August 6, 2022

Sunrise — 5:36, 5:37, 5:48.




Write about anything you want in the comments.

Here are 9 TikToks to amuse you this evening. Let me know what you like best.

1. A vertiginous walk.

6. What do pro golfers think of the breakup of Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson?

7. Does your boyfriend really fit into your family?

Bill Maher thinks you're letting yourself go.

"In any case, many of us feel suspicious of the color-and-shape manipulations of these images. They're nudging us too much..."

"... insisting that we feel awe. It's a little like the January 6th Committee's over-produced show that insists that we feel anger and outrage. And some people don't think hardcore pornography is sexy. What X thinks is so sexy is exactly what makes it not sexy at all to Y. Maybe something subtler, something more real. Something human."

I blogged on July 14, as I resisted the hoopla, and noticed a column in WaPo by Alexandra Petri titled "James Webb Space Telescope images ranked by how good they look to eat."

The scientist, Etienne Klein, put up his silly post on July 31st, 17 days after Petri's jovial scribblings.

"Indiana became the first state in the country after the fall of Roe v. Wade to pass sweeping limits on abortion access...."

"The bill, which will go into effect Sept. 15, allows abortion only in cases of rape, incest, lethal fetal abnormality or when the procedure is necessary to prevent severe health risks or death.... Before settling on the exceptions, Republican legislators disagreed on how far the law should go, with some GOP members siding with Democrats in demanding that abortion be legal in cases of rape and incest.... The push by Indiana Republicans to restrict abortion access stands in stark contrast with the overwhelming support for it by voters in Kansas... In Indiana, Democratic legislators described the Kansas vote as a warning to their Republican colleagues to consider the potential fallout from voters...."

"As far as Jim was concerned, life was about being forever young, and lusting after this and yearning after that. He was going to be 17 forever, and in some ways he was."

Said a friend of Jim Steinman’s, quoted in "A Gothic Rock Cottage Fit for a Bat Out of Hell/Jim Steinman spent years transforming his Connecticut house into a kind of rock ‘n’ roll museum. Now his friends are trying to sell it — with his belongings intact" (NYT).

Steinman wrote all the songs on the Meat Loaf album "Bat Out of Hell," and the headline's suggestion that the house fits the album title is pretty apt, based on the 24 photographs you'll see if you click there. Or look here, at the agent's website. 

Steinman lived alone in the house for 20 years. He spent $6 million making it a weird, wild place, and you can buy it for $5,555,569 — and that's "with all of Mr. Steinman’s personal belongings still inside." You can step into the forever-young loner's life. Or should I say "fly in" — like a bat out of — into? — hell? 

There's a big stainless steel sculpture that's supposed to look like the crystals in Superman's Fortress of Solitude. There's the Batmobile-themed wheelchair (which Steinman needed after his "series of strokes"). There's the bedroom with art that contains taxidermied bats and an alligator skull. There's the closet full of blue and gray clothes, "few of which he wore."

Here's what I'd advise. Buy it. Select a part of it to live in — it's 6,000 square feet — and open the rest of it as a museum. Here's the floor plan:

"Pop culture has long been obsessed with the prospect of male pregnancy, though it has mostly been used as a comedic gambit, as in the dismal 1978 farce 'Rabbit Test'...."

"[In] 'Rabbit Test,' Joan Rivers’s misanthropic comedy in which the aimless bachelor Lionel (Billy Crystal, in his first movie) miraculously conceives after a one-night stand with some pushy broad. Released at the tail end of the second-wave feminist movement, 'Rabbit Test' is a movie about the scrambling of gender roles that only reinforces how rigid they still are. Its 'first pregnant man' conceit is just a setup for a carnival of broadly racist and sexist scenarios that evinces little interest in the reality of pregnancy itself. Lionel hardly looks pregnant, he hardly feels pregnant, and as his due date approaches, he is not concerned about how he is going to become un-pregnant. 'Rabbit Test' is so incurious about women’s experiences that it doesn’t even bother exploiting them. It’s just a movie about a guy with a pillow under his shirt."

It was 1978. It was Joan Rivers. Shouldn't one try to gestate some viable reverence for our revered comedy foremother? 

Here, I found the whole thing on YouTube. Check it out. Is it really so bad? What if you had to appreciate it? Care for it. Nurture it:

Has an American President ever sung the national anthem into a microphone before a crowd?

I know President Obama sang "Amazing Grace" into a microphone — and "Let's Stay Together" — so we know he could sing into a microphone. Did any other President sing into a microphone? But what I really want to know is did any American President ever do this? — sing the national anthem into a microphone:

I found that because the Russian national anthem came up — 2 posts down — in the context of learning what lies in store for Brittney Griner if indeed she ends up serving her sentence in a Russian penal colony, where prisoners must sing the anthem, “Glory to Our Free Fatherland,” every morning at 6:05 a.m.

Brittney Griner, when she was a free woman in America, opposed the playing of the American National Anthem at basketball games. In 2020, she said: "I’m not going to be out there for the national anthem. If the league continues to want to play it, that’s fine... I’ll not be out there."

There's grisly irony, and I would not laugh at that harsh turn of fate. I've been thinking about the power of national anthems. Listening to a formal presentation of the Russian anthem, in spite of myself, I get chills. It's in the music. Look at the faces of the people, in that clip with Putin. It's reaching them deeply and merging them in shared resolve.

Resolve to do what

Would we Americans want a President who would sing our national anthem like that, or do we prefer our Presidents singing "Amazing Grace" and our anthem safely ensconced where it belongs, at basketball, baseball, and football games?

I've seen some mockery of the 25-year-old NYT op-ed writer who referred to the "bad vibes" economy.

On August 4th, the NYT published "The Vibes in the Economy Are … Weird. Really Weird" by Kyla Scanlon, who opined:
There is no recession yet. Right now we are in a “vibe-cession” of sorts — a period of declining expectations that people are feeling based on both real-world worries and past experiences. Things are off. And if they don’t improve, we will have to worry about more than bad vibes.
Instapundit quoted the Ace of Spades take, "New York Times Publishes Op-Ed From 25-Year-Old Female 'Economics Influencer' Absolving Biden of Blame for Economy and Instead Putting It Where It Belongs: On the 'Bad Vibes' The Public Is Putting Out About the Economy, Man."

I'm only writing about this to say that the 25-year-old did not introduce this "bad vibes" take to the NYT. The NYT has a senior economics correspondent named Neil Irwin, who writes at the NYT page called  The Upshot. Last December, he had a column called "What We Learned About the Economy in 2021/For once, the government tried overheating the economy. For better and worse, it succeeded." 
In surveys, Americans are remarkably unsatisfied with economic conditions. The growth numbers have been good. The vibes have been bad."

"Modern-day Russian penal colonies have become moneymaking enterprises... [E]very correctional facility has a production unit such as a sewing factory..."

"... or a woodworking or metalworking shop, with most of the profits going to intermediary companies buying and selling on low-cost goods, or to the prison authorities 'through kickbacks by companies that purchase the goods directly.'... [O]pposition politician Alexei Navalny... painted a grim picture of life inside Penal Colony No. 2, calling it 'our friendly concentration camp.' He accused guards of denying him proper medical care or the chance to sleep and described dehumanizing surveillance. Media investigations have reported abuse of prisoners at such facilities."

From "Brittney Griner may go to a Russian penal colony. Here’s what you need to know" (WaPo).

Here's the article linked at "our friendly concentration camp": "Putin foe Navalny once described prison life with dark humor. Now his messages are just dark" (WaPo). The "posts" in social media were made, we're told, by "anonymous members of his team," who have somehow received messages from Nalvany, messages written in his "familiar wry style":

August 5, 2022



From the same place, but looking more toward the west:


Write about whatever you want in the comments.

"[Catholicism is] more entertaining. I like saints: each one has a story. And it’s so good, you go into a little booth and say, 'I committed this sin,' get a little blessing..."

"... and you don’t have to pay for Freudian psychologists. It’s much cheaper and it works. The Catholic church is more open-minded towards humanity and its flaws."

 And there's this, about the 1960s and these kids today:

"The society for the Suppression of Unnecessary Noise was founded by a physician named Julia Barnett Rice in 1906."

Rice believed noise was unhealthy, and enlisted New York City’s gentry (including Mark Twain) to lobby for things like rules governing steamboat whistles, and silence pledges from children who played near hospitals. The group met in posh spaces like the St. Regis hotel, but Rice insisted that she was not solely interested in protecting New York’s upper class.... In 1909, the organization celebrated the passage of an ordinance that prohibited street vendors (many of them immigrants) from shouting, whistling, or ringing bells to promote their wares.....  Attempts to regulate the sounds of the city (car horns, ice-cream-truck jingles) continued throughout the 20th century, but... in the ’90s[, t]he city started going after boom boxes, car stereos, and nightclubs.... In 1991, the NYPD launched Operation Soundtrap, a campaign in which cops would trawl streets—often in majority-Black-and-brown communities—hunting for and confiscating cars with enhanced stereo systems.... When Rudy Giuliani became mayor in 1994, he used a cabaret-license law to force clubs out of gentrifying neighborhoods like the Lower East Side and Chelsea....New York was effectively codifying an elite sonic aesthetic: the systemic elevation of quiet over noise...."

Here are 8 TikToks to delight or vex you. Let me know what you think.

 1. "Ever since I was told that corn was real, it tasted good."

2. Yes, there is a burger bra. The question is what to wear with it.

3. For the European person — the coolest places in America.

4. Mr. Jeff's Musical Gizmos is open. 

5. Do you know the song my recently departed mother loved?

6. Getting searched at the San Francisco airport. (This can't be real, can it?)

7. Approaching the volcano in Iceland.

8. Glen Campbell and Leon Russell play "Jambalaya."

Taking the high road.

You've probably seen this 1977 interview before. This is a communications professor dissecting it:

Do you think he should have given Walters some credit for bringing out the best in Dolly? You could say that Walters behaved without vanity, lowering herself, to elicit what was a brilliant performance from Dolly. But that's not how the professor grades it.

"U.S. officials are starting to grumble about Ukraine and possible corruption. After months of having Americans bake Ukraine flag cupcakes..."

"... and fly Ukraine’s colors outside our houses, there’s a bit of hedging going on now. The government seems to be soft-rolling it, like in this Thomas Friedman piece: 'Privately, U.S. officials are a lot more concerned about Ukraine’s leadership than they are letting on. There is deep mistrust between the White House and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine—considerably more than has been reported.' This is, after all, a former Soviet republic full of rent seekers and minigarchs, and you don’t become president without fraternizing with those people, and those people, well, they don’t just go away once you’re in power, and all the Vogue covers in the world can’t whitewash that."

Writes Nellie Bowles at Common Sense, reviewing the top stories in her column called "TGIF." She's also got this, about Afghanistan:

"As a kid, I knew that if I talked to myself on school grounds, I risked becoming That Freak Who Talks to Himself...."

"Stigma kept me quiet, but its potency diminished as I aged. Also: Look around. People walk the streets talking and gesticulating, tiny white buds in their ears. They pontificate to phone cameras. Determining which unseen audience a pedestrian is addressing has become too difficult a calculation to bother solving... ... I have found that vocalized self-analysis, and the willingness to trudge through intellectual and moral quandaries in noisy solitude, is a valuable complement to more traditional conversational outlets, especially when it comes to creative thinking.... The fear we associate with a person who publicly talks to themselves at length, and without apparent concern for or awareness of the impact their performance has on those around them, is the fear of an eroding self, its supposed constancy and singularity unraveling, its loose threads chatting with each other chaotically.... But the dialogue between current and potential selves is small proof that such change is possible. Or maybe that’s just something I like to tell myself."

Joe Rogan and Whitney Cummings find the pedophilia in Shirley Temple movies.


I've blogged about that "Baby Burlesque" before. When Temple died in 2014, listing all my earlier blogging of the great child actress, I wrote
April 29, 2009, a controversy over a photographic presentation of teenaged Miley Cyrus looking overly sexualized led me to show you this clip of Shirley Temple as a toddler playing a seductress. It's simply astounding by today's standards....

It was interesting to watch Rogan seeing this craziness for the first time. Whitney Cummings did an excellent job with the running commentary.

"The profile of the patients changed significantly, too. Many were adolescent girls who had never exhibited signs of gender dysphoria."

"Often, their feelings of wanting to be a boy developed along with their breasts, or when they got their period. They were horrified by their bodies, and they wanted control over the changes taking place in them."

The author, Sue Evans, talks about how in the early days of these treatments, the patients were mostly "younger boys who believed themselves to be girls from an early age and a few teenagers who felt like they were trapped in the wrong bodies." More recently, there are many more girls, and, as Evans puts it, instead of a longstanding belief that they are in the wrong body, they reject the changes of puberty. 

"SpaceX Crew-1 Trunk Space Junk Found in Australian Sheep Paddock."


The farmer says he's “happy to keep it” but he thinks the space agencies or company will want it back, and, if so, he wants “a bit of compensation." But, he says, "I don’t know anything about it. As I said, I’m a sheep farmer."

The Times quotes some professor of international space law and the director of the London Institute of Space Policy and Law for the proposition that "to claim compensation" the debris needs to have "harmed him or her or caused any damage to his or her property." Did they ask the sheep farmer about his pronouns? I don't know, but I don't hear him saying he's going to sue. He's just saying the object is in his possession and if someone else wants it, let them step up and make a deal. It's contracts, not torts.

I was looking through my old photos from August 2007, and I ran across this...

 ... which I just want to show you because it made me laugh:

Crazed rabbit

The reason I was poking around in that section of the 19 thousand photos I've uploaded to Flickr is that I happened upon the new NYT article "Can a Neighborhood Be Instagrammed to Death? The return of tourism to New York has brought crowds back to one of the most popular selfie spots on earth. People who live there aren’t feeling #grateful." 

That's about a vantage point I remember photographing when I sojourned in Brooklyn 15 years ago. Yes, here's my photo:

Encroaching buildings

That was taken before there even was an Instagram — Instagram began in 2010 — and there was no concept of Instagrammable. Only bloggable. 

Blogged here, where somebody said he thought he recognized the shot from "Once Upon a Time in America."

"We know we can’t say, ‘Stay away.’ We are not locking the place."

Said Hjordis Gudmundsdottir, a spokeswoman for Iceland’s civil protection agency, quoted in "Three Tourists Are Injured Near Volcanic Eruption in Iceland/The injuries were not serious, but they underscored the risks facing tourists who hike to the Fagradalsfjall volcano in southwest Iceland, officials said" (NYT).
The eruption site “is a dangerous area and conditions can change quickly,” the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management said in a statement on Thursday. It warned that toxic gas can accumulate when the wind decreases, that new lava fountains can open with little warning and that accumulating lava can flow quickly across the ground.

What traditionalism is this?

From WaPo's latest "Date Lab" story, "It started off well. Then it took a turn." 
She has been in a long-term relationship but has never been married. She recently took a break from dating apps because of a “bad run of incompatibilities.” The other way that she has met potential mates is when she’s driving and “men roll down their window and say ‘Hey beautiful!’ and we hold up traffic while we exchange numbers.”... 
At the end of the date, Jayson said he made the move to exchange numbers. “I said, ‘Hey, take my number and hit me up anytime if you want to.’ And she said, ‘I am a traditionalist and you should ask for my number.’ And I thought, ‘She’s spicy, I kind of like that.’ ” So, he formally asked for her number.

Rogue sellers and drop-shipping.

"We out-voted the fraud, we didn’t listen to what the fake news had to say. The MAGA movement rose up and voted like their lives depended on it."

Said Kari Lake, quoted in "Kari Lake wins GOP primary for Arizona governor/Her victory adds to the string of 2020 election deniers elevated by Republicans in the state on Tuesday" (WaPo).

Of course, WaPo openly rejects the "fake news"/voter fraud characterization:

August 4, 2022

2 lake outings today: 5:54 a.m. and 3:33 p.m.




Talk about whatever you like in the comments.

Once again, I've got 4 TikToks for you. Enjoy!

1. A face painted as a painted face.

2. Drivers spring into action to help.

3. Dizzying photography of a high dive.

4. Taking a very careful bite of a Nature Valley Granola Bar.

"The ‘check engine’ light came on, and I brought it to my mechanic, who popped the hood and found chicken bones, some bread and part of a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich sitting there."

Says a woman quoted in "Why So Many Cars Have Rats in Them Now/Driving in the city is on the rise, but if New Yorkers think they can avoid rats this way, they are in for quite the surprise" (NYT). 

So what's the answer to that "why" question, the reader wants to know. The article doesn't nail it down, but it mentions warmth, then all the "outdoor dining sheds," and then — your whiskers will twitch! —  "new soy-based insulation for car wiring — basically catnip for rodents."

The commenters over there swarm. The top-rated comments:

Josh Hawley "is positioning himself, and therefore his movement — his far-right, White-guy movement — as, 'If you’re a man, then you believe in these things.'"

Said Jason Kander," an Afghanistan War veteran who in 2018 stepped away from rising success in the Democratic Party to tend to his mental health," quoted "Josh Hawley’s problem with masculinity" (WaPo).

The column is by Jonathan Capehart, who continues:

"A Russian court on Thursday found U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner guilty of deliberately bringing cannabis-infused vape cartridges into Russia..."

"... despite them [sic] being illegal, after the athlete said she had made an honest mistake by packing them. Her sentencing, which is set to take place later on Thursday, could pave the way for an high-profile prisoner swap between Russia and the United States that would include the 31-year-old athlete and an imprisoned Russian who was once a prolific arms dealers...."

That news just came in. I noticed after searching for the name of the basketball player held in Russia, because I was confused when I saw this headline in the sidebar as I was reading a new Washington Post article: "Brittney Griner, Brianna Turner call for WNBA to stop playing national anthem this season." 
“I honestly feel we should not play the national anthem during our season,” Griner said... “I’m not going to be out there for the national anthem.... Yeah, we’re here to play basketball. But basketball doesn’t mean anything in a world where we can’t just live. We can’t wake up and do whatever we want to do. Go for a run, go to the store to buy some candy, drive your car without the fear of being wrongfully pulled over. I just want to challenge everybody to do more. Write the story that might be tough. Take a chance. Ask a question that’s tough. Don’t let it be silent."
Looking more closely, I see that article is from 2020. Speaking of living in "a world where we can’t just live," where we can't "wake up and do whatever we want to do."

UPDATE: Brittney Griner was sentenced to 9 years in a penal colony.

"Earlier this year, Demi Lovato updated their pronouns on Instagram... 'I’m such a fluid person... Recently, I’ve been feeling more feminine, and so I’ve adopted she/her again.'"

Writes Janay Kingsberry, in "Demi Lovato’s pronouns can help normalize gender fluidity, advocates say/Experts say it’s common for trans and nonbinary people to use multiple pronouns, and to interchange pronouns throughout their gender journey" (WaPo).

Why is Kingsberry writing "updated their pronoun" if Lovato has re-identified as "she/her"? It seems that when Kingsberry was writing about "Earlier this year," she chose to use the pronoun that Lovato was using at that time. But Kingsberry is writing now, after Lovato announced her pronouns as "she/her"? Or... no... that's not it... I don't think...
“Oftentimes, people might cycle through different gender identities, or different language they’re using or different pronouns, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re not their true selves,” said Sabra Katz-Wise, an assistant professor in adolescent/young adult medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital. “It’s just sort of part of this larger gender journey that people are on.” 

"I will call in a bit to talk about the doomsday ticket. Let me wake up and finish crying."

Said Barrett Marson, an Arizona Republican political strategist, quoted in "Republican ‘doomsday ticket’ ready for November" (Politico).
A prominent Republican in the state had texted him a GIF of Thelma and Louise driving off the cliff....

Laughing in the grave.

That's the fantasy of the headline writers at Politico, who came up with "How Ruth Bader Ginsburg Will Have The Last Laugh on Samuel Alito/The Dobbs decision is clearing the political ground for a resolution in favor of abortion rights."

The article is by Politico founding editor John F. Harris, and I'm not in the mood to wade through his scenario of posthumous mirth, but I will state the obvious: Alito's written opinion is not about preventing abortion, but about allowing the issue to be decided through the political process.

"The violent eruption of Tonga's Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano injected an unprecedented amount of water directly into the stratosphere — and the vapor will stay there for years, likely affecting the Earth's climate patterns..."

"... NASA scientists say. The massive amount of water vapor is roughly 10% of the normal amount of vapor found in the stratosphere, equaling more than 58,000 Olympic-size swimming pools.... Earlier large volcanic eruptions have affected climate, but they usually cool temperatures, because they send light-scattering aerosols into the stratosphere. Those aerosols act as a sort of massive layer of sunscreen. But since water vapor traps heat, the Tongan eruption could temporarily raise temperatures a bit, the researchers said. It normally takes around 2-3 years for sulfate aerosols from volcanoes to fall out of the stratosphere. But the water from the Jan. 15 eruption could take 5-10 years to fully dissipate. Given that timeframe and the extraordinary amount of water involved, Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai 'may be the first volcanic eruption observed to impact climate not through surface cooling caused by volcanic sulfate aerosols, but rather through surface warming,' the researchers said in their paper...."

August 3, 2022

At the Wednesday Night Café...


... you can talk about whatever you want.


Just 4 TikToks tonight. Enjoy!

1. The newcomer to Wisconsin finds it so wholesome.

2. What does Broadway Barbara eat in a day?

3. When AI talks to AI — the 2011 version and the 2021 version.

4. In the quest to bike from the top of Alaska to the bottom of Argentina, how far do you get in one year?

"The problem may be that the Biden economy boomed *too much*, feeding inflation, and that it now needs to cool off, which may involve a recession (but hasn’t yet)."

"But the basic fact is that so far the Biden economy has added 9 million jobs. So it has been a jobs boom, whatever else you may say."

Said Paul Krugman, quoted in "NY Times columnist Paul Krugman blasted for touting ‘Biden boom’" (NY Post).

"They think an unspeakable ‘Batgirl’ is going to be irredeemable."

Said a source quoted in "‘Irredeemable’ ‘Batgirl’ movie gets ‘shelved’ by Warner Bros. despite $70M price tag: source" (NY Post). 

"Shelved" means it won't even get released into a streaming service. No one will see it. It's apparently, unspeakable, irredeemable, and unwatchable.

Could it be the beginning of the end of all this superheroism in movies? I wish, but I doubt it. Apparently only DC comics are in trouble.

ADDED: I would like to hear from those who went to the test screenings. How bad was it? This, from NPR, is tantalizing:

"Yummy yum yum yum yum yum. I’m going to eat you. Which one’s going in the oven first? You!"

Said Gordon Ramsay, to a bunch of lambs, quoted in "Gordon Ramsay’s video appearing to pick a lamb to slaughter receives backlash" (Today)(video at link).

The lambs don't understand language, and he was speaking in a gentle, happy way, so what, if anything is he doing wrong? I understand objecting to meat-eating, but that just groups him with all meat-eaters, and the question is what's wrong with encountering your meat animals while they're still alive and connecting with them and with the reality of what you are going to do with them? I think it's more virtuous to engage and to be forthright, when there is no issue of imposing any extra suffering on the animals. The meat-eaters who want more distance — they want something neatly sliced and packaged— are not taking responsibility for their actions. 

ADDED: Ramsay is saying things that a non-human predator would say to lambs that it was about to eat, so Ramsay is in touch with his own animality. He's speaking animal-to-animal and in showing that to us, he's making an argument that it is ethical to eat meat.

"In a style that mixed a kind of faux-caveman brutishness and message-board pidgin with classical references, Bronze Age Pervert informed his readers..."

"... that 'you don’t see yourself as you really are' because 'spiritually your insides are all wet, and there’s a huge hole through where monstrous powers are [expletive] your brain, letting loose all your life powers of focus.'... The book... was significant because it spoke directly 'to a youthful dissatisfaction (especially among white males) with equality as propagandized and imposed in our day: a hectoring, vindictive, resentful, leveling, hypocritical equality that punishes excellence and publicly denies all difference while at the same time elevating and enriching a decadent, incompetent and corrupt elite.' Bronze Age Pervert regarded the founders’ idea of rights, the very bedrock of the American political tradition, as false.... Conservatives didn’t have to agree with any of this, but they did need to acknowledge that 'in the spiritual war for the hearts and minds of the disaffected youth on the right, conservatism is losing. BAPism is winning.'"

From "How the Claremont Institute Became a Nerve Center of the American Right/They made the intellectual case for Trump. Now they believe the country is in a cultural civil war" (NYT). The article is by Elisabeth Zerofsky, but she's quoting Michael Anton, a Claremont Institute fellow who wrote an essay about the Bronze Age Pervert book.

Eminent songwriter Diane Warren asked "How can there be 24 writers on a [Beyoncé] song?" and ended up apologizing!

She'd added an eye-rolling emoji — the L.A. Times reports — and then softened the snark with "This isn’t meant as shade, I’m just curious."

The L.A. Times casually displays bias:

Bey’s empowering track “Alien Superstar” has 24 songwriters on it....

It uses the cute pet name "Bey" and designates the song as "empowering."

Here are the lyrics. You tell me if it's empowering: "I'm too classy for this world, forever, I'm that girl/Feed you diamonds and pearls, ooh, baby/I'm too classy to be touched, I paid them all in dust/I'm stingy with my love, ooh, baby."

The Supreme Court, in overruling Roe v. Wade, turned the question of access to abortion over to the people of the states.

And now we are beginning to get what we were deprived of for so long: the voted-for preference of the people.

Kansas voters resoundingly decided against removing the right to abortion from the State Constitution... a major victory for the abortion rights movement in one of America’s reliably conservative states... The decisive margin — 59 to 41 percent, with about 95 percent of the votes counted — came as a surprise....

The overruling of Roe v. Wade was such a shock to supporters of abortion rights that many seemed to think — and this is what a lot of anti-abortion people imagined for so long — that to lose the constitutional right to abortion would be to recognize the right to life of the unborn, and that now, instead of the woman's having the right to destroy the unborn, the unborn would have the right to use the body of the woman without her consent.

But that was never true. Overruling of Roe v. Wade simply threw the issue into the political arena. That was experienced by many as an outrageous intrusion on women's autonomy. Abortion rights supporters did not want to have to give up the security of the right and to be forced to fight for that autonomy. You can lose a political fight.

But you can also win. And women's autonomy won — decisively — in Kansas. Perhaps, in the long run, political victory will bring the greatest security to women's autonomy. Roe v. Wade was always under threat. The threat finally arrived, and the political reckoning is upon us. And look what happened!

ADDED: "Here’s how abortion rights supporters won in conservative Kansas" (NYT):

August 2, 2022

Sunrise — 5:46 and 5:51.



Write about anything you want in the comments.

Tonight, I've assembled 7 TikToks. They all amused me. Why not you?

1. Grandma doesn't like your hippie look.

2. Kayaking beginning at the source of the Mississippi.

3. The 4-year-old in the "dinstance."

4. The young man catches himself thinking like an adult.

5. Splitting logs with a triple ax.

6. "I want more."

7. The local bollards.

At the Lunchtime Café...


... write what you want.

"There is a BIG Election in the Great State of Missouri, and we must send a MAGA Champion and True Warrior to the U.S. Senate, someone who will fight for..."

"... Border Security, Election Integrity, our Military and Great Veterans, together with having a powerful toughness on Crime and the Border. I trust the Great People of Missouri, on this one, to make up their own minds, much as they did when they gave me landslide victories in the 2016 and 2020 Elections, and I am therefore proud to announce that ERIC has my Complete and Total Endorsement!"

Wrote Donald Trump, quoted in "Trump endorses ‘ERIC’ in Missouri primary, a name shared by rivals/The former president’s unusual endorsement added uncertainty to an already tumultuous race" (WaPo)(the rivals are former governor Eric Greitens and state Attorney General Eric Schmitt).

"This shelf is unique — my other shelves are organized by the time in my life when I read the books. So, for example..."

"... there’s a shelf of novels I read in 1992-1993, when I was living in New York City commuting from Manhattan to my teaching job at IS 227 in Queens. There’s another shelf I read when I was nursing my first child, Maxx. There’s a shelf I read when I was going through my divorce, when I was being treated for cancer, etc. But if a book was lucky, it got relocated to this shelf! This is my 'favorite book' shelf and my No. 1 favorite book of all time is 'Franny and Zooey' by J.D. Salinger."

"Nichols’s Uhura spent a lot of time in her seat, sometimes not doing more than just taking calls."

"But that didn’t mean she was relegated to servitude — she was responsible for communications, as the expert on languages both alien and human. She could be supportive and authoritative, a team player and a problem solver. She... was a part of one of television’s first interracial kisses, with William Shatner’s Capt. James T. Kirk."

They got away with putting a beautiful woman in a minidress in the background of as many shots as possible, but what did she do other than provide eye candy for the little boys and little men who watched? 

She was the secretary, seated at the switchboard, receiving calls. 

Come on. The sexual politics was ridiculous, and blackness was the device to make it seem progressive, or at least to shut up the critics.

And I mean no disrespect to Ms. Nichols or to any other black actor who accepted a role constrained by stereotypes. There should have been more offers. There should have been more roles.

"Nothing makes a data journalist’s heart skip a beat quite like the word 'Midwest'... It’s a concrete geographic construct linked to an ephemeral cultural one."

"In Airbnb, we’d stumbled on an ideal data set for drawing that elusive line between culture and geography. More importantly, once we’d looked at more than half a million Airbnb listings and built a database powerful enough to answer 'Where is the Midwest?' we could use it to answer a much more difficult follow-up: 'What is the Midwest?' What cultural touchstones make it different from the rest of the country? .... By this measure, Iowa is the most Midwestern state in the union, followed by Indiana and Wisconsin.... By this measure, the most Midwestern thing on Earth is the walleye, a drab but delicious freshwater fish whose primeval bulging eyes and snaggled teeth would look at home in one of those Nebraska fossil beds.... Two of the next three most-Midwestern words, 'Heartland' and 'Lutheran,' seem like gimmes.... 'Conservatory' and 'orchestra' seem odd, but Google Trends confirms that both are unusually popular in Midwestern states. If you think you know why, let us know! Three others are probably artifacts of the sort of property- and hospitality-focused Midwestern English you’d expect from an Airbnb listing — 'rehabbed' for renovated, 'blacktop' for asphalt and 'supper' for dinner. Several other freshwater fish join walleye on the list, including bluegill and the bass varieties of smallmouth and largemouth...."

Well... it's an interesting idea — using the words found in Airbnb to figure something out. But the glaring deficiency is that Airbnb is aimed at outsiders:

"Fuller’s theory of ephemeralization anticipated the digital age; his invented terms 'synergy' and 'Spaceship Earth' became part of the language..."

"... scientists who discovered a carbon molecule that looked like a geodesic sphere were aided by his insights (and named it buckminsterfullerene). But it’s also hard to take some of his more eccentric ideas seriously, such as 'air-deliverable housing,' or the proposal to cover Midtown Manhattan with a huge dome. National Lampoon parodied his apparently limitless technological optimism in a feature titled 'Buckminster Fuller’s Repair Manual for the Entire Universe.'... Fuller’s public lectures, which could go on for five or six hours, were famous. Always extemporaneous, these modern-day Chautauquas were a startling weave of poetry and science, delivered in his own peculiar locution. Stewart Brand summed it up well: 'Fuller’s lectures have a raga quality of rich, nonlinear, endless improvisation full of convergent surprises.'... The counterculture eventually lost its enthusiasm for the domes, which, according to Brand, always leaked, wasted space and were impossible to subdivide and furnish. 'When my generation outgrew the domes,' Brand wrote, 'we simply left them empty, like hatchlings leaving their eggshells.'"

There's a Wikipedia article for "Spaceship Earth," and it refutes the assertion that Fuller "invented" the term:

Taiwanese social media, Nancy Pelosi is depicted as the Taoist deity Wangmu Niangniang — the Queen Mother of the West.

"The rabbi presented him with a children’s book titled 'Jewish Traditions and Customs,' intended to discourage Villanueva from any notion of converting."

"'The book would make clear who was Jewish and who was not, why a highland Peruvian, a cholo, was not, and could not be, Jewish'.... But when Villanueva opened the book, what he found was a revelation. It described precisely the way he and his followers were already living, and he arrived home delighted, the mystery solved at last. Guess what, he told his congregation: They were Jewish! They’d been Jews all along!... Is it a matter of bloodlines? Tradition? Observance? Faith? But Villanueva was neither aware of nor interested in religious gatekeeping.... In one memorable scene, Villanueva and his congregation return to the rabbi in search of circumcision (not the metaphorical kind) but are turned away; their only other option is a surgeon who will perform the procedure for the hefty sum of $60 apiece. One imagines that many men would simply (and perhaps relievedly) abandon the enterprise at this point, but Villanueva would not be deterred: Three years later, he and a dozen followers were back with cash in hand."

ADDED: That last link goes to Amazon, where there is this blurb from Judith Thurman: "If Gabriel García Márquez had written the Old Testament, it might read like Graciela Mochkofsky's staggering true account of a humble Peruvian carpenter's spiritual odyssey from a shack in the Andes, via the Amazon, to the Promised Land of Israel with a community of devoted followers."

August 1, 2022

Sunrise — 5:43.


Write about whatever you want in the comments.

And here's a bonus picture from yesterday, looking west at 5:54:


I've got 11 TikToks for you tonight, and it's quite possible you will love them all.

1. Detailed calligraphic artwork.

2. Gifting the Italian husband with Italian snack foods

3. How to style your hair. (For men with hair.)

4. "Going for a hoon in the Austrian Alps." (I had to look up "hoon.")

5. Now that's a wetsuit.

6. Crossing a difficult footbridge with a goat

7. "She's a rat girl, and you just fell in love."

8. A funny use of "Jump Around" (with a red scarf and a freckly horse).

9. "Are there dating sites out there for people that just don't...."

10. "... a new attitude towards life...."

11. The kid that just wanted to hear the same three U2 songs over and over in the car.

"Afterward, intrigued by the experience, I started asking around about other women who seek out cold water."

"I’d started winter surfing a few years ago and understood the ways the water could impact my body and mind, especially when it was cold.... But the process of cold plunging, I found, was its own distinct experience, with its own intention and power.... 'After I get out, I don’t try and rush into my towel or dryrobe....'... 'I don’t practice a formal faith tradition at this point in my life, but being in the water feels more sacred to me than any church service I’ve ever attended.... When I’m stressed... I try to find the nearest window with a view of any water.... I envision myself in the water, feeling the lapping of the waves against my chest, the pressure of my lungs contracting and expanding in protest to the deep cold....'"

I was interested in this concept of "women who seek out cold water."

This post gets my "religion substitutes" tag. You know, there are women who seek God and women who seek cold water. And you can be a seeker of cold water in a way that feels like religion.

"A spectacular historical show of art and documentation, 'New York: 1962-1964,' at the Jewish Museum, addresses the exact years of my tatterdemalion arrival, from the Midwest..."

"... as an ambitious poet, a jobber in journalism, and a tyro art nut. I gravitated through the time’s impecunious Lower East Side poetry scene into the booming though not yet oligarchic art world....  The eruptive early sixties launched many folks on all sorts of trajectories. After intriguing for a trice, some quickly flamed out or stalled, suggesting to me a theory, which I kept to myself, of Temporary Meaning in Art: get it while it’s hot or miss it forever, at a cost to your sophistication. Others, at the margins of fame, hung fire for unjustly belated recognition.... [F]ew women at the time were given their due, which should accrue to them in retrospect. New to me is a garish relief painting, from 1963, by the underknown Marjorie Strider, of a glamour girl chomping on a huge red radish, that could serve as an icon of Pop glee and sexual impertinence crossed with proto-feminist vexation."

I like the word "underknown." It's underused.

And "tatterdemalion."

"The electrification of mobility presents humanity with a rare opportunity to reimagine the way cities might sound...."

"As a result of [the 2010 Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act], every E.V. and hybrid manufactured since 2020 and sold in the U.S. must come equipped with a pedestrian-warning system, also known as an acoustic vehicle alerting system (avas), which emits noises from external speakers when the car is travelling below eighteen and a half miles per hour....  Automakers have enlisted musicians and composers to assist in crafting pleasing and proprietary alert systems, as well as in-cabin chimes and tones. Hans Zimmer, the film composer, was involved in scoring branded sounds for BMW’s Vision M Next car. The Volkswagen ID.3’s sound was created by Leslie Mándoki, a German-Hungarian prog-rock/jazz-adjacent producer.... The Porsche Taycan Turbo S has one of the boldest alerts: you’re in Dr. Frankenstein’s lab as he flips the switch to animate the monster.... If Boombox, a software feature in Teslas, is any indication of what’s on the way, it will be difficult to limit the sounds that drivers play through E.V.s’ external speakers. Boombox, which was released in December, 2020, as part of a software update, allows Tesla drivers, according to its promotional literature, to 'delight pedestrians with a variety of sounds from your vehicle’s external speaker,' including goat bleats, ice-cream-truck music, applause, and flatulence."

The Boombox feature violated some regulation, and now it only works when the car is parked, but still, you see the problem. The basic quietness of these vehicles demands that noises be concocted for them, and these noises could be anything. You'll be warned of their approach by all sorts of odd sounds and forced to live in a city that doesn't sound like real machines doing their mechanical work but like the imagination of whatever artist or prankster the manufacturer chooses. You can call that "a rare opportunity to reimagine the way cities might sound" or the inexorable encroachment of insanity. We had a chance to quiet things down, and we threw it away. 

"The word, not used intentionally in a harmful way, will be replaced. The road to success is always under construction."

Said representatives of Beyoncé, quoted in "Beyoncé to cut ableist slur from Renaissance song/Charities question why lyric was released weeks after similar controversy" (London Times).

The objected to line — on "Heated" — is "Spazzing on that ass, spaz on that ass." 

Who wrote that line? "The song has nine credited writers including Beyoncé and Drake, the Canadian rapper, but it is not clear which of them wrote the lyrics."

What was the "similar controversy" that happened recently? Lizzo used the same word, in the line "Hold my bag, bitch, hold my bag/ Do you see this shit? I’m a spaz."

Wisconsinites have been early-voting since July 26, but what if they voted for somebody who has now dropped out?

Among the dropouts in the past month were Democratic Senate candidates Alex Lasry, Sarah Godlewski and Tom Nelson, and Republican gubernatorial candidate Kevin Nicholson.... If you or someone you know already voted for a candidate who is no longer running for office, it's not too late to void your ballot and change your choice.

A voter can request to spoil their ballot through either a handwritten or emailed note to their local election clerk or in person at their polling place. Voters must provide a reason in their request that outlines why they require a new ballot. Casting a vote for a candidate who is no longer in the race is a valid and acceptable rationale to spoil a ballot.

I don't understand how the first ballot can be retrieved. Do they just allow someone to vote again based on the allegation that they'd voted for a candidate who has now dropped out? Votes for the dropouts, it could be said, don't matter. And yet, what if everyone who voted for one of them got a second vote and voted for them again? Also, what if the allegation is untrue and the voter is voting again for a candidate who hasn't dropped out? What is the safeguard?  

"But I’m also getting more obsessive about human beings over huge swaths of time. Part of that came out of being on the Isle of Skye..."

"... during the serious U.K. lockdown. On Skye, if there’s a rock somewhere, it’s probably because somebody put it there. I realized that the rock that I was using to keep the lid on my dustbin was a stone that had been dragged around. People have been in this place for thousands and thousands of years, and in this bay I’m living in, they’ve left behind rocks!"

Said Neil Gaiman, quoted in "Neil Gaiman Knows What Happens When You Dream" (NYT).

A woman who suddenly lost her job and couldn't afford her NYC rent "took an online quiz about where to live and decided to book a flight in late 2020 to Denver..."

"... a city she had never visited. Almost two years later, [she] is still living there, with a new car and her own apartment and no plans to leave any time soon. And she would not have to: Her new job is a fully remote role with a legal tech company based in New York."

There's no link for that "online quiz about where to live." I'd like to take it.

I found this one, which told me I'd be best off living in Paris.

Then there's this one, at Buzzfeed, and it told me Portland. I'd consider Portland, Maine, but there's a picture of the characters from "Portlandia," and also if Buzzfeed just says "Portland," it's obvious. Portland, Oregon. 

"Hard to imagine a dumber story than this"/"Was thinking this may be the most useless piece of time wasting drivel I've seen on WaPo. And very long to boot"/"I agree can’t imagine a dumber story than this."

Top-rated comments at "Hollywood ‘nepo babies’ know what you think of them. They have some thoughts. Nepotism and Hollywood have gone together since the industry’s beginnings. But a younger generation of fans more attuned to inequality and privilege have put a different kind of spotlight on the kids of famous parents" (WaPo).

I agree with the comments. I thought the thing had potential, based on that headline, because of the young people "attuned to inequality and privilege." Are they going to get principled and staunch against nepotism? There wasn't much about that. In fact, it was a bit pro-nepotism regarding black celebrities:
"I think that there was a time where you couldn’t ‘nepo’ your baby if you were a person of color.... We haven’t even seen Rihanna’s baby yet … but this baby is already a superstar. Is that nepotism? Sure. But when you layer on the inequity from past years in history and you think about nepotism through the lens of race and privilege, I think it’s kind of exciting and cool that Blue Ivy and Rihanna’s baby are celebrities from birth.”  

This was another one of those articles that gets my tag "MSM reports what's in social media." It's trying to spin a mainstream article out of a successful Tiktok hashtag —  #nepobaby. Now that I'm googling that hashtag, I see the New York Times did its own report back in May: "What Is a ‘Nepotism Baby’? Gen Zers have turned a term of derision into one of admiration. That doesn’t mean they’re not jealous, though." Not much going on in that article either, but it's at least short.

"Days after musicians Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear performed their Grammy-winning Unofficial Bridgerton Musical to a sold-out audience at the Kennedy Center..."

"... Netflix is suing them for 'blatant infringement' of the company’s rights to the popular period drama. In a complaint filed Friday (July 29) in D.C. federal court, Netflix accused the duo of piggybacking on 'the creative work and hard-earned success' of hundreds of artists and staffers behind Bridgerton – using the company’s copyrights and trademarks without permission to build a 'brand for themselves.'...  Barlow & Bear launched the Unofficial Bridgerton Musical on TikTok, eventually garnering millions of likes. The viral songs were eventually released as an album, which won best musical theater album at the 2022 Grammy Awards in April...."

From "Netflix Sues ‘Unofficial Bridgerton Musical’ Creators Days After Sold-Out Live Show/The streamer says it told Abigail Barlow & Emily Bear 'time and time again" that the Grammy-winning musical was not authorized'" (Billboard).

I didn't watch the Netflix show. I had no interest at all. But I did look up the "Unofficial Bridgerton Musical" album. I can understand how Netflix is aggrieved that its words have been lifted, but I think the cooler thing to do would have been to embrace Barlow and Bear and to be grateful for their contribution to the cultural clout of the the show. Barlow and Bear showed appreciation and did something that added dimension and color to the fading TV series. Netflix behaved in an old-timey corporate fashion and missed what was for them an opportunity, the big dummies. 

Here's the album on Spotify:

"An unnamed woman who claimed Bob Dylan sexually abused her as a child in 1965 has withdrawn her lawsuit permanently..."

"... a day after Dylan’s attorneys accused her of destroying key evidence and 'irretrievably' compromising the integrity of the case.... .[A]t a hearing on Thursday (July 28), the plaintiff – identified only as J.C. – suddenly asked the federal judge overseeing the case to dismiss it 'with prejudice,' meaning it will be permanently closed and cannot be refiled. The move came after she was accused of deleting key messages and threatened with monetary sanctions."

"Over the course of a week last summer, a number of street art pieces appeared in seemingly random parts of Norfolk and Suffolk."

"The artworks were eventually verified by Banksy, but the fate of each piece varied drastically. What has become of them - one year on?"

The answer is there are a lot of protective screens. But here's how the graffiti art looked when it went up and was fresh and surprising:


ADDED: I think they should have been left unprotected. Let them live and die like other graffiti.

July 31, 2022

Sunrise — 5:49 and 5:52.



And here's a picture Meade took of me at 5:55:

"She went in there loaded up with drugs into a hostile territory where they’re very vigilant about drugs. They don’t like drugs. And she got caught."

"And now we’re supposed to get her out — and she makes, you know, a lot of money, I guess. We’re supposed to get her out for an absolute killer and one of the biggest arms dealers in the world. Killed many Americans. Killed many people."

Sunrise — 5:31.




"[T]here has been an unrelenting effort to make 'insurrection' a litmus test for anyone speaking about January 6th."

"If one does not use that term (and, worse yet, expresses doubts about its accuracy), you run the risk of immediate condemnation as someone excusing or supporting insurrection. This framing also reduces the need to address the question of how this riot was allowed to spiral out of control.... The effort to mandate 'insurrection' as the only acceptable description prevents the country from speaking with a unified voice. It clearly serves political purposes but only makes a national resolution more difficult as we approach a new presidential election."

ADDED: From my remote outpost in the Midwest, I scoff at the people who are so easily disciplined by language rules. So there's "an unrelenting effort" and "you run the risk of immediate condemnation"? How flimsy are you?! As soon as someone gets at me with anything that feels like "an unrelenting effort" to scare me about a "risk of immediate condemnation," I feel resistant and activated. I don't want to appease and obey. What is the point of being engaged at all if you're so malleable and fearful? I mean, it's nice to see Jonathan Turley mildly objecting, but there should be far more vigilance about these nefarious efforts to control people with language. It's language: Talk back!

"Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser is asking for aid from the DC National Guard to help with migrants being sent by bus from Texas...."

"According to [the office of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott], more than 5,100 migrants have arrived in Washington from Texas on more than 135 buses. The first bus arrived in mid-April, but city officials and non-government organizations working with the migrants -- who travel voluntarily -- have been increasingly concerned about the pace of arrivals over recent weeks.... 'Washington, DC, finally understands what Texans have been dealing with every single day, as our communities are overrun and overwhelmed by thousands of illegal immigrants thanks to President (Joe) Biden's open border policies,' Abbott's press secretary Renae Eze said in a statement to CNN. 'If the mayor wants a solution to this crisis, she should call on President Biden to take immediate action to secure the border -- something he has failed to do,' Eze added."

"By invoking a story about valuing disability, abortion opponents can connect abortion to the dark practice of eugenics, or..."

"... the systematic removal of unsavory traits in a population to achieve genetic supremacy. If they can liken ending a pregnancy for a fetal abnormality to genocide, they can liken their advocacy to protecting disabled lives. They are forgetting, however, that pregnancy can endanger disabled people. Removing abortion access is not protecting our lives; it is putting them in danger. Growing up in a conservative town, I became familiar with this story line: 'No one should have an abortion, even if there is something wrong with their baby,' my high school friend would say. 'Kendall, you’re a miracle baby. Surely, you are happy you are alive.' I was already firmly pro-choice then, but my disability was used as the evidence in her argument, the gotcha in our debate. What my friend didn’t understand was that disabled fetuses grow up to be disabled people with their own reproductive needs. In some cases, these needs include access to abortion.... What chronically ill and disabled people need is autonomy to make the health care choices right for them. It’s what we all deserve."

"Democratic Party officials earlier this year approved a plan which requires any state that wants to hold a nominating contest before the first Tuesday in March..."

"... including the traditional early four of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina — to apply for permission. Last month, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Texas and Washington made presentations to the Rules and Bylaws Committee detailing why they should be among the first states to hold presidential nominating contests in the next presidential election. At the time of the presentations, the focus was especially on Iowa, which was proposing dramatic changes to its complicated system as it aimed to maintain its 'first in the nation' status in the face of criticism of the caucus process and of the state's lack of diversity and competitiveness at the presidential level."

They're putting off the decision until after the midterm elections, perhaps mostly to keep the focus on the midterms, but maybe something about the midterms will be useful in deciding who gets to go first. Is it hard to understand why Iowa and New Hampshire have held onto their position for so long? I've always assumed that it's a deliberate effort to reduce the power of black voters. The broad field of candidates must pass first through a process dominated by white voters.

That article was written by Karine Jean-Pierre, who is identified as the chief public affairs officer for MoveOn and a political analyst for MSNBC. Of course, she is now the White House press secretary.

She wrote:

"[L]ate last month, Ihor Kolykhaiev, the mayor of the city of Kherson since 2020, said the Russian propaganda, coupled with the feeling of being abandoned..."

"... by the government in Kyiv, was slowly succeeding in changing the perceptions of some residents who have stayed behind — mainly pensioners and people with low incomes. 'I think that something is changing in relationships, probably in people’s habits,' he said, estimating that 5 to 10 percent of his constituents had changed their mind because of the propaganda. 'This is an irreversible process that will happen in the future,' he added. 'And that’s what I’m really worried about. Then it will be almost impossible to restore it.'... Days later, his assistant announced he had been abducted by pro-Russian occupying forces.... Mr. Putin has referred to Kherson and other parts of Ukraine’s southeast as Novorossiya, or New Russia — the region’s name after it was conquered by Catherine the Great in the 18th century and became part of the Russian Empire. In recent years, nostalgia in the region for the Soviet past and skepticism of the pro-Western government in Kyiv still lingered among older generations, even as the region was forging a new Ukrainian identity."

"A cis-gendered man wouldn’t think twice about what I’m doing... But I have been raised to believe that my body is banned; my body is sexual; my body needs to be covered."

"We never question why. To me, this protest is about the bigger picture of what bodily autonomy actually means. The rules we impose upon ourselves.... Now that I’ve done this for more than a week, I can feel a difference in my brain and how I think about myself. It’s been so positive... At first I thought, ‘Is this going too far?’ But now I wonder why I didn’t do this years ago. I want to be part of the movement that normalizes this freedom for everyone, deprograms how we think about some people’s bodies and not others.... I think the police have acquiesced. Yes, I can do this and I’m really not bothering anyone.... I'm not actually pro-nudity. I get why we need coverings, otherwise it would be chaos and it’s not very sanitary. I’m also not just showing up topless at any restaurants or businesses.... This all gets back to everything that’s happening with abortion and this crisis we are in over laws that tell me what I can and cannot do with my body. This is about equality."