June 28, 2011

Packaging Fail

See if you can guess what I ordered that arrived in this enormous box today.

How about now?

Last chance...

(Answer after the jump.)

Yup. Three 12x16 enlargements. What's the matter, RitzPix.com? Haven't you ever heard of an ENVELOPE?

June 24, 2011

June 23, 2011

Definitely the Low Road

From multiple outraged British news outlets: Couple's dream road trip in US turns to nightmare after pair are jailed
A SCOTTISH couple have told of their "traumatic" ordeal after being imprisoned in a US detention centre for inadvertently overstaying the terms of their visa during a dream road trip across the country.
So, basically what happened is: they were in the States on a standard ninety-day visa waiver; they crossed into Canada for a few days, and when they crossed back over to the States they thought the ninety days would restart—which is incorrect, as far as I can tell, though the U.S. government website(s) on the matter are spectacularly unhelpful. (The couple claim it was the border patrol's fault for not stamping their passport when they re-entered the U.S. from Canada.)

Anyway, after the initial ninety days were up, they happened to be driving along the Mexican border (what a trip!), when several border guards there arrested them as illegal aliens, questioned them for five hours, and then threw them in jail for five weeks until they could be deported.

Unfortunately, before they were arrested, they had already succeeded in stealing an unknown number of American jobs, driving up the cost of social services, raising the crime rate, trafficiking in illegal drugs, and destroying the pristine American borderlands with their trash and filth. They also, naturally, set some fires in Arizona.

Incidentally, another shocking revelation in this story is the state of Scottish journalism. One paper has the husband as 56, one as 57, and one as 75; one has them living in Inverness, one in Newtonmore (about 45 miles from Inverness), one in Newto*w*nmore, and one hedges its bets and says "the Highlands". (The Daily Mail just has them as "Britons," though I think that says more about the Daily Mail than it does about Scottish journalism.)

Anyway, while this couple was undoubtedly a little dim when it came to understanding U.S. immigration law, and technically CBP probably didn't do anything wrong, you have to wonder about a "functional" system that treats anyone this way. (Though it will be very sad if it takes two old white people getting mistreated to finally cause meaningful reform.) Sigh.

June 20, 2011

More Ahht

The latest addition to my continuing series of artsy (read: black and white) pictures of Boston, taken during the Bruins Stanley Cup victory parade this weekend.

June 19, 2011

HuffPo: Your Source For Unintentional Irony

Jon Stewart appeared on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace today for a thoughtful, twenty-five-minute interview, which covered a number of different issues related to media bias, media activism, and his role (or non-role) in the political process. Here's how HuffPo covered it:

And also:

Now, technically it is 100% accurate to say that Stewart called Wallace insane. And later in the interview, once they'd moved to a different topic, he also had a few seconds that I would characterize as "going off" (he asked Wallace why polls "consistently" show Fox News viewers as the least well-informed of all Americans).

But Stewart also told Wallace that he respected him, and found him to be a tough and fair interviewer — and ultimately suggested that Wallace had been placed on Fox News as a reasonable and balanced counterpoint to its more extreme pundits (Beck, Hannity, etc.), precisely so that the network could point to him as "journalism" rather than "opinion."

The two also joked around and acted like good friends, as they also do when Wallace appears on The Daily Show.

So characterizing the interview as a "heated" "face off" (N.B. aren't all interviews "face offs," strictly speaking?), in which Stewart "goes off" and primarily pushes the opinion that Wallace is a nutbag is, well... Totally inaccurate and sensationalist.

On the other hand, here's something Stewart spends several minutes talking about:
24-hour news networks are built for one thing, and that's 9/11, and the type of gigantic news event that the type of apparatus that exists in this building and exists at the other 24-hour news networks is perfectly suited to cover.

In the absence of that, they're not just going to say "there's not that much that's urgent or important or conflicted that's happening today." [Instead, they say] "so we are going to gin up, we are going to bring forth more conflict and more sensationalism, because we want you to continue watching us 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, even when the news doesn't necessarily warrant that type of behavior."

...That's sensationalist and somewhat lazy. But I don't understand how that's partisan... It's a form of subtle misinformation.
Strangely, this quote (which I had to transcribe myself) did not appear in the HuffPo article, probably because the level of cognitive dissonance required for the writer to include it would have caused Manhattan to sink into the ocean.


June 17, 2011

June 10, 2011

June 09, 2011

Not Going To Make A Weiner Pun, Not Going To Make A Weiner Pun...

From BBC News: Anthony Weiner scandal: Democrats call for ethics probe

Poor, poor Anthony Weiner.

No, really: I'm on his side, here. He's just the victim of plain bad luck for gaining public office in the pre-sexting era. Had he known about the ridiculously easy, anonymous, irresistible opportunities to indulge his libido that would emerge within a decade of his election, maybe he would have thought twice about it.

Does that sound glib? Facetious? It's not meant to. Weiner's far from the only guy to send dirty pictures of himself over the internet, after all, and I'm not just talking about Brett Favre and that other congressman from a few months ago. Haven't you seen the news these days? Teens are doing it, too. College students are doing it. And I'm sure a whole bunch of other people Weiner/Lee/Favre's age are doing it, men and women alike. (Women, in point of fact, are making dirty movies — and no, celebrity sex tapes are of course not meant for public consumption, but then, neither were Weiner's pictures.)

And yes, okay, Weiner is married, and yes, okay, our public officials should know better. At least, that's the standard line. But honestly, Clinton did much worse, and he still got re-elected, salvaged his marriage, and is generally seen as a stand-up, charitable guy these days. Talk about mixed messages!

In any case, it seems evident to me that sending dirty pictures of yourself over the internet is, for better or for worse, just part of everyday life these days, and it would be more productive, instead of exploding in moral panic every time we're confronted with evidence that people actually LIKE doing this, to have a frank discussion about how we ought to adjust our values in response.

I'm not saying that all of what Weiner did is okay: sending unsolicited and unwanted dirty pictures of yourself in the predatory manner that Weiner occasionally seems to have done still feels wrong to me.

But — and this is doubtless my sociology degree talking — when the same thing happens THIS MANY TIMES in the course of a year or two, I tend to think that moral and sexual corruption among otherwise unrelated public figures is a less convincing explanation than a society that just can't get its head out of its ass about what it's really like. People enjoy sex, we provide thousands of different ways to indulge sexual urges, and then we get annoyed whenever someone doesn't stick to the one, highly circumscribed way of doing so that we inherited from a bunch of religious Victorians? How is that reasonable?

So, yes: poor Anthony Weiner. Yes, he pursued women too aggressively, and for that he should be punished. But otherwise his only crime is being a person who has a high sex drive and is also passionate enough about his values that he wanted to run for office and actually do something to change the world. What a dick, right?

June 03, 2011

June 02, 2011

It's Ahht, You Retahhd!

Since I'm probably moving to New York in the fall, I thought I'd spend the next few weeks taking some nostalgic, artsy-fartsy pictures of Boston to decorate my apartment(/cardboard box/underpass) there.

Also, since I'm still having a hard time updating my blog as frequently as I'd like, I thought I'd reproduce them here and kill two birds with one stone.

That expression has really taken on new meaning in this post–Angry Birds era.

(In the Bud Light line at Fenway)

(We start 'em young in Boston)

(Nice and Slow)

(Yawkey Way)