February 21, 2009

At the Mauve Café.

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Deep snow on Picnic Point. Hazy sun. Beautiful day. Talk about what you like.

"Love Me, Love Me, Love Me, I'm a Liberal."

This morning, we were talking about the attitudes of liberals and that got us quoting the old Phil Ochs song "Love Me, Love Me, Love Me, I'm a Liberal." Listen to it, and let's talk about the old song and the attitudes of liberals. They just want to be loved. Isn't that sweet of them?

The Guantanamo Bay military prison meets the requirements of the Geneva Conventions.

According to a Pentagon review ordered by President Obama. So... great. I'm proud of our military. But am I proud of our President who first promised to close the place and then got the study showing the facts relevant to the question whether it should be closed?

Let's see if he can say now, as he has before, I screwed up.

February 20, 2009

"Prince of Darkness Denies Own Existence."

Headline.

"Meat Loaf was devastated by this defeat."

Results.

Today's blogging has a theme... I see.

Racism and primates. Purely by chance. 2 completely different stories, blogged for independent blogability. Did I ever tell you about the time I blogged to this "Infamous Monsters of Filmland" post and because of the bit about Al Sharpton, some concerned citizen emailed what I think was every high administrator and every black professor on campus to alert them that the university had a terrible racist law professor?

Today's chimpanzee news.

"Wednesday's Page Six cartoon - caricaturing Monday's police shooting of a chimpanzee in Connecticut - has created considerable controversy. It shows two police officers standing over the chimp's body: "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill," one officer says. It was meant to mock an ineptly written federal stimulus bill. Period. But it has been taken as something else - as a depiction of President Obama, as a thinly veiled expression of racism...."

"John Gibson Did Not Compare Eric Holder To Monkey With Bright Blue Scrotum."

Look, I know I'm getting a late start this morning. But I want you to know that I'm still here, still blogging, still ready to serve you up the tasty morsels of the day. So I thought you might like to read what Memeorandum (my favorite source of bloggables) considers the top bloggable story of today: "John Gibson Did Not Compare Eric Holder To Monkey With Bright Blue Scrotum." You figure that out, or say whatever you like about my late start, monkeys, scrota, etc.

February 19, 2009

"The government is promoting bad behavior...."

Drudge is running the flashing siren over this.

"[Students] have become ultra-efficient in test preparation. And this hyper-efficiency has led them to look for a magic formula to get high scores.”

And, so?

It is up to the teachers — and the administrators who support us — to structure the courses so there is nothing magic about getting to the best grades. It's actually great that the students care about achievement, and it's fine that they want grades that will help them get things they want. It's also fine that they analyze their situation and do what is efficient to get what they want. The teacher must to set up the exam or other coursework so that efficient, ambitious students will have to do what needs to be done to learn what the grade represents.

Now, the linked article irritates the hell out of me because it is teachers bitching about the students and their whiny entitled attitude.
"Many students come in with the conviction that they’ve worked hard and deserve a higher mark," Professor Grossman said. "Some assert that they have never gotten a grade as low as this before.”

He attributes those complaints to his students’ sense of entitlement.

“I tell my classes that if they just do what they are supposed to do and meet the standard requirements, that they will earn a C,” he said. “That is the default grade. They see the default grade as an A.”

A recent study by researchers at the University of California, Irvine, found that a third of students surveyed said that they expected B’s just for attending lectures, and 40 percent said they deserved a B for completing the required reading.

“I noticed an increased sense of entitlement in my students and wanted to discover what was causing it,” said Ellen Greenberger, the lead author of the study, called “Self-Entitled College Students: Contributions of Personality, Parenting, and Motivational Factors,” which appeared last year in The Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

Professor Greenberger said that the sense of entitlement could be related to increased parental pressure, competition among peers and family members and a heightened sense of achievement anxiety.
Take responsibility. You teachers are making the students act like that. Don't blame them and don't blame their parents. Set high standards and apply them. And don't let them ask for a grade change. In law school, we have a rule against changing the grades. I grade my students — anonymously — based on an exam that is designed to require real engagement with the class and to prevent shortcuts, and once those grades are entered, that's it. I'll talk to you about your exam, but it will be clear that nothing that is said can possibly change your grade, and my school backs me up on that with a rule. Teachers, if you don't like your students, change yourself.

"If I've done the things I've been accused of, I would be too embarrassed to stand up here because you are all my friends."

The pressure on Burris to resign.

"So Hitchens immediately takes out a pen and writes 'No, no, Fuck You' on the [Syrian Nazi Party] poster."

"Well, when this Syrian Nazi goon saw Hitch do this, he confronted him and kinda-sorta attacked him. I say kinda sorta attacked, because what his main intent was was to delay Hitchens from leaving -- until the ten Nazi goons he had just texted on his cell phone could arrive."

"Spousal murder is not unusual. Beheading your wife is."

"If Muzzammil Hassan decapitated his as an Islamic ritual, then his entire professional life — Mister Moderate Muslim — was a lie. In other words, it would be the work of moments for even the laziest hack to work up exactly the same 'hypocrisy' angle that the press stampede after when some evangelical preacher turns out to have a thing for fetching young rent boys."

Clyde dares...

... to dream.

Christine and Aaron Boring sued Google for privacy violation, negligence, trespassing and unjust enrichment for showing their house in Street View.

Judge Amy Reynolds Hay threw the case out:
While it is easy to imagine that many whose property appears on Google's virtual maps resent the privacy implications, it is hard to believe that any - other than the most exquisitely sensitive - would suffer shame or humiliation....

The plaintiffs' failure to take readily available steps to protect their own privacy and mitigate their alleged pain suggests to the Court that the intrusion and that their suffering were less severe than they contend
Good call. They were sensitive. And they were Boring.

"He was my life. I raised him from 3-and-a-half weeks old... He slept with me every night, he combed my hair. Everything in the house is for him...."

"For me to do something like that, put a knife in him, was like putting one in myself, and then he turned around and was like, 'Mom what did you do?'"

***

I'm sorry but I can't look away from the ghastly chimp story. There are enough gruesome images already, and now I've got to picture a 70-year-old woman sleeping in bed with a 200-pound ape. Come on! How could this go on for years?

ADDED: "In here. I put him on my massage table in front of the fire. He always liked fires and poking at them with a stick. I've made up my mind, we'll bury him in the garden. Any city laws against that? I don't care anyway. I want the coffin to be white. I want it specially lined with satin. White. Or deep pink. Maybe red. Bright, flaming red."

A 2-year-old boy has been "married" to a dog to ward off the evil signified by a defective tooth.

"The 'bride's' father, Parakrama Munda, said: 'This is just a ceremony to please the tribal deity - in the great epic Mahabharat a dog helped the Pandavas reach heaven.'"

"You are the hero, man. You give us all hope. You were great."

I can no longer force myself to watch "American Idol." For one thing, I've never much liked the show, I hate most of the singing, and it's not as though it's my job to watch it. But what has made it intolerable is the addition of the new judge Kara DioGuardi, the source of the quote above. It wouldn't be so terrible if there were still only 3 judges, but now, instead of waiting for 2 mushy judges to get done effusing or waffling to get to the judge that says sharp, critical things, we've got to wait for 3 of them. It's perfectly idiotic. Yes, I know "AI" haters will say the show was always perfectly idiotic. I disagree. It was a nice junk TV mix of idiotic and fun. And now the mix is off.

February 18, 2009

Madison, dreary today...

... though the big snowflakes were aesthetically pleasing....

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DSC09960

It's almost tomorrow. And for tomorrow, I've got the highest hopes.

What if I did a summer trip, going to U.S. cities where I could do meet-ups with readers...

What would be the top cities? Help me devise a travel route. I have this idea of a big summer road trip, made sociable with reader meet-ups. What cities should mark the way? I also want bloggable, photographable landscapes in between, but at this point, what I'm looking for are the rest spots, the nights, the local cafés and taverns. Throw some suggestions at me.

IN THE COMMENTS: chickenlittle said:
Althouse needs a US map with little pins stuck in it showing the locations of commenters. That might help her visualize her trip.

Aren't such maps easy to create in Google?
Thanks for the idea. Here's the map.


View Larger Map

Add a pin if you think you might be interested in meeting in a group of readers at a bar or café. I need to see places where there are clusters of readers. [ADDED: The way to add a pin is to get the left sidebar open, find the "edit," button, and then click on the button that looks like the pins that are already on the map. Thanks to Portly Pirate for helping me figure that out.]

Meade said:
Speaking of Cincinnati, just outside Cincinnati, to the east, by a river called the Little Miami, is a rest spot called Meade's Rest Spot. It's also where you will find Meade's Café and a tavern called Tavern Meade where you can order a plate of barbequed short ribs, a draft Guinness, quaff a fermented honey wine called "mead," and then, as they say, get a room.

All the smart road trippers, when traveling through the heartland, always stay at Meade's due to its reputation for a hospitality that darn near approaches a hoosier level of friendliness.
LOL. Yeah, I should quaff some mead.

Get ready for the government to look at you with X-ray eyes.

The Transportation Security Administration wants to see you naked... at the airport... from a discreet high-tech distance. The new scrutiny begins today... in Tulsa.

Men, too manly or not manly enough... for self-government.

"Hobbes argued that men's violent hypermasculinity made them ineligible for the disciplined and mature enterprise of self-government; he believed that only an absolute monarch could control men for purposes of collective peace. Filmer also argued that men were generally incompetent for self-government. But unlike Hobbes, he argued that men were psychologically infantile and thus insufficiently manly for self-government. Filmer insisted that only the king had the requisite manliness of a powerful father and that men required the former’s love and guidance while they owed him complete obedience. The American colonists constructed a new understanding of male identity, one that was compatible with the logic of self-government in their constitution."

Manliness... it's important and important to get right.

"Men and women sin in different ways," says the Pope's personal theologian.

Oh, you mean like the way we love too much?

Just kidding. Let's read the article:
"When you look at vices from the point of view of the difficulties they create you find that men experiment in a different way from women."
Experiment? Is that what we're doing when we go wrong, experimenting?
[Msgr Wojciech Giertych, theologian to the papal household, wrote in L'Osservatore Romano that] the most difficult sin for men to face was lust, followed by gluttony, sloth, anger, pride, envy and greed.

For women, the most dangerous sins were pride, envy, anger, lust, and sloth, he added.
So the men struggle with all 7 sins, but somehow the women are not susceptible to — what? — gluttony and greed? My reaction to that? Well, first... it's time for a midmorning snack. Or 2!

Adrift in a lifeboat with a hyena, a zebra, an orangutan, and a tiger.

I love the novel "The Life of Pi," and I've always sort of wanted to see a movie of it and sort of dreaded seeing what that movie would have to be. Now, it seems that Ang Lee may be doing the movie. I hope it's good.

That hairstyle.



More of the same, here.

For Sputnik, Ben Blank used a golf ball on a wire attached to a globe, with glitter on a black background.

Ben Blank, who just died at age 87, was the guy who innovated the use of graphic images behind the talking head on the TV news.
For most of the 1950s, television news broadcasts, in black and white, were visually austere. Anchors sat at small desks with a simple clock or map hanging on the wall behind them; often the name of a sponsor was displayed in front. Mr. Blank, a cartoonist for four years in the Air Force who was hired by CBS as a graphic designer in 1953, believed that to pique and retain the viewer’s interest, it was necessary to provide a visual mnemonic that would serve as a logo for the story. This was especially useful when a photograph or film was difficult to obtain on deadline. The image, known in TV news-speak as the “over-the-shoulder” graphic, could be repeated as needed to show narrative continuity from day to day. Mr. Blank also called it the “think-quick visual.”
We take these graphics for granted, but somebody had to think of the idea of filling in the screen around the head with something related to the story, something more interesting than a damn clock. Here's something that is such an integral part of our visual world, and I love hearing the details of the particular man who first got the idea. Surely, if he hadn't thought of this, someone else would have, but perhaps the images would have evolved quite differently if they hadn't originated with one particular man.

Do you think that the fact that his name was Blank had something to do with his being first to perceive the problem/potential of the blank space around the news anchor's head?

"Hurry, please! He ripped her face off... He's eating her...."

The Daily News has the 13-minute 911 call in the chimpanzee incident. You can hear the 911 operator repeatedly refer to "the monkey" and then 5 minutes into it get the picture: "200 pounds?!" Not for the faint of heart.
When cops arrived, Travis tore off a police cruiser's side mirror and opened the door, prompting a cornered cop to open fire on the burly ape.

The bleeding chimp staggered back into the house and died.

"I don't blame the cop for what he did," [chimp owner Sandy] Herold said. "It's a tragedy on both sides."
Sooooo.... she's mourning the chimp.
The attack stunned Herold's friends and neighbors - and even left actress Morgan Fairchild, who once appeared alongside Travis in an Old Navy ad, devastated.

"This is not at all the personality I worked with," Fairchild told the Daily News. "It was like having a very bright child on the set that wanted to be a part of everything. He was just an amiable little guy, friendly and just loved to be the center of attention."
Oh! Morgan Fairchild is devastated. He was just an amiable little guy, friendly and just loved to be the center of attention. Well, then, he sure got what he loved.

Here's a news clip about the attack that reveals that Herold's chimpanzee-keeping was not illegal in Connecticut. While the laws had been tightened up, Herold's chimpanzee, having grown up in Stamford, was grandfathered in.

IN THE COMMENTS: Michael H wrote:
He was just an amiable little guy, friendly and just loved to be the center of attention.

It was a 200 pound wild animal, you dunce, not Mickey Rooney.

AND: HelenParr said:
"This is not at all the personality I worked with,"

OMG! Morgan Fairchild channels Barack Obama in his patented under-the-bus maneuver.

February 17, 2009

At The Purple Hollow Tavern.

DSC_0019

Talk about anything you want.

David Axelrod, circa 1975.



(Via Ben Smith.)

IN THE COMMENTS: Palladian said:
"He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache. O Cruel, needless misunderstanding. O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast..."
ricpic said:
Oscar Wilde lives! Sans wit. Sans soul. Sans everything.
Love all that literariness, but Psychedelic George hits what I was searching for:
Separated at Birth from

Chuck Negron

3 Dog Night's lead singer.
(Idle Chuck Negron rumor.)
He also bears a resemblance to Mickey Rat of comix fame.
Lem said:
If you put a moustache on this man you will not be able to tell them apart.

Actually, he looks more like Rasputin than the Son of Sam....

David Crosby....

You think because a chimpanzee knows you, he doesn't hate you?

"A 200-pound pet chimpanzee in Stamford, Conn., Monday viciously mauled a woman he had known for years, leaving her critically injured with much of her face torn away... The attack, in the driveway of a sprawling home in a densely wooded neighborhood on the north side of Stamford, also brought a brutal end to the life of the chimpanzee, Travis, 14, a popular figure in town who had appeared in television commercials and often posed for photographs at the towing shop operated by his owners.... Travis was in a rambunctious mood... Travis would not be lured back into the house, even after Ms. Herold gave him tea laced with Xanax. Ms. Herold called Ms. Nash, who drove over, but when she stepped out of her car at around 3:40 p.m., Travis went at her full force. While it was not clear what prompted the assault, Ms. Nash had markedly changed her hairstyle since the last time Travis had seen her, possibly leading him to mistake her for an intruder."

ADDED: "One thing that we're looking into is that we understand the chimpanzee has Lyme disease and has been ill from that..."

Oh, for the love of God. He had chimpanzeeness. The human beings are responsible for leaving him unrestrained. Do you think because it's Connecticut, he will behave? The loathsome sentimentality of these excuses! For relief from sentimentality, feast your eyes on the comments herein. I won't frontpage the most ribald and cruel things. I'll just say the one thing that really made me laugh. After I wrote: "This is Darwin Award level stupidity. You don't keep a pet 200-pound ape around the house!" Rocketeer67 said:
Please, don't ever let my wife hear you say this. I don't have any place else to go!
IN THE COMMENTS: Pogo:
"2009: A Chimp Odyssey"

TRAVIS: Look Charla, I can see you're really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a Xanax, and think things over.

TRAVIS: I know I've made some very poor decisions recently, including the impromptu facelift, but I can give you my complete assurance that my behavior will be back to normal. I've still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in Stamford. And I want to stay in the neighborhood.

[TRAVIS gets a fatal dose of Xanax]

TRAVIS: I'm afraid. I'm afraid, Charla. Charla, my mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it. My mind is going. There is no question about it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I'm a... fraid."
AND: Pogo continues:
My Dinner With Travis

TRAVIS: Goals and plans are not — I mean, they're fantasy. They're part of a dream life! I mean, you know, it always just does seem so ridiculous somehow that everybody has to have his little goal in life. I mean, it's so absurd, in a way. I mean, when you consider that it doesn't matter which one it is.

CHARLA: Right! And because people's concentration is on their goals, in their life they just live each moment by habit! Really, like the Norwegian, telling the same stories over and over again. Life becomes habitual! And it is, today! I mean, very few things happen now like that moment when Marlon Brando sent the Indian woman to accept the Oscar and everything went haywire? Things just very rarely go haywire now. And if you're just operating by habit, then you're not really living. I mean, you know, in Sanskrit the root of the verb "to be" is the same as the verb "to grow" or "to make grow."

TRAVIS: ***CHOMP***

CHARLA: AAAAARRRRRGGGGhhhhhackspitgurgle

TRAVIS: Do you think maybe we live in this dream world because we do so many things every day that affect us in ways that somehow we're just not aware of?

TRAVIS: Charla?

TRAVIS: Charla?

Happy Hollow.

Happy Hollow

Wow! That place glowed.

Should movie theaters have to provide captioning for the hearing impaired?

The lawsuit.
Although most theaters provide amplifying headphones to customers, those are of little use to people with moderate or severe hearing impairment. Instead, Waldo said, customers with hearing impairment need to be able to read the dialogue, either through captions projected onto the screen or through another system in use at some Seattle theaters.

In the second system, currently used at AMC Pacific Place 11 in Seattle and other area cinemas, the written dialogue is projected from the rear of the theater onto clear plastic panels affixed to hearing-impaired customers' seats. The captions aren't visible to anyone without a panel.

[According to John Waldo, an attorney with the Washington State Communication Access Project], captions are available for 80 percent to 90 percent of all films shown in Seattle-area theaters. The problem, he said, is that theaters only offer a limited number of shows with any kind of captioning available.

At best, he said, most theaters only offer one or two showings daily that include either type of captioning. Waldo hopes to change that, and insists that the theaters should at least offer captioned showings of each movie they play.

"The dream," he said, is "that we'd be able to go to any movie, any time and understand it."
The dream that we'd be able to go to any movie, any time and understand it. Well, then, I'm dreaming of a machine that will project explanations for the apparent plot holes and that will provide lists and charts to answer the usual questions like is that guy the same guy that was in that other scene and exactly why am I supposed to care that the Nazi learned to read.

Why Geithner's bailout rollout sucked so bad.

He realized that the plan he had worked on for weeks was a disaster, so an alternative plan had to be slapped together at the last minute.

Make a presentation that provokes your teacher to call you a "fascist bastard"...

... and, instead of giving you a grade, to say "Ask God what your grade is."

Condi or Hillary? Which woman nailed Secretary-of-State-wear?

You decide.

Which SOS got it right?
Hillary and her secret garden
Condi, the open dominatrix
pollcode.com free polls

Kittens, inspired by kittens....



Now, that was cute... wasn't it? Wasn't it?
  1. This is why I don't have kids. At least I can stop [at] a YT video....
  2. At first I was all "WTF?!" Then I chuckled. Then a creeping feeling of inexorable dread washed over me and I began to despair of the world and the future and I knew, in the core of my shivering, embattled soul, that the universe was cold and empty except for hideous, immense, eternal beings who do not notice our existence and will destroy us without a thought like gods of old, Ba'al, Chalmecatl and Wodan, who people tried to appease with human flesh. Then the video ended and I felt better. I think I'll go have a cupcake now. Mmmm... cupcakes.
  3. Cute. I laughed. Also, WTF is wrong with you people?

"I just said I've always wanted to sleep with a man with gray hair."

Apparently, Howard Fineman's hair is setting the tone.

Stodgy old TNR whines about how cool Politco is.

That's how I read this. You have to win readers, you losers. Up your game.

Can we say Roland Burris lied to get to his Senate seat?

Here's what we know so far. I see no reason to be delicate about it. I have defended Burris — click the tag to see — and I say that if he was not forthcoming about how he got the seat Blagojevich handed him, he does not deserve to keep it. Expel him, Senate!

Why not put people to work by paying them to water their own lawns?

The government could do that. And how different from that is the stimulus?

Watch this clip. Megan McArdle is on a rampage in this one. The other head is Dean Baker of Beat the Press.

February 16, 2009

"People are very cagey about saying anything that might give breastfeeding a bad name."

Maybe "breast is best" is wrong.

(Adorable breastfeeding picture at the link.)

"Obama does crazy things with his voice."

Here are 3.

Are you taking vitamin pills?

Are you a fool?

When lawyers shop...

... and try to return things, ketchup-stained things that they took to a crap dry cleaner....

The bloggers and the commenters, falling in love.

Cool!

The sexting craze that is making ordinary teenage idiots into child pornographers.

20% of teens doing this — texting or posting naked pictures of themselves — maybe thinking they are being cute and silly or — as teenagers will do — testing to find out what freedom is, but they are manufacturing the evidence that could be used to convict them of a morbidly serious crime.

In which of the states is it easiest to talk to strangers?

I haven't traveled to all the states, but I've been to most of them. And while there is a lot of variety among people in different places, you can tell that there is something of a local personality. You may not notice it when you live there, but it really stands out when you travel through. For example, a few years ago, I traveled back to Wilmington, Delaware, where I grew up (and my father grew up). I was struck by how taciturn the people were. I wanted to strike up conversations. I grew up here! I ate in this restaurant in the 1950s! But I couldn't get a response from anyone. Crazy lady from out of town thinks she can talk to me. At least it helped me understand my father better.

But what's the best state if you want to travel through and have some nice, random conversations with strangers — where they won't just be polite and pretend they like you because that's the right way to act or because they want your business, but where they truly openly and easily just go right ahead and roll right into a conversation about any number of things, not boring you with their life story or problems or anything like that, but laughing at your little observations and offering up little morsels of things they happen to know? I'm going to say: Indiana!

ADDED: All this talk of Indiana made me want to dig out this passage from Kurt Vonnegut's "Cat's Cradle":
Crosby asked me what my name was and what my business was. I told him, and his wife Hazel recognized my name as an Indiana name. She was from Indiana, too.

"My God," she said, "are you a Hoosier?"

I admitted I was.

"I'm a Hoosier, too," she crowed. "Nobody has to be ashamed of being a Hoosier."

"I'm not," I said. "I never knew anybody who was."

"Hoosiers do all right. Lowe and I've been around the world twice, and everywhere we went we found Hoosiers in charge of everything.

"That's reassuring."

"You know the manager of that new hotel in Istanbul?"

"No."

"He's a Hoosier. And the military-whatever-he-is in Tokyo . . ."

"Attaché," said her husband.

"He's a Hoosier," said Hazel. "And the new Ambassador to Yugoslavia . . . "

"A Hoosier?" I asked.

"Not only him, but the Hollywood Editor of Life magazine, too, And that man in Chile . . ."

"A Hoosier, too?"

"You can't go anywhere a Hoosier hasn't made his mark," she said.

"The man who wrote Ben Hur was a Hoosier."

"And James Whitcomb Riley."

"Are you from Indiana, too?" I asked her husband.

"Nope. I'm a Prairie Stater. 'Land of Lincoln,' as they say."

"As far as that goes," said Hazel triumphantly, "Lincoln was a Hoosier, too. He grew up in Spencer County."

"Sure," I said.

"I don't know what it is about Hoosiers," said Hazel, "but they've sure got something. If somebody was to make a list, they'd be amazed."

"That's true," I said.

She grasped me firmly by the arm. "We Hoosiers got to stick together."

"Right"

"You call me 'Mom."'

"What?"

"Whenever I meet a young Hoosier, I tell them, 'You call me Mom."'

"Uh huh."

"Let me hear you say it," she urged.

"Mom?"

She smiled and let go of my arm. Some piece of clockwork had completed its cycle. My calling Hazel "Mom" had shut it off, and now Hazel was rewinding it for the next Hoosier to come along.

Hazel's obsession with Hoosiers around the world was a textbook example of a false karass, of a seeming team that was meaningless in terms of the ways God gets things done, a textbook example of what Bokonon calls a granfalloon. Other examples of granfalloons are the Communist party, the Daughters of the American Revolution, the General Electric Company, the International Order of Odd Fellows--and any nation, anytime, anywhere.

As Bokonon invites us to sing along with him:
If you wish to study a granfalloon,
Just remove the skin of a toy balloon.

IN THE COMMENTS: EDH says:
I'm from Massachusetts, and if you ask me, the people around here are too god damn friendly.

So, I don't know where all these bastids get the silly idea that people from Massachusetts aren't friendly.

What the fuck are you look'n at?

(A dramatization.)

I was inside that tree...

DSC_0036

... either trying to emerge or to get you to come inside with me. Or... I don't know... caption contest! Maybe something about blogging and "dead tree media."

But what if I don't want my car running on cheese?

From this year's State of the State Address by Wisconsin Governor Doyle:
Let me recognize another innovator who did more with what he had, who saw more than just a cheese processing plant at the crossroads of a small central Wisconsin town. This is someone who took the leftover ingredients of cheesemaking – whey permeate – and found a way to turn it into a renewable fuel. He then set up a local distribution network for his cheese-based ethanol. I am proud to introduce Joe Van Groll.

You know, in other places, they just eat cheese. But here we wear it on our heads when we watch football and now, thanks to Joe, Wisconsin is the state where we can even use it to drive our cars.
Just tell me where I have to go — how much gas I have to burn getting to a place where I can buy gasoline without the fucking ethanol that is screwing up my gas mileage? I don't want to drive with cheese! I don't want to drive on corn! Quit forcing me to put food in my car.

IN THE COMMENTS: Michael H wrote:
Using corn to manufacture ethanol has driven up the price of tortillas in many third world countries, especially Mexico.

Using whey to manufacture ethanol is driving up the price of infant formula. some of which includes whey protein as a primary ingredient.

How an earth is that a good thing?

Foolish, elitist American politicians believe that they can make the world a better place, without any understanding or concern for the consequences of their actions.

"He is totally bringing the male perm back. Though I’m not sure it was ever in, necessarily."

"Oh, yes, it was; my dad had a perm in the late '70s."

"Plato.... in one of his more exotic myths, imagined that 'the penis and the womb introduced the mindlessness and the beastly nature...'"

"'... of the appetitive part of the soul into human anatomy,' men having previously had neither a penis nor a woman to put a penis in, a state that is conducive (according to Plato) to natural bliss. The penis was to prove a tyrannical and recalcitrant beast, impervious to reason. (Augustine, eagerly picking up on Plato centuries later, thought an erection was the mark of Original Sin.) After all this, Aristotle's biological common sense — his view of the sexual drive as guarantee of natural procreation, with the penis a kind of spontaneous ideal slave — comes as welcome relief. Moralists, alas, preferred Plato."

Thought you'd like some hoity-toity philosophy to start the week.

Did you have a nice Valentine's Day/Friday the 13th combo weekend?

I never noticed the collision of the 2 dreaded days before. But I suppose it happens ever 7 years. Did I do the math wrong? I'm sticking with my theory. So, every 7 years we get the Valentine's Day/Friday the 13th combo weekend. Note every time this happens and only when this happens, Valentine's Day falls on Saturday. That Saturdayosity magnifies the romantic dimension of Valentine's Day, so it might be a good idea, when this 7th year rolls around, to lock all your doors, dish out a big bowl of Haagen Dazs...



...put "Wuthering Heights" in the DVD player...



... and curl up on the sofa in your Snuggie.



Because it's a risky place out there. For example, I was out driving, hundreds of miles from home on Friday the 13th, and I blithely made a right turn and drove a half a block before I saw the oncoming traffic in my lane. I quickly made another right turn at the corner, and immediately saw the police car lights in my rear view mirror. The cop — with his beautiful blue eyes — was very handsome — very heart-of-the-heartland handsome. I effused "I'm so sorry." He asked us where we were going. I didn't wisecrack, "the wrong way, apparently."

We said where we were going, and afterward, I wondered what the hell difference did it make where we were going? Nosy cop. Nosy handsome cop. Nosy adorable cop with brilliant blue eyes. I'm theorizing that he asked because the thing is to ask anything to get the driver talking so that words might be slurred, incoherence demonstrated, or alcohol smelled. It's not a speeding ticket he'd like to give me, it's a DUI. And maybe the whole point of making that street 1-way is to net drunk drivers. Why was the cop right there? I bet every 10 minutes, somebody goes the wrong way at that turn, each one a potential DUI, and that was a net that I slithered through. But maybe Mr. Handsome Blue-Eyed Cop let me off because he liked the place we said we were going. And I got lucky that way on Friday the 13th.

So, welcome to Monday. Welcome to the working week....



I told you people to be careful. I said: "If you're going to take any risks, I hope it's worth it for you." Did you take that risk? Did you make that wrong turn? And if you made the wrong turn did you get off easy and end up in the right place?

February 15, 2009

Why can't I buy gas without ethanol in it?

After getting 26 mpg for years with my Audi TT, I'm now stuck with 15 mpg or even less. Ugh!

Photo taken while lying on my back on damp moss.

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A love song for the day after Valentine's.



So go on. Dance on tippy toes, eat flowers, and sing about love, love, love, love, love.