aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Sunday, April 10, 2005
Klingon Cling on
Michael Dante may not be on any Hollywood A-list, but on this weekend in Pasadena, he was intergalactic. Dante was capitalizing on his appearance in a single episode of the original Star Trek series. It aired Dec. 1, 1967. “But it was a very popular episode,” Dante insisted…
Dennis...is originally from South Plainfield, New Jersey...best known as a Stunt Coordinator and Stunt performer on Star Trek...Before he graduated, he set a new school record clearing thriteen feet in pole vaulting on the South Plainfield High School track team...As a teen he took guitar lessons...Music has always been in his heart and now it’s pouring out.
Yes, pouring out. The patriotic equivalent of Christian rock. With PhotoShop angels. On Venice Beach.
Divorce & death
This tidbit from an Atlantic article on extending life expectancy:
The historian Lawrence Stone was among the first to note that divorce was rare in previous centuries partly because people died so young that bad unions were often dissolved by early funerals. As people lived longer, Stone argued, divorce became “a functional substitute for death.” Indeed, marriages dissolved at about the same rate in 1860 as in 1960, except that in the nineteenth century the dissolution was more often due to the death of a partner, and in the twentieth century to divorce. The corollary that children were as likely to live in households without both biological parents in 1860 as in 1960 is also true.
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
I think of myself as someone who pays attention to architecture so I was surprised to read about a style I had never heard of before, Doo-Wop architecture. Via Downtown Lad, who asks, is this building worth preserving?
It’s The Caribbean Motel in Wildwood, New Jersey. For those who are unaware, Wildwood is home to the largest amount of “Doo-Wop Architecture” in the world...While these buildings are not yet on the National Register of Historic Places, they should be. Luckily, architects and preservationists are starting to revive these motels...The more architecture like this that Wildwood can preserve, the better off the town will be. Could Wildwood, New Jersey become the next Miami Beach. Hey - with great architecture like this, why not?
Er, it’s chilly in New Jersey for one thing. But I vote we preserve it!
Sunday, March 27, 2005
More on choice
The NYTimes today has more on choice:
Critics point out that expanding consumers’ options is not always a good idea. People, they argue, often do not know how to choose properly or they simply refuse to choose. Sometimes, critics argue, government should limit people’s choices. That is, choose for them...For instance, participation rates in 401(k) plans are known to rise sharply when the default choice for the employee is switched to an opt-out from an opt-in.
In Sweden, where personal savings accounts were carved out of the social security system in 1998, 9 out of 10 new entrants to the work force let their investment portfolio go to a default fund set up by the government, instead of choosing one themselves…
The key is whether people understand their choices, said Richard H. Thaler, an economist at the University of Chicago. “People have to know what their preferences are and they have to know how the options they have map onto their preferences,” he said.
This might be easy when choosing between chocolate and vanilla ice cream. But it gets progressively more difficult as the number of flavors increases. When the risks are high and the decisions complex - as when choosing between medical procedures or investment portfolios - consumers may become easily flummoxed.
For more on choice, Thaler and the Swedish experience, see this Dynamist Blog post.
See also my post, The tyranny of choice.
What’s in a name?
Apt names were dubbed aptronyms by the columnist Franklin P. Adams. Once you start collecting them, you can’t stop. Think of baseball’s Cecil Fielder and Rollie Fingers, the news executive Bill Headline, the artist Rembrandt Peale, the poet William Wordsworth, the pathologist (not gynecologist) Zoltan Ovary, the novelist Francine Prose, the poker champion Chris Moneymaker, the musicians Paul Horn and Mickey Bass, the TV weatherman Storm Field, Judge Wisdom, the spokesman Larry Speakes, the dancer Benjamin Millepied, the opera singer Peter Schreier, the British neurologist Lord Brain, the entertainer Tommy Tune, the CBS Television ratings maven David Poltrack...Then there are the names of people who succeeded in their professions despite what might be called their an-aptronyms: Dr. Kwak, Judge Lawless or Orson Swindle, a member of the Federal Trade Commission. Long before Armand Hammer bought Arm & Hammer, the baking soda company, many people assumed he owned it.
Friday, March 25, 2005
Make a living will II
But before you go, Michael BÃƒÂ©rubÃƒÂ© points out that:
(a) some courts have insisted that advance directives have to be quite detailed with regard to specific levels of care and specific states of injury or illness;
(b) advance directives give courts and guardians guidelines for honoring patient autonomy- most importantly, an individual’s right to refuse treatment- but, of course, cannot account for the possibility that an individual might change his or her mind about refusing treatment after becoming ill or injured (and that such an individual might be incapable of saying so); thus, there is a possibility that the ideal of patient “autonomy” can be invoked both to honor the advance directive and to set it aside in favor of the argument that a patient’s radically changed circumstances, due to illness or injury, might have induced him or her to reassess his or her desires about treatment;
(c) the difficulties of entertaining the possibility that a person might “change her mind” about her advance directive become even more impossibly complex when the person’s mindedness is precisely what’s in question, as in cases of dementia, mental illness, or injuries and illnesses that leave a person conscious but incompetent; and
(d) adults with intellectual disabilities may not be competent to execute advance directives in the first place.
He details all this with examples and concludes:
...it seems to me the truly liberal imperative here should lead us to honor the wishes of others with regard to their desires to refuse medical treatment when those wishes can be ascertained by a preponderance of the available evidence, and we should likewise defer to the wishes of the legal guardians of incompetent persons, charitably granting them the assumption that they are indeed acting in what they perceive to be their charges’ best interests. And we should do so even when we ourselves disagree with other people as to their own wishes, or their perceptions of the best interests of those whom they serve as guardians.
Even with a living will, there could well be cause for someone else to make decisions regarding my care, course of treatment or whether or not to take life sustaining measures. That the law designates a spouse to be that person is reasonable and good to me; I certainly want to pick who that person will be.
Sunday, March 20, 2005
The Tyranny of Choice
Virginia Postrel (who’s got the best looking blog I’ve yet to come across), has a piece in Forbes on a subject my friends will tell you I’ve been ranting on about for years and years: Choice. Virginia says: I’m Pro Choice.
Well me too. (And in more ways than one, by the way.)
Too much choice may cause regret, but no choice is worse. Subjects who ate a chocolate selected by the experimenter, rather than the one they’d picked, were much less satisfied.
The topic is Barry Schwartz, who wrote the book The Paradox of Choice. Published last year, I’ve been marginally aware of it and am inclined to believe its conclusion: the more choice the more unhappiness.
Friday, March 18, 2005
‘Attack of the Clones’ made me cry
It was that bad. Now, from Outside the Beltway:
Star Wars creator George Lucas, foreshadowing his plan to suck the last bit of life out of the franchise, announced that the final film in the series will be a “tearjerker”—a “‘Titanic’ in space.”
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
Make a living will
Not so Michael and Terri Schiavo.
The wisest words in the piece last night came from Kay Obara [sp?], whose daughter has been in a diabetic coma for 35 years:
Jeffrey Kofman: Despite her devotion to her daughter’s life and her devout religion, Kay refuses to take sides in the schiavo case. She will not criticize michael schiavo for fighting to remove his wife’s nutrition tube. “I respect his feelings and I respect the parents feelings. I think it’s a no win situation. Too many people got involved.”
I’ve avoided it too. Nightline and the furious rush by state lawmakers and Gov. Jeb Bush to intervene via this bill pushed me to post.
Truth be told, the rhetoric on the left is no match for that on the right. James Dobson last night:
It’s Nazi-esque. It’s what the Germans did in 1939, 1940 and on through the war. It’s where they started.
Who should have
Would you want
to be kept alive?
My heart goes out to all involved.
And Majikthise points out that Terri Schiavo will be subpoenaed to testify before Congress.
Bill Frist, Republican of Tennessee and the Senate majority leader, issued a statement saying that the woman, Terri Schiavo, and her husband, Michael, were being invited to testify in a Congressional inquiry into the matter later this month.
SEE ALSO: Make a living will II