Archive for Almost Yogurt

Tuning forked

Some time during the last century, I was trying to create the illusion that I could play piano, and the poor woman tasked with Making It So immediately noticed that the family instrument was tuned a hair differently. “The current standard calls for the A above middle C to be tuned to 440 Hz.”

Compulsive math whiz that I was at the time, I immediately found something wrong with this, based on my devotion to C Major: should not middle C, the anchor of the entire keyboard, be a nice binary multiple like 256 Hz? Tune to A=440, and middle C becomes 261 point something, which seems inelegant. She reassured me that the Pitch Police were not on the way, and I went back to fumbling with scales.

And I didn’t think about it for at least fifty years, until an image was dropped into my Facebook timeline:

Conspiracy theory on musical tuning

I note for reference the following:

I decided to flush this from my mind with the playing of Deep Purple’s “A’ 200,” from the Burn album, but I could not find my cassette, and none of the proffered versions on YouTube would play at all.

I blame the Rothschilds.

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Louts and umlauts

This works pretty well when you think about it:

On ITFF (a group for academics on Ravelry), we got an idea rolling for a “fake” music festival, based on the band names that different people proposed “that would be a good band name.” It’s essentially a series of in-jokes, and I am so seldom “in” on “in jokes” that it pleases me to be in on this.

What pleases me even more? One of the bands I proposed (Rändöm Ümläuts — a Spinal Tap tribute band) got a plurality of votes and is therefore a “headliner.”

And we are definitely overdue for a Spinal Tap tribute band, even if they can only crank it up to 10 or even 9.5.

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No mat left unchewed

It’s the perfect Oregon pastime:

Back in August, we discovered potentially the perfect Oregon pastime: goat yoga. Basically, goat yoga is yoga except instead of with no goats, goat yoga has goats.

Those goats walk through the class, blending farm animal with asana. In August, Lainey Morse, owner of No Regrets Farm in Albany where the class takes place, told us, “My goats are very social and friendly animals and love to interact with people.”

“Animals are known to have so many health benefits for humans as well,” she added, “so the mix of goats and yoga seemed to fit.”

Oh, and this is what you wear to participate. If you want to, anyway.

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Maximizing one’s motto

Kayser, before they were Kayser-Roth, used to plug their unmentionables with the slogan “You owe it to your audience.” It was perfectly sensible for them to buy ad space in Playbill:

1935 issue of Playbill including a Kayser hosiery ad

Waiting for Lefty, which opened on this date in 1935, occupies a unique spot in the history of American theater: it was Clifford Odets’ first play to be produced, staged by the Group Theatre, and it was a hit for both Odets and the Group. The subtitle, too long for Playbill — on this page, anyway — was “A Play in Six Scenes, Based on the New York City Taxi Strike of February 1934.” The storyline:

The piece is a series of interconnected scenes depicting workers for a fictional taxi company, but inspired by an actual taxi strike. The focus alternates between the drivers’ union meeting and vignettes from the workers’ difficult and oppressed lives. Not all are taxi drivers. A young medical intern falls victim to anti-Semitism; a laboratory assistant’s job is threatened if he doesn’t comply with orders to spy on a colleague; couples are thwarted in marriage and torn apart by the hopelessness of economic conditions caused by the Depression. The climax is a defiant call for the union to strike, which brought the entire opening night audience to its feet. The play can be performed in any acting space, including union meeting halls and on the street.

And come to think of it, rather a lot of hosiery mills were struck in the 1930s.

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Approved by chowhounds

After a passel of cooking shows on the Food Network, a defense thereof:

[T]he reason I like these shows is probably the same reason a lot of people dislike or deride them: they are unrealistically ideal. The people in them seem to have fairly perfect lives — they must have a lot of money; their houses are always clean; they live near good places to buy food so they don’t have to fight the crowds at the Wal-mart and they don’t have to try to find the least-squashed-looking cauliflower in the produce section there. And you know what? I want that fantasy. I want to believe that someone out there doesn’t lead a life like mine, which feels like it’s about thirty percent making it up as I go along, twenty percent having no idea what I’m doing, and fifty percent fearful that I’m actually doing it all wrong. And I know (intellectually, again) that the people don’t have perfect lives — surely Ree Drummond and her husband argue sometimes, or their kids aren’t as sweet and cooperative as we see on the show, and Ina Garten probably gets angry at times or maybe has that one flakey friend who agrees to do something for her but never does — but emotionally, I want to believe there are people out there who don’t seem to have so many big messes in their lives.

I can’t imagine Ina Garten angry, at least not without the accompaniment of apocalyptic-looking storm clouds just above her brow.

On that Life Ratio, I figure there’s a 50-percent chance that I’m doing it all wrong, but I figure the rest of the species routinely faces basically the same unfavorable odds, which takes some (not all) of the sting out of it.

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Meanwhile in Westeros

Dick Stanley, after avoiding Game of Thrones as assiduously as I do, binged on the first season, and has come to the following conclusion:

The best thing about the series, as the fellow who wrote the introduction to the first book puts it, is the way it proves that no one in their right mind would want to live in medieval times. Even the rich then barely lived above the level of our lower middle class. Their faces are always dirty because they never bathe. The usual Hollywood incongruity of all those impeccably straight white teeth looks even more ridiculous. And instead of focusing on the sorcery, the story shows the real evil to be the people of the times. The powerless as well as the powerful.

And he finds one connection to contemporary times. (No, I won’t spoil it for you.)

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Sarah writes

In 2015, I read a novel called The Look of Love by Sarah Jio. How it unwinds:

Love, they say (for certain values of “they”), is where you find it. Jane Williams finds it in unexpected places, in an unexpected manner: something mysterious takes place in her limbic system, and she can actually somehow see it. The day she turns twenty-nine, she receives a greeting, an instruction and a warning, all rolled into a single communication: she has this gift, she is told, to enable her to identify six different types of love, which she must complete before the first full moon after her thirtieth birthday — or the consequences will be dire. Her neurologist, meanwhile, predicts a different set of dire consequences if she doesn’t have an operation on her temporal lobe, which may kill her “seeing” ability.

It was a dandy book, with an almost-satisfactory resolution — I don’t think having everything neatly tied up would have improved it any — and I looked up more Jio. I found several books, and several amazing photographs:

Sarah Jio portrait

Sarah Jio seated

Perhaps unexpectedly, she sells a heck of a lot of books in Turkey:

Sarah Jio in a Turkish paper

She does enough business there, in fact, to justify a Turkish Twitter account and this video:

This is the Turkish trailer for her third novel, Blackberry Winter:

There are eight Sarah Jio novels in print somewhere.

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Child’s Christmas in Wellsville

Small towns, even today, do Christmas a little differently than does the nearest metropolis:

To me, it seems like there’s a certain bravery (maybe that’s not the right word) in the small-town Christmas decorating. The world is going to heck — it has always been going to heck, whether it was because of the Depression or the war or unrest or a drought or the steel mill closing or layoffs at the Ford plant — and yet, those small towns still decorated. They still said there was something worth celebrating. (And perhaps, in those times when the world seemed especially to be going to heck, the celebrations were even more needed and more important). And you did what you could, even if you couldn’t have much monetary outlay — you made divinity with eggs from the farm and sugar carefully kept back from each month’s ration. Or you took down the mirror from the living room wall and turned it into a frozen pond with some cotton wool and a couple of the children’s toys. Or the city fathers dug out the previous years’ decorations and cleaned them up and made them make do.

The antithesis of Black Friday? Of course. And worthwhile precisely because that’s what it is.

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Stimulating!

Tim Curry’s one and only Billboard chart hit, reaching #91 in 1979:

No one else, I suspect, would have even attempted to work all three Sitwell siblings — Edith, Osbert and Sacheverell — into a song at all, let alone into the very first verse.

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Quote of the week

Severian reads Michel Foucault so you don’t have to, and believe me, you don’t have to:

Like every harebrained idea the ivory tower has farted out in the last half-century, Foucault’s “power / resistance” stuff is trivially true. If you have something I want, you have “power” over me — you can set the terms of the exchange. If I pay your price, I “submit.” But if the price is too high, I will search for other ways to get it — I will “resist.” Of course, all this talk of “price” and “exchange” makes the whole deal look a lot like capitalism …

… because it IS capitalism, squeezed into gimp-suit jargon. I was a bit too young for the singles’ bar scene, but this is exactly how the world’s Kate Milletts described dating back in the Disco Era: commodity exchange, and isn’t it just awful how men expect sex after shelling out a week’s paycheck on dinner and drinks? That they got this notion from a guy who’d give Andrew Sullivan’s RawMuscleGlutes a vigorous spanking tells you everything you need to know about Second-Wave Feminism, but that’s irrelevant. The point is that only a Cheeto-dusted basement dweller would read this stuff and think yes, this is a deep and meaningful way of describing human interaction. Which is why it took academia by storm.

And once you start looking at the world this way, it gets harder and harder to stop. Foucault didn’t; he went full retard, arguing that modern penitentiaries, like modern medical centers, trick us into participating in our own slavery. We don’t draw-and-quarter people anymore, says Foucault, because early modern governments so arranged the “technologies of power” that we internalize the ruling elite’s expectations for us, making gaudy public torture unnecessary.

Actually, a Presidential-election campaign meets my definition of “gaudy public torture,” and God knows it’s unnecessary.

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Get your green on

Once upon a time, I lived in an apartment complex called The Greenery. It was anything but.

Now, if Pantone calls something “Greenery,” they’re serious:

Pantone 15-0343, Greenery

[I]f you believe the team at the Pantone Color Institute, which calls itself the “global color authority,” green will be everywhere in 2017. Not just any old green, of course: Pantone 15-0343, colloquially known as greenery, which is to say a “yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring.”

That is, the Color of the Year for 2017.

Well, okay. I can deal with that. This, I’m not quite so sure about:

“We know what kind of world we are living in: one that is very stressful and very tense,” said Leatrice Eiseman, the executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. “This is the color of hopefulness, and of our connection to nature. It speaks to what we call the ‘re’ words: regenerate, refresh, revitalize, renew. Every spring we enter a new cycle and new shoots come from the ground. It is something life affirming to look forward to.”

Especially after a winter of so much discontent.

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The widest variety possible

It’s all in what you’re allowed to see:

Back in grad school, some guy sued our university, claiming that our department didn’t hire him because of his politics. The department members’ reactions were illuminating. While they of course all but admitted to not hiring the guy because he was a conservative,* the discussion quickly devolved into a bunch of leftoid moonbats reassuring other leftoid moonbats that there’s actually all kinds of political diversity in the department. And — this is the crucial point — by their lights, they were right. To any outside observer, this is a real knee-slapper, but inside the ivory tower the Marxist Feminists have real, longstanding beefs with the Feminist Marxists. The Judean People’s Front would, if given power, immediately execute all members of the Peoples Front of Judea, and academia works the same way.

About that footnote:

*the university settled out of court. Which was too bad — I for one was looking forward to forwarding the seventeen zillion daily listserv messages I was cc’d on to the prosecution. Obviously nobody briefed the dingbat grad students on things like “discovery” and “paper trails” and “plausible deniability.” There would’ve been some Trigglypuff meltdowns, believe me.

If you’re not familiar with Trigglypuff, start here. And then finish there. No sense being a damn fool about it.

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En masse

Early in the history of this site, I noted:

It is my lot in life to bear a fairly common name. Most neighborhoods can boast a Hill or two, and as Sam Goldwyn never said, every Tom, Dick and Harry is named Charles.

For a while, I linked to as many as I could, perhaps hoping I’d find one on Charles Hill Road in Orinda, California. But eventually this became more of a burden than an amusement, and I filed away the page.

Still, I wonder: how many of us 323,878,801 Americans are named Charles Hill? This is where How Many of Me came in. I have, they said, the 9th most common first name, and the 41st most common last name, from which they concluded there are 3,779 of us.

I note purely in passing that there are five Taylor Swifts, though I’m only aware of two personally.

(Via New Jersey 101.5.)

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Presumably on channel fifteen

Taylor Swift TV? It could happen. In fact, it’s going to happen:

On Monday AT&T revealed that fans of the 1989 singer will soon have a “new destination for unique and never-seen videos” with the debut of Taylor Swift Now. The new channel will play footage of live performances, music videos, behind-the-scenes videos, and more as part of the company’s DirecTV Now streaming service launch, which takes place Nov. 30.

Truth be told, I could watch her just trying on Keds for hours at a clip, but that’s insufficiently ambitious, for Swift anyway.

Taylor Swift Now will become available via DirecTV, DirecTV Now, and U-verse “later this year,” per AT&T.

Should we read that as “next month”?

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And yet they ask me

Morgan Freeberg has seen Quora, and he understands it slightly better than I do:

I think I’ve got a pretty good bead on the typical Quora respondent. In sum, these are young college-grads who feel like they’re in a class by themselves because they use the metric system. By which I mean, they want to become elitist snobs but they’re not entirely sure how yet, because they’re still prioritizing process over outcome. I can tell this by the questions as well as the answers. I see these questions scroll up like “how many monitors would a good programmer be using?” and, applying perhaps a bit more old-fashioned common sense than would be expected by the person posing the question, I come up with my own counter-question: How come you haven’t already figured it out for yourself? Try one, try two, try three, see what works…

It gets back to the plan that is scary because of what it leaves unplanned. How come everything’s got to be scripted?

I am often frustrated by the belief that if such-and-such works for A, it should therefore work for B through Z inclusive. Which, in turn, explains contemporary “diversity”: it looks exactly the same from any angle.

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Quote of the week

From a friend on Facebook (a species different from “a Facebook friend”) on the dustup when Mike Pence went to see Hamilton:

**Disclaimer: Stop reading now if you’re easily offended. Though ironically, you need to.

To see that not only was Pence booed entering, during, and exiting “Hamilton” on Broadway, but was seriously lectured to by the CAST, and the play PAUSED at certain lines because the audience had to vociferously boo him, is something I’ve personally had enough of.

I’ve personally now lost all respect for anyone who feels it’s a persons right to destroy an up to $1000 ticket performance for ALL present because you don’t agree with who attends the performance and I’ve lost all respect for anyone who agrees with this display. I cannot believe a Broadway cast actually LECTURED. I am literally stunned. And if you believe in this kind of “progressive” behavior then we truly will be seeing the start of a chaotic revolution the likes we have not seen for 240 years.

Protesting peacefully is MOST assuredly a right. I have been about as tolerant of opposing viewpoints as I can possibly be throughout this entire fiasco. But I think what’s going on now is a wonderful representation of how not getting your own way is defining our culture. This has been the most outrageous, most self-serving display of hypocrisy of those who claim to be “tolerant and accepting of all views.”

And I will STOP hiding in the shadows for fear of expressing an opinion different from The New Culture.

Note: NOT a political endorsement. It’s an endorsement for social civility.

Civility, alas, cannot exist without a certain amount of humility, and there is a shortage of humility at every point of the social compass.

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Investing a little green

The outgoing First Lady wants her vegetable garden to be preserved:

The first lady has already taken steps to preserve her fruitful green space, purchasing a stone plaque for it with the inscription, “WHITE HOUSE KITCHEN GARDEN established in 2009 by First Lady Michelle Obama with the hope of growing a healthier nation for our children.”

But she’s not stopping there — wielding the power she has over the president to ensure the Kitchen Garden is a permanent part of the White House.

“She is pressing him to pass an executive order to maintain the garden after they leave the White House,” a source told The Post.

Surely there must be some way to do this that doesn’t involve executive orders, especially with The Donald supposedly looking for executive orders to undo. Heck, I wouldn’t mind if President Trump ordered this himself; whatever the motivations of FLOTUS, this garden qualifies as some sort of historical display, and I see no good reason to tear it down.

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An unrecycled sentiment

I admit to not getting this at first:

Infiniti is famous, of course, for inscrutable advertising. Go back a couple of decades:

Then again, Brubeck speaks to us all. I had to get an explanation of that tree thing from Matt Polsky:

Eager to cash in on the warm fuzziness of the seasonal aesthetic, Infiniti has partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation to plant 35,000 new trees on behalf of drivers, and came up with a corresponding television commercial and digital campaign.

Oh. Okay.

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Not just for kids

Not that anyone of a certain age needs such a thing, but here’s a perfectly good justification of Joan Aiken’s The Wolves of Willoughby Chase:

I like a lot of these “kid’s books” because of the clear moral arc: there is good and there is evil (or perhaps, in milder books, “bad,” rather than true evil) and good wins over evil in the end because good is persistent and honest and has kind people to help it. (Simon, the goose-boy, helps Bonnie and Sylvia; there are one or two girls at the orphan’s asylum who risk severe punishment to help them, partly because Bonnie has been so kind to the other girls … and yes, there’s also that idea of “you get back what you put out into the world” — that if you are a kind and good person it eventually comes back to you). Real life isn’t so clear cut, and that’s one of the great tragedies (for me at least) of adulthood: that you can be kind and good and still not prosper, and it can look like people who break every rule in the book get ahead, and the reason I keep coming back to these “children’s chapter books” is because they give me hope that what I see as an adult is wrong, and that there WILL be a reward to being a decent person (beyond merely being able to live more comfortably with your conscience) and more importantly, the bad people thwarting those who would do good (or even who would just live their lives unmolested) will wind up paying for it in the end.

“Evil will always triumph,” said Dark Helmet, “because good is dumb.” Of course, he said this to Lone Starr, and Dark Helmet is Lone Starr’s “father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate,” or some such business.

I persist in believing that what goes around does indeed come around, though I am forced to admit that it’s not very satisfying unless you actually get to watch the revolution in progress.

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Movement out of sync

In a dark room in central Texas in early 1970, I learned two things: that I greatly admired the seemingly random movements that were being presented in those days as modern dance, and that I would never, ever be able to participate. (Yes, they brought me up on stage; no, I wasn’t any good.)

My regard for dancers has remained undiminished after all these years, and may perhaps grow as I become increasingly immobile myself. Disonante, choreographed by Ana Elena Brito, seems to speak to me specifically: every movement seems to be planned, yet many of them go utterly wrong.

Venezuelan dancer Vanessa Vargas, on her own, has recently completed Becoming invisible, of which she says:

My project stands on the notions of rootlessness and exile, which I present as the by-products of migration, not only as an internal journey, but also as a social phenomenon. My aesthetic proposal, which stands in the crossroads of dance, performance and visual art, pretends to break down the mainly urban considerations of cartography and topography on stage.

To be honest, I figured out about five-eighths of that watching her dance but before reading her description, which suggests that whatever rarefied mental space it takes to come up with an abstraction that can be made concrete in a mere ten minutes, it’s a space I probably have been to without even realizing it.

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Aw, heck, why not?

I mean, he chose the persona:

And apparently it wasn’t entirely parental pressure, either:

The Backstory: Our 5 yo daughter had no costume. We said: How about HRC? Daughter: Nope. Son: Well someone’s gotta be Hillary! @HFA #Proud

(Via Tim Blair, who says this is a contender for Saddest Thing of All Time.)

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Dinner without Drac

“Cool Ghoul” John Zacherle died Thursday at the age of 98:

Wearing ghoulish garb, Zacherle hosted horror movies on Philadelphia and New York television beginning in 1957. He likewise hosted the fondly recalled Newark-based dance show “Disc-O-Teen” in the late ’60s, and was a WNEW-FM disc jockey. From 1990 until 2015, Zacherle met fans old and new at the Chiller Theatre convention held in various New Jersey towns, chiefly Secaucus and Parsippany.

I refuse to believe that his death on 10/27 had anything to do with his having been a DJ on WNEW-FM, which historically was at 102.7.

Away from Jersey, Zacherle was probably best known for “Dinner with Drac,” ghastly limericks fit into a rock-and-roll background, a #6 pop hit in 1958:

Zacherle’s niece Bonnie, you may want to know, was the original designer of the My Little Pony line. Call it Generation 1.

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Deck chairs unmoved

This seems to sum up matters entirely too well:

The establishment is like a giant ocean liner charging ahead. It couldn’t make a drastic course change if it wanted to. It has too much mass and too much momentum, so they spend their time and energy arguing about chickenshit, swilling cocktails and snorting coke. They might go on for a long time, but if they hit an iceberg, it’s the people in steerage who are going to drown.

Which is no big deal to them, since they don’t know any of us low-priority passengers.

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Twice as decadent

A Web site that endures for twenty years is something unusual, inasmuch as the Web has been in common use for only about twenty-three. I’m not entirely sure why I’ve been on here for two decades. Then again, Warner Bros. has kept the 1996 site for Space Jam alive all these years, and no one was entirely sure why.

Maybe this is the reason:

Everybody get up, it’s time to slam now. Space Jam is returning to theaters for TWO WHOLE DAYS in honor of the film’s upcoming twentieth anniversary, brought to you by Fathom Events and Warner Brothers. You’re going to want to click that link right away to find out your nearest location and buy tickets before they sell out, because NOBODY doesn’t love Space Jam.

It gets better, slightly:

To compound on the nostalgia factor, the nationwide screenings will also be accompanied by even more Looney Tunes merriment: a rare big-screen presentation of the cartoon short, “I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat,” prior to the feature film.

If this sounds unbelievably vintage, you should know that “I Tawt…” is a mere child of five years, with Sylvester and Tweety dialogue scissored out of Mel Blanc’s 1950 single. (Granny, however, was voiced by the always-fresh June Foray, a mere 94 years old in 2011.)

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Several tongues

In retrospect, it seems so simple:

My wife is a teacher of English as a New Language (ENL). It has also been called English as a Second Language (ESL), but the NEW designation is more accurate because, for some of these students, English is their third or fourth language.

Of course.

And now I look at my less-than-polyglot self and curse, quietly; I took three different “foreign” languages in secondary school, and my fluency in any of them is arguable at best. Admittedly, this was nearly half a century ago, but I suspect I should have retained more than I actually have. Middle-school kid learning English as your third language? My hat’s definitely off to you.

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Ex-ex libris

Richard Mize, Real Estate Editor of The Oklahoman, explained in the Saturday print edition why he’s not a candidate for one of those tiny houses, and the operative word is “books”:

People say I should start with my books. Crazy people. I just laugh. They can’t be serious. If they are, they’re leisure readers, not consumers of books like me. I mean, when I’m reading seriously you can hear me. I’m serious.

Not because I read aloud, but because I argue with books — as I’m scribbling in the margins, taking issue with this point or that one, underlining parts I like and writing uncharitable remarks over parts I don’t, and running to get other books by other authors and scholars to bolster my own points.

I don’t read books. I consume them. Not even fiction gets a break. You either get that or you don’t. And there’s no way what I do with books can be done with digital “books.” They say there are comparable ways to read digital books. I hear them. That’s like saying watching football on TV is the same as being at a game.

So, books are out as candidates for possessions I could do without in order to fit my life into a tiny house. I literally own enough books to fill a tiny house.

Until they figure out a way to get my bed, my recliner, the couch, stove, side-by-side, a couple of TVs, my desk and the ratty Route 66-themed futon in the Room of Man in the cloud, I’ll be staying in my regular old not-that-tiny house, thanks.

I figure, if you think you can fit your life into the cloud, I’m going to assume you’re Rainbow Dash. (Hint: you very likely aren’t.)

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Slap some mud on the wall

First, this, because it showed up in the tweetstream last night:

Rock fans of a certain age will recognize this as the source of the chorus to Elton John’s “Crocodile Rock.” Wikipedia picks this up, but also lists:

“Putin khuilo!” (a Russian/Ukrainian football chant, as assumed by Artemy Troitsky, inspired by “Speedy Gonzales” chorus)

Typically, this phrase translates as “Putin is a dickhead”:

The slogan was originated in Ukraine in 2014 having grown from a football chant first performed by FC Metalist Kharkiv ultras in March 2014 on the onset of the Russian annexation of Crimea and military intervention in Ukraine. The phrase has become very widespread throughout Ukraine among supporters of the Ukrainian government and more generally those who do not like Russia or Vladimir Putin in both Russian-speaking and Ukrainian-speaking areas of Ukraine.

It’s also the name of a star.

To make this come full circle, here’s a mariachi version of “Putin khulio”:

Doesn’t sound that much like Pat Boone (or like Robin Ward, who sang that part on Boone’s record).

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Starting with a tee

Most of America’s problems can be solved, says Severian, by mandatory Little League:

Jack wants to be a ballplayer, but he’s got no arm and can’t hit a curve. He’s got no natural aptitude for it, and if he doesn’t figure that out on his own — some kids have a preternatural ability to endure public humiliation — his coach will eventually take him aside and explain it to him. Coach will kindly but firmly point Jack to the Model UN club. Coaches are good at that kind of thing; they get lots of practice.

Jill doesn’t want to be an engineer, but after 50 years of feminism, her mommy is convinced Jill should be one. So Jill struggles in math class. She’s got no natural aptitude for it … but wait, that can’t be right! There’s no such thing as “natural aptitude” for academics! If Jill’s no good at calculus, doesn’t get fired up by solving quadratics, and never wanted to build bridges in the first place, it’s Patriarchy keeping her down. No teacher will ever take Jill aside and explain to her that it’s ok not to be so great at math, that calculus is the mental equivalent of being able to hit a curve — it weeds out most of us — because it’s the end of that teacher’s world if she does. So she doesn’t, and … well, you know the rest.

I herewith admit that I don’t get fired up by solving quadratics. I did, however, learn to do it, because math.

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Lyft and separate

Says the guy at Lyft: “By 2025, private car ownership will all but end in major U.S. cities.”

James Lileks demurs: “That’s 9 years away. Let me just put down a marker here and say no.”

And there are perfectly understandable reasons to say no. Says the guy at Lyft:

Cities of the future must be built around people, not vehicles. They should be defined by communities and connections, not pavement and parking spots. They need common spaces where culture can thrive — and where new ideas can be shared in the very places where cars previously stood parked and empty.

Not happening, says Lileks:

Now, I’m all in favor of replacing surface parking lots downtown with housing and offices, providing they build ramps to accommodate the cars driven by private citizens. In nine years I am not going to Lyft or Uber to work, or to shopping in the evening or weekends. I will drive because I like to. The suburbs are not going to do away with the parking lots outside of malls and big-box stores, and build big apartment buildings where Culture Can Thrive. If everyone sells their cars and the streets no longer have parked cars, no one is going to drag a chair into the street and SHARE NEW IDEAS where cars “previously stood parked and empty.” There are no new ideas that are going unshared because there’s a parking lot on the edge of downtown.

Magical thinking, informed by Lyft’s need to keep the vulture capitalists happy, and reinforced by nonsense like this:

Technology has redefined entire industries around a simple reality: you no longer need to own a product to enjoy its benefits. With Netflix and streaming services, DVD ownership became obsolete. Spotify has made it unnecessary to own CDs and MP3s.

Yeah, right, says Lileks:

Until you don’t have a connection or the service goes away or the studio removes the movie.

Or, to use another example, you are inexplicably blacklisted from using the Lyft fleet for reasons they do not explain, and cannot be appealed.

Yeah, it costs me more than two grand a year to keep a motor vehicle for my own use. But that’s the point: it’s for my own use. And I resent the idea that I need to throw in my lot with the Social Arbiters for the sake of some nebulous “civic” good that mostly benefits corporations with connections.

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If it seems to fit, you must submit

Amanda has completed an item from her short-term — there’s also a long-term — bucket list:

This one was kinda scary. Last night I submitted a piece of writing to a poetry journal and I’m like, freaked. In no way, shape, or form do I believe that this piece of writing will be published. It’s not that good. But I did it because I want to start submitting more writing on a frequent basis, and the only way to do that is, well, to do it. But it does feel kind of raw to give out pieces of work to people and ask for their blessings on it. It’s like saying, “Hey! Here is a piece of my most vulnerable self! Tell me if it’s worth anything or if it’s stupid and I should never try this again!” So there’s that. I’m trying to learn how to be okay with putting my writing out there even though it feels like I’m opening up myself in a frightfully open way. This blog is helping with that some.

This is the sort of thing one has to applaud. I have always suspected that all the poets who got published on the first try this century could fit into a single elevator. I can’t possibly pass myself off as a poet, but I do know something about putting writing out there, having done it for pretty much half my life. (I was doing online stuff 11 years before I put this place online, and that was more than 20 years ago.) And even if it does occasionally feel kind of raw, it’s something you have to do now and then.

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