Thursday, June 09, 2011

See That Obama, He Can Spot a Wrong 'un...

Dominique Strauss-Kahn meets the Obamas in Pittsburgh, in 2009. Hmmmm...

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Coombes' Tome

This little book, sadly long out of print, is a work of genius -- more on this another time. My own copy is falling to pieces (below).

These Mean Streets

Walking on Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn, crossing streets and avenues... Atlantic Avenue, above...

Herkimer Place...

Herkimer Street...

Fulton Street...

Melancholy, Long, Withdrawing Roar

1) Despite the many changes that have rippled through American society over the last 6 ½ decades, belief in God as measured in this direct way has remained high and relatively stable. Gallup initially used this question wording in November 1944, when 96% said "yes." That percentage dropped to 94% in 1947, but increased to 98% in several Gallup surveys conducted in the 1950s and 1960s. Gallup stopped using this question format in the 1960s, before including it again in Gallup's May 5-8 survey this year.
2) The transformative trends of the past 50 years that have led to a sharp decline in marriage and a rise of new family forms have been shaped by attitudes and behaviors that differ by class, age and race, according to a new Pew Research Center nationwide survey, done in association with TIME, complemented by an analysis of demographic and economic data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
A new “marriage gap” in the United States is increasingly aligned with a growing income gap. Marriage, while declining among all groups, remains the norm for adults with a college education and good income but is now markedly less prevalent among those on the lower rungs of the socio-economic ladder. The survey finds that those in this less-advantaged group are as likely as others to want to marry, but they place a higher premium on economic security as a condition for marriage. This is a bar that many may not meet. 

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Mark Twain On the Phone

Mark Twain describes an astonishing (to him) thing: hearing a person make a telephone call.
Then followed that queerest of all the queer things in this world, -- a conversation with only one end to it. You hear questions asked; you don't hear the answer. You hear invitations given; you hear no thanks in return. You have listening pauses of dead silence, followed by apparently irrelevant and unjustifiable exclamations of glad surprise, or sorrow, or dismay. You can't make head or tail of the talk, because you never hear anything that the person at the other end of the wire says...

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Now I Seen It All

The War in Yemen

Yemen's Socotra Island is noted for its unusual flora and fauna (above)

The U.S. has been conducting a largely covert war against al Qaeda across the length and breadth of Yemen since at least 2002. The protests and revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt at the start of this year encouraged local anti-government forces to have a go at Yemen's leader, Ali Abdullah Saleh, another of the region's many Presidents-for-life. And so, to last Friday, when the dice rolled again:
WASHINGTON — Yemen’s embattled president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, arrived in Saudi Arabia on Saturday for urgent medical treatment of wounds sustained in a bold attack on the presidential compound, Saudi officials said, abruptly shifting the political calculus that has allowed him to cling to power despite months of protest and violence [New York Times].

Summery Summary

Man in Union Square, choosing his words very carefully:
He's, how can I put it, he's, uhhh... very socially awkward.
His female companion, not mincing words at all:
He's not socially awkward, he's a douche.

Woman in Union Square to her female companion:
This time round, I am way more interested in the non-holy matrimonial aspects of marriage.