Recently in Culture Category

A counter to the toxic Gillette video

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Spot on:

More at The Western Journal:

Exclusive: Meet the CEO Who Put His Company on the Line To Stand Up to Gillette’s ‘Toxic Masculinity’ Ad
Editor’s note: The following was written by Ilan Srulovicz, the CEO and founder of Egard Watch Company, explaining why his company produced an ad to counter Gillette’s recent commercial on masculinity.
The story behind making the video is interesting. I made the ad completely alone. The voice in the video is mine and the editing is my own.

I was told by most people around me and in my company that making this video was a terrible idea and could not only hurt my brand but me personally as the CEO.

I used my personal funds on the video because I was worried about the backlash.

The main feedback was, “This will draw attention away from women’s issues,” “The political climate right now won’t support a film like this,” “Ask yourself why no other company is doing it,” etc.

He concludes with this:

The Gillette ad rubbed me the wrong way. I, like the overwhelming majority of men, am absolutely disgusted by sexual assault, rape, bullying, so why throw it in my face as if my “gender” as a whole is toxic? Using terms like “toxic masculinity” is using too broad a stroke to address specific issues — issues which I agree very much need to be addressed, especially after all the crazy stuff we’ve seen in Hollywood.

I am not against Gillette trying to start a conversation about assault, but I do have an issue with how they went about it.

Great call - pity I do not wear a watch. They make some nice ones. The overall response to the video has been impressively favorable too - they are back-ordered on many of their watches.

And, of course, the YouTube Thumb-O-Meter:

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I love it - 161K to 2.1K - 76 times greater.

A song for our times

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Tip of the hat to Vanderleun

YouTube channel for the performer: Thomas Benjamin Wild Esq

That Gillette video

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Boy did they get a reaction - just not what they were expecting. Gillette released a video that is 100% pure virtue signalling. You can watch it here if you want. As we can see, the overall reaction has not been kind:

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421K Thumbs Down as opposed to 129K Thumbs Up. More than three to one. That has got to hurt. The 115,670 Comments are a fun read - some weapons grade snark...

Makes perfect sense to me

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From Big Think:

Does manual labor boost happiness?

The author detours to set up a story and then, a few paragraphs later, gets to his thesis.

As Luddites were raging against machines, neuroscientist Kelly Lambert says doctors were prescribing knitting to anxious women. Medical professionals sensed that the act of working with their hands calmed housewives. It appears that using our biological inheritance, a wonderful adaptation of bipedalism—dexterous and flexible hands featuring opposable thumbs—is necessary for optimal mental health.

Sure, the Luddites were concerned about feeding their family, not weaving cotton per se, but losing such an integral part of your identity forces you to confront your value as a sentient being. The combination of repetitive movement (of say, knitting) and the production of a tangible product (a hat or scarf) can be therapeutic. Lambert coined the term "behaviorceuticals" to honor this valuable drug.

In her most recent book, Well Grounded, Lambert notes the devastating effects automation technologies wreak on our brains:

Our view of prosperity in contemporary Western societies with creature comforts such as lush surroundings and various personal services to avoid physical effort may suffocate our neural functions.

Matthew Crawford agrees. He was "always sleepy" while employed at a D.C. think tank. Though earning more money than ever before, he felt a valuable piece of himself being lost. He left the lucrative position to become an auto mechanic, which resulted in his 2009 book, Shop Class as Soulcraft.

In it he posits the idea that as a society we've gotten the role of work backwards. Instead of championing manual labor, which he says is more intellectually engaging than his desk job, we choose to financially and socially reward careers that rely on computers to work for us. With industrialization came automation as warehouse owners sought to maximize capital while minimizing labor costs. In this two-century-long process, an essential part of our humanity is gone.

A lot more at the site - I totally agree with this. I am a lot more fulfilled when working with my hands.

Quote of the day - academia

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From Vox Day:

In academia there is no difference between academia and the real world; in the real world there is.

Christmas Eve. Roswell, New Mexico. 1949

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Finally, the story comes out:

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Shamelessly stolen from The Silicon Graybeard

Holiday news - Santa

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A two-fer. First, from Canada's CTV News:

Santa Claus lives and pays taxes in Canada, government affirms
He sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you’re awake. No, it's not the head of the country’s spy agency, but another all-knowing Canadian: Santa Claus.

That’s right, according to various government departments and agencies, Good Ol' Saint Nicholas is a Canadian citizen who lives, and pays taxes here.

"As is the longstanding view of the Canadian government and Canadians from coast to coast to coast, Santa and Mrs. Claus are Canadian citizens and reside in the North Pole," a spokesperson for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Ahmed Hussen said in an email to CTVNews.ca.

Second, from the our North American Aerospace Defense Command - they are tracking Santa on his way
Congratulations on your 60th Anniversary.

Wonderful news - Deadwood

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From Entertainment Week:

Deadwood movie exclusive first photos revealed
Rise and shine hoopleheads! EW has the first photos from HBO’s long, long, long-awaited Deadwood movie. Below are shots of Ian McShane reprising his role as Al Swearengen and Timothy Olyphant back as Seth Bullock.

It’s a revelation 12 years in the making, as that’s how long Deadwood fans have waited for something new from the acclaimed Emmy-winning Western drama that was axed after three seasons in 2006 and now, against all odds, is being revived for a feature-length movie with the original cast.

First, here is Swearengen, back at his Gem Theater bar, looking no worse for the ages, giving his deadly dark-eyed stare:

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Looking forward to this - really liked the show.

ALMOST From TMZ:

MICHAEL AVENATTI TO ESTRANGED WIFE THE FERRARI, JET AND ARTWORK ARE YOURS
Michael Avenatti and his estranged wife have an agreement in place for him to pay her child and spousal support, and it requires him to fork over a ton of his assets ... TMZ has learned.

According to docs filed in Orange County, a judge ordered Avenatti to pay Lisa Storie-Avenatti $37,897 per month in child support, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2018. We'll do the math for ya ... it's $454,764. The order also requires Avenatti to pay her spousal support of $124,398 per month, retroactive to Jan. 2018. That's roughly $1.5 million.

Now, cut to Dec. 4, when both parties filed docs stipulating Avenatti write child support checks for $40k now, and another in January.

As for the balance ... according to the docs, Avenatti agrees to hand over a bunch of his assets for Lisa to liquidate. The loot includes 5 luxury wristwatches -- some worth more than $50k -- a Frank Gehry sculpture, and several other expensive works of art.

Additionally, he has to hand over the keys to a 2017 Ferarri 488 GT Spider he was leasing. By the way, those go for about $300k.

And, there's this -- Michael's law firm ... Avenatti & Associates, is required to transfer, to Lisa, its interest in a 2016 Honda private jet.

Talk about being taken to the cleaners. This on top of his law firm being evicted, him being busted on charges of domestic violence and him owing a huge amount of money.

Like I said, I almost feel sorry for the guy. ALMOST

Making it the art world

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Was just turned on to an excellent article on becoming an artist in New York Magazine:

How to Be an Artist 33 rules to take you from clueless amateur to generational talent (or at least help you live life a little more creatively)
Art is for anyone. It’s just not for everyone. I know this viscerally, as a would-be artist who burned out. I wrote about that last year, and ever since, I’ve been beset — every lecture I give, every gallery I pop my head into, somebody is asking me for advice. What they’re really asking is “How can I be an artist?”

When, last month, Banksy jerry-rigged a frame to shred a painting just when it was auctioned, I could almost hear the whispers: “Is that art?” This fall, the biggest museum event in New York is the Whitney’s retrospective of Andy Warhol — the paradigmatic self-made, make-anything-art-and-yourself-famous artist. Today, we are all Andy’s children, especially in the age of Instagram, which has trained everyone to think visually and to look at our regular lives as fodder for aesthetic output.

How do you get from there to making real art, great art? There’s no special way; everyone has their own path. Yet, over the years, I’ve found myself giving the same bits of advice. Most of them were simply gleaned from looking at art, then looking some more. Others from listening to artists talk about their work and their struggles. (Everyone’s a narcissist.) I’ve even stolen a couple from my wife.

There are 33 rules — and they really are all you need to know to make a life for yourself in art. Or 34, if you count “Always be nice, generous, and open with others and take good care of your teeth.” And No. 35: “Fake it till you make it.”

Covers a lot of other fields too. Creativity can be grown.

A long but fascinating read - cults

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From Stella Morabito writing at The Federalist:

How To Recognize The Cult Mindset In Yourself And Others
“How many more Jonestowns and Wacos will have to occur before we realize how vulnerable all humans are to influence?” That is the key question of cult expert Margaret Thaler Singer’s excellent book, “Cults in our Midst.” Her work serves to prevent the tragedy of people being psychologically manipulated into blind obedience that harms and even kills. It should be required reading for everybody, because too many people are ill-prepared to resist undue influence and coercive persuasion.

In my retrospective of the Jonestown Massacre, I noted that Americans don’t seem to have seriously contemplated the harsh reality and consequences of coercive thought reform. It can easily destroy lives and rob people of the capacity for independent thought if we are not vigilant about how it works. Yet many are loath to admit that brainwashing is an actual reality to which we are all vulnerable.

A bit more - Stella gets in to the heart of her thesis:

The Cult of Political Correctness
Consider for a moment today’s culture, which is saturated with the constant agitation of political correctness. It rarely allows for any real discussion or debate without automatic vilification of those deemed politically incorrect. Sadly, this is especially true in the very place where there is a tradition of people expecting to engage in real debate: the college campus.

We can’t deny that political correctness has a lot of disruptive effects on discourse, such as inducing self-censorship that can cause us to feel socially and mentally isolated; manipulation of our basic fear of ostracism through the threat of smears; promotion of mob rule; and an authoritarian nature that promotes the power elites who use it.

Wait, those features are all rather cult-like, no? This acceptance of the anti-thought nature of political correctness is pretty much everywhere: 95 percent of the mass media promote it, 95 percent of celebrity culture promotes it, and obviously, on college campuses, the academics are 95 percent in compliance with political correctness.

You can’t deny that cult-like tribunals against “wrongthink” are pretty much everywhere––in the media, in celebrity culture, in our legislatures, among judges, in human resource departments all over the corporate world, and most obviously, on college campuses, where youth are scared to death of being ostracized for expressing a politically incorrect thought.

Consider also how many Americans mindlessly parrot the perceived popular opinion along with its empty talking points that are never up for debate. In fact, there’s very little debate happening today. When real debate happens, it gets shouted down or pushed into a corner of the internet dubbed the “intellectual dark web.” Increasingly, our minds seem to be operating in a dangerous state of isolation, especially with increasing censorship and control over our conversations by mass media and tech titans. How is such constant censorship not cult-like?

A long read but well worth your time - a lot to think about given today's culture and times.

Never been politically correct. I can shut my mouth and do when needed but I refuse to buy into the groupthink that passes for intellegent discourse these days. People these days are slaves living on the progressive plantation. They think what their masters tell them to think, they say what their masters tell them to say, they do what their masters tell them to do. We will have an awakening at some point in the future and it will be a lot of fun to see. I think that the coming cycle of global cooling will be a wonderful wake-up clarion.

The Art Renewal Center

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Gorgeous and deep website - check out the Art Renewal Center:

From their Philosophy page:

The Philosophy of ARC - Why Realism?
Fine art at its best has the power to move one to tears, or grab your sensibilities and rivet you in the moment with an overwhelming sense of beauty and excitement. People often report the sensation of cold chills going up and down their spine. It may be the rare work that accomplishes this, but for those who have had this experience, many have credited it as the stimulus that set them on a personal lifetime quest; whether as an artist, collector or art historian. Other human activities can create a similar experience, whether in poetry, literature, dance, theatre, or music, but it is the experience of beauty in fine art and beauty and its relationship to fine art that is the focus of this essay.

If you are reading this, in all probability you are one of the millions of art lovers who in the 21st Century are disillusioned with the Modernist paradigm which for more than a century has been the dominant way the concept of art has been taught and presented in nearly all institutions of higher learning throughout the world.

If you are like us, it seems more than a little self-evident to you that works of art have infinitely more to say and communicate if they portray the real world, or use figures and objects from the real world even when portraying fantasies and dreams. You experience such "realist" works as infinitely more successful than any Modernist works. The success of Modernism seems like a form of mass insanity, a nightmarish anomaly from which we pray the art world will finally soon awake.

Speaking truth to power - this is a site I will be visiting again and again. I am a big fan of plein air and the landscapes of TurnerMoran and Bierstadt.

Well crap - Douglas Rain R.I.P.

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Douglas Rain? The voice of HAL9000 - from National Public Radio:

R.I.P. HAL: Douglas Rain, Voice Of Computer In '2001,' Dies At 90
Douglas Rain, a Shakespeare actor who provided the eerie, calmly homicidal voice of HAL in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, has died at the age of 90.

The Canadian actor died Sunday morning, according to the Stratford Festival, where Rain spent 32 seasons acting in such roles such as Othello's Iago and Twelfth Night's Malvolio. He was also a founding member of the company. The Winnipeg-born actor had dozens of theater, film and television credits.

However, Rain's biggest mark on pop culture was less Shakespearean, but perhaps just as much a classic: as 2001's HAL 9000, a sentient, rogue computer in a film written in collaboration with science-fiction author Arthur C. Clarke and widely regarded as Kubrick's masterpiece. The American Film Institute ranked HAL as the 13th greatest movie villain of all time.

Kubrick was reportedly inspired to cast Rain after viewing Universe, a 1964 animated documentary narrated by the actor.

A great movie - especially compared to the 90% dreck being pushed by clueless Hollywood these days.

Well crap - Stan Lee R.I.P.

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From TMZ:

STAN LEE DEAD AT 95
Stan Lee, the man responsible for much of the Marvel Universe, has died ... Stan's daughter tells TMZ.

We're told an ambulance rushed to Lee's Hollywood Hills home early Monday morning and he was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. We're told that's where he died.

Lee had suffered several illnesses over the last year or so -- he had a bout of pneumonia and vision issues.

Stan started Marvel with Jack Kirby in 1961 with The Fantastic Four. He went on to create Spider-Man, Black Panther, The Incredible Hulk, X-Men, Iron Man and The Avengers.

Stan made cameo appearances in all of the Marvel movies.

95 is a good run and he had fun doing what he wanted.

This looks good:

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Will have to check the Bellingham movie theaters - want to see this on the big screen.

Green's Dictionary of Slang

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Amazing resource - 500 years of English language slang. Check it out: Green's Dictionary of Slang

The Lawrence Welk Show:

Halloween - some numbers

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The economic impact of Halloween is staggering. From The Silicon Graybeard:

Some Astounding Halloween Facts
From the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE).

    1. An estimated $575.26 million total will be spent on Halloween pumpkins alone in 2018, according to Finder, at an average price of $3.89 per pumpkin. That will exhaust about 80 percent of the US pumpkin supply.
    2. An estimated 95 percent of Americans plan on buying candy during the Halloween season, spending a total of $2.6 billion. 
    3. Americans are projected to spend some $9 billion total on Halloween in 2018, according to the National Retail Federation. That’s a couple billion dollars more than was spent on federal elections in 2016.

Four more at the site as well as some other curious facts.

A great essayist - Neal's Soapbox

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Just ran into this website - adding it to my frequent reads: Neal's Soapbox

The author is an excellent essayist - here is just one. Hard to excerpt so I will just post the first couple of paragraphs and you can read the rest for yourself here

A Return To The Dark Ages
I don’t know how many of you are familiar with World History, but if you aren’t the Dark Ages refer to the period of history beginning with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and ending with the Renaissance. The Dark Ages refers to a period of history in Western Europe which saw a decline, or a deterioration if you will, of culture, economics and intellect amongst the people.

While it may be true that the Romans held all that territory by conquest, it is also true that they brought a lot to those they conquered; trade, literacy, architecture, and possibly even more important, written law. It is held by some that when Rome fell the light went out on the world; hence the term Dark Ages.

Historians will tell you that the Renaissance brought an end to the Dark Ages; plunging the world back into the light after five centuries of darkness. But in reality the Renaissance was nothing more than a return to humanism; something both the Greeks and the Romans had practiced in their lives as cultural and philosophical centers of the world.

Humanism is basically the philosophical and ethical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of humans, both individually and collectively, and generally prefers critical thinking to dogma and superstition. Hence, it was during the Renaissance that we saw some of the world’s most renowned thinkers emerge; polymaths like Da Vinci and Michelangelo.

A polymath, in case you weren’t aware, is a person with a wide range of knowledge and skills. For instance, Leonardo Da Vinci was, not only a painter and a sculptor, he also knew a great deal about mathematics, engineering, geology, astronomy, anatomy and botany. Thomas Jefferson was also a polymath; having a great deal of knowledge regarding architecture, politics, philosophy, science, botany, as well as being fluent in many languages.

It is said that when President Kennedy hosted the 49 winners of the Nobel Prize in 1969 he uttered the following comments; a fitting compliment to Jefferson as a polymath, “I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent and of human knowledge that has ever been gathered together at the White House – with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.” But, I get ahead of myself.

Wonderful stuff - very thoughtful. Also, in an earler post, Neal noticed something that had escaped my attention (and a lot of other people):

(excerpted)

Speaking of postage, CNN ran a photo of the supposed package that was mailed to them and to show you what it looked like I took a screen capture of what CNN is reporting was delivered to them…

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Notice anything missing? Sure, there are postage stamps on this package, but where is the postmark the post office places upon all mail once it has been processed at one of their facilities? You know, these things…

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How did that package get mailed to CNN when apparently it never went through a post office to begin with? But I’m sure the insignificant fact that these packages probably weren’t processed and delivered by the U.S. Postal System will not deter them from using this as ammunition against anyone whose political beliefs run contrary to theirs.

A lot of unanswered questions with this case. It has false flag written all over it.

Great to see people standing up for what they believe - from FOX News:

Dave Chappelle defends Kanye West's Donald Trump meeting: 'I support him'
Comedian Dave Chappelle has shown support for his "brother" Kanye West after the rapper's controversial meeting with President Trump on Thursday.

In a new interview with CNN host Van Jones, Chappelle was asked his opinion about his friend's now famous visit to the White House.

“First of all, you know, Kanye’s an artist, man. He’s a genius.” Chappelle said. “I think the angle he’s seeing things from is about the division that he sees. And he’s not inconsistent with what he’s saying."

To be filed under: "People who get it..." Cartoonist A.F. Branco nails it:

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Quote of the day

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From British philosopher and sociologist, Herbert Spencer:

"The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools."

Lest we forget

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Wishing everbody a happy Hobbit Day

Great story from Willis Eschenbach

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Willis has lived a wonderful life and occasionally posts stories on his blog: Skating Under The Ice Today, he writes about his time in Alaska in the mid-1960's:

Bars In Alaska
My first encounter with a bar in Alaska was when I went there in 1965 at age eighteen to make my fortune … riiight.

Along the way to not making my fortune in Alaska, I got my first job playing with a bar band. Of course, I was too young to drink and it was illegal for me to be in the bar at all, but nobody seemed to care … so why should I?

In Sitka, I got a gig as the rhythm guitarist and lead singer, complete with electric guitar, in a bar band which was usually composed entirely of what used to be called “Indians”. Columbus wanted to believe he’d gotten to India, so he called the locals “Indians”. This led to centuries of confusion, where people had to continually be asking “You mean Indian with a dot or Indian with a feather?” So they decided to change their name. Fair enough.

It’s not politically correct to call them Indians now, I know. These days, I’m a reformed cowboy, so I use a more modern name which reflects their actual heritage. I call them “Early Asian Immigrants”, to distinguish them from the “Later Melanin-Deficient Immigrants”. I don’t generally use the term “Native Americans”, though, unless a man insists on it. According to science, they’re no more native to the Americas than any human is, and that’s not native at all.

A really fun couple of stories.

Museum Day - very cool

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Great idea - from The Smithsonian:

Over 1,500 Museums Across the U.S. Will Open Their Doors for Free This Saturday
On Saturday, September 22, more than 1,500 museums will open their doors for free as part of Museum Day. Organized by Smithsonian magazine, the annual event includes free admission to museums and cultural institutions in all 50 states. Participating museums range from large, popular institutions like the Zoo Miami to quirky and fascinating specialty museums, like the National Barber Museum in Canal Winchester, Ohio. Visitors are allowed to download one ticket per email address, and each ticket provides free general admission for two people.

Great idea - couple museums in the local area so I might check out one of them.

A great endorsement for Europe

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From France24:

Dalai Lama says 'Europe belongs to Europeans'
The Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, said Wednesday that "Europe belongs to the Europeans" and that refugees should return to their native countries to rebuild them.

Speaking at a conference in Sweden's third-largest city of Malmo, home to a large immigrant population, the Dalai Lama -- who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 -- said Europe was "morally responsible" for helping "a refugee really facing danger against their life".

"Receive them, help them, educate them... but ultimately they should develop their own country," said the 83-year-old Tibetan who fled the capital Lhasa in fear of his life after China poured troops into the region to crush an uprising.

"I think Europe belongs to the Europeans," he said, adding they should make clear to refugees that "they ultimately should rebuild their own country".

Very wise thoughts.

An interesting list

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From AV Club:

Game of Game Of Thrones thrones: 43 big upcoming fantasy and sci-fi shows
Since debuting in April 2011, HBO’s Game Of Thrones has slowly become the defining television phenomenon of this decade, dominating the pop culture conversation in a way no other show has since the glory days of The Sopranos. It was one of a number of shows angling to step into the mob drama’s place, along with Boardwalk EmpireMad MenSons Of AnarchyJustified, and House Of Cards. HBO initially sold its adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s fantasy epic as “The Sopranos in Middle-earth,” hoping to transplant David Chase’s deeply American saga of violence, sex, family, and power to a sprawling, Tolkien-esque fantasy world. It managed to fulfill those expectations and then some, surpassing Sopranos viewership mid-way through its fourth season. Today it’s gone far beyond that: “Khaleesi” was a more popular name for baby girls in 2017 than “Brittany.”

But winter is coming. As Game Of Thrones heads into its final, six-episode season—slated to premiere sometime in 2019—it leaves a gaping hole in the television landscape. Everyone from Apple to FX has pined, sometimes publicly, for their “own Game Of Thrones,” and the model is clear: Find a nerd-culture tome, and throw money at it. Amazon has pledged to invest $1 billion on its prize-horse, a Lord Of The Rings prequel, but, as you’ll see below, this is a race with a lot of horses. There are dozens of such projects in the works, and even more if you factor in the game, film, and comic adaptations drawn in Thrones’ image, not to mention HBO’s own in-house heirs. And, while there has been no shortage of shows heavily inspired by Thrones in recent years, the sheer surplus of these upcoming projects means that at least a few of these will go on to be good. For lovers of fantasy and sci-fi, not to mention prestige television, this is an inherently exciting thing. But who among these contenders can truly claim Game Of Thrones’ throne? If we’ve learned anything from seven seasons, it’s this: Don’t count out a dark horse.

Looks like a lot of great programming ahead even if only a fraction of these ever get done.

Well crap - RIP Burt Reynolds

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From The Hollywood Reporter:

Burt Reynolds, Movie Star Who Played It for Grins, Dies at 82
Burt Reynolds, the charismatic star of such films as Deliverance, The Longest Yard and Smokey and the Bandit who set out to have as much fun as possible on and off the screen — and wildly succeeded — has died. He was 82.

Reynolds, who received an Oscar nomination when he portrayed porn director Jack Horner in Paul Thomas Anderson's Boogie Nights (1997) and was the No. 1 box-office attraction for a five-year stretch starting in the late 1970s, died Thursday morning at Jupiter Medical Center in Florida, his manager, Erik Kritzer, told The Hollywood Reporter.

The cause of death was cardiopulmonary arrest.

Always with a wink, Reynolds shined in many action films (often doing his own stunts) and in such romantic comedies as Starting Over (1979) opposite Jill Clayburgh and Candice Bergen; The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982) with Dolly Parton; Best Friends (1982) with Goldie Hawn; and, quite aptly, The Man Who Loved Women (1983) with Julie Andrews.

An American icon.

Now this should be fun - Steve Bannon

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From The New York Times:

Steve Bannon Headlines New Yorker Festival
Readers of The New Yorker prize the magazine for its wide-ranging collection of perspectives. From Oct. 5 to 7, The New Yorker Festival, now in its 19th year, will bring some of these voices to venues around New York City.

Political figures feature prominently in this year’s lineup, which includes Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist, who will be interviewed by the magazine’s editor, David Remnick, a frequent critic of the administration.

“I have every intention of asking him difficult questions and engaging in a serious and even combative conversation,” Mr. Remnick said in a phone interview.

“The audience itself, by its presence, puts a certain pressure on a conversation that an interview alone doesn’t do,” he added. “You can’t jump on and off the record.”

Bannon is wicked smaht and very articulate. This will be fun to watch. I'll be sure to post YouTube links when the video is put up.

From National Public Radio no less:

The School Shootings That Weren't
How many times per year does a gun go off in an American school?

We should know. But we don't.

This spring the U.S. Education Department reported that in the 2015-2016 school year, "nearly 240 schools ... reported at least 1 incident involving a school-related shooting." The number is far higher than most other estimates.

But NPR reached out to every one of those schools repeatedly over the course of three months and found that more than two-thirds of these reported incidents never happened. Child Trends, a nonpartisan nonprofit research organization, assisted NPR in analyzing data from the government's Civil Rights Data Collection.

We were able to confirm just 11 reported incidents, either directly with schools or through media reports.

In 161 cases, schools or districts attested that no incident took place or couldn't confirm one. In at least four cases, we found, something did happen, but it didn't meet the government's parameters for a shooting. About a quarter of schools didn't respond to our inquiries.

"When we're talking about such an important and rare event, [this] amount of data error could be very meaningful," says Deborah Temkin, a researcher and program director at Child Trends.

A lot more at the site - NPR goes into great detail. These numbers are generated by unelected administrators with no training in statistics and we rely on them to form public policy. The joys of working with a bureaucracy - Jerry Pournelle's Iron Law is worth remembering here:

Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people":

First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Examples are dedicated classroom teachers in an educational bureaucracy, many of the engineers and launch technicians and scientists at NASA, even some agricultural scientists and advisors in the former Soviet Union collective farming administration.

Secondly, there will be those dedicated to the organization itself. Examples are many of the administrators in the education system, many professors of education, many teachers union officials, much of the NASA headquarters staff, etc.

The Iron Law states that in every case the second group will gain and keep control of the organization. It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization.

Truer words were never written... I will close with this great graphic based on numbers from the Department of Education:

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Swiped from PBS - this link

A curious filing - P&G

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WTF? From Ad Age:

MARKETER'S BRIEF: WTF? P&G WANTS TO TRADEMARK L.O.L.
If you thought all those texting acronyms couldn't be yanked out of the digital commons and trademarked, forget that. Procter & Gamble Co. has filed for trademarks on household and personal-care use of LOL, WTF, NBD and FML. FWIW, there's no indication products bearing those names exist yet, and P&G doesn't have trademark approval. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has sought clarifications from P&G, which has until January to respond.

Precise uses remain TBD, as P&G declined to provide TMI. But competitors who might want to use these acronyms may now face FOMO. BTW, despite those old untrue P&G-Satanism rumors, NBC reported in 2012 that LOL does NOT secretly stand for "Lucifer Our Lord."

What are they smoking over there. I want to know because I want to avoid it at all costs. Talk about clinically stupid.

Heh - about that Asia Argento story

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People are denying it. TMZ has the photos.

And Ms. Argento falls into the memory hole. Asia who?

Seen on the internet

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So true:

20180820-contrast.jpg

Tip of the hat to Mostly Cajun for the link.

A shift in popular culture - the Media

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Seems like all aspects of media are going through some rough changes. From The New York Post:

The September Issue is dead
In years gone by, the September issue was the Super Bowl of fashion magazines.

Fat with ads and glossy shoots cherry-picking the best looks of fall — the most important season in the fashion calendar — the annual issue heralded the pinnacle of a magazine’s influence and success.

Days before the issue hit newsstands, usually in early August, executives from Vogue, InStyle, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Glamour and W would brag about the thickness of their telephone book-sized glossies. They’d boast of the “thud” the issues made when dropped on a coffee table. The louder the thud, the more powerful the magazine.

Now that thud is more of a whimper.

“The September issue means nothing anymore,” said Sam Shahid, founder of branding, advertising and design agency Shahid & Company. “You used to hold that magazine in your hand. It takes you to a place — that’s what a magazine used to do. Now they are all doing the same thing. There’s no imagination there. It’s just pure product, it’s pleasing the advertiser.”

Looks like print media is on the way out. These things are often cycles so who knows, it may come back to life in another 20 years or so. Hey - check out this new thing. It's called Paper!

From The Daily Caller via Twitter:

Excellent rant by Daniel Greenfield at Sultan Knish:

Rename America
Austin’s Equity Office has recommended renaming the Texas city because of Stephen F. Austin's alleged views on slavery. But why stop at just renaming Austin when Amerigo Vespucci took and sold slaves.

Austin, Texas is named after Stephen F. Austin, but America is named after Amerigo Vespucci.

New York City has been on its own anti-history binge, demoting the statue of the ‘Father of Gynecology’ and tearing out plaques memorializing Robert E. Lee attached to a tree that he had once planted, but it’s got bigger problems. The city is named after King James II whose Royal African Company branded thousands of slaves with DY for the Duke of York.

And New York’s problems don’t end there. Its Bronx borough is named after Jonas Bronck, who was likely killed in an Indian raid. Queens is named after the wife of King Charles II (James’ brother) whose husband was also quite active in the slave trade. New York is full of places named after Charlie and his relatives, like Richmond County, and the city and the state would both have to be renamed.

Even Berkeley, CA for cryin' out loud:

But back in California, its leftist city has an even bigger problem. Berkeley is named after the Irish empiricist George Berkeley. Berkeley was not only a slave owner, but a vigorous advocate for the enslavement of Africans and Indians. His name has touched off controversy at Yale and UC Berkeley.

Read the whole thing to see the absurdity of the left's passion for sanitizing the past. Multiple drink alert though.

Great quote

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“It’s the half-educated, as usual, who’s the enemy. He always is.
The Wise Men and the shepherds both knelt in Bethlehem.”
Robert Hugh Benson, The Dawn of All

So true in today's political arena.

Unleashing the dragon - InfoWars

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The coordinated ban of InfoWars by Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube is not having the effect that the technology elites were intending. From The London Daily Mail:

EXCLUSIVE: 'Thank you Apple, Facebook and YouTube!' Alex Jones claims 5.6 million people have subscribed to Infowars newsletter in 48 hours as he calls 'bull***t' on tech giants who have blocked the conspiracy theorist's content
Infowars motor mouth Alex Jones has issued a 'never surrender' battle cry to his army of alt-right followers after a string of tech giants hammered him over his controversial views.

And underfire Jones - accused of spreading bile and hatred as America’s leading conspiracy theorist - says he isn't taking the attack lying down.

In an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com he launched an expletive laden rant claiming the Democratic Party staged the 'desperate' onslaught and says he's a 'sacrificial lamb' who has been likened to Hitler for the purposes of a wider attack on free speech.

What's more he claims the publicity surrounding the action taken by the likes of YouTube, Facebook and Apple - who have blocked his content and removed his channels - has gained him millions of subscribers - not lost him followers.

Jones claims 5.6 million people have subscribed to the Infowars newsletter and free podcast in the past 48 hours.

They were looking to silence him. They just made him louder - much much louder.

Loved his character. From Hollywood Reporter:

Patrick Stewart to Reprise 'Star Trek' Role in New CBS All Access Series
Patrick Stewart is boldly going where he has been before.

As has been rumored for months, the actor has officially signed on to star in a new Star Trek series for CBS All Access in which he will reprise his role as Jean-Luc Picard. The new series will not be a reboot of The Next Generation but instead is being described as an exploration of the next chapter of Picard's life. Additional details about the new series, including its title, episode count or a premiere date, are being kept under wraps. The creative team for the newest Star Trek series includes Alex Kurtzman, who serves as showrunner on CBS All Access' Discovery and whose recent overall deal with CBS Television Studios included marching orders to expand the beloved and global franchise.

Very cool!

From Yahoo/Agence France Presse:

Saudi king holidays in still unbuilt mega city NEOM
Saudi King Salman has arrived for a holiday in NEOM, a still-undeveloped mega city that the crown prince has pledged to build from scratch in the kingdom's remote northwest, state media said Monday.

NEOM appears an unusual holiday destination for the 82-year-old monarch, who is known to spend his annual summer vacation in exotic palaces in locations such as Morocco.

The king "has arrived in NEOM, where he will spend some time in rest and recreation", the official Saudi Press Agency said in a brief statement.

And the city itself:

NEOM, announced with much fanfare last October by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is part of a series of multi-billion-dollar projects as the kingdom seeks to diversify its oil-reliant economy.

The Saudi government says NEOM -- billed as a regional silicon valley -- will draw investments worth $500 billion from the kingdom's vast Public Investment Fund, as well as local and international investors.

The city has an interesting (if vague) website: NEOM

Interesting bit of archaeology

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From the Los Angeles Times:

Unearthing the mysteries of 'Egypt' in the dunes of the California Coast
The 300-pound head of a sphinx that emerged from the dunes on California’s central coast traces its roots to Hollywood, not Egypt. The artifact is now on display at a little-known archaeology site and wildlife refuge in the farm town of Guadalupe, eight miles northwest of Santa Maria.

The Dunes Center works on excavating items unearthed from the massive set where Cecil B. De Mille filmed the silent movie “The Ten Commandments” in 1923. It’s a registered archaeological site.

One of the displays:

20180726-egypt.jpg

Don't have any travel plans in that area but something to keep in mind if I ever get down there. That would be fascinating to spend an afternoon there.

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