Recently in Culture Category

Mike Rowe responds to a Facebook post

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Pure gold - from Mike Rowe's Facebook page. He replies to this post:

Rebecca Bright writes…
"I love the show How the Universe Works, but I'm lost on how the producers and the Science Channel can allow anti-education, science doubting, ultra-right wing conservative Mike Rowe to narrate the show. There are countless scientists that should be hired for that, or actors, if you must, that believe in education and science that would sound great narrating the show, example: Morgan Freeman. Cancel this fools contract and get any of your scientists so often on the show to narrate it."

Mike replies - go and read the whole thing (Mike is quite eloquent)  but here are the last six paragraphs:

Anyway, Rebecca, my beef with your post comes down to this - if you go to my boss and ask her to fire me because you can’t stand the sound of my voice, I get it. Narrators with unpleasant voices should probably look for other work anyway, and if enough people share your view, no hard feelings - I’ll make room for Morgan. But if you’re trying to get me fired simply because you don’t like my worldview, well then, I’m going to fight back. Partly because I like my job, and partly because you’re wrong about your assumptions, but mostly because your tactics typify a toxic blend of laziness and group-think that are all too common today – a hot mess of hashtags and intolerance that deepen the chasm currently dividing our country.

Re-read your own post, and think about your actual position. You've publicly asked a network to fire the narrator of a hit show because you might not share his personal beliefs. Don't you think that's kind of...extraordinary? Not only are you unwilling to engage with someone you disagree with – you can’t even enjoy a show you claim to love if you suspect the narrator might not share your view of the world! Do you know how insular that makes you sound? How fragile?

I just visited your page, and read your own description of you. It was revealing. It says, “I stand my ground. I fear no one & nothing. I have & will fight for what's right.”

Maybe I’m missing something, but I don't think the ground you’re standing on is worth defending. If you truly fear “no one & nothing,” it’s not because you’re brave; it’s because you’re unwilling to expose yourself to ideas that frighten you. And while I can see that you like to fight for what you think is “right” (in this case, getting people fired that you disagree with,) one could easily say the same thing about any other misguided, garden-variety bully.

In other words, Rebecca, I don’t think you give a damn about science. If I’m wrong, prove it. Take a step back and be skeptical about your own assumptions. Take a moment to doubt your own words, and ask yourself – as any good scientist would – if you've got your head up a black hole.

Having said all that, I think you’re gonna love next week’s episode. It’s called Multiple Stars! Check it out, Tuesdays at 10pm, on Science.

Heh - I love the part about; "your tactics typify a toxic blend of laziness and group-think that are all too common today – a hot mess of hashtags and intolerance that deepen the chasm currently dividing our country." Spot on!

Two words for tea

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Fascinating writeup on the etymology of the word Tea or Cha - from Quartz:

Tea if by sea, cha if by land: Why the world only has two words for tea
With a few minor exceptions, there are really only two ways to say “tea” in the world. One is like the English term— in Spanish and tee in Afrikaans are two examples. The other is some variation of cha, like chay in Hindi.

Both versions come from China. How they spread around the world offers a clear picture of how globalization worked before “globalization” was a term anybody used. The words that sound like “cha” spread across land, along the Silk Road. The “tea”-like phrasings spread over water, by Dutch traders bringing the novel leaves back to Europe.

An interesting read.

People are buying Fire and Fury online and not realizing what they are ordering. From the UK Guardian:

The other Fire and Fury: decade-old book becomes unexpected bestseller
When it was released 10 years ago, Randall Hansen’s book performed as expected, racking up strong sales that gradually tapered off. But this week the Canadian professor’s 2008 book unexpectedly leapt back on to bestseller lists.

The reason lies in the book’s name – Fire and Fury: The Allied Bombing of Germany, 1942-1945 – just a subtitle away from the Michael Wolff’s explosive exposé of the Trump White House.

“I haven’t seen this level of interest since the book first came out,” said Hansen, a political science professor at the University of Toronto.

A bit more:

After dinner on Friday Hansen logged into Amazon and found that his book – which explores civilian perspectives on the Allied bombing of Germany during the second world war – had edged back on to three of the site’s bestseller categories. “It amused me and part of me thought, can people really be that dumb to be confusing these books?”

In a few cases, it appeared that this was exactly what had happened. “I had a couple of bitter comments,” said Hansen. “There was one tweet, he came forward and said, ‘I bought this book by accident and there’s no way I’m reading it,’ in kind of this accusatory tone. I thought well, ‘it’s not quite my fault, mate.’”

Emphasis mine - that answer would be YES!

They are taking down everyone these days

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Presented without comment:

20171217-mo.jpg

I had mentioned that a homeless camp cooking fire was responsible for starting the fire that burned the Bel-Air homes - now, the 1%ers are getting worried - from the Los Angeles Times:

Bel-Air wrestles with homeless crisis after encampment fire destroys multimillion-dollar homes
In the tony hillside neighborhoods of Bel-Air and Brentwood, residents say they are aware of the homeless people who live in the shadows of their multimillion-dollar homes.

The affluent area along the 405 Freeway in the Sepulveda Pass, home to celebrities, corporate titans and others, has not been immune to the homeless crisis that has spread across Los Angeles. Some residents express sympathy and concern for the homeless, while others are wary and want them out.

But the Skirball fire, which destroyed homes and forced the evacuation of a large chunk of Bel-Air, has put the issue at the forefront of community debate. Officials say the blaze was caused by a cooking fire at a homeless camp along the 405. Investigators say the fire was set accidentally, but they have not been able to find those who occupied the camp.

It's one thing to virtue signal and attend tony fundraisers for dealing with homelessness, it is quite another to have one of them burn our house to the ground. In my post yesterday I outlined briefly how the issue of homelessness started with President John F. Kennedy and his Community Mental Health Act. We need to return to the days of institutionalization. The activists are pushing for the "rights" of the mentally ill but they fail to comprehend that most mentally ill people would much rather be in a safe secure environment than to be living out their lives on the streets.

Some fun music

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Was looking through some YouTube channels and ran into this. T and I just finished watching Game of Thrones - this is cute:

Not surprising at all

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From D.C. station WTOP:

DC has highest percentage of heavy drinkers
Compared to states, the District ranks No. 2 for the percentage of adults who consume alcohol and No. 1 for the percentage of heavy drinkers, according to Detox.net, an online resource for alcohol abuse treatment programs.

According to the study, 65.9 percent of adults in D.C. have had at least one drink in the past month, second only to Wisconsin’s 67.3 percent. The study was based on data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, which collects health-related data from phone interviews.

The study also says 11.1 percent of D.C. adults are what it labels heavy drinkers, consuming more than two drinks daily for men and more than one drink daily for women.

If I had to deal with the people there, I would self-medicate too...

And another one bites the dust

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Liberals' past lives are coming back to haunt them. From The New York Times:

Met Opera Suspends James Levine After New Sexual Abuse Accusations
The Metropolitan Opera suspended James Levine, its revered conductor and former music director, on Sunday after three men came forward with accusations that Mr. Levine sexually abused them decades ago, when the men were teenagers.

Peter Gelb, the general manager of the Met, announced that the company was suspending its four-decade relationship with Mr. Levine, 74, and canceling his upcoming conducting engagements after learning from The New York Times on Sunday about the accounts of the three men, who described a series of similar sexual encounters beginning in the late 1960s. The Met has also asked an outside law firm to investigate Mr. Levine’s behavior.

“While we await the results of the investigation, based on these news reports the Met has made the decision to act now,” Mr. Gelb said in an interview, adding that the Met’s board supported his actions. “This is a tragedy for anyone whose life has been affected.”

And of course, there had been multiple complaints starting in 1987 and continuing forward. Back then, Mr. Levine was the "star" and anything otherwise was hushed up. Now, it is coming home to roost. Good.

No, not the one you are thinking of - this one. From Santa Barbara station KEYT-TV:

Second sphinx from 'Ten Commandments' set discovered in Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes
Archaeologists have unearthed a perfectly intact 300-pound plaster Egyptian sphinx at the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes -- part of Cecil B. DeMille's 95-year-old movie set.

“The piece is unlike anything found on previous digs,” said Doug Jenzen, Executive Director of the Dunes Center. “The majority of it is preserved by sand with the original paint still intact. This is significant and shows that we’re still learning unexpected facets to film historical movie production such as the fact that objects in black and white films were actually painted extremely intense colors.”

A bit more:

The set in Santa Barbara County would go on to include pharaohs, sphinxes, and colossal temple gates for the beloved biblical epic. In all, 21 sphinxes graced the immense movie set. Only a fraction of the 12-stories-high 800-feet-wide set has been recovered.

Many believe the removal of the set after filming was too expensive and too valuable to leave behind for rival filmmakers to poach, so DeMille had it buried beneath the dunes.

Fortunately, archaeologists say the sand allows for drainage, which helps support the buried structures. Otherwise, Jenzen said, the set pieces would “turn to mush.”

I am surprised tat nobody has gone out there with a ground penetrating radar. The artifacts would be very evident.

An interesting website - dangerous

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Taking things too far - unwanted advances

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This is unreal. I fully support people coming out against unwanted physical advances but come on now. From The London Daily Mail:

Mother demands her son's school take Sleeping Beauty off the curriculum because the princess doesn't give consent to be kissed and woken up by prince
A mother has demanded her six-year-old son's school bans Sleeping Beauty because the princess does not give consent to be kissed.

Sarah Hall, from Northumberland Park, North Shields, claimed the fairytale promotes an 'inappropriate sexual' message to young children.

She argued the story is irresponsible because it teaches children it is acceptable to kiss women while they are asleep.

The mother of two said: 'I think it's a specific issue in the Sleeping Beauty story about sexual behaviour and consent.

So Ms. Hall considers that a six-year old could consider this to be a sexual advance? Maybe she needs to have her head examined...

How the mighty are falling - Pixar

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Seems to be a day for posts with two headlines. These are both from The Hollywood Reporter, about 30 minutes apart:

John Lasseter Taking Leave of Absence From Pixar Amid "Missteps"

John Lasseter's Pattern of Alleged Misconduct Detailed by Disney/Pixar Insiders

One take-away from the second link:

Rashida Jones is still credited as a writer on Toy Story 4, the next installment in the beloved franchise. But, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter, the actress and her writing partner at the time, Will McCormack, left the project early on after John Lasseter, the acclaimed head of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation, made an unwanted advance.

Shame really - Pixar brought CGI to mainstream film-making and Lasseter was one of the pioneers.

the puppets. From The Silicon Graybeard:

20171116-kermit.jpg

Good news - sanctuary cities

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Playtime is over - time to get back in line. From the Washington Examiner:

Justice Department gives 29 'sanctuary' cities, states until Dec. 8 to prove compliance with immigration law
The Department of Justice on Wednesday told Illinois, Oregon, and Vermont and 26 "sanctuary" cities and counties around the country that they were found to have "laws, policies or practices” that violate federal immigration laws, and that failure to demonstrate compliance by early December could mean reduced federal grants.

The new jurisdictions range across the nation, and include big cities like Seattle and Los Angeles, as well as smaller ones like Lawrence, Mass.

The department warned the 29 jurisdictions in separate letters that in order to continue receiving public safety grants under the Justice Department's Edward Bryne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program, the jurisdictions must prove compliance with Section 1373 of 8 U.S. Code by Dec. 8.

“I urge all jurisdictions found to be potentially out of compliance in this preliminary review to reconsider their policies that undermine the safety of their residents. We urge jurisdictions to not only comply with Section 1373, but also to establish sensible and effective partnerships to properly process criminal aliens,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a statement.

Good - if you want to virtue signal, do it on your own dime. Don't expressly violate federal law and then expect to suck on the federal teat. For an example of what we are talking about, here are a few headlines for the last week:

All of these stories are from the past eight days - just a cursory scan of the news media. All of the protagonists are here illegally.

This will be interesting to follow - from PJ Media:

Ex-Google Executive Registers First Church of AI With IRS
A former executive at Google has filed paperwork with the IRS to establish an official religion of technology. This religion doesn't just worship scientific progress, but artificial intelligence itself, with the goal of creating a godhead.

The new church of AI will aim "to develop and promote the realization of a Godhead based on artificial intelligence and through understanding and worship of the Godhead [to] contribute to the betterment of society," according to IRS documents.

The non-profit religious organization would be called "Way of the Future" (WOTF). According to the website (wayofthefuture.church), the movement is "about creating a peaceful and respectful transition of who is in charge of the planet from people to people + 'machines.'"

Website is here: Way of the Future (WOTF) Couldn't be any crazier than the L. Ron Hubbard organization.

From The Hollywood Reporter:

It's Official: 'Lord of the Rings' TV Series Gets Multiple-Season Commitment at Amazon
It's official: Amazon Studios is going to make a Lord of the Rings TV series.

The retail giant and streaming outlet announced Monday that it has acquired global television rights to the Lord of the Rings franchise, based on the best-selling novels by J.R.R. Tolkien. Amazon has handed out a multiple-season commitment. The Amazon LOTR series will be produced in-house at Amazon Studios alongside the Tolkien Estate and Trust, publisher HarperCollins and Warner Bros. Entertainment's New Line Cinema. A writer has not yet been attached.

No word as to when the shows will start to air. This could be a lot of fun if they don't mess with it too much. The trilogy was incredibly well done but they left out so much of the original books and it sounds like the Amazon shows will explore these in more detail.

Was wondering when I first heard about the new version with Kenneth Branagh - David Suchet is Hercule Poirot, nobody else need apply. Here is a write-up from National Review:

Murder on the Orient Express Is a Deadly Dull Ride
They don’t make ’em like Murder on the Orient Express any more, but when they do, by chance, make ’em, they should cut ’em into tiny pieces, place ’em in a hole, and set ’em on fire, possibly with a sign warning everyone not to sift through the ashes.

Yet sifting through the ashes of a dead genre is what Kenneth Branagh is doing in directing this (sort of) all-star mystery, which was already a bit creaky and wheezy when it was directed for the big screen by Sidney Lumet in 1974, in a production that won Ingrid Bergman her third Oscar. For moviegoers born in the 1920s and 1930s, that movie may have been an amusing throwback, but now the source material — Agatha Christie’s 1934 novel — is a relic of an ancient era in entertainment. Instead of trying to freshen up the story, Branagh revels in the fustiness, like a weird kid rummaging through the trunks in a dusty attic.

If you want to see the story brought to the screen, get the 2010 Suchet version - much better!

Now that accounts of Spacey's paedophilia have surfaced, Netflix has canceled the show House of Cards. This is causing some problems - from The Baltimore Sun:

Baltimore-area businesses already feeling loss of 'House of Cards'
The “House of Cards” crew is still getting paid through the suspension of the show’s sixth season, a source close to production confirmed Tuesday, but local vendors are already feeling the loss of a deep-pocketed customer and the cachet of being associated with a hit series.

Production company Media Rights Capital is paying the show’s crew while on hiatus, sources confirmed, but could not detail how much or for how long. Officials with Media Rights Capital would not comment on this matter.

Media Rights Capital and distributor Netflix announced the suspension of the show’s final season last Tuesday, days after actor Anthony Rapp alleged that executive producer and star Kevin Spacey had made sexual advances toward him in the 1980s, when he was 14 years old. Since then, several men, including former “House of Cards” production assistant and actor Harry Dreyfuss, son of thespian Richard Dreyfuss, have also made sexual misconduct allegations against Spacey.

On Friday night, Netflix and Media Rights Capital announced that Spacey, who played ruthless politican Frank Underwood in the series, had been fired.

And follow the money:

Caterers and fast-food restaurants, carpet and furniture outlets, music and antique stores, warehouses, auto parts dealers and paint suppliers — all are included among the show’s hundreds of Maryland vendors during more than five years of filming, often in and around Baltimore, at locations including the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, the Baltimore Museum of Art and The Baltimore Sun.

A state-created vendor list illustrates the ripple effect a big-budget production can have on a local economy. The December 2016 list from the Department of Commerce contains 1,963 House of Cards vendors, although many are fast-food outlets or convenience stores such as 7-Eleven, Starbucks, Chipotle and McDonald’s.

WPS Paint & Decorating Center in Emmorton will miss the crew stopping by as many as two or three times a week to buy paint or shellac. Among the paint it supplied was a color called river gorge gray, used for the mock Oval Office on the show.

“It makes a big impact on our business,” said Adrianne Kotula, the center’s lead interior designer. She declined to provide an economic figure but said the show “supplemented our business when things got slow with the housing market five or six years ago.”

I feel sorry for the cast and vendors - it was a good show and I really like Spacey as an actor. Shame he could not keep his dick in his trousers where it belongs while at work.

Losing a legend - Fred Beckey

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Major local legend - from The New York Times:

Fred Beckey, Conqueror and Chronicler of North American Peaks, Dies at 94
Fred Beckey, a fabled mountaineer and author who was the first to take hundreds of routes to the summits of North America’s tallest peaks in Alaska, the Canadian Rockies and the Pacific Northwest in an audacious seven-decade climbing career, died on Monday in Seattle. He was 94.

Megan Bond, a close friend of Mr. Beckey’s, confirmed in a Facebook message that he died from congestive heart failure in her home. Ms. Bond said he had been in hospice care for four days.

Rawboned and tenacious, Mr. Beckey made as many as a thousand ascents that no one was known to have taken before, and wrote a dozen books on mountaineering, many of them considered definitive guides to the terrain of the continent’s best-known and least accessible peaks.

A wonderful obituary - go and read even if you don't spend time outdoors. Fred was one of a kind. A true legend.

The stories about Harvey Weinstein were first a rumor, then a thin crack opened up and it is now a torrent. The same thing is happening to other Hollywood denizens - Kevin Spacey for one. From BuzzFeed:

Actor Anthony Rapp: Kevin Spacey Made A Sexual Advance Toward Me When I Was 14
Last June, Anthony Rapp settled in at the home of his good friend and fellow actor Camryn Manheim to watch the Tony Awards. The New York natives were both in Toronto working, and Manheim had invited Rapp and his boyfriend over to partake in the beloved theater geek ritual. But for the first time, Rapp — a working actor since he was 9 years old, and most famously part of the original cast of the musical Rent — felt something he'd never experienced before with the Tonys: dread.

And that's because the host that night was Kevin Spacey.

In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Rapp is publicly alleging for the first time that in 1986, Spacey befriended Rapp while they both performed on Broadway shows, invited Rapp over to his apartment for a party, and, at the end of the night, picked Rapp up, placed him on his bed, and climbed on top of him, making a sexual advance. According to public records, Spacey was 26. Rapp was 14.

I do not know what it is about gay men and their prediliction for little boys. I know thy do not represent the entire population of gay men but still - really? It is a pity as I really like Kevin Spacey as an actor - he is brilliant on screen. Time to repost the dance, monkey, DANCE! rant again:

Dear Hollywood celebrities: It’s time to wake up now. Get this! The only reason you exist is for my entertainment. Some of you are beautiful. Some of you can deliver a line with such conviction that you bring tears to my eyes. Some of you are so convincing that you scare the stuffing out of me. And others are so funny you can make me laugh uncontrollably. But you all have one thing in common. You only exist and have a place in my world to entertain me. That’s it. Nothing else!

You make your living pretending to be someone else. You play dress-up like a 5-year-old. Your world is a make-believe world—it is not real; it doesn't exist. You live for the camera while the rest of us live in the real world. Your entire existence depends on my patronage. I crank the organ grinder, and you dance.

Therefore, I don't care where you stand on issues. Honestly, your opinion means nothing to me. Just because you had a lead role in a movie about prostitution doesn't mean you know what it’s like to be a prostitute. Your view matters far less to me than that of a someone living in Timbuktu. Believe me or not, the hard truth is that you aren't real. I turn off my TV or shut down my computer, and you cease to exist. Once I am done with you, I go back to the real world until I want you to entertain me again.

I don't care that you think BP executives deserve the death penalty. I don't care what you think about the environment. I don't care if you believe fracking is bad. I don't care if you call for more gun control. I don't care if you believe in catastrophic, human-induced global warming. And I couldn't care less that you supported Hillary for President. By the way, she lost!!

Get back into your bubble. I'll let you know when I'm in the mood for something pretty or scary or funny. And one other thing. What was all that “I'll leave the country if Donald Trump wins”? Don't you know how stupid that made you sound? What did you think my reaction was going to be? Oooh! I better not vote for Trump or we'll lose Whoopi Goldberg? Al Sharpton? Amy Schemer? Rosie O’Donnell? Leave. Good riddance. I don't care! And don't let the door hit you in the keister on your way out. Make me laugh. Make me cry. Even scare me. But realize this: the only words of yours that matter are scripted — just like your pathetic, little lives. I may agree with some of you from time to time, but in the final analysis, it doesn't matter. In my world, you exist solely for my entertainment.

So, shut your mouth and dance, monkey, DANCE!

So true. Cleaning house is happening across the nation. A good thing (and overdue).

And it starts - Harvey

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From The Hollywood Reporter:

Former Harvey Weinstein Assistant Breaks NDA, Details History of Cover-Ups
Zelda Perkins, who worked as Weinstein's assistant in Miramax's London office, claims in a new interview with Financial Times that her boss sexually harassed her and assaulted her female colleague, leading them to a settlement and strict NDA.

It will be interesting to see how many peole are brought down

And then, there is this:

Oscar-Winning Writer-Director Paul Haggis Suggests Hollywood Pedophilia Cover-Up

How fast they fall - Harvey Weinstein

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From the Los Angeles Times:

Harvey Weinstein expelled from motion picture academy
Embattled film mogul Harvey Weinstein — a once-dominant force in the Academy Awards who rewrote the rules of Oscar campaigning — has been expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in response to mounting allegations of sexual harassment and assault against him.

The film academy’s 54-member board of governors, which includes such industry luminaries as Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Kathleen Kennedy and Whoopi Goldberg, voted in an emergency meeting on Saturday morning to remove Weinstein from the organization’s ranks in an unprecedented public rebuke of a prominent industry figure. The move marked the latest blow in Weinstein’s stunning downfall and, in symbolic terms, amounts to a virtual expulsion from Hollywood itself.

The guy made great movies - pity about all the other stuff. This brings to mind two other pieces

First - from Laurie Stark on Twitter:

Remember: The Weinstein Company didn't fire Harvey because they found out he was a sexual predator. They fired him because WE found out.

Second - this wonderful rant:

Dear Hollywood celebrities: It’s time to wake up now. Get this! The only reason you exist is for my entertainment. Some of you are beautiful. Some of you can deliver a line with such conviction that you bring tears to my eyes. Some of you are so convincing that you scare the stuffing out of me. And others are so funny you can make me laugh uncontrollably. But you all have one thing in common. You only exist and have a place in my world to entertain me. That’s it. Nothing else!

You make your living pretending to be someone else. You play dress-up like a 5-year-old. Your world is a make-believe world—it is not real; it doesn't exist. You live for the camera while the rest of us live in the real world. Your entire existence depends on my patronage. I crank the organ grinder, and you dance.

Therefore, I don't care where you stand on issues. Honestly, your opinion means nothing to me. Just because you had a lead role in a movie about prostitution doesn't mean you know what it’s like to be a prostitute. Your view matters far less to me than that of a someone living in Timbuktu. Believe me or not, the hard truth is that you aren't real. I turn off my TV or shut down my computer, and you cease to exist. Once I am done with you, I go back to the real world until I want you to entertain me again.

I don't care that you think BP executives deserve the death penalty. I don't care what you think about the environment. I don't care if you believe fracking is bad. I don't care if you call for more gun control. I don't care if you believe in catastrophic, human-induced global warming. And I couldn't care less that you supported Hillary for President. By the way, she lost!!

Get back into your bubble. I'll let you know when I'm in the mood for something pretty or scary or funny. And one other thing. What was all that “I'll leave the country if Donald Trump wins”? Don't you know how stupid that made you sound? What did you think my reaction was going to be? Oooh! I better not vote for Trump or we'll lose Whoopi Goldberg? Al Sharpton? Amy Schemer? Rosie O’Donnell? Leave. Good riddance. I don't care! And don't let the door hit you in the keister on your way out. Make me laugh. Make me cry. Even scare me. But realize this: the only words of yours that matter are scripted — just like your pathetic, little lives. I may agree with some of you from time to time, but in the final analysis, it doesn't matter. In my world, you exist solely for my entertainment.

So, shut your mouth and dance, monkey, DANCE!

Speaking truth to power monkeys. If President Trump is setting out to drain the swamp, remember that its tributaries and rivers are fed by the constant drip drip drip of the media. Without their collusion, the swamp will dry up and blow away under the hard light of day.

Is he pulling a Polanski?

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From TMZ:

HARVEY WEINSTEIN Flying to Europe Tonight FOR SEX ADDICTION REHAB
Harvey Weinstein is boarding a private jet Tuesday night, bound for a rehab center in Europe for sex addiction ... sources connected with the former mogul tell TMZ.

We're told Harvey has decided to take the advice of the people around him and leave immediately. We're told he will enter a live-in facility and will deal both with sex and other behavioral issues.

Our sources say Weinstein is surprisingly calm, considering the PR nightmare engulfing him. As one source put it, "He has his moments where there are bursts, but for the most part he's pretty calm."

We're told Weinstein still believes he can get help, come back and make a fresh start. As a source close to Weinstein put it, "He wants to come back with fresh, new ideas." As we reported, he and his team are in settlement discussions with The Weinstein Co. and the idea of him serving in some outside capacity is still on the table.

Pulling a Polanski? From Infogalactic:

Roman Polanski
Rajmund Roman Thierry Polański (born 18 August 1933), known professionally as Roman Polanski, is a French-Polish film director, producer, writer, and actor. Having made films in Poland, the United Kingdom, France, and the United States, he is considered one of the few "truly international filmmakers".

And why this matters?

In 1977, after a photo shoot in Los Angeles, Polanski was arrested for the rape of 13-year-old Samantha Geimer and pleaded guilty to the charge of unlawful sex with a minor. He was released from prison after serving 42 days and was told he would be put on probation. When he learned that the judge planned to renege on that promise, he fled to Paris before sentencing.

No extradition - even after several attempts by the US he remains at large. Looks like Harvey might be taking cues from a master.

Harvey Weinstein in the media

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The New York Times ran an article about how Mr. Weinstein was using his position of power to have sex with actresses - this had been going on for decades. Mr. Weinstein has subsequently been  fired from his company. One story and one tweet:

From Sharon Waxman writing at The Wrap:

‘Harvey Weinstein’s Media Enablers’? The New York Times Is One of Them
A whole lot of fur has been flying since last Thursday, when The New York Times published a game-changing investigative story about Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct that in lightning speed brought the mogul to his knees.

He apologized and took an immediate leave of absence from the company he co-founded, but that wasn’t enough. His board members and legal advisers have been resigning en masse. And as new, ugly details emerge of three decades of settlements for sex-related offenses, he’s quickly becoming a national pariah.

I applaud The New York Times and writers Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey for getting the story in print. I’m sure it was a long and difficult road.

Except, a few years ago:

In 2004, I was still a fairly new reporter at The New York Times when I got the green light to look into oft-repeated allegations of sexual misconduct by Weinstein. It was believed that many occurred in Europe during festivals and other business trips there.

And (of course):

The story I reported never ran.

After intense pressure from Weinstein, which included having Matt Damon and Russell Crowe call me directly to vouch for Lombardo and unknown discussions well above my head at the Times, the story was gutted.

Follow that up with this pitch-perfect tweet from Laurie Stark:

Remember: The Weinstein Company didn't fire Harvey because they found out he was a sexual predator. They fired him because WE found out.

Absolutely correct.

Oh the horror

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We have all been there with at least one of these:

Words to remember

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Now that we are recovering from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, the reports are coming in as to what people did right to prepare and what they did wrong. Peter over at Bayou Renaissance Man has an excellent summary with links: 

Lessons learned from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria
After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, I wrote a series of "lessons learned" points, which I combined into an article on this blog some time later.  It's consistently among the most viewed articles here, so I hope it's done some good.

As the wider picture is emerging after Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, Hurricane Irma hit Florida, and Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico over the past couple of months, there have been more useful lessons coming out of the experiences of my correspondents (and from news media articles).  I'm going to summarize some of them here.  I'll add to this article in future (with a link to it at the time) as more information comes out.

Peter then closes with this video clip from FEMA administrator Brock Long:

Words to the wise. Be prepared.

What with the NFL getting all boring and politically correct, it might be time to switch to this league - from the Washington Free Beacon:

Lingerie Football League Responds to NFL: ‘We Stand!’
The all-woman league formerly known as the Lingerie Football League announced this week its belief that America's flag and national anthem are "far too sacred" to protest.

The league, recently rebranded as the Legends Football League, said in a Tuesday statement that its players would not be taking a knee during the national anthem as many of their male counterparts in the NFL have done.

"The LFL recognizes everyone's First Amendment right to protest, but our nation's flag and anthem are far too sacred," the league said. "Too many fellow Americans have made the ultimate sacrifice, so that our flag and anthem continue in all its majesty."

Don't watch football but I might check out a game or two...

Doing business - an unfair advantage

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Seems like Burger King is feeling some hurt in Russia and wants to have things redressed - from Newsweek:

BURGER KING RUSSIA WANTS 'IT' MOVIE BANNED BECAUSE PENNYWISE THE CLOWN IS 'EXACT COPY' OF MCDONALD'S RIVAL CLOWN
Pennywise the Clown from It isn’t just terrorizing the kids of Derry; he’s also struck fear in the heart of Burger King Russia.

The burger chain’s Russian operation has filed a complaint with the country’s anti-monopoly business board to ban the hit Warner Bros. movie because they think it constitutes free marketing for rival McDonald’s, which is also represented by a clown—the less murderous Ronald McDonald. No, seriously.

In the complaint, filed last week and obtained by Russian financial publication Vedomosti, Burger King bemoaned unfair competition, claiming the “protagonist of the movie,” Pennywise, “is an exact copy” of Ronald McDonald, "including the color range and the [balloons] with which the clown lures children.” The company believes that this violates Russia’s advertising laws.

I find it funny that Burger King is calling the McDonald's clown creepy:

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Heh - Pennywise meets his end

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The end of it:

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This cute little blooper slipped by the editors - from the New York Times:

Saudi Textbook Withdrawn Over Image of Yoda With King
High school students in Saudi Arabia opened their social studies textbooks this week to find that the Force was with them.

In a lesson about the United Nations was a historic photograph of King Faisal. To his right stood Yoda, the Jedi master from the “Star Wars” films.

One ruled Saudi Arabia for 11 years, outlawed slavery, spread public education and introduced television to his country.

The other was adept with a light saber, trained Luke Skywalker and lived for more than 800 years.

How they had ended up together in a textbook in a country with no public movie theaters was anyone’s guess. Even the Saudi artist who created the image had no idea.

"I am the one who designed it, but I am not the one who put it in the book,” said the artist, Abdullah Al Shehri, by phone from Riyadh.

The image was part of a series in which Mr. Shehri, who is 26 and goes by the nickname Shaweesh, mixes pop culture icons into historic photographs. He said he got the idea while looking through photo archives from the Middle East.

Here is Shaweesh's image:

20170924-yoda.jpg

The actual scene is from the signing the United Nations Charter in San Francisco in 1945. Quite the moment in history.

Sincerest form of flattery

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From the New York Post's Page Six - a New York City celebrity site:

New York women are dropping thousands to look like Ivanka Trump
A New York plastic surgeon says that since the 2016 Republican primaries, he has seen a deluge of patients who want to look like Ivanka Trump.

Dr. Norman Rowe says that since last summer, up to 50 clients have asked him to give them the Ivanka look — which he describes as widened cheekbones, a slender nose and large eyes.

Dr. Rowe says that patients can spend between $30-40,000 to achieve the look with temporary fillers and Botox, or $45-50,000 for what he calls the “Permanent Ivanka” — a version achieved with cheek implants and rhinoplasty. “I never saw [anyone drawing inspiration from Ivanka’s face] before the primary,” said Rowe, “since the summer of ’16 . . . [it’s been] maybe four a month; one a week.”

And the number of people requesting a Chelsea Clinton makeover?

Heh - quote of the day

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There is an Icelandic advice columnist who writes at the Reykjavík Grapevine - tonight, this was one of her comments (the question was about dating and manners):

What Icelandic guy took you on a date? I didn’t even know that was a thing Icelandic people did? I thought we just stayed over at each other’s houses until someone got pregnant?

Good riddance - Seattle Mayor Ed Murray

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From The Seattle Times:

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray resigns after fifth child sex-abuse allegation
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray resigned Tuesday, just hours after new allegations that he sexually abused a younger cousin decades ago in New York.

Murray, a former Democratic state legislator elected mayor in 2013, said in a statement he is resigning effective 5 p.m. Wednesday.

“While the allegations against me are not true, it is important that my personal issues do not affect the ability of our City government to conduct the public’s business,” Murray said in a statement.

City Councilmember Bruce Harrell will be become mayor, and decide within five days whether to fill out the remainder of the term, the statement says.

The Seattle Times reported Tuesday morning on the allegations by Murray’s cousin, Joseph Dyer, 54, who has become the fifth man to publicly accuse Murray of sexual abuse.

So I guess that Mr. Dyer either has some incriminating goods or refused to be bought off. Needless to say, there are a lot of comments to this article - these two caught my eye:

What a disgusting human being.  Liar, sex offender and politician.  Doesn't get much lower than that!

and

I feel a little bit sorry for the homosexual movement. They hitched their wagon to this guy, and got burned for it. Murray has only reinforced the worst perceptions people have of homosexuals.

True that - the 3.8% are having their noses rubbed in it now.

Great short video - I love our language and find words and their origins to be fascinating:

Well crap - R.I.P. Dr. Jerry Pournelle

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From his son Alex posting on Jerry's website:

I’m afraid that Jerry passed away
We had a great time at DragonCon
He did not suffer.

Jerry was one of my favorite writers and he also originated The Iron Law of Bureaucracy:

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.

So true.

Great news - from the Cleveland, Ohio FOX affiliate:

Cleveland police, EMS unions refuse to hold flag at game after Browns players kneel
There is new fallout from the fierce debate over Cleveland Browns players kneeling during the national anthem.

Cleveland safety forces have backed out of a plan to hold a large flag on the field for the opening game.

A dozen Browns players created a firestorm during a recent preseason game by not standing during the anthem. They created the largest demonstration in the NFL during the anthem since former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick started his protest more than a year ago.

And two reactions to this little tantrum:

EMS union president Daniel Nemeth said it sounded great until a group of Browns players took a knee during the anthem.

"This hit home with me. I am a veteran, an 8-year veteran with the U.S. Marine Corp. So, to disrespect the flag by taking a knee is not something I was going to be a part of," Nemeth said.

We tracked down police union president Steve Loomis out of state at a police convention.

"I’m here at a national police convention, and soon as they hear that I'm from Cleveland, the first question is ‘What about those stinking Browns?'" Loomis said. "So if the ownership of the Browns and the league are going to allow that type of stuff to happen, and then come to us and say, ‘We want you to help us with the flag,’ that's hypocritical. We're not gonna participate.”

Good - let the adults act adult and the children demonstrate their childishness. It will be interesting to see the teams finances in six months - a lot of people are turned off by this kind of behavior. It is not edginess, it is just disrespectful.

Lynn Yaeger is a "fashion editor" at Vogue magazine and is enjoying her fifteen minutes of fame for this article:

Melania Trump’s Hurricane Stilettos, and the White House’s Continual Failure to Understand Optics
Oh, Melania.

In the words of the late, great Lou Reed, you “couldn’t hit it sideways.”

First the now–First Lady (perhaps unwittingly) plagiarizes Michelle Obama in her convention speech, then she takes as her platform a crusade against bullying—when she is married to unquestionably the greatest cyber bully in political history—and now this!

This morning, Mrs. Trump boarded Air Force One wearing a pair of towering pointy-toed snakeskin heels better suited to a shopping afternoon on Madison Avenue or a girls’ luncheon at La Grenouille.

While the nation is riveted by images of thousands of Texans wading with their possessions, their pets, their kids, in chest-high water, desperately seeking refuge; while a government official recommend that those who insist on sheltering in place write their names and social security numbers on their arms, Melania Trump is heading to visit them in footwear that is a challenge to walk in on dry land.

What Ms. Yaeger failed to mention is that FLOTUS changed on Air Force One and deplaned wearing tennis shoes:

20170830-flotus.jpg

Picture from The Daily Caller

What makes this even more interesting is to take a look at Ms. Yeager herself - Blazing Cat Fur posted this tweet that is worth sharing:

20170830-yaeger.jpg

If this is what passes for fashion in New York City, I sure am glad that I live in redneck country. Talk about needing some eye bleach - I cannot unsee this harridan.

From Venkatesh Rao writing at Ribbon Farm:

The Premium Mediocre Life of Maya Millennial
A few months ago, while dining at Veggie Grill (one of the new breed of Chipotle-class fast-casual restaurants), a phrase popped unbidden into my head: premium mediocre. The food, I opined to my wife, was premium mediocre. She instantly got what I meant, though she didn’t quite agree that Veggie Grill qualified. In the weeks that followed, premium mediocre turned into a term of art for us, and we gleefully went around labeling various things with the term, sometimes disagreeing, but mostly agreeing. And it wasn’t just us. When I tried the term on my Facebook wall, and on Twitter, again everybody instantly got the idea, and into the spirit of the labeling game.

Some definitions:

Premium mediocre is the finest bottle of wine at Olive Garden. Premium mediocre is cupcakes and froyo. Premium mediocre is “truffle” oil on anything (no actual truffles are harmed in the making of “truffle” oil), and extra-leg-room seats in Economy. Premium mediocre is cruise ships, artisan pizza, Game of Thrones, and The Bellagio.

Premium mediocre is food that Instagrams better than it tastes.

Premium mediocre is Starbucks’ Italian names for drink sizes, and its original pumpkin spice lattes featuring a staggering absence of pumpkin in the preparation. Actually all the coffee at Starbucks is premium mediocre. I like it anyway.

Adding this to my everyday vocabulary. I love it!

Talk about punching back twice as hard - from Media-ite:

University Professor Fired for Suggesting Hurricane Destruction is ‘Instant Karma’ for Trump Winning Texas
A now-fired professor from the University of Tampa indicated that the death, damage, and destruction wreaked upon Texans due to Hurricane Harvey is “instant karma” for President Donald Trump winning the state in the 2016 presidential election.

“I don’t believe in instant Karma but this kinda feels like it for Texas. Hopefully this will help them realize the GOP doesn’t care about them,” tweeted Ken Storey, the former college professor whose comments have garnered national media attention — including at least three segments on Fox News and Fox Business Network today alone.

Storey went on to apologize for his insensitive remarks and deleted the controversial tweet. However, his apology-tweet was not taken well, as it has over 2000 replies and less than 100 likes — reaching “The Ratio” level of poor Twitter form.

Go ahead and virtue signal - just understand that your actions have consequences. From The University of Tampa website:

On Sunday, Aug. 27, visiting assistant professor of sociology Kenneth Storey made comments on a private Twitter account that do not reflect UT's community views or values. We condemn the comments and the sentiment behind them, and understand the pain this irresponsible act has caused.

Storey has been relieved of his duties at UT, and his classes will be covered by other sociology faculty.

As Floridians, we are well aware of the destruction and suffering associated with tropical weather. Our thoughts and prayers are with all impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

Well spoken.

Political correctness gone amok - ESPN

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This just beggars the imagination - from The Washington Times:

ESPN blasted for political correctness after pulling announcer Robert Lee from UVa football game
Apparently, even being Asian doesn’t mean people won’t take you for being a white nationalist.

ESPN confirmed Tuesday night that it had decided to pull an announcer from calling a University of Virginia football game because his name is Robert Lee. This Robert Lee is Asian.

“We collectively made the decision with Robert to switch games as the tragic events in Charlottesville were unfolding, simply because of the coincidence of his name. In that moment it felt right to all parties,” reads the ESPN statement posted at the popular Fox Sports college-football blog Outkick the Coverage.

And of course, no heads will roll for this - just another day in the world of diversity - Hail Diversity!

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