July 29, 2023

At the Saturday Night Café...

 ... you can talk about whatever you want.

"No provision in the Constitution gives [Congress] the authority to regulate the Supreme Court—period."

"If we’re viewed as illegitimate, then disregard of our decisions becomes more acceptable and more popular."

Said Justice Alito, quoted in "Congressional Dems pile on Alito after he says SCOTUS ethics can’t be regulated/Democrats — especially progressives — have increasingly expressed more anger at the high court in recent years" (Politico).

The anger is, as Politico puts it, expressed "on X" — in other words on Twitter. We're supposed to say "on X" now? I view that as illegitimate and will disregard it.

What's the relationship between those 2 sentences of Alito's?

I get the first sentence. It's the simple point that the third branch of government is separate from the other branches except when particular checks and balances are provided for. It would violate separation of powers for Congress to impose a code of ethics on the Court. Let them stick to voting not to confirm nominees who lack good ethics and just impeach and remove Justices who don't measure up to Congress's idea of proper ethics.

But does the second sentence mean that if there were a code of ethics imposed by Congress, then violations of that code would cause people to view the Court as illegitimate, and then it might become acceptable and popular to flout the Court's decisions, which would undermine the rule of law? Or does that second sentence mean there can be no code of ethics, but there's a check on the Court in that the Justices know that if they are unethical, they will be viewed as illegitimate, in which case it would become acceptable and popular to disregard the Court's decisions, and the Justices, aware of this threat, feel pressure to adhere to ethical behavior?

Never heard of? He's been my favorite of the GOP candidates since he started.

I clicked to read George Will's column, "Meet the unusually qualified presidential candidate you’ve never heard of" (WaPo), and while he's wrong about my never having heard of him, I'm thrilled to see some high-level attention to the worthy contender, Doug Burgum.

If wokeness survives Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s hourly onslaughts (which DeSantis might not survive; talking smack about Bud Light is unpresidential), a President Burgum would not regard fighting it as part of his job description. He would be a presidential rarity, acknowledging the 10th Amendment. (“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution … are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”) Cultural issues are, he says, irrelevant to presidential duties

"This is not a political issue, it’s a family matter. Jill and I only want what is best for all of our grandchildren, including Navy."

Said a statement from President Biden, quoted in "President Biden Speaks Out on Hunter’s Daughter, 4, with Ark. Woman: ‘Jill and I Only Want What’s Best’ (Exclusive)/'Our son Hunter and Navy’s mother, Lunden, are working together to foster a relationship that is in the best interests of their daughter,' the president said in an exclusive statement to PEOPLE" (People).

But, of course, it's a political issue. The child is 4 years old, and we're only getting this acknowledgement now. Obviously, his people have read the criticism, notably the criticism from Maureen Dowd (which I blogged about here), and they see that pretending the child doesn't exist is not going to work.

And whatever happened to "The personal is political"? You've acknowledged the child, but now you want your privacy, you want us to trust you to work it out appropriately, but you haven't been fair to this mother and child over the years, and how men treat the women they've impregnated has long been deeply politicized. Your party flaunts its (supposed) concern for impregnated women. You don't get to privatize it when the woman is inconvenient to you. 

"In its marketing materials, Sur-ron describes one model, the Light Bee Electric Bike, as 'easy to maneuver like a bicycle, with the torque and power of an off-road motorcycle.'"

"Its operating manual cautions the owner to 'please follow the traffic rules and with the safe speed (the top speed for this electric vehicle is 20 km/h).' But the speed restraint — equivalent to about 12 m.p.h. — can be removed by simply clipping a wire, a procedure that is widely shared in online videos, and which law enforcement officials said appeared to be there by design. 'There are all kinds of videos on how to jailbreak your Sur-ron,' said Capt. Christopher McDonald of the Sheriff’s Department in Orange County, Calif., where e-bike accidents and injuries are rising. With the speed wire clipped, the vehicle can approach 70 miles per hour, he said."

This article — which focuses on the harm to the teenagers who ride e-bikes — has no comments section and no mention of the danger to pedestrians.

July 28, 2023

At the Lakeshore Café...


... you can talk all night.

"Yes, phones — and dogs! Both have an outsized role in the lives of many these days. Why? They're less messy than people."

"Why bother dealing directly with all of these people around me and all of the challenging negotiations required to compromise, to build bonds, etc? And we wonder why we're increasingly polarized."

The article doesn't mention dogs. The commenter widened the subject matter quite interestingly, don't you think? 

Is the NYT promoting a new word in "phubbing" or is it real slang that already part of the culture and I just never noticed? I see from the "Phubbing" article in  Wikipedia that it's a word an advertising agency tried to make happen a decade ago:

A problem with X.

I'm noticing the X in the upper corner of the "tweet" I embedded in something I posted yesterday:

When I see an "X" in the corner of an image I see on screen, it feels as though clicking on it will make it go away. Now, clicking on an "X" is supposed to feel like a way to take me onto The Website Formerly Known as Twitter. But my instinct is to click when something is annoying me, not to click when I want more. 

A vogue word, rejected.

You don't need to care about the NYT crossword to be interested in what follows — it discusses a current buzzword — but it does reveal a couple answers. 

From Rex Parker's write-up of today's puzzle:

July 27, 2023

Sunrise — 5:45, 5:47.

IMG_2506 2

IMG_2515 2

Gerontocracy update.

"Can you read anything at all from start to finish, ie. an essay or a short story, without your mind being sliced apart by some digital switchblade?"

"Without your seeking distraction as a form of entertainment, or entertainment as a form of distraction? Or is all of this just ordinary life in the internet era, with your every thought and feeling and perception being diverted or fractured or dissolved or reiterated endlessly with utter normality in a digitalized world to which nearly all of us are fixated, or might we say, addicted? Did you ever even know a different world?..."

"Oh, dear literature! Will you die or shrink or practically disappear into a tiny, elitist realm like opera has into Lincoln Center on the Upper West Side of Manhattan? James Shapiro, an English professor at Columbia, has only owned a smart phone for the past year. And yet his literary life has radically altered. 'Technology in the last twenty years has changed all of us.... I probably read five novels a month until the two-thousands. If I read one a month now, it’s a lot. That’s not because I’ve lost interest in fiction. It’s because I’m reading a hundred web sites. I’m listening to podcasts.'"

"Obviously leftists do not have to be as paranoid in their quest for messages supportive of the status quo as Christians playing their records backwards in the hopes of finding satanic content."

Writes Adam Kotsko, in "Moralism Is Ruining Cultural Criticism/The left has embraced an approach long favored by the evangelical right" (The Atlantic).
And of course we are a long way from having anything like the real-world thought police of Stalinism.... By contrast, it seems relatively harmless to hope that films and TV shows might reflect one’s own politics and to lament when they fail to do so. Yet the very fact that the demand is so open-ended that it is impossible to imagine an artwork meeting its largely unstated and unarticulated standards shows that something has gone wrong here.... 
Political problems cannot be solved on the aesthetic level. And it’s much more likely that people are consuming politics as a kind of aesthetic performance or as a way of expressing aesthetic preferences.... Just as the reduction of art to political propaganda leads to bad art, the aestheticization of politics leads to bad, irresponsible politics.....

"Firstly, Prince didn’t like people covering his songs. Secondly, he had all these female protégées and he was annoyed I wasn’t one of them."

"Thirdly, my manager Steve Fargnoli has been his manager and they were involved in a legal case. On top of all this he was a woman-beating c***.  I’m certainly not the only woman he laid a hand on."

Said Sinéad O’Connor, describing her meeting with Prince, quoted in "Nothing could compare to Sinéad O’Connor’s bravery and will/Singer rowed with Prince over her cover of Nothing Compares 2 U" (London Times).

She said Prince invited her to have pillow fight and then used a pillow with something hard hidden inside it.

"She thought she was protecting her son and our sister... because she didn’t want them to get wrapped up in what the world was coming to, in her eyes."

Said a sister, quoted in "Family living off grid found dead in Colorado forest/The bodies of two women and a 14-year-old boy were discovered in the Gunnison National Forest near Ohio City" (London Times).
At the campsite, alongside the bodies, were empty food cans, a single packet of ramen noodles, books on wilderness survival and a lavatory area, alongside what appeared to be the start of a lean-to shelter. 
“I wonder if winter came on quickly, and suddenly they were just in survival mode in the tent,” said [the coroner]. “They had a lot of literature with them about outdoor survival and foraging and stuff like that. But it looked like they [bought supplies] at a grocery store.”

July 26, 2023

Sunrise — 5:39, 5:41, 6:01, 6:03.





Something happened to Mitch McConnell.

It says in the NYT that later, McConnell "returned to take a number of questions from the news media — more than usual — and answered them clearly. Asked what had occurred, Mr. McConnell said only, 'I’m fine,' and said he was able to continue with his leadership duties."

Aides said his problem was "lightheadedness."

McConnell suffered a "serious fall" earlier this year. He's 81.

"Judge Noreika stunned the participants with her scouring skepticism.... 'You all are saying, "Just rubber stamp the agreement"'...."

"Judge Noreika quickly zeroed in on a central component of the deal, a paragraph offering Hunter Biden broad immunity from prosecution, in perpetuity, for a range of matters scrutinized by the Justice Department during its five-year investigation. The judge, appointed by former President Donald J. Trump in 2017, questioned why prosecutors had written it in a way that gave her no legal authority to reject it. Then, in 10 minutes of incisive questioning, she exposed serious differences between the two sides on what, exactly, that paragraph meant...."

Goodbye to Sinéad O’Connor.

ADDED: O'Connor's last tweet:

"The Lord loves us as we are. This is God’s crazy love."

Said Pope Francis, quoted in "Pope tells transgender person: ‘God loves us as we are’/Pope Francis has previously said 'who am I to judge?' when asked about the LGBTQ community" (NBC News).

Responding to a question asked by a transgender person, Francis also said "the Lord always walks with us. ... Even if we are sinners, he draws near to help us."

"The Lord loves us as we are" is ambiguous in this context. Perhaps he means to be ambiguous, but one could read that statement as advising the transgender person not to change their physical body but to stay as they are, as a person with a mind that seems not to match their body. But he may mean, do whatever you do, perhaps it is sin, perhaps not, but don't worry, God always loves us. 

"U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika... asked if there were more serious charges that could still be brought and the prosecutors and Hunter Biden’s lawyer both said there were not."

"Noreika later asked if the investigation was ongoing, to which [U.S. Attorney David] Weiss responded that it was, but said he could not share any further details.... "

From "Hunter Biden guilty plea in jeopardy after disagreement over gun charge/Prosecutors told the judge no more charges are expected against the president's son" (NBC News).

ADDED: Here's how the NYT puts it:
[T]he judge...  questioned whether [the proposed deal] meant that Mr. Biden would be immune from prosecution for other possible crimes — including violations related to representing foreign governments — in perpetuity. When a top prosecutor in the case said it would not, Chris Clark, Mr. Biden’s lead lawyer, responded by saying the agreement was “null and void.” 
Mr. Clark then asked for a recess to try to hash out a compromise to salvage the deal, and the parties began furiously negotiating....

AND: The NYT and NBC don't seem to be saying this same thing!

PLUS: Here's what The Washington Post put up 3 minutes ago:

"While some Republicans are running as more electable or effective than Trump and others embrace a pre-Trump GOP posture or are outright anti-Trump..."

"... Ramaswamy is pitching himself as something different — the next iteration of Trump, who is at times chummy with his rival.... Billed as 'America First 2.0,' an argument that Trump did not go far enough in passing his policy agenda as president, Ramaswamy’s platform — which leans heavily on executive actions — includes raising the voting age to 25 unless certain requirements are met, ending affirmative action 'in every sphere of American life,' shutting down the FBI, and trimming 75 percent of executive branch employees to reduce the size of the 'administrative state.'... Ramaswamy’s proposals, which he says he wants to enact 'without the permission or forgiveness of Congress,' have been polarizing. For some, it’s part of what they like about him...."

"Kevin Spacey Found Not Guilty of Sexual Assault."

The NYT reports.

As the verdicts were announced, Mr. Spacey, 64, stood in a transparent box in the middle of the courtroom, wearing a dark blue suit and looking unemotional as he faced the jury.

But when the final “not guilty” was read out, the actor, whose birthday falls on Wednesday, began to cry and sighed heavily with relief.

"[Aaron] Rodgers’s appearances out on the town are part of a well-orchestrated campaign by him and his PR apparatus. But..."

"... what’s telling is that he’s making the effort in the first place. After all: Wasn’t Rodgers supposed to be a dangerous, rebellious, edgelord truth-teller? This is the guy who smugly (infuriatingly, really) lied about being 'immunized' during the 2021 NFL season. The guy who thanked Joe Rogan for his 'COVID-treatment plan,' who seemed to imply that Joe Biden isn’t a legitimate president, who wore a shirt on Pat McAfee’s show with the words Cancel Culture crossed out ... who actually claimed... that the government was releasing videos of UFOs to distract from the 'Epstein Files.' Rodgers’s pandemic-era torching of his own reputation was so extreme that, at one point, State Farm, whom he has worked with since 2011, pulled his ads off the air.... And yet he has been a very different person since he got to New York. He is acting like… a guy who doesn’t want to get canceled?"

If you think Biden said "We ended cancer as we know it," I think you're not very good at understanding slurred speech.

I believe he said "We could end cancer as we know it" [or "We can end cancer as we know it"]. There's slurring, but if you take it in context, he'd just said he would cure cancer because we can. There's sloppiness over who'd be doing this cancer curing, but everyone knows he can't personally cure cancer. He was just planning to oversee and encourage the work of others who were supposed to cure cancer (and who'd be trying to cure cancer whether Biden was providing incentives or not), but his reason for curing cancer is stated (simplistically) as something that we do because "we can." I think the slurred sentence is something of a repetition of that idea. He said we would cure cancer because "We could end cancer...."

The best argument for sticking to the other transcription — "We ended cancer" — is that he tacked on the words "as we know it." Those are weasel words. Any improvement in the treatment of cancer changes the experience of cancer and thus "ends" what we have "known" as cancer.

In any case, the President should enunciate, and Biden is awful at enunciation. This is very far from convincing me that the President is suffering from dementia. By the way, did you notice that we've ended dementia as we know it?

"Without taking many leaps or liberties, it's pretty clear that the Hunter Biden story is going to be something that Republicans — and Trump — are not going to be able to resist seizing on."

"Because, remember, Donald Trump has been indicted by the Biden Justice Department on a slew of felony charges that have exposed him to many years in prison. So, is it that far-fetched to think that Donald Trump will be back on that debate stage, with Joe Biden, saying: Your Justice Department laid on the brakes for your son at the same time that it charged me. And so, the Hunter Biden story will keep going and going."

In honor of his 80th birthday: 80 things about Mick Jagger.

At The Guardian.

A few that struck me the right way:

10. “You do tend to present a yobbish image.” One interviewer suggested this to him as the Stones were breaking through. “Moronic, I think, is a better word,” he replied, deliciously....

15. Great rock stars project vanity. And you don’t get more magnificently vain than Jagger singing “Tell me a story about how you adore me,” on Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow?...

25. Jagger is the only middle-class Englishman from Kent who could sing “I met a gin-soaked bar-room queen in Memphis / She tried to take me upstairs for a ride” without it sounding like cosplay....

July 25, 2023

Windowbox potatoes.


Talk about whatever you like in the comments.

Meade grew those potatoes — in the windowboxes (because they needed full sun).

"News outlets dutifully reported that the [FD-1023] form was 'unverified' (a qualifier absent from most reporting on the infamous Steele dossier)."

“But saying the information is unverified raises the key question: What steps, if any, did the FBI take to verify these allegations? Think about it. As recently as two months ago, the bureau wouldn't even admit to Congress that the FD-1023 existed. Not until FBI Director Christopher Wray realized some people had already seen a copy, and he was threatened with contempt, did the FBI fess up and give members of Congress a limited look....”

Writes William McGurn in "Hunter Biden's Bargain Plea" (Wall Street Journal).

"Billionaire Elon Musk's decision to rebrand Twitter as X could be complicated legally: companies including Meta and Microsoft already have intellectual property rights to the same letter."

"X is so widely used and cited in trademarks that it is a candidate for legal challenges - and the company formerly known as Twitter could face its own issues defending its X brand in the future. 'There's a 100% chance that Twitter is going to get sued over this by somebody,' said trademark attorney Josh Gerben, who said he counted nearly 900 active U.S. trademark registrations that already cover the letter X in a wide range of industries."

Reuters reports.

If it's so widely used, isn't that just evidence that it's just not trademarkable? Musk just needs to be able to use it, not to prevent others from using it. 

I'm not a trademark expert. Just putting the ideas out there for discussion.

We can talk about trademark law, but — aside from law — what about the ludicrous overuse of X in naming commercial items? I think it's liked because it's close to saying "sex." Better than sex, really, because "s" is the most troublesome letter to say.

"What a joke... if it wasn't their dog he would have already been put down — freaking clown needs a muzzle...."


"President Biden’s nearly two-year-old German shepherd Commander bit seven people in a four-month period after former first dog Major was ousted from the White House over similar aggressive behavior..."

"... according to internal Secret Service communications reviewed by The Post.... In the most serious documented incident involving Commander, the White House physician’s office on Nov. 3, 2022, referred a bitten Secret Service uniformed officer to a local hospital for treatment after the dog clamped down on their arm and thigh... Records show Commander broke the skin of a different Secret Service member’s hand and arm weeks later after the president unleashed him outside the White House following a family movie night — and the following month, Commander bit the back of a security technician at Biden’s Wilmington, Del., home.... Biden, 80, has reportedly expressed doubts about the honesty of a Secret Service member who reported being bitten on the leg by his prior dog Major, also a German shepherd.... Behind the scenes, agents described alarming series of incidents...."

I'm reading "Biden’s dog Commander sent Secret Service officer to hospital, bit 6 others after replacing first pooch Major" (NY Post). 

Two aggressive, uncontrollable dogs? Clearly, the fault of the humans.

ADDED: Harry Truman famously said, "If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog." Joe Biden got 2 dogs in Washington and both were enemies.

"Allegra Lorenzotti started the Send Olives Instagram account in 2020 as a way to catalogue and rank the various olives she encountered."

"She says the account is tagged 'at least ten times a day' by people who want to share photos of their 'olive porn.'... [At Café Mars, the chefs] offer theirs encased in wiggly cubes of negroni-flavored gelatin... Then, to bookend dinner, dessert features an olive-oil marble cake inspired by the black-and-white poundcakes sold at the city’s bodegas. A purée of salt-cured black olives offers the visual contrast, and a deep flavor that can trick diners into thinking they’re tasting chocolate. On Instagram, the author and recipe developer Molly Baz kicked off the summer by sharing a cake of her own with sugared Castelvetrano olives baked into the batter.... 'Olives are the new cherries,' remarked an illustrator friend who goes by Doodle Deli, and DMs me a new olive-related product almost every week: Olive lovers can buy a $68 olive-bowl tank from Lisa Says Gah, a $6,000 gold olive ring from Brent Neale, or a $60 olive pillow at Big Night.... 'Photo-dump culture and olive culture are connected,' says Dora Grossman-Weir, another charter member of the Olive Night parties...."

I clicked on this front page insanity at New York Magazine:

"Grassley... falls into a familiar, misleading pattern, conflating the credibility of the informant with the credibility about the allegations."

"I trust my wife, but if she tells me that our 6-year-old claims to have seen a dragon on the roof, I don’t suddenly believe that there was a dragon on the roof...."

"A new series of adverts on the London Underground instructs men to say 'maaate' to friends making inappropriate remarks about women."

"Proust was gay and one of the incidentally entertaining things about In Search of Lost Time is its unconvincing portrait of heterosexual lust. Albertine’s cheeks 'glowed with a uniform pink, violet tinted, creamy, like certain roses . . . I felt a passionate longing for them as one feels sometimes for a particular flower . . . what might be the perfume, the taste of them?' Is this toxic masculinity? In the present climate you never know. Whenever Proust starts going on like this I mutter 'Maaate' under my breath, just in case."

James Marriott, in his London Times column, has various things to say about his summer reading. Interesting to see the London approach to the toxic masculinity problem.

"... Campbell had not been wearing a lifejacket."

From "Obamas’ chef drowns in paddleboarding accident near their home" (London Times)("The search for [Tafari] Campbell... began on Sunday after reports emerged from another paddleboarder that an individual who had been struggling on the surface went under and did not reappear.... [D]ivers had recovered the body about 100ft from the shore in 8ft of water").

From the comments over there: "We have just had a family fight because I insisted on kitting out and buying my granddaughter a life jacket for when she goes on her paddle board. I also managed to persuade her to wear it. She is talented and can swim, but at almost ten years old I felt it was reckless to let her believe she didn't need one. For me this is the story. And if this young man had not been associated with celebrities, no one would have known about it...."

Succès de scandale: "Try That in a Small Town."

"Initially, the track got relatively little notice, landing at No. 35 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. That changed last week, after the song’s music video became a culture-war battlefield, with some accusing Aldean — one of country’s biggest hitmakers for nearly two decades — of employing racist dog-whistle tactics and the singer defending himself as the latest victim of an out-of-control 'cancel culture.'... As the debate over 'Try That in a Small Town' boiled last week, the song’s consumption metrics spiked...."

I'm reading "Jason Aldean, Decrying ‘Cancel Culture,’ Has a No. 2 Hit/'Try That in a Small Town' went from overlooked to almost topping the charts after a week of controversy" (NYT). 

This got me reading the Wikipedia entry "Succès de scandale":
Succès de scandale (French for "success from scandal") is a term for any artistic work whose success is attributed, in whole or in part, to public controversy surrounding the work.... This concept is echoed by the phrase "there is no such thing as bad publicity"....

That entry quotes Mae West, who got arrested in 1927 for a play titled "Sex": "I expect it will be the making of me."

July 24, 2023

Sunrise — 5:40.

IMG_2458 3

And waterlilies, at 6:04:


"The US biofuel program is likely killing endangered species and harming the environment in a way that negates its benefits..."

"... but the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is largely ignoring those problems, a new federal lawsuit charges. The suit alleges the EPA failed to consider impacts on endangered species, as is required by law, when it set new rules that will expand biofuel use nationwide during the next three years, said Brett Hartl, government affairs director with the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), which brought the litigation. The agency has twice ignored court orders to study the impacts and is likely dodging the requirements because ethanol production 'props up' the corn industry, which has a politically powerful lobby, Hartl added."

"We’ve often disregarded the feelings of those we don’t relate to. Sometimes this has been other humans..."

"... but humans aren’t the only ones who think and feel. There are animals that cherish their offspring, feel lonely if their life partner dies, and jump for joy. If you burn an insect with a cigarette, it feels pain. If insects were automatons, ants wouldn’t be able to build fungus farms or form boats; bees wouldn’t be able to communicate complicated directions to hive mates; and cockroaches wouldn’t have learned not to eat certain baits that kill them....  So, I quit giving a milquetoast answer to the question of where I draw the line. Now I say: 'We know insects think and feel, so if we ever have an option to avoid harming them, let’s go for it.' If there are insects in your home, Peta has developed a handy guide to non-chemical, non-lethal methods of asking them to please go somewhere else to think things over."

Also at the link to the handy guide:

"Keep a wide berth from people who obsess about their IQs. 'People who boast about their IQ are losers,' Stephen Hawking once told the New York Times."

"See, for example, Donald Trump. The only thing Trump seems to love more than making creepy comments about his daughter Ivanka is boasting about how high his IQ is. He’s referenced his IQ at least 22 times but the most memorable instance might be when he tweeted: 'Sorry losers and haters, but my IQ is one of the highest – and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure, it’s not your fault.' An IQ score is a flawed measurement of intelligence – but boasting about one is a failsafe way to show people you’re a dimwit."

That's point #5 in "Want to quickly spot idiots? Here are five foolproof red flags" by Guardian columnist Arwa Mahdawi.

1. It's a red flag to believe your red flags are foolproof

"They’re experiencing a brutal wake-up call that the party is not interested in hearing critiques of Trump."

"The Trump challengers’ candidacies have been astonishingly poor and learned nothing from 2016. When the leading candidate gets indicted and all of his opponents besides Chris Christie and Asa Hutchinson just echo his fake persecution complex talking points, it’s going to be hard to beat him."

What did Tim Miller learn from 2016? Doesn't seem like much. What does he think the other candidates are supposed to do about the indictments?
Trump’s opponents within the party are running out of time and ideas. Joe Walsh, a former Republican congressman, said: “They were all hoping that Trump’s legal troubles would kick him to the side of the road but every indictment or potential indictment just strengthens him among the base, eats up all the oxygen in the room and makes him the likely nominee. They’re probably as frustrated as can be."... 

"Gone is the stylized bird, once dubbed Larry T. Bird by the Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, which became one of the most famous internet logos — and which the company has described as its most recognizable asset."

From "Why Elon Musk Bid Twitter Goodbye/Rebranding the social network as X marks the billionaire’s latest gamble to reinvent the company, after buying it last year for $44 billion" (NYT).

What's the answer to the question "why"? The article just says Elon Musk is trying to make an "everything app" and has "long been fascinated by the X identity."

That's not enough of an answer to the question why he'd throw out the very well known brand he paid so much for. I'm thinking that in his struggles with the thing — his albatross, his ex-parrot — he got fixated on the damned bird. He's delusional that the bird is the problem. No bird, no problem. 

X marks the spot.

 Have you ever read this poem by Rita Dove?

Here's an excellent podcast about that particular poem, which of course has nothing to do with Elon Musk's renaming Twitter "X"... unless it does. You know, you can always put any 2 things side by side and come up with connections.

About that brand, Brand X.



"And soon we shall bid adieu to the Twitter brand and, gradually, all the birds."

Said Elon Musk, quoted in "Elon Musk: Twitter unveils X logo to replace blue bird" (BBC).
"Tweets" will also be replaced, according to Twitter's owner Elon Musk, and posts will be called "x's".

Seems like an April-Fools-type joke. In any case, I can't imagine real people will switch and call their tweets "x's." 

"X's" seems spelled wrong, and it sounds like rejected lovers — exes — but at least it rhymes with Texas, as in that song, wherein it's spelled "ex's."

Why did he buy it if he didn't want whatever it was that it was — a name, a lingo, a habit of going to a particular place? Change the place and will the people still go there? It's nothing without the millions of people who, for whatever reason, continue to go where they are used to going, to that old familiar place. And here he is, making it unfamiliar. 

July 23, 2023

Sunrise — 5:47, 5:51.

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IMG_2443 2

Coneflower at 6 a.m.


"White House cautiously opens the door to study blocking sun’s rays to slow global warming."

 Politico reports.

The controversial concept known as solar radiation modification is a potentially effective response to fighting climate change, but one that could have unknown side effects stemming from altering the chemical makeup of the atmosphere, some scientists say.

"Fox can’t be surprised after the way that they’ve handled Trump that he doesn’t want to show up. They’ve gone out of their way to snub the guy..."

"... which is their prerogative, but then you can’t get mad when he doesn’t want to go to your party."

University of Maryland broadcast journalism professor Mark Feldstein says: “A Trump-less debate would make it easier for viewers to get a better sense of his rivals without Trump hogging all the airtime and could help one or more shine or even break out of the pack." That could work as a reason for Trump to want to participate. He should want to get in there and hog the attention so none of the others get any footing. But that's not very convincing. If he participates, they'll all try to "break out of the pack" by getting into a successful back-and-forth with him.