May 21, 2022

At the Sunrise Café...

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... you can write about whatever you want.

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Here's a panorama version that includes the moon (and the moon's shattered reflection in the water)(click and click again for a good enlargement):

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"He was not only the greatest of baseball writers; he had also lived long enough to see Babe Ruth, of the Yankees, at one end of his life and..."

"... Shohei Ohtani, of the Angels, at the other. Age conferred authority. When Roger covered the Yanks in their late-nineties heyday, Joe Torre, the team’s heavy-lidded chief, would sometimes interrupt one of his avuncular soliloquies to a clutch of young reporters and look to him for affirmation: 'Roger, am I getting that right?' Sitting in his office, Roger, much like Torre, held court, telling stories about playing Ping-Pong with James Thurber, editing William Trevor and Donald Barthelme, and watching ballgames with the Romanian-born artist Saul Steinberg, who would put on a flannel Milwaukee Braves uniform before sitting down in front of the TV.... Roger died on Friday. He was a hundred and one.... His father, Ernest Angell, was a Harvard-trained lawyer who went on to lead the American Civil Liberties Union. His mother, born Katharine Sergeant, was educated at Bryn Mawr and became this magazine’s first fiction editor, a close editorial partner to Harold Ross. After divorcing Ernest Angell, she married another founding eminence at the magazine, E. B. White. Mrs. White, as she was known at the office, neglected to tell Roger the news of her wedding; Roger, who was nine at the time, heard about it only a couple of days later, through a relative who had read about it in Walter Winchell’s newspaper column.... Eventually, Roger led the fiction department; he was, as he often said, 'doing my mother’s job in my mother’s office.'... In 1962, he and the magazine’s editor, William Shawn, discussed the idea of his writing about baseball...."

Writes David Remnick in "Remembering Roger Angell, Hall of Famer/In the course of a well-lived century, he established himself as the most exacting of editors, the most agile of stylists, a mentor to generations of writers, and baseball’s finest, fondest chronicler" (The New Yorker).

"Someone needs to say it: Not everything's about you.... And it's okay to ask questions about something that's very new and involves children."

"How L.A. became a fridge-less aberration is one of the region’s more mysterious, least delightful eccentricities..."

"... along with absurdly long street parking signs or frigid days at the beach in June.... California law does not require refrigerators to be included in rental units, instead classifying them as 'amenities' that aren’t necessary to meet habitability standards. 'It’s like a hot tub'.... Buying and maintaining a refrigerator became an extra expense that landlords just didn’t want.... When they broke... tenants would complain that they had just gone to the grocery store and demand reimbursement. 'It was always the liability of food....'... But legal reasons alone do not explain Southern California’s relative dearth of refrigerators. Other large states like Florida and Texas do not require fridges either, but they come standard with apartments... Ingrid Gould Ellen, faculty director at the NYU Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, posited that the economic concept of 'multiple equilibria' might be at play. Basically, the idea is that small things that happen in the early creation of a market proliferate and become entrenched: In the 1950s, say, a few big L.A. landlords don’t provide Frigidaires as the appliances are becoming essential, others follow suit and a trend is born. 'No one is going to want to rent a home without a refrigerator if all other homes have them,' Ellen said. 'But if the norm is that rentals don’t offer refrigerators, then a separate market will develop.'"

From "Why do so many L.A. apartments come without fridges? Inside the chilling mystery" (L.A. Times).

I haven't used my "Hillary's in trouble" tag in a while.

Pelicans.

At 5:29 this morning on Lake Mendota: 

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"If YOU can't connect with most modern day music, THIS is probably why."

"In my 30 year career, including the entire MeToo era, there’s nothing to report, but, as soon as I say I intend to restore free speech to Twitter & vote Republican, suddenly there is…"

Said Elon Musk, quoted in "Elon Musk calls claims of sexual misconduct ‘politically motivated’" (WaPo).

Musk commented at length on Twitter... writing that “those wild accusations are utterly untrue” and issuing “a challenge to this liar who claims their friend saw me ‘exposed’ — describe just one thing, anything at all (scars, tattoos, …) that isn’t known by the public. She won’t be able to do so, because it never happened.”  

“Moreover,” he added, “the ‘friend’ in question who gave the interview to [Insider], is a far left activist/actress in LA with a major political axe to grind.” 

“The attacks against me should be viewed through a political lens — this is their standard (despicable) playbook — but nothing will deter me from fighting for a good future and your right to free speech,” Musk tweeted. 

He ended the thread: “Finally, we get to use Elongate as scandal name. It’s kinda perfect.”

The top-rated comment over there is: "Musk is starting to sound an awful lot like Trump." And, yes, he is: He's a master of the tweet. But don't worry. He can't run for President. We are securely safe from the foreign-born man following the Trump path to power. And Musk himself is safe from that temptation (and from our suspicion). That door is closed.

Of course, if the allegations are true, that's very bad. But what I'd like to know is how many men are inhibited from coming out as conservative — or just anti-Democrat — because they know there are or could be allegations like this held in reserve. How much control is achieved by this method of only going after political enemies? We can't get all the allegations out, because some men are protected, protected by their own political pretense.

By the way, do you think there's anything odd about Elon Musk's genitalia, or is this a rhetorical trick to make us think he has a means of refuting his accuser? Remember when Michael Jackson was subjected to a bodily search to see if his accuser had accurately described his penis?

"In the first week after the new rules we literally had customers with calculators out. It was a real novelty. And for the first two to three weeks..."

"... people would opt for the lighter dishes. For instance, orders for our mother butter chicken dish fell but orders for our lower-calorie agra chicken dish rose. But after about three weeks everyone got fatigued with it and we are now back to normal. It hasn’t made any difference to sales at all."

Said restaurant owner Nisha Katona, quoted in a London Times article about the calorie counts that have been required in the U.K. since last month.

The article cites a study of American restaurants with calorie counts that "in the first month, diners opted for dishes with an average of 60 fewer calories but after a year, the average reduction had fallen to 23 calories." And, we're told, the main difference is that people are taking more time to figure out what to order.

And here's another article on fatness in the London Times today: "Ancients believed in survival of the fattest/For most of human history food was precious and plumpness was something to be proud of, but then fashions changed" by Ben Macintyre:

Thrifty genotypes among the hunter-gatherers, who could store fat efficiently, were favoured by evolution.... The traditional desirability of excess flesh was reflected in social habits, politics, literature and arts, from Rubens to Shakespeare to Dickens. Scrooge is thin, in contrast to Joe in The Pickwick Papers, “a wonderfully fat boy”.

“Let me have men about me that are fat,” Shakespeare’s Caesar declares, while the dangerous Cassius “has a lean and hungry look”. Falstaff, the most famous fat man in literature, is loveable and trustworthy because he is stout....

There were exceptions: the Spartans ostracised fat men; Socrates danced every morning to keep himself trim; Hippocrates correctly warned that “Corpulence is not only a disease itself, but the harbinger of others”...

So! Socrates danced every morning?

But what dance did he do? 

50 years ago today: "ROME, MAY 21—Michelangelo's Pieta, one of the world's most celebrated sculptures, was severely damaged today when a man attacked it with a hammer in St. Peter's Basilica."

"Hundreds of Whitsunday worshipers, pilgrims and tourists watched in horror as a young man with long reddish hair and a beard pushed into the side chapel to the right of the main entrance to St. Peter's, where the Pieta is on display over, an altar. He climbed over a marble balustrade, went up the stairs to the platform on which the sculpture rests, pulled out a hammer from under a raincoat he had over his arm and started battering the marble, shouting, 'I'm Jesus Christ.' The blows shattered the left arm of the figure of the Virgin Mary in the marble group and also chipped the nose, the left eye and the veil covering the hair... The assailant, who was identified as Laszlo Toth, 33 years old, of Sydney, Australia, was able to strike four or five hammer blows amid the gasps and shouts of the crowd before an Italian fireman ran up to him and pulled him down by his hair.... A Vatican spokesman said later that Mr. Toth had told Archbishop Benelli in English: 'If you kill me, so much the better, because I'll go straight to heaven.' The Hungarian‐born Mr. Toth had been living in Rome for some time and had acquired some notoriety for bizarre conduct. In an interview last November, II Messaggero of Rome presented him as a 'local character of sorts,' quoting Mr. Toth as saying that he was a geologist and had left Australia two years ago to return to Europe because 'I have seven mysteries to reveal.'"

The NYT reported, 50 years ago.

We're told that Pope Paul inspected the damage, knelt and prayed in front of it, and was overheard saying "Also most serious moral damage."

cc Stanislav Traykov.

ADDED: "Lazlo Toth" was used as a pen name by the comedian Don Novello (who played Father Guido Sarducci on "Saturday Night Live").
In the 1970s, Novello started to write letters to famous people under the pen name of Lazlo Toth (after Laszlo Toth, a deranged man who vandalized Michelangelo's Pietà in Rome). The letters, written to suggest a serious but misinformed and obtuse correspondent, were designed to tweak the noses of politicians and corporations. Many of them received serious responses; Novello sometimes continued the charade correspondence at length, with humorous results. The letters and responses were published in the books The Lazlo Letters, Citizen Lazlo!, and From Bush to Bush: The Lazlo Toth Letters.

Here's the Wikipedia article for Lazlo Toth, the vandal: 

He was not charged with a criminal offence after the incident, but was hospitalized in Italy for two years. On his release, he was immediately deported to Australia.... In June 1971 he moved to Rome, Italy, knowing no Italian, intending to become recognized as Christ.

The correct spelling of the name is Laszlo Toth.

Toth is on Wikipedia's "List of people claimed to be Jesus."

Pelican sunrise.

Just now, at 5:28, 3 pelicans!

May 20, 2022

At the Sunrise Café...

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... you can talk about whatever you want.

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I've picked out 6 TikTok selections for you this evening. Let me know what you like best.

1. Speed dating.

2. He feels like he's the yellow moon emoji.

3. A list of "cool things you can say."

4. Hey, what are you eating?

5. Watch this one if you want to be persuaded to do 60 squats a day.

6. Watch this one if you care about Harry Nilsson.

"In July 2020, as social justice protests roiled the nation, Joshua Katz, a Princeton classics professor, wrote... that some faculty proposals to combat racism at Princeton would foment 'civil war on campus'..."

"... and denounced a student group, the Black Justice League, as 'a small local terrorist organization' because of its tactics in pushing for institutional changes. The remarks [were]... reviled by some... and lionized by others.... And they sent up a flare that led to scrutiny of other aspects of his life, including his conduct with female students. In the latest fallout from that debate, Princeton’s president has recommended dismissing Dr. Katz... for what a university report says was his failure to be totally forthcoming about a sexual relationship with a student 15 years ago.... Princeton already knew about her. The university had started an investigation after it learned of the relationship in late 2017, about ten years after it happened, and Dr. Katz confessed to a consensual affair. He was quietly suspended without pay for a year.... The woman in the sexual relationship did not cooperate with the original Princeton investigation. But after [a student newspaper report on Dr. Katz], she filed a formal complaint that led the administration to open a new investigation, which it said was looking at new issues rather than revisiting old violations.... Dr. Katz’s wife, Solveig Gold, said he had lost many friends over the controversy.... Ms. Gold, 27, who is finishing her Ph.D. in classics at the University of Cambridge, graduated from Princeton in 2017. She said that she had been his student, but that there was no romantic relationship between them at the time. They married in July 2021."

From "After Campus Uproar, Princeton Proposes to Fire Tenured Professor/Joshua Katz says he was targeted because of his criticism of a campus protest group. A university report says the concerns are related to his inappropriate conduct with a female student" (NYT).

Obviously, it is terribly wrong to fire him for his writings, and it seems that the sexual material is being used as a cover. Sexual harassment is an important matter, but that's all the more reason not to use it dishonestly. There may be some new information about the 15-year-old case, but the matter was dealt with at the time. Would the University going back to other old cases and fire tenured professors? The answer can't be — only when it hates what they are writing.

"Whatever you think of Ms. Heard’s actions, or whether you choose to believe her, this is a good old-fashioned public pillorying — only memes have replaced the stones...."

"[T]his trial could function as a case study in contrived stereotypes used to discredit women, even if you believe there is some truth behind Mr. Depp’s claims. Ms. Heard has been portrayed as mentally unstable, hysterical, a gold digger, a temptress who brought home other paramours at all hours of the night, a freeloader who moved her friends into Mr. Depp’s many houses, an attention-seeker with an unquenchable need for drama and of course an untrustworthy liar — textbook undermining strategies, each with its own sexist implications.... Whether you believe Ms. Heard or not, watching a woman excoriated in public has been popular entertainment since the Middle Ages. Somehow, Ms. Heard seems to have become a stand-in for every evil, lying woman getting her comeuppance — alpha queen bees in high school, the girl who slept with your boyfriend or girlfriend, every manipulative ex. She is Eve, she is Medusa, she is Lady Macbeth. She evokes vamps and vampires, wicked stepmothers, witches.... This trial seems to have exposed some of the rhetorical weaknesses of #MeToo. 'Believe women'... had somehow morphed into 'believe all women'... The intent of that early slogan was, in part, to encourage the public to treat women who speak up with basic dignity and respect, however messy and imperfect they or their stories may be...."

Writes Jessica Bennett, in "The Humiliation of Amber Heard Is Both Modern and Medieval" (NYT).

"The Biden administration is probably breathing a sigh of relief because they weren’t ready for the rule to be lifted."

Said Wayne Cornelius, "director emeritus of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at the University of California," San Diego, quoted in "Judge Orders Government to Continue Migrant Expulsions on Border" (NYT). 

A federal judge on Friday blocked the Biden administration from lifting a pandemic-related health order whose scheduled expiration on Monday would have reopened the doors of the United States to asylum seekers at the border for the first time in more than two years.... The sweeping public health measure, known as Title 42, was put into place in March 2020 to control the transmission of the coronavirus across the border. Under its authority, thousands of migrants arriving at land borders have been swiftly expelled, without an opportunity for those fleeing danger and persecution to request humanitarian protection in the United States.

"Former CEO Kevin Johnson acknowledged that dairy products are Starbucks’s largest source of carbon dioxide emissions and that switching to plant milk is 'a big part of the solution.'"

"Yet despite knowing that cow’s milk is responsible for three times the emissions of plant milks, the corporation still slaps an undue fee of up to 80 cents on eco-friendly choices. If you’re thinking the company is merely passing on its additional cost to the consumer, think again. According to PETA’s research, it costs Starbucks a few pennies extra to use vegan milk in a drink — but it charges you 10 times the cost or more. To me, the reasoning is obvious. About 40 percent of U.S. adults now purchase nondairy milk (mostly almond), oat milk sales shot up 95 percent in the 52-week period ending in early September, and around half of Gen Zers say they’re dropping dairy. Making conscientious people pay more is profitable. But for any company with the reach and resources of Starbucks to profiteer in the face of a global calamity … well, it brings to mind the greedy Gordon Gekko....  ...Starbucks says it wants 'to inspire and nurture the human spirit.'... End the vegan upcharge."

From "I glued my hand to a Starbucks counter. Here’s why" by James Cromwell (WaPo). 

Here's my May 11th post about the protest. As I said there, I think Starbucks should redo the prices so that drinks with cow's milk and vegetarian milk substitutes are the same price. I would not have known about this issue if it had not been for Cromwell's glued-hand protest, but I do still disapprove of that kind of behavior. There are worse protests, but I think Cromwell, et al., can do better. I note that he didn't explain the connection between glue — or hands — and his cause, so there's nothing especially significant about glued hands.

"It was a fraudulent firing from the beginning.... Just because George Floyd died, which was a national tragedy, doesn’t mean the social mob gets to go around demanding people get fired just because they are offended by controversial comments."

Said Charles Negy, quoted in "University Must Reinstate Professor Who Tweeted About ‘Black Privilege’/An arbitrator found that the University of Central Florida failed to show 'just cause' last year when it fired Charles Negy, a tenured professor whose comments generated outrage on campus" (NYT). 

The university said: "U.C.F. stands by the actions taken following a thorough investigation that found repeated misconduct in Professor Negy’s classroom, including imposing his views about religion, sex and race. However, we are obligated to follow the arbitrator’s ruling."

What did Negy say? We're given 2 tweets: 

1. “If Afr. Americans as a group, had the same behavioral profile as Asian Americans (on average, performing the best academically, having the highest income, committing the lowest crime, etc.), would we still be proclaiming ‘systematic racism’ exists?”

2. “Black privilege is real: Besides affirm. action, special scholarships and other set asides, being shielded from legitimate criticism is a privilege. But as a group, they’re missing out on much needed feedback.”

"[T]he age of puberty in girls has dropped by about three months per decade since the 1970s...."

"Girls who go through puberty early are at a higher risk of depression, anxiety, substance abuse and other psychological problems, compared with peers who hit puberty later. Girls who get their periods earlier may also be at a higher risk of developing breast or uterine cancer in adulthood. No one knows what risk factor — or more likely, what combination of factors — is driving the age decline or why there are stark race- and sex-based differences.... 'Obesity can’t explain all of this,' [said pediatric endocrinologist Natalie Shaw]. 'It’s just happened too quickly.'... Sexual abuse in early childhood has been linked to earlier puberty onset. Causal arrows are difficult to draw, however. Stress and trauma could prompt earlier development, or, as Dr. [Marcia] Herman-Giddens hypothesized decades ago, girls who physically develop earlier could be more vulnerable to abuse. Girls whose mothers have a history of mood disorders also seem more likely to reach puberty early, as are girls who do not live with their biological fathers. Lifestyle factors like a lack of physical activity have also been linked to changes in pubertal timing. And during the pandemic, pediatric endocrinologists from across the world noticed that referrals were increasing for earlier puberty in girls.... [S]ome experts argue that the age threshold for alarm should be lowered.... But lowering the age cutoff remains controversial... 'It might be normal in the sense of what the data are showing,' Dr. Herman-Giddens said, 'but I don’t think it’s normal, for lack of a better word, for what nature intended.'"

From "Puberty Starts Earlier Than It Used To. No One Knows Why. Some girls are starting to develop breasts as early as age 6 or 7. Researchers are studying the role of obesity, chemicals and stress" (NYT).

Take note: The phrase "what nature intended" is still in circulation.

"The circus as your grandparents or even their parents remember it, fell victim to changing times."

"Feld Entertainment, which owns the [Ringling Brothers] circus, discovered today’s audiences did not want to see animals performing. And today’s kids do not laugh at corny clown acts.... Now the plan is to up the game with human feats that dazzle, astonish, bewilder, while, at the same time, engaging audiences with interactive social media. At times, even during the show....The producers who are bringing the Ringling back to this stage is also the same group of producers who do Disney On Ice, Monster Jam, Sesame Street Live. So they kind of think that they’ve figured the audience out.... And it will not be our parent’s circus. It’ll very different, guys."

From "Ringling Brothers Eyes Comeback With Animal-Free Circus Show Transcript."

This sad transcript made me think of that famous Steve Jobs quote

Some people say, "Give the customers what they want." But that's not my approach. Our job is to figure out what they're going to want before they do. I think Henry Ford once said, "If I'd asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, 'A faster horse!'" People don't know what they want until you show it to them. That's why I never rely on market research. Our task is to read things that are not yet on the page.

"It has often been suggested that as [Bob] Dylan assembled his distinctive persona while climbing to international fame, he borrowed some of it, including a certain attitude and a caustic streak..."

"... from [Bob] Neuwirth. 'The whole hipster shuck and jive — that was pure Neuwirth,' Bob Spitz wrote in 'Dylan: A Biography' (1989). 'So were the deadly put-downs, the wipeout grins and innuendos. Neuwirth had mastered those little twists long before Bob Dylan made them famous and conveyed them to his best friend with altruistic grace.' Mr. Neuwirth, Mr. Spitz suggested, could have ridden those same qualities to Dylanesque fame. 'Bobby Neuwirth was the Bob Most Likely to Succeed,' he wrote, 'a wellspring of enormous potential. He possessed all the elements, except for one — nerve.' Mr. Dylan, in his book 'Chronicles: Volume One' (2004), had his own description of Mr. Neuwirth: 'Like Kerouac had immortalized Neal Cassady in ‘On the Road,’ somebody should have immortalized Neuwirth. He was that kind of character. He could talk to anybody until they felt like all their intelligence was gone. With his tongue, he ripped and slashed and could make anybody uneasy, also could talk his way out of anything. Nobody knew what to make of him.'"

From "Bob Neuwirth, Colorful Figure in Dylan’s Circle, Dies at 82/He was a recording artist and songwriter himself, but he also played pivotal roles in the careers of Bob Dylan and Janis Joplin" (NYT). 

Neuwirth, we're told, taught Janis Joplin the Kris Kristofferson song "Me & Bobby McGee," and he co-wrote "Mercedes Benz" with her. 

ADDED: Spitz's use of the words "hipster shuck and jive" undercuts the argument that Neuwirth created this style of personal presentation. This obituary shows the New York Times carrying on the long tradition of making black people invisible.

From the Wikipedia article "Shuckin' and jivin'":

"Socialcandy are slightly sticky gummies, in opaque pastel shades... and different shapes, most of which take the form of a word, acronym, or symbol of the Internet age."

"There’s a LOL, a yolo, a hashtag, a thumb’s-up sign that looks like the one on Facebook. There’s an O.M.G., a SELFIE, an @, and [another symbol that is is html code and would screw up this post].... Nordic countries, in general, are crazy for candy... But if any one particular country knows its candy, it’s Sweden....  In Sweden, every Saturday is effectively a national holiday, called lördagsgodis, which means 'Saturday candy.'... [I]t tasted of artificial strawberry flavor, as opposed to strawberries themselves, just as the yellow half of a two-color, pill-shaped banana-and-caramel 'bub'... tasted, quite pleasingly, of artificial banana. The flavor of a skull-shaped gummy, on the other hand, Pepto-Bismol-pink and coated in sour sugar crystals, was shockingly reminiscent of a real strawberry, specifically an alpine variety.... I stocked up on those, plus some gummies in the shape of vampire teeth, gummy Coke bottles; a scoopful of delicate little marshmallows that looked like pink-capped mushrooms; and a small selection of what we in America know as Swedish fish but in Sweden are called pastellfiskar, or pale fish...."

From "How to Eat Candy Like a Swedish Person" by Hannah Goldfield in The New Yorker.

"A company that rents Dumpsters in six Wisconsin cities, but not in Madison, has a page on its website devoted to Dumpster diving, which states it's not illegal in Wisconsin."

"It advises people to read the signs around the Dumpster, and warns that if there's a 'no trespassing' sign or if the Dumpster is enclosed by a gate or fence on private property, not to go diving.... The benefits outweigh the risks, [Travis] Flannery said, as he pulled a new dog crate from his storage unit in the basement of his Cross Plains apartment building. He estimated it retails for $100. He also recently found an aquarium and filters still wrapped in plastic. 'I used to be in the fish hobby,' he said. 'This is a rimless, glass fish tank, brand new. If I can’t sell it, I'll use it. Fish tank filters new are $40 apiece.' Also in his locker were bottles of soda, collectibles for children, tote bags, strings of lights, throw pillows, blankets, seasonal decorations, artwork, dog food, cat litter, pet toys, dozens of picture frames with the glass still intact and the unopened coffeemaker, which is sold online for $40. Flannery said he learns the return policies of some stores from their online posts. There are stores, he said, that will get a case of something and if one of the products has broken open, the whole case is thrown away instead of just the open one. 'Here's a case of bleach,' he said. 'Why throw this away? It's bleach.'... So far, he's been caught twice, first by a Madison police officer. Flannery said he was with a friend and the officer asked what they were doing. 'We explained to him that we were Dumpster diving and just looking for some stuff that retail stores throw away,' Flannery said. 'He asked us if we were illegally dumping or anything of the sort. We said, 'No, we are actually taking things.' And he told us to have a wonderful night.'"

From "Confessions of a successful Madison Dumpster diver" (Wisconsin State Journal).

May 19, 2022

At the Sunrise Café...

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... you can talk about whatever you want.

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A carefully selected sequence of TikToks. Let me know what you like best.

1. When they tell you you look like a "yassified"* Dwight D. Eisenhower.

2. When you're 15, and you write a letter to your favorite actress, and it's Jane Powell.

3. Going emo in 2008.

4. When things are not really that perfect... and it's perfect.

5. How to be spontaneous on TikTok.

6. That CIA document on consciousness and frequencies.

7. How much can a little boy love his baby sister?

_____________

* I learned a new word. According to the NYT: "To 'yassify' something... is to apply several beauty filters to a picture using FaceApp, an A.I. photo-editing application, until its subject — be that a celebrity, a historical figure, a fictional character or a work of fine art — becomes almost unrecognizably made up.”

"Driving a Tesla is suddenly like one of those yahoos parading with a Trump flag on his pickup. Never Trump, never Tesla for this voter/consumer."

That's the top-rated comment at "Elon Musk still has to answer to others" by Sebastian Mallaby (WaPo).

What did Musk do to deserve that? Here's Mallaby (I've added boldface):

After Roe, it's going to come down to a number — a number of weeks — so let's talk about that now.

You can already see where we are going — if you care to look. And if you don't care to look, maybe it's because your number is either 0 or 100, but most people think abortion should be permitted (tolerated) up to some point and then not afterwards (or only later to save the life of the mother). It was always a problem that Roe had defined a right that contained time limits. That seemed more legislative than judicial.

But with Roe overruled — if that is indeed what happens — there will need to be legislation, and a number will be chosen. Maybe we'll get one number from Congress, but if not, we'll get numbers from the states, and what should the number be? 

Here's a new poll from NPR that may suggest where we will end up:

 

"The Carmel Clay community is honored that a mother in crisis would entrust her newborn baby to Carmel firefighters."

"Our firefighters believe every baby deserves a home. We are proud to be able to do our part to ensure this baby finds their forever home."

Said Fire Chief David Haboush, quoted in "3rd newborn surrendered to same Safe Haven Baby Box in 5 weeks" (nbc15.com).

"Are we objectifying the sun?"

I overheard a young man say in the presence of 3 other young men as the sunrise looked about exactly like this:

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I did not hear the other words, so this is a remark out of context, other than the context of the look of the sunrise at that moment. It was 5:35 a.m., and they had to have walked at least 0.7 mile to reach this vantage point. The sun was only faintly visible.

My interpretation is that they'd been talking about the weakness of the sun's display, how the sun was not looking good enough this morning, and it seemed as though they found themselves assuming that the sun ought to look good for them, to serve their interests, so the young man made a joke that drew on some things they'd learned about feminism.

George W. Bush denounces "the decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq."

"She was yelling at me, saying, 'Why are you whispering? You don’t have to whisper'... and I was telling her, 'Ma’am, he’s still in the store. He’s shooting.'"

"'I’m scared for my life. I don’t want him to hear me. Can you please send help?' She got mad at me, hung up in my face."

Said Latisha Rogers, quoted in "911 Dispatcher May Be Fired Over Handling of Buffalo Shooting Call/Erie County began an investigation after a supermarket worker said the dispatcher hung up on her when she called during the attack" (NYT).

"If Depp somehow prevails, one can expect similar lawsuits against other women who say they’ve survived abuse."

"Already, the singer Marilyn Manson has filed a defamation suit against his ex-fiancée Evan Rachel Wood, one of several women who have accused him of sexual violence. But Depp needn’t succeed in court to achieve his ends. In a 2016 email to his former agent, Christian Carino, Depp wrote that Heard was 'begging for total global humiliation.' Now this televised trial has resulted in an explosion of hatred and derision directed at her. The volatile actress — who at times was violent toward Depp, and who never made good on a promise to donate her entire divorce settlement to charity — is very far from a perfect victim. That made her the perfect object of a #MeToo backlash. Online, there’s a level of industrial-scale bullying directed at Heard that puts all previous social media pile-ons to shame.... Meanwhile, every platform appears to be full of adoring pro-Depp memes.... [T]here’s a history of online communities fixating 'on theories that the male objects of their fandom were being manipulated and tortured by less-famous, female romantic partners.' There seems, however, to be a broader misogynist frenzy at work, one characteristic of the deeply reactionary moment we’re living through."

From "Amber Heard and the Death of #MeToo" by Michelle Goldberg (NYT).

"[T]o counteract preconceptions of the star players as squabbling hysterical celebrities with skewed value systems and distorted morals..."

"... they had to don the camouflage of trust. The clothes we subliminally associate with adulthood, responsibility and reliability. In a word: suits.... In the end, this is partly a trial of image, and of how things appear on the outside versus what happens behind closed doors. Of natural prejudices — about celebrity and what it represents, of privilege, of gender roles — and the way such preconceptions can be altered via appearance and affect. Was Ms. Heard playing a role, as Mr. Depp’s lawyers suggested? Of course. So was Mr. Depp. (So were their lawyers.) Not just because they are professional actors, but because that is what testimony demands: a convincing portrayal of honesty, of believability, using all the tools available to create character. In every meaning of that word."

From "In Court, Johnny Depp and Amber Heard Dress to Suggest/Honesty, respectability, sincerity — the clothes make the argument" by Vanessa Friedman (NYT).

May 18, 2022

At the Lakeside Café...

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... you can talk about whatever you want.

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"Now, just three weeks after its announcement, the Disinformation Governance Board is being 'paused, according to multiple employees at DHS..."

"... capping a back-and-forth week of decisions that changed during the course of reporting of this story. On Monday, DHS decided to shut down the board, according to multiple people with knowledge of the situation. By Tuesday morning, Jankowicz had drafted a resignation letter in response to the board’s dissolution." 

WaPo reports, in "How the Biden administration let right-wing attacks derail its disinformation efforts/A ‘pause’ of the Department of Homeland Security’s newly created board comes after its head, Nina Jankowicz, was the victim of coordinated online attacks as the administration struggled to respond."

Ha ha ha. "Let right-wing attacks derail" — that's rich. The idea was so bad, they couldn't defend it. Let derail. Ha. Like it was a train, locomoting powerfully down the track.... No,  it wasn't. It never had any traction. It went kablooey only because everyone didn't lay down and let it go by entirely unimpeded.

Ha ha ha. Good news. Good news, sillily delivered.

ADDED: I'm just noticing that this article I'm laughing at was written by Taylor Lorenz — the person who came under criticism a month ago for doxxing Libs of TikTok.

Maybe this is the moment when the rise of censorship began to slow and our nation began to heal!

MORE HILARIOUS SNIPPETS:

"Faced with a potentially campaign-ending crisis this weekend, Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman of Pennsylvania released a Sunday statement thanking the 'kick ass staff and doctors' who treated his stroke."

"The vernacular was not the stuff of parliamentary propriety — 'I need to take a minute,' he wrote about stepping back from the trail — but that was the point, as is often the case with Fetterman. At 6-foot-8, with a shiny pate, a salt-and-pepper goatee, tattooed arms and a sports-bar fashion sense, Fetterman was announcing from a hospital bed that even in illness he remained a different kind of Democrat. It’s a pitch that paid off Tuesday in a state primary that could set up the one-term lieutenant governor to lead his party into the marquee open-seat contest of the 2022 election — a chance for Democrats to find out whether they can arrest the building red wave and their declining White, working-class support with a candidate who does not fit easily into any partisan box. Fetterman, 52, easily beat his principal Democratic rival, Rep. Conor Lamb, a clean-cut Marine Corps veteran and prosecutor whom President Biden had compared to his late son Beau and whom other party leaders as recently as 2018 had held up as an exemplar of the party’s future."

From "Democrats pick John Fetterman for Senate in Pennsylvania/He could represent a chance for a party facing declining White working-class support to put forth a candidate who doesn’t fit easily into any partisan box" (WaPo).

So... one guy may "represent a chance" for the Democratic Party as it faces decline and the other guy was "held up as an exemplar of the party’s future." Looks like the party went into the primary assured that the winner would represent the future. Whatever happens will of course be what was once that crazy thing called The Future. The version of the future that actually arrived is the one without the clean-cut Marine preferred by Biden and other party leaders. The Fetterman future is here:

I've collected 9 TikToks for you today. Let me know what you like best.

1. How to live really well in what ought to be a too-small space.

2. At the "dollar holler" in Purvis, Mississippi.

3. "Don't look at me like that.... Don't look at me like that either."

4. Let's take a close look at those "thirst pockets."

5. How to sound like a TV news talking head.

6. About that candy bar with teeth marks, found on the floor.

7. Finding out your little girl can sing.

8. The "pride" collection at Target.

9. Get ready for the trends of summer 2022.

The name "Biden" does not appear on the home page of the NYT right now.

And there must be a hundred headlines collected here. I did a search-the-page for "Biden," because I wanted to find the article about his trip to Buffalo, which I disapprove of. I hate to see mass murderers elevated to extreme importance. I don't want other potential murderers to see that path out of obscurity and dusky doom.

These presidential journeys to console the community — when do they work? How can a President obliterate the perception that it's a political stunt? Obama could do it:

 

That's from 2016. And there you see in that picture: Biden walked alongside him.

But here's how the Buffalo massacre looks on the front page of the NYT this morning:

"British workers 'lead the world' in refusing to return to the office five days a week.... Well, it’s nice to lead the world in something."

And the good news doesn’t end there. Even criminals are now being allowed to 'work from home,' completing their community service not by picking up litter but making facemasks and greetings cards from bed. Which is fair enough if you think about it. After all, the WFH culture has decimated the burglary industry. How are they expected to break into Clive’s house when there’s Clive right there on the sofa, curtains closed, rewarding himself with ten minutes of Baywatch because he managed to answer an email between 10am and 10.03? It’s the least we can do to let burglars serve their sentence in their Y-fronts. But seriously, it seems WFH is not good for you and it wasn’t good for Boris Johnson. The prime minister said that when he did it 'you spend an awful lot of time making another cup of coffee... getting up, walking very slowly to the fridge, hacking off a small piece of cheese, then walking very slowly back to your laptop and then forgetting what it is you’re doing.'"

From "The real reasons British workers like WFH — and it’s not cheese, Boris" by Carol Midgely (London Times)(the "real reason" is the expense of living in London).

"It was probably somewhat naive of her not to realise that this is indeed 'an ideology’ and one with which you’re simply not allowed to disagree."

"It is quite chilling to witness first hand how this ideology operates and grows... It was the whispered and frequent use of the terms transphobe and transphobic during that after-school activity that alerted me to the depressing fact that these girls were going along with the narrative that our heretic was, as far as they were concerned, indeed a heretic — and that she was thoroughly deserving of the roasting that she had just received before caving in and running off in a panicked and hyperventilating state."

Said an unnamed teacher, quoted in "JK Rowling defends girl 'driven out of school for questioning trans ideology'" (London Times).

Said the girl: "It made me think I was mad... Otherwise how could people turn on me so bitterly?"

She said she never uttered anything transphobic but felt that some teachers were less inclined to believe her because the other pupils made joint accusations. The pupil said she was in effect forced to quarantine in the library instead of spending time in the sixth-form centre.

"As Mr Putin’s regime shifts from a relatively open authoritarianism towards a more closed dictatorship, its propaganda is changing, too."

"Television hosts and guests present the 'special military operation' as part of a grander conflict in defence of Russia. State media have long intoned about the West’s supposed intention to undermine Russia and Mr Putin’s efforts to protect the motherland. But where propaganda once sought mostly to breed passivity, cast doubt on reality and discourage political participation, it increasingly seeks to mobilise popular support for Mr Putin’s war, by convincing people that Russia is under attack and victory is the only way out. 'The old rules of authoritarian life are breaking down, active participation is being demanded,' says Greg Yudin, a sociologist. As in any country, the exact picture depends on the media you consume. For Russians with the desire and a bit of tech-savvy, unofficial information is still accessible. But those who follow the official news, as The Economist did on May 11th, see a world solely of the Kremlin’s making. Here is a day in the life of a follower of The Putin Show...."

From "THE PUTIN SHOW/How the war in Ukraine appears to Russians" (Economist).

Expect sand to collapse.

1. "A Utah teenager died after getting trapped while digging a tunnel in a sand dune, state officials said. Ian Spendlove, 13, was declared dead on Sunday, one day after the tunnel he was digging at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park in Kanab unexpectedly collapsed as he was inside, Utah State Parks officials said Monday." (New York Post, published May 17th).

2. "An 18-year-old died and his sister was rescued after a hole they were digging in the sand at a New Jersey beach collapsed in on them Tuesday, police said. Levy Caverley, of Maine, died after the accident in Toms River on the Jersey Shore shortly after 4 p.m., police said in a statement." (NBC News, published yesterday).

"Fearing ‘Extinction-Level Event,’ N.Y. Democrats Turn Against Each Other."

That's a headline in the NYT. Subhead: "Newly drawn congressional maps have led some House members to quickly lay claim to certain districts, even if it means challenging fellow incumbents."

Two weeks ago, Representative Sean Patrick Maloney warned fellow Democrats in a private meeting that a ruling by New York’s highest court to invalidate a Democratic-leaning congressional map could prompt “an extinction-level event” for the party, according to people familiar with the remarks. Democratic incumbents, he feared, could either be shoehorned into more difficult districts or forced into primaries against one another. 

"The defeat for now ends Mr. Cawthorn’s brief political career, which began with the promise of being the youngest person ever elected to Congress."

"Now, at age 27, he is left with an enormous social media following and potentially lucrative career opportunities outside electoral politics." 

Those are the last 2 sentences of the NYT piece "Election Deniers Thrive Even as Trumpism Drifts: 5 Primary Takeaways."

Obviously, "the promise of being the youngest person ever elected to Congress" means that it was promising to begin one's career as the youngest person ever elected to Congress. As written, it seems more likely to mean that he had a shot at becoming the youngest person ever elected to Congress.

We're prompted to wonder what will Madison Cawthorn do next. Is an enormous social media following really translatable into a lucrative career? I question how much of the following is real. It could be bots and it could be people who are only interested in him as a member of Congress, perhaps specifically as a Republican in hot water.

When I saw the news about Cawthorn, I did not think: Where will his meteoric career zoom next. I thought: Okay, now I don't have to think about Madison Cawthorn anymore.

May 17, 2022

The moon at sunrise.

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Looking toward the sun:

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Talk about anything in the comments.

"As a practical matter, personal loans will sometimes be the only way for an unknown challenger with limited connections to front-load campaign spending."

"And early spending — and thus early expression — is critical to a newcomer’s success. A large personal loan also may be a useful tool to signal that the political outsider is confident enough in his campaign to have skin in the game, attracting the attention of donors and voters alike."

Wrote Chief Justice John Roberts, quoted in "Supreme Court Rules for Ted Cruz in Campaign Finance Case/The Texas senator challenged a federal law that put a $250,000 cap on repayments of candidates’ loans to their campaigns using postelection contributions" (NYT). 

Roberts wrote for the 6-person majority. Justice Elena Kagan, writing for the 3-person dissent, said:

"Repaying a candidate’s loan after he has won election cannot serve the usual purposes of a contribution: The money comes too late to aid in any of his campaign activities. All the money does is enrich the candidate personally at a time when he can return the favor — by a vote, a contract, an appointment. It takes no political genius to see the heightened risk of corruption."

Why are we hearing this?

Here's a featured snippet of the long-running Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard trial. This is Heard on cross-examination, as she's made to listen to extensive audio of a fight the married couple had at some point in the past:

 

I can't take the time to watch the whole trial, but I am noticing things, especially the way social media is siding, apparently massively, with Depp. There's so much contempt for Heard that I'm inclined to construe things in her favor just to be fair. In the clip above, we're hearing 2 actors, doing who knows what to each other. Why does this ultra-private interaction exist in recorded form?

I looked up the answer. I found this Mirror article from 2 years ago (when Depp was losing a defamation lawsuit against The Sun): "Johnny Depp... told the court he frequently recorded conversations with Heard to remind her what had been said." That doesn't say whether she knew or whether the recordings were ever used in a constructive way.

I see that at The Spectator, Eleanor Harmsworth is speculating that the entire trial is Depp and Heard engaged in sexual role play:

"The 25 Best Places to Live in the U.S. in 2022-2023."

The new U.S. News list — topped by Huntsville, Alabama.

Some of the important factors used in this calculation are irrelevant to me — notably the average commute — but I'm really interested in looking for place where we might move. The place to beat is Madison, Wisconsin, which I see U.S. News puts at #17, a notch above Boston and 2 notches above Washington, D.C.

Why not Portland, Maine (#8)? Why not Fayetteville, Arkansas (#7)? Why not Green Bay, Wisconsin (#3!)?

"School funding is tied directly to enrollment numbers in most states, and while federal pandemic aid has buffered school budgets so far, the Biden administration has made it clear..."

"that the relief is finite. Some districts are already bracing for budget shortfalls. 'When you lose kids, you lose money,' [said Marguerite Roza, director of the Edunomics Lab at Georgetown University]. 'There’s no hidden piece to this puzzle. You have to close schools and lay off people. And every day you spend trying to avoid that, your kids are getting older and still not reading, and your district is spending money it’s not going to have.'... State education officials have appointed a task force to investigate the decline and to try to determine the whereabouts of unaccounted-for students and their reasons for leaving the public school system. The drop defies a significant infusion of money and manpower to keep students in classrooms, including mass coronavirus testing and outreach for chronically absent students."

From "With Plunging Enrollment, a ‘Seismic Hit’ to Public Schools/The pandemic has supercharged the decline in the nation’s public school system in ways that experts say will not easily be reversed" (NYT).

"Composed and genial, [Karine] Jean-Pierre was successful in observing the first rule of media briefings – do no harm – but did appear a little too cautious on one point."

"She was repeatedly asked if she would 'call out' individuals such as Fox News host Tucker Carlson or Republican members of Congress who fan the flames of extremism and the 'great replacement' theory. Time and again she refused. 'It doesn’t matter who it is,' she insisted. 'If a person espouses hatred, we need to call that out. I’m not going to get a back and forth on names and who said what.' One reporter asked if Biden sees a connection [between the Buffalo massacre and] Trump’s 'ultra-Maga' movement.... When the press secretary said, 'We’re not going to get into politics here,' another journalist loudly objected that this seemed to be letting the culprits off the hook.... Critics will say the Biden administration is pulling its punches.... [T]he job of White House press secretary is often about ducking controversies and not making headlines. Psaki was masterful at promising to 'circle back' and 'not get ahead of the president.' Now, like the TV time traveller Doctor Who, the press secretary has regenerated in different and diverse form but with essentially the same character."

From "Karine Jean-Pierre makes history but inherits a world of trouble/The White House’s first Black press secretary used her opening remarks to reflect on this new chapter" by David Smith (in The Guardian).

It's an odd locution — "diverse form." Smith is referring to something Jean-Pierre herself said as she introduced herself on her first press briefing: She's "a Black, gay, immigrant woman." How can one person be "diverse"? Anyone is only the collection of characteristics that they are, and each of us has our set of things. I think "diverse" ought to refer to a group of people, and to call an individual "diverse" is to expect your listeners to fill in the picture, to visualize a larger set of people who are different from the one we're calling "diverse." The group — here, presumably, all the White House press secretaries in history — is understood to be white, straight, and born in the U.S.A., so Jean-Pierre makes this group more diverse. 

It reminds me of how people sometimes say about an individual, "He's different." That tends to be an insult. Different from what? You're presuming a norm, and he's off the norm. Someone saying "She's diverse" ought to think about whether the intended praise is some kind of insult. It presumes the person you're talking about is the variation, and the basic form is somebody else. It's otherizing!

Anyway, I'm glad Jean-Pierre didn't indulge in connecting dots about the Buffalo murderer's manifesto and things Republicans think. That's some of the lowliest discourse I've seen in this millennium.

Ketanji Brown Jackson loves "Survivor" — calls it "the best show ever."

Why? — asks the Washington Post interviewer

Answer:

Because it’s like a social experiment. It’s human nature, what do people do when they’re starving and how do they react to one another? It’s like this Hobbesian state of nature: How are we going to deal with this situation? I love it.

It really isn't a Hobbesian state of nature, though. If it were a Hobbesian state of nature, the tribes wouldn't be taking votes and eliminating competitors one by one in a strategic way with notion that one person would win a pile of money to take back when the game ends after a known, set number of days. If it were a Hobbesian state of nature, one tribe could raid another and kill them all, and you'd want to keep the best competitors around to help you as the game of survival would go on until you reached the only exit possible: death. There would be no bags of rice to tide you over, no sudden infusion of Applebee's calories. There would be bloody violence and no medical personnel to swoop in. There would be rape. And babies.

But it's my favorite TV show too. It's a wonderful game that shows something about how people attempt to find order within a group as they pursue an utterly selfish goal. But I would think a judge would see how much law there is.

(I'm not really knocking the judge. I'm sure that she realizes all the things I've said here and that if I were talking to her in person about "Survivor," we'd have a great conversation. And then she'd plot to vote me off the island.)

"The voice who had been with her longest warned of catastrophes coming for her family in Zionsville, a town north of Indianapolis, calamities tied in some unspecified way to..."

"... TV images from the gulf war: fighter planes, flashes in the sky, explosions on the ground, luminous and all-consuming. A woman’s voice castigated her at school, telling her that her clothes smelled and that she had better keep her hand down, no matter that she knew the answers to the teacher’s questions. Another voice tracked her every move, its tone faintly mocking. 'She’s getting out of bed now; oh, she’s walking down the hall now.'..."

From "Doctors Gave Her Antipsychotics. She Decided to Live With Her Voices. A new movement wants to shift mainstream thinking away from medication and toward greater acceptance" Daniel Bergner (NYT)(adapted from the book "The Mind and the Moon: My Brother’s Story, the Science of Our Brains, and the Search for Our Psyches"). 

"The F.D.A. said it expected Abbott to restart [infant formula] production in about two weeks... at the plant in Sturgis, Mich."

"It has been shut down since February after several babies who had consumed formula that had been produced there fell ill and two died. The agreement stems from a U.S. Department of Justice complaint and consent decree with the company and three of its executives. Those court records say the F.D.A. found a deadly bacteria, called cronobacter, in the plant in February and the company found more tranches of the bacteria later that month. According to the complaint, the same Sturgis factory had also produced two batches of formula in the summer of 2019 and 2020 on different production equipment that tested positive for the bacteria. Abbott staff 'have been unwilling or unable to implement sustainable corrective actions to ensure the safety and quality of food manufactured for infants,' leading to the need for legal action, the documents state. In a release, Abbott said 'there is no conclusive evidence to link Abbott’s formulas to these infant illnesses.'" 

"F.D.A. and Abbott Reach Agreement on Baby Formula to Try to Ease Shortage/The company said production could resume in about 2 weeks and store shelves would be restocked several weeks later" (NYT).

Here's the Wikipedia article on cronobacter: 

Cronobacter was first proposed as a new genus in 2007 as a clarification of the taxonomic relationship of the biogroups found among strains of Enterobacter sakazakii.... 

Cronobacter (Cro.no.bac'ter) is from the Greek noun Cronos (Κρόνος), one of the Titans of mythology, who swallowed each of his children as soon as they were born, and the New Latin masculine noun bacter, a rod, resulting in the N.L. masc. n. Cronobacter, a rod that can cause illness in neonates.

May 16, 2022

At the Sunrise Café...

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 ... you can talk about whatever you want. 

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"Personal essays that don’t make an argument are generally not op-eds."

"Even if the op-ed includes a personal story, it should have a point to make — something readers can engage with and think about. Journalistic investigations without an argument are not op-eds. Poems and works of fiction usually aren’t op-eds either. Neither are reviews of books, movies, television shows or other media.... When considering op-eds, we look for pieces that will accomplish one or more of the following goals for our readers:

  • Help people more deeply understand a topic in the news
  • Help them understand what it means for them.
  • Equip them with arguments they can employ when talking about the subject.
  • Elevate ideas that help them think about the world differently.
  • Expose them to topics they might not have heard about.
  • Help them better articulate their own perspective.
  • Help them understand perspectives different from their own....
"We strive to publish a diversity of opinions on our op-ed page. Often, that means we are specifically seeking viewpoints that are different from those of our columnists or the Editorial Board."

From "The Washington Post guide to writing an op-ed" — featured at the top of the website front page today.

You know, people are not that good at making arguments. Way too much of what we see these days is a demand for agreement and a threat or insinuation that you're going to be in trouble if you don't agree. Or there's a pettish insistence on avoiding anyone not already on your side and not inclined to go along with whatever's the next thing that people like you go along with. 

What if you had to convince people who don't agree with you and don't crave your approval? What on earth would you say? Well, maybe WaPo has some op-eds that will give you some talking points.

"Behavioral economists and psychologists have, in recent years, shown employers that there’s a business case for their fixation on positivity."

"One study in the Journal of Labor Economics found that people who were given chocolates to eat and comedies to watch — common happiness generators — were 12 percent more productive than a group left alone.... 'There’s evidence that we get the causal arrow of happiness wrong,' said Laurie Santos, a cognitive scientist who teaches Yale’s popular course on happiness. 'You think, "I’m feeling productive at work and things are going well at work and therefore I’m happy." But the evidence seems to suggest that the other arrow exists as well, that happiness can really affect your work performance.'...  But many see a risk for workers in believing that their employers are cultivating an emotional relationship with them, when in reality the relationship is about money. 'Your boss is not there to provide you with happiness,' said Sarah Jaffe, author of 'Work Won’t Love You Back.' 'No matter how much they say they’re focusing on happiness, they’re focusing on profits.'"

From "Are You Happy? Your Boss Is Asking. To some, the pursuit of workplace happiness — and its price, like an $18,000 'happiness M.B.A.' for managers — can seem like a corporate attempt to turn feelings into productivity" (NYT). hap

For the annals of Things You're Not Going to Do.

"Strengthen your tongue. One of the most common causes of snoring is when your tongue slides back in your throat. The simplest way to prevent this is with a daily set of tongue exercises. But Dr. Chang said it can take weeks to have an effect and most people are not diligent in keeping them up."

From "How Can I Stop Snoring? This sleep-disrupting problem can be caused by a variety of things, but experts say there are ways to find relief" (NYT).

"In recent years, a growing number of medical and public health groups have introduced public awareness campaigns warning people to drink with caution, noting that alcohol is the third leading preventable cause of cancer, behind tobacco and obesity."

From "Should Your Cocktail Carry a Cancer Warning? As pandemic disruptions lead many of us to drink more, experts underscore the link between alcohol and disease" (NYT)(the article is featured on the front page of the NYT right now, but it was published in 2021).

There's not too much talk about alcohol causing cancer, but there's even less talk about obesity causing cancer. In fact, I don't believe I'd ever heard that obesity can cause cancer, and yet, apparently, it's the second leading preventable cause of cancer.

The article is about alcohol as a cause of cancer, so I had to look up what cancer is caused by obesity. Here's what the CDC has to say. It lists "13 Cancers... associated with overweight and obesity"

Meningioma (cancer in the tissue covering brain and spinal cord)
Adenocarcinoma of the esophagus
Multiple myeloma (cancer of blood cells)
Kidneys
Uterus
Ovaries
Thyroid
Breast (post-menopausal women)
Liver
Gallbladder
Upper stomach
Pancreas
Colon and rectum

This is a huge deal, but we don't hear about it — presumably because it's strongly believed that telling people to lose weight only makes it worse.

Look at this CDC graphic (from 2016) — it's so governmental and tragic:

This is great: SNL parodied the show we've been watching.

We hardly watch anything, so this was a real delight. What good are parodies when you don't know the original thing? They do give you some explanation, in case you don't know "Old Enough," but suffice it to say, they track many elements of that Japanese show about little kids sent out alone to do errands:

Here's the trailer for the original show, which is a wonderful celebration of toddler independence, that is, it shows Japanese parents doing what would get you arrested in the United States: 

"A gunman killed one person and wounded five others at a Taiwanese luncheon in a Laguna Woods church on Sunday, then was tackled by churchgoers who hogtied his legs with extension cords..."

"The crowd also managed to take two handguns away from him, said Orange County Undersheriff Jeff Hallock. 'That group of churchgoers displayed what we believe is exceptional heroism and bravery.... I think it’s safe to say if people had not intervened, it could have been much worse.'... The church was hosting a special service and a banquet to honor a former pastor visiting from Taiwan.... Churchgoers were having lunch together and snapping photos to commemorate the occasion when the gunfire rang out. The visiting pastor then struck the suspect with a chair, she said, knocking him to the ground. Moments later, other members of the congregation dogpiled onto him."

The Press-Enterprise reports.

We're told the shooter was "Asian," so this incident will not feed into the political discourse that has sprung up around the recent shooting in Buffalo.  

Great teamwork by the parishioners. Nice leadership by the guest of honor. The attacker had a gun and they fought back with a chair, their own bodies, and extension cords.

"The Woman Wondering If She’s Bisexual Enough to Come Out."

Great headline. It's on one of those NY Magazine "Sex Diaries." These purport to be true-life accounts. This one is about a 28-year-old woman. Excerpt:

DAY FIVE... 

11 a.m. I am violently hung-over and on my way to my Nana’s 92nd birthday. 

1 p.m. At her celebration, I feel crushing hangxiety about almost everything I said or did the night before. Hidden behind my sunglasses and nursing a piece of watermelon, I contemplate whether or not I feel bisexual enough to come out to my family, and if I ever will or if I even need to....

The author did not invent the word "hangxiety." Here's a CNN article from 2 months ago: "Why you may experience 'hangxiety' during a hangover." Something about cortisol. Go read it if you need to.

It's not an advice column, but if anyone actually wants to know when are you "bisexual enough to come out to [your] family," the answer is that it's the wrong question. The issue is never how bisexual are you, but what is your relationship to your family and what do you want to do with it? The answer to that question is never I'm bored and these people are boring. I mean, for one thing, it might turn out that you yourself are boring.

May 15, 2022

At the Sunrise Café...

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 ... you can talk about whatever you want.

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"Supporters of debt forgiveness argue that targeted relief is inadequate and that broader relief would help to close the [racial wealth] gap."

"Black college graduates, on average, owe $25,000 more than their white peers. More than half of Black borrowers report that their net worth is less than the balance of their student loans. And Black borrowers are more likely than their white peers to drop out of school before receiving a degree. But across-the-board debt forgiveness will not help. As a recent report from the Brookings Institution concluded, only targeted policies based on race or socioeconomic status 'can address the inequities caused by federal student lending programs.'"

Writes the NYT Editorial Board in "Student Debt Is Crushing. Canceling It for Everyone Is Still a Bad Idea."

"I live in Los Angeles. Everyday I witness filth and disease laden encampments. What I see with my own eyes are people living in squalor..."

"... who are either drug addicted or mentally ill. Los Angeles does not have an affordable housing problem nearly as much as a mental health and drug addiction crisis. The status quo is not acceptable. It is hardly humane to enable people to suffer in illness and addiction as if it is somehow that’s a life style choice. Local residents and businesses are totally fed up. Governor Newsom’s CARE court approach is worth a try, along with a new mayor who actually is committed to solving the root causes of the problem."

And:

"At this point, I’m beyond caring what type of housing or treatment or support the tent camping homeless get (as long as it’s compassionate, not abusive). It’s simply long past time to insist that sidewalks, parks, beaches be returned to the general public, for ordinary use. No more camping, period."

Those are the 2 highest-rated comments on a Washington Post column titled "Forcing homeless people into treatment can backfire. What about a firm nudge? California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed Care Courts have set off a debate about civil rights and human needs." It's by Neil Gong and Alex V. Barnard,  "sociologists who have studied California’s public mental health system."

A sunrise, presented at midday, to keep your spirits up.

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Just 3 TikToks to tide you over. I was highly selective! Let me know what you liked best.

1. Just how excellent can an airport be?

2. The exquisite subtlety of the dish towel.

3. Mr. Horse Girl.

Let's work together.

 

Now, let's dance like it's 1970:

Sentence of the Day.

Get you diagramming pencil sharpened!

This is from "Ron Galella’s Relentless Gaze/The photographer’s work provides a stark illustration of the hold that celebrity has on our culture" by Naomi Fry in The New Yorker (Note: Galella died recently. Lots of Galella photos of celebs at the link):

The photographer sought to catch celebrities with their masks lowered and their auras punctured, but the paradox that animates his best photos is that, whether camera-ready or not, the stars he shot couldn’t help but magnetize—whether thanks to the ineffable glow of fame or, simply, because Galella captured them, a circumstance that created its own kind of intimate halo.

 Here, I'll get you started:

 

If there's "no doubt," why are you calling it an "alleged manifesto"?

I am attempting to read "Buffalo mass shooter’s alleged manifesto leaves no doubt attack was white supremacist terrorism" (WIVB.com).

The gunman was identified during his arraignment as Payton S. Gendron of Conklin, New York. That name that matches the name given in a 180-page manifesto that surfaced online shortly after the attack and took credit for the violence in the name of white supremacy.

A name is in the news and afterwards a document surfaces on line.

Law enforcement and government officials would not confirm the validity of the document in the immediate hours after the attack. Yet, the excruciating detail provided leave little doubt of its authenticity....

The details presented as authenticating are a description of the event that was in the news. 

"Now, after the leak of a Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade, entrepreneurs and activists are floating ideas for an abortion-focused DAO."

"They see it as a way to provide money to women in more than two dozen states where abortion services may soon be severely restricted or banned — a kind of 'Underground Railroad for abortion,' as Reshma Saujani, the founder of Girls Who Code and a host of the 'De-Broing Crypto' podcast, put it in an interview."

I'm trying to read this (in the NYT): 

 

"DAO" means decentralized autonomous organization, and "broing" doesn't rhyme with "boing," but with "Boeing." Yes, a hyphen would help — "bro-ing" — but they wanted the prefix "de-," so the helpful hyphen would give us "de-bro-ing," so presumably that's why the decided against it. 

Anyway, I'm not enough of a fan of de-bro-i-fication to put effort into understanding crypto. I just want to say that it's silly to personify "crypto" and portray it as "joining" something called "the abortion conversation." That whole conceptualization sounds creepy to me — and I proudly own the femininity of my reaction.

Here's another feminine and completely non-bro-y reaction: I don't like the new logo-ization of the female reproductive organs. It looks like an elephant, that inclusion of the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the vagina. Is the uterus alone too hard to recognize?

The only other thing I'd like to mention is the phrase "a kind of 'Underground Railroad for abortion.'" This isn't the first place I'm seeing the idea to be deprived of access to abortion is slavery. Is it okay — is it good — to equate present-day demands for rights to the 19th-century struggle to abolish slavery? Is it accurate? Is it moral? Is it effective political speech? I would say no to all those questions, and I have always supported a woman's sovereignty over her own body and the consequent right to access to abortion. 

ADDED: The idea of crypto participating in a conversation is a variation on the old trope "money talks."

ALSO: To state what ought to be obvious, fugitive slaves had to hide. They could not legally leave their bondage, and even if they got to a "free" state, they could be captured and, under the law, returned to their owners. If abortion becomes illegal in your state, you don't lose your right to travel. You can openly travel to another state and get an abortion. Your path is completely above ground. Yes, it's more troublesome and expensive. But don't overdramatize. It's as bad as it is but no worse than it is. You are not in the position of a slave, and you should not want to diminish the cruelty of slavery by portraying yourself in that light.

"Finland is applying for NATO membership. A protected Finland is being born as part of a stable, strong and responsible Nordic region."

"We gain security and we also share it. It’s good to keep in mind that security isn’t a zero-sum game."

Said Finland’s president, Sauli Niinistö, quoted in "Finland formally confirms intention to join Nato/Nordic country that shares 800-mile border with Russia looks to end decades of non-alignment" (The Guardian).

Elon Musk tells us how to "fix" our Twitter feed.