chyna - Joanie Laurer

Joanie Laurer, RIP: the sports entertainment machine spits out another dead body

#RIPChyna – former WWE superstar becomes the latest victim of an industry where people are disposable and life is cheap (because that’s what’s best for business)

chyna - Joanie Laurer.png

Joanie Laurer: “Chyna,” the 9th Wonder of the World

I woke to the news this morning of Joanie Laurer’s death. Known to professional wrestling fans as Chyna – “the 9th Wonder of the World” – Laurer was only 45. Details aren’t available yet, but if you follow the industry you’re not going to be surprised if it turns out to be drug-related. And if you have followed Laurer at all, you might immediately wonder if this is was suicide.

Laurer was a groundbreaking performer. There was nothing diva about her. Continue reading

Donald Trump

Not endorsing, just calling it: Trump in 2016

This is where consistency gets me

If I’m going to be really cynical about politics and assume that Big Business calls the shots, government jumps, I should run with it. Many of us already do, so why not? So government’s proper role and function in that case is two things: rubber stamp Big Business and look good while doing it. It’s all optics. Keep a good face on it.
And of course, the consolidated media is going to show what our corporate overlords want us to see…a sanitized version of everything, filled with artificial choices and a recurring theme of despair. There’s nothing to fix. There’s no way to fix it anyway, so why bother? Here, buy this.

Continue reading

Washington Post Bernie headline

What you need to know about Bernie Sanders and mainstream media in one Washington Post headline

This is what passes for reason inside the muted corridors of serious establishment “journalism.”

Flipping through the morning’s news and I came across this:

Washington Post Bernie headline

I really know dick about Collum Borchers (or the editors who write his headlines), but a quick look at his archive page suggests a faint whiff of Beltway/Village wankery. Continue reading

Big Bang Theory band names, pt 1

I love The Big Bang Theory and have watched all the episodes multiple times (some I’ve probably seen 20 times or more). I noticed that sometimes the characters say things that would make good band names. Or at least, perhaps, entertaining bands names.

I have written some of them down and will present them in a series, ten at a time. Here’s the first batch.

Anne Frank Above a Bowling Alley Continue reading

anger_quote

2016: so far a bleak year, fettered by anger

anger_quoteI began 2016, the year in which I turned 70 years old, so damn angry.

More than sufficient reasons exist for all that anger. I, like many of you, am unwillingly steeped daily in the raw, heavily mediated sewage of billionaire-induced partisan politics; increasing and intolerable economic inequities; a deeply flawed educational system; conflicts in law, society, and government spawned by religion-fueled hostility; assaults on racial and ethnic sensibilities; the slow, agonizing death of democracy; and the decades-old rise of greed-driven, power-hungry oligarchy.

That’s just the background noise obscuring intelligent discursive signal about so many more problems — local, national, global — that the billions of us ruled by oligarchical forces sense are beyond our control or, often, our comprehension. Continue reading

trump-hillary

The Left’s one-dimensional cartoon buffoon shitshow

Exposing the rift in America’s labor politics

Donald Trump announces his candidacy for  president during a rally at his Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, New York, on Tuesday June 16, 2015. Mr. Trump also announced the release of a financial statement that he says denotes a personal net worth of over 8 billion dollars.

Donald Trump announces his candidacy for president during a rally at his Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, New York, on Tuesday June 16, 2015. Mr. Trump also announced the release of a financial statement that he says denotes a personal net worth of over 8 billion dollars.

The Guardian has an excellent piece that dissects the Trump phenomenon with an honesty not found in American media: Millions of ordinary Americans support Donald Trump. Here’s why.

“Here is the most salient supporting fact: when people talk to white, working-class Trump supporters, instead of simply imagining what they might say, they find that what most concerns these people is the economy and their place in it. I am referring to a study just published by Working America, a political-action auxiliary of the AFL-CIO, which interviewed some 1,600 white working-class voters in the suburbs of Cleveland and Pittsburgh in December and January.

Support for Donald Trump, the group found, ran strong among these people, even among self-identified Democrats, but not because they are all pining for a racist in the White House. Continue reading

african mask

Harry Potter and the Racist Subtext

african mask“We know your hearts are good, but even with good hearts you have done a bad thing.” – Leo Quetawke, Head Councilman in charge of law and order for the Zuni people

Cultural appropriation is a difficult concept to understand for those of us who belong to the majority culture. We see the world as one unified whole. We measure the sun by Greenwich Mean Time, the seasons by the calendar of Pope Gregory XIII. For us, an African mask in a shop is a decoration, divorced of cultural significance. We congratulate ourselves on our enlightenment and modernity because we can recognize its beauty.

This state of affairs does not make us bad people. It does not make us responsible for colonialism or slavery, any more than African American or Indigenous American genes make their owners victims or losers. On the contrary, it presents us with an opportunity to rise above our past, to forge a new global fellowship built on trust and open communication. As with any educational pursuit, this requires hard work. Continue reading

CATEGORY: WordsDay

Art and commerce, art and communication

“No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.” – Dr. Samuel Johnson

I was going to write today about Hilary Masters’ novel Cooper which I finished a couple of Anthony Burgess (image courtesy Wikimedia)days ago, but I started another book and the introduction to that book has been rattling around in my head since I read it, so I think I’ll write about that. You may ask, what could deter this disciplined professorial writer of literary fiction from his appointed rounds?

Well, the guy to the right of this text can. I had picked up a copy of H.E. Bates’s A Month by the Lake and Other Stories in the New Directions edition. The introduction to Bates’s collection is by Anthony Burgess, a name known to most people in association with his most famous novel, the brilliant and nightmarish A Clockwork Orange. The theme of Burgess’s introduction, which is both a wonderful appreciation of Bates and a screed of sorts against the literary world, is worth, I think, some consideration. Continue reading

Greatness and greatness: appreciating Sir George Martin

Scholars & Rogues honors the “Fifth Beatle”

George Martin working that magic…(image courtesy Rockcellar Magazine)

“He enabled their ideas to pour forth, providing the electronic effects, the string quartets, the cor anglaise, the trumpets and piccolos, that helped the Beatles transcend the limitations of pop and create music of sublime originality. He allowed them to give expression to their genius, and provided a model for all pop music thereafter.” – Mick Brown, The Telegraph

When the news began to filter out this morning that Sir George Martin, pop music’s most legendary producer, Dutch uncle and studio wizard who helped The Beatles become – well, The Beatles – had died, tributes immediately began pouring in. Artists as diverse as Stevie Wonder, Noel Gallagher, and Jose Carreras expressed sorrow at Martin’s passing and heaped praise on him for his brilliant production work and his gentlemanly demeanor.

Martin’s body of work covered the range of music – classical, jazz, pop – and included comedy (one of the reasons he clicked with The Beatles is that he produced the records of comedy troupe The Goons, favorites of The Fabs whose surreal humor anticipates Monty Python). Continue reading

Climate2

Five more conservative media sites have misrepresented OISM’s Global Warming Petition Project

The Independent Journal Review, The Blaze, the Wall Street Journal, Breitbart.com, and the New York Post have collectively misrepresented the Global Warming Petition Project eight times since 2008.

Comparison between total U.S. Department of Education Bachelor of Science degrees and Global Warming Petition Project data derived from the Qualifications of Signers page (accessed 8/22/2015)

Comparison between total U.S. Department of Education Bachelor of Science degrees and Global Warming Petition Project data derived from the Qualifications of Signers page (accessed 8/22/2015)

For other posts in this series: click here for data and debunking, here for GWPP mentions by US politicians, and here for conservative/libertarian media references.

In 2008, the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine published their latest version of the Global Warming Petition Project (GWPP). Since then, libertarian and conservative media outlets have played a key part in spreading a false narrative created by the GWPP – that there are more so-called “scientists” who reject industrial climate disruption1 than there are scientists convinced by nearly 200 years of science and overwhelming data that climate disruption is real.

S&R recently identified the following as the top 15 conservative and libertarian news outlets.

  1. Fox News (foxnews.com)
  2. Drudge Report (drudgereport.com)
  3. Independent Journal Review (ijreview.com)
  4. The Blaze (theblaze.com)
  5. Wall Street Journal (wsj.com)
  6. Breitbart (breitbart.com)
  7. New York Post (nypost.com)
  8. Newsmax (newsmax.com)
  9. The Daily Caller (dailycaller.com)
  10. Pajamas Media/Instapundit (pjmedia.com)
  11. WND/World Net Daily (wnd.com)
  12. The Washington Times (washingtontimes.com)
  13. Western Journalism (westernjournalism.com)
  14. Hot Air (hotair.com)
  15. National Review Online (nationalreview.com)

S&R has already addressed mentions of the GWPP by the three that have been struck through. The next five most popular news outlets (bold above) are the Independent Journal Review (IJReview), The Blaze, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Breitbart.com, and the New York Post (NYP). Collectively, these five news outlets were responsible for eight separate mentions of the GWPP since 2008 and one notable mention of the previous version of the GWPP, the Oregon Petition, in 2005. Continue reading

CATEGORY: MusicPopularCulture

Intimations of mortality: Bowie, Frey, Kantner…

Where is it now? The glory and the dream…? – Wordsworth

Dr. John the Night Tripper (image courtesy Wikimedia)

So. We start with a digression of sorts.

I went to see Dr. John, the iconic New Orleans musician, over the weekend. He gave a great show. His band was killer and he covered the full range you’d expect: blues, jazz, zydeco, rock ‘n roll, boogie woogie. Of course, he did the two most well known hits “Right Place Wrong Time” and “Such a Night.” And he did them splendidly.

The most powerful moment of the night, though, came not during the closing number and encore but just after. Monsieur Rebennack took a curtain call, moving from one side of the stage to the other, waving and pointing to the audience as he basked in well deserved appreciation of a fine show.

It was not what Dr. John did but how he did it that made the moment haunting.

Once away from the piano, the audience got a dose of the reality that’s been beating Boomers over the head since 2016 began. Rebennack doddered around the stage like the 75 year old he is, guided and supported by his trombonist. It was a beautiful, heartbreaking reminder that we’re going to spend the next decade saying goodbye to a generation of incredible musical talents.

Intimations of Mortality Recollected from Misspent Youth, to paraphrase a pretty good English poet.

Continue reading

Star Wars, The Revenant, and The Hateful Eight: is original film making dead?

Hail Caesar! was great, but it’s badly outnumbered by formulaic Hollywood rehashes.

Back in the day I used to travel. A lot. As director of international strategy for a major corporation, I spent much of my life on planes. I actually once flew from Chicago to Milan for a one hour meeting, flying a red-eye out and the Concorde back. On those rare occasions when I was home, my wife and I’d watch a rented movie together after bedding down the kids. Much of the time, about halfway through the movie I’d realize I knew what scenes were coming next, even though I hadn’t seen the movie before.

Eventually, we figured out what was going on. Continue reading

Daniel Bryan retires from the WWE

#YesMovement #ThankYouDanielBryan

It’s always hard to watch these damned things, when someone who loves something so completely and passionately has to walk away. But years of concussions took their toll, and finally WWE superstar Daniel Bryan has been forced to hang up his boots. He was a fantastic talent and he will be missed.

Sadly, given all that we are learning these days about CTE, I can’t help but fear for his future. Continue reading

Megyn Kelly GQ

Donald Trump is a pig, and Megyn Kelly is neither a journalist nor a feminist

These things are not mutually exclusive.

I want to show you two pictures – ones you may have seen recently – and ask you a simple question: what is being communicated? What are the subject, the photographer and the publisher saying to you?

Megyn Kelly GQ
Continue reading

Climate2

Top conservative media sites regularly misrepresent OISM’s Global Warming Petition Project

Of the top 15 most read conservative/libertarian media sites, Fox News has mentioned the Global Warming Petition Project only five times since 2008.

Comparison of Department of Education graduation data for 1970-2013 and Bureau of Labor Statistics employment data for 2013 to the number of Global Warming Petition Project signatures [Corrected]

Comparison of Department of Education graduation data for 1970-2013 and Bureau of Labor Statistics employment data for 2013 to the number of Global Warming Petition Project signatures [Corrected]

For other posts in this series: click here for data and debunking, here for GWPP mentions by US politicians, and here for conservative/libertarian media references.

The Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine published the most recent version of the Global Warming Petition Project (GWPP) in 2008, The purpose of the petition was to create a narrative, since shown to be false, that the 31,487 signers disproved the opinion surveys showing an overwhelming consensus of climate experts who are convinced that climate change is real.

Since 2008, six surveys of expert opinion have been published in the peer-reviewed literature, using different statistical methodologies and asking slightly different survey questions, with the result that the lowest level of consensus found in any of them was 88% of respondents, with most finding consensus of about 97%. Yet the GWPP continues to be referenced widely among conservatives and libertarians even though its counter-consensus narrative has been shown to be false – the GWPP signers aren’t all scientists, the GWPP’s criteria for being called a scientist is absurd, the signers are a tiny minority of the people who earned bachelors of science degrees even assuming the GWPP’s criteria are reasonable (and thus giving the GWPP the greatest possible benefit of doubt), the signers are also a tiny minority of the people working in the GWPP’s selected fields as of 2013, and the signers would be a small minority of the members of several professional societies even if every GWPP signer was a member (which is extremely unlikely).

Up until now, S&R has focused on disproving the GWPP’s false narrative and on exposing the individuals who have repeated that false narrative in Congress either as members of Congress or in Congressional testimony. This article marks the start of the next phase of our investigation in which we focus on the organizations and individuals responsible for spreading and maintaining the false narrative. Continue reading

Peyton Manning al Jazeera

Peyton Manning HGH allegations: Al Jazeera commits journalistic malpractice

Peyton Manning al JazeeraAl Jazeera should never have gone public with the Manning/HGH story. Its only responsible option now is to fire everyone associated with it and apologize.

A breaking report from Al Jazeera accuses Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning (and others) of using the banned substance HGH.

FULL DISCLOSURE: a) I’m a Broncos fan, b) I usually find Al Jazeera to be one of the most reputable practitioners of journalism out there, and c) I have no idea whether the story is true or not. Manning has denied the report vehemently, but he also donated $20k to George Bush’s re-election campaign and pushes Papa John’s Pizza, so I’m unwilling to take his word as gospel.

The issue before us this morning isn’t Manning’s guilt or innocence, which will become clear enough in time. Continue reading