Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Hypercharismatic telepathical knight

From the guy who brought us George Washington, the truth about JFK. (It's not as hilarious as the GW video, but it's amusing nonetheless.)

Harry Potter and the Federal Sex Offense

Does watching a nude minor in a stage show constitute illicit sexual conduct for purposes of 18 U.S.C. § 2423(c)? If so, aren't any Americans who attend the revival of Equus starring seventeen-year-old Daniel Radcliffe felons?

Wonderful phrase?

If you think that this is funny, you might like this new movie (reviews are positive).

Monday, January 29, 2007

My name! Mine!

There are too many Amber Taylors. First there was the Amber Taylor whose pal signed her up for MySpace using my e-mail address, so I got mail every time one of her vapid friends left a comment on her page. I called it to her attention but she never fixed it properly as far as I know; I just set up a rule to automatically send all her MySpace crap to the trash.

Then there was the Amber Taylor in New Zealand who didn't know her own e-mail address and put mine on a bunch of lame church potluck listserves. Despite trying to correct this as well, I still occasionally get a message asking if I can bring paper plates and pie to some silly Sunday event halfway across the world.

Now there's another stupid Amber Taylor (or maybe it's one of the previous stupid Amber Taylors) who got pregnant and signed up for a bunch of those sickly-sweet mommy sites. I now get deluged with gross messages about how big Amber Taylor's fetus is this week and what baby names are hot right now. It is somewhat annoying.

But this is the last straw. My name an alias for Paris Hilton?!? EW. If only my middle name didn't suck.

Regulations mean fewer noodles in NYC?

Regulations in New York City may drive restaurateurs to "armpits" like Las Vegas.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Cleaving, Leaving (Update)

Meaningful agency is important. Your spouse may best effectuate your wishes while you are incapacitated. But that's not always the case.

This is the kind of thing that makes me yearn for living wills implanted in subcutaneous microchips. If vets can tell who a dog belongs to with a quick scan, docs should be able to obtain some accurate idea of your preferences as to medical care in similar fashion (the default rule in the absence of chipping being resuscitation).

Saturday, January 27, 2007


John Scalzi on White Castle.

Sympathy for the Devil

Last week I finally got around to watching The Devil Wears Prada. Am I supposed to like the non-Miranda characters? Because they were all hideous (Anne Hathaway's giant, horsey mouth! Simon Baker's distracting bleached eyebrows!), stupid (Your girlfriend has a rotten job for one year and then can do whatever she pleases; why abandon her? Your friend gives you thousands of dollars in free stuff from work and you try to get her in trouble with her boss; way to commit attempted murder of the gold-egg-laying goose, morons), or both. And why would anyone feel guilt over going to Paris in the place of a wretched, marginally competent bitch who had done nothing but treat you like dirt since day one (especially since there was no way to rescind your choice after she broke her leg)?

Miranda is the only interesting character. As far as I can see, her only sins were in being too clueless to realize the danger of flying in a hurricane and in being passive-aggressive about the whole Harry Potter thing. The rest is the same sort of demanding behavior that is standard in the business world. (Even her snatching the rug out from under Stanley Tucci's character is not that awful; he only got the job through her, and once it was too expensive for her to use the connection to benefit him, the Miranda tooketh away. I'm sure another opportunity will arise for him, and as we saw in the newspaper office scene, Miranda is loyal to her competent underlings.)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

I know you got a bad reputation

Michael Fertik's lame company strikes again. (More here.)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Put this stuff in GQ and get it out of my face.

It's easy to bash articles like this that assume that we care about a problem that only a few people actually are lucky enough to have. But do you know what irks me even more? Travel stories like this one. Or even blog posts like these by Tyler Cowen (who is not the target of my ire by any means).

It seems like travel writing about the Middle East has become more popular of late. Maybe this is an effort by editors to show us a different side of Muslim countries to counteract the avalanche of awfulness coming out of Iraq. The accounts are often written by adventurous solo travelers who praise the culture and beauty of these lands.

But I've never read one written by a woman. The mysteries of Kabul, I'd venture to guess, would be difficult or impossible for a woman to see, especially on her own. I bet Dubai is a lot less fun for women as well. Even relatively Westernized Turkey, which I visited with a female companion, was utterly exhausting after just a couple of days due to the street harassment, sexual propositioning, and creepy men following us. I would never go to Egypt or Morocco alone, much less Afghanistan or the UAE. Most woman travelers would probably agree.

So who's the intended audience for these articles? Women wealthy enough to travel abroad to far-off destinations and adventurous enough to go to a country where they are likely to be treated as second-class citizens, but resigned enough to go only if they have a male companion who can assert ownership rights and drive off the harassers? I'll take a 1,900 word piece about aspirational luxury items any day over a travel story that taunts me with tales of unavailable experiences. I might be rich some day, but I'll never be male enough to sip green tea with the Sufis in the shadow of the Pul-i-Khishti Mosque.

(Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe bumming around the Middle East as a solo woman traveler is totally awesome. But if it is, why do we never hear about it? Aren't there any female travel writers who could so testify?)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Hey, you! In the Duke sweatshirt and jeans!


(The quick version: a Christian site took an exhaustive survey of what clothes girls and women should not wear so as not to tempt the males around them in to sinful thoughts of their dirtypillows, etc. Apparently most things short of a burqa are "stumbling blocks" and thus to be avoided.) Even better than the survey is this comment, by someone who lurks in the Christian site's forums, where they discuss
whether or not girls can dress less modestly around their own families, or whether they might be stumbling blocks to their brothers and fathers. A couple girls have suggested that immodestly dressed girls might tempt their fathers to rape them.
I have no words.

Million dollar bills, y'all

There's been a new round of raises by the big New York law firms. Total compensation for first-year associates at these firms now beats that of federal appellate judges and rivals what we pay the members of the Supreme Court. I assume Chief Justice Roberts is not amused.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Buying things is fun.

Last week was a banner week for shopping. I ordered these shoes, which came today (and Zappos + Lucky Rewards = good deal), and while I was in Vegas I got this dress (Photoshopped so you can see the black-on-black draping) for Steve's fancy-pants annual dinner at work. The neckline, it calls out for a sparkly necklace, yes? Any ideas for a particular sparkly one? Something like this, maybe? Or something silvery? Or something completely different? I am in your hands.

Unrelatedly, here are some cat photos.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


zuzu at Feministe is reading Dawn Eden's book, The Thrill of the Chaste, so we don't have to. I thought this analogy from the comments was particularly perceptive:
For some people like Dawn, I think “chastity” is a sort of sexual anorexia; it's about the one thing they can control in otherwise uncontrollable lives.
Then again, I thought that this PostSecret postcard (NSFW) was fairly accurate as regards some chastity proponents I have known (although I don't think it applies to Eden), so perhaps I am biased.

This chick digs the singularity

I don't know what's wrong with other women. (via)

Saturday, January 20, 2007


This is funny, although I must register disagreement with the proprietress's characterization of French-Canadian accents as "sexy." Steve does something similar to me on occasion, but I'm not as funny. (via)

This is not funny. I hope it's fake.

Unrelatedly, this is some damn fine cheese.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Water Buffalo Gift

This made me cry, because I am a big softie.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Daily Dose of Stupid

When Julian Sanchez said that Michael Novak wrote the stupidest thing he'd read today, I knew exactly what he was talking about.

Winter is coming to HBO.

A Song of Ice & Fire to be an HBO series! Who will play Tyrion?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Fidelity, with and without law

The state threatens life imprisonment for adultery in Michigan:
"Technically," he added, "any time a person engages in sexual penetration in an adulterous relationship, he or she is guilty of CSC I," the most serious sexual assault charge in Michigan's criminal code.

The anarchist case for fidelity:
So long as it worked, it worked, and if it didn't work it stopped being. It was not an institution but a function. It had no sanction but that of private conscience. . . .

The validity of the promise, even promise of indefinite term, was deep in the grain of Odo's thinking; though it might seem that her insistence on freedom to change would invalidate the idea of promise or vow, in fact the freedom made the promise meaningful. A promise is a direction taken, a self-limitation on choice. . . . [I]f no direction is taken, if one goes nowhere, no change will occur. One's freedom to change will be unused, exactly as if one were in jail, a jail of one's own building, a maze in which no one way is better than any other. So Odo came to see the promise, the pledge, the idea of fidelity, as essential in the complexity of freedom.

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Future of Autocannibalism

If we had meat machines in our kitchens that grew flesh from culture, would we eat ourselves? It would eliminate the spread of prion-based diseases like mad cow and even the supersensitive would not be allergic to it. Philosophically, it seems like it might appeal to PETA; growing cultured pork or beef, although mostly cruelty-free, still requires some animal suffering to obtain the necessary cultures and embraces instrumentalization of animals. Would autocannibalism ever become a popular food choice?


Sunday, January 14, 2007

Useful Advice

While I am in Vegas, watch my judge tell you how to write well (or at least how not to write poorly).

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Death of Online Gossip

Ever done anything embarrassing and had it posted online? Now, for the low, low price of $29.95, you can sic ReputationDefender.com on websites that recount your scandalous weekend exploits or post photos of that streaking that the other guys on the team assured you would be "so fucking hilarious, dude."

In the wake of the Washingtonienne lawsuit, I shouldn't be surprised that the less well-heeled are eager to get in on the censorship act. But whatever happened to personal responsibility? If you acted like a jackass and someone documented it online, why not man up and admit your error? Chalk it up to youthful indiscretion and move on instead of harassing people into whitewashing accounts of their perceptions. Your reputation should accurately reflect your actions. If some of those actions are embarrassing, you have nobody to blame but yourself.

Life sucks. Get a helmet.

P.S. I know Michael Fertik, the CEO of this absurd company. He sat in front of me in one of my 1L classes. He was a pretentious gunner who wore lots of Armani. The last time I saw him, he was standing in the D.C. Metro bitching about how haaard it is to be summer associate because he had firm events practically every night. I think my response was something along the lines of "yeah, it sure sucks to be massively overpaid for a summer sinecure and expensively entertained non-stop." I don't think this was the reaction he was expecting. He's ridiculous and I hope his company tanks.

P.P.S. If anyone wants me to take down this or any other post because it hurts their wittle feelings, they can bite me.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Hypocrisy, thy name is Amber

I have gone on the record as being a fan of men 1.5-3 times my age, but I find it gross and weird to consider a relationship between an eighteen-year-old and a thirty-year-old. A one night stand I could be okay with, but that age pairing, dating, just gives me the willies. A equal age disparity between older people (30 and 42, say) is not objectionable. Am I alone?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Random Roundup Again

Something for us modern lovers to consider.

Relatedly: how to tell if the photos of your online beau are Photoshopped.

If "the value of life peaks around 20 years of age . . . [s]houldn't we, as horrid an image as it is, be sending elderly to battle? (from here, which also might be worth reading; I haven't decided)

More Supreme Court clerk hiring
. Send David Lat your gossipy tidbits about Heidi Bond, Thiru Vignarajah, C.J. Mahoney, and the rest.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Naked Parties

CMC could never have had one of these. Sigh.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Random navel-gazing roundup

Cheesy poofs update: romano makes them too salty.

Snape has learned to hug on command! Trust me that this is cute.

Unrelatedly, if anyone wants to buy a new 4GB iPod nano (1st generation, white), e-mail me.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Quality dates Q*U*A*L*I*T*Y* (redux)

As a woman with an online presence, I am occasionally emailed by men. I won't get as forceful as Jacqueline did, but there are a few tips that people should keep in mind when trying to pick up ladies over the internet:

  1. Ensure that the woman you are writing is open to your advances. Not everyone's poly, people.
  2. You may not want to use the same email address to write to women as you've used on escort service review message boards and long-tongued-woman-fetish Yahoo groups.
  3. Consider how you came to your target's page. Consider that she can probably see it. If you are Googling for weird stuff like dog porn, this may be a turn-off.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Living Dolls

Tyler Cowen thinks "the Ashley treatment" is scary. I agree, although not because I think it's particularly damaging in this case. Ashley, the "pillow angel" who has been treated so she will be child-sized forever, has and will always have the mentality of a three-month-old. But couldn't most of the same rationalizations for this be applied to less profoundly mentally disabled people: those with the mentality of one-year-olds? three-year-olds? nine-year-olds? In every case, growing to adult size makes it more difficult for their caregivers; in every case, puberty is likely to bring both physical discomfort and emotional difficulties (none of these hypothetical persons could consent to sex, but they are likely either to be taken advantage of or to engage in inappropriate behavior toward others based on hormonal urges they will never understand). At what mental age could we say that something like this is wrong?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Book Review: A Deepness in the Sky

Over the holiday I read some hard SF, since I wasn't doing any hard drinking. I read its accompanying volume, A Fire Upon the Deep, while I was subletting a cat-hair-covered studio apartment in Brooklyn a few years ago and enjoyed it. Deepness is set in the same universe, but although one's appreciation of the book is enhanced by the melancholy knowledge of the characters' circumstances and eventual fates, it can stand alone.

Essentially, two cultural expeditions competing for access to one of the only non-human sentient civilizations (the Spiders, a race of chitinous but somehow endearing giant bugs) fight each other to a draw and are forced to lurk at the edge of Spider space until that civilization develops to the point where it can be usefully exploited and they can use its resources to leave the system. The competing expeditions are the Qeng Ho, uber-capitalist itinerants, and the Emergents, who come from a totalitarian world that has taken slavery to new and powerful levels.

The book is almost relentlessly downbeat, and at one point becomes almost an exercise in metafiction; the lurking humans have been closely monitoring the Spider world and have grown emotionally attached to certain individuals through station-wide broadcasts of translated Spider programming. When it looks like things may go badly for their favorite Spiders, the crew petitions that something be done to ensure their safety. While this is going on, of course, Vinge has made clear that things may go very badly for both the Spiders and our intrepid human heroes, and the reader herself may have the urge to petition the author not to annihilate those she has grown to hold dear.

I won't spoil the ending (mostly because it's one of the few parts of this very long book that seems hurriedly explained), but I did find it hard to put down. Recommended.

No children to ride bikes in the future

Matt Yglesias also doesn't know how to ride a bike? I suddenly no longer feel so alone.

(Really spoilery discussion of Children of Men at that link, by the way. It's probably the best film of 2006. Long-time readers should recognize that for me to heartily endorse a movie like this despite my lack of species preservation instinct means it must be something special. Great casting. I'll discuss it in the comments later if some of you have seen it.)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


I changed the name of this blog from Class Maledictorian in part because the old name, what with including a made-up word and all, was hard to spell. Little did I know that the name of one of the western world's most famous historical personages would also be difficult for people.