Still catching up on fave music links. First, I highly recommend this Out of Obscurity podcast managed by two US music fans — one of whom lives in Thailand. (Here’s a subreddit devoted to it). The Thailand dweller (Julian Lee) is all over several music forums — especially emusic — and speaks Mandarin, so has a special expertise in Asian music. It’s more chatty than previewing music, and by the way, I might be a guest on this show! (see my one page blog about unusual finds on emusic, bandcamp and freegal). Hmm, now that I think of it, I should start doing posts exclusively about my music discoveries. (I’ve spent years cramming my music discoveries I may start doing that in a month or so (stay tuned).
Great article about why the natural gas industry is pushing hydrogen fuel.
The concept of natural gas as a “bridge fuel” to a point in the future when renewable energy is economically viable is over; renewable energy is already often cheaper than natural gas. Research and analyses continue to reveal natural gas as a dirty fuel, raising pressure on the industry. Now, the European gas lobby Eurogas has begun talking up blue hydrogen — derived from methane and relying on pricey and largely undeveloped carbon capture technology — as the new bridge fuel.
The natural gas industry has been a victim of its own success, producing record amounts of gas but losing massive amounts of money in the process. Fracking has helped unleash huge amounts of methane, and oil and gas companies continue to discover more natural gas that they need to sell — because their continued existence is based on discovering and selling more oil and gas. But the reality is that much of that natural gas will remain in the ground as stranded assets because there won’t be willing buyers unless the industry can convert its current infrastructure to use methane-derived hydrogen to create a new market for methane.
On the generations page for Wikipedia, there is a great graphic differentiating each US generation by nickname (Baby Boomer, Generation X, etc). The graphic is here. The article itself very interestingly describe how other countries refer to generations. The “Strawberry Generation” refers to Taiwanese people born in the 1980s who are “easily bruised.” has the “Post-80s” The Children of Perestroika generation refers to children born with no memories of communist control. I like the “MTV Generation” which — despite behind a commercial tagline — accurately groups the people who grew up with MTV.
Wow, here’s an even more interesting graphic: a comparison of relative population size. Strangely, for Generation X, the number of people born in that cohort is less than the number who live in USA who belong in that cohort (I’m assuming immigration is responsible for that — or maybe someone has invented a cloning machine without telling anybody!).
Here’s a fascinating media criticism of the host entrance scenes in the Price is Right. It’s 25 minutes long (!) but is a fascinating analysis about the subtle ways game shows and talk shows manipulate you with clever sets and camera shots. Related: Here’s a short film (Perfect Bid: The Contestant who knew too much) about the best contestant ever for the Price is Right. It’s an amazing story and really fun to watch. **
“Narcissism begets narcissism. Trump’s narcissism will create more narcissism in American society. Trump is not the end. Trump is the manifestation of problems that have been brewing for years. With respect to the impact that narcissism has had on America and is going to have, Trump is just the beginning. We have to be concerned about this. Narcissism is an epidemic, and we cannot let it dictate the course of history. The problem that we have now is that all the people who really believe that the election was stolen and that it is time for an insurrection — they really believe that — they are ready to kill people; they are ready to invade the capitol and foster a coup — because they believe they are right. That is the thing that a lot of people who are normal — whose perceptions of the world is based in reality and facts and things which can be tested — we can barely comprehend how delusional these people are and we underestimate them for that reason. The problem that we have in America now — that we have been fostering for 30-40 years in the name of profit — is that the delusional people are FUCKING ARMED. ” (New Yorker reporter & videographer Luke Mogelson — who personally videotaped the Trump extremists as they stormed around the Senate floor). Here’s another commentary by Mogelson. **
Classic comedy improvisation sketch from 13 years ago — and wait for the surprise near the end.
I SMELL A NEW OBSESSION: Watching reruns of Love Connection (a very cheesy dating show from the 80s and 90s). I’ve been watching old Dating Game episodes for a while now. The show itself isn’t that interesting (the question time is really short, and it seems very staged), but for a while every major celebrity and potential celebrity ran through it including Michael Jackson, the Carpenter siblings, Farah Fawcett, Andy Kaufman, Maureen McCormick (aka Marcia Brady) and lots more (including a serial killer). My faves have to be Don Rickles (asking questions on behalf of a young woman) and John Ritter (at the tender age of 19). **
Ok, I’ll admit it. I’ve been moonlighting as a stunt car driver for several Hollywood studios. Here’s me as a fanatic of extreme sports and running software teams. **
I cannot tell you how much I look forward to the weekly Tom Tomorrow cartoon every Monday morning. Love the Ted Cruz/Monty Python reference: “Indeed, let us not bicker about who did or did not incite a murderous mob.” Ok, I shouldn’t have swiped the comic, but I’m finally going to subscribe (and pay for) Sparky’s List newsletter. A few observations about Tom Tomorrow’s comics:
- Try to grab one of the printed collection of strips. You really get to appreciate the color and shapes of everything.
- Believe it or not, though the topical references seem to fade, it’s still delightful to read these strip decades later.
- It’s a dense comic, and you need to unpack it — and often subtleties can be missed the first time.
- It’s hard to capture political absurdities with an image, but Tom Tomorrow sometimes hit the bull’s eye (such as the Invisible Hand — it gives me joy every time he makes another appearance).
- Apart from the visual style and humor, you could view his comics as a lesson in bad logic and actually bad-faith logic
BEST PICTURE: Every year before nominations are announced and without having seen any of the movies, I predict which movie will win the Oscar for Best Picture. This year my pick is NOMADLAND. (My guesses are based on superficial criteria, film buzz and awards, the trailer and that indescribable wholesomeness + “indie-ness.” I’ve also heard wonderful things about Minari — and have actually seen “Trial of the Chicago 7” at home…)
RIP Jessica Campbell who died of indeterminate causes a week ago. Campbell had a supporting role in the 1999 Election film. She played a gay sister of the class jock who ran for class president just as a prank. But she stole the show with a speech she gave before the assembly. The actress later became a doctor, but this scene ensures her place in cinematic history.
I’m a big fan of Daily Show with Trevor Noah, which does a comic and informative perspective on politics and social policy. Here’s a light-hearted look at Cahoots, a first responder organization based in Eugene Oregon that handles nonemergency phone calls. Apparently the nonconfrontational strategy of deescalation is more effective and saves the city money as well. (It’s a 2 million dollar program in a city with a police budget of 70 million; the the clinical administrator says that program is estimated to save the taxpayer about $20 million per year.
TRUMP COURT BLESSES TRUMP…. AGAIN! I am depressed that the Supreme Court struck down the lawsuits about Trump’s emoluments by claiming it’s moot for an ex-president. The Supreme Court has a nasty habit of letting bad actors keep filing unending motions of appeal to delay the making and enforcing of a judgment. Meanwhile aggrieved parties wait for the court system actually to do its job. The emoluments lawsuits involved complex questions of standing and probably deserved at least one appeal. But it’s beginning to seem like the Supreme Court is employing a tactic of continuous delay. Similarly the matter of releasing tax returns to investigations has been delayed so long that it has basically made it impossible for the voter to make an informed decision about Trump. I don’t consider this judicial restraint; it seems like the judicial system is giving free reign to tyrants (and to the destructive force of global warming). By failing to take action against gerrymandering, the court is basically destroying the concept of one man, one vote — instead letting legislatures to manipulate voting all it wants. It is setting the stage for US democracy to transform into a tyranny (and making itself irrelevant in the process).
Many court decisions have left me disillusioned. Perhaps it started at Citizens United, but I couldn’t believe that it rejected intervening in the Chevron vs. Ecuador lawsuit