Friday, November 30, 2007

Advice for the super well-endowed

Do black porn star have bigger holes? According to research reported on NewScientist, "The biggest black holes in the universe might have grown within the bellies of giant stars." Is this headline racist: Biggest black holes may grow inside 'quasistars'?

Meet planet Earth's favorite third world fag, Bryan Boy.

P.S. Taylor Swift looks like Barbie. And don't forget to check out the midwest teen sex show. How random was that?
It is well known that Facebook collects, sells, and mines personal data of its users, including but not limited to members' social circles, media preferences, job and leisure activities, photographs, relationships, and any intellectual property ( i.e. poems, stories, voice or music recordings, works of art) placed on its site. What do you think about having your data sent to this site? Enter some names, it's a total hoot!

Can you find anyone you know?

Okay, so the World Sex Relationship Database still needs some work. It thinks Oprah has had more sex partners than Paris Hilton. And it reports this conjecture as "scientific data".


teddy touglas has uncovered this sociological data you might find interesting.

Although it is solely comprised of textual information gathered from a variety of independent sources, due to philosophical or religious concerns we must insist that only those who are 18 years or older view this information: Paris's partners, Oprah's Partners

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Poop on His Suit?

According to Ronnie Lowenstein of the Independent Budget Office the dollar amount of a fine does not reflect the social harm inflicted by the fined violation. For example, the same $25 fine applies to sidewalk vendors who refuse to allow inspectors to ensure food is being handled safely and to taxi drivers who wear cut-off shorts.

Another salient observation he presents: In 2002, the city spent $0.22 for every $1 in parking fine revenue collected. For all other fine revenue, the city spent $2.09 for each $1 collected.

False certification of correction of Housing Maintenance Code violations (administered by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development) are subject to fines of $50 to $250.

Parking violation fines range from $25 to $180.

The fine for performing plumbing work without a permit is $250 for the first violation.

In general, the penalty for a non-hazardous Housing Maintenance Code violation is a flat fine of $10-$50. For a hazardous violation the penalty is $25-$110 per day.

Fines for critical violations by licensed food establishments doubled from $100 to $200 per violation.

The Environmental Control Board handles fines for street cleanliness, waste disposal, the cleanliness of the city's water supply; air, water and noise pollution; street peddling; fire prevention and building safety; and the misuse of city parks. These include not following recycling regulations and improper disposal of canine waste. Violations are divided into types A (no action required) and B (corrective action required). The average payment is considerably higher for B violations—$394, five times the average A violation fine of $81.
For some correctable violations of the Building Code and the Fire Code, the respondent has the opportunity to cure the violation within 35 days from the date of the Notice of Violation. If the violation is cured, no payment of the imposed fine is required.

Railroad trespass carries a $10 fine in New York, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The maximum fine for Driving While Alcohol Impaired is
$300 to $500/$500 to $750, according to law firm Grunwald & Seman.

So what is going through city councilman Simcha Felder's mind when he proposed $1000 fines for feeding pigeons? This is beyond excessive. Even if you agree with the ban, the amount of the fine gives pigeon-feeding parity with much more serious crimes such as breaking-and-entering or driving while intoxicated.

While we are on the topic of inconsistency in US penal codes, here are some examples that blew my mind. (From 1910, a lot must have changed since but there is still a great deal of inconsistency.) Or look at this from People for a Fascist America .

I Was Loitering and I Didn't Even Know It. Courts: Err, That's Not Okay

Stonewall , by David Carter (2005). Shocking. So is NY Law. Did you know you are not allowed to be [sic] according to the law? Don't worry, that part of the code was struck down by a 4 to 3 margin of the Court of Appeals of New York in 1973. Yah, 3 judges dissented. Thought making it illegal to just be was okay. You actually have to explain to the police officer why you are in order for it not to be a crime. They call this crime loitering.

That part they got in '73 was NY Penal Code § 240.35 (6). Section 240.35 (2) lasted another decade. That was the part about "loitering for the purpose of engaging in deviate sex". Once the consensual sodomy laws went bye bye in People v. Onofre, "loitering for the purpose" couldn't be that bad, right? So the Court of Appeals struck it down in People v. Uplinger (1983). Ha. I just found that it went to the Supreme Court (New York v. Uplinger, 1984). They held that the writ of certiorari is dismissed as improvidently granted . So the statute remains down.

Next, § 240.35(7), "loiters or remains in any transportation facility, or is found sleeping therein, and is unable to give a satisfactory explanation of his presence," came under fire in People v. Clark (1987). The New York Supreme Court struck down the statute on 14th Amendment (due process) grounds.

see also Chicago v. Morales, in which the US Supreme Court struck down another loitering law in 1999.

Loiter: to remain in an area for no obvious reason, Merriam Webster.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

me: yesterday, i sat down in a bar and there was this guy sitting across the room from me and he's making eyes at me and i was thinking like alright, why don't you just come over if you want to talk
1:48 AM and then the bartender comes over and says the guy in the striped shirt across from you wants to buy you a drink
i said ok, and he brought me the drink
the guy still doesn't come over well, maybe he's shy
and he was just waiting for you to come up to him
he already made a sign that he's interested
the eyes... and the drink
me: just wait. and then finally, the bartender hands me this note from the guy that he's deaf
1:49 AM OH
and he's at the bar?
1:50 AM me: yah, so i thought i'd scan his note. it was kind of nice. poor guy OMG I WANNA SEE

Give Your Boyfriend 'Lust', at Etymonline

  • free-and-easy: natural and unstudied; "using their Christian names in a casual way"; "lectured in a free-and-easy style"

  • Casualty:
  • fatal accident: an accident that causes someone to die

  • How'd we get from free-and easy to fatal accident!? Sure, I know, you can explain it. But isn't it more fun not to?

    Casual and casualty are derived from the Latin casualis, "by chance". So people who act casually may do things unpremeditatively and casualties died by chance. So it makes sense. At least it makes some sense that the root took on wildly dissimilar denotations. What still doesn't fit is how "ty" changed everything. Take the next example:

    Sanguine: confidently optimistic and cheerful
    Sanguinary: gory: accompanied by bloodshed; "this bitter and sanguinary war"

    Whoa, that turned sour fast! What message are we sending here? It's a short trip from confident, blithe, and easy-go-lucky to a gory end? Both words come from the latin root sanguineus, "of blood," so sanguinary is self-explanatory. Sanguine comes from a theory in medieval physiology that believed in four "humors", black bile, yellow bile, phlegm, and blood. It was thought that an excess of blood contributed to a hopeful and confident, or sanguine, personality. My question is who decided that "ne" is the good one and "nary" is the bad one?

    Well, nary does mean "not a" as in "nary a whisper was heard" and according to the Australian government's Noisy Scrub-bird (Atrichornis clamosus) Recovery Plan, Ne stands for "effective population size; the reproductively-active part of a population," so there's something.

    I ought to be more controversial.
    definitions from WordNet®
    etymology from Online Etymology Dictionary

    Friday, November 23, 2007

    Holiday Depression

    Should I write it? Ok, I'll write it. An article fit for the Mishpacha, by Teddy Douglas, RLCGWTHKE (registered licensed clinical guy who thinks he knows everything).

    As the holiday season approaches, a sense of mirth and gladness begins to pervade the very air we breathe. The weather turns colder, the nights come on earlier, and spots of light become a striking feature of the streetscape. The media report on civic holiday preparations and the various hangups that these public works entail, the fliers and circulars begin rolling in advertising holiday sales and savings. Everybody seems to be having a good time. You get a few days off from work or school. You plan to spend some time with the family, maybe you go shopping for some Hanukkah gifts. But for many people, mistletoe and menorahs trigger feelings of emptiness and even depression. Though this can often seem inexplicable, the holiday blues are an increasingly common phenomenon.

    Rivkah H.*, a 29 year old mother of three, came into my office complaining of a feeling of dread and sadness that would start around Thanksgiving and wouldn't go away until spring. She had gained some weight and reported feeling tired. While these complaints may simply be the result of dealing with a tighter schedule and inclement weather, often this pattern of symptoms is sufficiently severe to be consistent with a diagnosis of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

    We don't know precisely what causes SAD, but several seasonal factors are hypothesized to play a role. Longer nights increase your body's production of melatonin, while getting less sunlight may lead to a drop in serotonin. Earlier nightfall may alter the body's circadian rhythms and disrupt your normal sleep-wake cycles, which can have a negative impact on mood. Any combination of these factors may be responsible for the seasonal depression know as SAD, which affects about 4% to 15% of the population every year.

    Another client, Jacob M.*, 21, reported feeling emptiness, hopelessness, and detachment that would come and go in brief spurts. Episodes would often last from a day or two to a week and then gradually recede until he would get back to feeling normal. During these episodes, Jacob would sleep longer than usual and become less interested in social interaction. If these symptoms caused "clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning", Jacob could be going through what psychiatrists call a Major Depressive Episode, the primary feature of Major Depressive Disorder.

    (It is important to point out here that the methodology of the standard diagnostic manual used by the mental health profession today (DSM-IV) is based on symptomatology, not etiology. That is to say, disorders are differentiated primarily by their universe of symptoms, not by their cause. This means that even though Jacob's diagnosis is simply depression (or even depression, recurrent, with seasonal pattern) it is useful to go beyond this to try to understand his condition.)

    During the clinical interview, it came to light that Jacob's depressive episodes would often coincide with the winter holidays. Although timing of onset and the similarity of symptoms make it easy to confuse holiday depression with SAD, there are a number of important differences. Holiday depression is often characterized by a more rapid onset and briefer duration; it is a more acute condition, while SAD is more chronic. Jacob's condition may have more to do with psychosocial triggers than seasonal ones.

    The causes of holiday depression are manifold. First, the holiday season involves a breakup from the ordinary schedule for most people. Normal, comforting routines of work or school are interrupted. People are likely to travel or receive guests. Any disruption of the norm can trigger stress and anxiety and lead to feelings of unhappiness. Time off from our usual busy schedules can provide a chance for introspection and reevaluation. If we find we are not happy with where our lives are taking us, we may feel desolate and hopeless.

    In addition, the holidays offer great expectations of familial warmth and religious meaning. For many, these high expectations may simply not materialize, leading to feelings of intense loneliness and abandonment. Conversations with friends and coworkers, together with media portrayals of "everyone else" enjoying vacations and family time can exacerbate feelings of loneliness for people who do not or cannot enjoy the holiday togetherness. For those who do not identify with the religious implications of the holidays, this season can stir up feelings of being different and aloof from society as a whole.

    The fact is, most people do not have the Brady Bunch holiday Coca-Cola would like you to imagine (so that you buy lots of Coke to serve your many guests). Psychologists call this concept pluralistic ignorance. Everybody tries to conform to what they perceive is the group norm (in this case to put on a happy face and celebrate the holidays) even though each person privately disagrees with that perceived norm (people may not think of the standard holiday celebrations as their idea of a good time). Through better communication, it would have been apparent that the perceived group norm was actually incorrect: the others all agreed with the individual's assessment but they kept silent and also conformed to the perceived (nonexistent) norm.

    Another factor has to do with the sense of self becoming threatened by holiday social situations. People tend to develop distinct social persona, or masks, that characterize them in each social situation. These distinct persona, rather than any underlying sense of true self, are powerful driving forces of personal behavior. When holiday season arrives and people are pressed into unusual social situations, they find that their familiar social persona is exchanged for a new one until they almost do not even recognize themselves. They may begin to act in different ways than usual or become confused and uncertain about how they should act.

    Together, seasonal changes, disruption of routine, challenging social situations, pluralistic ignorance that causes us to think we are the only one "missing out", and crises of identity and meaning can lead to sadness, loneliness, and that horrible feeling in the pit of the stomach that we identify as holiday depression.

    Holiday depression can often be treated successfully pharmacologically with anti-depressive agents or with psychotherapy, however the short duration of individual episodes means that symptoms will usually subside on their own before drugs or therapy take effect. If there is a SAD component, light therapy may be effective in alleviating some cases of holiday depression. It is crucial for family and caregivers to be aware that the brief duration of holiday depression episodes should not lead them to discount the painful, and for some, crippling, nature of this syndrome. Because it strikes at a time when people expect to be happy, it can be a devastating blow. By essentially "removing all the good parts" from life, holiday depression can make things look very bleak indeed.

    Feedback appreciated. Pretty please, comment, revise, add, edit, argue, whatever.

    Thursday, November 22, 2007

    Life is Like a Party That Sucks: You Want to Leave, But You Know That Will Only Make Things Worse

    My parents wonder why I stay out all night partying and sleep all day. Isn't it obvious? I prefer to spend my waking hours relieved of their presence. I like spending time with them, but only during predetermined "visiting hours". Having them around at other times becomes a burden.

    I went out with some friends last night. Met some new people. Started dancing with 1 guy, then another, didn't hook up. The 1st lived pretty far out and I wasn't interested in doing the bathroom thing; the second had an awesome body, rock hard abs, but the face I wasn't crazy about. Genre calls this a lobster because (though I don't have personal experience in this department, apparently) with lobsters you throw away the head and just eat the rest. But I find the analogy rather annoying and certainly inappropriate - like most things in that magazine, especially their criminally abominable fashion sense. Funny thing is that even though I knew at the beginning that I wasn't looking for sex this time and just wanted to dance and hang out with my friends, it still felt awkward going home alone at the end of the night.

    Quote: When are strippers not annoying? I mean, we've got people to fuck, we've got porn, what do we need strippers for?

    P.S. Uh oh, this post is now rated R.

    Futility of Life

    What good is it if you can't share it? And then, of course, by extension, what good is it even if you can?

    Wednesday, November 21, 2007

    Don't Get The Wrong Impression

    The amount of fMRI research being abused to show "the neurocognitive differences between supporters of Hillary and Romney" is getting a bit ridiculous. The shopping bag law is a shameless assault on freedom. The 408 foot spire and antenna planned for the top of the so-called Freedom tower is threatened to be made obsolete by newer antennae used for digital broadcasting, which is being mandated by the FCC - a further attack on free enterprise. Is is sexist of the media to refer to Hillary Clinton by her first name and all the male candidates by their last? She's supposedly a good lawyer, so watch for a lawsuit if she loses the race.

    We already know that Santa's "Ho, Ho, Ho" is insulting to women (huh?) but did you know that he's also setting a bad example for obese children?

    At Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, they even put Mr. F*ing Potato Head on a diet. Mr. Potato Head! Called him Healthy Mr. Potato Head as if this could somehow disguise the fact that potato chips and fries still won't be healthy, no matter how many sit-ups their Head does. But don't people realize that he's just a toy? So you can't win. The models are too skinny, the toys are too fat. Our kids are screwed. Big-boned Barbie

    I start to watch a movie on my computer and keep getting distracted by the infonet.

    Recently, I had a crazy cool experience which I can't disclose because of confidentiality, but let's say it had something to do with blood and a doctor, and it stirred up a lot of emotions, made me feel faint and woozy, and made me reconsider whether I want to go into medicine. Incidentally, it also reminded me how hard it is to be a parent and encouraged my interest in health sciences.

    The New NY Times

    Uh, they have names

    How much would you charge for your right to vote?

    Get hooked on Overheard New York

    When I have some time

    Sunday, November 18, 2007

    Lightweights Eating Out

    Saw an ad for:

    New Deluxe

    An us Third Pounder

    at McDonalds

    Wednesday, November 07, 2007

    Out of Context, Issue 4

    "The son unborn mars beauty: born, he brings his own pain, divides affection, increases care. He is a male: his growth is his father's decline, his youth his father's envy, his friend his father's enemy."

    Joyce, James.
    Scylla and Charybdis, Ulysses.

    Sunday, November 04, 2007

    Tread Softly For You Tread On My Dreams

    A funny thing happened to me the other day. I don't think this has happened really in a number of years, but I got turned on by a girl. Made me more confused than being attracted to boys. Truth is, I always said I was more bi than fully gay, but it was still a bit confusing. I'm over it.

    Anyway, I discovered a whole new local social scene, really an entire subculture that somehow flew below the radar--like--forever. It was pretty cool. And I'm set to start my new job this week, finally. Nervous? You bet! Not just nervous, that's not quite the word. More like horrified. But it'll be cool. And then there's the applications. They take so long! And the process has had me doing a lot of thinking. About myself, what I want to do, where I see myself in five years? Ten? Cliched, I know. But it's still real.

    And then there was this guy, well actually lets go in order. There was this guy who was cute, with the trim three-day beard, light shortish hair, looks great in a suit. Two button suit with the top shirt button open and white shirt-tails hanging out beneath the jacket. Then there was this really cute guy I just wanted to hold and kiss and cuddle. Smart, a little computer-geeky, but in a good way. Great smile. I'm not good at these descriptions. Then there was this really amazing brilliant gorgeous law student whose outfit and hair were so cute, and his cheeks rosy from alcohol, even his voice was sexy. And then he was having intense conversations about God and morality and prime time television, wow! Dreamy. Marriage material.

    Sorry about the daydreams. Back to what I was saying, that I'm applying to do a doctorate just for the hell of it, though I'm not sure I like the field, or that having this degree will actually qualify me to work in the field. But this is the area I've studied, so in this area I'm prepared to pursue graduate study, perhaps even in the Ivy League. Which is an exciting proposition to me for some unidentified reason (probably having a lot to do with vanity).

    Remind me to look up network theory. Someone mentioned it in casual conversation (as in, "network theory helped me solve LSAT logic games easily) along with a host of esoteric math concepts (integrals, partial differentials, you know the drill) which made me realize just how much I have to learn. Oh, and about love. So there was this great young couple. Actually the first time I saw a young married couple behaving normally. Like normal people. Not like those famous Maalot Dafna couples. Not like the Ramat Eshkol couples. Not like the Machal couples. They were regular people, though they played Shabbos hosts, it wasn't a stuffy make-believe matziv like the way those newlyweds play house according to all the rules they think they are supposed to follow. It was just friends getting together and chilling. And it was really beautiful. Anyway not to sound to mushy but I'm pretty open about blabbering my feelings here.

    So the husband says about his wife that he is so obsessed with her that if she ever cheated with another guy he'd feel like his life was forfeit, like killing himself. Hearing him describe his feelings like that made me think. To me, I subscribe overly much to the sex is just sex theory and emotional attachments are rare. Perhaps because I haven't met the right person yet, but perhaps also because I have a totally skewed sense of relationships to begin with. I admired his sentiments but couldn't relate. I don't remember feeling that way about anybody. If I was with a guy and he cheated, well, it was to be expected. How could I expect him to pass up an opportunity, and as long as he's there for me when I need him, so what if he played with someone else. No, I'm not comfortable with this. This way of thinking. I don't know, it sounds like a great theory, but it doesn't connect with most people. Here's where I stop making sense.

    Not that I can't be monogamous. Actually, that is the most natural state for me when I'm with a guy I really like. If things are going well with one person, I totally don't need anyone else. Not interested. It's when I'm with someone who is not an optimal fit that I'm still in the game, seeking better. Ok, I wrote too much. My heart is on the table. Cut it up if you will.

    And another thing. I apparently have this total mental block about calling home when I'm going to be late. So every time I go out, I come back to a litany of, "We were so worried about you. How come you didn't call? I guess you don't care how we feel." So I get the feeling, right or wrong, that they don't approve of my going out, don't approve of having friends. So I alternate staying home and being a loner with going out and slipping out without telling my parents. Then if it's getting late, I think, "I'm still having a good time and not ready to leave," and the idea of just calling to say I'll be in late somehow does not occur to me at all, even though I had resolved the last time to do just that. So the cycle repeats. But the funny thing is, I do not have a bad memory, so I think it is some psychological block on calling home. Like I block out the idea subconsciously because I get these vibes of disapproval from them that I'm not interested in even though practically I know the right thing is to call. And I'm self-centered. And hey, while I'm at it, sex-obsessed. Though not as much as I used to be. Okay, as much.