this week i

worked late a couple nights for a few moments above the fold.  journal article too.  favorite phrase: this is similar to the percentage last year


met gayle, robert for beer, spaghetti, ice cream, exchange of travel stories, discussion of culpeper vinters


surprised rupak (en route to grant committee meetings) with the second yellow fever immunization of my life.  we agreed on barcelona over gelato


viewed three photobooks: prartha singh's har shaam shaheen bagh, chobi mela 2017, chobi mela 2021




(1)  noam chomsky visited lula in jail

if i speak, the republic falls

corruption so widespread that it threatens the political system itself


(2) the most widely consumed fat on the planet

when the venetian explorer cadamosto encountered it in senegal in the 15th century, he wrote that it had the 'scent of violets, the taste of our olive oil and a colour which tinges food like saffron, but is more attractive'


(3) yawns, coughs, blinks and itches are contagious: why not convulsions?

one of the most effective treatments for resignation syndrome is to grant the family asylum, but even then recovery is slow - as would be expected of a body subject to such prolonged inactivity.  that the condition can be cured by a positive asylum decision leads some to dismiss it as malingering


(4) to understand afghanistan you have to start in islamabad

saudi arabia joined the us in financing the mujahideen, and training and equipment were supplied by pakistan's isi

the pashtun plural for the arabic word talib, 'student', since they had all been students or teachers at madrasas in afghanistan and pakistan


(5) san francisco came to be known in cantonese as 'old gold mountain' (gau gamsan), melbourne as 'new gold mountain' (san gamsan)

the gold rushes transformed the world economy.  in half a century 435 million ounces of gold were extracted, more than the total amount in circulation over the previous three thousand years..the discovery enabled an expansion of trade and finance, and much of the world adopted the gold standard in response.  since 88 per cent of the gold was held in britain and the us, this transition cemented the countries' status as global creditors and lenders.  at the same time, the value of silver held by many other economies, most notably the qing, collapsed.  chinese purchases of silver from latin america and asia, which began in the 15th century, had helped united earlier incarnations of the global market; the shift from silver to gold symbolised the transition from a world economy centered on asia to one centered on the north atlantic

women made up between 3 and 7 per cent of the chinese american population until the 20th century

(6) the neoliberal perspective

as first articulated in the 1930s by the austrian economist friedrich hayek and by henry simons of the university of chicago, holds that if we want entrepreneurs, financiers, and ordinary citizens to be liberated from state regulation, strong government rules must protect the market from the state.  milton friedman, in a 1951 essay titled "neo-liberalism and its prospects," agreed that this project went well beyond inoculate capitalism against the threat of democracy


(7) assyrian posterity

ashurbanipal corners and destroys roaring lions, then pours a libation onto four of their prostrate bodies.  the hunting of dangerous beasts, lions above all, served the assyrian kings, and later those of persia, as a display of power and dominion; large game parks were established in capital cities to allow them to demonstrate their prowess.  (the iranian name for these lush, walled spaces comes into english, by way of greek and hebrew versions, as the word paradise.)  the relief at the getty gives a good sense of how the royal hunt was choreographed: attendants are seen releasing one lion from a cage and driving others toward ashurbanipal to give him an opening for a solo kill.  to judge by their thick necks and beardless faces, most of the attendants are eunuchs.  similar beardless retinues accompany the king in nearly every relief panel, shading him with parasols, keeping off flies with whisks, playing musical instruments, or serving him food and drink; their ministrations attest to his hypermasculine, superhuman stature


(8) janicza bravo's zola

perhaps for this reason, her relationship to capital remains murky.  is she a canny producer or a rapacious consumer?  a thing to be used or an experience to be exchanged?  a fetishized commodity or a figure for capitalism itself?  "prostitution is only the specific expression of the general prostitution of the labourer," marx writes.  elsewhere, with a nod to shakespeare, he describes money as "the common whore, the common pimp of peoples and nations."  is she common?  what is the whore's class position?  she is traditionally the lowest in society, but can be catapulted to the top in an instant.  she still magnetizes resentment and desire from everyone

"you dance?"  "it's been a minute."  "i dance."  "okay bitch.  me too."

i invented threads


(9) disposal of the dead through history

embalming took off in the us during the civil war because of the vast distances bodies had to travel without refrigeration.  the physician who perfected the technique charged a hundred bucks a piece and displayed the corpse of an unidentified soldier in the window of his shop to drum up business

every magician..knows that sticking a closed box in the middle of a group of people is a recipe for sustained suspense


(10) wanking to banking


this week i

visited glenstone. you think that topiary is the loch ness monster? / looks like curious george to me.  georgetown not named for washington. rennfest too: how many grateful dead fans does it take to change a light bulb? / they don't. they let it burn out and then follow it around for 30 years


wonder whether hollywood scouts prefer jeremy renner or daniel craig for new legoman movies.  nearing the last torrents of vodka, my father, despite the depths of his vascular dementia, said to me in what i assure you was a sound mind, "anthony, i am not unhappy with my life"




read noam chomsky's reflections on language

our systems of belief are those that the mind, as a biological structure, is designed to construct

in some ill-considered popularizations of interesting current research, it is virtually argued that higher apes have the capacity for language but have never put it to use - a remarkable biological miracle, given the enormous selectional advantage of even minimal linguistic skills, rather like discovering that some animal has wings but has never thought to fly

language faculty as a species-specific, genetically determined property

(20) beavers build dams (21) dams are built by beavers...sentences (20) and (21) plainly differ in range of meaning.  sentence (21), in its most natural interpretation, states that it is a property of dams that they are built by beavers.  under this interpretation, the sentence is false, since some dams are not built by beavers.  but there is no interpretation of sentence (20), under normal intonation at least, in which it asserts that dams have the property that they are built by beavers; (20) cannot be understood as referring to all dams.  sentence (20) states that beavers have a certain property, namely, that they are dam builders, but does not imply (under any interpretation) that their activities in dam building account for all dams

what remains of value in classical liberal doctrine is, in my opinion, to be found today in its most meaningful form in libertarian socialist concepts of human rights and social organization

the concept of the "empty organism," plastic and unstructured, apart from being false, also serves naturally as the support for the most reactionary social doctrines.  if people are, in fact, malleable and plastic beings with no essential psychological nature, then why should they not be controlled and coerced by those who claim authority, special knowledge, and a unique insight into what is best for those less enlightened?

grammar and common sense are acquired by virtually everyone, effortlessly, rapidly, in a uniform manner, merely by living in a community under minimal conditions of interaction, exposure, and care.  there need be no explicit teaching or training, and when the latter does take place, it has only marginal effects on the final state achieved.  to a very good first approximation, individuals are indistinguishable (apart from gross deficits and abnormalities) in their ability to acquire grammar and common sense.  individuals of a given community each acquire a cognitive structure that is rich and comprehensive and essentially the same as the systems acquired by others.  knowledge of physics, on the other hand, is acquired selectively and often painfully, through generations of labor and careful experiment, with the intervention of individual genius and generally through careful instruction



this week i

traded dire wolf scratches before picking up the crv.  immunization appointment then workweek at rosemarie's.  lynne cooked cheesesteak stromboli

parked on mckean.  laura hummed mario underground world 1-2 as ben repaired the toilet.  adam autoaudioendoscoped, melissa resisted adoption

 is that sue?  that's dino

i'm just going to read this real quick but i'm a slow reader byeee

all the pizzas are large, yeah?  //  yeah, the jumbo one doesn't even get through the door

phuppetorium.  it's not an f it's a ph like pelta-heller muppets

you can use me as a scapegoat // i already did

rhinestone-embedded wire cigarette holder: what's that?  // it's called being sophisticated you rube
printing press machining stamps: what do you use these for?  // visual pleasure

my kinda renaissance fair is a little bit of mead, a little bit of weed

i can't say i'm too familiar with devo's catalog

pepper's creepin' on the pizza

i feel like the face of megacolon is elvis

he finished my haircut with a straight-razor // ooh lah lah

i've never seen anyone reading next to a pool table

[yawns lazily]  //  bless you

this is my weird friend  //  some people also call me anthony

would you ever eat a lizard on a dare?  //  no, but maybe a chameleon



received a crown over the titanium (sadly not adamantium) implant after rinsing with artificial flavors.  one fine day i'll spit out jesus on toast

read the prince by niccolo machiavelli

men must be either pampered or annihilated

the whole kingdom of turkey is governed by one man; everyone else is his servant.  having divided his kingdom into sanjaks, the monarch sends various administrators out to the, shifting them about and replacing them as he pleases.  but the king of france is surrounded by a large number of lords of ancient lineage who are recognized and loved by their subjects.  they have their degrees of pre-eminence, which the king cannot deprive them of without danger to himself.  anyone who considers both these states, therefore, will note that there would be difficulty in conquering the kingdom of the turks, but ease in keeping it once it was conquered.  he will note, on the other hand, that the kingdom of france in some respects would be easier to occupy but more difficult to hold

anyone searching for the first cause of the ruin of the roman empire will find that it began with the hiring of mercenaries.  from that point the strength of the roman empire started to decline, and all the valor it lost was transferred to the goths

concerning cruelty: whether it is better to be loved than to be feared, or the reverse

the world is composed of the mob



this week i

met michelle on pennsylvania avenue (seen here with cyclist engaged in right turn, bellyfuls of chocolate croissant).  we visited iridium boundary and other animals at natural history, yayoi at hirshhorn.  theo desired new mathematical operator, jeanne calment the only person to live to five factorial

read speculation about britain's fertile soil for the industrial revolution relative to ancient rome

the industrial revolution thus represents not merely a change in quantity, but a change in kind from what we might call an 'organic' economy to a 'mineral' economy.  consequently, i'd argue the industrial revolution represents probably just the second time in human history that as a species we've undergone a radical change in our production; the first being the development of agriculture in the neolithic period

the industrial revolution happened largely in one place, once, and then spread out from there

each innovation in the chain required not merely the discovery of the principle, but also the design and an economically viable use-case to all line up in order to have impact

pumping water out of coal mines

culminating in james watt's steam engine in 1776.  but so far all we've done is gotten very good at pumping out coal mines - that has in turn created steam engines that are now fuel efficient enough to be set up in places that are not coal mines



 if spain or portugal, for instance, rather than britain, had ended up controlling india, would the flow of cotton have been diverted to places where coal usage was not common, cheap and abundant, thereby separating the early steam-powered mine pumps from the industry they could first revolutionize and also from the vast wealth necessary to support the process

see fletcher's monster eyes.  q: what kind of flag does a cowboy pirate hoist?  a: the jolly rancher.  got more soul than a sock with a hole  -madvillain

read the new jim crow by michelle alexander

no one imagined that the prison population would more than quintuple in their lifetime.  it seemed far more likely that prisons would fade away

when reagan kicked off his presidential campaign at the annual neshoba county fair near philadelphia, mississippi - the town where three civil rights activists were murdered in 1964 - he assured the crowd "i believe in states' rights," and promised to restore to states and local governments the power that properly belonged to them

in october 1982, president reagan officially announced his administration's war on drugs.  at the time he declared this new war, less than 2 percent of the american public viewed drugs as the most important issue facing the nation..between 1980 and 1984, fbi antidrug funding increased from $8 million to $95 million.  department of defense antidrug allocations increased from $33 million in 1981 to $1,042 million in 1991.  during that same period, dea antidrug spending grew from $86 to $1,026 million, and fbi antidrug allocations grew from $38 to $181 million.  by contrast, funding for agencies responsible for drug treatment, prevention, and education was dramatically reduced.  the budget of the national institute on drug abuse, for example, was reduced from $274 million to $57 million from 1981 to 1984, and antidrug funds allocated to the department of education were cut from $14 million to $3 million

just weeks before the critical new hampshire primary, clinton chose to fly home to arkansas to oversee the execution of ricky ray rector, a mentally impaired black man who had so little conception of what was about to happen to him that he asked for the dessert from his last meal to be saved for him until the morning

in 2005..four out of five drug arrests were for possession, and only one out of five was for sales

within a few years after the drug war was declared..many legal scholars noted a sharp turn in the supreme court's fourth amendment jurisprudence

i struck [juror] number twenty-two because of his long hair.  he had long curly hair.  he had the longest hair of anybody on the panel by far.  he appeared not to be a good juror for that fact...also, he had a mustache and a goatee type beard.  and juror number twenty-four also had a mustache and a goatee type beard...and i don't like the way they looked, with the way the hair is cut, both of them.  and the mustaches and the beards look suspicious to me

they treat marijuana in alabama like you committed treason

a black child born today is less likely to be raised by both parents than a black child born during slavery

mass incarceration and jim crow..when we step back and view the system as a whole, there is a profound sense of deja vu

from plantations to penitentiaries

we have long since passed a tipping point where the declining marginal return on imprisonment has dipped below zero