Top 10 Cities for Cellulite

MSN brings us the Top 10 US Cities for Cellulite.

Boogity Boogity. And here’s the surprise! One of the poorest cities in the country is Numero Uno–Birmingham, Alabama, a place where the expected life span of an African American man is nearly 10 years lower than those of a white woman–and yet the cellulite discussion is done, of course, in a way that drips with misogyny. Real health means nothing compared to how one of our pet sex objects might look in her bikini.

Oh, even more health boogity boogity. There is no cure for cellulite. I’d kind of like to fret more about a cure for Alzheimer’s, AIDS, cancer, Lou Gehrig’s disease, arthritis, Parkinson’s and, oh, I dunno, A BUNCH OF REAL HEALTH CONCERNS.*

*Yes, I know obesity is a health concern, but there are a lot of really thin and healthy people running around the world with cellulite. I’m tired of the way in which something that is merely unsightly is conflated with real risks.

Top Twenty Movies About New York

In no particular order, these are Dr. Schweitzer’s favorite movies about/set in New York:

1. West Side Story
(even though a lot was filmed on sound stages)

2. Serpico

3. Taxi Driver

4. Annie Hall or Hannah and Her Sisters

5. Breakfast at Tiffany’s

6. Ghostbusters

7. You’ve Got Mail or When Harry Met Sally

8. On the Waterfront

9. The Goodbye Girl

10. Fame

11. The Cotton Club

12. Finding Forrester

13. Three Days of the Condor

14. Rosemary’s Baby (the Dakota! What a building!)

15. The Godfather

16. Super Fly

17. The Odd Couple

18. Funny Girl

19. Butterfield 8

20. Guys and Dolls

(bonus one: Saturday Night Fever).

Dear Glenn Beck and Michelle Bachmann

If you think for five seconds anybody outside of a psych ward thinks you are anything other than opportunistic attention grubbers for trying to legitimize the brutality directed at a Census worker in Kentucky, you would be wrong. Rural constituencies can speak to disenfranchisement for themselves, and they do, and they share nothing in common with the murderers who did this except geography. People in rural areas can and do routinely engage in civil society and discourse; they respect democracy, the social contract and human life. Yes, Ms. Bachmann, I know you think you are positioning yourself to be the next Sarah Palin. Let’s think about how that worked out. How’s about…oh, I don’t know….having enough faith in the ideas upon which modern conservatism was founded that you don’t slither into the smarmiest pits where you seem to think the political movement now resides. Stand up straight, woman, and think about Edmund Burke and Russell Kirk [1, 2]. If you take the higher road, you could be the star you want to be.

But just let’s try out the logic so I can get this straight: the strategy seems to be to terrorize people trying to take a count of population and data so that the gummint doesn’t know you are there–i.e., systematically undercounting the 2010 population in rural areas. You know what? That actually works for me, since California is broke and we could use the Federal funds that might have gone to these other places. I normally would worry about what undercounting means for the poverty in Appalachia, but since we have poverty here to deal with, I’ll skip it. Census dude, count me twice if you want, and here’s a donut for you to boot.

[1]Kirk, R. 2001. The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot. Regnery Publishing. 7th edition.ISBN 0-89526-171-5

[2] Rusello, G, 2004, “Russell Kirk and Territorial Democracy,” Publius 34: 109-24. Issn: 0048-5950.

DC’s Union Station Bike Facility

Here is rendering–it’s rather hard to find pictures online–you can see the whole plan at the DC DOT’s’ Bicycle Advisory page. My friend Scott brought it up at breakfast this morning, my last day in my beloved DC. The work was done by KGP Design Studio. Don Paine was the lead architect who is quoted in an NPR story as saying “the system to Washington is part of a larger shift toward “dispelling the notion that the car is an essential part of our daily lifestyle.”

The system will require a subscription, and it will be nice: it will have bike parking, lockers, and a repair shop. But it’s meant for 130 bikes at a go. Now, dangit, it’s nice and I’m happy they are putting these out and putting money into high-quality design, but 130 bikes is a 130 people, or a few more with child seats. I don’t mean to be difficult, but that’s a pretty marginal service for the money that went into this thing. The architect then says: ” This is a monumental paradigm shift for the typical American”. But a previous report on bike station users suggests that 30 percent of those users were previously drivers. I can’t find that original report, but at 130 people in DC’s case, that’s 40 people, versus the other 90 who are already bicyclists and receiving a new service. So we shifted 40 people, maybe. Is the planet really going to get cooler at this pace? Or should we be honest about what we are doing: making places nicer for multiple modes for select users? Is that particularly wrong?

Holla Back! at street harassers

Holla Back gives people the opportunity to “out” public harassment. Go check it out. It’s all over.

This reminds me of one of my favorite transit stories of all time. I was on the Paris metro when I was pretty young (early 20s) and a man was pestering me, and he began doing something that really is best left for private, and this tiny little French woman–somewhere between 80 and 200 years old–leapt spryly out of her seat and began to wallop the guy with her umbrella as she shouted at him in French. I’m not talking minor, little old lady whacks, I’m talking full swings that would make Manny Ramirez take note. My harasser leapt off the train at the next platform and I was free to take the rest of my ride in peace.