News

Wakanda Forever

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It’s been more than a year since the beautiful, wonderful, and talented Sara Benincasa put up her own money in order to bribe journalists to ask Trump if he thought Wakanda was a “shithole country.” Or maybe it was just to ask him what he thought of Wakanda. Or maybe it was all about figuring out if he knew what Wakanda really was.

Who cares? Trump’s a stupid ass and Wakanda forever, baby:

Want to know what would happen if a reporter seriously asked President Donald Trump how that bilateral trade agreement with Wakanda is panning out?

You’re not the only one. On Saturday, a widely shared tweet from Sara Benincasa, a screenwriter and author, called for a journalist to “very seriously” ask Trump “his opinion on our nation’s relations with Wakanda”—the fictional country from Marvel’s Black Panther comics.

It’s no stretch of the imagination to believe that Trump would deliver an answer. This is, after all, the same man who made up a whole-ass African country (“Nambia”—whose health system is “increasingly self-sufficient,” apparently). 

Benincasa offered $300 of her own money and, after many users chimed in with their support, said that she would start a “crowdfunding or Venmo situation” that would allow others to contribute to the purse. The stipulations: The question needs to be asked by a member of the media, and the question and answer must be recorded live on video.

Of all of the worthless comic book movies, there are but a handful that are worth something besides Wonder Woman. I thought Black Panther would get more recognition for the complexity of the story line and the resonance it has had in the consciousness of the country. Yeah, there really is a battle between good and evil going on, and evil wins far too often for my taste.

Wolves Hunt Fish

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This is remarkable:

In another stunning revelation of wolf behavior from Voyageurs National Park, researchers Thursday announced they have confirmed park wolves hunting for and eating fish out of streams as a regular part of their diet.

The researchers released the first-ever video of wolves eating freshwater fish, and said GPS data shows one pack spent about half their time during several weeks in April and May "hunting" in creeks for spawning suckers and northern pike.

The revelation comes just one week after the News Tribune first reported the same researchers confirming wolves spent weeks on end in blueberry patches, eating blueberries at peak summer ripeness. The same researchers also are the first to document wolves' consuming large numbers of beaver, when the animals are available in summer months, and that wolves will leave deer and moose alone if they can get beaver as meals.

There's some speculation that the wolves focus on beavers — and maybe now on fish — has helped keep the park's moose population stable at the same time moose numbers have crashed across most of their Minnesota range.

The Voyageurs Wolf Project, a collaboration between the University of Minnesota and Voyageurs National Park, has followed GPS-collared wolves from over seven different packs since 2015. The fish revelations were recently published in the journal Mammalian Biology.

Using GPS collars, the team collects location data from wolves every 20 minutes. That data reveals not just wolf behavior but also pack territory boundaries.

Researcher Tom Gable first noticed the wolf-fish interaction in April, 2017, when he hiked to a creek where GPS data showed one of the collared wolves was spending a lot of time. "As I approached the area, I briefly saw a wolf trying to catch a fish before it ran into the woods," Gable said. He then found fish remains and wolf tracks scattered along the creek.

The image above is a trail camera capturing a wolf in the process of stalking and removing a fish from a creek. This is the first time we have acquired scientific proof that wolves take fish out of the water. Up to this point, no other proof existed.

Given all of the work that has been done to study and conserve habitat for wolves, it is without question a major scientific discovery that, in the context of our current disinterest in preserving our planet, renders it tragic in a way. We are watching the slow-motion destruction of the planet and we are entertained by foolishness and the utterly crass. A handful of people remained dedicated to figuring out how the world works and we owe them a huge debt.

Tom Arnold is Full of Shit

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In case you were wondering, no, Tom Arnold does not have any "tapes" where Trump says the N-word:

in December 2016, Arnold said: “I have the outtakes to The Apprentice where he says every bad thing ever, every offensive, racist thing ever. I have that.”

I can’t wait to see those tapes. We all want to see them. Footage of Donald Trump using the N-word would be seismic. It would be Pussygate times 10. It would permanently damage, and maybe even end, his presidency.

I know! So where are the tapes? It’s complicated.

He doesn’t have them, does he? The bad news is no, he doesn’t. According to a new Rolling Stone interview, Tom Arnold says that the N-word tape was just an online link, and the video has since expired.

If anyone produces a file or proof that Trump regularly says the N-word, he will claim that it has been doctored and that it if fake news. His supporters won't care, because they secretly want him to say it so that they can say it and not have to lose their jobs, too.

For Tom Arnold to try to make money off of this is proof that we live in an awful country made worse by the fact that the garbage residing in the White House is probably the worst human being of the 21st Century.

Lily Allen

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I wish someone would prove me wrong, but Lily Allen never really made it in the United States. But, here she is, perfectly explaining why it is impossible to believe anything online anymore because Russia is engaged in a massive attack on Western democracy and Western culture:

Do you think what’s written about you in certain newspapers fuels the Twitter trolls?
“Yeah, I do. Although to what extent, I’m not quite sure. Out of the trolls, I’m not sure what’s automated and Russian, and what’s real. They’re not called Russian bots. They’re called, you know, PaulJames1979 with a Middlesbrough FC emblem.  But I do know that if I get into a tête-à-tête – or tweet-à-tweet – with Piers Morgan, then suddenly I’ll get loads of automated stuff. So there are definitely right-wing triggers that if you converse and interact with, you get a sort of army coming at you. And you know that they’re automated because they have the same key words and they’re talking about exactly the same thing. In all the tweets, there will be four of five key words surrounded by other aggressive words.”

So, if a British pop singer who definitely deserves a global audience can figure this shit out, why can't anyone in America?

 

 

Pay the Lady What She is Worth

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If AMC doesn't pay Lauren Cohan what she is worth, then to hell with that network:

Lauren Cohan is mulling walking away from The Walking Dead.

The actress, who has starred as Maggie since season two of the AMC zombie drama, has booked a lead role in ABC drama pilot Whiskey Cavalier.

Cohan has emerged as one of the most in-demand actresses this pilot season. Sources tell THR that she has been actively looking for her next role as she battles AMC over her season nine salary. With Walking Dead already renewed for a ninth season, Cohan does not have a deal in place to return to the show. Sources say the actress and her agents are not happy with the offers that have been on the table from AMC. Although Cohan is not seeking salary parity with male leads Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus, her camp and AMC have been engaged in a months-long negotiation that remains far apart. Insiders suggest that she is actively looking for her next job and not trying to use the pilot casting process to force AMC's hand as the actress's camp remains frustrated by AMC's lowball offers. Other sources note AMC has made "aggressive offers" to re-sign Cohan for season nine.

AMC seems like the chintziest of networks. They are incapable of taking care of talent. I can't believe they are not paying female leads on the show the same as what they are paying males because it is, for all intents and purposes, one of the best ensemble dramas around. And I say this even after the audience collapsed two years ago.

Why are we even having this discussion? Of course you should pay women the same as men, especially when they demonstrate that they are more than equal to the task of storytelling. In the case of the Walking Dead, which is more of an ensemble show, I think that is definitely the case. 

I understand that there can be exceptions, but there can also be times when women should be paid more. It's hard to argue that Anna Gunn should have been paid the same as Bryan Cranston for Breaking Bad, but it's not outside the realm of possibility that she should have been brought to a level very close to him in terms of compensation. He was the overall lead of the show and she had less screen time. I always thought Stana Katic should have been paid more than Nathan Fillion and given top billing for Castle. She was clearly the better of the two characters and had more depth.

Melania Trump's Personal War on Christmas

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I get the sense that Melania is not happy. Not happy at all.

She has gone from jolly decorations and old-timey traditions and familiar themes to something straight out of the world of European cinema. It's a jarring hellscape. It reminds me of an Ingmar Bergman film:

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And, remember--it's not Christmas in Slovenia without Krampus!

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The War on Christmas may have lost General Bill O'Reilly, but Melania Trump is finding a way to horrify everyone with her interior Christmas decor ideas. I can just imagine how she instructed the White House staff to decorate:

"Lots of dead branches, pointing up to heaven, lit with cold, indifferent light, creating a maelstrom of claustrophobia, trapping the soul in every corner of every nook and cranny of this putrid construct of reality."


Armie Hammer Does Not Owe You an Active Twitter Account

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I agree that it is insane, but it is also a symbol of how we expect people to make themselves available and turn themselves inside out for entertainment purposes. Each and every person is entitled to their own version of privacy. You ought to be allowed to choose what you want people to see and to know and to read from you. 

If Armie Hammer doesn't want to be on Twitter, go pound sand.


Justice League is a Huge Disappointment

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Justice League is a film that I actually saw in a theater. My advice is to wait for it on Blu-Ray so that you only end up wasting a little cash. It is not essential, but it is a good way to waste two hours, so there's that.

Without spoiling the movie, I'll tell you what's wrong with it:

  • Too much Affleck.
  • Not enough Godot.
  • All the Cavill you're ever going to need.
  • No where near enough Momoa.

I liked the Cyborg character, but they didn't develop the relationship he had with his father into something that I could recognize as a story. They did a better job with the Flash, but do you know who had a better Flash? The Quicksilver character played by Evan Peters was far more interesting. 

After watching this, I honestly can't tell you what happened. And, before you think I'm some sort of Marvel movie fan, I'm really not. I'm not a fan of this genre at all. I remember that I saw Guardians of the Galaxy Volume Two but I can't remember anything that happened because it was such a blur of things happening. So much has to happen! in these films. Slow it down and tell a story.

Dick Gregory 1932-2017

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Dick Gregory was one of the greatest civil rights advocates in American history, full stop. His legacy is that of activist and entertainer, but his impact was felt everywhere in popular culture. If you are sad about Bill Cosby, then be grateful for Dick Gregory, who did more than virtually every entertainer of his era to advocate for Civil Rights.

Comedian and civil rights activist Dick Gregory, who broke barriers in the 1960s and became one of the first African-Americans to perform at white clubs, died Saturday.

He was 84. 

Gregory recently rescheduled an event in Atlanta because he was hospitalized. He died in Washington, his son posted on social media without giving details. 

    "The family appreciates the outpouring of support and love, and respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time," Christian Gregory said. "More details will be released over the next few days."

    Gregory satirized segregation and racial injustice in his acts, and was arrested several times in the 1960s for joining civil rights rallies.

    Gregory died a day before Jerry Lewis, and their coincidental demise is a reminder that most celebrities stay the hell away from controversy and charity.  Gregory didn't shy away from the violence of the 1960s--he was a victim of it, numerous times. Never once did he bow out and take the easy route to fame and fortune. He lived his entire life trying to make this country a better place. Lewis spent many, many years raising money for Muscular Dystrophy victims and trying to make this country better.

    We will not see their like ever again.

    Liberals Haven't Lost Their Virtues

    I'm not going to be lectured to by some Republican Senator about virtue. I voted against Donald Trump. I pay taxes, I raise my kids like I am supposed to, and I believe that the best gauge of society's morality is how we treat those with the very least. I don't believe in waving religion in anyone's face. And I damned sure don't go around hating people who are different from me.

    So, on behalf of liberals everywhere, fuck this noise:

    In just two short years, Senator Ben Sasse has gone from Capitol Hill newbie to digital president puncher, tweeting about Donald Trump’s affairs and the Midwestern dumpster fires he found more appealing than 2016’s Oval Office contenders.

    Yet, on his breaks from Twitter, Sasse managed to craft a serious new book, The Vanishing American Adult. It advances a thesis that’s at once out of place at this political moment and almost too on-the-nose for the Trump years: He believes Americans have lost their sense of personal integrity and discipline. For the country to deal with the troubles ahead—including automation, political disengagement, and the rise of nativist, huckster politicians, he says—people must recover their sense of virtue. The republic depends on it.

    Earnest talk of virtue is uncommon in American politics. Forget the low lows of 2016, a year defined by political cynicism and brutish behavior, or even these first months of 2017, which have been swallowed by dramatic revelations and relentless Washington in-fighting. At this point, the idea of a shared culture is almost unimaginable: America has been carved up into mutually exclusive spheres bounded by religion, race, income, and city-limit signs. Sasse is taking on a problem more challenging than getting legislation through Congress, courting disgruntled voters, or even figuring out what to do about America’s haphazard president. He’s trying to articulate a language of shared culture and values in a country that has been rocked by technological, cultural, and demographic change. It may be an imperfect attempt. But at least Sasse has identified the right project.

    The Vanishing American Adult is written as a reflection on the purpose and nature of education, which, Sasses argues, should extend beyond schooling and classrooms. “Everywhere I go across the country, I hear from people who share an ominous sense that something is very wrong with our kids,” he writes. “We’ve lost something from our older ways of coming of age.” Instead of relying on “institutionalized school-centric childhood[s],” Sasse says, families should develop practices that will prepare their kids to become “fully formed, vivacious, appealing, resilient, self-reliant, problem-solving souls who see themselves … called to love and serve their neighbors.” This is the future he wants for his kids.

    Tell you what, Ben. Quit voting to help Trump, Paul Ryan, and Mitch McConnell destroy America and get back to me on this whole virtue thing. 

    Senator Ben Sasse is here to lecture everyone about how they've lost their virtues and how they aren't adults anymore while he votes, again and again, to take health care away from the American people.

    Really, fuck these people and their concerns for our morality.

    Live Stream Mystery Science Theater 3000 on April 9

    In a world full of crappy news, this is a bright, shining beacon of hope. Mystery Science Theater 3000 returns with a new season of experiments on Netflix.

    1. The preview screening of Experiment 1101 will be available to stream starting at 12:01 AM PT on SUNDAY, APRIL 9th, 2017 [this is only for MST3K "backers" who pledged $25 or more to finance the return of the show].

    2. All release times – including the release of the new season on Netflix on April 14th – will be on PACIFIC TIME, not on EASTERN TIME.

    Not everyone is getting the e-mails, so pass this along. If you didn't pledge money when the show was coming back, don't worry--you'll get to see the results on Netflix. Watching on Netflix makes sense because, in the old days, and I'm talking to all of you younger folks out there, it was a pain in the rear to program VCRs. I had one that was flaky on me, and I liked to get the whole two hour show on one VHS tape for quality purposes I don't understand right now.

    Looks like something magical to me is about to happen.

    Populism and Elitism in One Place

    There's a fascinating magazine cover coming out soon, and it's for the New Yorker. You can see the Cyrillic lettering and the immediate joke--Eustace Vladimirovich Tilley is what it is called.

    The scathing cover will accompany an investigation featured in the next issue that explores Russian President Vladimir Putin's influence on the presidential election, and the frightening return of a Cold War the United States is at risk of losing. The issue comes in the wake of a bombshell report on Thursday that cited White House officials requesting the FBI dispute evidence Trump aides communicated with Russian officials during the election. According to CNN, the FBI rejected that request.

    This is a riff on the first cover of the New Yorker, and so it represents a little bit of highbrow satire and commentary, right down to the onion dome over the shoulder. The "elites" are contemplating Donald Trump as some sort of angry insect that should be disdained or kept safely at a distance. Trump himself is depicted as being in an impotent, volcanic rage as per usual. Oh well, they never did like me, or so says Trump.

    I think this is important for a number of reasons. One, it's a view of the president that is being expressed in caricature that is becoming normal for people to see--Trump as something small, insignificant or annoying. He is rarely, if ever, depicted in a neutral or positive light. We see the buffoonery and the cartoon aspect of him, always in orange and always with his mouth open. He is never a man shown thinking.

    Two, this is really a better example of populism than it is elitism. There isn't a huge audience out there for the New Yorker, but there is one for people who want information about what's going on so this amplifies the need to figure out what is the connection between Trump and Putin. The populist angle here is that it gets to the heart of the notion that the people who voted for him now want to know where his loyalties lie. This New York-centric publication is doing the work that used to be done by major American newspapers. I think it is important for people to read and hear things that inform them and keep them up to date on the latest scandals. At any other point in our nation's history, Trump would not only have not been the Republican president, he wouldn't even have been the nominee. People are still furious about this, and even a New Yorker cover can inspire and sustain their embrace of populism in the face of fascism.

    Three, this chips away at the people stuck supporting Trump. These are the dead-enders. A good number of them believe this is all phony. What's astonishing to people who follow the news and read the New Yorker has been the fact that Trump got elected by rather overtly working with the Russian government.  Well, the magazine is about to do a deep dive into all of that. Will it change anybody's mind? Who knows? If you're a Midwestern Republican, this image just sails right past you without registering. But there are always people who peel away from madmen. There are many people who cannot roll with an incompetent banana republic president.

    Four, the artistic renderings of Trump and Putin are now becoming too numerous to ignore. The constant refrain--the riffing and meme-ing if you will, are devastating. Presidents who are depicted in the popular day-to-day media in a negative manner have the impossible task of living these things down. Think George W. Bush as big eared and clueless. Think of Bill Clinton as always smiling, even when depicted by those opposed to him. Think of President Obama, cool and poised no matter what was thrown at him. In a little over forty days, the general impression of Trump is that he is a howling, braying old fool with his cake hole permanently set to spew.

    The artful aspect here is invaluable. Want to bring Trump down? Draw a picture of him bellowing and fussing about nothing while on his phone. This is what defines him and keeps everyone else sane.

    Lego Batman is Not Pro-Gay Adoption Propaganda

    Just when you thought that liberals were going to be able to get one over on conservatives and sneak some pro-gay adoption propaganda into the burgeoning animated kids movie market, it all falls apart because conservatives are too smart:

    The new Lego Batman Movie has come under fire from Catholic evangelists who have slammed the film as “pro-gay propaganda”.

    John Henry Westen, Canadian Editor-in-chief of the socially conservative website  LifeSiteNews.com, posted a review of the film titled “BEWARE: LEGO Batman movie promotes gay adoption”. He criticised the creators for being “so anxious to subtly indoctrinate the little ones into the gender ideology that making it humorous came as a distant second thought.”

    I thought conservative Catholics were out trying to locate and remove all of the priests who diddle little kids. Apparently, they have some time on their hands. Or they're dumbasses. I vote for having no brains, no talent, and no understanding of the culture.

    Everyone knows propaganda works when the film is fall-down funny. Maybe that's the angle all of us in on this conspiracy should have taken. Instead of making a sober, depressing movie about what happens when a gay Batman adopts a gay Robin so they can have that gay lifestyle thing happening, they should have written a lot of great jokes, used a lot of expensive animation, and gotten some funny actors to read all of the dialogue. 

    Oh, wait a minute. Rotten Tomatoes says they did that. My mistake.

    Hollywood Doesn't Care About American Audiences

    This question is easy to answer:

    Will Hollywood Learn From Hidden Figures’s Success?

    Nope!

    Hidden Figures has been the breakout film of 2017 thus far. Starring three African American women (played by Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monáe, and Octavia Spencer), it focuses on an unheralded piece of American history: the work of black female mathematicians and engineers at NASA in the 1960s. Released to strong reviewsHidden Figures seems destined for a few Academy Award nominations next week. Since it expanded nationwide, it has spent two weeks at the top of the box office, ahead of big-budget films like Monster TrucksPatriots DayLive By Night, and Oscar frontrunner La La Land. Made for a comparatively small $25 million, the film is essentially guaranteed to gross at least $100 million in the United States alone, posting a very healthy profit for its studio, 20th Century Fox. The viewing public’s desire for a film like Hidden Figures is indisputable. So why does Hollywood make so few of them?
    In 2015, only 32 of the top 100 films at the box office featured a female lead or co-lead; only three of those leads were women of color, and almost half of them did not feature a black female character in any capacity. After having an all-white slate of acting nominees for two years in a row (spurring the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite), the Academy is trying to diversify its voting body with the hope of rewarding a broader selection of films. But Hollywood at large is showing few traces of change. Last year’s most successful films, largely superhero sequels and animated blockbusters, lack for variety in their storytelling. The slow nature of film production means it can take years to really reflect a shift in studio thinking, but Hidden Figures still feels (disappointingly) like an anomaly rather than a sign of a real transformation.

    Hollywood is happy to turn out a handful of small, independent pictures like this but, really, the whole thing is built around larger movies with special effects that will appeal to global audiences. The economics are such that, if they were to shift everything, lay off thousands of special effects people, and try to make movies like this, it would bankrupt the industry faster than it's going bankrupt now.

    In short, they want to make movies Chinese teenage boys will want to see, own, and watch repeatedly. They don't want to empower a generation of African-American actors and then start having to pay them what they're worth. The only way they can survive is to keep making superhero films that don't suck. They don't care about filmmaking or art anymore--it's not 1970. The biggest directors are not visionaries--they're successful project managers who can work for months on end and produce content. 

    Who's the new Robert Altman and why isn't he making movies?

    Octavia Spencer alone is one of the greatest actors of her generation. She's not just an actress. She's not just a black actress. She's a fucking actor. They don't treat her like Tom Hardy, Michael Fassbender, or Tom Hanks because they think she's not a movie star. Put her in a movie with five or six other people who can act, make her the lead, and she'll blow the fucking doors off of people. Do you think there's a Hollywood producer out there ready to sell that to a studio? Who's going to give her $10 million to start in a film and have her as the top billed actor?

    Nobody. And that's a crying goddamned shame. She's amazing. And she's undervalued and under appreciated.

    A New Factory in Manchester

    It's not any old factory, either:

    Manchester’s proposed £110m arts centre, the Factory, has moved a step closer to being built after city councillors gave planning permission for the Rem Koolhaas-designed building.

    The Factory will be erected on the site of the former Granada Studios and is seen by the city council as a game changer, one which the authority’s leader, Sir Richard Leese, has said would “make Manchester and the wider region a genuine cultural counterbalance to London”.

    It is a central part of the northern powerhouse project, championed by the former chancellor George Osborne, who pledged £78m of government money in 2014, a sum which was confirmed this week following a Treasury review of the full business case.

    The enormous and striking glass cube construction will be the first major public building in the UK by Dutch architect Koolhaas and his Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) practice.

    I still can't figure out how they got through this whole article without paying homage to Tony Wilson's Factory music label, which essentially defined the music scene in Manchester.

     

     

    Disney's Cinderella Castle in Legos

    This is pretty neat:

    After news leaked yesterday, Lego Group today confirmed a huge 4,000 piece Lego replica of its iconic Disney Resort Cinderella Castle: set 71040 Disney Castle.

    Having been impressed by the Lego Nexo KnightsLego Ninjago and Lego Minecraft at New York Toy Fair I had thought I was all up to date with what Lego had in store for us this year. Then today they reveal this huge replica set of the Walt Disney DIS +0.34% World Resort Cinderella Castle. Standing at over 29” high and 17” wide this is a monster build, but the size means it can do much more than reproduce the original’s architecture and silhouette. 

    I prefer the original, photographed in 2011 at Legoland Ulm:

    The image above does not do the display justice. It is the Neuschwanstein Castle rendered in Legos, and it looks amazing in person. This was the standard Lego village display (everything glued down, don't touch, etc.). 

    Now, if they were to release a version of THAT thing, it would likely top 10,000 pieces and cost quite a bit of money.

    Protect the Boundary Waters Canoe Area

    Here's to the people trying to stop the wholesale poisoning of an American treasure:

    MINNESOTA’S Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is one of America’s most popular wild destinations. Water is its lifeblood. Over 1,200 miles of streams wend their way through 1.1 million acres thick with fir, pine and spruce and stippled by lakes left behind by glaciers. Moose, bears, wolves, loons, ospreys, eagles and northern pike make their home there and in the surrounding Superior National Forest.

    All of this is now threatened by a proposal for a huge mine to extract copper, nickel and other metals from sulfide ores. The mine would lie within the national forest along the South Kawishiwi River, which flows directly into the Boundary Waters Wilderness.

    The prospect of any major industrial activity in the watershed of such a place would be deeply troubling. But this kind of heavy-metal mining is in a destructive class all its own. Enormous amounts of unusable waste rock containing sulfides are left behind on the surface. A byproduct of this kind of mining is sulfuric acid, which often finds its way into nearby waterways. Similar mines around the country have already poisoned lakes and thousands of miles of streams.

    To me, the area is synonymous with the life's work of Sigurd Olson, one of the great unsung characters of the 20th Century. He nagged and lobbied and wrote endlessly about the area we now know as the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Can you imagine what that place would look like if the mines and the businessmen had been able to get there first?

    Olson has been dead for 34 years, but there are still people who carry on in his memory. If you were going to make a movie or write a book, you could do a lot worse than choosing to tell the story of the man who saved over a million acres of pristine wilderness from the kind of people who would poison a river and walk away rich.

    Comedians Have to Apologize For Everything Now

    Maria Bamford's new show Lady Dynamite is getting a lot of write-ups on the websites that contain information that I sometimes use while blogging:

    Conventional wisdom would have it that crippling mental illness isn't a good subject for a sitcom. But there's nothing conventional about Maria Bamford's brand of comedy. Fans of her stand-up and such through-the-rabbit hole projects like 2012's Maria Bamford: The Special Special Special—  in which the 45-year-old comedian performs a taped set for just her parents in their living room — know that she isn't afraid to tap into very dark, very personal places in her work. So when Bamford announced she was developing a sitcom for Netflix that would touch on her career struggles in Hollywood and stints in psychiatric hospitals to treat a bipolar disorder, you expected something different. And Lady Dynamite, which toggles between our heroine trying to land acting gigs in Hollywood and her time in a mental hospital in her real-life hometown of Duluth, Minnesota (and premieres in full tomorrow night on the streaming service), could not be a better introduction to her ability to slide between sunny absurdity and depressive reality in a blink.

    It sounds like a great show in the making, and I'll definitely watch it. But I hate Rolling Stone and I am sorry I linked to them. At the end of the article, poor Maria has to get her apologies in early:

    "I had wanted to go very dark for the dark moments. Just, you know, minutes of silence passing. That's how it truly is — these unbearable moments. But who knows if that makes for good television," she says with a laugh. "I mean, people die from illnesses like these. I was a little worried about that, so I hope it turned out to be respectful as well [as funny]. And if it isn't, I apologize, I apologize, I apologize. I apologize right up front for everything I've done and will do."

    The truly daunting thing that comedians do nowadays is tell jokes and try to get shows on the air. No one has a sense of humor about anything anymore. The Internet amplifies the voices of people who are outraged. I'm fine with all of that--I run my own website so I can't ban myself and I can't stop showing up for work, so there's that. The real problem is when someone organizes a boycott of everything you say or do--that's not fun. It's almost better to be ignored and have no one read what you're writing, but I have no opinions about that.

    Minnie Driver and Basic Problem Solving

    2.465 million gets you a three bedroom rancher next to a crazy dude in the Hollywood Hills...

    2.465 million gets you a three bedroom rancher next to a crazy dude in the Hollywood Hills...

    Does any of this sound like rational behavior?

    Actress Minnie Driver is not happy with her neighbor's construction and she's trying to stop it from happening with an arsenal of baby food jars filled with black paint.

    A new lawsuit obtained by TMZ claims that Driver, 46, is throwing the paint-filled jars at her neighbor Daniel Perelmutter's walls.

    Perelmutter — who recently had a heart transplant — is asking the court to remove an electronic gate the two share as Driver has cut off his access.

    He also states in the suit that the "Good Will Hunting" actress will block construction workers for up to 8 hours at a time.

    This isn't the first time the two have sparred in the Hollywood Hills.

    Just last week, Driver and Perelmutter, 74, were screaming so loudly at each other that cops had to intervene.

    In 2015, the English-born actress claimed that her neighbor told her to "f--k off and die" on several occasions in her driveway. She even got a restraining order against Perelmutter at the time.

    However, Perelmutter claimed that Driver was trying to run him down with her car as the two have been involved in an ongoing land dispute.

    Anybody can snap and anybody can get involved in a desperately destructive confrontation with their neighbor. What I don't understand is, how can something like this get so far out of control without involving mediation or negotiations of some kind? Construction projects in a residential area are two things--inconvenient at times but temporary if handled properly. Do you know what you can do to solve this problem? Develop the ability to visualize your property when it looks normal again and ignore what's happening. That's basic problem solving 101. And if you can't do that, lose your mind, I guess.

    Ever lived in a house where vinyl siding is being installed in the dead of winter? Check. Ever lived in a house while a brand new home is being built next door and it takes nine months instead of three? Yep. And have you ever lived in a place where the little neighbor kids don't speak any English but decide to throw rocks at your house because you're an American? We have a winner. I've been through all three in the last five years and, yeah, I wanted to snap and start throwing baby jars full of black paint. That was my go-to option right from the start. But, somehow, I got through it. And by that I mean, I resorted to whipping hot pennies and spraying bleach out of a power washer.

    I don't know what Miss Driver is going through, but it sounds cray-cray and she should have temporary high fences or golf course safety screens installed until her neighbor is done screwing everything up.

    Hello, World!