[Insert fishing metaphor]

Geoffrey K. Pullum copy-edits a phishing attempt.

Posted in Annoyances
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Step back!

Lauren Ober interviews Randi Miller, the voice of Metro’s “doors closing” announcements.


Posted in Transit in D.C.
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New database

This looks promising: the New Play Exchange has just launched,

a crowd-sourced, open-access database of plays, playwrights, and producers built for everyone who makes, looks for, and loves new work for the theatre, will become available to everyone with access to the internet.

Posted in Theater
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Roslyn Sulcas profiles five top dancers with New York City Ballet.

Posted in Dance
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Neglected no more

Jimmy Carter talks to Diane Cole about his and Rosalynn’s work to eradicate Guinea worm disease.

Our main commitment at the Carter Center is to fill vacuums in the world. We don’t duplicate what others are doing. If the World Health Organization or the United Nations or the United States government or [other organizations] are doing work, we don’t get involved. We tackle problems that other people aren’t addressing.

Posted in Health and Medicine
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On deck: 13

another bookrackNew books on the shelf, thanks to Brett, Leta, Cleveland’s Horizontal Books, and Powell’s.

Posted in Like Life
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I’d go with Freedman’s Village Hwy

Eric Green wonders why major thoroughfares in the Commonwealth are named for traitors to their country:

It’s been suggested that Jefferson Davis Highway should be called the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial Highway (for obvious reasons) or Freedman’s Village Highway, to honor a camp, established in South Arlington during the Civil War, where African Americans fled to escape slavery in the South.

I’ll sweeten the deal: find new names for Jeff Davis Highway and Lee Highway and I’ll stop referring to DCA (officially Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport) as Strikebreaker Airport.

Greater Greater Washington

Posted in Local News and Views, Public Policy and Politics
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Home rule or House rule?

WAMU’s Metro Connection devotes a complete show to the vexed problem of self-determination for the 600+ thousand citizens of the District of Columbia, and its lack of voting representation in the Congress—from the 1965 Voting Rights Act to today.

A few weeks ago, I was asked what my favorite public radio program was. Partly to remind my questioner that much of what airs is produced by local member NPR stations, I nominated Metro Connection. With the production of this hour, the show has become my favoritest.

Posted in Equal rights for D.C.
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Quality, not quantity

The Economist’s Free Exchange blog interprets recent research which suggests that the economic effects of environmental regulation are not nearly as severe as those on the pro-business right would have it.

There are several possible explanations for the finding. One is that damage from environmental regulation is not great enough to change the overall productivity figures. A rule of thumb says a 10% change in the oil price is associated with a 0.2% change in GDP, so if green taxes push up energy prices by only a few cents, their macroeconomic impact might be modest. The effect on jobs, investment or trade, though, might be greater.

Another explanation may be that stricter environmental regulations do as much good as harm.

Posted in Economics and Business, Public Policy and Politics
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Follow the yellow brick road

Definitely an oldie but a goodie: in a 1990 paper for Journal of Political Economy, Hugh Rockoff put together a marvelous reading of L. Frank Baum’s Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) as an allegory of the pros and cons of bimetallism as a progressive-era monetary policy (caveat lector: there are some scannos in this copy of the paper). (The Free Silver crowd argued for the [inflationary] return to silver coinage as a means to break out of the U.S.’s late-19th-century deflation.) Those of us familiar only with the 1939 film version might scoff, but when Rockoff reminds us that Baum gave Dorothy silver slippers to wear, not ruby, as she skipped along the golden road—well, the parallels begin to line up. My favorite is the explanation of Dorothy’s vanquishing the Wicked Witch of the West (William McKinley) with a bucket of water: in an era when dryland farmers of the Plains west of the 100th meridian claimed that just a little more rain would make their lands bloom, it all makes sense.

(Ah, it turns out that Rockoff was anticipated by Quentin Taylor and others.)

N. Gregory Mankiw, Principles of Economics, 7/e

Posted in Economics and Business, Prose Fiction
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Famous Puppet Death Scenes

A collection of short pieces of puppetry, all of them concerned with death—or more broadly and accurately, the evanescence of existence—from the broadly comic to the baldly conceptual. The company uses a variety of techniques and materials: some of them are rather steampunk and indebted to Edward Gorey, while others depend on such elements as an oversize popup book, a child’s play set of farm animals, or live-blown soap bubbles (chew on that, Joseph Cornell). (Some of the more obscure works of the Neo-Futurists find a certain affinity here.) Spoken English language is relegated to obscurity: perhaps the most effective pieces are wordless, narrated by grunts and gasps, or in a foreign language. Most of the time, the troupe is not concerned whether we see the manipulating hands or not: if it happens, it happens. While the interludes spoken by “Nathanial Tweak,” one of the few articulating puppets in the cast, lend little to the proceedings, the troupe’s ability to animate mute wood and plastic is strong.

Posted in Reviews, Theater
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The year in review, 2014

Last roundup post of the year. The first sentence (more or less) of the first post of each month from this blog:

  • 2 January: My WATCH assignments for 2014.
  • 4 February: Leta is very special to me: here’s why.
  • 3 March: For the past 24 months, Matt Johnson has logged the car number for every Metro ride he’s taken.
  • 6 April: Margaret Chatham led a wildflower walk at the Nature Conservancy’s Fraser Preserve for VNPS.
  • 5 May: Two powerful solo shows played in the area over the past weekend, both of them responses to violence.
  • 1 June: A rose-colored scrim drapes the stage before each act of Act One, a dramatized version of Moss Hart’s memoir of becoming a playwright.
  • 1 July: We wrapped up the nesting season two weekends ago.
  • 2 August: The very first service alert that I’ve received from Metro pertaining to the Silver Line.
  • 1 September: For my Labor Day hike, I pushed a little longer and harder than I have done of late.
  • 2 October: I like poetry that rhymes and doesn’t rhyme, like today’s offering, Rebecca Foust’s “Dream of the Rood.”
  • 3 November: You say you’re designing a set for Romeo and Juliet and you can’t make a balcony work?
  • 8 December: The collisions of ideas and recriminations that highlight the first two acts of Tony Kushner’s Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide, multiple conversations/arguments taking place in the Brooklyn brownstone of Gus Marcantonio, are by turns invigorating and exhausting.

The year in review, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, and 2007.

Posted in Memes, Metaposting
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New venues, 2014

I visited several new spots, without making a big deal of it this year.

2013’s list. 2012’s list. 2011’s list.

Posted in Like Life, Reviews
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My year in hikes and field trips, 2014

Almost all of my exploring was close to home this year.

Due to my class project, I spent nearly as much time at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park as I did at Huntley Meadows Park.

2013’s list. 2012’s list. 2011’s list. 2010’s list. 2009’s list. 2008’s list.

Posted in In the Field
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My year in cities, 2014

I missed the VNPS annual meeting in Tidewater Virginia this year, but I got to visit a few places. Overnight stays in 2014:

2013’s list. 2012’s list. 2011’s list. 2010’s list. 2009’s list. 2008’s list. 2007’s list. 2006’s list. 2005’s list.

Posted in Like Life
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