December 19, 2009

"Love is in; angst is out."

One of 9 musical trends of the 00s.

"Tiger Woods Plays Sad Golf at Night."

I thought this was going to be some sex metaphor — with lame wisecracks about holes and so forth — but it's literally true: Tiger Woods Plays Sad Golf at Night.

In Madison, we are now required to recycle plastic bags... assuming they are clean... and there's no plan to, you know, actually enforce the requirement.

City recycling coordinator George Dreckmann "stressed that the city had no intention of enforcing the law, saying the city would focus instead on encouraging residents to comply."
"I think the idea behind making it a mandate was to raise the awareness and to get people to do it," Dreckmann said. He pointed to the city law mandating residents put recyclables in green curbside containers -- for which the city has never issued a ticket -- as a model for how the department will carry out the new program.
So if you were thinking of keeping a little jar of mud on the counter to pre-dirty your plastic bags so you're still allowed to toss them in the trash, it's quite unnecessary. Here in Madison, power is wielded not with fines, though fines are threatened. It is applied directly to you subservient conscience. You could smudge your bags and throw them away, but the law can smudge your brain with a guilt that never ends. If you've got that kind of brain, and you know you do, you Madisonians.

(And, by the way, isn't Dreckmann a great name for a trash guy?)
Brandon Scholz, president and chief executive of the Wisconsin Grocers Association and an early critic of the program, said Thursday the program was an ineffective use of city resources because many private companies in the city already offer the same service. He also predicted the city's outdoor bins would be hard to keep clean and difficult to monitor for misuse.

"I think when you have these bins out in parking lots or who knows where ... they're going to become trash bins," he said. "It's a feel-good (program), that's what it is."
Ah, the tawdry little things we do to make ourselves feel good up here in Wisconsin.
Ald. Judy Compton, 16th District, who co-authored the law, called the program "a good step in the right direction" but said it still needs to "evolve." She said the city's goal should be to see 90 percent of residents recycling their bags. Current estimates put the level of participation in existing programs below 10 percent, she said....
Compton also questioned the effectiveness of store bag-recycling programs, questioning whether all the bags get recycled. She did not discourage residents from recycling their bags at stores but said with the city's program people would know where their bags were going.
Private recycling programs weren't good enough because the city wants to monitor our compliance. If there are all sorts of different recycling bins, placed where shopkeepers want them, how will the people — AKA the government — know if the mandate is boosting our bag-related virtue over the 10% level? The unenforced mandate, mind you. Now, not only will the people know how many bags are recycled, the people will know how much the mere idea of being supposed to do something produces the intended result. Think there will be a decline from the current 10%? You don't know Madison.

"Anthony Galluccio laps up wrist slap."

Oh? And does he wrist up a lap slap?

Senator Ben Nelson, bought off.

"I know this is hard for some of my colleagues to accept and I appreciate their right to disagree. But I would not have voted for this bill without these provisions."

Who stole the "Arbeit macht frei" sign?

Neo-Nazis/Holocaust deniers hoping to prove the sign is fake?

ADDED: Jules Crittenden has some doubt that it was Holocaust deniers:
[I]t could be neo-nazi enthusiasts who want it for their clubhouse. Could be someone who wants to sell it to a World War II memorabilia collector. Or, it could be scrap metal mongers. Turns out the thing is made of bronze. In the past couple of weeks, someone pried off a 100-year-old commemorative plaque at Lexington’s Battle Green, as well as a couple of plaques with the names of World War II and Vietnam war dead in Attleboro, Mass. Scrap metal thieves suspected. If it can be melted down, they don’t really care what it is.

NPR decides who told the Lie of the Year.

Guess who told it?! Sarah Palin!!11!!!1111

ADDED: They forgot to consider "Yes We Can."

"Talk about lucky. I was one of the luckiest guys in the world to survive that day."

"And now this."

NYU law school exam screwup.

Picture it. You're a first-year law student, knocking yourself out studying for your first round of exams. You're striving along with everyone else for rank in class in a time when jobs are hard to get and tuition is still painfully high. Your grade in Contracts is vitally important...
"I am writing to you about a serious issue that has emerged with respect to Professor Nzelibe’s contracts exam, which was held yesterday. After the exam we were contacted by some students to tell us that the exam consisted of two questions that had both been distributed by Professor Nzelibe to his contracts class at Northwestern last year as practice questions. This is a clear violation of explicit NYU School of Law policy. We know that some students in your class had seen and worked through both questions, and some other students had seen one of the questions."
Exams are graded on a curve, and some of the students you're competing with have seen and worked on the very questions that appear on the exam. Now what? 1. Take another exam, which means putting in another round of studying and worrying that will eat into next semester's energy (and cast a pall on your winter break)? 2. Give everyone in the class a pass/fail grade, which has an effect — though possibly a good one — on your GPA compared to students with other Contracts teachers? 3. Or just have Professor Nzelibe grade the exams as if nothing had ever happened?

#2 seems most fair. It mainly hurts the students who would have done best in Contracts. Maybe they worked hardest in that class or understood the material particularly well. That was the grade that would have pulled up their GPA. It's a windfall for the students who had their biggest problems with Contracts, but basically, no one has to do anymore work and everyone still has a GPA. But they will have a "pass" grade on their transcript they'll have to explain over and over. And this is the option that makes life easiest for the professor. He doesn't have to write another exam, and the work of grading — the least enjoyable part of a lawprof's work — becomes a snap.

So how about a hybrid of ##2&3? The students submit a form choosing whether they want their grade or a Pass/Fail, the professor grades all the exams in the normal way, and the grades are entered as Pass/Fail if the student chose that option. The problem with this is that the students who got the advantage will decline the Pass/Fail option, and their grades, curved against the other students, will reflect the advantage they got. And students who would have gotten their worst grade in Contracts if there had never been a screwup get to exclude that bad grade. So, on average, the students who had Professor Nzelibe will have better GPAs than the students who did not have him. This will affect the job prospects of all of those students.

There is no good solution.

Giant snowstorm hits D.C. making it the biggest December accumulation in 70 years.

Wow! I hope Obama made it home from the big blizzard global warming conference okay.

"The right-wing reaction was predictable. Blogger Ann Althouse called it a 'dick move' and suggested a boycott of Minnesota."

MediaMatters makes a no-sense-of-humor move.

Boycott Minnesota? I'd never boycott Minnesota! I'd have to give up Bob Dylan. That won't happen. I wouldn't even boycott Prince... or the Coen Brothers. Really, politics just aren't that important to me. MediaMatters needs to get a life.

December 18, 2009

Obama and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao at the climate change conference in Copenhagen.

Interpretations? Captions?

This is a photo from Obama's own Flickr site, so it presents Obama as Obama's people want him to be seen. Obsequious? Abasing? Or steady and serious in a difficult process of persuasion?

The Copenhagen deal "locks countries into a cycle of poverty for ever. Obama has eliminated any difference between him and Bush."

"[It] will definitely result in massive devastation in Africa and small island states. It has the lowest level of ambition you can imagine. It's nothing short of climate change scepticism in action."

Lumumba Di-Aping, chief negotiator for the G77 group of 130 developing countries.

A jury has convicted Erick Williamson of a crime for being naked inside his own house.

"If you're in a private place and take your clothes off, you have not committed a crime."/"What if you're in a private place and standing in front of a big plate-glass window?"

How is that 3-D working out for you?

If you've seen "Avatar," please comment on whether the 3-D effects are working properly for you. I haven't seen it, but my 26-year-old son Chris has seen it (in the IMAX version). He iChats:
just trying to look at the 3d and get it to look right was pretty much the entire experience of it...

it never reaches the point of looking like reality, and looks less real than 2d...

the main thing is, nothing in the extreme foreground ever looked in focus...

the only way things ever looked like they popped out of the screen would be if i focused on something that seemed to be in the middle ground, and things could pop out that i wasn't looking directly at...

i don't think 3d ever looks like the true 3-dimensions of the real world, i think at best it looks like a very big hologram...

Does God care about Twitter... and "Survivor"?

A mother's tweet: "Please pray like never before, my 2 yr old fell in the pool." Now, the poor boy died — 19 minutes after the tweet — and the mother is being criticized for using Twitter. Her tweeting had nothing to do with the accident, though, and it's not really wrong — is it? — for a writer to ask her readers for their prayers?

The woman, Shellie Ross, had over 5,000 followers on Twitter, and I don't think it was wrong for her to reach out to them in her time of anguish. At the same time, I cannot conceive of a God that would decide whether to answer a prayer based on the number of followers on Twitter!

And, did you watch "Survivor" last night? 2 contestants who had bonded over a late-in-the-game revelation of Christian faith found themselves on the same team in a competition that required them to pull ropes out of a structure without causing coconuts to tumble out. They started praying to God for victory. Like God should pay attention to whether coconuts are falling. I know Jesus said that God pays attention to every sparrow that falls, but he said nothing about coconuts. Or who wins on "Survivor." By the way, Team Jesus lost when a whole hilarious load of coconuts rained down as a rope was pulled by the Christian in a bikini. That doesn't, of course, mean that God wasn't paying attention. If you believe in prayer, no adverse result will ever shake your belief. In this case, the believer's explanation is obvious: God rejected the request.

Why would God help you win games? And, for that matter, why would God save a dying boy based on whether he had someone who knew he was dying and thought prayer might help? Why wouldn't He be irritated that you imagine him making decisions like that? Believers don't seem to worry too much about the possibility that their invocations displease God. In the case of the coconuts, maybe God actively preferred the people who declined to seek divine intervention. In the case of the boy, why must any child die?

"When these capitalist gods of carbon burp and belch their dangerous emissions, it's we, the lesser mortals of the developing sphere who gasp and sink and eventually die."

It's Robert Mugabe, lecturing the leaders at the Copenhagen.

And now President Barack Obama is there. He's saying, "The time for talk is over." Ironically, he's talking.

"We're not here to husband our poll numbers like a trophy on a shelf."

Wacky quote by David Axelrod, who is "not professionally qualified to judge insanity."

Judith Warner reflects on the occasion of ending her NYT family life column.

Now, this is freaky. Just 2 days ago I ripped Judith Warner:
I don't — I can't —use the raw material of my home life for blog posts ... and I've been noticing how much these various female columnists do.... They just go right ahead and talk about whatever is right there in their home and make casual generalizations about what people are like these days.

Like Judith Warner, writing in the NYT this week about her daughter... The daughter has "endless girl dramas," and the mother has adopted a "respectful distance" strategy of parenting. But part of that "respectful distance" is blabbing about the dramas in the New York Times. Well, that is a kind of distance....

This is the style of these relationship columns for women these days. Write openly about your own family. Of course, it's fundamental that you have a lovely, happy family — and that they won't get any less happy and lovely if you make them your material.
And now, today, here's Judith Warner, signing off, saying:
I’m glad now to have the chance to get back to being more fully present in the life I’ve been mining for material these many years.
Now, I'm not suggesting I had anything to do with ending Judith Warner's column. Even if I think my writing has some effect, I don't think it could work that quickly. But I do think I perceived a problem that Warner herself really did feel. Or maybe she's just looking for the bright side.

Are young men getting all dressed up these days...

... in an effort to avoid looking like a Baby Boomer guy, who is looking more slovenly by the year in his baggy jeans and sweaters? In an effort to look like the actors on the TV show "Mad Men"?

These are questions I cannot answer from here — from Madison, Wisconsin.

"Do not capitalize court, motion, movant, debtor, trustee, order, affidavit, stipulation, mortgage, lease or any of the other numerous words that are commonly capitalized.”

The Judge is angry. Angry about Capitalization. It's getting on his Nerves. Could you lawyers please just write like a Normal Person.

"The North Face’s tag line is 'Never Stop Exploring' while The South Butt sells products with the tag line 'Never Stop Relaxing.'"

There is no sense of humor in trademark law. And that disclaimer — "If you are unable to discern the difference between a face and a butt, we encourage you to buy North Face products" — is not the lawsuit deflector you might have hoped it was.

I never even saw "Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace."

In fact, I stopped watching "Star Wars" movies after "The Empire Strikes Back," but I'm nevertheless fascinated by this 70-minute video review of "Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace."
[T]his isn’t your usual fanboy rant, this is an epic, well-edited well-constructed piece of geek film criticism. In fact, the way I learned about the video was from Lost co-creator and Star Trek producer Damon Lindelof, who said “Your life is about to change. This is astounding film making. Watch ALL of it.”
I haven't watched ALL of it, and I don't know if it could work for someone who has never had to sit through the horrible movie that is its target, but I loved the first 30 seconds and I love the idea of a film about another film and the idea of a work of art that is entirely about how bad another work of art is.

December 17, 2009


Jennifer Jones, 1919-2009.

At the Feline Night Club...


... you can cat around all night.

Look what Meade's got me doing.

That was the 6th time I went cross-country skiing. First time I didn't fall. If you want to discuss my fashion choices, here's the photograph that gave me the confidence to be a trend setter.


And I'm loving the jacket — complete with armpit zippers.

Al Franken's dick move.

So... should we boycott Minnesota?

Obama says "it’s clear we are on the precipice of achievement..."

"... that’s eluded Congresses, presidents for generations — an achievement that will touch the lives of nearly every American."

On the precipice? Great! Plunge onward, then, o wise one!

Why do these people...

... look so weird?

"It looks like they're all closely related to each other...."

"Garth Brooks Sues A Hospital."

Charity vanity and the ensuing litigiousness.

WARNING: Male camel toe at the link.

One more for the annals of domestic disputes and dangerous driving.

"After [Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry] and fiancee Loleini Tonga began arguing at a Charlotte house, Tonga started to drive off and Henry apparently jumped into the bed of the pickup truck, police in Charlotte said. As Tonga drove, Henry tumbled out the back of the moving vehicle. The mortally wounded NFL player was found lying in the street about a half-mile from the home..."

What the Democrats really need right now...

... George Bush.
His presidency was a tonic for Democrats and led to a blossoming of political creativity on the center-left not seen since the 1930s. No tactic, no program, no leader ever did more to catalyze the party than the rage Bush inspired.
Without him, they are the rage-inspiration. Power hurts. And no one sympathizes. So lonely!

The human voodoo doll.

It is hard to comprehend how people can be so evil. I can actually imagine an adult volunteering to serve as a human voodoo doll, but to use a child....

UPDATE: Here's a report on successful surgery on the poor boy. Plus:
Police say the boy's stepfather, 30-year-old bricklayer Roberto Carlos Magalhaes, confessed to pushing supposedly ''blessed'' sewing needles deep into the child because his lover told him to while in trances.

The rituals were performed over a period of a month to try to keep the couple together, the stepfather told police. Authorities suspect the woman was trying to take revenge on the wife of her lover by having the man hurt her son.

Magalhaes told detectives the woman would enter into trances and give him commands to insert the needles, police inspector Helder Fernandes Santana said. The stepfather told police the rituals happened every few days for a full month, with him inserting several needles during each session....

Has Althouse, like Andrew Sullivan, ever relied on ghostbloggers?

I'm a month away from my 6-year anniversary writing this blog, posting every single day — averaging at least 7 posts a day — and never once handing this blog over to a guestblogger. But what about a ghostblogger? Do I ever give an assistant my password and let him post under my name, letting my readers think they are reading me when they are not? Because that's what Andrew Sullivan has been doing. On December 12th, over on Sullivan's blog, Patrick Appel put up a post titled "Minding The Store":
As always, it a pleasure to step in while Andrew gets some much needed rest. Guest-blogging is not all that different than my day-to-day activities on the Dish – 24 of the 50 posts currently on the front page were written by me.
So why does Andrew need the rest? Is he ghost-resting for Patrick? Sullivan trusts this guy to write for him and he turns around and takes credit while Andrew is trying to rest?
All the substantive posts are Andrew's work, but it's my and Chris's job to read through the blogosphere and pick out the choicest bits. Andrew edits, approves, and spins what we find, but the illusion of an all-reading blogger is maintained by employing two extra sets of eyes.
But you just said "written by me"! Do you read lots of things and pass selections on to Andrew or do you write the posts? Presumably, the phrase "Andrew's work" means Andrew has looked at what Patrick and Chris write — not just what they "find" — and had the chance to add or change whatever words he likes. That is, if he feels like it, he can polish the Appel.

Do I do that sort of thing? Commenter EDH asked:
We know Meade does some of the photography, but does Althouse have him slavishly ghostwriting posts anonymously, like over at The Dish?
Just as I quote the writings of others, I sometimes use someone else's photography. I think it's always obvious when I'm doing that. I've started using a tag "photos by Meade" — Meade is my husband — but there are some Meade photos that predate that tag. You can normally tell that it's not one of my photos by the fact that it's a picture of me and it's not one of those arm's-length pictures. I quote Meade sometimes too, when he lets me, and sometimes he sends me a link to something he thinks I might be interested in. He sends me the links in iChat, but other than that, he's like readers who are nice enough to send me links in the email or the comments.

But no one has ever written a post for me. Not as a guest-blogger and not as a ghost-blogger. I have never even given a password for this blog to another person. No one has so much as corrected a typo for me. Every sentence that isn't marked as a quote was written by me. And I mean all 18,000+ posts.

You know, I have had my run-ins with Sullivan. He mocked my engagement announcement. He's given me Sarah-Palin-related assignments. I have paid a lot of attention to these things on my blog. (Here and here, for example.) I seriously believed I was interacting with Sullivan, a writer I have respected for maybe 20 years. I wouldn't have bothered with Patrick (or Chris). I really don't care what they think. If they insult me, they are to me like any number of bloggers who insult me and whose bait I don't take. I would always take Sullivan's bait, because Sullivan is important. Not to know whether it's Sullivan or one of them makes a mush out of the whole blog. I'm not wading through all of this ghost-generated verbiage and guessing about what might be the real thing.

It was impressive if one man could write all that stuff. The number of posts over there has been crazy. I think I write a lot, but Andrew... Andrew was the gold standard for solo bloggers.

And now... Trig is not his baby!

UPDATE: Appel tries to backtrack:
News Busters has a field day with my ["written by me"] post. Lachlan Markay pretends that my doing research for Andrew is the same as Lynn Vincent writing Sarah Palin's book. I wish I'd the talent to ghostblog for Andrew. As I've written numerous times, basically everything I write under Andrew's name is a naked link or excerpt.
"Basically"? But a ghostblogger would deny it. That hardly cancels out the claim that "24 of the 50 posts currently on the front page were written by me." So what's with the bullshit about Markay "pretend[ing]"? At least eat your words and don't blame others.

Appel goes on to abase himself with praise of Andrew Sullivan's "inhuman" writing prowess. He can't be ghostblogging, you see, because his inferiority would show, etc. etc.

Accenture wedded its corporate image to Tiger Woods.

And now it must struggle to erase the connection.

But what I don't understand is why a corporation would stake so much in the reputation of a living human being without researching the risk involved. There was so much bad behavior to be discovered. Did Accenture just believe the hype? How reckless!

December 16, 2009

At the Chocolate Shop...

... the blogger is so delighted...


... at her camera angle...


... that she didn't notice the upper left-hand corner's fingerage.

Not coping...

... in Copenhagen.

"Is this real life?"

"David After Dentist" is the #2 most-played YouTube video of the year:

37+ million people watched that. #1 had 120+ million views, the ultimate YouTube phenomenon.

"There's nothing to think about: he's never going to change."

That, supposedly, is what Elin thinks of Tiger Woods. Is the need for multiple partners a sexual orientation?

Congressional Democrats turn on Obama.

"Snowe? Stupak? Lieberman? Who left these people in charge? It's time for the president to get his hands dirty. Some of us have compromised our compromised compromise. We need the president to stand up for the values our party shares. We must stop letting the tail wag the dog of this debate."

Blaming Obama is the new trend. He was going to be magical and miraculous. What was that phrase? Yes, we can? We can. Doesn't mean we will. Fortunately!

ADDED: People just don't want this bill. I think the big mistake was skipping the step of winning public support for a particular plan. It wasn't enough that people believed there was a problem. People needed to believe the solution wasn't worse than the problem. We were supposed to look away and trust them. The trust was never won, never earned. It's been a horrific mess, and it just looks messier and messier as time wears on. Obama kept his distance, which looks pretty smart now. Easy to see why the congressional Democrats are pissed at him now. Good! I like divided government.

What world leader would you like to see pooping in the corner of your nativity scene?

Caganers are a Catalan tradition! Example, Sarkozy:

Lots more at the link, including Obama, Queen Elizabeth, the Pope, Hugo Chavez...

I heartily approve of both the religious and the political sentiments!

(Via Drawn Cutlass).

Caramel knowledge.

A phrase Google is cruel enough to tell me I wasn't the first to invent. Nevertheless, I love caramel. Handmade caramels with coffee at my favorite café, caramel syrup in my coffee at home, creme caramel, chocolates with caramel inside....

UPDATE: The way Google works, my first link isn't doing what it originally did, as this post is elbowing its way to the top of the list. Less that 2 hours after I posted, I'm already second on a search for "caramel knowledge." I may not have been first, but being first is not what matters most to Google.

That prick muttered something under his breath.

It's not like he called her a "bitch" to her face.

Is this really still something that we should give a damn about?

I'm only linking to Memeorandum for this as a way to say I don't give a damn anymore.

"If I were Judith Warner writing in the New York Times about my daughter I could write about it."

I don't — I can't — use the raw material of my home life for blog posts. Maybe you think I do, but basically, I follow a rule against it, and I only reveal little things around the edges. I'd love to use lines from breakfast-table conversations and riff on them, and maybe this post is an example of that. It's something I just said. But, really, this post is about how I can't do that, and I've been noticing how much these various female columnists do. They don't research what's happening in other families or even pretend they are writing about some third person. They just go right ahead and talk about whatever is right there in their home and make casual generalizations about what people are like these days.

Like Judith Warner, writing in the NYT this week about her daughter:
... my elder daughter, Julia, is now in 7th grade, which means, of late, that she lives in a world filled with endless girl dramas of the most unfortunate and, alas, ordinary kind.

As I watch her attempt to make sense of all this, I try to keep a respectful distance. There is no greater error, I’ve come to think, than for a mother to get down in the emotional mire of her daughter’s girl stuff. It is undignified. Inappropriate, even. And ultimately, judging from what I’ve seen thus far, it’s deeply toxic.

So I try to sit back and act like an adult.
Ironically, Warner is writing about keeping aloof from her daughter's dramas. But that is her home life. The daughter has "endless girl dramas," and the mother has adopted a "respectful distance" strategy of parenting. But part of that "respectful distance" is blabbing about the dramas in the New York Times. Well, that is a kind of distance.

I won't "get down in the emotional mire" with you. I'll climb up here onto my mainstream media perch where your problems can be summarized as "stuff," and the story will be about me and my distance (and — read the whole thing — what life was like for me when I was young).

Warner gives her daughter some modest cover even as she uses her for a jumping-off point. And, to be nice, I'm going to assume the daughter read the column and approved the revelation. I'm also going to imagine that there were other, more revealing column drafts that touched off one of the daughter's endless dramas and got rewritten.

And here's Hanna Rosin, writing about the nonproblem — supremely non — of having a husband who loves to cook: "The Rise of the Kitchen Bitch — Ladies, it’s time to reclaim cooking." I've already complained about the endless Elizabeth Weil article in the NYT about a husband who cooks too much, and Rosin — an admirer of the Weil piece — is following on with a my-husband-too. You have a man who (somehow) cooks too much? I have a man who cooks too much. It's the way we brag now. Whatever it is, pretend it's a problem. Rosin writes:
My husband is not a tenth [as bad as Weil's husband]. He is a food snob but not obsessive; he is fast and has dinner on the table by 6:45, in time for us all to eat together. The problem is more subtle and at least half my fault. Before we had kids, we both loved to cook and did it prodigiously and with great joy. After we had kids, everything changed. When we got home from work, we had the choice of cooking or hanging out with the kids. I always chose the kids. When I did cook, it was out of a sense of duty and obligation, while he continued to feel the joy.
Ahem. So you have a great husband. You have great kids. You got a choice of cooking or playing with the kids in the pre-dinner time slot and you chose the kids — because you're a great mom as well as a great cook — and this went swimmingly well for both you and your husband and now... now you can even generate a popular column — it's #1 on the DoubleX "most read" list — out of how it's really this resonant modern problem.

This is the style of these relationship columns for women these days. Write openly about your own family. Of course, it's fundamental that you have a lovely, happy family — and that they won't get any less happy and lovely if you make them your material.

You listen to soft rock music.

Quit lying.

December 15, 2009

At the Oranges Hotel...


... write 4 inches. Do tell.

That Jugtown frogskin glazed goblet.


I wouldn't have picked that one out from the group.


But photographing in the afternoon sun...


... I like it ...


ADDED: The goblet was made by the same person about whom Meade said yesterday: "The potter who made the bowl which is bigger on the inside than the outside: Vernon Owens."

ABBA, Genesis, Jimmy Cliff, Stooges, Hollies.

The new Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees.

We visited the Hall a couple weeks ago. Never got around to blogging about it! You can't take pictures inside, and I've blogged about it on a previous visit, so I didn't have too much to say. From the outside, it looked like this:


"Chilean Olympic weightlifter Elizabeth Poblete has given birth to a baby boy during a training session, without having known she was pregnant."

She did notice that she wasn't feeling too well.

"The noise sounds like they are both in considerable pain... I have never ever heard anything like it."

It's the noise of a woman having sex. And she's pleaded guilty to the crime. 
"It certainly was intrusive and constituted a statutory nuisance. It was clearly of a very disturbing nature and it was also compounded by the duration — this was not a one-off, it went on for hours at a time. It is further compounded by the frequency of the episode, virtually every night."
That should be a crime.

Obama's "excited about" something "sexy."

"Insulation is sexy stuff... Here's what's sexy about it..."

Stuffing things in cracks?

"... saving money."

Eh. Ugh. I don't know whether to be bored or indignant.

Anyway, take out the gratuitous references to sex, and you've got Obama back in his "tire gauge" mode. Which is fine with me. Prod us with little things that we could just as well deal with on our own. Because it's so much better than these drastic — planetary — solutions his party-mates have been trying to cram down our throats.

First, they came for the mammograms.

Now, the CT scans.

The strategy for avoiding the label "death panel" is: present the treatments as deadly. Voila: life panels! Now, here's your blue pill.

"Arnold Schwarzenegger calls for 'planetary transformation.'"

I guess the word "global" has gotten tiresome and Arnold would like to sound new and visionary but "planetary" had me thinking about Mars... you know, this. Now, that was planetary transformation.

Which is the more embarrassing bungling of verb forms?

1. "If you were graduating from Princeton in the first part of the 20th century, you probably heard the university president, John Hibben, deliver one of his commencement addresses."

2. "I really wonder how the stimulus would have went had Lieberman been kicked."

Should we pay attention to the Golden Globe nominations?

Should we pay attention to Nikki Finke?
[T]he Golden Globes have zero integrity. Studios and networks who lavishly lobby the HFPA almost always score nominations. Stars win in direct correlation to their glamour quotient. Everything about the awards is geared towards hyping the media's interest and the telecast's ratings. Even the small motley group of freelancers who belong to the HFPA won't grant membership to the real foreign journalists at the prestige newspapers across the world. NBC and Dick Clark Productions could clean up the Globes but choose not to. Instead, the entire entertainment industry props up this pathetic show because it's seen as a night-long marketing tool. Therefore, it's ridiculous for anyone to consider the movie categories as a window on the Oscar frontrunners.

Why didn't you vote in the "Who is the Hottest Tiger Woods Babe?" Poll?

The poll is here, on the Vanity Fair website.

Why didn't you vote?
I think it's absolutely disgusting to make light of adultery.
They all look awful to me now.
I did vote. For the wife of course. She should win.
I did vote, for the nonwife I really thought was the best. free polls

First dibs.

Last dibs.

It's Grande Conservative Blogress Diva times again.

Over at GayPatriot.

December 14, 2009

If Tiger Woods used prostitutes...

... he should go to jail. Right?

"Most of the groves, courtyards, gardens, fountains, artworks, open spaces and architectural complexes have disappeared behind a cloaking device."

What we've lost, looking at screens.

"The climatologist whose work Mr Gore was relying upon dropped the former Vice-President in the water with an icy blast."

An inconvenient climatologist embarrasses Gore in Copenhagen.

"Keep Your Surprisingly Capacious Bowls, I've Got a Freakin' Fruit-bearing Tree in My Backyard."

We laughed at his "brilliant detective work," but XWL got his revenge with suculento photographs and an "I blame Althouse" tag.

"Here's proof that most of the time we look but don't see."

Change blindness.


And  speaking of not seeing, could somebody please win the oranges-in-a-bowl contest already?

"Splitless and factbound."

I.e., not certworthy, but the the Supreme Court took cert in the text messaging called Quon.

At the Bowl of Oranges Café...


... you can have milk and toast and honey.

IN THE COMMENTS: Ricardo asks: How many oranges are in the bowl? See if you can guess.

AND: The answer, after so many low guesses and finally mainly by flailing, was arrived at by t-man. I demonstrate the surprising capacity of the bowl here:

Demonstrating that there were 36 oranges in the bowl.

"I love audiobooks, in part because I’m lazy and in part because I’m not."

"Rather than sitting still and moving my eyes over a page, I like to roam around and do stuff—iron, say, or defrost my freezer. I take walks, I soak in the tub, I turn up the volume and vacuum."

Says David Sedaris, who goes on to list audiobooks he likes because of the perfect match between the reader and the material. I agree with Sedaris about the lazy/unlazy quality of listening to audiobooks and want to add what he can't say, which is that his own writing and reading are a brilliant match.

The interlocking business of providing child care and dealing drugs...

... incentivized by taxpayer money.
[T]he Journal Sentinel cross-referenced databases containing search warrants and court records with child-care providers. It also reviewed hundreds of pages of police reports, federal indictments, state child-care records, criminal complaints, property records and other public documents. In addition, the newspaper interviewed police officers and prosecutors and relied on tips from child-care center employees and parents....

Child-care providers are seldom criminally charged for involvement in drug crimes. Search warrants aimed at drug dealers often make no mention that the dealer's wife or live-in girlfriend is a child-care provider - even when the day care is the site of the search.

And nobody - not regulators nor law enforcement officials - tracks the overlap.

Yet, cops and prosecutors say they see links between day care providers and drug dealers all the time.

"I had little cute lines to say or something, but I thought the worst thoughts — the worst, most obscene things — and it came across."

How Eileen Fulton got started playing Lisa on "As the World Turns," nearly 50 years ago. The character was originally intended as "a sweet little girl next-door," but the spirit within the actress came through and influenced the show's writers to give her the great honor of decades of fictional villainy.

"Why are people caring less and less about the environment?"

Ed Kilgore asks. (Kilgore... hmmm.... resist making wisecrack about name....) Why have the "many years of painstaking efforts to explain climate change to the American people and get them concerned about it" come undone? Kilgore offers 3 reasons.

1. Dealing with economic troubles takes precedence. (My question: Isn't an economic downturn automatically making the contribution that environmentalists had wanted to compel? Less production entails less carbon production. Why not celebrate the downturn? It's what you wanted. Or is it that you wanted conscious, deliberate sacrifice?)

2. Maybe it's "a byproduct of the radicalization of the Republican Party." Amusingly, he fails to pair this with the suggestion that it's a byproduct of the radicalization of the Democratic Party. The article is illustrated by a picture of Sarah Palin (wearing a winter hat). Is Sarah that attractive? It's more likely the repelling force of the drastic changes pushed by the party in power.

3. Maybe it's "the determined effort by the hard-core anti-environmental right to dominate the discussion and change its terms." Hmmm. #3 is so much like #2 that my response seems too obvious to bother to type out.

Kilgore concludes:
This is one area of public policy where “respect for contrary views” and “editorial balance” is misplaced. Sure, there are many aspects of the climate-change challenge that ought to be debated, and not just between those at the ideological and partisan extremes. But we shouldn’t be “debating” whether or not the scientific consensus on climate change actually represents a vast conspiracy to destroy capitalism and enslave the human race, any more than we should be debating whether “death panels” are a key element of health care reform.
So: Crush debate. On this and on health care. Because those people on the other side are terrible radicals.


A coined word for a gloomy Monday. Who coined it? Google word verification. And there should be a word that means the recognition of the usefulness of an accidental or machine generated new word. A found coin.

"[W]omen have been evolutionarily designed to fear rejection and disapproval much more than men do."

From an article in Psychology Today about why women tend, more than men, to suffer from the "impostor syndrome."

If you look old for your age, you probably actually are closer to death than you think.

I'm flipping the optimistic headline "People who look young for their age 'live longer.'"

"[W]hen a woman tells you where she bought some wonderful pair of shoes, say that you believe shopping for clothes is like masturbation..."

"... everyone does it, but it isn't very interesting and therefore should be done alone, in an embarrassed fashion, and never be the topic of party conversation."

A quote from an old Lorrie Moore book, in a review of a new Lorrie Moore book. I realize — because I read that or because I would already have thought it's true — that I think shopping should be done alone and in an embarrassed fashion. And now I think I understand why it troubles me so much when the salesladies come up to me and ask if they can help.

"This is a sacred place."

Spoken by a musician in a concert. Where was he?

ADDED: Guess first, but as the answer now appears in the comments, I'll link to my source of the quote.

The itemization of what it's like to be old.

How hard is it, really, to live and love when you are 57+ years old?

Hitting the Prime Minister with a cathedral.

Silvio Berluscioni took "a small, metal souvenir replica of the Doumo di Milano" to the face.

"I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of fat cat bankers on Wall Street."

"They're still puzzled why is it that people are mad at the banks. Well, let's see... You guys are drawing down $10, $20 million bonuses after America went through the worst economic year that it's gone through in -- in decades, and you guys caused the problem. And we've got 10% unemployment."

Okay, but then are you still puzzled why is it that people are mad at the government? Presumably, your answer to that question would be: Look! Over there! Fat cat bankers!!!

How much do you have to torture the truth to get to an answer other than George W. Bush?

When the question — asked by the Washington Post — is "Who was the most influential person of the decade?"

People really want to say Obama. They probably think Bush was dumb. It can't be Obama. It could be Osama.

ADDED: And here's the BBC's list of people who defined the decade:
David Beckham
L/Corp Johnson Beharry
Osama Bin Laden
Tony Blair
George W Bush
Shami Chakrabarti
Simon Cowell
Roger Federer
Norman Foster
Stephen Fry
Bill Gates
Jade Goody
Brian Haw
Rupert Murdoch
Barack Obama
Jamie Oliver
Larry Page and Sergey Brin
David Tennant
Jane Tomlinson
Jimmy Wales
Bush isn't even on it.

ADDED: Oops! How dare they bamboozle me with alphabetical order!!!

Snowe or Joe, that is the question.

"It's starting to seem like it may just be better for Dems to try to make a deal with Olympia Snowe, kick Joe Lieberman out of the party and be done with it. The leadership in the senate thought that Lieberman was on board with the latest compromise. But in an appearance on Face the Nation and later in a sit-down with Sen. Reid, Lieberman said he'd join the Republican filibuster if the Medicare buy-in remained in the bill. What's most telling about Lieberman isn't his positions, which are not that much different from Sen. Nelson's and perhaps Sen. Lincoln's. It's more that he seems to keep upping the ante just when the rest of the caucus thinks they've got a deal."

Josh Marshall.
Who thinks Lieberman "just doesn't seem to be negotiating in good faith."

"Go on, be a Tiger."

Ad slogan, gone painfully bad.

(And Tiger lady says something that didn't need to be said.)

December 13, 2009

The Capitol, from Picnic Point.


Yesterday's view. Note the ravages of global warming on the sadly unfrozen lake.

Tiger Woods will pay "$15 million per floozy."

In lost winnings and endorsements.


And that's just the first year. That's not calculating the lifetime loss... and not putting a dollar value on family and reputation.

Here's the picture The NY Post chose to illustrate this story:

Why believe in a religion? Why not believe in 2 or 3 or more?

And throw in astrology and ghosts while you're at it.
The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life released a report [that]... points out that many Americans are now choosing to “blend Christianity with Eastern or New Age beliefs” and that “sizable minorities of all major U.S. religious groups” said that they have had supernatural experiences, like encountering ghosts....

Twenty percent of Protestants and 28 percent of Catholics said they believe in reincarnation... [A]bout the same percentages said they believe in astrology, yoga as a spiritual practice and the idea that there is “spiritual energy” pulsing from things like “mountains, trees or crystals.”...

[T]hose who identified themselves as Christian were more likely to believe these things than those who were unaffiliated....

Furthermore, 16 percent of Protestants and 17 percent of Catholics said that they believe that some people can use the “evil eye” to “cast curses or spells that cause bad things to happen.”...

... Democrats were almost twice as likely to believe in ghosts and to consult fortune-tellers than were Republicans, and the Democrats were 71 percent more likely to believe that they were in touch with the dead....
Religion is the snack food of the people.