Using language to dominate politics

There's a really fascinating interview with UC Berkeley professor George Lakoff discussing how conservatives use language to dominate politics. Reading this makes me realize that Democrats are going to need to do a lot more than just hold Meetups and have blogs to win anytime soon. Also Lakoff has the best quote I've read in a long time about why we pay taxes and why we should pay taxes.

Taxes are what you pay to be an American, to live in a civilized society that is democratic and offers opportunity, and where there's an infrastructure that has been paid for by previous taxpayers. This is a huge infrastructure. The highway system, the Internet, the TV system, the public education system, the power grid, the system for training scientists — vast amounts of infrastructure that we all use, which has to be maintained and paid for. Taxes are your dues — you pay your dues to be an American. In addition, the wealthiest Americans use that infrastructure more than anyone else, and they use parts of it that other people don't. The federal justice system, for example, is nine-tenths devoted to corporate law. The Securities and Exchange Commission and all the apparatus of the Commerce Department are mainly used by the wealthy. And we're all paying for it.

I guess if Republicans continue to relieve us of taxes, they'll eventually relieve us of the infrastructure our taxes fund. [via jason]

A timeline of the most amazing thing

Friday evening: I get home from work and I open my trusty iBook. I'm happily doing my computing when the screen goes all Matrix wacko: strange lines start streaming down it, then things get all blocky and pixely, then it freezes. Several reboots later, and it's still happening. iBook is unusable. Panicked and sad, I power it off and go to sleep.

Saturday: I go upstate to see the leaves, and spend the day in denial.

Saturday night: more rebooting confirms the terrible state of affairs: iBook is seriously messed up. 😦

Sunday AM: in the worst throes of my cold, I trudge to the Apple Store in Soho. I'm there ten minutes before it opens so I can be first to the Genius Bar. After five minutes of fiddling, Christopher confirms my deepest fears, "Something is seriously messed up with your iBook. It needs to go in for repairs. It's probably a hardware problem related to the video. It'll take 7 to 10 days." I trudge home, sleep all afternoon, and spend the evening backing up everything onto another computer.

Monday 11 AM: I drop off the iBook at the Apple Store. "Godspeed little doodle," I say as it disappears into the back. I've never had a hardware problem. Why now? Why me? "Godspeed," I whisper as I exit the store.

Tuesday: I miss my iBook.

Wednesday 10:40 AM: a package arrives at work. It's the iBook, and it's come all the way from Tennessee! It's back! It's back! In less than 48 hours, it's back and it's fixed! Godspeed? More like Super-duper-Allmighty-God-Light-Speed! I am amazed. And relieved. And happy. is live

A new site that I'm contributing to called has launched today. It's a group blog with lots of smart techy women participating to discuss women's contributions to computing, and also to highlight opportunities and challenges within the field. Though women are making posts, the discussion is open to everyone, and I hope that people who are interested in the topic will join in.

Ugg Boots

All I can think when I see these boots on the streets of NYC is, "Uggh!! Why are you wearing those stupid fucking boots?!"

Update: obviously these boots are ok if you're in the Arctic trudging across tundra. If it's so cold outside your feet would freeze without them, then you can wear them. If they ground is dry, or there are palm trees within a two mile radius of where you stand, you cannot.

Still a BoSox fan

After a weekend of mourning I've decided I'm leaving my Red Sox logo up for a while longer, just to show my continued support of the best team in baseball (alas possessing baseball's worst manager). This weekend I baked my Cowboy Up cookies and thought of the game, and the team, and how well they played, and decided I still love them all (players, that is). Here's to 2004, boys!


The front page of the Boston Globe says it all: Heartbreak Again. It was so close, they played so well, and then you just knew. As Pedro Martinez took the mound in the 8th, everyone at the Riviera (the NYC Red Sox bar where I watched the game) looked a little anxious. Shouldn't he come out? we all wondered. And then the Yankees' bats woke up. Shouldn't Pedro be taken out? we said to each other, huddled in front of the TV, the raucous crowd now silent. More hits, people pleading at the TV, For God's sake, take him out!! until the Red Sox were no longer wining, and the game was tied. And just like that it had fallen apart, again. Boone's 11th inning home run sealed the pennant for the Yanks, and silently, numbly, we exchanged good byes, murmured hopes for next year, next year, and I walked home alone.

Red Sox Cowboy Up Cookies


2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts (about 4 ounces)

Continue reading “Red Sox Cowboy Up Cookies”

The brand called Vermont

From today's Boston Globe comes an interesting article, The brand called Vermont: How the Green Mountain state cornered the market on purity.

Some might accuse our northern neighbors of having control issues. But according to state officials, the name Vermont has real value. A product labeled "Made in Vermont" — whether herb-infused maple syrup, pineapple pepper jam, or chai water buffalo yogurt — is worth 10 percent more than the same product made elsewhere.

As someone who's spent a lot of time in Vermont, and values its products, I found it an interesting read. Especially since I only buy Vermont maple syrup, and hesitate to buy anything made in New Hampshire. I guess I'm just another sucker for brand and marketing and I'd never even realized it! Perhaps when I start my farm (goat cheese, maple syrup, and Macintosh apples currently top the list of products I'll produce) I'll have to locate it in Vermont to benefit from the strong brand.