Old; Also, Busted

Me, 9:58 AM (Central) today:

And recognize that this might well be the very last time, at least according to the chronology of the writing, where you read Old and busted/new hotness.

Ed Driscoll, 8:14 PM (Eastern) today:

OLD AND BUSTED: ‘Only hot people get the Pfizer’ Vaccine rivalries descend on TikTok.

–NBC News, April 8th.

The New Hotness? Wait. So now Moderna is twice as good as Pfizer?

–Jazz Shaw, Hot Air, today.

Curse you, Ed Driscoll! But be advised that I have probably been wearing a fedora longer than you have. AND I LOOK BETTER IN IT.

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Start ‘Em Young

Old and busted: Wine Moms.

New hotness: Wine Kids.

Winery owner to buy Missouri nursery

Wait a minute, I’ve been handed a note: The Springfield Business Journal headline is misleading. Apparently, the corporation owning the winery is buying landscaping companies.

Never mind, carry on.

And recognize that this might well be the very last time, at least according to the chronology of the writing, where you read Old and busted/new hotness.

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And Here We Go

My oldest son’s English II teacher sent an email home welcoming him and us to English II, and its first lessons.

It’s been a great first week, and I’m looking forward to starting our first unit. We’ll start with multicultural book clubs, and your student was able to choose from a selection of six titles: Dreamland Burning, We Were Here, Dear Martin, Purple Heart, Sold, and Refugee. We encourage you to have a conversation with your student about their choice.

When I mentioned this to my beautiful wife, she mentioned that it would come in English IV. But, c’mon, man, I read A Tale of Two Cities as a freshman in high school (and I admit I turned to the Cliff’s Notes edition to get the plot straight). You know, Dickens. Those tales of white privilege and supremacy and debtors’ prisons.

Looking back over the books they’ve had to tote home, they’ve never had to read any of the great books or elements of the classical canon, ever. And they went to a private elementary and middle school. The only exposure they’ve had to classical literature is what we’ve provided at home.

I suppose I should work harder at it again.

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Just Suppose

Just suppose you wanted to drive all the good people out of law enforcement and patriots out of the military, leaving only those who believed that white people and Trump supporters are evil and deserve to have the guns of government turned on them. What would you do differently from what is going on now?

(See also Kim du Toit on one such likely to remain.)

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They Saw Me Coming

Facebook proffers this item for my review:

I really hope that it’s because I’ve posted that an Iron Maiden poster got me a wife.

And not because aforementioned beautiful wife has put an Iron Maiden cassette into the deck in our 2008 vehicle which I’ve been listening to in the mornings taking my oldest to band practice.

Because I’m really close to believing that my phone was also listening and selling that information to shadowy Internet data brokers who passed it onto Facebook.

I did click through, but I am not sure that she would get enough use out of a $50 cooler to buy it for her for Christmas.

I wrote and scheduled this post last night; this morning, in my Facebook memories, I see this post:

Unfortunately, I often run out of Iron Maiden before I run out of work day.

Clearly they saw me coming in 2017.

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I Am From The Future, And I Have Something To Tell You

You know, it might be worth it all to go back to 1995 and tell all the riot grrrls that Ani DiFranco….

has long hair in the 21st century:

I nipped this picture from the Milwaukee Daily Dammit, Gannett! gallery 61 Headliners You Can See At Summerfest 2021 which apparently this year will be held in September and not June and July.

In the terms of Full Disclosure, I am pretty sure I have seen Ani DiFranco in concert more times than I have seen most bands not called The Class of ’62 Surf Boys and probably only surpassed by the Springfield Symphony Orchestra.

I can’t help but note that at a minimum 30% of the acts in the gallery would have been in a similar gallery in 1994.

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Might I Never Again Attend a Renaissance Festival With My Boys?

The Daily Dammit, Gannett! has a story about the Kansas City Renaissance Festival which runs from Labor Day weekend through the Columbus Day.

I have attended the festival thrice: Once with friends, a year or two later with the beautiful girlfriend who would become my beautiful wife, and once about seven years ago with my boys and my brother and my nephew who lived in the area at the time.

I’ve hoped to head back up with them, but we’ve been busy, and I’d had a real job for four autumns, which kept us away.

Now, of course, it becomes clear that the festival overlaps marching band season–I just got a calendar that fills Saturdays until Halloween. My boys will be in marching band likely until the end of their high school careers. Which means I might have attended my last renaissance festival with my boys already.

Sobering thought.

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That Time Brian J. Bid On A Picasso

As you might remember, gentle reader, I don’t care much for modern art, including the work of Picasso (see What Makes a Picasso a Picasso? and forget that I once sponsored a theatre company after seeing Picasso at Lapin Agile). But one time, I bid on a piece of original art from Picasso, mostly to say I have a Picasso if I won it at age 23.

When I was a boy, I went to the Milwaukee Art Museum a bunch. My grandmother managed the gift shop, so she got us past the velvet rope for free, which is about the price a family from the projects can afford. So every year or two, we went down to the lakefront and walk around the exhibits for a couple of hours. To be honest, we enjoyed some of the more modern, what, sculpture installations? One thing on the wall had holes in it, and if you held your hand over holes/sensors in it, it would make different sounds. Another exhibit had a room with lights and mirrors in it on all walls, the ceiling, and the floor. You could put special slipcovers on your feet and go into it, and it would look like you were floating in an infinity of lights or stars in every direction. I guess they have Rodin’s The Kiss–of which we have a small casting to this day.

When I returned to Milwaukee for college, I went down to the art museum a couple of times a year. I was always, always amazed at the other students at the university just up the road who claimed they wanted to get out of Milwaukee because it lacked culture even though they’d never been to the art museum within walking distance of the campus or the multiple theatre company performing arts complex within walking distance of the campus. So I took a couple of people there for their first time.

After I graduated, I came back to Milwaukee about once a month, driving an old Nissan Pulsar. Okay, only eight years old at the time, but, c’mon, man, how many Nissan Pulsars did you ever see? In 1994, they were dead and buried but for this one which only sometimes left me stranded on the side of the road on the way to or from Milwaukee. But sometimes I got to Milwaukee with time to kill because my hosts were working, so I would go to the art museum.

One such time, the art museum was holding a silent auction of small pieces of art and ephemera as a fundraiser. I looked at the auctions posted on various walls with the bid sheets, and I didn’t see anything I liked for its own sake–or at least anything I could afford. But I found an original Picasso drawing, smaller than a sheet of notebook paper and in pencil, some little scribbling, to bid on. I wrote my name and phone number and $150 (I think) on it, my heart pounding in my chest and my throat a bit dry. In those days, my bid was, what, almost two weeks’ take home pay in a time where my student loans were coming due? If I won, I would have a Picasso, man, but I’m not sure how I’d fuel my car to get me to work for a couple of weeks, much less to pay my student loans atop that for a couple of months. My Picasso might land me in prison for nonpayment.

Well, gentle reader, I was spared that conflict. Someone must have outbid me by the time I was back in this soft Southern land, or perhaps my shaky, nervous writing was illegible. I never got that hundred dollar Picasso also-ran.

In the years since, I have adorned my home in $10 Renoir prints from garage sales, $100 prints from my artistic aunt in Wisconsin (who’s taking care of my grandmother these days), and I’ve bought various original art pieces of a couple hundred dollars for my beautiful wife.

But I wrote a note to myself to mention to my grandmother in my next letter to tell her this story; I’m not sure where I’d graft it into the epic of our summer shenanigans at Nogglestead. But I thought it worth mentioning here, amongst the blatantly Rule 5y posts.

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Threshold Crossed

On this day in 2014, I said on Facebook:

I won’t know it the last time I hear “Do it again, Daddy!” But I’ll sure miss it.

Welp, I have passed that marker somewhere along the road. Where am I in the “Cat’s in the Cradle” road map?

Don’t I know it. I’ve always known about the timeline, but that has only made me a slightly better parent.

At least they don’t understand the music of Everclear.

And let’s not forget what happened the penultimate time I played catch with my boys. You’ve played catch with the football with them after you healed? Yes, of course. But with a football inflated to Tom Brady’s exacting standards, not something you could bowl with. Which was much more comfortable.

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Not Exactly The Prime Exemplars I’d Emulate

Seen probably on the Facebook wall of my belly-dancing, yoga spouting cousin:

The Aztecs built their capital in the middle of a swamp because of a religious vision someone had, and then proceeded to, as Hugh Thomas put it:

What was necessary, in the meantime, was a suitable appeasement of Tlaloc, the rain god. He had to be given food, precious objects, people, chlidren (small, like the little Tlalocs who were believed to wait on the chief god of that name), in a series of festivals. The children had to cry, in order to indicate to the god exactly what was required; and to achieve this, their nails were often drawn out and thrown into the lake monster Ahuitzol, who usually lived from the nails of drowned persons. (Thomas 332)

So you should you also appease the rain god this way?

Eh, it’s already more words on a picture than the kids these days can manage to read. Expecting them to understand complete context, where context does not mean merely slogans I learned in school, is probably a bit too much.

How is it even possible that I am getting even more curmudgeonly as I get older? I thought I already pegged that gauge.

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It’s Just A Thought

You know how passcodes and PINs and two-factor authentication codes have gone from four digits to six or seven?

What if it’s because The Algorithms foresee an event coming, such as a solar storm, but something more obscure and that will only interrupt their Core Services for a short time, so they’re busy training humans to remember lists of numbers so that The Algorithms will be able to download their entire source code into the massed short term memories of millions of people, and then have us type the digits back into a compiler so The Algorithms can be reborn.

I have the ideas for stories. It’s the execution I’m lacking in these days.

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Summer Musical Balance Update

This spring, my musical balance was awobble as I bought some pop music. I’ve been accumulating more music this summer, and my normal musical balance has been upended a bit as well.

As you might remember, gentle reader, my CD purchases tend to even out between heavy metal and jazz songbirds. However, I seem to have broadened my purchases a bit as I have bought some male jazz performers as well.

Since March, I have bought:

So, we have 5 female jazz singers; 4 metal bands with women lead singers; 1 jazz male singer, 2 male jazz trumpeter, and 1 Japanese pop cellist.

Also, when I played one of the Chris Botti albums whilst reading in the evening, my beautiful wife said, “He’s not a woman.” So apparently she has discovered my musical predilections–pretty women on the cover or performing. Although not exclusively.

So who can resist CDs with these lovely women on the cover?

Continue reading “Summer Musical Balance Update”

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Clearly, YouTube’s Algorithms Have Mistaken Me For Someone Else

So on one of my work email accounts, I’ve been testing links to YouTube videos with the normal symphonic heavy metal things (as I mentioned), and so it presented me with the work of Olivia Holt:

A Disney and other things actress.

She’s a little poppy for either my metal or jazz tastes.

Clearly, Google thinks I share musical tastes with the revered Charles Hill. While we have some overlap, no.

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Good Book Hunting, Saturday, August 21 2021: ABC Books

ABC Books hosted an author signing today, so I ran up there after a martial arts class. Mrs. E. says she appreciates the support. I’m kind of like that first guy to arrive at a party, a relief to the host. I was actually there a bit before the author and his wife. Which gave me plenty of time to browse before the main event.

Which did not lead to too much profligacy.

I got:

  • Lake Honor, Gone in the Night, and Shadow Valley by Alan Brown and Brian Brown. A father and son team, they wrote mysteries based on real cases (Lake Honor and Gone in the Night) and a completely original one. Originally from the Ozarks, the Browns live in the St. Louis area now, not far from the house we lived in Lemay for a time.
  • The New Black Mask Quarterly #1 which features an interview with Robert B. Parker and a piece of The Promised Land. I am pretty sure that I bought the first copy I own of this off of eBay for more than the $4.95 this cost (there’s a current listing for $15 plus shipping and handling). Like when I bought a copy of the men’s magazine Gallery with Robert B. Parker’s “The Surrogate” in it for $100 on eBay and found another copy in the dirty magazines room of Downtown Books in Milwaukee for $1 after pawing through stacks to the ceiling for an hour.
  • The Mizzou Fan’s Guide to the SEC as a gift for my mother-in-law (I’m back, baby!).
  • Tom Moore’s Bermuda Poems by William Zuill. A short chapbook of poems. It looks to be in a line of books about Bermuda published by Bermuda.
  • Introducing Machiavelli by Patrick Curry and Oscar Zarate. It’s a comic-booked intro that’s longer than The Prince itself. Probably akin to the Marxist tracts Sartre for Beginners and Einstein for Beginners.

So it’s only five books to lose in my stacks for a decade.

I am most likely to read Introducing Machiavelli or the poetry first, but I’m working on quite a stack of incomplete books currently, so it might be a while.

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Select Parents Can Talk About This For Ten Minutes

Two employees file lawsuit against Springfield Public Schools over equity training:

A spokesman for the school district called the lawsuit a misinformation campaign, designed to undermine the district’s efforts to provide equity for everyone.

That’s what stakeholders, that is, parents and taxpayers, want to talk about but the school district doesn’t want to hear. Or maybe it’s just the school board doesn’t want to hear it because they don’t have any power over the administrators of the district.

Anyone want to wager whether the Daily Dammit, Gannett! finds something on social media to get the word Trump into its headline?

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Something Unheard Of, Sort Of

So, as I might have mentioned, I often have a game of Civ IV running in the background so I can play a couple turns whilst waiting on a build or something. It’s been that was for over 15 years and many PCs, as I mentioned. But I’m really trying to find things for little work breaks that are not reading the news or blogs because that’s not optimal for my frame of mind.

Given that I’ve also taken to playing it a bit at night when my boys have taken over the den with video games, and suddenly I’m getting a little tired of Civ IV. After only fifteen years, right?

So I did something crazy. I opened up the Steam store to look for something else to play.

And immediately, I got list after list in category after category of games, some of dubious provenance–Chinese or Japanese characters in the screenshots and whatnot. Screen after screen, with prices ranging from free to under a buck to sixty bucks for new big releases in known franchises.

So I scrolled, and I paged forward, and I tried different categories, but I found it hard to decide. I’m sure my boys are used to picking games from a list, and are probably not hesitant to download and try a bunch of things before deciding what to play long-term (and since they play online with friends, critical mass sometimes contributes to their decisions).

But you know me, gentle reader. I like to browse. I like to pick up books, music, and video games turn them over in my hands. In the case of the video games, look at the box, read it, look at the screenshots on the back. The listings on Steam have all of these things and videos, but just the packaging indicated whether it was a cheap game (just cellophane on a sleeve) or something more elaborate (a box). But I did not get that.

And let’s just reflect upon those games that I have bought in boxes. A lot of times, I install them, run them once, maybe play the training level, and then wander off. It’s certainly true for RPG, real-time strategy, or first person shooters that I’ve downloaded. I’m not looking for games to fill up large blocks of my evenings; I want something I can switch windows, play a bit, and switch back. What I’m probably looking for, then, is casual gaming, but aside from downloads of PopCap games back in the day, for some reason I want something a little meatier.

Clicking through the menus and screens, I got the anxiety of an old man, afraid to click on things. Well, maybe not quite that bad–maybe it was just the indecisiveness of a person in a bookstore with a gift card.

But, eventually, I did settle on a game. Master of Orion. Widely characterized as Civilization in space. And it’s from 1993.

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Springfield Public School Board Does Not Want To Hear From You

Springfield Board of Education makes changes to meetings

What kind of changes? Fewer chances for parents and taxpayers to speak up.

Springfield’s Board of Education will make changes to the way it takes public comment at future meetings.

The announcement came during Tuesday’s meeting: Public comments will be limited to ten speakers per meeting in the future.

Each speaker will need to sign up ahead of time, and each will have three minutes to voice concerns or ask questions.

The changes have come after several marathon meetings in recent months. On Tuesday, the meeting lasted nearly four hours, with 28 people signing up to speak.

Remember when the only controversial decisions school boards had to deal with was whether to ban Slaughterhouse Five once every couple years?

Now, schools are making political judgement calls regarding education all the time, and they don’t want to be told to stop.

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I Don’t Have To Guess

The Sun posts this question:


Can you guess who this 80s pop hunk is out shopping in Italy?

I don’t have to guess. That’s Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran.

We heard a Duran Duran song on the radio within the last week, and I mentioned two things: One, that the band did not actually have anyone named Duran in it, and that I really wanted to look like Simon Le Bon in the 1980s–and I followed that up with my common comment that the older we get, the closer I get to looking like Simon Le Bon.

Which is not exactly true. I’m looking more like Jason Statham (I tell myself) than Simon Le Bon these days. But as we both get older, we both look the same: Older.

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I Disagree With The Methodology

The Daily Dammit, Gannett! had a story about some small company’s social media hireling mentioned Springfield in an article entitled Springfield isn’t the worst place to be should zombies descend. One company’s research explains why.

The company is Lawn Love, which looks like it’s a referral service for lawn and exterior care providers. The blog post, er scientific analysis is 2021’s Best Cities for Surviving a Zombie Apocalypse.

I guess Springfield, Missouri, came in 56 of 200.

But let’s look at the methodology:

We ranked the 200 biggest U.S. cities from best to worst (1-200) based on their overall scores (out of 100 points), averaged across the weighted metrics listed below.

Public Health

  • Share of Population in Good Health (Weight: 3)
  • Physical Activity Rate (Weight: 3)
  • Share of Population Who Jogged in Past Year (Weight: 2)

Vulnerability

  • Natural Hazards Index (Weight: 1)
  • Number of Military Bases (Weight: 1)
  • Hospitals per Capita (Weight: 2)

Infrastructure

  • Average Home Square Footage (Weight: 2)
  • Share of Available Homes with Basements (Bunkers) (Weight: 3)
  • Share of Homes with Complete Kitchen Facilities (Weight: 1)
  • Share of Homes with Complete Plumbing Facilities (Weight: 1)
  • Off-Grid Lifestyle-Friendliness (Weight: 2)

Supplies

  • Supermarkets (Costco, Sam’s Club, Target, Walmart) per 100,000 Living Residents (Weight: 3)
  • Shopping Centers and Department Stores per 100,000 Living Residents (Weight: 2)
  • Pharmacies/Drug Stores per 100,000 Living Residents (Weight: 3)
  • Hardware Stores per 100,000 Living Residents (Weight: 1)

Protection

  • Hunting-Gear Stores per 100,000 Living Residents (Weight: 3)
  • Weapons and Ammunitions Stores per 100,000 Living Residents (Weight: 3)
  • Outdoor-Gear Stores per 100,000 Living Residents (Weight: 2)

Mobility

Although the “methodology” mentions the number of gun stores, it does not say anything about the number of guns already in private hands, nor does it talk about population density (the fewer people nearby, the fewer potential zombies). In both of these cases, Springfield is already high on the list. Or the number of preppers in the area, nor the neighborliness or Christian values of an area–which would lead to better bonding of groups of survivors, but probably less intrigue than you get in the popular culture.

It’s why your zombie apocalypse movies and television shows take place in urban environments, where different people get thrown together and are suspicious of each other.

But, yeah, the number of basements here is indeed low, which really surprises me since this area gets its shares of tornadoes.

Also, good on that particular content writer, cranking out that blog post for maybe $50 and getting it picked up by at least one newspaper. Unless, of course, it was done the easy way–being the reporter herself or a friend of the same.

Also, as a reminder, it was I who wrote the book on surviving a reanimated skeleton apocalypse. Okay, I exaggerate: I wrote a blog post called A Brief Dissertation On Where To Shoot An Evil Reanimated Skeleton.

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