Wednesday, February 27, 2008

"An issue over which reasonable minds differ..."

Photo from Flickr.

The US Mint is planning to release a DC quarter, in line with the state quarters they've released over the past few years, and so have asked the DC government to submit a proposal for what the design on their quarter should look like. The DC government's first proposal included the inscription "Taxation Without Representation". Unsurprisingly, this proposal was rejected. What was surprising, at least to me, was the reason the US Mint gave:

"Changing how the District of Columbia (the Seat of Government of the United States) is represented in Congress is a contemporary political issue on which there presently is no national consensus and over which reasonable minds differ."

Has the phrase "an issue over which reasonable minds differ" lost all content? Are there any disagreements over contemporary political issues that the US Mint would be willing to say are unreasonable? I really think that people who use the phrase "reasonable minds differ" should be expected to say what they think is reasonable about both sides in the debate. And if they can't say what's reasonable about both sides, then they should be expected to take back the claim that this debate concerns "an issue over which reasonable minds differ". Put more bluntly: what's a reason for thinking that DC should pay taxes but not have representation in Congress?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Favorite Spaces

247 Garden and 247 Office
Arab Hall at Leighton House
Dixie Square Mall
Bradbury Building Atrium
Dickeyville Grotto
Farnsdale House
Franciscan Monastery Gardens in Northeast DC
Garden Pavilion at Monticello
Garfield Park Conservatory
Geffrye Museum Interiors
Griffith Park Observatory (at night)
Grotto of the Redemption
Hotel Erwin Rooftop
Lawn at UVA
Lincoln Blvd.
LMU Quad
LMU Bluff
Merchant's Bank Lobby
Montauk Club's Second Floor Bar and Dining Room
National Building Museum Atrium
National Farmer's Bank Lobby
National Shrine Grotto of Lourdes in Emmitsburg
Nijiya Market
Powell's Bookstore (Chicago)
Pullman Village
Randy's Donuts
Room 304
Shibuya Crossing
Sir John Soane's Museum Interior
South Side Waterfall
Theme Room
Thomas Carlyle's Back Garden
Venice-of-America Canals
Water Fountain at LMU Library
West Wing of the National Gallery Atrium
Windward Ave.

Side Atrium in the West Wing of the National Gallery, Washington DC

This is another of my favorite places. It's the side atrium in the West Wing of the National Gallery in DC. During winter months, when there aren't very many tourists in town, if you go during the work week you can almost have the entire room to yourself. Also, there are these sweet lounge chairs on the side of the room that are pretty comfy. If they sold tea and had wireless internet, I could just sit here all day.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Filling Empty Space

I was in the Giant parking lot tonight, on my way to buy some frozen Mojito mix, and I saw yet another car in which all of the seats except the driver's were completely covered with newspapers, books, and other odds and ends (i.e., they were filled all the way up to the bottom of the windows). Whenever I see such cars, which happens fairly regularly, I always immediately have two thoughts: (i) god, that's depressing, and (ii) I really wish I had a picture of that (but whenever I've tried to take a picture of one of them, it never really captures what in the inside of the car looks like). I've always assumed that what leads to such a situation is an out-of-control hoarding impulse, but tonight I thought of an additional motivation. One of the effects of filling the seats of the car up in this manner is that it doesn't leave any room for anyone else to ride in the car. Of course, you might think this doesn't matter, because it seems fairly obvious that the owners of such cars probably don't have many friends. While this is probably true, just focusing on it doesn't really capture the way in which filling up the empty seats of one's car in this manner is consoling to someone who doesn't have many friends: it not only fills up the empty space that they're constantly surrounded by, it also eliminates the possibility of this space being filled by anyone else. I take the thought to be something like, "It doesn't matter that no one ever rides with me, because there's no room for them anyway". And that's a consoling thought.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Desert Island Discs

I love making lists.

Al Green, "Call Me" (1973) and Belle (1975)
Aretha Franklin, "I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You" (1967) and "Lady Soul" (1968)
Beach Boys, Homemade GH
Beastie Boys, "Licensed to Ill" (1986), "Paul's Boutique" (1989), and "Check Your Head" (1992)
Bill Evans, "Sunday at the Village Vanguard" (1961)
Boogie Down Productions, "Criminal Minded" (1987)
Byrds, "Sweetheart of the Rodeo" (1968)
Creedence Clearwater Revival, "Green River" (1969) and "Willy and the Poor Boys" (1969)
Curtis Mayfield, "Curtis/Live!" (1971), "Superfly" (1972)
Delmore Brothers, "Freight Train Boogie" (1946-1952)
Devo, "Are We Not Men? We are Devo" (1978)
DJ Shadow, "Endtroducing..." (1996)
EPMD, "Strictly Business" (1988)
Eric B and Rakim, "Paid in Full" (1987)
Flatlanders, "More a Legend than a Band" (1972)
Franco, "The Rough Guide to Franco" (2001)
Frank Sinatra
Guns and Roses, "Appetite for Destruction" (1987)
Hank Williams, "40 Hits" (1990)
James Brown, "Star Time" (1991)
John Lennon, "Plastic Ono Band" (1970) and "Imagine" (1971)
Kraftwerk, "Man-Machine" (1978) and "Computer World" (1981)
Led Zeppelin, "Physical Graffiti" (1975)
Lefty Frizzell, "Lefty Sings the Songs of Jimmie Rodgers" (1951)
Lost in Translation OST (2003)
Louvin Brothers, "Satan is Real" (1960)
Metallica, "Kill 'em All" (1983) and "Master of Puppets" (1986)
Meters, Homemade GH
Michael Hurley, "Long Journey" (1977) and "Snockgrass" (1980)
Muddy Waters, "The Chess Box" (1989)
Muro, "King of Diggin' Vols. 1-5"
Neil Young
New York Dolls, "New York Dolls" (1973) and "Too Much Too Soon" (1974)
Otis Redding
Papas Fritas, "Papas Fritas" (1996)
Pet Shop Boys, "Discography" (1991)
Public Enemy, "It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back" (1988)
Ramones, "Ramones" (1976)
Risque Rhythm (1991)
Robert Johnson, "King of the Delta Blues Singers Vols. I & II" (1961)
Rolling Stones, "Beggars Banquet" (1968), "Sticky Fingers" (1971), "Exile on Main St." (1972)
Run DMC, "Run DMC" (1984) and "Raising Hell" (1986)
Sam Cooke, "Sam Cooke with the Soul Stirrers" (1951-1956)
Sam & Dave, Homemade GH
Sly & Robbie, Hits
Sly and the Family Stone, "There's a Riot Going On" (1971) and "Fresh" (1973)
Stevie Wonder, "Talking Book" (1972) and "Innervisions" (1973)
Stooges, "Fun House" (1970)
Townes Van Zandt, "Live at the Old Quarter" (1977)
T Rex, "Electric Warrior" (1971)
Unholy Modal Rounders, "Have Moicy!" (1976)
Virgin Suicides OST
Woody Allen, Soundtrack Comp.
ZZ Top, "Eliminator" (1983)