From an account of a speech delivered in New Hampshire this month by Karl Rove to that state's Republican State Committee:
Rove said Kerry and Democrats like him lack the resolve of their Republican counterparts. "They are ready to give the green light to go to war, but when it gets tough, and when it gets difficult, they fall back on that party's old pattern of cutting and running," he said. "They may be with you at the first shots, but they are not going to be with you for the last, tough battles."
From page 464 the recent book Cobra II, a detailed account of the planning and execution of the war in Iraq:
As unsettling as Frank's comments were, it was not the first time that Garner's team had heard that the U.S. might diminish the number of its troops in Iraq. In mid-April , Lawrence DiRita, one of Rumsfeld's closest aides, had arrived in Kuwait to join Garner's team. Speaking to a group of Garner's aides, DiRita had outlined Rumsfeld's vision. The Pentagon was determined to avoid open-ended military commitments like those in Bosnia and Kosovo, and to withdraw the vast majority of the American forces in three to four months...In another meeting with Garner's team, DiRita had also rejected the notion that the United States would supervise a lengthy and costly reconstruction of the country.
So, yes: People who from the opening bell very explicitly planned to cut and run are now attempting to score political points by accusing critics of not being willing to go the distance. What's remarkable is that there are so many people who still believe that narrative.
The top headlines, precisely as listed, at Yahoo news when I signed in this morning:
# National Guard ordered to New Orleans (AP) # Rice warns North Korea on missile test (AP) # Bush gives Iran an ultimatum on uranium (AP) # Japan PM announces Iraq withdrawal plan (AP) # Deputy Secretary of State quits for Wall Street (Reuters)
1. I'm addicted to listening to Prime Minister's Questions. You may have caught them one day randomly flipping on CSPAN. Just imagine if Bush were required to answer questions like Blair is! (I have decided that Blair is given the topics of the questions to be asked in advance, because the alternative - that he is THAT informed on THAT many subjects - would be impossible!)
2. If you watched Project Runway and liked Diana Eng (she's the one who melded fashion and technology), you can see her fashion show "Blackbox Nation" here. She also had that radical inflatible dress on the cover of iD magazine.
During my tenure, Professor Simpson, one of the old and famous fellows, died. Simpson had a strong sentimental attachment to the college and was a religious believer. He left instructions that he should be cremated and his ashes should be scattered on the bowling green in the fellows' garden where he loved to walk and meditate. A few days after he died, a solemn funeral service was held for him in the college chapel. His many years of faithful service to the college and his exemplary role as a Christian scholar and teacher were duly celebrated.
In the evening of the same day I took my place at the high table. One of the neighboring places at the table was empty. Professor Hardy, contrary to his usual habit, was late for dinner. After we had all sat down and the Latin grace had been said, Hardy strolled into the dining hall, ostentatiously scraping his shoes on the wooden floor and complaining in a loud voice for everyone to hear, "What is this awful stuff they have put on the grass in the fellows' garden? I can't get it off my shoes." Hardy, of course, knew very well what the stuff was. He had always disliked religion in general and Simpson's piety in particular, and he was taking his opportunity for a little revenge.
On April 7, searching for one of those snappy rhetorical endings that is the hallmark of every Slatepiece, I reached a bit too far. Skeptical that the Bush administration could convince a boldface banker to assume the thankless (and comparatively low-paying) task of replacing Treasury Secretary John Snow, I wrote: "John Snow will have a replacement, and he may very well come from the corporate world. But if it's an A-list Wall Street CEO, I'll buy a copy of Dow 36,000 and eat the first chapter."
11. I'm now going to be including words in these lists of links, words that I stumble upon in the course of my day. recrudescence.
12. I might have blogged about this before, but it recently resurfaced on my radar: "theFLOWmarket™ is a shop designed to inspire consumers to think, live and consume more holistic. Present imbalances from the 3 dimensions of theFLOWmodel™ have been adressed and transformed into physical products in the shape of aesthetically designed (empty) packings with humorous and thought awakening labels that the visiting consumers can buy at prices ranging from 5-20 dollars."
19. iPod and human rights issues: "And according to a recent report by the UK's Daily Mail entitled "iPod City," indentured servitude might not be a bad description of the working conditions inside the city-size Chinese factories that assemble the iPod nano and Shuffle, where the employees reportedly make about $50-a-month and live in crowded dormitories as thanks for working 15-hour days."
23. On Mars, No One Can Hear You Scream: "Sound dies quickly in the cold, thin air of Mars. Researchers have modeled a sound wave traveling through the Martian atmosphere and report that it doesn't go far--even a lawn mower's roar dies after a hundred meters or so. The model presents an unusually detailed picture of how sound travels in an alien atmosphere and hints at what it would take to communicate on the Red Planet."
24. I haven't tried this, but when you're travelling and want to hear your home town's radio stations, this site might be helpful. It found 194 radio stations in California. 25. I've blogged about this before, but now see how much you can hear. I'm 24 and I can hear the 14,000Hz but not the 15,000Hz. Everyone always tells me my hearing is bad. Is this related?
Most of them finish doing the coolest job they will ever have when they are 26 years old. All they will have to remember it by is a framed photo of some old white guy in a black dress, and a bajillion-dollar signing bonus from their law firms. They aren't allowed to canoodle with the press. And they spend months killing themselves to craft pitch-perfect, meticulously blue-booked decisions that they can never, ever claim as their own. ("Hey, know that Kennedy opinion in Lawrence? Dude. I totally wrote that!")
Over the years, the relationship between Stephen Joyce and the Joyceans has gone from awkwardly symbiotic to plainly dysfunctional. In 1988, he took offense at the epilogue to Brenda Maddox’s “Nora,” a biography of Joyce’s wife, which described the decades that Joyce’s schizophrenic daughter, Lucia, spent in a mental asylum. Although the book had already been printed in galleys, Maddox, fearing a legal battle, offered to delete the section; the agreement she signed with Stephen also enjoined her descendants from publishing the material. Shortly afterward, at a Bloomsday symposium in Venice, Stephen announced that he had destroyed all the letters that his aunt Lucia had written to him and his wife. He added that he had done the same with postcards and a telegram sent to Lucia by Samuel Beckett, with whom she had pursued a relationship in the late nineteen-twenties.
A nice little card trick to impress your friends with
I just learn a pretty cool card trick from Nate, one of my acquaintances who works at the coffeeshop I used to frequent when I lived in my old apartment.
Audience member's view: What the trick is
Upon first viewing, it looks like this to an audience member: Nate puts down, face up, cards on the table in a pile, one by one, to form a stack. Then he does it again and forms another stack, again, one by one. He does it again and again and again, until there are a few stacks of cards (usually about 5 or 6) on the table and a few lone cards left in his hands.
He turns all the stacks over -- so now they are all face down -- and tells the audience to pick any THREE stacks, with him not looking. The cards in the other stacks not chosen get combined with the extra cards in his hands.
He then tells the audience member to choose two of the stacks and flip the top cards over. Then Nate studies the cards in his hands -- the extra cards -- and tells the audience what the top card of the third stack is.
It sounds pretty lame, writing it out, but it's a pretty cool trick. It takes a while to figure out what's going on. Nate told my friend Dana and I how he did it, and then we embarked on the task of trying to figure out the mathematics of it -- why it worked.
Without the reason why it works, this is how the trick is done:
Nate's view: How the trick is done
When Nate puts down his first card, to make the first stack, he looks at the number. Say it was a 3. Then he would put down 10 more cards to finish the stack (3+10=13). Then he starts the second stack. Say the first card of the second stack was a 7. Then he would put down 6 more cards to finish the stack (7+6=13) . Then he starts another stack. Say it was a Q. Then he would put down 1 more card (a queen is worth 12, so 12+1=13) to finish the stack. This process is continued until there aren't enough cards to make another stack. Nate holds onto these extra cards in his hands. [Note in this trick Ace=1, J=11, Q=12, K=13]. There are usually 5 or so stacks of cards on the table, and a few extra cards in his hands.
He tells the audience member to pick any three stacks, with Nate looking away. Nate then puts all the other cards in his hands, so there are only three stacks on the table, and a large number of cards in his hands. He tells the audience member to pick any two stacks and turns over the top card of each. In his head, Nate adds the value of these two cards together (say it was an 8 and a K, so Nate gets 8+13=21). Then he adds 10 to that value (21+10=31). Then he countsall the extra cards in his hands. The number of cards OVER 31 turns out to be the value of the top card of the last stack.
Why does this work? Pretty simple mathematics...
A mathematical view: Why the trick works
The first thing to note is that it doesn't matter which stacks the audience member chooses. (They can pick any three stacks.) Let's define some variables before we start.
S1=number of cards in stack 1 S2=number of cards in stack 2 S3=number of cards in stack 3 E=number of cards in Nate's hand after the 3 stacks have been chosen V1=value of the top card of stack 1 V2=value of the top card of stack 2 V3=value of the top card of stack 3.
Now remember, what we want to find -- so we can tell the audience -- is the value of the top card of the 3rd stack, V3. When dealing the stacks of cards, you make it so that the value of the top card in the stack tells you how many cards are in the stack. So:
V1=14-S1, V2=14-S2, and V3=14-S3. [Equation 1]
(For example, the top card of the stack is a 9, we know there are 5 cards in the stack: 9=14-5.)
First things first, we know:
S1+S2+S3+E=52 (total number of cards in a deck). [Equation 2]
Substituting the value of S1, S2, and S3 from Equation 1 into Equation 2, we get:
(14-V1)+(14-V2)+(14-V3)+E=52 [Equation 3]
Simplifying, we have
V3=E-V1-V2-10=E-(V1+V2+10) [Equation 4]
And remember the trick was to add the value of the top card of the two stacks, add 10 to it, and then find out how many extra cards there are in your hand beyond that number. That's exactly what Equation 4 tells us.
First come, first serve. That's the motto of a lot of LA housing, and I've mentioned it before, but I learned another aspect of it today. Today, I went to look at 2 single apartments, one in Palms and one in West LA. Both were $1000/month, came with a parking space, and did not have refrigerators.
The first one -- in Palms -- was nice enough, but there were no sparks. It is in a really nice complex, well-maintained, with a pool in the middle. I was thinking about putting down the application fee of $30, but I decided not too. I didn't want to put down for something I found mediocre.
The second one -- in West LA -- I didn't even get to see. The lady showing the apartment couldn't open the door to it: the locks had been halfway removed. But it had a back entrance through a sliding door which we could see through. The room was a decent size -- smaller than my current bedroom, but not too much smaller. There was a kitchen that I couldn't see, a bathroom that I couldn't see, and a little enclave before the bathroom that I couldn't see. The good news is that the apartment was being totally redone before anyone moves in (read: new carpet, new paint, etc.). The bad news is I couldn't see it to decide. It's always the little things that make or break a place, like tiling in the kitchen, or fancy knobs in the bathroom. Still, I felt the threat of not having a place to live and wanted to fill out an application (also $30 fee) anyway. Isn't that ridiculous? More ridiculous is that I was even thinking of putting down an deposit. Why? Because this is where the whole "first come, first serve" thing comes in. Let's say I put down an application and pay for my credit check first, and get approved. If someone else puts down a DEPOSIT with their application, they automatically get first dibs on the place if their credit goes through. If it doesn't, they get a full refund of their deposit. So they could take over your number one spot on the list.
The moral: if you actually do get to SEE an apartment that you love, and the price is right, you should definitely ask the person showing the apartment if you can get at the top of the list by offering to pay the deposit first, and if your credit goes through, get first dibs on the apartment. It might work. (Make sure before you start this hunt to put enough money in your checking account for this.)
In fact, here's another story with another moral: I met this couple today who was looking for an apartment, and one of them told me this horror story. They went to look at an apartment, and someone else was looking at it with them. Both parties loved it, and it became a race, at the apartment, to see who could fill out the application form first. The guy telling me the story, of course, lost. I guess the moral here is: bring ALL the possible information you might need to fill out an application TO THE APARTMENT you're interested in, in case you love it. And write quickly. (I guess even better, but more work, would be to download an application -- if the management company has it online -- and fill it out BEFORE you arrive.)
The other thing I learned is that these applications ask for some nonintuitive things, so make sure you have:
-photocopies of your driver's license (and possibly of your social security card and passport) -your current and previous landlords names, phone numbers, and addresses (for up to 6 years, though most only ask for a year or two) -references (surprisingly, they only ask for that on some) -proof of income (obviously) -recent employment information (obviously) -your checking and savings account numbers, a local bank branch address, and appoximate balance -your checkbook and cash (some places want your application fee, anywhere from $10-$30, written out in check form ONLY. Strange? Yes.)
When I went on my first apartment hunt three years ago, I was a beginning graduate student and I didn't think I would be taken seriously by landlords. That's not true - they get lots of students. In fact, the large management companies (e.g. KMK management, etc.) don't care about the fact that you are a student; they care that you can pay.
For both management companies AND personal landlords, I go around with the following packet of information to include with my application (since I am a student, things are different... no job and no real employment history)... In general, rental agencies often request you to turn more information (more paperwork) than less, especially for students... The more prepared you are, the better it is. And if you are working with a personal property owner rather than a first-come-first-served rental agency, you will appear more professional, which is important. They tend to look not for the first person to show up, but the person who seems most suitable (good credit, not loud, will pay rent on time, etc.). Again, I bring:
-a copy of my undergraduate transcript -a copy of my graduate transcript -a copy of my resume -the last 6 months worth of my checking and savings account statements [highlighting the deposits made by the school/fellowship] -a copy of any award letter which provides me with income (my UCLA fellowship packet, the outside funding award letter, my summer money award letter, etc.)
Better to be over prepared than under in this cutthroat market. I guess this post's overall moral is: BE PREPARED.
Apartment hunting makes me REALLY stressed out. I have only been doing it concertedly for a few days, but man oh man, if there was ever a time I felt like Sisyphus...
I have a promising one-up on an apartment that will open up early July, a one bedroom in Palms. It has a nice sized kitchen with a tiny nook at the end for a breakfast table, a giant living room, and a good-sized bedroom, not to mention a lot of storage space. It also comes with a parking spot. The cost: $1000. The most amazing deal it is not, but a pretty good deal, it is. I will try to keep you up to date on that situation.
What I did learn recently is that craigslist is not the only, nor the most proactive, way one can go about finding an apartment in Los Angeles. It IS incredibly useful, true, but you have two other very good techniques that will help you out.
1. Walk around. I mentioned this on my previous blog post, but it really is useful. Go to the neighborhood you want to live in, park, and walk around. Not only do you get a feel for where you might live, but there are also signs in front of almost every building announcing "VACANCY" or "NO VACANCY". Also useful, the vacancy signs tell you the following information: what type of apartment is available (e.g. 1 br 1 ba), what phone number to call, and a web address. In my most recent walk around, I called a few numbers and talked to a few people. More significantly, the web addressess often take you management companies. These are companies that are hired by the property owners - they take care of the leasing, maintenance, etc., of the properties. They list ALL their vacant properties on their websites, and keep it current. So you can kill many birds with one stone. (I am pretty sure that these are the sites which westsiderentals gets a lot of their listings.)
2. Management Companies. So besides walking, you can utilize these management companies. They have offices throughout Los Angeles where you can go in the morning, pick up the daily vacancy listings, put down a refundable deposit and take keys to the vacant apartments. It is TOTALLY free (as long as you return the key in a timely manner). When you apply for an apartment, you pay a $20 application fee (for a credit check), but luckily this is a one time fee. (Read: if you apply for another apartment they manage, you do not pay again.)
Why is #2 so important? Because it turns out that there is an almost inhuman turnaround between an apartment being listed and an apartment being "sold."
Example: the apartment that I noted above, the $1000 one. I got the property listing yesterday and saw the apartment. Later that evening I went a second time to talk to the on-site manager, and to ask some more questions. I was so excited that the next morning I went to turn in my application for the apartment and lo and behold, two other people had put their names down before me.
The way this particular agency worked, and I am pretty sure that this is quite ordinary, is "first come, first served." If the two people ahead of me have decent credit, they have dibs before me. The agency cares not about the type of tenant, but getting a quick turnaround to fill an empty apartment. I understand that, but it is kind of disheartening for me. I have no way to plead my case, to get higher up in the queue.
Lucky for me, I hope, when I talked with the on-site manager, she mentioned that another 1 bedroom apartment (exactly the same) in the same complex was opening up in early July. When I realized my chances of getting this particular one were nearly doomed, I called her and asked if I could be first on the list for that one. She is going to look into it and tell me hopefully tomorrow or the day after.
All said and done, what I did not know about before this process, is the huge wealth these management company websites are. Here's a list from another website:
This weeks most unusual complaint referred to a Scrabble game, gone horribly wrong. A woman reported that she was having a friendly game of on-line Scrabble with someone, she believed to be a kindly, grandmotherly type. During their “chat” she was provided instructions as to how to set up and activate her web-cam (it came with her new PC) so that they could see each other as they played and chatted. The web cam was fired up and “oh dear!”, Granny looked like an ugly man. In fact, given that she had an Adam’s apple, she probably was an ugly man. This she found to be a little weird. What really mortified her was the second man, standing behind Granny, madly tugging on a part of his lower anatomy, commonly believed to cause blindness. The proper term for which is potentially a “Triple, Triple word score” if positioned just so.
B. I've heard the term "Web 2.o" flung about, but I was getting tired of not knowing what it was. After looking it up, I've decided there are two basic usages: (1) a buzz word (used to show you are cutting edge without anything needed to back it up), and (2) a dynamic way to view the web, which involves users as participants rather than viewers, and focuses on simplicity, integration, and usefulness. This article by Tim O'Reilly does a good job explaining point 2.
E. I think I've mentioned something like this before, but create your own personalized google maps. This particular site has a lot of flexibility which I like. Maybe one day I'll make a walking/driving tour, or a map of all the coffeeshops I frequent, or something creative and timeconsuming like that.
H. Culling the beauty of CSS. I wish I knew how to use CSS. Skip if you don't know what CSS is.
I. When I was in college, we were guaranteed to have at least one day off every month. If there wasn't a national holiday, the school would randomly designate a day and it would be a free day for us. We called them "suicide days" because... well... my school had a large number of suicides. It was never a joke, but in a weird way, it was a source of (twisted) pride. It's hard to describe, but even though it's not explicit in any conversation, there was this underlying feeling that these people killed themselves because the school was hard. (That was almost never the reason for the suicide.) Instead of a statement about the ineffectiveness of the school to deal with mental health issues, the suicides (at least in my mind, and I think many others) became a marker of intellectual rigor. The suicides never became these deeply emotional, traumatic experiences which reminded students of the vagaries of the human condition (unless, of course, someone knew the person who died). Hopefully that culture has changed, and students aren't as hardened to the deaths as I was. Or maybe this was never the case, and I am an emotionally dead person. I'd like to think not, though.
J. The weirdest journal entry and academic career ever. AND, my friends, it involves the history of science. Excerpt:
Now it’s the evil one’s turn. “You say on page one that you are starting from the perspective of the conventional story of electricity where Edison is a great man. No one would say that any more.” “Actually, that’s not true. As I mention in the later chapters, even the most recent books make the same arguments that Martin and Meadowcroft did in 1910.” “Well, I’m the second reader, and I think that’s just stupid.” “Perhaps, but it is true.” “Why is Henry Adams a secondary source and not a primary one?” I want to answer, “What kind of a stupid-ass question is that?” but instead I say calmly, “Um, because he’s not an electrician?”
L. Do you do work in MS Word? If you do, you HAVE to see this blog post. It turns a document from ordinary to extraordinary. Or if you're a German professor, extraordinary to ordinary. (Excuse me if this is commonplace knowledge; it's new to me.)
M. One of my friends just came back from a few weeks trotting the globe, visiting Austrailia, Thailand, and Egypt. (She will also claim Greece, but she was only there for 8 hours.) She didn't bring me back a souvenier. I think that sucks. But did you ever stop to think: Why we buy dumb souveniers?
N. "With the likes of Douglas Coupland, George Walden and Stephen Hawking as fans, taking the Simpsons seriously is no longer outre but de rigeur." 'Nuff said.
O. Winos are so dramatic, labeling a wine competition between Califonia and France in the '70s "The Judgment of Paris." But our beret-wearing friends lost... and then in a rematch, throw-down, California beat the cork out of France. Rah rah.
Later on in my stay I found myself explaining to the dramaturg of Hannover Schauspielhaus why English was a great language for comedy, with its possibility for confusion of meaning and the flexibility of its sentences. "There is no need for you to be so proud of yourself," she explained in precise and accurate English, "it is not as if you personally invented the English language. You merely inherited it by the geographical accident of your birth." I laughed, and everything finally fell into place
S. I recently posted a link of a site which allows for inexpensive self-publication. You can participate by making your own samizdat. Or 113 page marriage proposal.
T . Are you a happy grad student? Read this. Depressed yet? If you are not an economist and said yes: you are an eternal pessimist. If you are not an economist and said no: you are an eternal optimist. If you are an economist, go into the financial world, make a lot of money, and give me a lot of it.
Despite media coverage purporting to show that escalating violence in Iraq has the country spiraling out of control, civilian death statistics complied by Rep. Steve King, R-IA, indicate that Iraq actually has a lower civilian violent death rate than Washington, D.C.
W. I'm obviously out of it, because I just discovered these new mac commercials.
Y. Think you're hot stuff? Love your legs? Nose? Thigh? Want to insure your body parts? Then... you're a total freak. But what's interesting is that it's more of a marketing gimmick than anything else. I seriously never suspected (no sarcasm). But once the idea crosses you, it is more than plausible. Z. Say you're going to Europe this summer, and you have an iPod. You will be traveling a lot but you tend to get sick of your music after repeated listening. Need something to mix things up, without spending a fortune on books on tape? Check this site out. It takes magazine articles and has them read by pre-screened volunteers. I'd download all the New Yorker articles if I were going to Europe.
AA. If you like Jackson Pollock, check this site out. (For full disclosure, the site is a ripoff of another artist who was ripping off (paying homage to) the original artist. So in technical terms, we are talking about derivative art.)
It's time to start the apartment hunt. I'm moving out of my current house at the end of June, and am looking for a place to move into sometime in July. Finding an apartment is hellish, especially if you want something nice. (The other hellish thing will be moving my stuff into storage for less than a month, and then moving it back out.) That's why I put in an application for university housing. They're not the nicest, but I'm more than willing to move into one of them to save myself the hassle and frustration of the quest for "The Perfect Apartment."
Tonight I spent a few hours doing my initial search. I even posted my first "want apt ad" at Craigslist. And on Craigslist, I found a tiny (read: cozy) studio apartment 1/2 block from the beach in Venice for less than $1,000/month. (It's literally 2o seconds from the sand, and I verified this on Google Maps, Satellite View.) It becomes available in August, which is exactly the time I'd like to move in. Unfortunately, there is only street parking and that is liable to drive me crazy - as well as any potential visitors. Anyone who knows me knows that I HATE searching for street parking. And to hope that parking be easily available by the beach is just naive wishful thinking. And with utilities (electricity and internet), I'll definitely go over the $1000/month mark. Still, I love the fact that it's small (believe it or not), and to think that I could be living so close to the sand - be still my heart. So we'll see where that goes.
The one thing I've learned so far is that I'll have to wait until the last week in June to get any real work done. Nothing get's posted on craigslist until it is almost or already available. In the meanwhile, here's some other interesting things I found that might be useful for someone else in the same boat as I am: