Tom Sawyer-Worthy? [UPDATED: Weirder, Grosser]

June 30, 2009 at 3:49 am (By Amba)

Could I get someone to whitewash a fence for a look at that?

It demands a tall tale.  All that happened, though, was that in the struggle to get J to lie down sideways on the bed instead of backwards across it — so I could get the sling for the Hoyer lift under him — he slid off onto the carpet, and then (what the hell) in the struggle to get him properly positioned on the floor, instead, I set the mobile arm of the lift swinging and it swung the point of one end into my forehead.  No real harm done, no stars or birdies; just a cartoon egg that popped up almost instantaneously, like in “Popeye.”  Nothing compared to the awful sundowner meltdown J had last night — agitated, paranoid, defying reality and me as its two-timing agent until, after two hours or more, he finally wore himself out.  Not a trace of that today.  What’s a little bump on the head?

“Make sure it doesn’t hit you again right on the same place,” J said as I worked to get him strapped to the lift and up off the floor.

“No, I’m going to make sure it hits me on the other side this time so I look like I’m growing two horns,” I said.


I pumped J up off the floor and got him on the wheelchair and we went off to get summer haircuts at Great Clips.

UPDATE: The inevitable shiner, and worse:


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Counter Cultural [UPDATED]

June 28, 2009 at 1:15 am (By Amba)

Yesterday I was put in a position where I had to try to explain to someone why it might sometimes be a good idea to choose to do what you don’t feel like doing instead of what you do.

This is to American culture as spitting is to the wind.

We think that freedom is the freedom to follow our inclinations, and that our inclinations are a treasure map to our authenticity.  Do what you feel.  Go with your heart.  Follow your bliss.

The result is that we dig the ruts in our brains deeper and never discover the riches off-road.  We’re speeding through our own brains sealed in climate-controlled automobiles, along a self-made interstate system, from attraction to fast-food joint to filling station.  What we don’t realize is that the blank spots on the map are “us,” too — parts of us our conditioned inclinations will never lead us to.  Obviously we can’t discover every interest and develop every quality, so we say, perhaps too quickly, “That doesn’t speak to me,” “That doesn’t do it for me,” “That’s just not me.”

Only when we’re under compulsion — and Americans are blessed to be rarely under compulsion — do we get off our own beaten paths of reliable, repetitive pleasure (some of which are veins of creative gold, others of waste and self-destruction).

Some of the situations in which Americans can experience compulsion:  prison; military service; parenthood; illness; a marriage going through a bad patch.  Others?  Work you hate.  Work you love except when you hate it, which is whenever you start and whenever you’re stuck.  Compulsion is different from risk.  There are severe constraints on you when you’re climbing a rock face, but that fear and focus is often euphoric.  Being under compulsion is dysphoric — at least at first.  It’s the imposition of another will (sometimes your own) on your wayward wanting.  Everything in you wants to bolt.  Your freedom and your very identity feel threatened rather than reaffirmed and reinforced.

Sometimes staying put in those situations enriches you beyond imagining.  For one thing, you discover that your identity is deeper than your preferences.  For another, you discover that your preferences have been provincial.  Your “weakness” for this and not that has weakened you.  Your tastes have made you miss the very herb that could heal you.

This is the story of my life.  The person I was trying to tell it to had already made up his mind to run rather than change.  Change feels like death.  It is death.  But there’s an afterlife.

UPDATE:  Relevant tweet:  @lensweet What if we were more open to being “sent on The Way” than “set in our ways”?

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Cap & Trade: Smug Alert

June 26, 2009 at 10:20 am (By Randy)

Don’t just stand there! Do something! Don’t worry about the economic consequences. You’ll feel so much better afterwards.

(Via Jim Lindgren @ The Volokh Conspiracy)

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Media Storyboard

June 26, 2009 at 10:01 am (By Randy)


(Via A Welsh View)

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June 25, 2009 at 8:26 pm (By Miles Lascaux)

Arguably THE icons of the 1970s and the 1980s, respectively, within 24 hours.

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June 25, 2009 at 8:06 pm (By Miles Lascaux)

Politics. Morality. Ambition. Marriage. Legality. Power. Responsibility. Hypocrisy. Religion.

The one thing our pundits lack the language to speak of is the one thing that would have mattered, in this story, to human beings from Sophocles to Stendhal: Passionate Erotic Love.

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Jonathan Chait: Obama is Not Naïve.

June 23, 2009 at 6:18 pm (By Amba)

I think this is quite a good analysis of what Obama is up to:

The thing that people haven’t figured out about President Obama’s conduct of foreign policy is that it’s the same as his conduct of domestic policy. Obama believes in the power of negotiation and public dialogue to split his adversaries–Republicans at home, Islamists abroad–and strengthen his own position. […]

Obama’s method begins with attempts to find common ground, expressions of respect for the adversary’s core beliefs, and profuse hope for cooperation. […]

Naturally, Obama’s pacific expressions tend to alarm the more hawkish elements of his own camp, who interpret his idealistic rhetoric as naivete or weakness. […]

Obama’s method entails small acts of intellectual dishonesty in the pursuit of common ground. […]

Critics […] are correct that surrendering intellectual ground comes at a cost. Our most successful presidents articulate clear, forceful public rationales for their beliefs […]

It is a mistake, however, to view Obama’s strategy as an act of submission.

Consider how Obama explained his approach toward Iran during a recent interview with Newsweek:

Now, will it work? We don’t know. And I assure you, I’m not naive about the difficulties of a process like this. If it doesn’t work, the fact that we have tried will strengthen our position in mobilizing the international community, and Iran will have isolated itself, as opposed to a perception that it seeks to advance that somehow it’s being victimized by a U.S. government that doesn’t respect Iran’s sovereignty.

This is a perfect summation of Obama’s strategy. It does not presuppose that his adversaries are people of goodwill who can be reasoned with. Rather, it assumes that, by demonstrating his own goodwill and interest in accord, Obama can win over a portion of his adversaries’ constituents as well as third parties. Obama thinks he can move moderate Muslim opinion, pressure bad actors like Iran to negotiate, and, if Iran fails to comply, encourage other countries to isolate it. The strategy works whether or not Iran makes a reasonable agreement.

The results remain to be seen. But it eerily resembles the way Obama has already isolated the GOP leadership. …

Read the whole thing.  The only problem is, it’s already out of date.  Because it isn’t coming across the way he wanted it to.

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Tweeting Obama

June 23, 2009 at 5:02 pm (By Amba)

In reverse (chronological), unTwitterish order:

amba12“he most definitely means he won’t be doing a damned thing for them.” Would be better if he said he would, but didn’t mean it? Like Kurds?

amba12That’s from @julescrittenden But here’s the thing: Reaffirming American values is the part of Prez. job he’s not doing.

amba12It feels weird to have an oratorical Prez who’s so NOT doing that oratorical, rousing, reassuring part of the job, even if it’s hoke.

amba12Now you can say we have to grow up and get over our craving for hoke; or you cn say hoke is part of what binds ppl together, keeps ’em going

amba12Obama is what the French would call a “Fonctionnaire.” There’s this whole civil ministering role he’s deliberately refusing to fill. Weird!

amba12It makes the country feel headless–or heartless–in a most peculiar way. Obama didn’t have a father and is refusing to BE a father–to us.

amba12Also, you can sense his (quite natural) insecurity, his stumbling hesitancy in a role he was really unready to take on. HE WASN’T READY!

amba12Wonder whether, and how fast, he can find his footing and grow into this job? He’s still clinging to his original abstract ideas about it.

amba12Real events are demanding that he let go of those abstractions and start swimming strongly in the strong currents. & he’s too inexperienced.

amba12So he’s running on bravado: He’s entitled to the job ’cause he won it. I think it’s startin to sink in: it wasn’t the ultimate prize he won.

amba12I think he’s in over his head and scared shitless. (For the record, I thought Bush was too, but he was front man for a bunch of heavies.)

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Even Worse than Seeing Neda’s Death . . .

June 22, 2009 at 11:46 pm (By Amba)

. . . is seeing what it destroyed:


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So Lucky . . .

June 21, 2009 at 10:42 pm (By Amba) (, )

. . . still to have my Dad . . .


. . . and his first love, my mom . . .


. . . at 91, 85, and 63!!


And with me, they were just getting started!  Don’t get me started!


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