Tuesday, October 22, 2019

The Big Local Story, or Not so Proud Now

Today, the last two 'Proud Boys' who were charged with gang assault for a brawl on Manhattan's Upper East Side were sentenced to four years in prison. New Yorkers really don't have any tolerance for cartoon fascists.

The funniest thing about this whole sordid episode is that 'Proud Boys' founder Gavin McInnes, who lives in a multimillion dollar house in tony Larchmont has been blaming members of the media for the sentencing, even though he himself arranged the surrender of his ten violent followers. Right-wing rank and file commenters are also trying, and failing, to 'guilt' liberals about the sentencing of one of these assholes because his wife is African-American... nice try, she and the kids are better off without this violent asshole around. Maybe McInnes can support the guy's kids, or the 'Proud Boys' can run a bake sale to pay for their living expenses.

It's nice to see that New York's prosecutors are playing a major role in the pushback against the right, both against the big fish and the random dumbasses like these two.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Perfect Response to a Racist Gamerboy

Ah, 'gamers'... I don't write about the scumbags who pushed Gamergate very often, but I must note that these angry nerdy boys pretty much ushered in the 'alt-right' that vexes the 'normies' so. I have been known to play computer games, but these assholes have forever caused me to eschew the title of 'gamer'. The new kerfuffle among these chuds is anger that actress Zoƫ Kravitz has been cast as 'Catwoman' in an upcoming 'Batman' movie. One particular manchild calling himself 'One Angry Gamer' is enraged that an African-American woman has been cast in this role.

The asshole is getting it in the neck in the responses, mainly from people who note that Eartha Kitt was an iconic Catwoman in the greatest iteration of the whole franchise. Ms Kitt perfectly combined the playful sex appeal and over-the-top camp that best serves the source material:

To me, the worst sin of 'One Angry Gamer' isn't his (you know he's gotta be a d00d) racism or sexism, but his complete lack of humor... 'Batman' is supposed to be sorta ridiculous, just look at the debut of Catwoman in the comic books. He's also a crashing bore, he keeps repeating the mantra that 'Eartha Kitt's Catwoman isn't the Selina Kyle of the movie', as if this Selina Kyle character (invented in the 80s by the execrable Frank Miller, who made the character a former sex worker because of course he did) even existed when the West 'Batman', the best 'Batman', was broadcast 'in color'. He also complains that Frank Miller's Selina Kyle shouldn't be played by a black woman because she was described as Irish and Cuban, as if Phil Lynott and Celia Cruz didn't exist.

The angry manchild gives the game away when he complains that SJWs have 'stolen' his entertainment from him, entertainment that he has had no hand in producing. This sets up the best response I've ever seen to one of these anti-feminist whiners:

I believe that gamers have a term for the beating this asshole received.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Pining for Brooklyn

Tragically, I will have to miss tonight's Secret Science Club lecture because I was just not able to provide for coverage on the job. It'll be the first regular Brooklyn lecture that I've missed in just about ten years, when I missed a lecture on the night of my father's death. I am bummed about this, but duty cannot be put aside, and weekends have always been my crunch time, weekends in October especially so.

Before I head off to work, rather than Brooklyn, I figure I'll post a video of atmospheric researcher Dr Sonali McDermid, this month's speaker. I figure that I can't write up this lecture, so I will provide some link to the good doctor's knowledge:

I firmly believe that my Secret Science Club recaps are my most important posts. They are the posts which require the most time, and the most research, to write... the posts which force me to bring my 'A game' to this whole business of writing. The write-ups also reinforce the knowledge conveyed to my own mind, by writing them I have better recall, am actually made smarter. I guess October isn't a month for getting smarter, being a mad dash to get the job done on the job.

Next month, I should have no schedule conflicts, so I anticipate heading down to the beautiful Bell House. Tonight, though, I will be casting my eyes, forlornly, to the Southeast, and dreaming of 'SCIENCE!'

ADDENDUM: I just want to thank SSC regular Chris A., Margaret, and Dorian. They are the ones I always text if I’m running late, because my absence from a lecture would mean that something happened to me. They are good, devoted friends, truly devoted to SCIENCE!

Saturday, October 19, 2019

The Month Is a Slog but the Hours Are Nice

October is a slog for me, a month of long hours and an occasional seven-day work week. With my volunteer gig, there’s very little free time. While the month is an endurance tour, the individual hours are lovely- it’s a time when I reunite with regular visitors, and catch up with the scuttlebutt. Last weekend, we had a quartet of Pittsburgh residents who come to see us every Fall. A couple of days ago, an author who wrote a book we sell in our gift shop.

The contractors are a lovely bunch. Our cleaners have regular jobs in a Chilean bakery, and brought a box of pastries last Thursday. I have become fast friends with other contractors working the event. Generally, I’m getting my ass kicked, but I’m having fun.

Friday, October 18, 2019

This Horror Business Is Funny Business

One of the blogs that I periodically check out is Too Much Horror Fiction, which reviews paperback horror novels, mainly from the 70s and 80s. The blog takes its title from the Misfits song Too Much Horror Business. To me, the Misfits are a silly band, they tried to be shocking, but their cartoon horror show manages to be simultaneously more offensive and less genuinely transgressive that their role models, the Ramones. Too Much Horror Business aims to be creepy, but it's just too damn corny... while it's supposed to evoke Psycho, the chorus more effectively evokes gastric distress on the part of lead singer Glen Danzig: "You, you don't go in the bathroom with me."

Now, why wouldn't you want to go into the bathroom with Glen Danzig? Rumors of his poor eating habits have been greatly exaggerated:

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Windy Day Terror Tale

The New York metro area has been in the grip of a nor'easter these past two days. Yesterday was marked by torrential rains, today is marked by gusty winds, approaching gale force. I had to send an email to my boss and our events team, detailing the wind damage that was inflicted onsite, namely downed branches and toppled tents. It's an appropriate day to write a post about August Derleth's The Thing that Walked on the Wind. Derleth has a spotty reputation among fans of 'weird tales', having been an early champion of the works of H.P. Lovecraft, albeit one who tried to maintain an iron grip on the 'old gent's' literary oeuvre to an unseemly degree. His 'Lovecraftian' fiction is often derided for a Manichean worldview at odds with Lovecraft's conception of an utterly uncaring universe. He also tried to hammer Lovecraft's ultramundane monster-gods into a silly 'classical elemental' model. One of his worst literary sins, though, was his addiction to pastiche- his 'Lovecraftian' tales often devolve into a catalogue of referents, with entire passages consisting of name-dropping of Lovecraft's evil entities.

The Thing that Walked on the Wind, originally published in the January 1933 issue of Strange Tales of Mystery and Terror (which also featured the better story Murgunstrumm by Hugh B. Cave), refers back to Algernon Blackwood's The Wendigo. Derleth's 'wind walker', patterned on Derleth's Wendigo, is a classical air elemental, worshiped by rural Canadians near the Arctic Circle. It's not a bad tale, an early Derleth effort before the man devolved into a pasticheur. Here's an audio recording of the tale:

On a day like this, a story about a malevolent airy being isn't doesn't seem all that far-fetched.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Deplorables? More Like Gullibles!

The fact that the right-wing media industrial complex is one big scam has been obvious since Rick Perlstein wrote 'The Long Con' for The Baffler in 2012. Right-wingers seem especially vulnerable to grifters because they are told not to trust the 'lamestream media', by which they mean any media sources not run by righties.

The latest mass grift to be exposed is a 'subscription trap' scam fueled by Facebook ads. Naturally, this scam was started by a young Republican booster. Like many right-wing scam artists, from Alex Jones to Dana Loesch to Ben Shapiro, much of the products hawked in this scam are bogus 'supplements':

As for the products, a current employee described the diet and male enhancement offerings as “the worst of the worst … China-made sawdust in a capsule.”

The Buzzfeed article, like 'The Long Con', is required reading... it points out how non-social media savvy individuals can get sucked into these scams, which come across as a blend of multilevel marketing and social media trolling. The real lesson, though, is that the only way to win the Facebook game is not to play at all.