February 5, 2022

Another cold day, so no photos for the late night café, where you can write about whatever you want.

I know it's not that late, but it's time for me to shut down the day's typing, and maybe curl up and watch a movie — probably something on the Criterion Channel — or another stretch of the Beatles documentary — which I'm more than halfway through watching for a second time. 

I think the documentary is much more enjoyable on the second watch because I'm not distracted by the narrative arc — will they or won't they be ready to do a live concert? — and I can pay attention to the random details of particular moments. 

As for Criterion Channel movies, the 2 most recent things we've watched are "Watermelon Man" and "Suddenly, Last Summer." Both were chosen quickly after they showed up in the channel's options, and both were appreciated. "Suddenly, Last Summer" falls into a category I would describe as: 2 people are crazy, and one is more crazy than the other, but which one? Some of my very favorite movies fit that description. "Watermelon Man" fits the category: There is one central character, but 2 versions of him, before and after a big transformation.

"[T]he relationship at the very center of the story [is] a marriage between a neurotic perfectionist and a formidably patient man with much to criticize about him..."

"... from an annoyingly 'phlegmy' throat to a similarity to 'a heap of laundry: smelly, inert, useless, almost sentient but not quite.' And these are just his physical faults — or at least a sampling of them. Bill’s putative mental and emotional shortcomings could themselves fill a book. And they very nearly do. That the author has made her particular disgusts (and her generous way of occasionally overlooking them) the basis for a general treatise on matrimony is the abiding problem of 'Foreverland.' How well can an institution be explained by a single instance of it, and especially by one beset with problems that aren’t necessarily widely shared? Quite well, Havrilesky seems to feel, or else she wouldn’t start so many sentences with sweeping prefaces such as 'Marriage is' or 'Having a baby means' or 'The suburbs are' followed by blanket statements of what they are.... 'The suburbs are a place where people go to embrace the dominant paradigm, because the dominant paradigm makes them feel safe and comfortable.' A dominant paradigm? In today’s America?"

Writes Walter Kirn, in "Heather Havrilesky Compares Her Husband to a Heap of Laundry" (NYT)(reviewing "FOREVERLAND/On the Divine Tedium of Marriage").

I'm reading between the lines that Havrilesky is going for humor of the sort once purveyed by Erma Bombeck.

"One study funded by... the world’s largest marketer of kiwi fruit... found that people assigned to eat two kiwis an hour before their bedtime... had improvements in their sleep onset, duration and efficiency...."

"Other studies funded by the cherry industry have found that drinking tart cherry juice can modestly improve sleep in people with insomnia.... In one randomized clinical trial... researchers discovered that eating more saturated fat and less fiber from foods like vegetables, fruits and whole grains led to reductions in slow-wave sleep, which is the deep, restorative kind. In general, clinical trials have also found that carbohydrates have a significant impact on sleep: People tend to fall asleep much faster at night when they consume a high-carbohydrate diet compared to when they consume a high-fat or high-protein diet.... [But] when people eat more sugar and simple carbs — such as white bread, bagels, pastries and pasta — they wake up more frequently throughout the night...."

From "How Foods May Affect Our Sleep/A growing body of research suggests that the foods you eat can affect how well you sleep, and your sleep patterns can affect your dietary choices" (NYT).

There's a lot more in that article, but it mostly made me think that the advice is the usual advice about a healthy diet. There was no discussion of WHEN to eat, which I would think has a lot to do with food and sleep. I'd like to see a study where people ate the same foods but at different times of the day. Many people are experimenting with intermittent eating these days, but the standard choice is to skip breakfast and to eat lunch and dinner. When I do intermittent eating, what I skip is dinner. I think people are afraid of "going to bed on an empty stomach," but I'd like to see testing of the hypothesis that that's exactly what you want to do — that it will improve sleep.

ADDED: I thought this was a new article, because it was pushed at me as I was reading the Times today. I didn't notice that it's actually over a year old until I opened the comments, put them in the order of most-recommended, and read: "I suspect that after Trump leaves office, a good share of the surviving country will sleep better."

"When a masked Palin walked past me into the courtroom this morning, she was clad in her trademark eyeglasses, high ponytail, and large-radius hoop earrings."

"She’d also broken out a pair of knee-high leather boots with heels like stilts. All eyes were drawn to her as she took her seat at the plaintiff’s table."

From the gendered prose stylings of Seth Stevenson at Slate — "Ticktock of a Journalist’s Nightmare/The first day of the Palin v. Times case laid out a tricky path ahead for the former governor—but a 'what if' hung over the court." 

That was published on Thursday. The newer report of the trial by Stevenson is "'Are You Up?'/The excruciating anatomy of a journalistic screwup at day two of the Sarah Palin—New York Times trial." 

At the merciful lunch break, I grabbed some food in the courthouse’s cafeteria. And who should I see when I looked up from my sad yogurt but Gov. Palin herself, wandering in to purchase some sort of hot beverage.  If there was any question about whether Palin qualifies under libel law as a “public figure,” her appearance in the courthouse canteen resolved it. Various law clerks and courthouse staffers who were eating their lunches froze mid-swallow, turned toward Palin, and openly gawked....

Then, in a fantastic collision of tabloid universes, Michael Avenatti—who was at the courthouse because he was being tried on fraud charges—walked in. Palin strolled over to greet him. The celebrity plaintiff and celebrity defendant briefly, and warmly, bantered, before each went their separate way. (Hours later, Avenatti was convicted of stealing $300,000 from a pornographic film actress.)

Yeah, the celebrities know all the other celebrities. They're automatic friends. I note that she strolled over to greet him. It's not as though he came looking for her. And now he's going to have to be a celebrity in prison. What's the structure of celebrity in prison? Palin is the celebrity doing the strolling. She's having her grievances aired — minutely — whether she hits the standard of "actual malice" or not.

And if not, she's got a great shot at being welcomed into the Supreme Court, where Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch are interested in talking about whether public figures ought to have to meet an "actual malice" standard anymore. See "Two Justices Say Supreme Court Should Reconsider Landmark Libel Decision/Justice Neil M. Gorsuch added his voice to that of Justice Clarence Thomas in questioning the longstanding standard for public officials set in New York Times v. Sullivan" (NYT).

"There are so many areas of our recreational life that have been segregated, and downhill skiing is one of them."

"This sport took off in our country after World War II. It was created for affluent white soldiers who experienced it in France and Europe."

Said Daniel Krymkowski, "a sociology professor at the University of Vermont who published a book last year about African American underrepresentation in fine arts and outdoor recreation," quoted in "Who Gets to Ski? The mountains are too crowded. The sport is too expensive. Several resorts are trying to fix a number of problems. How are they doing?" (NYT). 

Only 1.5% of skiers are black, so they're not the reason why the resorts are crowded, but according to Anthony Kwame Harrison, a professor of sociology and Africana studies at Virginia Tech, "if longtime skiers become frustrated because they are seeing ski areas being crowded, when you look at that crowd, who do you immediately identify as being most out of place?" It's not that skiers are racist, just that they're stressed by the crowds and in an exclusionary mood.

Meanwhile, there are efforts to bring in new skiers — beginning skiers — who are "Black and brown and Indigenous." I feel nudged to think that racial problems have arisen, but I'm not seeing anything specific in the article. There seem to be 2 different issues — crowded slopes and lack of racial diversity in the sport — and they're jammed together like an idea for a movie plot.

"Celeste Mohan and Zach Flynn did not set out to buy a farmhouse with a barn and two cows. But after they lost a bidding war..."

"... for a rundown house in Boca Raton, Fla., the couple jumped on the 2,660-square-foot house in Lake Wales, a town of 16,000 about an hour from Orlando.... With their $400,000 budget, their options [had been] restricted to fixer-uppers, with fierce competition.... The farmhouse, set on five acres on a lake, seemed like an ideal alternative: quiet, pastoral, and charming....  Almost immediately, the couple regretted their decision. The property felt eerily quiet and isolated, and maintaining five acres and two cows was more work than they anticipated. 'You see these people on Instagram with their farm life,' Ms. Mohan said. 'Nobody tells you what actual hard work that is and how time consuming it is.'"

From "They Rushed to Buy in the Pandemic. Here’s What They Would Change. A frenzied sellers’ market led some people to make harried decisions when buying their homes that they now regret" (NYT). 

How could you not think it would not be hard work to keep 2 cows? Who reads farm life stuff on Instagram and thinks the life feels the way it looks in the pictures?

Anyway... more personal stories at the link, plus the news of WAV Group and Zillow surveys saying that "about three quarters of recent buyers expressed some regret": "About a third of respondents regret buying a house that needed more work than they anticipated, 31 percent wish the home they bought was bigger and 21 percent thought they overpaid." 

Is that more than the normal level of regret? I would think just about everyone who buys a house feels some regret about something. But these days a lot of people seem to be buying houses without looking at them in person and under the pressure of competition from other buyers. "Zillow projects that home prices will rise another 16 percent in 2022, on top of the 20 percent rise in 2021."

That sounds awful to me. I've only bought one house in my whole life, and that was back in 1986. We're thinking of selling it, but I advance-regret any transactions.

February 4, 2022

Here’s a place where you can…

 .. talk about whatever you want.

"In her 1998 book, 'How Jews Became White Folks,' Karen Brodkin argued that, as America diversified racially, a form of Jewish whiteness emerged..."

"... 'by contrasting Jews as a model minority with African Americans as culturally deficient.'... In this worldview, Jewish success, like immigrant success, is never earned by merit, but won by attaching itself to 'whiteness.'... In a 2018 piece on anti-Semitic attacks in Crown Heights, the Forward’s Ari Feldman noted that 'black people identify Judaism as "a form of almost hyper-whiteness"...'... In California’s proposed mandatory class in critical race theory, for example, one original curriculum question was 'How did the Holocaust shift Jewish Americans’ position in American society?' The correct answer was: 'gained conditional whiteness.' Yes, this is the upshot of the mass murder of millions of Jews, according to CRT: it gave them a leg-up in America!... [A] recent paper in the Journal of the American Psychoanalytical Association [argues that]... Whiteness is a condition one first acquires and then one has — a malignant, parasitic-like condition... [that] renders its hosts’ appetites voracious, insatiable, and perverse...  [T]his kind of demonizing rhetoric could be straight from a Nazi textbook. It identifies a racial group, it attaches evil characteristics to it, it ascribes those characteristics to individuals within that group, and it sees their success as won at the direct expense of others...."

Writes Andrew Sullivan, in "The Anti-Semitism In Anti-Whiteness/Whoopi Goldberg just brought it out into the open" (Substack).

"Women’s workforce participation has plummeted. Here’s how to reverse the trend."

 A headline at Fortune.


[T]he January jobs report found that 275,000 women left the workforce last month, leaving the women’s workplace participation rate at 57%—a rate that pre-pandemic had not been seen since 1988. An entire generation of progress has been erased in two years....

Entrenched gender roles within different-sex couples can push women out of the workforce more readily and make it harder for them to return. A paper by sociologist Jessica Calarco found that different-sex, dual-earner couples grappled with the increased parenting duties of the pandemic in mostly unequal ways, even when that was a reversion from formerly more egalitarian relationships and even when those arrangements negatively affected mothers.

Are you "negatively affected" if you become the home-based partner in a single-earner household? I'd suggest that what's not egalitarian is the assumption that what is conventionally associated with women is negative. Such disrespect for single-earner households makes it even harder for the man to take the home-based position. Why the bias in favor of every adult working outside the home?

The article does go on to some decent discussion of problems women may have in returning to jobs when they do in fact want jobs. My beef is with the assumption that they do want to work outside the home or that they should.

"Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, 45, blew himself up with his family, including four women and six children, rather than surrender to troops who landed by helicopter..."

"... and surrounded the house where he had been hiding, the president said.... [W]hen special forces commandos descended from Black Hawk helicopters guarded by Apache strike helicopters, things did not go entirely to plan, according to witnesses and Washington officials.... 'We heard the translator asking, via speakers, [for] the residents of the house to surrender and the women and children to leave before the attack started. The operation obviously didn’t go smoothly because it lasted for two hours and ended with bombing the house,' [a town resident] said.

"In a climactic moment to end the opening ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics, China chose two athletes — including one it said was of Uyghur heritage — to deliver the flame to the Olympic cauldron..."

"... and officially start the Games. The moment was tinged with layers of symbolism — a man and a woman working together, a nod to China’s Olympic history — but it was the choice of Dinigeer Yilamujiang, a cross-country skier who the Chinese said has Uyghur roots, that confronted head-on one of the biggest criticisms of the country’s role as host."

The NYT reports.

"Facebook’s 'imperative'" — according to Andrew "Boz" Bosworth, now Meta’s CTO — "its raison d’etre — was to be that product that everyone used, the tool that unified at last a fragmented human race in a single, vast network."

"'And the company would pursue that imperative at any cost, even the cost of users’ lives, 'because that’s what we do,' he wrote. 'We connect people.' Bosworth later insisted, once the memo had come to light, that he had written it in the spirit of debate, and that he didn’t really believe what he wrote. Zuckerberg said the same.... But Wednesday’s earnings report showed that Facebook’s ascent has stalled just about everywhere. The biggest decline in daily usage was not in the United States but in a category that it calls 'rest of world,' including Latin America and Africa....  Zuckerberg knew before just about anyone else that social media was no longer enough to keep the company on top. Now he’s trying to will into existence a grand new vision of a digital world in which we all have second lives that play out through avatars inhabiting virtual spaces and realms.... [T]he end of Facebook’s growth era marks a turning point in the history of social media and the Internet. If Zuckerberg couldn’t connect the whole world with Facebook, given all the resources and momentum and desire one could ask for, he may have to confront the possibility that no single network ever will. "

From "Facebook’s dream of connecting the whole world is dead/The platform’s first-ever decline in active users is a landmark event in social media history" by Will Oremus and Elizabeth Dwoskin (WaPo).

"Despite all of that power and all of that money, despite total control over the information space and total domination of the political space, Putin must know, at some level, that he is an illegitimate leader."

"He has never won a fair election, and he has never campaigned in a contest that he could lose. He knows that the political system he helped create is profoundly unfair, that his regime not only runs the country but owns it, making economic and foreign-policy decisions that are designed to benefit the companies from which he and his inner circle personally profit.... He wants Ukrainian democracy to fail. He wants the Ukrainian economy to collapse. He wants foreign investors to flee. He wants his neighbors—in Belarus, Kazakhstan, even Poland and Hungary—to doubt whether democracy will ever be viable, in the longer term, in their countries too. Farther abroad, he wants to put so much strain on Western and democratic institutions, especially the European Union and NATO, that they break up. He wants to keep dictators in power wherever he can, in Syria, Venezuela, and Iran. He wants to undermine America, to shrink American influence, to remove the power of the democracy rhetoric that so many people in his part of the world still associate with America. He wants America itself to fail. These are big goals, and they might not be achievable. But Putin’s beloved Soviet Union also had big, unachievable goals. Lenin, Stalin, and their successors... failed—but they did a lot of damage while trying."

From "The Reason Putin Would Risk War/He is threatening to invade Ukraine because he wants democracy to fail—and not just in that country" by Anne Applebaum (The Atlantic).

"The same worlds where abuse was likely to have been taken seriously and codified during the rise of Me Too—cloistered, rivalrous, impossibly competitive, liberal-leaning zones like television networks, academia, and Democratic politics..."

"... are now the worlds in which the accusations are most easily weaponized by power players seeking an advantage. Zucker may be the most recent example, but he’s certainly not alone....  It is only by dint of the world taking sexual misconduct so seriously that it has become something to be cynically exploited, ironically enough. The Zucker affair is starkly similar to this month’s scandal at the University of Michigan. It was another situation where an affair—between the university’s president, Mark Schlissel, and an employee—was consensual, but the power dynamic made it against policy... [T]he people who actually seem most likely to turn Me Too into a targeted weapon are those who already have power, or are actively seeking it. 'It’s like the ending of Reservoir Dogs,' one TV executive said of the Zucker/Cuomo situation to Vanity Fair’s Pompeo, citing a movie that was distributed by Harvey Weinstein. Everyone leaving one another splayed out, riddled with millions of dollars’ worth of lawsuit settlements and exit payments."

From "Did Jeff Zucker and Chris Cuomo Make Me Too a Weapon in Their Power Struggle? The former CNN executive’s workplace romance sure doesn’t seem like the real reason he’s resigning" by Noreen Malone (Slate). 

Doesn't that seem as though she's saying that, in retrospect, the Me Too movement was a mistake, that instead of elevating the subordinated, it's made the powerful more intensely and chaotically powerful?

Isn't that what feminist theory would predict — that the patriarchy will endlessly reinforce the patriarchy? To expect anything else is naive feminism. For sophisticated feminism, it's vindication.

In your entire life, have you ever been forced to eat food?


This poll is inspired by the WaPo story — blogged here — about a 9-year-old schoolchild forced by a cafeteria monitor to eat waffles that she'd thrown, packaged, into the trash. I realized I have never, in my entire life, been forced to eat food. I've eaten some things I didn't like because it was what was available or I didn't want to waste it, but no one has ever made me eat anything or threatened me with a loss of privilege — no TV! — if I didn't eat something. I don't think anyone even ever suggested that if I don't eat an item — or take just one bite of it — I won't get dessert or anything like that.

I asked Meade, and his experience was just like mine. So now, I'm asking you:

Were you ever forced to eat a food? Check all that apply.
pollcode.com free polls

On having a soft spot for gummy bears and being a soft spot for real bears.

I'm reading "Learning to Love Solitude (and Hate Oatmeal) on a 15,534-Mile Canadian Trek/For six years, the filmmaker Dianne Whelan hiked, biked, paddled, snowshoed and skied from the Atlantic to the Pacific and north to the Arctic. Here’s what she learned along the way" (NYT).

"I won’t be eating oatmeal ever again in my life. Ever. Throughout the day, I had a snack bag with trail mix and dried fruit and cheese and crackers and nuts. And of course, chocolate, and I have a soft spot for gummy bears. Dinner was instant noodles, pasta, carbs. At the beginning, I was nervous about bears and trying to keep a clean camp. I met many, many, many bears and 98 percent were kind and wonderful to watch. I never carried anything but bear spray for most of the journey. When I went to the high Arctic, I carried a gun and had to use it once because I had a bear come into my camp. My partner was with me. She picked up the gun and fired a couple of warning shots and we quickly packed off into the canoe and realized we didn’t spill our coffee."

That article is from last August. I just ran into it today because — as described here — I was searching the NYT archive for the use of the word "sherpa" to mean something other than a person within the ethnic group called Sherpa. This article — with the line "Very few get up that mountain without a Sherpa" — is not an example of what I was looking for.

Can't I just not eat my waffle?

I'm reading "Opinion: The unjust shaming of a little girl highlights the broad issue of institutional food waste" (WaPo):
On Nov. 21, a 9-year-old student of color at Palm Elementary School in Lorain, Ohio, didn’t want to eat the packaged waffles that had been put on her lunch tray. When she threw them away, a White cafeteria monitor forced the girl to retrieve them from the trash and sit at a table until she ate them. Within weeks, the monitor and the school principal were both fired. But the story did not end there. In January, the district released video of the event, and it is being used as evidence in a civil rights lawsuit against the district. 
Whatever the outcome of the case, this incident has exposed cracks around race and class as they play out in the country’s long-standing commitment to feeding the more than 30 million public school students who rely on the National School Lunch Program every day....

ADDED: Sometimes your teaching of a lesson becomes the lesson.

I coined a word: "half-wokesters."

I can't find one example of anyone else saying it, and I used it first at the end of the previous post: "Come on, you half-wokesters...."


Have you been half asleep/And have you heard voices?

The idiocy of appropriating the ethnicity of the Other right when you're flaunting your racial progressiveness: Stop saying "sherpa"!

I'm reading "Why Stephanie Cutter says Dems need a new SCOTUS strategy/On this week’s show, Playbook author Ryan Lizza talks with Democratic strategist Stephanie Cutter about what it’s like to be a sherpa for a Supreme Court nominee" (Politico).

Cutter guided Sonia Sotomayor through the process, and some of the discussion is good:

[P]utting the first Black woman on the Supreme Court will be celebrated by most Americans...  [W]e were about to put the first Black woman on the court. That will be celebrated. The other thing that potentially could happen is some Republicans could overshoot this, and you already see some senators talking about how this is a quota pick or an affirmative action pick....

This person is not going to come off as an affirmative action pick. This person is going to come across as the most qualified person for the court, if you just look at the women on the proverbial short list. They can continue their racist dog whistles on this. But I think most people are not going to have the stomach for it, and it will turn around and bite them just to continue the dog analogy there.

That focuses the problem precisely: Democrats want to inspire a degree of celebration that feels good to their supporters and to tempt their antagonists to cry "affirmative action" in a manner that feels unkind to those who like that subject to be handled with discretion.

But Politico keeps using the word "sherpa." I'm amazed that they're still talking like that, appropriating the name of an ethnic group. That must once have seemed cool or cute, but now it just seems as though they're not even listening to themselves. It's awfully discordant to appropriate the ethnicity of an Other when you're flaunting your racial progressiveness.

"New York City public school cafeterias are going vegan-only on Fridays under a new policy from famously health-conscious Mayor Adams, who has touted the benefits of a vegan diet."

The Daily News reports. 

Vegetarian is too easy. It includes favorites like pizza and mac and cheese. 

Education officials said there will be a grace period where some nonvegan but vegetarian backup options like cheese sandwiches will still be temporarily available. Vegan backup options like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and hummus and pretzels will also be available....

Gianni Faruolo, a seventh-grader at the Professional Performing Arts School, said he thinks the plant-based switch is “cool.” His mom, Dana Faruolo agreed. “I think it’s great, having options, teaching kids new things.”

Yes, it's valuable to teach through what's for lunch. I hope what they teach is that a meal without meat or eggs or dairy can be perfectly appetizing. It's at least as likely that they end up teaching that vegan = disgusting.

February 3, 2022

Here's a place...

 ... where you can talk all night.

No photos. Sorry... too cold!

"Watch any old figure skating program from the ’70s or ’80s on YouTube and read the comments below; you’ll inevitably find at least one that is wistful, yearning for a past era of skating...."

"While there is absolutely nothing wrong with preferring a style of skating from a previous era the way one might prefer music from a different generation... this sort of sentiment is peculiar to sports like figure skating and gymnastics. In track and field, for example, there is no yearning for a time when athletes ran slower or jumped lower but embodied some other essential values.... It’s too soon to tell whether the pendulum will swing back toward presentation and skating skills because it’s too soon to know if a critical mass of female skaters will be able to do the quad. The quad mountain is a much steeper climb than the triple hill was.... Historically speaking, anxieties over the safety of female athletes have been used to deny women the opportunity to participate in sports, especially ones that were deemed 'masculine.' There’s a blade-like thin line between protection and protectionism. We, of course, should be concerned about the physical ramifications of training certain jumps, especially during growth periods when athletes are more susceptible to injury. But we have to be wary of the protectionist impulse that stems from a particular worldview about what women’s figure skating is — and is not — and the determination of some to steer it in a certain way so we end up with the 'right' type of winners."

From "The Quad Jump Revolution Has Transformed Women’s Figure Skating. How Far Will It Go?" (FiveThirtyEight).

"A Kalispell woman allegedly called the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office to complain about being on the couch and her juice was in the kitchen...."

"A woman called to report she and her fiance were 'having a little dispute about helping each other.'... Three to four dirty mattresses were spotted on the side of a road in Martin City.... A man’s friend might not be so friendly after all when they allegedly pawned a TV he left at their house.... A man was allegedly on the side of a road in Columbia Falls flailing his arms, yelling at cars and acting like he was going to 'jump into traffic.'"

From the Law Roundup at the Daily Inter Lake.

"Zuckerberg, in his trademark nasal drawl, seemed to acknowledge that the tide was turning against the business he has been running for 18 years as of this week."

"'The balance of content that people see in feeds is shifted a little bit more towards stuff that isn’t coming from their friends, which they may discuss with their friends, but it’s kind of shifting towards more public content,' he said. The upshot here is that the voyeuristic behaviors that made social media as we know it so profitable — what are my friends talking about? Who did my high school ex marry? — were actually starting to fade.... During the earnings call, [Zuckerberg] said he believed there was a kind of evolution of the internet, from text to pictures to short videos, and the next leap would be the kind of 3-D avatars being pushed for such thrilling things as business meetings and conference calls.... If people are buying Zuckerberg’s version of the internet’s future, they would be more excited about how he spent nearly $10 billion during the past year to build it. As of now, Facebook looks more and more like the past."

From "The Worst Day of Mark Zuckerberg’s Reign" (NY Magazine).

I especially like the 1991 segment — mixing the "hello"s from "Smells Like Teen Spirit" with Uncle Leo's "hello" and the "hello" from Jerry's girlfriend's bellybutton.

"The Seinfeld Theme Mixed With A Hit Song From Every Year Seinfeld Was On TV": 

"Workaholics are addicted to the solace they find in extreme fatigue; it’s like the high that a marathon runner might get in her last mile."

"I can be utterly depleted yet energized by that depletion. There’s a masochistic pride to overworking. How heavy a workload can I truly handle? How many plates can I keep in the air? When I get to the end of a particularly overloaded day, my voice hoarse from teaching, my mind buzzing from far too many e-mails, questions, and deadlines, I vow never to let that happen again, knowing full well that, as soon as I’ve achieved a new level of exhaustion, my id will push me to try to exceed it.... My closest friends and relatives... have no idea what I do in a day and no idea why I chose to write. 'Is writing even work?' some of them wonder. Or do I just sit around coffee shops, smoke, drink, and wait for inspiration to strike? How do you know what to write if no one tells you?... If you’re my father, then you are direct: 'You don’t have a real job, Weike, and I can’t understand why.'... Had my father not worked so hard to improve our means, would I have the luxury of writing these words about him today?"

From "Notes on Work There’s a masochistic pride to overworking. How heavy a workload can I truly handle? How many plates can I keep in the air?" by Weike Wang (The New Yorker).

I thought that was a pretty cool essay, so I was motivated to look up Weike Wang's 2 novels on Amazon: "Chemistry" and "Joan Is Okay: A Novel."

"I love that people are looking for alternatives to Spotify and I don’t know how to explain to them that it has never been ethical or sustainable to expect to have unfettered access to the entire history of recorded music for $10/month."

Tweeted Ross Grady, "a mainstay of the North Carolina music scene," quoted in "Reasons to Abandon Spotify That Have Nothing to Do with Joe Rogan/As welcome as the recent protests are, they do not address the fundamental injustice of the streaming economy" — by Alex Ross in The New Yorker.

So... Reasons to Abandon Spotify... one of the reasons is that it gives you "unfettered access to the entire history of recorded music for $10/month." That sounds more like a reason why it's just crazy NOT to have Spotify. 

Or am I supposed to think there's something unethical about this fantastic freedom to listen that is cheap enough for just about everyone?

I know, the musicians want to get paid more. Ross quotes singer-songwriter Damon Krukowski:

Spotify used the financial model of arbitrage to obtain a cheap if not free product—digital music—and resell it in a new context to realize profit. In other words, Spotify’s profit requires that digital music have no value. Spotify continually talks down the value of music on their platform—they offer it for free; they tell musicians we are lucky to be paid anything for it; they insist that without their service, there is only piracy and zero income.

"A Dutch publisher has dropped a controversial new book that claims a Jewish notary may have betrayed Anne Frank to the Nazis."

"Published last month, Rosemary Sullivan’s The Betrayal Of Anne Frank identifies Arnold van den Bergh as the possible informant. He is said to have handed over addresses of Jews hiding in Amsterdam to the Nazis to save his own skin.... Previous research suggested the hideout was possibly found by chance during a raid over ration fraud."

The Jewish Chronicle reports.

Everyone in the office knew? Fire everyone!

That was my out-loud outburst when I read: "'The network needs to step up and fire Brian Stelter,' the CNN insider told DailyMail.com. 'He is allegedly our top media reporter - yet he failed to report on the scoop that everyone in the office knew. And if he wants to say he didn't know, he is truly terrible at his job.'"

That's in "CNN insider says network 'needs to step up and fire Brian Stelter' for not exposing Jeff Zucker affair: report/The network employee said Stelter's 'been sitting on his moral high horse doing Jeff's biddling'" (Fox News).

One suspects that no one reported it because no one perceived it as wrong... wrong enough.  But it was against the rules. Zucker, resigning, said: "I was required to disclose it when it began but I didn’t. I was wrong."

The top comment over at Fox is: "Zucker's relationship was no secret and was not the reason he was fired. It was an excuse to fire him after programming an 80% decline in viewership in one year. There is accountability when you work for a public company."

An interesting take on accountability, firing a person for a fake reason. If the reason given is fake, not only is CNN allowing him to evade public responsibility for his degradation of the substance of what was actually televised on CNN, but it is raising expectations that CNN is serious about the sex rule Zucker flouted. And now they're going to have to keep enforcing it, including retrospectively.

"When [Barbara] Walters asked her where she’d be had she not changed her name to Whoopi Goldberg, she replied 'I would have been a Tupperware lady.'"

"It seems that Caryn Johnson saw value in appearing to be Jewish.... So, is it racist to pretend to be Jewish if one isn’t? Is it ‘cultural appropriation’?... Perhaps Whoopi does have some distant shred of Jewish heritage buried far back in her family tree.... Minorities are often granted licence to joke about their own... If Whoopi had been better connected to her putative Judaism, she might have thought twice about her festive jumper design aimed at Jews, depicting a ‘Jewish’ octopus wearing a kippah. Most Goldbergs I’ve met know that Jewish Octopuses are usually associated with Nazi era antisemitism. Not Whoopi. When it comes to racism, it’s not only Jews Whoopi has angered. When she was dating the comedian Ted Danson in 1993, he nearly ended his career by appearing in blackface in a sketch at the Friars Club comedy event, which was reported to have included jokes about how he got her to clean his parents’ house, contained numerous full occurrences of the “N word” and ended with him eating from a tray of watermelon. The gags didn’t go down well with the 3,000 strong audience.... She’s said to have come out on stage to challenge the audience, saying: 'N*****, n*****, n*****, whitey, whitey, whitey! It takes a lot of courage to come out in blackface in front of 3000 [people]. I don’t care if you don’t like it. I do!'"

Writes Jonathan Sacerdoti in "Will the real Whoopi Goldberg please stand up? Is Caryn Johnson really Jewish? And would it make any difference if she was?" (The Jewish Chronicle).


You can see a photo of that "festive jumper" in this 2016 Haaretz article, "Will Jews Buy a Sweater Featuring an Octopus Menorah? Whoopi Goldberg Thinks So Goldberg's 'Christmas sweaters with a twist' seek to include her Jewish friends in the holidays, but use a cute version of an animal often used in anti-Semitic tropes."

Here, at the Holocaust Encyclopedia, you can see the well-known Nazi era cartoon depicting Jews as an octopus that is destroying the entire world. 


Goldberg said "I don’t care if you don’t like it. I do!" in 1993, but in recent years she's been entrenched in a long-running group project on network daytime TV that supports and mildly challenges nice American ladies who want to think well of themselves. I'd love to see her quit the show and get back to the woman-alone-on-stage shows that first made her famous. 

Maybe she's too comfortable with "The View," but "The View" wasn't sufficiently comfortable with her. Comfort is overrated, and it deserves a particularly low rating in comedy. It's the enemy of comedy. Goldberg could build a one-woman show around this incident, and that's what I'd like to see. Take the time to look at the problem from multiple angles and bring us somewhere surprising. That's what Dave Chappelle does with his very independent shows.

February 2, 2022

Here's a place where you can talk...

... about whatever you want.

No sunrise photos today. Too cold!

"Figures on political TV shows say stupid and historically illiterate things every day — including about the Nazis — and nothing much happens to them as a result."

"What, exactly, was different about this one? Is warmed-over critical theory prohibited now? And why does anyone care?... The View is a talk show, and a particularly stupid one to boot.... I simply do not understand the mechanism by which viewers are supposed to be damaged in some way by watching an actress make mistakes on live TV.... In its statement, ABC insisted that 'the culture at ABC News is one that is driven, kind, inclusive, respectful, and transparent.' Okay... [but] Goldberg’s only crime was 'being wrong in public' — an eventuality that is all-but guaranteed to arise when we televise spontaneous political debate. Why have such productions if we intend to police them like this? Bit by bit, and mob by mob, we are destroying our open culture and the organizations that we have constructed to serve it."

Writes Charles C.W. Cooke, in "Whoopi Goldberg’s Suspension from The View Is Illiberal and Irrational" (National Review).

The link on "critical theory" goes to an Andrew Sullivan tweet: "Goldberg's basic point is classic CRT: if it's 'white people' vs 'white people,' i.e. Jews, it cannot be racism." 

The link on "particularly stupid one" goes to Cooke's own article, "Whoopi Goldberg’s Nonsensical Abortion Rant." In response to Justice Alito's statement that "the fetus has an interest in having a life and that doesn’t change... from the point before viability to the point after viability," Goldberg had said: "How dare you talk about what a fetus wants? You have no idea." Sample comment from Cooke: "Is she arguing that, as a rule, unborn children might be suicidal, and that abortion is doing them a favor?"

"President Biden has approved the deployment of about 3,000 additional American troops to Eastern Europe, administration officials said on Wednesday."

"The troops, including 1,000 who are already in Europe, will head to NATO allies on the alliance’s eastern flank, the officials said. Their purpose will be to reassure NATO allies that while the United States has no intention of sending troops into Ukraine, where Russia has been threatening an invasion, Mr. Biden would protect America’s NATO allies from any Russian aggression. ... The number of Russian troops assembled at Ukraine’s borders has reached well north of 100,000...."

The NYT reports.

"News of Sen. Ben Ray Luján’s (D-N.M.) stroke sent shockwaves through the Senate on Tuesday, underscoring the fragility of Democrats’ 50-50 majority."

Democrats are in the majority because they have 50 seats and the ability for Vice President Harris to break a tie. Luján’s absence leaves them at 49 seats until he returns, with his office saying he’s expected to make a full recovery. 'It's just a reminder that in a 50-50 Senate any unexpected development could be a challenge to our moving forward on an agenda that the Democratic caucus shares,' said Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), who said he was very optimistic that the 49-year-old Luján would make a full recovery."

The Hill reports. 

I suppose the Democrats are working hard at understanding how to be properly discreet as they endeavor to will a Luján resignation into being. Of course, I hope the poor man does well, but I can't believe the Democrats intend wait for his return.

ADDED: In New Mexico, the governor would name a new senator if there is a vacancy. The governor is Michelle Lujan Grisham, and, in case you're wondering, "Michelle Lujan Grisham and Ben Ray Luján aren’t cousins."

"James Joyce’s 'Ulysses'... was published in Paris on Feb. 2, 1922 — 100 years ago [today]...."

"Readers who journey with Joyce’s Leopold Bloom as he navigates the shoals of everyday life on an unremarkable summer’s day in Dublin become deeply familiar with his inner world and the quirky crevices of his mind.... In Bloom, [Joyce] created a settled, contented individual, 'a good man,' as he once described him, a counterpoint to the noisiness of the world around him. In 1919, W.B. Yeats wrote apocalyptically that 'things fall apart; the center cannot hold,' but Joyce, in the same period, pitched his antihero’s tent firmly on the center ground.... In a passage at the heart of Joyce’s message to the troubled world around him, Bloom sets out his credo: 'Force, hatred, history, all that. That’s not life for men and women, insult and hatred.' It is 'love,' the opposite of hatred, he insists, 'that is really life.'... In the 'Circe' episode... Bloom appears as a political reformer with a charmingly idealistic manifesto: 'The reform of municipal morals and the plain ten commandments. New worlds for old. Union of all, jew, moslem and gentile. Three acres and a cow for all children of nature.'... At a time like ours, when narrow partisan opinions thrive in places and prejudice continues to flourish in plain sight, I [like] Bloom’s centrist appeal to transcend force, hatred and history...."

Writes Daniel Mulhall, Ireland’s ambassador to the United States and author of "Ulysses: A Reader’s Odyssey" in The Washington Post.

Named after Biden’s dog.

"I kept being told by people in the [White House] the thing they were most concerned about was the optics of a chaotic evacuation. They treated us like we were Chicken Little. They didn’t believe the sky was falling."

Said Matt Zeller, a former CIA officer, quoted in "Scoop: Leaked document reveals Biden’s Afghan failures" (Axios).

"What was there to stop you from just looking up an answer? You were on your own, there was no one watching. It’s kind of obvious."

Said an unnamed 2021 graduate, quoted in "Remote learning led to rampant cheating at NYC’s Stuyvesant High School" (NY Post). Stuyvesant is a phenomenally elite public high school, with admission based on the Specialized High School Admissions Test.

Also quoted, an unnamed sophomore: "A lot of people didn’t actually learn as much last year because of how easy it was to cheat on things, which is sort of sad. Remote learning changed the playing field. It was closer to [an] honor system, so I felt that most people were more likely to push the rules a bit."

It's another cost of the lockdown. If you cheat, you don't learn the material, you learn the techniques of cheating. And you degrade your morality. If the community sets things up to maximize cheating, it's a systematic degradation of morality in the young people — in this case, the most academically promising young people.

Here they are, America, your new elite.

"At the non-elite level... an athlete can elect to change their competition category in order for them to experience the sport of swimming in a manner that is consistent with their gender identity and expression."

"At the elite level, a policy has been created for transgender athlete participation in the U.S. that relies on science and medical evidence-based methods to provide a level-playing field for elite cisgender women, and to mitigate the advantages associated with male puberty and physiology.... Evidence that the prior physical development of the athlete as a male, as mitigated by any medical intervention, does not give the athlete a competitive advantage over the athlete’s cisgender female competitors...."

From the new USA Swimming policy, quoted in "Lia Thomas’ future murkier as USA Swimming releases new policy, Penn teammates express support" (NY Post).

Also quoted, Independent Women’s Law Center (IWLC) and Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) condemned USA Swimming’s policies: "USA Swimming’s insistence that there is some way to eliminate the athletic advantage that post-pubescent males have over females denies science. But it also ignores the fact that... [a]llowing male-bodied athletes to compete on limited roster teams inevitably means that there are fewer opportunities for female athletes (to be recruited, to receive a scholarship, or to participate in competitions). Make no mistake, taking athletic opportunities away from female athletes violates Title IX."

"The very term anti-Semitism, which casts Jews in racial terms, was popularized by a German anti-Jewish activist who wanted to give his hatred a scientific sheen."

"Race is a social construct, and this is how it was constructed in Nazi Germany and much of Europe.... [W]ell-meaning people... don’t know how to define Jews [because]... Judaism predates Western categories. It’s not quite a religion, because one can be Jewish regardless of observance or specific belief. (Einstein, for example, was proudly Jewish but not religiously observant.) But it’s also not quite a race, because people can convert in! It’s not merely a culture or an ethnicity, because that leaves out all the religious components. And it’s not simply a nationality, because although Jews do have a homeland and many identify as part of a nation, others do not."

Writes Yair Rosenberg in "Are Jews a Race?/Whoopi Goldberg’s Holocaust comments reflect how Jews don’t fit into Western boxes" (The Atlantic).

Another reason why it's "not quite a race" is that race was never good science. From "The Disturbing Resilience of Scientific Racism" (Smithsonian):

Stelter's plaint would mean more if he'd face up to how badly CNN's Sanjay Gupta fared when he sat down with Joe Rogan.


Background: "CNN praises Dr. Sanjay Gupta for interview with Joe Rogan, buries viral moments/Gupta admitted his CNN colleagues should not have referred to Rogan's COVID treatment as 'horse dewormer'" (NY Post, October 15, 2021). That's something I blogged at the time, here: "In trying to present Sanjay Gupta as a science-is-real hero for talking to Joe Rogan for 3 hours, CNN laid the groundwork for fact-checkers to draw attention to all the most damaging omissions." 

ADDED: Writing this post and searching my own archive for Sanjay Gupta, I turned up a post from January 7, 2009, when President-Elect Obama was considering Gupta for the position of Surgeon General. There was debate at the time about the way Gupta had treated the filmmaker Michael Moore about his movie "Sicko."

The embattled speaker of the week is...

"The embattled speaker of the week is Joe Rogan, the host of the world’s most popular podcast," wrote NYT staff editor Spencer Bokat-Lindell, in "What the Joe Rogan Backlash Reveals About How We Handle Misinformation," published yesterday, which was Tuesday, the second day of the work week.

Oh, no! Embattled Speaker of the Week is a much faster game. Joe Rogan was the embattled speaker of last week. The embattled speaker of this week is Whoopi Goldberg: "In a statement on Tuesday night, Kim Godwin, president of ABC News, said that Ms. Goldberg would be suspended for 'her wrong and hurtful comments.'" 

What did Joe even do? Hard to remember in light of Whoopi's blowing off the Holocaust: "This is white people doing it to white people, so y’all going to fight amongst yourselves."

But both Joe and Whoopi were one-person-show comedians who moved into hosting lengthy, semi-serious conversation shows. They offer lateral perceptions. God help us if we lose the ability to listen and think and continue the conversation.


Apparently, Whoopi has some free time. She ought to go on Joe Rogan's show. These 2 human individuals are sublimely valuable. The urge to oust them is all wrong. It is self-harm. 

And bring back Roseanne.

February 1, 2022

At the Sunrise Café...

IMG_9104... you can talk about whatever you want. That photo was taken at 7:27 this morning, as I tried to complete my morning run out on the snow-covered ice.

"At one point, I had to clarify for a guy that I didn’t actually own the chair, that it was my friend’s, and he unmatched me. I was like, 'Okay, wow.'"

Wrote Emily Kirkpatrick, 33, in "It’s been 66 years, and young men are still obsessed with the Eames lounger" (WaPo). 

When Kirkpatrick, a freelance writer who lives in Brooklyn, later tweeted about her Tinder matches’ obsession with the chair, women confirmed her assessment. “The hold this chair has on men,” one user wrote. “The only chair they know,” quipped another....

Sunrise — 7:05, 7:16, 7:21.




"At Georgetown Law, Black students are haunted by the shadow of impostor syndrome. Shapiro reinforced this phenomenon by reducing Black women’s accomplishments to 'small favors' from 'heaven.'"

Wrote The Black Law Students Association at Georgetown, quoted in "Georgetown Suspends Lecturer Who Criticized Vow to Put Black Woman on Court/Ilya Shapiro has apologized after tweeting that President Biden was poised to nominate not 'the objectively best pick,' but a 'lesser Black woman' to the Supreme Court" (NYT).

Who is responsible for "the shadow of impostor syndrome" that "haunts" black students? Not Shapiro. He is only accused of having "reinforced" it.

"I met a lotta hard-boiled eggs in my life, but you? You’re 20 minutes."

My favorite line in a movie we finished watching last night — "Ace in the Hole."

ADDED: I'd started watching that movie a while back and forced myself to finish it yesterday after my son John — who ranked it as the best movie of 1951 — reminded me it was about to end its run on the Criterion Channel. It's a rather strange movie about a ruthless, ambitious journalist. It's got the most absurd scene involving a fur garment. I don't want to spoil it, so that's all I'll say.

AND: There are a lot of movies about journalism — usually presenting the journalist as a hero. For example here's a ranking, with "Ace in the Hole" at #46, but if you limit that to movies where the journalist is an awful person — which I'm not equipped to do — I'm guessing it would make the top 10.

"When President Joe Biden met with U.S. governors at the White House on Monday, he was the only one given a glass of water — lest anyone else remove their mask to take a drink."

AP reports.

I think Biden should also have had to abstain from water. For him and only him to get water... I must say my first association was Trump getting 2 scoops of ice cream. It's just so wrong.

"[A]s a black person I think of race as being something that I can see. People were very angry and they said 'no no we are a race' – and I understand."

"People, you know, decided I was all these other things I’m actually not. I’m incredibly torn up by being told these things about myself. And I get it, folks are angry. I accept that and I did it to myself. This was my thought process and I’ll work hard not to think that way again." 

Said Whoopi Goldberg, quoted in "'I stand corrected': Whoopi Goldberg apologizes for Holocaust comments" (NY Post). 

What she'd said was "The Holocaust isn’t about race. No, it’s not about race. It’s about man’s inhumanity to man... It’s how people treat each other.... It doesn’t matter if you’re black or white because black, white, Jews, Italians, everybody eats each other." 

That became an outrage, perhaps because she was wandering toward race-blindness territory and in danger of allying with those naifs who ask why we can't all love one another.

By the way, is Whoopi Goldberg — nee Caryn Elaine Johnson — Jewish?


"Fully 7 in 10 Americans (70%) agree with the sentiment that 'it’s time we accept that Covid is here to stay and we just need to get on with our lives'..."

"... including 78% of those who report having gotten Covid and 65% of those who say they have not been infected. The main difference in the sense that it is time to move on is due to partisanship – ranging from 89% of Republicans and 71% of independents to 47% of Democrats.... [M]ore than 1 in 4 (28%) now believe a return to normalcy will never happen, which is up from 22% who felt this way in September and just 6% who were similarly pessimistic exactly a year ago.... [J]ust over half of Americans (52%) support instituting, or reinstituting, face mask and social distancing guidelines in their home state.... Less than half of the public (43%) supports requiring people to show proof of vaccination in order to work in an office or other setting where they are around other people. Support for this approach has declined steadily since September (53%), including 46% last month.... Ratings for how both the president and federal health agencies have handled the pandemic continue to slip. Just 43% say Biden has done a good job on this while 53% say he has done a bad job – the first time his rating on this metric has been underwater since he took office."

The Monmouth University poll reports.

January 31, 2022

At the Sunrise Café...


... you can talk all night.


Photos taken at 7:15 and 7:20.

"The sudden hit Wordle, in which once a day players get six chances to guess a five-letter word, has been acquired by The New York Times Company."

The NYT reports.

"Generation X—as presented through albums like 'Nevermind' (1991), novels like 'Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture' (1991), and films like 'Reality Bites' (1994), and then amplified ad nauseam..."

"... by a vapid clutch of contemporary trendspotting articles.... Klosterman has come not to bury these stereotypes but to praise them.... 'Among the generations that have yet to go extinct,' Klosterman writes, 'Generation X remains the least annoying.' Its nihilistic blend of lassitude and disaffection, in his analysis, guarantees a minimum of whinging, quite unlike the 'self-righteous outrage,' 'policing morality,' and 'blaming strangers for the condition of one’s own existence' typical of other generations. For the rusted youth of the nineties, 'solipsism was preferable to narcissism'; later, he contrasts their 'anti-commercialism' (discerning, optimistic) with the supposed 'anti-capitalism' (totalizing, pessimistic) of millennials.... If Gen X disengagement and ironic fence-sitting were brought up short by Bush v. Gore and 9/11 and the rise of social media, he wants to preserve the nineties as a safe space for his cohort.... He has no patience for partisan rashness, for passionate convictions that would break upon his ghostly solitude."

From "Chuck Klosterman Brings Back the Nineties/In a nostalgic tour through the decade, Klosterman defends Gen X as today’s 'least annoying' generation" by Frank Guan (The New Yorker).

"Democratic officials have used the pretexts of COVID, 'the insurrection,' and Russia to justify their censorship demands."

"Both Joe Biden and his Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, have 'urged' Silicon Valley to censor more when asked about Joe Rogan and others who air what they call 'disinformation' about COVID. They cheered the use of pro-prosecutor tactics against Michael Flynn and other Russiagate targets; made a hero out of the Capitol Hill Police officer who shot and killed the unarmed Ashli Babbitt; voted for an additional $2 billion to expand the functions of the Capitol Police; have demanded and obtained lengthy prison sentences and solitary confinement even for non-violent 1/6 defendants; and even seek to import the War on Terror onto domestic soil.... For those who convince themselves that they are not battling mere political opponents with a different ideology but a fascist movement led by a Hitler-like figure bent on imposing totalitarianism — a core, defining belief of modern-day Democratic Party politics — it is virtually inevitable that they will embrace authoritarianism...."

Writes Glenn Greenwald, at Substack.

"So 'Joni Mitchell music' is a genre of its own?"

Said Lurker21, in the comments to this morning's post about Joe Rogan, which included appreciation of Joe's line, "I love Joni Mitchell, I love her music, 'Chuck E.'s in Love' is a great song"  ("Chuck E.'s in Love" being a Rickie Lee Jones song).

Since we're talking about Spotify, I'd just like to say that on Spotify, anybody's music is a genre of its own. You search the artist's name and, from among the results, choose the icon with the artist's name followed by radio. Thus, for Joni Mitchell, I find "Joni Mitchell Radio" — with varied artists along with Joni:


It works, as I say, with any artist. Just to pick someone I like who was obscure to me until recently: 

Sunrise — 7:11, 7:14, 7:15.




"Brown fat is 'a specialized fat, whose primary role is to generate heat'.... A gram of brown fat produces 300 times more heat than any other tissue in the body...."

"The proportional amount of brown fat a person has decreases as they get older.... You can build up your brown fat by spending more time in the cold. A study of Finnish lumberjacks was the first to find that outdoor workers who spend time in the cold have more brown fat than office workers, and [there is]  research that shows sleeping in cooler temperatures (66 degrees, in his study) may also increase your levels of brown fat."

From "Why Your Kid Wears Shorts in Winter/While you freeze in cold weather, they have a secret weapon" by Jessica Grose (NYT).

It's absurd to think that sleeping — and only sleeping — in a room heated to 66° is comparable to working all day outdoors in Finland. And what temperature do you think Finnish lumberjacks keep their houses? I'm no Finnish lumberjack, but I do live in Wisconsin, and I go out when the temperature is, say, 8° but I don't artificially heat the house up to 66°. We keep it at 62° in the daytime and let it drop to 50° when we're sleeping. Occasionally, when I feel chilly, I bump it up to 64°, but never 66°, which would generate complaints that it's stifling in here. People who think they're sleeping in a cool room when they've got it at 66° are baffling. 

So, yeah, build up your brown fat. That sounds great, but overheating your house to the point where you think it's hardy to endure 66° when you're under the covers shows seriously distorted thinking. Also, there's no discussion of carbon footprints and climate change here. Where did that all-important concern go?

By the way, the article is padded out with material about children's birthday parties (though, strangely, given that headline, nothing at all about shorts).

"I’ve had conversations with Bono back in the day... He said that when U2 makes a record, it’s like they’ve got a racehorse..."

"... and they don’t just want the horse in the race, they want to win the race. I said we race the horse and then we let the horse run free. I wasn’t trying to be clever. That was the truth. He was frustrated with me. But the dream was to be in a group that toured and recorded, and we were OK with things being scaled down if that allowed the dream to survive."

Said Eddie Vedder, quoted in "Eddie Vedder Is Still Learning to Live With Loss" (NYT).

Tulsi weighs in.

This is such a weight to load onto Harris and Justice X, but Biden created this very obvious and easy opportunity, and since it is so predictable, he's fully responsible for it. He did what he did in pursuit of his own power, and he — a white male — is President of the United States because of it. That, too, is white privilege.

"Perhaps the single worst piece of football analysis ever uttered on air."

More here: "Tony Romo ripped for head-scratching analysis at end of Bengals-Chiefs game" (NY Post).

"Taxpayers who get a notice from the IRS are often petrified. All they want is the ability to find out what happened. But when they can’t get that help, it further builds their frustration and panic."

Said Roger Harris, president an accounting firm, quoted in "Three days after the 2022 tax season started, an overwhelmed IRS suspends some taxpayer notices/The agency is trying to cut down on correspondence with taxpayers, to avoid adding to a backlog of returns" (WaPo). 

Perhaps finally the IRS realized the absurdity of the request for more paperwork. “In many situations, the tax return may be part of our current paper tax inventory and simply hasn’t been processed” the agency statement said...

Which ones will keep going out automatically? The IRS didn’t say....

“There is a sense of despair right now,” said Melanie Lauridsen, senior manager for tax policy and advocacy with the AICPA. “People are getting these notices and they can’t even get in touch with the IRS....”

Joe Rogan: This podcast is "nothing that I've prepared for." It's become "some out-of-control juggernaut I barely have control of."

He never even had the idea of becoming this successful with the podcast. It started with him "just fucking around with my friends and having fun and talking, and then, when it became popular, other people wanted to come on," he says in this 10-minute message to the world.

He says he's going to "do my best, in the future, to balance things out." 

"But my point of doing this is just to create interesting conversations.... So, if I've pissed you off, I'm sorry. If you enjoy the podcast, thank you... Thank you to all the supporters, and even thank you to the haters, because it's good to have some haters. It makes you reassess what you're doing and put things into perspective... Thank you and, uh, I'm going to do my best."

He says multiple times that he has no hard feelings against Neil Young, that he loves Neil Young. He tells a story of working as a security guard at an outdoor amphitheater when he was a teenager and quitting the night Neil Young played — not because he didn't like Neil Young but because people in the audience were making bonfires to keep warm and not taking kindly to the security guards who were required to put out the fires. Joe put a regular shirt over his security guard shirt and walked away.


Hey, Neil Young, go on Joe Rogan's podcast. He's offered you love. Return the gesture. 


ADD: Rogan has offered Young a graceful way out of the hole he climbed down into and that only Joni Mitchell and Nils Lofgren jumped in after. It wasn't the lemmingfest he might have hoped for. 

This is apt:

OR: Do you think Joe is trying to con us? Are you thinking all the thank yous and love and me and my friends were just fooling around are some kind of trick?

IN THE COMMENTS: Lucien says (correctly quoting Rogan, who I'm sure was doing it on purpose): 

When Rogan says: "I love Joni Mitchell, I love her music, 'Chuck E.'s in Love' is a great song" I hope he's doing that on purpose.

January 30, 2022

At the Sunrise Café...


... you can talk about whatever you want.


Photos taken at 7:19, 7:28, and 7:30.


"My mom was terrified that my dad, a police inspector in charge of Senate security, was not coming back on March 1, 1954, the day four Puerto Rican nationalists pulled out guns and sprayed bullets..."

"... from the spectators’ gallery above the House floor. Five representatives were wounded. My father ran over from the Senate and wrested a 38-caliber pistol from one of the shooters. My brother Kevin, then in second grade, was traumatized by my mom’s terror as she stood in the kitchen, frozen, before she got word that my dad was OK... I thought about this listening to Dominique Luzuriaga, Officer Rivera’s widow, give her eulogy through sobs... Officer Rivera and his 27-year-old partner, Wilbert Mora, died answering a 911 call from a mother in Harlem who said her son had verbally threatened her. They walked down a hall in the apartment and the son jumped out and opened fire, fatally wounding both officers... [Rivera] was the class clown, but he got a serious crush on Dominique in grade school. Teachers had to sit them apart so they could focus...  When she was called to Harlem Hospital, she said, 'Walking up those steps, seeing everybody staring at me, was the scariest moment I’ve experienced.' Standing by her dead husband, wrapped in sheets, she told him: 'Wake up, baby. I’m here.' In the eulogy, she often talked directly to her husband, as though he were standing at her side: 'The little bit of hope I had that you would come back to life just to say "Goodbye" or just to say "I love you" one more time had left. I was lost. I’m still lost.'"

From "Rhapsody for a Boy in Blue" by Maureen Dowd (NYT).

To read more about that March 1, 1954 incident, here's the Wikipedia article. Excerpt: "The assailants were arrested, tried and convicted in federal court, and given long sentences, amounting to life imprisonment. In 1978 and 1979, their sentences were commuted by President Jimmy Carter."

And from "Rafael Cancel Miranda, Gunman in ’54 Attack on Congress, Dies at 89/He and three others opened fire on a crowded House chamber in the cause of Puerto Rican independence. Some saw him as a terrorist, others as a hero" (NYT, March 3, 2020):

“Can you imagine us thinking we could overthrow the U.S. government with little pistols?” he told The Militant. “I wish I could!” 

He referred to the attack as “an armed demonstration.” 

“We knew that if we went with signs, we weren’t going to get attention,” he said.

"Freedom of association means freedom of disassociation as well. If your neighbors annoy you, you should always be free to move somewhere the neighbors are less annoying."

"Similarly, Spotify should be allowed to decide whom to do business with.... Content creators and content consumers alike choose their preferred associations.... But I do worry about the continued fragmentation of society that attends the idea that everyone sharing a cultural space must align ideologically to coexist... I’m wary of boycotts generally, as there are few limiting principles once you decide you cannot tolerate someone’s thinking. Given Young’s own controversial, science-averse advocacy on such issues as life-saving, child-blindness-averting GMOs, one could ask what’s stopping a retaliatory boycott. Or, to return to the real estate analogy, freedom of association means you’re free to move, but you shouldn’t be able to threaten an exodus to get the homeowners’ association to evict a neighbor.... There’s something deeply corrosive about attempting to live in a way that demands everyone agree with you...."

From "What concerns me most about Neil Young’s Spotify fight" by Sonny Bunch (WaPo).

Yes, let's agree to try to live together...

Ice fishermen drive out onto Lake Mendota at sunrise.

I was running on the snow-covered ice, much nearer to the shore, when I caught this cheerful sight: 

2 almost-promises candidate Trump made at his rally yesterday in Conroe, Texas.

The one that's getting press is pardons for at least some of "those people from January 6th":

"Another thing we'll do, and so many people have been asking me about it, if I run and if I win, we will treat those people from Jan. 6 fairly," Trump said to applause. "We will treat them fairly. And if it requires pardons we will give them pardons. Because they are being treated so unfairly."

The one I'm not seeing, but I heard and would quote if I had a transcript, is that he will rehire all the military people who were let go because they were not vaccinated. And he supports backpay.

Here's the whole rally. Maybe you can find it: 

Who needs vaccines? "Music is our planet’s sacred weapon, uniting and healing billions of souls every day."

I'm reading "Nils Lofgren Pulls Music From Spotify in Solidarity With Neil Young/'We encourage all musicians, artists and music lovers everywhere, to stand with us all, and cut ties with Spotify,' guitarist writes" (Rolling Stone). 

One way to do science would be: Have artists look admiringly at their favorite artists and nod to one another that they're all going to do the same thing at the same time. 

I can't get over the paywall at Rolling Stone, but I see the Nils Lofgren is trending #1 over there...

... and that's competing with penis toadstools, so you know it's really important. And the penis toadstools have Katy Perry and this is just Nils Lofgren. Honestly, I don't remember who Nils Lofgren is, and I'm a Boomer. Oh, the E Street Band. I prefer The Penis Toadstools.

Here's the full context of his quote, which is so bereft of a science orientation that it's funny:

"We encourage all musicians, artists and music lovers everywhere, to stand with us all, and cut ties with Spotify... Music is our planet’s sacred weapon, uniting and healing billions of souls every day. Pick up your sword and start swinging. Neil always has. Stand with him, us (Joni Mitchell!) and others. It’s a powerful action you can all take now, to honor truth, humanity, and the heroes risking their lives every day to save ours.

Pick up your sword and start swinging! Don't think, don't study, don't test any hypothesis, just pick up a sword and don't even aim it. Swing wildly! Like Neil. Stand in solidarity with him, because he's always picked up a sword and swung it. That's how you "honor truth" — by wildly swinging a deadly weapon around.

Yes, it's metaphor. Science isn't done by metaphor.


Joni Mitchell's statement — at her website, here — said:

Read An Open Letter to Spotify: A call from the global scientific and medical communities to implement a misinformation policy.

From that open letter (boldface added):

The average age of JRE listeners is 24 years old and according to data from Washington State, unvaccinated 12-34 year olds are 12 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID than those who are fully vaccinated.

The link on the word "data" goes to a document from "COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalizations, and Deaths by Vaccination Status," where you see this:

How do you get "12 times more likely to be hospitalized"? It says 5 times! Here they are demanding censorship of Joe Rogan for spreading misinformation and their short letter contains egregious misinformation? They are so harsh toward someone discussing the facts and maybe getting something wrong, but will they go easy on themselves or will they self-condemn? 

If they'll confess that their methodology is looking at their friends and seeing what everyone else is doing and supporting the group that's their group, then I won't call them hypocrites if they say Oh, what's the big deal, so we made a little mistake.

The NYT says that "Black women in the legal community are bracing for the possibility that the yet-to-be-named nominee will be judged unfairly as an affirmative action appointment."

I'm reading "Black Women in Law Feel Pride and Frustration Ahead of Court Nominee As Biden prepares to nominate the first Black woman to the nation’s highest court, members of this small, elite group are watching with complicated emotions," by By Tariro Mzezewa and Audra D. S. Burch. 

They quote a black female lawyer (Alisia Adamson Profit, 38): "People are going to say she only got this because she was a Black woman, and that could not be further from the truth. She would not even be considered if she wasn’t qualified, prepared and ready. There will be a segment that will discredit her ability to serve."

First: Why is the NYT — the voices sought out by the NYT and featured here — implying that affirmative action is disreputable?! I read the NYT every day, and it's my impression that the NYT strongly supports affirmative action and is especially keen to support it this year, as the Supreme Court is about to consider 2 cases challenging affirmative action in higher education admissions. So why should there be any stigma — or any recognition of stigma — to getting a position through affirmative action? To say that affirmative action devalues a person's achievement is to talk like Clarence Thomas. If you support affirmative action, say hooray for affirmative action. Isn't it wonderful that President Biden is openly committed to affirmative action and about to perform it? If your answer isn't yes, NYT, please do your soul-searching in express and clear words. Don't muddle up the discussion!

Second: Ms. Profit's statement doesn't make sense. The nominee will almost certainly be "qualified, prepared and ready" and "ab[le] to serve," but that won't negate the fact that that she "only got this because she was a Black woman." We know from Biden's express commitment that only black women will be considered. If this person who becomes the nominee were not a black woman, then it is plainly the case that she would not have received the nomination. Is the problem that "people are going to say" what is obviously true? Why can't we say it? Is it a secret? Is it shameful? But Biden is openly saying it, and as I've spelled out in the previous paragraph, you need to decide whether you are pro-affirmative action or not.

Third: Biden's advance announcement of intent prevents him and everyone else from doing what is normally done — asserting that the person chosen is actually the very best judicial mind in all the land. Maybe the theater of excellence is desirable and uplifting, and maybe it's bad to single out this candidate to be deprived of the glory of that rhetoric, but she won't be the only one. It happened to Sandra Day O'Connor after Ronald Reagan committed in advance to choosing a woman. But maybe it's time to be a lot more honest, mature, and sophisticated and admit that the President is NEVER choosing the very best one. He's systematically eliminating people who are too old or who have the wrong politics, and there are surely endless other attributes that get you stricken from the President's list that have nothing to do with how wonderfully you can decide legal cases.


The slogan popped into my head: "Why not the best?" 

Yes, whose slogan was that. I needed to remember because I believed it would make my point. Ah, here: 

Isn't it pretty to think we could have the best? Oh, he's the best, Jimmy Carter. 

No, he wasn't the best, but he was the one we came up with at the time, at the end of a grueling, ridiculous process that never gives us the best. We're lucky if we even get someone reasonably good and not horrible. 

The Justices on the Supreme Court — now, and after one is replaced by a new one who will be a black woman — are good enough but presumably not the best. Surely, the best never even make the short list. How could they? They can't — and shouldn't — fit the needs of the President.