Saturday Brunch, May 30, 2020

Hello, friends, and welcome to the weekend. You know what we haven’t had for a while?  Brunch!!

As usual, I’m not going to bring up the subjects dominating the headlines. The Brunch focuses on the interesting (at least to me), the silly, and the un-reported. I also avoid mentioning a certain politician because, inevitably, the comment section gets nastier than Jabba the Hutt’s tighty-whities. If you want to comment about these things, please do your best to be constructive and kind.

But one picture stuck with me:

Facebook chooses polarization.  An internal Facebook analysis found that the platform was helping polarize the country, but senior executives decided to shelve the analysis and not take action, The Wall Street Journal reported. One presentation given to senior executives warned that “if left unchecked,” Facebook would feed users “more and more divisive content in an effort to gain user attention & increase time on the platform.”

Kevin Roose, a technology columnist at The Times, explains: “It raises the possibility that these presentations — and others like them — will come to be seen as a smoking gun for Facebook, the way that tobacco and oil companies had known about the hazards of their products years before they publicly admitted it.”

“DO NOT RECYCLE CANNONBALLS FROM ANY WAR!” That is the PSA Kent County Commissioner [MI] Phil Skaggs relayed in a Facebook post Tuesday evening. This after Grand Rapids police officers were dispatched to the Kent County recycling center at 12:20 p.m. Tuesday when workers came across what was described as a 6-inch, 6-pound shot-put ball on the processing line, according to the police report.Officers on site found the cannonball was live and likely a percussion-cap style detonator and subsequently evacuated the center, according to the report.

It must be a blow to learn that you’re not the daughter of a famous artist and that your mother was a bit of fibber in the same moment—especially if you’re a psychic and didn’t foresee either. Pilar Abel, a Spanish tarot card reader from Girona, won the right to exhume Salvador Dalí’s body in 2017 to run a DNA test to prove that she was his daughter. Her mother had told her that the artist was her father. Alas, the test showed there was no relation. “After the Madrid court ruled that Dalí was not related to her, Abel filed an appeal calling into question how his remains were handled. On Monday May 18, the Regional Court of Madrid dismissed this appeal, and ruled that Abel was liable for the costs for the exhumation. While no amount was cited, the bill had been previously been estimated to be around €7,000 ($7,678).”

Good question. Better answer.

Image may contain: text

YouTube was caught censoring content on behalf of the Chinese government. Certain phrases are automatically deleted, suggesting that the Youtube algorithms were set to exclude them. One of the phrases that were flagged for automatic deletion was “gongfei,” which means “communist bandit.” The phrase dates back to the Chinese civil war era.

Another phrase is “wumao,” which means “fifty cents.”This phrase is commonly used as a description of the internet trolls that the CCP uses to spread propaganda online; the joke being that the trolls are paid 50 cents per post that they write.

YouTube responded that the deletions were a “bug”. Sounds legit.

You’ve probably heard of the Ghanaian dancing pallbearers. If not, here is the original video that made them famous (and a source for countless memes).

I bring them up so I can bring this up: Montreal Police cruising through a crowded park playing the dancing pallbearers theme song:

A short history of band names:

You wouldn’t have thought that Starbucks’s pricing policy could influence rock history, but that’s what happened. In the early 1990s, when Mike Kroeger was working in one of its Canadian stores, a cup of coffee cost $1.95. So Kroeger spent all day handing customers their five cents change, saying: ‘Here’s your nickel back.’ When he later joined a band, and it needed a name, he simply combined the last two words into one.

Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, on the other hand, had some friends who, because of their place of employment, were known as the ‘pet shop boys’.

ABBA use capitals not because the letters are the first of their four Christian names, but because there was a brand of canned fish called Abba. Lynyrd Skynyrd was a reference to Leonard Skinner, a teacher who’d told one of the band members to cut his hair.

Many bands use cultural references. Duran Duran tweaked Dr Durand Durand, a character in the film Barbarella, ‘Frankie Goes Hollywood’  was a newspaper headline in a pop art poster about Frank Sinatra taking up acting, while the Human League were characters in a sci-fi wargame.

Literature has given us, the Doors (as in The Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley), The Fall (by Albert Camus) and Level 42 — the answer to the meaning of life, the universe and everything in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Some bands even owe their names to other bands.  The Ramones were paying tribute to Paul McCartney, who used the pseudonym ‘Paul Ramon’ when checking into hotels. The Beatles themselves had been paying tribute to Buddy Holly, whose backing band was the Crickets.

If all else fails, go random. The Bay City Rollers wanted an American-sounding name, so literally threw darts at a map of the country. But thankfully discretion didn’t desert them completely. Before they hit Bay City, Michigan, they rejected somewhere in the Deep South called Stinking Creek.

And you thought your weekend stunk….The California Highway Patrol said a driver called dispatch around 1:30 a.m. asking for help after crashing into what was at the time an unidentified farm pond. Forty-eight minutes after the initial call, firefighters from the Cosumnes Fire Department found the driver and his vehicle, which was well submerged in the pond, CHP said. Officers later discovered that — on top of showing signs of intoxication — the driver had been trying to pull his vehicle out for about an hour before calling 911.

That’s two hours the driver spent in…. a liquefied excrement pond.

Herd immunity is still far off. London, Madrid and other cities around the world have only a small fraction of the coronavirus cases needed to achieve herd immunity, according to new studies. Experts believe herd immunity — after which new infections will no longer cause large outbreaks — is reached when between 60 percent and 80 percent of the population has contracted the virus.
Even New York, the city with the world’s highest known infection rate, is barely a third of the way there, according to the studies.
By The New York Times


Speaking of adapting to the Corona reality: Image


These priests may have been inspired by Detroit’s Father Timothy R. Pelc, who took to the streets outside his church in order to bless Easter food with a holy pistol last month. Yes, he really did use holy water.


Pelc says that even though he has baptisms scheduled for this week, he does “not intend to use the squirt gun,” saying, in true Catholic fashion, that he’s “retired it because I’ve enjoyed it so much.”

An explosive new book claims that Bill Clinton had an affair with Ghislaine Maxwell, the woman accused of procuring underage girls for notorious pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. In an excerpt of A Convenient Deathpublished in the New York Post, a source tells Alana Goodman and Daniel Halper how ‘[Bill] and Ghislaine were getting it on…that’s why he was around Epstein — to be with her.’ The source goes on to dismiss the idea that Clinton was sexually involved with children, saying the former president is ‘stupid but not an idiot.’ Conspiracy theorists everywhere will be sorely disappointed.

Father’s Day is coming up, and boy-oh-boy have we have found the perfect gift: A jockstrap that belonged to Elvis Presley is up for sale for almost £30,000. The rhinestone-studded posing pouch, bearing The King’s initials, was custom-made by one of Elvis’s fans

The seller called it:“Extravagant. Absurd. Sexually potent. This… is pure Elvis Presley.” He also noted that the King wore it until his death in 1977. Which, to me, is not exactly a selling point.

Try not to think about it…

The problem with thought experiments: “While thought experiments are as old as philosophy itself, the weight placed on them in recent philosophy is distinctive. Even when scenarios are highly unrealistic, judgments about them are thought to have wide-ranging implications for what should be done in the real world. The assumption is that, if you can show that a point of ethical principle holds in one artfully designed case, however bizarre, then this tells us something significant . . . Although philosophers don’t often talk about this, it would appear that they assume that the interpretation of thought experiments should be subject to a convention of authoritative authorial ethical framing. In other words, the experiments are about what the author intends them to be and nothing else, much like Lewis Carroll’s Humpty Dumpty, who used words to mean whatever he wanted them to mean.”

Somehow this reminds me of a line I heard not too long ago: “Imagine their were no hypothetical situations.”

Is it just me, or do you refuse to read anything called a “must-read”.

Hmmm….Was there ANYTHING this man did not write about ?

No photo description available.

Well, that’s it for this week, friends. Let’s end with this short video, which gets more interesting as it goes:

63 thoughts on “Saturday Brunch, May 30, 2020

  1. But now nobody will remember the knee,
    Now the only images you see are of the burning and looting.
    Gangs rampaging through the streets, looting and burning.


  2. I see your “Short History of Band Names” and raise you THE infamous LIST OF WEIRD BAND NAMES:

    Does not mention “JoJo and Sixteen Screaming N*gg*rs”, so that one might be an Urban Legend. As I heard it, “JJ&16SNs” was a punk band that was the opening/warmup act for a concert in (majority-black) Detroit; concert never got to the main act– cancelled mid-stream due to the resulting riot.

    JJ&16SNs — Shortest Career in Motown History.


  3. Sad to say, that sympathy, except for a few, was never that great to begin with. Too many people always give the cops the benefit of the doubt.

    Because cops are the Thin Blue Line that stands between Us and Them.

    From the very beginning through WW2, Los Angeles PD was among the most corrupt in the country, with the LA Times helping to discredit and blackmail any critics, making sure only the Official Cop side got into the media. (During the Roaring Twenties, LAPD even had its own South American-style Death Squad — the “Gun Squad” — answering to the Chief. Began as a secret proto-SWAT team tasked with making sure criminals never lived long enough to where there lawyers would get them off — Cop vs Not-Cop — but ended up going after anyone the Chief said to.)

    After WW2, the new Chief Parker cleaned out the corruption in LAPD (Parker Center downtown — which you’ve seen in all those aerial shots of Dragnet‘s opening credits — is named after him.) Unfortunately, Parker got popular support for his housecleaning by playing the Race Card HARD. About how “by 1970 Los Angeles will be such-and-such percent [Black}; you’ll need Us to Protect You from THEM.” This raised popular support enabling Chief Parker to clean out (most of) the corruption, but the black community paid the price.

    Until things blew sky-high in the 1965 Watts Riots.


  4. Christiane, George Floyd was murdered by one cop, but there were several other cops who stood by and not only let it happen, but protected the killer while he did his deed, and threatened and roughed up the bystanders who were calling for the killer to stop. There may be only a “few” rogue police officers, but there are plenty of others police officers who will look the other way while the “rogues” are committing crimes against citizens, and protect them while and after they do it. Some of those who look the other way may under other circumstances be officers who will help you, but the help they might give otherwise does not excuse their looking the other way when the rogues are in action, nor exculpate them for their responsibility in enabling police brutality.


  5. That sympathy goes no further for the vast majority than expressions like the image above of the people holding the foot up: after the fact sentiments that evaporate after a few days and result in no meaningful change, while black people continue to be brutalized and murdered by police. Black neighborhoods in the cities are in effect a police state, and black people outside those neighborhoods are automatically considered by police to be undocumented aliens out to make trouble in places they don’t belong. There are rogue cops, rogue police departments, and a large number of cops and police officials willing to protect those cops and departments from facing any repercussions for their acts.


  6. “The looting and the burning stands to wipe out a lot of the natural sympathy our American citizens would have had towards the plight of those who are victimized by rogue cops, sad to say.”

    Sad to say, that sympathy, except for a few, was never that great to begin with. Too many people always give the cops the benefit of the doubt.


  7. In the UK as well. About half a mile down the road from where I live there was a munitions factory, used in both the First and Second World Wars, and during the latter it was bombed at least once by the Luftwaffe.. It’s now a small industrial estate and every so often an unexploded bomb or some other piece of ordinance is discovered. The army bomb disposal people are then called in and the surrounding area evacuated.


  8. many, many of our first responders who are police have SERVED in the military when they were young, some in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    we have to remember that even though there are rogue cops, most, the majority, of our police men and women are honorable public servants and they WILL HELP YOU if need be . . . . poor Mr. Floyd, it looks like he was murdered by that policeman from the video, yes, and that is what speaks to people now, but we do not know the whole story, but we SAW and we HEARD and that is something that stands witness to what happened indeed.

    There are many ‘incidents’ of unarmed black men being shot and killed by police (and by vigilantes acting to make a ‘citizen’s arrest’ but killing the accused in the process);
    but the ‘reaction’ of targeting all policemen and policewomen is not right either.

    The looting and the burning stands to wipe out a lot of the natural sympathy our American citizens would have had towards the plight of those who are victimized by rogue cops, sad to say. Would have been better to have had peaceful demonstrations led by clergy to protest what happened, in the way of MLK who set the standard for powerful peaceful stands against racism.

    But we HEARD and we SAW from the videos and that will stand witness to what happened to Mr. Floyd in any case.

    God have mercy.


  9. He knew too much about too many important people. He didn’t stand a chance to get to trial.


  10. Probably the same place the Glass-Steagall act went to when it got its teeth pulled.
    It got repealed, so now Wall Street can gamble with your money (mom and pop on mainstreet) with impunity and be shielded from any consequences when the bets go bad.


  11. The cannonball that was lodged in the brickwork chimney of the house where my grandmother was born is now in some museum in North Carolina, I understand. The house is ‘historical’, and is on the walking tour of Plymouth NC, the site of a Civil War skirmish. It is called the Windley-Ausbon House and is pictured here:

    it’s true about the haunting . . . the legend has been in the family for years, as my mother knew Hermine and I knew Neva Humphries, who passed away. Neva told us the story of how guest would report that in the middle of the night, the door to the room would slowly open, and they felt a ‘presence’, quite benign, standing by the bed, which would then leave and the door would slowly close. The sniper that was shot in the upper bedroom window staggered down the main stairs into the hallway and died there on the wooden floor, which still is stained with his blood, as no one can remove the stain. So the house has history: family history, Civil War history, and American history. But that cannonball was removed and taken to a museum somewhere in NC.
    So I guess it wasn’t ‘live’ ordnance when they collected it from the upper brickwork of the chimney.

    Of all the family stories, of which we have many, this one about the dead soldier and the ghostly presence, seems to me to be the most memorable, even though my great grand-father’s brother was one of the six heroes of the Siege of Petersburg (Confederate), Private Wm. James Ausbon. Now HE knew ‘live ordnance’, as he got his medal this way: a live piece of ordnance landed in the midst of his company behind the ‘works’ and was spinning around like a top, when my ancestor’s brother picked it up and threw it over the works where it almost immediately exploded. . . . . his silver medal was given to him for bravery by General Beauregard.

    My grandmother, of blessed memory, was born an Ausbon. The house is still there, one of five antebellum houses in Plymouth NC. Well preserved, in the care of Neva’s daughter, Kim, now. And NO, I’ve never stayed at the house overnight as a ‘guest’. No way. 🙂


  12. Major props to those dancing pallbearers – I had not seen that video, which is odd, because lots of people know I’m the daughter of funeral directors and would have sent me a link… Those guys not only have a great sense of balance, but have to have great physical strength to do what they do. Not only that, but I think they are giving a profound service of honor to their community and the departed person whose remains they carry.

    In our current culture, we so rarely have a casket present at our funeral services anymore. We seem to want to get the arrangements for the disposition of the body finished in the shortest amount of time possible. We avoid anything that helps us truly grieve, but clamor for “closure”. I think one major reason for conspiracy theories regarding denying the number of COVID deaths is that, in general, in every class of people in our culture we insulate ourselves pretty thoroughly from having to face any aspect of death, so some of us believe that such a large number of dead can’t be possible at all. At the same time, we’ve gone from the “death is a part of life” attitude to “let’s not think about death”, even in our medical care. This is part of the trauma that’s affecting doctors and nurses in the virus hot spots.

    Fr John Behr talks about this a lot. We have difficulty relating to the monumental importance of Christ’s defeat of the power of death because we in the first world don’t see death anymore.



  13. Not surprised about YouTube. Unfortunately, there’s no other platform as accessible for showing good videos. Vimeo is okay, but not always playable. Drat.

    On the other hand, a few years ago I stopped buying from Amazon, unless there is absolutely no other way to get something, which has happened maybe twice. Jeff Bezos has enough of my money. One can often find just as good a price from an item’s manufacturer, or a sale price from a brick-and-mortar store that sells online too.

    Where are the teeth to our anti-trust laws???



  14. Headless Guy, they say life is a journey and my journey leads me to I think I was a passenger in the truck that ended up in the liquefied excrement pond . Many times I have been left holding a bag of liquefied excrement. I am working on a play, similar to On Golden Pond and of course it is titled In Excrement Pond. Of course the best way to get to Excrement Pond is paddling up Excrement Creek but alas I was stuck with no paddle.


  15. There’s an Urban Legend in Tucson that there are several big arms caches in the surrounding desert dating back to December 1941- early 1942. Rifles, machine guns, ammunition, other military supplies and equipment, enough to equip a company- to battalion-sized guerilla unit. The story goes that after Pearl Harbor there was a Japanese invasion scare, and some of the local military bases cached supplies and equipment, burying it in the desert for long-term storage in case they needed it for Resistance. And the location of some of these caches were lost during the war; the usual explanation is the location was kept secret with only a handful of personnel knowing and those personnel went overseas and never returned (KIA).

    There were also Urban Legends of leftover dynamite up to a century old out in the desert, left over from mining/prospecting operations in the nearby mountains. The one I heard was of an old Ford Model T pickup rusting away in a gully somewhere with a couple cases of dynamite in the truck bed. Dynamite so old and unstable it was sweating straight nitroglycerin. Hikers/hunters/desert rats would find it, keep their distance, and never go back. Until one day they heard a CRACK-BOOM! echoing through those same mountains.


  16. That’s two hours the driver spent in…. a liquefied excrement pond.

    “Alcohol Was Involved.”

    (i.e. “Ain’t Drunks Fun?”)


  17. Kind of like when someone is being fired but told they may submit their resignation.

    Or in Europe, locked in a room overnight with a pistol with one round in it.


  18. Code of Blue:
    Cop will always side with Cop against Not-Cop.
    It’s part of the “Warrior Cop” Mentality, and goes back a LONG time.
    The self-image of Superheroes with capes blowing in the wind, the only thing standing between Civilization and Utter Destruction, opposed and sabotaged by all the Librul Snowflake Criminal Coddling Not-Cops on the outside. And that attitude can justify any means.


  19. YouTube was caught censoring content on behalf of the Chinese government.

    If YouTube’s censoring, so is Google. Both are owned by Amazon, and Amazon wanted into the lucrative Chinese market BAD.

    And if your company wants into the Chinese market, it must “Encourage Social Harmony”, i.e. implement ALL Chinese Government censorship.


  20. One has to wonder how much live ordinance is still buried in parts of Virginia and other states where major Civil War battles were fought.


  21. I’m not a conspiracy buff at all but in this case I tend to think he was murdered. That may translate to him being given the choice to do it himself. Kind of like when someone is being fired but told they may submit their resignation. There were plenty enough presidents, Royals and powerbrokers connected to him to make it all plausible. He didn’t seem like the type to make a suicide decision without extraordinary coercion.


  22. And the eyewitnesses knew that they risked harm up to and including death if they were to physically intervene. All they could do was yell for the killer cop to stop, and watch as a man was murdered in front of their eyes by a law enforcement officer while other law enforcement officers acted as a protective cordon around the crime so that the killer would be able to continue unmolested. Imagine yourself in the witnesses’ situation, and then imagine being choked by rage as fatal in its own way as being choked by a crushing knee.

    I’m done for the day.


  23. > This after Grand Rapids police officers were dispatched to the Kent County recycling center at 12:20 p.m.

    There is no place like home. Really, the amount of ordinance that turns up around here – it’s weird.

    Land mines, a crate of WWII grenades, an unspent mortar…. Yeah, ’cause those are things I’ll just keep in the attic to show the grand kids… and then forget about when I sell the house. People.


  24. I have no reason to believe anything particular related to the matter.
    There is **ALWAYS** a choice other than Yes or No.,


  25. *rest of the party* “There’s a horde of undead outside the door!”

    *cleric picks up SuperSoaker* “Relax… I got this.”


  26. That is a striking picture. Tragically, if anybody really had tried to come between that knee and its victim, they would themselves have been shot.


  27. Yes. And although explanation is not asked for, I am reasonably confident any conspiracy and cover up is his bribing the guards to enable himself to do so.


  28. Just for the unofficial record that means nothing

    How many I Monk readers think Jeffery Epstein killed himself. Choice is Yes he did or No, he was murdered. Do not need any background just a simple yes or no. I will start off and my vote is


    Daniel, good range of free wheeling brunch material. Thanks, and I am trying not to think about it.


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