October 15, 2022

Sunrise — 7:15, 7:23.



We're taking the TikToks up to 11 tonight. Some people love them.

 1. In Japan, they don't say "See? I told you!"

2. Stop saying "This photograph looks like a Renaissance painting."

3. In what world would he eat 20 tortillas?

4. She made a pact with herself to have higher standards.

5. When your partner makes a bid for your attention.

6. Do you want to go to a haunted house?

7. Do you want... a what?

8. Here, take this harmonica.

9. Hey, a tambourine man.

10. And, here, just in case you need a dancer to interpret "Like a Rolling Stone."

11. The heterosexual man who wants a husband... why?

Glenn Greenwald will never stop talking about this and doesn't care if it's annoying.

"President Joe Biden appeared to grab a young girl by her shoulder telling her 'no serious guys till you're 30' while posing for a photograph with the teen and her friends at Irvine Valley College in Irvine, California, on Friday...."

The Daily Mail reports.

"In a grunt for attention, third-party Congressional candidate Mike Itkis has released a sex tape to highlight his sex positive campaign platform...."

"His issues include legalizing sex work, and making sexual rights explicit... Itkis said the video.... was his first time having sex on camera, and insisted he’s not an exhibitionist. 'I’m very much an introvert... I’m kind of a nerd who doesn’t like to be the center of attention if I can avoid it. But I thought the issues I’m trying to address are so important… I wanted to have my issues talked about in some way.'"

From "Manhattan congressional candidate publishes a porn video to highlight his sex positive platform/Mike Itkis is running against Rep. Jerry Nadler, and wants to legalize sex work" (City & State).

I'm not going to look at his "sex tape" but I see the photograph at the link and suspect that there's not much to see in the video. The mere idea of making a "sex tape" is supposed — correctly — to be enough to get our attention. Maybe I shouldn't blog this. I'm going out of my way to not blog other things in the news that are people getting attention for doing something to get attention. I guess I think this one is a bit funny and no Van Gogh paintings were harmed.

"Litter boxes in schools" is a Wikipedia article — with an active discussion of whether it should be retitled "Litter boxes in schools hoax."

It begins:


I used a screenshot because I wanted you to experience the absurdity of the picture of an actual cat litter box. Surely, if there were a litter box for a human being it would need to be proportional, and I think a third grader is about 6 times as large as a cat. I don't know the urine output of a child versus a cat, but, seriously, you're going to need a bigger box. But if it is a hoax — and Wikipedia assures me it is a hoax — then there is no box and that's the whole point.

I was going to make a joke using the phrase "Schrödinger's cat box," but the Wikipedia entry "Schrödinger's cat" was a real rat hole.

"Justice Kagan... suggested we could be headed toward a future where blue states forbid the sale of goods produced by non-union labor..."

"... while red states respond with their own laws forbidding the sale of goods that are made by unionized workers. Justice Amy Coney Barrett worried about states prohibiting the sale of goods produced by unvaccinated workers; or by employers who won’t pay for gender-affirming surgery for transgender employees. Justice Brett Kavanaugh imagined a red state that bans the sale of fruit picked by undocumented immigrants. Their point was that, if California is allowed to effectively decide how pig farms will be run in all 50 states, that could permit... 'economic Balkanization'... Every state could start using their own laws to impose their will on their neighbors. And manufacturers might have to choose between selling their products in California (and complying with California's left-leaning rules) or selling their products in Texas (and aligning with Texas’s conservative values). But none of the justices seemed sure where to draw the line to prevent this kind of dystopia from emerging, while also permitting states to enact the kind of ordinary economic regulations that have existed for many years."

From "High-stakes case about pigs/National Pork Producers v. Ross presents difficult questions about when one state’s laws can impact life in other states" (Vox).

The case is about a California law banning the sale in California of pork from pigs not raised according to California standards. The constitutional law in question is the "dormant" Commerce Clause doctrine — the idea that Congress's power to regulate interstate commerce implies a loss of power to the state to engage in regulation that would damage interstate commerce.

You can listen to the lively oral argument here.

ADDED: This is good, from Justice Gorsuch (transcript):

[W]hy isn't [the Pike balancing test] just a form of enshrining non-textual economic liberties  into the Constitution... a project this Court disavowed a long time ago? We're going to have to balance your veterinary experts against California's veterinary experts, the economic interests of Iowa farmers against California's moral concerns and their views about complicity in animal cruelty. Is that any job for a court of law? I mean, the Commerce Clause, after all, is in Article I, which would allow Congress to resolve any of these questions.

"Laboe is credited with helping end segregation in Southern California by organizing live DJ shows at drive-in eateries that attracted whites, Blacks and Latinos who danced to rock-n-roll..."

"... and shocked an older generation still listening to Frank Sinatra and Big Band music. Laboe is also credited with coining the 'oldies, but goodies' phrase.... His radio shows gave the families of incarcerated loved ones, in particular, a platform to speak to their relatives by dedicating songs and sending heartfelt messages and updates.... He often told a story about a woman who came by the studio so her toddler could tell her father, who was serving time for a violent crime, 'Daddy, I love you.' 'It was the first time he had heard his baby's voice,' Laboe said. 'And this tough, hard-nosed guy burst into tears.' Anthony Macias, a University of California, Riverside ethnic studies professor, said the music Laboe played went with the dedications enhancing the messages. For example, songs like Little Anthony & the Imperials' 'I'm on the Outside (Looking In)'... spoke of perseverance and desire to be accepted...."

From "Pioneering DJ Art Laboe, who coined 'oldies but goodies,' dies at 97" (NPR).

October 14, 2022

Sunrise — 7:05, 7:06.



"Drink wine and look at the moon and think of all the civilizations the moon has seen passing by."

"The same group of Radical Left Democrats who utilized their Majority position in Congress to create the fiction of Russia, Russia, Russia, Impeachment Hoax #1, Impeachment Hoax #2..."

"... the $48 Million Mueller Report (which ended in No Collusion!), Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine, the atrocious and illegal Spying on my Campaign, and so much more, are the people who created this Committee of highly partisan political Hacks and Thugs whose sole function is to destroy the lives of many hard-working American Patriots, whose records in life have been unblemished until this point of attempted ruination. The double standard of the Unselects between what has taken place on the 'RIGHT,' and what has taken place with Radical Left, lawless groups such as Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and others, is startling and will never be acceptable, even to those who will be writing the history of what you have done to America...."

So begins Donald Trump's written response to the January 6th Committee. Actually there's a heading before that paragraph, in all caps: "THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION OF 2020 WAS RIGGED AND STOLEN!"

Can we conclude — based on the literary style and the odd capitalization — that Trump wrote this letter himself?

ADDED: A crucial bit:

Sunrise, 7:16, and foliage, 7:29.



"In its early days, the pleasure of 'The Great British Baking Show' was in the reassuring fantasy it built under a high-pitched country tent..."

"... an endless source of cheeky innuendo, serious amateur baking and absolutely nothing else. The worst thing imaginable was that someone’s Battenberg cake would come out a bit asymmetrical, or that one baker might accidentally use another baker’s custard.... But over its 12 years on the air, the worst thing imaginable on Bake Off has gotten worse, again and again. Last week, the hosts, Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas, strolled up a grassy slope dressed in fringed serapes and straw sombreros to introduce 'Mexican Week' with tired puns, saying they shouldn’t make 'Mexican jokes' but proceeding to do just that. The show had hit rock bottom, revealing what it had managed to obscure in the past with a bit of charm.... The 'Bake Off' clips were shared incredulously and angrily on Twitter, days before the episode even aired. The phrase 'Mexican Week' quickly became shorthand for profound culinary blunder, presented with a sense of naïve triumph. An image of a cursed avocado, lopped away with a knife, became the episode’s unofficial mascot, as if a home cook unfamiliar with peeling an avocado should feel humiliated."

From "‘Mexican Week’ Was Not an Accident for ‘The Great British Baking Show’/After 12 years, the show’s long, inexorable journey from comfort to cringe is complete" (NYT).

From the top comments over there:

Like so many articles in the New York Times that cover accusations of racism or cultural appropriation, readers are left pondering what actually happened. Other than straw sombreros, an abused avocado and a reference to a reference about “tired puns”, there’s no real reporting in here that actually informs readers about what was done that was so bad.


The gym stays quiet for the first 10 points so the autistic, noise-sensitive brother of a player can attend a volleyball game.

WAOW reports. 

"My coach, [Justin] Jacobs, came up to me and asked if Payton was going to come to any of the games," [the player, Malina Carratini] recalled.... "Two days later, [Jacobs] came up to me and was like, 'I came up with this idea. It really hurt me that Payton wouldn't be able to come,' so he was wondering if we would do a silent night"....

Abject fealty.

"Abject" means "of low repute; despicable, wretched; self-abasing, servile, obsequious" — according to the OED, which gives this example of the usage of the word from 1579:
1579 G. Harvey Let.-bk. (1884) 87 Lerned philosophers..are the dryest, leanist, ill-favoriddist, abiectist, base-mind[e]dist carrions.
And I like this Tobias Smollett's "Humphry Clinker":
I know nothing so abject as the behaviour of a man canvassing for a seat in parliament.

Yes, everyone running for everything is abject. 

Here's Samuel Beckett (from "No's Knife," 1967):

The aversion my person inspired even in its most abject and obsequious attitudes.

Now, "fealty" is "The obligation of fidelity on the part of a feudal tenant or vassal to his lord" (OED). It's also used figuratively, which how Wikler — the chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin — is using it. 

He's not quite saying that Michels is acting like a vassal to Lord Trump. The accusation of fealty is not to Trump the man, but to Trump's idea that Joe Biden was not legitimately elected. 

When is the dedication to an idea low, despicable, and wretched or self-abasing, servile, and obsequious?

Xi Jinping's miracle of the tiny potatoes.

"For [Steve] Manley, 65, he never envisioned [B-Side Records] moving. In fact, he thought it was doomed 15 years ago..."

"... before sales started to rebound, despite the growth of streaming services, YouTube and iTunes. According to industry data, vinyl album sales in the U.S. grew in 2021 for the 16th consecutive year as LP sales jumped by more than 50% in 2021, surpassing both digital and CD album sales. LPs also accounted for 38% of album sales in the country as 41.7 million LPs were sold, up more than 45-fold compared with 2006, when the vinyl comeback began as younger listeners started buying vinyl. 'We signed a five-year lease and that's my commitment,' Manley said... 'I feel like, unless something disastrously happens with the economy or some other thing, I think we'll be OK because the record business is a lot more secure than it was 15 or 20 years ago when it was actually pretty bad.'... The record store is far from the oldest business on State Street. Those honors go to places like University Book Store, founded in 1894, the Orpheum Theater (1926), Goodman's Jewelers (1933), Badger Liquor Shop (either 1935 or 1937) and Paul's Book Store (1954)." 

From "B-Side Records moved 5,000 albums and a neon sign — carefully — to its new State Street location/B-Side Records moved 5,000 albums and a neon sign — carefully — to its new State Street location" (Wisconsin State Journal).

I'm so glad B-Side Records is doing well. We've spent so much lovely time browsing there. Here's a photo I took in 2008:


I hope the new, larger space has as nice a feeling as the old one. And isn't it wonderful that vinyl outsells not only CDs but digital media? Surely, much of it is that people have switched to streaming, and we don't care so much about owning music.

Collecting records used to have something to do with fearing that you'd lose it if you didn't preserve everything you might want to be able to hear at any point in the rest of your life. Now, it must be some kind of treasuring of the object, even though the music itself is easily streamed.

Or are there really a lot of young people who can hear a difference in the sound? Does the audiophile still walk the face of the earth?

There is a Wikipedia article "Audiophile" and it talks about the "audiophile community." I don't know how esoteric that is, but in ordinary life, back in the 70s and 80s, you'd feel pressure to acquire stereo components that wouldn't incur disdain and tempted to overspend to actually impress these imperious people.

"Grateful Dead tapestries. Lava lamps. The distinctive orange inspired by Flamin’ Hot Cheetos dust painted indiscriminately on walls."

"Until now, these were the markings of marijuana dispensaries, dripping with 1960s hippie nostalgia and the musings of the stereotypical stoner, and it’s high time for the cannabis aesthetic to get a refresh, cannabis entrepreneurs say."

From "The Golden Age of Dispensary Design Is Almost Here/As cannabis legalization has become more widespread, retailers are getting increasingly serious about the design and branding of their shops" by Anna P. Kambhampaty (NYT).

“The retail environments for cannabis don’t match the money people are spending on it, nor do they match the diversity of the consumers,” said Kim Myles, the co-founder of MylesMoore, a design firm that revamps the interiors of mom-and-pop cannabis dispensaries across the country. “It’s a quality plant. Going into a dispensary should be a quality experience. There’s no way we are going to overcome the stigma it has if we don’t change the touch point for the consumer.” 

Do you care about buying legalized marijuana? If so, do you want to buy it amidst hippie trappings or do you want to shop in a more up-to-date setting? What would that be?

Here's what the MylesMoore firm has come up with. Does that say "quality" in a way that sparks your appetite for cannabis?

October 13, 2022

At the Sunrise Café...


... you can talk about whatever you want.

I've selected 7 TikToks for you tonight. Some people love them.

1. What do the French mean when they talk about King Charles's "marottes"?

2. When you tell Grandma you would love a skein of yarn.

3. Photographing the sun.

4. Three levels of grilled cheese.

5. Mr. Doodle finished drawing his house. (Boy, does he have a marotte!)

6. Susan Sarandon talks about filming "Rocky Horror Picture Show."

7. A Halloween breakfast.

The NYT has a few excerpts from Bob Dylan's forthcoming book “The Philosophy of Modern Song."

The first paragraph of the NYT article is: 

The title of Bob Dylan’s latest book, “The Philosophy of Modern Song,” is, in a sense, misleading. A collection of brief essays on 65 songs (and one poem), it is less a rigorous study of craft than a series of rhapsodic observations on what gives great songs their power to fascinate us.

Who's writing that? The article has the byline Bob Dylan, so you might be deceived into thinking that's Bob using the third person for fun and calling his own title "misleading." But after the first 6 paragraphs, you'll see the named of the NYT writer Ben Sisario. 

Only after that point are we reading Bob Dylan, in what are excerpts from the book, which is, apparently, what he wants to say about this and that song and not a treatise on "philosophy." 

"The [January 6th] committee has focused on extremist groups such as the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers that played an outsize role in storming the Capitol. But..."

"... their violence, coordination and resolution were not typical of the broader crowd. No firearms were found on those who invaded the Capitol. It was not a coup attempt. And even if you believe it was, Mr. Trump was not leading it. For someone supposedly bent on overthrowing the government, Mr. Trump did an awful lot of television-watching and surprisingly little seizing of broadcast centers, mobilizing of commando units and issuing of emergency decrees...."

Writes Christopher Caldwell in "The Jan. 6 Committee Has Been Almost Wholly Ineffective" (NYT).

"I just don’t understand this"/"What do we have the death penalty for?"

Said the parents of one of the Parkland victims, when the jury spared the killer the death penalty.

From "Live Updates: Families Shocked as Jury Spares Life of the Parkland Killer/'The monster that killed them gets to live another day,' said Tony Montalto, whose daughter, Gina, was among the 17 people murdered in a Florida high school" (NYT).

In each case, the jurors found that prosecutors had proved many aggravating factors — that the crime was especially heinous and cruel, that it was committed in a cold and calculating manner, and that the gunman had created a great risk of death. But they did not unanimously find that the aggravating factors outweighed mitigating circumstances that the defense lawyers brought up at the sentencing trial.... 

Before court adjourned, Nikolas Cruz sat with his lawyers huddled around him, showing little emotion after the jury spared his life.

ADDED: The public defender, Melisa McNeill, made the argument that convinced the jury:

President Macron's "fashion choice has garnered some plaudits but has been more widely mocked..."

"... with Marine Le Pen, the opposition leader, seizing on it almost immediately. 'Don’t have enough heating? Let them wear cashmere,' she wrote on Twitter, calling [finance minister, Bruno] Maire 'Marie-Antoinette Le Maire.' The economist Thomas Porcher told France Inter Radio, 'I don’t expect an economy minister for the sixth or seventh economy in the world to tell me to put a polo-neck on.' It all came to a head this weekend when Mr. Le Maire posted a lengthy — almost 850 words — cri de coeur on Facebook that read more like a piece of political satire from The Onion than an official statement. Alternately angry and self-defensive, it began, 'Dear readers, forgive me for bothering you for a turtleneck' and ended with, 'In a sweater, tie, swimsuit or suit, it doesn’t matter: I won’t give up on my ideas.' In the middle he refuted any claim that he had suggested the nation wear turtlenecks and decried the erosion of public discourse into a kerfuffle about sweaters."

From "A Very French Tempest in a Turtleneck/It’s not just women in politics who get judged on what they wear" (NYT).  

Have you ever garnered plaudits? I just garner "garners." 

I remember the great turtleneck revolution of the 1960s. It really seemed for a time — a few months? — that men were going to replace the shirt and tie with the turtleneck. I can't remember whether that came before or after Nehru jackets and where it was positioned in and around love beads and medallions.

Anyway, here's the Instagram post of Macron's that led to Le Pen's riposte:

"In the poll we have in the field right now, only 0.4 percent of dials have yielded a completed interview."

"If you were employed as one of our interviewers at a call center, you would have to dial numbers for two hours to get a single completed interview.... Call screening is definitely part of the problem, but if you screen your calls almost 100 percent of the time, it might be a little less of one than you might think. About one-fifth of our dials still contact a human. But once we do reach a person, we’ve got a number of challenges. Is this the right human? (We talk only to people named on the file, so that we can use their information.) If it is the right person, will he or she participate? Probably not, unfortunately.... The main thing is we make sure that the sample of people we do reach is demographically and politically representative, and if not, we adjust it to match the known characteristics of the population. If we poll a state where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by two percentage points, and our respondents wind up being registered Democrats by a four-point margin, we give a little less weight to the Democratic respondents. We make similar adjustments for race; age; education; how often people have voted; where they live; marital status; homeownership; and more."

 Writes Nate Cohn in "Who in the World Is Still Answering Pollsters’ Phone Calls? Response rates suggest the 'death of telephone polling' is getting closer" (NYT).

How do they know "Democrats outnumber Republicans by two percentage points" other than by relying on already unreliable polls?

The article doesn't really answer the question in the headline, which I read as saying what kind of weirdos are answering these polls and why do we care what they think?

"YouTube really rewards straightforward, untrammeled, and unscripted discussion, and it's really what people expect on the platform."

Says Jordan Peterson, talking to Piers Morgan about how to conduct an inteview. He's distinguishing YouTube from "legacy TV." He's responding to Morgan, who has just acknowledged that Peterson is phenomenally successful on YouTube:


They're right about the constraints of television, but I want to show you this amazing segment of television from October 9, 1970, when the host, Dick Cavett — and guests Jeanne Moreau and Lee Marvin — kept almost entirely quiet for minutes on end while Truman Capote stumbled and mumbled his way to the most important question in the world:

Was Capote straightforward? He was untrammeled and unscripted! But straightforward may seem like the opposite of what he was. And yet, his struggle to find his point is real, and isn't that a form of straightforwardness? I don't think he's holding anything back, and I don't think he's using more words than he needs. He's just very, very needy.

"Ms. Thomas and her husband were foster parents for their two grandsons for nearly a year and a half...."

"The expense reimbursements, day care support and a $200-per-year stipend for each child had been a big help, but the imposing child welfare requirements — including monthly visits from social workers — made Ms. Thomas want to live with her grandsons like a normal family. In April she and her husband took guardianship of the boys, which relieved them of the foster care requirements, but the decision came at a cost: They lost the expense reimbursements and the day care support.... $2,700 per month in day care costs [is] more than her $2,300 monthly income...."

From the end of the NYT article "Can ‘Kinship Care’ Help the Child Welfare System? The White House Wants to Try/The Biden administration proposes spending $20 billion over a decade to help some of the most vulnerable families in the country, including relatives suddenly thrust into child rearing."

So the "child welfare requirements — including monthly visits from social worker" are so onerous, that the grandparents preferred to pay the expenses themselves and have the freedom and privacy given to guardians. How is the Biden administration going to help people in their position? I would think retired grandparents like the Thomases are less in need of reimbursement of day care costs than many parents who are taking care of their own children. 

"They just needed a disease and they don't need it anymore."

 That's what I said out loud — just because I wanted to blurt something out — after reading the NYT headline "What Happened to Monkeypox?" 

I'm reading the article now, and I see that it's not about the political use of this disease. It's about how the cases are declining — down 85% since August, we're told.

"Experts" cite 4 factors:

First, vaccines helped slow the virus’s spread (despite a rocky rollout). Second, gay and bisexual men reduced activities.... The third reason is related: the Pride Month effect...

That is, apparently, during Pride Month (June), gay men had "more parties and other festivities [that] involved casual sex.

The fourth factor, experts tell us, is that a disease that spreads through close contact is "harder to transmit" and therefore "self-limiting virus." 

So what do you think of my knee-jerk, it's-all-politics answer? Was I just amusing myself, imitating a cynic?

"Good writing, I think, ultimately exists between the twin goal posts of as-few-words-as-you-need and as-many-words-as-you-want."

"I, a natural natterer, lean toward the latterer. But one must draw the line somewhere. I recommend striking out 'actually' at every opportunity, unless it’s in a discussion of the movie 'Love Actually,' in which case we might want to focus on the title’s confounding commalessness. Similarly, though I would never fault the supreme lyricist Johnny Mercer for the gorgeous 'You’re much too much / And just too very very,' I am on constant alert for 'very,' always looking for the chance to dispose of it."

From "Writers, be wary of Throat-Clearers and Wan Intensifiers. Very, very wary" by Benjamin Dreyer (WaPo).

Here's Dreyer's book: "Dreyer's English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style."

And here's that song (which is about not being able to come up with words to express how marvelous this person is):


As for the missing comma in "Love Actually," I think there's some widely held belief that commas in titles are too fussy and you should strike them without worrying about the rules of punctuation. But "Sex, Lies, and Videotape" even has an Oxford comma.

"Is your war against President Vladimir Putin — or against Russia itself? Nearly every time, I got the same unyielding answer."

"The enemy is a Russia that must be defeated and transformed. Through Ukrainian eyes, this terrible conflict has become a clash of civilizations. They argue that most Russians support Putin’s brutal war in the way that most Germans supported Adolf Hitler. Unless Russia as a nation abandons the imperial dreams that Putin has evoked, the conflict cannot be resolved through negotiations."

Writes David Ignatius in "How Ukrainians define their enemy: ‘It’s not Putin; it’s Russia’" (WaPo).

“Russia has to go through the same process that Germany did after World War II,” presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak insisted Saturday in an interview with me and the other members of a group organized by the German Marshall Fund, of which I’m a trustee.

“If Russian society doesn’t understand what they’ve done, the world will be brought into chaos.” He enthusiastically predicts that postwar Russia will dissolve into five or six smaller nations.

This Ukrainian desire for total victory... poses a painful dilemma for the Biden administration. As President Biden made clear in a May 31 essay in the New York Times, the United States seeks “a negotiated end to the conflict” in which Russia withdraws from occupied territory. Biden seeks a Ukrainian victory, but not a total Russian defeat....

Ignatius says the Ukrainians he's spoken to "unanimously rejected" a negotiated settlement. Theirs is a fight to the decisive defeat of Russia. 

October 12, 2022

It rained this morning, so I missed the sunrise, but we got out for a late afternoon walk.

Meade took this picture:


Talk about whatever you like in the comments.

"If you are worried about rapid, catastrophic changes to the planet’s climate, then you must be worried about nuclear war...."

"[E]ven a relatively 'minor' exchange of nuclear weapons would wreck the planet’s climate in enormous and long-lasting ways.... A detonation of a [one-megaton nuke], within about a four-mile radius, produce winds equal to those in a Category 5 hurricane, immediately flattening buildings, knocking down power lines, and triggering gas leaks.... The hot, dry, hurricane-force winds would act like a supercharged version of California’s Santa Ana winds, which have triggered some of the state’s worst wildfires.... Towering clouds would carry more than five megatons of soot and ash from these fires high into the atmosphere."

Writes Robinson Meyer in "On Top of Everything Else, Nuclear War Would Be a Climate Problem/Even a 'minor' skirmish would wreck the planet" (March 9, 2022, The Atlantic).

Is Putin "rational actor"? — Jake Tapper asks Biden. Biden answers "he is a rational actor... I just think it’s irrational."

You have to separate the "he" and the "it" to make sense of it.

Here's the video. I'll quote from the transcript:

"[T]he 'Lebensborn' program — meaning wellspring or fountain of life... created in 1935... provided luxurious accommodations for unwed, pregnant women."

"Part of the program’s attraction was that unwed pregnant girls could give birth in secret. In 1939, about 58 percent of the mothers-to-be who applied to the program were unwed... by 1940, that number had swelled to 70 percent. Often, the homes were converted estates decorated by Himmler himself, using the highest quality loot confiscated from Jewish homes after their owners had been killed or sent to camps. Girls who were already pregnant or willing to be impregnated by SS officers had to prove their Aryan lineage going back three generations and pass inspections that included measuring the size of their heads and the length of their teeth. Once accepted, they were pampered by nurses and staff who served them delicacies at mealtimes and provided a recreational diet rich in Nazi propaganda...."

From "A new novel tells the story of Nazi birthing farms" by Kathleen Parker (WaP).

The new novel is "Cradles of the Reich" by Jennifer Coburn.

Here's the article in the Holocaust Encyclopedia about the Lebensborn program.

I found that as I was looking for photographs showing how a place "decorated by Himmler" would look. Here's a propaganda photograph with a caption that translated into "Everything for the healthy child":

From the Holocaust Encyclopedia article:

"Ye claimed that he’d rather his kids learn about Hanukkah than Kwanzaa since 'at least it would come with some financial engineering.'"

"His assertion that 'professional actors' had been 'placed into my house to sexualize my kids.' He said he trusted Latinos more than 'certain other businessmen' — a vague descriptor he used to 'be safe.' Ye also told Carlson that he had 'visions that God gives me, just over and over, on community building and how to build these free energy, kinetic, fully kinetic energy communities.' Both in the snippets Vice obtained and what made it on the air, Carlson mostly nodded along with Ye’s commentary. There is no obvious effort to question Ye’s assertions or to express uncertainty about moving forward with the interview at all. What emerges from the fuller context provided by the Vice segments, really, is that Carlson wasn’t really interested in interviewing Ye or presenting his views to his audience. Instead, it’s that Carlson wanted to present a very specific version of Ye to his viewers, a Ye that mirrored Carlson’s rhetoric on race and politics and didn’t go much further...."

From "The Kanye West Tucker Carlson didn’t want his audience to see" by Philip Bump (WaPo). 

Fox News showed an edited version of the interview, and Vox has made some unused material available.

Bump makes assumptions about Carlson: he "wasn’t really interested in interviewing Ye" and "wanted to present a very specific version of Ye." Bump wants to present a very specific version of Carlson

Tulsi Gabbard explains the military industrial complex to Joe Rogan.

Thoughts on Albany.

ADDED: If you've forgotten "ciao, bella," refresh your recollection here.

Also, as suggested by someone over at Twitter: 

October 11, 2022

Sunrise — 7:10, 7:12.



"Biden, Storyteller in Chief, Spins Yarns That Often Unravel/President Biden has been unable to break himself of the habit of embellishing narratives to weave a political identity."

That's the headline at the NYT for something currently at Memeorandum with the headline "Biden's Folksiness Can Veer Into Folklore, or Falsehoods."

Perhaps that had been the front-page teaser at the Times. It's not on the front page at the moment. It went up yesterday, but there's only one newer headline with the name Biden on the front page — "Biden Administration Plan Could Lead to Employee Status for Gig Workers" — and that isn't about Biden, just his administration. 

There's an older headline still on the front page — "Joe Biden Knows How to Use Donald Trump." That extols Biden... but for what? What is Biden being given credit for here? The author is Ezra Klein, who goes on about how "startlingly few interviews and news conferences" Biden gives.

Adnan Syed goes free — charges dropped.

"Who ya think Frankenstein'd vote for?"

That's one of 20 "conversation starters" suggested in the "Epilogue" to "A Bathroom Book for People Not Pooping or Peeing but Using the Bathroom as an Escape" by Joe Pera.

I read that after stumbling into the TV series "Joe Pera Talks With You." We love this TV here at Meadhouse. It takes place in Marquette, Michigan, and we discovered the show about a day after we got back from a nice 3 days in Marquette, Michigan.


Writing this post, I noticed an article, published yesterday at uppermichigansource.com, saying that Joe Pera had just donated $11,613 to the Calumet Public School Music Program.

There's also some important background on how Pera developed the show. Calumet-Laurium-Keweenaw Elementary Music and Choir Teacher Matt Ruitta said: "About four years ago, [Pera] reached out to me because, in his TV show, he plays as a choir director that lives in Marquette. And he came and shadowed me here one day....” 

But the real point of this post is who do you think Frankenstein would vote for?

Tulsi Gabbard explains why she's leaving the Democratic Party.

"If you accept the premise that the film business is the folly of the filthy rich, then the independent-film business must seem the folly of the stupidly rich."

Wrote Nikki Finke, in 2007, saying she doesn't "get all aflutter at the mere mention of the Park City film festival like some media, quoted in "Nikki Finke, Caustic Hollywood Chronicler, Is Dead at 68/At newspapers and then at Deadline, the website she founded, she served up the opposite of fluff entertainment journalism" (NYT).

Another quote: "I am a very old-school journalist. I believe you make the comfortable uncomfortable, and that’s the whole point of doing it."

She was evoking the old saying: "The job of a newspaper is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable."

Evoking half of it anyway. She didn't seem interested in comforting anyone.

"Judy Tenuta, the absurdist, accordion-playing 'Love Goddess' of stand-up, who broke into the male-dominated 1980s comedy world while wearing Grecian gowns, preaching the gospel of 'Judyism' and..."

"... derisively addressing men as 'pigs' and 'stud puppets,' died Oct. 6... She was 72.... A gum-snapping comedian with one of stand-up’s most distinctive voices — she might deliver the setup in a cooing falsetto, then use a husky growl for the punchline — Ms. Tenuta deployed a campy brew of insult comedy, physical humor and acerbic wit.... During her heyday in the late-1980s and early ’90s, Ms. Tenuta was sometimes carried onstage by a bodybuilder or borne aloft in a thronelike chair, raised on the shoulders of several muscle-bound men. Wearing gold lamé pants or a gauzy floor-length cape, she would introduce herself as 'a shy, innocent petite flower' before revealing another, brassier side of her personality. 'Hey pigs, let’s party,' she would shout. 'You know you’re begging for abuse from the Goddess of Love.'... Ms. Tenuta often performed with an accordion strapped to her chest.... [A 1990 NYT article said] 'Whether she’s taunting male members of the audience about their masturbation habits or referring to herself as a Goddess of Love, her greatest gift is her ability to take male fantasies and transmogrify them into the stuff of nightmare.'"

From the Washington Post obituary.

What to watch from the Criterion's "80s Horror" collection?


You can see the huge set of titles here

We chose the one where Hugh Grant says "I hear you're having trouble with a snake."

Pagan vampires, a two-hundred-foot worm, and a profusion of phallic imagery collide in Ken Russell’s typically outré take on Bram Stoker’s most infamous novel. On an excavation in the English countryside, an archaeologist (Peter Capaldi) uncovers a mysterious skull that he comes to believe belonged to the D’Ampton Worm, a mythical snake-like creature thought to have been slain long ago by an ancestor of aristocrat James D’Ampton (Hugh Grant). The strange presence of the enigmatic Lady Sylvia Marsh (Amanda Donohoe) and a series of unexplained disappearances soon hint that the legend of the D’Ampton Worm may be far from dead.

Did we laugh? Of course, we laughed!

Why didn't I see it back when it came out (in 1988)? I loved Ken Russell. "The Devils" was on my list of 5 favorite movies. And, as a law clerk, I'd worked on the case about "Altered States." But I was influenced by the reviews of the time. Which ones, I can't remember, but Roger Ebert wrote:

People expect something special from Russell, whose inflamed filmography includes such items as “Women in Love,” “The Music Lovers,” “The Devils,” “The Boyfriend,” “Tommy,” “Altered States,” “Crimes of Passion” and “Salome’s Last Dance.” Every one of Russell’s films has been an exercise in wretched excess. Sometimes it works. Russell loves the bizarre, the gothic, the overwrought, the perverse. The strangest thing about “The Lair of the White Worm” is that, by his standards, it is rather straight and square. 

Not enough wretched excess!

October 10, 2022

A sunrise run.

The full moon was setting...


The sun was rising...


And the leaves were turning orange and red...




"To help game out the consequences of another Trump administration, I turned to 21 experts in the presidency, political science, public administration, the military, intelligence, foreign affairs, economics and civil rights."

"They sketched chillingly plausible chains of potential actions and reactions that could unravel the nation. 'I think it would be the end of the republic,' says Princeton University professor Sean Wilentz, one of the historians President Biden consulted in August about America’s teetering democracy. 'It would be a kind of overthrow from within. … It would be a coup of the way we’ve always understood America.'"

From "What Will Happen to America if Trump Wins Again? Experts Helped Us Game It Out. The scenarios are ... grim" (WaPo).

The experts foresee "Phase 1: Trump seizes control of the government... And installs super loyalists.... He governs without Senate advice and consent.... He creates a MAGA civil service."

And then: "Phase 2: Trump deploys the military aggressively at home, while retreating abroad.... He uses the military to promote his own political power.... American global leadership is finished — much to Putin’s delight.... Intelligence work is harmed...."

Next: "Phase 3: Political violence and democratic collapse? It’s possible.... Ideological, racial and ethnic tensions ramp up.... The bonds that bind the Union loosen.... The chances of civil war increase.... It wouldn’t be an 1860s-style civil war of states vs. states; if it did come to pass, [polisci prof Barbara Walter] says, 'the type of war we’re going to see is an insurgency. … [Participants] are going to fight a type of guerrilla war, a siege of terror that’s going to be targeted very specifically at certain individuals and certain groups of people, all civilians.'"

I would think most of us are inured to this kind of fear-mongering by now. They act as though they're desperate to save America, but they evince so little faith in America. They think one man can come along and simply take over everything by sheer will.

7:07 a.m. — temperature 43° — paddleboard.

"... Twitter isn’t remotely as popular as other social networks.... Twitter remains firmly text-based at a time when much of the world is embracing images and video."

"And at the other end of the spectrum, some humans exhausted by Twitter’s chaos and combativeness are warming to quieter, more controlled conversations. The kinds you can find in text messaging threads, or moderated conversations on Reddit or Discord. Perhaps the best realistic case for Twitter’s importance comes from writer Ryan Broderick, who calls it 'the main website through which all culture travels' in America.... [That's] mainly because it’s quite searchable, especially compared to TikTok (for now). It’s a guide to the rest of the internet, not a hangout.... Twitter’s usefulness as a political tool had a decade-long run that peaked during Trump’s presidency, [somebody] theorizes.... [A]s Musk himself pointed out, the non-Musk celebrities with the most followers on Twitter rarely use it anymore. Too much hassle, not enough upside.... Once internet users decide they’ve moved on to something else, they never come back. See: Myspace, AOL, Yahoo. Also see: Mark Zuckerberg’s plan to create a new metaverse business to replace his aging Facebook business. If you wanted to spin this positively for Musk, you could argue that he doesn’t want to turn Twitter around, but that he wants to turn it into something else entirely — a 'super-app' that would have ... everything...."

 From "Elon Musk can’t fix Twitter because no one can/A $44 billion mistake," by Peter Kafka (Vox).

About that "super-app" that has "everything," Musk tweeted, on October 4th, "Buying Twitter is an accelerant to creating X, the everything app." Twitter is a place where you say tiresome things like that. 

"While Elon Musk and Nick Cannon are the poster children for fecundity, billionaires and celebrities are the anomaly..."

"...and most families with a lot of kids are like ours: middle class. Generally speaking, the data indicates that the more income one makes, the fewer children one has. Having a baby roughly every other year for the last decade is...  not as expensive as many might think.... Around the country and around the world, people are having fewer children, if they’re having any at all.... The anti-natalists run a wicked good PR game. Even among mothers, the 'wine mom' content is what rules social media: with kids portrayed as tiny dictators and mothers feeling the need to booze or hide in bathrooms in order to make it on a day-to-day, hour-to-hour basis.... Having kids, especially lots of them, is now counter-cultural; it’s so far outside the norm that I’m used to random strangers commenting every time we’re all out in public.... I like to think that, by making not just one or two babies, but by bringing into the world a whole brood, we are doing our part to inject more vitality into it."

From "I Never Wanted Kids. Number Six Is Due In a Few Months. We just outgrew our Honda Odyssey" by Bethany Mandel (Common Sense).

It's a startling breach of etiquette to question a stranger about her childbearing choices, but consider the urge that drives this transcendence of normal politeness and distancing. We need humanity to carry on, even as we depend on private decision-making to make it happen. Unfortunately, we're also conflicted, worried that there will be too many people or — in our least beautiful moments — the wrong kind of people. And so we keep track of women and their childbearing. We always have and we don't seem able to stop, even as many of us would like to believe that childbearing is a woman's individual, personal, private choice.

Hating/loving graphic novels.

2 things I clicked on in today's NYT have famous people — people I greatly admire — taking opposite positions on comics. 

Obviously, I could see it coming in the first headline: "Temple Grandin Is a Visual Thinker Who Hates Graphic Novels/'It is too difficult for me to constantly switch back and forth between the pictures and the text bubbles,' says the animal behaviorist and advocate for autistic people, whose new book (with Betsy Lerner) is 'Visual Thinking.' 'I like technical and scientific books with lots of illustrations.'"

Actually, I hate graphic novels. It is too difficult for me to constantly switch back and forth between the pictures and the text bubbles. I like technical and scientific books with lots of illustrations. When I read business books and scientific papers, I often look at the illustrations and graphs first. The next step is to read the text. When I am reading a novel or a memoir, I prefer to create my own pictures in my imagination. As I read the text, my brain creates a movie.

The other one is buried in that article about Keiichi Tanaami that I blogged about in the previous post. Asked what he is reading, he said:

I don’t really read novels. I read a lot of essays and other things, though. I read an enormous amount of manga. Fujiko Fujio often write stories about a character succeeding in life. I loved this kind of manga when I was a small child. The character would move to Tokyo, rent out a tiny apartment, study super hard and succeed. He writes those kinds of success stories. I love them. I still read anything by Osamu Tezuka. He writes many different manga, so I read them all.... I also read Fujio Akatsuka. He is a super famous manga artist....

"His studio, which sits just across the hall from the apartment he shares with his wife, is crammed full of the reimagined Picasso canvases, including one where he superimposed the face of 'Astro Boy'..."

"... a robot character invented by his childhood hero, the Japanese manga artist Osamu Tezuka — onto the face of the child in Picasso’s original. 'At first I thought I would draw 10 and stop,' Tanaami said, but he kept going until he had produced close to 400. Before he started, he 'didn’t especially like Picasso,' he said. 'But as I was painting work inspired by him, I came to love him.'"

From "Keiichi Tanaami Remembers Everything/At 86, the Japanese pop artist has a lifetime of vivid recollections — some more real than others — and a new show in New York" (NYT). The Picasso painting he reimagined 400 times is "Mother and Child."

There's an interview with the artist. I loved the stuff about his routine: "I do the same thing every day. I wake up at eight in the morning, I take my time until around 10 to eat my breakfast and work on writing jobs I have. I come here [to the studio] between 11 and 12, work until the evening, go home, draw some more and go to bed around midnight. I don’t have any hobbies, so all I have to do is make art.... I live a very disciplined life — even more so than those who have to commute for work every day. For instance, I have a bath time. You need to have these things decided. I have a fairly boring life."

Have you ever done art based on the work of another artist? Picasso did it himself — reimagining Velasquez. Why not take something you love or — better?! — something you dislike and copy it over and over, faithfully, then with variations, big and small?

Here's Tanaami's Instagram page. You can see tons of his work there, including the Picasso variations.

He does the same thing every day. How close are you to I do the same thing every day? I'm pretty close, but I like some variations. If you have a good "same thing," then on any given day, you can just do it, and that's great, or you can have a small or big measure of variation, and maybe that will be great too.

"She holds six of the top 10 spots on The New York Times’s paperback fiction best-seller list, a stunning number of simultaneous best sellers from a single author...."

"When she self-published her first young adult novel, 'Slammed,' in January of 2012, Hoover was making $9 an hour as a social worker, living in a single-wide trailer with her husband, a long-distance truck driver, and their three sons. She was elated when she made $30 in royalties. It was enough to pay the water bill. Hoover, 42, didn’t have a publisher, an agent or any of the usual marketing machinery that goes into engineering a best seller: the six-figure marketing campaigns, the talk-show and podcast tours, the speaking gigs and literary awards, the glowing reviews from mainstream book critics.... Her success has happened largely on her terms, led by readers who act as her evangelists, driving sales through ecstatic online reviews and viral reaction videos...."

From "How Colleen Hoover Rose to Rule the Best-Seller List/With legions of devoted fans and a knack for high-voltage emotional drama, Hoover has sold more than 20 million books. And she’s done it her way" (NYT).

I don't watch movies very often anymore for some reason.

I prefer short things, not necessarily TikTok short, but "How to with John Wilson" short...


When I do watch a movie, sometimes it's something new that I've been reading about — I saw "Elvis" and "Blonde" — but sometimes it's something quite random. Last night, I watch the 1921 Swedish silent movie "The Phantom Carriage." 

I like to keep blog posts short, though sometimes I go long. Right now, I can go short, because the Criterion Channel made this minute-a-half presentation of 3 reasons to watch the movie (with an especially interesting image at the very end):

ADDED: YouTube, quite appropriately, has the entire 101-year-old movie available on line.

October 9, 2022

Sunrise — 6:31, 7:07.





"Her daughter, Mary Clementine, who moved in to help as the disease progressed, said she and her brother laughed out loud when their mother told them she was working on a cookbook."

"'It will have four pages: P. B. And. J.,' she said. Peanut butter sandwiches with jelly or honey were such a mainstay when she was touring that Neil Young, whom she opened for in the 1970s, still teases her about it by sending texts that just say 'peanut butter.'"

From "For Her Swan Song, Linda Ronstadt Turns to Recipes/In 'Feels Like Home,' the singer, her voice taken by a form of Parkinson’s, tells her story through the border dishes of her Arizona youth" (NYT).

Some very touching photographs at the link.

"With a libretto written by... first-time opera makers, the show has Rousselle largely mumbling, rather than singing. Her mumbles are then translated..."

"... for the audience using supertitles.... Despite the opera’s central character being named Blake, 'the only reason people are going to see this is because of Kurt Cobain’s celebrity,' [said a Cobain biographer].... The idea for making 'Last Days' also had little to do with Cobain as a person, said [Oliver] Leith, the Royal Opera House’s composer-in-residence.... [Agathe Rousselle, who plays the Cobain character] best known for starring in the horror movie 'Titane' as a woman sexually attracted to cars, said... [s]he was bullied at school and one day one of the school’s popular girls threw a CD of Nirvana’s 'Nevermind' at her, sneering, 'That’s the kind of thing you weirdo would listen to,' Rousselle recalled. When she got home, she immediately played it. 'I lost my mind to it,' she said.... [Rousselle] said the opera was not about Cobain, but bigger issues like how 'becoming a myth will kill you' and 'the absurdity of being famous and wanting to disappear when you’re recognizable to pretty much everyone.' The opera could have been made about Amy Winehouse or Janis Joplin and still made the same points, she added."

From "A Kurt Cobain Opera Examines the Myth, Not the Man/The creators of 'Last Days,' an eagerly anticipated opera about a grunge star’s final days, insist it’s really about how society treats its icons" (NYT).

"She is a writer dedicated to re-examining her past and cataloging her humiliations and anxieties with precision."

"Her work readily offers the general contours of her life: a working-class, Roman Catholic childhood in rural Normandy; an unwanted pregnancy and abortion before the procedure was legalized; her failed marriage and various affairs; and relationships with her family, especially her parents."

From the NYT presentation of information about the new Nobel Prize writer, Annie Ernaux.

Have you read her? Will you read her? Does that description make you more or less likely to read her?

It makes me less likely to read her. She's praised for "precision" and for offering "general contours" — which sounds contradictory. And we're told she writes about herself and given a list of what seem to be ordinary woes of womanhood. Is there some reason for this dull presentation?

"They lost every possession to their name. They showed up here in the same clothes they left in. And they’re all here."

"Quite a few players on our football team, members of the [junior ROTC], the band, the people here making this event what it is, they’re living on couches and in RVs or wherever they can find a place." 

Said Naples athletic director Cassie Barone, quoted in an OutKick article reporting about the Naples High football team playing its Friday night game, at home, 10 days after Hurricane Ian brought a 10 foot storm surge nor far from the school.

Ron DeSantis showed up for the game and called it "a testament to the resiliency of our Southwest Florida communities." By the way, there doesn't seem to be much of an effort to "Katrina" Ron DeSantis.

My favorite part of the article is one of the section headings: "Football Can Lift The Community."

"I was totally naïve when I took the job. I spent my time and didn’t succeed. I realized the system didn’t work. I just wasn’t smart enough. I don’t know how they can build it now."

Said Michael Tennenbaum, "a former Wall Street investment banker who was the first chairman of the rail authority 20 years ago," quoted in "How California’s Bullet Train Went Off the Rails America’s first experiment with high-speed rail has become a multi-billion-dollar nightmare. Political compromises created a project so expensive that almost no one knows how it can be built as originally envisioned" (NYT).

"I moved around using a joystick on my hand controller. The first time I did this, I got motion sick and nearly fell over."

"I quickly realized that the metaverse was, with the exception of its games and exercise apps, best experienced sitting down.... Meta forces Horizon users to design avatars that look like real people — no giant bananas or huge robots — and many people choose to look as they do in real life, but pseudonymity is still part of the appeal. I, however, did use my real name and told people that I was a New York Times reporter who was recording my experience with a tool built into my headset. This P.O.V. camera was a little creepy, because it didn’t notify others when it was turned on. When I revealed I was recording, people would sometimes shout, 'She’s a fed!' and run away.... Putting on the headset was annoying, but once I started chatting in Horizon, I had a good time and was reluctant to leave. I liked meeting people spontaneously without the increasingly heavy-handed algorithmic intervention of traditional social media platforms. But explaining the metaverse through the lens of Horizon feels akin to unpacking the potential of 'the web' by surfing AOL chat rooms in the 1990s, during the days of dial-up modems...."

Writes Kashmir Hill in "This Is Life in the Metaverse/Every hour of the day and night with the gamers, parents, insomniacs, preteens and aspiring comedians who are the earliest adopters of the immersive, three-dimensional internet that Mark Zuckerberg has bet the future of his company on" (NYT).

This article went up 2 days ago and it was featured on the NYT podcast "Hard Fork" the same day, but it only has 109 comments. I scanned them and didn't see any that weren't pretty much the same as this one, the top-rated comment:

It just seems awful. Social media has promoted itself as "bringing people together," but that is far from what has happened in the real world. We think it's going to be some sort of School of Athens where deep and meaningful conversations happen, but it's just an opportunity to have your inauthentic self on display. If we need connection and belonging, maybe we should be having neighborhood dinners, where politics are prohibited, instead of strapping on a headset to get trolled by broken people. Hard pass.

How is sitting in the audience trying to make a debate happen?

I'm trying to read the NBC News article, "Kari Lake was booted from Arizona town hall audience before Hobbs took the stage/The scene, which took place a forum that has yet to air, is emblematic of the contrasting styles of the two candidates in Arizona's tight race for governor." 

I have no quarrel with the headline — other than that "booted" suggests physical resistance to removal — but the text is slanted. It begins:

Democrat Katie Hobbs won’t debate her opponent in Arizona’s race for governor, yet Republican Kari Lake tried to make it happen at a candidate town hall that organizers say she disrupted.

Before describing exactly what Lake did, we're pushed to regard it as disruption. And we're told Lake "tried to make [a debate] happen," so I'm picturing Lake getting on the stage and attempting to argue with Hobbs.

Under the agreed-upon rules for the pre-recorded event, which was taped Monday and airs at 7 p.m. Saturday Arizona time, the candidates were not supposed to be onstage at the same time and Hobbs was supposed to go first.

Again, we're pushed to think that Lake got on the stage with Hobbs, and we're told that would violate the specific rules that Lake had agreed to.