A battalion of Golden Commie Conversationalists! Open thread.

You know what to do! (Don’t forget: I’m super busy with work – if you get stuck in moderation, I’ll fish you out as soon as ever I can!)

Standard FYI clause: My rule of thumb is that I wait for 2 hours after Ta-Nehisi would usually open a thread (roughly noon, EST), and if none is forthcoming, I put one up here.

207 Comments

  1. Today I’m posting all the “Pledge Your Allegiance” videos for GoT.
    http://bit.ly/GDNV9M
    http://bit.ly/GIMjew
    http://bit.ly/GD5Z6G
    Also, what do we think of the Doctor’s new companion?
    http://bit.ly/GGtqpD

    • The hell, WordPress? Again?

      • David L

         /  March 21, 2012

        I don’t know why I’m so lucky. Maybe it’s because I don’t specifically have a WordPress.com account with this address.

      • It’s the links. I’m sure of it. Sadly here I can’t fool it like I do Disqus.

    • intangir

       /  March 21, 2012

      I feel like we’ve hardly had any time with Amy and Rory even though it’s already been two seasons. I do think it’s good they continue to cast relatively unknown people for the leads, even though the show goes through so many regular changes it would be weird to have a familiar face front and center.

      I had heard some rumors last year that there was trouble with the show, I am glad to see they are planning series both this year and next.

      • Trouble with the show? Huh?

        If you mean that you heard that there might not be a season this year, that was because of the 2012 summer Olympics taking over the BBC during the usual time that Dr Who runs, so they weren’t sure when it would end up airing. But there was no way they weren’t going to have a season in ’12 though, because they have to have a 50th anniversary season in 2013.

        • intangir

           /  March 21, 2012

          It was awhile ago already and I think it was just some random internet rumors about there being trouble with Moffat trying to work on both Doctor Who and Sherlock. I guess it must have been nothing.

          As much as I do enjoy the serialized plot-lines and the ridiculousness of the Amy/River/Doctor’s death stuff from last year I do hope they tone down the ridiculousness a bit this year.

          • The plan this year is to switch the focus. Moffat feels he got a little to “arc heavy” last year, which made the stand-alones feel weird and out of place. So this year he’s trying to go the other way and have mostly stand alone adventures with just a small bit of arc. To that end they’re not even planning any two part episodes.

      • David L

         /  March 21, 2012

        Catherine Tate was reasonably well known in the UK for her sketch comedy before being cast as The Bride for the Christmas special, much less returning as full-time companion.

        • intangir

           /  March 21, 2012

          Yeah, that’s true, not totally unknown – Tennant was in a couple of the Harry Potter movies as well and Billie Piper was a singer and in several other shows. Still, given how popular the show is, I like that they continue to give relative unknowns a shot at such big roles.

          • David L

             /  March 21, 2012

            Also, I think that Tate was supposed to be the one-off bit of star power for the original Christmas special (as Kylie Minogue would be the next year), then got invited back, so she almost doesn’t count. The rest of the regulars, except for Alex Kingston (and then only because of “ER”), all seem to fall into the “Hey! It’s that guy!” range — working actors, but not really household names.

  2. Darth Thulhu

     /  March 21, 2012

    Happy Naw-Rúz, everyone! (Bahá’í/Persian New Year)

    Thanks to everyone who offered fast-breaking indulgence options while the Bahá’í Fast was still ongoing. The different fruit assemblages were appropriately delicious, and K_Bee’s black bean goodness was truly spectacular.

    Sorry for being a bit of a stranger these past few weeks. Work changes and the logistical implications of the Fast and gaming burn-throughs have confined me to mostly posting at odd and off-peak hours. 

    • And to you, old friend!

    • SWNC

       /  March 21, 2012

      Happy New Year!

    • Bookwoman

       /  March 21, 2012

      Happy New Year! I know only a little about the Baha’i faith, but my 92-year-old staunch Episcopalian stepmother says that if she had it to do all over again, she’d be Baha’i.

      • Darth Thulhu

         /  March 21, 2012

        My dad’s mom’s side was also Episcopalian, while my mom’s was Baptist. I was raised non-denominational Protestant amid a huge lot of Mormons, Jews, and Catholics (Mesa, AZ).

        After a pretty big atheist stretch shifted to non-denominational theist, the only thing able to make me commit to signing on the dotted line for the Bahá’í Faith was the answer to “What about the unbelievers? What about all the Episcopalians and Shi’ites and Zoroastrians and Taoists and Atheists and Jesuits and Haredim and Tibetan Buddhists and Scientologists and Mormons and Hindus and Isma’ílis and Druze and Shinto practitioners?”

        So many religious hierarchies require one to answer “hellbound” or instead try to evade any real answer to the question, so I was heartened by the Faith’s guidance on the topic.

        • Bookwoman

           /  March 21, 2012

          “I was heartened by the Faith’s guidance on the topic.”

          Can you tell us more about this?

          • Darth Thulhu

             /  March 21, 2012

            Yes, but not briefly.

            This is one of the biggest theological questions, with the longest history of theological philosophy. There’s no bumper sticker slogan that can sum up God and the fate of Creation (not even 3:16 for Christianity).

            I’ll try to work up a short short version of my understanding, rather than a massive overview essay.

          • Darth Thulhu

             /  March 21, 2012

            Some of the “bumper sticker slogans” are included below in my reply to osbenz. They’re simultaneously banal and mind-blowing to contemplate. There’s a big element of both “duh, obviously” and “wow, I can’t even imagine all that actually means when I think all the implications through.”

            The shortest version I can think of regarding Bahá’í belief regarding the soul is that:

            1) The Final Goal is union with and reflection of the radiance of God

            2) We can’t actually imagine what #1 above looks like at the end. Godhead is Heaven is Nirvana is Perfection is Nothingness is Truth is Questions is … et cetera, et cetera. It’s beyond us.

            3) There are many paths up the mountain, and many roads through the wasteland to reach the Final Goal. Some are much harsher and more difficult than others.

            4) Anyone and everyone can pursue paths toward the Final Goal. Likewise, people can deliberately march away from Truth and Light into ignorance and darkness.

            5) The paths all extend far beyond this world. As much as one goal is to bring the Kingdom of Heaven into this world, this world is not the sole home of God.

            6) Religions that cleave more closely to the inner Truth of Manifested Revelations are like very good guide maps to the best paths forward. They make the journey easier and swifter when adhered to.

            7) Humans always corrupt and misperceive Manifested Revelations. Jews turned from Moses to build the Golden Calf, after all. Religions run by humans all fall away from Revealed Truth of the best paths, and can reform to be closer to a True Map or further from it, or even more accurate in some regards yet simultaneously further away in others.

            8) Advancing forward (or regressing away) can happen with or without a map. Advancing forward (or regressing away) can happen with or without the most current and Divinely Renewed map.

            9) Bahá’ís sincerely believe they’ve got the most accurate and correctly updated maps to the advancement of souls. Others, reasonably, may disagree. Regardless, Bahá’ís acknowledge that everyone everywhere is marching into uncharted territory, and that people using less accurate maps and even no map at all can nonetheless succeed at the journey, though they will have a harder time of it. Thus, Atheists can and do accomplish God’s work and receive God’s grace.

            10) Owning a copy of a better map doesn’t make you a better person, nor does it make you more likely to reach the Final Goal any quicker than anyone else if you don’t do anything with the map. Actually journeying is what counts. Bahá’ís, as people, are absolutely no better than anyone else. If they should become better souls in time, that it entirely the result of the path toward God they have journeyed with the help of the very recently Divinely Updated maps they have been provided.

            Ergo, one religion can be most helpful and most accurate at guiding one toward grace, and other religions can be more or less helpful guides in comparison to one another, but any religion (or no religion at all) can get one closer to grace and divine virtues, so long as one is actively striving to do so.

            (Sorry to be so long … even this is cutting out an awful lot.)

            • This makes me so happy,

            • Bookwoman

               /  March 21, 2012

              No apologies necessary – thanks for taking the time to write all that.

              There’s much food for thought here, but I’m struck by how your first point seems very much like the Orthodox Christian idea of theosis.

              “everyone everywhere is marching into uncharted territory”

              You can say that again!

              • Darth Thulhu

                 /  March 21, 2012

                You are very welcome.This is what Holy Days off work let me do.🙂

                And yeah, the parallel thoughts of many religions are spine-tingling.

            • SWNC

               /  March 21, 2012

              This is beautiful.

        • osbenz

           /  March 21, 2012

          The notion of progressive revelation is pretty awesome. To my understanding, God must be egalitarian and it’s nice to see a religion embrace that.

          • Darth Thulhu

             /  March 21, 2012

            Seeing the practical truths of an egalitarian Revelation in mid-1800s Persia is just mind-blowing to contemplate.

            “Women are equal to men.”

            “All races are co-equal.”

            “All religions manifest and derive from the same Source.”

            “Science and religion both reveal Truth, and are as two wings of the same bird.”

            Mid-1800s Shi’ite Muslim Persia! We are so far from such ideals even today, it is just stunning to imagine them being set down in front of people as “God’s Goals for You” a century and a half ago.

            • This is very interesting. I was raised Catholic, did a stint as Mormon, and have been non-practicing for at least a decade. I can’t shake my belief/faith, which is still there, but I don’t think I fit into any religion at this point.

              You’ve mentioned something that may be a fit. I’ll be looking into it.

              • Darth Thulhu

                 /  March 21, 2012

                Best of luck in your path of seeking Truth, whatever road you walk.🙂

    • koolaide

       /  March 21, 2012

      Happy new year🙂

    • helensprogeny

       /  March 21, 2012

      Happy new year!

    • wearyvoter

       /  March 21, 2012

      Happy New Year!

  3. David L

     /  March 21, 2012

    I figure TNC will post on this one later, but I’ll go ahead and mention it here. The NFL came down hard on the bounty scandal. Saints coach Sean Payton is suspended without pay for a year, and former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is suspended indefinitely. This seems like it’s enough, short of the players (the NFL has not handed out anything against the players, pending the outcome of the NFLPA’s investigation.)

    http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/2012/3/21/2890188/saints-sean-payton-suspension-bounty-scandal-gregg-williams/in/2604084

    In other football news, Tim Tebow is a New York Jet. Just what they needed to go alongside Mark Sanchez: a matinee-idol quarterback with questionable football abilities but a lot of media attention who is dogged by rumors about his sexuality.

    • koolaide

       /  March 21, 2012

      The hammer was dropped. I do wonder if other teams w/ known bounty plans also get hit.

      And Tebow wasn’t just sent to the Jets. He was traded for a 4th round pick & a 6th rounder. That’s just short of a bag of balls, a bag of shoes, and some gatorade.

      • Dontcha mean Kool-Aid?

        • koolaide

           /  March 21, 2012

          heh. Tebow being a gator and all I thought gatorade more appropriate.

          And I don’t throw my namesake around w/ abandon😉

        • dave in texas

           /  March 21, 2012

          Shouldn’t it be the water he turns into wine, instead?

    • Yes, I thought these duelling announcements would spark a post from TNC.

      On the first, Wow. That’s about double what I was expecting for Payton, Loomis and the team. The NFL is clearly pissed. Now, between the penalties given out here and the fact that the guy does this whereever he goes, Williams should be suspended from the league permanently. And looked at askance at any football related employment he may receive in future.

      On the second, snerk. Yeah, one Mark Sanchez wasn’t enough, they had to get a guy who was more of the same in all aspects. The Jets just aren’t happy unless the circus is in town and they’re the circus.

    • carlos the dwarf

       /  March 21, 2012

      They got a guy who’s still young and has had some success in the NFL, and they got him for almost nothing. They have to know that he’ll never be a good NFL quarterback, but if they can convince him to switch out of a QB role, they’ll have a dangerous weapon. I think it’s a good trade for the Jets, and I’m a little bit surprised the Broncos couldn’t get more out of the deal.

      • The Broncos were looking at a buyer’s market, since everyone knew they needed to ship the guy out. Considering that, I think they got decent value for him. Randy Moss went for a 4th and he can actually play footed-ball.

        Pretty much from the beginning, Tebow has been vocal about not being interested in changing positions. Maybe the Jets know something that the rest of us don’t but failing any evidence of that, assume that he’s there to compete to play quarterback. I don’t think trading for Tebow really made that much sense for any franchise. It doesn’t really make sense for the Jets, but it’s not the most awful thing they’ll ever do. It’s a signal to Sanchez more than anything – if you don’t win right now, you are fucked.

      • David L

         /  March 21, 2012

        I’m convinced that Tebow’s proselytizing and his refusal to play anything other than QB come from the same place. Some sort of desperate need to lead his people into the promised land (a “Moses complex”?)

        • Yeah, I’m going to disagree. A lot of college quarterbacks really resent the idea that their best bet to stick in the NFL is to switch position. And Tebow wasn’t just any college quarterback, he was arguably the best one who ever played. From an outsider’s perspective we can all see how he totally sucks as an NFL QB, but from his perspective he’s won games, been semi-effective a couple of times and is still (relatively) young so why should he be forced to settle? Sanchez is a shaky starter on an otherwise pretty good or at least above-average team. This is a decent situation for him.

          • Ian

             /  March 21, 2012

            I don’t know anything about football. Could you explain how arguably the best college QB ever could be a sucky NFL QB? Are the two games that different?

            • There’s a remnant of old-timey football in the college game where a quarterback with a skill set that more resembles a running back can still be successful, whereas the pro game has made them mostly obsolete (Michael Vick is the best runner in the pros at the position, but he’s also at least a mediocre passer, which is why he has been successful – Tebow is a dogshit passer). There are a million theories as to why that is still a thing in college and not the pros, the speed of defensive players or how hard they hit or the size of the investment that teams have in their players or whatever. I don’t have a definitive answer to that question, but it is a fact. Tebow was other-worldly at Florida, and nothing he ever does in the pros should take away from that.

              • Ian

                 /  March 21, 2012

                Thanks. It’s cool how the same game will evolve differently in different environments.

              • I’m a college football junkie i think I can shed some light on this. There are 2 main factors in my opinion. 1st even the best college teams have at most 10-20 nfl players and that’s counting red-shirts and freshmen who aren’t playing yet. I’m an Ohio State fan, I beleive the buckeye have the most current nfl alimnni but it changes year to year and even week to week as rosters change, in any case I’ve been lucky enough to watch one of the best colllege teams for the last 20 years, the 2002 championship team had something around 20-25 players at all grade levels that were eventually drafted out of 85 scholarship players every year. The speed of the game at the nfl but more importantly the fact that they are proffesionals that can put in 80-100 hour weeks toward honing their craft makes an incredible difference. the second is that teams like alabama,lsu, usc ohio state michigan penn state texas, etc et al. play probably at most 6 out of their 14 games against teams of equal talent. watch the receivers running open when a team like oklahoma is playing iowa state or north texas. there just isnt the same space for qb’s to throw into, and they have less time to do it. that makes accuracy just about the most important thing a NFL QB can have. look at the throw Eli manning made to Manningham in the SB, that ball had to be in a box about 1ftx1ft and in perfect time. The speed and size of NFL players in just on another level from the college game, look how many qb’s get hurt just dropping back, With all that said, I’ve said for years that if a team went whole hog for an option attack in the nfl it could work for a couple years before defenses caught up. but they would have to have 2-3 qb’s to run the system and the rest of the team would need to be designed to match.

    • koolaide

       /  March 21, 2012

      And now it seems Tebow won’t be traded to the Jets b/c the Jets didn’t read the part of Tebow’s contract that says they’d owe him $5mil. They didn’t read that part of the contract. hahaha

  4. I am trying to focus on my work, but the sun came out, and there’s a bright blue sky.

    It’s 36 outside, but still – blue skies!

    • Ian

       /  March 21, 2012

      The winter of 1999-2000 was especially grey in Seattle. I think we set the record for consecutive days of measurable rainfall or something like that. I remember when the sun finally came out everybody was staggering around looking at the pavement like mole people. Shortly thereafter I moved to Honolulu.

      • carlos the dwarf

         /  March 21, 2012

        So you’ve lived in Seattle, Alaska, and Hawaii…have you ever lived in a not far-flung place?

        • Ian

           /  March 21, 2012

          Also Telegraph Creek, British Columbia and Port Royal, Jamaica. But I spent the first 18 years of my life in the suburbs of Hartford County, Connecticut.

          • carlos the dwarf

             /  March 21, 2012

            Connecticut will make you want to run the eff away as fast as humanly possible. I should know, I still live here.

            • Ian

               /  March 21, 2012

              From a distance, I have the luxury of maintaining a certain qualified affection.

      • That was 2001. It rained at least once a day for 83 days straight. And that *didn’t* break the record.

        • Ian

           /  March 21, 2012

          No, I was gone by 2001. I swear we got something like 112 consecutive days in 99-00. Might have been 98-99.

          • NealH

             /  March 21, 2012

            Probably 98-99. That was the year Mt. Baker Ski Area had almost 100 FEET of snow fall in their season.

            I got here in 2003, so have only heard the stories of the consecutive day streaks . . .

  5. koolaide

     /  March 21, 2012

    Thanks for everyone’s car info. yesterday. You’re a helpful bunch. You’ve definitely convinced me to go for a hatchback if I can for the same price as a sedan.

    • SWNC

       /  March 21, 2012

      Hatchbacks rule. You won’t regret it.

      • Amen to that! (Did I neglect to mention I bought the hatchback version of my Elantra?) Happy car shopping!!

    • Hatchbacks are genius. I don’t understand why anyone would drive anything else.

    • koolaide

       /  March 21, 2012

      Why are automatics automatically more expensive than manuals in this day and age? I kinda get that when automatics were new-fangled luxuries they’d cost more b/c most cars were manuals. But now?

      • They’re still more expensive to produce and they may be factoring the cost of potential warranty repairs. Pretty hard to mess up a manual transmission unless you’re doing really crazy stuff to it (lots of 4K RPM clutch-dump launches and the like).

        • koolaide

           /  March 21, 2012

          ok. thx. it just seemed to by ill-informed self that since they were the norm now, automatics would be easier/cheaper to put in cars.

        • Captain Button

           /  March 21, 2012

          I wonder if it is for that reason, or just part of what my brother calls the “revenge model” of a car, the one without a lot of conveniences that has the low-ball price they advertise, but not the one they actually want you to buy.

      • intangir

         /  March 21, 2012

        I’ll bet demand plays a part to – they charge more because they can – they know the vast majority of people want/need automatics.

    • Hatchbacks are spectacular, although they do slightly compromise real visibility. YMMV, but that’s the only thing I dislike about mine.

      • REAR visibility. Learn to type, self.

      • koolaide

         /  March 21, 2012

        I’ll be alert for that when I test drive. I don’t like not being able to see when driving. I drove my dad’s Accord today and, dang, I can’t see ish out the back window. I was trying to park and had zero clue where the back end stopped.

        • What’s nice with hatchbacks is that the back of the car stops where the window is. I have just found on my 2004 Prius that the roof comes down kinda low – you can see everything you need to see vertically, you just feel kind of squished. I was driving my mom’s Dodge Neon the other day and was amazed at how much shit I could see.

          idk if you’re looking at Priuses, but I will say this: I love my Prius. Adore it. Drive the shit out of it and hope to never own another car. But it has blind spots the size of Montana. These aren’t the fault of the hatchback, but they are a thing of which to beware.

          • Have to agree on the blind spots on a Prius. I still get caught by them and I’ve had the car for three years.

            On the other hand, filling up only once or twice a month? Heaven!

      • Rear visibility was kind of crappy in mine until I pulled out the middle headrest in the back. I so rarely have that many passengers that it’s just not a big deal and I can see so much more that way.

      • Ian

         /  March 21, 2012

        Depends on the design. The older Imprezas had fantastic visibility. The back was kind of bubble-like. The new ones look like they wouldn’t be as good.

  6. koolaide

     /  March 21, 2012

    I believe I mentioned this fact in a previous TNC open thread but it needs to be repeated:

    Brittney Griner is The Real Deal. Watch her.

    • koolaide

       /  March 21, 2012

      I will admit that she needs to work on her rebounding.

  7. Captain Button

     /  March 21, 2012

    Golden Commies? Is that some sort of Communist Goldbug unholy fusion?

    • Darth Thulhu

       /  March 21, 2012

      Golden Horde (think Mongol) + Communist Socialists = Golden Commies

      Also, Black Republicans + Golden Horde + Lost Battalion = Black Golden Battalion … we are fightin’ Petroleum Elementals!

    • Well, now it is.

      There was a while there that the Horde was the Golden Horde. We’ve also been Black Republicans, don’t forget, and the Lost Battalion is really the Lost Battalion of Platonic Conversationalists. Commies, obvs, and probably Pinkos, too, at some point.

      It’s all very colorful and wandering about-like.

  8. watson42

     /  March 21, 2012

    Ian: following up on my blathering on about metal yesterday, I’d be happy to talk about Japanese tool making if you’re interested. I know considerably less than some, but have done some toolmaking both out of plain high-carbon steel and pattern-welded steel (Damascus).

    • Ian

       /  March 21, 2012

      So far I’ve only used western chisels, but I’ve seen pictures of Japanese chisels while shopping for Japanese saws, which I do use sometimes. The chisels are beautiful, but I don’t know what makes them different. What is “blue steel”? What is “white steel”? Does one sharpen them differently than 0-1 or A-2? I just don’t know anything about metal.

      • watson42

         /  March 21, 2012

        The difference, as I understand it, between blue steel and white steel is the impurities in the steel at the edge (i.e. what elements are in the steel besides iron and carbon). Blue steel is laminated at the edge with a steel containing tungsten and chromium. White steel is more normal high carbon steel. The main functional difference between the two is the relative toughness vs. hardness. Blue steel is supposed to be tougher than white steel and can take a finer edge.

        Edged Japanese tools (knives, chisels, etc) tend to be hardened to a higher Rockwell than American tools. That means they are slightly more brittle but have better edge retention.

        As far as sharpening goes, I think they should be sharpened the same as any other chisel. In my experience, though, everyone has their own personal philosophy or method of sharpening. Drop into any tool or blade forum and discussions rage for *days*. There are whole books on the subject. It’s worse than the Horde with oatmeal.

        I haven’t used any Japanese chisels; I have a couple of very nice German ones for the limited woodwork I do. However, the Japanese knives, draw knives and saws I’ve had the opportunity to use have been a joy in the hand.

        Once one starts buying reasonable tools (i.e. not out of cheap steel) I think it really comes down to what you use them for and preference.

      • watson42

         /  March 21, 2012

        For the science and metal geeks in the audience, I came across this for the composition of blue vs. white steel:

        blue steel: Martensitic structure with a somewhat coarser grain. The embedded carbides make it somewhat tougher and more resistant to wear.
        C = 1.1 – 1.2%, Si = 0.1 – 0.2%, Mn = 0.2 – 0.3%, Cr = 0.2 – 0.5%, W = 1.0 – 1.5%, P < 0.025%, S < 0.004%

        white steel: Fine martensitic structure. Excellent sharpenability, comparable to sword steel.
        C = 1.1 – 1.2%, Si = 0.1 – 0.2%, P < 0.025%, S < 0.004%

        That is some high W content. The difference in the Martensite is a good indicator of the difference in hardness vs. toughness. You could achieve the same fineness of grain in each steel type depending on your heat treatment, though the impurities contribute to the ease of setting up/retaining the Martensite and well as contributing to the inherent toughness of the metal.

        (Yes, I am a geek. I will shut up now.)

        • BJonthegrid

           /  March 21, 2012

          *Whoosh*. Right over my head. I love it

          • watson42

             /  March 21, 2012

            Can you tell I’m an unemployed scientist or what? 🙂

            Actually, one of the things I love about the folks I am learning metalwork from is that they have deep technical and scientific understanding of the medium. I’ve been totally schooled by a guy with a high school education about crystal structure transitions from face-centered cubic to body-centered cubic and orbital sharing as steel changes temperature. It’s awesome.

            • BJonthegrid

               /  March 21, 2012

              Hope you find a job soon. My son is 10 but he is completely obsessed with atoms, dirt and elements. His favorite element is tungsten. When he comes home I am going to impress him with your comment.

              • Captain Button

                 /  March 21, 2012

                Check out Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood by Oliver Sacks. But don’t let him emulate it.

              • watson42

                 /  March 21, 2012

                Tungsten is also the favorite element of a chemist friend of mine. His wedding ring is tungsten carbide. Which means that if his finger ever swells up the ER will have to cut off his finger rather than his ring….

                • Bookwoman

                   /  March 21, 2012

                • Dex

                   /  March 21, 2012

                  My wife would probably punch me in the mouth if I did this, and I have no desire to do so, but a friend of ours was married recently with a ‘real’ wedding ring, I think it was platinum. He put it in storage and got a tungsten replica just so that he can… wait for it… wait for it… open beers with his wedding ring without damaging it.

                  • watson42

                     /  March 21, 2012

                    My chemist friend opens beers with his wedding ring. I am enough of a geek (and beer drinker) that it makes me smile every time.

                    I’ve been thinking about making a ring out of some scrap Damascus….then I could open beers.

                    A scientist friend has been known to open stuck eppendorf tubes with his ring through his gloves.

        • Ian

           /  March 21, 2012

          No, this is awesome. Thank you. Here is a pair of graphs that you’ll appreciate:

          http://giantcypress.net/post/15615240668/the-problem-with-internet-woodworking-discussions

          • watson42

             /  March 21, 2012

            That was brilliant.

            I thought tool and knife geeks were bad until I came across an internet discussion about the acoustic properties of different steel alloy guitar strings. i.e. Things like the differences in sound between 6% P and 7% P in phosphor-bronze wire wrapping of stainless steel strings, etc. It was insane.

            • Ian

               /  March 21, 2012

              Also, when you’re talking about acoustics, people are just delusional. There are too many factors in play. Make them close their eyes and they won’t know if they’re listening to a Martin OM or a Gibson Jumbo, let alone what kind or even gauge of strings. Most of the sound is in the player’s fingers.

          • Dex

             /  March 21, 2012

            I’m about as militant as they come about keeping my kitchen knives sharp, and even I find woodworking sharpening discussions annoying. I really wish they’d do an America’s Test Kitchen-type test where they do objective tests on the benefits of various approaches to sharpening. People who talk about it get enough of the evangelical action going for their method that I don’t think it has anything to do with objectively better tool use results.

            • Ian

               /  March 21, 2012

              Sharpening is a series of physical actions and you can do them well or you can do them poorly. So it comes down to personal preference. If I can take a plane blade and shave my arm with it, it’s good enough and it doesn’t matter how I got it that way.

              • Dex

                 /  March 21, 2012

                So, free-hand or guide for you?

                Interestingly, I bought a stick of honing compound and decided to use it on our kitchen knives, rubbed onto a piece of cloth. I was actually shocked at how much better the knife performed. (I normally sharpen with diamond stones down to I think either 1,000 or 4,000 grit. I think the fact that I can’t remember disqualifies me from being a real woodworker.)

                I think I’m scarred by Christopher Shwartz (sp?). The guy barely stops short of saying that a mirror finish on both sides of the blade (as well as the absolutely essential secondary bevel) is absolutely essential to do rough cut work on balsa.

                • Ian

                   /  March 21, 2012

                  I use a honing guide for the primary and then do the (absolutely essential) secondary bevel free-hand. But I’m still experimenting. Still haven’t learned how to sharpen a saw.

              • watson42

                 /  March 21, 2012

                Yeah, exactly. Everyone has a method that works for them. If you tool does the job well with how you sharpened it, then it’s the right method.

            • watson42

               /  March 21, 2012

              The thing is, it all depends on what one defines as “sharp.” And that depends on the tool (i.e. what it’s used for), edge geometry and blade geometry. So I’m not sure an America’s Test Kitchen-type test would be helpful.

        • Captain Button

           /  March 21, 2012

          Giving me flashbacks to that materials class in college and my years a flunky in a metallurgy lab.

        • Dex

           /  March 21, 2012

          I miss science. Reading that post made an atrophied part of my brain come to life. (I’m a recovering biochemist, back before I sold out and bailed for the business school.)

          • watson42

             /  March 21, 2012

            That’s the thing about science; it’s kind of habit forming. I’ve been considering a serious change of careers, but not really sure what would be as interesting. Though perhaps anything would be less frustrating than drug discovery….

      • Dex

         /  March 21, 2012

        I have a knock-off of a Japanese saw. Fine, barely set teeth, cuts on pull, super-narrow kerf. It is almost impossible to describe my love for that thing. One year, I bought one for my dad, my brother, and my best friend. I rarely turn on my powered saws these days unless I need to do precision work.

        • Ian

           /  March 21, 2012

          I don’t use powered saws at all except on plywood. I just got an inexpensive Japanese backsaw, and it’s very nice to use. I still use Western saws most of the time because I prefer the ergonomics, but I’ll probably favor this one for precise, shallow cuts.

  9. David L

     /  March 21, 2012

    I have this theory that the “don’t say gay” bill in Tennessee and things like the Indiana legislature using procedural issues to stop issuing license plates with the logo of an LGBT youth organization (and catching many other groups like 4-H in the crossfire) is part of some sort of strange idea that an enforced “if you ignore them, they’ll just go away” policy will actually work. I think there may be a blog post forthcoming about this at some time this evening, when I have time to think about listing all of the openly gay media figures out there.

    • Captain Button

       /  March 21, 2012

      This may loop into my armchair psychology theory that there are two kinds of people, those who care about realities and those those who care about appearances.

      The anti-gay reality oriented people have mostly given up on a lost cause. So by default the anti-gay appearance oriented people have taken over. As long as no one sees it, it doesn’t exist.

      • carlos the dwarf

         /  March 21, 2012

        “The anti-gay reality oriented people”

        The who-what now?

        • Captain Button

           /  March 21, 2012

          The people who hate gays and want them to go away or at least stop having gay sex. The ones who wouldn’t be satisified if gay people all just went back into the closet and pretended to be straight in public. If gay people were still having gay sex in secret that would still be intolerable to “The anti-gay reality oriented people”.

          The anti-gay appearance oriented people would be fine with all gay people going back into the closet and pretending to be straight in public, while doing whatever they wanted in private.

          (Yes, I know people don’t really divide in neat groups like that.)

    • Apparently they never heard ‘We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it.’

  10. It’s safe to say that most/all politicians are cynical to some degree. But Mittens is either significantly more cynical than your average politician, or he’s breathtakingly terrible at faking it. Probably both.

    (Etch-A-Sketch. Seriously. We know Mitt. But you’re not a’pposed to say it.)

    • Someone just twitted a cry to the universe that we really need a picture of Joe Biden with an Etch-a-Sketch. And lo, we do.

      • I will ask R to try and get an etch-a-sketch into Biden’s hands today at the gig. I don’t think he will though. Too professional and all that.

    • Captain Button

       /  March 21, 2012

      I’d seen that headline, but I was hoping it was either like the Dilbert thing where they give the pointy-haired boss an Etch-a-Sketch as a laptop computer.

      Or something like [mumble] and the supermarket scanner, where he was amazed at something everyone except rich people take for granted.

      • Bookwoman

         /  March 21, 2012

        That was George H.W. Bush, I believe.

      • It wasn’t actually Mitt who said it, it was one of his campaign mucky-mucks. But, inasmuch as that’s the theme of Mitt’s political life, you can infer a pretty straight line from that guy’s view of Mitt as an Etch-A-Sketch to, you know, Mitt being a fucking Etch-A-Sketch. This guy isn’t some far-flung spokesperson, he’s one of the campaign’s chief movers and shakers.

        • Molly Ball’s article that the people Mitt surrounds himself with are as clueless about how this works as he is rings truer everyday.

          • Never before have I so badly wanted to ask someone “Just how dumb do you think we are?”

            • Captain Button

               /  March 21, 2012

              ObFiresignReference:

              Nick Danger: “What kind of chump do you take me for?”

              Rocky Roccoco: “First Class!”

    • It’s a pretty staggering statement in this day and age. Do they really think that no one besides Republican primary voters have been paying attention and they’ll be able to pivot elegantly towards the center? If nothing else, the Republican base is so far to the right at this point that it seems like moving too hard to the center would drag down voter enthusiasm for Romney even further.

      • Especially now that parents are going to have to explain to their kids that an etch-a-sketch is a toy from the 1900s that was sort of like an analogue iPad.

    • h/t to John Cole who was flogging Rachael Maddow’s segment on the Etch. I thought it was pretty good, personally.

      http://www.balloon-juice.com/2012/03/22/the-best-15-minutes-of-cable-tv-news-you-will-see-this-year/

  11. My reminder to the GOP that pregnancies require penises has gotten 101,023 views.

    /iz ded

    • Bookwoman

       /  March 21, 2012

      That is awesome. AWESOME.

      • You left a comment in the settlements thread that I want to get back to – I think I was going to offer you unsolicited book advice. I’ll do so later. For now, I really have to ignore you all and meet some deadlines!

        • Bookwoman

           /  March 21, 2012

          Ignore away! Later on, book advice would be most appreciated.

    • Captain Button

       /  March 21, 2012

      There’s a joke about one-eyed views in there somewhere, but it won’t jell.

    • Darth Thulhu

       /  March 21, 2012

      Are you worried that your viewership is sexist when your one penis-focused column gets so much more readership than your equally-good uterus-focused columns?
      😉

    • I believe they prefer “penii”.

      • oh! tangentially related–up until last night I always thought the plural of “platypus” was “platypii.” But I now stand corrected–it is “platypodes.”

        Carry on!

        • koolaide

           /  March 21, 2012

          does that make the plural of “prius” “priodes”

          • Bookwoman

             /  March 21, 2012

            I have been known to refer to multiple tissues as “Kleenices.”

          • mythopoeia

             /  March 21, 2012

            This is a special edition of “Ask A Classicist”:

            “Platypus” is straight out of Ancient Greek: platys (broad) + pous (foot). Words ending in -ous in Greek pluralize to -odes (like antipodes). The “o” dropped out over time since it’s not really sounded, but the etymology remains there, hidden. (A crypto-omicron plural, if you will.)

            Incidentally, “octopus” follows the exact same plan: octo (eight) + pous (foot), so it, too, pluralizes like that: “octopodes.”

            This special edition of “Ask A Classicist’ has been brought to you by my inability to take jokes as jokes when there is ETYMOLOGY to be done!

            • caoil

               /  March 21, 2012

              *like*
              This should be a thing! “Ask a Classicist”! A column, or a Youtube channel, or something.

            • helensprogeny

               /  March 22, 2012

              My kingdom for a “like” button!

  12. Neocortex

     /  March 21, 2012

    The images and stories coming out of OWS from the weekend are horrifying. Like the woman who was tackled and beaten, then had a seizure in the holding area while police stood around doing nothing and refused to let OWS medics help. Or the medic whose head was smashed into a window by NYPD, breaking the window (0:19 of that video).

    The stories from last night don’t sound too good either. Like the medic who ended up in the ER – she helped a woman who went into labor at the start of the NYPD raid, and she was thrown to the ground by the NYPD and trampled while being treated by other medics and the FDNY (my source on this is the OWS_Medical Twitter feed). I know three of the female OWS medics, so I’m wondering who it was.:-/

    We had a solidarity march on Sunday, and then the Women’s Caucus had one last night focusing specifically on police mistreatment of women. During that march, a few of our cops, one in particular, made misogynistic comments to female protesters (including telling one that he felt sorry for her future husband).

    • Any media coverage you can point us to?

      • Neocortex

         /  March 21, 2012

        Here is the Guardian’s story on Cecily McMillan (the woman who had the seizure). It links to videos of her seizure and also the one of her takedown that the cops are saying shows that she intentionally hit a cop in the face. IMO, what it shows is that she’s moving along and a cop suddenly grabs her from the side and her arm jerks up (not that their treatment of her would be justified in either case). Since the video is linked, people can watch it and decide for themselves. One of our people was nearby at the time and said that McMillan didn’t assault anyone.

        Here’s an article about the head-window-smash, that also discusses the guy with the broken thumb and the bootprint on his face. Looks like the cops are claiming they attacked everyone because someone threw a bottle at a bus where arrestees were being housed. Yeah, because one person out of hundreds throwing a bottle not-at-a-person – if that even happened – would justify beating the s*** out of a bunch of completely different people.

        Here’s some coverage from our solidarity march last night. It’s mostly a compilation of Tweets and brings up some (though not all) of the problematic comments by the one cop.

      • Neocortex

         /  March 21, 2012

        Also, ugh, this is a new one to me. Here are allegations of a female protester being groped (with implication that she wasn’t the only one) by a police officer, and then ignored when she called 911 to report it.

        Unfortunately, it’s not the first time female Occupiers have alleged being groped by police/jail officers. I’ve heard groping allegations from Austin and Oakland, and one from raid night at my own Boston.

  13. Ugh. So a side effect of Goldberg opening comments and then talking about Sullivan is that the reasons Sullivan doesn’t have comments show up. Including the “He’s got AIDS dementia” guy.
    People like that make it hard for me to hold down my lunch.

    • Here is my rule of thumb when it comes to commenting on other Atlantic blogs, especially the ones that verge into “hostile territory”.

      If I have something I want to say that I think is funny, I’ll probably say it.
      If I am responding negatively to the blog poster directly, whether it’s McArdle or Goldberg or whoever, I think that’s (sometimes) worthwhile.
      If I am responding negatively to something one of their commenters is saying, I know that I’ve already lost the battle.

      If you don’t like a writer, you should never get sucked into a battle in their comment sections that you didn’t start. If you do, that’s a you-problem.

      • Captain Button

         /  March 21, 2012

        I have to agree with this.

        My policy on comment these days is to try and only post attempts at humor or providing information I expect to be welcome. Anything else serves no purpose except to raise my blood pressure.

        (Not saying everyone should do this, just that I should.)

      • Ian

         /  March 21, 2012

        I’ve commented in those places rarely, and only when I know I won’t care how people will react. The funny thing is, if somebody in McArdle’s comment section opens themselves up to a glorious insult, and you post that insult, you will get bunch of likes just for being funny. Cruel humor goes over fine.

    • Darth Thulhu

       /  March 21, 2012

      There’s also the problem of those comments not being interacted with by the host.

      Say what you will about the Galt’s Gulch comment section being overseen by McMegan, but she is there with her commenters now and again, and she promotes some comments into posts and rebuttals. Also, as rare as bannings are from her, they do happen.

      The flow of comments at Goldblog, by contrast, doesn’t seem to interwork with his actual posts. People reiterating Sullivan’s questions or Beinart’s points get no response, people supporting or opposing Goldblog’s argument get neither promotion nor rebuttal, and a great deal of trolling of several varieties seems to just slide by without banning.

      It is possible that banning/deleting is happening but I’ve missed it. I’ve been coming to most non-Coates blogs days late in lurker-only mode, so maybe there have been even more egregious things getting quietly culled … but what lingers on, apparently without oversight, is really disheartening.

  14. dmf

     /  March 21, 2012

  15. BJonthegrid

     /  March 21, 2012

    Etch E Sketch! OMG! We all knew he was but in a million years I never thought someone in the Mitt Romney Campaign woud admit to #1 Putting out plans/ policies they have no intention of carrying out and #2 Blatantly lying to the base. If I were a Republican I would go full brokered convention. He has no case for the nomination

    • Your kids are going to come home and demand you explain to them about this toy from your childhood.

      • BJonthegrid

         /  March 21, 2012

        Lest we forget, they’re nerds. They’ve had several Etch E Sketches over the years. They now make these little ones that come with a key chain so you can clip it to a back pack.

        • Did you ever try Magna-Doodles? Those were Teh Awesome when my kids were little.

          • BJonthegrid

             /  March 21, 2012

            That’s how they learned to write. They come with clips too! I used to keep them attached to their car seats……..peace and quiet!

    • But whom would they pick as a nominee? I don’t see any rightward savior on the horizon. It’s Mitt, and they’re sunk.

      • BJonthegrid

         /  March 21, 2012

        Kinda sorta agree. They have folks but those folks don’t want to run against Obama. At the beigging of the primary so many people were saying how vulnerable the President was and how this should be easy for the Republicans. I wonder if the Daniels, Bushes and Christies didn’t run because they don’t want to be responsible for the ugly campaign that would have to be run against the President.

  16. helensprogeny

     /  March 21, 2012

    I’d like to indulge myself here a moment with a scream about work:

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!!!!!!!!

    Thank you.

    • BJonthegrid

       /  March 21, 2012

      Laundry day……..same feeling

    • Captain Button

       /  March 21, 2012

      Tension breaking is good.

      • BJonthegrid

         /  March 21, 2012

        For some reason, I’m afraid to look.

        • Captain Button

           /  March 21, 2012

          SFW, from the movie “Summer School”.

    • Darth Thulhu

       /  March 21, 2012

      Sorry that work has been rough. My own go-to solution of violent video games may not be applicable here, for which I apologize.

      I’ll shoot a few techno-zombies for you.

      • helensprogeny

         /  March 22, 2012

        I usually just scream obscenities in my car. But I would deeply appreciate any zombie action you commit on my behalf.
        (It’s even the day after the bad day and I’m having a work hangover.)

    • caoil

       /  March 21, 2012

      Want to trade, just for today?

  17. The South as an Honor Society: From Barking Up the Wrong Tree blog:
    “Cities in the South are twice as likely to have words like “gun” in their names (Gun Point, Florida), whereas cities in the North are more than twice as likely to have words like “joy” in their names.”

  18. dmf

     /  March 21, 2012

    a reasonable Texas republican (exDA,judge, andFox analyst even) who knew?
    http://www.pbs.org/wnet/tavissmiley/interviews/award-winning-tv-broadcaster-catherine-crier/

    • David L

       /  March 21, 2012

      Much like white Southern Democrats, the dea(r)th of reasonable Southern Republicans has been greatly exaggerated.

      • dmf

         /  March 21, 2012

        hmm, during my time living in Memphis I can’t say that they were leaping to the forefront…
        but I’m glad to hear that there is some hope below the bible-belt

  19. So, I shared the “Hey, GOP, here’s how babies are made” post on Facebook, and a person I’ve known since I was born absolutely lost all of her blood in the ensuing rage-fest. Her sole focus was on the comment about abortion. (No, don’t go there. it’s not anyone’s business.)

    I asked her one (trying) to stop blasting people out because she didn’t agree with them, and got back a whole host of cr*p. I told her to back off and defriend me if she couldn’t take my general shares so personally, and that I was done with this fight. She defriended me and sent me multiple messages telling me how wrong I was, until I blocked her. I haven’t read them, but I’m pretty sure they’re vile.

    So, this is a roundabout way of saying her brother passed this weekend. I can’t go to the funeral, because God knows the fuss isn’t worth it, and it’d be wrong to bring that to something to commemorate a nice guy who died. (And yes, I tried to take that into consideration with her ranting, but we’ve only reconnected in the last three months and she’s done the same thing on other, less volatile subjects at least three times in the last 2 months.)

    Any advice?

    • I’m so sorry to hear all of that. It seems there should be a way to discuss these things without absolutely losing our ability to see each other’s humanity, but some folks just can’t find it, can they.

      And I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. If I were in your position, I think I would write a sympathy note to the brother’s family, saying how sorry you are that you “can’t attend” the funeral without going into why, and then leave it at that. I can’t think of anything else you could possibly do.

      My lord. The sorrow that we heap upon our own heads, we humans….

      • Ahh, I should have told her to back off ages ago. I already told her other brother I couldn’t attend (living in different states helps), and sent a nice message to his memorial.

        But I agree, we bring this on ourselves. It’s just sad there’s no normal conversation going on, instead of this fever pitch of “You’re wrong, I’m Right!” (She did send me an email starting with “I was right!”) it confirmed all my fears.

    • Let it go.

      You only reconnected 3 months ago, and now you know why you were unconnected all that time. Facebook is useful in that way. You can connect and unconnect just as fast when you realise the person in question is not mentally balanced on certain subjects.

      • I like that!🙂

        • I’ve discovered the people who I “reconnected with” on facebook nowadays–after being on it with the same 150 odd friends for several years–are almost always a mistake. There’s a reason I didn’t attempt to friend them when I initially joined. I have–with one sole exception–unfriended them due to behavior I didn’t consider acceptable in my feed.

          • One or two people from my childhood have been ok, but quite a few of them are hidden feed. I don’t really want to see or hear from them. I also don’t want to point that out to them, unless they make themselves visible. This person would do that. Every time I saw that she responded to something I posted, I had an “Oh Geez” moment.

            Mostly, I’m just glad it can’t go on anymore.

    • Darth Thulhu

       /  March 21, 2012

      Any advice?

      Do the selfish thing and forgive her.

      That doesn’t mean re-friend her or expend precious time on rehashing fights. She has made herself your enemy, and that should be respected and treated seriously.

      I mean rather: forgive her and move on without bitterness. Find a way to detach and forgive her for her human foible of being too emotionally attached to some political position (so attached that she has allowed it blind her to your humanity), let your relationship with her slide away gracefully into the enemy status she seems determined to make of it, and nonetheless selfishly acknowledge her humanity by extending solace to her in her time of sorrow.

      It is appropriate and decent to send her (among others) a sincere note expressing your sadness at the loss of her brother and your hopes and best wishes and thoughts and possibly prayers for her in this trying time. “Love your enemies” and all that.

      I believe that is the selfish course of behavior most in keeping with your best interests.

    • I will reply with a personal anecdote, which is self-centered, but it was an awareness moment for me.

      I had a relationship with a friend that went off the rails a year or so a go. I started receiving very abusive e-mails, texts, and voice-mails.

      I am a nice guy, I think, so I tried to respond honestly and fairly and openly that I couldn’t accept this. But the contacts escalated to the point where I had to cut them off by blocking them from contacting me, and I was seriously thinking of contacting the police.

      I felt guilty, but I had to realize – say to myself, and believe it – that I don’t need to be “nice” to everyone. That people who are destructive to me do not belong in my life. That it is not selfish (against my being “nice”) to say to someone “You don’t have permission to have space in my life.” That it is OK to say to myself “There is nothing wrong with not trying to be “nice” to people; being humane to people doesn’t mean I have to endure their abusive behavior.”

      So I stopped any contact, and I was fine, and then recently I received a contact from them. Wanting to know if I was over my tantrum.

      I struggled about this all the way home from work. Do I respond with anything, or do I just let it go? I want to contact them & explain again, but that is because I want to be liked, to be nice, to get them to leave me alone without rancor.

      It will never work. The problem isn’t me, it’s them. It is a waste of my time to be “nice”; I can still be kind and not abuse them, but I don’t need to help them, rescue them, or do anything for them.

      It is perfectly OK for me to not respond. There is no downside to saying to myself “I just don’t need this, and that’s OK.”

      It might be very hard to feel good about simply deleting her from your contacts and letting go any peripheral contacts (I think sending a note along the lines others have said of “I am sorry, and would be there to support you if I could.” would be fine), but it’s really about your own person, and knowing that you don’t need to make people happy by putting up with their $hit.

      Let it go, write the nice note if you feel inclined, and don’t put another thought into it.

      • Thanks so much. I pretty much agree with what everyone has said here.

        It’s hard, becuase for some reason, she thought she was the sole person I was commenting to when I shared something, and I have hundreds of contacts on Facebook. If everyone responded to EVERY post they disagreed with, I’d never go back to Facebook again.

        I think it all goes back to you’re entitled to your opinion, but you’re not entitled to mine.

  20. David L

     /  March 21, 2012

    Sometimes entropy giveth. As I was getting lunch, I thought that it was really too nice a day to be in a sealed office building the whole time. Then, right as I got back to my desk, the apartment office called to say that my downstairs neighbor had water coming through the ceiling and I should make sure that everything is OK and/or the cat is locked up when Maintenance comes to look.

    So, after taking the rest of the day off from work, I’m at home with the windows open and absolutely no sign of a leak. Yay.

    • Aww lucky you!!!🙂

    • helensprogeny

       /  March 21, 2012

      !. Glad there’s no leak.
      2. I haz a serious jealous that you don’t have to work. Here’s to not working! (As I grumble my way to my job.)

      • David L

         /  March 21, 2012

        Two out of the three previous springs when I’ve been here, they’ve had to come in and flush out the line that empties the drip pan that collects the condensation that forms on the coils in my upstairs neighbor’s A/C because moisture started coming down my wall. It wouldn’t surprise me if that’s what’s happening this time (most of the last week was pretty warm and humid, so A/Cs were running and condensation would be forming.)

    • David L

       /  March 21, 2012

      Update: It was a leaky seal somewhere in my bathtub. They’re currently taking it apart to replace all of them.

  21. koolaide

     /  March 21, 2012

    Heading out to my very first “How To Be a Campaign Organizer” lesson. Time to go learn how to GOTV and so forth to defeat the anti-same sex marriage constitutional amendment on the ballot in NC. I’ve never done political organizing or campaigning and I’m nervous about it.

    Wish me luck.

    • dave in texas

       /  March 21, 2012

      Lesson one: develop a thick skin. Know that when you go door-to-door to do any kind of political work, you’re going to get a pretty significant percentage of “get the f*** off my porch” type comments, no matter how innocuous your issue or campaign. I suspect the work you’re doing could engender a goodly percentage of that. Oh, and keep an eye out for dogs; the mean ones will sometimes hide to better get the drop on you.

      Having said that, it can be incredibly rewarding. You’ll also meet plenty of people who are vitally interested in, and grateful for, what you have to say. In fact, some of them will want to talk your ears right clean off the side of your head. Which leads, I suppose to lesson two: when you need to disengage with an earbender, try “I really ought to let you get back to what you were doing.” This will usually, but not always, let you escape so you can get to the other zillion names on your list and spread your message.

      Good luck. You’re doing the Lord’s work out there. Unlike your opponents, who are completely ignoring what their professed Lord said about pretty much everything.

      • It’s the best way for an ordinary citizen to magnify their vote so that it becomes something useful. When you work for a candidate, on some level you have to compromise some of the things you believe, but the best thing is to remind yourself that it’s less about that particular person and more about trying to get other citizens engaged and thinking about the process.

      • koolaide

         /  March 21, 2012

        Funny you mention the Lord’s work. My church passed a resolution against the amendment but there’s been no “make sure you go vote!!!” church crier. So I elected myself church crier and contacted the state wide organizer of faith groups who put me in touch w/ the local dude. We emailed, I told him I wanted info for a ‘spread the word’ type table I’d staff after all our services–talking points hand outs, voter registration stuff, early voting dates, etc. All seemed a go for our mtg today.

        How’d the meeting go, you ask?

        Oh. Wow.

        Best thing about the meeting? I left with three buttons, some stickers, and two handouts.

        Worst thing about the meeting? I left feeling like I’d just wasted 45 minutes and now had to figure out how to organize by myself.

        So, hypothetically, let’s say a chunk of your job is to be the county field organizer for Faith Groups on a campaign fighting anti-same sex marriage laws. Wouldn’t one of your first orders of business be finding out which faith groups in your county performed same-sex blessings/marriages or were in denominations generally friendly to teh ghays?

        Yeah, dude was visibly surprised when I told him my Episcopal diocese and my parish passed resolutions against this amendment and had blessed same-sex couples. Visibly surprised that Episcopalians were supportive of this work.

        When I suggested that in a community of folks who move around a lot (college town + transplants) I wanted some voter registration info so I could encourage my fellow congregants to make sure they were properly registered, he was all “w/ early voting that doesn’t matter so I don’t think that’s necessary.” Maybe it isn’t but my next door neighbor who is doing a bunch of Obama campaign organizing locally sure thinks it is.

        The statewide faith group organizer person sounded like they knew what they were doing. So I’m not completely without hope for this campaign. But damn. Local dude. Know your territory.

        • SWNC

           /  March 21, 2012

          That sounds incredibly frustrating. Why on earth would you put someone who is not very familiar with local churches in charge of faith-based organizing? (Heck, I’m a godless heathen, and even I know which denominations are generally okay with gay folks.) And that’s insane about the voter registration.

          The impression I get is that a lot of the anti-marriage amendment organization is very ground-up. I have heard that the big national LGBTQ organizations assume it’s a lost cause already and so they’re not devoting a lot of resources to the fight. (Thanks, y’all. Really. We just have to live here.) So you have a lot of folks who either do not necessarily have a lot of experience with organizing or who are not very familiar with the community in which they’re operating doing their best.

          • koolaide

             /  March 21, 2012

            The state wide dude seemed to know his stuff. And the guy leading the speakers bureau training at the local UCC congregation seemed to know what he was doing. Maybe they sent this guy here b/c this area is chock full o’ liberal crazies and activists already? maybe?

    • SWNC

       /  March 21, 2012

      Good for you, koolaide! The anti-marriage amendment in NC is what got me to do phone banking for the first time ever. I will say that most people, even the ones who support the amendment, are fairly polite. Calling strangers is still intimidating to me (I hate the feeling that I’m bugging people at home during their private time), but it gets easier every time.

      (Where in NC are you?)

      • koolaide

         /  March 21, 2012

        I’m from the part of the state that a certain Senator wanted to put a fence around🙂

        And I’m sure I caught local field organizer dude on a bad day and that he’s a lovely person. But damn that was not a good 45 minutes or a good mtg. A different guy gave the speakers bureau training a couple of weeks ago and he seemed very competent.

        • SWNC

           /  March 21, 2012

          Gotcha. That’s where my husband grew up and where his parents still live. It is breathtaking this time of year.

          • koolaide

             /  March 21, 2012

            The wisteria is just starting to pop. Love it.

  22. caoil

     /  March 21, 2012

    I did not realize until reading Racialicious today that it is the UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

  23. Neocortex

     /  March 22, 2012

    I was thinking about tweeting this in response to some of Emily’s tweets, but Emily doesn’t know who I am on Twitter and 140 chars is not a useful way to express this.

    I am so embarrassed and frustrated and depressed about the OWS/Million Hoodie March thing. I don’t even know WTF to do about it, other than sending a cascade of angry tweets, since it’s not like OWS is even my home Occupation, but I feel like s*** anyway, because I am so emotionally identified with Occupy (and because I feel more ownership of Occupy than, say, my country, which also sometimes does things that hurt others and embarrass me). I know that there are OWS folks who recognize the problem, because I saw them tweeting about it at the time and afterward, but I have no idea if they’re a critical mass. Mostly I am just filled with semi-coherent distress.

    I have a mental image of another one of those threads where everybody is saying “Well, Occupy lost me when…” and me trying to explain why they should support it anyway, and in this version they’ll all be talking about this. More importantly, I have a mental image of a bunch of other Million Hoodie Marchers having their own distress over the Trayvon Martin situation compounded because part of the event got co-opted.

    • Thank you for this. They haven’t really lost me, because “they” are so amorphous that I was pretty much one-foot-in-one-foot-out all along. My feeling last night was really something along the lines of “This is not helping! The goals you want to achieve are important – don’t fuck this up!”

      And b) WHO ARE YOU ON TWITTER?

      • Neocortex

         /  March 22, 2012

        I am @jessiehlowell (I actually originally got on Twitter – or more accurately, my husband signed me up – entirely to follow Occupy Boston news, and I couldn’t think of a clever pseudonym on the spot).

        It’s just exasperating, you know? Especially because I know and respect several OWS folks (especially medics, who have been performing heroically). And I was in a march in solidarity with them the other day, because what happened to them over the weekend/early week was horrible – see all the stuff I posted earlier in this thread. Not that I wouldn’t have marched for them if I knew they would do something dumb a couple of days later – of course I would – but it’s an abrupt emotional turn to go from being depressed and angry because of what was done to them, to being depressed and angry because of what they did.

        Honestly, maybe I am full of it since I wasn’t there for their conversations and don’t live in their heads, but I suspect that a lot of OWS people were still too inflamed over what had been done to them by the NYPD – what with people having had their bones broken, their faces and backs of their necks stomped on, their heads slammed through windows, their breasts groped, literally only a couple of days earlier – and weren’t in an emotional state to be in a march like this, a march where they needed to be part of the background and not make it about them and the NYPD. Combine that with a bit of plurality-white-group privileged cluelessness and the irritating left-wing-activist tendency to bring every left-wing issue into every protest regardless of what the protest is supposed to be about, and there you go.

    • SWNC

       /  March 22, 2012

      Would you mind giving a run-down of what happened, Neocortex? I’m not familiar with it.

      • Neocortex

         /  March 22, 2012

        I wasn’t there in person – I’m getting this account from tweets/photos/videos. To be clear (I think my original comment about this was pretty clear, but just in case), I am an Occupier, though not in NYC, so to me this is like my kin doing something problematic and embarrassing with my name.

        OWS was supporting the Trayvon Martin memorial Million Hoodie March in NYC. Toward the end of the event, they used it as a springboard to re-take Union Square, which they’d been occupying a couple of days earlier (and to be clear, there were some non-Occupier marchers who went there with them). They climbed on the Wall Street bull statue (no vandalism or anything that I know of, just posing for pics and such), did economic-issues-related and Occupy-specific chants – basically, things that would have been fine during an Occupy event but weren’t what this one was supposed to be about. Apparently there were also a few folks yelling “F— the police!” and hitting trashcans. And once they went into Union Square, several hundred NYPD came in and there was a standoff. To OWS’ credit, they decided to leave and not do the civil disobedience mass arrests thing, out of respect for the tone of the event that this was all supposed to be supporting (self-awareness that would have been useful earlier).

        See the last paragraph of my reply to Emily for some possible, educated-guess insight into what in the world got into folks.

        • SWNC

           /  March 22, 2012

          Yeah, that is not cool. Not cool at all. I can see where it would be extremely frustrating to you. (And I have experienced that “my ‘kin folk’ are doing something problematic and embarrassing” feeling many, many times.)