November 4, 2023

Sunrise — 7:30, 7:43.

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"When, at 7, she finds her father weeping, he asks her to 'lick the tears from my eyes.'"

"The request makes her 'queasy,' but she obeys, in an act of both strange devotion and deep unease. 'I had taken something of my father’s into me, something intimate — his liquids and his lonely need,' she writes."

"... Carrière grew up shuttling back and forth between a 17,000-square-foot townhouse in New York City’s West Village and a penthouse in Paris...."

"I don’t always drink in my underwear, but when I do, I tell everyone it’s a Finnish tradition."

Said Miles Teller, an actor, quoted in "Getting Tipsy at Home in Your Underwear/A Finnish tradition known as 'pantsdrunk' is gaining favor with Americans stuck at home" (NYT)("there is a word for it, “kalsarikännit,” as well as two emojis: a man in gray underwear with pint of beer, and a woman in a polka-dot slip with a glass of red wine").

This article is from 2020 — as you may have guessed from that "stuck at home." I don't know how I missed this the first time around, but I'm seeing it this morning because it's suggested to me on the page I found by myself, "How to Drink Alone." Not that I was looking for instructions on how to do something that is perfectly easy to do, at least if you're already alone.

"Western civilization is what gave the world pretty much every goddamn liberal precept that liberals are supposed to adore."

"Please, somebody stop us before we enlighten again."

"The partitioning of the region wasn't decided by Jews but by a vote of the United Nations in 1947 with everyone from Russia to Haiti voting for it. But apparently, they don't teach this at Drag Queen Story Hour anymore."

"This is not Poland or Lithuania or France, where the locals were only waiting for a Nazi invasion to sanction their existing dreams of domestic Jew-clearance. "

"This is London, where (I cannot speak of it without tears) the working people of the East End stood alongside their Jewish neighbours to fight off Mosley’s blackshirts — rather than, say, posting Instagram stories about how there are two sides to every story. Nor indeed can I pretend that I, fully secularised, church-married with a gentile wife and half-blood kids, would be in the front line, should antisemitic push (of the kind being seen in universities, at The Guardian, in graffiti on schools and Holocaust libraries, and at these almost daily demonstrations in London by the bourgeois jihaderati) come to genocidal shove. But the fact is that the world feels very dangerous at the moment. Very horrible. And in every Jewish family — every single one, mark you — there rumble tales of the prescient recent ancestor who had the sense to get out of wherever they were before it was too late, which is why we are all here, today. There are no good stories about the ones who said, 'meh, it’s all being overblown, that could never happen in Lodz, Kiev, Paris, Salonika.'..."

"She and I discussed that her desire to stake out this kind of public position and join in public protests isn’t compatible with being a journalist at The Times..."

Said Jake Silverstein, the editor of The New York Times Magazine, quoted in "New York Times Writer Resigns After Signing Letter Protesting the Israel-Gaza War/The writer, Jazmine Hughes, who has won awards for her work, had signed another letter of protest this year" (NYT).

"'Worldschooling,' a loose term that refers to making travel a central part of a child’s educational experience, can involve a monthlong trip to Europe..."

"... or years spent traveling. Parents might try to stick to the curriculum of a school back home using workbooks and remote learning tools, or choose to engage in more free-form, interest-driven learning. Ms. Tolk worldschooled her daughters during their years on the road. The girls were 10 and 12 when they left, and while she and her husband initially tried to stick to a semi-strict schedule — daily math lessons, grammar exercises and spelling lists — they quickly found themselves easing up, focusing instead on the places they were exploring. 'We ended up doing a lot of family projects. All four of us would research something we were interested in and present it to each other,' she said. While they were in Egypt, one daughter did a project about ancient makeup traditions in Egypt.... 'I’ve had a life of really impactful, powerful, transformative international experiences,' Ms. Tolk said. 'I always knew that I wanted that for my children.'"

If it's "years spent traveling," then it's like home-schooling, and the parents are running the show and who knows how good or bad it is for the kids, but the article is mainly about parents taking their kids out of public school and causing them to miss days or weeks of classroom instruction and justifying it as beneficial to the child.

The top comment at the NYT:

"My father only comes across as a predator and manipulative.... I don’t read this and see my mother’s perspective of my father."

"I read this and see your shockingly vengeful and contemptuous perspective and I don’t understand why?"

The film is based on Priscilla's memoir.

RFK Jr. ... and love.

November 3, 2023

Sunrise — 7:25, 7:27, 7:29, 7:32, 7:34.

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"I don’t think that White authors and White characters should tell the narratives of African American people. The usefulness of the book has run its course."

Said English teacher Verena Kuzmany, quoted in "Students hated ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’ Their teachers tried to dump it. Four progressive teachers in Washington’s Mukilteo School District wanted to protect students from a book they saw as outdated and harmful. The blowback was fierce" (WaPo).

Jeff Bezo's parents recently moved to Miami, and he wants to be near them, so he's leaving Seattle and moving to Miami.

That's what it says here:

"Psychedelic medicine-assisted therapy also can support a patient in exploring the enormous and complex feelings associated with eco-anxiety and climate grief...."

"In my clinical practice, patients using oral ketamine plus psychotherapy have experienced breakthroughs and new insights when working with the intention of navigating eco-anxiety. Many patients said they felt connected to a sense of oceanic oneness, reminding them of the meaningful interconnectedness of their lives with others and offering context for their personal narrative.... Psychedelics can also teach us how to experience and hold intense emotions that feel too much to bear, allowing for the ability to observe our suffering in a new way...."

So we've worried our young people into a state of high anxiety and the next stage is to offer them psychedelic drugs.

I'm having a flashback.

"Will this scatter the Effective Altruism herd? Or will they bleat that he Did It Wrong, and the movement can never fail only be failed by the weak, &c.?"

A good question, asked in the Metafilter discussion, "Jury finds Sam Bankman-Fried guilty."

That made me notice that I hadn't heard much about effective altruism lately (but isn't it always hard to notice what is not being said?).

I went looking for recent SBF stories that talked about effective altruism. Hard to find anything — that is, I found the absence of talk — but I did find this at CoinDesk: "Sam Bankman-Fried Demonstrates Ineffective Altruism at Its Worst/The road to hell is paved with good intentions."

That sounds like it's going to be the he-did-it-wrong "bleat" that the Metafilter commenter was predicting, but it's not:

"[T]raveling from town to town and asking for votes was considered undignified for a presidential candidate."

"Abraham Lincoln had not given a single speech on his own behalf during either of his campaigns, and Rutherford B. Hayes advised [James A.] Garfield to do the same. 'Sit crosslegged,' he said, 'and look wise.' Happily left to his own devices, Garfield poured his time and energy into his farm. He worked in the fields, planting, hoeing, and harvesting crops, and swung a scythe with the confidence and steady hand he had developed as a boy. In July, he oversaw the threshing of his oats. 'Result 475 bushels,' he noted. 'No[t] so good a yield as last year.'"

I'm reading "Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President" by Candice Millard. (Commission earned if you use that link.)

Sit crosslegged and look wise.

November 2, 2023

"Sam Bankman-Fried... was found guilty on all seven charges of fraud and conspiracy."

The NYT reports.

Sam Bankman-Fried, the tousle-haired mogul who founded the FTX cryptocurrency exchange, was convicted on Thursday of all seven charges of fraud and conspiracy after a monthlong trial that laid bare the hubris and risk-taking across the crypto industry. These charges carry a maximum sentence of 110 years....

The jury of nine men and three women began deliberating at 3:15 p.m. and was out for a little over four hours including dinner.

Sunrise — 7:19, 7:33, 7:36.

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How to avoid naming birds after racists: Eliminate all the bird names that are based on the name of any person.

Because anybody might be a racist.

I'm reading "Birds in the Americas Will No Longer Be Named After People/The American Ornithological Society has committed to replacing all bird names derived from people so as not to honor figures with racist pasts" (NYT).
The American Ornithological Society, the organization responsible for standardizing English bird names across the Americas, announced on Wednesday that it would rename all species honoring people.... The organization’s decision is a response to pressure from birders to redress the recognition of historical figures with racist or colonial pasts.... 

"Faced with a demographic crisis, a slowing economy and what it views as a stubborn rise of feminism, the party has chosen to push women back into the home..."

"... calling on them to rear the young and care for the old. The work, in the words of Mr. Xi, is essential for 'China’s path to modernization.'"

"'We should actively foster a new type of marriage and childbearing culture,' [Xi Jinping] said in a speech, adding that it was the role of party officials to influence young people’s views on 'love and marriage, fertility and family.'"

"'I know nothing about GAAP,' Trump Jr. said, alluding to generally accepted accounting principles. 'I leave it to my CPAs.'..."

"When asked by [the prosecutor] about one of the statements, Trump Jr. testified Wednesday that accountants were responsible for '[putting] together a document of this nature' and denied taking part in the preparation of a statement of financial condition from 2017. 'The accountants worked on it,' he added. 'That’s what we paid them for.'"

From "Don Jr. Has a Conveniently Fuzzy Memory of Trump Org Finances: 'I Leave It to My CPAs'/The executive vice president introduced himself simply as a 'real estate broker' while on the witness stand, and claimed to 'know nothing' about basic accounting principles" (Vanity Fair).

So frustrating for Trump haters. Don Jr. just said the obvious thing. He trusted the experts. And the Vanity Fair writers strain to make it seem nefarious — "alluding to," "conveniently," etc.

Who uses this method? Either do Halloween or don't!

Why are we doing handouts anyway? To show what human beings are like? If you answer the door and dispense the handout personally, you can maintain a system of one portion per person, and you might even get a smile or a thank you. If you put out a big bowl of multiple portions because you don't want to monitor the process and impose single portions, then people will serve their own interests and take all they want. You knew that. The kids who took it all also knew that if they didn't take it all, the next group of kids would take it all. It's a state of nature without supervision and enforcement. Don't pretend you trusted people and you had some sort of admirable "hope" that now I'm supposed to feel bad got crushed. No, you lazy bastard. Answer the damned door next time. Or have the courage to turn off the porch light and huddle in a back room and celebrate the end of the holiday you no longer believe in.

Jordan Peterson — out of context.

I ran into that on "Twitter" today and found it funny enough to watch twice. Then I read some of the replies and can see that not everyone gets it: "What a dishonest video. Do better"/"Crappy cuts. But feel good in your demonizing."

"Despite the Bidens’ denials about money, it seems to be everywhere and nowhere — metastasizing and spreading..."

"... throughout the dozens of accounts, banks and family members identified by House investigators. Yet many in the media and most Democratic members of Congress appear to be firmly committed to assuring that all of this remains 'a wonderful life' for Joe Biden and his family."

The "wonderful life" reference is set up in the first 2 paragraphs:

"'Now and Then' just kind of languished in a cupboard."

Says Paul, at 5:19:

"Wow. This is it. Now, it's a Beatle record."

ADDED: Here's the song:

"Offshore wind is not dead, but the industry and its backers are certainly learning some harsh lessons."

"The ambitions of the Biden administration and states along the East Coast like New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts to install large amounts of clean electric power generation through offshore wind in the coming decades are likely to be set back. The industry is dealing with equipment shortages as result of pandemic-era supply chain issues, and trying manage a growing number of orders for wind turbines as governments seek to meet green energy goals. And escalating interest rates, as central banks around the world try to curb inflation, have caused financing costs to soar...."

November 1, 2023

Sunrise — 7:33, 7:35.


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"Anorexia is a very unusual disorder because it’s so tied up with identity. A lot of times it’s really hard to imagine life without the disorder."

"When you’re in the depths of it, it’s just so difficult to imagine that things can get better. I worry about the seductive qualities of this idea of a gentle, easy death as the solution, because it’s irreversible."

Angela S. Guarda, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, quoted in "Should anorexia ever be called ‘terminal’? One doctor argued yes, igniting a furor over hope, self-determination and treatment in the world of eating disorders" (WaPo). 

Another quote, from Joel Yager, professor emeritus at the University of Colorado School of Medicine: "All we were pointing out in our article was to be sensitive to end-of-life issues for people with anorexia. I can’t discount someone’s unwillingness to stay alive. People who say, ‘I can’t do this anymore’ have to be respected. You’re harming and infantilizing patients who can think for themselves."

ADDED: Please understand that this is an article about physician-assisted suicide. It begins with the story of a woman who received a life-ending injection:

"Vegetables are a luxury product. They’re expensive to grow and incredibly resource-intensive."

"They get the highest level of fertilizer and pesticide applications, and they deliver nutrients without many calories. In an overweight society, that’s a plus, but if you widen the lens to the whole world, where we have to feed 8-plus billion, ideally without expanding agriculture’s footprint, crops that deliver nutrition and calories are ideal. Whole grains, legumes, tubers, tree fruits, nuts. Those are the backbone of a diet good for both people and planet."

The October color survives into November.

This morning at 7:47:

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Talk about whatever you want in the comments.

"The parentage of Buffy Sainte-Marie, a folk singer known for her activism on behalf of Indigenous people, was questioned..."

"Sainte-Marie, considered the first Indigenous person to win an Oscar, has said for decades that she was born to an Indigenous mother before being adopted first by a white couple near Boston and then, as an adult, by the Piapot First Nation. The CBC investigation... pointed to documentation, including Sainte-Marie’s birth certificate and marriage certificate, to show she was born in Stoneham, Mass., as Beverly Jean Santamaria. Sainte-Marie did not speak to the CBC, but in video and written statements, she said the woman she called her 'growing-up Mom' had told her that she was adopted and was Native...."

2 important considerations:

"The people on the Republican side are highly concerned about what’s happening in this country and realize how important this Wisconsin U.S. Senate race is."

"I would hope that they would have those conversations and decide amongst themselves. Instead of having a nasty primary, let’s back one of us and move forward."
[Possible candidate Scott] Mayer echoes Johnson’s thinking. “We really don’t want a bloody primary,” he told NBC News. “But it’s a free country,” he added....

"The Cornell University student accused of making violent threats against his Jewish peers is a 21-year-old engineering student..."

"... who suffers from such 'severe depression' that his mother worried he was on the brink of suicide just moments before his arrest. Patrick Dai, a junior at the prestigious university, was arrested by federal authorities Tuesday for allegedly making a string of disturbing online posts over the weekend threatening to kill and rape Jewish students and to 'bring an assault rifle to campus.' Investigators traced the deranged posts to Dai’s IP address at his off-campus apartment, where he allegedly admitted to being the culprit, according to a federal complaint."

It does seem that he wanted to be caught: He was traceable through his IP address. It seems he's thrown his life away, and his parents thought he was going to commit suicide. 

"Our laboratory experiments showed that surprisingly Sphinx-like shapes can, in fact, come from materials being eroded by fast flows."

Said Leif Ristroph, an NYU math professor, quoted in "Did Nature Have a Hand in the Formation of the Great Sphinx?" (NYU).

"I don’t trash-pick as often as I’d like to — usually when I’m faced with doing something far more unappealing..."

"... or whenever I need to work off some bad karma. It’s a terrific hobby for me, an anxious putterer with a holier-than-thou bent who writes better when my hands are occupied with something else. (I’m not alone — the humorist David Sedaris is a much more accomplished writer and trash picker than me.) When I do it, though, Bluetooth headphones in my ears and a weed gummy dissolving in my stomach, solicitousness and gratification ripple through me."

Writes Jazmine Hughes, in "The Joy of Picking Up Other People’s Trash/When my neighborhood changed around me, I decided to change it" (NYT).

The neighborhood is not named, but we're told it's in Brooklyn, and the change is gentrification — "turbocharged gentrification." Hughes looks around and sees herself as "the only Black person standing on the corner" while "gaggles of 20-somethings... roam the streets, presumably in search of eyebrows, which none of them seemed to have."

A philosophy is being "piped to Earth," and "It's a death cult... They are propagating the extinction of humanity and civilization."

Said Elon Musk:

Listen to the whole context. He's responding to Joe's prompt to tell us why he bought Twitter, and —warning that it would sound melodramatic — he says he thought that Twitter had taken the mindset of the San Francisco area and amplified it and made it dominant to the point where all life on Earth was in danger. There's quite a lot of talk of the "Extinctionist" movement, and the phrase "death cult" is used repeatedly. 

"If you take environmentalism to an extreme," Musk says, "You start to view humanity as a plague on the surface of the earth, like a mold or something." He asserts that the Earth could do well with 10 times as many people as we have now.

ADDED: Musk goes on to talk about AI: "If AI gets programmed by the Extinctionists, it's utility function will be the extinction of humanity."

AND: He asserts that Twitter had become "an arm of the government" — "a state publication." But: "Old Twitter was completely controlled by the far left." I think I see his point, but those statements don't fit together. The government is not the far left, so both can't be in complete control. 

ALSO: "San Francisco/Berkeley is a niche ideology.... Is there a place that's more far left?... From their standpoint, everything is to the right...," Musk says. Twitter was an "accidental far-left information weapon" because the technology happened to develop in that geographic area, and then people who couldn't have created the "weapon" were nevertheless there — "co-located" — where they could pick up the weapon and make it their own. 

That made me think of the old adage attributed to Napoleon: "The tools belong to the man who can use them." That seems applicable here. And then there's also the old Audre Lorde line which seems to say the opposite of what was happing at Old Twitter: "The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house."

BUT: "The tools belong to the man who can use them," but here, the tool that was once called Twitter belonged to the far-left denizens of San Francisco/Berkeley, but Musk arrived on the scene with enough money to buy it from them.

October 31, 2023

Sunrise — 7:36.


"One time, 'He asked her to literally scratch her back,' the lawyer said. When Robinson asked him why he didn’t just use the back-scratcher that was there..."

"... De Niro said, 'I like the way you do it,' [the lawyer] said. Robinson has said she was also on the receiving end of De Niro’s allegedly misogynistic comments — including suggesting she could get pregnant using the sperm of a married male colleague. 'He would joke with Ms. Robinson about his Viagra prescription.' De Niro smirked at Ms. Robinson about his young paramour, who was around Ms. Robinson’s age,' her suit said. But De Niro’s lawyer fired back that Robinson 'always played the victim' and painted her as a money-hungry ex-employee. 'It's nice to work for a movie star, but it can be mundane,' [De Niro's lawyer said]...."

From "Grumpy Robert De Niro testifies in sensational showdown with ex-assistant who claimed he’s boss from hell: ‘This is nonsense!’" (NY Post).

She's suing for $12 million. I can't figure out what the legal basis of the claim is supposed to be. Her job was personal assistant — to an 80-year-old movie star — and she received a $300,000-a-year salary. 

What an expensive screwup that turned out to be.


The first snow — 7:52 a.m.


"It’s impossible for me to imagine that people don’t understand that Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) is a negative influence."

"People who can’t understand that, I don’t know how to respond and I don’t know how to help them."
Fincher said he didn't make "Fight Club" for "incels and far-right groups." He's "not responsible for how people interpret things," he says. "Language evolves. Symbols evolve.... We didn’t make it for them, but people will see what they’re going to see in a Norman Rockwell painting, or Guernica."

"It’s not too late for the adults, like [Berkeley Law School Dean] Chemerinsky, to take control."

"But for too long they’ve given the extremists a pass, and an entirely undeserved moral legitimacy. If they want to save higher education, they’ll have to anger a lot of people they’ve never been willing to anger before."

Well, maybe just a tort suit. And the bottle thrower gets fired.

"Remote-controlled robots have been developed to enter and search the tunnels."

"Israeli engineers also have developed technology that uses acoustic or seismic sensors and software to detect digging, similar to the science used by oil and gas companies to detect oil reserves....  The battle to control and destroy this subterranean labyrinth, estimated at more than 300 miles, will be a key strategy for the Israeli military....  For these 'de-tunneling' operations, specialized units code-named Samur – Hebrew for 'weasel' – expect to squeeze through the narrow passages and find rocket assembly lines, stores of small arms and mortars and, deeper still, Hamas’ leaders’ lodging and headquarters – much of it probably booby-trapped with homemade bombs. They may also be searching for some of the more than 200 hostages taken from Israel who may be hidden in those same tunnels.... The fight in Gaza may bear some similarities to operations in Fallujah, or in Mosul, where U.S.-backed Iraqi forces flushed Islamic state fighters out of a tunnel network in 2014...."

Human "weasels" and robots... but what about dogs? I'm remembering the killing of al-Baghdadi and Conan the military dog.

October 30, 2023

Sunrise — 7:20, 7:37.

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The day after Matthew Perry died, "'Friends' was the most-watched series or movie on the Max streaming service...."

"In a way, this was no anomaly. 'Friends' has been a weekly fixture among the 10 most-watched series or movies on the streaming service.... [A] show that was born in the 1990s and seemed completely of-its-time (no cellphones, a coffee shop with cushy couches as a main setting) seemed to have new appeal among teenagers and 20-somethings. 'The one-sentence pitch is: It’s about that time in your life when your friends are your family,' David Crane, one of the show’s creators, once said...."

The NYT reports.

"Nasal congestion, I’ve learned in all this, is far weirder than I ever thought."

"For starters, the nose is actually two noses, which work in an alternating cycle that is somehow connected to our armpits.... Each nostril opens into its own nasal cavity, which does not connect with the other directly. They are two separate organs, as separate as your two eyes or your two ears.... [T]he nose’s hidden inner anatomy is... lined with venous erectile tissue that has a 'similar structure to the erectile tissue in the penis'... Infection or allergies amplify the swelling, so much so that the nasal passages become completely blocked. This swelling, not mucus, is the primary cause of a stuffy nose, which is why expelling snot never quite fixes congestion entirely.... In healthy noses, the swelling and unswelling of nasal tissue usually follows a predictable pattern called the nasal cycle. Every few hours, one side of the nose becomes partially congested while the other opens.... Once you’re aware of the nasal cycle, you can control it—to some extent.... [T]urning from side to side [in bed]... activat[es] receptors under [you] arm, which open the opposite side of the nose.... And an online hack for stuffy noses suggests squeezing a bottle under the opposite arm...."

"Where in 1966 and 67 the general feeling had been that the counterculture was moving towards some post-racial utopia where Black and white people alike..."

"... could play psychedelic soul-infused blues music, now [after the King assassination] a Black man like Jimi Hendrix playing music for white audiences was derided by other Black people in terms I won’t repeat, while white singers like Joplin who were influenced by Black musicians were thought of as not far from minstrelsy. Joplin hadn’t noticed this change...."

From a new episode of "A History of Rock Music in 500 Songs" —  "Episode 169: 'Piece of My Heart' by Big Brother and the Holding Company."

Lots of great stuff in that episode, including how intelligent Janis Joplin was and how much her singing was based on imitation:

"Ellison has testified that his unkempt boy genius look was an act. In court, Bankman-Fried wore... his trademark crazy mane now trimmed..."

"... into a more conventional style. 'Mr Bankman-Fried, would you agree that you know how to tell a good story?' [the prosecutor Danielle] Sassoon asked. Bankman-Fried deflected, saying, 'I don’t know, it depends on what metric you use.' Sassoon [asked]... him about a colleague [said]... he had said cutting his hair would have a negative value for him because 'I think it’s important for people to think I look crazy,' he was quoted as saying. Ellison likewise testified that Bankman-Fried carefully curated his unglamorous image. 'I don’t think I said that in that way,' Bankman-Fried said. He had previously testified that he did not cut his hair because he was busy and lazy, not as a strategic decision. When Sassoon asked him if he recalled telling another investor, who asked him to wear a suit, that 'a T-shirt and shorts' were part of his brand, Bankman-Fried said he did not recall the comment.... 'You think of yourself as a smart guy?' the prosecutor asked. 'In many ways, not all ways,' Bankman-Fried replied..... 'In private you said things like "fuck regulators"?" Sassoon asked. 'I said that once,' Bankman-Fried admitted."

"The perfectionism that had run me ragged and has kept me scared and wired my whole life has abated...."

"By 60, I didn’t care nearly as much what people thought of me, mostly.... I have no idea of the process that released some of that clench and self-consciousness, except that by a certain age some people beloved to me had died. And then you seriously get real about how short and precious life is.... Some weeks, it feels as though there is a sniper in the trees, picking off people we have loved for years.... I do live in my heart more, which is hard in its own ways, but the blessing is that the yammer in my head is quieter, the endless questioning: What am I supposed to be doing? Is this the right thing? What do you think of that? What does he think of that?... I laugh gently more often at darling confused me’s spaced-outed ness, although I’m often glad no one was around to witness my lapses...."

My excerpt reflects my taste. Go to the link if you'd like more of an old woman's poking fun at her physical flaws and her son's joking about taking away her car keys. That did not appeal to me, but I can tell by the style of the writing that Lamott knows her readers.

"Threats against Cornell’s Jewish students reported to FBI, school says."

 WaPo reports.

One post called Jewish students “rats” and said, “If you see a Jewish ‘person’ on campus follow them home and slit their throats.” Another post was titled “gonna shoot up 104 west,” an apparent reference to Cornell’s kosher and multicultural dining room.... 

"Groups of young people cruise the streets of Porirua, New Zealand, in the dead of night, their cars and bicycles stacked with high-powered speakers..."

"... designed to emit the loudest, clearest sounds. The groups, known as siren clubs, use late-night musical battles to express their identities and create community... A popular sound... is the voice of Celine Dion.... Siren clubs are made up mostly of young men, many of them in Porirua’s Pacific Islander community, known as Pasifika....They get together to modify cars and bicycles with public-address system speakers, which they call sirens. They spend hours wiring and soldering multiple sirens and amplifiers to car frames or onto bicycles.... Dion’s 'My Heart Will Go On' and 'The Power of Love' are siren club classics.... Residents calling in to report noise complaints often cannot home in on the source. And even when they can, the competitors have often taken off by the time police arrive...."

Porirua Mayor Anita Baker is quoted praising the Pasifika in the manner one expects from mayors:  “They’re an awesome community. They love music, they love dance, they love church. They’re a really close-knit community … and that’s what we love about Porirua. We have such diversity here.” 

Halloween sweetness.

A TikTok video, so it's below the jump:

"You can track the trajectory of my addiction if you gauge my weight from season to season — when I’m carrying weight, it’s alcohol..."

"... when I’m skinny, it’s pills. When I have a goatee, it’s lots of pills. By the end of season three, I was spending most of my time figuring out how to get 55 Vicodin a day — I had to have 55 every day, otherwise I’d get so sick... [Notice] how I look between the final episode of season 6 and the first of season 7 — the Chandler-Monica proposal episodes. I’m wearing the same clothes in the final episode of six and the first of seven [it’s supposed to be the same night], but I must have lost fifty pounds in the off-season. My weight varied between 128 pounds and 225 pounds during the years of Friends."

Wrote Matthew Perry, quoted in "Matthew Perry Revealed Before His Death Why He Never Watched Friends/ The actor — who died aged 54 on Saturday — last year shared why he could not watch himself as Chandler Bing on the iconic sitcom" (People).

And here's an interview from last year, when he was promoting his memoir. He says he couldn't watch the show, because he'd be looking at himself and seeing what substance he was struggling with....

"No, it’s not ethical. It’s actually kinda repulsive. You’re treating kids like a commodity..."

"... and the mom like a vending machine. You don’t even know what it’s like to raise one kid, and you’re already optimizing the process to save money. This isn’t BOGOF. It’s a human being. Sheesh."

Says the top-rated comment on a letter to the NYT ethics adviser, in "Is It OK to Hire a Surrogate to Bear Twins? The magazine’s Ethicist columnist on the financial realities of family planning."

BOGOF = buy one get one free.

The advice seeker and his husband want 2 children, and the idea was to save money by contracting for twins. 

October 29, 2023

At the Late October Cafe...




... you can talk all night.

"Americans have been nursing a shopping addiction for a while, and e-commerce has only deepened our problem."

"The psychologist Joshua Klapow told Time magazine that online shopping is 'psychologically so powerful.' It can temporarily lift one’s mood, providing a special type of retail therapy purified by a total lack of effort. E-buyers can bypass the schlep, the dreaded walk-around inside a store, the money handling or grueling Apple Pay tap. The human interaction...."

From an essay by Sonja Anderson, in the NYT, "The City That Never Sleeps … or Shops in Person." 

Anderson uses this cutesy video from the Atlantic to support her accusation that shopping on line is, pretty much, a mental problem:

"President Joe Biden’s job approval rating among Democrats has tumbled 11 percentage points in the past month..."

"... to 75%, the worst reading of his presidency from his own party. This drop has pushed his overall approval rating down four points to 37%, matching his personal low."

Gallup announces new poll results and illustrates its news with this photograph, as if to explain:

The text makes the argument:

"The atrocities perpetrated by Hamas against innocent Israelis, the snuff films, mutilations and delight in simple cruelty, inspired immediate analogies to the Islamic State’s depredations."

"They also raised a question about Hamas’s strategy. Was this, as some averred, a desperate but calculated leap to barbarism, undertaken on the theory that only true grisliness would yield the kind of Israeli reaction required to scuttle peacemaking between Israel and its Arab neighbors? Or alternately, was it proof that Hamas had no normal strategic plan at all?... Radical movements are often multivalent, with ideologically motivated sadists and strategically minded gamblers converging on the same plan despite somewhat different self-understandings.... [A] movement deliberately going to extremes risks the Islamic State scenario, where you isolate yourself so completely that you end up first morally delegitimized and then cornered and destroyed.... But suppose that you light the match, you cross the line, you leave the civilized world behind, and a lot of your allies just … stay with you? Suppose you turn southern Israel into an abattoir and you don’t end up like the Islamic State thereafter? Suppose that, instead, most of your sympathizers just go to their usual corners, some making excuses and downplaying the violence, others committing fully to the glory of your cause?"

Writes Ross Douthat, in "The Victory Hamas Has Already Won" (NYT).

"Joshua Seal was among a group of about 10 deaf people playing cornhole at Schemengees Bar and Grille on Wednesday evening..."

"... when the shooting started. He was the father of four deaf children who attended the Governor Baxter School for the Deaf in Falmouth, Maine. Seal was a deaf-certified interpreter and was well known in the community for providing critical interpreting services during the pandemic.... Billy Brackett, a devoted father and husband... was competing in a cornhole tournament for deaf people at Schemengees Bar and Grille when the shooting occurred.... Steve Vozzella, 45... was one of the deaf cornhole players who died... He got married last November, and was the father to two kids... Everywhere Bryan MacFarlane, 41, went, his Shih Tzu named M&M went with him. 'He brought his dog with him in his truck everywhere he went'.... MacFarlane was among the deaf cornhole players who was shot and killed at Schemengees Bar and Grille last week...."

"There was a time when this semi-trailer was pulled around the country to collect and sell telephones of all ages and sizes. It is now one of 33 trailers on Ron and Mary Knappen's 5-acre property southwest of Galesville that is immobile and stuffed with phones."

A caption for one of many interesting and poignant photographs at "Wisconsin couple has tens of thousands of old phones — and nobody to buy them" (Wisconsin State Journal).

"The decolonization narrative has dehumanized Israelis to the extent that otherwise rational people excuse, deny, or support barbarity."

"It holds that Israel is an 'imperialist-colonialist' force, that Israelis are 'settler-colonialists,' and that Palestinians have a right to eliminate their oppressors.... It casts Israelis as 'white' or 'white-adjacent' and Palestinians as 'people of color.' This ideology, powerful in the academy but long overdue for serious challenge, is a toxic, historically nonsensical mix of Marxist theory, Soviet propaganda, and traditional anti-Semitism from the Middle Ages and the 19th century. But its current engine is the new identity analysis, which sees history through a concept of race that derives from the American experience. The argument is that it is almost impossible for the 'oppressed' to be themselves racist, just as it is impossible for an 'oppressor' to be the subject of racism. Jews therefore cannot suffer racism, because they are regarded as 'white' and 'privileged'; although they cannot be victims, they can and do exploit other, less privileged people, in the West through the sins of 'exploitative capitalism' and in the Middle East through 'colonialism.' This leftist analysis, with its hierarchy of oppressed identities—and intimidating jargon, a clue to its lack of factual rigor—has in many parts of the academy and media replaced traditional universalist leftist values, including internationalist standards of decency and respect for human life and the safety of innocent civilians. When this clumsy analysis collides with the realities of the Middle East, it loses all touch with historical facts...."

Much more at the link.

"I tell four four-year-olds that I am writing a poem of what ever they say. When one makes a statement like 'you are 1,006' or 'I am a 'W'..."

"I write it slowly and read it outloud as I’m writing it. Then I read it outloud to make sure I have it right. The four K kids love to see handwriting come out of my hand. They are interested in how writing can save something in a way that allows it to be said and read repeatedy, exactly, multiple times...." 

This is the brilliant comics artist Lynda Barry:

ADDED: If you like that, I highly recommend the book "Wishes, Lies, and Dreams: Teaching Children to Write Poetry" by Kenneth Koch. (That's an Amazon link, so I earn a commission if you use it.)

"Matthew Perry was so similar to the wisecracking character he played..."

"... that when he first read the script for Friends Like Us (later renamed Friends) in 1994, he said it was as if somebody had followed him around for a year, stolen his jokes and aped his 'world-weary yet witty view of life.'  'It wasn’t that I thought I could play Chandler, I was Chandler,' he said of the character known for such one-liners as: 'Hi, I’m Chandler, I make jokes when I’m uncomfortable' and 'I’m not great at advice, can I interest you in a sarcastic comment?' The likeness was so uncanny that Perry’s actor friends, who were auditioning for the series in 1994 and had also spotted the similarities, flocked to his apartment to seek his advice. Perry suggested techniques and claimed that most of his friends copied him, but when it came to his own audition he 'broke all the rules,' ditching the script and landing jokes on odd emphases, a trick which would come to define his role and influence a generation of comedy actors. (Could he be any more funny, for example.) Much of Chandler’s humour, though already eerily matched with Perry’s own, was shaped by an interview the producers arranged with the cast before filming. Perry told them that he always filled silences with witticisms and that he 'didn’t do well with women.'"

Goodbye, Chandler.

ADDED: The One With Chandler in a Box: