Monday, October 31, 2005


I got no trick or treaters, despite living in an apartment complex with children in it. And I cut my hair off, so my Halloween costume was a bust. Maybe next year. In the meantime, there's a bag of fun-sized Skittles and Starburst packets with my name on it.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Chicks dig SF

Girls nerds outnumber guy nerds. What implications will this have for intra-nerd dating?

Saturday, October 29, 2005


So which is it?

Friday, October 28, 2005

Taking Leon at his word

Some people are taking Kass's call for the resurrection of old-school norms of female sexuality to heart. Dr. Michael Adams, for one.

Kass, on womanly virtue:
Many, perhaps even most, men in earlier times avidly sought sexual pleasure prior to and outside of marriage. But they usually distinguished, as did the culture generally, between women one fooled around with and women one married, between a woman of easy virtue and a woman of virtue simply. Only respectable women were respected; one no more wanted a loose woman for one's partner than for one's mother.

The supreme virtue of the virtuous woman was modesty, a form of sexual self-control, manifested not only in chastity but in decorous dress and manner, speech and deed, and in reticence in the display of her well-banked affections.
Adams, on the existence of an "Orgasm Festival" for college students that purports to teach them about the female body (AKA Shorter Kass):
Jessica Polka, an executive board member for the co-sponsor of the event, was recently quoted as saying that "We also have the goal of trying to work toward fighting the social stigma against female sexuality." In other words, she wants college women to become whores without being ostracized.
Some people made excuses for Kass and tried to defend his statements when his essay was dissected at Crooked Timber last week, but this is what Kass's reinstitution of the stigma on female sexuality will require: male authority figures calling women who are interested in sexual pleasure "whores."

As one commenter pointed out, it must be very uncomfortable to be a female student of Dr. Adams's. (h/t Feministe)

My Blog is Worthless

Random Roundup XII

Hugo Schwyzer on looking and lust.

Douthat defends Kass. A commenter cherry-picks the most egregiously misogynist bits from Kass's piece. Phoebe Maltz points out that a big flaw in the "withholding milk makes cows happy" theory is that women like milk, too.

George Takei (Mr. Sulu) comes out. Slash fans the world over rejoice.

Jason Kuznicki defines marriage better than Maggie Gallagher ever could.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


Can't . . . wait . . . much . . . longer . . .

Don't know much about geography

I know some people tried to get their commenters to identify themselves a while back, but I didn't jump onto that blog meme when it went around. That's good in a way, because this is much cooler. Please add yourself to the Prettier Than Napoleon reader map. You can add personal information a la the previous meme if you like, but just an ID and a location would also be cool.

Additionally, if any of you are in the Twin Cities area and would like to help out a fellow lawyer and a service member, Juicylicious needs someone to foster her cat for six months while she is deployed. It would cost you nothing, as she has laid in supplies to last the little guy for that timespan.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

More Buffy

I know I said I was not a Riley fan, but his whole character arc was justified by the payoff of The Replacement (Season 5 Episode 3).

However, I am not on board with the Dawn thing.

50 Book Challenge #58: The Traveler

I got about 100 pages into Gene Wolfe's The Knight, but eventually I realized:

1. I hate Gene Wolfe's writing. It's cold and precise in a way I associate with the hardest of hard SF. He's usually describing something extremely complex or multilayered and/or something that could be really rousing, but I can never manage to care, and I never have a good grip on the world he's creating. This quality of being simultaneously vague and meticulous is utterly infuriating.
2. The Knight is a quest, but after the first four times Sir Able slips into a neighboring dimension and time glides by while he dallies with some fey slip of a thing or fights a big scary something or other, it all blends together and again, I just don't care.

So I gave up and picked up The Traveler, which has the disadvantage of being much more poorly written (I may not like Wolfe, but he is skillful) but at least did not put me to sleep. The book grabs you right away with a kinetic scene of a preteen girl being thrown into a soccer riot by her own father and doesn't let up for a while. There's a lot of rather awkward exposition about the various secret groups that exist under our radar: Harlequins, badassed mercenaries who guard Travelers; Travelers, people who can send their life force to another dimension and somehow are, by virtue of this, usually rabble-rousing messiah types; and Tabula, a group obsessed with orderly society and thus opposed to rabble-rousing. Once we have the stage set, though, it has potential to be a ripping yarn. (I was never sure why it took interdimensional travel to figure out that the status quo generally sucks for a lot of people, but picking nits like that in a book that assumes won't find it odd when packs of genetically engineered hyenas are left to run rampant in major urban areas is perhaps expecting a bit too much.)

Of course, the plot is like something the Unabomber would have written if he'd been into fiction instead of manifestos (we're all being watched by technology! beware electricity and use only cash!) and the dialogue laughable (Actual bit from a climactic confrontation: "They want to destroy any kind of personal freedom." "That's the plan for the ordinary people, but not for us."), but it was at least a quick read. I had some amount of fun trying to figure out which of the characters was the Mary Sue/Gary Stu: the dimension-hopping, motorcycle riding Traveler? one of the Highlander-wannabe Harlequins? I'm going with option A, since it was obvious from his introduction that sooner or later the icy yet beautiful multiethnic lady Harlequin would fall in love with him, with much angst to follow.

(P.S. There's even a sellout brother! Are we sure Kaczynski's quit writing?)

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A foolish inconsistency

You know, stories like this make me really angry for the obvious reason. But they also infuriate me because the pharmacists are dumb. They object to emergency contraception because it can prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg, but so can regular birth control pills (because they are the same thing, people). Are these self righteous types also refusing to fill hundreds of prescriptions for regular BCPs? If not, why not?

BBQ Wars

Roast beef? ROAST BEEF? Them's fighting words. Barbeque is not just pork. While ignorant of the origins of the founders and defenders of Texas, Reynolds's emailer is correct that defining barbeque as solely including pork smacks of rationalization of resource deficiencies. Next thing you know they'll be saying chili has beans. Sure it does, when you can't afford meat. Peasants.

Let's talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be

Two perspectives on being a woman who writes about sex online.

I don't write about sex, mostly because I like to keep some things private, but also because I find it really troubling that the best way for a woman to get attention in the blogosphere is to be titillating. It's hard to walk a line between a frank discussion of sexual politics and realities informed by personal experience and a more confessional style that seems to bring the oglers out of the virtual woodwork, so I choose to stay firmly on the more conservative side. But that I do so out of fear of attracting the wrong kind of attention and of being slammed for my sexuality (because women can't win, as Amanda notes: someone will attack you as either frigid or slutty) is itself shameful.

Monday, October 24, 2005

50 Book Challenge #57: Player of Games

Iain Banks, author of freaky modern fiction, has an alter ego, Iain M. Banks, who writes SF. Most of these are set in a universe that includes the Culture, a propertyless paradise of genetically modified humanoids and artificially intelligent machines. I read one of his other Culture novels earlier this year and was underwhelmed, but multiple people recommended another one, Player of Games. Since much of the action takes place on a hierarchical, propertied world that has more in common with contemporary culture than does the Culture, it's a more nuanced display of the differences Banks is trying to emphasize between the systems.

Nutshell: Gurgeh (which I always read as Gurgle; not as bad as the city of Tai-Tastykake, but still unfortunate) is a professional gamer offered the chance by the Culture to travel to the Empire of Azad to take part in their massive Azad tournament. The game determines everything for them, including the identity of their emperor, and is itself a reflection of their society and its values. Gurgeh's simple mission grows complicated as he becomes immersed in the game and the culture of Azad, which is diametrically opposed to the Culture in every possible way. In a LeGuin-like twist, Azad has three sexes, with males and females both oppressed by apexes, the intermediary sex.

This was a decent bit of SF: less depressing than Consider Phlebas, and less predictable than Look to Windward. The moralizing gets a bit heavy-handed at times, and the ethical choices made by the Culture are only elliptically explored, but all in all it was a worthy outing.

"Dirt and migrating and more dirt."

Were you underwhelmed by some of the books on Time's list of the 100 Best Novels Since 1928? Well, these folks were too.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Cheese for Amber

I am less fond of extremely stinky cheeses than the top-billed star of Aardman's latest feature, but not by much. The movie, for those of you who haven't seen it, was five years in the making and stars everyone's favorite clay couple, Wallace and Gromit. If you're already a fan of their short films from the 1990s, that's all I really need to say; if your most recent encounter with claymation was the California Raisins, get ye to Netflix and rent the backlist.

(Besides Gromit and Brain from Inspector Gadget, are there any other superintelligent yet non-English speaking dogs in television or film?)

SoCal Friends of Amber, take note

I will be in San Diego for an interview next month, arriving Wednesday, November 9th around 7:30pm and leaving Friday morning.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The trials and tribulations of the solo chef

The bad part about living alone is that all the recipes make more food than you can eat. I have a special "Cooking for Single People" book, but it is pretty slim. This really dampens my motivation to make food, since I feel like I need to not just be in the mood for something now but also want to eat it one or two more times before I make it.

All this is just to say that I made some very tasty Cretan fried pastries with honey, but the other half of them are sitting sadly in a Tupperware container because, hello, how did I think I was going to eat eight of them? And that was after cutting the recipe in quarters.

Friday, October 21, 2005

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

Can I get a reset button for the last 24 hours or so? Gott in himmel.

Unrelatedly, I have given up on Angel but am up to Season 5 in Buffy. Does it get good again? All this Initiative stuff was sort of boring (and Riley = blah).

You can't pick your friend's nose . . .

It's hard to sift through the noise to get to the meat of the issue, but this Metatalk thread asks an important question: to what extent may we be judged by the company we keep? Is it bad to have racist friends? Is it okay as long as you try to persuade them to change? Are values not what form the basis for friendship at all, and making judgments about a person because they chum around with people who act bigoted is "priggish" and "self righteous"?

I'm more of a values person, and frankly I was shocked that so many people would advocate keeping friends who openly use racist language or manifest prejudice. There are some things that are intolerable in polite society, and being an open bigot is one of them.

Am I just an insufferable priss?

Friday Text-Only Cat Blog

Things my cats have caused to mysteriously disappear:
  • One furry cat toy, one mini-tennis ball, and one large plastic heart filled with catnip
  • Two contact lenses cases, minus lenses
(it's only a one bedroom apartment; where is this stuff?)

Things my cats have destroyed:
  • Two makeup sponges
  • Packet of Kleenex
  • Half roll of toilet paper
  • One pillow
  • One cardboard kitty carrier
Things they are working on:
  • The miniblinds
  • The fringe on my wool carpet
  • Upholstery
  • My sanity (Lily is part Siamese, but she is only vocal at 6am. Snape has decided to go fishing in the toilet bowl. They have both also decided that my hair is for eating.)

Thursday, October 20, 2005

She said I gave my heart too soon/and that's how I became your mother

I've found Maggie Gallagher's guest blogging stint on the Volokh Conspiracy mostly boring, with a generous side of depressing and a dash of infuriating (as someone who doesn't want to procreate, I find Gallagher's theory that real marriage is all about the baby-making rather offensive). Many people have speculated on Gallagher's real motives. I found this passage from one of her brief excursions into the comments sections illuminating:
But aside from the social science evidence on family structure one quesiton I have for you is this:

My eldest son's father abandoned me and his son. We were never maried. He never wanted to have children, he wanted to have sex and companionship.

What was wrong with what he did, if anything?

He didn't violate any vow or contract. He never asked to have a baby.

By what standards do we htink fathers are responsible for the children they make, if we don't think procreation and biology matter?
Wow. Just wow. We need an analyst in here, stat.


I first saw this Washington Post article via the Corner (hush, I need to get my Miers news!). Ampersand has a very thoughtful response to it. For this pro-choicer, it seems like a very easy decision to make; if we contend that a woman should not be condemned for choosing to abort if she couldn't handle having a non-disabled child, why should the calculus change when we know that the child is disabled? Surely we don't have more of a duty to carry disabled children to term than we do non-disabled children?

Speaking of abortion, here are some links to organizations that provide financial assistance for poor women who want abortions in Texas.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

50 Book Challenge #56: The Wasp Factory

The Wasp Factory is probably the most detailed literary window into murderous madness I've peered into. The narrator, Frank Cauldhame, admits to having killed two cousins and a brother but claims that he doesn't intend to kill again, as "[i]t was just a stage [he] was going through."

Banks has created a parallel world for sixteen-year-old Frank and his father, Angus; they live on an island, which Frank protects with talismans and divinatory magics he has fashioned out of animals and insects he's killed. Frank's was an unregistered birth, and he was gruesomely injured at a young age, so he only interacts with the outside world when he heads down to the pub for drinks with his only friend, a dwarf. The rest of the time, Frank patrols the island with a satchel full of pipe bombs and dead animal heads. Frank is unsettled by the prospective return of his brother, Eric, who is as mad as Frank but in a more dramatic way (he was institutionalized after burning the village's dogs and trying to force children to eat worms). Eric has escaped and is making his way back to the island, leaving a trail of burnt dogs in his wake.

Frank is deeply introspective, but while he is able to recognize both his brother's and father's mental problems (Angus is obsessive-compulsive at the very least) and the social unacceptability of his murders, only at the end does he seem to obtain some meaningful self-knowledge.

[Spoilers follow; highlight to read.] When the book's final twist manifests itself, I felt a curious softening toward Frank. His previous actions suddenly seemed less of the product of an alien intelligence and more sympathetic. That the book elicited this reaction made me very uncomfortable; I can only assume that it happened because I am a woman, but it strikes me that there's something extremely problematic about suddenly becoming more forgiving of multiple homicide just because it's a fellow XX chromosome carrier who did the deed. There's something deeply at work here with regard to societal views of female killers and internalized stereotypes, and as a self identified feminist it made me feel roughly the same way most believers in racial equality feel after they take one of those implicit association tests and it tells them they're prejudiced. This sudden rush of sympathy for Frank, more than anything else in the novel, unsettled me.

I'd recommend this book to anyone who watches Silence of the Lambs because they like Hannibal Lecter.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Mi Vida Loca

From the Too Close to Home Department . . .

Animated GIF Parade

In the tradition of Boromir's Magic Phone and its amusing fellows, I offer you this. (No, I don't play World of Warcraft.)

Monday, October 17, 2005

NYC Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Moment

My own personal best WTF? moment, from when I was living in Brooklyn two years ago:

At work, I impaled myself on a toothpick sized splinter from the edge of a table in the library. I limped to a bathroom to remove the splinter and realized that last 0.3 inch of stick was stuck in my upper thigh. Attempts to remove the chunk of wood failed.

I returned to my department in panic, remembering parental admonitions that splinters left in flesh would fester and realizing that a festering wound and my planned weekend trip to D.C. were incompatible. I went to ask my boss for a first aid kit. However, she was in conference with the other prosecutor for our case and some random witness type. I burst into tears of pain and embarassment and told the head prosecutor that I would try the drug store across the street.

I went to the drugstore and looked unsuccessfully for first aid kits. Questions posed to a wandering employee were ignored. I repeated with another employee: ignored. Surrounded by people wearing drugstore aprons who refused to acknowledge my presence, I announced my general need to the room at large; this too was ignored. Finally, I approached a socializing concentration of said employees and asked if any of them worked there and where the first aid kits were. (I was giving them the benefit of the doubt and supposing that it was possible the people I asked were not on shift.) I received a curt answer and laughter as I turned to go. At this point, red-faced and with a chunk of splinter wiggling deeper into my leg, I turned back and pronounced that none of them *acted* like they worked there.

One employee then called after me to "Come back here, bitch, I'll punch you in the face an' knock you out."

At this point I walked off and finally found the first aid kits and burst into tears again. I then informed the manager of his employee's threat and described her. At this point I went to check out and realized A) the store is so poorly run that no one is at the register, B) I should not patronize establishments that employ such hooligans, and C) if I am around when the manager comes back I may have to confront a violent soon-to-be-fired woman who will almost undoubtedly attack me, and I already have enough personal care emergencies to worry about.

I walked all the way home with the splinter working its way into my leg. I spent 20 minutes at home and finally managed to CUT it out using a razor blade and a needle, as it was jabbed in at a 45 degree angle instead of just under the skin. I realized then that my bandaids were with my tweezers (which I also missed sorely, let me tell you) in the suitcase at the office that was packed for my trip to D.C. I tried to tape a ointment smeared wad of toilet paper to my leg but ran out of tape, so I tied it around my thigh with a piece of grosgrain ribbon and walked back to work.

(Yes, I realize I am a big wuss. My mother did inculcate me with a horror of splinters, though, and even the biggest wuss in New York shouldn't get punched in the face for asking for Neosporin.)

Wrong piled upon wrong

I had a friend in high school who was totally obsessed with ODB. She wanted to marry him and have his gold toothed babies. So wherever you are, Mayumi, this one's for you.

(Karl, where do you find this stuff?)

50 Book Challenge #55: On Love

A friend prescribed Alain de Botton's debut novel, On Love, as appropriate reading for the recently heartbroken. While a better title for some chapters might have been "On Limerence," de Botton does, in his sequence of numbered paragraphs and careful diagrams, break down the life cycle of a relationship in acutely perceptive ways. He coins terms for many of the incoherent thought processes incident to such attachments, including "romantic Marxism" (not wanting to be a relationship with anyone who would want to be in a relationship with you) and "romantic terrorism" (the attempts to extract what cannot be freely obtained from the beloved through sulks and guilt trips).

While de Botton's narrator is almost a caricature of immaturity and inexperience in some respects, the melodramatic last chapters may remind the reader of his own less extreme youthful excesses even if they do not inspire identification at present. His obsessive cataloguing of the myriad ways in which love makes mountains out of molehills by sheer virtue of the strength of the emotional currents involved makes for an extremely enjoyable read, and if I smiled wryly more times than I laughed out loud, that is my fault and not de Botton's. Highly recommended to anyone who has been in love or one of its close emotional relations.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Is your butt round like the letter C?

Geoffrey won't appreciate this, but some of you sickos might. It's Baby Got Back, folk singer style.

Crying at the movies

The first time I can remember crying at the movies (as opposed to hearing stories about how a young me cried like a baby at some Disney flick where the mom dies) was when we think Jack Lemmon's character dies in Grumpy Old Men.

This shames me to this day.

50 Book Challenge #51-54: Mirror Dance, Komarr, A Civil Campaign, and Diplomatic Immunity

At the urging of some of my commenters and against my own gut instincts, I checked out as many of the more recent Vorkosigan books as the Clerksville library had available. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of these books, as compared with Bujold's newest work, and am now begrudgingly willing to acknowledge that some of her more enthusiastic partisans may have a point.

The character of Mark, with his flaws, eagerness to dive into the world of entrepreneurship, and psychological complexity, was perhaps the most appealling aspect of both books in which he figured. Mirror Dance got boring whenever he was offstage; I was far more interested in what Mark was going to do than where Miles was. This is no doubt a result of my lack of previous attachment to the character and Miles fans will chide me for my cold-heartedness.

A Civil Campaign
lost some momentum when it became bogged down in Barrayaran politics instead of the delicate manueverings of people in love, but it was probably the most enjoyable of the books I read. At several points I laughed out loud, but then comedies of manners do appeal to me much more than the more modern sort.

Diplomatic Immunity definitely was the most tightly plotted of the four, although the motivations of the ba remained rather opaque, even after the neat explanation in the final chapter. And again with the babies! You know, I'd love a well written and psychologically perceptive SF or fantasy book with characters in adult relationships who don't go all hormonal and baby-crazy. Any recommendations?

Komarr was necessary, I suppose, as an introduction to Miles's love interest, but in all other respects is was underwhelming and dull. As mystery subjects go, murders and kidnappings are innately more interesting than embezzlement.

I don't plan on reading any more Bujold, but somehow I've been bullied into reading ten of her books this year alone, so saying that may just provide more incentive for people to write and suggest yet more titles that will display her subtle talent.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Internet romances are good.

Sometimes someone drops a bit of gossip and a million things that didn't really make sense fall into place. Then, just as quickly, everything crumbles into a puzzling jumble and you realize that even with this new tidbit, nothing makes sense either, but in new and exciting ways.

UPDATE: Edited to change the title. My sincerest apologies for giving offense.

Bond should be revoked.

The new Bond is hideous. He looks like someone I would begrudgingly let in my apartment to fix the wiring, not a sexy secret agent.

Whoever vetoed Clive Owen should be chastised.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Reach for a Lucky Instead of a Sweet?

This Slate article hypothesizes that America might have been better off, public health-wise, before the anti-smoking crusade of the last twenty years. I wouldn't agree with Sepkowitz that "the trail of misery, illness, and death etched by cigarettes remains unparalleled in the history of mankind," but neither am I ready to reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet.


I recently saw a preview for Domino, the new film that's based on the true story of a beautiful young British woman who becomes a bounty hunter in Los Angeles. The trailer was way too talky and revealed too much of the narrative; they really needed something energetic, with lots of quick cutting and a little mystery left intact to fascinate young women who might want to see it to figure out how a poor little rich girl ended up breaking down doors in L.A.

The NY Times profile reveals that one of the juiciest scenes in the film was fabricated:
Mr. Scott depicted one of Ms. Harvey's most dangerous exploits in the film. She, Mr. Martinez and Choco entered a room expecting to find only one person and were met by at least a dozen gang members with guns drawn. In the film Ms. Knightley gets out of the jam by offering lap dances, something Ms. Harvey did not do.
Now I understand that a Hollywood movie featuring a starlet like Ms. Knightley needs a hot scene or two, but what I really want to know is how the real Domino got out of that pickle. That would be an excellent action sequence, or at least a clever suspense bit.


My snark on the fictitious Constitution in Exile movement works its way into Pejman Yousefzadeh's latest TCS piece.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Tomay-to, Tomah-to?

I thought it was just a lazy college student phenomenon, but apparently the use of a duvet without sheets is some sort of European and British cultural oddity. I will go on record as thinking this is gross and probably energy-inefficient. The duvet is the big gun of bedding; how could you possibly sleep with only a heavy duvet year-round? Mine slowly creeps up as winter sets in; right now it keeps my feet warm, but by January I'm sure it will be pulled up to my chin. And I'll have sheets!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

I'm such a nerd . . .

. . . that when I saw this I thought it said Hari Seldon.

Note to self

Free alcohol + opinionated law clerks + recent Supreme Court precedents = Nothing good. From now on, the shop talk stays in the office.

And the associates cheered . . .

Blackberry service in the U.S. to be cut off?

I had the chance to be around a large group of young lawyers recently and too many of them were slaves to their Blackberry, even during a purported period of leisure. One said that he regularly received emails from both other firm attorneys and clients at all hours. The Blackberry allows such senders to expect a response. But attorneys aren't doctors; there's no need for us to be on call 24/7. There's especially no need for summer associates to be so tethered. Maybe being cut off from all this is exactly what young lawyers need. But will they get it? (h/t)

Monday, October 10, 2005

Dress to Impress

Got a case of the Mondays? This article on the everyday experience of wearing clothes from International Male should perk you right up (via MeFi).

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Words I Love to Hear

"Complimentary biscuits and gravy."

Too Cold

Apropos the comments here: while it may be better to be overdressed than underdressed in the formality sense, it is never good to be underdressed rather then overdressed with respect to temperature. Jackets can be removed, but the absence of a wrap will tattoo your shivering arms with the goosebumps of regret all night long.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

What is best in life?

Hottest Blogger

Super Cute (Kawaii?) Japanese Animals

Kitten War

UPDATE: I do not endorse the Hottest Blogger site, but the idea of such a site amuses me. Snape has also been added to the Kitten War site, so vote for him if you thought the picture here was cute.

I'm a Casual Chick

Why I can never live in New York again:

-Jeans are casual.
-Men in jackets = not casual.

Granted, I had trouble with the common SoCal perception that business attire includes Hawaiian shirts, but after much exposure to the other end of the spectrum I am inclined to err on the side that lets me be more comfortable.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Mixed Marriages

There's an AFF roundtable on cross-party dating in D.C. on October 12. I've already covered my views on the topic here. The attraction of opposites is for magnets, not people. Of course, it's less important to be in the same party and more important to be on the same wavelength; two relatively politically disengaged pro-choice moderates, one leaning Republican and one leaning Democrat, are more likely to make it work than two alleged Republicans who are on opposites sides of the big tent (do you think that the equivalent of a Susan Collins/Tom Coburn romance could blossom?).

It's your birthday, but the roof is on fire.

Matt Yglesias and Kim Mellen try to trace the roots of two common rap music refrains. I can testify that both (and the variant about the roach on the wall) were prevalent in Houston, Texas circa 1992. Ah, middle school dances.

What the hell, NY Times?

As the former author of a law student blog, let me say: this law student blog sucks. There are so many well established, entertaining, informative law student blogs out there; why did the NY Times pick that one?

(Just to be shallow, there are also plenty of law student blogs with very photogenic authors. Then again, maybe the nerdiness of the author was played up by those mean old Times photographers.)

Looking for love in all the wrong law firms

If you felt some connection to the author of this postcard, the latest cautionary tale over at Opinionistas may also serve to discourage you from jumping with both feet into the whirlwind of law firm recruitment.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

More poetry

Apparently it's International Poetry Day. Here's some Emily Dickinson for you:

We grow accustomed to the Dark --
When light is put away --
As when the Neighbor holds the Lamp
To witness her Goodbye --

A Moment -- We uncertain step
For newness of the night --
Then -- fit our Vision to the Dark --
And meet the Road -- erect --

And so of larger -- Darkness --
Those Evenings of the Brain --
When not a Moon disclose a sign --
Or Star -- come out -- within --

The Bravest -- grope a little --
And sometimes hit a Tree
Directly in the Forehead --
But as they learn to see --

Either the Darkness alters --
Or something in the sight
Adjusts itself to Midnight --
And Life steps almost straight.

Law Abiding Libertarians

Jason Kuznicki has a great post on the politics of junk. To say it's about the vulnerability of the underground economy and overweening government regulation is to make it sound grandiose, but do read it. This part resonated with me, a fellow law-abiding libertarian:
"It's a paradox of my own life, for instance, that my excessive respect for and deference to authority has made me a thoroughgoing libertarian. When I am told to do something, I obey. When I am criticized, I accept. When I am presented with a law or a regulation or a rule, I comply almost to the verge of autism."
"If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary."


Andrew Sullivan will be speaking tonight at CMC's Athenaeum. Speeches there are generally open to the public, so L.A. area readers might be able to attend.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Another Random Roundup

Will Wilkinson on obligations and freedom.

Unauthorized reproduction to become a Class B misdemeanor in Indiana? (More here, with less anger.)

Mauritanian girls are force fed camel's milk and porridge to become beautiful. Fast food would be so much more efficient and not involve beatings.

Seen around Clerksville: a 30 year old woman, wearing a t-shirt with "I'm Easy" printed across the front, getting out of Dodge Neon with the vanity plate "DUGSGRL" and a bumper sticker proclaiming her "Bubba's Wife."

The publicity campaign for Aeon Flux, starring Academy Award winner Charlize Theron, has begun.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Hot or not?

Actually, the question is more, "buy an impractical but pretty dress or not?" The more virtuous choice. As soon as they have my size in stock, I am buying these.

If this is you, run.

I knew too many people in law school who could have been the author of this Postsecret postcard:

Monday, October 03, 2005

My kingdom for some Photoshop

I didn't know it was possible to photograph the lovely Jessica Alba so she looks like a potbellied famine victim, but somehow someone has not only done so but has used said photo as part of the PR campaign for Alba's new movie. Ouch.

UPDATE: For comparison.

Too Hot

When I adopted Lily from the Clerksville Animal Shelter, they sent her to the vet to be spayed before I could take her home. Unfortunately, she was sickly and they sent her home without surgery with instructions to return in four weeks. Well, it's been four weeks. In the meantime, however, Miss Lily has gone completely buck wild. Cats in heat are no fun, what with the continual sexual harassment of the other cat, escape attempts, and interminable howling. Of course all this started Friday evening, after the vet's office closed. She has an appointment to be rendered barren tomorrow and it cannot come soon enough.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Fun with referral logs

I check my referral logs fairly regularly. There are certain things I've put on the blog that a lot of people search for, like the transcript of Jay Mohr's imitation of Christopher Walken talking about wanting a tail or Robert Graves's The Naked and the Nude (that one is usually coupled with "analysis" or similar terms that make me think students are looking for help).

Recently, though, I discovered that this site is the number four Google result for "prettier." That's sort of flattering. Strangely, it is also the number two Google result for "NAMBLA is bad." I blame Hadley Arkes.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Less Rapunzel, More Tinkerbell

My hair was long, lank, and boring, so I went to the salon early this morning and let them chop a bunch of it off. I like the result; it's very sassy. No more council house facelifts for me.


I just saw Serenity, which was everything Star Wars should have been but wasn't due to George Lucas being a political ninny who can't write his way out of a paper bag. Julian Sanchez has an excellent review that draws out the philosophical themes of the series and film. I plan to see it at least once more before I finalize an opinion, but for now I am still on monosyllables like "whee!". Some brief thoughts (highlight to read; spoilers below):

-No men with blue sticks of death!
-Kaylee got skinny for the movie. I adamantly disapprove. She was far cuter with a rounder face.
-If the gamble pays off and Universal lets Whedon make more of these, he's going to have to work hard to rebuild the level of character interaction and sexual tension.
-The death of Shepherd Book mostly upset me because now we'll never learn the secrets of his shadowy past. But Wash's death genuinely shocked me. He had a special place in my heart based on our first glimpse of him playing with the dinosaurs.
-The directing was iffy in places, mostly in terms of how the actors were shot in closeup. The battle scenes were better.

All that aside, this is the best SF movie to come out in years and you should see it even if you weren't a Firefly fan. My newbie companion's reaction was, "wow!" My unspoken reaction was "more, please!" Go, go, go.