January 25, 2005

Yesterday's Links

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at January 25, 2005 11:13 AM

What I might have blogged yesterday, had the network been available:

The 50 Most Loathsome Americans, 2004. Warning: it's not very polite.

SFGate has a recording of Tasmanian devil grunts. The first thought of Boing Boing readers is "This may be the worst sound ever emitted by a carbon-based life form.", and the second is "We should make a ringtone out of this," which they do.

Someone wants to name a New Haven, CT highway after George W. Bush. This is not a terribly popular idea in that area: "We should name a traffic jam after him, not a highway," said DeStefano, a Democrat running for governor.

I think Bush himself would prefer people not be reminded that he's from Connecticut, as the Texas thing seems to work for him. It's an understandable position: when people ask where I'm from originally, I frequently say "Connecticut" despite my Texas roots...

Slate's obit on Johnny Carson talks about his skepticism of Uri Geller types, something I was not aware of.

Berkeley freshmen are more liberal than ever. This doesn't really translate to more credibility for liberalism because, well, they're Berkeley freshmen.


I just don't see any reason to lie about where you're originally from. I mean, you were born in Houston. That doesn't make you some mutant freak or anything.

Posted by: Tracy | January 25, 2005 12:42 PM

Well, here's the reasoning: when someone asks where I'm from, they're not looking for some trivia about what's printed on my birth certificate. What they really want is information on my personal identity, what sort of regional and cultural influences I'm coming from. I certainly have more of a personal connection to Connecticut than to Texas, and in addition spending my adolescence there shaped my personality far more than my very early childhood in Houston. So in this sense "Connecticut" is a much more relevant and interesting answer to the question, even if it's not technically correct under a literal reading of "originally". (One could also consider parsing "originally" to mean a personal origin, in which case my answer is entirely correct—the origin of who I am now is based in Connecticut rather than Texas.)

There's also a pragmatic reason for doing this: if I'm talking to someone who knows Houston well, and I say I'm from there, they'll assume I know the city and use that as a conversational hook. But in fact I don't know much about Houston, so this will fall flat. Whereas I do know about Connecticut, and so bringing it up may raise new conversational avenues if the person I'm talking to is also from the northeast.

Posted by: Arcane Gazebo | January 25, 2005 1:23 PM

Well I would definitely have to agree that there is a slim-to-none chance of anyone ever identifying you with anything related to Texas...with the obvious exception of your parents, of course.

Posted by: Tracy | January 25, 2005 2:06 PM

what?!!! that's MY section of highway, rt 34!! there's a traffic jam between exits 56 and 50 every morning on the way there that he can have instead. jesus. and new haven is bright blue too. what the hell.
although on the other hand, rt 34 is about half a mile long, runs into a huge parking garage, and basically exists so that people have three ways to get off of it. i guess if they name a highway after him it might as well be the stubbiest highway in the world.

the folks at boingboing make me happy.

and: yes, you are totally a nutmegger.

Posted by: phi | January 25, 2005 6:13 PM

Face the facts: All people from Houston are freaks! :) This is especially true of Travis. :P

(I'm from Beverly Hills, so I shouldn't talk. Still, I couldn't resist.)

Loathsome people: How can that bitch Ann Coulter only be number 50!?! (However, I looked at the link to the 02 list and was relieved to see her justifiably listed as #1 that year.)

Tasmanian devil grunts: That was disturbing. That's the sound they make while _alive_? It sounds more like something I should hear when they die horribly.

Berkeley freshman: How bad can this possible be? Admist the chaff, Berkeley has a ton of really talented undergrads. Most schools can't boast this.

Posted by: Mason | January 25, 2005 6:18 PM

Amidst: excuse my dyslexia.

Posted by: Mason | January 25, 2005 6:18 PM

Phi: With all due respect to my adopted home Nutmeg State, "nutmegger" sounds like it should be a term coined by Dan Savage to describe some obscure species of sexual fetishist.

Mason: Whatever my true origins, my freakishness cannot be denied. Personally, I blame it on my being a nutmegger. :)

As for the Berkeley freshmen, really the problem is "freshmen" more than "Berkeley".

Posted by: Arcane Gazebo | January 25, 2005 9:01 PM

Point taken. :) Remember, I had to rein you in when you were a frosh. Well, more precisely, I had to try to do that _after_ Ben tried to do that. It worked really well, as everybody can see.

Of course, people were equally unsuccessful with me when I was a frosh, and they were violently perturbed when I started having influence on other people (laughs maniacally...). :)

Posted by: Mason | January 26, 2005 3:18 PM
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