James Choi's .Plan
total respondent ratio
indicates actual number
|Less than 20%||20 to 39%||40 to 59%||60 to 79%||80% or more|
|1. from under or around fingernails||17%|
|2. from hands||17%|
|3. from other sources||63%|
"It is a fine line beer ads have to tread, to make the people in ads seem
just like you, only a bit better -- the industry buzz word is
--Chris Ballard, NYT Magazine, on how to make a beer ad
"Children growing up in single-parent families are twice as likely as
their counterparts in two-parent families to develop serious psychiatric
illnesses and addictions later in life, a Swedish study has found...
Experts say the study, published this week in the British medical journal
The Lancet, is convincing because it is unprecedented in scale and
follow-up. It tracked about a million children for a decade, into their
--Associated Press on yet another tragedy of divorce and out-of-wedlock births
"You're too opinionated, James. Relax."
--Jimmy Quach reacting to my dim view of his penchant for wearing his girlfriend's jewelry
"My biggest fear is that I'll get too big for my shirts. My size is a
medium. All my shirts are smalls."
--Joe Yang describing his misgivings about taking jujitsu classes
"Puppy dogs and pussy cats
In suspect suicide attacks
Captain Kirk from Planet Earth
Fights it out with Papa Smurf
Some phoney little ponies
Preying on the old and lonely
Making friends, robbing them
The X-Men taught them everything"
--Fluke, "Absurd," 1997. In a sly reference, this song is used in the original X-Men movie trailer, the part where the characters' names flash by, although the lyrics are never heard. See it here. It's trailer v. 2.
"Internet providers must agree to requests by the music industry to track down computer users who illegally download music, a federal judge ruled Tuesday in a case that could dramatically increase online pirates' risk of being caught."
--Ted Bridis, Associated Press, on the increasing risks of piracy
"[SUV drivers] tend to be people who are insecure and vain. They are frequently nervous about their marriages and uncomfortable about parenthood. They often lack confidence in their driving skills. Above all, they are apt to be self-centered and self-absorbed, with little interest in their neighbors and communities. They are more restless, more sybaritic, and less social than most Americans are. They tend to like fine restaurants a lot more than off-road driving, seldom go to church and have limited interest in doing volunteer work to help others."
--Keith Bradsher, author of High and Mighty: SUVs--The World's Most Dangerous Vehicles and How They Got That Way, summarizing auto industry marketing research
"Government researchers have found that a behemoth like the four-ton Chevy
Tahoe kills 122 people for every 1 million models on the road; by
comparison, the Honda Accord only kills 21. Injuries in SUV-related
accidents are likewise more severe."
--Stephanie Mencimer, Washington Monthly, on the SUV menace
"Finally, an unprecedented international public-opinion survey for the Pew
Research Center for the People and the Press, involving 38,000 respondents
in forty-four countries, found, as The New York Times
reported in a passing sentence in the eighth paragraph of a story on page
A22, that 'throughout Europe, at least two-thirds of the public' support
the Bush-led U.S. campaign against terrorism... The inadvertently
self-parodying Times headline: 'WORLD SURVEY SAYS NEGATIVE
VIEWS OF U.S. ARE RISING.'"
--Michael Kelly, Atlantic Monthly, on the NYT's furious leftward spin
Graph from the January/February 2003 Atlantic Monthly, summarizing research indicating that those who value money highly tend to report themselves as less happy than those who value love highly:
Average income identified by U.S. adults as enough to "fulfill all your
dreams" (again from the Atlantic):
"A final, less quantifiable development has served to snuff out marital
sexuality, and it has to do with the way middle- and upper-middle-class
adults think about family life and their role in it. There are many
indications of this, but let us simply glance at the Disney catalogue. Not
surprisingly, in addition to toys and figurines the catalogue features
Disney-themed clothing: bathrobes with Winnie the Pooh appliques, stretch
knit pants with a small Mickey Mouse at the hem, quilted 'Magic Winter
Jackets' featuring a choice of Eeyore, Mickey, or Pooh. Here's the
problem: all these items are for adults."
--Caitlin Flanagan, Atlantic Monthly, on the death of marital sex
"[Marital therapist] Michele Weiner Davis reminds women that one of the
more effective ways to get a husband to be more considerate and helpful is
to seduce him. She counsels a group of female clients who complain of
angry, critical husbands to 'pay more attention to their physical
relationships with their husbands,' to 'be sexier, more affectionate,
attentive, responsive, and passionate.' Darned if the old bag of tricks
doesn't work like a charm--the ladies arrive at the next therapy session
giggling and thrilled with their new powers."
--Caitlin Flanagan on the wonders of marital sex
"The most recent comprehensive study of SUV performance and safety, published last July by the National Research Council (NRC), an affiliate of the National Academy of Sciences, found that occupant deaths were slightly higher in SUVs as a class than in cars as a class. That's right: in an accident, you and your family are more likely to die if you are riding in an SUV rather than in a car."
--Gregg Easterbrook, New Republic, debunking the myth of SUV safety
"One of the many practical jokes about SUVs is that as big and imposing as
they appear, they cannot carry much more than regular cars. The maximum
safe load for the pre-2002 Explorer was 1,300 pounds, the same limit as
for the mid-size Ford Taurus."
"Harvard doesn't make you famous. You make your school famous."
--Olympic diving legend Sammy Lee expressing puzzlement about Koreans' curious obsession with Harvard
"A common question among passengers, and possibly among Greyhound executives, is how the companies can afford such low fares. What few people know is that, since May, they have been locked in a bitter price war involving cutthroat tactics. The tale is a tangled one."
--Steve Kurutz, NYT, telling the story of the Chinatown buses
"Architects loved Peabody Terrace then, and they still love it today. When
it was new it won a national honor award for good design from the American
Institute of Architects. Its principal designer, Josep Lluis Sert,
longtime dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Design, later received the
AIA's highest award, its Gold Medal for lifetime achievement. Yet the
public hated it."
--Robert Campbell, Boston Globe, on Harvard's ugly grad student housing
"I could be wrong, but I think multiculturalism is on the run. Slowly on
the run. Because so much of it, at the end of the day, was artificial,
built on certain presumptions of ethnic-cultural nationalism. It's ironic,
people fought on college campuses for decades for a kind of separate
recognition. But then by the time someone is out of school and on the job,
and people start coming up to them and wishing them 'Happy Kwanzaa'
because they're black-folks resented it."
--Leon Wynter, author of "American Skin: Pop Culture, Big Business & The End of White America," on post-racial America
"Those calling for speech codes frequently see themselves as victims, and victimism exploits its position by calling for greater 'diversity' in the community in which the victim exists... But that very diversity normally brings individuals with unpopular views into the academic community, precisely the views the proposed speech code would attempt to silence. Thus, the call for diversity is actually disingenuous -- what speech code advocates really want is a greater representation in their community of individuals who hold the same, not differing, opinions as them."
--Richard Cravatts, Harvard Crimson, on specious calls for diversity
"Now that hip-huggers are back in fashion, physicians can expect to see
more patients with tingly thighs."
--Canadian doctor Malvinder Parmar warning against the sensory-nerve dangers of Britney-esque jeans in a letter to the Canadian Medical Association Journal
"All music snobs harbor a deep, dark secret -- the music they loved before they became cool. Maybe it was that first Earth, Wind, and Fire tape. Maybe it was Chicago."
--David Samuels, Slate, on the evolution of musical snobbery. For me, it was Milli Vanilli.
"Consumers fall more neatly into categories than we might wish. Moments
after we met, one Nike guy correctly guessed I wear New Balance. I was
wearing plain black dress shoes at the time."
--Seth Stevenson, NYT Magazine, on our illusions of uniqueness
"You know, Yao Ming is pretty adorable."
--Jimmy Quach, again without irony
"Some people avoid milk because they are lactose-intolerant and experience flatulence or diarrhea when drinking the milk on an empty stomach. Nutritionists, however, have found that most lactose-intolerant people can handle up to three glasses a day if they are consumed slowly and with meals."
--Jane Brody, NYT, on the red herring of lactose intolerance
"No region in the country has a lower percentage of churchgoers than the Pacific Northwest. But ask people here about the existence of a camera-resistant, grooming-challenged, upright biped known as Bigfoot or Sasquatch and the true believers shout to the misty heavens in affirmation. So it came as a considerable blow when the children of Ray L. Wallace announced that their prank-loving pop had created the modern myth of Bigfoot when he used a pair of carved wooden feet to stomp a track of oversized footprints in a Northern California logging camp in 1958."
--Timothy Egan, NYT, on a legend that won't die
"C'mon, shouldn't the pope be Catholic?"
--Laura Vellenga, InterVarsity director for central and southern New Jersey, reacting to the Rutgers InterVarsity Multiethnic Christian Fellowship being kicked off campus because it insists that its leaders be Christian. Nope, there are no thought police on campuses today; the free exchange of ideas is what today's universities are all about!
"Seven Westfield High School students were notified early yesterday that
they would be suspended from class for distributing candy canes with
religious notes to their classmates before Christmas."
--Michele Kurtz, Boston Globe, on more respect for the First Amendment
Click here for a counterscript to torture telemarketers. Hilarious.
"Until Mr. Hanson arrived in May 1983, the new software was called Interface Manager, which the programmers liked."
--Steve Lohr, NYT, on the original name of Microsoft Windows
"Using data from the Chicago Public Schools, we estimate that serious cases of teacher or administrator cheating on standardized tests occur in 4-5 percent of elementary school classrooms annually. Moreover, the observed frequency of cheating appears to respond strongly to relatively minor changes in incentives. Our results suggest that introducing high-stakes testing without appropriate safeguards will likely lead to widespread cheating."
--Brian Jacob and Steven Levitt, "Rotten Apples: An Investigation of the Prevalence and Predictors of Teacher Cheating," on an undiscussed pitfall of school testing
"My favorite polling result of the 2000 election was a Time magazine
survey that revealed that 19 percent of Americans believe that they have
incomes in the top 1 percent, and a further 20 percent believe they will
--David Brooks, NYT, on ignorance about income distribution
"Nowadays people don't want you to sing good. They want you to sing sloppy and have a good beat to your songs. That's what angle I'm going to shoot for. That's where the money is. So just in case about three or four months from now you might hear a record by me which sounds terrible, don't feel ashamed, just wait until the money rolls in because every day people are singing worse and worse on purpose and the public buys more and more records."
--Jimi Hendrix in a letter to his father
"Sen. Bill Frist of Tennessee, who will be majority leader instead of
Lott, is a Southern politician who avoided Lott's tragedy by having the
courage to be born a decade later."
--Michael Kinsley, Slate.com, on going with the flow
"[Religion] may outlast the party and the state."
--Chinese President Jiang Zemin at a religious affairs conference last December
"Next time you reread [Lord of the Rings], count the number of powerful beings who are vastly uglier than anybody with that kind of power would allow themselves to be. Why? How does being grotesquely ugly help you govern an empire?"
--David Brin, Salon.com, on why the LOTR is biased towards the victors
"Now ponder something that comes through even the party-line demonization
of a crushed enemy -- this clear-cut and undeniable fact: Sauron's army
was the one that included every species and race on Middle Earth,
including all the despised colors of humanity, and all the lower classes.
Hmm. Did they all leave their homes and march to war thinking, 'Oh, goody,
let's go serve an evil Dark Lord'? Or might they instead have thought they
were the 'good guys,' with a justifiable grievance worth fighting for,
rebelling against an ancient, rigid, pyramid-shaped, feudal hierarchy
topped by invader-alien elfs and their Numenorean-colonialist human
--David Brin on Sauron's side of the LOTR
"Most professors are liberals, and it's true that in its wisdom American society has decided to warehouse its radical lunatics on university campuses -- in specialized departments that operate as nunneries for the perpetually alienated."
--David Brooks, Weekly Standard, on academic ideologies
"So I wait for terrorists to attack
Every time a truck backfires I fire back
I look for shelter when a plane is over me
Remember Pearl Harbor? New York could be over, G
Kamikaze, strapped with bombs
No peace in the East, they want revenge for Saddam"
--Eric B. and Rakim, "Casualties of War," 1992. Eerily prescient.
"It's great fun to differentiate Arctan(x)! Here are the first 20
--Jason Hildebrand, Arctan() Appreciation Home Page
"The First Commandment is not a commandment but a theological statement, and it is a theological statement I reject."
--Rabbi Harvey Tattelbaum, NYT, on what he believes
"According to a study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings in January,
about a third of college women now have pierced navels."
--Clive Thompson, NYT Magazine, on navel enhancement
"We've even developed a navel aesthetic. Charles L. Puckett of the
University of Missouri, determined to find out exactly what it is,
conducted an experiment that he published in a journal article, 'In Search
of the Ideal Female Umbilicus.' ('To reconstruct or improve the umbilical
appearance,' Puckett intoned, 'the ideal must be known.') He showed photos
of 147 female bellybuttons to a group of judges, including 15 men and 6
women. The verdict? Attractive navels are small and vertical in
orientation, or have a T shape -- a thin vertical hollow capped by 'a
superior hood or shelf.' Ugly navels are horizontal, a shape that often
comes -- what do you know -- from age, pregnancy or weight gain. And there
are the unlucky few (10 percent of women) who have a 'distorted' or
irregular navel. As for you 'outies' -- well, keep your shirts on."
--Clive Thompson, NYT Magazine, on the perfect navel
"Pamela Dalton, a resident scientist, rose to the challenge of developing 'psychologically toxic' odors -- smells that would cause sniffers to lose their appetites for aggression. But this challenge came with a catch: the military wanted an equal-opportunity odor, something offensive to everyone, everywhere, and not just to members of certain cultural groups."
--Stephen Mihm, NYT Magazine, on stench warfare
"To have pulled out of the papal residence in a van with Bono and have the
mobs chasing behind us, like in a Beatles movie -- it's fun, I have to
say. I leaned over to [Bono], and I said, 'Look, they always do that with
macroeconomists.' And he looked at me, like, 'Yeah, right.'"
--Jeffrey Sachs on the perks of being a celebrity economist
"'For a full hour, I will talk about my hopes and dreams for the people in
this state and this country, regardless of their race, and to make sure
that African-Americans have the opportunities that they deserve,' [Trent
Lott] promised the press in Pascagoula. For the love of Amos 'n' Andy,
hasn't Mr. Lott punished the black man enough?"
--Maureen Dowd, NYT, on Trent Lott's furious backpedalling
"When you're making a soup, you might buy young, fragile carrots. You put those in a canned soup, they won't last. They'll disintegrate. So companies grow special carrots for soups. They look like tree limbs -- they're like baseball bats. But once they go through the cooking process, they come out looking like the small young ones that you'd put into your soup."
--David Gombas, former Campbell Soup research scientist, on what goes into canned soup
"Today we literally have rappers who simply cannot speak, much less have a limited vocabulary of 50-100 words. In the past we accepted this as regional slang and accent, whereas a rapper chose to not use the king's English, as opposed to not knowing it entirely... With this in mind EMINEM has gained the throne of hip hop consciousness if you can call it that, by default. The hip hop nation slides into settling for 'dumbassification' while the opinion, wit, and words come from a white kid from the suburbs of DETROIT. Nothing wrong with EM being brilliant, the kid is like a rap ROY JONES Jr."
--Chuck D, Public Enemy, on the state of hip hop
"In medieval Europe, a conviction for murder required either two
eyewitnesses or a confession by the perpetrator. This made it almost
impossible to punish the crime of murder, which was an intolerable
situation. So, torture developed as a way to extract the necessary
confessions. Plea bargaining evolved the same way, [Yale law professor
John] Langbein explained. As our official system of justice became larded
with more and more protections for the accused, actually going through the
process of catching, prosecuting, and convicting a criminal the official
way became impossibly burdensome. So, the government offered the accused a
deal: You get a lighter sentence if you save us the trouble of a trial.
Or, to put it in a more sinister way: You get a heavier sentence if you
insist on asserting your constitutional rights to a trial, to confront
your accusers, to privacy from searches without probable cause, to avoid
incriminating yourself, etc."
--Michael Kinsley, Slate.com, on why innocent people confess
"The sad part of the story is he was running as fast as he could."
--Jerry Perisho on Utah Jazz center Greg Ostertag's being fined $7,500 for failing to immediately leave the court after being ejected from the Lakers game on Sunday
"Applicants with white-sounding names were 50 percent more likely to be
called for interviews than were those with black-sounding names.
Interviews were requested for 10.1 percent of applicants with
white-sounding names and only 6.7 percent of those with black-sounding
names. Within racial groups, applications with men's or women's names were
equally likely to result in calls for interviews, providing little
evidence of discrimination based on sex in these entry-level jobs."
--Alan Krueger, NYT, on a racial discrimination experiment
"Born-again Christian Alice Cooper deems his concerts, with their
simulated beheadings and spattering blood, 'very anti-satanic.'"
--Stephen Bates, Weekly Standard, on the unlikely Christian
Some churches have waaay too much time on their hands. Check out http://www-personal.engin.umich.edu/~wangpl/new7/other/Whoomp_Praise_the_Lord_20149.wmv
"[Jack] Nicholson says that some part of him envies Warren Schmidt for having spent his life with one woman, and occasionally (very occasionally, probably) wishes he had: 'You know, then the archives of our memories and so forth would be intertwined.'"
--Jeff Giles, Newsweek, on the advantages of monogamy
"If that image [of the terrifying Yankee] has subsequently withstood what
Americans would consider convincing evidence of our goodwill -- two world
war rescues, followed by the Marshall Plan -- it's in part because it
fulfills a need among the French intellectual elite. Spanning the
political spectrum from left to right, anti-Americanism is the great
unifier here, 'the only "French passion,"' [French intellectual historian
Philippe] Roger writes, 'that calms the other passions, softens
antagonisms, and reconciles the most bitter adversaries.'"
--Robert Kunzig, U.S. News and World Report, on French anti-Americanism
"France, to many, is the country where people are always either on strike
or on vacation."
--Robert Kunzig on American attitudes towards France
"Evidence suggests that evolutionary processes in the composition of
genetic traits may be rather rapid and even the time period between the
Neolithic Revolution and the Industrial Revolution that lasted nearly
10,000 years is sufficient for significant evolutionary changes... For
instance, lactose tolerance was developed among European and Near
Easterners since the domestication of dairy animals in the course of the
Neolithic Revolution, whereas in regions that were exposed to dairy
animals in later stages the population does not retain the ability to
digest lactose into adulthood."
--Oded Galor and Omer Moav, "Natural Selection and the Origin of Economic Growth," Quarterly Journal of Economics, November 2002
"The experts say a marriage goes through three stages: one, romantic
infatuation, two, power struggles, three, mutual acceptance. I am in the
fourth stage, abject surrender."
--Al Gore, Harvard Crimson
"I saw a lawyer the other day, and he said, 'My client wants $12 million.' I said, 'That client's not getting $12 million.' He said, 'Well, then, he'll litigate.' I said: 'Go ahead. Go litigate. And do me a favor, hold a press conference, O.K.? And tell everyone how that $4 million I was willing to give you was too low, and say you wanted 12. Go on national TV and all the networks and let people know how unfair Feinberg's been in not giving you $12 million.'"
--Kenneth Feinberg, special master of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, on greed in the wake of 9/11
"'Dear Mr. Feinberg, My husband died in the World Trade Center in '93. Why
aren't I eligible?' 'Dear Mr. Feinberg, Last year my husband saved three
little girls from drowning in the Mississippi River, and then he went
under and died, a hero -- why aren't I eligible?' 'Dear Mr. Feinberg,
Last year I got rear-ended by a hit-and-run driver and got laid up for six
months. Where's my $1.8 million?'"
--Kenneth Feinberg on comments he receives that reveal the fatal flaw of the Victim Compensation Fund
"i've also realized that i'm bad at thinking up costumes for theme
parties. we were supposed to wear ugly christmas sweaters or other garish
holiday stuff to this one. my excuse is that only white people buy those
--Anonymous Asian friend
"Chronic guilt is the price we're willing to pay to avoid changing our
--Daniel Harrell, Park Street Church, on sin
"I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had of followed our lead we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either."
--Trent Lott at Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday party
"I want to tell you, ladies and gentleman, that there's not enough troops
in the army to force the southern people to break down segregation and
admit the Nigra race into our theaters, into our swimming pools, into our
homes, and into our churches."
--Strom Thurmond during his 1948 presidential campaign. Food for thought: how was Southern segregation different from Augusta's all-male policy? Why do I (and most Americans) feel outraged by the former but not the latter? Perhaps it's because the former was motivated by feelings of racial superiority, whereas the latter is arguably a private gathering that doesn't presume gender superiority, any more than a fraternity is not inherently sexist. But I do admit to being troubled by this.
"The New York Times plans to run this weekend the two previously spiked
sports columns that contradicted the paper's editorial position on Augusta
National, the all-male country club that hosts the Masters Tournament,
according to one of the columnists."
--Seth Mnookin, Newsweek, on the NYT eating crow. See the 12/2 and 12/5 .plan entries
"I sometimes think I should feel bad, but honestly the way they work us
here, I don't think there's anything wrong with it. I think you
pick and choose the rules that should apply to you in some cases, and in
this case, I just think we can't be expected to learn all this stuff."
--Harvard undergrad "Luke," who cheats both academically and romantically
"There are a number of people who just can't take that kind of cut in pay, even given their desire to be a public servant. I'm concerned that given those pay levels that at some point only wealthy people will be able to step forward."
--Massachusetts governor-elect Mitt Romney on the puzzling notion that $110,000 cabinet salaries attract only wealthy people
"Hasbro said that the [artificial] cat, whose target audience is 6- to-12-year-old girls, has found a second one: people in nursing homes who want the companionship of a cat without the litter box."
--Saul Hansell, NYT, on the odd phenomenon of seeking companionship from robots
"Editors of The New York Times killed a column by Pulitzer Prize winner
Dave Anderson that disagreed with an editorial about Tiger Woods and
Augusta National's refusal to admit women as members.
A column by sportswriter Harvey Araton also was zapped, sources said,
because it differed with the paper's editorial opinion about the golf club
--Paul Colford, New York Daily News, on journalistic freedom at the New York Times
"According to conventional wisdom, mom-and-pop stores are dying. But not according to the Census Bureau. USAT's Page One graphic illustrates census data showing that mom-and-pop operations—defined, kind of loosely, as small businesses that don't have any employees—are becoming slightly more common. There were six percent more of them in 2000 than in 1997."
--Eric Umansky, Slate.com, on the true state of small businesses
"That is, unless a student is Christian, he or she may not be an officer
of [the Harvard-Radcliffe Christian Fellowship]. This rule is indisputably
discriminatory and in violation of not only the council's
non-discrimination clauses, but also of the College's non-discrimination
policy... I see, therefore, no evidence whatsoever that the HRCF has a
compelling reason for requiring that its officers be Christian. Aside
from, of course, discriminatory and unfairly biased reasons."
--Jason Lurie, Harvard Crimson, on the right of the people peaceably to assemble. To my surprise, this editorial is not a parody.
"On Nov. 25, the New York Times ran a front-page story headlined CBS STAYING SILENT IN DEBATE ON WOMEN JOINING AUGUSTA. It was the 32d piece the Times had run in just under three months on the issue of whether the Augusta National Golf Club, which hosts the Masters Tournament, would admit women as members. The story spanked the TV network that has a contract to air the Masters for 'resisting the argument that it can do something to alter the club's policy,' although it was unclear who -- other than the Times -- was making the argument; as the piece eventually noted, 'public pressure on CBS to take a stand has been glancing.' 'That was just shocking,' one Times staffer said on the condition that his name not be used. 'It makes it hard for us to have credibility on other issues. We don't run articles that just say so-and-so is staying silent. We run articles when something important actually happens.'"
--Seth Mnookin, Newsweek, on activist bias at the New York Times
"Instead of encouraging Tiger Woods to boycott the Masters, The New York
Times should make its own statement by refusing to cover the prestigious
golf tournament until Augusta National admits a female member."
--Jerry Heaster, Kansas City Star
"In August, the paper printed two consecutive front-page stories
incorrectly including Henry Kissinger among the 'prominent Republicans'
opposing war with Iraq (Kissinger had expressed realpolitik reservations
but stopped far short of arguing against an attack). After an ensuing
flap, the paper assigned a media reporter a story on how the American
press was increasingly seen as driving the debate on Iraq.
According to a number of sources at the Times, the reporter, David
Carr, went back to his editors and told them the media, per se, weren’t
driving anything: the only publication injecting itself into the policy
debate was the Times itself."
I'm becoming a big fan of DJ D:Fuse, who spins progressive trance out of (gasp!) Austin, Texas. Listen to hourlong RealAudio streams of his sets here.
"I recall sitting in Edward Bennett Williams's box at a Redskins game in
Henry's heyday. Our quarterback threw a touchdown pass, but an official
threw a flag for offensive interference. 'Bad call!' shouted Williams.
Former Chief Justice Earl Warren, in the next seat, shook his head sadly
and said, 'Poor judgment.' Henry [Kissinger] leaped to his feet, shook his
fists and yelled, 'On vot theory?'"
--William Safire, NYT, on Henry Kissinger's approach to life
"James Logan has won a patent for a timepiece that deliberately runs fast
at random intervals during the day. His invention can be a wristwatch,
pocket watch, clock or computer clock. It intermittently displays a time
of day that is several minutes fast to encourage punctuality. The watch
can be set so the person who consults it does not know whether it is fast
or not at any given time. This feature can also be used only on days 'when
promptness is particularly important.' Mr. Logan won patent
--Sabra Chartrand, NYT, on an updated version of setting your clock fast
"When he first arrived, he made a wrong turn down a one-way street. Instead of screaming at him, people on the street wagged fingers -- 'as if to say, "You're not doing your part to support a better Sweden,"' he said. 'That bothered me more than someone giving me the finger.'"
--John Leland, NYT, on an American's introduction to Sweden
"Even a snitch sophisticated enough to check out the rewards offered by
the State Department on its Internet site (www.rewardsforjustice.net)
might well give up. The Web site warns that 'we closely examine the
backgrounds of those individuals nominated for awards.' Further, it notes
that the secretary of state 'may' offer rewards 'up to $25 million,' but
only after the Interagency Rewards Committee -- comprising 10 separate
bureaucracies, from the National Security Council and the Department of
Energy -- has signed off. At this point, the cash may start to look like a
long shot, especially given the immediate risks. Al Qaeda probably
doesn't require a committee vote to execute a snitch."
--John Tierney, NYT, on why the State Department's $25 million price on Osama bin Laden hasn't worked yet
"It's an odd comeback attempt, because most people can't be sure exactly what Ms. Carey is coming back from. She has to make her fans forget a movie they probably didn't see and an album they probably didn't buy."
--Kelefa Sanneh, NYT, on Mariah Carey's comeback attempt
"More subtly, [David] Bayer also orchestrated mathematics to trace the ups and downs of Nash's struggle with schizophrenia. In the movie, at the time of his breakdown Nash is working on a famous still-unsolved problem called the Riemann Hypothesis, and he continues to work on it as he recovers. Bayer carefully crafted Nash's work so that in the depths of his illness it verges on arithmetical gibberish but later becomes a plausible attack on the problem... The best-informed critic of all seems to be satisfied. John Nash... wrote Bayer that he appreciated the 'bona fide sophistication' of the math in the movie--although he added that in the film's portrayal of his later work, the fictional Nash seems to know some things that 'the real Nash (me)' never did."
--Dana MacKenzie, Science, February 1, 2002 on A Beautiful Mind's mathematical consultant David Bayer
"This paper has argued that the FDA definition of effectiveness as
'effective beyond a placebo' is an improper policy that is
detrimental to public health. The effectiveness standards deny consumers
the benefit of a proven placebo treatment that would improve their
condition, even when this may be the only, or at least is the safest
treatment available. A free market in over-the-counter medicines, with
laws regarding only the factual content of statements, would result in an
improvement in public health."
--Russell Sobel, Cato Journal, Winter 2002
"Hundreds of eager volunteers kept the phones ringing off the hook this
week at the Pine Street Inn. The volunteer coordinator at the St. Francis
House stopped taking calls because he was fed up explaining why there were
no more jobs left to fill. And the director of the First Church shelter in
Cambridge described the raft of callers as 'frantic' and 'outraged'
that there wasn't a place for them to help ladle gravy on Thanksgiving...
'We appreciate the help, but where are they the rest of the year?' said
Jim Stewart, the director of the First Church shelter. 'There's a sense
of entitlement that people should be able to pitch in this time of year.
But when I suggest they call me later in the year, they rarely do.'...
Volunteering around Thanksgiving is so competitive at Pine Street that
Bostonians start calling the shelter as early as August to sign up."
--David Abel, Boston Globe, on why Thanksgiving is the worst time for the truly compassionate to volunteer
"City life generates enough daily anxiety to fuel a moon rocket. But now comes one more daily chore that for some people has been transformed into an emotionally fraught experience: a visit to the restaurant restroom. The issue, to be more precise, is not the restroom itself, but the restroom attendant. Like an endangered species that suddenly appears in every backyard, restroom attendants are showing up in restaurants where you least expect to find them, and in greater numbers than you might imagine."
--Eric Asimov, NYT, on unwanted help
"She never broke when she was tortured with beatings and electrical shocks, and even when she was close to death she refused to disclose the names of members of her congregation or sign a statement renouncing her Christian faith. But now, months later, Ma Yuqin abruptly chokes and her eyes well with tears as she recounts her worst memory: As she was being battered in one room, her son was tortured in the next so that each could hear the other's screams, as encouragement to betray their church."
--Nicholas Kristof, NYT, on the persecution of Christians in China
"If national governments discarded the patent system in the medication market and instead assumed responsibility for researching and developing new medicines, the incentive problem could be avoided without creating state-protected monopolies."
--The Harvard Crimson editorial staff showing tremendous faith in the ability of government to be creative and innovative
"The justices of the high court listen to arguments for 12 hours a month,
six months a year -- the functional equivalent of three days down a coal
mine. The rest of their time is devoted to deciding which meager 80 cases
they'll hear all year, how they'll vote, and writing opinions -- for which
a good deal of the research and drafting is done by law clerks who never
sleep or eat. In sum, a Supreme Court justiceship is a dream job for
anyone over the age of 80 or under the age of 7."
--Dahlia Lithwick, Slate.com, on the advantages of being a Supreme Court justice
"In the world outside New Haven, being an Eli may get you a summer
internship, but being a Johnny will get you pseudo-religious
--Marta Herschkopf, Yale '06, on Harvard's overwhelming dominance over Yale
"My mom was a bitch too, but I don't go writing songs about it."
--Triumph the Insult Comic Dog to Eminem
"He'll have to be very smart and very wicked if he doesn't want to hear
himself in elevators."
--Maureen Dowd, NYT, on Eminem's growing mainstream acceptance
"Man, there's nothing in the world that makes me as nervous as seeing white people dance."
"Sometimes even when you win, you lose."
--TNT basketball analyst Kenny Smith in response to Charles Barkley's having to kiss Smith's butt on the air after losing a bet that Yao Ming would not score more than 19 points in a game. Just two nights after the bet was made, Yao scored 20.
"What do you tell our girls? Not to play?"
--Walkerville High athletics director Ron Stoneman after his girls basketball team beat Lakeshore 115-2
"Private, fire the Tomahawk!"
"It won't let me log in. Something about a space in my loginname name."
"Just put a _ between your first and last name."
"Yessir. OK, it logged me in. It asked me if I want me to report the
--Slate Fray poster on the revelation that the computers the Navy uses to fire Tomahawk missiles run on Windows NT
My Website is censored by the Chinese government!
"Testing complete for http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~jjchoi. Result:
Reported as inaccessible in China"
Test your Website at http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/filtering/china/test
"Mitchell, the Penn quarterback, said players have been joking with one
another about beating 'the school where you couldn't get accepted.'"
--Jere Longman, NYT, on the Harvard-UPenn football game
"There's a lot of music you can't play when you've got a guy that looks like Edge in the band."
--Larry Mullen Jr., U2
"Beware the DTR, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!"
--JJC dispensing relationship advice
"In the future, we will all be married to J.Lo for 15 minutes."
--Renee Graham, Boston Globe, on the irrelevancy of Jennifer Lopez
"Then again, this is just a guess, but Vice City might be the first video
game to satirize the right-wing effort to cut federal funding for National
Public Radio. On VCPR, Vice City's version of public radio, the talk show
is constantly interrupted by an increasingly frantic pledge drive. If the
funds don't arrive, the hosts warn, 'Liberals will be burned alive in the
--Wagner James Au, Salon.com, on the art of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
"Asked a question by a Japanese reporter, [Ichiro] began responding in Japanese before Jason Giambi yelled at him to stop. 'Hey, you've got to speak English. You're a big leaguer.' Ichiro's response: 'Shut up, dude.'"
--Jim Caple, ESPN.com, on Ichiro's assimilation into American culture
"In the suites, bathrooms were placed so that 'a man should be able to
entertain a lady friend so that his roommate can run naked to the bathroom
without offending her.'"
--Jean Paul Carlhian, architect of Mather House, offering explanations for Mather House's design
"The farmer would point out that even vegans have a 'serious clash of
interests' with other animals. The grain that the vegan eats is harvested
with a combine that shreds field mice, while the farmer's tractor crushes
woodchucks in their burrows, and his pesticides drop songbirds from the
sky. Steve Davis, an animal scientist at Oregon State University, has
estimated that if America were to adopt a strictly vegetarian diet, the
total number of animals killed every year would actually increase, as
animal pasture gave way to row crops. Davis contends that if our goal is
to kill as few animals as possible, then people should eat the largest
possible animal that can live on the least intensively cultivated land:
grass-fed beef for everybody. It would appear that killing animals is
unavoidable no matter what we choose to eat."
--Michael Pollan, NYT Magazine, on the moral problem of eating meat
"Colleagues on both sides of the aisle have some advice for Senator James M. Jeffords: now is probably not the best time to get money for a new bridge in Vermont. Officially, the word from the Republican leadership is that there will be no retribution against Mr. Jeffords, the Vermont senator whose defection from the party last year cost Republicans control of the Senate. Unofficially, Republicans are amusing themselves with other possibilities as they return to power. Would Vermont's Mount Snow be a good spot for the national depository of nuclear waste? Could that controversial bombing range in Puerto Rico be moved to Lake Champlain? Will Mr. Jeffords still have an office when he returns to Washington?"
--John Tierney, NYT, on a Republican defector in a Republican Senate
"Any time a billionaire asks you for my phone number, go ahead and give it to him. I'll sort things out later."
--Bill James, newly hired by the Red Sox, reacting to Rob Neyer's giving his phone number to Red Sox owner John Henry without his permission
"I don't think he's that cute!"
--Jimmy Quach, without irony, on actor Paul Rudd
"Lynne Cheney and Congressional scolds notwithstanding, even the United
States government has joined the Eminem bandwagon: this summer it started
broadcasting his songs in the Middle East as part of its propaganda
campaign to enhance America's image to young radio listeners in the Arab
--Frank Rich, NYT Magazine, on Eminem's crossover to the mainstream
"My films always make me physically ill."
--Hugh Grant on the quality of his films
"Basically, McCain will never forgive Bush for the South Carolina primary,
when a flyer circulated characterizing McCain's adopted Bangladeshi
daughter as the love child of an illicit tryst with a black woman. Nor
will he speak of that moment except to note 'I was angry in South
--Charles Bowden, GQ, reminding us of the evil of Bush's primary campaign
Worst girl-watching city: San Francisco.
The country's most beautiful city, in fact, has precious little scenery -- at least the living, breathing kind. Blame it on Jerry Garcia, the abundance of Polarfleece, or the crappy, cloudy-all-year weather. Come for Pac Bell Park, the burritos, or the Golden Gate -- just don't come for the women.
You are visitor number since February 26, 2002.