From the reader blogs: a politics-free edition






61 replies
  1. 1

    I don’t post there as often as I’d like, but I hope my blog (link in the nym) is in your reader too. I missed the post where you asked for links.

    (and it’s usually political stuff)

  2. 2

    It’s a measure of just how hardcore this blog is that you think that #s 2 and 4 are not, in fact, political.

    And can I say again how much I love this feature? Thank you!

  3. 3
    daveNYC says:

    Do not mention rice and beef and wheat; monkey-brain is an African’s cuisine of choice, along with goat, snake, worms and grubs and all manner of game meat.

    Woah, does she have a problem with goat?

  4. 4
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Brilliant: You are not alone. I happen to like Jealous Guy, and Lennon’s solo stuff more than McCartney’s, but sometimes people talk about Lennon as if he were Mozart, Ghandi, Erasmus and one or two other remarkable historical/artistic figures filtered through the Sixties (and yes, I get that he and the Beatles created much of what we call the Sixties) and rolled into one.

  5. 5
    Martin says:

    Good government Friday:

    California and DOE providing subsidies to install electric charging stations.

    These charging stations are level 3 fast chargers. 480V, 125A monsters that will charge a Nissan Leaf to 80% in 20 minutes.

    Currently, they’re most easily found at Costco and a few other chains. Best Buy, ARCO, and BP are installing them across the state as well. Government agencies are installing them for fleet vehicles and even some private enterprises are installing them for the use of their employees or whoever comes along.

    The chargers cost about $70,000 to install, but cost very little to charge a car, so once the up-front cost is covered, businesses simply ignore the electricity cost right now. Even if the charger was plugged in 24/7, it’d cost $58 per day in electricity. The state is even installing emergency chargers at rest areas.

    The single biggest obstacle to electric vehicles is the power infrastructure. That’s now starting to be built out.

  6. 6
    slag says:

    I’m with Emily L. Hauser/ellaesther. This is a great feature!

  7. 7
    Cat says:

    The “how to write a scientific article” was missing the humorous quote by researcher on the final graph trope.

  8. 8
    jacy says:

    I never complain about the ads, but it’s funny, the ad from Cafe Press is for “Right Wing t-shirts and gear: Tea Party Tees and liberal-bashing bumper stickers.”

    Aren’t there algorithms that are supposed to match ads to readership? Or is it all just keywords? I thought the Google had the double super-secret algorithms that could read people’s minds.

    On topic:

    And let me second (make that third) ellaesther’s kudos – love finding other people’s blogs.

  9. 9
    Tom Hilton says:

    Brilliant at Breakfast wrongly trashes the John Lennon classic “Jealous Guy”. She’s obviously never heard the Donny Hathaway cover.

    I don’t know who this Donny Hathaway person is, but Roxy Music did a great cover of it (much better than the original) back in the early ’80s.

  10. 10

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: I heard Yoko Ono talking about him on the occasion of his 70th, and, like you, I am a big, big, big Lennon fan, but dude. He was not “the Shakespeare of your generation,” Yoko, no matter how much you loved him and no matter how great your loss.

    It was really weird — it was just this moment of going: Ohhhh. He really was your husband, and you might be a smidge biased.

  11. 11
    Tom Hilton says:

    Also, since this is a thread about politics-free reader blogs, I’m going to take the opportunity (again) to pimp the photoblog I have with a couple of friends (who are much better photographers than I am).

  12. 12
    Crusty Dem says:

    Hey all, since this is politics free, the spousal unit and I are having in the late stages of our final reproductive cycle and I was wondering if anyone out there might have some ideas for designation (baby names). I hate to ask people, because of the potential for disappointment (or the inevitable rolling of the eyes because someone thinks “Buddha” is the perfect name for a child), but I figured we’ve got some bright people here and no one can see my rolling eyes, so..

    Adding to the challenge, we don’t know if it’s a girl or boy.

    Thanks! Now off to a meeting..

  13. 13
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Crusty Dem: Hugo.

    ETA: Desdemona, also too.

  14. 14
    licensed to kill time says:

    I grew up with the Beatles so their music is part of the soundtrack of my life, but in their case “the whole is more than the sum of its parts” was never more applicable. They made magic together.

    I once spent an excruciating day helping a friend paint his house. Excruciating because he played some endless tapes of John Lennon performing solo and with Yoko. I really wanted to slit my wrists, it was so bloody awful. I have loved some of his solo stuff, but I’m with the crowd who thinks his assassination elevated him to a status he never would have achieved (solo) otherwise.

    Though I blubbered like a baby when it happened.

  15. 15
    cleek says:

    @Crusty Dem:
    Pericles

    i think it’s time ancient Greek names made a comeback.

  16. 16
    dj spellchecka says:

    tom hilton beat me to it….i’d add that the brian ferry/roxy music’s version of jealous guy is a perfect fit of artist and cover song….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....38;ob=av2e

  17. 17
    Tom says:

    Re: Lennon: Imagine (the song) is great… not my favorite Lennon song, but it certainly is a great piece of work. It’s perception among some suffers from its ubiquity.

    Imagine (the album) is a classic. And Plastic Ono Band is even better. Listened to POB last weekend to mark Lennon’s birthday and dug it even more than I have in the past. Lennon did have a tendency to get a little too earnest (See Mind Games and, yes, Jealous Guy), but songs like Remember, Well, Well, Well, Crippled Inside, Look At Me, Gimme Some Truth… I could go on… are incredible because of their rawness and, well, because they’re freaking awesome songs.

    And MacCartney’s solo stuff gets a bad rap too (at least his early output). Both MacCartney and Ram are excellent and pretty much Ground Zero for the entire indie rock movement.

  18. 18
    Mnemosyne says:

    I have no suggestions, but there’s a great series of books by Linda Rosenkrantz and Pamela Satran that helps you figure out what names are popular right now. It used to be called Beyond Jennifer and Jason, but changing fashion turned the title into Beyond Ava & Aiden.

    It’s great information because, let’s face it, new parents rarely know what other people are naming their kids, and you don’t want to decide that Olivia is a unique and unusual name only to discover there are three other Olivias in your child’s daycare because it’s actually a top 10 name right now.

  19. 19
    Cat Lady says:

    I just love Redshirt’s blog. “Redshirt before dying” cracks me up every. single. time.

  20. 20
    Chyron HR says:

    @Crusty Dem:

    I hate to ask people, because of the potential for disappointment (or the inevitable rolling of the eyes because someone thinks “Buddha” is the perfect name for a child)

    “Buddha”? Boy, some people are stupid.

    You should name your baby “Siberian Khatru”. Or “Christopher”, if it’s a boy.

  21. 21
    daveNYC says:

    Hey all, since this is politics free, the spousal unit and I are having in the late stages of our final reproductive cycle and I was wondering if anyone out there might have some ideas for designation (baby names). I hate to ask people, because of the potential for disappointment (or the inevitable rolling of the eyes because someone thinks “Buddha” is the perfect name for a child), but I figured we’ve got some bright people here and no one can see my rolling eyes, so..

    Dave.

    Though I might be biased.

  22. 22
    cleek says:

    though i stand by Pericles, i must caution against using names from languages you aren’t fluent in.

    friends named their daughter “Hana”, after the Japanese word for flower. turns out “hana” also means “nose” – as they were informed by someone at a dinner party who overheard “japanese” and “hana” as he was walking by – “oh, nose!”

  23. 23
    jacy says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    It’s great information because, let’s face it, new parents rarely know what other people are naming their kids, and you don’t want to decide that Olivia is a unique and unusual name only to discover there are three other Olivias in your child’s daycare because it’s actually a top 10 name right now.

    Good advice. There are 47 Peytons (of various spellings and both sexes) in the kindergarten my son goes to. Well, maybe 47 is an exaggeration, but if you yell that name, it seems like half the kids turn around.

    We went for obscure with our kids, which is good and bad. My daughter hated her unusual name (Cadia) until she graduated high school. For years she insisted on Katie. My son, Lochlainn, on the other hand, loves having a name no other kid has. Even if no teacher can spell it.

    So I guess my advice would be if you go for unusual, make sure there’s a diminutive.

  24. 24
    Third Eye Open says:

    @cleek: I am partial to Mesopotamian, myself.

    Inanna and Enki.

  25. 25
    donr says:

    Right before reading “How to Write A Book About Africa”, I happened to have been reading the cover-story in my newly-arrived TLS: a review of VS Naipul’s “The Masque of Africa: Glimpses of African Belief.” The title of the review – which pretty much betrays the sentiments of the reviewer – reads, “Boiling waters: Rage, derision, dead cats and money-protecting herbs as V.S. Naipaul sneers his way through Africa.”

    It appears Sir Vidia’s greatness as a writer can be measured by how precisely he managed to conform to Binyavanga Wainaina’s prescription months before she even wrote it.

    (Take-away sentence from Nobel Naipaul’s book: “It is hard to arrive at a human understanding of the pigmies, to see them as individuals. Perhaps they weren’t.”)

  26. 26
    Rosalita says:

    @jacy:

    Aren’t there algorithms that are supposed to match ads to readership? Or is it all just keywords? I thought the Google had the double super-secret algorithms that could read people’s minds.

    I think they do, but I kept getting the Trojan ads about some kind of triple pleasure yesterday and I haven’t been searching on that… who knows!

  27. 27
    freelancer says:

    In the other annals of absolute shit science journalism, the “UFOs” over NYC yesterday were in fact, the planet Jupiter (and 4 of its moons) and a cluster of balloons.

    The reporter covering the story pointed the camera at Jupiter and was mystified as to what it could be.

  28. 28
    Roger Moore says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    If you really want to know what’s going on with baby names right now, the best place to go is the Social Security Administration. They have the best information sources, and the site is really well done. You can look to see what names are popular right now, or you can check to see how the popularity of a specific name has changed over time. It’s fabulous.

  29. 29
    R-Jud says:

    @Third Eye Open: Mesopotamians? Bah. Go with the Poetic Edda, CrustyDem. Snorri or Sinthgunt.

  30. 30
    Brachiator says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    but sometimes people talk about Lennon as if he were Mozart, Ghandi, Erasmus and one or two other remarkable historical/artistic figures filtered through the Sixties and rolled into one.

    I think that’s a pretty fair description. Not just for the music and influence on the culture, but also for the influence on other musicians.

    Not too many people are able to immediately set new musical directions. Here you have the Beatles, Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, James Brown, Bob Dylan, Hank Williams and very few others. Mozart, by contrast, was more influential years after his death and his most important pupil, Hummel, is good, but was pushed aside by the Romantics.

  31. 31
    WereBear says:

    @Crusty Dem: Seven!

    If you’re a Seinfeld fan…

  32. 32
    MattR says:

    @daveNYC: I gotta go with Matthew, meaning “gift of God” :)

    My aunt, who reads this blog but does not comment, actually renamed my mother after her (my aunt’s) best friend. Being first generation immigrants, neither of my grandparents called my mother by her English name, a name which my aunt hated. So when my aunt brought my mom to school the first day, she told everybody there a different name, her best friend’s.

  33. 33
    scav says:

    I’ve always rather hoped for a Xavier Yves Zachariah for the sheer elan of it all.

  34. 34
    fnook says:

    I second RM’s recommendation of the SSA website. The popularity feature is fascinating. My family’s on the verge of a second child, a boy, and we went with Todd, a name that ranked in the 30s during the 1960s but now languishes in the 800s in terms of popularity.

  35. 35
    Alex S. says:

    @WereBear:

    or Seven of Nine, if you’re a Star Trek fan… But I’d also like to suggest some scandinavian names, like Solveig or Ase.

  36. 36
    fnook says:

    In addition, I like Thor for a boy. A bit risky but the upside potential is large too, also.

  37. 37
    Brachiator says:

    @Crusty Dem:

    Hey all, since this is politics free, the spousal unit and I are having in the late stages of our final reproductive cycle and I was wondering if anyone out there might have some ideas for designation (baby names).

    How ’bout Dingo, as in “A Dingo is my baby.”

    I agree with others that the Social Security site is a great site.

    And there is always room for whimsy. A relative chose “Hannah” for her daughter’s name mainly because she liked that it read the same backwards and forwards.

  38. 38
    Roger Moore says:

    @R-Jud:
    Some of the less popular Biblical names could also be good. Nobody could object to a biblical name, but you still don’t run into very many people named Ahinoam, Naamah, Ishbaal, Jehoahaz, or Habakkuk.

  39. 39
    MattR says:

    @Brachiator:

    A relative chose “Hannah” for her daughter’s name mainly because she liked that it read the same backwards and forwards.

    That was one reason George Carlin loved the name Otto.

  40. 40
    Redshirt says:

    @Cat Lady: Thanks! I’m not dead yet!

  41. 41
    Alex S. says:

    @Roger Moore:

    My favorite name in the Bible is Jerobeam, because of the beam…

  42. 42
    Cris says:

    @Crusty Dem: I always dreamed of naming a girl “Chrysalis” (which could be nicknamed to “Chrys” or “Alisa”) or “Coriander” (you could call her “Cori” or even “Cori Ann”).

  43. 43
    Cris says:

    @Mnemosyne: you don’t want to decide that Olivia is a unique and unusual name only to discover there are three other Olivias in your child’s daycare because it’s actually a top 10 name right now.

    I was double-chagrined by this. We chose our son’s name from family history: his given name was his great-grandmother’s maiden surname. But I might have chosen something else if I had known it was not only the most popular boy’s name this year, but even worse, that its popularity is due in part to the Twilight series.

  44. 44
    russell says:

    She’s obviously never heard the Donny Hathaway cover.

    Just wanted to pop in to say All Hail Willie Weeks.

    Thank you.

  45. 45
    Crusty Dem says:

    Thanks for the suggestions. I’ll be keeping a tally and running them against the rather boring names currently on our list. We prefer the names that are uncommon, but not completely unique (generally speaking, as someone named “Michael”, I’m not a fan of names which will induce constant headturning anywhere large numbers of people congregate).

    Hugo/Desdemona – Omnes Omnibus
    Pericles – Cleek
    Christopher – Chyron HR
    Dave (David) – DaveNYC
    Inanna and Enki – Thirdeyeopen
    Snorri or Sinthgunt – RJud
    Seven – Werebear
    Matthew – MattR
    Xavier Yves Zachariah – scav
    Thor – fnook
    Dingo/Hannah – Brachiator
    Jerobeam – Alex S
    Chrysalis/Coriander – Cris

    I am rolling my eyes at some of you, but I suspect you know who you are and why…

  46. 46
    MattR says:

    @Crusty Dem: I am definitely the wrong one to ask for “original” names. But I completely understand about wanting something non-generic. I grew up on a cul-de-sac with eight houses that had three Matthews within 15 months of age. And among my closest ten friends, two of them are other Matthews (although we do break out the “three Matts make a rug” joke every now and again). I am at the point where I pretty much ignore my first name and only respond to my last name. (EDIT: I was gonna mention that my friend named his daughter Emma and I like that, but then I checked and see it was number 2 on the SSA list)

  47. 47
    Tom Hilton says:

    I highly recommend Maximilian, which is what we named our son. There was a whole rash of Maxes around that time (’89), but most were either Maxwell or just Max. Maximilian is good because it embodies just the right balance of pride and humility: it’s an emperor’s name…but the emperor went in front of a firing squad.

  48. 48
    Brachiator says:

    Since this is a politics free edition, I find it amusing that some Juicers believe that pot legalization would lead to a flowering of little guys growing marijuana. This totally misses the degree to which demand is based on professional cultivation (Pot growers are a new crop):

    Today, indoor-grown pot is king. A weed that grows naturally in the sun has been tamed into an industrial product that is branded like soda pop and as subject to fashion as women’s shoes. Pot raised indoors or underground commands up to $3,000 a wholesale pound, twice the price of outdoor varieties….
    __
    What is clear is that consumers now harbor a powerful fetish for indoor weed. A potent bud is no longer enough. Like connoisseurs of wine or coffee, pot smokers want cachet: an exotic look, a distinctive smell of cheese or lemon. This requires growing indoors, where plants can be coddled, protected from the elements and blasted with nutrients….
    __
    Nowhere is the ascendancy of indoor pot more evident than in the rugged hills of the Emerald Triangle: Mendocino, Trinity and Humboldt counties, where some of the most potent weed in America is grown.

  49. 49
    Ruckus says:

    OK not politics per se but a bit of fun with some truth thrown in.
    Monty

  50. 50
    Roger Moore says:

    @Crusty Dem:
    I would seriously suggest either Hosea or Ezekiel as less common but still recognizable biblical names for boys. Deborah might be a good biblical girl’s name; it used to be very popular but is surprisingly uncommon today.

    If I wanted to summarize, though, I’d say that the big advice is to go seriously ethnic. Pick something that really screams out whatever ethnic group you’re from, or are pulling a name from.

  51. 51
    Origuy says:

    The SSA website is probably more authoritative, but the Baby Name Wizard has a cooler interface.

  52. 52
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Roger Moore:

    If I wanted to summarize, though, I’d say that the big advice is to go seriously ethnic. Pick something that really screams out whatever ethnic group you’re from, or are pulling a name from.

    My real name is heavily ethnic (Italian) and G’s is Irish, so if we ever get around to having a kid, I would be seriously tempted to go heavily Gaelic. Like Siobhan or something.

  53. 53
    calling all toasters says:

    Someone needs to name their child Ignorant.

    Guest (smiling): Oh, and who is this?
    You (yelling): THAT IS IGNORANT!

  54. 54

    @daveNYC: jerk goat is delicious. and not a jerk, oddly.

  55. 55
    chopper says:

    @daveNYC:

    dude, goatsnake is pretty awesome.

  56. 56
    Roger Moore says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    I’d be tempted to go with something moderately obscure. It could be an oddball name from the Bible, like Hezekiah, or maybe something Punic, like Hamilcar. An old Norse name like Wulfric or Cnut could be cool, too.

    ETA: Make sure you check out how the first and last name work together, too. I’ve been getting lame Bond jokes about my name for as long as I can remember, even though Sir Roger hasn’t played the role in decades.

  57. 57
    chopper says:

    @Crusty Dem:

    “jahooswey”

  58. 58
    chopper says:

    @cleek:

    “o. noes” would be a frickin awesome name.

    o. noes, meet lol. lol, o. noes. by the way, if either of you are interested, i anal.

  59. 59
    Sock Puppet of the Great Satan says:

    “I have no suggestions, but there’s a great series of books by Linda Rosenkrantz and Pamela Satran that helps you figure out what names are popular right now”

    I’d also make the suggestion that you don’t want a combination of first name & surname that are completely unique: you want at least a dozen others in the US with the same exact name. Otherwise, in an age of search engines, it’ll be harder for them to have some privacy.

  60. 60
    Tom Hilton says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    My real name is heavily ethnic (Italian) and G’s is Irish, so if we ever get around to having a kid, I would be seriously tempted to go heavily Gaelic. Like Siobhan or something.

    Combine them. Go with Siobhanni.

  61. 61

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