April 8, 2023

At the Saturday Night Café...

... you can talk about whatever you want.

Let's just drop in for a moment on the massive squabble between Matt Taibbi and Elon Musk.

"A trove of leaked Pentagon documents reveals how deeply Russia’s security and intelligence services have been penetrated by the United States..."

"... demonstrating Washington’s ability to warn Ukraine about planned strikes and providing an assessment of the strength of Moscow’s war machine. The documents paint a portrait of a depleted Russian military that is struggling in its war in Ukraine and of a military apparatus that is deeply compromised. They contain daily real-time warnings to American intelligence agencies on the timing of Moscow’s strikes and even its specific targets...."

"Today’s decision overturns the F.D.A.’s expert judgment, rendered over two decades ago, that mifepristone is safe and effective."

Said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, quoted in "Judge Invalidates F.D.A. Approval of the Abortion Pill Mifepristone/The Texas judge’s ruling was quickly contradicted by another federal judge in Washington State who ordered the F.D.A. to keep mifepristone available" (NYT).

"There was no physical attraction at first. I didn’t even think to be nice to him. I was at another gig and John passed by my table and said, 'Drop dead.'"

Said Nina Foster, in 2004, quoted in "Nora Forster, 80, Who Married (and Stayed Married to) a Sex Pistol, Dies/A German publishing heiress and music promoter, she settled in London in time for the 1970s punk-rock explosion and became the muse to its baddest boy" (NYT).

Despite the mutual hostility, Mr. Lydon was intrigued. “Her nose went 10 feet in the air in her ’40s film star outfit,” he said in the same Sunday Mail interview. “Long blond hair, padded shoulders — that entire femme fatale look, which I was a complete ham for.” 

Eventually she softened. “I fell in love with John because he surprised me,” she said. “He had a sweet attitude. He was more innocent and not like the rest of the group.”... 

“One day he came up and asked why I had never invited him to my house,” she later said of Mr. Lydon. “I replied, ‘People told me you would destroy everything.’”

"One of Ann-Margret’s most famous moments in 'Tommy' involved geysers of baked beans being shot directly at her."

"'They came down a chute and then — pow! — it threw me about five feet back!' she said. 'And it smelled!' She recalled that [Ken] Russell said her character was meant to be experiencing a nervous breakdown during the scene, but to some viewers it looked more like she was having an orgasm. 'That’s fine with me!' she added brightly. Townshend thinks the director, Russell, took a bit too much pleasure in having her do the scene repeatedly. 'Ken loved to have a beautiful woman in his clutches covered in beans,' he said. 'Let’s just do it again!' For the new album, he believes Ann-Margret made a perfect choice in having him perform with her on the Everly Brothers song. 'My acoustic guitar style is loosely based on Don Everly’s,' he said."

ADDED: As for the beans — to add to the endless succession of beans — Roger Daltrey got there first. Here's Rolling Stone in 1967:

In which I examine my instinct to call Trump "that cosmic oddball."

Half an hour ago, in the depths typing the first post of the day, I felt called to use the expression "Trump — that cosmic oddball."

Now, in the cool fresh start of the third post, I want to examine the words "cosmic" and "oddball" and reflect on the phrase that popped up out of the blue.

The OED tells me that "cosmic," originally and obsoletely, meant "Of this world." In that sense, we're all cosmic, even the most mundane among us. Everybody is a star. (But not everybody is a porn star.)

Non-obsoletely, "cosmic" means "Of or belonging to the universe considered as an ordered system or totality; relating to the sum or universal system of things." Not quite. Ah, this is better: "Characteristic of the vast scale of the universe and its changes...." It's hyperbole for "huge." Fine.

An "oddball" is "An eccentric or odd person; a person of unconventional views or habits."

"Mr. Jones and Mr. Pearson were expelled on Thursday for interrupting debate last week by using a bullhorn to lead a gun control protest in the chamber..."

"... in the wake of a deadly school shooting in Nashville. Republican leaders argued that the two lawmakers and Representative Gloria Johnson, who joined the protest but survived an expulsion vote, had brought 'disorder and dishonor to the House of Representatives.' Critics said that the expulsions were an overreaction that defied the will of the voters who had elected Mr. Jones and Mr. Pearson in Nashville and Memphis, the state’s two largest cities, which also have large Black and Democratic-leaning populations. Democratic lawmakers and activists also warned that the expulsions could have dangerous repercussions, including encouraging lawmakers in Tennessee and other states controlled by a single party to use the measure as a tool for silencing dissenting voices."

What a bad mistake by Republicans! Did they not foresee this backlash? It is so plainly undemocratic to use the expulsion power so suddenly and crudely — and for the offense of speech

We've been talking a lot lately about the problem of speakers shouting down speakers. Some of us — and I am not one of them — have become overly righteous about preserving the forum of the official speaker on any given occasion.

We have a tradition of protest in America and a treasured right that entails toleration of disruptive speech. It's not easy to deal with the colliding issues, and some remedies are needed, but don't pick the most aggressive solution!

This "predicament" was completely foreseeable, so the Republicans were and are fools not to have gamed this out.

I spent Wednesday morning ranting on this subject. I don't want to hear that this is some sort of surprise.

But I'm trying to read "The Abortion Ban Backlash Is Starting to Freak Out Republicans" by Michelle Goldberg in the NYT.

"Starting"? Is that some kind of joke?
But having made the criminalization of abortion a central axis of their political project for decades, Republicans have no obvious way out of their electoral predicament....

They've had decades to observe the arrival of the "predicament." What was the plan? They spent 50 years taking advantage of millions of voters who are committed to a clear moral principle that is not subject to compromise. 

April 7, 2023

Sunrise — 6:31.


What a difference an arraignment makes.

"The hospitality we have extended to the Thomases over the years is no different from the hospitality we have extended to our many other dear friends."

"We have been most fortunate to have a great life of many friends and financial success, and we have always placed a priority on spending time with our family and friends."

Said Harlan Crow, quoted in "Lawmakers Call for Tighter Ethics Code After Revelations About Justice Thomas/An investigation by ProPublica revealed that Clarence Thomas accompanied Harlan Crow, a conservative donor and real estate billionaire, on a series of luxury vacations without disclosing them" (NYT).

Could ProPublica — or some other organization (the NYT?) — do the same investigation into the hospitality accepted by the other Supreme Court Justices? Was Clarence Thomas focused on because he was known to be way outside the norm or for political reasons? Anyone who at all likes Clarence Thomas is going to be highly suspicious — if not already convinced — that they're going after him because they already hate him. 

What is the usual experience of visiting wealthy friends and at what point should we object? Do we want monkish judges? I intensely admire the Justice Souter lifestyle. As Sandra Day O'Connor described it:

"The longer I reviewed restaurants, the more I became convinced that the unknown customer has a completely different experience from either a valued patron or a recognized food critic."

"For all practical purposes, they might as well be in different restaurants."

Wrote Mimi Sheraton, quoted in "Mimi Sheraton, Innovative Food Critic at The New York Times, Dies at 97/She was the first to wear a disguise in order to get a normal diner’s experience for her Times reviews and worked for many publications in a six-decade career" (NYT).

What sort of disguise did she wear? You might wonder if the different treatment she received had to do with her method of disguise. We're told she used wigs and colored glasses. Were the restaurants discriminating against the ordinary person or was it anti-wigism?

"Do you want to be helped, heard or hugged?"

That is the question, per "When Someone You Love Is Upset, Ask This One Question/Offering support can be tricky, but experts say this technique helps" (NYT).

Each option — an embrace, thoughtful but solicited advice or an empathetic ear — has the power to comfort and calm. Receiving a hug from your partner increases levels of oxytocin, the bonding hormone, and helps dial down stress. There’s evidence that being heard, known as “high-quality listening,” can reduce defensiveness during difficult and intimate conversations. And some research suggests that couples who give each other supportive advice have higher relationship satisfaction.

"Governor Brad Little, a Republican, signed legislation on Wednesday that prohibits an adult from helping a minor travel to receive an abortion..."

"... or access abortion medication without their parents’ consent. A person convicted of 'abortion trafficking' under House Bill 242 could face a sentence of two to five years in prison.... In a letter to state legislators, Little said the legislation does not 'criminalize, preclude, or otherwise impair' interstate travel or prevent an adult from seeking an abortion outside state lines. 'Rather, the "abortion trafficking" provision in the bill seeks only to prevent unemancipated minor girls from being taken across state lines for an abortion without the knowledge and consent of her parent or guardian,' he wrote.... Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates West [said]... 'This legislation is despicable, and we’re going to do everything in our power to stop it'...."

"That person I love is still there every minute of every day and that is my life. It’s unfortunate that she forgets things, well, don’t we all."

Said John Lydon in 2020, quoted in "Sex Pistols frontman Johnny Rotten’s wife dead at 80 after Alzheimer’s battle" (NY Post).

"Survivor 44 recap: Why all old puzzles need to go/With players memorizing puzzles before they even step foot on the island, it's time for producers to start anew."

That's the headline for Dalton Ross's new column.

The problem, as — spoiler alert — you saw in this episode, is that the show re-uses old puzzles, and some players, before beginning their stint on the show, have made 3D printed copies of these puzzles and practiced. This week, we saw Carson do a complicated puzzle speedily and then heard in the voiceover that he'd done the puzzle a thousand times at home. He also openly celebrates nerd power — uses the word "nerd" to rally the other nerds. 

Ross asks: 
[I]s that really what we want to watch as viewers — someone just putting together a puzzle they already learned how to solve before they even stepped on the beach? 

Okay, let me nerd out in my particular lane of nerdery — language usage. I have no problem with Ross writing "before they even stepped on the beach." But I don't like the wording in the headline "before they even step foot on the island." 

"The proposed rule helps clarify that these blanket bans on transgender athletes are in violation of Title IX and is a really positive development."

"When it comes to the hard cases, this is saying that trans kids can be discriminated against."

Under the proposal, schools would need to consider a range of factors before imposing a ban on trans athletes and would need to justify it based on educational grounds, such as the need for fairness. So, for instance, a school district could justify a ban on transgender athletes on their competitive high school track and field team, whereas a district would have a harder time making that case for an intramural middle school kickball squad....

So... just don't have a flat ban and schools can impose whatever limits they want if they say that's their assessment of "fairness"?

That sounds as though they are giving schools virtually complete discretion (at least beyond the little kids level) and the main effect is to preempt all the top-down bans from the state level. That would be using centralized national power to decentralize the decision-making to the local level.

But how much deference will there be to local judgment about "fairness"? 

Here's the text of the "fact sheet" about the proposed rule. The word "fairness" appears twice:

April 6, 2023

Sunrise — 6:28.


"A Biden administration review of Afghanistan withdrawal blames Trump."

NPR headline.

"During the transition from the Trump Administration to the Biden Administration, the outgoing Administration provided no plans for how to conduct the final withdrawal or to evacuate Americans and Afghan allies," the assessment said. "Indeed, there were no such plans in place when President Biden came into office, even with the agreed upon full withdrawal just over three months away."

"Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has accepted luxury trips around the globe for more than two decades... funded by Harlan Crow, a Dallas businessman."

"The publication [ProPublica] said Thomas typically spends about a week every summer at Crow’s private resort in the Adirondacks. It said the justice also has vacationed at Crow’s ranch in East Texas and has joined Crow at the Bohemian Grove, an exclusive all-male retreat in California. ProPublica cited a nine-day trip that Thomas and his wife, Virginia 'Ginni' Thomas, took to Indonesia in 2019... which included flights on Crow’s jet and island-hopping in a volcanic archipelago on a superyacht, would have cost the couple more than $500,000 if they had paid for it themselves...."

It's just a "paid partnership" on Instagram. If it's not for you, it's not for you.

I'm yawning at the "uproar," noted by the stalwart New York Post, in "Nike faces online uproar over paid partnership with trans TikToker Dylan Mulvaney."

Overheard at Meadhouse:

"I've never called anything 'stalwart' before. I just felt for some reason that I needed to call The New York Post 'stalwart.'"

"I think you probably heard it called that before."

"So I'm being conventional?"

"It's just somewhere in the back of your memory, that you associate the word with The New York Post."

"Stalwart" means "Resolute, unbending, determined" as in " The duke made his stalwart declaration in the House of Lords against all parliamentary reform" (OED). 

And an "uproar" is a "Loud outcry or vociferation; noise of shouting or tumult" (OED). Some classy examples:

"'The View' Adds Coasters Under Mugs To Prevent Co-Hosts From Being Accused Of Farting."

 Decider reports.

A recent incident had Sara Haines explaining, “It’s my glass. Every time I turn it like this.”

Joy Behar: “OK, let’s put that rumor to rest …. See that sound that you hear? That’s a cup, OK?” 

Whoopi Goldberg: “Yes, because we get blamed for dropping gas when in fact it is a cup.”

April 5, 2023

At Grennie's Springtime Café...

IMG_0744 2

... you can yap all night.

"You’re trying to attract and make certain people feel comfortable based on the associations with classical music."

"And you see that in fancy cheese shops that play classical music because they hope people will feel like they’re a part of some elite upscale world and then they’ll spend more money....  It’s like a bird marking its territory where you hear the signal and you go, 'OK, this is not for me. This is for the older money crowd.... And that technique seems to work. There are examples of teenagers leaving an area that’s playing classical music, not because they don’t like the music but because of the associations.... [Y]ou’re creating hierarchies of sound... And you’re not solving the problem... You’re just pushing the problem to another spot."
Said musicologist Lily E. Hirsch, author of "Music in American Crime Prevention and Punishment," quoted in "L.A. blasting classical music to drive unhoused people from subway station. It’s louder than officials claim" (L.A. Times).

"A symposium in support of Afghan and Iranian women has been postponed after organisers received threats from transgender activists for inviting a feminist who says sex is determined by biology."

The London Times reports.

The Comité Laïcité République (republic secularism committee), an association that promotes French secularism, said critics had threatened to attack the event with “rotten eggs and baseball bats” over the presence of Marguerite Stern, 32, who is behind a nationwide campaign to denounce the murder of women by their husbands and partners.... 

The English Football Association put up a tweet portraying its players as "Barbies."

The London Times reports.

It's hard to imagine how this could happen. There is a "Barbie Selfie Generator" offered by the promoters of the new "Barbie" movie. That explains why random people are displaying themselves on Twitter with Barbie branding, but it doesn't explain why the FA would deem this appropriate... especially the one with "This Barbie is a Bunny"!

"Most people dislike believing they and their factions are the ones in power. They want power, while claiming the victim mantle."

From McCarthy's essay:

"The 106-year-old Whang-Od... has been perfecting the art of hand-tapping tattoos since she was a teen, learning under her father's instruction."

Reports CNN, at "A 106-year-old from the Philippines is Vogue's oldest ever cover model."

French Impressionism explained at long last: It was the air pollution.

From "Scientists confirm long held theory about what inspired Monet" (CNN).

I thought it was going to be cataracts, but, no... air pollution.

"In general, air pollution makes objects appear hazier, makes it harder to identify their edges, and gives the scene a whiter tint, because pollution reflects visible light of all wavelengths" [said Anna Lea Albright, a postdoctoral researcher for Le Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique at Sorbonne University].... 

The team looked for these two metrics, edge strength and whiteness, in the paintings — by converting them into mathematical representations based on brightness — and then compared the results with independent estimates of historical air pollution.

Don't you love it when something you thought was a human being's inspiration turns out to be an outside force, something that happened to him? It's especially demoralizing when it's some malady or misfortune.

"Liberals win control of Wisconsin Supreme Court ahead of abortion case."

That's the headline at The Washington Post.

I remember when it was considered important at least to pretend that judicial elections where nonpartisan and that judges decided cases according to something that was quaintly called "the law." 

The article does throw a crumb of nostalgia to those of us who remember:

Judicial candidates in Wisconsin do not run with party labels, but...

10 words and then the "but" grabs back any concession to the old pretense: 

... the race was steeped in partisanship....

Lots of political money sloshed over both candidates. And: 

At Protasiewicz’s victory party in downtown Milwaukee, the three liberals who sit on the court marched into the hotel ballroom arm in arm to Lizzo’s “About Damn Time.”

Marched, did they? 

April 4, 2023

Sunrise — 6:39.

IMG_0742 2

Write about whatever you want in the comments... except the Trump criminal case. Go one post down for that.

"Donald J. Trump may not have an actual mug shot, but his campaign team was not going to miss an opportunity..."

"... to raise money off his arrest on Tuesday with a ready-made meme: a $36 T-shirt bearing the former president’s face in a pretend booking photo. The 'Official Trump Mugshot White Cotton T-Shirt' shows Mr. Trump above a letter board that reads 'President Donald J. Trump,' the numbers '45-47' — presumably signifying his status as the 45th and possible 47th president — and the date of his arraignment, above the words 'NOT GUILTY.' In a touch of Trumpian embellishment, his height on the chart behind him appears to tip past 6 feet 5 inches. (In 2016, his doctor listed him as 6 feet 3 inches.)"

The NYT reports, even linking to the page where you can buy the shirt and contribute to the campaign.

I clicked through to that page, and I see that it says "Paid for by WinRed. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. WinRed.com." It's not clear to me who made the shirt.

Anyway, feel free to use this post to talk about the 34 felony counts, Trump's appearance at the courthouse, and Bragg's press conference.

A good summary from the NYT: "The district attorney says that for nine straight months, Trump held documents in his hand containing a key lie: that he was paying Michael D. Cohen for legal services, rather than reimbursing him. Cohen paid hush money to Stormy Daniels in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election so that she would not tell her story of an earlier tryst with Trump."

"9 Surprising Moments in the History of Sunglasses."

At Science Museum.

#1 is "Emperor Nero's Emerald":

In his work Natural History, Pliny the Elder described how the Roman Emperor Nero would watch gladiator matches through an emerald. This has been considered by some as a rather opulent, if a bit ambiguous, account of a precursor to sunglasses. Some speculate that this was because Nero was near-sighted or that it was meant to shield the Sun’s glare....

You might think I'm reading this because of my own surprising moment having to do with sunglasses, a few posts down, here. But no, Nero's emerald came up in the "Car Tongs" episode of "The Frank Skinner Show" podcast, which I've been bingeing on lately. 

Things conflated by Majorie Taylor Greene.

Now, here's an appropriate use of the word "conflate."

The “pedophile” slur, a companion of the term “groomer,” is regularly applied by Republicans and right-wing media figures to Democrats and others who stand up for transgender rights, including gender-affirming treatment for adolescents. Greene cheerfully flaunted this use of the term on “60 Minutes,” which left [Lesley] Stahl utterly flummoxed: 

This sentence conflates too much.

Let me screenshot this little squib from the upper left corner of the NYT website:

Clicking on that doesn't get me to more context, but I'll trust the reporting that Trump's legal team is presenting a wider perspective in which all 3 criminal matters merge into one story of politically motivated persecution. But Thrush puts too many things in one sentence: 1. By using the word "wants," he makes an assertion about the inside of the lawyers' head, 2. By using the word "conflate," he's inserting his own opinion. The lawyers don't want to "conflate"!

Whole Foods is watching me.

Yesterday, as I was browsing amongst the fruits and vegetables, a voice came over the loudspeaker saying we should check our shopping carts for the sunglasses somebody had, apparently, lost. I heard it, thought about it, but assumed I knew what was in my shopping cart and continued on my way.

Over by the cheeses, as I was standing about 15 feet from my cart, I thought I heard someone call my name, "Ann... Ann..." I glance over and see no one I know and assume, as I've assumed since I was a first grader, that when the syllable that happens to be my name is heard, it's probably not an effort to get my attention.

Trump popularity spikes.

Real Clear Politics tracks the polls:


The most recent Reuters poll, taken from 3/31 - 4/3, has Trump up by 29 percentage points. In the previous Reuters poll, 3/14 - 3/20, Trump was only up by 14. In the most recent Trafalgar Group poll, 3/31 - 4/2, Trump is up by 33 points. In the previous Trafalgar Group poll, he was up by 14.

It seems obvious that the indictment has improved his standing. Nice work, Trump haters. 

Will the Wisconsin lawprof blogger — at long last — take a position in the Wisconsin Supreme Court election?

It's Election Day. 

The national media is leaning into this one. See, e.g., "Wisconsin’s High-Stakes Supreme Court Race: What to Watch/The election for a swing seat on the court is likely to determine whether abortion remains illegal in Wisconsin, as well as the future of the state’s heavily gerrymandered political maps" (NYT).

And here I am, based in Wisconsin, for 4 decades. And me, a law professor — a retired law professor who's been on the receiving end of the outburst "And, you! A law professor!" so many times.

Yes, me, a law professor, a Wisconsin law professor. Emerita. I am not taking any position other than my trademark position: Cruel neutrality.

It's real, and I hope it hurts.

I privately know who I'll vote for if I vote, but I will probably walk to the polling place this morning without knowing whether I will vote or abstain. I consider abstention a worthy option.

"There were four of us literally locked in a room writing songs. We just churned out songs, that’s all. They would say, 'Write ten California songs, ten Detroit songs,' then we’d go down into the studio for an hour or two..."

"... and cut three or four albums really quickly, which came in handy later because I knew my way around a studio, not well enough but I could work really fast. While I was doing that, I was doing my own stuff and trying to get by, but the material I was doing, people wouldn’t go near me with it at the time. I mean, we wrote ‘Johnny Can’t Surf No More’ and ‘Let the Wedding Bells Ring’ and ‘Hot Rod Song.’ I didn’t see it as schizophrenic at all. I just had a job as a songwriter. I mean, a real hack job. They’d come in and give me a subject, and we’d write."

Said Lou Reed, quoted in Episode 164 of the podcast "A History of Rock Music in 500 Songs" — "'White Light/White Heat' by the Velvet Underground.'"

This episode is very long and full of so many varied things — lots about John Cage before we get to John Cale and Lou Reed arrives much later. The stories merge brilliantly. I'm just pointing you at this wonderful episode, not quoting something representative of the whole.

I chose that quote, because that's the point that cued up a snippet of "Cycle Annie," which I found in full here.

Strange deviation or the norm?

clean the chili peppers
by u/BigfootDynamite in Wellthatsucks

What do you really know about any of your food?

April 3, 2023

The forest floor in early spring.

IMG_0735 2

"Only now — as a student about to graduate — do I realize how few classmates agree with the loudest ones."

"Most of us fall somewhere between or are still forming our opinions. A friend recently told me that 'coming out as a moderate was more difficult than coming out as gay at Stanford Law School.' He eventually moved to San Francisco so he could 'just ignore the madness.' These dynamics are hardly unique to Stanford. My friends in law school at Yale and Harvard, among others, have shared similar experiences...."

Writes Tess Winston, in "With some of my fellow Stanford Law students, there’s no room for argument" (WaPo).

The quietness of people in the middle makes extremism work. They're so busy being invisible that they don't notice — or acknowledge — the role they play.

How easily they internalize bullying:

"[W]e just got back another blood result... My wife, Marla, and I say to each other, 'No matter what this shows, it’s perfect.'"

"Indeed, it showed a big jump in this blood marker, which wouldn’t be something to celebrate. It is what it is. It’s real. And what’s more fun than reality?"

Said Dr. Roland Griffith, quoted in "A Psychedelics Pioneer Takes the Ultimate Trip" (NYT). The "ultimate trip" refers to his dying (of cancer). 

It's not random. It's his sense of humor. Interestingly sadistic.

Those of you who would like to make this about Biden's descent into dementia — I think you're missing something. Biden is doing a kind of humor I recognize. He thinks he's cute and he thinks he's funny. He sees someone leaning out a window or off a balcony or rooftop, and he shouts to them "Don't jump."

Have you never amused your friends with such an outburst or been the amused friend of someone who did?

"Those visits are typically what people are trying to avoid when they keep their conditions secret...."

Writes Carolyn Hax, responding to a letter, in "Aunt kept her cancer secret, so no one could say goodbye" (WaPo).
It’s not necessarily a personal rejection of their loved ones, so please don’t think your aunt was avoiding you specifically or her family in general. In my experience, it’s the goodbye scene that the terminally ill are rejecting. It’s not just illness, either. Many people go out of their way not to be the center of attention, period. There are brides who dread aisles, birthday honorees who dread their own parties, sufferers who conceal their pain for fear of mobilizing a help army, patients who deflect bedside displays of concern.

Ha ha. I identify with that, not as a person who has hidden a disease, but as a person who had the smallest possible wedding and who hasn't had a birthday party since my age was in the single digits. 

I think if the aunt saw her loved ones as she was dying, she was saying goodbye to them, and she wanted to see them as they were to her when they saw her as she was when she was not dying. That is, she didn't want them transformed into something strangely overdramatic but to experience life while she was still in it.

"Drinking moderate amounts of alcohol every day does not — as once thought — protect against death from heart disease, nor does it contribute to a longer life..."

"... according to a sweeping new analysis of alcohol research."

WaPo reports the belated discovery of the obvious.

Thanks for the news, but what I want to know is why we were oiled up for so long with bad science? Re alcohol, it's been fun, but the party's over.

Time to deal with the larger phenomenon, the badness of so much of the science mainstream media reports. It's been especially annoying paired with "Believe the science" demands.

People are going to lose focus and resort to just believing whatever they want to believe, like that moderate drinking is good for your health... and that the drinking you're doing is moderate.

"I’d be sitting in the back watching the cold open and — the cold open [is] topical, political humor, whatever’s in the culture. And then, making fun of you."

"Then you’ve got to walk out and do a sketch next and hit your mark and the show just made fun of you... Like, they just dogged you in front of everyone. And you’re like, 'I’m a fucking loser, man.' These are the people I’ve been with for almost a decade. I grew up in front of these people. They’ve watched me through the most difficult time in my life, and they’ve been there for me.... The nature of entertainment is the nature of this business. At the end of the day, that’s what it is. This was a really difficult thing to do. You feel small. You feel super insecure.... Suddenly you’re in this zeitgeist and that has nothing to do with the work. And that’s a really shitty feeling. I became more known before the work was there, but I was always working."

Said Pete Davidson, quoted in "Pete Davidson Says 'SNL' Jokes About His Dating Life Made Him Feel 'Like A F—king Loser'" (Decider).

You might find that hard to believe, considering that he was made fun of for his amazing success with one beautiful woman after another, but who are you to say? How do you know how much that hurts? Maybe he's bullshitting, but consider that the jokes were premised on the idea — presumably widely shared — that he is ugly. The extrapolated belief that he's well-endowed eliminated the possibility that he could be loved as a person. That made him think: "I’m a fucking loser, man." It could be. Or he's bullshitting. 

The feeling that the blue checks were honoring a reputation that had been curated for 10 years.

It's like the cry "I thought you loved me!" when a marriage comes to an end.

No, this was not love. It was not honor. It was just the 2 of us, responding to incentives, in an awkward dance that was only ever commercial, and now, an exchange of money is needed, and you owe me.

"With his shaggy hair, hepcat beard and racy poems touching on British youth’s anxieties, dreams of freedom and lust, he was hailed as Britain’s answer to Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac..."

I'm reading "Royston Ellis, Bridge Between Beat Poets and the Beatles, Dies at 82 Making his name with a blend of poetry and rock ’n’ roll he called 'rocketry,' he straddled two eras of British youth culture at the dawn of the 1960s" (NYT).
Weaving his way into the bohemian underground of the Soho district of London, he was quickly drawing comparisons to the American Beat poets, although he later cited influences closer to home, in particular the British poet Christopher Logue, who provided inspiration with his “jazzetry” — poems read to a jazz accompaniment.

Look at this from 1959:

The connection to The Beatles:

April 2, 2023

Sunrise — 6:42, 6:44.



The winds had blown the ice into an entirely different position, with different parts of the lake open and covered and a high wall of plates of snow/ice piled up against the shore.

Talk about anything you want in the comments.

"It kind of left an empty feeling, and I’m not even for the Red Sox. I mean, you’re in the stands, you paid all that money..."

"... and your best hitter is called out because he’s looking at the pitcher a second or two too late. I understand why we’re doing it, but boy, it was disappointing."

Said Jim Palmer, the Hall-of-Fame pitcher, commenting on a strikeout that was called on a batter who simply failed to be looking at the pitcher when the pitch clock hit the 8th second.

"Democrats used a muscular defense of abortion rights to great success in the midterm elections last fall, and, if that strategy works again..."

"... they are likely to copy it next year in races at all levels of government, including in President Biden’s campaign if he seeks re-election. The focus on abortion rights in down-ballot races, however, reflects Democrats’ increased nationalization of local politics. For decades, local Republican candidates ran on issues like abortion, immigration and national security, putting them in simple terms: 'A noun, a verb and 9/11,' Mr. Biden once said in describing the phenomenon. Now Democrats are doing the same on abortion in left-leaning cities, hoping to win over independent voters and some moderate Republicans."

"Now Democrats are doing the same on abortion..." — doing what? Stating an abstraction without more and expecting voters to be triggered into mindless voting? Does abortion work like that? It jolts both pro- and anti- voters. Who knows who reacts more — now that the Court has revoked the constitutional right?

"The question of how can a man not care about living, in a world where those children you clearly adore are living."

From the linked article:
"A neuropsychiatrist, [Dr. David] Williamson has been treating Fetterman. "He had markedly reduced motivation and drive," Williamson said. "The RPM in the brain, how fast you think and how clearly you think, is very substantially degraded when patients get depressed."

One can't help suspecting that the "very substantially degraded" thinking had to do with the stroke.

Elon Musk calls the NYT Twitter postings "diarrhea."

Now, something I see going on here is that Musk wants Twitter to be the one place where everyone stays, so he doesn't like the NYT just putting up links for all its many articles, which it probably does because it's trying to drive traffic to its own site. There's Twitter's economic interest in its own stickiness, and the NYT's interest in using Twitter to get people to leave Twitter. Saying "diarrhea" is childish. Musk's real point is that he'd like us all to write new and interesting material for Twitter, to make Twitter exciting reading and transfix us at his place. The NYT would like you at its place, which is full of all sorts of articles that might be interesting to people, not just "top articles," whatever that's supposed to mean.

"I was trying to conjure a mood as much as tell a straightforward, girl-leaves-boy story,” he continued. With the ceiling flying away and room humming harder, I wanted to paint an image of a scene."

Said Keith Reid, quoted in "Keith Reid, Who Brought Poetry to Procol Harum, Dies at 76/His impressionistic lyrics, as in the hit song 'A Whiter Shade of Pale,' helped make the band one of the leading acts of the progressive-rock era" (NYT).

"Back in the day when it wasn’t that easy to survive the winter, people had to struggle, and then it’s kind of been passed along the generations."

"Our parents were this way. Our grandparents were this way. Tough and not worrying about everything. Just living life."

This happiness does not look much like an America stereotype of happiness: 

"The former FBI director, who has been teaching and speaking on government ethics, joined others in celebrating the upcoming arrest of Trump because nothing says 'ethical leadership' like a patently political prosecution."

Blogs — scoffs — Jonathan Turley.
Comey declined to prosecute Hillary Clinton on her email scandal despite finding that she violated federal rules and handled classified material “carelessly.” He declared, “Ethical leaders lead by seeing above the short term, above the urgent or the partisan, and with a higher loyalty to lasting values, most importantly the truth.” 
Yet now Comey is heralding the effort of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who campaigned on a pledge of bagging Trump for some unspecified crime.... 

"The people of Barcelona, Lisbon and Venice are sick of Airbnb and its effect on their cities."

"In Marseille, where activists may be both more stubborn and more chic than elsewhere, public enemy number one is not M Macron but the ubiquitous valise à roulettes (wheelie suitcase), without which no self-respecting weekender would even consider travelling in the 21st century. Or would they? I used to feel smug as my dear domestic colleague slung his bag heavily over his shoulder at airports and railway stations (he considers wheels infra dig). But in Amsterdam the other day – we were there to see the Rijksmuseum’s sold-out Vermeer exhibition – I felt things shift. The sound of my plastic wheels on cobbles and tramlines was loud in my ears: a leper’s bell announcing my approach. As T sliced through the crowds, silently and stylishly, I was envious of him and embarrassed for myself."

I haven't seen "infra dig" in a long time, long enough to need to look it up to be sure I got it. Here's something from William Safire, in the NYT, from 2006, when — It's almost hard to believe — "infrastructure" was a word worth writing a column about:

"A cat goes missing, a marriage breaks down, a large, extravagantly boastful frog visits a meek bank-teller and stresses that he must assist in the defeat of a destructive giant subterranean worm."

The Guardian summarizes "Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman" — an animated movie based on Murakami stories.

"A rally in Washington DC billed as a 'transgender day of vengeance' has been cancelled after organisers said they had been alerted to a 'credible threat to life and safety.'"

"The Trans Radical Activist Network announced on its website that the march scheduled for the US capital on Saturday would no longer be going ahead following a 'flood of raw hatred directed toward the trans community.' The group said the threats had emerged following a shooting at a Christian primary school in Tennessee. The killer, who shot dead three children and three adults, identified as transgender, police in Nashville said."

"Twitter removed tweets referencing the 'Transgender Day of Vengeance' and said: 'We do not support tweets that incite violence irrespective of who posts them. "Vengeance" does not imply peaceful protest.' Announcing the march had been cancelled, the Trans Radical Activist Network said: 'Individuals who had nothing to [do] with that heinous act have been subjected to highly serious threats and blamed only because of their gender identity. This is one of the steps in genocide, and we will continue our efforts to protect trans lives.'"

Are you surprised to see Twitter censoring based on the word "vengeance"? The Times offers this image as something that was seen on social media promoting the event:

"But if I see that a bar is ‘lesbian and queer’ or ‘lesbian and trans,’ it denotes this is not just a gay bar."

"This is a really safe space, and it’s changing the narrative of what it means to be a gay bar, a lesbian bar or a queer bar."

Arora is suspicious of bars that call themselves just "lesbian," because — as the NYT puts it — that "might be used to connote anti-trans ideas about who can, and cannot, identify as a woman."

That runs against the spirit of the headline, which uses the term "Lesbian Bar." Apparently, lesbians are called upon to go out of their way to express inclusiveness toward transwomen.

The article also looks askance at gay bars: "Though the West Hollywood gay bar and nightlife scene is thriving, it generally caters to cisgender men — for the rest of the L.G.B.T.Q. community, it’s not always clear which spaces will make them feel welcome."

"Every local prosecutor in the country will now feel that he or she has free rein to criminally investigate and prosecute presidents after they leave office."

"Democrats currently cheering the charges against Mr. Trump may feel differently if — or when — a Democrat, perhaps even President Biden, ends up on the receiving end of a similar effort by any of the thousands of prosecutors elected to local office, eager to make a name for themselves by prosecuting a former president of the United States. The vast range, breadth and diversity of criminal laws throughout the country provide plenty of opportunity for mischief. As the attorney general and future justice Robert Jackson observed more than 80 years ago, 'A prosecutor stands a fair chance of finding at least a technical violation of some act on the part of almost anyone.' He added, 'It is not a question of discovering the commission of a crime and then looking for the man who has committed it; it is a question of picking the man and then searching the law books or putting investigators to work to pin some offense on him.'"

From Ankush Khardori, a former federal prosecutor, in "Trump’s Prosecution Has Set a Dangerous Precedent" (NYT).

The shorter, more famous quote is "Show me the man. I'll show you the crime."

But here's how the Khardori column ends: "We should all let the case proceed through the courts until it reaches an orderly resolution and, whatever the result, try to chalk it all up to the fact that Mr. Trump never fails to generate strange and unique situations."

Trump is strange and unique. Does that mean what happens to him doesn't really say anything about what will happen in later cases? I'd say no. It sets precedents, and because Trump seems so unlike anyone else, we may imagine the precedents are not precedents. But they are.