FEBRUARY 23, 2024 AUNT TEEFUH?
However, it's a faaact thaaat almost no English words end with thaaat sound without a following consonant. Therefore, folks swallow the final vowel and make it merely uh. Moreover, they change the second syllable from an unstressed Tie to an accented TEE.
The resulting pronunciation of Antifa suggests an ill-tempered relative ... the evil Aunt Teefuh! Thus the true meaning is disguised.
Some right-wingers falsely claim that the Capital riot on January 6, 2021, was a false flag attempt to portray peaceful demonstrators as savage and destructive. More than a third of Republicans prefer to believe the FBI organized and encouraged the attack, which wasn't the work of Trump supporters but of shadowy left-wing groups. They were masquerading as Trump supporters, said Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), and in fact were members of the violent terrorist group Antifa.
Does Gaetz believe that Antifa is an actual organization, planning acts of violence to terrorize law-abiding citizens? Robert Elisberg asks whether there's an Antifa commander. Or an Antifa headquarters building. Or even a phone number. He doubts whether the MAGA folks can even explain what the name Antifa stands for. And once they're told it's short for anti-fascist, they must explain what's wrong about opposing Mussolini and Hitler and other fascist dictators.
FEBRUARY 20, 2024 FORGETFUL OLD MEN
As I celebrate my 77th birthday today, I reflect on the fact that I'm still a youngster compared to the leading Presidential candidates. One was born eight months before me, while the other will be 82 in November.
Some might suspect us of diminishing mental capabilities. A recent ABC News/Ipsos poll reports that 86% of Americans feel that Joe Biden is too old to serve another term as president. Of that 86%, more than two-thirds think Donald Trump is also too old.
How much does age matter? Bill McKibben writes that Biden's experience is more important, dating back to the Great Society era. His age ... is actually his superpower. Aging brains make more connections, perhaps because they have more history to work with.
On this website, at the end of 2023 I mentioned a mixed chorus from my high school days. From a group of very old songs that our grandparents must have known, I recalled two: Glow-Worm and Play a Simple Melody.
Now I've rediscovered an earlier story about that performance. But when I wrote it in 2011, my memory was better! Back then I knew that although a high-school teacher was leading our chorus, we weren't in high school at the time; we were merely eighth graders.
And that earlier post mentioned five additional songs in our repertoire. I remember them now, but the only one of the five I had been able to bring to mind in 2023 was The Old Lamplighter from long, long ago and that only because I'd recently photoshopped an image to turn it into an old clocksetter.
I'd completely forgotten about Roy Rogers, as he was known in the movies, singing Cole Porter from the saddle of his dancing horse Trigger.
Of course, when I wrote the 2011 post my mind had recorded only 64 years of experiences. Since then I've added another 13 years, and some of the old stuff had to be moved into the attic to make room for the new stuff.
A Washington Post article notes that memory lapses at any age are surprisingly normal and, for most people, do not indicate mental decline. Harvard professor Daniel Schacter explains, The possible consequences of retaining every detail of every experience might be a very cluttered mind and an inability to sort through relevant and irrelevant experiences. His colleague Bradford Dickerson adds, There are a number of changes that are just part of getting older. The most obvious impacts involve processing speed. That's often manifested during speech. Word retrieval becomes more difficult with age, he says, so people stumble while talking.
I've noticed myself having that difficulty. Like sands through the hourglass, like the slowly fading ticks of the timepiece, so are the days of our lives.
FEBRUARY 18, 2024 THE GOVERNMENT IS SETTING WILDFIRES?
Patrick T. Fallon/AFP/Getty Images
You probably remember the disaster last August that virtually destroyed the historic city of Lahaina, Hawaii. It's given the crazies a new example to prove that the rulers of the darkness are plotting against them.
CNN's Laura Paddison quotes Callum Hood, head of research at the Center for Countering Digital Hate: Conspiracy theories are a chance to reclaim agency. It all becomes simplified. There's a bad guy who's lying to you. And Paddison cites some rabble-rousers from social media.
Back in the real world, the fire put a small dent in my bank account because my father once invested in a Hawaiian corporation. Compared to the victims' losses, it's actually quite insignificant. I tell the story in an article called Dividend Interrupted.
FEBRUARY 16, 2024 ARE ANIMALS SMART? THEY CAN JOKE!
It's a major scientific breakthrough! Or at least that's what Kasha Patel wants us to believe. In a Hidden Planet posting, she writes, For the first time, researchers have detailed how great apes will playfully tease. They found that four species of great apes joke around, suggesting the human cognitive tools that help us learn humor may date back at least 13 million years.
She quotes a recently published study by cognitive biologists and primatologists from UCLA, UCSD, Indiana University, and the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior. The scientists report evidence of playful teasing in orangutans, chimpanzees, bonobos and gorillas. Isabelle Laumer, the study's lead author, notes that We were the first ones that really systematically had a look at the playful teasing behaviors and studied them. Erica Cartmill, another author, adds that the capacity to joke raises questions about what animals understand about other animals' minds.
Patel speculates, Given this playful teasing is seen in the great apes, simple joking could have been present in our last common ancestor! There are still many unanswered questions, such as differences in playful teasing among different species.
I think she's jumping to a conclusion about evolution. Humor in chimps and such doesn't sound like big news to me. Rather, it seems that four biologists dreamed up a topic to investigate, using the 75 hours of zoo video that they had available. Then they applied for grant money for the study. That's how they make their living. Now those still many unanswered questions must also be investigated, and that will require more specialists and more grant money.
The Internet immediately pointed out that it's actually quite common for one animal to tease another.
FancyPantsGangstair: Call me cynical, but I'm guessing these people never observed a human and their dog interact.
Willie McTell: Most cat owners have experienced the lurk and nip, a common feline practical joke.
Wbythesea: A bird and a squirrel play like that in a tree outside my house. The bird will dive bomb the squirrel to get a reaction, then chase the squirrel around the tree, flying about an inch above it.
Veronica Monet: The dominant scientific narrative insists that other animals are very different from humans. This dogma is actually a relic of religious doctrine. Humans are NOT special, nor are they unique. We derive our capacity for humor and grief and love from our evolutionary predecessors. I'll be glad when we can finally admit just how very similar humans are to other animals and not the other way around.
Earth Igia: Animals are smarter than humans in one respect. They NEVER let the dumb ones lead them.
Meanwhile, are soccer fans dumb? Not really, it turns out. U.S. women's national team captain Lindsey Horan has apologized for saying, American soccer fans, most of them aren't smart. They don't know the game. They don't understand. Now she admits, Some of my comments were poorly expressed.
That's true. Smart means intelligent. Americans often misuse it to mean educated or informed. She's so smart, she knows how to solve a quadratic equation.
Then other Americans, hearing that they aren't smart, feel that their mental capacity has been questioned and offense is taken.
The CBS comedy Young Sheldon returns for its seventh and final season this Thursday.
Remember older Sheldon? He was, of course, a theoretical scientist on a previous show called The Big Bang Theory. A quirky tea-drinker, his most famous line has made it onto this mug.
And an echo once made it into the current Young Sheldon series.
I'm a Baby Boomer, so I didn't recognize any of the music during last night's Super Bowl halftime show. As Paul Harris blogged this morning, while I knew the names of some of the performers, I couldn't name a single song of theirs. But being a retired TV production guy, I appreciated the video, with cameras effortlessly swooping around to move from one beautifully planned shot to another. Perfect!
During the commercials, I did recognize some of the ancient music from my era. I loved hearing Neil Diamond's 1971 I Am...I Said, promoting Volkswagen, and Perry Como's 1957 Round and Round, promoting a spherical candy. I think I remember watching Perry perform the latter song on his Saturday-night Kraft Music Hall when I was a child, so I looked up the kinescope. I've colorized one frame.
Apparently the producer had felt the need to be creative. I can't let him merely stand beside a low-key drum kit and a bass. This is color television! I need bright pictures! I need movement! Give me skaters, goin' round and round in tune!
But roller skates on a hard studio floor make a lot of noise, so they had Mr. Como lip-sync to his #1 hit while being circled by everybody else, including even the cue-card guy and a fake cameraman. Only the audience was mic'ed.
With no actual singing to do, Perry apologetically rolled his eyes, playfully waved his arms, and mouthed a couple of extra words. He even got in some silly dance steps.
In cleaning out my files recently, I found a unique envelope I saved five years ago. Its from Reason magazine.
To end the confusion, let's follow the example of the website you're now reading. Let's bring back all serifs!
(Or we could stop following the example of Mr Churchill. In the UK, most abbreviations have lost their periods. Let's bring them back! Representing Artificial Intelligence as A.I. would solve the Cousin Al problem.)
FEBRUARY 6, 2024 WHEN DO WE START?
Now that remote radio broadcasts are possible, and now that an automatic vacuum cleaaner company has interior maps of people's homes, these Sixties spybots are counting down to the tipoff for their final caper.
Is it time to open the door? I call the new article 59! 58! 57! 56! 55!
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