Free-Floating Hostility

Saturday, April 30, 2005


Reading List Update

As first reported last week, we've been reading Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Well, we've completed the book and it comes with our highest recommendations. Jonathan Safran Foer's mother should be very proud. Go out, buy it and read it.

0 Comment(s):

Post a Comment

Friday, April 29, 2005


I am too Tired for Writing Structure

I am very tired. I woke up at 4 something this morning in order to drive down to Modesto with a coworker whom I will call Alger. The object of our road trip was a conference on farm safety education for children. Given my background in early childhood education this is actually right up my alley. Also it meant I didn't have to do any real work today.

By virtue of the fact that the other attendees of this meeting were actually farmers, I learned more about agriculture today than I've learned in two months at the University. The conference was arranged by Farm Safety 4 Just Kids, a non-profit that was started by a woman whose 11-year-old son died in a gravity flow wagon eighteen years ago. Their goal is to educate children and parents, mostly on family farms where children are educated in agriculture from the beginning, about hazards peculiar to children (they're inexperienced, and the wrong size for most machines). Let me tell you it was bloody fascinating, and it kind of made me miss teaching. It definitely made me wish I was spending more of my time on outreach and less of it nagging PIs for their biosketches and being growled at for my pains.

Also, I learned that Alger, who is a very mild-mannered guy and not obviously interesting, is about fifty times cooler than me. Besides his Peace Corps stint in Honduras and his master's degree in England he's worked in Nicaragua, Japan, Pakistan, and Mozambique, just that we've talked about today. He's been to 24 countries so far and he's planted over 1,000 trees.

I am going to sleep now.

0 Comment(s):

Post a Comment

Thursday, April 28, 2005


Celebrity Poker Face (None)

So my old friend Erin, law student and famously cool customer, has been dating this lawyer for a while. This lawyer, Shawn, turns out to be Mariah Carey's nephew. If I ended this post right here it would already be the funniest thing I've ever told you.

But I'm not going to end it there. I'm going to tell you about Erin's big night at Mariah's album release party last week. Certain stimuli will transform my ice princess into a gusher: dogs ("Puppy! puppy! ohmigod you're a puppy!"), weddings (she sobs, in some cases during the rehearsal), and apparently famous people. Not all famous people; she'd already seen Puffy, so that was boring, but Erin says she began clapping her hands together and shouting "Oh my god" every time she spotted someone else, so much so that Robin Williams apparently turned to her and shouted, "Oh my god, it's me!" She also had an interesting run in with Randy Jackson, who thought Shawn was dating a 12-year-old until Erin stood up. "You unfold nicely," he apparently told her, and referred to her as "Shawn unfolding" for the rest of the night. I guess this means Randy Jackson is an asshole when he's hungry. If Shawn hadn't spilled something on Erin's dress, she would have gotten to meet Denzel.

I saw Rick Moranis once, and I started crying.

2 Comment(s):

Post a Comment


Ron Mexico

A few days ago, we posted about the NFL's decision to ban the name "Ron Mexico" from official replica jerseys because of Michael Vick's alleged proclivity for spreading herpes under an assumed name. Anyway, the enterprising folks on the Internet (actually a college student from Finland) decided to help everyone find their perfect pseudonym (nom d'amour?) as the case may be.

Yours Truly,
Raymond Ecuador

3 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger Form at April 28, 2005 9:09 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Can we set up a webpage to host a contest where people try to guess the inevitable line on the next Ludacriss album that rhymes with "Ron Mexico?"

    "Drafted number #1, can scramble or throw...
    Scoring all over the A.L.T. like I'm Ron Mexico!"

    --Nikko Sierra Leone

  •   Posted by Blogger Mike at April 28, 2005 9:44 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • If you had used "Dave," you would have been Big Boy Spain, which might have gone better with your post.

    Although your post was pretty brilliant as it was.

  •   Posted by Blogger Anna at April 28, 2005 11:12 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • How about

    "Pumpin on your mama like I'm at Texaco

    Bitch is wide open and receiving like Plaxico

    Only 80 cents a gallon thanks to Ron Mexico."

    --Raquel Lebanon
    (the beauty part is, mine's actually plausible)

Post a Comment

Wednesday, April 27, 2005


Fun with Food

I'm the sort of Jew who won't eat bread this week, but will eat ham.

I didn't even know that people kept Passover before I went away to college and was exposed to folks who hadn't gone to secular humanistic temples all their lives. I started swearing off bread at Passover when we lived in Hobbs. Being the only Jew in a 90-mile radius unless you count Anna, I thought I should mark the occasion with something more than having matz-ball soup along with my Taco Bell. Anyway the tradition still holds, although I sort of make up the rules as I go along. For me that means no bread, nothing that obviously expands like pasta or rice, no corn, no corn syrup and nothing with flour.

During the course of my diet (five months now) I've learned how difficult it is to roll with the punches when other people, and by that I mean various media relations departments, are designing your dinner and not exactly telling you in advance what the menu will be.

On Tuesday I covered a baseball game where the pregame meal was actually a deli buffet. That meant I had to endure Atkins diet taunts as I made my through a lunch of lettuce, tomato, a variety of cold cuts and mustard with a knife and fork. So that was fun. Friday is Kings basketball, where I'll have to figure out a way not to walk in the door, make a bee-line to the pizza stand and wolf down two slices before I've opened my laptop. I'd bring my own matza if bringing your own dinner weren't an offense punishable by extreme taunting and suggestions of amateurism.

I don't know how people keep kosher and function in the world.

6 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger Jeff'y at April 27, 2005 9:33 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • The kid who sits next to me at work is a vegan (which, if you don't know how anyone manages to keep Kosher in general, try being a vegan). He is not Jewish but just started dated a girl who is, and he decided that he'd keep Kosher for Passover, but hardcore. No legumes (no soy, therefore) and no rice or corn means that he gets next to nothing by way of protein for the week. He's a nice guy and all, but it will be funny if his hair starts falling out.

    He also observes Ramadan each year for no good reason (i.e. he's not dating a Muslim), and we were speculating what would happen if Ramadan overlapped with Passover. The consensus is that he'd be fucked.

  •   Posted by Blogger Form at April 28, 2005 6:25 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Here are some tips for keeping kosher and functioning in the world.

    1)Don't move to Davis California. I am not saying you are a bad Jew. I am just fully disclosing the fact that it is much easier for me to function in the real world as a Kosher Jew than you, because I got all these businesses marking up Orange Juice around this time of year to fleece my people.

    2)For Pesach, go with meat and potatoes. I am not sure what the Mirer diet allows, but usually diets get left in Egypt during the Seder as we recreate the Exodus. Potato chips are a must. Jeff'y's friend better get his hands on some spinach soon or he is going to be having problems.

    3)Wear a weird hat indicating that you are part of a weird religion all year round. Eventually people will get use to your strange eating habits and get tired of taunting you. Next thing you know, they are asking to try some of the Matzah and chopped liver you bring to work this week.

    4)Finally, Matzah Lasagna, which is surprisingly good. Get your hands on some Matzah (to sub for the noodles), Kosher for Pesach cottage cheese, Kosher for Pesach Tomato Sauce, and some Kosher for Pesach Mozzarella cheese and imitate Lasgna. Spinach is optional for those in need of protein. It is quite good (at least when my mother-in-law makes it) and Anna safe.

  •   Posted by Blogger Anna at April 28, 2005 9:31 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Dude, there is absolutely no protein in Spinach. I will try the lasagna, though.

  •   Posted by Blogger Mike at April 28, 2005 9:35 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Wait, potato chips are legal? Shit, at the baseball game I avoided the big basket of chips because I figured there was no way they were legal. I would have eaten a lot less meat.

    At home it's been burgers rubbed down horseradish, although I'm almost out of ground beef and need to figure out what I'm going to do next. Actually Matzah lasagna sounds pretty good. As for the diet thing, matzah's pretty actually pretty non-caloric.

    Also, the owner of Houston Rockets is a vegan and the pregame media meal at their building is meatless.

  •   Posted by Blogger Jeff'y at April 28, 2005 6:34 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • You have to be careful about potato chips as they might be cooked in corn oil. Or you could simply not care.

  •   Posted by Blogger Form at April 29, 2005 6:11 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Jeff'y is right. Try to find Utz potato chips.

Post a Comment


Tell those Malaysian Pre-teens to Take it Easy on the Starch

Sarah called me last night to ask if I knew what broken noses look like. Apparently, she was attempting to demonstrate that a certain hat had an exceptionally heavy brim, and wound up dropping it on her own face and bleeding. She says if her nose does turn out to be broken it'll be worth it just for the story. Mike says to tell Ryan to stop beating his girlfriend.

1 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger Jeff'y at April 27, 2005 9:37 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Ryan took me to the Angels-Yankees game as an early birthday present on Tuesday night, and I believe that the cap used in the assault was the Angels cap he wore to the game.

    The seats were good enough that we didn't get mercilessly taunted because of the hat, but it's more than sad that Ryan would take out his anger towards A-Rod on Sarahs.

Post a Comment

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


Announcement

FFH has finally gotten around to putting up its wedding pictures. In fact, we created a whole other blog for it. We cordially invite you to check out Free-Floating Chasseneh.

That, if it's not obvious, is the big something Mike has been hinting about.

2 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger Form at April 26, 2005 7:23 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Please do not alert all of the Teaneckers who viewed our wedding album over the Pesach holiday of Free Floating Chasseneh. We have them convinced our wedding album is the hippest thing to happen to Simcha picto-history since the contrived "Bride Applying Lipstick Before the Wedding" photo. We would like to keep it that way. (If it was not obvious, well done!)

  •   Posted by Blogger Anna at April 26, 2005 7:38 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • You wouldn't even let me see your wedding pictures! I say you owe me a photoblog.

Post a Comment

Monday, April 25, 2005


Matzoh Ball Hangover

I have a tendency to fix more food at parties than any reasonable person would ever want to eat. That means that the rest of the week is spent pleading with various strangers to finish the leftover kugel cause if you look at it one more time you'll faint, but tossing it would cause you physical pain.

We're sorry we weren't finished with the thing yet, but we are almost done, and if we didn't have jobs whereat scary bosses yell and jobs whereat our colleagues get stuck in Vegas leaving us with the 5 am layout shift, respectively, we would have pulled through and finished tonight.

Could I perhaps make it up to you with some marinated chickpeas? Some fruit salad? Five cups of charoset?

0 Comment(s):

Post a Comment

Sunday, April 24, 2005


Who Won? Manischewitz Hangover Edition

We'll have plenty of stories from Passover and a big announcement in the coming days. So I'll be brief and head to bed because the wine prefers sleep to exit my system.

24 April 2005
Gay Couples with Clear Winner: 0 of 0
Straight Couples with Clear Winner: 7 of 9
Men: 5
Women: 2
Ties: 1
Disputed Results: 1

Year to Date
Gay Couples with Clear Winner: 4 of 7
Ties: 3
Disputed Results: 0
Straight Couples with Clear Winner: 102 of 122
Men: 67
Women: 35
Ties: 11
Disputed Results: 9

1 Comment(s):

Post a Comment

Saturday, April 23, 2005


In which my Family Further Courts Excommunication

As you probably all know, tonight at sundown will begin the festival of Pesach, when Jews around the world come together for two nights of celebration followed by a week of extended crabbiness caused by a diet free of expandable foods and rich in chopped liver. This year we are holding a proper seder (as in not just the two of us), and so I am very busy with cooking. This is the only funny thing to happen in the past 24 hours:

My brother David, who is a religion major preparing a thesis proposal this weekend on Spiritual Roots of 20th Century Nonviolence Movements, called and got Mike on the phone. Having established that I was out, the following dialogue ensued:

David: So, Ratzinger, huh?
Mike: Yeah. How do you feel about your new Pope?
David: I want to crap on his face.
Mike: He's German, you know, he might enjoy it.

Happy soon-to-be-Pesach, everyone.

2 Comment(s):

Post a Comment

Thursday, April 21, 2005


Because we Lack a Book Review Section

I went to the bookstore the other day to purchase The Kite Runner, and came away instead with Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, the latest from Jonathan Safran Foer. I read his debut, Everything is Illuminated, because Jeff told me to and I wanted to make it up to him that I still haven't got past the first hundred pages of v.. I loved it; it's an excellent novel, if a little on the self-referential-post-modern-inside-joke side. And I say this despite the knowledge that before publication, he sent letters to basically every novelist in New York sucking up for blurbs (I know because one of the novelists he attempted to give literary head to was my mom). But his second book is so good that by the time I got to page 130 I had to stop and tell Mike to read it. Now neither one of us can wait for the other to finish it first, so we're reading it together. We have to take turns reading aloud because Mike doesn't think he can read the chapters from the point of view of the 10-year-old protagonist without crying (and Mike hasn't cried since he was 18, so you could see why he'd be anxious to protect his record). He reads the parts from the grandparents' points of view instead. We'll let you know if it stays this good to the end.

1 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger Jeff'y at April 23, 2005 8:13 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • (Without giving too much away,) The saddest part of the book is the Dresden letter, which would fall under Mike's domain, so be careful. I cried a number of times throughout. The last time I did that was when I read Flowers for Algernon when I was 10 or so.

    I heard Safran Foer interviewed on stage up at Columbia a couple of weeks ago and it was quite interesting (and I'm not too surprised that he's the type of person who would hit people up for blurbs). I meant to blog about his talk but it was back at the time when I was being lazy about my bloggages.

Post a Comment


Who Won? The Feature Stays Edition

Regular FFH readers will notice a delay in WW? this week. We have been kicking around the fate of our only regular feature and, despite its relative unpopularity, have decided to keep it. Here are the reasons: 1. I like it, so it's fun to do. 2. Commenting on frivolity in the Sunday Times is a good way to connect with our largely NYC-based readership. 3. I think its important for publications, blogs included, to have regular features that readers know to look for. 4. I like that WW? allows me to maintain a hostile pose to traditional conceptions of marriage while continuing to enjoy my own.

17 April 2005
Gay Couples with Clear Winner: 0 of 1
Ties: 1
Disputed Results: 0
Straight Couples with Clear Winner: 7 of 10
Men: 6
Women: 1
Ties: 2
Disputed Results: 1

Year to Date
Gay Couples with Clear Winner: 4 of 7
Ties: 3
Disputed Results: 0
Straight Couples with Clear Winner: 95 of 113
Men: 62
Women: 33
Ties: 10
Disputed Results: 8

2 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger BrooklynDodger at April 22, 2005 5:52 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • BrooklynDodger, despite a previous spanking for missing the point of WW, returns to methodological questions. For those among the FFH staff who have committed to biostatistics, these questions may have increased interest.

    The overwhelming dominance of men over women in terms of the contest, apparently meaning the women are more attractive to the raters, questions what it means to "win."

    First, one must address selection bias: who submits the photos? [likely the F or the F's parents]. Hypothetically, they don't care so much about how the M looks, more about how the F or self looks.

    Second, BrooklynDodger would argue for normalization as a measure of winning: an F below median for F's might be more esthetically pleasing in picture than an M above median. Would that be a win or a loss for the F? [or M?].

  •   Posted by Blogger Anna at April 24, 2005 6:49 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Your criticism only applies if you believe the point of WW? is to objectively determine which member of a couple is more attractive. Our goals are more modest; we are satisfied with limiting our investigation to who looks more attractive in Times wedding photos selected entirely on bias. You might even go so far as to say that this studies what FFH's standards for winningness.

Post a Comment

Wednesday, April 20, 2005



Gigi sent me this picture to help me be brave. Gigi rules. Posted by Hello

0 Comment(s):

Post a Comment


Reflections on my Professional Life

Doctors are well known, as a group, to be crackpots. Most of them yell. The nicest MD in our department has a picture of Edith Stein on his wall, and rides a unicycle to work. Mama, you might want to let your babies grow up to be cowboys after all.

0 Comment(s):

Post a Comment

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


All Right Liz, You Win

Usually when our temple youth group sponsored an outing, it including bowling. It's a nice way to kill a day. My sister and I would often group ourselves on the lane, and when one of us hit a strike we would turn to the other one and say, "Mom and Dad love me more."

Today word arrived that my sister made Phi Beta Kappa at Wayne State.

Congrats sis, consider that a strike.

1 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at April 21, 2005 5:42 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Whose the big winner? Mikey....no wait Lizzie's the big winner. Thanks for the post, that is sweet.

Post a Comment


Habemus Problem

I feel some responsibility to mark the passing of Karol Wojtyla and the promotion of his homeboy Josef Ratzinger. The problem is that, like so many Western Catholics my connection to the Pope feels no stronger than to any other Catholic. My religious education did not include papal infallibility, and notwithstanding the rote prayers in his name offered at mass I can't say he was a regular feature in my religious life, even when I was more religious than I am now.

I haven't been to mass since last summer, at the Abbey of Regina Laudis, the time I visited with the Cheese Nun. At the abbey they do mass pretty old school; not actually in Latin but just about everything else pre-Vatican II, including the fact that the host is placed directly on communicants tongues instead of in their hands (normally you can do it either way as you prefer). My mom was ahead of me in line for communion, and she made something of a point of putting out her hands for the host, so by the time I got up to the front of the line, I was completely nervous and sure I was doing something wrong. When the priest (whom I didn't know) and the lay brother looked at me expectantly I was just positive I had a line coming up. So out of my mouth flew the words...wait for it..."Body of Christ." I had stolen the priest's line. The priest burst out laughing. The lay brother burst out laughing. I burst out crying, and laughing, and put my head in my hands saying "Oh my gosh" (I am fairly sure I remembered not to say Oh my God in time). I couldn't stop laugh/crying for the rest of mass. I haven't been back since.

So that's my problem in a nutshell. For me, going to mass was always on the one hand a meaningful and sometimes beautiful way of learning about my own morality, but on the other hand it was an hour a week spent trying not to say the wrong thing, or to somehow give away that I was a masturbating agnostic who never had Confirmation. And it bothers me in a way I cannot ignore that even when I was a four-year-old composing short stories about Mary, Queen of Heaven, I already knew I would never be a priest. I still say Hail Marys every time I get behind the wheel of a car, but sometime recently the balance shifted, and I no longer feel like a full participant in Catholicism.

My understanding of God is so different from the doctrine espoused by John Paul II and, it would seem, Benedict XVI. The new Pope has expressed that he would prefer to see the Church diminished in number if it is purer in faith. It's all well and good for him; he gets to pick who stays and goes. But I know I am not the only person in this world who feels the failure of a community in Christ, who is tired of practicing defensive prayer. It doesn't seem fair to me that the highest cleric in the land can't open his arms wide enough to welcome the impure into God's house. If I were the father of millions of the faithful, I think that would break my heart.

0 Comment(s):

Post a Comment


The Pope is an Imposter

One of the strange things about living 25 years in an era where the current Pope reigns for 26 is that when a new one is named he just looks like an impostor. I watched Ratzinger walk onto the balcony and greet everyone this morning and my first reaction was, "God (unfortunate choice of exclamation, perhaps) he looks so fake. His hand gestures (not including the sign of the cross) looked about as genuine as Nixon giving the victory/peace sign.

So I guess you could summarize my reaction as, "Right, now go get the real Pope."

Also, Benedict?

1 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger Jeff'y at April 19, 2005 9:08 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • The Fake Pope clearly signals the End of Days. Tom DeLay was right–this is an inevitable result of a stacking the Sistine Chapel with activist Cardinals.

    Or is DeLay happy about the Armageddon?

Post a Comment

Monday, April 18, 2005


Observations from outsie the MCAT Testing Site

My impression of doctors from shows like ER and Gray's Anatomy was they are all really attractive. After 20 minutes outside an MCAT site I have concluded that people must magically become attractive after they are accepted to medical school.

0 Comment(s):

Post a Comment

Saturday, April 16, 2005


Oh For a Digital Camera with Which to Entertain You

Today is Picnic Day in Davis, an annual rite in which the town takes to the streets to celebrate itself. Currently there is a parade going on a block from our house. It's a little like the Labor Day Parade in Detroit, where seemingly everyone is involved so there are a limited number of people to watch it. There are no floats, though many departments are marching behind a banner.

The classics department came dressed in toga with some guy purporting to be Caesar riding behind the group. The business school walked the streets in ties with briefcases and even had a black lab walking the group that was wearing a tie. Then there is the student radio station, which rode on the back of a truck screaming about its annual fundraiser. There wasn't much that really had to do with radio but I suppose they got the point across. There are lots of bands as well.

The other interesting thing is the sheer volume of 4H clubs in the parade. This is a cool little town, with a fun and quirky downtown and very specific energy thanks to the college. It's easy, therefore, to forget that Davis was conceived as the "University Farm," and that liberal artsy as the school gets, the point is still agriculture. Other, quieter, reminders of that point are Anna's spring sneezes as every plant in the history of the world blooms and the smell that carries into the baseball venue at UC Davis when the wind is blowing in.

0 Comment(s):

Post a Comment

Thursday, April 14, 2005


Fun With Names

A colleague of mine is expecting his first child in couple of weeks. They think it's going to be a girl, although he said he has friends who have gone to the hospital expecting one gender and birthing the other. If that happens, he says, his son will be wearing dresses until age 3. He reported that he and his wife are stumped on the name question and he suspects that they'll be calling her (Shrug) or "Hey Kid" at her college graduation. Too bad it's not a boy, I wanted to say, then you could call it "Dude." With just over a month to go, it's getting closer to decision time.

He had not read these articles in Slate discussing what baby name say about both racial and socio-economic situations in the United States. Without a child to expect, I have no idea whether this information would freeze me with indecision or put my mind at ease. My sense is the latter. Since our families are white, relatively well-off, and educated, our daughter would be fine if she were named Shit Weasel (Shi or Weezie for short).

One name I would not pick would be Ron Mexico, since Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick allegedly used that name before sleeping with a woman who says she got herpes from him. The NFL, which stands for No Fun League, has decided that if you want to buy a jersey from them and put a name on the back, "Mexico" is no longer an option.

Ron Mexico is a shitty alias because it sounds like a porn star name. If anyone introduced themselves to me with a name like that, I'd immediately sue them because they would clearly be a famous person in disguise. Anna has a ready-made alias, Gina Anatoli, which is pretty good to give out if you were underage and hung around skeevy New York clubs. Apparently there are no Anatoli's in the NYC phonebook. Anna also says Jake Hinkle would be a good one for me. I trust her. She has a database of names she's been collecting for years and is longing to name a child, preferably someone else's for the moment.

1 Comment(s):

Post a Comment

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


Good Morning, Sunshine

Mike was going to blog tonight about Clocky, the prototype for an alarm clock that runs away and hides every time you hit snooze. But he forgot to blog and now he’s at work—so am I, come to that, but nevermind. Clocky is going to be covered in fur, and cute. This is clearly a better idea than the alarm clock Michael and I came up with when we were college freshman buddies. Our idea was for an alarm that played recordings of your parents having sex instead of a beep. Our slogan was “You’ll never hit snooze again!”

The more traditional, hairless alarm clock on our nightstand failed to go off one morning last week, making me almost an hour late for work. It made a good alarm for Michael, though, since he woke up to my ululations after I peeled my eyes open to discover it was already 8:30. The worst part about your alarm clock failing is that when you say your alarm didn’t go off, no one believes you. You might actually look more professional saying, “I just couldn’t be arsed to come to work at 8. I really wanted to make hash browns.”

1 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at April 14, 2005 10:31 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • The clocky prototype in the LA Times is truly heinous. Could they come up with something better than covering it in ugly brown carpet?

Post a Comment

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


She Started It

Mike has alluded to my mom's revelation over crepes that she drank throughout David's and my pregnancy. It all started with the seemingly innocent "I don't know why American women have taken it as an article of faith that you can't have anything to drink while you're pregnant. European women drink all through their pregnancies and think nothing of it." But, if you know my mom and you know me, you will recognize that she was baiting me, and that the answer "Because the NIH told them so," was not going to settle the matter. In fact, you have probably already guessed that I swallowed the bait whole as I always do, and that a debate ensued of great intensity and varying accuracy. I was unable to convince my mother that there was a scientific basis in the recommendation of abstinence from alcohol during pregnancy, and that it was not just "a plan to deny women pleasure." That is because I didn't have PubMed at Crepeville, but now I do.

I should warn you that this will be an exceptionally long post. Apologies. Adding a jump page is kind of an ass pain, but click the arrow below to finish reading what I have to say. I will take away the arrows in a few days; just put up with them till then.

A little bit of background: Most people are familiar with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), a term which covers a range of disorders from misformed eyelids to brain damage. It is caused by alcohol crossing the placenta (which it always will if it's in the mother's system), where it damages the developing nervous system of the fetus. My mother correctly pointed out that FAS is almost always linked with alcoholism. However, it is not unheard of in moderate drinkers, and it is certainly completely preventable with abstinence. However, FAS is only part of the question. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a more general term, and encompasses disorders that range in severity. In other words, just because a child isn't born with severe retardation doesn't mean she wasn't damaged by fetal exposure to alcohol. Drinking also increases the likelihood of miscarriage and stillbirth.

So, on to my mom's argument.

1. European women drink during pregnancy. Great. They also eschew deoderant. It's obviously possible to drink and still have a healthy child, but that doesn't mean it's a good idea. If I may quote Chris Rock, "You can drive a car with your feet, but that don't make it a good idea." Anyone who thinks FAS and FASD are uniquely American disorders should talk to the French winemakers facing legal action for failing to warn women of the dangers of consuming alcohol. That's French women, Mom, not alcoholic American tourists. Here are links to articles from Norway and England, demonstrating that even light levels of alcohol have health effects to fetuses.

2. David and I came out fine. I will resist the temptation to steal my father-in-law's line and say that my mom's drinking is what kept me out of Harvard. Instead, I will point out the fallacious reasoning behind saying that because she gave birth to two healthy children, there was no risk involved. That's like saying that because Dad survived World War II there was no risk involved in his joining the army. She, Dad, David and I got lucky. And I don't begrudge her the wine we shared while I was in utero; that is not the point. The point is that according to the NIH, who are not nudniks, every pregnancy is different, and it is possible to drink the same amount over two pregnancies and have two different outcomes with respect to FAS.

3. There's very little risk involved. The way I see it, it's like getting a tattoo. Rich once explained to me that although he only sort of keeps kosher, it's really easy to avoid getting a tattoo, so why not just avoid getting one? So far no one has published research that determines what level of alcohol is "safe" to consume while pregnant. It looks as though the same factors that lead to people getting drunk at different rates lead to some women's fetuses being damaged at different rates. But since there is no way to predict for any one woman what her fetus' vulnerability will be, the only way to be safe is to not drink at all. In other words, it is impossible to do assess your own risk in drinking while pregnant.

4. FAS only occurs in children of alcoholics. As I have mentioned, FAS is only the most severe of a number of types of disorder that can be prevented by abstaining from alcohol. Some early research points to the possiblity of a dose-response relationship, which is to say that only drinking a little might only hurt the fetus a little, like making it a little bit slower at mental functions. That doesn't mean it isn't doing anything at all. Here is a link to a study conducted in Detroit on seven-year-old children whose mothers drank moderately during their pregnancy. Even adjusting for socioeconomic and other confounding factors, those children scored lower developmentally and showed significantly more behavioral problems than normal.

5. This is a scheme to deny women pleasure. I understand that just because NIH, the CDC, and just about all of Western Medicine tells you something is true doesn't mean you have to swallow it whole. But many tragedies of public health have been fueled by the refusal to accept something that doesn't seem fair. Disease is inherently unfair. It's unfair that pregnant women can't drink and be assured of having healthy children, but it's also true. It's unfair that you can't have random unprotected sex without expecting to contract a host of virulent and sometimes fatal infections, but you just can't. 20 years ago it took a long time for safe sex to catch on telling people to stop having unprotected, random sex sounded like a right-wing conspiracy. But it wasn't a conspiracy, it was science. And what separates science from narrative is that the truth doesn't always make a good story.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

3 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger Prof. Trixie at April 12, 2005 8:45 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • I was not trying to provoke you, I merely want scientific data that French and Italian babies are more retarded than American ones. And until I find that out, I will rest on my assumption that it's a conspiracy to deny women pleasure or CDMP.

  •   Posted by Blogger Prof. Trixie at April 12, 2005 8:49 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • I meant CDWP.

  •   Posted by Blogger BrooklynDodger at April 14, 2005 5:35 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • BrooklynDodger hesitates to enter a discussion which has expanded beyond hazard identification, exposure-response assessment, exposure assessment and risk characterization, the canonical taxonomy of risk assessment.

    Assuming, for the sake of argument, that high dose Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is an accepted phenomenon, the question is whether there is an exposure response relationship extending to intake at lower levels.

    This becomes a very difficult issue scientifically, because effect levels in animal models are relatively high compared to human exposures, yet there is a considerable literature suggesting a lower exposure risk for organic solvents. Physiologically, alcohol shares a CNS mechanism with anaesthetic gases and organic solvents, acting directly on neurons.

    Human health effects studies on neurological developments likely depend on IQ measurements, themselves highly suspect and confounded with social class.

    The Times recent article on wine
    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/13/dining/13alcohol.html?

    suggested that a couple of glasses would produce a blood alcohol of 0.04 in a moderate sized woman.

    The Dodger has gotten bored with this post, and can't bring it to a conclusion.

Post a Comment

Monday, April 11, 2005


FFH News Alert

DAVIS, Calif.-- Catholic schoolchildren around the country are asked to pray. Anna Mirer's case of extraordinarily violent hiccups has extended into its 35th minute. Stay tuned to FFH for the latest developments.

3 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at April 13, 2005 12:16 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • I'm guessing you've kicked the hiccups by now (two days later), but for future reference:

    Taking a very, very deep breath and holding it is often effective, and it has (pseudo)science behind it:

    1) increased proportions of carbon dioxide in your bloodstream (as happens when you hold your breath and metabolize out all the oxygen) will help ease muscle spasms such as hiccups (and the arterial spasms that cause migraines).

    2) hiccups are a spasm of the diaphragm, and taking a very deep breath and holding it is one way of flexing your diaphragm, as you would flex your foot to get rid of a hurty charly-horse.

  •   Posted by Blogger Anna at April 13, 2005 4:41 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Thank you, mysterious, helpful stranger.

  •   Posted by Blogger BrooklynDodger at April 14, 2005 6:43 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • The Dodger has suffered hours-long hiccups, following dental surgury. Dentist believes it's due to pressure on some nerve or other. In the Dodger's experience, sticking a finger down your throat and making gagging noises to the point of but not actually vomiting stops the hiccups. [The Dodger has not had to go to the point of actually vomiting.]

Post a Comment


Moneyball on the Hardwood

I am watching the Oakland A's play the Toronto Blue Jays on television right now. Both teams are run by Bill James disciples, which means that most of the decisions made on the field have some statistical foundation and that there's lots of emphasis on the most predictable and measureable part of the game, hitting. The teams, therefore, are taking lots of pitches, conserving outs, risking little on the basepaths, and threatening to turn every defensive play into a Monty Python sketch. Seriously, earlier in the game Oakland outfielder Eric Byrnes was nearly knocked over by a bloop single that fell eight feet in front of him. It was ugly.

Sophisticated statisical analysis of baseball has existed for years. The gold standard is baseballprospectus.com, which was great until it became a pay site. Now, fans of the other sports are trying to get into the act. There's a site called footballoutsiders.com, which attempts to derive statistical meaning from the NFL, something that's already been discussed on Jeff's old blog, to which I cannot link for technical reasons.

A few months ago, Form sent me a link from Mark Cuban's blog where he details some of the stats the Dallas Mavericks coaching staff use when developing game plans. I can't make head or tail of it. Recently, some guy has started 82games.com, which is meant to be a companion to NBA.

There are some interesting insights, such as analysis of NBA shot clock usage that shows how many more points teams can expect to score early in the shot clock. This suggests that the most important defensive concept is transition defense. The Detroit Pistons starting five is so crucial to the team's success that I'll spend the bulk of my time between now and the playoffs hoping none of them get hurt. But it also suggests that someone named Brian Cook is more helpful to the Lakers' fortunes than Kobe Bryant. And that Yao Ming actually leaves the Rockets at a deficit. That's the fun parts of SABRmetrics, making brazen (and likely wacky) statements and then backing them with statisical evidence.

The question I have is whether a team in a league as dominated by its stars as the NBA, could ever operate like the Oakland A's. My guess is no. That's in part because of the salary structure, which forces teams to make basketball decisions for reasons that have very little to do with basketball. More fundamentally, player statistics are impossible to isolate in basketball. Take L.A.'s Lamar Odom, whose scoring is down 2 points from last year. His shots attempted are also down two and he's taking one fewer foul shot per game. His shooting percentage, however, is up. All of those changes have something to do with Kobe Bryant's dominance of the ball and volume shooting. But how much? It's also impossible to truly separate phases of the basketball game because defense and offense are not discrete as they are in baseball. It's interesting stuff, but, in terms of the NBA, the new frontier of knowledge may end up teaching us very little.

2 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger Form at April 12, 2005 5:04 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • The NBA game does not work well for this type of analysis. I went to 82games and found out that Amare Stoudamire and Shawn Marion score a lot off of passes by Steve Nash. That is a statically insignificant fact bacause you need zero information from statistics to know it.

    What I would really like to see is a behavioral economics analysis of NBA coaching, showing how the endowment effect and control heuristics influence coaching. I'd be willing to bet they have a lot to do with why teams only try to score late in the shot clock.

  •   Posted by Blogger Mike at April 14, 2005 9:13 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • At the heart of the whole enterprise is the goal of assigning value to each play. That Shawn Marion and Amare Stoudamire have accepted lots of passes from Steve Nash and deposited them in the basket is a counting stat and has no meaning on its own. But, under the assumption that a player is worth only what he does statistically, then one has to figure out how much Stoudamire's game is actually predicated on dimes from Steve Nash.

    The points per 100 possessions conversion is something lots of coaches look at. When talking about a basketball team's efficiency, it's important to know that in the NBA points are bought in bulk, which is different than say, runs. I don't have the average margin of victory in the NBA in front of me, but some gambling site says that in 2001-02 more than half the games were decided by between 2-9 points.

    In the Shaq/Kobe argument, many people (people who are not bright) thought Kobe was the better because he hit the important shots late in games. But what they forget is that to get to those late game situations, you need bulk scoring early. It creates a situation where no possession is especially valuable, but every possession is valuable because it comes down to possibly less than three possessions per game.

Post a Comment


What if God Had Photoshop?

My father sent these images to Anna, addressed "To an Animal Lover." We figured we'd share the love.


It actually took Anna a second to figure out what was wrong with this picture. But then, as we learned last night, her mom drank when she was pregnant with her.

0 Comment(s):

Post a Comment



And apparently, this person is in Iraq

0 Comment(s):

Post a Comment

Sunday, April 10, 2005


With the Summer Movie Season Approaching...

Memorial Day is just seven weeks away and that's when we start seeing the $200 million blockbusters hit the theaters. That means archvillans, evil plots and glorious heroes to save the day. Maybe one of those fiends will be smart enough to dial this page up on the Internet, and therefore spare us the predictable ending.

Thanks to Joel, fittinginly in Tinseltown, for sending this along.

0 Comment(s):

Post a Comment


Who Won? What Happened to My Girl? Edition

The Op-Ed section of the Times has expanded for Sundays, but apparently there is no room for my girl, Maureen Dowd. The new Sunday columnists are Frank Rich, David Brooks and Nicholas Kristof, all of whom are just aight. Dowd was actually one of my favorite parts of the Sunday paper. She hates everything, which proves a great counterbalance for Thomas L. Friedman who is daily creeping into the realm of the batshit insane. She's also my favorite part of the local Thursday paper because they run a photo.

Also, the Times reports today that when straight men want to share a meal it can't be brunch and they can't share a bottle of wine. That would be gay. This begs the questions, how did I get hooked up with such a moron gender?

10 April 2005
Gay Couples with Clear Winner: 0 of 0
Straight Couples with Clear Winner: 9 of 10
Men: 6
Women: 3
Ties: 1
Disputed Results: 7

Year to Date
Gay Couples with Clear Winner: 4 of 6
Ties: 2
Disputed Results: 0
Straight Couples with Clear Winner: 88 of 103
Men: 56
Women: 32
Ties: 8
Disputed Results: 7

2 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger BrooklynDodger at April 10, 2005 6:54 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • What's up with Jennifer 8 Lee, is the 8 a cultural deal the Dodger missed?

    Anyway, the whole article is based on "Honi soit qui may y pense" of people who fear their identity or persona. And, it took too long to read.

  •   Posted by Blogger Jeff'y at April 13, 2005 6:01 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • 34 was all over that back when I used to actually post stuff on my blog. Check out this story, mysterious Dodger!

    Also, Frank Rich's column is usually a good read, if perhaps just a collection of random media outrages sewn together.

    And I had just had two meals out, one of them Thai, with Scotter the day before that Sunday Styles thing came out. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Post a Comment

Saturday, April 09, 2005


In Celebration of the Wedding of Charles and Camilla

I don't know about the rest of you flint-hearts, but I am truly happy for Prince Charles and the new
Mrs. Windsor and I find this all terribly romantic. So, I reproduce for you a classic love poem on their
wedding day. It's culture, see?


The Elephant is Slow to Mate


The elephant, the huge old beast,
is slow to mate;
he finds a female, they show no haste
they wait

for the sympathy in their vast shy hearts
slowly, slowly to rouse
as they loiter along the river-beds
and drink and browse

and dash in panic through the brake
of forest with the herd,
and sleep in massive silence, and wake
together, without a word.

So slowly the great hot elephant hearts
grow full of desire,
and the great beasts mate in secret at last,
hiding their fire.

Oldest they are and the wisest of beasts
so they know at last
how to wait for the loneliest of feasts
for the full repast.

They do not snatch, they do not tear;
their massive blood
moves as the moon-tides, near, more near
till they touch in flood.
--D.H. Lawrence

1 Comment(s):

Post a Comment

Friday, April 08, 2005


Spectator Wins

When it comes to putting out a balanced story, apparently you can rely on the Columbia Spectator to do a better job than the The New York Times, or so says the Columbia Journalism Review. This makes me happy, seeing the Spec outduel the Times on a story in the CU neighborhood. This happens about once on a year on a story of real consequence, such as the naming of new Univerisity President.

Of course, FFH first reported this story back in November.

Did the New York Sun ever correct itself when it reported:
In an effort to manage favorable coverage of its investigation into the complaints, the university disclosed a summary of the committee's report only to the Columbia Spectator, the campus newspaper, and the New York Times. Those newspapers, sources indicated to the New York Sun last night, made an agreement with the central administration that they would not speak to the students who made the complaints against the professors.

I hope so, because I'm on a diet and the irony of a right-wing publication cooking the truth to fit the right's traditional narrative of left-wing college newspapers committing and covering up all manner of ideological sin would just be too delicious.

In terms of substance, I hate this story. I know that at Columbia there is exists a set of people who are already in training to join the right-win ideology industry. Of course, it's my belief that members of the ideology industry on any side should have brown recluse spiders glued to their bodies. Professors intimidating students and ejecting them from classes for taking a certain position is clearly a violation of the university's mission. But can you really craft a policy to ensure total academic freedom? All ideas are not created equal.

There are lots of people that believe in Creationism, despite the lack of scientific evidence. There is a body of "scholarship," surrounding Holocaust denial. And you'd be hard-pressed to argue that pure socialism has much of a track record as form of government. I mean, how exactly should a history professor react when a student stands up and says the Allies won WWII because God smote the Germans for subscribing to Nazism, an anti-Christian ideology? I don't have an answer for that.

1 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger Prof. Trixie at April 08, 2005 4:57 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Just to note that my reward for flying Jet Blue for six hours is that Michael stole my examples of Creationism and Holocaust denial as ideas that would not be tolerated at a University under the rubric of free speech. I want footnoting.

Post a Comment


More about Local Wildlife, and Not so Cute

I was paginating a grant proposal at work today when Keith, the programmer with the office across from mine, poked his head through my door. "Have you seen any black widow spiders around?" he nonchalantly inquired, in a tone more appropriate for asking to borrow some tape flags. "No," I answered rather stiffly. "Perhaps you could order some from the Storehouse."

One of the consequences of being notoriously gullible is that it makes me paranoid, so when people come around talking about poisonous arthropods, my first instinct is to protect myself from mockery. But it turned out that Keith had stopped by because it occurred to him that being (relatively) new to the building and nonnative to California, I might not know about the black widow spiders that are endemic to Davis, and specifically to the CHE building. I still refused to believe him until Diane the postdoc and Cindy from maintenance had confirmed his story, at which point I yielded far enough to admit this would have to be an extraordinarily well-crafted prank. Cindy in fact pointed at the underside of my desk and said, "Hey, you've got a web right there," and cheerfully fished it out for me, only slightly disappointed to discover it was only a dust bunny. She went on to reassure me that people don't die from Black Widow bites unless they panic, because that gets your heart rate up and the poison spreads faster. She said this in a tone that indicated that only a real loser would panic at a spider bite, but I began to get the feeling I was a real loser when it came to spiders.

Because Keith is not the sort to brook insults to his honor, and isn't necessarily the sort to blanche at the idea of researching spiders on the clock, he was not satisfied until he had printed me out some pictures--one of a black widow and one of a brown recluse. The brown recluse, though not endemic to Davis, is apparently far deadlier. To make his point, Keith helpfully included a picture of a man's thumb after being bitten by a brown recluse. I do not recommend clicking on that link unless you have a strong stomach and some curiosity about what thumb bones look like. I have pasted the black widow's picture onto my monitor for reference, though when actually presented with a black widow my first reaction will probably be to ask Keith to kill it.

0 Comment(s):

Post a Comment


Sorry for the Delay

The post just above this one should been up last night, but for some reason we found ourselves unable to access the website.

FFH would be utterly contrite, if it weren't all blogger's fault.

1 Comment(s):

Post a Comment

Wednesday, April 06, 2005


Dream Convention

The West Wing has always been about political fantasy, and this week's season finale contained my deepest desire. I want to see a brokered convention in my lifetime, one where there are two days worth of intrigue as people try to figure out who the nominee is. It's something that would be totally thrilling to watch.

Frankly, Cuban negotiations episode aside, this has been a tremendous season for the show. I've loved this campaign stuff, watching the pieces of everything come together. It's become a must-watch again for me, though I assume people like me are dwindling in number. I'll miss it when it's replaced by Dance of the Antichrist or whatever is on Wednesdays at 9 next week.

1 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger Form at April 07, 2005 5:27 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Is it going off the air totally or taking a break or just getting a Republican president? I happened to tune into the end because I needed something to take me from my DVR'ed episode of PTI to 10:00pm on the East Coast.

    Anyway, I am trying to convince Sharon to make the shift. Currently, our DVR records every Law and Order episode on TNT, which means our electric bill is taking a huge hit. However, because only .01% of the recordings feature an episode she has not seen AND Sam Waterstone, we do not watch any of them. I am lobbying for us to switch the recording to all West Wings on Bravo, which will not save us any money on our electric bill, but will give us more new material to watch.

Post a Comment

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


Seasonal Elegies

Spring is here, which is, among other things, migrating season. There is a mass butterfly migration going on in Davis; they are on the way to Seattle according to an Entomologist I work with; apparently they're born with six days' worth of fat on them and they just fly continuously till they run out of fat (this is not, I hope, how Scott and Rachel are planning to move to Seattle). Wherever they are when they run out they just stop and mate, maybe pollinate some stuff, I dunno. They are very pretty, though a little scary when they're coming at your windshield.

There's also a mass duck migration on. You can see them everywhere, mostly in opposite-sex pairs, waddling around and gobbling up chazzerai. Apparently they mate for the season, but occasionally you see a set of two boys and a girl, and you can just hear the female saying "Allow me to introduce Dale's cousin Milton. He has his own hardware store, you know, and very good genes. His father lived to be 6. Quack." And today I saw a pair of males swimming in the arboretum on my way home from work; I think one of them might have been biting the other but I'm not sure what that might reflect about their relationship. On Sunday we had a surprise rainstorm, and as I was waiting for Mike to pull the car out, feeling cold and wet and cranky about the giant puddle in between me and the car door, I looked over at the next driveway and saw a pair of ducks playing in another giant puddle, diving and quacking and looking extremely happy, and I instantly cheered up.

2 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger Jeff'y at April 05, 2005 9:33 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Cuteness.

  •   Posted by Anonymous KTA at April 05, 2005 10:17 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • There was a really gross article in the Guardian a few weeks ago about a Dutch scientist who claims to have observed duck necrophilia (outside his office window, no less). I don't know whether this says more about the Dutch or ducks, but either way, it gave me bad dreams—I prefer to think about ducks in the context of something happy, like Make Way for Ducklings.

Post a Comment

Monday, April 04, 2005


An Important Announcement Regarding Sports Allegiances

As Anna and I ran side-by-side at the gym Sunday, the television was tuned the women's final four game between Michigan State and Tennessee. As the Spartans started coming back, I began rooting for them, pumping my fist at every defensive stop and big basket. When we were done running, Anna turned to me and said, "You're rooting for Michigan State, isn't that like rooting for the Yankees?"

I suppose it might be, given that I naturally gravitated toward U of M while growing up in Detroit. I rooted for the Fab Five and for Tom Brady. But I did not attend either school, and have no allegiances there.

"No," I explained and then proceeded to tell her my hierarchy of sports support. When watching a game between teams with whom I have no clear rooting interest, I will always cheer on the team from the industrial Midwest. After that comes the the northeast and then the far west. The come New Mexico and Colorado teams. After that I take the rest of the west region, followed by the south, then Florida, and then teams from Texas. If two Texas teams are playing, my support goes to the one based closest to Austin. I never, under any circumstances, will root for Baylor to win.

There are some special clauses in here. I root against Notre Dame unless it's playing a team from the south. I root, inexplicably, for the University of Utah. And as for the Yankees, I found myself feeling bad for Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera at the end of the last season, when New York pulled it's choke for the ages. I think, as it turns out, that if the Tigers are not going the win the American League, I want the Yankees or Red Sox to do it. Even living out west, I couldn't get excited about the 2002 Series between San Francisco and Anaheim. I love the shots of fans who take the game way too seriously. I could be happy, I think, to watch the Yankees lose the World Series every year.

2 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger Form at April 06, 2005 7:25 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Given that there is no usage of the newly instituted sarcasm symbol, I will have to take your feelings about Derek Jeter and Mo Rivera at face value. I am shocked, shocked to hear this!

    What are your feelings on former Michagan stud and current Yankee/Cowboy underacheiver Drew Henson?

  •   Posted by Blogger Mike at April 06, 2005 9:45 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Drew Henson made his decision for money, which is a perfectly reasonable reason to make a decision, but not one that has anything to do with personal fulfillment. He's a case for the "Moneyball" theory of player development, where a physical specimen is not good at anything in particular on a baseball field.

    Henson wasted important years and should have stuck with football. It's a waste of talent, but I suppose he'll cry himself to sleep on top of his huge pile on money.

Post a Comment


Everybody Take a Pill, Please

Ok. I took down the poll I put up yesterday entitled "Do you Find us Boring?"

When I put that poll up I was 1) Trying to see if putting up a poll would work and 2) Trying to make you laugh. As Sol astutely points out, our readership is not actually down. In fact it is up, even factoring out the crazed Ayelet Waldman fans. As you can see, we've had about 1, 500 hits since mid-January, which averages just under 50 daily. That is, believe me, a wider readership than I had ever imagined possible, and certainly nothing over which to get my knickers in a knot. I made up all of that stuff about our readership being down.

Thank you to Sol and all the people who voted that we were wonderful and created an all around outpouring of concern and support, but I was really, totally, completely joking. As to those of you who gave us constructive criticism (Form), we will take it under advisement. But I'm still taking the post down, because it is simply not worth the consternation it has caused among the humor-impaired.

This reminds me of how Dave A. used to say we needed an international symbol for sarcasm to be used in print. He favored ,=----, which was vaguely supposed to resemble Adam Sandler's thumb and to imply a drawn-out Bronx cheer. In the future, if I post any fake polls, they will all contain a sarcasm advisory, i.e. "If you could take a moment to fill out this poll we would really appreciate it. ,=----."

Sheesh.

0 Comment(s):

Post a Comment

Sunday, April 03, 2005


Who Won? Breaking News Edition

Overheard in the pressroom today as a reporter flipped through the channels looking for ESPN: "Hey everyone, did you hear that the Pope died?" Not much to do with marriages, but the style section was a waste of a good trees today.

3 April 2005
Gay Couples with Clear Winner: 0 of 0
Straight Couples with Clear Winner: 11 of 12
Men: 7
Women: 4
Ties: 0
Disputed Results: 1

Year to Date
Gay Couples with Clear Winner: 4 of 6
Ties: 2
Disputed Results: 0
Straight Couples with Clear Winner: 79 of 93
Men: 50
Women: 29
Ties: 7
Disputed Results: 7

0 Comment(s):

Post a Comment

Saturday, April 02, 2005


Um...what misalignment?

FFH is only halfway done giving itself botox, and furthermore has no insights to share today. We will therefore use extreme cuteness to distract you from our current visual disarray and paucity of content.
To that end, here are pictures of Mike's cousins with some labrador puppies.
Posted by Hello

0 Comment(s):

Post a Comment


Posted by Hello

0 Comment(s):

Post a Comment

Friday, April 01, 2005


April Fool's Day: A Compendium

I tend to avoid leaving the house on April 1. Since it was my day off, I executed my plan with aplomb. Still, April Fools jokes managed to find me. My old friend Joel from Detroit IMed to tell me that he was tired of Los Angeles, sick of not being able to meet people and thinking of moving back to Michigan and getting a job with General Motors. No, in fact he plans to continue living in L.A. until he sells a script.

Anna did have to go to work, and was greeted first thing in the morning with a letter informing her that her boss, Dr. Scaryman, was concerned about excessive lunch and bathroom breaks and was therefore putting everyone on a credit system. Anna reports she got all the way down to the voice-activated toilets before realizing what day it was. Her immediate supervisor, who tends to take luxurious lunches, read the memo with a quivering lip. However, the supervisor rebounded nicely and talked Anna into inserting Sarah's drawing of Wolf Baby (see below) into their guest speaker's presentation on pesticide exposure. Anna did report success in avoiding April (the person, not the month). April has successfully hoodwinked Anna so many times on non-Fool's days that Anna told her "you stay the fuck away from me until April 2nd."

0 Comment(s):

Post a Comment



0 Comment(s):

Post a Comment