Text 25 Aug 1 note almost missed the boat on this one

I think I have a favorite new band. Parquet Courts… Texans transplanted to Brooklyn… they’re part Modern Lovers, part Pavement, part Sonic Youth. 

This one shows their more SY side… 

… and this one their more Pavement-y side… 

They’re playing at Webster Hall pretty soon. I think they came through Boston recently. Hopefully they’re be back soon.

Text 24 Aug collect ‘em all

name your own new, increaingly obscure emoticons

へ(✕▿✕)へ ━━►  dead bird

(((\(◍⍛◍)/))) ━━►  I come in peeeece

⊂ -ᴥ- ⊃ ━━►  smug koala 

ヽ༼⚈,_ゝ⚈༽ノ ━━► I’m meeeelltiinnngg

♱☉ᴥ☉♱ ━━►  lemur friend

^(☉д☉)^b ━━► owl telling you a-OK

Text 23 Aug ant science!

A German researcher published findings that support a different (and apaprently highly contested) type of evolution that isn’t as well known as the classic kind identified by Darwin and his finches—the kind where species diverge as a result of geographic isolation. This flavor of evolution appears to be an intraspecies divergence, called sympatric (the classic variety is called allopatric), that occurs when on group of animals within a colony changs how they operate and were are successful that they live within the same group but are completely walled-off in terms of breeding. Fast forward many, many years and—voila!—new species living right under the noses of the ones they branched out from

The ant colony they studied was situated under a group of eucalyptus trees at São Paulo State University in Brazil. The familiar ant, Mycocepurus goeldii, is a fungus-farming species, meaning it grows fungus and relies on it for nutrients. This ant has been observed throughout Brazil and in neighboring countries. But within that one colony on the university campus exists a parasite ant, Mycocepurus castrator. Rather than help grow fungus, the parasites spend their lives eating the food reserves and reproducing. Sometimes they go undetected; other times, mobs of the farmer ants identify and kill them.

Most new species develop in geographic isolation from the original species, a concept called allopatric speciation. It is rare for a species like the parasite ants to evolve from another species within the same nest.

Among those publishing the findings are, Christian Rabeling, the German scientist who found the species in Brazil and Ted Schultz, the curator of ants for the National Museum of National History.

Let me say that again… THE CURATOR OF ANTS. I love that that job exists.

Text 22 Aug 1 note an ode to ralph wiggum


There’s a deeper significance to Ralph… or at least that’s the argument Mallory Ortberg makes in Not Allowed In The Deep End: Ralph Wiggum’s Finest Moments. It’s convincing.

There is no place on the social structure for a second-grade boy who thinks rats are “pointy kitties” and calls his teacher “Mommy.” Kids can be misfits (Milhouse), or they can be brownnosers (Martin), or they can be troublemakers (Nelson), or they can be tattle-tales (Sherri and Terri), but being Ralph is simply not a taxonomically viable option.

Ralph is not a rule-follower like Lisa, nor a rule-breaker like Bart; Ralph does not observe the rules because he is almost completely unaware of them. More than any of the other students at Springfield Elementary, Ralph is a child. Bart and Lisa and Milhouse and Nelson and Janey are kids, and therein lies the difference. Ralph sees things that aren’t there (“Ralph, remember the time you said Snagglepuss was outside?” “He was going to the bathroom!”), eats paste, picks his nose, volunteers unprompted, nonsensical declarations (“My cat’s breath smells like cat food”) disguised as Zen koans. His character is sometimes written as dim-but-profound, sometimes borderline-psychotic, and occasionally developmentally disabled, but more than anything else, Ralph like what he is: a child who hasn’t yet aged into a kid, which is one of the most embarrassing things a child can be.

There’s more here. Also, the Martin Prince missive is a good one, too.

Text 21 Aug i have the answer

The solution to our intractable government gridlock is setting the number of players to zero! 

this epiphany brought to you by childhood nostalgia and the inimitable 

Video 21 Aug

The new Jason Reitman film looks interesting…  and it will probably make me a little bummed (as Super Sad True Love Story did) about connection/disconnection caused by technology

Text 19 Aug Rhythm Tote

Programmed in 1966 by a 12 year old girl in Maine. Think of her as a contemporary to Sally Draper.

Now it’s a time capsule

About 15 years ago in a second-hand store in Maine, host/producer David Garland’s eye was caught by the vintage illustration on a “Rhythm Tote” carrying case full of 45 RPM records. Showing two teen-age girls enjoying their records (see photos below), the Rhythm Tote turned out to be a time capsule from a very particular moment in pop history. Several of the 45s have the name Diane Graham written on them, and apparently Diane collected these singles between about 1963 and 1967. If the character Sally Draper on the TV show “Madmen” were real, she would have been Diane Graham’s contemporary. 

Diane had a good ear for good music. Her collection includes The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Elvis, The Supremes, and other popular acts, as well as intriguing tunes by less-remembered artists such as David McCallum, The T-Bones, and other surprises. Diane got plenty of use out her records, perhaps carrying them to school and to friends’ houses in her Rhythm Tote. In the process, she personalized her 45s with the sweet murmur of vinyl surface noise. 

Text 18 Aug 1 note deadspin funbag

I don’t have kids, but this question/amswer from the Deadspin funbag made me laugh:

How would you rate the following aspects of having kids, in terms of how much raging fury they inflict upon parents:

* Leaky sippy cups that appear to be designed to leak

* Seat/chair straps that will not clasp, especially in heavy rain

* Finding that they pooped as you are sitting them down for dinner

* Finding joy when they eat something for the first time, buying a metric ton, and their immediate refusal to eat it at the next meal

* Splashing water in the tub

Splashing water is my No. 1 worst. I can’t think of one thing that is more enjoyable and infuriating between two human beings only 10 years apart.

I can handle a bit of tub splashing. You have to let the kid live. I only get pissed when the kid takes a cup of water and just dumps it right out of the tub (happens a lot), or the kid scoots back and forth in the tub, creating a wave pool and then flooding the bathroom floor when that wave spills over (rarer, but infinitely worse).

I hate everything else on your list much, much more. Here is how I would rank them.

5. Tub splashing.

4. Leaky sippy cups. They ALL leak. Milk just gushes right out of them. I’d be better off serving milk in a leaky canoe. Then the milk leaks on the kid, and they just cry, all the time. They don’t suck it up and go find a napkin. They just piss and moan.

3. Pooping before dinner. They also poop right after you’ve left the house and you gotta change them in the shotgun seat and pray no poop gets on the windshield. Or they poop right after you put the overnight diaper on them. Stupid baby. Don’t you know those things cost 30 cents a pop? These kids all time their poops horribly.

2. Refusal to eat something they liked just a day ago. I’ve learned my lesson about this kind of thing. Getting children to eat decently is fucking horrible … arguably the worst part of parenting. My wife has cried MANY TIMES over our failure to get the kids to eat like normal human beings. But even we know that you can’t kill a dish by serving it 50 times in a row. You gotta show restraint and wait a few days before serving it again, because apparently children are just like single women who want you to call but don’t want you STALKING them.

1. The car-seat thing. I actually had a seat recalled because the buckle was so hard to buckle. I have gotten my son’s penis caught in the buckle MORE THAN ONCE because a five-point car-seat buckle is located directly on top of the crotch and makes for easy genital-mashing. Car seats are evil, horrible things and I hate them in every possible way. One time I was coming home from a flight with the kids and I had to re-install the car seat as they waited on the curb, and the thing wouldn’t latch, and I was so angry I just howled. Like a fucking dog. With people watching. I howled and then kicked the car in a fit of rage. Car seats do this to you.

Text 17 Aug

What does spending 27 hours compling a list of bands to compete for the title of Best American Band look like? Allow Grantland’s Steven Hyden to describe fifty years of musical champions, from the Beach Boys to the Black Keys.

The quote that hit home for me (describing the 3rd biggest challenger to Nirvana for the 1991-1993 belt:

Is Pavement a band that people born between 1965 and 1980 are cursed to love without the ability to properly articulate why we love them? Like Weezer, Pavement has an appeal that seems to elude anybody outside of that generation. I feel like the sexiness of not giving a shit should be obvious, but it is not.

Text 16 Aug oh, come on!

BPA-Free Plastic Containers May Be Just as Hazardous

Time for an aluminum bottle… 

BPA is the starting material for making polycarbonate plastics. Any leftover BPA that is not consumed in the reaction used to make a plastic container can leach into its contents. From there it can enter the body. BPS was a favored replacement because it was thought to be more resistant to leaching. If people consumed less of the chemical, the idea went, it would not cause any or only minimal harm.

Yet BPS is getting out. Nearly 81 percent of Americans have detectable levels of BPS in their urine. And once it enters the body it can affect cells in ways that parallel BPA. A 2013 study by Cheryl Watson at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston found that even picomolar concentrations (less than one part per trillion) of BPS can disrupt a cell’s normal functioning, which could potentially lead to metabolic disorders such as diabetes and obesity, asthma, birth defects or even cancer.

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