Monday, October 02, 2023

Truest statement of the week

The site Formerly Known as Twitter is running ads for the NFL on white nationalist accounts, including one featuring a video interview in which a guest calls for Taylor Swift and Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce to be hanged for endorsing the COVID-19 vaccine. The league wants answers. No doubt Musk will confer with his newest free speech consultant, Chaya Raichik, who runs Libs of TikTok, an account with a history of targeting hospitals and others, including summer camps, who help gender non-conforming kids.

-- Jeffrey St. Clair, "Roaming Charges: Our Man in Jersey" (COUNTERPUNCH).



A note to our readers

Hey --

Monday night.

Let's thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen, Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

And what did we come up with?


Another truest for Jeffrey St. Clair.

C.I. repost of a real tragedy.

Ava and C.I. wrote this -- and wrote it today.

We note Betty, Rebecca and Isaiah weighing in on Dianne Feinstein over the years.

Ava and C.I. speak with Marcia about the book she read.

The Green Party has another person running for the party's presidential nomination.

Paul Rudnick nailed it.




A list of books reviewed so far this year in the community.

A list of hate merchants.

A list of people who have passed away this year (with links to obits).

What we listened to while writing.

 Mike and the gang wrote this and we thank them for it.




-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.





The Tragic Wedding (Iraq)

For our Iraq coverage this week, we're reposting C.I.'s Sunday entry:



The tragic wedding celebration that ended with the hall engulfed in fire

This week saw a fire at an Iraqi wedding that left at least 100 people dead  (by Friday, the death toll had risen to 102 and by Friday night, NYT's Alissa J. Rubin notes, it had climbed to 119) with at least 150 more injured.  Though the wedding couple was initially reported dead on Wednesday, they actually survived.  And now Revan, and Haneen are plagued with survivor's guilt.  Friday, they attended funerals for Haneen's brother and her mother.  (Some reports spell the bride's name Hannen.)  In addition, her father was injured and remains hospitalized (critical condition).  The groom's home has been attacked and his car windows broken -- some have blamed him and Haneen for the fire.

Haneen and Revan were initially feared dead following the blaze, which claimed the lives of 114 others.

Revan's father later confirmed the couple had survived the blaze, which tore through the large hall in the Christian town, which had survived ISIS occupation.

"It's true that we're sitting here in front of you alive. But inside we are dead. We are numb. We are dead inside," Revan told Sky News.

The horror inferno claimed the lives of 15 members of Revan's family, with the groom adding that his bride "can't speak" following the loss of 10 of her own relatives.

Hunar Rasheed (RUDAW) notes another family haunted by the fire:

The harrowing and tragic deaths of 22 people from one single family during the heartbreaking wedding inferno in Nineveh province's Hamdaniya town over the weekend has echoed across the country.

"This is my sister. This is my father. This is my mother. This is another sister of mine. This is my wife. She is missing," Fuad Silewa, a member of the family that lost 22 members in total, sighed while sobbing and holding their photographs. "I am grateful for God [on all occasions]."

He went on to introduce more family members who died of suffocation during the tragic inferno: "This is my brother's wife. Yesterday, I received [from health authorities] their dead and burned bodies. They have all died of suffocation. This sister had come back from abroad to change her atmosphere by visiting us. Thank you, God."

Over a hundred people lost their lives when a deadly fire engulfed a wedding hall in Hamdaniya after the roof’s flammable plastic ceiling caught fire when fireworks were ignited from the floor.

Naif Ramadhan (RUDAW) notes the dead includes a one-year-and-eight-month old girl named Marya Asaad whose father tried to carry her to safety but she died in his arms.  Her father states, "My daughter loved me more than anyone. She used to be very eager to see me when I returned from work. She would wait for me near the gate and give me my clothes although she was young."  Ayub Nasri (RUDAW) notes that 12-year-old Nazdin Khazwan also perished in the fire.  Nazdin was playing drums for the wedding.  After the roof caught fire and crashed in, Nazdin was not be found (there are over 30 corpses that have yet to be identified).  His father, Khazwan Sulaiman, states, "He told me that a fire had broken out. I looked at the stage and saw him burning. I asked him to leave [the hall]. He followed me to the exit. He told me ‘Come Daddy’ and I saw him running towards the kitchen door.  I saw him until he reached the kitchen door. Sulaiman was behind me and asked where Nazdin was. I told him that Nazdin had exited because he was in front of me and I saw him. We went out but did not find him."  Karwan Faidhi Dri (RUDAW) notes that an engaged couple, Steven and Maryam, had planned to marry next week at the same hall but cannot because Maryam perished in the fire.                                                                            

It should have been a beautiful event and a wonderful memory.  The building was fairly new (built in 2016).  Abeer Khan (AL ARABYIYA) explains that the hall lacked "sufficient emergency exits," as well as a sprinkler system and ample fire extinguishers.  Alissa J. Rubin (NEW YORK TIMES) reports on the study ordered by Iraq's prime minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani:

The draft report from the investigation, ordered by Mr. Sudani, found that in addition to lacking emergency exits and sprinklers, the building had been constructed illegally on agricultural land — a common practice in Iraq as those who no longer farm seek to make money off their fallow acreage.

The report also said the building was made of a substance described by investigators as Ecobond board, which itself is not illegal, but its use must be approved on a case-by-case basis because certain types are highly flammable. It is known locally as sandwich board because it consists of two layers of metal with a synthetic filling between them.

The report found negligence by the owner of the hall — who was detained by the authorities on Wednesday — and his two partners; by the local province’s tourist commission because it had fined the owner for failing to meet fire safety requirements, but did not close the hall; by the mayor of Qaraqosh because he knew about the failings, but, the report said, did not do anything about them; and by other administrative units aware that the hall was illegally built but failed to take any action.

The Civil Defense Force responsible for the area, however, was not named in the initial report. Although the force is responsible for building safety and fire fighting, many residents were critical of its response, saying the authorities were slow to arrive at the scene and ill prepared.

For many people in the area, the fire and the report were painful reminders of the combination of corruption, weak governance and lack of accountability in Iraq.

Rubin did a feature article (a profile) of the prime minister ahead of his visit to New York last week.  That may have been why she was given an advance look at the report which is supposed to be issued in a few more hours (it's Sunday in Iraq already). 



Media: The week of WTF?

Last week, across the country, the phrase "WTF" had to be on everyone's lips because it was just one WTF moment after another.

For example, films.  Bruce Haring (DEADLINE) reported


The power of Taylor Swift compels you. And it’s also worked its ways on producer Jason Blum, who cast out his The Exorcist: Believer to an earlier October release date to avoid a clash with Swift's concert film.

Blum explained his reasoning in an interview with EW.

"The one thing that scares me to death is Taylor Swift!" Blum said.

"We had this amazing Friday the 13th in October, which is the single best day to release a scary movie," said Blum. no doubt shaking his head. He originally paid homage by writing the tag #Exorswift” on Twitter when the Eras announcement came out.


Later that same day, things changed. "Look what you made me do," Blum wrote, quoting a Swift song. "The Exorcist: Believer moves to 10/6/23 #TaylorWins."

"Obviously, we moved off that [date] and we bowed our head to Taylor Swift," Blum said. "It was too risky to see if 'Exorswift' was going to take or not. People will still have the Exorswift opportunity, so maybe we got to have our cake and eat it, too."


Say it with us, "WTF"?

The film industry supposedly wants to recover.  Yet you'd never know it from the timid and reduced schedules.  Each week, they offer one 'sure thing' that sometimes hits and sometimes crashes and burns.  They repeatedly blink when they should press on.

If a Friday the 13th belongs to any film, it's a horror film.  And if a direct sequel to the all time horror champ THE EXORCIST -- with Ellen Burstyn back in her Academy Award nominated role of Chris MacNeil -- can't stand up to a concert film, is this new EXORCIST just not that good?

That's the message sent.

Taylor Swift is a very popular singer and songwriter.  She does well with live concerts (she's not selling out venues, however, which is why this tour has seen so many upgrades on the night of the concert -- people who bought cheaper seats being moved closer to the stage to fill the empty, higher priced seats that did not sell).  A few years back, NETFLIX had a popular concert special from Taylor.  Popular.  Not break records for streaming, merely popular. 

And that's what concert films are in North America, merely popular -- if they're lucky.

Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber had two 'hit' concert films -- 2011 and 2009.  They both grossed, in North America, approximately $31.1 million.  

That's a 'hit' concert film.

And that's what caused UNIVERSAL PICTURES to blink?  

Two of the biggest films of the summer, BARBIE and OPPENHEIMER, premiered the same weekend.  

But THE EXORCIST: BELIEVER can't stand up to Taylor Smith?

It's very sad and a demonstration that, yet again, the problem isn't with the ticket buyers, it's with the studios themselves.

The horror film has a built-in audience with a Friday the 13th debut.  UNIVERSAL should have to answer to stock holders if this latest film under-performs.  Part of the answering should include responding to this question: Do you know how to a run a damn business.

Timid is not going to let the film industry bounce back.
You can't have WTF without the transphobic, ugly faced trash that is Riley Gaines.  What caused the sewer dweller to come to the surface?
Oak Park High School in Kansas City, Missouri named Tristan Young their homecoming queen.  A trans-female, she competed against four female students and the high school body voted her homecoming queen.  It should have been a great moment for her, a special moment for her.

 But Riley had to claw her way in and start trashing Tristan.

No one called that out by the way.  Tristan is a high school senior.  Bully Gaines is an adult.  A bitter, ugly adult who lies and lies again.  

Marcia covered this repeatedly so let's pull from her blogging:

Why?  Because she's a loser. Last year, in March, she competed against Lia Thomas.  Lia is a transgender athlete and Riley knew that before the match.  She didn't have any problems with it.  Until she tied for fifth place with Lia.  Suddendly, as a loser, Riley released her inner-Karen on the world.

Someone needs to tell her, Saltine, you lost.  But no one has the guts and she's just an overgrown cry baby.

She started out insisting that she had no ill will for Lia and that the issue was the trophy:

Gaines told ‘The Daily Wire’ in March 2022, that an NCAA representative told her that they only had one fifth-placed trophy and she would have to pose with a sixth-place trophy while a fifth-placed version would be mailed out at a later date.

Gaines said that she argued with the official about why Thomas would get the trophy instead of her. Even though the two swimmers tied, Thomas is listed ahead of Gaines on the official results page, which indicates that Thomas touched ahead of Gaines by less than one-hundredth of a second, according to 'Swimming World Magazine.' 

“It was a bit disheartening,” Gaines said, according to The Daily Wire. “It really was. I left the pool with no trophy. Not a big deal, but it was the goal that I had set all year.”

As Peter mockingly says in the "Roasted Guy" episode of Family Guy, "Oh no, it's not a perfect day."

And Riley insisted no hard feelings:

“I am in full support of her and full support of her transition and her swimming career and everything like that because there’s no doubt that she works hard too, but she’s just abiding by the rules that the NCAA put in place, and that’s the issue,” she told ‘The Daily Wire’ in March 2022.

But as she continued the right-wing circuit, Riley changed her tune.

In April, Gaines spoke to Tucker Carlson on Fox News to discuss the issue further and stated that she thought Thomas had an has an ‘unfair biological advantage’ in the sport due to being born a male.

Oh, poor little Karen, it's almost like you think you tied for first place.  But you didn't, did you?  No, you tied for fifth place.  Which means Lia's not the only woman that beat you.  Lia beat you by a-hundredth of a second but she's only one of the women who beat you, Riley.  Taylor Ruck came in first place.  Did she have an "unfair biological advantage" as well?  Isabel Ivey?  Kelly Pash?

Lia is also much prettier than Riley.

But then, Riley looks like she's on steroids.  That would explain her surprisingly flat chest.   Is she afraid that people in the stands that day thought she herself was the transgender athlete?

Regardless, we don't have time for her living out her fears.  She's a loser.  An ugly loser and a sore loser. 

And now the hate merchant is attacking Tristan Young.  This has nothing to do with athletics.  There was no physical competition.  But it's not about that.  It's about Riley's hate.  She's lied repeatedly and changed her stories over and over.  And we might have thought the sewer rat couldn't claw her way to any lower but now she's attacking a high school student.

Do you get how outrageous that is and what a bully Riley Gaines is?

Saturday, Molly Sprayregen (LGBTQ NATION) reported:


Trans high school student Tristan Young has received an onslaught right-wing backlash after her peers at Kansas’s Oak Park High School voted to crown her homecoming queen.

But Young won’t let the bigotry bring her down. She told The Kansas City Star that she’s not the kind of person to let people shut her down.

“I like to stay strong. I don’t really buckle unless something is really wrong. Right now, what’s happening is people are trying to turn a joyous thing into something that I should regret. But it’s going to stay a joyous thing.”

“Jesus says ‘Love thy neighbor.’ Love everyone as they are,” she added. “This is who I am… I’m proud of who I am. You can tear me down all you want. I’m not going to give back the crown.”

For Young, the good outweighs the bad, and so it’s not worth harping on the haters.

Good for her and shame on every adult that has followed this story and has refused to call out the bully that is Riley Gaines.  WTF indeed.

Another WTF moment came with Cenk Uygur.  Who?  If you asked that, bless you, stay innocent, stop reading immediately.

Those of you familiar with the sewer rat should stay with us for the latest.

Cenk bills himself as a "young Turk" but he's not young anymore or even young-ish.  He's 53 years-old and his best years in media are long behind him.  Did we say that last month or the month before?  No.  We had no reason to comment on him.  But now he wants to be president.

You read that right.  He's presenting a run as a big sacrifice on his part and as the huge solid to America to which we reply, "Don't do us any favors."

This wouldn't be the YOUTUBER's first run for office. 

In 2019, he announced his runs for Congress.  WIKIPEDIA explains:

In mid-November 2019, Uygur filed to run for Congress in California's 25th district, a seat recently vacated by the resignation of Katie Hill, an office also being pursued by Democratic Assemblywoman Christy Smith and former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos.[76][77][78] Uygur ran in two primary elections on March 3: the special election primary to fill the vacant seat through January 2021 and the Democratic primary for the next full term (decided in the 2020 November election). Uygur raised over $100,000 in small donations in the first three hours since announcing his candidacy.[79] That figure rose to $796,000 in the remainder of the quarter.[80]

Uygur has positioned himself as left-wing, supporting single-payer healthcare, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and overturning Citizens United v. FEC. In the wake of the 2019 Saugus High School shooting, he supported strict gun control laws.[81] He criticized his Democratic opponent, Christy Smith, for her opposition to Medicare for All.[82][83] Uygur's primary issue was to get money out of politics.[84] He also opposes war with Iran and supports passing the Green New Deal.[85][86][87] Uygur's candidacy was initially endorsed by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders who had to retract his support after sexual comments Uygur had made in recent years about women and provocative statements about fundamentalist Muslims and Jews from eight years prior were discovered.[20][88]

Uygur came in fourth place out of 12 candidates with a 6.6% share of the vote. As no candidate earned 50 percent of the vote or more, the top two vote-earners, California Assembly member Christy Smith and navy officer Mike Garcia, advanced to the runoff.[89]


Key points above?  Bernie had to withdraw his endorsement.  Cenk's past is problematic.  He is not a candidate who raises a great deal of funds.  He is not a candidate who brings in a lot of votes.

But he's ready to step into the fray in 2023?  This after the anti-trans propaganda distributed by THE YOUNG TURKS repeatedly in the last months.  In fact, the trans hate has been so bad that Benny Carolla had to resign in July of this year and she has been very clear about the transphobia that has gripped THE YOUNG TURKS.

Cenk's doing us a favor?


And you can't talk WTF moments and leave out RFK Junior.  Robert Junior is a big whiner.  He wants the Democratic Party's presidential nomination but Democratic voters don't want him.  Nor should they as he pursues one right-winger after another and distances himself from the center -- let alone the left.  His anti-vax for COVID stance doesn't really appeal to anyone outside MAGA.  His statements, since becoming a candidate, that big business can regulate climate change destroy whatever legal achievements he had earlier in his life.  His fawning over Donald Trump is just disgusting.  His own family is ashamed of him and repeatedly distances itself from him.  That's his siblings, that's the grandchild of JFK, that's the whole family.

Recently, Junior thought he had stumbled on a winning campaign tactic: Tax taxpayers even further.

If you missed it, the millionaire had a gun nut (he attracts them by his refusal to advocate for gun control) at one of his rallies.  The gun nut supports Junior and was not there to threaten Junior.  But Junior tried to parlay it into proof that he needed protection.   The natural response to that request from a millionaire is for taxpayers to say, "Sure, hire whomever you wish to pay."  But it wasn't about security.  It was about trying to look presidential.  Barack Obama did that in 2007 -- but he had actual threats against him.  Junior didn't and Junior wanted the US taxpayers to spend money providing him with Secret Service agents for a run for office that people weren't calling for.

Things got worse last week.  Junior is expected, anytime this week, to announce that he will be running for president as an independent.

You read that right.  The man who declared at the start of his campaign that he would not run for the presidency unless it was on the Democratic Party ticket is now supposed to announce an independent run for the presidency (some say a third party run).  

Junior's nothing but a disgrace and a disappointment.  We feel for his wife Cheryl but he's made the bed she's going to have to sleep in.

Most of all, we feel for the country as so many people who are clearly not qualified for the presidency step forward to make vanity runs.  It's as though, in 2016, Donald Trump proved that anyone -- anyone -- truly could end up president and a thousand lunatics were encouraged.




DiFi remembered

Friday, 90-year-old Dianne Feinstein passed away -- after many, many years of damage.


Isaiah frequently noted her in his THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS comics.  Here's "Avenatti." 


"Dianne Explains."


dianne explains

"Destroying The Privacy Wall."

Destroying the Privacy Wall

"Feinstein questions at the NSA hearings."

"Alito does his business on the Senate Dems."

"Pride of the Boomers, Pride of the Senate"


"DiFi Ethics."


This is Rebecca's 'alito hearings: like really bad sex' which posted January 12, 2006: 


it started with a whimper, then it picked up a little, then it whimpered to an end.

no climax. if the alito hearings had been a lover, you'd have been smart to kick it out of bed.

this is the oppostion party? this is how they do the brave stands?

i'm not talking about a filbuster. 1 of the nelsons brothers (that's how i see the 2 senators named nelson, they're like the really bad pop band of the 80s) has already given indications that he's willing to vote for alito.

so i'm not talking about that. i'm talking about asking tough questions and then asking follow ups. too often i felt like i was watching toy poodles who'd been housebroken long ago.

they'd bark a little at you while you were sitting on the couch but if you stood, they'd whimper and run out of the room.

that's not an opposition party.

it's sad that the democrats think that makes 1.

when alito kept fudging and refusing to answer, they should have treated him like a hostile witness. by the last day, every 1 of them should have used their time to hit on the same issues.
over and over.

diane feinstein, to name 1 of the worst offenders, could shoot scattershot (although she acted as though she were tossing out lillies throughout the hearings) in the other days but on the final day, she didn't need to be bringing up new issues. this is where you make the case to the people.
not where you suddenly introduce a new topic.

and for some 1 who interrupted ted kennedy repeatedly the day prior as he asked about caps, wasn't it strange that she didn't have a question on that? when kennedy was speaking yesterday, she couldn't stop interrupting. today? she's moved on.

miss diane gets my vote for most useless and i'm not fan of kohl. but miss diane was supposed to be fighting for women and instead we got a timid school marm trying to get the rowdy class to like her.

it's not just her. that's a point c.i. made tonight in the roundtable. c.i. pointed out that arlen specter couldn't stop treating her like she was a 'special' and not a real senator. he referred to her 'dramatic entrance.' there was another specific example c.i. brought up but i'm forgetting it now. but the point is, she is treated that way by others on the committee.

as an adult, she should ask them to cut it out. instead she seems tickled by the patronizing attitude.

i'm looking for the non-action figure miss diane. she comes non-fully poseable. she's in a seated postion. you can extend her legs or bend them depending upon whether you want her to sit in a chair or to sit on the floor. she wears a lovely dress with several layers. she comes with white gloves and the cutest little purse that matches her hat, her belt and her shoes. the non-action figure has a silly grin pasted on its face and is called 'miss diane, girl senator.'

the tea set is purchased separately.

And, finally, this is  Betty's "DiFi dies:" 


Mandatory retirement age for Congress immediately.  If you missed the news, useless, elderly Dianne Feinstein died:

California Senator Dianne Feinstein has died, sources tell Fox News. She was 90. 

The longtime senator had suffered from extensive health issues for more than a year, leading many to wonder about her fitness for office. Her cause of death was unclear as of Friday morning. 

Feinstein was present in the Senate on Wednesday and cast a vote at 11:45 a.m. ET, according to the congressional record

She was 90 years old and her ass should have been gone long ago.  Blame liars like that John McCain supporter Amy Suskind who butted into California elections from the east coast when we were trying to get Dianne out.  Amy, an idiot, lied that if we didn't support Dianne her Democratic challenger would go up against a Republican and, being new, might lose.


Know the state laws before you weigh in on an election -- especially if it's not your state.

She wasted everyone's time. 

She was incompetent.

And she voted for the Iraq War, let's not forget.

She used her life to kill over a million Iraqis.

That's how she should be remembered.

When Ted Kennedy was making a point at the Senate confirmation hearing on Samuel Alito, Dianne was interrupting and defocusing him.

That's how she should be remembered.

When Brett Kavanaugh was nominated for the Court, Dianne was part of group that looked shady and helped, in the end, get Kavanaugh confirmed because they looked to be pulling tricks behind the scenes.  She was incompetent and she needs to have part of the blame for DODD and for ROE being overturned.

And elderly idiot who should have left the Senate two terms ago.

Let's not hear how great she was because she was lousy and her ineptitude did real damage to our country.

Enjoy, hell, Dianne, enjoy hell.

Books (Marcia, Ava and C.I.)



As we did in 2021, we're attempting to again increase book coverage in the community. After a review posts, we try to do a discussion with the reviewer.  This go round, we're talking to Marcia about her book review "Stefan Kanfer's Ball of Fire: The Tumultuous Life and Comic Art of Lucille Ball."  So you're a fan of Lucille Ball.  Did the book present any problems for you with that?

Marcia: Not really.  By today's standards, Lucille Ball wasn't the best mother. By today's standards.  Back in the 50s, she saw the kids were fed and clothed and had shelter.  Desi had rages around the children after the divorce.  Lucy wasn't known for that at least but she had a TV show, she ran DESILU, there wasn't a lot of time.  Working with her kids on HERE'S LUCY was probably more of a bonding moment than many in their early childhood.  But, no, there was nothing that made me say, "Bad, Lucy!"  Some people didn't like the way she handled her power on the set of her sitcoms.  Too bad.  Was she physically abusing people?  No.  Was she likely to demand what she wanted?  Yes.  Don't like it, don't work with her.  Red Skeleton was a friend.  He worked with her on THE LUCY AND DESI COMEDY HOUR and never again on one of her TV shows.  I've heard Milton Berle wanted things his way on his show as well.  She had an image as Lucy on TV and she didn't match that image as the boss?  Too bad, she's the boss.  I think some of the criticism would never have been made if she hadn't been a woman.

You noted that the book made clear a number of lies in various projects about Lucy.

Marcia: Amy Poehler made a documentary about Lucy that was nothing but lies.  Desi cheated on her throughout the marriage.  He humiliated her and he destroyed her.  At her lowest after the divorce -- when she was struggling in a hit play on Broadway -- she did consider getting back with him but then a couple came backstage after a performance.  Years ago, in Hawaii, Desi had been in the ocean and lost his necklace -- a St. Christopher -- and he'd put his wedding ring on the chain to keep it safe so he lost that too.  The couple had found it and knew who it belonged to due to the inscription on the ring from Lucy to Desi.  She thanked them for it but, holding it later, she realized the marriage was over.  She went on to marry Gary Morton who made her happy.  It didn't appear to have the passion of her first marriage but Lucy didn't want the lows again and didn't want a roller coaster again.  If there's a love story to tell, I'd argue it would be Lucy and Gary.  Then there's that awful Aaron Sorkin film.  He really did a number on the truth and on Lucille Ball.  

Do you think most fans of Lucy will enjoy the book?

Marcia: I do.  She had to endure a lot throughout her life -- starting long before she met Desi.  She was a survivor and she loved her family.  That's her children, her mother, her cousins, her uncle, you name it.  She had to endure a lot and it shaped the way she saw life.  Success was scary for her because she felt a shoe was always about to drop -- based on the way her life had always gone.  She started out as a chorus girl and extra at RKO in the 30s.  She went on to become the biggest actress on TV and to own RKO.  That's an inspiring story.  

You note that your favorite Lucy sitcom is HERE'S LUCY.

Marcia: Right.  When it started in syndication in the 80s, Stan and I would watch it with our grandfather.  I loved I LOVE LUCY and can watch it and enjoy it but HERE'S LUCY was always my favorite.  I loved the opening with the little Lucy.  I loved the chemistry with Lucie and Desi Jr.  And Lucie Arnaz was and is a hugely under-rated comedian.  Desi Jr. was nice and didn't embarrass himself but Lucie was a solid comedian.  I mean, she had real talent.  Not copying her mother or her father, she was an original and I agree with my cousin who's written before about how great Lucie is on the program as Kim.  She's up there in Vivian Vance territory, she's that good.




Previous book discussions this year.


"Books (Isaiah, Ava and C.I.),"  "Books (Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Trina, Isaiah, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Marcia, Rebecca, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Ann, Mike, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Stan, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Mike, Ava and C.I.),"  "Books (Ann, Elaine, Kat, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Isaiah, Stan, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Trina, Kat, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Marcia, Ann and C.I.)," "Books (Ruth, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Isaiah, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Mike, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Kat, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Marcia, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Trina, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Rebecca, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Isaiah, Kat, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Stan, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Kat, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Marcia, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Ann, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Trina, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Marcia, Ava and C.I.)" and "Books (Ava and C.I.)."




Emanuel Pastreich is running for the Green Party's presidential nomination

Green Party member Ann insisted that we highlight C.I.'s coverage of Emanuel Pastreich who is running for the Green Party's presidential nomination -- from C.I.'s  "Iraq snapshot:"

As Marcia noted last night, a new candidate has declared that they are running for the Green Party's presidential nomination.  Already Randy Tolar (Green Party icon) and Cornel West (political gadfly who most recently had the presidential nomination of The People's Party) were vying for the nomination and now 58-year-old Emanuel Pastreich has entered the race.  Let's do some background since no one else will.  Emanuel got his BA at Yale and his masters at the University of Tokyo.  Of the Nashville, TN born Emanuel, WIKIPEDIA notes:

Emanuel Pastreich (born October 16, 1964) is an international relations expert who serves as the president of the Asia Institute, a think tank with offices in Washington DC, Tokyo, Seoul and Hanoi. He is also a senior fellow at the Global Peace Foundation where he strives to solve geopolitical tensions in Northeast Asia. Pastreich was briefly an independent candidate for president of the United States 2020.[1] In September 2023, Pastreich officially became a candidate for the Green Party’s presidential nomination in 2024.[2][3] Trained as a scholar of Asian studies, Pastreich writes on both East Asian classical literature[4][5][6][7] and current issues in international relations and technology in multiple languages.[8][9][10][11]

Fluent in four languages (English, Chinese, Japanese and Korean), he's written over 20 books.  He has two children and he lost his wife in 2022 (after 25 years of marriage).  His mother is painter Marie Louise Rouff  who has over 20 individual exhibits and had her works included in at least 20 group exhibits.  In 2018, Hermine Hull (MARTHA'S VINEYARD TIMES) covered an exhibit and noted:

“High Square” is the first painting on the left as you enter the program room. A glowing not-quite-square floats in the upper third of the painting, surrounded by hints of other lightnesses that could be parts of other squares. Or not. By glazing with thin washes of paint mixed with lots of medium, the artist has produced a surface of luminosity, with shadows of lightness and darkness on an overall ochre face. There is a sense of redness underneath, and charcoal drawing that begins to describe something, then disappears or fades off. A change of color or value appears to heighten the sense of descriptive meaning of those charcoal lines.

Dad?  In 2016, Peter Pastreich became the interem director of the American Conservatory Theater and AMERICAN THEATRE noted:

Pastreich comes from a background in managing symphony orchestras. He served as executive director of the San Francisco Symphony for 21 years, during which time the symphony more than sextupled its budget. Prior to his time with the San Francisco Symphony, Pastreich served as executive director of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra for 12 years. He has done management consulting in Europe, and from 2009 to 2012, he served as executive director of the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra.

He has two sisters -- Anna Schlagel (Director of Annual Giving & Events at 10,000 Degrees) and Milena Pastreich (who is a cinematographer and a director (most recent direction was of the film PIGEON KINGS) ) -- and one brother.  Brother Michael has also had a career in the arts.  Sarah L Kaufman (WASHINGTON POST) reported at the end of July, 2020:

The Washington Ballet announced Thursday that Executive Director Michael Pastreich is resigning Friday, after 14 months on the job. His departure follows that of two previous executive directors who have left since ballerina Julie Kent became artistic director in 2016.

[. . .]

In an email to The Washington Post, Pastreich wrote that he, Kent and board chairwoman Jean-Marie Fernandez have been preparing for the announcement for months.

“I was in the midst of purchasing a business before coming to TWB,” Pastreich wrote. “With all that is happening in the world right now, this seems like a very opportune moment to return to the business buying path.” He indicated that he does not yet have a specific business target and that a decision on that will “take months to do well.”

[. . .]

Greenberg wrote in an email that Pastreich’s brief tenure is ending at “a natural pivot point. There will be huge shifts in leadership and greatly reduced staffing in all organizations, especially those in the arts community, during the global health crisis. Michael’s decision to leave was his own, but supported by all.”

Adam Gasner, a criminal law attorney in San Francisco, is Emanuel's step-brother.  His step-mother is Jamie Garrard Whittington, the former Director of Development for the Exploratorium in San Francisco. 




Tweet of the week


Video discussion of the week Challenging Norman Finkelstein


Music video of the week


From Elaine's "MTG serves more stupid (Boo!), Sam Smith serves up a great concert (Yea!):


Sam opens with "Stay With Me" and the song's changed it up a little, Sam keeps finding new life in the song.  It's one of my favorites.  

Then comes "How Do You Sleep" which Sam notes is one of a favorite songs and that this is the best arrangement of it yet.  I would agree with the latter.  It sounds renewed.  I like the song but in a world were we have "Stay With Me," "Burning," "Lay Me Down," "Unholy," "Too Good At Goodbyes," "I'm Not Here To Make Friends," "Money On My Mind," "Like I Can," "Pray," "Lose You," "Latch," "Perfect," "Diamonds," "Dancing With A Stranger," "I'm Not The Only One," "To Die For," "I'm Ready" . . .  I could go on.  In fact, every track on GLORIA (the latest album) is one of my favorite.  So I like "How Do You Sleep," but, no, it probably doesn't even make my top forty favorite songs by Sam Smith.

Sam's third song is "Lay Me Down" and it's amazing -- turned into a duet with LaDonna Harley-Peters and it's really something.

Sam notes the pandemic and   itching to get back to live performances.  But there's not a lot of talk. Everyone performing in the concert is wonderful but I really love the work of the woman playing piano -- Ruth O'Mahony Brady.

His fourth and final song is "Unholy."  It's different to hear it as a solo and to hear it performed as an acoustic song (along with the piano, there's a man on acoustic guitar, Ben Totten).











"Mafia Wives (Susan Williams' WHITE MALICE)" -- C.I. reviews this book.


 "The Sewing Circle" -- Marcia reads Axel Madsen's THE SEWING CIRCLE.


 "Ellen Sander's The Lifestyle That Classic Rock Unleashed" -- Trina reviews this book.

"Phyllis Diller 1917 – 2012: News, Quotes, Interview" -- Ann reviews this book.

"Call Her Heroic (Ava and C.I.)" -- Ava and C.I. review this book.

"Boze Hadleigh's Hollywood Gays" -- Marcia reviews this book.


"Robert Sellers wrote a book of garbage" -- Kat reviews HOLLYWOOD HELLRAISERS.   



"SCREAM VI and THE BOYS" -- Stan reviews Ron and Clint Howard's THE BOYS.



"the world according to joan" -- Rebecca reviews this book.


 "Elton John and Whitney Houston" -- Kat reviews Elton John's autobiography and a biography on Whitney Houston.

"DON RICKLES: THE MERCHANT OF VENOM" -- Isaiah reviews this book.




 "Vincent Price and Universal" -- Marcia reviews John L. Flynn's 75 YEARS OF UNIVERSAL MONSTERS and Vincent Price's I LIKE WHAT I KNOW: A VISUAL AUTOBIOGRAPHY.







"JOAN BAEZ: THE LAST LEAF" -- Ruth reviews  this book by Elizabeth Thomas.


 "A JOYOUS TRANSFORMATION: THE UNEXPURZGATED DIARY OF ANAIS NIN, 1966 -1977" -- Ruth reviews a book by Anais Nin.


"An aging queen writes a bitter book about The Way We Were" -- Marcia reviews a bad book about THE WAY WE WERE.



"Travis Stewart's bad book supposedly on Stevie Nicks" -- Kat reviews a bad book supposedly about Stevie Nicks.


"Austin Breakfast Tacos: The Story of the Most Important Taco of the Day"-- Trina strongly recommends this cookbook.

"GET LOST" -- Isaiah looks at this comic magazine

"Lucille Ball and HERE'S LUCY" -- Stan reads up on the second half of Lucille Ball's life.

"Melody Thomas Scott's Always Young and Restless: M..." -- Ann reviews this autobiography.

"ROCK AND ROLL NIGHTMARES" -- Elaine reviews this book about crime in the music world. 

"ALL THE LEAVES ARE BROWN" -- Kat reviews this book about the Mamas & the Papas.

"SAPIENS: A BRIEF HISTORY OF HUMANKIND" -- Mike reviews a science book.




"Split Image: The Life of Anthony Perkins" -- Ann reviews a biography about Anthony Perkins.


 "Andrea Warner's BUFFY SAINTE-MARIE: THE AUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY" -- Mike wonders why he bothered to read this book?

"Worst summer read ever is by Darwin Porter and Danforth Prince" and "'the fondas: henry, jane and peter' is a very bad book" -- Marcia and Rebecca review Darwin Porter and Danforth Prince's THE FONDAS: HENRY, JANE AND PETER.


"Cookbooks and Air Fryer Cauliflower in the Kitchen" -- Trina reviews two cookbooks.


"Do not read ENDLESS HIGHWAY at AMAZON" -- Isaiah lays it out for AMAZON's KINDLE. 


 "Naomi Klein's DOPPELGANGER" -- C.I. reviews Naomi Klein's latest book.


 "Demetrius Sherman's BLACK COMIC BOOK HISTORY" -- Isaiah reviews a book about the history of comic books.

"Stefan Kanfer's Ball of Fire: The Tumultuous Life and Comic Art of Lucille Ball" -- Marcia reads up on one of her favorite entertainers. 

Hate Merchants


This is a list of people who attack the LGBTQ+ community.  They're hate merchants and should be avoided at all costs.

1) Marjorie Taylor Green

2) Ron DeSantis

3) Lauren Boebert

4) Anthony Monteiro

5) J.K. Rowling

6) Kristi Noem

7) Kim Reynolds

8) Marco Rubio

9) Rand Paul

10) Tucker Carlson

11) Greg Abbott

12) Ron Johnson

13) Todd Aiken

14) Doug Lamborn

15) Dan Burton

16) Candace Cameron

17) Kirk Cameron

18) Jonathan Turley

19) Tulsi Gabbard

20) John Stauber 

21) Kid Rock

22) Matt Taibbi 

23) Riley Gaines

24) Anya Parampil

25) Matt Walsh

26) Gregg Abbott

27) (Butt Ugly) Moms For Liberty (aka Moms For Bigotry)

28) Tiffany Justice

29) Tina Descovich

 30) Bridget Ziegler

 31) Megyn Kelly

32) Ana Kasparian

  33) Ben Burgis

 34) Jesse Singal

 35) RFK Junior

36) 'Dr' Naomi Wolf

37) Bari Weiss

38) Jesse Singal

39) Katie Herzog

40) Jamie Reed


42) Dax Shepherd





Illustration is Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY "Bigot Becky Barks."

2023 passings

These are the deaths community members found worth noting this year.


Lisa Presley -- Elaine noted her passing.

Christine McVie -- Kat covered her passing.


Adam Rich -- Marcia noted his passing.


Jeff Beck -- Kat noted his passing.


Lance Kerwin -- Rebecca noted his passing.

Barrett Strong -- Ruth noted his passing.


Lisa Loring -- Rebecca noted her passing.


Burt Bacharach -- Rebecca noted his passing.


Raquel Welch -- Elaine noted her passing.


Stella Stevens  -- Rebecca noted her passing.


Richard Belzer -- Ruth noted his passing.  


Kevin Alexander Gray -- C.I. notes his passing.


Pat Schroeder -- Kat noted her passing.


Lance Reddick -- Mike notes his passing.  


Darcelle XV -- Elaine notes his passing.


"Mark Russell" -- Ruth notes his passing 


"Elizabeth Hubbard" -- Trina notes her passing.


"Mary Quant and more Peabody nominations" -- Elaine notes a passing.


"Harry Belafonte" -- Kat notes a passing.

Gordon Lightfoot" -- Kat notes a passing.


"jacklyn zeman, rose schlossberg, john travolta and..." -- Rebecca notes the passing of Jacklyn Zeman.


"Iraq snapshot," "Tina Turner (1939 to 2023)," "The groundbreaker Tina Turner," "Tina Turner," "Lauren Boebert gets burned by AOC," "MAX and NETFLIX, Eva Longoria," "Tina Turner, Eric Swalwell, John Roberts," "They've ruined their reputation," "Hate merchant Tulsi Gabbard," "tina turner passed but the hideous gop lingers," "Tina " and "The wrong people are dying" -- The community notes the passing of Tina Turner.


 "Gay actor George Maharis has died" -- Stan notes the passing. 

"10 great songs that Cynthia Weil co-wrote" and "Cynthia Weil" -- Marcia and Kat note Cynthia Weil's passing.

"Hate merchant Pat Robertson has passed away" -- Kat notes the end of Pat Robertson.

"Glenda Jackson" -- Ruth notes the actress's passing.



"Iraq snapshot" -- C.I. notes the passing of Daniel Ellsberg.


"Andrea Evans" -- Kat notes the passing of a soap opera icon. 


"Tony Bennett" -- Kat notes the passing of a great singer.


"Paul Reubens," "Pee-Wee's Big Holiday" and "One more time on Pee-Wee Herman" -- Betty and Marcia note the passing of Paul Reubens.

"Robbie Robertson" -- Kat covers the passing.

 "David Jacobs" -- Kat notes the passing of a TV creator. 


"Arleen Sorkin" -- Marcia notes the passing of a voice, sitcom and daytime TV actress.


"billy miller has passed away" -- Rebecca notes a passing. 

"DiFi dies" -- Betty notes the passing of an elderly fool.

"David McCallum led a long life" -- Stan notes the passing of an actor who starred in two huge TV shows.

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