Friday, June 12, 2009

Bear: Age 20 months

From, as of the end of trading June 12:

Apple, snake, Adam

Adam's concept for the Rolling Stone cover was Adam and Eve, Garden of Eden, tree of knowledge, challenging concepts of right/wrong. He envisioned an apple, too.

Support for same-sex marriage by state

Here is a super cool graph illustrating support for gay marriage, by state, over time (since 1994) showing:

1) Support for gay marriage has increased since 1994 in every state.
2) Support for gay marriage has tended to increase at a higher rate in states that started out with relatively high support in 1994. (Texas follows this pattern; Minnesota is an exception.)
3) Utah sucks, IMHO.

Here's a a little taste of the graph:

[Update moments after posting: Scratch the sentence about Texas and Minnesota. I could explain my error, but it's not that interesting.]

Non-profit insurance for health care

Last Friday, we discussed Greg Mankiw's criticism of the public plan option for health care.

Ezra yesterday interviewed Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) about "a 'potential compromise' on the public plan: A system of federally-chartered co-ops that could offer a non-profit alternative to the for-profit insurance industry. In this telling, the co-ops preserve the central feature of the public plan -- they're a competitor to the traditional insurance industry -- but are free from the baggage of government control."

Newsweek tries to explain my Adam Lambert obsession

A Newsweek blog on pop culture tries to explain why women of a certain age "love Adam, truly, madly, deeply, in a kind of weirdly Mrs. Robinson sexual way". (Warning: includes incorrect use of "begs the question".) The author consults a professor of psychiatry and presents these hypotheses:
  1. Women are biologically attracted to masculine features in men for a fling, but feminine features when looking for a mate, and Adam has both.
  2. Adam's onstage exhibitionism is a powerful aphrodisiac because it caters to our inner voyeur.
  3. It all goes back to childhood when we wanted to have everything and anything whenever we wanted. We think Adam has it all and we want to be like him.
  4. Adam taps into the rebel that we once were but have now repressed (and, by the way, we covet his wardrobe).
Adam talked about the masculine/feminine distinction in the Rolling Stone article, telling a tale of a limo driver who, thinking he was all open-minded and tolerant, said something to Adam about not having a problem with Adam because Adam isn't "girly". Adam finds that sentiment "ignorant" and asks "Why can't some men have strong feminine sides? Does that make them less of a man? I don't know why our society has such an emphasis on masculinity and femininity - it's really gross. I don't think you're truly sexy until you don't care about that."

One could cite oodles of examples of how Adam exhibits a blend of masculine/feminine. Most obviously, there's the eyeliner and nail polish on the one (feminine) hand, and chains and heavy leather boots on the other (masculine) hand. But one of my favorites is more subtle. There's a video of Adam greeting an actor backstage after seeing Hair on Broadway when he was in NYC a couple weeks ago. Adam said to the guy, "F--k, you made me cry." Crying at a Broadway musical and admitting it: feminine (stereotypically). But the use of the expletive: masculine (stereotypically).

I might add some other things to the list of reasons Adam is appealing to women:
  1. Watching someone do something they're spectacular at is a beautiful thing. Competence is sexy.
  2. His onstage exhibitionism requires bravery and we're biologically wired to respond to displays of courage. Ditto for his vocal risk-taking. Ditto for his forthrightness (or lack of filter) when he speaks.
  3. Because he's so open about things the rest of us tend to keep to ourselves, we suspect he'd be unfazed by our deepest darkest secrets. He'd be the ultimate confessor (one who hears confessions) since he is the ultimate confessor (one who confesses). The other contestants identified Adam as the "camp counsellor" of the group, the one they go to with personal problems.
  4. The color in his voice, particularly on the high notes, reminds those of us in our 40's and 50's of rock stars who were popular when we were teenagers so he transports us back to teenager-hood and teenager-hood was all about BOYS!!!

The Newsweek story concludes that our fandom is healthy. (The author might reconsider if she looked at my Safari history.)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Another blow to productivity

First Chapters of books.

Storm last night

So I'm on the phone with C (she was in Shreveport, LA on business) around 7pm when I think I hear the tornado sirens going off. I had just been outside a couple of minutes before and while it was cloudy, no rain and no wind. I walk outside and within 10 seconds, the wind starts blowing at what seems like gale force. I go back inside and turn on the TV radar and this huge red blob is streaking from the west towards the DFW airport (near where we live). Then the rain starts and after about 5 minutes, the wind totally stops. Super calm, weird looking sky. Then the rain and the wind start again and as I'm looking out the back window towards our pool, I see 2 big branches break off from the tree behind us and partially fall into the pool! The picture you see here was taken this morning. Last night, during a lull, I went out and used shears and clippers to cut the branches that were hanging in the pool. Took about 30 minutes and right when I finished, the rain and wind started up again. You can see some of the cut limbs and branches on the right side of the picture.

So when I see the tree limbs in the pool, I call my neighbor, asking if he has a saw. At that point, I didn't know how big/thick the limbs were. As I'm talking to him on the phone, I hear another crash type sound. I run to the front window and a huge part of a tree that is just on his side of our property line is down. This is the 3rd time this spring/summer that part of this tree has broken off during a storm. These pictures were also taken this morning:

The thunder and lightening late last night/early this morning was unreal. It was like a strobe light going off for hours. I was going to start cutting up and cleaning up in the back, but the rain/lightening has started up again. I also have a visit planned with the folks behind us - that tree has been the bane of my existence for years and I'm going to try my best to convince them to cut the damn thing down.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Re: Re: Minding the gap

Scooter, for you....C was as enamored with "way out" as I was with "mind the gap".

Re: Minding the gap

On my first trip, I was asking for directions in a train station and was told to go, "Way out." He pointed in a direction. 200 yards later I still had no idea where I was going until I noticed they didn't have "exits," they had "Ways Out."

Heat transfer: meatballs and ice

I have a heat transfer question. It's a mother/daughter argument ready to happen and I need backup.

My mom is transporting 10 pounds of frozen Swedish meatballs (in 4 bags) from Minneapolis to Bismarck by car tomorrow. That's a six-hour trip. The objective is to keep them frozen. She's purchased a small cooler. The cooler is exactly the right size for the meatballs, with no space left over for ice. The question we face is whether the meatballs will fare better if she fills the single cooler with meatballs and no ice, or if she buys a second cooler and fills the two coolers half with meatballs and half with bags of ice.

I'm thinking the heat transfer coefficient of the meatballs is lower than that of ice (i.e. that meatballs thaw more slowly than ice cubes melt, given equal surface area in identical environmental temp), and further that the meatballs have less surface area that the ice cubes and therefore she'd be better off filling one cooler with frozen meatballs. I KNOW she's not going to believe that such a thing could possibly be true.

I could well be wrong about the comparative heat transfer coefficients of meatballs/ice (opinions, please), but if I'm right about that, then I'm right about the cooler conclusion, am I not?

I guess there's one other factor to consider. The meatballs, being bigger than the ice cubes leave greater air space between/amongst them than a bag of small ice cubes would, and that would result in faster heat transfer/thawing. That favors the two-cooler plan.

Images from Great Britain

I'm so bad about keeping up with what I've posted or not. I thought I had put some pictures on here, but I guess only the one. I'll pick the best or most interesting and start today....

I know this isn't very interesting, but when riding the Underground, this phrase is broadcast before, during and after every stop. After about 3 stops, it drives you crazy. After a day or 2, all I would do while riding the train was just repeat this over and over in my "trying to sound like, but awful" British accent. I drove C crazy doing that.

This is the London Eye - which when described to me didn't have much of an appeal. But it was super cool and even though it was foggy the day we did it, you still could see all over the metro London area and I thought foggy pictures captured what London looks like. The pods would hold about 20 or so people and it took about 30-35 minutes to make a revolution. If I remember correctly, all the parts were built and/or came from foreign countries - nothing from the UK.

This is Henry VIII. Well, not really. At Hampton Court, they do a recreation of his marriage to Jane Seymour. You get a "wedding invitation" and a listing of events and while you are touring the grounds, you run into the wedding party. Earlier, C and I were walking down a hallway and Henry came around a corner and talked to me. He asked me if I was there for the wedding ( I said no, but congrats anyway). He said OK and said he hoped I enjoyed "his" house. The funny thing about this picture was that there was a group of people in front of them and one of them asked the guy with Henry if he was Wolsey. Henry got upset and told the guy that he should address any questions or comments directly to the King, not to underlings. The tourist apologized and Henry told the underling he could answer (he wasn't Wolsey, though I can't recall who he said he was). C and commented that this whole production was the ultimate Renaissance Fair.

Taken on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. Really doesn't need an explanation....and no, C nor I tried any.

The "Old Course" at St. Andrews. The weather was horrible - very windy and raining off and on. Yet, no one complains and you just play. The wind was blowing from left to right on the 1st tee (and in the face of the golfers), so it was fun watching the tee shots. Of the 3 groups we saw tee off, only about 3 of golfers got the ball in the air. I could do that - I DO do that. So I could play this course and not feel bad. The prices aren't that bad and there are like 6 courses (the "new" course is over 100 years old, which cracks me up). I wanted to run out and stand on the bridge, but was afraid that the caddies or officials would get me.

This was taken somewhere in the Scottish Highlands. If I saw this picture, I would never guess Scotland. It looks more Germany or Austria to me. We just drove around on this day and hit every type of weather (rain, sun, cold, warm, windy, calm). It was so British, so Scottish.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Free market in troubled assets and banks owning troubled assets

Ezra notes this about market effects on pricing of the troubled assets and the banks holding them:
One odd argument I stumbled upon while reporting out the PPIP story yesterday that has relevance to this chart: Part of the story behind the crash in lending earlier this year was that large investors apparently sat on their money hoping that the banks would have to unload troubled assets at fire-sale prices. They didn't want to invest in normal opportunities because they sensed the possibility of extraordinary opportunities. "I know a bunch of hedge fund people who thought these things were screaming bargains," recalls Douglas Diamond, a banking expert at the Chicago School of Business, "but would become even bigger bargains soon."

Now it looks likely that the banks that own these assets are going to try -- and might even succeed -- at holding these things to maturity. Which means that it might be the banks holding the assets, rather than the assets themselves, that are the bargain.

Adam's Rolling Stone cover and interview

Here's the highly anticipated Rolling Stone cover:

I want a giant poster of it for the living room. It could use a bright red apple, though, I think.

This drops officially on Friday, but will be on newstands in some cities tomorrow. News reports today all over the place describe many interesting tidbits that will appear in the RS article, beyond the (yawn) "I'm gay" profession, for those who are interested in Adam beyond his music.

On Kris (Popeater):
Lambert even goes on to share his feelings toward sharing a living space with 'Idol' champion Kris Allen. He says that when the show moved them in together, "I was like, 'Oh, s--t, they put me with the cute guy.' Distracting! He's the one guy that I found attractive in the whole group on the show: nice, nonchalant, pretty and totally my type – except that he has a wife. I mean, he's open-minded and liberal, but he's definitely 100 percent straight."

On coming out to his (very sweet) parents (Popeater):
Adam's father Eber caught his 13-year-old son looking at gay pornography on the family computer, and turned to his wife and said 'It's official.' Later, Lambert's mother asked if he had a girlfriend. He said no. She asked if he had a boyfriend. He said no. Then she asked if he wanted a boyfriend, to which Lambert replied "Yes, that would be nice." "Suddenly, it was like a wall dropped, and we started gabbing like crazy," Lambert says.

On pot, Ecstasy and cocaine (USA Today):
At 21, he was in a European tour of Hair for six months. That was when he dyed his hair black. In Germany, he started smoking pot and tried Ecstasy. But he does have limits. Among his dislikes: cocaine.

On funguses: (NY Post):
"I was looking for something and I wasn't sure what it was. [After experimenting with] certain funguses, I had a psychedelic experience where I looked up at the clouds and went, 'Oh!' I realized that we all have our own power, and that whatever I wanted to do, I had to make happen."

On the now-famous pictures of him in drag and kissing Brad Bell (
"I've only dressed in drag three or four times — and of course I took pictures, because I looked amazing — but I don't tuck and I don't wear breasts, that's not me," Lambert said. "Sucking my boy's face? Yes, that I will own."

For anyone who is uninitiated about, but interested in, the Kradam bromance, here's an excellent primer, complete with slow-motion gifs of the boys in their best Kradam moments. It's a beautiful thing.

[Update at 9:45 pm: readable scans of the pages of the RS article can be accessed here. Click on them to enlarge.]

Why isn't Stephanie posting about this??

Her man, Adam Lambert, declares his sexuality. I'm shocked...shocked, I say!!

Tasing a 72 year old woman

I think this guy is toast.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Oh, this is a good idea...

Ugh. Can't believe I voted for this guy. Ok, I can believe it but this is just hideous.


Saying the greatest threat to the country is not a recession or terrorist attack but liberal media bias, Rep. Lamar Smith on Friday filed papers in the House to create the Media Fairness Caucus.

Smith said the caucus, consisting of roughly a dozen lawmakers, would point out liberal bias in mainstream media stories and pressure news organizations to be accurate, objective and fair.

In an interview on the Fox News Channel, Smith, R-San Antonio [and some of Austin, oh, the gerrymandering] said he didn’t want to “be radical, but to me, the greatest threat to America is not necessarily a recession or even another terrorist attack.”

“The greatest threat to America is a liberal media bias, and I think that because if the American people don’t know the facts, they can’t make good decisions and if the American people can’t make good decisions, then our democracy is threatened,” Smith said.

If the Americans don't know the facts? Any American who can't get all sides or just the facts is simply lazy. Media bias= recession/terrorism! Yikes. What the heck is this Rethug thinking? B---h all you want but "pressure" the media? If you complain about the FCC and the "fairness doctrine," you should be disqualified from this kind of idiocy. I'm sure he'll be screaming over any gun control proposals the Dems may put forward. Is the 1rst Amendment not as important as the 2d?

Crock Pot Chili Verde

IFA offers a crock pot chili verde recipe and recommends that it be served with homemade cornbread.


Sheesh. I have to look this up every single time. Maybe if I post about it I'll remember.




with all due respect to; with the permission of: I do not, pace my rival, hold with the ideas of the reactionists.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

SSJ: One in 7.4 million

NYT on failed or abandoned blogs:
According to a 2008 survey by Technorati, which runs a search engine for blogs, only 7.4 million out of the 133 million blogs the company tracks had been updated in the past 120 days. That translates to 95 percent of blogs being essentially abandoned, left to lie fallow on the Web, where they become public remnants of a dream — or at least an ambition — unfulfilled.

The latest on the missing Somali men

From the Strib: A second one of them has died in Somalia. (The first committed a suicide bombing.)