Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tea party? Racist? Where'd you get that idea?

I mean, aside from the constant mantra of racism throughout. I do appreciate that he separates "blacks" from "nigras" though. Would a racist do that?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Child of Lesbians Snatched by Baptist Extremists

My retitling is a little sensationalist, but what do you do when a story like this happens?

In it, a kid (had to two moms in Vermont) get kidnapped by one of her mothers — the one who renounced homosexuality under the thrall of some hardline Southern Baptists — who was aided by a pastor and an employee of Liberty University in traveling through Canada and Mexico to Nicaragua, where the poor kid's no doubt been raised under a lunatic pre-modern Christianity.

Your right to believe a crazy-ass religion does not give you the right to steal a child, nor the right to keep the kid from their non-crazy parent.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Maybe you can save us, One True Scotsman!

I would love to see a comic book hero who used his ability to exemplify positive traits in order to fight his arch nemesis Straw Man.

Doing so, he could save Christians, Objectivists and Nazis (maybe in that order).

"Thank God you got here, One True Scotsman! All the straw men were making us look like bigots!"

"Don't worry, boys! We know that all true Christians believe in charity, chastity and cannibalism!"

"What about us?"

"All true Objectivists become moral through the magic of self-interest!"


He could wear a plaid cape and carry a claymore and be cheap.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

On Armenian food in LA

LA Weekly's Squid Ink writes about Armenian food and mentions me, though I'm a little unclear on where they found my comment (it's pretty much true, though).

Too bad they spelled my name wrong.

Dick Durbin puts the smackdown on Chase's CEO

Interchange fees are a bit of banking jargon, but Durbin does a great job dismantling Jamie Dimon's specious anti-regulation screed with this sharply-worded letter.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Charles Murray has always been racist

It's important to remember any time this Bell Curve bullshitter starts getting positive, or even neutral, press, that he was a cross-burner, but provides the fig leaf for other racists by averring that he had no racial animus when he did it.

Ryan's budget slashing immoral

The vicious cycle of undermining government and cutting services is open war on the poor.

Zombies bring out the stereotypes

Angry Asian Man examines post-apocalyptic racial politics.

Bonus: What about the Black Skins?, an essay on racism and retconning.

Uprock you don't stop

Like the tango (more), Uprock is a dance style born of the streets and rife with violence. But where Tango has emphasized the sexuality (long mythologized as brothel music) and transformed into a ballroom style with romantic passion bowdlerizing the overt sexuality, uprocking has been shunted off as the less popular battle dance cousin of b-boying.

Uprock is mostly upright (toprock), with feigned punches, kicks, gunfire and arrow shots, with the basic repertoire drawn primarily from locking.

While most of KMEL's competition is floorwork b-boy stuff, in the clip above he gets into the grittiest uprock video I've found on youtube, a flurry of punches, kicks, burns and jerks.

And, of course, the Rock Steady Crew with their "hit" Uprock:

You can compare Uprock most directly to Krump and Hyphie, with the wild and aggressive arm sweeps:

E-40's "Tell me When to Go" (embedding disabled).

Which, in turn, came out of clowning and turfing, but that's another goddamned post.

Anybody got some great regional dance styles they've been sitting on?

More CicLaVia stories

Collected here, including Lance Armstrong riding the route.

One thing that bugged me about a lot of the comments there was that it seems like a lot of pedestrians, and parents in general, are raising ruckus over the perceived "unfriendliness" of all the bikes. They're suggesting more choke points, more mandatory dismount zones and other nonsense in order to "save CicLaVia," calling it "toxic" now.

And frankly, that's a bunch of bullshit.

Part of the problem is that it was much more crowded this time — it was such a blast last time, that the attendance seemed to be at least double (going by the estimates provided by organizers). With more people comes more congestion, especially with a lot of inexperienced riders, and more congestion means that everyone has to be more responsible for their own safety and space.

It also means that the rules of traffic become more important — namely, that slower traffic keeps to the right, and folks pass on the left. Fewer folks getting to the middle of the street and then stopping unannounced will make everyone happier.

But arguing that it's necessary to cripple the bike experience in order to include more pedestrians is nonsense, and that's what more choke points and more dismount zones would do. Instead of streamlining the experience, and recognizing that any time you have, essentially, a self-directed parade of 200,000 people that there's going to be some chaos, a few vocal pedestrians are retreating to the Harrison Bergeron mode of conflict resolution.

One of their common comments was that CicLaVia isn't just for bikes, or that it's not a "bike event." Honestly, it really is primarily for bikes, though everyone is invited to come. It's organized by the Bicycle Coalition, it's named after "ciclovia," or "bike path," in Spanish. It's a bike event that is generally inclusive of other modes of transport. If the Pedestrian Union would like to organize a similar event without a focus on bikes, they're welcome to it.

Another part of the problem is, and I know I've ranted about this before, that people in LA are shitty walkers. Go to any crowded event — a farmers' market is the Platonic ideal of this — and you'll see a great raft of flitting, stalling, meandering and veering idiots with no conception of their personal space or flow of people around them. If you walk out into a mass of bikes riding at you and suddenly stop — like I saw pedestrians do at CicLaVia — you are creating the danger, not the bike. The kind of idiocy that's only annoying from pedestrians generally becomes dangerous when in the midst of vehicles, and bikes are vehicles. A bike accident can really fuck you up.

Further, there's a common misconception of the maneuverability of bicyclists among pedestrians, where, I'd guess because of a tendency to normalize for our own behavior, pedestrians assume that bikers are just as agile as people walking, and that they can stop or swerve as quickly as a walker can. But they can't. So pedestrians meander out into traffic and then blame the "aggressive" cyclists for yelling at them to get out of the way.

Because the relationships between cars and pedestrians or cars and bikes are pretty well understood and codified by law, there's a default assumption that likewise, bike and pedestrian etiquette is a likewise settled matter when most pedestrians (and bicyclists) simply don't have any experience with a bike-dominant traffic paradigm, and so they default to the idea of pedestrian rules instead of recognizing that bikes are a third beast — not as fast or massive as cars, not as nimble or slow as pedestrians. That is exacerbated by things like grade, which are readily apparent to bikers but not so much to cars or pedestrians — the calls for more choke points in particular ignores the role that momentum plays in enjoyable biking.

Finally, I'll cop to my own bias here: one of the recurrent complaints was about the inability to take small children throughout the route and the demand was to have that need catered to. While I was glad that there were a bunch of kids out there (who all seemed to be doing fine), the way that kids learn the rules of the road is through respectful interaction with the mass, not shifting the mass to cater to the needs of the kids. The event was already family friendly. If it wasn't family friendly enough for you, the problem is your family and not the event. While no doubt little Caleb or Amethyst or Dribbles is precious and special, teaching them to interact with the greater world on its own terms will serve them much better than complaining that CicLaVia wasn't nerfed enough for your kid's proto-neurotic riskphobic enjoyment.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

CicLAvia II: Electric Boogaloo

Amanda's twitpic of Foursquare.

Amy and I rode down the route to MacArthur Park and played foursquare for about two hours with a huge mix of folks. Alex took pictures, so we'll probably see them up soon.

We headed through downtown, which is always the best part for me — it feels like we had a revolution and we won.

We made it all the way to the 4th St. bridge over the river, then headed back. Lots of fun.

On the way, we managed to lose Amy (she got ahead of us, but we thought we'd left her behind, so waited :( ), and Carson stopped off at home.

After all that euphoria, it was probably too much to ask that there weren't any morons — like the Parking Enforcement guy trying to tell me that I needed to read the vehicle code when I took the lane have read it, and more.

I also got a bit of vindication from the AT&T driver that rode up on us and flipped off Amanda and me last Friday.

So, I was riding back up my street, and I see his truck pulled over. The dude's got this biker 'stache and I could tell it was him, so I got him to roll down his window and said, "Hey, last Friday, you were honking at me and flipping me off. What was that about?"

He started out by denying it, saying that all the trucks looked the same, and I told him that I knew, because I wrote down the truck number. He kept denying it was him, so I started taking pictures with my cell and he put his hands on me to get me to stop him from taking the picture. Because I'm an obnoxious photographer, I know the law about that too (I can take pictures of whatever I want as long as I'm in public, pretty much). So then it turned into, "Why do you wanna get me fired, man? I bike too! In Ensenada!"

Well, I'm pissed because you lied to me and I had to keep interrogating you. Once he put his hands on me, I knew that I could call the cops and report an assault charge if I really wanted to be a dick (it's unlikely that it would stand up, but it would really fuck up his day).

It ended with him apologizing to me, and to Amanda (by proxy), though he wouldn't let me video it. He also gave me his card with his boss's number on it.

I'm trying to decide what I want out of it — on the one hand, he seemed genuinely apologetic. On the other hand, he lied to me right off the bat, so it makes it hard to trust the apology. And even after talking to him, he was still off on this idea that bikes had to ride as far as possible to the right, and never side-by-side.

What I really want is for AT&T drivers, as well as LA Parking Enforcement (if you really want to enforce traffic laws, you shoulda become a cop, not a meter maid), to learn that bikes can take lanes and have a right to LA streets. I'm not really sure what the best way to do this is, but I'd prefer that to anyone getting fired or anything.

Friday, April 08, 2011

It's a mix party!

You gotta keep this kinda quiet so it doesn't get shut down, but Mixparty is a pretty sweet social mp3 streamer. Upload stuff with a group of friends and listen to it while you clean the house or edit a magazine or whatever it is you're doing with your day.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

It was a lemon party with Amanda

Amanda and I peeled some 20 or so lemons for our "artisinally-foraged limoncello," and I ended up with a lot of lemon juice (probably around a liter).

The lemons we used were from our friends' Chris and Cammie's yard, where they have a Meyer lemon tree, and also a shishi yuzu (the nobly version of what gets called yuja in Korea).

I'm thinking that I'm going to make a big ol' punch that we can drink with dinner tomorrow — the Meyer lemons being as sweet as they are kind of throws the ol' rhyme off (you know, "One of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, four of weak"), so I think I'm going to cut back on the simple syrup I'd normally add and make a fairly sour rum punch.

This is our test run for the limoncello, so we made just over a gallon of it. If it works, we can scale it up and sell shares.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Three resources for glass gallon jars in LA

Old chowhound link.

General Bottle Supply is in Lincoln Heights.

Or by mail, if we have to.

MeFi Mag #1 is finished!


MeFi Mag Issue 1:

Featuring Scody's story about meeting Roger Ailes, Ambrosia Voyeur's critical look at the '70s Scifi flick Zardoz, a short poem by Unicorn on the Cob, story by Devil's Rancher, reprinting a long comment by EmpressCallipygos, Meatbomb's remembrance of airport in Central Asia from the '60s and Flapjax at Midnight's description of the March 2011 earthquake in Japan

Sunday, April 03, 2011


So, I met my neighbor Tibor, it's his car. I ask if I can take a picture and he says yes.

"It is the most popular old Mercedes model in Armenia," he says.

"Great, man. I've just got this buddy that studies Armenia."

"This is for the protests, on April 26. Tell your friend that I will have flags on it for the parade. I'm not going to just leave it like this."


The twenty-sixth is the genocide protests.

"But America has not recognized the genocide because Turkey corrupts —"

"Yeah, and the NATO thing."

So I told him I'd take more pictures nearer to the protests, when he has the flags. I introduced myself, then scuttled back upstairs when I realized that I was, like, a good twelve years or so older than the kids and thus had nothing to talk about with them. ("I hear you like the G-6, like the G-6.")

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Amy and Josh get drunk and rank the states

In order:

1) California
2) New York
3) Wisconsin
4) Vermont
5) Washington
6) Michigan
7) Pennsylvania
8) Oregon
9) Illinois
10) Ohio
11) Minnesota
12) Iowa
13) New Hampshire
14) Maryland
15) Hawaii
16) Arizona
17) New Mexico
18) West Virginia
19) North Carolina
20) Georgia
21) Colorado
22) Tennessee
23) Kentucky
24) Florida
25) Maine
26) New Jersey
27) Arkansas
28) Nebraska
29) Kansas
30) South Dakota
31) North Dakota
32) Virginia
33) South Carolina
34) Nevada
35) Wyoming
36) Rhode Island
37) Connecticut
38) Missouri
39) Massachusetts
40) Delaware
41) Louisiana
42) Idaho
43) Montana
44) Indiana
45) Utah
46) Oklahoma
47) Texas
48) Alaska
49) Mississippi
50) Alabama

Friday, April 01, 2011

Talking Tigers Baseball

Obviously, we lost the season opener because I didn't post anything about it and also was probably eating the wrong kind of chips and not enough oranges or some other superstition I've failed to honor.