Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Pining for the Fjords (11:59AM)

This is an EX-BLOG.

E's only pining!

You know what to do. (Update, 10-6-2009: link adjusted.)

Five years later update! I didn't bother paying to renew the domain name "" linked above. Oopsie! I did manage to upload the archives for that year's blog (2004) to one of my computers. So the posts are... somewhere. Gee I hope not on the computer I gave away three years ago. You can tell I care. Anyway... In the meantime, go to the main Spleenville page for the latest blog.

-- Andrea Harris, September, 2008.

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Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Buh-bye (12:17AM)

It occurs to me that I have better things to do.

There's more to life than books, but not much more

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Monday, December 29, 2003

Okay (09:57PM)

Back to Trebuchet MS. I was getting a headache reading my own blog.

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How to piss me off (09:28PM)

Email me with your self-righteous fuckheadery. Example: I just received this from one Mark D. Firestone, who seems to think I give a shit what he thinks:

Meryl - Re: "Anger, yes. Misplaced? Perhaps not." - My two cents are as follows:

There are plenty of organizations in the world that are infinitely more deserving of my charity dollars than any that is currently collecting for Iran. The anger is NOT misplaced when millions of Iran's citizens openly support the mullahs' anti-Semitism and stupidity. It is unconscionable that ANY Jewish - American group would collect for Iran in the face of their religious leaders' stance on accepting aid from the "Zionist Regime". I AM in a position to donate money to charity, and my next charitable contribution will go to any charity I can find that does not support any victim of the recent earthquake in Bam, Iran. When you dig your grave, you can damn well lie in it by yourself. In case Andrea and Michelle are hard of hearing that is not just NO to aid to Iran, but an unequivocal FUCK NO!

Mark D. Firestone - California

Blah blah fucking blustering blah. Note to MISTER Mark D. Firestone of California:


No, I'm not hard of "hearing," I just... wait for it... DISAGREE with your self-righteous chest-pounding garbage. To put it mildly. Gee, I guess it's time to dig up that clichéd-yet-true statement, "If we become like them then the terrorists have won."

No, I'm not going to open comments; I'm not really interested in what anyone has to say on this subject anymore. And I would appreciate it if MISTER Mark D. Firestone, California, did not email me ANY FURTHER.*

Taking a cue from the very fine comments of Gary Farber to this post of Michele's, I will give Laurence and Meryl the benefit of the doubt in that they were posting in the heat of anger, and NOT ONCE did I say that their anger was unjustified, considering things like this are being done by terrorists. What I said was that their anger was, in this instance, misplaced. The target of their rage (again, JUSTIFIABLE RAGE) should be the leaders of Iran, not the hapless people under their rule who may or may not be Jewhaters and terrorist supporters but certainly are, at least in Bam, victims of a natural disaster and therefore at minimum due the sympathy of fellow human beings worldwide who are just as mortal and just as vulnerable to the ravages of nature. But fuck me if some people haven't decided to use this for their own aggrandizement. Thank you, once again, human race.

*The fucking jerk asshole just sent me another forward. It's some sort of letter to the San Francisco Chronicle, but I'm not reproducing it here. Hey, babycakes, I'm not your goddamn shoulder to cry on/punching bag/audience/publicity venue. Taking me off your goddamn mailing list -- I don't know who you are and don't want to be on it. Leave me the fuck alone.

I'm a tad pissed, yes precious. That's why the name of the site is SPLEENVILLE. Goddammit, my dinner is getting cold while I type this. You do NOT interfere with my food.

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Eh (08:00PM)

Oh never mind.

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I'm dining in tonight (06:31PM)

It looks like I've made myself a nice mess of Can O'Worms Stew. I need something to wash it down with. Does anyone have any gin?

Ladies and gentlemen,
Take my advice:
Pull down your pants
And slide on the ice.

-- Major Sydney Freedman

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Christmas is over (02:19AM)

Hence the change. Say it to yourselves: "change is good." Don't say it seven times in the mirror, though.

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Sunday, December 28, 2003

Recipe for disaster (11:05PM)

Misplaced Anger Pie


Half a cup of misfortune.
Two cups of justifiable outrage.
One cup of blind partisanship.
Three tablespoons of schadenfreude.
A teaspoon of spite, or enough to curdle the mix
Break two or more heads against each other; mix the brains in with the other ingredients until the mixture is lumpy.
Pour into pie shell made of burnt floppy disks. Cook for several weeks, months, or years over low heat (however long it takes), turn up during the last hour of cooking to five-thousand degrees until crust is blackened.
Eat, until ulcers occur. Repeat until all dinner guests are dead or have fled the table.

Update: the pie goes down faster if you wash it down with a big glass of You Can't Possibly Understand juice.

SERIOUS INTERVAL: it's late, so this will be short. In reponse to Meryl's paean to the wonders of Not Understanding what it's like to be Jewish and faced with this situation, maybe she should ask Pejman how he feels, and see if she can "understand" his position as an American-Iranian-Jew. See, maybe I can't "understand" what Jews go through, not being Jewish myself. But, you know, by that criterion I can't understand what it means to be Chinese, or Yanomamo, or male, or a victim (yet) of a suicide bomber, or anything but Andrea Harris. This is an absurd attitude, which assumes that since no one can truly know 100% the experience of someone else then you can't possibly have anything to say about that other person's experience. If people were truly this way, we'd have no novels, no poems, no marriages, no.... anything.

But this is already getting longer than I wanted it to be. Let me finish: when I say that Laurence's (and, I guess, Meryl's) anger is "misplaced," I mean just that. Denying aid to the victims of the Bam earthquake does very little against members of Hizbollah or any other Iran-sponsored terrorist group, unless by some silver-lining happenstance one or more of the key members of such groups perished in the rubble. And it hurts the mullahs that run that country with an iron fist not at all; quite the contrary -- if any of them should happen to hear of any such reaction to their decree they will probably only feel more truculently righteous in their hatred. As for demanding that the victimized and oppressed people of Iran prove they deserve your regard by "rising up" against their government; well, that's easy for someone on the outside to say. Then again, that would take "understanding."

:: Comments left behind ::

I don't think Meryl is saying that you shouldn't try to understand another person's position. It is just that in this case, your blogging indicates that you are falling a little short of understanding her position (whether you agree with it or not).

If an earthquake occurred in Nazi Germany during WWII, would you understand a Jew (or anybody else) choosing not to contribute? Granted that Iran is not Nazi Germany but the fact that they have rejected Jewish help from Israel and are significant sponsors of Jewish-directed terrorism, might help us understand Meryl's position.

I have some additional thoughts on my blog.

:: Mike Sanders December 29, 2003 09:32 AM

I don't think Meryl is saying that you shouldn't try to understand another person's position. It is just that in this case, your blogging indicates that you are falling a little short of understanding her position (whether you agree with it or not).

The problem I have with Yourish's position is that she's arguing that she should be held to a different standard because of her Jewishness. Sorry, I don't buy that from a Jew any more than I would from an anti-semite -- if she wants to argue that it's okay to say, "Screw the Iranians" then she should argue that it's okay regardless of whether the person speaking is a Jew or a Gentile.

:: Sean O'Hara December 29, 2003 01:14 PM

Sean, I don't think she is should be held to a different standard, I certainly don't.
What I believe the point she is making is that as jews we have a different perspective on this than non-jews.
I agree with that though I don't agree with where she goes with it.
Sure we can think, well that is 20 or 30,000 less jew haters but then we need to do a reality check. These are people too and not all of them hate jews, perhaps most do but there were even good people in Germany and we can't throw out the good ones with the bad.

:: Starhawk December 29, 2003 01:29 PM

It's not a question of 'denying aid' since that begins with the exageratedly liberal premise that Iran has some legitimate claim on that aid or entitlement to it.

The nature of charitable giving is that it is voluntary and selective. It is not a question of whether we should or shouldn't give money ro Iran but whether Iranian earthquake relief should take precedence over all the other worthy causes in our communities and around the world.

In that regard Iran's support for terrorism is a valid factor in that calculation as is the fact that Iran can apparently afford a nuclear program but not earthquake proofing.

Does it mean that the people of Iran shouldn't recieve any money or don't deserve any money? Certainly not. Does it mean that earthquake relief in Iran should take priority over the homeless in New York, starving children in Africa, terrorist victims around the world and orphans in Asia...perhaps they shouldn't.

:: O. Deus December 29, 2003 02:07 PM

What he said.

I don't know of anybody who is arguing that, say, the UN or France or the US ought to be forced to deny aid to Iran. But what is the basis for your implication that Iran is intrinsically entitled to aid from others, and that the preference that some might have to make charitable contributions elsewhere and otherwise is anything but understandable and reasonable?

It's not like the only humanitarian need in the world is Iran, and, unlike many other countries, Iran has huge oil fields capable of buying necessary aid.

Me, I don't accept any personal or collective responsibility for natural disasters in Iran, and wish the Iranians well in their own handling of it.

That said, it seems strange that Iran would welcome help from The Great Satan. Does their hatred have an off-switch that gets turned off when their palms are outstretched?

:: Joel Rosenberg December 29, 2003 07:08 PM

Oh my. No one is saying that Iran or anyone else is "entitled" to anything. Don't worry, the sacred space of your wallet is safe from me. Talk about missing the point.

:: Andrea Harris December 29, 2003 07:23 PM

Phrasing that accuse people of 'Denying Aid' or 'Witholding Aid' implies that the aid is due, that this is aid they are entitled to and that we are witholding that aid from them by not contributing.

This is obviously an invalid and unfair contention. As I've said elsewhere charity is a triage process in which you determine what charity has your highest priority.

:: O. Deus December 29, 2003 10:44 PM

Ah. "The sacred space of your wallet." Hmm.

Now, what was that point again?

:: Joel Rosenberg December 29, 2003 11:39 PM

Gee, I don't fucking know, Joel. I kind of thought MY POINT was the idea that people were getting upset at a group of people because they were mad at another group of people, while you and O Deus jumped in here with some sort of thing about deciding who is more deserving of charity, a subject I have ALREADY INDICATED does not interest me. If you wish to wax at length on THAT subject, please do so elsewhere.

:: Andrea Harris December 29, 2003 11:50 PM

And O. Deus, that goes for you too. Take it to a blog that cares.

:: Andrea Harris December 29, 2003 11:50 PM

Oh hell, why did I leave this open? The discussion has become tiresome. Good-bye.

:: Andrea Harris December 29, 2003 11:57 PM

Car nostalgia (08:16PM)

One unique facet of life in these United States is the Huge-ass Car I Once Owned story. Mine was a '79 Oldsmobile Cutlass Salon. (Mine was not anywhere near the mint condition of the one pictured -- I paid $300.00 for mine, and twice as much to insure it and get it tagged.) Unlike the model in this picture, I had the two-door version,* and those doors each weighed a ton; by the time I got it the driver's side door had a broken hinge, and had a tendency to swing slowly open in traffic. One day I pulled into the yard of the hovel I rented a room in, and I heard a dull "clank." I got out and looked under the car; sure enough, the muffler as well as the entire exhaust pipe had fallen off.

I drove it like that for about four months.

It was a car to inspire fear in the mean streets of Miami. Suddenly all the demises-by-auto I used to envision for myself -- such as the one where my flimsy econocart was squished between a tomato-red Camaro driven by a smoove Cuban youth in Raybans and a white Ford Bronco piloted by a distracted suburban mom trying to calm her hysterical brood, and I had to spend eight hours listening to the same salsa tune playing over and over from the Camaro's jammed cd-player as the rescue crew tried to pry me out of the tangle of vehicular rubble with the Jaws of Life -- vanished in the humidity as I watched shiny ego-machines shudder away from my path on the Airport Expressway. Despite its age it had a pretty powerful engine (it also got about ten miles to the gallon, but hey, at least I wasn't taking the bus). And for the first few months I owned it, the a/c worked, the power window on the driver's side still opened, and it had a cassette player I spent $400 to get the door fixed, and (eventually) replaced the muffler and exhaust pipe. I also got the brakes replaces once.

Well, the end came: first the windows stuck, then the a/c failed. Summer came, and I had had enough of sweltering. I sold it to the junkman for sixty bucks. I think I'm about ready for another one.

*This is a correction; I posted this rather late, and I was tired; or my brain refused to let me take in the details of a vehicle painted such a hideous brown color, and I thought the link went to a picture of the two-door model.

:: Comments left behind ::

That's not a big ass car. This is a big ass car.

Went for a ride with 9 of my friends once. Really.

:: blaster December 28, 2003 11:39 PM

Sorry, I meant "Huge-ass"!

:: blaster December 28, 2003 11:39 PM

Considering the little tin buckets I usually drive, that was the biggest car I ever owned.

:: Andrea Harris December 29, 2003 01:39 AM

You're not fooling me - that picture clearly shows a four-door car.

:: Sigivald December 29, 2003 01:58 PM

One day I pulled into the yard of the hovel I rented a room in, and I heard a dull "clank." I got out and looked under the car; sure enough, the muffler as well as the entire exhaust pipe had fallen off.

lol... I had a cursed car once, a '74 Dodge Dart, that while driving on the freeway, I heard a "thunk" and then the car started making a loud noise. Seems I ran over a shovel, which lodged handle first in the muffler.... the look of the service station attendant when I pulled it out was priceless!

Have a lot of stories about that car....

:: lplimac December 29, 2003 04:37 PM

Sigivald: that's not a picture of my car, just a picture of a model of the same year that I found on the internet. I had the two-door model. I've corrected the entry.

:: Andrea Harris December 29, 2003 07:00 PM

Site news (05:55PM)

I have updated the site to Movable Type version 2.65.

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Shout out (05:21PM)

Hey, where'd Dipnut go? (By the way, this post is the source of my idea that his real name was "Tom Perry.")

Hey, dude, whoever you are -- are you out there?

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:: dipnut December 28, 2003 05:33 PM

I hope so!

:: Kathy K December 28, 2003 05:39 PM

That's a relief!

:: Andrea Harris December 28, 2003 05:41 PM

Hey, you're back already!

:: Andrea Harris December 28, 2003 10:01 PM

I like the new look! Very cool.

:: Andrew Ian Dodge December 29, 2003 01:20 PM

Friday, December 26, 2003

The Grinch '03 (07:18PM)

A gift for you this Boxing Day: "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" has been updated for 2003. (More quality posting here later, folks. I've had a bit of a headache, been playing around with the site and almost chmod'ed it out of existence, etc.)

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Wednesday, December 24, 2003

The Year in Quotes (06:48AM)

Provided by Tim Blair. Twelve months, twelve posts. Read them all -- bask in the memories.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Sex and the Sinner (09:53PM)

As concerns the issue of non-marital sex, this argument con and this argument pro both strike me as almost completely silly. Dipnut* pretty much lays waste to the "conservative" argument; a rambling, turgid (and only part one, oy) paean to wishful thinking about human nature by Jennifer Morse. It is interesting how god-'n'-family conservatives have co-opted the liberal spiel about human nature being essentially good (and that's why it's "against nature" to fornicate like a rabbit in heat). The basis for Ms. (Mrs.? Miss?) Morse's ideas about marriage is the extremely progressive idea that human beings are naturally monogamous. Well, Here is a true conservative of the old school who was under no illusions about the realities of the human animal. Of men and women this rather famous, pre-Vatican II, Roman Catholic Dead White Male said:

"...[Women] are instinctively, when uncorrupt, monogamous. Men are not..... No good pretending. Men just ain't, not by their animal nature. Monogamy (though it has long been fundamental to our inherited ideas) is for us men a piece of 'revealed' ethic, according to faith and not to the flesh."

The writer is J.R.R. Tolkien, the source is a letter he wrote to his son -- letter number 43 in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, and despite the fact that I'm not Catholic I really haven't been able to find anything in his observations that doesn't dovetail with life as it seems to be for the majority of human beings. He also knew in 1941 what many popular magazines, with great labor, release as a blockbuster "New Study Finds!" story every couple of years or so.

But coming at us from the other side of the ring is studly William Baude. William knows your name, and he knows your star sign, and he knows just the right words to say this night to set you at ease and make you feel special all at once (not too slick, not too icky-sweet, with just the right combination of compliments and witty side observations on the other people standing around the bar), and he really wants to, you know, get to know you. That way, see, you and he won't be afraid of each other or sex or of having that bad dream where Father Coughlin and your first grade teacher (scary old Mrs. Phelps) and your weeping mother and the cute boy from next door that you had a crush on in high school and Shaun Cassidy all burst in on you while you were having sex with Mr. Roper from Three's Company.

Baude's theory (a theory I haven't heard bounced around since Elvis was alive, but then I don't get out much) is that having sex before marriage is not only not bad, it's not even just plain okay, it's more moral than what he charmingly describes as "presexual marriage." In other words, it's a duty. Observe:

I think it's generally unwise for people (particularly people who view monogamy as generally desirable and divorce as generally undesirable) to get married before they've begun having some sort of sexual relations. Sex is important to marital compatibility (even Ms. Morse says so), and it would be bad to be stuck married to somebody whose views about the purpose and details of sex were drastically different from one's own.

Furthermore, sex is a very important way of gaining knowledge about somebody ("Carnal knowledge," as we call it. "Not of the flesh, but through the flesh.") Sex (at least good sex) is a form of reading, and when something resembling eternal commitment is at stake, it's hardly wise to leave this chapter unperused.

I wonder if he is the kind of reader who reads the ends of books first just to see if he wants to read them all the way through. (Link to this one via Instapundit. Fill in your own pun.)

*Forgot to change this.

:: Comments left behind ::

So what does Baude suggest you do if you're madly in love with somebody but the sex isn't that great? Dump them, or work on it? Seems easier to work on having better sex than to try to find someone else... and if that's the case, there's no disadvantage to getting married first. That business about being "stuck married to somebody whose views about the purpose and details of sex were drastically different from one's own" is pretty weird. I assume couples who marry before sex talk about it beforehand, the way you talk about other important issues like money and whether or not to have kids. I doubt they jump into bed on their wedding night never having decided whether they agree on "the purpose and details of sex."

:: Katherine December 24, 2003 10:57 AM

Who's this Tom Perry I keep hearing about?

:: dipnut December 24, 2003 10:22 PM

Wow, you're sorta standing athwart all popular culture and saying "No!"

When this whole debate started, I admit I didn't read the anti-sex viewpoint, but the pro-sex one made the old-school conservative in me very suspicious.

Your post crystalized words out of those nagging doubts of mine.

:: Russell December 25, 2003 01:58 AM

Wow, you're sorta standing athwart all popular culture and saying "No!"

When this whole debate started, I admit I didn't read the anti-sex viewpoint, but the pro-sex one made the old-school conservative in me very suspicious.

Your post crystalized words out of those nagging doubts of mine.

:: Russell December 25, 2003 01:58 AM

OT: Merry Christmas!

:: McGehee December 25, 2003 05:10 AM

Dipnut: I don't know! I could have sworn Glenn Reynolds referred to you by something like that. I am very bad at names. The only reason I spell mine right is because I have it saved in my Mozilla password manager. (So, er, what's your real name so I can make the correction? Or should I just use "Dipnut"?)

Hey, at least I didn't call you "Tom Petty."

Merry Christmas one and all!

:: Andrea Harris December 25, 2003 08:12 AM

Heh, I don't know what happened to "live and let live". Personally, I don't have a problem with sex before marriage, and I don't see a problem with marriage before sex, except inasmuch as I think that the reasons for prohibition of premarital sex are generally stupid.

But then, I've got general issues with marriage as defined by the state, and with monogamous relationships as the only alternative to what a friend from college affectionately called "sticky nights alone".

Let the people who want to wait to have sex wait, and let the ones who don't screw. Who cares? :)

:: Erica December 28, 2003 11:03 PM

Oh, I don't really care about who has sex with who or how many; what I care about are the multitude of Concerned Ones and their bad arguments making my head ache.

:: Andrea Harris December 28, 2003 11:16 PM

Monday, December 22, 2003

Late-breaking news (08:36PM)

Late to break over my head, anyway -- John "Akatsukami" Braue is back posting at his Rat's Nest blog. Ooooh... (rubs hands in anticipation...)

Update, MUCH later: guess who else has been back for a while and I just found out. (Link to Myria via Moira.)

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