August 3, 2013

The summer deskscape.


Sexual harassment in academia: It depends on what the distinction between "logical implication and conversational implicature" is.

"There was no propositioning," said the philosopher. "Remember that I am a philosopher trying to teach a budding philosopher important logical distinctions."

That sounds like something from a brilliant novel that I would love to read, but unfortunately, it's a real professor, who's had to resign. Colin McGinn, according to the above-linked NYT article, was "a star philosopher at the University of Miami," and he has "agreed to leave his tenured post after allegations of sexual harassment brought by a graduate student."
“People are thinking, ‘Wow, he had to resign, and we know about it,’ ” said Jennifer Saul, the chairwoman of the philosophy department at the University of Sheffield in England and the editor of the blog What Is It Like to Be a Woman in Philosophy?
Wow, he had to resign, and we know about it...  note the implication (implicature?!!) that things like this occur all the time, perhaps even to the point that some tenured professor is subtly ousted, but what's extraordinary is to hear about it. Another amazing thing is that the star prof is also a blogger, and he put serious effort into blog-bullshitting his way out of the jam he found himself in. He put "the cryptic language of analytic philosophy" out there to defend himself. He gave other bloggers text. That's a risk. But maybe that's what star philosophers do, take risks, verbal risks.

"He blamed his mother for chewing her food too loudly and his sister’s bad accent as part of a plan to drive him mad."

Said the teenager, who killed his parents and sister 46 years ago. He spent 6 years in a mental institution, then changed his last name, studied psychology, and became a professor.
The pony-tailed professor, Dr. James St. James — the head of Millikin University’s psychology department — was outed by a Texas reporter with the Georgetown Advocate, a newspaper based in the town where St. James fatally shot his parents and 17-year-old sister on Aug. 4, 1967.
One student said: "He really is a good guy. I have really fond memories, and I feel sorry for him, because now his life is all turned upside down."

ADDED: More here.


Some readers enjoyed my use of the word "bolus" 2 posts down. (A "feminist blog is committed to chewing things into a bolus of feminism....  When the evidence is flimsy, lubricate the bolus with the notion of the subtlety of the oppression. It might be swallowable.") That's not a word that would have come naturally to me if I hadn't read Mary Roach's cool book "Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal," so let me provide you with a reading:
The study of oral processing is... about the entire “oral device”: teeth, tongue, lips, cheeks, saliva, all working together toward a singular unpicturesque goal: bolus formation. The word bolus has many applications, but we are speaking of this one: a mass of chewed, saliva-moistened food particles. Food that is in— as one researcher put it, sounding like a license plate— "the swallowable state."

I don’t think the scientists are uninterested. I think they may be disgusted. This is a job where on any given day, you may find yourself documenting “intraoral bolus rolling” or shooting magnified close-ups of “retained custard” with the Wageningen University tongue-camera...

Humans, even physiologists, don’t like to think about food once they’ve begun to process it. The same chanterelle and Gorgonzola galette that had the guests swooning is, after two seconds in the mouth, an object of universal revulsion....
ADDED: From last April: Holus-bolus.

"With no notice, the man stepped forward, grabbed the headband off of Dexter's head and threw it to the bottom of our shopping cart."

"He then cuffed Dexter around the side of his head (not hard, but that is not the point) and said with a big laugh, 'You'll thank me later, little man!'"
At the same time as I stepped forward, Dexter grabbed his head where the man had smacked him and threw his other hand forward, stomping his foot and shouting, "NO!" I got between my son and this man and said very firmly, "If you touch my son again, I will cut your damn hands off."

The guy snarled at me, looked at Dexter with disgust and said, "Your son is a f*cking fa***t." He then started sauntering out, but not before he threw over his shoulder, "He'll get shot for it one day."
That spiraled out of control quickly!

The things that happen to HuffPo mombloggers when they happen to go to WalMart with their 2-year-old sons wearing mommy's pink lace flower headband.

Here's the blogger Katie Vyktoriah's description of the horrible homophobe who was, I take it, monitoring WalMart shoppers for insufficiently instilling gender norms in toddlers:
The man was overly large with a bushy beard and a camouflage shirt with the arms cut off. He had tattered shorts and lace-up work boots with no laces. I could smell the fug of cigarette smoke surrounding him, and there was a definite pong of beer on him.
Smoking and shorts. And overly large. When are men overly large? Don't they know when they are taking up too much space? A camouflage shirt with the arms cut off... talk about the right to "bare" arms. And the "pong of beer"... Pong?

Pong, meaning "A strong smell, usually unpleasant; a stink" is a Britishism. OED examples:
1925 E. Fraser & J. Gibbons Soldier & Sailor Words 226 Pong, a stink.
1936 F. Clune Roaming round Darling xxiv. 257 Avoid the smell of camel. They were complete with permanent, pyramid, and perfume, commonly called pong....
1991 D. Coupland Generation X i. i. 4 Smelling the cinnamon nighttime pong of snapdragons and efficient whiffs of swimming pool chlorine.
There's a blast from the past. Not the old Atari game (whoever forgot that?) but "Generation X." Remember when everyone was reading "Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture"? I'd buy that right now and blog it for its poignant, pungent, pong-ent, obsolescences, but it's not available in Kindle? Not in Kindle! Oh! How the times pass! How the cutting edge dulls!

But, what say you? There's a lumbering, overly large man in shorts, a jack-booted thug with no shoelaces, and he's come to snatch the pink headband off your little boy. Threaten him with hand amputation, that might bridge the culture gap. Or, since he's a stinking smoker, a beer drinker, it might incite him to splutter out some warning about future bullying that will be so badly worded that in print it's good enough to make the HuffPo crowd gasp: Oh, noooooo! Homophobia rages... at WalMart. That's why I NEVER go there. That guy is always there, in his over-largeness, blocking the aisles, shuffling around, graceless... and laceless.

Feminist blogger suspects that the AP meant to say "this smoking slut totally had it coming."

You may remember this story from yesterday, which I blogged here, about the NYC ad executive who leaned against her balcony railing in a way that made her date say "You know, you shouldn't do that." She said "I do it all the time," and then the railing collapsed, and she fell 17 stories and died. When should a death make the news and why? I know why I chose to blog that one: It was such a striking reminder of the way death might come at any time, and one's confidence that death won't come because it hasn't come yet — I do it all the time — is a delusion we live by and might die by.

I'm not afraid to lie down at night and sleep — I actively seek the loss of consciousness on those occasions — because I always wake up in the morning. That's happened every time so far anyway. And yet, every day, there are — lying in beds all over the world — dead bodies of human beings who surrendered consciousness to sleep the night before, assuming it would work out the same way it did all those other times.

How many will get AP stories written? None, unless they happen to be famous. The railing giving way is dramatic, especially because it happened to someone we can see did not expect it, who had that youthful sense of invulnerability, and the fall came from a great height, the death was instant, and there was an onlooker to make the experience come alive for us vicariously.

Like any blog, a feminist blog must feed on the available news stories or die of starvation, but a feminist blog is committed to chewing things into a bolus of feminism. So here's the Slate's XXfactor blog, and the determination has been made that the falling woman story is bloggable, which has to mean that it's fodder for feminism. Extracting 4 facts from the opening 2 paragraphs of the AP story, L.V. Anderson writes that the "implication" is that "this smoking slut totally had it coming."

"Where we were. What we were doing."

4 years ago.

Details here and here about the smallest possible wedding, the opposite of spectacle. And, similarly, I'm not saying very much in this blog post, just noting the occasion. As I've said before, I prefer normal days, and this day is a great day mostly because it's another day, in 4 years of days, to be spent with my beautiful husband, Meade.

August 2, 2013

Sitting with Abby and Zeus.

(Abby is big, but a puppy. Zeus is 6 years old.)

"This legislation ensures that local communities have a say in the roundabout process..."

"... and ensures that Madison bureaucrats — many of whom will never use the roundabouts they design — cannot trample on the voice of those who will actually navigate these roadway projects."

Republican legislator, quoted in a Treehugger post titled "Roundabout Rage in Wisconsin," which insinuates that conservatives oppose roundabouts because they're French.

Here's the Wikipedia article on roundabouts. Excerpt:
Numerous circular junctions existed before the advent of roundabouts, including the Bath Circus world heritage site completed in 1768, the 1907 Place de l'Étoile around the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, the 1904 Columbus Circle in Manhattan, and several circles within Washington, D.C., however, the operating and entry characteristics of these circles differs considerably from modern roundabouts.... Contrary to modern roundabouts, its centre originally was intended partly as a traffic island for pedestrians....
And here's that Yes tune.

The Tea Party "is the same group we faced in the South with those white crackers and the dogs and the police."

"They didn’t care about how they looked. It was just fierce indifference to human life that caused America to say enough is enough. 'I don’t want to see it and I am not a part of it.' What the hell! If you have to bomb little kids and send dogs out against human beings, give me a break."

Said Charles Rangel (according to The Daily Beast).

"Did Althouse ask permission before taking this picture and, if so, what did the man behind the counter say?"

I polled this morning at 10, along with my photos of the Madison smoke shop. As of right now, these are the poll results:

"'You know, you shouldn't do that,' said her companion, who met Rosoff for the first time that night after talking online..."

"'I do it all the time,' she replied moments before the railing collapsed... sources said."

"Jake Tapper reveals classified information about CIA in Benghazi - should his sources go to prison? Should he?"

A tweet from Glenn Greenwald, part of a collection of tweets at Twitchy under the headline "Jake Tapper: Remember when Rand Paul asked Hillary about gun running in Libya?"

(I invite your comments, which must pass through moderation. Comments must relate to the linked article.)

"It's like Santa for your vagina."

A viral ad, demonstrating what NPR calls "a more honest approach" to tampon marketing.

Makes me nostalgic for "Modess... because":

I see that 4 readers bought "$64,000 Jazz"...

... the record I talked about in "Records From My Father, Part 6." I commend you! This was a great buy — 12 immensely enjoyable recordings, downloadable for a mere $7. It seems foolish not to buy it. I would pay $7 for Buck Clayton's "How Hi the Fi" alone. But thanks for buying it through the Althouse Amazon portal. And thanks to everyone who bought stuff using the Althouse Amazon portal. Even though it costs you nothing extra to buy things through that route, it works to give me the message that you like what I've been writing here, and that means a lot.

"A Unicornucopia of Crazy."

"Princess Snowflake Sustainicorn can’t get through an hour without constant hugging and encouragement from everyone around him, lest he collapse into a puddle of unicorn tears...."
We suppose we should examine the whole psycho-drama and declare who was at fault for what and who was the victim of bullying here, but frankly, we can’t be bothered. We wouldn’t want to take a 1-minute elevator ride with either of them. They honestly should never have been allowed on the show, so crazy and off-base were their actions last night.
And the dress they made wasn't just bad, it had the kind of mullet hem that Vogue is distressed about seeing on high street in anytown. In the case of Princess Snowflake Sustainicorn and Grumpy Diana Prince, that town is Milwaukee, and I was distressed to witness the wipeout of "Team Wisconsin."

Scenes from the smoke shop.

Photographed yesterday, at Knuckleheads on State Street. I especially like the "Don't steal or else" in the lower left of this photo (click to enlarge and see details):


Did Althouse ask permission before taking this picture and, if so, what did the man behind the counter say? free polls 

How to be a great houseguest.

10 rules.

Did you know all 10 of those rules? free polls 

ADDED: From Cracked's "7 Hilarious Monsters That Are Widely Feared in Japan," Nurarihyon:
I've often heard that the Japanese are a people who have a great regard for custom and formality, for the appearance of propriety at all costs. Doing things the proper way is important, and not being regarded as rude or obtrusive is something of value. And if that's true at all, then it kind of makes sense that they'd have a monster that is basically nothing more than a preternaturally shitty house guest.

From "dark, prominent, sculpted" to nothing at all.

The eyebrow trend flipped.

I wanted to alert you, before you go walking down high street. Take note:

The "the legions of mulleteers" don't even "seem to care."

Vogue sniffs:
You won’t find them on the designer floor at Barneys or Bergdorf’s. Neither Marc nor Karl, Phoebe nor Miuccia showed them on their 2013 runways. And yet, walk down any high street in America (and probably the world) and you will see a battalion of young women with knees free to the world in front, while calves—and sometimes even ankles—are swathed in fabric in back. These bipolar dresses and skirts, usually but not exclusively rendered in translucent chiffon, have been called “high-low” by some parties; others have saddled the poor things with the moniker “mullet,” which is not exactly a compliment.
Walk down any high street in America.... When did "high street" replace "main street"? I had to look it up:
High Street (or the High Street) is a metonym for the generic name (and frequently the official name) of the primary business street of towns or cities, especially in the United Kingdom.... The equivalent in the United States, Canada and Ireland is Main Street, a term also used in smaller towns and villages in Scotland and parts of rural Australia... 
And that was the U.S. website for Vogue, not the British. So there you have it. Don't wear that high-low skirt, and use Britishisms.

"Well, I might write a more satisfactory book if I did this, that, or the other as you suggest."

"I daresay you're perfectly right, but this is how I like it and this is how I'm going to do it, and if other people don't like it I can't help it, and what's more, I don't care."

"Wealthy gay dad, Barrie Drewitt-Barlow, says he and his civil partner Tony will go to court to force churches to host gay weddings."

Read closely now:
He told the Essex Chronicle that he will take legal action because “I am still not getting what I want”.

A Government Bill legalising gay marriage passed Parliament recently but it included measures to protect churches from being forced to perform same-sex weddings.
"Legalising" — with an "s" not a "z" — that was the giveaway, even before you get to "Parliament." Yes, it's the U.K.
Last year the Church of England warned that the Government’s plans to redefine marriage could trigger legal problems and end the 500-year link between church and state.
They've got an established church over there. We have the separation of church and state, freedom of religion, and freedom of speech, and a legal tradition of defending these rights. And that makes all the difference, in case you are worried that as gay marriage becomes the legal norm, our churches (and other religious organizations) will be required to perform weddings for same-sex couples.

Advice from this American to England: You should end the link between church and state. But this is a tawdry and embarrassing reason to make the change. 

Supporting gay marriage because one's son is gay.

Something that distinguishes me from Glenn Loury:

Why is it considered persuasive that someone in your family has an interest in one side of a contentious issue? I think it counts against one's position and that you need to be able to defend your side to those who don't have a family member who's implicated.

But — and this isn't discussed in the clip — I do see one thing different about gay rights, which is that because gay people could and did hide from public view for a long time, many people felt comfortable with oppressing them, which gave them all the more reason to hide. That dynamic changed over the past 5 decades or so, and as more and more gay people became visible, more and more people grew uncomfortable oppressing them. That has had a big effect on public opinion, to the point now where the holdouts — the ones who would continue the oppression — have resorted to crying that they themselves are oppressed.

Now, I think good people should not have needed to see the victims of oppression all around them in order to figure out that gay people should not be oppressed, but that increased visibility was an essential part of the political dynamic we have witnessed. Glenn Loury, in that clip, openly admits that the dynamic made him switch sides. I'm glad that happened and is happening in our political culture, but I think the argument based on principle should have been enough.

ADDED: St. Croix connects this to my earlier "seen and unseen" post about abortion

August 1, 2013

Seen in Madison, today.

In the garden, the poppy unfolds:


At a UW greenhouse, the corpse flower hesitates to stink up the joint:


On Lake Mendota, a sunbather on the pier:


On State Street, climb the green stairway for smokes:


Back home in the garden, the spider plant:


"17 Best U.S. Cities for Hippies."

And no Madison!

We should move!

I ask Glenn Loury if he thinks it was a mistake to select the George Zimmerman case to be a racial cause célèbre?

It takes a while to get to the point here, but that's part of what makes it so fascinating. Take a look:

ADDED: Here's a pithy minute of response to the question:

Glenn Loury and I don't see what's so bad about Anthony Weiner's sexting.

We question the denouncement of Weiner, speculate about the nature of the "arrangement" or "understanding" between Huma and Anthony (and Bill and Hillary), and compare the wrongness of sexting to pornography, adultery, and prostitution:

$700,000 to $800,000 spent to erase a quote that was displayed out of context.

Martin Luther King said "I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness," which we will remember, even through it's now off the memorial. It's off the memorial because, in the "drum major" speech, there were some other words around it — as is always the case with snappy lines in speeches — and Maya Angelou and others felt some shades of subtlety were lost, making the man sound arrogant. Deeper grooves will be carved all over the memorial to disguise the wordlessness where there were once words, words that are etched more deeply into our memory as we read this news story and see, once again, "I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness."

Ironically, the news story doesn't include the context. So I'll tell you the context: The context is abysmal phony outrage, toadying obeisance to Angelou, and an atrocious waste of money.

"The Burka Avenger wears a flowing black veil — only her brown eyes are visible..."

"... as she fights corrupt politicians and religious zealots. Her weapons of choice: pens and books."

The Queen's WWIII speech.

Revealed, because in Britain, they reveal these things after 30 years. I'm struck by the reliance — imagining utter doom — on family:
"It is this close bond of family life that must be our greatest defence against the unknown.

"If families remain united and resolute, giving shelter to those living alone and unprotected, our country's will to survive cannot be broken."
Nuclear devastation — "the unknown" — is about to descend, and what can the country's parental voice say to the millions who are suddenly hearing that they're almost all about to die? Maybe some can survive, and for all that can hear the message, at least a few moments remain. There is, at this dire point: family. For the poor souls without a family: Anyone with a family should see how terribly unfortunate you are — amid all the misfortune — and take you in.

There was no WWIII, not back then, at least. Is the Queen's speech a weird relic? No. It's a vivid, striking message of something we know that we know even if we mostly live as if we have forgotten: The core of human life is family.

Do we pity the man who is, against his will, forced into fatherhood?

Earlier this month, many of my readers objected to my lack of sympathy for men who, unlike women who have the right to get an abortion, find themselves dragged into fatherhood by the women they've impregnated when those women exercise their right to choose and go ahead and have those babies. I doubled down on my opinion here, on July 7th, and the comments thread there was a huge freakout, much of which you can't see now, because we did a ton of deletions. It was so bad that we ultimately had to turn off comments to stop the gush of repetitive abuse.

I hope you remember enough of that discussion to apply it to the specific context of a case in today's news:

"These guys are looking for a diversion from the horrendous laws that are separating people, I will not respond in kind."

Said Jesse Jackson. What he was refusing to respond to "in kind" was Florida Governor Rick Scott's demand that Jesse Jackson apologize. Apologize for what? For saying that Florida is the "Selma of our time" and calling for an economic boycott to "isolate Florida as a kind of apartheid state given this whole stand your ground laws."

Now, clearly, Jackson was engaging in over-the-top hyperbole,  seeking active and damaging discord, and stirring up anxieties about racism. This was his deliberate choice to go extreme, and yet he says, when asked for an apology, that he will not respond "in kind." But it was Rick Scott who refrained from responding "in kind" to Jackson.

What would Scott have said if he had decided to use rhetoric at the level of "Selma of our time" and "a kind of apartheid state"? Jackson's "respond in kind" is, I think, a giveaway that he'd hoped people would respond in kind. He is seeking discord and hot discourse. He's disappointed that his fighting words aren't provoking a fight.

If you watch the video at the link, at 0:57, you'll see Jackson, instantly upon making the Selma/apartheid remark, display a classic tell: He puts a finger to his lower eyelid and pulls it down. I'd say he knows he's way over the top, but there it is, it's said, and he's not backing down. As they say in Florida: Stand Your Ground.

July 31, 2013

"As a frequent (daily) reader of your blog, I have observed that your postings have taken a darker tone since you closed the comments section."

"As to causes and effects, I have no idea whether you closed the comments because of some other area of your life or the disappointment of closing of the comments (and the reasons therefor) caused the apparent darkness. Whatever the case may be, I hope that you are well."

Emails a reader, interestingly. I'm not seeing any life changes, aside from the anosmia for which I had an MRI of my head, which has the side effect of causing me to feel unusually assured that there's nothing wrong with my brain. I feel fine, and Meade and I are very happy as we approach our 4th anniversary on Saturday. But your question got me thinking — as I was out biking today — and I worked out a 3-part answer. Each of the 3 parts has 2 subparts. Any combination of the subparts may be causing what you see as darkness.

"On reflection, then, I’m inclined to say that an atheistic denial of Zeus is ungrounded."

"There is no current evidence of his present existence, but to deny that he existed in his Grecian heyday we need to assume that there was no good evidence for his existence available to the ancient Greeks. We have no reason to make this assumption...."

I don't know. It's getting late. There's an overwhelming sleepiness here. 


In place of the old hedge...

... we now have grass, that seems to crash like surf onto the sidewalk:


Behind the grass: cleome and zinnias. The stakes are holding up sungold tomato plants. There's some other stuff in there too. Meade is hosing down the topdressing on the lawn:


ADDED: The ornamental grass is Pennisetum alopecuroides.

"23 Libertarian Problems."

"Yes, I do sleep on a copy of Atlas Shrugged."

At long last audiotape: Monica Lewinsky micromanages Bill Clinton's next blowjob.

National Enquire seems to have a cassette that was supposed to have been destroyed long ago. On it, we hear Monica handling the sexual logistics:
"Since I know you will be alone tomorrow evening, I have two proposals for you, neither of which is you not seeing me... Now the first thing that has to happen is that you need to pre-plan with Betty..."

"As a feminist, I find it infinitely sad to imagine a vibrant young woman sitting alone at her computer..."

"... and turning herself into a sex object for a man... she does not know — even if she is also turning him into a sex object. Twentieth-century feminism always linked the social progress of women with an expanding sense of self-worth — in the sexual as well as intellectual and professional spheres. A willingness to engage in Internet sex with strangers, however, expresses not sexual empowerment but its opposite — a loneliness and low opinion of oneself that leads to the conclusion that any sexual contact is better than no contact at all."

So writes Susan Jacoby, in the context of the Anthony Weiner story. I suspect that Jacoby was sitting alone at her computer when she wrote that. And I'm sitting alone at my computer writing this now. Is anything infinitely sad about writing at the computer? Is it sadder when you expect someone is waiting to read what you write and you expect them to write back? These days I choose, for each post, whether I want to allow comments or not, and for this one I haven't chosen yet. Is the sadness of what I'm doing right now dependent on whether I allow comments?

Or is this infinite sadness dependent on whether you are writing about sex, which I kind of am, or writing about sex while hoping that your reader finds you sexy?

"The fact that tall people die younger appears to be an immutable physical reality."

"A short person is like a Honda Civic: compact and efficient. Tall people are Cadillac Escalades. With all that extra weight and machinery, something’s just bound to go wrong."

Despite that, most people want to be taller.

They also want to be gas guzzlers. In the language of weigh-loss obsession, they want to have a fat-burning, boosted metabolism. Who expresses joy at their body's efficient use of calories, the way they'd brag about their car's gas mileage? But what if life span correlates with the number of calories burned? That question is beyond the scope of the linked article, which is only about the health problem of tallness.

After growing for millions of years, why has the human brain been shrinking over the last 10,000 years?

An infographic.

"'Coucou, tu as pris le pain?' ('Hi there, have you picked up the bread?') is the campaign’s slogan."

"Modeled on the American advertising campaign 'Got Milk?' the bread slogan was plastered on billboards and inscribed on bread bags in 130 cities around the country."
“Eating habits are changing,” said Bernard Valluis, a co-president of the lobby. “People are too busy or work too late to go to the bakery. Teenagers are skipping breakfast. Now when you see the word ‘coucou,’ we want it to be a reflex for consumers to say to themselves, ‘Ah, I have to buy bread today.' ”
Coucou for Cocoa Puffs bread.

So the French aren't eating so much bread anymore. Too bad. Anyway, I just like knowing that "coucou" means "hi there." Coucou, to American ears, seems insulting. Hi there, by contrast, seems really nice. But it's all in the context...

You and your dog's eyebrows.

"This is good to know in case you have a sneaking suspicion that your dog might be playing you...."

Dickmanship, Part 2: Women in politics.

This blog has been heavy on the Weiner coverage. 3 of yesterday's 14 posts had substantial Weiner content. But I passed on the Olivia Nuzzi story in yesterday's Daily News: "Anthony Weiner intern reveals why she, fellows joined New York mayoral campaign." It just looked like another woman trying to horn in on the Weiner action. Who is she? Who does she think she is? Yeah, campaigns have interns. She asserts that Weiner interns are hot to get to Huma and through Huma to Hillary, but that's not surprising or disturbing. Ambitious people seek to network and climb. Why is this even in the newspaper?

To my eye, it looked like Nuzzi's selling point was her ability to look somewhat pretty posing with tilted head; long, flowy, bleached-blonde hair; lips pursed just short of duck face; and a tight, sleeveless navy blue dress. Navy blue, for comparison purposes to a  picture of Huma looking less pretty in a more frumpy navy blue dress. Navy blue, because Monica Lewinsky, the ultimate intern, historically wore, stained, and retained a navy blue dress. In case the subliminal hint isn't enough, the article has the name "Monica" inserted in an anecdote in which Weiner attempts to demonstrate his ability to remember the names of his 20 interns and incorrectly calls one Monica, then tries Monica a second time with the author. Not told whether any of the interns were really named Monica, we are left free to imagine that the lecherous Weiner intended to convey the message that he was looking for Lewinskyesque services from his interns.

I'd kicked the sext-crazed man around enough, and Nuzzi was such an unsubtle attention whore, so the best thing to blog is nothing. But that was yesterday. Why am I writing about Nuzzi today? Because there's another woman stepping out onto the stage of The Anthony Weiner Clown Show, and her I find amusing, and she's not an attention whore. She didn't realize she was on stage. She thought/claims she was giving an off-the-record interview. It's Weiner’s communications director Barbara Morgan:
“I’m dealing with like stupid fucking interns who make it on to the cover of the Daily News even though they signed NDAs and/or they proceeded to trash me... And by the way, I tried to fire her, but she begged to come back and I gave her a second chance.... Fucking slutbag. Nice fucking glamour shot on the cover of the Daily News. Man, see if you ever get a job in this town again,” said Morgan.

“It’s all bullshit,” she said. “I mean, it’s such bullshit. She could fucking — fucking twat.”...

“She sucked. She like wasn’t good at setting up events. She was clearly there because she wanted to be seen. Like it was, like, terrible and I had to like - she would like, she would just not show up for work... And then like she had the fucking balls to like trash me in the paper. And be like, ‘His communications director was last the press secretary of the Department of Education in New Jersey.'... You know what? Fuck you, you little cunt. I’m not joking, I am going to sue her.”
Key word: balls. Paging Tina Brown, who — in "End the Damn Dickmanship!" — longed for a testosterone test to screen excessively masculine individuals out of the political arena. Brown acted like she thought her dreamed-of test would only exclude dickish men like Weiner, but I suspected — in my first Weiner post of yesterday — that Brown herself would score high on the test. And now we've got more ladies waving their hands around. Give me the test!

There have long been soppy dreams that women in politics would mean kindness and cooperation. "My idea has always been that if we could bring the mothers of the various nations together, then there would be no more war." I wish I could find video of Vanessa Redgrave delivering that line in "Howards End." Her silliness is vividly apparent, in a story set at the beginning of the 20th century. It's absurd to hear the same idea recirculated, as ambitious women tear into men — like Nuzzi into Weiner — and into other women — like Morgan into Nuzzi. To quote Morgan: It’s all bullshit. I mean, it’s such bullshit.

I guess I'm supposed to denounce Morgan for calling Nuzzi a "slutbag," a "twat," and a "cunt." Those female-specific insults. But didn't Tina Brown call Weiner a "dick"? And, if so, shouldn't we give equality to women and get our share of gender-based insults? But Tina Brown didn't call Anthony Weiner a "dick." She referred to his "dickmanship." He's not a dick but a Person of Dickmanship. The equivalent would be to refer to a woman's twattishness. But that kind of distancing in the insults is for the official print version. How does Tina Brown speak off the record? Seriously, why do you think Barbara Morgan thought she could talk like that? Such a string of epithets can't come out of nowhere. There must be a culture.

And yet, if that were the culture, wouldn't there be thousands of ambitious interns like Nuzzi, whose climbing hit a ceiling, dishing out a million "Fuck you, you little cunt" quotes?

July 30, 2013

"When USS Indianapolis was hit by Japanese torpedoes in the final weeks of WWII, hundreds of crewmen jumped into the water..."

"... to escape the burning ship. Surrounded by sharks, they waited for a response to their SOS. But no one had been sent to look for them."
"They were continually there, mostly feeding off the dead bodies. Thank goodness, there were lots of dead people floating in the area. But soon they came for the living, too.

"No concealed weapons allowed on this property."

Posted, at a residence in my neightborhood:


Is that helpful? Should I post a "No burglary" sign? A little farther along...


... apples.

Records From My Father, Part 6: "$64,000 Jazz."

Here's the 6th selection in this series, and I've got to admit it was the silly TV-related cover that got my attention:


... but this was great. Every damn thing on the album, immensely enjoyable.  (You can download it for $7.) I will not attempt to describe this music, because, look, it has extremely extensive liner notes, including an elaborate description of the TV show, which offered the category jazz, an event that has something to do with the assembling of this collection.

If you're curious what, read this:


The track I'm least inclined to like was Erroll Garner cascading all over the piano with "Laura." It's the one track that seems corny, but I still like it. Garner is obviously committed to playing like that, and I see that it was recorded on January 11, 1951, the day before I was born. There's no singing on this album — except for that Sarah Vaughan track and a bit of Louis Armstrong on "Ain't Misbehavin'" — so if you're not familiar with the lyrics to "Laura," your enjoyment of the Garner instrumental might be heightened by listening to one of the beautiful versions of it. Here's Frank Sinatra, and here's Johnny Mathis.

My favorite track was Buck Clayton, "How Hi the Fi." I can't find it on YouTube, but it's only 89¢ to download. [UPDATE: Here is is.] I don't remember ever hearing of Buck Clayton. Wikipedia says:
Buck Clayton (born Wilbur Dorsey Clayton; Parsons, Kansas, November 12, 1911 – New York City, December 8, 1991) was an American jazz trumpet player who was a leading member of Count Basie’s "Old Testament" orchestra and a leader of mainstream-oriented jam session recordings in the 1950s. His principal influence was Louis Armstrong....

From 1934 or 1935 (depending on the sources), he was a leader of the "Harlem Gentlemen" in Shanghai. His experience in the east was unique, since Clayton was discriminated against by fellow American marines who were stationed in Shanghai. On numerous accounts, he was attacked by soldiers, including an instance where bricks were thrown at him. On the contrary he was treated like an elite by the Chinese. Some of the bureaucratic social groups he was with included Chiang Kai-shek's wife Soong Mei-ling and her sister Ai-ling, who were regulars at the Canidrome. Clayton would play a number of songs that were composed by Li Jinhui, while adopting the Chinese music scale into the American scale. Li learned a great deal from the American jazz influence brought over by Clayton. A 1935 guidebook in Shanghai listed Clayton and Teddy Weatherford as the main jazz attraction at the Canidrome. He would eventually leave Shanghai before the 1937 Second Sino-Japanese War. Clayton is credited for helping to close the gap between traditional Chinese music and shidaiqu/mandopop. Li is mostly remembered in China as a casualty of the Cultural Revolution.
I wonder what my father would have thought of computers. He loved his HiFi, and built some components using Dynaco kits. I think he would have loved computers and he would have looked up these biographies and clicked through to learn about Li:
Li Jinhui (September 5, 1891 – February 15, 1967) was a composer and songwriter born in Xiangtan, Hunan, China. He is often dubbed as the "Father of Chinese popular music." He created a new musical form with shidaiqu after the fall of the Qing Dynasty-- moving away from established musical forms. Li was a very controversial figure in China. Although his music was extremely popular, the Chinese Nationalist Party attempted to ban his music, and Li was eventually silenced in death as a victim of political persecution in 1967 during the height of the Cultural Revolution....

Though Li’s early work is completely innocent and educational in content, it still met with disapprobation from some critics despite its immense popularity. This resistance may be due to the manner in which these songs were performed. Beginning in 1923, Li’s broke the taboo of not allowing women to perform on stage when he hired young girls to sing and dance in his school musical productions....

As radio became more widely accessible, so then did Li’s jazz, for which he received vicious criticism as “Yellow (or pornographic) Music.” One 1934 reviewer said of Li that he is “vulgar and depraved beyond the hope of redemption…[but] as popular as ever.” His greatest source of Jazz influence came from American Buck Clayton who worked with Li for two years. Clayton played a major role in shaping the musical scores written by Li. Li’s revolutionary Sinese jazz music dominated the nightlife scene, and it was performed at cabarets, cafes and nightclubs around southeast Asia....

Li continued to compose music the rest of his life, though he would eventually pay dearly for his fame. Classified as a founder of Yellow Music by the Communist Party of China, he became a victim of political persecution during the Cultural Revolution.
Exactly what happened? It's so sad to think even of the memories that have been lost. Googling, I find this interview with Andrew Jones, author of “Yellow Music: Media Culture and Colonial Modernity in the Chinese Jazz Age”:
Li Jinhui... had a bad reputation. He was supposed to be a bad guy who created the degenerate form of music that was called “yellow music.” “Yellow music” means, basically: pornographic, salacious, off-color music in Chinese. It was a music that had been banned by the Chinese Communist Party.  It was a kind of music that was seen as being decadent and colonial and unfit for Chinese ears after 1949, after the revolution.

But what I started to find out about Li Jinhui was actually pretty surprising. He was known as the founder of pop music but, in fact, he began his career as a nationalist and a patriot who was trying to modernize the Chinese language by instituting a new, standard Mandarin to knit together the patchwork of different dialects in China to create a stronger, more unified nation.  The way that he hit upon to do this was actually to write operas for children using Chinese folk tunes, western instruments and having scripts for the kids to sing in standard Chinese..... 
[T]he young girls that he had trained became the biggest stars in Chinese pop music and on Chinese screens. He, himself, became a very famous song writer and kind of pioneered this new style of modern jazz music, almost against his will or expectations....
In the early ’30s, the ruling Nationalist Party had a movement called the New Life Movement. It was basically a propaganda movement to instill proper virtues and morality in the people. The Nationalist Party at that time wanted to adopt or re-champion Confucian morality as a sort of ideological glue for the nation. So, they wanted to clamp down on Li Jinhui because they saw the music as being decadent. There was a lot of hypocrisy in that and, of course, once you ban something, it just means it does even better in the marketplace.
It seems like there should be a movie about Buck Clayton and Li Jinhui. Trying to remember my father, I stumble into their story, and it feels so terribly sad. And I've drifted so far from the starting point. This record has nothing to do with China. My father was always trying to engage me in conversations about anything. I'm sure China was one of his topics, maybe jazz in China, maybe black jazz men in the marines, and how the Chinese treated American black men, and how the Chinese treated their own jazz men. But all those conversations, which he sought so dearly, are eternally unspoken.

"We’re... baffled by Huma’s choice because women no longer need to be professionally affixed to a man to make inroads in business or politics..."

"... especially when they’ve got a résumé like hers. Two decades ago, Hillary needed Bill, that much we could understand."

What bullshit! Written by Ann Friedman in New York Magazine under the heading ("Stand by Your Man? How Huma Can Do What Hillary Couldn’t"). I don't give a damn about Huma or what happens to her, but this is unmitigated trash about Hillary. Hillary did not need Bill. Not 2 decades ago, when he was running for President, and not 4 decades ago, when she graduated from Yale Law School.

In fact, there was strong pressure on women back in 1992 and 1973, even more than now, to go it alone and not stand behind some man. Hillary knew it was a career risk to go to Arkansas with Bill, and she chose it with eyes open. Friedman is purveying some made-up social history, asserting that we "understand" it, like it's in our cultural memory. But it's completely untrue.

The verdict in the Bradley Manning case.

From the NYT:
A military judge on Tuesday found Pfc. Bradley Manning not guilty of aiding the enemy, but convicted him of multiple counts of violating the Espionage Act....
Manning pleaded guilty so some other charges, but the government went forward with the more serious charges.

"Alarmed by Eliot Spitzer’s momentum in his unexpected bid to win citywide office, an unlikely coalition of business leaders, women’s groups and labor unions..."

"... is vowing to finance an ambitious effort to thwart the former governor’s ambition," begins this NYT article.
The interest groups, which often spar with one another over competing agendas and priorities, have found rare common cause in their antipathy toward Mr. Spitzer, who infuriated the business community with his aggressive posture toward Wall Street, who offended feminists by paying for sex with prostitutes and who alienated unions by taking on a labor-backed candidate.
Kinda makes you like him, no?

And here's how Tina Brown referred to Spitzer in that "End the Damn Dickmanship!" piece that I've already blogged this morning:
He looks demented. The scimitar mouth pulled back in a mad crow of triumph, the face sweating with guilty pleasure.
That's so mean I'm starting to root for him.

The Most Pretentious Thing Ever Written About George Zimmerman.

This is Sasha Frere-Jones, writing about Jay Z’s new album (which is pretentiously titled "Magna Carta Holy Grail") in the (pretentious but traditionally a bit subtle in its pretentiousness) New Yorker:

"The perks Google lays on for its employees are the stuff of legend."

"Free gourmet food all day, the best health insurance plan anywhere, five months' paid maternity leave, kindergartens and gyms at the workplace, the freedom to work on one's own projects 20 percent of the time, even death benefits. No wonder the tech behemoth has topped Fortune Magazine's list of best companies to work for every year since 2007. Why, then, aren't Googlers more loyal to their employer?"

The corpse flower is about to bloom.

Here at the University of Wisconsin. The horrible smell only lasts for a day or 2, so I'm watching the D.C. Smith Greenhouse Facebook page to know when to run over there.  I have very little sense of smell — anosmia bad enough to have submitted to an MRI over it — so I welcome the opportunity, like a blind person facing the sun or a deaf person at a heavy metal concert.

Back in 2005, I blogged a UW corpse flower bloom: "Visiting the corpse flower with pro-sunsetters."
How did the flower smell? I thought it had a zoo smell. Maybe I've never smelled a corpse, but it didn't smell dead to me, just funky and animal-y. It wasn't at all fishy. More mouse-y. It wasn't nauseating or even terribly strong, in my opinion. I can't really understand the distinct aversion felt by the three persons who humored me by coming along.
I wasn't aware at the time that I was losing my sense of smell. From the comments, back then, Goesh said, "Botany be damned, what we have here is a burgeoning phallic cult." And I said "The scientific name for the plant is Amorphophallus Titanium. 'Amorphophallus' means 'shapeless phallus.'"

"TV reporter fired for ‘tell-all’ blog about going bra-less on air."

Headlines The Daily News, but I think these 2 items were the real problem:
6. I'm frightened of old people and I refuse to do stories involving them or the places they reside....

9. If you ramble and I deem you unnecessary for my story, I'll stop recording but let you think otherwise.
That and the fact that after they told her to take the post down and she did, she re-posted it, saying "No Apologies" and "momentarily misguided about who I am and what I stand for." Items #6 and #9, above, undercut her ability to do ordinary, professional reporting. The re-posting and the self-publicizing reflect a decision to leverage a different kind of writing career, and we'll see what happens with that.

She's Shea Allen, and she's too cheeky for Huntsville, Alabama.

I had to decide whether to make a tag for her name, and I decided not to, so that's my bet on what happens with this.

10-year-old girl catches a baby dropped from a second-story window.

The mother was tossing kids out of the window during a fire. The girl caught the newborn, but there were 2 other children, aged 2 and 3, and they "hit the ground and sustained minor injuries." I'm impressed with the 10-year-old, but apparently, the baby would have been just fine uncaught.

Anthony Weiner says, "it's very hard to have it come up again."

I'm not really indulging in cheap Weiner humor. I mean to demonstrate how cheap the humor we've been indulging in is. Here's the context:
You must remember this isn't something that happened yesterday. For us, this is an issue that's over a year old. And we'd gotten to this really great place with each other and we'd put it behind us to a place where we felt comfortable enough to move ahead to run for mayor. For us, this was a distant event. That doesn't change the fact that it's very hard to have it come up again.
No one believes he's in this really great place with Huma, if he ever was, but what is the man supposed to do? Some people are telling him to get out, but — speaking of places — where can he go? This is it for him. If he doesn't make it through these narrow straits, he's got nothing.

Real Buffalo and Sweet Potato Dog Food.

That's one item from the things bought through my Amazon portal yesterday. I like finding out about a category of product I would never have thought about, like super-specific dog food. The company that made the above-named product, Merrick, also makes Grammy's Pot Pie Dog Food, Real Duck and Green Pea Dog Food, Real Lamb Brown Rice and Apples Dog Food, Thanksgiving Day Dinner Dog Food (come on, aren't there always leftovers?!), Cowboy Cookout Dog Food, and Tripe & Liver Steak Patties for Dogs.

Alternatively, you can cook up your own pet food:
[Some lady's] standard recipe, which will feed Orion along with the other dog and the three cats in her house for around 10 days, calls for grinding 40 pounds of pasture-raised chicken necks with another 20 pounds of chicken giblets. To this, she adds five pounds of carrots, a whole cabbage and several other fruits, all from the organic fields of Midsummer Farm, [her] farm in Warwick, N.Y. Finally, she blends the mix with herbs and supplements.
And here's a less grandiose recipe.

ADDED: A reader recommends the "recipes" at Raw Fed Dogs. Click links to laugh.

Tina Brown's war on men: "End the Damn Dickmanship!"

She's not just railing against sexting, but against "testosterone," generally, as a driver of bad behavior.
The no-secrets era of social media makes one consider the built-in risk factor of nominating high-testosterone men to positions of power at all.... Perhaps we need some kind of sexual DUI test developed to tell us what is likely to happen when middle-aged libido meets a whiff of power.

And politics is not the only arena to require this test. 
She goes on to talk about some boat and train accidents, caused by cock, in her view. By contrast, there are women:
Think about some of our prominent women in Washington right now. Can you ever even imagine—forgive me, Secretary—Katherine Sebelius uploading a crotch shot of herself on Instagram? Or Janet Yellen ordering up male hookers during downtime at the Federal Reserve? It’s preposterous.
Can we imagine females causing sexual wreckage? A year ago, we were imagining Janet Napolitano "turning the department [of Homeland Security] into a female-run ‘frat house’ where male staffers were banished to the bathrooms and routinely humiliated." I would have forgotten that had Tina Brown's screed not reminded me.

Brown's pushing the old female superiority theory, which is the sexism that was once used to keep women out of politics and business. We're too delicate and too prissy to do what needs to be done. And what if it were a substance like testosterone — a liquid squirting through ducts — that could be extracted and measured and reported to voters and employers? Tina Brown says she wants that information, so we can discriminate. Imagine the world she suggests but doesn't really want us to imagine. Everyone gets a masculinity score, and we judge his/her fitness for power accordingly.

Ironically, Tina would probably score very high. How much testosterone fueled the headline "End the Damn Dickmanship!?

July 29, 2013

Sharp stone cuts.


A new picnic site on Picnic Point in Madison. I like the design here, preserving the roughness of the stone, but making those sharp cuts for the wood planks. It's a terse statement about the degree of civilization we want in nature.

2 other things to spot in this photo: 1. Meade, and 2. the Wisconsin Capitol building.

"Spain's first-ever town councillor with Down Syndrome is set to start work..."

"... in the Spanish city of Valladolid on Monday, but many people with her condition in Spain... many find themselves unable to [vote] after they are declared 'incapacitated' by a judge."

"7 Disgusting Retro Canned Foods That You Won’t Believe Existed."

Beginning with Oscar Mayer’s “Sack O’ Sauce in a Can O’ Meat."

"It’s not that I don’t love my dog. It’s just that I don’t love my dog."

"And I am not alone. A very nonscientific survey of almost everyone I know who had a dog and then had kids now wishes they had never got the dog. This is a near universal truth, even for parents with just one child...."

Education and teacher supplies.

A nice selection at Amazon.

"A Closer Look at ‘Nonhuman Personhood’ and Animal Welfare."

"Nonhuman Personhood." Not to be confused with human nonpersonhood.

"Mort Sahl is the guy who inspired me to go on stage for the first time in my life, and when I saw him the other night..."

"... I had that feeling again of, 'I can do this,'" said Woody Allen, contemplating doing standup again.
“He was as great as I remembered... So I thought, ‘Gee, it would be nice to get up there and do that again.’... It’s a lot of work....You have to put together an hour of laugh, laugh, laugh, laugh. You can’t dawdle. In a film script, if there’s a laugh here and there, but people interacting in a meaningful way, it’s good. But on stage, you come out and you’ve got to get a laugh, and then another and another.”
Allen is 78. Can you picture him doing standup now? Did you picture Mort Sahl? I didn't know Mort Sahl was still alive. He's 86. Here he is in 1967, opening with a shot at that actor who wants to be Governor of California and proceeding to explain, using a blackboard, the difference between left, right, and middle (which includes a left, right, and middle, to the left, right, and middle, respectively):

"They threw this baby out the window because the girl was on fire and the fireman had to catch the baby."

From the news report of the building collapse in Philadelphia.

"A 4-step technique is used to turn stem cells from animal flesh into a burger."

"First, the stem cells are stripped from the cow’s muscle. Next, they are incubated in a nutrient broth until they multiply many times over, creating a sticky tissue with the consistency of an undercooked egg. This 'wasted muscle' is then bulked up through the laboratory equivalent of exercise - it is anchored to Velcro and stretched. Finally, 3,000 strips of the lab-grown meat are minced, and, along with 200 pieces of lab-grown animal fat, formed into a burger."

"Seriously? The mere image of eight women and one man puts you in mind of '... a high-class escort service and an ad for Charlie’s Angels LLP'?"

"Then how about this caption: 'Staci Zaretsky — get a sex-change operation already. You're embarrassing the rest of us!'"

Wow! What a sexist screwup at Above the Law.

I noticed that today, as Zaretsky had to deem somebody the winner of what was an embarrassing-from-the-start caption contest. Here's the photo that was supposed to inspire hilarity:

This reminds me of the blind judging I did back in 2008, when Above the Law had a contest to determine who would replace David Lat as the chief writer at the blog. I criticized one contestant for racism, and the contestant — Elie Mystal, who won — turned out to be black. He thought I'd be embarrassed to have said that, because ha ha he's black:
I’m male. I’m liberal. I’m Catholic (of the “a la carte” variety). I believe in evolution and global warming. I’m happily married. I’m African-American (Althouse. “Racism alert.” What does that even mean? Go jump in a Great Lake)....
Note the similar defense made by Staci Zaretsky, in her apology here:
Old stereotypes persist within the legal profession, and as Above the Law’s sole female editor, even I am guilty of propagating them, for which I sincerely apologize (some of the resulting entries in our recent caption contest were despicable)....

"Being a manic depressive is like having brown hair."

Said Delmore Schwartz, quoted by Lou Reed, reviewing Kanye West's new album "Yeezus."
[On the song "Hold My Liquor," a]t first, West says "I can hold my liquor" and then he says "I can't hold my liquor."  This is classic — classic manic-depressive, going back and forth....
"I'm great, I'm terrible, I'm great, I'm terrible."  That's all over this record....
There are more contradictions on "New Slaves," where he says "Fuck you and your Hamptons house."  But God only knows how much he's spending wherever he is.  He's trying to have it both ways — he's the upstart but he's got it all, so he frowns on it.  Some people might say that makes him complicated, but it's not really that complicated.  He kind of wants to retain his street cred even though he got so popular.  And I think he thinks people are going to think he's become one of them — so he's going to very great lengths to claim that he's not.  On "New Slaves," he's accusing everyone of being materialistic but you know, when guys do something like that, it's always like, "But we're the exception.  It's all those other people, but we know better."
By the way, does Lou Reed/Kanye West ever smile? Do Google image searches for "Kanye West smiling" and "Lou Reed smiling." I think of Kanye West as a guy who only gives "depression face" to the cameras, but compared to Lou Reed, he's a veritable Goldie Hawn.

ADDED: Sorry I had "Jeezus" instead of "Yeezus" there for a while.

"I'm sorry, did Elbow just call the Solidarity Singers 'the gray-haired retirees and public workers that gather for the daily event.'??"

"Hahahaha! I mean, he is absolutely right but none of the SS would admit to the fact that they are just bored like-minded liberals scared to death that finances matter. One might think that Detroit would put some sense into this crew of 'gray-haired retirees' but I won't hold my breath. Carry on! Just get a freaking permit."

How the Obama 2012 campaign — replete with hugely tusked mascot — mined and processed data.

Dan Balz writes about "How the Obama campaign won the race for voter data," quoting the campaign manager Jim Messina about the obsession with tracking and measuring data.
It took the technology team nearly a year, but it produced software that allowed all of the campaign’s lists to talk to one another. The team named it Narwhal, after a whale of amazing strength that lives in the Arctic but is rarely seen....
So, "amazing strength" and Arctic habitat are the distinguishing features of the narwal? Here's a picture to help you think about what these folks really said when choosing this name:

Back to Balz:

"The Clintons are upset with the comparisons that the Weiners seem to be encouraging..."

"... that Huma is 'standing by her man' the way Hillary did with Bill, which is not what she in fact did," according to an unnamed "top state Democrat."
“The Clintons are pissed off that Weiner’s campaign is saying that Huma is just like Hillary,’’ said the source. “How dare they compare Huma with Hillary? Hillary was the first lady. Hillary was a senator. She was secretary of state.”
She wasn't any of those things in 1992 when she sat by her man on "60 Minutes" and claimed to be doing something more than whatever it was Tammy Wynette was singing about in "Stand By Your Man." And what Bill had done was worse than what Weiner seems to have done. Bill had sex with other women. Weiner merely sexted. And Bill was sitting there lying about it and Hillary backed him up big time, whereas in the recent Huma-and-Anthony TV stunt, the misdeeds are admitted.

If Hillary is pissed off, I would think it's because she doesn't want people reminded of her old stand-by-your-man routine:

Who is in Madison with a "Who is John Galt?" bumper sticker?

A strange sighting in the parking lot at Picnic Point, in the heart of Madison, Wisconsin:


At the same time — a good time for interesting dark green cars — there was this vintage Nova:


We didn't catch the owner of the Yukon, but I think it was a politician we've seen in that parking lot before. We did run into a group of young guys who were headed for the Nova, which one of them said he'd just bought it. The old car was new to him. I told him I loved it, that it's great to see a vintage Nova, and Meade couldn't resist alluding to the old urban legend — which I'm sure this guy has already heard a hundred times — "Does it go?"

In addition to cars, there were dogs on Picnic Point, and this is the one I caught in a photograph:


"If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him?"

Asks the Pope.
"The problem is not having this orientation," he said. "We must be brothers. The problem is lobbying by this orientation, or lobbies of greedy people, political lobbies, Masonic lobbies, so many lobbies. This is the worse problem."
Is that a translation? If so, how did the translator get to "lobbies"? I presume what he was saying is something very similar to what conservatives in the United States say, that we're all individuals and all human, and we shouldn't have special interest groups pushing us around making special demands, seeking special privileges. Note how his list of lobbies progressed, not from gay people to race and gender, but on to "greedy people" (economic interest groups?) and the generic "political." Then before the totally generic "so many lobbies," he inserted the Masons.

July 28, 2013

Records From My Father, Part 5: "Remember How Great...?"

Do you remember the old Lucky cigarette ads? Remember how great cigarettes used to taste? Luckies still do. I can't find the old jingle, but I'd sing it for you if I you were here. Lucky Strike was my father's cigarette brand, back in the days when the greatest music stars recorded for Columbia, which put out a collection of greatest recordings purportedly "specially selected by Lucky Strike Cigarettes." (Here, you can download it for $7.)


Look at that yellowed Scotch tape. This record was played and played, and I remember hearing it, back in the 1960s. What a collection! Unfortunately, this record, my 5th choice for this Records From My Father series, has a chunk taken out of it, and so I can't listen to Count Basie's "One O'Clock Jump" or Dinah Shore singing "Buttons and Bows."


I'll have to start with "Sentimental Journey," with Doris Day and Les Brown's Band of Renown. This was the song my parents always identified as "our song," and I shrugged that off and let them pass on without ever telling me exactly why. Wikipedia says:
Les Brown and His Band of Renown, with Doris Day as vocalist, had a hit record with the song, Day's first #1 hit, in 1945. The song's release coincided with the end of WWII in Europe and became the unofficial homecoming theme for many veterans. 
My God. My father was drafted in 1945, and he met my mother in the Army — she was one of the first WACs — and they married 2 weeks later. Anyone reading that can construct a better idea of why that was their song than I had, growing up hearing that and hearing those seemingly silly old fools calling it their song.

A couple songs later is something I remember loving as a child. "My Heart Belongs to Daddy," sung by Mary Martin — whom I (and maybe you) mostly think of as Peter Pan. I didn't understand the idea of a sugar daddy. The adults understood the song on that level. To me, a girl was devoted to her father... to the point of calling him "da da da da da da da da daddy."

There's much more on this immensely pleasurable album, including Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Xavier Cugat, and Cab Calloway, "that Hi-De-Ho man," as the liner notes remind us...


You can see the handwritten initials in the top left corner: RAA. My father's name was Richard Adair Althouse. "Adair" is also my middle name.
So I want to warn you laddie
Though I know that you're perfectly swell
That my heart belongs to Daddy
Cause my Daddy, he treats it so well
This is a broken record, but my heart is not broken. I only wish I'd figured out, before it was too late, that there were things I could have talked to my father about, but I am talking about these things now.
Gonna take a sentimental journey
Gonna set my heart at ease
Gonna make a sentimental journey
To renew old memories.
(Comments invited... and moderated.)

I condemn Kedem.

"According to two people told of the decision, the campaign manager, Danny Kedem, no longer wished to oversee Mr. Weiner’s bid for New York mayor after a week of bruising revelations about the candidate’s latest online conduct...."

What kind of campaign manager bugs out on you right when you need him? He should be your trusty champion! So inappropriate. Defend your guy! What? Are you trying to save your career? Your career is in campaign managing, and you dropped your guy when he was down.

Unacceptable. I don't really care that what Weiner did is is also unacceptable. This is a campaign. Did James Carville and George Stephanopoulos abandon Bill Clinton in 1992 when the Gennifer Flowers story hit?

A much-criticized WaPo headline: "What motivates a lawyer to defend a Tsarnaev, a Castro or a Zimmerman?"

That still runs atop an article by lawprof Abbe Smith which explains the role of the defense lawyer within the criminal justice system. The explanation is familiar to anyone who's considered the topic beyond the shallowest level, but the article appears in the Washington Post because of all the attention to the Zimmerman trial, which explains the presence of the acquitted neighborhood watchman alongside the names of the evil Castro and the accused terrorist Tsarnaev.

The headline drew fire. At "the Washington Post outlandishly sought to equate the acquitted Robert [sic] Zimmerman to accused serial rapist Ariel Castro and Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev." At Instapundit: "Which one of these things is not like the others?... 'Tsarnaez = Castro = Zimmerman? Why not just throw in a Hitler? That’s usually how the question is posed at cocktail parties.'"

So look at how this article is teased on the front page at WaPo right now:

Quick! Roll out the Kaczynski!

"But Mr Stach’s biography also shows Kafka’s lighter side."

Topic sentence of a paragraph that continues thusly:
On holiday with a mistress, he feels almost sick with laughter. In the last years of his life he meets a crying young girl in a park who explains that she has lost her doll. He then proceeds to write her a letter a day for three weeks from the perspective of the doll, recounting its exploits. With his final mistress, Dora Diamant, Kafka has no doubt that he wants to marry her. She even inspires him to recover his interest in Judaism.
Do those 3 points really show a lighter side? 1. Sick with laughter. 2. A creative but creepy extended interaction with a child encountered in the park. 3. Interest in marrying a woman who reconnects him to his religious roots.

To be fair, there's no assertion that the side is light. Only that it's lighter than the other side. Dark gray is lighter than black.
(Here's the book.)

"Barnaby Jack, a hacker and security researcher previously known for his hacks involving ATMs and insulin pumps, has died in San Francisco. He was 35."

"His death came just days before he was to give a presentation about techniques for hacking implanted heart devices, which could kill a person from 30 feet away."

"Stand still. Stand steady. Stand clear."

"Don't let this happen to your child."

A 1970s public service announcement warning you not to do what Mayor Bloomberg is actively encouraging. What used to be following basic safety is now regarded as anti-social:
"Able-bodied people standing on the downward escalator are in effect robbing the people behind them of time," says Hamilton Nolan, who writes for Gawker and regularly uses the New York subway.

"Their presumptuous need for leisure may cause everyone behind them to miss a train they would have otherwise caught. Then those people are forced to stand and wait on a subway platform for many extra minutes. Those are precious minutes of life that none of us will get back."
People seem to have forgotten the horrors of the escalator.

Cute dog on a cold day in July.

The cold day:


The cute dog:


That was yesterday, though today is cold too. It's 60° indoors, and we refuse to turn on the heat in July. It's nice to put on sweaters and wooly socks in the summertime. We were sweltering a week ago. It's like taking a trip north without leaving home. Automatic, in-place vacation.

The consequences of blushing.

1. I was reading this Wall Street Journal essay — "The Appeal of Embarrassment/Blushing, fidgeting, looking down — the more contrite a wrongdoer looks, the more likable he seems" — written by Robert M. Sapolsky, a professor of biology and neurology at Stanford University and author of the enticingly titled "The Trouble with Testosterone" and "Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers."

2. I don't give a damn about zebras and their freedom from ulcers. (I'll just guess that when any given zebra slips toward ulcer-producing mental activity, some lion eats him, and that's the end of that trajectory.) But I am interested in the trouble with testosterone in connection with the subject of Sapolsky's essay, which is Anthony Weiner. Something about that ravaged face. Is he using testosterone to build up those muscles he shows off in his selfies?

"This was shot over the course of the 2012/2013 academic year, where I was lucky enough..."

"... to get the chance to study abroad at the University of Wisconsin Madison. This film is longer than most of my timelapse projects, but I hope the video is just as enjoyable to watch. It's been amazing to live in Madison for the last year and it will be sorely missed."

The new science of poker playing.

"This growth over the past decade has been accompanied by a profound change in how the game is played. Concepts from the branch of mathematics known as game theory have inspired new ideas in poker strategy and new advice for ordinary players."

Obama says "racial tensions won’t get better."

And "they may get worse, because people will feel as if they’ve got to compete with some other group to get scraps from a shrinking pot. If the economy is growing, everybody feels invested."

How to understand that statement? Possible interpretations:

1. He wants all focus on the the economy, so any other topics are portrayed as subtopics to the economy: Worries about race should not distract us, because the best way to improve racial matters is to improve the economy.

2. Obama wants more economic policies that redistribute wealth: The threat of worsening "racial tensions" is meant to drive people accept those policies.

3. Obama realizes there isn't much he can do about racial problems, at least not without annoying some of his base: Stop expecting him to do something about race.