March 28, 2015


In the Final 4!

"I have to say that one of the biggest changes in my lifetime, is the phenomenon of men wearing shorts. Men never wore shorts when I was young."

"There are few things I would rather see less, to tell you the truth. I'd just as soon see someone coming toward me with a hand grenade. This is one of the worst changes, by far. It's disgusting. To have to sit next to grown men on the subway in the summer, and they're wearing shorts? It's repulsive. They look ridiculous, like children, and I can't take them seriously. It's like any other sort of revealing clothing, in that the people you'd most like to see them on aren't wearing them. And if they are, it's probably their job to wear them. My fashion advice, particularly to men wearing shorts: Ask yourself, 'Could I make a living modeling these shorts?' If the answer is no, then change your clothes. Put on a pair of pants.... All these clothes that you see people wearing, the yoga clothes—even men wear them!—it's just another way of being in pajamas. You need more natural beauty to get away with things like that. What's so great thing about clothes is that they're artificial—you can lie, you can choose the way you look, which is not true of natural beauty. So if you're naturally beautiful, wear what you want, but that's .01% of people. Most people just aren't good looking enough to wear what they have on. They should change. They should get some slacks and a nice overcoat."

Said Fran Lebowitz, in an Elle interview that's full of readable stuff, like (about Hillary) "I think her lack of style comes naturally. I do, I really do. She has no style, zero. Of course there's millions of women like this, it's just that not everyone's looking at them constantly." And "Well, what if drag queens just really let themselves go, pretending not to try, like most women?" Like most women... including Hillary.

"When standardized tests are shared nationwide — as they now are, under the Common Core system that's been adopted in 46 states..."

"... cheating suddenly becomes a whole lot easier. Especially since teenagers now share just about everything on social media."

Computers are undermining efforts to standardize children. That's a turnabout. You'll have to write exams that can't be cheated on. That's hard to do!

"Your Beautiful, Feminine Period Stains Are Against Instagram Guidelines."

"Rupi Kaur, a Sikh poet living in Canada, posted the above image on Instagram early this week—and swiftly got hit with... 'We removed your post because it doesn't follow our Community Guidelines."

And Kaur said:
thank you @instagram for providing me with the exact response my work was created to critique. you deleted a photo of a woman who is fully covered and menstruating stating that it goes against community guidelines when your guidelines outline that it is nothing but acceptable. the girl is fully clothed. the photo is mine. it is not attacking a certain group. nor is it spam. and because it does not break those guidelines i will repost it again. i will not apologize for not feeding the ego and pride of misogynist society that will have my body in an underwear but not be okay with a small leak. when your pages are filled with countless photos/accounts where women (so many who are underage) are objectified. pornified. and treated less than human. thank you

"Clean Reader — an e-reader app designed to ferret out, and block, profanity in novels and nonfiction..."

Anything wrong with that?
Blogger — and romance novel aficionado — Jennifer Porter has drawn up a rundown of the common replacements for words the app deems profanity. Among some of the noteworthies: from "whore" to "hussy," from "badass" to "tough" and, somewhat confusingly, from "vagina" to "bottom."
ADDED: "Chaucer used 'Belle Chose' (Pretty Thing) and 'Quondam' (Whatever) in The Canterbury Tales."

"But there's a fundamental problem with the latest Carrie movie and Carrie The Musical..."

"They both try to turn her into a heroine, and her story into one of female empowerment, and it's not."
Carrie does deal with empowerment, but it's something brand new and terrifying...

[T]his is key: Carrie's a victim, and while she may get revenge – on everyone, deserving or not – she never enjoys anything remotely approaching a feminist sense of liberation. She's bullied mercilessly at school and abused at home. The character was a composite of two girls – referred to by the aliases of Tina White and Sandra Irving – King knew during high school, both of whom eventually committed suicide. "There is a goat in every class, the kid who ... stands at the end of the pecking order," King once wrote. "This was Tina. Not because she was stupid (she wasn't), and not because her family was peculiar (it was) but because she wore the same clothes to school every day."

"What's a 'time lime'?"

An absurd question was asked of me this morning, after autocorrect discovered the puzzling fruit in my mangled effort to type "time limit." I salute the robots who humorlessly open the doors to humor. I love the idea of a Time Lime. What is it? I'm contemplating that question to the sound of this 1971 Harry Nilsson song:

IN THE COMMENTS: Horseball said: "Time Lime is the literal translation of the title under which 'A Clockwork Orange' was sold in Urdu."

"If you assumed that the man who said, 'The reason they call it the American Dream is because you have to be asleep to believe in it,' would not be pleased..."

"... that a picture of himself was to be displayed in the National Portrait Gallery, you’d be dead wrong. Yes, my dad, George Carlin, was famous for elucidating his displeasure with authorities like the government, big business, the military, and pretty much any other large institution you could name. But that was his job, and yes, of course, his personal stance. When it came to the individual versus institutions, dad almost always took the side of the individual, the underdog. He believed this was the only ethical choice to make."

That's Kelly Carlin, writing for one institution — The Smithsonian Institution — about another institution — the great George Carlin. You can see the (photographic) portrait at the link.

And here's the relaunched George Carlin website: Lots of photos there, like this one:

Kelly says that they are going to be streaming a lot of audio, from "a box of audiocassettes that my dad had kept over the years, starting with shows in the 1960s, ones that were important him, kind of seminal moments in his career."
And we've been listening to them and archiving them. And what's really surprising is that when most people think of my dad, they think of, of course, the albums and stuff, but really his HBO shows. And he was so polished and perfect on those HBO shows. And a lot of these audiocassettes and these concerts were from the '70s and '80s when he was playing on stage and experimenting still.
Wow! Thanks! Perfect. I mean, it will be perfect to get the imperfection

"Liberals used to love the First Amendment."

"But that was in an era when courts used it mostly to protect powerless people like civil rights activists and war protesters," writes Adam Liptak in The New York Times.
“Corporations have begun to displace individuals as the direct beneficiaries of the First Amendment,” Professor Coates wrote. The trend, he added, is “recent but accelerating.”
Hmm. I don't know. In conlaw class, I was just teaching the great 1964 landmark case — that loved-by-liberals case — New York Times v. Sullivan. But, fortunately, I've got The New York Times to set me straight. Corporations are not people.

Okay. Thanks to Adam Liptak, a man I'm noticing only because the corporate platform of The New York Times elevates him high above all the poor and puny anonymities....

And I'm fascinated by this notion that the Constitution ought to mean what would make liberals love it. Hey, Supreme Court, why don't you make the Constitution lovable again? We used to love you, First Amendment, but you changed.

Ironically, back when Liptak's liberals loved the First Amendment, a big deal was always made about how it protects the speech you hate. That was the challenge, to love the freedom itself. Seems like you changed.

Pick a year — 2024? 2028? 2032?... 2020?

I invite you to speculate: When will we have a President who is not someone we currently know about?

This question occurred to me yesterday, but it came back to mind when I was reading the NYT this morning and the sidebar invited me to read something from the archive, from 25 years ago: "First Black Elected to Head Harvard's Law Review."
''The fact that I've been elected shows a lot of progress,'' Mr. Obama said today in an interview. ''It's encouraging. But it's important that stories like mine aren't used to say that everything is O.K. for blacks. You have to remember that for every one of me, there are hundreds or thousands of black students with at least equal talent who don't get a chance,'' he said, alluding to poverty or growing up in a drug environment.'...

''For better or for worse, people will view it as historically significant,'' said Prof. Randall Kennedy, who teaches contracts and race relations law. ''But I hope it won't overwhelm this individual student's achievement.''
Is today the day you will read for the first time of a young person who is a future President?

Why am I thinking like this? I must want some distance from the current focus on the actual set of persons who are running (or walking or hobbling) for President. I mean, here's an actual title of an a current NYT column: "Why Jeb Bush Might Lose." That's the most ludicrously boring thing I've seen this morning.

"Why don’t they get a life and talk about something else? People deserve better."

From a list in Politico titled "Harry Reid’s insults: 10 greatest hits." That headline makes it sound as though he was some sort of master of the insult, perhaps not an Oscar Wilde, but at least a Don Rickles. But the closest he comes to saying anything striking/offbeat is...
When [George W.] Bush invited Reid for coffee in the Oval Office in the final weeks of his presidency, the president’s dog walked in, and Reid says he insulted the president’s pet. “Your dog is fat,” he said.
Also, this one isn't an insult per se...
“[Reid] was wowed by Obama’s oratorical gifts and believed that the country was ready to embrace a black presidential candidate, especially one such as Obama — a ‘light-skinned’ African-American ‘with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.’”
... or not an insult to Obama anyway. It is an insult to Americans in general and it's a hurtful statement indirectly aimed at black people.

People do deserve better. 

Prepare to become adequately informed.

"Patients are not adequately informed about the burdens. All they’re told is, ‘You have to go on dialysis or you’ll die,’... Nobody tells them, ‘You could have up to two years without the treatment, without the discomfort, with greater independence.’”

Said Dr. Alvin H. Moss, chairman of the Coalition for Supportive Care of Kidney Patients, quoted in "Learning to Say No to Dialysis."
Do older people with advancing kidney disease really intend to sign up for all this? If they hope to reach a particular milestone — a great-grandchild’s birth, say — or value survival above all, perhaps so. But many express ambivalence....

[O]lder patients may not fully grasp what lies ahead. When they decide to discontinue dialysis, Dr. Moss said, “patients say to me, ‘Doc, it’s not that I want to die, but I don’t want to keep living like this.’”
Oh, you "older people," you need to learn... and the death panel coalition is here to propagandize adequately inform you.

March 27, 2015

"While it is not clear precisely when Secretary Clinton decided to permanently delete all emails from her server..."

"... it appears she made the decision after October 28, 2014, when the Department of State for the first time asked the Secretary to return her public record to the Department."

Women and their hard-fought court cases.

1.  "Italy’s highest court overturned the murder convictions of Amanda Knox and her Italian former boyfriend on Friday, throwing out all charges and ending a long-running courtroom drama over the killing of a British student in 2007."

2. "One of Silicon Valley’s most famous venture capital firms prevailed on Friday over a former partner in a closely watched suit claiming gender discrimination.... The plaintiff, Ellen Pao, had accused the firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, of discriminating against her in the course of her employment and eventual dismissal."

"A racist song... caught on video was a fixture within a fraternity chapter at the University of Oklahoma, not an anomaly..."

"... the university reported Friday, and members first learned it at a gathering of the national fraternity four years ago."

It's street construction time around here.


I'm glad it's the small mountain of dirt that got placed in front of our house. Elsewhere, there's heavy machinery...


There's some noisy ripping up of everything getting started, but I'm thinking of the future. The curbs have been crumbled for the entire 30 years I've lived here. It will be startling to see sharp, intact curbs on this street for the first time.

And, no, that's not my yard sign. I don't do yard signs. I'm a distanced observer of the political scene. Cruelly neutral is my brand.

"If you weren't imagining a MALE (NUDE) engaged in PHONE SEX while wearing a SANTA HAT, well... you are now, and you're welcome."

For the fantastic/alarming visual alone, I'm going to give that SW corner the 'Best SW Corner Of All Time' award. … The only thing I'd change about that corner is the "G" in GIMPS. I get that it's supposed to add (I think) to the overall mildly perverted feel of that corner (insofar as 'GIMPS' reminds me of 'The Gimp' from 'Pulp Fiction'), but it's a borderline offensive word (making it a verb doesn't really change that). I'd actually prefer PIMPS there, though I somehow doubt that would fly in the NYT. LIMPS or SIMPS works too. But this is hardly that important. What's important is MALE NUDE PHONE SEX SANTA HAT. *That* is a jolly good time. It's like the rest of the puzzle barely exists..."

From Rex Parker's discussion of yesterday's NYT crossword.

"Shame... is a social feeling, born from a perception of other people’s disgust, a susceptibility to their contempt and derision."

"You see yourself from the point of view of your detractors; you pelt yourself with their revulsion, and as you do you begin... to lose track of the self altogether. Someone else’s narrow, stiffened vision of who you are replaces your own mottled, expansive one. As Lewinsky listened to the recordings of her phone calls, she tells us, she heard her voice as if it belonged to a different person: 'My sometimes catty, sometimes churlish, sometimes silly self being cruel, unforgiving, uncouth.' It was 'the worst version of myself, a self I didn’t even recognize.'"

From a New Yorker article by Alexandra Schwartz called "Monica Lewinsky and the Shame Game."

"A letter found in a waste bin in Andreas Lubitz's apartment indicated he 'was declared by a medical doctor unfit to work'..."

"... Dusseldorf prosecutor Christoph Kumpa said."

And here's a NYT op-ed, written by a former pilot titled "Inside a Pilot’s Mind/After Germanwings Plane Crash, Pondering Pilot Psychology":
I flew many times with a born-again Christian who talked constantly about Adam and Eve and other Bible stories. Could his religious beliefs have caused us to handle an in-flight emergency differently? It never happened, so I can’t say. Another pilot would tell me about his crazy sex life on the road. He’d kiss his wife and kids goodbye and then become a totally different person for seven days.

But these are ordinary varieties of human behavior — nothing that would predict some catastrophic course of action....

Who was that the man who killed the Wisconsin state trooper in Fond du Lac?

We talked about this shoot out here. The topic of race came up, though the article didn't mention the race of the man, Steven Timothy Snyder, who was also shot and killed, or of the trooper, Trevor Casper. But insinuations about race crept into the comments. I was accused of hitting "a new low," because I "must have known the reaction your post would get from some of your horribly racist commenters."

Now we learn something racial about Snyder and not just that he was white: