2008 02 01
Bleg, or, phleg: Aristotle, catharsis, porn

It’s a philosophy-bleg!

My colleague is teaching Aristotle on catharsis this afternoon. The cartoon view of catharsis is that drama (or just? mainly? tragedy) is useful because it allows us to purge our harmful emotions by getting emotionally wrought over a fictional situation. My colleague is wondering whether Aristotle could say pornography is useful for purging the bad emotion (or, excess emotion?) of lust, or whether Aristotle would be required to say that porn is bad because it forms bad habits. So, Aristotle: for or against porn?

I told him I knew the man for this job, and then I thought other people might be interested too so I’m posting this rather than emailing you, CY.

Howls of outrage (9)

2007 07 17
A banner day for Explananda

Posted by in: Blegs, Metablog

I’m told that some people can’t see the banner at the top of the screen. (The image is here, if you don’t know what I’m referring to.) I haven’t the faintest idea why not, though I imagine it’s the fact that I went into the original template design and ripped out a whole bunch of stuff that looked irrelevant to me. The code for the header section is here, and the original, unmutilated header code is here. And, yes, of course it doesn’t validate, and of course I ought to be spanked on my naughty bottom for that. But come on, I don’t actually understand any of this stuff. I just want a blog with a nice banner. Is that so much to ask? Any help appreciated.

Howls of outrage (13)

2007 04 24
The Books

Posted by in: Blegs, Music

Does anyone out there like The Books? Bad planning has left me with an extra ticket for their show on April 30th, which is part of the Wordless Music Series. You don’t need to know me to take me up on this offer. You just need to pay me for the ticket.

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2006 11 20
Periodicals Bleg

Posted by in: Blegs

Well, it’s time to think about taking on a new subscription. I might substitute a new one for one of my current, but will more likely just add one, maybe two more. Here’s what I get already: The Nation, Mother Jones, and the New Left Review.

So what should I add: The New Yorker? New York Review of Books? American Prospect?

One Rule: Don’t suggest the New Republic: the book reviews are great, but the rest is pap. Oh, and I am very interested in economic issues, so I’d be willing to consider The Economist. But Dollars and Sense and Challenge seem more up my alley. Does anyone subscribe to–or even know of–these last two?

Thanks, Y’all.

Howls of outrage (8)

2005 11 29
Bleg: Cool firefox extension

Posted by in: Blegs, tech-sci

In the fullness of time I expect the internets to deliver this to me whether I ask or not. But why not ask anyway? So . . . my request is for a firefox extension that does a few things automatically. First, I’m starting to enjoy, which I use to bookmark interesting sites and syndicate them on the top left of this site. Since I’ve added a firefox extension, I’ve found it even easier to use. But what about link rot? To help combat that, there’s another firefox extension called Scrapbook, which saves a local copy of web pages quickly and easily. Now, what would be really nice is some way to integrate both of these in a single extension, so that every time you bookmark something in, you can quickly save a local copy to Scrapbook. The Scrapbook entries would acquire the same tags you’ve entered for the entries, so that searching Scrapbook would be quick and easy. And you could set the default on the entry box to either automatically save a local copy or only save a local copy if prompted. It would also be nice to have some way display the Scrapbook entries in your browser in a way that precisely mirrors bookmarks, except that the links would go to the cached pages. But that would be gravy. Even the basic version of this would be useful to me, and probably to a lot of other bloggers and news junkies.

Is that so much to ask? Has this already been done?

A single voice crying in the wilderness (1)

2005 10 24
RAM Issue

Posted by in: Blegs, Computers, etc.

Any help here would be greatly appreciated. I was bequeathed a Compaq notebook computer that is about 2-3 years old. It has two slots for RAM cards and originally came with 256MB. However, when I got it it was registering only 190MB of RAM. And boy were things running slow.

So I ordered at 512MB card, which arrived today. Not knowing which of the old cards had deteriorated, I had to do a bit of sleuth work. So I took out one of the old cards, replaced it with the 512, and rebooted. Presto: 576MB of RAM recognized. So I figured I had taken out the good card and left the deteriorated one in–after all, a card that was originally 128 and no registered only 64 must be the bad one. So I took out the bad card and replaced it with the other original one that I had removed, rebooted, and, Presto: 576MB recognized.

What’s going on here? Did both cards deteriorate from 128 to 64? Could it be the slot’s fault? Could it be that my new card isn’t up to scratch? Or are the numbers associated with RAM cards so unreliable–perhaps because of so many other variables–that I should just be happy that I’ve moved from 190 to 576 and shut up?

Howls of outrage (2)

2005 10 19
Digital camera advice

Posted by in: Blegs

I’m looking for a digital camera for Yoon’s (wife) birthday. (And shhhhhh. It’s a surprise!) I’m looking in the $200-300 range, so this mefi thread seems aimed too low, and this thread seems aimed too high. Thanks to the latter link, I’ve learned about Digital Photography Reviews, and the former link reminds me of Froogle. Still, I’ve never owned a digital camera before, and I’m finding it all a bit daunting. All I’m looking for is a decent camera with the following qualities:

–It should take decent pictures.
–It should have decent memory (200 pictures at a time, perhaps?).
–It should have optional flash.
–It should have an auto-focus override.
–I should be able to take pictures with it at her gigs (i.e., in the dark).
–It should be able to connect to my computer using a USB thingie.

That’s it. I think. Or should I care about “megapixels”, whatever the fuck those are? Or anything else? Do any of our half dozen Explananda readers out there have any advice?

Howls of outrage (13)

2005 07 06
The Song of the Washer

Posted by in: Anecdotal, Blegs

Ok, I was going to wait and have us try to figure this out for ourselves, but does anyone know anything about “portable” washing machines?

We have a washing machine in our new apartment, which you’re meant to wheel over to the sink and hook up to the tap with in- and out- hoses. It’s from the 1980s, there’s no manual, and the whole arrangement is precarious. We did a load of wash last night, which ended with the kitchen floor wet, but the clothes clean. It seems to require constant tending to hook and unhook the hoses; is that right? We’ve just discovered that there’s still water in the washer from yesterday… now Spencer is trying to drain it into the sink, and I am hearing an unearthly keening song from the washer.

Any advice? Has anyone ever used one of these?

Howls of outrage (5)

2005 05 15

Posted by in: Blegs

Since this space is being used for oh-so-useful things these days, I do feel bad asking this. But ask I shall. Does anyone else get Sunday, April 24’s news when going to this webpage? And if you don’t–i.e., if you get today’s news–do you know why my firefox browser keeps giving me yesterday’s yesterday’s yesterday’s…news? Thanks!

UPDATE: I guess all I had to do was refresh my browser. But this still should not have happened. I had deleted the cache and cookies several times since April, 24. Oh well.

Howls of outrage (4)

2004 07 20
Looking for roommates in Brooklyn

Posted by in: Anecdotal, Blegs

I’m looking for a roommate in Brooklyn starting as early as August 1st. Tell all your friends! Tell the whole bunch! Details below the fold.
Continue Reading »

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2004 07 19
The Dreyfus affair

Posted by in: Blegs, Books, History

For a while now I’ve been meaning to read a bit about the Dreyfus affair. Are there any knowledgeable readers out there who can steer me to one or two good books on the subject? Many thanks, in advance.

Howls of outrage (3)

2004 04 25
Oil Politics

Posted by in: Blegs, Political issues

Yesterday I was speculating about the effect of the oil embargo of the early 1970s on current American foreign policy in the Gulf. As usual, I was happy to opine about a subject I know next to nothing about.

But at least I’m always eager to learn! If anyone knows of a good book on the subject, I would be very grateful for a recommendation.

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2004 04 10

Posted by in: Blegs, Metablog

Is there anyone out there who can point me to instructions to create author templates in movable type? I’m trying to set things up so that you can click on any of the names on the left and get a list of the entries written by that person. (Crooked Timber is a good example of a blog that does this.)

Not . . . smart . . . enough. Help!

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