Friday, November 30, 2007

Fashion Bleg

What color tights/hose/stockings can you wear with silver or pewter shoes? I bought the shoes to go with this dress but am wondering if I will have to consign that outfit to warm-weather evenings only and if the shoes will go with anything else this winter.

I love deciding what to wear to holiday parties.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

4'11", 105 lbs

This chick is my new idol.

I worked out and lifted weights with a trainer for 6-8 months when I first moved here, but maybe something like this would be fun. My doctor is always telling me to take yoga classes, but in my experience, stress is best relieved through punching things, not by sitting in contorted poses.

Opinions on Muay Thai, Brazilian jiu jitsu, and MMA welcome.

For your amusement

- What people think of your name (via)

- A cat dressed as a sandworm

- Robot servants: coming sometime, if not soon.

Recipe: More Pasta

By request, my favorite pasta recipes for the hungry and time-pressed.

Spinach Penne with Ricotta

This is from the De Cecco pasta box, but I like it anyway.

Cook whatever amount of pasta seems appropriate for one person. After cooking, drain and then add the pasta to a bowl with 2 large forkfuls of part-skim ricotta, 1 tbsp butter, 1/2 tsp -ish of fleur de sel, and a generous shaking of crushed red pepper. Mix until coated.
You can use whole-milk ricotta if you keep the pasta a bit wet when you drain it (or save a spoonful of pasta water) and leave out the butter.

Simple Pasta with Sausage & Cheese

Cook Italian sausage in a non-stick pan until browned, adding spices as desired. I generally add more fennel, oregano, basil, black pepper, and salt. Once sausage is mostly cooked, boil water and cook some pasta (I like farfalle). Grate copious amounts of hard Italian cheese. Drain pasta well and add to pan with sausage. Toss until delicious sausage fat has coated the pasta. Turn off heat and add cheese. Toss. Eat.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Recipe: Pasta with Sausage, Spinach, & Sun-Dried Tomatoes

My standby simple pasta dinners are spinach penne with ricotta cheese and crushed red pepper and farfalle with sausage and parmesan. This has a few more ingredients, but is just as tasty and actually contains vegetables.


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic , pressed
1 pound sweet Italian sausage
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes , rinsed and chopped fine
1/2 pound penne pasta (2 1/2 cups) (farfalle also works)
2 cups chicken broth (I use Better Than Bouillon for convenience, but it's very salty)
1 cup milk
1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup)
6 ounces baby spinach
ground black pepper and salt
1. Heat the oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, sausage, and tomatoes and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.
2. Sprinkle the pasta evenly over the sausage. Pour the broth and milk over the pasta. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender, about 10 minutes.
3. Stir in the spinach a handful at a time, and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Economic Darwin Awards

Sending racist email from your work account: always a bad idea.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

L’arbre de la liberté croît lorsqu’il est arrosé du sang de toute espèce de tyrans.

Today the D.C. gun ban case was on my mind.

If you are interested in the filings in the case, they can be found here. Here is a profile of one of the plaintiffs. Here is a post making the liberal case for gun ownership (read the whole thing). Here is some historical context for the Second Amendment.

Oh, and Godwin.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Take that, other Amber Taylor!

If you can get a copy of Washingtonian Magazine, I am in the makeovers section of the December issue.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I'm curious, too.

At what age, if ever, is a person old enough to have sex without the National Review declaring this evidence of a social ill?

There aren't a lot of married undergraduates, but in graduate and professional schools married students are fairly common.

True fiscal conservatives would see the benefits of providing young women with contraception, especially during a crucial period of their educational development.

Book Review: The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters

Imagine Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell crossed with Perdido Street Station and you'll get The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, an over-long but largely entertaining novel with elements of steampunk, Gothic mystery, science fiction, and erotica.

We begin with Miss Temple, a ferocious young lady of means recently arrived from her island plantation home. The fair Miss Temple has been jilted by her fiancé, Roger, a up-and-comer at the Foreign Ministry. She refuses to take this lying down and shadows Roger's movements, hoping to determine the cause of her broken engagement. By bluff and bravado, she follows Roger to a masked ball in a remote country estate, but the party is marred by murder and she barely escapes with her life.

An assassin nicknamed Cardinal Chang also crashed the party that night, but discovered that the man he'd come to kill was already dead. The party's guest of honor, Prince Karl-Horst of Macklenberg, is subsequently abducted and only rescued by the offices of his personal physician, Doctor Svenson. All three become entangled in the schemes of the shadowy cabal behind the events of that evening, and only by working together will they be able to escape death.

There are a lot of narrow escapes in this book. The villains, a group of mysterious alchemists, have developed a "Process" of mechanical and alchemical brainwashing, which temporarily brands its victims with a loop of livid scars around the eyes, and a method of downloading and storing human memories in books of deadly blue glass. Their determination is otherworldly and their moral qualms nonexistent, yet they have a regrettable tendency to knock people on the head or drug them when they should be shot or poisoned.

The philosophical issues posed by the Process and the nature of stored and stolen memories are barely touched. Fully half the subplots and side trips could be cut, and by page 500 or so we are a bit bored by the constant cliffhanger endings to each POV chapter. The finale is also a bit of a letdown, but that's because it was set up to frame the coming sequel. All in all, though, it's an entertaining read, and worth checking out from the library.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Back me up here.

The author of this book looks exactly like Herbert Kornfeld.

Friday, November 23, 2007


That butternut squash is neither buttery nor nutty, but is instead a chalky and deceitful fruit straight from the devil's garden.

Cheese for Amber

Interesting article on cheese competitions and the relative non-scalability of artisanal cheese manufacture.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Deadweight Loss

Last week I ordered a nice white leather bag and had it shipped to me. Not two days after receiving the bag, I got an email from the company I'd bought it from advertising their new sale; the front page of the site prominently displays a discount code for 25% off. Now the bag was not cheap, so I had one of two options:

1. Return the bag I just bought and reorder the bag using the coupon code (causing the vendor to have to pay for another round of free shipping, processing a return, and processing a new order, as well as imposing return shipping costs on me), OR

2. Call them up, explain how this is stupid, and get them to credit the difference to my account.

Can you guess which option the vendor chose?

Catch me if you—*click*

Proof that HLS doesn't teach you anything?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Blogs you love to hate

Steve always used to ask why I spent so much time reading blogs that made me really angry. "You've got a limited amount of leisure time. Why spend it on that?" I reluctantly agreed and pared down my Bloglines subscriptions.

But who has suffered from this rational choice? You, Constant Reader! This blog runs on bile and schadenfreude, and without daily doses of infuriating nonsense, I lack inspiration to give you the posts that you deserve. So what should I be reading? Give me something mostly literate but infuriatingly stupid. Previous hits in this genre include Pandagon, Althouse, and The Corner.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Banned in Boston Paris

Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie's Lost Girls will not be released in France due to that country's laws against the depiction of minors in pornography.

Anyone with French language skills care to compare their law to ours (discussed previously)?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Book Review: The Future of Reputation

Daniel Solove was kind enough to send me a review copy of his new book, The Future of Reputation. That he did this in spite of knowing that I have previously disagreed vehemently with the notions of privacy and internet conduct that he champions makes this especially generous. If the reader does not accept certain first principles (and I do not), Solove’s analysis will not be persuasive nor his recommendations appealing. This book does, however, provide an excellent summary of the internet’s effect on personal information distribution and reputations.

I provide this brief excerpt in the hope that you will be inspired to read both Professor Solove's book and a full review, should it ever see the light of day. (UPDATE: Julian Sanchez hits many of the issues I would have covered in my full review.)

There is a simple rule of thumb for predicting Solove’s positions and proposals. Ask yourself: Would this rule allow Anthony Ciolli and the pseudonymous defendants in the litigation to be nailed to the wall? If the answer is yes, then Solove is for it. Traceable anonymity? Yes. Stricter limits on disclosures of facts about private persons? Yes. Anonymity for plaintiffs? Yes. This is a handy metric, but it doesn’t really do justice to the book.

Solove's fundamental contention is that the law can and should intervene to protect privacy in the face of challenges posed by the internet. The libertarian approach, he says, “does little to protect privacy.” If you are not concerned by this failure (and I am not), the entire project lacks a certain urgency. But, setting this aside for the moment, let’s explore some of what Solove finds threatening about the anarchic aspects of internet speech.

One of the most serious problems with “internet shaming” is that it creates a permanent record of transgression, compiled by vigilantes instead of professionals, and without input or rebuttal from the subject. Although Solove acknowledges that in some cases the web can shore up collapsing social norms, he give far more weight to the idea that the internet may contribute to the decline of certain social norms: namely, norms about privacy.

Very well, what should we do about this? Being a law professor, Solove recommends using tort law. (Solove’s embrace of privacy torts is based in part on the idea that “tort law remedies . . . aren’t authoritarian”—this despite their enforcement at the barrel of a gun.) He further proposes that the law be structured to avoid immediate recourse to the courts. In particular, this entails requiring that parties exhaust informal resolution mechanisms; “if the defendant agrees to remove the harmful information from the website, then this should be the end . . . unless the victim can demonstrate that [this] won’t sufficiently patch up the harm.”

Given the abuses of the DMCA takedown notice process, I would think that instantiating a similar set of procedures for any speech about an individual that could arguable violate his or her privacy would be extremely unappealing. While Solove is extremely concerned about over-enforcement in the context of private parties punishing norm violations, he does not recognize that his own proposal would result in over-enforcement of privacy norms, since the threat of litigation is often enough for webmasters to take down protected speech. Solove’s concern about protecting the identities of plaintiffs would also seem to be in tension with the need for a webmaster to be able to investigate and verify whether a takedown request is valid. Solove also argues for abolition of Section 230’s blanket immunity provision, but this too would result in over-enforcement; given the massive exposure and lower standards for liability imposed by a regime that punishes website operators aware of “problematic material,” the rational response to any given request would probably be to take down the material. And penalties for takedown-notice abusers are only useful if these same operators (who cannot afford even minor legal battles) or the likely-anonymous speakers (most of whom are similarly impoverished) would be willing to take the would-be censor to court, which would occur only rarely.

Perhaps the most troubling part of Solove’s argument is his discussion of how free speech rights conflict with the preservation of online privacy. “Disclosures made for spite,” he says, “or to shame others, or simply to entertain, should not be treated the same as disclosures made to educate or inform.” In fact, Solove takes the Supreme Court’s statements placing political speech at the core of the First Amendment to mean that non-political speech can be restricted with greater ease. This rank-ordering is not Solove’s invention, but although it is comparatively simple to divide speech into commercial and non-commercial, how do we decide what is informative and what is entertaining? What classification would the Drudge Report get? The National Enquirer? The New York Review of Books? How does the test for “entertaining” versus “informative” compare to the test we currently apply to pornography (which looks for social, literary, scientific, artistic value)? Likewise, Solove’s argument for the privacy of non-newsworthy information, such as the identity of subjects in a book or article, involves courts in normative and editorial judgments about the “proper interest” of the public and how to present a story. Courts are not equipped to make these determinations: they are not equipped to bowdlerize, censor, or recut media. And in an era of media fragmentation and non-credentialed citizen journalism, verifiability is even more vital; attempts to reduce the amount of information in stories are now more likely to make it difficult for the true picture to be discerned.

Solove asserts that the fall of privacy subjects us to judgment from many other people, which “can lead to an oppressive amount of social control.” But only pages before he argues that it might be difficult for us to judge others at all if we knew everything about them. In a society with much less privacy than our own, is it likely that oppressive social norms could be upheld once the popularity of deviance became evident? Wouldn’t we be likely to judge people using our new baselines for expected behavior, which would include much of what we currently choose to deny?

The experience of living online will only become more universalized, giving people more of a basis for judging people and information they encounter there. Privacy will recede from the heights it achieved during our brief period of wealth and atomization. Present notions of reputation will no longer apply; as multiple personas become more difficult to maintain. All this will result in a more accurate and humanized representation: we are who we are, warts and all, and the exposure of actions and beliefs that we now keep under wraps will result in changes in social norms. We need not fear the future, and despite Solove’s concerns, the temporary dislocation of the present is no great danger either.

Life, the Universe, and Everything: Surf's Up! Edition

I can't tell if this is inspirational or depressing.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

I am not Rob Schneider.

I'm pretty sure that most buyers would not be keeping oregano in here.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Quiche of Death

Note to quiche-makers: if you use the coarse side of the cheese grater, all the Gruyère sinks to the bottom and bonds with the crust. Ew.

I since made a second quiche, which overflowed the crust a bit. Fortunately, this just left delightful browned eggy bits all over the underside of the crust.

Risk-Averse Liberal Arts Majors, Take Note

Are you thinking of going to law school? Paul Gowder says you should think again.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Take That, Westlaw

Information wants to be free. (via)

Unrelatedly: Rap music, as interpreted through Microsoft Excel. (via)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Not nearly as bad as it could have been. (h/t Karl)

Burger King versus Britney Spears

Which type of individual would you think less highly of:
  • someone whose palate is essentially dead, eats only to fuel his body, and has no interest or appreciation for culinary skill or creativity, OR
  • someone who views music as occasionally pleasant background noise, is basically tone deaf, and can't tell Mozart from Mendelssohn?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Curing Huntington's is just the beginning.

A debate on genetic engineering at ScienceBlogs inspires a science fiction author to meditate on the genre of the "warning story" and other uses of the trope.

I'll get you, my pretty.

Doesn't this remind you of the famous dress Kate Winslet wore to the Oscars? So cute. And these tops are darling. Not sure if I have the neck to pull them off, though.

Just what I need: a giraffe-print coat.

Relatedly: how would you wear a black version of this jacket? I thought it would be very versatile, but the bulkiness and brocade are making it harder to wear than anticipated.

Monday, November 12, 2007


A proponent of "man's reason" visits the Creation Museum.

About as meritorious as that other modest proposal

DC Readers: Defend the right of college women to sleep around! Confront proponents of chastity! Attend this November 13 panel on modesty!

The panelists:
You must register to attend. To do so, send your name and affiliation to


Saturday, November 10, 2007

You gotta fight for your right to key parties

The Duncanville, Texas city council, in response to complaints from neighbors about well-attended meetings of a local, non-commercial swingers' club, have banned the following from residences in the town:
"any premises, person or organization that is presented, advertised, held out or styled as, or which provides notification to the public that it is a swinger's club; an adult encounter group or center; a sexual encounter group or center; party house or home; wife, spouse or partner-swapping club; or that it provides permission, an opportunity or an invitation to engage in or to view sexual activity, stimulation or gratification, whether for consideration or not."
Despite the Supreme Court's openness to consideration of secondary effects, this seems like a clear First Amendment violation.


Indecent Exposure Loophole

The Supreme Court of South Dakota overturned a teenager's conviction for indecent exposure because the defendant didn't exhibit his genitals in public for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification from the act of exposure. He merely sought gratification from sex with a mannequin which happened to be in a public building. South Dakota Real Doll owners, rejoice.

I don't buy the court's interpretation of the statute. Do you?

Friday, November 09, 2007

Aging Ungracefully

Me: Ew, Pauly Shore is old.
Steve: Awww? You think I'm old.
Me: Are you as old as Pauly Shore? (looks it up in Google)
Steve: You're going to think I'm old in ten months.
Me: You're already old.
Steve: You're old.
Me: I am. I'm in my late twenties. That's why I can't break up with you. Who would have me? I'm all used up.

Book Review: The Red and the Black

I'm enjoying this book immensely, but I think I identify too strongly with the protagonist.

I'll repost this when I'm done.

UPDATE: The decision to shoot Mme de Renal was utterly unbelievable and completely ruined the book for me.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Enough about the magazine already.

Woodstock : Boomer hippies : : Sassy Magazine : Women slightly older than me.


On learning to accept contextual mediocrity.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

This post has no title.

GW student commits copycat hate crime by drawing swastikas on her own door.

Trans woman arrested for indecent exposure for dropping trou to prove she's a woman. Meanwhile, 70% of gay and lesbian Americans are willing to throw the transgendered under the bus in order to get federal employment protections.

My mom never bought me toys like this.

Are monks hotter than lawyers?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Spit Take

In the AP coverage of Ron Paul's recent fundraising successes, this passage stood out:
Paul advocates limited government and low taxes like other Republicans, but he stands alone as the only GOP presidential candidate opposed to the Iraq war.
Advocates limited government "like other Republicans"? Which would those be, prithee?

Blade Runner IS Terrible.

This is so, so right. When Blockbuster Video was still running its "Blockbuster Favorites" program (if you rented a "Favorite" and didn't like it, you could get your money back), Blade Runner was the only movie that I and my then-boyfriend hated so much that we were willing to demand a refund.

Diplomats Don't Want to Go to Iraq. Would You?

An insider view of the town-hall meeting held to discuss the drafting of diplomats for Iraq.
FSOs are not a rallying kind of people. As I've detailed elsewhere, they are a careerist kind of people. In a situation such as described by Pastor Niemoeller's famous poem, FSOs are likely to sit down and mentally go through their personal affiliations to try to work out exactly how long they might optimally be able to stay silent before someone comes after them and they need to get the hell out. I mean, let's just establish that from the start, especially as it helps to understand how astonishing the ending of this tale is.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Pasta Sauce With Tomatoes and Mushrooms

I made some pretty decent pasta sauce this weekend. Here's the recipe:

3/4 oz. dried morels
28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 splash white wine
2 shallots, diced
2 tbsp butter

Soak the morels in about 1-1 1/2 cups hot water for five minutes. Remove mushrooms and slice them. Strain the soaking liquid and set aside.
Saute the shallots in the butter until soft, then add the mushrooms. After about three minutes, add the wine, then the soaking liquid. Allow this to cook down to about 1/3 its original volume, then add the tomatoes. Cover and simmer for about twenty minutes or until the tomatoes start to break down a little. You can put this in the blender to make a smooth sauce or leave it if you don't mind chunkiness. If you don't want a very strong mushroom flavor, add less of the soaking liquid.

This is magic.

Because everything should taste like bacon.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

The Streisand Effect: British Royal Family Edition

I never would have posted on this at all if they hadn't made such a fuss.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Love Found

For a while I thought I had imagined this purse, but I am not crazy.

I'm not sure if I want to keep it . . . the color is sort of hard to coordinate.

april hates u, makes lilacs, u no can has.

T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land, translated to lolcat.

There's been an attempt at Prufrock as well (thanks, P).