September 14, 2019

View from the boathouse.


"Flames engulfed 460 tons of lead when Notre-Dame’s roof and spire burned, scattering dangerous dust onto the streets and parks of Paris."

The NYT reports.
Five months after the fire, the French authorities have refused to fully disclose the results of their testing for lead contamination, sowing public confusion.... [I]t took a month before city officials conducted the first lead tests at a school close to Notre-Dame. Even today, city and regional health officials have not tested every school in the proximity of the cathedral.

The tests showed levels of lead dust above the French regulatory standard for buildings hosting children in at least 18 day care centers, preschools and primary schools. In dozens of other public spaces, like plazas and streets, authorities found lead levels up to 60 times over the safety standard. Soil contamination in public parks may be among the biggest concerns....

Some French officials and lead experts have cautioned against ‘‘paranoia’’ and argued that in a city as old as Paris, not all of the high lead levels can be attributed to the Notre-Dame fire.... “The state was afraid to make people afraid,” said Anne Souyris, the city’s deputy mayor in charge of health....

"Searching a room for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi at last month's G7 summit in France... President Trump called out: 'Where’s my favorite dictator?'"

"Sisi really is a dictator, and he really is closely allied with the Trump administration...." Axios explains.

"In essence, drag queens are clowns. They are not transgender (or haven’t been until very, very recently). They are men, mainly gay..."

"... who make no attempt to pass as actual women, and don’t necessarily want to be women, but dress up as a caricature of a woman. Sure, some have bawdy names, and in the context of a late night gay bar, they can say some bawdy things. But they’re not really about sex at all. They’re about costume and play; their clothes and hair are exaggerated, over-the-top parodies of women’s appearance; their makeup is often cray-cray, their wigs absurd. They also reinforce, rather than undermine, gender norms in a weird, over-the-top way...."

Writes Andrew Sullivan, opposing the opposition to the Drag Queen Story Hour some libraries have for children.
Children love drag queens the way they love clowns or circuses or Halloween or live Disney characters in Disney World. It’s dress-up fun.... And yes, Dave Chappelle, the sanest man in America at the moment, is right. Men dressed obviously as women are first and foremost funny.... These clowns read children’s stories to kids and their parents, and encourage young children to read books. This is the work of the devil? Please.
Anyway... bypassing most of that controversy (which I've passed on blogging many times), I just want to cherry-pick one issue out of that: Is it good to "reinforce, rather than undermine, gender norms"? And by good, I mean not anti-feminist.

"Is this really true? Did you really pack up your mother-in-law's things and lock her out after she gave you the house? Umm yeah, YTA."

A clear response at r/AmItheAsshole.

I'm a big fan of r/AmItheAsshole and have read all the entries for the last few weeks. Usually, it's more of a conundrum or it's somebody who needs and deserves assurance that they are not the asshole. But this one takes the cake. I kind of especially enjoy when a true asshole posts with what looks like the expectation that they are not the asshole. I have a natural inclination to defend the absent party, so I like when someone who thinks they're right is met with a response that understands the other perspective and represents it well.

UPDATE: Reddit moderators have taken the post down and locked the comments over there. They explain:
You want assholes to post on this subreddit? How about next time you don't eviscerate OP in the comments. I don't care how much you think they're the worst, be fucking civil on this sub.

And in case you're one of those people wondering, "Why am I suppose to be civil in a sub about assholes?!" Read this.
From that:
I’m supposed to “Be Civil” in a sub about “assholes”?
  • Yes. For the purposes of this subreddit, “asshole” is not a bad word or an insult.
  • The purpose of this subreddit has always been to help people see where they may have been in the wrong. It’s not about calling someone “an asshole” it’s about finding who “the asshole” is in a situation.
  • The title of this subreddit is not an invitation for you to be cruel. Treat others with respect, no matter how big of an asshole they may be.
  • We are ALL "The Asshole" at one point or another in this lifetime. Please remember this when you comment here.

"In my youth and still somewhat to this date, I learned to view my body as a threat, both to myself and to others."

"Taking care to cover those bits that act as a sexual signal felt like a necessary step to de-weaponize my body....  Just as heavier women are assumed to be 'unhealthy,' and skinny women are evaluated as 'needing a sandwich,' you are cast as a harlot; a man-eater. A simple T-shirt over an ample bosom is rendered obscene, and you mustn’t be too tempting.... [S]chools and sports teams should be mindful that they aren’t ostracizing girls based on arbitrary modesty codes that have the effect of penalizing certain body types. When they do this, they are not only participating in the oversexualization of these girls, but they give power to the negative attitudes toward curvier body types by turning them into policy."

Writes Amanda MacLean in "The Obscenity of Curves/Oversexualizing female athletes is dangerous" (NYT)(writing in reaction to that story about the high school competitive swimmer who was disqualified for her too-revealing bathing suit).

"If you care about the planet, and about the people and animals who live on it, there are two ways to think about this. You can keep on hoping..."

"... that catastrophe is preventable, and feel ever more frustrated or enraged by the world’s inaction. Or you can accept that disaster is coming, and begin to rethink what it means to have hope," writes the novelist Jonathan Franzen in a The New Yorker article that I've noticed and avoided, perhaps because the title is warding me off — "What If We Stopped Pretending?/The climate apocalypse is coming. To prepare for it, we need to admit that we can’t prevent it."

ADDED: I'm reading comments and seeing that a lot of you are reflexively blowing off Franzen as going along with the left. You need to read, "The controversy over Jonathan Franzen’s climate change opinions, explained/Scientists are pissed at the novelist — and at the New Yorker for publishing him" (Vox):
Immediately after the essay went live Sunday, people began to express their ire online. Climate scientists and activists were especially pissed — at the author, and also at the magazine that published him.... The critics’ anger seemed to coalesce around four main complaints, three of them empirical in nature: Franzen is wrong on the science, on the politics, and on the psychology of human behavior as it pertains to climate change.
THIS WAS IN THE ORIGINAL POST: An excerpt from Franzen:

"The promise of kiteboarding is that a wind strong enough to draw small whitecaps from the water can take you on a magic-carpet ride."

"But the same wind can be dangerously uncontrollable.... If you swoop too aggressively and lose control of the kite, it can start spinning. In a 'death loop,' the spins become unstoppable; the kite gathers speed, pulling you along with it.... Feeling its pull, I was reminded of riding a horse: each of the kite’s small motions suggested irresistible strength, and pretending to control it was hubris. Whenever I lost focus, the kite swooped and pulled me downwind. I watched the lines: if my fingers got caught in them, the kite could rip them off.... If the wind is good, a light pull on the control bar will start the bow-shaped kite on a turn toward its apex, into the full force of the wind. At the right moment, you turn the board hard upwind and pull the bar: a surge of power lifts you skyward. A beginner might hop a foot above the water, abs tight with effort, then lose the board and crash. But the best riders can rise dozens of feet in the air, then ride away after a soft landing."

From "How Hackers Invented Kiteboarding/An unusual design process combining recklessness, imagination, and computers created one of the fastest-growing sports in history" by James Somers (in The New Yorker).

"Sim-me may live in sim-Manhattan with other uploaded minds, but with my personality and memories, he will love my family just as I do and will want to interact with them."

"Sim-me will have the same political views and want to vote; he will have the same intellectual interests and want to return to the job he remembers and still loves. He'll want to be part of the world. And what would stop him? He may live in the cloud, with a simulated instead of a physical body, but his leverage on the real world would be as good as anyone else's. We already live in a world where almost everything we do flows through cyberspace. We keep up with friends and family through text and Twitter, Facebook and Skype. We keep informed about the world through social media and internet news. Even our jobs, some of them at least, increasingly exist in an electronic space.... [W]ho would accumulate the most power? One possible answer is the people who live in the simulated world. They've already built a lifetime of political and economic connections.... Biological people would become a larval stage of human, each of them aspiring to be among the lucky few who are allowed to metamorphose into the immortal elites who own the world.... [T]he most powerful people [might] be those who control access to the simulated world. Think about how religions work. People at the top tell you that if you behave well, you'll enter heaven, and if you behave badly, you may end up in eternal punishment.... [R]eligious demagogues offer an afterlife that can't be objectively confirmed.... Imagine the coercive power of an afterlife that is directly confirmable. The public could Skype with people who are in a digital heaven and (if the technology turns very dark) in a digital hell...."

From "Will Your Uploaded Mind Still Be You?/The day is coming when we will be able to scan our entire consciousness into a computer. How will we coexist with our digital replicas?" by Michael S.A. Graziano (in the WSJ).

Graziano has an upcoming book, "Rethinking Consciousness: A Scientific Theory of Subjective Experience." I don't know if the book has anything on the subject of law, but the column doesn't. It's a very interesting column, but I can't read things like "his leverage on the real world would be as good as anyone else's" without thinking about law. I suspect that experts on the brain and consciousness will see many other problems with what he's saying. One of the commenters at the link brings up hormones. I don't see how copying all the connections in the brain would produce a consciousness that's the same as what a mind in an entire body experiences.

"LOL white men putting [SPOILER DELETED] in the grid (10D: Sharing of a moral viewpoint to gain social approval)."

Rex Parker rails against today's NYT crossword, which features a 15-letter expression that I'll hide until the jump:
This puzzle is so on-brand. I mean, this is exactly the kind of term I'd expect to find in a puzzle that just this week was reminding us all of the glory of Confederate monuments. That's a term used predominantly by those who are real mad that they can't be as openly racist and homophobic as they used to be in the good ol' days. People who use that term also use terms like "P.C." and "SJW" [and the word that's in the puzzle at 41D]. Super-popular term with right-wing "thought" "leaders." Aggrieved white men love the term. And it's rich coming from an editor who has struggled to keep racism / sexism / classism out of his puzzles. I say "struggled," but that implies he cares or is trying, so maybe not. Anyway, you can dodge criticism of your terrible behavior by calling the criticism [SPOILER DELETED], but your behavior won't be any less terrible. I'm not [a variation on the spoiler] for pointing this out. Just a sentient person with a capacity for empathy. It's fun! Costs nothing! Try it out!

The #SexSoBadThat tag that's trending on Twitter is so bad that I couldn't read my way into understanding it.

Go here to read it yourself.

Is there an actual trend in noticing that bad sex is bad or are people having fun with the idea that sex is generally bad or is it a way to express annoyance at some specific sex that you yourself experienced?

September 13, 2019

My usual Mendota lakeshore walk takes me into a Bucky Badger photoshoot.

Today at the Union Terrace:

Can we start trying to make Amy happen?

Matt Drudge takes the lead:

My favorite part was when there was all this crosstalk and she busted out with: "A house divided cannot stand!"

I'm thinking, come on, Amy! That can be your trademark! When other people are talking, you just call out an old Lincoln quote: "My Best Friend is a person who will give me a book I have not read!" "I am a slow walker, but I never walk back!" "There are no bad pictures; that's just how your face looks sometimes!" You get the idea.

(I said this first over at Facebook, in a comment on a post by my son John. And I also put it on Twitter.)

I had a good long sleep before writing this morning's 4 posts about last night's big debate.

I think it's good to sleep on it. You get to see what survives the dream-mind's workings. So let me tell you about what I dreamed. I had a white dog, a Samoyed, and instead of a leash, I was holding a loop of white cloth tape that went around the dog's neck, and I knew I needed to get better control of the animal. I thought, what is my dog's name? Why don't I know my dog's name? Then I remembered: The dog's name is Lloyd! Upon realizing the dog was Lloyd, I was able to catch him in my arms. As I tried to hold him, his face changed into the face of Andrew Yang. I was very interested in talking to Andrew Yang, but the transformation was never complete, nor was it satisfying, because where was my dog Lloyd?!


"Let's be constitutional! We've got a Constitution!" — said Joe Biden, responding to Kamala Harris, who said...

"Well, I mean, I would just say, hey, Joe, instead of saying, no, we can't, let's say yes, we can."

(Here's the debate transcript.)

She was responding to this question:
In recent days former Vice President Biden has said about executive orders, "Some really talented people are seeking the nomination. They said 'I'm going to issue an executive order.'" Biden saying, "There's no constitutional authority to issue that executive order when they say 'I'm going to eliminate assault weapons,'" saying, "you can't do it by executive order any more than Trump can do things when he says he can do it by executive order."
It's a great one-liner — "Hey, Joe, instead of saying, no, we can't, let's say yes, we can" — but it's so cavalier about the rule of law, and it wrecks the foundation for criticizing Trump. In fact, it sounds like Trump. It sounds like the way a businessman (like Trump) might talk to his lawyers: Here's what I want to do. Tell me that I can. If you're going to be telling why I can't, I want a different lawyer.

And that's for the people to decide. Do you want someone who visualizes the Constitution as a barrier to things he'd otherwise like to do or do you want the man or woman who finds a way?

Best campaign ad ever:

It was a creed, written into the founding documents...

Let's be constitutional! We've got a Constitution!

That declared the destiny, of a nation - yes we can
It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists...

The founding document, according to the abolitionists, was "A Covenant with Death and an Agreement with Hell"...

We know, the battle ahead will be long
But always remember that no matter what obstacles stand in our way
Nothing can stand, in the way of the power of millions of voices
Calling for change...

No matter what obstacles? Even the Constitution? Let's be constitutional! We've got a Constitution!

We have been told, we cannot do this
By a chorus of cynics; they will only grow louder and more dissonant...
But in the unlikely story that is America
There has never been anything FALSE about hope...
Yes we can, mmmhmmm.. ohhhhh, yes we can, yes we can
Oooooooooooooooh, yes we can

mmmhmmm...  ohhhhh....

ADDED: The transcript cannot convey the feeling and expression in Kamala Harris's "Well, I mean, I would just say, hey, Joe, instead of saying, no, we can't, let's say yes, we can." It is so awful, so lightweight and dismissive of constitutional law (and without any of the dignity of constitutional critique):

Cory Booker misused the term "red badge of courage."

At last night's debate (transcript), Booker said:
[W]e know Donald Trump's a racist, but there is no red badge of courage for calling him that. Racism exists. The question isn't who isn't a racist. It's who is and isn't doing something about racism.
In the classic American novel "The Red Badge of Courage," the term appears exactly once and is easily understood:
The mob of men was bleeding.... At times he regarded the wounded soldiers in an envious way. He conceived persons with torn bodies to be peculiarly happy. He wished that he, too, had a wound, a red badge of courage.
The "red badge of courage" is a war wound. That's why it's red. It's not a medal you get in recognition of courage. It is physical damage to your fleshly body that may be taken — rightly or wrongly — as evidence that you were courageous in battle.

Booker was right that you don't deserve a courage medal for calling Donald Trump a racist. It's an easy — even pusillanimous — move. ("Pusillanimous" is the opposite of "courageous.") But even if it were courageous and we were inclined to give you a medal for courage, we shouldn't be giving you a red badge of courage! That would mean we should shoot you!

A basic American education should include reading "The Red Badge of Courage." I was forced to read it in high school, and though I found it hard to understand at the time and a half century has passed since I read it, I have not forgotten what "red badge of courage" means. It makes me sad to hear Cory Booker get that wrong. He is one of the best-educated individuals in American politics today. He went to one of the finest high schools, received a BA and an MA from Stanford University, studied at  Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship, and then went to the most illustrious law school in the country, Yale. Yet he doesn't know "The Red Badge of Courage." What does that say about American education? This makes me sad.

Even sadder is the low standard for what courage means. Of course, Booker is right that there's no courage in calling Donald Trump a racist. But what did he think was courageous? He said:
We have to come at this issue attacking systemic racism, having the courage to call it out, and having a plan to do something about it. If I am president of the United States, we will create an office in the White House to deal with the problem of white supremacy and hate crimes.
It's not courageous to express belief in "systemic racism." It's the basic ideology of the left. It would be more courageous to critique the dogma than to repeat the usual incantations.

Elsewhere in the debate transcript, we see the impoverishment of the concept of courage: Kamala Harris said: "Beto, God love you for standing so courageously in the midst of that tragedy." Beto was not on site during the El Paso shooting. He visited the city afterwards. What was courageous? Opposition to murder and shooting people?!

Booker said Beto showed "such courage" for supporting supporting gun licensing. Warren talked about "courage" to fight Trump on immigration. Buttigieg talked about the "courage" it would take for Congress to vote on military interventions. Harris credited Barack Obama with "courage" for his work on Obamacare. There is no serious effort to engage with the idea of courage.

It's an empty, blather word.

It rained. The procession of weary soldiers became a bedraggled train, despondent and muttering, marching with churning effort in a trough of liquid brown mud under a low, wretched sky. Yet the youth smiled, for he saw that the world was a world for him, though many discovered it to be made of oaths and walking sticks. He had rid himself of the red sickness of battle. The sultry nightmare was in the past. He had been an animal blistered and sweating in the heat and pain of war. He turned now with a lover's thirst to images of tranquil skies, fresh meadows, cool brooks, an existence of soft and eternal peace.

Over the river a golden ray of sun came through the hosts of leaden rain clouds.

"So you (and your boobs) stay comfortable while you run."

Well, I am uncomfortable with this one boob who is emailing me too much while he runs:

Screen Shot 2019-09-13 at 8.01.21 AM

(Click to enlarge and clarify.)

ADDED: Oh, I see. I'm a press outlet. But only to Cory Booker. I'm getting press releases. Example:

Impressions on the morning after the big debate.

I declined to live-blog last night. Instead, I sat in my comfy chair, alongside my husband Meade, and watched. I wasn't inert — except when I snoozed — but I didn't take notes and I let it run straight through. No pausing for mini-debates of our own. We talked over the candidates when we had comments. The local station butted in a few times to tell us about the approaching thunderstorm and dropped us back into the ongoing debate. Whatever we missed, we missed. Then the thunderstorm delivered its message, louder than any of the candidates (even Julian Castro), so we missed even more.

Yes, I could read the transcript and attend to all the little details, but that would be so boring. Instead, I'll just give you the unique gift I have to give: my impressions of the debate after 8 hours of sleeping and dreaming. I present myself as something like an ordinary person who has watched and been affected by the debate. I'll make a numbered list so I don't get bogged down or bored.

1. I remember Julian Castro going for broke. The stakes were different for him. So he yelled at Biden. It was rude. He taunted him about forgetting something he'd said earlier in a clumsy effort to tap our prejudice against old people. Our memories are failing. I am old and my memory of Julian Castro is the clearest of all my memories of the candidates last night, but my memory of him is that he was rude and ageist.

2. Joe Biden did look old — especially when I switched from the downstairs TV to the newer upstairs TV. The sharper image of him is a little disturbing — I can see that his hair is a strange illusion — but the sharpness of his mind is what matters. He seemed ready to fight, and his idea was he identified with Barack Obama and he offers to make the country into where it would go if we still had Barack Obama. Make America Barack-Obama-Style Again. MABOSA!

3. Bernie was awful. His voice had acquired a new raspiness that made his angry, yelling style outright ugly. I couldn't believe I needed to listen to him. I cried out in outrage and pain. The stabbing hand gestures — ugh! This is the Democrats second-most-popular candidate? I loved Bernie when he challenged Hillary 4 years ago. The anger was a fascinating mix of comedy and righteousness. But the act is old, and the socialism — did Joe call him a "socialist" more than once? — is scary. We can't be having a raving crank throwing radical change in our face.

4. Elizabeth Warren was there on the other side of Biden. She and Bernie were double-teaming Joe, and that worked... for Joe. He linked Warren to Bernie: She's for Bernie/I'm for Barack. I remember Warren reacting to every question with "Listen..." Like we're the slow students in her class and we haven't been paying attention and she's getting tired of us. We should already know what she's been saying on whatever the question happens to be. She was sunny and bright with enthusiasm when she talked about her early career as a school teacher and how when she was a child she lined up her "dollies" for a lesson. She was, she said, "tough but fair." I love whatever love there is for tough but fair teachers. Maybe more of that, but we're not in her class, and our responsibilities are to people and things in our own lives, not in keeping track of whatever her various policies and positions are. Warren seems to have the most potential, but she got yoked to Bernie, and the impression from a distance is: 2 radicals who want to make America unrecognizably different. MAUD!

5. The impression of absence: All the governors are gone. ATGAG.

6. Pete Buttigieg has the best voice. He seems like a solid young man. No impression of any substance.

7. Andrew Yang. I kept wanting him to talk more. His father was a peanut farmer. We made some Jimmy Carter jokes. He wasn't wearing a tie, but he had on a shirt that — buttoned on the second button — seemed to be strangling him more than a tie. That's got to be a metaphor for change. It seems like a good idea, making life freer and more pleasurable, but in practice it's constricting and distracting. Yang said something about picking out 10 families to give $1000 a month. Was that an offer to hand out his own money? I don't know. He ought to try to seem less weird, not more weird. Unless that's his goal: to become the most famous weird guy. Sorry, you can't win that prize. The most famous weird guy is Donald Trump.

8. Cory Booker. For a few weeks, I have had a working theory that he is the best of the bunch. But I don't remember anything he said last night. I talked over his opening statement because I was distracted by the tailoring of his suit. The men all wear suits that are utterly neutral, just providing the idealized shape of a man. That shouldn't be a hard mark to hit.

9. Amy was over there in her blocky greenish pantsuit. I remember nothing she said. I want to like her. She's in reserve as a normal person who might be okay. I remember her getting excited while talking. I guess she was hoping to make an impression.

10. Kamala Harris wore a silk shell under her suit jacket. The glossiness caught the light and shadow in a mesmerizing display of undulation. What did she say? I don't know but she said it in that voice that I can easily imitate simply by holding my nose. She seems unsteady, shaky... like that silk shell is a metaphor. I almost feel sorry for her. I don't understand why she's there and I don't believe she understands. Writing that makes me remember something she said: Her mother told her she needs to be her own person and not let anyone else tell her who she is. That's very inward. Running for the presidency is not a journey of self-exploration. But I don't believe that's what she's really doing. I think she's been told — maybe by a hundred or a thousand people — that she's got what it takes to be President and she's accepted their idea of her. That's the opposite of what her mother said.

11. If there was anyone else on the stage, they've slipped my mind. Let me think hard. I think there were 10, and point #5 is about the absence of governors. Who is that mystery man/woman? I'll have to look it up.

12. LOL. I forgot Beto!

September 12, 2019

New morning.


"Major points for surviving 60-plus years and actually being functional, and very cool that Rad & Hungry sells authentic Uruguayan notebooks..."

"... but the novelty wore off quickly. The sepia-singed pamphlet — it only has 16 pages — feels more suitable for a school-age child practicing cursive than a functional notebook you would take to a meeting. I docked it major points for flimsiness: When I flipped the cover over and back, the paper separated from its stapled binding. I’m not sure what we can fairly expect from 60-year-old staples, but shuffling around a stack of loose papers defeats the whole purpose."

The Uruguayan Vintage Libertadores Notebook comes in at #86 on "The 100 Best Notebooks, As Tested by Strategist Editors From spiral-bound to linen-clad to 1950s-era" (New York Magazine).

I'm a big consumer of notebooks, so I was fascinated by the sheer scope of this ranking and also to see where my various notebooks ranked — the Clairefontaine Classic Wirebound Notebook is only #79?!! — and what I might want to try in the future. Thanks to New York Magazine for figuring all this out.


"With Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, Russia, Syria and many more foreign challenges brewing, Trump needs a unified, competent national security team capable of oaring in a single direction."

"If he gets these next two personnel picks right, he also has a chance to cement the Trump doctrine that defines the American interest clearly in each country and reserves the might of the American military as a last resort."

From "Two names who would give Trump an all-star security team after Bolton" (The Hill).

I'm not thinking: Finally, the big showdown. I'm thinking: At least I don't need to put up with 2 nights of this anymore.

The NYT is putting me on alert:
The top 10 Democrats will be on a single stage for the first time. That means a matchup months in the making — between former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts — will come to fruition. Here are the key dynamics to watch for....
I think I'll just watch it when the time comes. I don't need to pre-watch in my imagination, do I?
... Look for Mr. Biden to talk about getting progressive plans done, and Ms. Warren to speak about embracing ambition over caution....
Amusingly, that's a softball for feminist analysis — especially "embracing"... but also ascribing practical know-how to the man and puffy exuberance to the woman. "Ambition" is only presented as positive because it goes with a woman. And if it were a man with ambition, the ambition would come from inside him. It wouldn't be visualized as something exterior that he would "embrace." I suspect the writers unconsciously think that ambition is male and that a woman may only embrace it.

And now I'll pass on trying to find anything interesting to say about the debate in advance. I dread the ordeal.

"What's the benefit of being hungry?"

"Obviously two homers is pretty cool no matter what day it is but on your birthday it’s pretty special. But even more so is the win, especially with Yeli going down. Everyone has to step up even more."

Said Mike Moustakas after last night's game (which took the Brewers into a tie for the second National League wild card), quoted in "With Yelich out, Moustakas leads Brewers’ charge in 7-5 win" (Fox Sports).
“We just have to keep that rolling into tomorrow and see where we are after that,” Moustakas said.

[Christian] Yelich, the reigning National League MVP, broke his right kneecap in Tuesday night’s game when he fouled a ball off himself....

“It hurts a lot to lose him but at the end of the day we have to go out and find ways to win,” Moustakas said.

Apple's new iPhone has a set of 3 camera lenses in back... and it upsets people with "trypophobia," the fear of clusters of small holes.

WaPo explains.
The backlash comes from people who say they suffer from an obscure and perplexing condition called “trypophobia” ⁠ — a fear of clusters of small holes like those found in shoe treads, honeycombs and lotus seed pods.... The phobia isn’t recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders... But self-described sufferers and some researchers claim the images can evoke a strong emotional response and induce itching, goose bumps, and even nausea and vomiting....
Ah, yes. Of course. I've written about trypophobia twice already on this blog. In 2013, I told you about the subreddit devoted to the peculiarity, r/trypophobia. And I see that they're expressing themselves about the new phone:

It’s all camera from r/trypophobia

And here's my 2017 post, on the occasion of an "American Horror Story" poster that triggered trypophobes.

Back to WaPo and the new iPhone:
In 2016, Kendall Jenner raised the condition’s profile when she wrote a blog post saying the images give her “the worst anxiety.” “Things that could set me off are pancakes, honeycomb, or lotus heads (the worst!)," she wrote. “It sounds ridiculous but so many people actually have it!”
Pancakes! I know what she's referring to — the look of the batter when it's time to flip.

Flip the pancake. But for some people, apparently, flip their lid.

Back to WaPo:
Researcher Arnold Wilkins, a professor emeritus at the University of Essex, theorizes the mathematical principals hidden in the patterns require the brain to use more oxygen and energy, which can be distressing.... “We know the images are difficult to process computationally by the neurons of the brain, they use more brain energy.”

Photos of honeycombs and strawberries — common sources of the creeps, or worse, for people with trypophobia — also share those mathematical qualities with more sinister sights like mold and skin lesions. Other research suggests the discomfort might come from an innate drive to avoid infectious diseases and contaminated food. Some have also hypothesized the fear could stem from an evolutionary response to dangerous animals like poisonous frogs and insects, which often display patterns similar to those seen trypophobic photos.
Camera lenses are a special problem, I think, because they're sort of eyes. When we look at eyes, we have the feeling that it's a living thing, and if it's not 2 eyes, the living thing feels alien — heartless or cruel:

Have I triggered your arachnophobia? Again?

Back to WaPo:
What can you do if you want to wretch every time you see the new iPhone?
Is it "wretch" or "retch"? It's retch.  Fortunately, wretched editing doesn't make me want to throw up. "Wretch" isn't even a verb. You wretch.

ADDED: If "wretch" isn't a verb, why does the word "wretched" exist? "Wretch," the verb, is obsolete. The OED has it as a transitive verb meaning "To render miserable" and as an intransitive, Scottish verb meaning "To be or to become... parsimonious." From 1633: "As the wretch wretcheth, the more he is enriched."

So WaPo's spelling is fine if these iPhones are making you parsimonious (in Scotland in the 17th century).

MORE: To be wretchedly precise, the OED does not say that the adjective "wretched" comes from the obsolete verb "to wretch." It says the etymology happened "Irregularly" by adding the "-ed" suffix to the adjective "wretch." "Wretch" was once an adjective that meant "poor, miserable, deeply afflicted" (that is, having the qualities of a wretch). Thus, in the 1400s, one might write: "Allas! I, woful creature,..I, wreche woman."

By the way, originally, the noun "wretch" referred to a banished person, an exile: "Goo naked vngry and bare foot.., as wrecch in werlde þou wende." As you wend your way through the world, you wretch, go naked, hungry, barefoot, and phoneless.

September 11, 2019

At Itsy's Café...


... weave your orb.

And get your supplies through the Althouse Portal to Amazon.

"In a major win for the Trump administration, the Supreme Court issued an order late Wednesday ending all injunctions that had blocked the White House's ban on asylum for anyone trying to enter the U.S. by traveling through a third country..."

"... such as Mexico, without seeking protection there.... President Trump tweeted that the ruling was a 'BIG United States Supreme Court WIN for the Border on Asylum!' The administration had argued in a brief to the Supreme Court Tuesday that unless the nationwide injunction is lifted, it 'would severely disrupt the orderly administration of an already overburdened asylum system.'... 'Once again the Executive Branch has issued a rule that seeks to upend longstanding practices regarding refugees who seek shelter from persecution,' Sotomayor and Ginsburg wrote [in dissent]."

Fox News Reports.

"Could the fact that children already exist as online entities affect a child’s 'ability to develop their own sense of self'?"

"... Some kids grow to be embarrassed by what their parents post, while others wonder why they aren’t featured even more. Mine might one day wonder why so many videos exist of him asking for 'jazz,' which, for a while, was the word he used instead of 'music.' 'Sharenthood' didn’t resolve anything for me, and maybe that’s asking too much. In the end, Plunkett’s advice is to 'make more mindful choices' about our digital lives. Yet parenthood is often such a blur that mindfulness seems impossible, a kind of deliberation and peace that might as well be another country."

From "Instagram, Facebook, and the Perils of 'Sharenting'" by Hua Hsu (The New Yorker).

"Madi Richardson, 23, explains that if she’d been asked what 'living fully' meant a few years ago, she would have said traveling."

"Right after high school, Richardson was following a plethora of people her age on Instagram... 'The photos I saw of them were on vacations.’... Soon, doubt started to creep in. Were her peers living a better, more exciting life than she was? Although she didn’t post those kinds of photos herself, she says: 'There was jealousy and feelings of guilt... It wasn’t until I tried to mimic the trends that I realized: this isn’t who I am.' Dr Erin Vogel, a social psychologist... says: 'Social media seems to define ‘living fully’ as being adventurous, spontaneous and extroverted. For people who are fulfilled by a quieter life, social media seems to tell them that they’re living life the wrong way.'...  What makes us happy, at its core, is an existential question, according to Sara Kuburic, a psychotherapist and counselor who works with millennials... 'I find that people increasingly conceptualize living fully as seizing opportunities, taking risks and exploring the unknown... Living fully, in the Instagram age, is often then reduced to doing things that would be worth documenting... We are eager to live our lives fully... Yet the pressure to prove this to our 'friends' is a major reason why we are not.'"

From "What does 'living fully' mean?/Welcome to the age of pseudo-profound nonsense/Inspirational quotes of dubious provenance are just one of the ways in which social media sells a warped vision of 'living fully'" (The Guardian).

"7:24: Members of Congress join on the steps of the United States Capitol and sing "God Bless America.'"

From the Wikipedia 9/11 timeline.

Hey, guys...

I like the part about the etymology of "guy." I didn't know it's from the name Guy and the specific Guy, Guy Fawkes. I checked in the OED and this is the official origin of the common noun "guy."

It began with the effigy of Guy Fawkes, burnt on Guy Fawkes day. The effigy was called "a guy": "Once on a fifth of November I found a ‘Guy’ trusted to take care of himself there, while his proprietors had gone to dinner" (Charles Dickens, 1863).

From there it became "A person of grotesque appearance" — especially with respect to clothing, as in "We have far too many sculptured ‘Guys’ in the metropolis" (1880 Daily Tel.).

Finally, it was just "A man, fellow. originally U.S." Early examples:
1898 Milwaukee (Wisconsin) Sentinel 22 Jan. 4/7 I s'pose you got a Bible you'll let a guy look into.
1904 Cincinnati Commercial Tribune 29 June 4 Mr. Bryan is a hefty guy when it comes to Democratic conventions and the platforms thereof.
1928 D. H. Lawrence in T.P.'s Weekly 7 July 333/3 I say to Mother: Show me somebody happy, then! And she shows me some guy, or some bright young thing, and gets mad when I say: See the pretty monkey!
The OED has a "Draft addition" from October 2011 accepting the word "As a form of address to a man" and "Also in plural as a form of address to a group of people, in later use sometimes a mixed or all-female group."
1930 J. Dos Passos 42nd Parallel i. 102 Say, yous guys, this is fellowworker McCreary....
1993 M. Crichton Disclosure i. 22 Fuck 'em all. This reorg sucks. I'm with you on this one, guy....
I love that the OED has a completely gratuitous, random "fuck."

Anyway, should you address groups that are not all men as "guys"? You should know that some people will (in some situations) regard you as casually noninclusive.

What if the people you're addressing are are male? I know of a woman whose husband fell into a fury and berated her publicly for referring to him and his male friends as "guys." He heard it as a putdown. I wasn't there, so I can't tell how wrong he may have been. I could imagine a woman saying "guys" in a negative way. In which case, it's not the word. It's the inflection.

How about addressing just one man as "guy"? Reminds me of this old Right Guard commercial:

"It was 'cause of my cousin, and I don't want to mention no names."

"10:49: Fox News Channel is the first of the United States news networks to implement a news ticker at the bottom of its screen for supplementary information about the attacks."

"CNN adds one at 11:11, and MSNBC adds one at approximately 2:00 pm. All three cable networks have used a news ticker continuously in the years since (and many local television stations have followed suit)" (Wikipedia 9/11 timeline).

The rain brought out the wildlife... on Picnic Point.

I thought the little frog was spectacular...

... and then: the huge turtle:

"7:35: Atta and al-Omari board American Airlines Flight 11."

From the 9/11 timeline (at Wikipedia).

"The Federal Reserve should get our interest rates down to ZERO, or less, and we should then start to refinance our debt."

"INTEREST COST COULD BE BROUGHT WAY DOWN, while at the same time substantially lengthening the term. We have the great currency, power, and balance sheet..... ....The USA should always be paying the the lowest rate. No Inflation! It is only the naïveté of Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve that doesn’t allow us to do what other countries are already doing. A once in a lifetime opportunity that we are missing because of 'Boneheads.'"

Tweets Trump.

"... a cute amount of sun damage..."

"In 2019, faking freckles is nothing new. It’s a great way to distract from pimples or make it look like you’ve been getting a cute amount of sun damage without actually putting your skin in harm’s way" (New York Magazine).

As a person of discontinuous color, I have special entitlement to opine on the "freckleface" trend. These wielders of eyebrow liner did not go through a childhood of teasing and know nothing of the burdens of passing through this cruel world with a natural freckled face. They show up belatedly and take only the part of it that's deemed "cute" — just the right amount of freckles and in the chosen places and only while it's trendy...

Am I supposed to say thanks for upgrading something I would never have chosen for myself?

"All of these girls are all wearing suits that are cut the same way. And the only girl who gets disqualified is a mixed-race girl with rounder, curvier features."

Said Lauren Langford, quoted in "A ‘curvier’ high school swimmer won — only to be disqualified because of a ‘suit wedgie’" (WaPo).
Lauren Langford, who coaches swimming at another high school in the area, told The Washington Post that she believes racism, in addition to sexism, may have been a factor, given that the teen is among the few nonwhite athletes in a predominantly white sport....

The teenager didn’t pick out the swimsuit — her school chose it and issued it to her. But even though all the girls on her team were dressed identically, she was the only one cited for a uniform violation. Annette Rohde, who was working as an official during the meet, told the Anchorage Daily News that another female ref explained that the bottom of the girl’s suit “was so far up I could see butt cheek touching butt cheek.’’...

Over the years, the conservative one-piece swimsuits traditionally worn by competitive female swimmers have been phased out in favor of a higher-cut style that has less fabric and is more hydrodynamic, but also more revealing. The changes in the cut and fit, Langford said, make it “even more frequent that you’re picking a wedgie.”...

“The fact that she’s been told she’s intentionally trying to draw this sexual attention has really crushed her,” Langford said.
The photograph at the link shows the outside of the school building, no students visible. I'd like to see a picture of the suit forced on these girls, and I'm skeptical of the idea that a high-cut style was chosen because it's "more hydrodynamic." If everyone's wearing the same suit, it doesn't matter that how hydrodynamic it happens to be. I suspect that those who chose the suit wanted sexier-looking suits — perhaps to appeal to the vanity of the girls. If you go for a skimpiness that's cute but not overtly sexy on an average athletic girl, you'll have something that might look outrageous on somebody else. By stupidly sexualizing the female athletes and then relying on a formalistic application of the rules, the officials stumbled into a charge of racism.

Go back to the "conservative" style, you idiots!

September 10, 2019

At the Stalking Turkey Café...


... find your place.

"The better you are at what you do, the more committed you are, the more you specialize, and the fewer options you end up with. It’s like the only way not to get trapped is to be a hobo."

Says a character in Nell Zink's "Doxology," which I've been reading.

And this is the thinking of the same character, a woman in her early 20s:
The internet was the hunting ground of pushovers, douches, and tools. Nothing and no one turned her on. Falling asleep at night, rather than review the nonevents of her endless days, she pondered her lost future. She had been raised to help save the planet, and she couldn’t. To help save the planet, she had to find out who was saving the planet and offer to help. Nobody was saving the planet. Was it all just a trick that had been played on her?

High anxiety.

Via Reddit.

"I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House. I disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions..."

"... as did others in the Administration, and therefore I asked John for his resignation, which was given to me this morning. I thank John very much for his service. I will be naming a new National Security Advisor next week."

Said President Trump, quoted in "Trump Fires John Bolton as National Security Adviser" (NYT).
His departure comes as Mr. Trump is pursuing diplomatic openings with two of the United States’ most intractable enemies, efforts that have troubled hard-liners in the administration, like Mr. Bolton, who view North Korea and Iran as profoundly untrustworthy.

The president has continued to court Kim Jong-un, the repressive leader of North Korea, despite Mr. Kim’s refusal to surrender his nuclear program and despite repeated short-range missile tests by the North that have rattled its neighbors. In recent days, Mr. Trump has expressed a willingness to meet with President Hassan Rouhani of Iran under the right circumstances, and even to extend short-term financing to Tehran, although the offer has so far been rebuffed.

To his admirers, Mr. Bolton was supposed to be a check on what they feared would be naïve diplomacy, a cleareyed realist who would keep a president without prior experience in foreign affairs from giving away the store to wily adversaries. But Mr. Trump has long complained privately that Mr. Bolton was too willing to get the United States into another war....

"We asked 2020 candidates how they would wield presidential power. Here is what they said."

A NYT extravaganza.

I tried to read some of that but it's a tough slog through the verbiage. The questions are long and carefully framed, but you're not adequately rewarded for understanding the questions because the answers are not written to make the distinctions clear.

My son John blogged this by choosing just one question and only 2 answers to it.

The one question John chose was:
1. Presidential War Powers

In recent years, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel has claimed that the Constitution authorizes the president, as commander in chief, to order the military to attack other countries without congressional permission if the president determines that this would be anticipatory self-defense or otherwise serve the interests of the United States — at least where the nature, scope and duration of the anticipated hostilities are “limited,” like airstrikes against Libyan government forces in 2011 and Syrian government forces in 2017 and 2018.

Do you agree with the O.L.C.’s reasoning? Under what circumstances other than a literally imminent threat to the United States, if any, does the Constitution permit a president to order an attack on another country without prior Congressional authorization? What about bombing Iranian or North Korean nuclear facilities?
You have to work just to understand the question, and I admire the NYT for framing the questions with such precision. But the candidates can't give straight answers — especially the ones who are and will probably continue to be members of Congress. The 2 answers John picked out are from Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg — neither of whom is currently a member of Congress. John seems to see a distinct difference between the 2 answers.

The turkey's thanksgiving — a reseeded lawn.

"The President is a white supremacist, and white nationalist domestic terrorism is at an all-time high in America, but sure, let’s totally celebrate one of the whitest shows in the history of white America..."

"... with an extended interactive experience that allows you to pretend that one of the country’s most diverse cities in America is actually all white, and also get a photo op with … a recreated set of the fictional coffee shop with a couch that was only ever available for said six friends to sit?...  Like a bajillion other people, I watched the show off and on throughout its 10-season run, and I even liked some of the episodes, appreciated the chemistry of the cast, thought the writing was strong, and found moments of its comedic timing to be absolutely impeccable."

I'm reading "Why 'Friends' Is The Wrong Show To Celebrate In The Trump Era" by Rebecca Carroll (in Gothamist)(via Instapundit), and I've got to stop and be irked that Carroll didn't link to anything at "moments of its comedic timing [are] absolutely impeccable." Come on! It's got to be the way David Schwimmer says "paste" in the line "They're still not coming on man and the lotion and the powder have made a paste!"

Notice that the leather pants are black. Ross attempts to overlay his whiteness with black skin — a kind of blackface (or, more accurately, blackleg). He becomes emotionally overwrought in what can now be understood as a sort of racial panic. He is not a black man and yet he has presented himself within blackness. He calls another white man who directs him, disastrously, into whiteness — white lotion and white powder. But the lotion and the powder have made a paste!

He is stuck — pasted! — within whiteness, like the show itself, endlessly, hopelessly white!!

I can't imagine how I'd feel if writing racial critique stuff was actually my job. It would be very hard to keep a grip — maybe paste would help — on what is serious and what is ridiculous. I went back to Gothamist to figure out if Rebecca Carroll is someone who got educated in racial studies and is therefore somewhat forced to write essays like "Why 'Friends' Is The Wrong Show To Celebrate In The Trump Era." And here's the ad Gothamist had for me:

"Thomas read 'The Autobiography of Malcolm X' in his first year at Holy Cross. He put up a poster of Malcolm in his dorm room..."

"... and he began collecting records of Malcolm’s speeches, which he could still recite from memory two decades later. 'I’ve been very partial to Malcolm X,' Thomas said, in 1987. 'There is a lot of good in what he says.' On the eve of his appointment to the Supreme Court, Thomas was still summoning Malcolm as a witness for the prosecution against the liberal establishment. 'I don’t see how the civil-rights people today can claim Malcolm X as one of their own,' he said. 'Where does he say black people should go begging the Labor Department for jobs? He was hell on integrationists. Where does he say you should sacrifice your institutions to be next to white people?'...  At Yale [Law School], Thomas developed an understanding of racism that he would never shake. Whites—Southern and Northern, liberal and conservative, rural and urban—are racists.... The most that can be hoped for is that whites be honest about it. Honesty is demonstrated through crude statements of personal animus or intellectual suggestions of racial inequality. Dishonesty is demonstrated through denial of one’s racism and sympathetic extensions of help. Dishonesty lulls black people into a false sense of security, assuring them that they are safe when they are not."

From "Clarence Thomas’s Radical Vision of Race/Thomas has moved from black nationalism to the right. But his beliefs about racism, and our ability to solve it, remain the same" by Corey Robin (in The New Yorker)(drawn from Robin's new book "The Enigma of Clarence Thomas").

"Trump blamed the cancellation of his secret summit talks on a Taliban bombing that killed an American soldier and eleven others in Kabul last week... a face-saving excuse...."

"The idea of a secret summit with enemy combatants astonished even those close to the process.... Trump had hoped to broker an Afghan peace before the Presidential campaign heats up—to convince voters that he knows the art of diplomatic deals.... 'We are committed to continuing negotiations till the end if political settlement is chosen instead of war,' the Taliban said. Trump has also dramatically abandoned other diplomatic initiatives only to resume them in short order. In May, 2018, Trump abruptly called off his summit with the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore, citing 'anger and open hostility' in North Korea’s statements. Less than three weeks later, in an about-face, Trump flew to Singapore. At their first meeting, Trump and Kim pledged a new era in relations between countries still technically at war since 1953.'"

From "Trump’s Stunt with the Taliban Was Not About Negotiating Peace" by Robin Wright (in The New Yorker).

September 9, 2019

"I hate the news right now. Everyone seems to think the thing to talk about is Donald Trump, which strikes me as profoundly stupid."

"I watched 5-and-a-half Sunday morning talk shows yesterday, and I heard the same thing over and over. Trump has lost some unregainable portion of the women. He can never get them back, but he could never have won anyway, and really what he is is America's expression of anger. We're an angry, angry America, and this lout is, apparently, an embodiment of our collective id."

I wrote, on August 15, 2015, in "Dawn walk thoughts," which I'm reading this morning because I'm retroactively applying my new tag "sunrise."

I don't watch the Sunday morning talk shows anymore. I don't know exactly when I stopped but that old post expresses the aversion that keeps me away entirely now. I can't take the anger. I can't take the constant obsessing over Trump. And that was 4 years ago. Little did I know how much anger and obsessing would follow. But, as I did then, I can get away from the media-enforced anxiety.

Sunrise, Picnic Point — this morning at 6:30 a.m.


Subtlety must be the thing on an overcast day.

A campfire was still alive...


"I told them both it was time to get ready for school and his twin sister pulled a bunch of dresses out of her closet. My son picked one up and said 'I want to wear this.'"

"I'm thinking, whatever dude, we're running late just put some kind of clothes on and let's get out the door. I'm pretty politically neutral so while I wouldn't say I was particularly happy he wanted to wear a dress, it also wasn't nearly as upsetting to me as the idea that I could be late for work if we didn't get out the door. I figured ok, I wouldn't ever tell my daughter not to do something because it wasn't ladylike so I shouldn't tell my son not to do something because it isn't manly... Three hours later we get a call to come pick up our son because his outfit is distracting to the other kids and he's being bullied.... My wife is irate asking how I couldn't have realized that was inappropriate and I was setting our son up to fail. So is just about everyone else I've run this by...."

A father submits his story to the subreddit "Am I the asshole?"

Highest rated answer: "NTA [not the asshole] what a refreshing take on parenthood. It seems today so many people are set on telling women they can be anything but men still have to be men and act traditionally manly. You did what your son asked and I think that makes you a pretty great parent. Good on you OP!"

Oh! I see this post is "Locked due to brigading." I have to look up what that means (again). Apparently: "Someone might link to a post within another subreddit. So subreddit A gets linked in subreddit B. People from subreddit B don't like subreddit A and proceed to go to their subreddit and downvote en masse or sometimes harass users." Does that mean I'm "brigading" by blogging this? No, aside from the fact that the post is now locked, I don't think my readers will respond by going over there and downvoting and harassing. That's not why I link to Reddit. I link because I'm interested and to give readers a chance to talk about it here.

As for my opinion of the father in this case, I don't think he's an "asshole" for what he did, but he should have thought about it more than "whatever dude" and he should have included his wife. Did the boy — a second-grader — know what he really wanted or was he being lazy and silly?

"He was dressed as I remembered him — flannel shirt and jeans. Except the familiar wardrobe was draped over a man’s body now."

"The message of the clothes had changed from 'tomboy' to 'I.T. guy.' Seeing the man who used to be my wife reminded me of the feelings of loss I felt in the months following his quiet and dignified disclosure to me of his transition.... We had been together from our late teens to early 30s. My understanding of our divorce was that we started too young, and the differences that seemed small at the time widened, as our childhoods ended and our adulthoods began... I remember the day I worked up the nerve to talk about splitting up. Moments before I began my prepared speech, my spouse asked whether we should try separating. Stunned, I admitted I was about to say the same thing. I laughed and cried with relief. We hugged. The dogs came out of hiding. It was our best moment in months.... We were two kids once, a boy and a girl, making plans for the rest of our lives. Our paths diverged and now we came back together, two men in middle age, having a look at each other and talking about some good memories we still shared.... I thought I had just attended a private wake for my ex-wife, to look at the body, to say goodbye. But I hadn’t. Meeting him in person was a confirmation of life....."

From "Coffee With the Man Who Used to Be My Wife" by Dan Higgins (NYT).

A comment over there that got some highly rated replies: "The analogy of the transition as a death is problematic and a cis person's grief isn't one of the more important aspects of these transitions." Here's the highest rated response:
... I’d ask you to consider that the death analogy that you find “problematic” is not a new one, nor one that most trans people I know dismiss. If to call a trans person by their birth name is termed “dead naming” in the LGBTQ+ community, why should not a spouse (or former spouse) of a trans person be permitted to share their own experience of their partner’s figurative “death”... [W]hen anyone transitions, there is a constellation of loved ones that are impacted, in one way or another. I am the cis-het former wife of a trans woman, assigned male at birth. We are no longer married, but are very close and share two children. I am a staunch and vocal LGBTQ+ ally. However, please do not for one moment dismiss the pain of my OWN transition as my then husband pursued her own quest for self — after 12 years of marriage and two children. I too urge you to keep an open mind and consider that gender transitions/affirmations do not happen in a vacuum.

"Yes, dividing the triplets among three families, each carefully chosen by class and other factors (all three boys had older adopted sisters, presumably as controls), was underhanded and imperious."

"But aren’t all adoptions in some way manipulative? Children aren’t assigned by lottery. Agencies look for the right fit and routinely make matches based on a range of subjective criteria. The current practice among adoption agencies is to never split up twins. Was this the standard in 1961? The film should have told us one way or another. The film also cheats a bit on the central issue of the twins study itself: nature vs. nurture..... An ominous montage depicts the boys as anguished children and strongly implies that [SPOILER DELETED] was biologically determined. But the film later shifts gears and seems to place an inordinate amount of blame on Eddy’s adoptive father, a self-described strict disciplinarian who appears haunted by what he might have done differently as a father."

From "DOES ‘THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS’ PLAY FAIR WITH ITS AUDIENCE?/The story of three triplets reunited as teenagers after having been separated at birth" (The Jerusalem Post).

We watched "Three Identical Strangers" last night. Have you seen it? It was very interesting but I have some problems with it!

There was a lot in the movie about the ethics of the adoption agency and the psychiatric researchers, but the movie had its own ethical problems, most notably in the way it used and accused Eddy's father.

"It died in my hands. If only I could explain to them, I was only trying to help. I just wave the stick around to shoo them off. Poor things, they believe I killed the chick."

Said Shiva Kewat, who tried to rescue a baby crow, quoted in "‘Revengeful’ crows target MP man in 3-year-old vengeance" (Times of India).
“The assaults are sudden and frightening,” he says. He has been injured several times in the head. “The crows attack him like they show fighter jets diving towards a target in movies,” say villagers. ...

Professor Ashok Kumar Munjal, who teaches genetics at Barkatullah University in Bhopal and researches bird and animal behaviour, believes that crows are more intelligent than most birds, and they do tend to show behavior similar to revenge. “It may not be as complex as in humans, but they do have a tendency of remembering individuals and targeting those who have wronged them,” he told TOI.

"How Reddit's Male Fashion Advice Became One of the Nicest Places on the Internet/The popular subreddit turned 10 this week, and it's still helping guys improve their style—sans trolls."

Esquire explains.
Part of what makes it weird is what makes it important: The Subreddit is not run by industry experts or stylists. There’s a hard stance on blocking spammers and marketers and brands. The advice comes from regular people who aren’t necessarily trying to look stylish but rather to just not look bad. That's what makes it so accessible.

Founder Jeremy Wagner-Kaiser started the Subreddit 10 years ago after going off on another thread with other users about fashion advice. “I had a huge inclination that I was dressing like a slob,” he says. “It was created explicitly to give advice to people who don't have any idea what they're doing. We want them to have clear, straightforward answers.” That means learning what outfits are considered business casual, how pants and shirts should fit, and what shoes are actually worth investing in....
Here's r/malefashionadvice/. There are 2.2 million members.

Just to pick an example (almost randomly), here's a guy whose "normal style for the past 13 or so years has roughly been a mixture of grunge-emo-metalhead-nerd.... Think Kurt Cobain meets a modern metalcore/hardcore kid meets a nerd that watches anime and cartoons and other 90s crap." He wants "to find a way to either mix my current style with a more sophisticated or I guess business casual look, or create a whole new look altogether to wear when I'm feeling myself."

The top-rated advice is: "do it incrementally. Focus on one aspect, e.g. Shoes, read up on it and improve your style within your own parameters. Then go to the next. Trying to do everything at once is a recipe for disaster. Good luck!"

A highly rated but more specific answer is:
Don't throw out all the tees you used to wear. You can keep things that interest you and still look good wearing them. For example, you could replace a loud-pattern flannel with a more simple* chambray or Oxford shirt and wear a t-shirt underneath. A well-fitting denim jacket or dark Harrington would also suit your style I feel. Vans are also fine, but I would suggest you clean them very often. Grey also tends to be less grungy and emo than black, while retaining the same aesthetic.
Notice how practical, on-topic, and completely nice it is.

I'm blogging this not just because I'm interested in fashion and in the physical appearance of males. I love Reddit.

September 8, 2019

At the Wildflower Café...


... you can talk all night.

"Everybody hated something. I hated the heights. Red Buttons hated the water. Stella [Stevens] hated the dirt and so did..."

"... Ernest Borgnine. Shelley Winters hated being fat and Jack Albertson hated Shelley Winters."

Said Carol Lynley, years ago, talking about "The Poseidon Adventure," quoted in "Carol Lynley, actress in 1972 blockbuster ‘The Poseidon Adventure,’ dies at 77" (WaPo).

It's not too late/We should be giving/Only with love can we climb/It's not too late/Not while we're living/Let's put our hands out in time...

"Toward the end of the book, Kantor and Twohey devote two chapters to Christine Blasey Ford and her decision to air her sexual-assault allegations against the Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh."

"This, and the book’s finale, 'The Gathering,' seem appended, an anticlimactic climax. In 'The Gathering,' the reporters assemble 12 of the sexual abuse victims they interviewed (including a McDonald’s worker, Kim Lawson, who helped organize a nationwide strike over the fast-food franchise’s failure to address sexual harassment) at Gwyneth Paltrow’s Brentwood mansion to talk, over gourmet Japanese cuisine, about what they’ve endured since going public with their charges. The testimonials inevitably descend into platitudes about personal 'growth' and getting 'some sense of myself back.' At one point, Paltrow starts crying over the way Weinstein had invoked his support for her career to get women to submit to his advances, and Lawson’s friend (a McDonald’s labor organizer who came with her so she wouldn’t feel alone in a room full of movie stars) hands the actress a box of tissues. These therapeutic scenes paste a pat conclusion onto a book that otherwise keeps the focus not on individual behavior or personal feelings but on the apparatuses of politics and power."

From Susan Faludi's review of "SHE SAID/Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement" by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey. (Kantor and Twohey are NYT reporters, and the review is in the NYT.)

Interesting detail about Paltrow, the tissues, and the McDonald's workers.

Joe Rogan talks about how Rotten Tomatoes treated Dave Chapelle.

First, look at this:

Now, here's Joe:

"What I always find interesting is, 99 percent of the people that come over to say something negative and to attack [me] are women...."

"I am only the third woman and the first mom to ever be the White House press secretary, and yet women attack me relentlessly..."

Said Sarah Huckabee Sanders (quoted in a Mediaite article linked by my son at Facebook).

A love story.

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“We worked together at McDonalds. I was in a deep depression at the time. It felt like my mind was dying. Hours passed. Days passed. I just tried to keep to myself and make the fries. But she was different. She was friends with everybody. Always smiling. Always blushing. Always talking. One morning it was snowing outside, and she walked in the front door, covered in snow, and she started dancing and twisting on the floor mat, and the snow was falling off her, and the light was behind her, and she looked like an angel to me. But we never spoke. Her friends kept telling me that she had a crush on me, but I was too shy. Sometimes we’d be at the same post together, and both of us would just stare at the computer screen. If we accidentally looked at each other, we’d look away really fast. Then one night we both finished around 10 pm and we sat alone in the break room. We started talking a little bit. She couldn’t sit still. She kept getting up and walking around the room. I told her that people were saying she liked me. She didn’t respond. She just stared at the wall. Then after a long time she finally looked at me. I put my arm around her shoulder, and we kissed.” (London, England)

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"The Last of the Dunk Tank Clowns/Turns out Americans don’t really enjoy being insulted anymore."

A great title for what I hope is a great NYT article. It's by (great name) Jason Nark.
“They’re retiring left and right,” [said David Simmons, a dunk tank clown]. “They’re being run out of town.”...

At the Erie County Fair... [p]eople sat on the metal benches, trying to guess which person Mr. Simmons would pick on next, an open-air comedy show in the vein of Don Rickles or Richard Pryor.

“We just came to sit and listen,” said Zenaida Piotrowicz, 62, who was laughing along with her husband, Bob. “He mostly says the things you’re thinking in your head.”

“Ha, you know you’re trailer park trash if you wear a T-shirt with your cigarette brand on the chest,” Mr. Simmons, 33, yelled to one man, who kept on walking. “I’m probably paying child support for you, kid,” he barked to a teen jawing back at him....

[For] the Champlain Valley Fair in Essex Junction, Vt. Mr. Simmons thought that would be a good place to wear the red Make America Great Again hat he keeps in his cage.....
One place I go for modern-day insulting is the subreddit r/RoastMe. You have to volunteer to be insulted, so the enjoyment of the insultee is factored in. The same is (sort of) true with the old-time dunk tank clown. Don't go near him if you don't want to be insulted. He's not circulating. He's at a fixed point (and he's subject to the punishment of dunking). But some people go near because they like hearing him insult somebody else. With RoastMe, you can read it all you want, and the insults don't come to you unless you ask for it. There's also ToastMe, where people ask to be boosted and complimented. And I like this guy, who posted at RoastMe, "I posted on r/ToastMe and But balance is necessary so here I am. Give it your best shot 👏👏."

"Elizabeth Warren's team doesn't want to talk about Hillary Clinton, but that doesn't mean the 2020 presidential candidate isn't talking with her party's 2016 nominee."

Writes NBC News, with a big glorious photograph of Elizabeth Warren alongside Hillary Clinton. The photo is riveting, with Hillary Clinton at her most garish — oversmiling, dressed in tent-shaped turquoise, and caught at the "Hitler salute" instant of an exaggerated wave at an unseen crowd. And there's Elizabeth Warren, seemingly Hillary's doppelganger. Warren's haircut is ever so slightly raffish around the ear and her hand is flung higher, into a more natural wave. She's in red, not blue.

Warren is differentiated from Hillary, but not enough for her to want you looking at this picture today. The photo is from October 2016. The article, relying on unnamed sources, is about how the women are hiding the connection they (supposedly) have:
It’s hard to know exactly how many times they’ve reached out to each other — or precisely what they’ve discussed — in part because neither camp wants to reveal much of anything about their interaction and in part because they have each other's phone numbers, and there are many ways for two high-powered politicians to communicate that don’t involve their staffs....
It's so secretive, the way these people who have each other's phone numbers can just talk to each other without anyone else knowing.
But a person who is close to Clinton said the contact has been substantial enough to merit attention, describing a conversation between the two as seemingly recent because it was "front of mind" for her.
A person who is close to Clinton. Why are Clinton people trying to plant stories about Clinton's ongoing connection to Warren? Are they trying to help somebody who is not Warren?! Or can I assume that the Clinton person simply got caught off guard by the NBC reporter who seems to have asked if the contact was "substantial" and "recent" and only got that weird, vague "front of mind" answer.
"That has clearly not gone unnoticed, and I think she really appreciates that," the person close to Clinton said....
It sounds as though a somewhat out-of-it Clinton associate was thinking entirely from the point of view of Clinton — whose feelings may be hurting — and not from the point of view of Warren — who must want tight control of any connection to Hillary. Hillary can help Warren eventually, but this isn't the time — as the article goes on to explain. Tying Warren to Clinton is something you'd do now to help Bernie.

"President Trump said on Saturday that he had canceled a secret meeting at Camp David with Taliban leaders and the president of Afghanistan..."

The NYT reports.
“Unbeknownst to almost everyone,” Mr. Trump wrote in a series of tweets, Taliban leaders and the Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, were headed to the United States on Saturday for what would have been a politically fraught meeting at the president’s official Camp David retreat in Maryland.

But Mr. Trump said that “in order to build false leverage,” the Taliban had admitted to a suicide car bomb attack on Thursday that had killed an American soldier and 11 others in the capital of Kabul. “I immediately cancelled the meeting and called off peace negotiations,” he wrote. “If they cannot agree to a ceasefire during these very important peace talks, and would even kill 12 innocent people, then they probably don’t have the power to negotiate a meaningful agreement anyway,” Mr. Trump added. “How many more decades are they willing to fight?”...

From the often-apt subreddit r/TheRightCantMeme.

Oh, damn! Libs are DESTROYED!!! from r/TheRightCantMeme

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