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March 06, 2021


Appeared in my feed as well, several, actually, as I had a few YouTube windows open for deejaying purposes.

that was impressive. damn.

I have to say, as an old Metallica fan who stopped buying their stuff starting with the album this song was on, that’s probably the most interested I’ve ever been in hearing Enter Sandman - a song I’ve heard countless times, usually not by active choice.

Metallica’s drummer, Lars Ulrich, gets a lot of sh*t from the more hardcore metal community, more or less for sucking. My take on him is that he’s best when simply plowing ahead hard and fast, almost like a punk drummer on steroids, but that things go a little wrong when he’s being ... I don’t know ... let’s say “clever.”

I never thought of Enter Sandman as one of his more clever efforts, but hearing it broken down like that, it is. It seems he pulled it off on this one. Way to go, Lars!

Also, too, when I saw Larnell Lewis playing that fusion tune in the intro, I was thinking Enter Sandman would be utterly beneath him - not because it’s metal, but because it’s dumb old Enter Sandman. Live and learn.

Sorry for the serial comments, but I’d like see his take on a Meshuggah tune. I doubt it would be a listen-once-and-play affair.

As somebody to whom all of this is Greek, I just want to say that it nonetheless delights me, totally including hsh's serial comments!

Enter Sandman and the Metallica album as a whole is a wholly respectable performance from Lars. And I had thought that Lars took a lot of undeserved stick just because he's so bougie in a blue collar genre, but then I watched a few live videos from recent years and his live drumming has become truly atrocious. Not atrocious as in "can't play his old parts" but atrocious as in "can't actually keep time."

Lewis picked up a lot of the feel on the first listen. The hard part is picking up the transitions and the shifts in feel. I've heard that song so many times that it's really easy for me to find the pulse, but it's still got a lot of nuance that is not obvious.

Meshuggah would be hard in large part because they work so much against repetition.


I'd actually love to see what Lewis could do with a Gojira song. Mario Duplantier was profoundly influenced by Lars Ulrich, and has that same self-taught feel and quirk, but has way more discipline.


On an entirely unmusical note, I once saw a documentary called Mission to Lars in which a reasonably well-known print journalist here took her Lars Ulrich-obsessed autistic brother on an odyssey/road-trip to a Metallica gig, with no guarantee they would ever meet Lars Ulrich. It was rather moving, about family relationships and lots of other stuff, and when they did end up meeting LU I was rather impressed with how kind he was.

(I have just looked it up, and he wasn't autistic, he had Fragile X syndrome).

Other than that, all I have to say is that as far as Messhugah is concerned, the name alone gives me unbelievable pleasure.

Also, too, when I saw Larnell Lewis playing that fusion tune in the intro, I was thinking Enter Sandman would be utterly beneath him

Adam Neely, one of the YouTubers i watch regularly, is a professional bassist in the NYC area. went to school for jazz composition (IIRC), plays in a ton of bands, knows everything there is to know about the subject, AFAICT.

few years ago he was asked to show how he learns songs for gigs. so he did one video of learning a modern dance show's worth of original music in the back of an Uber on the way to the gig. and, he also did a segment in a different video, of his process of transcribing the bass part to The Cure's "Just Like Heaven" in preparation for a wedding band gig. now, that's a great song, IMO. but it doesn't even approach complex.

so, the video if him listening to the song and entering the notes into his chart making software, by ear. and there's a lot of him going "OK, yup. OK, we're doing this part, again. and again." and by the end of it, he's filled up the score with bar upon bar of the identical four-bar phrase the bass plays. so by the end of it, he's showing off how to condense it all down with liberal use of the "repeat those last four bars" notation.

speaking of politicians who suck: Kyrsten Sinema sucks.

For Example

A full-time minimum-wage earner makes less than $16k a year. This one’s a no-brainer. Tell Congress to #RaiseTheWage!

Kyrsten Sinema, March 11 2014

Kyrsten Sinema today

he did one video of learning a modern dance show's worth of original music in the back of an Uber on the way to the gig.

when I was gigging a fair amount, the phone calls I would hate to get were from singer-songwriters who wanted to know if you would learn their 25 original songs from some demo recordings they had up on bandcamp or similar, for a gig 2 or 3 days hence, and oh yeah I can pay you $50 but there might also be food.

Yeah, no thanks. Or, maybe, depending on who else is in the band, but you have to guarantee me some more gigs, and they can't pay $50.

Got one of those once from a drummer friend who was supposed to be on the gig but he was sick as a dog, and oh yeah the gig was that night.

Learned the set well enough to get through it while coding away that afternoon, grabbed a bit to eat and drove up to the venue. Got set up, ready to go, grab a beer. The singer shows up. With a drummer.

Oh, sorry. Steve didn't tell me he had it covered. Can I give you gas money?

Playing music is fantastic. Playing music for a living is a non-stop juggling act.

Haven't checked out the video yet, will do so later this evening. Looking forward to it!

I have no way to know what others are thinking, of course. But it occurs to me that thete could be an opportunity here.

All the Republican Senators are going to vote against the overall relief bill. It will get passed via reconciliation anyway. It will be challenging to make political points over their opposition to any one piece of it.

But how if the minimum wage increase gets brought up as a standalone bill? Now every Senator has to vote Yes or No on that alone. Voting against that would be a gift to anyone writing ads against you. Maybe even enough to turn some red seats blue -- minimum wage increase being quite popular with Republicans who are not members of Congress.

Whatever Sinema's personal motivation, the path forward seems obvious. Whether deliberately or not, she may have done the Democrats a favor here.

hey now.

I've heard of snarky puppy but am not really hip to them at all, so Lewis is guy who has not really been on my radar. He's a really good drummer - great time, really clean execution.

The deal with picking stuff up like this on the fly is having a deep repertoire of song forms in your head, and then noticing and remembering where the thing you're listening to right now is the same as or different from the normal template. So, stuff like oh yeah, double chorus, but the first one is short. Or, the last 8 bars of the verse is half time. Or, noticing where the ensemble hits are.

You can't remember everything, so you have to acquire an intuition for what the significant things to remember are.

Lewis basically killed this, the man has huge ears and is an extremely attentive listener. I also loved the way he started weaving in stuff from his own style and vocabulary in the last verse, once he got comfortable and confident that he was remembering the form correctly.

It was also interesting to me to hear Sandman with a drummer like Lewis on board. His sense of time is much fatter than Ulrich's, at least on this. He sits a little further back in the time feel, rather than being on top and pushing the time. It was like listening to a metal band with an R&B drummer on board, somebody like Al Jackson from the MGs or Roger Hawkins from the Swampers. It was interesting because in the fusion thing that starts the clip he actually his kind of on top of the time. I think maybe he was sitting back a bit so that things didn't get ahead of him. In any case, it put a really different spin on the tune.

Big fun, and it's always great to watch how the cats who are really doing it do it. Thanks LJ!

@russell -- What is it about music?

I was going to a UU church during the same years when I played the fiddle in a local contra dance band. Church acquaintances knew that, in fact some of them came to a a couple of dances we had in the barn. Also, a bandmate and I played for a Sunday service once, by pre-arrangement with the minister, who was a friend of mine.

After that there was one woman who thought she had a claim on our musical presence ad hoc, for no $, and not just for church events. She was very pissy about it when I dared to say no.


My 7:02 was in response to russell's 6:18, not the intervening posts. Also meant lightheartedly, but I have a (presumably post-vax) headache, so am feeling rather crabby. Or crabbier than usual.

Snarky Puppy. I heard them in an Uber before the pandemic and was at least impressed enough to remember the name. I had no idea. What a world!

JanieM, I got the email last night to make my vax appointment. I got March 16th at the county megasite. I’m looking forward to having a headache and being crabby. I’m still going to stay cautious, but won’t worry as much. Now I just have to get through the next 10 days without being superstitiously paranoid about getting COVID right before I’m vaccinated!

hsh -- LOL. Glad you got an appt. Superstitions notwithstanding, you'll be fine. :-)

Yesterday was my second dose of the Pfizer, and although I haven't heard as many stories as with the Moderna, they do warn you that the 2nd dose might be worse than the 1st.

1st dose -- all I had was a sore arm, and not a very bad one at that. Today is just unpleasant, not horrible. Headachy, generally achy -- and I'm very tired. The sore arm started last night, the rest of it took about 24 hours to kick in.

It's worth it! Like you, I intend to stay cautious for a good long while, but it feels good that we're moving along, I mean collectively.

What is it about music?

No idea, really.

I guess maybe it's a thing where it looks like you're enjoying doing it, so it can't really be work.

Or, you know, you're a performer, so your personal time is public property anyway.

vax appointment

My wife had her first shot last Tuesday. I think she got the Moderna. She hasn't had any negative reaction.

So, a data point.

Late night question, especially for the Brits: What's your take, if any, on the rift in the royal family?

I have my own opinions, but I'll save them so as not to force the topic into a certain channel from the get-go.

Just a little late night light entertainment, not important enough for a front page post but quite suitable for wakefulness at 2:00 a.m.

Only just got to this - Sunday afternoon.

1. Another data point: I had my first vaccination (Pfizer) three weeks ago. No ill effects except a slightly sore arm for about 8 hours. Next one is scheduled for last week of April.

2. Royal family situation: it's my opinion that apart from out and out racists, almost everyone in the UK felt/feels fondly towards Prince Harry, remembering that small, white-faced boy walking behind his mother's coffin (under some stiff-upper-lip duress as it now turns out) and wishes him well, and hoped this story would end happily. As an adult he has cemented this good feeling, even among republicans of my acquaintance, for his service in Afghanistan, his honesty about his mental health (which has done much to lift the stigma from what is one of the commonest causes of death among young men), and his other good works (his charitable foundation in southern Africa, and especially the Invictus Games). His obvious "common touch" (shudder at the expression, but it is very clear he has it, and his mother had it too), also endears him to a lot of people, and his choice of a mixed-race wife meant a tremendous amount to people of colour in the UK, and probably beyond.

Because of all this, and her beauty and other qualities, I think it is true to say that he and Meghan were very popular indeed with the public around and after the wedding. But there is still a lot of racism in this country, and the British tabloid press is particularly adept at expressing and exploiting it, and is itself (particularly the accursed Mail) very misogynist, so the press coverage of everything to do with Meghan was pretty appalling, particularly when contrasted with their oleaginous coverage of Kate Middleton (whom they had also tormented, before she and William were engaged). So many stories were circulated making Meghan sound like a somewhat highhanded, demanding diva, including towards Kate M. And gossip flowed that William had warned Harry to slow down until he was sure of "this girl", and that Harry had bitterly resented his tone and the expression.

So this was the background, and it's impossible to know exactly the truth of most of it. And then, with Harry and Meghan understandably reeling under the onslaught of negative coverage, the Palace (as usual) was not up to the job of supporting and helping them find ways to cope with it. There is also the possibility that courtiers, who came in for a lot of stick after the Princess Diana affair, were behind a lot of the negativity towards Meghan, maybe especially after the appallingly trashy behaviour of her father and half-sister. Again, impossible to know the truth of it.

What is understandable is that an independent, self-made woman looked at this situation and thought "I don't have to put up with this", and that Harry, observing the stress his wife was under and suffering himself from a feeling that he could not protect her from it, and that she was suffering just as his mother had suffered, decided to take advantage of his opportunity to escape what had otherwise seemed the ironclad understanding of "how things are done". And Meghan, with her connections and her different viewpoint, offered a view of how to do that.

Maybe Meghan is a highhanded, demanding diva. And maybe the two couples do have a difficult relationship (particularly after William's rumoured affair a couple of years ago). But one thing seems pretty clear: the Queen liked Meghan, and nobody in the actual family would have wanted things to go like this. And the amount of misogyny and racism in the British press is clear too.

My first reaction on seeing that the Palace announced they would look into accusations that Meghan had bullied staff was that this was retaliation for the Oprah interview. But, as a republican friend pointed out, after the article in the Times about the allegations, maybe the Palace had to do it in the interests of being a responsible employer. I don't know. We shall see.

Now, Janie, having given you this lengthy (if not particularly enlightening) answer, what is your take on it?

The Royals are rifting again? Goodness. I shall have to pay more attention to the tabloids at the supermarket checkout. The Times weighs in.

GftNC -- thanks for such a long, thoughtful reply. It gives me a lot to think about, and I'll pass a link to it along to a friend of mine whose interest is the main reason I ever hear about these matters.

bobbyp -- thanks for the link. For once I did actually read the article.

Right now I'm supposed to be going out for a long walk with a friend, and I'm trying to figure out whether I have the energy. But I'll be back to this later today. My basic summary is "a pox on both their houses" -- but naturally, as GftNC's analysis indicates, it's never that simple where human beings are concerned.

In the meantime, this kind of sums up my take, but more pithily and archly than I could ever do:

According to The Times of London, the two met in person that March when Oprah “found herself in London,” as one does, “and was invited by Meghan to meet her at Kensington Palace,” as one is.

bobbyp -- thanks for the link. For once I did actually read the article.

You mean to say you do not religiously read all my links to the bitter end? LOL. I understand completely.

Data point: Had dose #2 of the Pfizer vaccine last week. My shoulder was very sore for 12 hours, but no other side effects.

Data point: Prince Charles and I were born on the same day, the same year. Is there any hope for him to ascend to the throne?

Ah, Marina Hyde, how I love her. Her ridicule of the British press is perfect in so many ways, not just the wonderful, painfully accurate phrase bolded by me below:

Naturally you can see why some small-pond UK pundits simply can’t handle the Sussexes’ move to America. It’s a horrendous moment when you realise your competition for royal stories and interviews is no longer some necrotic dipsomaniac on a rival tabloid, but Oprah.

You mean to say you do not religiously read all my links to the bitter end? LOL. I understand completely.

I don't read anyone's links religiously, I don't know how you all have the time. I suppose it's partly a matter of interest and time apportionment.

But actually, I read yours more often than a lot of them, because you're probably the person on this blog that I'm closest to politically, and it's nice to have ammunition.

Data point: John Lewis and I were born on the same day, ten years apart. I take some kind of weird comfort from this. As for Charles -- my bet would be that he does ascend the throne, but not for very long, one way or another.


GftNC -- "some necrotic dipsomaniac on a rival tabloid" is a great line.

i share a birthday with another, somewhat more famous, lover of aphorisms: Confucius.

hsh, I got covid between my two Moderna shots. The second shot made me much sicker for 36 hours than the covid, although it could have been the combination.

After a year of pretty strict isolation it was quite surprise.

All good now.

Good news, Marty!

‘All good now’ is good indeed. Glad you’re past it!!

Data point: Prince Charles and I were born on the same day, the same year.

I beat you both by one year.

Prince Charles and I were born on the same day, the same year. Is there any hope for him to ascend to the throne?

It's almost inevitable that he will do so, I would say. As for you, bobbyp, not so much. On the whole, I'd be grateful if I were you.

What is it about music?

No idea, really.

I guess maybe it's a thing where it looks like you're enjoying doing it, so it can't really be work.

I suspect it's more a supply-and-demand problem. There are so many folks who play, some extremely well, that anybody looking to book a live music group has lots of choices. Good choices. So they can pay peanuts -- which is why I try to hit the tip jar heavily.

Data point: got the first Moderna shot end of last month. Slightly sore deltoid the next day, but nothing resembling a real side effect.

Kaiser had signs up saying the reaction to the second shot was frequently greater. Guess I'll see.

Of course, there's the detail that, by the time we get most people vaccinated, we may need another, updated, vaccine shot to address the new variants.

Question: What is the difference between an armadillo or a trombone player found dead on a road?

Answer: There's a remote possibility that the armadillo was on the way to a gig.

What's your take, if any, on the rift in the royal family?

I hope it's the first step in the downfall of the monarchy and that the aristocracy goes with it as well.

I used to think that it's kind of nice to have a queen and all that, and in these crazy times she's a voice of reason. But the more one looks into the actual details of the matter with a bit of distance, the more it becomes clear that there's just too much unaccountable power and wealth shielded by an archaic system that is undermining the UK as a modern democracy.

Of course the royals themselves are only part of the problem and what we really need is constitutional reform.

Yeah, long shot, I know...

I share my birthday (and year) with Rachel Maddow.

I share my birthday (and year) with Rachel Maddow.

No fooling?...

I see Marty lobbied successfully for the expansion of Obamacare.

Good on him. See? All you have to do is ask.

GftNC: Now, Janie, having given you this lengthy (if not particularly enlightening) answer, what is your take on it?

It was enlightening for me, because it gave me a vantage point that I didn’t have. Given the messiness of the topic, it was lucid and concise, and I doubt I’ll be able to meet that standard. So thanks. I’ll try to live up to it in my reply, a task that seemed feasible at 2 a.m. but that looks pretty daunting now.

I’ve read bobbyp’s NYT link and the Marina Hyde piece. Beyond that, my knowledge is slim. I have a friend who pays a lot of attention to the royal family, so a lot of my impressions have been filtered a certain way, through that friend’s angle on the situation.

My earlier “a pox on both their houses” was obviously inadequate, because I meant the Windsors on the one hand, and H&M on the other. But the links, especially the Hyde piece, have reminded me of the huge role played by the tabloid press, a role that I tend to discount because I never pay any attention to it. Maybe that’s because I’m American, maybe it’s because I don’t actually look at actual newspapers anymore at all. Either way, maybe it should be “a pox on all their houses”?

This line of Hyde’s – you’ve been outmanoeuvred by an emotional wellness podcaster. It’s like being out-strategised by kale -- hits some of my notes. I didn’t even know that Meghan was an emotional wellness podcaster, and maybe she actually isn’t, it’s just a form of sarcastic humor. But in fact I’d have said something like that even before this exchange, though without Hyde’s sharp, eloquent humor: Meghan and Harry’s pronouncements all sound to me as though they’re composed by a process that involves taking the brochures from several dozen wellness workshops, chopping them into bits, tossing the bits in the air, and taking the words that came out on top of the pile to make sound bites out of.

It’s content-free pap, as far as I’m concerned. Self-aggrandizing content-free pap, to be more accurate. Whiny self-aggrandizing content-free pap, to carry it even further.

This spills over into my personal response to H&M….which is based on a small amount of internet reading (not much more than the occasional headline) and a few minutes of videos of interviews they’ve given. Harry isn’t very interesting, and Meghan simpers. My response to her is like my response to advertising: I’m being played.

I have no way of knowing whether Meghan is actually consciously manipulating her listeners in the way that advertisers attempt to do. Even so, what I’m tempted to say when I listen to her is that she’s a Kardashian without the talent (snark intended), one of those people who’s famous for being famous – a category of people that offends all kinds of my political and personal sensibilities.

I haven’t given enough weight to the role of the press in this situation, but I feel like Meghan thinks she deserves a global platform that she has done absolutely nothing to earn. She married into a family that has a platform – okay, for dodgy class-structure political reasons, but with a long history and a very definite set of “rules,” written and not, that require people to make trade-offs that Meghan wasn’t willing to make. Now that she’s renounced the platform she married into, why should anyone give a damn what this California wellness podcaster has to say about anything whatsoever?

From another angle: I admired Diana. Maybe she was a horrible person in person, but as you (GftNC) said several times, I will never have any way of knowing the truth about that. She got a very raw deal, both with the situation and with that stick Charles, but she carried a huge Jungian-style archetype – the princess – in public with grace, most of the time. She married into a role that gave her a platform, and she used it well, and for other people. Again, most of the time.

Meghan Markle married into a similar role, and then seems to have decided that she could renounce the role but keep the platform. But she’s too damned full of herself to leave room for anything that might be useful for the rest of us.

I fault Oprah….and I suppose myself, for paying any attention whatsoever.

There’s more, but this is far too long already. I’d like to say something about the airing of dirty laundry and family drama in public, but that will have to wait, or I'll never get anything useful done today. I know, I started this.....

Sitting in my car right now while the nurses observe us to see if we have any reaction to our first Pfizer vaccine. Five minutes to go.

Meghan and Harry’s pronouncements all sound to me as though they’re composed by a process that involves taking the brochures from several dozen wellness workshops, chopping them into bits, tossing the bits in the air, and taking the words that came out on top of the pile to make sound bites out of.

I can't disagree! And this did make me laugh.

I suppose I'm more tolerant because a) I have seen the effect of some of Harry's work for others (he is very like his mother, for what that's worth, and she was very new-agey and into idiotic stuff, despite the other good work she did), and b) in the lead-up to their wedding there was a lot about how Meghan had, even as a schoolgirl, been in a way a sort of activist, and other activities of hers which led one to believe that she had been working for what I would consider good causes for much of her adult life.** And after the Grenfell Tower tragic fire, for example, she went and worked with some of the survivors and other refugee women who set up a community kitchen, who then brought out a cookery book for which she wrote a foreword etc, all of which generated coverage and sales which would otherwise have been far less. It is also definitely the case that right-on activities which would find favour with me, would not necessarily endear themselves to the necrotic dipsomaniacs of the tabloid (and other) press.

**An extract from a positive piece on MM before the wedding from a tabloid and which I link, contains this section:

Describing how passers-by in her leafy Valley neighbourhood would mistake her mother for her nanny due to the differences in their skin colour, she described how her father took apart and customised a Barbie set so she could have a black mother doll, a white father doll and a child in each colour.

She also wrote movingly about how her mother was called the “N-word” at the height of the LA riots and how she was pegged as “ethnically ambiguous” by the acting industry.

Having faced such discrimination, it’s hardly surprising that Meghan started campaigning for equality from an early age.

Having lobbied then-US first lady Hillary Clinton to get a washing-up liquid commercial changed that suggested only women did the dishes, the 11-year-old Meghan resolved to make a difference.

Twenty years on she would make a 10-minute speech to the UN in her capacity as women’s advocate for participation and leadership in which she declared: “I am proud to be a woman and a feminist.”


So despite the "content-free pap" of their pronouncements, which you rightly skewer, I suppose I give them the benefit of the doubt, because of things they've done before, and what I take to be their values.

We shall see how it all pans out.

Footnote 1: After what happened with Diana, I fault almost everyone involved for not anticipating this mess. Meghan herself is probably least culpable on that score, given that she's not British. But still: how starry-eyed (about Harry? about status? I dunno) do you have to be to imagine that marrying into that family isn't going to be...complicated, in exactly the ways it actually turned out to be.

GftNC -- you put the burden of responsibility for this mostly on the family, but Harry and Meghan were not young when they met, and you'd think Harry, who plays up the role of his mother's fate so publicly, would have been more aware of what was likely to happen than he seems to have been. Maybe he thought things had changed enough so that they could successfully navigate rough waters. Again, I dunno.

We crossed in the mail, so to speak.

I had never heard of Meghan Markle before she started seeing Harry. That means nothing, since I pay the absolute minimum of attention that a sentient being can pay in this era to the entertainment industry.

But as to her being ethnically ambiguous -- a propos of nothing much except my own progression of understandings: she had been in the public eye (because of dating Harry) for quite a while before I got clued in that she was of mixed race. She's no darker than I am (I got the Italian genes, not my mother's pale ones), and the ambiguity thing is in the same ballpark as my daughter getting asked, e.g. on the subway, whether she's like, Turkish? Arabic? (She's rather exotic looking.) I was mistaken for black more than once as a kid.

Point being, I'm familiar with this kind of ambiguity, so maybe I'm not as surprised by it as some people. Plus I'm actually white, so I don't in the end get hit with the downside.

I didn't know about the work she had done before she met Harry -- thanks for cluing me in about that.

how she was pegged as “ethnically ambiguous” by the acting industry.

Is it possible to find a bigger can of worms for discussion purposes? ...

Is it possible to find a bigger can of worms for discussion purposes? ...

Answering my own question:



(Ducks and runs away.)

As for ethnic ambiguity, 23AndMe says the point at which people tend to self-identify as black is 27% Sub-Saharan African.

oh, b.t.w., the GOP is a death cult:

Cheering parents watched as children tossed surgical masks into a fire outside the Idaho Capitol in Boise on Saturday as more than 100 people gathered to protest mask mandates as an affront to their civil liberties.

The rally was one of several held statewide in opposition to the coronavirus-related requirements, which health experts have said remain crucial even as vaccines are distributed and the number of new reported cases has dropped.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) has never implemented a statewide mask requirement, though nearly a dozen areas of the state have local restrictions, including Boise. For months, Little has been at odds with Lt. Gov Janice McGeachin (R) over pandemic restrictions (in Idaho, the governor and lieutenant governor run on separate tickets). McGeachin vehemently opposes any mask mandates.

McGeachin, who appeared in a video last fall that suggested the pandemic “may or may not be occurring,” was photographed speaking at the Boise protest Saturday.

please expire.

I don't think I did put the burden mostly on "the family", assuming you mean the royal family. I put it mostly on the press, and perhaps to an extent on "the Palace" which might mean some of the senior family, but is just as likely to mean the machine (ie how things "have always been done") or the courtiers, who (according to Diana at least) are prone to selectively leak poison. I don't know (except about the press - I know about them!)

(She's rather exotic looking.)

There's a context implied, hopefully obviously. Never mind skin color, when my kids were little and taking swimming lessons at the town beach, my daughter was usually the only dark-haired kid there. She stood out quite strikingly, which took some getting used to on my part.

I don't think I did put the burden mostly on "the family", assuming you mean the royal family.

Okay, I misread your emphasis.


As to cleek's 5:38: I have to ask myself why I'me even surprised that the same people who think they have a right to, and a need for, automatic weapons in the grocery store also don't think they have any responsibility for the public health. Death cult indeed.

Fair enough. And on the death cult, we can all agree.

My impression is that among the brits I know on facebook who have made some comment, (all, I think have lived in Japan), there seems to be an age split, with the older wondering (some quite strongly) why they (Harry and Meghan) don't shut up and stop whinging while the younger have a bit of sympathy and are more than a little suspicious about the timing of the pushback. Though that might be because I'm lumping Aussies with Brits (a number of them on my FB), who have an anti monarchy streak. I don't do twitter, so I wonder what opinions are like there. (though there seems to be different 'twitospheres' so the idea that there is one twitter might mark me out)

Since we who have starting receiving the vaccines are noting data points, note these as well:


please expire

It could be we are witnessing the end stages.

If only we could be so lucky.

If only we could be so lucky.

If only.

But even that isn't the hopeful thought I wish it could be. The Soviet Union collapsed, but look what we've got over there now. That, plus this sentence:

Gorbachev tried to reform the Soviet Communist Party, and he remains reviled among the Soviet faithful to this day.

is a reminder, as if we needed another one, that authoritarianism doesn't die, it only, maybe, if we're lucky, goes a bit dormant for a while before flaring up again.

But then, before I get too gloomy, a reverse reminder:

It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succor of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.

-- Gandalf

After a year of pretty strict isolation it was quite surprise.

I would think so. That’s pretty nuts. I’m glad you’re okay.

After a year of pretty strict isolation it was quite surprise.

Is it possible that you picked it up when you went to get your first shot? I thought about that the whole time I was waiting in line the first time, when I was around more people than I had seen outside my tiny family bubble for the entire year. Masked, yes, and sort of distanced, but not perfectly.

Glad you're okay now, anyhow

please expire

Evolution (whether or not they believe in it) in action. Unfortunately, except for viruses, it can take a while.

Our vaccine site was a huge parking lot on the other side of the street from a Kaiser Permanente hospital. You drive up, someone looks over your paperwork and ID to verify that you are eligible, and marks the windshield of the car with how many vaccines to prep. You pull forward and someone takes your temperature. You pull forward and get guided to a lane where you go no more than three cars deep and stay in your car. The nurse comes by and gives you a shot. You pull forward to a waiting area where you park for 15 more minutes while they check to see if you will have a reaction and give you your paperwork. Then they check with you and if all is well, send you on your way. I never left my car and we spoke with three nurses the whole time.

nous, how's the weather out there? ;-)

When I got my shot on Friday, the wind chill was in the single digits. It was probably even colder when I got my first jab, since that was on a very cold, crisp winter evening.

I could be wrong, but I don't think anyone is doing vaccinations outdoors in Maine. This was an interesting project, the refitting of the grandstand at Scarborough Downs (former) racetrack as a mass vaccination site.

Glad you got yours!

The vaccine rollout here in MA is, somewhat famously, a train wreck. Appointments are mostly or completely scheduled via websites, and the websites are just really poorly designed, with very little co-ordination between vaccine sites, even when they are operated by the same organization (e.g. CVS or similar).

Between that and the daily public transportation fiasco, it’s giving governance here in the People’s Republic quite a black eye. Charlie Baker, everybody’s favorite moderate (R), is not looking too good right now. Whether it’s his fault or not, the buck stops at his desk.

Weather is cool but nice. Nurses were talking to each other about how they cried more on the job in this last year than ever before and how they had almost quit from the strain and despair.

Thus endeth my ethnographic notes from an LA County vax site.

The only place where Gorbachev has an untainted good reputation seems to be Germany (we owe it to him after all that the country got reunited).

Speaking of Gorbachev, his Pizza Hut ad was on LGM


So JanieM really dislikes Meghan, lol.

And maybe she is an annoying person, who knows, I just don't get the passion with which people - mainly women, or so it seems - dislike her.

The vaccine rollout here in MA is, somewhat famously, a train wreck.

Is it ever. Baker has really damaged his competence score, especially, IMO, since he keeps trying to blame unpredictable supply for problems that are totally unrelated to that, starting with an idiotically designed web site.

FTR, I got my first shot - Moderna - Wednesday the 3rd. I had to drive 80 miles to Greenfield, MA to get it. All went smoothly, though, and I suffered only a sore arm and a bit of fatigue afterward.

Right now it seems I have to go back there for the second shot, though maybe that will change.

my wife snagged an J&J vaccine appt for today, somehow. i'm still months away.

Oddly, the majority of counties in FL have a reasonably good system, the website is easy to use to sign up and the lines move pretty well. Lots of politics but mass sites with no apps are open this week and the management of available shots has been good.

It's a huge undertaking with lots of differing opinions but overall thee gating factor here has been availability.

And sure, a few notable politically stupid things, but they are way over blown in any realistic context.

Janie, I think I got it going to the doctor. Necessary chance.

Thanks to all. I was lucky.

So JanieM really dislikes Meghan, lol.

And maybe she is an annoying person, who knows, I just don't get the passion with which people - mainly women, or so it seems - dislike her.

Heh. Obviously, people can react to other people, and events, in different ways. Some have more to do with the person reacted to, some are more about the person reacting, some are mixed.

As to Markle --

First, I'm literal-minded, possibly to the point of some sort of diagnosability. Meghan is fake. As I said, fake in a simpery sort of way. That pushes my personal buttons badly, but I don't know how many people it would bother the way it bothers me. Of course she's fake; she's an actress, right? (I'm this way about advertising and fund-raising too, and apparently most people are not.)

Secondly, she's not only self-absorbed, but absorbed in what to me is a mind-bogglingly outsized notion of her own importance. (Or, admittedly, what should be her own importance.) I would still never have heard of her if she hadn't married into a family that is also mostly famous for being famous at this point.

Thirdly, those qualities are coupled with the obsessive airing of her alleged victimhood and the family dirty laundry in public. Since this would take pages to work out, I'll leave it there, but my dislike of that dynamic isn't confined to Markle (n.b. we could discuss the book Educated, which was a big bestseller a few years ago).

Fourthly: Presumably some of the dislike comes from fans of the royal family who are moved to take sides in the very public fight.

Fifthly: Other unsavory motivations include, as GftNC touched on, racism and misogyny, fanned by the gutter press.


As to novakant's "maybe she is an annoying person, who knows" -- I chuckled over the "who knows" -- I know, at least as regards my own personal reaction, because I get annoyed every time I watch/listen to a snippet of her and she opens her mouth. If you want to suggest that that's more about my annoyability than about her annoyingness, I won't argue. I'm not saying everyone should feel the way I do, I'm just trying to explain "the passion with which people dislike her." It doesn't bother me that other people feel differently, and I'm not trying to convert anyone.

So JanieM really dislikes Meghan

I'm not sure we are reading the same comments. I thought Janie just said that she's really got no idea of who Meghan is, and is just surprised that she is so surprised by what has happened. I tend to be amazed when anyone with the level of fame that even a Meghan Markle has (not to mention Harry) turns out to be anything approaching normal, though I've also gotten a lot more suspicious of stories that 'reveal' some horrific aspect of celebrities, and it is often race, gender or class based. I have not seen any gender based disdain or hatred of Meghan, though I'm not really much up on it.

I suspect it's more a supply-and-demand problem.

That's certainly a factor in the pay scale for workaday club gigging.

The "hey can you do me a favor" thing is more general, though, I think. My wife worked for a number of years as an interior designer, and people are always asking her for free advice about something or other.

"It'll only take a minute".

It's like the thing with doctors. Mention you're a doctor, somebody will start asking you what you think about the pain in their side.

the GOP is a public health hazard:

A Kaiser Family Foundation poll released last month found that 28 percent of Republicans said they would “definitely not” get vaccinated, and another 18 percent said they would “wait and see” before getting a shot.

'28 percent of Republicans said they would “definitely not” get vaccinated,'

Well, the least we can do is vaccinate the women and men who agree to sexually prostitute themselves to these diseased lumps of ignorant armed protoplasm.

But then 28% of Republicans have prostituted themselves out to Russian intelligence services, though it was stupidity that got them interested:


A little background on my, and now my wife's, vax appointments. I registered with the NJ state-run registry back in January. A tip from a co-worker prompted me to sign up a second time using a different email address last week. A couple of days later, this past Friday, I got the email to schedule my appointment, but not at the email I used to register a second time, rather at the first email.
So I tend to think it was coincidence not prompted by my second registration.

Though my wife was happy for me, she was also disappointed not to get an email to schedule an appointment. She registered three times using different email addresses after I told her what I had done. She also registered or tried to schedule both of us with every individual vaccine provider she could find, so far to no avail.

BUT! Saturday night, one of our friends we were on line with told us how she had spent a nearly sleepless week trying to get an appointment for her mother and about all the ins and outs of the various providers' websites.

As luck would have it, it was just before Rite Aid was about to release new appointments for one week out (note: at 11:45 PM!), which we only knew about because of our friend's prior efforts. My wife and our friend went on at the same time to try to get her an appointment. The only day showing available appointments was Saturday, March 13th.

Every time my wife would select a time, the response was something like, "Someone else just selected this appointment time. Please try another." So it seems a number of people were on line clicking appointments at the same time trying to be first. But our more-savvy friend went down the list to the later appointments rather than clicking the first one at the top as I imagine everyone else was doing. She shouted, "I got it! 3:30 PM!" Sure enough, the confirmation email showed up moments later in my wife's inbox.

So now she's happily getting vaccinated 3 days ahead of me. Both of our appointments are about a 10 minute drive from our house.

That's great for us, but I feel for people who don't have ready access to the internet or who are just bad with technology and can't figure stuff out.

The upside, though, is that the more shots that get into arms, the better it is even for the people who haven't been vaccinated yet because of slower transmission rates. Everything I've heard about the megasites here is that they are extremely efficient, which makes me hopeful for the future.

I will note that between my first shot and second, the process, not too bad the first time, had clearly improved from lessons learned.

A friend of mine who received his first shot a little more than a week ago at the megasite I'm scheduled for said he was chatting with one of the Nation Guard troops there. According the guardsman, the megasite was a clusterf*ck when it opened. Now they're getting large groups of people in and out in under 30 minutes in very organized fashion.

I heard the same thing about the site at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia. It runs like a machine.

I don't see why that same story wouldn't generally apply everywhere relatively soon. People are figuring it out, and how they're doing it shouldn't be a secret.

Janie, lj - you might want to take a look at this:


And do follow all the links therein, if you can bear the depravity.

novakant -- thanks for the link. I read the article and will follow at least a few of the links later on.

It's horribly depressing, but it doesn't really change my reaction to the victimhood / responsibility ratio H&M project, or the strangeness of responding to the horrors of being "under the microscope" by aggresssively keeping yourself ... under the microscope.

I would say "more later," but I'm behind on everything after a weekend of vax aftereffects, so we'll see.

Having stumbled on some H&M-related tweets when I was looking for some COVID stats, and been pounded over the head with the idea that the whole H&M thing is about race and pretty much nothing else, I'm going to retract what I just said: I won't come back to it later.

Being gay, and having worked with many activists for gay rights and gay marriage over the years, I've met people who are sure that every single bad thing that happens to them is because of homophobia. But sometimes, IMHO, it's also, or even mostly, because they're assholes.

Clearly H&M have been through some very bad times. What baffles me is that they were surprised and so very unprepared, especially Harry. It also baffles me that they keep courting media attention for the opportunity to complain about having to be objects of media attention.

Except for having elicited GftNC's good-hearted, balanced, and sober analysis, I'm sorry I brought it up.

novakant, I'm particularly glad your link had a link to the Buzzfeed piece showing, side by side, how the press treated Meghan compared to Kate for the same behaviours. And, as I mentioned before, they were pretty awful to Kate (on class grounds) before she and William were engaged. They are, generally speaking, racist, misogynist, conscienceless and absolutely unconcerned with how much suffering they inflict or what its consequences are. As one of the pieces I read said, they go on and on about how Diana's driver had been drinking, and keep forgetting to mention how she was being pursued at the time by a pack of paparazzi.

Ah well. This story, alas, will run and run. I will watch the interview tonight, but nothing I have read about the so-called "revelations" really surprises me.

I wish them, and the whole family, well. It's a ghastly life, despite the palaces and the jewels.

I posted before reading your last, Janie. Thanks for your kind words, and I'm sure you're right: it's now consumed a bit too much of our airtime!

Royal family stuff: I have a hard time relating to, or even caring very much about, people who don't put on their own clothes.

Back when Downton Abbey was a thing, I spent about half the show yelling at the TV. Zip up your own damned gown, Lady Mary!!

My wife found it very annoying.

old world problems

A fascinating take, from someone who's seriously liberal, on why what Sen. Manchin is doing is a good thing. For liberals.

In summary, he may simultaneously let Biden get much of his agenda thru (by reforming the filibuster) while maintaining his bona fides as bipartisan, so he can keep getting elected as a Democrat in a deep red state. When Democrats need every Senate seat they can muster.

sounded like wishful thinking to me.

Manchin is certainly trying to help himself get reelected, but the 12-D chess thing with the filibuster? i dunno.

if he's serious, reform would be welcome.

Doesn't really matter if he's gamed it all out. If the results come thru, that's sufficient.

If the results come thru, that's sufficient.

I guess we shall find out shortly. What big legislative item (yes, there are many) will Schumer bring to the floor next?

I'm guessing the voting rights bills (HR 1, etc.).

I suppose he could try for a stand-alone minimum wage bill. But the voting rights bill seems a) more critical, and b) more likely to be one where he can get some filibuster reform started.

Biden should disappear a dozen GOP Senators, then immediately resign and tell the rest of them to suck it.

reform that, ya bastards.

Well, since the last president blew up the norms and protocols for how government is supposed to work, and with it the Reagan/Clinton partisan divide narrative, what we are seeing in the back and forth between Manchin and AOC and how Democratic leadership negotiate that set of needs is the building of a new formulation of bipartisanship. It's odd that we can look at one party as a model for bipartisan action, but it's been clear for a while that the GOP has no interest in shared governance. If the Dems can find a way to thread both the Manchin and the AOC needle, then they might finally have a viable platform for challenging in places like Texas.


yes. time will tell if Joe Manchin will accede to the political priorities of Joe Biden and cement some real meaningful historical stature, or become this decade's Joe Lieberman. but you know, too many joes spoil the soup.

as for the filibuster....here is an interesting historical tidbit. Where did that Republican Party go?

oops...too many j's. was meant for wj.

If the Dems can find a way to thread both the Manchin and the AOC needle, then they might finally have a viable platform for challenging in places like Texas.

How feasible this is depends, I think, on the extent to which the AOC wing is willing to take half a loaf on some things. Rather than insist on getting everything they want, and ending up with nothing. For the moment, Biden seems to be keeping everybody, however grudgingly, on side.

Where did that Republican Party go?

Some became centerist Democrats. Some are still around, albeit fairly invisible (on the national level) because Nixon's Southern Strategy resulted in all those racist Southern Democrats of a century ago becoming Republicans. And effectively taking over the party. (With, to be fair, a big assist from the fanatic libertarians who were already on the fringes of the party.)

that GOP disappeared up Limbaugh's colon.

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