June 12, 2021

Another look at the sunrise.




"The 2009 film 'Cart' illustrates what Dr. Lienhard called the 'symbiotic relationship' of humans and shopping carts."

"In the film, a shopping cart is given a mind of its own, navigating the perils of city streets as it searches for a boy who has left his blanket in the basket.... Jesse Rosten, the director, said the idea arose when he and a friend spotted an overturned cart in a parking lot. A sad song was on the radio as they drove past it, adding to the potential for cinematic melancholy. 'We laughed the whole way home, imagining back stories for this down-and-out cart who was struggling against the world,' he said. 'We’ve all seen abandoned shopping carts out in the world, and the film is one take on how carts end up where they do.'"

From "Everyone Has a Theory About Shopping Carts/An essential tool. An inspiration for artists. A public nuisance. The humble shopping cart has been all of these in the decades since it was invented. But what does it reveal about our character?" (NYT).

I put an ellipsis where the article reveals the ending of the movie, which we watched here at Meadhouse. It's 10 minutes and we were predicting different endings, all of which I like better than the actual ending, so don't get too fixated on the actual ending...


I predict that — if you watch this — you'll predict at least 2 endings that you'll like better than the actual ending.

5:27 a.m.



Joe Rogan talks about gender difference with a Harvard professor who's written a book about testosterone.

Bill Maher highlights "progressophobia" — the fear of seeing progress.


ADDED: Maher's audience usually supports him with a lot of laughter. Actually, it's forced at times. So it was weird at 5:18, when I laughed out loud — unusual for me sitting at my computer — and there was dead silence from the studio audience. And he paused distinctively there to accommodate a laugh.

"The order from Public Health Madison and Dane County closing all county schools was illegal, unnecessary and unconstitutional."

Said Rick Esenberg, president of the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, qutoed in "Wisconsin Supreme Court strikes down Dane County health department order to close schools" (Wisconsin State Journal). 

The order was from last August, but the court had place a hold on the order, so private schools that wanted to open did.

June 11, 2021

Artisanal comments.

A reader, John Henry, emails:
I was a prolific commenter, probably too prolific, previously. I was really upset when you stopped allowing comments. But now that I am getting over my withdrawal symptoms, I am kind of liking it, especially now that you are bringing back curated, artisanal, commenting via email.

Sunrise — 5:18 to 5:26.





A man in shorts and his wonky ram.

 I approve of this one:

"I don’t believe in seedless watermelon — that is against my religion."

Said Gabrielle E.W. Carter, "a multimedia artist and gardener in Apex, N.C.," quoted in "Summer’s Greatest Prize: Watermelons, With Seeds, Please/For many Americans, juicy, scarlet watermelon is a must for Juneteenth. The heirloom varieties are a sacred summer fruit" in The New York Times.

I did not know that it was possible to write an article about black people and watermelon, but here it is.

All season long, you’ll find watermelon eating in its purest form — palms clenching the rinds over gingham tablecloths; all pleasure and no tropes — at family reunions, at get-togethers on terraces and around patio fire pits. Consuming the fruit is a sacrament of an American summer, and, for many Black Americans, a must for Juneteenth, the Texas-born holiday gaining national recognition that’s celebrated with red punch, strawberry spoon cake and dry-rubbed ribs.

On the received wisdom that it's racist to discuss black people and watermelon, here's "How Watermelons Became a Racist Trope" (The Atlantic). 

"This article is from three years ago. I don’t know how you came across it unless you were digging in the New York Times for the 'worst of the NYTimes articles.'"

 A reader named Mary emails me about a post I did yesterday, riffing on a NYT article that, I see now, came out in 2018. The article is titled "Some L.G.B.T. Parents Reject the Names ‘Mommy’ and ‘Daddy’" and it really does seem to be vying for the title of Dumbest NYT Article (especially since it had an atrocious math error). 

The NYT will push old stories in its sidebar or at the bottom of whatever article you are reading, and the linked headline looks fresh. I think that's happening more lately, so I'll be more vigilant going forward. The policy I'm trying to follow is to say something about the date whenever the story isn't new, unless the subject is something that's clearly old.

The quote in the post title is the first item on a list of 4 observations from Mary, so let me give you the rest of her list here rather than put it in the comments at the original post (though I encourage you to go back to that, because I've posted many excellent comments there):

"In fact, Wallace [Idaho] is the self-declared 'Probable Center of the Universe,' and according to its citizens, for good reason."

"A proclamation given by then-mayor Ron Garitone on September 25, 2004, avowed, 'Our government-contracted scientists...have, after years of diligence, been unable to unearth one scintilla of [proof] that Wallace is NOT the center of the universe.' This year Wallace is celebrating the centennial births of two native Hollywood elite: Doris Houck, known for her roles in several Three Stooges films, and The Postman Always Rings Twice star Lana Turner, whose childhood home at 217 Bank Street still stands, and is in the midst of a renovation."

 From "THE 15 BEST SMALL TOWNS TO VISIT IN 2021/From Alabama’s music capital to the self-proclaimed ‘center of the universe,’ these American towns are calling your name" (Smithsonian).

Why not proclaim yourself the center of the universe? Everybody is a star. That's a song title

By the way, do you know that "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" has been on TV for 20 seasons? Here's a promo for the finale episode of their 20th season:


Despite years of diligence, scientists have been unable to unearth one scintilla of proof that the Kardashians are not the center of the universe.

FROM THE EMAIL: Wince writes:
Doris Houck may be best known as the girl who tried to mash Shemp Howard's head in a vice in BRIDELESS GROOM in an attempt to persuade him to marry her. 
Famous Stooges line: "Hold hands you lovebirds..."

Wow, these are some tough dames:

"The archive’s drawings, which date to between 1905 and 1920, range from self-portraits to pictures of other people and quick sketches..."

"One is an intimate portrayal of Kafka’s mother, who wears her hair in a high bun and dons small, oval-shaped spectacles. Another ink drawing titled Drinker shows an irate-looking man slumped in front of a glass of wine.... Among the newly digitized papers is a scathing, 47-page letter to [his father] Herman; never delivered, it describes Kafka as a 'timid child' who cannot have been 'particularly difficult to manage.... I cannot believe that a kindly word, a quiet taking by the hand, a friendly look, could not have got me to do anything that was wanted of me.'"

Smithsonian reports.

View the archive here. Here's "Drinker":

June 10, 2021

"And nearly 13 percent — 20 percent of the lesbian couples and 5 percent of the gay couples — participated in some version of 'undoing gender.'"

"Many do this by taking parental names from their native cultures or religions that strip away the binary in this cultural context, collapsing the dichotomy between terms by merging them, such as 'Mather,' a fusion of mother and father, or creating nicknames ('Muzzie,' in one instance).... Ellen Kahn, the director of the Children, Youth & Families Program at the Human Rights Campaign, said the gender binary that underlies 'mother' and 'father' doesn’t jibe with some parents’ self-understanding and self-presentation: 'For queer parents who don’t think of themselves as gender conforming, "mommy" and "daddy" may be a little discordant with the way they think about themselves.'"

From "Some L.G.B.T. Parents Reject the Names ‘Mommy’ and ‘Daddy’" (NYT).

1. Hello? NYT? "Muzzie" is a slur against Muslims! How can you just print that? Was someone pulling a prank on you — were you swingin' on the flippity-flop again?   

2. "Mather," that's an interesting idea. I wonder how it would be pronounced. Just about exactly like "mother," but slightly weird and affected. Good luck, little child of "mather" and "fother." 

3. You're going to give a child the task of expressing its parents' nonconformity? Be careful! You might create a longing for conformity.

4. It's an old idea, but worth considering — "parental units":

5. The NYT article has a correction noted: "An earlier version of this article misstated the percentage of parents in a study who were 'undoing gender' by creating new names. It is nearly 13 percent, not a quarter." I read the comments over there and saw how the mistake was made. As you see in the quote in my post title, they had "20 percent of the lesbian couples and 5 percent of the gay couples." They added 20% and 5% to get 25% ("a quarter"). That's some embarrassing innumeracy. 

6. I remember the days of "Heather Has 2 Mommies." Apparently, we're regressing to the notion that there can't be 2 mommies. Even more regressive is the idea that to be a mother or a father is to follow stereotypical gender roles. How can this man be a father if he stays home with young children while this other person — how can we call her a mother?? — goes out to work for pay?!

"In her most recent post, she argued that 'vaccinated people’s urine/feces' (sic) needed to be separated from general sewage supplies/waterways until its impact on unvaccinated people via drinking water was established."

From "Naomi Wolf banned from Twitter for spreading vaccine myths/Many social media users applaud termination of author’s account, but some have said move is a blow to freedom of speech" (The Guardian).

Let's take a closer look at that snapping turtle.

Following up on yesterday's video, here are the stills:


I like the curved line left by little monster's tail.



I don't know for sure, but I am thinking this newly dug hole is turtle-related:


Why do supporters of Kamala Harris portray her as faceless?!

There's some discussion this week of a ridiculous cookie Harris's people handed out:

Some people are referring to that as a cookie "with her face on" it, but it's quite distinctly a cookie depicting her with no face.

Last October, I showed you this really bad sign, which we'd seen in our neighborhood:


Why would you show a politician you support as having no face? One horrible answer would be: Oh, but it does show her face. It shows the facial trait that matters: The color of the skin of her face.

In action, Kamala Harris uses her face. She's not a blank face. She's a smiling face. Like Obama, she deploys a big smile and laughs as much as possible. Like Hillary Clinton, she seems to laugh too much and not because she's genuinely delighted. 

Perhaps her supporters default to a blank face because efforts to replicate the smile in a drawing or in cookie icing don't work. And how could they? To look like her, the smile would need to look off. So you just can't do it right.

Another idea is that people are uneasy about any sort of a caricature of a black person. Anything you do might be criticized as racist. Facelessness is the graphic design equivalent of if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all... in a world where the standards of what counts as "nice" are so high and so confusing that you feel anything you say may be used against you. So let me revise: The choice of facelessness is the graphic design equivalent of taking the 5th.

IN THE EMAIL: Omaha 1 writes: "I know it's awful but someone on FB said it looks like she has a turkey on her face. I can't un-see it now! You can see the drumsticks sticking out on both sides." That's got to be a reference to "Friends":

AND: Tubal writes: "The shadow of the metal stakes makes Biden and, more so Harris, resemble Mr. and Mrs. Thompson from South Park": 

"Missing Dog Launched from Vehicle During Car Accident, Found on a Farm Herding Sheep."

 People reports. 

[Tilly, t]he 2-year-old border collie was ejected from the rear of his owner's GMC Yukon during a car accident on Sunday in Rathdrum, Idaho. Tilly fled the scene of the collision after being launched from the vehicle....

On Tuesday, siblings Tyler and Travis Potter noticed something weird about their Australian shepherd Hooey while watching the dog on their family farm... [U]pon closer inspection, Tyler and Travis figured out why. The dog out there wasn't Hooey at all, but Tilly, who managed to find his way to the Potter Farm, 1.5 miles from the crash site...

"I think that dog was trying to herd," Travis Potter told The Spokesman-Review. Tilly's owner, Linda Oswald, told the outlet that tracks based on her dog's usual behavior. "He'll herd anything," Oswald said. "When I go to the dog park, he tries to herd the people into one group."

Thus, we learn that a border collie, kicked out of his familiar home base, will look for work on his own and find it.

"The IG's conclusion could not be clearer: the media narrative was false from start to finish... "

"'[T]he evidence did not support a finding that the [U.S. Park Police] cleared the park on June 1, 2020, so that then President Trump could enter the park.' Instead... 'the evidence we reviewed showed that the USPP cleared the park to allow a contractor to safely install anti-scale fencing in response to destruction of Federal property and injury to officers that occurred on May 30 and May 31.' Crucially, 'the evidence established that relevant USPP officials had made those decisions and had begun implementing the operational plan several hours before they knew of a potential Presidential visit to the park, which occurred later that day.'.... The clearing of the Park, said the IG Report, had nothing to do with Trump or his intended visit to the Church; in fact, those responsible for doing this did not have any knowledge of Trump's intentions... [T]he media claims that were repeated over and over and over as proven fact — and even confirmed by 'fact-checkers' — were completely false.... Over and over we see the central truth: the corporate outlets that most loudly and shrilly denounce 'disinformation' — to the point of demanding online censorship and de-platforming in the name of combating it — are, in fact, the ones who spread disinformation most frequently and destructively."

Writes Glenn Greenwald in "Yet Another Media Tale -- Trump Tear-Gassed Protesters For a Church Photo Op -- Collapses That the White House violently cleared Lafayette Park at Trump's behest was treated as unquestioned truth by most corporate media. Today it was revealed as a falsehood" (Substack).

"When they looked at students by race, they found that Black and Hispanic students lost the most learning because of hot school days."

"In fact, white students were able to mitigate nearly all of the effects of hot schools days.... Starting in the 1930s, the US government started to back home loans for Americans to help them build up wealth – but the US refused to back loans for Black people, or even white people who wanted to live near Black people.... In many historically redlined neighborhoods, cities built elements that trap and radiate heat, like highways and parking lots. Meanwhile in more affluent white neighborhoods, they installed heat-soaking elements, like parks and trees.... This ultimately means Black and Hispanic children are living and going to school in hotter neighborhoods, which could largely explain why hot days hurt them more.... 'If they’re never really able to cool down to a normal body temperature, then that’s an issue,' said Wolf, the heat researcher. 'We know that constant heat stress, where you don’t really get a break from this, is a really large stressor. That compounds itself from day to day.'... Park and his colleagues found that this racial disparity in air conditioning is true across the country, after controlling for how hot a region is." 

From "America's Dirty Divide/How the US lets hot school days sabotage learning/New research shows American students are losing huge chunks of learning to heat (The Guardian).

"Open your eyes/Look up at the skies/And see..."

That's the first line I heard when I got back to my car — radio set to the "Classic Vinyl" channel — after my sunrise run this morning.

It was far from the most beautiful sunrise I've seen in my morning ritual...


... but there was a partial solar eclipse... 


There were about 8 other humans gathered to witness the phenomenon they'd heard about, and this is the point where one young guy exclaimed, ironically, "The solar eclipse is legit!" 


ADDED: If you think you need those special glasses to look at a sunrise solar eclipse: 1. You need to ask yourself how you can look at ANY sunrise, and 2. Just interpose your iPhone between your eyes and the sun and watch the event on your iPhone screen (and take your photos, too).

June 9, 2021

I begin this video before I know what animal that is up ahead.

 On my sunrise run today, I encounter wildlife:

"I teach students who recoil from a poem because it was written by a man. I teach students who approach texts in search of the oppressor."

"I teach students who see inequities in texts that have nothing to do with power. Students have internalized the message that this is the way we read and think about the world, and as a result, they fixate on power and group identity. This fixation has stunted their ability to observe and engage with the full fabric of human experience in our literature. In my professional opinion, the school is failing to encourage healthy habits of mind, essential for growth, such as intellectual curiosity, humility, honesty, reason, and the capacity to question ideas and consider multiple perspectives.... Understandably, these students have found comfort in their moral certainty, and so they have become rigid and closed-minded, unable or unwilling to consider alternative perspectives. These young students have no idea that the school has placed ideological blinders on them."

Writes Dana Stangel-Plowe, resigning from her job as an English teacher at an expensive New Jersey private school.

The full text of her letter is here. I first read about this in The Daily Mail: "Black Columbia professor calls for 'truly antiracist parents' to pull their kids out of $52k New Jersey school after teacher quit over critical race theory lessons and says only this will stop the 'misguided quest'/John McWhorter, an associate professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University, tweeted his support for Dana Stangel-Plowe."

The Mail quotes McWhorter's tweet: "All hail Dana Stangel-Plowe, who has resigned from the Dwight-Englewood School, which teaches students 'antiracism' that sees life as nothing but abuse of power, and teaches that cringing, hostile group identity against oppression is the essence of a self."

"For the 30-ish fashion stylist Mickey Freeman, who has eschewed trousers for some six years, a kilt is a tool for flouting societal constrictions on what constitutes Black male identity."

"'Most people have an internal directive of how clothes play into a man’s masculinity,' Mr. Freeman wrote in an email. Guys looking to loosen 'the internal shackles' of gender presentation may benefit from giving a test run to wearing a garment created without two legs and a zipper."

From "The Boys in Their Summer Dresses Gender fluidity enters its next phase as men increasingly step out in skirts and frocks" by Guy Trebay (in the NYT)

The headline is a play on a famous short story title, "The Girls in Their Summer Dresses." The article does talk about men wearing summer dresses, but I just want to say that a kilt is not a dress, and a kilt is not "a tool for flouting societal constrictions." A kilt is a very traditional item of men's clothing.

Now, it's possible that "a kilt is a tool for flouting societal constrictions on what constitutes Black male identity," but that has to do with a black man challenging convention by wearing something from the traditional clothing of white men, not about playing with gender. It's like saying a dashiki is a tool for flouting societal constrictions on what constitutes white male identity.

By the way, Freeman seems to be black, so he may be able to talk about "the internal shackles of gender presentation." But I recommend eschewing slavery metaphors like that, especially when you're just talking about your feelings of being restricted. Your shyness, insecurity, and inhibitions are not like slavery, and as hyperbole, they're in bad taste.

"Why is this administration telling asylum seekers to stay home when we have a moral and legal duty to give those in danger an opportunity to seek refuge."

"Hopefully domestic politics is not a driving force because asylum must operate outside of politics."

Said Lee Gelernt, "a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, which is suing the administration over its practice of turning migrants away," quoted in "Kamala Harris, With Blunt Language on Border, Forges Immigration Image/The vice president concluded her first trip abroad, a high-stakes trip to Mexico and Guatemala during which she took on the politically volatile issue" (NYT).

Gelernt (and others) object to Harris's advice — to Guatemalans who may be contemplating attempting to migrate to the United States — "do not come." That's the "blunt language" the headline refers to.

Ms. Harris’s team has tried to distance her from the U.S.-Mexico border issue, an acknowledgment of the political baggage it brings to any Democrat with aspirations for higher office. While she has shown a willingness to speak about the causes of migration, Ms. Harris has stumbled when discussing the border.

When pressed by Lester Holt of NBC on Monday about why she wasn’t visiting the border itself, Ms. Harris responded, “And I haven’t been to Europe. And I mean, I don’t understand the point that you’re making. I’m not discounting the importance of the border.”

"Consider soaping yourself with only your hands," advises the Washington Post in an article about how to take a shower.

The article is "Save your skin: How you shower matters more than when, dermatologists say," and the reason for using only your hands is to avoid "over-exfoliating."

A commenter over there repeats the line "Consider soaping yourself with only your hands" and says:

The phrase above really made me laugh and took me back more than 50 years to 1968 when I went away to college and went into the bathroom in my shared suite to take a shower with only a towel. My roommate asked me where my washcloth was and I told her I didn't use one, I just used my hands. And I remember her response to this day: "Oh my God, you mean you touch yourself!!" (Yes, it was a Catholic women-only college.) Haha, just another indication of how poorly I fit into that student body.

Sunrise — 5:18 to 5:19.




"Even though everyone said they hated it, engagement had doubled."

"It" = the Facebook news feed. 

ADDED: The NYT video makes creative use of a lot of different video and declines to list these things in the credits, but I do think it's wrong not to acknowlege the brilliant Jean Cocteau film "Blood of a Poet" (which is used extensively and is so distinct and striking): 

"New York Times editorial board member Mara Gay's comments on MSNBC have been irresponsibly taken out of context."

"Her argument was that Trump and many of his supporters have politicized the American flag. The attacks on her today are ill-informed and grounded in bad-faith."

Tweets NYTimes Communications/@NYTimesPR.

That's about the controversy we were talking about yesterday, here. I said: "I think this is an honest revelation: American flags really do disturb Mara Gay." And: "This is a pretty standard aversion to the flag. It made me think of Katha Pollitt's famous reaction to flag displays after the 9/11 attacks...." 

The NYT tweet came out yesterday, so I guess what I wrote is within the category "attacks on her today" and my circumspect and considered remarks have been denounced as "ill-informed and grounded in bad-faith."

So I'm going to say that tweet is ill-informed and grounded in bad-faith! What a ridiculous blanket statement with no regard for the individuals who listened to Gay and made our own interpretations and expressed our opinions.

It's so hypocritical to obsessively protect her while attacking all her critics with broad-brush insults!

IN THE COMMENTS: You can see email, along with responses from me, on the subject of whether the American left has an aversion to displays of the American flag. I am reminded of this photograph of mine that I posted on the 4th of July in 2005:

Washington Monument

At the time, I wrote: "In my family, this is known as my 'most right wing photo' and jokes have been made along the lines of: 'What if you put that on your office door? What would people think? What would they say?'"

There were a lot of comments at the time, including one from a colleague who said: "I quite like the photo and resist the idea that the right owns the flag. " I was motivated to post what I called "my most left-wing flag photo, from the Kerry rally here in Madison last fall":

I guess that's floatie life — they don't seem too upset.

I'm looking at "Sharks circle women on a floatie at Florida beach" (NY Post).

“Shocking behaviour and all about getting their own back. Queen said can’t use titles to make money but she has no control over a nickname. They will milk it."

Tweeted royals biographer Angela Levin tweeted, quoted in "Prince Harry, Meghan Markle didn’t ask Queen to use Lilibet name, palace source claims." 

Harry and Meghan named their new baby Lilibet (Lilibet Diana), Lilibet being the pet name used for Queen Elizabeth since she was a little girl and her effort to say her own name came out "Lilibet." It really seems to be the Queen's special name, not to be appropriated with the assumption that she'll feel honored. She's the Queen. What could possibly make her feel honored? It can't be the would-be honorer's push for intimacy, and in this case, it's not believable as a genuine gesture of intimacy. They're gesturing from Hollywood!

ADDED: "Harry and Meghan accused the BBC of libel after it reported that a senior Palace source had claimed the Queen was not asked permission to use her childhood nickname, Lilibet" (London Times).

Jen Psaki says "we created this problem" — the problem on the southern border.

This is a strange little gaffe — or slipping out of the truth — from yesterday's White House Press Conference. 

You can hear it in the clip...

... and see it in the transcript

"I seem to be the only person who recalls that ranked choice was on the ballot at one point, and I voted against it. I am really opposed to this idea."

"I’m going to vote for one person in each office.... Truthfully, in my lifetime, I’ve only liked two mayors: I liked Lindsay, and I liked Dinkins. Even Dinkins was far away. Lindsay, no one even knows — some kid asked me this and then she looked up Lindsay. She said, 'How could you have liked him? He’s a Republican.' Today, he’d practically be a socialist. To me, Andrew Yang is a kind of a Trump figure. I’m not saying he’s bad in that way, morally bad. But it’s ridiculous: The reason he was leading in the polls is because everyone knew who he was. The reason everyone knew who he was is that he ran for president. To me, Andrew Yang — he’s qualified for nothing. He couldn’t be the president of my condo board. I assure you, he could not deal with this. If New York City were a high-school football team, he could be the cheerleader — not a college football team but a high-school football team. In a small town." 

Said Fran Lebowitz, quoted in "A Ranked Choice Cheat Sheet/We asked New Yorkers about their ranked-choice-voting strategies" (NY Magazine).

Notice how she avoided the complicated question of how to use ranked-choice voting strategically. Her plan is to just pretend there is no ranked-choice and vote for one. That might actually be the best strategy, though, and I don't just mean to avoid having to think about it. It might actually be the best strategy if you think it through at a high level of math and psychology. But asking a lot of notable New Yorkers is NOT a way to get good answers about the strategy, because there's strategy to talking about strategy. If you reveal a smart strategy, you'll cause other strategists to devise counter-strategies. Plus, these notable New Yorkers all want to use their space in the magazine to say why they like the candidates they support.

Here, Chelsea Manning offered a little bit about actually ranking strategy:

With ranked-choice voting, you have to think more strategically as a voter than you would with winner-takes-all. You can have an extremely popular candidate such as Andrew Yang — by popular I don’t mean ‘well liked’; I mean ‘has an enormous amount of name recognition’ — and whenever people go down the list, they’ll be like, Oh, okay, I’ll put him at the bottom. But being at the bottom still makes that a vote. So it’s about who you put in and who you keep out. And that’s the logic that I have here.

Yeah, people might not realize that because there are more candidates than ranked positions on the ballot, putting Yang last isn't a way to sort of vote against him. What if he wins by collecting a ridiculous number of 5th-place votes from people who regard him as their least favorite?!

June 8, 2021

Sunrise, 5:24.



I think this is an honest revelation: American flags really do disturb Mara Gay.

This is a pretty standard aversion to the flag. It made me think of Katha Pollitt's famous reaction to flag displays after the 9/11 attacks. Here: "Put Out No Flags" (The Nation, September 20, 2001):
My daughter, who goes to Stuyvesant High School only blocks from the World Trade Center, thinks we should fly an American flag out our window. Definitely not, I say: The flag stands for jingoism and vengeance and war. She tells me I’m wrong–the flag means standing together and honoring the dead and saying no to terrorism.... It seems impossible to explain to a 13-year-old, for whom the war in Vietnam might as well be the War of Jenkins’s Ear, the connection between waving the flag and bombing ordinary people half a world away back to the proverbial stone age. I tell her she can buy a flag with her own money and fly it out her bedroom window, because that’s hers, but the living room is off-limits.

5:07 a.m.




"Thanks, I hate future ad-tech..."

"And we all know that this is about payback for supporting Brett Kavanaugh, no more. If it brings the law school bad press..."

"... and ruins the already disappointing deanship of Heather Gerken — spoiler, it has — then that’s justice. Just read this, and imagine putting any of these people in charge of your life, your liberty, or your business’s future."

Glenn Reynolds weighs in on the Yale Law School controversy. This is the complicated Amy Chua/Jed Rubenfeld matter that I'm not taking any position on, because I don't trust the witnesses.

Meanwhile, at Lawyers, Guns & Money, Paul Campos is reviling Chua and Rubenfeld.

Campos quotes NY Magazine...
Three other professors [said] that Chua is the victim of overzealous zoomers who have confused the natural hierarchy of achievement — and Chua’s right to favor whomever she wants — with a social-justice outrage. “There are a lot of mediocre students at Yale who were superstars in their little county fairs, and now they’re in the Kentucky Derby and they’re not winning their races and they feel like it’s unfair because other students are doing better,” says one faculty member who thinks the dean, Heather Gerken, was too deferential to students in how she handled the small-group affair.
... and goes nuclear:
This person should be fired directly into the Sun. It’s basically impossible to get into YLS without perfect everything, and the analogy between running the Belmont in 2:24 and impressing a bunch of wankers on the YLS faculty with your talent for subtle ingratiation disguised as “brilliance” is, shall we say, not a super tight one.

It's easy for me to picture how the most elite admissions process could lead to a student body that, in action, feels like "a lot of mediocre students." But that's a dreadful dysfunction of the institution that the faculty is responsible for. It's truly contemptible to stand aloof and blame your students. 

And the use of the rural setting for the analogy — little county fairs — is out-and-proud snobbery of the most embarrassing kind. Little county fairs and the Kentucky Derby — that's rich. Is there horse racing at a county fair? I'd really like to know who came up with that dimwitted analogy, and I can see why it pissed Campos off. He's right that in that analogy, winning the Kentucky Derby is analogized to ingratiating yourself to law professors.

But what we don't really know is what kind of ingratiating was going on with the great power couple that was Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld? Was it something different — creepier and more sexual — than the ingratiating that goes on with other Yale lawprofs?

"Joe Manchin’s Incoherent Case for Letting Republicans Destroy Democracy/The most powerful senator’s illogical reasoning"/"Joe Manchin’s Incoherent Case for Letting Republicans Destroy Democracy/The most powerful senator ties himself in knots."

Headlines — on the front page and atop the article — for Jonathan Chait's NY Magazine piece, which I haven't read yet. I don't believe Manchin is either "incoherent," "illogical," or "tied up in knots," but let's see what Chait is talking about:

The internal contradiction of Manchin’s position is summarized in the first two sentences [of his op-ed].... “The right to vote is fundamental to our American democracy and protecting that right should not be about party or politics.” But in the next line, he qualifies that this right can “never” be protected in a partisan fashion: “Least of all, protecting this right, which is a value I share, should never be done in a partisan manner.” Here we have two values in conflict: the right to vote, and the evil of partisan voting laws. Manchin claims the first to be “fundamental,” but if he is unwilling to violate the second value to secure it, then it clearly isn’t. Perhaps Manchin is implying that, in his hierarchy of values, bipartisanship trumps all else.

Which would make his point coherent, logical, and unknotted.

"At one of their debates, Mr. Biden accused Mr. Trump of treating the Justice Department like his 'own law firm' in the suit, filed against him by the writer E. Jean Carroll."

"'What’s that all about?' he sarcastically asked. But on Monday night, nearly eight months after Mr. Biden’s attack, his own Justice Department essentially adopted Mr. Trump’s position, arguing that he could not be sued for defamation because he had made the supposedly offending statements as part of his official duties as president. In a brief filed with a federal appeals court in New York... the Biden administration’s Justice Department, now led by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland... said that when Mr. Trump had denied raping Ms. Carroll, through the White House press office or in statements to reporters in the Oval Office and on the White House lawn, he was acting within the scope of his office. 'Elected public officials can — and often must — address allegations regarding personal wrongdoing that inspire doubt about their suitability for office,' the department lawyers argued, adding, 'Officials do not step outside the bounds of their office simply because they are addressing questions regarding allegations about their personal lives.' Ms. Carroll’s lead lawyer, Roberta A. Kaplan, reacting to the new filing, said that as 'horrific' as the alleged rape was, it was 'truly shocking that the current Department of Justice would allow Donald Trump to get away with lying about it.'"

From "Biden Justice Department Seeks to Defend Trump in Suit Over Rape Denial/Donald Trump is facing a defamation lawsuit brought by E. Jean Carroll, who has accused Mr. Trump of raping her" (NYT).

It's not about Donald Trump anymore. It's about presidential power, and the new President needs and wants to defend that power. Presidents are attacked, often about personal matters, and they defend themselves. That turns into a defamation suit. That's going to happen again and again if it's allowed. As President, Joe Biden can easily see "What’s that all about?"

June 7, 2021

Sunrise at 5:28.



"A person with very severe prosopagnosia may be unable to recognize his spouse, or to pick out his own child in a group of people."

"Jane Goodall also has a certain degree of prosopagnosia. Her problems extend to recognizing chimpanzees as well as people—thus, she says, she is often unable to distinguish individual chimps by their faces. Once she knows a particular chimp well, she ceases to have difficulties; similarly, she has no problem with family and friends. But, she says, 'I have huge problems with people with "average" faces. . . . I have to search for a mole or something. I find it very embarrassing! I can be all day with someone and not know them the next day.'... Face recognition is crucially important for humans, and the vast majority of us are able to identify thousands of faces individually, or to easily pick out familiar faces in a crowd.... People with prosopagnosia... need to be resourceful and inventive in finding strategies for circumventing their deficits: recognizing people by an unusual nose or beard, for example, or by their spectacles or a certain type of clothing. Many prosopagnosics recognize people by voice, posture, or gait; and, of course, context and expectation are paramount—one expects to see one’s students at school, one’s colleagues at the office, and so on. Such strategies, both conscious and unconscious, become so automatic that people with moderate prosopagnosia can remain unaware of how poor their facial recognition actually is, and are startled if it is revealed to them by testing (for example, with photographs that omit ancillary clues like hair or eyeglasses)."

From "Face-Blind/Why are some of us terrible at recognizing faces?" by Oliver Sacks (The New Yorker, August 23, 2010). I'm rereading this today because the NYT ran an article today – "The Cost of Being an ‘Interchangeable Asian’" — about "the phenomenon of casual Asian-face blindness" that may be holding back Asian-Americans in the workplace. I blogged that here.

The suggestion that there's racism in the inability to recognize faces needs to be handled carefully, because there are 2 forms of discrimination in conflict. It may be discrimination to be bad at recognizing Asian-American coworkers, but vigilance about this human frailty may amount to a failure to accommodate the disabled — those with prosopagnosia. Quite aside from the specific disability, we're all on a spectrum when it comes to facial recognition. Many of us are bad at it, and some people are fantastic at it. Be careful about throwing accusations of racism around in this area of radically diverse ability.

"He thrives on the understanding of the classroom as an eroticized place, where there’s this kind of thrill of engaging in risky exploration about ideas that’s continuous with risky exploration of all kinds of boundary transgressions."

Says an unnamed Yale Law School colleague of Jed Rubenfeld's, quoted in "The Tiger Mom and the Hornet’s Nest/For two decades, Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld were Yale Law power brokers. A new generation wants to see them exiled" (NY Magazine).

ADDED: The NYT is running a story today too: "Gripped by ‘Dinner Party-gate,’ Yale Law Confronts a Venomous Divide A dispute centering on the celebrity professor Amy Chua exposes a culture pitting student against student, professor against professor."

I've read both articles, and I can't take a position. It's too complicated and there are too many unreliable narrators.

Sunrise with duck — 5:04 a.m.


"It remains to be seen, of course, whether Congress will end gender-based registration under the Military Selective Service Act."

"But at least for now, the court’s longstanding deference to Congress on matters of national defense and military affairs cautions against granting review while Congress actively weighs the issue."

Wrote Justice Sonia Sotomayor in a statement, joined by Justices Breyer and Kavanaugh, quoted in "Supreme Court Won’t Hear Case on Limiting Military Draft to Men/The justices had been asked to decide whether one of the last sex-based distinctions in federal law should survive now that women can serve in combat" (NYT).

It was a cert. denial, and the rest of the Justices had nothing to say.

The requirement is one of the last sex-based distinctions in federal law, one that challengers say cannot be justified now that women are allowed to serve in every role in the military, including ground combat. Unlike men, though, they are not required to register with the Selective Service System, the government agency that maintains a database of Americans who would be eligible for the draft were it reinstated.

It's good to leave this to Congress. We don't currently have a draft, but if we ever did, it would be an emergency, and the need to judge masses of people crudely, by their physical abilities, would matter. There is an important government interest that is substantially related to the distinction between the sexes. Of course, registering for the draft is a different matter, and treating young men and women the same in this theater of patriotism has some meaning. Let Congress grapple with that meaning and consider abandoning registration altogether.

"You see the Earth from space and it changes you. It changes your relationship with this planet, with humanity. It’s one Earth."

Said Jeff Bezos before taking a trip into space, quoted in "Jeff Bezos will fly to space with his brother on Blue Origin rocket" (London Times).

Why go to get the insight if you've already got it? Have we forgotten how to live?

I want to do X so I can think a thought I am already saying. 

But you're already saying it. So it must be... I want to do X so that when I say the conventional thing that people who do X say, I will somehow really mean it, in a way that I don't mean yet.

But Jeff Bezos isn't going to have a changed relationship with Planet Earth and humanity! And I think he knows that. He's planning not to change, as shown by his recitation of the stock trip-to-space insight, spoken by endless astronauts through the ages. If he really believed in going to space to acquire insight, he'd wait until he'd gone to space and then tell us what wisdom seeped into his skull while he was up there floating in the tin can.

I suspect all those astronauts talking about their relationship to the planet have been bullshitting. I'm buying into the verisimilitude of the scene in "The Crown" where Prince Philip believed he would learn something profound from the astronauts, and the astronauts, it turned out...

... had nothing.

At the Newark Public Library, you can see a display of almost 4,000 books from Philip Roth's personal library....

"... including a four-volume set about the history of presidential elections, multiple copies of Kafka’s 'The Trial' and a marked-up edition of 'Incredible iPhone Apps for Dummies.'"

 According to "Look Inside Philip Roth’s Personal Library/The author of 'Goodbye, Columbus' and 'The Human Stain' left several thousand books, many of them with notes or letters, to the Newark Public Library." 

I love the high-low juxtaposition of "The Trial" and "Incredible iPhone Apps for Dummies." 

And I love that there's lots of marginalia. (You may remember that marginalia was the subject of the first post on this blog, on January 14, 2004.) 

There are some nice photographs at the link, such as the one of Roth's copy of Henry Miller's "Tropic of Cancer" — with Post-It notes and an underline sentence: "'Life,' said Emerson, 'consists in what a man is thinking all day.'"

In that first blog post of mine, I said, among other things, "I do like writing in the margins of books, something I once caused a librarian to gasp by saying." Having made a librarian gasp, I'm pleased to see this Newark library constructing a shrine to marginalia.

"Too much of the discourse on race is a dry, bland regurgitation of new vocabulary words with no work in the unconscious. And, if you want to hit the unconscious, you will have to feel real negative feelings."

"My speaking metaphorically about my own anger was a method for people to reflect on negative feelings. To normalize negative feelings. Because if you don’t, it will turn into a violent action.... Something is emotionally dangerous about opening up a conversation about race.... No one wants to look at their actions or face their own negative feelings about what they are doing. The best way to control the narrative is to focus on me, and make me the problem, which is what I stated occurs in the dynamic of racism.... My work is important. And, I stand by it. We need to heal in this country."

Said Dr. Aruna Khilanani, quoted in "A Psychiatrist Invited to Yale Spoke of Fantasies of Shooting White People/The Yale School of Medicine said the tone and content of a lecture by Dr. Aruna Khilanani, who has a private practice in New York, were 'antithetical to the values of the school'" (NYT). 

What  Khilanani said in her lecture really was awful: 

"Which office do I go to to get my reputation back?"

A very memorable quote, discussed in detail in "Raymond Donovan, 90, Dies; Labor Secretary Quit Under a Cloud/He faced fraud charges when he left the Reagan administration, but a jury acquitted him, leaving him to ask, 'Which office do I go to to get my reputation back?'"

"An acquaintance or colleague mistakes you for another person with the same hairdo or a similar name. But for people of Asian descent..."

"... it happens without question when there are a few other Asians in the office, even when they look and sound nothing alike.... There’s even a term for it: the interchangeable Asian.... [S]cholars of sociology, psychology and Asian American history said there was something serious — and damaging — behind this phenomenon of casual Asian-face blindness that borders on cavalier. Some pointed to unconscious biases that make office workers less inclined to remember the names and faces of Asian colleagues.... Others labeled the carelessness a form of discrimination derived from stereotypes with deep roots in American history that people with Asian heritage all behave and look alike — an army of nameless automatons not worth remembering for promotions....  If one requirement to ascend in your career is to be distinguishable to people in power, it may come as no surprise, then, that Asian Americans — who make up 7 percent of the U.S. population and are the fastest-growing racial group — are the least likely group to be promoted in the country, according to multiple studies.... An overwhelming majority of workers I interviewed said they did not clarify to their colleagues that they had been mistaken for the wrong Asian because they wanted to avoid confrontation."

From "The Cost of Being an ‘Interchangeable Asian’/At some top companies, Asian Americans are overrepresented in midlevel roles and underrepresented in leadership. The root of this workplace inequality could stem from the all-too-common experience of being confused for someone else" (NYT).

"No, Trump Did Not Wear His Pants Backwards at Rally."

Snopes had to fact-check that.

"His wife said he used to tell about the time the musician Dave Van Ronk and other friends offered to take him out for soul food..."

"... a term he didn’t know. At the restaurant, when the collards and fatback, cornbread, fried pork chops and such arrived, his friends asked what he thought. 'Back home,' he told them, 'this is what we just call "food."'"

From "Patrick Sky, ’60s Folk Star and Later a Piper, Dies at 80 He was a part of the folk revival emanating from Greenwich Village, mixing melodic songs and satire. Then he became infatuated with the uilleann pipes" (NYT). 

Goodbye to Patrick Sky. He was a big favorite of mine in the 1960s, and I still have 2 albums of his that I could go search for it right now, but I've got Spotify, so "Patrick Sky" (the album) is already playing here. This is the one that begins with "Many a Mile" (famously covered by Buffy St. Marie). 

I saw Patrick Sky in concert once. He was very funny. He has beautiful love songs, but there were also comedy songs. I remember him launching into a song I'd never heard before: "There's a man who lives over the ocean/And who has got a great notion/That he is the World's Greatest Hope/He's Giovanni Montini, the Pope." This got huge laughs. It ended: "Giovanni Montini/You know who I meanee/The one with the beanie! Giovanni Montini, the Pope."

Listen to a live version of it here. Who sings about the Pope? It was quite absurd. I didn't even know the Pope's name was Giovanni Montini, but it had a musical lilt and you could do some rhymes with it.

Here's another comical song of Sky's, one that amused me a lot in the 1960s, "Separation Blues":


ADDED: I didn't follow him in his "Songs That Made America Famous" period. For a taste of that, try "Fight for Liberation." I could only get a few seconds into it:

In the draft board here we sit

Covered o'er with Nixon's shit

While our sweat is turning Agnew's filthy mill

And the people, as they pass

They jam Melvin up our ass

Well I guess we've had our god damn fucking fill

Painful, but I remember that pain. Melvin. Indeed.

June 6, 2021

Sweating fungus with shadow of a hand.


"They failed in Washington. They failed all over the place. Between the impeachment hoax number one, impeachment hoax number two, all of these investigations, ah shit, we failed."

"Let’s send it to the radical left prosecutors in New York, maybe they can have more luck. They’ll never stop until November of 2024. They won’t stop. There’s no better example of the Democrat and media corruption than the 2020 election hoax. As you know, the evidence is too voluminous to even mention.... You look at what happened on that evening when the election was won and all of a sudden vast amounts of votes were taken in just in certain states, swing states. Swing states that I was leading by a lot. Then all of a sudden, oh, something happened. It was a disgrace to our country and if you think people don’t see it, people see it. People have seen it."  

Said Trump, in his North Carolina speech last night

The "shit" surprised me. 

ADDED: What's amazing about Trump's rhetoric is how much it trust the listener to keep up as it leaps forward. Look at that sentence in the post title. He's already trusting his people to understand the "They." If you look at the transcript, it's pretty clear the antecedent is "the Democrats," but it could be "the radical left prosecutors." If you were writing this speech, you'd never allow that confusion to exist. But he expects us to keep up. Then, he switches voices. He goes from "They failed" to "we failed." You're just supposed to understand that he decided to begin embodying the role of the "they" he's been insulting. Suddenly, he's them, saying "Ah shit, we failed." It's not just the startling slap of "shit," it's that he's them, crying out "shit," and he's saying the words he'd never want to say as himself. He's always a big winner to himself. He's saying "We failed." The audience gets it. Why aren't they confused? Why isn't he worried that they're thinking, "Huh? Who failed? Is Trump saying he failed?"?

Backyard seen from the 3rd-floor window at 5:47 a.m.


I love the way this was designed and grown to be looked at from above. I'm nearly always seeing it from the 3rd or 2nd floor. It's nice at ground level too, but I'm delighted by the undulating shapes of the low treetops. And of course, I love the part I call "the protractor." The long grass inside of the mown grass is wheat.

"You may think exercise is normal, but it’s a very modern behaviour. Instead, for millions of years, humans were physically active for only two reasons..."

"... when it was necessary or rewarding. Necessary physical activities included getting food and doing other things to survive. Rewarding activities included playing, dancing or training to have fun or to develop skills. But no one in the stone age ever went for a five-mile jog to stave off decrepitude, or lifted weights whose sole purpose was to be lifted." 

From "Just don’t do it: 10 exercise myths/We all believe we should exercise more. So why is it so hard to keep it up? Daniel E Lieberman, Harvard professor of evolutionary biology, explodes the most common and unhelpful workout myths" (The Guardian).

Little Emma foresees being tired of everyone and everything, but she has a plan — a very specific plan.

From r/suspiciouslyspecific:

"Jon Rahm walked off the 18th green after tying the 54-hole record and building a six-shot lead... Moments later, he was doubled over and saying: 'Not again'..."

"... having been notified he had tested positive for the coronavirus and consequently was out of the tournament. A commanding performance, which included a hole-in-one Saturday morning to complete his second round followed by an eight-under 64 to tie two Memorial records, went to waste. The PGA Tour said the Spaniard had come into close contact with a person who was Covid-19 positive, meaning Rahm could play provided he was tested daily. Every test since he arrived Monday came back negative except the one after his second round, which was completed on Saturday morning. The positive test was confirmed as Rahm was playing the 18th hole, knowing nothing except that no one was close to him on the leaderboard. 'This is one of those things that happens in life, one of those moments where how we respond to a setback defines us as people,' Rahm said in a statement he posted to Twitter."

 The Guardian reports.

You see him receiving the news in the video below. The amount of money he's losing there is $1.7 million. The announcers don't know what the bad news is, only that he's reacting to bad news (which makes you think about how much worse news can be): 

"This more than 800-page bill has garnered zero Republican support. Why?"

"Are the very Republican senators who voted to impeach Trump because of actions that led to an attack on our democracy unwilling to support actions to strengthen our democracy? Are these same senators, whom many in my party applauded for their courage, now threats to the very democracy we seek to protect? The truth, I would argue, is that voting and election reform that is done in a partisan manner will all but ensure partisan divisions continue to deepen. With that in mind, some Democrats have again proposed eliminating the Senate filibuster rule in order to pass the For the People Act with only Democratic support. They’ve attempted to demonize the filibuster and conveniently ignore how it has been critical to protecting the rights of Democrats in the past.... The Senate, its processes and rules, have evolved over time to make absolute power difficult while still delivering solutions to the issues facing our country and I believe that’s the Senate’s best quality...  Do we really want to live in an America where one party can dictate and demand everything and anything it wants, whenever it wants?"

From "Joe Manchin: Why I'm voting against the For the People Act."

Thanks, Joe. You have garnered my respect.

ADDED: No More Mr. Nice Blog writes:
If you're concerned that criticizing him for this could inspire him to switch parties and throw full Senate control to the Republicans, don't worry. He'll never do that.

So... that concern is out there. 

"Strangers rank their intelligence."

I'm seeing that this morning because something made me want to read the subreddit "Asian Masculinity: Culture, masculinity & racial identity for Asian men," and I happened across a discussion of that video — "Ray is a good example of Asian Masculinity." Quite a bit of the discussion there is about whether a soft-spoken man can be attractive.

The video itself is quite something — inviting these 6 individuals to judge each other's intellligence and then — as they're sitting in order of supposed IQ — surprising them with an IQ test. Then they're reseated — or not — according to the test results. It was a very funny (and disturbing) situation because they were openly expressing some prejudice while decorously resisting mentioning other prejudice. 

There was some vocal assertion that "emotional intelligence" is part of IQ, but the IQ test wasn't about emotional intelligence, and the strongest booster of the idea of "emotional intelligence" lacked emotional intelligence (I think). 

And the test was taken under ridiculously nonneutral conditions, as they'd all just heard judgments about themselves and were seated right next to the people who'd judged them. Plus they were taking the test on a laptop that was balanced on their knees (or a handheld iPhone) — in front of a camera. That made it partly a test of aptitude for concentrating and keeping calm. I think the laptop-on-knees position would have shaved 10 points off my IQ.

"The moon in China has a special meaning. And when it's full, that represents the fullness and reunification of the family. So that poem struck the deep core of my heart whenever I miss my family."

Says Yuan Haiwang, author of "This Is China: The First 5,000 Years," quoted in "Li Bai and Du Fu: China's drunken superstar poets" (BBC). He was talking about a poem by Li Bai (701-762 AD).

Moonlight in front of my bed 

I took it for frost on the ground 

I lift my head, gaze at the mountain moon 

Lower it, and think of home.

I'm reading that this morning because a reader, K, saw my post about "tangping" and emailed:

Tang was the greatest age of Chinese poetry and the greatest Tang poetry included attacks on the court, and on corruption and in praise of "drunkenness" or withdrawal from the struggle to get ahead at the court. Perhaps for the Chinese "tang-ling" [sic] has some sort of resonance suggesting these great Tang poets. Asking, was the Tang era the greatest Chinese era or is Xi's China the greatest. Subtle, maybe, but the Chinese have been civilized for a long time. I wonder. Perhaps we should love bomb Beijing with millions of copies of On Walden Pond and A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers to counter the Confucian Institutes here.

I don't know what classic literature you're reading right now. Me, I've been reading G.K. Chesterton's "Orthodoxy." That line about the moon — "The moon in China has a special meaning" — caught my eye, because I'd just read this, from Chesterton:

"We should all declare within one unified voice that China must pay. They must pay. The United States should immediately take steps to phase in a firm 100% tariff on all goods made in China."

Said Trump, orating in North Carolina last night

He was holding China responsible for Covid19 and proposing a method — to be imposed now and without further investigation — for collecting what he called "reparations."

"Young Chinese are rebelling against society through... the tangping, or 'lying flat,' way of life... not getting married, not having children, not buying a house or a car..."

"... and refusing to work extra hours or to hold a job at all. 'I stay at home and sleep and watch television series. Sometimes I go out for walks, read books and just think a lot,' said Daisy Zhang, 28... Tangping has emerged over the last few months as the rallying call of Chinese millennials who have had enough of the rat race. Some compare them to the 1950s Beat Generation in the United States. Others call their behavior a form of nonviolent resistance or 'ideological emancipation' from consumerism. Supporters portray it as a rejection of struggle and endless striving.... Internet users identified themselves as 'lying flatists,' posting photos of cats and seals lying supine. ... When Chinese officials announced loosened family-size limits to allow all couples to have up to three children, one commentator quipped, 'We are all thinking about how best to lie down while they are pushing us to reproduce.'"

From "Young Chinese take a stand against pressures of modern life — by lying down" (WaPo). 

Here's a definition for "tangping" that somebody — LeoF — wrote up at Urban Dictionary:

"Our freedom is being overtaken by left wing cancel culture, and the Biden administration is pushing toxic critical race theory and illegal discrimination into our children’s schools."

"Now you tell me, we take this? Joe Biden and the Socialist Democrats are the most radical left-wing administration in history. Even Bernie Sanders can’t believe it. He said, I can’t believe this happened. This is worse than I ever was. I don’t know if they even know what the hell they’re signing. Somebody is drawing these documents and putting it, and it’s getting signed. It’s a disgrace what’s happening to our country. The survival of America depends upon our ability to elect Republicans at every level, starting with the midterms next year. We have to get it done. We have to get it done. We have no choice, actually. We have to get it done. Together, we’re going to defend our freedoms. You just take a look at what’s happening. We have to defend our borders. We have to do all of these things and the cancel culture, the defunding culture, the defending culture and they defend the wrong things, we’re not going to let it go any longer. Going to stand up for our values. We have to stand up for our values, and we’re going to take back our country and we’re going to take it back at a level that is very, very good for our country and it’s good for citizens because we can’t allow bad things to happen to our country. Bad, bad things are happening to us, perhaps like never before. You’ll be seeing what goes on and perhaps like never before."

From "Donald Trump Speech Transcript at North Carolina GOP Convention Dinner June 5" (Rev).

Trump sounded like his old self last night. We watched the whole thing. It was interesting to see him again. He looked fit and vigorous and focused on Republicans winning the upcoming elections in 2022. He concentrated on telling us all the things the Democrats are doing wrong — disastrously wrong in his view. 

There was some talk of the 2020 election, but that was toward the end, and it didn't come across as morbidly self-obsessed or paranoid. It was more an upbeat expression of the belief that Americans can't really be split 50-50 on issues like supporting the police and protecting the border. And protecting the security of the voting process: We need to learn what happened in 2020, so it can never happen again.

I liked this bit about Zuckerberg:

He used to come to the White House. He would call, “Oh, could I have dinner with you, sir?” “Sure.” “Could I bring my wife?” “Oh, absolutely.” He actually walked into the office one day in front of numerous people, “Congratulations, sir.” “Why?” He said. “You’re number one on Facebook.” He said to me, “You’re number one on Facebook.” I said, “Thank you very much. I appreciate it.” We had a nice dinner. The day I was out he became a rather, well, I guess it’s human nature. But we can’t let our country be run by that kind of human nature can we? Zuckerberg, it’s another beauty.

Zuckerberg may notice that at least Trump is crediting him with humanness. So often, people say Z doesn't seem like a human being, but some sort of alien. Just yesterday, a NYT columnist said he seems like "another species on another planet."

I also enjoyed the riff about furniture: