The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Open Thread

Please use the comments to discuss NON-COVID-19 topics.


April 3rd US Covid-19 Data


April 5th Covid Data


  1. Aqua Lung

    I learned today that golf courses and golfing are considered “essential” during this time of shelter-in-place. So is going to Mars, apparently, and space travel and nukes in space.

    Trump is immune, is he not? He’s had myriad exposures and yet he’s unfazed by COVID-19. COVID SCHMOVID. There is some special force field around him. He truly is the Teflon Don. Beyond reproach. They stab him with their steely knives but they just can’t kill the beast.

    This is the Chernobyl Moment for the West. Unlike the former Soviet Union, I’m afraid America won’t go down without taking the rest of the world with it in a fiery cataclysm hence the focus on making the nuclear strike force impenetrable to the effects of COVID-19 as millions perish and the economy fails.

    The protection of capital has always been paramount to the golden goose lives that provided the blood, sweat and tears to increase that capital. Who murders the golden goose that lays the golden eggs? Batshit insane wealthy people who rule the world, that’s who.

  2. Aqua Lung

    Can’t stop!
    Lose job!
    Mind gone!
    What bomb?
    Get away!
    Pay day!
    Make hay!
    Break down!
    Need fix.
    Big six.
    Clickity click.
    Hold on!
    Oh no,
    Bring bingo!

  3. Question for vote for mail advocates (I’ve been voting by mail in Oregon for years though it has been my habit to deliver the ballot to the big steel box down at the county clerk’s office): By all accounts our Constitutionally mandated postal service will breathe its last breath sometime in June. That it marks the end of “America” is irrelevant, moot in the generally accepted vernacular.

    How are you going to mail in all those ballots?

    What else are they getting away with?

  4. Eric Anderson

    Interesting Vox article here.

    Most interesting in the fact that it does a full expose on the toilet paper supply line shortage, but fails to mention that Kimberly Clarke/Georgia Pacific et al are owned by Koch Industries.


  5. Jerry Brown

    Well at least we aren’t in any wars that we weren’t in. Difficult to come up with anything non-covid. A bar that is closed until whenever hired me to make some repairs. Good time to do that. My sister wants to buy a house and asked me to inspect it. I guess life goes on which is good.

  6. Tomonthebeach

    Have you noticed? You can see the bottom of Venice canals. I’ve seen pictures of actual fish in them. Last year, articles were bemoaning that Venice was becoming a cruise-ship garbage dump so polluted that it was experiencing record flooding.

    Crap is not washing up on my Florida beach. The sky has been blue and temperatures moderate for gorgeous several weeks. The air you breathe seems fresher does it not? It is not polluted by vehicle fumes. I can see the bottom in our marina down the street. Spring has never looked so green in decades. This is what the world looks like without human beings mucking it up.

    While we are distracted with the fear and pain of pandemic, it is worthwhile to notice what a Thunberg world looks like – maybe even think about some permanent changes after we all get vaccinated and return to what might be a NEW normal.

  7. Ché Pasa

    Re: Toilet paper

    Out here in the country there are occasional deliveries of a few no-brand or off-brand packs of toilet paper, paper towels, tissue and so forth. Most don’t last long on the shelves, but if you time things right (“the truck is due on Saturday afternoon”) you can get some before it’s all gone. Note: you’ll pay plenty.

    Shelves are starting to show a few bags of pasta and rice after having none for weeks. Canned goods are also starting to reappear, though in sparse quantities and again, odd or no-name brands. Flour and sugar are available in small quantities and at high prices. In fact, many items that are reappearing on the shelves are two to three times the price they were before the Outbreak.

    The meat cases have always had something in them, though not as much variety as previously. And price has been pretty stable. Fresh fruits and vegetables have always been available. Chips and soda, too. Fresh milk is available, but powdered or canned milk not so much. Tortillas and bread were non-existent out here for 10 days or so, then they started showing up in small quantities. Cheese and eggs are available again — at twice the price they were before the Outbreak.

    There’s no vinegar. No cleaning products. No handi-wipes, no Purell, no bleach. No hand soap. This has been true since the first run on the stores. If it’s being delivered, it’s not coming on that Saturday truck.

    They say it’s sometimes available at Walmart. But that’s a fair distance from us and we usually don’t go there except in dire need. Of course we’re supposed to limit travel, stay at home anyway. And if they’re sold out, what’s the actual point?

    The nearest hospital is 35-40 miles away. There is a clinic with limited hours and no ER.

    So far, there’s not much of a freak-out by the locals (pretty much all of whom are gunned up to the max.) In fact, some are laughing at the predicament we’re in. Nothing to be done about it, so go with the flow.

  8. nihil obstet

    I have to admit these are covid questions:

    1. Book you’d recommend that everybody read.

    2. Movie you’d recommend that everybody see.

    3. TV series you’d recommend that everybody watch.

    In each case, why the recommendation? Something about history that we ought to know? Literary excellence that shouldn’t be missed? Is the recommendation really permanent, or something you just really feel like today?

    Is there another topic, like maybe best and worst blogs?

  9. bruce wilder

    best and worst blogs is a topic we sort of breached on the other thread, talking about Pat Lang, the former Archdruid and other blog stars of the past.

    I suppose all the energy is on Twitter, but I cannot get into it despite its glitter.

    Blogs in the early days seemed to me to promise to change minds, maybe revive public opinion as a force independent of pr manipulation. maybe Twitter seems to promise something similar. people seemed to like the narrative of the Arab Spring driven by “social media” even it was a crock

    Mark Thoma retired. The Daily Howler is recalling his own glory days studying Wittgenstein at Harvard. digby lost her cool.

    I am bored.

  10. Joan


    I would also add that I hope this quarantine time leads to people supporting their own local small businesses again.

  11. nihil obstet

    In the late 90s, early aughts, blogs helped me keep my sanity. Media Whores Online of sainted memory was like the arrival of a prophet. Whiskey Bar taught me a lot about economics. When Billmon got tired of moderating and stopped comments, bernard started Whiskey Bar as a comment site, and it’s become a very good alternative take on foreign policy blog. Digby was cool, until the DNC figured out how to subordinate decent analysis under Democratic Party propaganda, and Digby appeared to have decided that she wanted the role of Democratic Party loyalist. I haven’t been back to her site in some years now. But during the Bush years and the beginning of the Middle East wars, various online blogs and magazines were the only places that weren’t worshiping the military and Commander Codpiece.

    I like Twitter. It’s like a publicity kiosk, where the people you follow announce what they’ve published or posted. I suspect reddit is like that, and one day I’ll try reddit. It does not, however, promote real discussion.

  12. Ian Welsh

    Everyone knows that Fafblog is the best blog!

  13. Zachary Smith

    Ten Bears –

    I know both political parties have been itching to destroy the Post Office, but I’ve a gut feeling this is the worst possible time for them to try. My mailman has been an affordable way to continue getting books and CDs and DVDs and other supplies. Especially books. I suspect this is true for lots of other people.

    Voting by mail may have a few security problems which need to be fixed up, but compared to the wide-open mess we have now, it’s by far the best way to go in an epidemic. Still an opinion, but I believe the GOP will fight to the death to prevent VBM from happening.

    Ché Pasa –

    As of last week, the last time I was in a grocery store, the flour and sugar shelves were empty, so I didn’t think to look at their prices. Flour stores badly in the long term, and an attempt I made to put some away during the scarier years of the Codpiece Commander was a failure. On the plus side, I learned a sack of rancid flour burns just like a small log if put onto a bed of coals created by burning brush and tree trimmings. Sugar keeps forever, and some I stored back in the day was in 5-gallon buckets with a clear plastic liner. That sealed bag kept out both moisture and a major bane of sugar – ants. (some bucket lids are really lousy fits!)

    I just finished making a small seed order which included cucumbers, and your remark about vinegar was a bit disturbing. Making pickles without vinegar is likely impossible. Regarding firearms, I’ve been surprised to learn gun sales are going off the chart. (as if they didn’t already have too many!) I suspect quite a few people are going to regret those purchases in months and years to come when it comes time to buy other necessities.

    Spoke to a red state relative in the deep South a few days ago. A totally dedicated Trumpie, he had been blowing off the Epidemic by flying around a lot, took a vacation cruise, and engaging in business as usual at the church and clubs. Only when Trump changed course did he start behaving. I hope he lucks out and survives his foolishness, for his area is in very bad shape in terms of the virus – a mini-NYC in the backwoods.

  14. Aqua Lung

    I think this Pat Lang character has hoarded all the toilet paper. Check his bunker. I bet it’s stocked-to-overflowing obscuring all the trophy skulls of the Vietnamese he murdered in cold blood.

    Authoritarians the world over are losing their shit amidst this pandemic and doubling down on their authoritarian affliction. Lang is emblematic of this phenomenon and not to mention but I will, he’s been wrong more often in his analysis than he’s been right but he’s so blindly arrogant he can’t see it and never will for the few short years he has left on this mortal coil if he’s fortunate enough to make it a few years more. He’s pissed because his doctors told him they can’t see him right now and tend to his many health needs because there are other more important priorities that take precedence. Things like a pandemic. That, and his stock portfolio has taken quite a hit although for the time being Mnuchin has his finger in the dike.

    Since Trump mentioned it’s not really a recession because it’s artificial, let’s discuss that. Every recession and depression since the Federal Reserve was formed has been artificial but of course Trump being the moronic buffoon that he is, would have no knowledge of this and never will. This time it may in fact be the first time it’s not artificial. Stock market values are what’s artificial. What’s also artificial is Trump’s decaying orange face and hair. Hell, Fat Donny is artificial in his ignominious entirety from bobble head to stumpy toes.. He’s a caricature conjured out of whole cloth. Strike that, he’s a caricature conjured out of whole toilet paper — used toilet paper, in fact.

  15. Benjamin

    @nihil obstet

    A lot of people, especially bloggers, established their reputations dissenting during the Bush years. But George W. Bush was an incredibly easy target to mock and vilify (all of it justified, mind), and his insane regime easy to find fault with (basically all that criticism justified as well).

    I genuinely wonder how many of these people actually changed over time, and how many were really DNC lapdogs, etc, the whole time, but they were able to established their cred because they were in opposition to something that was just so ludicrously bad.

  16. Aqua Lung

    We’re watching The Birdcage tonight. It’s not the first time we watched it but it’s been a while and our son has never seen it. It is side-splittingly hilarious. Lose-your-breath-laughing hilarious. So funny, you cry like a baby. Robin Williams and Nathan Lane are a great comedy duo. They’re a match made in heaven and Gene Hackman is perfectly cast for his part. It’s an updated unorthodox upside-down version of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.

  17. I think comparing old blogs is like comparing old guitar players: amongst the good ones they were all good, amongst the Ted Nuggents they were all Ted Nuggent.

    I think the fun in this one will be in sitting back and seeing who here gets mentioned. Or not.

  18. Jace


  19. Willy

    I haven’t read anything Genghis Khan in years, though I did enjoy the John Wayne movie version for all the unintended reasons. We’ll chase them like rats across the tundra, pilgrims.

    Last night I was click baited into a mongol horde synopsis video, probably some college kids project. It crammed all the conquests into an hour or so. I got a different perspective that way. It seems that if you too are an utterly ruthless master of manipulation, organization, and terror, then the world might be yours regardless of how much destruction you cause. And there wont be a damned thing anybody can do about it..

    What finally did the Khan family in was their infighting, though Buddhism mellowed Kublai into being a somewhat respectable Chinese emperor. Otherwise, the whole world conquest thing seemed like quite the humanity clusterfuck.

    My prevailing question is why the hell would anybody in their right mind want to follow a family of murderous nutjobs around risking their lives just to end others? I mean, what’s in it for you? Are the bottomless sacks of saddle arrows, saddle cabbage, and saddle sores, in exchange for helping some nutjob family conquer and/or destroy entire cities, really worth it? I didn’t perceive any jihadist idealistic afterlifey motivations. Just… So many cites, so little time!

    I get one’s need to escape the drudge of poverty and boredom for a little emotional excitement. I get the tribal impulses which many have. There were ancient Romans who left the free life to try and become famous gladiators. A few Romans. But the risks and tradeoffs seemed far saner. But to risk it all just to destroy what others have spent their entire lives building?

    I try to draw parallels with Trump worshippers. I’ve known a few. I don’t get their hanging on his every word like it’s some kind of golden nugget, when so much of it is obviously orange colored self-serving bullshit. And sometimes the mindless authority following escapes me.

    I think the next time I’m not social distancing, I’m going to ask Trump followers what’s in it for them, just to get their own personal viewpoint. Of course I don’t want to arouse suspicions. I can’t give them the impression that I’m some kind of Chinese Democratic Party Fake News Mexican spy-supplicant, or anything like that. I’ll be a political apathetic trying to understand all this Trump love. What’s in it for you guys?

  20. nihil obstet

    Good grief! How could anybody have forgotten Fafblog? And of course BOPNews and later the Agonist. I used to hang out at Corrente, a very good site, until it seemed to narrow and harden. I react badly enough to ethnic patriarchy to have always been annoyed by the Archdruid.

    For movies, I’d mention The Man Who Would Be King, with lots of my guilty pleasures — Rudyard Kipling who wrote so very much better than he thought, super cool Sean Connery at his supercoolest, the incredibly versatile Michael Caine, costume drama with scenery to die for, and a solid script.

  21. Eric Anderson

    Robert Kahn has been entertaining me for years over at the courthouse news service. It’s legal news, but there is also regular insightful discussion of current events in the “columns.” The columns used to be open to comments — alas, no more.

    Here’s a sample of one of his latest:

  22. StewartM

    CoVID-19 vulture capitalism I see is well in swing.

    Not only, on the large scale, with the Trump admin dragging its feet on the situation on medical supplies, with states *and* the Feds bidding against each other, resulting in them paying 15x what items are worth. No, I just got word from a relative about some property our (extended) family owns–apparently he says that he’s getting letters every day on every parcel, including his home; all making bargain-basement offers below the property’s value. The vultures are obviously swooping in to buy up property on the cheap from people who have lost income and are in financial distress; doubtless emboldened by the largess Congress just handed them.

  23. Willy

    I always pay for my home by the month. Occasionally I’m a few days late but I always pay. Whenever I’m late, a few days later I get a letter from vultures looking to buy my property. Never when I’m on time. I didn’t think it was legal for lending banks to give out that sort of information.

  24. Corrente is one of my dead links, though I don’t remember why.

    One of my dead links is to skippy: Skippy the Bush Kangaroo, arguably amongst the first, along with Bartcop and BoP, of the “blogs” and of course coiner of the phrase “blogtopia”. Skippy is gone, has been since October I think, and while it took a couple of months for those who inherited the blog to catch on Skippy is now gone. All that is left is a dead link on my blogroll. Not forgotten.

    For a while it felt like the sixties.

  25. Benjamin

    Corrente is gone (I presume) because Strether does all his writing on naked capitalism now, full time.

  26. Stirling S Newberry

    1. Book you’d recommend that everybody read.

    Classic, Romantic, Modern

    2. Movie you’d recommend that everybody see.


    3. TV series you’d recommend that everybody watch.

    Mad Men.

  27. Sometimes a Great Notion, Thunderheart, Babylon 5

  28. Zachary Smith

    ‘It’s a sh– sandwich’: Republicans rage as Florida becomes a nightmare for Trump

    That’s the actual headline! Once I had some elderly relatives in Florida, and that meant a trip to the place every now and then. This is no longer the case, and I’ll be perfectly happy never to set foot in the state again.

  29. Astrid

    The owner of Fafblog now tweets under He cheers me up whenever I’m in a pitch black mood, because his black is blacker than mine.

    The Farewell is now on Netflix. It’s an interesting and semi-accurate look into the Chinese culture and healthcare. Origin of Flavor, Street Food, and Raja Rasoi are good travelogue fare, good ways to learn about other cultures. I inhaled Tiger King too, it’s certainly crazy enough to distract you from other things for a couple hours. I liked umbrella Academy better than The Boys, it’s friendlier, more room for kindness and beauty.

    On Amazon Prime, Love and Friendship, Logan Lucky, and Wolf Hall are very enjoyable.

    Books: 1491, 1493, World Without Us, Jared Diamond’s books

  30. Astrid

    Wolf Hall is no longer few on Amazon Prime. Other recommendations are Sneaky Pete, Blackadder, Deadwood, Hannibal, Wallace and Gromit, Shaun the Sheep, The Americans, The Expanse.

    For movies, Aguirre, Lady Bird. Annihilation, Paterson, Drive (and other NWR movies, if you can stomach the violence), Salesman.

    I should just re-read Fafblog.

  31. Stirling S Newberry

    Second on Wolf’s Hall.

  32. DMC

    Emir Kusturica’s 1995 film “Underground”. Its essentially the story of Yugoslavia from the outbreak of WWII to the period of the Balkan wars, as seen through the eyes of two friends. It’s wild satire, grim history and a soundtrack provided by a large brass band that are physically in the scenes. The theatrical release ran 163 minutes, so its just the thing for people who have some time to kill.

    David Foster Wallace’s “Infinite Jest” is a Pynchonian doorstop of a novel, that blends the premise of “The King in Yellow” with alternate history, a tennis academy, Quebecois separatist militants, film theory, addiction and recovery and a host of other topics too numerous to mention.
    Also “JR” by William Gaddis. Another huge novel, told in Gaddis’ signature style, dialog with very little narration. You can tell who is speaking by how they speak and what they say. Once again, it is a satire, in which an 11 year old boy manages to become the head of various financial and business concerns, starting with penny stocks until he heads a vast conglomerate. He is aided in this by a struggling composer and temporary music instructor who is, quite against his will, drawn in to the boy’s schemes as the only adult who actually knows that JR, is only 11. The prose is delicious and the satire unsparing of finance capitalism, modern education(circa 1975), classical music, old money and any thing Gaddis can get his hands on.

  33. Eric in Kansas

    See Terry Gilliam’s Brazil. I saw it when it came out in 1985, and it has only gotten truer since. Except now it seems much more ‘normal’ than how outrageous it felt in the 1980s.

    Read Kent Nerburn’s ‘Neither Wolf nor Dog’ there is nothing more I can say about that book.

  34. Zachary Smith

    1. Book you’d recommend that everybody read.
    “Ishmael” by Barbara Hambly
    “Three Hearts and Three Lions”, A Midsummer Night’s Tempest”, and “Tau Zero” by Poul Anderson

    2. Movie you’d recommend that everybody see.
    “Blade Runner” – Director’s or Final Cut.
    “Code Name Dancer” – pilot of a series which never happened. Youtube has it.
    “The Ballad of Cable Hogue” – beautiful soundtrack and gorgeous Stella Stevens. (many religious undertones here, IMO)
    Most episodes of the old Modern Marvels series.

  35. Zachary Smith

    Interesting background reading:

    Coronavirus: Virological findings from patients treated in a Munich hospital

    According to the researchers’ observations, all COVID-19 patients showed a high rate of viral replication and shedding in the throat during the first week of symptoms. Sputum samples also showed high levels of viral RNA (genetic information). Infectious viral particles were isolated from both pharyngeal (throat) swabs and sputum samples. “This means that the novel coronavirus does not have to travel to the lungs to replicate. It can replicate while still in the throat, which means it is very easy to transmit,” explains Prof. Drosten, who is also affiliated with the DZIF, and is a professor at the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH).

  36. Mongo

    “Everyone knows that Fafblog is the best blog!”


    Medium Lobster! There is no Lobster but He – the Living, The Self-subsisting, the Eternal. No slumber can seize Him Nor Sleep. His are all things In the heavens and on earth and under the oceans. Who is there that can intercede In His presence except as He permitteth? He knoweth What (appeareth to All as) Before or After or Behind them. Nor shall they compass Aught of His knowledge Except as He willeth. His throne doth extend Over the heavens and the earth, and He feeleth No fatigue in guarding and preserving them, For He is the Most High, The Supreme (in glory). He is Medium Lobster, the One and Only.
    — by Anonymous, at April 02, 2008 10:03 AM

    I dreamed he was iridescent red an green an he had frickin’ laser beams comin’ outta his head. And he smelled like a fish tank.
    — by Laptop Battery, at August 08, 2011 4:12 AM

    You better get with the goddamn program.
    — My Father, While Pointing At A Picture Of The Medium Lobster

    DRILL SERGEANT: What’s your purpose in this Army, Gump?
    GUMP: To do the will of the Medium Lobster, Drill Sar-gent !

    WOODWARD: … I need to know what you know !
    DEEP THROAT: You don’t understand what you’ve stumbled into, do you? You think this was all something out of the mind of little Donald Segretti?? This involves the entire United States intelligence community — it involves The Medium Lobster.

  37. Stirling S Newberry

    > David Foster Wallace’s “Infinite Jest” is a Pynchonian doorstop of a novel, that blends the premise of “The King in Yellow” with alternate history, a tennis academy, Quebecois separatist militants, film theory, addiction and recovery and a host of other topics too numerous to mention.

    Yes. I have read it 3 times.

    > “Three Hearts and Three Lions”, A Midsummer Night’s Tempest”, and “Tau Zero” by Poul Anderson

    More good choices.

    > 2. Movie you’d recommend that everybody see.
    “Blade Runner” – Director’s or Final Cut.

    Final Cut.

    >See Terry Gilliam’s Brazil.

    Several times. Also Time Bandits.

  38. Stirling S Newberry

    For fans of “Brazil”

  39. nihil obstet

    Zachary Smith — Ishmael by Barbara Hambly. Good grief, I’ve read all of Hambly’s Benjamin January series, and didn’t even know she had written other stuff. I went to her website to see if it was the same author. Now I’ve got some new series to start on.

  40. Astrid

    Sadly, Wolf Hall is no longer in Amazon Prime. I guess one could read the novels.

    For people with the barbaric remnant of cable, this season of Brockmire is a hoot. If 2020s started badly, just wait until 2030s.

  41. Astrid

    Mike Duncan’s podcasts, History of Rome and Revolutions, serve as good reminders that we’ve been here before, so many times, and the one consistency is the cussedness of the human condition.

    For something a little lighter and compartmentalized, In Our Times is great, though I fear it may give certain recurrent edgelords more canvas to run their comment diarrhea through.

  42. Mojave Wolf

    1. Book you’d recommend that everybody read.

    2. Movie you’d recommend that everybody see.

    3. TV series you’d recommend that everybody watch.

    In each case, why the recommendation? Something about history that we ought to know? Literary excellence that shouldn’t be missed? Is the recommendation really permanent, or something you just really feel like today?

    Many good suggestions for reading/viewing already. Doing only one of each is incredibly difficult, and in some cases shall be ignored.

    Painful effort at only 1 per:

    1. Book: Les Miserables, Victor Hugo (likewise would get my musical rec, if you had asked for one). This despite the horribly weak ending and a whole bunch of fairly serious flaws. But its virtues far outweigh its vices. Somehow never quite works like it should as a movie, tho the film of the musical was good. Hugo is a brilliant writer w/great concepts. Keep meaning to reread the Hunchback of Notre Dame (which I liked but was disappointed by when I read it in elementary school because I went in expecting a monster story, and, well, it IS, but not in my grade school expectations sense). Given this is a blog concerned with class issues and morality/ethics, don’t see how anyone here can help but to appreciate the book’s focus.

    (best book for our times: Station Eleven, by Emily St John Mandel)
    (best book for our times pre-pandemic: Neuromancer, by William Gibson)
    (best really angry book for our times: Altered Carbon, by Richard Morgan, philosophically so much better than the series which neutered the class stuff)

    3. TV Series: Westworld. I can be your friend if you love Hillary (I have such friends). I can be your friend if you love Ted Cruz (I have such friends). But I cannot be your friend if you are not sympathetic to #TeamDolores here.

    Seriously, if I had to choose “best” or “most perfectly made” TV series, that would be The Wire or Breaking Bad. If I had to choose “most artistically brilliant moments” that would be Twin Peaks, esp S3, which is to some extent a very different animal than it’s predecessor. And I will always love Buffy the Vampire Slayer despite the atrocity that was s6.

    But two shows just as good as any of those are running now, Better Call Saul and Westworld. I would recommend EVERYBODY at least try both (tho, the first few eps of s1 of Better Call Saul are mediocre; was originally meant to be a light comedy and it took them a while to figure out what to do w/it; by the middle of s1 it was off and running and now it’s as good as Breaking Bad in it’s own way). BUT . . .

    if I had to just pick one of all these, holy — Westworld is topical and about where we are now and what makes us human and how messed up we are just as much as it is about where we might be going. And it’s about what makes us worse saving as well as what most of our species actually deserve, from the p.o.v. of outsiders. And it’s just plain brilliant. I could rave all night but have to watch tonight’s episode, then get to sleep and wake up and be gone.

    Seriously, WATCH THIS. Westworld.

    2. Movie: Absolutely cannot do just one. Too hard to compare the different eras/types/styles/etc, and too many that essentially mounted to a giant draw where “pick one” depends on mood.
    Post 2000 tier one, kinda sorta in order: King Kong (best of the 3 versions, imo), Winter’s Bone, Joker, Mulholland Drive, Hunger Games, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Hell or High Water, The Florida Project, Southland Tales, (I still don’t quite know what to think of Once Upon A Time in Hollywood but maybe)

    80’s & 90’s–The Matrix, Fire Walk With Me, Thelma and Louise, After Dark My Sweet, Blade Runner, Platoon, Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, The Usual Suspects, Dances With Wolves, Thunderheart, Young Guns, Ladyhawke, Some Kind of Wonderful, Foxfire (Wall Street probably belongs here as well but it upsets me that too many people–the majority of our more well off classess now–took it as a guide to how to live)

    Previous Decades: Casablanca, Breakfast At Tiffany’s, The Apartment, Network, Carrie, Star Wars (original aka “A New Hope), Cool Hand Luke, The Hustler, Rocky, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Fistful of Dollars, Badlands, All That Jazz, The Good The Bad and the Ugly, Little Big Man, Apocalypse Now, The Magnificent Seven, All Quiet on the Western Front

    I’m sure I forgot a few hundred things that deserve mention.

    If I had to do a top 10 for the TV series, it would be, as of now,
    The Wire, Breaking Bad, Twin Peaks, Westworld, Better Call Saul, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Black Sails, Daria, Peaky Blinders, Caprica

    For books,
    Fiction: Les Miz, Neuromancer, Foxfire (Joyce Carol Oates), LOTR, Riddle of Stars trilogy by Patricia McKillip (I”ve heard she gets upset that this is so many people’s favorite of her books because she wrote it when she was 16, which is about how old I was when I first read it, but it’s very beautiful and sums up what I love about the non-human parts of the world quite well), The Great Gatsby, Shadowland, and again, Carrie.
    Non Fiction: Guns Germs & Steel, Collapse, The Sixth Extinction (twice, two different books by two different authors w/two different slants), Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw, Cadillac Desert

  43. nihil obstet

    @Mojave Wolf

    On books, I’ve been bouncing back and forth between Les Miserables and Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend as the prime recommendation. Some lefties object to the popularity of mysteries, seeing it as a problem that many people spend hours a week watching/reading the police being heroes. I figure, in the ancient world when people felt their lives controlled by inexplicable events, their stories were about gods and heroes. As the secular state was being established, their stories were about kings and aristocrats. With capitalism and our feeling that our lives are controlled by law, we like stories about crime. Les Miz gets the feeling of being surrounded by implacable law, the sense that we all have of victimization because of property rights and of the moral problems that poses for us. Our Mutual Friend also gets the dehumanization, the insanity, and the fact that what society is producing is a whole lot of shit.

    A film I like that rarely gets much mention (in addition to The Man Who Would Be King that I mentioned above) is Chariots of Fire. Its question is, “What really constitutes the values of a culture?” You have the parallel stories of a man who grew up British, wealthy, fought for king and country in WWI, student at Cambridge, loves Gilbert and Sullivan, friend of aristocrats; and a man who grew up in China and is planning to return there, missionary, no high class markers. But the first is a Jew with forward looking principles, and the second dwells mentally in the Church of Scotland and upholds the old values. How the powers that be in the society react to what they perceive as challenges to their status and authority is the heart of the movie.

    I’m with you on The Wire. I watched season 1 of Westworld and found it a struggle to finish it, but I might be convinced to try more. I kept on with Breaking Bad through most of season 2, but found it not only unpleasant, but totally unrealistic without really convincing me that there was a truth underlying the incoherence.

  44. Eric Anderson

    Well, Ian.
    If mimicry is the highest form of flattery then Yves Smith is paying you the highest complement.
    She pretty much plagiarized your western elite incompetence post with added bells and financial perspectives.

    Readers? Am I wrong?

  45. Eric Anderson

    Also looking forward to this:

    Seems we may have a new “online magazine for class-centric, left populism” coming soon.
    I threw some bucks at them. Put your money where your mouths are lefties.

  46. different clue

    Somewhat upthread emerged the question of what blogs to read? Or to have read while they still existed?

    I don’t have my own home computer. My computer time is limited to break-time or hanging-around-time at my workplace reading on computers there, and also computers at the public library ( now suspended but resumable when the library opens back up).

    So I never did have endless hours to read endless blogs.

    A very interesting blog still up and running is called Ran Prieur, by Ran Prieur. He writes about different things which interest him. He is a “leaner tougher meaner” hippie for today’s leaner tougher meaner times of today. Here is a copy-pasted sample of his writing.

    * * * * * * * * * *

    April 3. I keep thinking about how Trump is more popular than the media. Neither one of them are doing their job. Trump’s job is to manage the federal government in the interests of the American people, and when you look at his actions, he’s doing everything he can to help Coronavirus kill as many of us as possible, while remaining popular enough to keep destroying America for a second term.

    I’m not saying he’s wrong. Maybe America needs to be destroyed.

    Meanwhile, the job of the media is to give us the information to make our own decisions, and what they’re doing instead, is treating us like sheep, preaching at us about what to do, with the goal of saving the most lives.

    But that’s not their decision to make. I wonder how many of us are secretly cheering for the virus. How many of us cheer for earthquakes and hurricanes, even when they’re nearby? They make life more interesting, and maybe they kill you, and either way you don’t have to go to work tomorrow.

    I’m envious of the countries that have handled this well, like Taiwan and South Korea. As an American, I can’t imagine what it’s like to have everyone put trust in public institutions, and have them earn that trust. Matt writes:

    I wonder what it will take for the people of the United States to stop seeing the British Empire in their own government. Our founding mythos is steeped in rebellion and so there’s a tendency, I think, for Americans to define themselves in terms of the rebel. If you think of yourself as a rebel, then there has to be a shadow king.

    * * * * * * * * *

    Here is the link.

  47. different clue

    I just submitted a comment suggesting a blog. It has not-showed-up for technical reasons and may show up at some point.

    So in briefest, without supporting material, Ran Prier writes a good blog called Ran Prieur.
    It can be searched for under the Search Word . . . . Ran Prieur. I will avoid giving a link in case the link is choking the comment function.

  48. Eric Anderson

    I like Ran. We occasionally correspond. He lives just south of my neck of the woods and seems cool giving him a jingle next time I’m down that way.

  49. Eric Anderson

    I think it was you about a year ago that put me onto him, different clue.

    Thanks, man!

  50. different clue

    @Eric Anderson,

    Really? Me? Well ! . . . . that is one of the major benefits of a blog like this, that anyone can bring a hopefully useful link and anyone else might well pursue it and find it good.

    If you feel like it, you can tell him that someone he never met and never will meet reads his blog.

  51. Mojave Wolf

    Hi Nihil! Will definitely check out “Our Mutual Friend.” Outside of the adventure/horror storytellers, Dickens was probably my favorite of the “classic” writers when I was young. I keep meaning to get back to him and this is one I haven’t heard of so will check out as soon as able.

    The Wire wasn’t totally flawless, but the closest to both realistic and flawless we may ever see in a multi season story.

    While Breaking Bad is brilliant and I’d definitely say it has a moral & logical coherence and all sorts of important underlying truths, I cannot argue with you that it was sometimes unrealistic. I think there was a running joke about Walter White occasionally turning into MacGyver back in the day. And yeah no question it could be unpleasant sometimes. Among fans at the time, there was a fairly deep and hostile split among those who viewed WW as a truly evil person, beyond forgiveness or redemption, those who thought he was a noble guy doing the best he could in a horrible situation, and those of us who went back and forth between pulling for him and hating him. Obviously I was in the third group. Some things were totally horrific, monstrous and inexcusable and sometimes he really was the greater evil; other times he really was a good guy doing the best he could, and you (or I at least) truly empathized with him and also when he wasn’t being evil you (or at least I) wanted to cheer him just for saying ” f u” to the normals and living the outlaw dream. He was trying to help his family, he was enjoying his new life, and he was frequently not just incredibly selfish but a horrible monster. Wonderfully complex character, as was nearly everyone in the show. But if you got to the middle of season two (that was around the time Jane, one of my favorite characters, showed up iirc) and still hated it, might not be for you. OTOH, IF you can make it past the first few episodes, you might like Better Call Saul a lot better. Second season forward it is nearly perfect, often hilarious and often horribly painful.

    Re Westworld — obviously tastes vary, but if you found the early eps hard to get through because some the happenings were just too painful to watch, I can assure you without being too spoilers that this is not like the oppression porn of The Handmaid’s Tale, it is all to a point, and well, more would be spoilery. I really enjoyed the musings on identity and free will and, to use a low tech term I don’t remember from the show, what constitutes a soul. How much of what we do is programming, how different are we from the robots, and how different are they from us. And I found the end result truly satisfying.

    A lot of s1 fans disliked s2; I am not among them but it was a very slow build for a while, tho I thought it an enjoyable and thought provoking build.

    S3 is a whole different thing; a logical continuation with a few of the same characters yet completely different in tone, pacing, setting, etc.

    For me at least, the most interesting characters are never the humans.

    Definitely a searing indictment of humanity, but it remembers we’re not all like the majority of the Park’s visitors, and also a really interesting study of AI imo. You could and possibly are intended to view the whole thing as a metaphor for class struggle. It’s a lot of interesting strands woven into an exciting, frsonant whole.

    I missed last night’s and shall have to wait until next weekend.

    (Meant to go on about Les Miz as well but tired of typing on my phone)

  52. different clue

    About “favorite movie”, I used to watch movies some when I was younger, very little lately.
    One movie I went to see when it came out was called ” Koyaanisqatsi” and I liked it so much that I went to see it every time I could while it was around. Which is good, because it never ever came around again.

    It has no characters, no plot, no dialogue. What it has is film footage and Phillip Glass music designed and engineered to complement each other. It is designed to make some kind of point.
    Let the viewer decide what point has been made.

    If it ever came around again to theaters, I would see it again. Seeing it on a computer screen is a sad tiny little experience compared to having seen the real analog film in a real analog theater.
    But since it will never ever come around again, it is either on a computer or nothing. I found a link to it in case people want to see it and see whether they think it is worth finding a way to see it better than what this particular link will provide.

  53. Eric Anderson

    different clue:

    Sounds a bit like Bakara to me. Ever see it? Am I close?
    I bet I’ve watched that at least 5 times.

  54. different clue

    @Eric Anderson,

    I can’t remember who did Baraka. I think Godfrey Reggio did the filming, but somebody different did the music. I think in part it was done because the success of the “qatsi” series was so encouraging.

    After Koyaanisqatsi, Reggio and Glass brought out the middle film called Powaaqatsi which I saw several times. Here is a first chunk from it. Perhaps enough search could find the whole thing.
    And it, too, was way better in Analog in a real Analog theater.

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