Monthly Archives: August 2016

Add to these atrocities some of the worst recorded baby names of last year: Particularly enchanting were “Elizabreth” (no, really) and “Mhavrych” (pronounced “Maverick”). Parents across the U.S. are either flinging together random collections of letters or, more unsettlingly, looking to product manufacturers for inspiration. In 2014, 73 sets of parents put “Lexus” on their baby girl’s birth certificate documents. In the same year, seven boys were called Disney. And in 2015, exactly 100 girls were named Tesla.

Please make it stop. I’ll go to Donald Trump if I have to. The one despotic law change I could get behind in that lunatic’s neo-fascist America is an officially sanctioned list of names. Of course, if Trump were actually to design a law federally mandating a name list, it would likely consist of less than 10 choices, all of which would be Anglo Saxon and most of which would be variations on Donald. That’s not really what I’m after. I’d just like a law that says, at its heart, “Don’t call your baby Meldor or Little Sweetmeat or Beberly.” (Those are actual real baby names.) Fail to act, America, and today’s babies will grow up harboring the sort of issues that will make our current hypersensitive crop of safe space-seeking, easily triggered teens seem well adjusted.

Source: Why the government should regulate baby names

Category: Espresso
Category: Courthouse

These left clearer marks, but less swelling overall. Once again I definitely felt it when it happened. Also, found a wasp nest. May be unrelated, but I’m thinking not. Clancy and I are debating what to do. 

Category: Espresso
Category: Espresso

So… uhhh… is there anything we can do with all that extra water? A large straw or something?

Source: What Earth Will Look Like 100 Million Years from Now | Open Culture

Category: Espresso

Over there, a conversation broke out in response to an article I linked to about on how to avoid being a creep on Twitter. This lead to well-tread conversation about the importance of physical appearance. Namely, whether an attractive guy can get away with something that an unattractive guy would get the creep tag for.

As it happens, my answer is an unequivocal yes. But also, that guys should get over it. My more general believe is that women are more interested in looks than stereotypes suggest, that, men are less, though that the relationship (men more interested than women) is still true. Given this, men collectively don’t have a whole lot of room to complain about woman superficiality.

This view gets a fair amount of pushback from both sides of the spectrum, and not because of the last part. A lot of women don’t like it because it suggests that women are more superficial than their stereotype, and that a lot of guys who complain about being treated poorly because they’re unattractive aren’t wrong. A lot of men like it because it allows them to believe they will be able to peg up when it comes to getting a woman because women place less of an emphasis on looks than men do. I further believe that this myth (that women don’t just care less about looks than men but don’t really care that much) is a pernicious one, because it places a burden on women to be more than they are, and more than we ask men to be.

So yeah, of course attractive and unattractive men are gauged differently. This is true in dating criteria generally. If a woman is interested in a man (or vice-versa) she is more likely to forgive awkward moments, interpret what he says charitably, and so on. This is true regardless of the source of the interest, which includes a lot of things other than looks. The year before she met me, my wife met a guy at the same venue who put a lot of the same moves as I did. She never described him as a creep, but she was made rather uncomfortable by it. Along comes me, who does the same things, and we’ve been married for over a decade. The criteria there wasn’t looks so much as age (he was ten years older than myself), biography (he was a former alcoholic), and other such things.

But come on. Of course it applies to looks, too. And when we’re talking about initial encounters, it’s the cover of the book and people do judge by it. There are things guys can do to make a better impression, but there is only so much that a guy can do. If a guy at the lower-end of the attractiveness spectrum is approaching a woman at the higher end, he is far more likely to be considered creepy rather than charming. And that’s a reason why it’s important that we be honest about this. Because if a guy doesn’t want to be creepy, he ought not aim high unless he has very high confidence in his social skills (and depending on the context, even then).

Talk about how there aren’t universal standards and how one person’s eight is another person’s six is some combination of trying to muddy the waters and clinging to grade school fictions. Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but there is a reason why Hollywood actors and actresses tend to look a lot more like one another than they do like you and me. There may be opportunities to swing for the fences, but it’s a bad idea to do so regularly.

At some point, I started using as a gauge “Would I be doing this if it were an unattractive woman or a guy?” when striking up conversations and the like. If I never would, then I wouldn’t with some attractive lady unless I was willing to admit that I was making a move (however minor). That admission would become important because it meant that if she blew me off I wouldn’t be able to say “How rude.” I swung, I missed, life goes on.

At some point later than that, I realized that was insufficient. That it’s often not appropriate to do towards a woman even if I wouldn’t have a problem doing so towards a guy. That’s where Twitter comes in. Liking every tweet someone tweets (or liking every picture on Facebook) is just not something that a normal person does without some… other motivation. But sometimes on Twitter I do find myself in someone’s timeline and running across several comment-reply-like-retweet worthy tweets. If it’s a guy, I might do three or four or five.

Yeah, but probably not if it’s a female. Not unless it’s one that I have conversed with pretty regularly and have some sort of indication of “Hey, we’re cool.” If they don’t follow me, or my contact with them has been relatively minimal, I will probably pass. This applies especially to young women I follow. Though comparative appearance isn’t an issue (my avatar is a cartoon character, after all), the dynamics between men approaching 40 and women a little past 20 is pretty straightforward. There are a lot more of my type hitting up their type, than vice-versa. And while I am not hitting them up, it’s best to just go ahead and avoid any discomfort they might feel if they even suspected this old geezer was demonstrating a prurient interest.

It’s entirely possible that I am being too deferential, and that I am doing them a disservice by not charming them with my banter or my retweets. But you hear enough stories and think “Yeah, I don’t want to be a part of that” and so you don’t. I don’t necessarily follow all of the rules of the original piece, but they’re worth at least considering. Whether you’re a 20-something stud or a 40 year old dad. But especially the latter.

Category: Coffeehouse

Well this is pretty awesome. It you haven’t seen it, watch some Louisianians save a woman (and her dog!) from a sinking car:

NPR’s article has some really good pictures. You may remember a previous post with pictures of flooding in Texas. I had some song lyrics attached. Someone has posted the song itself (from a now-defunct band) on Youtube and is shown to the right.

There is a lot not to like about the south, but they do come together in times like this. The Cajun Navy came together in Katrina, and was sort of recommissioned during this flooding. It’s one of the positive aspects of the “Hold my beer and watch this s**t” culture that so often gets people in the region in trouble. You have a boat, of course roaming the floods and looking for people is what you do.

This isn’t unique to the south. There is a communitarianism in the west as well, even among those alleged rugged individualists. Out there, you often really can’t count on help because it’s so far away. But because it’s such a constant problem, it’s sort of always there. In the South it just comes up during freak weather, and with the exception of things like the Cajun Navy there isn’t any real formality to it. It’s just that you’re driving in flooding and you see some joe excited to use his F-150 to pull someone out of the water.

Rod Dreher has a really nice post on the subject.

Over There, JL Wall also has a post with links to ever more stuff.

Category: Newsroom

CNN scrubs report on protester ‘calling for peace’ (she called for violence)

CNN has quietly removed an inaccurate and out-of-context portion of a report it posted online Monday, which said a woman calling for violence in the suburbs of Milwaukee was actually calling for peace.

Violent protests erupted over the weekend in Milwaukee in reaction to a police shooting of an armed black man. CNN’s initial report on the protests referred to the man’s sister, Sherelle Smith.

“Smith’s sister Sherelle Smith condemned the violence, saying the community needs the businesses affected,” CNN’s report said. “‘Don’t bring that violence here,’ [Kimberly] Neal, his other sister, said while sobbing.”

Sherelle is seen in a video posted elsewhere online, however, directing any rioting in Milwaukee to “the suburbs.”

Category: Espresso

Category: Espresso

So sayeth conservative radio personality Charlie Sykes:

We’ve basically eliminated any of the referees, the gatekeepers. There’s nobody. Let’s say Donald Trump basically makes whatever you want to say, whatever claim he wants to make. And everybody knows it’s a falsehood. The big question of my audience, it is impossible for me to say that, “By the way, you know it’s false.” and they’ll say “Why? I saw it on Allen B West.” Or they’ll say “I saw it on a Facebook page.” And I’ll say “The New York Times did a fact check.” And they’ll say “Oh, that’s The New York Times. That’s bullshit.” There’s nobody – you can’t go to anybody and say, “Look, here are the facts.” And I have to say that’s one of the more disorienting realities of this political year. You can be in this alternative media reality and there’s no way to break through it. And I swam upstream because if I don’t say these things from some of these websites, then suddenly I have sold out. Then they’ll ask what’s wrong with me for not repeating these stories that I know not to be true.

When this is all over, we have to go back. There’s got to be a reckoning on all this. We’ve created this monster. And look, I’m a conservative talk show host. All conservative talk hosts have basically established their brand as being contrasted to the mainstream media. We have spent 20 years demonizing the liberal mainstream media. And by the way, a lot of it has been justifiable. There is real bias. But, at a certain point you realize you have destroyed the credibility of any credible outlet out there. And I am feeling, to a certain extent, that we are reaping the whirlwind at that. And I have to look at the mirror and ask myself, “To what extent did I contribute?” I’ll be honest, the bias of our mainstream media has been a staple for every conservative talk show host, every conservative pundit, for as long as I can remember. Going way back to the 1960s with William F Buckley, Jr.

This is almost a metaphor for larger issues. In the same way that the anti-Trump conservative entertainment weak tore apart the trust in the media they’d need this year, they also tore down the institutional protections and respect that might have prevented his rise to begin with. I’ve previously likened Trump to a virus that succeeded in large part due to a compromised immune system. Among other things, the bullspit detecting antibodies had been obliterated after wave on wave of previous infections.

And so when the media was needed, it wasn’t there in a meaningful extent. It couldn’t penetrate the minds of those who needed to hear it. Their credibility had been destroyed. When “the establishment” sought to stop him, they couldn’t. Their credibility had been destroyed. And the conservative news personalities were disinclined to rain on anybody’s parade.

I’ve been rather hard on Erick Erickson lately, because up until earlier this year he has been among the worst offenders. So it’s a bit rich for him to act as the “principled opposition.” On the other hand, at least he did flip. And when Republican voters needed to hear a particular thing, he tried to tell it.

What I still haven’t seen, except from Sykes above, is any indication that 2016 followed 2015, which followed 2014 and especially 2013. And that these things are related.

William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

William Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!

Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!

Category: Newsroom