recursive

Dangerously Unfair (Undignified Disaster)

#Russia | #WhatTheyVotedFor

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher [R-CA48]. (Photo by Maria Danilova/Associated Press)

This is, simply put, not fair:

The F.B.I. warned a Republican congressman in 2012 that Russian spies were trying to recruit him, officials said, an example of how aggressively Russian agents have tried to influence Washington politics.

The congressman, Dana Rohrabacher of California, has been known for years as one of Moscow’s biggest defenders in Washington and as a vocal opponent of American economic sanctions against Russia. He claims to have lost a drunken arm-wrestling match with the current Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, in the 1990s. He is one of President Trump’s staunchest allies on Capitol Hill.

Mr. Rohrabacher was drawn into the maelstrom this week when The Washington Post reported on an audio recording of Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the House majority leader, saying last year, “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.” Mr. McCarthy said on Wednesday that he had made a joke that landed poorly.

(Apuzzo, Goldman, and Mazzetti)

That is to say: Oh, come on! You can’t be serious!

(more…)

Something Completely Different

Shizuo Heiwajima wanders Ikebukuro. (Detail of frame from Durarara!! episode 7, "Bad-Ass Dude".)

“Have to face it, I’m finally an addict; the smell of popcorn and worn plush lingers for weeks.”

Margaret Atwood

Here’s a change of pace:

No matter where you go, the movie theaters tend to smell the same: like popcorn, and the butter-like stuff they put on the popcorn, and that stale odor of recycled air-conditioned air.

Also fear, and sadness, and joy. These feelings aren’t scents, per se, in that you don’t take a whiff of air and consciously think, “Man, it smells scary in here.” But in a study published earlier this week in the journal Nature, a team of researchers found that the air in movie theaters tends to take on unique chemical signatures based on how the audience reacts to what’s happening on the screen. A horror film, for instance, will have a different chemical imprint than a comedy, which will leave a different mark than a tearjerker.

The report from Cari Romm for Science of Us actually sets a number of thoughts in motion, including a weirdly recursive context in which yes, actually people do now have ideas of something smelling scary, and as the colloquialism sets roots in American culture the idea will eventually concretize or crystallize long enough to be noted, and then set right back to shifting and changing and growing and evolving. It’s not quite the same as the decade-old debate whether sour apple or lime tastes like green, though even then the question illustrates contextual challenges. To wit, the straightforward answer: I’m middle-aged; the sour-apple thing is “new” by comparison, so “lime” is what tastes like “green”. A more honest answer: Marijuana. A more cultural-contextually useful answer: I’m sure as a middle-aged lifer in cedar and hemlock country, green means something different to me than it would a young’n barely as tall as the wheat that is all he can see for miles in any direction.

Smells, of course, are more interesting, but translating the relevant trivia about memory into something useful seems a challenging return on investment especially according to a daunting prospect against success.

Nor should we wonder why Atwood comes to mind.

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Image note: Shizuo Heiwajima wanders Ikebukuro. (Detail of frame from Durarara!! episode 7, “Bad-Ass Dude”.)

Atwood, Margaret. “You Take My Hand And”. 1971.

Romm, Cari. “Movie Theaters Smell Like People’s Feelings”. Science of Us. 13 May 2016.

The Days of Their Lives (Chipotle Changer)

Twitter: David Eldridge of Roll Call and Jonathan Nicholson of Bloomberg BNA discussing a Chipotle's restaurant in the basement of Union Station, Washington, D.C., 24 September 2015.If you’ve ever wondered about the Beltway press, and, you know, let’s face it, no, most people just don’t wonder about the reporters who dig up the little bits and pieces destined to be overlooked in the infotainment synopsis that makes the evening news, well might be a reason you did.

Or didn’t.

Whatever.

Whichever, I guess.

Ladies and gentlemen, David Eldridge of Roll Call and Jonathan Nicholson of Bloomberg Bureau of National Affairs:

David Eldridge: Overheard in the newsroom: “There’s a Chipotle in the Union Station basement? That’s a gamechanger.” @rollcall

Jonathan Nicholson: @DavidEldridge @MEPFuller @rollcall It’s on the main floor – the Taco Bell in the basement food court, now THAT’S the game changer.

David Eldridge: @JNicholsonInDC @MEPFuller @rollcall The one in the basement is the SECOND Chipotle in the bldg. Hence the changing of the game.

Jonathan Nicholson: @DavidEldridge @MEPFuller @rollcall TWO Chipotles, one building? That’s Starbucks-style game changing. I did not know – my bad.

We might suspect there’s a reason Nicholson is trying to drag Matt Fuller into it.

Say what?Chipotle’s.

Game-changer.

Even as post-Millennial recursive cynicism it’s flaccid.

Say what we will about the Beltway sausage grinder, but this is the daily grind. Still, though, these are the days of their lives.

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Eldridge, David and Jonathan Nicholson. “Overheard in the office”. Twitter. 24 September 2015.