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Profile Information

Name: Sam
Gender: Male
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Current location: Aix-en-Provence
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 16,870

About Me

Moved to France in September of 2018 after buying our apartment in 2017 after the debacle of the election. We're glad to be here, but we continue to be involved with what's happening in the US.

Journal Archives

Just saw 'Cats' and really did like it.

So, it was savaged by the critics(especially Kyle Buchanan at the NYTimes who would seem to be a joyless little shitbird with some serious psych issues), but I found it really a good adaptation of the stage show.

The music still holds up after all these years, far better than some other pieces that Andrew Lloyd Webber has done, and the performances were all top notch. Yes, it is 'over the top' and not realistic, but then it is a musical adapted from a book of poems about cats written by T S Eliot.

If you're after serious cinema, this is not the movie for you. If you like the music, some of which you've heard before('Memories' being the song that was 'the' big hit), and you like dance and visual jokes, you'll have fun.

A holiday wish for Republican friends and lurkers

From a good friend on Facebook, who should be posting here:


I am feeling magnanimous this sacred holiday season - I want to make a wish that will bring happiness to my Republican friends and others who support President Trump.

I fervently hope your prayers are answered and that each of your children and grand children and great-grandchildren become exactly the same type of person as your hero - may they have forever the same sense of decency and morality and acute gift for fair business dealings and sensitivity to the value of others, especially the opposite sex. May your progeny be as faithful to their marriage vows as has been the Christian President you revere. May they learn to refer to others with the same respect the President refers to others - especially the dead who mean so much to other people.

Republicans everywhere: may your dreams come true. May your progeny forever become exactly like your hero in every conceivable way. You will be so proud.
I pray this in Mammon's name.


Here's a link to the original piece from 2008 -


The last paragraphs are telling:

I didn’t vote again until 1976, when I was nineteen and legally registered. Because I was at college out of state, I sent my ballot through the mail. The choice that year was between Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford. Most of my friends were going for Carter, but, as an art major, I identified myself as a maverick. “That means an original,” I told my roommate. “Someone who lets the chips fall where they may.” Because I made my own rules and didn’t give a damn what anyone else thought of them, I decided to write in the name of Jerry Brown, who, it was rumored, liked to smoke pot. This was an issue very close to my heart—too close, obviously, as it amounted to a complete waste. Still, though, it taught me a valuable lesson: calling yourself a maverick is a sure sign that you’re not one.

I wonder if, in the end, the undecideds aren’t the biggest pessimists of all. Here they could order the airline chicken, but, then again, hmm. “Isn’t that adding an extra step?” they ask themselves. “If it’s all going to be chewed up and swallowed, why not cut to the chase, and go with the platter of shit?”

Ah, though, that’s where the broken glass comes in.
Posted by GoneOffShore | Mon Oct 7, 2019, 10:22 AM (0 replies)

Mueller was Ginger Rogers, dancing backwards in heels, teaching the committee what to do

Found this on Facebook and thought that it was a brilliant analysis.

It's a long read and totally worth it. The bolding is mine.

I've started to follow him. He's good.

As I watched the hearings today, I couldn't help but think of how Ginger Rogers had to do everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in high heels, while teaching Fred through rehearsal after rehearsal how to lead her correctly to get to the performance they both wanted.

I know many of you came into this today with certain preconceived notions, and from what I am seeing on my feed, you are mostly sticking to your guns on the way out. I humbly suggest you take a moment, if you haven't already, to challenge your own assumptions and meditate on the meaning of the phrase "wag the dog".

This is what I saw.

Mueller was a masterful Ginger Rogers. He let everyone know in advance with complete clarity what the rules of engagement would be. As the world's foremost authority on what those rules of engagement are and need to be in order for him to complete his mission and hand it off to the next player, he is fully aware that the moment he breaks those rules and steps out of the "four corners" of that specifically defined engagement, then everything he has said or will say will be subject to invalidation and dismissal. He stayed inside the lines masterfully. He spent the day being absolutely clear and resolute in his commitment to stick to that.

He wouldn't even read from his own script/report, requiring that the questioners show up with their own copy of it, further establishing his vernacular as the assumed rules of engagement, raising the bar like nobody else ever has, requiring THEM to read his words back to HIM. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

He refused to answer certain questions and rejected implied assumptions, but any careful review of how he did so reveals exactly why. He spent the entire day training everyone in the room exactly HOW to ask WHAT questions to get the best answers they could given the narrow lane within which he had to work.

To mix metaphors yet again, the Democrats showed up to play checkers. Mueller spent the day teaching them three-dimensional chess. The Republicans couldn't mature past Go Fish.

And it worked. By the end of Act 2, they got it. One by one, the background dancers "fell into line" with Mueller ("I can do this all day" - Captain fucking America), asking the right questions in the right way to collectively bring focus to the real narrative that really matters, gaining momentum, speed and synchronicity.

By the time there were only 4 speakers left, Welch beautifully set it up for the big finale. His line of questions, and Mueller's staccato answers in the affirmative confirming the narrative one damning assumption after another, built up to a crescendo. You could see Mueller's relief that they had finally figured it out. The catalog of irrefutable facts and connecting logic they wove together was (entirely on its own) damning enough to completely validate the need for the 2 year investigation.

Nunes, the clumsy villainous henchman of today's story, knew he was handily beaten in this dance-off, that resorting to his earlier bellicose nonsense would not serve him well, and had to resign himself to just sheepishly, clumsily and insincerely repeating the same career accolades with which his democratic counterparts had so much more authentically lauded Mueller throughout the day.

Schiff, in one of the finest performances I've ever witnessed in any hearing in my lifetime, then re-frames the narrative completely, rejecting the petty squabbles to date with a quick quarter turn to the left ("Let's open the aperture" - brilliant!) flowing into a graceful cross-body-lead (nod to Tish Laemmle), aggregating all of the dance lessons of the day masterfully in one final routine.

Step by step, he choreographs a winning narrative and powers through the climax, with Mueller's Rogers gleefully spinning, skipping and dipping to Schiff's Astaire with a slightly mischievous smile and just a bit of flourish, making it look like it was all Adam (Bless you, Ginger).

After clearly reminding us all that Sheriff Mueller had to play by the rules (in ways that won't make him popular to the rubes today but will establish him as the torch bearer of justice in the history books), Schiff then provided a denouement worthy of Aaron Sorkin (or to keep the metaphor going, Dwight Taylor and Mark Sandrich) by none-too-subtley following up the assumptive close with a clear list of actions we can expect to see in a series of sequels.

And all I could think of while listening to the closing argument was "Speaker of the House Schiff, President Schiff, Supreme Court Justice Schiff - or is there time for all three?"

Ok, your turn to now flood me with your weak, pathetic arguments. Be sure that I will defend to the death your right to be so wrong. But please, be "en pointe."

Added on edit - I've been asked to add a link and name - Efraim Wyeth - https://www.facebook.com/efraim.wyeth/posts/10157132868380042

Presently in Aix-en-Provence - 26C and 43% humidity at 22h.

The ceiling fans are going, there's one other fan, and the windows are open(having to kill some mosquitoes, but fewer than we had in Philadelphia) with a bit of north to south breeze.
Tomorrow is going to be hot - 38C. Hotter on Wednesday at 39C. Friday is predicted at 41C.
Next week should be better. I hope.
Lots of water, ice cubes in the rosé, linen shirts, espadrilles, and straw hats. And plenty of sunscreen.

Kaiser Wilhelm and Tr**P

One of the few things that Kaiser Wilhelm II, who ruled Germany from 1888 to 1918, had a talent for was causing outrage. A particular specialty was insulting other monarchs. He called the diminutive King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy “the dwarf” in front of the king’s own entourage. He called Prince (later Tsar) Ferdinand, of Bulgaria, “Fernando naso,” on account of his beaky nose, and spread rumors that he was a hermaphrodite. Since Wilhelm was notably indiscreet, people always knew what he was saying behind their backs. Ferdinand had his revenge. After a visit to Germany, in 1909, during which the Kaiser slapped him on the bottom in public and then refused to apologize, Ferdinand awarded a valuable arms contract that had been promised to the Germans to a French company instead.
New Yorker

Problem with 'Numbers'

I'm trying to formulate a spread sheet in Numbers(IOS version) on my MacBookPro - When I type in the amounts, they are formatted as text and I can't get the columns to sum up. I've tried selecting all and formatting as currency and as numbers. Even when I format individual cells they revert back to text as soon as I type something in the cell.
It's just a very simple sheet tracking expenditures over the year for my accountant.
Any clues? I've used Numbers before and haven't had this problem.

Some thoughts on BREXIT from Mark Knopfler's brother David

This is a bit of long read, but worth it. And it relates to the same problems that exist in the US. David posted in on Facebook and it has now been shared over 25 times.

By around 2010, no one in human history had ever lived longer, more enviable, happier, or richer lives than those of Western European’s... The many wonders of much derided liberal, Social Democracy in action. The hard-Right hates it because it keeps the worst excesses of capitalism caged by regulation; And because it isn’t soviet Communism, it’s inaccurately dismissed by the hard left as a “neoliberal project.” What it actually is however is democracy in action, dependent on who the peoples of its 28 nation states choose to elect as their MEPs. It has, by and large, chosen to move cautiously but consciously in the direction of their more progressive collective policy decisions and the strength of their vision. At its worst it has generated fall-out, and some failures, and the playing field is still not entirely level in all aspects, but at its best it is the single largest and most successful example of democracy in action ever achieved by humanity.

Meanwhile, the last person on the planet who still thinks 1917 Leninism has something to offer, one Jeremy Corbyn, moronically three line whipped the triggering of Article 50 shortly after the infamous 2016 referendum, allowing the vulture capitalists (who have given steroids to Thatcherism within the Conservative Party) to drive Brexit onto the UK’s statutes, where it continues to sit festering, like a bloated, naked, leper-emperor, creating comprehensive chaos out of order because our MPs don’t have the courage to take their hats off to facts and revoke it. This grotesque insanity is being window dressed, like lipstick and a tutu on a sickening pig, by disreputable liars as respecting the national interest and the will of the people. Fact check... It is neither such thing, even if we have to concede it was, in a flicker of madness, in June 2016, our majority expression... the fury of the people’s misdirected anger at terrible Westminster policy, which, by the way, the E.U. almost constantly mitigates against.

We absolutely know what Science, Business, the Union’s and the Arts, as well as every progressive institution on the planet, think of Brexit... Almost without a dissenting voice, they think it’s a stinking, steaming mountain of fetid bullshit. That the Right have even co-opted critical elements of our once most beloved BBC, to buy into this collective, destructive hysteria will be something that will be very carefully dissected when the public inquiry into this sh**show finally commences, when sanity once again prevails in our parliament and nationalism is banished back to the history books, written in tears, about Berlin in 1945, where it was ceremonially bombed to nothing but dust and Hitler’s burnt bones along with it. The bitterest of regrets were also buried there... that the good people of Germany had ever been suckered into the seductive lies of reactionary sociopathic madmen who promised the moon and used scapegoats and race to bend others to their twisted will, that of Herr Hitler and his willing executioners, comprehensively dismantling the institutions of the State on the tide of populist dogma they had unleashed. Those regrets were gratefully replaced, after the war, by the phoenix of peace and hope, the dream of progressive moderation, that became the European Union. It functions better when not undermined by the laziness of electorates unwilling to spend five minutes at the voting booth to keep destructive nationalists, like Farage, out of power sending them back underneath the stones from where they have been allowed to slither too easily in these difficult recessionary times.

We can choose to enter a dark age by following deluded egotists, who dream, pied piper like, of advancing their personal power through the triumphs of their infantile will or we can return to the idea that have made the powerhouse of the European Union the remarkable and globally envied work in progress it has become.

We really shouldn’t and needn’t, even at this critical stage, allow a billionaire plutocrat in Moscow, nor the threatened neo-cons of the neoliberal aspects of the US, define for Europe, nor its member state, the United Kingdom, what best serves the real European or national interest. #RevokeArticle50

Is Bernie 2.0 Eugene McCarthy redux?

Some thoughts from Dick Polman in Philadelphia, who writes for WHYY and The Atlantic, among others.

Bernie Sanders 2.0 has officially launched. No surprise there. But his candidacy is probably doomed to fail. He seems destined to be Gene McCarthy 2.0.

Anyone remember that guy? McCarthy, an iconoclastic liberal senator, was the pied piper for disaffected Democrats in the early primaries of 1968. His insurgent antiwar candidacy galvanized young people and prompted President Lyndon Johnson to forego re-election. “Clean Gene” (his nickname back in the day) did not win the nomination, but, having enjoyed his historic moment, he tried to replicate it by running again in 1972. He was crushed. He tried to run again in 1976, this time as an independent. Crushed again. He tried again, as a Democrat, in 1992 — and he was crushed again. He was a terminally embittered guy by the time I interviewed him at length in 1987; according to my notes, he groused that the American electorate had become “over-advertised, over-drugged and over-infotained.”

Clean Gene’s moment came and went. So has Bernie’s.

More at the link

Why Bernie Sanders is probably toast

Well, she's certainly starting off well, trying to limit press freedom.

She's not a victim here.

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