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  1. walton says

    (Unlike passages that appear to justify hatred of gays, which, of course, have to be interpreted hyper-literally, irrespective of the context.)

    Damn, that was inelegantly expressed (using “gay” as a noun seems a little negative, somehow, if only because I’ve heard homophobes do it). Apologies. But you know what I mean.

    (The hypernationalistic, belligerent fundie Christianity that has become the norm in America today has remarkably little to do with anything that is or isn’t in the Bible, so I suppose it’s a mistake to expect any kind of intellectual consistency.)

  2. Pteryxx says

    On the way home, I was briefly behind a car with a bumpersticker reading God Bless Our Troops… Especially Our Snipers!

    *blink* …When I saw one of those, I assumed the bumpersticker meant “…So please don’t snipe me!” much like those “I ♥ Cops” bumperstickers are supposed to save you from traffic tickets (tongue-in-cheek, because everyone knows it’d never work, for either case). Was I actually not literal ENOUGH for once? Whoa.

  3. says

    Pteryxx (now double-checking all nym spellings!):

    The version of that sticker I saw was a plain white font on a black (or charcoal grey) background: Nothing to indicate the slightest touch of irony. If this was humor, it was way too dry for me!

  4. Nutmeg says

    Thanks for the stats help, everyone! Apparently the use of PCA is not as restricted as I thought. I’m still not sure exactly what it will do with my particular data set, but I get the impression that many others who have used it aren’t sure exactly what it did with their data either.

    Now, to find a program that requires little re-formatting and zero programming ability. Another grad student is bringing something for me to try tomorrow so I should be okay.

    My normal thank-you gift for stats help is cookies. Gingersnaps should be emerging from your USB ports shortly.

  5. says

    Bill, it would be very difficult for a bondage store to be viable in a mall. Even a ‘sexy time’ store wouldn’t fit in a mall. Victorias Secret is as close as you can get, and even they spent years mass mailing catalogs before they sold underwear in a mall.
    ++++++++++++++
    “Re pot for a 12 year old: As a drug, I don’t take pot any more seriously than I take beer”

    But alcohol can be physically addictive, increases aggression, and can cause fatal overdoses.

    None of those are true about pot.

  6. changeable moniker says

    Oh, and my USB ports are all full, so don’t go sending ginger snaps without warning. ;)

  7. Pteryxx says

    The sticker I saw was bright red with black-and-white text, a target in the middle, and a run of printed bullet holes… so yeah. Though it still might’ve just been me.

    @Bill, no worries… I rather like that my nym’s almost impossible to spell OR pronounce, and it’s entertaining (to me anyway) to see which chromosomal variants get ascribed to it.

  8. Brother Ogvorbis, OM . . . Really? says

    impossible to . . . pronounce

    I just used dino on it and came up with ‘Terix.’ Am I close?

  9. Rey Fox says

    isn’t that just about as close to cold-blooded murder as “legitimate” combat gets?

    Obviously, the most praise and support should be heaped upon the pandering politicians who order where the killing is to be done.

  10. Pteryxx says

    I just used dino on it and came up with ‘Terix.’ Am I close?

    Yep, perfect!

    I get called all sorts of variants in voice. But that’s half the point; if they have to double-take at it, or ask me about it, they’re that much more likely to recognize Archaeopteryx when they encounter *cough* one of us *cough* again. *cackle*

  11. says

    Rey Fox – “Obviously, the most praise and support should be heaped upon the pandering politicians who order where the killing is to be done.”

    QFFT. Especially for the chickenhawks who so love the troops they were unwilling to volunteer to serve.

  12. carlie says

    I figured the ‘P’ was silent, like the ‘P’ in swimming.

    Almost all peas are silent; easier for them to sneak up on you that way.

  13. DLC says

    @Sallystrange #488 : Yup. The article reminded me of the Times piece PZ blogged about the other day, with the “none” fellow. The author in today’s Huff Post seemed much like someone “who didn’t believe in god but hoped to someday” I wanted to shout back through the innertubes “stop it!, stop being a damn fool!, bring your son up wisely and without nonsense!”

  14. says

    I’m watching an Edward G. Robinson marathon on TCM. The plots suck, the acting … ah, so so, but getting to see the ship/steam/aircraft tech in the BG is priceless!

  15. cicely, unheeded prophetess of the Equine Apocalypse says

    Newt…Gringrinch.

    Heart two sizes too small…head not screwed on just right..and hell, maybe his shoes are too tight.
    -

  16. says

    Bill, no worries.

    Nutmeg, R is great. It’s hugely powerful and flexible – BUT – MAJOR BUT – it is seriously hard to learn! If you’re OK with command line interfaces and you can write a little code, and you have at least heard of functional programming(*), then you should be good to get started with just some tutorial doco. But if you’re a point and click “mouse-pusher”, it will be very demanding indeed. I’d say worthwhile, but your priorities may vary.

    (*) If you’re a real functional programmer, then don’t expect R to work that way, but it’s still feels more lispy than pythony or java-y to me. Yes, those are too technical terms. :P

  17. changeable moniker says

    Not Haskell-y? Nothing says “functional” better than:

    infixl 1 >>, >>=
    class Monad m where
    (>>=) :: m a -> (a -> m b) -> m b
    (>>) :: m a -> m b -> m b
    return :: a -> m a
    fail :: String -> m a

    m >> k = m >>= \_ -> k

    ;)

  18. changeable moniker says

    In unrelated news, today I had HUGE SUCCESS! in bending silicon to my will, when I managed to combine outrageous shell redirects, short-circuit operators, multiple sub-shell trickery, and cunning tee (1) invocations to make the f’kin machine do what I needed. Today I was a computer god.

    Tomorrow, I will once again be crushed by the relentless illogic of my own inadequacies in the face of remorseless NAND gates. :-(

  19. chigau (違う) says

    rorschach
    We don’t need no stinking Kyoto.
    Jesus is coming soon and he’s coming to Canada First!

  20. says

    The version of that sticker I saw was a plain white font on a black (or charcoal grey) background: Nothing to indicate the slightest touch of irony. If this was humor, it was way too dry for me!

    It only becomes humor after you call them out for celebrating violence. Then, suddenly, it’s meant to be funny. Can’t you take a joke?

  21. Pteryxx says

    Meh. Tanystropheus!

    Like to see the recurrent laryngeal nerve in that one.

    Nah, I know Archaeopteryx is old-fashioned now, but I drew it as a little kid in fundie grade school and got into all sorts of trouble over it. It’s so obviously playing by evolution’s rules. So I’m the mixed-up critter, neither bird nor lizard, that fundies think was placed on the Earth specifically to trouble their faith.

  22. Nutmeg says

    changeable moniker, Alethea:

    I think a crash course in R will be necessary at some point in my future, but maybe not right away. Revisions on this paper are due in less than 30 days, so I’m trying to keep things simple. I’ll have to remember the “Little Book of R” for when I have data for my thesis.

  23. Brother Ogvorbis, OM . . . Really? says

    Like to see the recurrent laryngeal nerve in that one.

    I’m blown away by the size of that Triassic beastie. About 6 metres. Each cervical vert is around 22 to 26 cm. And every time I see a Taystropheus, all I can think of is What if God Smoked Cannabis?*

    And yes, I really did link to that version. Why? Because I’m an asshole. Sometimes.

  24. says

    The Sailor:

    Bill, it would be very difficult for a bondage store to be viable in a mall.

    My bad for the confusion: The (sadly defunct, and replaced by a church) D/s Toychest store was in a small, standalone block of retail shops I drove past on the way to the mall. It’d actually been there for years; I was surprised to see it was gone.

    That said…

    Even a ‘sexy time’ store wouldn’t fit in a mall. Victorias Secret is as close as you can get, and even they spent years mass mailing catalogs before they sold underwear in a mall.

    …you obviously haven’t been into a Spencer’s Gifts recently. (Not that I’d recommend it: They showcase a sensibility best described as Early Asshat Fratboy™; I only ever go in there when I need a gag gift [in all senses of the word gag].) But they do have a whole section of sex toys (including some lightweight bondage stuff), novelty condoms, lubes, stripperwear, and sex manuals. No outright porn, but a fair amount of the other stuff you might find in a XXX adult store.

    And there’s one of them in practically every mall in the U.S. I actually find it a bit shocking… and I think of myself as tough to shock!

    Oh, BTW, Brookstone’s also carries a staggering (probably literally) range of “personal massagers,” however discretely labeled and promoted.

    And there used to be Frederick’s of Hollywood stores in some malls, though I haven’t seen one in years. To be fair, the retail FoH stores were more like a low-rent version of Victoria’s Secret, and didn’t much resemble the much more porny stuff in their magazine ads.

    ***
    SC:

    First, good to see your pixels.

    Next, I guess tonight is my Night of Cluelessness©:

    Well, you’re honest to the point of recklessness, self-centered in the extreme.

    ;)

    I take the smiley to indicate humor, or at least friendliness, but I’m not apprehending your meaning. I mean, I’m sure I’ve been guilty on both counts at times, but… in my apology for getting Alethea’s nym wrong? <headscratch>.

    My guess on the bumper sticker is that they have a relative who’s a sniper.

    Mebbe so, but it didn’t look homemade, and I wouldn’t have guessed the community of snipers was big enough that their families constitute a viable market. Perhaps in this New Digital Age®, even bumperstickers (which I would’ve thought had a high setup cost) have become micromarket items. Whatever, though; the sentiment just bounced off my head in the moment.

    BTW, do you watch Next Iron Chef? Aside from the egregious product placement, I was quite pleased with the Secret Ingredient Challenge last night: The winner has been my favorite for several weeks now, and would be my choice for the NIC; the (now eliminated) loser has been rubbing me the wrong way for about the same span of time: s/he has seemed consistently smug and arrogant to me.

  25. says

    The Sailor:

    I meant to also respond to this:

    “Re pot for a 12 year old: As a drug, I don’t take pot any more seriously than I take beer”

    But alcohol can be physically addictive, increases aggression, and can cause fatal overdoses.

    Point taken… but even in the small-to-moderate doses that don’t generally produce those ill effects, I still wouldn’t give beer to children. To me, a noncustodial adult (any adult, really) getting a child stoned (in either sense of the word) just seems sketchy on its face, before you even get to medical risks.

    I’m a big supporter of people’s right to alter their consciousness, and I would support the full legalization of pot (i.e., I’d put it in the same regulatory framework[s] as alcohol and cigarettes)… but we’re talking about a child here — not even the proto-adult that a teenager is — who is presumptively not ready to make adult decisions, and getting hir smashed strikes me as beyond the pale… especially when the person getting the child smashed has no actual legal right or responsibility for the child’s care.

  26. says

    Shak:

    It’s a troubling question: On the one hand, it seems like Islamophobia on its face, at least at first glance.

    On the other hand, it does seem reasonable that for things — like the taking of oaths — that require an individual to make a personal, public declaration, the public has some legitimate interest in [a] knowing that the person is who xe claims to be and [b] xe is actually speaking the words of the required declaration.

    The latter wouldn’t be an issue for solitary oath takers, of course, but if an oath were administered to a group including multiple veiled people, it would be difficult to confirm that any one veiled individual was speaking the words.

    On the gripping hand, ought the taking of oaths really be that important?

    I’d have to think more about it to know what I think, but I don’t think I think it’s a simple as “Dog, my country is so racist!”

  27. Part-Time Insomniac, Zombie Porcupine Nox Arcana Fan says

    Thank goodness, Bill! I thought I was the only one who noticed the sort of mindset Spencers advertises. I saw some nice jewelry in the one at the mall I go to, but after seeing some of the shirts, I don’t plan on stepping foot in there.
    ——————————————–

    Hmm, sapele, mahogany, ovangkol, rosewood. Well, maybe not the latter. But a spruce top is a must. Yes, still deciding for my next guitar.
    ——————————————

    Never done pot, but even so, I don’t think it wise to give it to 12 year olds. They’re at an age where their bodies are beginning to (if not already have) change. It’s even more of a crapshoot, I think, when it comes to how pot would affect them, than it is with adults.

    I’m also not in favor of magic mushrooms being given to 12 year olds. Mayne I’m just overly cautious.
    ——————————————

    OK, now to go do something else.

  28. The Laughing Coyote (Papio Cynocephalus) says

    Magic mushrooms? Oh god no. Even most adults shouldn’t touch the stuff.

    My experiences with mushrooms were interesting. See, the ‘hallucinations’ I could handle. Just another layer of reality, I’m OK with that, you know, seeing ordinary things in a different way and expanding my conciousness and all that….

    The problem was the ideas I started getting. Mushrooms made me feel like I was literally invincible. I was getting ‘ideas’. “Hey, know what’d be cool? If I jumped out of this moving vehicle and clung to the side of that semi truck like a windsurfer!” “Gravity can go fuck itself, I bet I could survive a jump from a 10 story building so long as I stick the landing!”

    Luckily I still had a sane part of my brain that told me ‘Dude, this is how people get killed on mushrooms. You can’t fly, you aren’t spiderman, and you can’t stop a moving train with your forehead.’ But if I’d taken too much more, if I’d gone further…. who knows what kinda shit I might or might not have attempted?

    Mushrooms are dangerous, but not in the way most other drugs are dangerous.

    I’m pretty sure the OP didn’t mention anything about giving mushrooms to a 12 year old though.

  29. says

    PTI:

    I thought I was the only one who noticed the sort of mindset Spencers advertises.

    Yah, it’s pretty rank in there. I used the term asshat snarkily in my previous comment, but it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if you could find a literal ass-hat in Spencer’s Gifts!

  30. cicely, unheeded prophetess of the Equine Apocalypse says

    Almost all peas are silent; easier for them to sneak up on you that way.

    *nodding*
    They’re treacherous like that.
    And I don’t like the way the turnips look at me, either.
    -

  31. Part-Time Insomniac, Zombie Porcupine Nox Arcana Fan says

    TLC: Hmm, reading the OP again. Nope, no mention of magic shrooms. Huh. Maybe I was confusing it with another post? Well, whatever the case, my bad.

    Still, going by your post, holy fuck, those things must be a class of danger unto themselves.
    ———————————–

    Bill, if I do see, I will take a picture of said ass-hat and post it here for all to see. There is no way someone’s not thought of marketing those yet.

  32. The Laughing Coyote (Papio Cynocephalus) says

    Insomniac: Oh yeah. I mean, I didn’t even get into the ‘bad trip’ aspect. I enjoyed all of my trip, because as I said, besides the ‘ideas’ that my rational side was able to shoot down, I was seeing ‘another layer’ of reality.

    Still the same reality, no leprechauns popping out of the trees or flying pink unicorns or other crap people have claimed to see on mushrooms (I have a suspicion they’re all full of shit, n00bs trying to sound experienced), just ‘faces’. Faces everywhere. Faces in the leaves, faces in the random patterns on a rock, faces in the dirt, little cartoonish faces all over the place. Pareidola on overdrive. It dawned on me that I can do literally anything I want within my physical capabilities. I know, we’re all aware of that in the normal state, but on mushrooms it like, really dawned on me.

    There was also a bit of a sensation, just a hint, of seeing beyond the illusions we all know our senses present us with as ‘reality’. I know, it’s just sounding stupid and ridiculous now, I’ve heard almost this exact same script from hundreds of old hippies burning thousands of doobies on an eternity of summer afternoons, but I’m just trying to get across what it was like, and how it wasn’t all really a negative experience, but also how obvious it is that this same shit COULD have been a negative experience.

    Is this making sense to anyone or is it time for me to smoke another one?

    Anyways, beware of mushrooms. Don’t do them unless you’re fully prepared to take a bit of a vacation from what is strictly defined as ‘the real world’.

    And a final warning: They take a bit to kick in. And people are always like, “They’re not working!” and eat a bunch more. But then it all hits at once. And then things get ‘real’.

  33. says

    Nutmeg,
    For a “hit the button and see what comes out” kind of solution, PRIMER is a nice software solution. It is far easier than R to learn and will do pca. Windoze only I’m afraid (well, no Mac native, dunno about other os distros), but it works very well. http://www.primer-e.com/ It’s not cheap, but if you check around, I’ll bet someone has a copy. If not, email me at my name,without the g at I am lab boy dot com (without spaces and at symbol and all that) and I may be able to help you out. (the nym should also link to my defunct blog that has an email link, too. )

  34. walton says

    On the other hand, it does seem reasonable that for things — like the taking of oaths — that require an individual to make a personal, public declaration, the public has some legitimate interest in [a] knowing that the person is who xe claims to be and [b] xe is actually speaking the words of the required declaration.

    I disagree completely, in this case. “Citizenship oaths” are meaningless pablum, and should not be required in the first place; I shouldn’t be expected to profess allegiance to a state in order to exercise civil rights. (This goes along with the general stupidity of immigration restrictions and of limiting the vote to nationals of a particular state; it’s all arbitrary bullshit. It’s ludicrous beyond words that, in a world of global trade and instant communications, we still predicate people’s rights and duties on their having been born on one part of the Earth’s surface rather than another.)

    Indeed, the whole process of naturalization has always been bound up with arbitrary and discriminatory restrictions; until 1952 (consistently with the general racist origins of US immigration laws), only white immigrants could be naturalized as citizens. The whole thing is ludicrous, including the “citizenship tests” required in many countries.

    The Canadian naturalization oath, similarly to the British one, requires an oath of allegiance to the Queen: “I swear [or affirm] that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, her heirs and successors…” Leaving aside my own feelings about monarchy for a minute, how many republicans do you think have taken the oath over the years with their fingers (literally or metaphorically) crossed? Why should someone have to profess allegiance to a particular political system or head of state in order to be allowed to vote and exercise other civil rights? Similarly, if for some incomprehensible reason I were ever to decide that I wanted to be naturalized as an American citizen, I would have very great difficulty honestly saying “…that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion.” I don’t believe I have any moral obligation to do any of those things, and couldn’t in good conscience promise to do so. (Indeed, if I disagreed with the government’s purposes in requiring such services, I would consider myself to have a moral obligation to refuse.) And I owe no “allegiance” to any state, only to my own individual reason and conscience.

    As for removing the veil, there are very, very, very few circumstances in which I’m ever ok with the state, or employers or schools or other authorities, regulating how people dress. It’s an intrusion into their personal autonomy; and it’s also, in most cases, fundamentally xenophobic, since these kinds of arbitrary rules primarily affect (and are designed primarily to affect) Muslim women. The only circumstance in which I’m ok with forcing people to remove veils is when it’s an essential requirement of occupational health and safety for a particular job (surgery, for instance, or perhaps food preparation). In any other circumstance, it’s no one’s damn business what a person wears on her head.

    Ok, that was a tangential and only semi-relevant rant, I’m exhausted and I should be working. But never mind.

  35. Brother Ogvorbis, OM . . . Really? says

    Og, your chipmunks suck.

    Ain’t my chipmunks. Mine are still in Idaho up north of McCall (yeah, that would involve a fire story but I’m trying to avoid doing that to people).

  36. ChasCPeterson says

    Early Morning Rain Gordon Lightfoot
    Early Morning Rain Eva Cassidy
    Time after Time Eva Cassidy

    I’m drunk enough to bite on all 3 of those.
    Nice.

  37. The Laughing Coyote (Papio Cynocephalus) says

    Walton: I agree.

    I don’t like the general direction canada’s been going in since Harper took office.

  38. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Testing testing

    I spilled wine on my keyboard earlier. Will this work?

  39. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Okay it works. Except apparently for my “delete” key. Guess I’ll have to type more accurately from now on.

  40. ChasCPeterson says

    Time After Time (Miles Davis)

    Story is that after he ‘retired’ in 1975, Miles spent all his time doing coke in his Malibu and NY houses and watching MTV. Eventually he started picking up his trumpet again and playing along. When he came back in ’81 he was playing Lauper and Jackson.

  41. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I spilled wine on my keyboard earlier. Will this work?

    The most likely problem will be stickiness due to the acids/sugars in the wine when the residue dries. If you know how to pop your keys, you should be able to clean out the residue with a wet Q-tip, followed by a Q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol. Let air dry a few minutes, and reassemble. That worked when Squirt hit the keyboard.

  42. Brother Ogvorbis, OM . . . Really? says

    Concert for Bangladesh

    I saw it in 1974 in the Community Center at Grand Canyon — full size screen, mediocre sound. My first exposure to Dylan. I was unimpressed. Of course, I was 8 years old at the time and my musical taste had not matured yet.

  43. consciousness razor says

    Story is that after he ‘retired’ in 1975, Miles spent all his time doing coke in his Malibu and NY houses and watching MTV. Eventually he started picking up his trumpet again and playing along. When he came back in ’81 he was playing Lauper and Jackson.

    Impossible. MTV didn’t launch until ’81.

  44. theophontes, Hexanitrohexaazaisowurtzitane Wielding Tardigrade says

    @ Gilliel

    I think you mixed me up with kristinc and carlie all in one ;)

    I was referring to your pre-teen friend who smokes dope. But yes, I also get a little confused with teh Pharyngula Kids.

    @ Sally

    I trust your next solar revolution is a strange one. To get the ball rolling: {stuffs a hippo, a small bird and two female sheep into the USB port}

  45. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Well, I thoroughly enjoyed SallyStrange’s 34th birthday. Cuz she called up and announced it and her intention to have a delicious meal. She, I, and a mutual friend went to this great bistro (with a gorgeous Prohibition-era Art Deco carved wood mirror frame behind the bar, like 25-feet wide) and had:

    1. Roast pheasant

    2. Belgian frites with herbs and mayonnaise

    3. Mussels with the most scrumptious sauce, served with olive oil-grilled bread* to soak it up

    4. Salad choked with local cheese

    Thank you for the good company, and for having a birthday!

    *The bread was good, but not “ta-da.” I’m seriously wondering if I should go down there and offer them some Phoenicia and try to talk them into converting to a local sourdough for leavening. My bread is better than theirs, really.

  46. says

    Impossible. MTV didn’t launch until ’81.

    That, and I doubt he would be watching MTV these days, with “16 and pregnant” and the likes. Whatever happened to MTV ?

  47. ChasCPeterson says

    Another beautiful story laid to waste by brutal fact.
    Fortunately I built in the ‘eventually’ to protect myself.
    First the coke. Then the MTV.

  48. The Laughing Coyote (Papio Cynocephalus) says

    Happy Birthday SallyStrange!

    Josh: I gotta ask, how was the pheasant?

  49. The Laughing Coyote (Papio Cynocephalus) says

    I’m canadian, no MTV here as far as I know (I haven’t had cable in my room for years).

    But I have to say, the return of Beavis and Butthead is a welcome sight. I didn’t think it would work, but they’ve stepped seamlessly into 2011 and are now mocking things like 16 and pregnant.

    I’ve discovered that the only way I can stand to watch Jersey Shore for even a few minutes is ‘As filtered by Beavis and Butthead.’ It makes the existence of that trash just a tiny bit less obnoxious for me.

  50. Brother Ogvorbis, OM . . . Really? says

    Another beautiful story laid to waste by brutal fact.

    From an historian’s point of view, that is one of the great joys of life.

  51. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Coyote:

    Josh: I gotta ask, how was the pheasant?

    Very tasty. It was just slightly overdone, but delicious nonetheless. It tasted like, well, fowl. Definitely more flavorful and subtler than chicken, but honestly close enough that if you served it to finicky kids who think they’d hate anything “weird” they wouldn’t know it wasn’t chicken. So, you can appreciate it for being a step up from commercial chicken and turkey, but it’s not a wholly foreign experience. The skin was especially good with just the right amount of crisp and fattiness.

    Wild turkey—the stuff caught out in the woods with a shotgun—tastes more “different” than the pheasant did. So does duck.

  52. consciousness razor says

    From Miles: The Autobiography, p.335:

    Mostly during those four or five years that I was out of music, I just took a lot of cocaine (about $500 a day at one point) and fucked all the women I could get into my house. I was also addicted to pills, like Percodan and Seconal, and I was drinking a lot, Heinekens and cognac. Mostly I snorted coke, but sometimes I would inject coke and heroin into my leg; it’s called a speedball and it was what killed John Belushi. I didn’t go out too often and when I did it was mostly to after-hours places up in Harlem where I just kept on getting high and living from day to day.

  53. Brother Ogvorbis, OM . . . Really? says

    A young man goes to Paris,
    As every young man should,
    There’s something in the air of France
    That does a yong man good.

    (A little Kingston Trio. And I’m off to bed.)

  54. ChasCPeterson says

    Story (now) is that after his comeback in 1981, Miles would practice by playing along with MTV. He was probably still doing the coke too.
    I saw his last public performance, Hollywood Bowl 25 August 1991. Also twice before that (all post-1981).

  55. chigau (違う) says

    Josh
    mayonnaise, scrumptious sauce, cheese‽‽‽
    Is that good for you?
    /spoilsport
    Seriously, the meal sounds divine.

  56. Nutmeg says

    MikeG:

    Thanks for the heads-up on PRIMER. I’ll ask around and see if anyone in the department has a copy I might use.

    I should have known TET would be full of helpful people who are better at stats than I am.

  57. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    mayonnaise, scrumptious sauce, cheese‽‽‽
    Is that good for you?
    /spoilsport

    No, it most certainly isn’t. But given that I only eat that way as a treat, rather than as an everyday thing (I really had a problem with gluttony), it should be OK. It better be, damn it. This entire past year—-it’s been a year now since my heart attack—has been a process of learning moderation and putting foods in the “sometimes/occasional” category and moving them out of the “ima eat you all the time” column.

    Besides, I ate seitan, whole grain bread, and steamed spinach for lunch:)

  58. says

    Walton (@552):

    “Citizenship oaths” are meaningless pablum, and should not be required in the first place; I shouldn’t be expected to profess allegiance to a state in order to exercise civil rights.

    You have, at a minimum, an arguable point… hence my “[o]n the gripping hand…” point immediately following the text you quoted.

    As for removing the veil, there are very, very, very few circumstances in which I’m ever ok with the state, or employers or schools or other authorities, regulating how people dress.

    Agreed. But if we stipulate an occasion on which there’s a legitimate public purpose in having a particular individual make a particular public declaration (citizenship oaths clearly don’t qualify in your opinion, but they certainly do in the opinions of the people administering them… and what about oaths of office? or the legal oath taken before giving evidence?), and if the veil obscures the face (and especially the mouth) to the extent that it makes it impossible to clearly identify the individual or confirm that xe is actually speaking… well, in that case it’s not about “regulating how people dress”; it’s about functionally performing a public office.

    AFAICT, the new rule only “bans” the veil during the actual oath, and says nothing about how the newly minted citizen should dress at other times. And (also AFAICT) it says nothing about other culturally/religiously required modes of dress (headscarves, turbans, Amish plain style…).

    The thing about the full veil, with only a slit for the eyes (as pictured in the linked article), is that you really have no clue who you’re talking to, unless you know the person well enough to recognize voice, speech mannerisms, color patterns in the iris, etc. If it were my job to administer an oath, and sign off that the person in question had in fact sworn, I wouldn’t need to be xenophobic to say “I’m sorry, but I really need to be able to see your face in order to fulfill my duty.”

    Ah, but the problem is that that innocent, neutral functional concern is superficially indistinguishable from the behavior of a xenophobe, and that makes the rule socially problematic even if it’s logically defensible.

    As I said before, I need more head-scratchin’ time before I sort out how I finally feel about this… but I’m pretty sure it’s not a simple matter of all of Canada collectively being Islamophobic jerks.

  59. The Laughing Coyote (Papio Cynocephalus) says

    I wouldn’t say all of canada is islamophobic, but I do know that people around here who’d never say anything bad about black people and who are very careful about saying bad things about natives (for that exists here still) will gladly spout all kinds of bullshit about the muslim immigrants here.

  60. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Oh, Le Dauphin, thanks for the Dick Van Dyke show clip! I haven’t watched that in years. As a Child of Reruns, it’s good nostalgia.

  61. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Once again, Freethoughtblogs has been crashing, exceedingly slow, or failing to load completely throughout the day. This seems to happen at least once a week. Does anyone know if Ed or PZ are aware of this?

  62. says

    Once again, Freethoughtblogs has been crashing, exceedingly slow, or failing to load completely throughout the day.

    It’s been fine here. A more local issue maybe, perhaps your ISP ?

  63. says

    Re: mushrooms

    The only illicit drug I’ve ever tried. I loved the trip. To me, it seemed as though I was experiencing how time happened all at once, rather than in a linear fashion. The stars appeared more real (I was on a camping trip at the time, so I was in a place with no light pollution). I didn’t feel invincible, like TLC, but I felt expansive and awestruck, and connected to everyone and everything. I’d do it again for sure (presuming I could be reasonably assured of the safety). Not for minors though.

  64. chigau (違う) says

    I have witnessed Canadian Citizenship Oath Ceremonies.
    They are … ceremonial.
    There would be nothing to prevent a oath-ceremony occurring in front of a female official with no men present.
    What The Harper Government™ actually intends by this, God knows.

  65. says

    TLC:

    I wouldn’t say all of canada is islamophobic, but I do know that [some] people around here … will gladly spout all kinds of bullshit about the muslim immigrants here.

    Yah, that’s what I was trying to get at at the end of my reply to The Walton: On its face, the rule about taking off the veil to take the oath seems reasonable to me, but given that actual xenophobia is abroad in the land, it becomes difficult to [a] discern the true motivations for the rule and [b] argue in its favor, even under the most benign interpretation.

    IOW, Islamophobia is [just one more reason] why we can’t have nice [or at least logical] things.

    While pondering this, it’s occurred to me to wonder how (or if) veiled women give evidence in court: It would seem that a witness whose identity couldn’t be readily, visually verified by the people in the courtroom would violate the defendant’s right to confront hir accuser, which is a constitutional guarantee in the U.S. (and AFAIK, accuser is broadly construed to include all witnesses for the prosecution).

    Without any animus against any religion or culture, it seems to me that there are some situations where showing one’s face in public is an essential element of citizenship. This is (more and more, to me, the more I think about it) a distinctly thorny issue.

    Also, to Walton:

    I’m not sure how much stock I put in citizenship/loyalty oaths per se, or in the wording of any particular oath, but I think citizenship does involve a contract with one’s fellow citizens to act, in good faith, as a member of the defined society. You seem to be saying there’s no sense in which you see yourself as in any way pledged to your fellow Britons, nor me as pledged to my fellow Americans. Do I mistake you? Are you sure you’re not an anarchist?

    And is it possible to be a monarchist and an anarchist at the same time? ;^)

  66. walton says

    but I’m pretty sure it’s not a simple matter of all of Canada collectively being Islamophobic jerks.

    Of course it’s not, because “all of Canada” didn’t make this decision. Some minister or other government official somewhere did. It’s extremely unlikely that “all of Canada” has a “collective” opinion on anything very much; I doubt you can find any point on which thirty million individuals, united only by the fact that they happen to live in the northern half of a particular continent, would be entirely unanimous.

    (This is exactly why I think it’s a fallacy in the extreme to equate the actions of a state with the “collective” opinion of the group of individuals who happen to live under its rule – even if the state is democratic and majoritarian in character – or to hold residents of a state collectively responsible for anything the state does. Individuals don’t have a choice about being subject to a state’s jurisdiction, or about accepting the state’s dictates. In a majoritarian state, we can vote and argue as vociferously as we like against bad policies; but if we’re outvoted, we’re stuck. I’d certainly resist the idea that I am responsible for the whole host of stupid, bigoted and destructive public policies that are regularly endorsed by majorities of my fellow British voters, given that I express my opposition to these policies at every available opportunity. But I digress.)

    That said, there is, undoubtedly, plenty of popular Islamophobia in Canada – and more so, of course, in the United States and Western Europe. Anecdotally, in British society and British politics, one regularly encounters bigotry against Muslims and, implicitly, against people from Muslim countries, that would be completely unthinkable if directed at most other ethnic groups. (The only group who are targeted by more extreme and unthinking bile, IME, are gypsies / travellers.)

  67. says

    @ Josh

    I’ve experienced the same all day. The site keeps hanging. Rather annoying, actually.

    About the citizenship oath thing:
    I’ve already had one argument today with my mum about it. The thing is, I don’t trust Harper, Kenney or their motives. They are fucking assholes of the highest order. To me, therefore, it smells like xenophobia, something specifically designed to make life more difficult for immigrants from countries they don’t like (you know, all the ones with brown people, all the ones with them Muslim people etc.). But maybe, it is for practical purposes. I just don’t know. Perhaps the SC will sort it out, just like they did the kirpan issue and the Hutterite photo licence issue (not that I necessarily agree with the SC, mind you).

  68. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Thanks, Ibis. Rorschach, I don’t think it’s local—I’ve had the same problems at several computers and at several different spots with completely different ISPs. Of course, it might be local to the North American continent, but I tend to doubt it’s more local than that.

  69. says

    Last night I was in no mood to cook anything fancy. I pulled out a container of Pillsbury pizza dough (not really pizza dough but it is still usefull) and pre-baked it into a rectangular high-sided tray (I use the pan for my convection oven but turned upside down for the pre-bake). I filled it with some diced pork from the crock pot (from Wednesday, I think), some sweet onion, some diced chile peppers, some frozen corn and black beans, some green pepper, some smoked salt and cilantro. Tossed on some grated cheddar, jack, and asadero cheese and baked it until done. I topped it with some salsa and some sliced fresh avacado. And it was good.

    Reminded me of the correspondence between Martha Stewart and Erma Brombeck.

    By then, it was time to start making the place mats and napkins for my 20 breakfast guests. I’m serving the old standard Stewart twelve-course breakfast, but I’ll let you in on a little secret: I didn’t have time to make the tables and chairs this morning, so I used the ones I had on hand.

  70. consciousness razor says

    Individuals don’t have a choice about being subject to a state’s jurisdiction, or about accepting the state’s dictates. In a majoritarian state, we can vote and argue as vociferously as we like against bad policies; but if we’re outvoted, we’re stuck.

    Yes, but I think you’ve argued before [citation needed] that, because of this lack of collective responsibility, what happens isn’t your fault if you don’t vote at all. Now I do think voting is overrated in some ways, which is just to say that there are often more effective ways of changing opinion and otherwise improving society. However, all else being equal, if you don’t vote against government policies you disagree with and don’t do anything else to counteract them either, then you are as responsible as everyone else who acts that way. At the very least, you aren’t responsible for making it any better.

    And before this disintegrates into another lively discussion where we all agree we don’t have free will…. What I mean by “responsibility” is that it isn’t just one or a few government officials, or an entity like “the State,” who are causing the bad stuff to happen. They do not operate in a causal vacuum, neither do you, so you aren’t completely “stuck.” I don’t think it’s quite that hopeless.

  71. walton says

    Do I mistake you? Are you sure you’re not an anarchist?

    I’m undoubtedly a philosophical anarchist, in the tradition of Thoreau and Tolstoy. I reject the idea that there is any such thing as a “legitimate authority”. Power is a social fact; nation-states have power, ultimately, because they have the ability to enforce obedience through the use or threat of violence. I was being slightly tongue-in-cheek, but not very, when I suggested that nation-states are, at root, simply very well-organized protection rackets. (Conversely, the reason I abandoned libertarianism is because right-wing libertarians refuse to recognize that capitalism and the private property régime are also built on institutionalized violence; and their supposed opposition to state violence disappears when state violence is deployed in defence of established wealth and property. For the same reason I’ve come to reject “anarcho-capitalism”, both the term and the concept; I think it’s an oxymoron.)

    Of course, it’s important not to oversimplify things; some states are undoubtedly more benign than others, and states, even largely-malign ones, are undoubtedly capable of doing considerable good as well as considerable harm. (Most do both at the same time; the same governments can, and do, provide health care, roads and schools while also waging war, detaining and deporting migrants, and perpetuating the security-industrial complex.) And I’m not a practical anarchist, because I can’t think of any practical means of actually abolishing violence or power-structures in practice. Of course it’s possible to abolish the nation-state, at least temporarily, but the usual result is that the local gang of armed thugs takes over in its stead, as we’ve seen with, say, al-Shabaab in Somalia. I think Tolstoy was right that a truly violence-free society would require a “moral revolution” in the behaviour of human beings, and I’m not sure whether such a thing is actually possible.

    And is it possible to be a monarchist and an anarchist at the same time? ;^)

    Well, Tolkien thought so, and in some respects he had a point. (Though the late Professor was undoubtedly capable of entertaining some… unusual thoughts.)

    My occasional bouts of romantic silliness aside, I’d say the only reasonable argument in favour of monarchy, from an anti-statist and anti-authoritarian perspective, is that a monarch chosen by an arbitrary rule of hereditary succession does not, or does not have to, actively seek office or desire power. After all, those who seek power over others, and who are willing to make moral compromises in order to acquire it, are usually those least to be trusted with it. (Which is not to say that moral people never run for office, but they rarely get elected; and if they do, they are usually not very successful. There’s a reason why the amoral Bill Clinton was a much more successful politician than the obsessively-moral Jimmy Carter.) You may or may not find this a convincing argument – I’m not really sure I find it convincing, given that there have been plenty of tyrannical monarchies in history – but it is at least internally coherent.

    Of course, this doesn’t apply as a defence to elective monarchies; nor to monarchies which are hereditary but have poorly-defined rules of succession, such as most Middle Eastern monarchies. (Saudi Arabia, for instance, is a strange kind of aristocratic oligarchy; the ruling House of Saud is much larger than most Western royal families, comprising thousands of princes, and there are constant internecine power-struggles among the hereditary élite.) Nor, of course, does it follow that hereditary succession is the best system; it would be equally effective to select one’s leaders by random lot from among the population, say; or according to some other utterly-arbitrary criterion, such as the first child to be born on a particular day of the year or under a particular zodiac sign, or by reading a goat’s entrails. (As a vegetarian, I’d prefer to avoid the latter method, of course.) I’m just thinking out loud here, so don’t interpret this as an attempt at a watertight argument for anything.

  72. walton says

    Now I do think voting is overrated in some ways, which is just to say that there are often more effective ways of changing opinion and otherwise improving society. However, all else being equal, if you don’t vote against government policies you disagree with and don’t do anything else to counteract them either, then you are as responsible as everyone else who acts that way. At the very least, you aren’t responsible for making it any better.

    Oh, I agree. As did Thoreau. (In fact, he’d have gone further even than your proposition; given that in Civil Disobedience he argued that those who pay taxes to support a state, despite disagreeing with its policies, are lending its bad policies their tacit support. For this reason, acting from moral responsibility, he refused to pay the state poll tax in protest against slavery and the US-Mexican War, and was briefly imprisoned for his pains. I think he was right.)

    But the point is that one has an individual responsibility to oppose injustice, which is owed to one’s own conscience. It does not follow that there can be collective moral responsibility for the acts of other members of an arbitrarily-defined collective, especially when one has done everything in one’s own power to oppose those acts and disassociate oneself from them.

  73. consciousness razor says

    My occasional bouts of romantic silliness aside, I’d say the only reasonable argument in favour of monarchy, from an anti-statist and anti-authoritarian perspective, is that a monarch chosen by an arbitrary rule of hereditary succession does not, or does not have to, actively seek office or desire power.

    I don’t buy it. Despite their magical blood, they’re still human beings. If a monarch didn’t want the power or privileges of being monarch, he or she would cede the throne. Or fly to Never Never Land, or wherever monarchs go when they want to escape. Probably the latter.

    It does not follow that there can be collective moral responsibility for the acts of other members of an arbitrarily-defined collective, especially when one has done everything in one’s own power to oppose those acts and disassociate oneself from them.

    A society isn’t an arbitrarily-defined collective. You can “dissociate” yourself from it if that makes you feel better; but if you’re in a society, whichever arbitrary one it happens to be, then it isn’t arbitrary in relation to you and your actions.

  74. Kseniya says

    Good grief. I was reading comments, thinking I was catching up, thinking I’d missed all the sex talk, but then BINGO! Links to articles about duck copulation! Only then did I notice that the comments I was reading were from 3 days ago.

    Now it’s 2:00 a.m. and I have to go to sleep.

    *frustrated pharyngulite*

  75. theophontes, Hexanitrohexaazaisowurtzitane Wielding Tardigrade says

    @ Josh

    The Spawn of Phoenicia (PBUH) are thriving. Here the latest attempt at my favourite spelt-and-white. (Picture: Phoeniciatje.) I have made a drier dough than I usually do. Also allowed more time to proof before putting in oven. I raised the temperature while Phoenicia worked her magic (it has become very cold here of late) and lowered the temperature in the oven (260 C and 260 C). It is tasting more and more exceptional with each attempt.


    A naartjie in our sosatie.
    I made some sosaties (an old South African variation on a Malay favourite) this weekend and braaied (“barbequed” to the hoi polloi) them over some coals and a glass of wine.

    Thereafter some courgettes and eggplant, split down the middle and basted with olive oil and herbs to be slow grilled over the fire. Then mashed up to make into a simple version of baba ganoush. That last of course to be eaten with sourdough garlic bread toasted on the coals. Foodgasmic!

    (Picture of sosatie before cooking. Unfortunately we were feeling peckish, so we ate the results before we could get a picture of the finished product.)

  76. says

    Good morning

    theophontes

    I was referring to your pre-teen friend who smokes dope.

    Yep, and since that was kristinc’s friend, I’m sure you mixed us up ;)

    mushrooms
    I’m sure my sister picked the wrong ones, I didn’t feel a thing. Fortunately, she didn’t poison us either.

    gifts
    Those might not be the best for grandparents (depends on the grandparents), but maybe other people are looking for easy to make gifts for people who don’t need things, too.

    -Chocolate cake mixture
    That’s especially good if you need to post it:
    Assemble all the dry stuff needed for your favourite chocolate cake, prepare them like chopping up chocolate, nuts and such and fill in bags. Write the instructions and what else is needed. You can also add the appropriate baking dish and such.

    -Coffee topping
    You need a salt/peppermill for this
    Mix things like chocolate chunks, maybe coacoabeans, spices (cardamon, cinnamon, cloves…) orange peel and stuff and fill into the mill

    -Spiced salt
    Same idea as above, only this time you mix coarse salt with herbs and spices. You can make Italian salt, or chile salt and such. I love lemon pepper

    -Artisan chocolate
    Melt some good plain chocolate of your choice. Very carefully. It mustn’t get warmer than handwarm. Mix in nuts, spices, whatever you like. Spread on a bit of clingfoil, wrap in silkpaper.

    ++++++++
    Kid #1 is weird. She cuddles Irish wolfhounds like plushies, but runs away crying from a ladybug……

  77. John Morales says

    Walton:

    As for removing the veil, there are very, very, very few circumstances in which I’m ever ok with the state, or employers or schools or other authorities, regulating how people dress. It’s an intrusion into their personal autonomy; and it’s also, in most cases, fundamentally xenophobic, since these kinds of arbitrary rules primarily affect (and are designed primarily to affect) Muslim women.

    So, people should be able to go around naked, unless PPE is required, right?

  78. says

    Chas: there is an equivalent racist narrative about modern Israeli Jews (most often aimed at Ashkenazi Jews in particular, but frequently expanded as widely as needed), saying that they are primarily descended from converts to Judaism (false, but irrelevant anyway), and thus not legitimate residents of Israel-Palestine.

    I was disappointed with Ron Paul’s answer as he came the closest to saying the following but seemed afraid to point out Gingrich’s unfairness: we can talk reasonably about the invention of any identity, but it is pure bigotry to focus on one as therefore illegitimate and disqualifying for residence, citizenship or statehood.

    Look at what Gingrich means by his comments. He means that therefore the Palestinian right of return is illegitimate.

    I don’t have any considered opinion on the right of return. I’m for whatever can bring about a peaceful two-state solution, I’m against anything that’s a dealbreaker, and it’s not obvious to me which this is. But Gingrich’s type of argument is racist, in holding the Palestinian people to a harder ontological standard than other peoples.

  79. says

    As I said before, I need more head-scratchin’ time before I sort out how I finally feel about this… but I’m pretty sure it’s not a simple matter of all of Canada collectively being Islamophobic jerks.

    That’s because you have a demonstrated aversion to admitting that anyone might be acting from bigotry unless you’ve already decided them to be your enemies.

    Canadians are not Republicans, therefore some means should be found to excuse their peculiarities.

    +++++
    This rule would never have been proposed or even imagined if face veils were a common Christian dress rather than dress of the outsider.

    If the concern were really about confirming the woman’s identity, it would be sufficient to require her reveal her face immediately beforehand to women who are officers of the state.

    If the concern were really about ensuring that each woman speak the oath, this could be handled various ways: by use of microphones, by having veiled women take the oath by themselves or in groups small enough to differentiate individual voices (before or after taking the oath again in the larger heterogenous group, if taking the oath among one vast corpora is socially vital).

  80. John Morales says

    ॐ:

    This rule would never have been proposed or even imagined if face veils were a common Christian dress rather than dress of the outsider.

    This is speculative.

    Maybe it would’ve (and have been nutted-out by now), or maybe it wouldn’t.

  81. says

    So, this morning I have two stories from the land of gender, and they aren’t horrible.

    First is one about consciousness.
    I don’t know how he got to that topic, but I mentioned this difference between interacting with boys and interacting with girls to Mr. You know, commenting the former on what they do while commenting the latter on how they look. He looked flabberghasted. Until we went to the kindergarten christmas party and he told one of daugter’s little friends how pretty she looked in her dress. When he drew breath to compliment the next little girl, he stopped, looked at me and said: Wow, you’re right, I never noticed.

    Second one is a tad sad.
    My father in law is a retired plumber, so he was part of the manly-man-strict-gender-roles culture for his whole work-life, that culture where you never ever do anything that could be perceived as female, because that would mean you’re gay.
    Recently he picked up a new job two days a week. He works for a car rental service and moves the cars to the clients or other company locations. Now most of his colleagues are from a different background where you are indeed already allowed to be happy/sad/have emotions and where a man can totally hug another man for his birthday, and he’s happier than he’s ever been in his whole life in this job.
    He didn’t miss this before he knew it, he totally subscribed to the manly-man-culture before, but now he has been offered a different way and he loves it.
    That’s what stereotypes take away from men, too.

    Now, wish me a bit of luck, I’m going to the study counsellor about switching my degree.

  82. says

    My occasional bouts of romantic silliness aside, I’d say the only reasonable argument in favour of monarchy, from an anti-statist and anti-authoritarian perspective, is that a monarch chosen by an arbitrary rule of hereditary succession does not, or does not have to, actively seek office or desire power.

    If this is an argument for monarchy by heredity, then it is an even better argument for monarchy by lottery. Heredity ensures you’ve raised a child with expectations of privilege, and very likely ensures a sense of superiority, due to system justification by the child. Random selection avoids this.

    And random selection with regularly scheduled humiliation of the monarch is even better.

    (flogging the dauphin in public)

  83. says

    This is speculative. Maybe it would’ve (and have been nutted-out by now), or maybe it wouldn’t.

    What is certain is that there would have been more serious attempts to devise workarounds, rather than these easy appeals to just the way things are done.

    In effect, such a rule would be held to something more like strict scrutiny or intermediate scrutiny, rather than simply noting the hypothetical possibility of a legitimate government interest.

  84. says

    Gonna be out of town all day, but I thought I’d ask this question:

    Who dictated that men have to have cold legs when women get to wear things like tights and leggings? It’s fucking freezing in my apartment right now, but I’m actually warm cause I bought a pack of tights and a pack of leggings. If I wasn’t wearing them, I’d be cold.

    (Yes, I know I’m trans and I have no problem wearing tights. Just if someone else knew they’d be all “men don’t wear tights!”)

  85. consciousness razor says

    (flogging the dauphin in public)

    Moderately, and with love, of course. To encourage the others.

  86. birgerjohansson says

    If monarchy equals power without accountability, I found
    a letter about the bank bailouts that should have people oiling up the guillotines.

    The Fed Bailouts: Money for Nothing http://bigthink.com/ideas/41425
    There is a commentary by another author at the top, scroll down most of the page to see the beginning of the letter.

  87. says

    @my 618:

    Although that does bring up the exact point I’m talking about. The lyrics to that song say such lines as:

    “We may look like sissies” and “we may look like pansies” while they do this little coquettish flirt of the edge of their tunics.

    That’s what I’m talking about. What’s “pansy” about having warm legs?!

  88. opposablethumbs, que le pouce enragé mette les pouces says

    Good stories, Giliell. I try to remember to compliment boys on their looks and girls on their ability/intelligence etc. just for a change, so they won’t always hear the same old same old, but it’s sad how deeply ingrained it is.

    TEAL DEER WARNING

    I have a sort-of-question for the horde – I’ve been thinking that one reason for the striking imbalance between the sexes in jazz musicians (even more pronounced than in some other genres, I think – but I suppose I’m noticing it particularly because DaughterSpawn would rather play Baroque (or to a lesser extent Classical or Romantic or possibly Modern, but not Contemporary) but listen to pop, while SonSpawn wants to play and listen to Jazz all the time) (conclude parenthesis, draw huge breath) is to do with the fact that jazz calls for a slightly different kind of putting yourself out there – when you play music that is fully or almost entirely written you know exactly what you’re meant to do and you’re praised for doing it well; when you play music with a significant or predominant improvised element, you’re seeking praise for something you made up – there’s something subtly different about the kind of showing off required in each case. Getting good at jazz means hours of fooling around on your instrument on your own at home, for example – in addition to playing pieces and scales and exercises etc in the “usual” way – and I think that kind of “indulgence” is something our society actively discourages girls from doing.

    It applies to all music-making to an extent, but I think girls are pushed towards performing for others while boys are encouraged/allowed to have fun with music for themselves – to feel that they are worth it/deserve it, to do something just for the hell of it. Actually I think that’s a key element.

    And it goes without saying that in our conscious minds we tried to encourage them both the same, but I suspect that on the unconscious level we didn’t.

    Of course people can have different tastes; I’m not saying that everyone “should” love every kind of music equally. But if other things really were equal, we wouldn’t see such a disparity in the numbers of women and men taking part in different genres. Someone we know whose daughter is a budding jazz trumpeter says the imbalance is a bit off-putting for her sometimes – it’s the usual thing we’ve discussed before about women in other male-dominated areas; being made to feel conspicuous, at the very least. Even if people are trying to be welcoming.

    It’s getting to the point where I feel uncomfortable when over and over again the (often singular) woman is likely to be the vocalist. And yes, of course there are a lot of great woman instrumentalists, and yes of course a vocalist is a musician – and yes it’s wrong that vocalists often get less respect for their skill and technique than instrumentalists do, even if they’re the star – they are supposed to look right i.e. pretty … I’m not articulating this well at all. But there’s a pattern so established that you notice the exceptions. And it’s making me seethe right now. Hardly earth-shattering, I know, just another of the little things.

    /end TEAL DEER, with apologies for incoherency.

  89. John Morales says

    Katherine,

    “We may look like sissies” and “we may look like pansies” while they do this little coquettish flirt of the edge of their tunics.

    That’s what I’m talking about. What’s “pansy” about having warm legs?!

    Weird, innit?

    Only real difference between men and women is the dangly bits, and even then it’s touch-and-go — plenty of man-boobs around.

    I guess we’re just conditioned to it; slack as I am about my hand-me-downs (I can’t remember the last time I bought clothing, other than socks and undies), I’d quail at wearing a dress in public.

    (Indoctrinated I am, but I could get over it if it were necessary. Alas, not worth the hassle)

  90. theophontes, Hexanitrohexaazaisowurtzitane Wielding Tardigrade says

    @ Kitty

    I have often worn womens’ stockings – and in public. They are amazing at keeping one warm. If you ask most long distance cyclists (and hikers)they will happily tell you the same. When the chips are down, the first thing to go is silly pretensions about what is “masculine” and “feminine”. Practical reality is so wonderfully free of those categories.

  91. opposablethumbs, que le pouce enragé mette les pouces says

    Conversely, WTF is up with not being allowed to wear trousers in the depths of bloody winter? (school uniform from a while ago … OK, really quite a considerable while ago. But I know some schools still do this – it’s so nonsensical).

    Trousers with tights underneath is the warmest you can get with non-specialist clothing, I think.

    On the other hand, long-johns?

  92. consciousness razor says

    when you play music that is fully or almost entirely written you know exactly what you’re meant to do and you’re praised for doing it well; when you play music with a significant or predominant improvised element, you’re seeking praise for something you made up – there’s something subtly different about the kind of showing off required in each case.

    Uh, well, it isn’t really about showing off, or at least, that isn’t always required.

    Getting good at jazz means hours of fooling around on your instrument on your own at home, for example – in addition to playing pieces and scales and exercises etc in the “usual” way – and I think that kind of “indulgence” is something our society actively discourages girls from doing.

    It’s not just fooling around. Being a good improviser generally requires understanding a lot of music theory which is less relevant for classical performers, along with the memory and technical facility on an instrument to play any number of things based on those theoretical constructs.

    It applies to all music-making to an extent, but I think girls are pushed towards performing for others while boys are encouraged/allowed to have fun with music for themselves – to feel that they are worth it/deserve it, to do something just for the hell of it. Actually I think that’s a key element.

    While I’m sure parenting and teaching do affect how boys and girls approach the subject of music, I don’t think this is the right way to characterize playing jazz. This is just your impression of it.

    One thing I would note is that in the professional world, there is less institutional structure in jazz groups than classical groups like large orchestras. There used to be a lot more discrimination against women in the classical world, but in recent decades it has gotten a little better. (I think, but I may be wrong.) The big orchestras are very visible and have been under heavy scrutiny, which is a good thing; but a small, transient jazz quartet playing in some dive bar is not under anything like the same kind of pressure.

    However, in primary and secondary education, I don’t see why there would be such differences, so that makes it harder to connect with how boys and girls are raised. One possibility in that regard is that kids often don’t have the chance to play jazz until high school or college. There are middle-school jazz programs in the US, but not in many places. So it may have to do with girls being given less opportunity to continue studying music longer during their education, or that they don’t have the choice to play in more than one ensemble and settle with classical music.

    Also, girls are typically encouraged (or assigned) to play flute, clarinet, oboe, piano, voice, etc., but not trumpet, trombone, drums, bass or guitar. Saxophonists seem pretty balanced to me as far gender goes, but jazz saxophonists (at least off the top of my head) are heavily skewed toward men for some reason. So there’s that.

    /my two cents

  93. consciousness razor says

    And yes, of course there are a lot of great woman instrumentalists, and yes of course a vocalist is a musician – and yes it’s wrong that vocalists often get less respect for their skill and technique than instrumentalists do, even if they’re the star – they are supposed to look right i.e. pretty … I’m not articulating this well at all.

    For what it’s worth, this also applies fairly well to male vocalists. Nothing against them, but singers are a weird sort.

  94. theophontes, Hexanitrohexaazaisowurtzitane Wielding Tardigrade says

    @ opposablethumbs

    long-johns?

    OK if you don’t need to move your legs much. But nothing beats regular (full) stockings. Cycling tights are quite fetching (pic) but … meh … K.I.S.S

  95. opposablethumbs, que le pouce enragé mette les pouces says

    Generally yes, consciousness razor. I think I should probably clarify what I meant by “showing off” and “fooling around”, though! (damn expressing-oneself-clearly-in-writing-without-benefit-of-tone-of-voice-or-air-quotes, how does that work?).

    “showing off” in the sense that all performers (or indeed creators) of any kind have to put themselves out there and invite the gaze/ears/critique of an audience. I don’t mean that real performers are doing something childish or transparently egocentric, more that all performers and makers are perforce putting themselves on show – and the ways society encourages women and men to do this are different.

    “fooling around” in the sense that an improviser may spend hours exploring a mood or a theme or a set of themes – with a kind of “playful” element involved, the way that many skills are practised by means of play.

    I think that’s a bit closer to what I meant to say.

  96. opposablethumbs, que le pouce enragé mette les pouces says

    I’ve seen a lot of jazz (or, well, jazzy stuff :) ) being played by school ensembles from primary school up (though yes indeed it’s more available when you get to secondary school) and a key element is always soloing – the younger kids might play as little as a bar or two each. I just have this niggling feeling that how kids of 8 or 9 perceive the experience of standing up in front of every one and making something up on the spot plays out differently for boys and girls due to early socialisation.

  97. consciousness razor says

    I think that’s a bit closer to what I meant to say.

    Okay, I find that somewhat less objectionable. :)

    “showing off” in the sense that all performers (or indeed creators) of any kind have to put themselves out there and invite the gaze/ears/critique of an audience.

    Again, jazz groups tend to be smaller than orchestras, but there’s the same sort of dynamic in a string quartet, other chamber groups, an opera singer, or a concert soloist. Women are well-represented in all of those. So it’s not clear to me how that would account for the disparity in jazz.

    Along these same lines, vocal and orchestral conductors seem to be less confrontational toward individual performers than a band or wind ensemble conductor. If the second oboe always screws up measure 42, they are probably going to be singled out. On the other hand, if the tenors or the violin two section aren’t together in measure 42, the whole group tends to be corrected rather than an individual.

    “fooling around” in the sense that an improviser may spend hours exploring a mood or a theme or a set of themes – with a kind of “playful” element involved, the way that many skills are practised by means of play.

    Okay. Do you think girls aren’t encouraged to spend hours of their time doing that specifically, or to spend hours doing anything that won’t be useful for baby-making or satisfying their future husband?

  98. consciousness razor says

    I just have this niggling feeling that how kids of 8 or 9 perceive the experience of standing up in front of every one and making something up on the spot plays out differently for boys and girls due to early socialisation.

    I don’t doubt any of that. It still scares the shit out of me sometimes, as a grown man. :)

  99. says

    Katherine, how is it that you seem to be unaware of trousers? Or pants, for Americans. :)

    When I want my legs to be warm, that is what I wear. Possibly with the merino or silk long johns if it’s going to be cold, like riding the motorbike on a frosty morning. Of course woollen tights are good for warmth, if you must have a near-bare-legged look, but I’ve never found the nylons to be much use.

  100. opposablethumbs, que le pouce enragé mette les pouces says

    Okay, I find that somewhat less objectionable. :)

    :-)
    On re-reading, I did myself no favours with those particular choices of words. That’s what comes of trying to get a nebulous thought out without checking for readability!

    Maybe it’s also because jamming has that element of play in it – not that it’s any the less serious for that. Play is a serious business :).

    When the kids in the jazz ensembles are preparing for a big concert, they work hard in the rehearsals with their teachers – and what do they do in the breaks or when rehearsals have finished? They jam, of course!

    Do you think girls aren’t encouraged to spend hours of their time doing that specifically, or to spend hours doing anything that won’t be useful for baby-making or satisfying their future husband?

    Weeell … something along those lines, maybe. That whole idea of whether or not it’s acceptable for a person to spend time and energy on themselves and on their interest/passion/hobby … women are generally encouraged to put others’ needs first and relegate their own thing, whatever it may be, to “spare” time if there is any.

    I can’t put my finger on it – hence wondering aloud in a hordely direction – but I think there’s something going on at a very early age which makes it that bit more likely that a girl’s musicality may be nudged away from jazz. A girl would have to be more motivated, to go against that invisible gradient, so by the time they are old enough to have opportunities to play in jazz ensembles, there are fewer girls who feel it’s for them. After that, of course, it’s self-perpetuating like in any other field where one sex predominates.

    hmm, four of SonSpawn’s best jazz ensemble leaders/teachers are women. But the top courses/workshops often have one or no girls on them.

  101. theophontes, Hexanitrohexaazaisowurtzitane Wielding Tardigrade says

    @ Alethea

    but I’ve never found the nylons to be much use.

    If your legs are just along for the ride, I might agree. They work really well when you replace pistons with L.E.G’s.

  102. says

    Hoookay, switching degrees sounds like a bad idea. To explain, I wouldn’t switch any of my subjects, I’d switch to the reformed system of a degree in teaching. The system I’m currently in is bad, because it pays too little focus on teaching. It really needed to be reformed and I think they did a good job at it, but it would mostly mean that they wouldn’t acknowledge most of what I’ve done under the old, bad system.
    *sigh*

    *********
    Girls vs boys playing jazz
    Oh deer
    I think there are several things at work here:
    -stereotypes
    -boys will be boys
    -lack of examples

    Stereotypically, girls are good for memorizing and carrying out instructions, carefully, while boys are good at understanding and also being a bit careless.
    Total bullshit, of course, but still widely accepted.
    Look at the distinction that is usually made between art and craft and look who’s doing what. I had that discussion with my brother in law who is really a talented painter and an arrogant prick sometimes. He claimed that what I was doing was “just craft”, while he was doing art, which means that a picture should always be worth more than anything I make because of the artistic value. He’s not following 2000 years of history of painting, no no, he’s inventing the wheel every time anew while I, of course, only repeat what other people have made before.
    I think you can transer that totally onto the music phenomenon.

    Boys will be boys, which is why fooling around is generally more accepted in them, and even “cute”. A girl playing the clown on any school stage or something like that is quickly reprimanded not to put a toe over the line. Boys often jump them with both feet and are ignored. Girls are also taught not to put themselves forward. Let the other kids pass, let them have their part, too.

    And finally, there’s the lack of rolemodels. Kids pick those things up intuitively. Nobody needs to tell them that women can’t play jazz. They see that they don’t and assume that this the way things are.

    ****************
    Katherine
    Hey, there are long undies for men, too. Ok, they’re ugly, but they exist. I almost never wear tights, only under dresses/skirts and prefer pyjama trousers around the flat.

  103. opposablethumbs, que le pouce enragé mette les pouces says

    I don’t doubt any of that. It still scares the shit out of me sometimes, as a grown man. :)

    I can imagine. Blindingly brilliant when it works, though, I should think! Blows me away just listening to it :-))))) (seems the amount of (pro) live performance I’ve heard has risen a lot lately …)

  104. says

    Oh sure, for cycling there’s a different requirement set.

    Do you mean nylons, or the thicker lycra-blend tights? I think Americans say pantyhose for the really thin sheer ones. I actually find that wearing nylons or lycras under trousers makes me feel colder – I think it’s maybe something to do with trapped air layers and the relative smoothness of the fabric? Knit long-johns in silk or merino keep in the heat much better.

  105. opposablethumbs, que le pouce enragé mette les pouces says

    A girl

    is quickly reprimanded not to put a toe over the line. Boys often jump them with both feet and are ignored. Girls are also taught not to put themselves forward. Let the other kids pass, let them have their part, too.

    yes, sadly. I think that the amount of leeway we give boys to explore what they are doing is much greater, whereas we socialise girls to learn what they are “meant” to do.

    And it’s especially insidious at a very early age, when we’re even less likely to be consciously aware that we’re doing it.

  106. theophontes, Hexanitrohexaazaisowurtzitane Wielding Tardigrade says

    @ Alethea

    To clarify, these: Picture.

    Obviously, if one is heading downhill, this is not so good. In that case I would shove newspapers under my jacket. Massive changes in temperature is a problem when cycling in cold, hilly countries.

  107. says

    To be clear, I don’t think anyone under 25 should be smoking pot, or drinking alcohol, et cetera. But that wasn’t the question; the question was what to do in a less than ideal situation.

    If you lived in the US and knew a noncustodial adult was providing a 12-year-old with regular access to weed, would you narc on them?

    From what I’ve heard so far, I would not.

    Is this noncustodial adult the 12-year-old’s sibling, or one of the siblings’ friends? Has anyone tried talking to this adult about it yet? Has anyone tried talking to the kid?

    Realize that simply cutting off one supply is almost certainly not going to stop the kid. It is extremely easy for a preteen to get weed, much easier than finding someone to buy alcohol.

    You have to talk to the kid, and you have to be aware that you are probably not going to succeed in talking them out of smoking pot. You may be able to instill some extra caution; the kid probably does not yet have sensible habits about where, when, and with whom to smoke.

    But this is already a losing battle. There is, as far as a 12-year-old who’s already picked up the habit is concerned, no real reason to stop smoking. I would press the point of “this is going to affect your development as you’re starting too early” and provide evidence, but good luck.

    Most likely outcome of talking to the police: the kid keeps smoking, the adult’s future is severely hindered (a drug conviction is bad for employment, and jail is mostly an opportunity for networking with new associates), nothing good comes of it.

    Are there other influential adults around besides the parents and the pot smoker?

  108. consciousness razor says

    I think that the amount of leeway we give boys to explore what they are doing is much greater, whereas we socialise girls to learn what they are “meant” to do.

    Hmm. Jazz isn’t more exploratory than classical music, and it isn’t anything-goes, as if there’s nothing in particular you are “meant” to do or not “meant” to do. No, seriously, you really do have to know what you’re doing to be any good at it.

    But I realize this is probably not the perception most people have about improvisation, so parents and teachers are likely to treat girls and boys accordingly as if that were the case.

  109. Brother Ogvorbis, OM . . . Really? says

    Hardly earth-shattering, I know, just another of the little things.

    I noticed that last Thursday when I went to Girl’s college jazz band concert. There were five trumpeters, one string bass, two guitarists, five trombones, five saxes (one doubled on clarinet), four percussion players and a keyboardist. On trumpeter (Girl) and one sax player are female. During the break for the big band, they did to a vocal piece (the original French version of “Under the Sea”) and a dance piece — the vocalist and the dancer were women. Wife and I did notice this and, to ourselves, commented on it. Especially since the college orchestra is about 55% women.

    Thanks. Nice to know Wife and I are not the only ones noticing this. And your hypotheosis sounds reasonable.

    Also, girls are typically encouraged (or assigned) to play flute, clarinet, oboe, piano, voice, etc., but not trumpet, trombone, drums, bass or guitar. Saxophonists seem pretty balanced to me as far gender goes, but jazz saxophonists (at least off the top of my head) are heavily skewed toward men for some reason. So there’s that.

    Again, this is anecdotal, so I do not claim to make a broader statement. Girl plays trumpet (or strumpet, depending on my typing skills). We had two band instruments — my old Yamaha jazz trumpet and my dead sister’s Bundy wooden clarinet. Girl chose trumpet and was the only female trumpeter in the high school band. Actually, the only female brass player. When the high school jazz band went to competitions, I saw zero female brass, string or rhythm (guitar) players. And now I do wonder why it seems perfectly normal for men to be professional musicians with solo/small band careers but it is worth remarking on when a woman has a professional music career (small band or solo) and is anything other than the vocalist (with the exception of classical string quartets). Hmmm.

    I used to wear tights underneath my jeans when I was a kid.

    When I was a ski instructor up in New Hampshire, I often wore nylon pantyhose under my long johns under my jeans under my powder pants.

  110. says

    I used to wear tights underneath my jeans when I was a kid.

    When I was a ski instructor up in New Hampshire, I often wore nylon pantyhose under my long johns under my jeans under my powder pants.

    Damn, you’ve two upped me.

  111. Brother Ogvorbis, OM . . . Really? says

    Damn, you’ve two upped me.

    Your are not a sheep! How could I have tupped ewe? This is sland . . . .

    Reads it again.

    Sorry. Never mind.

  112. opposablethumbs, que le pouce enragé mette les pouces says

    Consciousness Razor – no not “anything goes”, of course not (don’t think anyone would seriously suggest it was) but isn’t there an exploratory element to learning to improvise? Not just in the sense that every musician explores their instrument and techniques to get the sound they’re aiming for, but additionally in the sense that they’re exploring what they’re aiming for itself?
    .

    Brother Ogvorbis – Hmmmm indeed! I just find myself noticing it more and more. And I remember all the little girls in the junior ensembles … :(

    I often wore nylon pantyhose under my long johns under my jeans under my powder pants.

    Sounds eminently sensible to me.

  113. says

    Talking about internalized rules:
    Do you remember when you were taught never to cut holes into your clothes on purpose, usually after you’d just been found with scissors and a brand new hole?
    I just cut up some old jeans I’d kept for exactly that purpose: to salvage what good denim was left on the legs. And I felt terribly bad and guilty.

    ++++++++++++
    On music again:
    I like “medieval rock”, that perfect anachronism. In most bands there’s a woman who usually plays the violin, flute or sings. You hardly ever find bands with more than one woman or the woman playing a string instrument or even percussion. The audience, on the other side, leans towards women.
    I think that by the time boys and girls develop their own ideas and tastes, most girls have skills in those “girly instruments” while the boys have learned guitar, or drums, so that there are simply more male applicants for the slots in a band.

  114. walton says

    So, people should be able to go around naked, unless PPE is required, right?

    Yes, I’d be fine with that. (After all, it’s only an arbitrarily-defined cultural norm that labels the nude human body as “indecent” or intrinsically sexual; plenty of cultures have been much more relaxed about nudity.)

    However, this isn’t such an important issue, because there is – to my knowledge – no significant, widely-discriminated-against ethno-religious minority group which has long regarded going naked in public at all times to be an essential tenet of their identity, and which is being forced by the majority to wear clothes as a deliberate means of suppressing their identities and imposing cultural hegemony on them. If there were, I would feel much more strongly about establishing a right to public nudity. The social context, and the background of power-relations and discrimination, is important.

    Now, if only Walton would respond… ;)

    Am I not allowed to sleep? It was about half past one in the morning when I wrote my last post. I went to bed.

  115. walton says

    Most likely outcome of talking to the police: the kid keeps smoking, the adult’s future is severely hindered (a drug conviction is bad for employment, and jail is mostly an opportunity for networking with new associates), nothing good comes of it.

    QFT.

  116. walton says

    consciousness razor,

    It does not follow that there can be collective moral responsibility for the acts of other members of an arbitrarily-defined collective, especially when one has done everything in one’s own power to oppose those acts and disassociate oneself from them.

    A society isn’t an arbitrarily-defined collective. You can “dissociate” yourself from it if that makes you feel better; but if you’re in a society, whichever arbitrary one it happens to be, then it isn’t arbitrary in relation to you and your actions.

    I don’t really understand what this means.

  117. ChasCPeterson says

    love moderately’s link is labeled: ‘Look at what Gingrich means’. Link actually sez “Gingrich seems to think the implication is that…” This is rhetoric. It’s the author’s words, spin, and points being made, not Gingrich’s. It may be correct, but then again it may not. I guess it probably is.

    there is an equivalent racist narrative about modern Israeli Jews (most often aimed at Ashkenazi Jews in particular, but frequently expanded as widely as needed), saying that they are primarily descended from converts to Judaism

    That’s not equivalent to what Gingrich said. That actually seems closer in equivalence to what theo said “in contrast”.
    Whether or not it’s ‘racist’ is a kettle of fish but I won’t be arguing about it.

    yes of course a vocalist is a musician

    can be. I would not say ‘is’.

    kids often don’t have the chance to play jazz until high school or college

    And even then, it should be pointed out that that the large majority of players in highschool and college jazz bands never actually do any improvising.

    girls are typically encouraged (or assigned) to play flute, clarinet, oboe, piano, voice, etc., but not trumpet, trombone, drums, bass or guitar

    Though true, these days you’ll see a lot more girls playing the traditionally ‘boy’s’ instruments than the other way around. Still, my kid’s the only female in the percussion section at her highschool (and she kind of joined by the back door).

    Boys will be boys, which is why fooling around is generally more accepted

    This has nothing to do with playing jazz. “Fooling around”? That’s what you think is going on?

    Jazz isn’t more exploratory than classical music

    What? As music qua music that may be true (I would still argue it) but it’s completely false at the level of the individual performer. (If the jazz performer is improvising. It’s pretty much the same thing for a big-band section player.)

  118. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    Deadly attack rocks central Liege in Belgium

    A gun and grenade attack in the centre of the Belgian city of Liege has killed at least two people and wounded 47 including a toddler, media say.

    Witnesses say a man in his 40s threw grenades at a bus stop in Place Saint Lambert, a busy square. At least two other men are thought to be involved.

    Reports say one of the attackers is among the dead. Local media say another has been detained, while a third is involved in a stand-off with police.

  119. walton says

    I don’t buy it. Despite their magical blood, they’re still human beings. If a monarch didn’t want the power or privileges of being monarch, he or she would cede the throne. Or fly to Never Never Land, or wherever monarchs go when they want to escape. Probably the latter.

    Sure. If the heir actively desires not to be monarch, and is completely unwilling to tolerate the duties or the restrictions on one’s freedom and privacy that that role involves, he or she can abdicate; and some monarchs have done so. But there is a middle ground: someone who doesn’t have any obvious love of power and probably wouldn’t have sought high office voluntarily if he or she lived in a republic, but who has been trained from birth to accept his or her “duty” to succeed to the throne, and will put up with it. While it’s hard to tell, I’d guess that quite a few royals fall into this category: if Britain had become a republic before her accession, I doubt very much that Princess Philip of Greece and Denmark, née Elizabeth von Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha, would have chosen of her own accord to run for election to the office of head of state. Nor, I would guess, would her son or grandson. (Given the choice, Prince Charles would probably be happy enough simply being an eccentric landowning aristocrat and proponent of organic farming; I can’t really imagine him choosing to run for political office, if he had the choice. But, having been given a position of high status for an entirely arbitrary reason, he seems to have done his best to use his influence for good when it comes to environmentalism.)

    Of course, there are exceptions. The deposed King Simeon II of Bulgaria later entered electoral politics, for instance, and served as Prime Minister of Bulgaria, under the name “Simeon Borisov of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha”. But this is extremely unusual. Some deposed pretenders have actively agitated to get their thrones back, such as Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia, but there are plenty of others who don’t really seem to be interested.

    If this is an argument for monarchy by heredity, then it is an even better argument for monarchy by lottery. Heredity ensures you’ve raised a child with expectations of privilege, and very likely ensures a sense of superiority, due to system justification by the child. Random selection avoids this.

    Yes, that’s true. And I expressly said that random selection would fulfil the same criterion of deliberate arbitrariness. But while your objections to hereditary succession are reasonable enough, the flip side is that hereditary succession provides an institutional stability and continuity which random selection by lottery could not.

    And random selection with regularly scheduled humiliation of the monarch is even better.

    (flogging the dauphin in public)

    Now that’s twisted. (Though I couldn’t mount a strong moral objection to your hypothesized political system, if it were being inflicted on a willingly-consenting adult who had volunteered for the role of monarch with full knowledge of what it entailed. After all, there are people out there who like the idea of being whipped in public. In that case, though, the selection would no longer be random.)

  120. says

    I take the smiley to indicate humor, or at least friendliness, but I’m not apprehending your meaning. I mean, I’m sure I’ve been guilty on both counts at times, but… in my apology for getting Alethea’s nym wrong?

    Althea.

  121. says

    Perhaps in this New Digital Age, even bumperstickers (which I would’ve thought had a high setup cost) have become micromarket items.

    Definitely. They’re like t-shirts.

    BTW, do you watch Next Iron Chef? Aside from the egregious product placement, I was quite pleased with the Secret Ingredient Challenge last night: The winner has been my favorite for several weeks now, and would be my choice for the NIC; the (now eliminated) loser has been rubbing me the wrong way for about the same span of time: s/he has seemed consistently smug and arrogant to me.

    No, I don’t watch it. I’ve just gotten into the TC Last Chance Kitchen videos. Have you been watching those?

  122. says

    “Jazz isn’t more exploratory than classical music”
    Why, yes, yes it is. The whole idea is to explore possibilities in jazz. In classical, the whole idea is to play the notes in front of you.

    Related (over) generalization: How do you get a classical pianist to stop playing? Take the sheet music away.
    How do you get a rock guitarist to stop playing? Put sheet music in front of them.
    +++++++++++++++++
    Maybe part of the small rock/jazz band lack of women is that living and playing conditions (usually) really suck when you’re starting out, and maybe for your whole career. The clubs are dives, your crowded very closely into crappy vehicles for hundreds of miles, and you frequently end up staying 4 to a room or crashing on somebody’s floor.

  123. cicely, unheeded prophetess of the Equine Apocalypse says

    You can’t fly, you aren’t spiderman, and you can’t stop a moving train with your forehead.

    That’s not what my high school physics teacher said! I well remember the day he covered “1+1=3″, “You will never actually arrive at the wall”, and “The fly stops the train“.
    Granted, only for an infinitesimally-short length of time. And the fly doesn’t get away with it scott-free. And no-one in the train actually notices.
    But, still.

    I’ve never eaten pheasant. Peacock, yes; swan, yes. Pheasant, no.

    I’ve experienced the same all day. The site keeps hanging. Rather annoying, actually.

    Same here. And ditto.

    Who dictated that men have to have cold legs when women get to wear things like tights and leggings?

    When I was a kid, I used to wonder the reverse: how come girls had to wear skirts/dresses (and have cold legs), but boys got to wear pants (and have warm legs)? ‘Course, I never found that pantyhose/tights ever made my legs any warmer than bare; today’s leggings seem to be heavy-dutier, and are at least some help.

    and further down:

    What’s “pansy” about having warm legs?!

    What was ever “masculine” about having warm legs? Wasn’t that one place…you know…with the kilts…a cold place?

    Never did make sense to me.

    opposablethumbs, what always got me was that, in middle and high school the majority of clarinet players and the overwhelming majority of flute players were female (with the rare male flute players getting a lot of ribbing for being “girly”); and yet, when it was time to get serious (college), the guys started rising to the top, and when you looked at the world of professional music, the top-drawer, name-brand, world-class clarinetists and flautists were…male. WTF??? Clearly a case of, “males have first dibs; the females can have the leftovers”, because be damned if I could see anything essentially masculine about being a musician! Has this changed in the last 25-or-so years?
    -

  124. Cannabinaceae says

    I almost always wear tights when hiking, winter or summer. Since I hike in shorts over the (usually blue) tights, this means I’m a real bluestocking.

    This is because: I don’t like my bare legs getting thwacked by thorns-n-stuff (there’s a whole lot of vegetation of different painfully thorny species I classify as “devil’s penis”); I don’t like smearing as much sunscreen as it would take to cover my legs; I find it slightly inhibits some of the smaller biting flies. Since they breathe, they are cool even when it’s warm.

    The sentiment that musicians who play from a score are merely playing what’s there on the page seems rather inattentive, and is at least quite dismissive. From solo instruments to symphonies, “who’s playing” (or conducting) can make a real difference in the feelings that get communicated. There’s plenty of room for differing emphasis on the various components a piece.

  125. Brother Ogvorbis, OM . . . Really? says

    Am I not allowed to sleep?

    You’re English. The English pride themselves on being uncomfortable and getting no sleep when exploring the wilderness. Like Boston.

    Stiff upper lip and all that, what?

  126. says

    “The sentiment that musicians who play from a score are merely playing what’s there on the page seems rather inattentive, and is at least quite dismissive. ”

    Which is not what I said. But the larger the orchestra, But not a single one of them are making it up as they go along, and their skill as musicians in a section relies upon them interpreting the nuances in the same way, which is subject to the conductor’s ‘feel’. It’s rather necessarily quite rigid.

  127. Pteryxx says

    When I was a kid, I used to wonder the reverse: how come girls had to wear skirts/dresses (and have cold legs), but boys got to wear pants (and have warm legs)?

    I objected to this too, and got punished for it. My eventual theory as a kid (which I’ve seen little reason to change now) is that little girls have to wear skirts to stop them actively playing. Skirts fly around when they run too fast, jump, climb or fall, which of course means the kid is “indecent” and has to be stopped. Also, skirts don’t protect their legs like pants do, so when a girl falls, she’s more likely to get scraped up and bleed, and cry, which is then proof that she’s not suited for active play.

    As I recall, in first grade, I suggested that all the girls be allowed to wear pants UNDER their skirts for recess, problem solved. The adults told me a girl would STILL be indecent if her skirt flew up, even then. Yeah… the fundies hated me.

    Re girls, art and music… there’s this book Art and Fear, which I (need to) keep close by me, and it’s all about how vital it is for artists to have confidence and trust in themselves and their unique voice. Dorothea Brande’s “Becoming a Writer” similarly focuses on training and trusting one’s subconscious, protecting it from critique and doubt to encourage creative flow. (Critique comes later, for editing.)

    I suspect a general stereotype-threat effect where girls almost invariably have been taught to doubt themselves more than boys.

  128. opposablethumbs, que le pouce enragé mette les pouces says

    Cannabinaceae I don’t think that either those who play from a score or those who improvise are lesser in any way; rather that they’re doing related but significantly different things (like, say, translators vs interpreters or a scripted comedy role vs stand-up).

    .
    cicely, I guess the male-dominance-at-the-top-of-the-profession in music works in broadly similar ways to male dominance of any profession with any status attached to it. The men have to be brilliant to get to the top; the women have to be brilliant and overcome all the usual crap, bias, other demands on their time and energy etc etc. The fact that some orchestras now audition new players hidden behind a screen so the selector(s) won’t be biased for or against by their sex/race/looks is a good thing, but it says a lot that this should be necessary.

  129. carlie says

    The kitty is home! We set her down to explore, and she promptly crawled under the couch and found a way up into the innards, where she is sitting and will not come out. Hm. I guess we’ll give it awhile.