Good morning. Hello. How are you? #477
Three weeks no nicotine. One week of a wounded leg. New York flooding. Supreme Court malevolence. Apple's ablative armor. Mythbusters auction. Ball of confusion thats what the world is today hey hey.
Good morning. Hello. How are you? Not so good over here. I mean, you know. Same as always. Doing more or less fine in my personal life, abjectly terrified about the world at large. Maybe I’m turning into Julianne Moore in Safe. Maybe it’s time to re-watch that movie. Yeah. It’s time to re-watch that movie. I only have dim memories of it and her being nutso. I bet I’ll re-watch it and find her wise.
Anyway, day 21 — three weeks — without nicotine. Day six since my horrible leg wound. The bruise now fills half of my right thigh, but I think it is finally done expanding. It’s still a sea of blood red, black and blue. It itches now, which is just lovely. My mobility isn’t so bad, but the bruise is sore, like bruises get. The whole thing just aches. I got some new arnica gel coming today — ours was soooooper old — so hopefully that will help. I am listening to a lovely reissue of Echoes by Bundy K Brown’s instrumental outfit, Directions. Been into Directions since my roommate Nick got me into Directions in Music in 1995 or so, but could never find a copy of Echoes. So, yay. Exciting.
Is everyone in New York all right? That seemed like some crazy flooding. My friend Colin sent me this Tweet video, which was two blocks from my old apt in the burg. Crazy:
I hope everyone’s okay. I hope everyone’s okay in New Orleans, too, of course. And Tahoe, and, yeah, in addition to the disclaimer we’re going to need on every piece of writing explaining, and the trigger warning, now we’re going to need one that says something like “I know I’m talking about Hubba Bubba gum here but i do hope everyone impacted by climate change is okay.” Yeah, that seems dumb now that I think about it. But. Still. Hope you’re okay.
The Supreme Court published its decision not to stay the Texas abortion law. It is, predictably, batshit. It is depressing that this is predictable. I’ve been ranting about the purjerer rapist Brett Kavanaugh for years, and Amy Covid Bash for over a year, and I can’t say I’m too surprised. I kind of thought they’d kill of Roe with a little bit more finesse, but, then, to them, this probably is finesse. They don’t have to kill it off head on. Their logic in this argument is basically: “well, my kid yelled at me ‘you’re not my dad,’ so I guess he can kill people now and I can’t do anything about it.” I guess you can pass any batshit law now, and write into the law something along the lines of “also the Supreme Court can’t overturn this because we said so and did a little witch dance” and the Supreme Court will say “yep, that makes sense, we are completely helpless.”
Except, of course, any time a Democrat does it.
It’s worth remembering, of course, that this was a comprehensive attack, the Texas law is just a part of it. Joe Manchin has ensured that we can’t fix this legislatively, even though though the solution is right in front of us. And their comprehensive attack on voting rights makes it quite likely this is the last time the Democrats will hold all three branches for another twenty years. We had our chance.
If your reproductive rights were a basketball game, we just lost because Joe Manchin thought free throws were tacky.
Anyway. Moving on.
The Theranos trial has started, and I have to say, Elizabeth Holmes is looking good. I mean, that is some good-ass hair. Look at that hair.
Who wouldn’t want to play that hair in her biopic. Wait who is playing her again? Oo Amanda Seyfried exciting. I just saw her in First Reformed and she was so good that movie was so good. My old friend and really just spectacular reporter Erin Griffiths is on the scene at the Holmes trial as they go through jury selection, live tweeting it.
And my god I don’t know if there’s anything I love more in the world than live-tweeting of courtroom proceedings. Like, you can’t have microphones or cameras but you can have these smart, up-to-speed humans in there live Tweeting the thing. It’s like the courts were frozen in time for a generation and missed some stuff. It’s like when I brought a digital camera into the Sistine Chapel in the year 2001 and they didn’t realize yet that you could take a picture with your camera without putting your face up to a viewfinder. So they had these guards running around saying “no pictures” to everyone who held up a camera, while I just kept mine in my palm and took all these awesome photos I am such a rebel look at me look at me validate me.
Apple made another concession yesterday in their iPhone app store cartel, this time thanks to an overseas lawsuit coming from Japan. This one allows people to link out of the app to go sign up for the app somewhere else. Once again this seems like good news, and it is, but it’s not the whole thing, and it is mainly window dressing. Apple’s moves these last few weeks remind me of Ablative Armor in Battlestar Galactica or Star Trek Enterprise. They are shedding things, bits and pieces are peeling off, in order to protect the main core.
Daring Fireball wrote the other day about how actually forcing change in the app store is not necessarily a good thing, and he does make a few good points: it’s very easy to cancel an Apple in-app subscription, it’s impossible to cancel the New York Times. But of course Apple could protect this even while offering alternate payment options if they liked, and he says as much. But one thing that struck me as particularly disingenuous in DF’s argument was this:
The masses are not clamoring for the app stores to be opened up. These arguments over app stores are entirely inside baseball for the technical and business classes. I’ve had non-technical friends and relatives complain to me about all sorts of things related to their iPhones over the last 10 years, but never once have any of them said to me, “Boy, I sure wish iPhone apps and games could ask me for my credit card number to make purchases, and that the overall experience of using apps was more like the anything-goes nature of using the web or my desktop computer.” Never.
I find this veeeerrrry hard to believe if you include the Kindle. The Kindle is, in my opinion, the archetypical example of all of this. Until Apple makes concessions that allows you to buy a book in the Kindle app, or at least explain to me why I can’t, and where I can buy them, all of this is window dressing. I’ve had many, many friends ask and or complain about the Kindle app, and I’d be shocked if DF didn’t as well. I suspect “it doesn’t count” because a) most people out there think this is Amazon’s fault, b) it’s not strictly about “asking for a credit card” since 99% of us already have an Amazon account, and c) technically Amazon could offer purchases in-app if they were happy to give Apple 30% of something Apple did nothing to support.
Buying Kindle books in the Kindle app is the canary in the coal mine. Until Apple makes it so this is possible, they are just shedding pieces of ablative armore. It doesn’t mean nothing, and I’m sure they feel the pain, but it’s not the core issue.
Yesterday was the Mythbusters prop auction, benefitting the Grant Imahara STEAM Foundation. To recap, Mythbusters is one of Emma’s favorite shows, I always kind of enjoyed it but haven’t watched a lot of them, so we are (re-)watching all fourteen seasons of it, because Mythbusters was one of the longest-running non-talk shows in TV history. Crazy. One of the hosts, Grant Imahara, passed away last year out of the blue of an anyeurism. Grant was a wildly talented robotocist even without Mythbusters, being an R2D2 builder and operator at ILM, where he also worked on Jurassic Park, Matrix and Terminator films. He also constructed the legendary Deadblow robot for Battlebots.
When Grant passed, his mother and friends set up a foundation to fund STEAM education, providing scholarships, internships, and also supporting the high school robotics team that Grant helped when he was alive.
At the same time, for the last ten years, roaming around the country has been an educational museum exhibit around Mythbusters. That exhibit has come to an end, and the cast and crew decided to auction off the props in the exhibit and give the proceeds to the Grant Imahara STEAM Foundation. It was so nice of them. They raised, I would say, somewhere around $500,000 yesterday, if my rough math is correct.
So, what you’ve got here is a chance to donate money to a good cause, get a prop or something from your wife’s favorite show, and bring something educational into the house. Yeah, okay. I am down. Bidding was pretty crazy, they stagger the endings of the auctions so you have 96 different auctions ending over, like, three hours. I had called the auctioneers to get an idea of their auction rules, because they don’t explain them anywhere. Like are they eBay style or Sotheby’s style? If the bid is at $1,000 and you bid $5,000 and you win do you pay $1,100 or $5,000? Turns out they were eBay style. Things got very expensive as things ended, but I realized winning an early auction was the way to go and got two different things for relatively cheap, as the later auctions got more and more pricey, with things going for $10, $15, even $20,000. Insanity.
It’s crazy that this is happening, coincidentally, right as we were watching the show, so we were intimately familiar with a lot of the episodes and items, and Emma was following Kari Byron on Instagram, and I was following Adam on YouTube, so we learned about an auction that, say, two years ago, we might not have noticed at all.
Started reading What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848 by Daniel Walker How last night, and if you needed more evidence that the the 1619 project was not full of shit, literally pick up any American History book, ever, of any period, ever, and within the first, like, 2 chapters, tops you’ll be confronted with how much slavery and the battle against slavery dominated every single aspect of American live. Battle of New Orleans? Andrew Jackson promised the slaves with whom he fought twenty dollars and a hundred sixty acres. Shockingly, he reneged on the offer. The routed British took 200 slaves away with them, and freed them and relocated them to Bermuda.
All right I think we’re done here for the day, let’s do a mix. W Hotel mix. Mostly old, some new, like three new. I really like the new Big Red Machine album. I did not especially like the last one. Been listening to that a lot this week. It’s lovely. I wish Taylor did a couple more songs, but I’ve also been listening to Anaïs Mitchell, whom I learned about from the BRM album, and she’s pretty good, so, thanks for that. I admit this mix is a little heavy on the old stuff — still recovering from that 27 Sparks album week. We’ll catch up soon.
Okay, well, thanks for reading. Miss you guys. I am going to go sit on the couch and ice my leg for the sixth day in a row now. It’s ridiculous. This hurts. This is ridiculous.