Archive for July, 2003

“In the adversity of our best friends we always find something that is not displeasing,” La Rochefoucauld wrote in 1665, identifying Schadenfreude — “joy in adversity,” an almost literal translation of his aphorism — for the first time, although more general strictures against envy date back to the Ten Commandments and beyond. The word, however, […]

Aaron Haspel | Posted July 31, 2003 @ 1:16 PM | Language,Philosophy

How do two arty Manhattan types like Michael Blowhard and me amuse ourselves when shorn of the wives for an evening? We go see Bad Boys 2, what else? One can admire the movie, at a safe distance from the theater, for its systematic assault on the critical faculties. It ranges in volume from deafening […]

Aaron Haspel | Posted July 31, 2003 @ 1:00 AM | Blogs,Movies

You might be a junk scientist if: You prophesy disaster in some remote future. It is safest to choose a date in the long run, when we’re all dead, but even the less judicious have little to worry about: by the time D-Day rolls around people will have forgotten what you said. If someone does […]

Aaron Haspel | Posted July 29, 2003 @ 12:00 PM | Business,Heuristic

Dear Aaron, I am hoping you can answer a quick poetry question for me. In the following poem by John Updike, what do you think “blither” means? TO A WELL-CONNECTED MOUSE (Upon reading of the genetic closeness of mice and men.) Wee, sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie, Braw science says that at the leastie We share […]

Aaron Haspel | Posted July 26, 2003 @ 11:40 PM | Poetry

“To generalize is to be an idiot,” William Blake famously generalized. Blake has sympathizers at Crooked Timber, where Brian Weatherson and Henry Farrell, rake Randy Barnett over the coals for his j’accuse to “the Left,” which has apparently been “living a lie,” en masse, and now more than ever: Since the 2000 election, however, I […]

Aaron Haspel | Posted July 26, 2003 @ 11:21 PM | Blogs,Philosophy

Public art usually manages to offend my aesthetic and political sensibilities at once. (My God, that’s hideous. And I paid for it!) But there are exceptions. A long, heavily-trafficked corridor in the Times Square subway station has eight metal signs nailed to the rafters, about fifty feet apart. If you happen to look up, instead […]

Aaron Haspel | Posted July 24, 2003 @ 5:10 PM | Culture

(Two geeks are waiting for the elevator on the seventh floor of a seven-story building. The elevator ascends to five and then begins to descend.) Geek 1: I hate when people do that. Geek 2: Yeah. Why should they care where the elevator’s going when they’re getting out anyway? Geek 1: If they have to […]

Aaron Haspel | Posted July 22, 2003 @ 6:54 PM | Code

(With apologies to Flaubert.) < ...>: A form of emphasis employed by bloggers who wish to show that they understand HTML. The ellipses are usually replaced by “SARCASM” or “RANT” but anything will serve. Rendered as [...][/...] by bloggers who do not understand how to escape characters in HTML. ™: May be appended to anything […]

Aaron Haspel | Posted July 21, 2003 @ 1:37 PM | Blogs,Language

I finally tired of my blogroll and thrashed it, with the results you see on your left. The “Now” category consists of people I check every day — which doesn’t necessarily mean they write every day, although it helps — while everybody in “And Then” I check at least once a week. I will say […]

Aaron Haspel | Posted July 20, 2003 @ 1:26 PM | Blogs,Navel-Gazing

Over at Crooked Timber Daniel Davies poses two related questions: why is snitching universally considered wrong, and why do moral philosophers have so little to say on the topic? A great deal of the traditional antipathy to snitching is less toward the act than the actor. The snitch is personally nearly always an unpleasant character, […]

Aaron Haspel | Posted July 19, 2003 @ 9:49 AM | Philosophy