Friday, October 29, 2010 is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it...

Bob S. blogs about an exchange between Texas Congressional candidate Stephen Broden and interviewer-unit Brad Watson, n which Watson tries to represent the candidate as a violent extremist:

Watson: “So you would include a violent overthrow of the government by saying, if the framers said that don’t work, revolution?”

Broden: “No, I would say that to whatever extent that we can alter, or adjust, or abolish it –”

Watson: “Well, what does by any means necessary — doesn’t that include violence?”

Broden: “Well that’s part of the scenario, but that is not the first option. And it obviously wasn’t the first option with the Declaration of Independence.”

Watson: “So you would include some kind of violent overthrow of the government by including revolution?”

Broden: “It is not the first option –”

Watson: “It is an option, though, in your eyes –”

Broden: “The first option is to alter it or abolish it, it is a part of the scenario. And we as Americans must understand that our founding fathers included that in the scenario.”

Watson: “But violence is an option as you view –”

The correct response to this kind of silliness is "it's never an option in your worldview?"

There's a disturbing undercurrent in the modern first world of seeing all violence as inherently unacceptable. Of thinking that all problems can ultimately be solved with enough talking and turning of cheeks. And worst of all, thinking that governments are controllable and under control as long as there are elections, and that elections are all we could ever need to keep ourselves free.

There's nothing Mr. Watson would fight for? He'd allow a government to throw away the Constitution and do as it will, and would condemn anybody who would resist it by force? He regards the use of force as completely off the table--a greater evil than enslaving a nation? Then he's the despicable extremist, not Broden.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Bad Wolf

So. Last Tuesday, an independent filmmaker claimed to have found footage of a time traveler in the special features of a Charlie Chaplin DVD:

Mr. Clarke has fallen victim to the third classic blunder: never limit your alternatives to what you can imagine.

The population of Hollywood in 1928 was around 3000--not all that many, but that still makes for hundreds of thousands of unique personal moments every single day day, even assuming nobody came in from out of town for Chaplin premiers. In the most filmed town in the world, in all the filmed events of the golden age of cinema, that's a dizzyingly enormous number of individual experiences captured forever, immortalized in film archives waiting to be seen. The idea that in all those countless moments nobody could ever find a reason to hold her hand to her head and smile except for time travel... That's an incredibly narrow view of the world. It doesn't matter whether anybody can tell you what it is. Your worldview needs to include wiggle room for the spectacular diversity of existence.

She's embarrassed by the camera, and trying to cover her face with a coin purse. It's a cold day, and she's holding a little pouched pocket warmer up to her face for warmth. She's listening to a little music box made to look like a cigarette case, a gift from her husband when he came back from that business trip to Geneva the summer before he passed away. She's one of Warner Brothers' first sound engineers, playing with a handmade miniaturized gramophone--a dead end experiment in distributing sound tracks along with film reels; it only has about ninety seconds of run time, and the lack of an amplifier means you can only barely make out her colleagues shouting dirty jokes at the recorder, but the very idea of holding something so unthinkably high-tech is a delight. The subject is actually a crossdresser, who likes the feel of his little velour clutch against his cheek. Or it is a communication device, but she's actually a wholly contemporary agent of the Mi-go, using their arcane technology to report in on her progress tracking the archaeologist who stole their engraved tablet from a Lenape burial mound.

There are literally countless possibilities in the real world, and if we're really going to open up the world of fiction the possibilities become infinite. Going all Timelord in the gaps just makes you look foolish.

Meanwhile, in Burma

So a Burmese species of snub-nosed monkeys has been documented by scientists for the first time. The scientists were introduced to a specimen by local hunters who'd brought it back for food, so the headline is "New Snub-Nosed Monkey Discovered, Eaten". This is clever, because it reminds us that the only civilized, sensitive way to eat meat is by capturing the animals alive, genetically engineering them into twisted caricatures of their wild ancestors through millennia of forced selective breeding, and then paying somebody you've never met to kill and butcher one and ship you its carcass from hundreds of miles away in styrofoam and plastic wrap.

But honestly, I'm not here to rant about hunting. No, I just want to point to the photo of the cuddly little child of the forest:

From General interwebs

Holy everloving Jesus. Maybe it's for the best that these things are hunted to extinction. It's pretty obvious even at first glance that these are actually degenerate semihuman descendants of once-decadent Lemuria, howling their foul and blasphemous rituals in the deep umbra of the jungle in honor of their hideous glutton-god Chaugnar Faugn.

If I Had a Hammer...

For those of you blessed not to live in this area, you may be unaware that Newscorp and Cablevision are having some difficulties in negotiation that have led to an impasse. Both parties are being exactly as adult and professional as you'd expect, and at the moment Cablevision customers are treated to a blackout of Fox stations and a pair of propaganda campaigns hamfistedly trying to convince us that one or the other megacorporation is being unfairly victimized.

This would be trivia beneath notice if not for the fact that by now both New Jersey Senators and Cablevision itself have asked the FCC to intervene and force Fox to end its blackout.

This clearly demonstrates one of two facts: either reliance on government force to solve your problems leads to an "all I got is this hammer" attitude in which no inconvenience is so trivial it doesn't call for intervention by a federal regulatory agency; or watching baseball and The Simpsons is one of those core necessities so crucial to life that it can't be left in the hands of marauding capitalist robber barons.


Prodomme and sex columnist Mistress Matisse opened a can of worms over the terminology of polyamory:

Some days, I miss the term nonmonogamy. I should dust it off and give it some daylight, because I'm put off by how reductive the definition of the word polyamory has become lately.

I first heard the term polyamory on a Usenet group in the early 1990s. Its appeal was obvious: Saying that one is nonmonogamous implies that monogamy is what's proper and that being nonmonogamous is a deviation, with all the negative baggage that word carries...

However, as the term became more popular, factions developed, and one of them might be called poly literalists. "Polyamory has the word amor in it, which is Latin for love," they say. "So if you don't love the other person, then what you are doing is polyfuckery, not polyamory. You're just using the word polyamory to justify your promiscuous sexual activities. And you're a dirty slut who is tainting my morally pure system of having sex with more than one person."

Okay, they usually don't say the "promiscuous dirty slut" part out loud. But it's clearly implied, along with every other sex-negative shaming strategy in the book...

...sexual- minority groups of all kinds have an unfortunate habit of eating their own young. Certain individuals in the group proclaim themselves the protectors of the Right Way, identify some subgroup within the ranks, and say, "Their way of being X isn't pure enough, we must ostracize them!" Bonus points: They then turn to mainstream society and say, "See, we're not like those people. They're bad. We're good, like you."

I'm nowhere near as connected to the sexual minority and sex activist cultures as Matisse is, and don't doubt there are dicey internal politics involved. But in my case, at least, I do think the word "polyamory" is used too broadly, and it has nothing to do with disapproving of others' relationships.

I practice an exclusive relationship with two people. This doesn't make me any better or worse than people who practice the open-relationship or swinging models of poly, any more than my distaste for onions makes me better or worse than the weirdos who love the things. My way isn't truer, purer, or morally superior to theirs; it's just different.

But it is different. Quite frankly, I think the "closed relationship of more than two people" model falls closer to monogamy than to open relationships and swinging on quite a few sliding scales. Calling it all "polyamory" actually suffers from exactly the same problem as "nonmonogamy": it defines what we are by saying what we're not. Getting rid of the negative prefix doesn't actually change the situation when you're still lumping together very different lifestyles in one big folder of "y'know, not what normal people do".

When I was working at a pharmacy in my college days, one of my coworkers was a woman from a fundamentalist Christian family who was away from home for the first time. Once she referred to a mutual acquaintance as "gay", and I pointed out that the person in question was actually bi. She gave me an utterly perplexed look, like I'd just grown tentacles out of my head: what's the difference? Aren't all those people equally distinguished by being not-us?

Gay isn't better than bi and bi isn't better than gay, but we don't define them all as unstraight, or lump them all into one unstraight category with a more pleasingly obfuscatory name. I don't much care who gets to use "polyamory", and certainly don't want to freight healthy, fulfilling relationships with a deliberately dismissive word like "polyfuckery". But it would be nice to have good words that distinguish between these very different kinds of relationships.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"Monday" paleo update.

Was away from home yesterday, so "Monday" paleo update today.

Down one pound, for a total of 16 pounds in five weeks.

The much lower loss was expected, as the end of the week was highly unpaleo. Pizza for dinner on Friday; leftover pizza for breakfast and Afghan food with pita and rice [edit: plus Brazilian rodizio for dinner which, paleo or not, ain't gonna lose you no weight] on Saturday; with a cheeseburger, fries, and beer on Sunday.

So a bunch of cheating all at once equals _less_ weight loss. I can live with that.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Jersey logic

"Castle doctrine" laws are a Very Good Idea that protects citizens who defend themselves from being second-guessed by civil and criminal courts after the fact. Since a peaceful person thrown into a dangerous situation doesn't have the time and leisure to reflect on levels of risk and legal complexities that the court enjoys, it's despicable for laws to make said peaceful person risk a life-ruining felony conviction when a criminal sustains the injuries that are and should be an inherent risk of his chosen profession.

Not everybody agrees. New Jersey Democratic State Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney comments on the possibility of a castle doctrine law in the Garden State:

"All residents must be able to protect themselves in their own home when they feel their life is in imminent danger, as our laws currently do," Sweeney said in an e-mailed statement.

"However, there is a difference between legitimate self-defense and shooting someone on the way out the door with your cell phone."

"Don't you understand?! We _have_ to put innocent people at terrible legal risk for defending themselves! A thief could get _killed_!"

Shifting mental gears

I read my share of gun blogs and my share of sex blogs. Which makes it a bit disorienting when the wrong type of blogger starts talking about the problems with oil-based lube.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Road trip!

fearsclave picked up a mild case of the memes this morning, and it turns out to be a strain I'm particularly vulnerable to:

Which five events in history would you choose to experience in person, and why?

Events? I dunno. But there are definitely some times and places in history I'd give a lot to see. This is off the top of my head, so no promises of historical accuracy.

- Alexandria. Freakin' Alexandria. The most cosmopolitan--and second largest--city in the Roman world, designed on an elegant plan reportedly by Alexander himself, filled to bursting with art and architecture looted from all over Egypt, the center of trade between the Roman and eastern worlds, and home to what must have been a riotous mix of cultures, with temples to every god imaginable and even one of the world's largest Jewish populations, after the destruction of Jerusalem. She was legendary even in her own time, and today there's nothing left above ground except but a single late Imperial pillar. I _ache_ to see the Mediterranean and Mareotic harbors with their unthinkably prosperous emporia, the Paneion on its man-made hill, the tomb of Alexander (the trip might need to be timed to before Augustus knocked his nose off), the palaces of the Ptolemies, the luxury island Marc Antony moped away his last days on... And I understand they had a nifty lighthouse and library, too.

- Tenochtitlan. The capital of the Aztec empire, built in the middle of a lake and reached by boat or by one of a few stone causeways. The Spanish conquistadors called it the City of Dreams, carefully build on a civilized grid, paved with polished flagstones, studded by enormous pyramid temples and peppered with markets selling goods from all over Mesoamerica. Though it's easy to think of the metalless Aztecs as primitive, they carefully administered their civilization and city, to the point of dividing the lake into fresh and saltwater sections. There was peerless and alien art and architecture shoulder to shoulder with viciously brutal subjugation of other cultures and human sacrifice. I can't begin to wrap my mind around how alien that place must have been to a European mind--a metropolitan center to a whole region-spanning civilization with no common roots for thousands of years back. After taking the city by force, Cortes had the entire island leveled. There is, for all practical purposes, nothing left. This is the second place I'd point my time machine.

- The Colosseum. But not, actually, during the Roman games. I want to visit the Flavian Amphitheater in the middle ages or Renaissance, when it was a neglected ruin on the outskirts of a much smaller Rome. In those days it was overgrown with plants; according to some, it included exotic foreign plants brought in on the animals killed in the games. Wandering alone through a place so quiet and thoroughly abandoned, but with such a visceral and inescapable connection with massive shouting crowds of people and a staggeringly complex civilization so long gone-- There's no way I'd pass it up.

- Rome in the first century. In part, this is just because it's an important time and place that's worth seeing. But I'm going to cheat a little and arrange to bring along a crew of historians to document the period. We're blessed to know as much as we do about Rome, but the long time and monastic filter have badly damaged our understanding of the time and people. We'd make a point of sticking our noses into the Mithraic mysteries. It was a foreign cult whose development and growth in popularity closely paralleled Christianity's, but which wasn't monotheistic. By some estimates, Christianity took the decisive lead practically by the flip of a coin. Had that race gone the other way, the ascendant Mithraists almost certainly wouldn't have rooted out and obliterated Rome's pagan tradition as the Christians did, and the world would be an unrecognizably different place. And for all that, we know very little about Mithraism. I'd love to change that.

- Along the same lines, a multi-year trip to Judea in the 20s and 30s, again with a documentary crew. Our understanding of who Jesus was and what he said and did is based, the best we can tell, on only two non-eyewitness sources (Mark and the Q source), plus what Luke was able to pick up through association with the apostles long after the fact. And from a skeptic's point of view, those sources are clearly contaminated with quite a bit of popular folklore and Greek and Levantine mythology. For one of the most influential human beings who's ever lived, that's a maddeningly sparse record. I would absolutely spend two decades in the backwaters of Galilee if it meant expanding the record.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

So what's the deal with paleo, anyway?

My buddy Jay sent along a Reuters article relevant to my paleo updates:

Starch grains found on 30,000-year-old grinding stones suggest that prehistoric man may have dined on an early form of flat bread, contrary to his popular image as primarily a meat-eater...
The findings may also upset fans of the Paleolithic diet, which follows earlier research that assumes early humans ate a meat-centered diet.

This handily illustrates one of the two problems with the core paleo philosophy that prevent me from really being a cheerleader for the diet. The idea is that humans evolved to make use of a diverse diet made up primarily of animals and plants (and insects, but that's one irrational food taboo I flatly refuse to breach), and that the neolithic shift to a simple diet based on grain carbohydrates and dairy products has increased our numbers while destroying our health.

Again, these assumptions have two big issues. The first is that it's highly debatable (and possibly unknowable at present) just how much humans have biologically adapted in the intervening tens of thousands of years to take advantage of the new diet. The second, as illustrated by the article, is that it's hard to be confident in what a paleolithic diet actually looked like in the first place. Was grain consumption common, or was it an anomaly confined to a few groups? Did the grains account for a huge portion of those groups' daily calories (as they do for most modern humans), or was it one small part of a diverse hunter-gatherer menu? I don't know that we can draw reliable conclusions at the moment.

So I'm keeping an open mind about what's causing my weight loss. At one end of the spectrum, it may be that grains and dairy are poisons that rapidly destroy our bodies and chain us to lives of ill health, as a couple of the fringe paleo gurus say. It may be that grains are a non-ideal food source that we, as highly adaptable omnivores, can deal with but are a poor basis for a diet--the attitude of some of my preferred paleo authorities. It's also possible that all the benefits I've seen have been a direct result of cutting out sugar and removing my ability to just grab a fast-food burger when I'm hungry.

Whatever it is, I'm losing weight very efficiently while eating as much as I want when I want, and feel much better than I ever had before, with almost no exercise. I'm neither weighed down with excess bodyweight and post-meal heaviness nor hungry and relying on willpower to resist overeating. I'm not on a meal clock--I can get all my daily calories in one big afternoon meal, or browse throughout the day, and neither bothers me. Whatever the deal is with paleo, it seems that my body really does have a functional system for telling me how much food I need and making good use of that food, but that system only works when I'm not eating grains or sugar both. It may be impossible to draw strong conclusions about the assumptions of paleo from the results, but I intend to stick with what's working.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Monday paleo update

Down another four pounds, making fifteen pounds in the first month. Still haven't done any exercise to speak of.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Life in the crazy house

I don't know of a better way to sum up New Jersey's gun laws than this observation over at Ian Argent's place:

Also, note that the possession charge is much more serious (second-degree crime) than the assault charge (fourth degree); and can be punished much more harshly (5-10 years vs. 18 months).

In the Garden State, the law punishes merely possessing a gun more harshly than actually attempting to harm somebody with it.

Is it even remotely possible to pretend anymore that gun control is about public safety?

You don't help us at all!

Japanese TV is like Jackass, but without the inherent respect for human dignity:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Here Come the Judge, Here Come the Judge

Tam at A View From the Porch has some unkind words about a popular handgun:

The continued sales success of the Taurus Judge and its spinoffs is the most damning condemnation of the general firearms and ballistics knowledge level of the average American shooter that I have ever seen.

And it's true. the Judge is a big, clunky, ponderous handgun that--contrary to what you'd assume about a "handheld shotgun"--fires some of the weakest shotgun shells around, 2 1/2" .410 cartridges, which are notably less powerful than common defensive handgun rounds. Taurus' attempt to fix this problem, the Magnum Edition Judge, makes the gun even longer and heavier, comically so, and manages to bring it up into the power range of a standard .45 or .357 handgun round. It's a gun that does nothing particularly well, and yet it sells like hotcakes to people who hear nothing more than "handheld shotgun".

But I'm not dismayed by the Judge's success. I think it's awesome. People buy all kinds of things based on hype and cosmetics without properly researching them. What the Judge's popularity means isn't that Americans are getting less literate in ballistics; it means that more guns are being bought by people outside the gun community. It means the market for guns is becoming a bit more like the market for cars and cameras and toasters. If there's one thing Americans can learn from foreign countries like Great Britain and New Jersey, it's that when only devoted enthusiasts are buying guns, gun rights are in serious danger. Long live the Judge, and long live underinformed consumers.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I had no idea...

...that Simpsons opening sequence was designed by Banksy.

Smell like a monster

Old man gun safety

Talk guns with an obsessive gunnie for a little while, and you'll become aware of a conflict in the gun world: casual gun owners and gun manufacturers are in love with a multiplicity of safety mechanisms, while more devoted gun aficionados don't like all the superfluous mechanical devices complicating their serious tools. Smith and Wesson has generated plenty of grumbling by including an internal trigger lock in all their revolvers, for example, and gunnies will go on and on about the new "lawyered-up" versions of the Ruger MkII pistol, which have added a magazine safety and a loaded chamber indicator. The only real safety, they say, is between your ears. All the doodads just create opportunities for malfunction and teach you bad habits.

It turns out this is nothing new. British firearms enthusiasts were arguing about the value of "safety" features in guns at least a century and a half ago:

In this respect Mr. Adams's pistol excels all others that have hitherto been made. It shoots with one action. That, in fact, is the first requisite of a good military pistol--namely, that it can be seized with one hend, right or left, and fired in a moment with a single draw of the trigger finger. To pull up the hammer, as in Colt's, is a superfluous and most disadvantageous drawback; while a double action, as in Tranter's [which used a second trigger to cock the hammer], is a similar error, as one cannot be expected to play the fiddle on a pistol when in action. But it is said that a pistol is more dangerous when it can be fired by a draw of the finger. Exactly; and that is the very reason that it is the best. The sharpest razor is the most dangerous for children or persons who do not know how to use it. But the sharpest razor is the best because it is the sharpest. And so it is with Adams's pistol. The very quality which makes it preeminently good for service is the quality that makes it dangerous in the hands of boys or bunglers. A pistol that requires two actions to fire is more safe in a house than one that requires only a single action; one that required three would be still more safe; and one that would not go off at all, as sometimes happens with those that have complex and fanciful notions attached to them, would be perfectly safe. Adams's pistol is not constructed for what is absurdly termed safety (which is procured by blunting the razor), but for action--for the most rapid action that can be executed with the simplest effort. It is the elementary pistol, and the best for military service because it is elementary.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Consumerist has an odd readership. On the one hand, they have a faction of stereotypical modern-US-liberals, prone to seeing racism and evil robber barons as the root of all ills, and sometimes seeming unable to conceive of any solution to any problem that doesn't involve government intervention, even where they acknowledge the problem was caused by government intervention in the first place.

But then they can post a story about banks sending lockbreakers to bust down the doors of occupied houses, and the overwhelming majority of responders say some variation on "this will end badly. I would've shot the guy."

At the moment, there's only one person angsting about how _mean_ it would be to shoot somebody who's "only doing his job".

Now, Consumerist does also have a faction of libertarian readers who use it to help choose who to do business with and how to do business with them. But this almost unanimous consensus proves one thing: Americans believe in self defense, they aren't shy about using guns to achieve it, and that belief in self-help isn't naturally tied to either end of the liberal/conservative spectrum. We've been pushed for a long time to believe it was by a Democratic party run by anti-gun metropolitan politicians, but that mask has cracked. It's no wonder gun control can't get a foothold anywhere these days.


A Consumerist article covers this:

Kmart Warns Spanish Speakers Not to Open Stuff Before They Buy.

It includes a photo of a little handwritten note on a Kmart shelf, written in Spanish, asking customers not to open packages.

Is your first reaction:

A - "I guess in some Spanish-speaking cultures it's normal to open packages and inspect the merchandise before you buy, and some recent immigrants shopping in that store don't yet know that it's a faux pas in the US. Interesting cultural difference."

- or -

B - "That's racist!"

I thought the first. The majority of Consumerist readers seem to think the second. Are they overreacting, or is my white male privilege blinding me to the daily oppression of the Latino shopper?

On Headlines

Because it's much punchier than "twentysomething female undergraduate psychology students from Ontario self-report more culpability than twentysomething male undergraduate psychology students from Ontario":

This just in! Women apologize more than men!

And this week's flash in the pan...

Alan Baird, blogging at Salon, did the usual gun-owners-are-stupid-lunatics, they-should-all-shoot-themselves dance. The usual immune response kicked in, the gunnies jumped in with the usual debunking, and he flounced out in the usual petulant snit. No news there.

But there's one little thing that should be noted. Weer'd quotes* Baird's flounce thusly:

[When I posted my original article], the idea of concealed-carry did not really bother me. If a gun-toter was smart enough to recognize that the open display of a weapon drastically tilts the perceived power balance between two individuals, then... live and let carry.[...]

But these barbarians who roam the Internet and try to pick fights have now convinced me that NOBODY should have a gun. If they feel that personal attacks, libels and death threats are appropriate behaviors in the 21st century, how can they be trusted with guns? They shouldn’t even be allowed to carry sharp sticks.

Baird doesn't realize it, but this kind of statement is very, very good for us. Gun bans do not fly with the American public. Even in New-freakin'-Jersey, most people I meet who are worried about "gun violence" still believe in the individual's right to have effective guns for self defense. The more the antis admit that they want extreme restrictions, the more we win. The only time they ever gain ground is when they can push the illusion that they only want fine, minor, "common sense" changes to our gun laws.

Push the point that only a complete ban will make it any more difficult for criminals to get guns. Don't think that attacking the halfway measures will invite more ambitious attacks on our rights. The more publicly ambitious our enemies are, the better off we are. Every time we can make people like Baird show their true colors--every time we can take away their middle ground and force them to defend their actual extreme positions--we win a bit more.

It's fundamentally impossible to prevent all criminals from getting guns. It may be possible though, as the antis believe, to _decrease_ the number of criminals with guns. But, halfway measures being so childishly easy to circumvent, the only way that's remotely possible is with a universal ban. As long as law-abiding citizens can have guns, any criminal who wants one will get one easily. That fact doesn't damn us; it's our most powerful weapon.

[* - I'd usually link directly, but Baird is already shenaniganing his old entries; Weerd's quote will be more stable.]

Monday, October 11, 2010

Paleo update

Down another four pounds.

That's a total of eleven pounds so far, from a week of halfassed transition, and two weeks of paleo diet.

In that time my total exercise has been stagehanding for three burlesque shows last weekend, and two half-hour walks. I've done no portion control whatsoever, eating when I'm hungry until I'm not hungry any more. This is also allowing for small quantities of non-paleo foods, so I haven't completely abandoned cheeseburgers.

It's way, way too early to decide that this is a miracle that will keep working forever. This may just be my body adjusting to a dramatically different diet. And even if it keeps working--nutritional science being so fundamentally complicated--that doesn't necessarily vindicate the hypothesis paleo is based on. Maybe I owe these results just to cutting out sugar.

But right now? It feels like a miracle.

Friday, October 8, 2010

That word...

A US President exaggerating the threat of terrorism for his own political purposes? Inconceivable!

The Devil You Say

HANGMAN, n. An officer of the law charged with duties of the highest dignity and utmost gravity, and held in hereditary disesteem by a populace having a criminal ancestry. In some of the American States his functions are now performed by an electrician, as in New Jersey, where executions by electricity have recently been ordered--the first instance known to this lexicographer of anybody questioning the expediency of hanging Jerseymen.

--Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

TIme machine disembarking

pointed out by Knirirr:

Before World War II, Mrs. de Florian left her Paris apartment and moved to the South of France. She never returned, but faithfully paid her rent for 70 years, the apartment remaining completely untouched.

Mrs. de Florian passed away earlier this year, and the apartment was opened for the first time in more than half a century.

The appraisers found a three million dollar painting, sure, but far more amazing is all the little things left just as they were, in a little time capsule. What would you give to root around in there?

The aptly named Paris Apartment blog has more photos.


Y'know, it's been so long since someone pointed a good unhinged armchair-psychoanalytic rant at me that I was beginning to think nobody cared.

An excerpt, from the comments over at James's place:

But you don’t want to touch that point, now do you? You sure as hell didn’t in your response, despite how it’s the main thesis of my comment. Your response has almost nothing to do with that point; in fact, due to your lying misrepresentations, it appears as if you’re *trying* to not just avoid it, but cover it up and distract people from it.

Which is likely why you tried — and failed — to criticize what I said by deceitfully rephrasing it in your own grossly exaggerated misrepresentation. The odds are it’s because on some level you realize that you can’t defend your own position honestly and fairly, and thus have to *cheat*.

To say nothing of how your laughably unconcealed attempt to fallaciously argue from authority as well only goes to further demonstrate that likelihood.

...I see you lying about what I actually said in order to knock down a couple of straw men of your own misrepresentation.

And I don’t like it, and I’m not going to let you get away with it. You owe me an apology.

Now, as a value-added service, a multiple choice test. Is the radical, abusive, chauvinistic theory I'm being so, ah, eloquently smacked down for:

A - The Aryan master race must take its place at the head of a glorious new world order.
B - The Jewish untermenschen are corroding our Glorious Republic from within.
C - The African dog must be sent back to his own degenerate continent.
D - Maybe not all single mothers are selfish bitches who abuse their children.

Like I've said many times before, it's one of the most gratifying things in the world when people you disagree with bring so much crazy to the table that they prove your point for you.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Quick health update

Have begun paleo diet. Am intrigued by principle, but am maintaining healthy skepticism. At worst, is handy way to increase food-mindfulness.

In one week of transition and one week of strict paleo, have lost seven pounds and feel subjectively healthier.

Time will tell if changes are consistent and without side effects.