Monday, June 28, 2010


I'd been looking forward to reading the new translation of The Second Sex for some time, as the original translation sounded like a waste of time. Alas, the recent translation is apparently just as bad, but in new and exciting ways.

What confounds me, though, is how this is even an issue. The new translation cost $50,000. That's less than the price of a new Cadillac Escalade. And yet decades went by without investment in a new English translation. Surely there's some poor, unemployed philosophy PhD who's fluent in French and would be thrilled to translate de Beauvoir. How long would it take for a Paypal passing of the hat? Is there no rich feminist out there who'd be willing to subsidize this endeavor?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Eyeball Update

So I went to Toy Story 3. GN: I could see the 3D. BN: Sort of. There was depth of field, but nothing really earthshaking or hyperrealistic. At no point was my lizard brain screaming "look out, it's COMING RIGHT FOR US!" Is this normal? Am I jaded or just still slightly defective?

Also, it was not nearly as sad as Up, since you know that the movie is not going to actually end with [SPOILER] the toys being incinerated and the very, very end is just sort of awkward and uncomfortable. Although I respect the Pixar writers for keeping the little alien toys around for the whole film just so they could be the deus ex machina.

No Bones About It

Busy week at work. Spent my spare time watching the first couple of episodes of Lie to Me, but the straight-faced dialogue about how a rape victim MUST be lying if she isn't displaying the typical emotional and physical reactions* made me want to throw the remote through the TV, so I'm in the market for a different brainless episodic forensics-related show, now that I've exhausted the Netflix Instant Viewing catalog of Bones. Perhaps what I really need is another show starring a nerdy, pale brunette who lives in DC?

Related: A friend recommended Gail Carriger, whose books I have enjoyed thus far, but I did chuckle a bit after realizing the heroine is defined against her society in part by her possession of (decidedly unfashionable!) voluptuous curves, rebellious curls, and tan skin. Three guesses what my friend looks like.

*Special fun bonus: She WAS lying! Way to reinforce harmful stereotypes about victims, guys!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Grandiose crafting ambitions brought low

Have been in the mood to spin several times in the last few weeks, but never in the mood to predraft. Thus, the spinning wheel is only decorative so far. Sigh.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

One is silver and the other's GOLD, you buffoons.

With all the standard caveats about NYT fake-trend stories, I found this piece on why kids shouldn't have best friends sort of puzzling. Isn't it incredibly overstimulating to essentially require group interactions of all kids, introverts and extroverts? What would be the effect on privacy for a generation that never had a single friend to exchange confidences with? Is the expectation that these children not discuss their innermost thoughts and feelings or that they spill them to everyone? How do you develop a strong sense of loyalty where there are conflicts of interest between friends and all friends are on an even field? The society the educators in the article are trying to breed sounds like something out of an Ursula Le Guin novel.

As someone who was introverted and most commonly had just a best friend growing up, this would be my own personal hell.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Beats the hell out of being raped by quarry miners.

Why your daughters should read Mill instead of (or at least before) Ayn Rand):
What marriage may be in the case of two persons of cultivated faculties, identical in opinions and purposes, between whom there exists that best kind of equality, similarity of powers and capacities with reciprocal superiority in them — so that each can enjoy the luxury of looking up to the other, and can have alternately the pleasure of leading and of being led in the path of development — I will not attempt to describe. To those who can conceive it, there is no need; to those who cannot, it would appear the dream of an enthusiast.
-John Stuart Mill, The Subjection of Women

Monday, June 14, 2010

In which I roll my eyes re: the difficulty of finding a nice _____ girl.

The flip side of using ethnic or religious differences as a pretense for dumping someone: A dumpee's protest that "I loved you even though you weren't ____!" It's similar in that it reveals you're better off without the person.

UPDATE: A friend of mine weighed in via email:
I always figured it would be easier to find someone I get along with on the axes I consider most important to me (intellect, humor, modern liberal sensibilities) and adopt the few dishes and holidays I want to keep than it would be to find someone whose main identity is Vietnamese/Asian and hope that they fulfil the multiplexity of what I want in a partner. Unless it's really important to you to share language and culture and traditions, you're going to spend a vast amount of the day talking about things other than "hi five! we're both Vietnamese!"

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Goat Watch

I exercised great discretion at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival and did not buy any adorable ruminants. But I will totally root for the goat in any contest against someone who doesn't know wool from mohair.

Swallowing crucifixes rosaries in the Benedict XVI papacy = Not edgy.

Is it just me or is the new Gaga video a total trainwreck? The song was always bad, but this makes it worse.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Yes, the Victim-of-the-Week's death IS sad.

Do all modern network television dramedies feature incredibly ham-handed, manipulative musical interludes and montages toward the end of each episode?

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Recipe: Ob Goosht (Lamb Shank Stew)

I cannot lose this recipe, so it's being recorded here:

2 lbs lamb shank
3 potatoes (with peel)
2 tbsp tarragon
2 cans garbanzo beans
1 can great northern beans
1 can tomato paste
2 tbsp lemon powder
salt & pepper
1/2 onion, chopped

Put lamb shanks, tarragon, lemon powder, and onion in large pot with water to cover; boil. Add salt, pepper, and potatoes. Cook until tender (2 hours or more), covered. Add beans and tomato paste and simmer with lid off for 30 minutes.
Remove potatoes and skin them. Smash one up and return it to the pot. Remove shanks from the pot and shred meat from them while simmering stew. Strain broth from stew and mash or blend beans, etc. until almost smooth. Dish this into bowls, add shredded meat on top, and pour broth around it. Eat with bread.

Friday, June 04, 2010

For belles and beaus

Rehashed article on marriage rates has one interesting bit:
Of all 3.8 million adults who married in 2008, 31 percent of Asians, 26 percent of Hispanic people, 16 percent of blacks and 9 percent of whites married a person whose race or ethnicity was different from their own. Those were all record highs.
31 percent! That's a lot of company. Aspiring out-marriers should probably not follow the advice linked in this post, though.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

"Pop stars should be pretty"? Let's take this outside, truffle-eater.

I really enjoyed Lynn Hirschberg's takedown of M.I.A., but it seems like she just writes the same article over and over.