Sunday, November 19, 2017

Shop Today

At Amazon, Today's Deals.

And especially, Intex 77in PureSpa Portable Bubble Massage Spa Set.

More, AmazonBasics AA Performance Alkaline Batteries (48 Count) - Packaging May Vary.

Here, Canon EOS Rebel T6 Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm EF-S f/3.5-5.6 IS II Lens + 58mm Wide Angle Lens + 2x Telephoto Lens + Flash + 48GB SD Memory Card + UV Filter Kit + Tripod + Full Accessory Bundle.

Also, Fellowes Powershred 60Cs 10-Sheet Cross-Cut Paper and Credit Card Shredder with SafeSense Technology (4606001).

More, Meguiar's Complete Car Care Kit.

Plus, Armor All Original Protectant & Cleaning Wipes Twin Pack (2 x 25 count), and Armor All 40040 Tire Foam Protectant - 4 oz.

BONUS: Orlando Figes, Natasha's Dance: A Cultural History of Russia.

Sanctimonious and Self-Righteous Al Franken (VIDEO)

Allie Stuckey's one of those pundits who can talk a mile a minute, and she has a quick and large vocabulary.

She's like what, 25-years-old at most? Not bad.

Min Jin Lee, Pachinko

At Amazon, Min Jin Lee, Pachinko.

Masha Gessen, The Future is History

At Amazon, Masha Gessen, The Future is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia.

The Long Crisis of New York City's Subways

I first saw Byron York's tweet. I prolly would've ignored this story, but those salary figures are astonishing.

At NYT, "How Politics and Bad Decisions Starved New York’s Subways."

The Fall of Robert Mugabe

This is excellent, from Robyn Dixon, at the Los Angeles Times, "The Shakespearean excesses and political intrigues that drove Africa's oldest strongman out of power":

In a glitzy Johannesburg nightclub earlier this month, a wealthy young playboy poured an entire $660 bottle of Ace of Spades Armand de Brignac Champagne over his diamond-studded watch: It was Bellarmine Chatunga, the youngest son of President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe.

He had bragged about the watch and chunky gold bracelet on an earlier social media post: “$60,000 on the wrist when your daddy run the whole country ya know!!!”

As Zimbabweans struggle to afford food, when many find themselves sleeping outside banks in the hope of withdrawing $10 in cash, the video drew outrage, even among the ruling elite that had propped up the 93-year-old Mugabe for 37 years.

It hadn’t been an isolated incident. Mugabe’s wife, Grace, and her son from a previous marriage, Russell Goreraza, recently imported two Rolls-Royces, and she was caught up in a legal battle over a $1.35-million diamond ring.

Members of the ruling ZANU-PF party were furious that the first lady had seized majority control of a $1-billion government road contract. Then there was the incident involving a model who had been partying with her sons in South Africa: Grace Mugabe left an ugly gash when she hit her with a power cord and, facing charges of assault, she claimed diplomatic immunity and high-tailed it out of the country.

“It angered people. There have always been reports of the high living by these boys, high living by the mother, the father looking aside. They became arrogant and thought ‘No one can do anything to us,’ ” confided one ruling party figure, who wouldn’t be named for fear of reprisals. “There’s palpable anger in the military.”

The alarm over Grace Mugabe was magnified by her escalating power. When she attacked, government ministers fell. She said she could be president. “Give me the job and see if I fail!” she declared recently.

Zimbabwe’s fate came to a head this fall, according to numerous interviews with those close to the political intrigue, when Grace Mugabe turned her sights on former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his close allies among military commanders. At that point, sources say, those with any power to stop what was happening knew they would be finished — unless they toppled her. That meant removing Robert Mugabe.

Mugabe’s slow-motion downfall — planned for months by the military — is a story of his own hubris and arrogance, and his conviction that he was Africa’s last great liberation hero, with no living peers. For decades he chipped away at democracy and crafted the militaristic state that kept him in power, but he forgot that he was there at the military’s whim, not the other way around.

It was grand opera crossed with “The Sopranos,” full of scandal and treacherous turns, entertaining and dangerous. Accusations flew of poisoning, plotting, CIA espionage, military desertion and the theft of $15 billion in diamonds.

As the economy shriveled without foreign investment and a hard currency crisis sent prices of staples soaring 30% in a single week, many in the rank-and-file government felt hopeless at the prospect of going into elections in 2018 led by a president who could hardly stay awake in public meetings.

As Mugabe grew frail, he turned to promoting and protecting Grace, repeatedly warning the generals to stay out of politics, even as armed forces leaders were beginning to talk darkly of intervention.


One of the ironies of the unfolding drama is the extent to which the army now confronting Mugabe has been one of the president’s chief weapons of terror over the years.

The military carried out massacres in Matabeleland in the 1980s on Robert Mugabe’s orders to eliminate opposition. Some 20,000 people were reportedly killed.

The army and war veterans evicted white farmers from their land soon after 2000 and got farms in return. Mugabe used the military to violently crush the opposition in successive elections and in Operation Murambatsvina in 2005, when up to a million people were displaced in opposition areas, their homes bulldozed.

Mugabe, say those who know him best, has always had an instinctive manipulative cunning and an acute understanding of how to wield force to break an opponent. When he saw a threat, he either crushed it or consumed it whole.

But as he aged, he grew more remote, stubborn and out of touch, and was loath to trust or consult his generals.

“He forgot the nature of the state that he himself helped to create, which is a militaristic, securocratic state,” said opposition figure Tendai Biti, a former finance minister. “He forgot that the militaristic state could just dump him when he stopped serving their interests. He could be fired, like anyone.”

Independent analyst Earnest Mudzengi said the closed, oppressive state Mugabe created likely will outlast him.

“He was made by the same guys who now want to do away with him. He made them, and he was made by them. Big people tend to overreach themselves,” he said.

“Basically what they [the generals] want is a return to the status quo,” he added. “People are celebrating, but it’s premature.”

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Jesmyn Ward, Sing, Unburied, Sing

At Amazon, Jesmyn Ward, Sing, Unburied, Sing: A Novel.

Gold Box Deals

At Amazon, Today's Deals.

See especially, Amrapur Overseas | Goose Down Alternative Microfiber Quilted Reversible Comforter / Duvet Insert - Ultra Soft Hypoallergenic Bedding - Medium Warmth for All Seasons - [King, Eclipse/Silver].

Plus, Amrapur Overseas | Bamboo Memory Foam Pillow (White, Queen).

More, Rubie's Gandalf Desolation of Smaug Walking Staff.

And, Fellowes Powershred 60Cs 10-Sheet Cross-Cut Paper and Credit Card Shredder with SafeSense Technology (4606001).

More, Meguiar's Complete Car Care Kit.

Plus, Armor All Original Protectant & Cleaning Wipes Twin Pack (2 x 25 count), and Armor All 40040 Tire Foam Protectant - 4 oz.

BONUS: Kay Ann Johnson, China's Hidden Children: Abandonment, Adoption, and the Human Costs of the One-Child Policy.

Flashback: Lily Aldridge Uncovered for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2016 (VIDEO)

She's so fantastic!

Elizabeth Hurley Sunbathing

She's 52 and fabulous.

Nice Tats

Seen on Twitter, heh:

Beautiful Nude Actresses

I just love Natalie Portman, heh.

At Maxim, "15 Beautiful Actresses Who Always Get Naked."

Trick Dodge Challengers

This Jerry D. on Twitter is really cool, lol.

Ethical Movies

Well, before I see any film I'll check in advance if Harvey Weinstein, or any of the Mirimax people, had anything to do with it. We just saw "Thor: Ragnarok" last week, and I can't believe Weinstein was a part of the production, but who knows these days?

I'm not planning a lot of trips to the movie house, in any case. I'm disgusted by these people, all of them.

At the Atlantic:

We're All Are Implicated in the Post-Weinstein Reckoning

From Rebecca Traister, a very radical feminist, at the New Yorker's "The Cut," "Your Reckoning. And Mine":

The anger window is open. For decades, centuries, it was closed: Something bad happened to you, you shoved it down, you maybe told someone but probably didn’t get much satisfaction — emotional or practical — from the confession. Maybe you even got blowback. No one really cared, and certainly no one was going to do anything about it.

But for the past six weeks, since reports of one movie producer’s serial predation blew a Harvey-size hole in the news cycle, there is suddenly space, air, for women to talk. To yell, in fact. To make dangerous lists and call reporters and text with their friends about everything that’s been suppressed.

This is not feminism as we’ve known it in its contemporary rebirth — packaged into think pieces or nonprofits or Eve Ensler plays or Beyoncé VMA performances. That stuff has its place and is necessary in its own way. This is different. This is ’70s-style, organic, mass, radical rage, exploding in unpredictable directions. It is loud, thanks to the human megaphone that is social media and the “whisper networks” that are now less about speaking sotto voce than about frantically typed texts and all-caps group chats.

Really powerful white men are losing jobs — that never happens. Women (and some men) are breaking their silence and telling painful and intimate stories to reporters, who in turn are putting them on the front pages of major newspapers.

It’s wild and not entirely fun. Because the stories are awful, yes. And because the conditions that created this perfect storm of female rage — the suffocating ubiquity of harassment and abuse; the election of a multiply accused predator who now controls the courts and the agencies that are supposed to protect us from criminal and discriminatory acts — are so grim.

But it’s also harrowing because it’s confusing; because the wrath may be fierce, but it is not uncomplicated. In the shock of the house lights having been suddenly brought up — of being forced to stare at the ugly scaffolding on which so much of our professional lives has been built — we’ve had scant chance to parse what exactly is inflaming us and who. It’s our tormentors, obviously, but sometimes also our friends, our mentors, ourselves.

Since the reports of Weinstein’s malevolence began to gush, I’ve received somewhere between five and 20 emails every day from women wanting to tell me their experiences: of being groped or leered at or rubbed up against in their workplaces. They tell me about all kinds of men — actors and publishers; judges and philanthropists; store managers and social-justice advocates; my own colleagues, past and present — who’ve hurt them or someone they know. It happened yesterday or two years ago or 20. Few can speak on the record, but they all want to recount how the events changed their lives, shaped their careers; some wish to confess their guilt for not reporting the behavior and thus endangering those who came after them. There are also women who do want to go on the record, women who’ve summoned armies of brave colleagues ready to finally out their repellent bosses. To many of them I must say that their guy isn’t well known enough, that the stories are now so plentiful that offenders must meet a certain bar of notoriety, or power, or villainy, before they’re considered newsworthy.

This is part of what makes me, and them, angry: this replication of hierarchies — hierarchies of harm and privilege — even now. “It’s a ‘seeing the matrix’ moment,” says one woman whom I didn’t know personally before last week, some of whose deepest secrets and sharpest fears and most animating furies I’m now privy to. “It’s an absolutely bizarre thing to go through, and it’s fucking exhausting and horrible, and I hate it. And I’m glad. I’m so glad we’re doing it. And I’m in hell.”

Part of the challenge, for me, has been in my exchanges with men — the friends and colleagues self-aware enough to be uneasy, to know they’re on a list somewhere or imagine that they might be. They text and call, not quite saying why, but leaving no doubt: They once cheated with a colleague; they once made a pass they suspect was wrong; they aren’t sure if they got consent that one time. Are they condemned? What is the nature and severity of their crime? The anxiety of this — how to speak to guys who seek feminist absolution but whom I suspect to be compromised — is real. Some of my friends have no patience for men’s sudden penchant for introspection, but I’m a sucker; I feel for them. When they reach out, my impulse is to comfort. But reason — and a determination not to placate, not now — drives me to be direct, colder than usual: Yes, this is a problem. In fact, it’s your problem. Seek to address it.

Then there are the men who are looking at the world with fresh eyes, who are startled by the unseemly parade of sexual molesters and manipulators — the cascading allegations against Louis C.K., the conservative former judge and Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, and so many more. These men have begun to understand my journalistic beat for the first time: They didn’t know it was this bad. They didn’t see how systemic, architectural, it was — how they were part of it even if they didn’t paw anyone, didn’t rape anyone. This faction includes my husband, a criminal-defense attorney who’s definitely not ignorant of the pervasiveness of sexual assault, yet reads the endless stream of reports with furrowed brow. “Who does this?” he asks. “Who does this?” Then one night, with genuine feeling: “How can you even want to have sex with me at this point?”

At elementary-school drop-off, a friend who’s a theater director tells me he’s been sorting through his own memories. “There’s this one woman, and I did ask her out, but only after she’d auditioned and hadn’t gotten the part. I wrote her, like I write to all actors who I don’t cast, to explain why. And then in that email, I asked if she wanted to go to a Holocaust puppet show with me. She said yes, and we went out a few times. This was probably 2004. Do you think that was bad?”

I laugh, put my hand on his arm, and tell him no, it doesn’t sound bad, but in fact I don’t know: Maybe it was bad or maybe it was human and they really liked each other. We are turning over incidents that don’t fall into the categories that have been established — a spectrum that runs from Weinstein-level brutality to non-rapey but creepy massages to lurid-but-risible pickup lines — and wondering whether or how any of it relates to actual desire for another person.

Still, I’m half-frustrated by men who can’t differentiate between harmless flirtation and harassment, because I believe that most women can. The other half of me is glad that these guys are doing this accounting, reflecting on the instances in which they wielded power. Maybe some didn’t realize at the time that they were putting the objects of their attention at a disadvantage, but I must acknowledge that some, even my friends, surely did....


When I thought about my #metoo moments, I first recalled the restaurant manager who instructed me to keep my blouse unbuttoned as I served pizzas with fried eggs on top, about the manager at Bruegger’s Bagels who’d rub his dick against my ass as he passed me setting out the cream cheeses in the morning. I’ve never had a job in which there wasn’t a resident harasser, but in my post-college life, I believed I’d stayed out of his crosshairs.

Perhaps, in the story I’ve told myself, it was because I was never wowed by powerful men, sensing on some visceral level that they were mostly full of shit. I gravitated toward female mentors instead. But even given my wariness of Important Men, as a young woman I could never truly believe that members of the opposite sex could be as cartoonishly grotesque as they sometimes were.

I once heard that a choking person reflexively leaves the room, embarrassed for others to see her gasping for breath. I have no idea if that’s true, but it’s how I’ve dealt with harassment. One time on the subway, the man next to me wound his hand under my thigh and between my legs, as I sat there debating whether or not to stand up or scream because I didn’t want to embarrass him on a full train. That’s why, when an important writer took me to coffee, offering to help me find a new job, and asked if I’d ever fantasized about fucking a married man, I simply laughed maniacally, as if he’d just made a joke about a 65-year-old man who suggests to a 25-year-old woman that she fuck him during a professional coffee...
Keep reading.

Vanity Fair Editors Unimpressed with Radhika Jones' Sense of Style

Oh brother. She's a hot chick, with a Ph.D. from Columbia to boot!

Welcome to Condé Nast!

Radhika Jones is learning the ways of One World Trade. Having been named the new editor in chief of Vanity Fair only this week, Jones, 44, headed to downtown Manhattan to get acquainted with the magazine’s staff.

But while Jones may have been editorial director of the books department at The New York Times, an alum of Time magazine and The Paris Review, a graduate of Harvard and holds a doctorate in English and comparative literature from Columbia — none of this impressed Condé Nast-ers. They, instead, were aghast over her sense of style.

WWD observed one of the company’s fashion editors in candid conversation with industry peers remarking not on the context of Jones’ first visit, but rather the outfit she wore.

“She seemed nervous. The outfit was interesting,” the staffer noted. According to the fashion editor — who omitted Jones’ admirable literary accomplishments from conversation — the incoming editor wore a navy shiftdress strewn with zippers, a garment deemed as “iffy” at best.

Jones’ choice of hosiery proved most offensive, according to the editor. For the occasion, Jones had chosen a pair of tights — not in a neutral black or gray as is common in the halls of Vogue — but rather a pair covered with illustrated, cartoon foxes.

The animal caricatures may have also been too much for Vogue editor in chief and Condé Nast artistic director Anna Wintour, who is said to have fixed one of her trademark stoic glares upon Jones’ hosiery throughout the duration of the staff meeting.

Unnerved by Jones’ choice of legwear — and Wintour’s reaction — the fashion editor proclaimed to her friends: “I’m not sure if I should include a new pair of tights in her welcome basket.” Jones is said to begin her new role on Dec. 11.
Still more at that Twitter link above.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Jesmyn Ward Wins National Book Award for the Second Time

She's on the top of my list for next reads. In fact, I have her first novel, Salvage the Bones, on the table nearby here.

She won for that book, and then this week for her second novel, Sing, Unburied, Sing.

That's quite a set of accomplishments, no matter your ideology.

Today's Deals

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More here, Acer Aspire Desktop, 7th Gen Intel Core i3-7100, 8GB DDR4, 1TB HDD, Windows 10 Home, TC-780-ACKi3.

And, Signature Trail Mix, Peanuts, M & M Candies, Raisins, Almonds and Cashews.

BONUS: Masha Gessen, The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia.

93.1 Jack FM, KCBS Los Angeles

The Sound went down yesterday at 1:00pm. The station had a good run. The outpouring (and mourning, literally) was unheard of, man. That said, the last song I heard yesterday was Bad Company's "Moving On," so that's what I'm gonna do, heh.

Not sure what I'll be listening to, but I like Jack FM, which is still on the radio. Here's the set list from this morning:

Pumped Up Kicks
Foster The People
9:43 AM

Jimi Hendrix
Purple Haze
9:40 AM

Pardon Me
9:43 AM

Real Life
Send Me An Angel
9:25 AM

Pat Benatar
Love Is A Battlefield
9:21 AM

Vance Joy
9:17 AM

Fleetwood Mac
You Make Lovin' Fun
9:14 AM

Billy Idol
White Wedding
9:10 AM

Stone Temple Pilots
Interstate Love Song
9:07 AM

If You Leave
8:54 AM

Love In An Elevator
8:51 AM

Hey Ya!
8:47 AM

X Ambassadors
8:39 AM

Fat Bottomed Girls
8:35 AM

David Bowie
Modern Love
8:23 AM

Michael Jackson
Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough
8:19 AM

Foo Fighters
My Hero
8:15 AM

Dead Or Alive
You Spin Me Round
8:12 AM

The Black Keys
Lonely Boy
8:08 AM

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
The Waiting
8:05 AM
Definitely eclectic. A nice change of pace perhaps. Or, moving on.

49ers Wide Receiver Marquise Goodwin Played Sunday After Death of Premature Son (VIDEO)

This is a good family. And this is a heartbreaking story. They have faith. Their faith helped make it through the crisis. And his prayer in the end zone Sunday, seen at the video, is for the ages.


At CBS This Morning:

Slut-Shaming Al Franken's Accuser

So, Leeann Tweeden appeared on the cover of Playboy? So, she's a slut and is open game for Democrat sexual assailants, like Al Franken.

The "self-proclaimed nasty woman" is Vivian Copeland, who's apparently just earned her fifteen minutes of fame.

At Twitchy:

A Tale of Two Scandals

Bob Menendez vs. Roy Moore.

He's Got a Point

He would be Robert Stacy McCain, in light of all the sexual assault allegations, for example, here: "Al Franken."

Al Franken

I'm seriously blown away by the sheer volume of sexual assault allegations floating to the top of the much right now. Some are serious, some not so much, but why have all these been suppressed for so long?

I'd like to see more actual evidence of wrongdoing in most of these cases, for example, more than he said/she said. And of course less politics. Stop defending your side while simultaneously attacking your enemies. Of course, leftists come out far, far worse, since they're the full on social justice warriors with mountains of demons coming out of the left's collective closet: Just now all these hip progressives are retroactively calling for Bill Clinton's resignation? Give me a freakin' break.

In any case, Al Franken's an idiot and a loser, but then, he's a Democrat, so I repeat myself:

Here's Michelle Goldberg, who is very far left, at the New York Times:

And also, Kate Harding, who's got me blocked on Twitter, defending the Al Frankenstein predator:

More on this later, man.