From the monthly archives:

January 2010

Twas Bileg

January 28, 2010

‘Twas brillig and the slithy tothes, Did gyre and gimble in the wabe; All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrabe.
-Lewis Carroll
Goo goo g’ joob…
-John Lennon

(Has anyone else noticed that “Slithey tothe” is sort of a slant rhyme with “slimy toad?” Of course, toads aren’t slimy but verisimilitude be damned…)

A troll appeared in the comments at Joho the Blog this month. Twas “Bileg,” a slithey tothe if ever I’ve seen one. The guy is giving ad hominem argumentum a bad name. Bileg’s critique to date includes: a) an expression of dissatisfaction with the Joho colors; b) a yawn and a slur regarding David’s epistemological Work In Progress; c) a gratuitous insult or two around a really funny video of Nathan W. eating a carrot; and d) (my favorite, a sartorial insight of the first water) “If this web site is any indication I bet Weinberger is the kind of guy who wears baggy Dockers.”

I think it was the baggy Dockers comment that led me to take a closer look at the troll. I was probably wearing baggy Dockers when I read it. My interest in the troll’s identity was piqued. Does he, I wondered, have some specific ax to grind with DW or with Berkman or Levi Strauss or what? Some desultory googling yielded nothing so his identity remains cloaked in webby anonymity. I hope he appears again. As a student of ad hominem arguments, I think I can pick up some pointers on how not to do it. (Baggy Dockers!)

nobody knows, nobody really cares

Read more about trolls and how to deal with them in this post by Maria Niles at Blogher.

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The statin stupids

January 26, 2010

I had a little heart problem a year or so ago and the doc prescribed simvastatin. During the time that I’ve taken the drug, those around me have noticed a dumbing down and a slowness of response. I’ve noticed this too, and I’ve also noticed a decreased ability to find the right word in conversation and while I’m writing.

I thought that this was a general function of aging and I accepted my decline, albeit sadly. I may have been premature. It’s possible that my flat affect and memory condition were a product of simvastatin. Of course I may be rapidly descending into a state of senile dementia and we all should ignore any of my ideas, consider them the ravings of a mad man.

Statins have been shown to improve the survival chances of atherosclerotic patients. I’m one of those. I shouldn’t mess with my meds. q.e.d.

OTOH (as the messagers using a shorthand for the common phrase “on the other hand” say), since I stopped the statins I haven’t felt quite as stupid. OTOH, I stopped taking my statins, so what does that tell you?

I’ve an appointment with the cardio guy soon. In all likelihood I’ll remember to bring this up since I’m not taking the statins. OTOH, I may not live long. Just a joke… macabre sure, but not to be taken seriously. Informed opinions abound regarding the “statin stupids,” my self-diagnosed condition. A few links:

  • Do Statins Make You Stupid?
  • Do Statins Make You Stupid?
  • Can a Drug That Helps Hearts Be Harmful to the Brain?

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I think I nailed it

January 19, 2010

Wrote this email in response to a thoughtful, optimistic essay regarding the epigenetic nature of the American character. Sharing it here out of context, but I used so many big words I thought “What the hey! People need to read this!” I had to put tongue in cheek to reply regarding “national character.” I agree [...]

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Obama, Bush, Clinton, Aristide, Haiti

January 17, 2010

Chantal Laurent, The Haitian Blogger, published an informed article yesterday on her blog and in Salon, an article that underscores the irony of Obama’s appointment of Clinton and Bush to lead “an international campaign to help Haiti recover from the earthquake there.” America’s interventionism in Haiti’s affairs, deserves a closer look. The noble “international community” [...]

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Down on the farm, administrivia department

January 16, 2010

I’ve been following the unfolding story of the Trautman farm and their struggle with Wisconsin’s Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Affairs. A recent post inspired an email from Betty, one of my favorite readers. She gave me permission to edit it a little and post it here. Any errors or misstatements in what follows [...]

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The way to Carnegie Hall

January 7, 2010

Tamar Jacobson blogs at Mining Nuggets. Today marks the beginning of her sixth year practicing the blogger’s art. Congratulations for staying the course Tamar! I understand your feelings when you say, This morning, as I look back at the very beginning of blogging, I feel as if it has been more than just five years. [...]

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Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund - FTCLDF

January 6, 2010

Before New Years Day I wrote here about the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and the Kafkaesque way they have treated Scott and Julie Trautman. Scott and Julie are certified organic farmers selling grass fed beef. They also have a small dairy herd. Until recently they were able to market their [...]

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CIA agents killed in the line of duty

January 1, 2010

So ‘ere’s to you fuzzy-wuzzy, at your ‘ome in the Soudan; You’re a pore benighted ‘eathen, but a first class fightin’ man. - Rudyard Kipling Since a time before the centuries of failure of the British imperialists to subdue “the wily Pathan”, since the time of Hasan bin Sabah and before, a time stretching back [...]

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