Sunday, December 25, 2011

Barely Able To Keep Up

It is comforting, but only a little, to know that scientists are as flummoxed as mere mortal me when it comes to certainty. I have only recently learned the term "liquid" modernity to describe the sociologists' current world view of our basically unstable and unpredictable times, which at least seems to contain a finite number of people in a measurable space, thank Dog for that.
As for the multiverses, I say, bring 'em on! (But what if they also conclude there are people in some of those, too? Oh, my.)

It is as if you walked into a shoe store, had your feet measured, and found that a size 5 would fit you, a size 8 would also fit, and a size 12 would fit equally well. Such wishy-washy results make theoretical physicists extremely unhappy. Evidently, the fundamental laws of nature do not pin down a single and unique universe. According to the current thinking of many physicists, we are living in one of a vast number of universes. We are living in an accidental universe. We are living in a universe uncalculable by science.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Little Story Not Many People Know About

A movie star and an avant garde composer together invent a weapons system.
 Lamarr, however, not only possessed a head for abstract spatial relationships, but she also had been in her former life a fly on the wall during meetings and technical discussions between her ­munitions-manufacturer husband and his clients, some of them Nazi officials. 
...Hedy’s folly may have been in assuming men in government might overcome their prejudice that a beautiful woman could not have brains and imagination. But she lived to see similar versions of her invention be put into common practice, and in 1997, Hedy Lamarr, at the age of 82, and George Antheil (posthumously) were honored with the Pioneer Award by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Nature Wants To Eat You

What an amusing title for a web site.

The house centipede has the same poison fangs that normal centipedes do, but they can move towards you at great speed thanks to its long spindly legs. They have a top speed of 40 cm per second.
Incidentally, 40 cm is the exact distance between the house centipede and your face.

Buckley on Hitchens

Buckley is never as amusing as I want, but Hitchins usually was.
One of our lunches, at Café Milano, the Rick’s Café of Washington, began at 1 P.M., and ended at 11:30 P.M. At about nine o’clock (though my memory is somewhat hazy), he said, “Should we order more food?” I somehow crawled home, where I remained under medical supervision for several weeks, packed in ice with a morphine drip. Christopher probably went home that night and wrote a biography of Orwell. His stamina was as epic as his erudition and wit.
Read more

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Silly Me

I assumed I would never have to think about John Bolton again. Then Newt promised to threatened to named him Secretary of State.
Here's Juan Cole, the rational blogoshere's go-to guy on such matters:
 ... wants to bomb Iran so badly he sometimes just sits in an F-18 and imagines himself over Isfahan

O Death

I was all set to make fun of Hillary's wardrobe, but I can't get the photos to work.

In the meantime, here's something completely different.
I'm not a big Hitchins fan,  but he's so rigorously honest and truthful in this piece and I'm really grateful for it.
So far, I have decided to take whatever my disease can throw at me, and to stay combative even while taking the measure of my inevitable decline. I repeat, this is no more than what a healthy person has to do in slower motion. It is our common fate. In either case, though, one can dispense with facile maxims that don’t live up to their apparent billing.
And then there's always this which, when I told her about it, frightened my therapist into a quick and facile rejection of the tone, that last line. She's my age, and sicker, at least judging from the last time I saw her shopping and looking like death, not even a smile of recognition, but a complaint. Maybe she was in pain.

User's Guide to Physical Debilitation
 by Paul Guest

        Should the painful condition of irreversible paralysis
last longer than forever or at least until
your death by bowling ball or illegal lawn dart
or the culture of death, which really has it out
for whoever has seen better days
but still enjoys bruising marathons of bird watching,
you, or your beleaguered caregiver
stirring dark witch's brews of resentment
inside what had been her happy life,
should turn to page seven where you can learn,
assuming higher cognitive functions
were not pureed by your selfish misfortune,
how to leave the house for the first time in two years.
An important first step,
with apologies for the thoughtlessly thoughtless metaphor.
When not an outright impossibility
or form of neurological science fiction,
sexual congress will either be with
tourists in the kingdom of your tragedy,
performing an act of sadistic charity;
with the curious, for whom you will be beguilingly blank canvas;
or with someone blindly feeling their way
through an extended power outage
caused by summer storms you once thought romantic.
Page twelve instructs you how best
to be inspiring to Magnus next door
as he throws old Volkswagens into orbit
above Alberta. And to Betty
in her dark charm confiding a misery,
whatever it is, that to her seems equivalent to yours.
The curl of her hair that her finger knows
better and beyond what you will,
even in the hypothesis of heaven
when you sleep. This guide is intended
to prepare you for falling down
and declaring détente with gravity,
else you reach the inevitable end
of scaring small children by your presence alone.
Someone once said of crushing
helplessness: it is a good idea to avoid that.
We agree with that wisdom
but gleaming motorcycles are hard
to turn down or safely stop
at speeds which melt aluminum. Of special note
are sections regarding faith
healing, self-loathing, abstract hobbies
like theoretical spelunking and extreme atrophy,
and what to say to loved ones
who won't stop shrieking
at Christmas dinner. New to this edition
is an index of important terms
such as catheter, pain, blackout,
pathological deltoid obsession, escort service,
magnetic resonance imaging,
loss of friends due to superstitious fear,
and, of course, amputation
above the knee due to pernicious gangrene.
It is our hope that this guide
will be a valuable resource
during this long stretch of boredom and dread
and that it may be of some help,
however small, to cope with your new life
and the gradual, bittersweet loss
of every God damned thing you ever loved.

The following may be a little over the top for you, but I love the death masks and had never seen them before.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Remember Stuxnet?

No. Well let me refresh your memory. And introduce you to Conficker.
Dog, I love cyberterrorism.

Monday, November 28, 2011

They Call It Ego Depletion

and here all along I just thought I was being stupid. Huh.
But System 2, in addition to being more deliberate and rational, is also lazy. And it tires easily
In my new quest to find out about happiness, Nobelist Daniel Kahneman's book is now at the top of the list.

Mitt v. Mitt

But I still say, please Dog, let it be Newt.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

So, Yeah, I Want To Believe He's That Smart

You may have heard this week that all the Democrats have to do is do nothing. Wasn't that Sun Tsu's line?
(Sun Ya? I get all those dead Chinese generals mixed up.)
You may not have heard that this has been the plan all along. but if I hadn't been busy elsewhere I would have told you that the Supercommittee was not a serious move.
I am happy to see that Jon Taplin's hangin' in there because I miss his blog since he went and compromised himself by getting a real job. Rope-a-dope indeed.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Why, indeed, do I still yearn for it?
They go on smoking in part because of a fact that the prohibitionists are loath to recognize: Nicotine is a drug with benefits. It has been linked by researchers (and smokers) to reduced anxiety and stress, lower weight, faster reaction time and improved concentration.
Yet the New Puritanism of the anti-smoking crowd stinks strongly of a vested lobbying interest, not just some twisted moral stance.

Americans! Can't Live With 'Em, etc. has a lovely thread answering the musical question, "What do foreigners find weird about us/our country."
My favorite:Only in America would we have a Mexican Sushi place that is actually called "Casa Sushi".
It is nice to know that our service culture is actually superior to others, who apparently get away with being sullen and difficult. I think Americans expect each other to act like they like people, even though they don't. Where do we get that? And exactly what's wrong with it? Makes the day more pleasant.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Everything Is Amazing

"New York to L.A. in five hours. It used to take THIRTY YEARS!"
I love Louis CK, he's the smartest, funniest to come along in a very long time. Up there with Carlin, Seinfeld. Okay, I hated Seinfeld, but he contributed, as Louis would say.

Cucumbers v. grapes

Some monkeys began throwing cucumbers at the scientists because they know a bad deal when they see it.

Your Incredible Shrinking Brain

Made me laugh out loud, disturbing the three dogs, who are sleeping as I try to put myself back to sleep by visiting the internet at 3:30 a.m.

Digression, cast adrift on the buoyant Dead Sea of your own narrations, is a sign of old age, and remarked by ancient moralists and proven by modern neurology and brain science to be a symptom of natural decay of the aging brain, so let me conclude with one, which now that I consider it, is not really a digression at all, though this present clause surely is:
January 13, 2010: I am defending to a colleague the wisdom of the police rounding up the usual suspects.
Me: Claude Rains was being more than a mere cynic, which of course he was also being, when he said "round up the usual suspects" because the usual suspects were not innocent but the known criminals of whatever the city was, Tangiers, Marrakesh, I forget which.
Colleague: Casablanca.
Me: I am going to go shoot myself.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sunday, October 23, 2011

And outside the cabin, falling leaves.

Maybe someday I'll write something about it all, but in the meantime, there's always Billy Collins.
And Marvin Bell ("When the dead man throws up, he thinks he sees his inner life"), and Kay Ryan, and Anne Carson and Marie Howe ("This is what you have been waiting for, he used to say to me") and Philip Larkin and...and...well, and poetry, my dear.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Correct Me If I'm Wrong

but weren't the Tea Partiers clamoring for an audit of the Fed? While one was going on right under their noses, mandated by the two favorite whipping boys (Frank-Dodd reform bill, anyone?) and put in to the legislation by none other than Bernie Sanders, that dirty hippy pinko anarchist probably born in Kenya as well.
Guess what? It's out. Trillions, baby, tril-y-uns.
I don't think any of what Krugman calls the Very Serious People has seen fit to mention it, though.
I picked up on this at Andrew Sullivan today, and there is since some quite credible context

Thursday, October 13, 2011

On Any Day

you can be amazed. If you just look. Monday The Owl, today The Juggler. In the hardware store parking lot.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


I thought owls were nocturnal creatures, yet there she is at 9:03 a.m., two hours past daylight, perched on her third branch since I spotted her at about 7:30.
Shorty has already been terrified by and in turn terrorized a wood rat on the side path — much growling and squealing and tossing of body into the air; the telephone repairman has come and gone, both of us shaking our heads in agreement that the placement of the switch box or whatever it is near the main road was unique in its stupidity lo those 26 years ago. Someone, probably driving a horse trailer, has destroyed it again.
I have had my morning oblations and my morning hot cereal; photographed her on her first perch multiple times and re-discovered how a cheap, three-year-old Kodak compensates for low light. None of the photographs are in focus, betraying either an embarrassingly unsteady hand or a really, really slow shutter.
She has groomed her tail and her wings multiple times, cleaned her claws and waited.
The air around her is as alive as any anthill. She ignores the army of small birds as they flit from trunk to limb to air, light as knats.
Her great head swivels and tilts, though, when it is a big blue jay with his punk hairdo landed on a swaying branch an arm's reach away.
She knows he has seen her, though her markings mimic the very bark of the tree she sits in, the curve of her folded wings looks like just any other cedar bough to a jay.  He seems mezmerized. But he is so fast, she is so heavy.
I believe she is waiting for one of the fat rabbits who come to eat grass and clover from the lawn between my window and her branch. They could come at any time, they are that stupid. She would drop like a stone before a rabbit even noticed a change in the air. Rabbits freeze and blend in. This owl sees them the way an x-ray sees cancer.
Less lucky, but still worth it would be one of the three noisily psychotic little red squirrels that worry my squirrel-proof feeder on an almost hourly basis. Where are they? I haven't seen or heard one this morning. Sometimes they are enough to force my windows closed in summer.
Well, they know she's here. That's it. They've seen her shadow as they cross the roof, easy targets. Or they've seen her take something. They know where to check for her, like I know now.
She's been here before, I bet.
And she'll come again.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Steve Jobs Is Dead, But

Charlie Kaufman is still alive and still writing. So there's that.
I ran into a MeFi discussion about Kaufman related to a talk he gave somewhere but there was no video yet. But someone found this. I could embed it, but it's 72 minutes.
And yes, some people hated Synedoche, NY and some people loved it.
Now the question for me is, it's 11:30 so should I watch CK or last night's Project Runway as planned.
Not really. There is no question.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Krugman's Army

I love people who actually know what they're talking about, in this case, the Occupy Wall Street movement and what is needed for the left to succeed.
I admit I haven't been paying much attention. I sort of thought of them as Operation Pink or something. Then yesterday I read some personal stories (just the sort of thing I would have told them to put out there, I've yet to read any personal stories of the Tea Party, but I might have ignored those) and decided maybe I ought ot pay more attention.
Who knows, something may be happening.
Andrew Sullivan admits he's rooting for the dirty hippies.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Quote O' Teh Day

Krugman steals from DeLong about a Bloomberg piece on the Koch bros and Iran.
the hard right is worse than you can possibly imagine, even if you take account of the fact that it’s worse than you can possibly imagine.

Not just Iran, as it turns out, but a nice long piece about Koch's long bad history.

For six decades around the world, Koch Industries has blazed a path to riches -- in part, by making illicit payments to win contracts, trading with a terrorist state, fixing prices, neglecting safety and ignoring environmental regulations. At the same time, Charles and David Koch have promoted a form of government that interferes less with company actions.

‘Overall Concept’

“My overall concept is to minimize the role of government and to maximize the role of the private economy and maximize personal freedoms,” David Koch told the National Journal in May 1992.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Posthumous Honorary Contrarienne

Pioneer photographer Anne Brigman.
This from 1926.
I'd look for Imogene Cunningham and include her if I was more motivated.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

So Long, Summer

Labor Day weekend with the very entertaining Locust Street Taxi on city pier in Port Townsend.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Economy's Fucked. News At 11.

I'm going to bookmark the article and read it later because it's long. It's highly (read MetaFilter) recommended.
But I wanted to share this little wrap he puts on it under the heading Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction Dept.
In 2005, Porsche began to buy shares in Volkswagen (I know that sounds the wrong way around), to help it ward off a foreign takeover. They kept buying shares over the next three years, and as they did so the share price rose. As it did so, the remaining Volkswagen shares, obviously, kept becoming more expensive, so it became clear that Porsche wouldn’t be able to afford to buy all the rest of them and take full control of the target company. At the same time, prospects weakened for the global car industry. The hedge funders took out their crystal balls and concluded that this meant Porsche would stop buying shares, and so the share price would fall, and they began to short Volkswagen stock. So far, so routine. But what they didn’t know was that Porsche was secretly using Germany’s not so transparent rules to accumulate more and more shares, until 26 October 2008, when Porsche announced that it now owned 75 per cent of Volkswagen, i.e. pretty much all the publicly tradeable stock – most of the rest was, for various reasons, locked up in places where it couldn’t be sold. At which point, the hedge funds shat themselves. Remember, all those shorted shares were borrowed, and had to be bought back and then returned – but where were the hedge funds going to buy the shares to return them, since there was now no stock on the market? Answer: they’d have to pay whatever the seller wanted to charge. In 48 hours, Volkswagen’s share price went from €200 to more than €1000. Hedge funds lost £24 billion betting against Volkswagen and Germany’s fifth richest man, Adolf Merckle (b. 1934, cement, pharmaceuticals), threw himself under a train.

If One Republican Loser

(see Carly Fiorina) can't manage your company, maybe another one can (see Meg Whitman).
Would I pay any attention at all if they weren't both women? Debatable.
Definitely not Honorary Contrariennes.

Elizabeth Warren For President 2016

I'm looking for the bumper stickers now.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Two, Count Them, Two

Honorary Contrariennes. I've seen Randall on Charlie Rose a few times and, God help me, wondered — as with Samantha Power —how it is that one can be a beautiful blonde and still achieve such status. Bad Julie, bad Julie.
And then there's Carolyn Porco. Hadn't heard of her until MetaFilter clued me in a few days ago.
More reading to do now, dammit.

Dear Followers

I had no idea until today that there were five of you. It's kinda nice to know you're out there. Guess I should be more prolific. But I'm curious. What happens once you become a follower? Do they tell you when there's a new post? Cuz that would be cool. Otherwise, I'm thinkin' what good is it except for my vanity. Do you think I should ask my FB friends to be followers? Or would they then get spammed with every post? I mean there was a time when I did 20 a day, now I'm thinkin' 20 a month would be a lot. FB sort of became my new Contrarienne, shortened version, but only because I play a lot of Lexulous and Scrabble.
Any feedback?

The Teenage Brain On ... Life

You've probably heard that the brain continues to mature into the early 20s, but haven't read much about it.
This month's National Geographic devotes a cover to the topic, and here's an exchange between a neuroscientist, the author and others.
I'm bookmarking this and I've just reserved Barbara Strauch's book about us fogies.
As if I didn't have a big enough pile on the counter.

Monday, September 12, 2011

American Jobs Act

I don't know why they have to turn basic info into PDFs, but that
s what they did with the state impact info. To save you the trouble, I have copied and pasted for Washington. For the rest of it, you're on your own.

The American people understand that the economic crisis and the deep recession weren’t created overnight and won’t be solved overnight. The economic security of the middle class has been under attack for decades. That’s why President Obama believes we need to do more than just recover from this economic crisis – we need to rebuild the economy the American way, based on balance, fairness, and the same set of rules for everyone from Wall Street to Main Street. We can work together to create the jobs of the future by helping small business entrepreneurs, by investing in education, and by making things the world buys. The President understands that to restore an American economy that’s built to last we cannot afford to outsource American jobs and encourage reckless financial deals that put middle class security at risk.
To create jobs, the President unveiled the American Jobs Act – nearly all of which is made up of ideas that have been supported by both Democrats and Republicans, and that Congress should pass right away to get the economy moving now. The purpose of the American Jobs Act is simple: put more people back to work and put more money in the pockets of working Americans. And it would do so without adding a dime to the deficit. The American Jobs Act has five components:
1. Tax Cuts to Help America’s Small Businesses Hire and Grow
• The President’s plan will cut the payroll tax in half to 3.1% for employers on the first $5 million in wages, providing broad tax relief to all businesses but targeting it to the 98 percent of firms with wages below this level. In Washington, 150,000 firms will receive a payroll tax cut under the American Jobs Act.
2. Putting Workers Back on the Job While Rebuilding and Modernizing America
• The President’s plan includes $50 billion in immediate investments for highways, transit, rail and aviation, helping to modernize an infrastructure that now receives a grade of “D” from the American Society of Civil Engineers and putting hundreds of thousands of construction workers back on the job. Of the investments for highway and transit modernization projects, the President’s plan will make immediate investments of at least $741,100,000 in Washington that could support a minimum of approximately 9,600 local jobs.
• The President is proposing to invest $35 billion to prevent layoffs of up to 280,000 teachers, while supporting the hiring of tens of thousands more and keeping cops and firefighters on the job. These funds would help states and localities avoid and reverse layoffs now, and will provide $627,800,000 in funds to Washington to support up to 8,500 educator and first responder jobs.
• The President is proposing a $25 billion investment in school infrastructure that will modernize at least 35,000 public schools – investments that will create jobs, while improving classrooms and upgrading our schools to meet 21st century needs. Washington will receive $365,100,000 in funding to support as many as 4,700 jobs.
• The President is proposing to invest $15 billion in a national effort to put construction workers on the job rehabilitating and refurbishing hundreds of thousands of vacant and foreclosed homes and businesses. Washington could receive about $20,000,000 to revitalize and refurbish local communities, in addition to funds that would be available through a competitive application.
• The President’s plan proposes $5 billion of investments for facilities modernization needs at community colleges. Investment in modernizing community colleges fills a key resource gap, and ensures these local, bedrock education institutions have the facilities and equipment to address current
workforce demands in today’s highly technical and growing fields. Washington could receive $83,900,000 in funding in the next fiscal year for its community colleges.
3. Pathways Back to Work for Americans Looking for Jobs.
• Drawing on the best ideas of both parties and the most innovative states, the President is proposing the most sweeping reforms to the unemployment insurance (UI) system in 40 years help those without jobs transition to the workplace. This could help put the 133,000 long-term unemployed workers in Washington back to work.
• Alongside these reforms, the President is reiterating his call to extend unemployment insurance, preventing 46,200 people looking for work in Washington from losing their benefits in just the first 6 weeks. And, across the country, the number saved from losing benefits would triple by the end of the year.
• The President is proposing a new Pathways Back to Work Fund to provide hundreds of thousands of low-income youth and adults with opportunities to work and to achieve needed training in growth industries. Pathways Back to Work could place 2,600 adults and 6,900 youths in jobs in Washington.
4. Tax Relief for Every American Worker and Family
• The President’s plan will expand the payroll tax cut passed last December by cutting workers payroll taxes in half next year. A typical household in Washington, with a median income of around $60,000, will receive a tax cut of around $1,860.
5. Fully Paid for as Part of the President’s Long-Term Deficit Reduction Plan.
• To ensure that the American Jobs Act is fully paid for, the President will call on the Joint Committee to come up with additional deficit reduction necessary to pay for the Act and still meet its deficit target. The President will, in the coming days, release a detailed plan that will show how we can do that while achieving the additional deficit reduction necessary to meet the President’s broader goal of stabilizing our debt as a share of the economy.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

TPM Attacked

Apparently by the dweebs of Anonymous, whose reputation is to only do it for the laughs. It is speculated they were pissed when TPM published the mug shots of the 14 colleagues (co-conspirators, fellow nerds?) who were arrested earlier this year regarding other computer attacks, maybe even the credit card companies who dropped the donor arrangements with Wikileaks. Anonymous like Wikileaks.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

And Don't Slip

Andrew Sullivan has an ongoing discussion of infinity going, and I grudginly am bookmarking because I "should" try to understand this stuff.
(In fact, I have a Neflix envelope on my desk containing the Nova segment on fractals. But only because I think they're pretty.)

My favorite comment so far:
One of the keys to math is not looking down.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Last Week It Was RNA

and cancer. This week it's microbes and bacterial disease. I'm thinking the whole genome thingie is  changing the earth on which I stand
Haiti was swept by cholera after last year’s earthquake. Cholera had not been seen in Haiti for more than a century. Why the sudden epidemic?
The scientists quickly sequenced the genome of the bacteria in Haiti and compared them with known cholera strains from around the world. It turned out that the Haitian strain was different from cholera bacteria in Latin America and Africa, but was identical to those in South Asia.
So the researchers concluded that the earthquake was indirectly responsible for the epidemic. Many relief workers who came to Haiti lived in South Asia, where cholera was endemic. “One or more of these individuals likely brought cholera to Haiti,” Dr. Waldor said.

Can Burning Man Survive

its transition to non-profit status?
What's that you say, you thought it was just some spontaneous hippyesque happening that just grew, like Alice eating the mushroom, every year out in the desert, then quietly slunk away in a haze of...well a purple haze for suure, duude.
Yes, that's what they wanted you to think.

Some images.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hang In There

Help is on the way.
I well remember the 60 Minutes interview with the (MIT, I think) researchers who had done enough work on resveratrol to convince them to incorporate and seek venture capital. They ultimately sold out their company, staying on board to direct the work.
The prospects for useful anti-aging drugs on the market were 5-15 years, they said, so just stay alive, Boomers, and you may benefit.
The findings “demonstrate for the first time the feasibility of designing novel molecules that are safe and effective in promoting longevity and preventing multiple age-related diseases in mammals,” Dr. de Cabo and colleagues write in Thursday’s issue of the new journal Scientific Reports.
The drug is one of a set of chemicals designed by Sirtris, a small pharmaceutical company in Cambridge, Mass., to mimic resveratrol — the trace ingredient of red wine thought to activate protective proteins called sirtuins.
Of course, no telling how much it could cost but there's a case to be made for the reasonable cost/mass market profit model vs. the rich-people-only/premium market.

I Know It's Crazy

but I allow for that. Here's the thing, cancer researchers are talking about the microbes that appear to occupy our bodies at a pretty dense ratio as if these other organisms might...oh, I doing things we not only don't understand, but hardly even recognized even a few years ago.
It's science fictiony, really. Not that they have controlling intelligence or anything. Or do they? What is our unconscious, anyway?
On top of that, there's the particle physics people and the notions of multiple universes not out there and big but somewhere close by, but really, really small.
Time for bed.
As they look beyond the genome, cancer researchers are also awakening to the fact that some 90 percent of the protein-encoding cells in our body are microbes. We evolved with them in a symbiotic relationship, which raises the question of just who is occupying whom.
“We are massively outnumbered,” said Jeremy K. Nicholson, chairman of biological chemistry and head of the department of surgery and cancer at Imperial College London. Altogether, he said, 99 percent of the functional genes in the body are microbial.
...The enemy inside us is every bit as formidable as imagined invaders from beyond. Learning to outwit it is leading science deep into the universe of the living cell.
Just a metaphor, you say? Bwahahaha.

What This Site Needs

is more pictures. This is a closeup of a Tom Jay cast bronze sculpture outside the Jefferson County Library in Port Hadlock, WA.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Atwood's Not Worried

So I'm not going to worry either. She knows more than I do, a lot more.
Shall we make her an honorary contrarienne? Let's.
What do you make of the need to perform one's life on Twitter and Facebook?
Margaret Atwood: It is just an extension of the diary. There is a wonderful book called The Assassin's Cloak which takes diary entries from all centuries and arranges them according to day of the year. So you can turn to January 1, and there will be an entry from Lord Byron, and there will be one from somebody during World War II, and there will be one from Brian Eno. And then on January 2, there will be somebody else.
People used to perform their lives this way to themselves in their diaries and through letters to other people. So, for me, anything that happens in social media is an extension of stuff we were already doing in some other way. It's all human communication. The form that most closely resembles the "tweet" is the telegram of old—which also was limited, because you paid by the letter. So they were also short communications very rapidly sent.
All of these things, the postal service, et cetera, they're all improvements or modernizations of things that already existed earlier in some other form. Even African tribal drums, for instance, could send very complex messages over great distances. They were very rapid, they were very well-worked out, and communications could go like wildfire using that medium of communication.
All of this stuff is what we do now, but it's not different in nature from what we have always done, which is communicate with one another, send messages to one another, and perform our lives. We've been doing that for a long time.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

My Faith Is Waivering

Krugman is not alone. The White House does, indeed, have its head up its ass. This wrong on so many levels.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Kittehs Ownz Intertoobz

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UPDATE: The embed is screwed up so here's the link. It's worth it.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Brown Paper Bag

Josh Marshall is positively poetic today and the topic is The Donald.

Yesterday was a day of jagged events coming together in unpredictable and surreal ways. Like one was how CNN had Donald Trump on air to provide financial commentary just as President Obama's scheduled 1 PM press appearance was pushed back to 1:30 PM, giving the Donald 30-odd minutes to riff and predict and generally get lost in the brown paper bag of his own imagination. 

The White Mouse

The most decorated female in World War II, Nancy Wake worked behind enemy lines in France and with the French Resistance. She was the Gestapo's most wanted. She died on Sunday in Australia, where she grew up.
She initially refused offers of decorations from Australia saying "The last time there was a suggestion of that I told the government they could stick their medals where the monkey stuck his nuts. The thing is if they gave me a medal now, it wouldn't be love so I don't want anything from them".
It's been a tough few days for Honorary Contrariennes.

Monday, August 8, 2011

I Well Remember Bernadine Healy

Long a leader in women's health, her star lost some luster when, as head of the Red Cross during 9/11, the organization was caught using some of those donations for other purposes.
I did not know until today that she had also been entangled in the vaccine/autism controversy.
Maybe it was the brain cancer.

And Now, Straight From The BBC...

Riots in London worsen, Stock Markets drop, and is it all over for hitchhiking?

Charlotte's Preggers

She hung there from my ceiling in the same place next to my chair for almost three hours, not moving. She is, after all, feeling heavy and tired.
When she stirred, I found an envelope for her to rest on, cut the cord, and took her outside. I am not sentimental about the skinny little striped ones, they do not survive if I find them in my house. But I have a soft spot for the white ones, which usually lurk in the center of some of my favorite flowers. I like to think they keep the aphids off the roses. Charlotte probably came in on something I made into a bouquet. Now she's back where she belongs.

Are You Neurotic Or Psychotic?

A psychotic thinks 2+2=5.
A neurotic knows 2+2=4. And hates it.
Today, some believe, the hidden hand of who really runs the country made a margin call. That's all. Carry on.

Hint: John Paulson

(No, I never heard of John Paulson either. Here's Wiki:
John Paulson is not related to former Goldman Sachs CEO and U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson.[3][6]
Paulson was ranked 39 on the 2011 Forbes list of the world's wealthiest people [1] with a net worth of almost $16 billion.[1]
Between 2009 and 2011 Paulson made several charitable donations including, $15 million to the Center for Responsible Lending, $20 million to New York University Stern School of Business, $15 million to build a children's hospital in Guayaquil, Ecuador and £2.5 million to the London School of Economics for the John A Paulson Chair in European Political Economy.[7][8][9]
Paulson has contributed $140,000 to political candidates and parties since 2000, 45% of which went to Republicans, 16% to Democrats, and 36% to special interests.[10]
Paulson, his wife Jenny, and their two daughters live on the Upper East Side of New York City. He also has homes in Southampton, New York and Aspen, Colorado.[2]

Sunday, August 7, 2011

I Think I'm In Love

First of all: what is work? Work is of two kinds: first, altering the position of matter at or near the earth's surface relatively to other such matter; second, telling other people to do so. The first kind is unpleasant and ill paid; the second is pleasant and highly paid. The second kind is capable of indefinite extension: there are not only those who give orders, but those who give advice as to what orders should be given. Usually two opposite kinds of advice are given simultaneously by two organized bodies of men; this is called politics.
        Bertrand Russell, In Praise of Idleness

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Whatever Became of Kit Seelye?

Who, you might ask? (Or is it whom?)
I thought the byline sounded familiar at the top of a mostly ho-hum little featurette last week in the NYT about the multi-tribe annual canoe trip that Pacific Northwest tribes were in the middle of paddling. But I quickly forgot about it.
Then today, an only slightly more informative feature on Japanese internment (does it mention the action was likely unconstitutional? I don't think so) marking the official opening of a memorial on Bainbridge Island, across from Seattle.
Is that the same Seelye, I wondered again, and this time decided to check out at an old reliable source.
I hardly ever read Bob Somersby anymore, although his sharp, exhaustive diatribes against the long trail of blatant offenses to factual reporting by mainstream journalists was part of my daily diet during the hyper period of the run-up to the 2008 election.
Somersby's ongoing chronicle of shame for lazy, corrupt and incompetent practices of some of the top players in my former profession features an impressive memory that he can seemingly link up at will so that people like Seelye stand naked and eviscerated.
But he's an acquired taste. I lost the stomach for living in a constant state of irate and abandoned him along with Glenn Greewald and a few others when my system began rejecting bile as a steady diet.
(I went cold turkey. I often wonder if many on the far right have ever tried that with Limbaugh and the rest and how it's working out for them. Me, I haven't been this serene since the night lo these many years ago I inhaled my last portion of the magical burning resin. But I digress.)
I looked up The Daily Howler, but Somersby's still not searchable, his site still looks like something out of the Clinton era, which it is. Forced to Teh Google, I found Somersby's extensive Seelye chronicles paraded down the pages, one after another.
I chose at random the Media Matters announcement that she had been promoted only four years ago to NYT web political reporter, probably part of a since-abandoned new business model. Who keeps track anymore?
I quit Romenesko's media insider blog along the way, too. My internet tastes are more quirky and eclectic these days. And more meaningful than the sketchy fortunes of the buggy whip makers newspapers have become.
(I sort of regret that, now, after finding the Romenesko link for you, which leads today with a take-down of NPR's handling of gay cure therapy. NPR is such a sad, disgusting story. I love my jazz station, but quit their news altogether. Many of my friends still think they're trustworthy. Mark the term "false balance," and a new quote from Robert Reich the other day during a fruitless debt ceiling debate. Oh, God, why did I watch that? Oh, right, I was waiting for The Daily Show. "Halfway between right and wrong is not truth," he said, which the PBS interviewer happily seconded while letting the right-wing mouthpiece, disgraceful economist John Taylor, continue to prattle...what? nonsense? no, silliness? no, lies)
The point of all this. The NYT has apparently encased Kit Seelye in bubble wrap and dumped her here on our beaches, hoping we would think it was a new Twin Peaks filming. Is it a demotion or is it a part-time gig during her semi-retirement by which she gets to keep her health coverage in a region more amenable to human habitation than the increasingly unbearable weather back East?
Or is there something more sinister afoot? Only time will tell. (Okay, huge Craig Ferguson overdose this week. I highly recommend every show he's done from Paris.)

(I love the term, back East. Many times a day, I find myself calculating the time in New York, wondering if TPM will update a favorite before they close for the day.)

Hi Kit, I'm lookin' at you. Consider yourself warned.

I'm Switching Majors

From Brain Stuff to Gut Stuff, because it suddenly seems our second brain research is yielding a helluva lot of new, confusing, disturbing results.
Enough to qualify for the first-ever Contrarienne Two Quotes O' Teh Day.

Next, we'll find that we're nothing more than giant virtual bodies for a strain of bacteria that wanted to rule the world.
posted by mantecol at 4:02 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]

(I originally meant it as a joke, but I think that was the most profound thought I've ever had.)
posted by mantecol at 4:16 PM on August 5 [2 favorites]

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Time For Bacon

Fucking bleak is what it is.
So in practice, we can pivot to talking about jobs, hoping for the best and perhaps using it as a political cudgel (though that seems quite dubious under the current conditions). But in practice, in reality, we appear to have no plan to do anything on the jobs front that has any prospect of passage in the Congress until 2013 at the earliest. 
I just bought a bunch of cheap bacon and I'm going to have a sandwich now because what else can you do?
Oh, laugh. Yeah, there's that. Bacon seems easier.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Deal

TPM's got a good summary and the comments are useful as well.
What the country really needs is a large stimulus -- aid to states, big infrastructure programs and so on -- with an eye toward fiscal consolidation later in the decade. The White House argues that budgetary concerns so dominate the political landscape that new deficit spending right now is out of the question, and only possible in the future if preceded with consolidation measures like this one. But part of the reason Washington is so primed for austerity now is that the White House let that faction of the establishment seize the initiative. It didn't necessarily have to be so.
Mistakes were made. Will we live to fight another day? I guess, she said, limping away, sucking her bloody knuckles, eyes downcast, in need of water and rest. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Where's That Clean Bill?

The true believers at TPM had me leaning with them hoping that in the end a clean debt ceiling bill would come out of all this. But I don't see how it can if the precedurals take so long. Unless.
Unless, maybe, um, somebody in the Senate puts up a companion bill with Reid's, triggered to follow his for a vote in the House if his should fail. Can they do that?
Then, if the Senate rejects whatever the House may, emphasis MAY, pass today, the House rejects Reid's bill, there's one more fallback. Clean. No cuts, no revenues, no two-step, election polluting process.
Thing is, I doubt the House would pass that either.
And that puts O exactly where I and many Democrats including Big Dog believed we'd ultimately be, with the 14th Amendment and fuck the courts.
Invoke it, pay the bills, there.
Let the R's get bogged down arguing some obscure issues the media can't keep afloat for more than a 10-second sound bite and in the meantime there's this and this and this missing blond girl and Rupert and earthquake.
So, now that I've worked it all out in my head I see at last it's all about the news cycle.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Why? Boehner Can't Deliver The Votes

And more at TPM.
Meanwhile, Asian markets open at 2 p.m. (EST?) Sunday.

Today In Other News

I've been avidly reading the back-and-forth on the debt ceiling debate over at TPM with my confirmation bias firmly at work agreeing with those who claim it's all just a show, Kabuki if you will, with Obama knowing full well the R's will never say yes in the end and we'll be back to the so-called "clean" lift, some version of the McConnell/Reid "plan," what everyone knew was the end game but the process has left the R's looking like total morons to the general public, especially the general public that regards itself as independent voters.
A Huffpo report (they do report, sometimes quite well) says the speed bump was a matter of $400 billion disagreement, peanuts.
We'll see.
In the meantime, Amy Winehouse has died, presumably an overdose. I think I saw her perform on SNL. She was talented, lost and doomed.
And then there's the famine, of course.
Think I'll go to the market. Shorty will like that.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Stock I Should Have Bought Dept.

Apple. Yeah, Apple.
Wait, are they publicly traded? I dunno.
And Kottke, I'd lost track of him. Add him to your sometime knowledge/entertainment bookmarks. Les Twins are fun.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Comment O' Teh Day

Someone at MetaFilter has a post today of a somewhat amusing parenting blog/cartoon. But, as usual, the comments are better than the original topic.
From Daddy-O:
When my children were young, I would threaten them with NPR if they got too rowdy in the car. They especially hated Car Talk.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I Was 15

on July 17, 1959, and had never heard of her.
Side issue, how come City Lights owns the rights to O'Hara's poetry? Odd. Ferlinghetti was amazing. Oh, wait, he's still alive, 92.

By Frank O'Hara 1926–1966 Frank O'Hara
It is 12:20 in New York a Friday
three days after Bastille day, yes
it is 1959 and I go get a shoeshine
because I will get off the 4:19 in Easthampton   
at 7:15 and then go straight to dinner
and I don’t know the people who will feed me

I walk up the muggy street beginning to sun   
and have a hamburger and a malted and buy
an ugly NEW WORLD WRITING to see what the poets   
in Ghana are doing these days
                                           I go on to the bank
and Miss Stillwagon (first name Linda I once heard)   
doesn’t even look up my balance for once in her life   
and in the GOLDEN GRIFFIN I get a little Verlaine   
for Patsy with drawings by Bonnard although I do   
think of Hesiod, trans. Richmond Lattimore or   
Brendan Behan’s new play or Le Balcon or Les Nègres
of Genet, but I don’t, I stick with Verlaine
after practically going to sleep with quandariness

and for Mike I just stroll into the PARK LANE
Liquor Store and ask for a bottle of Strega and   
then I go back where I came from to 6th Avenue   
and the tobacconist in the Ziegfeld Theatre and   
casually ask for a carton of Gauloises and a carton
of Picayunes, and a NEW YORK POST with her face on it

and I am sweating a lot by now and thinking of
leaning on the john door in the 5 SPOT
while she whispered a song along the keyboard
to Mal Waldron and everyone and I stopped breathing
Frank O’Hara, “The Day Lady Died” from Lunch Poems. Copyright © 1964 by Frank O’Hara. Reprinted with the permission of City Lights Books.

Source: The Collected Poems of Frank O'Hara (1995)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What A Cliffhanger

I was about to go put on my lawnmowing jeans and get busy, but what should appear, but Obama daring the R's to touch the third rail.
That's right, forget that 14th Amendment bullshit, he said our Social Security checks may not be issued next month.
Within hours, McConnell was being quoted as saying something along the lines that the R's will go along with raising the debt ceiling WITHOUT spending cuts. TPM is scrambling to get more as we speak.
From what I've seen of both McConnell's incomplete story and the Boehner quote from this morning, they're falling back on trying to blame Obama for whatever, a pretty weak hand, not even a pair of two's, really.
My take, Mitch is afraid to burn his fingers or, OR, he and his buddies read Ezra Klein's blog from yesterday ( or was it Sunday) and realized Boehner had walked away from a huge deficit reduction that their math whizzes had missed, and that was going to hurt big time next year. Hell, even now, in some of the smaller elections.
Even that mealy-mouth David  Brooks told them they may not be fit to govern.
That New York defeat could have been just the beginning. The first Wisconsin recall election is today. The D vying for Harman's seat in Cali is safe by the latest measure and the R's were hoping they had a chance.
Wait, is that the sound of dominoes falling or is that Obama scooping up everything on the table?
I know, but I can dream can't I?
I want my team to win, and I agree that despite the extension of the Bush tax cuts last fall, he snookered the opposition (minority opinion, I know). I want this to be a gigantic trap that will kill the neocons, the Tea Party and the rest of the schmucks for good.
I want Obama to make history with this.
Stay tuned. Do I dare leave my seat?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Oooh, Spy Stuff!

I've been in love with the whole Stuxnet story ever since news broke (last year?) that some very clever, complicated, etc. computer worm/virus has set Iran's nuclear program back significantly. Oddly enough, the Iranians ultimately acknowledged it.
There are a couple new articles out, one on Wired and one in Vanity Fair, about the whole thing, but I don't read many long pieces anymore.
But there's links to them and a really fun discussion of it all over at MetaFilter if you want.
(See that link at the top? Blogger is fucking with me.)
And just to make things interesting all Day of the Condor, two Iranian nuclear physicists were attacked just recently on their way to work, one killed.

UPDATE: Aw, shit, nevermind that first link. Mefiers so far  hate the new articles and the thread to read is from last November. And fun.

I Love This Dog

Saturday, July 9, 2011


is available as instant play on Neflix for those rainy days. ( I only came here to see how Google+ looks, and find they've changed everything on Blogger. Will take some getting used to. I have trouble with change. I don't see what anybody needs with Google+ though if you're already on FB. Maybe that's just me.)

UPDATE: Huh, I screwed up Goggle+ — because it's not clear to novices, you geeks! — and you probably don't care anyway. But what did you do to my Blogger link? Oh, well.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Muskegon, MI

I regret that I didn't spend more time there when I had the chance. In fact, if I ever go back, I am now resolved to see more landscape. Wonder what the beaches are like in Muskegon. What tribe was the name taken from? Who invented ice fishing?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Journalism 101


Krugman has some big hedge fund guy coming out for a big stimulus. So I harbor in my heart of hearts the need to believe that Obama will invoke the 14th Amendment to raise the debt ceiling, the Democrats will suddenly find they have all kinds of chutzpah and hammer the Republicans into the ground and in 2012 there will be a groundswell turning Congress back over to the Democrats, the majority of them progressive and they promply pass a giant infrastructure stimulus.
But Ferlinghetti is 92 and still waiting, so I guess it could go some other way, right?

O Bill

Saturday, June 25, 2011

It's One Of Those Days

warm but cloudy, so you can smell the air. Much to my surprise, butterflies actually come out even when the sun does not, and I have a recipe for bacon jam!
Now you have it, too. Try it with celery. Bwahahahah.



... (this part I'm super sure of)
bacon (any kind, I used applewood smoked, but whatever) - 1 lb
yellow onion - 1 large - peel and thinly slice
garlic - 3-4 cloves - peeled and chopped (I just did them in a julienne)

... (the rest... well... the amounts are kind of variable. To quote my
grandma, "How much? However much you want!")
strongly brewed coffee - 1/2 cup?
maple syrup - 1/4 cup + I think I tossed in another glug later
brown sugar - 1/3 cup, sort of lightly packed
apple cider vinegar - 1/3 cup
bourbon (totally optional but I mean COME ON) - 1/4 cup - I used Maker's Mark
black pepper - 1/2 teaspoon (maybe? I just put in a bunch, I could have put in way more)
chili powder - 1/3 tsp - mine was ancho but I don't think it matters
smoked paprika - 1/4 tsp - I think I could have added more of this, it smelled great when cooking but I'm not sure you could taste it
cayenne - I might have put in a pinch of it but I was scared to put in too much


1. Cook the bacon. You want it fully done but not tooooo crispy. Do it in batches so it has lots of room. Once it's done, put it aside on a paper-lined plate. Keep about 2-3 tbsp of the fat and discard the rest (into a container you WILL keep in the fridge to cook other awesomely flavoured things!).

2. In the bacon fat you've kept, cook the onions and garlic. You want to do it on medium low, so as to keep the onions translucent - you don't really want to brown them.

3. So maybe 8-10 minutes later, the onions should be done. Throw in all the rest of the ingredients, EXCEPT the bacon. Drop the heat down to low and mix it all up.

4. From low, bring it to a boil and let it boil for 2 minutes or so.

5. Meanwhile, chop up the bacon into 1/2 inch or so pieces. You could also have done this earlier and cook it in pieces, but I'd have done that with slightly larger pieces.

6. Once it's boiled, throw in the bacon. Stir it up and drop the heat again.

7. Let is simmer, uncovered for about 2 hours. You can adjust seasonings throughout this, but remember that it will cook down and concentrate flavours. Check it every once in a while (20 minutes maybe?), stir a bit and if it starts to dry out you can add a bit of water. I did that once, but probably out of paranoia than actual necessity.

8. It's done once the onions are basically melting almost away and the liquid is left as a syrup. Take it off the stove and let it cool for 5-10 minutes.

9. Throw it into a food processor (which I don't have, so I used an immersion blender, which worked okay but man, that is one of the more disgusting culinary things I've done and, remember, I have a recipe I often make that includes jello, cool whip, cabbage and mayo so I know what I'm talking about) and chop it up. You want it spreadable but still chunky and you want the bacon still recognizable.

That's it! This made 1 and 1/3 jars of the stuff. I'm sure you could easily scale this up. It should keep in the fridge for about a month, based on what I've read.

I've also seen recipes that included adobo and/or siracha and other things. So whatever flavours you want you can probably achieve in the mix.

Friday, June 24, 2011

It's Been Awhile Since They Sent Me A Poem

I really like. I really like this one. I know, it's crazy.

Q & A
by Terence Winch

Q. How important is theory in this poem? It seems as though
it just starts, goes nowhere, tells us nothing we need to know.

A. The concern here is with necessity, not fact. The poem could tell
you everything you wanted to know, but doesn't.
Some poems begin in the rinse cycle. This one goes right to spin.

Q. We noticed how marvelous the upper strata of the poem is. It suggests
the appeal of authoritarian faith in the old-fashioned
middle class. Did you write it on a train?

A. One day I heard laughter coming from some mysterious source. First
I thought
it came from several people who were stuck at the bottom of a well.
Then I speculated it could be a group of teenagers on the level right above me.
After a while, however, I wondered if it might actually be weeping.
I got out my address book and started calling around. In fact, people
were crying when I managed to get in touch with them. Where are
your social contracts now, I snarled, your precious theses on the absolute?
I averted my gaze as their beliefs unraveled.

Q. We can't help but notice how you seem to be suppressing what you
really mean. Are you naked in this poem?

A. I have these pastes and mud packs that I smear all over me, so I'm
never really naked, even when I have no clothes on.
The same thing goes for this poem.
It's beautiful, stark, totally blank, yet colorful, like a sin
you're considering but haven't yet committed.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I Want To Believe

That when guys like this start pumping for a big stimulus (see Summers earlier, but primarily about payroll), there's some behind-the-scenes Kabuki at work, a build-up that eventually will turn into enough of a consensus to turn the economy around before it's too late.
Spoke to a knowledgeable woman yesterday still in her 40s who believes she will not have Medicare at retirement. She probably believes she won't have Social Security either.
In other words, I want to believe there's a long game.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Science Humor Is Not An Oxymoron

Spongiforum squarepantsii, for instance.

There apparently are some slime-mold beetles named
  • Agathidium bushi
  • Agathidium cheneyi
  • Agathidium rumsfeldi
  • They, however, have never held public office.
  • More at Mefi.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Spanish Grrrls!

Carving the Mountains from Juan Rayos on Vimeo.

Note: I have found the load slow and frustrating on Vimeo, but worth it. Just click to start, then pause. It continues to load. Just put your cursor back on the video to check progress, then play when fully loaded. Maybe there's an easier way. And maybe I'll try to find it some day.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I Would Like To Go Somewhere Foreign And Tropical

before I die of this fungal infection we're calling summer. Sullivan featured Maputo, Mozambique on his View today. It looks nice. Sigh.

When I'm Desperate For More Distraction

I also read these. I'm not saying they're always great, but they tend to calm anxieties.




UPDATE: Oh, hell, I forgot to link. Guess I got rusty. Just go to the (Mostly) Daily Reads at right. Sorry.

If You Missed The Tony's

Links to most of it is here along with discussion.
I am totally impressed with the talent, starting — and ending — with Neil Patrick Harris.
I wish I could see every show.
Just try a little taste, I guarantee you'll like it.

Monday, June 13, 2011


I've been away awhile. Well, not away, just otherwise occupied although not productively unless you count twisting my foot while mowing the lawn and diddling in the garden productive. I count it as entertainment.
So I too often put things I think are cool on my FB page, but few of my friends read Contrarienne and few of you are on FB so I will try to crosspost more often because I don't want to let Connie die just yet.
Anyhoo, everybody's saying Larry Summers is for more stimulus but that isn't really what he said apparently. I tried to link to his new Financial Times column in which he supposedly said it but FT doesn't like me. It says I'm registered and then it says I'm not and I'm too cranky to resolve it.
Now Summers is what Krugman calls a Very Serious Person (VSP) and he's partly to blame for this economic mess, so I gotta figure he's putting one up the flag pole or throwing some at the wall to see if it's sticky and if there's real Kabuki here, then we'll see some more stimulus at some point because even Cantor is backtracking on the debt ceiling now and I'd love to be a mouse in Obama's golf bag when he's out on the course with Boehner, because I don't think that insta-tan holds up well when your blood pressure suddenly falls into anaphalactic shock territory. At least I'm hoping Obama will just make a threat that can't be ignored and even help Johnno cover his ass during the retreat, because that's what it will have to be. I should have gone into politics. It all seems so clear to me.
But out of the TPM discussion I got this great Comment O' Teh Day:
The difference between theory and practice is that in theory there is no difference between theory and practice but in practice there is.
Later today I will post two cool new web sites you should know about, but I hafta go graduate from respiratory therapy. Let's see, shall I wear the crown or the purple graduation cap. Maybe both.
Cheers, Cnne

Friday, June 3, 2011

Viral Today

From Michael Ferry at First Draft. Krugman posted it today, maybe because it linked to his pessimistic post yesterday.

Monday, May 30, 2011

I Thought The Weekend Was Going Well

too. Then the weedeater broke. And the dryer. And my glasses fell apart.
I tried the internet, but there is no consolation apparently.
Thanks, Andrew Sullivan, you brighten my day.
Remember, I read it (once in a while) so you don't have to.
Oh, and Palin's not running. So there's that.
Just stay away from TV news.
Thanks, Lawrence O'Donnell (MSNBC) and Jonathan Miller (Politico, it's not what he said, but what he didn't say.)

'Too Big to Fail' in 80 Seconds from Joe Mande on Vimeo.

Climate change, you know you want it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Honorary Contrarienne

My fitness mentor, Hilary Metzger, celebrates Rhody Fest each year by walking in the 7.5-mile marathon.
This year, she won the coveted "Words Per Mile" trophy, an honor she devised and awarded to herself. I believe the established record is something in the neighborhood of 7,000 words total.
Inspired, I attempted to top my personal best record of most baby carrots miniature Tootsie Rolls consumed on the 4-mile drive home from the grocery store and, of course, beat myself. As usual.

Monday, May 23, 2011


UPDATE: Apparantly I left out the links when I originally posted. They're added now, and worth following.

Some folks over at MeFi really miss Douglas Adams, whose initials are DNA and who was born in Cambridge the same year ... well, you know the rest.

Anyway, this is the anniversary of one of the Adams accomplishments, his death or the publication of one of the books or somethings and someone found one of his speeches that was, like him, a lot of fun, and this quote popped out. For your entertainment and enrichment.

There are some oddities in the perspective with which we see the world. The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be, but we have done various things over intellectual history to slowly correct some of our misapprehensions. Curiously enough, quite a lot of these have come from sand, so let's talk about the four ages of sand.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Trouble With Psychopaths

is that they can gang up on you. I say that in all seriousness. I believed then and I believe now that I once worked for two psychopaths at the same time. How did I survive?
They don't cooperate well with others, even others like themselves.
That should be question #21 on the test.