Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Couch Shadow (Home Geography)

Term: Couch Shadow

Definition: A geographical feature of the common home, describing an area of floor behind the slanted back of a couch that does not get foot traffic due to said slanting couch back. The length of a specific couch's couch shadow is generally equal to the length of the specific couch; the depth of a couch's couch shadow can vary, and is determined by the degree of slant of a given couch's back.

Whether or not it is acceptable to leave footwear in a home's couch shadow (or shadows) is a subject of some debate.

See related: rain shadow

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Map: Hardest Places to Live in U.S. - Note on Oregon

The New York Times' The Upshot published a cool map back in June, showing by color code where in the U.S. it's the relatively easiest and hardest to live. They explain the map's making, and the six data points used:
Annie Lowrey writes in the Times Magazine this week about the troubles of Clay County, Ky., which by several measures is the hardest place in America to live. The Upshot came to this conclusion by looking at six data points for each county in the United States: education (percentage of residents with at least a bachelor’s degree), median household income, unemployment rate, disability rate, life expectancy and obesity. We then averaged each county’s relative rank in these categories to create an overall ranking.
The obvious upshot: the American south, notably the most politically conservative region of the country, is a gigantic shit-pot for people who don't have a gigantic shit-ton of money. But I noticed a less obvious one, and highlight it here, for my old friends in Oregon.

See that roughly rectangular bit of blue well-being in Southern Oregon, right on the California border? (Click on pic to enlarge.) I circled it in white so you could see it:

That's my old home of twenty years, the relatively lefty, liberal island of Jackson County (!), in the otherwise very conservative sea of light orange that is Northern California and a huge chuck of Southern and Eastern Oregon. Us old hippies, we try to see that everybody does okay. We try, anyway.

Here's a video on the map, by Dave Rubin, of the recently launched Rubin Report:

Saturday, October 18, 2014

"An Impolite Interview With Joseph Heller" 1962

Came across this November 1962 interview in the now defunct The Realist by Paul Krassner, primarily about Heller's 1961-released Catch-22. Several pages long, fascinating, funny, often over my head, enlightening—including on the origin of the name "Yossarian" (it was meant to be from "an extinct culture, somebody who could nto be identified either geographically, or culturally, or sociologicaly..."). Haven't finished it yet, but I will soon—and I'm counting on it making me smarter, damnit.

Update, March 2015:

The link disappeared. I've replaced it. You have to jump to page 46 (use numbers up top) to get to the second page of the interview, and go on from there.