Free-Floating Hostility

Monday, January 31, 2005

Why Rasheed fits perfectly in Detroit

So the Pistons visted the White House today because they are the NBA champions and that's what NBA champions do. But on Sunday, some enterprising reporter decided to ask Rasheed Wallace what he wanted to talk about with President.

This was Wallace's answer: "I don't have (expletive) to say to him. I didn't vote for him. It's just something we have to do."

So I like Rasheed Wallace.

2 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger Rich at February 01, 2005 1:45 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • They can talk about your Mom!

    Sorry, I sensed a severe lack of "your Mom" jokes on this site and decided to jump in. I hope it went over well.

  •   Posted by Blogger Form at February 01, 2005 5:40 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • As Michael Wilbon noted on PTI last night, Conservative athletes had refused to visit the Clinton Whitehouse. About time someone on the left did the same.

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Sunday, January 30, 2005

Who won? Winter of our discontent Edition

It must be the pre-Valentine's Day lull in Weddings as there were only four pictures to choose from. The best part of this week's style section was instead the article about parental blogging, proving that self-absorbed 30-somethings seek validation by blogging about their children's poop. Coming in 2014 look out for Free-Floating Heredity.

30 January 2005
Gay Couples with Clear Winner: 1 of 1
Straight Couples with Clear Winner: 3 of 3
Men: 2
Women: 1
Ties: 0
Disputed Results: 0

Year to Date
Gay Couples with Clear Winner: 3 of 3
Straight Couples with Clear Winner: 22 of 29
Men: 19
Women: 4
Ties: 3
Disputed Results: 4

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Saturday, January 29, 2005

From the sports desk

The next sports media professional I hear complain about reporting the Terrell Owens injury story is cordially invited over for heaping helping of Shut the Fuck Up.

No one cares how repetitive you think the story is. Reporting it is your job. No one forced you into sports media (and you want to leave, could you kindly do so and make easier for me to move up in the business). There are lots of other stories to report surrounding the Super Bowl, but T.O. is accessible and a big star and that means this is an easy story to do. But because everyone in national media is now more personality than reporter, the viewing or reading public gets to learn how cool the press is rather than who they should bet on. That is, of course, all people really care about. And it's not the media's job to complain about what the public cares about. It's our job to report the story.

Then there's this baseball gem from Columbia graduate Ronald Blum:

AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) - Sammy Sosa is close to taking his home run hop all the way to Baltimore.
The Chicago Cubs are just a few steps away from trading the unhappy slugger to the Orioles, several high-ranking baseball officials told The Associated Press.
Medical tests and approval from commissioner Bud Selig and the players' association remain unresolved, the officials said Friday night, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The Cubs would pay a substantial part of Sosa's $17 million salary this season, the executives said. In exchange, Chicago would receive second baseman Jerry Hairston Jr. and at least two prospects.

I think O's owner Peter Angelos is a Democrat. And even if he's not, he is a labor lawyer and was the only owner not to field a scab team in 1995, so I like him. Since his team is destined to finish in third place in the AL East, I think he's bringing Sosa to Baltimore in order to taunt the President from close range. George W. Bush, when he owned the Texas Rangers, traded Sosa away. Frankly this may be the best argument against Bush's Social Security plan yet. I mean how can we trust any future projections this guy makes, he's the shmuck who traded Sammy Sosa.

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Thursday, January 27, 2005

Parental Links

Barnes & Noble Book Clubs named Mary Gordon's new novel, Pearl, its pick of the week. Bravo to Prof. Gordon.

In totally un-parental news, there's this new blog called BrooklynDodger run by this anonymous guy called BrooklynDodger. We have no idea who he is and he could never be anyone's father.

3 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger BrooklynDodger at January 28, 2005 7:13 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • No Mary Gordon book tour stop in Detroit, or even in Ann Arbor. We are culturally deprived and disrespected by the book publishing and selling establishment.

  •   Posted by Blogger BrooklynDodger at January 28, 2005 7:15 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Regarding gender of BrooklynDodger, the Dodger has attempted neutrality.

  •   Posted by Blogger Anna at January 29, 2005 12:02 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Regarding gender of BrooklynDodger, I am sure any reader attempting to guess the Dodger's identity would assume that someone who chose a baseball team that ceased to exist 47 years ago for a namesake is female.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Jest has its Risks

Um, yeah. We're not really going to change the name of the blog. I just thought you might have as much fun playing with acronyms as we did. Apparently, we still amuse ourselves more than anyone else--a lesson that probably should have kicked in with the Scott 100 List. Sorry to have gotten everyone's knickers in a knot.

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Note to conservative columnists: Just make them buy you dinner

Apparently the Bush administration doesn't hate journalists after all. No, they are hot to give money to them as long as they write friendly articles. First there was the craven cynicism of paying black conservative Armstrong Williams $240K to support the No Child Left Behind Act. Now there is this, some columnist I've never heard of receiving $21K to promote bills that defend marriage.

As a working journalist, I eat about 150 free or reimbursed meals every year. The free ones are usually paid for by the college athletic departments and professional sports teams that I cover for my newspaper. Some people would suggest that this is a conflict of interest. I strongly disagree. See, reporting is tiring work, and the first thing that goes in a lethargic reporter is the will to resist cynicism. Food in the press box is really a check on that, something that ensures fair coverage by bringing a journalist's body chemistry back into proportion. Games, and the pregame media availablility, usually occur around dinner time. Food is an equalizer.

But, with dinner, the terms are clear. It's usually a meal that is not nearly as delicious as one I could get at home.

Money is a different story, especially when the government's the one giving it out. The No Child Left Behind case is especially egregious, given the volume of unfunded mandates in the law itself. It is a well-documented fact that many people will do almost anything for money, including sell their credibility. I mean, that corporate PR exists proves this. When a columnist sells his or her opinion, that person is selling the only thing of value they have, an honest and informed viewpoint. When I am paid for a column, I am selling my viewpoint to my newspaper. When a columnist is paid to express an opinion, he or she is selling someone else's viewpoint at the expense of honest inquiry. That's the only thing a journalist has to offer. It is unforgivable.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Free-Floating Identity Crisis

When Mike first established this blog, he bestowed upon it the name Free-Floating Hostility because it was a term that had often made him smile, and because he couldn't really use it as the title of his newspaper column. I had little hand in choosing its name as I didn't forsee much involvement in the project; of course I found being the zeitgeist more agreeable than expected, but by then the name was pretty well entrenched. As we put the word out about the blog, we began hearing knowing references to George Carlin, but we couldn't really figure out why. Recently I discovered his 1996 album, I forget what it's called, the end of which is a 19-plus minute rant on 24 cutting-edge topics such as backwards baseball caps and bottled water, entitled...Free-Floating Hostility. Now, we can't really be sure Carlin coined the phrase, and it does seem to have entered general usage to the point where maybe we can be forgiven for not having known its origins, but the whole thing did smack of plagiarism. More importantly, if people were going to think we were referring to Carlin's standup, we'd better know what we were unintentionally endorsing. I downloaded the track. We listened. 20 minutes and about three chuckles later we grimaced at each other and agreed we needed a shower. We had a serious case on our hands of Blog Name Buyer's Remorse (the fact that blogger is a free service is beside the point, because we purchased it in Lockean fashion with our labor).

FFH was presented with something of an existential dilemma. It now seemed obvious to us that we should have at least googled the phrase before naming our blog after it, but it was too late. Why hadn't we chosen a name from Chris Rock's standup? We agreed that What do you Want, a Cookie? would have been inappropriate, but paused wistfully over the potential suggested by What's in the Tea? or Whatever Happened to Crazy? Changing names is not unheard of. Garth Brook's unfortunate choice of a name for his children's charity, The Touch 'Em All Foundation, forced him to rename it Teammates for Kids. Mia Farrow changed all her kids' names to make them more Irish, and look how well they turned out. And after all, I had changed my own name less than a year ago, and it really wasn't that bad. But we had to admit that we had branded the title. A Google search of "Free-Floating Hostility" yields us 12th, and "Free-Floating Hostility+blog" puts us at 3rd (thanks mostly to Jeff's generous linking). There was no turning back now.

So we got to thinking about damage control. Our first step was the addition of the disclaimer of Carlinism to our template. Then we thought, hey, most people refer to us as FFH these days anyway. Maybe they don't even remember what it stands for. Maybe if we kept the acronym and changed the name, no one would miss it. That yielded some intriguing possibilities for new blog names:

Far From Hobbs
Factotums For Hire
Fountain of Foul Humor
Fallacious Fictitious Hagiography
Flim Flam Hermeneutics
Pfennigs from Heaven (this would have carried the day were it not for the undeniable p)
Furious Falsetto Howling
Fling Foofaraw Here
Frank's Febrile Hallucinations (BrooklynDodger is welcome to that one if he wants it for one of his blogs)
Fresh Fish! Hallibut!
Frances Farmer Hadherrevengeonseattle
Fecund Fay-Hurvitz
Fleet-Footed Hoplites
Favorite Font? Helvetica.

So far, nothing has suggested itself that is worthy of changing our young blog's identity. But we would like to open this up to our readership. If you have suggestions, we're all ears. For those of you who still haven't figured this out, that means hit the "comments" link below, then hit "post a comment," then actually post one. You can do it. Only three words are required.

3 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger Jeff'y at January 25, 2005 7:00 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Free-Floating Hostility (FFH) -> Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker and Tits (SPFCCMaT).

  •   Posted by Blogger Form at January 25, 2005 7:23 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Unless you are changing the name to "We Speaks So Well," (Chris Rock again) I think you should stick with what you got.

    Alternatively, you can also do (since Mike is in the Media) "Look out it is Mike Mirer... Run!"

  •   Posted by Blogger BrooklynDodger at January 26, 2005 5:06 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • BrooklynDodger finds a use for "deracinate" twice in the same week. [If the Dodger is using the word correctly.] Assuming "free-floating hostility" was coined by George Carlin, and if association with George Carlin would be unfortunate, for most readers the term is sufficiently deracinated that the connection to Carlin is occult.

    Speaking of deracination and unconscious plagiarism...The Dodger was once quoted [? in the Washington Post] as suggesting that a certain public official had adopted an attitude of "Get Over It" in relation to critics. The phrase got the Dodger, over others, recognized, not the substance of the comment. And got the Dodger quoted again in another publication. Wondering what the resonance was, BrooklynDodger googled the phrase and found myself in bed with Kirsten Dunst, Avril Lavigne, [actually not unattractive] and the Eagles among 1,460,000 hits.

    What's the point of this? Maybe it signifies nothing. But has FFH considered the effort of transporting over everything to another blog title?

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Sunday, January 23, 2005

Adventures in Solipsism

Some astute readers will have noticed the traffic counter at the bottom of the page. We put it up to satisfy our own curiosity about how many people were actually reading the blog. We're shocked enough that anyone reads it at all, but we figured it was mostly the regular posters, about 75% of whom are actually Frank. Apparently we have a wider readership than we'd realized, though, given this weekend's early results. And in a piece of brilliant coincidence/fatalism, Jeff was visitor number 34.

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Who won? Who Puts their Divorce in the Paper? Edition

In the Times' occasional series of catching up with couples featured in the "Vows" column, Sunday we learned about two people who got married in 1996 and split up on Christmas Eve of 2000. On the scale of cries for attention this ranks just below appearing on "Fear Factor" and agreeing to be interviewed by "The Daily Show." Also someone named Hairy Tongue (written phonetically) got married. He happens to be the ex-boyfriend of a hot family friend of Anna's. He was this week's tie, if he had bagged Nola, the aforementioned family friend, he would most definitely have won.

23 January 2005
Gay Couples with Clear Winner: 0 of 0
Straight Couples with Clear Winner: 4 of 6
Men: 4
Women: 1
Ties: 1
Disputed Results: 1

Year to Date
Gay Couples with Clear Winner: 2 of 2
Straight Couples with Clear Winner: 19 of 26
Men: 17
Women: 3
Ties: 3
Disputed Results: 4

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Saturday, January 22, 2005

A Rare Victory for Self-Restraint

Over Mike's strenuous objections, I deleted the opening line of my report on my latest Columbia interviewee. I decided it was unprofessional to write, "I would call [Sade] a nihilist, only she lacks sufficient curiosity to look up the definition of nihilism."

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My Trip to the DMV

Most of you know that I as yet do not drive. I got a permit when I was 18, allowed it to lapse, failed the written test for a new permit when I was 22, passed on my second try, then allowed that to lapse, got a new one at 23 in New York, and failed to do anything with it before going back to California. Last fall I returned to the DMV to face my demons, only to discover that the birth certificate which I had used to get a) all previous permits b) my passport and c) married, was not an original but a copy. I was not only mad that I couldn't have a new permit to let lapse, I was nauseated at the ease with which one can apparently get a false ID from a real government agency. After some tangles with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene I was able to obtain a proper birth certificate, and armed with the latter I headed back to the DMV this week ignoring the nagging suspicion that these events were all hints from God to stay away from cars.

The staff of the Davis DMV are fairly depressing people. The boss, at 6'5" with a JerriCurl, towers over his staff of middle-aged women who have given up on life, freely dispensing reproach to his underlings and would-be drivers. For some reason, this man terrifies Michael and causes him to avoid the DMV at all costs, which is why it took so long to register the car. When my number came up I obediently went to the counter of a woman I will call Tootie. Tootie was relatively friendly, as DMV staffers go, and took a reassuringly long time to examine all my official documents. I was starting to feel better about national security when she turned to her neighbor, whom I will call Merle, and said, "Hey, Merle, look at this. New York City birth certificates say you shouldn't accept them unless you can see the security features listed on the back." Merle turned to her coldly and said, "They all have that, Tootie. You know they all have that, right?"

There was one last hitch in that the DMV does not take credit cards and because I do not drive I had to walk over the freeway to Safeway in order to find an ATM before I could take my test, but I made it in time. Fortunately it had taken so long for Tootie to get to me that I had ample time to study the California Driver's Handbook and therefore passed the written test with only two mistakes (you're in a truck's blindspot if you can't see yourself in the driver's mirrors? That's supposed to be useful information??? More like the correct answer should be stay the fuck away from trucks.). So, I have my fourth permit, and am determined not to turn 25 without a driver's license. I drove to work yesterday and it wasn't that bad. Cross your fingers for me, and for everyone else on the road.

1 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger Form at January 22, 2005 4:04 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Mazel Tov! Driving is awesome, especially outside of New York. It is one of the major things I miss about living in a big city. (I do not paying for parking or car insurance at all though.)

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Thursday, January 20, 2005

One for the Schmaltzers

Many of you have inquired about our wedding photos and why we haven't posted them. The answer is that I am a giant loser and haven't done it yet. I haven't forgotten, it's just they're all on Mike's computer. I will get around to this problem eventually. In the meantime, in honor of our first anniversary, here's the tear-jerker (very popular with the romantics and our progenitors). Jesse says we look like we were laughing at an inside joke the whole night.
Mirer Cash Wedding 257

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Wednesday, January 19, 2005

What we're up against

Running the treadmill at the gym last week, I started to formulate a biblical argument for preserving Social Security. It was based on the idea in the Torah that Israelites were supposed to leave parts of their fields ungleaned, making sure that the "the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow," had something to eat. Since God is the de facto head of state in the Torah, the message is that governments are meant to provide for the poor. I told Anna about my revelation on the treadmill and she was far less excited, reminding me that:
1. I don't believe in divine will as a good reason for any political decision, 2. I'm not actually trying to argue that Republicans are evil, and
3. I decided against becoming a rabbi when I had the opportunity.

She is right on all of those counts. Therefore the argument did not make it onto the blog and is now just being posted as a lead-in. Writing in 34, Jeff posted the link to the two stories from the Times Magazine detailing the so-called "conservative new deal." I was sucked in by this passage right at the top

(GOP activist Grover Norquist's) particular genius is for persuading one organization to reach beyond its own agenda to help out another -- for getting, say, the cultural traditionalists at the Eagle Forum to join the business libertarians at the Competitive Enterprise Institute in opposing fuel-economy standards for automobiles by convincing the traditionalists that, as Norquist once explained to me, ''it's backdoor family planning. You can't have nine kids in the little teeny cars. And what are you going to do when you go on a family vacation?''

That says to me that President Bush's right-wing agenda is seen by many as a wholistic ideology. Suddenly, after talking to this Norquist guy, cultural traditionalists can be talked into supporting SUV's over, say, clean air and water for family vacations into the woods.

I mention this because, over the next 18 months, we will see a sustained, well-coordinated, and passionate assault on the social safety net. I will give the President and his peeps the benefit of the doubt and say they are driven by ideology rather than malice. It seems as though it is going to come from all corners, with no specious arguments left untapped.

I fear the underlying consequence will be to turn our country into 1786 France with better technology. That's why I was tempted to think biblically, to try and speak to the plurality of people who identify themselves as Evangelical Christians. It would, of course, be disingenuous of me to pull this out in the course of an argument.

I'm trying to gather ammuntion to counter people should I get into arguments about this. I'm not silly enough to believe that I can change anyone's mind, especially the mind of a person prone to arguing about Social Security. This is about gathering material, creating my own talking points. It's just hard for me to come up with pithy things to say about social security or the tax code because like most Americans, I don't truly understand them.

I know that I believe in the social safety net, the proposition that everyone is responsible for everyone else. But in this, a case of all-out campaign against something I believe in, it seems like I need to be able to argue from every viewpoint. I do, however, promise to leave biblical arguments to the experts.

6 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger Form at January 20, 2005 5:56 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Two nights ago on the Daily Show, the writer of "G-d's Politics" was on and he dropped a wonderful stat about how many lines in the New Testament are about poverty. Something like 300 lines about it. There is at least one about paying taxes even. "Give unto Ceasar..." Nothing about privitized accounts (or evolution, homosexuality, blowing people up, or the death penalty).

    The argicultural laws Mike mentioned are explained in two ways. 1)While human ownership (private property) is a good thing (because it encourages innovation and work) it is not an absolute thing. Rather ownership is a relative claim. G-d owns everything relative to you, so he can regulate the nature of your ownership, taking away parts of your crop for the poor, the Temple (rain tax man), and the environment (ever 7 years the field needs to be left alone). He makes you give some of your stuff away just to remind you it is his more than it is yours. 2)There is a pretty clear indicator of a basic responsibility to social justice and your fellow Israelite. Part of what you have must go to the poor. This is just part of what being an Israelite was about.

    However, most of this is Old Testament Law and most Evangelicals ignore that to get to the first 7 days of the Torah and the last 24 hours of Sodom and Gamorrah. (Remind me to send that rhyme to Akil.) However, if there is one Old Testament text Christains definitely love, it is Isaiah because of it can be read to prophesize Jesus' coming. (A tangent. Why was Isaih Thomas' nickname "Zeke?" It would make sense if he was named after a different prophet, Ezekiel, but not Isaiah. That never made sense to me.) Anyway, of all the Bibilical texts, Isaiah is the most committed to social justice. Basically he says, serving G-d without social justice is not going to cut it.

    1:17 "cease to do evil; learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppress, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow."


    10:1 "woe them that decree unrighteous decrees, and to the writers that prescribe oppression. To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless!"

    The rest is a whole lot of the prophet making clear that no matter how many sacrafices you bring and prayers you make, G-d is not buying it until there is social justice. As he says at 1:14, "Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates: they are a trouble to me; I am weary of enduring them. And when you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even when you make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood."

    So the question is, why not frame this debate in moral terms and appeal to evangellicals. Why not suggest, while Republicans are not evil (and I do not think they are) that the decision to phase out Social Security instead of fix it is an immoral decision? It is moral to have a system that helps the elderly and disabled if they need it. It is immoral to ignore such people.

    Anyway, that is all the religion I can offer today. The shrewd Clintonian and perhaps proper answer is that Privatized Accounts on top of a fixed and secure Social Security system is the way to go. Democrats just need to articulate it more clearly.

    For more info:

  •   Posted by Blogger BrooklynDodger at January 20, 2005 7:38 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • The simplest answer to private accounts was posted to BrooklynDodger's at home protoblog at

    Argument 1 for private accounts is that investing in the stock market rather than US Treasury bonds will give better interest and ultimately a higher monthly benefit. That gain in return could be accomplished by opening the investments that the Social Security Trust Fund can make. Administrative costs would likely eat up any increased return from a good investing strategy.

    Argument 2 for private accounts is that the government might default on those bonds. Certainly the Bush deficits increase the chance of default, but should that happen the entire economy would crash anyway.

    There are a bunch of other deform ideas such as increasing the retirement age and changing the indexing of benefits, both of which are simply benefit cuts. Legitimately, if people live longer, they need more retirement money, and something has to be done to take this into account. But that's irrelevant to "it's your money."

  •   Posted by Blogger Anna at January 20, 2005 2:16 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • At the risk of sounding outdated, I reaffirm that an argument for the behavior of a political party or a political body such as congress should never be based on theology or interpretation of holy texts. It isn't that I don't find the passages Dave and Mike have pointed to fascinating; I do, and as to how they should guide our acts as three inheritors of the Judeo-Christian tradition they are highly relevant. But I fundamentally (har) object to the conflation of that argument with the moral imperatives of a secular or ecumenical office including the President's or that of any member of congress. I'm not being original here, but I abhor the practice of basing political morals on texts and traditions not shared by all Americans. Otherwise what was the point of the constitution? At that time nearly all Americans were Christians, but Americans still saw fit to spell out common precepts and to accept them as theirs to love, hate, honor and change. Unless one of us believes that, say, Hindus, don't vote, then even framing the argument in the context of the Torah is just a capitulation to the religious right. It is their goal to move religiosity (and not too many flavors of it) to the center of politics and every time we answer that challenge with religious theory instead of facts and law, then we have implicitly adopted their plan. Even on a blog I think that is incredibly important. That was why I originally objected to Mike's proposal to post a biblical argument against privatzing social security. By the way I have no idea why he brought up his abandoned plans for the rabbinacy, I sure didn't. I thought that it was pretty hot when he wanted to be a Rabbi.

  •   Posted by Blogger Form at January 20, 2005 3:10 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Well, my post was motivated by two factors. 1)Mike's engagement with the Old Testament, which I did not want to leave without some interaction. 2)As you said yourself, chicks dig the Torah. Perhaps this caused some confusion about my intentions or feelings on these issues.

    I think there are several distinctions at work in this general debate. First, whether morality (secular or otherwise) should be considered by the Modern State? Second, if it is supposed to consider morality, how does it derive its moral notions. Third, how much of a role religion can play in this process of derivation.

    I think a State should consider morality in making its decisions. Secondly, I believe this morality should be derived from the shared values of its citizenship. Thirdly, I believe religion has no role in the formal process of law making and policy setting, but does have a role in translation, motivation, and politics.

    So while Congress should not say, "Social Security should exist because of the Torah," it may say "Social Security should exist because we as Americans have a moral imperative to take care of the elderly and the vulnerable." For Joe Lieberman, that may translate as one thing. For Ted Kennedy another.

    However, with the current make up of our country, this translation element cannot be ignored in practical matters. Their our various constiuencies that react to particular language. I think it is important to use that language to engage those people. Consider what it has done in the past....

  •   Posted by Blogger Form at January 20, 2005 3:16 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Just as an addition to my last post...when I mentioned Liebermen and Kennedy, I just meant two different moral traditions. My intention was to mention more. So the moral imperative that I was talking about was NOT exclusively religious. Rather, it could be translated into Marx, Ghandi, Secular Humanism, or Kant. I only wanted to point out the role of Religion in articulating moral imperatives and there strength in grounding them. Other world views do this too and should.

  •   Posted by Blogger Anna at January 20, 2005 8:23 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • I agree wholeheartedly that religion informs the morality behind political issues and that that is neither good nor bad but simply inherent to a religious person's conscience. And the distinction you (Dave) make between formal lawmaking and motivation is apt. I concede that the two are separable.

    My objection to the set of ideologies that I am lumping together simplistically as religious conservatism is not that it justifies its political positions with religious dogma but that extends that to an imperative to the rest of us. My faith in pluralism is stronger than my faith in any one of the religions that contribute to my moral character and I feel the need to be vigilant against adopting the same normative theology of our imagined opponents.

    Mike's post was titled "What we're up Against," and argued that the Torah teaches us to provide for the poor. What bothered me about that and about your first comment is the implication that religious conservatives don't believe in providing for the poor. I'm sure you'd agree that's absurd. It came off to me as an exercise in proving that our political antagonists are hypocrites rather than an opening a dialogue. Part of this is also coming from larger issues than just the post and my own defensiveness about my murky religious identity.

    I guess I went too far in my earlier comment. What I would like to say is that the overlap of religious morality and political morality has to be compartmentalized more neatly than I felt it has been on this blog posting. Demonstrating how the Torah passage in question relates to the privatization of social security sits fine with me because it assumes a common value of compassion and responsibility. I'm fine with saying "We, your political opponents, coming from different cultures traditions from yours, feel that your tradition is reconciled to our political position thus, therefore please join us."

    I believe in moral imperatives, but I don't believe they can be determined by other people or other groups. When we impose our interpretation of any text on our opponents, as I felt you and Mike were attempting to do, then there's not enough difference, for my conscience, between us and "what we're up against."

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Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Who Won? Who the Hell Gets Married in January? Edition

I returned from the scenic Central Coast of California to find that the men dominated this weekend's wedding section. It was a great disappointment to learn that someone named Elizabeth Victory had changed her name to Elizabeth Anderson.

16 January 2005
Gay Couples with Clear Winner: 1 of 1
Straight Couples with Clear Winner: 9 of 10
Men: 8
Women 1
Ties: 1
Disputed Results: 0

Year to Date
Gay Couples with Clear Winner: 2 of 2
Straight Couples with Clear Winner: 15 of 20
Men: 13
Women: 2
Ties: 2
Disputed Results: 3

5 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger Rich at January 19, 2005 10:34 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • I got news for you -- men are ugly and women are hot.

  •   Posted by Blogger BrooklynDodger at January 20, 2005 5:46 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • A staff member in H&S who is early in a PhD program at U of M suggests the following methodology for this exercise to eliminate bias. For example, if one rater thought all [or most] men were more attractive than all [or most] women, then women would always [or mostly] be winners and the exercise would prove nothing about the success or failure of any individual man or woman in competition.

    Each rater should rate each partner numerically on a parametric scale specific to each gender: men from 1 to 10, women from 1 to 10 [or whatever, it's unlikely that more than a 5 point scale is real; there are studies in psychophysical measurements whicha apply here]. Other rater should be blinded. Results should then be compared. BrooklynDodger assumes that the lower ranking partner is the winner. Median and mean scores should be calculated for each rater for each gender to measure bias; eventually, ratings should be normalized.

  •   Posted by Blogger Anna at January 22, 2005 11:33 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Frank has definitely lost sight of the point of this game.

  •   Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at January 22, 2005 3:15 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Was BrooklynDodger deliberately outed by the last post?

  •   Posted by Blogger Anna at January 23, 2005 6:33 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Well, Anonymous, if BrooklynDodger was anonymous before it was news to me. Though our readership might contain many such fonts of occupational health stats and sport chauvinism as my father-in-law, I think everyone who knows who Frank is also knows who BrooklynDodger is.

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Monday, January 17, 2005

I am Half-Assed, and so is this Post

Some of you were good enough to remember Mike's and my anniversary, only Mike is still away so we're celebrating it later, probably by playing WW?. I almost went to bed without blogging tonight, but I was kept awake by certain injuries sustained during cycling class (hint: Jimmy's old roommate was named after the injured region) so I'm giving you my post-mortem of the Golden Globes. Bear in mind that I missed whatever happened after 10:30 that night because the old biddy in me lost out to the old fart and I went to sleep (no cycling yesterday).

Best Moments (for schadenfreude) in no particular order:

  1. Star Jones Reynolds pointed out that William H. Macy and his wife Felicity Huffman were both nominated, referring to them as double nominees. "Better a double nominee than a double amputee, I always say," Macy bantered.
  2. Clive Owen picked his nose while accepting his Golden Globe.
  3. Not to be outdone, Ian McShane kept up the British reputation for hygiene by picking his nose while accepting his Golden Globe. Paging Dr. Mormonstein.
  4. Geoffrey Rush thanked his hair and makeup people, presumably for making him look like Peter Sellers, only his current hair was so awful that the audience thought he was joking and laughed.
  5. Clint Eastwood accepting: "I'd like to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press for all the work you do, especially that tsunami thing--that was great."
Cutest Couple:

Samuel L. Jackson and LaTonya Richardson, followed by Huffman and Macy. then Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi.

Best Dressed Women:

  1. Ashley Judd
  2. Sandra Oh
  3. Nicole Kidman
  4. Uma Thurman
  5. Natalie Portman
Runners-up: Meryl Streep, Teri Hatcher, Cate Blanchett, Kerry Washington, Amanda Anka

Best-Dressed Men:

  1. Robert Redford
  2. Samuel L. Jackson
  3. Sean Hayes
  4. Michael Chiklis
  5. Usher
Runners-up: Clint Eastwood, Patrick Wilson, Will Ferrell, that little guy who directed The Sea Inside

Worst-Dressed Women:

  1. Diane Kruger
  2. Eva Longoria
  3. Anjelica Huston
  4. Emmy Rossum (it's rare that an outfit manages to be both ugly and boring)
  5. Halle Berry
Runners-up: Mischa Barton, Melina Kanekawhatever, Debra Messing, Minnie Driver

Worst-Dressed Men:
  1. Prince
  2. Laurence Fishburne
  3. Wayne Newton
  4. Geoffrey Rush
  5. Prince
Runners-up: David Carradine

Some of you will have noticed that most of those links are missing. That is because I am tired. Perhaps I will address this problem at work tomorrow. Thank you.

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Sunday, January 16, 2005


So I noticed about two hours ago that my throat felt swollen. I wasn't having difficulty breathing and it wasn't very sore, but I was mildly concerned, especially since I've begun a new medication for the first time today. Because it's a Sunday and I only belong to an HMO, I did not consult a doctor. Instead I consulted disreputable internet sources and Sol. Sol was able to reassure me that if I could touch my chest with my chin I did not have swollen glands. As to what advantages unswollen glands might afford, Sol was unable to enlighten me. I later consulted Jeff, who said that since my throat was only a little sore, maybe I had swallowed something only a little sharp, such as a koala bear.

My disreputable source offered some more sensible explanations. Thanks to Spring Break '99 I can rule out mononucleosis. My other choices are mouth injury (also excludable, as I am on a low-koala diet), STD's (it wasn't that exciting a spring break), or a less salacious bacterial or viral infection of one of the various parts of my throat. The trouble is that the tip-off for an infection is a fever, and I never get fevers. I had acute appendicitis without cracking 99-F. In fact, I'm normally somewhere in the mid-to-high 97's.

Nontheless I took my temperature, if only to retroactively justify my having purchased a thermometer in the first place. My first attempt yielded a reading of 97.2 degrees, which Sol informed me would be about typical for the undead. Perturbed, I took my temperature again, and this time got 98.1, which, for me, would actually be something like a low-grade fever. Over the next 20 minutes I took my temperature six times, getting a different reading each time, in no particular order or progression. I never went down to 97.2 again, but I did go as high as 98.3. Although the simplest explanation is obviously the crappiness of my thermometer, I'd appreciate it if some of you would call tonight to make sure I haven't died, preferably during commercial interruptions of the Golden Globes.

1 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger Jeff'y at January 16, 2005 6:23 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Re: the Golden Globes, I couldn't believe how they managed to assemble all five desperate housewives together on stage to present the award for best actor in a mini-series. That must have taken remarkable coördination, because from what I understand of the show (never having watched it), when they're not keeping house, they're always sleeping with one another out of desperation. But they found time for award distribution, so bully for them.

    I think Sol's suggestion was a way of checking for a swollen meninx or two. Which, I'm kind of glad you don't, because it would suck to spend your anniversary locked away in some hospital ward.

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This week's edition of Who Won? will be postponed until Tuesday because Michael can't find a copy of the New York Times in San Luis Obispo. We apologize for the delay.

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Saturday, January 15, 2005

Memory Lane

I watched (or listened to, anyway, let's face the limitations of dial-up) Akil's audition video tonight, and it reminded me of Leo. For those unfamiliar with the roster of Carman Hall alumnae, Leo was a highly Canadicized native of Hong Kong (a Honger, technically) who was Scott's roommate, a sweet guy, the only person I ever knew to have been mugged in Morningside Heights, and a nearly endless source of amusing stories. One of my favorites involved Leo's puzzlement at Akil's beat boxing (which was constant). He asked Scott one night, "Who's that guy that's always walking around going ppppthbhtbhthbhthbhthbhthbhtht?" This story is best told in person, but as I mentioned, I only have dial-up. If I ever get a web cam or similar toy, my first use of it will be a recording of Scott reproducing the spitting sound Leo made. Then, because I am directing this film, we'll get Scott to sing "Seven and a Half Cents" while dancing around in a unitard.

1 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at January 25, 2005 12:07 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • That's hilarious! What floor were we on back then, 11?

    good stuff


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Fat Rats and Other Breaking News

Well, Mike is away on a business trip again, and I am left scratching my head for good posts. As yet, no good posts have fallen out. Gigi recently alerted me to an amusing article in Marie Claire written by the winner of a masturbating marathon, but there's no online version of the article, or at least none I want badly enough to wade through all the links that come up when you type "Marie Claire" and "masturbate" into Google. Instead I'm linking you to a less titillating article on a study of "trans" fats. In rats, a diet high in trans fat caused Alzheimer's-like symptoms, making them (the rats) five times worse at mazes than rats fed on a diet high in general fat but low in trans fats. Which leads to the inevitable conclusion that it sucks to be a rat, even a smart one.

2 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger BrooklynDodger at January 16, 2005 8:07 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Is there a connection between the memory lane post above, and this reference to Alzheimer's?

    This post may be more appropriate for BrooklynDodger1. However, the near-ADD free association over from trans fats medline yielded the following.

    Summarizing the abstract [find full abstract on medline to check for editorial distortion]: A cohort of 980 elderly persons from from the upper west side of New York City without dementia at baseline and with data on alcohol intake were followed annually. After 4 years of follow-up, 260 individuals developed dementia (199 AD, 61 DAS). [Actually a daunting number, alcohol or no.] Only intake of up to three daily servings of wine was associated with a lower risk of AD (hazard ratio=0.55) Intake of liquor, beer, and total alcohol was not associated with a lower risk of AD.

    J Am Geriatr Soc. 2004 Apr;52(4):540-6.

    Alcohol intake and risk of dementia.

    Luchsinger JA, Tang MX, Siddiqui M, Shea S, Mayeux R.

    Taub Institute for Research of Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain, and Department of Medicine, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA.

  •   Posted by Blogger Anna at January 16, 2005 4:18 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Well I'm not worried about you getting Alzheimer's.

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Thursday, January 13, 2005

Finally, a Principle

There is some encouraging news in the latest New Republic, in that the right wing of the Democratic Party will not seek to cut a deal with the White House as Bush tries to privatize Social Security. The not-so-aptly named Adam Smith (D-Wash.) said this:

"Social Security is a safety net. That's what it's there for. It's there to be the safest portion of your portfolio," he told me. "It's a guaranteed benefit for a reason, and, for that reason, I don't support private accounts." Smith doesn't speak for every moderate Democrat, but, he added, "I think there is broad consensus among New Democrats that you must not privatize the system."

This is a very positive turn of events indeed. It proves that no matter how conciliatory (read wussy) red state and moderate Democrats have been over the last four years that there is a point that even they will push back. We have finally found the bedrock principle upon which the Democrats will not compromise. To be a Democrat means believing in the social safety net, a role for government to be a positive actor in people's lives. And people are willing to say it. Could this be the beginning of a new chapter in the history of the Democrats as a minority party, a chapter in which they stand for their principles in a positive way rather than trying just act tactically? I hope so.

There are plenty of ways to do this, including Rudepundit's. My sense is that Democrats need to stand up and say the following:

Social Security exists as a monument to our nation's best impulses, the American people affirming that in the most prosperous nation on earth no person should starve to death because they are unable to work. Taking $2 trillion dollars from the Social Security trust fund right now, when the nation is running a deficit, means that those people won't be helped. We won't ever support that.

1 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger Form at January 14, 2005 5:30 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • My sentiments exactly. If Democrats do not support Social Security, the greatest long term accomplishment of the New Deal, they do not deserve to exist. This is an essentialist position.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Our long national nightmare is over

It took nearly four years, but Elisabeth Rohm has finally left Law & Order. Her character, Serena Southerlyn, was fired Trump-style and revealed from nowhere that she was a lesbian. And while that means we will be subjected to an episode in which she returns as a defense attorney, it's a small price to pay to be rid of her on a weekly basis.
Of course that only begins to scratch the surface here. Rohm ruined a way of life. Law and Order is on television 100 times a night, and used to be something reliable to watch when you didn't have anything else to do. But there are some 80 episodes now that fizzle out at the halfway mark. Suddenly comes this dithering blond who can't deliver the lines that have been written for her. It's just exasperating. They are unwatchable.

The legalese on the show completely conquered Rohm. She couldn't get her mouth around the words, to the point where the episode all but stops at the halfway mark. The only show on which she would have been a worse fit is ER. I don't understand how she lasted this long. Dick Wolf should return some of the money TNT gives him for the rights to the reruns.

4 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger Form at January 13, 2005 5:32 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Too bad this stuff doesn't work American Idol style, where I would be texting Fred Dalton Thompson's character off the show next.

    By the way, not only was Eilsabeth Rohm's character a lesbian, she was having an affair with Mischa Barton's character from the O.C.

  •   Posted by Blogger Form at January 13, 2005 5:40 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Actually, Serena's character will be replaced by a Jetta.

  •   Posted by Blogger Unknown at January 13, 2005 9:23 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Imagining Sam Waterston talking to a car like in that David Hasselhoff is brilliant. The O.C. reference zoomed straight over my head though.

  •   Posted by Anonymous Roulette Games at May 18, 2011 8:57 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Bravo, what words..., a remarkable idea

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Akil on television

Apparently Akil's new crowd includes Missy Elliot. He's come a long way from being in a suite with Big Daddy Backstreet and Eli.

3 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger Rich at January 12, 2005 2:47 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • That's an odd channel to be on. Good luck, Akil.

  •   Posted by Blogger Form at January 12, 2005 4:55 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Between Akil, Eli, and Big Daddy Backstreet, that was definitely the Carman 11 suite most likely to put someone on a reality program. (Because Seth and Marnie were in different suites, a potential Couples Fear Factor appearence would be ruled out.)

    Unfortunately, as everyone is fully aware of, my suite most resembled a Real World Episode. Thank you. Thank you very much.

  •   Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at January 25, 2005 12:14 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Word. Our suite was the jawn. Jason was the best roomate ever and Dave, you're one of the funniest cats I've ever met. Remember that time back at the Nuyorican when I "borrowed" your joke about Sarah Jones... You should have gotten into the hip-hop game my friend, you'd definitely be blinged out by now. Hope all is well man. Drop me a line at

    much respect


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Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Thoughts on the Randy Moss Story

Immediately after Randy Moss pretended to moon the Lambeau fans Sunday, Fox's Joe Buck's trashed him on the air. This initial response turned out to set the tone for the rest of opinion media, which almost unanimously parroted Buck's disapproval until guardian of morality Tony Dungy said he didn't have any problem with it. The righteous indignation is starting to fade. And perhaps the story will disappear.

Who the fuck anointed Joe "Leon" Buck as the arbiter of right and wrong. I have news for Fox, no matter how many big events it tries to put Joe Buck at he is not, and never will be, Bob Costas. Buck is decent looking, well spoken, and prepares well for broadcasts, but if you take him out of a press box there is no proof the man has two thoughts to rub together. Costas, meanwhile, understands culture, proportion and history. He knows how to put things in context. Buck chided Moss for basically saying "Look at me," but Buck did the same thing. If Costas disapproved he would have done it with a story or an anecdote, something that directed the focus at the action. Buck's verbal spanking amounted to him saying, "Look at how good a person I am." Fuck you.

--I also suspect Fox's decision not to replay Moss' fake mooning had more to do with its fear of the FCC and Chairman Powell than in any true fear of broadcasting obscenity. I mean, we're talking about Fox here.

--Moss also may have finally achieved Allen Iverson status, which is to say that much of the criticism leveled at him comes in racially tinged terms. In sports, when white fans complain about the good old days, when they cry about "fundamentals" in the NBA, when the point to "hard workers" versus "guys who coast on talent," they are speaking in shorthand. It's all about plausible deniablity. There is a sizable portion of the white sports fan base that detests black athletes, especially those who refuse to "play by the rules." I'm not defending Allen Iverson's sentiments against practice. But the response to Iverson from white people, was he was a "me-first" player who coasted on his talent, playing a flashy style that lacked the fundamentals and who didn't understand what a privilege it was to be a pro athlete and was too selfish to put in the hard work. Moss has earned the same reputation. There will probably be more on this topic later.

--The choreographed end zone celebration may be on its last legs. Moss' antics were silly, but they got him noticed and that's the point. Players try to top each other every week, but it's getting to the point where someone is going to have to score a touchdown, slaughter a chicken, then smear the blood all over uniform and play the rest of the game that way.

--Moss is the reason why the Vikings can beat the Eagles.

2 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger BrooklynDodger at January 11, 2005 4:52 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Frankly, I'd rather see someone moon the crowd than kneel and make the sign of the cross. Where are the Miller light officials when we see such unecumenical conduct?

    In basketball, if you dance too much after a score, the other team runs out and answers. If you spiked the basketball, you'd likely get a delay of game.

    Football is so slow, that all this display after a touch doesn't seem to delay the game any more than running out the extra point teams does. Similarly, the victory dance after a sack doesn't seem to delay placing the ball and starting the clock.

    The Viking hair display also deserves mention. BrooklynDodger thinks it was an homage to Ben Wallace and "fear the fro."

  •   Posted by Blogger Form at January 12, 2005 11:24 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • I heard Joe Buck's broadcast of the event but forgot whether he called it classless and disgusting before or after he plugged "Who's Your Daddy?" Someone needs to remind him he works for Fox.

    Moss is a bad teamate and should be criticized for taking plays off as long as he is cashing checks. And he has broken various laws, including some just ones. However, the outcry over this endzone dance, which was in much more good humor than the throat slash, has been totally overblown. Even in mooning the crowd he was wearing more clothes than the average NFL cheer leader. It was not as overtly offense as Jake Plumber flipping off the fans or as dangerous as John Lynch taking someone's head off. (Raise your racial issue eyebrows now.) The NFL promotes a violent game. They make money off of big hits. I am not sure if people standing around and praying in midfield makes the fact that someone is paralyzed all right.

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Monday, January 10, 2005

The Great White Hyperlink

RAS Frank read us the riot act about not posting every day, and we heard the riot act, and we agreed not to riot anymore, even though the Riot Act doesn't actually apply to angry mobs of two. But I can't think of anything to post today and Mike's at work. So here are some links to old movie reviews I wrote for Jeff's blog, the oft-mentioned 34. It had been savoured 43,079 times when I went to it tonight. That's a real number, by the way, unlike most of those provided by Free-Floating Hostility.

A Man, a Clan, the Banal: Troy
Girls Gone Mild
Something's Gotta Suck or The Worst Movie Ever Made: Now Playing
Et in Arcadia Heath Ledger?
A Plague on the House of Wachowski

In other news, it has been pissing down rain every day for three weeks in Davis. Luckily for you, such a climate is conducive to blogging.

4 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger Jeff'y at January 10, 2005 9:50 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • You probably shouldn't have shot all your eggs in one basket like that. When John Stewart goes on vacation they don't just show 12 Daily Show reruns one right after the other.

  •   Posted by Blogger Anna at January 11, 2005 7:53 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • You think of everything. Sigh.

  •   Posted by Blogger BrooklynDodger at January 13, 2005 8:09 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Girls gone mild prompts this.
    Actually, mention of Maggie Gylennal [can't spell it, won't look it up] prompts this.

    When BrooklynDodger straggled into Columbia Engineering in 1962, Naomi Achs, another Erasmus grad, entered Barnard. Naomi, Dan Pope, Eleanor Stein, myself and a number of others ran in the Brooklyn Student CORE, Brooklyn Student Sane [nuclear policy, nothing to do with mental health] crowd. [There were no women allowed in Columbia College until I think 1984 [sic!] although I believe women were allowed in SEAS although few chose to apply.]

    Naomi took up with Eric Foner, and became Naomi Foner. Whatever happened there, Naomi came to Hollywood and wrote "Running on Empty" which is the best movie ever made about the Weatherman era [pretty good movie about political activists and families in any era]. Bar none, nothing is even close. Rent this movie.

    The family in this movie is named "Pope," which refers back to Erasmus, not Rome.

    As recently reported in NYT, Naomi became Gyllenal [sp?], and from they NYT entertainment story, I see the younger Naomi's features in the movie star children.

  •   Posted by Blogger BrooklynDodger at January 14, 2005 8:03 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Girls gone mild prompts this.
    Actually, mention of Maggie Gylennal [can't spell it, won't look it up] prompts this.

    When BrooklynDodger straggled into Columbia Engineering in 1962, Naomi Achs, another Erasmus grad, entered Barnard. Naomi, Dan Pope, Eleanor Stein, myself and a number of others ran in the Brooklyn Student CORE, Brooklyn Student Sane [nuclear policy, nothing to do with mental health] crowd. [There were no women allowed in Columbia College until I think 1984 [sic!] although I believe women were allowed in SEAS although few chose to apply.]

    Naomi took up with Eric Foner, and became Naomi Foner. Whatever happened there, Naomi came to Hollywood and wrote "Running on Empty" which is the best movie ever made about the Weatherman era [pretty good movie about political activists and families in any era]. Bar none, nothing is even close. Rent this movie.

    The family in this movie is named "Pope," which refers back to Erasmus, not Rome.

    As recently reported in NYT, Naomi became Gyllenal [sp?], and from they NYT entertainment story, I see the younger Naomi's features in the movie star children.

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Sunday, January 09, 2005

What do you think Chuck D has to say about this?

The Times reported Sunday that not only are 80s rapper Flavor Flav and 80s starlet Brigitte Nielsen deeply in love, things are going so well that they are getting their own reailty show.

The show in on VH1 so I don't have much hope for the relationship. Compared to its Viacom sister MTV, VH1 is all about trainwrecks. If it's not rerunning the "100 Best Celebrity Brawls," like E! without intellectual pretense, it's showing C-list stars trying relate to each other on "The Surreal Life." Who ever thought that we'd look to MTV as the family values channel? But MTV gave us "The Osbournes" and "Newlyweds," shows that depict loving though not highly functional families relating to each other.

Flav's participation in this enterprise is probably the saddest part of it all. He was part of Public Enemy, which was a brilliant and subversive group. Chuck D went on to Air America and is a relatively respected commontater these days. Flav has decided to create a television show whose premise seems to be, a short aging black dude dates a Scandinavian giantess and hilarity ensues.

Flav was famous for the clock he wore around his neck. All I have been able to do since reading this story is picture Chuck D walking up to random people and this scene playing out:

Chuck D: Hey, do you know what time it is?
Random person: 4:20?
Chuck D: No. It's time's not to hang with that sell-out embarrassment of a former partner of mine Flavor Flav and his washed-up no-talent hack of a girlfriend.

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Who won? Get those marriage incentives rolling edition

A quiet day in the wedding section, as there were only three announcements with pictures. Anna did float an interesting theory in response of my cries of Asian fetish saying, "Be fair, maybe she has a old white guy fetish."

9 January 2005
Gay Couples with Clear Winner: 0 of 0
Straight Couples with Clear Winner: 1 of 3
Men: 1
Women: 0
Ties: 0
Disputed Results: 2

Year to Date
Gay Couples with Clear Winner: 1 of 1
Straight Couples with Clear Winner: 6 of 10
Men: 5
Women: 1
Ties: 1
Disputed Results: 3

2 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger BrooklynDodger at January 09, 2005 1:35 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Are you at all influenced by job status and class in making these choices? Also, do the you rate the feature story?

  •   Posted by Blogger Anna at January 09, 2005 9:11 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • We do not rate the features because there is not always a good picture of both spouses and because the picture is generally in a different format, which would obfuscate our findings. Occasionally a judge will try to support her decision with the blurb, but such behavior is generally shouted down as cheating. Today, for instance, I said Michael could not claim a former UN Weapons Inspector had won just because his new wife is 26 years younger than he (see Asian fetish debate), but Michael correctly pointed out that I had lost sight of the object of "Who Won?".

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Saturday, January 08, 2005

The Average MD Picks his Nose Four Times per Hour

With mingled relief and regret I must announce that Dr. Mormonstein has learned my real name. After 18 months at the clinic I have finally won permission for a key, which entailed some correspondence with the mother company. She apparently wrote an email praising my reliability and calling me Amy, so Mona gently informed her of her error and poor Dr. Mormonstein felt terrible. She blames her ears; she's had a cold recently and apparently it has cause her to mishear "Anna" as "Amy." Indeed, she must be very sick, if the giant loogie she sneezed all over this purchase order is any indication.
Bless You
April's hard-hitting photojournalism on this occasion has, in my opinion, proved that the camera phone is a good idea.

2 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger BrooklynDodger at January 11, 2005 5:49 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Why "his" nose in the head line? You can pick your doctor, and you can pick your nose, but can you pick your doctor's nose.

  •   Posted by Blogger Anna at January 11, 2005 7:59 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Sometimes I say "his" in this context, sometimes "her." In longer pieces I alternate. In this context I chose "his" because I didn't want the average doctor in question to be confused with Doctor Mormonstein, whose nose I have not yet seen picked by anyone.

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Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Addendum for Ass Scholars

Jesse (who, despite his faithful reading, narrowly missed inclusion in the 2004 Reader All-Star Team because he never posts comments) alerted me to the existence of two words meaning "having a comely behind" other than "bootylicious." The words are "callipygian" and "callipygous." My dictionary counts them as the same word, and defines them as "having beautiful buttocks." With plausibly unintentional humor the editors placed the definition right next to a lovely picture of Maria Callas. Jesse elucidates the shared etymology of "callipygous" and "callipygian" thus: "from the Greek kallos (beauty) + some word for ass." The dictionary cites the latter as pugē, though they translate it as only one cheek.

2 Comment(s):

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Monday, January 03, 2005

Jet Blue wants you to visit us

If you didn't notice that beautiful multi-color ad in Sunday's Style Section, Jet Blue is offering cheap fares between Sacramento and JFK. Instead of $300 round trip the price is less than $200, if you purchase before Jan. 18. I just wanted to throw that out there.

1 Comment(s):

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Sunday, January 02, 2005

Who won?

It's been played in newsrooms since the early 20th century and now Free-Floating Hostility proudly brings "Who Won?" to the blogosphere. This will be FFH's first regular feature, and though it may lack the sophistication of 34's This Week in the New Yorker, we feel it has a chance to really catch on.

The game is simple. Each Sunday morning Anna and I will turn to the New York Times' wedding page, look through the pictures and decide who got the better end of each deal. For gay couples we will count the frequency of clear winners. For straight couples, we will also tally up winners by gender. Ties and disputes between the judges will also be noted. We assume that we get the same announcements as our NYC readers, so feel free to play at home and post your results.

2 January 2005
Gay Couples with Clear Winner: 1 of 1
Straight Couples with Clear Winner: 5 of 7
Men: 4
Women: 1
Ties: 1
Disputed Results: 1

Also noted from wedding section, though not eligible for "Who Won?" as no photo was included, Gordon Christopher CC '02 got married to the Senator's kidnapped daughter from Silence of the Lambs (or perhaps a different Catherine Martin).

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Saturday, January 01, 2005

Free-Floating Hostility is Utterly Contrite

Free-Floating Hostility cannot excuse its 16-day hiatus with a technical catastrophe (like 34) or transatlantic travel (like Sevilla: A Writer's Life). Free-Floating Hostility's in-laws were in town. With humblest apologies, we offer a recap, in highlight form, of the past two weeks.

  • On Friday, December 17th, Free-Floating Hostility went to the Mondavi Center to see Handel's Messiah (you see, we walk our talk). The American Bach soloists (who are not soloists) perform on period instruments with historically informed creative choices, which is interesting, but a little wimpy. We ran into three sports professionals, all of whom tried to diffuse their obvious embarrassment with the same line: "Gettin' a little cul-cha, ay Mike?" At the intermission I asked Mike how he was liking it, and he answered, "My taste in classical music runs to loud and fast, and I can only assume it will get louder and faster as Jesus gets closer to becoming the Messiah."
  • Also Friday, 12/17. Alex told us the story of how when he was a chronically constipated baby, his father attempted to give him a suppository at an unlucky moment, and Baby Alex crapped on his dad's face.
  • On Sunday, 12/19 "The Wire" had a spectacular season finale. Mike missed it.
  • On Monday, 12/20 April's birthday. I had a patient who spent an hour trying to produce a urine sample and finally had to leave promising to come back the next day needing to pee.
  • Tuesday, 12/21. The patient came back, and still couldn't pee for an hour. She eventually managed after I counselled her to "find a place deep within yourself and forget about the clinic."
  • Wednesday 12/22. The clinic Christmas party. I had obtained exemption from the gift exchange, but no one informed Dr. Mormonstein (not her real name, she's just from Utah and mysteriously semi-Jewish), so she made a big show of saying "I have your present, it's just not wrapped yet." The rule was that gifts had to be homemade, and she informed us that she had woven the napkins she gave out. Some featured monograms vaguely related to the names of their recipients, others were stained, all screamed "Regift me to your enemies." Mine, when finally wrapped, came addressed to Amy.
  • Wednesday 12/22, the FFH in-laws arrived by plane. They went to sleep.
  • Friday 12/24. Christmas Eve. FFH in-laws went to the movies to avoid celebrating the holiday as long as possible. Reluctantly agreed to come over and have dinner of fettucine al'aglio e olio, asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, mixed green salad with almond slivers and kiwi, and a dessert of lemon mousse accompanied by 7,003 of the 9,234 christmas cookies pressed upon me by coworkers.
  • Saturday 12/25. Christmas Day. FFH in-laws spent nearly the whole day with us because businesses were closed. Scott and Rachel joined us for supper, consisting of roast beef (my dad being the de facto meat chef), stuffing, sauteed spinach and mushrooms, cucumber and tomato salad with pickled ginger, and a dessert of baked apples and ice cream.
  • Also 12/25. The topic of FFH's outstanding wedding thank you notes coming due in the next three weeks was raised. Scott, who is done with all but three of his thank you notes, offered to compose ours for us. This is what he wrote (edited slightly for context but for nothing else):
    Dear Bert + Ernie. Thank you for the shitweasel. We were really glad you could come to our wedding. We are also really glad Mary reminded us to write this shitweasel card because our etiquitte B running out fastly! I'm done with this stupid card. Merry Xmas. Love, Anna + Michael
  • 12/25 ct'd. My dad said he'd learned a new word that meant "having a comely behind." He said he couldn't remember what the word was exactly, only that it was something like supercalifragalisticexpialidocious. He said he'd consulted Juan Antonio, his diplomat friend, who confirmed the existence of a Spanish equivalent. We eventually determined that the word Dad had learned was "bootylicious."
  • 12/25 ct'd again. At Jeanne's suggestion we played the Dictionary Game after supper. For the word "foofaraw" my dad suggested "nest of the foofah, a south american monkey." Scott suggested "a bootylicious shitweasel." Dad won the game handily.
  • Sunday, 12/26. FFH and its in-laws went for a wine/spa tour of the Napa Hills. After a nauseating drive up the mountain we lunched at Ana's Cantina of St. Helena, which had dollar bills tacked to the ceiling and a pervasive odor of urinal. Then the women took mud baths (verdict: it really is a tub of mud), spent a long time trying to wash mud out of places mud should never be, then had wonderful massages. The men visited a few wineries, including Chateau Boswell, where my dad angled unsuccessfully for free wine for the 18th Century Seminar.
  • Monday 12/27. Oatmeal breakfast for the family that was awake. David finally asked why his oatmeal was purple, and I answered that I was bored and had turned it purple. "Was anyone else going to ask about the purple oatmeal?" he demanded of the group. "I'm used to having my oatmeal turned funny colors," Mike explained.
  • 12/27 ct'd. News of the tsunami. General consensus that this year couldn't have been more throughly fucked up.
  • 12/27 ct'd. A farewell dinner for Mike's in-laws, who were returning to New York that night. We finally ate at Soga's, one of two restaurants in Davis not affordable for college kids. It was alright. High level of consternation displayed over possible ignorance of the word "pencil."
  • Tuesday 12/28. Anna's in-laws and Mike went to Old Sacramento, found nothing there, and returned. Mike proclaimed it "the world's heaviest concentration of tchotchkes."
  • Thursday 12/30. The same group took a trip to Oakland. Mike met Kobe Bryant's jury consultant, whom his mom knows from the days when she brought the San Francisco Mime Troupe to the East Coast and whom his dad knows from sleepaway camp.
  • Friday 12/31. New Year's Eve. Departure of last in-laws for Detroit. Having artfully avoided anything that might turn into a social engagement for the evening, FFH rings in the New Year in peace in its own living room, watching the local spanish-language channel.
  • Saturday 1/1. Blogging recommenced.

1 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger BrooklynDodger at January 02, 2005 10:16 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Let it be known that the FFH in-laws from Detroit were not the in-laws who raised the thank you note issue. Some of ours were never sent, and at least one check found its way into a suit jacket pocket, which not being worn for a year after wedding, was not found in time to be cashed. By then, the account was closed, giver having moved [a move active verb than relocated] from Syracuse to Washington. In-laws were too embarrassed to ask for a new check.

    By way of excuse, there were no home computer data bases and form letters in those days, because there were no home computers. We actually didn't even have electricity back then, and had to watch TV by candle light.

    Regarding the visit and TV, profession of FFH permits watching football and basketball almost non-stop.

    Regarding shitweasel, we call to FFH's attention the existence of the Garden Weasel, sold on TV; perhaps there is a real item used for cultivation using manure? At least the name should be copywrited.

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