Open thread for the masses. And Hordes.

It’ yours….

146 Comments

  1. Fine, I’ll stop arguing with Craig over O Brother.

  2. David L

     /  August 13, 2012

    I saw TDKR this weekend. Was it just a crappy sound system in the local IMAX (which has had good sound for other movies I’ve been at) or was there a whole bunch of even the non-Bane dialogue distorted or washed out by other sound to the point of being difficult to understand?

    Also, I had heard people complaining that the mishmash of cityscapes took them out of the movie, but dear God, I was not expecting it to be as distracting as it ended up being. One minute, you’re seeing the Empire State Building, then an LA street sign, then the airport appears to be British (or at least European; the signage looked British, and there was a plane from UK-based EasyJet in the background), then Heinz Field, etc. etc.

    • I had no problem understanding him at all; although, the stuff I’ve heard from before they “cleaned” it up, is a lot less discernible. I was a little distracted by the fact that none of his dialogue had the illusion of actually being uttered in the scene. It all screamed post production audio to me.

      • David L

         /  August 13, 2012

        I think it was actually intentional that every last bit of Bane’s dialogue sounded like it was done in post. Especially the way that it seemed to come through on every audio channel evenly.

    • carlosthedwarf

       /  August 13, 2012

      I think a lot of the filming was done in Pittsburgh–most of the city shots that weren’t obviously New York appeared to be from Pittsburgh. A lot of the shots of Bane’s trucks rolling through the city were almost certainly from PGH.

    • The thing is, Gotham isn’t a full-out expy of any one city. It’s only because they filmed the bulk of Dark Knight in Chicago that it has a coherent geographic layout in that film.

      • David L

         /  August 13, 2012

        For me, it wasn’t so much the geography of the city itself, which was all pretty abstract, it was that they were showing landmarks from different cities. If Nolan had just hadn’t shot scenes in such a way that various landmarks were identifiable except for using some single cityscape (real or fictional) for the aerials, I think I would have been a lot more able to ignore (or at least not be bothered by) the mixing of ground-level locations.

    • Oh, no, I’ve been complaining about the sound to anyone who’ll listen to me. I also saw it in IMAX, and the volume was so overwhelming…I bought the novelization so I can find out what was said during the film. Sheesh.

      • I saw it in IMAX. I’m a little deaf, so it wasn’t as bad for me, but Marnifer had her hands over her ears during the really loud parts.

    • Darth Thulhu

       /  August 13, 2012

      I’ve seen it in IMAX once, and non-IMAX four times; different theatres each time. Sound quality varies, and I was not impressed with how loud IMAX was. Midnight release in a regular theatre at modest volume was best and clearest sound quality I’ve had, and my groups didn’t have any real comprehension issue on any viewing until the IMAX viewing.

      There’s enough going on with the score and the different voices that I think extra loud is particularly detrimental. It wasn’t that the IMAX was “low quality”, I think, but that it was just too dang loud.

    • R_Bargis

       /  August 13, 2012

      I’ve reached the point in my hearing loss where I’m starting to seriously consider watching action movies with subtitles because I miss so much dialogue if it’s uttered while there’s background noise in the scene; seeing something in an IMAX theatre sounds like a great way to both damage my hearing further *and* not understand what’s going on.

      Painfully loud sound systems deter me from going to movies in modern theatres more than the price – one of the many reasons I love old movie theatres is because their sound systems tend to be quieter.

      • Seconded, albeit for different reasons. I have literally fled from movie theaters because the sound was so loud that it was giving me a panic attack. Thankfully the second-run theaters I go to more often use much more reasonable volumes.

  3. cofax

     /  August 13, 2012

    PSA: If you are at all susceptible to motion-sickness induced by watching a movie filmed with a hand-held camera, do not see Beasts of the Southern Wild in the theater.

    Argh. Fourteen hours later, and I’m still headachey and shaky. I’ll have to watch the second half on dvd, because I had to rush from the theater about halfway through.

  4. There is nothing wrong with my brain, thank you very much.

    • efgoldman

       /  August 13, 2012

      So the cats didn’t devour your cold, dead body over the weekend. Good.
      Did you get a definitive diagnosis, or is it “we didn’t find anything…”?

      • “We didn’t find anything.”

        next up: Allergy testing. Until then: steroids to try and break the headache once and for all.

        • Darth Thulhu

           /  August 13, 2012

          I imagine it’s different steroids, but I am pleased by the idea of Hypermuscular Knittig Master, knitting with steel cables.

        • efgoldman

           /  August 13, 2012

          “We didn’t find anything.”
          We (spelled “mrs efgoldman”) have been through that for more than 35 years.
          Did they rule migraines out? Not that i would wish that on anybody.

      • They didn’t find a brain, no.

      • No but Sir EatsALot (aka The Cat Formerly Known As FatOne) learned how to open the toaster oven door.
        This led to me hollering “GODDAMN IT CAT, GET YOU OUT OF THE GODDAMN TOASTER OVEN” very loudly.

        Twice.

    • Captain_Button

       /  August 13, 2012

      So you aren’t really Abbie Normal?

  5. David L

     /  August 13, 2012

    Some random thoughts from those of you who haven’t been lucky enough to experience the last 24 hours of my Twitter feed:

    1. If I had a dollar for every early adopter who complains about how Facebook and/or Twitter became so uncivilized after they got big, I could afford to join app.net.

    2. How does putting a well-known member of the House at top of the GOP ticket help a party running against “Washington”? Down here in Texas, at least, they’re running against a city rather than a party or a person in every level from Senate to county constable.

    3. There’s nothing like a bus full of drag queens to liven up a Friday evening. But don’t make out with a guy with really bad breath after they buy you vodka.

    • David L

       /  August 13, 2012

      And by “they” in that last sentence, I mean the queens. Also, it should be pointed out that vodka did not do nice things to my stomach, especially not after the amount I consumed the previous weekend.

  6. Miscellaneous: for David Simon lovers, DeAndre McCullough died. (The Corner, which preceded The Wire) Here’s NYTimes obit. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/10/arts/television/deandre-mccullough-inspiration-for-the-corner-dies-at-35.html?smid=pl-share

    And the way we were 56 years ago today: Jackie Robinson writes Ike in 1958 asking for action. http://www.archives.gov/historical-docs/todays-doc/index.html?dod-date=813#2012

    • aaron singer

       /  August 13, 2012

      I have read, but never seen, The Corner. I’ve been using my sister’s HBO GO to watch The Wire, but The Corner is not on there. Some day…

  7. kool-aide

     /  August 13, 2012

    Was on a vacation turned staycation last week so I stayed mostly off-line. Hope everyone had a good week🙂

  8. koolaide

     /  August 13, 2012

    hmm. I appear to have spelled my name wrong and landed my previous comment in moderation. silly me. Leave for a week and look what happens.

    I staycationed since my planned trip got canned. Did I miss anything fun?

    • Darth Thulhu

       /  August 13, 2012

      Comedy on the Republican presidential ticket. But that’s not exactly a “new” development, in broad strokes.

  9. baiskeli

     /  August 13, 2012

    I’m realizing that I’ve become a bit of a Debbie Downer, so for a change, I’ll post positive stuff

    So someone I had almost given up on (he of “Why do people always talk abour race!” fame) posted this on Facebook (A link provided By “Americans Against the Tea Party”).

    http://samuel-warde.com/2012/08/chris-matthews-eviscerates-sal-russo-tea-party-express-founder/

    It was really heartening.

    Oh, what the heck, now that we have that out of the way, the next time someone tells me that deadlock in government is due to Democratic intransigence or that ‘both sides do it’

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/biden-mcconnell-decided-to-withhold-all-cooperation-even-before-we-took-office/2012/08/10/64e9a138-e302-11e1-98e7-89d659f9c106_blog.html


    Grunwald has Joe Biden on the record making a striking charge. Biden says that during the transition, a number of Republican Senators privately confided to him that Mitch McConnell had given them the directive that there was to be no cooperation with the new administration — because he had decided that “we can’t let you succeed.”

    Here’s the relevant passage, from page 207:

    Biden says that during the transition, he was warned not to expect any cooperation on many votes. “I spoke to seven different Republican Senators, who said, `Joe, I’m not going to be able to help you on anything,’ he recalls. His informants said McConnell had demanded unified resistance. “The way it was characterized to me was: `For the next two years, we can’t let you succeed in anything. That’s our ticket to coming back,’” Biden says…. But two former Republican Senators are confirming the gist of the charges (though both have their reasons for holding a grudge against the GOP). Meanwhile, former Senator George Voinovich also goes on record telling Grunwald that Republican marching orders were to oppose everything the Obama administration proposed.

    A Republican aide sheds some more light on McConnell’s strategizing just after the 2008 election. Page 148:

    “People were pretty demoralized, and there were two totally opposite thoughts on how to approach the situation,” a McConnell aide recalls. “One was, `we don’t like the president, we ought to pop him early.’ The other was, `he’s really popular, we should work with him, because that’s what people want us to do.’ The boss’s take was: Neither.” McConnell realized that it would be much easier to fight Obama if Republicans first made a public show of wanting to work with him.
    We may never know the full story of what happened here, but this suggests some good lines of inquiry. It seems pretty newsworthy for the Vice President of the United States to charge that seven members of the opposition confided to him that their party had adopted a comprehensive strategy to oppose literally everything the new President did — with the explicit purpose of denying him any successes of any kind for their own political purposes — even before he took office.

    Puts the whole Debt Ceiling debate in perspective. The Republicans were essentially willing to risk ruining the U.S in order to ruin Obama. We should have taken McConnell at his word when he came out and stated his ultimate goal was to make Obama a one-term president.

    In a fair world no amount of faux flag waving, chest thumping ‘Hooyaaa” posturing would be able to drown out the facts above.

    • You know…sigh.

      This is not a grown-up political party. This is a temper tantrum,

      • taylor16

         /  August 13, 2012

        And, you know, sometimes I think that this is part of the appeal for a certain segment of GOP voters. They don’t care if anything actually gets done … they just want to yell “nyah nyah” at the stupid libs. If McConnell is making them mad and causing Obama to lose, then that’s good.

        In other news, the world makes me sad.

    • CitizenE

       /  August 13, 2012

      Blackmailing the American voting populace. In a nutshell. Either you put another one of us in at the top, voters, or jack sh*t will go your way. If we can’t soap opera ya, we’ll hold you hostage.

  10. caoil

     /  August 13, 2012

    I’m going to have the long weekend all to myself! My g/f and her dad are going to the Maritimes to visit my g/f’s sister (courtesy of a very kind aunt who bought them plane tickets) so I have three days with just me and the cats. I foresee lots of reading, perhaps baking, and watching of interesting-only-to-me movies. But, if anyone wants to chat via Skype I can set myself up for that in the intervening weeks!

    As far as the weekend went, the meteor shower was very pretty. We could see the Milky Way, too, which was great. And as I spent all day yesterday boiling, straining, bagging, and freezing various fruits, I say unto you again, don’t let anyone tell you that canning is easy-peasy.

    • SWNC

       /  August 13, 2012

      Canning is hard, hot work–no argument from me.

      Enjoy your quiet time! Yesterday, I skipped out on a gathering of the in-laws and instead spent two hours lying on the couch reading. By myself. With nobody needing anything from me. It was bliss.

  11. Sometimes I talk about the things that don’t work. The Modernista was a hot mess to begin with and despite my best efforts I couldn’t turn it into something I found enjoyable. However, there are other people who seem to like it, so your mileage may vary.

    http://cocktailchem.blogspot.com/2012/08/classic-cocktail-modernista.html

    Later up this week, a review of Balvenie 10 Founder’s Reserve, the best Balvenie I’ve ever tasted and sadly now departed from their lineup.

  12. Some thoughts:

    1) Overall, a fun and exciting and watchable Olympics this year.

    2) Still waiting on Saint Leo to finish up decision on the part-time librarian job. I do know they were calling my personal references, which is a good sign.

    3) It’s that part of the year when you just wanna watch the rainstorms blow through. Even when you got like 1000 things to do.

  13. Captain_Button

     /  August 13, 2012

    No Open Thread for the massless, since they are always moving around to fast.

  14. I am glad that Rmoney picked Paul Ryan but thinking about this weedy little motherfucker is kind of starting to suck my will to live.

    • If I hear the words ‘courageous’ and ‘intellectual’ used to describe him or his dipshit plans maybe 5 more times, I might burst something.

      • chingona

         /  August 13, 2012

        There’s a mindless contrarianism to liking the Ryan budget. Just because it presents a “tough choice” doesn’t mean it’s actually a good idea. Like, even a little bit.

      • It’s very hard for me to imagine anything more courageous than proposing a budget plan that will make you and your running mate even more fantastically rich than you are now.

      • Just keep repeating to yourself: zombie-eyed granny starver, zombie-eyed granny starver. It helps.

        • The husband mentioned that Charlie Pierce brilliance to me just this morning. It’s kind of too true by half, innit.

          • Apparently if you Google ‘zombie-eyed’, CP’s Paul Ryan articles come up first. The zombies are not pleased.

    • taylor16

       /  August 13, 2012

      Me too. I think it’s a net win for Obama, but I fucking hate Ryan. Every time I’d see him on TV I’d have an overpowering urge to start punching. And now I have to see his stupid face all the time and actually talk about him as if he’s a serious person? Fuck him.

      • He has a serious case of Joffrey Face.

        • CitizenE

           /  August 13, 2012

          If it’s any consolation, he reminds me a bit more of Renly Baratheon to be honest with you. And I am certain that someone in Sarah Palin’s church is about to give birth to a demon succubi, having dialed it in on a cell phone, so that her husband can Stannis in. It may be hot in Texas, but Winter is coming.

      • baiskeli

         /  August 13, 2012

        I was reading a ridiculous thread about a video that was a mashup of movie shark attacks when someone made the following comment (referencing both Jaws and Ryan)

        Sometimes that shark he looks right into ya. Right into your eyes. And, you know, the thing about a shark… he’s got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like Paul Ryan’s eyes.

        I ROLF’ed. Whoever posted that won the Internets today.

  15. Captain_Button

     /  August 13, 2012

    Max Fisher over at The Atlantic is not impressed at all by the remake of Red Dawn, since North Korea invading the US in the 21st century is orders of magnitude more implausible than the USSR in the 1980s.

    If they wanted a vaguely credible threat that wouldn’t annoy the Chinese or Russians, why didn’t they fake up some story about a renewed Caliphate? At least they’d have the numbers.

    Yes, it would pander to jingoistic bigotry, but isn’t that the point?

    • Captain_Button

       /  August 13, 2012

      OK, there might not be a rationale for the “Red” part anymore, but still.

    • Green Dawn would make people think that it was about eco-terroism rather than Muslims.

    • watson42

       /  August 13, 2012

      WTF?!? It’s only a week since the shootings in Wisconsin. Can I go crawl under a rock now?

    • Code ‘Maroon’? Seriously?

      • Captain_Button

         /  August 13, 2012

        I think that is one of the school colors of Texas A&M, the colllege in College Station.

    • Bob Jones' Neighbor

       /  August 13, 2012

      All the NRA and Republican trolls are commenting on the story at the CNN web site. http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/13/justice/texas-am-shooting/index.html?hpt=hp_t2 On second thought NRA trolls and Republican trolls are pretty much congruent sets, aren’t they.?

    • taylor16

       /  August 13, 2012

      Can’t wait to see the NRA idiots start complaining that all we need is for more people to be armed. Since, you know, two of the victims were cops, and presumably armed.

  16. dmf

     /  August 13, 2012

    • Bob Jones' Neighbor

       /  August 13, 2012

      Give yourself a “like” for that one!

  17. Shooting at Texas A&M university:
    http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/13/justice/texas-am-shooting/index.html

    Can we talk about gun control yet?

    Or do we just blame the heat for people acting crazy?

    • Captain_Button

       /  August 13, 2012

      On another forum the gun rights adocates were going on about their if the had a vallid CCW permit they had the right to carry even on private property where the owner posted signs explictly forbidding that.

    • koolaide

       /  August 13, 2012

      (can we also talk about the need for access to good mental health care for everyone? )

      • dmf

         /  August 13, 2012

        can we not tie that to shootings?

        • koolaide

           /  August 13, 2012

          We could but we could also not tie discussions of rational gun control to shootings.

          • dmf

             /  August 13, 2012

            you really see no difference?

            • koolaide

               /  August 13, 2012

              I do see a difference. I believe it shouldn’t take shooting tragedies for people to rationally discuss gun control. I also think there should broad rational discussions about improved access to quality mental health care for everyone.

              Not all gun owners shoot people. Not all people in need of quality mental health care shoot people. In fact the overlap of the two groups is very small. Doesn’t mean we can’t talk about the needs for vastly improved care.

              Some of the shooters in these tragedies have had significant mental health problems. Why can’t we talk about the very broken system? Are we only allowed to talk about gun control b/c we’re afraid of stigma–stigma that we’re keeping alive by not talking about the widespread need for quality mental health care?

    • http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/bs-ed-guns-20120811,0,4763268.story

      Wow. A calm, reasoned argument from someone who has used guns.

      You can imagine what happened in comments.

    • Personally, I would like to blame the crazy for people acting crazy. These shootings happen in packs for a reason. And as much as I do favor reasonable gun control, I suspect it has less to do with the availability of guns than it does the mixture of publicity and crazy. We shouldn’t point to crazy, mass shootings as the indicators of a need for gun control. As tempting as it is to use these singular events, the reality is that people determined to do this kind of thing will find a way. I find it a lot more persuasive that we should look at gun control as a way of (hopefully) limiting the smaller tragedies we never hear about.

      • I don’t really want to get into a big thing about gun control, but the reason that people turn their thoughts to that issue when these sorts of things happen is that that’s the time when people are actually paying attention to the issue of gun violence in America. People tune out the everyday gun violence because it’s background noise in this country.This idea that we shouldn’t point to mass shootings as a good time to discuss this (vital) issue strikes me as similar to the notion that it’s out of bounds for politicians to talk about our unsustainable military commitments when we’re actively at war.

        • I understand the psychology of bringing it up. I just don’t think they’re the best examples of events gun control could hope to change.

          • efgoldman

             /  August 13, 2012

            Well, dammit, if multiple assassinations and attempts from 1963 through whatever year the attempt was made on Reagan aren’t those kinds of events, and mass shooting aren’t those kinds of events, than what are?
            BTW 10 people shot (in separate incidents) in Boston over the weekend..
            http://www.wcvb.com/news/local/metro/Victim-ID-d-in-triple-shooting-Police-search-for-SUV/-/11971628/16084236/-/qn84odz/-/index.html
            Harlem St where the four women were shot? My mom was raised on that street in the 1920s and 1930s.

            • My feeling is that focusing on incidents that seem more motivated by mental disease and/or the desire to gain publicity/notoriety is a mistake. Not because, as opponents often claim, it’s in poor taste, but because I suspect those are the least likely to be stopped with reasonable gun control–which I would define as the kind that is achievable without a Constitutional amendment.

              • The point is not to stop them, it is to minimize the damage they can do.

                • Either one of those seems like a rather quixotic goal.

                  • Cho Seung-Hui (I spit at the name) legally purchased two guns despite having been the subject of a court-ordered psych evaluation (which found him to be seriously mentally ill). There is no reason why that should have been allowed to happen. Convince me that a Cho with restricted access to firearms is able to kill 32 people.

    • CitizenE

       /  August 13, 2012

      Only a couple of weeks ago this was big news. Now we get a graph–no rubbernecking, keep on moving. Though “multiple” is the operative word, and two law enforcement officers, it does not appear to have led to any fatalities. Of course, the availability of guns is not the cause of gun violence, just the tool. Heck, if guns were not so easily available, we would certainly have mass poisonings. Because the right to bear rat poison could never be infringed upon.

      • CitizenE

         /  August 13, 2012

        Actually it does appear that two were killed now. Apparently the guy was shooting from his own home. In this 100 degree heat what is a guy with a semi-automatic gonna do? Ah, Russell Brand wearing a purple and black striped top hat, looking like Uncle Sam in his late adolescence singing, “see how they run, like pigs from gun, see how they fly…”
        Koo-koo-koo-ka-choo.

  18. This article has been making the rounds on Facebook, but I wanted to post it again over here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/12/magazine/whats-so-bad-about-a-boy-who-wants-to-wear-a-dress.html?_r=2&hp

    Despite the fact that his parents paid for a half-day of gender-diversity training for the staff at P. J.’s school, he is still sometimes teased on the bus or during recess. “Some of the boys in school make fun of me,” he says. “They keep asking,” and here he switches to a whiny voice, “ ‘Are you a boy or a girl? I forgot.’ And then they ask again the next day. They can’t just forget after one day. They’re just trying to be mean. They say I should cut my hair because it makes me look like a girl, and looking like a girl is bad. It’s not their business, but they say it anyway.”

    • Golly. I sympathize with the child, and empathize with his parents, but I can’t help but feel that they are acting on well-meaning, but profoundly poor advice.

      • You think they should make their kid cut his hair?

        • No. Of course not. I was actually responding to the other child’s (Alex’s) situation. I see that your quoted text is referring to PJ. My bad for the confusion.

          • OK. I was actually struck by just how terrified these parents are of letting their sons transgress gender norms. Even when they let them do it, they’re often still freaking out about it. It’s okay these days to let girls wear pants and do certain other tomboy things, but put a boy in a dress and the world will come to an end.

            • Being a parent is tricky. I have a boy and a girl. My son turned six on Saturday and started first grade today. They are fragile beings. You spend a lot of your time trying to protect them from the world. For parents having to navigate the realm of “gender nonconformity,” I’m sure it feels all the more like they’re flying blind. And while I wouldn’t put on airs and try to act as though i know the right answer, I feel like my concern would always come down to what course of action protects my child more.

              • It is tricky. I have the impression that sometimes parents do want to prevent their children from being gay, or trans, because it will make their lives harder. But you can’t really change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

                And sometimes parents discover that their children are really, really happy in a non-conforming role. Is it worthwhile making your child miserable in order to protect them?

                • I don’t accept that it’s a choice between making your child miserable and allowing them to be themselves. If those seem to be the only two roads, I would suggest that somebody hasn’t been thinking about it enough.

              • watson42

                 /  August 13, 2012

                It is tricky, but I think it’s potentially a lot more harmful to make children conform. By preventing one’s child from being who they are out of fear they might be ridiculed, one is basically teaching the child that other people’s petty opinions are more important than the child’s self-identity.

                • I think we’re discussing a false either/or choice. I fully believe there are (simple) ways to encourage your son to explore the questions of self without setting them up for public ridicule. The more I think about it, the more I kind of feel like the answer these parents should be considering is sending their child to a school with a uniform policy (where every kid, boy and girl, wears a collared shirt and slacks) and clothes are not, in any way, an expression of self-identity.

                  • mythopoeia

                     /  August 13, 2012

                    I sympathize, but at your hypothetical school, girls don’t have a skirt/kilt option. Which they have at every single school with uniforms I have ever known, religious and not.

                    • The school my son goes to doesn’t. There’s a religious exception to cater to the significant number of Muslim students (girls wearing long skirts and head scarfs), but all of the other kids K-8 wear one of four colors of shirt (middle school and elementary schools have two options each) and navy pants or shorts. Girls are not allowed to wear skirts/kilts. They’re literally all the same.

      • chingona

         /  August 13, 2012

        How would you advise them?

        • I wouldn’t. If I were to offer any advice at all, I would suggest simply that sometimes there are no good options, but that I think it’s always a good idea to try to protect your child from easily foreseeable ridicule. I would say that there are ways to support your child, to show them you support them, without allowing them to choose to be objectified and ridiculed by an unthinking and uncaring peer group. I would suggest that they look for those other ways. But I was talking about the child Alex, who is younger still than P.J.

          • chingona

             /  August 13, 2012

            I wouldn’t advise them, either, but when you say you think they’re getting very poor advice, that seems to imply some better idea. I think parents’ ability to protect their kids from ridicule is somewhat limited, and it’s better to help your kids develop the internal tools to deal with that than to say “Avoid behavior that will result in ridicule,” which, could, frankly, be anything. The thing I got from the article was how much happier and self-assured the kids were when allowed to express themselves the way they wanted to. Granted, there is probably some self-selection in who ends up getting interviewed, but a kid who is made more miserable by the ridicule than he/she is made by conforming to gender norms would probably just conform.

            • chingona

               /  August 13, 2012

              And just to be clear, I would talk with my kid about the types of reactions they may get. I wouldn’t send them off to school with the impression that everyone will be okay with this.

              Full disclosure: My son has long hair and occasionally asks me to paint his nails. He is otherwise a pretty regular boy. People do call him a girl, and that does bother him. We talk about it again every time he asks me to paint his nails, which is maybe once or twice a year. He knows by now what the reaction is going to be. If he still wants to do it, I’m not sure what I would be protecting him *from* if I were to forbid it.

              • I used to have long hair. I have never painted my nails, that I remember. My son has. And he has put on his mother’s make-up, etc. Oh, and for a long time pink was one of his two or three favorite colors–he wore pink flip-flops, swimming goggles, etc. He used to have really beautiful long, blonde curls that my wife and I waited forever to finally cut. He was mistaken as a little girl well past the age of 2 and half. Nothing like that anymore, although watching him with his best friend, I am often caught wondering, gee whiz, how much longer will these boys feel comfortable holding each other’s hand, hugging, etc.

                I just know the day is coming. I’m not talking about making boys act like boys. I’m not talking about forcing children into gender-specific boxes. All I am saying is that children have a habit of being cruel and having a very long memory.

                • chingona

                   /  August 13, 2012

                  If it’s not too personal, what was your own childhood like in terms of being made fun of? I ask because I was a pretty serious outcast myself and my period of dressing very strangely in various thrift store outfits was a way to say “I don’t give a shit about your stupid standards.” I think that was important to me developing a strong sense of self. Before that, every time we moved, I would hope that this new school would be the one where I would fit in, and it never happened. Frankly, if I hadn’t had any method of self-expression available to me, I think high school would have been harder. I still would have been a freak in a polo shirt and slacks, but I wouldn’t have had anyway to publicly embrace it.

                  We did once cut my son’s hair – at his request – after some kids started making fun of him. Well, they still made fun of him. They told him he still looked like a girl. That was a preschool so it was easy to leave and find a better place. It was painful as a parent to see him get hurt like that, but he also learned a lesson about trying to appease bullies.

                  And it’s not that parents have no role in teaching kids how to function in society. My kid is wicked smart. He can also be quite the know-it-all. We talk a lot about how he expresses himself verbally, how that makes other people feel, etc. He shouldn’t hide his smarts, but there are reasons people respond poorly to know-it-alls. He also has gotten some shit for being Jewish. We’re not about to tell him to change that.

                  • It’s not overly personal. I was not popular. I did not make friends easily. I was at different times, the nerd. The poseur. The quiet artist type. And so on. When I was young, I would have resisted dress codes like the one I advocate for today, but I have the benefit of knowing better than I did then.

                    My son, who started first grade today, goes to a K-8 public charter, where all of the kids wear uniforms. Not like Catholic school uniforms, just a cheap polo-style shirt (light blue or forest green for the elementary kids) with the school’s crest and navy shorts or slacks. Plain black shoes. The school has a pretty significant Muslim population, so some of the girls wear head scarves, but other than that, they’re all pretty uniform.

                    Personally, as I’ve gotten older, I have become kind of skeptical of the notion that we should be encouraging our children to view clothing as an extension of their identity. Setting aside gender nonconformity stigmatization, making fun of kids for how they dress is hardly a new idea. And while kids will always find something else to be bullies about, I’m a fan of taking away their options.

            • If I did have advice, I think I would suggest they place their children into a school environment where boys and girls are all required to conform to a uniform policy, i.e., in which boys and girls all dressed the same. Actually, I am fan of all parents doing that from K-12.

              • chingona

                 /  August 13, 2012

                And their hair?

                • As I said above, my son used to have very long hair. When I was much older than these children, so did I. I would hardly begin to suggest that parents force their boys to have short hair, or the girls long hair.

                  • Is there a school where all students wear pants (no skirts for girls) and all are required to have their hair the same length? Because otherwise boys with long hair are going to look like girls. That’s my interpretation of the hair question.

                    • My interpretation was a subtly snarky thing to note that making everybody wear the same clothes doesn’t address the hair issue. At any rate, I can’t imagine that a school that matches those parameters exists.

            • “Avoid behavior that will result in ridicule,” The more I think about it, the more it seems to me that this is not going to work. As you say, kids will ridicule other kids over anything. It gives the impression that the bullies are right and your behavior is wrong.

              And when I think about my own childhood, in which I was ostracized for being way too smart and socially awkward . . . I wish my parents had been able to teach me social skills, but I don’t think they should have taught me to be less smart, or to get bad grades on purpose.

              • This isn’t a good analogy. Neither is being left handed. Or wearing glasses. Or being overweight. Just because there is a deep pit of things kids can come up with to attack a peer doesn’t mean that each are created equal.

                • That’s your opinion. I mean, you say that “it’s always a good idea to try to protect your child from easily foreseeable ridicule” but in fact you have a list of things that kids should (be allowed to) do even if it leads to them being ridiculed. And why long hair is acceptable in your book when other girly traits are too girly . . . I just don’t know.

                • Please stop. The one week in which it’s all but impossible for me to monitor what’s going on here, this happens. Please stop pushing this argument in this space.

  19. JHarper2

     /  August 13, 2012

    For Emily, wherever this may find her.

    Words by Woody, Music by Billy
    Performed by Billy, Natalie and Wilco

  20. dmf

     /  August 13, 2012

    only seen clips of Two Days but they were unfortunately thin echoes of Woody Allen at his worse
    http://www.edrants.com/segundo/julie-delpy-bss-475/

  21. CitizenE

     /  August 13, 2012

    I know everyone has a gripe with NBC, but I loved the summer Olympics. I loved how women athletes, and not just our own, dominated all but a few of the competitions. I loved the way Serena Williams (who, give her her due, put in the most clearly dominating set of performances in the games) and Misty May-Treanor did their victory dances. Even though they did not bring home the gold, I loved watching our women’s volleyballers, but even more, even though she was not on a medal winning team, I thought that Korean volleyballer, Kim Yeon Koung was just an amazing athlete to watch. I love that the Brits had some real champions–it was just wonderful watching stadiums full of fans going bonkers in good way. I don’t know quite what to make of team “handball” on those blue courts–like waterpolo, but more primitive, I guess, but mountain biking in the English countryside looked like fun. I’m glad that the Spanish turned out to be worthy opponents for USA and made the men’s basketball championship game fun to watch (and I kind of liked how men’s hoops were relegated to a secondary channel–put it into perspective). I loved Evgenia Kaneava’s breathtaking set of performances in rhythmic gymnastics–girly as all get out, just such elegance and poetry.

    • Misty May really rubs me the wrong way, although I struggle to put into words exactly why. My favorite volleyballer was the Japanese women’s team libero, she’s about 3 feet tall and all over the court on defense.

      (Does anyone get any amount of joy out of the basketball tournament at all? Both the men’s and the women’s are a total slog towards the inevitable.)

      • CitizenE

         /  August 13, 2012

        I liked Libero and the Japanese team too. i get your problem with May-Treanor, but the long record of excellence, her game, which was just an amazing “old pro” exhibition in the gold medal game, especially given that she is not the tallest player, commands my respect. And I did like her dance.

        I also wanted to add, though I don’t venture out much lately for a variety of reasons, I was really happy for the huge part of the southwest that must have really been pleased about the men’s soccer finals.

  22. dmf

     /  August 13, 2012

  23. David L

     /  August 13, 2012

    Because I am having a KILL ALL THE PEOPLE moment as the result of some unusual circumstances and need to vent:

    1. I have gone 24 hours without any kind of naturally- or artifically-sweetened beverage. (Deliberately, because the Coke Zero habit is hard to kick.)

    2. What I thought was going to be a half-hour of work from home last night turned into 3 hours.

    3. I have just had a bunch of my least-favorite type of work (creating spreadsheets from data) dumped in my lap.

    4. These are all tight-turnaround requests that I’m not sure I could finish in the 90ish minutes left today even if I felt like it, and I was going to use comp time from last night and leave a little early but now I can’t.

  24. An S.

    My kingdom for an S.

  25. baiskeli

     /  August 13, 2012

    From a few months ago, O’Donnell totally skewers Paul Ryan rapid backward scrambling to disassociate himself from Ayn Rand (Rand’s writing was required reading for his Congressional Staff)

    http://www.the-richmonder.com/2012/05/odonnell-crushes-paul-ryan-for-his-ayn.html

    Though I don’t give 2 hoots to the fact that Rand was atheist (or anyone for that matter), considering some days I’m an atheist and some days an agnostic, the clip is worth watching.

    Also, there are rumblings about possible insider trading by Paul Ryan during the economic crash (Andrew Sullivan also has some details about it)

    http://www.the-richmonder.com/2012/08/paul-ryan-traded-on-insider-information.html
    If he did this, it was not illegal then but would be now(the STOCK Act that bans Members of Congress from trading on Insider information was signed by Obama later)

    It should probably come as no surprise to anyone that someone like Paul Ryan would trade on inside information gained through his position as a congressman to line his pockets, but this particular instance is especially egregious. Ryan attended a closed meeting with congressional leaders, Bush’s Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on September 18, 2008. The purpose of the meeting was to disclose the coming economic meltdown and beg Congress to pass legislation to help collapsing banks.

    Instead of doing anything to help, Ryan left the meeting and on that very same day Paul Ryan sold shares of stock he owned in several troubled banks and reinvested the proceeds in Goldman Sachs, a bank that the meeting had disclosed was not in trouble. This is the guy Republicans want one heartbeat away from the presidency? He seems more than a little shady to me.

  26. efgoldman

     /  August 13, 2012

    Very late to the thread, but I have to put it out there: the heart of Red Sox nation since before I was born, passed to the great Iowa cornfield in the sky. Johnny Pesky was 93, and only stopped coming to the ballpark in the last few years. The only thing which stopped him from wearing his uniform and sitting on the bench was an edict from the league office. He was the very last of the wartime Sox, with Ted Williams, Dom DiMaggio and his double play partner, Bobby Doerr.

    http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/2012/08/13/red-sox-legend-johnny-pesky-dies/4FIyv55aZMCrkTUhkQTsTO/story.html

    • dave in texas

       /  August 13, 2012

      RIP.

      I’m guessing you’ve readThe Teammates by David Halberstam. If not, it’s a really moving account of the trip Pesky, Doerr, and DiMaggio took to visit Ted Williams as he was nearing the end of his life.

  27. wearyvoter

     /  August 13, 2012

    NPR just ran a story about the Romney/Ryan campaign in Florida. Sound bite from (sounds like elderly) woman not being too worried about cuts to Medicare. Along the lines of ” We all have to make sacrifices. Even so, I raised my kids right, and they’d never let me wind up on the street.”

    My internal dialog ran along the lines of “Really? What if they wind having something catastrophic happen and they burn through all of their income? Or what if you outlive all of them? What then?”

    This depresses me.

    • Furthermore, she’s still assuming they’ll do right by her. My mother did right by my brother and I, but if she’s in trouble I guarantee you I’m the only one who shows up.

  28. So this is really for Baiskeli…
    http://byfat.xxx/if-hemingway-wrote-javascript

    The domain URL is odd, though.