July 23, 2017

"Later came grad school, Sweet ’n Low, Datsun 240Zs, Tab, thong underpants and free love — it was clear: Life had been lovingly fashioned around us."

"Us" = Baby Boomers.

The line is from "Why Are the Baby Boomers in Such a Bad Mood?" by Marilyn Suzanne Miller (in the NYT).

If you begin with delusions like thong underpants are lovingly fashioned around you, you're on the path to disappointment.

Wikipedia provides this history of the thong:
The thong, like its probable predecessor the loincloth, is believed to be one of the earliest forms of human clothing and is also thought to have been worn mostly or exclusively by men. It is thought the thong was probably originally developed to protect, support, or hide the male genitals. The loincloth is probably the earliest form of clothing used by mankind, having originated in the warmer climates of sub-Saharan Africa where clothing was first worn nearly 75,000 years ago. Many tribal peoples, such as some of the Khoisan people of southern Africa, wore thongs for many centuries. Much like the Japanese fundoshi, these early garments were made with the male genitalia in mind.
It was so not lovingly fashioned around a female Baby Boomer.
A descendant of the loincloth and thong is the jockstrap, created by Chicago sporting goods company Sharp & Smith in 1874. The first historical reference to the thong since then is in 1939 when New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia ordered nude dancers to dress more appropriately...

Prior to its entrance into mainstream fashion, g-strings were primarily worn by exotic dancers. In the modern Western world, g-strings are more commonly marketed towards females but are worn by both sexes. By the late 1980s, the style (for females) had made its way into most of the Western world; thong and g-string underwear became more and more popular through the 1990s due to shows like Baywatch, where numerous females were recorded wearing thong swimsuits.
Maybe you thought that TV show was about you.
In the 1990s, the thong began to gain wider acceptance and popularity in the United States as underwear.... In the late 1990s and early 2000s, some people wore thongs with low-cut hipsters and deliberately exposed them over the top of their trousers....
Now that the history of the thong has reached the 1990s, the name Monica Lewinsky belongs in this Wikipedia article, but it's not there (yet). Oh, wait. There's a separate Wikipedia article, "Social impact of thong underwear." Excerpt:
Monica Lewinsky gave evidence during the Lewinsky scandal that she was flirting with Bill Clinton in Leon Panetta's office, and that she lifted her jacket to show him the straps of her thong underwear above her pants. Some of the news media in America used thong underwear as a metonym for smut in the Starr Report...
Metonym? Let's switch to the "Explainer" at Slate "The Thong Show" (1998):
There has been much discussion of Monica Lewinsky's thong underwear. Thong underwear has even been adopted as a metonymic for the smuttiness included in Starr's report. (In fact, underwear isn't the raciest bit in the report--"oral-anal contact" is more shocking by far--it's just the raciest bit TV producers will air.)...

Lewinsky's... Aug. 11 testimony says "no one else in the room could have seen [the thong]..." In other words, showing the thong isn't a prudish way of saying that Lewinsky stripped for the president. Showing the thong was a lewd trick Lewinsky knew, something just slightly more salacious than a suggestive wink.
Lewinsky — who was not a Baby Boomer — might have thought the thong was lovingly fashioned around her. And Bill Clinton — definitely a Baby Boomer — would probably agree.

It's all narcissism. We Baby Boomers have soaked in it for a long long time, and if the illusion that it's all lovingly fashioned around us is wearing thin and we have no backup resources, we deserve to be sad.

July 22, 2017

At the Enjoyable Sandwich Café...


... you can talk all night.

And you can shop all night, too, preferably through The Althouse Amazon Portal.

That sandwich photograph originally appeared on this blog back here, in 2009. Sandwiches happened to come up twice on the blog today (if you count a cheeseburger as a sandwich), so that — in my entirely made-up rules of blogging — made it right to go into the archive for a sandwich photo for the café post.

"While concepts like the traditional Chinese zodiac are still relevant, they are often dismissed by millennials here as 'the older generation’s pastime.'"

"Western astrology, on the other hand, is seen as more fun. Much as some Westerners have embraced Eastern practices like Buddhism, young Chinese are gravitating toward Western astrology because they say it is new and exotic. “People don’t get as excited about traditional culture because it’s too familiar,” said Liu Hongchen, an astrologer known as Eskey among his more than nine million followers on Weibo, a popular microblogging site. 'The younger generation likes Western culture more, and the interest in Western astrology is a perfect example of this.'"

There's even job discrimination against Virgos and in favor of Scopios, Geminis, and Capricorns.

From "When Young Chinese Ask, ‘What’s Your Sign?’ They Don’t Mean Dragon or Rat," in the NYT.

Brilliant positioning by Kid Rock.

I love everything about the photograph, including the salt and pepper shakers that are luring haters to say things like "Nice salt and pepper shakers, grandma."

Stroh's = Detroit, Michigan.
In August 2016, Pabst partnered with a brewery in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood called Brew Detroit to begin brewing batches of Stroh's Bohemian-Style Pilsner, a beer derived from an original 1850's Stroh's recipe. The first batch was shipped to area bars, restaurants, and liquor stores on August 22, with special events all across metropolitan Detroit on the 26th.
Here's more about Corktown. It's named after County Cork in Ireland, from which many immigrants came during the great potato famine in the 1840s. I didn't know the name Corktown, but I have been there, because it's where Tiger Stadium is was, and I've been there a couple times (back in the summer of 1976, when Mark "the Bird" Fidrych was the rage).

Here's a Google maps link to let you take a walk around Corktown in Street View.

I took a stroll on a Brooklyn Street...

gloves 3

... down past the glove factory...

glove 2

"On Hand Since 1912."

ADDED: I'll bet Dan Rather regrets creating this showpiece:

Answer: Yes.

Can the President pardon himself?

"Mr. Forcements—may I call you Branden?" — so begins the response to email from Olive Garden's "brandenforcements."

From Vincent "Vino" Malone, a guy who blogs about eating at Olive Garden. Olive Garden is policing its brand name, in the typical galumphing way that big corporations do, more fearful of losing a trademark than looking like bullying idiots.

"The American news media’s respect for tech CEOs and foreign-policy experts are the photographic negative of their overwhelming contempt for Dumb Donald."

"These things don’t happen because the journalists that remain are liberals. It happens because so many of them are part of the same class – an exalted and privileged class."

Writes Thomas Frank (the author of "What's the Matter with Kansas?" and a book I've read and recommend, "Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?").
Consider Politico’s famous email tip-sheet, Playbook, which is read religiously every morning by countless members of the DC press corps, including myself. About two-thirds of the publication consists of useful summaries of the day’s news stories.

The rest, however, is a sort of People magazine for the Washington journalist community, in which the reader is invited to celebrate leading journalists’ (and politicians’) birthdays, congratulate leading journalists (and politicians) for their witty phrase-making, learn which leading journalist (and politician) was seen at which party and anticipate which leading journalist (and politician) is going to be on which Sunday program....

But there is an unwritten purpose to these daily honor rolls of journo/political friendship and that is to define the limits of what is acceptable.

Like the guestlist at Lally Weymouth’s party in the Hamptons, which was described so salaciously in Playbook a little while ago, a tiny handful of people and publications and ideas are in; everyone else is out....

They know what a politician is supposed to look like and act like and sound like; they know that Trump does not conform to those rules; and they react to him as a kind of foreign object jammed rudely into their creamy world, a Rodney Dangerfield defiling the fancy country club.
A foreign object jammed rudely into their creamy world...

Yes, he is a pricker forward.

I'm glad to get a perfect chance to use that term I learned yesterdaypricker forward, a synonym for instigator from the 16th century.

Frank is portraying Trump as a masculine stereotype (a rude jamming object) and the press as a feminine stereotype (swanning about in a "creamy world"). It's a rape metaphor.

Now stand back and let Donald Trump make a sandwich:

He hates small food, you know.

NYT crossword tries embarrassingly hard to seem young.

Have you done the Saturday puzzle yet? My reaction was similar to but much harsher than Rex Parker's:
This puzzle is just fine, though it feels like a parody of a puzzle that's trying extra super special hard to be current. Twitter! Facebook! Two Snapchat clues! Kids like the Snapchat, right? Am I Relevant Yet!? We are living in a digital world, and I am a digital girl boy, but take it easy.

"The professor was just offering up some red meat so the racists and phony hero's would crawl out of their caves and show their disgusting underbellies."

"This blog is one big troll and the commentariat are the unwitting subjects of a psychopathology experiment."

Said Howard in the post about the 5 teenagers who taunted and laughed and recorded video as a man drowned before their eyes.

I'll just say... The phony hero's what?

And let me give you an example of a commenter who used that thread as an occasion to tell a story of his own (phony?) heroism. Gahrie wrote:
I was a longterm substitute teacher at a middle school that took the entire 7th grade to the museums and beach in San Diego. The kids were allowed to go in the water, and at least half did. I was the only teacher in the water. Six kids, all of whom were chronic trouble makers I later discovered, got caught in a rip current and were trapped where the waves were breaking also. No one noticed but me, and I immediately swam out to them without thinking. All six grabbed on to me, and thank god I am a large man (buoyant), or I would not have been able to keep the seven of us up. The lifeguards eventually saw us and rescued all of us. They said I probably saved the life of at least a couple of the kids who were exhausted.

When I finally got the shakes and reacted, the scariest thing to me was that I didn't think about what I was doing, and instead just reacted.
And let's also see what the race-conscious analysis was like. (The drowning man was black, and people are assuming that the 5 teenagers are black.) First, here's Chuck:
I am going to give the [NY] Times a pass on their having not posted video. Although I'll bet dollars to doughnuts that if a black man had been drowning and the monstrous do-nothing onlookers had been white, that the Times would have posted all of it along with three [new] columns on the state of race relations.
And here's Clyde:
[T]o play devil's advocate: In Florida, any sizable body of water such as a pond has a very good chance of having an alligator in it. There's a very good chance that the black teens don't know how to swim. It's apparent from listening to the video that the victim drowned quickly and would have been dead long before help could arrive even if they had called 911. And since they were at the park smoking marijuana, calling 911 would just have gotten them involved with the police, which they obviously didn't want to happen, and you can't call 911 anonymously.
And, responding to Clyde, YoungHegelian:
Yes, all this is true.

I'd like to add, in my experience with teen-age boys, & especially the black teen-age boys in the DC area, that sort of goofy bravado is default behavior when caught in an unfamiliar situation. It's like you never, ever show fear or concern, for such would be seen as a sign of weakness.

You have no idea how many times I've been out driving & some young black man will just step out boldly to cross against traffic. And you know what? He'll never look up the entire time! It's almost as if when he makes eye contact with a driver, the jig will be up. Hell, I'd look up & around when jaywalking just to make sure I don't get splattered by some clown who's looking at his cell phone & not the road. Not these guys.

And, yes, it gets them killed. In my county in suburban DC (Montgomery County, MD), each year more pedestrians are struck & killed by cars then there are victims of murder.
And here's Big Mike:
I want to add that I'm very distressed to see the comments that raise a racial issue (or potential racial issue). I grew up in [a] small Midwestern quarry town, and the white teenagers among whom I grew up would have acted no differently. Well, except fifty-five years ago they wouldn't have had cellphones, they'd have been smoking cigarettes and not weed, and there was no 911, no Internet, no social media.

July 21, 2017

At the Late Night Cafe...

... you can talk all night.

"The low-quality, 2.5-minute cellphone video... shows a man flailing in the middle of a body of water as the teenagers describe his struggle and laugh at him from the shore."

The NYT reports:
One of the teenagers, using an expletive, calls Mr. Dunn a junkie. Someone tells him not to expect any assistance: “Ain’t nobody going to help you, you dumb bitch. You shouldn’t have got in there,” he says.

About a minute into the video, the man appears to let out a whimper before submerging, fully, underwater. “He just died!” a voice can be heard saying, as the others begin to laugh.
The police have identified the 5 cruel teenagers, but...
"In the state of Florida, there is no law in place that requires a person to render aid or call to render aid to a victim in distress..."...
Did the boys even have the ability to rescue the man? You could die trying to rescue a person. It's not surprising that the law doesn't require rescue. Such a law could cause more people to die. Imagine standing on the bank of a raging river thinking I'd better jump in there and give it a go or I'll be sent to prison.

As for the laughing and what the boys said, the law can't and shouldn't do anything. I haven't heard the recording, and I assume it's very disturbing, but I don't know that the boys are monsters. They happen to witness a person struggling and they decide that they cannot or will not help and they must deal with their predicament. They talk to the man. What they say is crude, but it communicates a truth to the man. They will not help him. And they struggle to explain why: He shouldn't have gone in there. They laugh in the end when he goes under. I haven't heard the laughing. But it could be anxiety, shock, and denial.

The boys may nevertheless be charged with a crime. The authorities are threatening to charge them under this statute, which imposes, in some circumstances, a duty to report that a death has occurred. I think they're grasping for a way to punish these boys for their speech and their laughter.

I intentionally wrote 2 posts about Salvador Dali today, and — surrealistically — he made a random appearance in a third post.

The 2 posts that are intentionally about him are "What could be more surrealistic than exhuming the surrealist?" and "His moustache is still intact, [like clock hands at] 10 past 10, just as he liked it. It’s a miracle."

Those 2 posts happened today as a result of a real-world event: The corpse of Salvador Dali was exhumed to cut out some body parts to test to determine whether he was the father of a woman who's seeking a chunk of his estate.

In between those 2 posts, there was a post that came into being solely because the word "instigator" popped up in conversation. (And it wasn't a conversation about Salvador Dali.) The word makes me want to hear the old song "Something in the Air," which begins with the line "Call out the instigators," which is the name of the post where I embedded the video. I had not watched the video all the way through, so I hadn't noticed what a commenter — Kassaar — pointed out: "Dali is in the Thunderclap Newman video... Coincidence?"

Let me clip out the precise point:

Either that's a coincidence or the awakened spirit of Salvador Dali is haunting me.

(Interesting lorgnette, by the way, with the handle in the center like a slingshot.)

"Look, I think that [Trump] has an amazing belief in his own ability to will what he thinks into reality."

"And I think that he thinks of reality as something that is subjective. So I think that what people characterize as 'he’s out of touch' or 'he’s not understating this' or 'he seems off,' or whatever—I think he has an amazing capacity to try to draw the world as he wants it. And I think that’s a lot of it."

Says the NYT reporter Maggie Haberman (who's had a lot of contact with Trump over the years), in an interview in The New Yorker with David Remnick, who asked her about Trump's "mental state" — "his grasp of life, of fact."

"The anti-Trumpers need a Pope. And apparently they want it to be me. I didn’t see this coming."

"I will consider the job over the weekend and let them know my decision. If you see white smoke coming from the man-cave in my garage, it means I have accepted the position."

Said Scott Adams, responding to the response to the podcast he did with Sam Harris. Adams likes to talk about Trump as a "master persuader," to explain the methods, and he purports to be leaving questions of morality and ethics to other people.

By the way, I listened to the whole podcast yesterday...

... and I thought it was fantastic how — no matter how hot and desperate Harris got — Adams slipped in laterally and calmly and gave a Trump-supporting explanation — without ever really saying that he personally supports Trump. Adams is like Trump's lawyer within a dimension where law is the actual structure of the human mind.

I don't know if Trump is a master persuader, but I'm leaning toward thinking Adams is a master persuader persuading us that Trump is a master persuader. 

"His moustache is still intact, [like clock hands at] 10 past 10, just as he liked it. It’s a miracle."

"His face was covered with a silk handkerchief – a magnificent handkerchief. When it was removed, I was delighted to see his moustache was intact … I was quite moved. You could also see his hair."

The exhumation of Salvador Dalí — already discussed in an earlier post today, here — does not respect the dead artist's privacy. Instead, an embalmer named Narcís Bardalet — who also handled the body at the time of the entombment in 1989 — gives the press his eyewitness account. He also said that the body "was like wood," and an electric saw had to be used to desecrate the body (that is, to collect the court-ordered bone samples).

These quotes appear in The Guardian, where there is a photograph of the woman who brought the lawsuit. She does look very much like Dali. Under Spanish law, she would be entitled to a quarter of the estate (though Dali willed everything to the Spanish state). The woman, Maria Pilar Abel, did not learn who her father was from her mother, but from her mother's husband's mother, who told her: "I know you aren’t my son’s daughter and that you are the daughter of a great painter, but I love you all the same."

Via Metafilter, where they are making jokes: "I will now enjoy imagining Dalí's mustache surviving the destruction of the earth, the guttering out of the sun, and even the heat death of the universe. In the end, there will only be the mustache, floating serenely in the void. An unguessable number of eons later, CREATION!"... "His moustache was in excellent shape, but his pocket watch apparently had melted."...

Speaking of Salvador Dali's mustache, here he is on "What's My Line?" in 1959, puzzling the blindfolded panel and cracking up the audience. It's a question about the mustache that identifies him:

"But if you can stand the ear-splitting music that renders 90 percent of the heavily accented dialogue incomprehensible..."

"... or follow what there is of the convoluted plot—or if you’re a fan of war and carnage in general—you won’t be bored."

Rex Reed, letting me off the hook on seeing "Dunkirk."

"Call out the instigators..."

Just a song on my mind after Meade used the word "instigator."

According to the OED — which, have I ever told you?, is unlinkable — the word goes back to 1598:
1598 J. Florio Worlde of Wordes Instigatore, an egger on, a prouoker, a pricker forward, an instigater.
A pricker forward. I love that!

I feel as though I've blogged about that song before, but I can't find where.

Here's an alternative video, showing the band playing. Here are the lyrics. It's one of the great "revolution" songs of a half century ago. Like the more famous Beatles song "Revolution," it wears its confusion about revolution openly:
Hand out the holy spirits
We got to remake all our life
Hand out the arms and ammo
We're going to blast our way through here
Because the moment will arrive, and you know its right
Because the revolution's here, and you know it's right
The band, Thunderclap Newman had something to do with The Who:
In 1969, Pete Townshend, The Who's guitarist, was the catalyst behind the formation of the band. The concept was to create a band to perform songs written by drummer and singer Speedy Keen, who had written "Armenia City in the Sky", the first track on The Who Sell Out. Townshend recruited jazz pianist Andy 'Thunderclap' Newman (a friend from art college),  and 15-year-old Glaswegian guitarist Jimmy McCulloch, who subsequently played lead guitar in Paul McCartney's Wings from 1974 to 1977 and died of a heroin overdose in 1979 aged just 26. Keen played the drums and sang the lead [and wrote the song].
"Something in the Air" would have been called "Revolution" if The Beatles hadn't made its use confusing. But there is another song called "Something in the Air," one of David Bowie's lesser known efforts (but 2 movies, "American Psycho" and "Memento").

Now, I'm guessing that what you're wondering is what was "Armenia City in the Sky." So here you are: 

"If you're troubled and you can't relax... If the rumors floating in your head all turn to facts...."

"I'm not elitist. I'm elite. There's a difference."

Overheard on the street in University Heights (Madison, Wisconsin).

Sean Spicer resigns.

"Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, resigned on Friday morning, telling President Trump he vehemently disagreed with the appointment of the New York financier Anthony Scaramucci as communications director," the NYT reports.

ADDED: Earlier this morning, from Politico:
Scaramucci, who is a frequent TV surrogate for Trump, is liked by the president. Trump "thinks he is really good at making the case for him," one of these people said. "He loves him on TV."
Here's how he looks on TV (from a month ago), in case you want to check out what Trump loves:

UPDATE: Scaramucci is the new communications director. The new press secretary is Sarah Huckabee Sanders (WaPo).

Man hands.

A Drudge theme right now:

A topic that came up in the Dali thread, where I'd said "What path did your eye take and how many points of interest did you take in before you saw... the snake around her wrist?" and holdfast said: "before you saw...the creepy man-hands?" Closeup:

Classic "Seinfeld" bit: