morning 05.29.17

Nine hours of sleep. I feel fully human again, not a hollowed out drone. I am still stalled on episode 8 of second season of Twin Peaks, but it’w worth it.

It’s been a slow steady rain for the past three hours.

NASA discovers a new mode of ice loss in Greenland. Motherfucker. As the planet heats up, unforeseen effects will manifest. The melting ice is happening faster than originally projected. This wave effect had the ice melt more than 50% faster. This particular event observed at Rink Glacier actually warped the earth’s crust by its speed and force.

A New Orleans Company Shines A Light On Opera’s Diverse History. OperaCréole performing work by Lucien-Léon Guillaume Lambert, a Creole composer whose father was borne in New Orleans. I knew but forgot that the first opera performed in what’s now America was in New Orleans in 1796.

Review of a memoir by Antonio Veciana of his time working for the CIA. There are some gems in here. The skulduggery behind Operation Pedro Pan (Tah dah! Take that,  U.S. District Court for Northern Illinois!) and some more details on his account of Lee Harvey Oswald are in here.

Homo naledi genome: Will we ever find this elusive key to human evolution? Good piece mapping out the possibilities of where this research could go.

Saturday, I was playing the Mermaid Avenue albums in the car for Kat & Elijah. They tolerated them well enough. Yesterday, I tried listening to Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and couldn’t make it all of the way through “I’m Trying to Break Your Heart”.

Just read a review of the recent Ty Segall album (which I still don’t own) and it observed that one of the quieter songs echoes Mott the Hoople’s Wildlife album. Embarrassingly, I never gave that album a chance before. On that album this morning. I had been irritated with myself for not seeking out new bands lately and once again, I have to face up that I’m not as familiar enough with the bands that I think I know as I should be. My friend Damien has always been a diehard advocate for Mott and Hunter, but he never has been much for country-inflected music. If he championed Wildlife to me, I forgot it.

Street Fight Radio used a song as the closer in a recent episode that I never heard before and it’s pretty fucking awesome. National Wake had completely escaped by notice during those years I was trawling for obscure (to me) punk and garage rock. “Stratocaster” sounds a little like Ozzy fronting the Flamin’ Groovies.

A Lynching on the University of Maryland Campus. What the fuck is happening?

These Are The Victims Of The Portland Train Stabbing Attack. Here’s the man who ran in to give medical aid to the people who interceded, saving Fletcher’s life.

(I’m onto Mad Shadows now. Damien loved him some Mad Shadows.)

morning 05.27.17

Russia thinks microorganisms may be living outside the space station. This has surfaced again. Sea plankton in orbit. Madness.

NASA’s Juno Probe Reveals Cyclones, Auroras & Surprises.

The brain starts to eat itself after chronic sleep deprivation. This is probably why I have a lot of memory problems in all seriousness.

Leaked Documents Reveal Counterterrorism Tactics Used at Standing Rock to “Defeat Pipeland Insurgencies.” Tigerswan. I forgot about these guys- another security contractor formed out of the chaos of Afghanistan and Iraq that brings its violent, totalitarian tactics back to the States to use against people opposed to rapacious corporate policies. They coordinated with local law enforcement and the FBI, using their creepy surveillance to undermine American citizen’s freedom of speech and to assemble. It’s telling how they use their power to crush dissent to help corporate interests instead of fighting white supremacists. Healthy democracies don’t allow shit like this to exist, let alone flourish.

morning 05.26.17

Insomnia. Two hours of Sleep. Migraine. Company neglected to deposit money in the accounts of its employees. Not feeling up to doing more than listening to music this morning. I played Elijah some video after I rediscovered Tinariwen in that migraine haze, to mitigate for me playing him too much rock music.

I haven’t listened to Tinariwen in years. I fuck up so much. Thankfully there’s still time to explore.

dredging email archive for Newsroom watching

It was so gratifying that Chapo Trap House revisited Newsroom. Ever since they did the West Wing episode, I’ve been wrestling with how fucking deluded I was back in the day. That show poisoned me, causing susceptibility to belief in meritocracy. The whole rule from the middle thing never fully sunk its claws in my head thankfully. Honorable Republicans did seem a happy little myth I could embrace, but all of the centrist compromises from the Bartlett administration struck me as fatal flaws, not an ultimate good. I was deluded somehow differently.

Unlike Chapo, I did watch the first season and a half of Newsroom, until I couldn’t stomach it anymore. I’ve cannibalized some old emails to Bill from 2013:

Newsroom. I read how laughably bad it is, but i underestimated. It’s compellingly bad. The self-serving speeches! The stilted, absurd relationships! The absurd revisionism! HOLY SHIT. I loved West Wing back in the day, but i look back on it now as a pleasant, idealistic fairy tale in civics that it is. I wanted to rewatch it and couldn’t. Newsroom is something altogether weirder. Its pompous denial of reality is awe inspiring.

Only watching first season now. I love how it makes me cringe. I watch True Blood with the same sense of delighted horror.

By horror- i mean, fascinated by high camp that doesn’t understand why it’s camp. Yes, True Blood aspires to be camp, but Newsroom has no such intent. Aaron Sorkin is so fucking coke-addled! It’s wonderful. His weird obsession with turning back the clock on journalism to old school nonsense that has been dead for decades is hilarious. He’s also just WRONG.

Tea Party? Not spontaneous. The whole thing was Koch Brother funded from first day and everyone knew it. To pretend that it was this great revelation about shadowy, obscure puppet masters being revealed is childish.

Where were you when Osama bin Laden was announced dead? I don’t remember…. because the man at that point was irrelevant. Is that moment really important to anyone? Did everyone cheer, embrace, and shake hands? Sorkin turns it into a VE-Day vibe. Ha!

Twitter is not the salvation of journalism, but to pretend that it’s more vapid than old school talking heads on the TV is silly. To deny the organization and journalism that was done during the Arab Spring, to white wash it away in favor of a stringer on the ground with a camera? Oh boy….

Touching on the yuckiness of This Town I was reading the Mark Leibovich at the time. More masochism.))…. this newsroom…. untouched by the culture that brought us Tim Russert, Dick Gregory, Andrea Mitchell, Chris Matthews1 … how fucking beautifully naive!

Ho ho ho! The voter id laws were unreported! But renegade RINO jumps in to break the story! To the sounds of the Woooooo!!!!! FUCK YEAH!

That’ll show them! Good thing all of those insane voter id laws were repealed. VICTORY!

Sorkin has obviously not seen very much of Sex in the City, because that plot is straight out of Sex and the City… and there is no fucking way that’s an homage.2

Season 2 is a gimme.3 I am fascinated by the trainwreck. Finished season 1 today. School me, cokehead, on the intricacies of modern journalism while clinging to Luddite fantasies of Stop the Presses, I have a scoop, boys!

I admit my ears perked up when there were rumblings about NSA, but it was just a Murdoch takedown, instead of genuinely prescient shit on surveillance state (since that season was a year ago.) Thought for a moment he was suggesting NSA and various corporations were working hand in hand to take down opposition, which IS true… And curiously, in particular with OWS.4

Calling the Tea Party the “American Taliban” is neither original or controversial.

McAvoy being sympathetic to drone strikes’ collateral damage, because American lives are more valuable, is very unsettling. Is Sorkin being serious or is he setting McAvoy up for another revelatory moment? It REALLY looks like Sorkin is serious about this unfortunately. It’s one thing for him to write a bad, pompous show, but this is one point that is an extreme contrast from the man who wrote the West Wing.5 President Bartlett would be disgusted by such an opinion.6

Sorkin is the Frank Miller of television.7

  1. Somehow I missed the obvious that Sorkin wasn’t ignoring these people, he was celebrating them. []
  2. What the fuck am I talking about? It must be some “romantic” subplot referenced. []
  3. I never finished the season. []
  4. That may be a reference to a real thing, but it’s more likely a total fuck-up by me when it was really the FBI and DHS. []
  5. I wholeheartedly hate that show too now. []
  6. No, he wouldn’t. I had completely glossed over that Bartlett was exactly that kind of shithead, the prototype for President Drone-Strike. Fucking neoliberal West Wing bullshit. []
  7. This is a good thesis that deserves a real supporting argument. []

morning 05.24.17

Still no Twin Peaks for me, old or revival. I passed out right after Kat took Elijah to bed. The weird shifts, insomnia, and back pain over the past week were draining. I even passed out for 15 minutes in the middle of yesterday.

ICE is using Stingray tech and Senator Wyden wants answers. He’s not going to get them. Stingray technology is rapidly becoming normalized. All law enforcement will have access to some form of it and will use it for the most spurious investigations.

Beneath New Orleans, A Coastal Barrier Island. Pine Island Trend. I knew about this , but completely forgot. Putting it into human habitation in the past 4,000 years very much was a missed connection. Need to hunt around for some Big Oak-Little Oak Islands papers. I was on a tangent about the Tchefuncte tribe recently, bummed out about the shell middens that were on the site that is now Fountainbleau State Park.

A Digital Database for Threatened Archaeological Sites in the Middle East and North Africa.

Perlstein is teaching me how to hate Nixon far more accurately and purely. Fuck. Nixonland hits a lot of material that I thought I was familiar with, but gives it context and nuance that reveals Nixon as a monster Hunter Thompson always swore he was. HST never conclusively proved to satisfaction as Perlstein does. BTW, I had no idea Perlstein is so damned young.

Giving the future to the past. I missed this review of the collection of Umberto Eco’s columns. It looks like it’ll be fun when it eventually turns up in English translation.

Blight at the Museum. Yay, capitalism? Some of this shit infected me in my youth, causing me to believe well into adulthood that capitalism aided the progressive arc of history far more and longer than it did. Silly me.

morning 05.23.17

Admitted neo-Nazi stopped in Keys wanted for making explosives at home, cops say. Thorium and americium were found and they called themselves “Atom Waffen.” Americium is used in fire detectors. There’s no telling how much this guy actually possessed. The only reason why this was uncovered was because one claims to have converted to Islam (doubtful) and murdered his roommates. How many other cells are out there working on terror plots?

7.2-million-year-old pre-human remains in the BalkansGraecopithecus freybergi. Common ancestor to humans and chimps.

Lower back pain and little sleep. Six days straight of work that kept aggravating the condition (repeatedly stacking and unstacking pallets, moving extremely heavy tables) has me pretty foggy.

morning 05.22.17

‘Alien Megastructure’ Star Is at It Again with the Strange Dimming. KIC 8462852. Unexpected. I took this topic off alerts only days ago because of the amount of useless spam stories it was generating.

Archaeologists uncovering ancient peoples’ widespread use of mountains. Early habitation of Wyoming’s Wind River Range, the Tetons and Montana’s Beartooth Plateau. Relates to Anzick child genetics.

Psephology in Free Fall. Sam Kriss. Christ- That Brianna Keilar and Michael Cohen had fallen down the memory hole already. Anyway- Doom. The elite don’t want to give up manufacturing consent by cooking up numbers to obfuscate.

Twin Peaks. I forgot what the hell my followup was going to be. I’ve yet to see the new premiere and don’t have Showtime yet. There’s no hurry. Rewatching the original for the first time in possibly over 20 years has been a genuine pleasure. Back in the day, my friends’ and my silly fandom probably saved us from disappointment, because solving a mystery seemed secondary. We were essentially LARPing the show, only to have it overlay itself into reality. Everyone wrestled with a dweller on the threshold and most lost the fight. The piece reminding that the show was a meditation on grief and trauma seized at the truth beneath our embrace of the camp and cool style. I was truly ignorant how much this series laid the groundwork for the next decade in that circle of friends.

morning 05.20.17

It’s long past time to jot down that for months, many having observed that the film Burn After Reading is a defining document of these times. I’ve always liked that movie more than its former reputation, but the only reference I seem to made to it before was to someone referencing it to Petraeus’ fuck-ups. That’s so quaint and small now.

Roger Ailes Was One of the Worst Americans Ever. Matt Taibbi. Take note of anyone mourning Ailes’ death or calling him a friend. That’s someone who should never be respected or trusted. (Rachel Maddow.)

Scientists decide to bury 5,000-year-old lost city in Pakistan. Mohenjo Daro. Harrapan. Indus Valley. I respect the hell out of this decision.

Why Twin Peaks is not the series we convinced ourselves it was. I began rewatching Twin Peaks, not realizing the revival was almost upon us. I thought I had a few weeks. Now I burn through a few episodes a night when I wake around midnight from insomnia. The pilot almost turned me off entirely because I forgot how to watch it and questioned what the fuck I was thinking back in 1990. It wasn’t until Dale Cooper arrived that I adjusted. Everything fell into place.

Hopefully I can throw a few more reactions and memories of Twin Peaks up later, nothing unique or insightful. Its significance seemed to ebb greatly over time, but it affected me more profoundly than I understood. 

morning 05.19.17

Climate change is turning Antarctica green, say researchers. Oh dear.

Researchers find a tiny moon around a large unnamed dwarf planet. 2007 OR10.

Cave dig shows the earliest Australians enjoyed a coastal lifestyle. Boodie Cave on Barrow Island. 51,100 and 46,200 years ago.

Grassy beginning for earliest Homo. Ledi-Geraru jaw.

Contrary to Popular Belief, the Blues Were Not Born on the Mississippi DeltaThe Original Blues: The Emergence of the Blues in African American Vaudeville. Lynn Abbott and Doug Seroff. Southern black vaudeville circuit.

The Young Black Activists Targeting New Orleans’s Confederate Monuments. Take ‘Em Down NOLA.

Joe Lieberman might be FBI director. Really. It feels weird to link Yglesias. Think i’ve only done it once or twice before. Matt Stoller tweeted this yesterday.

Yeah! Thank that Radical Center for holding it all together. Lieberman lost the Democratic Party, yet Lamont barely had any support while the Democratic establishment wanted Lieberman running as an independent to win. Every damned detail turns out to be relevant in why centrism has failed to protect us from fascists. BTW, Lieberman works for a law firm since 2013 that has represented Donald Trump, since 2001.


morning 05.18.17

Keeping up with the Trump mess is impossible without being glued to Twitter. This morning, I’m against impeachment, if only because accelerationism seems the best way out of this morass. Let the Republicans stand by their leader. Let them all drown in this ocean of shit. Let the Democrats be the party of the right and organize an opposition from the left. The folks who have been saying this for years have convinced me. It’s a fucking fantasy, but so is pretending that Pence will restore the integrity of the nation and be a fair and just leader. We are so fucked.

Chris Cornell. Facebook is going to be a mess today. I genuinely hated his voice, although “Black Hole Sun” is a pretty good song that I never ever need to hear again.1 Cornell inspired some of the most dreadful music of the ’90s & hearing some of those songs again is cringe-inducing. When grunge began to blow up, I admittedly threw myself into it. Thankfully that didn’t do any lasting damage to me, but the rest of the decade was a wasteland of po-faced, turgid yowling for mainstream America.

For over twenty-five years I’ve been haunted by a crudely drawn comic strip in a zine out of New Orleans depicting the video of Temple of the Dog’s “Hunger Strike”. Everything time I’m reminded of Cornell, that half-remembered joke someone probably scrawled out in 5 minutes pops into my head for another moment of amusement.


  1. Kim Thayil’s guitar was only aspect of Soundgarden I was into. I was still breaking myself of the metal habit leftover from the ’80s. []