August 19, 2023

Sunrise — 6:18, 6:23, 6:26.


IMG_3127 2

IMG_3132 2

"Many children were left with grandparents and great aunts and uncles while parents... worked, making escape even more challenging. In many cases... the very young and the very old died together."

From "A couple prayed for their 14-year-old son, last seen at their Lahaina home. Then they found him [dead]. There was no pattern to who died and no single path to safety amid the nation’s deadliest wildfire in more than a century" (WaPo).

Jordan Peterson and Vivek Ramaswami talk about attention span.

This is extraordinarily insightful:

Peterson observes that the idea that attention spans are shrinking fails to account for the widespread consumption of audiobooks and very long podcasts. Ramaswamy first responds by speculating that there's a kind of "low-level dyslexia," and most people are a little slower reading than listening, and that means they are really capable of absorbing more complex material than they're willing or able to read.

Ramaswamy immediately posits a second theory: There's a hunger for "human connectivity," and people want a "disintermediated relationship" that they get from hearing the voice of the person who is generating ideas. Peterson jumps on that: It's why unscripted podcasts work so well. Peterson says books can go deeper, but it's easier to deceive people with a book. You can "craft your lies." But with a podcast, you get spontaneity, tone, and demeanor. People experience Joe Rogan as "genuine." "It's the antithesis of the crafted Hillary-Clinton political-class message." It's why Donald Trump was so successful. 

I'm just summarizing (as the presence of Abraham Lincoln in my tags hints), and the conversation continues. I haven't set an end point. You'll see how long your attention span reaches.

"As recently as 2015 Nigel Short, then vice-president of the world chess federation Fide, claimed that 'men are hardwired to be better chess players than women'..."

"... adding: 'You have to gracefully accept that.' The English grandmaster went on to explain it was clear men and women’s brains are different because he helps his wife get the car out of the garage and she has more emotional intelligence than him.... Debbie Hayton, a trans woman who writes frequently for conservative outlets, wrote in UnHerd: 'It’s possible that evolution has left men with an innate advantage in chess.' Hayton backed that up with a quote from a (female) Harvard biologist about males having a large advantage over females in spatial ability. But... [a] 2020 study in Nature Scientific Reports... found no difference between male and female spatial abilities. Any differences previously found, a lot of research suggests, may be down to testing methodologies...."

ADDED: In the comments, after posting about sexual dimorphism, I wrote "I'd hypothesize that chess, a game invented and developed by men, reflects male strengths and predilections. Why wouldn't it?" I took that question to ChatGPT and didn't get a straight answer, but when I demanded a straight answer,  I got one. 

"Gantulga’s family are nomadic reindeer herders in Mongolia, near Lake Khuvsgul. They have more than 200 animals..."

"... and belong to the Dukha community, who take great care of their reindeer. Gantulga goes to school from 9am to 2pm, and has extra lessons in Mongolian, English and maths. In the summer, he accompanies the men and older boys to the taiga forest, to find greener pasture for the reindeer. They live in a tipi, which can be draughty, but at night the floor is covered with sheepskins to sleep on. There is a solar panel that powers his smartphone. When he grows up he would like to be a reindeer herder, but his father fears he may want to move to the city."

About that trailer in Kentucky:

August 18, 2023

Sunrise — 6:11, 6:12.



Excessive Trumpism.

I just noticed — writing the previous post — that I had the tag "Trumpless Trumpism" and "Trumpism without Trump." Neither had been used much, so it wasn't hard to go from 2 to 1.

"Trumpless Trumpism" won in the showdown of duplicative taggification. That tag started here, on March 18, 2021:

"I am mindful of the critics — and I’m one of them — that we can be doing more and better in myriad areas."

"I’m mindful that as governor, I can’t do it all. But I’m also mindful that the buck stops here. And I’m ultimately going to be held to account."

 Said Gavin Newsom, quoted in "Why San Francisco is make or break for Gavin Newsom/Newsom has increasingly been moonlighting as a quasi-city executive of his hometown and approaching its woes as a litmus test for his success in Sacramento." (Politico).

Gaze upon the mindfulness:

That's a screenshot from the photo at Politico. I reduced the color saturation (a lot) and reversed the cast from garishly hot to cool:

"I see it cropping up everywhere. In addition to 'HGTV-ification,' The Atlantic has covered the 'flu-ification of covid policy'...."

"Vox has lately published articles on the 'old man-ification' of television, the 'Easter egg-ification' of celebrity beefs, and the '"You’re doing it wrong"-ification'of TikTok influencers.... (The New Yorker has proved reticent on this particular kind of neologism, although, as far back as 2002, the magazine did refer to fears of 'le Big Mac-ification' of French life.) Pundits and politicos... [have] been indexing the 'Trump-ification' of just about everything since his candidacy in 2015. (Meanwhile, the rap dignitary Chuck D, of Public Enemy, attributed the groundswell of support for Trump to 'dumbass-ification.') During the past few years, the Washington Post has diagnosed the 'NRA-ification,' '"alternative facts’-ification,' 'hoax-ification,' and 'Hitler-ification' of the Trumpian right....Trump’s embattled rival Ron DeSantis likes to decry the 'woke-ification' of various institutions...."

"Who cares, in other words, whether or not Threads succeeds, when the existence of a new Twitter will do little to serve most peoples’ hunger for authentic communication?"

"Fortunately, the original small community ethos of the early Internet seems to be mounting a comeback in forms like podcasting, e-mail newsletters, Discord groups, and discussion sites—all of which can offer a more homegrown and personal variety of online interaction. These efforts deserve our attention more than the spectacle of billion-dollar companies falling over themselves to force together as many people as possible. To make the online experience less hostile, we don’t need ever-more complicated algorithms deployed by ever-larger platforms. It’s enough to instead return to a conception of digital interaction that occurs on a much more human scale."

I don't know why he didn't put blogs in that set of things that have "the original small community ethos of the early Internet."

You want "human scale"? I'll give you human scale!

By the way, I strongly suspect that the real reason for saying "Who cares... whether or not Threads succeeds...?" is that it's apparent that Threads is not succeeding. 

"Of all the ways in which Trump broke the political model, a basic one was in the biography of a Presidential contender."

"Could anyone—at least anyone able to fund his own campaign—be President now? That idea, prevalent during the populist spring of 2016, has faded since. Fewer progressive outsiders have won national office than many on the left might have hoped, and the Republican Party has largely absorbed the MAGA movement, avoiding being displaced by it. The novice-candidate model hasn’t really been tested since 2016.... Watching Ramaswamy on the stump reminded me that Biden, who campaigned against Trump’s extremism in 2020 as a pragmatist and a steady hand, has not yet had to defend his investments in climate transformation and the Ukraine war, and made me wonder how effectively he would do so. For now, Ramaswamy’s rise is demonstrating that conservative populist energy hasn’t fully been tapped...."

"The document’s first paragraph, addressing Mr. Ramaswamy’s past support for inheritance taxes, draws a link between that policy position and his Hindu upbringing..."

"... as the son of Indian immigrants. 'Ramaswamy — a Hindu who grew up visiting relatives in India and was very much ingrained in India’s caste system — supports this as a mechanism to preserve a meritocracy in America and ensure everyone starts on a level playing field,' the document states...."

Asked to comment on the reason for highlighting Mr. Ramaswamy’s religion and background, the super PAC’S chief executive, Chris Jankowski, said in a statement: “We are highlighting that his philosophy of government is a direct reflection of his life experience. When his parents moved here from India, they had an 85 percent inheritance tax. In fact, his support of the inheritance tax is connected to the argument he makes in his book against meritocracy.”

"I recall finding it a little jarring, back in 2016, to walk the corridors of the Republican convention in Cleveland and not see more than handful of Republicans I recognized from years past."

"That’s because, when you win that many primaries as a hostile outsider, you physically replace the long-serving delegates who made up the base of the party with the alienated neophytes who supported you. In other words, Trump was not suddenly in charge of the party as it existed the year before; he actually created an entirely different party, beholden only to him. So, for Trump, pledging loyalty to the party is indistinguishable from pledging loyalty to himself...."

Bai ends with this prediction: "The age of pop-up movements and celebrity takeovers in our politics is likely just beginning, I’m afraid. And the time for loyalty oaths — to any party — is rapidly coming to an end."

"The head of Maui’s emergency management agency... defended the decision not to activate the sirens, saying the outdoor alarms are used primarily for tsunamis..."

"... and would not have helped because people are trained to seek higher ground when they hear the siren.... None of the 80 warning sirens placed around Maui were activated in last week’s fires.... A county-run website on the siren describes it as an 'all-hazard siren system' to alert residents to natural disasters and other emergency situations, 'including tsunamis, hurricanes, dam breaches, flooding, wildfires, volcanic eruptions, terrorist threats, hazardous material incidents, and more.'"

August 17, 2023

This morning, it rained, so there are no photos of today's sunrise, but I have sunrise pictures from Sunday, the 13th...

... when we camped on the shore of Lake Superior. This is Horseshoe Harbor, at 6:38 EDT:








About those rocks:

"If I had to guess, I would say that all this stuff that’s coming out slowly but surely about Biden is on purpose, and they want to get rid of him."

"I think he wants to run again, and I don’t think the Democrats think that he can win. I think they’re right, and I think they’re going to slowly but surely expose more of these very clear pieces of evidence of corruption."

Rogan noted that the “20 million dollars” of foreign money paid to the Bidens is “f—king bananas,” as is “the fact that this isn’t all over the New York Times and The Washington Post and mainstream news — that they’re not blaring it from the rooftops, because you know they would be if it was Trump.”

Why is there women's chess in the first place? My female mind fails to comprehend.

I'm trying to read "World chess body bars trans women from competing in women’s events/The International Chess Federation’s new guidelines also strip transgender men of previously won women’s titles" (NBC News).

This isn't like swimming and tennis and the like. There's no physical component... just an insulting implication that women are mentally inferior (at least in some chess-specific way).

From the article:

There is no recent research that proves men have significantly different IQs or are smarter than women, and older studies — one from 2005 and another from 2006 — that do make that claim have been debunked....

I found this — not addressing the trans issue — in a forum from 2008. Somebody says:

"[Dylan] and Robertson had had something between friendly discussion and outright arguments about Dylan’s style of songwriting while on tour the year before."

"Robertson — who, at this time, remember, had a body of songs that mostly consisted of things like 'Uh Uh Uh' — thought that Dylan’s songs were too long, and the lyrics were approaching word salad. Why, he wanted to know, did Dylan not write songs that expressed things simply, in words that anyone could understand, rather than this oblique, arty stuff? He kept holding up Curtis Mayfield songs as a model, like 'People Get Ready'... ... Robertson didn’t know... that that song was in a way the grandchild of one of Dylan’s own songs... [It] was inspired by 'A Change is Gonna Come,' which was in turn inspired by 'Blowin’ in the Wind' — but nonetheless Dylan thought that Robertson had a point. He was getting increasingly disenchanted with the counterculture which he was supposedly the figurehead for, and with psychedelic music. But also, he was aware that you could do a lot even with simple language... [b]ecause the folk tradition he came from had a very different attitude to language than either the Beat poets he’d been recently imitating or the R&B songwriters that the Hawks [i.e., The Band] had been listening to...."

Episode 167 of Andrew Hickey's "A History of Rock Music in 500 Songs" is about "The Weight" by The Band. (It's only by chance that this song came up in the week when Robbie Robertson died.)

"Any owner of a modern television will benefit from plugging in a separate speaker such as a soundbar... At $900, the Sonos Arc..."

"... made a big difference in helping me understand the mumbly villain of the most recent James Bond movie, 'No Time to Die.' But the Sonos soundbar’s speech enhancer ran into its limits with the jarring colloquialisms of the Netflix show 'The Witcher.' It couldn’t make more fathomable lines like 'We’re seeking a girl and a witcher — her with ashen hair and patrician countenance, him a mannerless, blanched brute.' Then again, I’m not sure any speaker could help with that. I left the subtitles on for that one." 

When characters don't speak like normal people, it's much harder to guess what they are saying.

"In what at first glance might seem like a positive (and possibly 'sex positive') move, the term 'sex work' suddenly appears to be everywhere...."

"It’s now commonly used by politicians, the media, Hollywood and government agencies. But make no mistake: 'Sex work' is hardly a sign of liberation. Why, you might wonder, does exchanging money for sex need a rebrand? Derogatory terms like 'hooker' and 'whore' were long ago replaced by the more neutral 'prostitute.' But 'sex worker' goes one step further, couching it as a conventional job title, like something plucked out of 'What Color Is Your Parachute?' Its most grotesque variant is the phrase 'child sex worker,' which has appeared in a wide range of publications, including BuzzFeed, The Decider and The Independent. (Sometimes the phrase has been edited out after publication.)... In recent years, language has undergone drastic shifts in an effort to reduce harm. Sometimes these shifts result in contorted language that obscures meaning. Sometimes these shifts make people feel better without changing anything of substance. And sometimes they do move the needle toward positive change, which is always welcome. But the use of 'sex work,' however lofty the intention, effectively increases the likelihood of harm.... To help people hurt by the sex trade, we need to call it like it is."

Writes Pamela Paul, in "What It Means to Call Prostitution 'Sex Work'" (NYT).

"They had five kids. The dad gave me the two-year-old, and from that time that he gave him to me I had that son in my arms, clinging to my neck for about two hours. Two to three hours in the water. And it was crazy."

Said Jubee Bedoya, quoted in "California family of seven thanks local Lahaian hero who led them into the sea and floated for three hours together on plywood as firestorm killed at least 110 people/Jubee Bedoya from Lahaina was running towards the sea last week to escape the flames when he saw a family of seven from Fresno, California, who were lost/Bedoya told them to come with him and jump into the sea: the family's two-year-old son clung to Bedoya's neck for two to three hours as they floated on plywood/All eight were eventually rescued by the Coast Guard, and the Californian family returned home: Bedoya, who lost his home, says he is happy he could help" (Daily Mail).

"The simpler your case is, with fewer charges and fewer defendants, the faster it can move. The federal prosecution looks like..."

"... it’s an attempt to do the sprint. As for [the Fulton County, Georgia, case], it is hokey to say it’s a marathon, but basically it’s more like an epic with a giant cast of characters. The other one’s Raymond Carver, and this is Dickens... A RICO charge is the kind of charge you bring when you have a lot of different people connected in different ways, but who form a loose organization, or sometimes a very tight hierarchical one—say, a Mob family—who are all working toward a common goal. But that common goal has been achieved during a long period of time and in potentially all sorts of different places. So, it’s the perfect charge for something where there are a lot of moving parts. It’s the most narrative-driven of the types of cases you can bring, to some extent, because some part of the trial has to be spent establishing the fact that there was an enterprise...."

The "enterprise" was winning a second term for Trump. The various defendants were working toward that common goal.
Prosecutors love RICO statutes because, like I say, they allow you to go back in time, and fold a whole bunch of people into it. It’s a very powerful tool. Obviously, whenever prosecutors have a very powerful tool, they like to use it. And then that raises issues on the defense side and sometimes on the public side that the prosecutors are overreaching or going too far....

Was Trump's use of the word "riggers" a veiled racial slur?

 I'm reading "Trump prosecutor Fani Willis faces racist abuse after indicting ex-US president/Georgia prosecutor subjected to flurry of threats after Trump makes thinly veiled reference to N-word after latest charges" (The Guardian).

Right after Willis announced the indictments, Trump wrote on Truth Social: "They never went after those that Rigged the Election. They only went after those that fought to find the RIGGERS!"

The Guardian notes: "Willis is African American. So too are the two New York-based prosecutors who have investigated Trump, the Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg who indicted him in April over alleged hush-money payments, and Letitia James, the state attorney general who is investigating Trump’s financial records."

How can one ever know? "Rig" has been such a common word in this years-long controversy. But I'd never noticed the use of the word "rigger" before. In my entire 20-year archive, the word "rigger" has never appeared — not in my writing and not in anything I've quoted. It's an unusual, unnecessary word. I'd avoid it. 

George Orwell wrote of "two great facts about women": "One was their incorrigible dirtiness and untidiness. The other was their terrible, devouring sexuality."

 A passage from a notebook, quoted in "George Orwell gets his comeuppance in a new book about his first wife/Anna Funder’s ‘Wifedom’ focuses on Orwell’s first wife, Eileen, beginning with her influence on the creation of 'Animal Farm'" (WaPo). The article is by Francine Prose.

“Wifedom” is part biography and part speculative fiction written in the present tense; it includes passages of dialogue and accounts of private thoughts and intimate moments that only the people involved could have recorded or witnessed. (“The sex is strange. Perfunctory. Or performative. It doesn’t seem to be an act of communication at all, or of passion.”)...

August 16, 2023

Sunrise — 6:01, 6:04, 6:07.




"There was a time when hair like mine — let’s call it BTB, for below the boobs — was definitely a bit weird."

"Something of the mung bean to it. Then, ten years or so ago, ultra-long locks became... high-status.... The Princess of Wales has BTB hair. So do Gwyneth Paltrow and Demi Moore, Amal Clooney and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.... On the cover of British Vogue’s September issue the now fiftysomething supermodels have long hair too. Naomi Campbell’s poker-straight hair reaches her hips, while Cindy Crawford and Christy Turlington’s is at what hairdressers refer to as bra-length — a cup-height cut that was, until recently, considered the longest most women might go. Now they are realising there are no limits to length or to age. Gone are the days of the sensible midlife crop; only politicians — and Anna Wintour — have power bobs these days.... Thanks to Rapunzel et al we are hardwired from the off to find long blonde hair somehow special. Without it I feel average, bordering on hideous...."

"With this summer’s heat waves in Europe, Americans wearing shorts and ordering ice water may butt up against etiquette and norms in some areas."

A caption under a photograph of so many tourists at the Parthenon that it makes me think it's absolutely pointless (aesthetically) to visit the Parthenon. That's my cultural norm. I don't want the sight I'm seeing to be other tourists.

But the article is about the cultural norms of the people in the place the tourists are visiting: "Iced Coffee and Flip-Flops as Europe Broils? Not So Fast, Americans. As large numbers of U.S. tourists visit Europe during a record hot summer, their efforts to stay cool are running up against cultural norms" (NYT).

The article still takes the point of view of the American tourists, because the reason for paying attention to the cultural norms of the place you are visiting is that you aspire to "blend in with the locals."

"Google’s A.I. safety experts had said ... that users could experience 'diminished health and well-being' and a 'loss of agency' if they took life advice from A.I."

"They had added that some users who grew too dependent on the technology could think it was sentient. And... when Google launched Bard, it said the chatbot was barred from giving medical, financial or legal advice. Bard shares mental health resources with users who say they are experiencing mental distress. The tools are still being evaluated and the company may decide not to employ them.... Google has also been testing a helpmate for journalists that can generate news articles, rewrite them and suggest headlines.... The company’s A.I. safety experts had also expressed concern about the economic harms of generative A.I.... arguing that it could lead to the 'deskilling of creative writers.' Other tools being tested can draft critiques of an argument, explain graphs and generate quizzes, word and number puzzles."

"The short time line around [Oliver] Anthony’s virality and the seemingly synchronized way in which right-wing pundits, such as Matt Walsh and Jack Posobiec, have tweeted enthusiastically..."

"... and almost apocalyptically about 'Rich Men North of Richmond' have turned the singer into a messianic or conspiratorial figure. Depending on your politics, he is either a voice sent from Heaven to express the anger of the white working class, or he is a wholly constructed viral creation who has arrived to serve up resentment with a thick, folksy lacquering of Americana.... Whether this gambit will work or if Anthony is in on the trick is anyone’s guess. He has said that his political views are 'pretty dead center,' and he does seem to rail against both Republicans and Democrats, but, until his big break last week, his songs were mostly apolitical small-town anthems that sounded like they were written with a fountain pen dipped in Merle Haggard’s ashes.... I should say here that I am not immune to these charms. When I first heard Townes Van Zandt, I felt that some truth had been revealed about how life can break and drag, but in a glamorous way.... The markers of authenticity—the wood-panelled kitchen, the woman who alternates between cleaning dishes and smoking a cigarette, the grizzled Black man who, himself, also stands in for authenticity—could be pulled apart and declared problematic by any freshman in a critical-studies class. But they also work...."

Writes Jay Caspian Kang in "A Close Listen to 'Rich Men North of Richmond' The viral country song by Oliver Anthony has been embraced by right-wing pundits" (The New Yorker).

Read the lyrics here (at Genius). Here's the song:

"When it gets hot enough, as it has across the South in recent weeks, barefoot toddlers suffer second-degree burns from stepping onto concrete."

"People who fall on the blistering pavement wind up with skin grafts. Kids stay inside all day, 'trying to survive.' Windshield wipers glue themselves in place, and the ocean transfers heat back into your body. One electric blackout could bake thousands to death inside their homes. You would think people would flee such a hellscape expeditiously. But as record-breaking heat fries the Sun Belt, the region’s popularity only grows. The numbers, laid out recently in The Economist, are striking: 12 of the 15 fastest-growing cities in the U.S. are in the Sun Belt."

I'm reading an Atlantic article that purports to answer the question I've been asking: "Why People Won’t Stop Moving to the Sun Belt."

But does this article really know why people do what they do? The author gives us 3 reasons: 1. cheap housing, 2. "a 'business-friendly' environment," and 3. warm winters. That is, on point 3, the weather is still a reason to go there, not a reason to escape. Ah, well, the fear of the cold is deep-seated. 

Here I am, lying on a nearly empty beach on the shore of Lake Superior, on August 14th, wearing 2 layers of long-sleeved shirt, experiencing what to me is the perfect temperature — 62°:


Why isn't everyone here? Ah, well, I like the emptiness. The sand was very fine and soft, the water perfectly clear... and swimmable if you're hale and exuberant. 

"Janet Yellen explains her ‘magic mushroom’ experience in China."

CNN has the scoop:
“There was a delicious mushroom dish. I was not aware that these mushrooms had hallucinogenic properties. I learned that later,” Yellen said about the group dinner that clarified that she didn’t organize nor did she do the ordering.... 
Yellen then said that she had “read that if the mushrooms are cooked properly, which I’m sure they were at this very good restaurant, that they have no impact. But all of us enjoyed the mushrooms, the restaurant, and none of us felt any ill effects from having eaten them,” Yellen said....

Well, then... it's nothing. But... "any ill effects"... wait a minute. Were there effects that were not ill? Maybe there were delightful or mystical effects. But, you will argue, she said there was "no impact." No, she said IF they were cooked "properly," then they have no impact. I still think there could have been an impact — an effect — but it just wasn't ill. And perhaps part of the effect is to heighten the caginess of speech, and Janet Yellen is already a person dedicated to taking great care with her speech.

August 15, 2023

Sunrise — 6:15.


Another Lake Mendota sunrise. Though the lake is obscured.

Unique difficulties.

I'm reading "In Georgia and federal indictments, two vastly different approaches/Fani Willis’s sprawling case allows prosecutors to target Trump’s broad scheme. But legal experts and critics say both the scope and specificity could be a problem" (WaPo).
Legal experts said the difference in strategy comes with some advantages: District Attorney Fani Willis’s sprawling case will allow Fulton County prosecutors to tell the jury a story of a broad conspiracy to reverse election results in multiple states and build a forceful narrative of Trump’s actions in concert with numerous aides, lawyers and local officials. But experts warned that the logistics of putting Trump on trial along with 18 other people — each of whom may file a flurry of pretrial motions — in a racketeering indictment so complex and multilayered could carry unique difficulties....

It seems the elite experts believe the prosecuting ought to be left to the elite — the feds. The "unique difficulties" here include depriving the federal prosecutors of control over how big of a bite to take. How can they regain control without insulting the Fulton County DA?

"'It just started getting so black,' he told me. He knocked on his neighbor’s door, saying, 'We’ve got to go!'"

"But his neighbor had cats and didn’t want to leave. 'He just shut the door in my face,' [a herbalist called Spice Prince] recalled. Over the phone, I could hear him start to sob. 'I ran with my dog in my backpack, in my shorts and flip-flops,' Prince told me. The world was an inferno. 'It wasn’t like a flame—it was just, like, dragon-breath orange.' He walked up a mountain road in the night, leaving behind all of his herbs, plants, elixirs, surfboards, and a collection of vintage hunting bows. 'I’ve gathered medicines since I was six years old—I’ve lost it all,' he said. 'It’s like I’m coming out of the womb, starting my life over with nothing.'"

"Over the past two decades, however, interest in foraging globally has grown significantly. In the mid-2000s, foraging saw a revival..."

"... with the rise of New Nordic cuisine, inspired by the famous Danish restaurant Noma, which puts local, seasonal and foraged ingredients at the heart of dishes. In recent years, a wave of foraging influencers has emerged; on TikTok, the hashtag #foragingtiktok has over 160 million views. Foraging educators say they have seen an explosion of interest in their work."

From "Searching in Sweden for Berries, Herbs and Understanding/For over a decade, Eva Gunnare has been trying to restore people’s relationship with nature — by teaching them how to forage" (NYT).

It was fun seeing a new article today about foraging, because I did some foraging over the weekend in the Upper Peninsula. I ate many blueberries, bilberries, raspberries, serviceberries, and thimbleberries.

Meade is a much more dedicated forager than I am.  I tend only to eat the berries directly and can't spend much time in the sun, whereas he goes out again and again, loading up on berries. And he also cooked blueberry pancakes for me and took these enticing photographs of berries:

IMG_3259 IMG_8853

Artist in Residence?




On the grounds of Grandpa's Barn in Copper Harbor, Michigan.

"Historically, men’s underwear was completely out of view until sagging arrived in the 1990s. Women’s underwear, on the other hand..."

"... hasn’t been; hip-hugging pants have caused panic in the past when they exposed thongs or G-strings (sometimes called the 'whale tail' style). A boxer short can seem discreet by comparison. 'There might not be as much anxiety because it’s not as sexualized'.... In recent years, as more and more Americans abandon the idea of genitalia as an automatic marker of gender, the rigid norms around 'men’s' and 'women’s' underwear have started to blur. In response, start-ups and existing underwear brands have increased the availability of boxers designed specifically for female anatomy. (That is, without an open fly or support pouch.)...  As Emma McClendon, a professor of fashion studies at St. John’s University in Queens, noted to The Post in 2022: 'What we’re seeing are clothes that typically we would consider hyper-gendered, but they’re being played with in a way to eschew gender.'"

"Triumphant" means celebrating victory. It's funny to think of triumphant pants. Especially in this story that turns out to be mostly about underpants.

"'Take in the sounds,' said Rua Williamson, who was leading the men in a breathwork session.... Williamson laid his hand on the tummy of Alex Mero, a 52-year-old accountant..."

"... in a light-purple T-shirt and black eyeglasses. He wrapped his hands around the waist of 30-year-old Dru Haynesworth, an activist and community health worker from Southeast Washington wearing a T-shirt that said 'VOTE.' He brought the men together with a collective ommmm. 'Feel the vibration resonate in the floor,' Williamson said. 'Feel the connection to your brothers.' It was a kind of connection that U.S. men increasingly say is missing from their lives, leaving them lonely, disconnected and, often, angry.... American men’s isolation stems in large part from a pervasive cultural belief, experts say: that men should be self-reliant and hide their emotions, especially from other men...."

Writes Tara Bahrampour in "Men’s groups are embracing an alternative conception of American masculinity" (WaPo).

I'm not a man — neither is the author of this article — but given the choice between disconnected solitude and breathwork supervisors laying hands on my "tummy" and demanding I om my way into a connection with brothers, I'd go with the solitude. Surely, there are other ways for men to find men to find friends — much better ways.

I'm surprised these "men's groups" are still around.

It's obviously always whatever Trump is on the wrong side of.

That's my answer to the question asked in the headline of this WaPo column: "Trump ups the ante on going after judges and witnesses. Where’s the line?"

My answer isn't so much a joke as it is my expression of exasperation. Maybe there's good material in this column, but I won't be reading it. There's so much anti-Trump material. Some people like it.

"My mind is androgynous to a great extent and I hope to make it more so until I can think in terms of people, not women as opposed to men."

"But, in returning to the body, I see that I have been made a man, and physically in life, I choose to accept that contingency."

"In regard to homosexuality, I must say that I believe this is an attempt to remove oneself from the present, a refusal perhaps to perpetuate the endless farce of earthly life. You see, I make love to men daily, but in the imagination."

Strange to call that a "love letter." It seems more the opposite of a love letter, writing this to a woman. And yet... see note 2, below.

Why is this "resurfacing now"?

"Don't have anyone write your speeches and don't use a teleprompter. I'll make that commitment. Why doesn't the whole field make that commitment?"

 Says Vivek Ramaswamy, on TikTok.

"... when I was younger I had the ambition to read [the Bible] cover to cover. After breezing through the early stories..."

"... and slogging through the religious laws, which were at least of sociological interest, I chose to cut myself some slack with Kings and Chronicles, whose lists of patriarchs and their many sons seemed no more necessary to read than a phonebook. With judicious skimming, I made it to the end of Job. But then came the Psalms, and there my ambition foundered. Although a few of the Psalms are memorable ('The Lord is my shepherd'), in the main they’re incredibly repetitive. Again and again the refrain: Life is challenging but God is good. To enjoy the Psalms, to appreciate the nuances of devotion they register, you had to be a believer. You had to love God, which I didn’t. And so I set the book aside. Only later, when I came to love birds, did I see that my problem with the Psalms hadn’t simply been my lack of belief. A deeper problem was their genre. From the joy I experience, daily, in seeing the goldfinches in my birdbath, or in hearing an agitated wren behind my back fence, I can imagine the joy that a believer finds in God. Joy can be as strong as Everclear or as mild as Coors Light, but it’s never not joy: a blossoming in the heart, a yes to the world, a yes to being alive in it. And so I would expect to be a person on whom a psalm to birds, a written celebration of their glory, has the same kind of effect that a Biblical psalm has on a believer...."

Now, I don't even feel like making a new post for every new indictment.

 I'm like... what else is new?

August 14, 2023

Today's sunrise at High Rock Bay — Copper Harbor, Michigan.

Home now, but these photos were taken this morning, beginning at 6:02 Eastern Time, 44 minutes before sunrise time:












All photos taken just a few steps beyond our campsite, which looked like this:


The lake is Lake Superior.

"How will the life experiences that shape who you are today enable you to contribute to Harvard?"

A question on the new Harvard admissions application, quoted in "Colleges Want to Know More About You and Your ‘Identity’/With affirmative action banned, application essays ask about 'life experience,' the one place in admissions where discussing race is still explicitly legal" (NYT).
Johns Hopkins carefully explains what is allowed in its essay, which asks students to write about an aspect of their identity or life experience that has shaped them. “Any part of your background, including but not limited to your race, may be discussed in your response to this essay if you so choose,” Johns Hopkins notes on its website. But it adds a caveat: the information “will be considered by the university based solely on how it has affected your life and your experiences as an individual.” 
Sarah Lawrence College, outside of New York City, saucily incorporates a quote from the official summary of Chief Justice John G. Roberts’s majority decision in its prompt: “Nothing prohibits universities from considering an applicant’s discussion of how race affected the applicant’s life.” Then the school asks applicants to “describe how you believe your goals for a college education might be impacted, influenced or affected by the court’s decision.”

"I walk in the forest. I try to count 10,000 steps to be healthy at 77 years old. I don’t do many interviews anymore..."

Said Matthieu Ricard, asked “Why do you have an Apple Watch?," quoted in "The ‘World’s Happiest Man’ Shares His Three Rules for Life" (NYT).

ADDED: This post was garbled most of the day. And linkless. Sorry. Fixed. I was without a connection the whole time.

August 13, 2023

At the Sunday Night Café...

 ... you can talk about whatever you want.

"In my mind, they have already joined a roll call of shame that includes The Meeting Place at St Pancras station, Paul Day’s irredeemably saccharine sculpture of a couple embracing..."

"... The Kelpies in Falkirk, a pair of gargantuan horse heads by Andy Scott that could only be any worse if they actually neighed; and, most terrible of all, Maggi Hambling’s unfeasibly awful memorial to Mary Wollstonecraft in Newington Green, north London, a silver Barbie doll (with full pubic hair) I have to pass at least once a week, and never without grimacing.... There is an awful lot of bad public art around, and the pity of it is that, once it has landed, it hangs about like some alien spaceship on a hostile planet."

"In the original... the couple’s teenage son... seems standoffish, and like his mother, pessimistic about the future."

"The new song flips the sentiment of moody adolescence entirely, instead exalting a city working hard and 'living up to its prime years.'... [T]he two versions end in completely different places. One is bleak and despondent. The other, overflowing with optimism.... A music video that the Communist Youth League made to accompany the new song features glossy shots of saluting schoolchildren and smiling workers."

From "Rock ’n’ Roll According to the Chinese Communist Party" (NYT).

The NYT tries to explain the "upside-down reality where criminal charges act as political assets — at least for the purpose of winning the Republican nomination."

I'm reading "How Trump Benefits From an Indictment Effect/In polling, fund-raising and conservative media, the former president has turned criminal charges into political assets" (NYT).

Before the first indictment, we're told, Fox News "had been weaning itself off Mr. Trump and elevating Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida."
Fox programming centered on themes and villains that Mr. DeSantis had built his brand on fighting: transgender athletes, Dr. Anthony Fauci and all things “woke.” 
But after Mr. Trump’s first indictment... [p]rogramming across conservative media centered on the idea that Mr. Trump was the victim of a justice system hijacked by Democrats. Mr. DeSantis’s fight against “wokeness” became passé — a matter of small stakes when set against Mr. Trump’s potential incarceration....