Monthly Archives: June 2010

Plus-Sized Clothing Ads

EMILY SAIDEL: The difficulty with the increase in plus-size clothing options is not that it exists; it’s that making unhealthy bodies more physically appealing could contribute to cultural acceptance of unhealthy choices.

HOWARD MEGDAL: While Emily is right that there is a larger health issue here, I’m just not sure that making an effort to see that the 2/3 of women who are overweight/obese feel a bit better about themselves on a daily basis will lead to a worsening problem with obesity in this country, nor operate as a gateway drug for the other 1/3 to let themselves go.

AKIE BERMISS: I’m a plus-sized man and have been for some time. I was never skinny, no, but I’ve sort of yo-yo back and forth over the years between being large and athletic and just large. It should be noted that even at my skinniest, I was never really very health conscious. I might not have had too many extra pounds of fat on my frame, but I still ate a ton of junkfood and fast food and soda. I guess I’m not particularly self-conscious about my weight either so I’m fine with referring to myself as fat when, in actuality, it may be a bit misleading (and sometimes it has made concerned friends pull me aside to see if I needed some self-esteem boosting) — but when I go clothes shopping (infrequently though it may be) I do experience some serious pangs when looking at all the clothes for those rail-thin, cut, and nicely proportioned people.

For I am none of those things. Continue reading

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HOWARD MEGDAL: So we’ve established that the guru of COIN, Stanley McChrystal, couldn’t sell it to his own troops, let alone to the Afghans. It is stated by our own CIA Director that there are “maybe 50-100″ al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Getting military cooperation from would-be allies is proving to be impossible due to the belief that the United States will begin to withdraw next year- which, given the lack of political will for this war, we almost certainly will be.

So I must say, I come away from this feeling like for all of his successes, the decision to re-double efforts in Afghanistan has to rank among Obama’s failures so far. And by delaying exit until July 2011 or beyond, rather than acknowledging that the circumstances have changed and beginning the withdrawal process immediately, he is only exacerbating this failure.

AKIE BERMISS: I never really felt one way or another about General McChrystal but I have been extremely skeptical about the whole COIN conceptology. I am slightly less dubious about Obama’s intentions regarding the war in Afghanistan… but I am still very conflicted about it. I understand, however, that withdrawal is a delicate operation. If Obama had taken office and just said, “Ok — war’s over. Let’s go.” He’d never have recovered from the perceived weakness and lack of gravitas it would have bred. And so that leaves us with two certains: 1. we need to get the hell out of Afghanistan and 2. we can’t just up and leave. The trouble is that the strategies for leaving have often sounded like strategies for trying to rush a win now that the clock is running out.. Like its sudden death, or something. Continue reading

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Josh Johnson: How Good Is He?

CHRIS PUMMER: While Josh Johnson is definitely an ace, I think it’s still hard to place him too deep in the discussion of who is baseball’s best pitcher.

Josh Johnson is 26, healthy, and pitching as well as anyone in baseball. With his current performance, and all his key indicators trending upward, he’s got to be in the conversation for the best 3-4 pitchers in baseball this season moving forward. Continue reading

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Mishaps with Fire: Try This At Home

DAVE TOMAR: I’m not sure what it is about boyhood and fire. Perhaps it’s the promethean impulse toward creation. Perhaps it’s the sentiment of occasion and celebration first inspired by a birthday candle, a fireworks display or a citronella torch on Labor Day. Perhaps it’s the joy of holding a force of such sheer, unimaginable destruction in the palm of one’s hands. For me, it was that very special episode of Webster when he burnt his parents’ house down while playing with safety matches.

AKIE BERMISS: My trouble with fire is that I am practically always playing with it. Cigars — I love ‘em. I smoke ‘em. And there is no better solace after a long night’s gigging that drinking some stale gas-station coffee and smoking my cigar on the drives back to Brooklyn. Some of the drives, you see, are pretty late and pretty long and its rare that there’s anyone to talk to. I used to hook up my blue-tooth and just call anyone I thought might be awake and get them talking, but these days its not as cute as it used to be. People hang up. So its just me. And the road and the darkness. Usually, I light up and I turn on NPR (if I can get it) and I hit the road. But see the thing about cigars is: they’re big. A cigarette is easy to light. You almost don’t need a flame as a really strong spark will probably do the trick. Cigars, on the other hand, they take some real fire to get started. Really its just a barely-controlled micro-blaze.

And its alarming close to one’s mouth. Continue reading

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Chris Christie For President?

AKIE BERMISS: Chris Christie for President? Look, I am as ambivalent about New Jersey as the next guy… Ok, that’s a lie. I sort of hate New Jersey. Its always been a thorn in New York’s side. I’ve always thought how much more pleasant rush hour would be if New Jersey didn’t exist. No Holland Tunnel, no Lincoln Tunnel, much less traffic on the George Washington Bridge. And Jersey drivers are infamous in New York for cutting people off, driving the wrong way down one-way streets, parking illegally and holding up traffic. Anytime there is some jerk doing something wrong on the road I assume — and I am often right — that they’ll have Jersey plates. Don’t get me wrong — there are great people from Jersey, and wonderful places to go in Jersey, and if you catch the traffic just right, a drive through Jersey can be a real breeze. Jersey is sometimes hip and happening.

But it’s still Jersey.

HOWARD MEGDAL: Not much to add here, though let’s discuss, briefly, his path to national office.

He’s currently running well short of 50 percent approval in his own state. He’ll face re-election in 2013, in a state that generally votes Democratic, though in cases of extreme political malpractice can go GOP. (See Corzine, Jon, or Florio, Jim). Continue reading

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The Value of Website Comments

MATTHEW DAVID BROZIK: Does anyone else find comments on Web posts to be, without exception, much more interesting to read than the posts themselves?

HOWARD MEGDAL: No. Almost always, comments remind me why I try not to leave the house.
Continue reading

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Stephen Strasburg’s Season Line?

HOWARD MEGDAL: Like everyone else with eyes, I have been completely blown away by what I’ve seen from Stephen Strasburg. I wanted to look at his stats through four starts, however, and try to determine roughly what his season line will look like. This is merely an educated guess, of course, and there are very few parallels to cite when making such a prediction.

Through four games, Strasburg has pitched 25.1 innings, has a 1.78 ERA, has walked five and struck out 41. That was fun just to type, and I’m not even a Nats fan. Let’s compare him to even the most sensational phenoms through four starts. He comes out atop even such distinguished company. Continue reading

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Food Truck Laws

JESSICA BADER: Like many New Yorkers, one of the things I love most about my city is the ability to obtain delicious food at just about any hour of the day, whether it’s from a fancy restaurant or a little hole in the wall or one of the trucks that have recently been the subject of heated debate. Yet for all of that food truck love, I feel that much of the outrage in the recent food truck debate is somewhat misplaced.

Let’s be clear: food trucks belong in New York City. If you want to park, go to a lot.

Food trucks make this city what it is: the greatest buffet in recorded human history. And we want laws that only encourage additional food trucks, not laws that inhibit their ability to function. Continue reading

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In Briefs: Bacon

ZOE RICE: Different topic, but one involving a former favorite topic of… I think it was Ted? Bacon. Colored bacon, specifically. Bacon art?

By the way I think bacon is one of the most overrated foods out there.

HOWARD MEGDAL:When Ted reads what you wrote, you are going to be in trouble.

AKIE BERMISS: I saw the colored bacon thing. It looks gross. However, let me be the vanguard of those who defend bacon, but Marc Antony style (I come to bury bacon, not to praise it).
Continue reading

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Best Friends: Magnificient? Or Menace?

AKIE BERMISS: Say what you will about sex, drugs, money and fame — I think the greatest currency on the planet is friendship. You can’t get no where with out the stout support of your friends. Even horrible, psychotic criminals and terrorists have friends. People that they confide in, spend time with, and depend on. I guess in broad sense that could include quite a few people, but I think most of us have a discreet upper echelon of friends for whom all things are forgivable and with whom all things are better enjoyed. Those are our friends. Our good friends.

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: I was frankly terrified by the recent New York Times article which discussed ways in which parents and teachers are encouraging their children to be friends with “everyone” rather than having one particular best friend. Continue reading

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