In which a group of graying eternal amateurs discuss their passions, interests and obsessions, among them: movies, art, politics, evolutionary biology, taxes, writing, computers, these kids these days, and lousy educations.

E-Mail Donald
Demographer, recovering sociologist, and arts buff

E-Mail Fenster
College administrator and arts buff

E-Mail Francis
Architectural historian and arts buff

E-Mail Friedrich
Entrepreneur and arts buff
E-Mail Michael
Media flunky and arts buff

We assume it's OK to quote emailers by name.

Try Advanced Search

  1. Seattle Squeeze: New Urban Living
  2. Checking In
  3. Ben Aronson's Representational Abstractions
  4. Rock is ... Forever?
  5. We Need the Arts: A Sob Story
  6. Form Following (Commercial) Function
  7. Two Humorous Items from the Financial Crisis
  8. Ken Auster of the Kute Kaptions
  9. What Might Representational Painters Paint?
  10. In The Times ...

Sasha Castel
AC Douglas
Out of Lascaux
The Ambler
Modern Art Notes
Cranky Professor
Mike Snider on Poetry
Silliman on Poetry
Felix Salmon
Polly Frost
Polly and Ray's Forum
Stumbling Tongue
Brian's Culture Blog
Banana Oil
Scourge of Modernism
Visible Darkness
Thomas Hobbs
Blog Lodge
Leibman Theory
Goliard Dream
Third Level Digression
Here Inside
My Stupid Dog
W.J. Duquette

Politics, Education, and Economics Blogs
Andrew Sullivan
The Corner at National Review
Steve Sailer
Joanne Jacobs
Natalie Solent
A Libertarian Parent in the Countryside
Rational Parenting
Colby Cosh
View from the Right
Pejman Pundit
God of the Machine
One Good Turn
Liberty Log
Daily Pundit
Catallaxy Files
Greatest Jeneration
Glenn Frazier
Jane Galt
Jim Miller
Limbic Nutrition
Innocents Abroad
Chicago Boyz
James Lileks
Cybrarian at Large
Hello Bloggy!
Setting the World to Rights
Travelling Shoes

Redwood Dragon
The Invisible Hand
Daze Reader
Lynn Sislo
The Fat Guy
Jon Walz


Our Last 50 Referrers

« Out of the (Design) Groove | Main | Oil, Corn, Cows »

August 25, 2006


Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* Cowtown Pattie has some new neighbors whose habits aren't doing the neighborhod, let alone the property values, any favors.

* What's it like to give up TV? Steve Pavlina lists eight changes he noticed when he turned off the tube. (Link thanks to Charlton Griffin.)

* Robert Hughes' first marriage was a very '60s thing. (Link thanks to ALD.) Writing about the '60s, Hughes sounds rather like Shouting Thomas. Typical passage:

It was a time of collective self-importance, which masked -- not very effectively -- a striking indifference to the way the world actually did and might work. I hardly met a single person in the "underground" context who didn't, no matter how sexually available or amusing, turn out in the end to be ignorant and rather a bore.

The depths of tedium that can be plumbed by sitting around half stoned, listening to people chatter moonily about reuniting humankind and erasing its aggressive instincts through Love and Dope, are scarcely imaginable to those who have not suffered them.

* Michael Bierut thinks that the graphic-design community might, just might, have itself to blame.

* Broaden your mind and your culture at Famous Poets and Poems, where you can find and read more than 600 of the greats, from "Nothing Gold Can Stay" to "The Convergence of the Twain."

* Finally, some haute couture fashion-show clips that the hetero boys can enjoy too. (NSFW, though of a very mild sort.)

* Does he rehearse these things first, or do these epic raps just roll out of him? Thanks to Bryan for passing along this YouTube clip of Kevin Smith blabbing about his adventures on the recent "Superman" movie.

* When Nick Hornby wanted to stop wrestling with boring books, the first thing he did was yank all the contemporary lit-fic books off his "to read" stack.

* Florida is going New Urbanism-happy. Fun! But will NU work commercially?

* Having done volunteer duty at the local Fringe Theater Festival, Random Kath has developed some strong feelings about theatergoers who arrive late.

* The things some people get off on! (NSFW)

* Searchie explains why she won't take drugs to help her contend with depression, and offers up a gorgeous cornucopia of architectural details.

* Colleen made a Flickr find: a set of amusing and touching celebrity photos that were rescued from a garbage can. Colleen herself -- in the midst of an epic bout of housecleaning -- thinks there may be something to that feng shui thing.

* Wow: In just the past five years, the Hispanic part of the population of Phoenix, AZ has gone from 34 to 48 percent. (Correction: Make that 41.8 percent, not 48 percent.)

* A movie star settles in the neighborhood. OuterLife writes about what it's like for a development to receive "celebrity validation."

* How much sense does it make for a guy to marry a career woman? Forbes' Michael Noer says "not much." Forbes' Elizabeth Corcoran says "Oh, please." (Both pieces can be read here.) Rod Dreher comments.

* Yoga buffs owe a debt of gratitude to Dave Lull for unearthing these priceless archival films of founding yoga gods BKS Iyengar and T. Krishnamacharya in action.



posted by Michael at August 25, 2006


Yes, I am a cranky old fart now, thank you Michael.

But you missed the crankiest bit from the story:

"Danne liked counterculture icons but generally tended to score mediocre ones. An exception was Jimi Hendrix. She did not tell me about this. Some girlfriend of hers did. I think it was Hendrix who gave her a sentimental souvenir of their encounter in the back of a limo: the clap.

She did not tell me about that, either, before passing it on to me. It was a nasty strain and it took months of antibiotics to shake it. Hendrix’s clap almost outlasted Hendrix himself, who died of an overdose in September 1970."

Do you suppose that Hendrix's dose of the clap is still circulating? Who's got it now? And, what a dose of nostalgia. Oh, for the the days when a dose of the clap was considered a serious venereal disease. In the era of AIDS, a diagnosis of the clap is welcome news.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on August 25, 2006 8:28 AM

That Forbes piece about the risks of marrying a career woman has been rendered all but worthless because it used an absurdly overinclusive definition of career woman: any woman who has a Bachelor's degree or higher, works at least 35 hours a week, and earns more then $30K per year.

Posted by: Peter on August 25, 2006 8:54 AM

This is you on *vacation*? Yikes!

Posted by: communicatrix on August 25, 2006 11:23 AM

YSL did a boob-centric thing in 2003, such that the nipple was meant to be seen a few times, and it was body-painted a plum color to coordinate w/ the clothes.

I don't think the definition of "career girl" is too overinclusive -- university graduates are surely a minority. I think this is more of the threshold value above which the effect happens, rather than the point at which you see the most exaggerated effect.

I like how the "rebuttal" didn't rebut anything, just provided an anecdotal account of an exception to the apparent rule. I'm glad someone's providing hard data on it, but it can't be surprising -- no more so than if it were discovered (and it may have been already) that relationships are less stable when the female is, say, 3 inches taller than the male, or 15 years older than the male. No one's "blaming the woman," contra the exasperated rebuttal, just saying that for whatever reasons, it's a safer bet to marry someone beneath you socially (or shorter / younger than you).

She's right about one thing, though: her hypothetical situation of a guy who works around nymphettes growing tired of the wife -- evolutionary sociologist Kanazawa showed that male teachers of secondary school & college students were particularly at risk of divorce, even though being a teacher (regardless of sex) and being a male (regardless of profession) separately provided a protective effect. It was only the interaction of male sex with teacher of adolescents that lead to higher risk of divorce. Same thing seems to be going on w/ women who work in high-powered places, assuming their husband isn't also up to this standard.

Personally, I don't care much about IQ or intellectual curiosity in a potential partner. If I want to debate things, I'll email the author of the paper I just read. The only intellectual debating / discussion you can have with your partner is the BS sorta thing you could have with a friend over a beer. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but hardly a priority.

Posted by: Agnostic on August 25, 2006 12:17 PM

Maybe it's just me, but I can't see bowling as erotic. I like bowling, but the setting pretty well defuses my libido. The closest I could come would probably be to fantasize about meeting attractive bowlers in a very different context.

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on August 25, 2006 4:53 PM

To marry is (among other things) to marry into the war between the sexes. So why should it be a surprise that marrying a career woman makes things worse? After all, she's been bathing in an ethos of combat for years. Where does giving ground or acting demurely get her at the office? She can't turn off her aggresive business persona (even if she wanted to) when she steps across the domestic threshold. The very word - domestic - probably makes her cringe. So what chance does domestic tranquility have? And that's what a man (with rare exceptions) wants. No, better to marry the maid, guys.

Posted by: ricpic on August 25, 2006 6:20 PM


Did you know that "back in the day" when Cowtown had a Hell's Half Acre, there was a bar called "The Two Minnies". It was in a two-story building, and the floor between the two was thick glass. The Ladies of the establishment were said to saunter around and sometimes bowl on the second floor, above the paying male patrons. The Ladies were sans underwear beneath their flouncy skirts, and most times, sans anything on a'tall.

Might make you change your mind about bowling...

Posted by: Cowtown Pattie on August 25, 2006 10:33 PM

I got rid of the TV long ago (2 years now). Lots of time to do other things. TV is the biggest waste of time. Now, If I can cut back my internet time...

He's also right about recognizing how others are addicted to TV once you've escaped from the Matrix.

Posted by: s on August 26, 2006 1:23 AM

Given their definition of a career woman is more-or-less a woman who can afford to live independently, isn't the greater stability of non-career-women marriages simply a reflection that women in those marriages don't have any real choice but to tolerate their husband's bad behaviour, except in cases of life-threatening abuse (and often enough, not even then).

The article sounded a lot like someone singing the praises of virtual slavery.

Frankly, who wants to be in a marriage that only stays together because the wife (or husband) has no choice but to stay?

Posted by: Tom West on August 26, 2006 7:02 AM

Shouting Thomas might or might not be pleased to know that strains of any disease with DNA can be identified and traced, just like human populations. In fact, some useful historical information can be gleaned by checking the pedigrees of various diseases as they move across the country/countries. If someone recorded Hendrix's clap's specifics, one could boast about it with PROOF, something like all the men who are now speculating on whether they have Genghis Khan's genes, of which there are supposed to be a plethora via some of the same means as the transmission of VD.

Prairie Mary

Posted by: Mary Scriver on August 26, 2006 1:35 PM

That's 41.8 percent, not 48 percent.

Posted by: dan g. on August 28, 2006 8:36 AM

Since going TV-less a little over a year ago, I find I've been reading much more literary fiction. Still looking for narratives, just without using the remote control.

Posted by: Jake on August 28, 2006 4:38 PM

Nick Hornby's article was good. I remember with horror having to read books for English at Uni which I felt dummer for having read them. I know it turned off many fellow students from reading as a hobby. While 90% of trashy novels are crap, 99.99% of modern literary novels are too.

Unfortunately the Forbes article is now useless. Michael Noer provided 9 pages of analysis and backed up all his arguments. They reduced it to a point-counterpoint, removed all his references so made it look like he just came up with his opinion by chance. The so-called rebuttal still looked pathetic. Noer is sick of guys being taken for a ride, the female just hates men.

Posted by: darkbhudda on August 29, 2006 12:17 AM

"While 90% of trashy novels are crap, 99.99% of modern literary novels are too."

Nevertheless, I've determined through independent analysis that 96.767676% of literary fiction is better than anything on television.

Posted by: Jake on August 29, 2006 3:54 PM

darkbuddha: If you've been turned off of reading by college, how can you possibly know that 99.99% of literary fiction is crap? I think you're hysterically wrong.

Posted by: jult52 on August 30, 2006 11:00 AM

Mr. Hornby's observation seems to get to the heart of the matter:

I don't mean we should all be reading chick-lit or thrillers (although if that's what you want to read, it's fine by me, because here's something else no one will ever tell you: if you don't read the classics, or the novel that won this year's Booker Prize, then nothing bad will happen to you; more importantly, nothing good will happen to you if you do); I simply mean that turning pages should not be like walking through thick mud.

I've often wondered if this doesn't actually go back to the extremely odd habit that schools have of teaching basic writing by forcing students to comment on literature, rather than, say, allowing them to comment on a subject about which they actually have something concrete and immediate to say. The implicit message is that obscure, vague or laborious prose is praiseworthy. At times I can't help but conclude that the awkwardness of much modern written communication is the fault of the teaching profession.

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on August 31, 2006 10:29 PM

Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember your info?