These are your only options

Shouldn’t you be allowed to vote for whoever you want?

I remember the anger at the people who voted for Ralph Nader in 2000.  I get it.  I voted for Al Gore, I loved Al Gore, Al Gore is like my dream politician (boring experienced intellectual veteran centrist conservationist globalist).  But the people who voted for Nader get to vote for Nader!  Al Gore didn’t earn their vote.  They don’t owe Al Gore a rotten fig.  You can’t be mad at the people who voted for someone else for not cynically falling into line to vote for an establishment centrist they didn’t prefer.

Same deal with Susan Sarandon!  She can vote for whomever she wants, cool for her for having interesting choices.  You’re gonna blame her for Trump?  Blame the woman who had an absolute slam dunk layup election on her hands, who had many advantages, enormous amounts of money, her husband was a very popular President of the United States two Presidents ago, for failing to convince enough voters to vote for her.

Dr. Jill Biden, in New Hampshire, says:

You have to swallow a little bit and say, ok, I personally like so and so better, but your bottom line has to be that we have to beat Trump.

If you check out the video you can also see Joe Biden’s first campaign ad, which highlights how “all the polls agree” Joe Biden is the best candidate to beat Trump.

Quit your thinkin’, voter, this one’s been decided for you.  Who’re you gonna believe, your judgment or some polls we pulled together?

The whole premise of the Biden campaign makes me sick.  This is a guy who was a weak, confused candidate who couldn’t stop himself from making stuff up and plagiarizing not just speeches but the family histories of other politicians when he was in his prime!  And now he is… guess how old Joe Biden is.

Did you guess 72?  74?

Joe Biden is seventy-six years old!  He will be seventy-eight if he takes the oath of office in Jan 2021.  Eighty-two at the end of his first term.

What has Joe Biden done with his life?  I get that he was Obama’s pretend best friend, but really, who is a person who in Joe Biden’s thirty-eight some years of public life he really helped?  Uplifted?

(skimming his Wikipedia page)

OK I guess he did stand up for Delaware’s chicken farmers, Delaware’s banks, and in many ways benefitted the people of Delaware (by getting them federal taxpayer money). He was an advocate for Delaware, a state with a population of about one-quarter of the city of Los Angeles.

Where has he been on the big issues?  He voted against the “good” Iraq War, the one we won, and for the bad one, the one that was a stupid, deceitful, horrible disaster from start to… finish?  I guess it’s over?  For us?

(Oh no wait we still have five thousand troops there.)

Joe Biden is sometimes said to know a lot about foreign policy but he was exactly wrong on the biggest American disaster of my lifetime.

Biden has said, “I consider the Violence Against Women Act the single most significant legislation that I’ve crafted during my 35-year tenure in the Senate.”[119]

OK, well that is cool, but didn’t the same bill also eliminate higher education for inmates and create new death penalty offenses?

The argument I hear for Joe Biden is that white Rust Belt working class men, who are alleged to have cost Hillary Clinton the election in Wisconsin, Ohio, etc,  like him.  Well, I don’t know if that’s true, I am not a white Rust Belt working class man.

I do think that:

1) the group credited with “swinging” the last election is never the group credited with swinging the next one

2) it’s not my job as a voter to put myself in the hypothetical mindset of some possible swing voter in another state and attempt to pander to their whims in order to take out the current whim-panderer.

It’s my job to choose the candidate who I try and suss out has the best character, judgment, and policy understandings and preferences to be the President of the United States.

For a campaign to suggest anything else, to suggest five months before the first primary/caucus that voters should shut up and get in line, that this is your only option, is so insulting I can scarcely believe it.

We try not to be all negative at Helytimes, so in the interest of saying something nice about Joe Biden he does have a great smile.


The evils of private planes

from Wikipedia, Boeing 727

Once I was told a story about a world famous celebrity.  This celebrity, the story went, was in a new-ish religion.  This celebrity had some sexual desires and proclivities that he was ashamed of.  Maybe the religion made him feel bad about it.  But in the theology of this religion, what you did at say 30,000 feet of altitude wasn’t technically on Earth or something and thus was bound by different rules, or maybe no rules at all.  So the celebrity would fly up in a plane and fulfill these desires up there between here and space.

Whether that story is true I dunno.  It wasn’t told to me very reliably.  Pure gossip and alleged.  But doesn’t it ring kind of true?  Mythologically if not actually?

There’s something evil about private planes.

What plane did Jeffrey Epstein even have?  I went looking for a photo of it, and couldn’t find one I felt came from a reliable source.  Christopher Maag, writing in the North Jersey Record (is that a good newspaper? I don’t know!):

His planes, which ranged from a Cessna to a Gulf Stream jet to a Boeing 727, recorded at least 730 flights to and from Teterboro between 1995 and 2013, according to flight logs contained in documents unsealed last week by a federal court in a lawsuit brought by one of Epstein’s alleged victims against one of his close associates.

Look for a photo of Epstein’s plane, if you have idle Internet time.  See if you find one that you’re pretty confident is a confirmed, legit photo of his plane.

Making sense of his flight logs is beyond my expertise.

Did Epstein own these planes outright?  Did he pay the bills on the gas and stuff?  The hanger?  He had a 727?

Gladwell, Malcolm: Writer.

“I was invited to the TED conference in maybe 2000 (I can’t remember), and they promised to buy me a plane ticket to California,” Gladwell says now. “Then at the last minute they said, ‘We found you a ride on a private plane instead.’ As I recall, there were maybe two dozen TED conferencegoers onboard. I don’t remember much else, except being slightly baffled as to who this Epstein guy was and why we were all on his plane.”

You and me both, buddy!  From NY Mag’s roundup of everyone who knew this guy.

found this here at the Museum of Flying, kind of hard to find a photo of the Caroline, and I can’t figure out who took this one

When John Kennedy was running for President his father Joe Kennedy bought a plane.  Other candidates had chartered planes, but unless I’m mistaken he was the first candidate to own his own plane.

The President has use of a plane, Air Force One.  Supposedly JFK helped pick the colors.

Cecil Stoughton photo of Air Force One in 1962 from the JFK Library.

But it’s not his (her) plane.  It’s our plane, the people’s plane.  Once you leave office, it’s not yours any more.

For eight years Bill Clinton had Air Force One.  But then he left office, and he wasn’t rich enough to buy his own plane.  What was he supposed to do, fly commercial?  Of course not!  He called his friends who were rich enough to have private planes, and got rides from them.

Some of these guys were bad guys.

That level where you have a private plane.  Where you can fly anywhere you want, any time you want.  

You can be kinda rich, where you’re not really worried about money, you can eat fancy dinners and live somewhere you like*. Then let’s say you get twenty million more dollars.  Might feel very nice, maybe you buy a fancier house, or worry even less about money, or start a small foundation or take care of more people around you or something.  But have you really jumped a level?

I don’t know, I don’t have $20 million dollars, but I don’t think so.  What if after the twenty million you get ten million more?  Is anything improved?

But then there’s the private plane.

That plane isn’t just comfort, it’s power.  It’s access, it’s freedom, it’s being on another level.  Above it all.

What will people do to get to that level?  To stay there?

Who is that important that they need a private plane?  No one.  Richard Branson loves it, Warren Buffett admits he likes his (he doesn’t own it, I believe Berkshire does).  No doubt it saves them time and hassle, no doubt they can get to deals quicker and the power compounds.  And if you believe in capitalism don’t you believe you should be able to buy what you can afford, the market has determined efficiency, and what’s better than freedom, etc.

But isn’t there something a little obscene about private planes?  Everyone wants to fly in them, but everyone knows there’s something a little wrong about it.

From Politico:

“I’m not shocked that while thousands of volunteers braved the heat and cold to knock on doors until their fingers bled in a desperate effort to stop Donald Trump, his Royal Majesty King Bernie Sanders would only deign to leave his plush D.C. office or his brand new second home on the lake if he was flown around on a cushy private jet like a billionaire master of the universe,” said Zac Petkanas, who was the director of rapid response for the Clinton campaign.

The gall.

Radical proposal: in the wake of the Epstein case, the FAA and Congress should look into banning private planes.  Everyone can fly commercial for awhile.  (Exception if you are yourself at the controls as pilot.)

 

 


They turned the cat cafe into a guinea pig cafe as part of the Emmys campaign for Fleabag


Menyosi the glutton

The King [Dingaan, of the Zulus] loved display.  He surrounded himself with plump women, jesters and dwarfs.  He liked to show off his famous glutton Menyosi, who could eat a whole goat in a single meal

from

which I’m finding highly entertaining and informative.  Jan Morris, what a boss.

 


Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood

Favorite line?  Margot Robbie saying

I’m in the movie.  I’m Sharon Tate.

Second place, the little girl actor saying “Just give me the idea of the story.”

Does any director have more fun with time shifts than Tarantino?  The whole part where Brad Pitt has a fight with Bruce Lee occurs in Brad Pitt’s memory while he’s fixing Leo’s TV antenna (right?).

How about when Rick Dalton is pleading on behalf of his friend?

Hey, you could do anything you want to him. Throw him off a building, alright? Light him on fire. Hit him with a Lincoln, right? Get creative. Do whatever you want, he’s just happy for the opportunity.

Filmic recursion, movies within movies.  Fun!  Movies about movies: Boogie Nights, Singin’ In The Rain, even Citizen Kane starts with a movie within a movie.


Jan Van Eyck

a self-portrait?

The first extant record of his life comes from the court of John of Bavaria at The Hague where, between 1422 and 1424, payments were made to Meyster Jan den malre (Master Jan the painter) who was then a court painter with the rank of valet de chambre, with at first one and then two assistants.

Did he have help from his older brother Hubert on this one?

The notes on his preparatory drawing for Portrait of Cardinal Niccolò Albergati are written in the Maasland dialect.

Hmm.

His motto, one of the first and still most distinctive signatures in art history, ALS IK KAN (“AS I CAN”), a pun on his name,

Secret commissions:

Van Eyck undertook a number of journeys on Philip the Duke of Burgundy’s behalf between 1426 and 1429, described in records as “secret” commissions, for which he was paid multiples of his annual salary. Their precise nature is still unknown, but they seem to involve his acting as envoy of the court. In 1426 he departed for “certain distant lands”, possibly to the Holy Land, a theory given weight by the topographical accuracy of Jerusalem in The Three Marys at the Tomb, a painting completed by members of his workshop c. 1440.

Though now some attribute this one to Hubert.  (I dunno, not astounded myself by the topographical accuracy here.)

A better documented commission was the journey to Lisbon along with a group intended to prepare the ground for the Duke’s wedding to Isabella of Portugal. Van Eyck’s was tasked with painting the bride, so that the Duke could visualise her before their marriage. Because Portugal was ridden with plague, their court was itinerant and the Dutch party met them at the out of the way castle of Avis. Van Eyck spent nine months there, returning to the Netherlands with Isabella as a bride to be; the couple married on Christmas Day of 1429. The princess was probably not particularly attractive, and that is exactly how Van Eyck conveyed her in the now lost portrait.

Here is a copy:

Eyck’s own wife:

Margaret.

I was looking into Van Eyck because I was wondering, who did Hieronymous Bosch learn from?

That dog!


A visit to the San Diego Museum of Art

“What’re they gonna have at the San Diego Museum of Art?” I said, sneering.  “A statue of a fish taco?  An exhibit of craft IPA labels? A fluorescent Jeep Wrangler? A Tony Gwynn jersey?*”

This had been my scoffer’s attitude.  But on the website of SDMA I learnt that they have a painting by Hieronymous Bosch, The Arrest of Christ.

Seeing a close to 500 year old painting by a weirdo master seemed worth a short Uber.

I was really impressed with SDMA!  Small, but packed with wonders.  Something good everywhere.  There was an exhibit of “Golden Age of Spain” art that I didn’t even bother with.  (Usually I find I like the art that came right before the golden age?)

The wall placard attributes Christ Arrested to the Workshop of Hieronymous Bosch, not Bosch himself.  And how about Madonna of the Roses, by Pseudo-Pier Francesco Fiorentino?

Or Portrait of a Man by an unknown Flemish artist (once attributed to Hans Memling):

Goya, You Who Cannot.  (They must have a bunch more Goyas in storage).

11th century Sambander.

George Inness, Farm Landscape, Cattle in Pasture—Sunset, Nantucket

Thomas Hart Benton, After Many Days.

An untitled work by George Copeland Ault.

Giotto, God The Father with Angels.

Sunday Afternoon, Hughie Lee Smith.

In The Patio by Georgia O’Keefe.

Anyway.  This was all a nice break from Comic-Con.

At Comic-Con I heard that the X-Men are coming back.

* cheers to Jeff K. for this last punchline.