Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Defending the USPS

Amanda has a good post in defense of the Post Office, in response to some typically banal lukewarm libertarian cant spewed up by Myglesias. Nothing gets my goat like USPS-bashing, which so often amounts to "nobody goes to the post office anymore, it's too crowded."

I'd only add that not only does the USPS make urban areas more walkable, it makes rural areas practical places to live at all: without the postal service as competition, it's doubtful private carriers would pick up from or deliver to remote parts of the country at any kind of affordable rate.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Meet the Mutts

Long before having a dog I would talk about how I would get him or her Mets gear. Specifically, I wanted them to have both home and away jerseys, though I was undecided on which player to get. But now I've discovered that the only dog jersey they sell is the black "alternate" design, and it comes only as number 00 with no player name. Boo.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Good to Know

I had noticed several months ago that the Bicycle Station storefront on Vanderbilt had "For Lease" signs up in the windows, and then it closed and was replaced by what looks like a higher end bike retail outfit (I haven't actually been inside to check it out). But according to the internet they have relocated to Park and Adelphi, up by the Navy Yard. Not very convenient to me, but I'm glad they're still around...their business always seemed to be booming, so I hadn't figured they'd have gone out of business and they must have just gotten priced out of the neighborhood.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Pinball Construction Kit

Gamasutra has a good post remembering Pinball Construction Kit for the Apple deuce, which was totally fun. I remember Nate built a table called "Mr Green Jeans," but I don't remember any of mine. I doubt any of them turned out any better than my abortive Democratic Presidents of the 20th Century table I was working on for Visual Pinball a couple years ago when I forgot to eat all day and passed out the next morning and busted my head.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Baby's First Poop "Al Fresco"

Sarah admires Prancis's first outdoor poop

We didn't even have to put paper down for him. We're so proud!

Art and Life Imitate One Another in Lockstep

Gabe tires of the vampire fad. Which prompts me to notice that, spoiler alert, the last few issues of Buffy Season Eight have involved a growing vampire trend that is making the slayers' jobs difficult. I wonder if Joss just lucked into that or if he was paying attention enough to see the vampire thing coming. Probably the latter but it seemed like a crazy coincidence to me.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


I can't really believe that John Ashcroft insisted on being called "general." Too perfect. Wikipedia confirms that, the "general" in "attorney general" being an adjective, this makes no sense. Maybe he was confused by the surgeon general's being a vice admiral.

Monday, February 2, 2009


A Revealer post linking to a review of Prayers for Bobby draws a parallel between that film's portrayal of homosexuality and Revolutionary Road's portrayal of women (spoilers alert):
In the film, women are...conniving but not too bright, sex for them is a form of vengeance or control, and they often talk too much. Star Kate Winslet does have sex -- once to control Leonardo DiCaprio, once to take vengeance on him, and then never again. And, of course, she dies tragically, the wages of sin -- the result of aborting a baby Leo wanted.
Everyone is entitled to their own interpretation of course, but this one strikes me as fairly eccentric. Both main characters in Revolutionary Road are extremely flawed, and neither can be held free from blame for the events in the narrative, but the most obvious reading places the moral responsibility for April Wheeler's death squarely on Frank's shoulders: it is his haranguing and emotional manipulation—indeed, his "talk[ing] too much"—that pressures April into delaying the abortion until after it would have been (relatively) safe. If anything, Frank's culpability is so clear-cut that the story threatens to deny April's agency in her own demise, but to gloss this as April's earning "the wages of sin" seems badly wrong to me.

Also not sure about the implied slight to Underworld: Rise of the Lycans. I mean, it is plainly the case that Lycans is no "feminist parable," and it doesn't come close to satisfying the Bechdel test (there is barely more than one speaking female role), but it's hardly a notably egregious offender along those lines, and the antagonist's autocratic enforcement of patriarchy is portrayed as nearly as serious a flaw as his devotion to racial purity (which is saying quite a lot for a film that is a slavery parable).