July 30, 2022

Sunrise — 5:49.


Everybody wants to rule the... Dane County Farmers Market.

That's live marimba being played as the crowd parades with its usual and unavoidable slowness. I make a mental note to arrive much earlier if I'm ever going to try to do this again.

Speaking of notes, here's my "Overheard at the Farmers Market" collection:

"It was important that the design honored the legacy of all First Ladies and the strength of American women."

"Delicate floral details included in the redesigning of the rug in the Yellow Oval Room is an example of how that idea was incorporated into the interiors.We were also very focused on creating interiors that conveyed a feminine strength, incorporating softer colors such as muted pinks, creams and soft blues with Classical structure to highlight this. It was important that the design honored the legacy of all First Ladies and the strength of American women."

Said Betty Monkman, who worked with First Lady Melania Trump, quoted in "A first look at how Melania Trump decorated White House’s private rooms" (WaPo).

That's a lot of femininity for the White House family quarters. 

Just 5 TikToks for you today. Let me know what you like.

1. How to take a picture of your potato.

2. Lonely and depressed, he thinks of what Winston Churchill once said.

3. She bought more clothes at the thrift store that turned out to be unwearable.

4. It's not enough to just tell this boy he's not going to like unsweetened cocoa straight from the container.

5. The girl who survives on 3 iced lattes a day.

"My bodily autonomy is not up for debate."


Today, at the Dane County Farmers Market, a very crowded place on a Saturday at 10:49 a.m.

It's seemingly a great place for attracting attention, but it's also a place where virtually everybody can and will avert their eyes.

Sunrise — 5:24.


"I have many kind friends with wonderful attributes, but one horrible thing they all have in common is a compulsion to come up and talk to me when they see me arrive on my bike."

"There, they find me at my worst, both physically and emotionally. I am damp from the ride and must now take off my helmet and redo my oddly compressed hair. It is possible that the breeze, once a source of my power, blew something gross — an insect, the torn corner of a Snapple label — onto my face. Using only the two hands that the Lord gave me, I must rearrange myself, smooth my rough edges, and prepare to rejoin society. All while also securing my bike to one of the city’s O-racks, or, more likely, a street-sign post with another bike already chained to it. This takes time and focus; I am essentially completing a physical equivalent of a Kumon worksheet. Inevitably, something drops to the ground. This is both embarrassing and part of my process."

Things I spent time doing this morning: 

"Bronze statues of mythical methamphetamine cookers Walter White and Jesse Pinkman were installed at a convention center in Albuquerque on Friday..."

"... to celebrate the 'Breaking Bad' TV series.... Local politicians including Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller mixed with 'Breaking Bad' stars Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul and director Vince Gilligan to help unveil the artwork, donated by Gilligan and Sony Pictures.... Gilligan said he recognized that the statues of 'two fictional, infamous meth dealers' won’t be universally cherished in New Mexico. 'In all seriousness, no doubt some folks are going to say, "Wow, just what our city needed." And I get that,' Gillian said. 'I see two of the finest actors America has ever produced. I see them, in character, as two larger-than-life tragic figures, cautionary tales.'... Republican state Rep. Rod Montoya of Farmington said... 'I’m glad New Mexico got the business, but really?... We’re going down the road of literally glorifying meth makers?' He also questioned the logic of the tribute after Albuquerque in June 2020 removed a statue of Spanish conqueror Juan de Oñate. Demonstrators tried to topple that bronze artwork in denunciation of Oñate’s brutal treatment of Native Americans roughly 500 years ago. A fight that broke out at the protest resulted in gunfire that injured one man."

It's questionable to put up a sculpture showing fictional characters who were not virtuous. I'm trying to think of other public monuments to fictional characters. There's the Rocky statue at the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Various Paul Bunyan statues. There's Eleanor Rigby somewhere in Liverpool. They've got Don Quixote at the Kennedy Center in Washington. These are more or less good guys. Nothing like meth dealers. 

How different is a real historical figure? What Oñate did actually happened (way back in 1599):

"For most of the 21st century, the feminism that has been in fashion has leaned heavily on the idea of women’s empowerment."

"Glossy, celebrity-driven rhetoric, peppered with slogans like 'nevertheless, she persisted' and reassurances that 'girl, you got this,' suggests that if women display competence and strength — or even just 'the confidence of a mediocre white man' — we will eventually earn equality. This type of feminism has taken several forms — Lean In, the Women’s March, the girlboss and hashtag feminism, just to name a few iterations. But the ultimate promise has remained the same: If we work within the system, the system will reward us.... Rather than seeking the approval and validation of an unjust system, what if we rejected the system’s legitimacy and worked from there? What strengths might we be able to tap in to if we recognized that the game is rigged and gave up on trying to 'win' it?... Colonized people around the globe have only been able to expel their oppressors by refusing to recognize the legitimacy of the systems that subjugated them....Vigilante groups such as India’s pink-sari-clad Gulabi Gang, for example, wield sticks against abusers and rapists. Abortion-rights advocates have also turned to these kinds of guerrilla tactics: In the years before the right to legal abortion was established in Roe v. Wade, a group of women known as the Jane Collective provided safe abortions, performing an estimated 11,000 procedures in the pre-Roe era.... It is always better when we’re able to secure our wins through established channels, when our rights are recognized through all levels of society — and certainly, voting remains a crucial tool in our toolbox. But the feminism of disempowerment is a reminder that even when the system is rigged against us, no one can take away our truth, our personhood, our autonomy."

This essay started out well, but then got awfully confusing. It's one thing to see the limits of "empowerment" feminism, with its celebrities and slogans, but quite something else to decide you're completely disempowered and ought to adopt the mindset — and strategies — of truly oppressed people. And is she calling for violence and vigilantism? I couldn't tell. But, you know, the system is rigged against writers who won't speak clearly and who float miscellaneous ideas without following through. 

Unsurprisingly, there's no comments section over there at the Times.

"The Dutch like to say, 'Acting normal is crazy enough.' And we think that rich people are not acting normal."

"Here in Holland, we don’t believe that everybody can be rich the way people do in America, where the sky is the limit. We think 'Be average.' That’s good enough...”

Said Ellen Verkoelen, "a City Council member and Rotterdam leader of the 50Plus Party, which works on behalf of pensioners," quoted in "The Country That Wants to ‘Be Average’ vs. Jeff Bezos and His $500 Million Yacht/Why did Rotterdam stand between one of the world’s richest men and his boat? The furious response is rooted in Dutch values" (NYT).

“When I was about 11 years old, we had an American boy stay with us for a week, an exchange student,” she recalled. “And my mother told him, just make your own sandwich like you do in America. Instead of putting one sausage on his bread, he put on five. My mother was too polite to say anything to him, but to me she said in Dutch, ‘We will never eat like that in this house.’” 

At school, Ms. Verkoelen learned from friends that the American children in their homes all ate the same way. They were stunned and a little jealous. At the time, it was said in the Netherlands that putting both butter and cheese on your bread was “the devil’s sandwich.”...

July 29, 2022

At the Sunrise Café...


... you can talk about whatever you want.


Here are 8 TikToks to amuse you for a few minutes. Let me know what you like.

1. An odd roller coaster.

2. Can't you understand Gen-Z?

3. What do emo people do for a living?

4. Her mind is a vast chaotic wilderness.

5. Looks from the 1971 Sears catalog.

6. Noises that you can please choose not to make.

7. Cool geography facts about Montana.

8. How to feed the dog.

"The effectiveness of the TikTok experience is found in what it doesn’t require. Unlike Twitter..."

"... TikTok doesn’t need a critical mass of famous or influential people to use it for its content to prove engaging. The short-video format grabs the user’s attention at a more primal level, relying on visual novelty, or a clever interplay of music and action, or direct emotional expression, to generate its appeal. And, unlike Facebook, TikTok doesn’t require that your friends already use the service for you to find it useful. Though there are some social features built into TikTok, they’re not the main draw of the app. TikTok also doesn’t rely on its users to manually share content with friends or followers to surface compelling offerings. It assigns this responsibility to its scary-good recommendation algorithm.... [T]he app can target a user’s interests with uncanny accuracy in as little as forty minutes of observation. This rejection of the social-graph model has allowed TikTok to circumvent the barriers to entry that so effectively protected early social-media platforms like Facebook and Twitter...."

Not one word about China in that article, by the way, so don't use the comments to worry about China. The issue here is that TikTok has caused Facebook to move away from its "social graph" model, which requires users to build a network of friends. 

Are drag queens not dangerous?

I'm reading "I’m a drag queen. Here’s what my art really is" by Sasha Velour.
Drag is about self-expression without shame, and free thinking about others — about showing respect and care for everyone and for all the ways we present ourselves. It’s at once illuminating and not particularly serious; in drag, we playfully reject our assumptions about how a man or a woman “should” act so we can find our own ways of being. And drag, certainly, is nothing dangerous.... 

"If you can’t understand or name what the battle is that you’re in, then it’s hard to show up to do battle."

"But for parents of color, Black parents in particular, they practice Critical Race Theory all the time. You sit your kids down for ‘the talk,’ you’re talking about Critical Race Theory. It means you’re aware of the legacies of racism. We continue to shape our lives based on it and you’d be crazy to act as though we don’t. If you didn’t, you’d be totally ill-prepared to navigate life in this country as a Black or brown person. So our objective is to allow people to see that Critical Race Theory isn’t some alien abstraction; it’s the sum total of our experiences. Critical Race Theory came out of us coming into these institutions and saying the problem isn’t just racist people. The problem is in the law and the problem is in sociology and education. It’s all of these institutions that were created when we were not part of them and they justified us not being a part of them. So now, we’re going after the structures of justification."

"After a year of high-profile scandals, Yale Law School is retiring an all-student listserv that became a breeding ground for progressive activism and online pile-ons..."

"If students want to 'debate important questions,' the dean of Yale Law School Heather Gerken announced in an email on Wednesday, they can post on a physical bulletin board in the law school’s hallway. 'Debate and dialogue are the touchstones of an academic institution,' Gerken said. The new forum will force students to 'take time to reflect before posting, a habit that lawyers and members of a scholarly community must practice.'"

It's mind-boggling that Yale law students can't be left to their own devices writing on an email list. 
In the days before email, students and faculty would post their views on a bulletin board, nicknamed the "Wall," in the law school’s main hallway. That system, which Yale Law School is bringing back, "provided a healthy reminder that human beings are on the receiving end of the messages people send," Gerken said. "Indeed, sometimes students would run into the very people with whom they were debating and speak face-to-face."

Yale law students can't keep track of the humanity of the people on the receiving end of the email they write? What a concession! 

"The Taliban’s brutality toward women in Afghanistan is a 'suffocating crackdown' that goes beyond the widely condemned bans on work and school to include..."

"... sex slavery, forced marriages, violence, torture, and disappearances, according to Amnesty International, which published a new report on the subject Wednesday. Women detained after protesting for their rights describe horrific treatment, including electrocution, beatings with cables, and being deprived of food, water, and medical care. Taliban 'whistleblowers' say the number of women detained for 'moral crimes' (being outside with a man who is not a relative) is growing.... Women protesters who were detained and beaten showed their injuries publicly. That prompted a change of tactics, according to women quoted in the Amnesty report, who said they were later beaten on areas of their bodies, such as breasts and the pubic area, that they could not show publicly. 'They did this to us so that we couldn’t show the world. A soldier who was walking next to me hit me in my breast, and he said, "I can kill you right now, and no one would say anything." This happened every time we went out: we were insulted—physically, verbally and emotionally,' the report quotes one woman as saying...."

"But what really wounded me — what really wounded me — was when the Duke of Sussex addressed the United Nations and seemed to compare the decision whose name may not be spoken with the Russian attack on Ukraine."

Said Samuel Alito, quoted in "U.S. Supreme Court Justice Alito mocks foreign critics of abortion ruling" (Reuters, reporting on the contents of the video that is embedded in the previous post).
In Prince Harry's July 18 speech, he spoke of 2022 as "a painful year in a painful decade" before citing the war in Ukraine and "the rolling back of constitutional rights here in the United States," which appeared to reference the abortion ruling.

Did Prince Harry "compare" the 2 things in any way other than listing them as painful things that happened in the past decade? It was a "rolling back" of a constitutional right. What's the point of Alito's sarcasm? It's close to saying, ha, ha, I have power and you don't

Why the comedy? Women have lost an important right that we'd thought for decades was guaranteed by constitutional law. Now, Alito snarks that the opinion he wrote is "the decision whose name may not be spoken." Is that funny? 

If people don't want to say the case name — Dobbs — it's because: 1. They don't remember it, 2. Roe is much more familiar and it's easier to say the case that overruled Roe, or 3. They intend to express anger and antagonism toward Dobbs by refusing to acknowledge its existence and envisioning its quick demise.

To jokingly call Dobbs "the decision whose name may not be spoken" is to seem to exult in your power. And that's ironic, considering that the best justification for what the Court did is judicial restraint

"It is hard to convince people that religious liberty is worth defending if they don’t think that religion is a good thing that deserves protection."

"The challenge for those who want to protect religious liberty in the United States, Europe, and other similar places is to convince people who are not religious that religious liberty is worth special protection.... If religious liberty is protected, religious leaders and other men and women of faith will be able to speak out on social issues. People with deep religious convictions may be less likely to succumb to dominating ideologies or trends, and more likely to act in accordance with what they see as true and right. Civil society can count on them as engines of reform.... The Cultural Revolution [in China] did its best to destroy religion, but it was not successful. It could not extinguish the religious impulse. Our hearts are restless until we rest in God. And, therefore, the champions of religious liberty who go out as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves can expect to find hearts that are open to their message."

July 28, 2022

Wildflower sunrise.


Talk about anything you want in the comments.


I've got 10 TikToks for you this evening. Quite a lot, but won't you tell me what you like best?

1. Sharpening depicted in fuzziness.

2. Is this Mexican outfit offensive?

3. Woo speak, translated.

4. Is that Aaron Rodgers?

5. Lonely lass was Kate Dalrymple.

6. The word ladder exercise for how to write a song.

7. Can any song become a sad song?

8. Will you tell your male friend — seriously — that you love him?

9. Gays are coming for your girlfriend.

10. 1930s desk lamp restoration.

"It’s been a long process... Then the Roe thing happened. That cemented it. That was the stars aligning. This needs to be done."

"To be really honest... I’m a straight, white dude in America. Typically, I’m the least worried about these things. But they might come for that one. So I was like, 'I’m just gonna get this done while I still can.'"

Said Iain Little, "a 40-year-old banker living in Philadelphia," quoted in "Snipped in solidarity: the American men getting vasectomies after Roe – while they can/Following the supreme court’s abortion decision, urologists say more men are taking charge of their reproductive health, to permanent ends" (The Guardian).

People are seriously worried that vasectomies are going to become illegal?
Little had always been fairly certain that children weren’t part of his life plan. For years, his wife agreed. Now, recently divorced and dipping his toe back into the dating pool, he felt it was an appropriate time to seriously consider a vasectomy. 

His toe, indeed. 

"Mark Zuckerberg failed to conceal his annoyance with an employee who asked about vacation days during a meeting in which the Meta CEO revealed plans to cut underperforming workers..."

"During a companywide Q&A meeting on June 30... Zuckerberg reportedly 'appeared visibly frustrated' after one Chicago-based employee asked whether 'Meta Days,' or extra time off introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic, would continue in 2023. 'Um … all right,' Zuckerberg said after hearing the pre-recorded question.... 'Given my tone in the rest of the Q&A, you can probably imagine what my reaction to this is.'"

I would refer the Chicago-based employee to the concept of "quiet quitting." You're doing the polar opposite — noisy clinging. 

"For all its posturing as a rule-of-law pillar, the Biden Justice Department, like the Biden administration broadly, is cowed by the Democrats’ hard-left base..."

"... the same radicals who snapped their fingers and had Attorney General Merrick Garland ordering the FBI to investigate parents who dared protest against woke-progressivism in America’s schools. The Democratic base’s most cherished desire is the prosecution of Donald Trump and those who collaborated in his quest to retain power. Most of the country isn’t watching the slick made-for-TV docudrama being presented by the Jan. 6 committee (whose 'hearings' have no cross-examination or perspectives that vary from anti-Trump obsession), but the Democratic base is watching intently.... Obviously, the riot was a disgrace. Unfortunately, it has also become DOJ’s prism for evaluating both forcible attacks and nonviolent legal brainstorming. Garland must know the two must be separated.... Garland knows that prosecuting Trump and such underlings as Eastman and Clark on flimsy grounds would rip the country apart. He’s also worried, however, that Biden’s left flank is poised for mutiny if there is no indictment."

Quiet quitting.

"I recently learned about this term called ‘quiet quitting,’ where you’re not outright quitting your job but you’re quitting the idea of going above and beyond. You’re still performing your duties but you’re no longer subscribing to the hustle culture mentality that work has to be your life. The reality is it’s not, and your worth as a person is not defined by your labor."

That's from this TikTok video.

A comment on the video: "I quiet quit 6 months ago and guess what, same pay. same recognition, same everything but less stress."

And: "Then when you do it you realize nothing at work matters and suddenly all the stress vanishes."

This reminds me of an old song I was listening to yesterday:

"Loss or change of sense of smell or taste can lead to 'severe distress'... people... often feel 'isolated' when dismissed by clinicians."

"Daily activities such as smelling coffee and testing the flavour of food can become 'disgusting and emotionally distressing'.... [A]n estimated 5.6% of patients have smell dysfunction for at least six months and 4.4% have altered taste.... [W]hile most patients are expected to recover their sense of smell or taste within the first three months, 'a major group of patients might develop long-lasting dysfunction that requires timely identification, personalised treatment and long-term follow-up.'"

What is the "personalised treatment and long-term follow-up"? I've had a loss of the sense of smell for over a decade, and from what I understand, there is no treatment. I'd love for there to be more research to develop treatments, but if you don't have anything to help me, I don't want health-care money — and my own time — wasted on monitoring me.

The article refers to "the devastating effect that loss of smell and taste can have on quality of life and wellbeing." Don't overdramatize! It's as bad as it is but no worse. My life isn't devastated. How do you expect people with worse disabilities to keep their spirits up? 

When is your body image the government's business? The answer — in Spain — is, apparently, when you are female.

I'm reading "All bodies are beach bodies’: Spain’s equality ministry launches summer campaign/Inclusive promotion urges women to ‘toast a summer for all, without stereotypes’" (The Guardian):
Spain’s equality ministry has launched a creative summer campaign encouraging women of all shapes and sizes to hit the beach, with the slogan: “Summer is ours too.” 
The colourful campaign’s promotional image features five women of different body types, ages and ethnicities enjoying a day in the sun. “Summer is ours too,” it says. “Enjoy it how, where and with whomever you want.” The campaign also features a woman who has had a mastectomy topless. 
“All bodies are beach bodies,” Ione Belarra, the leader of Podemos who serves as social rights minister in Spain’s Socialist-led coalition government, said. “All bodies are valid and we have the right to enjoy life as we are, without guilt or shame. Summer is for everyone!”

Maybe it's the government's business to promote the tourism industry and they have evidence that many women are avoiding the exposure. That might explain encouraging women and not men. Maybe men — however they look — just go to the beach when they want to go to the beach... or when they want to get a look at women's bodies. And that may be why we're seeing this ad, so men can gawk at it: 

I think it's quite weird for the government to be instructing people about when to feel shame. And "All bodies are valid" is a strange concept. Valid? Are bodies making an argument? Are bodies seeking some legal goal?

"I abandon books all the time. I won’t name them because that feels like tacitly implying it’s the fault of the book..."

"... and 99 times out of 100 it’s not — it’s just not the right book for me in that moment. I sometimes get tweeted by people who are not enjoying my books but are forcing themselves on, and I always want to say, don’t! I give you permission to stop! It’s very strange; we don’t feel bad about turning off the TV if we’re not enjoying a show, but books are too often still treated like medicine. You’ve got to finish the course, even if you’re not enjoying it. I don’t think books should be anything other than enriching. That doesn’t always mean fun, or easy reads — sometimes a book is upsetting or challenging or difficult to read. But if you’re not getting anything out of a book, I think you should absolutely feel free to drop it and walk away."

From an interview about reading with the novelist Ruth Ware (NYT). 

You probably already know this advice, but just in case. 

Personally I figured it out half a century ago. I read this in Doris Lessing's "The Golden Notebook"
And shortly thereafter, I threw "The Golden Notebook" aside. 

I don't know if Ruth Ware will ever, like Doris Lessing, win the Nobel Prize, but I always remembered Lessing's advice to throw the book aside, and I had to go back and reread what Ware said to do with the book — "drop it and walk away." The book gets to stay and I'm supposed to leave? I prefer Lessing's advice. I stay where I am and the book gets flung.

Context? We don't need context!

"As Wally, Dow managed to pull off a performance that made him the kind of teenage boy that girls wanted to date and guys wanted to emulate."

"Wally was handsome, intelligent, polite, athletic, popular among his peers, and liked by most adults. He talked more or less like a real teenager, and he acted like one, too, which is to say that he made his mistakes along the way, but he generally learned a lesson in the end, because of course he did. (Everyone knows that teenagers on TV in the ‘50s and ‘60s weren’t allowed to make mistakes without learning the error of their ways before the closing credits began to roll.) Wally might not have been the anti-Eddie Haskell, but with the help of Ward and June, you always knew that he’d end up growing up to be a fine young man."

On the occasion of the death of Tony Dow, Decider sums up the appeal of Wally, in "'Leave It To Beaver's Tony Dow Was The Big Brother Every Baby Boomer And Gen Xer Looked Up To."

The Cleavers were the best of the TV families. I remember fantasizing at the time: If you could pick one TV family to be yours, mine would be the Cleavers. It was the first one that sprang to mind and it was, after thinking of all the other possibilities, the final choice. Ward and June were the best parents, and who wouldn't want Wally for an older brother? We were all Beaver, making mistakes, getting into trouble, and loved and appreciated all the more for our ridiculousness.

A nice collection of Wally clips here

Last line: "You know something, Dad, I don't think I'll ever be a cool guy.... Good night."

July 27, 2022



At the Centennial Garden in Madison. 

Write about anything you want in the comments.

"[T]elevision — the medium for which I am most well-known — did not even exist when I was born, in 1922."

"The internet came along decades later, and then social media. We have seen that each of these technologies can be put to destructive use — spreading lies, sowing hatred and creating the conditions for authoritarianism to take root. But that is not the whole story. Innovative technologies create new ways for us to express ourselves, and, I hope, will allow humanity to learn more about itself and better understand one another’s ideas, failures and achievements. These technologies have also been used to create connection, community and platforms for the kind of ideological sparring that might have drawn Archie [Bunker] to a keyboard.... Reaching this birthday with my health and wits mostly intact is a privilege.... Let us encourage one another with visions of a shared future. And let us bring all the grit and openheartedness and creative spirit we can muster to gather together and build that future."

Writes Norman Lear, on his 100th birthday, in "On My 100th Birthday, Reflections on Archie Bunker and Donald Trump" (NYT)



"When my predecessor got COVID, he had to get helicoptered to Walter Reed Medical Center. He was severely ill."

"Thankfully, he recovered. When I got COVID, I worked from upstairs in the White House...the difference is vaccinations, of course."

Here are 18 beautiful photographs of the beautiful house Brad Pitt just bought for $40 million.


Well spent money! I approve!

The crap some rich people buy. Nice discernment by Brad. I'm reading "Brad Pitt buys $40m ‘DL James House’ in California" (London Times). 

The DL James House, also known as Seaward, was designed by Charles Sumner Greene, a 20th-century architect...  Built on a rocky crag overlooking the coast, the luxury home — built with local sandstone and granite — is steps from the beach....

It's on a crag, but not "Over the brink of the crag of sense." It's quite sensible, for Brad. In Carmel. 

"Early in the pandemic, renters flocked to what became known as Zoom towns — midsize cities, like Boise, Spokane, and Bozeman, Mont."

"But big cities, like New York, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, found themselves on the receiving end of the exodus. Renters left those urban centers in huge numbers, untethered from their desks and any real reason to stay in expensive, cramped apartments. With vacancies soaring, landlords slashed the asking rents to attract tenants. By the middle of 2021, those deals had largely evaporated and as leases came up for renewal, rents rebounded."

Let them eat ketchup.

That's my solution. I'm reading "France’s mustard shortage fuels drama and panic in grocery stores" (WaPo). 
For some, it feels dire — a personal consequence of extreme weather that decimated mustard seed supply in and outside France....

Come on. It's not like a bread shortage. It's a condiment! It's not a staple....

Mustard is a staple of most French diets....

Or, okay, what makes a food a staple? I thought it needed to be something nourishing and foundational, like bread or rice or potatoes. But maybe if you buy it and use it all the time, it's a staple, and it's hard to understand that degree of attachment to mustard:

“This is a sauce that’s loved all over the world — and it’s ours,” Dinhut told The Post.

Dinhut — Claire Dinhut — is one of the TikTok people that seem to have motivated WaPo to cover this "panic." You can check out these videos at #mustardshortage. This post gets my "MSM reports what's in social media" tag.

"Many signs are metaphorical, linking visual objects or gestures to concepts. So when cultural shifts change the very concept of a word..."

"... a sign may no longer make sense. One example... is the word 'privilege,' which is increasingly used in discussions about which groups have more social advantage, such as white privilege or male privilege. One older sign for 'privilege' could also mean 'benefit,' 'gain,' 'credit' or 'profit.' It looks like putting a dollar into a shirt pocket. A newer sign visually represents someone being raised up, or put ahead, and is reminiscent of the ASL sign for 'inequality.'... Although the differences can sometimes lead to tension, ASL linguists emphasize that there is no right or wrong choice for a sign — because language is shaped by those who use it. The longer and more widely a sign is used, the more standardized it becomes, and ASL is still a fairly young, dynamic language...."

Also in that article: The need to sign within a smaller area around the face so it fits in Zoom.

"I'll madly live the poems I shall never write."

It's too complicated to explain how I arrived here, but I encountered this cool poem by Aldous Huxley:
Complaint of a Poet Manqué

We judge by appearance merely:
If I can't think strangely, I can at least look queerly.
So I grew the hair so long on my head
That my mother wouldn't know me,
Till a woman in a night-club said,
As I was passing by,
"Hullo, here comes Salome ..."

I looked in the dirty gilt-edged glass,
And, oh Salome; there I was—
Positively jewelled, half a vampire,
With the soul in my eyes hanging dizzily
Like the gatherer of proverbial samphire
Over the brink of the crag of sense,
Looking down from perilous eminence 
Into a gulf of windy night.
And there's straw in my tempestuous hair,
And I'm not a poet: but never despair!
I'll madly live the poems I shall never write.

Delightful exuberant charming art or endless mindless straining for attention?

I'm stuck in a marijuana-addled cycle of doom.

Here's what I've been spending time on. Let me quote from the bottom of a post of mine from August 5, 2017, "A corporation buys a whole town in California, and the plan is to make it all about marijuana," which, at the moment, "does not exist":
UPDATE: Blogger unpublished this post and told me "Your content has violated our Illegal activities policy." This post is about a news item that appeared in NPR. Reports about crime are not illegal! 
UPDATE 2: Blogger reevaluated this post and sent me email that said:

"Airline lounges, bastions of civilization in airport terminals that are now often overstuffed with irritated passengers, thanks to flight delays and cancellations..."

"... have long been the retreat of the frequent-flying elite, forward-class ticket holders and those with expensive credit cards. Now, with leisure travelers leading the recovery of the airline industry as business traffic lags, some clubs have made it easier for relatively infrequent fliers to claim a few predeparture perks, while others — including Delta Sky Club, which adopted a new rule that no user may enter the club more than three hours ahead of their scheduled flight — grapple with growing pains.... Historically, legacy carriers... have operated lounges for passengers flying in first and business classes.... Increasingly, lounge users are not airline devotees, but holders of expensive credit cards.... 'Everybody has some kind of privilege now with Amex or miles or buying in,' said Patrick Rollo of Providence, R.I., who travels frequently for his work in real estate. 'So, everybody’s going to the lounge.'"

July 26, 2022

Sunrise — 5:50.



"I am Kamala Harris, my pronouns are she and her, and I am a woman sitting at the table wearing a blue suit."

I do not know the context, but that happened today. I'd just like to say that if she's trying to display respect for the new "pronouns" convention, she's doing a terrible job. To follow "My pronouns are she and her" with "I am a woman sitting at the table wearing a blue suit" is like saying "My pronouns are she and her — duh!"

ADDED: Now, I'm remembering the viral Microsoft clip from last year:

The idea there, we were told, was to be inclusive toward the visually impaired.

"Parents have hopes and dreams, right, with their kids, from the time that they’re born and they’re creeping and crawling and walking and falling over and walking again..."

"... and all the things that they learn right through their teens and into becoming adults. We have hopes and dreams. First of all, obviously, we hope right from the beginning, it’s all about having a healthy child.... It’s about them being healthy.... We’re hoping that they find their way, find opportunity, they find inspiration. And as they grow and as they get a little older, we also hope and pray they’re going to find that one true love so that they have the opportunity to experience that: Someone to grow old with. So we’re just really thankful that you’re here. It actually goes beyond that, as parents. We love it when they find their one true love, especially when they become a part of our families then. That’s what we’re rooting for. We’ve been fortunate with three sons, and [REDACTED]’s done a great job of adding to the family. Every kid showed up through cesarean section so it wasn’t all pleasant, right! So this has been a really good experience, especially for Penny, to have a new son enter the family! So we’re just blessed, and we just want to say thank you to everyone here as part of the celebration."

Said Congressman Glenn Thompson at the wedding of his son, quoted in "Listen To The Speech A Republican Lawmaker Gave At His Gay Son’s Wedding/Days After Voting Against Marriage Equality/'We’re just blessed, and we just want to say thank you to everyone here as part of the celebration,' said Rep. Glenn Thompson, three days after voting against codifying marriage equality in federal law" (BuzzFeedNews).

Thompson was "one of 157 House Republicans who voted against the Respect for Marriage Act, which acts as a failsafe in case the Supreme Court reverses itself on marriage equality." 

Sunrise — 5:47.


Not sunrise yet, but shoe-rise:


"I was introduced to Jack Powers during his final month of nearly 33 years spent in prison. A former bank robber, Mr. Powers spent over two decades in solitary confinement...."

"Today, he is a reflection of all of his life experiences — a profoundly changed man, an author, a mourning father and a loving son, and a critical voice in the anti-solitary confinement and prison reform movements. It was a privilege to be present with him as he navigated his first hours of freedom — opening himself up to the lens of our camera, despite the deluge of emotion and stimuli that surrounded him."

I highly recommend the 13-minute documentary, which simply shows Powers on the first day out of prison:

"This was a personal problem and not for public consumption. With the exception of Ivanka, Avi, Cassidy and Mulvaney, I didn’t tell anyone at the White House — including the president."

Writes Jared Kushner, quoted in "Kushner Says He Was Treated for Thyroid Cancer While in White House/In a memoir to be published next month, former President Donald Trump’s son-in-law wrote that he wanted the diagnosis and treatment kept quiet" (NYT).
“The day before the surgery, Trump called me into the Oval Office and motioned for his team to close the door. ‘Are you nervous about the surgery?’ he asked,” Mr. Kushner wrote. 
“How do you know about it?” Mr. Kushner responded. 
“I’m the president,” Mr. Trump replied, according to Mr. Kushner. “I know everything. I understand that you want to keep these things quiet. I like to keep things like this to myself as well. You’ll be just fine. Don’t worry about anything with work. We have everything covered here.”

I’m the president... I know everything. 

Sunrise — 5:35.



"Some people in the US are rushing to get sterilized after the Roe v. Wade ruling."

That's the headline at CNN.

The evidence: "several gynecologists tell CNN they've seen an increase in people requesting tubal ligation." So... several gynecologists. Noted.

But there's an anecdote about a woman who's finding it difficult to get the surgery:

"Manna walked past a 'trail closed' sign and made his way down the path for about 10 or 15 minutes, looking left and right for any sign of the child."

"Near the end of the trail, he said, he caught a glimpse of water through the trees. 'I sprinted down to it and I saw there was a stream, and I saw a T-shirt and a diaper floating in it... My heart dropped.'... He ran down the stream to look for her and ended up in a marsh. There was a naked child splashing in it. 'She was playing in the water, and it was up to her waist.... I called out to her, but I didn’t want to scream, because I thought that would scare her. She was walking toward deeper water that was about 10 feet out, so I told her to stop.' When the girl didn’t listen to him, Manna said, he quickly peeled off his shoes and socks and waded out to her. She was about 30 feet away, he said. 'It was a real muddy marsh — my feet started sinking into the bottom like [it was] quicksand... When I reached her, I picked her up by the armpits, held her as high as I could and brought her back to land.'"

Sunrise — 5:14.


"For there are mystically in our faces certain Characters that carry in them the motto of our Souls, wherein he that cannot read A.B.C. may read our natures."

Wrote the physician-philosopher Sir Thomas Browne in Religio Medici (1643), quoted in the Wikipedia article "Physiognomy." And in his Christian Morals (circa 1675):
Since the Brow speaks often true, since Eyes and Noses have Tongues, and the countenance proclaims the heart and inclinations; let observation so far instruct thee in Physiognomical lines ... we often observe that Men do most act those Creatures, whose constitution, parts, and complexion do most predominate in their mixtures. This is a corner-stone in Physiognomy ... there are therefore Provincial Faces, National Lips and Noses, which testify not only the Natures of those Countries, but of those which have them elsewhere.

For a modern example of physiognomy as a science, Wikipedia points to "Kim Jong-Un: The Face Tells All" (preserved in the Wayback Machine)("So as soon as Kim Jong-un's photo was revealed, South Korean physiognomists got right down to business analyzing every feature to gauge his personality and character").

July 25, 2022

Sunrise — 5:30.



Talk about whatever you want in the comments.

"In all, with these women, [Elon Musk] had eight children: with Wilson his first child died of sudden infant death syndrome, then he had twins, then triplets."

"With Grimes he had a boy named X and a girl nicknamed Y.... [H]e had twins with Shivon Zilis, an executive at one of his companies. These secret twins were born weeks before the birth of Y. Even before this month was over The Wall Street Journal alleged that Musk had an affair with Nicole Shanahan, wife of the Google co-founder Sergey Brin, which Musk took to Twitter to strongly deny. 'I’ve only seen Nicole twice in three years, both times with many other people around. Nothing romantic,' he tweeted, noting that he’d been at a party with Brin the night before. Musk even responded on Twitter with this key data point: 'Haven’t even had sex in ages (sigh).'...  There was once a bestselling self-help book called Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, which posited the rather reductionist theory that men failed in love because their 'male trait' logical geek brains could not comprehend us soft-headed emotional women. Musk, who identified himself as having Asperger’s syndrome last year, famously wants to move to Mars...."

"Morgan: A Suitable Case For Treatment" was a very 60s film.

It's what I think of first when I think about David Warner, so let me put it here to memorialize the actor, who died yesterday at the age of 80. Here's the NYT obituary, "David Warner, Actor Who Played Villains and More, Dies at 80/He seemed destined for a major stage career but by the early 1970s was focused on film and TV. His credits included 'TRON,' 'Titanic' and hundreds more."

Here's the scene where he takes his mother to visit the grave of Karl Marx:

"'I don’t recall Roe being an issue in any such conversations I had concerning [the] creation of Fed Soc,' [Theodore] Olson wrote to me...."

"'It was all about creating a forum/venue for debate. Not taking sides on any particular issue.' And yet Roe symbolized something to the Federalist Society’s founding members. 'For someone like me, a lawyer, Roe was really not about abortion,' John McGinnis, a conservative law professor at Northwestern University, said... '[It]was the culmination of the Court diverging from the text of the Constitution and essentially—this is not too strong of a word—fabricating the law.'...  During the next four decades, the conservative legal movement set about radically changing the way that the law was talked about. They promoted a mode of legal interpretation that was purportedly value-neutral, based on their understanding of what the Founders wrote....  Some people in the conservative legal movement are more philosophical about the consequences of overturning Roe. In their view, the error of the original ruling—a 'constitutional deformity,' as one Federalist Society insider put it—has been corrected. Now the democratic process begins...."

Joni Mitchell sings at the 2022 Newport Folk Festival.


Here's Paul Simon:

Just 5 TikToks to amuse you. Let me know what you like.

1. I'll get that overpriced pastry with my long fingers. 

2. Underwater photography in the Everglades, complete with inert alligator.

3. Gimme a kiss? Okay!

4. Acting out the personality of various social media platforms.

5. The Story of the Wisdom Tooth.

"I humbly beg forgiveness for the evil committed by so many Christians against the Indigenous peoples... I am sorry... I ask forgiveness, in particular..."

"... for the ways in which many members of the church and of religious communities cooperated, not least through their indifference, in projects of cultural destruction and forced assimilation promoted by the governments of that time, which culminated in the system of residential schools.... It is necessary to remember how the policies of assimilation and enfranchisement, which also included the residential school system, were devastating for the people of these lands... I thank you for making me appreciate this."

The female black swallowtail.


Papilio polyxenes.

[T]he black swallowtail [engages] in a lek mating system. These butterflies satisfy the four criteria for lekking behavior... (1) there is no male parental care, (2) males aggregate at specific sites for display, (3) the only resource females find at the lek are the males themselves and (4) females can select their mates.

There were no males around yesterday at 4:26 pm when I caught this lady lolling on a redbud leaf just outside our door.

IN THE COMMENTS: Fritz says, "Alas, this is not an actual Black Swallowtail. It's a swallowtail, and it's black, but it is the black morph of the Tiger Swallowtail...."

"This isn’t simply about being fair to [Kamala] Harris or elevating her like some other vice presidents have been elevated..."

"... Americans deserve to know and see that they have a vice president who is trusted by White House and administration officials to take over, should anything happen to the president. Instead, we have mostly seen the opposite. She is hampered by Mr. Biden’s unpopularity, to be sure, but she has also not become the successful public face on any major issue.... Mr. Biden’s declarations that he will run again seem only to encourage his opponents.... Democrats, if not other Americans, would benefit if Ms. Harris was able to bring a compelling and varied set of experiences and ideas from her time in the White House to a competitive Democratic presidential primary race, giving more solid choices to voters and adding substantively to the debate. The 2024 presidential campaign in any case is likely to be unusually ugly, fought not only over familiar contentious issues, but with many Republicans willing to repeat, without shame or embarrassment, Donald Trump’s lies about the validity of the 2020 election — and thus the legitimacy of American democracy. ... Mr. Biden must not only find a way to infuse his party with enthusiasm and fresh purpose, but fulfill an urgent obligation... to hasten, and advance, the education, and authority, of his vice president."

Writes Jeffrey Frank, author of "Ike and Dick: Portrait of a Strange Political Marriage," in "Kamala Harris Is Stuck" (NYT).

"A [Washington] Post analysis also found an increase in grooming chatter... on platforms favored by right-wing activists..."

"By then, Christopher Rufo, a right-wing influencer credited with spearheading attacks on critical race theory, had turned his attention to grooming, his Twitter account shows. 'Grooming has a range of definitions: one can be groomed into an ideology, groomed into a gender identity, or groomed for physical abuse,' he wrote in one April Twitter post. Another April post described public schools as 'hunting grounds for sexual predators.' It linked to an essay he wrote citing a 2004 study by scholar Charol Shakeshaft, who estimated that 10 percent of K-12 students receive unwanted sexual attention from a school employee. In an interview, Shakeshaft told The Post that she is 'distraught' that her research has been used to justify claims that sex education amounts to grooming. She supports teaching comprehensive sex education. 'It gives the child a set of tools to help keep themselves safe,' she said...."

From a Washington Post article with a convoluted (and misleading) headline: "Claim that sex ed ‘grooms’ kids jolted Nebraska politics a year before it swept the nation/The unsubstantiated claim led to a backlash against sex ed that helped topple local Republican Party leaders and propelled a wave of far-right candidates for local and statewide school board."

Notice that the headline just says "sex ed" — twice — and not "comprehensive sex education." I think what's upsetting people isn't "sex ed" per se but a particular kind of sex ed.

"Interviewers have come to me for the inside story because there must be something mysterious or controversial about Harpo."

"I disappoint them with the plain truth that he was exactly what you would hope he was. A simple, uncomplicated, beautiful, funny soul, who loved and cherished his friends and family."

The New York Times gives you your choice of rabbit hole.

It's quite the choice. Who are you?

You must fall down one rabbit hole or the other. You pick:
pollcode.com free polls

ADDED: From the Merrick Garland article, a quote from Garland:
"There is a lot of speculation about what the Justice Department is doing, what’s it not doing, what our theories are and what our theories aren’t, and there will continue to be that speculation. That’s because a central tenet of the way in which the Justice Department investigates and a central tenet of the rule of law is that we do not do our investigations in public."
That is, implicitly, a criticism of the January 6th Committee. They're doing their "investigation" in public — straining to make it as public as possible and presenting it to the nation as an ongoing TV show — and pontificating about the rule of law. Garland discreetly prods us to notice his disapproval.

As for the conversation pit article, I marveled over the details of the article, then puzzled over the first sentence:
Betcha Dela Cruz-Atabug didn’t want a normal living room.
Are they betting me that someone named Dela didn't want a normal living room, or is her first name Betcha? I don't know, but...
Rock Herzog, an interior designer in Los Angeles... said that the conversation pit is the perfect metaphor for the milieu of the times. 
“Not only are we physically separated from one another, we are culturally, socially and politically separated from each other, and the end to that separateness is not in sight... So the conversation pit is this fantasy of ‘what would it be like if we were together again and having a good time?’”

July 24, 2022

At the Clay Pot Café...


... you can talk about anything.

I've got 6 TikToks to amuse you for 10 minutes this afternoon. Let me know what you like.

1. The baby emu shows you all its tricks.

2. Maybe I'd cook a potato like this.

3. A kid with amazing bike skills.

4. An actress with amazing cupcake-eating skills.

5. The hangry baby consumes mass quantities.

6. What it's like to go hiking with an L.A. man — the scintillating conversation will blow your mind.

"Whether or not to take a spouse’s name is a personal decision. But the personal is political — now more than ever, and especially for celebrities."

"Like every star, or every mortal with an Instagram account, Ms. Affleck has constructed a persona for public consumption. She has used her platforms to tell the tale of the upward trajectory of a strong, independent woman, a woman who has gone from backup dancer to global superstar. Her brand is intense competence and hard-core self-sufficiency — 'in control and loving it,' as she sings in 'Jenny From the Block.' Whoever Jennifer Affleck is in her private life, J. Lo is a woman who might love a man but doesn’t need one. Imagine if, in her newsletter, she had said, 'I love my husband. Right now, though, women are under attack, and I won’t participate in a tradition that’s historically rooted in women relinquishing their identities and their legal standing. I’m giving my husband my heart, but I’m keeping my name.' Imagine if Ben Affleck had become Ben Lopez."

I'm reading "Why It Matters That J-Lo Is Now J-Aff" by Jennifer Weiner (NYT). 

Martha Stewart kept peacocks and there were also 6 "large and aggressive" coyotes. "Let's Get It On," indeed.

This is a metaphor, but for what?

6 coyotes killed 6 peafowl, and there are still more peafowl chez Martha. 

Martha knows the Marvin Gaye anthem to sexuality pairs horribly with predation, but it's the video she has of the proud Blue Boy, who is no more.

IN THE COMMENTS: Wince quotes Martha's "RIP beautiful BlueBoy" and links to "Well, he made it. Blue Boy is dead":

Rouge droplet?

I'm trying to read "Astronauts should not masturbate in zero gravity, NASA scientist says" (NY Post):
Astronauts have been warned against masturbating in space over fears female astronauts could get impregnated by stray fluids. There are strict guidelines over “alone-time” onboard in zero gravity. 
Scientists have warned even the slightest rouge droplet could cause chaos on board.

Rouge droplet? In space, is semen red? No, it's just the kind of typo spell-checkers don't catch, the funniest ones, the ones that are other words, like "rouge" for "rogue."

Conan O’Brien was interviewing a NASA engineer, who said, “Three female astronauts can be impregnated by the same man on the same session … it finds its way.” 

The stunning ignorance of Matt Gaetz — smugly palming off completely sexist bad comedy. Does he think he's Andrew Dice Clay... in the 80s?

At least "look like a thumb" is an original image. But he's using a very old idea about feminists: They're the women who are so unattractive that they can't succeed in the traditional feminine way, which is by partnering with a man. And it's creepy to use the words "Nobody wants to impregnate you" when the format of your humor suggests that you're trying to say "Nobody wants to fuck you."