Glamour from the 20th Century

Recently finished Virginia Postrel’s The Power of Glamour, and finally understood what all the fuss has been about.


Although people often equate them, glamour is not the same as beauty, sylishness, luxury, celebrity, or sex appeal….Glamour is, rather, a form of nonverbal rhetoric, which moves and persuades not through words but through images, concepts, and totems….By binding image and desire, glamour gives us pleasure, even as it heightens our yearning.  It leads us to feel that the life we dream of exists, and to desire it even more. (p. 6)

After reading the whole thing, I’ve concluded that America has entered the Century of Anti-Glamour.

Which doesn’t mean that we don’t appreciate it, or are not susceptible to it. Just look at this catalog of old posters going up for auction.  Here’s an example


Tip from SF GateDon’t ask me how I found this, even I don’t believe the tortured route I took.

Update:  Did I say anti-glamour?  It didn’t take long to get a great example with this Yoga Pants Parade.

Once seen, this cannon be un-seen.

R Tutorial: Correlation

Fisher’s iris dataset is the basis for this extended example in the calculation and visualization of correlations.  The ggpairs() function gives an impressive coded scatterplot matrix.  And an old friend makes a last-minute cameo appearance.


Update:  Dirk Eddelbuettel just released tint 0.0.3 (tint is not Tufte) with some nifty examples.  I wanted to try it out, so I’ve updated the example using tint and added two margin plots to illustrate the Simpson’s Paradox  situation.  Tip from R Bloggers.

Art Meets Science

On a day that I’m overbooked, running around campus doing minor, but essential chores, and feeling a bit grumpy about the whole academic enterprise, I stumble upon a jewel like this:

Not in a gallery or the administration building, but in a hallway between classrooms.  Where thousands of students, and the odd faculty member, can marvel at what talents sometimes pop up where we least expect them.

Chorizo, seriously?


I see that Chipotle Grill has chosen Nation Taco Day* to announce an exciting “new” addition to their menu–chorizo.  Like everyone south of the  Riviere Rouge hasn’t been eating chorizo and egg breakfast tacos since the Eisenhower Lincoln Administration.  Still, what can you expect from America’s innovator in digestive surprises, when they have a suppository** as their mascot?

Uh, no thanks.

*Or, as we say in San Antonio, “today.”

**If you haven’t heard it, ask one of your more knowledgeable and vulgar friends to tell you The Suppository Joke.  Stupid, but funny.

Update: Chacho’s Tacos in Corpus Christi (San Antonio-by-the-Sea) sports the ne plus ultra of tacos.  Betch can’t eat just (even) one!