July 19, 2014

How a black man could be white in the American South in the 1940s.

Wear a turban!

"It is said that every city, every country, has its smell."

"Paris, they say, smells or used to smell of acrid cabbage. Cape Town smells of sheep. There are tropical isles that smell of roses, musk, or coconut oil. Russia smells of leather. Lyon smells of coal. The Orient generally smells of musk and corpses. Brussels smells of black soap. The hotel rooms smell of black soap. The beds smell of black soap. The napkins smell of black soap. The sidewalks smell of black soap."

Notes for a book about Belgium, by Charles Baudelaire, who died in 1867, without having written the book.

"'The Ideal Head': Bizarre Racial Teachings From a 1906 Textbook."

"A hundred years ago, American geography students learned about a world in which 'the brown people raise rice,' 'the black people … have no books,' and 'the red men are savages.'"

Are you orthorexic?

10 signs.

"You Silver Spring transients are ruining our neighborhood."

Is it a breach of etiquette to park a car on the street in front of someone's house?

You asked for new pics of Abby.


See the whole series at "Abby pays a visit."

American cheese.


Actually, it's cheddar cheese, but it seems to have an uncanny tendency when broken up....

"There was a howling noise... then I heard a roar and she landed in the kitchen, the roof was broken..."

"The body's still here because they told me to wait for experts to come and get it... I opened the door and I saw people falling. One fell in my vegetable patch."

60 years ago today: The rock 'n' roll era begins.

On July 19, 1954, Sun Records released the Elvis Presley record "That's All Right."
During an uneventful recording session at Sun Studios on the evening of July 5, 1954, Presley, [Scotty] Moore, and [Bill] Black were taking a break between recordings when Presley started fooling around with an up-tempo version of Arthur Crudup's song "That's All Right, Mama." Black began joining in on his upright bass, and soon they were joined by Moore on guitar. Producer Sam Phillips, taken aback by this sudden upbeat atmosphere, asked the three of them to start again so he could record it.

Black's bass and guitars from Presley and Moore provided the instrumentation. The recording contains no drums or additional instruments. The song was produced in the style of a "live" recording (all parts performed at once and recorded on a single track)...

Upon finishing the recording session, according to Scotty Moore, Bill Black remarked, "Damn. Get that on the radio and they'll run us out of town."
If you're inclined to cry "cultural appropriation": 1. Take note that Elvis innovated by playing Crudup's song very fast, and 2. Read John McWhorter's piece "You Can’t ‘Steal’ a Culture: In Defense of Cultural Appropriation."

The Freedom From Religion Foundation settles with the IRS about investigating tax-exempt religious groups that get involved in politics.

AP reports:
"This is a victory, and we're pleased with this development in which the IRS has proved to our satisfaction that it now has in place a protocol to enforce its own anti-electioneering provisions," said [Freedom From Religion] co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor....

The FFRF argued that churches and other religious organizations have become increasingly more involved in political campaigns, "blatantly and deliberately flaunting the electioneering restrictions."
("Flaunting." Somebody — AP or FFRF — made the old flouting/flaunting mistake.)

Anyway, the point is — as we know from the big IRS scandal about Tea Party groups — if a group is too political, it doesn't qualify for a tax exemption. The same degree of enforcement should apply to all groups who seek tax-exempt status, whether they are conservative or liberal and whether they are religious or secular.
The IRS had said publicly in 2012 that it was not investigating complaints of partisan political activity by churches, leaving religious groups who make direct or thinly veiled endorsements of political candidates unchallenged.
Perhaps you think religious organizations should get special treatment from the IRS or, at least, you may not be comfortable with this issue getting resolved in a settlement between the IRS and the Freedom From Religion Foundation. I prefer applying the same rules to everyone and not giving special deference to religious groups, but the Religious Freedom Restoration Action requires the federal government to justify substantial burdens on religion with a compelling interest and narrow tailoring, as we saw in the Hobby Lobby case.

You can't expect the Freedom From Religion Foundation to push that point, however, and nothing about this settlement prevents other parties from raising that question in their own lawsuits. In any event, the IRS has a moratorium on investigations right now, but it will be interesting to see what happens in the future with this FFRF-satisfying "protocol" if some church that's used to telling its parishioners how to vote gets surprised by a deprivation of its tax-exempt status.

July 18, 2014

"[T]he tragic news equivalent to losing hundreds of years of broad expertise in combatting HIV/AIDS."

"Many HIV/AIDS researchers, officials, and activists – perhaps scores – had been traveling on Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 en route to the 20th anniversary AIDS 2014 conference in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia."

"When your thought process is as mangled as this author's tour de force of reasoning, you just might be an idiot."

"She doesn't merely have a different opinion - she seems to not understand the difference between statistic and anecdote, she is under-educated about the topic she chose to write on... and she seems to have a great deal of trouble drawing logical conclusions. You pick the epithet. This author also seems to have a pathological need for attention - a craving so strong that she doesn't care who she hurts...."

Want to get the most hostile possible reactions in the comments? Do what Erin Auerbach did. Write: "Why I’d never adopt a shelter dog again."

Lake Mendota... with "cross process" accidentally selected on my Lumix camera.


And a little tweaking in iPhoto. Differently tweaked here:


You can buy the camera here. And here's Panasonic's explanation of the "cross process" setting. Supposedly it "emulat[es] the look of cross processing in film photography."

"What the hell is Cross-Processing?"
Cross-processing (also known as 'x-pro') is the procedure of deliberately processing one type of film in a chemical solution intended for another type of film. As particular chemical solutions are optimized for specific kinds of film, you will get unpredictable and interesting results when they are combined differently....

The best thing about cross processing is THE ELEMENT OF SURPRISE. Try as you may, it is nearly impossible to predict exactly what effect cross processing will have on your images. But this is where the fun lies. Every roll of film you develop is like a box of rabid hamsters. You never know what you're gonna get!

Which 2016 presidential candidate are you? I'm Chris Christie.

Based on this quiz, which isn't about politics.

"The same-sex marriage movement suffered setbacks in two states on Friday, while enjoying an advance in one."

WaPo reports:
A federal appeals court ruled Oklahoma’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional, affirming a federal judge’s January decision while keeping the state’s ban in place for now. Meanwhile, the Colorado Supreme Court ordered the Denver County clerk stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor ruled that the state of Utah may continue to deny marriage benefits to more than 1,000 married same-sex couples.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison's "'Diversity' Plan Involves Grading By Race And Ethnicity"... really?

The quote part of my question, above, comes from Instapundit, who is paraphrasing John Leo (at Minding the Campus) who wrote. Leo wrote:
Professors, instead of just awarding the grade that each student earns, would apparently have to adjust them so that academically weaker, "underrepresented racial/ethnic" students perform at the same level and receive the same grades as academically stronger students.
Apparently. That's a pretty big "apparently," omitted by Instapundit [who also includes the Leo quote], and I cannot figure out what motivated Leo to make that leap to the point where he could say what he said even with the "apparently."

Naturally, the University of Wisconsin wants a diverse student body and wants all of the students to do well in their classes and to graduate. It's a pretty dismal diversity policy that looks only at whether once underrepresented groups are now well represented. If the admissions process works to increase diversity, we don't just sit back and congratulate ourselves. We have the additional duty to provide a good educational experience to all of the students who come here.

That doesn't mean the plan is to adjust grades by race and ethnicity!

When Harry Met Bosco.





These dog photos were made by me, not Meade. If you want to see Meade's dog photos, go to The Puparazzo.

What to think about that Esquire essay "In Praise of 42-Year-Old Women."

I'm really conflicted about this. I've been close to talking about it twice, and I find myself drawn back to it a third time, and I'm going to add that up to mean I've got to puzzle out the strange attraction, not of the 42-Year-Old Women but of this particular 55/56-year-old man writing about the 42-year-old woman... writing in Esquire about writing about the 42-year-old woman.

Instapundit wrote: "ADVICE TO EDITORS: Before you assign or publish an article, ask yourself, 'Will this article be more enjoyable than the Gawker blog post viciously mocking the article?'" which linked to Robert Stacy McCain, who was (obviously) linking to Gawker. At Gawker, Tom Scocca was eking humor out of paraphrasing the Esquire piece in plain speech, with lines like: "Tom Junod can name several famous women who are 42 who he would be willing to fuck. Right in their 42-year-old vaginas. Cameron Diaz. Sofia Vergara. Leslie Mann. Amy Poehler. He would fuck these women, despite their age, and even share a joke with them, because the 42-year-old woman, she is a person, or at least a person-like idea...." Which is funny, but it's only funny because Junod gave him something to paraphrase and the will to do it. But think about it: Much literary humor is done through the device of taking what would be crude to say and putting it in an elaborate form. Anyone can translate it back into the crude. And much internet hu


And so — in the middle of a word — a post fragment ends. I'm tired of looking at that Draft post in my list of posts. I can't throw it out and I can't finish it. I'm just publishing it because I'm amused that my effort ended so abruptly. I felt some urge to defend Tom Junod, but not quite that much.

And then thi


Oh, good lord! I did it again!

It's the Tom Junod jinx. But, hey, look, Tom Junod is writing about pit bulls: "The most ubiquitous dog in the U. S.—the dog in whose face we see our collective reflection—is now the pit bull. Which makes it curious that we as a culture kill as many as three thousand of them per day."

ADDED: I was able to overcome my writer's block and say what I wanted to say in the comments: here. That was weird.

"In his two-story, often repainted, home, which one could tour for $5, were Elvis posters, Elvis candy wrappers and Elvis postage stamps..."

"... photographs of famous people with Elvis and photographs of famous people who did not know Elvis but who had been in the same city at some point, a homemade electric chair meant to evoke 'Jailhouse Rock' and scraps of carpet that came (he told visitors) from Graceland, and which you could buy for $20 a square inch. There were giant stacks of TV Guides, every issue that referred to Elvis, and a bank of constantly playing TVs, where [Paul] McLeod would carefully mark down every mention of Elvis and store each note in a growing library of binders. 'For example: 1991, Arsenio Hall Show, a mention of Elvis'...."

From "Two Lives Collide, and End, at an Elvis Shrine."

"Every time you see me you want to mess with me. I’m tired of it. It stops today!"

Proclaimed Eric Garner, shortly before his death.
When Garner refused orders to put his hands behind his back, one of the plainclothes cops... got behind him and put him in a chokehold, the footage shows.

A struggle ensued as three uniformed officers joined in on the arrest, knocking the man to the ground. He screamed, “I can’t breathe!” six times before he went silent and paramedics were called.

“They jumped him and they were choking him. He was foaming at the mouth,” [Ramsey Orta, 22, who shot the video, said.] “And that’s it, he was done. The cops were saying, ‘No, he’s OK, he’s OK.” He wasn’t OK.”

The 5th Circuit's pro-affirmative action decision in Fisher "may, paradoxically, tee up a major loss in the larger war."

Richard D. Kahlenberg's explanation is — despite that mixed metaphor — skillfully done:
As a matter of process, the Fifth Circuit’s decision plays into the hands of conservatives by expediting the possibility of Supreme Court review in two respects. First, the appeals court rejected UT-Austin’s request that it send the case back to the district court for a potentially lengthy hearing on factual issues...

Second, by handing a defeat to Fisher, the court empowered her to appeal the case to the full Fifth Circuit and then to the Supreme Court. If Fisher had won this round, the university would have been in the driver’s seat in deciding whether to appeal. It is possible that the university would have forgone an appeal in order to avoid a potentially negative Supreme Court decision....

Moreover, on the substance, the reasoning of the Fifth Circuit is likely to invite review—and reversal—of the lower court’s decision. Justice Kennedy’s opinion in the 2013 Fisher decision made two big substantive points and one stylistic one, all of which the Fifth Circuit’s majority opinion, written by Judge Patrick E. Higginbotham, oddly defies.
For the 3 things Kennedy said and the way Higginbotham defied all 3, go to the link. Basically, Higginbotham "dismissed Kennedy’s emphasis on race-neutral alternatives," "blithely asserted"  that alternatives like socioeconomic affirmative action "wouldn’t work," "paid lip service to Kennedy’s requirement that courts give 'no deference' on the question of whether alternatives can produce 'sufficient' racial diversity," failed to require the University to give definition to its goal of "critical mass," and "took an unnecessary dig at Kennedy’s contention that the Fifth Circuit had misapplied the Grutter precedent."

"Everybody says because we tried in '08 and it didn't happen, it’s not possible."

Joe Biden, blathering, seems to concede that his administration defaulted on its promise of change.

Too bad it's so hard to read Best of the Web over at the Wall Street Journal, where James Taranto seems to be saying interesting things about this.

Rush Limbaugh riffed on it at the beginning of his show yesterday:
I always thought hope and change meant change the direction of the country... Now, what if Biden is smarter than we think?

Because let's be clear, folks: There has been abundant change... The change has been fundamental. It has been significant; it has been disastrous....

[W]hy come out and say that the change "didn't happen"? Unless you are attempting to psychologically manipulate people into thinking that what's happening now isn't his fault....

"Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finally gave the order for a land invasion of the Gaza strip [yesterday]."

"The decision—fraught with moral, strategic, and political uncertainties—came after over a week of hesitation and perseveration. But after this morning’s U.N.-brokered ceasefire ended with a volley of Hamas rockets, Netanyahu simply ran out of alternatives."

"As rescue teams slowly converged on the grisly scene of the downing of a Malaysia Airlines jet, the Russian Defense Ministry on Friday denied any involvement..."

"... in the missile strike that Ukrainian officials said ripped the Boeing 777 from the sky on Thursday, and many began questioning why the airline had chosen to fly a civilian jet over a combat zone."
Two villagers said quietly that they had seen the flash of a rocket in the sky around the time the plane went down. Victor, who said he was too afraid to give his last name, said that he had been in his garden at the time and that he had seen “the light coming from a rocket.”

He said it had come from the direction of Snizhne, a city where the Ukrainian military has been bombing rebel positions frequently for more than a week. “It was a rocket, I’m sure of it,” he said....

Four rebels in fatigues were wandering through the ruins, looking through people’s belongings and riffling through guidebooks and bags.

When asked who was responsible for the crash, they looked incredulous and said that it had of course been the Ukrainian military.

“This wasn’t ours,” said a rebel who identified himself only as Alexei, standing looking at an overhead bin in the grass with a rifle over his shoulder. “Why would we do this? We’re not animals.”

July 17, 2014

Someday you'll find it, the rainbow disconnection...




"It’s such a comfortable pose, gathering around women and deciding what we think of them — hot or not, alluring or tragic, moral or immoral..."

"... responsible or irresponsible, capable of consent or incapable of consent, maternal or neglectful."
... I wish that every woman whose actions and worth are parsed and restricted, congratulated and condemned in this country might just once get to wheel around — on the committee that doesn’t believe their medically corroborated story of assault, or on the protesters who tell them that termination is a sin they will regret, or on the boss who tells them he doesn’t believe in their sexual choices, or on the mid-fifties man who congratulates them, or himself, on finding them appealing deep into their dotage — and go black in the eyes and say, “I don’t fucking care if you like it.”

"Put yourself on cruise control and go into limbo for a year... forget about success for a while..."

"... get yourself an ordinary job, an ordinary place to live, and live without worrying about what Americans call, in uppercase, the Future."
Get a dead-end job... Tell your employer the truth: that you’ll be around only a year or so, but promise to work hard....

Live alone....

Have a radio for emergency news, but no TV. Read, read, read....

Stay chaste during your limbo year. Sex ruins reflection and self-knowledge....

Joaquin Phoenix's Forehead.

I found this oddly reminiscent of Bob Denver's Chin in "For Those Who Think Young":

The blogging federal judge tangles with the blogging corporate lawprof.

Judge Richard Kopf — the one that advised the U.S. Supreme Court to "stfu" — criticizes Professor Bainbridge:
I received some critical reaction from “serious” law professors regarding my use of “stfu” in my Hobby Lobby post. Here is a particularly florid one from a corporation’s guy who so far as I know has never stepped into a trial courtroom let alone any other courtroom.
For a second and a half, I wondered which corporation Bainbridge might belong to. You'd think that a judge knocking another man's writing ("particularly florid") would take care not to let a grocer's apostrophe slip into his own ("corporation’s guy"). And what's with the gratuitous "never stepped into a trial courtroom" backed with the lame "so far as I know"? And "serious" with scare quotes? You'd think a federal judge lambasting a lawprof would be more careful, less pettish.

Kopf continues:
Without intending to shove a stick in the eye of such types, I encourage them to read Christopher M. Fairman, FUCK, 28 Cardozo Law Review 1711 (2007). I then encourage them to grow up.
A violent metaphor, couched in denial, followed by an appeal to authority — a serious lawprof. I guess we're supposed to assume the appropriateness of a well-deployed "fuck." I haven't read "FUCK" yet, but I may get to it. I'll think about it. For now, I'll just say that a stick is a phallic symbol and aimed into an eye is close enough to a rape metaphor that I'd caution against using it in the same sentence as yelling "FUCK."

And here's Professor Bainbridge who — having been told to "grow up" — calls the judge "DummKopf."

ADDED: The "florid" post of Bainbridge's accused Kopf of "(thinly veiled) anti-Catholicism," which (understandably) irked Kopf. Kopf says Bainbridge cited no evidence, but the evidence was Kopf's own statement that all the Justices in the Hobby Lobby majority are Catholic. That's some evidence, but not enough to meet the burden of proof in the courtroom Kopf has no knowledge of Bainbridge ever stepping into if somehow the question of Kopf's anti-Catholicism were an issue.

How to do things with...

... fruit.

Is there really something called "the Nice Internet"?

I doubt it. And I read the New York Times article called "On the Nice Internet, Caring Is Sharing/Websites Like Thought Catalog and Upworthy Aim to Uplift."

The word "nice" only appears once in the article, in the sentence "Mr. Magnin is an architect of the nice Internet." Alex Magnin is the chief revenue officer of Thought Catalog, which has, according to Magnin, "some awesome writers" writing "stuff people love and can relate to" within "a vision of building something great and wonderful." So I guess if your vision is of building something, you're an architect, but if it's great and wonderful, is it nice? It sounds like what's built that's great is your own traffic, and "stuff people love" just means headlines people click on impulsively — all that crap about puppies and kittens and amazing you and breaking your heart... all the sentimental tweaking of human curiosity.

What does that have to do with niceness? Later, the article uses the term "feel-goodiness," which I actually don't feel too good about, but it's closer to the game these websites play. They're trying to make people feel good or at least feel that they will feel good if only they click to the next place over there. But there's nothing nice about treating people that way. The website isn't nice. It has a damned low opinion of the people it's exploiting.

"Nice" is a funny word though. It has all these quite negative, now obsolete meanings: foolish, silly, simple, ignorant, absurd, senseless, wanton, dissolute, lascivious. If we may resurrect all that, of course, there's The Nice Internet.

"Industrial food has manipulated cheap prices for excess profit at excess cost to everyone; low prices do not indicate 'savings' or true inexpensiveness but deception."

"And all the products of industrial food consumption have externalities that would be lessened by a system that makes as its primary goal the links among nutrition, fairness and sustainability."

So ends Mark Bittman's column "The True Cost of a Burger." It's a little hard to understand what "system" he's pushing, perhaps because Step 1 is to get people to internalize the concept that other people's cheap food is costing all of us a lot of money.

The ugliness of the federal government....

... visualized concretely.

"Texas's blues pedigree is unsurpassed. But of all of these bright lights, perhaps the most electrifying, exotic and resilient Texas export is a snowy white guitarist from Beaumont..."

"... whose truth-is-stranger-than-fiction given name is Winter. For well over five decades, John Dawson 'Johnny' Winter III has produced and played on some of the most exciting blues and rock recordings in the history of both genres. His absolute command of traditional music has earned him the respect of serious musicologists, while his tremendous agility, wicked speed and full-tilt aggression on the electric guitar and acoustic bottleneck has won over several generations of younger rock players looking to cop some the fastest and hottest licks ever committed to tape."

Johnny Winter, dead at 70.

July 16, 2014

Dogs have no words.



(These photos were made by me, not Meade. For Meade's dogs, go to The Puparazzo.)

"How Americans Feel About Religious Groups/Jews, Catholics & Evangelicals Rated Warmly, Atheists and Muslims More Coldly."

A Pew survey (with lots of detail).

Lake Mendota, today.


Not long ago.


On the Terrace.

"I don't want to put anything on top of that. I don't want to put Obama drinking beer on top of that."

I say, referring to the previous post, a tribute to Barry Goldwater's acceptance speech, 50 years ago today, after Meade emails me a MarketWatch article — "Right and left finally agree: Obama has checked out" — with this photograph:

And Meade says: "Except that it's kind of related."

50 years ago today: Barry Goldwater, accepting the GOP nomination, said: "extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice" and "moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

Here's how that looked on the front page of The New York Times the morning after. For the full text of Goldwater's acceptance speech, click forward to page 10. But do pause for a moment at page 9 where LBJ takes Lady Bird for a walk ("The First Lady was bareheaded and she was wearing a sleeveless, straight line dress with a light colored silk scarf at her throat") and for a glimpse at the future of telephone booths:

You get action when you telephone.

From the Goldwater speech — which is easier to read here — I've selected the top 10 best lines:

10. "We must, and we shall, return to proven ways — not because they are old, but because they are true."

9. "Rather than useful jobs in our country, people have been offered bureaucratic 'make work,' rather than moral leadership, they have been given bread and circuses, spectacles, and, yes, they have even been given scandals."

8. "[I]t has been during Democratic years that a billion persons were cast into Communist captivity and their fate cynically sealed."

7. "The good Lord raised this mighty Republic to be a home for the brave and to flourish as the land of the free — not to stagnate in the swampland of collectivism, not to cringe before the bully of communism."

6. "Those who seek absolute power, even though they seek it to do what they regard as good, are simply demanding the right to enforce their own version of heaven on earth. And let me remind you, they are the very ones who always create the most hellish tyrannies."

5. "We do not seek to lead anyone's life for him — we seek only to secure his rights and to guarantee him opportunity to strive, with government performing only those needed and constitutionally sanctioned tasks which cannot otherwise be performed."

4. "History shows us — demonstrates that nothing — nothing prepares the way for tyranny more than the failure of public officials to keep the streets from bullies and marauders."

3. "Those who seek to live your lives for you, to take your liberties in return for relieving you of yours, those who elevate the state and downgrade the citizen must see ultimately a world in which earthly power can be substituted for divine will, and this Nation was founded upon the rejection of that notion and upon the acceptance of God as the author of freedom."

2. "Our Republican cause is not to level out the world or make its people conform in computer regimented sameness." 

1. "I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

"What is behind this generation of hard-working, strait-laced kids?"

Asks The Economist.
[P]erhaps the best explanation for this youthful self-control is not the role parents play in young adults’ lives today; it is the way they brought those young adults up. A combination of government initiatives, technology, social pressure and reaction against the follies of the past has improved parenting dramatically.....

For much of the 20th century, children were largely ignored and allowed to roam free. If they acted up, they were typically punished with violence. Now, however, parents are expected to be intimately involved in their children’s lives.... They supervise homework; attend parents’ evenings; go to prenatal and parenting classes; read blockbusters about child psychology. These improvements are not restricted to parents working as a team: single parenting has improved even more....

What this adds up to is a generation that is more closely watched and less free to screw up. So perhaps it is unsurprising that better behaviour has not, as yet, translated into greater happiness....
I come from a time when children roamed free, and it happened because back then parents believed in freedom and self-reliance. They were not bad parents.

"There are three problems with this unbearable metaphor: Barack Obama is not in captivity, he’s not a bear, and he’s not loose."

"As Voltaire said of the Holy Roman Empire, it was 'neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an empire.'"

Maureen Dowd takes on the "bear is loose" idiocy that we were talking about here and here a few days ago.

Martin O'Malley positions himself.

"He slid forward in his seat. He sat up straight and smoothed his jacket. He took notes on a slip of paper as the other governors spoke. Then it came: a question about the border crisis, and the tens of thousands of undocumented immigrant children detained in U.S. facilities...."

He's running for President, right?

Now, having read the linked article and assuming the answer to that question is yes and that Hillary runs, take this poll:

Can O'Malley keep Hillary from getting the Democratic Party nomination?
pollcode.com free polls 

July 15, 2014

If you're watching the All-Star Game....

"Dogs Pose Majestically Beneath A Double Rainbow, Prompt Thoughts About Love, Nature, And Politicians."

HuffPo's Arin Greenwood notices Althouse.

"You swear never to write another piece in Second Person."

"This time you mean it."

Up and down.



Photos by me. If you want photos by Meade, go to The Puparazzo.

"Men do tend to talk about things on a much higher level."

"Many of my male colleagues, when they go to the House floor, you know, they’ve got some pie chart or graph behind them and they’re talking about trillions of dollars and how, you know, the debt is awful and, you know, we all agree with that... we need our male colleagues to understand that if you can bring it down to a woman's level and what everything that she is balancing in her life — that’s the way to go."

"I would rather be bored alone than with someone else. I roam empty places and eat in deserted restaurants."

"I do not say 'A is better than B' but 'I prefer A to B.' I never stop comparing. When I am returning from a trip, the best part is not going through the airport or getting home, but the taxi ride in between: you’re still traveling, but not really."

Wrote Édouard Levé, translated, in The Paris Review, in something I ran across trying to figure out if he actually did commit suicide, a question I had after reading a puzzlingly worded Metafilter entry:
24. A house designed by a three-year-old is built.

1. A book describes works that the author has conceived but not brought into being. 2. The world is drawn from memory. There are missing countries, altered borders.

3. Proust’s head is drawn on a page of In Search of Lost Time. The words tracing out the contour of his face form a grammatically correct sentence.

"Édouard Levé (January 1, 1965 – October 15, 2007, Paris) was a French writer, artist, photographer. His final book, Suicide, although fictional, evokes the suicide of his childhood friend 20 years earlier, which he had also mentioned in "a shocking little addendum, tucked nonchalantly...into Autoportrait." He delivered the manuscript to his editor ten days before he took his own life at 42 years old."
Answer to my question: Yes, he did.

Which drains much of the charm from the project of listing things the author has conceived but not brought into being. For a similar writing project, accomplished much earlier and with greater charm by someone who has lived on and on without committing suicide, read "Grapefruit," by Yoko Ono.

Yoko Ono is 81.
Imagine there’s no heaven. Easy, right? Now imagine letting a goldfish swim across the sky. That wasn’t so hard, was it? Now imagine one thousand suns in the sky at the same time. Then imagine the clouds dripping. Dig a hole in your garden to put them in.

Joe Biden sends me an email with the subject line: "Alright, Ann."

That seems kind of nasty.

It continues:
If you've been watching what's been going on in Washington lately, then you get why Barack is so eager to get out and spend some time with people like you, Ann.
Alright, Joe, whaddya mean by people like me?

Alright, what does Joe mean by "people like" me?
pollcode.com free polls 

"Progressives turn from Obama to embrace Warren."

A headline at The Washington Post. Sample text:
The trepidation that some Democrats feel in standing with President Obama — along with former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton’s absence on the midterm campaign trail — has provided an opening for Warren, who excites the base voters and small-dollar donors critical to any Democratic contender’s chances.
Jeez, that's poorly written. Trepidation provides an opening? Standing with Hillary Clinton's absence? That's the kind of clutter that builds up when you carelessly cram too much into one sentence, something writers tend to do precisely when they have little to say.

Yeah, I know that's pedantic, but I take it schoolmarmishness is hot right now.

Here's a poll, and don't be boring and say you wanted to pick more than one or the one you want is not there. Pick the best option (or just take the poll in the spirit in which it's intended: political fun).

What's with this pushing of Elizabeth Warren?
pollcode.com free polls 

And speaking of political fun... and X turning from Y to embrace Z... this never gets old:

Artist arrested in Japan for obscenity after she emails data for printing a 3D model of her vulva.

Megumi Igarashi — AKA Rokudenashiko ("good-for-nothing girl")  – wanted to use this shape to build a kayak — AKA a "pussy boat." Her email went out to 30 people who responded to her crowd-funding request.
Igarashi has made a name for herself with her Decoman “Decorated Vagina” series of sculptures. The titles of the works incorporate the word “man”, from manko, the Japanese for vagina. 
Manko is a great word — and I don't know if it really means "vulva" or "vagina" or both — but I'm not ready to accept English-speakers saying "vagina" when they mean "vulva." The linked article is in The Guardian.

By the way, Igarashi's artwork isn't very good, but she shouldn't be arrested for that. She seems to be more of a pop-performance person than a creator of objects worth looking at. Arresting her only magnifies the performance and wrecks the whole project of condemning and suppressing it, which is a project that can't even be bullshitted into respect with the claim that it's an art project.

July 14, 2014

Jane Austen's sister Cassandra painted a portrait of the author that was said to be "hideously unlike" her.

But it was nevertheless used as the basis for a waxwork that, we're told, gets to the real Jane Austen, who was reportedly "very lively, very great fun to be with and a mischievous and witty person." Click here to see the corrected/sweetened version of Jane.

Dogs pose with a double rainbow.



Just now, at Capital Springs Dog Park.


(Photos by me, not Meade, though Meade was there taking 444 photos (to my 157).)

ADDED: "Wow. Bow wow. Double rainbow wow."

Who leaked the full text of "Clinton, Inc.: The Audacious Rebuilding of a Political Machine"?

"The working theory of who it might be is somebody who wants to come across as a conservative, but in a way it seems like they’re trying too hard."
"So it might be somebody who’s not a conservative. They have an excellent, sophisticated media list, including people who are not commonly known, so this is somebody with some Washington-New York media savvy. The most likely suspect would be someone affiliated with the Clintons."
The book, published by Broadside Books (HarperCollins), is written by Weekly Standard editor Daniel Halper. Here it is at Amazon. 

14 minutes of income-inequality humor...

... from John Oliver...

... and 4 screens of complaining about it from Twitchy.

Peppermint stick...

... zinnia.


Right here in our own front yard. Grown from seed, by Meade. And speaking of Meade... over at his blog, The Puparazzo...


... The Dog-World Cup continues.

In Germany, National Sociable-ism.

"On the day of Germany’s historic 7-1 rout of Brazil last week in the semifinals... Twitter experienced a major worldwide surge in references to 'Nazis,' 'Blitzkrieg' and 'Hitler.' The old jibes came even as the Germans seemed to go out of their way last week to avoid gloating after beating Brazil."
“The rejoicing after the game was rather restrained,” said Gunter Gebauer, a professor at Free University Berlin who studies the philosophy of sports. “Of course there was huge excitement. . . . But I think Germans were also a little bit shocked about the success. Because in Germany, like in many other countries in the world, there’s a big admiration for Brazilian football. . . . It would have been better if Germany had won 3-1.”

"One afternoon in the spring of 2006, Damany Lewis, a math teacher at Parks Middle School, in Atlanta, unlocked the room where standardized tests were kept."

"It was the week before his students took the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test, which determined whether schools in Georgia had met federal standards of achievement. The tests were wrapped in cellophane and stacked in cardboard boxes. Lewis, a slim twenty-nine-year-old with dreadlocks, contemplated opening the test with scissors, but he thought his cut marks would be too obvious. Instead, he left the school, walked to the corner store, and bought a razor blade. When he returned, he slit open the cellophane and gently pulled a test book from its wrapping. Then he used a lighter to warm the razor, which he wedged under the adhesive sealing the booklet, and peeled back the tab."

The first paragraph of a New Yorker article titled "Wrong Answer: In an era of high-stakes testing, a struggling school made a shocking choice."


Archie's last word.

"Archie is not a superhero like all the rest of the comic book characters... He's human. He's a person. When you wound him, he bleeds. He knows that. If anything, I think his death is more impactful because of that. We hope by showing how something so violent can happen to Archie, that we can — in some way — learn from him."

"Doctors Are Examining Your Genitals for No Reason."

But what is the reason to be telling us now that "Doctors Are Examining Your Genitals for No Reason"?

I'm a bit skeptical about all the articles on the senselessness of various medical procedures we've been paying for all these years. I suspect it has to do with the big upheaval in health insurance. Now that everyone's covered — supposed to be covered — it's suddenly time to say that's not worth covering.

The linked article is talking to women. If you're a man, these aren't "Your Genitals" we're talking about. This is about the "pelvic exam" women know so well. It's a damned strange thing to submit to if there's "No Reason" for it!

Plastic surgery, Washington D.C.-style.

It's all about power, the seemingly endless career:
“It stems from the fact that people don’t want to feel they have a ‘use by’ date for their career in Washington.... People want to have long careers, vibrant careers, and this is an intersection of appearance and performance.”...

None of Alster’s patients is trying to look 25 or even 35. They just want to appear sharp, sophisticated, at the top of their game. “We get a lot of people who are looking over their shoulder at the next generation,” says Alster. “They do not want to be identified as being old.”

Blogging from a small place, an experience in triplicate.

My colleague, the intrepid traveler, Nina Camic, is spending a lot of time on the little Scottish Isle of Islay, with lots of photographs, including plenty of stuff about whisky, which wasn't a particular passion of hers as I assume it is for most travelers who hop over to the isle for a day or 2. Go here and keep scrolling and scrolling, and when you get to the bottom, click "older posts" and scroll some more, and click "older posts" again. And if you're up for more intense attention to a Scottish island, here's the 2009 set of blog posts from the Isle of Skye.

I like this approach of really settling into a small place and needing to find more than the hot spots you'd tick off if you followed one of those New York Times "36 Hours in [Wherever]" articles.

It might be quite challenging, and you might get bored — especially if you're the sort of person who goes traveling because you get bored at home. But if you have a blog and the right Spirit of the Blogger, everything you see is triplicated: 1. The basic living-through-the-experience observation that all travelers have, 2. The recognition of bloggability that involves you in taking photographs and making mental notes and fluidly imagining how these things might later take form in a post, and 3. The experience relived as you discover the contents of your camera on your computer screen and compose the writing that will surround it with narrative. With this amplification of experience, a very minor experience like a couple sheep in the road becomes mythic.

"To even investigate something like that is itself a civil rights violation."

Says Instapundit, noting a piece in The Washington Times that says "The U.S. Department of Justice has sent a member of its Community Relations Service team to investigate a Nebraska parade float that criticized President Obama." That piece paraphrases the report in the Omaha World-Herald, which says:
The U.S. Department of Justice has joined the discussions over a controversial float in the Norfolk Independence Day parade. The department sent a member of its Community Relations Service team, which gets involved in discrimination disputes, to a Thursday meeting about the issue. Also at the meeting were the NAACP, the Norfolk mayor and The Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
So, "investigate" replaced "has joined the discussions." And The Washington Times omitted the material explaining the role of the Community Relations Service team: "getting involved in discrimination disputes."

You might still want to deem this federal activity "a civil rights violation." It is intimidating the local Nebraska people who had the nerve to make fun of the President within an unsophisticated folk tradition, the 4th of July parade. (We talked about the depiction of the Obama Presidential Library as an outhouse here.) But it doesn't seem to be an "investigation" in the sense of looking for evidence of a criminal violation.

Should we object to the deployment of the Community Relations Service team when the Justice Department seriously believes there is an outbreak of racial hatred in some little place in America? That's a separate question from whether we object to the participation of the Community Relations Service team in this instance, which doesn't entail any sort of threat to people of a particular race. It's mockery of the President. And there is something seriously wrong with deploying even the mellow-sounding Community Relations Service team to get out the message: If you criticize the President, the forces of the federal government will descend upon your community and make it look as though a shameful racial problem is festering.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Eric Holder went on "ABC This Week" yesterday to do a performance — a subtle, sophisticated performance — in the theater of racial politics:

July 13, 2014

Maureen Dowd savages Chelsea Clinton...

... or savages Bill and Hillary Clinton for not excluding Chelsea from their disreputable foundation project.
Why, given her dabbling in management consulting, hedge-funding and coattail-riding, is an hour of her time valued at an amount that most Americans her age don’t make in a year?...

If she really wants to be altruistic, let her contribute the money to some independent charity not designed to burnish the Clinton name as her mother ramps up to return to the White House and as she herself drops a handkerchief about getting into politics.
Dowd quotes Rick Cohen writes in The National Philanthropy Quarterly:
"Donors and institutions that are paying [Bill and Hillary Clinton] and their daughter huge sums for their speeches may very well be buying recognition and face time with powerful political leaders who they hope will be able to deliver political favors in the future. It is troubling when corporate donors give to political charities with a more or less obvious expectation that softer and gentler treatment will ensue in the future."
I assume they've checked out the legality of all of this, but considering the strictures on campaign finance that dog so many other political candidates, I don't see why this is allowed. In any case, there should be a political price to pay. 

Strange building project...

... a house going up in my neighborhood:


Vox explains some slang...

... and why you are probably old if you think anything is worth sobering up for.

"No, Scientists Aren’t Telling You Smelling Farts Can Prevent Cancer."

Buzzfeed has to push back TIME.

ADDED: The "South Park" version is here.

"I decided, as an average music listener and music fan, to go through each of the 1,500 or so records in my husband’s personal collection..."

"... and write about each one. I’d never written about music before, so I just went with my gut and wrote stream-of-consciousness style about how the music was making me feel," writes Sarah O’Holla in an article that's teased on the Slate front page as "What's the Right Way for a Woman to Listen to Music?" The title at the article page is "Last Kind Words/Lost 78s and the insular world of music obsessives," and it's mostly about the book "Do Not Sell at Any Price: The Wild, Obsessive Hunt for the World’s Rarest 78rpm Records," by Amanda Petrusich. But I'm mostly interested in O'Holla's discussion about her own writing project, which is a blog called My Husband’s Stupid Record Collection, about which she says (in the first-linked, Slate piece):

"Finally, World Cup final. All I really know is none of them is on the Brazil team."

"Obviously, sport has the potential of fostering international/interbreed goodwill."

I believe I have discovered the product on Amazon with the longest name.

"8 to 30 Virgin Brazilian Body Wave Hair From $46 Brazilian Hair Weave No Tangle No Shed 5a Remy Cuticle Dream Hair USA This Is the Best Hair You Can Get for Your Money Do Not Accept Prices That Are Too Good to Be True Real 100% Human Hair Weave By Industry Leader Dream Hair USA One Donor Hair with All Cuticles Aligned Facing the Same Direction Like a Natural Head of Hair Eliminating Tangling During Washing and Combing Professionally Machine Sewn Wefts Eliminate Shedding This Is Salon Grade Hair Our Clients Love We Refuse to Sell Anything Less Many Sellers Claim to Have 5a Remy When in Reality It Is 3a Non Remy That Is Why They Have Bad Reviews and a Lot of Tangling and Shedding Your Search for an Honest Reliable Top Quality Remy Hair Specialist Is Over! We Are Located in Atlanta Georgia USA We Will Never Sacrifice Our Reputation As Virgin Hair Experts We Are a Real Company and Providing You with the Best Hair At the Best Price Is Our Mission Do Not Settle for Less! #1b Natural Black."

That looks like the way our beloved commenter betamax3000 used to write before I begged him to give up using all those capital letters.

"Governors and mayors have the right to know when the federal government is transporting a large group of individuals, in this case illegal immigrants, into your state,"

"We need to know who they are, and so far, they are saying they're not going to give us that information."

Said Governor Dave Heineman of Nebraska, where the federal government has moved 200 children, whose identities and specific locations are kept secret. 

"Sometimes, a Jewish person just wants to be able to go to Congress and speak with a Jewish person..."

"And Chuck Schumer is not it for us," said a Jewish person the NYT found in the hotel lobby after a meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition, quoted in "Republican Jews Alarmed at the Prospect of a Void in the House and Senate."

"But global warming is occurring. That is absolutely unequivocal. Since the 1950s, the climate system has warmed."

"That is an absolute fact. And we are now 95% sure that that warming is due to human activities. If I was 95% sure that my house was on fire, would I get out? Obviously I would. It is straightforward."

Said University of Miami atmosphere expert Professor Ben Kirtman, quoted in an article in The Guardian titled "Miami, the great world city, is drowning while the powers that be look away" ("Low-lying south Florida, at the front line of climate change in the US, will be swallowed as sea levels rise. Astonishingly, the population is growing, house prices are rising and building goes on. The problem is the city is run by climate change deniers").

That house-on-fire business is an interesting analogy. I heard a similar analogy yesterday, also on the topic of global warming, using the same percentage: If you were 95% sure your plane was going to crash, would you get on that plane?

Chez Althouse, we have a running joke called "Bad Analogy Man." It consists of singing the line "He's Bad Analogy Man," as if it were the theme song of a TV sitcom about a comic character who was always trying to explain things with exasperatingly inaccurate analogies.

I didn't taunt my plane-crash interlocutor with the "Bad Analogy Man" theme song. I took the more pedestrian route of challenging the correspondence of the plane crash and the predicted horrors of global warming. And who are these plane-crash experts with knowledge of a particular plane about to crash? Why would that plane be taking off at all? Similarly, with the professor's house-on-fire analogy, when would you be 95% sure your house was on fire and run out based on that percentage? I think I'd start looking around for the fire, while ensuring that I had an easy exit I could get to before becoming engulfed in flames or overcome by smoke. I'd look for something I might be able to put out and try to determine if I should call the fire department for help. If it was a dire emergency, and I really did need to exit immediately, I would be 100% sure the house was on fire or 100% sure there was a smoke problem that required me to leave regardless of whether the house was on fire.

What a distraction! The question about climate changes is whether we should believe what are predictions of what will happen in the future that are based not on a percentage of certainty about the prediction — we're not "95% sure" that it will happen — but on the percentage of experts who ascribe to the prediction. And I have no idea how sure the individual scientists are. They just agree with the other scientists. Who knows what motivations to agree lurk within their big brains? And who decided what is the set that counts as 100%? If believing what must be believed is what gets you into the set of experts, I'm surprised the number of experts who agree isn't 100%. And obviously, if it were 100%, it wouldn't mean that the prediction is 100% certain to occur.

Anyway, everyone ought to educate himself about the logical fallacies. I like this book "76 Fallacies," where there's an entry titled "Weak Analogy." And — from a website called The Fallacy Files — here's the "Weak Analogy" page, which rejects the alternate term "False Analogy," on the theory that there's always something similar about any 2 things, as illustrated by answers given to the question Lewis Carroll wrote — apparently intending as nonsense — "How is a raven like a writing desk?"

ADDED: The Fallacy Files and I missed the discovery that Lewis Carroll actually did have an answer to the riddle some have waggishly "solved" (e.g., "Poe wrote on both") and I always assumed was intended as nonsense:
In 1976, over a century after the book was first published, Denis Crutch from the Lewis Carroll Society of North America discovered that the real answer was in a long forgotten typo. Crutch found out that in 1896, Carroll originally wrote: "Because it can produce a few notes, tho they are very flat; and it is nevar put with the wrong end in front." Later editions corrected the word "nevar" -- not realizing that Carroll clearly meant to write "raven" backward. As in, "It is raven put with the wrong end in front."

Modern toilet paper has been traced to 1857 and an American inventor named Joseph Gayetty, who trumpeted his 'medicated paper' as 'the greatest necessity of the age!'"

"But it would take the public decades to decide they should pay for a product when there were so many free alternatives lying around, particularly when 'splinter-free' toilet paper... did not hit water closets until the 1930s."

Why are people suddenly downloading a 1960s-era book called "Business Adventures: 12 Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street"?

Answer: Bill Gates is calling it his favorite business book:
A skeptic might wonder how this out-of-print collection of The New Yorker articles from the 1960s could have anything to say about business today. After all, in 1966, when Brooks profiled Xerox, the company’s top-of-the-line copier weighed 650 pounds, cost $27,500, required a full-time operator and came with a fire extinguisher because of its tendency to overheat. A lot has changed since then....
You can get the book here.