The Pithy Wisdom of Stephen Crowley

Stephen Crowley is a product designer who maintains @ShitUserStory, my favorite new Twitter account1 (via Deepu). He also maintains a Medium blog with gems like these:

Lovely stuff.

  1. Given the amount of rage I’ve had with awful product design and really, really shitty websites of late. The madness doesn’t stop with the web. On $250 Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones, which are comfortable and have lovely sound and the best active noise-canceling I’ve ever experienced, opting to “Disable Voice Guidance” still means that the nice lady inside your headphones will tell you when you dis/connect to your Bluetooth device. You gotta toggle a feature in the app to prevent iTunes from launching every time it pairs with your Mac (the Sony folk think this “feature” is “unfortunate” so there’s that at least.) Your headphones can just choose to turn off the moment you turn them on unless you update the firmware. Would you like to share your location? Do you want the Sony app to send you notifications? We’ll need the last four digits of your SSN so we can create a tailor-made listening profile for you. Is that OK? ↩︎

The Lighthouse (2019) IMDb A

"Robert Pattinson said to me before agreeing to this, ‘I don’t want to make a movie about a magical lighthouse. I want to make a movie about a fucking crazy person.’”

Jess Joho, “What the hell did ‘The Lighthouse’ even mean?”, Mashable

Saw with LD. Noir, Jung, myth and mythology, Proteus, Prometheus, masculinity, sexuality, very large phallus, isolation, identity, lobster dinners, psychosis, mermaids, flatulence, alcoholism, omens, portents, songs, odes, the-father-is-the-son-is-the-father, Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

“Every Frame a Painting” and it somehow manages to be quite funny at times. Oh and this (emphasis mine):

Underneath the jargon and flatulence, the film is mostly concerned with identity.

Vinnie Mancuso, “‘The Lighthouse’ Ending Feeds Myth and Symbolism to the Birds”, Collider

Bravo!

On ‘Deliberate’ Genocide in the Americas by CommodoreCoCo

Responding to this chilling comment:

You are failing to understand genocide itself. INTENT, is the word, DELIBERATION. Deliberation to destroy an ethnic group. There was NEVER a deliberate attempt to destroy native culture in the Americas. In fact, you have laws since the 1512 protecting their rights and equalising them to Iberian Crown subjects, “Las Leyes de Burgos”.

Because, you see, unintentional genocide is A-OK.

Aaron Rodgers

The sentiment inside The Orange Sphere of Shit, by this genius (who is treating himself with Ivermectin.)

Aaron Rodgers by Ben Garrison

QL made some observations:

  1. This is an incomplete pass.
  2. It’s probably unsportsmanlike conduct penalty
  3. It’s at least intentional grounding.
  4. It does no good, only hurts the rest of the team.
  5. The vaxxed player would be wearing a cup (you know, because they’re actually protected).
  6. What makes it “accurate” is that the whole point is to hurt another person.

That’ll show 'em.

Eliminating Distractions with MS-DOS

The Dune screenplay was written on MS-DOS on a program app called “Movie Master”. It has a 40 page limit which helps the writer, Eric Roth.

Writing is fundamentally about putting your ass in the chair and typing the words. Eliminating distractions (I’ve checked Twitter at least five times while writing this short blog) is a key to success. Nothing eliminates distractions like a stripped down simple program with no internet access. Roth also said the 40 page limit helps him structure his screenplays.“I like it because it makes acts,” he said. “I realize if I hadn’t said it in 40 pages I’m starting to get in trouble.”

Matthew Gault, “The ‘Dune’ Screenplay Was Written in MS-DOS”, Vice

“It wasn’t brains that got me here I can assure you of that.”

I cannot help rewatch this powerful scene from “Margin Call”. A masterclass in acting by the great Jeremy Irons.

Every sentence, glance, and gesture projects complete and menacing presence, power, and finality, and is done to absolute perfection 👌

Telugu Script Components

Telugu is a phonetic language, written from left to right, with each character representing generally a syllable. There are 52 letters in the Telugu alphabet: 16 Achchulu which denote basic vowel sounds, 36 Hallulu which represent consonants. In addition to these 52 letters, there are several semi-vowel symbols, called Maatralu, which are used in conjunction with Hallulu and, half consonants, called Voththulu, to form clusters of consonants.

Improved Symbol Segmentation for TELUGU Optical Character Recognition

The Iyers, The Iyengars, The Lowells, The Cabots, and God

This is the city of Madras
The home of the curry and the dal
Where Iyers speak only to Iyengars
And Iyengars speak only to God.

I’d read this years ago some place and forgot where. Thought it would be in some Religious Studies textbook back from when I was (briefly) a Religious Studies major. Nope! It was the great Paul Erdős!

Erdős said he’d modelled it after this ditty about the privileged New England families famously known as the ‘Boston Brahmins’.

This is good old Boston
The home of the bean and the cod
Where the Lowells speak to the Cabots
And the Cabots speak only to God.

From Vijaysree Venkataraman’s article.

The Chess Set

The Chess Sets used at the World Chess Championships cost $350 (plus $700 if you want the electronic piece tracking), are likely out of stock if you’d like one, take a lot of training and practice to make, are woodworked in Amritsar, India, and were designed by Daniel Weil, a former partner at Pentagram.

About half the set’s value lies with the most difficult piece to make: the Knight ♘

Chess set designed by Michael Weil

Here’s Design Week on their conception. More on this Business Insider video.

Norm MacDonald at Iowa

Battling cancer for 9 years without telling anyone is the most Norm Macdonald shit ever.

Anthony Jeselnik

I had no idea that he performed at the Hancher Auditorium at The University of Iowa in 1997 and mortified most of a crowd of 1,200 excited kids and their parents who’d come to see him, Darrell Hammond, and Jim Breuer at the height of their SNL fame. The 250 or so who’d remained appear to have had a fantastic time:

"When Norm took the stage he immediately launched into a bit that was intentionally supposed to be offensive to most of the audience. As it went on, people got up and left in large numbers. Each time a new group would leave, he would make a remark like, ‘Did you think I was going to do airline jokes?’ or ‘Did you think I was going to hold up a picture of the Ayatollah and make a joke?’ Then he would double down on the dirty material to see how many more people he could drive out. It was clearly a game to see if he could empty out the place and after some time probably over two-thirds of the crowd had left.

[…] "Whoever booked the show comes in the green room all sweaty with his tie askew. He looked like he had seen a ghost. He says ‘You gotta go get him.’ Me, pull Norm off the stage? I’m not getting him. Breuer was laughing. He says, ‘I’m not getting him.’

"Me [Hammond] and Breuer knew something special was happening. He and I got chairs and sat on the side of the stage where nobody could see us. It was one of the most-brilliant shows I’ve ever seen.

"Anybody who thought Norm would change his act was sorely mistaken. Norm just didn’t care.

“He’s revered in the comedians’ world. He doesn’t bother with pretenses or correctness. He’s probably the original politically incorrect comedian. It’s not for a shock factor. It’s just who he is.”

Mike Hlas, “The night Norm Macdonald mortified the University of Iowa”, The Gazette (cached)

Here’s The Des Moines Register’s report:

Report on Norm MacDonald's performance at the University of Iowa in The Des Moines Register

Here’s Jim Breuer on the incident:

On Luxury

Danny Pudi keeping it real.

“Uh… a luxury you can’t live without.”
“A luxury I can’t live without… Coffee. I really like it.”
“Luxury… you can get it anywhere.”
“Ah I guess, yeah. Like good coffee…”
“I love coffee too.”
“I like nice socks.”
“Socks. Your socks you would put in your shoes.”
“Yeah. I really love them. I like kind of like you know, cozy feet.”
“You’re attracted to your socks.”
“I’m attracted to really nice running socks. Like I’m always looking for good running…”
“That’s not a luxury, though. Coffee and socks are not a luxury all.”
“Alright give me a luxury. What luxury should I have?”
“Private plane.”
“Larry. I’m on Duck Tales.”

Mersal (2017) IMDb C

Saw with NN. At least twice as long as it needs to be. Didn’t care about the score. It’s three hours of Vijay doing Vijay things with gusto. Spoiler: I understand that mass Indian entertainers, particularly the South Indian ones, have a tenuous relationship with reality. But we are to be OK with two siblings, born five years apart, looking like facsimiles of each other. They didn’t even bother shaving the mustache of the younger bro. Come the fuck on.

Candyman (2021) IMDb B+

Saw with BE and NN. Eh. Clear messages about creatives’ struggles and temptations, and the importance of continuing to tell past and present stories of horrific pain and suffering.

I suppose I just lazily wanted to watch a well-made scary movie without actively engaging with it, without searching for the clever and occasionally deep symbolism that has come to characterize a movie with Jordan Peele’s name on it. It was adequately scary.

The title of Anthony’s piece [“Say His Name”] also is recognizable as a play on the Say Her Name slogan meant to memorialize victims of anti-Black violence and police brutality such as Breonna Taylor and Sandra Bland. The recognition of that inference is the only point of connection to it.

Beyond that, little about the plot makes a statement about over-policing or the socio-economic violence that gentrification creates by destroying and displacing low-income communities. Its characters blithely discuss these concerns over drinks or Brianna’s well-appointed living room, but only as part of a litany of urban ills. The sequences are the film’s ways of throwing a message that’s on-brand for 2021 behind a horror movie meant to speak to an audience that supports protests against racial injustice and biased policing in principle without having any actual skin in the game.

To those impacted in a real way by these issues or savvy enough to recognize when they’re being used as mechanisms to impart a sense of relevance, they come across as didactic nonsense. All that noise strangles the twin melodies that make up the Candyman character’s siren song: seduction and legacy.

Melanie McFarland, “No sweets for the sweet in new “Candyman,” which neglects the legend’s seductively scary legacy”, Salon

Speaking of these “twin melodies”: I haven’t seen the 1992 original and it’s on my list. Didn’t know that Philip Glass did the score for the movie.

An Annoyed, Shivering, Nude Woman with Large Lapis Lazuli Glasses

Carved by someone in Ancient Egypt between 3700–3500 BCE.

Bone figure of a woman c. 3700–3500

[…] most of them represent nude females with their feminine attributes emphasised by carving and careful drilling. With their slim figures, narrow waists and full hips they present an ideal of the female body that will change little over the course of Ancient Egyptian civilization. Their enduring concept of beauty also included a full head of hair (the bald ones may have had wigs) as well as large and alluring eyes.

Google Arts and Culture

On Spite

In his book Dying of Whiteness, Metzl told of the case of a forty-one-year-old white taxi driver who was suffering from an inflamed liver that threatened the man’s life. Because the Tennessee legislature had neither taken up the Affordable Care Act nor expanded Medicaid coverage, the man was not able to get the expensive, lifesaving treatment that would have been available to him had he lived just across the border in Kentucky. As he approached death, he stood by the conviction that he did not want the government involved. “No way I want my tax dollars paying for Mexicans or welfare queens,” the man told Metzl. “Ain’t no way I would ever support Obamacare or sign up for it. I would rather die.” And sadly, so he would.

Isabel Wilkerson, “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents

Now,

You might wish to let that simmer for a few minutes. With his health as shaky as a Jenga tower, with his very life ebbing away, Trevor’s greater concern – his greater fear – was of undeserving “Mexicans or welfare queens” benefiting from his taxes, however much that might be on the wages of a used-to-be cab driver eking out his last days in a low-income housing facility.

If that’s sad and ridiculous – and it is both – it is also predictable. From the beginning, white fear has been a great, unspoken driver of this nation’s sins against difference. So Trevor is just a link in an unbroken line that binds Lincoln fretting about retribution from newly freed slaves, to Roosevelt worrying about treachery from Americans of Japanese heritage, to Trump seeing terrorism in brown-skinned toddlers on the southern border.

Decade after decade, election after election, so much of the white conservative appeal is an implicit promise to defend whiteness from blacks and browns. Metzl argues that white people themselves have borne and are bearing a terrific cost for this “defense,” that they are, in effect, killing themselves.

Leonard Pitts, “Dying of Whiteness

Paraphrasing a comment I read on Instagram: “You will let your Orange Highness shit on your head if it means that the liberal standing next to you has to smell it.”

A Hundred Humans

Allysson Lucca is a Brazilian designer who took this original list (cached) of what the world would look like with a 1,000 people and shrank it to a hundred.

The idea of reducing the world’s population to a community of only 100 people is very useful and important. It makes us easily understand the differences in the world. There are many types of reports that use the Earth’s population reduced to 100 people, especially in the Internet. Ideas like this should be more often shared, especially nowadays when the world seems to be in need of dialogue and understanding among different cultures, in a way that it has never been before.

Transcribed from the graphic:

  • 50 men, 50 women
  • 61 Asians, 14 Africans, 14 People from the Americas, 11 Europeans
  • 33 Christians, 22 Muslims, 14 Hindus, 7 buddhists, 12 People who practice other religions, and 12 people not aligned with a religion
  • Only 7 would have a college degree
  • 51 would live in urban areas
  • 14 people live with some disability
  • 15 would be undernourished
  • 37 of the community’s population still lack access to adequate sanitation
  • The village military expenditure is $1.7 trillion and only $18 billion in humanitarian assistance
  • 20 people own 75% of the village income
  • 30 would be active internet users
  • 48 would love on less than $2 per day and 80 on less than $10 a day

Afghanistan

  • 47,245 Civilians Killed
  • 2,442 US Troops Killed
  • 20,666 US Troops Wounded
  • 66,000 - 69,000 Afghan Troops Killed
  • $2.26 Trillion Taxpayer Dollars

Via NPR. And then:

Just days before, Pardis had confided to his friend that he was receiving death threats from the Taliban, who had discovered he had worked as a translator for the United States Army for 16 months during the 20-year-long conflict.

“They were telling him you are a spy for the Americans, you are the eyes of the Americans and you are infidel, and we will kill you and your family,” his friend and co-worker Abdulhaq Ayoubi told CNN.

As he approached the checkpoint, Pardis put his foot on the accelerator to speed through. He was not seen alive again.

Afghan interpreter for US Army was beheaded by Taliban. Others fear they will be hunted down too”, CNN

What a nightmare, twenty years on. And it’s not like the powers that be didn’t know what they were getting into. Heck, here’s a scene from Rambo (via WN)

Whence “Gubernatorial”?

I’m put off by the word “gubernatorial” whenever I see it. Seems very silly, saccharine, like something a 5-year old mispronounced in 1953 that just stuck because it was so cute 🙄

Nope.

“Because, if you go back to where this word came from, in the original Latin, it’s from the verb, gubernare and gubernator, one who governs,” [Lisa McLendon, professor, University of Kansas School of Journalism] says.

Then, “governor, with the ‘v,’ came into English from French in about the 14th century,” she says. "French had taken the Latin and they swapped the ‘b’ for a ‘v.’ "

English speakers went back to the “b” about 400 years later, but just for gubernatorial. And, there’s the split.

Where Does The Term ‘Gubernatorial’ Come From?, NPR