The Wires

Public Service Announcement

Safety/Irony Alert. CNBC (December 25): Your new home security system may be an open invitation to hackers to make you, and perhaps many others, unsafe.” -- CW

Vanity Fair: "... Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times chief book reviewer and Pulitzer Prize winner, who has been, by a wide margin, the most powerful book critic in the English-speaking world, is stepping down.... Kakutani said that she could neither confirm nor comment. But sources familiar with her decision, which comes a year after the Times restructured its books coverage, told me that last year’s election had triggered a desire to branch out and write more essays about culture and politics in Trump’s America." -- CW 

... Washington Post: "... investigators believe they have discovered the 'smoking gun' that would support a decades-old theory that [Amelia] Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, were captured by the Japanese: a newly unearthed photograph from the National Archives that purportedly shows Earhart and Noonan — and their plane — on an atoll in the Marshall Islands.... Gary Tarpinian,  executive producer of the History documentary, told the Today show that they believe the Koshu, the Japanese merchant ship in the photo, took Earhart to Saipan, where she died in Japanese custody." -- CW 

Summer Beach Reading. James Hohmann of the Washington Post suggests Al Franken's Giant of the Senate. Hohmann's column hits some of the highlights. CW: Let us be thankful that Donald Trump is incapable of learning the lessons Franken learned from his team. If Trump were half as bright as Franken, he would be a succesful president & very effective dictator.

Politico: "MSNBC has parted ways with anchor Greta Van Susteren after just six months on air, as her show failed to live up to the network's ratings expectations. An MSNBC executive said the decision to remove the former Fox News host was purely for business reasons, based on ratings." -- CW 

Click on the picture to see larger image.... Low Society News. AP: "... Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump were among the guests as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (mih-NOO’-shin’s) married a Scottish actress. Mnuchin exchanged vows Saturday night with Louise Linton at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington. Mrs. Trump wore a pink blush dress" CW: which, if you follow Reality Chex, you will know was enhanced by some really costly baubles that remind the bride of Grace Kelly or happy times or something.

New Yorker: "In a paper in the journal Nature, an international team of researchers announced that they have pushed back the date of the earliest human remains to three hundred thousand years ago. And the specimens in question were found not in East Africa, which has become synonymous with a sort of paleoanthropological Garden of Eden, but clear on the other side of the continent — and the Sahara — in Morocco." -- CW ...

Washington Post: "Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus took a final, bittersweet bow Sunday, staging its last three shows [in Uniondale, N.Y.,] after 146 years of entertaining American audiences with gravity-defying trapeze stunts, comically clumsy clowns and trained tigers." -- CW 

Guardian: "Pippa Middleton [sister of Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge --] has married James Matthews in what has been called the society wedding of the year, in front of royalty, family and friends." -- CW

Washington Post: "Two months before Monday’s [May 8] announcement that Sinclair Broadcast Group would pay $3.9 billion for Tribune Media and add to its dominance as the nation’s largest owner of local TV stations, a top executive at Sinclair beamed a short commentary piece to many of the company’s 173 stations.In the segment, which looks like it belongs in a newscast, Sinclair vice president for news Scott Livingston stands before a wall of video monitors and warns that 'some members of the national media are using their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control exactly what people think.' He accuses the national media of publishing 'fake news stories' — a direct echo of President Trump’s frequent complaint — and then asks viewers to visit the station’s website to share 'content concerns.' The piece was a 'must-run,' meaning news directors and station managers from Baltimore to Seattle had to find room for it.... While partisan coverage is a familiar staple of cable networks — Fox News on the right, MSNBC on the left — it remains mostly unheard of in broadcast TV, where it has generally been accepted that public airwaves should be used in the difficult-to-define public interest.” -- CW 

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December 21 -- Whatever

I'm at a loss. Help me out.

BTW, I'm looking forward to again creating my annual "Worst Christmas Songs Ever" special gift to humbuggers. If you have favorites of the genre, let me know. A link would be helpful.

Also, if you're still shopping, commenters made excellent suggestions yesterday for books for adults and children.

AND I agree with Robert Pear of the New York Times: this part of Tea Party Scrooginess has not gotten enough attention: ""More than three million people stand to lose unemployment insurance benefits in the near future because of an impasse in Congress over how to extend the aid and how to offset the cost. Jobless benefits have been overshadowed by debate on a payroll tax cut, but have become a huge sticking point in negotiations on a bill that deals with both issues. Republicans would continue aid for some of the unemployed, but would sharply reduce the maximum duration of benefits and impose strict new requirements on people seeking or receiving aid." Having to pay a little more in payroll taxes will work hardships on some families; others will hardly notice. BUT. Almost everyone on unemployment insurance needs those payments to survive. And GOP protests to the contrary, people who collect unemployment benefits are not slackers living a life of luxury on the public's dime. They are looking for work: active job-hunting is a condition of collecting the checks.

Reader Comments (7)

@Akhilleus; Thanks for the book list; everyone of them sounded great. Now I need one more wish granted or two more wishes granted, those books and the time to read them.
@Songs of the season. "Jingle Bell Rock" I don't need to hear that again. It's like "Stairway to Heaven" or "Hotel California"; once a year is plenty. On the plus side there is a CD out which I think is called "Women of Christmas" it's pretty good.
Marie points out a sermon by a Rev Jim Rigby that mentions angels singing. Wouldn't it be great if there were more Revs like Rigby around? I don't know him from Adam's off ox so I suppose somebody will inform me that the Rev is responsible for the death of Rudolph of the Red Nose Clan but I did like his quote.
Oh, I don't ever need to hear any seasonal songs sung by those fucking chipmunks, ever, ever; Do you hear what I hear?

December 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

For bad Christmas songs I don't think it's likely you'll find one stupider or more obnoxious than Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer. Insipid music, imbecilic lyrics and an inane storyline.

Did I say it was stupid?

Execrable any way you look at it.

For a good Christmas song--something a little different--we have Space Christmas by Shonen Knife, a great punk rock girl group from Japan who rode the J-pop wave in the 80s and 90s. I got to see them at CBGBs in NY in the early 90s.

Fun like you read about.

Another good non-trad Christmas song is Christmas Twist by indie rocker Syd Straw. I couldn't find a link to it but they're both on the CD A Different Kind of Christmas along with other stuff by those crazy guys from NRBQ, Bruce Cockburn, Dave Edmunds, and Shawn Colvin doing a very nice cover of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

And here's a link for that album:

Merry merry Christmas, happy, happy Christmas...

December 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

This is the only christmas song I can listen to/watch without feeling ill.

On another subject, sort of, tomorrow is the holiday Yule. So to the wicca among us I say "happy Yule."

December 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

I've been very naughty by goofing off on this website this week... but once again I couldn't resist;

The best Christmas music ever, IMO is by Gary Hoey here are several links (some are Gary himself, others are other people "covering" his songs) "Frosty", "Carol Of The Bells", "Twelve Days Of Christmas", "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas", and let's finish things off with "Linus and Lucy"...
Rock On !!!

December 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterThe Doktor

Christmas song: Tim Minchin "White Wine in the Sun". I think the lyrics pertain to the current discussions.
Albums: Bucko and Champs "Aussie Christmas" vols 1 & 2.
Merry Christmas to all.

December 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSharman Gloria

O.K.... on the slim chance that not everyone who frequents this website is into heavy metal guitar virtuosos... we actually got a really classy treat on SNL on Saturday...

December 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterThe Doktor


Great call on the Gary Hoey tunes. I saw him in clubs around Boston when I lived there. For a while it seemed like he was everywhere. A great Strat man. Chops to burn. Plus he's one of the few guitarists who owns a wah peddle and knows what to do with it.

Rockin' around the Fender Deluxe Reverb.

December 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus
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