August 5, 2017

The Beer Garden is still open.


Come on in!

If this virtual space is not enough for you, and you're wondering how to get to this place IRL, it's here.

"Where Are You, Dear General?"

"Why does an eerie electronic ballad play across North Korea’s capital every morning?"

As promised, I read the transcript of the January 28th phone conversation between Trump and the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Trumbull.

I don't approve of the publication of these transcripts, but since they are out there, I wanted to be sure I knew what was in them so that I wouldn't be affected by distortions in what is and isn't reported elsewhere. My discussion of the conversation between Trump and the Mexican President is here. So now let's look at the conversation with Turnbull, which is all about the agreement President Obama made with respect to refuges held in prisons on Nauru and Manus Island after they attempted to enter Australia by boat.

As Turnbull makes clear, Australia has a hardcore policy rejecting anyone who arrives by boat. As Trump makes clear, he hates the agreement but feels compelled to follow it. Turnbull attempts to persuade Trump to see that it's a deal that Trump himself should want to endorse, and Trump seems irritated that Turnbull would even attempt to sell that to him. So Turnbull switches to arguing that the deal really isn't so bad. This rubs Trump the wrong way, and even without audio, I hear Trump displaying anger at Turnbull for not just admitting it's a crappy deal and being thankful that the deal will be followed. Maybe Trump is putting on a show. I can't tell. But Trump is demonstrative and Turnbull seems (in writing, at least) to keep his cool while pushing the points that are obviously irking Trump. It's not a good relationship.

That's my quick take. Click for my 14-point summary with quotes.

"Police Called After Cat Lurking In Tree Appeared To Be Holding Assault Rifle."

At the Saturday Beer Garden...


... you can have your fill of conversation.

(And think about using The Althouse Amazon Portal.)

"Today's featured picture" (at Wikipedia): The Homemade Brownie.

"This is an image of a chocolate brownie/Ɱ - Own work." Creative Commons license.

The Wikipedia main page always has a "featured picture" of the day.

I love the stark iconic quality of that picture, which appears at the top of the article "Chocolate brownie," identified as a homemade brownie (in contrast to — ugh! — "Store-bought brownies"). From the article:
One legend about the creation of brownies is that of Bertha Palmer, a prominent Chicago socialite whose husband owned the Palmer House Hotel. In 1893 Palmer asked a pastry chef for a dessert suitable for ladies attending the Chicago World's Columbian Exposition. She requested a cake-like confection smaller than a piece of cake that could be included in boxed lunches. The result was the Palmer House Brownie with walnuts and an apricot glaze...

The first-known printed use of the word "brownie" to describe a dessert appeared in the 1896 version of the Boston Cooking-School Cook Book by Fannie Farmer, in reference to molasses cakes baked individually in tin molds.
The Oxford English Dictionary has something earlier...
1883 J. Edge-Partington Random Rot vii. 312 Each with a huge hunch of ‘browny’ (bread sweetened with brown sugar and currants) in one hand.
... but that's a different food item, coming from Australia and New Zealand. The American "small square of rich, usually chocolate, cake containing nuts" is traced back only to 1897:
1897 Sears, Roebuck Catal. No. 104. 17/3 Fancy Crackers, Biscuits, Etc... Brownies, in 1 lb. papers.
1954 J. Steinbeck Sweet Thursday xii. 80 Do you like brownies?
1968 L. J. Braun Cat who turned on & Off (1969) x. 96 On her tray were chocolate brownies..frosted chocolate squares topped with walnut halves.
Cat who turned on & Off... is that about hash brownies? Here's the book. I don't think it is. But if you are interested in hash brownies, Wikipedia deals with that topic in the article "Cannabis edibles":
Modern interest in edible cannabis is credited to the publication of The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook. Toklas included a recipe for "Haschich Fudge" which was contributed by artist and friend Brion Gysin when it was published in 1954. Although it was omitted from the first American editions, Toklas' name and her "brownies" became synonymous with cannabis in the growing 1960s counterculture.
Hence the movie title "I Love You Alice B. Toklas." Highly recommended. That's the second time today I wrote an unintentional marijuana pun. And I am not looking for marijuana stories.

So 1968.

"Don’t assume anybody likes you. You begin this quest providing one of the most popular services in the world..."

"... used by two billion people. But don’t think that means YOU are popular. As a recent poll of a hypothetical 2020 matchup showed you perform worse against Trump—tying him 40-40—compared to established Democratic politicians. Nearly half of Americans don’t have an opinion about you. Of those that do, for slightly more it’s a negative one. That may suggest a need to shed your image of the socially awkward boss trying to look cool in a t-shirt. Or it may reflect the conflicted feelings many people have about Facebook and its effect on privacy, safety and political polarization. Even among those 24 percent of Americans with a favorable opinion of you are not clamoring for presidential run. There is only one #DraftZuck group, Disrupt for America. It has 15 Facebook likes. There’s no passion behind a Zuckerberg candidacy. At least not yet...."

From "Memo to Mark Zuckerberg: So You Want to Be President/Unsolicited advice for the Facebook CEO," by Bill Scher (Politico).

Could there ever be passion behind a Zuckerberg candidacy? I think he is cool — not in the sense the Scher used the word ("awkward boss trying to look cool in a t-shirt") — but in the sense of seeming to lack emotion. I think he should lean into that coolness and make it feel compelling to us as an alternative to the overheatedness of Trump. Invite us into the coolness, a new low-emotion, high-intelligence kind of politics.

This is something that in retrospect we can see that Hillary should have done. Just be flat and robotic and nerdy. The uncoolness becomes cool, and we could get excited about a very flat, nerdy character, if he were authentic. Don't try to heat it up. That's the Hillary mistake. I think of all that video of Hillary coming out on the stage open-mouthed and laughing (at nothing) and gesturing wildly and pointing (at nobody, but with an insane impression of recognizing that nobody). It was, if not horrific, unsettling.

I say be yourself, Zuckerberg. We might get used to you and bond with you. Don't "shed your image of the socially awkward boss trying to look cool in a t-shirt." Be the socially awkward boss trying to look cool in a t-shirt if that's what you really are. That's essentially what Trump did. He showed himself to us, and it was weird as hell, but he didn't try to change. He just said, I've been successful in business and I'm offering my services now to you the people. And the people bought it. Not all of the people, but enough to work... at least when the opponent felt fake.

"My first job, believe it or not, was canning bacon for the Vietnam War. We would wrap the bacon up in little cans so they could ship it overseas."

"It really was a family company then. Oscar was still there. My father worked at Oscar Mayer. My father-in-law worked here. Two of my brothers. It’s like that with everybody. We were all family."

From an article in Isthmus about the closing of the Oscar Mayer plant in Madison, Wisconsin.
The fate of what will happen to the Oscar Mayer site is still unknown. Buckley hopes another employer takes over the facility.

“I’d love to see another company come in that would give people a living wage and benefits again,” Buckley says. “It was the people who made this place, and any employer would be lucky to have them.”
Here's an article from a couple years ago in Fortune about why Oscar Mayer closed "the site of the 132-year-old meat company's first expansion and, for the past 58 years, its headquarters—not to mention the home of the Wienermobile."
It’s hardly news that yet another old American factory is closing down, particularly one that makes processed meats, which have declined in popularity as millennials look for healthier options....

It is also less-than-shocking that Kraft Heinz, the food giant caused by the merger of Kraft and Heinz earlier this year, is closing yet another plant. This, after all, is what 3G, the Brazilian investor group behind Kraft Heinz — along with Warren Buffett— does, generally to the delight of its investors.

Sick bastards.

Today I learned that the original use of the verb "to tweet" to refer to using Twitter was: "Got the new phone, so you can tweet me again, you sick bastards!"

A corporation buys a whole town in California, and the plan is to make it all about marijuana.

Here's the article, at NPR. The town is 80 acres big, on the northeastern border of Mojave National Preserve, and 60 miles from Las Vegas. (Nevada has already legalized marijuana for recreational use, so the location is not interfering with the abstemiousness of a bordering state.)

It's not some cute hippie operation. The company,  American Green, is "the largest publicly traded cannabis company in the U.S.," plans to use the local aquifer in the manufacture of bottled water "infused with CBD, the cannabis component linked to relieving pain and inflammation."
And from there, American Green hopes to attract like-minded companies to set up shop — CBD and mineral baths, dispensaries, artist-in-residence programs, culinary events and bed-and-breakfasts — "to complete the charming small town experience."
So 80 acres that currently have next to nothing...

... will be built up with a bottling plant and then beautiful tourist-attracting places will arise. Somehow artists and foodies and spa people are considered like-minded to bottlers of drug-tainted water. Sorry. I think what you've got here is a big corporation that wants to make a lot of money tapping the aquifer and got NPR to do a puff piece on them — a puff the magic eco-tourism piece.

UPDATE: Blogger unpublished this post and told me "Your content has violated our Illegal activities policy." This post is about a news item that appeared in NPR. Reports about crime are not illegal!

UPDATE 2: Blogger reevaluated this post and sent me email that said:
We have re-evaluated the post titled "A corporation buys a whole town in California, and the plan is to make it all about marijuana. " against Community Guidelines.... Upon review, the post has been reinstated.
8 hours after that, I received email about this same post, saying:
As you may know, our Community Guidelines ( describe the boundaries for what we allow-- and don't allow-- on Blogger. Your post titled "A corporation buys a whole town in California, and the plan is to make it all about marijuana. " was flagged to us for review. We have determined that it violates our guidelines and have unpublished the URL, making it unavailable to blog readers.
Come on, Blogger! Don't you have a way to keep the SAME POST from getting unpublished. Am I in some kind of cycle of doom? This post should be immune from future flagging.

UPDATE 3: This post was very quickly reinstated after I requested review again. Let's see if it gets unpublished again. 

UPDATE 4: It got unpublished again, almost immediately! I am in a cycle of doom! Wake up, Blogger! I may have to do a new post shining light on this problem. I'm actually suspicious that the corporation — American Green — is out to get me because I was critical of its commercial product. 

This post is CRITICAL of a marijuana company, and it is CRITICAL of an NPR news report that presents it in a positive light. How can my post possibly be considered to promote criminal behavior? If anything, I am applying a HIGHER standard of adherence to criminal law than American Green and NPR. Marijuana is legalized in Nevada and California, but not at the federal level.

"@BarackObama played golf yesterday. Now he heads to a 10 day vacation in Martha's Vineyard. Nice work ethic."

A 2011 tweet from Donald Trump, quoted in "Trump's 17-day holiday causes a stir" (BBC). The article also quotes Trump's book "Think Like a Billionaire": "Don't take vacations. What's the point? If you're not enjoying your work, you're in the wrong job."

Is Trump a hypocrite? One answer is, it's not really a vacation. He's just relocating to his Bedminster golf club in New Jersey. He's calling it a "working vacation," and even though you can call things whatever you want, presumably all presidential vacations are to some extent or another working vacations.

More important: "The entire West Wing staff is required to vacate the premises in August while the building's 27-year-old heating, air conditioning and ventilation system is replaced.... Other maintenance includes repairing steps on the side of the executive mansion facing the National Mall as well as painting, replacing carpets and curtains, and fixing, ahem, water leaks in the press office."

So, BBC asks "Why is Trump being criticised?" That's just a funny question, isn't it? Whatever Trump does, he will be criticized. There's a large sector of media that watches whatever Trump says and does and asks: What's the best way to say that's bad?

IN THE COMMENTS: Henry quotes — "The entire West Wing staff is required to vacate the premises in August while the building's 27-year-old heating, air conditioning and ventilation system is replaced.... Other maintenance includes repairing steps on the side of the executive mansion facing the National Mall as well as painting, replacing carpets and curtains, and fixing, ahem, water leaks in the press office" — and quips:
Wait! So the White House actually is a dump?

August 4, 2017

The President Benjamin Harrison Memorial Window.

Seen in the previous post, but I just wanted to close in on the image:


It's the Archangel Michael:


Harrison's widow commissioned Tiffany to make the window for the First Presbyterian Church, where Harrison had been an elder for 40 years.

Michael's medieval armor is — according to the wall card at the museum — intended to represent his "martial role in Heaven as a defender of God" and to refer to President Harrison's service in the Civil War.
[Harrison] commanded the brigade at the battles of Resaca, Cassville, New Hope Church, Lost Mountain, Kennesaw Mountain, Marietta, Peachtree Creek and Atlanta. When Sherman's main force began its March to the Sea, Harrison's brigade was transferred to the District of Etowah and participated in the Battle of Nashville.
Harrison was President from 1889 to 1893. He had the unique experience of defeating a President who was seeking re-election and having that man defeat him when he sought re-election. (The other President was Grover Cleveland, who is considered the 22nd and 24th President of the United States.) Harrison was also unique as the only President whose grandfather was President.

Another interesting thing about Benjamin Harrison is that 6 states joined the union in his 4 year term. That's the same number of states that joined the union in all of the years since then. 

At the Me-and-My-Angel Café...


... let your thoughts take wing.

Write about whatever you like... and consider using The Althouse Amazon Portal.

The photo, taken last Saturday, is from the Indianapolis Museum of Art. It's a Tiffany window called "Angel of the Resurrection" (or "President Benjamin Harrison Memorial Window"). I was amused at the posing for this photograph. I mean, why do it at all if you're not going to get your person standing right in front of it and having the illusion of angel wings? If you're going to be humble and little-me-off-to-the-side about it, why not get out of the way altogether?

I thought Ivanka and Jared actually moved back to New York.

I didn't ascribe enough meaning to the comma in this WaPo headline: "Ivanka and Jared, move back to New York."

The column is by Joe Scarborough. He's advising IT and JK to move back to New York. I'm not advising you to read his column which I assume is boring. I just thought it was really interesting hot news. Important comma.

"We heard from new moms who pump as they sit on dirty floors in storage rooms and watch as roaches scurry in dark corners."

"We heard from teachers who pump during a short free period in their classrooms that don’t lock, one with a video camera recording. And then there was this nightmare: 'The CEO of the company used to announce when I was going to pump by singing a little song for everyone to hear: "Pump, pump, pump it up!"' wrote a woman who worked in a Silicon Valley tech start-up. She also recalled a time when she wasn’t permitted to leave a meeting and her milk began to leak through her shirt. (She quit and recently began her own consulting company.)..."

From "Workplaces must give moms space to pump breast milk. Women share what it’s really like" (WaPo).

"Almost routinely... hikers underestimate levels of heat and thirst in the Grand Canyon."

"... despite the canyon’s infamous heat, its lack of water, and its lethal cliffs acting as ramparts to imprison the parched hiker away from the river of life flowing within view so far below..."

From a book, "Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon," quoted in the WaPo article, "'She made a wrong turn’: Grand Canyon officials may have found the remains of lost Texas doctor."

Why is there so little talk about the leaked transcripts of Trump's phone conversations with the leaders of Mexico and Australia?

The Washington Post must have thought it was worth it to drop these full transcripts. They had to worry about criticism, exposing the confidential communications of the President with world leaders, undermining the power and prestige of the American presidency. They had to have thought it was worth doing. Why dump all this verbiage? Did they think the sheer amount of material would have a devastating impact?

I thought we were going to see many, many articles picking into the details here, but the story seems to have already blown over. On the front page of the NYT website, the only reference to the transcripts is a little teaser under the heading "More in Politics." Coming in third after "Kushner Firm Said to Be Under Inquiry Over Visa Program" and "Trump Cites Familiar Argument in Ban on Transgender Troops" is "Trump Called New Hampshire a ‘Drug-Infested Den.’" Trump's calling New Hampshire a ‘Drug-Infested Den'" is incredibly inconsequential, but it's what I broke out too when I was reading the news yesterday.

Why are we not seeing more? I noticed some stories claiming the transcripts show Trump is an idiot, but every day I see stories saying Trump is an idiot. And from what I've read of the transcripts (not every word), I don't think they show idiocy, and I think they're going to take careful reading to understand how Trump was trying to work with the 2 leaders. I suspect that Trump-haters who undertook serious study of the language have decided it's best not to try, that a close examination of the text will only help Trump, and therefore the transcripts have rapidly become a non-story.

Now, I'm going to read the transcript with Peña Nieto, and I'll update to tell you what I'm seeing.

ADDED: I'm reading the whole transcript and dropping my thoughts here as I go. I'm amazed at how long each man talks when he gets his turn to speak. Nieto, speaking Spanish, goes first and quickly gets to looking for a solution to the disagreement about Mexico paying for the wall. He sees potential for "a win-win situation" if the 2 countries are "creative" about it.

Trump compliments Peña Nieto and talks about tariffs as a solution to the trade deficit. He goes on at length about it, and finally it's Peña Nieto who brings up the wall again:
Let me tell you that the best virtual wall that I think we can build between our two countries is to make sure that both countries have economic development.
Trump then takes up the subject of the wall. When times are good in Mexico, yes, there's a "virtual wall," but the real wall is needed for when there are tough times, he says. "We have enough people coming across, we want to stop it cold." Then he switches to the subject of what is obviously a shared interest with Mexico, drug gang warfare:

"America has added more than a million jobs since President Trump took office."

"The US economy gained a strong 209,000 jobs in July, more than economists had expected. The unemployment rate fell to 4.3%, matching a 16-year low. Just after the Great Recession in 2009, unemployment peaked at 10%. Many economists say the United States is at or near 'full employment,' meaning the unemployment rate won't go down significantly more...."

A "Breaking News" email from CNN, just received. 

The queen's husband seeks gender equity, wants to be called the "king consort," the way the wife of a king is called "queen consort."

"Denmark’s Prince Henrik Wanted to Be King. So He’ll Protest for Eternity" (NYT).
“For the prince, the decision not to be buried beside the queen is the natural consequence of not having been treated equally to his spouse — by not having the title and role he has desired,” [said the Royal Danish House’s director of communications, Lene Balleby]....

For at least seven years, Bjorn Norgaard, a sculptor, has been working on a glass sarcophagus carried by silver elephants that is designed to hold both the queen and the prince in Roskilde Cathedral after their deaths.
Here's what that thing looks like.

The gender equity problem here is that "queen" is considered lower than "king," so it's been acceptable for the king's wife to be called a queen, but if the queen is the one with the recognition as sovereign, it's traditionally been because there is no one in line to be king. If there's a man called "king," it seems that he should be the one with the power, and Henrik has no claim to that. He's trying to drain something out of the word "king" that hasn't been present in the word "queen," to drag "king" down to the level of "queen," and maybe modern ideas about gender equity do support that, but I understand the resistance to importing modern principle into royalty. Where do you stop? You'd have to dismantle the whole institution.

"When we cling to the idea of motherhood as sacrifice, what we really sacrifice is our sense of self, as if it is the price we pay for having children."

"Motherhood is not a sacrifice, but a privilege — one that many of us choose selfishly. At its most atavistic, procreating ensures that our genes survive into the next generation... On a personal level, when we bring into the world a being that is of us, someone we will protect and love.... By reframing motherhood as a privilege, we redirect agency back to the mother, empowering her, celebrating her autonomy instead of her sacrifice.... If we start referring to motherhood as the beautiful, messy privilege that it is, and to tending to our children as the most loving yet selfish thing we do, perhaps we can change the biased language my mother used. Only when we stop talking about motherhood as sacrifice can we start talking about mothers the way that we deserve."

The NYT op-ed "Motherhood Isn’t Sacrifice, It’s Selfishness," by novelist Karen Rinaldi, is a riff fueled by something irksome her mother said. Rinaldi was planning a summer vacation at a beach house with her husband and 2 young sons and her mother came out with: “Oh, that’s not much of a vacation for you. I’ll bet you can’t wait to get back to work. Motherhood, it’s the hardest job in the world. All sacrifice!”

I'll bet a hundred different essays (or novels) could be written with that remark as a prompt. If it were a creative writing assignment imposed on me, I'd go in the direction of: What possesses a mother to ruin her daughter's vacation like that? Is she trying to get back at her for some long-ago ruined vacation of her own? Or: Jeez, has an original thought ever passed through my mother's head?

Maybe that is where Rinaldi began, seeing her mother as a conduit of tiresome propaganda and looking for an alternative. No, it's not sacrifice, it's privilege. Don't feel sorry for me, celebrate me! This is the new propaganda. Come on, everyone. Be a conduit for the propaganda I've devised to blot out the old propaganda.

August 3, 2017

At the Quality Cafe...


... apply yourself to some all-night conversation.

"As a female liberal feminist lawyer who cares about civil rights I have to say. I understand the impulse but No. Just no."

"Universities are not institutions designed or trained in the investigation or adjudication of serious crimes. Anyone who truly cares about civil rights would reject the star chambers that are university disciplinary bodies with no right to the turn over of exculpatory evidence or the right to confront your accuser. Rape victims need to go to police. Universities need to cooperate with the police or face charges of their own. End of story."

Top-rated comment on the NYT op-ed "Don’t Weaken Title IX Campus Sex Assault Policies" by Jon Krakauer and Laura L. Dunn.

I haven't read all 185 comments over there, but going in the order they're ranked by readers, I'm seeing only firm opposition to the authors' position. People are standing strong for due process and the importance of treating rape as the serious crime it is by reporting it to the police and using the criminal law system with the attendant rights of the accused.

"I won New Hampshire because New Hampshire is a drug-infested den."

Said Donald Trump, according to a transcript — which leaked to the public today — of a conversation with the president of Mexico that took place last January.
“The drug lords in Mexico are knocking the hell out of our country... They are sending drugs to Chicago, Los Angeles and to New York... Up in New Hampshire — I won New Hampshire because New Hampshire is a drug-infested den — is coming from the southern border.”
Here's the level of Democratic Party media savvy, trying to foment outrage:

Yes, it's pretty. They've got that fall foliage, so how could they — why would they? — use drugs?

More on the leaking of the transcripts (with Trump and the leaders of Mexico and Australia) here (NYT).

That picture demands a song:
Hey people, all aboard the drug train!
The tracks are new and there is a new town!
On the drug train, have a nice day
On the drug train, come up and get onboard
I used to know all the sights til I got onboard the drug train
I'm gonna chug it out to get onboard...
There's lots to do on a drug train
Drinks and drivin' and slipping and sliding
With all of your friends on the drug train
Whoa the drug train woo hoo
The drug train woo hoo...

Arthur's Music Store.


"Obviously we're pissed. I mean let's face it, we put a lot of effort in the 2015 election to elect this man as governor."

"And we had two more progressive individuals in that primary but we knew that if Jim Justice went out of that primary he could win. So I mean, a lot people are pissed. There's a lot of hurt feelings. People are feeling betrayed right now."

Said a top West Virginia Democratic operative, after hearing that West Virginia Governor is Jim Justice is switching to the Republican Party.

"Special counsel Robert Mueller has tapped a Washington grand jury for his Russia investigation..."

"... a key procedural step as he looks into potential collusion between President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia, three sources familiar with the investigation said," Politico reports.
"The White House favors anything that accelerates the conclusion of his work fairly,” Cobb said, noting the White House is “committed to fully cooperating” with Mueller....

“This is not an unusual move in a manner like this for Bob Mueller to move expeditiously through the process,” [said Trump attorney, Jay Sekulow].

"The Ugly History of Stephen Miller’s ‘Cosmopolitan’ Epithet/Surprise, surprise—the insult has its roots in Soviet anti-Semitism."

Writes Jeff Greenfield. This caught my eye because I'd just been reading Miller's Wikipedia page and noticed that he is Jewish.

Here's Greenfield:
So what is a “cosmopolitan”? It’s a cousin to “elitist,” but with a more sinister undertone. It’s a way of branding people or movements that are unmoored to the traditions and beliefs of a nation, and identify more with like-minded people regardless of their nationality....

One reason why “cosmopolitan” is an unnerving term is that it was the key to an attempt by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin to purge the culture of dissident voices. In a 1946 speech, he deplored works in which “the positive Soviet hero is derided and inferior before all things foreign and cosmopolitanism that we all fought against from the time of Lenin, characteristic of the political leftovers, is many times applauded.” It was part of a yearslong campaigned [sic] aimed at writers, theater critics, scientists and others who were connected with “bourgeois Western influences.” Not so incidentally, many of these “cosmopolitans” were Jewish, and official Soviet propaganda for a time devoted significant energy into “unmasking” the Jewish identities of writers who published under pseudonyms....
ADDED: I was curious about what Stalin actually said, speaking, of course, not in English, but Russian. I found this Wikipedia article, "Rootless Cosmopolitan":
Rootless cosmopolitan (Russian: безродный космополит, bezrodnyi kosmopolit) was a pejorative label used during the anti-Semitic campaign in the Soviet Union after World War II. Cosmopolitans were intellectuals who were accused of expressing pro-Western feelings and lack of patriotism. The term "rootless cosmopolitan" referred to Jewish intellectuals. It was popularized during the campaign in a Pravda article condemning a group of theatrical critics....

"Though of course bread and butter are eaten all over, the buttered roll (or roll with butter, as it is known in parts of New Jersey) is a distinctly local phenomenon."

"Mention its name outside the New York metropolitan area and you would very likely be met with blank incomprehension."

From "Ode to the Buttered Roll, That New York Lifeline," by Sadie Stein (in the NYT).

I know this article is getting mocked — as if it's typical New York cluelessness about the people who don't live in New York, but I think the mockers are not really getting the way New Yorkers experience the buttered roll. My understanding is premised mostly on my experience working in midtown Manhattan offices in the 1970s, where a bell from the coffee wagon broke up the morning's work. Something about the small array of items got me tracked into eating the completely nondescript buttered Kaiser roll that came in a waxed paper sandwich bag. (Stein calls it "wax paper." I'm not that much of New Yorker. I say "waxed paper," since it's real paper with wax on it, not paper somehow composed of wax, but I'm not going to fight about it, because I'm not a native New Yorker. I don't like to fight for the sake of fighting. I'm just saying it's not "wax paper." I also don't say "piece fruit," for "piece of fruit," but I've lived around New Yorkers who did.) Anyway, in my experience, the buttered roll in New York is a specific thing and a weird thing, precisely because it is too ordinary to be considered a specific rather than a generic thing, but it really is. I think elsewhere people would look at this as an empty sandwich, a failure to add baloney or cheese or something. What is this?

And why is a Kaiser roll called a Kaiser roll?

At the Clear-Your-Desk Café...


... you can show us whatever, if anything, you've got.

And think about shopping through The Althouse Amazon Portal, where you can get a completely clear glass desk for $385. That's a lot simpler — one continuous sheet — than the one I photographed at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, which was designed by René Coulon, circa 1940.

"Why do I find Stephen Miller completely compelling and want to write a novel about him? Why do I not want to write a novel about Jim Acosta?"

Tweets "American Psycho" author Bret Easton Ellis.

Should you want to be the guy Bret Easton Ellis wants to write a novel about?

If you don't know what he's talking about, here's the hilarious/painful interchange between Miller (the Trump adviser) and Acosta (of CNN):

Selected quotes:

Acosta: “What the president is proposing here does not sound like it’s in keeping with American tradition when it comes to immigration. The Statue of Liberty says, ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.’”

Miller: “I don’t want to get off into a whole thing about history here, but the Statue of Liberty is a symbol of liberty and lighting the world. It’s a symbol of American liberty lighting the world. The poem that you’re referring to, that was added later, is not actually a part of the original Statue of Liberty.”

Aside from his suitability as a character in a novel, Miller is certainly right that Acosta is conflating the Emma Lazarus poem with the Statue and that the original historical meaning of the statue precedes and is not the same as those famous lines in the poem. WaPo points that out:
“New Colossus” was not part of the original statue built by the French and given to the American people as a gift to celebrate the country’s centennial. Poet Emma Lazarus was asked to compose the poem in 1883 as part of a fundraising effort to build the statue’s base.... In 1903, 16 years after Lazarus’ death, the poem was inscribed on the statue’s base, just as millions of immigrants were streaming into New York harbor....

Earlier this year Rush Limbaugh blamed Lazarus for the false connection. “The Statue of Liberty had absolutely nothing to do with immigration,” Limbaugh said on a January 31 broadcast. “So why do people think that it does? Well, there was a socialist poet.”...
From the Rush Limbaugh link:
It was originally intended to be delivered to celebrate the centennial of the Declaration, the American Revolution.... The statue was not intended to recognize immigration. It was intended to recognize liberty and freedom. If you think they’re intertwined, don’t be misled.
Rush proceeds to mock Madeleine Albright for saying that Trump's immigration policy is making the Statue of Liberty cry:
The statue doesn’t cry. The statue is a statue. It’s made out of bronze. It doesn’t cry. There aren’t any tears coming from the eyes of the Statue of Liberty ’cause there aren’t any eyes, and the Statue of Liberty is not welcoming immigrants. What it represents is the beacon of liberty and freedom!
Yeah, well, maybe, but it's not made out of bronze. It's pure copper. We're just all misreading everything. But there's a continuum from misreading to interpretation. I can say for a fact that the statue is made out of copper, but the meaning of the statue is cultural, and it means what it has come to mean in the hearts of Americans. What the French had specifically in mind when they sent it to us is relevant if that's what's in our hearts.

You know, it wasn't even green when it arrived. Being copper, it was copper-colored. Do original meaning fans deny that it's green?

IN THE COMMENTS: Fernandinande wrote:
"American Psycho"/I tried reading that a few months ago, and speaking of run-on sentences and that silly "grade" metric, I stopped reading after a two-page sentence which painfully detailed all the products and actions the guy used in his morning routine.
And yet, it you gave me 2 pages right now of Bret Easton Ellis's description of what he imagines Stephen Miller does and uses in his morning routine, I'd eagerly, happily read every word of it. I assume it would be... completely compelling.

"Can I Keep a Baby My Boyfriend Doesn’t Want?"

An interesting question to the NYT "Ethicist." The woman is 38, pretty late to be having her first child, and she wants the baby and says she won't ask the man to support the child. But he is her boyfriend and she's not at all opposed to abortion. He's telling her she's forcing him to have a baby "against his will," and — in the last sentence of the letter — she admits that she allowed him to think she was on birth control when she was not. The first sentence of the letter uses the expression "accidentally pregnant."

If you think abortion is murder, it will color your response to the question. The wrong to the unborn child outweighs the imposition on the man. If he's a decent person, he will care about his child once it is born, so there's no way to relieve him of that burden (even if you're will to let him off the hook financially). You might say: Who cares about this selfish man who's lobbying to kill the unborn child? Lose the man, have the baby, and go forth and try to live a virtuous life. Devote yourself to that child.

If you accept abortion, you might say ethics require her to end the pregnancy because she deceived him into have unprotected sex. (You could even accuse her of rape.) She's mired in deception, as she portrays the pregnancy as accidental. And she doesn't seem to love her own boyfriend, since she's willing to estrange him over this interloping nonentity. Or did she think this man who told her he never wanted children would reshape his world for her?

Now, I'm going to read what the actual NYT ethicist Kwame Anthony Appiah says.

First, he blames the man for not pro-actively ensuring that birth control was in force. (The letter-writer says the boyfriend "never asked." I hadn't noticed that detail.) And if the man is angry because he's thinking "you deliberately misled him, in order to try to entrap him with the child," the man is having an "uncharitable thought." Bad man. (And I'm bad too, because I thought that too.)

The ethicist excludes the question whether it's "morally permissible" to have an abortion. (The woman believes it is, and her opinion locks down the answer). He observes that the man is being forced into having whatever feelings of responsibility might arise from the birth of the child, even if the mother is willing to let him off the hook financially. And "an ongoing relationship with you would involve a relationship with your child." (I'd thought of it more in terms of how feelings of wanting to be connected with his own child would force him into continued involvement with the woman who deceived him and didn't get that abortion he wanted. But I guess they could stay together, with that child he didn't want. It was only a relationship of "a few months.")

The ethicist continues:
I don’t have much sympathy, though, with the idea that he has property rights in his sperm or half-rights in the baby. Children aren’t property, and we should think about their futures in terms of their interests, our relationships with them and the responsibilities those connections entail. So both his feelings and the prospective interests of the child may provide some grounds for ending the pregnancy. (It may seem odd to say that consideration of someone’s interests may count against continuing his or her existence, yet that’s sometimes the case.) 
That's one hell of a parenthetical.

In the end, the ethicist recommends calm conversation and, failing that, counseling. But — and I agree with this — she could "drop the boyfriend and keep the child." She wants it, and she's willing to take all responsibility for it. His "wishes" have some weight, but hers have more, because — as the ethicist puts it — "women bear the greater risks of bringing children into the world." I would have said: The woman's choice prevails because she must have the power to control what happens inside her own body. And: The man lost his power when he gave her his genetic material which was once inside his body, in the domain where he rules.

What's the best solution? free polls

ADDED: Poll results:

"The net effect is femininity that hasn’t been stiletto-weaponized or armored up as much as turned into an access point."

"No matter her words, they are framed by a style steeped in cheerful Hallmark history. That is bound to inform how they are received. If much of the administration still channels Wall Street (the Oliver Stone version), Ms. Sanders offers visual reference points of Main Street (the Fox version)."

The last paragraph of "Sarah Huckabee Sanders and the Optics of Relatable Style" by Vanessa Friedman in the NYT. Friedman is a fashion writer, and I accept the politics-and-fashion genre of writing, even though it does have a much greater impact on women than on men. Women could just take up wearing dark suits the way men do. Since we don't, we're giving writers much more to write about.

By the way, I'm so tired of the from Wall Street to Main Street cliché, but Friedman did put a twist on it, making it not the real Wall Street and Main Street, but media representation of it. So I guess it's kind of okay. And this is fashion writing, where the cliché is more commonly from the boardroom to the bedroom.

I hate clichés in writing, but it might be good for serious people to wear utterly predictable clothing. Men have their suits, and Sanders has her "stack-heel beige pumps and a ubiquitous single strand of pearls... a series of almost identical knee-length, round-neck dresses in colors like red, green, black and fuchsia."

(How does fuschia can get into a "colors like" sequence with red, green, and black? That's rhetorical question. I'm just making a stray observation about the careless use of "like.")

"Why Do Women Bully Each Other at Work?"

By Olga Khazan in The Atlantic. Excerpt:
"One psychologist, Joyce Benenson, thinks women are evolutionarily predestined not to collaborate with women they are not related to. Her research suggests that women and girls are less willing than men and boys to cooperate with lower-status individuals of the same gender; more likely to dissolve same-gender friendships; and more willing to socially exclude one another. She points to a similar pattern in apes. Male chimpanzees groom one another more than females do, and frequently work together to hunt or patrol borders. Female chimps are much less likely to form coalitions, and have even been spotted forcing themselves between a female rival and her mate in the throes of copulation.

Benenson believes that women undermine one another because they have always had to compete for mates and for resources for their offspring. Helping another woman might give that woman an edge in the hot-Neanderthal dating market, or might give her children an advantage over your own, so you frostily snub her. Women “can gather around smiling and laughing, exchanging polite, intimate, and even warm conversation, while simultaneously destroying one another’s careers,” Benenson told me. “The contrast is jarring.”

Perhaps not surprisingly, Benenson’s theory is controversial—so much so that she says she feels sidelined and “very isolated” in academia....

"Join the GOP?"

Dan Savage's 3-word answer to a terrible sex question.

"There's No Right or Wrong Way to Wear Your Pants Right Now."

At Esquire. I'm not suggesting you actually read that. I just thought the headline is funny. I guess they're conceding that there is a wrong way to wear your pants later.

Poorly composed headline, but I know what they mean, and it's an interesting idea.

"The most famous book that takes place in every state."

(Books are collected on one page. It's not a slide show.)

"This competitive application process will favor applicants who can speak English, financially support themselves and their families and demonstrate skills that will contribute to our economy."

"This legislation will not only restore our competitive edge in the 21st century, but it will restore the sacred bonds of trust between America and its citizens. This legislation demonstrates our compassion for struggling American families who deserve an immigration system that puts their needs first and that puts America first."

Said President Trump, supporting a bill introduced by Senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia, according to the NYT.

August 2, 2017

Chez IMA.

"The Chemistry of Color":


"Have a seat":


Standing in the shadows of "Love":


"He liked packing up and leaving just like that, going west. He liked getting a role that would take him somewhere he really didn’t want to be..."

"... but where he would wind up taking in its strangeness; lonely fodder for future work.... Sam promised me that one day he’d show me the landscape of the Southwest, for though well-travelled, I’d not seen much of our own country. But Sam was dealt a whole other hand, stricken with a debilitating affliction. He eventually stopped picking up and leaving.... Long, slow days passed.... Sam walked to his bed and lay down and went to sleep, a stoic, noble sleep.... I was far away, standing in the rain before the sleeping lion of Lucerne, a colossal, noble, stoic lion carved from the rock of a low cliff.... A long time ago, Sam sent me a letter. A long one, where he told me of a dream that he had hoped would never end. 'He dreams of horses,' I told the lion. 'Fix it for him, will you? Have Big Red waiting for him, a true champion. He won’t need a saddle, he won’t need anything.'..."

Patti Smith writes about Sam Shepard (in The New Yorker).

It was interesting reading that today. I love both Patti Smith and Sam Shepard, but I was just reading — also in The New Yorker, the July 31st issue — an essay called "Can Poetry Change Your Life?" by Louis Menand that said something pretty mean about Patti Smith's writing:
A writer with a playlist of culture heroes must also have a list of the undeserving, the fake, and the fallen, and [Michael Robbins, in "Equipment for Living: On Poetry and Pop Music."] does not disappoint us. He writes of the poet James Wright, “It is easy to feel that, if fetal alcohol syndrome could write poetry, it would write this poetry.” He suggests that Robert Hass “has made a career out of flattering middlebrow sensibilities with cheap mystery.” Of Charles Simic: “If the worst are full of passionate intensity, Simic would seem to be in the clear.”

He calls Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence” “wimpy crap.” He says that Patti Smith’s memoir “Just Kids” is “highly acclaimed despite her apparent belief that serious writing is principally a matter of avoiding contractions.” His reaction to Neil Young’s memoir is “It’s depressing to learn that one of your heroes writes like a composition student aiming for the earnest tone of a public service announcement.”
I don't know what you think of that writing in Smith's tribute to Shepard, but I think there are about 13 contractions in that short essay. If I were in the mood to imitate Smith's lofty, arty style, I'd blithely, slyly drift from talking about contractions of the 2-words-are-one-word type to an earnest metaphor involving the contractions of childbirth. But I'm just about never in that mood. I'm more in the mood to look up "the sleeping lion of Lucerne" and see if I can get it in Google Street View.

Yes. Here it is:

At the Love Café...


... you can talk about whatever you like.

The photo is from the Indianapolis Museum of Art, where we wandered around last Saturday. The acrylic wash drawing on the wall is "Wall Drawing No. 652" by Sol Le Witt. The big "Love" sculpture, by Robert Indiana, is one of a series that uses the word "love" written like that, as a block of 2 layers of 2 letters, with the "O" at an angle (presumably to remind you of penis-in-vagina sexual love).

Here's another room, a composition I call "Man In Shorts Walking Away from a Woman in Shorts":


Hey, if these insights and images are hitting your sweet spot, please consider making a donation through the PayPal button in the sidebar (where you can, if you want, let me know what I've done to edify or amuse you).

Whatever happened to yuppies?

J.C. Pan explains (in The New Republic):
In this bleak new landscape, strivers haven’t disappeared—they have simply reoriented themselves around a new set of values that bolster their class position in less noticeable ways...

This new elite is typified by the brownstone-dweller traipsing through Whole Foods with a yoga mat peeping from the top of her NPR tote; the new Prospect Heights mother who stops in at the lactation consultant before her Y7 class; the tech startup employee with the neatly trimmed beard and Everlane button-down who announces on Facebook that he’s “bumping the new Kendrick.” They buy green cleaning products, ethically made clothes, and small-batch everything. They aspire, says [public policy scholar Elizabeth] Currid-Halkett, “to be their version of better humans in all aspects of their lives.”...
The suggested term is the "aspirational class."
It encompasses both the well-off partner in the law firm and the liberal arts school graduate working as an unpaid publishing intern, so long as both know to consume the same organic farmers market berries, discuss the latest Rachel Maddow segment, and quote lines from the musical Hamilton....

[M]embers of this elite often come to view their station in life as ethical and deserved, unaware of the ways in which their spending patterns exacerbate class stratification.... “Quite frankly,” writes [economist Tyler] Cowen, “those are parts of America where people feel very good about themselves.”...

[Hillary] Clinton’s was a campaign tailor-made for and by the aspirational class... But it was the Democrats’ pitiful rejoinder to Trump that could serve as a mantra for the complacent class: “America is already great.”
So... the people who 3 decades ago would have been crass strivers in danger of seeing how hateful and hollow they were are now softly mellowed and well-cushioned with self-love and only troubled by how horrible those other people are.

NPR gives Trump some good press: "Stocks have been on a tear since President Trump got elected."

"Optimism over the Trump economic agenda has been riding high on Wall Street and the Dow has been hitting new records lately."

It must hurt to have to say that, but the Dow Jones Industrial Average just surpassed 22,000 for the first time. 

"We're not your enemy, we're not your threat but you're presenting an unacceptable threat to us and we have to respond."

"We do not seek a regime change, we do not seek the collapse of the regime, we do not seek an accelerated reunification of the peninsula, we do not seek an excuse to send our military north of the 38th parallel."

Said Rex Tillerson to North Koreans.

"Almost something that you can usually splash over without even getting your feet wet was chest-deep at least on me — I’m 6’3” — and flowing at an incredible rate."

"The velocity and the amount of gallons that are zooming by per second is pretty astounding."

Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in the summer after a heavy snow winter (L.A. Times).

And there's still a lot of snow, which obscures the path, causing hikers to lose their way, and reflects, giving them a sunburn.

Despite all the snow and icy-cold water, it's "hot as hell."

Scaramucci is too short.

From "Why The Mooch Lost His Cool/Anthony Scaramucci tells HuffPost about the highs and lows of his fiery stint at the White House and what that cuss-filled rant was really about":

There's this:
From the beginning of his time in the Trump White House, way back on July 20, critics said that Scaramucci was too similar to Trump, too eager to be on TV, to last...

“If you were 7 inches taller, I’d be worried,” Trump told Scaramucci, according to someone familiar with the conversation who asked not to be named quoting the president....
And this:
Scaramucci strongly denies having a sexual relationship with [Kimberly] Guilfoyle. [Roger] Stone, a friend of Guilfoyle’s, explained that Scaramucci and Guilfoyle “are very close friends but nothing more.” He added, “He is way too short for Kimberly.” ...
If you're wondering: He's 5'8".

And this is interesting, about his last day at the White House. In a "very polite conversation," John Kelly demanded his resignation. After that, he spoke, by telephone, with Ivanka, Jared Kushner, and President Trump: "All were gracious, he said. 'The president told me he knows I have his back, but he has to try to tighten the ship.'"

Asked what he's going to do now, he said: "I am now going to go dark." Later? "Then I will reemerge... As me.”

"Pro-Trump media outlets that promoted for months the baseless conspiracy that former DNC staffer Seth Rich was murdered for political gain struggled Tuesday..."

"... with how to report the news that the detective they had believed blew the case open was now suing Fox News for allegedly pressuring him to concoct that story. Some far-right sites believe that the Fox News contributor turned private detective, Rod Wheeler, was railroaded by the mainstream media. Others made the story footnotes in their reports. Still others turned on Wheeler altogether, claiming they stopped believing him months ago...."

Writes Ben Collins at The Daily Beast.

"This is deeply disturbing. It would be a dog whistle that could invite a lot of chaos and unnecessarily create hysteria among colleges and universities..."

"... who may fear that the government may come down on them for their efforts to maintain diversity on their campuses."

Said Kristen Clarke, president of the liberal Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, quoted in the NYT article that begins "The Trump administration is preparing to redirect resources of the Justice Department’s civil rights division toward investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants, according to a document obtained by The New York Times."

(The word that jumps out at me is "white." What about Asian-Americans? Aren't they the ones losing out?)

The top-rated comment at the NYT is:
A revolting and infuriating display of this administration's warped priorities. A dog whistle to white supremacists and another distraction from the country's real problems, which are mounting by the day.
Another highly-rated comment:
Trump knows what he's doing. He knows that 'affirmative action' is one of the loudest dog whistles there is. White people will come out of the woodwork to tell their tales of how unqualified, illiterate Black people got their place at Harvard and THAT'S why they've never amounted to much in this world.

Trump must be getting really desperate if he's playing the affirmative action card so early in his presidency. I would think he would hold on to that until just before the election. Mueller must be close to something.

"We were dealing with someone who was maybe ahead of her time."

"Her irreverence and disdain for the establishment of her own party and her embrace of the 'isms' — nativism, isolationism, you know — she blew the walls out on the political norms before Donald Trump did. She was obviously onto something. She had crowds five times the size of McCain’s. We think it was all about her political skills, but it was also about her message. She railed against the mainstream media, she attacked all of us, her own advisers. That her audiences were so enthusiastic about that was the early signal that the party had changed."

Says Nicolle Wallace (who worked as a communications strategist for George W. Bush, John McCain, and Sarah Palin, and now has an MSNBC)(interviewed by Ana Marie Cox in the NYT).

Sarah Palin really did start it all, didn't she?

"The man who takes the aisle seat next to me looks about my age. He’s tall, walleyed and bushy browed. Cologne, khakis."

"He does human things: clicks his seatbelt, reaches into a pocket, places a phone on the armrest between us. Then, contorting, he goes to another pocket and sets another phone facedown on his thigh. Two phones. It’s clear: We’re doomed. Here’s what happens in my pre-takeoff anxiety attack: The man toggles between devices, glancing — deviously, I decide. My heart batters that hush from two minutes ago. I throw side-eye behind my sunglasses. I read my neighbor’s texts. They’re in an app with orange bubbles, in an alphabet I don’t recognize. I twist and turn in my seat, giraffe my neck, telekinetically press the 'call flight attendant' button, gulp enough air to inflate a balloon, cloud my sunglasses with tears, sweat through my dress, think: This is it, the plane will be hijacked, I’ll die, and my fear that flying in an airplane is reckless and dumb will be confirmed...."

From "My $1,000 Anxiety Attack," by JoAnna Novak (in the NYT).

This description of irrational anxiety about hijacking is interesting. There's so much detail about the man's looks — and his writing — and yet there's not the whiff of a hint about his ethnicity. This goes to show that in the NYT, your mind may be spiraling wackily out of control and yet you maintain stiff discipline in the crucial center of political correctness.

"Melania Trump Has Begun Repeating Dresses."

Keen eyes notice:
On Monday, Melania Trump’s official Instagram account featured a photo of the First Lady posing with White House interns, wearing a white, sleeveless Michael Kors dress that fashion observers have seen before. Trump wore the same dress in May 2016, when Donald Trump won the Indiana primary, becoming the presumptive Republican nominee for president.

This is the first time in recent memory that the public has seen Trump re-wear something....
Recent memory. If the cognoscenti are going to talk when you re-wear something after 400+ days, you might as well cast off whatever you've worn once. The required storage and record-keeping is absurd.

Yes, yes, I know she has people for that. I just hope she thanks them for all they do every day.

Trump said "That White House is a real dump"... supposedly...

That's what Golf Magazine reports. The context was "[c]hatting with some members [of his Bedminster golf course] before a recent round of golf," explaining why he makes so many trips away from the White House.

It sounds like a joke, the kind of sarcasm where you just say the opposite of what's true in an exaggerated voice. Even though it's perfectly explicable as an obvious joke, a White House spokesperson denies that he said it at all.

The Washington Post covers this tempest in a tin cup with the ludicrous "Chelsea Clinton defends staff at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. after Trump reportedly calls the place ‘a real dump.'" Why does Chelsea Clinton keep popping up, opining miscellaneously and sanctimoniously?

That's also very easy to explain: 1. She tweets (and what is tweeting but throwing out little opinions, disconnectedly, one after the other?), and 2. Reporters follow her and lazily appropriate her opinionettes and inflate them into things that have the appearance of newspaper articles.

What did Chelsea Clinton have to say on the topic of whether or not the White House is a dump? Well, she said nothing about the quality of the real estate, where she lived 2 decades ago, when she was a child/teenager. She's not really in the know about that.

What does the quality of the house mean to a kid? I think they're happier if they can jump on the furniture and make a mess. For all I know she contributed to making the place a dump. But it's been 16+ years since she lived there. Who knows the extent to which George and Laura and Barack and Michelle might have fixed it up or allowed it to decline? Not Chelsea.

But I can understand her thinking that if her family and not Trump had won access to the place, they'd have acted appreciative. She would not let it slip if she thought the place fell short compared to the $10-million "luxury fortress" in "the most elegant and historical building" where she lives in Manhattan.

She has a sensitivity to the feelings of the little people who do the voting and lack any hope of moving into a true mansion. Accordingly, her tweet is not about the real estate that is the White House, it's about people:

Because home is not a house, it's people.* That's what the Trumps don't know and the Clintons do.

I feel a poem comin' on:
Home ain’t a place that gold can buy or get up in a minute;
Afore it’s home there’s got t’ be a heap o’ livin’ in it;
Within the walls there’s got t’ be some babies born, and then
Right there ye’ve got t’ bring ‘em up t’ women good, an’ men;
And gradjerly, as time goes on, ye find ye wouldn’t part
With anything they ever used—they’ve grown into yer heart:
The old high chairs, the playthings, too, the little shoes they wore
Ye hoard; an’ if ye could ye’d keep the thumbmarks on the door....

Ye’ve got t’ sing an’ dance fer years, ye’ve got t’ romp an’ play,
An’ learn t’ love the things ye have by usin’ ’em each day;
Even the roses ’round the porch must blossom year by year
Afore they ’come a part o’ ye, suggestin’ someone dear
Who used t’ love ’em long ago, an’ trained ’em jes’ t’ run
The way they do, so’s they would get the early mornin’ sun;
Ye’ve got t’ love each brick an’ stone from cellar up t’ dome:
It takes a heap o’ livin’ in a house t’ make it home.

* You know, the servants. The help.

August 1, 2017

Queen Elizabeth has 4 drinks a day.

And it's almost all about lunch:
Her first drink... enjoyed shortly before lunch, is a gin and Dubonnet with a slice of lemon and a “lot of ice.”...

Then, during lunch, she’ll have a piece of chocolate and a glass of wine at meal’s end...

O.K., then, also at lunch, the Queen drinks a dry gin martini....

Her final drink of the day?... a glass of Champagne before bed.
She's 91, and it's working out fine for her. But what about the rest of us? I'm seeing: "Moderate and heavy drinkers had 2-fold higher odds of living to age 85 without cognitive impairment relative to non-drinkers."
In a statement, the university said that, “By its (federal) definition, moderate drinking involves consuming up to one alcoholic beverage a day for adult women of any age and men aged 65 and older; and up to two drinks a day for adult men under age 65.

“Heavy drinking is defined as up to three alcoholic beverages per day for women of any adult age and men 65 and older; and four drinks a day for adult men under 65. Drinking more than these amounts is categorized as excessive.”
So by the "federal" (i.e., U.S. government) definition, the Queen is an excessive drinker. 

There's only one reason to put up 11 photographs of this hardware store.

We loved it. Especially Meade. It was his favorite place in Indianapolis.

1. Inside... not quite sure where the lumber is:


2. Click (and click again) to enlarge and see the bird in a cage:


3. Custom screens and Revenge fly catchers:

"What do you think the difference is between a tourist and a traveler?"

This is something I originally posted 4 years ago, at a time when I had the comments turned off. I wanted to read it again and think about the subject, and since I never exposed it to comments the first time, I thought I'd post it again here today:
"I think a tourist is usually someone who is on a time budget. A tourist is out to see sights, usually which have been enumerated for him in a guidebook. I think there’s a deeper degree of curiosity in a traveler."

So it's a continuum, and if you want to move to the extreme good side of that continuum, perhaps you ought never to leave your home town. The quote is from Philip Caputo, author of "The Longest Road: Overland in Search of America, From Key West to the Arctic Ocean," and he's dialoguing with William Least Heat-Moon, author of "Blue Highways: A Journey into America."

Heat-Moon reframes the tourist/traveler distinction in terms of destinations: "let’s pick Arizona — those tourists are likely to head for the Grand Canyon, whereas a traveler in Arizona might light out for Willcox. Why somebody would want to visit Willcox, I don’t know, other than to see what’s there. Ask questions: Who was Willcox? What kind of place is it? A tidy little place, by the way."

You go to all that effort to drive way the hell out somewhere, and then you just check out some little towns? Why didn't you just go to all the little places within a close radius of your hometown? That's what doesn't make sense. Heat-Moon comes right out and admits he sees no sense in his own idea.

Vertical Indianapolis, part 2.

"Radio Radio":


"Hot Values":


"Bigger Than Elvis":


"There's a probably tedious book of Dick and Jane grown up, after the divorce."

Wrote rhhardin in the comments to "Have you ever seen a sentence written on the 50th grade level?"

I said "It's called 'The Dynamics of Interbeing and Monological Imperatives in Dick and Jane: A Study in Psychic Transrelational Gender Modes.'"

I wouldn't have gotten the reference myself, so let me share this:

"broke down and chose our wedding album photos...80 out of 4000 yeah that was like sophies choice"

Tweeted the bride, who went big with the story that wedding photographer was holding her wedding pictures "hostage."

"We are hoping that our story makes the news and completely ruins her business," she tweeted a friend.

But the wedding photographer was following a normal business practice that was spelled out in the contract, and now the jury has awarded the photographer $1 million for the tort of malicious defamation, WaPo reports.

Sophie's choice — in the novel "Sophie's Choice" — was a mother's forced decision, upon entering a Nazi death camp, to choose which of her 2 children would live and which would die.

"U.S. judge denies Common Cause effort to block Trump voter commission."

WaPo reports:
The group alleged the request for voting history and political party affiliation by the Trump administration violates a Watergate-era law that prohibits the government from gathering information about how Americans exercise their First Amendment rights.

At the Fountain Square Theater...


... historic charm awaits you.

Write about whatever you want.

Consider shopping through The Althouse Amazon Portal.

And here's something new:
If I were paid to do it I would. Hit the PayPal button and donate $1,000 to that project and I'll do it. Otherwise, bleh.

I'll accept multiple donations if they indicate they want the NPR/Milo story and add up to at least $1,000. I'm willing to do the job of writing one post on this subject, for pay. That's my price.

Feel free to propose other topics you'd like to see a post about. I will give you my price. Of course, I will only promise to do a post on the subject. You don't get your money back if you don't like the way it was written.

It's not just what you say. It's that thing you do with your mouth, that sarcasm thing...

"Thousands of angry comedians protested outside the White House on Monday afternoon, demanding the immediate reinstatement of the ousted communications director Anthony Scaramucci."

"Chanting 'Bring back Mooch,' the irate funnymen and funnywomen argued that the abrupt removal of Scaramucci was akin to taking the food out of their families’ mouths.... Buddy Schlantz, the owner of the Bethesda, Maryland, comedy club known as the Laff Pagoda, travelled to the White House to protest what he called 'a direct assault on the comedy community. Most comics I know are in a state of shock,' he said. 'Years from now, comedians will be asking each other, ‘Where were you when you found out that Scaramucci was canned?'..."

Writes Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker humorist, who probably did regret losing Scaramucci as a joke target. Or maybe not. It was too easy to use Scaramucci for comic purposes. Anyone could directly observe him and find him funny. He was funny even to those who liked him. What can you do with that? How many times can you riff on "Bohemian Rhapsody"?

ADDED: Comedians : Scaramucci :: Forest Therapy guides : forests.

IN THE COMMENTS: Ralph L said:
One of these years I'll figure out this Comedia dell arte business. The English upper classes must learn about it in grade school, because it's in Christie, Father Brown, and nearly every other English writer I read. I fail to see anything funny in what little I know about it.
Here's the Wikipedia article on Commedia dell'arte (note the spelling).
Commedia dell'arte... was an an early form of professional theatre, originating from Italy, that was popular in Europe from the 16th through the 18th century.... Some of the better known commedia dell'arte characters are Pierrot and Pierrette, Pantalone, Il Dottore, Brighella, Il Capitano, Colombina, the innamorati, Pedrolino, Pulcinella, Sandrone, Scaramuccia (also known as Scaramouche), La Signora, and Tartaglia.
Clicking on Scaramuccia:
Scaramuccia (literally "little skirmisher"), also known as Scaramouche or Scaramouch, is a stock clown character of the Italian commedia dell'arte (comic theatrical arts). The role combined characteristics of the zanni (servant) and the Capitano (masked henchman). Usually attired in black Spanish dress and burlesquing a don, he was often beaten by Harlequin for his boasting and cowardice.

Key sentence in the NPR article "Forest Bathing: A Retreat To Nature Can Boost Immunity And Mood."

"It's my hope that the health care system will include [forest therapy] into the range of services they reimburse for."

What is the cost to be reimbursed? "Forest bathing" is simply walking peacefully in some natural setting and noticing the sights, smells, and sounds.

There are "certified Forest Therapy guides." They talk to you while you attempt to focus on the forest. That is, to my mind, they interfere with the focus by telling you to focus. But you, you're such an idiot, you can't focus without some certified, reimbursed professional telling you to focus.
"Close your eyes and just breathe, just breathe," Choukas-Bradley intoned. It felt a bit like a meditation retreat.... "When you open your eyes, imagine you're seeing the world for the very first time," Choukas-Bradley told us....

A forest guide "helps you be here, not there," says Amos Clifford, a former wilderness guide with a master's degree in counseling, and the founder of the Association of Nature & Forest Therapy, the organization that certifies the guides.

Clifford's goal is to encourage health care providers to incorporate forest therapy as a stress-reduction strategy. There's no question that stress takes a terrible toll in the United States; a 2015 study found work-related stress accounts for up to $190 billion in health care costs each.
Mm. Yes. So I've heard. Too much money is spent on treating ailments. We wait for people to get sick, and so something like 90% of the money flows to 10% of the people. Never mind that health insurance only works because a lot of people put much more into the pot than they take out. Just insanely imagine that it's unfair that you're not sick, and you're not getting any treatments paid for.

IN THE COMMENTS: tcrosse said:
Whose woods these are I think I know.
They're paid for by my HMO.

"Thirty years ago on this day, Aug. 1, 1988, he began broadcasting 'The Rush Limbaugh Show' on flagship WABC in New York City."

Hmm. Speaking of grade levels...

Have you ever seen a sentence written on the 50th grade level?

I have. Click to enlarge:

From "38 Years on Books: The Essential Michiko Kakutani Reader" in the NYT. That is, this passage is one of a handful of selections from book reviews that appeared over a 38-year period, written by Michiko Kakutani. These selections are offered as exemplifying "a vigorously led life of the mind, a crash course in contemporary literature and a tour through the zeitgeist of the turn of the millennium."

I used to do the calculation of the grade level. I think these estimations can be bogus. Long sentences can be great (especially if they're easily diagrammable). But I've never seen a sentence come anywhere near the 50th grade level. Can you even imagine 50 years of schooling? What crazy course of study is even imaginable? And yet, I'll bet there have been human individuals who have so fully embraced the notion of a career as a student that they could write a tome called "50 Years a Student." And if they did, what would Michiko Kakutani have said about it?

(By the way, for comparison, the previous paragraph is written at a 6th or 7th grade level. It also got a "A" for readability, though it recommended not using so many big words. Obviously, "diagrammable" is pushing the limits of readability, but Readable also underlined "especially" and "individuals.")

Oh, come on. It's just take out. It's not as if the NYT advised us to hire a personal chef.

And I'm sure they just meant hire a maid service to come in once a week.

Here's the article, "Want to Be Happy? Buy More Takeout and Hire a Maid, Study Suggests." Let's see. Oh! The text uses the term "household help." That sounds like the live-in kind of maid. By the way, the word "maid" only appears in the headline, and the headline appears over a photograph of a a man cleaning a toilet.

I don't know what kind of gender-equity aspiration was swirling through their cranium when they chose the word "maid" to go with the image of a man. We don't want a woman stooping to clean the toilet. Let's have a man.

But go ahead and use "maid" in the headline, and don't worry about using a dark-skinned man in that photograph. How else are we going to signal that he's paid to clean the toilet and isn't just the husband doing his share of the housework in the thousandth NYT article on how men don't do their share of the housework?

IN THE COMMENTS: Snark said:
That is a woman cleaning the toilet. She has breasts, narrow wrists and longish hair on top. And now she has to clean the sink again because the asshole photographer is probably standing on it.
You might be right. I looked again. I'm thinking perhaps the NYT chose to present a non-binary person. And yet, if that's how the Times is presenting these days — non-binary-friendly — it shouldn't be saying "maid."

Scaramucci accused Reince Priebus of being the Iago to Trump's Othello.

I think. He wrote "Read Shakespeare. Particularly Othello. You are right there. My family is fine by the way and will thrive. I know what you did. No more replies from me."

Scaramucci believed he was writing to Priebus. He wasn't. He was fooled by a prankster who posed as Priebus. That was stupid. The inability of government officials to handle email competently is appalling, but I want to talk about the meaning of the "Othello" reference.

In the NY Post, where I'm reading the story, it says: "Scaramucci shot back with a veiled threat to destroy Priebus Shakespearean-style." That is, the NY Post, attempting to grope though the veil, imagines that Scaramucci saw himself as the villain Iago and Priebus as the hero Othello. How does that make sense?!

I think the intended implication is that Trump is the Othello character — Trump, like Othello, is the leader — and Priebus is Iago — the close associate who hates the man he pretends to serve and tricks him into destroying himself.

Scaramucci expressed the view that Priebus is "right there" in the play "Othello." He doesn't say which character, but I think it's obvious. (Here's a plot summary of "The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice.") Scaramucci wouldn't align with Iago. Iago is the quintessential back-stabber...

... and Scaramucci proudly called himself — not a back-stabber — but a "front-stabber." And why would Scaramucci plot to destroy Priebus? Priebus was already out. The message of the email was "I know what you did." That pegs Priebus as the disloyal schemer. Scaramucci wasn't threatening to ruin Priebus. He was saying he knows what Priebus was doing to Trump.

Will the blabbermouth Scaramucci resist inquiries to explain his Shakespearean interpretation of The Tragedy of Trump, the Billionaire of Manhattan?