April 23, 2022

4 more looks at the misty morning.

I stopped to take a picture of the forest path:


The pale sun at 6:14:


A dash more sun at 6:18:


The long view, at 6:20:


Write about whatever you want in the comments.

"My subscriptions went up massively. That's what's crazy," said Joe Rogan. "During the height of it all, I gained 2 million subscribers...."

"They went for it.... It's fortunate that the people that went for it were CNN, and they're just so untrustworthy. People know how biased they are, and they know how socially weird their fucking anchors are — just these awkward, non-relatable people.... If there's someone on TV... — like Jon Stewart is a great, relatable person who I find to be a brilliant guy, a kind person — if Jon Stewart thinks you're a piece of shit, I'm going to listen. But if Brian Stelter doesn't like you — it doesn't mean anything to me.... [Stelter's] pattern of communication is so strange. It's like: Do you listen to other people? They talk very differently than you...."

From Joe Rogan's episode #1807 (with Douglas Murray), which went up on Spotify yesterday. 

"During the height of it all" refers to a boycott started by Neil Young and aimed at getting Rogan kicked off Spotify.

Misty panorama at sunrise — western view.


(Click and click again to enlarge.)

Shunning the neighbors when you see what they've written on Facebook about "Covid vaccine, various political figures and people with substance abuse issue."

The NYT has an advice column, Social Qs, written by Philip Galanes, that recently published a letter that states a problem I identify with and then frustratingly minimizes the scope of the problem.

Here's the letter:

My husband and I moved to a new city recently. Our next-door neighbors introduced themselves right away, and they were very friendly to us. We hung out a few times. They were fun! Then I added one of them as a friend on Facebook and saw that they spread misinformation about the Covid vaccine, various political figures and people with substance abuse issues. Oof! My husband and I decided we will be polite when we see them, but we won’t drink beers or watch movies with them anymore. Still, they keep inviting us to hang out. I feel awkward refusing their invitations while seeing them across the yard. Should I just explain to them why we don’t want to be friends? 

Okay. That is obviously about people who want to throw out a friendship that already exists because they've discovered on-line writings about politics and social issues that don't match their opinions.

"'The vibes just feel very off,' said Tré Easton, a progressive consultant. Others use words like 'horrible' and 'debacle' to describe a political environment..."

"... that has gone from bad to worse over the last three months. Many fault the White House for steering President Biden too far to the left as he sought to pass social spending legislation stuffed with progressive priorities. Some see the president as a wounded figure who has failed to establish himself as the unequivocal leader of his fractious party.... Some Democratic politicians have begun creating distance between themselves and the president. Senate candidates are stampeding to break with the administration’s immigration policies, for instance. Other moves are more subtle, such as those of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, who quietly removed the president’s name from news releases about federally funded infrastructure projects. 'What you’re seeing is people feeling like it’s time to head for the lifeboats rather than trying to steer the ship,' said Robert Gibbs, a former White House press secretary who worked under Barack Obama...."

From "'It’s Time to Head for the Lifeboats': Democratic Fatalism Intensifies/Strategists and pollsters are increasingly talking about limiting the party’s expected losses in November rather than how to gain new seats" by Blake Hounshell (NYT).

A makeup company uses TikTok to intrude into the Amber Heard/Johnny Depp trial.

@milanicosmetics You asked us… let the record show that our Correcting Kit launched in 2017!đź‘€ #milanicosmetics ♬ International Super Spy - dylan
Here's the NY Post article, "Milani sets record straight on Amber Heard’s Johnny Depp bruises claims":
During opening statements this week, Heard’s attorney claimed that the “Aquaman” actress carried Milani Conceal + Perfect All-in-One Correcting Kit with her throughout her “entire relationship with Johnny Depp” — and suggested she’d used the makeup to cover injuries from Depp’s alleged physical abuse during their relationship.
We may never know if Depp hit Heard in those years, 2014 to 2016, but we do know that the Conceal + Perfect All-in-One Correcting Kit did not hit the market until December 2017.

"Bill Murray’s new film being shut down for an investigation into his alleged 'inappropriate behavior' is taking on a darker tone amid a resurfaced on-set horror story..."

"... that’s kept Hollywood whispering for decades. Disney was allegedly forced to hire bodyguards to protect the cast and crew of 1991’s 'What About Bob?' after the actor hurled a glass ashtray at co-star Richard Dreyfuss and threatened to 'throw' the film’s female producer 'across a parking lot.'... Despite his enduring status as a beloved Hollywood bad boy, Murray has repeatedly been accused of violently clashing with co-stars — from alleged head-butting to 'inexcusable and unacceptable' language — on numerous sets stretching all the way back to the 1970s."

From "Sad tale of Bill Murray’s on-set violence surfaces amid ‘behavior’ investigation" (NY Post).

More stories here: "Bill Murray allegedly behaved inappropriately on his latest film. It’s not new territory" (L.A. Times). 

I'm looking back at my old posts with the "Bill Murray" tag:

In 2015, people were talking about "Living a Bill Murray Life." Murray had composed 7 rules to help you live like him, which was presumably something quite a few of us thought of as a cool thing to do.

In 2016, I featured this Bill Murray quote: "What stops us from looking at ourselves and seeing ourselves is that we’re kind of ugly, if we really, if we look really hard. We’re not who we think we are. We’re not, uh we’re not as wonderful as we think we are."

In 2018, I quoted something Harvey Weinstein had said in 2014: "Being a Murray-ite is a religion, where you can behave as badly as you want to people, and they still love you. I used to feel guilty about behaving badly, and then I met Bill, and it feels so much better."

"I was raised on Proverbs and pushups... I subscribe to Judeo-Christian beliefs... I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ."

"I think if you think about my political ideology, where it really stems from, you know, my ethics and my morals and what I think is right and wrong, you look to ancient Jerusalem, you got ancient Judeo-Christian values. So right and wrong... I also cling to a lot of traditional values and a lot of traditional ideas, because they’ve worked in the past."

"I think that we have bred a generation of soft men and that generation has created a lot of problems in our society and our culture... designed to reclaim and restore masculinity in a society that is ever more dismissive of what it means to be a man."

Those are quotes from Madison Cawthorn, from 2020 and 2021, presented by Politico in an effort to shame him over 2 photographs that show him in what looks like a party setting and wearing women's lingerie, in "Exclusive: Madison Cawthorn photos reveal him wearing women’s lingerie in public setting/The embattled congressman has outraged Republican colleagues with accusations of orgies and drug use." 

Cawthorn is running for reelection and has a lot of rivals. After Politico published this exposĂ©, Cawthorn responded the photos are from some game show on a cruise ship: "I guess the left thinks goofy vacation photos during a game on a cruise (taken waaay before I ran for Congress) is going to somehow hurt me? They’re running out of things to throw at me... Share your most embarrassing vacay pics in the replies."

Cawthorn asks to be treated the same as any other politician with an embarrassing old photograph. But if he's made the masculinity of men a core political value, a photo of him in women's clothes is a different problem for him than it would be for a politician who eagerly embraces an ideology of gender fluidity. 

But I would say that within the tradition of distinct gender roles, there has long been playful cross-dressing. It's perceived as comical precisely because you believe in the immutability of the 2 sexes. That's what's going on in the great movie comedy "Some Like It Hot" — with Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis trying to pass as female in the presence of Marilyn Monroe. Old-time television with Milton Berle and Flip Wilson in drag isn't  hilarious because they were displaying any inner femininity but because people saw them as obvious men wearing women's clothes.

"Vulnerable children are wrongly being given gender hormone treatment by the NHS, Sajid Javid believes, as he prepares to launch an urgent inquiry."

"The health secretary thinks the system is 'failing children' and... is understood to have likened political sensitivities over gender dysphoria to the fears of racism in Rotherham over grooming gangs.... Javid is said to be particularly alarmed by her finding that some non-specialist staff felt 'under pressure to adopt an unquestioning affirmative approach' to transitioning and that other mental health issues were 'overshadowed' when gender was raised.... Referrals have increased 50-fold in the past decade, with far more female-born children now coming forward in a reversal of previous trends.... 'The review has already come across a number of adults that were given these life-changing drugs as children and are now saying, "Why did you do that? Because that wasn’t my problem. I was sexually abused. I was being bullied,"' a health source said.... A senior government source said Javid believes 'far too many public figures have been avoiding [gender issues] for too long' but argued: 'There is a militant lobby that doesn’t want a debate.'... Some around him say the question has been likened to concerns he raised while home secretary about the failure to tackle child exploitation by gangs of predominantly British-Pakistani men in Rotherham. The senior government source said: 'There is the same theme of not being afraid to tackle issues that others might prefer not to talk about.'"

The London Times reports.

April 22, 2022

At the Friday Night Café...

 ... you can talk about whatever you want.

Today's list of TikTok selections goes up to 11. Let me know which ones — which I chose for delightfulness — are your favorite.

1. Ants methodically receive goldfish crackers.

2. Horses make it hard to deliver a political message.

3. Men who love sticks.

4. To annoy her brothers is this girl's career.

5. Did this dog go in the trash?

6. A college degree in theater is absolutely not absolutely useless.

7. A brilliant 3-D portrait of Nikola Tesla.

8. A comedian does impressions of iPhones.

9. Affirming brain differences.

10. Recoating the warehouse floor.

11. Waiting for the statue to throw the ball.

"I'm surprised this story didn't mention that Black women have been wearing their hair shaved to the scalp for decades."

"I'm African American and first cut my hair super short in the mid-1980s and quickly went to peach fuzz. I wore it like that until 5 years ago. Back in the 80s I got occasional stares, but also a lot of compliments, especially from men. By the 90s, I was just one in the crowd. This look is nothing new." 

That's the second-highest-rated comment at "Shaved Heads Have People Buzzing/A shaved head still has the power to shock" (NYT).

Third-highest-rated — though a search of the page for "Jada" turns up nothing: "G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see it!" 

Top-rated: "Bald and balding people need to resist this egregious form of appropriation."

"I should've worked in a pie factory. I knew I missed my calling."


It's only just now that I found a way to fit it on this blog — a goodbye to Gilbert Gottfried.


"I'm here to supervise balloons!" 


"Thank you, mein FĂĽhrer"/"Only Gilbert can get away with that."


"You know, I can't fire you for being inappropriate, because I'm inappropriate. I do many things that are totally inappropriate."

"Although Piketty favors much higher income tax rates ('virtually confiscatory tax rates have been an immense historical success'), policies that redistribute property rather than income are the heart of his program."

"These would include reparations for descendants of enslaved and colonized people, encouraging countries in the global south to tax the fortunes of nonresidents who do business there, cancellation of debts and a program he calls 'inheritance for all,' in which wealth taxes would reduce large fortunes and provide everyone with a financial cushion. He would also take a large measure of control over corporations away from their managers and shareholders and give it to employees, and create 'a system of egalitarian funding for political campaigns, the media and think tanks.'... He is well aware that changes on the scale he is proposing never happen incrementally.... Piketty doesn’t make predictions, but he treats the current system of 'hypercapitalism' as being obviously doomed. Other than socialism, the only real alternatives are authoritarianism, Chinese-style Communism or 'reactionary projects' like ISIS. ... Absent disaster, it seems possible, or even likely, that [incremental adjustments] will move economic policy in the direction Piketty would want... though to an extent that he would consider pathetically inadequate."

From Nicholas Lemann's NYT review of Thomas Piketty's new book "A Brief History of Equality."

"To instill an understanding of consent and body autonomy, we should also let our kids make their own decisions about who they touch (and are touched by)."

"Avoid instructing children to give their friends hugs at the end of each play date, for example, and make sure they understand that they don’t have to be embraced if they don’t want to be, said Emily Rothman, a community health scientist at the Boston University School of Public Health. It’s also wise to talk to kids about pornography from a young age — even as young as kindergarten, Dr. Rothman suggested. You can frame these early discussions as being more about nakedness than about sex, though. 'You can say, "Sometimes grown-ups like to look at naked photos or movies of other grown-ups, and they do it because it’s fun for them and makes them feel good, but we don’t think it’s that good for kids’ brains,"' she said."

From "'Sex Talks' Should Start Earlier Than You Think/Some parents feel awkward and reluctant to discuss bodies, consent and sexuality; their kids pay the price." That's written by Melinda Wenner Moyer, who is "a science journalist and the author of 'How To Raise Kids Who Aren’t Assholes.'"

If because it’s fun and it feels good is the reason to do something, why wouldn't the kid proceed to do whatever seems fun or as if it might feel good?! A silly answer would be: Because it might not be "good for [my] brain." What kid could possibly think: My brain is still developing, so I need to avoid doing the things that adults do for fun and pleasure. They'd have to think it with their incomplete brain. How is that supposed to work?

As for pornography, I should disclose once again that in my childhood home, in the 1950s and 1960s, the new issue of Playboy Magazine was always on the living room coffee table — alongside Life and Look — and we kids, at any age, were completely free to look at it as much as we wanted.

"If you’ll notice, my right hand is in my pocket, so I wasn’t participating in the festival of ice cream."

Said Johnny Depp, quoted in "Photos of Johnny Depp ‘passed out,’ cocaine shown in Amber Heard trial" (NY Post). 

Depp was testifying about photograph that showed him "'passed out' on a couch in Boston with his lap covered in ice cream. "He claimed Heard gave him the pint of ice cream because she 'knew' he would fall asleep with it.... 'That was a wonderful picture for her to take.'"

The NYT takes a close look at those math textbooks the Florida Department of Education rejected.

Now, this is really informative! Thank you, Dana Goldstein and Stephanie Saul, writing in the NYT, for shedding so much light on what had been a puzzling subject. This post is going to be long, so perhaps I should pause and reflect on my feelings as I approach these complicated difficulties. I could rate myself on a scale of 1 to 4 — 

1 — I am just starting.

2 — I have some skills.

3 — I am almost there.

4 — I have it!

The important thing is me and my feelings. Am I confident? Am I already frustrated? Well, let's try. I have some skills. I can delay getting to the more challenging stuff by playfully appropriating this material, which, we're told, is from a geometry textbook that Florida rejected:

The death of an innovative female sculptor — Cynthia “Plaster Caster” Albritton.

 Consequence of Sound reports the death.

Albritton had her first exhibition in New York City in 2000. The following year, she was profiled in Jessica Everleth’s documentary Plaster Caster, and in 2005, she contributed to the 2005 BBC 3 documentary My Penis And I. Albritton has inspired and been referenced in a number of songs, including KISS’ “Plaster Caster,” Le Tigre’s “Nanny Nanny Boo Boo,” Jim Croce’s “Five Short Minutes,” and Momus’ “The Penis Song.”


I was just reading about her yesterday. After listening to the new episode of "A History of Rock Music in 500 Songs" — about "Hey Joe" by The Jimi Hendrix Experience — I found this 2005 London Times article "Hazy days/He arrived as a nobody but immediately had London’s greatest rock stars at his feet. Charles R Cross reveals the wild rise of Jimi Hendrix":

When [The Jimi Hendrix Experience] arrived at the Chicago Hilton [in February 1968], three young women ran up to them excitedly. 
"We want to plaster-cast your Hampton Wick," Cynthia Albritton, 20, announced. She thought talking cockney would make her Chicago accent more worldly. 
Jimi's response: "Oh, yeah. I heard about you. Come up to the room."... 
Cynthia retreated to the bathroom to begin mixing dental plaster while her companions began working on Jimi.... Once he was aroused, they stuck a vase filled with plaster around his penis, and he was told to stay still - and turned on - for one full minute while the plaster dried. ... The room was silent during the moulding.
"It wasn't very sexy, really," Cynthia recalled. "Jimi was one of the first moulds we ever did, and we didn't lubricate his pubes enough. A lot of his pubes got stuck in the plaster, and there was only one way to remove them, which was pull them individually."

Art is difficult. It's not just some party game or device to get close to glamorous celebrities. Albritton's brilliant concept endured, and she belongs in the pantheon of female sculptors.

April 21, 2022

At the Sunrise Café...


.... you can talk about whatever you want.

IMG_0038 2

And here's the photo Meade took of me:


The dramatic clouds quickly resolved into a clear, very sunny day, with a high temperature of 67. And we saw the first sign of the trout lilies, as we enter the second month of spring.

"I’ve now got a waiting list of 45 dads.... Every day, I get messages saying 'Please teach me.' I think it’s going to become a very regular fixture...."

"Children will remember their dad doing their hair before school... I think if I can pass that on to a few more people, by way of a little braiding legacy, then I’ll be really happy."

Said Annis Waugh, quoted in "This hair-braiding class for dads is so popular there’s a wait list/‘Concentration levels were through the roof,’ said Annis Waugh about her students" (WaPo).

"The book, intended for readers ages 18 and older, contains a lengthy trigger warning which includes gratuitous violence, depression, suicide, torture, domestic violence..."

"... eating disorders, hallucinations, misogyny, poisoning, sexual assault, mention of pedophilia, romanticized mental illness, gore, death of a loved one, child abuse, decapitation, female oppression, hostage situation, body shaming, panic attacks, mention of incest. But there was no mention of transphobia - and the woke mob were quick to attack. Szeker has since posted a groveling apology and says the book will be revised to remove the 'offensive' content. She also announced plans to work with 'sensitivity readers' - woke publishing house staff employed to remove supposedly offensive content from books - for the remaining books in the series."

From "Woke TikTok mob forces horror author to CHANGE published debut novel over transgender pedophile character because she failed to mention ‘transphobia’ in lengthy list of trigger warnings printed at start of book" (Daily Mail).

"I was... not the right kind of 'queer.' I was just another 'cis'... gay male—in other words, a privileged and unevolved relic of the past."

"After all, I had my rights—the right to marry, the right to serve openly in the military, the right to assimilate into this oppressive, 'cisheteronormative,' patriarchal society. It was time to make way for a new generation of 'queer,' one that had very little to do with sex-based rights and more to do with abolishing the concepts of sex and sexuality altogether.... Queer theorists insist that subverting the categorizations which have been imposed upon young people—for example, the sex they were 'assigned' at birth—is the ultimate expression of autonomy, and further, the key to liberating society from a system devised largely, so they claim, by cisgender white men.... Gender-nonconformity, after all, is a very common experience for most of us during childhood. I, for one, was relentlessly bullied in grade school for my femininity... But I have grown up to be a well-adjusted, successful, even masculine man.... [T]oday I am... fearful of the radical activists... who push a regressive, anti-liberal agenda that reifies gender stereotypes, downplays the seriousness of long-term medicalization and ultimately seeks to abolish my identity—for without biological sex, there is no homosexuality. Today, the least-accepting spaces for people like me are, of all places, the halls of LGBT rights organizations, where the threat might not be violence but is nevertheless terrible stigmatization and shame."

Writes Ben Appel in "The New Homophobia" (Newsweek). He is describing his experiences interning with "a major LGBTQ-rights organization" and taking the class "U.S. Lesbian and Gay History" at Columbia University.

"One rejected textbook, Florida Reveal Math Grade 1, includes a series of questions under the heading 'Math is… Mindset.'"

"These questions include: 'How can you show that you value the ideas of others?' and 'What helps you understand your partner’s ideas?' The book also encourages students to learn how to 'work together' when doing math and to 'listen to our friends and teachers.' Florida Reveal Math Grade 5, which was also rejected, uses similar prompts to encourage students to think critically about how they work with others in the classroom setting. 'When we do math, we listen to the arguments of others and think about what makes sense and what doesn’t,' the book states in the introduction. Other prompts encourage critical thinking and highlight relationship skills, such as: 'What can I learn from others’ thinking about the problem?' and 'What can you do to help all classmates feel comfortable in math class?' The textbook encourages students to think about how they can 'recognize and respond to the emotions of others' and practice building 'relationship[s]' with classmates."

From "Inside the 'dangerous' math textbooks DeSantis claims would 'indoctrinate students'" (Popular Information).

Is dangerousness really the problem? Shouldn't the state reject the math books because they're not sufficiently about math?

"if Disney wants to pick a fight, they chose the wrong guy. I will not allow a woke corporation based in California to run our state..."

"Disney has gotten away with special deals from the state of Florida for way too long.... Disney thought they ruled Florida. They even tried to attack me to advance their woke agenda."

Said Ron DeSantis, quoted in "Disney to Lose Special Tax Status in Florida Amid ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Clash/Lawmakers in the state voted to revoke the company’s special designation following a dispute with Gov. Ron DeSantis over a new education law" (NYT). 

Disney employs 38 lobbyists in Florida’s capital. Each election cycle, the company gives generous campaign contributions to Florida candidates on both sides of the political aisle. Its theme park mega-resort near Orlando attracts around 50 million visitors a year, powering a Central Florida tourism economy that annually generates more than $5 billion in local and state tax revenue. The upshot: Disney usually gets whatever it wants in Florida. That era ended on Thursday, when the Florida House voted to revoke Disney World’s designation as a special tax district — a privilege that Disney has held for 55 years, effectively allowing the company to self-govern its 25,000-acre theme park complex.

"The shutdown is a stunning and ignominious end to an operation into which CNN had sunk tens of millions of dollars..."

"... from an aggressive nationwide marketing campaign to hiring hundreds of new employees to recruiting big, high-priced media stars, including the former 'Fox News Sunday' anchor Chris Wallace and the former NPR co-host Audie Cornish."

From "CNN+ Streaming Service Will Shut Down Weeks After Its Start/The new corporate owners of CNN are moving to end the new streaming service after a splashy debut" (NYT).

I don't think "tens of millions of dollars" sounds like such a big investment. It seems to me they didn't do enough. The biggest thing they did was entice Chris Wallace. That's a tiny thing to do. Let's not overdo what a failure it was. I wouldn't say "a stunning and ignominious end." I'd say a predictable and dumb fizzle.

What's tens of millions when Elon Musk is offering $45.5 billion to buy Twitter?

ADDED: Here's the top-rated comment: "Speaking as a retiree on a fixed income, how many streaming services is it possible to afford? Ordinary people with modest incomes are being shut out of good content due to affordability. For 40 years I paid for delivery of The Boston Globe and watched TV using an antenna. That was fine. Now everyone wants their money to read or watch anything. It is unsustainable."

Greenwald on the meaning of Marine Le Pen's success.

"Scientists Find No Benefit to Time-Restricted Eating/In a yearlong study, participants who confined meals to certain hours lost no more weight than those who ate at any time."

Writes Gina Kolata (in the NYT). 

But now, a rigorous one-year study in which people followed a low-calorie diet between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. or consumed the same number of calories anytime during the day has failed to find an effect. The bottom line, said Dr. Ethan Weiss, a diet researcher at the University of California, San Francisco: “There is no benefit to eating in a narrow window.”

It seems to me you could still say that by shortening your time period for eating, you might eat less. 

The scientists also found no differences in such risk factors as blood glucose levels, sensitivity to insulin, blood lipids or blood pressure.

“These results indicate that caloric intake restriction explained most of the beneficial effects seen with the time-restricted eating regimen,” Dr. Weiss and his colleagues concluded.

"Roseanne Barr. The embattled 69-year-old comedy legend... The outspoken star... the mother of five... The 'She-Devil' actress...."

I'm noticing the "second mention" silliness in "Unapologetic Roseanne Barr returns, blasts critics: ‘I’m a goddamn American’" (NY Post).

Anyway, she's in the news because there's a documentary about her — “Roseanne: Kicked Out of Hollywood.” We're told it's "on Reelz." I have maxed out on streaming services, if that's what it even is. How are we supposed to keep track? 

It used to be when something was on, it was on the TV that came through the air for free. You had to be careful to find out what time and what channel, because if you missed it, you missed it. But now what's on stays on, but the question is do you get the thing that it's on? And do you have room in your head to care?

But back to the second mention problem — the needless belief that after you've written someone's name, if you need to refer to them again,  you can't just use a pronoun or repeat the name, you have to say something like "the mother of five" or "the 'She-Devil' actress." 

The next article I clicked on at the NY Post — "Fans shade Viola Davis’ ‘cringey’ Michelle Obama portrayal in ‘The First Lady’" — did the same thing: "Michelle Obama... former President Barack Obama’s wife... the mother of two...."

It's come to this.

"There is a tradition in far-right propagandist literature... of a white male hero who rises up against a liberal, racially mixed, feminist, and/or otherwise degenerate society..."

"Jean Raspail’s 1978 dystopic anti-immigrant fantasy The Camp of the Saints is the story of the last surviving white man on Earth; it was a professed favorite of Trump’s immigration advisors. Today, this tradition is alive and well, living on Telegram, Discord, Reddit, Gab, and other online platforms. It’s a turbulent terrain of white male resentment, which found its footing in the 4chan and 8chan ethos of 'There are no girls on the internet' and 'Tits or GTFO' and the ensuing 2014 hate-fueled doxing of and attacks on female journalists known as Gamergate. Today, its center is held by a cluster of stars, whose celebrity has become increasingly mainstream.... [W]e find chauvinists like Mike Cernovich, whose testosterone-fueled Persicope rants garner millions of views, or Tim 'Baked Alaska' Gionet, who faces charges relating to his involvement in the January 6th Capitol Hill riot and previously livestreamed his trolling of 'fat' female pro-immigration activists with openly racist and smooth-chested attention whore Catboy Kami, whose real name is not quite pinned down, but who livestreams himself in anime costumes or blackface and says seriously effed up things to teenagers on Omegle and once went on a 'hilarious' hot date with podcaster Nick Fuentes, the bigot-king of the Groypers, who targets rightwing pundits and … okay, I’ll stop there.... It can all just seem like a big, stupid joke until, suddenly, it’s not."

 Writes Ian Allen, "a playwright and journalist," in The New Republic, in " We Are Sorry to Say That You Should Take Tucker Carlson’s Testicle-Tanning Stuff Seriously/The internet had a wild time mocking his recent segment on masculinity, but the Fox News host's obsessions come straight from the literary canon of the crypto-fascist right."

I wasn't familiar with the name Ian Allen. Is this a playwright I should know? Curious, I found "Toning down the sex and violence" (WaPo, October 20, 2015). Allen was the artistic director of Cherry Red Productions, known for its "raunchy" productions, which was reopening under the name the Klunch.

The Ukrainian postal service issued stamps showing a Ukrainian fighter giving a Russian warship the finger.

The NYT reports. 

People lined up for hours to get these stamps — a million were printed — which quickly sold out.

The image related to an incident early in the conflict, when a warship demanded the surrender of a small group of fighters guarding a rocky island in the Black Sea. The gesture by the fighter was a visual representation of the profane phrase one of the island’s defenders used in a radio transmission, in which he told the warship where to go....

That's a wordy way to avoid quoting the phrase "Russian warship, go fuck yourself." But the stamp avoided displaying the words. It switched to the wordless finger. 

And then, the day after the stamps came out, the Ukrainians hit a Russian ship — the Moskva — and the ship later sank.

"The human brain, having evolved to seek safety in numbers, registers loneliness as a threat. The centers that monitor for danger, including the amygdala, go into overdrive..."

"... triggering a release of 'fight or flight' stress hormones.... Subconsciously, you start to view other people more as potential threats — sources of rejection or apathy — and less as friends, remedies for your loneliness... Loneliness is a subjective feeling. People can have a lot of contact and still be lonely, or be perfectly content by themselves. For many New Yorkers, the pandemic brought too much contact with others — in crowded apartments, workplaces or subways. But the contacts were not necessarily fulfilling or desired and maybe seemed dangerous. This, too, is a condition for loneliness." 

From "How Loneliness Is Damaging Our Health/Even before the pandemic, there was an 'epidemic of loneliness,' and it was affecting physical health and life expectancy" (NYT).

This is a long article, and the focus is on how the Covid lockdown exacerbated feelings of loneliness, but there was also some stray information about how isolation may have increased our susceptibility to the disease.

We're told that those “fight or flight” hormones — brought on by loneliness — cause the body to produce "extra inflammatory cells to repair tissue damage and prevent infection, and fewer antibodies to fight viruses." That is, the lockdown isolation — if you reacted by getting lonely — made you "less resistant to" the disease and "less responsive to the vaccine, because you have fewer antibodies to fight it."

I don't think I've seen that health issue discussed before. Does the body have to "decide" whether to go with inflammatory cells or antibodies? I can see why withdrawing from the world might cause the body to produce fewer antibodies, but this is saying that the loneliness caused by isolation generates hormones that restrict the production of antibodies. Is that true?

I was also struck by the one appearance of religion, from a man whose wife had died: "Who doesn’t see suicide as an option at that juncture of life? But I’m religious, and that would terminate any chance I have of being with my wife or my loved ones when I’m dead. I can’t jeopardize that possibility."

April 20, 2022

At the Sunrise Café...


... you can talk about whatever you want. 


Unlike Libs of TikTok, I select things from TikTok just to delight and amuse.

1. A little boy has learned to stop and smell the flowers.

2. Learning to speak with an American accent.

3. Just a really good looking sheep.

4. That trout can't believe it took the bait against... so tedious.

5. Can a schnauzer distinguish the "go" command from "o," "g," and "goat"?

6. Birds get mad.

7. The menu at the Amadeus Café has musical notation on it that some people can sing.

8. French is funny when literally translated.

9. Ingenious cabinetry.

"President Biden's inner circle has been discussing delaying the repeal of Title 42 border restrictions, now set to end May 23..."

"... according to a source with direct knowledge of the internal discussion... The White House is looking for ways to buy time to avoid a massive influx of migrants that would add to already-historic border numbers. That already endangers Democratic incumbents in states that could decide the Senate majority in November. Biden officials recognize they're in a jam: moderate Democrats are pounding on them to delay the repeal but doing so would inflame the party's progressive base.... Title 42 has been used for approximately 1.7 million migrant expulsions. Border apprehensions last month climbed to 221,000, the highest level since 2000."

Axios reports.

"If you are attempting to persuade this creep's defenders, specifically, and not a general audience, that what [Taylor] Lorenz did was ethical, and that the creep's identity is newsworthy, you have made a category error...."

"You are debating logic and facts with frothing bigots with a bone-deep opposition to your entire project. This new right fundamentally doesn’t want 'newsgathering' to happen. They want a chaotic information stream of unverifiable bullshit and context collapse and propaganda.... It’s an ideologically coherent opposition to the liberal precepts of verifiability and transparency, and the holders of those precepts are too invested in them to understand what their enemy is doing. The creep’s account [Libs of TikTok], everyone in the press should understand, is the model for what they will be replaced with.... All I would like my unbiased, objective, nonpartisan reporter friends to understand is that they are debating with people that consider them the enemy not just in a partisan sense but in an existential one. The only correct posture to take in response is to make yourself an existential threat to their movement."

Writes Alex Pareene, in "They Know How Journalism Works! They’re Just Against It!/They want someone to knock on your door, too. Not to put you in the newspaper, though" (Substack).

That rant is getting a lot of attention. It's inherently contradictory — a rant against chaos. But I thought you should see that. I guess by Pareene's lights, I'm a creep, because I'm just holding something up, giving it visibility, where it will be seen by people who may feel moved to laugh or attack.

ADDED: The "creep" usage makes me long for simpler days, when Eggagog was endlessly alarmed about THE CREEPS.

"Asked about the decision by a U.S. district judge halting the mandate this week, President Biden was somewhat noncommittal about whether people should keep masking — 'Up to them,' he said — and whether the federal government would appeal the ruling. "

"There’s certainly something to be said for Biden having this difficult political decision taken out of his hands (even as public opposition to this particular policy might be overstated). But the method also matters: a single district judge in Florida effectively ending a policy nationwide. This is something — usually called a 'national,' 'nationwide' or 'universal' injunction, or in this case technically a 'vacatur' — that has happened with increasing frequency in recent years. And the trend has spurred a discussion about whether it’s good for our system of government for individual judges to wield such power so frequently."

Writes Aaron Blake in "The rise of solo judges nixing nationwide policies" (WaPo).

As Blake notes, the opposition to this sort of judicial power shifts from one partisan side to the other and depends on who is in power. It's hard to decide whether to be for or against it across the board. But it's only one judge until there's an appeal, and in the case of the mask mandate, you can read between the lines that Biden is glad a judge ended it for him. 

For some rhetorical reason, Ted Cruz needed to conjure up the image of "Mickey and Pluto going at it."

Trump echoes Noam Chomsky says Glenn Greenwald.

Greenwald tweets:
Trump echoes Noam Chomsky in correctly pointing out that the only viable, rational, humane policy toward the war in Ukraine is for the two sides to sit down with international help to find a diplomatic solution to end of this carnage and destruction.
Here's Trump's statement:
It doesn’t make sense that Russia and Ukraine aren’t sitting down and working out some kind of an agreement. If they don’t do it soon, there will be nothing left but death, destruction, and carnage. This is a war that never should have happened, but it did. The solution can never be as good as it would have been before the shooting started, but there is a solution, and it should be figured out now—not later—when everyone will be DEAD!

She didn't decline to comment!

Christina Pushaw tweets:
Why Taylor Lorenz gave me a “deadline” of an hour to respond, at 8pm last night: She WANTED to write in Washington Post that “@GovRonDeSantis Press Secretary declined to comment on her relationship with @libsoftiktok.” As if it’s shameful to follow / like / RT the account. NOPE.

Here's the screen shot of their email exchange: 

"Quiz: How Does Your Diet Contribute to Climate Change? See how your food choices compare with those of other Americans."

I took that NYT "quiz":


It was hard to look at their choices and pick what was "most similar" to what I ate yesterday for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, especially since I don't eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but also since none of the choices were much like what I eat. If I ate 3 meals a day of the sort that they are displaying, I think I would gain a pound a week.

ADDED: The very next article I read in the NYT was "Feeling the Squeeze? How to Be a Thrifty Traveler as Prices Soar/Inflation is here and it’s wreaking havoc on travel budgets. Our Frugal Traveler columnist on how to strategize in a world of rising prices." 

Where's the guilt-inducing quiz about the contribution to climate change for this one? There isn't even a passing mention of climate change, even though the obvious "thrifty" answer for folks "feeling the squeeze" is to go nowhere. The food quiz pushes you to give up meat. 

The food quiz pushes you to give up meat. Why not give up travel? Then it won't "wreak havoc" on your budget and — what should be more important within the NYT system of virtue — it won't wreak havoc on the climate.

But how could the NYT give up promoting travel? All those articles and ads. I'm just pointing out the hypocrisy, not expecting anything to change. Other than the climate.

Elon Musk drops a cute clue (presumably that he will be making a tender offer for Twitter stock).


ADDED: At the L.A. Times, Jon Healy has some good detail about what how this move would work, in "Buying Twitter is complicated. Here’s what Elon Musk faces." Excerpt: 

"He said at first he felt she was the 'perfect partner.' They bonded over a love of obscure blues music.... 'Then things just started to change. Or things started to reveal themselves'..."

"... he said, pointing to the fact that Heard would have 'unusual reaction' over small things, such as if he didn’t go to bed at the same time as her.... The actor said that when Heard made her allegations, people in the entertainment industry — where he never had problems over a career of 30-plus years — began to think he was a 'fraud.' ... 'Very strange, when one day you’re Cinderella, so to speak, and then 0.6 seconds [later], you’re Quasimodo. I didn’t deserve that, nor did my children, or the people who had believed in me all these years. . . . I pride myself on honesty. I pride myself on truth,' he said. 'Truth is the only thing I’m interested in. Lies build upon lies build upon lies. It’s too much to cover. I’m obsessed with the truth.'... Depp was also asked about [his text message about her]  'rotting corpse is decomposing' in the 'trunk of a Honda Civic.' Depp said his language and vocabulary was influenced by authors such as Hunter S. Thompson, Philip K. Dick, J.D. Salinger and James Joyce, and sometimes he had a tendency to exaggerate. 'I am ashamed of some of the references I made... I tend to be quite expressive in my writing and after the unfortunate words of Ms. Heard made their way into my heart and my head, those are two very opposing things...."

From "Depp takes stand, says Heard’s abuse allegations are untrue, ‘heinous’" (WaPo). 

At YouTube, there are many clips, long and short, if you want to see how he looks and sounds. He speaks very slowly, haltingly, and often touches his face.

How do you judge the testimony of an actor? He ought to be able to sell the script. Maybe you end up assessing his acting. The writer at the NY Post, Maureen Callahan sneers at his acting/testimony, in "Johnny sinks to new Depps: Star’s testimony a disaster class in acting":

April 19, 2022

At the Sunrise Café...


... you can talk about whatever you want.

When you write, do you work at avoiding the "second mention" and strive to achieve what Fowler mocked as the "cheap ornament" of "elegant variation"?

You know what I mean? What Charles W. Morton called “the 'elongated yellow fruit' school of writing." You've already written "banana," so you have to write something other than "banana."

I'm reading "The Twitter Account That Collects Awkward, Amusing Writing/When writers strive for elegant variations of the same word, the anonymous Second Mentions account takes note" by Naaman Zhou (The New Yorker). Here's the Twitter account: Second Mentions.

I remember laughing over a specific example of this faux fastidiousness half a century ago: A young woman, having written "small house," felt the need, on second mention, to go with "petite edifice."

Zhou writes:

"President Biden has told former President Obama that he is planning to run for reelection in 2024..."

"... two sources tell The Hill."

"I believe he thinks he’s the only one who can beat Trump. I don’t think he thinks there’s anyone in the Democratic party who can beat Trump and that’s the biggest factor," the source familiar with the Obama-Biden talks said. 

I guess that means he thinks the other possible candidates are really not that good, including and perhaps especially his hand-picked choice to follow him, Kamala Harris. The other top choice is Pete Buttigieg. But we don't really get to see who might emerge if Biden would do the right thing and decline to run. 

Here's "The top 10 Democratic presidential candidates for 2024, ranked" by Aaron Blake (at WaPo), putting Biden at #1, followed by Pete Buttigieg, then Kamala Harris, then Elizabeth Warren, and Amy Klobuchar.

WaPo goes after the Twitter feed "Libs of TikTok" — tracing and revealing the name of someone who had been anonymous.

"Meet the woman behind Libs of TikTok, secretly fueling the right’s outrage machine A popular Twitter account has morphed into a social media phenomenon, spreading anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment and shaping public discourse" by Taylor Lorenz. 

Last Thursday, the woman behind the account appeared anonymously on Tucker Carlson’s show to complain about being temporarily suspended for violating Twitter’s community guidelines. Fox News often creates news packages around the content that Libs of TikTok has surfaced.... 

[T]he identity of the operator of Libs of TikTok is traceable through a complex online history and reveals someone who has been plugged into right-wing discourse for two years and is now helping to drive it.... 

A woman at the address listed to [this] name in Los Angeles declined to identify herself. On Monday night, a tweet from Glenn Greenwald confirmed the house that was visited belonged to [her] family....

I guess Lorenz (and WaPo) think this doxxing is acceptable — and good journalism — because the person is opposed to the left and giving visibility to its TikTok videos that might otherwise escape notice. There's this implicit justification for doxxing:

Sandhill cranes at sunrise.

This morning, by Lake Mendota:

"She recalls an airline employee who glanced at her driver’s license and said, 'Oh, Jennifer Grey, like the actress.'"

"When Grey said, 'Actually, it is me,' the woman responded: 'I’ve seen Dirty Dancing a dozen times. I know Jennifer Grey. And you are not her.'... In the two hours she sat on a blue banquette in a Beverly Hills restaurant, matter-of-factly scooping a soft-boiled egg, spreading butter on rye toast and chatting about her memoir, only one person appeared to recognize Grey. The woman’s face lit up, then softened as if she’d spotted an old friend who’d survived a terrible ordeal."

From "Don’t Call Her ‘Baby.’ At 62, Jennifer Grey is Taking the Lead. In her memoir, 'Out of the Corner,' the 'Dirty Dancing' star opens up about rhinoplasty gone wrong, the implosion of her career and why she’s telling her story now" (NYT).

What a terrible mistake it is to think that your off-the-norm feature is dragging down the rest of your good looks rather than what's making you stand out! I was just having a conversation about Gene Tierney, the 1940s actress with an overbite, who said it was in her contract that they couldn't make her get her teeth fixed. Here's her NYT obituary: 

"Joe brings impeccable news judgment, a sophisticated understanding of the forces shaping the world and a long track record of helping journalists produce their most ambitious and courageous work."

Says A.G. Sulzberger, the publisher of The New York Times, quoted in "Joe Kahn Is Named Next Executive Editor of The New York Times" (NYT). 

Mr. Kahn, 57, currently the No. 2-ranking editor at The Times, will take on one of the most powerful positions in American media and the global news business. He is to succeed Dean Baquet, whose eight-year tenure is expected to conclude in June... 

Mr. Kahn has in recent years spearheaded the paper’s efforts to re-engineer its newsroom for the speed and agility required of modern media. He dismantled the print-focused copy desk, expanded the use of real-time news updates and emphasized visual journalism as much as the written word.... 

At the same time, The Times is grappling with shifting views about the role of independent journalism in a society divided by harsh debates over political ideology and cultural identity. Mr. Kahn said securing the public’s trust “in a time of polarization and partisanship” was among his top priorities....

I've been relying on the NYT for longer than Joe Kahn has been alive, and I have never seen anywhere better to go to follow the news and the culture. I criticize what I find in the NYT. That's the #1 thing I do on this blog, but I dearly hope for it to be as good as possible, and I wish Joe Kahn the very best.

"I want a Republican governor and I want to win," said Tommy Thompson, announcing that he will not run for governor again.

We saw him squander the opportunity to win the Senate seat 10 years ago, and he's 80 now, so it was absurd that he was threatening to run. His statement "I want to win" implies his awareness that he wouldn't win (or he doesn't want the blame if the Republicans lose the race for governor again).

Here's the Madison.com article about his announcement. That says that Thompson says that Trump encouraged him to run. The line "I want a Republican governor and I want to win" sounds Trumpish, but that's Thompson's statement about why he's not running.

"Maybe we shouldn't give charismatic people recommending various forms of genocide or apocalypse or self-negation or whatever — maybe you shouldn't give them a bullhorn that can reach the entire planet in a second."

"You should be at least allowed to have that thought — right? — like: shit, I don't know if that's the right thing to do. You know what I mean? If you saw a very charismatic dude in a park making a very convincing argument for why everyone on the planet should kill themselves, you wouldn't be like: hey, man, do you mind if I project you into the homes of everyone on the planet, so they hear your message?"

"So, if you have no censorship, that is what's possible."

"So, from compassion — from wanting our kids to be safe and us to be safe — there's this this thing that sounds like censorship — which it is — but the problem is just what you're saying, which is: Okay, let's do it. You're right! I don't want that weirdo, who's so charismatic, that if I listen to him just for a few minutes, I'll be like: You know what, maybe I should cut my dick off. Whatever the fuck. I don't want that guy talking to everybody."

"That was the Heaven's Gate guy that castrated those dudes."

"They sure did. They did. That was part of the thing. You gotta cut your dick off to get on the spaceship."

"Just your balls. I think you've just got to cut off your balls."

"Oh, just your balls. Whew. I misheard him. That's good news."


That's from the Joe Rogan podcast, Episode #1806 — with Duncan Trussell. I did the transcription of the discussion that begins at 1:26:56. As you can infer, they've been talking about the problem of censorship on Twitter. The one doing most of the talking is Trussell. I've put Joe's contributions in italics.

Here's a video to sharpen your memory of Heaven's Gate: 


"So take a closer look... Do you notice anything about them? Their haircuts, exactly alike. Baggy clothes. No gender. And with every move, they fix their adoring gaze on one man in the room. They call him Do...."

To what extent do we want free speech when the speech shoots instantly everywhere? Joe and Duncan don't mention this, but Elon Musk is a charismatic guy. With a spaceship.

April 18, 2022

At the Sunrise Café...


... you can talk about whatever you want.


"For the past few days, much of the internet has been chuckling over clips from the second season of Tucker Carlson Originals... First, people went wild for a montage from the trailer for the episode 'The End of Men'..."

"... which is so extremely misogynistic and homophobic that it swings around into being unbelievably gay. Then, in an hour-long special previewing the new season, Carlson chatted 'fitness professional' Andrew McGovern, who shed some light on why the trailer shows a naked dude presenting his junk to what looks like a giant, glowing, home COVID test. He suggested that if men want to 'optimize' and take their testosterone 'to another level,' they should try red-light therapy. 'Which is testicle tanning?' Carlson asked." 

From "In Defense of Tucker Carlson Touting ‘Testicle Tanning’" (NY Magazine). 

One way to go viral is to give your haters what makes it very easy for them to laugh at you. What good, by comparison, is dignity... and science? Why would you heat your testicles? Aren't they there to be less warm than the rest of your body? I'm ready to believe America needs better optimized masculinity, but this seems more like Goop for men... Moop.

Here's that trailer:

"What Musk seemingly fails to recognize is that to truly have free speech today, you need moderation. Otherwise just those who bully and harass will be left as they will drive others away."

Said the former Facebook public policy director Katie Harbath, quoted in "Elon Musk wants a free speech utopia. Technologists clap back. Musk’s vision of the Internet is outdated and doesn’t take into account the real world, they say" (WaPo).

That's very well put, right down to the "seemingly."

I think he does know this, and — without digging them out — I think he's made comments conceding that there will still need to be moderation. The questions are about the degree of moderation and the importance of avoiding bias in applying that moderation.

Over on Facebook, one of my friends passed along a tweet that said "[Musk is] not going to encourage 'free speech' he's just going to allow people to say whatever they want, which is not the same thing." 

That seemed intended to evoke only mockery, so I wrote: "The assertion is correct. Musk won't cause people to become more courageous, and under the new conditions, some less than fully courageous people will restrain themselves even more than they do now."

Someone responded: "Don't understand. Can you expand on this?"

So I said: "I am free to answer your question but I am not encouraged. If that is a comprehensible statement, you know the answer. If it is not, I am too discouraged to say more."

"Tom Nelson, a longtime union advocate, is running for the Democratic nomination for Wisconsin’s Senate seat as a genuine populist, not the phony kind with a Harvard degree who affects an accent."

Writes Jennifer Rubin in "Wisconsin’s Tom Nelson reminds Democrats how populists should sound" (WaPo). 

Who's she talking about — "the phony kind with a Harvard degree who affects an accent"? Russ Feingold??! (He went to Harvard, but he's really from Wisconsin, not faking an accent.)

I've been living in Wisconsin since 1984, and I don't know which politicians have affected the accent. But maybe Rubin isn't talking about Wisconsin. She's acting like she's talking about Wisconsin though, so — speaking of phony — I'm expecting her to talk about Wisconsin.

Who, exactly, is being impugned? Someone is terribly fake, apparently, but who? We're not told who this fake-accent Harvard person might be, but we are told the name of someone Nelson views as a role model: William Proxmire, who "popularized the Golden Fleece award to highlight wasteful government spending."

From the comments over there:

"This crackling revival of 'American Buffalo' highlights by contrast the devolution of Mamet’s craft that coincided with the shift in his worldview, from red-diaper baby to apologist for billionaires."

"How could the man who showed us how the powerless are crushed by the lessons of the powerful now argue, both in plays and on television, that the problem flows in the other direction?"

From the NYT review of the current Broadway revival of "American Buffalo" — "Review: In ‘American Buffalo,’ Grift Is the Coin of the Realm/Sam Rockwell, Laurence Fishburne and Darren Criss star in an electric revival of the David Mamet play about capitalism in a junk shop." 

Here's the second-highest-rated comment over there: "No no no. I am happy to cancel this bit of culture out of my life. I will not reward this man. His insanity is detrimental to society at large. My choice. He is the epitome of a ruined legacy." 

And here's something from David Mamet's new book "Recessional: The Death of Free Speech and the Cost of a Free Lunch":

"Making new friends involves many inefficiencies: hanging out for hours on end; buying or preparing food or drinks for people who you may or may not click with; traveling to..."

"... unfamiliar places or homes at appointed times, even when you’re not in the mood; commuting to the gym or the neighborhood park instead of working out at home. Not to mention, maintaining existing friendships also takes work and emotional investment — without any guarantee of a return. If your goal is optimization today, tomorrow or this week, it almost always makes sense to push friendship-building and maintenance down the list of priorities. But I’d suggest that the more important cost-benefit analysis to do is the longer-term one: If your goal is to be grounded and fulfilled over the course of a lifetime, then there is nothing more important than nurturing our essential bonds.... Like so much else about emerging from this pandemic, the key is pushing through the resistance and making a first step.... Is there pleasure — and a certain nobility — in solitude? Of course, especially for introverts like myself. But [Buddha, asked whether] 'good friendship, good companionship, good comradeship' make up half of the spiritual life [said] 'This is the entire spiritual life... good friendship, good companionship and good comradeship.'"

From "One Part of Your Life You Shouldn’t Optimize" (NYT).

"He was a great singer and songwriter. But he had the worst stage fright of anyone I ever met. If not for the stage fright, he would have continued"

Said David Bromberg, about Paul Siebel, quoted in "Paul Siebel, Singer Whose Career Was Notable but Brief, Dies at 84/He arrived on the Greenwich Village folk scene in the mid-1960s and drew comparisons to Dylan. But he left the music business not long after" (NYT).

After Mr. Siebel walked away from the music business, he became a bread baker for a restaurant and a county park worker in Maryland. He leaves no immediate survivors.

"I was an older woman and I couldn’t get hired. I always wanted to travel the world, write and take photographs. I thought why not take 10 years and go?"

"If I run out of money and I’m not a famous writer, I’ll come back and be a Starbucks barista or a Walmart greeter." 

Said Heidi Dezell, 57, quoted in "Want to Retire in Portugal? Here’s What to Know, as Americans Move There in Droves. Retirees are drawn by a low cost of living, healthcare, a sunny climate and tax incentives" (Wall Street Journal). 

For some, Portugal’s newfound popularity comes with a cost. “Americans are challenging the loudness scale,” says Susan Korthase, 71, founder of the Americans & Friends in Portugal Facebook group. She moved to Portugal from Milwaukee in 2010 and says she now sees the “Californiacation” of Portugal. “You hear them in restaurants,” she adds. “Americans laugh with an open mouth and they laugh out loud. Other nationalities have a quiet chuckle.”...

We're being updated on trends by a newspaper that can't spell "Californication." They're writing about laughing while not perceiving the contents of the portmanteau. Maybe the Americans who laugh too much for Milwaukeean taste are getting more of the jokes. 

I think every person in this article is female. It ends with the story of Linda Correll, 52, an Ohioan who found a small apartment in Porto where "When it rains heavily, all the water comes into my apartment."

“I don’t know if I have met any men over 50 who came here by themselves,” says Ms. Correll. “You get a lot of couples, but single women are much more common for some reason.... It’s a safe country, and the people are friendly,” she says. “The healthcare, the food, the whole vibe is the reason I’m here. I don’t have any desire to go back to the States to live.”

She says "for some reason," and then she, unwittingly, gives the reason. You're leaving your home country for some very bland comforts and no excitement. But maybe this article will prompt some older male Wall Street Journal readers to quit their job now and retire to Portugal. There are lots of health-and-safety-loving Midwestern ladies there longing — in their leaky apartments — for a man maybe something like you.

ADDED: For those who think the Red Hot Chili Peppers coined the word "Californication," here's the Wikipedia article, "Californication":

April 17, 2022

At the Easter Sunrise Café...


... you can talk about whatever you want.

I've got 9 TikTok videos this time — carefully culled and curated. Let me know which ones you like.

1. An Easter extravaganza from The Bradys.

2. A potato and egg recipe from China.

3. An eyeful.

4. Click this only if you love kittens... and motherhood.

5. Click this to see a working dog. 

6. And this one is for parrot lovers.

7. Dad asks "What did you say I looked like?"

8. Using crochet to make bicyclists more visible.

9. The old have taken over TikTok.

"The Hillsdale charter schools are neither owned nor managed by Hillsdale. Instead, the schools enter agreements to use the Hillsdale curriculum..."

"... and the college provides training for faculty and staff, as well as other assistance — all free of charge. By offering these services, Hillsdale seems to be trying to thread a needle — creating a vast K-12 network that embraces its pedagogy and conservative philosophy, in many cases taught by its graduates, while tapping into government money to run the schools.... While many educators applaud the phonics and rigor, they question the infusion of conservative politics into the curriculum, particularly in history. Hillsdale’s 1776 Curriculum... appears to be partly an outgrowth of President Donald J. Trump’s 1776 Commission.... Sean Wilentz, a professor at Princeton who was one of the chief critics of The Times’s 1619 Project, also criticized the 1776 Curriculum, calling it overly positive. 'It talks about the enormity of slavery, but in almost every case, everything that’s bad about America will be undone by what is good,' Dr. Wilentz said. 'Almost, literally, that American ideals will overcome whatever evils may be there.' Hillsdale’s history curriculum also appears to take on the modern liberal state. A school curriculum guide posted in one school’s charter lists the book 'New Deal or Raw Deal? How FDR’s Economic Legacy Has Damaged America.'...."

From "A College Fights ‘Leftist Academics’ by Expanding Into Charter Schools/Hillsdale College is building a national charter school network. Tennessee invited the college to start 50 of them, using public funds" (NYT).

Why shouldn't parents have the choice to place their children in either a 1619 or a 1776 school? Is one more truly history than the other? I doubt it. It does seem unfair to the children to feed them propaganda — either way — but if the only choices are propaganda, why not let the parents decide which form of inculcation they want? Vote with your children.

I like this owl sculpture.

Video'd by my son Chris (in Austin, Texas): 


Background: "Inspired by the 18th-century robotics of Wolfgang Von Kempelen, Kempelen’s Owls... is an interactive sculpture that fosters curiosity. Two Texan great horned owls, each standing ten feet tall and constructed of layered metal and composite materials, perch atop dodecahedrons and silently observe their surroundings. The interactive features of the work are hidden, awaiting discovery by visitors who can activate them to trigger movement in the owls."

"A Kentucky man who was fired days after he had a panic attack at his workplace over an unwanted birthday party was awarded $450,000 by a jury last month..."

"... or lost wages and emotional distress. The man, Kevin Berling, had been working at a medical laboratory, Gravity Diagnostics in Covington, Ky., for about 10 months when he asked the office manager not to throw him a birthday party because he had an anxiety disorder, according to a lawsuit filed in Kentucky’s Kenton County Circuit Court.... Mr. Berling had a panic attack after he learned about the planned lunchtime celebration, which was to have included birthday wishes from colleagues and a banner decorating the break room. Mr. Berling chose to spend his lunch break in his car instead. The next day, Mr. Berling had a panic attack in a meeting with two supervisors who confronted him about his 'somber behavior,' Mr. Bucher said. He was fired three days later in an email that suggested that Mr. Berling posed a threat to his co-workers’ safety...."

The NYT reports.

The legal claim was discrimination based on disability. The company's legal position seems to be both that it wasn't informed of Berling's disorder and that the condition was not a disability within the meaning of the law.

What should you do if you have an anxiety disorder and risk getting triggered by workplace interactions?

"As Disney prepared to introduce its streaming service in 2019, it began an extensive review of its film library. As part of the initiative, called Stories Matter..."

"... Disney added disclaimers to content that the company determined included 'negative depictions or mistreatment of people or cultures.'... The Stories Matter team privately flagged... characters as potentially problematic, with the findings distributed to senior Disney leaders, according to two current Disney executives, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential information. Ursula, the villainous sea witch from 'The Little Mermaid' (1989), was one. Her dark color palette (lavender skin, black legs) could be viewed through a racial lens, the Stories Matter team cautioned; she is also a 'queer coded' character, with mannerisms inspired in part by those of a real-life drag queen. Tinker Bell was marked for caution because she is 'body conscious' and jealous of Peter Pan’s attention, according to the executives, while Captain Hook could expose Disney to accusations of discrimination or prejudice against individuals with disabilities because he is a villain. At least some people inside Disney are concerned that such sensitivities go too far. One of the executives worried that looking at artistic creations through a 'politically correct filter' could chill creativity."

From "Disney, Built on Fairy Tales and Fantasy, Confronts the Real World/The entertainment behemoth spent decades avoiding even the whiff of controversy. But it has increasingly been drawn into the partisan political fray" (NYT).

I think they should be proud of making such a strong female villain. It there's any problem here it's there's too much sexuality for children (the Little Mermaid desperately wants legs, i.e., a crotch):

"What happened next is that, once I figured out I was a male, I also realized I had always had a certain idea of what masculinity is."

"I thought that to be a man is to be a certain way. Now what I think about is different. What I ask myself all the time is, 'What is a man?'"

Said Edoardo Beniamin, quoted in "In Venice, a Young Boatman Steers a Course of His Own/'What I ask myself all the time is, "What is a man?"' says Edoardo Beniamin, a trans man training to join his father’s profession as a gondolier" (NYT). 

Singing and talking a lot is a job requirement. Beniamin's  speech therapist Eleonora Magnelli said he was "bothered" by his "very metallic" voice. You can't just rely on testosterone to lower the voice, she explained, because "pitch is not the only parameter." She notes that this speech therapy is different from other speech therapy, because they are dealing with speech that is "not affected by any pathology." They are changing a client's voice to help with "affirming their identity."

Beniamin says: “What brings me euphoria is feeling people see me as I see me.” 

And here's a quote from Dr. Giulia Lo Russo, "an aesthetic surgeon with a subspecialty in performing chest masculinization": "The point is not just to remove the breasts and reduce a female torso... You have to make a male torso.... My psychologist asked me why I do these surgeries... Why me? I’m not L.G.B.T.Q. But I am deeply anti-conformist. I have had three children with three different men."

Here's the highest rated comment at the NYT: "What a beautiful story to read this Easter morning. It's a kind of resurrection of identity that inspires me greatly."

"Racism, dead penguins and retaliation: Why the Vilas Zoo lost its only Black zookeepers."

That's the headline for a Madison.com article about the zoo here in Madison. You might think racism is somehow killing penguins — those birds who might seem to embody the peaceful harmonization of black and white.

There were 2 black zookeepers, and each left to take a job at a zoo in another city. But their exit interviews contained some criticisms, including some things about the treatment of animals, most notably the decapitation death of a penguin. Who would decapitate a penguin?! A raccoon. Wild local raccoons take the liberty to come and go as they please, including slipping into the enclosures of captive animals. 

We're told that, according to an exit interview, the zoo's general curator, Beth Petersen "decided to stop trapping raccoons that got onto zoo property and instead put Epsom salts on the ground in an attempt to repel them." At least one raccoon was insufficiently repelled, got into the penguin exhibit, and bit the head off Alice, the "elderly African penguin."

"Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich... took an adolescent girl’s diary and raped it into The Diary of Anne Frank, a sitcom...."

"The Frank family, you will recall, have been hiding from the Nazis and squabbling about 'whose turn it is to feed the cat.' At the end, the Nazis show up to take them all to their (offstage) deaths. The Hacketts’ play ends with Anne’s line: 'I believe people are still good at heart.' I’d always considered this merely loathsome twaddle.... For whether or not the line was scribbled by Anne Frank, the Hacketts adopted it as the punch line for their play, that is, that by which they wished their vision to be remembered. But the line brings to mind that of Joseph Goebbels. Addressing the Gestapo, he said, 'History will note that we did these things while still preserving our essential humanity.' The Hacketts’ line, similarly, can be understood as 'These monsters are basically good at heart, despite what they have done to the Jews.'"

Writes David Mamet, in "Recessional: The Death of Free Speech and the Cost of a Free Lunch."

I don't think Mamet means to question whether those words appear in the diary (as it was published), just the placement of those words at the conclusion of the play. Here's the full text of the diary, and here's the context of the line that the Hacketts chose to put at the end of their play: 

Easter sunrise service.