September 3, 2022

Sunrise — 6:19, 6:20.



Talk about whatever you like in the comments.

It's Saturday night, I think we'll take it up to 11 TikToks. Some people love it!

2. The 87-year-old French grandfather makes lunch.

3. So many ways to react to the bike path shout "On your left."

5. Finding and restoring mahogany in an old house. 

8. One song, one singer — lots of different styles.

9. Three young ladies play "These Boots Are Made For Walking" on upright bass, cello, and acoustic guitar.

10. Three other young ladies respond to a request that they sing "Go to Sleep" (from "Brother, Where Art Thou"?).

11. Back when he used to get invited to parties, he'd answer the question "How are you doing?" with a short quote from an obscure poet.

Where I am, I hear the pre-game partying — it's Wisconsin vs. Illinois State at 6 — but, meanwhile, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania...

"I don’t care if you like me, I am not raising you for YOU to like ME. I am raising YOU, for ME to like you."

Said Julio Sandoval, telling parents what he says to his own kids, quoted in "‘Literally kidnapping’: Teens taken against their will to boarding schools across US" (Kansas City Star).

Did you know we the People have a "civil religion" based on the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and various beliefs, symbols, and traditions?

That's a theory propounded by sociologist Robert Bellah in 1967 (Wikipedia). I've been thinking about  whether President Biden's recent speech — "from sacred ground in America, Independence Hall" — fits into this theory. 

There was a lot of talk about soul — one big soul— "The soul of America is defined by the sacred proposition that all are created equal in the image of God." And a "sacred flame" of liberty that "lit our way" and "still burns" and "will guide us forward." It took a Biblical tone against those who "live not in the light of truth but in the shadow of lies."

There's lots of material at that Wikipedia article, I'll just copy the 14 principle tenets identified by political sociologist Anthony Squiers:

"One night, [our housemate] and my boyfriend started bickering about which Lorde album is better..."

"... the first one or the second one. This kind of argument can be entertaining if the participants are making funny or interesting points, but they weren’t, and they wouldn’t drop it. The roommate was getting louder and louder; my boyfriend was repeating himself. It was Friday; I was tired. I snapped and said, loudly, 'This conversation is dumb, and I don’t want to keep having it.' I knew it was rude, but I thought it was expedient, eldest-sibling rude. So I was sort of shocked when the roommate got up without a word, went into his room, slammed the door, and never spoke to me again.... [One] time, I was on a Zoom call in the living room and heard, from behind his closed bedroom door, the Avril Lavigne song 'Girlfriend,' the chorus of which is a peppy 'Hey, hey, you, you, I don’t like your girlfriend,' playing at a pointed volume. Eventually, my boyfriend texted him to see if he would talk about the situation. He replied that there wasn’t much to say, except one thing: 'Your girlfriend is toxic,' he warned, followed by an emoji of a monkey covering its face."

Writes Kaitlyn Tiffany, in "That’s It. You’re Dead to Me. Suddenly everyone is 'toxic'" (The Atlantic).

In the aftermath of Biden's speech, I wanted to watch "The Architecture of Doom" once again.

This is an endlessly interesting documentary about Nazi aesthetics, free in entirety, at least for now, on YouTube: here.

Sorry, I can't embed it. Here's what Wikipedia has to say about the critical reception:

"I waited until morning to listen to Biden's nighttime speech... I went out for my sunrise run and thought about what I'd heard. I'll tell you some more about that later."

I wrote that yesterday in a post I published at 9:58 a.m. — a post that combed through the text of the speech. It's now a day later and I haven't followed through, and I could just forget about. Would anyone remember? Is anyone thinking, yeah, what did she think about, while running and viewing the sunrise, about a speech she'd listened to but not yet read? It's highly unlikely, and "I'll tell you some more about that later" isn't even a promise.

We're having a big thunderstorm here at that moment:

I'm thinking of keeping my non-promise. I made notes to myself — audio notes — as I was watching the sunrise yesterday, and I've listened to the notes and can see there is something I wanted to say that I haven't said yet. Let me get something to eat and settle in and see if I can find a way to put it in writing without it seeming too... internal.
ADDED: This is a rewriting and an expansion of my audio notes to myself. 

"the sluttification of timothée chalamet."

The moment you realize that little genius of yours is a psychopath.

Some parent writes to the advice columnist at Slate:
Well, J likes to play with a train set, and after dinner, I was playing with J, and I thought to try out the trolley problem. We got some Lego figures, put them on the tracks, and I told J that the train was going to hit these five people, but J could switch tracks if J is willing to have the other person crushed. J looked at me, then at the tracks, and then very seriously picked up the lone figure and put it on the track with the other five. Then J took the train, ran over all six of them, turned to me, and said, very seriously, “it was a bad accident.”

I'm just kidding. I don't think the kid is a psychopath. I think he's taking his cue from Mother. She set up the carnage. It was a carnage-setting-up game. It's not like young people in a college philosophy class, where they've all be cued to step up to the highest level of morality or to choose between morality and pragmatism and then talk about why. You might just as well suspect your child of psychopathy because after he builds a tall building out of blocks he takes his toy airplane and crashes into it, like a 9/11 terrorists, though only you know about the 9/11 terrorists. He's never heard of such a thing. Unless you've cruelly burdened him with such knowledge. What is he, 3?

September 2, 2022

Sunrise — 6:24, 6:29, 6:31.




Talk about anything you like in the comments.

"Why weren’t we slowing down?... Then I saw it, the parachute. Red like a warning, it whipped before me in a tangled mess. It hadn’t opened."

"I screamed at the instructor, desperate as an indescribable wave of panic consumed me. He didn’t answer and I wondered if he was even attached to me any more. I couldn’t turn my head against the velocity of the wind, I could only watch as the Earth seemed to come forwards to meet me.... The gravity of the situation dawned on me as quickly as it was pulling me down – I was about to die. My desire to live pounded through my veins with increasing urgency and I felt fear beyond anything I had ever experienced before.... I imagined the sandwich I’d made earlier that morning waiting for me on the ground. The clothes in the washing machine that would never get a chance to dry.... I wondered what being dead would feel like; I wondered if I would know that I had died. And then I realised that the fear coursing through my body was the last thing I would ever feel. My death was so close I could almost touch it. 3, 2, 1. I hit the ground and the force was strong enough to alter an entire universe. I wasn’t dead.... How could I not be dead? I wasn’t even unconscious.... then suddenly I understood.... My body was ruined. My one body. I had to live in this body for the rest of my life and I had destroyed it...."

Here are 7 TikToks I've chosen to launch you into the long weekend. Let me know what you like best

 1. Alice in Wonderland and autism acceptance.

2. The crocheted pregnant doll.

3. Interior design for the solo woman.

4. Abbey (from "Love on the Spectrum") felt the allure of the SpaghettiOs can, but the actual SpaghettiOs are a different matter.

5. Now, what to wear to the beach?

6. Do celebrities like it when you impersonate them while standing right beside them?

7. Don't watch this one unless you have breasts and they are bothering you. Note: It's an ad! Some people love it. I'm seeing commenters who say it's the best ad they've ever seen.

“What makes this AI different is that it’s explicitly trained on current working artists. This thing wants our jobs, its actively anti-artist.”

Tweeted RJ Palmer, a digital artist, quoted in "An A.I.-Generated Picture Won an Art Prize. Artists Aren’t Happy. 'I won, and I didn’t break any rules,' the artwork’s creator says" (NYT).

Who cares about art contests? And really, who cares about the security of the careers of artists? What really matters is the quality of the viewers' experience. 

"Presidents rarely make speeches during prime TV viewing hours, and typically only do so to address a national crises or matter of exceptional urgency."

"The networks, in turn, typically carry presidential speeches when the White House requests the time and after previewing the president’s remarks. However, they have passed on speeches that were part of campaign rallies or events, or when the subject was deemed insufficiently important or newsworthy.... People involved in negotiations over Thursday’s address said the networks deemed Biden’s remarks as 'political' in nature and therefore decided not to televise it. These people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive discussions, cited the speech’s criticism of Trump — Biden’s possible political opponent in 2024 — and its timing two months before the midterm elections... The non-coverage stands in contrast to the three networks’ decision in June to preempt their entertainment programs to air the first hearing of the House select committee’s investigation of the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot...."

All 3 networks judged it too political to deserve live coverage in prime time? And yet the Marines were there, attesting to its nonpolitical nature!  

Farhi supplies this hilarious tweet from polisci prof Brendan Nyhan: "'The networks refusing to cover Biden’s speech (presumably because it was going to be critical of Trump and/or not newsworthy enough) is precisely the problem' confronting democracy." No, it's precisely the separation of government and journalism we need in a healthy democracy. 

Male singers, their microphones, and their gender.

The New Yorker is featuring an old article from 1997: "Sinatra’s Song/What is it about Frank Sinatra that no one else can touch? He could swing, break hearts, and behave badly, and he made his voice an instrument that kept reinventing American music" (by John Lahr). I found this quite interesting:

"Will did the impression of a perfect person for 30 years, and he ripped his mask off and showed us he was as ugly as the rest of us."

"Whatever the consequences are… I hope he doesn’t put his mask back on again, and lets his real face breathe. I see myself in both men."

Said Chris Rock, getting around to doing humor about the Will Smith incident, reported in The Daily Mail.

Very gentle humor. Very unifying. What a sweetheart!

"MAGA Republicans seemed to think that the scary setting for Biden’s alarming message was somehow beneficial to them..."

"... and they soon began sharing images of the dramatic black-and-neon-red scene. 'I can’t believe this is a real photograph,' J. D. Vance, the Trump-backed Republican nominee for Senate in Ohio, tweeted. 'It depicts the president of our nation, as he took to the airwaves and spoke about his fellow citizens as if they were sewer rats.' Rick Scott, the Republican Senate campaign chief, tweeted the photo and dismissed Biden as a 'raving lunatic' who 'attacked half the country tonight.' Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, called it a 'hate speech.' Over on Fox News, Tucker Carlson was very, very angry about the 'blood-red Nazi background' and the Marine honor guard in front of Independence Hall, a setting that he termed a 'complete outrage.' Even before Biden spoke, Kevin McCarthy—the House Minority Leader, whose slavish devotion earned him the sobriquet 'my Kevin' from Trump—gave a prebuttal, in which he said that the President should 'apologize for slandering tens of millions of Americans as fascists.'"

Writes Susan B. Glasser in "Joe Biden’s This-Is-Not-Normal Speech on the Rising Danger of MAGA Trumpists/The President calls out Trump and his Republicans, and they see red" (The New Yorker).

Glasser's penultimate sentence: "How telling it is that, when the President of the United States today speaks of threats to the nation, he is warning not about adversaries abroad but the danger within."

She means that to read pro-Biden, strangely enough. 

Well, you can teach a law school class in just about anything — for years, at my law school we jokingly called idiosyncratic seminars "Law and My Ego" — so...

... I shrugged when I saw the New York Magazine article, "Elon Musk Has So Many Lawsuits They’re Teaching a Class in Law School."

It's not a question of how many lawsuits you've got going, but whether any given law professor gets inspired to build a course around your lawsuits — or lawsuit. Even a single lawsuit could form the basis of a course.

What makes it interesting enough to blog — any given article can inspire a blogger to write a post — is that the lawprof is Stephen M. Bainbridge. His course is “Law of Elon Musk.” He explains:
Tesla’s acquisition of SolarCity is an excellent case to teach students. And then there is a pending case on his Tesla CEO-compensation package, which is a great case because it’s what will strike the students as an egregious amount of money — billions of dollars in CEO compensation — in excess of anything we’ve ever seen. It’s a great case to talk about: Is this a situation in which it would be rational for a company to put together that sort of a compensation package?...

"... I give you my word as a Biden..."

I just wanted to break out that one phrase from last night's speech:
Even in this moment with all the challenges we face, I give you my word as a Biden, I’ve never been more optimistic about America’s future.

Who are the other Bidens who have contributed to this special reputation for trustworthiness? Hunter?

In my entire life, I have never considered using the expression "I give you my word as a" something — not I give you my word as an Althouse, not I give you my word as a law professor, not I give you my word as a blogger, not I give you my word as a member of the cruelly neutral moderate mainstream.

In fact, I must say, I regard all phrases in that category — I give you my word, I'm telling you the truth, as God is my witness — as reason to mistrust the speaker. 

ADDED: Reading after publishing, I rushed back in to delete my own phrase "I must say." It's reason to suspect bullshit. I left it in as a demonstration of... whatever.

Biden's disturbing and incoherent speech.

I waited until morning to listen to Biden's nighttime speech, and I wrote about it in the previous post before studying the text. I went out for my sunrise run and thought about what I'd heard. I'll tell you some more about that later. This post is to force myself through the text and to calmly test the emotional reaction I had listening and then remembering what I'd heard. 

Standing before a glowing red background and demonizing "MAGA Republicans," Biden called up images of fire:
We, the people, have burning inside of each of us the flame of liberty that was lit here at Independence Hall.... That sacred flame still burns.... 

Fire, if it's the right fire, is good. It's sacred. But then there's bad fire, the political passion coming from the part of the country that "is not normal," the people who are not "mainstream"

I’ve been able to work with these mainstream Republicans. But there’s no question that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans....  MAGA force... promote authoritarian leaders, and they fanned the flames of political violence that are a threat to our personal rights, to the pursuit of justice, to the rule of law, to the very soul of this country....

Why did Biden use "Hail to the Chief" as a prelude to what was a hardcore political speech?

I'll post separately about the speech. I mean, I can sum it up in 7 words: We the People, but not you people. 

But first, I want to talk about the use of "Hail to the Chief," which struck me as a violation of protocol. Was that inspired by Nancy Pelosi? Here she is on August 13th:


Biden used to have a self-effacing attitude about "Hail to the Chief." At a CNN town hall in July 2021, he said the first time it was played for him, "I went, 'Where is he?' It’s a great tune but you feel a little self-conscious."

That was last year. Now, he and/or his people have decided to forefront the grandiose tune. Why?

The tune, Wikipedia tells us, was originally the musical setting to some lines from Sir Walter Scott's "Lady of the Lake." A character named Roderick Dhu arrived by boat and was hailed as "the evergreen pine" — "Heaven send it happy dew/Earth lend it sap anew."

September 1, 2022

At the Sunrise Café...



... you can talk about whatever you want.

"She has published a 1,000-page self-insert fanfiction where she's the victim—it's the kind of behavior that you'd expect from a petulant teenager..."

"... not a grown adult with immense wealth and power. I have no idea what she expected, but seeing the internet fill with jokes about the book has been an absolute joy after all the harm she has caused my community over the past several years."

Said Lark Malakai Grey, "co-host of the queer Harry Potter podcast 'The Gayly Prophet,'" quoted in "J.K. Rowling's new book, about a transphobe who faces wrath online, raises eyebrows" (NPR).

Here's the book: "The Ink Black Heart."

"A survey of mothers from 65 to 75 years old with at least two living adult children found that about 11 percent were estranged from a child...."

"One of the downsides of the careful, conscientious, anxious parenting that has become common in the United States is that our children sometimes get too much of us—not only our time and dedication, but our worry, our concern. Sometimes the steady current of our movement toward children creates a wave so powerful that it threatens to push them off their own moorings; it leaves them unable to find their footing until they’re safely beyond the parent’s reach. Sometimes they need to leave the parent to find themselves.... In my experience, part of what confuses today’s parents of adult children is how little power they have when their child decides to end contact. From the adult child’s perspective, there might be much to gain from an estrangement: the liberation from those perceived as hurtful or oppressive, the claiming of authority in a relationship, and the sense of control over which people to keep in one’s life.... [O]ur American love affair with the needs and rights of the individual conceals how much sorrow we create for those we leave behind. We may see cutting off family members as courageous rather than avoidant or selfish. We can convince ourselves that it’s better to go it alone than to do the work it takes to resolve conflict....."

Canada geese demonstrate the confounding difficulty of eating an apple.

The frustration is palpable. I'm no fan of the Canada goose, but it almost makes you want to cut up an apple for them, doesn't it?

Video by Meade from a mountain bike trail in Wisconsin.

Here are 10 TikToks that jumped out at me in the last 24 hours. Let me know what you like best.

1. We seem to have found the kid in the world who is the happiest about going to school.

2. Meanwhile, Baby Trump has some problems with school.

3. Ricky Gourmet hits a mysterious vibe.

4. An impression of the vocal stylings of liberal podcasters.

5. Looking through a book of photographs by Joel Sternfeld.

6. The church with 2 mailboxes.

7. How to use the magic phrase "Some people love it."

8. All the things from the 90s this teenager cannot understand.

9. A 1-minute review of 70s fashion.

10. Epic adulting life hack: Accept mediocrity!

"Unfortunately, many of the very people responsible for losing the Senate last cycle are now trying to stop us from winning the majority this time by trash-talking our Republican candidates...."

"[W]hen you complain and lament that we have 'bad candidates,' what you are really saying is that you have contempt for the voters who chose them....  Much of Washington's chattering class disrespects and secretly (or not so secretly) loathes Republican voters. These self-appointed 'smart guys' in Washington think they (not the voters) should be able to choose our candidates.... While the media and Washington want to try and tear down our candidates, voters put forward incredible people to serve in the Senate: a world-renowned doctor, a Heisman trophy winner and successful businessman, a small businessman and congressman from a farming community, a bestselling author who has shown the struggles in America from drug addiction, a successful tech entrepreneur, an Iraq War veteran who served two terms as state attorney general, a successful construction company entrepreneur, and a nurse who has fought for change at the VA so our heroes get the care they deserve.... [W]e will take control of the Senate this fall.... And when we do, we will be in a position to stop this confused and ridiculous president from further damaging our great country...."

Writes Senator Rick Scott in "Washington versus Republican voters" (Washington Examiner).

Is ranked-choice voting more of a scam than other kinds of voting?

"Merit demands excellence and rigor. It is not, as its critics often insist, an elitist, classist or racist value."

"It acknowledges that all kids have talents. Even though talents are not distributed equally, it is our obligation as parents and teachers to nurture each child’s individual spark and make sure that all children have the chance to be the best that they can be. I learned that on the Morgantown High volleyball team. I was never going to make the Olympic team. But Coach Rice encouraged me to understand that the most valiant, healthy challenge is a personal one, to strive to do and be my best. Merit should never have become a battlefront in the culture wars. I understand the impulse to declare the system rigged when so many children, particularly Black and Hispanic children, have fallen behind academically. But the answer to racial disparities in math and reading scores and advanced academic enrollment is not to blame the game and re-rig it to favor outcomes that please certain political constituencies but do little to make life better for struggling children...."

Writes Asra Q. Nomani in "School Is for Merit" (one of a series of 12 essays in the NYT answering the question "What is school for?").

"The Pandemic Erased Two Decades of Progress in Math and Reading."

"The results of a national test showed just how devastating the last two years have been for 9-year-old schoolchildren, especially the most vulnerable."

In math, Black students lost 13 points, compared with five points among white students, widening the gap between the two groups. Research has documented the profound effect school closures had on low-income students and on Black and Hispanic students, in part because their schools were more likely to continue remote learning for longer periods of time.

"[S]overeignty is vested in the people, and that sovereignty confers on the people the right to choose freely their representatives to the National Government."

"... 'Robert Livingston . . . endorsed this same fundamental principle: "The people are the best judges who ought to represent them. To dictate and control them, to tell them whom they shall not elect, is to abridge their natural rights."' Similarly, we observed that '[b]efore the New York convention . . . , Hamilton emphasized: "The true principle of a republic is, that the people should choose whom they please to govern them. Representation is imperfect in proportion as the current of popular favor is checked. This great source of free government, popular election, should be perfectly pure, and the most unbounded liberty allowed."' Quoting from the statement made in 1807 by the Chairman of the House Committee on Elections, we noted that 'restrictions upon the people to choose their own representatives must be limited to those "absolutely necessary for the safety of the society."' Thus... we agreed with the sentiment expressed on behalf of Wilkes' admission to Parliament: '"That the right of the electors to be represented by men of their own choice, was so essential for the preservation of all their other rights, that it ought to be considered as one of the most sacred parts of our constitution.'" .... [It is the] 'fundamental principle of our representative democracy . . . "that the people should choose whom they please to govern them."'"

So wrote Justice Stevens in the plurality opinion in U.S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton (93-1456), 514 U.S. 779 (1995)(citations omitted), the case that rejected a state's power to impose term limits on its members of Congress. The opinion draws heavily on Powell v. McCormack, 395 U.S. 486, 547 (1969), a case that rejected congressional power to exclude the person the people had chosen. The elite considered the man corrupt, but the people of Harlem had reelected him. 

I've been thinking about the principle expounded in these 2 cases — "the people should choose whom they please to govern them" — in the context of the present-day effort to exercise governmental power to disqualify Donald Trump as a candidate for President. 

Wisconsin breakfast.


"Suddenly, Gregson-MacLeod was a meme, embodying the app’s potential as an amplifier of melancholy...."

"TikTok is well-suited to this particular stripe of intimacy, because 'people seem to love hearing going as in-depth of someone’s life as they can,' Gregson-MacLeod said last week in a video chat from her family’s home in Inverness, in the Scottish Highlands. 'It’s a very online thing, but it’s also the same essence of what people love about people like Elliott Smith and Joni Mitchell. There are so many serious songwriters on there, but the ones that I’ve noticed doing really well are super raw, emotional and very stripped back.' Vulnerability is contagious, and TikTok... is an optimal accelerant.... [I]n its first couple of years [TikTok] was best known as an accelerant for dance trends, novelty songs and meme-able comedy, but is now just as often a home for sorrow... With her song gaining so much traction so quickly... [s]he TikToked through it, posting duets with singers covering her, answering fan questions, making new memes, taking note of the interest from people she looked up to ('fletcher and olivia o’brien now know I have an anxious attachment style I was tryna play hard to get'). On Friday, Gregson-MacLeod formally released the full song... a few days after she signed a deal with the British arm of Columbia Records."
From "Katie Gregson-MacLeod Sang About a ‘Complex’ Love. TikTok Responded. The 21-year-old Scottish folk singer-songwriter found a sudden hit by tapping into the platform’s appetite for melancholy with a striking, sorrowful chorus" (NYT). Here's Gregson-MacLeod's TikTok page. Here's the original post that is now at 7 million views. If you start there and click the "up" arrows, you'll go through the sequence of her reacting to success and doing things with it, including reacting to other TikTokers singing their versions and to the NYT article.

Listen to the "formally released" "full song" here, on YouTube. The key lyric is "I'm wearing his boxers/I'm being a good wife...." 

"I was surprised. Yeah. I thought we’d colored inside the lines. But I think if you’ve got a bunch of men and women in a boardroom talking about sexual behavior..."

"... maybe the men are going to be worried about what the women think. It’s just a weird time. It’s not like depictions of happy sexuality. It’s depictions of situations that are ambiguous. And Americans are really strange when it comes to sexual behavior, don’t you think? I don’t know why. They make more porn than anyone else in the world."

Said Andrew Dominik, the director of a new movie based on the Joyce Carol Oates novel that is based on the story of Marilyn Monroe. He's quoted in "Ana de Armas Confused by ‘Blonde’ NC-17 Rating: Other Films Are ‘More Explicit’ and ‘Have More Sexual Content’" (Variety).

You've heard of "Make America Great Again." Now, here's Destroy Wisconsin Great Again.

I'm just noticing the violent verbs in the Tim Michels ad that appeared in a sidebar (at Real Clear Politics):

Bulldoze, demolish, and hammer.

I get the metaphor — construction. But it's all in the demolition phase. Destruction, not construction, including "hammer." I know you can build things with a hammer, but "Hammer Madison Special Interests" is a picture of clobbering opponents. And he's even got the word "killing" in there. I know it's criticizing Evers for "killing" jobs, but I don't think I've ever seen a political ad with so much metaphorical violence in such a small space. 

ADDED: Another thing about the hammer image:

"It's the hammer of justice."

"We are working to figure out what a fair debate would look like with the lingering impacts of the auditory processing in mind."

"To be absolutely clear, the occasional issues he is having with auditory processing have no bearing on his ability to do the job as senator. John is healthy and fully capable of showing up and doing the work."
Since returning to in-person events, Fetterman’s speeches have been limited to about 10 minutes and are sometimes halting. He has mostly avoided public interactions with reporters and voters... 
“Can you even imagine that if you had a doctor that was mocking your illness or ridiculing that?” Fetterman said in Mercer County....

See the embed below for the video. But was Oz mocking/ridiculing his illness? Actually, no: 

August 31, 2022

At the Sunrise Café...



... you can talk about whatever you want.

"I felt cornered and powerless as law enforcement officers began questioning me while the last of my mother’s life was fading."

"I wanted to be comforting her, telling her how she was about to see her daddy and younger brother as she 'went away home,' as we say in Appalachia. Instead, without it being indicated I had any choices about when, where and how to participate, I began a series of interviews that felt mandatory and imposed on me that drew me away from the precious end of my mother’s life. And at a time when we ourselves were trying desperately to decode what might have prompted her to take her life on that day, we each shared everything we could think of about Mom, her mental illness and its agonizing history. I want to be clear that the police were simply following terrible, outdated interview procedures and methods of interacting with family members who are in shock or trauma and that the individuals in my mother’s bedroom that harrowing day were not bad or wrong.... This profoundly intimate personal and medical information does not belong in the press, on the internet or anywhere except in our memories. We have asked the court to not release these documents not because we have secrets."

Writes Ashley Judd, in an essay in the NYT.

Here are 7 TikToks to amuse me — I mean you — on this Wednesday afternoon. Let me know what you like best.

1. Broadway Barbara has a new perfume.

2. The Martha and Mary story in the manner of the Kardashians.

3. Drunk-calling the police.

4. The secret life hack for thrifting at Goodwill.

5. Your friend who refuses to talk shit. 

6. Is this suggestion that he has a long face correct?  

7. The dulcet tones of the goat.

"The spectacle of a former president facing criminal investigation raises profound questions about American democracy, and these questions demand answers."

Wrote the Editorial Board of the NYT in "Donald Trump Is Not Above the Law," which went up last Friday. I didn't read it at the time because the headline is so banal, but I looked back at it because someone told me that the NYT editors were calling for the indictment of Trump.

That's not the case. They're only saying that "If Attorney General Merrick Garland and his staff conclude that there is sufficient evidence to establish Mr. Trump’s guilt on a serious charge in a court of law, then they must seek an indictment too." That is, the editors reject the idea that there's room for discretion, for consideration of when and whether to prosecute a former President. 

"But once glasnost became official policy, once Soviet citizens could talk about whatever they wanted to talk about, factory efficiency was not their first choice of topic."

"Nor did they want to rescue the sinking ship of socialism. Instead, there was an explosion of debate and discussion about the past, about the history of mass arrests and mass murders, about the Gulag and Soviet political prisons. Historical accounts, memoirs and diaries that had been hidden in desk drawers, raced off the printing presses and became best sellers. Newspapers printed stories of sleaze and mismanagement in the economy, politics, culture, and everything else. Calls for the creation of a different kind of society, a more democratic society, a more law-abiding society, began immediately.... Contrary to the retrospective Putinist historiography now prevalent in Russia, the glasnost era was a creative, exciting, hopeful time for millions of people, even millions of Russians. Gorbachev seemed bewildered, and no wonder. Having lived much of his life at the top of the Soviet nomenklatura, he never understood the depth of cynicism in his own country or the depth of anger in the occupied Soviet satellite states, most of whose inhabitants rejected even the reformed communism of his youth: They didn’t want the Prague Spring; they wanted to join Western Europe...."

"[O]ver $40 million somehow became little more than the price of vanity of a college to refuse to admit its original error and to apologize for its conduct."

"It was a complete failure of leadership by the president, the board, and the college. No one seemed willing to take the responsibility to say 'enough' and stop the burning of added costs year after year. So the college continued to gush money as it racked up losses in court. They have frittered away the assets and reputation of a school with a wonderful history and stellar academic reputation ... all to pursue a small grocery like Captain Ahab and his whale. Indeed, the final filing should just quote Melville to capture the blind rage needed to sustain this ill-conceived effort: 'From hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee.'"

"One of the puzzling aspects of this incident is that despite Richardson's report that the racial slurs occurred every time she served..."

"... and continued throughout the match, even becoming more threatening as the match went on, no one - not the Duke coaches, BYU coaches, BYU players, officials - called for play to stop and the heckler be ejected. Nor did the fans surrounding the heckler respond by either reporting or confronting the heckler. The only action taken, according to the original report, was that BYU stationed a police officer at the Duke player's bench, where the officer reportedly took no action. With just those facts reported, it makes pretty much everyone except the Duke players appear complicit in the heckling and racial slurs. And BYU is a pretty easy target for those kinds of allegations."

The commenter continues:

"A pillow is perfectly acceptable, but a life-size David Bowie doll is considered weird.... You have to ask yourself, are you enhancing something, or dependent on it?"

Said the sleep specialist Dr. W. Chris Winter.

My question: If you're not sleeping with a stuffed animal, is your pillow really a deeply disguised stuffed animal for you? 

"The average life expectancy of Americans fell precipitously in 2020 and 2021, the sharpest two-year decline in nearly 100 years...."

"In 2021, the average American could expect to live until the age of 76, federal health researchers reported on Wednesday. The figure represents a loss of almost three years since 2019, when Americans could expect to live, on average, nearly 79 years. The reduction has been particularly steep among Native Americans and Alaska Natives.... Average life expectancy in those groups was shortened by four years in 2020 alone.... While the pandemic has driven most of the decline in life expectancy, a rise in accidental deaths and drug overdoses also contributed, as did deaths from heart disease, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, the new report found....  One in seven Native Americans and Alaska Natives has diabetes, the highest rate among racial or ethnic groups in the United States, and many struggle with obesity or excess weight.... Although the U.S. health care system is among the best in the world, Americans suffer from what experts have called 'the U.S. health disadvantage,' an amalgam of influences that... include a fragmented, profit-driven health care system; poor diet and a lack of physical activity; and pervasive risk factors such as smoking, widespread access to guns, poverty and pollution. The problems are compounded for marginalized groups by racism and segregation...."

Much of that is about how the individual person lives: food, smoking, alcohol, drugs. Covid came from the outside, but what percentage of the deaths are attributable to conditions that the individual might have avoided? Of course, it's hard to fight obesity and addiction once they've beset you. And some people decline more quickly as they get older. Who knows exactly why? I'm only 5 years away from the average point of death, but I don't feel I'm coming in for a landing on that descent path. Still, who can say?  

Scott Adams madly loves his dog, but "she lowers the quality of my life by 40%."

"It really is terrible to live with a dog.... You just can't live and work in a house that has a dog. 'Cause the trouble is: I have too much empathy...."

He says he goes on vacation to get away from his house — which is a burden — and his dog — who is always needy and who is his prisoner. "Every moment I'm not playing with her, she's in jail."

"It's horrible having a dog. I so don't recommend it."

August 30, 2022

Sunrise — 6:20, 6:25.



Write about whatever you want in the comments.

"When he came to power, Mr. Gorbachev was a loyal son of the Communist Party, but had come to see things with new eyes."

"'We cannot live this way any longer,' he once said. For this he was hounded from office by hard-line Communist plotters and disappointed liberals alike, the first group fearing that he would destroy the old system and the other worried that he would not. Within five years he had overturned much that the party held inviolable. Mr. Gorbachev was caught between tremendous opposing forces: on one hand, the habits ingrained by 70 years of cradle-to-grave subsistence under Communism; on the other, the imperatives of moving quickly to change the old ways and to demonstrate that whatever dislocation resulted was temporary and worth the effort."

Oh, my! I've got 14 tonight! Let me know which TikTok videos won you over this time.

1. The mouse is going to eat your food, so why not embrace reality and construct a cheeseboard for the little darling.

2. Painting the one who says "I am too ugly to be painted."

3. So you say girls don't have hobbies?

4. The awesome high dive.

5. "Michigan is the Texas of the Midwest," etc.

6. How to deflect passive aggression.

7. The Jesus miracle nobody talks about.

8. The little girl has serious problems with the family dog and the family decor.

9. Sticker review suddenly becomes a phone-camera review.

10. The scar experiment.

11. Stand in awe of your ability to retain fat.

12. When you're in the mood to eat a wicker chair, what should you eat?

13. How exactly did kale become a thing?

14. Instant Karma Karen.

"When the Monkees launched their inaugural tour in 1967, they played to throngs of screaming teenagers – and at least one FBI informant."

"'During the concert, subliminal messages were depicted on the screen which, in the opinion of [informant’s name redacted], constituted "left wing intervention of a political nature,"' reads a document in the Monkees FBI file. 'These messages and pictures were flashed of riots, in Berkley, anti-U.S. messages on the war in Vietnam, racial riots in Selma, Alabama, and similar messages which had unfavorable response[s] from the audience.'  This tiny portion of the band’s FBI file was released to the public a little over a decade ago, and now Micky Dolenz, the group’s sole surviving member, has filed a lawsuit against the FBI... hoping to see the rest of the file after failing to get his hands on it via a Freedom of Information Act request.... 'The Monkees reflected, especially in their later years with projects like [their 1968 art house movie] Head, a counterculture from what institutional authority was at the time,' [said Dolenz's lawyer.] 'And [J. Edgar] Hoover’s FBI, in the Sixties in particular, was infamous for monitoring the counterculture, whether they committed unlawful actions or not.'"

"Russia pumps almost as much oil into the global market as it did before its invasion of Ukraine. With oil prices up..."

"... Moscow is also making more money. Demand from some of the world’s largest economies has given Russian President Vladimir Putin the upper hand in the energy battle that shadows the war in Ukraine, and has confounded the West’s bid to cripple Russia’s economy with sanctions.... And new trade arrangements have given Mr. Putin cover to use natural-gas exports as an economic weapon against Ukraine’s European allies. Before the war, Russia supplied Europe with 40% of its gas. It has since throttled flows through the Nord Stream pipeline to Germany and other conduits, driving prices higher and putting pressure on European households and businesses.... Russia’s oil-market resilience has drawn a mixed reaction in Washington, which is juggling two conflicting goals: Tamping down inflation with increased global oil supplies, and keeping economic pressure on Mr. Putin."

What a failure!

"If people matter morally regardless of their distance from us in space, then they also matter regardless of their distance in time."

"So we should care about future generations. And right now, we as a society are not doing nearly enough to protect the interests of future people. None of this means we can’t show any partiality to specific people. Maybe we owe some additional obligations to those who are close to us in space and time, who are near and dear, who have benefited us. Nonetheless, we should still give very substantial moral consideration to people who are not yet with us. The second premise is just that, in expectation, there are enormous numbers of future people. We really might be at the beginning of a long and flourishing civilization. And when you take the sheer number of future people into account, then we shouldn’t just think about future generations a little bit but really quite a lot. How much precisely is open to debate. All longtermists think we need to be doing more to benefit future generations. 'Strong longtermism' holds that the well-being of future generations is actually the most important thing to consider, at least when we are making our most consequential decisions."

Much more at the link — including the fear of the AI apocalypse — but nothing about abortion. I pictured commenters raising the subject, so I looked elsewhere to see what MacAskill has to say about it.

Here's an interview he did with Tyler Cowen a couple weeks ago:

"As the breakneck news pace of the Trump administration faded away, [Washington Post] readers have turned elsewhere, and the... push to expand..."

"... beyond Beltway coverage hasn’t compensated for the loss. The organization is on track to lose money in 2022, after years of profitability.... Many news outlets, in addition to The Post, have experienced declining readership since former President Donald J. Trump left office. ...The Post’s efforts to diversify its journalism beyond political coverage extends back until at least the summer of 2016. At that time, senior editors considered a plan that would expand the newspaper’s coverage to temper a decline in readership during what they thought would be the presidential administration of Hillary Clinton....  The plan, code-named Operation Skyfall, was set aside after Mr. Trump won the presidential election...."

"A Dane County cyclist is warning others to be alert after finding booby traps set on a popular commuter path on Madison’s Southwest Side."

"Gregg Goldstein of Verona was crossing the bridge shortly before 5 a.m. Friday when he was clotheslined. He remembers seeing his headlight reflect off something a split second before he hit the ground at about 15 mph. 'It’s pitch black,' he said. 'You see something and a millisecond later you’re picking yourself up off the pavement... I feel lucky that’s all it was. My head is still attached.'"

In case you’re wondering, are the right people making money?

This is a yes.

Link goes to TikTok, and the good feeling of this will only be understood by those who’ve followed TikTok, even and especially if you’ve only followed my TikTok posts.

"And here I am, six years later, a 37-year-old man not having sex. And you know what? I’m happy."

"I did what most people do after leaving a partner, and threw myself into my career, socialising and family. Anything but men – and certainly anything but sex. If I’m honest, though, it’s deeper than that. I’ve never been entirely comfortable with sex and intimacy for a variety of reasons, and I think my reasons for giving it up stem from well before that relationship, which was my first.... Being a gay man further complicated matters.... Many of my friends were in open relationships, more than happy to satisfy their physical needs with a handsome stranger before returning home to the one they say they love. Tinder, Grindr, Bumble and a vast array of other apps have transformed the dating world. Sex is more accessible than ever before – it’s become almost transactional, without emotion, and I find myself instinctively rebelling against it.... I am routinely and relentlessly mocked by friends for my views on sex – and I understand that completely. To be honest, I am surprised myself....  Sex may be one of life’s most pleasurable experiences, but it is also one of the most intimate. To waste that intimacy with a stranger seems futile."

"Trash juice, the viscous concoction brewed by the contents of every truck, and its habit of spraying out of bags as they’re compacted, is a major theme..."

"... at the Department of Sanitation’s Ronald F. DiCarlo Training Academy, where I have unofficially joined New York’s Strongest for two days to try and learn how to collect, sort, and dump the 12,000 tons of trash the city produces on a daily basis. 'In New York City, nobody finishes a cup of coffee,'” our instructor, Sergio Serrano, a spirited DSNY veteran with a bushy beard that I assume is full of knowledge, tells us. 'You will know the flavor of the month and come to hate the flavor of the month.' To emphasize the point, Joe O’Hare, another instructor who works at the same garage, shouts, 'Pumpkin spice latte!'...The job can be about as gross as you might imagine. Instructors rattle off the most repulsive things they’ve encountered on their routes — a pig’s head, an entire lamb, 'disco rice,' which is a deceptively appetizing name for maggots — with bravado. But it’s also a union job and a clear path to a middle-class life in the city. The starting salary is $40,622, which more than doubles after five and a half years on the job. There’s a pension, and opportunities for overtime and growth. Trainers told me that the hardest part of the job was the schedule, which can be erratic in early years and difficult to maintain with a family, but everyone seemed relieved to be there...."

"A majority of the dollars of student loan debt are owed by a small fraction of borrowers who, on average, have high incomes."

"They often borrowed to go to professional schools for degrees in law, medicine and business. They don’t have much trouble handling their payments, and their default rates are low. By contrast, a majority of people holding student debt have moderate incomes and low balances. Many have no degree, having dropped out of a public college or for-profit vocational school after a few semesters. They carry little debt, but they also do not get the benefit of a college degree to help them pay off that debt. Defaults and financial distress are concentrated among the millions of students who drop out without a degree....  A full 30 percent of first-generation freshmen drop out of four-year colleges within three years.... Delinquency and default leave a longstanding blot on credit records, keeping borrowers from buying homes and cars, renting apartments and getting jobs. By allowing borrowers to once again get access to credit, housing and job markets, forgiving loans can therefore have a real effect on lives and the economy.... I once thought forgiveness to be an expensive Band-Aid, a distraction from fundamental reform. But I have seen so little progress on these issues that I now think we must make amends to those we have harmed...."

From "Why I Changed My Mind on Student Debt Forgiveness" by Harvard econprof Susan Dynarski.(NYT).

ADDED: Dynarski fleshes out something I said 5 days ago when someone questioned me for saying, seemingly flippantly, "It's only $10,000":

"He’s a very special gator, but I wouldn’t recommend that anyone get one. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you will get bit."

Said Joie Henney, quoted in "His emotional support animal is an alligator. They sleep in the same bed. ‘When he turns his nose toward you, that means he expects a kiss,’ Joie Henney said" (Washington Post). 
It isn’t common for people to want alligators as pets, though... “When they get to three feet, nobody wants them,” Henney said. “They can bite and they’re extremely hard to handle.” Wildlife experts agree: Alligators generally don’t make good pets, and they’re illegal to own in many states. The animals can also be deadly.... 
“The jaw pressure from an alligator’s bite force is incredibly strong, and their powerful tails can whip you,” said Raul Diaz, a herpetologist and evolutionary development biologist who teaches at California State University at Los Angeles. They are also predators who are hardwired to believe that other creatures want to eat them, so they are defensive early on, he said... 
Henney now takes his gator to swim parties, football games, and to schools and summer camps for educational presentations about reptiles. WallyGator does not have a harness around his mouth, but he has never bitten anyone, Henney said.

The alligator is "registered," we're told, as an "emotional support animal," but registered with what? Something called the "U.S. Service Animals website." But this isn't a service animal! There's a photo of the registration card, but the card doesn't name any organization. The caption declares that the card "show[s] he's a registered emotional support animal."

I'm going to print out a card that says I'm a "Registered Opponent of Emotional Support Animals." It will show that I'm a registered opponent of emotional support animals.

The Washington Post article is festooned with embedded posts from Henney's Instagram account and other photos by Joie Henney, including photos of him taking the alligator to assisted living homes to be petted by frail old ladies. Like this:

Henney says "An alligator isn’t going to attack you for no reason," but I don't like the touch of your hand and I'm hungry are reasons.

This is one of the stupidest articles I've ever seen in The Washington Post. I see the commenters over there agree with me. ("A 69 year old owner getting older and more frail by the year, and a 7 year old alligator getting bigger and stronger by the year. What could go wrong?")

"The last surviving member of an isolated Amazonian tribe died this month.... Known in Brazil as the 'man of the hole,' he had lived alone for nearly 30 years after the rest of his tribe was killed..."

"... in attacks by ranchers and other tribes during the 1980s and ’90s. The Brazilian government had monitored him for 26 years and said he had repeatedly rejected attempts at communication.... The Indigenous man’s body was found... lying on a hammock in a hut during a routine monitoring visit by the government. There were no signs of violence or struggle... The man, whose tribe and ethnicity are unknown, was called the man of the hole because of the nine-foot trenches he dug at the center of his homes. The reason for the holes is unknown.... In 1998... documentary filmmaker Vincent Carelli [tried f]or six hours... to coax him out... The man peeks out from the hut, carefully points an arrow at the camera crew and then retreats...."

August 29, 2022

At the Lakeshore Café...


... you can talk about whatever you want.

No sunrise picture today. It was raining in the 6 a.m. hour. But I did get a walk in the clear afternoon. That picture was taken at 4:44.

Here are 7 TikTok videos I've selected as right for just now. Let me know what you like best.

1. The "squirrel" is crazy about the trampoline.

2. Yeah, I'll back you up on that.

3. Joni Mitchell, in 1970, telling the audience they're "really a drag."

4. Orson Welles saying he puts loyalty to friends above art.

5. He just happened to find everything he was looking for at World Market.

6. The rigors of Chinese womanhood.

7. How to write about characters who are not autistic.

"Human-driven climate change has set in motion massive ice losses in Greenland that couldn’t be halted even if the world stopped emitting greenhouse gases today..."

"... according to a new study published Monday. The findings in Nature Climate Change project that it is now inevitable that 3.3 percent of the Greenland ice sheet will melt — equal to 110 trillion tons of ice.... While the study did not specify a time frame for the melting and sea-level rise, the authors suggested much of it can play out between now and the year 2100. "The point is, we need to plan for that ice as if it weren’t on the ice sheet in the near future, within a century or so,' said William Colgan, a study co-author...."

"The public (understandably) may wish to sidestep the minutia of the mandates of the Presidential Records Act, but..."

"... three top-line takeaways prove imperative to understanding the scandal of the Mar-a-Lago search. First, the Presidential Records Act is not a criminal statute, and violations of that federal law do not constitute a crime. Second, the Presidential Records Act does not reach broad swathes of documents retained by a former president, including 'official records of an agency,' 'personal records,”' and convenience copies of presidential records. And third, the courts have refused to question a former president’s conclusion that a record constitutes a 'personal record' and not a 'presidential record.'"

"I’ve always maintained that, with Trump, there are no deep, dark secrets: His absolute awfulness always stares you squarely in the face, like a baboon’s backside."

Said Bret Stephens in his conversation with Gail Collins, printed in the NYT.

Just before that riposte, they were talking about the documents seized at Mar-a-Lago, and he'd said:
Donald Trump has only a vague idea of what’s in all of these documents. The notion that he read through boxes and boxes containing hundreds of documents with classification markings and chose to take these particular items strikes me as … unlikely.... 

"I thought [breast-feeding] was supposed to be this beautiful bonding ceremony where I would feel like I was sitting on a lily pad in a meadow and bunnies would..."

"... gather at my feet while the fat-Hawaiian-man version of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ would play. No! It’s not like that at all. Breastfeeding is this savage ritual that just reminds you that your body is a cafeteria now."

Said the comedian Ali Wong, quoted in "Maternal Instinct Is a Myth That Men Created." That essay, in the NYT, is an adaptation of the book, "Mother Brain: How Neuroscience Is Rewriting the Story of Parenthood," by Chelsea Conaboy.

Conaboy writes:

August 28, 2022

Sunrise — 6:17, 6:24, 6:28.




Talk about anything you like in the comments.

Here are 5 TikToks for your amusement and edification tonight. Let me know what you like.

1. Topiary japery.

2. The singer demonstrates that the washing machine alert signal is Schubert's "The Trout."

3. The father who apologizes to his teenagers explains apologizing for 3 things, including the way he put on Chapstick.

4. Quite by chance, this young woman shows the difference between the way women and men put on Chapstick.

5. Opioid crisis painting.

Meade and milkweed.



This morning, at 6:26.

"The investigation has raised expectations on the left of an event that Trump’s opponents have dreamed of for years: a criminal prosecution..."

"... of the reality-television star turned President.... But Stephen Gillers, a professor of legal ethics at New York University, cautioned me that a successful prosecution of Trump would likely need to demonstrate that his reckless handling of classified information caused actual harm—such as adversaries learning about American intelligence methods. Trump’s lawyers would argue that he was merely guilty of carelessness. Trump himself, of course, would make the case that he was being politically persecuted. 'I don’t think a jury would convict him without proof of harm. I’m not sure I would,' Gillers said. 'He’s a sloppy guy, and he couldn’t let go of the Oval Office, so he dumped a lot of stuff into boxes—souvenirs of his Presidency.' Gillers added that, fairly or unfairly, prosecuting a former President requires meeting a higher legal and political threshold. 'It has to be one-hundred-per-cent irresistible as a matter of law,' he said. 'There can be no fact, no event, no piece of evidence that could support any room for ambiguity.'... A rushed prosecution that results in an acquittal would only strengthen the former President. The judicial process can be maddeningly slow. The best option for Trump’s opponents is to wait and trust...."

Gillers makes some good points, but I have trouble with this visual: "he dumped a lot of stuff into boxes." Who thinks he packed his own boxes?

"Princeton went coed in Alito’s sophomore year. Alice Kelikian, who became a friend of his, remembered hanging out with him around a microwave oven..."

"... that had just been installed on campus, warming up chocolate-chip cookies while talking about Italy and the philosopher John Rawls. Kelikian, who dated one of Alito’s friends, noted that Alito was always 'very respectful of me,' adding, 'A lot of male classmates were not.' Still, feminism was in the air...."

From "Justice Alito’s Crusade Against a Secular America Isn’t Over/He’s had win after win—including overturning Roe v. Wade—yet seems more and more aggrieved. What drives his anger?" by Margaret Talbot (The New Yorker). This is a very long article, and my excerpts don't represent the overall thesis justifying the article title. I'm just pointing to some things that intrigued me.
In 1973, the year after Alito graduated...

The year I graduated from college. 

"Death of Rep. Tom McClintock’s Wife Tied to White Mulberry Leaf."

The NYT reports.
The coroner found that Ms. McClintock’s death had been accidental, caused by dehydration from stomach inflammation after she consumed the herb.... A “partially intact” white mulberry leaf was found in Ms. McClintock’s stomach.... 

"My nephew used to play a video game in which he gave digital haircuts to bears. That is less absurd than..."

"... founding two new separate 'blue' and 'red' countries. The party leanings of states can be fluid. Colorado, for instance — it’s almost as if a secret cabal of tech millionaires shoveled a mountain of cash into turning a Republican state into a Democratic one. The federal government owns almost 50 percent of the land out West, so how to divvy it up without antagonizing thrifty New Englanders? What would happen to swing states like Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania? Do they form a third Republic of Wishy-Washy? Somewhere around 40 percent of us do not live in the state where we were born.... How much of Florida’s economy is New Yorkers and Midwesterners waiting around to die?... Here in Montana, a state as deep red as a Flathead cherry, I’m a Democrat living in a blue county bigger than Delaware. Still, Republicans live among us and they look just like people. (Hi, Larry.) It’s hard to pick them out unless they step in front of the C-SPAN camera to fist-bump Ted Cruz. Mid-pandemic I stood in line for hamburgers between a snarling blonde who chewed me out for wearing a face mask and a high school classmate’s brother keen to talk about the Times linguistics newsletter writer John McWhorter. Both of my neighbors ordered French fries cooked in the same vat of oil. Where is the demarcation line in that scenario — the milkshake machine?"

Writes Sarah Vowell in "Civil War: I’m Against It!" (NYT).

"What was the craziness like, when all the people were calling you a plague rat?" Joe Rogan asks Aaron Rodgers.

Joe Rogan is going big with his vaccine series. See yesterday's post, here, highlighting his interview with Alex Berenson, who was kicked off Twitter for saying the wrong things about the vaccine.