Friday, January 31, 2014

Mikki Kendall and SJWs still claim Lennon/Ono racists

Mikki Kendall has naturally not ceased her hatred of white women, because that is who she is, and she gets attention for it from liberal media and praise from fellow Social Justice Warriors.

Here we see the evidence that they still believe John Lennon and Yoko Ono are racists because they pointed out that women are on the lowest rung of any social ladder. That the song was not meant as an attack on black people in any way has been completely, deliberately ignored by SJW because Lennon/Ono used the N word to characterize the position of women.

The idea that the N-word cannot be used in any context (except in hip hop) without being racist is one of the pillars of the SJW movement. That is the same reasoning that is used to ban Mark Twain's "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn."

And it was on the grounds that I defended the Lennon/Ono song as not-racist that Tumblr bully Mikki Kendall and her zombie mob smeared me.

Here is a tweet that Mikki Kendall re-tweeted on January 31.

The song is naturally the fault of white women, as we see thanks to the hashtag #WhiteFeministRants, although Lennon was a white man and Ono is an Asian woman. But Mikki Kendall is a leader of the SJW movement and she has a deranged hatred of white women, so of course...

Here we see Kendall crowing over how she "rattled some cages" with her bigotry-inspired #solidarityisforwhitewomen.

However, she also claims to have done the same thing with #fasttailedgirls and #foodgentrification, and there she is dreaming. Most people don't know what fast tailed girls are, and if they did would hardly be opposed, and as far as food gentrification - it's not a real thing and nobody is defending it. Although Kendall always like to declare there are hordes of enemies at her gate - that way her sycophants give her attention, support and praise.

But as any demagogue knows, nothing works quite as well as pure hatred aimed at a group of people based on some shared characteristic, and Kendall works that with all her might.

Currently Kendall and her gang are running a hashtag #PatriarchyIs, which is sure to be just as ignored as #foodgentrification until they find a way to blame the Patriarchy on white women - or even better, white feminists. They haven't yet, that I've seen, but give them time.

Mark my words, eventually Kendall will be shilling for a right-wing think tank.

Primo rant from Jon Stewart

This is a fine piece of work.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Yellow journalist/Tumblr/Twitter bully Mikki Kendall finally called out by liberal media

Well it looks like there's a new Twitter tag in town - #IStandWithKarnythia - because finally, one liberal media outlet, The Nation has decided that maybe, just maybe, professional hater Mikki Kendall has issues.
Mikki Kendall is unmoved by complaints about the repressive climate online. An Army veteran, graduate student and married mother of two in Chicago, Kendall is both famous and feared in Internet feminist circles. Mother Jones declared her one of the “13 Badass Women of 2013”—along with Wendy Davis and Malala Yousafzai—for her creation of the #solidarityisforwhitewomen hashtag. But as Kendall well knows, many consider her a bully, though few want to say so out loud. “I kind of have a reputation for being mean,” she says.
On the phone, Kendall isn’t mean. She seems warm and engaging, but also obsessed—she talks at length about slights made in the comment threads of blogs more than five years ago. As she sees it, feminist elites have been snubbing women with less power for years, and now that their power is being challenged, they’re crying foul. Their complaints, she argues, are yet another assertion of privilege, since they’re unmindful of how much more flak Kendall and her friends take. 
“If you look at the mentions for me, for @BlackAmazon, for @FeministaJones, for a lot of other black feminists, it’s hard for us to see this other stuff as bullying, I’ll be honest with you,” she says. “Because we are getting so much more than ‘I don’t like your article.’ And we’re getting it all day. I had someone who spent four hours last week dumping porn images into my mentions. I’ve had people send me pictures of lynchings. So then when somebody says, ‘Oh, this article is terrible,’ and a bunch of people talk about how terrible an article was, and you say that’s bullying—I’m going to side-eye your definition of bullying.” 
The problem, as she sees it, lies in mainstream white feminists’ expectations of how they deserve to be treated. “Feminism has a mammy problem, and mammy doesn’t live here anymore,” Kendall says. “I know The Help told you you was smart, you was important, you was special. The Help lied. You’re going to have to deal with anger, you’re going to have to deal with hurt.” And if it all gets to be too much? “Self-care comes into this. Sometimes you have to close the Internet.”

Look at her go - bullies always have a justification for why they are bullies. And notice how much absolute unshakeable contempt she has for white women - suggesting that white feminists are so completely stupid and ignorant that our frame of reference for racism is a recent movie, "The Help."

She just can't hide how much she despises white women even for a moment.

The only power Kendall cares about is her own - attacking feminists has made a nice career for Camille Paglia and Christina Hoff Somers and Katie Roiphe - why shouldn't Kendall try for some of that anti-feminist money, especially when she has the extra angle of attacking white feminists? I would not be at all surprised if Kendall eventually parlays her obsession into a gig at a right-wing think tank.

I was disappointed - although not surprised - that the article doesn't mention Kendall's comrade in bigotry, the Nation's own Aura Bogado.

Kendall isn't only a bully though. She also wrote a piece for Salon in which she implied that a doctor tried to kill her out of anti-abortion fervor on the basis of zero evidence. She's completely unethical and utterly unashamed of her lack of ethics. And for the most part has gotten away with it.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

But on the other side it didn't say nothing - that sign was made for you and me.

I teared up at work this morning when I heard Pete Seeger died. Although more for the beauty of what he stood for rather than for his death - he lived to a ripe old age and died of natural causes. And he lived by his beliefs and got to live long enough to do this:

This performance makes me tear up every time I watch it. There's nothing more ineffably beautiful than Peter Seeger and Bruce Springsteen performing together. And for the inauguration of our first black president yet.

Even though Woody Guthrie wrote this song, it's about Pete Seeger - he lived a truly authentic life.

Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking on freedom highway
Nobody living can make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Downton Abbey Spoofs

This is pretty good - the first number is just OK, but the number with "Thomas" and "O'Brian" is very good indeed, and the recurring joke with Daisy is very good.

This one has famous people in it. I enjoyed the reference to "Larkrise to Candleford" - the actor who plays Bates on Downton had a leading role in it, and the character wasn't all that different from Bates.

Sesame Street's Upside Downton Abbey

P Diddy on Downton Abbey - the funniest one I've seen.

Famous people version Part 2

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The ballad of John and Paul

One facet of the Lennon/McCartney partnership I've always wished I knew more about was their two-week trip to Paris. A relative of Lennon's gave him 100 pounds for his birthday and it must have been burning a hole in his pocket because apparently the Beatles had gigs lined up in the next two weeks and Paul and John just completely blew them off on the spur of the moment.

I pride myself on being pretty well up on Beatles lore but I didn't even know there were photos from the trip, which took place in October 1961.

This might make a good play. According to Lennon the fate of the Beatles was up in the air at this time, which of course would be the dramatic issue of the play.

There are two movies I know of made about the Beatles lives - both focused on John - 1991's The Hours and The Times which I haven't seen and is impossible to find, and 2009's Nowhere Boy which I just bought and about which I will have more to say later. And of course there Backbeat which focused more on the short-lived Stu Sutcliff. I own two signed posters of photos taken by his girlfriend Astrid Kircherr.

Apparently there was a reason for the bowlers - it was their belief that it was easier to get rides while hitch-hiking if you had a gimmick. According to McCartney:
We planned to hitchhike to Spain. I had done a spot of hitchhiking with George and we knew you had to have a gimmick; we had been turned down so often and we'd seen that guys that had a gimmick (like a Union Jack round them) had always got the lifts. So I said to John, 'Let's get a couple of bowler hats.' It was showbiz creeping in. We still had our leather jackets and drainpipes - we were too proud of them not to wear them, in case we met a girl; and if we did meet a girl, off would come the bowlers. But for lifts we would put the bowlers on. Two guys in bowler hats - a lorry would stop! Sense of Humour. This, and the train, is how we got to Paris.
Generally the only time this trip is mentioned is to note that this is when John and Paul had their hair cut in the first incarnation of the "Beatles" style by old Hamburg buddy Jürgen Vollmer.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Hipster Disney Princesses

Friday, January 24, 2014

Recommending Nick

My actor buddy Nick Fondulis asked me for a letter of recommendation yesterday which I was happy to write - he's not only super talented but a consummate professional and just an all-around great guy. And he's getting himself quite a bit of work these days which he well deserves. Just look at him in his reel. You have to love his maniacal laugh in the scene from 30 Rock.

In the picture above we see him in a scene with Dagny Taggart, from the short-lived hospital drama Mercy. It's funny because he's so super-competent as an actor and they had him playing an incompetent young doctor - that was to give Dagny a chance to show off the super-nurse skills she learned on the front lines in Iraq - she never shut up about being on the front lines in Iraq. That's probably what tanked the show.

Anyway, Nick is great and if he isn't a big movie star by the time I finally get around to funding JULIA & BUDDY I'm going to see about casting him as Buddy.

"Would a crazy person laugh like this?"
Nick as Jayden Michael Tyler on 30 Rock

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Another Weather Channel Slide Show

Somebody at the Weather Channel has a pile of vintage photographs from 1850 - 1980 and likes to share them. We saw their beach collection last May and now they are featuring the Vintage Photos of Tourists collection. Unlike the beach collection there are no celebrities in this bunch.

But we do discover that Victorians liked to have fun in the sun at the beach.

Here are some Victorians enjoying the sight of Scottish women boning herring.

Mummy! I want to go to the looooo!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Polar Vortex: Stop making such a big freaking deal!

Meterologist Tom Niziol is not comfortable with the way the term "polar vortex" is being hyped lately:

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

J & J and movies and blogging

I've finally watched Julie & Julia and I quite liked it. True, it wasn't especially dramatic but it was fun to watch - the Julie segments were shot in Long Island City and I recognized some of the sights. Although Julie and her husband move there from Brooklyn because it's so much cheaper in Long Island City - clearly things have changed in LIC since 2002 when the movie is set.

But even better were the Julia segments, most of which are set in Paris in the 1950s, which was absolutely gorgeous. Tres bien.

And I agree with this Slate review which points out:
...the relationship at the heart of this movie—between a female mentor and pupil who never meet but who share a common passion and a drive to reinvent themselves—is one you don't often see depicted in the movies. Julie & Julia makes deboning a duck a feminist act and cooking a great meal a creative triumph. The stakes may not be as high as the kill-or-be-killed suspense of a summer action movie, but the sauces are way tastier.
Actually, has there ever been a movie about a female mentor and a pupil who never meet...? I'm going to hazard a no.

It was also fun to see another blogger depicted on the screen. Julie Powell started her blog in 2002 - I started mine in 2005. Obviously hers led to much greater success than this one... so far. I also agree with the Slate review which noted:
(I know it's supposed to be 2002, but haven't these people ever heard of hit counters?)
Or as we bloggers call them, web analytics.

Powell's story also shows up in the Cracked piece 6 'Based on a True Story' Movies with Unpleasant Epilogues which is fairly depressing but I did enjoy their imaginary sequel graphic.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Social Justice Warriors disagree with Martin Luther King, Jr.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!

As can be seen with hashtags like #SolidarityisforWhiteWomen and #WhiteWomanPrivilege, what Social Justice Warriors do is take legitimate gripes about racism - about people being judged for their color and not for their character and turn it into judging people based on their color.

King would have been appalled by SJWs.

Stupid shit Mikki Kendall says, part 1000

Mikki Kendall must have felt that her fifteen minutes of fame was almost up and so it was time to attack white women again. Although Kendall, while of course promoting the hashtag for all she's worth, says she isn't the one who came up with it. 

Naturally she says @Auragasmic is "speaking from her experiences" which means that if a white woman agrees that white women as a group are guilty of all these sins it must be true!

Maybe Beth of Auragasmic wanted to get in on all that white-woman-hating celebrity that Kendall has been getting for the past several months. There's apparently nothing that leftist media outlets love more than charging white women, as a group, with all the evil on this earth. 

But the real issue is that if you don't agree with Mikki Kendall and the other SJW you are automatically racist. So if you agree with them, maybe they'll forgive you for your congenital racism which is due to your being a white woman.

And you can't hate all white women without relying on the assumption that all white women are rich. Apparently all the white women that Anat Shenker-Osorio and Aura Bogado know are rich. I had no idea that The Nation paid so well. And I wonder if Paul Begala knows that Anat Shenker-Osorio is suffering from the delusion that being rich and exploiting your nanny are characteristic traits of being both white and female.

And if you dare to question one of these bigots they will strike back with their usual sense of proportion and diplomacy:

It looks like the Social Justice Warriors are going to play the role for liberals that the equally extremist, bigoted and hate-deranged Tea Party plays for conservatives.

Either this Social Justice Warrior is scolding ghosts, or she thinks women living right now are guilty of slavery. And she doesn't care if her idiocy hurts "your delicate fee fees."

And Lynx apparently is angry at suffragettes for fighting for the vote. How that prevented WOC from fighting for the "right to be seen as human beings" is a mystery that can only be explained by the deranged hatred of the SJW mind.

And naturally the idiots at Jezebel felt the need to promote another example of moronic SJW bigotry.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

John Hodgman as Ayn Rand - thank you Internet

His accent is more German than Russian. I very much enjoyed the joke about Rearden Metal and Fresca cans.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Would it have killed someone to let me know that Hodgman does an Ayn Rand impersonation in this show?

So sad I missed John Hodgman's I STOLE YOUR DAD. It's running at the Public Theater until Saturday but it's ALL SOLD OUT thanks no doubt to the NYTimes review of the show in which Charles Isherwood reveals that:
Mr. Hodgman strikes out for loopier territory, in an impersonation of Ayn Rand, whom he recalls watching with fascination on the “Phil Donahue Show” (of all things) in the late 1970s.
Stripping down to his underwear (thanks!) to don a hilariously fusty frock, Mr. Hodgman employs a thick pseudo-Russian accent to impersonate Rand in a role she never played, as advice columnist for Parade magazine, the middlebrow Sunday newspaper supplement. In between urging readers to live up to their birthright, the right to be utterly selfish, she makes cranky comments about the difficulty of opening soda cans and the cultural scourge that is Alan Alda. 
Even Mr. Donahue’s wife, Marlo Thomas, must be upbraided for spreading an evil philosophy: that popular self-esteem-boosting children’s album she produced would not be so bad, Rand insists, if only she’d called it “Free to Be ... Only Me.”

I read this a few days ago and thought to myself I must see this. And then I slacked off only to find out that no tickets are available. Dammit Hodgman, now all I have is your New Yorker piece Ask Ayn Rand.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Tracking down Miss Bound

Miss Bound - and if
I'm not mistaken that's
Kathy Spitz and 
Bernadette Matusek 
in the front row 
of little girls, and
Denise Grabowski 
at the top.

I hadn't thought of Miss Bound in years, probably, when I saw her in the first holy communion photo on an old classmate's Facebook page - I posted the photo a week or so ago.

I knew almost nothing about this woman. She was my second grade teacher. And since she was young and not a nun and wore hip 60s style clothing she was easily the coolest teacher at Our Lady of Fatima school. And I was something a teacher's pet in second grade until Miss Bound and I had a falling out...

But it's truly remarkable that I knew so little about her considering how important she was in my life when I was seven. I only knew her first name was Dolores because it was on my second grade report card.

But thanks to the Internet, the world is a strange and tiny place. I knew so little about her - until yesterday. After looking again at the communion picture it occurred to me to see if I could find out whatever happened to her, and within ten minutes I had the outlines of her entire life. It seems that she was a Bensalem local and had always gone by Dori Bound -  which I never realized, but that's because I knew her as "Miss Bound."

She apparently married a Brenenborg, which is how she is listed in Facebook. Yes, I sent her a friend request, although I'm sure she has no idea who I am. She is 68 now, according to this web site which means she was about twenty-two when I knew her. She left Our Lady of Fatima when I was in third or fourth grade but I can't tell if she taught anywhere else. She appears to have lived her entire life in Bucks County PA, and is a member of Our Lady of Grace parish in Penndel, just north of Bensalem.

Apparently she was a clown in the 1990s.

Lately she's been a judge at the Hulmeville Garden Club and won a community pride award.

For some reason she favored me in the early days of second grade. I always got picked to help her erase the blackboard or hand out papers, that kind of thing. I was golden and I knew it. And then one day, I was sitting at my desk doing my school work and I was making noises with my mouth, sort of duck-like noises, just experimenting with the kinds of sounds I could make, as seven-year-olds will, I guess. And Miss Bound said "Nancy, is that you making those noises?" to which I replied "no" because I wasn't aware I was doing it. In a moment I realized I had been making sounds, but by then it was too late. I was no longer golden. She stopped asking me to help her do things after that. I learned a bitter lesson then - life isn't fair.

That's not really true. I learned that lesson in first grade. The first day of school I suddenly realized that unlike the half-day sessions we had in kindergarten, we were required to attend first grade classes all day. "We have to be here all day?" I remarked to a child sitting nearby. "This is like jail!"

"Who said that?" said Sister Martin Joseph*, who, it would turn out, was batshit crazy. I'll never forget the shock of her getting into a fist fight with my classmate John Michelfelder which ended with her swinging the kid by his arms in a circle until John's sister Ellen (they were in the same grade because John had been left back) shrieked at her to stop. Sister Martin Joseph left Fatima soon after that and I heard she washed out of the nunnery too. Although her shenanigans were nothing compared to those of Father Hermley. Hermley didn't teach at Fatima but he was called in to pinch hit to say Mass  occasionally - my father was some kind of mass attendant in those days (I suppose there must be an official term) and he did mass with Hermley on several occasions.

I didn't know Martin Joseph was batshit on the first day of school, of course, but I could sense the threatening tone of her voice. So I said nothing, and instead meditated silently on the prison that is life on earth.

Which is why it was such a relief to get into second grade and find this hip 60s chick would be my teacher instead of a nun. And for a little while, the only time in my school career, I was golden.

*I don't have Martin Joseph's civilian name and so can't find out what she's up to, but she is mentioned in her father's obituary in December 1966.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

What have I been up to these past eight years?

Alison Bechdel dedicated a blog post to random excerpts from her various journals from January 15 since she was 11.

I've never been good at keeping a journal but I've had this web site for just over eight years now (wow!) and have been writing fairly regularly. So let's see what I have for January 15 for all those years:

  • 2006 - In which I scoop the Village Voice. Go me.
  • 2007 - About my play HUCK FINN - this is the essay I included with the program for a production of my adaptation of the Twain novel. I only blogged four times that month.
  • 2008 - I love me some Carl Forsman - this is actually from January 13, I didn't blog January 15. I was pretty busy that month, gearing up for the JANE EYRE production in February. I interviewed Forsman for the NYCPlaywrights web site a couple of years ago.
  • 2009 - Beatles - every now and again I go on a Beatles kick. Almost always cheers me up.
  • 2010 - Hot Man in Regency Period Clothing of the Week - January 15, 2010 edition - that was a nice little project I had going for awhile. I stopped because I eventually ran out of photos - almost all the ones that showed up in net searches were already on my blog.
  • 2011 - Reading at the Dramatists Guild - I actually posted 4 entries on this date, the last of which is the one I linked to. The photo on this post was taken in the Dramatists Guild office. I especially like the photo because I'm standing next to the issue of The Dramatist (yellow cover) that ran my story The Strange Case of EDWARD EINHORN VS. MERGATROYD PRODUCTIONS. The reading was of my play JULIA AND BUDDY, which I still haven't produced (as a full-length play) yet after trying to do so for the past two years. *sigh*
  • 2012 - Things that could have happened 50 years ago, technically... - an interesting blog post making what I still think is an interesting observation - the video performance of the band Walk Off the Earth, and the street art of Joshua Allen Harris both could have happened 50 years ago. All the equipment needed (acoustic guitar, plastic bags and subway vents, respectively) already existed half a century ago. The key missing ingredient, I would maintain, is cheap video equipment and Youtube. I'm really glad the Walk Off the Earth performance is still up and running - one of my favorite video clips of all time.
  • 2013 - Maybe the best New Yorker cartoon of all time - I still think so.
So that's what I've been thinking about on January 15 for the past eight years. Could be worse I suppose.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Is it possible to praise Mac Wellman too highly?

And the answer of course is no. It is absolutely against the code of contemporary theater to say anything bad about Wellman. Here is another ecstatic paen of worship for Mac Wellman.

Meanwhile it seems that The Flea Theater, of which Wellman was a founder (which explains why he was given the job of teaching the worst theater class ever) is doing well these days, thanks in part, by exploiting actors.

The Flea board of directors is full of millionaires. But you can hardly blame them for exploiting young people - it's so easy to do and almost nobody will criticize them for it.

Instead we are expected to bow down and worship them for their generosity in funding the arts.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Mind the jammy dodgers

It's been six and a half years since I've been in Great Britain - I took a week long trip there with my daughter. We spent three days in London and then took the train to Edinburgh for the Fringe Festival.

I've been thinking about it lately because via the BBC America Facebook presence I came upon a web site called Mind the Gap which is for British people living in the United States.

London is gigantic so it's easy to get lost. Everywhere you go is historical for one reason or another, especially where we stayed, in the City of Westminster area not far from Regent's Park, the Sherlock Holmes museum (Baker Street is in Westminster) and as I distinctly remember seeing, this stone relief plaque of Charles Dickens. We were only there three days so we didn't get much of a chance to see anything. We did go to the reproduction of the Globe theater - couldn't miss that. And we had afternoon tea at a posh hotel, although I could not say exactly where it was, at this point. We got around walking and by taking the subway, or officially, the Underground. They also call it the Tube, which I accidentally called the loo, to my daughter's chagrin.

The loo is what they call their bathrooms, which they don't call bathrooms, they call the toilet. Which I never got used to calling the bathroom, it seems so crass. Although as I said, it was only three days.

I did enjoy the English breakfast, although not so much the watery baked beans.

I had no Jammy Dodgers while I was there and apparently the British are nuts for Jammy Dodgers. I think they might be available at Tea and Sympathy shop in Greenwich Village here. I still have the Midsummer Night's Dream teapot I got from there fourteen years ago. I'll have to go back again soon.

Another thing that annoyed my daughter in London was my observation that the loo Tube was crawling with little blond boys who liked to address their mothers as "Mummy" as in "Mummy, I want to have some Jammy Dodgers now, Mummy" in their high-pitched voices with their funny accentuated Ts. When we got off the train I just could not stop myself from imitating them. "Mummy! Mummy!" I'd say "I have to go to the loo now" as my daughter grimaced and accused me of being an embarrassment to her personally as well as the United States of America.

It happened pretty often, too,  because it seemed like every time we took the Tube there was at least one little blond boy, talking to his Mummy. It was freaking uncanny.

Friday, January 10, 2014

A wine recommendation

Although I do love sauvignon blanc I have lately been enjoying pinot noir, and recently discovered a wine from a Chilean grower D. Bosler, called Birdsnest. This reviewer gives the 2008 version an excellent review although I had the 2011. He writes:
Shockingly floral, spiked with ripe strawberries and an oily Viognier-like finish. Carey may have just grimaced—I discover it’s just surprise. She noticed the white wine: “it tastes like it was blended with Champagne.” The palate is distinctly red berry driven and lushly rosy. I remember a Wine Library TV episode where Gary commented on the importance of eating roses from time to time—I thought of that. 
For such an inexpensive Pinot Noir, it does smooth out expertly—it becomes increasingly linear, in a good way, with time. Young and vibrant, a touch of finesse, and a more complete nose than palate. Hints of graham, anise, and muddled spices. Very tasty.
Although the best description comes from the wine bottle:
Exuberant aromas of fresh strawberries, rose petal and spice box. Lush and inviting on the palate with ripe seductive red fruits and smooth tannins. Deliciously smooth Pinot with plenty of length and substance.
What really caught my attention when reading the bottle in a Brooklyn liquor store, where it was sold for $15, was the part about the rose petals. Really? Rose petals? was what I thought, so I bought it because it seemed implausible and I wanted to see if it was just hype.

Which shows how little I know about Pinot Noir because comparing the aroma of a Pinot Noir to rose petals is not at all uncommon.

And sure enough after a few sips I did sense the rose petals. I was impressed. However, the rose petals are delicate, as you might imagine, and if you plan to have a glass from a bottle and save the rest for another day you will be disappointed - the rose petals will have disappeared, although it was still pretty spicy, which is what they mean by "spice box" I assume. So your best bet is to share this D. Bosler Pinot with a friend or two and finish the bottle the same night you open it.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Mikki Kendall, professional hater, complains about haters

The irony never stops. Here's Mikki Kendall, yet again given a soapbox to advance her career of hatred by NPR.

Mikki Kendall had no problem smearing me as a "racist" because I disagreed with her claim that John Lennon and Yoko Ono are racists. I got some nasty messages from her followers including: "good job, stupid white bitch."

Nobody should be threatened with rape or violence of course, but apparently Michel Martin isn't bothered by the viciousness of Mikki Kendall and her bullying, her bigotry against and hatred of white women, and her shockingly unethical brand of journalism, accusing a doctor, with zero evidence except her paranoid suspicions, of wanting her dead for seeking a life-saving abortion.

These people are completely shameless.

So who is Michel Martin and why does she relentlessly promote a professional hater like Mikki Kendall? She appears to be quite the journalist celebrity with an impressive list of credits.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Thank you me from 16 years ago

I was arguing with a proponent of evolutionary psychology (like you do) and I needed to quickly find Marvin Harris's list of bio-psychological constants. I even looked on my own cultural materialism web site, (which sorely needs an upgrade) and for some reason it wasn't there. So I did a Google search on "bio-psychological constants, marvin harris" and what should turn up but my old web site!

I took it down long ago but part of it lives on at, which appears to be a German version of I'm sure glad I put it there back in 1998, guess I knew it would come in handy some day.

I kind of feel like Bill and Ted.

More on the predestination paradox vis-a-vis Bill and Ted.

PS - here's the list of bio-psychological constants:
  1. People need to eat and will generally opt for diets that offer more rather than fewer calories and proteins and other nutrients.
  2. People cannot be totally inactive, but when confronted with a given task, they prefer to carry it out by expending less rather than more energy.
  3. People are highly sexed and generally find reinforcing pleasure from sexual intercourse -- more often from heterosexual intercourse.
  4. People need love and affection in order to feel secure and happy, and other things being equal, they will act to increase the love and affection which others give them.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Well done, Khan Academy

I happened to come across a web site that does a really good job of explaining financial issues, including this discussion of credit default swaps as financial weapons of mass destruction. But there's so much more - check it out.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Fun Home

I took my daughter and her girlfriend to see FUN HOME at the Public Theater. It was really great - it was funny and sad and surprising and really well done. One of the best theatre pieces and the best, bar none, musicals I've ever seen.

We had amazing seats - I didn't realize how good they were when I bought them - right in the front right next to the (small) orchestra. We were so close that at the end, although we wanted to join in the standing ovation, we were afraid to stand because we would have been almost in the faces of the actors taking their bows.

And Joan Rivers was there too - she was in my way when I was trying to exit up the stairs. We had better seats than Joan.

The show closes next week. With any luck it will appear elsewhere, hopefully Broadway, soon.

The version of the bottom panel of this Alison Bechdel comic page from the original comic book version of Fun Home, as well as a version of the caption was projected on the wall at the end of the musical. Yes, I cried at the end.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

A Social Justice Warrior primer

Although my favorite critic of professional bigot Mikki Kendall is What About Our Daughters blogger Gina McCauley I am indebted to Will Shetterly of Social Justice Warriors: Do Not Engage for putting Kendall & company's brand of bigotry in context.

When I first became aware of a faction of Academia who were claiming that the Slutwalk movement was racist because the faction decided to give the word "slut" racial connotations that did not previously exist in the English language, I thought it was the stupidest thing I had ever heard.

Until I heard their followers declaring that John Lennon and Yoko Ono were racists for this feminist song they released in 1971.

It was the Lennon/Ono issue that first brought me in contact with Mikki Kendall and her band of Tumblr sycophants because my disagreement with them resulted in them smearing me by name a few years ago. And then I discovered Kendall was also responsible for yellow journalism and the organized campaign of gender/ethnic bigotry #solidarityisforwhitewomen on Twitter. The campaign so beloved of Salon, Jane, Jezebel, NPR, Al Jazeera, The Guardian and Mother Jones. 

I thought Kendall and the Slutwalk saboteurs were just random dumbasses but thanks to Shetterly, I've learned that in fact there is an organized movement of dumbasses that has taken root in Academia known as Social Justice Warriors. Shetterly is working on a book called Social Mob Justice which focuses on Social Justice Warriors (SJW), especially those he knows from the science fiction community. Shetterly explains what SJW are all about:
This book is about social justice warriors, the angry people who rant and mob online. It’s not about social justice workers like Dom Hélder Câmara who said, “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why are they poor, they call me a Communist.” It’s about the people who believe a righteous cause entitles them to do unto others as they would never want others to do unto them. It’s about the people who have, to use a term loved by warriors, “appropriated” the name of social justice, a concept created in Europe during the social unrest of the 1840s by two Catholic priests, Luigi Taparelli and Antonio Rosmini-Serbati, who wanted to help the poor while preserving the status quo, and which has been adopted by liberal capitalists of many beliefs. 
This book's focus is on a subset of warriors in science fiction fandom. If I ever write about Maoists, McCarthyites, or any group that believes their ends justify their means, I’ll remember fandom’s SJ warriors. 
While claiming to believe in racial diversity, they hounded a Cherokee author from the field. 
While claiming to celebrate strong women, they prevented a woman who was a pioneer in two male fields from being the guest of honor at a feminist sf convention. 
While claiming to believe in protecting women, they exposed a pseudonymous young woman’s legal identity, left a threatening note in her office, contacted her employers to try to get her fired, and google-bombed her online with dozens of blog posts about her to ensure anyone who searches for her name will immediately find their version of her past. 
While claiming to believe in tolerance, they call for boycotts and censorship of people who reject their ideology, even if—or perhaps, especially if—those people also want to make a world where everyone is treated equally.
While I have not suffered the wrath of the social justice warriors anywhere like the people listed here, I got a taste of what Shetterly rightly calls "mobbing." It's so good to find out that there are at least a few people aware of this phenomenon. 

I've been wondering lately if Kendall and her gang have been monitoring Shetterly's site, and sure enough... Shetterly is not shy about pointing out (as has Gina McCauley) that as much as the SJW fancy themselves heroes of the oppressed, in fact they are generally from privileged backgrounds - privileged enough to attend college. 

Turns out they do monitor Shetterly. Kendall is too cowardly to name him by name so instead references him by his initials - but her in-crowd knows who she means. And this Twitter screenshot will help me demonstrate the truth of Shetterly's description of them as "people who believe a righteous cause entitles them to do unto others as they would never want others to do unto them."

Kendall complains that Will Shetterly is "convinced that education = middle or upper class background."

If Mikki Kendall had any problems with some of the outrageous accusations made against the all-purpose white woman scapegoat  created by #solidarityisforwhitewomen I didn't hear about it. I don't remember her speaking out when the contemptible Aura Bogado of The Nation equated being a white woman with being wealthy:

  1. when you build career on the low wage work of immigrant nannies whom you don't pay a living wage or offer benefits

  1. when you tell your already underpaid immigrant nanny to teach your child Spanish--for free.
  1. when your organization offers internships without pay, which means most WOC can't afford to do them

Saturday, January 04, 2014

First holy communion

Here I am on the day of my first holy communion. I'm the girl on the top row, the one of the far-right, ironically. I saw this photo on an old schoolmate's Facebook page. It's amazing how many of the names of the children I can still remember, including Myron Ptasnick, the third boy from the right on the bottom row, who looked like a blond Woody Allen even in second grade, and Beth-Anne Finklestein, the girl on the bottom row far-right. I don't think her family was Catholic, I think they sent her to Our Lady of Fatima because it was the next-best thing to a private school in the area.

The lady on the left in the hat is my second grade teacher, Dolores Bound, who I thought was really cool - she still looks like the mod 60s chick I remember her as.

The tall white-haired priest on the right is the founder of the Our Lady of Fatima parish, Father John Griffin. I believe he was an alcoholic and I remember him getting into a towering red-faced rage during one Friday afternoon Mass - the whole school had a Mass every Friday, because going every Sunday too apparently wasn't enough  - screaming at us children that we weren't saying our prayers loud enough. Because I guess he knew exactly the decibel level required to reach God's ears and we were not hitting it. Ah memories of Catholicism. I was a religious fanatic when I was this age - luckily it wore off in time for adolescence.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Alan Greenspan: only collectivists want consumer protection

I finally got around to reading some of the collection of essays by Ayn Rand and her friends called Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal. The pieces by Rand herself are ridiculously self-referential. She likes to prove her points by quoting from speeches in Atlas Shrugged, and by mentioning John Galt by name as a source as in the essay "Requiem for Man."
I quote John Galt: "You have reached the blind alley of the treason you committed when you agreed..."
I did find one essay by Rand particularly enlightening. There is a segment of right-wingers who consider "Atlas Shrugged" not only a serious socio-political critique on real-world circumstances, they consider "Atlas Shrugged" to be prophetic - there's even a film called "Ayn Rand and the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged."

Well thanks to the essay "Is Atlas Shrugging" it turns out the Ayn Rand herself believed "Atlas Shrugged" was prophetic.
As the title of this discussion indicates, its theme is: the relationship of the events presented in my novel "Atlas Shrugged" to the actual events of today's world.
Or to put the question in a form which has often been addressed to me: "Is "Atlas Shrugged" a prophetic novel - or a historical one?"
The second part of the question seems to answer the first: if some people believe that "Atlas Shrugged" is a historical novel, this means that it was a successful prophecy...
...The book was published in 1957. Since then, I have received many letters and heard many comments which amounted, in essence,  to the following: "When I first read "Atlas Shrugged" I thought you were exaggerating, but then I realized suddenly - while reading the newspapers - that the things going on in the world today are exactly like the things in your book."
And so they are. Only more so.
Later on she says:
The purpose of my discussing this today was, not to boast nor to leave you with the impression that I possess some mystical gift of prophecy, but to demonstrate the exact opposite: that the gift is not mystical. 
But the most significant essay in terms of my play DARK MARKET is Alan Greenspan's essay "The Assault on Integrity" in which he comes out against any and all forms of regulation and consumer protection laws. Because, he claims, real businessmen jealously guard their reputations and that is all that is needed to protect consumers. And we can't have regulations to stop businesses from unsafe practices because that's prior restraint:
Moreover “protective” legislation falls in the category of preventive law. Businessmen are being subjected to governmental coercion prior to the commission of any crime. In a free economy, the government may step up only when a fraud has been perpetrated, or a demonstrable damage has been done to a consumer; in such cases the only protection required is that of criminal law.
Ah yes. Objectivists figure that once the naughty businessman has been caught damaging the consumer in some way (presumably including death) he will be caught and punished and that way we'll all be safe from that

Greenspan specifically mentions the uselessness of regulating the stock market:
 The market value of a brokerage firm is even more tied to its good-will assets. Securities worth hundreds of millions of dollars are traded every day of the telephone. The slightest doubt as to the trustworthiness of a broker’s word or commitment would put him out of business overnight.
Presumably that is the kind of thing Greenspan was talking about in the aftermath of the 2008 meltdown when he said:
“In other words, you found that your view of the world, your ideology, was not right, it was not working,” Mr. Waxman said.
“Absolutely, precisely,” Mr. Greenspan replied. “You know, that’s precisely the reason I was shocked, because I have been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well.”

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Atlas Shrugged humor

With its implausible characters, scenarios and technologies, as well as its portentous humorlessness, Ayn Rand's last work of fiction, "Atlas Shrugged" is the source of inspired parody and all-around jocularity, as is the equally humorless personality of Ayn Rand herself.

I've blogged about these before but I've decided to collect all the Ayn Rand/Atlas Shrugged hilarity into one convenient place.

The one that hits closest to home is MOZART WAS A RED, the one-act farce written by former Rand inner-circle member Murray Rothbard.

The funniest blogger of Atlas Shrugged I've found is Dani Alexis, although she stopped liveblogging the novel right before part 3. With any luck she will find time in the near future to finish the job.

Great Cracked video comparing the cults of Ayn Rand and L. Ron Hubbard.

Also from Cracked - How to Succeed as an Ayn Rand Character - a handy flowchart.

At McSweeney's - Our Daughter Isn't a Selfish Brat, Your Son Just Hasn't Read Atlas Shrugged.

John Hodgman's piece in the New Yorker - Ask Ayn.

John Scalzi's take on Atlas Shrugged - not meant necessarily to be humorous but has some funny lines.

Uncyclopedia's entry on John Galt will make you LOL.

Ayn Rand's The Lord of the Rings at Slacktory.

Atlas Shrugged: Who is John Galt's Chiropractor? at The Awl.

Caigoy Shrugs - a multi-part review of Atlas Shrugged.

Atlas Slugged Again - the sequel to Atlas Shrugged.

Bill Maher on libertarians and Ayn Rand - video clip from Maher's Real Time.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Arthur Conan Doyle: how I came to have psychic experiences.

Truly amazing that this video exists. In other Doyle news, it appears that Sherlock Holmes is for the most part in the public domain.


Caption on black:
William Fox has the honor to present the world famous author and scientist Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is famous the world over for his Sherlock Holmes stories. He has devoted the past 40 years to spiritualistic study and is one of the leading advocates of the existence of spirit life and communication with the beyond. 
[Outside a country cottage Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his dog walk into the shot, Doyle says to the dog "good old boy then" and sits down on a wooden chair, removes his hat and puts it on a table along with a book. A caption reads "Summer 1927" Doyle speaks with a distinct Scottish brogue.] 
Let's see now, I've got to speak one or two words just to try my voice I understand.  
[cut to middle close-up of Doyle] 
There are two things that people always want to ask me. One of them is how I ever came to write the Sherlock Holmes stories, and the other is about how I came to have psychic experiences and to take so much interest in that question. 
Well first of all, about the Sherlock Holmes stories. They came about in this way: I was quite a young doctor at the time and I had of course of scientific training, and I used to occasionally read detective stories, it often annoyed me how in the old-fashioned detective story the detective always seemed to get at his results either by some sort of lucky chance or fluke, or else it was quite unexplained how he got there. He got there but he never gave an explanation how. Now that didn't seem to me quite playing the game. It seemed to me that he's bound to give his reasons why he came to his conclusions. 
But when I began thinking about this I began to think of turning scientific methods, as it were, onto the work of detection. And I used, as a student to have an old professor his name was Bell, who was extraordinarily quick at deductive work. He would look at the patient, he would hardly allow the patient to open his mouth but he would make his diagnosis of the disease, also very often of the patient's nationality and occupation and other points, entirely by his power of observation. So naturally I thought to myself, "well if a scientific man like Bell was to come into the detective business, he wouldn't do these things by chance, he'd get the thing by building it up, scientifically."  
So, having once conceived that line of thought, you can well imagine that I had as it were, a new idea of the detective and one which it interested me to work out. I thought of a hundred little dodges, as you may say, a hundred little touches by which he could build up his conclusions and then I began to write stories on those lines. At first I think they attracted very little attention, but after a time when I began the short adventures one after the other coming out month after month in the Strand magazine, people began to recognize that it was different from the old detective, that there was something there which was new, they began to buy the magazine and uh, it uh prospered and so I may say did I, we both came along together. And from that time Sherlock Holmes fairly took root. I've written a good deal more about him than I ever intended to do but my hand has been forced by kind friends who continually wanted to know more, and so it is that this monstrous growth has come out of what was really a comparatively small seed. 
But the curious thing is how many people around the world are perfectly convinced that he is a living human being. I get letters addressed to him, I get letters asking for his autograph, I get letters addressed to his rather stupid friend, Watson, I've even had ladies writing to say that they'd be very glad to act as his housekeeper. One of them when she'd heard that he'd turned to the occupation of keeping bees wrote saying that she was an expert at segregating the queen, whatever that may mean, and that she was evidently pre-destined to be the housekeeper of Sherlock Holmes.   
I don't know that there's anything more that I can say with advantage, about him, but on the other point which is to me of course a very much more serious one, on the question of my taking up this psychic matter. Curiously enough my first experiences in that direction were just about the time when Sherlock Holmes was being built up in my mind. That would be about the year 1886 and 1887. So nobody can say that I've formed my opinions on psychic matters very hastily, it was just 41 years now since I wrote a signed article upon the subject which appeared in a magazine called Light so that I put myself on record. 
During these 41 years I never lost any opportunity of reading and studying and of experimenting on this matter. 
[Cut to close up.] 
People ask me will I write any more Sherlock Holmes stories, I certainly don't think it's at all probable. As I grow older the psychic subject always grows in intensity and one becomes more earnest upon it. And I should think that my few remaining years will probably be devoted much more in that direction than in the direction of literature. None the less of course I haven't abandoned writing, one has to earn one's living, but my principle thoughts are that I should extend if I can that knowledge which I have on psychic matters and spread it as far as I can to those who have been less fortunate. 
[Cut to mid close-up] 
Don't for one moment suppose that I am taking it upon myself to say that I am the inventor of spiritualism, or that I am even the principle exponent of it. There are many great mediums, many great psychical researchers, investigators of all sorts, all that I can do is to be a gramophone on the subject. To go about, to meet people face to face, to try and make them understand that this thing is not the foolish thing which is so often represented but that it really is the great philosophy and as I think the basis of all religious improvement in the future of the human race. I suppose I've sat with more mediums good, and bad, and indifferent than perhaps any living being. Anyhow, a larger variety because I've traveled so much all over the world and wherever I've gone, either in Australia, America, or South Africa, the best and the worst that can be had in that direction was put at my disposal. Therefore when people come along and contradict me, who've had no experience at all, read little and perhaps never been to a seance you can imagine that I don't take their opposition very seriously. When I talk on this subject I'm not talking about what I believe, I'm not talking about what I think, I'm talking about what I know. There's an enormous difference, believe me, between believing a thing and knowing a thing, and talking about things that I've handled, that I've seen, that I've heard with my own ears. And always mind you in the presence of witnesses,  I never risk hallucinations. I usually in most of my experiments have had six, eight or ten witnesses, all of whom have seen and heard the same things that I have done.  
Gradually I became more and more convinced on the matter as I studied year in, year out, but it was only in the time of the War, when all these splendid young fellows were disappearing from our view, when the whole world was saying, "what's become of them, where are they, what are they doing now? Have they dissipated into nothing, or are they still the grand fellas that we used to know?" It was only at that time that I realized the overpowering importance to the human race of knowing more about this matter.
Then it was that I flung myself more earnestly into it and that I felt the highest purpose that I could possibly devote the remainder of my life to, was trying to bring across to other people, something of that knowledge and assurance which I had acquired myself. Certainly the results have justified me. I am quite sure I could fill a room of my house with the letters that I have received from people, telling me of the consolation which my writings on this subject, and my lectures on this subject, have given to them. How they have once more heard the sound of a vanished voice and felt the touch of the vanished hand.
[Cut to original wide shot of cottage. Doyle collects his hat and book, pats his dog and walks out of camera range.
Well, good-bye.
Doyle so unshakably believed in the supernatural that Harry Houdini could not convince him that his "magic" was simply illusions - which ended their friendship. Doyle also notoriously believed in the Cottingley fairies, which look ridiculously fake to me and which were eventually confessed to be a hoax.

Yes, the creator of Sherlock Holmes thought this photo was believable.
As ridiculous and empirically wrong as Doyle's beliefs were, it's impossible not to feel sympathy for him. The video clip makes it clear that Doyle turned to spiritualism out of grief - he specifically mentions young men killed during World War I, and he lost his own son, who died as an indirect result of being wounded in action.

At the end of the clip, Doyle mentions what really matters to him - that his research into spiritualism has brought consolation to people, who were led to believe that their loved ones had not "dissipated into nothing." And Doyle is undeniably right when he discovers "the overpowering importance to the human race of knowing more about this matter."