Saturday, May 10, 2008


is the first word I would ban from the language, except maybe for church. And liaison as a verb. Task as a verb. I'll think of more in about 20 minutes as I'm driving to the library.
In the meantime, last year's spontaneous crowd amusement at the Preakness. They throw beer at them.


NPR is not identifying its correspondent there "for security reasons."

Book Rec

I haven't read it, but it comes out in paperback next week and I'm going to read it. Never mind that Kate Christensen is only the fifth woman to win the Penn Faulker award, NPR's excuse for interviewing her and pushing the book.
What I liked was that it's about "love and sex and revenge among 70 year old women."
The Great Man. Look for it.
There's an excerpt from the book at the link, too.

Weekend Getaway

Not for the squeamish (heights!) H/t Andrew Sullivan. Six minutes.

Friday, May 9, 2008


It's a tulip, but I really love that I can tweak the exposure and crop the original and it looks like an abstract painting. Click on it and you'll get a screenful of it.

Catholic Voters

One of every four voters is Catholic. I did not know this.
In a recent survey of 19 states that have held a presidential primary this year, 63% of Catholics identified themselves as Democrats, compared with 37% for Republicans, a sharp increase from 2005 when 42% of Catholics identified themselves as Democrats. One of every four voters in the U.S. is Catholic.

More here.
h/t Andrew Sullivan

Thursday, May 8, 2008

South Dakota Deserves Its Day in the Sun

Bob Somerby is probably the best all-round media critic I know of who's actually readable, even though his blog is worse looking than Drudge.
He seems to like Democrats more than the other guys, but he's an equal opportunity critic when it comes to newspaper writing. Also, pretty inside baseball a lot of the time.
And I've never understood how a stand-up comic became a serious, albeit witty, media critic.
Last time I looked, he was slamming Gail Collins for making fun of small towns in North Carolina. Or was it Indiana? Or Pennsylvania.
But making fun is what Collins is supposed to do. She's not exactly hilarious, just satisfyingly wry.

South Dakota wants its turn. It wants to have Chelsea visit its community colleges and refuse to answer questions about Monica Lewinsky. It wants to have Bill demonstrate his humility by visiting Badger and Peever and Ferney and Tea while Hillary and Barack show up for a state party fund-raiser that would, for the first time ever, actually raise some funds. “Montana had a huge dinner a while back, and there were 6,500 people for an event that usually got 400,” said Hauffe wistfully. “It just hasn’t rained in South Dakota.”

There’s no reason this can’t go on for a while longer. Hillary — who’s taken to mentioning her Web site address as often as the star of an infomercial — seems prepared, if necessary, to pay with her own money for the privilege of making 10 speeches a day, sleeping four hours a night and answering the same questions over and over again. Barack looks so tired that he seems ready to topple, but if you want to be the most powerful elected official on the planet, you ought to be able to outlast a 60-year-old woman.

Quote O' Teh Week

I've been sitting on this one. It was so obviously funny but insidey.
But I can't resist it.
From Paul Krugman's blog.
The great economist Robert Solow once declared, “Everything reminds Milton Friedman of the money supply. Everything reminds me of sex, but I try to keep it out of my papers.”


Am I turning into a Hillary hater? Nah, I reserve hate for things like soggy potato chips.
Oh, sorry about the BP ad. Eyeballs.

Is It Really About the Money?

A really good diary on Daily Kos cites a Slate article ("real journalism," not blogging) that details the dire prospects for Hillary getting back the $11.4 million she loaned her campaign unless she does, indeed, take it to the convention.
It's not like they can't afford it or anything, but money is money.
I really don't like the way this is looking.

Losing His Bearings

is what Barack Obama said regarding McCain's recent statement that Hamas wants Obama to win.
Losing His Bearings. Gotta ring to it.
Campaign theme, perhaps? Bring on the general!

Sex And The City: The Movie

Doesn't open until May 30, but Huffpo summarizes two reviews that say it's great.
From FOX:

It's going to be a very, very big hit.

I saw it on Saturday night at a private screen

ing. Women wept, cheered. It's the Neiman Marcus catalog on steroids.

The four female stars -- not to mention Chris Noth as Mr. Big, David Eigenberg as Steve and Evan Handler as Harry -- are the most appealing ensemble of the year.

It is not politically correct to say so to some of my friends, but I do miss the girls.

Aw, Jeez, Hillary!

from Huffpo, which was written before Clinton dismissed Michigan's proposal to split delegates 69 for her and 59 for him. If you haven't been paying attention, the Dems are in a kind of limbo over the votes in Florida and Michigan because party rules prohibit seating their delegates after they defied the rules and held early primaries.
Is Hillary going all the way to the convention after all? I mean, this is blood feud stuff.
On a day when it appears that the Michigan controversy may be resolved in a way that's fair to all parties -- but not in a way that gives Hillary Clinton all that state's delegates and Barack Obama none, as her campaign insists -- Clinton has just upped the ante by issuing what seems a hastily penned open letter to Obama, pretending that he is the sole obstacle to a fair resolution of the Michigan and Florida brouhaha and that she has always supported revotes (neither of which is accurate).

Headline O' Teh Day

Robert Kagan Protests: Neocons are NOT Vampires and Werewolves!

Subhed: Neocon Thursday!

I love Steve Clemons. He's usually too wonkish to cite, but not today.

Don't know what to label this.
Open to suggestions.

Erm, About Rumsfeld

and those network "military analysts."
Who, said "Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, it does."
Well, me, for one.
TPM's got some frightening stuff up now, including audio of them worshipping at his feet.

10 Best Mothers

Esquire again. Guess I should subscribe. But I was gonna take Vanity Fair! Oh, well.

9. Lucinda Elizabeth Shaw

As any college student will tell you, sometimes the nicest thing parents can do is provide financial support until their child discovers what he or she wants to do. Of course, this is taken to an extreme when the child in question, like George Bernard Shaw, doesn’t know what he wants to do until he’s almost 40. Born in 1856, Shaw didn’t support himself as a writer until he began working as a theater critic in 1895 (and didn’t have his first real literary success until he was 41, with the play The Devil’s Disciple). Since Dad was an alcoholic with an inoperable squint -- society did not look kindly upon squinters in this era -- there was only one person to turn to: Mom. Her allowance/free housing kept him going until he established himself as one of the major writers of the twentieth century, winning a Nobel Prize for Literature (and an Oscar for the My Fair Lady-inspiring Pygmalion). He repaid her by tirelessly defending women’s rights. (Luckily, she was dead before she could witness his less-rousing senile final years, when he championed Joseph Stalin.)

When You Are Old

Okay, I'm still reading the Esquire thingie (below) and I owe it big time today. (Weeps)


When you are old and gray and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

--William Butler Yeats

Gotta Move My Back

When nobody has your back, you gotta move your back.

Cool advice from Esquire's 75 Things Every Man Should Be Able to Do.
Most of 'em good for me, too.
Liveblogging this:
Well, not scoring a baseball game, but still.
Not throw a punch, either. Cooking I got. Not outdoor grilling, though. Heh.
Nobody needs to know how to chop down a tree. That's what chainsaws are for. I missed the memo on escape paths though.
Square footage, check.
Bow ties? No! No.

42. Talk to a dog so it will hear.

Go ahead, use baby talk.

No more liveblogging. They're all good, even the ones you don't need.

Kudos, Esquire, especially the one about women's orgasms.

Oh, Death

I loved that song by Ralph Stanley in Oh, Brother Where Art Thou.
No psychological insight, no brilliant self-awareness, can alleviate the dark realities of life, one of which is that it is finite. But just labeling it, understanding what is happening, can refocus you and put you back on a positive path.
Workin' on that.

Fat, Fat and More Fat

Turns out, some kinds may be good for you. Yeah, I'm lookin' at you, muffin top.


and the Lying Liars That Tell Them Dept.
Speaking of neocons, Glenn Greenwald's post today really isn't about them, although it starts out that way.
It's about the re-emerging neocon argument, abetted by the Israeli government, for an attack on Iran. Is that why Hillary used the obliterate word only days ago?
When I started this obsessive reading of blogs, it was largely because Sy Hersch and Scott Ritter and others had convinced me Cheney really was planning an attack on Iran. I found out who AIPAC was.
But by the time Joe Biden said Bush would face impeachment if he did it, I sort of felt like everybody was backing off a bit.
Now it rears its ugly head again.
From Glenn:
Bush has less than eight months left to fulfill his history-mandated mission "to prevent another holocaust" by attacking Iran, or else "be in the historical dock if he allows Iran to get the bomb." They're as transparent as they are dishonest and bloodthirsty.

Dark Night of the Soul

Wow, TPM is right. The amazing photos of the erupting Chilean volcano are worth noting. Go look. Scary beautiful.

27 Ugly Dresses




More here.
My all-time favorite dress was an Army green linen sheath (it was the 60s), sleeveless with narrow red or orange piping. Very cool, very designer, bought on sale. I wore it for about a minute because I weighed 108 lbs. for about that long. I was 17. Alas, there is no photographic evidence.
The all-time worst was a calf-length white formal with Kelly green trim and a very pouffy skirt. Alas, there is photographic evidence, but I'm not posting it. Maybe some other time. I was 17.
And yours?

Toni Morrison

has always struck me as an admirably no-nonsense woman.

I'll never forget her interview with Terri Gross on NPR's Fresh Air. Gross asked one of those questions that admirers seem to consider evidence of her superior interviewing skills.
"Why don't you have any white characters in your books," she said. (Would she have asked Phillip Roth or John Updike why they don't have any black characters? Heh.)
"Because white people don't interest me," said Morrison, coldly.
I think that's when Gross's stammer really kicked in. The conversation remained uncomfortable, and when Gross thanked Morrison at the end, the real kicker came.
Instead of "it was a pleasure" or "why, thank YOU" as most of them say, Morrison replied, "you're welcome." I laughed out loud.
And she's a wonderful writer. My favorite book of hers still is The Bluest Eye, because its candor just stunned me. And I always advise people who are listening to audio books to get her own version of Jazz, it's like the music itself, her clear intention.
There's a little snippet of a Q&A with her in Time this week.
Money quote:
Do you regret referring to Bill Clinton as the first black President?Justin Dews, Cambridge, Mass.
People misunderstood that phrase. I was deploring the way in which President Clinton was being treated, vis-à-vis the sex scandal that was surrounding him. I said he was being treated like a black on the street, already guilty, already a perp. I have no idea what his real instincts are, in terms of race.

Start the General Election Campaign Now

Personally, I don't see how McCain can win. There's just so much ammunition.

A Conservative Comic

P.J. O'Rourke, who isn't really a comic the same way Jon Stewart isn't really a newsman, is much funnier than Dennis Miller, the only other conservative comic I know of.
O'Rourke, who makes a living writing and occasionally commenting from the right, has published a 2008 commencement address.
Sometimes, he lies.
As in:
"In a free society, with the rule of law and property rights, no one loses when someone else gets rich."

But you know he's just joking.
And sometimes, he's hilarious. As in:
All politics stink. Even democracy stinks. Imagine if our clothes were selected by the majority of shoppers, which would be teenage girls. I'd be standing here with my bellybutton exposed. Imagine deciding the dinner menu by family secret ballot. I've got three kids and three dogs in my family. We'd be eating Froot Loops and rotten meat.

That Mark Penn Thing

Liberal bloggers hate Mark Penn. When I first started paying obsessive attention to the presidential campaign and American politics in general about a year ago, I didn't know who he was except he was some guy associated with the Clintons.
I mean, really, what person with a job and a family and a real life has time to keep track of all this stuff? Like most people, I had never heard of Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz or Douglas Feith either before the Iraq War, which produced a rash of publicity for the neocons.
Which is just to say that there are plenty of rich and powerful people we've never heard of even if we did read a story in Time magazine ten years ago that mentioned some of them.
End of digression:
A TPM writer thinks it's notable that an anecdotal story emerging in Time's story about the Clinton campaign's mistakes relates a meeting at which Penn apparently believed that a Hillary win in California would net her all 370 delegates from that state. The campaign's chief strategist didn't know that the Democrats do not have a winner-takes-all system, like the Republicans. Instead, delegates are designated in a proportional manner according to the votes for each primary candidate.
It is rather appalling, although Hillary herself is falling back on the argument that she'd be the nominee today if the Democrats did it like the Republicans, evidence some say that she's really a closet Republican.
This anecdote is supposed to show that the Clinton campaign, like the Bush pattern, valued loyalty over competence.
As one commenter put it, "I think this is testament to the idea that just because someone is a ruthless bastard doesn't meen they are a SMART ruthless bastard."
Karl Rove, anyone?
Rove was once believed to be the smartest of all. Mark Halperin (I call him Mr. Smirky), former political director at ABC News and now with Time, actually wrote a whole book about how the Democrats should follow Rovian tactics to win and if they didn't, they'd lose.
That was before the 2006 election, I think, and I suspect the book didn't sell too well afterwards.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Hillary's In Until...

Here, she's talking about the DNC meeting May 31.
Obama campaign says it'll cross the magic halfway mark on pledged delegates May 20. I figure they'll just let it go to the DNC, piling up superdels all along the way.
Larry O'Donnell had something this morning that said by June 15. Somebody else had an unnamed Clinton staffer saying they lost it in February.
Some say she's got to keep going to raise money to pay off campaign debt. As of today, she's loaned the campaign $11-plus mil.

On To The General Election

Love, Sweet Love

The Math: Post-Tuesday

There are six state primaries left with 217 delegates at stake.
And there are 270 uncommitted superdelegates.
Total, 487.
Total needed: 2024.5 (.5, heh)
Obama needs: 184.5 (.5, heh)
Clinton needs: 341

You see, she could win every delegate in every state and still not make the math work.
But, of course, they'll split each state. In some, West Virginia, Kentucky, she'll get more. In others, Oregon, whatever, he will.
So it comes down to the superdels, just like everyone has been saying from almost the beginning.
Obama's campaign thinks he'll be the nominee shortly after May 20, two weeks from yesterday.

Thomas Edsall has a good story on Huffpo today.
More math:

Conversely, the significance of Clinton's victory in Indiana was undermined by indications that a statistically significant number of Republicans, perhaps as many as 7 percent of all the votes cast, were following the suggestion of conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh to cast ballots for her in the Democratic primary.

The Other Candidate

Oh, yeah, John McCain had two primary contests tonight. He won 78 percent of the Republican vote in Indiana and 74 percent in North Carolina. Ron Paul, who hasn't yet dropped out, got 7 percent in each. The rest went to Romney, Huckabee and "no preference."
There's a lesson here, but I'm too tired to think about it.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

It's Over

Hillary barely squeezes by with a 2 percent ( I meant 2 point lead) lead in Indiana. Obama takes N.C. by 14.
"There's a Democratic nominee now," comments ... wait for it...wait for it. Karl Rove.

As for the delayed count in Lake County, which took Hillary down another two points, not likely there was any funny business. The Republicans would have had to collude, and that's really unlikely.

Hmm, Indeed

From Josh Marshall at TPM.


NBC just reported that Hillary Clinton is holding no public events tomorrow. We'd earlier reported that she'd cancelled her morning show appearances. But that's not that surprising. There's not a lot good to talk about. But canceling all public appearances, if that's what they're saying, is a different story.


Okay, I guess they're counting Lake County. The spread is now 2 points, 51 Clinton, 49 Obama, with 91 percent of the vote in.
And she says, "Well, tonight we come from behind," Clinton said in an otherwise subdued speech. "We've broken the tie, and thanks to you, it's full speed on to the White House."
What tie? Where? States won, delegates won, popular vote? Not any of those.
Was there a tie in Indiana? Maybe there was in some polls, some time.
On to the White House. Yeah, right, as a guest.

Oops, Kos is skeptical of the Gary results.

The question is whether this was legit. The way the vote is being released makes this stink to high hell.

If this was legit, that's some serious machine action at work. If it's not legit, that's some serious machine action at work.


Gold-edged primroses
Their origins are one of botany's enduring mysteries. Darwin called the mystery "abominable."
Heh. Quote tonight from Nova's "First Flower," while awaiting the final primary results.
Come on Lake County.

Yawn, Numbers

Half hour to go before the Lake County, Ind. results come in. That's Gary, baby, Barack country. Some pro-Obama types think he could cut the gap to 2 points.
Why so late? They're counting 11,000 absentees. Where I come from, they count late absentees over the next week. Jeesh.

As of 8:40 p.m. CDT, about half of 11,370 absentee and early voting ballots had been counted, said Michelle Fajman, the county’s elections supervisor. By contrast, in the 2000 presidential primary, 2,822 early and absentee votes were cast in Lake County. In the 2004 primary, 4,053 early and absentee votes were cast.

“This has far and away surpassed any primary we’ve ever had. We don’t see these kinds of numbers until a general election,” Fajman said.

In the meantime, his campaign thinks it will be all over in two weeks on May 20, when he sweeps Oregon and Hillary takes Kentucky. But the Oregon win puts him over the 50 percent mark of pledged delegates, able to make a case to the Supers that it's time to step up.
As of tonight's results (so far), Obama gets 42 delegates, Hillary gets 35. His gain makes up for her win in Pennsylvania.

Waiting It Out

Waiting for more N.C. results and watching the gap in Indiana fall from 12 points to 4 as more and more of the heavily Obama precincts are counted.

So, here's a quote of the day:

Political analyst Stuart Rothenberg on the News Hour on PBS a few minutes ago.
"At the end of the day, Jeremiah Wright hurt Hillary Clinton." Because the whole controversy should have helped her and hurt him more, and it didn't.

Here's another, from Obama in N.C.
(not direct quote) Somebody (he means Hillary) said North Carolina would be a game changer, but it turns out the only game that's going to be changed is the game in Washington (D.C.).

Should be noted here that Hillary, Bill and even Chelsea spent a lot of time in N.C. A lot of time, Bill was doing 8 and 9 events a day. Somebody, probably that dependable and reprehensible pollster Mark Penn, must have said there was a way to turn the flood. They were wrong. They've been wrong all along. Remind you of anyone?

Be Still My Heart

Updated: Uh, polls in Indiana close at 4 p.m. PST, N.C. 4:30. I'm going to the store. I can't stand this.

Indiana polls close in an hour, N.C. a half hour later. Ignore the exit polls.
And Josh Marshall at TPM picks up on a little noticed trend. The more ridiculous Hillary gets, the better she seems to do.

This guy gets it best:
The day begins with the Clinton campaign “leaking” something to the Drudge Report to set expectations for the day. That then gets repeated on political blogs and cable news, where Clinton surrogate Terry McAuliffe elaborates. Today’s “expectation”: That the Clinton campaign expects a “15 point” defeat in North Carolina. Clinton’s yapping puppies in the news media repeat the manufactured expectation all day long, in which the bar is supposedly now that if Clinton comes within 15 points in that state that she has somehow “won” with a 14 point (or 6 point) defeat.

Pentagon Propaganda Program

that placed pre-programmed ex-military as "advisors" to the news media for the Iraq War was busted by the New York Times two weeks ago.
Response so far from the outed networks. Bupkis.
The program is illegal and was suspended by the Pentagon following the news story. I personally believe the networks haven't covered the story because they are afraid they may be legally liable as well.
John Kerry wants an investigation and he needs your signature on a letter.

It Is About Rape

so you might not want to read reporter Joanna Connors' first-person series in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. And it's long.
But it is exactly what I am convinced journalism must be to remain relevant in the age of the internet.
It explains the world to people in a way that nothing save long-form can do.
At least read the first of the five. I think you might just keep on with it, as I did despite my first instinct to drop it because I had no time.

White Knuckle Primary Day

I actually declared a temporary hiatus following the Pennsylvania primary, thinking I just couldn't take it anymore. But I couldn't stay away even a week.

A few days ago, Hillary said today's primaries in North Carolina and Indiana could be game-changing, suggesting her campaign knew something, something good, no one else did from their own internal polling.
Most polls have consistently shown the race tightening in N.C., with Obama winning by as little as 5 points, while Clinton has consistently led in Indiana by less than 10 points. Such an outcome changes nothing and the race goes on to June 3, the day of the last primary.
Then this morning, the Zogby two-day tracking poll has Obama up by 15 points in N.C. and with half a chance at taking Indiana by a slim margin, or losing by a slim margin.
Such an outcome is expected to bring the superdelegates out of the woodwork for Obama and possibly even convince Clinton to throw it in before the next primaries. Even though she's supposed to win big in both West Virginia and Kentucky, it's just not going to be enough.
In fact, everyone who does the numbers including "independent analysts" say it's already not enough.
(Obama's up by 12 points in upcoming Oregon, can't remember who's got the edge in the other Western state. Can't even remember whether it's Montana or Wyoming. Wyoming, I think.)

Keith Olberman is usually a little too much for me even though he's on my side, but this bit is kinda funny.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Oprah, Spielberg, Gates: Where They Live

And more. C'mon. Forbes knows you wanna see them.

No, Bill and Hill didn't make the cut. We're talking Billionaires here.

Loving Couple

Mildred Loving died today at age 68. Her husband Richard died in 1975 following a car accident.
Their case Loving v. Virginia established in 1967 the right of people of different races to marry.
Mildred Jeter & Richard Loving


Gas Tax Holiday

You know it's a crock, right. Tell 'em.

Inside Passage To Alaska

There's more than the cruise ship option, according to Ross Anderson at Crosscut. Mmmm, sounds kind of cool.

For the boatless, the most popular option is the Alaska ferry, the Columbia, which (thanks to Alaska taxpayers) remains one of the great cruising bargains. It's essentially a small cruise ship, which leaves Bellingham at 6 p.m. each Friday, year round, steaming the Passage to Southeast Alaska. The one-way passenger fare is $240 to Ketchikan, which takes two full days; $325 to Juneau or Sitka, which is another full day. Kids 6-11 sail for half price, under six for free. (The vehicle fare is much stiffer — $740 to Juneau. But what would you do with a car up there, anyway?)

The hitch, of course, is accommodations. There are a few cabins, but they're pricey and they're usually booked months in advance. So most travelers set up backpacking tents and inflatable mattresses on the stern deck. I've always done it that way; the last time, I counted 80 tents, lashed to each other to keep them from blowing away in the slipstream.

There is a decent restaurant, a bar and a coffee shop on board. But no casino, no dancing girls. Entertainment is provided by the scenery, a good book, or the Alaskan in the next seat.

Then there is the BC ferry, a similar ship that runs between Port Hardy at the northern tip of Vancouver Island, and Prince Rupert, near the Alaska border. This route takes in some of the most spectacular stretches of the Inside Passage, with the added advantage of being able to transfer to other boats for travel into the BC fjords.

Tough On Crime

Funny, I don't hear any candidate talking about crime this election season.
The United States has the highest incarceration rate of any developed country, maybe even in the world, I'm not sure about that last part.
Anyway, the cost of locking up non-violent drug offenders started catching up with the states a few years ago. Even Republican legislators began to rethink the knee-jerk policies.
Now, it's come to this.
Between 1987 and last year, states increased their higher education spending by 21 percent, in inflation-adjusted dollars, according to the Pew Center on the States. During the same period, spending on corrections jumped by 127 percent.

In the Northeastern states, according to the Pew report, prison spending over the past 20 years has risen 61 percent, while higher education spending has declined by 5.5 percent.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

No Comment


It's Just Wrong


1. The pump tube in every body lotion is (purposely?) designed to reach only to the top of the last 1 1/2 inches of liquid, thereby requiring you to replace the product at least two months early. So the "bonus" ounces were no such thing, but just a waste product. Oh, sure, you can unscrew the top every time and tip the bottle to get a few drops out, smacking the bottom. But where do you put the gunky top in the meantime? So you fish a piece of plastic or paper out of the waste basket and gingerly set it on that. This will last a day or two, then you'll replace it rather than deal with the hassle. Exactly! "They" count on this.

2. The lace panels on your panties are placed exactly where your thumbs just naturally go to pull them on. This guarantees that your thumbs will tear the lace, meaning that eventually the panties will have to be replaced long before it would otherwise be necessary. Exactly! "They" count on this.

3. Aging women begin to grow whiskers at the same time they begin losing their near sight. They can't even see them with their glasses on, which is why they mostly give up on mascara. (Hillary has an artiste to do it for her.) The only way to detect these black, coarse, vile straggles is to stroke for them, feel the stump and then wander, hands shaking across the chin, trying to capture the bugger with the tweezers.
The chin stroking is not a sign of wise old age, it is a nervous habit.
Don't tweeze, you say? Shave.
Now, I love the tiny little lady razors as much as anyone, but the thing is, the buggers grow back.
Like, right away. Arrgh.

4. — 10. Your choice