WE HAVE TO GET AHEAD OF THIS GUY – BY TOM CURLEY

In almost all TV cop shows and movies, the bad guy, usually a mad psychotic, a mad genius or a mad psychotic genius, is always one step ahead of the good guys.

sdsouthard.com

sdsouthard.com

For at least the first half of the show, the good guys keep getting caught in the bad guy’s traps.

fantendo.wikia.com

fantendo.wikia.com

Or (and?) the bad guy keeps escaping at the last minute.

imgur.com

imgur.com

Inevitably, at some point (usually about half way through the show) the chief good guy says: “We’re constantly playing catch up. We gotta get ahead of this guy.”

This is when someone on the team, usually the brilliant but nerdy computer expert, will find a tidbit of information which leads the good guys to finally capture or kill the bad guy. The end. Stay tuned after the break for scenes from next week’s episode.

After two weeks of #45’s rule … it seems impossible, but it has really been two weeks!

countercurrentnews.com

countercurrentnews.com

We’ve learned a few things.

  1. As bad as we all thought #45 would be, it’s a hundred times worse.
  2. #45 is not going to “pivot” or become “Presidential”. He is actually doing every crazy thing he said he was going to do during the campaign. No matter how stupid, counter-productive, or dangerous.
  3. We have learned who the current President actually is. Steve Bannon.
    thevilliagesuntimes.com

    thevilliagesuntimes.com

    He is the one writing all these insane executive orders. The guy running the country (this week at least) is an avowed White Supremacist who has stated that he wants to blow up the government. He wants a world-wide “Crusade” against Muslims and he considers himself “The Thomas Cromwell to the court of the Tudors”.

    bbc.co.uk

    bbc.co.uk

    Yeah, he really said that. I’m surprised he knows who Thomas Cromwell is. I wonder if he knows what happened to Mr. Cromwell.

    tudors.wikia.com

    tudors.wikia.com

  4. The government has been turned into a very, very bad reality show.
  5. The press has been declared to be “The Opposition Party”. The enemy of the state. Fake News. Or as I think they are going to become, “The Good Guys”.

In our new, very bad Reality Show, we’re early in the first half of the show. The media are constantly playing catch up. They have to react to every insane tweet. Every blatant lie. Every horrific executive order. Before they can fully expose how crazy the last tweet or lie is, another one comes out.

This is not the way to handle these chuckle heads. The press has to get ahead of these guys. And we don’t need a brilliant but nerdy computer genius to do it. The press hasn’t caught on yet, but they are the people driving this administration.  It’s been reported extensively that #45 has the attention span of a puppy.

dogtime.com

dogtime.com

He obsessively watches cable news.  He then goes off on a twitter rant over whatever it is that he sees.


This is how you get ahead of him. Don’t react to the latest tweet with hours of dissection.  Report it and keep going back to a single narrative, a single point. And that point is: “Is The President of the United States Mentally Ill?”

It’s a question being raised more and more all over the world.

“There’s something wrong with this guy.”

“This is not normal.”

“This guy is nuts.”

brietbart.com

brietbart.com

This is a valid question and the kind of thing cable news is really good at. Cable news spends much more time putting pundits and “experts” on the air to blather over the latest tweet or the last lie than actually doing investigative reporting. Let’s start getting experts and pundits talking about this for real.

The current resident of the Oval Office is a textbook case of Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder (yes, you can have multiple personality disorders at the same time).

kathyescobar.com

kathyescobar.com

This is something both my wife and I are intimately familiar with. Both of our exes suffered from the former. Here is a test sample question from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The DSM-V.

DSM-V

Any of that sound familiar?

Now, when the press starts asking these questions, the blowback from the administration will be intense. Which is great. Why are they so defensive? Does the President have something to hide? I personally don’t know, but I hear lots of people saying  that the President is loony as a tick. (See, we can do that trick too). But in this case

IT’S A VALID QUESTION!!

The President has to have an annual physical exam — which he never did, by the way — so. why not a psychological exam?  This needs to become the narrative of the day. Every day. From now on. No matter what “President Bannon” orders. Whatever Cheesy McCheese Head tweets, we have to keep coming back to this topic.

IS THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES MENTALLY ILL?

It’ll work. We gotta get ahead of this guy.

SPEAK OUT | DISCOVER CHALLENGE

PARTYING WITH THE INNER DEMONS … WHAT A HANGOVER!

My inner demons had a blowout party last night. I wasn’t invited, but I was allowed to have the hangover. It was one hell of a party because I wound up with a helluva hangover.

Backtracking slightly, I take a lot of medications. More than half of them are to control my blood pressure. I had a lot of heart surgery a couple of years ago. New mitral valve. Redesigned left ventricle and aortic valve. Bypass. Pacemaker implanted. The whole nine yards of heart surgery. My job is to keep active to the best of my ability … and not get myself so wound up that my drugs can’t keep up with my angst. To say this week has been hyper-over-the-top-angst-o-rama would be no exaggeration.

Photo: mightygodofthunder

Illustration: mightygodofthunder

Yesterday, I needed all the help I could get. Tranquility was hard to find. The political pundits — the same people whose predictions and polls were so horribly wrong — are now making new predictions. This time, about the dire consequences of the election they got wrong. I really favor the press. I believe a free press is the wall that stands between us and tyranny.

I also think they need to stop predicting the apocalypse. This is not helping. Guys? Gals? Take a breath and start over. Let’s work from what’s really happening this time rather than on what you fear, hope, or think will make a great headline, okay? Please? Let’s treat the news as fact-based, just for a while. Let’s not sling mud and spread rumors. It doesn’t make things better and raises everyone’s blood pressure.

Anyway, why should these people be more on target now than they were before the election? The answer is “no reason.” They know no more than you or me. Not yet. Nothing has happened. They are extrapolating and speculating to come up with what sounds like a reasonable scenario. Consider this before you leap from that tall building or when you’re getting ready to drink the Kool-Aid. Let’s not sing the death song quite yet. Are you with me? How about a couple of verses of “Kumbaya”? Or “We Shall Overcome”?

All this being said, by the time I hit the bed last night, I was worn to a frazzle. I have done my best to remain calm and stay in the car, as it were. To not leave my car bearing a paring knife to join the big gunfight.

Illustration: omegaman20

Illustration: omegaman20

As far a drugs go, I didn’t take any more than what is prescribed or anything I don’t usually take. Except when I lay me down to sleep, it all hit at the same time. The drugs, the day, the anxiety, the fear. Wham, bang. I was afraid to raise my head. I was sure I’d pass out.

Thus the party commenced. All my inner demons, physical and psychological, held a grand gala. They drank and danced. They laughed and spun as I lay wondering if I could get to the bathroom a dozen steps away to brush my teeth. Answer: no. I was in no fit shape to be upright. I gave in and went to sleep.

The demons had the party. I got the hangover.

I feel physically better this morning, so something got sorted out during those hours of darkness. If it seems like I’m working hard at staying centered and balanced, you’re correct. I cannot let those demons take over. The overnight shindig was enough. More than enough.

Meanwhile, back at the other laptop, Garry is suffering from Post-Election Trump-Induced Depression. Also known as PETID (PET-ID for the dog and cat enthusiasts). As opposed to the even worse buyer’s remorse that Trump’s voters are going to feel when they realize he isn’t going to do a damned thing to improve their lives.

That’s what you get when you follow a demagogue. That’s no garden path down which he is leading. There’s no better place at the other end of your journey. I guess a lot of people are about to learn this painful lesson. Too bad they didn’t learn it the easy way … from history books.

SKIMMING THE NEWS

We saw the two young (both 28-years-old) women  — Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin — who co-founded “The Skimm” on TV. Colbert, I think. Yup, Colbert. Garry was slightly outraged because he thinks everyone should read a newspaper and this is just one more step in the dumbing down of the news … and everything else. Cleanliness may be next to godliness, but being well-informed is godliness. If you don’t know what’s going on in the world, you cannot get into heaven.

(There will be a quiz at the gate. Spelling and punctuation count.)

Although I agree about the whole dumbing down thing, I also think you can’t reverse the way culture changes. You can become an old curmudgeon. You can join the ranters and ravers on social media, but it won’t stop change from happening. Especially since most people don’t regularly read a newspaper and aren’t going to start.

But. Many people try to keep in touch with current events and I believe more would if they could do it without investing a lot of time, money, or effort.

I was curious. Unlike Garry, I don’t read a newspaper. Haven’t in years. I read articles when something interests me. New Yorker articles more or less daily. Books (mostly audiobooks) constantly, though the literature I read is designed to keep me out of rather than in touch. I thought a one page news summary delivered to my inbox — especially if written with humor and style — might fit nicely into my world. Keep me sufficiently up-to-date so I don’t sound like Gary Johnson who didn’t know what or where Aleppo is (was?) … but would not require serious commitment to daily newspaper perusal.

I looked up The Skimm. I didn’t know how to spell it, but Google doesn’t care, they fix your spelling. It’s free, so I signed up. I signed Garry up too. Sneaky sneaky.

skimm-founders-628x314

And, it turns out, I like it. It’s well written. Pithy. Witty. Clever. Leans a little to the left, which works for me. I find myself looking for it. Looking forward to it. It’s not exactly a deep, analytical purview of the news, but it gives me an idea what’s happening and to and by whom it’s happening. A place to start if I’m interested.

Despite himself, Garry likes it too. He didn’t want to like it. Doesn’t entirely approve of it. I suspect he considers it cheating on some existential level, like reading the classic comic instead of the book. Nonetheless, he reads it. So, in case you’d like to give it a try, here’s a link for you to click: THE SKIMM SHARE LINK

classic-comics_no_01_three_musketeersNOTE: If you are young, you’ve probably never encountered a classic comic. Pity about that. You haven’t lived until you’ve read the comic book version of an assigned book and used it as the basis of a book report or essay. For which you got an A.

The Skimm gives prizes for sharing their link, by the way. However, no prize would make me write about it if I didn’t like it.

I’m enjoying it. I think you might, too. Not only do I feel a bit better informed in a general kind of way, but I get at least one good chuckle with each read — and it is no more than five minutes of my time.

I can spare five minutes for an overview of the news.

IT’S TRUE! I SAW IT ON THE NEWS!

Introduction – Garry Armstrong


I remember discussions about news coverage more than 50 years ago.  My college radio colleagues and I thought the mainstream media outlets were sellouts, ignoring the real stories and covering their collective butts with government propaganda. Some of us vowed to seek employment with the CBC, The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation where we would have a greater chance to tell the truth.

skydivingLuck intervened and I landed a job with ABC Network News as a 20 something. ABC, coincidentally, was revamping its national and international news format. They wanted new blood. We were encouraged to be fresh and innovative. Newbie newsies like me leapfrogged over veterans from the advent of radio and TV news.

The late 60’s, 70’s and 80’s were the new “golden era” for broadcast news. We had access to newsmakers in the highest places. We were emboldened to take chances even when threatened by power brokers. I always worked in the moment, never fearing the consequences of political windmills I might tilt.

It was a Camelot period for those of us who sought to report the truth. Then everything began to change.

Fast forward ahead to today and the proliferation of 24 hour cable news and social media. Camelot is dead. News — local and network — is controlled by corporate entertainment divisions.

Newbie newsies today don’t have the support or access I did half a century ago, but they still have a bully pulpit and should use it — if they have the courage and conviction to try to create change.


AND NOW, THE NEWS … ALREADY IN PROGRESS


Garry was a news guy for more than 40 years. For most of those years, he was a reporter. You could watch him on television pretty much every day. He covered breaking news. Murder, fires, disasters. Blizzards, hurricanes, politics. Riots. Court cases. Wherever something was happening, there he was. I knew the news from both sides. How it was made, how come some stories got on the air and others did not. What made a story “hot” and why. I have no illusions about the accuracy of media, but I also know how hard reporters work.

BW TV cameras

Reporters mostly don’t choose what they report. They can enterprise projects and sometimes get the green light to do something they believe in. And of course, a reporter can request to be put on a particular story. Sometimes they get a yes, sometimes no. Reporters are employees. They have bosses. The news directors and their directors. Not to mention the people who own the corporation and the sponsors who pay the bills.

Way back in the 1970s, news became entertainment. Before that, it was public service. Maybe it will be again, someday, but for now, news has to make money and get ratings. Therefore, the news will be full of whatever stories news outlets think we want. Hopefully this isn’t a surprise to anyone. You all knew this, right?

That’s how we have wound up with Donald Trump as a presidential candidate. He was entertaining. He brought in viewers and ratings. We watched. Love him or hate him, we tuned in to see him. Now, we stand in imminent danger of seeing a lot more of the Trump than most of us imagined in our darkest nightmares. You get what you pay for.

We expect a lot from news and those who report it. We expect honesty. Stories based on truth. Facts. We hold the news to a higher standard than we hold ourselves. How’s that working out for you? Not so good?

We are all responsible for seeking truth. We don’t have to believe lies. Nobody would get away with making stuff up and presenting it as truth — or news — if we were not predisposed to embrace it. We will get accountability and accuracy from media only when we demand it.

As a final note of irony, apparently the Brits are now — just a wee bit late — Googling “European Union” to discover what they actually voted to dissolve. That’s what happens when you believe what they tell you because it’s what you want to hear.

THE DAILY POST | FALSE

TECHNICOLOR DREAMS AND GENETIC NIGHTMARES – BY TOM CURLEY

A few weeks ago my old friend Ben Taylor sent me a very interesting link to a story about archiving technologies . The story was about how all of our storage media eventually degrades. Film, tape, CDs, DVDs, flash drives, and so on all decay over time. Technicolor, the company that makes films so, technically colorful, has figured out a way to encode and store media on a DNA molecule! Here’s the article.

Basically, it’s not complicated. All of our media is now digital, encoded as a really long string of ones and zeros. DNA is a double helix molecule made up of four proteins CGAT. Cytosine, guanine, adenine and thymine.

teravivos.com

teravivos.com

They can combine in an infinite number of combinations, which is why DNA is such a handy way to store all of life’s genetic information. We also have machines called genetic sequencers that can both read a DNA molecule and build one.

DNA-O-MATIC! web.uri.edu

web.uri.edu

So, what the TECHNICOLOR people did was figure out how to encode the ones and zeros onto a DNA molecule, then build that DNA molecule. How do you play back the material? Build a player that reads the DNA molecule and converts it back to ones and zeros. Burn it onto a DVD and put it into your Blue Ray player.

The cool part is that you can store over 700 terabytes of information on one DNA molecule! Which is pretty much every movie and TV show ever made. The other reason they did this was because they say the DNA molecule is stable and won’t degrade.

But here’s the problem.

DNA MUTATES!!!!!!!

rbssbiology11ilos.wikispaces.com

rbssbiology11ilos.wikispaces.com

That’s how evolution works!

If DNA didn’t mutate, we’d still be four-legged lungfish crawling up out of the surf, looking up at the sky, land and saying: “Well, this is different. Hey Phil! Come on up here. You gotta see this!”

land fish

youtube.com

Now at this point you could argue that DNA usually mutates when cells reproduce.  Sometimes the DNA copies aren’t perfect and that’s what causes the mutation. But the Technicolor DNA molecules are just sitting in a test tube. They are not replicating.

Technicolor-DNA-Archive-2

That’s true. However — there are other things that can make DNA mutate, like radiation. A stray alpha, beta, or gamma particle could come along, hit the molecule, and knock out a quinine here, a cytosine there. After a while, things could change. Not immediately, but after a hundred, five hundred, or a thousand years?

A thousand years from now a group of historians, anthropologists, archaeologists and movie critics could get together to examine a recently discovered cache of late 20th Century movies and TV shows. They were  found buried in a vault archived with a quaint technology utilizing DNA by a long-forgotten company called Technicolor.

theshoreways.com

theshoreways.com

HEAD SCIENTIST: As you all know the discovery of this cache of ancient media has given us an unprecedented opportunity to measure the accuracy of our historical records against actual recordings of history.  You’ve all had a month to watch and review media from the last millennium. What have you found?

SCIENTIST #1: Well, actually some their movies are quite good.  I just watched two fantastic movies, “Ishtar” and “Waterworld”.

HEAD SCIENTIST: Hmmm. Our records indicate they were two of the worst movies ever made.

SCIENTIST #1: I can’t understand why. Did you know that Ishtar was the movie where Betty Davis said “Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.!”  It only makes sense since they were all riding camels.  And Waterworld!  At the end, when Kevin Costner helped ET get back to his spaceship? I have to admit, I cried.

HEAD SCIENTIST: I see.  What about “Star Wars’?

en.wikipedia.org

en.wikipedia.org

SCIENTIST #2: I saw the first three movies starting with “The Phantom Menace”.

HEAD SCIENTIST: And?

SCIENTIST #2: They were really good!  And funny! Casting Groucho Marx as Obi Wan Kenobi and Robin Williams as  young Anakin Skywalker was inspired!

HEAD SCIENTIST: And the next three in the series?

SCIENTIST #3: Not so much. Darth Vader and the Emperor win in the end and destroy the rebellion. It was really depressing.  The only rebel left alive was Jar Jar Binks.

twitter.com

twitter.com

HEAD SCIENTIST: What about “Citizen Kane”? Our records show that as being one of the greatest movies of all time.

SCIENTIST #4: I don’t know why sir. In the first place somebody named Jackie Chan played the part of Kane. He spent the whole movie kicking people and riding on a sled. But he did do his own stunts!

HEAD SCIENTIST: What about “Casablanca?”

SCIENTIST #5: Horrible! Ronald Reagan as Rick and Joan Rivers as Ilsa? What were they thinking? No chemistry!

HEAD SCIENTIST: OK, what about television?

SCIENTIST #6: Quite frankly only one show stood out and it was brilliant.

HEAD SCIENTIST: What was it?

SCIENTIST #6: “Gilligan’s Island.”  Orson Welles as the Skipper, Brad Pitt as Gilligan, Marilyn Monroe as Ginger,  Sally Field as Mary Ann, Helen Mirren and John Barrymore as the Howells and  John Wayne as the professor.! Brilliant casting. And who knew Arthur Miller could write comedy!

sitcomsonline.com

sitcomsonline.com

What have you done Technicolor?  What have you done?

THANKS FOR THE ANGST – ELLIN CURLEY

THANKS FOR THE ANGST, by Ellin Curley

Scientific studies now exist that defend
Stress as something good which we need to extend
Our productive lives,  as we get on in years.
So perhaps we should fuel, not conquer our fears
And dwell on what is scary in the world today
So we can keep our minds sharp and dotage at bay.

That’s easier today than it was in the past
Thanks to round-the-clock, in your face, varied and vast
News media, that seem to excel at frightening
(But not at their job – informing and enlightening!)

google_watching_you_independent_newspaper_24_may_20071

Whenever we search for what we used to call “news”,
Major world events and leaders’ well-reasoned views,
The depths of human depravity appear
In bold print before our eyes or loudly in our ear.
We get endless non-reporting, in-depth and detail,
Of the endless ways in which the conscience can derail

newspaper1

A killer with a torture device collection,
A kidnapper with a sex slave ring connection,
A pervert who goes way beyond weird and bizarre,
A psycho who hoards, God knows what, in his car!

The news keeps us knee-deep in sickos and creeps,
Who are out there for real, not just made up for sweeps!
We’ve been programmed to be on our guard all the time
So we don’t end up being a statistic of crime.
Instead of relating with trust and with ease
We assume those we meet have a mental disease.
You’ve made everyone in the country paranoid;
We’ve all got PTSD now, according to Freud!

Then there are reports that are billed as “public service”
Which really just want to make sure that we’re nervous
About things in our house that can kill our pet,
Diseases we never heard of we’re at risk to get,
Some food or drink we give our grandkids every day
That’s been reported to sicken or kill in some way,
The “fluke” accidents that seem to daily kill and maim,
The fear we’ll die with a Darwin Award in our name.
“Petty” you may say – but the message is clear –
Vigilance is a must to live out the year.

Darwin_Evolve

Thanks to the media we are also aware
Of all the stupidity and ignorance out there.
Not just IN the world, but running it as well
(Running it into the ground and straight to hell)!
Instead of dealing with the problems we must solve
Leaders argue if man “appeared” or “evolved”.
Rational and civil debate has been hijacked
By arguments whether a fact is, in fact, a fact.
“Discussion” is now defined as “loud, angry yelling”
And there’s little hope of the hostilities quelling.
It feels like we’re devolving back to the cave
Or rapidly digging a species sized grave.
That’s because there are no longer systems in place
To keep PEOPLE from destroying the human race!

It may be true that we won’t lose our edge if the press
Artificially elevates our levels of stress.
But the more we’re exposed to greed and insanity,
Selfishness, prejudice, lying, inanity,
The less we care about our brains getting stronger
And our bodies thriving so we can live longer.

NO!

The bombardment of negativity we endure
Has left us conflicted, hopeless and unsure –
Do we really WANT to keep senility at bay?
Or just let our minds slip peacefully away?
Being connected and well-informed these days
Creates angst and despair in so many ways!
We often think,” Why bother getting out of bed?
Long life is a croc! We’d be better off dead”!

NO PROBLEM …

Trick Questions

A Pulitzer-winning reporter is writing an in-depth piece – about you. What are the three questions you really hope she doesn’t ask you?

Here’s the original answer. Same question. Same answer. Different picture.


This must be the interview which celebrates my having won the Blogging Pulitzer, right? No? Has there been a mass shooting in town — and I’m the shooter? The Blackstone has angrily overflowed and washed my house away?

 

72-WNEX Radio_023The aliens have landed and are shacking up in the guest room? The aliens tried to land, but couldn’t find a suitable spot to set down, the driveway being full of cars?

The President is visiting us because he’s run out of foreign countries with which the U.S. is, was or will be at war?

Really — I’m past the age where I have anything left to hide. What could anyone ask about which I haven’t already written and published in a post?

So bring it on. We are media savvy in this household. Ain’t nothin’ you can ask that we can’t answer!