January 7, 2023

Sunrise — 7:34.


"And, for all Haberman’s success in demystifying Trump, at times she seems to vest him with eerie power."

"In interviews, she has often invoked the children’s book 'Harold and the Purple Crayon' to illustrate Trump’s peculiar blurring of fact and fantasy. The tale concerns a boy named Harold who goes for a walk in the evening and draws things from his imagination, including an entire city, with his enchanted crayon. 'What Trump tries to do,' Haberman told me, 'is create realities for himself and everyone else.'... Toward the end of our meeting, Haberman told me that she is superstitious. She was wearing an evil-eye bracelet. Another evil eye was in her pocket. 'I just have totems,' she said..."

From "Maggie Haberman, the Confidence Man’s Chronicler/During the Trump era, Haberman became an avatar of journalism’s promise as well as of its failures. She sees herself as a demystifier" by Katy Waldman (The New Yorker).

"Trust me, my grandparents, all four of them Italian, never ate avocados, let alone smashed them on toast for breakfast."

"You guys are falling into the romantic Italy trap—breakfast here typically consists of a few cookies dipped in caffè latte, or a brioche or cornetto at the local bar on the way to work. Here in Central Italy, people are seriously into pork and pork products. And no self-respecting Greek would eat low-fat yogurt. The overall message is good, but those details make me smile."

Writes Anthony Paonita of Perugia, commenting on the NYT article "The Mediterranean Diet Really Is That Good for You. Here’s Why. It has become the bedrock of virtuous eating. Experts answer common questions about how it leads to better health."

"Brooke Peder’s leg was amputated after an infection from a tranq wound bore into the bone. She hopes to save her arm, although she reluctantly injects tranq in it."

So reads a photo caption in "Tranq Dope: Animal Sedative Mixed With Fentanyl Brings Fresh Horror to U.S. Drug Zones/A veterinary tranquilizer called xylazine is infiltrating street drugs, deepening addiction, baffling law enforcement and causing wounds so severe that some result in amputation" by Jan Hoffman (NYT).

"We will never compromise our principles. House Democrats will always put American values over autocracy. Benevolence over bigotry."

"The constitution over the cult. Democracy over demagogues. Economic opportunity over extremism. Freedom over fascism. Governing over gaslighting. Hopefulness over hatred. Inclusion over isolation. Justice over judicial overreach. Knowledge over Kangaroo courts. Liberty over limitation. Maturity over Mar-a-Lago. Normalcy over negativity. Opportunity over obstruction. People over politics. Quality of life issues over QAnon. Reason over racism. Substance over slander. Triumph over tyranny. Understanding over ugliness. Voting rights over voter suppression. Working families over the well connected. Xenial over xenophobia. Yes we can over you can't do it. And zealous representation over zero confrontation." "We will always do the right thing by the American people. So let us not grow weary of doing good for the american people will reap the benefit of the harvest if we do not give up. God bless you. God bless the House. And God bless the United States of America!"

Said Minority Leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries after Kevin McCarthy finally won the Speakership.

I'm seeing some criticism of this speech, but it's kind of a shoe-fits-wear-it situation. Republicans shouldn't react with How dare you say that about us!

"As an advertising copywriter in her 20s and early 30s, Ms. Weldon was associated with the enduring slogans 'Unzip a banana' and 'Go to work on an egg.'"

"Another offering — 'Vodka makes you drunker quicker' — was rejected by her bosses."

From "Fay Weldon, ‘She-Devil’ Author Who Challenged Feminist Orthodoxy, Dies at 91/By turns elusive and confessional in public, she used dark satire to explore the divides between men and women" (NYT). 

I'm not sure if I ever read the novel "She-Devil"...

The book tells the story of Ruth Patchett, a tall, clumsy woman whose husband, Bobbo, embarks on an affair with Mary Fisher, a wealthy, successful novelist who lives “in a high tower, on the edge of the sea,” as the opening lines put it.

Ruth narrates: “I am fixed here and now, trapped in my body, pinned to one particular spot, hating Mary Fisher. It is all I can do. Hate obsesses and transforms me: It is my singular attribution.” 

... but I love the movie:

The tiniest mammal skittered across my path into a position right by the curb where he did his best to look like an inanimate object.

"The cameras of Generation Z’s childhoods, seen as outdated and pointless by those who originally owned them, are in vogue again."

"Young people are reveling in the novelty of an old look, touting digital cameras on TikTok and sharing the photos they produce on Instagram. On TikTok, the hashtag #digitalcamera has 184 million views.... Gen Z-ers... are now in search of a break from their smartphones.... That respite is coming in part through compact point-and-shoot digital cameras, uncovered by Gen Z-ers who are digging through their parents’ junk drawers and shopping secondhand...."

From "The Hottest Gen Z Gadget Is a 20-Year-Old Digital Camera/Young people are opting for point-and-shoots and blurry photos" (NYT).

"Kevin McCarthy was well aware he was going to lose his bid to become Speaker of the House of Representatives on the first ballot, three people with knowledge of the situation told Rolling Stone."

"What he was not privately predicting was that the beatings would continue for an entire week. 'He knew he was going to get fucked — he just didn’t know they were going to fuck him this many times, or this hard,' explained one congressional aide."

Writes Asawin Suebsaeng in "Sex Trafficking Row Helped Fuel Gaetz’s Hatred for McCarthy" (Rolling Stone).

Literal sex (that may not have happened) and metaphorical sex (of the gang rape kind). 

Shall we read Rolling Stone?

January 6, 2023




"I skip all of these stories because the bottom line is always: 'XYZ supplement may have some benefits, but they are unproven.'"

Comments Binx Bolling of Palookaville on the shamefully bad NYT article "Is Matcha Good for You?/The brightly colored powdered green tea has become popular among health-conscious consumers. Does it have any nutritional benefits?"

I know, I'm only encouraging them by linking, but I liked "Binx Bolling of Palookaville" and the comment was spot on.

"... just a funny cover the inside is a bunch of random bs that has nothing to do with falling in love with a horse..."

From a 1-star review of "But... You're a Horse" — at Amazon, where it's quite clear that you're basically buying a hilarious book-shaped object that looks like this:


That came out in 2014, so why am I running across it today? I googled the line "You did it for a horse." I had my reason!

"On Thursday, his doctors announced [Damar] Hamlin had started to awaken. Though he remains critically ill and on a ventilator..."

"... his medical team said the player is showing signs of 'good neurologic recovery' and is making significant improvement.... In cardiac arrest, the heart is no longer pumping blood, which means no oxygen is traveling to the brain or other organs. Seconds matter: The longer a person goes without oxygen, the chances of organ damage increase, and the chances of survival decrease. CPR mimics a pumping heart, which keeps blood flowing.... In audio obtained by CNN... [a]t 8:55 p.m. ET, when Hamlin hit the ground, someone can be heard saying, 'Go over to the cot. I don’t like how he went down.' A few seconds later, another voice says, 'We’re going to need everybody. All call, all call.' Within the minute, several other cries go out for all personnel to rush to the field...."

CNN reports.

And there's this from Yahoo!sports (which sounds like the way you'd write the story in fiction):

We binge-watched 2 seasons of "White Lotus" in 2 weeks.


To write Andre Agassi’s memoir, 'Open,' [J.R.] Moehringer moved to Las Vegas, where Agassi lived. Agassi said he bought a house a mile away from his own..."

"... and Moehringer occupied it for two years while he worked on the book. All the writer requested was a long table where he could lay out the scenes he’d piece together 'like a necklace,' Agassi recalled. They’d meet in the morning, fueled by breakfast burritos from Whole Foods. 'I’d spend a couple of hours with him over breakfast and a tape recorder,' Agassi said. 'Open' is widely considered a paragon of sports autobiographies — a raw and honest excavation of a well-known life. Agassi said he sought out Moehringer to write the book — 'romancing' him to do it, he said... Like any reliably employed ghostwriter, Moehringer is also known for his discretion. Prince Harry’s book is his third ghostwriting project. Maybe.... Agassi.... said he wanted to put Moehringer’s name on the cover.... But Moehringer declined such public credit, Agassi said. He preferred to disappear."

Writes Elizabeth A. Harris in "When the Writing Demands Talent and Discretion, Call the Ghostwriter/Ghostwriters write books in someone else’s voice — without leaving fingerprints. Doing it well requires great technical skill and a flexible ego" (NYT).

Moehringer is also the ghostwriter for Prince Harry's new book — "Spare" — and, again, his name is not on the cover.

Tailgategate — the politics of partying before football games.

"On the night in November when four University of Idaho students were murdered in a home near campus, another roommate awoke to a noise..."

"... that she thought was her friend playing with her dog. Then she heard someone crying, and a man saying something like, 'It’s OK, I’m going to help you.' When the roommate peered out of her room just after 4 a.m., she later told investigators, she stood in 'frozen shock'... Authorities have yet to detail a motive in the killings, nor has there been any explanation for why the two surviving roommates, who are also students at the University of Idaho, did not call 911 until shortly before noon the next day...."  

From "A Knife Sheath, Phone Pings and Trash: The Hunt for a Killer in Idaho/On the night four college students were killed, a roommate saw a man clad in black walk through the home. It took a cross-country investigation to find a suspect" (NYT). 

January 5, 2023

The woods at sunrise — 7:32 and 7:47 — notice how the color shifts from blue to brown in 15 minutes.



"For my crimes, I have been sentenced to a course of mandatory social-media communication training with the college’s so-called experts...

"... (although social media communication training is not a scientific and certainly not a clinical specialty of any standing). I am to do this at my own expense (some hundreds of dollars per hour) and for a length of time that is to be determined only by those retraining me and profiting from doing so. How will this be determined? When those very re-educators — those experts — have convinced themselves that I have learned my lesson, and will behave properly in the future."

Writes Jordan Peterson in "I will risk my licence to escape social media re-education/The Ontario College of Psychologists wants to retrain me to behave properly — and this should concern everyone" (National Post).

"I’ve even read at M.M.A. fights, which is a perfect place to read lyric poems, where you can read one or two whole poems in between rounds."

"I think, at the risk of sounding overly dramatic or emo, I feel truer to myself while reading than I do experiencing the world through my body — so any chance to read is ideal for me. I think I feel often alien to the world and its variegated interfaces, whereas through the linear dependability of the sentence, I know exactly where I am, where I am standing...."

Says Ocean Vuong, in "Ocean Vuong Brings Books to Lunch Dates, 'Just in Case'" (NYT).

That was published last April. I'm reading it today because I got interested in the word "alterity." 

"A fire that broke out a Wisconsin dairy plant on Monday night sent a river of melted butter flowing across the factory floor and into nearby storm drains..."

"... where it clogged a historic water artery.... 'The butter runoff and heavy smoke slowed access to the structure,' officials said... 'When we first tried to go up the stairs to that part that collapsed, this stuff, the butter, was running down like, three inches thick on the steps. So our guys were up to their knees trying to go up the steps to get to the top, and they’re trying to drag the hose line... The hose line got so full of butter they couldn’t hang on to it any more.'"

The Guardian reports.

"In October 2020, a post on indie romance author Susan Meachen’s Facebook page, allegedly written by her daughter, announced that Meachen had tragically died by suicide..."

"... a month earlier. This news was followed by more posts from Meachen’s 'daughter' (on Meachen’s account) in the author’s private writers group, The Ward, suggesting her mother took her own life because her peers in the online indie book community bullied her. In light of this horrible news, authors and online friends helped fund Meachen’s funeral, created an anti-bullying anthology in her memory, and offered to help her daughter edit her mother’s final book, free of charge. On Monday—over two years later—Meachen’s account posted something new in The Ward. This time, it was Susan saying she’s actually been alive this whole time."

From "Novelist Appears to Announce She's Alive 2 Years After Faking Suicide: 'Let the Fun Begin'/'I debated on how to do this a million times,' Susan Meachen recently wrote on her Facebook page" (Jezebel).

"He set down the water, called me another name, then came at me. It all happened so fast. So very fast. He grabbed me by the collar, ripping my necklace..."

"... and he knocked me to the floor. I landed on the dog’s bowl, which cracked under my back, the pieces cutting into me. I lay there for a moment, dazed, then got to my feet and told him to get out."

Writes Prince Harry, quoted in "William is my ‘arch-nemesis’, says Harry in new book Spare" (London Times). 

"What Is a PistenBully, The Snow Plow That Ran Over Jeremy Renner?"

 Jalopnik explains. 

[I]t seems to be an older model, perhaps something that was bought new by a ski resort... most likely a PB240D — a mid-range PistenBully model from the 1980s.... weigh[ing] in at nearly 13,250 lbs without attachments. Marvel movie training regiment or no, that’s a lot of weight to have crushing down on your chest.... A piece of specialty equipment purchased to help his kids have a fun winter....

Renner groomed sledding trails on his Nevada property...

.... used to rescue a relative from the snow, that turned around and caught him unaware.

"For the first time in recent memory, former president Donald Trump found himself relegated this week to the outskirts of a humiliating Republican implosion...."

"In the long run-up to the race for speaker, Trump was the leading character in a bevy of political parlor games — including breathless, overhyped scenarios in which the former president would offer himself up for the gavel and speculation about whether Trump would endorse McCarthy’s bid. In the end, Trump supported McCarthy’s candidacy — and his party responded with a collective shrug. The former president and his endorsement, it seemed, were essentially irrelevant."

Write Ashley Parker and Josh Dawsey in "The House hard-liners blocking McCarthy aren’t listening to Trump/In another sign of the former president’s waning influence, his efforts to bolster McCarthy’s bid as House speaker have not persuaded 20 Republicans to drop their opposition" (WaPo).

January 4, 2023

At the Deadlock Café...

... you can talk... forever.


@jacob_acrobat Quebec style. with @Hoops Désolé Circus ♬ son original - jacob_acrobat

"[S]he disappeared from public life, in 1980, leaving London for the small seaside town of Bournemouth, where she was known as Mrs. Lightband..."

"... she made anonymous appearances in the city to pass out Bibles at Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park. She felt a calling to protect the public from the sinfulness of her own writing by burning her manuscripts, actively preventing republication in her lifetime, and destroying evidence of her career. There are tales of her systematically checking out her own books from libraries across England in order to burn them in her back garden.... Of course, most writers hate their own writing.... Many writers stop writing entirely....  Tonks... became allergic to all books, not only her own, refusing to read anything but the Bible...."

From "The Writer Who Burned Her Own Books/Rosemary Tonks achieved success among the bohemian literati of Swinging London—then spent the rest of her life destroying the evidence of her career" by Audrey Wollen (The New Yorker).

"For prosecutors, bail is meant to be a strong disincentive to flee, not to make a statement about justice."

"In fact, the legal system would prefer defendants who aren’t a danger to others to stay out of prison, reducing costs. (The annual cost of detaining an inmate in New York City, for example, is over $500,000.) Mr. Bankman-Fried had another point of leverage: U.S. prosecutors had wanted to extradite him from the Bahamas quickly, to avoid both the perception of slow-moving justice and his getting hurt in a Bahamian jail before being moved to the U.S. If he had fought extradition, he would most likely have lost that fight, but it would have cost the U.S. time and money. In return, he wanted to stay out of prison before trial.... [W]hile prosecutors could herald a $250 million bail, one of the highest in history, he was ultimately released on something closer to his own recognizance... a standard arrangement. Prosecutors did demand that his parents post their home as collateral and co-sign the bail deal...."

From "How Sam Bankman-Fried Negotiated His Way Out of Jail/Intense legal wrangling led to the disgraced crypto mogul paying virtually nothing to live with his parents ahead of his upcoming trial" (NYT).

"Meta suffered a major defeat on Wednesday... after European Union regulators found it had illegally forced users to effectively accept personalized ads...."

"The ruling is one of the most consequential judgments since the 27-nation bloc, home to roughly 450 million people, enacted a landmark data-privacy law aimed at restricting the ability of Facebook and other companies from collecting information about users without their prior consent.... The company includes language in its terms of service agreement, the very lengthy statement that users must accept before accessing services like Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, that effectively means users must allow their data to be used for personalized ads or stop using Meta’s social media services altogether."

From "Meta’s Ad Practices Ruled Illegal Under E.U. Law/The decision is one of the most consequential issued under the E.U.’s landmark data-protection law and creates a new business headwind for the social media giant" (NYT).

"[Amber] McLaughlin spoke quietly with a spiritual adviser at her side as the fatal dose of pentobarbital was injected."

"She was pronounced dead a few minutes later. 'I am sorry for what I did,' McLaughlin had said in a final written statement. 'I am a loving and caring person.'... The clemency petition cited McLaughlin’s traumatic childhood and mental health issues... [and] said that McLaughlin had received a diagnosis of gender dysphoria.... But McLaughlin’s sexual identity was 'not the main focus' of the clemency request, her lawyer, Larry Komp, said. She was originally convicted in 2006 of the murder of Beverly Guenther, 45, who had taken a restraining order.... 'McLaughlin terrorised Ms Guenther in the final years of her life but we hope her family and loved ones may finally have some peace,' [said Missouri Governor Mike Parson, who denied clemency]."

From "Amber McLaughlin: first transgender woman is executed in Missouri" (London Times).

ADDED: The London Times used the term "sexual identity," which made me think maybe in London the preference for "gender identity" has yet to take hold, but searching the Times archive, I see that "gender identity" is more common. For example, here are 2 pieces from a couple weeks ago: "The gender issue is now a religion. Fear of blaspheming keeps sensible people quiet" ("This is what happens when you legislate based on faith. And gender identity is a faith...") and "Parents lose court fight against gender lessons/Sex education is about tolerance, says judge" ("A group of parents has lost a legal challenge against the teaching of gender identity and sex to seven-year-old children in Welsh primary schools").

Trump backs McCarthy.

UPDATE: Matt Gaetz responds: "Sad!" And: "This changes neither my view of McCarthy, nor Trump, nor my vote."

"The old recommendation to have a glass [of wine] each night is based on observational evidence that people who..."

"... classify themselves as 'moderate drinkers' (roughly 1-2 units a day) seem to have a lower risk for some diseases – but that is very difficult to study in isolation. Generally, moderate drinkers tend to be wealthier, more educated, live in nicer areas and benefit from other factors that heavy drinkers and non-drinkers don’t, which is probably why a New Zealand study that controlled for socio-economic factors saw the 'benefits' of moderate drinking disappear almost entirely.... Recent research suggests that regular, small-scale drinking is far from ideal: one study of 36,000 adults found that even one or two drinks a day might decrease the chance of healthy ageing and reduce the size of your brain...."

From "'Eight hours' sleep! And you must eat breakfast!’ The truth behind 10 of the biggest health beliefs" (The Guardian).

"And so the British and US right have apparently condemned themselves to a political doom loop: savaging the progressive values of younger generations..."

"... and in doing so driving them further into the arms of the left. This bile may serve a short-term political purpose in rallying the core vote of the Tories and Republicans, but it seems that conservatives have thought little about what will happen as younger generations come of age politically and culturally. Perhaps rightwingers believed that the historic precedent of voters shifting rightwards with age would automatically assert itself, however much the young remained locked out of the prosperity their parents had enjoyed. What’s intriguing is how rightwing politicians and commentators alike have doubled down on poisonous invectives that alienate young people. Perhaps this is evidence of a fatalism: they know their fate is sealed, so nothing is to be gained from restraint."

Writes Owen Jones in "The right thrives on bullying 'snowflakes.' But who will vote for it when they grow old?" (The Guardian).

"'Romeo and Juliet' Stars Sue Paramount for Child Abuse Over Nude Scene in 1968 Film."

Variety reports. 

The suit alleges that [Franco] Zeffirelli — who died in 2019 — assured both actors that there would be no nudity in the film, and that they would wear flesh-colored undergarments in the bedroom scene. But in the final days of filming, the director allegedly implored them to perform in the nude with body makeup, “or the Picture would fail.”

The actor who played Romeo, Leonard Whiting, was 16 at the time, the same age as Romeo is in the story. Olivia Hussey was 15, and the character she played, Juliet, was only 13. We who watched the movie at the time — I saw it on a school trip and no one said anything about the underaged sex depicted on screen — experienced it as a highly artistic film. Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet felt like the ideal of exalted romantic love — love that the adults in the story tragically failed to understand.

"A Los Angeles native, [Caitlin] Reilly is hyper-attuned to the city’s calculated casualness, its particular species of phonies."

"Her [TikTok] videos are a taxonomy of L.A. types: actresses on Instagram, raspy talent agents, stressed-out publicists, dude bros, self-absorbed scenesters. Reflecting a town where everyone is at least industry-adjacent, her characters are often performing—at auditions, on Comic Con panels, on social media—while straining to hide some inner tension, which Reilly betrays with darting eyes or a quavering voice."

From "The Funniest Wasp Mom on TikTok/Caitlin Reilly revived her acting career by doing dead-on impressions of nervous publicists, actresses on Instagram, wellness influencers, overbearing mothers, and other fellow Los Angelenos" by Michael Schulman (The New Yorker). 

I liked seeing this article — about a TikTok person I've followed for a long time.

"[O]ne can be forgiven for an inelegant breakup when self-actualization — and an expanding transnational etiquette empire — is at stake."

"'You don’t get a second time to shoot a Netflix show, right?' she said. 'It’s all or nothing.' On 'Mind Your Manners,' [Sara Jane] Ho’s self-assigned mandate is ambitious: 'Come with me, and you’ll know what to do anywhere, with anyone, in any situation.'... Ms. Ho takes a practical, international and surprisingly adaptive approach to manners. During an interview, she delivered an unprompted primer on the places and circumstances in which she might personally spit phlegm on the street.... She emphasizes the logic behind certain norms and bluntly rejects others she finds distasteful. (On drinking tea: 'Some people keep their pinkies out to keep balanced, but it looks really pretentious. Definitely pinkies in.')"

From "The Etiquette Guru Who Broke Up With a Boyfriend Over Text" by Maureen O'Connor (NYT).

I clicked through to that article because the headline is susceptible to 2 meanings and the one that came to mind for me was not the one the article was about. I thought the boyfriend used texting to do something wrong and the "guru" broke up with him because of it. But it wasn't that she broke up with him "over" his texting. She used texting to break up with him. I don't think deliberately creating double meanings like that is a good click bait strategy, so I'm going to assume this was simply bad editing.

Is bad editing like bad etiquette? Sort of! It displays a lack of concern for the comfort and convenience of your guests. In that case, I could be accused of bad etiquette by subjecting you, my reader, to something bad. But I'm writing this before publishing, and I have the opportunity to trash this and move on. Yet despite my reason for clicking, I liked this article, and the author probably didn't write the defective headline.

What did I like? The crudely subtle way the author conveyed disapproval of this Netflix character's expertise. 

Now, I just need to add tags and I can publish. I'm not creating a new tag for "phlegm." I already have "saliva" and "bodily fluids" and I don't like thinking about why both seem not quite right. Why am I imposing this blog-writing problem on you, the reader, for whose comfort and convenience I purported to care?

Well, what's most convenient is not to read anything not absolutely necessary — warning labels, traffic signs, etc. — and comfort is complex in the realm of reading. There must be discomfort (of a crudely subtle kind).

January 3, 2023

Sunrise — 7:37.



"Population decline is a lot like global warming: It’s abstract, it seems far off, it’s easy to imagine that it won’t happen..."

"... or that maybe its effects won’t be so bad. It’s also alike in that solutions can require a long time to take effect and that many politicians are staunchly opposed to most of them, especially conservatives.... The problem isn’t all on one side of the aisle, though. Enough centrist Democrats oppose growth-friendly policies to thwart ongoing efforts to put them in place...."

Writes Jeff Wise in "America’s Population Could Use a Boom/Failing to address population decline may exact a heavy toll" (NY Magazine).

"Matt Gaetz rises to nominate Jim Jordan, who just urged his colleagues to vote for Kevin McCarthy."

"Gaetz says Jordan’s speech nominating McCarthy displayed 'more vision than we have ever heard from the alternative.'"

Reports Catie Edmondson at the NYT.

"Federal legalization couldn’t come quick enough. It is definitely the salvation for the industry in terms of opening access to the consumer and de-stigmatizing cannabis consumption."

Said Josh Keats, the co-founder of Henry’s Original, a marijuana company, quoted in "How the marijuana 'green rush' fell apart/A cannabis glut in several states has depressed prices for legal pot, pushing small businesses into turmoil" (WaPo).

Apparently, business is terrible, and we're supposed to hope the demand for the famous weed will increase. I'd like to see the federal ban end, mostly because I disapprove of the chaos of partially legalized marijuana. I don't like seeing rule-followers treated worse than people who think the federal part of the law doesn't matter. So I guess I'm for increasing demand in the sense that I want unfairly restrained rule-followers to have equal access, but I hope most people will say no to drugs. And too bad if a lot of people thought they'd get rich quick by jumping into the marijuana business. It's an easy-to-grow plant, and if the federal ban is lifted, people will mostly have one more houseplant. Right? If they want it at all.

"Pet parents are humanizing and humanizing and humanizing some more. Pet parents don’t want to be called pet owners."

"Seventy-seven percent say they want to be called pet parents, and 60 percent say they love spoiling their pets. They spend more. They’re more likely to treat their pets as human, and therefore, they’re more likely to get fresh food. They’re more likely to get premium kibble. They’re more likely to get a puffer vest at our Reddy shop."

Said Petco CEO Ron Coughlin, quoted in "Who spends the most time (and money) on pets?" (WaPo).

He was talking to investors, though, so take that with a grain of kibble. 

Various statistics presented at the link, with numbers that demonstrate things like "Women, Whites and Republicans tend to own more pets."

Do you have a name that many people name their dogs?

I don't. Who would name a dog Ann? That's just crazy.

I'm reading "The most popular people names for dogs."

You can enter your name and see how canine it is:

23 things Vox predicts will happen in 2023.

Do you have predictions? Surely you don't have 23, that is, 23 worth saying. You can always predict obvious things.

Here are Vox's, perhaps padded by obviousness — e.g. "The Supreme Court will rule that affirmative action is unconstitutional (70 percent)."

Are you caught up in the drama of the Speaker of the House vote?

"Only hours before the vote, Representative Kevin McCarthy of California was still laboring on Tuesday to lock down the support he needed to be elected speaker, with ultraconservative holdouts showing no signs of backing down from what could become a chaotic floor fight at the dawn of the new House Republican majority" (NYT). 

UPDATE: Here's the live C-SPAN feed as the House begins the first day of the 118th Congress.

"Dry Tortugas National Park has been closed to the public after hundreds of migrants arrived by boat at the remote islands on the tip of the Florida Keys."

"The National Park Service estimated that 300 people arrived at the park over the past couple of days and said Sunday that there will be no visitor services and 'extremely limited' emergency services during the closure.... The people will be transferred to federal law enforcement agents in the Keys.... Though the National Park Service didn’t specify where the migrants were from, it said the Florida Keys has seen an uptick in arrivals from Cuba. The Coast Guard, which sent 80 asylum seekers back to Cuba last week, has also had a number of recent at-sea interdictions but has not provided specific numbers...."

WaPo reports.

"This made us all unemployable. Like untouchable. God I’m so f***ing mad."

"In one day [Trump] ended every future opportunity that doesn’t include speaking engagements at the local Proud Boys chapter. And all of us that didn’t have jobs lined up will be perpetually unemployed. I’m so mad and upset. We all look like domestic terrorists now."

Texted Hope Hicks to Ivanka Trump’s chief of staff Julie Radford, quoted in "'This made us all unemployable': Trump White House aides respond to January 6 in angry text exchange" (CNN).

"'Died Suddenly'? More Than 1-in-4 Think Someone They Know Died From COVID-19 Vaccines."

Rasmussen reports.

The documentary Died Suddenly has been criticized as promoting “debunked” anti-vaccine conspiracy theories but has been seen by some 15 million people.

Forty-eight percent (48%) of Americans believe there are legitimate reasons to be concerned about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines, while 37% think people who worry about vaccine safety are spreading conspiracy theories. Another 15% are not sure.

The political breakdown is interesting:

Damar Hamlin, hit in a football game, goes into cardiac arrest, some people are bringing up the Covid-19 vaccine, and we are told those people are deplorable.

This is my screenshot of the top of what comes up when I search Twitter for Damar Hamlin and vaccine:

January 2, 2023

Sunrise — 7:41, 7:47, 7:51.




Sunrise — 7:26.


"Dino sings deceptively. You can’t hear any effort, you can barely hear any breathing."

"There’re little slurs and modulations that are as hard to sing as they are easy on the ear. In the bridge, he hits a blue note and then a line or two later ('I heard somebody whisper, please adore me') there is a little waver in his voice that brings to mind Nick Lucas, Tiny Tim’s mentor, who sang the original 'Tip-Toe Thru the Tulips.'"

Writes Bob Dylan about Dean Martin's version of "Blue Moon, in "The Philosophy of Modern Song."

Let's listen to Nick Lucas:

"Students said [Bryan] Kohberger had a strong grasp of the subject matter but was a harsh grader..."

"... giving extensive critiques of assignments and then defending the lower marks when students complained as a group. Later in the fall, roughly around the time of the killings, [Hayden Stinchfield, 20, one of the students in that class] said Mr. Kohberger seemed to start giving better grades, and the assignments that once had his feedback scrawled across every paragraph began coming back clean."

From "Idaho Murder Suspect Had Been a Student of the Criminal Mind/The arrest of a graduate student in the murder of four University of Idaho students eased fears but raised a troubling new question: What was the motive?" (NYT). Kohberger studied criminology and served as a teaching assistant.

"Short people don’t just save resources, but as resources become scarcer because of the earth’s growing population and global warming..."

"... they may also be best suited for long-term survival (and not just because more of us will be able to jam into spaceships when we are forced off this planet we wrecked). Yuval Noah Harari, in his book 'Sapiens,' wrote about a population of early humans who inhabited an island called Flores. Because of a rise in sea level, the island was cut off from other land masses. 'Big people, who need a lot of food, died first,' Mr. Harari wrote. After generations, the people on the island evolved to reach only three and a half feet tall. They could do everything bigger humans could — make tools, hunt — but they could also stay alive when times got tough. When you mate with shorter people, you’re potentially saving the planet by shrinking the needs of subsequent generations. Lowering the height minimum for prospective partners on your dating profile is a step toward a greener planet...." 

From "There Has Never Been a Better Time to Be Short" by Mara Altman (NYT).

"Mr. Bolsonaro was supposed to pass Mr. Lula the presidential sash... an important symbol of the peaceful transition of power..."

"... in a nation where many people still recall the 21-year military dictatorship that ended in 1985. Instead, Mr. Bolsonaro woke up Sunday thousands of miles away, in a rented house owned by a professional mixed-martial-arts fighter a few miles from Disney World. Facing various investigations from his time in his office, Mr. Bolsonaro flew to Orlando on Friday night.... Mr. Bolsonaro had questioned the reliability of Brazil’s election systems for months, without evidence, and when he lost in October, he refused to concede unequivocally. In a sort of farewell address on Friday, breaking weeks of near silence, he said... 'Within the laws, respecting the Constitution, I searched for a way out of this.... We live in a democracy or we don’t... No one wants an adventure.'...  [At the inauguration, a] voice then announced that Mr. Lula would accept the green-and-yellow sash from 'the Brazilian people,' and Aline Sousa, a 33-year-old garbage collector, played the role of Mr. Bolsonaro and placed the sash on the new president."

The NYT reports in "Lula Becomes Brazil’s President, With Bolsonaro in Florida/Brazil inaugurates its new president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, on Sunday. Facing investigations, former President Jair Bolsonaro has taken refuge in Orlando."

Sash presentation at 1:00:

"I don’t know what it is about photos of red wine paired with sullen captions about cancer season that irritate me..."

"... they just do. Same with those that veer toward the needlessly inspirational and/or sentimental... Maybe if I just relaxed and supported people regardless of their content, I might free myself from this prison of my own making. I recently tested out the 'post liking = better person' theory: The image was a beautiful fall landscape somewhere upstate followed by a photo of the poster’s beautiful face drenched in sunlight with a caption about 'healing' and the 'precious ephemerality of golden hour' (!). I fought my instinct to ignore it and went ahead and hit 'Like.' And you know what? It took nothing. I felt nothing. Except for a little glimmer of positive self-regard. Maybe being a little nicer, a little more generous...."

From "Fine, I’ll Just Like the Instagram Post Portrait" by Sangeeta Singh-Kurtz (The Cut).

Oh, let's just stop at "I felt nothing." It made me think of this old song:


Sometimes nothing is the right level of feeling. You don't have to jazz it up to a spicy self-regard.

Who does not presume the investigation is over and the results are being suppressed?

Instapundit writes: "IN THE LATEST YEAR-END REPORT ON THE JUDICIARY, Chief Justice John Roberts talks about judicial independence, but says not a word about the unprecedented leaked decision in Dobbs. Allegedly there is an investigation, but at this point it’s hard to believe, and that alone does little for the Court’s — or Roberts’ — credibility."

If they don't even refer to an ongoing investigation, I presume the investigation is over and the hope is that we'll forget that the leak ever occurred. We have an institution investigating itself over its own secrecy, and it's being secretive about its investigation and its secrecy.

January 1, 2023

At the New Year's Café...


... you can walk way out onto the ice.

"How does a man like this become a 'trillionaire' guru to teenage boys? You may think he is ludicrous..."

"... a globular kickboxing star and former Big Brother contestant. But his reach is staggering: over 11 billion views on TikTok. And what is he pouring into young minds? Streams of grim misogyny: tales of hitting women, choking them, smashing their faces in if they cheat, while maintaining that any cheating on his part is just 'exercise.' It is as if someone has taken every type of woman-hater you can think of — a footballer, an incel, an Arab sheikh, the Tinder Swindler — and rolled them into one menacing, manscaped action doll, given them loads of guns, money and cars and made them say worse things than Donald Trump. He is a God to many boys. Why?"

Writes Camilla Long in "The ascent of a lowlife like Andrew Tate proves that misogyny is baked into our everyday lives" (London Times). 

"Aw, twenty-three!"

"By the way, I have come upon a new piece of slang within the past two months and it has puzzled me. I just heard it from a big newsboy who had a ‘stand’ on a corner. A small boy with several papers under his arm had edged up until he was trespassing on the territory of the other. When the big boy saw the small one he went at him in a threatening manner and said: ‘Here! Here! Twenty-three! Twenty-three!’ The small boy scowled and talked under his breath, but he moved away. A few days after that I saw a street beggar approach a well-dressed man, who might have been a bookmaker or horseman, and try for the usual ‘touch’. The man looked at the beggar in cold disgust and said: ‘Aw, twenty-three!’ I could see that the beggar didn’t understand it any better than I did. I happened to meet a man who tries to ‘keep up’ on slang and I asked [about] the meaning of ‘Twenty-three!’ He said it was a signal to clear out, run, get away."

Wrote George Ade, in 1899, quoted in the Wikipedia article "23 skidoo (phrase)."

But why did 23 come to mean get out?

Some people think it originated with Dickens's novel "A Tale of Two Cities"! It has to do with the numbers given to the doomed prisoners going to the guillotine: