August 2, 2014

"My personal favorite at this point is the 29-year-old Australian Michael Johns, who sang 'Bohemian Rhapsody' this week."

I wrote on February 14, 2008 in "Althouse eats chocolate, tweaks photographs, watches 'American Idol' and fails to keep all her body parts out of the aggressive view of the fisheye lens."


I was alone on Valentine's Day, watching TV in what was my temporary home in Brooklyn that academic year. Who knows what the future will bring — which way the wind will blow?

A year later, my Valentine's Day was not spent alone with a TV and a computer screen, but with Meade, who would materialize from my strange, half-lonely relationship with the computer. Michael Johns went on to finish 8th in the singing competition, and, yesterday he died — of a blood clot in his ankle. He was only 35.

Too late, my time has come...

It's Saturday. Make it beautiful.

Meade clipped some zinnias...


... for the dining room table... Lake Mendota is out there, seething...


... and roiling. You know they've got mocha macchiato ice cream down at the Union Terrace...


... get out of house, you crazy fool...


75 years ago today: Albert Einstein wrote the letter to FDR that led to the Manhattan Project.

Einstein signed the letter by that was written by Leó Szilárd:
The Einstein–Szilárd letter resulted in the establishment of research into nuclear fission by the U.S. government and ultimately to the creation of the Manhattan Project; FDR gave the letter to an aide, General Edwin M. "Pa" Watson with the instruction: "Pa, this requires action!"...
Other interesting things about Szilárd:
During the 1926-1930 period, he worked with Einstein to develop a refrigerator, notable because it had no moving parts....

In 1932, Szilárd read the science fiction novel The World Set Free by H. G. Wells, a book which he said made a great impression on him....

NYT reports: "A widow and her four children have been driven insane by eating the Marihuana plant..."

"... according to doctors, who say that there is no hope of saving the children’s lives and that the mother will be insane for the rest of her life."

From a 1927 NYT article — "Mexican Family Go Insane" — quoted a Forbes article titled "A Century Later, The New York Times Rejects The Anti-Marijuana Propaganda It Peddled."

"Frankly, I do not know what one makes from cocoa beans."

"I'm just trying to earn a living with growing cocoa. They make good food from them, but I've never seen that. I do not know if that's true."

(Cocoa farmers experience chocolate for the first time.)

MEANWHILE, on Vagina Mountain, none of that sweet first-world chocolate... "I want you to feel liquid chocolate for the first time. You can totally let go":

Don't drink the water in Toledo, Ohio.

There's "a toxin possibly related to algae on Lake Erie" and "boiling... will only increase the toxin’s concentration." 

AND: In other lake water news: "The lake appeared in the Tunisian desert like a mirage; one minute there was nothing but scorching sand, the next a large expanse of turquoise water."
Hundreds flocked to what quickly became known as the Lac de Gafsa or Gafsa beach to splash, paddle, dive, and fling themselves from rocks into the lake, ignoring warnings that the water could be contaminated with carcinogenic chemicals, riddled with disease or possibly radioactive. Even after the water turned a murky green, they arrived in droves, undeterred.

"Some say it is a miracle, while others are calling it a curse," Lakhdar Souid, a Tunisian journalist, told France 24 television.

The original meaning of emojis.

NPR discusses whether an emoji means what it was originally intended to mean... in the context of some hands that might be praying:
When we think about emojis and what they mean, we have to consider how these symbols have evolved into their own language. Emojis aren't quite a universal form of communication; their meanings are malleable and often develop in unique ways as we build relationships with the people we're texting or tweeting. I assign different meanings to the same emojis based on inside jokes with friends, moods and specific situations.
When things get too simple, they get complex.

August 1, 2014

"If people make the difference in a locale, that’s also true in Madison — unfortunately. In my dozens of trips to Wisconsin’s capital city..."

"... I found a pleasant area surrounded by many pristine lakes ruined by its residents. Collegians from around the country, their professors and local progressives team up to form Berkeley of the Midwest, where generally one ideological mindset is tolerated. Most of downtown is swallowed by the enormous university. Once you peel through the masses, the capitol building is constantly obscured by either renovations or violent protests, thus you rarely get photos outside or inside the building."

So says Ari J. Kaufman at Pajamas Media, putting Madison at #2 on his list of "10 Most Overrated Destinations in the Midwest." I guess his dozens of trips were back in 2011, during the big uprising against Scott Walker, and even then his observations are none too astute, since the protests, while clamorous, were never violent. Groups that got as large as 100,000, full of people who were really upset and trying to crank up the emotion, did not become violent. That was actually pretty amazing, and the Capitol building, one of the most beautiful state capitol buildings, isn't obscured by anything.

Kaufman seems to be pandering to the PJ Media readership, which is apparently supposed to be a lot of liberal-haters. If you're reading my blog, you've seen plenty of what's great about Madison. I've lived here for 30 years, and Meade has lived here 5 years now. I asked him what he thought of Madison, and he said:
I like it. I like the residents. I find it a very peaceful place to live. I know it's very lefty, but I think most of the real lefties are old, complacent, kind of fat, drunk, and lazy. So it's a nice time to be in Madison, because there's some re-energizing in the politics, and a lot of that is due to Scott Walker Republicans....
ADDED: Kaufman's powers of observation are also deficient when it comes to assessing lakes. They are not pristine.  Here's a picture I took from the Union Terrace on the shore of Lake Mendota a few days ago:


So it's certainly not "pristine." But don't worry, the sign isn't always there, and I haven't seen it recently. And we have Wingra, Monona, Kegonsa, and Waubesa as well as Mendota.

AND: Lake Wingra:


"I think the idea of the 'manly-man' appeals to the far right and not really to the rest of us."

"To me it's kind of a twisted concept of maleness. Not a protector or a dynamic kind of pizzaz but a bully. Putin is a good example of it. People's lives don't matter to him. Power matters to him. Who's the top dog? That's what I think machismo is all about. It's like Saddam Hussein. It's all about a pecking order and who is on top. Pretty boring really. Who has the biggest......weapon :-)"

Said Sunsong in the comments to last night's post linking to Adam Gopnik's New Yorker piece about overemphasis on manliness in a President. That comment made me think of this scene in Charlie Chaplin's "The Great Dictator":

By the way, my father once opined that that was the greatest moment in all of movies. He wasn't a big moviegoer, though, so there were many scenes he missed, but he loved that one because it said the pithiest possible thing about politics, and it says it completely in the visuals, though it's not a silent film.

There is dialogue, but it's almost only background music for the ears — "a barber shop... that also has glass walls... oh, yes, with goldfish swimming inside... they're all dead, that's why I'm building a new barbershop...."

"The Climate Reality Project brought its 'I’m Too Hot' trucks and offers of free ice cream to this week’s Environmental Protection Agency hearings on power-plant emissions..."

"... when the hearings began at 9 a.m. Wednesday in Denver, the temperature was a chilly 58 degrees. Plus, it was raining."

Interesting that this group — founded by Al Gore — is making a show of driving trucks long distances.

Monica Lewinsky is now "officially contributing to Vanity Fair's website on an 'ongoing basis.'"

Politico reports, and here's her new piece: "The Online Rebuttal Is the New Black." If I were writing headlines over at Vanity Fair, I'd avoid using the word "rebuttal" for a piece about a butt. And if I were Monica Lewinsky, a woman notorious for calling attention to her butt by displaying her thong underpants to the President of the United States, I would not choose to make my point about the use of social media to fight back against public humiliation by focusing on a 14-year-old girl making a show of her butt.

Last line of Monica's piece:
In Carleigh’s case, her body-positive photo went viral. An online rebuttal . . . in all meanings. Sounds good to me.
Oh! So it wasn't just the headline writer stumbling onto a pun. Monica punned on purpose. I don't think a 14-year-old girl is well served by having Monica Lewinsky talking about her ass.

"Why Mitt Romney is perfectly poised for a comeback in 2016."

"Nobody has ever rooted for that scrappy Romney kid to overcome the odds. Until, maybe, now."

July 31, 2014

50 years ago today: "Ranger 7 radioed to earth... the first close-up pictures of the moon..."

"... a historic collection of 4,000 pictures one thousand times as clear as anything ever seen through earth-bound telescopes...."
The still pictures were snapped and transmitted in the last 17 minutes before the spacecraft crashed into an area northwest of the Sea of Clouds.

They meant in effect that the 240,000 mile distance to the moon had been shrunk by man's ingenuity to a mere half-mile in terms of what he could see of its topography.

"Obama’s perceived flaws are the ancient effeminate ones, of the kind that a bigoted tradition ascribed to women..."

"... above all, the criticism reflects the President’s unapologetic distaste for violent confrontation and for making loud threats, no matter how empty those threats may obviously be."

Writes Adam Gopnik in The New Yorker, responding to criticism of Obama for his supposed lack of manliness.

What pushed me over the line as I pondered whether to blog this was remembering that, of my huge number of tags about Obama, I have one for Obama and manliness.

"I don't need a dude. I mean, Neil and David, their twins are beautiful. It's 2014!"

"We are living in the future; we don't need anything. I don't think I'll have to, but we'll see. I'm not anti-men. I love men. But there is an option if someone doesn't present himself."

Katy Perry feels wonderful.

ADDED: I'd have felt wonderful too, if anyone had noticed my Talking Heads allusion. I'd be tipping over backwards.

"The GOP legislation, which was rewritten twice to attract support, had trouble getting off the ground..."

"... and if the House doesn’t vote, lawmakers will head back to their districts to hear from voters with a crisis raging at the border."
The turmoil is stunning considering how far to the right the GOP leadership pulled this bill. Boehner, McCarthy and Scalise, the new GOP whip, crafted a process that would have given the House a vote on legislation to stop the Obama administration from expanding its deferred deportation program. But even that wasn’t enough....

Are you skeptical about "voluntourism"?

"More than 1.6 million volunteer tourists are spending about $2 billion each year. But some people who work in the industry... question whether some trips help young adults pad their resumes or college applications more than they help those in need."

WaPo's "30 of Washington’s ‘Most Beautiful’ people."

The first face that comes up in the slide show doesn't strike me as even somewhat beautiful, so I'm afraid to keep clicking.

ADDED: This made me think of the old line: "Washington is Hollywood for ugly people." Who started that?
The phrase appears to be an immediate descendant of one that took off in the early '90s: "Politics is show business for ugly people." It is frequently credited to Jay Leno -- but when we checked the record, it appears the late-night host always presented it as someone else's witticism: "It's like they say, 'Politics is. . .' "

Who were "they"? While James Carville uttered the phrase in a 1996 Playboy interview, we found what may have been the first in-print usage of it, in a 1992 Washington Post interview with Carville's fellow Clinton-Gore strategist Paul Begala.
But Begala doesn't claim to have originated it. Rush Limbaugh says it a lot. Maybe he knows. It seems related to his longstanding aphorism "Feminism was established so as to allow unattractive women access to the mainstream of society." Nice of him not to say "ugly," no?

Putin calls Obama "chicken."

No, not really. It just looks that way on Drudge:

The link goes here.

Thanks to the multiple readers who, knowing my love for Drudge juxtapositions, emailed me about that.

"They have announced that they are going to sue me for taking executive actions to help people. So, you know, they’re mad 'cause I’m doin' my job...”

"Stop being mad all the time. Stop just hatin’ all the time. Let’s get some work done."

AND: Meanwhile, from The National Review, here's "Top Ten Myths about the House’s Proposed Suit Against Obama." I don't agree that these are "myths." Most of these are answers to the other side's legal arguments.

ALSO: Email I received from Obama a couple hours ago:
If you boil it down, my job is simple to understand -- you elected me to make it a little easier for hard-working Americans to succeed.

But I can't do this on my own, and that's why Democrats across the country and I need your help, Ann.

Chip in $10 or more before this critical deadline to elect a Congress that will work with me.
His job... hard-working Americans... Congress that will work with him... 

The trope is "work." The voters are working, he's working, everyone must work. That supposedly makes it "simple," but it doesn't.

If you don't like the project that's being worked on, hampering his work seems like a good idea. Making it "easier" for us workers "to succeed" is a big abstraction, and his working harder (on whatever) won't automatically make our work easier. But the recipient of the email is supposed to feel that his work somehow alleviates our work.

I've got an aversion to work... work, the rhetoric of work.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds the photo ID law.

Like the Act 10 case (discussed 2 posts down), this was a 5-2 decision with Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson and Justice Ann Walsh Bradley dissenting.

Writing for the majority, Justice Patience Roggensack said "the burdens of time and inconvenience associated with obtaining Act 23-acceptable photo identification are not severe burdens on the right to vote."

The dissenting Chief Justice said:
"Today the court follows not James Madison -- for whom Wisconsin's capital city is named -- but rather Jim Crow -- the name typically used to refer to repressive laws used to restrict rights, including the right to vote, of African-Americans."

The Wisconsin Supreme Court unanimously upholds the domestic partner registry.

The challenge was based on an amendment to the Wisconsin Constitution that barred not only same-sex marriage but also any "legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals."
[T]he court emphasized that proponents of the amendment, including Wisconsin Family Action executive director Julaine Appling, the lead plaintiff in the case, and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, made statements during the 2006 public debate that the marriage amendment wouldn't prevent the Legislature from granting certain rights to same-sex couples.
Meanwhile, the ban on same-sex marriage itself has been found unconstitutional by a federal district court, and that case is on appeal. I think we can predict where that's going to end up, but for today, the domestic partner registry — soon to be a relic of a bygone age — survives.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds Act 10 — the legislation that sparked huge protests back in 2011.

"In a 5-2 decision, the court said that public workers in Wisconsin do not have a constitutional right to bargain collectively."
"We reject the plaintiffs' argument that several provisions of Act 10, which delineate the rights, obligations and procedures of collective bargaining, somehow infringe upon general employees' constitutional right to freedom of association," Justice Michael Gableman wrote for the majority in a 90-page decision. "No matter the limitations or 'burdens' a legislative enactment places on the collective bargaining process, collective bargaining remains a creation of legislative grace and not constitutional obligation. The First Amendment cannot be used as a vehicle to expand the parameters of a benefit that it does not itself protect."...

In her dissent, [Justice Ann Walsh] Bradley wrote that the majority opinion sidestepped the actual issues in the matter and reframed the argument, focusing on whether there is a constitutional right to bargain collectively instead of whether Act 10 infringes on the freedom of association rights of public employees to organize....

"By making membership unduly expensive," Bradley wrote, "these Act 10 provisions collectively infringe on the associational right to organize. There is no doubt that these provisions act to discourage membership."
ADDED: Here's the PDF of the opinion.

About that school blogger fired for writing about homophones (which sounds like "homophobes").

Volokh Conspiracy writer Dale Carpenter links to a story in the Salt Lake Tribune:
[W]hen the social-media specialist for a private Provo-based English language learning center wrote a blog explaining homophones, he was let go for creating the perception that the school promoted a gay agenda.
I don't see how we are supposed to understand the school's reaction without seeing what the blogger actually wrote. It was the school's own website, and if the blogger fooled around with the similarity between the words "homophone" and "homophobe," it might be too edgy for an official website.

ADDED: If this is, in fact, the blog post in question and the ground for firing the blogger, then the school really does look terrible. It's a totally innocuous post, devoid of any playfulness about the similarity between the word "homophone" and anything having to do with homosexuality.

July 30, 2014

So... what exactly are we looking at here?

Via Metafilter, SFW (other than the audio):

"What was almost worse than the actual assault for them was witnessing how their university treated them."

"Rape was like a football game, and that I should look back on that game to figure out what I would do differently."

That's a quote from an End Rape on Campus activist that appears in "Campus sexual assault bill unveiled with bipartisan backing in Senate/Law would require colleges and universities to create a confidential adviser to guide victims through reporting process."

We're told that the football analogy came from some official at the University of North Carolina. We don't have a transcript of the conversation, and I wonder what exactly did the official liken to a football game? The word "rape" embodies a conclusion about what happened. But, you know, even if it was a complicated interaction that the official didn't think should be called rape, the football analogy is terrible.

When is it acceptable to leave your child alone at home or wandering about outdoors?

A list of questions designed to help you answer that question.

You can probably think of some additional/better questions. The text of the article that precedes the list of questions suggests a question that is not on the list: Will your child attract the attention of adults who will feel responsible for helping him?

Maybe that question was left off the list because it seems to be more about your chances of getting in trouble than about the actual welfare of your child. But it is about the child too, because you've probably taught the child not to accept help from strangers, and a stranger who feels compelled to attempt to help a child is going to create a troubling situation for the child.

Now, maybe you think people should mind their own business and leave children alone, but we all have a point at which we would help a child. Maybe there should be a list of questions to help you answer the question when should you approach an unaccompanied child and ask him if he needs help.

I was at Whole Foods here in Madison the other day, and I saw a little child — maybe 2 or 3 — wandering around in the wine and beer section looking overwhelmed and lost. I kept my eye on the child and a store employee had already started to talk to him, so I watched the 2 of them to make sure everything would work out okay, and finally the dad wandered over from the deli and reconnected with the child. At that point I walked away, and as I reflected on what that situation felt like to the child, based on the expression on the child's face and imagining being that small and in that maze, it made me cry.

Do you not want strangers to care about your child?

"He fought like an animal. He fought for people's lives."

"And now his own time has come."

Aw. Gee.

It's Augie.


With Zeus providing background. More Augie at Puparazzo.

"My blog is so serious today!"


"Yeah. I'm dabbling in profundity."

UPDATE: The next thing I thought of saying out loud was: "I need to throw it to some wild zoo animals and have them tear it up, as if it was spiked with catnip, and see if I can get it to look more distressed."

The next thing I actually did say out loud was: "Okay, once you go meta, you've got to step away."

UPDATE 2: There. I've had 1000s of steps away, and I am back, renormalized, and searching once again for the basically bloggable.

"I probably wouldn't have been a poet if I hadn't lost my left eye when I was a boy."

"A neighbor girl shoved a broken bottle in my face during a quarrel. Afterward, I retreated to the natural world and never really came back, you know."

From a list of "What I've learned," by Jim Harrison, author of Legends of the Fall (which he wrote in 9 days, "like taking dictation," but only after he'd been thinking "about the story for 5 years").

"She was embarrassed and I think a little scared that something she intended to be a good-will gesture turned into something that was terrifying the community for a short time."

"In her mind, her motivation was purely kindness. It was meant as a good-will gesture. In retrospect, I think she wishes she would have left a note."

"As someone who grew up with a much stronger sense of my black American roots, and an understanding of African culture distilled primarily through an American sensibility..."

"... I feel as though the term African-American doesn’t quite suit my identity."
That didn’t stop my father from (sort of) jokingly asking, upon my return from Kenya last month, “Did you feel different when you landed in the motherland?” What he meant, of course, was whether I felt as if I’d returned “home” to a place I’d never before been. People have spent their whole lives hoping to find the equivalent of their own personal Zion. Had I?

"The only guide to a man is his conscience; the only shield to his memory is the rectitude and sincerity of his actions."

"It is very imprudent to walk through life without this shield, because we are so often mocked by the failure of our hopes and the upsetting of our calculations; but with this shield, however the fates may play, we march always in the ranks of honour."
It fell to Neville Chamberlain in one of the supreme crises of the world to be contradicted by events, to be disappointed in his hopes, and to be deceived and cheated by a wicked man. But what were these hopes in which he was disappointed? What were these wishes in which he was frustrated? What was that faith that was abused? They were surely among the most noble and benevolent instincts of the human heart-the love of peace, the toil for peace, the strife for peace, the pursuit of peace, even at great peril, and certainly to the utter disdain of popularity or clamour. Whatever else history may or may not say about these terrible, tremendous years, we can be sure that Neville Chamberlain acted with perfect sincerity according to his lights and strove to the utmost of his capacity and authority, which were powerful, to save the world from the awful, devastating struggle in which we are now engaged. This alone will stand him in good stead as far as what is called the verdict of history is concerned.
Winston Churchill gave a great speech on November 12, 1940. 

Repeated word: "sincerity."

"It now appears... that jeans savaged by wild animals are a trend in designer sportswear."

"A Japanese denim brand had the bright idea, at least for raising its profile, of sewing indigo-dyed cotton fabric around rimless tires, sausage-shaped bolsters, and fat rubber balls, and throwing the objects to the inmates of the Kamine Zoo, in Hitachi City. In an accompanying video, the beasts bound from their cages and fall upon their novel chew toys with such relish that you have to wonder if there isn’t a little catnip involved.... When the fabric has been properly “distressed”—i.e., mauled—it is retrieved from the enclosures and made into trousers that are sold under the label Zoo Jeans. (The Japanese are avid consumers of premium denim, the funkier the better. The national obsession with jeans started during the postwar occupation, when teen-agers became smitten with the dungarees worn by their conquerors.) But, 'rather than simply being a marketing gimmick, there is actually value in this from an animal welfare perspective,' the article explains. 'Involving lions and the zoo’s other large carnivores'—tigers and bears—'in the activity is part of what’s called environmental enrichment....'"

From "The Global Business of Sartorial Slumming" by Judith Thurman in The New Yorker.

July 29, 2014

What a wild expression on the face of the chocolate Lab...


... in the presence of a Shiba Inu.

"What is Bob Dylan? Why is Bob Dylan?"

"After listening to him since I was a kid and seeing him live for—gulp—nearly 40 years, I think I’m beginning to figure it out."

I'm not sure if Bill Wyman (the music critic) figures it out or if there's an "it" that needs figuring out, and the article is kind of tl;dr but there's a picture a Bob Dylan riding a bike.

Bob Dylan riding a bike.

Has Bob Dylan ever mentioned a bicycle in a song? Yes. He rhymed "bike" with "like." I ain't no monkey but I know what I like. 

Anti-Scott Walker ad.

From his challenger Mary Burke:

Via, where there are a lot of comments, for example, anti-Walker:
Walker's record and words speak for himself. He set up the standard. He failed because he refused train money, the Medicaid money, and the high speed internet money....
And pro-Walker:
Wisconsin has a choice. Walker has created 106,000 jobs in 3.5 years. Mary [Burke] destroyed 134,000 when she controlled commerce in this state. Walker has my vote. Wisconsin first - China last.

"Chastity is so important. It is not only a name. It is an ornament for both women and men."

"[She] will have chasteness. Man will have it, too. He will not be a womanizer. He will be bound to his wife. He will love his children. [The woman] will know what is haram and not haram. She will not laugh in public. She will not be inviting in her attitudes and will protect her chasteness.... Where are our girls, who slightly blush, lower their heads and turn their eyes away when we look at their face, becoming the symbol of chastity?... Women give each other meal recipes while speaking on the mobile phone. ‘What else is going on?’ ‘What happened to Ayşe’s daughter?’ ‘When is the wedding?’ Talk about this face to face...."

Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç lectures the people of Turkey about moral corruption.

The part about women not laughing in public is getting all the attention here in the West, where it's easy to laugh at him, loudly and publicly.

"Kidnapping Europeans for ransom has become a global business for Al Qaeda, bankrolling its operations across the globe."

"While European governments deny paying ransoms, an investigation by The New York Times found that Al Qaeda and its direct affiliates have taken in at least $125 million in revenue from kidnappings since 2008, of which $66 million was paid just in the past year."


... swimming pools.

Drink water and wear socks.

David Lynch makes a nail polish ad.

Via Wired, which explains it, in case you have trouble understanding the color red.

I didn't know when I started watching that the brand of the polish was Christian Louboutin, so I was a bit distracted thinking this better be Christian Louboutin nail polish or there's going to be a lawsuit. (Remember this lawsuit?)

Jesse Ventura wins a big defamation verdict against the former Navy SEAL who wrote “American Sniper."

The estate of Chris Kyle now owes Ventura $1.8 million.
[J]urors heard a videotaped deposition from Mr. Kyle, who defended his writings as accurate. The jurors were presented an array of statements Mr. Ventura made on topics like religion and war over many years, and defense lawyers suggested that his reputation was already deeply complicated... Mr. Ventura vehemently denied claims in the book that he had made derogatory statements about fellow members of the military while in [a California bar in 2006], or had said at one point during the evening that the SEALs deserved “to lose a few.”

Where's that pen? Meade has lost a pen that was very special to him.

It was that cheap little pen with the hotel name on it that he liked so much because he wouldn't care if he lost it.

"Even knowing Charles was juggling multiple partners, I never doubted how important I was to him..."

"... because he never left an information gap for me to fill in. He told me all the time how special I was; he’d message me to let me know how much he was looking forward to seeing me again. Lack of appreciation makes your partner needy and insecure, not sharing your time and attention with work, friends or family."

From an inanely glib Salon list of lessons about marriage that one woman purports to have extracted from the experience of "dating" one man who was — with permission — having sex with women other than his wife.

ADDED: In the comments, MRG tells me: "No, they were lessons about relationships, not marriage." I look back to the (inane) article to check my reading. Inane things must be read correctly too. The lessons from the married man apply, the author says, to her "new, monogamous relationship."

I see that I read "monogamous" to mean: married to only one person

I check the (unlinkable) Oxford English Dictionary, and of course, my meaning is the correct original and literal meaning. But: "Now also (in extended use): remaining faithful to one person during the course of a sexual relationship other than marriage."

The historical quote signaling the arrival of the extended-use meaning is from 1987: "Throughout my twenties, I had superromantic, monogamous love affairs with passionate orgasms from intercourse."

The quote is from Betty Dodson (b. 1929) in "Sex for One: The Joy of Self-Loving."

Here's a very recent article about Dodson in The Guardian, and the picture of her at the age of 81 made me wonder whether whether one of the joys of self-loving was the preservation of a startlingly youthful appearance. Oh, I see the article addresses this: Dodson attributes her looks to "masturbation, pot and raw garlic." Also:
Although she was described as one of the "early feminists" by Gloria Steinem, she felt out of place in the consciousness-raising groups of the time. "I always thought sex was a top-priority issue," she says, pouring herself a whisky. "Feminists like Gloria Steinem thought it was private." (She chuckles, "I love Gloria. I used to call her 'the general'.")...

"They're afraid of sex because they say it's too controversial. But I feel it's because they're personally too conflicted. They don't want to masturbate, they want Prince Charming. It's Walt Disney. Puke. Barfarama."...
Dodson conducts workshops:
"In the workshop we share our orgasm with the group while being in control of our own clitoris," she says, explaining that the class consists of a "genital show-and-tell" followed by masturbation in a circle. Betty has been known to help out with her vibrator. "No wonder I keep doing it. Are you kidding? The sounds, the sights, the smells. Fat, skinny, one tit gone. Women are so beautiful."
"She doesn't believe in monogamy."
[W]omen are "so addicted to romantic love. It's the heaviest drug in the world and we make long-lasting bad decisions because of it. You get married, you give up sex. Pretty much count on it."...

Her message – keep up a sexual relationship with yourself, you can have first-rate orgasms by yourself; stop doing what you think your partner wants to see in bed – seems more necessary than ever in an age when increasing pornification of our culture is making these ideals harder for women.
My message — keep up your own stream of consciousness, you can have first-rate conversations inside your own head; stop writing what you think your reader wants to see in a blog – seems more necessary than ever in an age when increasing social mediafication of our culture is making these ideals harder for bloggers.

That is to say: I digress.

"Obama Mulls Massive Move on Immigration."


"We have established the brigade to raise awareness of our religion among women, and to punish women who do not abide by the law."

It's the al-Khansaa Brigade, the ISIS all-female moral police...,

ADDED: I gave this post my "gender politics" tag, even though it's very different from what usually gets the tag. But if anything is gender politics, this is. What's all that other stuff?

"How a bipartisan group that hoped to make Washington more functional became yet another cog in the D.C. moneymaking machine — and infuriated Democrats."

Finally, an answer to the question that's been bugging me for years: Whatever happened to "No Labels"?

Now, I wonder if anyone can tell me: What's brewing in The Coffee Party?

"We followed family tradition this year by taking 5 of our 22 grandkids, ages 10 through 13, on a trip through the American West."

"My Mom and Dad began the tradition, showing their grandchildren the majesty of our country and teaching them about the sacrifices and character of the pioneers. We visited Goblin Valley, Spooky Gulch, Peekaboo Slot Canyon, Capitol Reef National Park, Bryce National Park, Zion National Park, Lake Powell, Rainbow Arch, Grand Canyon, and the four falls in the Havasupai Reservation. All totaled, we hiked over 50 miles: quite a feat for the young — and for Ann and me."

Me = Mitt Romney.

"I wish Netanyahu and his government had a better sense of the toxic repercussions of mobilizing GOP proxies as cut-outs in this way."

Says Josh Marshall (in a dizzying swirl of metaphor).
It should go without saying that the Israel-US alliance becomes more brittle as it becomes more clearly identified with a single US political party. And perhaps more than that, as it becomes more clearly identified with the ties between Netanyahu and US Republicans.
The headline is "Dangerous Game," and we're told "Nothing gets the Obama administration's ire up like the perception (very often grounded in reality) that Netanyahu and his government ministers are trying to scuttle his initiatives by inveigling themselves into domestic partisan conflict in the US."

Marshall won't say it directly, but this feels like desperation about the 2014 elections.

What a distinction: "least-liked pair of candidates for any governor’s race in the past 10 years."

It's Florida's Charlie Crist and Rick Scott.

"Dating website OKCupid has revealed that it experimented on its users, including putting the 'wrong' people together to see if they would connect."

The whole thing is an experiment, but here's the revelation:
In one experiment, the site took pairs of "bad" matches between two people... and told them they were "exceptionally good" for each other.... "Not surprisingly, the users sent more first messages when we said they were compatible," Christian Rudder, one of the founders of OKCupid, said in a blog post on the company's research and insights blog.
Further experiments suggested that "when we tell people they are a good match, they act as if they are. Even when they should be wrong for each other." The company later revealed the correct scores to the participants.

In another experiment, OKCupid ran profiles with pictures and no profile text for half of its test subjects, and vice versa for the rest. The results showed that people responded solely to the pictures. For potential daters, Mr Rudder said that "your actual words are worth… almost nothing."

Happy birthday to Professor Irwin Corey. He's 100 years old today.

Here's video of him performing in 2011, when he was 97:

And the video below comes from way back in 2007, when the President of the United States was George Bush, and Professor Irwin Corey looked much more than 5 years younger. He criticizes the President in both videos, and perhaps the years weigh very heavily as you approach 100 — I'm saying "you," but do you really think you'll have the opportunity to feel the increasing weight of the years leading up to 100? — but perhaps for a true left-winger like Professor Irwin Corey, the experience of disappointment in Obama hurts far more than getting what you knew you were going to hate from George Bush.

From Wikipedia:

July 28, 2014

Professor Irwin Corey is about to turn 100.

I love Professor Irwin Corey, and I hope this birthday — on Tuesday — gets the attention it deserves. The Daily News had a story yesterday with some great recent pictures of this man who looked old when he was on TV in the 1960s.
Asked how it feels to be nearing 100, Corey deadpanned: “I’m going to write a book — ‘The first 100 years are the hardest.’”
Some video here

"Anyone born a man retains male privilege in society; even if he chooses to live as a woman — and accept a correspondingly subordinate social position..."

"... the fact that he has a choice means that he can never understand what being a woman is really like. By extension, when trans women demand to be accepted as women they are simply exercising another form of male entitlement."

From "What Is a Woman?/The dispute between radical feminism and transgenderism," by Michelle Goldberg.

Petting the dog.


It's Ranger.

"Why do white people fixate on the 'Westernizing' elements of ethnic plastic surgery?"

"While working on this article, I found that people of all races had principled reservations about and passionate critiques of these practices. But the group that most consistently believed participants were deluding themselves about not trying to look white were, well, white people. Was that a symptom of in-group narcissism — white people assuming everyone wants to look like them? Or is it an issue of salience — white people only paying attention to aesthetics they already understand? Or is white horror at ethnic plastic surgery a cover for something uglier: a xenophobic fear of nonwhites 'passing' as white, dressed up as free-to-be-you-and-me political correctness?"

Scott Walker's ad about Mary Burke's family's company — Trek — gets the numbers right.

PolitiFact verifies.

Here's the ad:

Other things to think about: Should Walker concentrate ads on Mary Burke's family's company? Which voters are susceptible to arguments based on Trek's use of Chinese labor to makes its bikes? Which voters are susceptible to the argument that Mary Burke would make a good governor because her family has a business that makes great bikes? If I'm riding around on my Trek bike, am I a rolling ad for Mary Burke?

ADDED: Instapundit says:
[A]ttacking Dems on hypocrisy that will hurt them with their base is an excellent turnout-reducing strategy. People bothered by these ads won’t vote for Walker, necessarily, but they’ll be less likely to show up at all. Same reason people should go after Democratic officeholders who pay women less than men.
And as I said in the comments a few hours ago:
I think Walker is trying to deprive Mary Burke of an argument she wants to use: That Walker didn't keep his "promise" to cause X number of jobs to come into being in Wisconsin.

It's his preemptive "Yeah, you're worse."
As you can see from this Green Bay Gazette report, Burke does use that argument. Democrats are fixated on 250,000 as the number of jobs Walker promised. PolitiFact is keeping track of the statistics here.

Based on the average American man's waist measurement, the top-selling size pants should be 38, 39 or even 40.

But it's 34, and I think you know why.

No, it's not that the bigger men get the less likely they are to buy pants.

It's that men don't wear pants at the waist level. The belly floats free, above the so-called waistband.

"The East Bay School is not a traditional boys school, aimed at reinforcing typical ideas of what it means to 'be a man.'"

"The school's director, Jason Baeten, says that the goal is instead to create an educational space where boys can make mistakes, be vulnerable and learn to be self-reliant."
Baeten says, "We all came together and decided what we wanted our graduates to look like, what qualities we wanted them to have. So, things like: respects women, flexible, resilient — all of these."

One of the ways that the school is trying to upend tradition is by re-inventing shop class for the 21st century. In fact, they don't even call it "shop." At the East Bay School for Boys, it goes by a different name: "work."

David Clifford, the school's director of innovation, explains why: "We moved away from the language of shop because it has a history behind it, where for decades now, shop has been considered second or third tier in education, where first tier is academics."
This school is in Berkeley, California, and the report is from NPR.

How to trick me into reading another article about Frida Kahlo.

Tease it with the line "Is she the queen of the selfie?"

I refuse to link to that. I'm annoyed at myself for clicking.

And that on a morning when I actually read — more or less — an article written by a philosopher about a book written by a philosopher about — more or less — selfies.

If I were more self-absorbed, I'd hate myself.

Who wins in an argument over the meaning of a word?

The word is "feminism."

ADDED: The problem on display is:

1. There are widely shared equality goals but these have been met, leaving nothing more to do under the banner "feminism."

2. Some people want other things, and the term is useful to them, so they use it actively, demanding things that are off-putting to a lot of people.

3. Those who were fine with the widely shared goals become conflicted about the term, but not enough to successfully take the definition back.

4. A small group of those who are put off want to make a thing out of disowning the term.

5. Most people don't bother one way or another. They move on, following their individual lives, which is good feminism. Or that's what I'd say if I had to have an argument about it, but I don't.

Do we have to talk about talking about impeachment?

Who started it?

Who benefits?

"A woman's bloodcurdling screams as an iceberg collapsed near her boat has seriously split web opinion."

The "Run, Rick, go - GO!" viral video.

"I said, ‘Is he aggressive?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, everything I own is aggressive.'"

Neighbor, quoted in a death-by-dogs article.

Sarah Palin TV.

Only $9.95 a month.

Too expensive. Even if you like her.

Don't you think?

ADDED: She's a propagandist. What's the point of making people pay for propaganda? One answer might be: So your consumers don't perceive it is propaganda. Another might be: Because you're a failed propagandist, in a fading, failing phase, which you're trying to monetize. 

"But what does Kerry do? He adopts Hamas’s position..."

"... undermining both Israel and Egypt, in putting out a proposal that would let Hamas keep its remaining missiles and tunnels. The Israeli government decried this as a 'capitulation' to Hamas and was understandably 'outraged.' In a tenure filled with gaffes, missteps and blinding vanity this is a new low for Kerry."

July 27, 2014

A pitcher picture.


Torturing turtles.

1. Instapundit links to a news report of 2 teenage girls arrested for torturing a gopher tortoise. They were caught because they made a video of their brutality and posted it on Facebook, replete with the voiceover "Burn baby, burn baby. Now you're scared of us, huh?"

2. David Sedaris wrote a story called "Loggerheads" revealing the way he and a friend, when they were young, treated some sea turtles. As an adult, looking back, he identifies with them, but here's the description of the fate of 5 baby sea turtles he found at a beach and installed in his aquarium and fed raw hamburger:
The turtles swam the short distance from one end of the tank to the other, and then they batted at the glass with their flippers, unable to understand that this was it—the end of the road....

73-year-old fashion designer Roberto Cavalli offends me and some Sufis.

1. I'm offended by his absurd shorts — cut-off stone-washed jeans. But I must say I got a kick out of the photograph of him with his 26-year-old girlfriend Lina Nilson because — she's also in shorts — the 2 have virtually identical legs.

2. The Sufis are offended that his new cologne, Just Cavalli, has a logo that looks a lot like a symbol the M.T.O. Shahmaghsoudi school of Sufism has used for 150 years — and have had trademarked for 27 years. It spells out the words "Allah" and "Ali." According to Georgia May Jagger — the 22-year old model (and Mick Jagger daughter) who appears in the video ad — the perfume's logo is supposed to look like "The tattoo is the bite, the snake bite. It draws us together. And it’s basically the sign of seduction." That kind of talk tends to irk the Sufis, whose symbol is said to represent "peace, purity and the name of God." The Sufis lost in court on the trademark infringement issue, but it seems obvious that the Cavalli people would have selected a different logo if they'd seen that their effort to seem very sexy was going to get mixed up with Islam. Here's the ad:

And here are the 2 logos, side by side (with the Cavalli logo tipped sideways):

The solution to the problem of low turnout is to see it as a nonproblem.

WaPo's Dan Balz bawls about low turnout in "Everyone says turnout is key. So why does it keep going down?"


I don't mean Balz is boring, though, of course, he is.

I mean hooray for boredom in politics.

It's healthy. These people who are incessantly trying to excite us about politics should feel horribly frustrated by our boredom. Our nonresponsiveness to their proddings and ticklings is the best thing we've got. No amount of money spent on advertising can move us. We've seen it all, and we've got lives to live.

Some people don't arrive at enough of an opinion to want to add their tiny bit of weight to one side as their fellow citizens determine which candidate wins. Their nonparticipation has meaning that deserves respect. There are innumerable reasons for nonparticipation, and one should not presume that the abstainers are lazy or numb. They may defer to the opinions of others. They may dislike all the candidates. They may think the candidates are similar enough that it's not worth putting time into teasing out the differences. They may have other things to do with that time. Better things.

We were talking about boredom in politics yesterday in this post about Hillary. Buzzfeed's Ben Smith had been musing about whether Hillary! could get women jazzed up about women!!! and in lust for seeing a — first!!!! — Woman President. And I said:
I'm sick of inspiration and claims of historiosity. We should all be perfectly jaded by now. Inoculated. It's healthful and wholesome. And so what if watching the campaign day by day is "a boring, grinding affair"? 
The quoted words were Smith's.
That's a problem for Smith, running his buzz-dependent website, but it's a nonproblem for the rest of us. Think of the time you can save not reading the websites that try to make something out of the presidential campaign every damned day. What will you do with all that time? Instead of thinking about how what happened in the last hour might be history, you could, for example, read history. May I recommend the Amity Shlaes biography of Calvin Coolidge?

Coolidge was boring. Good boring. Let's be boring for a change. I want a boring President. Stop trying to excite me.
In the comments, Freeman Hunt wrote:
I have paid much attention to these elections in the past, and I see no difference that my attention has made. I therefore plan to devote very little attention to this election until it is time to vote. At that time, I will select the most boring, competent person who aligns with what I'd like to see done.

The End.
I've started a new tag: I'm for Boring. Like Freeman, I do vote, but I'm not voting because someone has excited me, and I don't think I ever have, now that I think of it. And I don't want other people to get excited. If that means they don't even vote, I respect that. Thanks for not getting excited and impulse voting. Politics should be boring. I want the government to be boring.

In the comments yesterday, cubanbob said:
I could be wrong but it seems you are hoping for Scott Walker for president. No one ever called him Mister Excitement and he does appear to be reasonably competent and law abiding....
And I said:
Walker excited the hell out of people around here.

I think Romney is nicely boring. Bring him back. That would be especially boring.
And John Althouse Cohen said...
Maybe the Democratic nominee should be someone who may not be the most exciting politician...
John linked here:

"I say that Hitler ought to have the peace prize," said Gertrude Stein in 1934.

She reasoned "because he is removing all elements of contest and struggle from Germany. By driving out the Jews and the democratic and Left elements, he is driving out everything that conduces to activity. That means peace."

That quote appears in a May 6, 1934 NYT article so beautifully written that I searched the Times website to find more by its author, Lansing Warren. I found the obituary published in 1987, when he died at the age of 93:
In 1926, Edwin L. James, the Paris bureau chief of The New York Times, hired him...

In November 1942, Mr. Warren and his wife were arrested by the Nazis, along with other American correspondents, consular officers and Red Cross workers. The Warrens were held in Lourdes and later in Baden-Baden, Germany. To stave off boredom, the prisoners organized a ''university'' in which some taught and others studied. Thanks to a sharp memory and a few English books, Mr. Warren taught English literature. He studied Italian.

The cat and the dog.

"By politicians’ standards, Obama projected feline indifference to the adoration he engendered. Biden reached for every hand, shoulder, and head."

From "The Biden Agenda" (in The New Yorker). And from the same article:
After Obama’s disastrously muted performance in a debate against Romney, the Vice-President prepared to face his counterpart, Paul Ryan, the then forty-two-year-old Wisconsin congressman, who has the eyes of a foal. Onstage, Biden wore a lupine grin.

Words that don't appear in the NYT editorial demanding a repeal to the federal ban on marijuana.

Smoke, smoking, second-hand smoke, lung, lungs, children, minors.

The word "minor" does appear:
There is honest debate among scientists about the health effects of marijuana, but we believe that the evidence is overwhelming that addiction and dependence are relatively minor problems, especially compared with alcohol and tobacco.
Oh, don't worry about the scientists! It's what you believe that really matters.

IN THE COMMENTS: Mark observes that the words "adolescent" and "under 21" do appear in the article. He's right. It's this one paragraph:
There are legitimate concerns about marijuana on the development of adolescent brains. For that reason, we advocate the prohibition of sales to people under 21. 
First, that doesn't address the problem of second-hand smoke imposed on others including children.

Second — and much more hilariously — it exhibits the very faith in prohibition that most of the editorial finds ineffectual and damaging and even racist. The title of the editorial is "Repeal Prohibition, Again." The main point is that prohibition doesn't work! How, then, is prohibition supposed to work on the under-21 crowd? These are the very people who are most enthusiastic about using marijuana and least likely to absorb and respond to the consequences of committing crimes. They have "adolescent brains" after all.

Third, why are "people" over 18 but under 21 lumped in with adolescents? If their brains are so badly underdeveloped, let's repeal the 26th Amendment. A better proposal would be to lower the drinking age to 18. If the Times is as concerned as it purports to be about young people getting a criminal record that messes up their lives, how about relieving them of that ridiculous burden? Instead, the Times would usher in a new era of 21-and-over people free to puff away on marijuana, while the younger people — the ones who most want to have a go at wrecking their heads and their lungs — get shunted into the black market.

Fourth, obviously, there will still be an illegal market. The under-21 people will demand it.

For an intelligent, in-depth analysis of the reality of marijuana legalization, read Patrick Radden Keefe's great New Yorker article "Buzzkill/Washington State discovers that it’s not so easy to create a legal marijuana economy." I know the NYT has a whole series of editorials on the subject planned, but so far, its presentation of the subject is exasperatingly unsophisticated. I might well go along with legalization as the better policy, but the Times approach is, to me, devoid of persuasiveness.