Sunday, December 30, 2007
Friday, December 28, 2007
Update: One aspect of this comment's discussion of Hollywood films about pregnancy and abortion is perhaps astute:
[A] woman is not the hero of her own abortion. Interestingly, in the only movies I know the plot of (Cider House Rules and Vera Drake) where there is abortion and heroism, it's the abortionist who is the hero, and the pregnant women are merely victims and secondary characters, rather than heroes.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
2. The characters are usually caricatures. This is probably in part because finding people who can both sing and act is very hard. It doesn't explain why a huge percentage of musicals involve some sort of ethnic cliché or stereotype.
3. The action stops so the lead can show off his voice. I don't mind musicals in which the songs are funny (Avenue Q, South Park), move the plot along (some songs in Moulin Rouge!), or reveal new insights about the character. Most of the time, though, the songs just reinforce what we already know. For example: what the point of "
4. You can't understand what they're saying anyway. If a song does contribute to the narrative or characterization in a meaningful way, it's uncertain whether that will come through, since the singers often are too wrapped up in showing off (good voices) or are unable to combine enunciation and volume (bad voices).
5. Songs are often jammed into a perfectly good story. This happens a lot with musical adaptations. It throws off the pacing.
6. The sort of person who loves musicals makes me want to die. You know who I'm talking about. That girl with the Les Misérables t-shirt in 9th grade. That guy in college who looked down on people who didn't appreciate Zero Mostel's hilarious songs. The person who always manages to drop the name and price of the show s/he saw in NYC last weekend. If you watch musicals you're around these people. Ugh.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
UPDATE: Another contender? Poor Luke Wilson.
Please feel free to join the challenge!
Monday, December 24, 2007
Movies involving singing viewed: 2.
Number of musicals I have ever enjoyed: 2.
Percentage of overlap between two previous line items: 0.
Inches of scarf knitted: 24.
Inches of scarf subsequently unraveled: 16.
Cool bloggers met: 1.
Glasses of wine drunk with said blogger: 3.
Words of article written: 0.
Silly thrillers about serial killers read: 3.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
I had been psyched for Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but the trailer made it look . . . not so great. Steve pointed out that 1) we have no evidence that Jason Segel can write, and 2) it's probably partially autobiographical, and we all know how much that can suck. I'll still see it, but not on opening weekend.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Friday, December 21, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Kids: not subject to lemon laws.
I always wondered why this grotesque building near my office hadn't been torn down. Turns out the owners aren't allowed to because it's "historic." Shades of the Gropius complex.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
There is a folk belief, certainly related, that the owner or occupier of property may post a sign requiring law-enforcement personnel to identify themselves upon entry, and they must comply even if undercover. I've seen professional-looking signs to this effect at fraternity houses.At the risk of sounding silly (it's been a while since crim pro): what's wrong with this? If I post a sign on my land that states that hikers may enter but hunters must obtain permission before doing so, wouldn't any hunter who snuck in be a trespasser? An undercover cop seeking to enter a home is presumably looking for evidence of criminal activity that could not be seen from outside the home. If the evidence is not in plain view and circumstances do not justify a warrantless search, wouldn't his unannounced entry similarly be unlawful trespassing, justifying exclusion of any fruits of the search?
One of my exes is a big Ron Paul fan and sends me all the online notifications about these moneybombs and blimp launches and whatnot. At a party attended by some fellow libertarians, I mentioned that a friend of mine sent a new Ron Paul Facebook message almost every day. The other three people I was talking with immediately named the guy. I would have been surprised but am fairly jaded about the idea that there are only 100 D.C. libertarians and we all know each other.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Friday, December 14, 2007
[T]here is no ideological fighting going on, except between Ron Paul and the rest of the field. Instead, the GOP is engaged in an identity-politics-driven contest. The GOP is not debating what it stands for, nor is it a party that knows what it stands for and is looking for the best candidate to win a general election and/or to effectively carry out the party’s program. The GOP is not trying to find a leader for the party. It is looking for a candidate who is the incarnation of the party. No wonder they’re having a tough time.They have another eight election cycles to wait.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
- What remedy, if any, should the cheerleader have? Has she actually been injured? Does it matter that there was a photo and that she was undressed? Wouldn't it have been as bad or worse if they had gone all Carrie on her and then recounted the tale of their tampon bombardment to all their classmates? What if they had taken a photo of her like this instead or passed around a note in which she admitted to an embarrassing crush or secret?
- What should be done to the offenders, if anything? Distribution of nude images of minors, even by other minors, tends to bring down the long arm of the law.
- Is it appropriate for the school to punish students for conduct that occurs off-campus? If yes, where's the logical stopping point? What can't a school punish minors for?
Taking the picture and passing it around was a horrible thing to do, but if principals start suspending middle schoolers for acting like little bitches they won't have any students left.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
According to my friend, animals and human babies have an organ in their stomach that holds ... something toxic. If they want something and they don't get it, this organ will explode, killing them. This is well-known fact; major newspapers often report on tragic cases of babies who were denied a sip of their mother's coffee and their resulting death of organ rupture. Everyone in Argentina knows this, which is why babies (and dogs, I guess) can have tastes of whatever they reach for on the table. Babies grow out of this; the organ shrinks and is aborbed into the body? as they grow up.I am also interested in whether people actually believe this. It sounds a lot like reports from villages about possession and witchcraft.
I quizzed her and quizzed her about this organ. I asked her to point to it. I asked her the name. It is the splena, which is NOT the spleen. NOT the appendix. We talked about this organ for days. I've since asked other people from South America and Mexico about this and never gotten a good explanation. Do any of you know about this? Is this a widely spread theory of childraising? How far? What the hell organ does she mean?
Is anyone familiar with the legal loophole referenced in the article that explains why the rapists have not been prosecuted under U.S. law? If we can throw Americans in prison for sleeping with kids in Southeast Asia, why can't these guys be put away?
Update: This post has been edited, because I can.
Monday, December 10, 2007
This weekend I made homemade Oreos per this recipe. The filling pictured is made from 8 oz. of mascarpone cheese and 1/4 cup sugar, not what the recipe calls for. I think some people might call this a "Whoopie pie," but I don't like naming food after sex.
Sunday, December 09, 2007
[I]t just goes to show what happens when legal remedies aren't really available. Given the courts' insensitivity to racial and gender claims, I wonder what minorities and women secretly do to retaliate against those who discriminated against and/or raped them. I know one person who secretly mailed tax forms incriminating his boss to the IRS after one Michael Scott-esque comment too many, and a woman who got her rapist's family deported. I don't know if this type of non-vigilante retaliation is widespread or not, but frankly, I'd much rather have someone sue me than have virtually all of my relatives sent back to China.These stories make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, although since practically everyone is a criminal, we're probably each one offended ex away from prosecution.
Saturday, December 08, 2007
Thursday, December 06, 2007
People who can actually get it up for fantasy and SF are . . .All three explain why I like SF/F. Who doesn't love rich characterization, lavishly created worlds, and fiction that addresses the great questions of human life? And thus why would you prefer reading stuff set in drab contemporary times and peopled with the sorts of folks you already know, if you could get all three, to varying degrees, in a single genre?
(a) [those who] see the unrealistic world created by the author as merely a means to the end of producing character-driven stories, or
(b) [those who] see the characters and their actions as a means to the end of telling a story about the cool fantasy world they've created.
[(c] the main constituency of (literary) sci-fi, people who see the unrealistic world created by the author as merely a means to the end of addressing present day social/philosophical issues.
Here's a rousing defense of SF from across the pond, where fantasy is respectable but science fiction seems "irredeemably adolescent":
“In a fantasy story,” Aldiss says, “there’s a big evil abroad, but, in the end, everything goes back to normal and everybody goes home to drink ale in the shires. In a science-fiction story, there may be a terrible evil abroad, and it may get sorted out, but the world is f***ed up for ever. This is realism. It’s certainly not beach reading, unless you can find a really nasty, shingly beach.”I disagree with this characterization of fantasy, and authors like Miéville and Martin probably would as well.
. . .
SF is, in fact, the necessary literary companion to science. How could fiction avoid considering possible futures in a world of perpetual innovation? And how could science begin to believe in itself as wisdom, rather than just truth, without writers scouting out the territory ahead? Which is why this widely despised genre should be read now more than ever.
. . .
But if new hard, logical, shingly-beach SF is now a rarity, at least there’s a lot of old stuff to read. The literary snobs will say it’s badly written, which most of it is. So is most “literary” fiction. Badly written literary fiction is, however, wholly unnecessary. There’s a lot of badly written SF that is driven by an urgent journalistic desire to communicate. That is necessary.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
The linked blog is almost certainly a hoax (any competent attorney would have put the kibosh on it), but does it matter? Regardless of authenticity, it acts as a lightning rod for outrage, and the reputation of the purported author is already shredded.
I did find the discussion in some of the comments intriguing. If Megan had shot up the school instead of killing herself, how would our reactions differ?
Monday, December 03, 2007
I hate campus novels, but this kept me engrossed because of, not despite, the collegiate setting. It's psychologically astute, but the last hundred pages are a bit heavy on the melodrama. I appreciated the author's restraint with respect to some of the other characters, so the gratuitous elements were especially obvious. For example, after teasing us with (mostly) unconsummated attractions between the narrator and two of his friends and establishing realistic yet opaque characters, we get sexual sensationalism on a V. C. Andrews level and crudely inserted dialogue establishing psychopathology. The writing is, however, marvelous, and the aforementioned minor irritants should not discourage you from reading this book. Highly recommended.
Sunday, December 02, 2007
* Reject the implementation of "benchmarks" or any other form of "standards" for merit raises or promotions that are predicated on quantified output.Update: I suppose I should note that the recommendations are not by the post's author, but reproduced from another source.
* Reject merit raises all together and rather spread the total raises due the entire faculty of a department evenly to all faculty.
* Refuse to sell ourselves as "stars" to highest bidding institutions. This reproduces the neoliberal self-made "man," reinforcing gender and class hierarchies within the academy.
* Identify and monitor the behavior all 'frumps' (formerly radical upwardly mobile professors).
* Avoid grade inflation. In a context of grade inflation, instructors that seek to honestly assess performance find themselves at a disadvantage, especially if they are adjunct staff.
* Quit giving standardized tests and grades. Pass/Fail. Get rid of students who don't want to be there. Tell them to come back when they know what they are there for. If we stop treating students like cash cows, maybe they will actually appreciate learning.
* Make your students do the work - have them explain concepts to each other. Have them create materials they think are useful. Grade them for effort rather than results - they are there to learn.
Saturday, December 01, 2007
There is logic to the veil scheme: Men will be satisfied with their wives as long as they have no other women to compare them to, and women should accept the suppression so that each one can maintain her grip on her husband. It requires everyone to live a life of visual deprivation, so that no one sees anything that might make him want what he does not have. You are never challenged to resist temptations, and to make it easy to avoid sexual pleasures, you have to give up all the visual pleasures that could easily be yours.And that's not what Tertullian's arguing in the first place.
Relatedly, I was not previously aware that part of the justification for Christian women wearing the veil was because they might tempt not just men, but angels. Helen of Troy, eat your heart out. Here's an essay by some guy arguing that Catholic women still have to be veiled in church.
Friday, November 30, 2007
I love deciding what to wear to holiday parties.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
I worked out and lifted weights with a trainer for 6-8 months when I first moved here, but maybe something like this would be fun. My doctor is always telling me to take yoga classes, but in my experience, stress is best relieved through punching things, not by sitting in contorted poses.
Opinions on Muay Thai, Brazilian jiu jitsu, and MMA welcome.
Spinach Penne with Ricotta
This is from the De Cecco pasta box, but I like it anyway.
Cook whatever amount of pasta seems appropriate for one person. After cooking, drain and then add the pasta to a bowl with 2 large forkfuls of part-skim ricotta, 1 tbsp butter, 1/2 tsp -ish of fleur de sel, and a generous shaking of crushed red pepper. Mix until coated.
You can use whole-milk ricotta if you keep the pasta a bit wet when you drain it (or save a spoonful of pasta water) and leave out the butter.
Simple Pasta with Sausage & Cheese
Cook Italian sausage in a non-stick pan until browned, adding spices as desired. I generally add more fennel, oregano, basil, black pepper, and salt. Once sausage is mostly cooked, boil water and cook some pasta (I like farfalle). Grate copious amounts of hard Italian cheese. Drain pasta well and add to pan with sausage. Toss until delicious sausage fat has coated the pasta. Turn off heat and add cheese. Toss. Eat.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic , pressed
1 pound sweet Italian sausage
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes , rinsed and chopped fine
1/2 pound penne pasta (2 1/2 cups) (farfalle also works)
2 cups chicken broth (I use Better Than Bouillon for convenience, but it's very salty)
1 cup milk
1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup)
6 ounces baby spinach
ground black pepper and salt
1. Heat the oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, sausage, and tomatoes and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.
2. Sprinkle the pasta evenly over the sausage. Pour the broth and milk over the pasta. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender, about 10 minutes.
3. Stir in the spinach a handful at a time, and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
If you are interested in the filings in the case, they can be found here. Here is a profile of one of the plaintiffs. Here is a post making the liberal case for gun ownership (read the whole thing). Here is some historical context for the Second Amendment.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Sunday, November 25, 2007
There aren't a lot of married undergraduates, but in graduate and professional schools married students are fairly common.
True fiscal conservatives would see the benefits of providing young women with contraception, especially during a crucial period of their educational development.
We begin with Miss Temple, a ferocious young lady of means recently arrived from her island plantation home. The fair Miss Temple has been jilted by her fiancé, Roger, a up-and-comer at the Foreign Ministry. She refuses to take this lying down and shadows Roger's movements, hoping to determine the cause of her broken engagement. By bluff and bravado, she follows Roger to a masked ball in a remote country estate, but the party is marred by murder and she barely escapes with her life.
An assassin nicknamed Cardinal Chang also crashed the party that night, but discovered that the man he'd come to kill was already dead. The party's guest of honor, Prince Karl-Horst of Macklenberg, is subsequently abducted and only rescued by the offices of his personal physician, Doctor Svenson. All three become entangled in the schemes of the shadowy cabal behind the events of that evening, and only by working together will they be able to escape death.
There are a lot of narrow escapes in this book. The villains, a group of mysterious alchemists, have developed a "Process" of mechanical and alchemical brainwashing, which temporarily brands its victims with a loop of livid scars around the eyes, and a method of downloading and storing human memories in books of deadly blue glass. Their determination is otherworldly and their moral qualms nonexistent, yet they have a regrettable tendency to knock people on the head or drug them when they should be shot or poisoned.
The philosophical issues posed by the Process and the nature of stored and stolen memories are barely touched. Fully half the subplots and side trips could be cut, and by page 500 or so we are a bit bored by the constant cliffhanger endings to each POV chapter. The finale is also a bit of a letdown, but that's because it was set up to frame the coming sequel. All in all, though, it's an entertaining read, and worth checking out from the library.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Friday, November 23, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
1. Return the bag I just bought and reorder the bag using the coupon code (causing the vendor to have to pay for another round of free shipping, processing a return, and processing a new order, as well as imposing return shipping costs on me), OR
2. Call them up, explain how this is stupid, and get them to credit the difference to my account.
Can you guess which option the vendor chose?
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
But who has suffered from this rational choice? You, Constant Reader! This blog runs on bile and schadenfreude, and without daily doses of infuriating nonsense, I lack inspiration to give you the posts that you deserve. So what should I be reading? Give me something mostly literate but infuriatingly stupid. Previous hits in this genre include Pandagon, Althouse, and The Corner.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Sunday, November 18, 2007
I provide this brief excerpt in the hope that you will be inspired to read both Professor Solove's book and a full review, should it ever see the light of day. (UPDATE: Julian Sanchez hits many of the issues I would have covered in my full review.)
There is a simple rule of thumb for predicting Solove’s positions and proposals. Ask yourself: Would this rule allow Anthony Ciolli and the pseudonymous defendants in the AutoAdmit.com litigation to be nailed to the wall? If the answer is yes, then Solove is for it. Traceable anonymity? Yes. Stricter limits on disclosures of facts about private persons? Yes. Anonymity for plaintiffs? Yes. This is a handy metric, but it doesn’t really do justice to the book.
Solove's fundamental contention is that the law can and should intervene to protect privacy in the face of challenges posed by the internet. The libertarian approach, he says, “does little to protect privacy.” If you are not concerned by this failure (and I am not), the entire project lacks a certain urgency. But, setting this aside for the moment, let’s explore some of what Solove finds threatening about the anarchic aspects of internet speech.
One of the most serious problems with “internet shaming” is that it creates a permanent record of transgression, compiled by vigilantes instead of professionals, and without input or rebuttal from the subject. Although Solove acknowledges that in some cases the web can shore up collapsing social norms, he give far more weight to the idea that the internet may contribute to the decline of certain social norms: namely, norms about privacy.
Very well, what should we do about this? Being a law professor, Solove recommends using tort law. (Solove’s embrace of privacy torts is based in part on the idea that “tort law remedies . . . aren’t authoritarian”—this despite their enforcement at the barrel of a gun.) He further proposes that the law be structured to avoid immediate recourse to the courts. In particular, this entails requiring that parties exhaust informal resolution mechanisms; “if the defendant agrees to remove the harmful information from the website, then this should be the end . . . unless the victim can demonstrate that [this] won’t sufficiently patch up the harm.”
Given the abuses of the DMCA takedown notice process, I would think that instantiating a similar set of procedures for any speech about an individual that could arguable violate his or her privacy would be extremely unappealing. While Solove is extremely concerned about over-enforcement in the context of private parties punishing norm violations, he does not recognize that his own proposal would result in over-enforcement of privacy norms, since the threat of litigation is often enough for webmasters to take down protected speech. Solove’s concern about protecting the identities of plaintiffs would also seem to be in tension with the need for a webmaster to be able to investigate and verify whether a takedown request is valid. Solove also argues for abolition of Section 230’s blanket immunity provision, but this too would result in over-enforcement; given the massive exposure and lower standards for liability imposed by a regime that punishes website operators aware of “problematic material,” the rational response to any given request would probably be to take down the material. And penalties for takedown-notice abusers are only useful if these same operators (who cannot afford even minor legal battles) or the likely-anonymous speakers (most of whom are similarly impoverished) would be willing to take the would-be censor to court, which would occur only rarely.
Perhaps the most troubling part of Solove’s argument is his discussion of how free speech rights conflict with the preservation of online privacy. “Disclosures made for spite,” he says, “or to shame others, or simply to entertain, should not be treated the same as disclosures made to educate or inform.” In fact, Solove takes the Supreme Court’s statements placing political speech at the core of the First Amendment to mean that non-political speech can be restricted with greater ease. This rank-ordering is not Solove’s invention, but although it is comparatively simple to divide speech into commercial and non-commercial, how do we decide what is informative and what is entertaining? What classification would the Drudge Report get? The National Enquirer? The New York Review of Books? How does the test for “entertaining” versus “informative” compare to the test we currently apply to pornography (which looks for social, literary, scientific, artistic value)? Likewise, Solove’s argument for the privacy of non-newsworthy information, such as the identity of subjects in a book or article, involves courts in normative and editorial judgments about the “proper interest” of the public and how to present a story. Courts are not equipped to make these determinations: they are not equipped to bowdlerize, censor, or recut media. And in an era of media fragmentation and non-credentialed citizen journalism, verifiability is even more vital; attempts to reduce the amount of information in stories are now more likely to make it difficult for the true picture to be discerned.
Solove asserts that the fall of privacy subjects us to judgment from many other people, which “can lead to an oppressive amount of social control.” But only pages before he argues that it might be difficult for us to judge others at all if we knew everything about them. In a society with much less privacy than our own, is it likely that oppressive social norms could be upheld once the popularity of deviance became evident? Wouldn’t we be likely to judge people using our new baselines for expected behavior, which would include much of what we currently choose to deny?
The experience of living online will only become more universalized, giving people more of a basis for judging people and information they encounter there. Privacy will recede from the heights it achieved during our brief period of wealth and atomization. Present notions of reputation will no longer apply; as multiple personas become more difficult to maintain. All this will result in a more accurate and humanized representation: we are who we are, warts and all, and the exposure of actions and beliefs that we now keep under wraps will result in changes in social norms. We need not fear the future, and despite Solove’s concerns, the temporary dislocation of the present is no great danger either.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
I since made a second quiche, which overflowed the crust a bit. Fortunately, this just left delightful browned eggy bits all over the underside of the crust.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
- someone whose palate is essentially dead, eats only to fuel his body, and has no interest or appreciation for culinary skill or creativity, OR
- someone who views music as occasionally pleasant background noise, is basically tone deaf, and can't tell Mozart from Mendelssohn?
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Just what I need: a giraffe-print coat.
Relatedly: how would you wear a black version of this jacket? I thought it would be very versatile, but the bulkiness and brocade are making it harder to wear than anticipated.
Monday, November 12, 2007
The Image You've Slogged Through the Whole Set to See
Originally uploaded by John Scalzi
- Laura Sessions Stepp - Washington Post writer and author of Unhooked.
- Dr. Miriam Grossman - campus psychiatrist at UCLA and author of Unprotected.
- Wendy Shalit - author of A Return to Modesty and Girls Gone Mild.
- Cassandra DeBenedetto - recent graduate of Princeton University and founder of Princeton's Anscombe Society.
- Dawn Eden - director of the Cardinal Newman Society's Love and Responsibility Program and author of The Thrill of the Chaste and The Dawn Patrol blog.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
"any premises, person or organization that is presented, advertised, held out or styled as, or which provides notification to the public that it is a swinger's club; an adult encounter group or center; a sexual encounter group or center; party house or home; wife, spouse or partner-swapping club; or that it provides permission, an opportunity or an invitation to engage in or to view sexual activity, stimulation or gratification, whether for consideration or not."Despite the Supreme Court's openness to consideration of secondary effects, this seems like a clear First Amendment violation.
I don't buy the court's interpretation of the statute. Do you?
Friday, November 09, 2007
Steve: Awww? You think I'm old.
Me: Are you as old as Pauly Shore? (looks it up in Google)
Steve: You're going to think I'm old in ten months.
Me: You're already old.
Steve: You're old.
Me: I am. I'm in my late twenties. That's why I can't break up with you. Who would have me? I'm all used up.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Trans woman arrested for indecent exposure for dropping trou to prove she's a woman. Meanwhile, 70% of gay and lesbian Americans are willing to throw the transgendered under the bus in order to get federal employment protections.
My mom never bought me toys like this.
Are monks hotter than lawyers?
Monday, November 05, 2007
Paul advocates limited government and low taxes like other Republicans, but he stands alone as the only GOP presidential candidate opposed to the Iraq war.Advocates limited government "like other Republicans"? Which would those be, prithee?
FSOs are not a rallying kind of people. As I've detailed elsewhere, they are a careerist kind of people. In a situation such as described by Pastor Niemoeller's famous poem, FSOs are likely to sit down and mentally go through their personal affiliations to try to work out exactly how long they might optimally be able to stay silent before someone comes after them and they need to get the hell out. I mean, let's just establish that from the start, especially as it helps to understand how astonishing the ending of this tale is.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
3/4 oz. dried morels
28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 splash white wine
2 shallots, diced
2 tbsp butter
Soak the morels in about 1-1 1/2 cups hot water for five minutes. Remove mushrooms and slice them. Strain the soaking liquid and set aside.
Saute the shallots in the butter until soft, then add the mushrooms. After about three minutes, add the wine, then the soaking liquid. Allow this to cook down to about 1/3 its original volume, then add the tomatoes. Cover and simmer for about twenty minutes or until the tomatoes start to break down a little. You can put this in the blender to make a smooth sauce or leave it if you don't mind chunkiness. If you don't want a very strong mushroom flavor, add less of the soaking liquid.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Friday, November 02, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
- Heteronormative assumptions: equivalent to assuming a character's whiteness?
- When does something become canon? Was the Silmarillion canon before publication? Are Rowling's notes? What of the oft-alluded Potter encyclopedia she claims to be planning?
- This was not exactly a bolt from the blue.
Monday, October 29, 2007
Megan McArdle is right that Ivy League snobbery is rampant in D.C. I have friends who feel undeservedly inferior, despite their many stellar achievements and non-Ivy degrees.
It seems reasonable at this point to recall the research on outcomes for Ivy attenders and Ivy-admitted non-attenders. If you could have gotten into an Ivy but didn't [go], congrats! Your life is just as great as it would have been with an Ivy degree.
(Last sentence edited for clarity).
Sunday, October 28, 2007
If large enough numbers of Americans start flying to South America to look for cheap health care, that’ll reduce the demand for health insurance. The health insurance industry will pull some strings, and air travel will become more difficult for people traveling for medical purposes.Wha?
Saturday, October 27, 2007
8 ounces bacon (about 8 slices) cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 pinch fresh grated nutmeg
4 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
1 9-inch partially baked pie shell (warm), baked until light golden brown
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Fry bacon in skillet over medium heat until crisp and brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer with slotted spoon to paper towel–lined plate. Meanwhile, whisk all remaining ingredients except cheese in medium bowl.2. Spread cheese and bacon evenly over bottom of warm pie shell and set shell on oven rack. Pour in custard mixture to 1/2-inch below crust rim. Bake until lightly golden brown and a knife blade inserted about one inch from the edge comes out clean, and center feels set but soft like gelatin, 32 to 35 minutes. Transfer quiche to rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Next time, I will omit or reduce the salt and roll the dough between sheets of plastic wrap. It is still very tasty, though.
Friday, October 26, 2007
it had never occurred to me that when you bribe a hotel clerk for a room, this is what you are bribing them to do to someone. Thankfully, I've never bribed anyone--I lack the chutzpah--but I'd feel pretty awful if I had, and I'll never laugh at it when someone else tells such a story again.Nearly everyone agrees that the desk clerk (who gave away McArdle's room and then lied about it) was in the wrong. But is it wrong to bribe desk clerks in this way?* If you say it isn't, do you also believe that attempting to seduce someone in a committed relationship is morally neutral? What if both victims were compensated (a room found at another hotel, a setup with someone compatible, money)?
* Presumably there are less problematic bribes; you might want to switch rooms in a hotel that does not assign them at the time of reservation or to upgrade to a better class of room if there is one unreserved. Neither of these would cheat another guest out of something they were entitled to under the benefits of their bargain and thus they seem less unjust.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
This paper arguing for a "cultural theory of Mary Sue fiction as fair use" would be good if the authors actually knew what a Mary Sue is. Haven't they heard of Marty Stus? For every person writing fanfic who is consciously or unconsciously responding to cultural subjugation of women and minorities, there are five hundred unrepentant narcissists and slavering lustbunnies whose only motivation is to gratify themselves in the simplest and most uncomplicated of ways.
If they boot Amber the cutthroat bitch from House I am going to be so ticked. (NO SPOILERS IN THE COMMENTS.)
Vote for your favorite student blogger to get $10,000.
I like sexy children's costumes, if only because the women's "one-size" costumes swallow me but the girls' XL fits just fine.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Monday, October 22, 2007
I. The supposed villain turns out not to be villainous at all.Magneto is a popular choice, and Ilya Somin makes a good case for Gordon Gekko. I never understood what people had against Captain Ahab, but I'm an odd duck. I recently rewatched The Piano and found myself sympathizing, against my will, with the cuckold.
II. [You] sympathize with the villain because [you] disagree with the story's ideological message.
III. The villain isn't really responsible for his actions.
IV. The villain turns out to be the lesser of two evils.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Thursday, October 18, 2007
"Drunk" women can't be raped?
Fantasy baseball fans can thank Judge Morris Arnold for saving their version of America's pastime from the clutches of MLB.
Best shopping search engine ever.
UPDATED: Resolved: The opposite of rape is not consent. The opposite of rape is enthusiasm.
Todd Solondz's Storytelling illustrated this dynamic in an interesting way.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
A kid who doesn't sleep properly is functionally equivalent to a kid with lead poisoning. But who cares as long as the football team goes all the way?
Then again, what do I know? I'm just a bitter, unsporty former high schooler who had to get up at 5:30 (5:00 on ROTC days) to catch a 6:15 bus to my first class at 7:30.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
People have a legal right to mutter "bitch" as I walk past, blog extensively about how fat and unattractive I am, or ignore my ideas on the grounds that Irish Catholics are naturally stupid. Businesses have a legal right to provide sullen and unhelpful salespeople, filthy premises, and cheaply made products that fall apart one day after the warranty expires. All Americans have the legal right to say nasty things to their spouses, watch football instead of talking to their kids, stop bathing, and drop dear old friends in favor of richer, more attractive ones.
I would not dream of making any of these things against the law. But I can still be appalled when people do them. Being a libertarian means recognizing the limits of the formal legal system to regulate human behavior--not recognizing the formal legal system as the only limitation on human behavior.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Sunday, October 14, 2007
proof, going back at least three generations and attested to by an Orthodox rabbi, of the candidates’ kosher bona fides. This disqualifies the vast majority of American Jews, who have no such proof. “We won’t take them — not even if we go back three or four generations — if someone in their line was married by a Reform or Conservative rabbi, because they don’t perform marriages according to Orthodox law,” [the chief rabbi] said.Boys also appear to follow their fathers into family businesses, to the detriment of continued secular education. Women's status and autonomy seem low.* The article has provoked negative reactions from Muslims and Harry-Potter-loving J-dubs and inspired Ms. Maltz to quip that the article's subjects are "soon to be the most-despised community in America."
Anyway, it reminded me of this issue, as well as U.S. Const. art. III, § 3. It also provoked a heated discussion with Steve on the relative objectionability of the aforementioned practices, however they are actually followed and regardless of which group practices them. Nothing highlights the universality of patriarchy like a rousing comparative religious debate.
* The article has several internal inconsistencies and some claim that the intermarriage barrier is slightly more permeable than the article makes out. I'm sure this will be clarified in days to come.
UPDATE: Still no sign. If you go to hip nightclubs, though, this might be right up your alley.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
"Why must women of color be a second choice for white men?"
Monday, October 08, 2007
Sunday, October 07, 2007
Saturday, October 06, 2007
Friday, October 05, 2007
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
UPDATE: The subject of one of the photos is incensed about this "bullshit blog and its commenters." Here is her response:
There is of course a (slim?) distinction the words between "pretty" and "beautiful," which Kate Harding, the creator of the project, used to describe the women pictured, and the terms connoting sexual appeal which commenters used here. Now that it has become apparent that sexualized comments are unwelcome, future offense may be avoided. But it seems a bit much to submit a photo for a project about bodies and how they relate to the BMI scale and then complain that readers are discussing your body and how it relates to the BMI scale.
My picture on Kate’s blog was identified as an anomaly — in the readers’ opinions, I’m the only one who didn’t meet the BMI category of overweight. I was also described as bangin‘ and hot.
Yeah, I know, it’s so flattering to read comments about my body and how it relates to the BMI scale. I also love how strange people feel inclined to comment upon my appearance and suggest that I dress well for my weight. Another reader suggests that the picture is somehow strategically chosen to represent my body at its best.
The only thing strategic about the picture is the fact that my hair looks somewhat decent. The rest is me - 100%, unedited Laurie Ruettimann. I do look fabulous, of course, but I looked fabulous when I weighed 170 lbs. I didn’t lose weight to lose weight. I lost weight to reclaim my right to own my moods and my depression. (emphasis added)
Like Ms. Ruettimann, I am five feet tall. I envy her bone structure and musculature; if I weighed 130 pounds, I would certainly not look "fabulous," and at 170 pounds I would be even less so.
Monday, October 01, 2007
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Basil & Parsley Risotto
1/2 medium onion, minced
3/4 cup Arborio rice (I get mine from Trader Joe's, which has it for a good price)
splash white wine
2 1/2 cups chicken broth (Better Than Bouillon, because I never use a whole carton of broth before it goes bad. If you use this, add no extra salt.)
1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cook onion in a little olive oil over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Add rice and stir until rice is oily. Add wine; stir and let bubble away. Then add broth, 1/2 cup at a time, and allow it to almost get dry in between additions, stirring every minute or so. Cook 20-30 minutes or until rice is not quite tender. Add herbs, butter, and cheese.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
"How much are these chanterelles?" I ask.
"Ten dollars. They're wild."
"Hmm. No thanks."
Also: the store with the hot mod shift dress? Closed itself for a private event just when I came back to show Steve the garment and order my size. Guess who lost a sale and guess who bought a sweater dress instead? I am very particular about giving commissions to the people who helped me find an item when I come back to purchase it later. Your loss, Andrea!
Friday, September 28, 2007
U.S. District Court Judge David M. Lawson struck down [Michigan's] Minor in Possession (MIP) law because it “authorizes police officers to perform a search of minors without a warrant or legal excuse for not obtaining one” in violation of their Fourth Amendment rights. The decision does not apply to drivers of a motor vehicle and allows police officers to administer breath tests without warrants in emergencies.(via)
Michigan is among a handful of states nationwide with an MIP law that makes it illegal for young adults and minors who are pedestrians to refuse a Breathalyzer test even though police do not have a search warrant. Those who refuse to take tests in Michigan are guilty of a civil infraction and must pay a $100 fine. In addition, police in some places — including Michigan State University — tell students that if they refuse to submit to a Breathalyzer upon demand that they could spend up to a dozen hours in jail.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
- I always forget to dress up to go to the mall, and then I get the cold shoulder from some of the staff. One of them directed me to the cheap section on the first floor and another tried to warn me off of a pair of "expensive" pants. Bleh. Maybe this is why women buy tacky, loud logo bags. The understated designer bag doesn't scream, "she has money to buy your stuff and spends it stupidly!" I got the pants and am having them tailored because of the problem in (2).
- The money spent on the trainer last year was a good investment, considering the number of things I try on and then don't buy because the smallest size is still too big.
- The difference between what's available at the store and what's available online is really infuriating. I'd prefer to get my Lucky Rewards discount, apply some random coupons from Google, and avoid sales tax, but neither the hot pointy-toed boots I liked from Nordstrom nor the mod shift dress* I found at Cusp were available online. This sweater, which was a dress on me, is, but I'm hesitant to buy something than you have to wear layers under (and to buy the XS, which they didn't have in-store but which is probably better fitting).
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
- I have trouble taking seriously any article that unironically uses the words "Oedipal anxiety."
- Children whose parents defy cultural norms may become uncomfortable once the dissonance between parental action and those norms becomes apparent? Who knew?
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Monday, September 24, 2007
Sunday, September 23, 2007
I highly recommend this particular form of recreation.
Friday, September 21, 2007
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Epic fantasy with entertwining plotlines and a huge cast of characters is great, but I do ask that said characters, even the women, have personalities, and that there be a plot that goes somewhere. If I wanted to read meandering wankage I could pick up Proust (kidding. sort of.).
Is this how lit fic readers generally feel when they hear genre fans talking about their favorite books?
Relatedly: the best, nerdiest post this week.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
"Has it got any sports in it?"I've been talking up these books for a while now, but I wanted to write a double review and that had to wait for my completion of the second volume. So:
"Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Poison. True love. Hate. Revenge. Giants. Hunters. Bad men. Good men. Beautifulest ladies. Snakes. Spiders. Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passion. Miracles."
Here we have two installments of Scott Lynch's Gentleman Bastards sequence. You really must read The Lies of Locke Lamora first. It contains essential backstory, although even with plentiful use of flashback the reader is still left with tantalizing gaps in the characters' history. Without some grounding in Lynch's world, you will be lost, because the cast is large and the plots entwined.
Imagine if George R.R. Martin had written an entire series based on the criminal underworld of King's Landing. Picture as a protagonist a cross between MacGyver, Captain Jack Sparrow, and Parker. Imagine that every time Baldrick had a cunning plan it actually could work. These are books about scheming, lying, cheating thieves, and their schemes incidentally produce a certain amount of high adventure.
Settings range from convincingly filthy slums to soaring towers that may be the relic of a culture from the deep past or the far future (is this more Star Wars than Book of the New Sun? uncertain.). Characterizations are broad when appropriate but generally reflect a more nuanced psychology. In Locke Lamora we could have a generic Prince of Thieves, but Lynch imbues him with personality, history, and flair. He also avoids the general trap of permitting readers to grow too comfortable. Death, mayhem, unexpected reverses, and hollow victories abound.
The first book could exist as a stand-alone feature; most of the main plot threads are resolved by the novel's end, and we get some significant closure while preserving some uncertainty for the future. Red Seas Under Red Skies, by contrast, ends on something of a cliffhanger, and my emotional attachment to the characters is at war with my admiration for Lynch's nerve with respect to how I hope things shake out.
The only quibbles: sometimes the dialogue is pedestrian, although it's occasionally hilarious (who can argue, through a mouthful of broken teeth, with lines like "one plus one equals don't fuck with me"?) and there is NO MORE of this for a long time, since Red Seas was just released. Also, while one can entertain one's self with casting games* and imagining how some of the more dramatic scenes would play on screen, these books, I fear, are basically unfilmable; too much depends on intricate plots that would require substantial narration to explain or, as is perhaps more likely, a more intelligent audience than the average pack of adolescent boys which makes up the target audience for action-adventure movies.
Highly recommended for fantasy and adventure fans and for others who enjoy a good yarn.
* Locke really requires a young Clive Owen type, and perhaps Vincent Cassel might do as as the villain in Lies and Terrence Stamp would for Red Seas. Or maybe not. Thoughts?