Thursday, February 10, 2011

Roundabout dogs, southern discomforts, etc.


[Flickr, Creative Commons, etc.]

Wikipedia has this to say (re roundabout dogs):
The phenomenon consists of anonymous people placing homemade dog sculptures, typically made of wood (or sometimes plastic, metal or textile) in roundabouts (traffic circles). Occurrences were reported all over Sweden, and the phenomenon also spread to other countries, such as Spain after it was mentioned on Spanish television (PuntoDos).[1] Swedish tabloid paper Expressen even placed one at Piccadilly Circus.

The prophet Muhammad was drawn as a roundabout dog but apparently not installed as one. (The installation would have been ephemeral in any case I suppose.)


I'm in Charlottesville, VA. The trip was smooth, except for a distressing encounter with a manic autoflush at O'Hare; I'm being put up at the Marriott, which is nice except that my room is next to the ice machine. Garrulous taxi drivers are a recurring theme in my existence. Last night I did trivia -- which I'm crap at -- with Joe Caissie, an Amherst non-acquaintance and twitter friend, who replied to my tweet saying I was in C'ville and debating whether to explore it before snarking about it. I gave a talk this afternoon; the slides are here, though I'm afraid they pdf'ed the hidden slides as well as the real ones, so the talk seems even less coherent than it was. Heard a horrifying story at lunch about some climate scientist who is being persecuted by Ken Cuccinelli for "fraudulence" because he "cited" a later-shown-to-be-flawed paper of his in his publication list. (I love that if he hadn't cited the paper he would have been fraudulently hiding something.) I am also sad to hear that Jim Webb doesn't intend to run again; his politics and mine aren't identical, but he is one of the few politicians that care about convicts'/prisoners' rights, the one political cause I'm passionate about.

Dinner at Boylan Heights; being an experimental feeder I tried the "green eggs and ham" -- i.e. hamburger on English muffin with ham, a fried egg, and pesto on it -- the pesto was definitely a mistake. On the other hand tater tots are superior to fries as a side. I had just reread The Debt to Pleasure on the flight (having switched it in at the last minute for Seamus Deane's creditable but tedious memoir), and could imagine Tarquin Winot inveighing against the combination. Next to me at the bar was some guy who was talking to some chick, not his girlfriend, about abortions and messed-up mutual friends and the like. At some point he (distinctly) said, "she just sprinkles her pussy-dust all over the situation," a felicitous phrase if only because it reminds me of this appalling old story in The Economist that I've never been able to forget. (You've been warned.) And they agreed that the woman in question was "close-chested," another new expression to me, though apparently not to Google. I'll be here tomorrow, then in Atlanta until Wed., then back in Urbana until March meeting.

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