Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Auld Lang Syne

January 1, 2019

“Auld Lang Syne,” lyrics written by Robert Burns in 1788, set to a traditional tune, rendered by The Real McKenzies, a Canadian Celtic Punk band, with Gord Taylor on the highland pipes.

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Petulant President’s Resignation Response

December 23, 2018

Petulant President's Resignation Response
On Thursday, Secretary of Defense James Mattis resigned as Secretary of Defense after President Trump precipitously ordered the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria without Pentagon consultation. His letter of resignation is a clear-eyed, well-reasoned, stinging rebuke to Mr. Trump’s chaotic decision-making and leadership. Secretary Mattis said he would resign at the end of February to allow for a smooth transition of Defense Department leadership. President Trump responded with the  thoughtfulness and grace that has characterized his administration, posting a Tweet announcing that General Mattis will be gone by January 1st. His successor, a Trump appointee, was a Boeing executive for 30 years and, like the Commander-In-Chief, has no military experience.

More:

“Trump, Angry Over Mattis’s Rebuke, Removes Him 2 Months Early,” Helene Cooper, New York Times

Related:

“Mattis is out, and Blackwater is back: ‘We are coming,’” Tara Copp, Military Times

“John McCain Once Called Trump’s New Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan a ‘Fox in the Henhouse’ Over Ties to Boeing,” Ramsey Touchberry, Newsweek

“Someone please get President Trump on the golf course,” Dallas Morning News editorial

Update:

“Trump is now saying he ‘fired’ James Mattis,” Kathryn Krawczyk, The Week

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The President was elected In the checkout aisle.

December 18, 2018

The President was elected In the checkout aisle.

National Enquirer publisher David Pecker admitted to felony campaign law violations in the “trap and kill” hush money operation to silence Donald Trump’s mistresses, but his other undeclared contribution to the Trump campaign, worth millions, reached the candidate’s low-information supporters close to home, at the checkout counter magazine rack.

“It was the real-world embodiment of the fantasy online world of trolls, Russian and domestic, who polluted the political discourse. From its perches at Publix and Safeway, it was often doing the same job as Alex Jones, of the conspiracy site Infowars, and the more strident Trump campaign surrogates on Twitter and Facebook.

The Enquirer spread false stories about Hillary Clinton — illnesses concealed, child prostitution, bribery, treason. Each cover trumpeting these tales was arguably more powerful than a tweet from an account with millions of followers.”

“‘Wondering what The Enquirer’s covers were worth to the Trump campaign, I called Regis Maher, a co-founder of Do It Outdoors, the national mobile and digital billboard company. He said a campaign with that level of national prominence would cost $2.5 million to $3 million a month. ‘It’s such a powerful placement,’ Mr. Maher said. ‘Everybody’s gotta go to the grocery store.’”

“More Powerful Than a Russian Troll Army: The National Enquirer,” Jim Rutenberg, New York Times

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2016 Photo (“Quality Journalism Means an Informed Citizenry”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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The Best of the ‘Best of 2018′ Lists

December 12, 2018

The Best of the 'Best of 2018′ Lists

2018 “Year-In-Review” lists you may have missed:

“The 10 Best Podcasts of 2018,” Nicholas Quah, Vulture

“The Top 10 Most Tweeted About Celebrities of 2018,” Megan McCluskey, Time

“Top Ten Best Instant Noodle Cups 2018,” Hans Lienesch, The Ramen Rater

“The 50 Best Wines of 2018,” VinePair

“The Best 18 Beers of 2018,” Jamie Bogner and John Holl, Beer & Brewing

“Best Sparkling Water and Carbonated Water Reviews of 2018,” Freshnss

“The best cookbooks of 2018,” Paula Forbes, Houston Chronicle

“The Best Meal Kit Delivery Services of 2018,” Cassidy Olsen, Reviewed

“America’s 75 Best Hot Dogs for 2018 Gallery,” The Daily Meal

“The Top 10 Trump World Dining Controversies of 2018,” Jessica Sidman, Washingtonian

“The Best of 2018’s Bad Restaurant Reviews,” Monica Burton, Eater

“The Best Movies Directed by Women in 2018,” Abby Gardner, Glamour

“2018 Best of Design Awards winners for Infrastructure,” The Architects Newspaper

“10 Best Virtual Reality Headsets,” Matt Malmlund, Heavy

“7 products nobody asked for in 2018,” Aditi Shrikant, Vox

“The best robot vacuums of 2018,” Connor Whooley, USA Today

“The Top Pets Names of 2018,” Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure

“The best film soundtracks of 2018,” Katie Rife, Clayton Purdom, A.A. Dowd, and Alex McLevy, AV Club

“The 10 best movies you didn’t see in 2018, but should,” Carrie Wittmer, Insider

“The Best Video Essays of 2018,” Meg Shields, Film School Rejects

“20 Best Bollywood Hindi Movies of 2018,” Anmol Ahuja, Cinemaholic

“10 Worst Movies of 2018,” Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

“The Best Movie Villains of 2018,” Max Covill, Film School Rejects

“The Best Movie Posters of 2018,” Kottke.org

“The best movie and TV stunts of 2018,” Adam Epstein, Quartzy

“The Steamiest Sex Scenes Of 2018,” Abbey Maxbauer, Refinery29

“‘Truth isn’t truth’ tops list of notable quotes in 2018,” Associated Press

“The 5 best poetry collections of 2018,” Elizabeth Lund, Washington Post

“The 25 Best Comic Books of 2018,” Steve Foxe, Hillary Brown, Caitlin Rosberg & C.K. Stewart, Paste

“The 75 Best Book Covers of 2018,” Emily Temple, LitHub

“Spinning spiders, leopard eels, red coral: Noteworthy new species discovered in 2018,” Jane C. Hu, Vox

“7 bad science and health ideas that should die with 2018,” By Julia Belluz, Brian Resnick, and Umair Irfan, Vox

“The Biggest Junk Science of 2018,” Ross Pomeroy, Real Clear Science

“Top Retractions of 2018,” The Scientist

“The top space stories of 2018,” Ashley Strickland, CNN

“Top 10 Emerging Technologies of 2018,” Scientific American

“The greatest security innovations of 2018,” Eric Adams and Corinne Iozzio, Popular Science

“The weirdest places we found scooters in 2018,” Megan Barber, Curbed

“The Top 10 Stolen Vehicles In Canada In 2018,” Sarah Lombardo, MTL Blog

“The 9 best camper vans of 2018,” Megan Barber, Curbed

“The 10 Best Car Interiors in 2018,” Bryan Campbell, Gear Patrol

“The 10 Best Video Games of 2018,” Jake Swearingen Vulture

“The 10 best video game soundtracks of 2018,” Ayyab Amin, Lewis Gordon, and Scott Wilson, Fact Magazine

“The Best Classical Music of 2018,” Anthony Tommasini, Zachary Woolfe, Joshua Barone and Seth Colter Walls, New York Times

“The 9 best new drum machines and samplers of 2018,” MusicRadar

“The 10 Best Metal Albums of 2018,” Jason Roche, LA Weekly

“The Best Rap Albums of 2018,” Pitchfork

“Barack Obama’s best of 2018 playlist,” The Week

“Best Irish pop music of 2018,” Una Mullally, Irish Times

“The Worst Music Moments of 2018,” Treble

“Women in Music 2018: The Most Powerful Executives in the Industry,” Billboard

“The World’s Most Powerful Women In Business 2018,” Vicky Valet, Forbes

“The Most Powerful Women In Finance In 2018,” Kristin Stoller, Forbes

“The Best and Worst CEOs of 2018,” Samuel Stebbins, Evan Comen and Grant Suneson, 24/7 Wall Street

(more…)

The Old Man Of the Mountain

December 8, 2018

Cab Calloway and Bettie Boop co-star in “The Old Man Of the Mountain,” a 1933 cartoon based on A recording by Mr. Calloway of a song written by Victor Young, with lyrics by Billy Hill. This Fleischer Studios production was animated by Bernard Wolf and Thomas Johnson. Cab Calloway & His Cotton Club Orchestra appear (rotoscoped) as themselves. Voice actors are Mae Questel (Betty Boop, singing) and Bonnie Poe  ( Betty Boop, speaking).

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Mickey D’s Durian McFlurry. Yum!

November 16, 2018

Durian, the notoriously stinky fruit of the Pacific, is featured at McDonald’s in Malaysia and Singapore in a McFlurry concoction. It’s made with the milder D24 durian, but even so, that’s no pumpkin spice latte. McD’s offers localized menus in many parts of it’s global empire. See ads for more far-flung fast food treats here.

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Displacement is not community development.

November 13, 2018

One reaction to Amazon’s pending HQ2/2 project in New York’s Long Island City.

More:

“Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is not thrilled about Amazon coming to Queens,” Melissa Locker, Fast Company

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Standard Time

November 4, 2018

Standard Time

Hope you enjoyed your extra hour of sleep last night (in Europe, make that “last week“). America has now moved from “Daylight Saving Time” to “Standard Time,” except in Arizona, which stays in Standard Time all year long. Arizona also doesn’t believe in Climate ChangeWater FluoridationInternational Law, or Evolution, either. But wait:

“The fall transition to standard time is linked to an increase in crime that costs the country billions of dollars annually. Transitions into and out of daylight saving time are linked to disrupted sleep patternsincreased heart attack risk, and an uptick in fatal car accidents.

… a team of researchers from the departments of psychiatry and political science at the universities of Aarhus, Copenhagen and Stanford added another formal complaint to the indictment against clock-turning: The autumn shift to standard time appears to be closely linked to a jump in depression diagnoses around this time of year.”

— “Turning back the clock 1 hour takes a serious toll on your mental health,” Christopher Ingraham, Washington Post

More:

“The EU is ditching daylight saving time because it’s what the people want,” Edmund Heaphy, Quartz

“Can’t We Just Stop Resetting Clocks Twice a Year?” Stephen L. Carter, Bloomberg

“Morocco abruptly drops clock change,” BBC News

“For the last time, daylight saving time isn’t worth the trouble it causes,” Laura Grant, Quartz

“Daylight saving time ends Sunday: 6 things to know about ‘falling back,’” Brian Resnick, Vox

“Daylight Saving Time as Americans know it was instituted by corporate lobbies, not farmers,” Zoë Schlanger, Quartz

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Donald Trump on September 11th

September 13, 2018

Donald Trump on September 11th

On September 11, 2001 Donald Trump spoke to New York’s WWOR Radio, reflecting on the catastrophic destruction of the World Trade Center, so close to his own property at 40 Wall Street. He reacted with his characteristic sensitivity and empathy:

“40 Wall Street actually was the second-tallest building in downtown Manhattan, and it was actually, before the World Trade Center, was the tallest — and then, when they built the World Trade Center, it became known as the second tallest. And now it’s the tallest.”

More:

“‘And now it’s the tallest’: Trump, in otherwise somber interview on 9/11, couldn’t help touting one of his buildings,” Timothy Bella, Washington Post

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Bagel Day

September 11, 2018

Bagel Day

Tuesday was Bagel Day at the software development center, and I favored Bagels & Baguettes near Stanton Park. There was a line when I got there, around 8:30 AM. The shop was near the Senate office buildings and the Heritage Foundation, so there was a TV tuned to CNN to keep news-obsessed customers occupied.

By the time I got my two dozen hot bagels, the damnedest thing was on that television. An airplane had crashed into a World Trade Center tower in New York, and the building was on fire. It was September 11, 2001.

I went to the office break room and put out the bagels, cream cheese, and smoked salmon. I guess I was making coffee when the second plane hit the other tower. I figured people still had to eat.

The developers were plugged into the Web, and learned as much – or as little — as anyone that morning. We knew a third plane hit the Pentagon and heard the false report that a fourth had hit the White House. There was a rumor that a plane had hit the Capitol, but we were two blocks away and would have heard that.

I scanned on the radio, but the news stations were clueless. I heard some good eyewitness reporting from New York over Pacifica, which I hadn’t expected. I put it on the telephone intercom and went through the office, turning intercoms on for some, off for people who had already heard enough.

I called the boss, got the word to send folks home, and surfed up reports on school system closings and Metro. The Red Line at Union Station was shut down until early afternoon. Phones at schools were busy, cell phone systems overloaded. I helped negotiate carpool rides for suburban commuter parents anxious enough to try the crowded roads, shut the center down, and walked home.

It was a quiet walk. There wasn’t a plane in the sky. All civilian aircraft were grounded. I kept the radio off and waited for the Wednesday paper.

Versions of this have been posted here each September 11th since 2007.

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