Friday, June 30, 2017

"Oral History Research Method" and "Oral History in the Digital Age."


Number One on the Billboard Charts, Then and Now

Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer, "No More Tears (Enough is Enough."

Three Songs About California

"How Gotham Gave Us Trump."

How Gotham Gave Us Trump," a Politico article that also provides an overview of a different time and place.

"What DID Happen to Peak Oil?"


The Ice Archive

Greta Van Susteren Out at MSNBC

I never watched Greta on CNN, Fox News, or MSNBC.

That's the first time I've heard of "BSNBC." But I've heard it called "MSLSD" and "MSDNC" countless times.

Galliano, "Jus' Reach."

En Vogue, "Give It Up Turn It Loose."

From Funky Divas, 1992.

Kunstler: The Technicolor Swan and When the Deal Goes Down.

Kunstler is a registered Democrat but despises the modern party. Perhaps he could register as an independent.

Kunstler: The Technicolor Swan.

I registered as a Democrat in 1972 — largely because good ole Nixon was at the height of his power (just before his fall, of course), and because he was preceded as party leader by Barry Goldwater, who, at the time, was avatar for the John Birch Society and all its poisonous nonsense. The Democratic Party was still deeply imbued with the personality of Franklin Roosevelt, with a frosting of the recent memory of John F. Kennedy and his brother Bobby, tragic, heroic, and glamorous. I was old enough to remember the magic of JFK’s press conferences — a type of performance art that neither Bill Clinton or Barack Obama could match for wit and intelligence — and the charisma of authenticity that Bobby projected in the months before that little creep shot him in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel. Even the lugubrious Lyndon Johnson had the heroic quality of a Southerner stepping up to abolish the reign of Jim Crow.

Lately, people refer to this bygone era of the 1960s as “the American High” — and by that they are not talking about smoking dope (though it did go mainstream then), but rather the post World War Two economic high, when American business might truly ruled the planet. Perhaps the seeming strength of American political leaders back then was merely a reflection of the country’s economic power, which since has been squandered and purloined into a matrix of rackets loosely called financialization — a criminal magic act whereby wealth is generated without producing anything of value.


Kunstler: When the Deal Goes Down.

Who needs Russia when the Tweety-Bird-in-Chief is hacking his own presidency into a global joke? Or at least it might be a joke if the USA weren’t such a menace to international order, and to itself, by the way. Interestingly, the 25th amendment allows for the removal of a president from office on account of incompetence or disability, but not for being an embarrassment to the nation.

They may come after him anyway with the 25th, especially as the financial system unravels later this year, because this time, unlike 2008-9, central bank interventions will not avail to rescue the faltering money system from nine years of previous central bank interventions. All it takes is for the “liquidity” flows to seize up and before you know it, there’s no food in the supermarkets because everything in our just-in-time economy is exquisitely calibrated to the sure expectation of getting paid, and when that goes, it all goes.

More here.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Monday, June 26, 2017

Various Tweets

I didn't know.

Surprising. But West Virginia, according to this, is not really part of the Bible Belt.

(Via @msscheffer)

You'll never know what you'll find at the free-materials cart at the local library. A few days ago I picked up this very issue therefrom.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Roberta Flack, "Making Love."

Kunstler: Rain Dance. (Plus, McCain.)

Kunstler: Rain Dance.

Think of the ObamaCare reform debate now playing in the US Senate as the final gurglings of polity that knows it is whirling around the drain. They’re pretending to attempt to fix a racket that comprises eight percent of the American economy. Yikes! How did that happen? At the beginning of the 20th century it was one-quarter of one percent (.25 percent) of the economy.


The standard explanation is that, first, Medicare jacked up overall healthcare activity in the 1960s, hauling in a customer-base of old folks who previously received no special treatment and were, generally, less well than non-old folk. Secondarily, technological innovation opened up so many new methods of disease control for everybody, young and old, that we’re able to treat more sickness in more complicated ways — and that drove costs up way further.

The greater part of the story remains neatly concealed within the matrix of rackets erected around the money-flows since the big cost bump-up in the 1960s, and these involve insurance companies, Big Pharma, corporatized doctors’ practices, hospital monopolies, and, of course, politicians on-the-take dividing amongst each other a colossal pool of grift that exists mainly for one simple reason: the cost of everything is hidden from public view.

Nobody has any idea what anything costs. Certainly not the patients, sometimes called “customers” or “consumers” — but really hostages. If you go into the hospital for a stent in the left descending coronary artery, nobody will tell you what it costs, starting with the doctors who have performed the procedure a thousand times. They can’t even estimate the cost (or won’t), though they could probably give you a pretty good ballpark number for the cost-and-installation of a new fuel pump on their BMW-28i.

Charges for medical care are never discussed with the patient. Doctors especially pretend to regard such a proposition as beneath the dignity of their profession, rather like British aristocrats regarded all questions pertaining to money in the Downton Abby scheme of things — a filthy business better left to the servants, like disposing of the table-scraps. Of course the “servants” in the hospital scheme of things are a fantastic hierarchy of dangerously overfed clerks overwhelmed by the anomie of spending countless hours typing fictitious numbers into their work stations. A more pointless life can hardly be conceived. If you ask the ones who “interface” with you at the check-out counter how your bill was toted up exactly, you will receive nothing more than a pitiless stare of contempt — which is actually aimed inward at their own existential quandaries, a pathological dynamic that perhaps deserves attention from the research funding troughs.

The cost of everything medical is worked out in a private rain-dance between the aforementioned manifold concerned parties on the basis of what they think they can get away with in any particular case. In hospitals, this is enabled by the notorious ChargeMaster system which, to put it as simply as possible, allows hospitals to just make shit up.

More here.

Edit: And might I say that I've never cared for McCain, not even in 2000, when the media was chattering about him as an alternative to George Bush. This is just another reason why. #mccaintheweathervane

Monday, June 19, 2017

Kunstler: Absent Without Leave.

Kunstler: Absent Without Leave.

It ain’t bragging if it’s true. I’ve said repeatedly on this blog for years that the federal government would only become more impotent, more incompetent, and more ineffectual as The Long Emergency rolled out. And here we are now, at just such pass in history. More here.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Nancy Nall's New Typeface

I visited a few minutes ago, and I love the new cursive typeface. I'm going to hazard a guess that it's Vanilla Daisy Script.

20 June update: JC Burns replies:

Spectral is indeed the body copy font, designed specifically for extra screen legibility for long reads—and the wacky summer-y script font is Pacifico (also sourced from Google web fonts.)

About Spectral.

About Pacifico.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly vs. 60 Minutes

I haven't watched 60 Minutes in ages, except for its feature on Bruno Mars. I don't plan to watch Megyn Kelly.


I never had any use for Megyn Kelly. Unlike the people I referenced in my first sentence, she’s capable of coming around to humane positions on some issues, as long as they affect her personally. [Emphasis mine.--P.Z.] She was against mandated maternal leave until she had children; she was dismissive of sexual harassment claims until the late Roger Ailes started creeping on her. If, God forbid, one of her kids ever gets shot at school, I doubt she’ll have Alex Jones on her show again. --bitter scribe,

19 June 2017: CNN: The interview ratings. The hullabaloo didn't make too many people watch.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Kunstler: Moby Trump.

Kunstler: Moby Trump.

He breached out of the horse latitudes in the Great Sea of Politics last spring and destroyed all the lesser whales with his mighty flukes, but now the Democratic Pequod, with its diverse and inclusive crew has vowed to chase him to the ends of the earth until he spouts black blood and rolls dead out. It’s Moby Trump! Skin your eyes for him men (and women, and intersectional non-binary zhes, theys, and hirs)! Do ye see a Bitcoin nailed to yonder mast? It goes to ye who raises me that whale of white privilege!

Who is Ahab in this story? Why The New York Times, of course. Such is the vastness of its pious obsession with the cosmic malignity of Moby Trump, who chomped off Ahab’s limb — fondly known as Hillary — the last time the Pequod set sail. With Jim Comey as Starbuck, the ever-upright Quaker mate, cool, aloof, marinated in rectitude, yet deadly with his lance.

And so the great American tragedy plays out on C-Span.

Remember, though, that in the original tale penned by the loser (never made a buck) Herman Melville, the white whale sank the Pequod in a final, desperate, whorl of vengeance, while Ahab drowned entwined in his own harpoon lines, pinned upon the very hump of his inscrutable quarry. And I alone am left to tell thee….

More here.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

I don't know about lifeless but creepy, yes


The Chrises, from left to right: Pine, Hemsworth, Evans, Pratt.

Forthcoming: "Why Kunstler?"

In the near future I plan to post "Why Kunstler?" in which I figure where I agree and disagree with Kunstler (and his supporters and detractors).

Monday, June 05, 2017

Kunstler: Gimme Shelter

Kunstler essentially sees Russia as a country with its act together.

Kunstler: Gimme Shelter

“Have you all lost your mind?” Vladimir Putin replied to one of Megyn Kelly’s thrusts about alleged Russian perfidy toward the US in the gala interview that debuted her new Sunday Night star-chamber on CNN [Actually, she's now on NBC--P.Z.]. Old Vlad put his finger on something there. His view of the late goings-on in America is like that of the proverbial detached Martian observer of strange Earthly doings, rattling his antennae and clicking his mouth-parts in mirth.

To which retort, by the way, one would have to answer, ”Yes, absolutely.” The toils of slow economic collapse, accompanied by the ceaseless effort by various arms of the Deep State to spin “the narrative” around the voting public’s collective head, has driven the polity insane. And this, of course, is on view in the bedlam that US politics has become, Trump and all. I’m waiting for The New York Times to run the three-column headline that says Russia Racist, Misogynist, and Islamophobic to finally bring together the programmed paranoia of NeoCon / DemProg alliance with the esprit de corp of the new collegiate Red Guard.

Mr. Putin does not have to lift a finger to detonate the groaning garbage barge of US domestic affairs. It’s already ignited and is faring toward a very peculiar species of civil war. You can be sure that the NeoCon / DemProg axis is determined to get rid of Trump at all costs. Impeachment requires some sort of high crime or misdeamenor. So far, going on a year, they haven’t come up with any evidence that the Golden Golem of Greatness acted as a Russian agent in some fashion, and that itself has got to be a little suspicious, considering the thousands of clerks in the spinning mills of those legendary seventeen Intel outfits the government runs. How could they fail to come up with a video of the Donald and Vladimir swatting each other playfully with birch switches in a Moscow banya? Five TV sitcom writers could surely come up with an angle — as long as it was a plausible entertainment.

More here.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

The Griffin Thing

is another manufactured controversy/much ado about nothing/a consequence of foolish behavior/a golden opportunity for grandstanding and shilling merchandise.

6 June update: From September 2014, "Reappraisals: The Passion of Kathy Griffin."

Octave Minds feat. Chance the Rapper, "Tap Dance."

Friday, June 02, 2017

Kunstler: The So-Called Resistance and Covfefe Land

This week (Monday and today), Kunstler posted two columns about the anti-Trump Resistance movement. He finds both the Resistance and the pro-Trump movements severely lacking in what it takes to deal with the real problem: a contracting economy due in part to oil scarcity.

Kunstler: The So-Called Resistance.

Entropy never sleeps. It works remorselessly to transform things of value into useless, dissipated waste and heat. Complexity stokes it especially as the law of diminishing returns multiplies the wheels of futility spinning down to zero. Hence, the intellectual decay of American life in which spin is everything, anything goes, and nothing matters.

The latest manifestation of this dynamic is the curious movement that styles itself The Resistance, lately adopted by the grotesque handmaiden of the Deep State that the Democratic Party became in the regency of Hillary Clinton. Its mission is to undo the results of the last national election by claiming that Russia undid it. It pretends to seek the restoration of something — but what? Of dissipated power relations within the Deep State itself?

President Trump is actually taking care of that by turning government management over to his generals and the minions of Goldman Sachs. The generals are reinvesting in the strategic black hole of our military adventures overseas. The Goldman Sachs appointees are making Wall Street safe for the continued asset-stripping of the USA. The last time I checked, Hillary’s gang did not oppose either of these endeavors.

Kunstler: Covfefe Land.

The extraordinary thought disorders of this moment in history are equally distributed across the political spectrum. They’re an inevitable product of what Sigmund Freud identified as the discontents of civilization, but they grow especially acute as that civilization enters an economic crack-up zone. The craziness is equally distributed while the nation’s wealth is not. The old middle, or center, is imploding both economically and psychologically, concentrating distortions of reality at each end, Left and Right.

The disordered thought in Trumpism is as self-evident as (a) covfefe, though it came into being out of the authentic pain of those classes that bear the brunt of accelerating collapse. The thought disorders among Trump’s adversaries interest me more, because they emanate from the far more educated ranks of society, the place where rational leadership is supposed to spawn. If you can’t depend on those people to think straight in difficult times, then it raises the question of what exactly is the value of an advanced education?