Friday Night Open Thread

For anyone looking for the link to the continuously updated Global Incident Map of drug busts around the world that I mentioned in my talk today, here it is. It is searchable by country, drug and date. Just scroll down past the map. The number of persons extradited from Colombia to face criminal charges here is 1,600 since 1997, according to the State Department's International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, Volume I, Drug and Chemical Control, March 2014:

Remember the Colorado cake shop that wouldn't make a wedding cake for a gay couple? The Colorado civil Rights Commission has ordered Masterpiece Bakery to change its discriminatory policy and train its staff accordingly. It also must submit quarterly reports. The owner sounds just as clueless as ever:

[Owner Jack]Phillips claims he didn’t turn the gay couple away. “I clearly told them that I would make them birthday cakes, shower cakes, cookies and brownies,” he said. “I just don’t do cakes for same sex weddings.”

Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act prohibits establishments from refusing service based on race, sex, marital status or sexual orientation.

During the hearing, Commission Chair Katina Banks said, “You can have your beliefs, but you can’t hurt other people at the same time.”

Phillips says he intends to stand by his conviction.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    Jordan Wolfson (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by squeaky on Fri May 30, 2014 at 07:33:30 PM EST
    Animatronic Lady Gaga lookalike wows gallery visitors

    Sweet mother of god? CaptHowdy..  Well the facial recognition part was pretty creepy but bordering on profound.

    IOW, the piece was amazing. And, considering the robotics development in the movie biz, I was wowed about how obvious a choice was to borrow that tech from hollywood. He also showed a video which was extraordinary.. watched the whole thing without thinking of slipping out...  and his graphic works were really great too..

    Zwirner has a young superstar on his hands. I have not seen as good a show as Wolfson's in some time. Wolfson has a finger right on the pulse of now... with a hint of tomorrow.. haha

    Really looking forward to what is next up his sleeve.

    I loved it (none / 0) (#2)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 07:42:02 PM EST
    I posted it.  But it is profoundly creepy.  I like profoundly creepy stuff.  It's my favorite stuff.  I would love to see it in person.

    Watching it again (none / 0) (#4)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 07:53:28 PM EST
    One of the subtle things I really like, and I don't know if this is intentional or just a happy accident of the motion capture interacting with the way the thing is constructed, is the way the fingers bend backwards just a tiny bit more than real fingers do, or most real fingers anyway. Just enough so that wavy thing she does with her hands makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

    I love it.


    Yes (none / 0) (#6)
    by squeaky on Fri May 30, 2014 at 08:06:46 PM EST
    is the way the fingers bend backwards just a tiny bit more than real fingers do

    The hand and finger movement was extremely sensitive and quite powerful... I did not notice anything inhuman about it, quite the opposite, it was too human..  and his voice over... wow.

    the tracking was over the top though... IMO it is the obvious heir to Duchamp's Étant donnés, 21st century version on crack.

    The video was an animation, and non animation, using the HIV virus as a cartoon bouncing ball, running through the whole piece.....  what was amazing about it was that it did not make me or other viewers get shut down because of the heavy content (HIV, blood death), it was oddly upbeat, darkly so... the video transcended the subject matter, so it was not about HIV... what it was about was something you can not explain..  IOW it was art...  

    Jordan Wolfson is someone to watch, IMO


    Brilliant (none / 0) (#8)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 08:09:12 PM EST
    To put it facing a mirror

    Well Yes (none / 0) (#10)
    by squeaky on Fri May 30, 2014 at 08:12:15 PM EST
    It made you a voyeur, but the robot was watching you watch it.

    Lots of doubling going on..  Only one or two people were allowed in the room at a time..  


    I would be I interested (none / 0) (#61)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 09:27:12 AM EST
    In the opinion of some of female regulars on this.  I don't know squeaks gender.  
    Not trying to start anything just genuinely interested.  It is a very provocative thing.

    I had to watch it a few times (5.00 / 2) (#105)
    by ruffian on Sat May 31, 2014 at 03:32:32 PM EST
    after I read all of your posts. The hand movements were transfixing after I started focusing on them.  I did not find it creepy at all. It was enough on the robotic side of the robot-reality line that I don't think it got blurred or creepy. That said, it does dance better than I do.

    Were you dancing at Westbury? (none / 0) (#150)
    by oculus on Sat May 31, 2014 at 10:43:47 PM EST
    Bopping around ....I would not call it dancing! (none / 0) (#162)
    by ruffian on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 06:14:20 AM EST
    I thought it was amazing how fluid (none / 0) (#68)
    by Militarytracy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 10:52:35 AM EST
    Plus complex some of the movements are.  It's not creepy to me though.

    Seriously? (none / 0) (#75)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 11:08:05 AM EST
    Not creepy?  Anyway, the movement is done wih motion capture.  It's plug and play off the shelf these days.  I think one of the things that make it look slightly creepy is the fluidity of the movement.   Motion capture has a very distinct look to anyone used to looking at this kind of stuff. When it's used in movies usually it is refined either manually or with some kind of software that adds just enough grit to make it look real.  
    It looks strange on film but when it's standing right in front of you it's mucho strange.

    Women in this country (5.00 / 1) (#137)
    by Militarytracy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 08:33:05 PM EST
    Make a living faking sex on a pole.  It's completely fake :). All the rest of the girls know she's faking everything too, every fluid exaggerated complex motion.  You are going to have to come up with something more elaborately fake than this in order to creep fake able girls out Capt :)

    I'm glad you both like it (none / 0) (#140)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 08:48:55 PM EST
    I like it too.  Perhaps the word "creepy" is the problem.  You and ruffian seem to think creepy is bad.  For me creepy is good.  
    Ever see Donnie Darko?
    The girl says "you're weird."
    He says "sorry"
    She says "no, that's a compliment"

    It's a copy of lady GaGa (none / 0) (#141)
    by Militarytracy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 09:01:09 PM EST
    It's a copy of creepy :)

    I did get creeped out watching some of the Gollum animation from LOR.

    It's cool, but creepy when they do split screen to show you how they did it, and on one side is the the actor covered in sensors and the other side the moving creation.


    Off The Shelf? (none / 0) (#85)
    by squeaky on Sat May 31, 2014 at 11:41:34 AM EST
    The robot was very very expensive to make ($500K).. it is an edition of 3, the first one sold...  two more available. There were problems with performance (no innuendo intended)...  IOW there were breakdowns during the run of the show.

    For a relatively new young artist to be selling a work for $650K is rather unusual. The two remaining robots in the edition are scaled up in price.


    I'm sure e robot was expensive to create (none / 0) (#87)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 12:23:05 PM EST
    But motion capture software which is what I was talking about is not expensive and yes is available off the shelf.

    OK (none / 0) (#89)
    by squeaky on Sat May 31, 2014 at 12:36:26 PM EST
    That not always being the case (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 12:54:52 PM EST
    Movies like LOTR/Hobitt and Avatar developed this stuff for Gollum and the blue people respectively.  Since then it has been made available.  Like the crowd software developed for LOTR called Massive that's let's small budget movies create battle scenes with millions of people.

    Interesting (none / 0) (#95)
    by squeaky on Sat May 31, 2014 at 01:03:03 PM EST
    Between the mirror, the pole, gender bending male artist's voice and female robot representation, the motion capture software adds another double blind. The viewer's gaze (head motion) sets off the motion capture and the gaze gets flipped to (owned by) the robot.

    Really a complex work reflecting on gender politics, power and identity.


    So I am not clear on how the tech is used (none / 0) (#106)
    by ruffian on Sat May 31, 2014 at 03:34:45 PM EST
    Is the motion capture software used to record someone, and then that output used to 'program' the robot, so to speak?

    Yep (none / 0) (#111)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 03:53:04 PM EST
    Actors do a scene and special cameras capture the movement which can be transferred onto CG models



    Now they have "markerless mocap" which works without the dots



    CG or robots in this case (none / 0) (#113)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 03:56:54 PM EST
    It's raining here ( crappy connection) so I hope I gave you good links.  There should be lots more over on the right side of the YouTube screen as usual.

    Btw (none / 0) (#122)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 05:08:48 PM EST
    The guy in the Gollum video is Andy Serkis who is the undisputed king of mocap acting.  He was Gollum, King Kong and the ape in the new Planet of the Apes movies.  And probably lots of other stuff I'm forgetting.  

    Those links are cool (none / 0) (#163)
    by ruffian on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 06:22:42 AM EST
    Amazing how much of the actors' performances is captured. I knew Andy Serkis did that work but I had assumed it was basically the moving around - didn't realize how well they can capture the facial expressions too.  Wow.

    Was reading an interesting (none / 0) (#167)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 08:58:22 AM EST
    discussion the other day about what happens if a MoCap character ever wins a Globe or an Oscar.  Does the actor (Serkis) get it?  Does it go to the HUGE team of people who brought the character to life?  Does everybody get one?
    It's a valid question.  With the proliferation of this kind of work it will almost certainly happen at some point.

    Watching rainy day TCM today I caught most of (none / 0) (#201)
    by ruffian on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 05:16:45 PM EST
    'The Barefoot Contessa'.  One scene reminded me of this thread. I wish they had the tech to motion capture [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXjFFzDYFL0 Ava Gardner's gypsy dance ]. I would really be impressed with the robot that could do that.

    Ooops, linky failure (5.00 / 1) (#202)
    by ruffian on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 05:17:54 PM EST
    Just watched it (none / 0) (#184)
    by ZtoA on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 12:14:30 PM EST
    And I've been horribly sick in bed for the last 5 days so my opinion might be a bit tainted by that. Did not even get up to work! which is a new low. All I could do was read a bit of TL for less than an hour and binge watch Scandal on my phone from my bed. I'm up now for an hour or two.

    But I didn't like it. She doesn't dance, just squiggles. The hands are by far the best part - they're pretty good. The figure's exposed joints are distracting. It all looks programmed. Impaled on a pole and facing a mirror it never moves its feet. Facial recognition? looks more like motion sensors.

    I loved the Tupac hologram. My daughter was in the front row for that Dr. Dre concert at coachella that year and liked it too - tho to her it was the music not the hologram so much. It was just part of the whole show. That was a creative use of a facsimile. Both performers are supposed to be sexually provocative. I found the Tupac hologram very attractive so maybe men would find the robot Gaga attractive. I found the Gaga much more gimmicky than the Tupac. The audience for the Tupac was also much more .... searching for a word..... ?....  It was entertainment in its pure form, not for sale. Coachella tickets had already been sold. It was a surprise and truly shocked people and was not pre-hyped. I just didn't get a good hit from this Gaga.


    Oh (5.00 / 1) (#198)
    by squeaky on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 02:35:14 PM EST
    And hope you feel better soon...

    FYI... The Piece is Not A Video (none / 0) (#197)
    by squeaky on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 02:28:22 PM EST
    It is an installation... the video is documentation, at best.

    VA funding shock (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by ragebot on Fri May 30, 2014 at 07:50:56 PM EST
    The VA has not been spending all the money it was budgeted for the last five years and claiming the Daily Caller as a source.

    Here is a blurb

    "VA expects to carry over $450 million in medical-care funding from fiscal year 2014 to fiscal year 2015. VA received its full requested medical care appropriation of $54.6 billion this fiscal year, which is more than $10 billion more than it received four years ago.

    This is part of an ongoing trend.

    VA carried over $1.449 billion in medical-care funding from fiscal year 2010 to 2011, $1.163 billion from fiscal year 2011 to fiscal year 2012, $637 million from fiscal year 2012 to 2013, and $543 million from fiscal year 2013 to 2014."

    And this link to the official US gov web site confirms it

    US gov

    What is wrong that the VA is not spending the money allocated to it while vets are not getting care.  This is a problem with the administration.

    Which administration? (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by Yman on Sat May 31, 2014 at 10:43:01 AM EST
    What is wrong that the VA is not spending the money allocated to it while vets are not getting care.  This is a problem with the administration.

    The carryover is a small portion (<0.5% this year) of the budget that is carried forward to handle contingencies or unexpected costs at the beginning of the next fiscal year.  It has been around for far longer than "this administration".  Was it "this administration" or carryover budgets that were responsible for similar delays to veterans healthcare in 2007 (commission chaired by Bob Dole and Donna Shalala) or 1993 (blue-ribbon panel) or the famous Omar Bradley Commission of 1955-56?


    All Administrations (none / 0) (#102)
    by ragebot on Sat May 31, 2014 at 03:06:40 PM EST
    You are correct the VA has had surplus funds every year for quite some time.  No administration or Congress wants to be seen as not taking care of vets.

    The point is this is not an issue of money, congress has always been willing to put funds in the budget for the VA.  The problem is something else.

    Both sides are accusing the other side of politics.  The majority dems in the Senate complain about not being able to pass a monster bill that is only partly about funding mostly non health issues for vets (not that those are not important, just most of it has nothing to do with vets' health issues.  The majority pubs in the House complain about Sanders bashing a bill that would make it easier to fire union VA employees who are fudging stats to get bonuses (and possibly making it easier to fire union employees in general).

    For someone like me who is a qualified Vietnam Era service connected disabled vet I have to wonder why the Senate does not bring up a clean bill that only deals with vet benefits and does not try to claim it is being paid for by savings from wars we are no longer fighting and I have to wonder why Sanders is delaying action on a bill to make it easier to fire VA employees who are hiding the true delay time vets have to wait for care while submitting false numbers to get a bonus.

    Bottom line is that there needs to be a house cleaning in the VA to get rid of the bad apples.  But as important there needs to be a change in the attitude of some of the VA employees.


    There needs to be an investigation ... (5.00 / 1) (#104)
    by Yman on Sat May 31, 2014 at 03:30:37 PM EST
    ... before there is a "house cleaning", which is precisely one of the reasons Sanders (and others) are not supporting the Veterans Affairs Management Accountability Act of 2014.  It vests to much power with the VA Secretary and could easily result in a loss of due process for VA employees and scapegoating before the facts can be established.

    The majority dems in the Senate complain about not being able to pass a monster bill that is only partly about funding mostly non health issues for vets (not that those are not important, just most of it has nothing to do with vets' health issues.

    Ahhhh ... so the problem Republicans had was that the bill was not strictly limited to VA healthcare funding, as opposed to other programs needed by veterans, making it a "monster" bill.  Which explains why Republicans opposing the bill were upset they weren't able to add yet another amendment to the bill - an amendment for sanctions against Iran.

    That makes sense.

    You are correct the VA has had surplus funds every year for quite some time.  No administration or Congress wants to be seen as not taking care of vets.

    They're not "surplus" funds.  They're carryover funds for contingencies and emergencies.  The fact that they have such a small operating reserve does not mean that this is excess money of this is a "problem" - with this administration or the many preceding it.

    The funding issue is yet another silly canard.  If this was a tax cut for millionaires, Republicans would not care less where the money was coming from or being borrowed from.

    For someone like me who is not a qualified Vietnam Era service connected disabled vet I have to wonder why Republicans suddenly become budget-concious when it comes time to pay for the problems created by the wars they support.


    BTW - Re: the anti-union shtick (none / 0) (#107)
    by Yman on Sat May 31, 2014 at 03:36:37 PM EST
    The Veterans Affairs Management Accountability Act of 2014 would make it easier to fire SES executives at the VA.  SES executives are not union workers.  They are senior-level federal managers/executives.

    yman: Right On! Spot on! and (none / 0) (#128)
    by christinep on Sat May 31, 2014 at 06:06:39 PM EST
    just plain "You are on the mark."  Thank you.  

    Yes, the investigation must continue.  Unlike ragebot's pivot to the anti-union fire-the-bums routine, it would be prudent and sensible for him and those so quick to draw conclusions about the cause & effect to take a breath and wait for the evidence.  

    Sure, we all speculate a bit, but it is wise to realize when you are speculating until the more evidence is obtained.  Like you, yman, I strongly suspect that the systemic "cover up" problems may be directly traceable in no small part to the VA's incentive/disincentive system.  

    By law, it is the SES component that is eligible for the relatively large bonuses in the system ... and, unfortunately, the earlier ballyhooed merit system bandied about in the 80s and 90s may be a root cause.  You see, when $$$ are the direct reward for "performance," the matter quickly turns to how "performance" is defined, and that in turn gets gamed all the way around by what is wanted by the managers.  This is true in private as well as public sectors.  In EPA, for example, the Agency (together with Treasury) constituted the initial pilot program.  Yours truly wrote one of the earliest agreements; and, this same Yours Truly was a big fan of the concept.  

    The problem is that when the prize is $$$, concept tends to differ from the reality on the ground.  Why?  Because managers want to look good to the top Administrators in an Agency or Department ... to do so, they advise that everything is a-ok to the top, who wants to believe them and has no reason not to believe them at the outset ... then the transmission of get-it-done to the supervisors, who brainstorm how to fit measures to standards, etc. and voila, you have the makings of a strategic plan that include the must-have #s of days or times to do a task, etc. (it all looks so straightforward) ... next, the plan is signed off at the top layers, communicated to the worker bees (aka regular employees) via the chain-of-command with the clear and/or implied statement to meet those numbers PERIOD.  Yep.  Then, everyone goes about their work for the next quarter or two; and, when a report is requested, it is definitely communicated that no manager wants to hear bad news; and, they don't get bad news because the cumulative effect of everyone--at all levels--putting the best light on meeting the expected performance begins to look like, becomes "fudging."  The pressure to meet the numbers is typically downward ... but, it is driven by a system that directly incorporates significant $$$ bonuses viewed as worth fighting for.  Oh, and a BTW:  Because it is viewed as out-of-bounds to ask for supplemental appropriation to allow for supplemental personnel or similar in these instances --especially because the politics of Congress has been to posture about cutting federal employment numbers (see the resultant $$$ costs of outsourcing to contractors, as the NSA did)--the message, from the top of the Agency/Department managers, will be to make do.  The "making do" easily translates over time to maneuvering reality to show that the standards are met ... so that the $$$ rewards will be intact.  And, those at the very top and in Congress can adopt a "hear no evil, so no evil" approach.

    Yes, I am speculating about how the situation may have gotten out of hand and crumbled at the VA over the past decades.  One thing that I do know: Any attempt to blame Unions and union employees for a system failure more likely related to the "pay for performance" system (and the more specific SES bonus mechanism) is simply ignorant.

    Thanks again, yman.


    Could be (none / 0) (#13)
    by Militarytracy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 08:31:02 PM EST
    It almost makes you think Shinseki was doing exactly what the beltway wanted him to, just not get caught.  And this is a beltway problem.

    It could also be that those funds are to build additional facilities with which the VA desperately needs, but Republicans refused to give them permission to do.

    I have a better idea.  All those soldiers who live distances away from the VA facilities able to offer full services get Obamacare and we use that money to cover the cost of their premiums.  I am all for this solution!!!!


    What's (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 08:37:43 PM EST

    this about?

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- A divided Senate on Thursday derailed Democratic legislation providing $21 billion for medical, education and job-training benefits for the nation's veterans, as the bill fell victim to election-year disputes over spending and whether to slap sanctions on Iran.

    With each party coveting the allegiance of the country's 22 million veterans and their families, Republicans and Democrats blamed each other for turning the effort into a chess match aimed at forcing politically embarrassing votes.

    Republicans used a procedural move to block the massive bill after Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., chided GOP senators for their priorities.


    What that is about (none / 0) (#19)
    by ragebot on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:11:56 PM EST
    is a bill that is simply too big.  Why does the bill have silly amendments.  If it was a clean bill it would stand a much better chance of passing.

    On the other hand WaPo has an interesting blurb about how Sanders is being blamed for blocking the Senate from taking up the Veterans Affairs Management Accountability Act and veterans groups are jumping on the band wagon to help defeat sitting senators who went along with Sanders.



    No. What that is about ... (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by Yman on Sat May 31, 2014 at 10:54:14 AM EST
    ... has nothing to do with the bill having too many amendments.  It's about the GOP waving the flag when it's time to send young soldiers off to war, then favoring tax cuts over paying for the cost of their wars.

    BTW - If you're talking about the GOP blocking the bill because they refused to allow a GOP amendment for Iran sanctions - which has absolutely nothing to do with veterans care - you might have a point.


    Bahahahahaha! (none / 0) (#26)
    by Militarytracy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:30:50 PM EST
    Concerned Vets for America....who the Phuck are they?  NOBODY

    They aren't any major bipartisan Veterans org, get over yourself.

    They should be called Concerned Vets for Murica


    Guess they are a chapter of (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:39:57 PM EST
    Concerned Women for America.

    Remember them?  Are they still around?  Are they still concerned?


    ... when it comes to extremist members of the fairer sex overstepping its natural bounds and demanding terribly silly things, such as the right to equal pay for equal work, or personal autonomy over their own bodies.

    When will these feminazis ever learn to let the menfolk worry about the really important stuff, and finally realize that their primary reason for going to college should be to find a good husband who will take care of her, so that she can then focus exclusively on making him happy?

    Which reminds me, I need to ask the wife what's for lunch. I'm starved! Oh look, she must've been reading over my shoulder, because here she comes now. Hey, what's with that pot of boiling water?



    Exactly (none / 0) (#34)
    by Militarytracy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:50:12 PM EST
    Concerned is the buzzword that tips off the Koch brothers to put you on their donation list :)

    Just an observation on the War on Drugs. (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Chuck0 on Fri May 30, 2014 at 07:59:07 PM EST
    When I was 14 years old, with $10 and an hourar of effort, I could get a bag of weed. I'm now 55 and don't even know anyone personally who sells weed, where I now live, but do know plenty of partakers. But I'm sure with a bit more than $10 and that same hour, I could have in my possession a bag of weed.

    With that, I would like someone who from law enforcement, government or heck, anyone at all who opposes legalization, exactly how successful this so-called war on drugs has been over the past 41 years. Forty one years and a gazillion dollars later, nothing has changed. Marijuana is just as easy to obtain today as 40 or 50 years ago. How can any semi intelligent person support this moronic prohbition?

    Unfortunately it has been VERY successful (none / 0) (#7)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 08:07:38 PM EST
    For law enforcement.  Providing them with a steady stream of income from confiscation and an easy job.  It's a lot easy to bust a stoner that to bust an actual criminal who might have a gun.  

    Three-count 'em (3)--uniformed (none / 0) (#153)
    by oculus on Sat May 31, 2014 at 10:47:54 PM EST
    law enforcement officers and one dog were at an Amtrak station today. Sat. afternoon. One of the officers and the dog walked through the business car upper level. No hits.

    Try living in the United Kingdom (5.00 / 2) (#192)
    by Zorba on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 01:58:01 PM EST
    We are visiting friends in Scotland.  Walk down any street, and you will see the signs saying that CCTV cameras are monitoring.  There is even a local swimming pool with a sign that says there are underwater cameras watching.  Underwater cameras?  Really???
    We also found going through Heathrow Airport on our way here, even worse than going through an American airport security.
    Granted, we were foreigners, but we found the Brits worse than the French, Dutch, Germans, Spanish, Austrians, and, especially, Swedes and Norwegians.
    You couldn't pay me to live in the United Kingdom.  I love England and Scotland and the people and sights.  But not the intrusive security state.

    WOD is Very Successful (none / 0) (#9)
    by squeaky on Fri May 30, 2014 at 08:10:18 PM EST
    So successful that it has kept thousands in the law enforcement biz gainfully employed for the last 41 years. And the prison biz is booming, more successful than anyone ever dreamed.

    Not to mention (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 08:16:57 PM EST
    The booming private prison industry

    Although we've been saying this very thing, (none / 0) (#46)
    by NYShooter on Sat May 31, 2014 at 01:32:54 AM EST
    "How can any semi intelligent person support this moronic proh[i]bition?"

    like, forever, but, it bears repeating, sort of like a booster shot. Of course, the answer to that question is more complicated than it first seems (profound, actually)

    The saga of the W.O.D. as with much of the legislation coming out of Washington, follows a now familiar, evolutionary path. Take, as an example, a more familiar analogy:
    A "semi intelligent" couple decides (or, probably, doesn't decide) to breed an offspring. Once the off spring is old enough to "misbehave," the natural, knee-jerk, and, with their not quite fully developed cognitive function abilities, they resort to some form of good, old fashioned, beating. This psychological exercise is as old as mankind itself. The necessary ingredient is that of one party having dominion over another. In other words, as long as the parent can beat the child without fear of reprisal, and which, logically, should produce the desired result of changing the child's behavior, this primordial action is always the first to be utilized.

    And, undoubtedly, administering a successful "beat down" just feels so damn good. Ask any sociopath, "What's the #1 thing that would "make my day?" Answer, "Beating the crap out of someone who can't "beat" back."
    So, as you can see, simple solutions to complicated problems work really well.....if you're a Republican masquerading as a Representative to a constituency. It works really well because, by the time the folly of your approach to complicated problems is debunked, as with the "child rearing" example above, it's too late; another Ted Bundy, Charles Manson, Ted Cruz, and/or, Fred/Charles Koch is born. (The jury is still out as to whether George W. Bush, "The Simple" was actually born)

    You see, the beauty of this whole concept is that Albert Einstein, generally renowned as THE Genius of the 20th Century, was actually a dimwitted, blubbering, buffoon...........compared to the REAL Geniuses, Karl Rove, and, his erectile disfunctioning creation, Rush Limbaugh (followed by his droppings, Glenn beck & Sarah Palin.)

    You see where this is going, right?

    So, here it is. You have a real situation, drugs in all their manifestations, that requires some intelligent discussion & debate. But, you threw in those words, "semi intelligent and moronic." Just toss in another word, (they) "vote," and the results don't seem so complicated any more.

    A couple of drunks, sitting at a bar getting slobbered on boilermakers, watch on TV as a couple of long hair hippy types are getting arrested for smoking joints. Irony flies two miles over the bar fly's heads as they proclaim, "burp, blech, gurgle, lock'm up 'n throw-a-way the key." Over in the corner karl Rove's ears perk up, hmmm" And, you know the rest.

    You betcha!



    What Charlie said (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by ruffian on Fri May 30, 2014 at 08:55:51 PM EST
    re Shinseki . Iraq war was book-cooking from start to finish, a giant Ponzi scheme with the last in left holding the bag. Brilliant.

    Just talked to the other half (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by Militarytracy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:36:45 PM EST
    It is Saturday for him, he's doing his laundry.  He didn't know about Shinseki yet.  What he did say though, it should be considered :)

    If we really want the VA fixed we must get over all this deference we grant retired Generals.  If we want the VA fixed hand it to a retired Sgt. Major.  He's probably too right about that too..

    Perfect! (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by ruffian on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:43:42 PM EST
    Article in the NYT said it basically comes down to a shortage of doctors. The rest is all workarounds for that. I have a friend who has 2 brothers that went to med school in the military, and then in turn will do a number of years in service. I think programs like that should be expanded where possible. Some creative thinking is needed.

    Remember the projected doctor shortage (none / 0) (#33)
    by Militarytracy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:48:06 PM EST
    The whole country is supposed to have when everyone is insured? (So sad and embarrassing to type that, that we allowed everything to become that broken).  Perfect way to get our Veterans what they need, and our nation as well.

    I'm very wary of the whole doc shortage claim (5.00 / 1) (#148)
    by Dadler on Sat May 31, 2014 at 09:32:42 PM EST
    I have a hunch that it's a version of the myth that America doesn't put out enough STEM graduates. Which means I also have a hunch, as the STEM myth results continue to reveal, that it's really about more temporary work visas being granted (increasing the number of waivers is/was actually part of the immigration reform bill that is stalled, dead, whatever). These visas are mostly a way for corporations to pay people less and control people more.

    Either way, I hope all those vets have twice the number of good docs they need.

    Peace out.


    Doctors spend too much time (none / 0) (#177)
    by ragebot on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 11:01:29 AM EST
    doing paperwork.  Most private doctors have a nurse or two to do real work (and yes there is a nurse shortage as well as a doctor shortage) and a clerk that deals with paperwork related to insurance/Medicare/Medicaid.  The doctor has to provide documentation and often times will proof read parts of the submitted paperwork.  It is not uncommon for a doctor to spend as much time on paper work as seeing/treating sick people.

    Another issue is that while private doctors often work 60-70 hour weeks many doctors who are employed in govt clinics work 40 hour weeks.

    Some folks also claim there is too much constriction of entry into the medical profession.  Just getting admitted to medical school requires being in the top of your undergrad class.  There are probably not enough med schools as well.  Even after graduation you have to get licensed by the state and keep up with continuing education.  Not to mention the barrier of having to pay for a medical degree.

    There is also the issue of doctors having to deal with too many folks who may be suffering form self inflicted issues, over weight, smoking, alcohol, drugs.

    To make matters worse we are seeing lots of doctors retiring just as baby boomers are getting to the age where they need lots more care.


    Exactly! Or, a (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by NYShooter on Fri May 30, 2014 at 11:18:33 PM EST
    Navy Chief Petty Officer, the guys who get things done.

    Regarding the Master Baker (5.00 / 4) (#28)
    by ruffian on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:38:53 PM EST
    In j's post....I think he is investing a little too much moral outrage in baked goods. Get over yourself. You are putting icing on a cake. You are fighting over the kind of decoration - birthday v wedding - you are putting on a cake. No one is asking you to perform a religious ceremony over it. It is cake.

    Spring was never waiting for us (none / 0) (#32)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:45:53 PM EST
    LOL. Great way to start the morning (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by ruffian on Sat May 31, 2014 at 06:04:51 AM EST
    I'll never have that recipe again

    SITE VIOLATOR!!!! (5.00 / 2) (#52)
    by ruffian on Sat May 31, 2014 at 06:12:02 AM EST
    excuse me while I copy down this information. I could use a 3% loan. What could go wrong?

    How could you not trust (none / 0) (#59)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 09:06:45 AM EST

    Very funny (none / 0) (#74)
    by Slado on Sat May 31, 2014 at 11:07:44 AM EST
    Trust (none / 0) (#84)
    by squeaky on Sat May 31, 2014 at 11:35:57 AM EST
    particularly when the spammer for arabfinancialcorporation uses the screen name hadassa, which is the name for Women's Zionist org of America

    Casting a very wide net. (none / 0) (#155)
    by oculus on Sat May 31, 2014 at 10:53:48 PM EST
    Jeff Koons Retrospective (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by squeaky on Sat May 31, 2014 at 12:35:50 PM EST
    Too big to fit in the Whitney Museum's Koons retrospective, Split Rocker. will be shown at Rockefeller Center at the traditional spot for the annual Christmas tree.

    Too large to fit at the Upper East Side museum, Split Rocker is a 37-foot tall head, half toy pony, half toy dinosaur, fused together into a strange, Cubist-inspired child's rocking toy. Koons has planted the 150 ton statue with 50,000 flowering plants such as petunias, geraniums, begonias, fuchsias, impatiens, and marigolds, which will be watered by an internal irrigation system.

    The piece is in the tradition of Baroque garden living sculpture a little more abstract than his Puppy which made an appearance in the same spot at Rockefeller Center in 2000.

    This could be interesting and (none / 0) (#191)
    by ZtoA on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 01:57:31 PM EST
    I might find myself liking it.

    I loved Murikami's (sp?) Versailles exhibit. I like his work anyway, but as a rococo installation it really worked for me.


    MT: Military Patches Book (5.00 / 1) (#97)
    by squeaky on Sat May 31, 2014 at 01:13:40 PM EST
    MilitaryTracy... just got my copy (Hardcover) of Trevor Paglin's:
    I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to be Destroyed by Me: Emblems from the Pentagon's Black World

    It is a very cool little book. You may not be an art collector, but this book should not only interest you for the content, but would be something that may become collectable in the not too distant future..  

    worth buying (cheap), IMO

    You know what I wished I had saved? (none / 0) (#143)
    by Militarytracy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 09:14:00 PM EST
    Those comic books that DOD used for training.  They were all over spouses offices when we dated...

    I haven't seen one in years though.

    Bizarre training method that must have worked because they did it for a long time.


    Navy Slang Dickshunary (5.00 / 1) (#159)
    by squeaky on Sat May 31, 2014 at 11:09:59 PM EST
    With an emphasis on the Dick part..   mildly amusing. PDF

    Bought (none / 0) (#145)
    by Militarytracy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 09:18:38 PM EST
    For Father's Day

    This is another book I expected (none / 0) (#157)
    by oculus on Sat May 31, 2014 at 11:05:27 PM EST
    you to write. Get busy.

    I am trying very hard to not (none / 0) (#170)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 10:42:03 AM EST
    Write a diary about Shinseki incompetence and maybe even worse complicity in keeping the VA a certain kind of rationing broken.  I am so tired of being this bearer of facts that everyone to include Conservatives are deliberately ignoring, but that Libs don't want to see either.

    Somebody else can write it all down, but I don't think anybody is going to though.  Vetwife could but she has been so victimized by the VA system I'm certain she has emotionally crashed.  Angelajean thinks Shinseki was trying to change the culture gradually so he shouldn't have been thrown under the bus, so it's okay to just let Veterans die to save the turtle General.

    Everybody has saved Shinseki since he got past Captain.  Majors on up are key on the battlefield so their possible demise is more and more protected as rank climbs.

    He is retired though, and everybody is still playing save the General.  The grunts are still dying saving the General.  I can't stand it.

    I thought I would focus on something different, so watched a documentary on Chely Wright.  I know nothing about Country Music, I didn't even know who she was. If you are looking to ignore setting something straight and doing the thing that needs to be done don't watch the documentary about Chely Wright.


    Please dish on the recently-released (none / 0) (#175)
    by oculus on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 10:54:47 AM EST
    By the Taliban US Sgt.

    I can't....everybody is ticked about Gitmo (none / 0) (#178)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 11:04:19 AM EST
    I never thought we would get him back.  He was just a punk kid who wandered a few too many feet from his friends and he is coming home a man.  I hope he doesn't have PTSD but he probably does.  I hope it isn't too bad.  He is a POW though, the Vet orgs will make sure they do everything they can for him.  He has a spotlight on him, he will feel his worth.  What we have generally seen happen around us is a slow progress into the depths of hell, and by the time everyone is willing to accept that this soldier has PTSD we have already added hurt to them because we didn't know what was going on with them.

    I shoulda not read that thread (none / 0) (#181)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 11:15:09 AM EST
    It is getting a little embarrassing (5.00 / 4) (#112)
    by ruffian on Sat May 31, 2014 at 03:54:59 PM EST
    answering 'Waiting for the trial by combat' when people ask me what I am doing this weekend. I am going to have to come up with a better story.

    I guess my preferential overshare (none / 0) (#114)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 04:04:41 PM EST
    Gives insight into my Tyrion weakness.

    That was a joke (5.00 / 1) (#115)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 04:06:34 PM EST
    I never dated an actual dwarf nor have I ever really desired to.
    But to quote Walter White, never say never.

    hahaha, yes I was going to comment on that (5.00 / 2) (#119)
    by ruffian on Sat May 31, 2014 at 04:48:11 PM EST
    But really, what sentient being does not love Tyrion? Ok, his dad and his stater, but apart from them....

    I did date a much shorter man exactly once. I really did like him, but I am close to 5'11 and he could not have been more than 5'5 or so. It was funny, I met him at a gas station and I think he was standing on the little island when he asked for my number. Then he came to pick me up for a date and I was a bit shocked.  I just was not comfortable with it - totally my hang up I know.


    stater = sister (5.00 / 1) (#120)
    by ruffian on Sat May 31, 2014 at 04:49:58 PM EST
    I can't even blame the iPad for that one.

    In my defense for being a heightist .... (5.00 / 1) (#121)
    by ruffian on Sat May 31, 2014 at 04:52:14 PM EST
    I was a 24 yr old idiot. Maybe would be fine with it now.

    hahaha (none / 0) (#123)
    by squeaky on Sat May 31, 2014 at 05:16:35 PM EST
    The heightist defense!  Pretty hilarious...  doubt you were ever an idiot... well unless you have big regrets about shorty, that is.. hahaha

    No regrets.....mild guilt, but I have mild guilt (5.00 / 3) (#164)
    by ruffian on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 06:30:25 AM EST
    about nearly everything.

    I just felt like I was helping my little brother across the street when we were holding hands. And that is only a turn-on in Westeros.


    It probably (none / 0) (#124)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 05:29:52 PM EST
    Was not an accident that he was standing on that island.

    Many people don't know that Tom Cruise is 5'7" Because all sorts of tricks are used in his films.  He has built a fine career standing on an island.


    Actors (none / 0) (#125)
    by squeaky on Sat May 31, 2014 at 05:32:12 PM EST
    A lot of actors are short...  I have heard that, apart from talent, being short in film is some sort of advantage, cinematically speaking.

    I don't think that's true (none / 0) (#127)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 05:56:03 PM EST
    Having worked around actors for a long time short male actors are not very common and the ones there are, Danny Divito, Rick Moranis are not leading men.  Short females are more common but still not at all the norm.  I was surprised by your comment so I was googling.  Didn't find much but this in a defense of shortness piece.

    Actor Tom Cruise is surprisingly small at 5'7", but is kept in his role as an appropriately tall leading man thanks to a wide tool chest of cinematic tricks.

    I can vouch for that. I worked on Interview With the Vampire.  If you have read any of the books you know that the fact that the lead character is blond is not the only reason Ann Rice freaked out and trashed the movie when she heard Cruise was going to be Lestat.  He is also tall.  

    The movie worked I think.  Better that I expected.  Being a huge fan of the books I shared Ann's concern.  Being short for a film actor is not that much of a problem.  But I really don't think it's an advantage.


    Hmmm (none / 0) (#129)
    by squeaky on Sat May 31, 2014 at 06:25:54 PM EST
    Stallone 5'7'', jon stewart 5' 7", Robert Downey Jr. 5' 7", Al Pacino 5' 7", Ben Stiller 5' 7", Christian Slater 5' 7", Tom Cruise 5' 7",
    Humphrey Bogart 5' 8", Alan Ladd 5' 6", Woody Allen 5' 6", Dustin Hoffman 5' 5", Michael J. Fox 5' 5", James Cagney 5' 4"....

    Hollywood height chart

    On the other hand, after assembling more than 3,000 height records, Rob has concluded that actors are taller than many cynics might believe.

    "As a group, the average height of actors ... is 5-feet-10 for males and 5-feet-5 for females ... and the average height of best actor winners [in the Academy Awards] is 5-feet-11 and of best actresses is 5-feet-5 1/2 inches.

    Steven Goldsmith, a 5-foot-2 New Jersey resident who runs a Web site to support short people, said his problem with Hollywood is that shorter actors -- with the notable exception of Cruise -- almost never get to play the leads in action films or romantic comedies.

    "One of the main complaints short men have is that they don't have a lot of romantic possibilities," said Goldsmith. "That's also the way it's portrayed in movies and on TV." Short actors "either don't have a relationship or they tend to have one-night stands."

    Complicating this whole picture is that Americans aren't as tall as some might assume. The average American male is only 5 feet, 9 1/2 inches tall, and the average female is just 5 feet 4 inches.



    Which is basically what I said (none / 0) (#132)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 06:54:40 PM EST
    But your numbers are wrong

    Stallone is 5'10"
    Downey is 5'9"
    Slater 5'9"

    Those are the only ones I checked.  They didn't sound right.
    Checking is very easy.  In google type how tall is --


    Got My Numbers from the Internet Too.. (none / 0) (#152)
    by squeaky on Sat May 31, 2014 at 10:46:10 PM EST
    We should measure them to see which source has it right..

    You two have waaaaay too much (5.00 / 1) (#156)
    by oculus on Sat May 31, 2014 at 11:01:51 PM EST
    time on your hands. Why not read a book?

    Currently, tenors have the same problem. (none / 0) (#158)
    by oculus on Sat May 31, 2014 at 11:08:22 PM EST
    this did not used to matter.

    One more link (none / 0) (#190)
    by ruffian on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 01:32:40 PM EST
    Matching GoT characters with their 'The Wire' counterparts. Of course the easy one is Littlefinger and Carcetti since it is the same actor. I love the Tyrion-McNulty comparison too. Others I would not have remembered or thought of. Guess who is the GoT's Omar!

    Also see the link at that link to the blog "Land of Ice and The Wire". Screen shots of GoT, overlaid with apropos quotes from The Wire.

    Other tidbits I learned from interviews with directors about upcoming episodes - there is going to be a trial of Littlefinger, and Sansa is going to have some decisions to make. Also Oberyn uses a very long spear, and I guess the actor has done this kind of combat work in other films and is very good at it. Can't wait!


    I think of GOT (none / 0) (#193)
    by ZtoA on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 01:59:15 PM EST
    as being right along the lines of Homer's The Odyssey. Truth told by fiction.

    There are very big surprises coming (none / 0) (#195)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 02:11:11 PM EST
    And yes I am the kid that peeked at Christmas presents

    Oooo (none / 0) (#199)
    by ZtoA on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 04:22:57 PM EST
    A reason to peal myself out of bed for an hour!

    Almost certainly (none / 0) (#200)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 04:39:37 PM EST
    They won't all be delivered tonight.  But some ...

    New (5.00 / 2) (#135)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 08:04:54 PM EST
    Outlander trailer

    Looks good

    I'm watching a fascinatingly appalling ... (5.00 / 1) (#160)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 01:21:05 AM EST
    ... recounting of the Second World War on the now-grossly misnamed History Channel. Three-plus hours of utter schlock. As I write this, according to the show, Gen. George Patton has singlehandedly conquered Italy. Meanwhile, there was nary a mention of the pivotal British victory over the Germans and Italians at the Battle of El Alamein in Egypt, which signaled the turning point of the war in the west.

    In fact, Allied forces under the command of Patton and British Gen. Bernard Montgomery overran Sicily, which led to the removal of Benito Mussolini as Italy's leader by King Victor Emmanuel, which in turn triggered a German military occupation of the Italian mainland. The fighting in Italy was actually a hard and bloody slog, and it continued for the rest of the war.

    Oh, and Dick Cheney is one the people providing commentary. and Gen. Montgomery isn't the only major Allied commander getting short shrift. They haven't mentioned the Supreme Commander, Gen. Eisenhower, either.

    I fully realize that the 70th anniversary of the Allies' D-Day invasion of Normandy is at hand, but whoever allowed this über-revisionist travesty to get on the air should really be ashamed of themselves.


    I had that (5.00 / 1) (#166)
    by MKS on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 08:36:09 AM EST
    show on in the background as I did other things.

    And the Soviets.  Without the Eastern Front, who knows what happens...

    But Cheney....Unreal.  And Stan McCrystal, whom Obama fired.  The History Channel looks like it carefully studied their demographic and "casted" the show accordignly.

    Cheney is and was a coward.  He got a number of deferments during Vietnam.   He panicked in the wake of 9-11 and slouched into torture....A panicked stricken reaction....

    Cowardly, pathetic and very destructive.


    I just found it beguiling, ... (5.00 / 1) (#176)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 10:57:27 AM EST
    ... in an asinine sort of way. If you took the show seriously, you'd have to believe that Patton and Douglas MacArthur won the Second World War all on their own, and that the British and Russian contributions to the defeat of the Axis powers were minimal.

    In fact, American forces never outnumbered those of the British Empire in the field until July 1944. Even in the war with Japan, the two biggest land battles involved the British and not the Americans -- Imphal, a British military citadel in eastern India which was besieged by the Japanese between March and July of 1944, and Kohima (May-July 1944), in which the British 14th Army commanded by Lt. Gen. William Slim scored a decisive and overwhelming victory over two Japanese armies, drove them from India and lifted the siege of Imphal.



    The biggest problem Germany had (none / 0) (#180)
    by ragebot on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 11:14:58 AM EST
    was Hitler ignoring his commanders.  One thing the History Channel probably got right was the claim that Hitler was so adverse to any retreat due to his experience in WWI.

    But as MKS points out without the Eastern Front the Allies would have had a much harder row to hoe.  Hitler and Stalin both signed a non aggression pact.

    If Hitler had simply not attacked Russia and listened to his generals the winner of WWII might have been different.


    What about Cheney? (none / 0) (#196)
    by MKS on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 02:21:41 PM EST
    He is a demented torturer.  I think that stems from his basic cowardice.

    Even then, Nazi Germany came ... (none / 0) (#203)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 05:34:42 PM EST
    ... very, very close to winning the war with the Soviet Union. But the Germans' single biggest military error in the Second World War really lay in Hitler's shifting of tactical priorities midway during the Battle of Britain, which took place over British skies between June and September of 1940. That August, he ordered the Luftwaffe to cease going after British military airfields in southern Britain -- an eminently sound strategy that took advantage of the Luftwaffe's numerical superiority and had actually driven the Royal Air Force perilously close to total collapse -- and instead redirected their attention toward the terror bombing of British civilians in the cities, specifically London.

    This grave and ultimately fatal error gave the besieged RAF a much-needed respite, and with the Luftwaffe primarily going after the British capital, they were able successfully re-deploy their own fighter units away from defending their own airfields to fully concentrate on the massed German bomber fleets heading to London. They did so successfully and with devastating effect, downing over 300 German planes in Sept. 1940 alone.

    Greatly discouraged, and knowing that his army could not attack across the English Channel without first obtaining total mastery of British skies, but still confident that he had effectively neutralized the British as an immediate military threat to his dominance of western Europe, Hitler postponed "Operation Sea Lion" -- the invasion of Britain -- indefinitely in Oct. 1940, and instead allowed his focus to drift eastward by commencing to plan for "Operation Barbarossa," the invasion of the Soviet Union.

    By Nov. 1940, himself confident that the Germans were no longer going to invade Britain, Prime Minister Churchill made the fortuitous decision to re-deploy most all British ground combat units and a substantial portion of the Royal Navy from the defense of the home islands to offensive operations in the Mediterranean Sea and Egypt, with the intent to go after Mussolini's Fascist Italy in North Africa and the Balkans.

    It was a daring and brilliant move on Churchill's part. The Italians were soon reeling so badly from repeated defeats on both land and sea that by February 1941, Germany was forced to re-deploy substantial units of their own Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe from the Russian frontier in eastern Europe to the Mediterranean, in order to shore up their primary Axis ally.

    The Germans very quickly knocked the British on their heels, and by May 1941 had overrun Yugoslavia and Britain's ally Greece, had seized the strategic island of Crete in a brilliant but costly airborne assault, and had driven the British army into headlong retreat  back into Egypt to defend the Suez Canal.

    But the resultant two-month delay to the start of Operation Barbarossa in all likelihood saved the Soviet Union from annihilation. Because six months later, the Germans found themselves stuck 25 miles short of Moscow at the onset of a particularly brutal Russian winter in Dec. 1941, when they had actually intended to be well west of the Russian capital by that date, and finishing off the remnants of the Red Army.



    You can learn things even from FaceBook (5.00 / 1) (#186)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 12:26:52 PM EST
    I did not know this

    One of the most feared of all London's street gangs in the late 1880's was a group of female toughs known as the Clockwork Oranges. They would later inspire Anthony Burgess' most notorious novel. " As queer as a clockwork orange" is a Cockney phrase from East London indicating something bizarre internally, but appearing natural, human, and normal on the surface.The writer first heard the expression "as queer as a clockwork orange" in a London pub before the Second World War.

    Previously TV-interesting Emmy conversation (none / 0) (#12)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 08:26:05 PM EST

    Is The Normal Heart Unbeatable at the Emmys?

    I'm dreading talking about Emmy-worthy series with you, Mark, because I know we both hate saying the same things over and over again. But let's add our voices to the critical chorus: The Americans is the best drama on television. And any which way you want to view it, Orphan Black has more depth and humor than just about any other show on TV.
    MARK BLANKENSHIP: I mean...I might rank The Americans below Masters Of Sex, personally, though I know I'm not in the majority there. But does The Americans deserve a nomination for Best Drama? Yes. Does Orphan Black? Yes. Are all three shows better than goddamned Downton Abbey and its increasingly insulting soap-opera machinations? Yes.
    PEIKERT: But here's the question: does Mad Men deserve a nomination this year?
    BLANKENSHIP: Ah yes.
    PEIKERT: This "season" feels like a holding pattern.
    BLANKENSHIP: Sure does. It doesn't feel like it's leading to anything at all. Mad Men, to me, has pretty much reduced itself to posturing and empty symbolism this year.
    BLANKENSHIP: On the flip side, I'm not loving the molasses pacing of Game Of Thrones. I want a happy medium! Which is why, even though it feels like it ended a hundred years ago, Breaking Bad is still my frontrunner this year.
    PEIKERT: Oh lord, I'd forgotten that was even in the running.
    BLANKENSHIP: Though I really do think Masters Of Sex blossomed into a wonderful series. And even thought it's probably submitting as a comedy, I'd give Looking some consideration.
    Wait. Seriously. We cannot end this conversation until we think of at least one movie that can compete with The Normal Heart.
    PEIKERT: Oh, Mark! There was also The Trip To Bountiful, Burton And Taylor and The Anna Nicole Story. PLUS CRAZY SEXY COOL!
    BLANKENSHIP: Ahhh! Yes! And you know what else? There was The Sound of Music: Live!. Crazy Sexy Cool, The Sound of Music: Live!, and The Normal Heart.
    PEIKERT: Three-way tie? If only because I want to see Larry Kramer on stage with Carrie Underwood.
    BLANKENSHIP: I'd pay a thousand million dollars to see Debbie Allen choreograph a tribute to that category.
    PEIKERT: I miss Debbie Allen.
    BLANKENSHIP: Maybe she'll be in Apple Mortgage Cake 2: More Frosting.

    More at the link

    I am actually surprised (none / 0) (#15)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 08:47:50 PM EST
    There is not more interest here in Masters of Sex.  It could be subtitled The Virginia Johnson Story.  She really is the central character.  None of it would have happened without her and he just realized that at the end of the first season.  
    You really should give it a chance.  She is a fascinating character.  On many levels.  And Michael Sheen is terrific as the semi clueless Dr Masters.

    I loved Masters of Sex (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by ruffian on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:05:55 PM EST
    I'm surprised those writers think it will be entered as a comedy. It had comedic elements as all great dramas do, but I think it was  as 'serious' as any other drama. I didn't see The Americans  or orphan Black, so I can't rank it among them, but yes it was much better than Downton last season, and I am glad they are it even mentioning Homeland or Newsroom.

    Michael Sheen, Lizzy Caplan, and Allison Janney all deserve nominations at the very least. Beau Bridges too I think.

    Also I am not sure people were paying attention to Mad Men this season - so many thought nothing happened. I think the more viscerally exciting shows like Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones have deadened some nerve endings.


    It even mentioning = not even mentioning (none / 0) (#18)
    by ruffian on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:07:19 PM EST
    Bad ipad typing!

    I see a bright future for you in TV criticism. (none / 0) (#40)
    by oculus on Fri May 30, 2014 at 11:12:14 PM EST
    That sentence was confusing (none / 0) (#20)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:12:00 PM EST
    But I think he meant that "Looking" was a comedy.  The gay series on HBO.  I couldn't watch it.  It seemed to revel in most of the things I hate about the gay community.  

    No, MofS not a comedy at all.


    Also not seen (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:16:28 PM EST
    Orphan Black.  But reading lots of good things about it.  Only so many hours in the day.
    But I totally agree that other than Breaking Bad, Americans is the best drama so far this year.

    I need to stream The Americans this summer. (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by ruffian on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:24:44 PM EST
    Maybe Orphan Black too if there are enough weekends in the 90s!

    Oh, you are right! Never mind. (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by ruffian on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:22:53 PM EST
    I didn't see that one either, just didn't sound that good from the reviews I heard.

    I just read a review of Maleficent on Slate. Think I know how I am beating the heat this weekend!


    I might do that too (none / 0) (#38)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 10:07:42 PM EST
    Looks pretty fun

    All the girls were going tonight (none / 0) (#43)
    by Militarytracy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 11:34:29 PM EST
    NeNe, daughter, and granddaughters, but it was packed so we decided to choose a less crammed night.  It's supposed to be fun after all.  And then SIL showed up with an ankle double sized.  Only sprained, what a great sprain though.

    Ouch, hope he is ok. Landscaping accident? (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by ruffian on Sat May 31, 2014 at 06:22:10 AM EST
    Sleeping Beauty was my favorite Disney animated movie until Beauty and the Beast came along. I love the music and the 'girl in the woods with woodland creatures' aspects. I think a lot of people don't get what we ladies like about the "princess movies".  For me it is not the idea of rescue, but all the stuff at the beginning of the movies that I love, where you see the 'princess' with nature, her friends and family - be they dwarves, animals, fairy godmothers, villagers, or what have you.

    The clips of Maleficent with Aurora in the woods look gorgeous. May even have to brave the crowds to see it the first weekend. Sometimes it is more fun to see it fresh with everyone.


    Still have (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by ruffian on Sat May 31, 2014 at 06:26:32 AM EST
    That is so cool (none / 0) (#55)
    by Militarytracy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 07:57:34 AM EST
    What a treasure.  It's neat that all the girls can appreciate this together.  The trailers are stunning.

    Possibly TMI but funny (5.00 / 5) (#60)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 09:16:22 AM EST
    Among my gay male, and some female, friends for many years I was know as Snow or Snow White because of my penchant for short men.
    Had three long term companions all under 5'6".
    Once at a group therapy brunch with to many drinks I said "don't call me that, I hate it"
    #2 "why do you hate it? Snow White was sweet?"
    #3 "oh don't mind him.  He's just jealous of Snow White because she had 7 Dwarves."
    Henceforth known as Snow White.

    This is my life (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 08:57:46 AM EST
    you see the 'princess' with nature, her friends and family - be they dwarves, animals, fairy godmothers, villagers, or what have you.

    I loved it - didn't realize there was (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Anne on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:21:16 PM EST
    going to be a second season, but am really pleased there is.  I thought Lizzy Caplan and Michael Sheen were brilliant in their portrayal of Johnson and Masters.

    It's hard to believe how really recently this kind of work was being done, how little people understood about how their own bodies worked, or how their partners' bodies worked.

    Looking forward to Season 2.


    Yes (none / 0) (#25)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:25:19 PM EST
    Amazing that it really isn't that long ago.

    Anne, This a kudo for the originality (none / 0) (#42)
    by oculus on Fri May 30, 2014 at 11:19:42 PM EST
    of this sentence in the previous open thread:

    If you could sous vide your indifference, perhaps I would find it more palatable.

    Crossbones (none / 0) (#35)
    by ruffian on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:54:12 PM EST
    funny review I was considering watching this....glad they just spared me the trouble. Well, maybe one episode to see John Malkovich do  a little of what he does.

    If you want pirates (none / 0) (#36)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:57:32 PM EST
    Do STARZ Black Sails.  Excellent.  I loved it.  Left with the perfect setup for next season.  This is clearly a me to with some star power thrown in.  No big stars in Black Sails but it kicked booty.

    I tried so hard to get into (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by Militarytracy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 10:59:00 PM EST
    Black Sails, and it would not take.

    Ha (none / 0) (#37)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 10:03:14 PM EST
    Just read the review.  They agree.  At least about the ripoff part.

    DailyKos is a HOOT right now (none / 0) (#31)
    by Militarytracy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:44:30 PM EST
    The diaries on the rec list are (drum roll please)....

    Something like 'Dear Men STFU', 'Comments From Women Only Please', 'Comments From Men Only Please', and last but not least 'STFU? REALLY?'

    It's Friday, I'm fine just reading the titles and laughing :)

    Sounds (none / 0) (#72)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat May 31, 2014 at 10:59:18 AM EST
    like another pie fight. No thank you.

    I finally read one this morning (none / 0) (#82)
    by Militarytracy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 11:31:07 AM EST
    I read the Dear Men STFU.  If only everyone could be face to face.  It is like a marriage fight.  You aren't listening to me.  No, you're not listening to me.

    It does seem difficult to get SOME guys to admit that women are beat up, raped, harassed, and abused more than men.  Lots of men get hurt too though.

    It is difficult to remember that before all of us found sanctuary and shelter (whatever that is for each of us), it was a long string of failures, and hurts, and abuse, and damage, and even simple misunderstandings hurt.

    I have been revisiting my Maya Angelou


    On Nurse Jackie she requests (none / 0) (#44)
    by Militarytracy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 12:46:07 AM EST
    A thiamine shot she says to avoid coming down with something.  She is trying to kick her habit cravings.  My question though for those who may know,  if you are feeling a little pre flu or pre cold, does a shot of thiamine bolster your system?  I had never heard of that.  Take some zinc yes, shot of thiamine no.

    I was (none / 0) (#45)
    by lentinel on Sat May 31, 2014 at 12:46:41 AM EST
    wondering about the word, "girlfriend".

    I've even seen it used in the NYTimes.

    It seems to me that what the term is telling us is that so and so is boffing so and so.

    There must be some other way to describe a relationship between unmarried people. Going steady?


    I will not add this to my list (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by oculus on Sat May 31, 2014 at 09:40:01 AM EST
    Of things about which to worry.

    I wouldn't (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by lentinel on Sat May 31, 2014 at 11:44:25 AM EST
    suggest that you worry about it if it doesn't strike a chord with you.

    But I do take notice of "little" things like this.
    I have found, in my experience, that they are often "tells" about a greater truth.

    For example, a media that is comfortable with calling a grown woman someone's "girlfriend", is not going to shock me when they start referring to Hillary Clinton's manner of dress, or her cleavage as they did the last time around.

    People and institutions often give themselves away in these little events.


    But not suggesting you worry about it.


    I used to worry about the NYT's (none / 0) (#100)
    by oculus on Sat May 31, 2014 at 01:32:13 PM EST
    insistence on "Mrs. Clinton" til I learned that is her preference.  I'm not crazy about waitpersos referring to me and my female friends as "girls", since we decidedly are not.

    I am, when I am with you (5.00 / 1) (#138)
    by Militarytracy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 08:35:03 PM EST
    It's ladies and girl then :)

    What I am not, is a lady (5.00 / 1) (#139)
    by Militarytracy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 08:38:03 PM EST
    I have to be a girl when a piece of pork belly from dinner is nestled in the folds of my cowl neck :)

    Well, there's always ... (none / 0) (#47)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sat May 31, 2014 at 02:45:55 AM EST
    ... "shacked up."

    Thinking (none / 0) (#49)
    by lentinel on Sat May 31, 2014 at 05:06:12 AM EST
    it over, I opt for "friend'.

    I like kdog's idea - "special lady" (none / 0) (#51)
    by ruffian on Sat May 31, 2014 at 06:09:57 AM EST
    I think (none / 0) (#56)
    by lentinel on Sat May 31, 2014 at 08:41:10 AM EST
    I got to the bottom of what annoys me about "girlfriend".

    I see it usually when some muck-de-muck male athlete shows up with a female companion. She is referred to as the "girlfriend".

    In virtually no other circumstance is it permitted to refer to women as girls - but here, no one raises an eyebrow.

    I get the distinct impression that the media like to get into the pants of those upon whom they are reporting.

    It is another example of the media telling us what to think. They grab the opportunity to elaborate upon the simple fact that Mr. X arrived somewhere, and Ms. Z arrived with him. She has a name, presumably.

    Of course, there is the situation where a man arrives somewhere, or is having dinner or something, with another man. Then what? The description of "boyfriend" does not usually accompany the story. They are described as two individuals, and their relationship, sexual or otherwise, is not part of the story. At least in my experience that is the case.

    So I don't like "girlfriend" on two counts. It is sexist on its face.
    And it is the press amplifying upon the simple facts before them. Both practices are widespread in the media. The latter tendency is especially rampant when we are to be given facts about countries or leaders or politics. The media usually slip in an adjective or two to tell us what we are supposed to think or feel about an event that is being reported.

    I don't like it.


    May I still use it (5.00 / 3) (#57)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 08:54:35 AM EST
    To,refer to my gay male friends?

    Blanche (5.00 / 2) (#66)
    by Militarytracy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 10:15:59 AM EST
    What a hoot in The Normal Heart when the mayor's gay aide wouldn't admit to being gay so then was called Blanche by the  gay men of GMHC, and then he fessed

    Of course. (none / 0) (#71)
    by lentinel on Sat May 31, 2014 at 10:59:06 AM EST
    I just object to the media's cavalier use of the term - for the reasons I stated.

    Anybody in a relationship has the right to refer to their partners in any manner that is agreeable to both parties.

    I'm just commenting on what the media does - its arrogance and its voyeuristic tendencies.


    I confess to having (none / 0) (#78)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 11:14:16 AM EST
    Made some female and AA friends uncomfortable with over usage of the terms "boy and girl".  It is a very common descriptor in the gay community and we sometimes forget it's not for everyone.  In recent years I have tried to be more sensitive in this.   Not always successful but I get it.

    I really do.


    I am (none / 0) (#94)
    by lentinel on Sat May 31, 2014 at 01:01:54 PM EST
    not really referring to the manner in which people refer to each other. If someone is offended, there is always the recourse of a verbal rebuttal, or a punch in the nose.

    I am referring to the media's casual sexism and voyeurism. And I am referring to the way it attempts to manipulate our perceptions and our emotions in favor of their, in my view, pernicious agenda.


    Media Voyeurism (none / 0) (#81)
    by squeaky on Sat May 31, 2014 at 11:22:05 AM EST
    Seems to me like you have a front seat, and are hating it.

    funny, no?


    Interesting points, lentinel (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by dk on Sat May 31, 2014 at 09:50:30 AM EST
    It's one thing if the two people in question expressly choose to identify themselves as boyfriend/girlfriend, etc.  In that kind of situation, the media is just reporting what the subjects of the article said.  But I think you are getting at the situation when the media just makes a presumption (which I would bet happens frequently) that when a woman accompanies a man somewhere, she must be his "girlfriend."  That reflects the sexism in our society in two ways, I think (as you point out).  First, in furthering the stereotype that if a woman is hanging out with a man, it must be because she wants him romantically/sexually.  Secondly, it robs her of her own identity (i.e., why not just report her name, not refer to her as so-and-so's girlfriend?).

    BS (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by squeaky on Sat May 31, 2014 at 10:13:25 AM EST
    when the media just makes a presumption (which I would bet happens frequently) that when a woman accompanies a man somewhere, she must be his "girlfriend."

    Any male celebrity who is out in public with one woman gets the same treatment. It is assumed by both sexes that being out in public with someone of the opposite sex, or same sex if out, generally signifies boyfriend or girlfriend.

    Unless there is more information out about the other being a close friend, professional relationship, or relative.

    Sexism is rampant, but guessing who is dating who is pretty much the same across the boards, particularly when it comes to media and celebrities.


    Why not just "friend?" In a photo, (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by Anne on Sat May 31, 2014 at 10:58:25 AM EST
    one can clearly identify the gender of each person, right? No need to attach "boy" or "girl" unless one knows for sure that the two are romantically involved; sometimes people are "just" friends.

    And (none / 0) (#77)
    by lentinel on Sat May 31, 2014 at 11:10:20 AM EST
    they may not even be friends.

    But don't you find it amusing or curious that "girl" and "boy" are used in connection with a presumed romantic relationship between adults?

    Those words are usually reserved for people under, say, thirteen.


    Not At All (none / 0) (#79)
    by squeaky on Sat May 31, 2014 at 11:16:24 AM EST
    Sex, romance, dating, and all that juicy stuff is all about PLAY..

    Play is something boys and girls do most of the time..  

    So it is natural to use boy and girl when it comes to hooking up..

    boy meets girl?
    girl meets boy?


    Sure (none / 0) (#80)
    by squeaky on Sat May 31, 2014 at 11:20:36 AM EST
    If you are dull and lacking any sense of romance, friend is adequate.

    Maybe we can start to referring to people as numbers, and strip all the colorful language that may offend viewers like lentinel, and apparently you.


    Who's offended? (5.00 / 3) (#149)
    by Anne on Sat May 31, 2014 at 10:21:51 PM EST
    Your efforts to insult people would be so much more successful if you would first make sure you understand the point someone is making.

    I don't give a flying fig how people choose to refer to their love interests; and how the media chooses to refer to couples is pretty far down on my list of "things I care about."

    My point was that two people, whether they are walking down the street together, sharing a meal, driving in the same car, could quite possibly just be friends - that they don't necessarily have to be in a romantic or sexual relationship by virtue of their proximity to each other.

    And if "boyfriend" and "girlfriend" are your idea of "colorful language," choosing beige over ecru must be your idea of taking a walk on the wild side.


    Insult (none / 0) (#151)
    by squeaky on Sat May 31, 2014 at 10:44:59 PM EST
    You are the one keen on insulting. And as far as the context it is this:

    In that kind of situation, the media is just reporting what the subjects of the article said.

    It is media representation. And I think we are talking about celebrities here....  


    To your point Anne (none / 0) (#169)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 10:28:54 AM EST
    A subject that seems worth mentioning in this discussion is the one on the cover of TIME this month

    I assume Lavender Cox is post op.  But if not and she was "on the arm" of someone would that be a boyfriend or a girlfriend?  Neither really seems to cover it.


    She'd be a girlfriend... (5.00 / 2) (#171)
    by kdog on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 10:44:40 AM EST
    She looks like a woman, identifies as a woman, boyfriend would make zero sense regardless of what her panties contain.

    In common vernacular I don't think there is any negative connotation to boyfriend or girlfriend whatsoever. It's just our term for committed and unmarried. I think my boy lentinel is off the mark...no isms to see here.


    Good for you (none / 0) (#174)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 10:54:44 AM EST
    But I could point you to some transgendered people who's identification is not nearly so clear.  It was a larger question

    I hear ya... (none / 0) (#179)
    by kdog on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 11:13:15 AM EST
    I would hope harder to identify trans folks would be  understanding if somebody misidentified with no ill intent.

    In Laverne's case it's easy...she's a good looking woman.


    It's fascinating to try to imagine (none / 0) (#183)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 11:47:06 AM EST
    A world where the transgendered are fully accepted.  You think the gay and straight thing bunched some panties?  Their world if an order of magnitude more complex.  Will there be a new pronoun for the ones who don't want to choose? They exist.  Which bathroom do they use?. Will there be new boxes after the question of gender on forms?

    The minds boggles.  But the first battle is to get people to stop thinking in binary terms.


    being in a family where the young people (none / 0) (#185)
    by ZtoA on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 12:24:01 PM EST
    date all sorts, and their friends are all genders including trans, I avoid "girl" and "boy" friend and just go with "love interest". It covers a lot of ground. Also I'm told that to be a girl or boy friend is close to being engaged. Before that two people are hanging around together. I've been corrected and schooled several times on this. :)  I should also never say something like "are you hooking up with friends tonite?" unless I really mean to ask about upcoming sexual connections. In this area the media is not a leading indicator.

    My mother always called my niece's girlfriends her "special friends", much to the amusement of all - tho she is in her late 80s and we all love her and know she is trying. But I can sometimes get away with talking about that special friend (with a smile) knowing it means more than just an "interest". Maybe the major news outlets can simply refer to girl and boy friends as all being special.


    The ultimate battle... (none / 0) (#187)
    by kdog on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 12:27:39 PM EST
    is universal live and let live...we manage that and alotta bulls#t just goes away.

    Like maybe we only need one box on forms. Human? Check! ;) Unisex bathrooms work for me too.

    I don't know if I will ever truly comprehend our need to subdivide.  Is it just human nature? I understand for oppressed people there is comfort within their subdivision, but in a world without oppression there should be no need. Sometimes I think obsessing over the labels is more of a hindrance to the ultimate goal of human rights for all than a help...I don't know. Like it only feeds the oppression through constant reminder of differences within humanity.

     We don't need rights and dignity because we're male/female/trans/other or gay/straight/bi/pan/other or white/black/brown/yellow/red/other...we need rights and dignity because we're human.


    If only (none / 0) (#188)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 12:36:27 PM EST
    Tall order.... (none / 0) (#189)
    by kdog on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 12:49:30 PM EST
    to be sure! But it might be easier than covering every possible human variation on our stupid reams of forms;) And certainly less complicated...I'm big on keeping it simple when it can be so simple.

    When even advocacy LGBT groups have infighting over labels and inclusion...to me that's a sign of over-complicating and over-identifying ourselves.


    Yes, dk. (none / 0) (#73)
    by lentinel on Sat May 31, 2014 at 11:04:57 AM EST
    That is part of what I was trying to express.

    The robbing of an identity. Someone is the subject. The other, an appendage. An assumed appendage. In any case, it is, as I mentioned, I think the media likes to get into the sex life of the objects of their "reportage".

    In addition, as I mentioned, "girl" is no longer an accepted term when referring to a woman - but the media gets a pass with "girlfriend". Why they get away with it - including the old grey "lady", the NYTimes, is worth considering.


    I agree, lentinel (5.00 / 1) (#108)
    by dk on Sat May 31, 2014 at 03:44:52 PM EST
    One the one hand, I guess it could be chalked up to the the quirks of the English language (i.e., that we don't really have other words to describe romantic/sexual partners).  However, it does seem to fit well with the rather adolescent attitude in popular American culture toward romance and sex generally.  I suppose the linguistic and cultural realities are inextricably connected.

    I think, though, that the fact that you probably notice more instances of the media of the term "girlfriend" (rather than "boyfriend") in discussions of adults in the media also has to do with the media's habit of reflecting/amplifying the sexist cultural trope that every successful man has a supporting woman behind him.

    This comes up often when a man is profiled by the media (be in a politician, entertainer, businessman, etc.).  The traditional story would reflect on the successes of the man, and then somewhere would be the supportive female (if married, the doting wife, if single, the bachelor with the burning of question of what woman is on his arm now).  This, of course, is problematic in many ways.  It dehumanizes the woman, it leads to pressure for the media to often exaggerate a male-female friendship that the media spots, and (although we're slowly making improvements) it imposes pressure on gay men to pretend there is a woman in his life.  

    In my opinion, profiles of women who are successful/famous in their own right don't often include mentions of the supportive partner.  Instead, in the traditional successful woman story, the "narrative" often focuses on how independent the woman is (unless, of course, she has children, in which case the story often feels the need to emphasize how important her children are to her, etc.).


    I think it is true that the 'date' of someone (5.00 / 2) (#110)
    by ruffian on Sat May 31, 2014 at 03:49:25 PM EST
    famous, male or female,  gets treated as an appendage unless they are famous too or a companion for long enough that that the press learns their name too...some of George Clooney's paramours some to mind...but I cannot remember their names after they are no longer his paramour.  

    I think you are right that they are more likely to call a female companion a girlfriend than they call a male companion a boyfriend, but I can't say it bothers me that much. To me the term 'girl' has long been expanded beyond the boundaries of juvenile females.

     If there is a professional relationship the press generally knows about it and says so. I really can't think of any examples of someone being called a 'girlfriend' when they were really the man's boss, or press secretary or chief of staff or something.


    I was shocked, shocked I say (none / 0) (#154)
    by oculus on Sat May 31, 2014 at 10:51:33 PM EST
    To learn Clooney's fiancé e is pregnant.

    Why? (none / 0) (#83)
    by squeaky on Sat May 31, 2014 at 11:31:18 AM EST
    but the media gets a pass with "girlfriend". Why they get away with it - including the old grey "lady", the NYTimes, is worth considering.

    They get away with it because it is descriptive. What is odd is that you do not appear to have a problem with boyfriend, just stuck on girlfriend.

    And really, when someone is a celebrity, despite their gender, whoever is accompanying them is usually not interesting to anyone if they are also not famous.

    You may as well argue that paparazzi and the media should start photographing regular people who have no claim to fame, and plaster them all over the glamour magazines and gossip sites. Would that make you feel better?

    Photography and the media giving back "identity" to the common person... hahahahaha


    Boyfriend is Widely Used (none / 0) (#62)
    by squeaky on Sat May 31, 2014 at 09:32:06 AM EST
    But looks like you have a new mission...  must be hard being you.

    Of course, there is the situation where a man arrives somewhere, or is having dinner or something, with another man. Then what? The description of "boyfriend" does not usually accompany the story.

    yes, except if one of the men is out, and then we have:


    NEW: Michael Sam's boyfriend tweets, "Could not be more proud" and shares kiss photo; Sam kissed boyfriend Vito Cammisano on TV after he ...

    Thank you! (none / 0) (#172)
    by kdog on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 10:47:53 AM EST
    Girlfriend doesn't seem right when we aren't beholden to each other and free to be free...Special lady it is!

    Which sounds a lot more beholden than gf! (5.00 / 1) (#173)
    by oculus on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 10:52:38 AM EST
    Soul beholden... (5.00 / 2) (#182)
    by kdog on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 11:16:20 AM EST
    not body nor mind;)

    Mad Men finale? (none / 0) (#76)
    by Slado on Sat May 31, 2014 at 11:08:45 AM EST
    Little late but what did everyone think?

    I thought it was great.

    Not a fan (none / 0) (#90)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 12:47:50 PM EST
    But. Think this was mentioned in the previous open.  Or the one before

    I thought it was great too (none / 0) (#103)
    by ruffian on Sat May 31, 2014 at 03:30:06 PM EST
    Even better on second viewing.  Loved that Don's real big pitch to get his job back on track was to Ted, not to the customer.  And the Don-Peggy resolution was wonderful. And of course Bert Cooper's closing act.

    Looking forward to Don and Joan getting back to being friends in the next 7 episodes. Hope so anyway.


    How much she doesn't like him (none / 0) (#131)
    by Militarytracy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 06:48:11 PM EST
    Shocks me.  Making partner changed how she operates, but not completely. YOU SHOULDN'T HAVE DONE THAT

    ... the position of partner, in which she landed Jaguar for SCD&P by sleeping with Jaguar's American representative? And also, recall how appalled she was when Don subsequently blew the Jaguar account off, telling Joan that he could no longer abide by the guy.

    "If I could stand him," she retorted to Don angrily, "then so could you." At that moment, she lost a lot of respect for his judgment, and in obvious retrospect, that proved the turning point in their professional relationship.



    Yes - I know she has had good reason (none / 0) (#168)
    by ruffian on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 09:33:10 AM EST
    I just loved it when they were more understanding of each other and had a good relationship. One of my favorite scenes in the series was with Joan and Don in a bar together one Christmas season, just talking about things and minorly flirting. It was not a real dramatic event in the story, just great characters and dialogue. It is what I like best about MM. I do hope for similar in the final half season. I don't want to see them together with a capital T, but that friendship was important to me.

    It finally stopped raining today (none / 0) (#92)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 12:56:49 PM EST
    Long enough for me to cut the grass.  Which is good.  A couple more days and I would have needed a hay baler.
    It has rained here every day for weeks.

    DaVinci's Demons (none / 0) (#93)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 01:01:35 PM EST
    I may be the only one here who would watch this but I like it a lot.  They are doing a marathon today in the run up to the season finale tonight.

    It is written by the guy who wrote the Dark Knight series and Inception.  It's pretty cool.  In a dumb nerdy sort of way.

    Sorry my mistake (none / 0) (#96)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 01:12:24 PM EST
    Not Inception.  It's Goyer not Nolan

    I've been watching it (none / 0) (#98)
    by Yman on Sat May 31, 2014 at 01:18:50 PM EST
    I like it, too.  My wife watched a couple of episodes but found the whole premise to be pretty unbelievable.

    Hard to argue (none / 0) (#99)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 01:23:55 PM EST
    With the unbelievable part



    True, although it's funny (none / 0) (#101)
    by Yman on Sat May 31, 2014 at 02:23:34 PM EST
    She can suspend disbelief while watching science fiction/fantasy movies (LOTR,etc.) but not when it comes to real people or historical events.

    Ha (none / 0) (#116)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 04:08:30 PM EST
    Suspension of disbefie

    Um, as I was saying (damn iPad) (5.00 / 1) (#117)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 04:11:10 PM EST
    Has never been a problem for me.  Which is a really good thing considering where I live now since I have to suspend my disbelief to go to the supermarket.

    The finale was good (none / 0) (#142)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 09:04:38 PM EST
    Good to hear (none / 0) (#144)
    by Yman on Sat May 31, 2014 at 09:14:21 PM EST
    I'll probably watch it tomorrow.  Really looking forward to the GOT finale, but I also have an early meeting on Monday morning for which I have to prepare.

    Priorities, priorities ...


    GOT (5.00 / 2) (#147)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 09:31:22 PM EST
    Isn't really a finale.  There are three more episodes this season.  Lots of big stuff still to happen.  
    I guess they just officially announced season 5 and 6

    Awesome! (none / 0) (#165)
    by Yman on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 07:37:18 AM EST
    3 more episodes!  For some reason, I was thinking the trial-by-combat episode would be the finale.

    Sandy Hook Truther arrested ... (none / 0) (#109)
    by Yman on Sat May 31, 2014 at 03:45:19 PM EST
    ... for stealing Sandy Hook memorial signs - tracked down by a blogger and reporter.

    Good lord (none / 0) (#126)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 05:42:14 PM EST
    All you need to know-

    "Not interested ... not interested in anything you say .... I'm not interested in those events."

    Spent my free time today investigating (none / 0) (#130)
    by Militarytracy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 06:41:03 PM EST
    The VA problems.  Shinseki ignored the VFW warning him that their care numbers were not matching his, even though it was known for years that the wait numbers were being fudged for new Veteran patients using a work around called zeroing out.  DC thought that just repeatedly threatening the VAs to not do it would end the use of it.  So nobody was suspicious when magic numbers leading to bonuses showed up?  And Shinseki wasn't even more suspicious when the VFW is contacting his office saying, "No way, huh uh, not what our tracking is showing!"

    Add to that that CNN has had people whistling to them for months and months, and they contacted Secretary Shinseki with questions, questions that he ignored.......for months now.

    Bernie Sanders is "saddened" (none / 0) (#133)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 07:17:25 PM EST
    blames Koch brothers and veterans groups

    I may agree with this guy on most things but he gets on my nerves.


    He couldn't be more wrong than he is at (none / 0) (#134)
    by Militarytracy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 07:39:40 PM EST
    This moment.  And I really like him.  My facebook is full of his stuff.

    One write up plus video that just knocks your socks off, watching the director Sharon and her Chief of Staff lie and lie and lie.  Read the story, this isn't Sharon's first exposing of her "zeroing out".  She did it at another VA and everyone knew about it, even a union rep.

    I'll see if I can get links to my other finds.  Someone who worked in DC under Shinseki said they have known about the zeroing out technique to change wait numbers in DC for years.  They have known for years you can't trust those numbers, but really did nothing aggressive to make it impossible to use the work around....they just added more Veterans.  How they even pretend shock when the VFW is telling them their numbers can't even be possible?


    More about how long DC (none / 0) (#136)
    by Militarytracy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 08:14:07 PM EST
    Has known about zeroing out.  And if a VA official is going to testify to Congress in 2012 that they don't know how to get the facilities to report the real numbers, how could Shinseki have not known?

    Way back in 2005, federal auditors found evidence that clerks were not entering the numbers correctly. By 2010, the problem seemed to be widespread, the VA health service sent out a memo listing 17 different "work-arounds," including the one that Turner was taught in Texas. Stop it, the VA said.

    They didn't. By 2012, in fact, one VA official told Congress he wasn't sure how to force people to send in the real numbers.

    I think it is going to end up being a (none / 0) (#194)
    by ruffian on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 02:04:25 PM EST
    'you can't handle the truth' situation. Pretending to trust the numbers was probably the only option in the reality of today. What is it going to take to really fix the system?

    I know John McCain thinks Tom Coburn is what is needed but I suspect it is a little more complicated than that.


    Here is the video of the horrible liars (none / 0) (#146)
    by Militarytracy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 09:26:01 PM EST
    I put the wrong link up, sorry.  Could her eyes get any bigger?  She looks like they are going to pop out of her head.