Whiplash.

On Saturday, I got up early and headed for Eastern Market around 8 a.m., and that was a good idea — got a parking place and got my shopping done before the crowds descended. I took a counter seat at my usual breakfast place, the place already packed. As I was leaving, a party of three was waiting for a table. Working guys, two wearing shirts IDing them as employees of the packing plant around the corner. The third had on a T-shirt with this charming message: Marriages don’t fail. Wives fail.

“I think there’s a table open in the back,” I told them as I left, knowing it was dirty, knowing it was a two-top, but fuck all of them. I know people have different senses of humor, and maybe it was some sort of take-my-wife-please thing, but something about his face said no, he was a Victim of Family Court and That Bitch. So he’ll wear his little shirt around, it makes him feel like he’s stickin’ it to the (wo)man, and he’ll be virtually guaranteed that the next one he falls for will be cut from the same cloth.

I wanted to tell him, “Dude, it’s a loop. You need to break the cycle.” But I didn’t have that kind of time, so I just directed them through a crowded coney island to a dirty table, knowing they’ll have to make their way back when they see it’s too small. I wonder if the other two guys will blame the third guy.

Now I am become Bitch, part of the loop.

The men’s-rights guys are feeling their oats of late. You can hardly go on MR Twitter and not see the sneering at Emmanuel Macron and his old-ass wife, who is quite fetching but undeniably well past her childbearing years, which makes him a cuck or a eunuch or fag or whatever their term of art for such arrangements is.

And you’d get whiplash if you look too quickly at Mike Huckabee, tweeting his pride in his daughter Sarah, deputy White House press secretary:

Ha ha! Three preschoolers! Wait, what? How is that OK? I spent Kate’s preschool years being lectured endlessly about the need for every child to be raised by their parents, not some nanny or caregiver or what-have-you. Sure, it could be a spouse, but Sarah Huckabee Sanders isn’t married to some cuck, but a man every bit her equal, career-wise.

It’s hard to keep up, I’m telling you. But I know those kids will be lucky to see their mom two hours a day. I believe it was Rahm Emanuel who said that the only parent working in the White House who sees his or her kids is the one in the Oval.

I’m rereading “The Handmaid’s Tale,” as we started a Hulu subscription to watch the adaptation. Very well done, very specifically scary. I try not to get too paranoid these days, but face it, as the dug-in positions keep getting more dug in, it’s hard to be optimistic:

The talk-show host Rush Limbaugh was positively giddy, opening his monologue on Wednesday by praising Mr. Trump for what he called his “epic trolling” of liberals. “This is great,” Mr. Limbaugh declared. “Can we agree that Donald Trump is probably enjoying this more than anybody wants to admit or that anybody knows? So he fires Comey yesterday. Who’s he meet with today? He’s meeting with the Soviet, the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov! I mean, what an epic troll this is.”

Given the enthusiasm of the president’s apologists, it is likely that much of Mr. Trump’s base will similarly rally to him as it has in the past.

But perhaps most important, we saw once again how conservatism, with its belief in ordered liberty, is being eclipsed by something different: Loathing those who loathe the president. Rabid anti-anti-Trumpism.

I guess, when the president’s health fails because of his shitty diet, that will be another case of IOKIYAR. We won’t be helping children learn to eat better, either, because that was Michelle Obama’s idea, and anyway, parents should be teaching their children, like the Huckabee-Sanders co-prosperity sphere (with a bloodline strong in Southern-style obesity).

Speaking of whiplash.

I have a bunch of depressing links to post, but I’m not going to. It’s a beautiful Mothers Day, my daughter has promised to make me dinner later, and I’m going for a bike ride. And if you’re reading this Monday, happy anniversary to us. Twenty-four years, celebrated Saturday night with a restaurant meal that made this dress feel tighter than it looks by the last bite:

Good week, all.

Posted at 4:13 pm in Current events | 66 Comments
 

Who is this man?

For all that I complain about having to think about Donald Trump, I admit that I spend a lot of time thinking about him voluntarily. I was flipping through laps at the pool the other day when it came to me why I find him so unnerving: I can’t find the human inside.

I may be bitchy and glib, but I consider myself a fairly empathetic person, in the sense that I try to figure out what’s going on inside people that makes them act the way they do. We’re all just little boys and girls, after all, scared and lonely and fearful and silly by turns. It doesn’t excuse our bad behavior, but it does at least begin to explain it. On the surface she might be a bitch, but when you understand that inside she’s terrified that now that her looks have faded no one will ever pay attention to her again, well, at least it makes her easier to approach.

I can’t do that with Trump.

There are clues. Has anyone else noticed that his desk and credenza are almost devoid of family pictures? He has five kids, three kids-in-law, several grandchildren, and one family photo. It’s his father. Seen here:

This man is 70 years old. To say he has “daddy issues” is almost a joke. Anyway, I’d think a man with daddy issues would act more like a son. He doesn’t. He’s Big Daddy. Only the original Big Daddy had a wider vocabulary. He knew what “mendacity” meant:

(Goddamn, Liz, that dress. I’m invited to a black-and-white ball next month, and I need that dress. Size 10, please.)

Anyway, I keep searching for the one scrap of actual human feeling that I can grab hold of, attempt some sort of mind-meld with the president, and keep coming up empty. I can understand that he’s intensely narcissistic, but even a narcissist should show some occasional fellow feeling. All I’m getting — it’s like I’m standing over a brain scan here — is a yawning void, or a grim landscape littered with…coal dust and lava, maybe.

Anyway, the big presidential talkers today were the Time story, in which we learn that Trump gets two scoops of ice cream on his chocolate cream pie, while Pence prefers a fruit plate. And also this:

But few rooms have changed so much so fast as his dining room, where he often eats his lunch amid stacks of newspapers and briefing sheets. A few weeks back, the President ordered a gutting of the room. “We found gold behind the walls, which I always knew. Renovations are grand,” he says, boasting that contractors from the General Services Administration resurfaced the walls and redid the moldings in two days. “Remember how hard they worked? They wanted to make me happy.”

Trump says he used his own money to pay for the enormous crystal chandelier that now hangs from the ceiling. “I made a contribution to the White House,” he jokes. But the thing he wants to show is on the opposite wall, above the fireplace, a new 60-plus-inch flat-screen television that he has cued up with clips from the day’s Senate hearing on Russia. Since at least as far back as Richard Nixon, Presidents have kept televisions in this room, usually small ones, no larger than a bread box, tucked away on a sideboard shelf. That’s not the Trump way.

I know a lot of people put their big TVs over the fireplace, but I’ve always hated that placement. And never mind the watch-TV-while-eating thing. Sigh.

The other one was the Economist interview. You can look up the link; I prefer this excerpt from a gobsmacked Matt Yglesias at Vox:

The Economist then rightly asks him how something like eliminating the estate tax could fail to benefit the rich, and Trump appears to enter a fugue state:

I get more deductions, I mean I can tell you this, I get more deductions, they have deductions for birds flying across America, they have deductions for everything. There are more deductions … now you’re going to get an interest deduction, and a charitable deduction. But we’re not going to have all this nonsense that they have right now that complicates things and makes it … you know when we put out that one page, I said, we should really put out a, you know, a big thing, and then I looked at the one page, honestly it’s pretty well covered. Hard to believe.

Do take the 10 minutes it takes to watch this entire video, of a constituent with a powerful head of steam confronting Rep. Tom MacArthur, who should be staring blankly at the wall after this beatdown.

Finally, because we must enter the weekend on an up note, a charming profile of Dwayne Johnson, i.e. the Rock, in GQ. The writer visits his private gym, in L.A.’s warehouse district:

Johnson’s in Los Angeles now to film HBO’s Ballers, but he’s got gyms wherever he goes. He’s building one at his farm in Virginia, where he keeps his horses (and also, he says, a piano once owned by Benjamin Franklin; it came with the farm), and he has a workout facility at his primary residence in Florida, where he lives on a compound on the edge of the Everglades, in a tiny rural town popular among professional athletes who yearn for country living within an hour’s drive of Miami. As he crisscrosses the country for work, he’s constantly scouting new spots. If he has to go to New York for a night, he will find a gym there, and it will be in a dank, subterranean room, probably off an alley that only Johnson can find. If you have a basement, he might be in your house right now, doing leg presses and staying hydrated. Found an incredible little out-of-the-way spot, he might write on Instagram, under a photo of himself lifting your washing machine. #HardestWorkersInTheRoom #ByAnyMeansNecessary #LateNight #StopNever.

He seems to be a genuinely nice guy. Maybe he’ll be our next president. Sigh.

A good weekend to all.

Posted at 8:54 pm in Current events, Popculch | 78 Comments
 

The grind goes on.

Ugh. A…not grueling day, but a frustrating one. Lots of dry holes, unreturned calls, all that stuff. And deadline is approaching like death, so double the frustration. The people you meet when you don’t have a cattle prod, know what I’m sayin’?

And yet, as you newspaper people know, sometimes everything can come together at the last minute. You just have to be patient. And then you have to panic. Because it’s important.

But at the end of the day, there is little that a grilled pork tenderloin, asparagus, roasted potatoes and a big glass of wine can’t fix. I was out last night for a bit — met a couple friends/colleagues for drinks overlooking the river, where we relaxed deeply, laughed loudly and downloaded an app to settle bets over the passing freighters. In the middle of this the Comey news landed. Truth be told, I didn’t pay attention to it until afterward, and it was like a really bad fart in the room, which perhaps explains my frustration last night. Is this ever going to end? Of course it will, but I fear not before I forget what it’s like to spend days, weeks not thinking about what’s happening in Washington, because I trust the nation is in, if not good then at least competent hands.

Times like these, we need our friends, we need our laughter overlooking the river. I hope you have something where you live — a river, a lake, an ocean, the healing water from which we all came. And friends, or family.

What do I have for you to read tonight?

There’s this, which has been around for a while, but worth your time — Laurie Penny on Princess I’s book:

Ivanka does not directly call herself a feminist; that plays badly among the base, for whom those of us who believe in justice and equality are baby-killing, castrating, terrorist-sympathising man-hating riders of the vaunted cock carousel. The word “feminism” does not appear in the book; the phrase “my father” appears thirty times, and “brand” or “branding” fifty-nine times. While we’re counting words, in a book about women balancing the demands of work and family, the word “nanny” appears only once. Ivanka has at least two of these, plus other household staff, which you’d think would make it a lot easier to attain this model of feminine self-production and reproduction. However, this book is part of a marketing strategy pitched to sell one of the world’s richest and most powerful women as everywoman—she has problems just like you do, after all. She worries about how to manage her time. “Get some servants” is not yet an acceptable motivational hashtag, but give it four years.

For your science nerds: How the Soviets turned a wary fox into a friendly dog in only 56 generations:

“How to Tame a Fox” sets out to answer a simple-seeming question: What makes a dog a dog? Put another way, how did an animal that started out as a bloodthirsty predator become one that now wants nothing more than a nice belly rub and the chance to gaze adoringly at a member of another species? In the late 1950s, a Russian scientist named Dmitri Belyaev decided to address this puzzle by taking the unheard-of tack of replicating the domestication process in real time. He and his colleagues took silver foxes, widely bred in vast Siberian farms for their luxurious pelts, and made them into friendly house pets. It was a deceptively simple process: Take the puppies from only the friendliest foxes, breed them and repeat.

When you’re feeling sad and stressed, you can hardly do better than five minutes with Tom & Lorenzo. Rosamund Pike should have checked with them before getting dressed.

Night, all.

Posted at 9:04 pm in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 44 Comments
 

The never-ending crisis.

Oh, ferfuxsake, is this EVER going to end? Just…is it possible to have one. Blessed. Week without having to deal with this ongoing donkey show in Washington? This is like watching monkeys flinging poo, only more maddening.

Can anything slow this trainwreck? What’s it going to take to make this right? Can it ever be made right? Will more rhetorical questions help? We can do this all night. And all day, too.

In the meantime, I’m sure you’ll be discussing this forever. Here are some bonbons if you get bored:

First Comey, then McMaster? Sure, it could happen.

It wasn’t economic anxiety, it was cultural anxiety. Like we didn’t know that.

That’s entertainment:

And here, finally, a couple of kitty pix. First, the nice kitty:

And then, the psycho one. Cooze, a rehab job for you?

Look at those eyes.

Posted at 10:11 pm in Current events | 54 Comments
 

Aging in a new place.

Well, that was a relief. Four days away was just about exactly what I needed, even if the cottage did have wifi and I was able to read the news. Alan told me early on that he didn’t want to hear about our president or anything else emanating out of Washington, and I mostly honored that request.

I didn’t tell him about the French hack. I had a feeling it wouldn’t come to anything, anyway.

It’s weird traveling to northern Michigan these days. Passing through Cadillac, we saw a billboard proclaiming WE LIKE OUR PRESIDENT, DONALD TRUMP. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! It flew by too fast to get a photo, sorry. I used to remember going up north as a series of increasingly deep exhalations, as the air cools and clears and the landscape turns green and rolling. Now I feel like I’m entering enemy territory, with so many towns looking so down on their luck, and the gas station/minimarts, all of which have some version of “family,” “America” or “pride” in their names. It occurs to me that putting “family” in a market name is a way to indicate they sell groceries as well as beer; “party store” is the Michigan jargon for a mostly likka-and-snacks emporium. Still. What’s the other side’s equivalent of the American Pride Family Market? The Diversity Emporium? (Under the name on the sign: “Bathrooms for all!”)

But it was nice to get out of town, where it rained and rained and rained; up north it was dry and sunny, if chilly. We drove over to Frankfort, on the big lake, to see what we could see. We saw Lake Michigan, and we visited a microbrewery/restaurant called Stormcloud, which I bet they’re very glad they didn’t name Stormfront. Had lunch there, and was surprised by the size of the crowd, still a good month before the season really starts. Well, the food was good, and a tabletop sign advertised a spelling bee that very night, open to all. Man, was I tempted, but we took the long way home and spent the evening reading in silence. Alan had an Elizabeth Strout novel, and I found this at the local bookstore:

I’m unfamiliar with Ian Brown, so this is one case where the cover blurbage sold me, and I’m not sorry I read it. Sixty looms for me in November, and I winced at many things between these covers. Currently, I’m ashamed to say, I’m obsessed with examining photos of women around my age and deciding whether I look older or younger. It is a supreme waste of time, un-sisterly and betrays a lack of character, and yet? I cannot stop. Ooh, age spots! She has age spots at 57, on her hands no less, and I am age spot-free at 59! #WINNING. It’s crazy; I never worried about my looks before, because one of the very few advantages of being basically average is, you never really go up or down. Oh, you can have a “makeover” at a cosmetics counter and learn that, for a mere $125 worth of products and 45 minutes every morning with brushes and paints, you can look a little bit better, but really? It’s not worth it. So why am I suddenly noticing these things? Because death is lurking just around the corner, that’s why. One of my old boyfriends recently died of liver cancer, and another has early-onset Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s! For fuck’s sake, these are rattling events. My high-school class is having yet another of our endless reunions this summer, and the last one (40) was full of In Memoriams and moments of silence and all the rest of it. I’m not that old yet, at least in my head. I went surfing last summer, goddamnit.

Brown is refreshingly honest about these and many other insecurities, and the book was a nice diversion. Back to Neil Gaiman next. (Why are people so hot on Neil Gaiman? He’s OK, but I don’t understand the worship, frankly.)

This was the view from the porch:

The Betsie River, sliding on past, like the river of time itself.

Maybe this is why I pay so much attention to the news. To distract myself from my own mortality.

Now the week ahead yawns, with good news from France and the usual fuckery out of Washington. Let’s have a good one.

Posted at 7:03 pm in Same ol' same ol' | 113 Comments
 

Bleached.

I swim for exercise three mornings a week. Swimming doesn’t require a lot of equipment, but a swimsuit is essential, unless you work out at one of those old homoerotic men’s health clubs where they won’t let women in because swimming is a nude sport. (Don’t laugh. They exist.) I’ve experimented with various suits, and found one that works for me. Speedo’s list price is high, but if you watch the sales, you can find closeout discounts or, mirabile dictu, a BOGO sale.

As it happens, last week’s BOGO colors included one I bought last summer, before I headed for California. That suit is about done, but I loved the color, so hey, I’m in for round two. You want to know why swimmers have green hair and dry skin? Behold, the power of chlorine:

If you’re reading this Wednesday and I didn’t die overnight, I swam this morning. Don’t have time or motivation? You just aren’t Princess Ivanka, then:

It’s in her description of her daily life, in which she somehow — until the election, anyway — managed to run her own company, serve as an executive vice president in the Trump Organization, train for a half marathon and spend time alone with each of her three children. Absent locating a wormhole in space, there’s really only one way to find time for all of these commitments, and that is with the help of staff. Yet her household help barely rates a mention in this discussion.

That’s from the NYT review of her new book, “Women Who Work,” which sounds about as lightweight and information-dense as other books of the Trump brand. I’m glad the mommy wars are over, truly I am; as a combat vet, I’m thrilled that today’s new mothers aren’t guilted by the ones who choose a different path. I think of that time as a benefit of the Clinton economy, when expensive cigars were burning, salaries were still pretty good and a lot of middle-class women could actually quit or downshift their jobs into something that allowed them to spend more time at home with their young’uns. The next administration put a stop to that once and for all; I know lots of women wished they had a second income when their husbands were thrown out of work during the financial crisis.

So choose your path, and God be with you, but you can probably do it without Princess Ivanka’s special brand of vapid advice, I bet:

But here’s what really matters about parental leave, as far as Ivanka Trump is concerned: She seems to still believe — as she did during the presidential campaign — that Americans ought to be paid for it. She waits until the penultimate page of her book to say so. But she does. (She talks about affordable child care, too.)

These final pages were written before Nov. 8, 2016. (Trump says in the preface that she turned in her manuscript before she knew the election results.) And what’s remarkable is that she wrote them as if she thought her old man was going to lose: “We need to fight for change, whether through the legislature or in the workplace.”

Well, her father didn’t lose. Ivanka Trump now has a formal White House role, as a special adviser to the president. She has security clearance and an office in the West Wing. She has access to the ultimate C-suite. At any moment, she could walk in and demand her father put forward a plan that mirrors precisely what she provides her own employees: Eight weeks of paid maternity leave. By European standards, that may be paltry. By American ones, it’s extremely generous and a very big deal.

Don’t bet on it.

There’s also a sympathetic profile of Princess I in Tuesday’s edition. It left me unmoved.

Folks, this may be the last update for the week. I’ll be running crazy errands to get ready for our trip this weekend, and can’t commit. If there’s wifi up there, maybe some pictures. Otherwise, I’m ducking out with a clean conscience.

Enjoy the rest of your week, and I’ll likely see you Monday.

Posted at 5:52 pm in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 151 Comments
 

You’ve got it all wrong.

This will be a good laugh for beb, the water-system chemist: A Michigan Department of Environmental Quality official, days from retirement, gives a straight-talkin’ speech called “Flint: What Really Happened,” and claims it wasn’t the lack of water treatment that sent lead into the drinking water of thousands of low-income homes, but…pressure:

An “excessive” number of main breaks was one of several “confounding factors that you never hear anybody talk about,” argued Feighner, who said Flint had 312 main breaks in 2014 and 277 in 2015, but only 153 in 2013 and 138 in 2016.

Although cities across the Midwest experienced an elevated number of main breaks during the back-to-back unusually cold winters, Feighner argued that Flint was hit especially hard because it has an oversized water system for its population and had spent very little on water system upkeep during the previous 20 years.

The omission of phosphate corrosion inhibitor when the city switched to the Flint River as a water source in April 2014 is widely considered to be the critical mistake that caused lead service pipes to leach a neurotoxin into drinking water, thus leading to the crisis. But Feighner challenged that notion, arguing that phosphate would have had “some impact” on controlling corrosion, but “I don’t believe it would have prevented this event.”

He argued that raw Flint River water is not actually as corrosive a source as has been portrayed, but that in-system factors like the main breaks and fluctuations of plant operation as Flint workers grappled with early indications of water quality issues elevated the corrosivity in treated water, thus compounding a “complicated puzzle” of factors affecting the water in Flint’s system.

I’m no expert, but I believe this is…not true. He claims that, essentially, main breaks, but changing pressure and water direction basically blasted protective coating from the inside of water mains. It wasn’t the obvious reason — that the river was more corrosive (most Midwestern rivers are, especially if they take on agricultural runoff), and by not treating the water with anticorrosives, it allowed the water to eat away at the protective coating that years of anticorrosives had left on city water mains and service lines.

(Are you bored by this? I don’t blame you. As the Trump family has pushed us to pay attention to politics 24/7/365, so Flint made water-treatment experts of every informed resident of Michigan. We had our own water tested, after discovering our service line was lead. Good news: undetectable lead levels, so thanks, Detroit system chemists.)

Having now spoken this heresy, which is contrary to the opinion of every expert, he goes on to pull the all-purpose excuse: Blame the media.

“Certainly, there was hurt there — don’t get me wrong — but there was a tremendous amount of hype that hurt them even more than the actual event. I’m convinced of that.”

Hoo-boy. Well, then. Maybe just hop to the next bit of bloggage, OK?

The best single story about the Alex Jones business, and an entertaining read, too:

The cross-examination begins. The jury is shown a video Jones filmed in D.C. on the eve of the Trump inauguration. He’s in front of the Capitol, and he’s drunk, slurring his words and wobbling. He’s about to go to the Deploraball. “I’m gonna sneak off and piss on some tree or something,” he says. But first, he mumbles to the camera “the age of fake bullshit is over. The return of man is here. Get ready because we’re gonna run your ass over.” Offscreen, a man yells “1776.” Jones slurs: “1776, baby!”

What a world we live in. And it’s only Tuesday.

Posted at 9:43 pm in Current events | 40 Comments
 

Drizzles.

And justlikethat, the weekend is over. Kate is back from school, summer plans still unformed, despite her best efforts. She was literally home for 90 minutes before taking off for the U.P. with a friend, I guess because the highs are going to be in the 40s for the next few days and who doesn’t want that kind of weather in May, right? But she’s home, and it’s nice to have her here, at least for an hour and a half.

This will be a short week for me here, too — we won a weekend at a cottage on the Betsie River in a recent charity raffle, and we’re taking it, plus a couple more nights, at the end of this week because why the hell not. But I hope to have lots of pictures, too.

I don’t know how I forgot to mention Tom Thumb Donuts in the last entry, although it’s been ages since I’ve seen one. They were always a must-stop at the Ohio State Fair, and it’s been ages since I’ve been to that throwdown, too. I covered it for the paper one year, and ate a bag a day. Tom Thumbs were mini doughnuts, and half the fun was standing, mesmerized, in front of the window on the booth, watching them go through their manufacturing process – seen here – then walking around the midway, working your way through your allotment, maybe trying to spot Miss Citizen Fair or just inhaling the unique aroma of a big state fair — manure and junk food and sweat and hot pavement all mixed together and not nearly as bad as I’m making it sound.

I wonder how the fair is doing these days. It used to be the single biggest thing in a kid’s summer in Columbus, but I imagine it’s been screwed up one way or another. Too expensive, too big, too much to police. It was fun for me, both to attend and later to cover. The assignment came soon enough after my time as a teenage patron that it combined the best of both worlds – I get to go the fair and write about whatever I want, and there’s an air-conditioned trailer office and the paper is renting me a golf cart? Best fortnight of the summer.

But now it’s still springtime, and the lambs and calves that will be shown in August are new in the barn. A friend of mine here in Detroit has a duck flock in her back yard, and is so overloaded with eggs that she brought a case of them to a local bar on Friday night to sell. I bought a dozen. The eggs are thick and the yolks big and pudding-like, almost a neon orange. I recall Coozledad’s observation, some years back, that ducks will basically eat anything, and vow to cook them thoroughly, but Saturday night’s duck-egg spinach soufflé was delicious with a prime ribeye.

I’m looking over the weekend’s news, and am feeling a little numb. Another propaganda rally, another jaw-dropping foreign-affairs blunder, another enormous march in Washington against the status quo. How can it possibly have been only 100 days? What are the next four years-minus-100 days going to be be like? I think I really need this long weekend; I’m going to try to ignore the news and hope we don’t start something with North Korea. The cell service is probably pretty spotty up there, and for once, that’ll be a blessing.

Got a link to share? Feel free.

Posted at 7:57 pm in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 51 Comments
 

Done in nine seconds.

I love it when a source suggests meeting for coffee at a Tim Horton’s. This means I can have a doughnut because duh — Tim Horton’s. I rarely eat doughnuts, because they are basically heroin for a sugar junkie like me. I need to detox, but before I do? One more delicious sour-cream glazed from Tim’s.

Sour-cream glazed are my absolute favorite, combining that little tang of sour cream with the sugar overload. My prejudices: Sprinkles are wrong on doughnuts, as is chocolate. Yes, I said chocolate. My mother raised me to believe you don’t eat chocolate before noon, and I’ve never been able to eat a chocolate doughnut in the morning with an entirely clean conscience.

And if you start eating doughnuts, any doughnuts, after noon, you have a problem.

What’s your fave doughnut? Beats bitching about the president, if only for one day.

I don’t have much bloggage, going into the weekend, because I’ve been working on something else and reducing my poking-around-the-internet time. Here’s an L.A. Times photo gallery of a number of national monuments the Trump administration is casting a stern eye at, because wouldn’t the American people really rather have a golf course?

Also, I used to start the day with the L.A. Times crossword, done on the laptop of course, but they changed the interface and I fell out of the habit. Then I realized that if you load the mobile site of the NYT on the laptop, I could do their mini-crossword on a proper keyboard instead of thumb-typing. I generally get it done under 30 seconds, and on Thursday? 16 seconds. I doubt I’ll ever beat my all-time record of 9 seconds, but go ahead and try.

I’m so tired I may walk into a wall on my way to bed. Hope you don’t, and have a great weekend, all.

Posted at 9:09 pm in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 108 Comments
 

How rude.

What was it David Remnick wrote in that piece I linked to yesterday? “For most people, the luxury of living in a relatively stable democracy is the luxury of not following politics with a nerve-racked constancy.” To me, luxury would be one day, one stinking day, with no Trumps in it.

But how is that possible? If it’s not the president, it’s Princess Ivanka, First of Her Name, Whose Domain is Handbags, Shoes and Casual Separates, which of course qualifies her to sit down with a panel of very accomplished women in Berlin and talk about Issues.

The story here said the crowed “booed and hissed” when she told a big fat whopper about King Donald, whom she described as a friend to women and families and so forth.

I watched the video and was hoping for way more booing, frankly, something like the outburst in a town hall during Congress’ break earlier this year. It was more like a polite rumble, although unmistakably disapproving. Princess Ivanka turned her head, but for my money, the person to watch in that clip is Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, who looks at the princess with a sort of scornful amusement: Who invited you, handbag designer? And she smiles when the crowd jeers, because who wouldn’t? When a person lies, they deserve to be called on it. Lagarde’s skill in dressing is well-known, and I doubt she’d get caught dead in anything branded Trump. Check out that shoulder-scarf thing. The hell with you, Ivanka.

As bad as that moment was, though, this may be worse: Chris Cillizza, defending her because:

1) He’s her daddy, and that’s a daughter’s job:

But, it’s important to remember that Ivanka is, first and foremost, her father’s daughter. As such, she is going to defend him — as would almost every daughter in any situation in which her dad is under attack.

I didn’t see the whole thing, or whatever led up to this remark, but I don’t believe he was under attack. She just spontaneously offered the whole my-dad-is-the-best-dad thing. Cillizza goes on:

2) She knows him better than we do, and who knows? Maybe she’s right:

To walk away from that view would be to abandon what she spent the last 18 months telling us about her dad based on her own firsthand experiences.

Which seems to be some combination of the mafia family-first code and a realization that when you’re caught lying, you double down.

No wonder no one respects “pundits.” Or “pundints,” as Sarah Palin likes to say.

Finally, an analysis — nothing heavy — of how the administration is failing to take advantage of imagery, which is to say, photography. Or, to put it another way, the Trump presidency is producing crappy pictures;

The Obama imagery was so powerful not just because of how artful it was, but because of its apparent candidness. Obama and Souza gave us the impression we were flies on the wall, or part of the team—even part the family. In numbing contrast, photographs of Trump are often awkwardly, even painfully posed, with Trump almost always ensconced at the center. Like local chamber-of-commerce snaps or old corporate newsletter photos, they call attention to themselves as slavish, clone-like endorsements here accented by gratuitous thumbs-up gestures.

Shudder. On to the hump day we toil.

Posted at 9:08 pm in Current events | 68 Comments