Monday, December 29, 2014
'“Several news agencies have reported this as a ‘hit and run.’ Bishop Cook did leave the scene initially, but returned after about 20 minutes to take responsibility for her actions,” Sutton wrote, according to the text of the email obtained by The Brew.'
Was it a hit and run?
She did come back twenty minutes after the damage was done.
Someone of the same name in the same general area has a history: "The Brew asked Tillman if Bishop Cook is the same Heather Elizabeth Cook, 4325 Cabin Creek Road, arrested on September 10, 2010 on drinking, driving and drug charges in Caroline County, according to this local media coverage and online court records."
It's always a shame
to take the blame
for somebody else who has the same name.
But it sounds like the address matches too,
which increases the likelihood that the identification is true.
Sunday, December 28, 2014
Saturday, December 27, 2014
That's the heading and subheading on a front-page story on today's paper edition of the Chicago Tribune.
Basically, a mom wishes the state troopers had frisked her son before an ambulance took him to the ER. Because after he got to the ER, her son pulled out a gun, and wouldn't put it down upon request, at which point the local suburban police shot him and killed him.
According to the legal experts quoted in the story, there's no duty to frisk, as such. Police have fairly broad powers to frisk if they feel threatened, apparently. But they don't have to frisk every time someone yells at them.
Actually, in a lot of place, residents complain about over-aggressive frisking from the police. It's one of the complaints you hear a lot. You particularly hear that young black men get frisked disproportionately. And, yes, this guy who got shot was a young black man.
The online headline is a bit more subdued: "Family asks why man shot by police in hospital wasn't frisked after crash"
That's fair. You might well ask. But I don't think it quite "puts the killing in question" as the paper headline put it.
If I were going to question the original killing, I guess I would ask rather why it's necessary to shoot someone who is refusing to put a gun down. The answer that I will hear, I think, is that the police feared for their own lives or those of others. And I can see being afraid when an angry guy is holding a gun. I guess I would be afraid too, particularly if he pointed it at me. It's very clear that everyone is afraid of this guy, since they scramble in fear away from him.
There's some video from a news station here, showing some surveillance footage that doesn't show you all that much. There's some other footage here.
A couple of the news stories mention that 9 shots were fired in less than 2 seconds. Yes, that's how the police shoot you nowadays, a lot of the time. They practically empty a semi-automatic pistol into you, and they can do it pretty fast. They don't shoot you once and wait to see if you drop. That's regarded, I believe, as an unreliable approach.
The police report said: "The officers fired until the immediate threat was over."
In the unfortunate circumstance that you get hit with 9 rounds,
you're probably "over" before you hit the ground.
Friday, December 26, 2014
It's not exactly that I highly recommend it,
but I didn't want some government to end it.
Thursday, December 25, 2014
wrapping gifts for a certain spouse...
When I realized one present was missing. I really only stash Christmas gifts in one of 2 places, so I reexamined those places.
Had I had stashed the gift in some new, previously unused location?
But I couldn't think of where that would be.
Finally, I began to wonder if it was possible, just possible, that I had never removed that particular gift from the trunk of my car.
And sure enough, that was the place,
the big solution to my case.
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
"Sony Pictures has approved limited Christmas Day screenings of "The Interview," reversing course after taking heat for canceling its planned release after threats from hackers."
I suspect it's idiotic,
and not a thing of beauty,
but has it become my patriotic duty?
Monday, December 22, 2014
I got knocked out through my knee...
It was in elementary school, maybe 4th grade. The teacher gave us a problem, I think a math problem, to solve. Anyway, it was some kind of speed contest, and the teacher instructed us to stand up as soon as we solved the problem.
I was good at this sort of thing, and I'm competitive, so I finished the problem and jumped up very quickly... and banged my knee into the underside of my desk. I got an immediate radiating sensation, like I'd hit my funnybone, except in my knee.
And then... I was waking up. I thought it was morning. I thought I was home. And then I heard my teacher saying: "John Enright, get up off of the floor this instant!"
Yes, she thought I was faking it. However, as Angela Gentile explains it:
"A vasovagal or vasodepressor response is a reflex the body goes through when a certain trigger is present. When the funny bone, or ulnar nerve is struck hard by a pointy object, a vasovagal response can occur. This can also happen when the peroneal nerve (just below the knee) is struck. The body responds by having a large amount of blood pool into the legs, which in effect pulls blood away from the major organs, like the brain and heart. The brain goes unconscious for a short time, until the blood gets pumped back into the brain and heart."
Why did my teacher think I goofing around?
Did she mistake me somehow for a class clown?
Sunday, December 21, 2014
There's a joke in this version that got a lot of laughs. I'm guessing it wasn't in the original. So, spoiler alert on the joke.
*** recurring gag spoiler ***
The joke depends on the fact that the characters are all multi-lingual in European languages, but they all consistently regard English as "the language of love".
English, you see, is the modern language of science, of business, and so forth. But we tend to think the "Romance" languages have the edge on expressions of romance.
I think it's the tendency, in English speaking cultures, to emphasize speaking plainly, as opposed to high-flown hyperbole. English is seen as lacking in ornament, like Charlie Brown's Christmas tree, kind of bare.
But, in fairness
to English's alleged bareness,
take a good look at a Shakespeare sonnet,
and whether or not you find ornament on it,
I hope you'll agree that it's lovely beyond compareness.
The killings by police officers, were an odd mix of cases (Brown, Garner, Rice, Crawford), but all involved black men shot by cops in cases where the initial situation involved either very minor crime, or no crime at all. The Rice and Crawford cases involved toy guns that the police didn't know were toys. The Brown and Garner cases involved confrontations that escalated terribly.
But now we get this, a black man, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, killing 2 cops in revenge, "putting wings on pigs" as he reportedly put it on Instagram.
NYC has a melting pot police force, and the 2 cops he killed were not "white" exactly, but not "black" either. Going by surnames and appearances, one looks to have been Hispanic, and the other East Asian. In other situations, if they were victims being lionized by the left, they would already be referred to as "people of color".
The perpetrator, though, is a black-looking man with a Muslim-looking first name, who may have considered himself as a Muslim, who shot 2 cops on anti-terrorism training duty.
Needless to say, the perpetrator, who also shot his own girlfriend, was probably all kinds of crazy. And I think he did us all a favor by offing himself.
Did I mention that NYC protesters were filmed calling for "dead cops"?
This reminds me of the 60s, when the revolutionaries would chant "Off the pigs!". The way it plays out, is renewed respect for the police.
People feel a need for organized protection. They would like that protection to be conducted in a reasonable, non-discriminatory manner. But they really don't like murderous jerks who set out to kill cops. The optics on this are terrible for the left. This is a big splashy case which will command a lot of national attention.
When you demonize the police,
you do not help the cause of peace.
Correction: They weren't on anti-terrorism duty. "In a related story, both were reassigned from an anti-terror beat to enhancing security at a public housing development in Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy neighborhood — the exact population the NYPD is accused of victimizing."
Bedford-Stuyvesant is a notoriously tough black neighborhood. You may have heard the old Billy Joel song:
I've been stranded in the combat zone
I walked through Bedford Stuy alone
Even rode my motorcycle in the rain
And you told me not to drive
But I made it home alive
So you said that only proves that I'm insane.
Saturday, December 20, 2014
"This week, the distributors who wouldn't show The Interview and Sony have sent ISIS a commanding invitation. I believe ISIS will accept the invitation. Pandora's box is officially open."
You may believe that you're saving,
yourself from grief when you're caving.
But that sort of grief has a way,
of returning to stay the next day.
Friday, December 19, 2014
And one way to prove your famousness is by having many followers... social media followers... let's say Instagram followers in particular... some of whom were recently eliminated as being fake accounts:
"On Thursday, we noticed about 1.3 million of Kim Kardashian’s vanished. Rihanna’s decreased by about 1.2 million. Katy Perry’s went down 300,000. Even Oprah lost 100,000."
You may think it's funny,
but I bet they paid good money,
to make their numbers surge.
Gone now, in a purge.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
'Next time, he joked, he'll know to duck a little better, "so I wouldn't get this big head shot again."'
That's rather cool and self-deprecatory, but the story makes clear that getting shot was a big emotional experience. I remember talking to a police officer once, shortly after he had been shot at. He was in no mood to make light of it at the time. He was still quite shaken by the experience. Well, I don't blame him. I've never been shot at, but I bet I wouldn't like it.
Struck in the head,
lucky not to be dead,
ducking next time instead.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
I put all my money in rubles,
because I thought Putin was smart.
But now my big bubbly investment,
is starting to smell like a... foully aromatic raspberry tart.
"The infamous Salem witch trials began during the spring of 1692, after a group of young girls in Salem Village, Massachusetts, claimed to be possessed by the devil and accused several local women of witchcraft."
Whether they were insane,
or whether they merely lied,
panic ran amain
and innocents died.
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Sunday, December 14, 2014
Seriously, spoiler alert.
Okay, that's out of the way.
We saw this movie, characterized as a romantic drama, it's very much about the relationship between Stephen Hawking and his first wife.
I knew that they were both married to other people now, and I wondered how they were going to handle that. In particular I wondered it they would end the story before the marriage broke up.
But, no. And the culmination of the movie is really that they're still friends after the marriage ends. Curiously, it mentions that she remarried, but doesn't mention that he did, although we do see the budding of his relationship with his current wife, who perhaps comes across as a bit of a hussy. Well, the story is based on the first wife's memoir.
The acting, particularly the guy playing Hawking, and his physical deterioration, seemed spectacular.
I really expected the story to be terribly sad,
but somehow it wasn't. For that I am glad.
She's got guilty eyes,
but to my surprise,
it seems like she's innocent.
She gave up her job,
moved back with her mom,
but avoided imprisonment.
Saturday, December 13, 2014
And we just elected a Republican governor, to replace our Democratic governor. But the new guy hasn't taken office yet.
In Illinois, the guv gets to appoint a replacement comptroller. But which guv gets to do that? Old or new?
Our new guy's position is that they should split the difference. The old guv can appoint someone to fill out the current term, and the new guv can appoint someone to fill out the next term.
What I want to know is: why on earth is our constitution vague on this point? Who wrote this thing?
When your constitution is murky on questions of this sort,
it just makes more work for your state supreme court.
Friday, December 12, 2014
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
"...a surprising truth: Many high-level athletes not only drink the occasional soda, they use it strategically to fuel their performance. This persists amid the vilification of sugary soft drinks as a contributor to the nation’s high rate of obesity."
This is surprising? Really? Who do they think these people are? These are not people struggling with obesity. These are people struggling to shovel enough calories into their bodies.
Also, these are not people who are obsessed with their health, not exactly. Rather they are obsessed with their performance level.
As for me, although decidedly non-elite, I do sometimes drink the stuff. I often put a mix of half-soda, half-water in my bottles for long bike rides. Mostly because I really don't think that's much different that "sports drinks".
And towards the end of a marathon training run, I will sometimes stop in a 7-11 along the way, and buy a bottle of Mountain Dew sometimes. I know, the research tells us that it's too sugary to be absorbed efficiently by the average body. But my body tolerates it well. And sometimes I am very glad of that caffeine kick.
Was it supposed to be hush-hush
that athletes crave the sugar-rush
and sometimes chug down cans of Crush?
'Federal prosecutors said Tuesday they will not call one of President Barack Obama’s closest friends, Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, before a jury hearing a multimillion-dollar grand-fraud case because of “baseless accusations” they say Whitaker leveled the day before.'
We have a stinky fraud trial here, a federal trial concerning money siphoned from our state treasury. Dr. Whitaker was apparently close to one of the accused perpetrators.
Federal prosecutors complained he wasn't cooperative enough, and asked the judge to declare Whitaker a "hostile witness" so they could question him more freely. The judge agreed to designate him as hostile, but now the prosecutors have declared they don't want him to testify after all!
They are nonetheless entering some stuff about him into the trial record.
I don't get it. I don't think the reporters get it, either. I suspect it's some tricky technical legal thing.
But, but, but...
I'm baffled as to what.
Tuesday, December 09, 2014
"I choose to believe Jackie. I lose nothing by doing so, even if I’m later proven wrong – but at least I will still be able to sleep at night for having stood by a young woman who may have been through an awful trauma."
Again, belief is here justified not on the basis of evidence, not as a matter of plausibility, but as an evaluation of cost. Not utilitarian social cost this time, just self cost: "I lose nothing by doing so."
Whether you know it or not, you pay a terrible cost.
Your tether to reality is lost.
Sunday, December 07, 2014
In the old days, I think we just would have called it a "police shooting".
What do we gain by adding that "involved"?
That mystery, I fear, will not be solved.
Saturday, December 06, 2014
"We should believe, as a matter of default, what an accuser says. Ultimately, the costs of wrongly disbelieving a survivor far outweigh the costs of calling someone a rapist."
So you shouldn't believe based on likelihood of truth. You should believe based on likelihood of relative costs to the accuser and the accused?
That form of deduction
suffers from suction.
To be fair to the Washington Post, their media critic wrote:
"Under the scenario cited by Erdely, the Phi Kappa Psi members are not just criminal sexual-assault offenders, they’re criminal sexual-assault conspiracists, planners, long-range schemers. If this allegation alone hadn’t triggered an all-out scramble at Rolling Stone for more corroboration, nothing would have. Anyone who touched this story — save newsstand personnel — should lose their job."
Friday, December 05, 2014
I thought it was a story to take seriously, but a lot of the older reporters were scornful, assuring me that this was a made-up story, an excuse concocted by the young women as a story to tell their parents about where they had been. As I recall, they turned out to be correct. The young women recanted.
I don't know how the older reporters knew better. Maybe friends on the police force had tipped them. Maybe there were unlikely details in the young women's stories. I don't recall. But I remember being shocked.
Tonight I went to call-backs for Arthur Miller's The Crucible, which is a play about a true event: young women accused other people of witchcraft, leading to the Salem witch trials. There were many unlikely details in the stories that the young women told. But they were believed. For a while. But a lot of people died before the town came to its senses.
It can be a harsh fruit to chew,
but it's something you have to do.
You're crazy if you deny
that people sometimes lie.
Also, today was the day that the Rolling Stone / UVA fraternity-rape story fell apart.
'“In the face of new information, there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie’s account, and we have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced,” wrote managing editor Will Dana in “A Note to Our Readers” posted on the magazine’s Web site. (The magazine did not return calls for further comment.)'
Their reporter had failed to check out both sides of the story.
There's an old joke among journalists about the need for verification: "If your mother says she loves, you check it out." Sometimes the joke includes an admonition to come back with at least two other sources establishing the claim of maternal affection.
It may be hoary advice,
but check your story twice.
Thursday, December 04, 2014
"Do NOT sell single cigarettes, also called 'loosies'."
Apparently it's to protect the children! African American children in particular:
'In many urban areas, the widespread availability of single cigarettes known as "loosies" poses a significant threat to anti-smoking initiatives—and may be contributing to the high percentage of young adult African Americans who smoke, according to a Bloomberg School study published in August's American Journal of Public Health.'
This can lead to people accidentally dying while being forcibly arrested.
It may seem like a gentle nudge
but if one refuses to budge
in comes a swarm
of men in uniform.
Wednesday, December 03, 2014
Back when I was a kid, everyone thought Death Of A Salesman was his masterwork, but I have the impression that Crucible gets more attention nowadays.
In the scene I read, I played Danforth, a deputy governor of Massachusetts, one of the officials running the Salem witch trials.
He's a scary dude in the scene I played.
He's making a witness sweat
while controlling his own inner panic
trying to deal with the threat
of secrets dark and Satanic.
Tuesday, December 02, 2014
"The vast majority of students at American public colleges do not graduate on time, according to a new report from Complete College America, a nonprofit group based in Indianapolis."
Some bachelors of arts
take more years to come to fruition.
The only bad part
is you have to keep paying tuition.
Monday, December 01, 2014
"Security line at Midway Airport Sunday morning was reportedly a mile long"
Connoisseurs of the editorial arts will have noticed that "reportedly" disclaimer, which is kind of amusing, because I don't think they'd use that if one of their own reporters was vouching for the measurement. But in this case, it seems to have originated with an out-of-town TV reporter who tweeted she had measured the line at 1.2 miles.
It's hard to keep your Thanksgiving smile
when security stretches over a mile.
Sunday, November 30, 2014
"The Chateau Amantius is an erotic therapeutic retreat run by famed sex therapist Linda Knudson (Allison Cain), catering to every possible need an adventurous couple may have."
So here's the odd thing, which you might already have noticed. The play's name is Hotel Aphrodite, but the name of the hotel is actually Chateau Amantius.
So I just have to shout:
what was that about?
Saturday, November 29, 2014
Some say iambic is the normal beat,
Of English speakers - underneath it's lurking!
And making sure that each line has five feet,
Is not so hard - just keep your fingers working,
And count it out while speaking. It's a knack,
But with some practice, it begins to seem
Not so much of a verbal heart attack,
But more a calm and smoothly flowing stream.
Friday, November 28, 2014
"The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports 27-year-old Nathan Rolf Channing, of Fruitvale, was arrested Sunday."
He's a wild desperado
from Fruitvale, Colorado!
He wore no red bandana,
but brandished a banana.
"According to an arrest affidavit, Mesa County deputies Joshua Bunch and Donald Love said they feared for their lives even though they saw that the object was yellow.,Bunch wrote in the affidavit that he has seen handguns in many shapes and colors."
Oh, sure. Most of the big pistol manufacturers have imitation-banana models. Of course they do.
Thursday, November 27, 2014
And earlier this year, also in Ohio, cops killed a 22 year old black man who was walking around a WalMart with a toy gun.
I don't remember this sort of story from my youth - my youth when most of us boys were running around outside playing cops and robbers with toy guns. Of course, when toy guns were more common - extremely common - maybe the real cops were less likely to assume that toy guns are real.
Both cases involved someone making a 911 call. In both cases the responding officers were given incomplete or incorrect information. Did you ever play that "telephone game" where people whisper in each other's ears, passing a message along, and the message gets completely scrambled? I wonder if we would be better off letting the responding officers hear a recording of the actual 911 call.
Drop that replica gun
or your days are done!
He covers 5 main points:
1. It’s not a story until there are facts (and claims aren’t facts).
2. Forensics is a science.
3. People are individuals, not symbols.
4. Legal procedures and privileges exist for a reason.
5. You are not the story.
Perhaps because I work in a technical field, I was especially struck by his comments on point 2:
"These days everybody loves talking about how they love science. Actually loving science is quite another thing... [T]he real, hard, verifiable facts about a shooting begin with the forensics. They begin with the ballistics, the autopsy, and the physical evidence from the scene... If the media had waited for these actual, verifiable facts to come out, they might have dropped the whole story before it became a national sensation. Because science."
The reporting proceeded in defiance
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Monday, November 24, 2014
"I have long been puzzled at the high correlation between behavioral economics and interventionism."
He goes on in some detail. I think there's a lot to what he says.
If people are predictably dumb,
do not expect a solution to come,
from other people we've put in charge;
their errors tend to be just as large.
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Saturday, November 22, 2014
Friday, November 21, 2014
"...about 29 percent of the population meets the definition for excessive drinking, but 90 percent of them do not meet the definition of alcoholism."
It's the kind of study I take with a grain of salt or a shot of whiskey. "Excessive drinking" and "alcohol dependence" both strike me as concepts that are fuzzy around the edges.
This may require revision,
but 85.7 percent of statistics are stated with misleading precision.
I do like this official slogan, mostly because it rhymes:
“Stop drinking while you’re still thinking.”
Thursday, November 20, 2014
"If we are uncomfortable with the idea that art or any discipline can tell us the truth about external, objective reality, then we will retreat from any sort of content and focus solely on art's uniqueness. And if we are concerned with what is unique in art, then each artistic medium is different. For example, what distinguishes painting from literature? Literature tells stories—so painting should not pretend to be literature; instead it should focus on its own uniqueness. The truth about painting is that it is a two-dimensional surface with paint on it. So instead of telling stories, the reductionist movement in painting asserts, to find the truth of painting painters must deliberately eliminate whatever can be eliminated from painting and see what survives. Then we will know the essence of painting."
Instead of inspiration or merriment,
art becomes a failed experiment.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Putting that aside too, I'm not sure what to make of this:
"The White House is exasperated with the major broadcast networks – ABC, CBS and NBC -- for skipping out on President Barack Obama’s Thursday primetime address on his executive actions on immigration."
Are they trying to protect their ratings?
Do people now find him too grating?
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Monday, November 17, 2014
Video unearthed by the conservative Washington Free Beacon Monday showed Obama praising Jonathan Gruber and other liberal policy experts as some of the "brightest minds" in academia. "Many of them I have stolen ideas from liberally, people ranging from [economist] Robert Gordon to [economist] Austan Goolsbee [to] Jon Gruber," Obama said in the clip.
Be careful whose ideas you steal.
When they come clean, it all gets real.
I see that a U. of Chicago professor of international relations wrote in this morning's Tribune:
"The Gruber videos are devastating because they say flatly that the deception was premeditated and was used self-consciously to pass the law. The professor goes further and says the law would have been defeated if its central provisions had been known to voters."
Gruber, Gruber, grim and glum,
who was it that you said was dumb?
Sunday, November 16, 2014
Here's an NY Times story about it: Chelsea Clinton and Lupita Nyong’o Honored at the Glamour Women of the Year Gala. I do not intend to read this story.
My first thought was that it was part of the Hillary Clinton campaign for the presidency. But she wasn't Glamourous enough or something. Or including Hillary herself would have been too openly political, but including Chelsea was just political enough?
Here's a conservative guy over at National Review complaining about it: Now Chelsea Clinton is in the public spotlight and we’re being instructed to think of her as extraordinary, without any good answers about what she’s done, or what she would have done, without her father’s name or her mother’s influence.
Well, she's got a lot of power and money behind her. What's not clear to me is whether she's really got any personal drive in the political realm, or whether she's just being pushed along at this point.
This article in Glamour
looks like artificial clamor
based on media loyalty
to something less than royalty.
Friday, November 14, 2014
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
I had a very enjoyable time, because I liked the Dublin characters, and the lively dialogue, and the strong dramatic situations. But the plot's a bit meandering and ends with a sort of mystical ambiguity, and the characters are sympathetic but not particularly admirable, so be forewarned!
A friend, who recommended the play to me, said that the playwright's voice reminded him of my own. So I feel flattered.
The story's about a middle-aged guy who rescues a young lady from a beating from her ex-boyfriend.
My favorite performance was that sociopathic ex-boyfriend. Great sense of menace when we finally meet him. Which makes his receiving of his just deserts all the more satisfying.
Who will contrive
to make it it through
the night alive?
The plays vary from funny to serious. The one I liked best, set on Christmas Eve, had a fair amount of both funny and serious, but I know I missed the punch line somehow.
It's hard to go home on Christmas Eve
when you're caught as a thief
and they won't let you leave.
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Anyway, his play gets accepted at the prestigious Humana Festival, and predictable racial tension and heartache occurs. But it's quite clever and mostly moves along very quickly.
I really liked the black actress, who played the black actress, who played the playwright, for the playwright.
Yep, this play
is meta that way.
My mom wasn't Jewish, but she grew up with a lot of Jewish friends.
Today I saw that "pisk" can mean "mouth" in Yiddish, particularly in the sense of animal mouth or maw. In a slangy way, it is used for human mouths.
It must be said, my recollection of the pronunciation word is untrustworthy. And I suppose Yiddish sounds don't correspond exactly with English sounds anyway.
My attempts to figure this out are not helped by the fact that Yiddish is usually written using the Hebrew alphabet, which I do not know.
Mother, my mother dear,
I'd ask if you were still here.
Monday, November 10, 2014
It's based on a real incident, back in the day when people around the world were boycotting South Africa. The situation is that a couple of black South African actors are scheduled to perform Waiting For Godot, and an American political group is sending protesters to stop the performance. The paradox, of course, is that the 2 actors are further oppressed by the boycott itself.
So, first it's 2 black South Africans being pushed around with progressive doublespeak by a white lawyer from the boycott group. Then, as the plot unfolds, a woman from the South African revolutionary organization shows up to push them around some more, this time with revolutionary doublespeak and a more serious level of threat.
The play's sympathies seem on the side of the actors, the individuals who are the real losers here, pawns in the hands of the progressives and revolutionaries who only care about the big collective chessboard.
The trouble with being a pawn,
is that you are so frequently gone.
Sunday, November 09, 2014
"To the outside world, the fall of the Berlin Wall was the culmination of courageous acts of ordinary people. But within the East German regime, the wall’s final hours were closer to a comedy of errors."
The East German government built a great wall.
Amid great confusion, it had a great fall.
All the red soldiers and grey Stasi men
Could not put that grim wall together again.
Also, pet peeve, apparently the title should be Intergalactic. But in these movies, when someone mentions going to another galaxy, I never get the sense they have any appreciation for just how far away that is.
Let's go to a galaxy far, far away,
(exactly how far, let's not bother to say)
but since we've got a space-time hole
it won't take long to reach our goal,
just watch out for relativistic clocks
that lose it with their ticks and tocks.
Friday, November 07, 2014
“Scarlett Johansson has never had her own superhero movie. Would you call yourself a feminist?”
“You bastard. Yeah, that’s all make believe, son.”
This is being relayed as "He said feminism is make believe."
This was from a session in which a reporter also asked him about the size of his manhood.
Remember: words only exist
so you can creatively twist
them into a form that offends
you and your friends.
"Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, one of President Barack Obama’s closest friends, has refused to answer federal prosecutors’ questions about whether he had a “sexual relationship” with a former aide who pleaded guilty to stealing $400,000 in taxpayers’ money in a scheme that began when Whitaker was her boss at the Illinois Department of Public Health, court records show."
Perhaps he found the question too complex.
People mean so many things by "sex".
Wednesday, November 05, 2014
The state could use some turning around. Our finances, our public pension plans in particular, are in perilous shape. And compared to neighboring states, our economy is not doing well.
I'm not sure what a Republican governor can do with a strongly Democratic state house & senate. Yeah, it's the reverse of the national situation.
It would certainly be great
to improve the state of the state.
But it won't be much of a shock
if it turns to solid grid lock.
Tuesday, November 04, 2014
Monday, November 03, 2014
"The TV experts reiterated that U.S. hospitals were prepared to care for patients with Ebola. How could they be? Rubinson thought. All 6,000 or so hospitals? ...He didn’t think that people were reassured by oversimplified messages."
I fear that "TV expert"
is a contradiction in terms.
always gives me the squirms.
Sunday, November 02, 2014
It's a risky family tradition:
"Thirty-six years ago, Wallenda’s 73-year-old great-grandfather Karl Wallenda fell to his death attempting a wire walk between two hotel towers on a windy day in Puerto Rico."
I didn't watch it.
But I'm glad he didn't botch it.
Saturday, November 01, 2014
'Libertarian Sharon Hansen, 63, a Pontiac innkeeper, also is on the ballot. She called herself "really pro-life" but said in some situations, an abortion early in a pregnancy might be appropriate. She called herself a "very strong supporter" of the Second Amendment but favors closing the "gun show loophole." She would not forbid the purchase of assault weapons "unless the person has a really bad background." Hansen, a Christian, said she believes in the biblical definition of marriage as a union between a man and woman, but added: "I don't have a problem with people of the same sex getting married if they want to." She does not favor a federal law allowing same-sex marriage and would leave the issues to the states. "The federal government has its nose in too many things as it is," she said.'
Well, you can't call her an ideologue!
According to all the polling, the race is in the bag for the Democratic incumbent. Both the major party candidates are quoted as doing some serious waffling on the gay marriage issue in particular.
The libertarian is all over the battleground.
But lots of folks are like that, I have found.
So her apparently inconsistencies may not deter
this concerned citizen from voting for her.
Friday, October 31, 2014
'...look, “respect” is almost exclusively a liberal word. Usually used in the sense of “respect the office” or “respect me because I have this credential.” When speaking to a blogger or a writer, a conservative/libertarian is more likely to use “I’ve always admired” you.'
I sat upright, puzzling over this, unsure why this might be so, but thinking "Yes, I'm far more likely to write 'admired,' not 'respected,' in that sort of sentence."
So I googled for discussions on the difference shades of meaning, and came across this:
You would have respect for a person in authority- like a policeman, a military officer with a rank above your own, or a teacher, but you may not like that person so you might not admire them.
Isn't there a tendency to respect your adversaries but admire your friends?
There's something rather fussy about a lot of contemporary liberalism, an i-dotting, t-crossing concern with following protocol. You don't really admire someone for being good at following protocol, do you? But you can respect their ability to do so.
And now I will stop attempting to dissect
the difference between admire and respect.
Thursday, October 30, 2014
So far, Berkeley has not rescinded its invitation.
Patrick Popehat writes, perhaps with a trollish spirit:
"If you want to shut down Bill Maher’s hate speech against Muslims, why not invite him to a post-address debate, against your best and brightest? You’re well educated young men and women."
Please. I would pay to watch that.
But hopefully I could see
the whole thing on YouTube for free.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Kaufmann wrote a lot of appreciation and criticism for 20th century German literature.
But for the life of me I haven't found anything substantial.
Mann did supply a glowing blurb for Kaufmann's book on Nietzsche. And I think they may both have been living in Princeton, New Jersey at one point. It looks like Princeton U. has some of Mann's papers and most of Kaufmann's.
With a bond of culture and speech,
I wonder if they were friends.
But for now I fear I have reached
a research dead end.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Great pictures of the truck ripped in two, and the train covered in powder, at the link. Nobody was seriously injured.
The truck driver "told authorities he saw the oncoming train but pulled into its path anyway because he thought he had time to clear the tracks."
If you misjudge the speed of a train,
You may have a lot you need to explain.
Monday, October 27, 2014
Sunday, October 26, 2014
'I’m also thinking of all the other social scientists who have come up to me over the years and told me what a wonderful book “The Bell Curve” is. But they never said it publicly. So corruption is one thing that ails the social sciences. Cowardice is another.'
I've never read the whole book. I've read chunks of it at the library. As he says in this interview, the book doesn't take a strong position on the nature/nurture debate. But he clearly expects that some part of what's going on is biological inheritance. And saying that there's anything on the nature side at all, is hazardous.
I'm not really a big fan of the man. He says: "None of us has earned our IQ." This is said by way of rolling around to justifying redistribution.
None of us has earned our eye color, either. It's not the sort of thing you earn. It's more like a gift. And here's the thing about gifts. You may not have earned them, but once you receive them, you do rightly own them.
What talents you have, do not hide them.
Even if others deride them.
"Don’t let anybody tell you that it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs."
So who creates jobs, in point of fact?
Should we say: The Invisible Hand?
Or something abstract
Like Supply and Demand?
No, it's herself:
"I voted to raise the minimum wage and guess what, millions of jobs were created or paid better and more families were secure."
No one's too sure where those millions of jobs are that she created. They're not in the employment statistics.
Somewhere there's gobs
Of shiny new jobs.
But that isn't here
Or anywhere near.
Friday, October 24, 2014
"Everyone knows that men and whites have historically gotten a lot of unfair advantages, and it's a serious problem. I just think that if your solution to that problem is to endorse the concept of sexism and racism (as long as they're directed against the right people), you lose a bit of credibility to claim that you're fundamentally opposed to sexism and racism."
If you must hate someone, the right men
are white men,
and maybe for a little extra hate,
go for those who are overweight.
If you limit your hate to just this safe selection,
you may escape Political Correction.
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Well, here he is:
To summarize from Wikipedia, he left school at 16 (in 1946 or so) to become a journalist, learned German in private lessons, and became an influential scholar of modern German thought. Without a degree.
Hollingdale sees Mann as caught up in God-is-dead nihilism.
"The whole world of Thomas Mann's fiction is erected on this basis of no values. It is because this world has no values that the major novels are so long (no principle of selection); it is because it has no values that its ideological tendency is so uncertain (no instinctive moral judgment); it is because it has no values that its most valuable inhabitant, the artist, is inverted into a decadent and criminal (the identity of the best and the worst); it is because it has no values that it is seen ironically (self-defence against the meaningless); it is because it has no values that it resorts to mythology (an attempt to create value);it is because it has no values that its only reality is physical reality and its only causes physical causes, and when it tries to account for the fact that it has no values it seeks the explanation in physiology. But because the world which this fictional world seeks to mirror really has no values, this fictional world is a true mirror and the image it reflects a true image. The aesthetic faults we have discovered in it, which are true faults, are thus in the long run faults in the subject which it reflects. Or, as the mirror replied to the monster: 'There is nothing wrong with me, it is you who are distorted'."
Rather sweeping, but makes more sense
than lots of what I've seen dispensed.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
I did make a reference to it in a play.
Anyway, I saw gossip today about the movie, which is reportedly due out in 4 months. They're reshooting some of the love scenes.
"A source who works on the set told Us Magazine the original shots weren't passionate and the directors were disappointed by the stars' lack of chemistry.'"
Funny thing about chemistry. You can suspend disbelief about all kinds of practical things. But in a love story you really need to sense some mutual attraction.
If you can't feel the sizzle,
the film is bound to fizzle.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
What HAS Renee Zellweger done to her face? Bridget actress looks utterly unrecognisable as she steps out with her boyfriend in LA
Rather striking pictures at the link. You can see it's her, more from the side than from the front.
Maybe she's going into Witness Protection,
but it must be strange to stare at your own reflection,
and see a face beyond your recollection.
Monday, October 20, 2014
I've noticed, over the years, that certain types of "feeling miserable" are highly compatible with getting work done, particularly creative-thinking type work, whether it's writing a story or writing a computer program. What seems paradoxical is that I feel very low energy, feel very unmotivated, feel like my concentration is limited... but then I get a lot done in an intense state of focus.
I wonder if part of it is that I'm so much less distractable, so I stay focused and the problem becomes more tractable.
This would include less distraction by the meta-level, the perfectionistic sort of questioning that distracts by constant asking: but is that right?
Instead I plod along
not worrying if I'm wrong.
I guess the difficult trick
is being the right degree of sick.
Sunday, October 19, 2014
The individual characters are mirrored, like Leonardo Da Vinci's famous "code". I actually taught myself to do this, also in high school. Maybe I had too much time on my hands in high school!
Recently I read that it was boustrophedon that accounts for the transition from Right-to-Left to Left-to-Right writing! The Semitic languages (such as Hebrew, Arabic, Phoenician) are all Right-to-Left. The Greeks took their alphabet from the Phoenicians.
'Greek was originally written predominantly from right to left, just like Phoenician, but scribes could freely alternate between directions. For a time, a writing style with alternating right-to-left and left-to-right lines (called boustrophedon, literally "ox-turning", after the manner of an ox ploughing a field) was common, until in the classical period the left-to-right writing direction became the norm.'
But... while that explains the ability to shift readily,
it doesn't explain why they chose Left-to-Right steadily.
it was commanded
because Left-to-Right is better when working with ink,
at least for the right-handed.
Saturday, October 18, 2014
"Jenkins said this is a critical weekend for Dallas. Statistically speaking, this weekend is the weekend people would start showing symptoms if they had contracted the virus, he said."
The story mentions that a Dallas bus and train station was briefly closed today on a false alarm. The story says county officials are getting "several calls an hour". May they all prove unfounded.
Come back, my dear,
from the land of fear,
no cases here!
Friday, October 17, 2014
to bring me peace of mind.
Whatever my worries are,
they all get left behind,
knowing that concentration
of power has taken place,
knowing that this great nation
can look to a single face.
His noble words will inspire us,
no matter how sick we may be.
Who better to fight a virus
than a man with a law degree?
"Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Thursday blamed Washington for the slump in global oil prices."
As far as I can tell, Washington had precious little to do with us "flooding the market". The action was in the states and in private enterprise.
Your oil profits are lacking?
Frightfully sorry for fracking!
Thursday, October 16, 2014
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
First off, let me say, ethical and legal intransigience, which is what he is talking about, is certainly deserving of some praise. Flexibility cannot be an infinite virtue, since at some point it falls prey to some mind-bending recursive questions, such as:
Aren't you being rather inflexible in your idealization of flexibility? Wouldn't true flexibility allow for intransigience, too?
It's an oddly structured book. Much time is spent on the epistles of Paul, the gospel of John, and the Nazi-appeasing governments of Vichy France and the occupied Channel Islands.
He traces flexibility-idealization back to early Christianity and the rhetorical strategies adopted in its divorce from Judaism. This strikes me as novel and misguided, but I haven't taken the time to study his thesis.
Of course, he has a pressing interest in the question: how did the Europeans go along, so flexibly, with the horror of murderous Nazi antisemitism? So you can see where he might be tempted to take this issue back to the early split between the 2 religions.
What house will stand
when built upon sand?
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
She and her borrowed turtle got into the Frick Museum.
She and a small pig got on a Jet Blue flight.
The pic at the link shows here with an alpaca in a drug store.
Why didn’t anybody do the sensible thing, and tell me and my turtle to get lost? The Americans with Disabilities Act allows you to ask someone with a service animal only two questions: Is the animal required because of a disability? What work or task has the animal been trained to perform? Specific questions about a person’s disability are off limits, and, as I mentioned, people are baffled by the distinction between service animals and emotional-support animals.
Take your pig on a plane,
take your turtle among the Vermeers,
just claim it's an E.S.A.,
and you're in the clear, it appears.
Monday, October 13, 2014
Sunday, October 12, 2014
There I am, a happy fellow,
with a cap, canary yellow.
I bought the cap on Friday on the theory its unusual Tweety-Bird color would make it easier for my relatives to spot me during the race. As it happens, I knew where to look for them, and I think I spotted my brother, and my son and son-in-law, before they spotted me.
One of my other brothers, Mike, was in the race, but I didn't see him until afterward. There's 40,000 people or so running, so meet-ups can be kind of hit or miss.
It's a race that features crowds. Fantastic crowd support cheering you on, which I loved, and crowds of runners who break into three-abreast walking so that you have to run around them.
My scheduled start was 45 minutes after the elite start. So, when I first got downtown, rather than going to the start area, I had enough time, due to quirks in the course design, to walk over to near the 2 mile mark, and catch a view of the elite East African runners zipping by. These guys are running sub-5 minute miles, so I still had half an hour to get to the start.
The Kenyans are speedy,
Friday, October 10, 2014
They were both very charming. I've read a couple of reviews which were rather critical of the film. Here and here if you care.
My personal theory is that what really hurt the movie was a lack of chemistry between the stars. Both the stars seemed passionate, acting up a storm, but I rarely got the vibe that they were passionate for each other.
Maybe it just needed different background music?
Sometimes music in the background makes you feel
that poorly acted passion is real.
"Police said Jones used an assault rifle to fire five shots at a moving CTA train as it pulled into the station in the 100-block of West Congress Parkway around 11:20 a.m. Thursday."
He didn't hit any people. Just the train.
I believe that "assault rifle", as used by journalists, is a vague term. But there's a picture at the link, of an officer holding what's supposed to be the weapon. I'm guessing it's some military-looking semi-auto rifle.
Our police commissioner reported that the stock had been cut off the rifle.
The mystery remains
what does he have against trains?
Thursday, October 09, 2014
Wednesday, October 08, 2014
"Now, with Europe grappling with the first case of Ebola transmitted on its soil after news on Monday that a nurse in Madrid had been infected, European leaders are scrambling to coordinate and ramp up their response to the lethal disease."
Better late than never.
Here in the USA we don't yet have a confirmed case of in-country contagion. But I am not inspired to great confidence by how our Dallas case was handled.
If at first you don't succeed,
try again as you may need
to stop the bug that makes you bleed.
Tuesday, October 07, 2014
Not that there's an actual threat
as of yet.
"Champas said runners represent all 50 states and 132 countries but none hail from West Africa, where the most severe outbreak of Ebola has occurred. He said some runners are coming from East Africa."
"Some" runners from East Africa? That's a very offhanded way to refer to the guys who will be out in front of everybody else.
The Kenyans will lead the pack.
I'll be toward the back,
cutting myself some slack.
Monday, October 06, 2014
It rained most of Saturday, and somehow, the house replicas failed to ignite properly.
A lot of money was poured into the show. A lot of people showed up to see it.
The houses were not ignited.
The crowd was not excited.
Sunday, October 05, 2014
The Ebola Patient Was Sent Home Because of Bad Software
The Dallas hospital's debacle highlights the atrociousness of many electronic health records.
Actually, the hospital made an initial claim:
"Protocols were followed by both the physician and the nurses. However, we have identified a flaw in the way the physician and nursing portions of our electronic health records (EHR) interacted in this specific case."
But then, the hospital seemed to take it back:
“We would like to clarify a point made in the statement released earlier in the week. As a standard part of the nursing process, the patient’s travel history was documented and available to the full care team in the electronic health record, including within the physician’s workflow,” the statement said. “There was no flaw in the EHR in the way the physician and nursing portions interacted related to this event.”
There's a lot of careful wording there, as if people were afraid of lawsuits for some reason.
I think the key word here is "available", as in the travel history was "available" to the physician. Probably (wild guess) that means the doc could have clicked a button that he didn't click. Probably in retrospect it would have been nice if the first thing he saw when he brought up the patient's info was a big blinking red banner that said "African! Feverish!".
It turns out that making that happen is one of those things in you configure in the software package:
"As a result of this discovery, Texas Health Dallas has relocated the travel history documentation to a portion of the EHR that is part of both workflows. It also has been modified to specifically reference Ebola-endemic regions in Africa. We have made this change to increase the visibility and documentation of the travel question in order to alert all providers. We feel that this change will improve the early identification of patients who may be at risk for communicable diseases, including Ebola."
You see, the software didn't fail. It just needed to be configured differently.
I'm sure the software did its best.
Calling it "bad" just makes it feel stressed.
Friday, October 03, 2014
It's some app where you hook up with people for quick, um, romance.
Then he said he had a young lady's profile up on Tinder, and was trying to figure out what to say to her. I suggested he tell her he liked her look. That's look, singular, not looks.
He said, well, her photo is of her in a bikini. And he showed me such a photo, on his phone, of a shapely young lady in a bikini. And he asked what he could say to her to set himself apart, since every guy would obviously be thinking she looked good.
I have no idea, I said. I've been married too long.
Actually, regardless of how long I've been married, how do you set yourself apart in an environment where all you know about someone is that they look good in a swimsuit?
He pressed me, but you must have a pickup line?
I smiled, sorry, no.
So... What was really going on in this exchange? It felt very stagey, but I still have my wallet, and he never pressed for anything but answers to his silly question. Was it a psychology or sociology experiment? Why on earth would a young man be asking ME for advice on how to use Tinder? Especially because the building lobby was loaded with college-age young men.
They might have a clue
as to how you pursue
the opposite sex
with some minimal text
that she won't say: Never!
Thursday, October 02, 2014
Wednesday, October 01, 2014
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Anyway, here's the first draft. The full poem in Spanish is a sonnet, 14 lines, rhymed abba abba cdc dcd. Whereas this is abab cdcd efe fef. And there are things in this that are not in the original:
Night rose above us both, a full moon shining.
I began to cry. Your fond disdain
Burst into godly laughter. All my whining
Was doves and moments wrapped into a chain.
Night fell below us both. Crystal of sadness,
You wept for depths from some forgotten land.
My sorrow was a wash of hurtful madness,
Over your weak but beating heart of sand.
Dawn's light united us upon the bed,
Our mouths joined numbly on the frozen stream
Of blood which neverendingly is shed.
The sun sneaked through the balcony, a beam,
A branch of coral stretched out to redeem
My shrouded heart, my bowed and sullen head.
Monday, September 29, 2014
Sunday, September 28, 2014
"Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things."
I have a love-hate relationship with Eliot.
If he thinks he didn't express his personality in his poetry, he's crazy. Yes, when you write a poem you create an object which has some separateness from you. It never reflects your whole personality. But it definitely reflects some.
As for "let emotion loose vs. escape from emotion", it's a classic false alternative. It's obvious that poetry is typically an integration of thought and feeling. That's why it expresses personality so well, perhaps even more thoroughly than the other arts.
What is sought
is a merger of feeling and thought
crafted for the ear.
But it doesn't make the poet disappear.
Saturday, September 27, 2014
to buy a pet peeve.
How very annoying -
they asked me to leave!
I hate that darn pet store.
I'm nursing a grudge.
Don't try to console me.
My grudge will not budge.
Upon some reflection,
I found what I sought.
I have a pet peeve now,
though nothing was bought.
Friday, September 26, 2014
5. Put up a good fight
Punching and kicking are mentioned. Firearms are not. I wonder why.
Rather than boot it,
I'd rather shoot it.
Thursday, September 25, 2014
'More reassuring, I think, would be a candid assessment of what might go wrong with nudging. One of Sunstein’s many books (from before his time in the White House) is entitled Worst-Case Scenarios. Could we please have something like that as a companion to Nudge?'
'Eventually what we are told by Sunstein is that autonomy is just a surrogate for welfare—what people ultimately want is the promotion of their own well-being and it doesn’t really matter how that comes about. At best autonomy is a heuristic: “People speak in terms of autonomy, but what they are doing is making a rapid, intuitive judgment about welfare.” I must say that I find all of this remarkably tone-deaf to concerns about autonomy.'
I haven't read Waldron, much.
But maybe I need to stay in touch.
"Don't laugh at me," he began.
And then it flashed back.
"I'm sorry," I said. "But we've met before."
"Oh," he said, looking concerned, and he turned away.
It's a scam. There's not really anyone he's talking to on that phone of his. It's a prop. He has a story about how his wallet was stolen and he needs money to get home to wherever. And I dealt with him once before.
Probably I gave him 5 bucks before, and realized afterward that it was a scam. I do get suckered. But not by the same guy twice.
And... this is at least my second repeat-scam experience. There's another guy who scammed me once. His story is that he needs cash to buy gas in a bad neighborhood. Yeah, I gave him money the first time. Not the second.
Fooling me once
wasn't so nice.
But I'm no dunce -
don't try it twice!
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
There is reason to think it was the sequel to Love's Labour's Lost.
Won has not been found.
Apparently it was tossed.
The play that's still around,
of course is Lost.
Monday, September 22, 2014
Sunday, September 21, 2014
'The number of false accusations is what statisticians call a “dark number” -- that is, there is a true number, but it is unknown, and perhaps unknowable.'
I thought of saying that in the future, when every aspect of your life is recorded, this won't be such a problem.
But I have my doubts that we are actually going to live in that future.
The future may not be as advertised.
Privacy may still, in fact, be prized.
The Ninth, which ran under an hour and a half, was the only piece on the program, but the orchestra did play the Star Spangled Banner first. It's the bicentennial of its lyrics. But its tune is that of an older drinking song, "To Anacreon in Heaven".
We came home and watched an episode of: Turn: Washington's Spies, set during the American Revolution, and, oddly enough, there was a scene in which our hero - and some British officers - were singing "To Anacreon in Heaven".
So here's to songs
you sing while drinking,
and glasses clinking.
Friday, September 19, 2014
I'm also distrustful of the designers of our latest round of health care reform, who misrepresented their "keep your doctor" product.
So here comes a guy who is both, Ezekiel Emanuel, saying it's best to die by 75:
"At age 75 we reach that unique, albeit somewhat arbitrarily chosen, moment when we have lived a rich and complete life, and have hopefully imparted the right memories to our children."
"Arbitrarily chosen". Interesting admission, that. Anyway, by sheer coincidence no doubt, we could save a lot of money on Social Security, and Medicare, if we could somehow institutionalize that particular arbitrarily chosen number.
If you're over 75,
and distressingly alive,
but feel it would be best,
to take a permanent rest,
just call up an end-of-life panel,
and turn on the Soylent Green Channel.
Thursday, September 18, 2014
"Results in Scotland’s independence referendum are distinctly leaning towards the No campaign, with declared local authority areas so far choosing by to stay within the U.K. by 21 to 4."
This probably affects me not at all,
but I'm hoping that the union doesn't fall
mostly because I rather strongly suspect
that the Scot's economy will get wrecked.
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
hurled at Wasserman Schwartz...
Politico has a long piece on how the Democrats are turning on DNC leader, Debbie Wasserman Schwartz, who many seem to feel has outstayed her welcome.
"One example that sources point to as particularly troubling: Wasserman Schultz repeatedly trying to get the DNC to cover the costs of her wardrobe."
Also, the boss in the White House reportedly doesn't care for her.
Shortly after becoming chairwoman, she pushed hard for a meeting with the president that she kicked off by complaining that she had been blocked from hiring the daughter of a donor — who’d been on staff in her congressional office — as a junior staffer to be the DNC’s Jewish community liaison.
Are they trying to portray her as pushy and greedy, while making a point of mentioning Jewishness? Are they pushing a subliminal stereotype here?
I've never been a real admirer,
but I'll feel bad if they fire her.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Monday, September 15, 2014
Wikipedia specifically says it's residents, not citizens, who get to vote.
Of course it's true
that technically there's not
a citizenship called "Scot"
until the divorce goes through.
Sunday, September 14, 2014
On the plus side, Ayn Rand didn't live to see this trilogy. On the minus side, we don't get to hear her denounce it.
On the plus side, the philosophical statements in the trilogy are all Rand-compatible. On the minus side, her controversial views sometimes come across blandly.
I think of this last film as having 3 main sections: the valley, the speech, and the torture. Of these, by some reverse alchemy, the torture scene, which is tense and cinematic in the book, somehow became the least dramatic scene in the movie.
I do want to give a shout-out to Greg Germann who played Jim Taggart. As far as I'm concerned, he steals every scene he's in. He's a one-man drama machine of internal conflict.
I have to say, I actually enjoyed the film, but I went in with accurate expectations.
Here's the minus: the movie is not well done.
Here's the plus: it won't be seen by much of... anyone.
Saturday, September 13, 2014
I'm glad to see someone talking about it. It has been going on a long time, for decades really, but it seems to be accelerating and seems to have finally come to public attention here.
"In roughly the past 18 months, all this has broken through in Christian communities, largely by way of Christian media, including Catholic news services and the Baptist press. The story has been all over social media. Pope Francis has denounced what is happening; the Vatican is talking about just-war theory."
The story has not really been covered by the establishment media. The genocide has not really been exposed by the foreign policy wonks or the U.N.
I originally grasped the scope of what was happening from reading a 1999 book by William Dalrymple: From the Holy Mountain: A Journey among the Christians of the Middle East. He visits monastery after monastery, and over and over the Christian population around the monasteries has dwindled significantly. Kirkus Reviews describes the book as "an evensong for a dying civilization". And why is that civilization dying? Dalrymple says it's due to resurgent Islamic fundamentalism.
I don't know that we can solve this problem. But we should at least begin by admitting that this is a great evil happening now.
Noonan is pretty good at reading the mood of the American people. I think she's correct that there's no current appetite for nation-building. But I think she's also correct that there's plenty of appetite for killing off a lot of these murderous Islamic State thugs, who are riding around in the open and waving flags and killing American journalists, and, generally, just begging to be killed.
Send in the drones.
Blast their bones.
Thursday, September 11, 2014
The argument, which I've seen before, is that the way we say the numbers from 11 to 19 is inconsistent with the rest of the system.
You know, instead of saying seventeen, we should say tenty-seven. Instead of saying twelve, we should say tenty-two. Or something like that. Apparently Chinese does something like that.
What I tentatively like about "tenty"
is that it rhymes with twenty.
Alas, who could have foreseen
that kids would be undone by "fourteen"?
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
So I broke my screen-focus and looked at my foot. Sure enough. A big black ant. I struck quickly.
Now the ant is dead
but everywhere I feel
a creepy crawly sensation.
I know it's in my head.
I know that it's not real.
But still I crave cessation!
Monday, September 08, 2014
He's the American football player who knocked out his fiancee (now his wife) with a left hook, judging from the newly released video. This seems accurate:
"The grainy video, released by TMZ Sports, shows Rice and Janay Palmer in an elevator at an Atlantic City casino. Each hits the other before Rice knocks Palmer off her feet and into a railing."
From the video I saw, it started when he made a face at her and she gave him a little shove, before they even got on the elevator. But who knows what was going on before that? So I don't know really who "started" the fight.
Anyway, she was clearly ready to fight him, rushing at him physically, in a girly-fight sort of way... but how threatened did he feel, exactly?
Lately, people don't like to talk about the fact that a lot of domestic violence occurs in contexts where it is the couple's practice to fight. That's what this looks like to me.
Some people may like to fight,
but that doesn't make it right.