January 8, 2022

Here's a place where you can write about whatever you want.

And, once again, it was too cold to go out and do a sunrise run. I don't expect to go out until Wednesday. It's been a big cold snap! I've barely left the house in 2022. 

"Historically, and almost definitionally, a gridlocked Congress that cannot pass laws tends to be better for conservative reactionaries than progressive activists."

"Lawmakers also lack the mastery of esoteric issues, say soil runoff, that civil servants can master. When the courts force Congress to expressly decide, usually either nothing happens — or lobbyists sit in the driver’s seat. Pushing decision-making to Congress from the civil service, or what Trump disdainfully called the 'deep state,' is a goal of the conservative legal project shared by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.... The reality is, even if they tried, the Democratic-controlled Congress probably couldn’t cobble together the votes to pass a mandate like OSHA’s. Ten Republicans in the Senate wouldn’t cross over to break a filibuster. Republicans are emboldened because they think opposition to vaccine mandates in the off-year Virginia elections helped win all three statewide races and flip the House of Delegates."

From "How blocking Biden’s vaccine mandate would be a Supreme Court gift to Trump" by James Hohmann (WaPo).

The Biden administration is relying on general language in a statute passed over a half century ago as it tries to do something that we know Congress won't do on its own, even though Congress has been able to see the problem to be solved for at least half a year. The administration's mandate is such an aggressive imposition on people, and the position of Congress is, essentially, to spare us. It looks as though the Supreme Court is about to make Congress's answer — no mandate — the final answer. 

Isn't that the most democratic — small "d" democratic — resolution of the lawmaking conundrum?

"For people without solid structures of existential certainty, the predictable nature of the interlocking cosmic clocks of astrology can provide a scaffold..."

"... upon which to build meaning, purpose, and focus.... For me, the astrologers I spoke with for this article, and a majority of those I consider to be colleagues, responsible astrological prediction has several key factors: it is either helpful, compassionate, or (preferably) both, and it repeatedly re-emphasizes the inherent and unavoidable uncertainty of any prediction. By deliberately trying to be helpful and humble, the harms and hubris that are possible within astrological prediction are immediately minimized. There’s responsibility here, sure, but there’s also relief—by making room for what can be considered chance, we leave the door open for what some call fate."

Pick a structure, any structure. It's better than chaos. Any meaning is better than meaninglessness. Is that the idea? 

But I don't believe that what passes for astrology these days has gone on "for millennia." My understanding is that it was trumped up to write an amusing story about baby Princess Margaret!

Do you believe Mike Pompeo lost 90 pounds in 6 months by working out in his home gym for half an hour a day and eating healthy foods?

I know I silently called bullshit when I read about it, so I laughed when I saw the editors of the Kansas City Star openly call bullshit:
We asked weight loss experts, and people who have lost large amounts of weight themselves, whether it’s possible to lose 90 pounds in six months simply by eating better and hitting a humble home gym for half an hour five or six times a week. Their response? Absolutely not, almost certainly not, and hahaha. ... 
“He would have to be on a massive starvation diet,” [said Micah LaCerte, a top personal trainer] probably taking in no carbs at all. And even then, “no way with only a half-hour workout. Ninety in six is unbelievable, especially for his age, unless he’s working out for hours every day. The numbers just don’t add up. Dude, just be honest. Mike, come on, man.”... 
While it may be theoretically possible, “it’s just not likely” without surgery, drugs or other extreme measures, says Al Rose, a longtime New York bodybuilder, trainer and coach... "His face is sunken and his skin doesn’t look good. He’s gone from one extreme to the other..." Rose said....

"For the fourth day in a row, Wisconsin on Friday recorded a record-breaking number of new COVID-19 cases driven by the highly contagious but milder omicron variant."

"The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 12,293 new confirmed cases, the highest single-day case count of the entire pandemic. The previous record was set Thursday when 11,547 new cases were reported.... Friday’s seven-day average was more than double what it was just two weeks ago, the health department said. At 7,637 cases, the average was also the highest of the pandemic. Deaths are lower than they were this time last year, with 12 new COVID-19 deaths reported Friday, according to the department. Last year, 32 new deaths were added on Jan. 7. But the seven-day average for COVID-19 deaths is comparable. Friday’s seven-day average was 20 deaths per day, the health department reported. Last year at this time that number was 22 deaths per day.... The number of ICU patients — 472 — was just shy of the pandemic all-time high of 475 reached on Thursday, according to the association."

The Wisconsin State Journal reports.

The strange case of Grichka and Igor Bogdanoff, who have now both died (of Covid).


Here's the NYT obituary for the twins. 

Jabbing with a sharp object — tolerated and not tolerated.

This is not about hyperdermic needles. Not another post about vaccines. This is about 2 movies I encountered last night, and the sharp objects involved — a surgical scalpel and a harpoon.

I began watching the 1950 movie — written and directed by Joseph Mankiewicz — "No Way Out." Sidney Poitier plays a young doctor, working in a prison ward, and Richard Widmark is his no-good racist patient. It's unfolding well enough. Here are some early scenes...

... but then a tray of medical instruments is left right next to racist Widmark so that it's easy for him to grab a scalpel. I had to turn it off. I wouldn't subject myself to the cheap suspense of waiting for Widmark to whip out the scalpel and stab Sidney Poitier!

I switched to a different movie, "Terror in a Texas Town." This is a 1958 western that's of interest because it was written by Dalton Trumbo during the blacklist days, and it stars Sterling Hayden and Sebastian Cabot. But it's an absurd refuge from that scalpel, because it's absolutely no secret — it's shown in part at the beginning of the film — that in the final showdown between hero and villain, the hero is armed with a harpoon! Watch the ending here:

I watched that entire movie. All that harpoon action. The harpoon was displayed and described again and again. It's so weird that I wouldn't put up with the scalpel business, but I watched an entire movie that was about one man harpooning another man. Unlike Sidney Poitier's character, the harpoonee deserved skewering.

Now, you're probably thinking that the harpooned villain was played by Sebastian Cabot, a fat actor who always played a fat man. He was a villain — an evil capitalist — isn't a cartoonish capitalist always fat? He's fat, and a harpoon is displayed over and over again, and Sterling Hayden is getting more and more focused and determined. Cabot must be his "whale."

If you watch the clip, you know — spoiler alert — that guess is wrong. In fact, Sebastian Cabot filmed all his scenes inside a single room — a hotel room. He didn't attend his own shootouts. He hired people, while he remained ensconced indoors with copious room service food and a beautiful secretary. Luxurious for the character and low-budget for the filmmakers.

The Ray Epps conspiracy theory story is powerfully viral — so let's see how it's handled by The New York Times.

I saw this, linked at Instapundit, here. My instinct is to compare what the NYT says about it, and there's a substantial discussion in a piece published yesterday: "The Next Big Lies: Jan. 6 Was No Big Deal, or a Left-Wing Plot/How revisionist histories of Jan. 6 picked up where the 'stop the steal' campaign left off, warping beliefs about what transpired at the Capitol." 

I'm reading this for the first time, so I'll excerpt and react as I go. There's a heading, "The Case of Ray Epps," but the first 2 paragraphs are general material about who is inclined to believe conspiracy theories about January 6th, so it's not as substantial as it looked at first glance. 

Adherents have built up characters to support their claims that antifa infiltrators or federal agents were the ones who whipped up the mob, in some instances doing so as events were unfolding in Washington. One is a man named Ray Epps, a Trump supporter who was captured on video the night of Jan. 5 urging his compatriots to “go into the Capitol” the next day.

Some in the crowd responded approvingly: “Let’s go!” rings out one reply.

“Peacefully,” Mr. Epps said, just before others began chanting “Fed, Fed, Fed!” at the man, who at age 60 stood out in the far-younger crowd.

There's no link to the video, so readers can't see how much "urging" there was or why there was enough to provoke some people — "others" — to call him out as a federal agent and to do it by chanting — as opposed to confronting him and arguing with him. The only reason I'm not linking to the video myself is that I didn't easily find something that wasn't either cut down or edited into commentary.

January 7, 2022

Here’s a post where you can write about whatever you want.

It will have to go with a photograph, because once again, it was too cold for a sunrise run.

"Bob Dylan and his lawyers are calling the sex abuse lawsuit filed against him in New York last summer a 'ludicrous' money grab by an unbalanced 'psychic' who once stated she had been 'abducted by aliens and piloted their spaceship....'"

"'According to her own website, plaintiff is a psychic who specializes in ‘channeling’ the deceased loved ones of grieving families — for a fee,' the new filing states. It alleges the accuser had not only claimed she had been abducted by aliens, she also purportedly claims that 'she speaks to cats, dogs and other animals — alive and dead — as well as insects and plants.'... [The plaintiff's lawyer said,] 'Some people refer to Bob Dylan as a prophet. People have labels. More than half of Americans believe in psychic phenomena. If you’re going to attack somebody for their beliefs, you’re encroaching upon very dangerous territory.... This is what this country is based on, freedom of beliefs. It shouldn’t divert our attention from the allegations. This case is about the facts.'"

From "Bob Dylan Brands Sex Abuse Lawsuit a ‘Brazen Shakedown’ by Unbalanced ‘Psychic’/'The allegation is false, malicious, reckless and defamatory,' Dylan’s lawyers said in a new response filed in state court in Manhattan" (Rolling Stone).

"Conservative Supreme Court justices on Friday appeared skeptical that the Biden administration has legal authority to impose a broad vaccination-or-testing requirement on large employers."

"They seemed more in agreement with private businesses and Republican-led states that such policies need to be approved by Congress or implemented by state governments than a federal agency — in this case, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. was among the conservative justices, who make up a majority of the court, to wonder whether Congress had given authority for agencies 'to enact such a broad regulation.' The Biden administration’s solicitor general, Elizabeth B. Prelogar, said Congress had given just such a power for the agency to enact emergency standards to protect workers in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic."

WaPo reports.

I listened to much of the oral argument, and I thought Prelogar was superhumanly great. I don't think I have ever heard someone speak so quickly for so long without sacrificing any lucidity, terseness, or enunciation. Here's her Wikipedia page. I see that she was Miss Idaho in 2004, she's fluent in Russian, and she has sons who are named Blaise and Beckett (which I'm just guessing is a tribute to Blaise Pascal and Samuel Beckett). 

"Throughout the pandemic, Democrats have been eager to style themselves as the ones that 'take the virus seriously,' which is shorthand, at least in the bluest states and cities..."

"... for endorsing the most extreme interventions. By questioning the wisdom of school closures—and taking our child out of public school—I found myself going against the party line. And when I tried to speak out on social media, I was shouted down and abused, accused of being a Trumper who didn’t care if teachers died. On Twitter, mothers who had been enlisted as unpaid essential workers were mocked, often in highly misogynistic terms. I saw multiple versions of 'they’re just mad they’re missing yoga and brunch.'

"What is your greatest regret?"/"Almost succumbing to the pills over Marlon Brando—an overweight knight errant wearing a crown, and nothing else."

 Rita Moreno answers the Proust questionnaire (at Vanity Fair).

Goodbye to Sidney Poitier.

"Sidney Poitier, trailblazing Hollywood icon who broke barriers for Black actors, dies at 94/In a groundbreaking film career, Poitier established himself as one of the finest performers in America" (NBC News).
Poitier, who rejected film roles based on offensive racial stereotypes, earned acclaim for portraying dignified, keenly intelligent men in 1960s landmarks such as “Lilies of the Field,” “A Patch of Blue,” “To Sir, With Love,” “In the Heat of the Night” and “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.”

He said he felt a responsibility to represent Black excellence at a time when the vast majority of movie stars were white and many Black performers were relegated to subservient or buffoonish roles. He came to be seen as an elder statesmen in the film industry, celebrated for his social conscience and admired for his regal bearing.

"8 Times Left-Wing Protesters Broke Into Government Buildings And Assaulted Democracy."

 From The Federalist.

"I will stand in this breach."

Said President Biden, in his speech yesterday. You can encounter the line in context at the end of my previous post

This post is to examine the idiom. What are we talking about when we say "stand in the breach"? I think of Shakespeare's "Once more unto the breach." It's about taking up a warlike frame of mind:

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead!
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man,
As modest stillness and humility;
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger:
Stiffen the sinews, conjure up the blood...

So "the breach" is a broken open place in some fortifying wall, and the idea is to move through that space, into battle. If they don't move forward, the argument is that they will pile up dead until their bodies fill that space — close the wall up.

But that's about using the breach as an entry point into battle, not just standing there, which seems to be a poor military tactic.

From about the same time period, there is the King James Version of the Bible (1611), Psalm 106:23:

"A building, hallowed..."/"this sacred place... We shall know the truth and the truth shall make us free."

Here's the transcript of what Vice President Kamala Harris and President Joe Biden said at the big commemoration yesterday. I didn't watch, but I will read, so I'll pick out some highlights for you.

First, Harris:
Certain dates echo throughout history... dates that occupy not only a place on our calendars, but a place in our collective memory, December 7th, 1941, September 11th, 2001 and January 6th, 2021....
The event is known by its date. After all this long history of the world, you'd think every day of the year would already have this status. Personally, I don't like negative events parking on the calendar, darkening our lives on a yearly basis, but that's her point. This is going to be an annual event for the rest of your life. 

You know, January 6th is a beautiful religious holiday, Epiphany — Three Kings Day. But sorry, adorers of the baby Jesus, the politicos of America need your day for their sacred solemnities.
What the extremists who roamed these halls targeted was not only the lives of elected leaders. What they sought to degrade and destroy was not only a building, hallowed as it is....

"This is my father. . . . This is dad."

Said Liz Cheney, quoted in "Dick Cheney returns to the House and receives a warm welcome … from Democrats" (WaPo).

Lots of political theater yesterday. At least that was hilarious.

"'I don’t buy that,' Carlson said. 'Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. I don’t buy that.' The thing is: Carlson shouldn’t have bought it."

"This, after all, was hardly the first time Cruz labeled Jan. 6 a terrorist attack. He did so the very next day -- 'a despicable act of terrorism' — and in a Jan. 8 tweet. He did so in a local news interview published Jan. 8, as well. Even more than four months after the riot, while voting against the creation of a bipartisan Jan. 6 commission, Cruz was still using that word. 'The January 6 terrorist attack on the Capitol was a dark moment in our nation’s history,' Cruz’s May 28 statement began. That is, indeed, a lot of slipping up to do — over a long time — for a Princeton- and Harvard-educated lawyer.... This wasn’t him slipping up; this was him deciding that the talking point was no longer welcome.... Cruz proceeded to say that he has long labeled those who attack police officers as terrorists and that’s merely what he was doing here. Carlson was again unimpressed and argued — again, validly! — that people who attack police officers should be put in jail, but that doesn’t make them terrorists."

From "Ted Cruz grovels to Tucker Carlson over Jan. 6 ‘terrorist attack’ remark" (WaPo). You don't have to trust WaPo. interview:

I'd like to see a list of all the times Cruz did call those who attack police officers terrorists. But even if he can claim that consistently, over a long period of time, he's used the word "terrorist" in that specific way, it still wouldn't justify calling the January 6th incident a terrorist attack, only calling a subset of the protesters terrorists. To call the entire incident a terrorist attack, you'd need some sort of pre-existing plan to attack the police. 

Does Cruz's position have something to do with the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020, where many people came out to protests and then a subset proceeded to get violent? Did he ascribe the intent to commit acts of violence to the entire protesting group? If so, that might explain Cruz's effort at consistency, and it might also cause fair-minded people to take better care in demonizing protesters. 

We need and value our protesters in America. Yes, sometimes, some protesters go too far. They get violent. They break into buildings. But big protests are not terrorist attacks. I can understand the motivation to pressure people to stay home and not even appear in a protest lest they be deemed to participate in terrorism. That's a contemptible motivation. 

January 6, 2022

Here's a place where you can write about whatever you want.

This was another day when I passed up the sunrise run, so I have no photography. Once again the "feels like" temperature was below zero. I seem to be spending 2022 indoors. I've only had one sunrise run so far, and I've only gone out one other time, for a short walk. Tomorrow at sunrise, it's going to be -3, feels like -16. 

ADDED: This might amuse you:

"She wanted that hairstyle. She was so curious about why so many women have that hairstyle, especially on the Republican side of the ticket."

The "she" is Meryl Streep and the quote is from the hair person for the movie "Don't Look Up," in "Micro Bangs, Mullets, and a Republican Bob: Every Out-of-This World Hairstyle in Don't Look Up" (Pop Sugar). Streep plays the role of President of the United States.

We're told that Streep kept saying, "Don't try to make it look pretty. I like it when it has this flat weird thing!'" 

I share her curiosity about why so many women have that hairstyle. It's so incredibly stupid...

It's hilarious to have a President with that hair. Can everyone please stop? It's like Shirley Temple grew up and couldn't figure out she wasn't a child anymore. That is, it's like Bette Davis in "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?"

"[W]intertime beach outings are a quintessential example of uitwaaien (OUT-vwy-ehn), a Dutch word that translates literally as 'out blowing' but is perhaps better understood as 'to walk in the wind.'"

"Typically used as a noun, it describes the act of undertaking some sort of outdoor physical activity in windy conditions. Wind, as local wisdom goes, refreshes and recalibrates you.... The Dutch have harnessed the wind as a power source for centuries; windmills have long been so intrinsic to society there that they’re practically a national symbol..... Like all lifestyles, uitwaaien has its casual partakers and more extreme devotees. Wim Hof, the Dutch health expert... says: 'We have a physical body, but it is like a radio: It receives and sends signals. And the carrier is the wind. The wind is able to change our biochemistry in the depth of our bodies for the better.... The wind offers the gas exchange between the outside and the inside of our selves. How do we regulate that? By doing the breathing, by letting the wind come into our bodies. That is a foundation of health."

From "Forget hygge, it’s time for uitwaaien" (WaPo).

Last night, Spotify suggested that I listen to a track that was 8 hours of the sound of wind — supposedly good white noise for sleeping. So this Dutch concept intrigues me. But I've been avoiding going out when the wind is high, especially in the winter, when it's not just about getting clobbered by detached tree parts, but it's driving the "feels like" temperature down below zero. 

I wrote about Wim Hof once before — in a 2019 post that ended, "Like the unfortunate couple who ate raw marmot organs and died of the plague and Willie Nelson inhaling/scarfing down marijuana, there's a thing that can be done and a human mind to imagine that it could work. It could work and it could cause a lot of damage, so... do it!" Read that whole post to see what sorts of things Hof does. 

I guess Hof formulates his ideas in Dutch. The English translation — "The wind offers the gas exchange between the outside and the inside of our selves... letting the wind come into our bodies" — sounds rather... farty.

ADDED: In France, you can walk in the wind indoors:

"The single wheel unit uses a steering actuator for infinite wheel rotation, meaning it can turn 360 degrees, which enables holonomic movement, like a figure skater."

From "Hyundai imagines a world in which it has turned everything into a robot/House plants, tables, even Grandma’s cane holder" (The Verge).

Cane holder? Why can't we have Grandma actuated — with holonomic movement?

Things done with a metaphorical knife.

"Biden eviscerates Trump for holding a 'dagger to the throat of Democracy'...." (Daily Mail).

A dagger isn't the weapon of choice for throat slashing but more of a stabbing sort of thing:

I deplore this violent imagery but it's been imposed on me — by Biden and The Daily Mail. I'd prefer some calming and benevolence.

"Eviscerate" isn't Biden's word — or I'd have to include an embedded "Braveheart" clip (to eviscerate is to disembowel) — but "dagger" is — so we'll go with Shakespeare:

The most famous dagger in literature is an imagined dagger. Rather than read Biden's speech — or Trump's response — let's read the Shakespeare and see if we can interpret it in some way that suits the occasion of the anniversary of the incident:

"Today… we see a form of selfishness... We see that some people do not want to have a child..."

"It might [seem] better — more comfortable — to have a dog, two cats, and the love goes to the two cats and the dog. Is this true or not? Have you seen it? Then, in the end this marriage comes to old age in solitude, with the bitterness of loneliness."

Said Pope Francis, quoted in "Don’t choose pets over children, Pope Francis says as birthrates drop" (WaPo).

Not having children, he said, “takes some of our humanity away.”

Sacred cow.

Working on the previous post, I briefly contemplated using the phrase "sacred cow." It's a metaphor, possibly useful in the context of discussing the things we feel we shouldn't say. But then I thought, isn't "sacred cow" one of those things we shouldn't say? It's culturally insensitive — isn't it? — implicitly mocking Hinduism. 

People don't say "sacred cow" anymore, do they? I checked, using my usual test of the usage of words, the New York Times archive. I was surprised to see "sacred cow" in active use. Just to list things in the past year:

"There is a major controversy brewing over free speech and censorship at Emory Law Journal this month after the student editors refused to publish an essay by San Diego’s Warren Distinguished Professor of Law Larry Alexander."

Writes Jonathan Turley, explaining in some detail what Alexander wrote that the law review editors, after inviting him to participate in a special issue, felt they should not publish. You can read Alexander's essay here.

From the editor's statement:

We take issue with your conversation on systemic racism, finding your words hurtful and unnecessarily divisive. Additionally, there are various instances of insensitive language use throughout the essay (e.g., widespread use of the objectifying term “blacks” and “the blacks” (pages 2, 3, 6, 8, etc.); the discussions on criminality and heredity (pages 11 and 14), the uncited statement that thankfully racism is not an issue today (page 18)). And, crucially, the discussion on racism is not strongly connected to your commentary on Professor Perry’s work, which is the focus of the Issue and the purpose behind the publication opportunity offered.

The pagination in the version I linked to isn't the same, but I think the "page 18" material is this:

"One year ago, a violent mob, guided by unscrupulous politicians, stormed the Capitol and almost succeeded in preventing the democratic transfer of power."

Writes Jimmy Carter — or someone writing under the name Jimmy Carter — in The New York Times.

Yes, it's January 6th at last, but I am not going to spend the day going through all the articles telling us what to think. For now, I'm only going to quote those words, the first sentence of Carter's piece — "I Fear for Our Democracy" — and ask one question.

How did the mob "almost succeed[] in preventing the democratic transfer of power"? 

Is there some idea that if the mob could have occupied the building, it would have taken over the government? What is the mechanism? 

I would "fear for our democracy" if a mob could seize power by seizing the Capitol, but only a little, because I don't think a mob could seize the Capitol. I saw my state's capitol occupied by protesters — with the intent to obstruct the operation of government — for 4 months, back in 2011. They delayed legislative action for quite a while, but they didn't take over governmental power. Their presence was tolerated — it didn't need to be — and eventually the law was passed and the group went home.

The Wisconsin protesters characterized what they were doing — interfering with the duly elected government — as "democracy," chanting, endlessly, "This is what democracy looks like." That is, those who win the elections should be subjected to continual criticism, vigorous protest, and friction every step of the way as they try to carry out the agenda that won the election. That's real democracy.

Is Carter pushing the idea that everyone is required to believe the announced results of the election are true and that democracy is endangered if they don't? If so, how does he handle the "Russian collusion" theory that dogged Trump for years? 

January 5, 2022

Here's a place...

 ... to write about anything.

"Have wipes and a bottle handy if you need to go to the bathroom, Dr. Lipman said."

Advice from "How to Stay Safe if You’re Trapped in Your Car During a Snowstorm/Safety experts offer advice on how people can keep warm and collected if they are stranded for hours on the road. Their top tip? Be prepared" (NYT).

A bottle?!!

"Sorry Sally but Brown is an entitled spoiled millionaire who has been a cancer in every locker room he has been in. There is absolutely no reason for a professional athlete to conduct himself in the manner Brown did."

That's the top-rated comment on "Antonio Brown put his pain on display for all to see. Instead of helping, the Bucs cut bait" by Sally Jenkins (WaPo)

Sample text from Jenkins: "For all of the NFL’s well-intentioned efforts on mental health, the Buccaneers have betrayed just how much of an archaic, body-commodifying, ranchers-and-cattle mentality can persist where decent human feeling should be.... Who on the Bucs didn’t know Brown had a tangled personality, demons stemming from indigence as a kid, that he had a pile of legal issues, trouble conforming and a penchant for self-sabotage?"

"To take aim at J.K. Rowling, Dave Chappelle or even Dr. Seuss shows real censorious ambition. But to cancel [Norman] Mailer at this moment would be an act of superfluity..."

"... like canceling Booth Tarkington or James Whitcomb Riley — a pointless kick to a fundamentally anachronistic character.... [Mailer's] reputational decline is so overdetermined, his persona so intensely out of step with our own era — the brawling macho solipsist who stabbed his own wife with a penknife — as to make him a comically easy and therefore pointless target for cancellation.... You want to impress me? You want to flex some cultural muscle? Let’s see you cancel Joan Didion.... In the recent obituaries you could see it enfolded into a larger narrative of her career, in which the conservative aspect of her writing... was something she gradually questioned and then transcended.... This narrative, in which Didion (to quote Hilton Als of The New Yorker) inherited a mythology and then 'began to see the cracks, and to wonder what those cracks meant,' is part of her protection against contemporary cancellation...."

From "Joan Didion, Conservative" by Ross Douthat (NYT).

For background on the current talk of cancelling Norman Mailer, see "Michael Wolff on Random House's Cancellation of Norman Mailer/Exclusive: The author's 'White Negro' essay helps sink a book set for 2023."

I remember when Norman Mailer was cancelled in 1971. Cancellation — and feminism — was so much more exciting and alive back then (not this dreary business we've got going today):

These days, Germaine Greer is cancelled.

"Working with information from online sleuths who style themselves as 'Sedition Hunters,' the authorities have made more than 700 arrests — with little sign of slowing down."

I'm trying to read "Prosecutors Move Quickly on Jan. 6 Cases, but Big Questions Remain/In the year since the assault on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob, more than 700 people have been arrested, with little public indication from the Justice Department of how high the investigation might reach" in The New York Times. 

"Sedition Hunters"?! That stopped me. What is sedition? If you Google, the top article you'll see is "‘Sedition’: A Complicated History/As a mob stormed the Capitol, the word 'sedition' was on many people’s lips. Its force is clear, but its echoes across American history are more complex and ambiguous" in the NYT, from January 7, 2021, one day after the mob scene in the Capitol. 

The word "sedition" was on many people’s lips — You know the "many people" and how they talk — how they talk and how they've hunted, assiduously, for a big revolutionary movement among the Trumpsters of America. They've been saying "sedition" for a year, and what have they found? 

People have been pushing me to listen to this or that episode of Joe Rogan — usually about vaccines — but I've felt resistant. Just wasn't up for it.

But then I saw the new episode was Carrot Top and I eagerly clicked and listened:

How can I explain my mood? I'm tired of hearing details about coronavirus and, more generally, pop culture debate about science topics that I'm not going to study with any expertise. And Carrot Top seemed like the perfect contrast to all that. A random celebrity that I knew but didn't care about. Is it just lockdown fatigue? Yeah, I'm tired of talking about it and hearing people angst about it. It's part of nature, so it's like talking about the weather. And it's been 2 years.

I love that Joe and Carrot Top talked about how Carrot Top has long been abused as a sort of punchline as if everyone understands him to be a bad comedian. No one knows what it's like to be hated — to be fated — to telling only prop jokes:


"It's like Nickelback...."

January 4, 2022





You can write about anything in the comments.

Freaking out over J.D. Vance's beard.

This is a bit strange — by Simon van Zuylen-Wood in the Washington Post — "The Radicalization of J.D. Vance/As he runs for the Senate, the ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ author has gone from media darling to establishment pariah. Is his new, fiery, right-wing persona an act? Or is something more interesting going on?"

It begins: "Let’s start with the beard." Okaaaay.
J.D. Vance didn’t used [sic] to have one. 
Pretty much true of everyone with a beard, but he didn't have one when the elite first encountered him... and adored him:
The Vance who in 2016 achieved incandescent literary fame with his memoir “Hillbilly Elegy” was all baby fat and rounded edges.
Back when he was right where you wanted him, you loved his fat face. Or so you say.

Have you seen all of Stanley Kubrick's films?

I haven't. Here's somebody's ranking of all of them. There are 13.

Up until last night, I'd seen "Dr. Strangelove," "Lolita," "The Shining," "Clockwork Orange," "Barry Lyndon," "Paths of Glory," "2001," "Full Metal Jacket," and "Eyes Wide Shut." (Named in the order that I like them.)

Yeah, I'd never seen "Spartacus," and I still haven't. Unsurprisingly, I'd never seen "Killer's Kiss" or "Fear and Desire."

The one I finally got around to watching — it's featured in the Criterion Channel's Sterling Hayden collection — is "The Killing." Highly amusing. The women were hilarious. It had Vince Edwards. It had a poodle and a parrot. Plus the great Sterling Hayden (last seen by me in "The Asphalt Jungle"). And at one point a character explains everything (quoted at my son's 101 Years of Movies blog):

"It’s an exceptional bridge, and they should keep it like this. Beauty must save the world"/"We can’t always do poetry. We must give security"/"A Venetian would have never built such nonsense"/"That is not a bridge."

Quotes from "Venice Gets a Grip on a Star Architect’s Slippery Bridge/The city will replace the glass on Santiago Calatrava’s footbridge across the Grand Canal with stone after too many pedestrians fell" (NYT). 

Calatrava is not a Venetian. He was born in Spain. Apparently, there's a notion that Venetians do not design impractical — dangerous? — things.

According to one person who fell — "like a bag of potatoes" — Calatrava "ruined the most beautiful years of my old age."

Yesterday, I crossed the line where I decided to get the booster.

I'd been thinking why should I get the booster, and it didn't seem as though there's been much push toward getting it. I didn't get emailed prompts from my doctor or anything like that. But I heard about a situation where one person got covid after getting the 2 shots only and not the booster and 3 people — who were boosted and who spent a lot of indoors with him when he was probably contagious — did not get it. And the day after I heard about that, I found out that 2 people I know just got the disease.

How about you? Are you a hold out? If so, why and what would change your mind?

Are you getting the booster?
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UPDATE: Boosted! Just finishing waiting the 15 minutes. A man in shorts just walked into the clinic. Well, the temperature is spiking this afternoon. Up to 30 degrees last I looked.

Aaron Rodgers explains everything.

"I struggle as a philosopher to reconcile my image of my body with its task in the world of being the emissary of my mind...."

"Often, I cannot bear the idea of sending out my 'soft animal' of a body, in the words of the poet Mary Oliver, to fight for feminist views that are edgy and controversial and to represent a discipline that prides itself on sharpness, clarity and precision. I feel betrayed by my soft borders. This false binary exists partly in my own head, yes, but also very much in others’: I was recently apprised of a caption on a portrait of David Hume, the 18th-century philosopher, in an introductory philosophy textbook: 'The lightness and quickness of his mind was entirely hidden by the lumpishness of his appearance.' Thus have other fat philosophers been warned that our bodies may similarly mask our intellects. The cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker isn’t a philosopher, but his latest book, 'Rationality,' handily demonstrates the worldview that equates thinness with reason.... [H]e chides the irrational doofus who prefers the 'small pleasur' of chowing down on lasagna now over the supposedly 'large pleasure of a slim body' in perpetuity. They 'succumb' to 'myopic discounting' of future rewards — an (ableist) term for short-term thinking, illustrated with a fatphobic example."

From "Diet Culture Is Unhealthy. It’s Also Immoral" by philosophy professor Kate Manne (NYT).

A question for Trump supporters: Would you prefer for Trump to stand down or would you rather see DeSantis go head-to-head with Trump in the debates?

Rhetorically, DeSantis rules: Please watch that first, then take this poll — but only if you are a Trump supporter:
A question ONLY for Trump fans:
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Virginia Giuffre — for $500,000 — agreed not to sue Jeffrey Epstein or "any other person or entity who could have been included as a potential defendant" — and Prince Andrew wants in on that "potential defendant" protection.

I'm reading "Prince Andrew hearing: Duke has ‘mountain to climb’ to get Virginia Giuffre case dismissed" (London Times).
Andrew B Brettler, who represents Andrew, 61, will argue that by including a reference to “royalty” in [the lawsuit that was settled, Giuffre] made the duke a potential co-conspirator, and that therefore he is covered by the terms of the release.

To use the legal term: Is Andrew a "third party beneficiary" of the release? 

I'm sorry, but I don't really know who Patton Oswalt is — I've never needed to know (the name looks familiar) — but I care about Dave Chappelle, so I'm reading...

... "Patton Oswalt explains himself after ‘nice’ Dave Chappelle post goes sideways" in the L.A. Times. I haven't even read the article yet — I'm going to "live blog" my reading of it — but I should disclose that I'm already in my What-a-weasel! mode.
... Both comics were performing at Seattle Center venues Friday night — Oswalt at 3,000-seat McCaw Hall and Chappelle at 17,500-seat Climate Pledge Arena. Chappelle invited his longtime buddy over to do a guest set, after which Oswalt posted.... “Finished me set at @mccawhall and got a text from @davechappelle... Come over to the arena he’s performing in next door and do a guest set. Why not? I waved good-bye to this hell-year with a genius I started comedy with 34 years ago. He works an arena like he’s talking to one person and charming their skin off. Anyway, I ended the year with a real friend and a deep laugh. Can’t ask for much more.”

This was supposedly Oswalt being "nice." No, it wasn't! It was Oswalt bragging about his connection to the much greater star. It was enthusiastic self-promotion. He had to already know Chappelle's difficulties with a certain sector of Wokedom and must be deemed to have consciously decided to take the risk. He had to have done a cost-benefit analysis. Do not tell me this weasel did a turnaround when he heard the actual — as opposed to the predictable — outcry. 

Yeah, I'm saying don't tell me. That's because I think I already know. The next day on Instagram, Oswalt is all:

"Well, that game's over! 74 years is enough of that!"

Announces Meade, channeling the mindset of Gallup, after reading "Did Gallup End 'Most Admired' 74-Year Polling Tradition to Avoid Trump Placing First?"

Yes, the admiration of human beings is a dangerous business. Why not back off? I remember when The Ladies Home Journal used to produce lists of the 10 "favorite heroes and heroines" of boys and girls, something I blogged about back in 2005, with a photograph from my copy of the 1977 best-seller "The Book of Lists":

A page from

Henry Kissinger! And yet:
The first page of "The Book of Lists" is a set of seven lists of "The Most Hated and Feared Persons in History" for the years 1970-1976. Hitler comes in Number 1 for all the years except 1972 and 1973, when Nixon comes in first! In fact, 1972 was a good year for Hitler, when he made it all the way down to fourth place. Idi Amin and Mao Tse-tung were, along with Nixon, more hated and feared. Satan was in fifth place that year. Amusingly, by 1976, Nixon is off the five-person list altogether, and Jimmy Carter is on, tied for fourth place with Count Dracula.

How could Nixon be worse than Hitler? And yet he was. Things near in time seem more important. How will Trump look as he fades into the distance? But I'm getting ahead of myself, because I don't know if he's in the process of fading right now or the process of bouncing back. He is very bouncy.

"I think people kind of appreciate that there’s this thing online that’s just fun. It’s not trying to do anything shady with your data or your eyeballs. It’s just a game that’s fun."

Said Josh Wardle, the inventor of Wordle, quoted in "Wordle Is a Love Story/The word game has gone from dozens of players to hundreds of thousands in a few months. It was created by a software engineer in Brooklyn for his partner" (NYT).

I played for the first time and got the word on the fifth line, without being strategic in choosing the first word, just using the kind of logic you use in Mastermind. It's more interesting than Mastermind, because the answer will be a real word, not just any combination of letters/colors.

The popularity of the game — not the game itself — had something to do with the very popular NYT game Spelling Bee:
Mr. Wardle said he first created a similar prototype in 2013, but his friends were unimpressed and he scrapped the idea.... The breakthrough, he said, was limiting players to one game per day. That enforced a sense of scarcity, which he said was partially inspired by the Spelling Bee, which leaves people wanting more, he said.

January 3, 2022

At the Still Too Cold Café...

 ... it's the third day in a row without a sunrise photograph, but you can talk all night. 

I have high hopes for tomorrow morning, when it should be 19° at sunrise, and I'll be willing to venture out.

"If sentenced to prison, Ms. Holmes would be the most notable female executive to serve time since Martha Stewart did in 2004 after lying to investigators about a stock sale."

"And Theranos, which dissolved in 2018, is likely to stand as a warning to other Silicon Valley start-ups that stretch the truth to score funding and business deals. The mixed verdict suggested that jurors believed the evidence presented by prosecutors that showed Ms. Holmes lied to investors about Theranos’s technology in the pursuit of money and fame. They were not swayed by her defense of blaming others for Theranos’s problems and accusing her co-conspirator, Ramesh Balwani, the company’s chief operating officer and her former boyfriend, of abusing her. They were also not swayed by the prosecutor’s case that she had defrauded patients. Ms. Holmes was acquitted on four counts related to patients who took Theranos’s blood tests and one related to advertisements that the patients saw."

"What is aquamation, the burial practice Desmond Tutu requested instead of greenhouse gas-emitting cremation?"

A WaPo headline asks the question we were not asking. I'm not sure you'll want to know this, so look away while there is still a chance for you. It's surprising how far you need to read into the article before you find out what is actually involved:

In aquamation, a machine uses “a heated (sometimes pressurized) solution of water and strong alkali to dissolve tissues, yielding an effluent that can be disposed through municipal sewer systems, and brittle bone matter that can be dried, crushed, and returned to the decedent’s family,” Philip Olson, a technology ethicist at Virginia Tech, wrote in a 2014 paper.

The process takes three to four hours at a temperature of around 300 degrees Fahrenheit, though it can be longer if lower temperatures are used, according to Olson. By comparison, fire-based cremation takes around two hours at a temperature of 1,400 to 1,800 degrees.

In the United States, aquamation was first adopted in the 1990s by researchers looking for an inexpensive and safe way to discard the remains of animals used in experiments....

So most of him went into the sewer system?! 

"A Chinese court has suggested that infidelity is insufficient reason for divorce, prompting heated debate across the country...."

"'The latest attitude on divorce by the law is to prevent frivolous dissolutions,' read the article, which was later removed after public backlash. China is fighting a rising divorce rate through state counselling and forcing couples who want to split into a one-month 'cooling off' period.... The topic drew 980 million views in 48 hours on Weibo, China’s leading social media platform...."

Joe Rogan fighting censorship.

At The Post Millennial: "BREAKING: Joe Rogan joins GETTR as Twitter censorship intensifies/As Twitter continues to ban users from its platform, podcast superstar Joe Rogan announced on Sunday that he has set up a GETTR account." 

Go here to follow Rogan on Gettr, where he already has 8.7 million followers. 

Over at Instagram, Joe Rogan put this up at 22 hours ago — a clip from an old podcast, with Jordan Peterson, who says what Rogan, I presume, means to say now:

"34% of voters say the Republican Party is headed in the right direction, up 10 points from immediately after Jan. 6 and slightly higher than before the attack on the Capitol."

"68% percent of Democrats say Jan. 6 had a 'major impact' on their worldview, but only 35% of independents and 24% of Republicans agree. 59% of voters said Trump is at least somewhat responsible for the events that led to a group of people attacking the Capitol, and 47% say the same of Republicans in Congress. Both figures are down slightly from immediately after the attack.... Since July, the share of voters who say they approve of the select committee has fallen 7 points to 46 percent, fueled by declining support among Democrats, independents and Republicans, all of whom have become more likely to express uncertainty about an investigation that has often failed to capture their attention on a large scale... Overall, the trends signal a weariness verging on disinterest in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack one year later...."

What to wear when it's 8°.

"[T]o argue, as Liz Cheney and Nancy Pelosi do, that Trump didn’t have a right to contest the election is to replace the rule of law with the rule of intimidation."

"The Democrats and their partners in the media have used all their assembled might to coerce Trump and his allies into silence. His only crime is that he won’t shut up about the election being stolen. Nor for that matter is he the only one who thinks that the election was fraudulent. Millions of us independently reached the same conclusion. If any of those supporters had turned to violence at the Capitol, they should be appropriately tried, convicted and punished for their misdeeds, but that’s not on Trump any more than it is on the rest of us who encouraged our fellow citizens to work to prevent the installation of Joe Biden as president as long as doubts persisted about his legitimacy."

From "The Big Lie and the Elastic Truth: How to Invent a Coup" by Frank Miele (Real Clear Politics).

ADDED: By "to work to prevent the installation," I believe he means to argue for and pursue legal processes, not to physically obstruct others who are ostensibly pursuing their legal role. If he means more than that, I disagree. As for the idea of keeping going "as long as doubts persisted," there will always be some doubt, as there has been in many past elections. At some point, you need to stand down and allow the new administration to go forward. But, obviously, you can continue to believe that the person installed in power did not really win. You have freedom of thought and freedom of speech. I certainly remember many Democrats believing that George W. Bush did not really win in 2000. And did JFK really win in 1960? We're skeptical! But it's not treason!

"Creasey was in between shifts on Thursday, away from the [dog] day-care and boarding site, when she heard that flames were nearing the facility."

"She tried to get back, driving from her home in Boulder, but roads were closed. She said her boss, the owner of Dog Tag, loaded up a dozen dogs into her car but didn’t have space for any more. Creasey said the owner opened the kennels and all the doors at the facility to ensure no pet would be trapped. Unable to get into Superior, Creasey got to work from her home, calling and updating dog owners, checking in with nearby shelters and mobilizing community members through social media pages to look out for dogs that may have run from the boarding site. In the aftermath of the devastating blaze, desperate pet owners have flooded social media with photos and descriptions of dozens of missing animals, while people from elsewhere in Colorado have driven into the area to help search on foot — eager to find the beloved cats and dogs of families that may have lost everything."

From "Frantic search for pets underway as Colorado takes stock of fire devastation/After a half-day search effort, 40 dogs that were staying at a boarding facility in Superior, Colo., when the flames erupted were accounted for" (WaPo). To underscore what's in the headline: All the dogs were found.

Imagine having responsibility for so many animals and attempting to get as many as possible into your car — in some way that would make it possible to undertake a stressful drive — and deciding that's all you're going to put in the car and that the best you can do for the rest is to leave their cages open. There were 40 dogs, and the owner got 12 of them into her car, so 28 dogs were left to fend for themselves as the fire blew in. They all survived.

ADDED: If you had 40 dogs, 1 car, and only a few minutes to load dogs into your car, how would you choose which dogs to go in first and at what point would you stop loading based on the situation in the car? Let's presume the fire isn't so close that you have to stop what you're doing and drive because of imminent burning and smoke.

"The moral price of life in a fallen world was not a thought exercise for Simmons [DMX], who died this past April of a cocaine-induced heart attack."

"Born in Mount Vernon, N.Y., in 1970, he was the only son of Arnett Simmons and Joe Barker. Barker left, leaving Simmons — a teenager — to raise her child alone in Yonkers. She struggled with how to raise a Black son amid the poverty of the School Street projects, and subjected him to outrageous abuse. In a 2019 interview with GQ, Simmons recounted being beaten so badly by Arnett that she knocked his teeth out; he was 6 years old. The mistreatment cloaked his life in almost total, grinding fear.... The abuse begot criminal and antisocial behavior — Simmons once stabbed another kid in the face with a pencil — which in turn triggered more abuse. One summer, trying to discipline Simmons, Arnett locked him in his bedroom for months. He was allowed to leave only for bathroom breaks. In 1983, Arnett effectively severed their relationship when she took him to the Children’s Village group home on the pretense that they were just visiting. It was a trick: She left him there. 'Right then and there... I learned to just put away, conceal, bury whatever bothered me. End of story. I think another side of me was born right there, that enabled me to protect myself.'"

From "DMX/His music seethed with aggression and the kind of pain Black men rarely get to air in public" in "The Lives They Lived" — the NYT collection of essays about people who died last year.

"In 2016, on his way to California for a series of concerts, [Arlo] Guthrie had a stroke. Ms. Ladd flew to San Jose, into grateful arms."

"'He said, "I not only want you in my life, I need you in my life." To me, that was when we made a real commitment to each other.'... He had been performing the 18-minute monologue at Carnegie Hall every Thanksgiving for 49 years when he had another stroke days before the 50th anniversary show in 2019. This time, he was hospitalized. But he defied doctor’s orders and played anyway. 'Even if I died onstage, I was going to be there,' he said. A few days later, he woke up at his home in Sebastian, Fla., and had a third stroke. Ms. Ladd... nursed him through his recovery. By the end of the year, he was back on tour. Then came Covid.... Ms. Ladd and Mr. Guthrie were... quarantining in Massachusetts when Ms. Ladd had a stroke on Oct. 3, 2021.

January 2, 2022

At the 2022 Café...

 ... you can talk about whatever you want.

No photograph, because I avoided the sunrise run today. The "feels like" temperature was below zero.

"These male activists have targeted anything that smacks of feminism, forcing a university to cancel a lecture by a woman they accused of spreading misandry...."

"They have threatened businesses with boycotts... And they have taken aim at the government for promoting a feminist agenda, eliciting promises from rival presidential candidates to reform the country’s 20-year-old Ministry of Gender Equality and Family....

The top 10 posts of 2021 here on the Althouse blog.

This is purely based on traffic, not my opinion of the quality of the post. I'll just observe that a lot of these are about women.

"It is a disgrace that so many women can have been assaulted by so many men, and yet it turns out the only person who will go to jail is a woman."

"Where are the people — sorry, men — who flocked to 'Paedophile Island' and flew on the 'Lolita Express'? The grotty liggers who turned up because they knew he had an unquenchable supply of young, willing women? The pervert bankers who took holidays in his waterfront mansion? The celebs who partied with underage models but 'saw nothing'? The most any single man except Epstein himself has suffered in connection with this case is the mild embarrassment of being snapped with him or, as in the case of Donald Trump, once making the mistake of saying he was a 'terrific guy.' And what will Maxwell get? She could get 65 years. We know, obviously, about Prince Andrew, a terminally fat-fingered chaffering drongo who is slowly being comically lost in the snaky coils of Epstein’s former towel girl Virginia Roberts Giuffre. Will he ever end up in court? Who cares?"

I agree with the substance of this piece. That's why I'm quoting it. That said, I'd like to talk about grotty liggers and chaffering drongo. Those are 4 great words, and I only know "grotty" — short for "grotesque." So let's research. 

It turns out that "liggers" are people who "lig," and "to lig" — which is a dialect variant of "to lie" — means "To idle or lie about (colloquial); also (slang), to sponge, to ‘freeload’; to gatecrash or attend parties." That's according to the OED, which gives us the quotes "It's a time for ligging in the streets and doing your thing, man" (1969) and "The Feelgoods, now ligging and gigging around America" (1976).

So, yes, obviously, these were grotty liggers.

By the way, the OED cites "A Hard Day's Night" as the first recorded use of "grotty": "'I wouldn't be seen dead in them. They're dead grotty.’ Marshall stared. ‘Grotty?’ ‘Yeah—grotesque.’"

On to chaffering drongo. To "chaffer" is to bargain or haggle. And to call someone a "drongo" — originally a type of bird — is to say they are a stupid fool. Fine to say that about Andrew, but it's a bit unfair to disparage the bird, which seems rather smart:

"Sweats were Out! Dresses and heels were In! The notion of 'revenge dressing' — dressing up to make up for lost time, and to spite a virus that has no feelings — took hold."

"But then: delta. And after that: omicron.... So now the question is no longer what we will wear post-pandemic, but whether there will be a post-pandemic at all. We seem doomed to exist somewhere in the murky middle for at least another season, and hybrid work arrangements may keep us in the soft-pants space even longer. Rather than whiplashing back to expensive and impractical clothes, forecasters are seeing people dressing more for the version of themselves that they’ve discovered over the last 22 months... Key phrases are 'elevated loungewear' (coordinated sets in luxe fabrics) or 'relaxed suiting' (slightly oversize and slouchy suits with forgiving, four-way-stretch fabrics) or 'workleisure' (bike shorts paired with button-downs; nap dresses; house shoes).... Among those pandemic discoveries is mortality: Life’s too short to wear uncomfortable clothes, but it’s also too short to wear boring clothes. That might mean playing with gender norms, or wearing brighter colors to signal hopefulness, or deciding to never again press our toes into stilettoes. As for that 'revenge' attire, remember the timeworn breakup advice: Living well is the best revenge."

From "The ideas and arguments that will define the next 12 months" (WaPo).

As noted, the virus has no feelings, so "revenge" is misplaced... unless you're talking about revenge against the people who are imposing limitations and requirements on you. But these people don't care if your waistband binds or your shoes pinch. You're only hurting — or soothing — yourself.

I considered going on about "revenge," but I've been blogging daily for 18 years — as of 12 days from now — and I'm sure I've already done that. Yes. Here. Quoting Wikipedia:

"I literally have no friends. I wanted to go out today and i wanted to text someone if they’re down to do something fun. BUT then i realized i have no one to ask."

Says someone in the subreddit r/offmychest. 

There are 374 comments there right now, and nearly every one is "same" or a variation on "same." Some of the "same"s add that they have a spouse who is their best friend, but other than that, absolutely no friends. 

There's also the variation that sounds like a line from the Police song "Message in a Bottle": Seems I'm not alone at being alone.

500 years of hair.

Relying on artwork — historical portraits — and her own very long hair, Morgan Donner takes us on a 500-year journey:


The level of commitment here is impressive — as vividly demonstrated at 6:38! And 12:10! And 17:40!

AND: The end is truly nervy — beginning at 41:38.

"Beijing’s commitment to step up purchases of U.S. goods and services under a 2020 trade pact expires Friday with China expected to miss its targets by a wide margin..."

"... creating a dilemma for the Biden administration as it calibrates a response. The White House could potentially reinstate certain tariffs that were cut as part of the trade deal, but that could backfire if China cut back U.S. purchases or took measures against American companies doing business there. Alternatively, the U.S. could ignore the shortfall, which could send a signal to Beijing that it won’t face consequences.... 'The Biden administration is tied in knots by their own lack of clarity about how they evaluate the problem and the potential solutions,' said Scott Kennedy, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies."

Do you think the Biden administration is tied in knots by lack of clarity?

I've admitted that I myself would have been a Loyalist in the Revolution, but it's interesting to see how much company I have from my fellow Americans.

From "Republicans and Democrats divided over Jan. 6 insurrection and Trump’s culpability, Post-UMD poll finds" (WaPo).

I'm always inclined to say the government is doing well enough, and you shouldn't underestimate the downside of change and the relative value of working within the system, even if it's time-consuming and onerous. 

Here's my post from July 4, 2016, "In the American Revolution, would you have been a Loyalist?

The second commenter asked me to answer the question, and I said: "Isn't it obvious? Why do you think I put up this post. I've admitted it many times. Perhaps not on this blog, but Meade knows." Was that enigmatic?! I know I'd be cutting the king a lot of slack. He's doing well enough, and the alternative is chaos!

It's January 6th Week on The Althouse Blog.

A horror show of an idea for this blog, but it could be easily done, following my usual approach to blogging, because there are so many articles jamming up mainstream media this week. 

What do you think of a week of all Jan. 6 blogging on the Althouse blog?
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UPDATE at 12:29 p.m.: You can see that I didn't do it, but let me preserve the voting results. Thanks to the 23% who showed confidence in my ability to pull it off. My own opinion is the second option.

The entire week — month? (year?!) — will be dedicated to the commemoration of last year's January 6th incident.

Get ready. 

In the New York Times, the entire editorial board signs on to something titled "Every Day Is Jan. 6 Now." 

I guess a week/month/year is not enough. January 6th is forever: It's every day from now on. I'm all for examining what really happened and remembering that and going forward in a way that minimizes the chances that people will feel as aggrieved and alienated and that a large gathering can devolve into the chaotic breaking and entering of government buildings. But I'm also wary of the exaggerations, misstatements, and ginning up of grievance and alienation.

I'm saying that having only read the first sentence of the editorial:
One year after from [sic] the smoke and broken glass, the mock gallows and the very real bloodshed of that awful day, it is tempting to look back and imagine that we can, in fact, simply look back. 
Actually, I hadn't read the whole first paragraph. I'd stopped at the word "bloodshed." What bloodshed? I search the page for "Ashli Babbitt," because that's the only bloodshed I remember. No mention of Babbitt. I finish the sentence and move on:
To imagine that what happened on Jan. 6, 2021 — a deadly riot at the seat of American government...
A deadly riot? This exaggeration loses me. You had a huge crowd — supposedly crazed, presumably gun owners — and the violence was breaking into the building. I'm willing to count that as bad, but I cannot tolerate the exaggeration. 

I will push on:
... incited by a defeated president amid a last-ditch effort to thwart the transfer of power to his successor — was horrifying but that it is in the past and that we as a nation have moved on.

You're accusing us of leaving the story in the past and want us to remember, but you're reminding us with exaggeration — I could say lies. So I cannot accept your telling me what to remember — my information is more accurate than yours — and I'm immune to your incitements about what I ought to be doing about it.

This is an understandable impulse....

You know what's an impulse I understand, an impulse I'll attribute to you, since you're attributing an "impulse" to us? You want to help the Democrats win the elections that are coming up later this year. You have a plan to jack up anger and horror and anxiety and you're going to do it all year long.

... rampant lies and limitless resentments... twisted version of reality... existential threat... openly contemptuous of democracy.... the terror of that day... visible and visceral....

This emotive style leaves me cold.