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(no subject) [May. 29th, 2006|04:33 pm]
Very few people know that I love watching the French Open. Again, 2 observations (in the form of questions):

(1) Why doesn't he just wear pants?

(2) Now, everyone agrees that she looks like a man, but is it wrong that I root against her because of that?
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(no subject) [May. 27th, 2006|03:51 pm]
[music |Rudy Ray Moore - Close Encounter of the Sex Kind]

Three weeks of no school and no work is plenty. Luckily, I start work here on Wednesday. But I've read a few books and watched lots of movies, which has been nice. Two observations: (1) Virginia Quarterly Review is an amazingly good publication, even if it is far too heavy on poetry. (2) Godard's Alphaville is overrated. I got it from Netflix because I'd heard good things and it was one of the few Godard movies I hadn't seen. Maybe aspiring film-makers can appreciate everything that's right about the film while ignoring the fundamentally flawed and laughably simplistic "message" - but I'm not one so I couldn't. I'm writing it off as an aberration. I look forward to the day Netflix gets Pierrot le Fou - another of his movies I haven't seen and recommended highly by a friend.

When I came back from vacation, I found that I had a new roommate. My old one (who spent less than 10 nights here in the past 5 months) decided to sublet for the summer, which is understandable. But I'm really out of practice with cohabitation. Plus, I forgot the guy's name after the initial introduction. So now I'm wondering which will be more fun - (a) sneaking into his room to look for some identification or (b) trying to hide my ignorance for the entire summer.

The new Television Personalities album (the first in 11 years) is the first actually new album that I've actually bought in ages. Putting aside any comment on what that might say about me, technology, or music, the record is unspeakably good - if you liked them the first time around, I guess.
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(no subject) [Apr. 29th, 2006|01:19 am]
1. Perhaps understandably, the 20th anniversary of Chernobyl is getting woefully little attention. I don't usually go in for the pornography of tragedy (and it's hard to avoid on this story), but I did come across two fantastic pieces. One's here (an incredible multimedia slideshow) and the other is a BBC Documentary Archive podcast (I don't know how to link to that, but it should be easy to find).

2. Gas prices - Jacob Weisberg sums it up here better than I ever could. I can't remember a time when Democrats have been so disingenuous. We should be glad that prices are so high. The word on the economic street is that prices need to be this high or higher for several years before there'll be a significant impact on demand. I guess I understand their need to be re-elected, but I'm still disappointed - do they have to be so obvious about it? I have to admit, though, and maybe it's just because I'm studying for a contracts exam, that Barney Frank made a good point on "Real Time" tonight. The point was this - people have been encouraged for decades to move to the suburbs, 30 or 40 miles from their job, so it doesn't seem fair to punish them for their good-faith reliance. I'm not saying I agree, just that it's the only viable point I've heard.

3. Inspired by some episodes of "The Cosby Show," I made two of these last night. "These" = bacon burger dogs, and mine looked much better than the ones in this picture. To those of you more intrigued than appalled, here's some advice: the hot dog part was sort of bland, so maybe cook it some before construction. Also, and this may be advice for life in general, try not to get your hopes too high - it has the potential to be better than a bacon cheeseburger (or a bacon hot dog or a hot dog burger), but it will almost certainly fail to be as good as you imagine.
bacon burger dog
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(no subject) [Apr. 21st, 2006|01:35 pm]
[Current Location |Washington, D.C.]
[music |The Goon Show - The Phantom Head Shaver [of Brighton]]

I meant to say something about this a few weeks ago, but the delay doesn't matter since I'm already hopelessly late to the party. "Weeds" is an amazing show. Like I said, this is hardly an unpopular opinion, and probably doesn't merit acknowledgement. But I guess I was just surprised - not that it was "good," but that I liked it. Before it premiered last year, two things kept me from watching: (1) the idea didn't seem that interesting or novel, and (2) my general distaste for marijuana culture.

As for (1), nothing has changed - the premise won't surprise anyone who saw that public service ad with kids skateboarding down suburban sidewalks on their way to joining their fellow non-urbanites in comprising the pot-smoking majority. That's not really a downfall, though. There's no reason a show needs an outlandish scenario to succeed. So it's obvious, then, that "Weeds" avoids arousing concern (2). I've only seen four or five episodes now, but it seems like the business (and to a lesser extent, the culture) is simply a backdrop for genuinely good plotlines and dialogue.

The new season is starting soon so Showtime is playing all the first-season episodes. If you can, and you get a chance, it'll be worth your time to watch.

Coincidentally, I spent a couple hours the other day trying to wrap my brain around last year's Supreme Court decision in Gonzales v. Raich. I know most people won't have an opportunity to read it, so I'll just say this: it strikes down a California law allowing the use of medical marijuana and it features two of the most tortured and ambivalent opinions ever written. Stevens (for the liberal majority) desperately wants to let these people smoke, but can't bear the thought of limiting federal Commerce Clause powers. Scalia (for the conservative minority) detests all things pot-related, but loathes the idea that this counts as regulation of interstate commerce.

Oddly enough, despite "Weeds" misgiving number (2) above, I realized while watching that of the people I'm happiest to have known so far in life, a very high percentage of them have been at least somewhat involved in said culture. No jam band likers, though.

And now back to the rule against perpetuities and offensive nonmutual collateral estoppel.
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(no subject) [Feb. 16th, 2006|10:40 pm]
definitely not separated at birth, but maybe long lost cousins? in my head they looked a lot more similar than when i looked at them side by side. so maybe, at the lest, this will dispel the beltway rumours (started by me) of their common parentage. they're definitely close enough to be one of those couples that look alike.

Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff

Homeland Movie Director John Waters
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(no subject) [Oct. 16th, 2005|01:21 am]
[mood |civil procedure]
[music |KCRW's Le Show]

I just got back from seeing the Fiery Furnaces. Now, I've never claimed to love them, and I'm not saying that now. But I do like them, especially after tonight. Part of the reason I was a late-adopter is that I was put off by their general art-fagginess. Eventually, that didn't bother me as much and I just focused on the parts I liked. Tonight, though, was something completely different. They were bad-ass. Even the fast songs from the first album they played faster and louder than I thought they could. Certainly faster and louder than any of the indy fuckers there were comfortable with. Seriously, though, it fucking rocked. I thought my ears were gonna bleed. For anyone who cares, this is my text message version of the set list: Run, Clear, Street, Tropical, Quay, Hardiele, Granddaughter, Candy, Street, Bend, Curses, Book, Choir, Richmond, Dog, North, Swim, Evergreen, Chris, Chief, Boat, Feet. And if that makes any sense to you, you're a much truer fan than I. I wish I had taken my camera, but I figured I'd have to use a flash, which I didn't want to do. But I was so close that I wouldn't have had to, and I could have at least taken video with it. My bad. The opening band, The Child Ballads, was top notch, and featured a member of one of my favorite bands circa 9th grade - Judah Bower.
There's a song on the new album called "The Garfield El." That was my stop. I miss Chicago a lot these days.
Is she objectively pretty?

Does anyone else find those Tic-Tac commercials super-sexy?
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(no subject) [Oct. 13th, 2005|05:37 pm]
[mood |evening]
[music |the goon show]

So I'm waaaay late on this, but a quick thought on Katrina. It seems like the biggest danger now is that people will start to think that every storm will do that kind of damage. We've already seen small-scale evidence of why that's a bad thing - all of the deaths from Rita were people attempting to evacuate. On a larger scale, money and effort spent preparing for the next Katrina will necessarily take lives, almost certainly more than the expected human cost of another storm. I think the best writing I've seen on this subject in general is Cass Sunstein's, although I don't know if he's written anything about Katrina. The gist is that if that preparation money is being spent to save lives, there are many better ways to achieve that goal - ways that will save more lives more efficiently. I really wish I had more time to spend on this and availability cascades and such, but I don't. If anybody's read anything about it in the Katrina context, let me know.

Another thing I'm late on: Thomas Schelling won the Nobel Prize this week. Because he's one of my favorite economists (although he's sooo much more), his name has been on my livejournal interests list since I started this a couple years ago. Oddly enough, I'm apparently the only one. He won the fucking Nobel Prize, so surely someone else will show some interest now.
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(no subject) [Oct. 13th, 2005|12:29 am]
i'm watching the repeat of last week's episode of real time with bill maher. some notes:
bill maher coins a term that i think i like (christ-y) and talks more about the nonsensical bullshit that is religion. his words, not mine. i just agree.
ben affleck makes a surprisingly sophisticated comment about religious polling.
andrew sullivan and ben defend religion, while salman rushdie remains (un)surprisingly quiet, presumably wishing to avoid another fatwa.
salman rushdie on torture: "the rotten apple does not fall far from the rotten tree." that's not literally true, is it?
ben affleck defends the rights of florida gun owners, and in so doing becomes my favorite celebrity liberal. not because i like guns, but because in his argument he points out how people on the left often don't "get it." now, that's obviously not a very controversial point for any thinking member of the left, but remember, i said "celebrity liberal."
and tom wolfe is on next week!

the coolest thing i've heard about in a long time: Fab Labs
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(no subject) [Oct. 11th, 2005|08:04 pm]
[mood |typical]
[music |brian eno]

While i don't agree with Mr. Hitchens often, i think kudos are in order for this article. being in law school, the confirmation hearings have been pretty hot topics, but i haven't heard anyone bring this up, although maybe everyone is just resigned to it. another excellent article by hitchens on this theme can be found here. why is it that the only important public figure saying these things is a drunken trotskyist hawk?
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(no subject) [Oct. 6th, 2005|07:27 pm]
[mood |sweaty]
[music |dick hyman]

i would have just posted this in a comments section, but since a couple people have written about the subject, it was easier to just put it here. by "it" i mean the following poem by future governor roy moore.

Babies piled in Dumpsters,
Abortion on demand,
Oh, sweet land of liberty;
your house is on the sand.

We've voted in a government
that's rotting at the core,
Appointing Godless Judges
who throw reason out the door.

Too soft to place a killer
in a well-deserved tomb,
But brave enough to kill a baby
before he leaves the womb.

You think that God's not angry,
that our land's a moral slum?
How much longer will He wait
before His judgment comes?

This is where i got it from. The article notes that while this poem is attributed to moore, snopes.com isn't certain. But a reporter for the Atlantic heard moore read it, and then received a photocopy of it from moore himself. i'm convinced.
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