Archive for September, 2007

Wanna shop for blisters?

September 30, 2007

Looking up “cold sores” tonight I found this very helpful pop-up advertisement linked to the keyword “blisters”:


If I ever need to “compare and save” on blisters, I’ll know where to go.


More on marriage

September 30, 2007

An op-ed in the NY Times criticizes the Times’s piece on marriage that ran a few days ago. They say that, contrary to the dire note struck by that article, in reality marriages are more stable, percentagewise, than any time since 1979. (But fewer people get married, which they also note.)

I had to pause when reading this paragraph, though:

Why has the great divorce myth persisted so powerfully? Reporting on our families is a lot like reporting on the economy: statistical tales of woe provide the foundation for reform proposals. The only difference is that conservatives use these data to make the case for greater government intervention in the marriage market, while liberals use them to promote deregulation of marriage.

This seems to reverse the conventional wisdom about conservatives and liberals: namely, that conservatives favor less “government intervention”, and liberals more.

“Deregulation” in the manner meant by the op-ed writers must mean increased government involvement in the lives of many people “unmarried” in the traditional sense, since the whole push is for the state to recognize and reward their various nontraditional household arrangements. And though conservatives here are depicted as wanting “government intervention” in marriage, it seems to me that as good a case (if not better) can be made that they want to limit government intervention: if the definition of marriage is thrown wide open, all manner of legal tangles are born.

I can also see, though, how the original paragraph might make sense: conservatives want the government to intrude into our bedrooms, whereas liberals want it to leave us alone, to do as we see fit. I don’t favor that characterization of the issue, but that seems to be the essence of it.

Another NY Times chrono-bender

September 29, 2007

Just yesterday I posted about the bad writing that made it sound like folks who got married in the 1970s had somehow been married already in the 1940s.

Here’s a caption to an article on how UCLA is implementing affirmative action, even though it’s against the law:

Two decades ago, Frances Harris would have been a shoo-in for a place in U.C.L.A.’s class of 2011. But the political landscape changed, and with it her chances for admission.

Seems that two decades ago, she would have been a shoo-in for the class of 1991, not 2011. Seems also that two decades ago it’s likely that she hadn’t yet been born. Do these articles have to make it past an editor, or do the Times writers just blog their pieces to the net, like ol’ Curly does with his fluffy ranting?

Clarification to the last two posts

September 29, 2007

The concert at my church was NOT by the bagpipers and drummers whose CD I bought today. That was a few blocks away at a pub, at 6 p.m. I left there at 7:40 for the 8 p.m. concert at my church, which was incredible sacred music written in 1610. Good night for music.

How old is Curly?

September 29, 2007

Went to a concert tonight at my church. Shortly after settling down in the pew, a woman next to me began the following conversation:

Woman: I’m sorry; this is extremely impolitic of me, but how old are you?

Curly: 35. Why do you ask?

Woman: It’s just that my family and I were asking each other, how old do you think that guy is? I said 22, she said 40 . . . we should have put money on it.

Curly: Yes, but of course I would receive a cut of any winnings.

Woman: Of course. (Or something like that.)

At the intermission I told her it would be fun if I guessed all their ages. The first woman I pinpointed as 65 years old. The second I guessed 58, but she just turned 60. I was way off on the man: guessed 69, but he was 79. And my main interlocutor was 57, though I guessed 50. I was actually going to guess 56, but figured I should err on the low side. It worked: she told me to go tell everyone she was 50.

My neighbors love me

September 29, 2007

I just got a CD of bagpipes and drums.

All the way up, 24/7, friends!

From around the net . . .

September 28, 2007’s picture gallery of “Miniature monuments engineering masterpieces” (is there a word missing here?) gives us a replica of St. Peter’s Square and Basilica in Rome, and adds:

If Pope Benedict XVI would let MTV into the private papal residence, it’d make a pretty great episode of Cribs.

All I’ve ever seen of Cribs is of rappers and rockers, and their pads usually have a pretty significant “fun factor”—home video game arcades, basketball courts, hot cars, lots of plasma slabs. Would the Vatican fit into this mold, and please the MTV demographic?

Here’s a crazy sentence in need of rewriting, from the NY Times (“25th Anniversary Mark Elusive for Many Couples“):

For the first time at least since World War II, women and men who married in the late 1970s had a less than even chance of still being married 25 years later.

It seems to imply that we have data on 1970s marriages that dates back to the 1940s. Whaaa??

Finally, an interesting piece on the new trend of men hiring photographers to secretly capture the moment of their wedding proposal.

“Initially wedding photojournalism was an aesthetic choice by photographers like me because it emphasized the story of the wedding,” said Terry deRoy Gruber, a New York photographer who shot the wedding of Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, among others. “But as time has gone on, with the proliferation of the paparazzi, reality television and online autobiography all kind of cooked together, people almost feel it’s really the only way to document something. Proposal photographs represent the absolute beginning of the marriage story, and for some groom who is influenced by these other forces, this is sort of an obligatory scene to record.”

Ahmadinejad at Columbia

September 26, 2007

Are you all following this story? The nutcake president of Iran was invited to speak on the campus of Columbia University, an invitation promoted by the nutcake president of Columbia, Lee Bollinger. Commentary on this tragically stupid move is ubiquitous online, but here is an excerpt from one of the denunciations.

Friends, please take 60 seconds to read this and let me know what you think. I agree with the point about it being unacceptable to treat genocide as a topic of legitimate debate, but am not so sure about the call to abandon Columbia. I’d think rather the goal should be to renew it by gradually injecting it with common sense, in the form of new professors and new students who are attracted to it precisely because they do not conform to the currently-prevailing views. You can still get a good education there, after all, while not agreeing with the administration’s politics (and looniness).


September 19, 2007

Stupidest bumper sticker I’ve seen in a loooong time.

A day at the water park

September 16, 2007

Spent Saturday with two friends at a water park about 50 miles south of here. On the way down we stopped at Walgreen’s and bought sunblock and a waterproof disposable camera. I hope the photos I took are viewable. I have my doubts, with a camera with a fixed focus, aperture, and shutter time.

Going to a water park is also a great way to confirm firsthand what you keep hearing in the news about obesity in America. I would say about 99% of the adults there are overweight (defined as having love-handle creases), and something approaching 50% are grossly overweight (defined as having additional love-handle creases at mid-calf). Another fun stat: about 80% of park attendees have one or more very silly tattoos adorning their flab.

I had not been to a water park since that fun day at Wild Rivers in Irvine, way back in 1991. I can’t remember even who was all there with me, but I do remember talking to Scott in the parking lot.