30 September 2009


Shorter Petition for Roman Polanski

Everyone knows film festivals ought to be lawless temporary autonomous zones, because if a guy can get get arrested at one for raping a child and then skipping bail to avoid prosecution for it, that’s obviously a slippery slope leading toward very bad things like unfriendliness between Americans and the French.

If you love film, don’t look at the list of signatories, as it will only depress you. (Speaking of which: Tilda? You signed this f%&#ing thing? You are no longer my Imaginary Girlfriend.)

“Shorter” invented at D-Squared Digest and brought to fullness at Busy Busy Busy.

21 September 2009

Too true

If you've been enjoying The Sartorialist—you know who you are—I offer you a convenient flowchart of how to get photographed by him.

17 September 2009

The Obama presidency = geek victory

Update: I just realized that this is a case of “life imitates action figure.

John Hodgman, of course, saw this this coming.

11 September 2009


About a month after 9/11, there was a benefit concert in Madison Square Garden to raise money for recovery efforts et cetera. It was full of celebs marching onto the stage to pitch for the fundraising. I watched some of it, and there are two things that stand out in my memory.

One was Steve Buschemi, who it turns out had served with FDNY when he was younger, and had been volunteering. He showed up with the crew he'd been working with, looking haggard—uh, more haggard than usual, that is—and embarrassed by the applause.

The other was Richard Gere, who you may know is a Buddhist. I just found a transcript of what he said.

I think in this situation right now, when, when we have the possibility of taking this energy, this horrendous energy that we're all feeling—and the possibility of turning it into more violence and revenge—we can stop that. We can take that energy and turn it into something else. We can turn it into compassion, into love, into understanding.

the crowd boos loudly

That's apparently unpopular right now, but that's all right.

My friends right now are the cops, the firemen, the emergency workers. Those are the ones who don't ask if you're a good guy or a bad guy if they're going to save you. They don't ask what your religion is when they save you. They just do it because it need to be done.

the crowd cheers

That's the heart that I'm talking about, that's compassion, that's the real thing. That's what we all need to aspire to.

I remember the look on his face when the booing happened. He obviously knew it would be coming. That's walking the walk of fierce compassion.

09 September 2009

Unsolicited product endorsement

I used to work with Nanci Houlgate, and in addition to her other skills she turned out to be a very accomplished baker of elaborate and delicious cakes and cookies. She just opened her Etsy store Baked, and I'm already trying to think of an excuse to buy something.

She does have pirate cookies, and International Talk Like A Pirate Day is less than two weeks away ...

08 September 2009

Christian charity

Via Pecunium, I learn that Fred Clark at Slacktivist offers an excellent retelling of a story from evangelist Tony Campolo's memoir Let Me Tell You a Story.
After the party, Harry is surprised to learn that Tony is a preacher.
“What kind of church do you belong to?”

“I belong to a church that throws birthday parties for prostitutes at 3:30 in the morning.”

Worth clicking through to read the whole thing, including the comments, which feature this gem:
I heard Tony Campolo tell that story a few years ago. And the crowd erupted into applause at that point — but we were checked by Tony holding up his hand. Then he kept talking:
I will never forget his reply. He said ‘No you don't. I'd go to a church that did that.’

04 September 2009


It’s hard to believe now, but not long ago economists were congratulating themselves over the success of their field. Those successes — or so they believed — were both theoretical and practical, leading to a golden era for the profession. On the theoretical side, they thought that they had resolved their internal disputes. Thus, in a 2008 paper titled “The State of Macro” (that is, macroeconomics, the study of big-picture issues like recessions), Olivier Blanchard of M.I.T., now the chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, declared that “the state of macro is good.” The battles of yesteryear, he said, were over, and there had been a “broad convergence of vision.” And in the real world, economists believed they had things under control: the “central problem of depression-prevention has been solved,” declared Robert Lucas of the University of Chicago in his 2003 presidential address to the American Economic Association. In 2004, Ben Bernanke, a former Princeton professor who is now the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, celebrated the Great Moderation in economic performance over the previous two decades, which he attributed in part to improved economic policy making.

Last year, everything came apart.

In a long article for the New York Times Magazine, Paul Krugman tries to answer the question How did economists get it so wrong?

03 September 2009

Business plan

Is it genius, or is it madness?

We start with 100% beef jerky, and SEAR your contact information into it with a 150 WATT CO2 LASER.

Screw die-cutting. Forget about foil, popups, or UV spot lamination. THESE business cards have two ingredients: MEAT AND LASERS.

Unlike other business cards, MEAT CARDS will retain value after the econopocalypse. Hoard and barter your calorie-rich, life-sustaining cards.

MEAT CARDS do not fit in a Rolodex, because their deliciousness CANNOT BE CONTAINED in a Rolodex.

I'm looking forward to competing Beet Cards for vegetarians.

02 September 2009

Men, mad and otherwise

Will Wilkinson, in the course of a right-on blog post talking about how our current era of tricky mixed expectations about how a gent behaves toward women is a good thing, makes an astonishing assertion.

I think part of the fascination for many white guys with the show Mad Men is that it is a window into an attractive (to them) world of white male dominance and privilege that has largely disappeared.


I'm six episodes into the show and all I can think is how fascinatingly awful those people are, and how happy I am that I live now and not then.