December 3, 2022

At the Saturday Night Café...

 ... go ahead and talk about anything.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WaPo reports.

Musk adds support to my hypothesis.

Me, in the previous post

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

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

Musk, just now:

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

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

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

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

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

December 2, 2022

At the Sunrise Café...


... you can talk about whatever you want.

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

1. The best way to ask for water.

2. A vertiginous hike.

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

4. Pickleball — in the Midwest.

5. A springer spaniel running on ice.

"I do sometimes delete comments, but I do it based on my own editorial judgment, not state command."

"Still, I’m being conscripted. By obligating me to do the state’s bidding with regard to viewpoints that New York condemns, the law violates the First Amendment. The Supreme Court has carved out several narrow categories of unprotected speech, but hate speech isn’t one of them.... The new law would force me to act on the state’s disdain for online speech that someone, somewhere believes can 'vilify, humiliate, or incite violence against' groups based on protected class, even if that speech is protected by the First Amendment. Does speech by Richard Dawkins comparing George W. Bush’s faith to that of Osama bin Laden’s vilify conservative Christians? Does speech condemning trans athletes who join women’s sports teams vilify or humiliate based on gender identity? Do harsh criticisms of Israelis or Palestinians vilify those groups? Do some feminist comments criticizing patriarchy humiliate men? Can your comment on any of the blogs, news sites or social-media platforms swept up in New York’s law be defined as hateful conduct? Nobody knows."

Writes Eugene Volokh, in "New York State Wants to Conscript Me to Violate the Constitution/A new law requires me to post a policy for dealing with ‘hate speech’ in comments on my blog" (Wall Street Journal).

"[S]he arrived [in San Francisco] in the early 1970s and joined a feminist art collective. The group produced Wimmen’s Comix..."

"... one of the first feminist comics produced entirely by women, with topics that ranged from queer life to abortion to rape. The artist left the collective over disagreements about works that some found to be too unsparing (her alter ego character Bunch, for example, would sometimes pop pimples or masturbate or pick her butt). So in 1975, she founded a new women’s comic: Twisted Sisters. Together with her husband and collaborator Robert Crumb and their daughter Sophie, she moved to the south of France in 1990...."

From "Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Rebellious Cartoonist, Dead at 74" (NY Magazine).

This is from 2 years ago:

"The 'dad vibe' is... the inevitable off-shoot of normcore.... Historically, 'father' and 'fashion' have been antithetical to each other...."

"It used to seem unfathomable to me that there was a time long ago when people would get home after a full day of work and make themselves more comfortable by putting on a pair of jeans. Now, finally, I get it. I am currently wearing some wide-leg jeans that are — dare I say — cozy....There is no hint of irony, no wink to the camera. Just a nice pair slacks, some New Balance sneakers, and the newfound desire to talk about a boat you saw once....."

From "2022 FASHION YEAR IN REVIEW/The Dad-ification of 2022 Fashion" (NY Magazine).

"The naive view is that the refusal to defend West marks a sea shift in black attitudes toward Jews..."

"... transcending the impulse to defend the indefensible just because it was done by a fellow African American. The cynical view is that if West hadn’t first angered black people with his comment that slavery was 'a choice,' and betrayed black leaders with his decision to put on the MAGA cap, the reaction would have been entirely different. West’s accusations... [suggest that] Kanye West has lost his mind. But that doesn’t explain enough. If West had blamed the Iroquois for his woes, that would be unhinged. But he didn’t. He blamed the Jews, and that’s no accident of mental illness. West found a powerful political explanation for his experience, one that already has a pedigree in the black community—anti-Semitism. Look at his accusations again: Reference to Jewish exploitation is de rigueur in writings about blacks and Jews...."

Writes Elliot Kaufman, in "O Ye of Little Faith: The Anti-Semitism of Kanye West The billionaire star is not just crazy. His Jew-hating politics have a history—and a radical potential" (Commentary). Much more detail at the link. But just a bit more, from the conclusion:

"I tried my best. Despite that, he again violated our rule against incitement to violence. Account will be suspended."

Tweeted Elon Musk, quoted in "Kanye West suspended from Twitter after posting swastika inside Star of David/Elon Musk intervenes after rapper posted image hours after airing antisemitic views in Alex Jones interview" (The Guardian).

In case you thought Elon Musk was a free-speech absolutist.

Notice that it's not a matter of rules, but how the rules are applied. Old Twitter kicked out Trump because he violated the rule against incitement to violence, but how close was Trump to inciting violence?

Now, how close was Ye?

Should you watch the monotonous 3+ hour 1975 feminist movie that hit #1 on the Sight & Sound poll or is it cinema enough to watch the 2-minute trailer for "Cocaine Bear"?


Everyone seems to be watching the "Cocaine Bear" trailer. I haven't felt this cultural vibe since the "Snakes on a Plane" trailer came out in 2006.

For those who doubt the "based on a true story" assertion, the NYT has "Yes, ‘Cocaine Bear’ Was Real. Here’s the Back Story. Nearly 40 years after a 175-pound black bear found and ingested cocaine in a Georgia forest, the drug binge has inspired a movie." 

The movie does add some things. Here's the barebones original story:

"It’s a list of something. The question is what."

That's all I have to say after my son John posts — on Facebook — a link to "'Jeanne Dielman' Tops Sight & Sound’s 2022 Poll of the Best Films of All Time."

The Sight & Sound poll results are much anticipated — every 10 years. I've been noticing this thing since the 1970s, so I'm familiar with what normally ends up at or near the top. Favorites come and go. But I've never seen the #1 position go to something I've never even heard of:

Directed by Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman and released in 1975, “Jeanne Dielman” is a three-hour, 20-minute film following the title character (Delphine Seyrig), a single mother and prostitute, as she carries out a monotonous daily routine that slowly breaks apart and collapses. Since its premiere, the film has been highly acclaimed as a landmark of feminist cinema.

What's going on here? And do I need to watch a 3-hour, 20-minute monotonous movie to have an opinion? A movie about a prostitute — but feminist. Keep watching, because she will break apart and collapse, and we're told it's feminist.

I've had my own feminist opinion about the overrepresentation of prostitutes in the movies, and I've had it for a long time — for many cycles of Sight & Sound polls. So I don't need these critics trying to make up for all their past decades of boosting the work of male film directors... if that's what's going on here.

"At a moment when Congress is finally debating whether and how to seriously regulate the cryptocurrency industry, a split appears to have formed in the Democratic Party."

"Some of its lawmakers are contemplating how to harness blockchain technology into a force for innovation, while scaling back its early excesses. Then there’s a group you might call the 'bullshit caucus.' 'It’s all bullshit,' Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont. told Semafor.... 'Finally, there are more people blowing the bullshit whistle,' Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. said in a Wednesday interview. 'There's been a lot of lobbying around Congress and an effort to try to scare off lawmakers. To say "Oh, crypto is just so complicated. No one can understand it. Let the crypto world remain unregulated." That is precisely the argument that was made in the run-up to the 2008 crash.'"

Writes Joseph Zeballos-Roig (Semafor).

December 1, 2022

Sunrise — 6:52, 7:07.

IMG_4033 2


Kanye West didn't want to deny that he's a Nazi.

More here: "Ye praises Hitler during interview with Alex Jones/The hours-long interview on a conspiracy theory website gave Ye a platform to make antisemitic statements with little challenge from the host" (NBC News).

I've got 8 carefully curated TikToks for you this evening. Let me know which ones you like.

1. Christine McVie's voice — isolated — from "Songbird."

2. If you know this story about the lady in waiting, Lady Susan Husse, you'll understand this brilliant turnabout.

3. One reason I don't want a dog is that it can't be guaranteed that I won't turn into a person like this.

4. The Chinese immigrant explains what's happening in China.

5. A trippy street view.

6. It's not easy dressing green.

7. In case you wonder how to speak when they tell you to act your age.

8. This funny little hedgehog.

"The splashiest new [Spotify] Wrapped goody is the 'music personality' feature — a Myers–Briggs-esque system that analyzes how you listen..."

"... and assigns you one of 16 flattering categories, such as 'Adventurer,' 'Fanclubber,' and 'Specialist.' It’s a savvy move; whether zodiac sign or Hogwarts house, the kids simply love to be categorized...."

The Verge reports, and I already knew, because, though I am not a "kid," Spotify still wanted me to know where I stood in their system, which is FTVU:


Familiarity and variety... It's not paradoxical once you're familiar with a lot of things, which I, as an old person am. I also wanted to show you this — only because it's odd (and definitely "timeless," if by time, you mean the last century):

"Once they arrive at the tropical island to the sound of birdsong, users can roam a surreal landscape dominated by a permanent beach party."

"As the music blares out thumping dance songs, computer generated avatars wave their multiple limbs while dancing on raised platforms. Above it all a giant red statue of a shot-put athlete, rendered in heroic Soviet style, looms, tensed and poised to throw a heavy shot. Except instead of an iron shot, his ball is a menacing looking coronavirus.... Avatars can walk on water as dolphins leap through the air around them and drones hover bearing message screens flashing words like 'education,' 'public health' and '#WhoWeAre.' Open books are installed on a liquid floor as a 'symbol of the human journey towards knowledge.'..."

From "EU throws gala party for ‘global gateway’ metaverse — and only a handful of people show up" (London Times). 

By "handful," they mean 6. The EU spent £332,500. So that's £55,417 per person.

"It makes no sense. Somebody who’s such an extraordinary friend of Israel, whose daughter is an Orthodox Jew, whose grandchildren are Orthodox Jews—I cannot explain..."

"... why he would want to have dinner with an overt anti-Semite and dinner with a white-supremacist Jew-hater, an ugly, ugly scum like Nick Fuentes. And Trump says, 'I didn’t know who it was.' Even if I take him at his word, that he didn’t know who Fuentes was, fine, now he knows. Why doesn’t he say, 'Fuentes is a despicable scum whose beliefs have no place in the United States of America'?"

Said the head of the Zionist Organization of America, Morton Klein, quoted in "A Right-Wing Zionist Digests Trump’s Anti-Semite Dinner Party/Can the former President be the 'best friend Israel ever had in the White House' while also legitimatizing 'Jew-haters'?" (The New Yorker). The Z.O.A. recently gave Trump an award designating him the "best friend Israel ever had in the White House." 

Does this help make sense of what happened: "Milo Yiannopoulos claims he set up Fuentes dinner ‘to make Trump’s life miserable’/Rightwing provocateur says he helped arrange for white supremacist to attend dinner with Trump and Kanye West" (The Guardian).

"Elon Musk’s Neuralink Corp. aims to start putting its coin-sized computing brain implant into human patients within six months..."

"... the company announced... Neuralink has been refining the product, which consists of a tiny device and electrode-laced wires, along with a robot that carves out a piece of a person’s skull and implants it into the brain. Ongoing discussions with the US Food and Drug Administration have gone well enough for the company to set a target of its first human trials within the next six months, according to Musk. In typical fashion for an Elon Musk venture, Neuralink is already bounding ahead, aiming implants at other parts of the body. During the event, Musk revealed work on two major products in addition to the brain-computer interface. It’s developing implants that can go into the spinal cord and potentially restore movement in someone suffering from paralysis. And it has an ocular implant meant to improve or restore human vision. 'As miraculous as that may sound, we are confident that it is possible to restore full-body functionality to someone who has a severed spinal cord,' Musk said at the event. Turning to Neuralink’s vision work, he added that 'even if they have never seen before, we are confident they could see.'"

Bloomberg reports.

"Attempts to find a gender-inclusive pronoun equivalent to 'they/them' are also complicated by the fact that the German equivalent to 'they' ('sie') sounds identical to..."

"... the formal form of 'you' ('Sie') and the word for 'she' ('sie'). Carolin Müller-Spitzer, a professor of linguistics the Leibniz Institute for the German Language, in Mannheim, said that adapting existing pronouns 'doesn’t work in German, so we need to create something new. And creating a new pronoun is difficult.' Müller-Spitzer added that since the end of the Third Reich, debates about inclusive language in Germany often become a forum for people to express views about gender or race."

From "Bending Gender’s Rules, in Life and in German Grammar/The victory of Kim de l’Horizon, a nonbinary writer, in a top literary prize stirred a debate about how the German language can accommodate people who don’t identify as male or female" (NYT).

The article drops that reference to the Third Reich then goes back to discussing this one writer, Kim de l'Horizon. I would really like some elaboration of the "difficult" problem!

In that context, this quote from de l'Horizon is unsettling: "Life is messy, it’s sweaty, it’s dirty, it’s playful and fun. And that’s what this whole process should be."

"In today’s therapy-saturated culture, you hear countless messages about what therapy is and what it is for...."

"Back in 1979, the historian and critic Christopher Lasch wrote that the New Left had retreated from politics and turned inward, focusing on personal psychological well-being instead of external collective struggles. These days that is funnily reversed: Psychology is often used, especially online, as a way to collectively press others. In some corners therapy has become a kind of social imperative, something anyone can urge strangers to engage in — not so they can explore their own experiences, but so their psychic toxicity can be contained before it spills onto others. Social media is filled with memes and jokes in which people 'beg' men to get therapy, or deploy variations of the formula that 'men will literally do anything but go to therapy.'..."

From "Is It Toxic to Tell Everyone to Get Therapy?/It has become a social credential to be in therapy. It’s also incredibly difficult to access" by Zachary Siegel (NYT). 

The link on Lasch goes to a 2010 essay — by Lee Siegel — about Lasch's 1979 book, "The Culture of Narcissism":

"Still, the baguette is under threat..."

"... with the country losing 400 artisanal bakeries a year since 1970 — a decline that is especially significant in France’s rural areas, where supermarkets and chains have overtaken traditional mom-and-pop bakeries. To make matters worse — and in a sting to French pride — sales of hamburgers since 2017 have exceeded those of jambon-beurre, sandwiches made with ham on a buttered baguette."

 From "A Slice of France, the Baguette Is Granted World Heritage Status/More than six billion baguettes are sold every year in France. But the bread is under threat, with bakeries vanishing in rural areas" (NYT).

The article links to this 2007 discussion of the deep cultural meaning of bread: 

"The classic advice, right: Don’t say anything. Recede into a hole. And that’s not who I am. It’s not who I want to be."

"I don’t have — I think I have a duty to talk to people. I have a duty to explain what happened. And I think I have a duty to do everything I can to try and do what’s right. If there is anything I can do to try and help customers out here. And I don’t see what good is accomplished by me just sitting locked in a room pretending the outside world doesn’t exist."

Said Sam Bankman-Fried, prompted about whether his lawyers are telling him it's a good idea to be talking and quoted in "Transcript of Sam Bankman-Fried’s Interview at the DealBook Summit/In a discussion with Andrew Ross Sorkin of The New York Times, Sam Bankman-Fried blamed 'huge management failures' and sloppy accounting for the collapse of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange" (NYT).

He says he's not focusing on his own liability: "There’s going to be a time and a place for me to think about myself and my own future. But I don’t think this is it. Right now, look, I've had a bad month. This has not been a fun month for me. But that’s not what matters here...."

He takes risks. And he doesn't focus on the future.

November 30, 2022

At the Wednesday Night Café...

 ... you can write about anything you want.

Goodbye to Christine McVie.

"Christine McVie, of Fleetwood Mac, Is Dead at 79/As a singer, songwriter and keyboardist, she was a driving force behind one of the most popular rock bands of the last few decades" (NYT).

The most popular songs Ms. McVie crafted favored bouncing beats and lively melodies, including “Say You Love Me” (which grazed Billboard’s Top 10), “You Make Lovin’ Fun” (which just broke it), “Hold Me” (No. 4) and “Don’t Stop” (her top smash, which crested at No. 3). But she could also connect with elegant ballads, like “Over My Head” (No. 20) and “Little Lies” (which cracked the publication’s Top Five in 1987)....

"But to convince at least 10 Republicans to back the measure, [Tammy] Baldwin knew she had to overcome skepticism from many Republicans that Democrats just wanted to put them on the spot..."

"... on an issue that public opinion had recently deserted them on, as well as fierce opposition from social conservative groups and some religious institutions.... 'I think there was a short period of time where there was a belief that this was being pushed for political reasons,' Baldwin said. 'My Republican colleagues would say to me: "Nobody thinks you’re pushing this for political reasons. They think others are, like the Democratic Party. But nobody is questioning your motives." I think that’s helpful. I mean, I really am earnest about this.'..."

From "How a bipartisan group of senators got same-sex marriage protections passed/A group of Democrats and Republicans, led by Sen. Tammy Baldwin, spent months working to get 12 Republicans onboard with the legislation" (WaPo).

"I’m addicted to reading," said the journalist to Sam Bankman-Fried, who said "Oh, yeah? I would never read a book."

I read that scintillating anecdote in a nonbook — a WaPo scribbling called "Sam Bankman-Fried doesn’t read. That tells us everything" by Molly Roberts.

If an 8-word spontaneous remark "tells us everything" in your view, Ms. Roberts, can I infer that you agree with SBF's anti-book statement?

Well, I don't know what's in Bankman-Fried's mind or Roberts's, but I feel like the headline tells me everything I need to know about the latter. 

But I'll read the article anyway, because you are kind enough to read my blog post, which is also not a book, and which mostly is an outgrowth of my reading things that are not books (though 2 posts down is a post about a book (not really, just kidding, it's a short fragment arrived at by searching for an isolated word that came up in conversation)).

Roberts writes:

"[Kirk] Hammett, who is Buddhist, will talk at length about consciousness, God, enlightenment, resonance, Nirvana."

"He believes that the work he does with Metallica is an extension of some sublime and omnipotent creative force. 'I put myself in this space where I take in all the creativity around me and I channel it to create more,' he said. His hope is that Metallica facilitates a healing sort of fellowship. 'We are so nondenominational,' he said, laughing. 'Come to the Church of Metallica. You’ll become a member and rejoice! You don’t have to direct anything at us. You can direct it at the experience that you’re having.'"

Writes Amanda Petrusich, in "The Enduring Metal Genius of Metallica/On the road with the band in its forty-first year" (The New Yorker).

"Plum-pudding is the term bestowed upon certain fragmentary parts of the whale's flesh, here and there adhering to the blanket of blubber..."

"... and often participating to a considerable degree in its unctuousness. It is a most refreshing, convivial, beautiful object to behold. As its name imports, it is of an exceedingly rich, mottled tint, with a bestreaked snowy and golden ground, dotted with spots of the deepest crimson and purple. It is plums of rubies, in pictures of citron. Spite of reason, it is hard to keep yourself from eating it. I confess, that once I stole behind the foremast to try it. It tasted something as I should conceive a royal cutlet from the thigh of Louis le Gros might have tasted, supposing him to have been killed the first day after the venison season, and that particular venison season contemporary with an unusually fine vintage of the vineyards of Champagne."

Just a fragment of "Moby Dick," pulled up this morning as part of a real-world conversation that I am too discreet to recount.

A royal cutlet from the thigh of Louis le Gros — that killed me.


The London Times reports: 

The death of a Russian billionaire in a helicopter crash in Monaco has prompted speculation over possible sabotage after the sudden deaths of two other cryptocurrency industry leaders in the past month. Vyacheslav Taran, 53, was killed when the helicopter he had chartered... hit a French hillside.... A week earlier Tiantian Kullander, 30, the founder of the Hong Kong-based Amber Group cryptocurrency company, died suddenly “in his sleep”....

Dear Tim Cook... Love, Josh Hawley.

"On Avatar Forums, he found others who felt trapped, who yearned for a chance to start over on Pandora or dreamed of leading a Na’vi lifestyle here on earth...."

"He started reading philosophy. He devoted more time to communing with nature. 'I would go out into the woods and spend time there hiking,' he says. '"Avatar' made me feel like I could sit out in a forest and just be.'... Though 'Avatar' altered the course of his whole life — arguably more than even James Cameron’s — he doesn’t really think there’s anything that special about the movie. It was just the thing that happened to cross his path at the moment when he was already searching.... The story of 'Avatar,' however hacky it may be, still suggests that humanity can save itself in the face of rapacious profiteering. This is something we have a moral imperative to keep believing....."

Writes Jamie Lauren Keiles in "'Avatar' and the Mystery of the Vanishing Blockbuster/It was the highest-grossing film in history, but for years it was remembered mainly for having been forgotten. Why?" (NYT).

I've never seen "Avatar," but I am a huge fan of the HBO show "How to With John Wilson," and I feel satisfied — and more — with his plot summary:

"The country sees tens of thousands of protests every year.... Most are local, aimed at issues like pollution.... China’s leaders are thought to tolerate a hum of protest..."

"... perhaps even welcome it within limits, so as to 'siphon off popular discontent without destabilizing the system as a whole'.... China’s leaders know that they cannot be totally indifferent to public will. But, without genuine elections, citizens have few ways to convey their points of anger. Tolerating some protest gives leaders a way to head off dissent, and to allow citizens to feel heard, before anger boils over. The official response is often 'much less rigid and more managerial than is often presumed'...."

 Writes Max Fisher, in "The Long Odds Facing China’s Protesters/Popular protests are more easily begun than ever before, but they are more likely to dissipate, too" (NYT).

"Evil, be thou my good."

Said Satan, in "Paradise Lost," quoted in "Bad is Good and Good is Bad" (TV Tropes).

Sometimes it isn't enough for a villain to be evil. They have to prove their evilness by eschewing all that is good and embracing all that is bad. They'll eat foods that disgust the good guys and laugh at funerals. They may also carry this over to their speech, making sure to only use negative phrases when most people would use a positive one, and correcting themselves if they "slip" ("Oh, goody! I mean, 'baddy.'")....

Compare Above Good and Evil and What Is Evil? Villains whose strong point is not logic will sometimes use both tropes to justify this. See also Bizarro Universe, Mirror Universe, Blue-and-Orange Morality, and Naughty Is Good. Not to be confused with So Bad, It's Good.

"In 1964, Gloria Szymanski, a recently divorced mother struggling with the sexual and behavioral strictures of her new status, was filmed as a patient of three renowned therapists..."

"... Carl Rogers, Frederick Perls, and Albert Ellis. The film was produced and narrated by the psychologist Everett L. Shostrum, who was Szymanski’s personal therapist and who recruited her for this starring role.... 'He told Gloria that the films would only be used in schools and colleges to teach psychology students so imagine her surprise then when making her breakfast pancakes a year or so later to see her interview with Dr. Perls on TV and then she found out that the films were going to be shown in full in movie theatres all over the country.'... She talks, with frankness and charm, about her daddy issues and her pinings for smart, authoritative men. If not for the clinical setting and the disapproving gaze of the therapists, her desires would seem normal—which, of course, they are...."

From "Gender Critique Meets Lewd Spectacle in 'The Patient Gloria'/Gina Moxley’s play examines the sexual and behavioral strictures on women through the lens of psychotherapy circa 1964" (The New Yorker).

Even as disease could be perceived as health — see the first post of today — health could be perceived as disease.

ADDED: I believe it is a terrible invasion of privacy, but nevertheless, I found the original film on YouTube, so I present it here: 

"He was in search of rocks whose shape and placement gave him a sense of existential comfort instead of dread."

"'That was the one that started me thinking about this,' he said, arriving at a bobsled-size boulder perched near the edge of a shallow cliff. 'That must say something important about the amount of shaking that occurred since it was put up there. If there was a lot of shaking, it would have fallen.' A hiking companion couldn’t resist a futile push. The boulder was deposited there, of course, by a glacier. 'Everything here reeks of the Ice Age,' Menke said. The last of the glaciers melted in these parts around fifteen thousand years ago. Auspicious."

From "Predicting the Earthquake That Could Wreck New York/A geologist heads to the hills to study precariously perched boulders, which could provide clues to the frequency of the rare major quakes that shake the region" (The New Yorker).

"How is it possible that a disease characterized by coughing, emaciation, relentless diarrhea, fever, and the expectoration of phlegm and blood became not only a sign of beauty, but also a fashionable disease?"

Asks Carolyn Day in "Consumptive Chic: A History of Beauty, Fashion, and Disease," reviewed by Allison Meier in "How Tuberculosis Symptoms Became Ideals of Beauty in the 19th Century/In Consumptive Chic: A History of Beauty, Fashion, and Disease, Carolyn A. Day investigates how the fatal symptoms of tuberculosis became entwined with feminine ideals in the late 18th and early 19th centuries" (Hypoallergenic).

It helped that the wasting away of tuberculosis sufferers aligned with existing ideas of attractiveness. The thinness, the ghostly pallor that brought out the veins, the rosy cheeks, sparkling eyes, and red lips (really signs of a constant low-grade fever), were both the ideals of beauty for a proper lady, and the appearance of a consumptive on their deathbed. If you didn’t have the disease, you could use makeup to get the pale skin and crimson lips, and wear a dress that slumped your posture....

The perception of a medical problem as beautiful is not an isolated quirk of the Victorian age. We do it today. Look around.

I'll just quote an old post of mine, from 2004, my first year of blogging:

November 29, 2022

Sunrise — 7:03.

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Talk about whatever you want in the comments.

"The Highsmiths are confident that they have found the right person. In addition to a 23andMe DNA kit that linked Melissa’s father, Jeffrie Highsmith, with one of her children..."

"... there are all the little things that make it feel right: A birthmark on Melissa’s back that matches one she had as a baby. The way she puts jalapeños on her nachos, mirroring her siblings’ love of spicy foods. The fact that she has a dog named Charlie, just like one of her sisters."

 From "She was kidnapped as a baby in 1971. Her family just found her alive" (WaPo).

"Despite living as 'Melanie' for most of her life, Melissa now wants to use her original first name, her sisters said. She wants to spend more time with their mother, with whom she felt an immediate connection. And she wants to redo her wedding to her current husband, her sisters said, so her father can walk her down the aisle."

"As first time marchers, most of them did not know what to expect. A Beijing protester said that she was so tense that she felt physically and emotionally exhausted..."

"... the next day. More than one person told me that they needed a day to collect their thoughts before they could talk. At least three cried in our interviews. They are proud, scared and conflicted about their experiences. They have different views about how politically explicit their slogans should be, but they all said that they found shouting the slogans cathartic. Miranda, who has been a journalist for eight years, said that she couldn’t stop crying when she shouted with the crowd, 'freedom of speech' and 'freedom of press.'...  The slogans that they recalled chanting were all over the place, illustrating the wide frustration with their lives. 'End the lockdown!' 'Freedom of speech!' 'Give back my movies!'... When someone first chanted, 'No more Communist Party,' the crowd laughed, according to Serena, a college student who is spending her gap year in Shanghai. 'Everyone knew it was the redline,' she said... When someone yelled, 'Xi Jinping, step down!' and 'C.C.P., step down!' the shouts were the loudest...."

Writes Li Yuan, in "Proud, Scared and Conflicted. What the China Protesters Told Me/In more than a dozen interviews, young people explained how the events of the past few days became what one called a 'tipping point'" (NYT).

"After buying Twitter, Elon Musk enthusiastically welcomed both Trump and Ye back to the platform, and has been tiptoing up to the edge of antisemitism himself."

"On Sunday, he tweeted that Alexander Vindman, the Jewish retired Army officer who testified about Trump’s attempt to extort Ukraine’s president, is both 'puppet & puppeteer,' echoing an old antisemitic trope about Jews pulling the strings behind world events. On Monday, Musk tweeted an image of the alt-right symbol Pepe the Frog. For most of my adult life, antisemites — with exceptions like Pat Buchanan and Mel Gibson — have lacked status in America. The most virulent antisemites tended to hate Jews from below, blaming them for their own failures and disappointments. Now, however, anti-Jewish bigotry, or at least tacit approval of anti-Jewish bigotry, is coming from people with serious power: the leader of a major political party, a famous pop star, and the world’s richest man."

Writes Michelle Goldberg, in "Antisemitism’s March Into the Mainstream" (NYT).

Why did Musk tweet this image of Pepe the Frog? 

I found this quote at Deadline, from ADL Vice President, Center on Extremism Oren Segal:

"Tesla drivers interviewed by the Guardian say they have experienced anti-Tesla sentiment, but mostly from those who hate electric vehicles rather than Musk specifically."

"'Random rude drivers will swerve in my lane to yell at me, or turn on a heavy diesel exhaust that blows black smoke,' Paul Albertson, who lives in Beaverton, Oregon, told the Guardian. It never happens when he drives his two other cars, a vintage 1948 Chevy and a 2014 Traverse. The culprits are most often men driving 'larger pick-up trucks', he said. John Shevelew doesn’t notice too much road rage at home in York, Pennsylvania.... Things change when he drives through the south. 'I go to Texas a lot to see my daughter in Austin, and in Arkansas, Mississippi, those places, I run into, let’s say, less-than-friendly looks,' he said. 'You get someone in a big diesel pickup truck who likes to express their dissatisfaction with the idea of an electric car.' Laura Kennedy, who also lives in Pennsylvania, agrees. 'It’s almost always a guy in a pickup truck [who does something],' she said. 'I don’t think I’ve ever been flipped off in my life as much as I have in the past year or so.'"

From "'Rude drivers will swerve in my lane': are Tesla owners paying the price for Musk hate? US owners say they’ve been on the receiving end of road rage, but it may be more about EVs than the CEO himself" (The Guardian).

That seems unduly prejudiced against trucks. I'd like some non-anecdotal evidence.

"Generally, the cruellest are perhaps those who are of Russia but are not of the Russian tradition, such as the Chechens, the Buryats and so on."

Said Pope Francis, quoted in "‘Racist’ interview with Pope Francis causes fury in Russia/Francis says Chechen and Buryat minorities in Russia’s army more cruel in Ukraine than other soldiers" (The Guardian). 

"The Supreme Court will hear oral argument on Tuesday in a dispute over the Biden administration’s authority to set immigration policy."

Writes Amy Howe, at SCOTUSblog. 

[T]here are over 11 million noncitizens currently in the United States who could be subject to deportation, but that the Department of Homeland Security does not have the resources to apprehend and deport all of them.... Texas and Louisiana went to federal court in Texas to challenge the Biden administration’s policy, arguing that federal law requires the government to detain and deport many more noncitizens than those identified by [Secretary of Homeland Security] Mayorkas as high prioriti[ies]....

The district court vacated the policy, and the Supreme Court agreed to take the case without waiting for the Court of Appeals.

"[Kanye] West said that following his 'Death Con' comment, Alex Jones’ producer introduced him to [Milo] Yiannopoulos, who in turn suggested West 'bring in' Fuentes."

"The artist said he was 'impressed by Nick' and asked him to join the dinner, stating that 'Trump had no idea who Nick Fuentes was.'"

From "Kanye and His Antisemitic Friends Storm Off Live Right-Wing Podcast After Pushback on Offensive Views/West, Nick Fuentes, and Milo Yiannopoulos abruptly walked off the Timcast IRL podcast after pushback to antisemitic claims" (Rolling Stone).

Here's the show, with Ye and friends exiting after 20 minutes or so: 


I listened to the show for about the first half hour. I don't think I'd ever noticed Pool before, but I think I understood him to say that the show has a format — discussing the news — and West knew that but West just went ahead and took over and seemed to feel entitled to rant from subject to subject however he wanted. Pool seems to have been more deferential than usual but had to break in, not merely to preserve his own concept of the show, but because West was indulging in general statements that Pool knew would be characterized as anti-semitism. Pool wanted West to name particular individuals, not speak of the group in general.

West had one good point: Why are people allowed to speak of "the black vote"? Why is it okay to speak about black people that way?

Christmastime is here.

Remember the White House Christmas in 2017? It had a similar whiteness theme. In December 2021, Trump was still irked at how people criticized Melania:

"She made magnificent, remember the most beautiful you've ever seen, white trees? And they said, 'Oh that's terrible.' I said the next time, let's do it more traditional. Let's go with green. We went with beautiful green trees and they said, 'why wouldn't you make them white like they used to be? But I'll tell you what, she's loved all over and she's got a tremendous heart and she says 'hello.'"

Merry Christmas to all and to all a hello.

Trending on Twitter: "Non-binary Biden." That threw me for half a second.

 Then I realized: It's that suitcase person.

"Infertility and the loss of bone density are minuscule prices to pay compared with the risk of suicide for trans patients who are blocked..."

"... by doctors, parents or legislators from accessing gender-affirming treatment. There are many medical interventions with potentially life-altering side effects. Why are gender-affirming treatments for trans individuals being singled out as uniquely dangerous and worthy of public scrutiny?"

Writes a transgender woman, in one of the letters to the NYT responding to the article "They Paused Puberty, but Is There a Cost?/Puberty blockers can ease transgender youths’ anguish and buy time to weigh options. But concerns are growing about long-term physical effects and other consequences" (which we discussed on this blog, here).

Another one of the letters gives a good answer to the question she asks. This is from Marc B. Garnick, a professor at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center:

"The only way [oak trees are] going to move with the shifting temperatures is with the animals... Will personality affect that? Will there be individuals who are more likely to help?"

Said biology student Ivy Yen, quoted in "Meet the Mice Who Make the Forest/Scientists are unearthing a quiet truth about the woods: Where trees grow, or don’t, depends in part on the quirky decisions of small mammals" (NYT).

Although researchers already studied the ways that animals move seeds across landscapes, the possible role of their personalities had gone largely unexamined.

November 28, 2022

Sunrise — 6:48, 7:04, 7:13.

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IMG_4013 5

IMG_4023 2

"[Balenciaga’s 'Toy Stories' campaign was] an attempt at 'let’s give people something to talk about' gone terribly wrong."

"[It's] almost an anti-fashion brand ['with its collections inspired by “The Simpsons” and Crocs' and 'an $1,500 leather clutch made to look like a bag of Lay’s chips']... But just how much can you challenge what’s cool? There’s a thin line between being creative and essentially using children as props or having them pose with inappropriate items.... All of these decisions go through so many levels of approval and eyes.... So who approved this and where did everything go wrong? There really needs to be some accountability within Balenciaga... Brands can’t get away with these massive mistakes anymore. In this digital age where anything can go viral and anyone can investigate, consumers have a really big and loud voice." 

Said Priscilla Gonzalez, 27, "a Mexico-based stylist and fashion content creator," quoted in "After teddy bear backlash, Balenciaga announces lawsuit for separate ad" (WaPo).

Are these even mistakes, let alone "massive mistakes"? It's all a mind game, getting you to pay thousands for dumb-but-branded items.

We're talking about them, we're challenged, we're aghast or whatever. It's a stupid game, but as long as there are young people who can't really afford expensive high fashion but feel thrilled to hold one thing — a bag — that screams the name, there's $1,000 to be plucked from their delicate pliable fingers.

"[A]s of Jan. 1, we Californians will be able to jaywalk to a film audition, jaywalk to buy pot, jaywalk to meet an angel investor for a start-up, jaywalk for hot baby yoga classes..."

"... jaywalk for the benefit of paparazzi alerted earlier about where and when the jaywalking will occur, and jaywalk to any of the countless California-centric pastimes that the rest of the country finds so amusing. Or we might jaywalk across the street just to get to the other side.... [A]n enterprising individual can shoplift goods worth up to $950 without worrying about being tagged with a felony. Parking in L.A. is always a pain; if you’re hotfooting it out of a Macy’s or Target with an armful of pilfered goods, your ability to jaywalk worry-free to your getaway car is a cultural advantage right up there with being able to make a right turn on a red light. On a more serious note, the Freedom to Walk Act is a social-justice victory. As the bill’s author, state Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) told CBS Bay Area news, jaywalking laws 'are arbitrarily enforced and tickets are disproportionately given to people of color and in low-income communities.'"

From "California greenlights jaywalking. It’s a step in the right direction" (WaPo).

Yeah, don't have a law you're not willing to enforce equally against everyone. We don't want chaos, but you've got to draw the line where you'd want it enforced against you and the people you personally favor. 

"Many are now referring to the protest to as 'white paper revolution,' 'blank sheet revolution' or “A4 revolution.'"

The London Times reports, in "China protests: Clashes in Shanghai over Covid lockdowns/Protesters demanded President Xi’s removal." 

On the campus of Peking University in the capital, whose students led the Tiananmen protests in 1989, a swelling crowd gathered to face down the security guards, then began to sing the left-wing anthem The Internationale.

"We can’t coerce the past into our present values, even though it’s evidence we’ve progressed, and we can’t start Tippexing out anything offensive."

"If you’re a teacher, you point out, ‘This was a time when …’ but we can’t whitewash the past, because the past is what we’re reacting against.... Do you ban a genius for their sexual practices? There would be millions of people who if you looked closely enough at their personal life you would disqualify them. You can’t ban people. I hate cancel culture. It has become quite hysterical and there’s a kind of witch-hunt and a lack of understanding."

Said Helena Bonham Carter, quoted in "Helena Bonham Carter: Good on young men for finding middle-aged beauty sexy/The London Library’s first female president on why she thinks Johnny Depp has been ‘vindicated’ and the ‘horrendous’ treatment of JK Rowling" (London Times). 

Tippex? Oh! It's their Wite-Out.

"The white paper represent everything we want to say but cannot say."

"I came here to pay respects to the victims of the fire I really hope we can see an end to all of these COVID measures. We want to live a normal life again. We want to have dignity."

 Said a 26-year-old man identified as "Johnny," quoted in "Blank sheets of paper become symbol of defiance in China protests" (Reuters).

A man could later be seen chiding the crowd for their protest. "One day you’ll pay for everything you did today," he said....

"The state will also have to pay the price for what it has done," people in the crowd shouted back....

Elon Musk's 3:48 a.m. tweet.


My thoughts, in order:

1. What's that thing in the lower left corner?

2. What's that book in a box in the back?

3. If we were still in old Twitter, and some disfavored person posted that, he'd have been permanently banned for inciting violence.

4. What's the source of that photo, really?

5. Elon Musk is trying to excite right-wingers positively and left-wingers negatively. It's all about churning the environment, cranking everybody up, and not about the creating a space where people who disagree can talk to each other, despite what he tweeted yesterday afternoon: "Just a note to encourage people of different political or other views to engage in civil debate on Twitter. Worst case, the other side has a slightly better understanding of your views." That was then. This is now. He tested civility. Now he's testing guns and caffeine.

6. Some kind of pun about "trigger warning"? He did do a conspicuous visual pun the other day: "Let that sink in." But he didn't use words to drive home the pun this time.

7. It seems more as though he's genuinely warning people that he will defend himself — figuratively and literally. 

8. Some statement about new and old — innovation and tradition. There's a modern gun and some sort of expensive historical artifact that may or may not have crossed the Delaware in George Washington's boat.

9. Testing to see who has a problem with American history in its upbeat, glorified form. 

10. Elon sees himself as a top-level historical figure. He's like Washington. He wants you to do a photoshop with his face pasted in for Washington's.

11. Do I have to go look and see what other people have said? He wants them to say it — to tweet it — over at Twitter. But, no, I'm here, securely in the old tradition. Blogging, not microblogging.

November 27, 2022

At the Sunday Night Café...


... you can talk about whatever you want.

"Under the new Wollumbin Aboriginal Place Management Plan, the whole of the mountain is considered a 'men’s site.'..."

"'Wollumbin is interconnected to a broader cultural and spiritual landscape that includes Creation, Dreaming stories and men’s initiation rites of deep antiquity,' the group said.... However, local Ngarakbal Githabul women have said placing male-only gender restrictions on the site, as proposed in the plan, would 'dispossess' Indigenous women with deep spiritual connections to the area. Stella Wheildon, a north coast Indigenous woman, told The Daily Telegraph that the contested area also contained scared female sites. She said she had conducted extensive research on the history of Indigenous Australians in the region and found that the Yoocum Yoocum ancestors, and the Ngarakbal Githabul people were originally from the area in question. 'The Wollumbin Consultative Group has discriminated against the women and our lores,' Ms. Wheildon said...."

From "Plan to ban women from Australian national park sparks outrage" (NY Post).

Unsaid things.

I do exactly this — get up at 3 a.m. Eastern Time — and I do it from the Central Time zone.

"A federal judge in the US has denied a request from a 19-year-old woman to allow her to watch her father’s death by injection..."

"... upholding a Missouri law that bars anyone under 21 from witnessing an execution.... 'I’m heartbroken that I won’t be able to be with my dad in his last moments... My dad is the most important person in my life. He has been there for me my whole life, even though he’s been incarcerated.'"

 From "US federal judge denies 19-year-old’s request to attend her father’s execution" (The Guardian). The father, Kevin Johnson, murdered a police officer 17 years ago.

"When I was in a confused state with that two-minute memory, Mindy says I was the happiest I’ve ever been."

"My brain was getting on with rebooting. They’d ask what I wanted for lunch, it’d arrive and I’d be staggered and say ‘How did you know?’ and I’d read the same copy of the newspaper several times a day — Mindy took it away in the end as it was too painful for her — but it was all new to me.... A dear friend’s mother is becoming very confused and I always say, ‘Is she happy?’ You can be confused and happy."

Says Richard Hammond, about his experience right after waking up from a coma, in "Deep in a coma I dreamt I was dying. Then my wife woke me up/Unconscious after his crash, in his mind the TV star was walking in the Lake District. Now he no longer fears death" (London Times). 

As far as what it was like inside the coma — and approaching death — maybe you have already seen the fantastic (and viral) video he made: 

Senator Markey's thuggish tweet.

The embedded tweet invites us to click "Read the full conversation on Twitter." But in case you're old fashioned and enjoy the reading here on a real blog, I'll tell you that Patterico amplifies his insight with this: 

"The only thing Twitter “must” do in response to your thuggish tweet is whatever Twitter feels like doing. The thing Twitter *should* do is to tell you, Senator Edward Markey, to go fuck yourself."

What a dipshit tyrant Ed Markey is! He set a deadline and he wanted a letter and, failing that, he's threatening to use government power to retaliate.

And note that word "safety."  That's the newfangled alternative to freedom.

I'm considering following/monitoring Ed "Safety" Markey just to be... safe:

"Mr. Musk bought Twitter because he’s a Twitter addict and, more specifically, an extremely online attention addict."

"On his first day at Twitter he hauled around a bathroom sink to make an obscure, very online joke likely poking fun at a certain earnest kind of Twitter user (usually a liberal) who posts something appalling but also banal and says, 'Let that sink in.' The graph of Mr. Musk’s Twitter posts over his time on the platform looks like the hockey stick graph of global temperature. He can’t stop himself. This is someone with millions of followers who is deep in the bowels of his own replies and mentions, clearly spending inordinate amounts of time looking at what people are saying about him. I can tell you from experience that this is a path to madness...."

Writes Chris Hayes, in "Why I Want Twitter to Live" (NYT).

1. Thanks to Hayes for explaining the "Let that sink in" joke so clearly. I nearly lost my mind trying to listen to Scott Adams explain it as a reference to the expression "Everything but the kitchen sink." And it wasn't even a kitchen sink, Scott. It was a bathroom sink. 

"When a blue spirit breathes life into the puppet, Geppetto is initially terrified... But the pair soon settle down, with Pinocchio... helping Geppetto repair the huge crucified Christ..."

"... that hangs like a tortured marionette in the church where congregants shriek about demonic puppets. 'Everybody likes him,' says Pinocchio, pointing up at what looks like a prop from Ken Russell’s The Devils (1971). 'He’s made of wood too. Why do they like him and not me?' This is just one of many profoundly philosophical questions... that Del Toro’s Pinocchio is not afraid to raise. While previous film adaptations... have prioritised a populist litany of instructional morals (honour your father, do not tell lies, do not be lazy), Del Toro’s version celebrates its antihero’s agent-of-chaos nature.... "

Writes Mark Kermode, in "Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio review – a superbly strange stop-motion animation" (The Guardian).