Was just trying to save as draft and accidentally posted, so if you momentarily saw a fragmentary post, my apologies. Anyway, the Oops goes once for me, and once for the Washington Post, which reported with an unintentionally colorful (or, who knows, maybe intentional) choice of words that that Mark Foley had until recently been a "respected House member cruising toward a seventh term"...

Cruising, indeed! Faugh! I didn't want to be gleeful about this, since my first thought on reading the originally released emails was that a female page came forward with the same set of messages, it would be an absolute non-story. Just kindly avuncular interest, what's the problem? Move along, nothing to see here.

Then I saw the much more explicit instant messages, and I said, well, OK, if this kid was sixteen, the best thing that could be said about Foley was that he was really, really, stupid, and a lot of worse things could potentially be said, depending on the situation.

And now I see that the House Republican leadership may have covered it up. So those hypocritical bastards DID say "move along, nothing to see here." And I say, Yippee. I'm sorry. I think consent at age 16 is a complicated question and I don't think it's right that age-of-consent standards are unevenly applied in discriminatory ways when actually a good case can be made that same-sex contact across (but close to) the age 18 threshold is less likely to be damaging to the kid than the "male over 18, female under 18" variety.

But, dammit, I can't help hoping that this gets plastered over so many mainstream media outlets that even the most isolated rightwing Christian can't avoid knowing that Denis Hastert and Co. were protecting a man who wrote these things to a sixteen-year-old boy.




I'm a little uncomfortable with the way some people are talking about George Allen. OK, he's a racist, also a weenie. But he's not Jewish. It doesn't matter whether Jewish law says he's Jewish if his mother is Jewish because he doesn't observe Jewish law. His mother is a practicing Christian and so is he. But he does have Jewish ancestry. The problem is that he thinks asking whether he has Jewish ancestry is "casting aspersions." The problem is that he wants to pander to people he thinks wouldn't vote for him if he were Jewish. The problem is that he thinks mentioning that he eats ham sandwiches is going to allay their concerns.


No, I'm not talking about you-know-who

"Today, he is seen as a seriously flawed political leader, who had tried to propagate and perpetuate a culture of corruption and deceit that threatened to undermine democracy as we knew it. Throughout his five and a half years in power, he was exposed as a greedy politician who had pursued selfinterest at the expense of public good. Even called a tyrannical leader by some, he was accused of rolling back civil liberties, suppressing dissenting voices, not to mention his flagrant violation of human rights as part of a sinister design to dominate and then monopolise political power so as to indulge in corrupt practices unimpeded."

More here.

And some photos here.




What I would have liked to have written about Daley and Wal-Mart.




I forgot about the downtown farmer's market on Wednesday, which was a blessing in disguise, because there's a better one (and not too much further to walk) on Saturdays. Speckled red lettuce, purple peppers, yellow squash, tomatoes and cucumbers! Yes, that's work stuff next to the plate. A paper I was reading, sitting top of my computer. My standards for what constitutes a good Saturday have dropped: a nice walk to the farmer's market, and then work, work, work!


Goatdog and Wanderer

Separated at birth?



Holy Flaming Elevators, Batman!

So, I've got my laundry in the dryer and I've put my nice new CD in the player and I'm about to brew my evening coffee when WAAAAAAAAAAAH -- the fire alarm is going off. WAAAH WAAAH WAAAH WAAAH WAAAH. OK, where are my keys. Hm, bring anything else? No, what if it's really a fire? I walk down the ELEVEN flights of stairs in the place where I'm temporarily staying. Lots of cooking smells; it's dinner time. Hm, maybe somebody set off the alarm with their dinner.

Outside, the small cluster of people grows. I'm wondering when they're going to announce a false alarm and let us back in when a fire truck pulls up. And another. And another. They block off the whole street. Men -- many, many men -- in full fireman regalia, big mean axes, and grim looks, stride into the building. Soon we (now a large crowd) are told to get away from the building to the other side of the street. Nobody seems to know what's going on, until...I hear from people near me that there were flames spouting out of the elevator, flaming pieces falling from its ceiling, etc.

Well, it seems the ceiling lights in the elevator caught on fire and set the whole interior of the elevator ablaze.

We'll all be using the service elevator for a while. Scary, but it could have been worse. I knew there was some reason I wasn't a big fan of high-rises....





A True Scandal of Our Times (not just a feeble bid for google rankings)

Last night I (re)watched "Cape Fear" (the 1962 version) on Turner Classic Movies. Maybe it's just that I don't live in 1962, but for the first twenty minutes or so, even though I knew Robert Mitchum was the villain, I was on his side as his civil liberties were repeatedly and blatantly violated. I wish the movie would go a little further in letting us think maybe Gregory Peck's fears are unreasonable before revealing without a doubt that Mitchum is a psychopath. But anyway, my real beef is with the TCM commentator, who afterwards mentioned the "overreaction" of one reviewer at the time who called the film [and here's the bid for google rankings: Woo-hoo! I know I'll get some hits now] pornographic. "What kind of pornography was HE watching?" Well, maybe he was watching 1950s pornography, considerably tamer than the stuff out now. Or maybe he was just focused on the fact that in the culminating moments, a man who is known to have raped and done unspeakable sexual things to multiple women rips off the female protagonist's clothes while telling her he is going to rape her twelve-year-old daughter. Maybe that's just unremarkable these days. Maybe it's the fact that so much had to be left unsaid that makes this hard to match for insidious creepiness.

Oh, and speaking of not living in 1962. Gotta love that you can walk up to a check-in counter at an airport and ask whether a certain person was on a flight that just left, and the staffer will not only tell you that, but will volunteer his return flight info, too.

And then there's the actual scandal, which happens to be on another high-volume web topic: printer ink. I put a new cartridge in my new printer a week ago and I'm already out of ink. I know I've been doing a lot of printing, but not that much: I haven't come close to using up a ream of paper. This is ridiculous! It's enough to make you boycott all printer companies!

Somehow I don't think I'm gonna get a whole lotta traction on that one.



That Elusive Mix of Healthfulness and Great Taste!

So I'm browsing the energy bar selection in the local (well, not so local--a half-hour walk) natural food store.

Eight-Year-Old Kid: Hello.

Me: Hello.

Kid: Are you looking for applesauce?

Me: No, I've got applesauce.

Kid: Are you looking for candy?

Me: Is that what those are?

Kid: [Stunned into silence]



Fun with David Horowitz

Now there's a headline you never thought you'd see on my blog. And nonetheless... some folks have been having it.



Why I could never work in fundraising

I just got home from one of those rich-people dinners that people in my profession sometimes have to go to. I think this one wasn't actually supposed to be a rich-people dinner, but due to some crossed wires, two different dinners were planned, and the poor scholars' dinner was merged with the rich-people dinner; it wasn't the organizers' fault, so I was determined not to feel put upon. They had lots to say about the parties they'd had, the culture they'd consumed, the objects they'd collected, and then sold, to collect other things. They complained that the restaurant wasn't up to their standard. They complained that the waitress was female and not male. They complained that the waiters in France are foreign and not French. They complained that at a local cafe they asked for "still water" and were served tap water instead. They complained about Bush's foreign policy and the way they found to do so was to make a racist comment about Condoleezza Rice--one so subtle and so dependent on rich-people culture, in fact, that I wouldn't have picked up on it except that they ostentatiously apologized for it to me, knowing I would object. ("The problem is," the man said, without referring to the Secretary of State, "he has a downstairs maid for an upstairs maid.") Meanwhile, I settled into my role. Rather than squirming silently, I tried to chide them humorously, even vociferously, but never aggressively, for their views. I thought, I'll make this interesting for them without making them hate me, and maybe at least they'll have to see that their views aren't universally held. One of them kept calling me charming, and told me that if I ever found that there was no joy left in working, I should quit. Not bad advice, though it would help to have his money. I wouldn't want his money if I'd have to have his prejudices along with it.

Ah, well. I had a laugh about it afterwards with a colleague. But I still feel dirty.

So that's why I could never work in fundraising.


I was on a roll there for a little while, part of my plan to blog regularly again, but since then I've been submerged in such topics as the Chinese Rites Controversy, sexy angles [I can't explain; it would take too long], engravings of Roman monuments, and Botticelli. I'll come up for air sooner or later.



I just read your blog and I found it inquisitive

We're glad you feel that way.


Who Knew Department

Apparently "mainstream Freemasons" (now there's a contradiction in terms) are still undecided about whether to offer official recognition to the parallel African American lodges known as Prince Hall lodges after the Black Barbadian man, Prince Hall, who founded the first one in Boston in the late eighteenth century.

Actually, mainstream Freemasons are not so undecided, unless you count Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, West Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Kentucky. Hmmm.....

Well, that's the kind of thing you get when you start researching triangles.


Museum visitors found to be rich; dog bites man

I don't know how it is that I just heard about this, but...the Art Institute of Chicago has ended voluntary "suggested donation" admission and instituted mandatory ticket prices. I knew I was suspicious of all those demographic studies that were supposed to show how much economic value museums contribute to cities. Since museum visitors have been "found to be disproportionately white, educated and affluent," I guess that's all the impetus they need to give up on the twentieth-century notion of the museum as democratic space. Of course, that's a notion the museum never really lived up to. But the giving up of the notion itself seems noteworthy. Even symbolically speaking, we don't care about democracy anymore.

In the course of "researching" (ha!) this post, I thought I'd check in and see what the folks at $20 MOMA are doing.


dada is dead. long live dada!

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