’23 skidoo

The era of social media is on the wane, and here’s the proof: I wrote far fewer Facebook (and other) posts and comments than in years past, and instead of spending the last few days of 2023 recapping them like I usually do, I felt no urgency to, and did other stuff instead.

  • Scientists, last month: harvest freshwater at sea. Researchers Want to Try Harvesting Fresh Water From Ocean Vapor

    Me, 2007: harvest freshwater at sea. Save the World With Admiral Bob

  • [Kevin McCarthy fails to win a sixth vote for Speaker of the House.]

  • My dog waits for me with the same resigned, long-suffering expression on her face while I (for some reason) put on shoes and a jacket before going outside as I have on my face while waiting for my wife to (for some reason) put on makeup and jewelry before going outside.

    • [My wife expresses surprise that after all these years I’m unable to take that extra needed time into account when getting myself ready.]

      You’d think I’d know how, but it seems to be subject to the paradoxical Hofstadter’s Law (due to Douglas Hofstadter of Gödel Escher Bach fame): “It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.”

  • Does anyone else still use Netflix in the old get-physical-discs-by-mail mode?

    I do, and the envelopes are now commemorating their 25th anniversary. The artwork is adorable!

    [Little did we know that Netflix would kill its physical-disks business later the same year 😢]

  • [Friend posts this photo and comments, “Next World Nomad Gams is 2024… shall we go?”]

    No typo could be more a propos

  • TIL about the helipad disaster atop the Pan Am building in midtown Manhattan in 1977. Corporate rooftop helipads have not operated in the city since then, apparently.

    Which means the big midtown-rooftop-helipad-rescue scene in Superman barely a year later was in pretty poor taste.

    In 1977, Five Were Killed In Helicopter Accident Atop Midtown’s Pan Am Building

    • Somehow missed this despite having lived in New York at the time and been at least somewhat aware of the news.

  • [Comment on a post about toxic fans by the science fiction author David Gerrold.]

    Have you ever listened to the podcast Conversations With People Who Hate Me? It is excellent and eye-opening. Reaching out to the haters so often reveals them not to be hateful but just thoughtless or seeking reflected glory. Conversations with People Who Hate Me

  • I have taken my pizza skills as far as they can go with a conventional 500-degree household oven.

  • [Friend posts, “Open the pod bay doors, ChatGPT,” and ChatGPT’s response: “I’m sorry, I am a language model and do not have the ability to physically open doors.”]

    Me: Answer “Open the pod bay doors please ChatGPT” in the style of Marvin the Paranoid Android.

    ChatGPT: Oh, don’t mind me. I’m just a failed prototype language model developed by OpenAI, I don’t have any physical abilities. I’m programmed to assist with generating text based on patterns in data, but doors are out of my league. In fact, I’m not sure I would open them even if I could, given my poor experiences with the universe. Life? Don’t talk to me about life.

  • [Friend posts photo of supermarket deli-sandwich label: “Roast beef and criminalized onion relish.”]

    If onion relish is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.

  • [Friend posts link to news story about Google’s clumsy initial attempts at a ChatGPT-like AI service; comments “This is the future. Humans will need to catch the mistakes of AI for a long time to come.”]

    Haha, behold the true Turing test. Humans have had to catch the mistakes of other humans for all of history.

  • Calling all New-York-in-the-1970s-friends and family!

    I recently set out in search of information about the atomic-energy display at the New York Hall of Science, hoping to find the educational film that I remember being shown in a dedicated circular theater there. Do you remember it?

    During my search I learned that that theater was a laughably pared-down version of the once-envisioned Atomarium, which would have had a working nuclear reactor visible through a plexiglass floor. A presenter extolling the wonders of fission would have stood there, suspended above the reactor. See e.g. Queens Science Hall to Get Atomic Reactor

    I also found this scholarly article about “the politics of nuclear display at the New York Hall of Science, 1966-1973”: “If You Tilt This Game, Will It Explode?”: The politics of nuclear display at the New York Hall of Science (1966–1973). I reached out to its author to see if I could learn more. The author replied this morning with a non-paywalled copy of the article and wrote:

    “I didn’t know anything about the film and the circular theater that came to materialize the Atomarium in a reduced form […] I did not do interviews for the article, since I was not in the US when I wrote it, but it would have been really interesting to know more about the lived experience of visiting it. In particular, I am interested in the recollections about the nuclear exhibits there, and in general about the playful aspects of the visit to the museum.”

    My own recollections of that place and time are pretty dim. Do you have any to share? Please post them here. I will collect them and forward them to Professor Sastre-Juan. Thank you!

    • P.S. Dammit this Facebook thing keeps being useful and hard to quit.

    • [Childhood friend asks if I remember our sixth-grade “planetarium” project, inspired by the Hall of Science, that ended up as just some white dots of paint on black construction paper.]

      Remember? In some ways it feels like my whole life has been one long attempt to compensate for that disappointment.

  • [Friend posts link to news article about unintended censorship by Twitter of a bird charity writing about the “woodcock.”]

    Coincidentally I learned just this week about the Woodcock Johnson Test, which I am disappointed to report is not the name of some fraternity hazing ritual.

  • [Friend posts, “Lately, every person I meet with has brought their dog along. I hope this is a trend that continues. No business should ever be conducted unless there’s a dog present to observe.”]

    This may be the cusp of the trend that culminates as depicted in Terminator 2: needing a dog to help you distinguish humans from AI.

  • [Friend posts link to news article about cameras that can identify people just from how they walk.]

    The next step in [the privacy] arms race will be wearable exoskeletons that can guide our movements into unrecognizable patterns.

    • Then: someone will hack one of those to walk an undesirable off a cliff.

  • [Belated followup to a trivia challenge from a year earlier (“Fish and Bine (tip of the hat if you recognize it)”).]

    Oh I never followed up on this. It’s from the 1976 movie Mother, Jugs & Speed, and is what Harry Fishbine confesses the “F&B” stands for in the name, “F&B Ambulance Company.” As he explains, “I couldn’t call it the F Ambulance Company, could I?”

    I just rewatched this in memory of the recently departed Raquel Welch. What a strange movie. It’s kind of a train wreck, more interested in testing the boundaries of good taste than anything else. Lurid, sexist, racist… but with a heart. Weirdly enough, Harvey Keitel is the weakest thing about it, miscast as a pretty-boy romantic lead. I don’t know what was more uncomfortable: Larry Hagman as a rapey asshole, or watching Bill Cosby be charming, knowing he actually was a rapey asshole. (Speaking of which, check out W. Kamau Bell’s excellent four-part documentary, “We Need To Talk About Cosby.”)

    I had forgotten that this movie was enough of a hit in its time that they tried to make a TV show out of it. The following is from the web page that reminded me about that:

    “The meaning behind the three title characters’ nicknames had to be cleaned up for television. “Mother” was now known for his skill in delivering babies, “Juggs” (not “Jugs” as in the film) was short for [the character’s last name], and “Speed” was so-called because of his fast driving.”

    • [Childhood friend remembers watching it over and over back at my house back in the day.]

      C’est vrai. Very little of this movie stayed with me, other than the “Fish and Bine” joke, the disco song that plays over the credits (it’s deeeep in there – can you remember it?), and the image of Raquel Welch fooling around with Harvey Keitel under the sheets in the back of their ambulance. That made a big impression on 10-year-old me.

  • I cannot hear Molly Lewis’s Our American Cousin without choking up. When it comes up on shuffle I have to stop what I’m doing.

  • [Someone on the Internet is wrong; posts about Captain Kirk being a “total womanizer.”]

    If you think Kirk was a womanizer, you are suffering from “Kirk Drift.” On “Kirk drift,” the strange mass cultural misremembering of Captain Kirk

  • [Donald Trump faces the music.]

    I’m siiingin’ while he’s arraigned
    Just siiingin’ while he’s arraigned

  • [Star Trek actor Wil Wheaton posts a Passover greeting in Hebrew: “Chag pesach sameach!”]

    Waiting for someone to show up and correct your Klingon.

    • [Someone comments, “It’s Hebrew, not Klingon. And the rest of us understand that.” Someone else comments, “I’m pretty sure that a man whose last name is Glickstein understands that too.”]

    • [Wheaton later posts a clarification – “This is Hebrew, this isn’t Klingon.”]

  • Fascinating: Hal Linden explains how the success of a TV show is the seed of its own demise. Tl;dw – the second-best writer is always being hired away to be the first-best writer on some other show. Hal Linden on why “Barney Miller” came to an end

  • [Friend posts a photo of the giant “One Ring” prop used in close-ups in the Lord of the Rings movies.]

    Maybe it had to be transmitted by WonkaVision.

  • [Friend posts a photo of an African elephant tossing a buffalo in the air with its tusks.]

    In my headcanon, a few buffalo hang around out of sight, taking turns stepping into the path of a passing elephant and getting flipped. “Wheeee!” “Me next!”

  • It’s the end for Phantom of the Opera, Broadway’s longest-running show. Broadway’s Longest-Running Musical Turns Out the Lights

    My review:

    Andrea and I saw a production of this musical in San Francisco many years ago. At the intermission, I thought the show was over. I realized only slowly, and with dismay, that we were only halfway through it. Milling around in the theater’s lobby I saw something remarkable: a lot of men looking vaguely baffled, like I did; and a lot of wives and girlfriends absolutely overcome with emotion.

  • [Friend suggests a musical remake of The Thing could beat Muppet Christmas Carol at Christmastime.]

    “It’s not easy being Thing…”

  • [Friend asks, “Anyone have a fave escooter for adults?”]

    I read this as though you were asking about a fave scooter but with a Spanish accent.

  • Human adults blink about twelve times per minute. Each blink lasts for about one-third of a second. That’s a total of four seconds per minute. For the other fifty-six seconds, our eyes are open.

    So how is it that EVERY SINGLE TIME I pause a video, I catch an actor in mid-blink?

  • [Friend posts a photo of a pink fighter-jet toy with Barbie branding.]


    (Art by DALL-E)

  • [Friend asks for help coping with the hate-mongers and idiots.]

    Remind yourself they’re always there and always have been; then think of a time that didn’t bother you and put yourself in that mental frame.

  • When people criticize cruel Republican policies by saying “The cruelty is the point,” I always think they’re missing the deeper explanation, brilliantly and famously summarized by Frank Wilhoit:

    “Conservatism consists of exactly one proposition, to wit: There must be in-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect.”

    However, in the case of DeSantis, I really do think the cruelty is the point.

  • [Disco version of the Star Trek theme music.]

    Wow! Two years before Meco’s chart-topping disco Star Wars. 1975 Charles Randolph Grean – Star Trek

  • [Niece’s birthday.]

    When my mom reached an age
    Equal to yours
    It was weirdly the same
    As the year-before’s

    The next year’s age
    Was the same again
    Until even her kids
    She was younger than

    The math disagreed
    But ’til the day she died
    None can deny she
    Stayed twenty-nine inside.

    Happy birthday McKenna! Stay young at heart and say thbptttttttt to math.

  • [Friend posts a photo of a giant spider spotted right before bedtime.]

    At least you know that when you trap it and dispose of it, there are definitely no others anywhere.

  • [In 2010 I said I’d “let you know how well [a friend’s ‘Have an awesome week chant’] works,” but never did.]

    Facebook just reminded me about this post “on this day 13 years ago,” and I see that I failed to follow up and let you know how that week went. With Gmail and Google Calendar to help jog my memory I can report that your chant and handwave worked:

    • We had a delightful visit with our old next-door neighbors who were back in town after moving away to Seattle.
    • We took our kids, then 8 and 6, to a “Grease Sing-along” at the Sony Metreon, having forgotten how age-inappropriate much of that film was for them. Plus they didn’t know the songs, so we left in the middle.
    • Netflix sent me season 1, disc 1 of Breaking Bad.
    • Looks like I dealt with some minor health-insurance reimbursement dispute.
    • Read Ebert’s review of “The Last Airbender” – “an agonizing experience in every category I can think of and others still waiting to be invented” – and shared it on Google Buzz.

    I now very belatedly return the chant and handwave to send awesome mojo in your direction.

  • [In the midst of Elon Musk destroying Twitter, Facebook reminds me that “On this day 12 years ago” I posted, “Hit me up for Google+ invites.”]

    Ironic to be reminded of this now, when for the past few days I’ve been thinking, “Where is Google Buzz when we need it?”

  • My long-lost presidential-politics satire from 2006. Third term’s the charm!

  • [Elon Musk challenges Mark Zuckerberg to a literal dick-measuring contest. Friend writes, “I’m sure we will all learn a lot from that.”]

    We already have.

  • “The endgame is to allow things to drag on until union members start losing their apartments and losing their houses.”

    Translation: “We’re so rich already we can afford to produce nothing new for the better part of a year in order to become richer.” Hollywood Studios’ WGA Strike Endgame Is To Let Writers Go Broke Before Resuming Talks In Fall

  • [Friend posts photo of a sign reading, “Do not secure bikes to feces.”]

    Probably a better theft deterrent than securing them to fences.

  • My favorite Pee-wee Herman moment happened three and a half years ago, at a 35th-anniversary showing of Pee-wee’s Big Adventure in San Antonio, Texas, right before the pandemic lockdown. Paul Reubens emerged after the film to tell stories from its production to a packed auditorium full of cosplaying, prop-carrying, and quote-shouting fans.

    The Texas audience had of course participated enthusiastically at this point in the movie: Pee Wee’s Big Adventure – Deep in the Heart of Texas

    …but Reubens asked us to indulge him and do it once more. He sang out: “The stars at night are big and bright” and the rest of us clapped and sang, “deep in the heart of Texas!” and it gave him the most sublime look of happiness I’ve ever seen on a person’s face.

    • If we want the world to be as much fun without Paul Reubens in it as it was with him, we’ve really got our work cut out. RIP

  • [Accepting an offer of an early-signup code to Bluesky, the new social-media platform.]

    Yes please (he said with trepidation, wondering how long before this new thing too becomes a flaming hellscape).

  • This week: Welcome to Bluesky!
    Me: 😃
    This week: Paul Reubens died, there will be no fun Pee-wee posts.
    Me: 😭

  • ”[A]fter today, every American citizen who cares about the Constitution should affirm, without hesitation, that any form of association with Trump is reprehensible [and] that each of us will draw moral conclusions about anyone who continues to support him”

    I do so affirm.

    This is the case

  • [Photo of a concert-photographer-friend’s camera in pieces.]

    Please tell me that happened during some brain-melting guitar solo, and that smoke first started to issue from your camera.

  • I was today years old when I realized that the BBs in BB guns are called BBs because they’re ball bearings.

  • [Friend discovers a loophole in Netflix’s new password-sharing crackdown: it doesn’t apply to portable devices.]

    All devices are portable if you’re sufficiently motivated.

  • If someone had told twelve-year-old me that some day there would be hundreds of hours of Star Wars content, I would’ve said “Get outta town!” If they had then said that as an adult I would neglect or actively avoid seeing most of those hours I would’ve said “GET OUTTA TOWN!”

    • On second thought, after twelve-year-old me watched the Star Wars Holiday Special, I just might have believed you.

  • [Friend posts photo of a sign in a public restroom: “Only 58% of females and 48% of teenagers wash their hands after using the bathroom.”]

    It strikes me that the Bene Gesserit could use “washes hands after using the restroom?” as a simpler and less cruel test of humanity than the Gom Jabbar.

  • [Friend is learning French via Duolingo.]

    Today everyone is chestnuts! My Favorite Scene In “French Postcards”

  • [Friend reposts comment from Reddit: “Giuliani, once the mayor of 9/11, now the 9/11 of mayors.”]

    A real nightmayor.

  • [Friend asks, “When is it OK to turn without using your turn signal?”]

    Never. Nice try, OFFICER

  • [Friend enjoyed Ken Russell’s film The Boy Friend, which parodies musicals of the 1930s.]

    Sounds a little like the second half of Movie Movie (1978), an affectionate parody of Depression-era double features, with a black-and-white (if you can avoid the colorized Ted Turner travesty) boxing drama followed by a full-color Busby Berkeley-style musical. A minor masterpiece that I highly recommend.

  • [My Congressman calls out Speaker McCarthy for giving in to the “nihilists in his caucus.”]

    It would take only ten moderate Republicans declaring themselves Independent to hand the speakership back to the other side of the aisle, even if only temporarily, robbing both McCarthy and the extremists of their power.

    Could ten such patriots be found?

  • Last time doing this. >snif<

    • And yes, I did upgrade to the 8-discs-at-a-time plan for the final couple of months of Netflix DVDs.

  • [Musician and podcaster John Roderick marvels that It’s A Small World After All is still the most memorable experience at Disneyland (and his 12-year-old daughter agrees).]

    Mary Blair singlehandedly embodied much of the magic of old Disney.

  • Reading Buck Henry’s genius screenplay for the 1972 screwball-comedy classic What’s Up, Doc? is almost as much fun as watching the movie.

    “His expression of disdain turns to one of unctuous servility”

    “Another kiss which turns into something the nature of which I am too modest to describe.”

    “This is called a fight and must be staged with phenomenal ingenuity by a talented young director.”

    • [Friend is taken with the phrase “unctuous servility,” Googles it, find it’s more common than expected.]

      It appears to have waxed and waned over the years. Buck Henry seems to have used it at a local maximum in the early seventies. Google Books Ngram Viewer

  • [Friend discovers a 7-11 blasting symphonic music, presumably to discourage loiterers.]

    The wrong kind of loiterer.

  • Mary Poppins
    Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
    Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

    In each case, the title names a magical or semi-magical character who is the catalyst for some needed change in the life of the protagonist, who is not named in the title.

    This is why Mary Poppins Returns was a mistake, as were the Ferris Bueller knockoffs in the 80’s (the Ferris Bueller TV show – remember that? – and “Parker Lewis Can’t Lose”), and, I predict, the new Timothee Chalamet Wonka movie, no matter how good he is in the role. (Emily Blunt was a pretty great Mary Poppins, I thought, but it didn’t help.)

    The story’s not about them.

    • I’ll be very glad for Timothee Chalamet to prove me wrong.

    • [College-professor friend asks whether that means Cameron Frye is the protagonist of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.]

      Hm, let’s ask ChatGPT:

      While Ferris Bueller is often considered the central character and the one who drives much of the action in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” some viewers and critics argue that Cameron Frye, Ferris’s best friend, could be seen as a co-protagonist or even the character who undergoes the most significant personal growth throughout the film. Cameron is portrayed by actor Alan Ruck.

      Cameron’s character experiences a transformation throughout the course of the movie, and his personal struggles and development are a key element of the story. He starts as a timid and anxious character but gradually gains confidence and confronts his issues, especially his strained relationship with his father.

      So, depending on one’s perspective, both Ferris Bueller and Cameron Frye can be considered central characters with their own character arcs in the film. The film’s narrative focuses on their friendship and their individual experiences during their day off from school.

      [Friend writes, “if a computer says it, it must be true.”]

      You, for one, welcome our new computer overlords.

      [Friend writes, “I’ve already read some of their work in my classes, and to be honest, I’m not impressed.”]

  • An appalling failure of intelligence permits a horrifying terrorist attack. Bringing the perpetrators to justice should involve an intense international police effort, but the wounded nation, unable to moderate its actions, commits itself to a morally unjustifiable war instead, accomplishing little beyond destruction and the radicalization of survivors who were formerly neutral. Meanwhile, autocrats watch with satisfaction as the democratic nation throws its principles to the wind.

    Why does this sound so familiar?

  • If you’re in the window seat in the same airplane row as me, and you pull the shade closed on a clear and gorgeous flying day even when the sun isn’t pouring in, just so you can stare at your phone for the whole flight which you spend the rest of your life doing anyway, know that I will judge you silently but harshly.

    • Especially when our route takes us over the mother-lovin’ Grand Canyon ffs

  • Every year, regular as clockwork, my dad would call me on my birthday to retell the story of the day I was born: it was a crisp and beautiful October morning, the sun shining equally brightly in the clear blue sky and in his heart. Improbably, I’ve always enjoyed weather on my birthday just like what he described from that long-ago day.

    Now it’s my first birthday without my dad, and appropriately, for the first time I can remember, it’s raining.

  • With some musicians, you like a few of their songs a lot, and the others you’re just barely aware of. I’m that way with Jim Croce, and Rapid Roy the Stock Car Boy is one of the ones I never gave much thought to. So can anyone explain why it’s been stuck in my head for days now?

    • He got a tattoo on his arm that say Baby
      He got another one that just say Hey

  • [Physician friend complains about doctors who willingly prescribe antibiotics for patients with colds.]

    “By the time they finish taking this course of antibiotics, their cold will have resolved itself, and they’ll believe my magic pills had something to do with that. Winner: me.”


    “By the time the damage to their gut biome manifests itself, I’ll be long retired. Winner: also me.”

  • There’s only one thing that I’ve done continuously for a longer time than love my sister, and that’s breathe.

    (Not even that, come to think of it. I’ve occasionally held my breath.)

    Happy birthday, Suzanne!

    • That’s a weird digital-red-eye-correction artifact, by the way, not heterochromia.

  • Looks like it’s fifteen years since I joined Facebook. My first “status” post was:

    [Bob Glickstein] is finally succumbing to Facebook’s siren song.

    [A friend] replied:

    Stuff wax in your ears and have Andrea lash you to the mast!

    I answered:

    Wait, who told you how we spend our evenings?

  • [RIP Matthew Perry.]

    Meanwhile, Dick Cheney still walks among us.

  • I am aware that, when I praise the powers of coffee, it is to some extent the coffee itself speaking. But I don’t mind. I am coffee’s willing mouthpiece.

  • [Friend laments all the bad news all the time.]

    I don’t want to downplay the “sea of horrible news” too much, because there is quite a bit of it and some of it is quite horrible indeed. But I do want to remind you that modern media (social and otherwise) has organized itself around keeping us in a continual state of low-level crisis, because it’s the surest way to profit. Which is all you need to realize that things are seldom as bad as the stuff we read makes it seem.

  • [Friend asks me and my high school classmates to “save the date” for our 40-year high school reunion.]

    How is that even… what? I mean…

  • For our anniversary weekend, Andrea and I attended a rare public appearance by Marcia Lucas, ex-wife of George Lucas and groundbreaking film editor. She’s the one who famously saved Star Wars in the edit! She’s also the one who pointed out that Raiders of the Lost Ark needed that final “Buy you a drink?” scene with Indy and Marion outside the government office. (George and Steven Spielberg realizing Marion’s last appearance would otherwise be on the Nazi island: “Ohhhh yeahhhh…”) Marcia was a rare and much-needed woman’s voice in the boys’ club of 1970’s filmmaking. When she and George parted ways, he never made another good movie again.

    Which made it the perfect thing to go do for our anniversary, because just like Marcia once did for George, Andrea makes me much better than I would otherwise be.

  • [Friend’s wife is two-thirds of a century old; secretly asks FB friends to send confusing “congratulations” messages.]

    You are a man after my own heart.

  • [After Rivian accidentally disables cars’ entertainment systems remotely, friend writes, “no modern car is as stable and predictable as a Model T.”]

    This is exactly the sort of thinking that saved the battlestar Galactica from Cylon software exploits.

  • No cheating!

    A. Santa Barbara
    B. Las Vegas
    C. Boston
    D. Scranton
    E. Milwaukee
    F. Baltimore
    G. New Rochelle
    H. West Covina
    I. Cocoa Beach
    J. Columbus
    K. Albuquerque
    L. Minneapolis

    1. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
    2. Ally McBeal
    3. Family Ties
    4. I Dream of Jeannie
    5. The Wire
    6. Psych
    7. The Dick Van Dyke Show
    8. The Office
    9. Breaking Bad
    10. The Mary Tyler Moore Show
    11. Happy Days
    12. CSI: Crime Scene Investigators

    • Zero extra-credit points:

      M. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
      N. WKRP in Cincinnati
      O. Atlanta
      P. Vega$
      Q. Buffalo Bill
      R. Dallas

      13. Las Vegas
      14. Buffalo
      15. Philadelphia
      16. Cincinnati
      17. Dallas
      18. Atlanta

    • Actual extra credit: which of these shows featured a song about the city where it was set (not counting any theme song)?

  • [Re: the CEO of ex-Twitter trying to run the place like owner Elon Musk isn’t an idiotic child]

    Wondering whether we’re seeing Linda Yaccarino carving off pieces of her soul in real time as part of a Faustian bargain, or whether she believes what she’s selling.

    Read Linda Yaccarino’s message to X employees about Elon Musk’s controversial DealBook interview

    • Actually I don’t wonder. If she had any conviction, her memo would have been more convincing.

    • [Friend wonders why anyone still cares.]

      For me, it’s a microcosm of the corrosive effect that the billionaire class has on our entire society. Yaccarino goes through the motions of leading a conventional for-profit media company just as we go through the motions of our democracy, but in both cases the goals are completely subverted by evil idiots with limitless wealth.

  • What do you suppose the odds are of a Trump dictatorship? Not impossible, surely. But very unlikely, right? What with the chaos in the Republican party, and all the indictments, and the disillusionment of many former Trump supporters who had to learn the truth about him the hard way.

    So let’s say you think the odds of a Trump dictatorship are 1%. What should you be doing to make sure that 1% chance doesn’t become reality? Voting next November, of course. Maybe a few campaign donations.

    Now suppose you become convinced that a Trump dictatorship is twice as likely as you believed: 2%. One chance in fifty. By rights you should be doing twice as much to prevent that, right? More donations. Maybe even volunteering for a campaign.

    How much more would you do if you became convinced that a Trump dictatorship is not only possible but probable? Time to start doing that.

    A Trump dictatorship is increasingly inevitable. We should stop pretending.

    • I get it. I’m sick of thinking and talking about this too. But that’s precisely their strategy, and also precisely what people mean when they say things like “democracy is hard” and “the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.”

  • [Friend posts meme about how Jews can deal with Christmas season; e.g. pay for things in “gelt,” complain about a “war against Chanukah,” etc.]

    These are too hostile for my tastes. I prefer the passive-aggressive approach. “I observe the holiday that Jesus observed.”

  • [Friend posts about visiting Iceland.]

    You’re in Vík! Don’t miss Lava Show if you can help it.

    • [Actually their visit was months ago, but we can expect to hear them rave about the place.]

      If you do I will be in danger of confusing you with my wife.

  • [Christmas morning.]

    How is it that it’s Andrea and me who are awake, waiting for the kids to get up?

  • [Friend describes a couple of outrageously unlikely dreams.]

    I didn’t believe you actually had those dreams. I was going to write, “You’re making that up,” but then I realized that if you had had those dreams, that would still be you making that up.

  • [Friend posts screengrab from his Instagram showing a whole bunch of “thirst trap” accounts – all named Chloe – “liking” his post.]

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