morning 04.28.17

DNA from extinct humans discovered in cave sediments. This is amazing. Neandertal DNA was recovered from four sites in which no hominid remains were ever recovered. More Denisovan DNA was recovered from the Denisova Cave as well.

Trump wants South Korea to pay for the $1 billion Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system. South Korea has already said no. It’s more obvious than ever that the U.S. is running a protection racket. Trump is so clumsy and thuggish that he cannot conceive of the usual slightly more subtle way of extortion.

NASA is running out of space suits — and it’s years away from having new ones ready. We’re not going to Mars in three years if that wasn’t already painfully obvious.

It’s been too long since I’ve listened to the Little Lighthouse. Since I’ve been on this podcast jag, I remembered to stick a download into the mix. Stanislav opened the show with a song I must have completely forgotten, Chris Stamey’s “Summer Sun”.

Robyn Hitchcock Remembers Jonathan Demme. (I’m listening to the new Hitchcock album anyway. Solid stuff. Not blown away, but it’s so damned comforting.) Demme isn’t one of my strong points. I stuck with Stop Making Sense, Silence of the Lambs, and Storefront Hitchcock. One of the local DSA guys mentioned Citizens Band, which I recall liking but haven’t seen since the early ’90s. Hitchcock offers some pleasant memories of Demme. I’d no idea Hitchcock played a villain in a movie.

Why The Godfather movie was actually the first great prestige TV show. Persuasive, but one thing… I never gave much of a shit about The Godfather. Need to rewatch to see if I’ve changed enough to engage it.

The Revolution Will Not Be Curated. Huh. I thought curator came from curing hides. The overhwhelming desire for curation feels like cultural taxidermy. I loved that shit for many years, but couldn’t maintain the rigor to maintain proper canons. Thomas Frank validates my neuroses again.

Even Roberts is exasperated by the Trump administration’s stance on immigration in arguments in Maslenjak v. United States. Stripping naturalized citizens of their citizenship is too radical even for a hardcore conservative. The irony of stripping Gorka of his citizenship is hilarious, but totally not worth it. We cannot fuck around with such dangerous reasoning.

morning 04.27.17

Controversial study claims humans reached Americas 100,000 years earlier than thought. No tool markings for butchering meat, but the mastodon bones seemed smashed for marrow or possibly to make tools from bone fragments. San Diego area. The bones are 130,000 years old. The Carl Zimmer piece cites a researcher who published a paper on bison arriving in North American via the Bering land bridge. She didn’t think it was implausible Neandertals or Denisovans could have followed them.

Homo naledi is only 250,000 years old. The story ties together this news and that recent paper suggesting Homo floresiensis is a descendant of Homo habilis.

Mars Trojans may be part of a planet that was destroyed long ago. Presence of olivine. Another possibility is that the asteroids may have been cleaved from Mars itself.

The Pentagon Will Now Get To Decide How Many Troops To Send To Fight ISIS. We all knew this was coming soon.

Senators Leave White House Briefing On North Korea Unsure About Why It Took Place. Odd. There was an early report quoting Democratic Senator Chris Coons saying the briefing was “sobering.” Now even a few Republicans seem baffled what the hubbub was all about. Spectacle, I reckon. It was hyped for two days, probably on cable news. Only a select audience online will read the bizarre briefing revealed nothing. The Trump administration is too lazy and arrogant to bother with anything more. Trump summoned the Senate and they came. What’s said doesn’t matter. Onto war.

Lesbian named leader of Germany’s fascist party. Goldman Sachs banker too. How’s identity politics working out for everyone else?

Looking Back on The Ultimates. I resented the shit out of the Ultimates comics when they came out. They were cruel and too closely mirrored the diseased nationalism of Americans. I’m fond of it now, more or less. What might be ironic is how the Hickman run on Avengers might reflect on the Obama era- a technocrat organization repulsing wave after wave of threats, with a group of cynical oligarchs operating in parallel, both finally failing miserably to prevent the annihilation of the multiverse. Trump ain’t Doctor Doom though. No such autocrat will preserve humanity through a catastrophic global collapse.

noon 04.25.17

NSA blimp spied in the U.S. It’s called the Hover Hammer and it’s been active since 2004. Bulletproof. Negligible infrared signature. Invisible to radar. There are records of it operating over Long Island, sucking up data. Considering it’s 2017, the Hover Hammer is probably near obsolete.

Entire U.S. Senate invited to go to White House for North Korea briefing. This is some creepy, ominous shit. Making the case for war authorization with likely weak intelligence that would collapse under scrutiny?

The strange journalist who “provoked” Chechnya’s anti-gay crackdown. This is a very weird rabbit hole.

Drag City posted this video today and it threw me for a loop because it took a moment to register that Cynthia Dall passed away five years ago.

Seeing John Darnielle (& the Reproductive Justice League) in a bowlathon with DSA Piedmont, NC is a good feeling. I’ve toyed with reading Universal Harvester on breaks at work, but have been messing with the current events and history material more recently.

mid-morning 04.25.17

Sifting through the blog archives to find how I felt about the war in Afghanistan was disappointing. I remembered being reluctantly for some action after 9/11, but pretty skeptical about it turning out well, guessing that the Bush administration had no real plans and would create a violent lawless power vacuum. I remembered correctly. However, it felt like I was always irritated by people conflating al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and argued for limited action directly against al-Qaeda rather than invading the whole country. No evidence turned up of that, but I was anti-bombing and relatively pro-Democratic Republic of Afghanistan.1 Ironically, I was still living in Cardiff, Wales the month before Chelsea Clinton was hanging out with her American warmonger friends shouting at Jeremy Corbyn. I cannot recall the slightest anti-American sentiment in Britain at the time. People who were angry with anti-war activists were obviously just bloodthirsty assholes.

I completely forgot coming home to Louisiana to see all of those “Justice Before Peace” signs in everyone’s yards. This was pretty good for November 16th, 2001, although I’ve gotten so much wrong through the years:

I fear that the war might turn on Iraq now. It seems that everyone in the States has forgotten that while the Taliban is guilty of numerous human rights abuses, that they were not directly responsible for the destruction of the WTC. That tidily has been brushed under the table, because the “bad guys” are now on the run. Even if they accidentally kill Osama bin Laden, which is most certainly not a real objective, the Bush administration will find a way to keep the nation on alert, in a state of war, to keep up these wartime powers that the executive branch has unwisely took upon themselves.

(I fixed a few typos and swapped this for these.)

Enjoying The West Wing while it was airing is not quite as painfully embarrassing for the moment.

  1. What documentary on Afghanistan was I watching in 2001? Obviously not Adam Curtis. []

morning 04.25.17

Ancient stone pillars offer clues of comet strike that changed human history. Gobekli Tepe. Younger Dryas.  Greenland ice core.

Mystery human species Homo naledi had tiny but advanced brain. Discussion of Brodmann area 45 (BA$%). It’s weird to see the presentation of this paper and several other was at a meeting in New Orleans. There was a slip by National Geographic, referring to new papers that have yet to be published, that Homo naledi is now dated at 200,000 to 300,000 years old.

‘Hobbit’ species did not evolve from ancestor of modern humans, research finds. These researchers insist that they’re not from the Homo erectus line, but at cousins to Homo habilis because they believe the jaw is far too primitive. I’ve no opinion on this, but if Homo floresiensis survived as long as it did and was a cousin to H. habilis, that makes it a hell of a lot weirder.

Motherfuckers are online huffing about where were the people complaining about Jeb Bush given a pass for his dynastic ambitions, yet the left is always harping on the Clintons. I was railing against Bush for that shit in 2000 and that’s a significant reason why I settled on Obama early in 2008. The same families running a nation for decades is a massive sign of a decadent society.

The buffoon Clara Jeffery pointing to people attacking Chelsea Clinton instead of Ivanka is more insane. It’s obvious that the pathetic excuse of an opposition party we have in the Democratic Party hopes to elevate another Clinton, despite copious evidence that Clintonism is not only ineffective against Trumpism- even a direct cause of it. What Ivanka plans in the future is not nearly as important as how to defeat the Republican party. Promoting another uninspiring centrist to fight fascism is a losing proposition. That’s why Chelsea Clinton needs to be sidelined early.

Sebastian Gorka’s Ties To Nazi-Allied Group Stretch Back Decades. It’s great that this two-bit fraud is an actual Nazi sympathizer. Really it is.

Amid Venezuela unrest, experts worry that criminals will acquire military’s weapons. Bullshit. Widening another front in American imperialism that kinda fell on the back burner. The CIA seems to want to overwhelm Trump with chaos, not that the inept senile fuck can keep up anyway. We’ll have so many autonomous rogue off the books operations going that we’ll look like a nation of feudal warlords. Eh, maybe that prediction is a decade or two late anyway.

morning 04.24.17

Yeah, yeah. It lives. OQ forever. Dozens of links stowed across a spectrum of digital notebooks and some seem terribly quaint in their dated relevance already.

Space leaves astronauts partially blind and now we may know why. Whoever I first snagged this link from mentioned an Octavia Butler story predicted this.

A Millennial Feminist Explains the New Feminism to a Boomer Feminist Philosopher. Katie Halper rips on that Bordo book, which almost seems quaint now that Shattered squashed the exasperation with The Destruction of Hillary Clinton. Of course the Clintons are hunting down the sources for Shattered to punish them.

No, Google Hire Won’t Share Your Search History With Employers. I fell for this one. However, it’s still possible and likely to happen in future.

Working with Tarkovsky on Stalker. Everywhere Stalker stuff. It’s strange.

Lost city found: Etzanoa of the great Wichita Nation. Kansas. City of 20,000 people in 1609.

Towards Democratic Regulation of the Airline Industry. It turns out that deregulation is not accurate. It’s regulated all right, but to protect the industry, forcing collusion for profit, rather than protecting the public.

How Liberals Fell in Love with The West Wing. Fuck Sorkin. Listening to Chapo rip on some episodes felt good, hearing how they were into it too, only to grasp the horror and hypocrisy of it all. I was old enough to know better, and already came from a place where being antiwar, pro-union, etc were unequivocally good. The “by their own logic” garbage likely appealed because of over a decade of fruitlessly arguing with Christian fundamentalists using their own religious texts and feeling undeservedly smug about it. Those debates also should have informed me that the arguments of The West Wing were nonsense and the world doesn’t work that way. TBH, I didn’t realize I was supposed to agree with nearly everything the characters said. When Sam Seder said name-calling the one-percent was bad, it seemed it was a flaw on his. When Toby argued for cutting social security, I thought the viewer was supposed to hate and resent his cynicism. I do shit like this all of the time- seeing depth and nuance that isn’t there. It wasn’t until The Newsroom when I thought Sorkin “lost it” then revisited The West Wing to see I essentially hallucinated a show that never existed and it still managed to infect me with shitty liberal values. Obama also helped purge those bits of Sorkinization, because Obama’s intelligence and seriousness proved regular disappointments.

Branding VICE. There is still the occasional Vice article and segment I enjoy, but always have to keep in mind just how unethical and mercenary they are. My boss at work became mildly politicized after Trump won, and has taken to watching Vice news from HBO. TBH, I enjoy that she’s at least familiar with some issues and seems thirsty for more rather than completely ignorant. One of the Radio War Nerd episodes brushed on Vice too recently, reading the Vice Guide to Syria, a disturbing experience. It made me want to read Vice more regularly to identify want is being sold to the rubes.

Depression will fuck you up, folks. It pushed me into hypergraphia, maybe full-blown Geschwind syndrome, in the ’90s, but now I just want to hang out with my kid and do nothing at all.

morning 04.14.17

I hope we all don’t die within the next few days because of this North Korea crisis. Poor Asia.

Hubble Spots Auroras on Uranus. They tracked some powerful solar flares to see what effect they would have on Uranus. They got this.

potw1714a

ALMA investigates ‘DeeDee,’ a distant, dim member of our solar system.  2014 UZ224. TNO.

The Icy Plumes Shooting Out of Saturn’s Moon Just Got Way More Interesting. Enceladus. Hydrogen in those plumes. Methanogenesis.

World’s Tallest Men Trace Back to Paleolithic Mammoth Hunters. Gravettian. Y haplogroup I-M170.

The Kinks’ Ray Davies has some odd notions about politics. They’re not unfamiliar to anyone who’s read one of his interviews before. He’s not a big fan of consumerism and gentrification. He finds the U.S. too large to be governable. For all the years I’ve been online, most hardcore Kinks fans I’ve met have been extraordinarily conservative and used Davies’ lyrics to push that perspective. The contrast between what Davies says and what all those online fans push is quite drastic.

Robyn Hitchcock has a new video for “Raymond & the Wires”. I don’t know why I don’t listen to his newer material because this morning I quite like it. It’s startling to hear something so transparently personal from him, a song about his father Raymond Hitchcock.

Good piece on the movie Logan and the X-Men comics. “Wolverine is a two-dimensional character who was never designed to be a solo star. His best stories come from pushing up against the limits of those dimensions.” Yup. Nearly every point made I agree with, although I freely admit I loved Wolverine in the ’80s. The moment those Patch and Madripoor stories started, he began to lose allure. I missed all those ’90s Weapon X stories and have still never read more than some Wiki summaries. I mistook the original Origins for some Elseworlds kind of thing that would never be canon. Fuck Daniel Way and his torture porn bullshit. The best modern Wolverine IMO was Aaron’s tired and over-his-head headmaster of the school. Sorrentino’s art in Old Man Logan is pretty to look at, but what Marvel thinks they’re doing with this character existing alongside the out-of-time original X-Men is mystifying. Puzzling that out is a fool’s task.

Aha. So it’s Gary Cohn who is now president instead of Steve Bannon. Obviously Kushner is too much of a nitwit to run anything, so he was just angling for someone more competent. It’ll be just like if Hillary was president, except more racist and fascist. That’s… still not good.

Rachel Maddow Is Lost in Her Cold War Conspiracies. There was a period when I thought Maddow was actually okay. Sorry. I think it was when I read Drift that something clicked? 2012? Her argument I agreed with, but her affection for the military, I didn’t share. Stopped paying much attention to her, despite the agreement on the executive branch having far too much power to make war. Her trafficking in Russian conspiracy theories is mind-blowing. It’s not even that I don’t believe any of them. It’s that it no longer fucking matters. Besides, there was more direct evidence of the Clintons’ trading influence for money for decades and she fucking scoffed at it. If the media had done their job, there would be no Clinton campaign. We’d have President Bernie or even Biden (yuck.)

Stuff from Shattered so far:

  • It’s a shame that Jen O’Malley Dillon seemed sidelined by Robby Mook early on. It would have been preferable for Bernie to have trounced Hillary, but If Hillary had to win, O’Malley Dillon wouldn’t have put Hillary in as bad of a place as Mook did. She likely would have already been laying groundwork in the battleground states before primaries over. Mook didn’t. He had his data. He didn’t care about that. She also probably wouldn’t have played ineffective mind games with the Rust Belt.
  • That Hillary reviewed every email of her 2008 campaign staff to look for what went wrong is probably a good thing. Yeah, she’s still being Hillary, eager to blame anyone other than herself, but a post-mortem of the campaign is very reasonable. Some of those idiots were plotting against each other and leaking from their official accounts apparently. That she then sets up a private email server for her work at the State Department demonstrates her hypocrisy, not allowing herself to held to the same standards when she worked for Obama. It’s surprising that angle of her reading her campaign employees’ email didn’t come up much. Shattered is the first that juxtaposed those two stories so clearly. She knew exactly what she was doing. The private email server wasn’t about convenience. It was about avoiding accountability. Fuck her for being so arrogant and shortsighted for not comprehending that this wouldn’t blow up in her face, allowing an utterly amoral, senile buffoon to win the presidency. Hubris.
  • It’s hilarious that somehow it fucked up that (probably through Abedin and autocorrect of texts) that Hillary wound up with Brianna Kielar as her inteviewer on June 7th 2015 instead of Biana Golodryga, the wife of a former Clinton official. She mopes about how sympathetic the press were to Bernie (they weren’t) but cannot handle anything other than an interview from a sycophant.
  • John Podesta still seems like one of the only sane, competent people with a backbone working on the Clinton campaign. It’s funny that his email was hacked because his password was so fucking weak.
  • The book doesn’t dig too deeply into the Democratic primary. I recall some sketchy shit that happened in a few states, both in news and anecdotally. None of it appears. No purged voter rolls or changed party affiliations. No coin tosses. No closed polling stations or reduced number of voting machines in certain precincts. No buses of non-residents. No thrown chairs.
  • I fucking hate Bill Clinton, moreso than Hillary. They’re both imperious, self-absorbed kleptocrats, but his patronizing racism, his inability to accept his reputation as a sexual predator, and his boneheaded ambush of Loretta Lynch on that runway all played a significant role in why Hillary lost to Trump.
  • Hillary was so hung up on Bernie not having plans for his big promises, how unrealistic his proposals were. She and most of her people saw the world as if it was still the ’90s and she couldn’t figure out why Americans were so dissatisfied and angry. Who’s unrealistic? The dreamer who sees what’s happening or the deluded building houses on sand?
  • Hillary would have been a terrible president. She wouldn’t be the horror Trump is, but she’s not very good with leadership. The muddy structure of her staff, the constant in-fighting and backstabbing, the fear of offering opposition, her flipping out anytime anything goes wrong to reshuffle and punish… it’s amazing that the Clintons have survived as long as they have.

morning 04.13.17

Yesterday an excerpt from Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign was being passed around Twitter. It’s been on the shelves at work for a couple of weeks, but after that stupid Susan Bordo book, which I couldn’t bring myself to dig further into, it seemed to take a pass on Shattered. Changed my mind. Reading bits of it this morning. It’s no fucking wonder that arrogant fool lost. It should have been titled Hubris.

“She didn’t want to run for president. She did not want to do it. She just concluded no one else could win.” Lazy, entitled piece of shit. Nearly every paragraph supports the thesis that Hillary saw herself as inevitable and only other people could fail her, never herself. Stomaching a whole book of this will be too much.

The War Nerd reading from Ryszard Kapuciski had me realize I remember his The Shadow of the Sun on the shelves of the Baton Rouge bookstore. I almost bought it! It was around the same time that I picked up Sven Hedin’s My Life as an Explorer. Almost nothing like that shows up anymore.

Fracking is ruining one of the last truly dark places in the US, and astronomers are on edge. Davis Mountains in West Texas. My mother warned me about this. They used to zip down to Big Bend on occasion, saw the development in Fort Davis, and figured what was coming for the McDonald Observatory.

Knowledge in a Conspiratorial World. The Philosophy of Conspiracy Theories. This is a book I probably have no business reading. Legitimizing some conspiracy theories as rational is probably unhealthy for me.

Another goofy Legion aside- A criticism was how obvious the use of Pink Floyd’s “Breathe” was in Legion‘s finale. Yeah, to critics and rock nerds. Go check the comments on Youtube for Thor: Ragnarok. Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” is even more staggeringly obvious, but a stunning number of people don’t know the fucking song. I work with almost entirely millennials. Very few of them know much about the Baby Boomer seeming permaculture that the Gen Xers were saturated in. “Breathe” is not nearly as prominent as it once was. If it’s not “”Money”, “Comfortably Numb”, or “Another Brick in the Wall Pt. 2”, it seems a success to me.1

  1. Another aside, DC fanboys jumping in to screaming the Wonder Woman trailer used it first are missing the obvious in that the damned song is about Vikings. []

morning 04.12.17

Kid came to sit on my lap, dictate what I look at, and play with various toys on desk. Copying, pasting, and editing a rambling email to Bill from a couple of days ago. He almost certainly doesn’t give a damn.

It’s actually Radio War Nerd episode 76, about Iran-Contra, that I’m in the midst of.

You probably already know this but this was yet another flashpoint for me.

I used to read the local newspaper Daily Star of Hammond every day as a teen. I picked up the habit from reading the cartoons, including the political ones. I religiously read Jack Anderson’s column, although I missed exactly when he went over the edge. Because Daily Star didn’t have much in the way of local reporting, it ran a lot of AP material, so the Iran-Contra stuff blew my mind. I’d also pester my parents to pick up the Times-Picayune as often as possible so I could read Bloom County and Doonesbury.

Watched hearings on tv. Think they came on in afternoon and sometimes knocked the soap operas off the air. I was so pissed. Wanted Reagan impeached.

it’s scary how much I dropped out of political awareness after about 1993, when Clinton took office. Depression is a beast. Didn’t really fully engage again until Clinton’s impeachment.

I did succumb to Aaron Sorkin disease for a few years. Think the impeachment, the Florida recount, and the damned West Wing liberalized me. Fuck that shit.

Listening to the War Nerd with Eileen Jones.

Bizarre that only Jones saw Dr. Strangelove. It’s a favorite of mine.

Amused how they all hate Scahill’s Dirty Wars. The criticism of him making about its impact on him is true, but it’s still a good documentary in that it finds an audience and persuades on relevant issue. I like Scahill despite their correct characterization here.

No mention of MASH, which is funny because it IS a Korean War movie, although it’s obviously really about Vietnam.

I saw a movie almost 30 years ago called Hamburger Hill. Recall liking it, but it might have been facet of naive youth. Machismo and shit. Weird they got on a Mel Gibson jag, but didn’t mention he was in Gallipoli.

Chapo Trap House recently talked about a movie I cannot recall which I’ve ever seen! Ridley Scott’s The Duelists. Napoleonic Wars.1

It very much surprises me that I may have seen a LOT more movies than Ames and Dolan. Some on that IMDB that they haven’t seen, like Very Long Engagement, I’ve seen.

 

  1. It turns out that I have indeed seen it. []

morning 04.11.17

Back on Cairo Gang this morning, until kid woke up to make me play live Ty Segall video yet again.

Didn’t know Valeria Luiselli is married to Álvaro Enrigue. His Hypothermia was on a TBR list for ages, but it got lost in the shuffle. Never got around to him. Sudden Death just came in in English in February. Both back higher in list to acquire in near future. Still reading Luiselli’s Sidewalks.

Adding Daniel Saldaña París’s Among Strange Victims too, although honestly- I’m on a history jag. Last night Thunder in the Mountains caught me eye at work.

Nine Questions for Emma Ramada on Anne Garréta, Sphinx, and Not One Day. Oulipo.

Quit Your Band! Musical Notes From The Japanese Underground. Heh. I was/am so proud of my copy of Japrocksampler.

Interview with Mary Timony on Jezebel. She regrets all of those overdubs on The Magic City and she’s wrong. They’re awesome. It’s also silly that she said that she couldn’t sing. Almost no one could sing in ’90s indie rock. Timony still puts out music I enjoy so it’s not as if she embraced aesthetics I reject. The wife loves Wild Flag and Ex Hex.

Everything We’ve Learnt About Studio Ghibli’s Hayao Miyazaki Since His False Retirement. Hm. Never-Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki. It’s a different documentarian than did The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness, which has stuck with me for months after viewing.