dressed as a middle-aged dad, with a black cardigan, checkered shirt and sensible brown slacks. Together they handed out treats on the steps of the north portico of the White House last night, sending some trick-or-treaters into fits of shock and joy."

But the President is a middle-aged dad. And how does leopard go with middle-aged dad anyway?

The First Family got way more kids coming to the door than Meade and I did. They got 2,600! Did we even get 26? We did this routine in which Meade, wearing a mask and werewolf gloves would attack me while  I was giving out the candy — traditional Milky Way bars. The Obamas gave "a plastic baggy containing White House M&Ms, an orange sugar cookie in the shape of the residence, and clumps of desiccated apricots, apples and papayas." No word on whether they did a leopard-attacks-middle-aged-dad routine.

Halloween is — or should be — a gay pride parade for straight people.

Or something.

Pumpkins carved by children are the best.


ADDED: I swapped in a slightly different pic. I think I'll live-blog Halloween. I hope we get some kids! This is my first year doing Halloween with Meade, and we're going to do some special scary things to amuse the kids.

6:13: So far, we've had a mummy, a cowboy, a ladybug.... I answer the door and give out the candy, and Meade — growling, in a cyclops mask and big werewolf gloves — sneaks up behind me and grabs me. So far, it has not gotten that much of a reaction, perhaps because the little kids around here are very polite. I'm theorizing that they've been taught to treat people who are "different" as they would treat anybody else. Either that or we need to crank up the scariness.

7:16: We've been honing our act, and we finally got 4 little girls to laugh. Then, we actually scared a little boy. Not too much I hope! We gave him extra candy and Meade took off the mask and acted especially friendly. 

The dachshund pumpkins.


The "Geography" pumpkins.


Ayn Rand "kept going on amphetamines and willpower; the writing... was a 'drops-of-water-in-a-desert kind of torture.'"

"Rand labored for more than two years on Galt’s radio address near the end of 'Atlas Shrugged'... 'At one point, she stayed inside the apartment, working for 33 days in a row'...."

From a review — by TNR editor Adam Kirsch  — of "Ayn Rand and the World She Made." (Buy the book here — and make an automatic contribution, without paying extra, to this blog, on which I've worked for almost 6 years without a single day's break, kept going on amphetamines and willpower... or no, not amphetamines. Not even willpower. Just the love of writing... and coffee, surely, and — lately —  Meadamines.)

From the review:
When Bennett Cerf, a head of Random House, begged her to cut Galt’s speech, Rand replied with what Heller calls “a comment that became publishing legend”: “Would you cut the Bible?” One can imagine what Cerf thought — he had already told Rand plainly, “I find your political philosophy abhorrent” — but the strange thing is that Rand’s grandiosity turned out to be perfectly justified.

In fact, any editor certainly would cut the Bible, if an agent submitted it as a new work of fiction. But Cerf offered Rand an alternative: if she gave up 7 cents per copy in royalties, she could have the extra paper needed to print Galt’s oration. That she agreed is a sign of the great contradiction that haunts her writing and especially her life. Politically, Rand was committed to the idea that capitalism is the best form of social organization invented or conceivable.
Where is the contradiction? She gave up 7¢ for each copy sold, but did she not hope to sell more copies? And did she not see long term profit in promoting capitalism? Kirsh's point is that Rand was at heart an intellectual and not a capitalist:
... Rand had no more reverence for the actual businessmen she met than most intellectuals do. The problem was that, according to her own theories, the executives were supposed to be as creative and admirable as any artist or thinker. They were part of the fraternity of the gifted, whose strike, in “Atlas Shrugged,” brings the world to its knees.
Kirsh, like so many others — most of us Baby Boomers? — is, I think, deeply invested in the notion that businessmen are boring and uncreative. I've long had this image in my head. And this says it well:

"It drives me insane, it's not how you eat a chicken wing."

If I'm eating chicken wings wrong, I don't want to be right. It seems to me this guy has a prissy aversion to getting bones anywhere near his mouth. It's cute that you know how to debone the thing with your fingies but some of us enjoy bone-gnawing.

Also, I like the very end part of the wing, well cooked and crispy, and I'm happy to eat the whole thing, bone included.

Scozzafava: "I hereby release those individuals who have endorsed and supported my campaign to transfer their support as they see fit to do so."

"I am and have always been a proud Republican."

Let's go to the Mallat Pharmacy & Costume and get some Halloween stuff.

Here it is. Hmmm....


What do you think? Masks? Werewolf hands?


It's hard to choose! If we did this...


... would people get that we were wearing it ironically? Only $12.99. Ah, but here! Only $9.99:


You can be Personnage Loufoque! Whoever the hell "Loufoque" is. If anyone asks who you're supposed to be, just say "Loufoque!" Pronounced thusly. You will be popular!

October 30, 2009

In Chicago, on West Lawrence, Meade drove quickly past the lighted storefronts.

I was the passenger photographer, freezing the blur:




It wasn't all blur. Occasionally, on a red light, I got lucky:


"The power to set compensation at large American businesses is especially subject to potential abuse, favoritism, arbitrariness, or political manipulation."

"It is no reflection on Kenneth Feinberg, who has a sterling reputation and who appears to have approached these sensitive duties with a spirit of commendable integrity, to say that the checks and balances of the Constitution should be scrupulously observed. They were not. Because he is not a properly appointed officer of the United States, Mr. Feinberg's executive compensation decisions were unconstitutional."

"When someone shows up to an interview or meeting in anything other than jeans, it shows inexperience and a lack of confidence."

Power jeans.

A sentence that was in the NYT before it was not.

"The images and the sentiment of the president’s five-hour trip to Delaware were intended by the White House to convey to the nation that Mr. Obama was not making his Afghanistan decision lightly or in haste."

At the Night Windshield Café...


... don't splatter yourself.

"Tyra Banks Puts 'Top Models' in Blackface. When Did This Become OK?"

Tyra has our attention.

Pony not stuck in mud.

Pony has tiny stumpy legs.

"Palin's Pet has Taliban Ties?"

The Nation asks a strange question. I'm wondering what pets does Sarah even have? And what sort of neckwear is favored in Afghanistan? And how can this all fit together and matter?

I'm a connoisseur of headlines, and I love the headline in question form, but, damn, Nation,* could you be a little less obtuse.

Now, I've read the article, and... well, it's more obtuse and bizarre than the headline.


Footnotes aren't my thing on this blog, but since I've already done one today, I'm doing another:

* I meant to do that.

Meanwhile, in Somalia...

1. A man marries a female who is 95 years his junior.

2. Women are flogged for not wearing socks.

Deadly coyotes.

RIP, Taylor Mitchell.

"Muslim woman held in slay try of husband; he made her wear sexy skirts and eat pork."

The husband survived. That's what "slay try" means, it took me a while to notice.
"She's a very devout Muslim and she felt that he got her to marry him under false pretenses," a source said. "He doesn't really observe any of the traditions of Islam. She says he forced her to eat pork and wear short skirts."

She also claimed that his favorite author is Salman Rushdie, reviled by devout Muslims after writing the prophet-bashing "The Satanic Verses."
Women and their excuses for murder....

Commenters keep cuing that they want a post about Larry David urinating on a picture of Jesus.

You know, we watched that episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" last week and laughed a lot. I've watched every episode of Larry David's brilliant sit-com. I love it. I think I would accept anything from Larry David. Some people who are attacking him over last week's episode obviously don't know the show and don't understand David's comic character. He gets into trouble over one thing after another — offending all sorts of people for all sorts of things. It's not aimed at Christians in particular. It's everyone. Including David himself. Larry David is Larry David's biggest target.

Too bad there's not a clip available to show the Piss Christ business. It's established early on in the episode that David is taking some sort of medication that makes his urine flow excessively forceful. There's a splashing problem. In a later scene, he needs to go to the bathroom and there's a picture of Jesus hanging next to the toilet. Jesus's eyes look to the side and down, and that seems like a setup for a joke about the way men don't look at each other's equipment when they are next to each other at the urinals.

(Digression: I know this about men not from personal observation but from David Foster Wallace, from "Big Red Son": "A strange and traumatic experience which [I] will not even try to describe consists of standing at a men's room urinal between professional woodmen Alex Sanders and Dave Hardman. Suffice it to say that the urge to look over/down at the penises is powerful and the motives behind this urge so complex as to cause anuresis (which in turn ups* the trauma). Be informed that male porn stars create around themselves the exact same opaque affective privacy-bubble that all men at urinals everywhere create.")

But Larry does not give Jesus a dirty look or flip the Jesus picture around. We don't hear him bitching later about how he didn't try to get a look at Jesus's genitals. (I hope I'm not offending anyone by referring to that aspect of the incarnation.) What happens is that Larry's forceful urine propels a single droplet onto Jesus's face, right under the eye, and later, the women of the household jump to the conclusion that the painting has miraculously shed a tear. Larry never "urinates on" the painting directly or intentionally. It's an accidental splash, and he's horrified at it, but unwilling to confess to it, at least not immediately, even to stop the women from making a big public show out of their their miracle painting.

This was all wonderful satire. The nonreligious man is trying not to offend, but his body makes a mistake, and he's too cowardly to confess. The religious women are too gullible, grasping after a miracle and the fame it seems to offer them.  I say: Bravo, Larry David, comic genius.


In honor of David Foster Wallace, a footnote:

* Did he mean to write "turn ups"... turnips, and if so, what was he implying about himself? Here's a photograph to aid your contemplation.

A woman who tied up her husband, stabbed him 193 times, and buried his body in a hole in the yard that he had dug for a fountain received a 25-year prison sentence.

And she got the sentence overturned.

The defaced atheist billboard.

"This is the first time one of our billboards has been defaced... And we consider it a double hate crime, targeting two minorities — nonbelievers and gays. It is very sad to see our message honoring the Constitution turned into ugly hate speech."

While driving on West Lawrence Avenue going west...

... we were 120 miles from home, in the night rain in Chicago after the Dylan concert...

"Reacting to the music's roll and tumble, Dylan and Sexton squatted and swayed, as if ducking out of the way of the sharp notes, snapping chords and fierce sentiments."

"Vicious currents blew through a majority of the material. Violence cast a pall over 'Ain't Talkin',' while a re-imagined 'Just Like a Woman' threw sarcastic daggers. Better still, the scampering 'Highway 61 Revisited' and scathing 'Ballad of a Thin Man' evoked sinister desires."

That was excellently written, by Bob Gendron, for the Chicago Tribune. We were at that concert last night, at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago,  and, reading that, I realize (once again) that describing music is a special skill. We loved the concert, but I'm going to leave it to Gendron to describe...
Bob Dylan didn't play any Christmas tunes from his new holiday album...  [T]he feisty singer instead had disaster on his mind, rage in his heart and "the blood of the land" in his voice. And in virtuosic guitarist Charlie Sexton, who just rejoined the bard's group after an extended hiatus, the 68-year-old icon had a worthy foil to challenge him. In contrast to recent appearances that witnessed him hiding in the shadows, Dylan seemed reinvigorated, stepping out from behind the keyboard and moving to center stage on multiple occasions.
Ah! Read the whole thing. I'll just share a few low-light pics grabbed with my clandestine camera. The stage:


From behind an ornate pillar:


And finally, a photo of me by Meade....


... I finally get a chance to use the Freebird app on my iPhone.

October 29, 2009

Orange you glad...


... I've put up an open thread?

"I still think Hillary has a lot of what I am looking for in a VP."

"Smarts, discipline, steadfastness. I think Bill may be too big a complication. If I picked her, my concern is that there would be more than two of us in the relationship."

David Plouffe, quoting Obama, in his new book "The Audacity to Win."

"Would the President have still made the trip the Dover... "

"... [i]f the family of Sergeant Dale Griffin hadn't approved the media to photograph his remains returning to the United States (they were the only family that gave approval).... ?"

Richard's in Rwanda.

Post #1:
The completely ordinary, and the worldwide problems of economics, coexist here with the unimaginable. Will I be able imagine it after I've heard it? If so, there's the danger of it becoming ordinary: "Oh yes, you told me that story before." A defense mechanism to keep it at safe distance.

Meanwhile, there's fun!...

Fifteen more nights under a moquito net, in a shared hot room where no mosquitoes are seen. Playing with 5-year-old Gentil, who can count to 1,000 in English and taught me how to fold a paper boat and blow bubbles.
Post #2:
... Five-year-old Gentil is counting teabags in English before he gets ready for school; Costa is bouncing baby Queen on his lap...

The floors have been mopped and the front and back patios dusted, as on every morning. Yesterday my clothes were not only wash[ed] by hand but ironed, an experience most of them had never had before....

Over the past couple of days we've been to two different genocide memorials...

It's hard to imagine a nation that is more constructively aware of its problems or facing them more honestly and progressively.... To me it appears that if the average American were as aware of our nation's problems, and as committed to solving them, as the average Rwandan is for Rwanda, in a decade and a half our inner-city schools would be graduating masses of literate, ambitious, responsible adolescents, the problems of gang violence and drugs would disappear, our health care system would care for all Americans equally, and our government would mobilize a nationwide environmental cleanup and infrastructural upgrade. In other words, we would be the nation we ought to be. A much, much poorer nation than ours is accomplishing equivalent goals. We could even do it without the need for genocide memorials.

I'm worried about Levi Johnston.

He's just a naive kid who got caught up in a whirlwind. He's a teenager who got his girlfriend pregnant, which is hard enough to deal with. Now, he's estranged from his own child; he is massaged, paid, and goaded by clever people who've seen ways they can use him. But now he's cut off from the access to information that made him useful. And the material he's coming up with has become increasingly desperate-sounding, like the fake confessions of a tortured man. What does the boy have left? Yes, there's his genitalia. He's still got that to reveal. There will be the Playgirl spread, but then what? Is there anyone in his life who loves him, who is available to help him? He's surrounded by false friends who will soon have used up everything he had to give. What resources does he have to draw on as his fame spike plummets? We are talking about a boy who is still only 19 years old. God help him.

ADDED: When a publishing company offers me a big advance, I'm going to write a roman à clef about Tripp Johnston. It is a revealing memoir of growing up in his mother's family, where, despite the intense environment surrounding his grandmother Sarah Palin, he felt drawn into the unknown world of his long-lost father, Levi Johnston. (I'll have to change those names.) What became of that wandering soul after he was exiled from the powerful family by the woman who had a chance to become the first female President? "Tripp's Journey" is the gradual discovery of what happened to Levi Johnston after Palin's enemies sucked him dry and left him to his grotesquely inadequate devices. Tripp himself becomes a lost soul, a shell of a man, who must struggle to rebuild his identity. But he is only able to burnish that empty shell into a superficially winning personality. But in that shining surface, America could see itself, much as it had seen itself in Barack Obama, almost half a century earlier. We're reading the new edition of the memoir people found so inspiring. It has a new postscript, in which President Johnston jokes that he should have titled it "Dreams From My Father."

Dithering Obama.

The word "dithering" has really attached itself to Obama.

Remember the way Bush opponents tried to get the word "quagmire" stuck on him? It's an interesting political strategy, sticking a word on a guy.

October 28, 2009

I love giant snowflakes!

Hello, Denver!

"Tonight, you belong to me."

I got this song stuck in my head the other day after I ran across a clip of the old Patience and Prudence recording via Digital Oddio. Digging up the whole thing in YouTube, I saw this charming Fiona Apple version. The song was written back in 1926, I learned on Wikipedia. There, I was reminded of a scene from "The Jerk" that I had forgotten, in which Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters sing the song together and then try, very hard, to kiss — and fail.

"30 Things Every Woman Should Have Before She Turns 30."

Let's see... I really need the list of 60 Things Every Woman Should Have Before She Turns 60, but I'm still going to see if I've missed any of these 30, but the next 30 things — think about what they are — ought to be much more interesting.

IN THE COMMENTS: Henry wrote:
1. Poverty
2. Train travel
3. Radio stardom
4,5,6. Roles as Elizabeth I of England, Sarah Bernhardt and the last Tsarina of Russia
7. Her own apartment
8. An earthquake
9. An earthquake fundraiser
10. A politician
11. Scandal
12. A union presidency
13. A secret marriage
14. A church wedding
15. Trousers
16. A presidential campaign
17. A rainbow tour
18. The Cross of Isabel the Catholic
19. An audience with the pope
20. A Time magazine cover
21. Hairdos
22. Paris couture
23. Cartier jewelry
24. A charitable foundation
25. Lepers
26. Suffrage
27. Mob appeal
28. Cervical cancer
29. Secular sainthood
30. A musical

(The Eva Peron version)

Obama comes to Madison next Monday.

We don't know where and exactly when, but the stated purpose is a speech on education.

Charles Franklin, UW-Madison political science professor, notes that Wisconsin is “reasonably good ... platform" for an education speech because we have both "general excellence" and "racial disparities," but that the real reason for the visit is probably to help Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in his bid to become governor:
“Obama won the state big but needs to hang on to it... Barrett is now the only Democrat left standing of the original top-tier candidates, so it’s certainly to the Democratic Party’s interest to have the strongest candidate they can get in the race.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger writes "Fuck You" to the California legislature.

It's right there in black and white.


"Oooh, there's a pinch in my lower back. My head hurts too."

"And my vision is blurred from going through long lists of Southern California physicians who specialize in herbal medicine.... The open secret is that it's a cinch to get a marijuana 'recommendation' in California. A 'recommendation' isn't a prescription, but it would allow me to visit a dispensary and buy my buds. In Los Angeles, locating such a place would be no harder than locating a palm tree. The little green crosses are everywhere, with 186 dispensaries operating with city permits and an estimated 600 more that found a loophole."

So, basically, in California, anybody who wants to use marijuana and is willing to be mildly deceitful to do it, can now do it legally... almost. You have to be — if not actually sick — willing to go through the medical dance and to accept the not-quite-completely legal aspect of it.

Does that state of affairs make marijuana all but completely legal in your way of thinking or all but completely illegal? I would find myself in the second category, and I think there's something really unfair about that.

Well, maybe people who are super-straight enough to fall in the second category wouldn't be the type to use marijuana anyway, even if it were 100% legal. But it's at least unfair to the people in the first category, who do get their marijuana the medical way, because they have to bear the burden of feeling that what they are doing is sleazy and bogus. (Perhaps a little marijuana will help you with that feeling.)

But actually it is still unfair to the super-straight folks who wouldn't even use marijuana if it were 100% legal. It's telling us we are not allowed to do something that other people can do. I don't like that inequality. Equal access is important — even to places you don't want to go.

"It was in an odd, improvised shape, because Mr. Halprin knew his wife could not be contained by a rectangle."

Lawrence Halprin was "the tribal elder of American landscape architecture," who had a "passion to give people as many options as possible to go this way or that, to reverse directions, to pause, to start over, to be alone, to meet others, and to experience as many different sights, smells and sounds as the site permits," and his wife was "the former Anna Schuman, a modern dancer and choreographer." He was born in Brooklyn in 1916 — he died last Sunday — but he studied at the University of Wisconsin and his original urge to become a landscape designer arose from seeing Taliesin East, Frank Lloyd Wright’s studio in here in Wisconsin. It was Anna who suggested the trip to Taliesin, back in 1939, and the "odd, improvised shape" was a dance deck he designed for her at Mount Tamalpais, which is not in Wisconsin. It's in California.

Ah — here! — I've found a picture:

The phony quotes keep coming — and they go viral before even very quick corrections.

Yesterday, Yale lawprof Jack Balkin had to backtrack:
As I suspected, Justice Scalia did not say he would have dissented in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. The newspaper account is incorrect and took his remarks out of context.
Although Professor Balkin picked up the story and wrote about it, to his credit, from the start, he hedged with phrases like "[i]f the current report is accurate."

The misrepresentation of Scalia's remarks went viral almost instantly, which is the way things go these days. Damage is done, even when the corrections are instantaneous.

This reminds me of those recent fake Rush Limbaugh quotes and the subsequent screw-up by Rush himself propagating some phony Barack Obama quotes. Rush was much better and quicker than his attackers about making a correction, but there's still some controversy about the way he corrected himself:
... I was libeled and slandered by countless members of the media, fabricated quotes, made-up quotes I never stated, never uttered, never wrote, nothing, were repeated all over this country by sportswriters, television cable hosts and so forth.  After we proved to them that I didn't do it they retracted it a week later, after the damage, and many of them said, "It still doesn't matter, we know Limbaugh thinks it anyway." 

So last Friday, I get a note from a friend who says, "You ought to see what's on this blog."  I looked at it, and it was Obama, his thesis from Columbia, "so-called Founders," didn't like what they did with the Constitution, there wasn't enough talk about distribution of wealth and so forth. I said, "Well, this has a ring of truth to it," because we've got Obama on radio from Chicago 2001 complaining about the Supreme Court not doing enough about redistribution.  So we ran with it, made a big deal out of it in the first hour.  In the second hour, I got a note saying, "Hey, Rush, we looked at this, we can't back this up, we can't find any actual sourcing for this."  So at that point I warned the audience that it may not be true, that we are still checking it. 

Shortly thereafter I learned that the whole thing was made up, it was a satire piece on an obscure website.  Then I said, "Okay, folks, I have to tell you, it's satire, there's no evidence that Obama ever wrote this, but, Media Tweak of the Day, I don't care, I know he thinks it anyway because I've got audio of Obama saying it, talking about the Supreme Court."  And we all got a great laugh about it because I corrected it immediately, I explained that it was a hoax, or was satire and then to tweak the media I said, "But I don't care, I'm sticking with it because I know he thinks it anyway."  So I dished out to Obama what the whole media did to me and I dished it back at the media as well....
Everyone jumped all over that, of course, because he didn't say he was sorry before he did what would be an otherwise justified punch-back at the media for the way they savaged him with fake quotes and withheld even corrections, not to mention apologies. Now, he must know that he screwed up what would have been excellent media criticism by not properly abasing himself first. You can see that he was milking the no sense of humor theme, but these talking heads who hate him are never going to find his sense of humor delightful, and he made it completely easy to portray him as a fool because he didn't first get in a clean apology ritual.

Should lawprofs be prodding students about their health habits?

"They will be armed with small cards that detail the school's impending ban on smoking or using tobacco products anywhere on campus, indoors and outdoors...."

Lawprofs, drafted into the army of nannies. (Our students are adults, I shouldn't feel that I need to point out.)



"What makes it even more disturbing is the presence of others."

"People came by, saw what was happening and failed to report it."

"Bravo, Joe."

"It's a relief to see at least someone standing up to the Washington rush to rearrange 18% of the U.S. economy without carefully inspecting the cost and the consequences."

"As if a '70s time-capsule blasted off into space and you're watching it through a holographic filter."

Adam Lambert's description of his new album, the cover design of which is getting a big reaction:

Lyndsey Parker loves it:
Now, I adore this cover's absolutely fabulous retro vibe. (It looks so much like a beauty shot snapped by Andy Warhol in some glitter-dusted private party room at Studio 54, I can almost imagine Bianca Jagger riding a white horse in the background; what's not to like?)
Others are less enthusiastic. Ian Spaceman:
What do you get when you mix together My Little Pony, Ziggy Stardust, a cheesy 80s school picture, the Purple Rain font, and Microsoft Publisher? The new Adam Lambert album cover, that's what. This is artistically indefensible and, I suspect, commercially suicidal.
I'm not sure what "absolutely fabulous retro vibe" feels like to people who didn't live through the 70s when they were really happening. I've been through much of Andy Warhol's visual work and I've read his various scribblings — "Diaries," "Philosophy" — but nothing about that Lambert cover reminds me of Andy Warhol. I thought more of David Bowie, but browsing through old Bowie album covers — after looking at Lambert's — they all looked damned subtle and artful to me. Compare:

October 27, 2009

At the Winter Rye Inn...


... things are looking perky.

The Wisconsin State Capitol is lit up in pink for Breast Cancer Awareness.

You may remember the picture I took of it a few days ago...


...used in a post called "Breast Awareness Gone Mad." Maybe you had some ideas about how to manipulate it. Hazy Dave emails this:

Capitol Twins

"Say, are you feeling glum?"

Why isn't anyone famous for whistling anymore?

A question that floated into my head like a distant melody.

Professor Irwin Corey screwed up the Soupy Sales funeral!

"Professor Irwin Corey had to be removed from the podium after his eulogy turned into a diatribe about health-care reform, in which he insisted that Soupy — along with Odetta, Eartha Kitt and Miriam Makeba — died prematurely because of inadequate treatment."

Maybe you don't care about Professor Irwin Corey — or Soupy Sales — but I do.

"Ralph gets to luxuriate in the purity of his irrelevance."

Brilliant slam of Ralph Nader, by Barney Frank. Meanwhile, the internet is abuzz with that other quotable word-string: "We are trying on every front to increase the role of government."


Those Freakonomics guys have shocked the high priests of science.
Suppose... that the best solution [to global warming] involves a helium balloon, several miles of garden hose and a harmless stream of sulfur dioxide being pumped into the upper atmosphere, all at a cost of a single F-22 fighter jet.
That freaks out Al Gore, et al.
[S]ubversively, ["SuperFreakonomics" authors Steven Levitt and writer Stephen Dubner] suggest that climatologists, like everyone else, respond to incentives in a way that shapes their conclusions. "The economic reality of research funding, rather than a disinterested and uncoordinated scientific consensus, leads the [climate] models to approximately match one another."
Even assuming the global warming alarm is justified, the Stev(ph)ens still freak out the alarmists by pointing to easier, cheaper solutions:
[I]t may well be that global warming is best tackled with a variety of cheap fixes, if not by pumping SO2 into the stratosphere then perhaps by seeding more clouds over the ocean. Alternatively, as "SuperFreakonomics" suggests, we might be better off doing nothing until the state of technology can catch up to the scope of the problem.

All these suggestions are, of course, horrifying to global warmists, who'd much prefer to spend in excess of a trillion dollars annually for the sake of reconceiving civilization as we know it, including not just what we drive or eat but how many children we have. And little wonder: As Newsweek's Stefan Theil points out, "climate change is the greatest new public-spending project in decades." Who, being a professional climatologist or EPA regulator, wouldn't want a piece of that action?

Part of the genius of Marxism, and a reason for its enduring appeal, is that it fed man's neurotic fear of social catastrophe while providing an avenue for moral transcendence.
For some people, it needs to be a religion, and to the extent that it is a religion, we need the blasphemers.

Scientology, the fraud.

In France.

4 teenaged girls are arrested after they figured out what clothes and jewelry they wanted and which celebrities houses to break into to get them.

The L.A. Times reports:
... Rachel Lee, 19; Diana Tamayo, 19; Courtney Ames, 18; and Alexis Neiers, 18 ... were arrested last week on suspicion of burglary in several of the cases....

Most of the group were classmates at Indian Hills High School, a continuation campus in Agoura Hills, set atop a leafy incline in an upscale neighborhood next to a traditional high school. BMWs and Audis were parked in the student lot Monday, and some of the nearby roads mark off horse trails for equestrians.
So... apparently children of privilege. How could this happen?
Blair Berk, an attorney who represents some of the victims, blamed "paparazzi shots and magazine coverage" for "increasingly prying into the private homes, schools and personal possessions of stars."

"There are only so many shot of a star's back gate before someone, be it a stalker or burglar, goes through it," Berk said.
Damned paparazzi, enabling us to see things we might want. Once you see what you want and where it is, it's just a short leap to stealing it.
At least one of the accused had her own aspirations for television stardom. Neiers was set to appear with her family in a reality-TV pilot about aspiring actresses on the cable network E!, and she was arrested on the set of the show, police said....
Reality is really biting us in the ass this month, isn't it? Balloon Boy, and now this. Is everybody in L.A. working on a reality show? Too bad criminal activity — so far, at least — hasn't become acceptable subject matter for reality TV shows. But the line between crime and reality shows is getting blurred. There seems to be some serious overlap in the kinds of people that are draw to the 2 things.
A young woman who identified herself as Neiers' sister said at the family's Thousand Oaks home Monday that the accusations are untrue. "My family is in so much debt," she said. "If this TV show falls through, you don't know how bad this is going to be."
How many families out there are hanging by the thread of a possible TV show? All it takes is one kid in the family to screw up... or can they edit out that kid — kind of like the way Aimee Osbourne was kept out of "The Osbournes" — except that Aimee was the sensible person who simply preferred not to be a reality show kid.

Pilots and their laptops.

Shhh. Don't interrupt me.
The pilots ignored repeated attempts to contact them by air-traffic controllers, including efforts that set off chimes in the cockpit, until a flight attendant finally got through on the intercom somewhere over Wisconsin.
Well, at least these guys have the capacity to concentrate and screen out distractions. If they would just commit to flying the plane, it would be great.

"[W]hat is hip-hop studies, and what would a hip-hop studies program offer that is not already available on campus?"

The debate here on campus.
Katrina Flores, arts and education director for First Wave, a student organization that focuses on involving students in hip-hop culture on campus, said hip-hop studies allows for an interdisciplinary connection between departments because students can study hip-hop from a sociological, anthropological or scientific perspective.

“You can’t just come in and study somebody’s culture. You have to live it, you have to breathe it and you have to be doing it,” she said.

Flores added that she is currently working with the UW-Madison physics department to encourage them to do more interdisciplinary research between science and culture.

“I struggled with physics ... but if it can relate to my world and if we can be interdisciplinary in that way then there are so many more possibilities for engagement,” she said.
Maybe you should struggle with physics. Think about it: If the physics teachers on their own had decided to meld hip-hop with their classroom presentation on the theory that it would make it more accessible to you, you would have — or should have — felt insulted and outraged. And yet you want to make them do it to you.
Gethsemane Herron, a UW-Madison freshman, said she does not see why UW-Madison wouldn’t have a hip-hop studies program, highlighting its importance in today’s society.

“How can we ignore something that has permeated American culture,” Merron said. “I feel like to not have hip-hop studies is to offer an incomplete education.”
So what is it? The answer, Ms. Herron (Merron?), is precisely that pop culture permeates the world of young Americans. Why pursue even more of it in college? Learn new things. Get what you can't get just living in the world soaking up the things you naturally love and enjoy. What is the point of going to college?

October 26, 2009

Swerve into...


... The Yellow Line Tavern.

"Both the old guy at Fårö who made his coffin and Woody Allen will be invited."

A retreat.

"We may be No. 1, but there is sort of an insurgent quality to Fox News."

"And that's kind of our attitude: 'Hoist a Jolly Roger, pull out our daggers and look for more throats to slit.' This is tremendous fodder for us. My lord, we've been living on it."

"She's young, she's beautiful, and she was sitting on the lap of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia."

"But he's not trying to cover it up."

"The man had 14 royal pythons and 10 albino leopard geckos under his clothes."

[The pythons] were hidden in stockings duct-taped to the man's abdomen. The geckos were in boxes taped to his thighs.

What hot public issue brought out this crowd on a Monday night in Madison?

(photo by Joe Tarr)

Guess before you click.

"Conservatives Maintain Edge as Top Ideological Group."

Polls Gallup.

40% of Americans say they are "conservative."  In second place: moderate — 36%. "Liberal" comes in at 20%.

On particular issues:
  • Perceptions that there is too much government regulation of business and industry jumped from 38% in September 2008 to 45% in September 2009.
  • The percentage of Americans saying they would like to see labor unions have less influence in the country rose from 32% in August 2008 to a record-high 42% in August 2009.
  • Public support for keeping the laws governing the sale of firearms the same or making them less strict rose from 49% in October 2008 to 55% in October 2009, also a record high. (The percentage saying the laws should become more strict -- the traditionally liberal position -- fell from 49% to 44%.)
  • The percentage of Americans favoring a decrease in immigration rose from 39% in June/July 2008 to 50% in July 2009.
  • The propensity to want the government to "promote traditional values" -- as opposed to "not favor any particular set of values" -- rose from 48% in 2008 to 53% in 2009. Current support for promoting traditional values is the highest seen in five years.
  • The percentage of Americans who consider themselves "pro-life" on abortion rose from 44% in May 2008 to 51% in May 2009, and remained at a slightly elevated 47% in July 2009.
  • Americans' belief that the global warming problem is "exaggerated" in the news rose from 35% in March 2008 to 41% in March 2009.
I guess the way to get people to become more conservative is to give power to liberals. Bring the conservatives back and not only will they start appalling us again, but we'll soon be dreaming dreamy dreams of liberal saviors.

AND: A poll shows the  Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman taking the lead in that New York's 23rd congressional district special election.

A typo — in a year-old comments thread — amuses me.

"The real problem is that he became enamored of that Kabbalah horeshit that Madonna's into."

ADDED: And then there are the comments of my future husband, which I just noticed.

"I Dreamed A Green Pelican Disliked My Halloween Costume."

Now, stop preening!

Hey. Look at...

... these.

Before they look at you.

(Via Instapundit.)

And remember: "They're very brutal. No compassion.... no compromise."

"Next time, hon, just go to the gas station on Walnut and spare us your gaping incredulity at real life."

Oh, my. They are talking about me at the Isthmus again.

(Isthmus = the free local tabloid here in Madison.)

Obama's White House boy's club.

Here's an article that is getting a lot of attention for pointing out that in 9 months in office, Obama has played golf more times than George W. Bush did in his first 2 years. But there's something even more interesting: Obama didn't include any women in these golf rounds until last weekend, at which time he golfed with a woman once.

Now, here's a NYT article the observation that the White House has a boy's club atmosphere:
Does the White House feel like a frat house?

The suspicion flared in recent weeks — and not for the first time — after President Obama was criticized by women’s advocates and liberal bloggers for hosting a high-level basketball game with no female players.
The president, after all, is an unabashed First Guy’s Guy....
He presides over a White House rife with fist-bumping young men who call each other “dude” and testosterone-brimming personalities like Rahm Emanuel, the often-profane chief of staff; Lawrence Summers, the brash economic adviser; and Robert Gibbs, the press secretary, who habitually speaks in sports metaphors....

Mr. Obama, in an interview with NBC on Wednesday, called the beef over basketball “bunk”... “I don’t think it sends any kind of message or signal whatsoever,” said the president, who often points out that he is surrounded by strong females at home (where he is the only non-canine male).
Wow. Incredible.  If there is any serious feminism left in this country — by which I mean the kind of feminism we had back before the Clinton presidency — it would ream a man who sought credit for inclusiveness toward women by referring to the fact that he had a wife and daughters in his household.
[Senior adviser Valerie] Jarrett similarly rejected the notion that the West Wing had been overrun by Y chromosomes, saying such complaints were “a Washington perception that has nothing to do with the reality on the ground.”
The evidence?
She cites the prominent women Mr. Obama has appointed to top positions, including Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton...
Where has she been?
... and six other cabinet-level officials; Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor...
She's over there in chambers, and nowhere near the Prez.
... the health care czar, Nancy-Ann DeParle...
Why don't we say "czarina"? We've got these new positions and the title you get is male-specific. It's as if were were calling the Secretary of State "Mr. Secretary."
... and the domestic policy adviser, Melody Barnes. According to figures provided by the administration, there is a 50-50 gender split among White House employees.
Which makes it all the more striking that the atmosphere reads as so male:
[S]ome high-profile sectors of the White House — economics and national security, for instance — are filled with men and exude an unmistakable male vibe. Mr. Obama’s inner circle includes Mr. Gibbs, Mr. Emanuel and his senior adviser, David Axelrod (“The Boys,” as they are known to some female staff members).

Women in important White House jobs tend to be less visible than their colleagues, even as the administration is trying to elevate their profiles. (In the same week as the basketball game, Anita Dunn, the White House communications director, hosted a group of women reporters for an off-the-record meeting with Ms. Jarrett over chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies.)
Did they share the recipes?

There is so much reason to try to create the impression that women are important that the truth of the exclusion of women must be even worse than it appears.
One Democratic media strategist says that while Mr. Obama does place women in important roles, his comfort level with staff members is not always perceived as equal.

“There is a sense that Obama has a certain jocular familiarity with the men that he doesn’t have with the women,” said Tracy Sefl, an adviser to Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign who speaks regularly to some female aides in the administration.
This is exactly the problem feminists used to focus on.

Good for Sefl, going public like that and getting named. I would love to eavesdrop on conversations between Sefl and Hillary.
In interviews, five women who work in the White House or advised officials there described the culture with more of a collective eye-roll than any real sense of grievance or discomfort.
Well, what the hell happened to real sense? When did feminism lose its critical edge? (Answer: During the Clinton administration.)
One junior aide, who like the other women spoke on the condition of anonymity because of concerns about appearing publicly critical, said that the “sports-fan thing at the White House” could become “annoying” and that her relative indifference to athletics could be mildly alienating.
Annoying... mildly alienating....  The spirit of feminism is so diminished these days that women think of their own observations as insignificant and scarcely worth making any fuss about. Compare this to the times of vivid, vital feminism that followed a methodology of elevating and intensifying the importance of these seemingly small observations. Once there was conscience raising. The new methodology of dying feminism deserves to be called consciousness lowering.
And while this is not uncommon in any workplace, sports bonding can afford a point of entree with the boss.
Oh, good lord. That this needs to be pointed out again — modestly suggested — shows how far we have sunk. There was once biting criticism of the sexism inherent in workplace sports bonding.
Ben Finkenbinder, a junior press aide and scratch golfer, was recently invited into a foursome with Mr. Obama. (In records kept by Mark Knoller of CBS, the president has played 23 rounds of golf since taking office, none of which have included women, though Mr. Knoller allows that the press office does not always release the names of every player. A White House spokesman, Bill Burton, said Friday that Mr. Obama planned to play this weekend with Ms. Barnes.)
Ha. This NYT — NYT — article was already in the works when the White House scrambled to produce a female golfer.
[Some] women in the administration say that any discussion of White House culture should account for how politics has long been dominated by men but is now more inclusive. Ms. Dunn... rejects the notion of a boys’ club. She calls the Obama administration “refreshingly un-self-conscious” about matters of equality, maybe to a point where they neglected the “optics” of the all-male basketball game.
Oh?! So maybe it's a little like the post-racial America we were supposed to get — but didn't get — after Obama was elected. It's the post-gender America. No one needs to notice who's male and who's female anymore. So the inner circle is all male? You're not supposed to even see it!
Ms. Dunn said that she recently hosted a baby shower for an administration official and that no men from the office were invited. She is comfortable with that — just as she is fine with never playing basketball with the president.

“That is just part of the culture here that I am excluded from,” she said. “And I don’t care.”
Consciousness lowering — it's so refreshing.

Now, if everyone would please dial down all the criticism and let Obama get on with his un-self-conscious guy's guy agenda, it will all work out just fine.

Don't worry your pretty little head.

"[W]hile the costs of Obama’s travel fall on all sorts of people..."

"... the benefits go where Obama steers them."

"The worst thing that you or I can do for the planet is to have children."

"If they behave as the average person in the rich world does now, they will emit some 11 tonnes of CO² every year of their lives. In their turn, they are likely to have more carbon-emitting children who will make an even bigger mess."

Yeah: "tonnes." British. Does that make you just want to scoff and skip the whole article? Here. I'll give you the last paragraph:
Some scientists, the German chancellor's adviser, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber among them, say that if the cuts are not achieved, we will end up with a planet with a "carrying capacity" of just 1bn humans. If so, we need to start cutting back population now with methods that offer a humane choice – before it happens the hard way.
Oh, great. Thanks for the warning about cutting back "population" the hard way. Germany.

Rewriting those hotel towel-use cards to let guests know that a majority of hotel guests do, in fact, opt to reuse their towels.

An experiment adding the true fact that a majority of hotel guests opt to reuse their towels got 34% more guests to reuse.

Don't just guilt-trip us about the environment. Exert peer pressure. When I'm naked in that hotel bathroom deciding how to communicate with the maids in the language of towel signaling — rehang = reuse, drop on the floor = do the laundry — am I more influenced by the morality of planet-saving or the desire to be like other people? To tell you the truth, I'm most influenced by the fact that I'm paying for clean towels.

The link goes to an article that's mostly about trying to get people to quit using dryers altogether and switch to line-drying. Do you hang your clothes out to dry? If not, what would it take to get you to line-dry? Do you want your neighbors hanging their clothes outside?

When I was growing up in the 50s and 60s, my family did not have a clothes dryer, and we disapproved of women who used dryers. (Only women did the laundry.) It had absolutely nothing to do with protecting the environment. It was solely about how fresh and clean we expected the laundry to be. Resorting to a dryer was considered a bit slovenly. Slatternly.

But I would never hang laundry outdoors today. Quite aside from the fact that I live on a wooded lot, and there are always squirrels running across the branches knocking vegetable matter into the air, I wouldn't want every passerby to see what things I've laundered. Yes, it could be considered aesthetically pleasing if there were lots of flat white sheets and towels and big white shirts, but what are you going to do? Cull through your washings and find the things that look spiffy hanging in the breeze and the smaller/more intimate items you'll have to drape over indoor racks?

October 25, 2009

"Super Entertainment Guaranteed."

One of the many things — former bookmarks? — tacked to the bookcases at a used bookstore in Madison:


I love the drawing... and the way it makes a collage with the postcard behind it. The discotheque, we're told, is "on the harbour's right dock" — in Crete, I assume — and there is the sailboat, which seems to be somewhere else, maybe China, maybe in search of dock. Look at these people who supposedly create a "friendly atmosphere," in a place with the deliberately — though unconvincingly — elitist name "VIP's."

DSC04842 copy

Those spindly legs! Those extravagant hand gestures! A pant-suited woman is sandwiched between traditionally masculine and feminine dance partners. There's a thigh in every crotch. Shoes fall off. A mustachio'd man flings the 2 women's hands triumphantly into the air. Surely, this is super entertainment... somewhere in Crete, long ago.

ADDED: Enlarge and see that the boat is not in China. It's in Japan: "The fresh sight of Lake Chuzenji with a refrection (sic) of the setting sun on its surface...."

"Hundreds of Kabul University students led the latest protest, burning an effigy of US President Barack Obama."

There are inflammatory rumors that Americans burned a Koran.

Incident at a Madison food co-op.

We'd picked out a half gallon of ice cream, and I caught up to the others at the check-out, where things seemed to be moving rather slowly. There was the ice cream, and there, right next to it on the counter, lying flat and folded, was a bag about the right size for the ice cream. I thought I would speed things along by putting the ice cream container in the bag. I plunged one hand into the bag to open it up and — ugh! — what was in the bag?!

"That's the compost bag," one of the cashiers said, laughing. Looking in, I saw soggy, garbage-y vegetable matter. Ugh!

Did we want a bag for the ice cream? Yeah, we did. We got the bag and got the hell out of there. I did not look back, but one of my companions did. "The cashiers are still laughing at you."


"President Obama's Top 12 Books."

Sign in a used bookstore:


Which of these books is it believable Obama really loves? Was "The Golden Notebook" personally transformative for him or did somebody — some insane person — tell him it would be a good inclusion on the list? And what's with "Shakespeare's Tragedies"? What was the thinking there? "The Complete Works of Shakespeare" seems too generic, but if you specify a play, people will compare you to a particular character.

(Here's the NYT article the list came from.)

Prosecutors want to challenge the trustworthiness of information turned up by the Innocence Project, but what information about students and classes should it be able to look at?

Cook County prosecutors have "subpoenaed the grades, grading criteria, class syllabus, expense reports and e-mail messages of ... journalism students" who have worked on the Medill Innocence Project. Over the past 3 years, the students have worked on the case of Anthony McKinney, who was convicted of a murder that took place in 1978. The idea is to find out if the "students believed they would receive better grades if witnesses they interviewed provided evidence to exonerate Mr. McKinney." 
“We’re not trying to delve into areas of privacy or grades,” Ms. Daly said. “Our position is that they’ve engaged in an investigative process, and without any hostility, we’re seeking to get all of the information they’ve developed, just as detectives and investigators turn over.”...

But if the school gives in to such a demand, say advocates of the Medill Innocence Project and more than 50 similar projects (most involving law schools and legal clinics), the stakes could be still higher, discouraging students from taking part or forcing groups to devote time and money to legal assistance....

"[W]e're on the verge of enacting a policy that is due to explode..."

"... penalizing many of the very people that it was ostensibly designed to help."

Everyone was looking for a pumpkin.


What? You want a pumpkin?


Surely, you jest.

Yes, in fact, we didn't want to carry a pumpkin around the square.


We bought purple potatoes. They look a little ugly, so we're thinking they'll taste sublime.



... a kale bouquet.

If I were going to do something like....

... this. I wouldn't do it at all like that.

"President Obama will almost certainly not travel to the Copenhagen climate change summit in December..."

"...and may instead use his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech to set out US environmental goals..."

Ha ha. Yeah. Screw Copenhagen. The presence will be bestowed upon the country that has displayed its obeisance to the man.

Anyway, how can there be a big climate change conference that everyone must fly to? If the situation is really so dire, why don't they video-conference? How big is the carbon footprint of a presidential overseas trip — or a presidential trip anywhere? Honestly, the man is set up to do his job in the White House, and he's well protected there: Why does he ever leave that place? Ditto for all the other world leaders. Why are we supposed to cut back when they do not?

"If I sold it, my life would be over."

What famous person said that about what desirable thing — really, a place — a place related to another famous person?

ADDED: You can get the answer by Googling now, but don't comment just to give that answer. We'll talk about the actual answer later. Early comments should be bona fide guesses. It will be more fun that way.

AND: Oh, no! I misread it. Sorry to send you after a question with no answer. Here's what I was trying to read:
"Mr. Hefner knows every good party must end, having long ago bought a crypt next to Marilyn Monroe at a Los Angeles cemetery. In interviews over the years, he has talked about how life wouldn’t be worth living without Playboy. 'If I sold it, my life would be over," he has said."
I skipped a sentence! It's not so interesting, read properly. But I think you could sell
the crypt next to Marilyn Monroe
for a lot of money. As for the other thing, who cares what it's worth.

Sunday breakfast.

There are 2 clips because...

... part 1 ends as the lens steams up.

Part 2:

Oh, Bissage, et al., you have made Althouse so very much better than I am.

I'm just reading the comments on yesterday's carrot post. ("Shed a tear for the orange and its desperate problems.")

Campy started us off at a high level by referencing one of this blog's most controversial posts:
Carrot sticks! Where are the onion rings?
So, yes, we know what the carrots are.

Mr. Forward introduced a classic "orange" subject:
Nothing rhymes with orange.
Hector Owen responded:
I suppose, if one were to make a ceramic porringer, and glaze it the color of those carrots, and set it on the table with other things that did not include carrots, or yams, or (of course) oranges, that one could then proudly say, "Nothing is oranger than my porringer!"

Still, nothing rhymes with "orange." Now, if that porringer had a flange … no, the "a" would still be different.
I thought the right answer was "door hinge."

Lucid sledgehammers the meaning of the post:
This is clearly a very penetrating (???!!!!) photographic comment: While women (pink) are to be carefully considered, the photographer also feels concern for the tribulations of men and their special appendages.
Freeman Hunt provides an amazing list of things that an orange ribbon is supposed to reflect/create awareness of — according to this creepy awareness site:
Agent OrangeCultural Diversity
Feral Cats
Motorcycle Safety
Racial Tolerance
Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome
Self Injury
Not prostate cancer, though. Prostate cancer gets light blue. Get it?

Freeman Hunt had an afterthought:
Why is there a ribbon for feral cats but not feral dogs?

I think it's more important to be aware of feral dogs because they could kill you.

Feral cats, not so much. You could probably throw a crazy cat away from you if it attacked you. Man > cat.
Ironrailsironweights said:
Self Injury...

Somehow I never thought of that as a "cause" requiring the ribbon treatment.
Maybe these people crave (carve) attention.

Michaele said:
There's some sad orange wearers right this minute 'cause University of TN just missed knocking off #1 Alabama...the score was 12 to 10 and UT had a chance at making a field goal in the last couple of seconds.
Knox(ville) — who "just ordered myself a black 'Amish Support' ribbon car magnet!" — said:
Yeah, yeah, keep it to yourself.

Oh, who am I kidding, I don't give a sh*t about football.

You are talking about football, right?
Leland said...
Texas A&M, in the[ir] hatred for University of Texas and all things orange, learned how to grow maroon carrots.
 Libhom said:
This post is as senseless as everything else on this blog.
Chip Ahoy said:
This post has no meaning!

Just like everything else on this blog -- meaningless.

Just like my life has no meaning. Except for the meaning I give it by spending time here noting your abject absence of meaning and returning regularly and reaffirming that observation and then setting aside my other meaninglessness to take the time and effort to remark on your meaninglessness, even so far as to bother with a CAPTCHA to do it. Yes, that's right, my remark on your meaningless blog does have meaning although I assert your blog that I make the remark on does not.

But then I wouldn't recognize meaning if it jumped up and bit my penis. I do not understand photography or art or getting out and seeing my city or recording it with my own unique eye and through my own lens, or forests or farmers market or flower boxes, animals or odd things in nature or within human constructions. They're meaningless to me! Now, start being meaningful Goddamnit! And give me something meaningful to foul.

Then my other self says,

I once had a careless carrot patch. There was loose tilled dirt directly under an air conditioner that dripped steadily throughout the hot summer directly onto that patch of dirt, so watering was automatic. I had a packet of carrot seeds that I broadcast into the soil and, being an ordinary kid, didn't pay much attention to them thereafter, just checked back occasionally. The plants are beautiful at every stage of development, more so because they were not arranged in tight farmerly rows. At first the foliage looks like delicate little green feathers, then lacy ferns, then they expand, fill in, and strengthen to proper deep dark green carrot tops. The bright orange carrot roots were delicious.
LoafingOaf said:
These are gross looking carrots. They look like fucked up fingers or pathetic penises or something. Ick.
Uh, yeah. Have you no pity! Why are cancerous breasts a big warm fuzzy cause, but a pathetic penis is just something against which to hurl contempt? Sexist. You must wear a light blue ribbon for penance. Penis penance.

And yet the Oaf continues:
I have a question. Why is everything that Obama says or does horribly wrong to Althouse and her commenters, yet Dick Cheney is such a hero the Althouse world wants to build him a statue in Madison? Is Obama really that awful and Cheney really that righteous? Or is this blog getting carried away by the right wing?
(Link added.)

Bissage said:
I find myself disappointed that Loafing Oaf didn’t post a link to his blog where we’d all find his twelve point plan specifying what each and every one of us should do to make Althouse so very much better than it is.
Oh, Bissage, et al., you have made Althouse so very much better than I am.

Theme days on the blog.

To do a theme day on the blog is a harsh discipline. And, no, the theme of the blog today is not "harsh discipline." This is not a theme day today. Yesterday was a theme day, and today, I am tired of doing themes. I want my freedom.

Jennifer Aniston takes 3-minute showers in which she not only accomplishes all the usual showerly things...

... she also brushes her teeth!

Why the harsh discipline? "Every two minutes in the shower uses as much water as a person in Africa uses for everything in their life for a whole day!"

How else are celebrities helping?
  • Adrian Grenier has lived in an apartment insulated with old pants.
  • Vegetarian and planetary crusader Tobey Maguire reportedly has banned all leather products from his house. ... [H]e also "makes everyone take off their leather belts and shoes and leave them by the door!"
  • ... Leo DiCaprio "stays green at home, too—with his $3,200 eco-friendly toilet!"
Planetary crusader, eh?