aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Download and print out the costume then join the parade…
- Thanks Jason!
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Cheney: hunting with a menu
Al Sharpton’s chiding Cheney for hunting at a private club that hangs the Confederate flag. The fake news boys will no doubt be joining in the chiding tonight.
A couple weeks back Terry Gross replayed an April 2004 interview with Ben Karlin, former executive producer of both The Colbert Report and The Daily Show. In the interview he discussed how they handled Cheney’s most infamous hunting accident:
[W]hat was most scandalous about the story, in our opinion, as we read reports, was not, you know, what happened between Cheney and Whittington, but actually the fact that the vice president goes on these particular kinds of hunts. The more details were revealed, kind of like deep into the story as we were reading them, we’re just like, `Wait a second. People go and shoot like 70 caged birds, and they’re right there and then they’re just released? That’s not hunting.’ And we just couldn’t get our heads around like thinking about hunting as this, you know, pursuit which is involved with has some skill and you have to go out and you’re in the brush all day. And you, you know, it’s cold and you’re up at the crack of dawn. And all this idea that you have about hunting, and we just kind of said, like, this here is really the scandal of this story, that this thing goes on and is anyway--this is the furthest thing removed from hunting you can possibly imagine. So we said, like, let’s actually try to do--this is the closest to I think actual journalism we really go right up to that point. And so we tried to find a place that would let us come on and do one of these hunts.
Here’s the resulting Nate Corddry piece, splendor in the grass:
Bonus video: brother Rob on Cheney the decisive shooter.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Paul Newman exits
At The Moderate Voice today, Robert Stein looks at the friendship of Paul Newman and Robert Redford:
“Certain friendships,” Robert Redford once said about Paul Newman, “are too good and too strong to talk about.” This month, Redford broke his silence to say that the final movie they planned to make together was not to be:
“It’s not happening, sadly. Paul and I were planning to do a film version of Bill Bryson’s wonderful book ‘A Walk In The Woods.’
“I got the rights to the movie four years ago, and we couldn’t decide if we were too old to do it. Then we decided, ‘Let’s go for it.’
“But time passed, and Paul’s been getting old fast. I think things deteriorated for him. Finally, two months ago he called and said, ‘I gotta retire.’ The picture was written and everything. It breaks my heart.Ã¢â‚¬Â�
In the summer of 1970 I was a ticket taker at The Harrisburg Drive-In Theater. There I watched Newman and Redford in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid twice a night for the duration of its two-week run. We’re all getting older.
[L]ast spring, the 82-year-old Newman told an interviewer, “I’m not able to work at the level I would want to. You start to lose your memory, you start to lose your confidence, you start to lose your invention. So I think that’s pretty much a closed book for me.”
Redford at 71 has a new picture coming out next month, “Lions for Lambs,” which he directed and plays a leading role in. More polemical than his previous work, Redford hopes the movie will encourage young people “to take command of their voice” in American politics.
Over long careers, Newman and Redford personified an alternative American manhood to the full-throttle macho of John Wayne and the young Clint Eastwood–a more complex mix of strength, wit and sensitivity. (Newman turned down “Dirty Harry.” )
Off-screen, they lived away from Hollywood–Newman in Connecticut, Redford in Utah–lives of social responsibility rather than movie-star celebrity. [...]
In the early 1980s, our mutual friend A. E. Hotchner wrote about their light-hearted efforts to bottle and sell Newman’s salad dressing. Since then, a line of Newman’s Own products has earned $200 million for charity.
Meanwhile, Redford was creating a mecca for independent film makers in Sundance, Utah and giving their work recognition and commercial opportunities.
As Newman exits from the public stage and Redford keeps working for the public good, those repeated showings of “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” on TV are reminders of how much actors can accomplish in what we call real life.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
The Gender Genie
Inspired by an article and a test in The New York Times Magazine, the Gender Genie uses a simplified version of an algorithm developed by Moshe Koppel, Bar-Ilan University in Israel, and Shlomo Argamon, Illinois Institute of Technology, to predict the gender of an author. Read more at BookBlog, The New York Times, and The Guardian.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Write shorter sentences
So says Stephen Berlin Johnson after an analysis of his Amazon text stats:
Gladwell’s sentences are fully 25% shorter than mine. I’m not sure if the average reader would notice...but a 25% drop in sentence length has to alter the reading experience dramatically. Clearly, the only things separating me from selling ten million copies of my books are those extra 6.5 words per sentence.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Um: how to use it less
BOB GARFIELD: What about the public’s patience for vagaries of spoken language? Is there, in fact, an ebb and flow to the way we all handle other people’s speech errors?
MICHAEL ERARD: We typically don’t hear most of the “uhsÃ¢â‚¬Â� or the “ums” that other people say. There was one interesting study that was done where people are given a speech to listen to and about half of them, natively, listen to the content, and about half of them, natively, without any instruction, listen to the style.
When the content, for whatever reason, becomes extremely boring, people who listen for content start listening for style, and that’s when they start to notice the “uhs” and the “ums.” So when people say to me, how do I reduce the “uhsÃ¢â‚¬Â� and “ums,” I say, that’s easy; just be more interesting.
I think this is important, too… if the media set the standard, are they doing us a favor by cleaning up how
we they speak?
BOB GARFIELD: Let me ask you one more thing. I myself can barely utter an English sentence without making some sort of egregious error right in the middle of it. We naturally edit all of this stuff out of the show, or most of it. Are, are we doing our listeners a service by editing out my mistakes, and yours as well, by the way?
MICHAEL ERARD: I think you might be doing them a disservice. We live in a media environment that is very glib, and the glib has become praised over what is substantial. You know, in journalism there’s a sort of understanding that you won’t make someone sound more stupid or low class or uneducated than they actually are.
Quoting verbatim can be used to smear someone. But I think there’s also a way to use it in a way that gives you a more authentic sense of who the person is.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Right brain or left brain?
I kid you not, I see it both ways:
THE Right Brain vs Left Brain test ... do you see the dancer turning clockwise or anti-clockwise?
If clockwise, then you use more of the right side of the brain and vice versa.
Most of us would see the dancer turning anti-clockwise though you can try to focus and change the direction; see if you can do it.
LEFT BRAIN FUNCTIONS
words and language
present and past
math and science
knows object name
RIGHT BRAIN FUNCTIONS
“big picture” oriented
symbols and images
present and future
philosophy & religion
can “get it” (i.e. meaning)
knows object function
Thursday, October 11, 2007
A manly man’s name
I manage a local history archive in Decatur, Georgia, and two years ago I did a short genealogical research project on a local man named Straiton Hard III. I have never met the man, but when I heard the name I had to find out if it was legit. I have attached my one-page summary report documenting that this is the real name of a real person. The research showed that the name “Straiton” is a variation on one of his ancestral names: “Stratton.” Also notice that Straiton Hard III was a member of the class of ‘69.
Monday, October 08, 2007
Larry Craig loves his Super Tuber
UPDATED & REFRESHED with Photo via Christopher Frizzelle.
Larry Craig’s favorite recipe, a Super Tuber. A baked potato with a hot dog crammed inside:
Super Tuber is a great snack that uses one of my favorite vegetables: The Idaho Potato. Of course, I suppose any type of potato could be used, but I cannot guarantee that a Super Tuber made with anything but a true Idaho potato would taste as good. Sincerely, Larry E. Craig, United States Senator.
Via Crooks and Liars, “Our prayers were answeredÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Praise Jesus!”
Who the Right don’t like on the Right
John Hawkins has his Right-Of-Center Bloggers Select Their Least Favorite People On The Right (2007 Edition) posted:
The field was wide open—with two exceptions that I didn’t want to clutter up the list since they have absolutely no support in the party: racist David Duke, who never won national office and Democrat Fred Phelps of God Hates F@gs fame, who often gets misidentified as a Republican.
Without further ado, here are the right-of-center bloggers’ least favorite people on the right with the number of votes beside of each selection in parentheses:
18) Ted Stevens (4)
18) Olympia Snowe (4)
18) Mel Martinez (4)
18) Sean Hannity (4)
18) Lincoln Chafee (4)
17) Bill O’Reilly (5)
14) Lindsey Graham (6)
14) George W. Bush (6)
14) Mitt Romney (6)
12) Arnold Schwarzenegger (9)
12) Rudy Giuliani (9)
8) Andrew Sullivan (11)
8) Chuck Hagel (11)
8) James Dobson (11)
8) Ann Coulter (11)
6) Arlen Specter (12)
6) Pat Robertson (12)
4) Larry Craig (13)
4) Michael Savage (13)
3) John McCain (17)
2) Pat Buchanan (18)
1) Ron Paul (23)
LATER: Steve Benen parses the list. And points to Right-Of-Center Bloggers Select Their Favorite People On The Right (2007 Edition).
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
From SÃƒÂ£o Paulo, Brazil via NewTeeVee, “the can of spray paint is not the only way to tag a wall...”
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Doug digs “Timeframe” at Telfair. Again.
We thoroughly enjoyed the three interactive video works by Daniel Shiffman at Savannah’s Jepson Center for the Arts. Shiffman describes Timeframe:
In the late 19th century, Englishman Eadweard Muybridge photographed progressions of animal and human movements, capturing the beauty of motion imperceptible to the human eye. Timeframe takes inspiration from Muybridge’s work, unlocking the frozen frames of his motion studies with live video. The viewer is invited to witness him or herself inside a grid of one thousand and twenty four frames of video, his or her movements rippling across and around the screen.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
At least the lions, buffalo, and crocodiles in that African watering hole had a happy ending.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Acapella ain’t what it used to be
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Companies and governments equally bad
One of the reasons I don’t buy the argument that the private sector is more efficient than the public sector (and I don’t buy the reverse argument either - I think both are equally inefficient) is that there seems to be ample evidence that most companies don’t know what they’re doing.
In response to a commenter’s argument that competition puts companies out of business while policies last forever, cactus responds:
Certainly, some dumb policies persist for generations. But is the same thing true in companies that last for generations? I believe it is. A company that gets itself into a niche and survives for a while - whether it knows why it is surviving or not - develops its own stupid internal bureaucracy and rules.
And how quickly do “bad companies” go out of business? Conversely, how quickly are “bad governments” replaced? It took a long while for people to realize that Enron was a giant fraud and not one of the most successful and brilliantly run companies in America…
Then government comes to the rescue and bails those big inept companies out.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
The explainer wonders, Does it really get up to 130 degrees in Iraq?
Yesterday, John McCain told supporters in Iowa that U.S. soldiers are “carrying 40 pounds of body armor in 130-degree temperatures.” Run a quick Google News search, and you’ll find numerous references to Iraq’s sweltering “130-degree” weather. It’s in the Philadelphia Daily News, the Providence Journal, the Tucson Citizen, Wired, and even on military blogs. But according to this government Web site, the highest temperature ever recorded in Asia is 124 degrees-in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. So, how hot does it really get in Iraq?
The temperature never breaks 130 degrees, according to official climate records.
McCain isn’t alone. Remember Tony Snow in July:
Q Is the Iraqi government and the Iraqi parliament taking the month of August off?
MR. SNOW: Probably, yes. Just not --
Q They’re taking the entire month of August off, before the September deadline?
MR. SNOW: It looks like they may, yes. Just like the U.S. Congress is.
Q Have you tried to talk them out of that?
MR. SNOW: You know, it’s 130 degrees in Baghdad in August, I’ll pass on your recommendation.
Q Well, Tony, Tony, I’m sorry, that’s—you know—I mean, there are a lot of things that happen by September and it’s 130 degrees for the U.S. military also on the ground --
MR. SNOW: You know, that’s a good point. And it’s 130 degrees for the Iraqi military. The Iraqis, you know, I’ll let them—my understanding is that at this juncture they’re going to take August off, but, you know, they may change their minds.
These days, who needs science-fiction? BBC:
Toads in an area of northern Germany are being killed off by a mysterious disease - they are exploding.
Thousands of the amphibians have died in recent days in a pond in Hamburg’s Altona district, with their bodies swelling to bursting point.
The toads’ entrails are propelled for up to a metre (3.2ft), in scenes that have been likened to science fiction.
Scientists are baffled. Possible explanations include a unknown virus or a fungus in the pond.
What’s in that pond?
LATER: In comments Harry points out this is 2 years old! If I were a better blogger I’d have looked more closely. Given that it has passed, I wondered what had caused it.
Among the explanations listed in Wikipedia were crows (apparently frog liver is a crow delicacy) and that “the eye witness accounts were flawed, confused, or mistaken.”
Monday, September 10, 2007
Liberals are smarter
A study says liberal brains “are more responsive to informational complexity.” Test: You sit in front of a computer screen and wait for a letter to appear on it. You’re supposed to tap your keyboard if it’s an M, but not if it’s a W. The experimenters mix it up but give you more M’s than W’s to see whether you get lulled into tapping when you shouldn’t. Results: 1) On M’s, liberals and conservatives responded equally well. 2) On W’s, liberals were twice as likely to be among the more accurate responders. 3) On electrical measurements of the brain area that monitors conflict “between a habitual tendency Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ and a more appropriate response,” liberals were five times more likely to show brain activity. Unofficial scientist/media spin: Liberals are smarter. Official scientist/media spin: Liberals are smarter, except when circumstances call for a knee-jerk ideologue. Knee-jerk liberal spin: We’re smarter because we have more agile brains. Thoughtful liberal spin: Then again, maybe we have more agile brains because we’re smarter.
Tristero comments, “The next thing to study is which kind of brain is more grounded in reality.”
Thursday, September 06, 2007
Urinal sculpture & Fish n’ Flush
And how about this Fish n’ Flush:
You love your pet fish, but constantly neglect them, leaving them to feast on each other’s soft cadavers like a Uruguayan rugby team. Instead, integrate them into a mandatory part of your life with Fish n’ Flush: a fully-functioning aquarium/toilet tank.
Developed by California-based Aqua One Technologies, the FnF is a filtered acrylic aquarium wrapped around an integrated flush-tank core. The aquarium exists independently of the toilet’s reservoir, so you won’t annihilate your buddies after every urination. But, to keep things interesting, the flush valve does launch a jet stream into the tank that swirls the fish for a few seconds of exhilirating tidal joy. Wee.
Warning: make sure you have a two-piece toilet and are familiar with basic plumbing, or risk a poo geyser in your bathroom. Once installed, your only additional purchases are freshwater fish and one of those stupid bubbling treasure chests. Then you can unzip, enjoy, and never forget to feed your fish again.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Red states are more obese than blue states
Is it about the South?
Yesterday Chris Bowers looked at the same numbers through a different lens:
[T]he almost perfect correlation between obesity and red states vs. blue states is very surprising. Check it out, with the states Bush won twice in bold:
Obesity Rankings Of Non-Mountain West States
2. West Virginia
5. South Carolina
17. North Carolina
19. North Dakota
20. South Dakota
37. New York
41. New Jersey
46. Rhode Island
That is an almost perfect, correlation, with only Michigan, Kansas and Virginia breaking the pattern (although I guess the Supreme Court and Katherine Harris did award Florida to Bush twice). For some reason, more conservative states are also more obese. It isn’t age, since Florida and Pennsylvania, the two oldest states, are not particularly obese. It isn’t income, since red states tend to have lower average incomes than blue states. There might be a regional connection, since liberal New Englanders tend to be quite svelte, and more conservative southerners tend to be more obese. The truth is, I don’t really understand why there is a connection here, but I thought it was strange enough to be worthy of pointing out.
Best blonde joke ever
Remember the best blonde joke ever? This tops it…
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Those magnificent men in their riding machines
Doug, on the first day of fall classes, this post’s for you! Too bad it’s too hot to ride to school...
A one-of-a-kind wooden bicycle photo essay from CNET:
A replica steampunk powered monocycle from the Victorian era on eBay via Boing Boing:
The Victorian monocycle brings to mind Mr. Garrison’s gyroscope-powered Segway-parody monowheeled “IT” from the recently repeated South Park episode, The Entity. Garrison came up with the vehicle because he was tired of inefficient and frustrating airline check-ins and miserable in-flight conditions.
The public takes to the vehicle, agreeing that its propulsion method employing “four ‘flexi-grip handles’ that somewhat resemble erect penises; two used by the hands, one in the mouth, and a fourth handle which is inserted into the anus” is preferable to and more comfortable than flying. That observation is even more true this summer than it was when the episode first aired in 2001.
Viacom hasn’t settled with Google/YouTube yet (though the latest interesting development is that Google says it wants to depose Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart) so the only clip to slip through the Viacom copyright hawks is from
Thursday, August 02, 2007
The World’s Most Interesting Bridges
We’ll be hearing lots about bridges now. Here’s one man’s take on The Weird and Wonderful World of Bridges:
I will endeavor to hold your attention by showing you through some of the most interesting bridges that have come across my monitor. And no, they won’t all be the heights of technological engineering, but simply those that have captured the imagination in various ways throughout time.
Of course, then I go and pick a technological triumph to picture, the recently completed Hangzhou Bay Bridge in China is the world’s longest trans-oceanic bridge:
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Starry Starry Night in Second Life
Grayson says, “This is so beautiful, on so many levels. It’s little wonder then that Second Life means so much to so many. Bring your hankie.”
Friday, July 13, 2007
Crocs: a tinkertoy on steroids
As fans will tell you, Crocs aren’t just footwear; they’re the closest thing to religion that the foot has experienced. The company’s stock has skyrocketed in value over the past year, and Crocs is now poised to launch a new product line this fall. Yet Crocs are heinous in appearance. A Croc is not a shoe; it is a Tinkertoy on steroids. How did this peculiar shoe-manquÃƒÂ© achieve ubiquity-and can it possibly stick around?
Me thinks she doth protest too much. Much as I felt like a platypus the first time I wore mine I do remember the Earth Shoe and the Croc styling is just a holey modern iteration of it. Loud ugly shoes are nothing new; at least these are comfortable.