Speedy Recovery Prayer Circle and Open Thread

Wherein we all hold hands and try to miracle Hank into feeling a little bit less like yesterday's meatloaf. While arguing about stuff.

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RIP Pete Seeger

mmghosh's picture

amazing guy, all the more for having stood up for Paul Robeson.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

An object lesson in how to completely miss the point

mmghosh's picture

This about Gayetgate.


First, on why the French are civilised.

He lived for twenty years with Segolene Royal, now 60, a strong-headed political woman who was the unsuccessful socialist candidate for president in 2007, and had four children with her, without being married to her. Likewise, neither did he marry Valérie Trierweiler, a twice-divorced journalist, nor even engage in looser a civil partnership with her (PACS in French legal terminology).


But a deeper reason is that Hollande’s case actually reflects the present state of French mores. The marriage rate in France dropped from 7.8 per 1000 in 1970 to 3.7 per 1000 in 2011: as a matter of comparison, it still was 6.8 in the United States in 2013. The divorce rate in France soared from 0.8 per 1000 in 1970 to 2 per 1000 in 2011. Laws and codes were streamlined in order to erase any differences between married and unmarried couples, legitimate and illegitimate children, and man/woman and same-sex partnerships. Religious marriage declined dramatically, especially among Catholics: barely one French couple out of four currently gets married in a church. One French family out of five is a single-parent family. One family out of ten is a recomposée (reconstructed) family where children born out of previous marriages or partnerships are raised together. A further indication of the decline of marriage as a social pattern is that 53% of the French think that one can be unfaithful and still be in love, while 58% think they can forgive their partner’s unfaithfulness.

And the conclusion?

Likewise, the decline of marriage and family in contemporary France (and most other European country) is evidently linked to an ever growing immigration from non-European countries, including staunchly Islamic Arab and African countries.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

The future is now

HankP's picture

just went to a website, checked their inventory, phoned in an order and had it delivered to my apartment 30 minutes later. Who would have guessed that this could happen even 2 years ago? Or that it would be the majority opinion nationwide? Like gay marriage, what is it that makes certain opinions open to such wild swings in popular opinion over a period of just a few years, after decades of stability?

I blame it all on the Internet

"swings in opinion"???

Jay C's picture

The Wall of Bullshit may be thick and tall, and considered impregnable;  but it invariably dissolves under the steady rain of inescapable logic, and the opinions of The People in a Democracy. Or something like that....


And those "decades of stability", I think, were more of a cultural artifact (i.e. institutionalized hippie-punching in place of rational policy), than a sociological constant. 


The really impressive bit is the part where you can get it delivered in 30 minutes (!). 

Well, it's a cultural artifact until it isn't

HankP's picture

I'm just wondering what particular snowflake it was that got the avalanche started.


I blame it all on the Internet

1960's civil rights movement


It just took a long time to develop.   The anti-drug laws were largely anti-minority,  and we're just getting to the point where people don't see finding excuses to imprison minorities as a high priority.


Jordan mentions hippie-punching but hippies were getting a trip to the station, a fine, and probation.   It was black guys getting broken with 5-10 year terms in the penitentiary.

In Defense of Felon's....


...I just happened to yesterday kinda sorta maybe talked an ex-con out of killing himself. He was a nice young man that I met by accident, yes I know my life is odd, but after a bit he began, in a friendly enough way, to talk about killing himself....his arrest in Florida for drugs, 3 years incarceration, inability to find work...yada, yada, yada....we all know the story.


For a Christian Nation, we damn sure aren't forgiving or....helpful either.


Ex Felon's have a hard road in life....when they have done their time....their punishment should be over. Not in America, it is stain worn for life.


Here's an idea, when sentencing anyone to a felony, give them an option of serving an additional year or two or five for that matter...but they come out with a clean record. 


I bet you'd have a full boat load of takers.


but No, America prefers to shame and destroy lives.


(I wish I had more moral courage and could be an advocate for the Incarcerated)







that you were able to talk someone out of it.


You can give someone a legally "clean" record but there will still be the time that needs to be explained, and when it's hard even for qualified people with no gaps to get jobs,  it's not going to be easy.


What I've seen work to get a "reset" is going to school.  We've had at least three guys with felony records get degrees and land regular engineering jobs with large companies.  Since felons can't easily get financial aid it does require some family help and settling for a cheap,  less prestigious state school that takes anyone with the right SAT numbers and a GED.

not that impressive.


after all, the baking is done at home, not at the shop.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw



what weed dealer *doesn't* deliver?

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

But it's legal

HankP's picture

that's a non-trivial difference.


I blame it all on the Internet

Well, actually it's a felony


under federal law,  and the delivery business is taking a risk.   They're not likely to be prosecuted unless they piss off a federal LEO for some totally unrelated reason,  in which case they're toast.


Was this purely recreational,  or treatment for your recent misfortune?

I don't see any federal cops around

HankP's picture

but even if there were I doubt anyone would want to make a big deal out of it. It's been de facto legalized for simple possession for a few years now, and there hasn't been a big surge of federal prosecutions.


It's for pain right now, but it will be for recreation once the pain stops.


I blame it all on the Internet

You can just take haschish fudge as an analgesic pill?

mmghosh's picture

Good for you - but I'm surprised no drug company has taken it up with the active ingredients.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

No, it's just flower buds

HankP's picture

that I smoke. Like ganja. Acts much faster that way, eating marijuana is for chronic pain. Mine comes and goes. An hour ago it was pretty bad, now it's just annoying.


Companies did make Marinol, it contains some of the active ingredients. But marijuana is a Schedule I drug - the most dangerous and highly illegal drugs. Not all countries are as enlightened as yours.


I blame it all on the Internet



Down here people routinely get caught at federal checkpoints,  and the penalties are severe.   I've seen people taken away for a seed the BP officer was holding with tweezers.  Anything like a big bag is going to end your life as a normal person with a decade in prison followed by unemployable felon status.

I know it's draconian down there

HankP's picture

do you think it will change? Will we get a red/blue state split on legalization?


I blame it all on the Internet

Even Rick Perry


just said he's open to ramping down marijuana enforcement.


It's the feds (Border Patrol & National Guard) running the checkpoints.  I think the problem is that they aren't really set up to do tickets and 10 minute no-lawyer trials in front of a Justice of the Peace.  Once they make a "federal case" out of it,  it's serious.


The reason it's not same up there is that you don't have a heavy Border Patrol presence,  and marijuana isn't flowing south across the Canadian border in large quantities so the law enforcement up there doesn't make it their main business.

Wha - wha - whaaa?

HankP's picture

We have extensive border security up here, and lots of DEA activity. I guess you've never heard of BC Bud, an estimated $6 billion dollar annual trade.


I think the difference is that Seattle is outside the 100 mile border exclusion zone. But believe me, they still enforce immigration and drug laws in this state.


I blame it all on the Internet

Haven't been driving up there anytime recently


but I don't remember any roadblocks except the one right at the border.


We've got these.  You haven't really been to S. Texas until you've been pulled for a "secondary" at Falfurrias.



i know, i'm being a bit facetious.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw


HankP's picture

do you think it will spread? Will it be like fought like gay marriage, or be pretty uncontroversial? I'll be really interested to see the fiscal swing as a result of this - how much less will be spent on police and courts, and how much more tax revenue comes in.


I blame it all on the Internet

i hope it will


but prisons are a big business now. gotta fill em up with *somebody*.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

Consider California, run entirely by Democrats for years


consistently spending much more on corrections prisons than higher education.


On the other hand, CA shows you can massively increase prison spending even while the prison population is decreasing. Maybe other states can start spending 50k+ per inmate too.

The "recovery"


So ... doesn't this show Obama is a failed president?


4 of the last 5 yrs. median incomes have fallen, and there's little to suggest this is going to change soon.


If you're a two-term president and most people get poorer most years you're in office, doesn't that mean you're a failure?

The Republican House & Senate sure hope


people see it that way. 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Catchy...A Terriffic State of the Union..A Terrible Rep Response


...we will see if he is a failed President...in time.



A speech? Please


The record is what matters and I'm seeing one of failure. Obama's defenders will blame it all on the Republicans, but that's a gross exaggeration from where I sit. 


Opportunity has decreased, and Obama has mostly sought to manage the decline more slowly.


Here's where we're at in 2013:


1. New income generated since 2009 that has gone to the top 1 percent: 95 percent

2. Financial wealth controlled by the bottom 60 percent of all Americans: 2.3 percent

3. Record combined wealth of the top 400 richest Americans: $2,000,000,000,000

4. Real decline in median middle-class incomes since 1999: $5,000

5. Percentage of Hispanic and African-American children living in poverty, respectively: 33.8 percent; 36.7 percent

6. Amount that food stamps will be cut in 2014: $5 billion

7. Federal minimum wage: $7.25

8. What the minimum wage would be if it had kept pace with gains in worker productivity since 1968: $21.72

9. Stealth taxpayer subsidy to the fast-food industry, paid out as safety-net benefits to McWorkers earning poverty wages: $7 billion 

10. Years since the turn of this century that have ranked among the warmest 15 on record: All 13

11. Rank of 2013 on that list of the warmest years on record: Number Four

12. U.S. defense spending as of 2012: $682 billion

13. Dollar amount by which that surpassed our nearest plausible military rival, China: $516 billion

14. Number of Americans disenfranchised from voting for felony convictions: 5.9 million

15. Share of those disenfranchised voters who are African-American: 37 percent

16. Number of Americans arrested annually for marijuana possession: 658,000

17. Total incarcerated U.S. population: 2.3 million

18. Official unemployment rate: 6.7 percent

19. Alternate rate including Americans who've given up looking for work, or have only been able to secure part-time employment: 13.1 percent

20. Number of jobs the United States is still down from 2008 employment peak: 1.69 million

21. Number of Americans who were cut off from long-term unemployment benefits at the turn of the year: 1.3 million



income mobility by county


Why are these skills valued at all?

mmghosh's picture

What use can the preservation of these skills be to a people in a war which has no connection to any strategic necessity?

In total he fired off 250 general purpose machine gun rounds, 180 SA80 rounds, six phosphorous grenades, six normal grenades, five underslung grenade launcher rounds and one Claymore mine.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

A Pile Of Thirty Dead Taliban Fighters

M Scott Eiland's picture

That's pretty much value per se. Also, those skills prove useful in other situations as well.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Manish, explanations required.


A retired Indian Gorkha soldier recently revisited those glory days when he thwarted 40 robbers 

Not to mention, he saved a young woman from being gang raped in front of her parents. Not bad for an old dude.  

Shrestha, who was in the Maurya Express to Gorakhpur from Ranchi on September 2 while returning home following voluntary retirement from the Indian army

Voluntary retirement? Is there any other kind? Is this some kind of term of art in Indian military circles? Puzzling. 

The 35-year-old is leaving for India Saturday to receive the first of the awards on the occasion of India´s Republic Day on January 26.

Hold a tic, that doesn't seem like retirement age for a soldier a tall, not a tall.

His regiment has already given him a cash award of Indian rupees 50,000, and decided to terminate his voluntary retirement. He will get the customary promotion after receiving the medals. 

Come again? The regiment decides to terminate his "voluntary" retirement... is this reporter trying to get me to read between the lines here? If Shrestha left service voluntarily, it sure sounds like he was voluntold to sign back up again.  


Mr. Shrestha's storied career doesn't add up. The dots don't connect. If I had to guess, Shrestha was recently cashiered from the force owing to lack of funds, and his sudden heroics embarrassed his regiment enough to lie about letting him go. That or he really did retire, but his "reward" for his selfless act of bravery was to be forcibly reenlisted. Or is it something else? Either way, seems to me that somebody's not telling the truth, and the reporter made it pretty clear somebody's not telling the truth. 



"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Ask Darth

HankP's picture

from what he's said, he can't retire until his commanding officer lets him. And I believe all military personnel can be recalled to active duty for several reasons.


I blame it all on the Internet

What I said was that I had to get permission from Mrs Cuddly


Actually, the process is centralized for the Army, but details aside it looks like the concept is similar.

Oh and Mrs Cuddly has formally submitted the suggestion that I obtain her permission to retire sometime in the next year or two.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Now that's a surprise

HankP's picture

whenever I mention retirement to Mrs. P her response is "Retire? What the hell do you do that you have to retire from?".


I blame it all on the Internet

I Assume You're Asking Manish Due To Locality. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .because the guy you're asking questions about is from the link I posted. It was a different, non-retired Gurkha who took out the thirty Taliban.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Yes, I meant your Gurkha. -nt-



"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

This guy probably likes extreme violence

mmghosh's picture

and enjoys being in circumstances where it helps to be extremely violent - I can't imagine that he fitted into a peacetime army structure (and a peacetime army is what most military folk prefer IMO).  He may have been cashiered for disciplinary issues.


I know that an army is supposed to absorb and redirect the violent urges of young men.  But valorising folk who are essentially mercenaries cannot be a good thing for a society.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Deterrent value?


Nepal hasn't been invaded lately.


Also,  I read someplace that Argentines started surrendering wholesale when told the British were sending in the Gurkhas.

The only invasion of Nepal is by dope-seekers.

mmghosh's picture

Maybe add the climbing brigade.  


Speaking of invasions, I met up with Tenzing Norgay's son guiding a trek by a group of Western stockbrokers (from what I could make of their interconversation) - we were at about 12000 feet.  His job seemed to be identifying and distributing the ripe mangoes carried by the other porters.  Now that's real value, rather than the chucking of sundry ordnance.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Why I'm not a Republican, Part 927

Bird Dog's picture

John McCain was censured by the Arizona GOP for not being conservative enough, basically for saying the Obamacare is settled law, which is simply a fact, and for considering comprehensive immigration reform. The American Conservative Union gave McCain a score of 92% for the 2012 Congress and a lifetime score of 82.8%, where 100.0% is the Perfect Conservative. F**king idiots, letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.


"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

More explorations in digital audio

HankP's picture

Hopefully this will save someone some time and effort ...


So to sum up the situation: I have a relatively new stereo (with the exception of vintage speakers). Things have come pretty far from the simple "plug coax into sockets and play" that we all grew up with. Specifically there are a bunch of twists with digital audio.


I have a Home Theater PC (HTPC) that serves as my home file server, among other things it holds my digitized music collection (mostly FLAC files, with some MP3s. Go with FLAC if you can). I have a Marantz 6008 which is a modern amplifier that among other things can act as a traditional amplifier (analog inputs) but can also act as a network media player (accepting bit streams from various devices which it then converts to analog and amplifies to drive the speakers). This is the part that can get confusing.


Modern media player software can replicate almost all the functions of a media player/amplifier. What helps you decide which functions to enable in the software as opposed to the amplifier? The biggest one is the quality of the DAC (digital analog converter). This is the device that converts a stream of bits to an actual waveform that can be amplified and played trough speakers. As a general rule, the DACs in decent audio equipment are better than the ones built into inexpensive sound cards. There's also the fact that the innards of PCs aren't really shielded very well, so any analog signal will likely experience interference in the PC as opposed to in the amplifier.


So the guideline I go with is that the media player software should do the least amount possible to modify the bitstream and the amplifier should be what generates the waveform and amplify it. In addition, Windows systems also have pretty lousy internal mixers that should be bypassed whenever possible. There are several ways to do that, the best known are ASIO and WASAPI which are protocols that bypass all the internal Windows sound processing and send the bitstream to the external DAC and/or amplifier to be decoded and amplified.


In my case, playing around with foobar 2000 (an open source media player) shows dramatic differences. Using the default settings of playback through Windows audio was simply awful. Simply switching to sending the bitstream to the Marantz didn't fix it either, though, as the sound became very harsh and unmusical. What was the trick to fix it?


Simply put, turn off all the "features" that were enabled by default and tweaking several settings. Specifically, disable any playback "enhancements" like gain modification, enable and use WASAPI, and enable and use the resampling feature to upsample the standard 44 kHz/16 bit stream to 96 kHz/24 bit. The result? Clean, undistorted playback, excellent stereo imaging, human sounding vocals and clean tight bass.


Some other things I've noticed:


- CDs made in the 80s and early 90s really do sound different from ones made today. The compression used in modern songs is ridiculous and really affects music quality


- Very happy with the Marantz 6008. Very clean, no noticeable coloration of the sound


- Very, very happy with the combination of B&W Matrix 805s and the Velodyne SPLII subwoofer. Given a clean input, they can reproduce it better than any other speakers I've ever owned.




Cue MA telling me how much better Macs are in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...


I blame it all on the Internet

Dawn Zimmer's story unravels a little more

Bird Dog's picture

Hoboken got similar Hurricane Sandy funding as other similar-sized cities in New Jersey. The bottom line is that she was either dishonest then (when she was praising Christie) or dishonest now (when she was piling on to the GWB scandal). 

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

"similar Hurricane Sandy funding as other similar-sized cities"

brutusettu's picture


Size of city, not a good metric.




Scale of damage, better metric, such as Hoboken having 1,000+ severally damaged buildings and other cities on the list not making it much above 3 digits in that category.


At least the article mentions special projects elsewhere, but are those homes getting demolished, or larger buildings.  No estimated cost of those as far as I skimmed over.



The article doesn't say that at all

HankP's picture

it says Hoboken got aid comparable to smaller towns and cities on the shore.


I blame it all on the Internet

Overall, Hoboken got more

Bird Dog's picture

Quote: "The state also provided money to communities hit by the storm to hire experts and come up with long-term recovery plans; Hoboken's $200,000 grant was the fourth-highest allocation among the 35 local governments in the program."

That's a far cry from Zimmer's charge that her city was short-changed.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

More half truths

HankP's picture

that program was one of two discussed, in the other program Hoboken got the same amount as much smaller towns. Also, Zimmer's charge was that she was threatened, this article says nothing about whether that was true or not.


You're trying too hard in an area you know nothing about, all my friends and relatives back in NJ say this is how Christie has operated since he was elected.


I blame it all on the Internet

He said, she said

Bird Dog's picture

Also, she was either being truthful then or truthful now. She can't have it both ways.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009


HankP's picture

her story isn't falling apart, as you claimed. It's still too early to tell.


I blame it all on the Internet

Dumb op-ed of the day

Bird Dog's picture

Is it immoral to watch the Superbowl? The author's answer appears to be "yes". What a bunch preening pretentious crap.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

No, it's a valid question

HankP's picture

it is a moral issue whether you should enjoy an activity that will cause severe pain and suffering to the participants.


Was it immoral to watch gladiators fight and kill each other?


I blame it all on the Internet

No, it's really not

Bird Dog's picture

Because not only is Richard Sherman smarter than Steve Almond, he's better at life than Steve Almond.

That doesn't mean that the NFL shouldn't do whatever it can, within reason, to reduce major injuries.

As for gladiators and fighting to the death, that's a different moral equation.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Gladiators rarely if ever fought to the death

HankP's picture

but they very predictably were injured on a regular basis. So it is the same issue, is it moral to enjoy an activity that you know will result in the serious injury of the participants?


Saying "no, it's not" really isn't an argument.


I blame it all on the Internet

"Fight and kill each other"

Bird Dog's picture

Those were your words that I responded to.

And you don't know how many football participants will sustain "serious injury". There are risks and, as we know more, those who make the rules will continue to take steps to lessen the risks. That doesn't sound immoral to me.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Disagree. Chronic Traumatic




Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy is a recognized entity with advanced imaging exams designed to diagnose it.  


Knowing this, it is reasonable to believe watching the NFL is immoral.  


Think about it - an organized sport knowingly exposes its players to the very real risk of early dementia with only a token attempt at prevention.  I fully recognize the players, players union, advertisers, and fans know this as well to some degree.  The players union has been criticized for trading deals for better long term player health for protection of big individual player contracts.  


Just because Sherman chose his profession doesn't mean a person isn't allowed to object to the organization and culture around the game.  To take an extreme example of a thought experiment -- what if Russian Roulette with willing participants was televised? 


I'm not saying I didn't watch the division and conference title games and a handful of regular season games this year.  I'm not saying I won't watch the Super Bowl.  I'm not saying football isn't a very integral part of American (and especially Texan) culture.  I would say to hate football is to hate what makes America what she is today.


I am saying if someone decides the NFL destroys people in the service of advertising dollars, I can't completely disagree...  Though it puts my Republic of Texas citizenship in jeopardy.


Edit -- The Peter King BD linked to is terrible.  It is the worst kind of journalism.

Men are hardwired for action and violence

Bird Dog's picture

The players accept these risks. It would be immoral if the league did nothing to reduce the injuries and after-effects of those injuries. If you want to say they're not doing it fast enough, then we have common ground. And this isn't just limited to the NFL. By your thesis, you're saying that the entire game of football is immoral. After all, these kinds of injuries can happen at Pop Warner on up. I just don't accept that.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

I don't personally think


I don't personally think watching the NFL is immoral but I can understand why others might.


CTE is a pretty newly describe entity but that doesn't mean it never existed before it was described.  So, watching the NFL, now as well as then, means watching men risk losing their memories, cognition, impulse control, and personality.  These are things we associate with being human.  Leaving it up to the NFL to decide the acceptable risk (with the help of advertisers and lawsuits), doesn't really put me at ease, honestly.


I can't see what you don't accept.  Just because it is a sport with deep roots doesn't make it beyond question.  If someone doesn't want to watch men destroy each other in the name of advertising dollars, let them.

There was a prominent Peter King ad on the Sherman link

brutusettu's picture

Anyway, Richard Sherman is 25 and should be old enough to know he's just plain wrong on the issue of playing with active damage from a concussion.  Just because a few others make it seem *normal* to him doesn't mean it's not mass stupidity.  His views on the matter mean even less than nothing after the just brushed aside the stupidity of playing in a game where he had a concussion, full stop.

Not to mention

HankP's picture

that when his rookie contract expires at the end of next year he'll be looking at a minimum $5 million contract (based on how well he's been playing). Pretty sure that would affect someone's judgment on what's safe and what isn't, or at least whether the risk is worth taking.


I blame it all on the Internet



those dudes sell a lot of doritos, pepsi and beer. a LOT.


what's a little brain damage? there are probably more people killed in manufacturing the doritos, chevy s-10s and samsung tablets they are selling anyways.


edit: just writing that comment made me really crave doritos.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

It's Not Journalism At All

M Scott Eiland's picture

It's Richard Sherman expressing his viewpoint based on experience. He's not a doctor, but--irritating tendencies aside--he's certainly intelligent enough and possesses more than adequate writing skills to honestly report what he sees on the gridiron and state his views regarding it.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Whoops, you are right. No


Whoops, you are right. No wonder it didn't read like journalism.  In any case, it is nice he is willing to take the risks but that doesn't mean people aren't allowed to think it is brutal.  


Related -- I watched the head of UFC give an interview today and when asked which is bigger, UFC or boxing, he humbly pointed out that UFC fights compete with ANYTHING that happens on a friday night - movie with the gf, other sporting events, etc...  Didn't even mention boxing b/c it isn't even close in total viewership.  That's a pretty meteoric rise for the UFC.

If That's The Standard. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .we'd have to go a long way beyond martial sports and football in our examination. We're about to have another Winter Olympics, and plenty of the sports in it have significant body counts along with the other serious injuries associated with them--like football, they're largely a result of basic physics that they'll never be able to nerf away. Even dancing and ice skating meet the "chronic, severe pain and injury to their participants" standard.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

I agree

HankP's picture

but that doesn't change the underlying moral calculation. I'm not saying that everyone who watches (football, boxing, skiing, take your pick) is evil, but I don't think just ignoring the issue is any kind of answer either, nor is attacking people who bring it up as an issue.


I blame it all on the Internet

Memo to Jay C...Is this art?

mmghosh's picture




And Ok, I'll stop now.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

I struggle with how context can define what is and is not art


I allow myself to be guided by the concept of Second Dialogue. It sounds terribly prtentious, but if I have a dialogue with the piece - if it provokes thoughts and feelings, perhaps differnt to those first concieved by the artist (or craftsman) then I call it art. And this scores highly on this. The insouciant little slip of an (obviously) rich girl perched on top of that chair. Everything about it looked constructed to generate the reaction I had.


And then I read the context, and the general assumption seems to be that the juxtaposition was unintentional and neither photographer nor model intended to pass any sort of message about race or power - but rather to just say - "Look at my cool chair".


I'm not so sure, but none the less - I'm happy to stamp it as art. More so than the chair itself, which probably lacks subtlety (though maybe it works if you are forced by social situations to actually use it).


So maybe I am actually addressing Hanks concern here - for me it is art regardless of the artists frame of mind. The photo speaks whether it was meant to or not.

Agreed. On looking at the picture


I automatically assumed the racist message was intentional. The image is easy to read as a commentary about the conjunctions between beauty and cultural vanity. The notion of being born to a "superior" or master race is extremely attractive to a certain all-too-widespread type of mind. Cf. the aesthetics of fascism. Most cultures hinge judgments about beauty at least partly on judgments about race.


I feel like I've seen exactly this type of message done deliberately, and it surprised me to find out this was received as an accident, a faux pas. 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Given Modern Trends. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .and until I read the linked article, I assumed that the photo was a piece of *performance* art, and that the "chair" was in *really* good physical condition to put up with that treatment (aside from the visual evidence that suggested good condition). Sort of a relief to realize that artistic transgression hasn't reached *that* point yet, at least in that photo.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Yes, I Initially Thought This Was Performance Art Also...


....but regardless, performance art or even more so as a staged photograph, having a lovely and haughty white female sitting on a trussed up black woman was...a master stroke...again not to be offensive or even outrageous, rather as simply true...and truly reflective of our culture.



I'm not an expert on art

HankP's picture

but I know when I see bad taste.


I blame it all on the Internet

I get that its somewhat transgressive

mmghosh's picture

but is it art?

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Response to Manish......

Jay C's picture

It's a tough question, trying to define "what is Art" - profounder minds than mine have pondered this for a VERY long time (some "profounder minds" even here, probably) - but as Traveller points out, if the black-woman "chair" is somehow "wrong" as art, then Allen Jones' works (for which he is famous, if often criticized) ought not to be considered any sort of art, either. Which, of course, they are. The main difference, as I see it is in the race of the "chair" woman: putting a racial cast to the idea of "female-as-furniture" puts the discussion on another level: pretty much the same as that leveled at Allen Jones - though his figures were white - but with another set of prejudices thrown in for good measure.


I still think Dasha Zhukova and her friends should have known better than to use that chair in a photo-shoot, though:.  I'm not sure"pretty, but cluelessly prejudiced" is a public image you'd want to get around: even in Russia...


But to answer your question: I guess is someone sells it as "art", and someone else buys it as "art", it has to be considered as "art". Though, as Hank said above: in pretty bad taste


I think the problem

HankP's picture

is that the determination of what art is has moved so much to the conceptual side that the actual physical instantiation of the idea is secondary, which leads to problems. In effect you now have to determine the mindset of the artist before judging the art. I could even imagine a situation where two identical physical objects are regarded differently depending on the artists's intent, which is at the very least confusing and tends to make the entire modern idea of art vaguely ridiculous.


I blame it all on the Internet

If art is a language, much of the art world


has gotten caught up in the "language" of galleries, showings, persona and reputation, the experience of interacting with art, etc. Framing devices, in other words. Some of it is brilliant, some seems a little precious or pretentious, etc. Is it valid? Sure, I think so. Just as most representational painting is mediocre with a handful of exhilaratingly creative exceptions, so with conceptual art.  


Banksy is a genius at turning the art world's language against itself. There's a piece on the Upper West Side he did during his recent NYC residence: a little kid swinging a hammer to ring a carnival bell which is actually a fire alarm on the side of a building. Somebody, I assume the landlord, has protected it with plexiglas. Plexiglas. Now it's framed like a work of art, and you could probably get arrested for damaging it. It's a piece of flipping graffiti. And only mildly witty at that. But because Banksy is Banksy, it's an irreplaceable work of art. All I can say is, well played, dude.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

I like Jay C's monetarist (American?) view of art!

mmghosh's picture

Hank is just such a Puritan.


Completely agree that Banksy is a genius.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

C'mon, Manish, gimme a break...

Jay C's picture

... even I'm not so mercenary as to define "art" solely on its monetary value: let's just say that IMHO, the commodification/monetarization of an object (or, to stretch the definitions a bit, "concepts" or performances) isn't the essence of the object's classification, but rather just confirmation of it.


However, it's not as simple as an either/or dichotomy: there is a continuum. A chair can be just a chair: one can use it, keep it to look at, buy it or sell it, and it's still just a chair. A really nice chair - say, one made by a skilled craftsman - is still just a chair: you can still use or not, but it's still just a chair - although a perceived aesthetic value might boost its "worth". And if said chair is over 100 years old, it ca be pushed into the category of "antique" - and again, have itself monetarize. A chair made as a one-off by a recognized "artist" - another category altogether; in that case, its functionality is not the main point: and this point on the continuum is, I think, where Dasha Zhukova's chair MAY reside. Although, as a purely subjective opinion, I think it's pretty bad "art".


HankP's picture

can't remember anyone ever calling me that before.


Seriously, though, don't you see a problem with valuing art entirely on context and not on any intrinsic characteristics?


I blame it all on the Internet

Yes, It is terrific and meaningful...I'll Play & Contribute....


...my efforts in this busy week...(But Damn I am Impressive! These are best seen in the linked format)


In the Style of Georgia O'Keefe






An explanation...I am not sure that people are getting this (or its sense of menace), and the fine Photoshop work that went into it...See below the image for more.




In The Tunnel of the Night (with fog)


I was trying for a mood shot...I am not sure I achieved my goal or not




Best Wishes, Traveller


Edit: By the way, if the black chair is so offensive, (I think it true and meaningful, not misogynistic and racist), and has to be apologized for, then why is this famous white chair in the Tate?







Answer to my own question below

mmghosh's picture

no, there seems to be no limit to how far a jaw can drop.

One of Hong Kong’s richest men has offered a reward of nearly £40 million to the man who can woo his lesbian daughter.
Cecil Chao Sze-tsung, a property magnate, announced the HK$500million bounty this week after reports that his daughter Gigi Chao, 33, a University of Manchester graduate, entered a civil partnership with her long-term girlfriend in France.
Miss Chao has yet to comment on her father’s offer but her Facebook and Twitter accounts have been bombarded by people keen to become her friend. “No longer accepting Facebook friend requests … sorry,” she wrote.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Capsule reviews

HankP's picture

as long as I have to lay here with a tube in my kidney and a string sticking out of my d!ck, I might as well point you guys to some good movies (and away from some lousy ones). Give a spoiler warning if you want to go into details when discusssing them.


American Hustle - Excellent and highly recommended. The best cast I've seen in a movie in years, it says something when Jennifer Lawrence puts in the weakest performance. Amy Adams is great in a great role. I grew up in that time and place, and there were a few false notes, but nothing most people would notice. Everyone gets hustled, including the main characters and the audience.


Gravity - Incredible production design and cinematography, not much of a story. But that plays to Sandra Bullock's weaknesses (or strengths, depending on how you look at it). Yeah, there are some scientific errors but for Hollywood this is as accurate as it gets. Also, very good use of 3D not as a gimmick but to help orient the audience.


Drive - Minimalist filmmaking, but there's enough of a story there that it works. Excellent cinematography.


Only God Forgives - The director and lead actor from Drive get a bit too minimalist for me. Incredible cinematography, but Ryan Gosling manages to turn himself into a cipher. There's just not enough there in plot or characterization to build a movie around.


This is the End - Awful. Not funny and tiresome.


The Bling Ring - Not bad, but somewhat disappointing coming from Sophia Coppola. There's dark humor there but it goes a bit heavy on the "aren't these horrible shallow people" and very very light on revealing how they got to be as horrible and shallow as they are. If you want to see a much better (and funnier, but still pointed) movie about media and celebrity obsession try To Die For.


Jack Reacher - Typical Tom Cruise movie-like product.


Pacific Rim - I thought it would be fun, boy was I wrong. It's basically a Roger Corman movie with worse writing and better special effects. Cliched and headache inducing.


The World's End - Disappointing. Shallow and not really that funny. Shaun of the Dead >> Hot Fuzz >>>> The Worlds End.


World War Z - Boring. I really couldn't care less what happened by the end.


Europa Report - Not bad for an indie SF movie. Not great, but not bad.


The Raven - If you like to see John Cusack chewing the scenery as Edgar Allen Poe (and to be fair, he's pretty good at it) it's OK. If you want a much better version of a literary based 19th century murder mystery I'd recommend Murder by Decree.


Cosmopolis - If you like Cronenberg's later movies, you'll love this. Very dense and interesting, kind of a mutant cross between American Psycho and Citizen Kane. Robert Pattinson is surprisingly good at showing the pathology of power. Highly recommended.


The Brothers Bloom - Too cute


A Dangerous Method - Another very good Cronenberg film. Excellent writing and acting, with the exception that Keira Knightly doesn't really have a handle on her character that well in the beginning of the movie. Viggo Mortenson and Michael Fassbender are excellent.


Cloud Atlas - The definition of ambitious, but in some places the story gets away from the directors. The ending was a bit too pat for me, and some of the story threads didn't really integrate as well as they could have. That being said, it's one hell of a roller coaster ride with some excellent individual performances (Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess and Hugh Grant, of all people, are particularly good). Even Tom Hanks manages to act in one segment.


Zero Dark Thirty - Just awful. I really didn't see what the fuss was about, the movie just didn't impress my in the writing, acting or directorial level.


Silver Linings Playbook - Not my kind of movie, I'm afraid. I can appreciate that there were some good aspects to it, but it didn't do anything for me. Surprisingly good acting by Bradley Cooper, which made his role in American Hustle a bit less surprising.


A Single Man - Incredible performance by Colin Firth and fantastic use of directing and cinematography to tell a story visually as well as through dialog. Highly recommended.


Django Unchained - Entertaining, but Quentin Tarentino is going a bit overboard with the revenge fantasies at this point. I found the story very well written and paced, but I thought the acting was uneven. Not really impressed with Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio, Foxx was a bit too minimalist and DiCaprio a bit over the top. Christophe Waltz was very good. Also the brutality was wearing - yes, I know it was making a point but I thought it was excessive.


The Master - Wow. What a great movie, the writing, acting and directing are just excellent. This movie will tell you more about power relationships and leadership (and followership) than any other movie I can think of.  More than anything else it shows the relationship between those looking for answers and those providing them. Highly recommended.


Breaking Bad - Finally got the time to watch the whole thing from beginning to end and boy am I glad I did that rather than pick it up in the middle. The most consistently excellent writing and acting in a TV series since The Sopranos, and one where the overall story arc at least appeared to be well thought out in advance. Like The Sopranos, though, I have a hard time understanding how anyone can look at the main characters as anything other than monsters.


I blame it all on the Internet

I think that Pacific Rim needs to be watched like pr0n, i.e.


You're not watching it for the story or the human relations but rather for giant robots punching monsters in the face. But if you just enjoy the giant robots punching and stabbing the monsters, it's tremendous fun.


Agree completely about WWZ.


I just now started watching Breaking Bad and am only to Season 3, episode 6 and I'm already starting to get over-full on the evil. It's not even halfway through and I'm already finding Walt to be a detestable and loathsome human being. But it's great as a general exploration of evil and the many different ways evil's expressed. Not entirely sure how far into the series I'm going to be able to make it, though.

No spoilers

HankP's picture

you're at about the halfway point. When I was watching, I thought at that point that there was still the possibility that Walt could get himself out of the situation he was in and back to some semblance of normality. Not sure if you've seen The Sopranos, but I never got that feeling about Tony Soprano, it seemed much more of a deterministic story (the big fall) and the only question was how it would play out.


I strongly recommend finishing the series. It gets stronger in the next two seasons.



I blame it all on the Internet

(Spoilers for anyone who hasn't watched Breaking Bad) It was at


the early episodes of Season 3 that you really see a window opened onto Walt's character--and what you see isn't good. And it's not actually the meth cooking and increasingly casual disregard for human life that's the worst of it. When Walt manipulates Walt Jr. and everyone in his and Sky's social circle to make Sky look like a crazy b**h who's divorcing him for no reason, he's not actually breaking any laws, but he's showing the same complete self-centeredness (dressed up in his own self image as a Man Who Does What He Needs for His Family).


And that's what led me to think that earlier, nebbishy Walt wasn't actually a decent person. He was still a bad guy who was just too timid to act on what he was. 


So it's around this point, this realization of how deep the rot in Walt's soul goes, that I sort of quit holding out hope for Walt's repentance.

I never expected repentance

HankP's picture

I did think there might be an escape from the situation he got himself into. But there was never any doubt that WW was a monster.


I blame it all on the Internet

Do as I Did...Skip to the Last 8 Episodes (S6)...and Have Fun



....I just couldn't give over that much of my life to Water White.


But the last 8 hours as a cultural event...sure.


And I enjoyed it just fine.


Best Wishes, Traveller


HankP's picture

don't skip the 4th season. Just don't.


I blame it all on the Internet

Apollo 13 was as accurate as it gets.


I mean, they filmed the freefall scenes in actual freefall (Gravity's freefall still looks better though). Gravity's bone-stupid orbital science was a deal-breaker for me, brought me out of what was otherwise a gorgeous, exciting and well-made movie. It's possible that I know more about the space program than the average moviegoer, but I think the dumb backstory dooms what could have been a classic space movie to be forgotten in a few years.


My problem with Django wasn't the revenge fantasy, which suits me just fine. It's the weird off-the-rails third act. Same exact thing that happens in Basterds... at some point in the final 10-20 minutes the wheels come off and nothing makes sense anymore. It seems like a new tic of Tarantino's, kind of like David Lynch's obsession with narrative breaks like you see in Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive and Inland Empire.


Breaking Bad was better than the Sopranos, at least as a coherent narrative with a clear, powerfully emotional focus. Its one serious flaw was that you lose sympathy for Walter too soon. The power of watching a story about an interesting character going to hell is when they almost manage to take you with them... but I have a feeling most people who aren't wannabe criminals themselves were done with Walter after one or two horrendously evil things he pulls on characters we care about. For most people by the end of 3 or the end of 4 he's no longer a person worth saving, and you're mostly rooting for Jesse, Skyler, Hank or some other side character, though they all have their loathsome qualities. Walter almost reels you back in in the final few episodes, but the damage was done. 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

I agree on Gravity

HankP's picture

I think they made it (mostly) look better. But it was a different story, Apollo 13 was supposed to make the audience feel claustrophobic while Gravity was supposed to make one feel the immensity of space. Yes, the orbital dynamics (especially the 5 minute warning bit) was pretty silly. I think it was successful because of the driving storyline despite the weakness of Sandra Bullock's character, but really, what did you expect from her? The less she has to say the better for the film. Overall I thought it was well made, but not a great movie. When I saw it I was somewhat confused about all the accolades it was receiving.


My complaint about Django Unchained was in the fantasy part of the revenge fantasy. Yes, like Basterds it just became ... silly towards the end. I thought they both were building up to a epic climax, but they became too cartoony. Tarantino used to be the master of the gritty ending, not so much lately. I'm getting to the point where I'm hoping he does an adaptation or two, his original stories are just not as complete or compelling as they used to be. Or at least it seems that he's having trouble writing a complete, satisfying ending.


I kind of disagree about Breaking Bad. Tony Soprano was shown to be monstrous pretty early in the series, while Walter White did do some altruistic things right up to the end - certainly much more altruistic than Tony Soprano. While James Gandolfini the actor was more charismatic than Bryan Cranston (IMO), his character was far, far worse.


I blame it all on the Internet

I Have Not Seen Gravity


I knew early on that the orbital dynamics were wrong. As someone who follows NASA and SpaceX pretty much launch by launch, this would have been incredibly distracting to me. I can do complete fiction (i.e. Star Trek), but I think it's lazy to portray real technology and fake basic elements to force a plot into place. There is so much that can go wrong is space, they didn't need to do that. It was just expedient.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

I Would Have Thought That You Had a Duty to See Gravity...


....not only see it, but see it in Imax 3D.


Yes, much of the story line, such as it was, is preposterous....yet, beautiful....evocative of what is maybe best in the human soul.


There was much to look past in traditional story telling, and of course in the "physics," of the thing....but, at some basic visceral level, Gravity took you there.


And that was not weak beer at all.


Best Wishes, Traveller

Like MA says, so much can go wrong in space,


they could have easily had an incredibly gripping, beautiful, thrilling story that didn't violate most of the basic realities of orbital mechanics. A fire on the ISS space station, meteor strikes, even a collision cascade, all of that could happen. Evacuate to the shuttle, then when that fails evacuate to the Soyuz. You could have had plenty of spacewalking, lots of explosions, all of the immense and disorientingly beautiful solitude of space... and you wouldn't have had to pretend that everything in space occupies the exact same low earth orbit, or that you can fly with a fire extinguisher, or that a man at the end of a tether in freefall has to cut the rope to save his friends mountain climber-style, etc. 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

You Guys Don't Get The Style


Django has two endings. The real one, when Django is through, and the fake cowboy riding into the sunset one which is corny and looks, deliberately, like a 1970's spaghetti western. The way the woman is blown back several feet from a shotgun blast coming down from the wrong angle, all sorts of details that scream 1975, even the colors and lighting. It's an inside joke for movie fanatics like Tarantino himself, and a very detailed one at that.


The climax of the story is when DiCaprio's character realizes he's been beat, but absolutely cannot stand it, and so demands that they shake hands on the deal. He knows that a guy like Schultz in the 19th century, would attach real meaning to handshake and would absolutely loathe to do it, if able at all. It's just awesome how the scene creates an impossible situation out of a handshake request, something that today would not happen, except maybe in dealings between street gangs.


To me it's a flawless film, if you understand the language. I enjoyed every frame.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

The Schultz handshake


seemed out of character to me. That was in fact the exact moment and scene where the movie just said screw it and went off the rails. Up until this moment Schultz has been a brilliantly pragmatic, amoral outsider who's fully amenable to taking advantage of any local rule or custom. His lack of scruple is his defining characteristic, so long as what he wants is achievable within the letter of the law. It completely threw me when he suddenly acquired a misplaced sense of honor. 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes



Schultz is not someone I would characterize as amoral. What amoral act did he commit? His relationship with Django clearly shows, nearly from the get go, that he is a man of his word and one with empathy for those he respects. He is never portrayed as an opportunistic sociopath. He kills bad guys. That he makes a living from that is not a sign of amorality.


Also, his deep dislike of Calvin Candie and all he stands for is clear. Nor is it a secret that Schultz dislikes slavery and holds slave traders in contempt. His very first act is in the movie is to allow captured slaves to kill the trader who was moving them.


I think the movie went off the rails for you because you read Schultz all wrong. Of course he is brilliantly pragmatic, but not amoral, nor unkind at all. If anything, he has a strongly structured code of principles and behavior. He is just the guy for that scene.


The very reason he was in that room in the first place was to rescue Broomhilda, a person he never even met before. How pragmatic is that? There was no money or advantage in it for Schultz.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

He uses legal technicalities to assassinate people for


money. Amoral doesn't mean chaotic: he does indeed have a code he sticks to. If there's a legal and/or customary procedure that will get him what he wants, then he will follow that procedure. He obtains warrants, he kills people, he collects rewards. The difference between what he does and murder for hire is a legal technicality. He does many immoral things, but he doesn't do illegal things. Schultz would be "lawful neutral" in the D&D world. He helps Django because Django fits a classic quest archetype: the hero who has been wronged, and now must save his one true love. That too shows Schultz playing by the rules, in this case the ornate rules of medieval romance. His behavior is entirely coded. That's why suddenly losing his temper over distaste for a common gesture of Southern hospitality, wrecking the quest just as they're on the brink of success, and after following the code for so long, seems completely out of character. At least to me. 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes



I don't get it. How can you can be a medieval romantic without being acutely in tune with symbolism. The handshake was not about southern hospitality. The handshake was soiling his hand and his person through contact with someone of the most mean and abhorrent character. I fail to see how a medieval romantic could just ignore that. You can see he's fighting with himself. His pragmatic side against his romantic side. It's a great scene.


And no, the difference between what he does and murder for hire is not a legal technicality. A murderer can kill any one for any reason or no reason, so long as he gets paid. Schultz can only kill those who have committed a crime, or several, grave enough to be wanted dead or alive. That's not a legal technicality, which is a legal trick based on facts that are otherwise inconsequential to a situation. I would say that being a wanted criminal of substantial consequence.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

It's the first time in the movie Schultz has shown any


revulsion for the people he has to deal with. You haven't seen him fight with himself at any prior point in the movie. On the contrary, he's always impeccably formal and polite to slaves, slavers, wanted fugitives, everyone. He doesn't judge. He's like Colombo. He shows no revulsion either for his own incredibly brutal profession or for the people he's executing warrants on. I'd have to see the movie again, but I don't believe everyone they kill for a bounty is a murderer, or even guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

No, I get the style

HankP's picture

I grew up watching those kinds of movies from the 70s. I still think the ending of Django (like the ending for Basterds) was over the top without the kinds of hints in the story that would explain the reason for the sudden change in the narrative. I also get why Schultz would refuse the handshake. But I think you need to give the audience a bit more if you want them to make sense out of the ending, rather than just guess at the writer's and director's intent or make up theories about what was meant. A good script leads you to the conclusion, it doesn't just throw the ending out there.


I blame it all on the Internet



Why does the writer have to tell you everything? Audiences need to fill in some blanks.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

I don't need everything explained

HankP's picture

but some sort of hint at a framework where such a major change is coming from is not too much to ask for. Unless you want to dismiss the whole thing as a fever dream.


I blame it all on the Internet

Oh, Come On...


It's a fairly common double ending. Hollywood has been doing these for years now. Audiences don't like to leave the theater on a down note, so you get the real ending and then you get the Disney one, with pretty clear delineation. If the movie is crappy they don't bother with the double ending and just give you the happy ending. But a decent commercial movie will put both in. Tarantino takes you to the depths of human depravity and pulls you out with a spectacle. It's like comic relief.


I mean how else can this movie end? You don't build up all that tension and then have Schultz do the rational thing and everybody walks away, the end. Schultz has been hating Candie's guts through one scene after another. They just have to go at it. You know it's coming. You should, anyway.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

I'm Waiting For The Quentin Tarantino Biblical Revenge Fantasy

M Scott Eiland's picture

It would be fascinating to watch a director/writer who specializes in over the top revenge tales to try to amp up the ones already in the Old Testament.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

MSE you should put out a warning

mmghosh's picture

before ruining people's keyboards.


Truly great line.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Mel Gibson might beat him to the punch.


Plus, Aronofsky went and turned the Noah story into a Russell Crowe action movie. 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

I'm pretty sure it won't just be an action movie

HankP's picture

I really like everything Aronofsky has done and I'd bet there's going to be much more to his movie than just an action flick.


I blame it all on the Internet

You're probably right. I was just going by the trailer,


which looked quite a bit like the trailer for I, Frankenstein.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

I didn't actually believe what you just wrote, so I googled

mmghosh's picture

and its true...This movie is being made!

Nick Nolte is to voice the leader of six-armed angels the Nephilim in Darren Aronofsky's biblical epic

Is there no physiological limit to how far a jaw can actually drop?

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Surprisingly Enough. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .Emma Watson is *not* playing the Wrath of God, much to the surprise of those who know that you do not f*** with Hermione Granger. ]:-)

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Hank, One of the Almost Best Noir Intro Lines I've Seen...


...your opening...which I won't repeat.


Regardless, most of your movie reviews were spot on.


It was shocking how bad Pacific Rim was....and I love Guillermo, but crap is always still unappealing. Likewise This is the End and World War Z...so much potential, squandered.


I am glad you accepted the premise of Only God Forgives....I thought it fabulous as...catching something true about the viciousness of Asian violence and the Asian Psyche.


Many people disagree.


Get Better...at your own pace.


Best Wishes, Traveller



I'm glad you've both warned me off of Pacific Rim.


I was idly curious. I enjoyed the Anime it was based on - Neon Genesis Evagelion

Another thumbs down for Pacific Rim.


There are a number of ambitious ideas in the film (telepathy, geopolitics, the cost of war, etc.) but none of them are developed with any coherence. Meanwhile the film is marred by a string of Hollywood stock characters... the hard-ass commander with a softhearted backstory, the wounded and reluctant hero, the cocky rival, the hard-to-get love interest, the plucky comic relief, the other plucky comic relief, the Ron Perlman comic relief... that the overall effect is a hodgepodge of half-baked ideas that are really only there as an excuse for the actors to chew scenery. The film should be cut down to 65 minutes of giant robots punching lizards, renamed Punching Lizards, and rereleased as a kind of sequel to Real Steel

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

I thought you'd like Only God Forgives

HankP's picture

I'd guess that you also liked The Thin Red Line, No Country For Old Men, and other movies that have a photographer's sense of composition in their cinematography.


I blame it all on the Internet

Evangelical moral theology


on birth control is gradually coming into line with Rome's. More and more evangelical leaders are saying that not only abortion, but also contraceptive use is a sin. This affects national politics in that the GOP essentially claims to be the party not only of Jesus Christ, but of the Jesus Christ of evangelical Christianity in particular. And this is leading to public voices of the Part of Jesus Christ denouncing birth control.


I am not entirely certain how targeting non-generative sex is going to be at all helpful to the GOP's long-term electoral success. I mean, yes, in the mid-terms when the elections will be cast as the faithful voting for the Party of Jesus Christ over the Party of Satan, evangelicals and conservative Catholics will come to the polls in much greater numbers than those without much in the way of strong religious convictions. But all this does is buy the GOP a few more years.


I am really not seeing where this strategy goes...

Smear by Amanda Marcotte

Bird Dog's picture

Because what she portrayed Huckabee as saying was not what Huckabee said. There is nothing inconsistent with favoring birth control yet opposing our government subsidizing birth control. If there's any hypocrisy, it's that Huckabee is not a small-government conservative. He favors all kinds of spending, just not on that.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Call me Jon Huntsman, but is that the right Marcotte link?

brutusettu's picture

It looks like Marcotte said that Huckabee claimed that Dems think women cannot keep the aspirin between their knees if Uncle Sugar isn't keeping them supplied with birth control.



Call me Jon Huntsman, but it looks like Huckabee comments seem from so far out of nowhere, that he is the one that thinks women need to stop taking birth control and control their libido by holding that aspirin in place, and that anything Huck adds on is just adding on other reasons why he indirectly wants a situation that ends in more unwanted pregnancies.

I would completely believe that


it was just about the state not mandating that insurers pay for something were it not for 1) Huckabee making it about women's "libidos" and 2) all the accompanying rhetoric of how progestin MURDERS BABIES by preventing implantation. Did you read the Mohler piece?

I read it

Bird Dog's picture

I'm a conservative and a Christian and he doesn't speak for me, and I'm sure he doesn't speak for a multitude of conservative Christians. Also, I didn't see a single scriptural reference in the article that spoke against contraception, let alone made it a sin.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009


M Scott Eiland's picture

This has all been over an Amanda Marcotte screed? Apologies to Mike Huckabee, then.*

*-Q: How many Amanda Marcottes does it take to change a light bulb?

A: That's not funny and you're enabling rape culture.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

What was the view of American Catholics generally

mmghosh's picture

to The Prohibition?

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Catholics were generally "wets" or anti-prohibition

HankP's picture

while most Protestants (with the exception of Lutherans and Episcopalians) were "drys". So I guess the more things change ...


I blame it all on the Internet

I Haven't Seen A Poll On It Lately. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .but my experience from talking to pro-life college age Catholics back in the day was that they would oppose abortion with vigor, but that Rome could go chase itself with regard to birth control. My guess is that Republican leaders of even the most religious conservative purity are going to say likewise to any Protestant preachers who come a knocking with that riff.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

This is what I've found to be so peculiar about the fight on the


Contraceptive mandate. The degree to which evangelical political leaders have thrown in 110% with the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church on opposing the contraceptive mandate of ACA is surprising. More surprising still is the language about progestin actually being an abortifacient. The anti-contraceptive folks also appear to be taking the same route the anti-evolution folks did back in the 70s: they're hitting the Southern Baptist seminaries and working from the top down.


HankP's picture

where else could it go? In the struggle of good vs. evil, what other possible outcome could there be?


This isn't about politics anymore, but about whether good or evil will triumph.


I blame it all on the Internet

Chvrches (Scottish synthpop band)

brutusettu's picture

"Winter Does Not Disprove Global Warming"

brutusettu's picture

Among a legion of others, Erick, son of Erick:



The difference between people who believe in the 2nd coming of Jesus and those who believe in global warming is that Jesus will return.


US Rep John Fleming (R):

"Global warming" isn't so warm these days.


The good folks at Coca-Cola seems unconvinced by US Representative Fleming et al*:


Coca-Cola has always been more focused on its economic bottom line than on global warming, but when the company lost a lucrative operating license in India because of a serious water shortage there in 2004, things began to change.

Today, after a decade of increasing damage to Coke’s balance sheet as global droughts dried up the water needed to produce its soda, the company has embraced the idea of climate change as an economically disruptive force.


*still with bonus member of the House John Fracking Shimkus

It's funny

HankP's picture

you wouldn't think the word "global" would be so hard to understand.


I blame it all on the Internet

A world sporting event built on the death of workers.

mmghosh's picture

How long can this atrocity continue in the full glare of the world's campaigning journalists and media?

The extent of the risks faced by migrant construction workers building the infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar has been laid bare by official documents revealing that 185 Nepalese men died last year alone.


According to the documents the total number of verified deaths among workers from Nepal – just one of several countries that supply hundreds of thousands of migrant workers to the gas-rich state – is now at least 382 in two years alone.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

I don't have a clue on the work-hours to death ratio

brutusettu's picture

In the USA, "4,383 workers were killed on the job in 2012"


300+ more were killed during 2011 while at work.



A few construction sites probably has a lot less work-hours. 

So its OK then?

mmghosh's picture


freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

I don't know how to scale it. It's bad but to what degee IDK

brutusettu's picture

But I do know for all intents and purposes that those works sites would never pass an OSHA inspection

I thought the US figures were high....

Jay C's picture

...but, according to OSHA, not really:


4,383 workers were killed on the job in 2012 [BLS revised 2012 workplace fatality data*] (3.2 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers) – on average, more than 84 a week or nearly 12 deaths every day. (This is the second lowest preliminary total since the fatal injury census was first conducted in 1992.)

Though, given the relative size of the countries, and their workforces, the number of Nepalese "guest workers'" casualties from laboring in near-slavery in Qatar is probably a lot higher, on a percentage basis, than ours. And of course, injured/killed workers here usually get some sort of benefits. IIRC, most Arab countries charge "guest workers'" families for the cost of shipping their bodies home....

It's Not Good

M Scott Eiland's picture

But it isn't necessarily out of the standard range of risk for work of that sort. If the rate is 185 out of multiple hundreds of thousands, then US timber cutters apparently die at a higher rate, and that ain't being abolished any time soon.*

*--incidentally, if you're thinking of starting a company that hires timber cutters, be sure to set aside plenty of money for workers compensation insurance--the rate will be *at least* 15% of your gross payroll, possibly more.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

It depends

HankP's picture

a buddy of mine got hired at a roofing company, and saved that small company ~$200K a year in workers comp payments by doing some real basic stuff - like making sure the guys wore safety harnesses, implementing a buddy system on rooftops, etc. Lots of the ridiculously high charges are for companies that don't take safety seriously.


I blame it all on the Internet

Yes, A Good Safety Record And Precautions Saves Money

M Scott Eiland's picture

But even "reasonable" workers comp for that sort of work costs a lot--it's just a matter of how bad the hit is. And given the injury and fatality rate in the profession, there's good reason for that.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Thanks Jordan

HankP's picture

but really, I'm OK. A bit sore in places you really don't want to be sore in, but not a big deal.


I blame it all on the Internet

Hank, we've got donations coming in by the truckload.


And prayers. Of course, the prayers. But can we keep this prayer circle thing going just a bit longer, until we make sure you've made a complete and full recovery?

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Speaking of donations

HankP's picture

you guys did a great job ordering through the Amazon and Powell's links. I think we're close to being paid up for the coming year.


If you're going to be praying that hard, better get a thick rug. The doc said it will be at least 4 or 5 days until I'm back to normal.


I blame it all on the Internet



I ordered a bunch of books with my research budget recently ...everybody thank yonsei university

Speaking of funneling money into your pockets,


how exactly does that work? Does the site get money for every clickthrough? Do you get money for orders completed? Do we have to be signed in for it to count? If we link through and then purchase something already in our cart, do you get money? What if we link through, put something in our cart, but then don't complete the order... do you get credit if we complete the order later? Or does Amazon simply know what we want in our hearts without our having to ask?

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

If you click on the link and order

HankP's picture

then we get a commission. No commission for anything other than completed orders (and we get charged back if the order is canceled or refunded). Not sure how long the cookie lasts after the first clickthrough, also not sure if it works after you've filled your shopping cart. The safest way to make sure we get the money is to click through and order in that session.


The biggest difference is that I have some clients that have me build them specialty CAD or Photoshop machines, so those usually yield ~5% commission on $1500 - 2000 per machine.

I blame it all on the Internet

NRA members and supporters, riddle me this.


The Commonwealth of Virginia has seen fit to allow private citizens to carry firearms within its state legislature. Okay. I can think of reasons why that's not such a good idea, but hey.  


But at a recent protest, Capitol police confiscated the little 12" dowel rods used to wave little American flags from a group of gun control protesters. The reason: no sticks in the Capitol building. And the reason for that: they might be used as a weapon.  



"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

I really loved having a little pocketknife on my keychain,

Bird Dog's picture

until I tried to get into the local county courthouse. I have no explanation gross stupidity.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Why don't they just stick a barrel in those dowels?

brutusettu's picture

The security apparatus that bans the sticks thinks allowing guns is a stupid f***ing idea and are still banning potential weapons that the legislature, in their infinite wisdom, haven't explicitly allowed.

That really is clever

HankP's picture

you can bring anything anywhere, just make it a key functional part of a working firearm.


I blame it all on the Internet

A flag gun!


Brutus, that's such a brilliant idea I think you should go out and patent it right this minute. Dead serious. And I don't mean the kind of flag gun that has a little flag that pops out and says "Bang!" Oh no, this is the real article: a miniature stars and stripes banner with a high-caliber pistol barrel for a flagpole. Get it on the market in the next couple months and come this Fourth of July, you won't be able to feel like a patriotic American unless you're toting your own genuine .44 magnum American flag gun.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Obligatory Batman reference



Go to the 2:45 mark if you're the impatient type.

"In large states public education will always be mediocre, for the same reason that in large kitchens the cooking is usually bad."~Nietzsche

Compulsive irony. It's a deadly affliction. -nt-



"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

A flag gun!

mmghosh's picture




freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Way ahead of you Manish.


See my disclaimer about the "bang" flag.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Ok Ok

mmghosh's picture

apologies, but I don't see why Bang could not be replaced by a S&S

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency