October 30, 2021

Sunrise — 7:26, 7:37.



"Climate change is a serious problem and tourism contributes a lot to it, but I don’t want to be flight-shamed out of my travels..."

"... because I think travel is a powerful force for peace and stability on this planet. So my company has a self-imposed carbon tax of $30 per person we take to Europe. In 2019, we gave $1 million to a portfolio of organizations that are fighting climate change. We gave half that amount in 2020, even though we stopped bringing people to Europe after the pandemic hit. It’s nothing heroic. It’s just the ethical thing to do."

I say: What bullshit! He's got to know it's bullshit. It's not just nothing heroic, it's virtually nothing. He's got a business he wants to keep going, and he doesn't want to be "flight-shamed." Well, too bad. No one wants to give anything up. If you actually believe "Climate change is a serious problem and tourism contributes a lot to it" and you continue to do it and to actively facilitate others doing it, you should be ashamed! The NYT has this huge article about Steves, and the NYT profits from travel industry ads. It's absolutely ludicrous to purport to be taking climate change seriously.

And "travel is a powerful force for peace and stability on this planet" — is he a beauty pageant contestant? He should be shamed not only for his travel but also for his disgustingly lame self-justification. I've seen tourists roaming the globe. They are not stabilizing it. It would be easier to argue that they are destabilizing it. Do you have tourists who come to your town? If so, are they bringing peace and stability? If you like what they are doing, is it for any reason other than that they are dropping money before they get the hell out?

"According to a survey released Thursday by Kaiser Family Foundation, scarcely one in three parents will permit their children in this newly eligible age group to be vaccinated immediately."

"Two-thirds were either reluctant or adamantly opposed. An Axios-Ipsos poll found that 42 percent of parents of these children said they were unlikely to have their children vaccinated.... This vaccine dilemma occurs at a turbulent cultural moment for parents of young children, who are often judged harshly on social media for their decisions. The choice can appear freighted with political affiliation. A decision can signify, intentionally or not, compassion or disregard for others and a willingness to follow or ignore advice from their pediatrician.... At heart, the decision is about which unknown — Covid or the vaccine — parents fear more.... The argument that vaccinating children contributes to the community’s overall health does not get much traction.... Parents’ paramount focus is the well-being of their own child. Although health officials contend an important reason to vaccinate is to protect the child, some parents said they believed that their healthy children would be injected with a novel vaccine largely to safeguard older adults, who had already lived full lives.... Parents are siloing themselves with like-minded friends, which reinforces their thinking.... ... Abby Cooper of Bergen County, N.J., who is eager to get her five children vaccinated... has friends who refuse. 'Their kids are going to school with my kids and putting them at risk for no reason. It’s very upsetting. So, sadly, I’ve lost friends over this.'"

If "parents’ paramount focus is the well-being of their own child," then why is the choice seemingly "freighted with political affiliation"?

2 possible answers spring to mind:

1. Parents only openly discuss their decision if it accords with what they believe aligns with their politics. Thus, Democrats, wanting to appear supportive of the vaccine, will kept quiet about their individual decision against vaccinating their children, but Republicans who make the same anti-vaccine decision will go ahead and talk about it. That is, the truth is in the first statement only: "parents’ paramount focus is the well-being of their own child."

2. Parents believe they are individually judging the benefits to their own child, but their judgment is skewed by their political affiliation, so when the various factors are weighed, the sense of belonging to a political party causes the balance to come out the way that fits what they see people on their side doing.

"Relax, everybody, this is comedy. Everybody can be the butt of a joke. And why should it be that if we joke about you, it’s sacrilege?"

"You sit in the audience and laugh at jokes about everybody else. If we make a joke about trans [people] or gays, suddenly it’s sacrilege. And that’s what I got from that. I don’t see what’s wrong with that, with all due respect. I see it as nothing but a man saying publicly, 'This is what I do.' And if you can’t understand that this is comedy coming at you, then don’t live in a society that’s multicultural."

Said Garrett Morris, calling Dave Chappelle's show, "The Closer," "brilliant," in an interview at Hollywood Reporter

The interviewer says, "The reason he cited for walking away from Comedy Central is that he did a blackface sketch, and there was a white guy laughing at it too hard. And it made him uncomfortable. He was like, 'People are not understanding what I mean.' Now it seems he’s not understanding what trans people mean."

Morris's response:

"After years of hearing family members complain about sharing bedrooms in communal college dorms, Munger realized it was possible to give people their own sleeping space by sacrificing the rooms’ natural light."

"'I’m not anti-architecture,' [billionaire Charlie Munger] said. 'I just love it in a different way.'... [The architect Dennis] McFadden wrote that 'an ample body of documented evidence shows that interior environments with access to natural light, air and views to nature improve both the physical and mental wellbeing of occupants. The Munger Hall design ignores this evidence and seems to take the position that it doesn’t matter'...."

From "Two doors, few windows and 4,500 students: Architect quits over billionaire’s mega dorm" (WaPo).

We talked about this architecture dispute here yesterday, but I'm blogging again because of the crucial argument in favor of "Charlie's vision" that was missing from the CNN article I used for that piece. That is: The student's interest in having a room of one's own, rather than the usual college experience of a roommate. I'd thought the vision was more about forcing people out into common areas, but now I'm seeing it's also about having true privacy when you are in your private space. 

A crucial factor might be whether the room is truly soundproof. Let's assume it is, that when you're in your little space you've got full personal privacy. Now answer the survey:
You must pick one for your college dorm experience:
pollcode.com free polls

For the annals of 70-year-old women.

"Alex Honnold’s mother breaks El Capitan record of her own — on her 70th birthday" (London Times).

“Climbing El Cap at 70 takes its toll, physically, mentally, emotionally,” [Dierdre Wolownick] wrote on her blog. “I’m not ‘down’ yet. Not sure I ever will be, completely.”

The ordeal began with a difficult two-hour hike through the woods, which saw her “grabbing small trees and edges of boulders” to heave herself up. She then navigated a boulder-filled river bed before climbing ropes fastened to the wall, where “only your core strength keeps you vertical as you ascend.”

The final third of the trek stretched “for what seems like miles” Wolownick wrote. “Just walk steeply uphill, endlessly, grabbing whatever tiny edges you can find.”...

ADDED: 70 is precisely my age, and I take pride in my physical accomplishments — doing the "sunrise run" (1.6 miles) and a few other things (intermediate-level mountain biking, beginner-level cross-country skiing, hikes in the 4-5 mile range, Pilates) — but I enjoy having superior examples to look up to. Really enjoyed reading about Dierdre Wolownick.

"The Turkish government said this week that it has opened deportation proceedings against at least seven Syrian nationals accused of eating bananas in a 'provocative' way while participating in a TikTok video challenge..."

"... in a move that underscores rising hostility toward Syrians in a country with a reputation for being welcoming to refugees. The challenge was inspired by an Oct. 17 encounter on the streets of Istanbul that was captured on video, during which a man complained that he could not afford bananas, a staple that has fallen out of the reach of many consumers amid a poor economy. Turning to a female Syrian student, he alleged that refugees from Syria were buying the fruit by the 'kilos,' a reference to false rumors that displaced people were living in luxury off Turkish taxpayer largesse. In response, Syrians in Turkey and elsewhere posted videos of themselves eating bananas to poke fun at the incident. In one video, a group of young Syrians sat around the room, chuckling as they ate their fruit."

Skimming that, I got confused and thought the "provocative" banana-eating was something like this. You don't really need to look at that to know what it is. You know what it is. 

But it was just people engaged in typical banana-eating, like you see in that "one video" linked above. I experienced secondary confusion thinking the style — American style? — of taking a series of bites from the whole banana looks obscene in some countries. But no, it was just showing off that they had bananas and that it was absurd to think of access to bananas as a mark of a life of luxury.

"Dark academia is a broader subculture... think Gothic architecture, candlelit libraries, and dark film photos placed next to handwritten poetry on a vintage table."

"The dark academia fashion trend pulls directly from this aesthetic, both of which reference everything from Harry Potter to Hellenistic period art, explains stylist Rebecca Dennett. Dennett describes the trend as both 'deeply gothic and preppy,' with an emphasis on duller and darker color palettes. Stylist Sarah Slutsky agrees, adding that the style can be described as a 'marriage of prep school uniforms, androgyny and also traditional professionalism skewed romantic.' TikTok influencer and content creator Dana Hasson notes that the trend combines older fashion inspirations and modern styling for a chic and elegant look. A key element to dark academia is vintage clothing and thrift store dressing, explains Dennett, which makes it 'more affordable and accessible for the younger generation who have started this trend.'" 

CNN reports on something I had to convince myself was not a joke. 

There seems to be a fashion trend of wearing aggressively ordinary clothing. It's basically preppy style, declared fashionable, once again. I saw it the first time around in the 70s. Here, it seems more embedded in actually studying and reading good literature, spending time in libraries or having the feeling of yourself being the sort of person who would do such things. And it seems to have to do with the rejection of modernism and minimalism.

Here's the Wikipedia article, "Dark Academia":

The Lincoln Project inserts itself into the Virginia gubernatorial race by sending 5 demonstrators with tiki torches to a Glenn Youngkin rally.

1. Here's how the Washington Post puts it: "A group of people carrying tiki torches outside Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin’s tour bus in Charlottesville on Friday, which caused a stir on social media and led both political parties to blame the other for the stunt, turned out to be organized by the Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump Republican group."

2. Is the Lincoln Project really/still a Republican group?

3. Did the Lincoln Project hope to keep its role secret until after the election and, if so, did it assume that the finger-pointing would hurt Youngkin more than McAuliffe? 

4. The candidates and their supporters immediately started blaming each other, and that could be inconclusive — just chaos. I think chaos — with racists in the center of the controversy — would at least shake things up and benefit McAuliffe, who's been failing lately and seeming desperate as polls have shifted toward Youngkin. But that's also a reason to implicate McAuliffe in what would be understood as a false-flag dirty trick.

5. But the Lincoln Project stepped forward and rescued McAuliffe by announcing that it was their dirty trick. And now we have to talk about them. They'd come into disrepute lately, and who knows who they really are now? But how mind-bending for them to take the spotlight in the last weekend before this crucial election! Did they decide on their own that this would be appropriate — a really strained decision — to forefront virulent racism? Or did they consult with McAuliffe? Does campaign finance law forbid them from engaging in that level of coordination?

6. Now that the Lincoln Project has taken responsibility, does that let the candidate they intended to help off the hook? You can't control what your supporters do, and this question parallels whether Trump should be responsible for the openly expressed racism of the original tiki-torch marchers in Charlottesville. But I see that Philip Klein at The National Review is saying "McAuliffe Should Be Held Responsible for Tiki Torch Stunt, Because His Campaign Thinks Candidates Are Responsible for Supporters."

7. Klein raises a very basic question that had occurred to me: Is the Lincoln project telling the truth now? The stunt itself was deceptive, so how do we know this isn't a new form of deception — "taking the heat off of somebody else given the stunt epically backfired"? I would note that there are 5 human beings who are easily identifiable, the demonstrators. Why did they do it? How much were they paid? What were they told? Is anyone talking to them?

8. Klein contends that McAuliffe is responsible even if the Lincoln Project did the whole thing independently because "the McAuliffe campaign pounced":
One McAuliffe spokesperson, Christina Freundlich, referenced the Charlottesville Unite the Right rally, and said, "this is who Glenn Youngkin’s supporters are."Another McAuliffe spokesperson, Jen Goodman, claimed the image of the fake Youngkin supporters was “disgusting and disqualifying.”

9.  It becomes very easy to take that "disgusting and disqualifying" and aim it back at McAuliffe, and that is how Philip Klein ends his piece. It is "disgusting and disqualifying" to snap up whatever's available to make everything about race, and the McAuliffe campaign showed that instinct. Everybody uses everything that can be used these days, and they often have to work pretty hard to show that things are really about race — that's the Critical Race Theory method. But this thing was blatantly racial. 

10. I mean those 5 demonstrators were blatantly racial. The leap was to say "this is who Glenn Youngkin’s supporters are." Those 5 people are (posing as) racists and what it means — in the view of at least one McAuliffe spokesperson — is that all of Youngkin supporters are racists. That readiness to besmirch the entire group — that's the problem. Ironically, it's the methodology of racists.

October 29, 2021

"In his October 25 resignation letter... Dennis McFadden ― a well-respected Southern California architect with 15 years on the committee ― goes scorched earth on the radical new building concept..."

"... which calls for an 11-story, 1.68-million-square-foot structure that would house up to 4,500 students, 94 percent of whom would not have windows in their small, single-occupancy bedrooms. The idea was conceived by 97-year-old billionaire-investor turned amateur-architect Charles Munger, who donated $200 million toward the project with the condition that his blueprints be followed exactly.... McFadden disagreed sharply with what the university has described as 'Charlie’s Vision'... ... '[T]he "vision" of a single donor, the building is a social and psychological experiment with an unknown impact on the lives and personal development of the undergraduates the university serves.'... The project is utterly detached from its physical setting, McFadden goes on, and has no relationship to UCSB’s 'spectacular coastal location.' It is also out of place with the scale and texture of the rest of campus, he said, 'an alien world parked at the corner of the campus, not an integrally related extension of it.'"

Elsewhere, the same newspaper explains that the windowless rooms will have "artificial windows modeled after portholes on Disney cruise ships."

I see the Disney porthole combines camera views of the spaces around the outside of the ship with images of Disney characters — such as Aladdin flying on his magic carpet — popping up intermittently, maybe every 20 minutes or so:


So I'm thinking the Munger fake windows could have views of UCSB's spectacular coastal location and — popping up intermittently — a professor looking like he's pressing his nose up against the glass.

But, really... what do you think of the "social and psychological experiment" known as "Charlie’s Vision"? People sleep in those inside staterooms on cruise ships. If you're committed to using your room just as a place to sleep and to store your things and you'd like for yourself and others to be forced out into the common areas, it might work well!

"But this week, during a juvenile court hearing, a fuller picture of Smith’s daughter’s ordeal emerged. She suffered something atrocious."

"It had nothing at all to do, however, with trans bathroom policies. Instead, like many women and girls, she was a victim of relationship violence. Smith’s daughter testified that she’d previously had two consensual sexual encounters with her attacker in the school bathroom. On the day of her assault, they’d agreed to meet up again. 'The evidence was that the girl chose that bathroom, but her intent was to talk to him, not to engage in sexual relations,' [Buta] Biberaj, whose office prosecuted the case, told me. The boy, however, expected sex and refused to accept the girl’s refusal. As the The Washington Post reported, she testified, 'He flipped me over. I was on the ground and couldn’t move and he sexually assaulted me.' The boy was indeed wearing a skirt, but that skirt didn’t authorize him to use the girls’ bathroom. As Amanda Terkel reported in HuffPost, the school district’s trans-inclusive bathroom policies were approved only in August, more than two months after the assault. This was not, said Biberaj, someone 'identifying as transgender and going into the girls’ bathroom under the guise of that.'"

From "The Right’s Big Lie About a Sexual Assault in Virginia" by Michelle Goldberg (NYT).

I've avoided talking about this case until now — despite a lot of pushing from my commenters — and this is why. It was obvious to me that we did not have a good enough statement of the facts. People were making assumptions that nudged this case into serving as a great example of something they were worried about — that males would fake transgender status to victimize women and girls in bathrooms. 

"Across the country, pollsters seemed to systematically undercount GOP support [in 2020], despite the fact that they were trying very hard, after some issues in 2016, not to do that."

"But with the political world entirely focused on Virginia, looking to glean lessons about the state of the national parties, the fate of Biden’s agenda, and Americans’ hope for the future, the pollsters — the people who give us a sense of what to expect in elections — are offering a new round of projections without ever having quite figured out what went wrong last year...  In talking to a range of nonpartisan and party-affiliated pollsters in recent weeks, I found that many dismissed, but laughed nervously about, the least scientifically sound idea of all, which unfortunately would have looked on the surface like a fix in 2020: just artificially slapping four extra points of support on Trump’s side. When Patrick Murray, who runs the Monmouth University poll, explored his data earlier this year, he told me, he explored whether there was 'any way I could have modeled my electorate on anything other than arbitrary guesses that would have gotten me closer to the endpoint. And the answer was basically no. If I had the ability to jump ahead in time and know exactly which voters that spoke to me were going to show up to vote, we still would have been off with the Trump vote share.'...  The likely problem, in short, is that [pollsters] simply aren’t reaching a significant number of voters activated by Trump.... And if you aren’t in any kind of contact with a voter, it’s essentially impossible to figure out what’s motivating him or her, or what distinguishes them from the people who are answering you...."

From "Polling in America Is Still Broken. So Who Is Really Winning in Virginia?" (NY Magazine).

"The flight attendant apparently bumped the passenger while moving through the first-class cabin..."

"... according to Julie Hedrick, president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which represents those who fly for American Airlines. The flight attendant apologized, but the passenger left his seat, confronted her as she stood in the aircraft’s galley, then punched her in the face, Hedrick said.... American is among several carriers that have limited alcohol sales on domestic flights. The carrier does offer alcohol in its first-class cabins.... 'It’s not just the masks,' Hedrick said. 'Our passengers have changed. Their behavior on our flights, the safety of our flight attendants, the safety of our passengers — every day is being threatened here.'"

From "Flight attendant suffers broken bones in ‘one of the worst displays of unruly behavior’ in the skies/The incident prompted the pilots to divert the flight to Denver, where a passenger was detained" (WaPo).

1. Maybe just get rid of all the alcohol. Don't give those first-class people more of a sense of privilege. They're entitled enough. Don't further inflate their attitude with alcohol — and special, elites-only alcohol at that. You're facilitating their irrationality. At some point, they believe they've got a right to beat the servants.

2. The planes now are filled with the people who feel that it's okay to pack into the sealed metal tube with everyone else's germs. There's a much higher concentration of daring risk-takers, folks who think that the world's their oyster. The cautious people are staying home. The cramped space is now elbow-to-elbow with people who want what's theirs, like that armrest, and that bit of aisle that one's meaty upper arm occupies and that the flight attendant goes ahead and pushes through. This means war! to those folks. Not all of them, but enough of them that chaos lies close to the surface.

3. The top-rated comment blames Trump: "A friend of mine has been a bartender for 10-15 years and, as you might imagine, has seen a lot bad behavior from patrons even in her upscale bar and grill. As far as I can tell, she is apolitical, but it is her firm opinion that Trump's public behavior over the last four or five years has brought these bad actors out of the woodwork. He made it okay." 

4. Here's the Trump performance that reminded me of: 

5. "Who cares? We all have a weight problem."

"The Chinese [hypersonic missile] test has nothing in common with Sputnik, and claiming that it does feeds a dangerous paranoia growing in Washington these days...."

"Coming in the wake of multiple powerful Soviet nuclear tests, Sputnik signaled that in the next frontier, space, the Soviets were ahead.... Hypersonic missiles, on the other hand, are old news. A hypersonic missile travels at five times the speed of sound or faster. Starting in 1959, the United States and the Soviet Union have deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles that travel more than 20 times the speed of sound.... For the Pentagon, it’s an opportunity: Raising fears about a huge and tech-savvy enemy is a surefire way to guarantee vast new budgets that can be spent countering the enemy’s every move, real or imagined...."

"On Twitter, the cloth has been fodder for jokes and even a parody account since Apple quietly put it on sale on Oct. 18."

"Later that week, when Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, posted a tweet promoting a new retail store in Turkey, Elon Musk, Tesla’s chief executive, needled him by replying, 'Come see the Apple Cloth' with a trademark logo. (Mr. Musk’s company is also not shy about testing the strength of its brand and the fealty of its customers. Tesla’s website offers a company-branded 'handblown' decanter for $150 and a $60 umbrella....)"

From "Apple’s Most Back-Ordered New Product Is Not What You Expect/It’s a $19 cloth" (NYT).

This is an example of the use of overcharging to buy publicity, like when a restaurant has a $1,000 hamburger on the menu.

But I'm also interested in the veneration of a scrap of cloth. I'm thinking Shroud of Turin and if I could just touch the hem of Steve Jobs's garment. 

"I have no interest in litigating the specific reviews I’ve gotten or the capable writers who wrote them. My interest lies more in how segregated reviews and..."

"... by extension, a prescriptive vision about race in art, has placed an obstructive framing across the face of work by minority writers.... Is an Asian American, for example, seen as fit to review another Asian American’s book with the full assumption that those very important 'lived experiences' match up in some meaningful way?... [T]he rules of review segregation rarely ask any questions beyond 'What box did you check on the census?'... One of the first lessons a writer is taught is that the specific is the universal. We may not fully understand the filial dynamics of the 19th-century Russian households depicted in 'The Brothers Karamazov,' but we do know something about bad fathers, irredeemably broken men and undying crises of faith.... Some of the most illuminating conversations I’ve had have been with Black, South Asian, Latino and Jewish readers who take [my] book for what it is and then forcefully argue their own reads... A more sincere commitment to diversity requires a breadth of intellect not only from the editors of the review pages but also from readers in the public. Right now, the book landscape seems to have migrated into dozens of caravans plodding along on separate identity tracks. There’s a question that’s rarely asked: Where are we going?"

From "The Reductive Practice of Assigning Book Reviews by Identity" by Jay Caspian Kang.

"As a new car, the Civic would have had a sticker price of around $21,000. But within seconds at the wholesale auction, the two-year-old model, with 4,000 miles, sold for $27,200."

"Soon after, a Nissan Rogue fetched what it would have cost new in 2018. A three-year old Toyota Camry with large dents and scratches on its hood sold for $14,200, nearly twice what it would have brought just a few years ago. And a 2015 Kia Sorento sold for $12,600, a staggering amount for a six-year-old car with 83,000 miles."

In the comments over there: "I helped my elderly father lease a new Jeep three years ago. I think the retail on it was about $25k. He hardly drove it and it was in great shape a few months ago when we went to turn it in. A few days before that I had the brilliant notion of buying the car from him at the lease buyout price (which was about $14K) and selling it. Two days later, I bought out the lease, took it to Carmax, and walked out with almost ten grand which I gave right back to my dad. He said that made it worth giving up driving." (That is, Carmax gave him $24,000.)

"Those hearings involved Garland’s inexplicable decision to target federal law-enforcement resources at parents who speak against critical race theory and unpopular transgender policies at school-board meetings."

"In response to a letter from the left-leaning National School Boards Association, which described those meetings with lurid language but scant evidence of any real threats, Garland ordered the FBI and the Department of Justice into action. There was no justification for Garland’s move, which was political thuggery at its worst. The disorder at these meetings mostly involved people shouting and talking out of turn, with the occasional scuffle....  Said [Senator Josh] Hawley: 'You have weaponized the FBI and the Department of Justice. It is wrong. It is unprecedented to my knowledge in the history of this country.' Garland’s mealy-mouthed reply was that it was merely an offer of assistance, if needed, to local law enforcement.... His letter was in fact unprecedented, and it was clearly intended to intimidate opponents and to support the Democrats’ efforts to characterize all serious political opposition as some sort of security threat."

Writes Glenn Reynolds (at the NY Post).

Here's the full transcript of the hearing (with links to the video). I'm most interested in hearing Garland specify the perception that this particular form of political opposition — rejection of school policies designed to support black and transgender students — could be a federal crime. Here are my selections from the transcript:

October 28, 2021

"By the time I’m done with a sketch, it is as if I’m a new man. This is partly because drawing has taught me to make the most of my mistakes."

"I work in ink, from life. It is as if every line is already out of place from the start. It is oddly liberating, as I have learned to forgive myself. I draw not for the result but for the process, and fortunately I’ve been doing it long enough that the results are pleasing. I love capturing the three-dimensional image on the two-dimensional page. If Wordsworth’s heart leapt up when he beheld a rainbow in the sky, mine jumps when I convincingly foreshorten the handle of a frying pan, and it rises off the page."

From "The Big Impact of a Small Hobby/Drawing mundane things like my dish rack had helped me survive job loss. Could it be helping me through the coronavirus?" by John Donohue (NYT).

You can see a lot of his drawings at this Google image search: here.

And here's a New Yorker article of his from 2016: "The Drawing Pad as a Fatherhood Survival Tool."

"My hands are tied. In all my years on the bench, I’ve never been in this position before, and it’s all due to the government, despite calling this the crime of the century, resolving it with a . . . petty offense."

Said Judge Beryl A. Howell, quoted in "Chief federal judge in D.C. assails ‘almost schizophrenic’ Jan. 6 prosecutions: ‘The rioters were not mere protesters’" (WaPo).
Why, she asked, when prosecutors called the riot an “attack on democracy . . . unparalleled in American history,” were [Jack Jesse] Griffith and other participants facing the same charge as nonviolent protesters who routinely disrupt congressional hearings? “It seems like a bit of a disconnect,” Howell said — “muddled” and “almost schizophrenic.”...

On Thursday, Griffith told the judge his behavior was “truly disgraceful.” “I am ashamed of the way I acted,” he said. At the time of the break-in, he said, he thought it was a “minor inconvenience” for police, but now he understand they were “crippled by fear and wildly outnumbered.”

A dismal sunrise this morning...

 ... posted on a rainy afternoon:


"Vance deleted his old Trump-insulting tweets. He made his pilgrimage of atonement to Mar-a-Loco. He groveled."

"And he explained all of this in terms of Trump’s admirable performance as president, which supposedly won him over. He was clearly watching a different movie than many of the rest of us were.... On Twitter he bizarrely lashed out at the Times columnist Paul Krugman as 'one of many weird cat ladies who have too much power in our country,' then went after [Alec] Baldwin in a tactless way at a tactless time.... But he gets points for occasional honesty. Shortly after declaring his Senate candidacy on July 1, in an interview with Molly Ball for Time magazine, he acknowledged his past opposition to Trump and bluntly conceded that he needed 'to just suck it up and support him.' Suck it up he has — and how."

From "J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Hypocrisy" by Frank Bruni (NYT).

The tweet about Alec Baldwin was "Dear @jack let Trump back on. We need Alec Baldwin tweets."

Facebook's new name is: Meta.


I'm not making a new tag for this.

ADDED: At NY Magazine, Choire Sicha opines
Most notably, Zuckerberg and Vishal Shah, Facebook’s head of metaverse projects, made a big pitch about the metaverse to creators in this presentation. “Commerce is going to be a big part of the metaverse,” said Shah. Creators — funny people, famous people, game streamers, cooking influencers, just generally hot people, makeup and beauty trendsetters, momfluencers, rogue therapists, financial pitchbros — are the backbone of the TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram ecosystems. Notably, they’re absolutely not a part of Facebook....
This video presentation was preceded by a short video in which Zuckerberg vaguely berated haters.... Zuckerberg attended a virtual meeting on this “embodied internet” at a space station where people were dressed like aliens and robots (Zuckerberg put on a Zuckerberg outfit) and also couldn’t identify anyone.... 
The [leaked] documents... show that the company is panicked about how much young people hate Facebook — “The teen brain is stimulated by novelty,” one internal document asserted....

Let's find that video. Here it is, looking like a sequence in a satirical scifi movie:

"At a retail business based in New York, managers were distressed to encounter young employees who wanted paid time off when coping with anxiety or period cramps."

"At a supplement company, a Gen Z worker questioned why she would be expected to clock in for a standard eight-hour day when she might get through her to-do list by the afternoon. At a biotech venture, entry-level staff members delegated tasks to the founder. And spanning sectors and start-ups, the youngest members of the work force have demanded what they see as a long overdue shift away from corporate neutrality toward a more open expression of values, whether through executives displaying their pronouns on Slack or putting out statements in support of the protests for Black Lives Matter.... At many businesses, Gen Z employees are given increasing leeway to drive internal culture, too. Emily Fletcher, 42, who runs Ziva Meditation, noticed that at her company retreat the junior people were the ones who were most comfortable stretching the bounds of what is considered professional conversation.... 'They celebrate human emotion, instead of having an outdated framework of what corporate should be,' Ms. Fletcher said. Her company culture has relaxed even more, she added, since the departure of her oldest employee, who was 48. 'Now everyone feels safe to be a little more weird.'"

From "The 37-Year-Olds Are Afraid of the 23-Year-Olds Who Work for Them/Twenty-somethings rolling their eyes at the habits of their elders is a longstanding trend, but many employers said there’s a new boldness in the way Gen Z dictates taste" by Emma Goldberg (NYT)

"We couldn’t believe how inspired and pathological the poetry was, given what he had done. And this poetry was all love poems to Jodie Foster."

"We did take two verses from one love poem and then I wrote subsequent verses that completely twisted the meaning of his verses on their head. So that the [narrator] is telling the girl to run from him because he’s a dangerous guy.”

Said Gerald V. Casale, of the band Devo, quoted in "Devo and Failed Reagan Assassin Have Uncontrollable Urge to Argue Over Royalties" (NY Magazine). 

Hinckley gave the band permission to use the lyrics and was given a writer's credit on the song, but he says, “I haven’t seen royalties in 35 years. What’s the deal?” 

(Jodie Foster also gave the band permission).


Lyrics here
To give you happiness
Could become a lifetime goal 
A smile I might bring you
Is more important than world peace

"But hostility to genius has been brewing in our culture for a long time. Almost 100 years ago... the critic Edmund Wilson observed that the almost mystical 'dignity and distinction' traditionally accorded to the figure of the poet was becoming..."

"... 'more and more impossible in our modern democratic society.' The ascendancy of science, Wilson argued, had made human beings less prone to viewing themselves as potentially godlike geniuses and more uncomfortably aware of their kinship with other animals and subjection to biological and physical laws. A democratic society was also less at ease with the idea of a 'natural aristocracy' of artists to match the hereditary aristocracy of landowners and rulers.... The prevalent idea in the 21st century is not that nobody is a genius but that everybody is — at least potentially.... That way of thinking is incompatible with the recognition of genius which requires humility, the awed acknowledgment that somebody is unfathomably better at something than you are. We prefer not to confront this uncomfortable fact, hence the extraordinary cultural premium currently placed on 'relatability.' A literary agent recently remarked to me that this has become one of the most sought after qualities in new novels. Not only do readers like to have their experiences reflected back at them but the gap between talented novelist and untalented reader must seem as flatteringly, reassuringly narrow as possible."

"Relatability" — referring to that emotional quality — is a pretty recent word. So is "relatable." Thinking about this is reminding of how common it used to be — when was this? 70s? 60? — to say "I can relate."

Here's a NYT "On Language" column from 2010, "The Origins of ‘Relatable’" by Ben Zimmer. A teacher had written in to say that she'd "noticed among my students a growing use of the word 'relatable,' as in 'I like Sarah Palin. She's relatable' (meaning, 'I can relate to her')." The teacher declared it "odd" and wanted to know where that came from:

"Ladies, if a man invites you to his place — and it's just the 2 of you — for a beverage... he has asked you if you'd like to fuck, and you said, yes, probably..."

"You have told that man, I'd absolutely be interested in fucking you — pretty much tonight.... If you send the message I pretty much am up to fuck, and the guy leans in to kiss you, he may be operating on bad information. Our system doesn't put him off the hook. The man is still required to respond to the signals as soon as they are clarified.... I suppose there could be such a thing as a 24-year-old who can be in a meeting with a Senator and is still too dumb to know what an invitation to come up to his place really means.... The Senator didn't read the signals wrong. The Senator read the signals exactly as they were sent. They were the wrong signals. I think it was very generous of the Senator to say he read the signals wrong. He didn't read anything wrong. The signals were crystal clear. They were sent wrong." 

Scott Adams takes a strong position on the Huma Abedin accusation against an unnamed Senator.


1. I initially resisted taking this story to heart because Abedin did not come out strongly on the side of women but is continuing a pattern of protecting Democratic Party men, as I showed you here, yesterday.

2. I have personally lived my entire life, going back to adolescence, with the understanding that Scott Adams is putting very starkly, that one's actions are understood that way. In fact, I followed a personal credo: Don't give him any ideas. I'm sure I missed out on some lovely experiences because I was so cautious, and this was a caution that went way beyond avoiding sexual assault. I didn't want the other person to feel hurt or embarrassed. 

3. So I agree with part of what Scott Adams is saying, that by accepting the Senator's invitation, she gave him hope, and she ought to know that her action inspired hope.

4. But hope goes on only in his head (and the rest of his nervous system). He probably also had hope as soon as he saw her, as soon as she was friendly to him. He got ideas. Fine! The question is what can he do with that hope? 

5. Since I spent a lifetime operating under the credo Don't give him any ideas, I'm not in a great position to parody Scott's advice to ladies with a statement that begins, "Gentlemen, if a woman accepts your invitation," but there is one thing I'm sure of, so let me try.

6. Gentlemen, if a woman accepts your invitation into your place for a drink, you may be one step closer to fucking but you are also one step closer to humiliation and far worse things, and you'd better know what you are doing and not just plop down next her and kiss her, pushing your tongue into her mouth, pressing her back on the sofa.

7. Notice Adams's language: "the guy leans in to kiss you." That's like kissing in a romcom, where the man gradually and gently moves his lips closer to hers and observes her response, so that there's lots of nonverbal communication. That's not what happened (as far as we know from Abedin's description). The Senator suddenly advanced to French kissing (and whatever that "pressing" was). 

8. I would tend to think that Abedin had a lot of self-esteem and — rightly! — believed she could offer a man a wonderful relationship and intended to give this man a chance to enter into the highly valuable sphere that is her life. Let's keep talking about what actions mean. His action meant: You're not an important person in my life

"In your editorial 'The Election for Pennsylvania’s High Court' (Oct. 25), you state the fact that a court wrongly said mail-in ballots could be counted after Election Day. 'This didn’t matter,' you add..."

"'... because Mr. Biden won the state by 80,555, but the country is lucky the election wasn’t closer. If the election had hung on a few thousand Pennsylvanians, the next President might have been picked by the U.S. Supreme Court.' Well actually, the election was rigged, which you, unfortunately, still haven’t figured out. Here are just a few examples of how determinative the voter fraud in Pennsylvania was...." 

So begins Trump's letter to the editors of the Wall Street Journal — which you can read in full with no pay wall. The letter is responding to the editorial, "The Election for Pennsylvania’s High Court/The court that roiled the 2020 campaign will get a new Justice on Nov. 2" (which is blocked by a paywall). 

Trump's letter consists almost entirely of a list of factual allegations, very specific numerical assertions (e.g., "39,911 people... were added to voter rolls while under 17 years of age").

One reaction to Trump's letter is to criticize the Wall Street Journal for publishing the letter without verifying all of the assertions. But verifying the assertions is an immense task, and the assertions are newsworthy as assertions. Given that the Journal had itself made an assertion — that the counting of the late mail-in ballots didn't matter — it needed to acknowledge that Trump (and millions of Americans) believe that it did matter and readers deserved to see why they think that.

The first criticism I read was "The 14 things you need to know about Trump’s letter in the Wall Street Journal" by Philip Bump in The Washington Post. From the headline, you might think you're going to get a point-by-point fact check, but that's not what this is. Bump's list begins with the assertion that "The Wall Street Journal should not have published it without assessing the claims and demonstrating where they were wrong, misleading or unimportant."

That's not a fact "you need to know," just an opinion about journalistic professionalism. Is there a general rule in journalism — a rule Bump's newspaper follows — that you don't publish accusations before you've independently checked them? If so, I see that rule broken every day. Maybe there's the idea that Trump's challenge to the 2020 election is a special case, because we need to be committed to the legitimacy of the current government and because there's too much discord and a decent newspaper shouldn't be roiling people up on this subject. 

But it seems to me the WSJ is merely saying here's Trump's letter, and that is rock-solid factually true. This is what our former President is saying. That's worth knowing, and it's not the WSJ keeping the issue alive. The WSJ tried to close it down in its too-neat assertion in the the Oct. 25 editorial. Once it did that, it was a matter of fairness to allow Trump to say, no, I don't think the court's decision didn't matter, and to allow him to back up his opinions with his version of the facts.

Bump's second "thing you need to know" is: "The Journal would have been better served had it explained why it chose to run the letter without contextualizing it, since that might have at least offered some clarity on the otherwise inexplicable decision, but it didn’t." 

Eh. I was able to work out the reason pretty easily. It's not the normal practice to load down letters to the editor with explanations. The letters respond to something that the newspaper published, and it's for readers to judge the value of the letter. 

Now that Trump's letter is published, it's time to do the point-by-point fact checking.

October 27, 2021

7:24 a.m.


"It was after Kennedy’s victory in the 1960 election that Mr. Sahl’s career first veered off track. He wrote barbed political one-liners for Kennedy the candidate, but..."

"... when he turned his wit on the president-elect, tweaking him for his youth and for his family’s money and power, liberals who had loved his criticism of conservatism became notably cool.... Whether Mr. Sahl was the victim of Kennedy family wrath or a blackball from liberal Hollywood, as he sometimes claimed, or whether his own thorniness was to blame... gigs were fewer and farther between in the 1960s... 'My so-called liberal supporters have all moved in with the establishment,' he said from the stage at one preview. 'The same people who like jokes about John Foster Dulles and Goldwater suddenly freeze when they hear satirical humor about Vietnam or the war on poverty.'... His performances began to include reading scornfully from the Warren Commission report. And he worked as an unpaid investigator for Jim Garrison, the New Orleans district attorney, who claimed to have uncovered secret evidence that Lee Harvey Oswald was not the assassin.... 'I spent years talking with people, Garrison notably, about the Kennedy assassination,' Mr. Sahl wrote in 'Heartland,' a score-settling, dyspeptic memoir published in 1976, “and I was said to have hurt my career by being in bad company... I learned something, though. The people that I went to Hollywood parties with are not my comrades. The men I was in the trenches with in New Orleans are my comrades.... I think Jack Kennedy cries from the grave for justice."

From "Mort Sahl, Whose Biting Commentary Redefined Stand-Up, Dies at 94/A self-appointed warrior against hypocrisy, he revolutionized comedy in the 1950s by addressing political and social issues" (NYT).

1. Mort Sahl is before my time, really, so what I'm going to do is listen to at least one of his comedy albums, which I see are streamable on Spotify.

2. I remember Mort Sahl as he was on TV in the 1970s, as in this TV appearance where he goes on and on about how women are never intellectuals, which I assure you seemed creepy and out-of-it at that time:

3. He obsessed about the Kennedy assassination, and we are still waiting for the release of the files that have been held secret all these years. Here's an Intercept article from a few days ago about the current issue, whether to take the 1992 JFK Records Act seriously. Trump could have released these documents but "acquiesced to the demand of CIA Director Mike Pompeo to keep portions of thousands more secret until October 2021," and now here we are in October 2021, and here comes Biden, pushing the deadline out to December 2022. What's going on?

4. [ADDED] I listened to the album “The Future Lies Ahead.” I enjoyed his very fast, smart talking, though I couldn’t experience it as very funny because it was all tied to the politics of the late 50s. It’s hard to see anything funny about Eisenhower! 

Did I see that Huma Abedin story?, I am asked and I respond abruptly.

This is a screen capture of a real-life text conversation, with my dashed off response — written as fast as I can type — in blue:

"As is often noted, the essence of the modern Republican Party has been boiled down to: Own the libs. The impulse on the other side is not parallel."

"Democrats try to mobilize their voters with promises to enact popular policies — paid family leave, expanded Medicare coverage, cheaper prescription drugs, universal pre-K and so on. Democratic voters were desperate to send Mr. Trump packing. But beyond that, what many, many blue-staters want isn’t to own red-state America so much as to return to ignoring it altogether.... [W]hile the non-MAGA electorate may be rightly exhausted, Democrats should beware of letting their voters get comfy or complacent just because Mr. Trump is currently cooling his heels in Florida. That is exactly what his Republican Party is counting on in Virginia — and everywhere else."

From "Why the Virginia Election Is Freaking Democrats Out" by Michelle Cottle (NYT).

I think both parties rely on emotional politics, and I laugh at the assertion that Democrats are mainly only soberly serving up rational policy proposals. Cottle is fretting that the voters Democrats are hoping to motivate are more tired that the ones Republicans are keeping warmed up. Her idea seems to be to stir up the Democratic-Party-oriented people about the way Republican-Party-oriented people are more stirred up: Political emotion is scary, so get politically emotional. Ironically, that's what's so damned tiresome. 

"The billionaires tax, officially unveiled early Wednesday morning, may have died before the ink was dry on its 107-page text."

"Mr. Manchin, speaking with reporters, said, 'I don’t like the connotation that we’re targeting different people.... It’s time that we all pull together and grow together'.... The proposed tax would almost certainly face court challenges, but given the blockade on more conventional tax rate increases imposed by Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, Democrats have few other options for financing their domestic agenda.... If the proposal can be enacted over Mr. Manchin’s concerns, billionaires would be taxed on the unrealized gains in the value of their liquid assets, such as stocks, bonds and cash, which can grow for years as vast capital stores that can be borrowed off to live virtually income tax free. The tax would be levied on anyone with more than $1 billion in assets or more than $100 million in income for three consecutive years — which applies to about 700 people in the United States..... For people like the Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, the Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and the Tesla founder Elon Musk, that hit would be enormous, since the initial value of their horde of stocks was zero."

From "Ahead of Meeting With White House Team, Manchin Criticizes Billionaire Tax Plan" (NYT).

"It’s hard to stick with the muse, that’s for sure, and not be a caricature of your past. You’re always struggling to outdo what you did before. I don’t think he thinks that way at all."

Said Jesse Dylan about his father, quoted in "Jesse Dylan: The Sixties? Dad and I would rather talk about Dante/The film-maker talks about his George Soros documentary, the super-rich — and being Bob’s son" (London Times).

And: "He’s not a nostalgic person, he’s always looking forward to the next thing... We probably spend more time on Milton or Shakespeare or Dante." Neither of them does social media, we're told

About Soros, Jesse says: “The thing that surprised me the most about him is that you can change his mind... I’ve worked with a lot of very, very wealthy people — you cannot change their minds. It might as well be written in cement. Because they were successful in one place, they think they’ll be the same success everywhere. What’s unique about George is that he doesn’t know the answer. He sits with people and talks with them, to try to understand.”

Edible oddities...


... from the Meadhouse garden.


"Do these angry parents know how much planning it takes to fill six hours each day with material that’s interesting enough to keep children from breaking everything in the classroom by hitting each other with it (elementary school) or texting each other TikToks about recreational drug use and open-minded sexual promiscuity (contemporary high school, I assume)?"

From "As a Parent, I Would Rather Fake My Own Death Than Take Over Curriculum Planning From Teachers and School Boards" by Ben Mathis-Lilley (Slate). 

1. That's quite a sentence. I use this blog to collect unusual, elaborate sentences, and this is one of them.

2. The "angry parents" don't believe that what teachers and school boards are doing is just trying to make the material "interesting enough." It's hardly a dispute about interestingness. 

3. Why is it acceptable to portray children as little monsters? We immobilize them in schoolrooms and then express hostility toward them for failing at utter docility. 

4. Just because you can't or won't do a government official's job in its entirety doesn't mean it's wrong to criticize the way that work is done. On the contrary, it's exactly what we do all the time in a representative democracy. 

5. When you criticize the way someone else is doing their work, you ought to go through the exercise of contemplating what it's like from their point of view. So let's do that with respect to the lessons that these "angry parents" are outraged about. It seems that the mechanism of compulsory schooling is used to mold young minds to a social and political ideology. What is it like — from the inside — to be a school official with that agenda? Put yourself in their shoes. After that, go ahead and criticize if you're still so inclined.

"In the movies, the prep is everything. You also need time to clean, inspect and repair guns. You need time to fix old clocks."

"In period films, you are sometimes using antiques. But here, there was absolutely no time to prepare, and that gave me a bad feeling." 

That's at Fox News, which, I see, is generating a lot of "Rust" stories. There's also 
"'Rust' shooting left film locals 'rolling their eyes' at alleged lack of safety measures: 'Just unthinkable'/One local moviemaker hopes to see change in safety guidelines so 'the death of Halyna was not in vain.'" The text — though not the headline — makes a strong pitch for the labor union, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE):

October 26, 2021

Fall color a sunrise...

... with a view of the sun... 


... and with the moon...


Bonus view, much later, at 2:41 p.m., when I return to my lakeside path, walking this time, and going twice as far....


"The risks come not only from the noise and the chemical emissions that two-stroke engines produce, but also from the dust they stir up."

"'That dust can contain pollen, mold, animal feces, heavy metals and chemicals from herbicides and pesticides'.... All this adds up to increased risk of lung cancer, asthma, cardiovascular disease, premature birth and other life-threatening conditions.... But the trouble with leaf blowers isn’t only their pollution-spewing health consequences. It’s also the damage they do to biodiversity. Fallen leaves provide protection for overwintering insects and the egg sacs of others. Leaf blowers, whether electric or gasoline-powered, dislodge the leaf litter that is so essential to insect life — the insect life that in turn is so essential to birds and other wildlife. The ideal fertilizer and mulch can’t be found in your local garden center. They are available at no cost in the form of a tree’s own leaves...."

From "The First Thing We Do, Let’s Kill All the Leaf Blowers" (NYT).

And there's this: "hydrocarbon emissions from a half-hour of yard work with the two-stroke leaf blower are about the same as a 3,900-mile drive from Texas to Alaska in a Raptor." 

(I had to look up what a Raptor is — even though we are in the process of buying a Ford F-150. It's the bulked up version of the F-150.)

Why aren't people ashamed to be seen (or heard) using a leaf-blower? It's quite bizarre.

"Youngkin’s new ad features the heart-wrenching story of Laura Murphy, a mother who tried to shield her son from having to read Beloved, by Toni Morrison."

"The ad does not identify the book, nor does it mention that Murphy is a Republican activist. But the story was covered by the media at the time, back in 2013. Murphy’s son told the Washington Post that the book, assigned for his Advanced Placement English course, 'was disgusting and gross. It was hard for me to handle. I gave up on it.' He also complained that he suffered 'night terrors' as a result of reading it. Murphy sought to have Beloved banned until 'new policies are adopted for books assigned for class that might have objectionable material,' said the Post. One irony here is that Republicans are rallying around a privileged snowflake who claims a book millions of children have read caused unbearable trauma. If their principle is that parents should be able to prevent schools from assigning texts that upset their kids, what are they going to say when progressives start demanding the school excise texts by Mark Twain, Richard Wright, and other authors who have run afoul of the left for depicting racist dialogue?"

Here's the ad: 

"A United Kingdom student described feeling 'vulnerable' and 'violated' after being a victim of 'needle spiking' at a nightclub in Nottingham."

"Hers is one of many cases reported across Britain, in which an injection is administered to someone without their knowledge or consent, usually in a nightclub or bar setting — sometimes through the clothes.... Campaigners say they are seeking 'tangible' changes to make nighttime venues safer, so no woman has to endure hours of memory blackouts, or worse.... Nottinghamshire police say no other offenses, including sexual assault, have been linked to the reports of being injected...."

No sexual assault reports from women who emerge from an hours-long blackout.

"To her, death is quite romantic/She wears an iron vest/Her profession’s her religion/Her sin is her lifelessness."

Sings Bob Dylan, in "Desolation Row." 

That played in my head I as I was reading "I do not mean that these people’s ideology is ‘like’ a religion. I seek no rhetorical snap in this comparison. I mean that it actually is a religion. An anthropologist would see no difference in type between Pentecostalism and this new form of antiracism." 

That's quote from John McWhorter's "WOKE RACISM/How a New Religion Has Betrayed Black America," extracted in this NYT book review "John McWhorter Argues That Antiracism Has Become a Religion of the Left."

McWhorter writes for the NYT, so I expect only a gentle review, but there's this:
Where McWhorter is less effective is in his critique of some of the Third Wave’s high priests. Although he takes aim at writers like Ta-Nehisi Coates, Robin DiAngelo, Ibram X. Kendi and The New York Times’s Nikole Hannah-Jones, he only briefly quotes their writing. A more compelling pushback would have involved a thorough analysis of their arguments (he has reviewed Kendi and DiAngelo elsewhere).

Now, I know the feeling... I don't answer my phone if I don't recognize the number... but this is ridiculous.

"Colorado hiker, lost for 24 hours, ignored rescuers' calls because hiker didn’t recognize the number/The hiker told rescue officials they had wandered off the trail and could not find their way back" (Fox News).

By the way, were you confused about the number of hikers? Based on that headline, I was. You can count on Fox News to do woke pronouns, even at the cost of clarity. You never find out whether this was a man or a woman. In addition to they/them approach to pronouns, we get "The person started hiking" and "the subject ignored 'repeated phone calls' because they simply didn’t recognize the number."

These were official rescuers, not private citizens mobilizing for the task. Given the present-day habit of phone users declining to answer unknown numbers, they ought to have a way to use caller idea to display their identity. 

"While Viagra had been a kind of luxury good for older men... Hims catered to that man’s woke grandson."

"In the words of one of the brand’s designers, the core customer was 'coastal or urban, with a diverse cohort, aware of what’s going on in culture, cares about how they look.' The Hims Man could order sildenafil while waiting in line for Sweetgreen, changing in the Equinox locker room, obtaining knitwear on Mr Porter.... Hims claimed there was an undiagnosed epidemic of erectile dysfunction among men under 40, which made them eager to buy these wares. Or perhaps there was another explanation behind the sales figures, a combination of cultural forces that was changing the way men behaved in secret.... In a phrase the CEO uses constantly, Hims wants to become the 'front door' of the entire health-care system, the country’s main platform for nonemergency medicine...."

From "The Soft Sell/The health-care brand Hims wants to leverage young men’s anxiety over erections and hair loss into a multibillion-dollar empire" (NY Magazine). The illustration at the link is hilarious.

"Do not blame the LGBTQ community for any of this.... It's about corporate interests and what I can say and what I cannot say."

This is new video — 5 minutes of it — from Dave Chappelle — posted yesterday at Instagram:


He says that everyone he knows in the LGBTQ community has been supportive of him. He made a series of comedy shows and a documentary about making them. The first show was about the murder of George Floyd, and the documentary was accepted into various film festivals. Then, after the controversy over his most recent show, "The Closer," he got disinvited from the festivals and no one wants to touch the documentary. 

He doesn't say, but you can infer that he thinks that has more to do with race and George Floyd than anything about transgender people. 

He says he's willing to meet with transgender people, "but you will not summon me. I am not bending to anybody's demands." He states 3 conditions, the first 2 of which are serious. You have to watch the entire show, "The Closer." And you have to meet him at a time and place of his choosing. The third condition is a punchline: "You must admit that Hannah Gadsby is not funny." 

He goes on to say that he's going to screen the documentary, free, in 10 cities (click through to the Instagram page to see the list), "And you will see what they are trying to obstruct you from seeing and you can judge for yourself." 

 He ends: "You have to answer the question: Am I cancelled or not?!"

Tortuous path or torturous path?

 Oh, New York Times.... you have made the classic booboo:

The mistake is in the headline and the article

The path to that tender moment had been torturous. Not long after the princess and Mr. Komuro announced their engagement four years ago, the public began to question her choice.... Princess Mako’s father withheld approval of the marriage, citing the curdled public opinion. The paparazzi chased Mr. Komuro, 30, after he left for New York to attend Fordham Law School and tracked his shaggy hair and food truck habits. Savage attacks on social media left the princess suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.... The media and the public were shocked, simply shocked, by the fact that he arrived from New York sporting a ponytail.... In some surveys, as many as 80 percent of respondents have said they opposed the marriage. Yet after waiting three years for Mr. Komuro to finish law school and start a job at a New York law firm....

Law school is a challenge, but it's not torture. A "torturous path" would involve torture. A "tortuous path" is a long and winding road. I know that any law student — even a ponytailed Fordham student — can crank out a defense of the use of "torturous path" here by stressing that the process was indeed painful for the princess so it's not really a mistake, just hyperbole. But the "tortuous path"/"torturous path" mixup is really well known. It's one of the most discussed word substitution issues, so even if you really wanted to say that the princess's path was torture, you should resist out of realizing that language mavens will say you were wrong.

And by the way, since I'm talking about law students, there's also "tortious." These words — "torturous," "tortuous," and "tortious" — all go back to the idea of twisting. In French, you probably know, "tort" means wrong, but that got started out of the idea of twisting. Think about the idea that wrong is twisted, distorted. Language itself is always twisting — twisting the night away — new meanings twining out of old ones. In the long scheme of things, we've benefited from the twists, the wrongs, but the mavens policing the lines — defending the distinctions — are part of the tortuous path of the language we love.

And best wishes to the happy couple! Let me quote the groom, because this is damned cute: "I love Mako. I would like to spend my one life with the person I love."

How to make a big sensation out of not being transgender.

Step 1: Be Shiloh Jolie-Pitt.

"Not everyone will wake up at 4.30am and walk up 1,000 stairs to see the sun coming up, it requires discipline and a special type of personality."

Says Breathwork coach Aigul Safuillina, quoted in "Sunrise breathwork meditation and exercise on a Hong Kong hilltop combines fitness, mind and body detox, and a reset of your circadian clock/Breathwork coach Aigul Safuillina started the Lantau Sunrise Club to promote group exercise, teach the basics of proper breathing and embrace the natural world/Dozens have signed up to practise tactical breathing and learn the ‘rock and roll’ exercise. A club member explains they get his day off to a positive start" (South China Morning Post).

It's interesting for me to read about people who are doing something that's very similar to what I do but also very different. I'm intent on seeing the sunrise and I have a number of steps I need to do to get to my vantage point (about 1700 steps each way, according to my iPhone), but I have a lot of differences: I do it every day (not once a week), I don't have a set of physical exercises to do when I get there (I take photographs), I don't meet up with a group or have any sort of club. 

And I feel distanced from notions like "tactical breathing" and "mind and body detox" and "special type of personality." Just to harp on that last one, what is this "special type of personality"?! That's off-putting, suggesting that most people should just forget about it and leave it to hyper-disciplined freaks. I know I wouldn't have regarded myself as the "special type." 

I do regard it as a spiritual experience but I would not want an instructor of any kind speaking to me, especially speaking to me as a member of a group and stressing fitness and breathing. I could imagine an idealized guru speaking to me is just the absolutely perfect way, but better than nothing is, in this case, a very high standard.

Sunrise viewed indirectly.


At 7:36 a.m.

"A friend messages: 'Jake Tapper thinks Alec Baldwin deserves "basic decency" from Republicans. Hahahahahahahahahaha.'"

"These guys can dish out the very nastiest stuff, but they can’t take it, because up to now they’ve been shielded by what Ann Althouse calls 'civility bullshit.' The only trouble is, people have realized it’s bullshit. You want civility and decency? Try displaying some."

Blogs Glenn Reynolds (at Instapundit).

October 25, 2021

"[T]he Audubon Naturalist Society (ANS), has announced it will change its name, due to the 'pain' caused by the 19th-century ornithologist and slaveholder John James Audubon...."

[Audubon] has come under scrutiny for his buying and selling of enslaved people in the 1820s; for his objections to the abolitionist movement; and for writings that portrayed black and indigenous people as inferior to whites. Audubon, who was born in modern-day Haiti but moved to the US before dying in New York in 1851, took five human skulls from a battlefield in Texas and sent them to Samuel Morton, a doctor who attempted to determine differences that he claimed showed varying intelligence levels between races."

The Guardian reports.