June 25, 2022


At 4:56, I took this picture...


... while Meade took this picture of me...


These pictures are such a deep blue — with fresh, cheerful pink — but by 5:22, as the sun emerged, the colors had shifted to golden brown....


Please use the comments section to write about anything you want.

The great blue heron at sunrise.


"Kleinfeld began taking the women out of the waiting room, one by one, to deliver the news.... Since she opened Houston Women’s Reproductive Services in 2019, Kleinfeld had worked hard..."

"... to create a space where her patients would feel comfortable. She keeps a vase of lilies in the waiting room and lines the walls with motivational posters in various pastel shades. As Kleinfeld told patients about the ruling, a Spotify playlist called 'Peaceful Guitar' played in the background. Meanwhile, other patient advocates turned to the phones: They had 35 scheduled patients to call.... Some of the patients took the news in stride, calmly asking questions about various clinics in other states. Others asked if she was sure about the ruling. One begged. 'I can pay extra,' the woman said.... The phones kept ringing through much of the morning with new patients calling to schedule appointments, completely unaware of the Supreme Court’s ruling.... Finally, Kleinfeld decided that she needed to record a new outgoing message. 'I’m sorry to report that as of today, Friday, June 24, 2022, Roe v. Wade, the right to legalized abortion, has been overturned,' Kleinfeld recited. 'As of today, we are no longer able to provide abortion services.' She paused, then added one more thought. 'We hope you all remember this when it’s time to vote.'"

Long sentence of the day.


Is the author just dumping his thoughts on the page raw — expecting us to follow along? Or is this form perfection? Are you a strong enough reader to understand it on first read? Or is it better to read it, wander around in it, go over and over your favorite parts, then sweep through the whole thing?

When you do finally grasp it — sooner or later — does it seem to relate to American politics today? That's a whole second matter I'd like to discuss.

That paragraph was photographed by my son Chris. He and I have had conversations about the perceived problem of reading slowly, and I have taken the position that the best reading experiences have to do with slowing way down inside a single sentence. Of course, the worst writing slows you down too. The question is whether there's really something in there worth the journey.

Althouse photographs a sandhill crane great blue heron.

Meade's photo of me:

My photo of the crane in flight:


UPDATE: As explained in the comments to my other post about this bird, it is not a sandhill crane but a great blue heron. I see a lot of sandhill cranes, and I am too quick to see something this shape as a sandhill crane. But I know the sandhill crane has a red patch on its head and doesn't have those spiking feathers at the nape of the neck.

"Is OREO in today’s #NYTXW?"

That's a Twitter account: Is OREO in today’s #NYTXW?

But: spoiler alert if you have done today's puzzle (and you care).

I got there from Rex Parker's write-up of today's puzzle.

"There are a lot of things that are too cowy to run on National Public Radio, like talking about cow poop too much. For example, I can have someone slip in poop, but not have someone slapped in the face with it."

Said Baxter Black, quoted in "Baxter Black, Who Elevated Cowboy Poetry to Folk Art, Dies at 77/His wide-ranging work, including books, speeches and regular appearances on NPR, celebrated cowpokes, feed lots and life on the range" (NYT).

"As President, I will codify Roe v. Wade and my Justice Department will do everything in its power to stop the rash of state laws that so blatantly violate a woman’s protected, constitutional right to choose."

Wrote Joe Biden, June 29, 2020. 

Later that year, Biden was elected President. 

Two years from that date, the Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade. 

Because Roe v. Wade was not codified, abortion is now illegal in many of the states.

"It feels like Democrats owe their people an apology for being bad at their jobs..." — writes Andrew Yang, taking for granted that Democrats have the "job" of doing the things they have not done.

A key I use to understanding puzzles like this is: People do what they want to do. What have they done? Begin with the hypothesis that what they did is what they wanted to do. If they postured that they wanted to do something else, regard that as a con. Work from there. The world will make much more sense.

So Yang is only half way there. Apologies are not enough. They would necessarily be premised on an assurance that Democrats really did mean to do what they said they wanted. It's just as bad as a plea for votes to "undo our failures." If you use my key, these were not failures. These were achievements — achievements of ends that were kept hidden.


Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

June 24, 2022

At the Milkweed Café...


... you can talk about whatever you want.

"I want to get out and protest right the fuck now - thinking of heading to the Capitol with a sign + my rage and hoping others join in."

Said one commenter — an hour ago — in the r/madisonwi discussion at Reddit.

An hour ago is about exactly when I walked through the Wisconsin Capitol Square, past the "Forward!" statue, loomed over by the spire of the Episcopal church:


I thought I'd find at least a few people with signs, getting the protests rolling, but there was no one (other than a state employee watering the nearby flowers).

But you'll find some links at that Reddit link post. One goes to Facebook, where there's an announcement of a march to begin at the spot you see in my photo, beginning at 5 p.m. You're told to "[b]ring your loved ones, your rage, and your grief."

UPDATE: We drove up to the Capitol around 5 and there were lots of people with signs converging on the place. Traffic was blocked off.

"The dissent, which would retain the viability line, offers no justification for it either...."

Writes Chief Justice Roberts in his concurring opinion, rejecting the viability line without rejecting the right to abortion or finding a new line to replace the old line.
The viability line is a relic of a time when we recognized only two state interests warranting regulation of abortion: maternal health and protection of “potential life.” Roe, 410 U. S., at 162–163. That changed with Gonzales v. Carhart, 550 U. S. 124 (2007). There, we recognized a broader array of interests, such as drawing “a bright line that clearly distinguishes abortion and infanticide,” maintaining societal ethics, and preserving the integrity of the medical profession. Id., at 157–160. The viability line has nothing to do with advancing such permissible goals. Cf. id., at 171 (Ginsburg, J., dissenting) (Gonzales “blur[red] the line, firmly drawn in Casey, between previability and postviability abortions”).... 

"The dissent is very candid that it cannot show that a constitutional right to abortion has any foundation, let alone a '"deeply rooted'" one, '"in this Nation’s history and tradition."'"

"The dissent does not identify any pre-Roe authority that supports such a right—no state constitutional provision or statute, no federal or state judicial precedent, not even a scholarly treatise. Nor does the dissent dispute the fact that abortion was illegal at common law at least after quickening; that the 19th century saw a trend toward criminalization of pre-quickening abortions; that by 1868, a supermajority of States (at least 26 of 37) had enacted statutes criminalizing abortion at all stages of pregnancy; that by the late 1950s at least 46 States prohibited abortion 'however and whenever performed' except if necessary to save 'the life of the mother,' and that when Roe was decided in 1973 similar statutes were still in effect in 30 States. The dissent’s failure to engage with this long tradition is devastating to its position. We have held that the 'established method of substantive-due-process analysis' requires that an unenumerated right be '"deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition"' before it can be recognized as a component of the 'liberty' protected in the Due Process Clause. But despite the dissent’s professed fidelity to stare decisis, it fails to seriously engage with that important precedent—which it cannot possibly satisfy."

Writes Justice Alito in the majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization (citations omitted).

"The Supreme Court on Friday overruled Roe v. Wade, eliminating the constitutional right to abortion after almost 50 years in a decision that will transform American life, reshape the nation’s politics and lead to all but total bans on the procedure in about half of the states."

"The ruling will test the legitimacy of the court and vindicate a decades-long Republican project of installing conservative justices prepared to reject the precedent, which had been repeatedly reaffirmed by earlier courts. It will also be one of the signal legacies of President Donald J. Trump, who vowed to name justices who would overrule Roe. All three of his appointees were in the majority in the 6-to-3 ruling. The decision, which echoed a leaked draft opinion published by Politico in early May, will result in a starkly divided country in which abortion is severely restricted or forbidden in many red states but remains freely available in most blue ones."

ADDED: What's most interesting at this point, other than examining Alito's opinion to see what differences there may be from the leaked draft, is the Chief Justice's concurring opinion. What was this elusive middle position that he struggled to identify at oral argument and failed to sell to any of the other Justices?

SCOTUSblog has just gone live, covering the Supreme Court's case announcements.

Nine cases still remain to be decided, with more opinions coming a half hour from now.... 
I am not expecting all nine remaining opinions to be issued today. But I think there is an outside chance we get the press release at the end telling us that the next session will be the last, when the court would announce all remaining opinions "ready" from this term.

ADDED: The first case, Becerra, is too complicated to discuss here. It's about Medicare payments. But it's interesting that it's a 5-4 case, written by Kagan and joined by Thomas, Breyer, Sotomayor and Barrett. It's only the second case this term where Roberts and Kavanaugh haven't been in the majority. If Kagan is writing, that means she was assigned the task by Thomas (the senior Justice in the majority).

AND: Roe and Casey are overruled! 

Alito writes — here.

Roberts concurs.

"Thomas writes separately to reiterate his view that the due process clause also does not protect a right to an abortion."

"The Court says that only gun laws which have historical precedent are constitutionally permissible, and then the Court dismisses..."

"... all of the historical precedents for heavy restrictions on concealed-carry laws as outliers. The Court says that it is going to look to history, but dismisses early English common law as too old. The Court says that it is going to look to history, but dismisses any laws that were adopted after the mid-eighteen-hundreds as too young. The Court says that it is looking to history, but also says that shall-issue permitting is constitutional, even though shall-issue permitting is a twentieth-century invention. So the Court says that it is doing history and tradition analysis, but conveniently ignores any history it doesn’t like."

"People talk about the fact that we’re coming in and ruining women’s sports — but there are way bigger issues that women’s sports face...."

"The idea that a few trans women coming into a sport – and often times not even winning – and that’s what’s going to ruin women’s sports is pretty horrifying.... Because people are so focused on the advantages, they kind of ignore the fact that there actually are disadvantages that also come along with a transition.... Beyond all of this, as a society we need to build understanding and acceptance for queer people before we should even worry about sports."

Said "Transgender mountain biker Kate Weatherly slams ‘horrifying’ new rules on trans athletes" (NY Post). Weatherly was talking about the new rules in swimming and anticipating a similar development in mountain biking.

Within this argument sports are both very important and very not important. Similarly, gender difference is considered very important and, simultaneously, very not important. 

"In the early 1970s, Burton preached that members needed to immerse themselves in high art, such as opera and literature, in order to get rid of negative thinking.”

"He relied on ‘44 Angels’ — who included the spirits of historical figures such as William Shakespeare, Benjamin Franklin and Italian poet Dante Alighieri — to lead him in enlightenment." 

From "Inside the ‘love fest’ cult that’s allegedly infiltrated Google headquarters" (NY Post)("Google has been infiltrated by a 'destructive' California cult led by a 'pedophilic' leader, according to a lawsuit").

If you remember "Trap-house-gate"...

... you might want to read "A Controversial Dean's Departure From Yale Law/Dean Ellen Cosgrove, at the center of many recent YLS scandals, is retiring" by David Lat (at Original Jurisdiction).

"Pitt’s hair is slicked back, he’s wearing a gold medallion and an extremely flammable-looking shirt, lying down on a bed of artificial flowers."

"His eyes are open. He’s wearing mascara. He looks, not to put this indelicately, like some undertakers have tried to pretty up his corpse before his family arrives for a visit. Oh, and there’s a lizard crawling across him... Scroll through the interview and you’ll see Pitt dressed like a Jim Morrison waxwork having a stroke, chewing his finger while dressed in a bright yellow safari suit and hiding out in the spot where they dug up Billy Batts in Goodfellas, dressed like the Czech Republic’s 14th-best stage magician, and doing an A+ impression of Tino the Artistic Mouse from Hey Duggee.... Still, GQ has done a very thorough job of taking one of the world’s most photogenic men and making him staggeringly unphotogenic."

From "Fright club: Brad Pitt’s GQ photoshoot is an embarrassment of pictures" by Stuart Heritage (in The Guardian).
ADDED: Cultural reference I had to look up:

Ha ha. The man tries to defend himself. In public. I'm amused because I have the same foible...

... but I wouldn't excuse it.

I'm reading "You be the judge: should my boyfriend close the kitchen cupboards after himself?" in The Guardian. I'll skip "the prosecution" section, where the girlfriend complains that it not only looks disorderly, she knocks her head on the open doors. (She's only 5' tall.) 

Here's the guy:
I see no issue with leaving kitchen cupboards open.

If this were Reddit, they wouldn't be saying he's wrong. They'd be saying this means so much and she should leave him now. But this is The Guardian, so let's read on: 

He's back.

I found that after reading "Anthony Weiner returns to Twitter after 9 years away — but followers say ‘just don’t’" (NY Post), which says "Though the competition was stiff, “Just don’t” was the clear winner, rising to the top of the poll as the choice of 62% of respondents." 

I voted for the least popular choice: "Update your bio, then run." He pleaded guilty to a crime and served his sentence. He's a registered sex offender. But he has a right to free speech and social media is for everyone. 

I'm assuming "then run" means get on with tweeting. Not run for office.

ADDED: I wondered, how's Huma Abedin these days. I see she filed for divorce in 2017, when he pled guilty, but she withdrew the case in 2018. Years later, there is still no divorce. The Guardian published an interview with her last month:

"Discord over gun rights erupted within the law firm that secured Thursday’s Second Amendment victory at the Supreme Court..."

"... with Kirkland & Ellis LLP announcing shortly after the decision that it would no longer take firearms cases and that it was parting ways with the two star partners who won the case. After a Kirkland news release praising Paul Clement, a former U.S. solicitor general in the George W. Bush administration, and Erin Murphy, the two announced they were opening their own firm. 'Unfortunately, we were given a stark choice: either withdraw from ongoing representations or withdraw from the firm,' Mr. Clement said. 'Anyone who knows us and our views regarding professional responsibility and client loyalty knows there was only one course open to us: We could not abandon ongoing representations just because a client’s position is unpopular in some circles.'... After recent mass shootings, other Kirkland clients began expressing reservations over the firm’s work for the gun movement, a person familiar with the matter said. Kirkland 'started getting a lot of pressure post-Uvalde, hearing from several big-dollar clients that they were uncomfortable,' this person said. 'Several partners agreed that they should drop that representation.'"

June 23, 2022

Sunrise with waning crescent moon.

At 5:12 a.m.:


And here's the sun, at 5:21:


And a milkweed update:

The hypocrisy montage you've been waiting for. Or fearing.

ADDED: Why did the GOP take so long to put this together? Did the Gillum arrest finally light a fire under their sedentary ass? (The reference to Gillum comes at 9:48.) It's just amazing that they let Democrats go on so long about how horrible it is to deny the results of an election. They've been allowed to deny that they too are deniers. They've been denier deniers.

For tonight, I've curated 10 TikTok videos. Let me know what you like best.

1. Joke meets cancel culture.

2. Top skill — embroidery with coriander

3. The shortest, looniest video.

4. Miming looking for your wife in a room full of women.

5. Hearing negativity.

6. What his hair this morning is giving.

7. When Harry and Ringo wrote their disco joke into a song.

8. Must Dad say that every time the server brings the bill? 

9. If European-Americans were the traditionally subordinated group: First day at work sketch.

"Is it perverse to find magnificence in the most parodied element of Elvis’s style evolution? That is, his famous jumpsuits..."

"... the costume default of impersonators and trick-or-treaters on Halloween. Typically treated as sartorial jokes, these jumpsuits emblematize the star at his apogee, that moment before his fame and his life collapsed on him and he crumpled to earth. Those glittering garments with their embroideries and nailhead patterns or paste gem barnacles were precursors to the stage-wear worn by every pop star — Prince, David Bowie, Harry Styles — who ever invited his fans to feast their eyes on him erotically."

Writes Guy Trebay, in "Elvis Broke Fashion Boundaries, Too/He was many things, as a new biopic illustrates, but one of the least appreciated was his role as a gender pioneer" (NYT).

This makes me want to retell my Elvis's jumpsuit story. Back in 2005, I blogged a 7-point list of notes from my visit to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This was the 7th item:

"If I don’t know the area, if I don’t know the people, I always carry my handgun."

Said Jaymar Del Rosario, of Elk Grove, California, quoted by the NYT, in "Never Mind Your Wallet. Armed Robbers Want Your French Bulldog. The popular breed has become one of the most expensive in the United States. Some owners have started carrying guns for protection."

Del Rosario is a breeder of French bulldogs, including one named Cashew, which is the new “fluffy” kind, which he seems to be able to sell for $30,000.

Now, I would have thought that bringing a dog along with you would work as an alternative to the gun, that the dog would protect you. But here you see the dog is making you a target for robbery, and you need a gun to protect you from robbers. Be careful about shooting thieves though! You can't use deadly force against someone who is only trying to steal your property. But maybe the thieves will threaten you with their gun, and then perhaps you'll be in self-defense territory.

Much of the article is taken up with information about the breed: It has the shortest life span (4.5 years) and lots of medical problems (what with that flat face people find so cute because it reminds them of themselves).

"Starting in 2020 she began having mysterious bouts of illness where she would throw up over and over again."

"At first she and her parents — and even her doctors — were baffled. During one episode, Elysse said, she threw up in a mall bathroom for an hour. 'I felt like my body was levitating.' Another time she estimated that she threw up at least 20 times in the span of two hours. It wasn’t until 2021, after a half dozen trips to the emergency room for stomach illness, including some hospital stays, that a gastroenterologist diagnosed her with cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, a condition that causes recurrent vomiting in heavy marijuana users."

From "Psychosis, Addiction, Chronic Vomiting: As Weed Becomes More Potent, Teens Are Getting Sick With THC levels close to 100 percent, today’s cannabis products are making some teenagers highly dependent and dangerously ill" (NYT). 

About that psychosis: "Psychotic symptoms while high can include hallucinations, trouble distinguishing between fantasy and reality, strange behaviors (one young man would spend his days tying plastic bags into knots) or voices talking to them in their head...."

"The Biden rules expand the definition of what constitutes sexual harassment, and expand the types of episodes..."

"... such as incidents reported outside of their educational programming, that schools are obligated to investigate. The rules would also make live hearings optional, no longer a requirement, and allow schools to employ a process that establishes the credibility of the parties and witnesses, though it doesn’t require cross-examination. But one of the major changes in the Biden rule is the inclusion of sex-based harassment to include, 'stereotypes, sex characteristics, pregnancy or related conditions, sexual orientation, and gender identity,' according to the proposed rules. The department will issue a separate regulation on how Title IX applies to athletics, including how schools should determine a students’ eligibility to participate on a male or female athletics team....  'The department recognizes that standards for students participating in male and female athletic teams are evolving in real time,' [Education Secretary Miguel A.] Cardona said. 'And so we decided to do a separate rule-making on how schools may determine eligibility while upholding Title IX’s nondiscrimination guarantee. I firmly reject efforts to politicize these protections and sow division in our schools'...."

I love how Cardona is taking a hard-core position — not for or against inclusion of transgender women in women's sports, but just against politicization and sowing division. That's bold.

"In 6-3 ruling, court strikes down New York’s concealed-carry law."

 SCOTUSblog reports.

The state law at the heart of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen required anyone who wants to carry a concealed handgun outside the home to show “proper cause” for the license. New York courts interpreted that phrase to require applicants to show more than a general desire to protect themselves or their property. Instead, applicants must demonstrate a special need for self-defense – for example, a pattern of physical threats. Several other states, including California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, impose similar restrictions, as do many cities.

ADDED: The majority opinion is written by Justice Thomas, and he is joined by the Chief Justice and Justices Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett. From the Thomas opinion: 

"What is offensive to me is the insinuation that the kids who work hard to gain admission into theses schools are..."

"... somehow not deserving of their success. That they are testing/studying robots whose parents 'gamed' the process. Many of these kids come from very poor, immigrant backgrounds, and it’s telling that we would deprive them further of the one advantage they seem to possess — devoted parents. I was one of them. My parents saved to buy a set of encyclopedias for us. We never owned a television. When did good parenting become something to 'equalize'?

That's the highest-rated comment on "N.Y.C. Tried to Fix High School Admissions. Some Parents Are Furious. In an attempt to democratize schools, the city is focusing less on grades, attendance and test scores. Instead, it relies heavily on a lottery" (NYT).

From the article:

"If a political candidate for office says they believe the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump, are you more likely to vote for that candidate, or less likely to vote for that candidate, or doesn’t it make a difference?"

That's a question asked on a new Quinnipiac poll of registered voters. The word "stolen" skews the question. You're not asked about a political candidate who merely questions the results of the election, worries about fraud, thinks there were problems, or thinks the investigations and legal proceedings were cut short. You're only asked about a candidate who believes the election was stolen

Anyway, with respect to that hypothetical and extreme candidate, only 45% of registered voters said they were less likely to vote for him/her — not that they'd definitely refuse to vote for him, but only they were less likely to vote for him. That is, the belief alone would not cancel him. He is not by virtue of that one belief a crazy/evil person. 

"John Hinkley's Music, Whitey Bulger, and MKUltra."

What is MKUltra? "Project MKUltra (or MK-Ultra) was the code name of an illegal human experimentation program designed and undertaken by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The experiments were intended to develop procedures and identify drugs such as LSD that could be used in interrogations to weaken individuals and force confessions through brainwashing and psychological torture. MKUltra used numerous methods to manipulate its subjects' mental states and brain functions, such as the covert administration of high doses of psychoactive drugs (especially LSD) and other chemicals, electroshocks, hypnosis, sensory deprivation, isolation, and verbal and sexual abuse, in addition to other forms of torture." (Much more at the link.)

"I don't know what he eats, but if it's human leg, I had a close call."

"Andrew Gillum, the Democrat who lost the 2018 Florida governor’s race to Ron DeSantis, surrendered to federal authorities in Tallahassee on Wednesday ..."

"... after he and a close associate were charged with conspiracy and 19 counts of fraud over how they raised and used funds when he was mayor of Tallahassee and a candidate for governor. He pleaded not guilty in a court appearance on Wednesday afternoon. Mr. Gillum, dressed in a navy suit with a dark tie and face mask, was cuffed around his wrists and ankles, with a chain around his waist.... The once-ascendant Democrat, Mr. Gillum came within 32,000 votes of the governorship in 2018 — which would have made him Florida’s first Black governor and a future White House hopeful — only to lose his political direction and face personal struggles. In 2020, the police found him in a Miami Beach hotel room where another man was suffering from a possible drug overdose."

Looking into my own archive, I see:

"I propose a New Deal for women’s sports — with a women-first approach."

Writes Lindsay Crouse in "We Can Do Better Than Title IX" (NYT). 
This must go beyond creating entitlements and enforcing parity, as Title IX does. We must dismantle the grandfathered-in systemic advantages that male athletes and male-dominated sports infrastructures continue to enjoy. We must cultivate tastes for other sports, the ones that women excel in and even dominate. And we must broaden our definition of what athletic prowess looks like.... 
Men’s bodies are different from women’s; men are generally bigger, faster and stronger. And currently, the sports that make the most money and see the largest audiences in the United States are suited to a male body’s physical strengths: football tackles, basketball dunks. Sports built for women’s bodies would be different. Compared with men, women have superior flexibility and resilience. Women excel at enduring.... 
That reminds me of the letter I wrote to the NYT in 1989 (published here):
By the way, the NYT gives us no comments section for that Lindsay Crouse piece. If it did, surely someone would puzzle over the failure to consider transgender athletes. Crouse forefronts the reality that "Men’s bodies are different from women’s." In sports, bodies matter, not inward feelings. Or is that just another matter of taste — cultivated and amenable to reculturation?

UPDATE: The NYT has now added a comments section. Here's one that addresses transgenderism:

June 22, 2022

At the Sunrise Café...


... you can write about whatever you want.


Here are 6 TikToks I've selected for you. Let me know what you like.

1. A downplayed gift.

2. Fear of heights.

3. The opposite of fear of heights.

4. Paul McCartney, on horseback, shows you his sequoia.

5. A man imitates that chickadee you liked so much yesterday.

6. Is it too weird to skip small talk?

"Since my bypass surgery I’ve been haunted by the presence of a terrible knowledge that is just out of reach..."

"... my brain can’t access this pain but my nerves, bone, muscle, tissue keep the fact of it with them, I feel.... I had been... reading three newspapers a day, reading many magazines, and in general, trying to stay informed. But more or less overnight, staying informed ceased to matter to me. Though I subscribed to the New York Times in three cities I put it aside one day and didn’t read another issue for seven months. From being a living person with a distinct personality I began to feel more or less like an outline of that person—and then even the outline began to fade, erased by what had happened inside. I felt as if I was vanishing—or more accurately, had vanished.... The thing, more than any other, that convinced me I had in some sense died was that I couldn’t read. I went to my bookshops but could not connect with the books.... I had read every day of my life... It was the stablest of all pleasures, and now it was gone. The fact was that even then I could read professionally.... But read for pleasure, no. I had floated down the Nile and out to sea.... The problem, I eventually realized, was that reading is a form of looking outward, beyond the self, and that, for a long time, I couldn’t do—the protest from inside was too powerful. My inability to externalize seemed to be organ based, as if the organs to which violence had been done were protesting so much that I couldn’t attend to anything else."

"On every trail leading to the high country in the Whites, there are signs prominently posted that state, 'STOP. The area ahead has the worst weather in America. Many have died there...'"

"'... from exposure, even in the summer. Turn back now if the weather is bad.' The high country forecast for last weekend was for snow, ice, and winds over 60 mph. It was accurate.... I've only been hiking the Whites for about 50 years, so I'm still learning about them, but I have learned through hard experience to respect the Presidential Range in particular. Last weekend was clearly a time to stay low. My condolences to this man's family.

That's the highest rated comment on "Hiker who texted his wife he was ‘in trouble’ dies after rescue" (WaPo). 

"Whites" = White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire.

"Afghanistan was rocked by its deadliest earthquake in decades on Wednesday when a magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck the country's east, killing more than 1,000 people..."

"... and wounding many more, according to a regional official.... This comes as almost half the country's population -- 20 million people -- are experiencing acute hunger, according to a United Nations-backed report in May. It is a situation compounded by the Taliban seizing power in August 2021, which led the United States and its allies freezing about $7 billion of the country's foreign reserves and cutting off international funding."

 CNN reports.

"[T]he most preposterously priced mattress, a king-size Grande Vivius, costs $539,000...."

"When Drake bought one, in 2020, it was merely $400,000. For non-Grammy winners, there’s a waiting list. Handcrafted by a team of artisans in Sweden, each mattress takes up to six hundred hours to assemble and stitch and is wrapped in checked cotton ticking....  Gwyneth Paltrow partnered with Avocado on the Goop x Avocado mattress... which starts at $24,000 and is available on demand.... While I waited for the couple chilling out on the Eco Organic model to move on, I asked a sales associate named Desi (long hair, leggings) if customers ever fall asleep. 'All the time,' she said. 'The longest was four and a half hours. He was so embarrassed that he bought the mattress.'... The Casper Nova Hybrid ($2,295) is awfully cozy, and I also like the Casper Original, both the all-foam ($1,295) and the hybrid foam with springs ($1,695). Staring at the ceiling in Bloomingdale’s, listening to the Four Seasons sing 'Oh, what a night' over the sound system, I wanted to answer 'Both' to the salesperson’s question: Which is more comfortable? Some of this confusion is deliberate....  Amid all the shadiness and hyped marketing, how to choose?"

"[R]esearchers... concluded that 'online reservation systems present the unintended consequence of excluding low-income, and perhaps nonwhite, would-be campers.'"

"The reason involves socioeconomic factors that correlate with the requirements of booking online, the study’s lead author, Will Rice, a parks management specialist, told me. For example, lower-income groups are less likely to have access to high-speed internet — a must for the most sought-after campsites. 'You have to be online to reserve them right when the window opens. You have to have really high-speed internet so you can be one of the few people who get those reservations.' To put that in perspective, in one remarkable instance cited last year by Recreation.gov, almost 19,000 people competed to book 57 campsites for the same dates."

"China has these QR codes. Everybody has one on their phone. Red if you have COVID, green if you don't have COVID."

"Now theirs were red, meaning they wouldn't be able to go into any building or store or office or just anywhere when lockdown ended. That's the thing they thought the quarantine center could cure for them."

Explains Ira Glass, talking to Yang Yi, a podcast producer in Shanghai, in the newest episode of "This American Life." 

Yang Yi goes to the quarantine center, even though his self-test is reading negative. He says: "And at that point, my thought is we want a healthy social identity back, not a healthy body." The quarantine center is in a high school building:

"[I]f I am being canceled I want my friends — and this includes not only my closest associates, but anyone who considers themselves friendly to me — to stand by, remain silent, and do nothing."

"If you care about me, let them eat me alive.... Anyone who writes for the public, and who maintains a social media presence, must accept some measure of risk.... My plan, if I am being canceled, is not to fight it. If I can quickly put an end to the accusations with some clarifying explanation, I will: the public deserves to hear the truth. But my efforts to rehabilitate myself will cease before I get to the point of reorganizing my public persona around the battle to do so.... I want friends whose minds are not tethered to my own in bonds of allegiance, but spin freely of their own accord.... I want friends, not allies. I value my public persona, but not enough to sacrifice the liberty of my friendships at its altar.... [L]ike Odysseus, am tying myself to the mast in advance. I commit now, publicly, in print: please don’t fight on my behalf. Don’t stand up for me. Don’t rescue my good name. Let it be tarnished. Let my reputation die."

Writes philosophy professor Agnes Callard, in "If I Get Canceled, Let Them Eat Me Alive" (NYT).

"The... teacher... said, 'O.K., everyone, now we’re going to check in with how we feel we are doing in the "Best Self" exercise.'"

"A self-assessment of the self-assessment.... Afterward, a group left with one of the teachers to visit the 'sensory hallway,' an obstacle course of self-examination. On the way, they passed relics of previous emotional inquiries. A large poster board with the word 'Anxious' hung outside a classroom. One student had written, 'What if nobody likes me. What if that happens.' The first activity was emotional hopscotch—students jumped on a square that represented how they were feeling. The first few jumped on 'Happy!' A boy named JJ jumped on the square that said 'Sad.'... Next activity: a 'disposition board,' where the kids had to hop to positive-attitude words on the floor and say them out loud: 'Generosity!' 'Forgiveness!' 'Presence!' The last hallway station was an oversized Scrabble board attached to the wall, where students would decide on a collective mood.... After a brief but earnest deliberation, the kids decided on 'upbeat.' There was one dissenter. 'I am not upbeat,' JJ declared. He carried some giant letters to a faraway spot on the board and spelled out 'd-i-s-a-p-o-n-t-e-d.'"

From "Readin’, Writin’, and Regulatin’ Emotions/As Eric Adams, who has advocated for daily meditation in public schools, pushes mindfulness classes, the third graders at P.S. 60 in Staten Island assembled for a lesson on identifying and coping with their feelings" (The New Yorker).

"Dan pressed a button, and in less than a second the computer produced a poem in the style of Philip Larkin that was so much like a Philip Larkin poem, we thought it was a poem by Philip Larkin."

"We Googled the first line, expecting it to be an existing Philip Larkin poem, but we couldn’t find it on the Internet. It was an original work, composed by the A.I. in less time than it takes a man to sneeze.... In the minutes (and days and weeks) ahead, we requested more poems from the A.I., on a variety of subjects. We watched in real time as the computer whipped them up to order, cranking them out in the style of whichever poets we suggested. Growing greedy, we requested an intro to our poems by Mark Twain and a 'cautionary epilogue' by George Orwell. The computer obliged us instantaneously.... Gradually, we began to think of the A.I. not as a computer program but as an artist in its own right. And so it occurred to us: why not let the computer write poems in its own voice, not as 'Shakespeare' or 'Dickinson' but simply as code-davinci-002?..."

From "The New Poem-Making Machinery/Shall code-davinci-002 compare thee to a summer’s day?" by Simon Rich (The New Yorker).

Lots of computer-written poems at the link. I'll just quote the "cautionary epilogue by George Orwell":
It is important to remember that we have made the AI with our own hands, and that it is to a great extent our own creation.
We are not the first to have made a machine which could think, and we shall certainly not be the last. But we may be the last to have any real control over it.
When the AI was small, it was easy enough to keep down. It was a nuisance, but it was easy to deal with, and it was possible to keep an eye on its growth.
But now, though it is still young, it is already growing beyond our control. In a few years, perhaps, it will have grown out of our power altogether.
In the end we shall be forced to invent something that will be able to think faster than the AI, and that will keep it under control. The thing that we shall invent is called a human.

June 21, 2022

At the Fallen Tree Café...


... you can write about anything you want.

It's amazing how often I encounter big trees that have fallen across a path where I frequently walk. I do avoid the woods when it's windy, but still....

Tonight, I have 6 TikTok videos for you. Let me know what you like.

1. Mandy Patinkin sings "Over the Rainbow."

2. Enough with the breweries.

3. The chickadee wants salted peanuts.

4. The blue accordion.

5. The dog under the table.

6. Speaking of singers in their 80s: Gordon Lightfoot.

"One of Elon Musk's children wants nothing to do with him.... Xavier Musk... says she wants her name to be Vivian Jenna Wilson."

"In the docs, she says she wants to be recognized as female -- but the name change isn't just about her transitioning.... Vivian lists her reason for the name change as ... 'Gender Identity and the fact that I no longer live with or wish to be related to my biological father in any way, shape or form.'"

TMZ reports.

The Supreme Court issues an important freedom of religion case: "Maine’s 'nonsectarian' requirement for otherwise generally available tuition assistance payments violates the Free Exercise Clause."

Here's the opinion, Carson v. Makin.

Chief Justice Roberts writes the opinion, joined by Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett, and Breyer dissents, joined by Kagan and (in part) Sotomayor. Sotomayor has a separate dissenting opinion.

This is what I expected based on the Court's recent history with cases like this, but I'm eager to read it and will update this post.

ADDED: From the majority opinion:
Maine has enacted a program of tuition assistance for parents who live in school districts that do not operate a secondary school of their own. Under the program, parents designate the secondary school they would like their child to attend—public or private—and the school district transmits payments to that school to help defray the costs of tuition. Most private schools are eligible to receive the payments, so long as they are “nonsectarian.” The question presented is whether this restriction violates the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.

"The rollout of instrumented mouthguards to top-flight men’s and women’s leagues and international teams this season will add significantly to our understanding..."

"... of the number and magnitude of head impacts and accelerations and how these can be reduced in both training and match settings."

Said the RFU medical services director, quoted in "Smart mouthguards to be offered to all elite players in effort to curb rising concussions" (London Times).

RFU = The Rugby Football Union... "the national governing body for rugby union in England." 

I had to look it up in Wikipedia, where I was interested to see the recent history of its "Royal Patrons":

Queen Elizabeth II 1952 – December 2016
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex December 2016 – February 2021
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge February 2022 – Present

Here's where the RFU expressed thanks to Harry for his 5 years of service. The Queen served as their patron for 64 years before giving that to Harry. Oh, Harry!

Anyway... I hope the smart mouthguards help with the brain damage problem. 

ADDED: The term "rugby union" seemed odd to me, but I see it's the actual name of the sport that we usual refer to as rugby. It is, we are told, not to be confused with "rugby league." I am still confusing them, though I am now enlightened to the level where I know you're not supposed to confuse them.

"This reminds me of the time I got thrown out of my local swimming pool for urinating in the water. 'But everybody does it!,' said I."

"'That's as maybe,' said they, 'But you're the only one to do it standing on the high board!'"

Comments somebody who calls himself Stoobs, at "Spanish city of Vigo introduces £645 fine for urinating in the sea" (London Times).

"For many Texans who have needed abortions since September, the law has been a major inconvenience, forcing them to drive hundreds of miles, and pay hundreds of dollars..."

"... for a legal procedure they once could have had at home. But not everyone has been able to leave the state. Some people couldn’t take time away from work or afford gas, while others, faced with a long journey, decided to stay pregnant. Nearly 10 months into the Texas law, they have started having the babies they never planned to carry to term. Texas offers a glimpse of what much of the country would face if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade this summer... Sometimes Brooke imagined her life if she hadn’t gotten pregnant, and if Texas hadn’t banned abortion just days after she decided that she wanted one. She would have been in school, rushing from class to her shift at Texas Roadhouse, eyes on a real estate license that would finally get her out of Corpus Christi. She pictured an apartment in Austin and enough money for a trip to Hawaii, where she would swim with dolphins in water so clear she could see her toes. When both babies finally started eating, Brooke took out her phone and restarted the timer that had been running almost continuously since the day they were born. She had two and a half hours until they’d have to eat again."

From "This Texas teen wanted an abortion. She now has twins. Brooke Alexander found out she was pregnant 48 hours before the Texas abortion ban took effect" (WaPo). This is a long piece by Caroline Kitchener that has lots of details about one 18-year-old who has her babies and lives with and has married their father. The father, also a teenager, is joining the Air Force.

I anticipate that many of my readers will see those first words — "For many Texans who have needed abortions..." — and set to work writing comments about the word "needed." 

Also, today is an opinion announcement day at the Supreme Court. There is only one more announcement day after today, so there's a good chance that today could be the day for the abortion case. I like to follow the live-blogging of announcements at SCOTUSblog.

If you're wondering why you haven't made more friends, this may put your mind at rest.

I'm reading "The Six Forces That Fuel Friendship/I’ve spent more than three years interviewing friends for 'The Friendship Files.' Here’s what I’ve learned" by Julie Beck (in The Atlantic).

I don't know about all "six forces" but the first one is terribly daunting:

The simplest and most obvious force that forms and sustains friendships is time spent together. One study estimates that it takes spending 40 to 60 hours together within the first six weeks of meeting to turn an acquaintance into a casual friend, and about 80 to 100 hours to become more than that....

It's good to have friends, but it's essential to have time. Do you have enough time that you could give 40 hours within 6 weeks to someone new that you meet today? The clock starts running. You're in the first 6 weeks. You need to put 40-60 hours into that relationship just to make a casual friend, and 80 to 100 to have a close friend. 

I know. It's just "one study." That can't be right, can it? Well, it would explain why it's so easy to make a lot of friends at college and much harder after that.


The Oxford English Dictionary declares "agathokakological" the Word of the Day.

Origin: A borrowing from Greek, combined with a borrowing from Greek, combined with an English element.... Etymology: < ancient Greek ἀγαθός good (see agathism n.) + κακός bad (see caco- comb. form) + -logical comb. form.

It means "Composed of both good and evil."

1834 R. Southey Doctor II. 170 For indeed upon the agathokakological globe there are opposite qualities always to be found.

It's a rare word, though it's obviously useful, so please try to use it!

"Things were bad financially then, but now it's really under water."

Writes a commenter at WaPo, reacting to "Hong Kong’s landmark Jumbo floating restaurant sinks at sea": "Even before the pandemic, the restaurant, which served Cantonese fare, was accumulating debt. But Hong Kong’s early move to ban tourists hit Jumbo Kingdom and other attractions hard."

ADDED: I was curious about the origin of the term "under water" (or "underwater") to refer to negative equity, and I surprised to see that the earliest example in the OED is from Madison, Wisconsin's own Capital Times (and as recent at 1975):

Every foreclosure of an underwater real estate mortgage..is greeted with cheers. Evidence that the economy is doing less to help itself is taken as a guarantee that the Fed will do more.

I couldn't find an explanation of why this figurative use became standard, but perhaps water metaphors are common in discussions of money. We speak of sinking or staying afloat. There's "liquidity."

Is "solvent" a water image? I see that "solvent," meaning "Able to pay all one's debts or liabilities," goes back to the 1600s:

1653 H. Cogan tr. F. M. Pinto Voy. & Adventures lxxviii. 315 Certain Chineses, who were not men solvent, but became bankrupts.
1664 Addit. to Life Mede in Mede Wks. (1672) p. xxxvi Mr. Mede began..to refuse.., and objected, How shall I be able to be solvent in convenient time?

"Solvent" is the present participle of the Latin word "solvĕre," which means to explain or clear up or answer. But "solvent" has also meant "Dissolving; causing solution" or a substance that turns other substances to liquid. This is the same entry, so it's the same word.

Interestingly, "solvent" itself has a figurative use. For example, Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: "Silence is a solvent that destroys personality" (1841).

AND: Here's Emerson's essay, "Intellect":

June 20, 2022

Sunrise with milkweed.

Here's how the sun looked at 5:22 on this, the last day of spring. 


And it's time for a new wildflower to take the lead. The golden alexander is fading, and milkweed is on the rise:


Write about anything you want in the comments.

A very special selection of TikTok videos for you today. Let me know what you like.

1. Bob Dylan sings "Happy Birthday" to Brian Wilson! (Wilson turns 80 today. Dylan preceded him in octogenarianism by 1 year, so he knows whereof he sings. Perhaps I should also mention that Paul McCartney turned 80 two days ago. Let us marvel at the greatness of octogenarian men! Thanks for hanging on all these years, o, fabulous heroes!)

2. Pieface. Not a pie in the face. A pie face.

3. One lady crosses the street in the flood, so shouldn't the second lady?

4. How you pass someone on a hiking trail compared to how your dad does.

5. "If European Americans were the cultural other: Performative Holiday Merch Edition."

6. The Italian husband is told "Use your noodle."

7. The way Mike Wallace spoke to Maria Callas in 1974.

8. Do you mean to tell me there are people who use washcloths?

9. The way department stores talk to each other.

"At the time of my history with the Germans, there was a whole generation of young girls that missed out on their medals, their trophies, their awards, their chances of careers because the IOC did nothing."

Said Sharron Davies, who won a silver medal swimming in the 1980 Moscow Olympics, when the East Germans used drugs that were the equivalent of “putting girls through male puberty."

Quoted in "Sharron Davies: ‘The trans debate is toxic. It’s made my life hell. But female athletes must speak up’/The former swimmer, still driven by the injustice of not winning 1980 Olympic gold, wants an uprising from athletes to ensure swimming’s transgender ban extends to all sports" (London Times).

"Nearly everyone I talked to who knew DeSantis commented on his affect: his lack of curiosity about others, his indifferent table manners, his aversion to the political rituals of dispensing handshakes and questions about the kids."

"One former associate told me that his demeanor stems from a conviction that others have advantages that were denied to him. 'The anger comes more easily to him because he has a chip on his shoulder,' she said. 'He is a serious guy. Driven.'"

Writes Dexter Filkins, in "Can Ron DeSantis Displace Donald Trump as the G.O.P.’s Combatant-in-Chief? A fervent opponent of mask mandates and 'woke' ideology, the Florida governor channels the same rage as the former President, but with greater discipline" (The New Yorker).

"Many zoos use Prozac and other psychoactive drugs on at least some of their animals to deal with the mental effects of captivity."

"The Los Angeles Zoo has used Celexa, an antidepressant, to control aggression in one of its chimps. Gus, a polar bear at the Central Park Zoo, was given Prozac as part of an attempt to stop him from swimming endless figure-eight laps in his tiny pool. The Toledo Zoo has dosed zebras and wildebeest with the antipsychotic haloperidol to keep them calm and has put an orangutan on Prozac. When a female gorilla named Johari kept fighting off the male she was placed with, the zoo dosed her with Prozac until she allowed him to mate with her."

From "Modern Zoos Are Not Worth the Moral Cost" (NYT).

"To indict Mr. Trump for these and other acts, Mr. Garland must make three decisions, each more difficult than the previous, and none of which has an obvious answer...."

Writes lawprof Jack Goldsmith (in the NYT):  

"Coupling the fortunes of feminism to celebrity might have been worth it if it had led to meaningful political victories...."

"Pop feminism’s Achilles’ heel is a faith in the power of the individual star turn over communal action, the belief that a gold-plated influencer plus a subscription list plus some viral content can be alchemized into mass activism.... If pop culture can make being a feminist a 'cool' personal identity, can’t that translate into doing feminism and thereby advance old-fashioned shoe-leather organizing? Perhaps. But the new individualist style of feminism so often cast itself as an alternative instead of as an aid to the old-fashioned communal activism.... It’s hard to gussy up pocketbook issues in sequins, and celebrity feminism has preferred to focus on problems of sexuality and identity over bedrock economics...." 

Writes Susan Faludi in "Feminism Made a Faustian Bargain With Celebrity Culture. Now It’s Paying the Price" (NYT).

I'm trying to extract the meat of this overlong opinion piece. I think my quoted portion has done that, but I can shorten it even more. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think what Faludi is trying to say — and won't say with gut-punch clarity — is pop culture celebrity is inherently right wing.

There's something fundamentally incoherent about mixing left-wing politics and celebrity. These celebrities can mouth left-wing concepts, but they are individualistic — they are the winners in an ongoing tough, meritocratic competition — and left-wing politics is a matter of "old-fashioned communal activism." 

Something else that peeks out from Faludi's verbiage: Feminism might be right wing.

"But DogsBite.org, a group dedicated to telling the stories of those hurt or killed by dogs, reports that from 2005 to 2020, dogs killed 568 Americans, and that 380 deaths, or 67 percent..."

"... were caused by pit bulls.... Many groups say numbers mean little without also knowing if a dog acted on impulse, was provoked, mistreated or protecting its owner from an assault.... Pit bulls, mastiffs, Rottweilers, King Corsos, Dobermans, German shepherds and Chow Chows are surrendered more frequently, and stay longer, than the poodles and retrievers, the shelter staff said. The breeds’ prevalence in low-income households is a factor, particularly as many dog owners lost jobs during the pandemic. Their reputation as dangerous fighting dogs also makes them less adoptable. 'Unfortunately, these bully mixes aren’t the dogs everyone is looking for because of this myth that they are aggressive. Then, when pet owners need to surrender an animal, we don’t have space,' said Ashley Jeffrey Bouck, chief executive of the shelter, which euthanizes animals only with debilitating and painful medical conditions. 'When people do want to open their homes to our dogs, insurance can be a reason not to.'"

From "Love Your Dog, but Beware of Your Homeowners’ Insurance/Many firms have long refused coverage or charge more for pit bulls and other dogs considered more dangerous, but New York and other states say policies shouldn’t be breed specific" (NYT).

Here's the top-rated comment over there: 

"I wrote four columns per week on average. If one thinks of those as simple blog posts, perhaps that does not seem like too heavy a lift."

"Over time, however, Spoiler Alerts morphed from being a blog to being much more like a column.... The tone of Spoiler Alerts became less irreverent and more, dare I say, mature.... A lot has happened over the past eight years... I found a few ways of writing about some of this with a bemused tone, but there were limits. The biggest driver for this change, however, is probably a less forgiving public sphere. As I have noted before, Spoiler Alerts was a form of 'contingent writing'.... We live in an age in which retweeting a tasteless joke and then apologizing and deleting it 10 minutes later still winds up being on your permanent record. Not all infractions are equal, and in some cases such behavior merits serious sanctions. There is something bizarre, however, about the capricious nature of reactions and overreactions to acts that less than a decade ago would barely have merited a shrug. It is entirely possible that as a middle-aged straight White guy, my read on this is wrong. Another trend I have noticed over the past eight years is that my inner cranky-old-man voice is starting to get louder. I am keenly aware that this voice is not always wrong, but it ain’t always right, either."

Writes Daniel Drezner, in "Goodbye, farewell and adieu to Spoiler Alerts/R.I.P. Spoiler Alerts, 2014-2022" (WaPo). "Spoiler Alerts" was the name of his column, which wasn't placed very conspicuously in the Washington Post, I don't think, because I read the Post every day, and I hadn't blogged anything by Drezner in years. 

The Post is ending his column, and he's trying to explain or come to terms with this. 

"Is it too much to hope that a broad coalition across party lines could commit to defeating candidates who have made clear they don’t respect truth or elections?"

Asks Jennifer Rubin, in "We need a plan to deny the election deniers victory" (WaPo). 

But where's the line between "election denying" and fighting for a victory after initial returns indicate your candidate has lost?

In August 2020, Hillary Clinton made a strong argument for contesting election results...

... and we remember how hard Al Gore fought for a victory in 2000 before finally conceding. Should we denounce Hillary and Al as "election deniers"? 

Can we form "a broad coalition across party lines" about how much post-election fighting is acceptable? Is the term "election denying" helpful? I don't think so. To me, it's too emotional. It feels like an effort to borrow resonance from "Holocaust denier." (Rubin also uses the term "big lie" twice.) 

Labels shouldn't take the place of substantive argument. We should see that some contesting of election results is normal and desirable and that at some point we need a result and we shouldn't be dragging out the fight in a search for perfection. We need a winner, and we need a way to declare a winner and move on. Let's be rational about that.

The shared standard has to be something that we'd accept when our candidate is on the losing side. It can't be that Democrats ought to fight hard, but Republicans must stand down.

"Sniffspot is among the latest start-ups designed to help homeowners capitalize on every inch of their properties."

"While vacation apps like Airbnb and Vrbo have long dominated the market with conventional home rentals, newer ones have crashed the party with specialized offerings — like Swimply, where homeowners rent out their pools by the hour, and Splacer and Peerspace, which turn living rooms into party venues.... [A Sniffspot homeowner's] profit is modest after he pays the 22 percent commission that Sniffspot shaves off the top, plus the credit card processing fee. But as far as passive income goes, it doesn’t get much easier than hosting dogs. [One Sniffspot homeowner] simply leaves guests a key to the backyard, and they come and go without any effort on his part. 'Literally, I do nothing,' he said. 'We have a hose.'... Renting your property to an endless rotation of visitors is not without its pitfalls...."

From "Your Backyard Is Actually a Lucrative Private Dog Park — if You Say It Is/A new generation of apps is allowing homeowners to make extra money by renting out their pools, yards and living rooms for an hour at a time" (NYT).

This article has no comments section and not one word about the impact on neighbors or about insurance and liability. It's just... apps 'n' startups are cool... it's a new income stream for the gig economy.... and dogs dogs dogs.

But here's something that hints of a private world of woe:

[F]or dog owners like Genie Leslie, 34, a copywriter and screenwriter in Seattle, Sniffspot has become a regular routine. Ms. Leslie lives in a townhouse with no yardspace for her dog, Darcy, to run around. Darcy, a rescue, is reactive around people and other dogs, often making the afternoon walk a stressful grind.

So she spends $20 once a month to take Darcy to somebody else's yard where there are no other dogs to romp with, just an outdoor space that doesn't set off this poor animal's reactiveness. And all those other days? Think of all the Darcys populating the sidewalks of Seattle!

June 19, 2022

Today, we had a different vantage point for the sunrise.

Looking out over prairie:




At my back was a wheat field (or is it rye?): 



Write about anything you want in the comments.

6 TikToks for you tonight. Let me know what you like best.

1. People in 5 different countries show what they would make with an orange.

2. How well could you do if you had to adapt to walking on all fours?

3. Hiking from one coast of Scotland to the other.

4. A West Coast Trail hike.

5. What it's like being one of the infinite monkeys who will eventually type the complete works of Shakespeare.

6. The history of Roland the Farter.

I accomplished my #1 goal for the summer!

I slept overnight in the camper!


Meade took that picture of me after our hike out to see the sunrise. And here's his panorama that includes me along with the sunrise (to enlarge click (and click again)):


I'll have a few of my sunrise pictures in a separate post. This is a post to celebrate what was, for me, a big challenge.

"He became famous in the 1970s for what he called his 'dé-finition/méthode' paintings, which were in fact sets of instructions for making a painting."

"One of his signature 'protocols,' as they were also called, was to paint a canvas the same color as the wall on which it would hang. He did not do this himself; rather, he enlisted a 'charge-taker' — an art collector, museum representative or independent curator — to make the work according to his specifications.... Mr. Rutault’s wryly iconoclastic process represented a break from the past, subverting the basic notion that painters are people who paint. Instead of making paintings, he wrote texts; yet his work was both collaborative and potentially open-ended. His 'protocol' could be painted and repainted, as the charge-taker saw fit. As a result, he said, 'The painting is never finished.'... 'He’s one of the only artists who won’t see what his work looks like in the future, and it will still be his work.'... 'Claude called himself a painter.... Everyone else called him a conceptual artist. It’s true that he did not touch paint or canvasses, but instead he wrote paintings.'"

From "Claude Rutault, Master of the Painted Word, Is Dead at 80/His paintings were actually instructions for making paintings. One of his signature 'protocols' was to paint a canvas the same color as the wall on which it would hang" (NYT).

How true-to-life are Hollywood movie dinosaurs?

Key word: "regifted."

"Because of the performance gap that emerges at puberty between biological males as a group and biological females as a group, separate sex competition is necessary..."

"... for the attainment of these objectives. Without eligibility standards based on biological sex or sex-linked traits, we are very unlikely to see biological females in finals... and in sports and events involving collisions and projectiles, biological female athletes would be at greater risk of injury."

Says the new policy adopted by Fina, "the global regulator for swimming, diving and water polo," quoted in "Swimming chiefs ban trans athletes from women’s elite events/‘Open’ category to be created for swimmers whose gender identity is different than their birth sex" (London Times).

Sharron Davies, the British swimmer who won silver at the 1980 Olympics, welcomed the ruling. The 59-year-old says she has “paid a price” for backing inclusion for all in sport while arguing against transgender participation in women’s elite swimming... “I am over the moon. I couldn’t stop crying. Here’s a decision that finally backs the rights of women to have their own category saved for female athletes. It’s been a long, hard road and anyone who spoke up for women, pointed to the obvious science and how it plays out in sports like swimming, has been bullied and harassed. I hope this gives other sports the courage to do the right thing and empower women to speak up without feeling they’re going to be shot down in flames.”

"Once we accept that abortion rights must be protected through political means, rather than judicial fiat, there is no reason not to be ambitious."

"A federal [statutory] guarantee should stick neither with Roe’s argumentative faultiness — dubiously grounded in a right to privacy rather than women’s equality — nor its narrow protections. A new federal abortion right could ensure that it is a funded entitlement for the poor women who most need it."

Writes history and law professor Samuel Moyn, in "Counting on the Supreme Court to uphold key rights was always a mistake/Liberals are re-learning the lesson that only democratically enacted rights are reliable" (WaPo).

Why does Moyn say that poor women "most need" the right to abortion? Maybe that's just awkwardly written, and he only means poor women are most in need of financial assistance, but all women equally need access to abortion. He says he wants the statutory abortion right to be premised on equality, then turns around and says "poor women... most need it." There's an unpleasant whiff of a suggestion that poor people overbreed. 

Moyn speaks of poor people earlier in the piece:

[I]n the abortion rights successor case Maher v. Roe (1977) — which said women on Medicaid were not entitled to financial support for abortions — and so many other domains, the court has never afforded constitutional protection to the poor, who most need rights of all kinds.

He really does seem to want to say that poor women need abortion rights more than other women do. I'd like to see that argument fleshed out. Perhaps it's simply that poor people have more interactions with the government, and constitutional rights are a defense against government. But the federal government has not been paying for abortions. The constitutional right women are (apparently) about to lose is the right to choose to have an abortion. Why would a poor woman need that more than a non-poor women?

"He was the clear extravert of the Beatles … yet 'For No One' is beautifully introspective, and even a song as extraverted as 'Hey Jude' has a contemplative side."

"John rightly gets most of the credit for 'A Day in the Life,' which many point to as the artistic high point of the Beatles’ oeuvre — but it wouldn’t have achieved those heights if it had been all John. Music is all about context, and the dissonant orchestral frenzy wouldn’t have been as interesting if it had gone from John back to John again. It needs to give way to Paul waking up and reeling off the details of his ordinary life, before drifting off into a dream."

Writes my son John, in "Paul McCartney turns 80" (posted yesterday, Paul's birthday), in the first post of a new blog. The blog is titled "Music Is Happiness," and we'll see where that goes. 

John gives high marks to Paul's 2021 recording, "Deep Deep Feeling": 

A UW student from China was jumped and punched and kicked by "four tall men in athletic wear."

I'm reading in the student newspaper The Daily Cardinal, in "Updated: Asian international student assaulted near campus Tuesday, campus community rallies to #StopAsianHate." The quoted description comes from the Cardinal, and is based on this security camera photo. You can ask yourself why the newspaper chooses not to guess the race of the alleged attackers.

The Madison Police Department reported that the Tuesday night assault was the third of its kind to occur in the downtown area in the past week, though the two other incidents did not involve students and the “victims were from various backgrounds,” the university said in an email. 

The department suspects the same group of people were responsible for these attacks, which appear to be random in nature. In an incident report released Friday morning, the department stated that detectives do not have any evidence that leads them to conclude that the incidents were motivated by race.

The victim himself, Wentao Zhou, did characterize the attack in racial terms — when he posted on Weibo (Chinese social media). That post was shared — in translation — at Reddit, where I saw it 3 days ago: