August 12, 2023

"I wouldn’t sign the pledge. Why would I sign a pledge if there are people on there that I wouldn’t have?"

"I wouldn't have certain people as, you know, somebody that I endorse. So they want you to sign a pledge. I can name three or four people that I wouldn't support for president. So right there, there's a problem right there. There's a problem."

I think they want Trump to debate — if he doesn't show up to take a public beating, how is any other candidate supposed to make any headway? — but they were also trying to burden any attempt he might make at a third party run. So, obviously, he says no. He doesn't need the debate. But look what they have now. Since Trump is so far ahead and likely to win the nomination, all these other candidates will be pledged to support him. What good did this pledge requirement do? 

"They thought it was over, that they could put it in the rearview mirror. All that Hunter Biden had to do was show up in a courtroom, answer a few questions..."

"... sign some paperwork and that would be it. Not that the Republicans would let it go, but any real danger would be past. Except that it did not work out that way. The criminal investigation that President Biden’s advisers believed was all but done has instead been given new life with the collapse of the plea agreement and the appointment of a special counsel who now might bring the president’s son to trial. What had been a painful but relatively contained political scandal that animated mainly partisans on the right could now extend for months just as the president is gearing up for his re-election campaign. This time, the questions about Hunter Biden’s conduct may be harder for the White House to dismiss as politically motivated. They may even break out of the conservative echo chamber to the general public... It may be that Attorney General Merrick B. Garland’s decision to designate Mr. Weiss a special counsel with more independence to run the inquiry means that there is still more potential legal peril stemming from Hunter Biden’s business dealings with foreign firms. Yet it may amount to less than meets the eye in the long run...."

August 11, 2023

Sunrise color story — 5:51, 5:54, 5:58:26, 5:58:48, 6:04, 6:05.







Perhaps you can tell I ran through rain to get to my vantage point and the rain had passed over me by the time I got there and luckily it hadn't got to where it would block the sun. It produced a sunrise unique in my collection of approximately 1,000 sunrises. 

Write about anything you want in the comments.

"In a recent study, a team of marketing professors looked at how service employees perceive 'customer deviant behaviors,' which include minor infractions like incivility and aggression..."

"... as well as more serious offenses like shoplifting and fraudulent returns. The researchers found that shoplifting was 'by far' the most prevalent and detrimental form of deviant behavior. According to the study, in the presence of a suspected thief the burden of policing often falls to frontline employees, who, depending on company policy, may be expected to guard the store, stand by passively or even assist the thieves as if they were paying customers. These behaviors leave employees feeling frustrated, angry, helpless, targeted, unmotivated and uncomfortable. Allowing shoplifting to continue unimpeded, the authors found, undermines the sense of pride they might otherwise find in their work and the workplace.... Because retailers continue to struggle with underemployment and employee retention, stores are often more sparsely staffed than they once were, and all the more grim. On a recent shopping excursion in Manhattan, I saw something I’d never seen before: a handwritten sign in the window of a major clothing chain, apologizing for closing for an hour midday because of understaffing...."

Writes Pamela Paul, in "What We Lose to Shoplifting" (NYT).

It's amazing that stores — the kind you can physically enter and shop in — still exist.

"Heat Singes the Mind, Not Just the Body."

Reads the headline at The New York Times

To "singe" is to scorch superficially.

In French, "singe" means "monkey."

But let's read on. This sounds quite serious:

"You probably won’t get burned, but that’s not what’s going to kill you. It’s the smoke that’s going to kill you."

Said Carl Otsuka, fire inspector for the Honolulu Fire Department, quoted in "Why jumping into water to escape a wildfire should be a last resort/Seeking refuge in a pool or the ocean won’t always protect you from the heat or smoke, experts say" (WaPo).
Crystal Kolden, a professor of fire science at the University of California at Merced, said... if you seek refuge in the water, you may be stuck there for several hours “before the coast is clear,” Kolden said. “People don’t realize how long you’re going to be in the water... Hypothermia and risk of drowning due to not being able to swim or tread water for that long are very real possibilities.”

"'What brought you here?' I asked. 'What brought me here?' The man paused. 'Hmm. I don’t know.'..."

"'He remembers,' [said Timothy Doherty, a senior officer specialist at F.M.C. Devens, which houses federal prisoners who require medical care]. Then he told me that the white-haired man had raped his granddaughter. Later, I wondered how much it should matter whether the old man remembered what he did. And what if he remembered sometimes, but not other times? Many people with dementia exist in a kind of middle ground of partial comprehension, or have memories that surface and then disappear. 'We get into difficult metaphysical questions about personhood here,' said Jeffrey Howard, a professor of political philosophy and public policy at University College London, when I told him about my conversation with the white-haired man. 'But you might think that there are two versions of the man: One of them deserves the punishment, and the other doesn’t. In order to punish the version of him that deserves it, you have to take along this hostage for the ride. It’s hard to see how that sort of collateral damage could be justified.'"

Writes Katie Engelhart in "I Visited the Men Who Live Behind Bars and Can’t Remember Where They Are," about prisoners with dementia.

ADDED: Elsewhere in the article, about a different prisoner, we hear that "his disease leaves him sexually disinhibited," so I don't see how the inability — or purported inability — to remember the rape supports freeing the man. But that's not what the article argues. It ends:

"Asked if he was warned about the fire, one Lahaina resident [said] 'Oh, hell no'... [H]e fled with his wife when they saw flames about 500 yards from their house."

"He said the fire quickly closed in on them as they drove through thick black smoke — and finally to safety. 'Nobody saw this coming,' he said. Claire Kent, who works in Lahaina taking tourists out on a boat off the coast, said she began to panic around 3:30 p.m. when she saw a billowing cloud of black smoke and heard an explosion. A neighbor told her three nearby gas stations were on fire and urged her to pack a bag to flee. As she and several friends tried to drive out of town, she said, she saw people trying to escape on foot, some holding children. Even then, said Ms. Kent, she had still not been notified of any need to evacuate — save for a shirtless man on a bicycle along the road who was screaming: 'You have to get out!'... Robbie Wares, who has lived in Lahaina for decades, said the only warning she got was from someone — it was not clear who it was — shouting out of a moving vehicle that passed by her house...."

August 10, 2023

Expression, Sunrise.




"American democracy simply cannot function without two equally healthy and equally strong political parties. So today, in my view, there is no Republican party..."

"... to counter the Democratic party in the country. And for that reason, American democracy is in grave peril.... A political party is a collection and assemblage of individuals who share a set of beliefs and principles and policy views about the United States of America. Today, there is no such shared set of beliefs and values and principles or even policy views as within the Republican party for America."

Trump, he said, was a danger “more so today” than last year, when Luttig testified to the House January 6 committee.
I can't help reading between the lines and seeing Luttig's outrage that Trump broke the system in which the elite were thinking up the beliefs and values and principles and policy views and ordinary people were stuck with what was handed to them.

"It seems Ice Cube has become quite the conservative media darling lately, sitting down with not just Carlson, but Joe Rogan and Piers Morgan as well."

"He’s joining a long list of rappers – Kanye West, Da Baby, Kodak Black, Lil Pump – who have all put themselves in dangerous proximity to conservative politicians even as rightwing populism threatens to destroy their communities.... So what do these rappers have in common with rightwingers who wouldn’t otherwise touch them with a 10ft pole? Shared values. In discussions about money, gender identity, public health and a variety of social issues, rappers and rightwingers have a lot more in common than you’d immediately think. Many people from both groups share hypermasculinity, conservative Christian values, and a distrust of social institutions (justified or not); and on this common ground sits a messy and dangerous alliance full of people who ordinarily would hate each other, but have come together to make vulnerable people their enemy...."

"Over decades of presidential campaigns, the Iowa way has been to hop from town to town, taking questions from all comers and genuflecting to the local culinary traditions."

"Going everywhere and meeting everyone has been the gospel of how to win over voters in the low-turnout midwinter caucuses that kick off the American presidential cycle. Now former President Donald J. Trump is delivering what could be a death blow to the old way.... If any of his dozen challengers hope to stop his march to a third straight nomination, they will almost certainly have to halt, or at least slow, him in Iowa after spending the better part of a year making their case. A commanding victory by Mr. Trump could create a sense of inevitability around his candidacy.... As Mr. Trump and nearly all of his Republican rivals converge in the coming days at the Iowa State Fair, the annual celebration of agriculture and stick-borne fried food will serve as the latest stage for a nationalized campaign in which the former president and his three indictments have left the rest of the field starved for attention. 'You’ve got to do it in Iowa, otherwise it’s gone, it’s all national media,' said Doug Gross, a Republican strategist who was the party’s nominee for governor of the state in 2002. 'The chance to show that he’s vulnerable is gone. You’ve got to do it here, and you’ve got to do it now.'"

That made the three indictments sound like the equivalent of stick-borne fried food — stick-borne fried food that Trump gets to hog while everyone else is "starved." 

"'Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people,' said Anne Lamott in Bird by Bird, her book about writing."

"'It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life . . .' But it’s not a choice, really. I am sure that whatever stopped Harper Lee from writing a second book, she’d have preferred the impediment not to be there. And Salinger, in that pitiful late-snatched photograph, didn’t look like a man who was enjoying his royalty checks and a few rounds of golf. Nor could the problem have been resolved by stern self-admonishment and a determination to let things go next time around. Any perfectionist needs to stop being who they are, and that’s hard. I understand Prince and Dickens better than I understand the perfectionists."

Writes Nick Hornby, in "Dickens and Prince: A Particular Kind of Genius" (Amazon).

"Country Pie is not about sex, its a cute song about liking pie!"

The best answer to the question "Are there any songs where you're convinced the fan "consensus" interpretation is wrong about Bob Dylan's lyrics?" (at r/bobdylan).

Somebody asks "What do you do with this lyric though? 'Saddle me up my big white goose Tie me on 'er and turn her loose" and gets the answer "It's a riff on Mother Goose with the surreal imagery of Dylan riding a goose. Sexual? Um, maaybe..."

The lyrics at Genius are annotated with this 1987 quote from Bob Dylan: "People try and read so much into songs. You know that song, Country Pie? That’s what it was about. Pie."

Album version here.

"which piece of public art in Madison disturbs you most?"

A topic of discussion at r/madisonwi.

There are so many to choose from, but the biggest rivalry is between "Flayed Bucky by the Best Western on Highland by UW Hospital" and "The sculpture of the parents reaching out to their dead child in the cemetery on Speedway Road."

About that dead child sculpture, someone says:

I actually like that sculpture, although I'm probably not in the majority. If you ask me "how can I feel more alive?" I'd parrot Martin Heidegger, "spend more time in graveyards."

EDIT: Now that I know it's a "memorial" against abortion I don't like it anymore.

There's also "The turd on top of a pyramid on Regent Street" and the "crowning woman" and "The pale yellow man resting on the bike bridge at Jenifer Street." And "The plaques along Picnic Point that showcase monetary donations and ego over nature and historically sacred land." 

Way too many people bring up the "footballs penis" and need to be told that was excised.

It's pretty hilarious that there was such a wealth of bad public art around here to choose from. 

"While violence is never the ideal, self-defense has a morally universal appeal and justification."

"And there comes a time when defense is the only option, when standing upright is the only appropriate posture. Describing the events in this case, even Montgomery’s police chief pointed out that members of the riverboat’s crew 'came to Mr. Pickett’s defense.'"

The better term for what happened, rather than "self-defense," is "defense of others." One man was attacked by a few men and badly outnumbered, and those men, in turn, were badly outnumbered by a much larger group that came in on the side of the one man. It got chaotic, and what happened seems to have gone well beyond what was needed to rescue that man. As a viewer of the viral video, you may find yourself enjoying that extra dose of payback.

ADDED: As I said in the comments to the 2-day-old post: "It really is an example of 'try that in a small town.'" I hope Charles Blow and others who are finding some form of joy in that video take a new look at what Jason Aldean was singing about

August 9, 2023

Sunrise — 5:55, 6:03, 6:06, 6:08





"The social media company Twitter was forced to hand over records from former president Donald Trump’s account..."

"... to the special counsel investigating the events leading up to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack and pay [$350,000] sanctions for failing to do so more quickly, as disclosed in an appellate court ruling unsealed Wednesday.... Attorneys for Twitter did not oppose the search warrant but argued [unsuccessfuly] that a gag order preventing the company from alerting Trump to the search violated the First Amendment.... [Federal district judge, Beryl A. Howell] found that there were 'reasonable grounds to believe' that disclosing the warrant to Trump 'would seriously jeopardize the ongoing investigation' by giving him 'an opportunity to destroy evidence, change patterns of behavior, [or] notify confederates,' according to the appellate ruling. Howell also found the former president might 'flee from prosecution,' although the special counsel’s team later said they did not intend to make that argument and it was not included in her final analysis.... The ruling does not specify what was turned over, but the grand jury indictment against Trump handed down this month includes references to 18 of Trump’s tweets...." 

"When we found this house, it became, like, the clubhouse, where guys would go every day and hang out... like a street gang."

"And it was a place to go, like a workshop... And this had been a dream of mine: If we could only have the clubhouse, where we could go every day, and we could lock ourselves away from the world and create something that we are meant to do, that we are on a mission to do."

Said Robbie Robertson, on the Marc Maron podcast, in 2017, previously blogged here.

How to touch a woman.

This gets one of my favorite tags, "insect politics," and it also gets the tag "global warming," which could be construed in this case as a double entendre.

"Death caps — which taste delicious according to people who have mistakenly eaten them, and survived — look similar to other nonpoisonous mushroom species...."

"Approached by reporters outside her Leongatha home this week, [Erin] Patterson said she’d made the meal for 'the best people I’ve ever met' and was devastated by their deaths. 'I just can’t fathom what has happened.' She declined to say what was on the ill-fated lunch menu, or whether she had eaten it. Police say her children were given a different meal than the adults.... 'I can’t believe that this has happened and I am so sorry that they have lost their lives,' a tearful Patterson told reporters. 'I didn’t do anything, I loved them, and I’m devastated that they’re gone.'... [T]he lunch party host’s estranged husband, Simon Patterson, nearly died last year from what he described as 'serious gut problems.'... [H]e said he collapsed at home and spent 16 days in an induced coma, undergoing several operations, mostly on his small intestine...."

"The first known revival of a dead person took place on December 3, 1732. James Blair, a coal miner in Scotland, collapsed while on duty."

"After his colleagues extracted him, a local surgeon named William Tossach noted that he was cool to the touch, pulseless, and not breathing. Tossach held Blair’s nostrils and blew into his mouth. 'Immediately I felt six or seven very quick beats of the heart,' he wrote. Blair awoke about an hour later and took a sip of water. Four hours after that, he walked home. The Society for the Recovery of Persons Apparently Drowned soon endorsed a variety of methods for resuscitation: warming the body, bloodletting, compressing the abdomen, and using bellows to force tobacco smoke into the mouth or anus. (The latter method is the origin of the phrase 'blowing smoke up your ass.')..."

Writes Sunita Puri in "The Hidden Harms of CPR The brutal procedure can save lives, but only in particular cases. Why has it become a default treatment?" (The New Yorker).

"Imagine losing your job, at a hospital of all places - or absolutely any argument - over astrology. ..."

"I lost a debate with my friends over whether or not my wife can walk through walls. This was all long before Greta Thunberg got a mural in San Francisco, but Tom Foremsky - an English friend I admired - gave me a book, called 'Ishmael,' featuring a gorilla who talked about 'saving the planet,' to explain what I was getting wrong...."

Writes The Crack Emcee in "First Man Canceled™️" (The Macho Response).

"I believe that what can be achieved on Jan. 6 is not simply to keep Biden below 270 electoral votes. It seems feasible that the vote count can be conducted so that at no point will Trump be behind in the electoral vote count..."

"... unless and until Biden can obtain a favorable decision from the Supreme Court upholding the Electoral Count Act as constitutional, or otherwise recognizing the power of Congress (and not the president of the Senate) to count the votes."

"I will talk about it, I will, they’re not taking away my First Amendment rights."

Said Trump, quoted in "Trump on possible court-ordered limits: ‘They’re not taking away my First Amendment rights’/The former president campaigned in New Hampshire and called the latest charges against him 'bullshit,' saying, 'I will talk about it'" (Politico).
“They don’t want me to speak about a rigged election. They don’t want me to speak about it. Whereas I have freedom of speech, First Amendment,” Trump said. 
Biden, Trump claimed, is “forcing me nevertheless to spend time and money away from the campaign trial in order to fight bogus, made-up accusations and charges.” 
“I’m sorry I won’t be able to go to Iowa today, I won’t be able to go to New Hampshire today because I’m sitting in a courtroom on bullshit,” Trump said to the crowd, eliciting cheers and chants of “bullshit.”

"The ballot measure would have required that amendments to the State Constitution gain approval by 60 percent of voters..."

"... up substantially from the current requirement of a simple majority. Republicans initially pitched that as an attempt to keep wealthy special interests from hijacking the amendment process for their own gain.... But from the start, that reasoning was overtaken by weightier arguments, led by — but hardly confined to — the abortion debate. The Ohio Legislature passed some of the nation’s strictest curbs on abortion last year, banning the procedure as early as six weeks into pregnancy, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. State courts have yet to rule on the constitutionality of those curbs, but the law’s passage drove a successful grass-roots campaign this year to place an abortion-rights amendment on the November ballot...."

August 8, 2023

At the Goldenrod Café...


... you can write about whatever you want.

"The joy that Black people across the country are feeling over the Montgomery Riverfront Uprising, aka the Alabama Sweet Tea Party, is filling my soul."

Writes Touré, in "Why the Montgomery Riverfront Uprising is making Black people so damn happy" (the Grio).
In these videos, we see Black people having one another’s backs. We see brotherhood and sisterhood. We see the vibe of “No, y’all ain’t piling on my brother. We fight back.” Black people showed up in droves to defend our brother.... 

"At Wimbledon earlier this summer, Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan and Shelby Rogers of the United States were among the first competitors to wear dark shorts under their tennis whites..."

"... as the All England Club finally relaxed its all-white rules in recognition of female menstrual reality. At the EuroHockey Championship later this month, shorts will be an option for every participant as well as the traditional skorts, and the decision about what to wear will be left up to each individual player. And some track and field competitors have swapped their bikini-like 'buns' for shorts and leggings in competition."

An intensely loved rose.

Video by Meade. It's a rugosa rose.

"The indictment alleges that Mr. Trump lied and manipulated people and institutions in trying to shape law and politics in his favor."

"Exaggeration and truth-shading in the facilitation of self-serving legal arguments or attacks on political opponents have always been commonplace in Washington. Going forward, these practices will likely be disputed in the language of, and amid demands for, special counsels, indictments and grand juries.... Watergate deluded us into thinking that independent counsels of various stripes could vindicate the rule of law and bring national closure in response to abuses by senior officials in office. Every relevant experience since then — from the discredited independent counsel era (1978-99) through the controversial and unsatisfactory Mueller investigation — proves otherwise. And national dissensus is more corrosive today than in the 1990s, and worse even than when Mr. Mueller was at work...."

Writes Harvard lawprof Jack Goldsmith, in "The Prosecution of Trump May Have Terrible Consequences" (NYT).

Speaking of the charm of the French language....

"The quaint little shop on the Upper East Side is New York City’s only store dedicated to French children’s books. But lately, the shop, La Librairie des Enfants, has earned a more sinister distinction: It has been the sometime home of Syko, a 98-pound white German shepherd with a penchant for eviscerating smaller dogs...."

Syko. Is that pronounced "psycho" or "sicko"?

"Frankly, I feel more comfortable in French. English is a beautiful, haunted language, but to my ear, it is aggressive and hegemonic."

"French, by contrast, is soft, romantic; it articulates the seemingly contradictory forces of logic and emotions like no other language I know. It allows people to complain all day long (a stereotypical French pastime) and somehow manage to keep it within a civilized range. It is a language that connects me to my true and best self. It binds me to the people who in turn feel that the language binds me to them."

Writes Euny Hong, a journalist and "culture critic," in "In Paris, I Get Judged on What I Speak, Not How I Look" (NYT). 

The essay begins "I moved from New York back to Paris in the summer of 2020, partly to get away from the spate of anti-Asian assaults that had emerged after the Covid pandemic." I couldn't figure out where Hong grew up. She cites her "Korean heritage." If she went "back to Paris," does that mean she grew up there? Does she sound like a native speaker in French? In English? In any case, there's a lot of subjectivity here. How do you know why other people treat you the way they do? How do you know what they really think of you? But why not, if you can, move where you feel that people like you? 

"As Mr. Trump showed in 2016, when it comes to media coverage, quantity has a quality all its own."

"The indictments make everything about him more so than is the case ordinarily. His motorcades haven’t been covered as extensively since he was president, and his latest Truth Social posts denouncing his mistreatment are being covered as breaking news. It all contributes to the miniaturization of the rest of the field. Other candidates are given the choice of saying what many Republicans want to hear about how shabbily Mr. Trump is being treated and end up simply echoing his points or condemning his underlying conduct and seeming to pile on with his bitterest and most-hated enemies.... A figure like Mr. Trump, a colorful populist adored by a political base in part because he is so embattled, is unlikely to be taken down by the very authorities he says are corrupt and arrayed against him."

Writes Rich Lowry, in The New York Times, in "Imagine What Another Indictment Could Do for Donald Trump."

Lowry compares Trump to the historical figures Huey Long and Adam Clayton Powell Jr.

"I actually believe, if you’re transgender, one of the most conservative things you can actually do is live your authentic self."

"But to do that, the government should not be in your business. They shouldn’t be in our bedrooms. They shouldn’t be trying to tell us who we can be, who we can live as, who we can go to school as. That’s not Republicanism."

Said Jennifer Williams, a member of the Trenton, N.J. City Council, quoted in "Why a Trans Republican Keeps Engaging With Conservatives" (NYT).

"Mayor Eric Adams... has talked in public about the warmth of his own smile."

"Describing 'Healthy at Last,' a book that he published in 2020 about his disciplined response to a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes, Adams told a podcast host, 'Every time I read it, I find another nugget, and say, "Wow! This was a good point that I made."' Adams once told an audience, 'I get out of the shower sometimes and I say, "Damn!"'..."

"... Adams follows a self-care regimen that includes meditation, a diet rich in plants, naps in the car—and the kind of breathing exercises that he has ordered city schools to teach, and that he encourages his staffers to emulate. Rachel Atcheson, a close adviser, told me, without complaint, that under Adams’s influence she now sleeps with her mouth taped shut, 'in order to force myself to breathe through my nose.' (Her dreams, she said, have become more vivid.) Adams defends his life-style enthusiasms but isn’t always earnest about them. When I sounded skeptical of Wim Hof, a Dutch ice-bath evangelist whose program Adams has started to follow, he laughed, saying, 'You’re going to call my idol a lunatic?'"

"Once the affirmative-action-bound language of the Court’s previous instructions is swept away, and schools are no longer legally incentivized to talk about race..."

"... in admissions in terms of 'diversity' or even any sort of 'holistic' evaluation, we could end up with a more frank and substantive discussion about equity, including not only descent from enslaved people but also severe disadvantage from state-sponsored subordination, first-generation-college-student status, and family income and wealth. Many untold possibilities might open up if we look hard for alternative ways to unlock education as a means to social mobility."

August 7, 2023

Sunrise — 5:52, 5:58.




From the linked article:

"Some of the greatest movies ever" = "The French Connection" and "The Exorcist."

"If Trump were accused of using fraud for pecuniary gain or of lying to federal investigators, there would be no free-speech problem."

"The complaint, however, focuses on the lies rather than any larceny or standalone crime. It is diffuse in saying that raising doubts over the election undermined the value or results of voting. Previous challenges have been made to certification of presidential elections with little basis (including by Democrats) and even alternative sets of electors have been submitted without criminal charges. This criminal intent is based on Trump being told by many people that the election was not stolen and he could not stop its certification.... However, Trump followed the advice of a second, albeit smaller, set of lawyers who told him there was a basis for challenging the election. That is not a crime. It is, in my view, protected political speech...."

Writes Jonathan Turley in "How Donald Trump’s Indictment Could Backfire on Joe Biden" (The Messenger).

"At first, I didn’t even totally comprehend that it was my penis that kept flaring up the security system. I thought I might just be outrageously unlucky."

"It wasn’t until one time when I caught a glimpse of the screen that the agents use to determine which part of a passenger’s body looks suspicious. Sure enough, a yellow square was painted right over my dick and balls, as if I was transporting an explosive in my nether regions."

What's going on here? Hillary Clinton is performing concern about our loneliness

This caught my eye:


I copied the whole layout — headline, author's name, lugubrious image— because it's so absurd. And yet, it's just going back to her roots: It takes a village.

"Bears are 'incredibly adept with their hands,' capable of opening latches and doors.... 'They know what refrigerators look like, and they know what’s in them.'"

From "Hank the Tank, a 400-Pound Bear Behind Lake Tahoe Break-Ins, Is Captured/A female bear — and one of three known as Hank — was captured with her three cubs by California wildlife authorities. She was responsible for at least 21 home break-ins, officials said" (NYT).

The top story in the NYT right now is: "Kamala Harris Takes on a Forceful New Role in the 2024 Campaign."

What has been "forceful" — or "new" — about anything Kamala Harris has done?

August 6, 2023

Sunrise — 6:00, 6:01, 6:04.




"By merging the traditional Buddhist reclining pose and the quintessential American figurative symbol, Reclining Liberty asks the viewer to contemplate the status of the ideals the Statue of Liberty represents."

Says the press release from MoCA Arlington and Arlington Arts, quoted in "'Reclining Liberty' takes a rest — and raises questions — in Arlington/Zaq Landsberg’s provocative sculpture, unveiled Saturday at the Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington, settles in for her year-long stretch" (WaPo).
The piece depicts the statue laying on her side with her head cupped in one hand, one foot flexed, the pose alluding to depictions of the Buddha during his final days before reaching parinirvana. A formal opening celebration was held over the weekend, and she will relax on the museum’s lawn until July 2024.

I guess the copy editor is reclining too, what with "laying on her side."  

"Parinirvana" is the nirvana after death reached by someone who has achieved nirvana during life. That is, the reclining Buddha isn't taking a restorative rest. The reclining Buddha is dying. Since the Buddhist reference was explicitly intended, Liberty must be dying... if we go by the intent of the creator. 

"It’s a sign of how acrid things have got that Biden’s main tactic is simply to put his opponent in prison."

"I don’t like Trump any more than the next person, but hauling him up in a criminal court is Third World stuff. Who cares he said the election was 'stolen'? Every politician says that when they lose. Hillary Clinton did: is Biden going to 'lock her up'? As for the dodgy dealings in Biden’s family, they’re always obfuscated, hidden, tidied away. Hunter’s laptop, the stuff with Burisma and with China, the crack, the hookers, the affair with his dead brother’s widow. An objective person cannot be shocked by the complaints against Trump while not being horrified by any of this."

Writes Camilla Long (in the London Times). I thought that was nicely concise. It's about how I feel. I especially like "Who cares he said the election was 'stolen'?" And the sly use of Trump's own "lock her up."

NOTE: You need to scroll to the bottom of the column to see this material. Most of the column is about Lizzo (blogged 2 post down).

"I don’t mind getting older. I do mind getting uglier. Come on, there’s only one thing we know of that is definitely going to happen to us."

"That’s all the information we have in this life. You know, a lot of my friends didn’t get old. I’m not a worrier, by nature – and there are so many great things about getting older. For example, I don’t think there’s very many things that I know now that I didn’t know when I was 16 – but there’s a big difference between knowing something and realising it. Realising something takes 50 years. I’m more relaxed now, if you can believe it. This is the real mellow version of me. Ageing is like being a pothead again. Though that’s not to say there are not things that wind me up daily."

"The world Lizzo has built around herself is essentially a cult: it’s dependent on everyone thinking the same extreme, bizarre, contradictory things as she does."

"You find it a lot nowadays: in the arts; politics, obviously; even in banks, for God’s sake. People rush to reinforce warped thought systems, like the pathetic Beyoncé, who has constantly sucked up to Lizzo, chasing the fat dollar. Until last week, of course, when the allegations came out, and then it was as if Lizzo had died: no regular shout-out from Beyoncé on her tour any more."

"Joe Rogan could be reversing course on his decision to not have former President Donald Trump on his podcast."

"In years prior, Rogan has been vocal about not wanting to interview Trump and has even admitted to turning down several opportunities to do so. But... [o]n the Thursday edition of The Joe Rogan Experience, Rogan sat down with political commentator Patrick Bet-David to discuss entrepreneurship and politics. 'When are you having Trump on,' Bet-David asked. 'I don’t know... I don’t know – maybe,' Rogan said. 'At a certain point in time, it’s just like. It would be interesting to hear his perspective on a lot of things... I would like to know what is it like when you actually get into office? I would like to know things like what is it like versus perception? What is it actually like when you get in that building? What are you greeted with? When do you know that people are fucking with you?... When do you know the intelligence agencies are lying to you? Like when you decided to fire Comey? What was the thought? How much did you know? What’s the machine like? What is the deep state really like? Really like, because we have all these, you know, smoky room perceptions, like from the Bill Hicks joke or they show you the Kennedy assassination from an angle you’ve never seen before. You know, what is the machine that runs this country? Because it’s very clear that it’s not as simple as elected representatives that are doing the will of the people.'"

Elon Musk will pay your legal bills.


Washington Post headline: "The lobotomy-chic trend has an ugly history."

I hadn't heard of "lobotomy-chic," but I knew the history of lobotomies, so this article wasn't written for me, but it did tip me off to a trend I'm interested to read about:

It’s become a common social media discourse: the memeification of lobotomies; the romanticization of sanitariums. The hashtag #lobotomychic has 9.3 million views on TikTok; a tweet that reads “I wish it was 1952 so my husband could just take me to get a lobotomy” earned more than 26,000 likes. “Back in the day your husband used to pay for your lobotomy, now thanks to *feminism* I have to pay for my own,” says another user to a chorus of more than 11,000 views. Then there’s this love letter to the trend from i-D magazine, which calls it the “duckface of a nihilistic era” and heralds the “dissociative pout” as the new it-girl go-to for selfies. The article unpacks the aesthetics of sullen eyes and swollen lips — all without once mentioning why women who were lobotomized actually had that vacant look in their eyes; why dissociation for them was a constant state of being. Then there are the viral TikTok makeup tutorials on how to get the lobotomy chic look. If you’re an ASMR girlie, maybe you’ll enjoy this “drive-through lobotomy” simulation where a creator in cherry earrings and bright purple eye shadow and a stethoscope around her neck pretends to lobotomize the viewer all while delivering a dreamlike, coddling narration.

The author of the piece, Caroline Reilly, seems to infer that people fooling around in this manner, having their fun, don't understand the background or that people shouldn't play around with an idea that was once about something serious.

Isn't that like taking issue with people who dress up as witches at Halloween?

It's not as if Reilly is trying to stir up alarm about damaging surgery desired by young people today.