Rereading ‘Watership Down’

I’ve been listening to the audiobook version of Richard Adams’s 1972 novel, Watership Down.

This is my third exposure to the story. I watched the animated version when I was a kid, back in the 1970s. Then, the summer after high school (1986), I read the book. This time around, I’m consuming it in bits and pieces, mostly listening as I perform other tasks. (Today I listened to about three hours of the book, while I cut two lawns.) Continue reading “Rereading ‘Watership Down’”

CNN’s “Can you believe what Fox News said?” mode

Fox News dumps coronavirus coverage for anti-Obama conspiracy theory

CNN has embraced a narrative: That Donald Trump brought on the COVID-19 pandemic, and that Donald Trump is personally responsible for every American death (and probably every non-American death, too!) from coronavirus. 

Therefore, you really ought to vote for Joe Biden in November, right? Continue reading “CNN’s “Can you believe what Fox News said?” mode”

Bryan Adams should not have apologized

Singer Bryan Adams apologizes for social media post blaming ‘bat eating’ people for coronavirus

The music of Canadian rocker Bryan Adams was part of the soundtrack of my 1980s youth. His early single “Cuts Like a Knife” was a hit on MTV during my freshman year of high school. I still enjoy listening to his music from time-to-time.

Bryan Adams, like many of us, is frustrated at the coronavirus epidemic. COVID-19, which originated in China, has now killed 292,000 people around the world, including 83,000 in the United States. Continue reading “Bryan Adams should not have apologized”

Biden’s anti-Trump (Republican) outreach

Biden campaign reaches out to ‘disaffected Republicans,’ who reach right back

That was, of course, the grand argument for Biden’s nomination in the first place. Being a relative moderate within the Democratic Party, Biden will be able to reach swing voters—who will presumably include some disaffected Republicans (code for: Republicans who don’t like Donald Trump): Continue reading “Biden’s anti-Trump (Republican) outreach”

The WSJ on Barack Obama and Michael Flynn

President Trump’s personal style is not my style. Nor was he my first choice. (I voted for John Kasich in the 2016 GOP primaries.)

Nevertheless, we have only two choices in November. And I have come to believe that the Democratic Party poses an existential threat to the United States—with its embrace of socialism, anti-Americanism, divisive identity politics, and undemocratic, deep-state corruption. 

I would not have said this of the Democratic Party of 1980, or even 2000. I would say this about the Democratic Party of Barack Obama, and the Democratic leadership that has taken over since his presidency. Continue reading “The WSJ on Barack Obama and Michael Flynn”

A few words on ‘Plandemic’

I haven’t seen the video ‘Plandemic’. I did hear about it; and a few people sent me links. Before I could actually watch it, though, the overlords at Facebook, YouTube, and the other tech giants scrubbed it from the Internet.

Based on what I’ve read, it does seem that the Plandemic video contained a mixture of half-truths, wily fabrications, and professional jealousies. The researcher quoted in the video, Judy Mikovits, is closely associated with the anti-vaxxer movement. These are the folks who are doing their best to help measles, polio, and other diseases previously eradicated by vaccination to make a comeback.

The mass purging of online content, though—de facto Internet censorship—does little to reassure me that our betters are not colluding to decide what information we’ll be permitted to see, and which viewpoints we’ll not be allowed to consider. This does not bode well for the future. Continue reading “A few words on ‘Plandemic’”

After COVID, travel to….Italy

Yes, Italy. Maybe even Sicily.

Sicily to subsidise post-Covid holidays as Italy considers reopening to tourists

Hey, after all of this calms down, there will be some great deals on travel to Italy. Tourism is a major part of the Italian economy, and it’s currently down by 95%, for obvious reasons. Multiple public and private entities in Italy are already working to boost travel there post-COVID-19.

There are a lot of reasons to visit Italy. 

Continue reading “After COVID, travel to….Italy”

Obama’s partisan spin on the COVID-19 pandemic

Well, boys and girls, here’s a shocker, as reported by the media wing of the Democratic Party (also known as CNN):

Obama says White House response to coronavirus has been ‘absolute chaotic disaster’

This was CNN, so of course the coverage of former President Obama was fawning and unquestioning. 

This is also an election year, during one of the most politically divisive periods of American history. Obama’s vice president, Joe Biden, is President Trump’s presumed opponent in the general election in November.

So, well…of course Obama wasn’t going to say nice things about President Trump. Obama is a politician, after all. Continue reading “Obama’s partisan spin on the COVID-19 pandemic”

Will drive-in movies make a comeback?

Drive-in movie theaters hope to usher in comeback for entertainment sector

I have only childhood memories of the drive-in. Back in the early 1970s, I would occasionally attend with my parents. 

I was very young then, no more than about five years old. I usually fell asleep in the back seat of my dad’s Ford Torino long before the movie concluded. At that age, I was seldom interested in the movies my parents were watching, anyway. Continue reading “Will drive-in movies make a comeback?”

Social media, the face, and vanity, insecurity

This seems like the kind of article that could only come from a Millennial staff writer at CNN, Huffington Post, or Slate. (It came from Hannah Lack, a writer at CNN. I don’t know if she’s a Millennial; but I have my suspicions.):

Why the pressure to change our faces has never been higher

The article is filled with quotes from Jessica Hefland, the author of Face: A Visual Odyssey.

Continue reading “Social media, the face, and vanity, insecurity”

Gyms, dithering DeWine, and the long Ohio shutdown

Governor Mike DeWine, the governor of my state, doesn’t strike me as much of gym rat.

So far, the dithering DeWine has set reopening dates for restaurants, bars, hair salons, and general retail.

But no date for gyms and fitness centers so far!

I was wondering when the media was going to notice. They finally have: Continue reading “Gyms, dithering DeWine, and the long Ohio shutdown”

Why the universal basic income (UBI) won’t work

It’s not about the Protestant work ethic; it’s about economics.

Three left-leaning senators have introduced a bill to grant a regular, taxpayer-funded income to all Americans in order to combat the negative economic effects of the COVID-19 shutdown.

This Senate trio is comprised of two names you’ve heard of—Kamala Harris of California, and Bernie Sanders of Vermont—as well as one who might have escaped your notice, Ed Markey of Massachusetts.

Harris and Markey are both Democrats. Bernie Sanders is an independent democratic socialist who identifies as a liberal Democrat when it’s convenient (like when he wants to run for president).

Their plan would provide two thousand dollars per person, to all Americans. So a family of four would get $8,000 per month, directly from the government, just like a paycheck. Continue reading “Why the universal basic income (UBI) won’t work”

Flynn and the “Russia” narrative: a dog that will no longer hunt

Gregg Jarrett: Ending Michael Flynn prosecution exposes and destroys Trump-Russia collusion hoax”

What the Michael Flynn case has shown us, first of all, is that there is an entrenched, politicized federal bureaucracy with its own agenda (otherwise known as a “Deep State”).

But another outcome is the collapse of a three-year-old narrative: That Donald Trump colluded with Russian agents and Facebook bots to steal the 2016 election, that Donald Trump is a Manchurian candidate puppet of the Kremlin, that ….[blah, blah, blah] Donald Trump and Russia [blah, blah, blah]. Continue reading “Flynn and the “Russia” narrative: a dog that will no longer hunt”

Texas salon owner Shelley Luther released from prison

Apparently the high crimes of haircutting and feeding one’s children will continue, undeterred, in the Lone Star State. 

Supreme Court Of Texas Orders Release Of Jailed Texas Stylist Shelly Luther

Here’s the problem: The national shutdown, implemented mostly at the state level, has prevented millions of Americans from earning a living (literally from feeding their children, in some cases.)

That might have gone uncontested had the shutdown been a short-term measure to “flatten the curve”—as it was originally sold. Continue reading “Texas salon owner Shelley Luther released from prison”

Axl Rose vs. Steve Mnuchin on Twitter

I haven’t given Guns N’Roses (GNR) much thought since like…1988. That was when the band had its heyday, more or less. 

In fact, I never really gave the group much thought at all.

GNR was/is kind of like a retread of the mid-1980s act Mötley Crüe—a schtick that was already stale by 1988. When I do think of Guns N’ Roses, I usually hear Axl Rose caterwauling the refrain from “Sweet Child of Mine” in my head.

Nineteen eighty-eight was a good year for me, in most respects; but that’s a flashback from ’88 that I can do without.

But Twitter is the magic medium that keeps all past-their-prime celebrities in the public consciousness. (How many people would recognize the name “Alyssa Milano” in 2020 if not for Twitter?)

It turns out that Axl Rose, the now 58-year-old lead singer of GNR, took a potshot at U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on Twitter.

Because of course, no celebrity is ever going to go after a Democrat on social media. Being good little herd animals, celebrities only attack herd-approved targets, i.e., Republicans.

As is usually the case in these situations, Axl Rose’s tweet wasn’t very articulate. He basically just called Mnuchin a name–the sort of thing that would simply be ignored if it had come from anyone who wasn’t a celebrity: Continue reading “Axl Rose vs. Steve Mnuchin on Twitter”

The imperiled indie bookstore business model

From The New Republic, an article on the fall, sort-of-rise, and subsequent fall of the independent bookseller in America:

Is This the End of the Indie Bookstore?

Needless to say, independent bookstores have been hurt by the coronavirus pandemic and the government-mandated shutdown of the national economy. Few state bureaucrats have deemed bookstores as “essential”. Most have therefore been shut down for about two months at the time of this writing.

As the New Republic article explains, independent bookstores were battered by the rise of B&N and Borders superstores in the 1990s. This was before the rise of Amazon and ebooks..not to mention COVID-19.

After several decades of decline, indie bookstores bounced back somewhat between 2009 and 2019.

“They fostered a sense of community between business and consumer; their wares were curated specifically for their clientele; and they were places where people could physically convene. These were not just stores selling widgets, they were local hubs.”

So what do I think about the future of the independent bookstore? Continue reading “The imperiled indie bookstore business model”

The new HarperCollins subscription service, and how romance fiction is “different”

Mills & Boon launching subscription service We Love Romance

This is a subscription service that will provide unlimited reading for about $9.99 per month. (The service will launch in the United Kingdom and Ireland.)

Interesting—and probably smart—that HarperCollins decided to focus on romance fiction. Continue reading “The new HarperCollins subscription service, and how romance fiction is “different””

Gold’s Gym files for bankruptcy

Gold’s Gym files for bankruptcy after blow from coronavirus pandemic

Based on the article, it appears that the company does plan to restructure and survive. It will do so, though, with fewer locations and a smaller footprint.

I love gyms and fitness centers. I’ve had gym memberships in multiple cities in Ohio; and I belonged to a gym in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, during my brief residence in the Chicago area in 1991. Continue reading “Gold’s Gym files for bankruptcy”

Kent State + 50

Today is the 50th anniversary of the Kent State shootings.

This is another one of those events that occurred within my lifetime, but a few years too early for me to remember it. I had not yet turned two on May 4, 1970.

Growing up in Ohio in the 1970s, though, this was a topic that I heard a lot about.

Much has been said and written about Kent State over the past half-century. So I’ll be brief.

*** Continue reading “Kent State + 50”

Trump on his squabbles with the press

I’ve long suspected that Trump knows exactly what he’s doing when he engages in those long back-and-forths with hostile reporters:

Trump on media ‘hostility’: ‘If I was kind to them, I’d be walked off the stage’

The President elaborated:

President Trump defended his growing list of contentious exchanges with reporters Sunday night during Fox News’ virtual Town Hall, telling moderators Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, “If I was kind to them, I’d be walked off the stage.”

The president argued, “I am greeted with a hostile press the likes of which no president has ever seen.”

I get it. But his daily exchanges with reporters over the coronavirus pandemic have become tortuous to watch and listen to. Continue reading “Trump on his squabbles with the press”