April Rambling: Ads about Rape, and Media

“To be able to catch genius when it’s just beginning, just starting out; when it’s in its embryonic form, or in its very nest. It’s an unforgettable experience.”

In response to her strong poem, Reflector Babe, Amy at Sharp Little Pencil received a link from Anna at HyperCRYPTIcal. It is to a UK ad considered the most shocking ad ever? Rape campaign aimed at teens to be shown. It’s sexually explicit (no ‘bits’ are shown), but it is powerful. This could not air in the US, I’m fairly certain, but the problem it addresses is very much an issue here.

What the New Sgt Pepper Cover Tells Us About Modern Britain.

And speaking of the UK, How news coverage evolves. Imagine how the Guardian “might cover the story of the three little pigs in print and online. Follow the story from the paper’s front-page headline, through a social media discussion, and finally to an unexpected conclusion.”

Goldie Hawn recalls an unpleasant encounter with a famous cartoonist.

Sex’s first revolution. The author of “The Origins of Sex” explains how the ’60s – the 1760s – changed our views of lust, adultery, and homosexuality

“ALEC is accustomed to hiding its agenda and its legislation behind closed doors. At secretive conferences and over e-mail chains the public never sees, the organization allows its corporate donors to manufacture bills and then send them to be passed in state legislatures without the public ever knowing about their origin. But these ALEC staffers can’t hide who they are, and what they do for an organization that harms almost every area of American life.” And now, corporate America is jumping off the ALEC ship, and ALEC Retreats, Sort Of, though its vision of pre-empting EPA coal ash regulations passed the House this month.

For China’s driving test, be ready for almost anything: “There are questions on the proper way to carry an injured person in a coma (sideways, head down), the best way to stanch the bleeding from a major artery, and how to put out a passenger on fire (hint: do not throw sand on the victim).”

SamuraiFrog’s 30 Favorite John Williams Pieces (and Then Some).

50 minutes of songwriter-math teacher Tom Lehrer doing a live show in Copenhagen in 1968. Includes that smash hit Poisoning Pigeons in the Park.

Thought the Monkees were a faux band? Wait until you read about Gary Lewis & the Playboys. I was always a sucker for the song Jill, for no discernible reason.

Jaquandor launched yet another series, this one called the ‘A to Z Challenge’ and he decided to “give it a Fantasy and Science Fiction turn,” as is his wont. (I love the word ‘wont’.) So each entry in this series will take its inspiration from something or someone from F&SF, that starts with the respective letter of the day.

Original pitch-reel for the Muppet Show is delightfully bonkers. Plus, the much more recent Kermit’s Party.

To be able to catch genius when it’s just beginning, just starting out; when it’s in its embryonic form, or in its very nest. It’s an unforgettable experience. BTW, the author in question has seen this piece.

Pop culture’s Rosetta Stone. A company known for its memorable full-page comic book ads continues to influence graphic design today.

Robert Crumb: Interview by Paul Gravett

Two actors turned 75 this month and I missed them. So here are Jack Nicholson: Unpublished Photos of an Actor on the Brink from LIFE magazine, 1969, and the website of George Takei.

Mike Sterling’s Progressive Ruin, finally off the daily schedule after 8 years, 4 months. This means, if I keep this up for another year and a half, I can pass him!

What could Archie Andrews possibly have meant?

Long-time Exploring and Special Programs volunteer and advocate, Roger Green, was presented the 2012 Silver Beaver Award during the Council Court of Recognition Dinner held at Base Camp on Saturday, March 31.

Everything about Roger is designed to impress and attract attention, from his demeanor to his augments to his actions. While he’s naturally piss-poor at stealth or shutting the hell up…

For The Right Price: Roger is willing to render practically any service he’s capable of, provided that he is adequately compensated. He’s not the type to turn his back on his current employer(s), but whatever’s required of him, he’ll do it.


The cartoon is from an e-mail; original source unknown to me.

Bellowing about Blogger

I do understand the ire. My complaint with the new Blogger is not that it’s new. It’s the fact that it’s new and largely unimproved, with changes that were not at all intuitive.


Even though this blog is in WordPress, most of the other blogs I write or co-write are on Blogger. I stayed in Old Blogger as long as possible – when I briefly switched, about two months ago, I admit to being a tad confused, and switched back almost immediately – but now, all the blogs have the New Blogger board.

My intern at work was having fits. For everything she wrote, there were no page breaks. So I finally sat down and actually looked at the post settings, on the right of the screen. The bottom button gives one the option to either add page breaks – tiresome and tedious, and the default setting – or Press ENTER for line breaks, which is what I had always done. It was my major problem besides the Post Settings box seeming to jump to the left and right, opposite whatever direction I pointed the cursor; still annoying. But not enough to mention. But that Send Feedback button in the bottom right of the screen – is there any way to get RID OF IT?

Oh, and someone else was having difficulty I was not, which was getting to the editing page of the posts.

So I was humored by the fact that SamuraiFrog was complaining that people were complaining about Blogger; terribly meta. I was amused because I hadn’t seen any complaints at that point. THEN Ken Levine expressed his displease with Blogger (and Facebook, and rightly so); I did, though, solved one of his frustrations, and he thanked me in the comments. Dustbury cites Roberta X’s disdain. Demeur got so ticked off that he gave Blogger the middle finger and started a WordPress blog.

I do understand the ire. My complaint with the new Blogger is not that it’s new. It’s the fact that it’s new and largely unimproved, with changes that were not at all intuitive.

Something that REALLY annoys me on the Internet are those lists where you have to click on a dozen or more pages to get to “the Answer”. One of them Jaquandor pointed to, the ranking of Stephen King’s books. At least the slideshow goes five books at a time, but there seems to be no book at all in 2nd place.

Now this a good and proper thing to do. That Texts from Hillary page has hung it up.

“As far as memes go – it has gone as far as it can go. Is it really possible to top a submission from the Secretary herself? No. But then when you get to text with her in real life – it’s just over. At least for us. But we have no doubt it will live on with all of you on the Internet.”


John Edwards, George Zimmerman trial prediction

We discover that the Securities and Exchange Commission had staff IN the Lehman offices MONTHS before the disaster, and apparently didn’t recognize what was going on.

John Edwards (D-NC), the 2004 Vice-Presidential nominee on the John Kerry ticket, is on trial for misappropriation of 2008 Presidential campaign contributions in order to support Rielle Hunter, his former lover and mother of his youngest child. This was going on while Edwards’ wife Elizabeth was was dying of cancer; a sordid affair. Edwards was offered a plea bargain that would have given him months of jail time, though he would have lost his law license; he could get 30 years. I suspect he turned down the deal because he thinks he can win in court. The crux of the matter is whether those payments to Hunter were actually campaign contributions.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) Executive Director Melanie Sloan notes “Sen. Edwards’ conduct was despicable and deserves society’s condemnation, but that alone does not provide solid grounds for a criminal case. DOJ’s scattershot approach to prosecuting public officials is incomprehensible and undermines the integrity of the criminal justice system.”

The lead prosecution witness is Andrew Young (no, not this Andrew Young), and he has a lot of credibility issues. I believe Edwards will be found “not guilty.” If by some bizarre chance he is convicted, he’ll win on appeal.

George Zimmerman

After the initial procrastination, prosecutors decide to charge George Zimmerman with second-degree murder in the case of Trayvon Martin. They could have charged him with manslaughter or some other lesser charge. Because the Sanford, Florida police understood the law in a particular way on the night of the incident, the jury will never know, for instance, whether George Zimmerman had been drinking or on some other substance. Absent new evidence, I think Zimmerman will be found “not guilty.”

Lehman Brothers

From the Los Angeles Times: “Less than a year before the 2008 collapse of Lehman Bros. plunged the global economy into a terrifying free fall, the Wall Street firm awarded nearly $700 million to 50 of its highest-paid employees… The documents, which were among the millions of pages submitted in Lehman’s bankruptcy, show the list of top earners each were pledged $8 million to $51 million in cash, stock, and other compensation. How much, if any, of the stock was cashed in before the bankruptcy wiped out its value couldn’t be determined. Still, the rich pay packages for so many people raised eyebrows even among compensation experts and provided fresh evidence of the money-driven Wall Street culture that was blamed for triggering the financial crisis.”

Now, why haven’t there been indictments in THIS situation? If you saw the CBS News program 60 Minutes on April 22, you have a pretty good idea. “Steve Kroft talks to the bank examiner whose investigation reveals the how and why of the spectacular financial collapse.” We discover that the Securities and Exchange Commission had staff IN the Lehman offices MONTHS before the disaster and apparently didn’t recognize what was going on. Perhaps this makes the case more difficult to prosecute. Will ANYONE from Lehman Brothers be indicted? Maybe, for show. Will anyone be convicted? I’m not holding my breath.

President Rogers? President Picard?

As far as Star Trek, I assume we’re not going to worry that the candidates are not in fact American.

Chris writes:
Okay, another one:

What comic book hero would make the best US president? Or Star Trek character, your choice.

I ask this one because one of the best political discussions I’ve ever gotten into was “Who from Star Trek would make the best president?” I was utterly shocked at some of the choices!

Sounds silly, right? Ancient Greek philosophers talked about who from Mt. Olympus was fit for office…

Or both. Why not?

I think about Steve Rogers, a/k/a Captain America. I was watching a commercial for the upcoming Avengers movie. Cap says to the Hulk, “Hulk smash.” And the Hulk smashes. This mortal could control this gamma-infused monster. And it has long been thus; Cap’s first appearance in the comic book Avengers #4 filled his teammates with awe. Yet, Cap has had his doubts about America, at least in the 1970s, written by Steve Englehart, when the President was engaged in improper activities.

Other possibilities: Charles Xavier, the leader of culturally disparate X-Men; Reed Richards, head of the Fantastic Four. I’d consider Wonder Woman, depending on which iteration is offered.

As far as Star Trek, I assume we’re not going to worry that the candidates are not in fact American. I must admit that I know the first two series better than the subsequent series, though I did watch them all. I’d always want to look at the captains. Certainly NOT James T. Kirk, but quite possibly Jean Luc Picard, or the others. I wonder if Spock, or Data, would be too distant to lead (probably Obama’s problem), Scott and Chekov, and Worf too hot-headed. Maybe Sulu or Number 1.

The Lydster, Part 97: One Surprise After Another

The Daughter always seemed to have far fewer birthday parties with her friends than most of her classmates. Oh, there would be the gatherings with family, including her maternal grandparents, and usually a pair of her cousins and an uncle and aunt. But it has been unbalanced. Once a couple of years ago, we did a party at the State Museum with her friends, but that was it.

She indicated a few months ago that she wanted a surprise party; not sure why. But we decided to make it so. First, we had a little gathering the weekend before her birthday with her mom, dad, and grandparents, so she didn’t think we’d blown her off. Then we rented a room at the local bowling alley for a few hours.

The morning of the party, I put together the gift bags for the children attending, distracted the Daughter while her mother sneaked the cake she made out of the house, got her dressed, and so forth.

I also got her to help clean the house based on the rumor that Grandma and Grandma might be staying over. That was actually unlikely, but it was possible that her other uncle/aunt/cousin from southern Pennsylvania, might be staying over.

About a half-hour before showtime, we tell the Daughter we are going bowling, so she’d be wearing socks. As we walked into the room, and people yell “Surprise”, she’s confused and a little frightened; she sees some unfamiliar people, a couple of siblings and parents of her friends, who she does not know. But soon, she has sussed out that this is the surprise party she had requested and smiled broadly.

The kids, and some of the parents, bowled for an hour. Then we had pizza (quite good, actually), cake that the Wife made, plus supplied ice cream. The time was too short to actually open presents, though (or we planned it not so well.) All of my wife’s family went over to our house.

You may recall that the TV set died last month. Well, this was the next day, and my two brothers-in-law said they’d take me shopping – two shopping trips in two weekends, which was unprecedented for me. At least this one was singular in focus. Went to Radio Shack, which had TVs either too large or way too small. Then to Green Furniture – the running joke was that it was my cousin’s place – but they’re out of the TV business. Eventually, we make it to BJ’s Wholesale; one brother-in-law has a membership. We need something that will fit into a 29″ wide and 18″ high space, and we find something. The old TV had a tube; this TV, the screen part was thinner than a sturdy book.

Oh, and that brother-in-law decided that, instead of him paying for the adults bowling (which he had offered), and for his share of the dinner (previously agreed to), he’d just pay for the TV and call it even, or part of MY birthday present! In any case, an unexpected turn of events.

The family gathered for dinner, after which there was a second surprise party, for Lydia’s grandma, who was turning a certain age divisible by five. Among her presents, a certain number of wishes, written by her four granddaughters. Eventually, one of Carol’s brothers and his family returned home; the other brother and his family, with the longer trip, went to his parents’ house.

A glorious day.