Why I WANT Hillary! to Run for President

If Hillary! runs for president all of this will be reviewed. The woman is deeply embedded in a political culture in which it seems that people around her — and maybe she herself — believe that the ends (her election) justify all means.
Further: Not that we should be surprised! I have a bad opinion of all politicians, really; anyone who would do that for a living is probably not a nice person. But you see, whoever is the first female nominee of a party (whether Hillary! or someone else) will benefit enormously from the stooopid commonplace that women are somehow nicer, better, more nuturing than men and should be rewarded in politics for that. More women are nuturing than men, but far from all — and I think that to get where Hillary! is she had either to be or become what she is today. Nothing I’ve seen in the early life as lavishly massaged and presented during the WJC presidency convinced me that it wasn’t be rather than become. So far I’m reasonably pleased with her behavior as my senator; when she’s not engaging in a roll-call partisan activity she’s smart and engaged. Because she has ambitions beyond Chappaqua she’s executing a move to the right (and it wouldn’t be hard to move to the right of Schumer), which means that I would tend to like her more as the march to the right goes on, even if I see it as strategic rather than “growth”.

Harmonica Parts for HYMNS?

I have seldom been so grateful to have been raised Presbyterian as when reading the Amy Welborn guilty sung pleasures thread.
I will admit that when I was 14 I thought “Lord of the Dance” was pretty cool. It’s not a pleasure for me now, though. My pleasure nowadays runs more toward bawling “a wretch like me” when we sing “Amazing Grace” in the Oregon-altered-form. My guilty pleasure is actually singing the hymns when no one else will sing. After all, I was raised Protestant. I sometimes even sing along to the communion hymns.


Yet another metastudy tells us that it hurts to stop taking caffeine. I see the promised inclusion of caffeine-withdrawal in the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as part of the coming great assault on our mood-altering drug (and liquid delivery system!) of choice.
via Sarah Smith at Rhubarb.
further: Here’s my idea of where they’re headed — they’re going to use the waitresses approach, just like they did for cigarettes in New York State. After all, as the billboards pleaded, don’t waitresses deserve a smoke-free work place? Next they’ll blame carpal tunnel syndrome on the poor wait staff having to carry TWO carafes around to serve caff and decaf. That’ll be our fault, and so we’ll have to give up our caffeine. Sound delusional? Would you have believed 10 years ago that smoking would be banned in bars in New York? They’re coming for your cup, people! Heed me!

Marriage Abduction

Would you like an example of an evil that canon law succeeded in stamping out in the West during the middle ages? Bride-kidnapping. The consent rules of canon law make this one very difficult. “Secret marriages” took longer, but eventually the rules that the giving of consent had to be public (in front of a witness) took hold. The carrying-over-the-threshhold part of our wedding customary may be the last signs of abduction left in America (the “so she doesn’t trip” explanation doesn’t ring nearly as true as “bringing her to the marital home forcibly.” Yes, it could be both.)
The article is about Kyrgyz marriage abductions and begins: “When Ainur Tairova realized she was on her way to her wedding, she started choking the driver.
It’s technically illegal in Kyrgyz law, too, but no one’s enforcing it.

The Fish Tank adds salt

I never cease to be amazed by the Tennessee Aquarium; it has driven the redevelopment of my hometown’s downtown almost exactly the way its founders said it would — if not more so. They exceeded their predicted number of visitors the first year and have continued to do so. Now they’ve added a large saltwater section (they always had one large saltwater tank, but this is a whole wing).
One of the neat things about the Tennessee Aquarium is that it has a narrative. You start by riding a very tall escalator to the top of the building to a “mountain cove” setting where it mists, real birds fly around chirping, and the otters play (my father still swears he’s never seen an otter and that they are just a marketing tool). As you wend your way down through the building to the exit you are following the course of the water from the Appalachias to the Gulf of Mexico, with the displays reflecting that. When they do “rivers of the world” it’s in the same area as the main channel of the Tennessee River. It’s a very cleverly designed building. I’m looking forward to seeing how they integrate a new wing with a salt water setting, or if they simply declare “heeeeere’s the Ocean!”

Parisians Nothing – I, myself, had no idea Lévi-Strauss is still alive.

There’s a big show up in Paris of Brazilian Indian material (part of France’s Year of Brazil). It sounds like an interesting show, but this caught my eye. “The final room in this show is a homage to Mr. Lévi-Strauss and serves to remind many French who long ago read his 1955 classic, “Tristes Tropiques,” that, at 97, he is still alive and kicking.” The French, nothing – I had no idea.

Posted in Art

Museum Bizarro-World – National Gallery Suspends School Tours

I really don’t get this. The National Gallery is going to suspend school tours while they re-evaluate their education programs. So, for 18 months they’re going to study the problem. They’re telling us that running the 100-odd volunteer docents takes up so much of their time that they have to shut it down in order to think about something new (best practices are involved, so we know things will get better).
Update: National Gallery gets a grip.

What’s the WORST Library Food?

Food in the library is bad. NOISY food in the library is evil. Why am I not surprised when I stand up and walk over to glare to see exceptionally tan, exceptionally blonde people consuming said evil food product?
Oh, well – such is the library in the last full week of classes, full of people who otherwise never trouble the studious.

Cousin marriage

Fr. Jim Tucker is blogging about cousin marriage (based on a Washington Post story about first cousins who want to marry). The laws of consanguinuity grow out of canon law; one of the things Don Jim doesn’t consider (it’s not really on point here) is how much the Latin Church’s enforcement of laws requiring marriage outside of family lines (sometimes less successful than others, but always present after 1100) forced Europe to see families in a different way. To put it bluntly, the unintended consequence was a weakening of patriarchy. Cousin-marriage, especially arranged cousin-marriage, seems to reinforce inheritance patterns in a way that reduce the rights of women inside families.