I Do Better Than British Journalists

One of the British tabs had a guessing game headline:

GUESS WHO Hunky actor is unrecognisable after he’s transformed into an OAP for new film

C’mon, man, it’s Benedict Cumberbatch. Even less difficult than guessing Simon LeBon.

And as for a bit of a behind-the-scenes note here at MfBJN: In composing this post, I fact-checked myself and did not publish two things I thought to be true but which are not.

First, I asserted in a throw-away line that Benedict Cumberbatch had two doctorates, one in Who and one in Strange. However, I looked to make sure he did play Doctor Who, but guess what? He’s one of the British actors who appeared in American media around the same time, so I just assume that they all played the new Doctor Who at some point. However, neither he nor Tom Hiddleston actually played Doctor Who, which I shall have to remember to avoid making this mistake, perhaps in haste, in the future.

The second one was that I was going to make light of this other article from The Sun the same day:

SHOVEL WHAMMY Shocking moment driver chases man with a SPADE and smashes his back window after being body slammed in road rage row

I was going to say, Haw, Haw, dumb journalist! That’s not a spade, that’s a shovel! However, apparently in Britain, according to this Web site, and perhaps everywhere in the world except Nogglestead, the spade does not look like the playing card suit with a pointed tip; what we call a spade at Nogglestead is merely a digging shovel, and the spade has a flat edge after all.

So journalists and headline writers in the U.K. might be smarter than me. Or perhaps I need to work in the garden more instead of spending a lot of time writing and researching a blog post to be seen by a handful of people.

But rest assured, I have lairs and lairs of fact checkers.

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Try Again

A local religious university, under pressure from some vocal but numerically small group or another, changed its mascot from the Crusaders

to Valor.

Um, yeah, no. Try again. Maybe the Robins.

Or they could go with Golden Eagles, which is what the university I graduated from changed its mascot to to get out from the naked racism of…

the Warriors.

The countdown begins until some vocal but numerically small group starts saying that valor is a white European thing that offends someone.

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Hopefully This Does Not Catch On

Forget Netflix, some movie fans rewind to VHS tapes:

That hasn’t stopped die-hards. A small community of VHS fanatics has sprung up around the country, trading tapes and tips on how to watch. Much of it is organized around small boxes where people can drop off or pick up tapes. The “Free Blockbuster ” boxes started in Los Angeles and spread. There are VHS tape trading events and auctions.

In the late 1990s, Hollywood studios began selling films on DVDs and VHS rentals lost their grip on home viewings. Blu-ray took over in the early 2000s. By 2010 Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy protection.

Mis. Hum. at the Ace of Spades HQ overnight thread says:

Vinyl went by the wayside, but has made a return.

Lordy, I hope not. I’ve seen what has happened to the price of records in the wild, and now that I’m actively accumulating VHS and DVDs, I’d hate for the prices also to quintuple.

But, wait, the article is actually about a silly Little Free Videocassette Sharing fad:

To try to re-create a bit of the video-store experience, Brian Morrison started Free Blockbuster in 2019. The group turns former newspaper boxes into free little libraries of movies. VHS die-hards hope the effort encourages the exchange of home entertainment with strangers in their neighborhood.

Yeah, never mind. Nothing to worry about yet.

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Yawn. Republicans, Pro-Lifers Are Just Like The Taliban

What happened to the The Handmaid’s Tale references? Not fresh enough thirty-five years after the book originally appeared and four Republican presidents that did not lead to a theocracy later?

Sultan: What will we tell our daughters?

Imagine the mothers in Afghanistan.

The ones who were able to attend school as children and were forced to keep their daughters at home when the Taliban took over.

Consider how much it must hurt for your daughter to have fewer rights and opportunities than you had because religious extremists forced their beliefs on an entire country.

Imagine the mothers in Texas.

The ones who knew that if they experienced an unwanted pregnancy that could have ruined their lives, they had the right to make their own medical decisions. The ones whose daughters will not have that same right.

Maybe you should tell your daughters to save themselves for marriage or at least limit themselves to serious partners, to use birth control to limit the chance of pregnancy, to consider carrying the child to term and offering him or her for adoption.

Nah, just tell your daughter that the potential life within her is not life at all, and that her political enemies are evil. Because that’s worked swimmingly so far.

Man, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch mommy blogging has really gone off the cliff since Dana Loesch left, ainna?

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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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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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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 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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Round and Round We Go

I drive through this coming interchange every time I go into Republic: MoDOT announces new roundabout near Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield:

MoDOT has plans for a new roundabout near Republic, which as drivers talking.

“You are essentially entering into a guessing game,” said local Param Reddy.

That roundabout will be installed at the intersection of route ZZ and Farm road 182, right by the Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield.

MoDOT officials said it would cost around $1.3 million and start construction in Spring of 2023.

As you might know, gentle reader, I oppose roundabouts for a couple of reasons, and this one will illustrate why very well.

This is the intersection in question. ZZ runs north and south and is a pretty straight state highway with good visibility in both directions. Farm Road 182 is hilly and curvy. The intersection itself is within the bounds of the Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, so the speed limit on 182 drops to 20, but this is rarely observed. Farm Road 182 has stop signs, but ZZ has no control device.

I have come to this interchange a couple of times where I’ve had to wait behind cars at the stop sign for a couple of minutes, but rarely more.

The area is developing, so perhaps a control other than the stop sign would be in order eventually, but not a roundabout.

  • The roundabout is expensive; it will cost at least $1.3 million at least, and its construction will add delays to the intersection.
  • The roundabout slows down traffic on the highway even if there’s no merging/crossing traffic. Instead of continuing north or south at speed, drivers on ZZ will often have to slow down unnecessarily when no traffic is present on Farm Road 182.
  • The roundabout is inflexible. A stop light can be set to flashing yellow or enabled with sensors to know when to change based on the presence of vehicles. Not the roundabout. It’s the light rail train of interchanges. You cannot adjust it. You can only endure it.

I continue to believe that traffic engineers hate people who drive cars, and I’m starting to think that they’re all from the city and ride ebikes to work. Someone from the country who needs to go ten or twenty miles or more when driving doesn’t need a bunch of European traffic fads. We need consistent speeds to get from one point to another.

But I did not go to expensive Traffic Engineering School, which seems to lead to this thought process:

  1. Roundabouts.
  2. Diverging Diamond Interchanges.
  3. Diverging Diamond Interchanges with roundabouts at each end.
  4. Diverging Diamond Interchanges with roundabouts at each end and smoke machines! That will slow the traffic down.

If it saves just one life, it’s worth it! Although I’m not sure that in the ten years that I’ve lived at Nogglestead that one life has been lost at that intersection. Maybe, but it’s not Blood Alley by any means to warrant this imposition.

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Alienating Readers A Badge of Honor At The Daily Dammit, Gannett

The “article,” for paying subscribers, is entitled “Young reporter threatened; columnist told that his head is up his #*@”.

C’mon, man, we know what the readers are responding to: The hype stories from the new kid and that the closest thing that the paper has to a local columnist has been writing political diatribes knocking people skeptical of the Recurrent Unpleasantness instead of explaining what’s being built on such and such corner and what’s the story about that one thing we pass on our daily commute.

One wonders how much the article, for subscribers only, will reinforce a certain block of subscribers and how much the article will lead to cancelled or lapsed subscriptions.

I expect both, but for the Daily Dammit, Gannett to continue to shrink in size and subscriber base.

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In More Uncle Ted News

In news other than how I made Ted Nugent a rock god, we have Uncle Ted in the real news today: Ted Nugent Resigns From NRA Board:

The National Rifle Association just lost one of its most famous board members.

In an email to the board obtained by The Reload, NRA general counsel John Frazer announced rock star Ted Nugent is stepping down from his role as a director. Frazer said the group thanked Nugent for his decades-long service on the board. He cited “ongoing schedule conflicts” as the reason Nugent would no longer serve.

I’m still a member, and I hope the organization straightens itself out. I keep nominating Darbo for the board. Maybe now they’ll listen.

(Link via Wirecutter.)

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I Only Trust The Journalism of Country Correspondents

An article on Substack called The Algorithm: The media’s new business model is propaganda explains partly why the media are so untrustworthy–they’re currently seeking readership by reinforcing political and lifestyle narratives and group memberships and because they don’t do any reporting on their own, instead just gleaning what they can from online sources–generally sources biased to their points of view–and regurgitating it in their own words. Basically, journalism as writing college papers.

Unexplored, of course, is the often stated but rarely adequately defended thesis from here at MfBJN, that to the 23-year-old J-school graduates who provide the majority of the print and online content today, putting tweets into paragraph form is journalism because Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and whatever comes next is real life to them. It’s what they know.

Which is why I only trust, sometimes, what I read in the nine small town papers I take. Because why would Bonnie lie to me about what happened in Handy, Missouri, last week?

(Link via Ed Driscoll on Instapundit.)

Too Polite To Call Opposition “Liars,” But Not For Long

The new kid at the Daily Gannett sure likes to say people are spreading misinformation, and that’s all you really need to know.

This bit is a particular larf:

But the database does not track death specifically attributable to the COVID-19 vaccine. Instead, it tracks “all serious adverse events following vaccination against COVID-19 — regardless of whether the vaccines are to blame.”

Therefore, any death that occurs after one is vaccinated could be counted in the VAERS system. According to VAERS’ website, the database is “not designed to determine if a vaccine caused a health problem.”

Silly reader! You only count deaths from the virus that way, not deaths from the vaccine!

Oh, noes, I am spreading misinformation. Perhaps I shall be disparaged by a 23-year-old J-school graduate for exercising my rights and earn a scarlet M.

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No Pronouncement On The Satanic Nature of the Olympics

A couple years ago, a local pastor got the news media and its readers/viewers into a bit of a dudgeon by pointing out that yoga has its roots in another religion, and hence could be considered Satanic or demonic.

One could apply that interpretation to the Olympics as well, which were originally a festival to honor Zeus.

When commenting on the previous story, I said:

I am pretty sure that there’s a whole commandment about not following other religions somewhere, and I didn’t see any footnotes in it about it being okay to follow other religions’ practices with your fingers crossed or not believing in the actual ontology behind the practices. It doesn’t matter if Asherah poles help with television reception. They’re still the practices of another religion, and a lot of bad things happen in the old testament when Israel does something similar.

Rob K. pointed out the non-Christian origins of some of Christmas symbols and Christian calendar come from non-Christian sources.

It’s a conundrum, to be sure, how far to carry the eschewment of things whose origins lie outside Christianity and in other religions and their practices.

But the important thing is that I have a unique hot take on something that seemed more clever as I was going to sleep last night and which probably could be written better later in the morning.

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Apparently, Without My Profligacy, It Collapsed

After more than 40 years, YMCA ends used book fair:

There are no more chapters for the YMCA book fair. Canceled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, it won’t be back. Last year would have been its 42nd annual sale.

Run by hundreds of volunteers, the fair raised some $2.6 million for literacy and other programs over its four decades, says Caroline Mitchell, executive director of the organization’s community development.

But late last year, the group decided to sell its old Carondelet building, where it used to store books, CDs, DVDs and other donations during the year. Earlier this year, volunteers were informed that the book fair would not continue, Mitchell says.

As you know, gentle reader, I visited this book sale several years when I lived in the St. Louis area, including a couple of years when it was in the old Carondelet building and once when it was moved out to southwest county past St. Anthony’s Hospital. I have not been there in years, however, which might have contributed to this decision.

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Brian J. Countervails

You say As drought cuts hay crop, cattle ranchers face culling herds

(They don’t actually mean herds that cull, they mean the ranchers might have to cull their herds. Herds of cattle who cull anything are the makings of a bad horror movie.)

However, when the news says that, I think Increased prices for those who cut hay and Cheap beef on the horizon.

Because I am economically literate and smart enough to know that there’s another side to every transaction.

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I Blame The Soon-To-Be-Discovered Monolith

Chimpanzees are killing gorillas unprovoked for the first time: scientists

Undoubtedly, this will officially be attributed to global warming.

Also, note this is the first time that the “scientists” (evolutionary anthropologists, which is one of the guesswork speculative “sciences”) have seen it. It should not be taken to represent the first time in all of the existence of apes, great or otherwise, most of which happened before grad students were writing things down.

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