August 1, 2012… On the way to karaoke

> So the other day — right over there — I saw a bum playing some buckets and another guy right next to him accompanying on an iPad. And, I was like… “This is the future.”
> — K3, Senior Jedi Program Coordinator, Wikimedia Foundation


I found [this comment][megan] amusing:

> Finally, [[Megan McArdle][megan mccardle]] as an approximately 6’ tall, moderately attractive woman — who likes guns — libertarian, objectivist, and conservative fan-bois glommed on to her like a million sperm all trying to fertilize the same egg, which provides its own kind of mockworthy spectacle

The college I went to had a 6:1 guy:girl ratio at the time. Being an institute full of socially stunted nerds just like me, they had their own word for when multiple guys talking to or associating with a single girl: “glomming.” While it has morphed beyond its original meaning—it is short for “agglomeration”—it has become part of our [urban dictionary][urban glom], and the above example shows it in its original definition.

One day during Rotation, I was hanging out on the Triple on the second floor, and watched “glom pools” forming around the night’s new batch of [Freshman][frosh] girls in the dorm’s courtyard below. The image of “a million sperm all trying to fertilize the same egg” is an especially apt description. I can trace a direct line to [my intense shyness][shyness] [around women][photographing women] to that singular and instructive moment.

– **glom** *v.t.* to accost a girl who is already surrounded by multiple guys
– **glommer** *n* a male who gloms serially
– **glom pool** *n* an aggregation of many guys around a single girl

Oh yeah, if any Techers at the time are wondering about all the hacked copies of [CrystalCaltech Quest][crystal quest] on campus—the one where [ResEdit][resedit] to add Caltechisms like the infamous and indestructable “glom monster” toward the end? That was me.

[megan]: “Open Park and Open Thread—Balloon Juice”
[megan mccardle]: “Megan McCardle—Wikipedia”
[urban glom]: “glom—Urban Dictionary”
[frosh]: “frosh—Urban Dictionary”
[photographing women]: “Collapsing the female wave-function”
[shyness]: “Ruby, Photography, and Women”
[crystal quest]: “Crystal Quest”
[resedit]: “ResEdit—Wikipedia. Hacking the game became so popular, they created their own tool which they built into later editions of the game.”

Remind me not to get a lawyer trained at Tennessee

Glenn Reynolds suggests that the U.S. treasury defaults on its debt, Bruce Bartlett trashes it, and Glenn’s defense?

Well, I was hoping for a thoughtful email from an expert, but instead I got a typically intemperate blog post from Bruce Bartlett. Bruce, I’m not trying to turn the United States into Zimbabwe. That would be the guy in the White House, whom you seem surprisingly anxious to defend.

It amuses me that Zimbabwe had a $100,000,000,0000 (that’s one hundred billion) bill before they finally gave up on the currency. In storage somewhere, I have a 1 million mark bank note.

I’m surprised nobody noticed the racist undertone in this response. Bruce Bartlett brought up Zimbabwe because defaulting on the debt was the direct cause Zimbabwe’s economic collapse. The analogy Glenn sets up is: Barack Obama is America’s Robert Mugabe and he’s going to take all the land away from you White people!

While that was most likely completely unintentional, the only adequate defense is that Glenn Reynolds, a law professor and premier conservative political pundit, is both socially insensitive and politically ignorant.

The irony amuses me with the obviousness of it all. (NB Title: Glenn Reynolds teaches law at the University of Tennessee.)

Fail-safe never is

“He reassured me by telling me that when he looked back on his career, all the work he was most proud of was done under circumstances just like that, where it seemed impossible, where there wasn’t enough time, there wasn’t enough money, and everyone had set the bar really high for themselves.”

From a Variety article on Pixar (via Flackette).


“His description of the root causes of this financial crisis are about what you’d expect from a man who invoked The Great Gatsby to explain the mentality of the murderer of 4,000 people.”
— Matt Taibbi, on Newsweek’s Fareed Zakaria

You have to admire Taibbi for his liberal outrage. Even if you don’t agree with him, his turns of phrases is a mastery of the intellectual smackdown.Then again, maybe I should admire Zakaria for carrying the kool-aid for his corporate masters.

History, after all, will not be kind on the latter.


I have a friend and web developer who thinks I’m really smart, but he doesn’t think much of his own abilities. During a particular coincidence of both opinions, he asked me if I’d hire him if I was in a position to make such a judgement:

Me: Of course.
Me: Why do you ask this?

Him: I was just thinking that one day you will be atop the web
Him: And I want to be part of it

Me: In general, the thing I find is the #1 thing necessary for success is will. And you have will.
Me: Smarts is a result of will, not vice versa.
Me: So sure I’d hire you.

He tweeted that and someone liked that.

As someone who has leaned on his “smarts” a number of times to the detriment of his own personal development, I truly believe what I said. Every day, I’m starting to realize my inner Socrates:

It seemed to me … that the people with the greatest reputations were almost entirely deficient, while others who were supposed to be their inferiors were much better qualified in practical intelligence…

I reflected as I walked away: Well, I am certainly wiser than this man. It is only too likely that neither of us has any knowledge to boast of; but he thinks that he knows something which he does not know, whereas I am quite conscious of my ignorance. At any rate it seems to me that I am wiser than he is to the extent, that I do not think that I know what I do not know.

Obama’s Notre Dame commencement

I remember watching the second presidential debate in 2004, pissed with John Kerry. “Why?” someone asked.

“Because his answer to the abortion question fits right in line with the image of him as a flip-flop.” I replied. “He doesn’t have to answer the question about spending itself, and sure there are nuances to that issue you can’t address in the debate, but he can answer with strong language the morals that guides his decisions; the commonality we all have to minimize unwanted pregnancies. Some pro-lifer is going to see that answer and their perception of Catholicks and think he’s a hypocrite.”

Four years later, we have Obama:

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