Tuesday, December 28, 2010

And Then There's Randall Jarrell

"Say Good-bye to Big Daddy"
Big Daddy Lipscomb, who used to help them up
After he'd pulled them down, so that ''the children
Won't think Big Daddy's mean''; Big Daddy Lipscomb,
Who stood unmoved among the blockers, like the Rock
Of Gibralter in a life insurance ad,
Until the ball carrier came, and Daddy got him;
Big Daddy Lipscomb, being carried down an aisle
Of women by Night Train Lane, John Henry Johnson,
And Lenny Moore; Big Daddy, his three ex-wives,
His fiancee, and the grandfather who raised him
Going to his grave in five big Cadillacs;
Big Daddy, who found football easy enough, life hard enough
To -- after his last night cruising Baltimore
In his yellow Cadillac -- to die of heroin;
Big Daddy, who was scared, he said: ''I've been scared
Most of my life. You wouldn't think so to look at me.
It gets so bad I cry myself to sleep -- '' his size
Embarrassed him, so that he was helped by smaller men
And hurt by smaller men; Big Daddy Lipscomb
Has helped to his feet the last ball carrier, Death.
The big black man in the television set
Whom the viewers stared at -- sometimes, almost were --
Is a blur now; when we get up to adjust the set,
It's not the set, but a NETWORK DIFFICULTY.
The world won't be the same without Big Daddy.
Or else it will be.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Global Warming, The Mountains In Siberia And You

Climate change is causing winter weather extremes. Oh, you already knew that. Did you know about Siberia? Or the reason the East Coast's storm today came up from the Gulf? You think you're so smart, how come you're not rich?
Inner Bob

Saturday, December 25, 2010

20 Years Ago Today

 The Web was born. This MeFite composed a little something to commemorate it:

And there were in the same country physicists abiding in the field, keeping watch over their particles by night.
And, lo, Tim came upon them, and the glory of the Nerd shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And Tim said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of Geneva a Server, which hosts The World Wide Web.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the text wrapped in angle brackets, hosted on a NeXT computer.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of hosts with hamsters dancing, and saying,

Glory to the Web

in bold, and on the 'net peace, and good will toward men.


Oh Yeah, That George Bush

A little review of the book.
A pup in a valley of alpha males, inadequate compared to Dad, humiliated by Mother, he classically became a bully to compensate: an ass-brander, noted for what he calls verbal ‘needling’; a boss who cussed out his subordinates and invented demeaning nicknames for everyone around him; a president who taunted terrorists, most of them imaginary, and challenged them to ‘bring it on’.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Women On The Rise

I haven't watched this yet, but Andrew Sullivan's got it up and I trust it's worth 16 minutes of your time.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Laugh Til Ya Criday!

Poem In Kodacolor

What should have been a good day, could have been a good day, has left me unsettled. I let the discomfort, the dissatisfaction overcome the comforts, the satisfactions. Then I went and dug in to what I knew would be even more discomfort.
But any time I want to read a poem again, and then again, I know I should put it up. Because that hardly ever happens.

Swimming in the Presence of Lurid Opposition
by Sawako Nakayasu

Summer camp, swim class, Tokyo, a group of no more than twenty ants all donning their respective swimming caps, some with images of their favorite anime characters printed on the fabric. Forward progression, assisted by a rhythmic movement of ant limbs, just like the instructor instructed, forward forward progress, forward forward progress. The slowness, agonizing slowness of such, such poor swimmers these ants, most likely in the beginner class for sad ants with little ability. And then the However, the Big But, the Truth that reveals itself only after zooming out and away from what used to be a close-up shot of ants in an unusually colored swimming pool, such as red or green or pale fuchsia or celadon, the distance revealing the inherent difficulty of making a swimming pool out of a still-wet oil painting, the artist and brush hovering nearby like the evil clouds that they are.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Everybody Loves A Ball Pit

aphid? aphid? APHID! DIE DIE DIE. no. no. not aphid. fuck. aphid? aphid? APHID! DIE DIE DIE. no. not aphid. fuck. aphid? aphid? aphid? APHID! DIE DIE DIE. no. no. not aphid. fuck. aphid? aphid? APHID! DIE DIE DIE. no. not aphid. what the fuck is going on? aphid? ...

Deck The Halls

P.S. I should have credited my friend, PS, for this video.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

For The Record

For the very first time, I correctly guessed the city and country of Andrew Sullivan's weekly View From Your Window contest.
I am disappointed he did not choose to quote my email, which I entered pretty early on Saturday and I thought was pretty good.
Maybe it's because I forgot to put Paris, France in the subject line and only put Paris. I mean, I could have meant Paris, Texas, right?

Proof? You want proof? I'll give you proof.

I love doing screen shots.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hard Choice

This? $2,450?

Or this, $15 from Fancy Feathers consignment, PT?

SMUG, just so smug.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Schweddy Balls

I need a laugh, you need a laugh, how about nine of them?

Oops, SNL's all over at Hulu now and full of ads and they load slow. Here. Merry Christmas season.

Tough Choice

Should I read Larkin or Auden for the holiday season?

Man hands on misery to man
        It deepens like a coastal shelf
Get out as early as you can
        And don't have any kids yourself

Maybe Auden's wretched infant, hmmm?

Auden, definitely Auden.

Comment O' Teh Day

or Why I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Internet

This is a bit long, but this guy really knows his stuff. Every so often someone like that happens along and I know I am not wasting my time.

Okay, it's way long. And usually I am wasting my time. But it's MY time. Zog gave it to me.

Herewith, Zentrails' opinion of the Navy's new superweapon:

Rail guns can only accelerate things to around Mach 6, so a 5", 3 foot projectile is not going to have that kind of kinetic energy. This idea is actually a very old idea, which was stupid right from the beginning.

The idea was called "rods from God" and the premise was that you launch exceedingly heavy rods of tungsten which would then reach a target ballistically. They needed to be about 20 feet long and at least a foot in diameter for a number of reasons. They would heat up to tremendous temperatures, like the space shuttle did when the insulating tiles failed, which would cause a large amount of the mass to vaporize, but it would be at very high temperature as well as velocity, so combining the two would give you a huge amount of energy to hit the target with.

The rail gun rods would not be as effective as space launched projectiles because of the Mach 6 limit and the fact that they'd experience friction right from the get go, so they would not only heat up on the upward trajectory, but also slow down. Then they'd fall the the target pretty much like a conventional bomb would.

They were supposed to be "dropped" from orbit so that the target area would be hit without any warning and with no way to know where it came from. The idea was idiotic, since you can't "drop" something from orbit. You have to use rockets to slow the tangential speed to get it to leave orbit and start coming down. And even then, it doesn't "drop" down, but rather spirals down as a very hot and very easy to detect object.

It was finally determined that a few GBU-28's would work a lot better, especially considering that it wouldn't take too much to figure out who launched the attack, thus completely removing the original idea altogether.

You can't get the accuracy they are claiming AND the kinetic energy they are claiming at the same time. You can either make it out of a rod of metal, or you have to make it more like a rocket with a guidance system that would need to sur4vive the g forces and high temperatures.
It's an old military propaganda trick to make relatively minor threats seem much more deadly. Example: N Korea has modified SCUD missiles which might be able to reach the US. N. Korea has crude uranium 235 nuclear weapons. Therefore, N. Korea could attack us with a nuclear ballistic missile. The problem is that the nuclear weapon they have is far, far too heavy to be launched by a multiple stacked SCUD missile. Same is true for Iran.

The fact is that the surface navy is obsolete for any kind of defense and can only be used offensively against countries that can't fight back with decent missiles.

That's right. Our surface navy is a first strike weapon only. That's pretty depressing to think about. We've become the new British Empire and we're on the way down, unless we start making some drastic changes in our military strategies.

This stupid idea seems to pop up periodically as if it were a new and brilliant idea. It reminds me of the notion of using popcorn instead of foam "peanuts" as an ecologically friendly way of packing boxes of stuff. The idea sounds good until you think it through. You see it suggested every five years or so.

Because I Can

"Nothing thicker than a knife's blade separates melancholy from happiness."

Orlando, 1992

Friday, December 10, 2010

It's Almost Caturday!

I no longer keep cats. I can't keep cats. That's why I do this.


bought a great pair (scroll down).
I know, that was catty. I didn't say that about The Mirren. I should have.
I love Cher, I do.

Life Is Good

Second day of sunshine and lunch at the Hanazono Asian Noodle shop next to The Rose Theatre, so far showing nothing I want to see. Where's Black Swan, huh, huh?
Anyhoo, sea urchin sashimi, spring roll and eggplant sashimi. Urchin okay (the waitress said I was very brave) but I wouldn't order it again, weird texture, tasty though. First time I've had raw fish in a really, really long time. Next time, I'm trying the eel, she made it sound really good.

It's Silly

But it's my Discovery O' Teh Day.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Hang On Olga, Olga Hang On

Olga Koltelko, 91: Track Star

There's a long, long story, too, about scientists studying people like Olga to find out more about the aging body and maybe help the rest of us.
Short answer: resistance training.
Yeah, yeah. I'll get a job in the morning, Mom.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Liar O' Teh Year

PolitiFact has the contest. You be the judge.
(I'm going with the stimulus/no jobs thing, but the $20m India trip will probably win. More visceral. More immediate.)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Wiki Who?

TPM links to an interesting essay on Assange this morning that, despite its use of the word propaedeutic — I mean, WTF?— I think is worth some thought.
The idea is that increasing the porousness of the conspiracy’s information system will impede its functioning, that the conspiracy will turn against itself in self-defense, clamping down on its own information flows in ways that will then impede its own cognitive function. You destroy the conspiracy, in other words, by making it so paranoid of itself that it can no longer conspire.

What's struck me about the ongoing debate and the Republicans and others screaming to see Assange strung up in the public square, is that ordinary people, who unlike me are probably hearing all kinds of screaming about this from their broadcast news, probably don't give a fuck.
They care about their financial situation first and foremost and they know it's in dire peril and Wikileaks does not seem to have a direct connection to being able to pay the mortgage next month.
Or, as one commenter said another way, none of it really matters to the people who matter.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


A fun place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.
A quick glance around shows I have brought my laptop, a month-old MacBook Pro, to its nesting ground. Diversity here means the odd white MacBook or old black PowerBook scattered amid the silver MacBook Pros. Throughout the week I will see only a handful of PCs, each looking sadly out of place, like they have arrived at a black-tie affair in a corduroy blazer.

No phones allowed, for one thing. Harsh.

She Who Must Not Be Named

Get over it, he says.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Experiment O' Teh Day

The Waffle Shop is run by Calvary Episcopal Church in Memphis. I want to go to there.
I should know how to take a screen shot of their menu, but you'll have to download it yourself because I'm too tired to learn that tonight, I've been fooling around with the scanner and my brain is fried.
So much for the experiment part of this. Just a linkie.

Oh, okay.

There, happy?

Sigh. Click to enlarge.

Did I mention, open only during Lent. Forgot that part.

I mean, how many times have you seen buttermilk on a beverage menu? Like, never.
It's worth the wait. And the trip. Tomato aspic. Gizzards and rice. Chess pie.
Giblets, I meant giblets. Same thing, really.

Friday, December 3, 2010

What They're Listening To These Days

If you'd like to know, there's this.
I haven't tried this because I haven't a clue what happens when I download MP3. I mean, does it go into my iTunes library so I can listen to it? Maybe I'll try it tomorrow. It won't break my computer or anything, will it?

P.S. Um, apparently it takes a long time. 29 minutes. Can I do other things while it's downloading?
I'd ask somebody but it's embarrassing.

P.S.S. OMG, Gil Scott-Heron's on this list.

Bacon! Bacon!

Is Kevin Bacon the new Old Spice guy?
No. But still.

Quote O' Teh Day

sort of like blogging, only easier.
Who else but Gawker on the operation of the 23-year-old Russian spammer believed responsible for, oh, I dunno, a lot of it.

Cheney Countdown

I was shocked to see the picture of Dick Cheney that accompanied the Nigeria story today, and zipped off a quick email to TPM saying so. Yeah, someone replied, he's deteriorated a lot since the last procedure.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Watch Out!

For that skull-lurking monster, no telling what it's up to. Sorry, I kinda love this stuff.
As you read these words, your brain is taking in all kinds of sights and sounds, and zeroing in on a few. It is recalling what you have learned about the forms of letters, the meanings of words, and what information you hope to find on this website. Your brain is making decisions and forming new memories. All the while, it is helping you stay alert and steadily breathe.

Steve Martin Tweets

and suddenly it's news, here, here and here.
Don't waste your time there, just waste it here:

My Happiness Is Not Complete Without...

chocolate covered preserved walnuts.
Just for fun, spend an afternoon with the NYT 2010 gift guide and tell Santa what you need.
...or maybe a Sound Asleep Pillow. Shorty hates it when I listen to music in bed. Interferes with her scratching.

Bad, Bad Charlie Rangel

Talking Points Memo explains for readers who don't really get the difference between reprimand and censure:
Reprimand is harsh looks. Censure is harsh looks with finger wagging.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

YouTube Kitty Porn

This is why there is an internet, no matter how long AT&T tried to keep it from us.

All day, all the time.

You were warned.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Today's Political Joke

courtesy of my friend, Barb W.

A woman in a hot air balloon realized she was lost. She lowered her altitude and spotted a man in a boat below on a lake. She shouted to him, "Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don't know where I am."

 The man consulted his portable GPS and replied, "You're in a hot air balloon, approximately 30 feet above ground elevation of 1,346 feet above sea level. You are at 31 degrees, 14.97 minutes north latitude and 100 degrees, 49.09 minutes west longitude.

 "She rolled her eyes and said, "You must be an Obama Democrat."

"I am," replied the man. "How did you know?"

 "Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you told me is technically correct. But I have no idea what to do with your information, and I'm still lost. Frankly, you've not been much help to me."

 The man smiled and responded, "You must be a Republican."

 "I am," replied the balloonist. "How did you know?"

 "Well," said the man, "you don't know where you are or where you're going. You've risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise you have no idea how to keep, and you expect me to solve your problem. You're in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but somehow, now it's my fault."

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Seems He's A Fuckin' Math Major

Chloe's story about this guy who asked her out is for those of you who are not besieged with the usual today. The MeFi comments are even better.

Friday, November 19, 2010

My New Prayer

Please, oh Tangled One, protect me from believing I know that which I do not know. (P.S. And prevent me from pretending to others that I know what I do not know. Shoot me if you must.)
Thank you.

Just In Time For The Holidays

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Oh, The Humanity

A guy makes an art blog out of Google street view shots. A bit heavy on street whores and Segways, but that's kinda cute, too, in'nt?

For an alternative take:

Monday, November 15, 2010


is a dish best served cold, as this is a day best spent indoors.

Me: Is that a false equivalency?
My Brain: I think so.
MB:Any time

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Quote O' Teh Day

"Willow, no boys, go upstairs."


Sarah Palin, on her new Discovery Channel Show

Buck Up

 by Walt Whitman                  

           (From a talk I had lately with a German spiritualist)

Nothing is ever really lost, or can be lost,
No birth, identity, form—no object of the world.
Nor life, nor force, nor any visible thing;
Appearance must not foil, nor shifted sphere confuse thy brain.
Ample are time and space—ample the fields of Nature.
The body, sluggish, aged, cold—the embers left from earlier fires,
The light in the eye grown dim, shall duly flame again;
The sun now low in the west rises for mornings and for noons continual;
To frozen clods ever the spring's invisible law returns,
With grass and flowers and summer fruits and corn. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Quote O' Teh Day

"Boys and girls and music, why do they need gin?"
--among the whimsical blurbs my local jazz station, KPLU, inserts on an occasional basis between tunes. Sounds like it's from a movie or TV show, but who knows. Oh, it also sounds like Betty White.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Nature Lovers

Twenty-two breathtaking nature photos from European photographers.

Science Babes

Real Equality

I've always contended that we will have equality in this country when incompetent, stupid and unqualified women have just as much chance at succeeding as those of the opposite gender.
Sarah Palin aside, Josh Marshall notes two other indicators of our social progress. From the great state of Florida, we have Joyce Kaufman and somebody named West.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Hard not to root for it, one of about only 3,000 tigers left in the world thanks to poachers. I rooted for Grendel, too. My bad.
Fabulous writing.
The temperature is 30 below zero and yet, here, the snow has been completely melted away. In the middle of this dark circle, presented like some kind of sacrificial offering, is a hand without an arm and a head without a face. Nearby is a long bone, a femur probably, that has been gnawed to a bloodless white. Carrion crows flock in the trees overhead, and their raucous kvetching tells Trush that whatever murdered this man is still around; the kill is being guarded.

I Didn't Know That Dept.

Something they grow from discarded human infant foreskins is commonly used in face cream.
Yeah, I know.
So here's the thing. I think there's a great story here. Who collects foreskins, for example? What hospitals cooperate? Or are they all Chinese baby foreskins? Do the Chinese even do that to baby boys? The public has a right to know.
In fact, I think there's a whole series in health recycling. I mean, what else do they sell?
No, I have not been drinking.

Breakfast At Ginger's

I know this woman.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Nora Ephron Is Divorced

Twice. And married three times. You do the math.
And almost always makes me feel lighter. But older.
The point is that for a long time, the fact that I was divorced was the most important thing about me.
And now it's not.
Now the most important thing about me is that I'm old.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Because I Can

Synecdoche: New York

I just watched it, not expecting much, expecting it to be messy, expecting it to be what I had read it was about. It isn't. It's the best American film I've seen since Angels In America, which was made for HBO and relied entirely on writing.
Turns out, so does SNY. Charlie Kaufman's writing to be exact. If I had remembered that about the film, I probably would have watched it in theaters, but it doesn't matter.
Roger Ebert, who has improved immensely in recent years, named it the best film of the decade, meaning 2000-2009.
Here's the rest of his list, in case you'd like to experiment.

It's An Electrical Problem

Discalculia, the problem I didn't know had a name, means being not only indifferent to but wildly unhappy about math.
And there's a therapy, if not a cure.
Just a little gentle electrical stimulation.
Still too new to know how it will help my algebra.
Calculus? Don't get me started!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Eat The Rich Dept.

Whose idea was it anyway? Or, at least, what famous ancient American, revered as only a handful are, thought the rich ought to pay for everyone's else's government services?
(Hint: It was no James Madison. Hint #2: It was not George Washington.)

Best Song About A Washington State Place

And just down the road, too.

Quite a story. Linda Perhacs only made one album, in 1970, but it's sort of an underground iconic thing for music people. Psychedelic folk, they call it.
MeFi found if for me. In an interview I listened to, turns out she and her husband at the time built a home in Chimacum back in the day. Guess she's in California now. And old. Like me.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Comment O' Teh Day

There is balm in Youtube,
To make the wounded whole ;
There's power enough in Animal vids,
To cure a world-sick soul.

MeFier codacarola

For this

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Nobody Knows, Nobody Cares

About the deficit, about the "process."
Krugman tells the President he is wrong, wrong, wrong.
And Krugman's right.

Jon Ham Is Some Actor, Eh What? Plus, Smoking!

I would just like to point out that Peggy is not actually inhaling nicotine in her shots.

Henry's Brain...And You

I haven't read the whole thing yet because I found the cool quote below, but Andrew Sullivan says it's worth it and I'm going right back.
Henry's life never really progressed beyond the day in 1953 when Dr. Scoville, my grandfather, removed some small but important pieces of Henry's brain.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Beware The Hounds Of Hell

Comment O' Teh Day

From the MeFI thread about the Indian billionaire who built a $2b high-rise for his little family of five.
My colleague worked in Mumbai doing land use work, and they had to divide the slums into multiple levels of quality; they used people per toilet, and I think the dividing line was somewhere around 20 people per toilet.

My Favorite Comedian

is Samantha Bee.
Favorite Vacation: My house in the Catskills. It’s the best. You can’t do a lick of exercise, and you can’t walk anywhere, because people are always shooting things.
My favorite vacation day was spent alone in Florence, hearing a choir from some other European country spontaneously begin singing something wonderful in a foreign language — it was probably Verdi — while sitting inside the little Baptistry opposite the Duomo, then getting the finger from Roma women while photographing them being chased off by the polizi.
I learned the Italian word for police while being threatened by a non-English speaking toll booth operator frustrated that I had just confessed to making a U-turn on the tollway after I found out I was mistakenly headed to Rome.
He said it while making the standard crossed-wrist gesture to indicate handcuffs.

ADDENDUM: And Google is so good that it pops an ad for Tuscany villas onto the page when I close it. Kewl.
I grinned and said American Embassy, and we settled for a 20,000 lira fine. Or was it  50,000 lira?
But that was another day and not Florence. It was also quite a good day. On the way home after dark, we became lost in Scandizzi on the wrong side of the river on backstreets whose sidewalks were filled with surly looking men, probably just out there to escape the stifling heat of their cheap apartments.
We managed to find the entrance to the last bridge on the map, my daughter riding shotgun with binoculars to read the inhumanly small print on Italian street signs and a flashlight to read the map.
My cousin rode in the back seat, her hands over her eyes most of the way. Her daughter was doing a desperate Garfield-at-
the-window routine and we all laughed harder than four perfectly sober women lost in a foreign country have any right to laugh.
If I had died right then, I would have died gratified that it was a life well lived.
Some day I will write about the night all dozen or so of us women ate by candle light inside the villa during a thunder storm and I made a grand entrance as a ghost. I think it was successful. In my mind at least, they all gasped at the apparition in the tricorner hat and the vacant-eyed, full-faced white mask. I still have the mask. The hat fell apart. I don't remember what I used for the cape.
Every day was a good day for three straight weeks. Every day. All 21 of them.
It is like a movie that I replay daily and it all happened 15 years ago.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Comment O' Teh Day

And I can hardly show my kids these pictures to teach them anything valuable and lasting about inequality, because they won't know whether to cry because other little girls have to go to work at rock quarries or because other little girls have Strawberry Lolita dresses and they don't.
A MetaFilter commenter about a book of photographs of children's rooms around the world. What's interesting is that the MeFiers remember, as I do and Contrarienne linked, another photographic essay about the food in the pantries of people from different countries, and also, a telling essay about how NGOs portray people in Africa contrasted with how the people themselves would choose to portray themselves.

I like conversations like this, which are only possible because of the Internet.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Woman In The House

is worth $49 million a year to her constitutents.

If You Want To Know The Future

You could do worse than pay attention to this guy.
Remember travel agents? Remember how they just kind of vanished one day? 
He's got  film, too, and I do have a quibble with that. There have, indeed, been times when things were very bad for a very, very long time.

On the other hand, I have long believed it entirely possible that geographically connected parts of the country with similar economic interests might create a regional governing authority, possibly with the federal government's blessing.

So, he's writing to entertain, but he is onto something.
Hate States. Good one, hadn't heard it before.
North America can easily fragment quickly as did the Eastern Bloc in 1989
Quebec will decide to quietly and quite pleasantly leave Canada. California contemplates splitting into two states, fiscal and non-fiscal. Cuba becomes a Club Med with weapons. The Hate States will form a coalition.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Okay, That Proves It

I'm a misfit. Hey, somebody's got to be the sonofabitch, right? No?
And teams containing more women demonstrated greater social sensitivity and in turn greater collective intelligence compared to teams containing fewer women.

Late To The Party

This went viral two years ago.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Le Carre

His last interview in the U.S. Forever.
He's 80 and has a new book out and he's quite impressive. In fact, I'm humbled.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

That Settles It Then

Christine O'Donnell is not a witch, just as her first political ad said.
SNL, of course, did it better. That's because they are witches.

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Fruitless Search

The editor of my old newspaper sent me a note this morning thanking me for correcting with irrefutable evidence (factcheck.com) a false assertion in a letter to the editor that went up online yesterday.
He has scrubbed it from the Web site and it will not be published in the paper.
That is not the way things were handled in the old days. We didn't care how outrageous the lie, we printed anything and everything that wasn't libelous. I am encouraged, but not much, really. All I had to do was Google a likely phrase to disprove the lie, which means that's all the editorial page editor needed to do as well.
He just didn't. Time. Laziness. Bias. Whatever.
It was a rightwing lie. The editorial page editor is an abject conservative. He has always been trusted to do the right thing, partly I think because he has a deceptively Mr. Rogers demeanor and personality. But the conservative position in this country is largely mean, bitter and self-righteous, I don't care what lipstick it wears.

Speaking of truth, the Titanic, for instance.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Viral This Week


More Autumn Poetry

Autumn Moonlight
 by Matsuo Basho

Autumn moonlight —
a worm digs silently
into the chestnut

Other views.

Fresh Voices

over at McSweeney's. I usually forget it's there. Think I'll tab it, MeFi is getting a bit predictable.
I felt like there were three ways out. First, die. Second, cry. Third, fuck for money.

Ode To Fall

Is this nihilism? I dunno, but it's liberating nonetheless. Eff that, and that stupid horse movie, too.

Secretariat Is Not Just A Racehorse Movie

It's a dream. Oh, all movies are dreams? Well, then.
This long-suffering female Job overcomes such tremendous obstacles as having been born white and Southern and possessed of impressive wealth and property, and who then lucks into owning a genetic freak who turned out to be faster and stronger than any racehorse ever foaled. And guess what? She triumphs anyway!
I wish more reviewers did this sort of thing. Reviewing as social criticism.
Roger Ebert doesn't like it one bit (linky included above).

I Am So Out Of It

First: Ce-Lo Green has an all female band.
Second: The BBC allows him to sing a song entitled Fuck You on television.
What would Sinatra say about this? What would my dad think? That we'd lost our way, although they would appreciate the babes for sure.
He's an okay singer, no Sam Cook, but who is?
Lesson: Crude Is Still In.
Question: How long, Lord, how long?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Batten Down The Hatches

I may not live through this. Not because I'm especially vulnerable, but because I'm especially old.
He predicts that between 2007 and 2027, gross domestic product per capita will grow at the slowest pace of any 20-year period in U.S. history going back to George Washington’s Presidency.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Ayn Rand

This guy actually likes Atlas Shrugged. It's a craft thing or something.
All of this is fine, if one recognizes that the idealized world Ayn Rand has created to facilitate her wishful theorizing has no more logical connection to our real one than a world in which an author has imagined humanity ruled by intelligent cups of yogurt.
I never read it. It was forbidden by my betrothed and I forgot to think about it after the divorce.
But now I don't have to.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

TV Slut

I don't watch all the time, not even every day. Honest.
That said:
— I wonder if NBC fired the poor schmucks responsible for last night's SNL debacle of multiple commercials doubled up, then cut off as they tried to get a grip and cut back in to the show in the middle of sketches.
Bryan Cranston will forever be known as Skivvy Boy to me.
Hang in there to 4:50 or just fast forward.

— I feel sorry for anyone watching Mad Men who isn't also staying tuned for the equally excellent and entirely different Rubicon. I feel even sorrier for anyone not watching either. Best two hours of the week.
Okay, that scene where Roger holds down the telephone button and pretends to be talking to Lucky Strike was pretty hokey, not up to standard. But I forgive them. MM is just brilliant.
— Coming soon: Zombies!!! (e.g. The Walking Dead, a series!)

On second thought: Has Kanye West always been that bad? I'm sure I must have seen him before, but it was forgettable. Last night's SNL performances were embarrassing. YouTube it if you want to know, I'm not linking.

Nice Riff On Tony Curtis And America

My dad wanted to be Frank Sinatra, too. And Jackie Gleason.
I was casting about for a father figure. Oh, sure, I had a father, but my father wanted to be Frank Sinatra or Tony Curtis, in no particular order, and on some days thought he was.

Read more: http://www.esquire.com/the-side/feature/tony-curtis-death-093010?src=rss#ixzz11LejKBdF

Hi, Mr. Beck

Eye Of Newt

Hi, Newt!

Can Democrats Keep Their House Majority?

NYT analysis suggests things are more fluid than R's had planned.
Republican strategists estimated that only half of the 39 seats they need to win control of the House were definitively in hand.

Wait a minute, Nate Silver's crunching numbers.
The most likely number of Republican pickups is in the range of about 45 seats — although significantly larger or smaller gains remain possible. The model does not expect a clean sweep: Democrats are favorites in 4 seats currently held by Republicans. But Republicans are favorites in exactly 50 Democratic-held seats, according to the model, which would be enough to give them control of the House.
But as long as you're at the NYT site, you might as well read Gail Collins' take. She's more fun.
Colorado voters, in the fun-loving spirit that has filled so many Republican primaries this season, gave the gubernatorial nomination to a newcomer named Dan Maes, who had already been hit with one of the largest campaign finance violation fines in state history for claiming more than $40,000 in mileage reimbursements — which would suggest that he spent the last year driving the equivalent of more than a third of the way to the moon.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

On Our Walk Today

I found a lot of mushrooms.

And Shorty needed to cool down afterwards.

The Women's Movement Today

excerpt from Susan Faludi
The contemporary women’s movement seems fated to fight a war on two fronts: alongside the battle of the sexes rages the battle of the ages.
And I'm sorry, but you'll have to find this month's Harper's to read the whole thing.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Mmm, Pasta

http://www.babbonyc.com/recipe-archive.htmlIn all its shapes and combined for goodness.
Mmm, spaghetti.

OMFG, Babbo has recipes!

This Way Lies Reefer Madness

 The last I heard, California's Prop. 19 looks likely to pass with about a 10-point lead in polls.
But not if the Booze Lobby has its way. Why, "Marijuana operatives" could buy up thousands of acres of farmland, and other dire outcomes. Heh.
Oh, and the price could drop, putting a lot of dispensaries out of business.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fair Warning

I know, I know. Posts have been sparse. They're about to get sparser. I seem to have become partially employed despite all efforts to the contrary. Miss you, too.

Laff O' Teh Nite

Doc to woman in labor:
"Now Mrs. Morgan, I've already administered the epidural, would you like one as well?"

30 Rock

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

DNA O' Teh Day

It was his subconscious which told him this - that infuriating part of a person's brain which never responds to interrogation, merely gives little meaningful nudges and then sits humming quietly to itself, saying nothing.
It is rumored that Oct. 10, 2010 will be the first of many happy 42 Days to come. You heard it here first. Unless, of course, you heard it somewhere else. Towel anyone?

Monday, September 27, 2010

More Fun Than That Porn Thingie

From Utne!
A lot of pissed-off people wind up at our monastery. This place has a tractor beam like the Death Star in Star Wars that pulls in everyone within a thousand-mile radius with four-letter words on the tips of their tongues. Her marriage tanked, he’s got an itch in his brain he just can’t scratch, she’s 45 and smells of cabbage and lives in a small studio apartment and nobody ever calls her back. They all wind up here, sold on the promise that Buddhism can alleviate suffering...
...In other words, spiritual work isn’t always “instructive”—it’s transformative, and this kind of transformation can get messy. The Sanskrit term for this is clusterfuck.

Oh, God. Porn.

I really wanted to just see how Lawrence O'Donnell does tonight and sort of peruse MeFi at the same time.
But somebody had to spoil it all.
Given that the average boy first sees porn at the age of 11, we are raising a generation of boys who are cruel, bored and desensitized.

I Am Very Proud

of the fact that I intend to complete this very long and worthwhile piece on David Axelrod before indulging the Monday-morning quarterbacking on last night's superior Mad Men.
Axelrod is a liberal with a populist streak; Obama is more of a technocrat who leans left but generally shuns ideology.

Cancelled: Civil War History Month

Still going, the actual Civil War in which "Yankees" invaded Virginia and killed thousands of innocent civilians over nothing. Nothing, except that little thing, treason.
There was a family anecdote that one of my ancestors, the mother of six, was deserted by her Confederate soldier husband after he learned she was aiding and abetting escaping slaves by hiding them on their farm. Supposedly, she moved to Cleveland and began taking in washing to survive.
Given that boths sides of my family were full of bigotry with rare exceptions like my mother, I doubt the story. But I retain it. I like it.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Teh Gays

are mad at Obama over the failure of DADT. Feh.
I'm watching the long game. And Andrew Sullivan easily acknowledges that the major gay activist organization is an embarrassing joke.
I'm reminded of that FDR quote to the effect that "Madam, I want to do as you ask, but you must make me."

About Your House

I sat in the barber shop last week and listened as the woman who cuts my hair and her 40ish male customer discussed strategies on how to sell their homes. He has an inherited one in this Victorian city, but doesn't want to let it go at rock-bottom prices and will wait until the market turns up. Yeah, right, I thought, having absorbed the speculation out there that overall home prices in the U.S. must fall another 10 percent before economists consider the market normal.
The barber showed off the big front-page ad she got in one of the regional housing shoppers. She wants about a mil for the two homes on five acres in the country that she "has to sell," but she'll take $75K less if they don't go through a Realtor.
Yeah, right, I thought.
I have other friends here who just took their home off the market, not a nibble in months, after their Realtor told them it was the worst market since 1967.
Actually, since 1963, since they started keeping records.
But it's better here in the West. Well, somewhere in the West, certainly not Nevada.

— There were 206,000 new houses on the market at the end of August, the fewest since August 1968.
— The last time unemployment exceeded 9 percent for three consecutive years was from 1939 to 1941.

Unemployment was, of course, much higher than 9 percent in those years. But still.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Spooky! Whodunit?

I have always felt that cyberterrorism is an under-examined question.
But how about cyber warfare conducted by a nation state? Richard Clarke didn't say anything about that.
Stuxnet is essentially a precision, military-grade cyber missile deployed early last year to seek out and destroy one real-world target of high importance – a target still unknown.
A geographical distribution of computers hit by Stuxnet, which Microsoft produced in July, found Iran to be the apparent epicenter of the Stuxnet infections. That suggests that any enemy of Iran with advanced cyber war capability might be involved, Langner says. The US is acknowledged to have that ability, and Israel is also reported to have a formidable offensive cyber-war-fighting capability.
Could Stuxnet's target be Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant, a facility much of the world condemns as a nuclear weapons threat?

Erm, About That Sharia Law Thingie

that we're all supposed to be so afraid of.
Instead of just blindly quoting Newt Gingrich and finding somebody on the other side to say "no, I don't think so," TPM actually did a little investigative real journalism.
Among the findings:
Numerous American cities now have one or more Muslim 'religious courts' in operation where believers go to adjudicate family law disputes, real estate transactions and various other matters according to Sharia Law by binding arbitration. These religious court verdicts can then be enforced by civilian American courts. Various states have also passed laws to codify Muslim dietary laws, though a few of these laws have been struck down. And numerous national corporations now process foods to suit Muslim dietary standards. Finally, one jurisdiction in New York has been settled entirely by devout Muslims; no candidates run for office except those approved by the local imam; road signs in the town are all printed in both English and Arabic; and various local practices have been brought into line with Sharia.
Actually, there's one detail I didn't mention. The law here isn't Sharia; it's Halakhah, Jewish religious law. And all the above are true if you change 'Muslim' to 'Jewish' and 'Arabic' to 'Hebrew'. (Actually, Yiddish written in the Hebrew script, to be specific.)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Get To Know Some Interesting People

All the Paris Review interviews are now online.
Picking at random, Ann Carson:
“At least half of your mind is always thinking, I’ll be leaving; this won’t last. It’s a good Buddhist attitude. If I were a Buddhist, this would be a great help. As it is, I’m just sad.”
And then there's always HST:
“Who the fuck do you think wrote the Book of Revelation? A bunch of stone-sober clerics?”
I plan to use this daily as a sort of meditation. I'm no good at real meditation. Probably because it's just not real to me.
Rain, shower, rain, shower. The season has begun.

Are You WEIRD?

Yeah, unlike most people.

Worth A Second Mention

FrontSection is just the sort of thing I need at this time of night. Better than coffee and cigarettes.
In our imagination it is still 2003 and the idea of an aggregator of smart stuff with a concise, vaguely cynical tone is thus a novel idea.
Unfortunately, it's the weekend and I plumbed it all last night after MetaFilter failed to brighten the dark hours. Oh, well.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Contrarienne Extraordinaire

Elizabeth Warren, of course.
In an age of few progressive heroes, it took amazing combination of persistence, principle, political shrewdness and personal grace to make herself the indispensable woman.
h/t EE

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ennui Monday

For some reason, StatCounter does not seem to be working when accessed from bookmarks, although the link at the bottom of the home page works fine.
So, it's nice to know there are still a few of you out there despite Contrarienne's inexplicable productivity decline.
Also, I notice that nothing has been posted since last Thursday, violating my interim resolution to post at least once a day just to make it appear let you know that I care.
There has been no news worth noting. Sullivan is uniformly depressing, TPM hung up on marginal issues, Huffpo even more irrelevant than usual, Drudge fails to find even a single radical animal abuse story, Kos yada yada yada. Even MetaFilter fails to satisfy.
The only new thing I've learned today was from Wikipedia's entry for Lady Gaga, my search an act of desperation. But I can't remember any of it except that her parents named her Stephani with an i.
Oh, and she went to the same Catholic high school on the Upper East Side as Paris and Nicky Hilton. Is Nicky Paris' sister or brother? I think one of Liz Taylor's husbands was a Nicky Hilton. Is he Paris' father or grandfather or an uncle of some sort?
See what I mean? Life is meaningless.
Contrarienne has been nursing what remains of a debilitating cold, which would be less debilitating if she hadn's smoked cigarettes for 50 years of her life.
Breathing is a conscious act, which is just not right.
Therefore, she has had plenty of down time to develop the following diet resolutions:
1. No more saurkraut
2. No more bean soup
3. Eat more donuts

Recommended TV: Breaking Bad, the first two of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Here's to a better Tuesday.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

There's Terry Jones

the crazy Koran burner and then there's The Real Terry Jones (as the MC) h/t Andrew Sullivan.

Harvest Day

The trouble with growing food is that you have to harvest it. And cook it. Luckily, I have a great vineagrette for the beans.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Just Go

here. Then here.http://meowmania.jqln.org/

Best Roller Derby Name

Debbie Does Malice
But you choose your own, here's the list.
And here's the MeFi thread. Apparently there's a new video game coming out. I can hardly wait for the new season. I think I want to be a regular.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sunday Guilt Trip

Today's topic: Trash
The New York City Dept. of Sanitation has a resident anthropologist. Who knew?

"...everything is clean and fine and running along..."
Wait, what's that burning smell coming from the dishwasher?
No, really.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

50 Years Ago Today

the first presidential debate. Radio listeners thought Nixon won. TV watchers scored it for Kennedy. But for Papa Joe, Nixon would have won the election. Or so "they" say.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

What's So Funny?

So. "Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn't seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other guy whips out his phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps, "My friend is dead! What can I do?". The operator says "Calm down. I can help. First, let's make sure he's dead." There is a silence, then a shot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy says "OK, now what?"

Supposedly, world's funniest joke.

"Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into a sewer and die."
Mel Brooks

I will have to remember the Benign Violation Theory and other related discussion over at MeFi, which keeps me up too late. 'Nite.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

How Can I Not Love This?

She is, after all "the first British-Kashmiri female dholi, trained by the Dhol Blasters and Azaad dhol..."

Don's Pharmacy Potato Salad

I used to get all fancy and complicated with potato salad, because I really didn't like it. No matter how fancy I made it.
Then I discovered French potato salad made with vinegriette and that was pretty good. And different.
But it wasn't until I impulsively ordered  — and tasted — the house potato salad while at ONE OF THE LAST LUNCH COUNTERS IN AMERICA (and one of the few places you can still get a real malted milk shake) — for my annual BLT w/o the L or the T, that I knew I'd finally found the secret.
And what is it, you ask. KISS, honey, just KISS.

Take any number of white potatoes that you want and microwave them on baked potato setting, then let them cool but not get cold.
Or you can boil them if you want to go to all that trouble. They do get a little too soft in the microwave.
Chop up a bunch of scallions, greens included, until you've got enough to kind of balance the potatoes. Roughly, I'd do about one bunch to four medium potatoes.
Peel and dice the coolish potatoes into 1/2 inch chunks, throw in the scallions (you HAVE washed them, cut off the root ends and discarded anything that looks brownish, right? Do I have to explain everything?)
Then start spooning in heaping tablespoons of mayo (Best's only, unless you live in the Midwest, where I've heard Heilemann's is the man) and gently coating everything until it looks neither too dry nor too wet. Salt and pepper to taste. Eat. Enjoy.
Refrigerate leftovers. You can add chunks of peeled harboiled egg to this, but it's not necessary unless you're making it a one-dish vegetarian dinner and need some protein. Scallions and potatoes, scallions and just about anything. I would not recommend substituting any other kind of onion. Then it wouldn't be Don's and you'd have to get all fancy to pull it off, in which case, why bother, just buy some of that overpriced pre-packaged stuff at Safeway.
BTW, Don's is no longer called Don's. It's called The Leader Drug Store, which probably means the local newspaper publisher bought it and named it after his paper or paper company or something.
But to me, it will always be Don's. The waitresses are all the kind you usually only find in the movies, call me honey and some of them are older than I am.
The cook used to be female but they've got some passing ex-shed boy in there now.
He makes great potato salad, a decent cheeseburger and there's lots of B on the BLT without the L or the T.
It was a great place to hang out my first winter here when the rain was driving me crazy and the kid was at school. Still feels like home.
What's a shed boy? Well might you ask.

Early Meatless Monday For AB

So I have all this aging celery in the garden, it's getting fibrous and I don't even like celery but even the celery lover doesn't want to eat it but I hate to let it go to compost.
Just so happens the NYT had a recipe that I saw when linking to something else that called for five cups of celery, which is a lot.
Yesterday I decided to make the Greek beans, which I think of as Italian beans because instead of tomato sauce or paste, I used a can of diced Italian spiced tomatoes.
The celery lover and I split the results and, guess what, we each have only about a spoonful left after less than 24 hours.
I like my beans with enough broth to eat as soup because the broth is soooo good. But I was still scarfing the dish down at midnight while I watched The Ghost Writer — pretty good thriller — and so it turns out it was an uplanned but totally satisfying Meatless Friday.
Use all your bean broth when you put the dish in the oven and  bake in something larger than the two-quart glass casserole I used, which boiled over a bit.
I will never be a vegetarian, but I could do more things like this and skip the  beef/pork/chicken entirely every couple of days and never notice the difference.
P.S. I had small navy beans, so that's what I used.

Recipes for Health
White Beans With Celery

This dish is inspired by a Greek recipe from Diane Kochilas’s “The Glorious Foods of Greece” that calls for giant white beans and about three times as much olive oil. I had regular white beans in my pantry and a bunch of celery left over from a recipe that called for only a couple of stalks (which happens so often). I love the textures here. The celery retains a little crunch, which contrasts nicely with the soft beans.

1/2 pound (about 1 1/8 cups) white beans, rinsed, picked over and soaked for six hours or overnight in 1 quart water

Salt to taste

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

4 to 5 cups chopped celery, including the leaves

4 large garlic cloves, minced

1 8-ounce can tomato sauce, or 2 tablespoons tomato paste diluted in 1 cup water

1/4 to 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley (to taste)

Juice of 1 to 2 lemons, to taste

1. Drain the beans, and combine in a large saucepan with enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, add salt to taste, cover and simmer until the beans are just tender, about 45 minutes to an hour. Do not let the beans boil hard or they’ll fall apart before they’re cooked through.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet, and add the celery and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until it just begins to soften, about three minutes, and add the garlic. Stir together for a minute, until the garlic is fragrant, and remove from the heat.

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Drain the beans over a bowl. Place in a large baking dish, preferably earthenware, and toss with the celery and garlic, the remaining olive oil and the tomato sauce or diluted tomato paste. Add enough of the drained broth to cover by an inch, and stir in the remaining olive oil. Cover the dish tightly with foil, and place in the oven. Bake one hour, or until the beans are soft and creamy.

4. Uncover the beans, stir, and add salt and pepper to taste. Add a tablespoon or 2 of lemon juice, or more if desired, and adjust salt and pepper. Serve hot, warm or room temperature, with a little more olive oil drizzled over the top if desired.

Yield: Serves four.

Advance preparation: The beans will keep for three days in the refrigerator. You may want to thin them out with a little water or broth.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Email O' Teh Day

(Thanks, JK)
Inner Peace: This Is So True

If you can start the day witout caffeine
If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains
If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles
If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it
If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment
If you can conquer tension without medical help
If you can relax without liquor
If you can sleep without the aid of drugs

...then you are probably
the family dog

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Blog It Is

I admire and respect Jerome a Paris over at Daily Kos.
He's French but with a native grasp of American politics as well as the world picture, plus he knows all about energy and economics. He's in the business, as it were, green energy investment apparently.
Anyhoo, I just started reading his new post, the first in a long time that I've noticed, and just thought I'd recommend it for his impressive grasp of the salient factors in our recent economic experience. Guess what, he doesn't include the housing bubble. Hmm.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The First Contrariennes

"When sentenced at Bow-Street Police Court to two months hard labor the two Suffragettes who were yesterday released from Holloway Gaol uttered the threat 'It will be bombs next time'."
Ah, memories.
August 26 18? is the anniversary of women's suffrage in the U.S. Should I go to the Plague of Women Vultures luncheon?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Refusing at Fifty-Two to Write Sonnets
by Thomas Lynch

It came to him that he could nearly count
How many Octobers he had left to him
In increments of ten or, say, eleven
Thus: sixty-three, seventy-four, eighty-five.
He couldn't see himself at ninety-six—
Humanity's advances notwithstanding
In health-care, self-help, or new-age regimens—
What with his habits and family history,
The end he thought is nearer than you think.

The future, thus confined to its contingencies,
The present moment opens like a gift:
The balding month, the grey week, the blue morning,
The hour's routine, the minute's passing glance—
All seem like godsends now. And what to make of this?
At the end the word that comes to him is Thanks.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Web Site O' Teh Week

MetaFilter says it could become as addicting as ... wait for it ... MetaFilter.

My fav:
Neoliberalism has unshackled public culture from the chains of innovation, freeing it to be bland, nervous, artistically moribund, and commercially limp…

Or maybe:
Loose regulation, poor women, and wads of cash combine to form a lively market in human eggs in Cyprus…

A gold mine is what it is.

Tvxtg! Fast!

Google CEO Eric Schmidt said we now create 5 exabytes of data every two days, an amount equal to all the information created from the dawn of civilization through 2003.

UPDATE: Anonymous wants to know what the connection is. Franklin (who Tara later "kills" — her success is questionable and fans apparently want him back) is just contributing his bit to the bytes, so to speak.

Roger Ebert Speaks

I was asked at lunch today who or what I worshipped. The question was asked sincerely, and in the same spirit I responded that I worshipped whatever there might be outside knowledge. I worship the void. The mystery. And the ability of our human minds to perceive an unanswerable mystery. To reduce such a thing to simplistic names is an insult to it, and to our intelligence.
From this piece on Christopher Hitchins.

Friday, August 13, 2010


Georgia Boscolo, the 24-year-old daughter of a gondolier, becomes the first Venetian gondoliera in 900 years.

In National Costume

One of Andrew Sullivan's readers responds to a previous post about the lack of color photography in the early period of photography and that the dominance of black-and-white distances us from our view of the past.
Bashkir woman in national costume, 1910, Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii
And s/he sends a link to a little treasure trove from a pioneering Russian photographer.
Seeing this, I am inspired to ask, what would a photograph captioned "American woman in national costume, 2010" look like?