February 21, 2017

Tonight's sunset.


Once again, I saw the color from my northern window, grabbed the camera and went out front for the western viewpoint... and crouched in the middle of the street to include the reflections on the street.

Milo speaks, embracing victimhood, seriousness.

Profligate De Blasio.

From "The Second Avenue Subway Is Here!/THE SECOND AVENUE SUBWAY IS HERE!/The début of New York’s newest train line took place at noon on New Year’s Day—ninety-seven years after it was first conceived" (in The New Yorker):
De Blasio, for his part, downplayed the advent of the new subway, even though its northern terminus is three blocks from Gracie Mansion, the Mayor’s residence. Technically, the state runs the subways, so his deferral to Cuomo makes sense in terms of structure, if not exposure. The Mayor has so far declined to work the Q into his commute to City Hall. This is in large part because he chooses to travel most mornings by chauffeured S.U.V., under police escort, from the Upper East Side to the Y.M.C.A. in his old neighborhood of Park Slope, Brooklyn, in order to work out. Afterward, he is driven back across the East River to City Hall. His exercise regimen is reportedly a half hour on a stationary bike. The geographical illogic smarts. He might as well make a side trip to Staten Island for an egg-and-cheese.

"The first time I took LSD was in 1969, when I was seventeen.... The older people were drinking, and three or four of us teen-agers were tripping."

"For what I recall as a long time, I stood in front of a closet door by a washing machine. In the door’s grain I saw, to my astonishment, the span of history, as if on a scroll that was unwinding. I’d bring people to stand in front of the door with me, and I’d point out Jesus, and Charlemagne, and soldiers with lances riding elephants, and I’d say, 'See!'... Very few songs influenced by a drug reproduce the sensation of taking the drug, but 'She Said She Said' comes close. It’s a solemn song, and seems to coil snakelike in on itself... 'She Said She Said' is a witness song. A piece of theatre. You’re listening to an argument, a dialectic. 'I know what it’s like,' one character says. 'No, no, no, you’re wrong,' the other says.... I would listen over and over to the song while looking at the cover.*... Somewhere in the psyche is everything we can imagine. Cities we have never visited, characters, landscapes, circumstances that will appear in dreams, all brought into being by some agency we don’t fully understand and can’t summon easily in waking life. Alone in my room, 'She Said She Said' seemed to me like a bulletin from the other side of the fence** (even though I didn’t yet know there was a fence), and it still does."

From "My Obsession with a Beatles Song" by Alec Wilkinson (in The New Yorker).


* The "Revolver" cover is one of the 6 framed album covers on the living room wall at Meadhouse.

** That bit about he fence made me think about this video I saw on Facebook today:

It made me think: Something there is that doesn't love a fence....

At the Staircase Café...


... find some higher ground.


Or... you can shop, using The Althouse Amazon Portal (if you want to encourage me to keep up this 13-years-and-going project).

"This Abstract Image Test Will Determine Your Dominant Personality Trait."

Kind of cool.

I got: Wisdom.

"This tour [of the National Museum of African American History and Culture] was a meaningful reminder of why we have to fight bigotry, intolerance and hatred in all of its very ugly forms."

"The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible and are a painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil."

AND: "Such an odd way of speaking, not just the announcement of a fact in the future (that is outside of his control and unlikely) — 'It's going to stop' — but putting the future before the present — not 'It has to stop and it's going to stop,' but the other way around."

"The media is in a trance. They are concentrating on seeing 'Trump the idiot' or 'Trump the liar'..."

"... and no one sees the dancing bear."

AND: Here's Scott Adams discussing what's up with Donald Trump and the Sweden comments (and using some software I'm interested in getting and using something like this):

ADDED: There's a problem with the media, granted. I am looking at that. But there's also a problem with Trump that I see in "you look at what's happening last night in Sweden." I understand the explanation. He meant that if you looked at TV the previous night, you could have seen a segment on Tucker Carlson that was about Sweden. That eliminates the confusion caused by his slightly screwy language that had lots of people wondering about something that supposedly had just happened in Sweden. But it does show a problem with Trump that's worse than his somewhat word-salad-y approach to speaking. It shows how TV-oriented he is.

Trump did not instinctively, easily notice that he needed to say I saw a TV show about something last night. He comes across as having the delusion that when you look at the TV, you're looking through a window onto the world. I'm not saying he actually has that delusion, but he naturally falls into figurative speech and would say — un-self-consciously — I'm seeing X when he's only watching X on TV. And I am worried that he's not keeping reality securely separate from what is seen on TV. (Remember when Trump said that he "watched... thousands and thousands of people... cheering" in Jersey City as the WTC fell?)

Trump criticizes the media as fake and distorting, but then he seems to be the guy staring at the screen to see what's going on in the world. Notice how often he uses phrases like "you look at what's happening." I can't look at what's happening outside of my immediate surroundings. I have to watch TV, which I wish were more precise and fact-based. But I maintain my awareness that I'm getting these words and pictures through a filter. Does Trump not maintain his awareness? Is he just choosing the filter he likes and staring inanely through Tucker Carlson's window?!

BUT: What if Trump's TV is some freaky Twilight-Zone thing and he can see the future?
Just two days after President Trump provoked widespread consternation by seeming to imply, incorrectly, that immigrants had perpetrated a recent spate of violence in Sweden, riots broke out in a predominantly immigrant neighborhood in the northern suburbs of Sweden's capital, Stockholm....

"Rambling and long-winded anecdotes could be an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease..."

"... according to research that suggests subtle changes in speech style occur years before the more serious mental decline takes hold."
“Ronald Reagan started to have a decline in the number of unique words with repetitions of statements over time,” [said Janet Cohen Sherman, clinical director of the Psychology Assessment Center at Massachusetts General Hospital]. “[He] started using more fillers, more empty phrases, like ‘thing’ or ‘something’ or things like ‘basically’ or ‘actually’ or ‘well’.”

Worsening “mental imprecision” was the key, rather than people simply being verbose, however. “Many individuals may be long-winded, that’s not a concern,” said Sherman.
What about a blog that rambles on for 13 years?
Sherman and colleagues had initially set out to test the “regression hypothesis”, the idea that language is lost in a reverse trajectory to how it was acquired during childhood, with sophisticated vocabulary being the first thing to go.
I wonder what would happen if the words of this blog were analyzed in a computer — the growing/shrinking/stable vocabulary, the frequency of repetition, the drift to or from imprecision. You'd first have to extract all the quoted material....

As I said 4 years ago — oh, no, I'm repeating myself — if I got Alzheimer's, I'd blog right through it, like the man in this Washington Post article. Ah! Now, I'm looking to see whatever happened to this man — he's a retired doctor named David Hilfiker — and I see he published this a year ago:
I stopped writing this blog in October 2014 because I'd discovered that I did not, in fact, have Alzheimer’s disease.... Cognitively I've been stable now for almost two years and over the past six months certain abilities have actually improved: I'm able to concentrate a bit more, and I don't get confused as much as I did.  I still have significant deficits in memory, in word-finding, in organizing my thoughts, in multi-step cognitive processing, and in certain kinds of computation.  Aside from my memory decline and my difficulty word-finding, however, most people don't recognize anything wrong or they think that it's just a result of aging.  I believe it has to be more than aging, but whether it is or not is no longer important to me....

ADDED: Maybe the blogging cured him. The blog was titled "Watching the Lights Go Out." Maybe the real/secret title is Keep Turning Lights On.

"Because of a recent copyright dispute, Bulgarian National Radio, the public broadcaster for the country, has been limited to airing music recorded before 1946."

"And... [t]he station had a 20 percent increase in listenership in January, the first month in which the change was in effect, over December’s numbers...."
“We had some concerns but people keep calling to tell us that they really enjoy the music,” said Nikoleta Elenkova, Bulgarian National Radio’s spokeswoman.
Musicautor — which controls the distribution rights for "millions of Bulgarian and foreign songs" — had raised its fees from $271,000 to $978,000 and got its bluff called.

What if you had to forgo everything copyrighted and were limited to what's in the public domain? It's hard to limit yourself, but what if it were forced on you? After a month on that diet, you might think this is great.

"Cassidy’s revelation follows a roller coaster of personal ups and downs that the actor has faced in the past decade..."

"... including a show in Agoura Hills, California, this past weekend where Cassidy repeatedly struggled to remember lyrics to songs he had been singing for nearly 50 years."

David Cassidy — one of the classic teen idols — has Alzheimer's disease dementia.

"Have you ever woke up with your lips stuck together? It didn’t hurt and it was kinda fun."

"All you had to do was to wet your lips from the inside with saliva and they became unstuck. This is the principle behind Mensez...."

Milo needs to solve his own problems, but...

... to be fair, let's look at all the pedophilia talk that public figures have survived. I'll offer up Madonna:

Madonna jokes about asking her son (who was 14 at the time): "Do you have any friends you could introduce me to?"

That was easy for me to find because I blogged it at the time and I have a tag for pedophilia.

What should Milo do now? These Drudge screenshots suggest an answer. Yesterday:


I don't know how far Milo had gotten into writing an actual book. It seems to me that he was preoccupied with promoting an unwritten book and that the sensible way to cause the promised book to come into existence would be for someone else to cut and paste from transcripts of his many spoken-word performances and edited them into something as readable and amusing as possible.

But the life of Milo has taken a darker turn. This is a new and rich source of material. If the man is any good and worth listening to at all, he needs to sit down and write, really write — not just an object that can be sold as a book, but something true and worthy. Work through all of your experience, who you are and why you are here.

IN THE COMMENTS: MayBee brings up "The Vagina Monologues," and that got me looking back in my archive. I found this post from October 2006, just before the midterm election that was harshly affected by the Mark Foley scandal. David Brooks had written a column criticizing liberals for their celebration of "The Vagina Monologues," which includes one story of a woman who (like Milo Yiannopoulos) had as a young teenager been initiated into sex by an adult and who spoke of the experience in an excitedly positive tone. Brooks wrote:
This is a tale of two predators. The first is a congressman who befriended teenage pages. He sent them cajoling instant messages asking them to describe their sexual habits, so he could get his jollies.

The second is a secretary, who invited a 13-year-old girl from her neighborhood into her car and kissed her. Then she invited the girl up to her apartment, gave her some vodka, took off her underwear and gave her a satin teddy to wear.

Then she had sex with the girl, which was interrupted when the girl’s mother called. Then she made the girl masturbate in front of her and taught her some new techniques.

The first predator, of course, is Mark Foley, the Florida congressman. The second predator is a character in Eve Ensler’s play, “The Vagina Monologues."

Foley is now universally reviled. But the Ensler play, which depicts the secretary’s affair with the 13-year-old as a glorious awakening, is revered. In the original version of the play, the under-age girl declares, “I say, if it was a rape, it was a good rape, then, a rape that turned my [vagina] into a kind of heaven.” When I saw Ensler perform the play several years ago in New York, everyone roared in approval. Ensler has since changed the girl’s age to 16 — the age of Foley’s pages — and audiences still embrace the play and that scene at colleges and in theaters around the world.

February 20, 2017

At the Tiny House Café...


... you can talk about whatever you want.

(And think about doing your shopping through The Althouse Amazon Portal. If you like nice dollhouses, you might like this bungalow. Or for big within the category of smallness, there this mansion.)

Is this the downfall of Milo?

"Milo Yiannopoulos Disinvited From CPAC Over Pedophilia Commentary."

Milo's defense of himself is included at that link:
I am a gay man, and a child abuse victim.

I would like to restate my utter disgust at adults who sexually abuse minors. I am horrified by pedophilia and I have devoted large portions of my career as a journalist to exposing child abusers. I've outed three of them, in fact -- three more than most of my critics. And I've repeatedly expressed disgust at pedophilia in my feature and opinion writing. My professional record is very clear.

But I do understand that these videos, even though some of them are edited deceptively, paint a different picture....

"Liberals may feel energized by a surge in political activism, and a unified stance against a president they see as irresponsible and even dangerous."

"But that momentum is provoking an equal and opposite reaction on the right. In recent interviews, conservative voters said they felt assaulted by what they said was a kind of moral Bolshevism — the belief that the liberal vision for the country was the only right one. Disagreeing meant being publicly shamed. Protests and righteous indignation on social media and in Hollywood may seem to liberals to be about policy and persuasion. But moderate conservatives say they are having the opposite effect, chipping away at their middle ground and pushing them closer to Mr. Trump."

From a NYT op-ed by Sabrina Tavernise titled "Are Liberals Helping Trump?"

I'll just answer from my personal perspective (about how it affects me): Yes.

"But the appearance of the name of Felix Sater in this new article in the Times is one of the biggest shoes I've seen drop on the Trump story in some time."

Okay, you can go over here if you want to know what Josh Marshall is so exercised about. And here for the underlying NYT article, "A Back-Channel Plan for Ukraine and Russia, Courtesy of Trump Associates."

I just want to talk about the mangled cliché "one of the biggest shoes I've seen drop" — because we had so much fun 3 days ago talking about "he is a bull looking for a china shop" (a NY Post description of Donald Trump). I'd said if you'd just avoid clichés, you'd escape the danger of screwing them up. The phrase is "a bull in a china shop," not "bull looking for a china shop" and:
Bulls aren't hot to relocate to china shops! They're not on a mission to break china. They just would break a lot of china if they ever were in a china shop, which never happens.
I enjoyed the conversation in the comments, especially the pointer to the episode of "Mythbusters" where they showed that a bull in a china shop would not break a lot of china but would actually move about with agility and avoid hitting anything:

And here's a follow-up I found on my own:

So, I love stuff like that. It's overriding my Russia paranoia right now. I want to talk about Josh Marshall's phrase "one of the biggest shoes I've seen drop." Shoes of different sizes don't randomly drop. The shoe cliché is about 2 shoes of the same size — a pair of shoes — where one has already dropped so you are waiting for the other shoe to drop.

The idea isn't that shoes are important news and here comes another shoe and wow this one is really big. It's just predictability. Where one shoe has dropped, you know there is a second shoe:
A common experience of tenement living in apartment-style housing in New York City, and other large cities, during the manufacturing boom of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Apartments were built, similar in design, with the bedrooms located directly above and underneath one another. Thus, it was normal to hear a neighbor removing their shoes in the apartment above. As one shoe made a sound hitting the floor, the expectation for the other shoe to make a similar disturbance was created.
You never see these shoes. You only hear them. That's why waiting for the other shoe to drop involves distinct anticipation: You're not seeing the person unlace the shoe and reach the point where he will drop the shoe. You know he will, but you don't know exactly when, not until you hear the shoe hit the floor. And that goes to show just how badly Josh Marshall mangled the cliché when he wrote "one of the biggest shoes I've seen drop."*

You shouldn't be using clichés anyway, so why expose yourself to the lampooning you're going to get here at Althouse if you get them wrong?


* And I don't even want to talk about Marshall's image of shoe dropping on the Trump story. The shoe-dropping cliché is about the need to endure the sound of the shoe hitting the floor. The floor isn't hurt or changed in any significant way by the shoe.

Welcome back, your dreams were your ticket out/Welcome back, to that same old place that you laughed about...

From "Liberals Are Still Angry, but Merrick Garland Has Reached Acceptance" (in the NYT):
After the election, the judge took a little time off, friends said... And on Jan. 30, two colleagues on the appeals court, Judges David S. Tatel and Laurence H. Silberman, hosted a more formal affair at the Metropolitan Club here.

“It was kind of, ‘Welcome back, Garland,’” Judge Tatel said. “‘Would we have been happy to see you on another court? Yes, but we’re glad you’re back.’”

Judge Tatel added, “He’s fully engaged and he’s back to being an extremely good chief judge.”...

“He did everything right — he never said a cross word, he never made a joke about it, he never politicized it,” said Tali Farhadian Weinstein, a former Garland clerk.....
In case you need to sing the post title: here.

As for the NYT article title... it's those insidious 5 stages of grief again. I don't for one minute believe that Merrick Garland had to process the experience like that, and remaining where you've been all along is not like dying. Getting an opportunity and then having it not pan out is a big experience in life, but I think anyone sensible enough to get a Supreme Court nomination isn't going to get so high on hope that he needs 5 stages to work through dashed hope. I'm sure Garland knew all along it was a game that he'd probably lose. He had the honor and distinction of being chosen, and I'm sure he accepted the nomination with the knowledge that he was being cast in a tragic role in some political theater.
“The character he showed through the whole process proves how qualified he was for the job,” [Tali Farhadian Weinstein] added, “and it adds to the tragedy that he didn’t get it.”

"From retirement communities to nursing homes, older Americans are increasingly turning to marijuana for relief from aches and pains."

"Many have embraced it as an alternative to powerful drugs like morphine, saying that marijuana is less addictive, with fewer side effects...."
“If residents are taking it, they are taking it undercover without the staff knowing so it’s not part of their care plan,” said Dr. Cheryl Phillips, senior vice president for public policy and health services for LeadingAge, an industry group representing more than 2,000 nursing homes. “I think that creates a safety problem.”

Fred Miles, a Colorado lawyer who represents nursing home operators, said nursing homes — unlike assisted living facilities — were regulated by the federal government, and were fearful of jeopardizing their Medicare and Medicaid funding....
The linked article (in the NYT) stresses access for pain avoidance and begins and ends with assurances that nobody is getting any affirmative pleasure. The piece begins with a 98-year-old woman who says "I don’t feel high or stoned... All I know is I feel better when I take this." And it ends with an 80-year-old woman who says "It’s got a stigma.... People don’t really believe you’re not really getting high if you take it."

Notice how she takes it for granted that there should be a stigma on getting high. She (and the NYT) want to assure you that the marijuana users used to tug our hearts are not only not using marijuana for the purpose of getting high, they are not even getting high at all.

It's interesting to me that the argument for legalization is so firmly based on puritanism ("the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy").

"Yes, nothing says female empowerment like a bunch of androgynous models dressed like homeless people."

"This displays the same cognitive dissonance as all the 'feminist' fashion shows featuring models in burqas and niqabs. It's like listening to a joke whose punchline never comes."

That's the second-highest-rated comment on a WaPo piece by Robin Givhan titled "After the Women’s March, designers try to bring their new woke energy to the runway." (The highest-rated comment is a complaint against the use of "slang" (presumably, "woke").

Another good comment is:
Hilarious - the "fashion" industry emphasizes treating women daily as objects to be ogled with ever skimpier clothing and NOW they are concerned about women's rights? Where was this concern when they were objectifying women all these years?