March 3, 2018

At the Deserted Museum Café...


... you can hang around all night.

(And if you've got some shopping to do, think about using the Althouse Portal to Amazon, which — look! — I've put back in the blog banner.)

"Like all jack jumpers, her ride is homemade, cobbled together from her aunt’s old skis and foam recycled from a kayak."

"She and her father also used old kayak straps to create a sort of seat belt for the chair—a common modification that is not always popular with jack-jumping traditionalists. 'With more confidence in knowing we aren’t going to go flying off our chair mid-turn, you are therefore more capable of giving it your all and laying your whole body out at every gate,' says Huckabone."

From "The Perils and Pleasures of Jack Jumping/Vermont’s homegrown, DIY winter sport isn’t going to make the Olympics, but it looks like great fun."

And: "A Crash Course In Vermont's Head-Turning, Homegrown Sport" (NPR): "Yeah, that is a lot of the fun when everyone around you is saying, 'What is he on? What is he doing?' And even when we first started, I could hear someone saying, 'Oh he's about to go down on that thing?' Sure enough, there we went."

World championship level:

Amateur fun:

ADDED: It's not the same thing as a ski-bike, which is what you see The Beatles riding in the beginning of the "Ticket to Ride" sequence in "Help!"

Ticket to ride- From Movie Help from O Melhor dos Beatles on Vimeo.

They made fun of Katie Couric for saying that the Dutch skate on their canals.

And now look...

The Dutch are skating on their canals.

"Despite what many are saying, it is possible to see the political logic beneath the Trumpian chaos that unfolded in the last few days."

"Even while many pundits have labeled this the 'craziest week' in the Trump presidency — maybe in all of American history, if you listen to some experts — most of the moves that President Trump has made fit into a rather consistent strategy that he has pursued since 2016. Indeed, this is the thing about Trump. The more that you watch what he does over time, rather than focusing on the heat of the moment, the more that you can see how he is trying to position himself for the 2020 election.... Despite the fact that there has never been a period of 'normalcy' since January 2017, other than a few days here and there of quiet, everyone keeps expressing surprise at discovering the turbulent state that the administration is in. It's time to abandon the talk of 'unprecedented,' the speculation about the turning point and pivot, and the shock every time more of the same happens. Instead, it would be better to step back and take a long-term view of the possible political method behind the madness."

Writes CNN political analyst Julian Zelizer (who is a Princeton history and public affairs professor). He's saying something that seems terribly obvious to me and perhaps to you, but I'm interested in the beginning of what I hope is a realization within mainstream media that all their melodrama about Trump hasn't worked and is incredibly tiresome to normal people who might still retain shreds of the old the habit of reading serious news.

1-minute workout in difficult reading.

I was a bit skeptical of Will Self's pitch for difficult reading — "some texts are clearly going to be a better jungle gym for the mind than others—and just as you never put on much muscle mass with a limp-wristed workout, so no one ever got smart by reading… Dan Brown" — but he was talking about slogging through whole books, preferably books written by him. Nevertheless, his pitch came back to me just now when I noticed a sentence I'd highlighted in my current reading ("Oblivion"). No need to spend hours in the intellectual jungle gym of an entire novel. I've got a perfect 1-minute — 1-sentence — workout for you. Seriously, time yourself (yourwillself) and get back to me about whether you've augmented your mental musculature (and had any fun along the way):
Atwater, however, was, since the end of a serious involvement some years prior, also all but celibate, and tended to be extremely keyed up and ambivalent in any type of sexually charged situation, which unless he was off base this increasingly was—which in retrospect was partly why, in the stormy enclosure of the rental car with the pulverizingly attractive Amber Moltke, he had committed one of the fundamental errors in soft news journalism: asking a centrally important question before he was certain just what answer would advance the interests of the piece.

In the nor’easter, falling trees kill children inside their houses.

The Daily Beast tells of "an 11-year-old boy killed in New York City when a tree fell on his home, and a 6-year-old crushed by a falling tree while he was sleeping in his bed in Chester, Virginia."

"While the rest of the nation spends $15 on an ordinary chicken at their local feed store, Silicon Valley residents might spend more than $350 for one heritage breed..."

"... a designation for rare, nonindustrial birds with genetic lines that can be traced back generations. They are selecting for desirable personality traits (such as being affectionate and calm — the lap chickens that are gentle enough for a child to cuddle), rarity, beauty and the ability to produce highly coveted, colored eggs. All of it happens in cutting-edge coops, with exorbitant veterinarian bills and a steady diet of organic salmon, watermelon and steak.... Instead of cobbling together a plywood coop with materials from the local hardware store, the rare birds of Silicon Valley are hiring contractors to build $20,000 coops using reclaimed materials or pricey redwood that matches their human homes. Others opt for a Williams-Sonoma coop — chemical free and made from sustainable red pine — that has been called the 'Range Rover of chicken cribs.' Coops are also outfitted with solar panels, automated doors and electrical lighting — as well as video cameras that allow owners to check on their beloved birds remotely..."

From "The Silicon Valley elite’s latest status symbol: Chickens/Their pampered birds wear diapers and have personal chefs — but lay the finest eggs tech money can buy" (WaPo).

Status symbol, eh? Let's guilt-trip those jerks into adopting rescue chickens.

"I picked up a copy of Vogue just because I was, like, I need to know about women’s fashion now, because I’m gay."

"Jack and Will make fun of everything Grace wears on 'Will & Grace,' so I need to be like that."

Said Phillip Picardi, quoted in "Condé Nast’s 26-Year-Old Man of the Moment/Is Phillip Picardi, a former intern who now heads up Teen Vogue, the future of Condé Nast? Anna Wintour seems to think so."
Mr. Picardi grew up in North Andover, Mass. His father, a devout Catholic, owned a technology company. His mother was a homemaker and an executive assistant.... It made for a sometimes challenging environment for the young Mr. Picardi. “I was gay,” he said. “G.A.Y., with an exclamation mark and a little asterisk.”

He came out to his parents in the summer before ninth grade. It was 2 in the morning, and Mr. Picardi, who had just finished watching “Queer as Folk,” burst into their bedroom and said: “Mom, Dad, I have something to tell you.” His mother sobbed as he said everything he had to say. Ten minutes later, his father rolled over and asked what was going on. He had slept through it.

His parents sent him to a Catholic therapist and instructed him not to tell his neighbors, his friends or his younger brother. Before coming out, he had wanted to be a lawyer. Now, he decided, he should work in fashion.

“I watched ‘Will & Grace,’ and that’s what it felt like they were doing, more or less,” he said.
TV is influential!

You know, I find "Philip" such a hard name to spell. It it one L or two? It's hard to see, because the lower-case i also looks like an L. Picardi is a 2-L Phillip. He even spells "Phill" with 2 Ls, which seems excessive, but it was "Will & Grace," not "Wil & Grace."

Philip means fond of horses. "Phil" is love, of course, as in "philanthropy," and "ip" is the same as "hippos," which means horse. (A hippopotamus is a horse of the patomos (the river).)

Anyway, did you as a child get any ideas about how to live and be your true self by looking at some TV-show character? Here's a list of the top-rated TV shows when I was in 9th grade. Who would I have looked at and thought, well, that's where I'm going? I see 3 housewives and a "jeannie." The jeannie and one of the housewives had superpowers, and the other 2 were Laura Petrie (Mary Tyler Moore) and Lisa Douglas (Eva Gabor). I can see why I was so deeply affected when the hippies suddenly appeared on TV...

And, people, Gomer was gay.

ADDED: I found that 1969 Gomer clip because I was looking for things with "Goldie" (that is, Leigh French), and I did not recognize — until EDH asked about it — that the other hippie there is Rob Reiner. And here's Reiner as Mitch the hippie in a scene in a 1969 episode of "The Beverly Hillbillies":

Marc Maron remembered "the room of an older kid who lived next door to his grandmother" —" [o]verflowing with magazines, records and books, it defined cool to his young eyes."

"He said the used-bookstore aesthetic of his garage was inspired by this childhood memory."

A caption for one of the photographs in "Tour Marc Maron’s Garage Before He and His Podcast Move."

I love interior spaces like this. Don't you? Did you ever walk into someone else's house and see a room that inspired you because you got a sense of the work a person does here or what the interior space of his mind might be like? What was in that room? Do you have a room like that? What's in your room?

IN THE COMMENTS: Charlie said:
I like the correction at the end
"Correction: March 1, 2018
An earlier version of this article included an erroneous name among the celebrities Marc Maron interviewed in his garage. He interviewed Mr. Williams at the actor's home in Marin Country, Calif."
Marin COUNTRY???
Heh. I know what they mean. I kind of live in Madison Country.

The Angry President.

I've been noticing so many news stories reporting that Trump is angry:

1. "Internal chaos at the White House, Trump angry" (MSNBC March 1, 2018): "President Trump say [sic] he is in a bad place -- mad as hell about the internal chaos and the sense that things are unraveling."

2. "The angry past 24 hours in Trump’s fight with his own attorney general, explained" (Vox March 1, 2018): "President Donald Trump’s public feud with Attorney General Jeff Sessions keeps getting uglier — and may soon lead to the unceremonious ouster of one of the president’s earliest and most enthusiastic supporters."

3. "Trump was angry and ‘unglued’ when he started a trade war, officials say" (NBC News March 2, 2018): "According to two officials, Trump's decision to launch a potential trade war was born out of anger at other simmering issues and the result of a broken internal process that has failed to deliver him consensus views that represent the best advice of his team. On Wednesday evening, the president became 'unglued,' in the words of one official familiar with the president's state of mind."

4. "Think the White House is in chaos now? Just wait" (CNN, Chris Cillizza, March 2, 2018): "The descriptions coming out of the White House describing Trump's state of mind over the last few days all paint a picture of a frustrated and angry executive who feels more and more isolated in his own White House." And maybe that's the way Trump likes it... "President Donald Trump has, throughout his life, embraced chaos as a life philosophy. (He's like Littlefinger in that way)"... and I seem to need to watch a "Game of Thrones" clip to understand the President's psyche.

5. It's nothing new. Look at this from last May, in Slate: "Why Is Trump So Angry?/The president’s uncontrollable rage powers his ruthlessness—and his ineptitude." The illustration artist seems to have been told, just show Trump as angry as you possibly can. He's got pointed teeth arrayed in a circular formation around the circumference of his gaping mouth. His eyes are black. What color are his eyes really? Blue, right? That question was weirdly hard to Google. I kept getting things about the whiteness of the skin around his eyes — the "reverse raccoon" look that might be highlighter makeup and might be from using eye protection while tanning. And I stumbled into "What is going on with Donald Trump’s eyes?" in The New Republic 2 years ago. The young TNR writer — who seems never to have heard of the way older people tend to need reading glasses — questions Trump's fitness for office based on the large size of the font in his printed-out notes. But, yeah, Trump's eyes are blue. And Slate (racistly?) made them black, because he's angry. Imagine if they'd made his skin black to convey that he's angry!

So I'm thinking, what about President Obama? Was he portrayed as angry? No, Obama had to be the never-gets-angry man, perhaps because he actually did not get angry (behind the scenes or in public) but perhaps because advisers and the media believed they had to mollify Americans who were believed to harbor racial stereotypes.

"Obama's Anger Management Problem/As the cool-headed president says goodbye tonight, one lesson from Trump: He should have picked more enemies" (January 10, 2017 Politico): "The best comedy about President Obama has been the series of Key & Peele sketches featuring Luther, the 'anger translator' who screams the unexpurgated thoughts the first black president would scream if he weren’t so chill, so deliberate, and so unwilling to scare white people.... And if you had to pinpoint one specific thing he’s done badly, you might start with his perplexing failure to get riled up about rile-worthy behavior, his no-drama reluctance to pick defining public fights. Obama has an anger over-management problem...."

That's after his party lost the election. Maybe the media wished they'd portrayed him as less bland, more fiery. Well, there was that one time.... "Angry President Obama Tears Into Donald Trump Like Never Before" (NBC June 15, 2016):

Chris Cillizza explained that in "Why President Obama is so angry about Donald Trump’s ‘radical Islam’ attack." I'm thinking maybe Obama was worried that his party was in danger of losing the White House and that he actually had to activate himself to generate support for Hillary Clinton. Cillizza says Obama genuinely disapproves of the "radical Islam" rhetoric and really hates having to do things "purely for the sake of politics."

Obama liked to tell us he was "mellow." Here he is in 2015 at the White House Correspondents Dinner:

Now, clearly, the press was much more favorable to Obama, and I think they portrayed him as exceedingly slow to anger because that's the way he and his people wanted him to look, but it probably had some truth to it. The press is so hostile to Trump, and they seem to be openly attacking him with reports of his anger — sometimes making him look like a scary rageaholic. But there must be some truth in it. Maybe the distortion is mostly in failing to comment on Trump's full array of emotions. He's an outwardly expressive guy, often joyful and ebullient. Another distortion is the failure to speak in positive terms when the anger is justified and properly targeted and a good and balanced part of the psyche of a human being.

March 2, 2018

At the Arthouse Café...


... scribble along with me.

And if you want a pen like Althouse's newest fountain pen, it's this Lamy 2000. If you want a notebook like Althouse's, it's this Leuchtturm with very faint dots suggesting a grid (in case you like alignment but not lines). If you need anything else, you can use this link, which I call the "Althouse Portal." As you can see from the notice in the sidebar, I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. So it's a great way for you to support this blog, if that's something you'd like to do... and thanks!

"Earlier today, Lin-Manuel Miranda fulfilled his ultimate childhood fantasy by releasing 'Weird Al' Yankovic's 'The Hamilton Polka.'"

"The hysterical tune, which manages to cram all of Hamilton into a frenetic five-minute polka, is the latest installment in Miranda's ongoing Hamildrop series, where artists like the Decemberists, Nas, Dave East and Aloe Blacc put their own spin on songs from his Broadway musical," Rolling Stone reports, with an interview of Al and Miranda:
Let's go through the history here. Lin, tell me your first memory of hearing "Weird Al" music when you were younger.

Miranda: Oh, God. My first memory was hearing "Fat," which is a spoof of "Bad," and like most "Weird Al" fans you discover that there is a catalog and this isn't a one-off. "Oh, my God. There's tons of these." I remember asking my parents for "Weird Al" albums for Christmas and I remember the Christmas morning. There were all these cassettes, Dare to Be Stupid, Polka Party, In 3-D. I kinda got the mother lode all at once. And that's the rest of my childhood right here.

At that point, did you know the songs he was spoofing?

Miranda: To this day, I've never heard "Lola" by the Kinks. To this day I've never heard it!

Yankovic: Wow!
Yeah, wow. I agree with Al. How can you never have heard "Lola"? Never listened to the radio? Anyway, here's "The Hamilton Polka":

What can you say about a courageous hero like this?

"A 13-year-old boy planned to carry out a school shooting before he shot himself inside a Ohio middle school bathroom last week, police said.... The messages say he was planning the shooting for weeks, and wanted it to be 'bigger than anything this country's ever seen.'... The seventh-grade student died after shooting himself in the head Feb. 21. He brought a rifle to school that morning and was observed leaving a bathroom holding the gun....”

USA Today reports.

He would have been famous, but we're not even told his name.

"This home on Plymouth Drive in Sunnyvale, Calif. recently set the highest price per square foot ever recorded by the Multiple Listing Service."

"The two bedroom, two bath home - 848 square feet in size - sold in two days for $2 million. It had been listed for $1.45 million. That means it sold for $2,358 per square foot, which is the highest price per square foot in Sunnyvale recorded by MLS Listings which has data going back to Jan. 1, 2000," Mercury News reports.

Here's your living room:

I Google street-viewed all of Plymouth Drive in Sunnyvale. It's the kind of boring suburban street anyone not knowing anything more about the location would probably consider nice but perfectly boring and nondescript. It's like neighborhoods in Madison where — we used to say — you could get your "starter house."

The amazing thing is I don't think it's intended as a tear down. Just a decent little place to live in Sunnyvale.

"Nowadays, millions of people—at least notionally—are educated to graduate levels, and one would’ve expected this to inculcate them with a positive zest for challenging prose..."

"... but this doesn’t seem to be the case. When I get going in this vein, my 16-year-old son says: 'Face it, Dad, you’re just an old man shaking your fist at the cloud.'* Yet I don’t regard myself as opposed to the new media technologies in any way at all—nor do I view them as 'bad,' let alone as cultural panopathogens.** I’ve no doubt that human intelligence will continue to be pretty much the same as it has heretofore—but the particular form of intelligence associated with book-learning (and all that this entails) is undoubtedly on the wane, with the 'extended mind' of the smart phone increasingly replacing our own memories, and the hive-mindedness of the web usurping our notions of the canonical.... [T]he most salient features of the contemporary world are its relentlessness and its atemporality—the web bundles up everything into a permanent Now... Modish neuroscientists do such things as put people in brain-scanners while they’re actually reading—then marvel (as we should too), at how many areas of the cortex are involved in turning those enigmatic black marks into the stuff of our imagination and experience. But some texts are clearly going to be a better jungle gym for the mind than others—and just as you never put on much muscle mass with a limp-wristed workout, so no one ever got smart by reading… Dan Brown."

Writes the novelist Will Self at Literary Hub.


* The boy knows his memes. See Know Your Meme. Requisite image:

** New word alert.

"Did you know... that Innocent Victims (pictured) is a memorial sculpture to Diana, Princess of Wales, and Dodi Fayed?"

Things I just learned at the Wikipedia Main Page.

I mean, I'd never heard of "Innocent Victims," and suddenly I'm looking at this picture:

cc Bobak Ha'Eri.

Now, I see that back in January, it was reported "Harrods reveal plans to remove Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed statue":
Over the years, shoppers and fans have flocked to the Knightsbridge department store to see the statue, which is entitled 'Innocent Victims'. The bronze design shows Diana and Dodi dancing under the wings of a flying albatross, a bird that is said to symbolise the Holy Spirit. Dodi's father commissioned his close friend William Mitchell to create the sculpture to keep the couple's "spirit alive". The memorial was erected in 2005.
Flocked... to see a bird...

At first, I  assumed the statue was being removed because it's so atrocious, but it's to give the statue to Dodi Fayed's father, who used to own Harrods but sold it.

We're dieing here.

Trump gets the Daily News to waste its time writing a mindless, distracting article promoting this mean tweet

All he had to do to enlist the newspaper's energy was to write "dieing" for "dying" — corrected in the version you now see.

And now that you've seen it, do you give a damn about the misspelling? Maybe you do if you're already bent on calling Trump an idiot. But the main consequence is that we're going to talk about whether Alec Baldwin really does have a dying mediocre career and whether Darrell Hammond really did do a better impersonation. All of those topics are harmless drivel. Is there anything else in the news?

"Heavily peppered with racial slurs and featuring a white lawyer trying to exonerate a poor black man wrongly accused of raping a white woman..."

"... Harper’s book subjects students of color required to read it to racial insult, the Kameetas said, while its white-savior motif portrays black characters 'as mere spectators and bystanders in the struggle against their own exploitation and oppression.' A more modern novel could be chosen that deals with the same racial issues in a more contemporary way, rather than one 'reinforcing the systemic racism embedded in the school culture and society,' the Kameetas said."

From "Monona Grove parents' request to remove Harper Lee book denied" (Wisconsin State Journal). Don't let the headline confuse you: The request was to remove the book as a required reading in a 9th-grade class, not to remove it from the library.

I think the argument against selecting this book — of all books — as the go-to reading about race discrimination is, in fact, very strong. I understand that schools defend their own choices and are dug in here, but the Kameetas made an excellent argument (as far as I can tell from this summary). The black characters are basically "spectators and bystanders." I think the book is also a problem because:

1. It's a rape story where the woman lies about rape. Why should the first thing children learn about rape be about the woman lying?

2. Rape is a complex subject, difficult for 9th graders to understand, and yet this rape story is cartoonish, in which the man is absolutely, unquestionably innocent. Why present a book as literature when it deals with this important subject in an absurdly unsubtle way, thoroughly subordinated to another subject the author is bent on telling (the outrageous accusation against an innocent man)?

3. Racial discrimination is also a complex subject, especially as it persists today, but the racial injustice shown in the book is so exaggerated that it allows a present-day reader to feel smugly distanced. Nobody we know is that over-the-top racist, so weren't those people back then terrible? That's not how high-quality literature is supposed to work on readers. They should need to question their own simplistic preconceptions.

4. It's not a subtle telling of the story of how courts work and how they might carry racial prejudice forward. The evidence of the man's innocence is so utterly obvious that you have a complete breakdown of justice. That doesn't begin to enlighten students about how there could be racial disparities in the justice system today. It invites them to sit back and think people in the past were crazy.

5. There is blatant stereotyping of the poor white family, and their problems are not treated as perhaps a consequence of poverty. They're treated as genetically deficient. They are truly the irredeemable deplorables.

6. There is great sentimentality about this book in the older generation. Having reread this book very carefully and written about it (in the Michigan Law Review, here), I hold the informed opinion that it is not a very good book and the practice of imposing on the younger generations — with endless pressure to regard it as a great classic — deserves serious, vigorous questioning.

A Miami woman was lying in her bed when an 80-pound inflatable raft suddenly crashed through the roof into her room.

"Police say the yellow raft fell from a Royal Canadian Air Force search-and-rescue helicopter on its way back to Miami-Opa locka Executive Airport," the Miami Herald reports.

What price is enough for Hope Hicks to write the kind of book that has The Daily Mail effusing...

... "EXCLUSIVE: Hope Hicks' $10 million payday! The departing coms director is flooded with offers as publishers scramble for a book deal to spill the secrets of Trump's inner sanctum and her affair with wife abuser Rob Porter"?

She hasn't accepted $10 million, nor should she.
High-powered New York literary agent Eric Myers told that Hicks could easily get a $10 million advance, 'If she really did promise to throw the office doors wide open and tell all. 'However, that may not be likely as she is a longtime close friend and defender of Trump, and may not be inclined to do that. Plus, there would undoubtedly be matters of legality and national security to be weighed. If a book were to happen, it would undoubtedly be the subject of an auction among the major publishers, which would be a key factor in driving up the amount of the advance.'

Another prestigious literary agent who has represented Pulitzer Prize-winning political journalists, among other high-profile, celebrity clients – and receives a fifteen percent commission on every book sold -- told 'Hope Hicks was a star Washington insider. 'I always saw a book coming from her when the time was right. Now the time's right. Overnight she's become a potential goldmine A $10 million advance is not out of the question for her to tell the true, untold, inside story about life in Donald Trump's White House and inner circle. She probably knows more than the first lady – about that, I wouldn't be surprised. And I think everyone will be interested in the true story of her relationship with Trump. Is he a father figure to her – or something more? There's just so much speculation about their relationship. Look, here's a gorgeous young woman with no political experience who suddenly becomes one of the most influential woman in the White House who has the president's ear 24/7."
Look, Bill Clinton got $15 million in 2004 to write a book about himself that no one had any reason to think would contain a damned thing that was revealing or that cut against the interests of his party and his close associates. Hillary Clinton got $14 million in 2014 to write "Hard Choices," and it wasn't a hard choice to pocket $14 million to crank out dull PR that no one wanted to read. And Barack and Michelle Obama were handed $60 million for what? We haven't seen it yet, but you can bet 60 thousand dollars that they're not putting themselves into the hands of opponents of any of their friends or suffering struggles of conscience deciding how much to betray the confidences of anyone they care about.

Maybe Hope Hicks — who is 29 years old — is so tired of it all that she's ready to retire into a life of idle rich person, so she's tempted to throw away her ongoing reputation by selling what would count as the "the true, untold, inside story about life in Donald Trump's White House and inner circle." But even the Obama's $60 million number is not enough. She's lived alongside a billionaire, by whose standard $60 million doesn't even make you rich. I'd say even $100 million is not enough to flip Hope Hicks to betray her relationship with Donald Trump.

Now, if she's seen "chaos" inside the White House and genuinely thinks there's something horrible going on and needs to warn us about it, then — if it's bad enough — she should should betray the relationship, and she should do it without taking any money at all. It can't be, first, let me have that big publisher's auction, nail down the money that will set me up for life, and then I'll tell you a set of Michael Wolffish tales.

I say: Hope, you are 29. Don't sell out. At any price.

ADDED: I know: I got carried away. There is a middle position. Make a $10 million deal for a book that is pure vanity: My lovely times, with that wonderful man, Donald Trump.

March 1, 2018

At the Lake Path Café...


... you can keep going all night.

(And consider shopping at Amazon, via the Althouse Portal.)

"The fraudulence paradox was that the more time and effort you put into trying to appear impressive or attractive to other people, the less impressive or attractive you felt inside—you were a fraud."

"And the more of a fraud you felt like, the harder you tried to convey an impressive or likable image of yourself so that other people wouldn’t find out what a hollow, fraudulent person you really were. Logically, you would think that the moment a supposedly intelligent nineteen-year-old became aware of this paradox, he’d stop being a fraud and just settle for being himself (whatever that was) because he’d figured out that being a fraud was a vicious infinite regress that ultimately resulted in being frightened, lonely, alienated, etc....."

It was funny yesterday, right after blogging about the impostor syndrome, to run across that passage, just by chance, as I was out walking, listening to the audio version of "Good Old Neon" by David Foster Wallace. (You can find the story in the collection "Oblivion.")

And it was also only by chance and because I was out walking that I happened into the subject of the impostor syndrome. I was cutting through a building on my path home and walked by an event called "Impostor Syndrome: What it is and How You Can Thrive in Spite of it/How to Feel as Bright and Capable as Everyone 'Thinks' You Are."

After listening to David Foster Wallace, I'm reading that event title in a ridiculously weary, sarcastic tone.

I took my first e-bike ride today — 20 miles, along a route I've ridden many times on a traditional bike.

It was great fun, not having to worry about the various hills and not needing Meade to slow down for me. I loved it!

Here's Trek's video about the bike. The orange one ridden by the lady in shorts is exactly like mine:

At the Integrity Café...


... set sail.

In the email today, all addressing me personally...

From Brad Parscale:
I want to make sure you heard the President’s big news that he is officially running for re-election in 2020.

I am honored and humbled that the President appointed me as his campaign manager.

But let me be clear: there’s only one patriot out there who can help win this race... YOU.

You’re all we’ve got to fight back against the fake news media and the rabid Democrats....

I don’t care how many lying books they write.

I don’t care how many witch hunts they launch....
From Donald Trump:

"Nine students at DePaul University's law school have filed a complaint against a professor who used the N-word in class."

"Professor Donald Hermann used the racial epithet while teaching a first-year criminal law class as part of a lesson on provocation and self-defense, students said. He was posing a hypothetical scenario, a standard practice in legal education, when he used the word. esterday in class he discussed the incident in an exchange that grew heated and left some students unsatisfied with his apology. Others, Hermann told Crain's, came to his office to privately express support."

Reports Crain's Chicago Business.

To my heart, the saddest part of the story is that the students who supported him only offered their support privately.
"He could not fathom why he couldn't say it," said Carli Wright, one of the students who filed the complaint.

But using the actual slur, Hermann explained, illustrates just how much provocation the courts require before they view a provocateur as an aggressor. "The meaning wouldn't convey the same way if I said it was 'a racial slur' or even if I said it was 'an African-American racial slur.' It's part of the contemporary situation . . . and the need to take into consideration these special sensitivities," Hermann said in an interview. Yet in criminal law, students are training to become prosecutors, public defenders and private defense attorneys. "If this word interferes with their functioning, being a lawyer is probably not a thing they should be doing."

Hermann, who said he's been teaching law since 1972, added that he regrets causing personal hurt and is open to using alternative language.....

When Hermann used the N-word in class last week, Nikki Childers felt her classmates' eyes swivel toward her. "I was posed with the question: Do I become the stereotypically angry black woman, which is what they expect me to be?" she said. "It was like, damned if I do, damned if I don't. This is a fighting word, and I now have to fight you. I don't have a choice."
You certainly have a choice about how to fight. You don't have to file a complaint against the teacher. You can engage him in debate and try to persuade him to change. He's saying he's open to using another approach. And I understand the problem you have with his use of a method that entails deliberately offending you. He's trying to get studentsto understand a legal doctrine, but there is a problem with imposing more of a burden on the students who are in the traditionally burdened group and are also the minority in the classroom. And yet by filing a complaint, you give him the (dubious) honor of victimhood. I don't think that's the most effective way to get what you want.

But I do strongly agree with you that a professor should not be using the "n-word" — especially in a hypothetical as opposed to an actual case. And I really don't like hearing a law professor tell first-year students that if they don't like it they might not have what it takes to be a lawyer. It's terrible to aim that message at the minority students, and it's not even true. There are many different kinds of jobs for lawyers, and you can find a path that fits you. It's so easy to think — when you're one year into it — that lawyers are awful people and I don't belong here. A law professor should not exacerbate that feeling!

Don't "laugh and point at the penile member," "say that your husband did it exactly the same way," or "imitate Joan Rivers."

"Sex is a perverse little devil and the minute you ignore it, it has a serious temper tantrum and tries every trick in the book to get you to notice. It clamors for your attention until it gets it, at which point it disappears."

Wrote Cynthia Heimel in "Sex Tips for Girls," a 1983 collection of columns that had run in The Village Voice.
When an incoming Village Voice editor fired her in 1997 — he called her writing “predictable” before dismissing her — she told The New York Post, “I feel like I’ve walked into a Kafka novel where old stupid guys get to fire you.”
I'm sorry to say I'm quoting from her obituary (in the NYT). Ms. Heimel was 70 years old and had been living with dementia.

Here's "Sex Tips for Girls" at Amazon, in case you want to read the 1980s version of the kind of thing we see so much of today, when we are overloaded with alternative media. It was fresher then. Here's another book of hers, with a fantastic cover that I remember seeing in bookstores (we had stores for books in those days):

And now we must live without Cynthia Heimel, who laughed back then about the notion that it was possible for anyone to be so important that without them we would die.

"Another unqualified Trumper who had no business in the White House. She had zero experience in government; but she had the 'right look' for Trump's reality show."

"She is following her boyfriend Rob Porter out the door and probably considering what her lawyer bills will be now that she has admitted to telling "white" lies for Donnie Trump. She is complicit in all of the sleaze and crimes of this administration. A true Trumper; she joins a whole line of luminaries who have helped to degrade our democracy and our standing in the world. Glad to see the girl (and I do mean 'girl') go."

That's the top-rated comment (by Trishspirit33 Los Angeles) on Maggie Haberman's "Hope Hicks to Leave Post as White House Communications Director" in the NYT.

I'm not surprised to see that kind of sexism, but I'm tempted to affect surprise and call this an amazing display of sexism: When a woman gets a great job, she got it because of her looks. When a woman makes a career decision, she's doing it for a man. And just go ahead and call her a "girl" and underscore that you mean to disparage her in a specifically gendered manner.

As for the "white lies" — who in politics doesn't tell white lies? If they say they don't, they're telling a white lie. I'd give Hicks honesty points for admitting that she tells white lies, though not too many points, because it's so obvious that white lies must be told that it's like admitting you're not perfect.

Does any politician claim never to have lied?

I know some have spoken in the future tense. Jimmy Carter famously said: "I will never lie to you."

And Donald Trump released his inner Jimmy in 2016: "In this journey, I will never lie to you. I will never tell you something I do not believe."

Did they ever say — in the past tense — they never lied? Will anyone sit them down at a hearing and confront them with the question have you ever lied? No. But if they did, they might think — don't say this out loud! — it depends on what the meaning of "lie" is. And then they might decide they could say no. Or they could be decently honest and admit to telling "white lies."

"I actually think we have a lot of discrimination in our society against late chronotypes."

Said Camilla Kring, quoted in "Late sleepers are tired of being discriminated against. And science has their back. Some people have a biological clock naturally set to a later time" (Vox). Kring founded the B-society, "an international advocacy group calling for increased acceptance of the evening-oriented."
“Just by changing your schedule by an hour or two, it can result in having more sleep, higher productivity,” she says. In this view, workplaces ought to be more accommodating of chronotypes.

The research generally backs this idea up. “Although we should avoid a simplistic shortcut of associating ET [evening types] to some negative aspects, the data point to the idea that an [evening type] pattern is a risk factor for some disorders, whereas [morning type] is a protection factor,” a 2012 review of hundreds of papers in the academic literature concludes.
Different orientations are not just about sexual preferences, and the differently oriented have infinite demands for accommodation.

"I mean, I see some folks that don’t say nice things about me, and that’s okay. Because if you turn that into this energy, I’ll love you."

Said President Trump — transcript — at what Vox calls "Trump’s madcap, unscripted gun control meeting with lawmakers... Trump had Democrats cheering in his bipartisan gun control meeting."

What was really going on? To my eye, it looks like how he played the Democrats over DACA reform, getting them enthused that he'd flipped to their side, and then wasting their time and leaving them disappointed. Now he's getting them energized again — turn your hate into into this energy — and then I’ll love you. I'll love you...

But what kind of romance is he talking about? He's a political pick-up artist, no? They can't let that happen again, can they? Or will a second time work to their advantage because then the pattern will be obvious and they can sound the alarm? But some people will find Trump's game playing a wonderful triumph.

This gun control legislation won't pass, and the Democrats will have spent the run-up to the 2018 elections threatening to take away our guns... and defanged in their Trump-hating.

IN THE COMMENTS: Leslie Graves said:
DJT may have found that a similar tactic worked for him with cheated-upon women: Turn back to them with passion and interest for a time.
Yes, and he's catching Dianne Feinstein on the rebound. (See "California Democratic Party won't endorse Dianne Feinstein," 3 days ago). The L.A. Times makes it sound almost orgasmic: "Feinstein shakes with glee after Trump suggests adding assault weapons ban to background check bill." Well, see for yourself:

Turn that into this energy. I’ll love you.

February 28, 2018

Lake Mendota, today.



Feel free to talk about whatever you want in the comments.

And please consider using the Althouse portal to Amazon.



I just got mine!

Info on Trek e-bikes, here.

I'm looking forward to keeping up with Meade, not needing to hold him back, not being the person everyone else passes, not having to brood about the hills I know loom up ahead, not having to wonder if I have what it takes to make it all the way around the Capital City Trail on any given day. I'm game! On to Spring 2018.

I know I said I want to plateau, and for a while I was saying I shouldn't get the e-bike, because it would keep me from pushing myself to maintain my skill level. But I changed my mind. I know what I'm like, holding back, thinking I'm not quite up to it today, maybe tomorrow. So, here it is!

Hope is gone!

"The White House announced she was leaving a day after Hicks, 29, spent nine hours in a closed hearing of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee on its investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election," Reuters reports.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Hicks’ decision to leave was not related to her appearance before the panel. Lawmakers said Hicks, Trump’s spokeswoman during the election campaign, declined to answer questions about the administration but she did answer every question asked about her time with the campaign, and the transition months between the November election and the January 2017 inauguration.

"Notice how they all have strong female characters at the center but everything is paranoid, violent, and sexual."

"This is what Hollywood gives me? I felt like I was dragged into the mind of one of the sexually abusing Hollywood producers. Of course, the actresses do what they are told, and I, the little person in the dark, passively sit there watching this fantasy. I'm free to leave. Why don't I?... Hollywood is sick. Evil. Corrupting our soul. "

I wrote, a month ago, when I was subjected to 20 minutes of movie trailers, 4 of which I embedded in that post, including one for "Red Sparrow."

Today, I'm seeing — via Drudge — "Jennifer Lawrence flounders in atrocious 'RED SPARROW'..." (NY Post):
The film’s unquestionable high point is Lawrence’s character bellowing the accusing line in her Boris-and-Natasha accent: “You sent me to whore school!”

Other than this “Showgirls”-esque howler and Mary-Louise Parker’s amusing turn as a drunk, corrupt American senator’s aide, there’s little to recommend “Red Sparrow” — a throwback to old Hollywood in its belief that gratuitous rape and violence are the best way to create a heroine with backbone....

The impostor syndrome.

My view yesterday as I was sitting in the atrium of the Institutes for Discovery...


I was just taking a break toward the end of my 5.3-mile walk, but I happened to sit down next to an auditorium where an event was about to begin: "Impostor Syndrome: What it is and How You Can Thrive in Spite of it/How to Feel as Bright and Capable as Everyone 'Thinks' You Are," described here:
Millions of people around the world secretly worry they’re not as smart or talented as other people “think” they are. The so-called Impostor Syndrome impacts both men and women in a variety of disciplines and is especially rampant in academia. Join us for an interactive session with renowned Impostor Syndrome expert, Dr. Valerie Young. You'll discover the sources of impostor feelings and gain practical, immediately usable strategies to help end this unique form of self-doubt.
It was interesting to watch the crowd arrive. Were these all people who secretly worrying they’re not as smart or talented as other people “think” they are?

Not so secret to be lining up looking like you're the people secretly worry they’re not as smart or talented as other people “think” they are.

I secretly worried that these were impostor impostors.

I wonder what the tips were about How to Feel as Bright and Capable as Everyone 'Thinks' You Are. Do you first have to believe that other people think you're smart and capable? Because if you believe it, don't you already feel it?

Now, I'm even more suspicious of these purported impostors. Maybe they think other people think they're smart and capable but other people don't think that at all. That's another way to extract yourself from the impostor syndrome. Maybe you really do suck. Wouldn't that be a kick in the head?

Laughably lame headline at The New Republic.

"How Trump Wins Reelection/Last year, it seemed certain that he would be a one-term president—if he even lasted that long. But he has a plausible path to victory in 2020."

How to be "much less self-assured than one might expect."

From Variety, "Barbra Streisand on How She Battled Hollywood’s Boys’ Club":
Spending the day with Streisand at her home overlooking the Pacific Ocean* reveals someone who lives up to her reputation as being much less self-assured than one might expect.** Her chronic stage fright prompts her on several occasions to kick everyone but the photographer out of the rooms where she is being shot. She stage-manages some of the setups and lighting cues, true to the perfectionist that she is. She even reshoots a series of short video interviews to her precise liking: “I know how this should look,” she declares.
Among the residents of that house are 3 Coton de Tulear dogs. 2 of them — Miss Violet and Miss Scarlett — are clones of a dog — Samantha — that died in 2017.
“They have different personalities,” Streisand says. “I’m waiting for them to get older so I can see if they have her brown eyes and her seriousness.”
There's also this about Hillary Clinton:
“I said to her the last time I saw her, ‘You were just too smart.’” In fact, she’s not convinced that Trump beat Clinton. “I really believe she won the election,” Streisand says. “I’ve talked to senators from Michigan and Wisconsin. I do believe, like I believed during Bush, they were playing with those voter machines. And [Al Gore] lost by 537 votes out of 104 million. And now, in retrospect, Bush looks quite good compared to Trump. At least he’s not mean-spirited. He’s not a guy who is retaliating for what Obama did at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.”
She has a movie theater in that big house, but sometimes she actually goes out to the movies:
“My husband and I like to go to those theaters where you get food,” Streisand says. “They have one in the Valley where they have little spring rolls, great ice-cream sundaes and truffle french fries. You’re there thinking, ‘How many heads were on this thing?’ I feel like I should bring a towel.”
Oh! The common people! With their heads. Ugh! You need a towel to protect yourself from what oozes out of them. At first when I read that, I thought the towel was for the mess she and the husband made with all that ice cream and french fries, but no, it was revulsion at the contamination of the chair backs, even in a place in the Valley where the french fries are truffle french fries. You want us to go out to see your movies, but you're telling us public theaters are disgusting, because of the people. And your movies are about people... yet people disgust you. Why would I want to absorb what you have to say about people... especially if it requires me to sit in a chair that's been sat in by peeeepulll...***

What I love about this is how she means to be a committed lefty, but it's all always so cluelessly intertwined with self-regard and personal entitlement. I mean, look at this:
[Shooting "The Prince of Tides," she] wanted everyone to stay a little late, because [Nick] Nolte was in a head space where she thought he could nail a scene that called for his character to be tired. But the camera operator and the crew banded together and told her they wanted to go home. Nolte took their side (although he called her later that night to apologize). “So I had to walk off the set. It would have literally taken 10 minutes, but they were fucking with me.” The next morning, Nolte needed 17 takes to get it right, because he was too rested. “Today I wouldn’t ask the question,” Streisand says. “I would tell them. And if you don’t want to do it, don’t bother to come back to work tomorrow. I wouldn’t be afraid of that. But then, I was afraid of it.”
A committed lefty would care about labor issues and empathize with the mundane tiredness of the working man. But she was attentive to the tiredness of Nick Nolte, which he could use to play a scene where his character was tired instead of having to do the work of an actor and pretend to be tired. Oh! That was so hard. Took 17 takes. And her regret is that she wasn't self-assured enough to dictate to the crew, and that fucked-with Nolte took their side. Ah, but the weasley little man paid the price: 17 takes it took him to act tired when he was well-rested. Poor (rich) man.

* It's just by chance that after mentioning the Streisand effect in a post this morning, I've run into a Streisand article that hits my "bloggable" mark, and then there's that reference to the house she didn't want us looking at:

Copyright (C) 2002 Kenneth & Gabrielle Adelman, California Coastal Records Project,

** A paradox. If it's your reputation than it is what we expect. Or is it even less self-assured than that.

*** People... people...

"He's got the dog coming at him! The dog takes him down! The dog got him. The dog made the tackle."

"Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf tipped off immigrants about ICE raid and isn’t sorry she did."

WaPo reports.
[S]he explained that her decision to tip off immigrants stemmed from a deep disagreement with immigration enforcement under the Trump administration and a resistance to the administration’s enforcement efforts....

“I consider myself a law-abiding citizen. I consider myself a believer in an American democracy that moves towards a more just society. And I definitely consider myself part of the resistance,” she said....

“I’ve lived in Oakland my whole life, and Oakland has always been a center of social justice,” Schaaf said. “In Oakland, the level of activism is so high that anyone in a position of governmental authority is going to be questioned and challenged, and I celebrate that. It’s part of our democracy that people speak truth to power, and in Oakland, that is a particularly time-honored tradition.”...

Schaaf has said that she consulted her legal counsel before deciding to act. Because she obtained the information from unofficial sources rather than through formal government channels, she doesn’t believe she obstructed justice or violated any law by speaking up....
Of course, it's a basic precept of American constitutional law that the federal government cannot force state and local government to participate in the enforcement of federal law. That's something that's hated by left-wingers except for when they love it and loved by right-wingers except for when they hate it.

When WaPo reports on what's in The Daily Mail, it uses a stock photo of a beach in Martinique....

... and you have to click on a link to the Daily Mail to see the closeup of buttocks infested with worms.

The headline at WaPo is "Medical journal’s buttocks photos show up in tabloids. Patients not amused."

Key information: The couple consented to the use of the photographs, and they were warned that there was no way to control whether the "tabloid" press would notice the story in the medical journal and run with it. The Washington Post isn't the tabloid press, because it reported on the controversy and only used a pretty stock photo of a beach not an ugly ass photo.

The couple's name has not been used, but they're afraid there's enough identifying detail — the cruise to Martinique, the name of the hospital back home — that people who know them will figure it out. The damage in the Daily Mail was already done, though, and they created this new story that I'm reading now, about the journal withdrawing the article because they raised a stink. (That's the Streisand effect.) So they're more likely to become famous for their worm-infested ass, and they're also the people who forced the article out of the medical journal where it might help other people.

On the plus side, a lot more of us know of the potential to get worms in your ass by sitting on the beach. The beach in Martinique, you're thinking. No...
When [dogs and cats] defecate on the beach, hookworm larvae can easily migrate through the sand....  [S]ome beaches along the Gulf Coast of the U. S. and the Atlantic seaboard may also be teaming with the parasites.... [W]alking barefoot on contaminated beach may cause the infection. [Dr. Peter Hotez, the dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston] said he speculates that this couple may have sat bare-bottomed on the sand, or the sand may have gotten into their bathing suits.
Hotez needs to take a closer look at women's bathing suits. Decades ago, women decided that the buttock was more or less part of the upper leg and could be completely exposed in the important pursuit of making the legs look longer. A woman sitting on the sand in the most ordinary women's bathing suit — unlike a man in just about any man's bathing suit — is going to have her buttocks in contact with the possibly worm-infested sand.

ADDED: Amazingly, there is also video of the worm coming up out of the sand:

February 27, 2018

At the Ambiguity Café...


... it's all a matter of interpretation, no? Write about whatever you like.

The photo is from the boardwalks of Lake Wingra.

And please consider using the Althouse Portal to Amazon.

"One important and often overlooked reason for having silent letters in the spelling of English words is because spelling in English is meant to do much more than tell you how to pronounce a word."

"For one thing, it can also tell you about the history of the word, its origins and its evolution. Not all languages have this property in their written forms, but English does" (English Language & Usage).
It can also serve to create heterographs out of homophones, which helps when reading. For example, consider the word pronounced /raɪt/. That can be any of:


As soon as you see it on the printed page, you know which of those four words it is. You don’t have to puzzle it out. This increases reading speed and proficiency.

The other largely unsung reason for how English spelling helps you is because if you actually spelled things the way people said them, no one could ever read anything anyone else ever wrote! Well, nobody outside their own current dialect — if that.
I don't think I'd ever seen the word "heterograph" before. It's not even in the OED...

... but the word is immediately understandable, because it's written in the style we're used to in English.

By the way, "heterography" is defined in the OED as "Spelling that differs from that which is correct according to current usage; ‘incorrect’ spelling" — as in "There is a pretty general consensus that unconventional spelling or heterography is bad spelling." But Wikipedia says: "In linguistics, heterography is a property of a written language, such that it lacks a 1-to-1 correspondence between the written symbols and the sounds of the spoken language. Its opposite is homography, which is the property of a language such that written symbols of its written form and the sounds of its spoken form have a 1-to-1 correspondence."

"Chevy Chase, one of [Donald] Glover’s co-stars [in 'Community'], often tried to disrupt his scenes and made racial cracks between takes. ('People think you’re funnier because you’re black.')"

"[Dan Harmon, the show’s creator] said, 'Chevy was the first to realize how immensely gifted Donald was, and the way he expressed his jealousy was to try to throw Donald off. I remember apologizing to Donald after a particularly rough night of Chevy’s non-P.C. verbiage, and Donald said, "I don’t even worry about it."' Glover told me, 'I just saw Chevy as fighting time—a true artist has to be O.K. with his reign being over. I can’t help him if he’s thrashing in the water. But I know there’s a human in there somewhere—he’s almost too human.' (Chase said, 'I am saddened to hear that Donald perceived me in that light.'*) Glover quit in the fifth season, too bored to do it anymore."

From "Donald Glover Can’t Save You/The creator of 'Atlanta' wants TV to tell hard truths. Is the audience ready?" in The New Yorker.

I zeroed in on the Chevy Chase business (because we were just talking about his road rage problem), but there's also a man-in-shorts angle:
[Glover's character on "Atlanta"]... wasn’t a great manager or a great part-time boyfriend or, for that matter, a particularly promising human being. Curiously boyish in shorts and a backpack, he wasn’t even active, the minimal standard for television characters. He didn’t seem to do or want anything. He just watched and flinched and got yelled at to grow up....

Comedy didn’t allow him to express the sadness he’d begun to feel—about race, about fame, about simply being human—so he turned to music.... [As Childish Gambino, he] offered earnest tracks about being bullied as a child and about suicidal thoughts—a counterpoint to rap’s hypermasculine mainstream. Fam Udeorji told me, “People thought Donald was a whiny dude who wasn’t into his blackness. And the shorts he wore onstage were so short they made my friends uncomfortable.” 
Here's a picture of him in shorts.

* The light was "human... almost too human." How sad is that?

Amy Schumer's wedding vows "sucked."

“Mine sucked! I thought mine were good, I wrote mine in like, 20 minutes. I was crying when I wrote them, but his blew me out of the water so hard. In my vows I go, 'But I promise I’ll keep going down on you, even though everyone tells me I won’t.' And his were like, heckling me too. He was like, 'The other day I lost a tennis match and you called me a fucking loser.' It was all like awful shit.”

Page Six quotes.

“I will never be finished. It will take me the rest of my life to finish my studies but I am dedicating the rest of my life to body modification and perfecting my work."

Says Eli Ink, 27, who to my eye seems damned close to finished:

A post shared by Eli (@eliinkpiercer) on

Running out of space, it seems.

But isn't there a "blackface" problem he failed to take account of? [ADDED: He is white. See: here.]
“In my opinion, the only person who will only ever understand my transition properly is me. I don’t attempt to describe it to anyone... I’ve always been blown away by art itself. Picasso is a huge childhood inspiration to me, especially abstract art, but I do like all forms of art. Body art was just the next local step for me growing up. I wanted to look like an abstract character in one of Picasso’s paintings. I love the abstract look, no thought, just pure expression.”
Picasso? Doesn't he mean Ad Reinhardt?
In the last ten years of his life, Reinhardt focused solely on square, black paintings....In 1961, Reinhardt described them.... "A square (neutral, shapeless) canvas, five feet wide, five feet high, as high as a man, as wide as a man's outstretched arms (not large, not small, sizeless), trisected (no composition), one horizontal form negating one vertical form (formless, no top, no bottom, directionless), three (more or less) dark (lightless) no–contrasting (colorless) colors, brushwork brushed out to remove brushwork, a matte, flat, free–hand, painted surface (glossless, textureless, non–linear, no hard-edge, no soft edge) which does not reflect its surroundings—a pure, abstract, non–objective, timeless, spaceless, changeless, relationless, disinterested painting—an object that is self–conscious (no unconsciousness) ideal, transcendent, aware of no thing but art (absolutely no anti–art)."

"So I've been waking up from nightmares a few times a month by screaming out loud..."

"It doesn't actually bother me much -- as soon as I'm awake, I'm no longer scared and can usually go right back to sleep. However, my girlfriend would appreciate very much not to be regularly woken by someone screaming. :-) In the dreams, I'm usually about to be killed by someone (methods vary) and I can't get away. So I scream."

A man seeks advice at AskMetafilter.

The first answer is:
My mum used to always tell me, just before I was about to be killed to look down to my hand and see that I was holding a gun/ bucket of sand/ pale [sic] of water - which I could then use to instantly kill/ melt whoever was trying to kill me. It really worked!
This is the same method that can work to turn a dream into a lucid dream. If you can get yourself to think to look at your hands, when you see your hands, the dream will become a lucid dream — that is, you will understand that this is a dream and you can choose what to do within the dream world and know that whatever problem you are struggling with is not real.

Ah, yes, the next answer speaks directly of lucid dreaming: "Have you ever been able to turn a dream while dreaming? It involves becoming conscious that you are dreaming, and then deciding where things go next...."

Do any of you have this problem of yelling or screaming out loud into the real world of your bedroom as you face the dream people and animals that attack you? Have you ever called the police because you've got a neighbor with this oddball habit but you really think they're getting murdered?

"Her Turkish flag is in her pocket. If she becomes a martyr, God willing, she will be wrapped with it. She is ready for everything, aren’t you?"

The Turkish Presidet Recep Tayyip Erdogan makes political theater out of a 6-year-old girl, who tries to stand strong, while crying.

From "Erdogan Tells a Weeping Girl, 6, She’d Receive Honors if Martyred" (NYT):
She wore a maroon beret and a Turkish flag in her pocket, and had made a soldier’s salute during Mr. Erdogan’s televised speech, when he spotted her in the audience.

The maroon berets are fighting in Afrin, a Syrian enclave the Turks are trying to take from the Kurds, and when the president noticed the girl’s beret, he called her to the stage.

“Look, look, look, what is there? Girl, what are you doing there?” he called out. She held her salute, but her face began to crumple in anxiety as she was lifted out of the crowd to meet the president. “Here are our maroon berets. Look, we have our own maroon berets,” Mr. Erdogan said as she crossed the stage....

Mr. Erdogan’s remarks to the girl on Saturday drew criticism from some on social media, who felt that the talk of martyrdom was inappropriate for a child so young.
Who knows if she was crying out of fear of martyrdom, the strangeness of being plucked out of a crowd and displayed on stage, or overwhelming awe at meeting her glorious leader? Who knows if the Turkish people in general disapproved of this melodramatic theater?

In America, the President imagines his own readiness to accept martyrdom. He would — in his dream — run to take bullets to save schoolchildren. That's not happening right now, so there's nothing to be afraid of, only pride and glory to bask in. Might not the little 6-year-old girl — like the American President — feel exalted in this vision of martyrdom?

The way people act in real life is disgusting compared to the way I behave in my best dreams.

Trump's dreams are lovely compared to reality.

But we have to take steps to harden our schools so that they are less vulnerable to attack. This includes allowing well-trained and certified school personnel to carry concealed firearms. At some point, you need volume. I don’t know that a school is going to be able to hire a hundred security guards that are armed. Plus, you know, I got to watch some deputy sheriffs performing this week. And they weren’t exactly Medal of Honor winners. All right?

The way they performed was, frankly, disgusting. They were listening to what was going on. The one in particular, he was then — he was early. And then you had three others that probably a similar deal a little bit later, but a similar kind of a thing.

You know, I really believe — you don’t know until you test it — but I really believe I’d run in there, even if I didn’t had a weapon. And I think most of the people in this room would have done that, too, because I know most of you. But the way they performed was really a disgrace.
And I think most of the people in this room would have done that, too, because I know most of you.... The delusion that the people you've met are the good people. The disgusting — deplorable — people are farther away.

When other people do something disgusting, you should wonder whether, in the same situation, you'd have been disgusting too.

But he's serving up high hopes of solutions that could work, and like his dream of how he'd run into a stream of bullets for the kids, these solutions are happening now in the realm of the imaginary. You see yourself running toward danger, and you see the "well-trained and certified school personnel" with their concealed firearms "harden[ing] our schools." What fine, brave, competent personnel they are! But they'll be school district employees, just human beings beset by the complicated, unpredictable failings that cause real life to play out in a manner so different from dreams.

That's "Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening." That title was a clue in today's NYT crossword. The answer is Salvador Dali:
In this "hand-painted dream photograph", as Dalí generally called his paintings, there is a seascape of distant horizons and calm waters, perhaps Port Lligat, amidst which [his wife] Gala is the subject of the scene.... In the upper left of the painting what seems to be a Yelloweye rockfish bursts out of the pomegranate, and in turn spews out a tiger that then spews out another tiger and a rifle with a bayonet that is about to sting Gala in the arm. Above them is Dalí's first use of an elephant with long flamingo legs....

In 1962, Dalí said this painting was intended "to express for the first time in images Freud's discovery of the typical dream with a lengthy narrative, the consequence of the instantaneousness of a chance event which causes the sleeper to wake up. Thus, as a bar might fall on the neck of a sleeping person, causing them to wake up and for a long dream to end with the guillotine blade falling on them, the noise of the bee here provokes the sensation of the sting which will awaken Gala."
An elephant with long flamingo legs. That could be the new symbol of the Republican Party, the Republican Party that dreams.

Detail from "The Temptation of Saint Anthony" by Salvador Dali.

Dreams! They're not just for Democrats anymore.

February 26, 2018

Lake Wingra, today.


Talk about whatever you like.

"Amazon chose 20 possible cities for next headquarters. These application videos show how hungry cities are for HQ2. Amazon CEO Jeffrey P. Bezos owns The Post."

That's the caption on this WaPo video about how a few cities should be embarrassed for wanting Amazon so bad:

"The [20-pound] blanket enacts a fantasy of immobilization that is especially seductive in a world of ever-expanding obligations—to work, to monetize, to take action, to perform."

"Last weekend, a friend came over and tried out the blanket. 'That’s really good,' he said, eyes closed, unmoving. '“I kind of want more. I kind of want to not be able to move at all.'"

From "The Seductive Confinement of a Weighted Blanket in an Anxious Time" by Jia Tolentino (in The New Yorker).

Had you ever heard of weighted blankets? Here's an example of one on Amazon: "Weighted Blanket by YnM for Adults, Fall Asleep Faster and Sleep Better, Great for Anxiety, ADHD, Autism, OCD, and Sensory Processing Disorder." The weight is "sand pellets."

I've never thought about weighting myself down as a way to fall asleep, but I have noticed that if I'm reading my iPad and get drowsy, putting the iPad in the center of my chest seems to help me go right to sleep. Something about the weight?

"The protesters, one playing a guitar, loudly chanted 'murder' and 'cows lives matter' while filling the aisle in front of the meat display."

In Madison, last Saturday, the Wisconsin State Journal reports.
"An officer advised them they were not welcome back into the store and could be cited for trespass if they returned"...
They've been there before — "around Thanksgiving, chanting 'Turkey lives matter.'"

Meanwhile, on Friday night:
"There was a man with a smile on his face standing near a burning State Street kiosk Friday night," said police spokesman Joel DeSpain. "A responding officer asked him if he did it and he said 'I did.'"
The man then threw his a lime-green lighter on the ground and — "having confessed" — said he was "taking the Fifth."

At the Blue Shadows Café...


... let's chat over lunch.

Pointing at the Amazon link: here.

"Back in Bavaria, after four days of fried fish, moorish soups , bread, cheese and, obviously, chocolate, I am forced to contemplate an issue that has haunted me since I first shoved a brie brötchen down my gullet many months ago."

"Why aren’t Germans fat? This is a question I give, at intervals, a great deal of thought to, not only because I managed to stack on 9kg (of which 7kg remains) when I moved here, but also because I am genuinely enamoured with – and have subsequently adopted – the German appetite and want to know how they eat what they do without being completely enormous."

So begins "Why Aren’t Germans Fat?" by Liv Hambrett, "An Australian Writer in (North) Germany." I like this illustration with the caption "Stumps of chocolate coated whipped marshmallow":

"I come to this blog for the hodology!"

Said kwenzel, in the first post of the day, which is about the meaning of "path."

Wikipedia knows...

... what the OED does not:

"Homology" is the quality of sameness.

"Podology" is the branch of medicine that deals with the feet — a less-familiar alternative to "podiatry."

"Chorology" is the study of the geographical extent or limit of something (for example, crayfish).

"Horology" is the science of measuring time. The "hor-" attached to "-ology" just means "hour."

"Codology" is a specifically Irish sort of hoaxing. The OED quotes James Joyce — "The why and the wherefore and all the codology of the business" — and the Daily Express (1928) — "There is in Ireland a science unknown to us in England called Codology... The English is ‘leg-pulling’... When I received an invitation to breakfast at the Dublin Zoo I thought that I could detect the hand of the chief codologist."

It's the "-ology" ending stuck on "cod," which is a slang term for a hoax or joke. Here's James Joyce again:
You went there when you wanted to do something... And behind the door of one of the closets there was a drawing in red pencil of a bearded man in a Roman dress with a brick in each hand and underneath was the name of the drawing:

Balbus was building a wall.

Some fellow had drawn it there for a cod. It had a funny face but it was very like a man with a beard.... Perhaps that was why they were there because it was a place where some fellows wrote things for cod....
But back to "hodology," which Wikipedia says is "the study of pathways." I click on the Wikipedia links to "Psychology," "Philosophy," "Geology," and "Neuroscience," and the word "hodology" appears on none of the pages. Is this a cod? I don't know. But I love the drawing on the page for neuroscience...

Drawing by Santiago Ramón y Cajal (1899) of neurons in the pigeon cerebellum. It takes me back to one of my favorite subjects, How to Draw Like Paul Klee.