September 2, 2023

Sunrise — 6:03, 6:24, 6:27.


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"I'm going to call it: Europe is over. Not as a land mass, obviously.... But as a trading partner, cultural influence, serious political player and..."

"... most crucially, holiday destination, I think it is now safe to say that 'the Continent,' as we little Englanders have always somewhat solipsistically styled it, is finished... It’s on fire. Literally on fire.... And when it’s not on fire, it’s 45 degrees in the shade.... [A]ll my soppy liberal friends whinge on about how Brexit means their kids can’t go and live and work in Europe as easily as we once could.... But why would they want to? I spent a year working in Paris when I graduated, and it was ghastly. Couldn’t wait to come home. When Hemingway, nostalgic for good times with Gertrude Stein, Proust, Picasso, Simone de Beauvoir etc, called Paris 'a moveable feast' he meant if you’re a loaded, pansexual waster. But if you were a Jew or an Algerian around that time, it was more of a moveable abattoir. My family, mainland European on all sides, fled their homes for Britain between 1900 and 1939 because it was the only safe and decent place to be within a thousand miles. And I fear it is becoming so again...."

Writes Giles Coren, in "Our love affair with Europe is over, at last/They don’t want us to visit or buy their houses, and now they’ve dressed Harry Kane up as a Bavarian beer-hall bully" (London Times).

"[D]espite many of us thinking we should cut down on caffeine, there’s a solid base of evidence that it’s healthy."

"'The benefits of coffee have long been debated, but we know that in moderation [about two cups a day] it’s a good source of polyphenols and fibre, which promotes gut health, which in turn has health-protective effects for the rest of the body.'... [I]t’s all about the tipping point, and while there has been some debate around what excessive coffee consumption is.... 'Of course coffee does contain caffeine, a stimulant, which may give some people a "heart-racing" feeling, which is not necessarily bad for you but it can be unpleasant.... Ultimately, you need to decide where your caffeine sweet spot is.' Which... is usually somewhere between the joy coffee gives you and the feeling of being awake and alert, and any negative physical reactions such as feeling wired or sleep issues."

"Most New Yorkers are fed up with the inescapable stench of lawlessness... but refrain from saying so for fear of being shouted at by progressive friends."

"We are, after all, a city that hates common sense. Kathy Hochul and Eric Adams, Gov. Cheech and Mayor Chong, did not help matters by all but cutting the ribbons for the ubiquitous illegal pot shops with their shrugs and look-the-other-way attitude...."

From "NYC’s disgusting pot stench is keeping tourists away" (NY Post).

Also at the NY Post: "Brazen NYers are smoking weed everywhere—Saks, subway, US Open."

"I love guitar. Oh, God. I mean, you know -- Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Buffett . . ."

Said John Kerry, blogged here, on October 20, 2004:
That's John Kerry talking to Rolling Stone. I just don't know what to say about that juxtaposition. Many years ago--in the 1970s--I went to a concert and Jimmy Buffett was the opening act. I tried to sit it out, but I couldn't. I got up and walked out into the fluorescent-lit, concrete lobby and paced around with nothing to do. I can't remember what it was about Buffett that was so distinctly intolerable to me. The attitude? The patter? In any case, I've never listened to the man since then....

Recalled this morning, as I see the NYT obituary: "Jimmy Buffett, Roguish Bard of Island Escapism, Is Dead at 76/With songs like 'Margaritaville' and 'Fins,' he became a folk hero to fans known as Parrot Heads. He also became a millionaire hundreds of times over."

Condolences to all who loved him. When it comes to taste, there is no dispute.

If you've had all the Covid shots, how many shots have you had?

September 1, 2023

Sunrise — 6:23.


How high is your horse?

I'd have thought the expression "up on your high horse" had gone out of style. Who's riding horses these days? We may feel irked when other people seem to be looking down on us, but — in the metaphor in our head — is a horse part of the picture?

But yesterday, I encountered — and blogged about — a NYT column by Nicholas Kristof, "On Their High Horse, Too Many Liberals Disdain Oliver Anthony" (NYT).

And now, this morning, I stumble into another high horse. I'm reading "Disqualify Trump in 2024? It’s clear what the NC Supreme Court would say" by North Carolina lawprof Gene Nichol, who takes the position that everyone knows the North Carolina Supreme Court won't go along with this theory about Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.
Because we all know they’re politicians first and judges, at best, an exceedingly distant second. We know it. They know it. They just swear otherwise. And they swear from a very high, very hypocritical, horse. You would think the words would turn to ashes in their mouths. They wear cool black robes, no doubt. But as the patriarch of TV’s “Succession” puts it, they “are not serious people.”

"Ingraham Wants Mitch McConnell to Resign Just So She Can Keep Calling Biden 'Decrepit.'"

 A headline at The Daily Beast.

"They reject any question of his ethics! And they somehow believe that their position as clerks, whose careers benefit from Thomas’s prestige and influence..."

"... somehow makes them more rather than less suited to make this judgment. Taken at their word, they believe a factual allegation of ethical misconduct can be adjudicated entirely on a combination of Thomas’s identity as a once-poor Black man and their say-so as judges of character. This doesn’t tell us anything about Thomas’s compliance with ethics rules."

Chait is reacting to an open letter in which 112 ex-clerks of Justice Thomas assert that "His integrity is unimpeachable" and "unequivocally reject attacks on his integrity, his character, or his ethics."

"This being a classical virtual-reality school, Optima’s environments include settings in ancient Greece and Rome...."

"We teleported past a Roman official’s house, decked out with red-clay roof tiling, up some stairs to an open patio of black-and-white-checkered marble floors, surrounded by Ionic columns and an ivy-covered railing. Here, a teacher might spawn a set of bleachers for students to sit during a lecture on a subject such as history or Latin.... Toward the end of the school year, I joined a sixth-grade science class on a field trip to an Everest base camp. The scene was elaborately staged: our group was surrounded by gray tents held up by bright orange poles.... A whiteboard stood to our left in the snow, covered with colorful Post-its bearing scientific terms. The teacher had taken a selfie of his avatar wearing an orange mountain-explorer jumpsuit and put it on the board. Wind whistled quietly somewhere in the background of my headset....

I'm reading "Virtual-Reality School Is the Next Frontier of the School-Choice Movement/The conservative education activist Erika Donalds envisions a world where parents can opt out of traditional public school by putting their kids in a headset" (The New Yorker).

August 31, 2023

At the Thursday Night Café...

 ... you can talk about whatever you want.

"Class-not-race became code for an increasingly infamous form of racism... 'color-blindness.'"

"Once considered an aspirational positive, a would-be 'color blind' pol like Sanders who focused on 'class-not-race' was understood to be denying the realities of discrimination, probably out of secret racism. As the use of 'working class' on its own began to carry more penalties even for politicians like Sanders whose entire raison d’etre was supposedly class politics, new entrants to the electoral scene were encouraged to refer instead to the 'white working class,' perjoratively. This was soon described as a voting bloc that basically existed to make irrational/moronic demands.... Most importantly, it votes for Donald Trump, which means whatever it thinks about anything can safely be ignored... [A] phrase that was coined to express a specific political idea — that connections between people of a certain economic class are meaningful — once again came to mean more or less the exact opposite, i.e. that the only 'working class' that really exists is fractious and separated by ethinicity. White working class, black working class, Latinx working class (really!), and so on. Workers of the world, split up!"

"In other ramblings, Trump launched into a soliloquy about the beauty of the marble bathrooms at his Miami golf resort...."

"'In the case of the villas, 800 rooms, they were gutted out down to the steel and rebuilt and they're incredible,' he said of his renovation of the property. 'I could have done what I called a paint and wallpaper job. You just paint and wallpaper it. But it was time — it was tired,' he said. 'I started using marble instead of carpet,' he added, continuing a line of thought that was irrelevant."

"What bigwig is in Madison today? Just saw about a 20 car motorcade exiting the airport onto Highway 51 North with police and ambulance

 "... many unmarked cars and at the same time three f-35s took off. Anybody know who this is all for?"

Asked someone on r/madisonwi 3 hours ago.

Answer: Jill Biden.

Here are hours of video of the First Lady's visit, which had to do with the "Biden Cancer Moonshot" and eduction.

Things that happened in Nebraska that got reported in The Guardian.


"I’ve learnt that the stupider the thing I say, the more likely it is to get in. You’re asked to discuss every intimate part of your life."

"You feel like you’re just a specimen pinned on the board. It’s totally dehumanizing."

He also thought the filmmakers had a tendency to play up stereotypes of British society, something he said he felt even as a boy in the early installments, when crew members would chase sheep into the camera’s view while filming him. 
“These people thought that I was all about sheep,” he told The Chronicle of Higher Education in 2005. “I’m quite fond of sheep, but I was more interested in other things.” 

Trump moves up on Biden in the polls.

 I'm just noticing the most recent polls (at Real Clear Politics):

"A self-described high school dropout living in a camper with a tarp on the roof sings a plaintive cri de coeur about blue collar workers being shafted by the wealthy..."

"... and it is right-wing Republicans who rush to embrace him while Democrats wag their fingers and scold him for insensitivity. Huh?"

Writes Nicholas Kristof — who can't really be surprised, can he? — in "On Their High Horse, Too Many Liberals Disdain Oliver Anthony" (NYT).
Have Democrats retreated so far from their workingman roots that their knee-jerk impulse is to dump on a blue collar guy who highlights “folks in the street, ain’t got nothin’ to eat”?...
Easily, for anyone who's been watching America in this century, the answer is yes. The "workingman"/"blue collar guy" might be a racist, and if anything in that song feels like dog-whistle racism, that brings on the hostility of the left. The lyric "the obese milkin' welfare" closed liberal hearts to the plaint of the working-class white man. They're not "on their high horse" in this. They're sticking with their anti-racist values and keeping their sensitivities tuned. 

Kristof says:

"The surest proof the knives are out is a Ronan Farrow 'exposé' in The New Yorker: 'Elon Musk’s Shadow Rule: How the U.S. government came to rely on the tech billionaire—and is now struggling to rein him in.'"

"Exactly what business it is of the United States government to 'rein in' a figure remains unclear, but the establishment doesn’t trust any power center it cannot control. This is the instinct of authoritarians everywhere and with good reason — Vaclav Havel’s Velvet Revolution arguably started with rock and roll. It’s why college administrators are hostile to fraternities and why communist regimes control the churches...."

Writes Glenn Reynolds, in The New York Post.

"Why haven’t you used your considerable clout as a Latina leader to visit the border and highlight the ongoing issues there now, like you did during the Trump administration?"

Lulu Garcia-Navarro of the NYT asks Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez in "The Evolution of A.O.C./The congresswoman from New York says she’s different from when she first took office. But she’s not ready to call herself an insider."

Ocasio-Cortez answers weakly and evasively:
Well, this is something that we’re actively planning on. What I have done is tours of our New York-area facilities. Right now, this crisis is in our own backyard, and we have toured the Roosevelt Hotel, and I think it’s been very important for us to — especially to my constituents, who are demanding accountability on this — to look at that front line that is right here in New York City.

Garcia-Navarro interrupts: "I want to get to New York, but we’re two and a half years into this administration, the crisis has been burgeoning, and you have been a self-declared and widely viewed leader on this issue."

Ocasio-Cortez tries again but has little to improve her answer:

"The burn appears to be about an inch deep, and mars the swath of intricate, black-inked tattoos of skulls and faces that once covered his back."

A description of a burn in an anecdote about a man who fell asleep on the sidewalk in Phoenix that begins the Guardian article "‘The burns can cook them’: searing sidewalks cause horrific injuries in US." 

The article quotes Kevin Foster, director of the Arizona burn center:

August 30, 2023

At the Wednesday Night Café...

 ... you can write about whatever you want.

"[After conceding] in two stipulations... that he had made false statements when he accused the election workers... Mr. Giuliani later sought to explain..."

"... that his stipulations were solely meant to get past a dispute with Ms. Freeman and Ms. Moss about discovery evidence in the case and move toward dismissing the allegations outright. But Judge [Beryl A.] Howell, complaining that Mr. Giuliani’s stipulations 'hold more holes than Swiss cheese,' took the proactive step of declaring him liable for 'defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, civil conspiracy and punitive damage claims.'"

"Who invented hopscotch? Who invented jump rope?"/"There you go."

 Overheard at Meadhouse.

ADDED: The questions above were prompted by the statement: "Women need to invent their own sports."

My first thought was hopscotch and my second was jump rope. But was either of these sports/"sports" invented by women? No.

Visualizing Idalia.

"Many in America are asking why President Trump is being prosecuted for doing the very same thing Democrats like Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton have done..."

"... and the answer is very simple. Like a third-world corrupt dictator, Biden will use any means necessary to stop the one Republican he knows he can't beat."

So ends an effective 10-minute ad from the Trump campaign, which you can view at "Trump Campaign: Democrats "Violently Claimed The Last Three Republican Presidential Wins Were Stolen" (RCP).

I don't see the factual basis for "Violently Claimed." But maybe that's the point. To get people — including Trump opponents — to react, thus upping the virality of the video. And it's predictable what the answer will be: Trump is accused of violence, when his claims about the election were not violent. It's just the fair play of turnabout. 

What I like about that 10-minute video is the meaty montage of prominent Democrats claiming — over and over — that the 2000, 2004, and 2016 presidential elections were stolen. Every time, in this century, that the Republican won, Democrats persisted in claiming they'd actually won. They firmly voiced their belief — real or fake — that the election was stolen. And some of that was clearly fake. They knew the claim that the Russians colluded was a lie. How could they not?

By the way, I'd embed that 10-minute video here if I had the code, but RCP doesn't offer embed code, and I've looked elsewhere. I couldn't find it at Truth Social, it's not at Trump's YouTube account, and I've tried Googling.

Somehow the women's victory emanated from the men's balls.

I'm reading the stunning first 3 paragraphs of "The Kissing Scandal After Spain’s Women’s World Cup Win/The support for a player who endured an unwanted kiss during the trophy presentation shows how attitudes toward women’s soccer are changing, but not fast enough" (The New Yorker).

Great writing from Louisa Thomas:

"Where was my mother? In the next room, making sure I was eating nine differently colored fruits and vegetables on the daily."

"She was attentive, nearly a helicopter parent, but I found online porn anyway. So did my friends. Today I’m 16, and my peers are suffering from an addiction to what many call 'the new drug.' Porn is the disastrous replacement for intimacy among my sexless, anxiety-ridden generation."

From "I Had a Helicopter Mom. I Found Pornhub Anyway. Porn is not content. It’s a substance. And it must be controlled like one, argues 16-year-old Isabel Hogben" (Free Press). 

This is one of 2 winners in what was an essay contest for high schoolers. The other winner is "Why I Traded My Smartphone for an Ax/At 15, Caleb Silverberg made the most important decision of his life. He ditched technology and headed to the forest."

You see the common theme: Kids challenged to break away from the screens that captured them at an early age. I note that the young woman, whose mother couldn't rescue her, expects the government to rescue her. The young man rescued himself. 

By the way, the observations Hogben makes about on-line porn have been around as long as on-line porn. There's nothing "new" about them. And the idea that porn isn't speech was very well developed by Catharine MacKinnon in the 1980s. I'm not surprised that a 16-year-old doesn't know much about that, but why would she know about what "intimacy" has consisted of in all the various generations? Of course, it's pretty standard to think your generation is different from those that came before and sound, to older ears, like the same thing all over again. 

August 29, 2023

At the Tuesday Night Café…

 … you can talk about whatever you want. 

"For some people, podcasts offer constant companionship. Is around-the-clock audio a rude habit or a neurological necessity?"

I'm reading "Meet the people who listen to podcasts 24/7" (WaPo).
Some say amid what authorities are calling a national loneliness crisis, podcasts take the place of casual chatter with friends, or at least mimic the feeling.... For others, the distraction is the point. Praise Tolbert, a full-time mom in Florida, uses podcasts to combat intrusive thoughts, a difficult symptom of her bipolar disorder, the 26-year-old said. She leaves one AirPod in her ear all day long.... At night, she plays the podcast out loud on her phone while she sleeps....

The Art of the Mug Shot.

From "The Trump Mug Shot’s Art-Historical Lineage/Assessing the forty-fifth President’s Georgia photo op in the context of Da Vinci, Warhol, and a rogues’ gallery of accused criminals" (The New Yorker):
I must say that I appreciate things like this — more distanced, aesthetic takes on Trump. More please. Less heat. More coolness. 

"How can Mr. Smith persuade 12 jurors that no reasonable doubt exists that Mr. Trump knew he was lying?"

"The prosecution will, no doubt, barrage the jury with reams of testimony showing that he was repeatedly told by every reputable adviser and administration official that no credible evidence of widespread electoral fraud existed and that Mr. Pence had no choice but to certify Mr. Biden as the winner. But there also will probably be evidence that fervent supporters of Mr. Trump’s efforts fed his narcissism with bizarre false tales of result-changing electoral fraud and frivolous legal theories justifying interference with Mr. Biden’s certification as president-elect...."

Writes NYU lawprof emeritus Burt Neuborne in "There’s a Good Chance Trump Will Be Found ‘Willfully Blind’" (NYT).

Neuborne offers the 2011 Supreme Court case, Global-Tech Appliances v. SEB as the solution:

"What I have found is that, as a woman, if you stand in front of your bike and look clueless, a man will come and fix it for you."

"On one hand, I feel bad that I’m playing into sexist tropes, but on the other hand, if you want to change my flat tire for me, I’m going to let you."

That might — must? — be intended to represent a greater generality. I'll put some effort into creating the generality, and I'm intentionally intersecting with the recent debate about what it means to "be" a woman/man or to "feel" like a woman/man. 

Men are the people who see when someone needs help and stop and help/Women are the people who trust that when they need help, help will arrive.

Or maybe: Men are the people who donate work to women who don't even ask for help and may not really need it/Women are the people who trust in their power to capture the labor of men.

"There are these rare moments of honesty"... like Chuck Schumer's "6 ways from Sunday."

The referenced Schumer clip:

R.I.P. Joe the Plumber.

August 28, 2023

At the Monday Night Café...

 ... still no sunrise! Once again, you'll have to talk about what you want without the help of a sunrise.

"The love for Trump... is everywhere."

One man's opinion:

"Moderate and sane, but also cutting and sharp, particularly when it came to her vivisection of Vivek Ramaswamy’s neo-isolationist, Putin-kowtowing foreign policy."

Such violent imagery from Bret Stephens, describing Nikki Haley, in "Vivek Ramaswamy Is Suddenly Part of Our Political Life," the regular "conversation" at the NYT between Stephens and Gail Collins. I assume the conversation is in writing, because no one could speak spontaneously like that.

The "vivisection" play on the name Vivek must have seemed too delightful to pass up. And yet I would feel compelled to edit out metaphorical violence aimed at a particular individual. Does Nikki Haley even want to be portrayed as a woman who cuts up men?

Collins says: "Wow, is he irritating. Not many people I can think of who I’d rather have over for dinner less than Donald Trump, but this guy’s one of them."

"There are literally no rules, which is to say laws, that govern women’s underwear...."

"New York City was... the first jurisdiction to insist on 'full gender neutrality,' meaning an employer can 'require an individual identifying as female to wear a bra or hide her nipples, but only if the same rule applies to a male employee.'... When it comes to federal law... 'it only requires that dress codes have gender parity with regard to burdens such as cost.'...  As to the notion that bras are necessary for women’s health... there is no particular medical reason to wear a bra (and... bras don’t prevent sagging).... To be faced with freed breasts, whether or not nipples are visible, is to be forced to confront deep-seated prejudices about all of this, and that is both upsetting and distracting to a lot of people. Especially at this particular moment in time, when control of women’s bodies and their reproductive purpose has become once again a hot-button political issue.... It is not, of course, your job to make other people comfortable or to help them sort through their own feelings about all of the above...."

The wondering reader is from Madison, Wisconsin, I note. It wasn't me, I should add, though I have the same question. And I believe Friedman did not answer the question asked. 

"Moving forward, we have to learn to live cohesively with Covid. Covid is always going to be around."

Said John M. Coleman, a pulmonary and critical care doctor at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, quoted in "Not Over Yet: Late-Summer Covid Wave Brings Warning of More to Come/Hospitalizations are still low but are on the rise in recent weeks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention" (NYT).

Interesting use of the word "cohesively." Did he mean "coherently"?

In context, his point was that the new strains aren't severe, it's mainly the people with other conditions that are going to have serious problems, and we can just keep doing things like washing our hands, wearing masks if we have symptoms, and getting booster shots.

Oh, no! "Cat Person" is back. Now, it's a movie. And the man we're supposed to be creeped out by is... Cousin Greg!!

Well, Nicholas Braun was a master of awkwardness as Greg on "Succession," but do I want to seen him dragged through this monstrosity? Or do you think there's any chance this movie could be good... at least good enough to get us back to talking about "Cat Person" like we did in 2017/2018?

"The school of the Republic was built around strong values, secularism is one of them. … When you enter a classroom, you shouldn’t be able to identify the religion of pupils."

Said, French Education Minister Gabriel Attal, quoted in "French education minister announces ban on Islamic dress in schools/Students will no longer be allowed to wear the long, flowing dress known as the abaya in classrooms" (Politico).

Crosses, in case you're wondering, were already banned in schools, along with Jewish kippahs and Islamic headscarves. The abaya is less clearly religious, which is why it hadn't yet been banned. France puts the value of secularism ahead of individual expression.

"All this is gonna continue to weigh him down. He's been pretty skillful to this point, but I do think the weight will eventually get to him."

Said one of Chris Christie's advisers, speaking about Donald Trump and quoted in "Trump's indictments: Polling shows half of Americans want him to suspend his campaign, and more takeaways/Despite what he claims, he isn't getting a continued bounce in support" (ABC News).

Suspend his campaign. Remember when John McCain suspended his campaign? Why are the pollsters saying "suspend"? It's not like Trump can take a few months to tie up his various legal proceedings and then move on. Those cases will take years and will never really be resolved. Voters who support Trump have their own ideas about the subject matter of the cases and are not going to change their mind if a jury somewhere agrees with the prosecutor's interpretation. There's nothing to wait for. 

Speaking of wait... weight: Maybe commenters will find material for humor in "continue to weigh him down... the weight will eventually get to him," given that Christie has always been fat and that Trump has experienced scrutiny recently because his booking record listed him as weighing only 215 pounds.

"We typically don’t engage in these bad-faith attacks but yesterday a line was crossed. A GOP candidate referred to Ayanna as 'a modern grand wizard of the KKK'..."

"... because she speaks out against racial injustice. This is backwards and harmful, but that is the point.”

Ramaswamy hadn't faulted Pressley for speaking out against racial injustice, but for saying "we don’t need any more brown faces that don’t want to be a brown voice," which he characterizes as contrary to racial injustice.

ADDED: Video of Ramaswamy.

"So am I to understand that in Texas you can get arrested for public intoxication and stealing a bag of chips..BUT in California..NY..Washington etc...."

"... you can lay around in public places with a needle hanging from your arm or storm a Nordstroms or Target steal thousands in merch and no arrests/no charges..I will take Texas."

Top comment on "Ex-'Hannah Montana' actor Mitchel Musso arrested after allegedly stealing bag of chips" (NY Post)("Musso... walked into a local hotel and allegedly began eating a bag of chips he picked up without paying...  When staff told Musso... to pay for the snack, he allegedly was verbally abusive and left without paying.... [The police] found Musso outside where he showed signs of intoxication").

"It is often in the interests of adoptive parents and the adoption industry to imply that adoption is charity work..."

"... rather than something that benefits the adoptive parents as well. This perception of adoption as an act of altruism is exponentially more pronounced when Black kids are adopted by white parents. Mythologizing the role of those parents goes beyond just suggesting that adoptees are second-best choices to biological children. It implies that Black children need to be rescued by white people, and that makes white people feel good about doing it. This is often referred to as 'white savior syndrome,' which makes it sound like mild arrogance or a convenient delusion. I believe that’s too generous. The idea that Black children are automatically better off with nice white parents than their own biological parents is just white supremacy, which does not have to be produced by official hate groups to be insidious. It is often banal, and so commonplace that its ubiquitousness renders it just part of the background.... The Tuohys don’t regard themselves as racist... but the book and the film portray Mr. Oher in ways that serve to reinforce racist stereotypes.... ...Mr. Oher is referred to repeatedly as a 'freak of nature,' and... not mentally capable of understanding simple things. In the book, Mr. Oher is portrayed as literally not knowing what an ocean is...."

Writes Elizabeth Spiers, who was adopted, in "I Have a Pretty Good Idea Why Michael Oher Is Angry" (NYT).

By the way, do you know what the ocean is? The ocean. There's only one. Did you know?

August 27, 2023

At the Sunday Night Café…

 … you can talk about whatever you want. 

"Her husband, whom she met when she was 21 and he was 81, dictated precisely what shade of nail polish she should wear (pink, pale and sheer, never matte)..."

"... and gently tapped her on the head when her roots were showing. When he was in residence, he issued a 6pm curfew ensuring his young wife was home to share his dinner (always chicken soup with cream cheese and crackers) and watch his favourite movies. Then, after dark, she was expected to participate in the group sex for which Hefner was famous. 'It was embarrassing. I don't know the most people there'd been in our bedroom at one time but – a lot. Pretty bad. We were like, "Oh, now it's your turn." Nobody really wanted to be there but I think in Hef's mind, he still thought he was in his 40s, and those nights, the people, the mansion, solidified that idea. He felt, "I've still got it."' There were also the famous 'Sunday Fundays' when 200 young women would descend on the Playboy mansion. Its octogenarian owner took so much Viagra that it made him lose his hearing on one side (a recognised side effect of the drug). 'Hef always said he'd rather be deaf and still able to have sex. Weird,' says Crystal...."

From "The hell of being married to Hugh Hefner by his Playboy Bunny third wife: Crystal Hefner, 37, describes how he took so much Viagra it made him deaf and imposed a 6pm curfew so she'd stay home and share his chicken soup" (Daily Mail).

Always chicken soup with cream cheese and crackers?

"I don’t try to hide who I am or apologize for it. I am a bit of a hermit. I am sure I have hurt people’s feelings with my behavior..."

"... from time to time by ducking out of parties early or choosing not to go to Happy Hour. I have spent very little time worrying about it. I think it’s more important to find people who get me and accept me than want to change me. I have done my best to avoid people who come at me with unreasonable expectations. And because I don’t have to spend any time covering up my real self, my friendships are genuine.... I love spending time in the redwoods and by the ocean. Just a few months ago, I was walking four miles a day along the sweeping ocean coastline at West Cliff Drive where I could see surfers and otters frolicking, and humpback whales lunge-feeding just off the shoreline. This became my everyday routine. My favorite spots are within a 10-minute drive of my house, and most are still accessible even as my energy continues to drop off...."

Writes Amy Ettinger, in "I am dying at age 49. Here’s why I have no regrets" (WaPo).

"My grandfather had love stories with each woman and no one was forced to do anything. Pablo Picasso is Pablo Picasso."

"He is not a usual person and my grandmother [Marie-Thérèse Walter] knew that he was married when he met her. She knew that he was having an affair with Dora Maar, just after [Walter] gave birth to Maya. When Dora Maar is entering the life of Pablo Picasso, she knows that he is having a child, that he has a second life with Marie-Thérèse, and that she won’t remain number three forever... [Maar's relationship with Picasso] was full of probably a kind of psychological violence that she’s part of.... Exceptional people are not easy. You have to accept that some people need more from you. They are more demanding and I think that Pablo was demanding."

This made me think of a quote from a review of a book by Jill Lepore that's discuss in my first post this morning: "The modern sex panic’s signature characteristic is an inability and unwillingness to distinguish between degrees of misconduct."

"Noting that forty-five per cent of British women cannot find the vagina on an unmarked diagram, while fifty-nine per cent of American women cannot find the uterus..."

"... a shocking fact that Nuttall blames in part on the hard-to-remember Latinate words—she laments the loss of terms such as 'wings,' 'gates,' and 'ports' that once described female anatomy. She dislikes 'period' as a word for menstruation: much better is 'the fluidity' of the long-lost 'overflownis.' In place of the Latinate 'deliver,' which to Nuttall sounds 'as if the baby’s just handed to us out of the tinfoiled crib of a takeaway food courier,' she suggests the sturdy Middle English of 'barnish' or 'bearn.' As a word campaigner, Nuttall is blithely decisive when it doesn’t matter, and cagey when it does. She is happy to advocate for words that have no chance of taking off, or to judge a word for a history that is no longer expressed in its meaning. But on subjects that she has identified as politically contentious—exactly where etymological expertise, wisely or not, is most sought—she is anxiously neutral. 'Queer,' she writes, has been reclaimed 'by some'; 'for others,' it 'remains an irredeemable slur.' Phrases like 'pregnant people' and 'people with a uterus' are 'for some,' helpful, precise, and inclusive; 'for others,' this language 'obscures social reality' or is 'dehumanising.'... 'Taking into account patriarchy’s habit of urging women to be quiet and of caricaturing those women who do speak up or out as gossipy, frivolous, hysterical, dull or bitchy, it seems regressive to stifle women’s words, however progressive the motivation. Each woman must have the terms of her own choosing.'"

From "How Much Do Words Matter? A scholar of medieval literature believes that words used in the past can empower women in the present" (The New Yorker), discussing the book "Mother Tongue: The Surprising History of Women’s Words," by Jenni Nuttall. My excerpt leans toward quoting Nuttall. The article itself is by S.C. Cornell, and this is this author's first New Yorker article.

"They’ve sent a personal essayist to review an academic essayist’s work, so I can’t help but remark upon the moments..."

"... when Lepore makes an effort to weave in her personal stories and winds up sounding like a tourist over-pronouncing the word croissant. Traits of loved ones ('She had an opinion on any movie. She had a crush on John Cusack. She loved to run') add up to something less vivid than her portraits of Albert Camus, Kurt Gödel and even Roger Ailes. Her social and domestic asides read as factual accounts of that which is nonfactual: an inner life. I also read some of her analogies with splayed fingers, starting with the first line: 'One summer day, the sun’s rays as spiky as a coronavirus.'"


"Etymology: From obstropulous, obsolete slang form of obstreperous, +‎ -y.... Adjective: (UK, Australia, New Zealand, slang) Ornery, fractious, belligerent, or obstreperous, and hence difficult to deal with.... Quotation: 2010, Gillian Bloxham, W. Doyle Gentry, Anger Management For Dummies‎, UK edition: Even today, women who show signs of anger and who express themselves in some assertive way may be labelled stroppy for doing so" (Wiktionary).

I encountered the word "stroppy" this morning, reading Maureen Dowd's new column, "Catch the Smug Mug on That Thug!" (NYT).
[Trump] no doubt workshopped his stroppy mug-shot look in front of the mirror, trying to convey “Never surrender!” as he was literally surrendering. And in another master stroke of projection, he accused the prosecutors pursuing him for election interference of “election interference.”

Using UK/Australia/New England slang is a sign of elitism.