Category Archives: Miscellanea


Sorry, y’all, for the lack of blogging. I’ve barely had time to sleep, do laundry, or pet the kitty (and the latter has made the first one quite difficult).

There’s a thing called work-life balance that I’m working on… but it does not yet include work-life-blog balance.



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Home is where the heart is

Via Instapundit, the HUD is engaging in rather creepy behaviour: attempting to strong-arm towns across America into re-doing their zoning to achieve more diversity.

But the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development—the source of the $5 million planning grant used to fund the racial mapping—says that mapping is intended, in part, to identify suburban land-use and zoning practices that allegedly deny opportunity and create “barriers” for low-income and minority people. Under its forthcoming “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” rule, HUD will provide communities with “nationally uniform data” of what it views as an appropriate racial, ethnic and economic mix. Local governments will have to “take meaningful actions” to further the goals identified.

Let me explain something to these geniuses who want to re-engineer America: what makes an area a valuable place to live is the civic engagement of one’s neighbours, not the value of the property, the amount of property taxes, or the ethnic make-up of the town. All other things being equal, people would rather move into a street with a youth basketball coach, volunteer fireman, college alumni volunteer, and Boy Scout leader than one in which people sit on their arses all day and eat bonbons.

Maybe instead of browbeating nice, middle-class families about their zoning ordinances and lack of inclusiveness, these rocket surgeons in the bureaucracy could try giving lessons in civic engagement to the people they are trying to help.  Our parks don’t get magically cleaned; money doesn’t fall from the sky to pay our science team and youth baseball coaches; our bake sales baked goods don’t spring into being like Athene from Zeus’ brow; and people who sit on town boards aren’t getting paid for their service.  Moving in people with no idea of civic engagement only means that our towns will have fewer coaches, cleanup crews, and bake sale bakers per capita.

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Lilly Pulitzer for Target: Fun, Pretty, and Upbeat is for Everyone

Sorry for the lack of blogging recently.  I  have thirty or so articles lined up in my email, all ready to type something about… and I haven’t had the chance.  Mea culpa.

Anyway, onto actual blogging.  In January, Lilly Pulitzer announced that it would be pairing with Target to come out with a special line for the store. Mayhem ensued.  Last weekend, the brand hit stores, and even more mayhem ensued.  Target’s server almost crashed; the stores were sold out in hours; and throngs of Lilly-loving bargain hunters cleaned the place out.

This is fodder for the commetariat set, who enjoy the shrieking about how Lilly would be rolling over in her grave, or how this is so gauche. Charlotte Wilder covers it here, but she falls into the “Lilly is for snobs” trap.

Look, kids: Lilly Pulitzer isn’t about being snobbish, exclusive, or elite.  It’s about being fun.  In case you can’t tell from the giant animals in bright pastels, Lilly apparel and accessories are about enjoying life. You can buy secondhand Lilly (there’s even a Facebook group for it!), Lilly on sale, or wear your Lilly for years.  My great aunt tried to steal my Lilly Pulitzer bracelet over Christmas.  She has dementia, so it’s probably not a brand recognition thing; it’s because it’s super-cute and shiny:

Who can resist that, whether it’s sold in Target or on Martha’s Vineyard? So cute.

If you see “fun” and “lighthearted” and immediately think of dour snobbery, it’s not the country club set with the problem.  Get yourself a flamingo dress, a mai tai, and a pedicure, and come back to us.

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I tried to make the K-Cup environmental issue one of my top 100 concerns, but just couldn’t do it.

Neil says it well.

The K-cups that I throw away every week can fit in my hand. We aren’t talking the Exxon-Valdez spill here.

Eternity Matters

How Bad Are K-Cups for the Environment?  Probably not that bad. The “My K-cups” with filters make very little waste. Amazon’s San Francisco Bay coffees are less than 30 cents each on Subscribe and Save and are partially biodegradable.

P.S. Are Starbucks lids biodegradable? I don’t hear people complaining about those. And even a full year of K-cups wouldn’t fill a single garbage bag. Not sure why this thing gets so much attention.  We pay $10 or so a month to recycle and one week’s worth of that takes up less space than a year of K-Cups.

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Totalitarian ‘Tolerance’

Study: liberals are more likely to unfriend you over politics, online and offline.  (Hat tip.)

I’ve been blocked, unfriended, de-friended, and maligned for being a conservative.  (Add in being a conservative who is also female, highly educated, and unmarried with no kids, and lives in a deep blue state, and it’s a hate-fest.)  On several occasions, I’ve been presumed to be incompetent, stupid, or uneducated because I’m a registered Republican.

Conservatiephvobia is worse than it had been in decades past.  At least ‘back then,’ liberals supported things that were great in the short term and horrific in the long term (e.g. the ‘war on poverty,’ undermining marriage, Social Security, stringent workplace regulations that encourage offshoring, tax systems that create a short-term boost and long-term malaise, abortion).

Short-term pain, and short-term cause and effect, matters a lot.  It’s much easier to at least convince someone that drinking to excess is bad for his health than that smoking is bad for his health; the former will become apparent as he spends the next day dry-heaving and suffering through a splitting headache.  Unfortunately for liberals, their own policies are now blowing up on them in the short term, with no long-term relief in sight.  Whether it be ObamaCare (insuring only a fraction of those who should have been insured, at a cost of about ten times the original price), Obama himself (a failure by almost any standard), the stimulus, or Ebola, it doesn’t take two generations to show them that they are wrong: it’s apparent right now.

As conservatives, who have been vilified as racist misogynists who want people to die in the streets, connect the dots between liberal policies and current problems, there is no buffer of a generation or two, a buffer that would allow them to say things about alternate causes or ‘we don’t really know that’ or ‘it’s the law of the land.’  A mere six years after everyone told us that conservatism was dead, Obama was the best president since George Washington, and only haters opposed his agenda, the liberal ideology collided with reality and left a wreck big enough to shut down the proverbial highway.

Maybe conservatives could be nicer about being right, but given the amount of venom thrown at us, it’s unlikely.  So unfriend away, but understand that the acrimony is mostly your doing.

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Things I learned this wedding weekend

My older sister got married this weekend.

A few pro tips: if you are leading a conga line, it’s fun to snake back and forth, but don’t turn it into a circle unless you are on the dance floor.  When you turn it into a circle at the bar area, you’re going to lose most of the guests.

Things that make great wedding gifts: china, stuff off the registry, and the track record that the bride holds in perpetuity.  (My sister held a school record in a track event that was recently retired; since she held the record on the last time the event was run, she’ll hold the record forever. Our high school has a big board up on the wall of the field house with all of the events and the record-holders’ names and times on strips of plastic.  Seven weeks before the nuptials, I managed to acquire the strip of plastic from her record.)

Incidentally, when you are making a speech and counting on your sister to recognise something from the ’90s, be prepared for a confused look and “No [I wouldn’t know that if I saw it].”  When in doubt, “Well, that’s awkward, because Mr. Velociraptor has it in his hands and we mounted it on a plaque” will do fine when your MOH speech didn’t go as planned.

When the photographer tells you to photobomb the first dance, happily oblige.  Then convince the best man that you and the other attendants really need to group-hug the couple at the end.

If you’re asked to give the bride her veil for the pictures, always get under the veil with your sister. It makes for great photography – so great, that the entire wedding party will be asked to participate in the fun.

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I really wanted to be sympathetic

A young woman took to to write about the trials and tribulations of her dating life. (Hat tip.) As a woman who once joined eHarmony for the sole purpose of collecting stories of all the whack jobs I met on there (ever been messaged by a man whose profile picture is him with a bomb strapped to his chest? asked by a man you’ve never met “When you finally get into the bedroom, are you a wild tiger or just an uptight mathematician?”), I know how hard modern dating is.

But this young lady’s complaints were amazingly shallow and incredibly counter-productive.  The gist of her dissatisfaction is that computer scientists are boring men who make good salaries. She actually wrote that she missed creative dates with artists and writers.  Now, I’m all for not being a materialistic brat when you’re dating, but there is the adage “It’s just as easy to love a rich man as a poor man.” She also suffers from the bane of every commitment-minded progressive woman in America: the only men they really want to date are those who think that courtship, commitment, and  marriage are outdated, and most of the men who want something serious are far too right-wing (or even moderate) for their tastes.

While she also had a semi-valid complaint that the men only talked about their jobs on their dates, that’s entirely expected when a person with a demanding career moves to a new city.  The only thing that they have going on in their lives is their job – a situation that she can help remedy by suggesting that they meet at an art or science museum, tour the Space Needle, or join a kickball league.

Ultimately, her problems seem to not be with the influx of college-educated, commitment-minded men with stable careers; it seems to be with her. Again, I really wanted to be sympathetic, but if you refuse to date a man because he’s not “exciting” enough and is proud of having a good career, don’t come crying to us when your love life turns out exactly as expected.

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A Tale of Two Tragedies

Two mass murders of strangers (or near-strangers), three men, two very different outcomes.  When the Tsarnaev brothers detonated bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, three young people were killed: Lingzu Lu, an only child from China; Martin Richard, an adorable eight-year-old; and Krystle Campbell, a UMass Boston grad with a lovely smile. Carlos Arredondo saved Jeff Bauman’s life, and many other people ran towards the bombs to help save lives.  Three days later, Officer Sean Collier was shot and killed; Officer Dic Donohue was on death’s door.

Bostonians all know who the four dead are, know their stories, and mourn with their families. We were repulsed when Rolling Stone put the younger Tsarnaev brother on the cover in  Jim Morrison pose: the tragedy was not to be about glorifying murderers, but about those who died, those who lost limbs or hearing, and those who lost loved ones.

That could not be more diametrically opposed to what has happened after the Santa Barbara tragedy.  Many people did not even know the gender of the six dead [four men, two women]; few news outlets have bothered to post the victims’ names and brief bios.  (However, you can find that here – thank you, NY Daily News.)  All of the victims are childless, between the ages of 19 and 22 and attended UC Santa Barbara.  Some media outlets have even counted the gunman, Elliot Rodger, as among those “killed” in the rampage, as if he were also a victim.

It is not only the inaccurate “killed” that paints Rodger as a victim: writers and commenters rallied around their new standard-bearer, a young man who wrote a hundred-fifty page manifesto about how his ill treatment at the hands of women made him want revenge upon hot sorority girls. In response to my comment that the gunman’s romantic problem was that he was too psycho for women to want to sleep with, one commenter said, “Couldnt [sic] one of you bitches give him a piece? Do all of you have to be completely controlled by your programming that dictates you must love douchebags for your own safety?”

This disgusting response, and many others like it, implies that Elliot Rodger is not morally responsible for the crime that viciously ended the promising lives of six young people – that moral responsibility also lies at the feet of hot women who “friend-zoned” a murderer.

Complementing the idea that the murderer is not wholly responsible for his crime is the #YesAllWomen trope, which implies that the killer’s victims aren’t really victims, as completely uninvolved non-victims are the real victims. According to the self-absorbed twitter hashtag, the four men who died (i.e. two for every woman who were killed) don’t really count.  However, “all women” are victims of the “misogynistic culture” that prompted Rodger to killit was normal misogyny, not moral aberration or psychosis, that caused this tragedy. Ergo, slain George Chen is just a statistic and cute girls in Minnesota who are told by men to “smile more!” are the real victims of the Santa Barbara murders.

Newsflash, twittering honeys: if you are not dead, were not in danger of getting dead, know someone who died, or live in the general vicinity of the dead people, you aren’t a victim of this mass murder.  Get over yourselves and ask yourself how it must feel to be a mother arranging a funeral for her dead child, who hears privileged, ponytailed twenty-something three time zones away talk about how they are tough survivors of this tragedy.

In the criminal justice system, the person sitting on a table on one side of the courtroom would be Elliot Rodger; at the other table sits the state, representing the people and speaking on behalf of the dead and the wounded. There is no room for pick-up artists, sorority girls who chose other men, or Rodger’s sister and her boyfriend at the former table; the attorneys on the latter side do not represent the petty grievances that many women have against other men. That legal system represents the foundations of civilised society, wherein the person responsible for committing murder is the person who wielded the knife, and the victims of that murder are the dead people and their families. This narcissistic, self-absorbed response to the tragedy – to blame everyone else, or to cloak oneself in the mantle of the victim – only serve to drive us towards chaos and anarchy.

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Valerie Baber, Call Your Office

Regular readers might recall when I snarked on Valerie Baber, hooker to the elite and wealthy, because she thinks that men are paying for her amazingly compassionate self, not her twenty-five year-old self.

I’m glad that snark is a New England thing, not a bridget thing. Consider this article from a thirty-something woman with a Ph.D. who claims that stripping is a viable, feminist, and empowering career choice (Hat tip), and this comment thereon:

I’ve got a question that I’m hoping that Claire or Josh can answer. I’m 68 and still teaching. Is there an age limit, as for professional athletes, beyond which earning a living stripping is unrealistic? If there is, what kinds of options will be available for replacing that lucrative source of income?
Betsy Smith/Adjunct Professor of ESL/Cape Cod Community College

Thank you, Prof. Smith, for joining me in the snark. Being paid for being young is not a long-term plan.

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Drama is like a gas

It will expand to fit all of the space allotted to it.

This is true of wedding drama (don’t ask… unless you have good booze handy) or the Massachusetts GOP Gubernatorial race.

Seriously, Mark Fisher. As of Tuesday night, he is over 4,800 signatures shy of the required 10,000; barring an amazing last-minute effort, Fisher will not even have the requisite signatures to be on the primary ballot. Yet he is still suing the MA GOP – and that’s before the million-dollar shakedown effort.

Rod Blagojevich at least had the good sense to have the leverage to sell a U.S. Senate seat. Fisher is trying to get a buy-off for something that isn’t even his to give up.

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