May 30, 2023

"... No cultural moment lasts forever. Yesterday's fanatics realise they joined the wrong mob. ..."

I think we can assume that J.K. Rowling will live out her days as a brilliant writer.

Though she might still do typos: "plant Zorb"? Probably, planet Zorb.

Golden Alexander.


Open thread in the comments.

For a longer view of the swath of Golden Alexander at my sunrise vantage point, see the 4th photo in the set posted last night.

And I like the way I think I'm just photographing a flower and then — looking at what I've got on the computer screen — I find so many insects hidden — woven! — about. Here, in this tiny segment, I find 4 insects:

"Nearly half (45%) of Republican voters – including those who lean toward the GOP – say Trump is definitely the strongest candidate..."

"... to beat President Joe Biden in 2024, and another 18% think he is probably the strongest candidate. Just one-third of GOP voters say another Republican would definitely (13%) or probably (19%) be a stronger candidate than Trump. Among voters who name Trump as their top-of-mind preference for the GOP presidential nomination, 74% say he is definitely the strongest candidate the party can put up against Biden and 21% say he probably is. Among those who express support for another candidate or have no choice at this stage, nearly 4 in 10 still feel Trump is either definitely (23%) or probably (16%) the strongest nominee the GOP can field. Only 22% of this group says the strongest Republican contender would definitely be someone other than Trump and 33% say it would probably be another candidate."

"The worst airlines treat passengers as an encumbrance, and today the same has become true of many restaurants."

"For three-plus years we’ve valorized plucky, resourceful restaurants and heroic staffers for staying the course, only to find, in many cases, they’re now delivering unhappy experiences and terrible value without apology. My wife and I were recently seated in a once-favorite city pub where the cost of a casual lunch, with beers and service charges, has careened toward $100. After scanning the QR and peering at the online menu for 30 minutes but being entirely ignored by the waitstaff, we finally gave up and walked out - and the host was angry with US. Restaurants are vital but this you-are-fortunate-to-be-seated-here-at-any-price attitude has to change."

From the article:

"Reagan... was older than Nixon but had the swagger and ease of a much younger man, marrying the sort of sunny optimism Nixon could never muster..."

"... with the raw appeal to a growing reactionary vote that Nixon craved. Just as Mr. DeSantis, with his wars on critical race theory, 'woke' Disney and Covid restrictions, is trying to outmaneuver Mr. Trump on the cultural terrain that’s always been so vital in Republican primaries, Reagan outshone Nixon with his open disdain for Johnson’s landmark civil rights agenda, the burgeoning antiwar movement and the emerging hippie counterculture. He railed against the 'small minority of beatniks, radicals and filthy-speech advocates' upending California and successfully demoralized Brown, who remarked, shellshocked, after Reagan’s triumph that 'whether we like it or not, the people want separation of the races.' Nixon rebuffed Reagan and the others in one of the last primaries in which delegates and party insiders, rather than the will of voters, played a significant role in determining the nomination."

Brown = Pat Brown, whom Reagan had defeated for Governor of California in 1966. As Governor, Reagan was running in the 1968 presidential primary, so that makes him somewhat analogous to DeSantis, right now.

Obviously, Nixon beat Reagan. But is Trump like Nixon? Barkan says: "Nixon was far more introspective, methodical and policy-minded than Trump." That Nixon sound more like DeSantis. And wouldn't it be easy to say Trump is like Reagan? I picture those 2 smiling and optimistic. 

Goodbye to George Maharis.


I didn't know the background of why Maharis left the show in 1963, and had already composed this blog post when I noticed some additional material, which was new to me. I'll put it below the fold. I just remember the TV show, which — in my memory — is simply about 2 handsome young men in a Corvette. It was on TV in the years when I was 9 to 12 years old.

The possibility that "grandma" has become a slur, to be replaced by neologisms like "Gaga" and "Abba."

It's not that an old man tripped and fell. It's that he was trying so hard to look young, wearing super-tight jeans...

... that he couldn't bend his knees at all, and it took 2 men to hoist him back up: Sorry to use this to embed the clip, which I saw the other day. I think the effort at humor — "Bruce Biden" — distracts at what's funny here, the splinting effect of tight jeans on the legs of a man whose continued wearing of tight jeans is poignant or ridiculous depending on whether you've ever liked Springsteen.

As for tripping and falling, it's part of life, and I would advise you to stop laughing at the trippers and watch where you're going. 

May 29, 2023

Sunrise — 5:20, 5:25, 5:30, 5:31.





Toad of the morning.


"A customer complained that the portion of her scrambled eggs was too small. Her friend admitted to eating said eggs while she was in the bathroom."

"The customer then demanded that we make her new eggs since we placed her plate too close to her friend, causing the friend to be confused as to which was her plate. The friend had ordered a hamburger."

From a TimeOut collection of anecdotes about bad customers at restaurants, quoted at Facebook by jaltcoh.

"The rapidly ballooning field, combined with Mr. Trump’s seemingly unbreakable core of support, represents a grave threat to Mr. DeSantis..."

"... imperiling his ability to consolidate the non-Trump vote, and could mirror the dynamics that powered Mr. Trump’s takeover of the party in 2016. It’s a matter of math: Each new entrant threatens to steal a small piece of Mr. DeSantis’s potential coalition — whether it be Mr. Pence with Iowa evangelicals or Mr. Scott with college-educated suburbanites. And these new candidates are unlikely to eat into Mr. Trump’s votes. The former president’s base — more than 30 percent of Republicans — remains strongly devoted to him."
From "Trump Looks Like He Will Get the 2024 Crowd He Wants/Ron DeSantis entered the presidential race last week along with Tim Scott, with others to follow. For the former president, the more candidates the better" (NYT).

It's a relentless dynamic: The more opposition Trump gets, the more dominant he becomes. His antagonists only dilute themselves. It's a matter of math.

"They’re torturing themselves now, which is kind of fun to see. They’re afraid that their little AIs are going to come for them."

"They’re apocalyptic, and so existential, because they have no connection to real life and how things work. They’re afraid the AIs are going to be as mean to them as they’ve been to us."

Said Doug Rushkoff, quoted in "'They’re afraid their AIs will come for them': Doug Rushkoff on why tech billionaires are in escape mode/The leading intellect on digital culture believes the recent tech reckoning is corrective justice for Silicon Valley barons" (The Guardian).

I don't know know whether to be afraid of AI. I observe from a distance and occasionally dip into it whimsically, like this:


Clearly, AI can't keep up with me, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't worry. The whole world is drifting somewhere I won't understand.

ADDED: Having tried Bard, I gave ChatGPT a chance:

"The law... calls for life imprisonment for anyone who engages in gay sex...."

"The law also decrees the death penalty for anyone convicted of 'aggravated homosexuality,' a term defined as acts of same-sex relations with children or disabled people, those carried out under threat or while someone is unconscious.... [There is also] a prison term of up to 20 years for anyone who promotes homosexuality, a vague provision that activists fear could be used to target agencies supporting L.G.B.T.Q. people, including those providing lifesaving AIDS treatment.... [O]ver the past few years, political leaders, along with domestic and international religious organizations, began ramping up anti-gay campaigns and warning about what they call a threat to family values. Politicians also began making baseless claims about a plot to promote gay activities and lure children in schools to homosexuality.... Some analysts said the law was meant to scapegoat gay people and distract the public from mounting domestic challenges, including rising unemployment and skyrocketing food prices...."