Let me say publicly that DonBoy’s answer exudes a combination of intuitive genius and confidence that make me think DonBoy is going to do big things in his life. -- Steven D. Levitt (Freakonomics blog)
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Blogger Complaint, Just Like Everyone Else

When composing items in Blogger, there are 2 kinds of preview, in addition to the way that the page eventually actually displays. And the two kinds of preview display the fonts and other text attributes in different ways, both of them often wrong.

Plus I don't know what the fucking fuck is with the huge blank space below above this post, as well as at the start of a couple of other archive pages. I think it has to do with large blockquoted sections, but who knows?

UPDATE: This turns out to be a known Blogger bug because of something they did to templates when they added their own image-upload feature.

Do Not Fuck with Rickie Lee Jones

Neddie Jingo:
Near the end of the gig, Rickie began to introduce a song called Tell Somebody (Repeal The Patriot Act Now). In a perfect world, were yin and yang are in perfect balance, you'd be able at a moment's notice to drop out of hippie-waif mode and into incisive-pundit mode and hurl perfectly reasoned polemic at your tormentors -- only to slip back into your customary dreaminess when you're done.
But that's not Rickie Lee Jones. Her argument from the stage, such as it was, appealed to emotion rather than logic, intuition not facts. A woman's argument. A yin argument. An argument from Yoni.
This is not at all a knock against her. I wish fervently to find in my own mind the ability to summon a "woman's argument." If more of us had "woman's argument" inside us, the world would be a safer and saner place.
Rickie Lee stood on stage and argued as an artist. That is, the reason she is so utterly spellbindingly good as a singer is that she spends all her time in Artspace, where empathy and intuition and love and irrationality are the currency, a place where linearity and causality are banished. She sees the world through those eyes. Only those eyes.
And that was the world that spoke through her mouth when she spoke of the Patriot Act.
She irritated someone in the audience with her circularity, this Washington audience, this unreliably sympathetic Washington audience.
"Sing a song!"
It's like a boot to the chest. It's like a jackboot in the face. It's like watching a leather riding boot grinding down on a butterfly. What has just entered the room and crushed its cigar out on your heart is what it's like to live in George Bush's America. It feels like an axe on your neck.
"Sing a song!"
You know what the guy's thinking, right? (Of course it's a guy.) You know what battle this mouthbreather thinks he's fighting don't you? It's this one.
It's where all interaction between humans is reduced to an economic transaction. Where every man is either a pimp or a john, and every woman a whore. Where art is utterly meaningless, because the Customer Must Be Satisfied. I paid thirty-five fuckin' bucks to watch Rickie Lee Jones sing, and I don't want to hear a bunch of crap about love and peace and the fuckin' Patriot Act! Hey, jukebox! Hey, fuckin' Song Machine! I put my nickel in, now fuckin' SING!
I too try to live in Empathy-Land with Rickie Lee, and maybe that's my problem, but I fail utterly to understand Frother assholes who profess to love music. Are they so completely dense that they don't understand that the words in the songs they claim to love and understand are identical to the words they try to forbid Rickie Lee Jones from saying between the songs?
Rickie Lee, all 5'2" of her, all dreamy-hippie-waif-gamine of her, was boiling furious.
"I stood up here for an hour and a half singing for you, and now that I want to say something, that's what I get? Get the fuck out of here!"
No one moved. No one dared.
"I'm glad you decided to stick around, but don't you ever fuckin' tell me to shut up!"
We didn't get an encore.

Monday, July 25, 2005
Yes, Google Really Is That Great (sometimes)

Google case study: in commenting on a thread at Pandagon about would-be-Justice Roberts' possible duty to recuse himself if certain cases came before the Supreme Court, I remembered that Judge Ito, in the OJ case, was married to a Captain in the LAPD, and yet did not have to recuse himself. I thought I'd better check that memory. So I Googled "Judge Ito's Wife". Note that I did not add "recusal" to my search phrase. The first hit is this -- "The Court", speaking, is Ito, and italics are mine, to flag the most relevant sentences:
9:10 A.M. DEPARTMENT NO. 103


THE COURT: We're in chambers with Mr. Cochran, Mr. Neufeld, Mr. Blasier, Miss Clark and Mr. Darden.
And I've asked counsel in chambers to discuss the problem that has arisen with regards to the Fuhrman tapes. And I want to make it clear for the record at this point that the court's knowledge of the tapes is based upon the representations that counsel have made to the court in chambers or at the sidebar and that at this point, the court has not -- does not physically have the tapes or the transcripts. I have not listened to the tapes or read any of the transcripts which I think actually is a good state of affairs at this point. There is a potential that one side or the other may wish to call my wife as a witness with regard to mr. Fuhrman. If that happens, then under the code of civil procedure section 171.1, Sub (a) sub (1), I'm required to disqualify myself as the trial judge in this case.
Although I do not have any personal knowledge of my wife's dealings with Mr. Fuhrman while she was a lieutenant at West L.A. And the watch commander back in 1985, the code says that a judge shall be deemed to have personal knowledge within the meaning of this paragraph if the judge or the spouse of the judge is to the judge's knowledge likely to be a material witness.
So I am deemed to have her knowledge for the purposes of disqualification. So if my wife is a material witness, then under this code section, I'm required to disqualify myself and perhaps declare a mistrial at this point. The alternative is to solicit a waiver from the parties.
But the code is very clear that I -- the only thing I can do is make counsel aware of that possibility and ask if that's something that they would contemplate. And that's the extent of what I can do as far as that is concerned. So that is something you should perhaps consider.
My proposal at this point is to transfer to department 100 for reassignment to another judge the issue of whether or not my wife is a material witness, whether or not she has any relevant, admissible or material information to offer on this point.
Stunningly, psychically, exactly what I wanted. The session goes into more detail about what would happen in various circumstances that might or might not call for a new judge, and/or a mistrial. (Surprisingly, the various lawyers, and Ito himself, are not all up on this question. I guess it happens a lot more often on TV than in reality.)
Saturday, July 23, 2005
Courage at the Corner: A Symposium

Iain Murray:
Those who allege that Italian tanks have 5 gears (four of them reverse) will be happy to add another target to their range. The highly-successful soccer team Inter Milan has cancelled a tour of England, despite being scheduled to play only one their four matches in London. Their weasel words explaining why (respect for events that "touch the sensitivity of everyone") will fool no-one. In fact, even Red Ken has seen through them, saying, "The terrorists I am sure will be celebrating their decision."
John J. Miller:
The terrorist attack in Egypt is obviously horrible -- current toll: at least 65 dead, more than 200 wounded -- and it's starting to look worse than the massacre at Luxor eight years ago. But violence such as this, as bad as it is, may have the good effect of causing the Arab world to become more serious about terrorism. As with Luxor, many of these latest casualties are tourists--and tourists are an enormous boon to the Egyptian economy. How many will want to travel there now? Speaking for myself, Egypt is very high on the list of places I would like to visit in my life. But if you gave me a free airline ticket and a wad of Egyptian pounds this morning, I probably wouldn't go.

Thursday, July 14, 2005
Think of it as Evolution in Action. Because it Is.

In a thread on evolution at Yglesias', Commenter KenS tells us how to make yeast that eats something that yeast normally can't:
Years ago, my wife worked with yeast in a genetics lab. For some reason which I can no longer recall, she needed to "create" yeast that could digest a sugar called galactose. The yeast she was starting with naturally digest a different sugar (glucose). So how do do this? You take a bunch of naturally occuring yeast and hit it with a low level of radiation to induce mutations. Then you stick them in a petri dish with nothing but galactose. Voila, a few day later you have a petri dish full of galactose-eating yeast. There was nothing random about this outcome. Yes, the radiation induces random mutations and, by chance, some of the mutations lead to yeast cells capable of digesting galactose. But it is the selection pressure induced by the environment that ensures that only those mutants survive and the rest die off.
So all I need is a microwave, a million cats, and a 10-story building, and we'll have our long-awaited flying cat army soon enough.
Sunday, July 03, 2005
Fine Dialogue From Last Week's Episode of The 4400
"That baby tried to kill you!"
It's no "Get that cheese to sick bay!", but it'll do.

(I must be obsessed; one of my favorite Simpsons lines is Homer whining to his workmates, "My baby beat me up.")

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Whoever's in charge of Lindsay Lohan in her new adult-ish phase: getting her all dolled up in a generic music video, "First", which is a tie-in with Herbie: Fully Loaded -- par for the course. (Viewable here.)

Creating a triple-entendre in the song's lyrics -- whose key phrase is "I wanna come first" -- technically impressive. Just to spell it out, in addition to the standard-clever double meaning of the word in racing and in romance, it sounds to me like a bedroom demand. Not that the sweet child I'm sure Lohan plays in that movie has sex. And almost certainly not with Justin Long, for God's sake.

But smuggling that third meaning into a video designed for heavy rotation on the Disney Channel? I'm in awe.

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