A Fremen Mama

Well not really. I was immediately reminded of (a) where I grew up and (b) Dune when I saw this photo of a Bedouin mother and her child.

A photo of a bedouin woman and her baby by Ilo Battigelli
“Bedouin Mother”, Ilo Battigelli, 1948 (Source Unknown)

Intense and so beautiful. It was composed by this chap called Ilo Battigelli (1922-2009, RIP) who worked for Aramco’s oil refineries in Saudi Arabia until the mid-50s. The locals took to calling him “Ilo the Pirate” because he had his studio at a beach 🏴‍☠️. He appears to have had a long and lovely career as a photographer after leaving the Persian Gulf. You can read a little more about him here.

I was able to find this colorized version by Lorenzo Folli (Instagram).

A colorized photo of a bedouin woman and her baby by Lorenzo Folli
© Lorenzo Folli

Stunning stuff. Folli appears to be quite a master at colorizing history. Two quick favorites are this picture of a young Van Gogh (never saw this bro sans beard!) and Victoria with Abdul the Munshi.


© Lorenzo Folli


© Lorenzo Folli

On The People Who, Like, Truly Love The United States and Would Like to Restore it to it’s Former Glory

Just as terror, even in its pre-total, merely tyrannical form ruins all relationships between men, so the self-compulsion of ideological thinking ruins all relationships with reality. The preparation has succeeded when people have lost contact with their fellow men* as well as the reality around them; for together with these contacts, men lose the capacity of both experience and thought. The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction (i.e., the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (i.e., the standards of thought) no longer exist.

Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism

Here are two meditations in the form of Jordan Klepper’s excellent interactions with the deluded. I just wish that every supporter were as candid as the woman Jordan spoke to in this first one (starting 00:40) without resorting to shameless and awkward sophistry and whataboutism.

This is a fucking clown.

The most pathetic position, however, is one where you will readily admit to all of your Orange Leader’s “cruelties, collusions, corruptions, and crimes” but sigh and support the thrice-indicted buffoon’s second go at authoritarianism (with or without issuing a weak “both sides”). Consider this solemn Solomon from my home state:

It’s either malice or delusion. Either way, the Truth does not matter when they’re hurting the right people.

Letting the Cat Out of the Bag

From the United Automobile Worker magazine, 1937:

“What did you tell that man just now?”
“I told him to hurry.”
“What right do you have to tell him to hurry?”
“I pay him to hurry.”
“How much do you pay him?”
“Four dollars a day.”
“Where do you get the money?”
“I sell products.”
“Who makes the products?”
“He does.”
“How many products does he make in a day?”
“Ten dollars worth.”
“Then, instead of you paying him, he pays you $6 a day to stand around and tell him to hurry.”
“Well, but I own the machines.”
“How did you get the machines?”
“Sold products and bought them.”
“Who made the products?”
“Shut up. He might hear you.”

Sky Force: Reloaded

I installed this game in May 2018 and finally beat it seven years later in June 2023. I wish I could somehow figure out the amount of time I’ve spent trying to beat this exquisitely-made scrolling shooter, for it would be the amount of time I’ve spent on planes, in Ubers, sick and bedridden, or just a little bored, which is mostly when I’d play it. Here’s what it looks like.

It’s fine on a phone (even on an iPhone Mini) but I loved beating some harder levels and modes on my giant iPad. It’s free but I paid to remove the ads and nothing else.

On vacation in North Carolina, my brother-in-law started playing this arcade game called 1944: The Loop Master which looked uncannily like Sky Force: Reloaded.

The Loop Master is, in turn, a sequel to 19XX: The War Against Destiny, which looks like if you applied an 8-bit filter to Sky Force: Reloaded and kept the WWII aesthetic of the boss monsters the same but modernized the player’s aircraft. Here’s a complete playthrough:

I tried to find out why it had a “Reloaded” in the names. It’s based on an older game, simply called Sky Force. I look forward to referencing this post in 2030 🕹️

A 1st Century Villa in Positano

When I was about 13 or so, I was blown away when I learned that ancient Greek and Roman statues used to be painted (paywalled; cached PDF) and were not commissioned to be ghostly-white. An all-time favorite is this Greek sculpture of a Persian archer.

Greek sculpture of a Persian Archer
Source: “We know Greek statues weren’t white. Now you can see them in color”, NPR

I tremendously enjoy any recreations of color in the ancient world. I find it an absolutely lovely feeling to imagine what life must have been like back then. So when I found this mostly intact home from first century Pompeii, I was tickled pink 🥰

Photograph of a first century villa in Positano 1

Photograph of a first century villa in Positano 2

Photograph of a first century villa in Positano 3

Photograph of a first century villa in Positano 4

Photograph of a first century villa in Positano 5

Simply astounding. I got those from Le Sireneuse Journal1. There’s a nice story of its discovery and a lot more detail on their site but the TL;DR is: Built around 1AD, belonged to a rich family (of course), was buried 36ft under a street for a while because of Vesuvius’ eruption, was discovered by a butcher who was digging out a cellar. Was looted.

I hope to visit one day 🤞

  1. The website is pretty but swallows the scrollbar hijacks the browser’s scroll behaviour to add a maddening level of inertial scroll. It would be nice if people just did normal web things. ↩︎

Asteroid City (2023) IMDb C-

Tidy, as usual when it comes to his movies, but total rubbish. I imagine that I would get this shit if I guided ChatGPT to generate a parody of Wes Anderson’s most indulgent excesses. Meat for the most hardcore of his fans and a (meticulous) waste of the sheer amount of talent involved. How this has a 75% on RottenTomatoes is beyond me.

In his review for Vulture, Bilge Ebiri remarked, “To the casual observer, Wes Anderson might seem like someone who either refuses to read his own press or has bought into his press to an absurd degree”, alluding to criticism of Anderson’s filmmaking style, but later argued, “There’s a point to all this indulgence. Anderson’s obsessively constructed dioramas explore the very human need to organize, quantify, and control our lives in the face of the unexpected and the uncertain […] Asteroid City might be the purest expression of this dynamic because it’s about the unknown in all its forms.”[

Wikipedia

We share a truly exceptional ability as a species to breathe meaning into random, awful things and events.

I plan on absolving Mr. Anderson by watching The Grand Budapest Hotel soon, for what may be the tenth time. I consider it his finest work and love getting lost in it, something his ego made impossible to do with this garbage1.

  1. Which I only finished because I started. ↩︎

Cowsay! 🐮

I love me my cowsay. It’s a lovely amusement that greets me every time I open a terminal session.

Example of cowsay in action

People typically use it with the fortune command but my cow moos a random developer excuse. I generate that using this bash function and this invocation:

command -v cowsay >/dev/null 2>&1 && {
    # shellcheck source=/dev/null
    random_excuse | cowsay -s
    echo ""
}

I was looking for more cowsay templates and found this giant list. You’d use echo "Moomoo" | cowsay -f some_template.cow. If you need color, there’s Charc0al’s list which doubles as a converter in case you want to use your own images. Since I don’t trust things on the internet to continue to be where they are, I saved that repo here.

Sears Homes

Sears, the department store, sold DIY homes via catalog for 32 years between 1908 and 1940 through a program called Sears Modern Homes. They offered 447 different housing styles which you can see here.

The designs were not ‘remarkable’ in any way: Sears themselves admit that they were “not an innovative home designer”. These were just some popular styles at the times they were offered.

However, as a customer, you would have enjoyed a lot of agency in either customizing a home you picked as a starting point from the catalog, or submitting your own custom, crazy blueprint to Sears. Prices ranged from $600 - $6,000 ($18,620 - $186,200 in today’s money). You could get a 5-15 year loan at 6-7% interest.

Your “assembly required” home would have been dispatched to you via railroad boxcar. Your delivery would’ve had around 30,000 (or more) parts of all sorts: wiring, plumbing, bricks, mortar, lumber, staircases, nails, paint, varnish, and so on. To raise this barn, you would’ve either enlisted your family and friends’ help or contracted out the work to a local handyperson.

The most expensive home was an Honor Bilt and looked like this:

Sears estimate that they sold between 70,000 to 75,000 homes over thirty-two years. It is hard to estimate the number of these homes that are still standing for various reasons. For one, Sears’ own records of which homes were sold to whom were inexplicably destroyed during an enthusiastic “corporate house cleaning”. For another, Sears allowed homebuyers a generous amount of customization. Finally, the passage of time that naturally changes a home complicates its identification and authentication.

I was interested in what one of these dwellings looked like on the inside and found this media of a design called the Martha Washington. One was listed in February 2016 in DC for a million dollars.

Sources

Men of Value by Robert Mitchell More Pasta

I have never given Jeff Bezos a moment’s thought before this week. I am always interested in extraordinary achievement and often admire it. I am fascinated by what extraordinary achievers understand, and how evolved they are as people.

Looking at him in his astronaut costume, and his cowboy hat, and his omega speedmaster moon watch, coming out of his penis craft, being greeted by his ling cod lipped girlfriend, dripping in oversized diamonds, I saw a man completely without a sense of irony. Not a man aware that he had been entrusted with the greatest fortune in human history to benefit all of humanity, but a small narcissistic buffoon, unaware that the universe is 10,000,000,000 light years wide and he had just spent $5,000,000,000 to fly sixty miles through it, so the whole world could look at him at once and see what a truly small man he is, and hear his Kermit the Frog voice declare that his big plan is to pollute space.

K&R is the One True Indentation Style

Via Wikipedia. I am “not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke” the genesis of other styles. “Haskell Style” has to be a joke (like this masterpiece) and I just pray I don’t encounter it in the wild1 🙏

// Allman
while (x === y)
{
  func1();
  func2();
}

// Horstmann
while (x === y)
{ func1();
  func2();
}

// Kernighan & Ritchie
while (x === y) {
  func1();
  func2();
}

// GNU
while (x === y)
  {
    func1();
    func2();
  }

// Haskell style
while (x === y)
  { func1()
  ; func2()
  ;
  }

// Ratliff style
while (x === y) {
  func1();
  func2();
  }

// Whitesmiths
while (x === y)
  {
  func1();
  func2();
  }

// Lisp style
while (x === y)
  { func1();
    func2(); }

See also: “Vertical Hanging Indent” is the One True Indentation Style

  1. Update: Not exactly HS but good grief. ↩︎

Samsaram (1988) IMDb D

Forgettable. Watched because it was directed by Relangi and I thought I’d enjoy some old-school comedy. Didn’t even deliver on dysfunctional family drama :/

Diatoms

They look like priceless brooches and are tremendously important to our planet.

A photo of diatoms through a microscope

Emphases mine:

Living diatoms make up a significant portion of the Earth’s biomass: they generate about 20 to 50 percent of the oxygen produced on the planet each year, take in over 6.7 billion metric tons of silicon each year from the waters in which they live, and constitute nearly half of the organic material found in the oceans. The shells of dead diatoms can reach as much as a half-mile (800 m) deep on the ocean floor, and the entire Amazon basin is fertilized annually by 27 million tons of diatom shell dust transported by transatlantic winds from the African Sahara, much of it from the Bodélé Depression, which was once made up of a system of fresh-water lakes.

Wikipedia

Solace (2015) IMDb C-

Decent background-watch. Whoever did the ‘visions’ knocked it out of the park. A waste of Anthony Hopkins and Colin Farrell, who play clairvoyants whose powers wax and wane in service of the utterly predictable plot. Like Next1 but slightly better.

  1. Which is a fantastic fucking movie if you love Mr. Cage as sincerely and as much as I do. ↩︎

On Knowing Everything When One is Young

When he was young he had prided himself on being clever. Walking down the street, not even thinking anything, just walking along like every other moron, he’d had a distinct sense of how clever he was. He’d never done anything with that cleverness except write stupid articles and make occasionally clever remarks, most of them not even clever. He just felt clever, and it was a good feeling, feeling clever. Now he felt, with equal conviction (and rather more evidence), that he was entering the stupid years. The stupid years complemented the vague years. They went together. The vague years and the stupid years were the same years and they had already started. Well, bring them on. Forgetting everyone’s names - as those adverts in the newspapers were always reminding you - was embarrassing, but apart from that, being stupid was fine, like a premonition of enlightenment.

Geoff Dyer, Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi: A Novel

On Mullets

People ask me why in 2023 I’m still rocking a mullet. Easy answer. Without the lettuce I’m just a guy that says dumb shit all the time. When I say dumb shit with the mullet, it’s like my face is saying one thing out front, and my mullet is apologizing out back. My mullet is “Dumb shit out front, I’m sorry but I grew up in Oklahoma out back” Getting mad at something someone said with a mullet is like getting mad at a person with no arms for not waving at you at the mall.

Fake Quote by Mike Gundy

Dennis Miller: Fake News, Real Jokes (2018) IMDb C+

Miller claims that he has ‘problems’ with his Orange Overlord. This was filmed in 2018 and there were many, many ‘problems’ with the administration he must have been aware of. The only filthiness he addresses is his non-chalant and charitable admission that separating children from their families might be wrong1. Everything else is lazy pabulum for the most ardent of Combover Caligula’s fans. The cruelty is the point, etc.

But what Miller loves more than his fondness for Mango Mussolini’s ‘outer voice being the same as his inner voice’2 is the fact that the Urinal Cake really winds up liberals. That’s it. There is no more nuance here. The sadistic glee of watching reasonable people lose their minds over a wannabe authoritarian and his sycophants fucking over Constitutional, democratic ideals and hurting immigrants and the marginalized is good American (Christian) fun!

  1. Before whining about Mexico and how it could have stepped up to prevent the abject cruelty of the practice this side of the border. ↩︎

  2. I am unsure of how this is a virtue. ↩︎

On the Tragedy of systemd

Spent a decent portion of my professional life with init.d. Had to deploy a set of Ubuntu servers last week (use FreeBSD at home), which marked my first actual brush with systemd after a long while of sysadmin-ing Linux systems. It’s weird, takes some getting used to, and has a lovely Enterprise™ smell to it1, but I don’t think I mind it too much, especially with a nice cheatsheet. Just ergonomics; no comments on its security and stewardship 🤐

I wanted to know more about it’s history and enjoyed this really excellent talk by Benno Rice. Had no idea that its creator received death threats and various other forms of online abuse over an innocuous set of ideas and piece of software. Unbelievable.

Some select quotes from the talk and about systemd:

People have a complicated relationship with change. I like to say that nerds especially have a really complicated relationship with change. We love it to pieces. Change is awesome when we’re the ones doing it.

Benno Rice

The moral isn’t “Don’t use systemd”, the moral is “Write stuff in better languages than C”. rsyslog doesn’t exactly have an enviable security record either.

@mjg59

and finally,

The moral is “Don’t use systemd. And don’t chain core system functionality to software from teams with a track record of imcompetence.” It’s about better, experienced programmers. Not “better” languages.

@hyc_symas

Word.

  1. I imagine that init.d did too when it was introduced. ↩︎

Poker Face (2012) IMDb B-

Saw with LD. Stylish, great cinematography, good dose of Russell Crowe’s gravitas, and plenty of wealth-porn1 (and gratuitous art history lessons). Huge build-up of suspense (a la “Clue” or “Orient Express”) with a lame resolution towards the end.

Oh and RZA’s in this movie. I continue to be delighted by the random stuff he decides to show up in.

  1. There’s a scene where Russell Crowe opens a case containing at least $2M+ in watches and swaps a Panda Rolex on his wrist for a 5711 (or something like it with a few nice complications). Even though it’s very well-established that our protagonist is a man of means, this scene is absolutely essential to the story being told because… 🤷‍♂️🖕 ↩︎

On Convenience in 2022

Definitely the future of television I had in mind was me having to google every movie I want to watch to see if it’s currently in one of its one-month windows on any of the seven streaming services I pay for. This is way easier than buying a DVD. I love it.

@chasemit

Crinoids!

These are fossilized crinoids found in Western Australia by Tom Kapitany. Crinoids are animals and belong to the phylum Eichinodermata which includes starfish and sea urchins (and they all have “pentameral symmetry”). This is all well and good but these things, in their fossilized state, look like so much like the sentinels from The Matrix I wonder if there was any inspiration here.

Crinoid fossils by Tom Kapitany

Sentinel robots from The Matrix

Here are a few more fossils

Crinoid fossil

Another Crinoid fossil
Source: Fossil Huntress

And their basic anatomy

Crinoid Anatomy

The Mess Britain Is In by Larry the Cat More Pasta

Saving this for a quick TL;DR of the shitshow

For those asking from around the world how Britain has gotten into this mess:

  • The Conservative Party has always been obsessed with Europe
  • This caused divides making the party hard to manage
  • Back in 2015 then Prime Minister David Cameron had an idea
  • He promised a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU if he won the election
  • He won the election
  • The referendum was held; 52% of people voted to leave the EU
  • David Cameron resigned
  • Theresa May became Prime Minister saying that “Brexit means Brexit”
  • It turned out that nobody actually knew what Brexit meant
  • She called an election and lost the majority
  • She couldn’t get the Conservative party to agree on a Brexit deal so she quit
  • Boris Johnson became Prime Minister promising to “Get Brexit done”
  • He called a general election and won a majority
  • The UK left the European Union in January 2020
  • Major Brexit issues remain unresolved and it has negatively impacted the UK economy
  • Boris Johnson was forced to resign in disgrace in July 2022 following a series of scandals
  • Liz Truss was selected to replace Boris Johnson by members of the Conservative Party
  • She announced a raft of unfunded tax cuts to “grow the economy”
  • The economy collapsed
  • She sacked her chancellor
  • She resigned

Fin.

A Terrible Typeface on an Expensive Watch

This is the Patek Philippe 5131. It’s a world timer with a lovely hand-painted cloisonné enamel dial, a marvel of engineering and ingenuity from one of the Holy Trinity of watchmaking that will set you back at least $150,0001.

It also features one of the shittiest choices of typeface I’ve seen on a watch of its calibre.

Patek Philippe 5131

I wonder what the design process was at this august company when it came to this watch’s dial. It would appear that someone at Patek opened up Microsoft Word (at the last minute?) and just fell in love with the majesty that is the SHOUTING VARIANT of Lucida Calligraphy. The overall effect is one where you wonder if you’re looking at a knockoff.

A sample of Lucida Calligraphy in ALL-CAPS

I like to imagine they received feedback about this ‘bold’ choice since here’s the next version, the 5231, on the right (with its ghastly older brother on the left).

Patek Philippe 5131 on the left and 5231 on the right
Source: Revolution Watch

I got that picture from this exhaustive history of Patek’s World Timers. It’s well-researched, has a lot of pictures, and is a good read if you can withstand sentences like this written by the same bro who will definitely not teach you anything about after-dinner drinks.

As if, somehow, by losing myself in the beautifully rendered map of the Americas, Africa and Europe, I could remember how interconnected this world once was and hopefully will be again. So, I began to see my World Timer as a chalice of renewed hope to once more live the glorious opiatic maelstrom of transcontinental travel, even if for the time being this is limited only to my imagination as I write these words.

Cool man.

  1. If you’re new to the world of watches, this is a very reasonable price for a piece like this. Consider this Rafa Nadal-endorsed Richard Mille (RM 27-04) that costs well over $2.5M (here’s why). It is, again, a wonder of mechanical engineering and watchmaking. As far as time-telling goes, this legend that is the Casio F91W ($10 or less) is more accurate (and, I imagine, can withstand “12,000 g’s” while lasting more than a decade on its battery). ↩︎

Telugu Folk at The Movies

A theater-owner on Telugu moviegoers at RRR:

This fucking shit destroyed my theater opening night. The Telugu crowd specifically wrecked out shit. No issues with the Hindi dub or the Tamil dub.

Confetti cannons, spraying soda everywhere, littering in the parking lot, sneaking in more people than there were seats in our biggest auditoriums, screaming and shouting and chanting constantly.

I get the guy is something of a hero. I get you’re excited for your long awaited movie or whatever. Here’s an interesting thought thought: fuck off. :) Just fuck right off. Don’t be an animal and make my and my employees lives worse to have more fun at our expense.

The janitors saw the insane amount of glitter and newspaper shreddings and confetti explosions and said “hm, actually, second thought, fuck this. Nobody gets paid enough for this.” In-between every seat, every chair, in every row and even where there weren’t rows of seats, on every step, even up by the projector window. We’re lucky they didn’t damage the silver screen in any way, tbh, but that’s about it. Took days to fully clean.

Fuck RRR specifically for this reason. I know it’s probably decent, and a few friends watched it on Netflix, but out of sheer principle I just can’t bring myself to watch even a second of it now. There were some fun scenes for sure, but I think I’d much rather watch War or Baahubali 1 and 2 than RRR on account of the bad time everyone but the Telugu crowd had.

With the usual “not all of us” apologies from other Telugu folk of course.

I have never, ever understood this deeply embarrassing behaviour from my people1. At college, I remember watching a Chiranjeevi movie at some small town in Iowa. The poor folk who ran the theater had no idea what they were in for. Moviegoers littered the entire theater with glitter and torn newspaper and didn’t clean up after the show was done. Some set up an unsanctioned tea and snack station for the intermission (these refreshments were, of course, offered at a price). Chanted, chatted loudly, and generally made a nuisance of themselves.

I’ve been offered quite a few reasons as to why Telugu folk do this and they’re all pretty bullshit. I personally refuse to go to the first screening of any Telugu movie in Des Moines in case I have to deal with “passionate” people who don’t seem to understand that they’re rude, ill-mannered, immature, and annoying pieces of shit to everyone else around them.

  1. Those are things I could find in a few seconds for the recent release of a terrible movie. ↩︎

Black Hole by Charles Burns A

'Black Hole' by Charles Burns

About five minutes in, I felt like I was reading a masterpiece even though I know very little about the graphic novel/comic genre. This is some mesmerizing inking (Burns won a lot of “Best Inker” awards for this work). The panels almost look like woodcuts. It’s about teenagers and adolescence and how we see our bodies during those important formative years, as simultaneously beautiful and grotesque. The world of Black Hole is bleak, boring, and pretty horrifying. And we’re talking moody teenagers so you get to witness a lot of terrible decisions, angst, ennui, despair, friendship, love, sex, camaraderie, depression, grief, humor, violence, acceptance, and hope in a very short span of pages. Lots of yonic imagery. The author published this over a ten-year period starting in 1995 and it looks like these are almost exclusively what he worked on during that timespan. Amazing.

Sample panel from the book 1

Sample panel from the book 1

Gargi (2022) IMDb A-

Saw with LD. Very heavy subject matter loosely inspired by harrowing real-life cases and I skipped watching a few scenes. Sai Pallavi was intense and excellent, of course, but we were very impressed with the raw vulnerability and menace Saravanan brought to his character (also called “Saravanan”, lol). Kaali Venkat was great too.

S Sudha deserves a special mention both for her austere performance and who she is:

One of the places where the movie hits it out of the park is the casting of S Sudha, a transgender person, as a transgender judge in the movie. One of the fewest and rarest moments in Tamil cinema in which a transgender woman is shown to be in a position of power and authority. When she asserted her identity and agency in her reply to the misogyny of the Public Prosecutor (Kavithalaya Krishnan), the audience in the Chennai theatre erupted in applause, signaling a positive change in society.

Siddarth Muralidharan, “‘Gargi’ is special for two reasons: It is bankrolled by a woman and led by Sai Pallavi”, The Print

On Morals versus Ethics

What is the difference between ethics and morality? A morality functions according to principle, while an ethics functions according to experimentation. A morality presupposes a discontinuity between principle and action, while an ethics presupposes a continuity of action and character. A morality tells one what one ought to do, while an ethics asks what one might do.

Brent Adkins, Deleuze and Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus: A Critical Introduction and Guide

According to Britannica, most of us tend to use the terms interchangeably, and we tend to associate “ethical” behaviour with professions (like law, medicine, and engineering).

Ethicists today, however, use the terms interchangeably. If they do want to differentiate morality from ethics, the onus is on the ethicist to state the definitions of both terms. Ultimately, the distinction between the two is as substantial as a line drawn in the sand.

The way I understand it is: We mostly agree that gay marriage is ethical. However, it may be immoral to an adherent of a religion that proscribes it (but would they agree that it is ethical?)

On Living

What makes life worth living? No child asks itself that question. To children life is self-evident. Life goes without saying: whether it is good or bad makes no difference. This is because children don’t see the world, don’t observe the world, don’t contemplate the world, but are so deeply immersed in the world that they don’t distinguish between it and their own selves. Not until that happens, until a distance appears between what they are and what the world is, does the question arise: what makes life worth living?

Karl Ove Knausgard, Autumn

On Criminal Nature

The reason republicans get so incredibly huffy when any of the tools of law enforcement are ever turned upon them is they think “criminals” as an inherent class of people (who they of course could never be part of) rather than a descriptor for someone who commits illegal acts.

@opinonhaver

Not too far-fetched an observation. Consider the following:

Under the Banner of Heaven (2022) IMDb B+

Disturbing fictionalization of a real-life tragedy (cached). Based on a book by Jon Krakauer. Andrew Garfield is simply excellent as a devout Mormon, dogged detective, and patriarch (“priesthood holder”) of his family.

Features some quick lessons in the History of the LDS which was not very flattering to the Church. Characters say “I’ve had a revelation” a lot before proceeding to perform all manner of shitty deeds. It’s a meditation over common-sense and rationality, spiritual doubt and loss, and the unbridled power that most religions impress into the hands of men by upholding and sanctifying patriarchy.

It’s all bleak, awful stuff. Moreso when even the heroic Pyre engages in it, which is exactly the point. Under the Banner of Heaven illustrates how no one who grows up in this kind of environment can escape its influences — no matter how kind, progressive, or loving they think they are. That’s why it’s so jarring when Pyre transforms — from the man who says, “I love you,” during every phone call with his wife, Rebecca (Adelaide Clemens); tucks his daughters into bed each night; and gently invites his dementia-addled mother, Josie (Sandra Seacat), on daily walks — into a domineering “priesthood holder.” The decisions he makes as the family’s religious authority are ostensibly to protect his family from the doctrine he’s beginning to interrogate, but he still uses its male-exalting infrastructure to get what he wants.

Roxana Hadadi, “Under the Banner of Heaven Was No Mystery”, Vulture

Each episode would start with one of the beautiful title cards I’ve seen for a show:

Title Card for Under the Banner of Heaven with exquisite typography

They should give this young actor an Emmy for the few minutes she’s on screen 💯

Se7en by David Seidman and Ralph Tedesco A

'Se7en' by David Seidman and Ralph Tedesco

Came recommended by HU. I had to borrow them from PG1. A limited, 7-part comic book series based on one of my favorite movies. Told from the perspective of John Doe and provides his backstory which is about as sad and disturbing as you can imagine it would be. About as gory as the movie itself. Most parts have a different style. Plenty of out-of-context Bible quotes. Just really well-executed.

  1. These are hard to find and expensive: anywhere from $250 on eBay to $350 on Amazon. ↩︎

Shorting Things

You predict (or have insider information) that the price of lawnmowers will fall. The current market price of a lawnmower is $1,000. You go to Eddie’s Lawnmower Rental Company and rent a lawnmower from Eddie for $10 a day. He doesn’t care about you returning the same lawnmower; he just wants you to return a lawnmower (assume that all lawnmowers involved in this story are in great working condition).

You sell this lawnmower to your neighbour for $1,000.

Ten days later, and as you predicted, the price of lawnmowers falls to $500. Now you buy another lawnmower for $500 and return a lawnmower to Eddie. So now you have gained: $1,000 - ($10 x 10 days = $100) - ($500 on the lawnmower you bought) = $400.

Now say you made a bad prediction and the price of lawnmowers went up to $1,500. So now you have lost $1,000 - ($10 x 10 days = $100) - ($1,500 on the lawnmower you bought) = $600.

Theoretically, there is no bottom to your losses. So you have to be very careful when you short things. It’s not for everyone. Stick to Index Funds if you don’t understand what you’re doing.

Finally, here’s some discussion on where the expression ‘going short’ may have come from.

The Very Stable Genius by smiama6 More Pasta

McMaster: called him a dope with the intelligence of a kindergartner

Mattis: called him a 5th grader.

Mnuchin: called him an idiot.

Graham: called him a complete idiot.

Priebus: called him an idiot.

John Kelly: called him a f***ing idiot.

Tillerson: called him a f***ing moron.

Cohn: called him dumb as sh*t.

McRaven: called him the biggest threat to our democracy.

Bannon: called him a f***ing moron.

John Dowd: called him a f****ing liar and too dumb to testify.

Rupert Murdoch: called him a f***ing idiot.

John Bolton: “Trump has the attention span of a fruit fly.

William T. Kelley: (Professor at Penn) called him the dumbest goddamn student he ever had.

Fran Lebowitz (author): “Everyone says he is crazy – which maybe he is – but the scarier thing about him is that he is stupid. You do not know anyone as stupid as Donald Trump. You just don’t.

Tony Schwartz: (the ghostwriter of “The Art of the Deal”) called him a man with a stunning level of superficial knowledge and plain ignorance.

John Kelly: “He is the most flawed person I have ever met in my life.”

Anonymous GOP Congressman in a Safeway Rant: called him an evil, really f***ing stupid Forrest Gump.

Mueller: called him Individual 1

And the rest of the world just laughs at him.