December 4, 2022

How many people should be traveling to Antarctica every year? Was that "rogue wave" a wake up call?

I've already blogged about the rogue wave that killed one cruise passenger, but I want to take up the question whether Antarctica ought to be visited at all anymore — or at least not routinely by bucket-listers on cruise ships.

I'm reading "Rogue Wave Strikes Cruise Ship, Killing a Passenger and Injuring 4 Others/The passengers were hurt after a large, unpredictable wave hit the ship, which was traveling toward the Antarctic, Viking Cruises said" (NYT):

Tourism to the Antarctic has steadily increased in the last 30 years, with 74,401 people traveling there in the 2019-20 season, according to the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators. Roughly 6,700 people traveled there in the 1992-93 season, according to the association....

December 3, 2022

At the Saturday Night Café...

 ... go ahead and talk about anything.

I've got exactly 2 TikToks to show you tonight.

1. "The Lord... maketh me to lie down in green pastures," it says in Psalm 23, but is it really a good idea to lie down in a pasture? I see a problem (or 2). But this lady lies down. She's got her idea. She wants to see what animal comes to her first.

2. Thoreau wrote: "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away." And here is that man, God bless him.

"When you run, you get out in nature, you see things, breathe great air, smile at other humans, bump into friends... in a pool..."

"... you’ve got those horrid goggles on, you’re inhaling smelly water, seeing nobody, discombobulated, repeating, repeating, repeating, like a sprat in an aquarium, or a prisoner in the exercise yard. That’s going to give you mental health issues, that is. Not solve them. And if you do go and try to have fun, especially with your children, they come over and tell you to stop having fun. No diving! No bombing! No running! What the hell are you allowed to do? Just grind up and down, or stand there in the shallow end, talking about your divorce, or the pizza you’re going to have later? I gave up trying to teach my children to swim.... Swimming beautifully is just another dreary middle-class accomplishment like skiing and bridge and playing the cello — an indicator of wealth and class and very little else."

Writes Giles Coren in "No one’s impressed by your hypothermia/Addicts think their icy dips sharpen the mind, but what addled lunatic wants to go swimming outdoors in December?" (London Times).

By the way, I love his podcast, "Giles Coren has no idea," where he brainstorms with his wife about what he should write about in his column. The 2 of them talk very fast, so if you like to hear smart married people banter, this is just great.

"It almost feels like the millennial pink of yesteryear run through an algorithm to make it feel 'post-pandemic' — that kind of Roaring Twenties redux...."

"... I will say the idea of wearing this shade of pink appeals more to me right now than wearing muted pink — say, millennial pink."/"Pantone identifies it as a 'hybrid color,' or 'a carmine red that does not boldly dominate but instead takes a "fist in a velvet glove" approach.' They also say it 'welcomes anyone and everyone.' But it’s interesting that most of us think of it as closer to pink than red."/"Pink is a fact of life, and it does feel that the brash maximalism of Ms. 18-1750 suits our current moment much better than a more restrained cotton candy or carnation shade."

From "Pantone’s Color of the Year Was Made for the Metaverse/Say hello to Viva Magenta, the color no one asked for, coming to a world where no one lives" (NYT).

Here's the 18-1750 swatch (which looks pretty red to me):

"He made sure I was aware that he was taking me to one of the finest Italian restaurants in New York. He knew the owner..."

"... who was John Huston’s father-in-law. He was acquainted with just about everybody. And he was interested in everything. He spoke of paintings and antique furniture and the joys of the English countryside. He was as charming that evening as he had been rude the first time we met. I remember his taking a sip of wine and looking at me for a long moment through the candlelight. 'I would rather be dead than fat,' he said."

Wrote Patricia Neal — the actress and Roald Dahl's first wife —  about her first date with Dahl, quoted in "Making It Big/In Roald Dahl’s stories, cruelty begets cruelty, children grow large, adults grow small, and everyone is trapped in a fun house of dirty, depthless mirrors"  (NYRB).

"During the trial, prosecutors revealed to the jury that Weinstein underwent surgery in 1999 for Fournier’s Gangrene, which required doctors..."

"... to remove some of his scrotum. '... Because of an infection, his testicles were actually taken from his scrotum and put into his inner thighs,' the lead prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Paul Thompson, told the jury at the beginning of the trial.... In October, the jury was shown photos.... Now, as deliberations have begun, the verdict on three charges, all pertaining to Jane Doe #1, will largely rely on Weinstein’s genitalia.... During her testimony, Jane Doe #1... tearfully told the jury that Weinstein demanded she 'suck his balls'.... Rehashing the graphic details, she said, 'He forced me to do what he asked… I was crying, choking.' But during cross-examination, one of Weinstein’s attorneys, Alan Jackson, asked Jane Doe #1 how Weinstein’s 'balls were in your mouth,' if he does not have testicles. 'The reason that you changed your story is because you realized at some point that Mr. Weinstein does not have testicles in his scrotum'.... She... said she never changed her story...."

From "Harvey Weinstein’s Abnormal Testicles Are Key Focus of Final Arguments in Trial/Numerous women accusing Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault have testified about his medical condition" (Variety).

Sorry for the ugliness. It's an interesting evidence issue, and we've been following the dreadful story of Harvey Weinstein. His lawyers say the incident never happened, and the jury may find reasonable doubt. 

"In 2014, Mr. Clever was living in a tiny apartment in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, with no furniture aside from a rented Steinway grand."

"At night, he would curl up on a twin mattress beneath the piano, relying on it to block the sun. By day, he would have gatherings with fellow New York University students. At one of them, Ms. Chen — a native of Zhejiang, China, who had recently arrived to study creative writing — played the piano alongside him. The two fell in love."

I love these NYT hunt-for-real estate columns but have never before felt inclined to blog one. But that paragraph was just so great, right down to the name Clever (Henry M. Clever).

The article is "Bidding on a Brooklyn Brownstone, With a Baby on the Way. Which One Did They Buy?/He had his eye on architectural details and rental revenue. She wanted a close-knit community and a space with room for the grand piano that started their relationship. Here’s what they found."

Clever, it turns out, is not a professional pianist. The man who slept under a grand piano is a robotics engineer.

"Larry Wallach’s Long Island–based sloth business, Sloth Encounters, charges interested parties $50 per half-hour to encounter his sloths."

"'Feeding them, petting them, and even holding our sloth babies!' The company’s website claims its two-room storefront across from Carvel in Hauppauge is a very close environmental approximation to 'the jungles of Costa Rica' and notes that should you wish to buy a sloth, your admission fee will go toward your purchase.... 'This isn’t a zoological park... It’s literally an old pool store that he blacked out the windows and put some fake plants inside.'"

From "Sloths Are Tearing Apart Suffolk County" (NY Magazine).

Nothing like a famous last name and a Harvard J.D. and a Harvard M.B.A. to scare the bejesus out of rats.

I'm reading "The Rats Are Absolutely Going to Hate the New Sanitation Commissioner/Jessica Tisch is determined to clean up New York" (NYT)"
Ms. Tisch, 41... is a lifelong New Yorker with a famous last name and three Harvard diplomas, including an M.B.A. and a law degree. Her grandfather and his brother founded the Loews Corporation and, thanks to philanthropic donations, their names grace many buildings in New York, including at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York University and the Children’s Zoo in Central Park....

"The preponderance of certain directors added to the sometimes clubbish vibe: In 1972, Welles and Ingmar Bergman alone..."

"... were responsible for more than a third of what the respondents considered the greatest films of all time.... But when this year’s Sight and Sound list was unveiled on Dec. 1, the list featured surprises galore. Nearly half of the elite Top 10 were newcomers, including No. 1 — a title that very few people saw coming …Chantal Akerman’s 'Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles.'... And she’s not alone. Claire Denis’s 'Beau Travail' is joining her.... Akerman and Denis, the first women to ever appear on the list, made it into the Top 100 in 2012 …"

From "What Makes a Movie the Greatest of All Time?/The much-respected Sight and Sound poll of the best films ever shows that what is valued onscreen has changed over time, sometimes radically" (NYT).

This is an excellent graphic depiction of the history of the poll.

I quoted the part that goes along with the hypothesis I faintly sketched in yesterday's post about the poll "It’s a list of something. The question is what"

... I don't need these critics trying to make up for all their past decades of boosting the work of male film directors... if that's what's going on here.

"One cruise passenger died and four others were injured during an Antarctica voyage this week when a 'rogue wave' slammed into the Viking Polaris..."

WaPo reports.

Musk adds support to my hypothesis.

Me, in the previous post

Hypothesis: He didn't really have the story he wanted, so he went all out to churn traffic on Twitter.

Maybe he intentionally gets things wrong so his antagonists will tweet to correct him. And then everyone can fight about that. What a happening place Twitter is! Let's all go tweet little bits and pieces and see who wins or who's funnier or meaner. And that's how Musk wins. It's not about getting to the truth, but getting everyone on Twitter, tweeting one thing after another. 

Musk, just now:

How elite media is covering Elon Musk's dumping of information about how Twitter helped the Democratic Party in the 2020 election.

First, let me say, I would like a well-written, organized, comprehensive piece of writing explaining this material. Alternatively, show me everything — all the raw material.

Instead, Elon Musk directed us to the Twitter account of Matt Taibbi, and we were expected to receive a long series of tweets and to puzzle through it. Was that to drive massive traffic to Twitter? Was it supposed to be better all fragmented like that?

It certainly wasn't a way to get quick updates to news that was suddenly breaking. It's an old story: Twitter was skewed to favor Democrats. Now, presumably, there's impressive proof. Present the proof in a clear organized fashion!

Musk enlisted Matt Taibbi, so why couldn't Matt Taibbi create a readable document and then just tweet a link to that document?

December 2, 2022

At the Sunrise Café...


... you can talk about whatever you want.

I have 5 TikToks for you this evening. These are the ones I liked.

1. The best way to ask for water.

2. A vertiginous hike.

3. Apparently, in Japan, they like his gingerness.

4. Pickleball — in the Midwest.

5. A springer spaniel running on ice.