Saturday, September 24, 2005

Cherrypicking Better Blogs

Image from Japanese calendar here.

This'll be another mixed link dump, but big so it'll last you. Lately stories aren't gelling around any one topic for me, and I haven't been blazing blog trails. Is this a legit way to post? Scavenging other blogs for pre-chewed morsels? On with the clutter...

1) I, too, found it fascinating that the people on JetBlue flight 292 saw their peril on their seatback televisions where they watched coverage of what might have been their own dooms. McCannta calls it a post-postmodern moment. (hat tip: Michelle Malkin)

2) Mickey Kaus of Slate suspects the reason the NYT isn't bragging yet about the numbers of subscribers to its new premium service is that there aren't enough to impress, and the first week was supposed to be the strongest. Is MoDo hating the new strategy, and will she be the first over the wall that I mentioned here and here? (hat tip: Instapundit)

NOTE: I know it's lame for punified little me to credit gigundous blogs when they link stories. They don't need the extra traffic, and it makes me look like I read nothing else. However, I have this niggling honor thing in the base of my skull that makes me do it, so just ignore, please.

3) Vodkapundit highlights this article where France is doing something in favor of liberty (for a change) by helping foreign bloggers stay anonymous and dodge the censors. San Francisco's Electronic Frontier Foundation has apparently been publishing something similar, but not so much for avoiding physical oppression, but avoiding the pointy-haired one, Dilbertwise.

4) Althouse mentioned this NYT story about the huge strollers that obstruct and bulldoze the pedestrian throughways around here. The photos used are not good examples of prime offenders, as her commenters noticed. However, her comments section also shows how people go from zero to extreme hyperbole when they think their children or style of parenting are being questioned. This is a super touchy subject here on the island, especially during the day when the double-wide strollers roam in packs barely herded by mothers and nannies simultaneously yelling into their cell phones, lacing dog leashes onto their handles, throwing out offhand scraps of baby talk to placate the kids, and generally forming a menace either oblivious or confrontational to anyone around them. I didn't even find the article that negative, but Althouse's commenters who were parents felt differently. This is a real social divide with hard feelings on both sides, but I'm not sure there's any way around it. Non-parents just have to suck up the bad attitudes, frazzlement, and harsh judgment of the rest- no one will acknowledge your equal rights, so save your heat for other battles.

5) The irreplaceable Lileks riffs on modern art after reading a book about Michaelangelo and another about Grant Wood. The whole thing is worthwhile, and includes his hilarious visual examples of the points below. He notes:

Well, some styles deserved to be ranked over others. Perhaps Spanish isn’t superior to Italian, but a language that has 16 tenses and 2 million words is superior to one that has only the present tense and 1500 nouns, because it is capable of expressing more, and expressing it with greater detail and precision. This is why Shakespeare is superior to a knock-knock joke...In any case, Raphael could do Albers, but I am quite certain Albers could not do Raphael, anymore than John Lennon could score a symphony. Complexity and sophistication count for something; if they didn’t, you’d hire the man who designed the Port-A-Potty to design your dream house. Hey, it has walls and a hole.

These last two items I discovered on my lonesome, and I was so frightened by it that I nearly wet me-self. But I flap along unsteadily, a lone birdy kicked from the cozy nest to present my own trifling trophies of fool's gold to you.

6) People need to consider the consequences of taxing their ears at all times without the recovery of quietude. The little hairlike cilia inside the ear vibrate to translate sound, and if they're on the audio equivalent of triple espresso 24/7, they lose their ability to respond sensitively to highs and lows. This is a hot topic for me since I'm an auditory learner principally, but even after rocking the big amps of noise for many years, I still have unusually good hearing. I overhear way too many conversations, and I can hear a dog bite down on something the wrong texture for food from an adjoining room, but I also find much of the prevalent public wallpaper of music and media noise disturbing. I also find poor sound quality like nasty buzz and hiss almost painful. I credit the preservation of my post-rock hearing to the occasional earplug that cut the highest frequencies, and that I intermittently jam on the wall of silence and give the ears a rest. In Manhattan, even the silence is full of sound.

7) Does today's wacky kicker qualify me for a theme a la guinea-pig redux (item 9)? This Reuters article is about the lengths people will go to manfacture unique oddities for the Guinness World Book of Records. Sooty, the Welsh guinea pig received Valentines from 206 admirers.

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