6/30/2004 06:30:00 AM|W|P|PJ|W|P|An interesting post from an old school chum (though I'm not at all sure if she'd cop to ever having associated with the likes of me) about the CTA Chicago Card. (Read it so you know what the hell I'm talking about below.) I don't have one of these benighted things, thank the Good Lord Jah, but I can very easily see running into these same problems if I did. I would like to propose the following as a general ethical norm we can all get behind: If you are a large bureaucratic institution that is dependent on maximizing revenue and minimizing losses, you can, and in most cases should, save money by automating repetitive tasks. But if automating those tasks creates big and incredibly obvious ways to cheat the system, that is your problem, not your customers'. The corollary to this norm is that if your system is such that you are unable to tell the difference between someone who has cheated in this big and obvious way and someone who has made a honest and reasonable mistake, your system probably should not default towards irreversibly penalizing everyone as if they were cheating. The vexing thing about the Chicago Card system in particular is that there is a perfectly sensible alternative inherent in the system being based on cards. Slots. While any reasonable person, especially one who's in a hurry, could accidentally touch a card to a button twice (thus incurring two full fares), it's a rare individual indeed who inserts a card into a slot, waits for it to do its thing, takes it back and then accidentally re-inserts it. This is one reason why credit cards use those irritating magnetic strips that go all pear-shaped when you need them the most: if conducting a credit card transaction were as easy as buying a fare with the Chicago Card, there'd be a lot more cashier errors of the sort that make life a merry hell for the credit card companies. If a type of human error is an unavoidable byproduct of your hardware or software, you either take your lumps and deal with the errors as they happen, or you fix the problem.|W|P|108859502075436032|W|P|kiss 'n ride|W|P|10/11/2005 11:50:00 PM|W|P|Anonymous Anonymous|W|P|site at: **SLOT CAR**10/12/2005 02:40:00 PM|W|P|Anonymous Anonymous|W|P|feel free to come on in and check it out anytime. :)10/14/2005 06:16:00 AM|W|P|Anonymous Anonymous|W|P|I was searching for chicago cubs fan and found your site.

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Dave6/29/2004 02:49:00 AM|W|P|PJ|W|P|Whiskey Bar: Last Call If only my problem was far too many commenters.|W|P|108849536805213658|W|P|problems i don't have|W|P|6/29/2004 06:56:00 AM|W|P|Anonymous Anonymous|W|P|This is the best name for a blog I have ever seen!6/29/2004 10:42:00 AM|W|P|Anonymous Anonymous|W|P|I'm a big fan of the sexualchocolate bandwagon. Comment Comment Comment. Take that, sexy.6/26/2004 11:41:00 PM|W|P|PJ|W|P|A plurality, if not a majority, of this blog's readers for the last two days have come in as a result of a google search for the phrase "avant-garde nightclub." God bless America.|W|P|108831142056498379|W|P|briefly observed|W|P|6/24/2004 05:09:00 PM|W|P|PJ|W|P|According to the Sun-Times, Jack! Ryan is 'reassessing' his Senate bid. It will be interesting to see what the Republicans end up doing. Jack!'s major appeal was his total political orthodoxy, his nice resume (he's public piety a go-go, and to be fair he does attend Mass more often than he attends Cool Whip Night down at the local avant-garde nightclub, so that's a net plus, purgatory-wise), his dorky-handsome looks, and his willingness to pick up the tab for pretty much the entire campaign--important because the kids down at the national Republican Death Star quite rightly saw retaining the Illinois Senate seat as kind of a lost cause, instead directing their efforts to the juicy pickup opportunities in more dentally challenged states. So the Republicans have four options, none of them good. They can keep Ryan in the race and take their lumps in November. They can replace him with another fantastically rich person [hey! Blair Hull's available!] with a less impressive backstory. They can convince a heavy hitter (Edgar? Thompson?) who will need fundraising help to step in, thus drawing the national party's time and money away from more happy hunting grounds. Or they can run a nobody, get blown out, and run the risk of hurting the down-ballot races.|W|P|108811498721603017|W|P|as schadenfreude week rolls on|W|P|6/23/2004 03:01:00 PM|W|P|PJ|W|P|The Sun-Times offers a list of potential replacements for Jack! should the Republicans boot his happy ass off the ticket. The nightmare scenario, I think, is if some big name Republican decides to take one for the team and run against Obama. I still think Obama will win, even if he ends up playing the varsity, but it'll be a lot tougher than the walkover it is at present.|W|P|108802091483872427|W|P|mo jack!|W|P|6/23/2004 05:08:00 AM|W|P|PJ|W|P|Unfogged has one or two (OK, three) things to say about the revelation that Illinois Senate candidate Jack! Ryan has a waaay more interesting sex life than mine. 1) I agree in principle that this is (in a way) bad news for Obama, who was more or less a lock to beat any Republican candidate except Jim Edgar or Jim Thompson. Now his victory will carry that little asterisk that adheres to anyone who lucks into office. But let's get real. Barack Obama is, by all accounts, a very smart guy who knows his way around a legislature. He's going to be a star in DC no matter how he gets there. 2) Ogged sez:
And I'd really hoped that the silver lining to Schwarzenegger's victory was that we had put sex scandals behind us (Schwarzenegger's was even worse, of course, because there were hints of harrassment; and I reserve the right to say of any given sex scandal that it's just too freaky, and makes me wonder about the candidate...). I suppose Illinois isn't California.
I think that for a lot of people--maybe not a majority but a significant number--whether a candidate has freaky-deaky sex is no longer the issue. Whether a candidate has cheated on his/her spouse is no longer the issue. For a lot of us, what we know about his/her personal life is a prism through which we make a judgement about their good sense, which is a factor in the nine-variable calculus of determining who we're going to vote for. We seem to be OK with someone having screwed around as a young adult (let he who is without sin, etc.), and we seem to be more or less OK with a nice quiet affair between two consenting adults--at least, it didn't do much to axe the careers of Bill Clinton or Henry Hyde. But when the details make the candidate look like a goddamned fool, as in this case, the damage is much more severe. That having been said, if this was an established and popular incumbent with the backing of the state party, this, too, would pass. [And now I pause to contemplate Jim Edgar and his wife as the central attraction at an "avant-garde nightclub" in Gay Paree...oh, man, is that not a pretty sight...] I think that the allegations against Schwartzenegger did hurt him, but under the circumstances of the California recall, it would have taken more than that to kill his candidacy. By comparison Jack! was the walking wounded before the shit hit the fan. These revelations have just turned him from a soon to be sacrifical lamb into God's Own Schwarma. 3) Frankly, it doesn't chap my hide too much that Jack! is claiming that he wanted his son to have been sheltered from the inevitable brouhaha that this file would have caused. Because I believe that there's a level at which that's true. I have many years of experience at being someone's son, and I speak from the accumulated wisdom of those years when I say that one of my top priorities in life is never ever finding out the details of any Supafreaky Circus Sex my parents may have ever engaged in. There are some things we do not want or need to know about our parents. So, yes, there are valid reasons for public figures to want to keep their private lives private. And, yes, one of the ways we keep our private lives private is by lying our asses off when we are asked direct questions about them. I am a tad skeptical about the sincerity of Eric Zorn's hurt feelings on this question. As for Jack!'s supposed betrayal of the Illinois Republican party: a) the hell with the Illinois Republican party, and b) I frankly can't see how they come out not looking like total dingleberries in this scenario. What are the possiblities? If they knew about the contents of the sealed files and decided they could keep it under wraps until November, they're rock stupid. If they thought that a messy divorce file that talks about a future Senate candidate screwing a TV star in public would be the kind of thing the news media would just sort of pass over, then calling them rock stupid is an insult to rocks. If they didn't know or didn't care about the contents of the file, they're so far beneath rock stupid that the gravel in my side yard is the Algonquin Freaking Roundtable by comparison. Fact is, the contents of this file has not been a particularly closely guarded secret for some time now. I had heard talk of "avant-garde nightclubs" (my new favorite phrase, I think) since before the primary, and I'm some geek who's currently blogging from his parents' basement. There are yaks with more access to Illinois' Corridors of Power. There's simply no way that influential people didn't know about this stuff, and if they didn't, that's such a failure of basic due diligence that they get what they deserve. Why anyone would blame Jack! for that is beyond me.|W|P|108798533889807336|W|P|i'm sure that he'd rather have this defense come from someone who was, you know, going to vote for him, but...|W|P|6/23/2004 01:57:00 AM|W|P|PJ|W|P|Dammit, I said "tee hee." Now read!|W|P|108797382346310887|W|P|tee hee|W|P|6/22/2004 10:47:00 PM|W|P|PJ|W|P|I'm surprised none of the lefty blogs I've read have commented on Jon Stewart's evisceration of some dope from the Weekly Standard on Monday's Daily Show. I laughed my ass off. You simply don't see interviews that ruthless on TV. Big ups, Jonboy.|W|P|108796290398959029|W|P|they pull a knife, jon pulls a gun|W|P|6/22/2004 03:34:00 AM|W|P|PJ|W|P|'9/11': Just the facts? One of the things I had drilled into my head at school was this: an essay makes a point. If you're not arguing for a particular position, you're not writing an essay, you're just saying...things. Likewise with documentary filmmaking. And yet, plenty of people who presumably have no problem with the presence of opinion essays in every newspaper are horrified at the notion that a film might be biased in its presentation. I have a hypothesis as to why. But first, let me stipulate that there is some merit to the obvious observation: that the whole to-do about a film that 99.999% of Americans have not seen (yet) is a phony outrage whipped up by Republican PR firms--a.k.a. "Move America Forward," an organization that's just as much a spontaneous outburst of the Volk as the "street teams" foisting the latest hi-caf soda or low-carb beer or cheerful boy band on America's witless youth. Certainly, the Republicans (and their associated direct-mail people) have gotten real damn good at the art of the sub rosa stoking of righteous anger--a phenomenon sadly underreported by reporters in Washington and New York, in no small part because this phenomenon tends to manifest itself in stuffed mailboxes on rural routes in Dogwater, Kansas and perky AOL-brand "You've Got Mail" voices on $699 Dells in Mudflap, Mississippi, and national political correspondents have better damn things to do with their time than to beat bushes in Flyover Country looking for, well, news. But. But you can have a fresh batch of Grade-A seeds straight outta tha Burpee catalog, it's not going to mean squat if you don't have any decent soil in which to plant 'em. So, too, with outrage. If people aren't primed to accept the premises of the outrage you're trying to stoke, you're simply not going to have the desired effect. So why is it that people are receptive to regarding bias as the ultimate sin? A lot of it, I think, goes back to how we educate the kiddies. We are, as a rule, supremely naive as young children, and so one of the first and most important lessons we are taught is that not everyone who talks to you is telling the truth--and that's all well and good, insofar as not taking that Zagnut from the creepy guy in a muscle shirt is what stands between you and god-knows-what. That lesson is then expanded to "don't believe everything you read," and we learn that certain things you read are slanted--distorted in favor of the writer's agenda--i.e., not trustworthy. Maaaaybe you can be trusted to read these slanted pieces, but only if you can suss out the core of objective truth hidden within the bias. Better, all things being equal, to stay away from that nasty business and read objective and unbiased things which tell "both sides" of the story. This, for many, is where one's introduction to the concept of bias ends. The obvious next step would be to take the exploration of the idea to the next level and consider the possibility that no one could possibly present a totally objective view, or that there are at least as many "sides" to a story as there are storytellers. But where's the constituency for that? It's obviously in the interest of news sources and political parties to keep people thinking that their side is objectively correct and the other guys are dead wrong. Culture-war mavens are always on the sniff for the latest example of "moral relativism." Parents don't want their kids introduced to skepticism about authority figures. Religious leaders would, on the whole, be horrified to hear their holy books described as an argument for a particular point of view, as opposed to, say, the Gospel truth. Lord knows teachers (with some noble exceptions) for the most part don't want to deal with the headaches of pupils versed in radical skepticism. So nothing happens. And a viewing public, with no real way to read (or watch) an argument, has no clue how to respond to one, besides a nagging suspicion that the person making the argument is being somehow unfair.|W|P|108789324919224730|W|P|thank you, roger ebert|W|P|6/20/2004 03:17:00 PM|W|P|PJ|W|P|Daily Kos has an interesting couple of links about cognitive dissonance and the administration's continued assertions that Iraq supported the 9/11 attacks. The question, of course, is not why Bush continues to sell the story. The motivation there is obvious. The question is why other people believe it. One data point which came up in the Daily Kos comments was a link to a poll that shows that viewers of Fox News or the network news are far more likely than people who get their news primarily from NPR, PBS, or print sources to hold one or more "misperceptions," to use the poll's gentle wording. The obvious conclusion to reach is that people are simply being lied to. Maybe. But in my limited experience of Fox News, I don't get the impression that they're just flat-out fibbing in their news broadcasts, try as they might to put the best possible pro-Republican spin on events. What seems more likely to me is that the Saddam-Al Qaeda story is a myth. I'm not using "myth" as a synonym for "lie" or "delusion." What I mean by a myth is this: a myth is a story that gives the inexplicable meaning for the hearer. Primitive cultures such as the ancient Babylonians or people from Mississippi tell supernatural stories to explain the origin of the earth or the nature of the stars, things they lack the background to describe in terms of natural processes, and in doing so, they give those things meaning for them. Similarly, we tell ourselves stories that give the inexplicably tragic or traumatic a deeper meaning. Not for nothing did every jamoche with an AOL account forward you jpegs of a supposed apparition of Satan in the smoke of the World Trade Center; it personalizes the conflict in a way that they can understand--it becomes part of the Good v. Evil conflict that they feel they are personally affecting through prayer, witnessing, etc. It also fits the tragedy in the larger context of a conflict they already "understand" and thus absolves them of the responsibility to understand the specifics of, say, the last 40 years of Middle-Eastern history. The war in Iraq is increasingly tragic and increasingly inexplicable, and the pressure on everyday folks (who, above all else, want all the bloodshed and mayhem to have meant something) to come up with some story by which it all makes some sort of sense will be overwhelming. I suspect that as further revelations of the moral corruption at the heart of the Iraq conflict come out, the proportion of people who believe in this sort of myth story will become even greater.|W|P|108777280905118143|W|P|why myths happen|W|P|6/20/2004 05:37:00 AM|W|P|PJ|W|P|Atrios has some harsh words for the Washington Post, but I think his critcism is off the mark. I don't think that the Post is using "spiritual" in its typical contempoary sense--i.e. as a milquetoast synonym for "religious," but rather in the sense of the German Geist or the French esprit, when used philosophically. (Think, for example, of Zeitgeist--"spirit of the times.") One of the most important things we ask of a president in times of crisis is to be this sort of spiritual leader: to give concrete form to our national spirit, or our collective aspirations, and to lead in a way that is both guided by and helps to further inform that spirit. Think "Lincoln at Gettysburg," not "Papal bull." Given this, the description of the President as America's spritual leader is right on. That having been said, I do have a big honking objection to the article's characterization of Bush's harshest critics. I'm not even one of his harshest critics (though I'm in at least the 95th percentile), and I remember being sorely disappointed by the actions being characterized as a "rally" by the president after his questionable-at-best actions on the day of September 11. I mean, who can forget his stirring nationally televised speech asking Americans to cast aside their fears and rise as one to...er...shop. And travel. By plane, if possible. Those of us who know the President's limitations knew better than to expect high-flown eloquence, but I don't think it was unreasonable to long for more than copy for an airline ad. But the test of this sort of spiritual leader is not the quality of their speechifying but in whether they truly believe in the spirit they're leading. Implicit or explicit in all the President's actions on the days after the attacks was a series of promises: that we would rebuild, that we would honor the dead, that we would be made safer, that we would capture the perpetrators and bring them to justice, and most importantly, that we would do all of those things in the peculiarly American way as a testament to the superiority of liberal democracy over indiscriminate sectarian violence. These promises (comforting to almost all of us at the time) ring hollow in light of the knowledge that the PR campaign for war in Iraq began at 2:40 PM on the day of the attacks, when Donald Rumsfeld ordered the military to "go massive" and gather any piece of evidence that could possibly lead people to suspect that Saddam Hussein might have had something to do with 9/11. This is Time Zero of the campaign of deception. Everything after that--the phony weapons of mass destruction, the "Atta in Prague" nonsense, the grandiose promises of an Iraq free from arbitrary terror and torture that we're quietly slinking away from in the shadow of Abu Ghraib, all of that is a direct result of a conscious calculation on September 11 by the Secretary of Defense (and God knows who else) that a populace wracked with fear and rage was now emotionally primed to support whatever damn fool war they had on their wish list. The sprit of America says "we are a free and peace-loving nation, and free and peace-loving nations do not start wars but only fight in self-defense." Though this has sometimes been honored in the breach, as Mexico or Spain could tell you, history judges those misbegotten (though profitable) wars as the spiritual failings that they were. As with the sinking of the Maine, so too with 9/11: let us tar the nation whose posessions we covet with the brush of aggression and terror (true, false, who cares?) so that the public can in good conscience (or at least in a bad-faith simulacrum of good conscience) support our land-grab. It's ludicrous to think of someone both truly embodying the spirit of a people and at the same time distorting our understanding of reality in order to shoehorn his personal ambitions into that spirit. And yet this is what we are asked to do when we are asked to admire the September 12 model of George W. Bush as a model of spiritual leadership.|W|P|108772786481264066|W|P|spiritual leadership|W|P|6/20/2004 04:11:00 PM|W|P|Anonymous Anonymous|W|P|Thanks for noting that "spiritual leader," in the context of that article, is a perfectly reasonable description of the role of president (if sadly unsuited to *this* president). I've been flogging the same point in Atrios's Comments section without success. At least now I know I'm not completely bonkers.

Judith6/19/2004 02:56:00 PM|W|P|PJ|W|P|Now I have trackback, thanks to the good people at HaloScan. Now, the many thousands of people who do not read this blog can not only not comment on my posts, but now they can also not post links back to their own blogs! Sexualchocolate.org: working hard to be the only blog you never read.|W|P|108767517546918126|W|P|w00t!|W|P|6/18/2004 09:16:00 PM|W|P|PJ|W|P|I'm calling you out, "One Of Us," written by Eric Bazilian and memorably performed by Joan Osborne. I've had a beef with you for years--ever since you first darkened my parents' basic cable package. To wit: If God was one of us, then He wouldn't be God. God, by definition, is not a slob like one of us. Presumably, an omnipotent being could have the power to disguise Himself as a stranger on the bus trying to make His way home--mysterious ways and all that--but actually becoming said stranger opens up a rather ugly theological-paradoxical can of worms of the rock-so-heavy-he-can't-lift-it vein, and if we're going to have any kind of coherent idea of a Supreme Being, it's best to just not identify it with overweight guys in work shirts dozing off with a well-worn copy of the Free Shopper strewn across their bodies. Also. This bit:
Trying to make His way home Just tryin' to make his way home Like a holy rolling stone Back up to Heaven all alone Just tryin' to make his way home Nobody callin' on the phone 'Cept for the Pope maybe in Rome
Worst. Outro. Ever. It's a pity, really. It's a lovely melody, but those are some seriously butt-stupid lyrics.|W|P|108761137427198415|W|P|pj vs. mid 90's vh1 top ten hits, or notes upon the opening credits of joan of arcadia|W|P|6/17/2004 04:23:00 PM|W|P|PJ|W|P|Metaphilm has an odd and intriguing piece on Calvin and Hobbes and its relation to Fight Club, or possibly vice versa.|W|P|108750742031990290|W|P|i am calvin's growing sense of self doubt|W|P|6/16/2004 06:16:00 PM|W|P|PJ|W|P|From Matthew Yglesias, who got the link from someone else, and so on, here's a list of philosophical movies. Quibbles to follow.|W|P|108742780074417455|W|P||W|P|6/16/2004 05:01:00 PM|W|P|PJ|W|P|It is a GOOD thing that the Supreme Court ruled that Michael Newdow had no standing as a noncustodial parent to sue in federal court on behalf of his daughter, because questions of family law have always been matters for the state courts and legislatures. It would be a GOOD thing to pass a federal Constitutional amendment forbidding the states from legalizing same-sex marriage, because questions of family law are far too important to be left up to state courts and legislatures. We have always been at war with Eurasia. Thank you and goodnight.|W|P|108742400297888915|W|P|stand by for the following bulletin from the ministry of truth:|W|P|6/15/2004 04:42:00 PM|W|P|PJ|W|P|I would rather be right than be a Hollywood house-hubby. I have for years fearlessly expressed my opinion that Jennifer Love Hewitt looks kind of like a vole. Such is the power of my Bushian moral certainty in this case that I do not feel compelled at all to, say, look up what a "vole" is. So it's sort of comforting in an odd way to discover that the people your fellow males 18-35 have spent many moons integrating into their wank-fantasies are just as soul-suckingly dull as they are physically off-putting. (At least you know you're not missing out.) Ezra at Pandagon has a teeny tiny postmortem on JLH's appearance on The Daily Show. One of the commenters really nailed it:
I didn't think that Stewart thought he was going too far, but rather that he'd realized too late that he was dealing with someone whose sense of humor ends at laughing at other people's cutesy jokes. He's like that with all his guests, but she was clearly out of her depth.
Exactly. Allow me to offer up a broad generalization followed by a flood of explanations and caveats: pretty people are rarely funny. More's the point, pretty women are pretty much never funny. Two reasons why: 1) Comedy has historically been the protest of the weak against the iniquities of the strong. This is one reason why classical comedies often revolved around wiseass slaves or uppity women running rings around pompous aristocratic types: it's funny to see one's presumed social betters take it on the chin. When this construction is reversed, what was once funny seems sort of cruel--consider e.g. The Office on the BBC. The meta-joke of that show is that the boss character is so painfully unfunny--partly because he has a tin ear for comedy but partly because the victims of his practical jokes are helpless underlings. Consider, hypothetically, a white standup comedian riffing on black people the way Chris Rock riffs on white people. (Actually, you don't have to imagine it, really. Just pick up the lunkhead conservative newspaper on your local college campus.) It's the difference between the school bully kicking a nerd in the nuts and then running away and a nerd kicking the school bully in the nuts and then running away: one is a vulgar display of the human capacity for sadistic violence and the other is the downtrodden doing what needs to happen to survive. Nearly all of us develop our peculiar senses of humor in our school days. And certainly, once puberty rolls around, a big part of our social standing is determined by a) our sexual attractiveness and b) our degree of self-confidence about same. Pretty people, ceteris paribus, gravitate towards the popular cliques. Now, one of the constants of teenaged life is fear and contempt of people who are different from ourselves, and humor is one of the ways we express these emotions. For teenaged outcasts, humor therefore consists of verbal bitchslaps of the school's natural aristocracy. For the popular kids, humor is stomping on the people at the bottom of the pyramid. Only one of these is terribly bankable in the long run. 2) To put it in evolutionary-biology terms, there is no selection pressure on attractive women to develop a worthwhile sense of humor. Imagine yourself as a pretty teenage girl, surrounded as often as possible by a coterie of inverted-baseball-capped mooks from the lacrosse team who really want you to blow them. Say you, under these circumstances, decide to attempt to make a funny. As soon as you give the first impression that you're telling a joke, these guys are mentally preparing themselves to laugh whether it's funny or not. It's entirely possible that you just said something really hilarious, but how are you ever going to know? They laugh just as hard at your lame cutesy cat stories. There's no question in my mind that we all cut pretty people (of both genders) all kinds of slack without even thinking about it. While I'm sure that's nice and makes for all sorts of free drinks and other bennies, constant praise dulls the self-critical faculties. Why be be interesting if people are going to treat you the same as if you were boring? It's rather like the Emperor in the movie Amadeus--a shitty musician but just bright enough to have some inkling of the depths of his shittiness, but not nearly bright enough to figure out how to get the court musicians to actually tell him what's wrong, if he had the depth of character to want to know what's wrong in the first place, which he pretty much does not. I'm sure there are exceptions to the rule of thumb. For one thing, I have dated and/or had searing crushes on people who were both physically lovely and genuinely funny, but as near as I can tell, they were typically outcast-types in high school, because they grew into being attractive or had poor self-images that prevented them from seeing themselves as attractive or were just genuinely uninterested in leveraging their sexuality to become 10% more popular with the in crowd. But it appears that Jennifer Love Hewitt (remember Jennifer Love Hewitt? This is a post about Jennifer Love Hewitt...), poor dear, is lost to us. You can only go so long through life having people treat you like you're interesting before you start to genuinely believe it.|W|P|108733574995283164|W|P|sympathy for the hewitt, or "what is funny?"|W|P|9/26/2005 08:02:00 AM|W|P|Anonymous Anonymous|W|P|Found a lot of useful info on your site about Jennifer Love Hewitt - thank you. Haven't finished reading it yet but have bookmarked it so I don't lose it. I've just started a Jennifer Love Hewitt blog myself if you'd like to stop by6/13/2004 09:38:00 PM|W|P|PJ|W|P|The Lonely Planet World Guide lists the following as the primary health risks of travel in Haiti:
Health risks: Malaria, Hepatitis, Tuberculosis, Dengue Fever, Sunburn
Sunburn?|W|P|108718068560868867|W|P|no disrespect to the dermatologists in the audience, but|W|P|6/13/2004 09:28:00 PM|W|P|PJ|W|P|Check the history. When was the last time a legitimate underdog was actually won the NBA finals? For the last five years (before this year), the Eastern Conference has been the league's consolation bracket. Before then, there was three years of Bulls domination. The Rockets won the two years prior to that, and those were the last two years in which the winner was a matter of widespread doubt. Before then, the Bulls won three in a row, and before then, the Pistons won back-to-back. In this sequence, 1989 to 2003, I count one (1) instance of a significant surprise: the 1995 sweep of the Magic by the Rockets, which itself was not as big of an upset as a Pistons over Lakers result would be. Unpredictability (to a reasonable extent) is key to sports as entertainment.|W|P|108718010004972430|W|P|why the pistons must win for the good of civilization|W|P|6/13/2004 03:55:00 PM|W|P|PJ|W|P|Scam o Rama, or The Lads from Lagos is a wonderful site I just discovered. The site consists largely of stories of wiseasses screwing with the heads of the perpetrators of advance fee fraud, sometimes with hilarious results. My favorite story so far is this one, wherein the author gets the scammer to send him $100.|W|P|108716012459875953|W|P|welcome to accra! i am expert cock handler! please see me for cock service!|W|P|6/13/2004 01:59:00 PM|W|P|PJ|W|P|CNN.com - Powell: Inaccurate error report was `big mistake' - Jun 13, 2004 "It's a numbers error. It's not a political judgment that said, `Let's see if we can cook the books.' We can't get away with that now. Nobody was out to cook the books. Errors crept in," [Powell] told ABC's "This Week." |W|P|108715314663697676|W|P|and the ronald reagan memorial "mistakes were made" award for clever use of the passive voice goes to:|W|P|6/12/2004 05:46:00 AM|W|P|PJ|W|P|I shall begin today's homily by acknowledging that a) I am willfully perverting the whole point of luv week by yammering about politics and b) I have already promised myself I'd stop writing about Reagan and c) I am probably wasting my time complaining about good ol' Rush , but ranting simply must occur. I'll take it frame by frame it: i. buttfucking Quoth Rush:
I personally will never forget this, reacting to it in my own way on the radio, but they were saying just like Reagan caused homelessness, Reagan caused AIDS, Reagan allowed AIDS to happen. I would parse what they said with the utmost logic. There's one way this disease is spread. Does anybody know something about Reagan we don't know? Of course, that did not win me any friends in that community.
I'll say the word that's on Limbaugh's mind, the word he's dancing around: buttfucking. The only way AIDS can possibly be spread, he is asserting, is buttfucking. I'm tickled and amused that this continues to be the party line among the short-bus conservatives: AIDS would have never been a problem if it weren't for all the buttfucking that the preverts were doing. Since the only people responsible for stopping the spread of a disease are the people infected with it [?], according to the utmost logic, Ronald Reagan and his adminstration are not responsible in any way for the AIDS epidemic, since they clearly [?] were not the ones doing the buttfucking. Now, I don't know where Mr. Limbaugh gets his news, but I recently picked up a paper and discovered that an exciting thing had happened recently. It's called The Last Twenty Years. One of the really thrilling discoveries of The Last Twenty Years was that there's a tantalizing variety of ways to transmit HIV, some of which don't even require the purchase of Astroglide, and that the fact that the disease had its first major outbreak (in the industrialized world) in the San Francisco gay community is pretty much an accident of history. Many "cultural conservatives" have just never quite been able to get over the initial rush of giddiness which accompanied the gruesome deaths of gay men in San Francisco: further proof, it was, of God's disapproval of all of that buttfucking. Jerry Falwell called it "God's way of spanking us." ii. the mouth of the hudson For a lot of us, especially those of us who were never personally touched by the AIDS epidemic, it's easy to forget the level of insensitivity with which it was regarded in the 1980s. Bob Hope could get a big laugh from an all-star audience (including, er, Ronald Reagan) by quipping that the Statue of Liberty had AIDS, but she didn't know if she got it "from the mouth of the Hudson, or the Staten Island Fairy." The point is not that Bob Hope was an egregious homophobe (he wasn't), but that it was simply OK to crack wise about a disease that was, at that point, killing thousands of Americans a year. We allowed our national policy judgement of the AIDS epidemic to become intimately tied to our moral/religious judgements of homosexuality (and sexuality in general) at a critical point when the disease could have been largely contained with a vigorous and intelligently planned prevention effort. As a result, hundreds of thousands of people have died. Ronald Reagan could have spent a little of his immense political capital and risked the political disapproval of the Fallwells and Helmses and John Paul IIs of the world by speaking publically about the disease in a non-hysterical manner. This sort of act, doing an impolitic thing because it's the right thing to do, is known as "leadership." It was not a terribly popular thing in the 1980s. Reagan's massive failure of leadership in the face of the AIDS crisis seems to have been more or less excused by his eulogists and obit writers because, gosh darnit, he was a creature of his times, and his times regarded AIDS as a punchline or as a gay plague and definitely not something to be discussed In Front Of The Children, because of, you know, all of the buttfucking. Never mind that the only thing being asked of him was to not be a creature of his times, to lead. This excuse is pretty incoherent in general (he did not take initiative, because no one was taking initiative) unless you are a) predisposed to give Reagan a free pass on the issue, facts be dammned and/or b) have in the back of your mind the idea that "they" pretty much deserved it (you know, because God disapproves of all that buttfucking) and were lucky to get the help they did get from Uncle Sam. iii. i still work out, even though i am not kenyan Then, of course, Rush says that even if Reagan had paid attention to AIDS back in the early 80's, it wouldn't do any damn good, because:
The myth that funding can do anything about this, in that short a period of time, I mean we had just discovered this virus. We had trouble identifying it. We didn't know exactly what it was. Everybody was trying to find out things about it and the idea that any amount of money at that time would have led to -- it was a virus. You don't cure viruses. You come up maybe with vaccines, and you come up with ways to treat, but we don't cure them. Common cold is a virus.
Allow me to wax metaphoric momentarily. It has recently come to my attention that I may not, in fact, be the number one lover man in my particular postal district. Part of this is due to factors beyond my control, but part of it is the results of things I damn well could do something about--I could, for example, get in better shape. So I'm putting in 30-40 minutes a day on a treadmill. It's only been a month, so I don't really look physically different, but I feel better, my appetite is more under control, and I am a bit more equipped to deal with sustained physical exertion than I was a month ago. Yay for me. I am, however, flat-footed, stocky, and just generally ill-suited by dint of genetics to long-distance running. I am also getting on in years and did not have the good taste to have been born in Kenya. All of this means that I am highly unlikely to win any Olympic gold medals in the 10K any time soon. Why do I bring this up? Because it seems to me that the argument "I can't win a gold medal, so there's no point in my jogging every day" bears a non-trivial resemblance to the argument "there's no way we could have produced an AIDS vaccine in 1984, so there was no point in paying attention to the disease." The critical thing worth keeping in mind was that the geography of AIDS was relatively compact in the early 1980s. Dollars spent in the early days of the epidemic could have had more of an effect than dollars spent later, because fewer people had the disease. The cliche is that "an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure," and it's another sterling example of why cliches get to become cliches: because they're generally true. All the money in the world, if spent in 1984, could not have produced an AIDS cure or even a vaccine. But anyone who doesn't believe that the Surgeon General uttering the then-verboten word "condom" on national television in 1984 instead of 1987 would have saved a few lives is nuts. iv. is disease political? The larger question, one which Limbaugh is fumbling at the edges of, and one which more coherent people than Limbaugh have raised in so many words, is whether diseases should be regarded as political issues at all. Certainly, at first glance, it does seem a bit batty to blame a human being for the effects of a virus. But many, if not most, diseases are a function of government's ability to deliver social services. (Ever notice how we don't have cholera epidemics in this country? This is not because we've "cured" cholera. It's because we can prevent it, because we've got water treatment facilities, modern plumbing, and health inspectors. Your tax dollars at work.) Disease control will be a political issue so long as it is a service we demand of government and so long as tax dollars are scarce. (In other words, forever.) When those services fail to do their jobs, it's reasonable to blame the people in charge. That goes double for when those services are prevented from adequately doing their job because the people in charge are more concerned about their political standing in the eyes of their political base than in the well-being of a group of marginalized people unlikely to vote for them anyway. There is no doubt in my mind that Ronald Reagan (or his advisors, anyway) made a calculated decision to (as they saw it) let a few thousand gay men die in order to avoid alienating Jerry Falwell and Phyllis Schlafly and their ilk. That this decision backfired (politically, morally, and as a matter of public health) is an unmistakeable blot on Reagan's record. To attempt to gloss over it because the federal government was not the direct and immediate cause of those people getting AIDS is a tragic misreading of the historical record. Who played politics with AIDS? You tell me.|W|P|108693390812373234|W|P|luv week pt. 5: in which we once again delve into the question of who, exactly, god hates|W|P|6/12/2004 02:51:00 AM|W|P|PJ|W|P|I wholeheartedly endorse this proposal from The Rude Pundit. In other currency news, debate rages among the under-medicated over which American currency should have the honor of hosting a big honking portrait of Ronald Reagan and over whether changing the currency is a good idea at all, while we liberals amuse ourselves by pretending that this particular debate will be conducted with any reference whatsoever to the ideas and opinions of liberals. Personally, it's not a fantastically emotional issue for me as to whether to put Reagan on the currency. He was a bastard and a mediocre president, sure, but we've commemorated bastards and mediocre presidents before. I would prefer to take politics out of the currency business altogether. George Will once proposed putting the face of Mark Twain on the $1 bill. I heartily concur. America should use its currency to celebrate its unique contributions to culture. As a starting point for discussion, I propose the following: $1: Mark Twain $2: Ralph Waldo Emerson $5: Thomas Edison $10: Louis Armstrong $20: Frank Lloyd Wright $50: Mary Cassatt $100: Orson Welles If each bill could be sharply designed with appropriate art (and how cool would a prairie-style $20 bill with a picture of, say, the Robie House on the back be?), we could have some of the most beautiful (and difficult to countertfeit) currency on earth, and all of the foolish debate over which presidents are billworthy could fall by the wayside.|W|P|108702667049590207|W|P|ray for the fifty|W|P|6/12/2004 02:50:00 AM|W|P|PJ|W|P|I wholeheartedly endorse this proposal from The Rude Pundit. In other currency news, debate rages among the under-medicated over which American currency should have the honor of hosting a big honking portrait of Ronald Reagan and over whether changing the currency is a good idea at all, while we liberals amuse ourselves by pretending that this particular debate will be conducted with any reference whatsoever to the ideas and opinions of liberals. Personally, it's not a fantastically emotional issue for me as to whether to put Reagan on the currency. He was a bastard and a mediocre president, sure, but we've commemorated bastards and mediocre presidents before. I would prefer to take politics out of the currency business altogether. George Will once proposed putting the face of Mark Twain on the $1 bill. I heartily concur. America should use its currency to celebrate its unique contributions to culture. As a starting point for discussion, I propose the following: $1: Mark Twain $2: Ralph Waldo Emerson $5: Thomas Edison $10: Louis Armstrong $20: Frank Lloyd Wright $50: Mary Cassatt $100: Orson Welles If each bill could be sharply designed with appropriate art (and how cool would a prairie-style $20 bill with a picture of, say, the Robie House on the back be?), we could have some of the most beautiful (and difficult to countertfeit) currency on earth, and all of the foolish debate over which presidents are billworthy could fall by the wayside.|W|P|108702662855550172|W|P|ray for the fifty|W|P|6/11/2004 04:40:00 PM|W|P|PJ|W|P|This is the website for the Democratic National Convention. Isn't that incredibly useful information? and this is why I just posted that.|W|P|108699002521367854|W|P|we are the googlebomb condemnation affilates|W|P|6/10/2004 10:16:00 PM|W|P|PJ|W|P|Bleeped out swear words are funnier than not bleeped out swear words. That is all.|W|P|108692389078294544|W|P|late night thoughts upon watching louis black on the daily show|W|P|6/12/2004 08:57:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Winston Smith|W|P|So true...

Exhibit A: South Park. About 15 minutes into the SP movie, I realized that *it would have been funnier if they'd bleeped out the cursing* like they do in the t.v. show. Especially when somebody lets loose with a giant string of 'em...the bleeping is just *bleep*ing hilarious...6/10/2004 12:05:00 AM|W|P|PJ|W|P|I do remember one instance of being upset over the death of strangers: I remember having had a good hard cry on the night of September 11, 2001. But I disqualify that on two counts: 1) I had been rather keyed up all day because of fears both general (what was going to happen next) and specific (I spent the better part of the morning incommunicado from my father who, as it turns out, was in a plane at Dulles Airport when the Pentagon was hit) and you can't spend an entire day in that sort of state without losing it for a little while once the adrenalin is washed out. 2) The deaths themselves, while sad, were (I think) secondary in my mind to how they happened and what that meant for the rest of us. People die all the time, and more or less every death is a tragedy for someone, but it's rare that those deaths affect my life in such an intimate way. This sounds self-centered, and maybe it is, but the more I think about it, the more I think that this self-centeredness, this "how does this thing affect me personally?" reaction, is the central aspect that separates the legitimately traumatic public deaths to the ones that, in the long term, roll off our backs. I got to thinking about the assassinations of the Kennedys and King, the murder of John Lennon, etc., as potential counter-examples--deaths which literally just set people to old fashioned mourning for a stranger. I'm not old enough to have been alive when they died, so this is a bit of guesswork on my part, but I'm pretty confident that a lot of what people were feeling was not grief in the my-dad-is-dead sense but rather foreboding--a feeling of the powerlessness of good old reasoned debate and how-a-bill-becomes-a-law-style politics when any nutcase with a gun can change the course of history. (And, yes, I mean to imply that Martin Luther King and John Lennon were politicians of world-historical import.) Of course, in the case of Ronald Reagan, to everyone but his close friends and family, he's essentially been dead for years. I'd venture to guess that the present mourning has more to do with no one wanting to "break radio silence" and look like the jerk who's asking why everyone's so worked up over the death of a stranger than for any real passionate sadness.|W|P|108684699711832054|W|P|when famous people die, we're all supposed to cry: a further reflection|W|P|10/08/2005 05:41:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Online Incomes|W|P|Hey I was just blog surfing amd I found your blog! Looks Great!

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You should check it out if you get a chance!!6/09/2004 06:10:00 PM|W|P|PJ|W|P|I've been fortunate enough to only have attended two funerals in my life, but I know enough to know that I don't like them. They do nothing to cheer me up, or even to set me to productively grieving. They're mawkish, and overlong, and filled with religious hoo-hah, and a trial for the very bereaved people who have to put on a facade of dignity that's too much to ask of anyone two days after your husband, mother, etc. has kicked. That goes double for televised funerals for people I didn't personally know. I'm simply at sea--I'm totally baffled by the societal expectation that total strangers must convulse with grief at the death of people who we have never meaningfully met. And yet there is live coverage of Ronald Reagan's funeral on every damn channel when all I want to see is a damn Simpsons rerun. Granted, part of my indifference stems from my belief that Ronald Reagan was a crappy president with lunatic political ideas and my educated guess that his nice-guy persona was more PR than reality, but past experience leads me to believe that other famous people's deaths, the deaths of people whose work has influenced my life, don't really wrench me. The death of Carl Sagan caused me to say "Hmm" and then carry on with my day. Paul Wellstone? "Damn." Elliott Smith? "Woah." Etc. I'm willing to concede that maybe I'm the crazy one here, the lone kazoo riff in the worldwide requiems for the Ronald Reagans and Princess Dianas of the world, but I can't think of a single public figure (who I do not personally know) whose death would leave me more than momentarily saddened.|W|P|108682481346122432|W|P|day four of the post-reagan era. i wish something was on tv. god, how i miss tv.|W|P|6/10/2004 08:58:00 AM|W|P|Anonymous Anonymous|W|P|Well, Wellstone's death moved me significantly, but that may have been because of what was to become of my state. Wellstone's death ushered in Norm Coleman.

Also, it just pushed me over the edge of my general malaise.6/09/2004 05:33:00 PM|W|P|PJ|W|P|Via Ogged, comes now a thought-provoking post on casual sex among the Tiger Beat crowd, itself provoked by a New York Times Magazine article on the same topic. My thoughts: 1. I'm real reluctant to play the cultural-shift card. This article seems like a classic "trend piece," wherein the editors of a magazine decide something is a trend and then send an intrepid young thing out to find examples of the trend and report back all positive findings, preferably in a shimmery 2500-word block of pure journalistic goodness, complete with quotes from worry-wart PhDs and a little on-the-one-hand-on-the-other-hand action. This is basically a one-way ticket to confirmation bias city--after all, there's no story in all the kids who aren't using their cell phones to picture-message their tits to creepy 20-year-old d00ds from Aurora or some godforsaken place as a prelude to an hour of erotic awkwardness in the backseat of a Ford Focus, now is there? The same goes double when the trend piece is about a topic which for some unknown reason seems to endlessly fascinate magazine readers and TV-news-esque programs. ("Is an old black ram tupping your white ewe? Find out on Dateline Friday!") In other words, there will always be raw material for a new trend piece about teenagers fucking, because there will always be some teenagers fucking, and there will always be media outlets willing to report on this fact, because there will always be an audience for it, because...well, because of a mixture of overprotectiveness ("No daughter of mine, etc.") and jealousy ("Man, I wish I was young and dumb and had teenage girls propositioning me via AIM.") and the endless demand for things that people can cluck about ("You know what I blame this on the breakdown of? Society.") and many other reasons besides. I'll be convinced that this alleged cultural trend this amounts to more than data mining when some hard evidence that significantly more young 'uns are screwing than in decades past is produced. (I will accept this evidence in the form of peer-reviewed journal articles and/or dastardly propositions from local teenage girls--n.b., Illinois' age of consent is a very reasonable 17...) 2. Yes, you say, even if this is does not represent a massive cultural shift, there is still a non-zero, and probably significant, number of kids who are heedlessly doing the posturepedic polka without doing each other the courtesy of exchanging class rings or sharing vanilla malts or whatever the hell it is you're supposed to do when you "go out" with someone in high school. Does this not worry you a bit? As a matter of fact, it does. But first: I am not opposed in principle to the idea of two otherwise-unattached people, even teenagers, deciding to do a little recreational porking. And there is something to be said for the argument that traditional "dating" conventions in the teen set are archaic and even a bit demeaning. That having been said, I am concerned about the idea of "neediness" being the ultimate social faux pas, "neediness" being defined as putting yourself in a position where other people's rejection can obviously hurt you. To me, part of what makes grown-ups grown-ups (for better or for worse) is the fact that grown-ups have racked up a few heartbreaks in their day. "Friends with benefits" is an arrangement which not only is created with the specific intention of avoiding the pain of rejection, but also an arrangement which creates a culture which militates against anyone admitting that they feel this pain. Only a tiny percentage of us find the true love of our lives in high school, and this is, on the whole, a good thing. But this does not make high-school romances ipso facto meaningless and futile. It's love practice. Just as earlier, more repressive times raised generations of sexual idiots ("clitoris? what's that?"), I fear that if this sort of thing is widespread, we are faced with a generation of emotional idiots who are unprepared and unwilling to make the kind of sacrifices implicit in genuinely loving someone. 2a. Is "'tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all" a good way of summarizing the above? Perhaps. But I'd rather borrow a conceit from Douglas Adams:
There is an art, it says, or rather, a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss. Pick a nice day, it suggests, and try it. The first part is easy. All it requires is simply the ability to throw yourself forward with all your weight, and willingness not to mind that it's going to hurt. That is, it's going to hurt if you fail to miss the ground. Most people fail to miss the ground, and if they are really trying properly, the likelihood is that they will fail to miss it fairly hard. Clearly, it is this second part, the missing, which presents the difficulties. One problem is that you have to miss the ground accidentally. It's no good deliberately intending to miss the ground because you won't. You have to have your attention suddenly distracted by something else when you're halfway there, so that you are no longer thinking about falling, or about the ground, or about how much it's going to hurt if you fail to miss it.
I submit to you that this is one of the great metaphors for love in literature: substitute "love" for "flying" in the first paragraph and you're on your way. 3. I share Mr. Ogged's belief that genuine humanities education is a potential answer, with some reservations: my beloved alma mater is about as close as an educational environment gets to this philosophy, and this kind of hard-shell emotional guardedness was plenty prevalent there, as well. Still, the sort of things which enable a person to succeed with this kind of education--things like an honest communication, taking responsibility for oneself, and having patience with and respect for others--are the things that also contribute to the sort of sexual maturity which is necessary to non-neurotically carry on with any sort of sexual relationship with anyone, be they a wife, boyfriend, lover, or "friend with benefits." 4. They also contribute to a generosity of spirit that leaves one feeling empty if one does not love. 5. So the only people able to honestly partake of the hook-up culture without hurting themselves are those least likely to make a habit of doing so. 6. That's ironic, if you're stupid enough to think so. Life is full of ironies for the stupid.* * (a tip of the cap to loveable reactionary PJ O'Rourke.)|W|P|108660754922899945|W|P|luv week pt. 4: humanities education vs. the hook-up culture|W|P|6/09/2004 09:37:00 PM|W|P|Blogger radosh|W|P|Fabulous post for so many, many reasons, only the least of which is citing my trendspotting article.

As far as "hard evidence that significantly more young 'uns are screwing than in decades past," I'd hazard a guess that the sexual revolution of the 60s led to increase for sex among teens, just as it did for adults. But what's relevant to this article is whether more teens are doin' it now than in the pre-Internet/cell phone age, since those developments are what gives this story its juice. The answer is no. The opposite, in fact, per an article in yesterday's, hmm, New York Times:

From 1991 to 2001, the proportion of American teenagers who had had sex decreased, according to a 2002 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ... According to research by the Guttmacher Institute, 25 percent of a decline in teenage pregnancies between 1988 and 1995 resulted from a drop in the proportion of youngsters who had ever had sex.6/10/2004 08:55:00 AM|W|P|Anonymous Anonymous|W|P|Damnit, I was going to cite the same statistics. But, like yourself, PJ, but more so, I'm totally waiting for young women to start propostitioning me via AIM. Feel free, ladies.10/02/2005 06:38:00 PM|W|P|Blogger kalisekj|W|P|This is a excellent blog. Keep it going.

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I have little to add to that sentiment, other than to echo Al Einstein's office sign: Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.|W|P|108676312660381687|W|P|on the bright side, left behind is a bestseller|W|P|6/08/2004 10:38:00 PM|W|P|PJ|W|P|...but I totally had a premonition of Pistons in Four.|W|P|108675236872742423|W|P|not that any of you sumbitches are going to believe me...|W|P|6/09/2004 01:40:00 AM|W|P|Blogger PJ|W|P|...and boy did that seem like a good bet several hours ago. *sigh*6/07/2004 06:19:00 PM|W|P|PJ|W|P|If you click here [warning: extremely stupid website], you will discover that Fred Phelps, the "God Hates Fags" guy, is picketing Ronald Reagan's funeral, and only the Good Lord Jah knows why. Well, other than the fact that he's a schmuck and the consummate publicity hound, a sort of Christian-Nazi remix of the afro-wigged "John 3:16" guy from back in the day. So here's what crossed my mind: For years, there have been some fairly legit complaints that media coverage of gay pride parades have been a torrent of men in buttless leather chaps and dykes on bikes and drag queens aplenty, thus contributing to a polarization in the mind of the average sideline observer: it's You, i.e. One Of The Normals vs. The Studded Leather Freakshow, and never the twain shall meet. Now, of course, we see TV news coverage of gay people who look remarkably like they spend their days doing your taxes or fixing your car or faxing your documents from a Kinko's--and they're so wild and crazy, they're getting married! The nerve. And the TV news guys need a shot that indicates "not everyone is happy about this," so they pan over to a knot of yahoos holding up "GOD HATES FAGS" signs. So now, all of a sudden, the shoe's on the other foot and the debate has been reconstituted as The Normals, i.e. us and those nice accountants in love vs. the ten foul-mouthed yahoos picketing a wedding. (Middle America still don't like buttless chaps, but Middle America's on board with the idea that nobody should interfere with a wedding, unless you have the good taste to be Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate.) It's funny how the camera's search for the exotic can radically distort the perception of a news story. |W|P|108665037004963152|W|P|luv week pt 3: in which we find out just exactly who it is that God hates nowadays|W|P|6/07/2004 02:11:00 AM|W|P|PJ|W|P|Apparently, sexualchocolate.org comes up as #44 if you do an MSN Search for "tasteful lesbian pictures." I know this because according to my counter stats someone did this search, and ended up making what I can only assume was a very brief visit to this site. Sorry, buddy. Hope you found what you were looking for.|W|P|108659230700840214|W|P|luv week pt. 2: the things you only find out once you install a website stats program|W|P|6/07/2004 01:43:00 AM|W|P|PJ|W|P|Max Barry, who has written novels I have not read, reviews a novel I have not read, and makes it funny. (via Oliver.)|W|P|108659060766697554|W|P|and and and twins|W|P|6/07/2004 12:39:00 AM|W|P|PJ|W|P|Questions here My answers here: 1. T (though it depends on what you mean; there is no moral imperative that gas be more than $2 a gallon, but I do think that the government should pursue policies whose effects will be higher gas prices.) 2. A (though some failures have historically been less egregious than others.) 3. T 4. T 5. F 6. B (for most Western people, Christianity is far more vital than the philosophical and critical ideas which have supposedly superceded it. For an intellectual elite, the answer is far closer to D, but if the last three years haven't taught you that nobody who really matters gives a toss what intellectuals think, then I dunno what will.) 7. F (a concern, but not a primary one.) 8. T 9. A 10. T (to an extent) 11. T (but I don't hold that against them) 12. T 13. T 14. T 15. T 16. T 17. T 18. F 19. F (more or less) 20. F (I would like to think of myself as the sort of person who would, but when the rubber meets the road, I am hatless.) 21. T 22. F (it helps in a way, though) 23. F (more like 2-4) 24. F 25. T 26. F 27. T 28. F 29a. A 29b. C 30. T 31. T|W|P|108658677295860564|W|P|thirty-one questions|W|P|6/06/2004 04:25:00 AM|W|P|PJ|W|P|[The Author has decided to give his weary brain a break from political blogging for a few days, in favor of scattershot ruminations on love 'n lust. (The Author is rather hard up at present.) He recommends that his eight loyal readers sit tight, and in the immortal words of Ronald Reagan's pretend bomber captain, we'll ride this one down together. --ed.] 1. She must have a legitimate sense of humor. I spend way too much of my life laughing or attempting to make others laugh to be able to stand someone who wants no part of same. 2. I must respect her intellectually. Not just a smart/dumb thing--not entirely, anyway. Though I wouldn't last five minutes with someone I considered dumb. But also someone whose ideas are really really alien to me is probably a lost cause as well. Someone who is, for example, quite bright in many ways but obsessed with Mystic Crystal Revelations or religious hoo-hah or other things they'd have a tough time believing in Southern California--I simply couldn't do it. I'm pretty sure I couldn't date a rabid Republican, even a smart, good-looking, funny one. If there's a female equivalent of the trench-coated 2 AM Red Line auto-mumbler porting around a well-thumbed and -underlined copy of the Warren Commission Report, no dice. Etc. 3. She gotta be a bit easy on the eyes. Let me begin by stipulating that I'm in no position to act all picky on this score, since I am hardly a hunka hunka burning love, looks-wise. But everyone who piously proclaims that "looks don't matter" is full of crap. I've met some ugly mamma jammas in my day and every last one of them were (to the best of my knowledge) choosy. As are we all. Most of us, of course, have been exposed the lessons of fairy tales and lectures from Orko et al at the end of each and every He-Man cartoon: real beauty is on the inside. Maybe. But experience leads me to a sort of Modified Orko belief system w/r/t beauty: it's not that beauty comes from within, but rather that what's within, if there's something substantial there, will keep your paramour around long enough to have a shot at discovering what, externally, they find attractive about you. Above and beyond the maybe-instinctual fetishes for symmetry and fitness that we pretty much all share, the experience of beauty is a mighty subjective thing--what really plucks our heartstrings when we encounter someone we desire on more than a purely superficial level is the way the sight of him/her sort of stirs up memories and dreams and thoughts we were sure were pretty safely buried. And yet there are those who you simply do not find beautiful. And what's the fun of love without the giddy rush of mental disruption that is the result of beauty?|W|P|108651950269654013|W|P|luv week, pt. 1: preliminary notes towards the creation of a hypothetical future girlfriend|W|P|10/09/2005 03:51:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Jack Naka|W|P|Keep it up. I enjoy your nice blog. check out my beauty salon san antonio site. It pretty much covers beauty salon san antonio related stuff.6/05/2004 04:10:00 PM|W|P|PJ|W|P|no comment.|W|P|108646980820332165|W|P|de mortuis nil nisi bonum|W|P|6/05/2004 04:58:00 AM|W|P|PJ|W|P|Daily Kos || Rasmussen's state polls roundup Kerry is within the margin of error in North Carolina. Even if Edwards can't actually deliver the state (and were I a gambling man, I would still bet he can't), the mere act of making it a battleground state would give the Bush campaign merry hell. I have other very sensible reasons for liking Edwards, and several semi-sensible reasons for disliking Gephardt, and I would sure like to see someone besides a white Protestant male in the #2 spot, but the strategic benefits of an Edwards pick--that, to me, is the deal-clincher. Kerry/Edwards in 2004. |W|P|108642948777826478|W|P|john edwards: official would-be v.p. candidate of this blog|W|P|6/04/2004 11:51:00 PM|W|P|PJ|W|P|dammit.|W|P|108641109680950820|W|P||W|P|6/04/2004 01:32:00 AM|W|P|PJ|W|P|Passionate tortured screeds about the state of the world today: not popular Lively debate over who's hotter in Lord of the Rings: popular The people have spoken.|W|P|108633091973478490|W|P|because two seperate comments on one single post constitutes a small flood by the debauched standards of this blog, i offer the following observation:|W|P|6/04/2004 04:13:00 PM|W|P|Anonymous Anonymous|W|P|I saw kerry to-day.6/03/2004 03:53:00 PM|W|P|PJ|W|P|Occupation: Girl - Troy in Fifteen Minutes Amusementship! Comedy! Read. Dammit.|W|P|108629600391399855|W|P|cousin. totally his cousin. in conclusion: cousin.|W|P|6/03/2004 11:32:00 PM|W|P|Anonymous Anonymous|W|P|also, rumandmonkey has classic books in five or fewer words. really hawttt.6/02/2004 03:40:00 PM|W|P|PJ|W|P|...you spend the night frantically reloading the South Dakota Secretary of State's website in order to find out who won the special election for Congress there. Anyway, this was a pickup for the good guys, so all was not totally lost, and while Stephanie Herseth may not turn out to be the best new member of Congress, she's almost certainly the cutest.|W|P|108620882249186339|W|P|you know you've been devoting too much time to politics when...|W|P|6/02/2004 03:31:00 AM|W|P|PJ|W|P|Ten songs I like despite ludicrously stupid lyrics:
  1. "Rainfall," The Apples in Stereo
  2. "Thirteen," Big Star
  3. "I Want You to Want Me," Cheap Trick
  4. "Friday I'm In Love," The Cure
  5. "Street Survivor," The Flaming Sideburns
  6. "Echos Myron," Guided By Voices
  7. "Are You Gonna Be My Girl," Jet
  8. "Rock and Roll," Led Zeppelin
  9. "The KKK Took My Baby Away," The Ramones
  10. "Photograph," Weezer
Ten songs I like in large part because of the cleverness of the lyrics:
  1. "Hotwax," Beck
  2. "Comfort Eagle," Cake
  3. "Freedom of Choice," Devo
  4. "Needle in the Hay," Elliott Smith
  5. "Stranger in the House," Elvis Costello
  6. "Red Dragon Tattoo," Fountains of Wayne
  7. "Good For Nothing," Freakwater
  8. "Shady Lane," Pavement
  9. "Bastards of Young," The Replacements
  10. "I Think I'm In Love," Spiritualized
|W|P|108616664081627663|W|P|2 x 10|W|P|6/01/2004 04:44:00 PM|W|P|PJ|W|P|More statesmanlike goodness, this time from The New Yorker.|W|P|108612628375656932|W|P|barack obama: official senate candidate of this blog, pt. 2|W|P|6/01/2004 03:51:00 PM|W|P|PJ|W|P|Audrey Hepburn 'most beautiful woman of all time' - Entertainment - www.smh.com.au OK. But Liv Tyler at number 2? Seriously. Liv Tyler. Beauty is subjective, granted. And I lack a finely honed aesthetic sense in most things (though woman-wise, I at least know what I like). So maybe I shouldn't be the end-all and be-all here. But. Damn. Liv Tyler: a) has no discernible personality, b) cannot act her way out of a paper bag (I kept hoping, throughout Lord of the Rings, that Tyler-as-Arwen would be accidentally hit by Ye Olde Cement Truck so that Aragorn could turn in his grief to the actually charismatic and ass-kicking daugher-niece-whatever-that-broad-was, you know, the one from Rohan), and c) really isn't all that pretty. Not that she's not acceptably lovely, but it's more of a "Kinko's assistant manager the entire staff wants to hit it with" loveliness than a "perfect Hollywood goddess" loveliness, with the critical difference being that most people whose physical gifts incline them more in the Kinko's direction than the Hollywood direction don't have rock stars for fathers.|W|P|108612311835990938|W|P|righteous indignation cafe, pt. 2|W|P|6/01/2004 04:01:00 PM|W|P|Blogger newyorquina|W|P|Right on. I used to be in love with Eowyn, and thought Arwen was cool and all, but couldn't understand why Strider didn't go off with the warrior-girl6/02/2004 11:21:00 PM|W|P|Blogger PJ|W|P|Eowyn. That's right.6/04/2004 12:18:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Anton|W|P|One more vote for Eowyn (Miranda Otto); two if she did her own singing. I wonder whether part of it might be merely that Ms Otto is ten years nearer my own age.6/01/2004 11:22:00 AM|W|P|PJ|W|P|This thang from Philosoraptor is, like, seven months old, but a) I just found it and b) it's really quite good. So.|W|P|108610694084175112|W|P|philosoraptor vs. the decline of the american d00d|W|P|