August 1, 2015

At Psychedelic Wall Café...


... take a look at your landscape.

"Caitlyn has every right to be just as conservative as she chooses. But many transgender men and women need social programs to survive..."

"... and that's nothing to be ashamed of. If Cait's going to be a spokesperson for the community. This is something she's going to have to understand."

Pushback... as Caitlyn Jenner shows her political conservatism. Eh. Or something like that. The quoted dialogue comes from a trailer for the show, as does Jenner's expression of conservatism. I think what's going on is more that show needs dramatic tension, so something was set up, and the show needs a narrative arc, and there will be one. Thus, early on, Jenner expresses the view that people can get "totally dependent on" government, because they think "they can make more not working with social programs than they actually can with an entry-level job," and they start thinking "Why should I work?" and they "get in trouble." Later, I'm betting, Jenner will become more aware of social problems and the value of government programs. Narrative arc achieved. Quite boring of course, but not so boring that I'm trashing this post.

"Professor what's your stand on kilts?"

Asks Mac McConnell in the comments to this morning's men-in-shorts post.

My answer: "They should not be so long that I can stand on them."

If you're thinking of wearing a kilt that has a train...

... guys, don't.

Federal judge dismisses Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Shirley Abrahamson's effort to win back her position of chief justice.

"Abrahamson filed suit April 8, a day after voters had approved a constitutional amendment to change how the chief justice was elected to a majority vote among the justices every two years."
“The court concludes that Wisconsin’s new method of selecting its chief justice was effective on April 29, 2015, when the referendum was certified, and that the Wisconsin Supreme Court was authorized to implement that method and to elect a new chief justice on that day,” wrote Judge James Peterson in Friday’s decision....
“The court has some misgivings about whether [the Justices' vote to elect Patience Roggensack as their new chief] actually reflects a judicial interpretation of the amendment, because the issue was not presented to the court in the usual manner with advocates presenting the competing positions,” Peterson wrote. “Nor was it resolved in the usual manner, which typically involves at least some measure of deliberation in which all the justices participate. But the down-and-dirty interpretation (which defendants dignify with the term 'de facto') will do for the purposes of this case.”...

“This federal court does not have to guess what that interpretation would be, because on April 29, 2015, the day that the referendum was certified, four justices voted to elect Justice Roggensack as the new chief,” he wrote.
That is, the federal judge wouldn't say what the meaning of the Wisconsin constitutional amendment is, because the state supreme court has authority over the meaning of state law, and by taking the vote for a new chief, the court revealed its interpretation of the amendment. That eliminated the argument that the Wisconsin constitutional amendment should be understood to leave Abrahamson in her old position until her present term ends. Beyond that, there was an argument that it violated due process, under the U.S. Constitution, for the people of Wisconsin to change the method of determining who would be chief justice. The judge rejected that argument.

"I had been wondering why so many people seem to hate Donald Trump."

"Calling him egotistical or a 'loudmouth' doesn't really explain it — those are reasons to find someone off-putting and to avoid him, but not to hate him. After watching this previously unreleased movie about Trump from the early '90s, I finally understand. A large part of my job involves construction-site safety, which is something I feel strongly about. The description of the construction work on Trump Tower (where Trump lived in luxury after developing it), starting at 31:20 in the movie, is outrageous."

Write Jaltcoh.

"Funhouse Psychotherapy With Poker Chips."

"In a thousand ways, [gambling] has taught me two main lessons: that the odds are the odds, and they will always ultimately prevail; and that the mind (and particularly the ego) is full of trickery. These tricks take myriad forms, but they share a common theme: The odds apply chiefly to others. You are special."

An essay by Walter Kirn at Good, which you should click to if only for the illustration, which I don't think was intended to evoke a burqa but does.

More email.

"Always wanted to ask if Meade wears shorts. If he doesn't, did he used to and give them up for you?"

"Or did he never wear shorts and was that a point in his favor with you? Or did you just tell him that if he ever wears shorts you'll kill him?"

Email from a reader, which I answered "Meade does whatever he wants."

My problem with men in shorts has always been that it makes the man look like a boy. I don't want a boy-man. You know what else makes a man look like a boy? When mommy dresses him.

July 31, 2015

At the Sidewalk Café...


... you can find the light.

"To hold ancient books, incunabula, in my own hands was a new experience for me..."

"... I particularly adored Conrad Gesner’s Historiae animalium (1551), richly illustrated (it had Albrecht Dürer’s famous drawing of a rhinoceros), and there, too, that I fell in love with all the works of Sir Thomas Browne— his Religio Medici, his Hydriotaphia, and The Garden of Cyrus (The Quincunciall Lozenge). It was in the stacks that I saw all of Darwin’s works in their original editions. How absurd some of these were, but how magnificent the language! And if Browne’s classical magniloquence became too much at times, one could switch to the lapidary cut and thrust of Swift, all of whose works, of course, were there in their original editions."

Writes Oliver Sacks, in his memoir "On the Move: A Life," which I'm reading in Kindle form, and,  reading on my iPad, I can Google my way into things that jump out, like that rhinoceros. There's a whole Wikipedia article, "Dürer's Rhinoceros":
The image was based on a written description and brief sketch by an unknown artist of an Indian rhinoceros that had arrived in Lisbon earlier that year. Dürer never saw the actual rhinoceros, which was the first living example seen in Europe since Roman times... Dürer's... depicts an animal with hard plates that cover its body like sheets of armour, with a gorget at the throat, a solid-looking breastplate, and rivets along the seams. He places a small twisted horn on its back, and gives it scaly legs and saw-like rear quarters... Despite its anatomical inaccuracies, Dürer's woodcut became very popular in Europe and was copied many times in the following three centuries. It was regarded by Westerners as a true representation of a rhinoceros into the late 18th century.

I'm also fascinated by that word "incunabula," which the OED defines as "1. The earliest stages or first traces in the development of anything" and "2. Books produced in the infancy of the art of printing; spec. those printed before 1500." The literal original meaning is: swaddling-clothes.

"7 College Students Talk About Their Instagrams and the Pressure to Seem Happy."

In New York Magazine.

"New Law School Courses Explore Nietzsche, Guns and Bible."

This doesn't surprise me in the slightest. It's the same-old-same-old from my point of view, but it might surprise you. Let me know if it does.

"Banking regulators just said no to a financial institution that aims to be the first to serve the expanding marijuana industry in Colorado."

"The Fourth Corner Credit Union in Denver applied in November to the Federal Reserve for a 'master account,' which would allow it to interact with other financial institutions and open its doors to some of the hundreds of state-licensed marijuana businesses in Colorado...."
The credit union, which has the backing of Colorado’s governor, fired back on Thursday night by filing a lawsuit in federal court in Denver against the Fed, demanding “equal access” to the financial system....

Many small-business owners in the state have had to improvise with safes, armored cars and other alternatives to banking. Colorado’s state government has said that the lack of access to banks is a public safety issue, as well as a deterrent in the state’s effort to collect taxes....

The consciousness of the world cannot contain 2 lions.

The Milwaukee lion melts into unreality.

Beijing gets the Olympics again.

This time it's the winter.

In the future, all the Olympics will be Beijing Olympics.

"Marxism in this country had even been an eccentric and quixotic passion."

"One oppressed class after another had seemed finally to miss the point. The have-nots, it turned out, aspired mainly to having. The minorities seemed to promise more, but finally disappointed: it developed that they actually cared about the issues, that they tended to see the integration of the luncheonette and the seat in the front of the bus as real goals, and only rarely as ploys, counters in a larger game. They resisted that essential inductive leap from the immediate reform to the social ideal, and, just as disappointingly, they failed to perceive their common cause with other minorities, continued to exhibit a self-interest disconcerting in the extreme to organizers steeped in the rhetoric of 'brotherhood.' And then, at that exact dispirited moment when there seemed no one at all willing to play the proletariat, along came the women's movement, and the invention of women as a 'class.'..."

Wrote Joan Didion, in "The Women's Movement," July 30, 1972.

July 30, 2015

At the Sunflower Café...


... you can talk about anything you want.

"Hillary has accomplished nothing substantial in her life. She’s been pushed along, coasting on her husband’s coattails..."

"... and every job she’s been given fizzled out into time-serving or overt disaster.  Hillary constantly strikes attitudes and claims she’s 'passionate' about this or that, but there’s never any sustained follow-through.  She’s just a classic, corporate exec or bureaucrat type who would prefer to be at her desk behind closed doors, imposing her power schemes on the proletariat.  She has no discernible political skills of any kind, which is why she needs a big, shifting army of consultants, advisors, and toadies to whisper in her ear and write her policy statements.  There’s this ridiculous new theme in the media about people needing to learn who the 'real' Hillary Clinton is.  What? Everything they’re saying about what a wonderful person Hillary is in private tells us that she’s not competent or credible as a public figure! A politician, particularly a president, must have a distinct skill or expertise in communicating with the masses... If you don’t have an effective public persona, if you’re not a good speaker, if you don’t like to press the flesh, if you’re not nimble enough to deal with anything that comes along, then you are not a natural politician!  And you sure aren’t going to learn it in your late 60s!  Get off the stage, and let someone else truly electable on!"

Said Camille Paglia.

"Are you saying that all this noise is about a dead lion? Lions are killed all the time in this country. What is so special about this one?"

Said Tryphina Kaseke, a used-clothes salesman in Zimbabwe.
"Why are the Americans more concerned than us?" said Joseph Mabuwa, a 33-year-old father-of-two cleaning his car in the center of the capital. "We never hear them speak out when villagers are killed by lions and elephants in Hwange."
Cecil the Celebrity Lion may only be a celebrity to Americans.

"So awesome how they put [William] in brackets before 'Shakespeare' so that we know they are talking about William Shakespeare and not Fred Shakespeare."

"Way to respect your audience NPR."

First comment on the same NPR interview with Woody Allen that's linked in the previous post. Woody, asked what he wants to "be remembered for," says he doesn't care, because when you're dead "You're extinct," and — as it's transcribed at the NPR site: "You and I could be standing over [William] Shakespeare's grave, singing his praises, and it doesn't mean a thing." The comment amused me. Sorry to do 2 posts on the same Woody Allen interview. I know you want me to talk about Hillary Clinton, Cecil the Lion, and fetal body parts. In fact, I am about to do a couple more posts, on 2 out of 3 of those topics. So hang on, and sorry in advance for those who are eager to get to the fetal body parts. That's not on the red-meat menu tonight.