Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Americans know exactly one thing about Germany's autobahn: you can drive as fast as you want.

Naturally all the dudes are salivating, picturing eight or nine lanes of Mercedes, Volvos and Audis traveling at the speed of light through Blade Runner cityscapes. The fact is, though, the autobahn at its widest it's three lanes wide, and it mostly snakes through fields full of Swiss chard and wind turbines. The right lane is taken up by an endless line of trucks moving home furnishings, clothing and food to and from nearby countries like the Czech Republic and Poland. The left lane is shiny new cars moving unbelievably fast. And the middle lane is everybody who doesn't fit in those two groups, and that's what fucks everything up.

See, that middle lane holds all the dirty, banged-up cars that can't get up to eighty miles per hour, all the SUVs overloaded with kids watching DVDs, and all the old people who can barely see the road ahead of them. Now, I like going three hundred miles an hour, but when the lane next to me is barely shuddering along at sixty, I have second thoughts.

In America, half of everyone on the road is also on their cellphones, checking their email or talking to friends or posting photos of their drive on Facebook. This means half of the cars are bouncing around like bumper cars, corrected only when the driver looks up or smacks into something that corrects his course. If you are also doing sixty miles per hour, he will leave a dent. But if you are going three hundred miles per hour, the slightest imbalance in aerodynamics means your shiny Mercedes becomes airborne, flips eighteen times, flies off the freeway into a field of Swiss chard and comes to a rest against the base of a wind turbine.

But the German boyfriend speeds along obliviously as I quietly freak out in the passenger seat, jamming my foot onto nonexistent brake pedals every time we pass another car.

"What is going on with you?" he finally asks.

"Aren't you worried?" I ask. "What happens when one of these drivers gets distracted by his cellphone and veers into our lane, and we go flying off the autobahn into a field of Swiss chard?"

GBF looks off the highway. "First," he says in his schoolteacher tone, "it is October, so that's corn. And second, German drivers aren't on their cellphones, because that would be stupid."

And in an instant everything I know about the universe vanishes in a puff of smoke. People ... don't ... do ... something ... because ... it ... would ... be ... STUPID? A parallel universe materializes in my head that doesn't contain Twinkies or Kardashians. My entire concept of civilization changes in a flash, replaced by questions. Does this mean I have to stop watching Say Yes To The Dress and start reading books?

GBF has to travel a lot for work, so I tag along. Usually this means a night or two in Munich, Cologne, or Bonn, but on this particular weekend we're having dinner in a cafe in Oberkassel, a quaint little village on the Rhine. Food in Germany is also seasonal: for a few months every year people holds massive celebrations for things like asparagus, strawberries, and mushrooms, and then the foods vanish completely until the next year. GBF gets ridiculously excited when these foods hit the market, which is why he orders a $170 plate of mushrooms. I don't want to burst his bubble but think about telling him New Yorkers get that shit from Peru year-round.

Me, I order the pizza because I've already tried German food. On one wall I spot a plaque engraved with the number 2017 and a lot of German words that make no sense to me accompanied by one that does:

KEGEL.

Now, I'm a big fan of Kegel exercises. Conventional wisdom points people to the pecs and biceps as the primary things to exercise, but these are equally important muscles deserving of equal time. Even if they're not ravaged by childbirth, they're slackened by age or disuse. I do the exercises as a sort of sexual empowerment, blindly hoping they'll improve my performance without plastic surgery. The practice is a bit more confusing for men, but I tighten up the back and I tighten up the front and cross my fingers it'll eventually show up in bed.

"What's that sign on the wall?" I ask the GBF.

"Kegel," he confirms. "They do Kegel here."

"Kegel," I repeat. "The exercise?"

He nods. "It seems they won the championship this year."

I probably shouldn't be surprised, since sex stores here put dildos in the windows. "You can win an award for it?" I'm vaguely interested, just out of curiosity, but I'm not ready for the championship yet.

He shrugs his shoulders. "It is a very popular sport. Many restaurants and bars have teams."

"So, once a week they all get together and practice? Doing kegels?"

He's feeling a little annoyed by all the questions but he understands this is what you get when I talk. "There must be an alley nearby."

"An alley?" I ask. "That sounds a little dirty. Why not just do it here, in the restaurant?"

He looks at me like I'm crazy while swallowing another forty dollars worth of mushrooms. "They don't have the equipment. It takes a lot of space. And then there is the noise."

I'm often impressed by Germany but here my admiration hits an all-new high. I'm picturing crowds of chubby middle-aged men in lederhosen and pale women in dirndls, all holding enormous steins of beer and squinting while they tighten up downstairs. "Okay, folks," somebody named Manfred shouts, "now two more sets of fifteen. Squeeze, and release. Everyone, repeat after me: 'NO, NO, NO. STOP THAT URINE FLOW!'"

I take another bite of bad pizza while trying to make sense of GBF's words: they need equipment? And space? And I know I've exerted myself doing kegels but I've never made the neighbors complain. Still, I'd be surprised with all those potato-powered thighs if Germans didn't make a lot of noise. I can't begin to think of what a championship would be like, and picture arm-wrestling in my head. Could the Kegel-offs be similar? Do hyped-up competitors high-five each other while shouting stuff like, "I got the womb that's gonna take down the room!" I don't even want to picture the movie Sylvester Stallone would make about this, but I know it would include headbands.

"Do you do Kegel?" I ask.

He shakes his head. "I've tried it but didn't like it."

I feel like saying nobody likes it, but the alternative is having to tell people that you ejaculated once you hit 55. "I guess somebody must like it but I'm a little surprised there are teams."

He nods. "In America there are not?"

I shake my head. "It's a solitary thing. And I think it's mostly woman, but a few guys do it too."

He shoots me an interested look. "You do it?"

I stop and think for a second but decide there's no shame in the truth. "Yup," I say. "In fact, I'm doing it right now."

He looks puzzled. He scans my top half above the table, then he pushes the tablecloth to one side and checks out the bottom half. "You are doing Kegel right now?"

"Yup," I say. "Sometimes I do it on the subway if I'm bored and it's a long train ride."

"Kegel," he repeats.

"Yup."

"Where you have a ball, and you roll it down a long -- "

He stops because he can't find the word. I know what he's talking about but I can't find the word either. Then it comes to me. "Lane," I say.

"Lane," he repeats. "And you knock over pins and keep score."

I smile for a minute before finally saying, "American Kegel is a little different."

"It is an exercise you do with your clothes on? Is this something I will see when we are naked?"

I pick up the last piece of pizza. "Maybe," I say, still on the fence. "But you might want to close your eyes, just to protect yourself."

On our drive back to the hotel I explain the whole thing to him. With the language barrier I guess I shouldn't be surprised we have these disconnects. Even worse was the time I found pickle cream in the skincare section of a drug store. I asked GBF what it was and he shrugged and said you put it on pickles. I was pretty sure there was more to the story, but if you've ever tried German food you'd understand why I had my doubts.




Sunday, October 15, 2017

"The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." -- Theodore Parker

"Say what?" -- Anne Frank

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

CNN Explains The Lyrics From Twelve Classic Songs

Eminem verbally stomped Donald Trump at the BET Hip Hop Awards last night in a fiery, four-and-a-half minute prerecorded rap. CNN recognized that it "perhaps the fiercest and the most exhaustive attack against Donald Trump in hip-hop," then listed his "11 fiercest lines" and explained them. Thank God at least some of the media understands that regular people don't get hip-hop.

Eminem: But this is his form of distraction, plus he gets an enormous reaction when he attacks the NFL, so we focus on that instead of talking Puerto Rico or gun reform for Nevada. All these horrible tragedies and he's bored and would rather cause a Twitter storm with the Packers.

CNN: Here, the rapper slams the President for spending days attacking NFL players who take a knee and escalating the feud as a hurricane ravaged Puerto Rico and a massacre occurred in Nevada. Trump visited both Puerto Rico and Las Vegas following each disaster.

This translation may be a little loose. I don't think Eminem was pissed about Trump visiting Puerto Rico: it's probably the fact that he flung paper towels at starving poor people that pissed him off.

Eminem: Same shit that he tormented Hillary for and he slandered then does it more. From his endorsement of Bannon, support for the Klansman, tiki torches in hand for the soldier that's black and comes home from Iraq and is still told to go back to Africa.

CNN: Here, Eminem is referring to Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon, who is also the executive chairman of the conservative media outlet Breitbart News.

CNN has apparently confused commas with periods here. Apparently they missed the end of that sentence, which refers to the fact Trump watches black people pretty closely while somehow missing those rallies with all the white guys in hoods.

Eminem: We better give Obama props 'cause what we got in office now is a kamikaze that will probably cause a nuclear holocaust while the drama pops, and he waits for s--- to quiet down, he'll just gas his plane up and fly around till the bombing stops.

CNN: Here, Eminem is likely referencing Trump's war of words on social media with North Korea's Kim Jong Un, whom the President referred to as "little rocket man."

Oh! I'm not sure why but I thought this verse was about something that happened at a Chili's.

Anyway, props (that means "thanks") to CNN for providing the translation. I only wish they'd been around when I was in college. I can only imagine how one of America's top media outlets would've translated these lines from classic songs.

Led Zeppelin: If there's a bustle in your hedgerow, don't be alarmed now. It's just a spring clean for the May queen.

CNN Explanation: Whether you have a flower box on your balcony or an acre in Vermont, gardening can be just plain fun.

Pink Floyd: We don't need no education. We don't need no thought control. No dark sarcasm in the classroom. Teachers, leave them kids alone

CNN Explanation: 24% of American parents find home-schooling the answer in these cautionary times.

The Beatles: Picture yourself in a boat on a river, with tangerine trees and marmalade skies.

CNN Explanation: They left out the swaying palm trees and white sand beaches! Yes, there's nowhere else quite like Barbados.

Jefferson Airplane: One pill makes you larger, and one pill makes you small.

CNN Explanation: With the plethora of prescription drugs available today, many people complain of unexpected side effects.

John Lennon: Imagine there's no heaven. It's easy if you try. No hell below us, above us only sky.

CNN Explanation: For an adventurous afternoon activity, smart families look to the trampoline.

The Beatles: I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me. She showed me her room; isn't it good, Norwegian wood.

CNN Explanation: When it comes to home decoration, solicit tips from creative friends.

Steve Miller: Some people call me the space cowboy, yeah. Some call me the gangster of love. Some people call me Maurice. 'Cause I speak of the pompitous of love.

CNN Explanation: It takes a real rocker to ask the hard questions: what happens when nicknames hurt?

Jimi Hendrix: Tell me, are you experienced? Have you ever been experienced?

CNN Explanation: The smart job-seeker focuses on the basics at a job interview.

Phil Collins: I can feel it coming in the air tonight, oh Lord. And I've been waiting for this moment for all my life, Oh Lord.

CNN Explanation: Putting on a pretty dress is just the beginning. The well-dressed woman also wears scent.

Marvin Gaye: Mother, mother, we don't need to escalate.

CNN Explanation: Listen to your kids! Researchers know taking the stairs can burn 20% more calories.

Billie Holiday: Southern trees bear a strange fruit, blood on the leaves and blood at the root.

CNN Explanation: In juice or in salads, who doesn't love the pomegranate?

Billy Idol: Oh dancing with myself, dancing with myself. There's nothing to lose, and there's nothing to prove; I'll be dancing with myself.

CNN Explanation: Don't be shy -- get out there and move! It's better than staying home and masturbating.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

It's impossible not to notice that America is split in two these days. Usually the New York Times just adds fuel to the fire, but every once in a while they print an article that brings Republicans and Democrats together to agree in one voice, "What kind of shit is this?"


Dorm Essentials You Shouldn’t Forget (and Some You Should Skip)
By HAILEY NUTHALS

Everyone in your life will have advice on what you absolutely need to take to college. Multicolored sticky notes? Crucial. A rug by your bed? You’ll die without one!

HAILEY: Grandma, I'm going away to college tomorrow. I'll be back in a few months but I just wanted you to know I love you and I'll miss you.

GRANDMA: Is that you, Hailey? Remember to put it by your bed or YOU'LL DIE.

Needless to say, when I left for college it was somewhat different:

ROMAN: Hey, folks! I'm going away to college tomorrow. I'll miss you all but I'll see you in a year or two.

DAD: Okay, have a good time. [PAUSE] And Roman, if you ever need anything, remember this: LOTS OF PEOPLE NEED SHIT.

But from my experience dorming for the past four years, I’ve learned that smaller, sometimes forgotten items can sometimes have the biggest impact.

Sure, I was grateful I had a hanging shoe organizer...

ROMAN: Holy shit, that was a fucked-up day! I spent six hours in line to get my financial aid forms, three hours in line to sign up for classes, and ate nothing but a Cup O´ Noodles for lunch because I only had eighty cents.

HAILEY: I nearly couldn't find my yellow pumps. I pity the poor kids who aren't organized and have to wear, like, espadrilles. [SHE GLANCES OVER AT MY FEET, THEN SAYS TO HERSELF:] Look first, then talk, Hailey. Look first then talk.

...but it’s little things like pot holders or specialized kitchenware that made my dorm life a little more comfortable.

HAILEY: Goddammit Mom, how many times do I have to tell you? COLLEGE. STUDENTS. LIKE. CREPES.

Everyone knows to bring a good pair of noise-reducing headphones and a bathroom caddy for dorm living...

DAD: Roman, what do you mean, "What are testicles?" You're shitting me. One of your friends must have told you, right? You gotta be shitting me. [PAUSE] Anyway, I'm glad we had this talk. Remind me to tell you tomorrow about bathroom caddies.

...so here are a few items that will lighten your load in small but frequent ways....

Not saying anything here other than maybe Hailey was buying potholders when I was in English class.

...plus a few things you’re better off leaving at home.

What You’ll Want to Have

Whiteboard

There are plenty of ways to put them to use: Hang it on the door to leave messages and doodles for roommates and use it as a conversation starter for making friends on the hall.

ON WHITEBOARD: HEY, ARABELLA, LOOK! I DREW A BIG RAINBOW AROUND A CHUBBY CAT! AND NEW NEIGHBORS, KNOCK ANY TIME! MY CREPE MAKER IS ALWAYS WARM.

Better yet, use it to draft texts to the cute member of your writing seminar who gave you a phone number without worrying about hitting “send” before you’re ready.

Hey Brad. I met you today and just wanted to say hi. Hi. ;) Wait, no -- :) No, that looks stupid. ;> OH GOD THAT IS THE WORST ONE YET WHY NOT JUST TYPE "MY NAME'S HAILEY AND I'M AN IDIOT"? Well, at least I didn't accidentally send it, but WHY THE FUCK IS THIS ON MY DOOR?

Ministapler

Staplers are useful! Breaking news, I know. Staplers in printing centers are often either woefully absent or empty. (Alternately, use it to make it that much harder for your roommates to eat your leftovers.)

ON WHITEBOARD IN DIFFERENT HANDWRITING: Is anybody's mom or dad a therapist? I don't wanna point fingers but somebody's stapling her food shut now.

Portable phone charger

Inevitably, there will be free food being given out somewhere on campus. Don’t be the person who misses out just because your phone is dead.

HAILEY: Are those sandwiches? Hi, my name's Hailey. What is this "Scientology" anyway?

Beach towel

Grab this watermelon print towel from Target during one of those last-minute supply runs — it’s nice and big for extra space (or throwing impact for those disagreements with your roommate).

HAILEY: I'm sorry, Arabella, really sorry. I won't do it again if you promise not to report me. [PAUSE] Really, it can still be assault if the towel has watermelons on it?

What You’re Better Off Without

Rugs sound like a good idea. They keep your feet from hitting the cold linoleum floor in the morning, add some color to your room and make your tiny box look a little less institutional. But the harsh truth is this: Rugs are a bad idea.

No. NO. NOOOOOOOOOOOO! Wait: you mean in a dorm room or in the world as it stands today?

In all my years of dorm life, I never met someone who vacuumed or washed a rug regularly enough that it wasn’t just a patch of dirt and germs.

I can top that: in all my years of dorm life, I NEVER MET ANYONE WHO OWNED A RUG. Here's a question that never came up:

ROMAN: Should we make a midnight run to Jack In The Box, buy an ounce of sinsemilla from the Hawaiian guy down the hall, or get a kicky little cotton throw that will brighten up our dreary surroundings?

That (decorative) glass decanter? It will be broken.

HAILEY: Ohmigosh, it's a text from Brad! What's this? He doesn't see a future between us? He doesn't like my whiteboard doodles and either sweet or savory crepes? [THROWS DECANTER AT GROUND, WHERE IT SHATTERS INTO A MILLION PIECES] Shit. That's why grandma said, "Bring a rug."

That limited-edition Lana Del Rey vinyl that you never play because you paid so much money and elbowed so many other hipsters to get? Snapped in half, or at the very least scratched.

Hailey, you have a shoe organizer and watermelon-patterned beach towels. Those weren't "other" hipsters.

That stuff can wait until you have a trustworthy group of friends or your own apartment (or until dorm parties in your room are a thing of the past).

Got all that? Good. Now I've got to go draw a unicorn on my whiteboard, and these crepes aren't going to eat themselves.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Considering how much everybody raves about Germans, it's a shock to discover they're actually pretty fucked up. The trains are always late, the whole country lives on sausage, and there are drunks on just about every horizontal surface here.

Particularly irritating, though, is just how messed up the language is.

Now, there's a correct way and an incorrect way to order words, with no subjectivity about it. You put the important words towards the front of a sentence and the unimportant words later on. The English language is pretty good at this. For example, here's a common English sentence that you frequently hear:

I want to strangle you in the park with a fluffy blanket on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

This is an example of a good word order. The important stuff is up front. Somebody expressing this sentiment says the word "strangle" pretty early on, which gives you time to process his sentiments and start running. If you're anything like me, you're frantically trying to disappear into a passing crowd by the time they get around to the weather.

But here's the German translation (and feel free to pass it through Google translate if you don't believe me):

Ich möchte dich im Park mit einer flauschigen Decke an einem sonnigen Sonntagnachmittag erwürgen.

Let's go over that word for word. I, want, you, in the, park, with a, fluffy, blanket, on, a, sunny, Sunday afternoon --

Weird, right? We're already talking about fabrics and sunshine and everything is sounding swell when an alarm should have been raised by now. Remember, if this guy was speaking English about fifteen minutes ago you'd have found a hiding place under somebody's skirt. Instead, he's speaking German so all the way up to the bitter end you're picturing the sun on your face and wondering which outfit of yours is particularly picnic-appropriate. You may even be flirting: rubbing his hairy forearm and tossing your hair back, daydreaming about what a handsome couple you'll make. Let's see, you think: I'll bring potato salad, dill pickles, toothpaste, and a jar of lube. But wait: here comes the verb.

strangle.

Strangle. Okay. One second: I was expecting "kiss," "caress," or "make love." To be honest, I wasn't expecting any variation on the word "choke."

The reality hits you in stages. "Okay, buddy," comes your first thought. "I am definitely not bringing pickles."

Then the realization of your stupidity whacks you. You were actually picturing having children with this guy. And while you're trying to figure out where you went so terribly wrong, the guy's made a noose out of his shoelace. He's lunging at you while you're still processing thoughts about the picnic. In your last mental picture, you see your gravestone: "HE WAS STILL THINKING ABOUT POTATO SALAD AT THE END."

It doesn't help that all of this comes at you with a horrifying accent. With every syllable there's so much baggage involved. If a guy is French, everything sounds sexy. If a guy is British, everything sounds proper. But when a guy is German everything sounds like a threat.

Imagine all the words that your boy- or girlfriend says to you, but coming at you in Hitler's voice. If Jacques says to you, "Who's got a cute foot?" you giggle and say, "I do!" But if Dieter says the same thing your natural inclination is to say, "I DON'T KNOW SIR BUT I WILL FIND OUT AND I WILL FETCH THEM FOR YOU!"

I spent the first months of our relationship on edge, because everything Heinrich said made me defensive. If your grandma asks, "Did you do the dishes?" there wouldn't be any unease. It would sound almost sweet, since this is the lady who frequently asks, "Who wants cookies?" You say no, you didn't do the dishes, and she'll say, "Okay, I'll do them. Now do you want a Maple Bar or an Oatmeal Spunky?"

When the words are shot at you with a German accent, though, your body reacts even faster than your brain. You freeze up, and shout the first thing that comes to your mind. "I SWEAR I DIDN'T TOUCH THEM!" you scream.

Slowly you realize it was a question, not an attack. Your boyfriend looks at you like you're crazy. "Then I will do them," he says as he walks away.

Aside from the accent, the words can be a problem. We actually argued for two hours about ice. At least, I thought it was about ice, because I was using the word "ice." However, he thought I was using the word eis, which means "ice cream." Which explains why he stared at me like I was crazy when I said that I liked a whole bunch of it in my gin and tonic, that I always had a ten-pound bag of it in my fridge, and that I used to go outside and slide around on it when I was a kid.

We're at a Berlin drug store when I notice pickle cream. "What's this for?" I ask him.

"Pickles," he says. "It's for pickles."

"I know that," I said. "But, like the dill-cucumber things?"

He laughs and points to my face. "No," he says, "you know. These little bump things."

"Pimples," I correct, and I laugh until the thought hits me: Wait, did he just point at MY face?

After that I Google for other problematic words. There are a lot: kittchen means "prison," mist means "manure," and fahrt means "journey." I mentally invent sentences to avoid, like "I love spending time in the kittchen" and "My favorite thing about the British countryside is feeling the thick mist on my face."

I'm not convinced that fahrt would cause any confusion. I could have said to any of my boyfriends, "You enjoy a good fahrt now and then, don't you?" and the answer would have been yes either way.

I can't predict the problem we'll have with the word "eventually." Heinrich lives in Berlin and I live in New York and we're getting tired of flying back and forth. Finally on the telephone we confront the situation.

"We'll figure it out eventually," I say, and the line goes silent on his end.

"Are we breaking up?" he finally asks. "Are you dumping me?"

"No," I say. "I mean, we'll figure it out eventually. Like, some time, hopefully soon."

"Oh," he says with audible relief. "In German the word eventuell means 'possibly.' Usually never. It's what you say when you don't have the nerve to tell the truth."

"That's not what I meant," I say, but from the other end I still hear trembling. "Don't worry; we'll work it out. We'll figure out something at some point, and everything will be okay."

"Really?" he says, and I assure him that it's true.

"You have to know," he says, "if it ever sounds like I am being mean to you, it's not me. It's a problem with the words. I would never ever say anything mean to you, because I love you with all my heart. You will tell me if it sounds like I am being mean to you. You will promise?"

"I promise," I say, tears welling up in my eyes.

"I promise too," he says, his German accent disappearing in the softness. "But now it's very late for me and I have to go to bed."

"Good night, honey," I say.

"Good night, sweaty," he replies.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

A Google employee recently released a ten-page argument against diversity in the workplace. It went viral, and he got fired. A lot of conservatives are freaking out because from the very first word the man asks people to respect his unpopular opinion.

The whole thing gets convoluted and wordy, so let's cut out the bullshit and see what his writing really says. I edited the original because it was nearly incoherent. That's a male thing, where half the success in your writing comes from making it so lengthy and obscure people read eight words and go, "Oh, fuck this shit!"


Google’s political bias has equated the freedom from offense with psychological safety, but shaming into silence is the antithesis of psychological safety.

I get it. But people generally aren't "shamed into silence" unless they think a diversity seminar is a good place to whip out the old "two nuns and a black guy" joke.


At Google, we’re regularly told that biases hold women back in tech and leadership. Of course, men and women experience bias, technology, and the workplace differently and we should be cognizant of this, but it’s far from the whole story.

Blacks also say they're discriminated against at Google, but sometimes I feel discriminated against if the Google cafeteria cook forgets the bleu cheese in my salad, because what is salad without bleu cheese, and don't get me started on croutons.

I hope you're smart enough to keep up with my tangents.


Men and women differ biologically in many ways. These differences aren’t just socially constructed: they’re universal across human cultures.

BOUDICA, QUEEN OF THE ICENI: Go fuck yourself. [CUTS HIS HEAD OFF WITH STONE AXE]


Women generally have a stronger interest in people rather than things, relative to men.

BAD GOOGLE EMPLOYEE: Hey! Good to see you. How are you today?

GOOD GOOGLE EMPLOYEE: How's that sweet Camaro running today? Man, I'd love to supercharge that puppy and take it for a few spins around the track.


These differences in part explain why women relatively prefer [Siri says, "Nope, not English!"] jobs in social or artistic areas. Men like coding and women like working on the front end, where you deal with both people and aesthetics.

MALE GOOGLE EMPLOYEE: Sara, there's a recursion fault in your zero-sum logirhythmic simulation loop.

FEMALE GOOGLE EMPLOYEE: Brad, I just won't be able to concentrate until you let me do something with your hair.


This leads to women generally having a harder time negotiating salary, asking for raises, speaking up, and leading.

TYPICAL GOOGLE BOSS-EMPLOYEE INTERACTION:

FEMALE WORKER: Boss, I'd like a raise.

MALE BOSS: Wow! An assertive woman. Hang out here a second, honey, and let me get my camera.


We need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism. But men are more strongly judged by status and women by beauty. Again, this has biological origins and is culturally universal.

Okay, got it. So when you meet a female who wants to be successful, shove her sharply backward while shouting, "BUT YOU'RE A GIRL!"


Note, the same forces that lead men into high pay/high stress jobs in tech and leadership cause men to take undesirable and dangerous jobs like coal mining, garbage collection, and firefighting.

FEMALE IN BAR: So what do you do for a living?

MALE IN BAR: I live on the edge. I'm that stereotypical man's man who can't be held down, always reaching for that brass ring and jumping off that mountaintop without a parachute. You've probably guessed by now: I'm a trash collector.


I’ll go over some of the differences in traits between men and women and suggest ways to address them without discrimination. First, women show a higher interest in people and men in things

Which is why the Home Shopping Network just sells carburetors and jock straps these days.


We can make software engineering more people-oriented with more collaboration. Unfortunately, there may be limits to how people-oriented certain jobs can be and we shouldn’t deceive ourselves or students into thinking otherwise.

AVERAGE FEMALE TECH EMPLOYEE: I'm just not interested in this code. Is there some way you can, like, put more Kardashians in it?


Women on average are more cooperative

I never, ever thought I'd say this: somebody needs to watch the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.


Women on average are more prone to anxiety.

Maybe because men don't wake up every morning to find a new rant by some smug tech female about why Google shouldn't hire dudes?


Women on average look for more work-life balance while men have a higher drive for status on average.

Wow. Is this smart-guy talk for "motherhood"? Because I don't know of any other "work-life balance" that females require.

FEMALE GOOGLE EMPLOYEE: Boss, can I take off the first week of September? I want to have a cappuccino and try yoga.


The male gender role is currently inflexible. Feminism has made great progress in freeing women from the female gender role, but men are still very much tied to the male gender role.

At least that's what my dad said after he stopped crying when I told him I wanted to dance professionally.

What "men" are we talking about? Is this whole sentence about peer pressure?

LITTLE GIRL #1: I want to be a nurse when I grow up.

LITTLE GIRL #2: I want to be a football player.

LITTLE GIRL #1: Wow! Good for you!

LITTLE BOY #1: I want to be a computer programmer when I grow up.

LITTLE BOY #2: I want to be nurse.

LITTLE BOY #1: Faggot.


If we, as a society, allow men to be more “feminine,” then the gender gap will shrink, although probably because men will leave tech and leadership for traditionally feminine roles.

Because there's no way tech can learn to value female traits. Nobody wants to ask, "Siri, what's six times eighteen?" and have Siri reply, "Why are you bugging me? Math is hard."


I don’t think we should do arbitrary social engineering just to make it appealing to women. For example, people working extra hours or taking extra stress will inevitably get promoted, and if we try to change that too much it may have disastrous consequences.

Crazy thought: why don't we get some of those women wives?


I strongly believe in gender and racial diversity, and I think we should strive for more. However, to achieve a more equal gender and race representation, Google has created several discriminatory practices like programs, mentoring, and classes only for people with a certain gender or race.

Things I hate:
  • Women in tech
  • Things that help women in tech
Stay tuned for my next 82-page memo, "Special Ed? Special RIGHTS!"


We’re told by senior leadership that helping women in the workplace is the morally and economically correct thing to do, but without any evidence this is just harmful left-wing ideology partly based on the fact that humans are biased towards protecting females.

Dude, enjoy being married to that HP calculator, and say hi to your best friends, Mr. Microwave Oven and Mr. PlayStation II.


Nearly every difference between men and women is interpreted as a form of women’s oppression. As with many things in life, gender differences are often a case of “grass being greener on the other side."

I'm not sure I understand this. He attacks females for sixty pages then says guys think they're better off?

FEMALE: Oh, man -- I really wish I was a dude. Then maybe I'd be taken seriously in tech.

MALE: Oh, man -- I really wish I was a chick. Then I'd look better in stretch pants and nobody'd freak out if I ate a salad.


The same compassion for those seen as weak creates political correctness, which constrains discourse and is complacent [Siri says, "That word doesn't mean what you think it does!"] to the extremely sensitive PC-authoritarians that use violence and shaming to advance their cause. The frequent shaming in our culture has created the same silence, psychologically unsafe environment.

MALE GOOGLE EMPLOYEE: Chicks shouldn't work at Google! They're prone to anxiety and aren't as dedicated as dudes.

FEMALE GOOGLE EMPLOYEE: Dude, you need to shut up, because that is seriously messed up.

MALE GOOGLE EMPLOYEE: Really? Now you're creating a toxic work space!


Suggestion: De-moralize diversity. As soon as we start to moralize an issue, we stop thinking about it in terms of costs and benefits, dismiss anyone that disagrees as immoral, and harshly punish those we see as villains to protect the “victims.”

Translation: I've got a scientific reason for firing all the chicks. Don't get mad at me.


Viewpoint diversity is arguably the most important type of diversity and political orientation is one of the most fundamental and significant ways in which people view things differently.

GOOGLE EMPLOYEE #1: Seriously, the earth is flat, and there's been a massive coverup for two thousand years to make us believe otherwise.

GOOGLE EMPLOYEE #2: Interesting. Let's go deeper into this.


Stop restricting programs and classes to certain genders or races.

MALE GOOGLE EMPLOYEE: Seriously, if I can't get a mentor I'm calling my lawyer NOW. [PAUSE] It's a lady? Oh, HELL no!


Discriminating just to increase the representation of women in tech is as misguided and biased as mandating increases for women’s representation in the homeless, work-related and violent deaths, prisons, and school dropouts.

Google is trying to create equal opportunities for women who want to work. This statement only makes sense if women are also struggling to be high-school dropouts who are killed in jail.


De-emphasize empathy. I’ve heard several calls for increased empathy on diversity issues. Relying on affective empathy causes us to focus on anecdotes and harbor other irrational and dangerous biases.

Got it. So if predominantly white male police forces kill unarmed blacks five times more often than unarmed whites, those are just anecdotes prompting shit like "diversity" and should be ignored.


Being emotionally unengaged helps us better reason about the facts.

Okay.

You're an idiot and you shouldn't be let outdoors.

Wow -- now all that anxiety is gone.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017


Germany isn't weird at all. Just like the rest of the world, kids here love to play with action figures drawn from education and entertainment. Kinder Joy, Germany's top confectioner, recently introduced a line of chocolate eggs with their own action figures hidden inside. While they're currently exclusive to Germany, it's easy to imagine American kids delighting at these toys and devising action-packed dialog just like this:

CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS: We have been at sea for over two years. We are out of food and water. It is finally time to consider the thought that perhaps the world really is -- wait! Do my eyes deceive me? Is that not LAND?

LEONARDO DA VINCI: I must quickly sketch this before my thoughts are lost to the wind. There! I do believe I've devised a way by which a man can fly.

JOE BASTIANICH: This Béarnaise has entirely too much salt. Did you even taste this before you brought it to me? You're a hack. A HACK! GET OUT!

Just imagine the thrill at Munich slumber parties.

MOM: I brought you girls some Kinder Joy eggs! Just one apiece, though. And you girls get to bed soon!

GIRL #1: Oh boy! Okay. Thanks, Mom!

GIRL #2: Mmm, this chocolate egg is delicious. What's this? Oh. [GARBLED] There's a tiny plastic person in my mouth.

GIRL #1: Wow, what fun! Is it super-cool Cody Simpson? Is it Tori Kelly, who voiced a shy teenage elephant in the movie Sing?

GIRL #2 [EXTRACTING FIGURE FROM MOUTH]: No. Judging from the fedora, the soul patch and the bright red shoes, I'd say this is beloved America's Got Talent judge Howie Mandel!

GIRL #1: You dummy, that's Joe Bastianich. His mom introduced him to Mario Batali in 1995 and three years later they opened Babbo.

GIRL #3: Huh. I'll trade you my Lindsay Vonn for it.

GIRL #2 Nah. [YAWNS] I think your mom is right. I feel like going to sleep.

Despite our initial assumption that Mr. Bastianich is out of his league here, his website convinces us otherwise. "I am a restauranteur, author, sometimes television personality, rocker, runner, husband and a father," he says, perhaps unaware that after the age of fifty the word "rocker" should be deleted from one's biography. "I made the choice to pursue what truly interested me, worked like a dog to open Becco twenty years ago, and I guess the rest is history." Such initiative! Such drive! What perhaps isn't quite so historical is the fact that he opened Becco with his mom, who'd opened and run the wildly-popular Felidia restaurant in Manhattan twelve years earlier.

After following in the footsteps of Mom and Mario Batali it appears Bastianich wanted to follow Anthony Bourdain next:

Bastianich recalls one night during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, when the gregarious [Bill] Clinton loudly tells an off-color joke involving lesbians and Jerry Brown within earshot of journalists, even though Bastianich tries to warn him. The story goes viral the next day. -- NY Post

So the triathlete/rocker/restauranteur/denture wearer and -- what's that? oh, right -- husband and dad is a hero too. Too bad he wasn't a hero roughly eight years earlier when presidential hopeful Bob Kerrey told Arkansas governor Bill Clinton a joke involving lesbians and, yes, Jerry Brown at a political dinner in New Hampshire. It was picked up by a microphone and also went viral, prompting "profuse apologies" from Kerrey.

You'd think Clinton would have learned from Kerrey's mistake, but I'd also have thought that an experienced businessman like Bastianich, who said a restaurant owner's life is “a nickel-and-dime business, and you make dollars by accumulating nickels," wouldn't have allegedly accumulated nickels that belonged to his restaurant help, resulting in a $5.25 million dollar judgment against Batali and him.

Still, with part-ownership in something like thirty restaurants, maybe Mr. Bastianich has the right to boast. It just looks a little painful when, as they say, a man born on third base claims he hit a triple, and when somebody's Wikipedia page, in addition to spotlighting their cameo in an American Girl TV film, reads like this:

Bastianich has received numerous accolades[example needed]."

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