January 3, 2015

"I know that 2 and 2 make 4 - and should be glad to prove it too if I could..."

"... though I must say if by any sort of process I could convert 2 and 2 into 5 it would give me much greater pleasure."

Said Lord Byron.

"I want to see queer and trans people of color with radical social and political analyses dominate independent media by creating and growing our own platforms, so we can centralize and control our own narratives."

Just one example from the responses WaPo got asking "leading feminists" what they are hoping to accomplish in 2015.

Something so garbled and dispiriting about it all.

Nice caricatures though.

When I snag this particular table...


... I can always concentrate and get some work done. I once wrote an op-ed on a deadline here. Yesterday, it was just some exam grading. If only the deadline were closer, I might have enforced the rule that I can't get up until I'm done. But life is more luxurious than that. The deadline is 2 weeks away.

Most annoying sentence in the NYT article by a guy who used Airbnb to find lodging on his road trip through the American South with his wife and 2 sons.

"Sara and Zach gave us a tour of their beautiful Craftsman home; recommended a fantastic restaurant, the Arcade, at a less touristy part of the famous River Walk; and patiently let us check out late when we went to the Alamo and, ironically, I couldn’t remember where I had parked our car."

Look, I was just trying to get out of that sentence alive. I didn't need to be detained stumbling over what was supposed to be ironic about not remembering where you parked your car.

After musing over the possible significance of "Alamo" as the name of a car rental company, the slogan "Remember the Alamo" occurred to me, and I realized that I was witnessing the remnants of a dad joke that the author might have used on his wife and kids: Where'd I park the car? Remember the Alamo?! I can't even remember where I parked the car.

"ICYMI makes staying connected feel like a constant game of catch-up, like finding things at a slower pace warrants some kind of disclaimer."

"If it’s someone else’s work, why do you need to say 'ICYMI’' or apologize by saying, 'Sorry, this is old'? You’re rewarded for being first, not for being the most excited about something."


"... Portraits of Marine Invertebrates."

"He’s haunted by what it is that he did when he was not well, and getting well carries with it a real burden."

"You begin to understand the consequences of your acts. At the time, he didn’t really appreciate all of that."

Said John W. Hinckley Jr.'s lawyer, on the occasion of the decision not to try Hinckley for the murder of James Brady. Hinckley shot Brady in 1981, and Brady died last year. Hinckley has been hospitalized since his 1982 trial, at which the jury found him not guilty by reason of insanity.

ADDED: If Hinckley were tried now, he would be the focus of sympathy and many people would be moved to pity him. If you want him locked up for life, the better approach is to leave him in the shadows.

"In less than 24 hours, a six-second Vine of the fourth quarter between Ohio State and Alabama on Thursday night has been viewed more than 29 million times."


ADDED: It's funnier backwards.

"When I answered the door, there was a bloody girl. She said mom and dad are dead, we had a plane crash, and the plane is upside down."

"She thought her arm was broken. She was barefooted, she had one sock.... They seemed surprised when I said I had a 7-year-old girl here who said she was in a plane crash... I just pray for her. She's gonna need a lot of help. I just can't imagine someone that young going through that...."

ADDED: The girl — Sailor Gutzler — "walked almost a mile (1.6km) through a dark, dense wood in temperatures of about 40F (4C)" at night to reach the house. The man she found there said: "I don't walk in that wood during the day time... It's a mess."


The previous post "The best of vocal fry" has a comment by Ron: "vocal fry...fried cheese curds...what's next jalapeno poppers?" He's noticing that the post before that is "At the Fried-Cheese-Curds-and-Naked-Ambition Café." Now, I have a tag for "this blog has a theme today," but the "At the Fried-Cheese-Curds-and-Naked-Ambition Café" is yesterday's last post, so the tag doesn't fit. What to do? Well, there are clearly 2 things to do: 1. Whip out the old "I'm not making a tag for this" tag, and 2. Go forward with the theme so that "the blog has a theme today" is apt. So:

1. "Fry-oil biofuel businesses suffer as gas prices fall. Plunging oil prices mean lean times for the owners of greasy spoons no longer able to cash in on their excess fats...."

2. "McDonald's to end fry rationing in Japan.... The company has airlifted more fries into Japan to help ease the shortage and added extra shipments from the U.S. East Coast. During the shortage, McDonald's suggested customers add an extra portion of chicken nuggets to their orders and sold them at a special price of 100 yen."

3. "Kenya: Thieves Fry Kenya's Power Grid to Cook Fast Food... A vandal who is selling the toxic oil, drawn from the transformer, to chefs who use it for frying food in roadside stalls. Five liters of the viscous, PCB-laden liquid sells for $60. It looks like cooking oil, but lasts much longer, users say. Kenyans' appetite for fried food and cheap frying oil is stalling the country's urgent efforts to build a modern electrical grid, even as it sews [sic] the seeds of a public health crisis, experts say."

4. "Stephen Fry Shows Us How To Make (And Spill) a Temporary Lava Lamp.... Three parts vegetable oil, one part water, a little food coloring, some alka-seltzer and an empty tennis ball tube is all it takes...."

5. "An Eggless Egg You Can Fry.... An egg produced from plant proteins might gel, but if the gel doesn’t hold any water once it’s in the pan, the egg will evaporate the instant it touches the pan’s hot oils...."

6. "The Fry Up Police is the hilarious – and sweary – cult Facebook page that’s totally judging your attempts at the British brekkie classic. The idea’s pretty simple. You post a pic of your awesome fry up and then the page’s approx. 5000 members will let you know in no uncertain terms what they make of your efforts. It can get pretty brutal."

7. "Just hours after two New York City police officers were gunned down while sitting in their patrol car Saturday, police protesters took to the streets in St. Louis and were videotaped taunting officers there with a phrase the NYPD cop killer reportedly used on an Instagram post prior to the murders: 'I’m putting pigs in a blanket.' Specifically the small crowd chanted, 'Pigs in a blanket! Fry ‘em like bacon!' as officers stood in a line."

8. "Feminist activists in Belgium threw french fries and mayonnaise on the Belgian Prime Minister Monday in protest of what they believe is his chauvinism and promotion of the wrong economic values."

9. "Wisconsin DUI suspect blames beer-battered fish fry in 10th arrest."

10."fry (v.)... late 13c., from Old French frire 'to fry' (13c.), from Latin frigere 'to roast or fry,' from PIE *bher- (4) 'to cook, bake' (cognates: Sanskrit bhrjjati 'roasts,' bharjanah 'roasting;' Persian birishtan 'to roast;' Greek phrygein 'to roast, bake'). Meaning 'execute in the electric chair' is U.S. slang from 1929. To go out of the frying pan into the fire is first attested in Thomas More (1532)."

The best of vocal fry.

Don't take the poll without watching the video!

Vocal fry — yes, no, maybe?
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ADDED: My original post on this subject came in 2007: "Voice lessons":
Lately, I've noticed a lot of young women speaking in a strangled voice that seems to be produced by a laborious effort to bypass the larynx altogether. They sound as if they are damaging their throats. Are you noticing this trend? Can you tell me how it got started? Is there some celebrity they are imitating? It sounds a little Winona Ryder to me, but there must be some stronger role models affecting young women. Also, is there some way to get them to stop? It is worse than Valley Girl intonation.
The first comment was: "This is a very strange observation. Do you have a link so that we can hear this strange vocal pattern?" And I said: "Sorry, I'm just overhearing it in public places. It's driving me crazy. I feel like walking up to strangers and telling them to cut it out." (Then there were some updates, with clips, and some expert opinion informing me that this was called "creaky voice... laryngealisation, pulse phonation or, in singing, vocal fry or glottal fry.")

January 2, 2015

At the Fried-Cheese-Curds-and-Naked-Ambition Café...


... there's a well-polished seat for you.

For the annals of stupidity.

"A Florida couple who were high on drugs spent two days believing they were trapped in a janitors closet and eventually called 911 for help, only to be told by police they could have just opened the door themselves."

The woman's mugshot is a classic:

"You see, Elly, I raised you like a boy, and I was wrong to do it."

"I reckon every man like to have a son, and you was my only young'un, and when your ma passed away, I just decided to turn you into a boy. By the time Granny come to help out, you was too wild to tame. By thunder, you could outrun, outclimb, outfight, and outshoot every boy in them hills... It ain't fittin'. It ain't right for folks to go against nature...."

Goodbye to Elly May — Donna Douglas — who has died at the age of 81.

ADDED: Douglas also appeared in one of the greatest episodes of "Twilight Zone," "Eye of the Beholder," which you can watch in full here.

The C.I.A really wasted our time (and disturbed the mental stability of an awful lot of people).

"CIA Behind UFO Sightings in 1950s and 1960s."

"Arthur and Betty Lampitt of Granite City show off the 1963 Thunderbird turn signal that was embedded in his arm for 51 years after having surgery to remove it on Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014."

Photo caption.
Betty was pleased the mystery was solved.

“You know what it’s like with a child,” she said, excitement growing in her voice. “You know it’s in your womb, but it’s not until the miraculous birth occurs that you feel the reality of it.”

Do the elements of wrongness here add up to right?

Click the speaker icon in the lower right corner to hear "no means no" to the tune of that stereotypical Native American "warchant."

"Several Oregon players are facing team discipline after celebrating their win in the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual by apparently mocking Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston and allegations of sexual assault that have followed the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner the past two years."

I guess this is bad sportsmanship — taunting or gloating or whatever. But I've had it with this Indian war chant. Now, you might think the Florida State Seminoles have a deal with the Seminole Indians about the name Seminole, but
The agreement is with the Florida Seminole Tribal Council and not the Seminole Nation. The majority of Seminoles don’t even live in Florida. They live in Oklahoma, one of the fruits of the Seminole Wars, the Indian Removal Act and The Trail of Tears. These Oklahoma Seminoles—who, remember, are the majority—oppose the name....

[T[he Florida Seminole Tribal Council... is the owner of a series of luxury casino hotels throughout the state where the Seminole “brand” is prominently on display.... For the wealthy and powerful Florida Seminole tribal leaders, the cultural elevation of the football program is a part of their extremely lucrative gaming operation. Defending the school’s use of the name is about defending its brand....
And whatever Seminoles think of the football use of the name "Seminole," that "war chant" tune is not unique to Seminoles. I believe it's no more specific and authentic than "woo woo" and "ugg." So I don't like that war chant. It's just bad and embarrassing. Yeah, I know the school loves its tradition and it gets the fans fired up, but I'm not a fan, and I don't like it.

Add "no means no." This is a noncontroversial proposition. Of course, no means no! We're not getting into the more complicated territory of when yes might also mean no or even where failure to say yes might mean no. No means no. The reference is to an accusation against FSU's star player. I don't know the details there, but the Ducks didn't chant "Winston is a rapist," only the simple truism "no means no." And they've repurposed a chant that shouldn't be chanted in the first place, but that was chanted, chanted against them for hours.

My instinct is to approve. Am I wrong?

"A woman who claims that an American investment banker loaned her to rich and powerful friends as an underage 'sex slave'..."

"... has alleged in a US court document that she was repeatedly forced to have sexual relations with Prince Andrew...."
Another close associate of [the banker  Jeffrey] Epstein who is also accused in the lawsuit, Alan Dershowitz, told the Guardian that the woman’s accusations against himself were “totally false and made up”....

On Thursday he told the Guardian: “There is no more strenuous denial than the one I am giving. I never met her. I don’t know her. I have never had sex with an underage person.... This person has made this up out of cloth, maliciously and knowingly in order to extort money from Mr Epstein.”

"Talking about yourself in the third person is a little weird... But Bono embraces it."

"Bono thinks solipsism for an artist is like an overactive thyroid for a comedian; it's hard to fix if it's paying your way..."

The "B" entry from "Bono's A to Z of 2014."

His X is for X-ray — he offers his "titanium elbow for a laugh":

He had a big bicycling injury on his 50th birthday — "a massive injury I can't blame on anyone but myself, mainly because I blanked out on impact and have no memory of how I ended up in New York Presbyterian with my humerus bone sticking through my leather jacket."

"By definition, killers like Tsarnaev are sociopathic and essentially dead inside."

"Consciously or subconsciously, they long for death. The State then rewards them by giving them the death penalty. I say, make him suffer; he deserves it. Make him live out his natural life in a cell, with no chance of freedom."

That's the top-rated comment at the NYT article "Boston Is Eager to Begin Marathon Bombing Trial, and to End It." The evidence of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's guilt is overwhelming. The only point of going to trial is to determine whether he'll get life in prison without the possibility of parole or the death penalty.
[Tsarnaev's lawyer Judy] Clarke is famous for cutting deals that keep her clients off death row. At some point in the process, her clients — including Theodore Kaczynski, the Unabomber; Eric Rudolph, the Olympic Park bomber; and Jared L. Loughner, who killed six people in an assassination attempt on former Representative Gabrielle Giffords — pleaded guilty in exchange for a sentence of life in prison, with no chance of parole.
So far, Clarke has failed to get that deal for Tsarnaev.

Should the government give Tsarnaev the deal he seeks?

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ADDED: If you can't see buttons for voting in the poll, go here.

"HarperCollins omits Israel from maps for Mideast schools, citing 'local preferences.'"

"Collins Bartholomew, a subsidiary of HarperCollins that specializes in maps, told the Tablet that it would have been 'unacceptable' to include Israel in atlases intended for the Middle East."

January 1, 2015

At the Deflated Christmas Café...


... just because you're not all puffed up...


... doesn't mean you need to pool up in a blobby mass on the front lawn.

"I somehow got this reputation of diddling and dithering... I don’t remember dithering at all."

Said Mario Cuomo, who said his epitaph should read "He tried."

He died today, at the age of 82.

"The filed complaint—the numbered paragraphs give it an oddly religious feeling, like theses nailed to a church door—"

Writes Adam Gopnik in The New Yorker's "The Newtown Lawsuit and the Moral Work of Gun Control."

"All complaints and other pleadings have numbered paragraphs. This is not normally considered to convey religious symbolism." Writes John Hinderaker at Power Line.

Midday on Lake Wingra.


Looks like sunrise or sunset, doesn't it? No, it's absolutely midday in Madison. On the ice, beautiful light and intrepid skaters.

When Samantha Power asked "Why do you think my dad was the one who died?"

From the "In the Land of the Possible/Samantha Power has the President’s ear. To what end?" by Evan Osnos in The New Yorker:
Her mother, Vera Delaney... a nephrologist... married a Dublin piano player, raconteur, dentist, and drinker named Jim Power—“a fearsomely formidable pub debater,” as the Irish Independent once put it. “I was extremely close to my father, inseparable,” Power said. “Where we hung out most of the time was the pub.” Her father expounded on the day’s papers, while she read mysteries by the light of a slot machine in the basement. Her parents’ marriage didn’t last. “My mother, in effect, started leading her own life,” Power said. At the hospital, Delaney fell in love with her boss, Edmund Bourke. Divorce was illegal in Ireland, and they wanted more opportunities in medicine, so, when Samantha was nine and her brother was five, the family moved to Pittsburgh and, later, Atlanta. Jim Power remained in Ireland. She said, “We stayed in touch, and, then, the drink, I think.” She trailed off. He died when she was fourteen. [Power's husband Cass] Sunstein recalled that, decades later, on a trip to Ireland, Power took him to visit her father’s favorite pub, where they met a woman who had worked behind the bar and remembered her dad. Others seemed to drink just as much, and Power asked, “Why do you think my dad was the one who died?” The barwoman answered simply, “It’s because you left.” Power told me, “I knew he was drinking too much. But I had no idea he was sick—he was just forty-seven, and his death was devastating.”

"Nice to see a loving Grandfather doing something for his loved ones the old fashioned way."

"By making the gifts by hand."

I can see that there's one thing you people would really like to see me do in 2015.

Shoot guns!

What would come into the public domain in 2015, if only we had the copyright law we had back in 1978?

On this year's list, there's the book "Breakfast at Tiffany’s," the movie "Vertigo," and the song "Johnny B. Goode."

There's also plenty of junk that few people care about, that might be snapped up and repurposed and given some amusing new life.

But it does seem right that Chuck Berry still gets the royalties from his song that has never fallen out of popularity in all this time.

"I wanted a fresh start, looser pants, a boyfriend. I also knew that getting too ambitious would be the end of any progress I might make..."

"... and a juice fast or some 'journaling' was not going to cut it.... I vowed that every day, for 365 days, I would enforce a strict routine of belly laughter and orgasms...."

Enforce, eh?

Yesterday, I wrote about the "self-marriage" trend. Now, it seems, we're confronted with the possibility of self-rape.

Happy New Year!

I'm up at 6 a.m., so you can imagine the kind of New Year's Eve revelry that took place at Meadhouse.

I live by days, but I acknowledge years. I hope 2015 is a good one.

ADDED: A year ago, on New Year's Day morning, I was up a 5 a.m., and the message was the same in so many words:
Happy New Year. Yes, I'm up early. To bed early and up early.

It's the way of the old, but I'm glad to be old — old and alive here on Planet Earth, with all you other Earthlings, young and old, who have made it this far....

December 31, 2014

You see how happy your dog is to see you when you get home.

But you don't see how sad he is when you are away.

The new you.


Any New Year's changes you've got planned for yourself?

Don't be boring!

ADDED: I found those painted bowling pins in the Cherrywood Coffeehouse in Austin, Texas. Maybe they gave you the idea to take up painting bowling pins in 2015. You can buy old bowling pins at eBay, unsurprisingly. They're only about a dollar or 2. Many of the listings anticipate that you will be using them for target practice. So there's that too. You might want to sharpen your shooting in 2015.

Recommend self-improvements for Althouse in 2015. (Check as many as you want.)
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"Today I Learned Something about My Boyfriend That No Girl Should Ever Have to Discover."

"Mark was the stuff of dreams. Kind, caring, attentive. Enough to make all of my friends jealous. But today something horrible happened…"

(Via Metafilter.)

Celebrating the absence of a wedding.

"After Her Fiancé Left Her At The Altar, This Bride Took The World’s Best Photo Shoot/'The moment the first bit of paint hit my dress I was free.'"

ADDED: Not to be confused with "solo weddings."
The telling thing about the Japanese ceremonies is that they show that the single person would still like to marry someone, even if that someone is themselves. It makes their singledom look ludicrous. Marriage is a bond and a commitment—marrying yourself is ridiculous because you are already married to yourself....

For Paul McCartney, "it’s ridiculous, and yet very flattering" that college students now take courses on the music of The Beatles.

"Ridiculous because we never studied anything..."
... we just loved our popular music: Elvis, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Fats Domino, etc. And it wasn’t a case of ‘studying’ it. I think for us, we’d have felt it would have ruined it to study it. We wanted to make our own minds up just by listening to it. So our study was listening. But to be told – as I was years ago now – that The Beatles were in my kid’s history books? That was like ‘What?! Unbelievable, man!’ Can you imagine when we were at school, finding yourself in a history book?!

So it’s very flattering, and I think it’s a kind of cool idea really, you know, like in LIPA. So yeah, it’s very flattering. At the same time, I don’t think that by studying popular music you can become a great popular musician; it may be that you use it to teach other people about the history, that’s all valuable. But to think that you can go to a college and come out like Bob Dylan? Someone like Bob Dylan, you can’t make. It was an early decision when we were thinking of our policies for LIPA, we said: ‘We want to train people to be all rounders. Give them as much info as we can. But you can’t tell them how to become a Bob Dylan or a John Lennon, because you know, nobody knows how that happens’.”
I had to look up LIPA. From the Wikipedia disambiguation page, I cut right through the Liquid Isopropyl Alcohol, League for Independent Political Action, and the Long Island Power Authority, and saw that it's the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts.

"If the people who sell the popcorn at the theater would be fired for wearing what you’re wearing to your screening..."

"... then you’re being kind of an asshole movie star, Shailene.  Put your big girl pants on. And a pair of shoes, you savage."

The commentary on the #1 of Tom & Lorenzo's Top 5 Worst Red Carpet Looks of 2014. #1 is bad in a different way from the rest of the top 4. And as for #4, "now we know that nipple white-out is a thing."

The nudge and the prick.

Reading that last post out loud with Meade, we were talking about how the Democratic Party is trying to create anxiety by letting you know that the Party knows how much money they've gotten out of you this year.

It reminded me of that mailer I received a couple years ago from the Greater Wisconsin Political Fund, showing my name and my home address and whether I'd voted in recent elections in a list with the same information about my close neighbors. That was really egregious guilt tripping, because neighbors were getting information about each other, so the organization was openly leveraging everyone's need to maintain esteem in the community.

But the new email from the Democratic Party relied on a similar psychological manipulation: My reputation is at stake. People whom I want to think well of me know that I'm not quite good enough, and they are showing me what I can do to fix that. I'd better vote this time so I don't look bad on the next mailer OR I can hit the $3/$10/$50 donate button.

Meade said this what they call "nudge." You know about the nudge. Cass Sunstein wrote a book on the subject "Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness."

I said there needed to be a different word, because "nudge" seems to be a positive poke in the right direction, not the creation of anxiety around the thing that they don't want you to do.

That word is: PRICK.

"Prick" is the ideal word — quite aside from any indelicate intention to refer to male genitalia — because it means (OED): "To cause mental pain or discomfort to; to sting (esp. the conscience) with sorrow or remorse; to grieve, pain, torment" and "To poke at something as if to pierce it; to make a thrust or stab at." That is, "prick" is precisely the negative version of "nudge."

By the way, the "coarse slang" use of "prick" to mean the penis goes back to c1555:
c1555   Manifest Detection Diceplay sig. Biiiv,   To turne his pricke vpward, and cast a weauers knot on both his thumbs behind him....
The other "coarse slang" usage, which I particularly like in connection with my recommendation of a nudge/prick distinction is "A stupid, contemptible, or annoying person (esp. a man or boy)." That goes back to 1598:
1598   J. Florio Worlde of Wordes at Pinchino,   A pillicock, a primcock, a prick, a prettie lad, a gull, a noddie.
More recently:
1934   H. Miller Tropic of Cancer 110   Jesus, what I'd like is to find some rich cunt—like that cute little prick, Carl.
Miller doesn't mean he wants to find a "rich cunt" who resembles "that cute little prick, Carl." He means he wants to find "rich cunt" like the "rich cunt" found by "that cute little prick, Carl." Is Miller a sloppy writer or did he find that ambiguity amusing?

In any case, the word of the day is "prick." Don't let those manipulators of the masses say "nudge" when the word should be "prick." Observe the nudge/prick distinction.

ADDED: I just realized: If you like this blog post, you might want to consider doing your on-line shopping through The Althouse Amazon Portal.

The Democratic Party wanted to make sure I knew that they knew what my supporter record was.

In the email yesterday, after many emails from the DP all week:

That's a freeze frame. In the original email, the clock ticks down second by second, New Year's Eve style. (I've blurred out the email address, which is my University of Wisconsin work email.)

I get so many emails from the Democratic Party throughout the year, always with that "donate" button, and always with a super-low option like $3. So there must be people who will have lost track of their "supporter record." Perhaps some of these people are susceptible to the worry that the Party has a number on them. They know. I'd better check. Is it enough? How can I not hit the button one last time this year and give them that less-than-a-latte $3?

As for me, I give nothing, ever, to any candidate, in any party, so I never lose track of my "supporter record."

December 30, 2014

"Arrests plummet 66% with NYPD in virtual work stoppage."

"... a nose dive in low-level policing... Citations for traffic violations fell by 94 percent... for low-level offenses like public drinking and urination also plunged 94 percent... parking violations are way down, dropping by 92 percent...."

The NY Post reports.

At the Somber Face Café...


... there's no reason for this gloom.

"When works of art become commodities and nothing else, when every endeavor becomes 'creative' and everybody 'a creative'..."

"...  then art sinks back to craft and artists back to artisans—a word that, in its adjectival form, at least, is newly popular again. Artisanal pickles, artisanal poems: what’s the difference, after all? So 'art' itself may disappear: art as Art, that old high thing. Which — unless, like me, you think we need a vessel for our inner life — is nothing much to mourn."

"me" = William Deresiewicz.

"Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau today defended a comic strip based on the now-largely-debunked Rolling Stone story about an alleged gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity."

“We’d hoped it would be obvious that the strip was written before Rolling Stone admitted problems in its reporting,” he emailed. “It’s not the first time I've been overtaken by events, and it won’t be the last—the occupational hazard of a long lead time.”
“Jackie’s story was not the focus, only the setup for commentary on institutional conflict of interest in adjudicating sexual assault, an issue that did not disappear with the credibility of the article,” he emailed. “Not even UVA has claimed otherwise.”

"Is it possible for you not to show a picture of the dead? Please do not show a picture of a dead body.”

"That’s crazy."

"... the atmosphere was very different after the footage of a dead body was shown. Families became hysterical...."

"Why, Suh, why? The answer may actually be quite simple: Suh simply can’t help it."

"There’s something almost pathological about his play," writes Terrence McCoy at WaPo.
“Emotions drive athlete behavior much more than rational thought,” Adam Naylor of Boston University told New York Magazine in June. “Intense emotions can lead to incredible performances, but they can also lead to total boneheadedness. Frustration is known to lead to aggression.”

Behavior on the field that by every estimation is stupid – like biting or stomping – is almost always extemporaneous, explained Thomas Fawcett of the University of Salford when he expounded on Suarez’s biting demons in 2013. “It’s not pre-planned – it’s a very spontaneous, emotional response,” he told the BBC. “He’s doing it on impulse.”
This is an insulting diagnosis. If Suh actually can't help it, he shouldn't be allowed to play.

ADDED: I just clicked on my Terrence McCoy tag. He's the "This graph proves it" guy. ("I'm surprised to see he's a Washington Post Foreign Affairs Reporter.")

"In the small village of Bélâbre in central France sits the room of Hubert Rochereau, untouched for nearly a century..."

"... as a memorial to the fallen solider, who died during World War I."

"But along with the pleasures of travel have come problems — cultural disruption and homogenization, overcrowding and pollution."

The NYT sets up one of its "Room for Debate" features, teased on the front page as "Leaving Smaller Tourist Footprints." There are 5 debaters, but no one gets anywhere near the radical environmentalist position: Abstain! Do not travel for pleasure at all. Travel only to escape from violence and natural disasters. (What about visiting family members? No! Keep your family in one place.)

The actual answers given are things like:

1. "Visit popular sites like Machu Pichu in the shoulder season or off season. Let places have time to breathe.... Visit indigenous and community-based initiatives where people are controlling tourism on their own terms...." (From a cultural anthropologist.)

2. If you go on a cruise, pick a cruise line that's "eco-friendly." (From a reporter.)

3. Look into "how socially and environmentally sensitive the area might be and how well integrated it is with local communities." (From the founder of the Sustainable Travel and Tourism Agenda in Kenya.)

4. "Resist the temptation to design a city around tourism... remember that tourists come [to New York City] to experience what New Yorkers themselves enjoy about the city." (From a NYC reporter.)

5. The tourist industry needs to adopt "sustainable tourism" standards. (From the chief executive of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.)

The oldest movie star dies.

"Luise Rainer, a star of cinema's golden era who won back-to-back Oscars but then walked away from a glittering Hollywood career, has died. She was 104."

Here's how it looked, getting an Oscar in 1936. You get 3 takes, if you need them:

And here's a bit of "The Great Ziegfeld":

When I saw the headline "The 10 Best Modern Love Columns Ever"...

... I immediately thought of 2 "Modern Love" columns that have stuck with me and formed a standard part of my thinking about relationships, so I click through and see that those 2 columns are #1 and #2 on the list.

1. “What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage,” by Amy Sutherland, June 25, 2006.

2. “Those Aren’t Fighting Words, Dear,” Laura Munson, July 31, 2009.

I'd already put them in the same #1 and #2 order.

Here's my original June 29, 2006 blog post about the unutterably great "What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage." It took me 4 days to read the column, and I only gave it because of the way it sat at the top of the NYT "most emailed" list. I'd resisted it, based on the title, because "it made me think of a 50s housewife, the kind who would inspire what was once a trite wisecrack: 'She's got him well trained.'" Final paragraph of the old post:
Is it wrong to treat a person as an animal to be trained? Perhaps a better question is whether it is wrong to blunder along doing things that encourage your loved ones in their bad behavior. The image of the "full-blown angst-ridden drama starring the two of us and our poor nervous dog" really struck me. It may take more wit and nerve than you have to turn down that role if you've got a fired-up, scenery-chewing emoter in your house insisting that you co-star.
As for "Those Aren't Fighting Words, Dear," did I even blog it? It's about a woman saying "I don't buy it" when her husband asked for a divorce. She stuck by her position, and a divorce never happened. I always remembered that. What if I'd treated my first marriage that way? But that column came out 3 days before Meade and I staged the smallest wedding in the world on a mountain in Colorado.

I know how the drunk bird sings: Like a drunk.

"We just showed up in the morning and mixed a little bit of juice with 6 percent alcohol, and put it in their water bottles and put it in the cages." 
"At first we were thinking that they wouldn't drink on their own because, you know, a lot of animals just won't touch the stuff. But they seem to tolerate it pretty well and be somewhat willing to consume it."...

Listen to the audio, and you'll hear that the finches' song gets a bit quieter and just a little slurred, or as [neuroscientis Christopher] Olson puts it, "a bit less organized in their sound production"...

"Researchers from the cyber intelligence company Norse have said their own investigation into the data on the Sony attack doesn’t point to North Korea at all..."

"... and instead indicates some combination of a disgruntled employee and hackers for piracy groups is at fault."
Norse’s senior vice president of market development said that just the quickness of the FBI’s conclusion that North Korea was responsible was a red flag.

“When the FBI made the announcement so soon after the initial hack was unveiled, everyone in the [cyber] intelligence community kind of raised their eyebrows at it, because it’s really hard to pin this on anyone within days of the attack,” Kurt Stammberger said in an interview as his company briefed FBI investigators Monday afternoon....

“Whenever we see some indicators or leads that North Korea may be involved, when we follow those leads, they turn out to be dead ends,” Stammberger said. “Do I think it’s likely that [U.S. government officials] have a smoking gun? … We think that we would have seen key indicators by now in our investigation that would point to the North Koreans: We don’t see those data points. So if they’ve got them, they should share some of them at least with the community and make a more convincing case.”

December 29, 2014

"Attacking someone who is perceived to be a 'victim' can often be unproductive."

"I would suggest... a softly spoken denial rather than an outspoken challenge to the integrity of the women now coming forward. Simply put, it may be better to say nothing than try and engage so many."

Said criminal defense lawyer Benjamin Brafman, quoted in "Cosby Team’s Strategy: Hush Accusers, Insult Them, Blame the Media."

"I was discussing this topic, specifically in reference to The Comeback with a friend of mine who is a straight, male television critic."

"I said to him that I feel like with straight white men, it does not occur to them that maybe not everything in the world is for them. Which isn’t to say that there aren’t plenty of straight white men who love The Comeback, because there are.... But when you’re a woman or something other than a straight, white man, you actually do get — because you must — that not everything is for you. And that’s OK. You’re used to it. The Comeback is not more dark or unrelatable than Breaking Bad. But a high school teacher who becomes a crystal meth kingpin? That is unrelatable. And that is dark!"

From "'The Comeback' Completes Its Perfect Comeback/Lisa Kudrow discussed the finale, the second season as a whole, and addressed important questions (i.e., is Valerie Cherish Jewish?) with BuzzFeed News."

ADDED: For those who don't click through, the quote comes from the interviewer, not Kudrow.

Female Episcopal bishop hits and kills a bicyclist and leaves the scene.

"Several news agencies have reported this as a 'hit and run.' Bishop [Heather E.] Cook did leave the scene initially, but returned after about 20 minutes to take responsibility for her actions."

What's the lag time on what counts as hit and run?
Jason La Canfora, the CBS reporter who covers the NFL and who lives in the area, said he saw the badly injured victim on the side of the road and stopped to call 911. He said the driver of the car was gone at that point.

A group of cyclists went looking for the vehicle and reported back to police that they had seen a car with a smashed windshield, La Canfora said. A short time later, the Subaru pulled up. He said its windshield was "three-quarters shattered."
I haven't researched the law here, but it seems to me that if you return to the scene because you realize you have been identified and will be caught, it's too late to undo the run. The run is all about the intention to get away with it, and once you know you're not going to get away with it, you're just switching approaches to what you were doing all along — serving your own interests.


From all blindness of heart; from pride, vainglory, and hypocrisy; from envy, hatred, and malice; and from all want of charity, Good Lord, deliver us.

UPDATE: Finally, on January 9, the bishop was charged with manslaughter. We also learn that her blood alcohol level was 0.22 and that at the time of the accident, she was texting.

"Zappa Dummy."

A radio segment I enjoyed on my drive. It's about a music professor who teaches a course called "The Music of Frank Zappa" and who, as a teenager, assigned in art class to make something out of textiles, constructed a life-size dummy of Frank Zappa.

This has nothing to do with the Frank Zappa song "Dummy Up." Haven't thought about that song in years, but it came up in my search for that radio show.
[FZ:] The evil corrupter of youth is going to take him from Step One, which is a mere high-school diploma stuffed with a gym sock, to Step Two, which is a college-degree stuffed with absolutely nothing at all. Smoke that and it'll really get you out there!... No no, the college-degree is stuffed with absolutely nothing at all, you get . . . you get nothing with your college-degree...

[Napoleon:] Oh . . . But that's what I want.

[FZ:] I forgot, I'm sorry.

[Napoleon:] Well, You get nothin', but that's what I want.

[FZ:] A true Zen saying: Nothing is what I want . . . The results of a higher education!

That long Atlantic article about Erick Erickson, "the man who steers the Tea Party" who "says conservative anger has grown toxic and self-defeating."

"Is the Most Powerful Conservative in America Losing His Edge?" by Molly Ball.

1. There's a man who steers the Tea Party?

2. I haven't read this article, and yet somehow I feel pressured to care about it. I'm not enjoying this feeling.

3. I'm very familiar with the idea that right-wingers are "toxic," that anything at all right-wing is "toxic," whether there's excessive anger or edge or not. Any whiff of right-wingedness can cause left-liberals to view you as toxic, no matter how conciliatory and moderation-oriented you are. That's my personal experience.

4. I've never liked any of the yelling and sneering in politics, this "punch back twice as hard" business. I don't like it from lefties or righties. I've always had an aversion to politics, going all the way back to the time when the yippies moved in on the hippies.

December 28, 2014

The mental space of a long drive is a very different place. You can't get there by plane.

"Has the good Professor previously revealed a fear of flying?"asks Oso Negro, in "The Blue Sky Café." "Three hours on the plane, no matter how demeaning the screening process, surely beats two days each way in the car in the dead of winter,"

I answer:
It's much more than 3 hours, when you count getting to the airport, parking, slogging with luggage into the terminal, the wait that you have to build in to avoid missing the plane, the possible delays, in Madison and (especially) in Chicago (the only available connection), including the horrible delays that involve getting kicked out of the airport and needing to go to a hotel and then come back 4 hours later. I once had my 3-days-before Christmas flight cancelled, automatically rescheduled a day later, then had that flight cancelled, and found out that they had no flight that could get me to Austin for Christmas. That was the first Christmas I ever spent alone.

Quite aside from the time, it's that you are pushed around and crowded with other people continually. I don't have a fear of flying. I hate the conditions of disorder and complexity and indignity. I don't want to be treated that way.

And I have a car.

A car gives me flexibility about when to leave. I can pick good weather days, or give up on the whole trip at the last minute if I want. With a car, I have control and freedom. Yeah, it probably takes longer, but I am a free citizen in the United States of America. I'm comfortable in my safe and luxurious car (an Audi TT), and I've got satellite radio to fill my quiet space and cause my thoughts to roam.

I listened to a great TED Talk Hour about memory, and then I had an hour-long (hands-free) phone conversation with Meade, which included his stories about walking around Madison, which jogged my memory about the memory show, and we talked about all that for 70 miles.

The mental space of a long drive is a very different place. You can't get there by plane.

Greetings from Osceola, Iowa.

I'm 2/3 of the way home.

At last night's "Greetings from Kansas" post, I was complaining about driving in Austin:
My most harrowing driving experience was yesterday, just trying to get downtown in Austin. The highways there are evil, and there are local fuckers doubling down on the evil, making it a nightmare. I will never drive in Austin again. Whatever good there is in Austin is severely diluted by the hell of its roads.
With Chef Mojo's prompting "Austin drivers are just plain mean," I practically broke down:
It's so crushing, the feeling that one's fellow human beings are assholes. It makes life hard. I am trying not to be like that. I move over to let cars into the lane that is "mine." There are a hundred opportunities, every day, to show another person that you care how they feel. Maybe that's the most important thing we do. Maybe that's how God is keeping score. I won't specify the things I've done because of that thought, but please, people, think about it. Why are we here?
Ken in tx said:
Austin traffic is intimidating. Whenever I can get her to do it, I let my wife drive. She is more aggressive than I am. I had to use the GPS to find the driver's license office and the boat registration place. You got the Mopac expressway, the Capital of Texas Highway, the Ben White Expressway, and I-35, all with spaghetti junction intersections. I once lived in DC and survived that, but I was younger and thought I was invincible.
Yikes! I need a trigger warning before "Mopac expressway, the Capital of Texas Highway, the Ben White Expressway, and I-35." I've got PADS. Post-Austin Driving Syndrome.

Fortunately, Meade said:
[T]ake comfort knowing only one more day on the road and then you'll never have to drive again ever.
Which made me think of "Chauffeur Blues":
Going to let my chauffeur
Going to let my chauffeur
Drive me around the
Drive me around the world
Then he will be my lover boy, I will be his girl
Only a half day left on the road, and I'm going to see my baby tonight.

At the Blue Sky Café...

... you can talk. I've got to drive for 9 hours.

"How do you feel about country music?"

That's question #17 on the "What is your social class?" test we were talking about yesterday. There are 2 options: "I don't care for the twang" and "I like it!" Maybe I'm over-precise, but I always take the form of the options seriously. What are you supposed to do if you don't like country music enough to buy anything or but you do listen occasionally as you pop around on the satellite radio as you drive all day? What if what you "don't care" about is what "the twang" is supposed to mean?

I drove from Austin, Texas to Emporia, Kansas yesterday, and I mostly listened to talk channels (like PRX and NPR Now), but I sampled the music channels part of the time, and I usually don't listen to a whole song, but I stuck with Trisha Yearwood's "Walkaway Joe" until the end. I didn't notice any "twang" not to "care for." So I picked "I like it!" on the quiz. Was that why I missed out on being "upper middle class"?

The gospel music question had answers with the opposite problem. Instead of making me want to say "neither," it made me want to say "both." The answers for gospel music are: "It can be wonderful" and "I'm not a fan." It's easy to concede that it "can be wonderful," even you think it's mostly overdone and too histrionically religious. And you can enjoy it a fair amount without seeing yourself as "a fan."

What do you think of Althouse's analysis of multiple choice questions?

pollcode.com free polls

ADDED: If you can't see the buttons to vote, go here.

"Why Airlines Want to Make You Suffer."

A headline so good it may trigger your click-bait resistance, but the article (in The New Yorker) delivers.

"We have to come together as one and show them we can be peaceful, that we can do this."

"If not, they’re going to just want us to act up so [police] can pull out their toys on us again... I learned that we have to stand up and that you can’t get nowhere with violence but you can always move people without it.

Said Joshua Williams, 19, last September. Williams, "[o]ne of the most frequently quoted and photographed Ferguson protesters was charged Saturday with setting fire to a Berkeley convenience store last week." Court documents say he has confessed to the crime.
“Josh is one of the young activists, and all of us have taken close to him. We got to know his heart, and he got to know ours,” said Bishop Derrick Robinson, of Kingdom Destiny Fellowship International. “He’s a great kid, an educated kid, a child who knows what he wants and is very active in the community.”