Friday Open Forum: “What Became Of Life?”

Since this is Jimmy Durante birthday week, and I’m fighting against ethics despair myself, I thought it would be a good time to play Jimmy’s most depressing song ever. I’ve always liked it, and nobody else ever sang it, as far as I can determine.

“What became of life?” Well, if it’s anything permanent and bad, it is only because people of good will and strong values gave up out of discouragement, frustration and defeatism.

Please stick to ethics: it shouldn’t be difficult. There is a lot going on, and lot at stake.

52 thoughts on “Friday Open Forum: “What Became Of Life?”

  1. Is it proper to continue meekly wearing masks, when the only studies that actually focused or looked at masks in the real world show no noticable affect or a slight increase in Wuhan Virus spread? Granted, the detection methods were probably the same methods that are showing up to 50% errors. Also granted, there are only three studies I know of that involved real world situations, with the CDC study focusing on restaurant vs not restaurant instead of mask wearing vs not mask wearing.

    • I’m going to get an ethics hit here I am sure, but I haven’t worn a mask – ever – unless pressed by a store employee. I have always then smiled and politely put on my mask. Interestingly, I am rarely asked to wear a mask (since about June). The true science of the efficacy of masks is far from reaching consensus. I have always believed that the mask mandates are about power, not health. How is it that the government can tell me what I have to wear? Is this constitutional? I also believe that the people who are mask zealots are also the people who need security blankets to cope with each day and value safety above freedom. Life was meant to be lived in all its mess, joy, pain… Life is not safe, not easy and not fair. But, it can be glorious. However, walking around with a mask on, afraid of people, of contact with people has robbed our entire society of finding that joy and gloriousness. Attacks on free speech and all the other over-the-top insanity, including the lock downs and mask mandates, of these times are all but yet another way the Left is trying to control society. If I am jailed over being mask-less one day will one of the attorneys here take my case?

      • Love it! I figured out a way to tie shoe strings around ear loops on the mask and then tie it around my neck. I’m asthmatic anyhow, but I always have it hanging around my neck when I’m out and about. I only pull it up when I encounter someone who’s glaring at me or doesn’t have one on themself!

        • About halfway into this mandatory mask nonsense, I was trying to get in line at a gas station to pay for some stuff, and a guy who had come in shortly before I reached the registers (which were located right by the doors) was non-commitally bouncing around somewhere in the region of the back of the line. I couldn’t decide if he was standing in line or trying to decide what aisle to go down, so I was staring at him trying to decide if I needed to get behind him or just stand to the side to be in line. I didn’t want to cut in the line in front of him, but if he was in line I needed to go all the way around the store to get behind him. I had had no caffeine, it was early, and my brain was having trouble deciphering his energetic body language. I hate morning people.

          He noticed me staring at him, got aggravated that I was staring, then suddenly realized he didn’t have a mask on, looked horrified and bolted out of the store muttering “oh, shit.” I honestly hadn’t noticed he didn’t have one on. I just wanted to buy an energy drink and get back home to work without being rude, which I ended up doing anyways by debating his in-line status to myself for too long. He interpreted my staring as judgement on his maskless state.

          Everyone is paranoid and over sensitive these days.

    • Especially in light of the (ludicrous) edict that we really ought to wear two at the same time. I could barely contain my eye rolls as I pulled out my mask for the trips into the store before. Safety theatre, as effective as making everyone take their shoes off at the airports. I know a gal who has stayed at home this entire time – trips to the grocery store and nothing else. She went with two masks last time, per edict, and came home incensed that she was roundly mocked for it. “What has society come to, that anyone would make fun of someone just for trying to obey the rules and stay safe?” she asked on facebook. I just marvel at the bass-ackwards way so many people seem to be viewing the world these days. It truly does feel as if “The Government,” (or “The Science,” or “The Media”) say to wear our underwear outside our pants, put a chicken on our heads, and/or jump off a cliff – there would be a loud and chicken filled line to get to the nearest vertical drop!

      • The King County Health Department (in Washington state) had posted on their web site that people should place a shower curtain between themselves while having sex. Ludicrous doesn’t even begin to capture my sentiments about all of this.

      • I have decided that wearing a mask is the same as not hogging free samples at the grocery store and not mowing one’s lawn at 6 AM. It’s just me being a good neighbor. I have worn my mask whenever I’m inside someplace other than my home. I do not wear a mask outdoors or in my own home.

        I will NOT wear multiple masks. Period.

      • Luckily, that particular edict hasn’t hit my area yet. It’s still the governor’s order that a single mask be worn inside public buildings. Although I haven’t heard anyone getting fined for not wearing a mask, yet.

    • Masks are effective. I mean…. obviously effective. But I think that people are… stupid. Masking was never supposed to be the magic bullet that stopped Covid. I know there are idiots that acted like it was, but that never made sense.

      I blame the people who use SCIENCE!™ as a tool for control, as opposed to understanding. The people who don’t believe anything until they have a couple of peer reviewed papers and experts to back them up, but only really collect papers and experts who reinforce their prior positions, and then use those papers or experts to beat their opponents into submission; facts, common sense, and basic human decency be damned.

      You know… Morons.

      What we’re really looking for is social distancing, it’s hard to breathe in virus particulate if no one is breathing virus particulate into the air you’re about to breathe, so the 6 foot distance is best. But life isn’t that simple, sometimes we have to get close to people. For cases where you can’t help but get inside someone’s six foot bubble… There’s a mask. It helps, it obviously helps. Try to blow a candle out with a mas on, it doesn’t work.

      But it’s not invulnerable. My interpretation of the data on masking is that masks are effective, but only if people have a certain…. je ne sais quoi. It’s hard to describe… It’s cultural. A buy in? A respect for the process? The belief that masking works? How do I explain this….

      I had to pick up lumber for a local hardware store for a home reno. When I got there, the yardhand was wearing his mandated mask, but had cut a slit in it so he could smoke with the mask on. Technically… This was probably allowable. The mask mandate gave no definition as to what did or did not constitute a mask, but it obviously wasn’t going to function as intended.

      I believe that kind of technical adherence to the rule, without actual adherence to what the rule was supposed to do, is why mask mandates are failing in some areas. The people involved don’t have that cultural belief that what they’re doing is helpful or necessary, so they’re not social distancing, they’re not properly handwashing… They aren’t taking it seriously. And that’s leading to spread. And then they’re saying “Well we were wearing a mask”. Which is true. I guess.

      It’s why examples out of Asian nations are so disparate to America… Asian culture tends to respect authority, and they’re actually doing what they’re being told, as opposed to lip service.

      • If we are physically distanced, why would wearing a mask be necessary? What if, being an adult I am prepared to get sick? A year ago I could have been a heroine addict and I would have been told that it is my right. If I am adhering to all the necessary precautions like hand washing and not touching my face, why would a mask be necessary? I still believe this is about power, not health. America was founded on freedom, Asian culture was not. If people like wearing masks can they move to an Asian country so I can continue to live in America? Why should I wear a mask if over 90% of the people I see aren’t “taking is seriously” as you say?

        • “If we are physically distanced, why would wearing a mask be necessary?”

          It wouldn’t be. But like I said, life isn’t that simple; Eventually you’re going to have to give someone cash, or take a receipt, or walk through a bottleneck.

          “What if, being an adult I am prepared to get sick?”

          Legitimate point. And one I’d make as well…. But I thought we were talking about whether masks were effective?

          “If I am adhering to all the necessary precautions like hand washing and not touching my face, why would a mask be necessary?”

          Because you might breathe virus particulate in, or out, if you’re infected. Those are two very different precautionary measures, meant to do two very different things.

          “America was founded on freedom, Asian culture was not.”

          100%. Absolutely. It’s why I think America was always destined to have a really bad time with this. Your culture of freedom and skepticism of authority sometimes leads to bad results, but on balance, I think it’s still a net good. My point was that if Americans started taking this seriously they could have seriously mitigated the damage done… That was just never going to happen.

          I kind of think that this proves my point, no?

          • Are you saying that Asian cultures haven’t had “a really bad time with this”? Only rebellious Americans? Do you really believe that masks have done anything to prevent the virus? All of the virologists I know don’t wear masks, they were SUITS to protect them from viruses. I understand that viruses can easily move through cloth. How is a cloth effective at reducing virus transmissions? And, don’t start quote statistics about death rates, these have clearly been documented to be suspicious, if not outright fraud. And, even if we Americans didn’t “mitigate the damage done” our sheepish acceptance of this power and control has seriously damaged our culture. Which is why I keep saying this is about power and control, the Left is trying to control this outrageous culture. That is my point.

            • “Are you saying that Asian cultures haven’t had “a really bad time with this”?”

              Generally, yes. I don’t trust the data out of China, but when you compare data from places like North Korea or Japan against America, the difference is *stark*. And you would assume that Japan in particular would have an awful time of it, because their population is so densely packed… But they didn’t.

              “Do you really believe that masks have done anything to prevent the virus?”

              Yes. Do you *really* believe that masks do nothing?

              “All of the virologists I know don’t wear masks, they were SUITS to protect them from viruses.”

              Well, suits would absolutely be better, but not really feasible. And we can’t even get people to wear the god damned masks.

              “How is a cloth effective at reducing virus transmissions?”

              Go out there, buy a mask. Put it on. Light a candle. Try to blow the candle out with the mask on. I don’t know exactly what kind of mask you’re going to have on, but my guess is that you won’t be able to. That’s how cloth is effective at reducing transmission.

              “And, don’t start quote statistics about death rates, these have clearly been documented to be suspicious, if not outright fraud.”

              Remember what I said about people who don’t believe anything until they have a couple of peer reviewed papers and experts to back them up, but only really collect papers and experts who reinforce their prior positions”?

              Just saying.

              • I could be wrong, but I believe the very successful nations all have one thing in common–very limited transportation in and out. New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, etc., all have pretty much one way of getting into or out of the country, and that’s via airplanes.

                I would hesitate to draw any conclusions about what has contributed to the relative success of some nations over others, but there seems to be a much stronger correlation between travel opportunities and “success” than mask wearing, lockdowns, or any other traditional means of limiting the virus spread.

                • *SOUTH* Korea, Not North, SOUTH. Jesus, that’s a rough mistake to make.

                  Look… Real science is slow, it’s probably going to be five or ten years by the time worthwhile studies are published, and by the time that happens, no one is really going to care to read them. I’m sure you’re right, and an early and enforceable closed border mitigated a whole lot of the issue. So does a warm climate, my expectation is that Africa will generally have a better time with this than most of the Northern Hemisphere. Lockdowns… Are probably less effective because we aren’t *actually* locking down, I’d be interested to know how many doors were locked as a result of shutdowns as a percentage of total doors. Masks…. Are only effective if used properly, and as stopgaps.

                  What I’m mostly annoyed at is the certitude with which people say masks aren’t effective. It’s obvious that on some level they do, and it’s facially absurd to assert otherwise. You can argue in good faith that the government doesn’t have the right to mandate safety equipment… I’d probably agree. You could argue that masks are being overhyped, and I would definitely agree. But if you’re going to argue that masks do nothing, I’m going to have a hard time taking you seriously.

          • Masks are only effective on large particle aerosols. Some of the confusion over their effectiveness comes from the media, scientists and government officials conflating the two, deliberately misleading everyone and switching which one they are talking about depending on what the current propaganda line is.

            Masks are intended for surgical use, to ensure surgeons and surgical personnel don’t spray spittle into the patients internal organs while the body is cut open. This spittle is large particle aerosols. Masks can prevent large particle aerosols from being breathed in or out of the mask.

            Masks do nothing to small aerosols. Just watch someone vape while wearing one, and see where all the vapor goes. It does not stay in the mask. Vaping emits small particle aerosols. The only difference between someone breathing and someone vaping is visibility of the aerosols.

            Social distancing also prevents transmission of large particle aerosols. Stay 6 feet away from people, and they won’t be spraying you with spit.

            Social distancing does nothing to prevent transmission of small particle aerosols. Small particle aerosols go way further than 6 feet. Again, just watch someone vaping and see how far the mist carries.

            If coronavirus is transmitted through small aerosols, neither masks nor social distancing is going to help. They are a placebo. If coronavirus is not transmitted through small particle aerosols but is transmitted through large particle aerosols, masks and social distancing will help stop transmission.

            The propaganda generators should stop conflating everything, talking out of both sides of their mouth (and their ass, while they are at it), and spreading fear porn.

      • There are so many zealous folks on both sides of the mask debate. In general, I wear a mask in places where I’m asked to do so, but get in and out as quickly as I can. I very much dislike masks.

        I’ve reached the point of barely being able to have a civil conversation about masks. Recently, I had an exchange related to masks on FB. The CDC reports flu cases are dramatically low this year. FB moron states that’s because everyone is wearing masks, and they work! I ask why then Covid numbers weren’t dropping as dramatically as flu numbers. I wish I was kidding here, but the response from the same FB moron…because nobody is wearing their masks. How does that crowd expect to be taken seriously?

      • What do you mean that masks obviously work? Do they reduce air flow? Sure. Any additional barrier to any fluid flow will add a point of head loss, lowering pressure. It’s a matter of simple fluid dynamics. And every study brought up that alleges that masks work to lower Wuhan virus spread use some form of that principle. Put mask material in front of an air stream and notice that there’s a differential pressure? Must mean masks reduce Wuhan virus spread.

        However, there is a major difference between measuring air pressure drop in a laboratory and reporting on conditions in the real world. And no study I’ve come across that actually looks at real world situations demonstrates that masks actually lower the spread of Wuhan virus.

        In addition, how can society function when everyone is forced to stand at least six feet apart (or two meters if you’re not American [which is an even farther distance])? Humans are social creatures. We require interpersonal interactions to remain sane (on the whole). We did not mandate social distancing last time a virus of similar infectivity and deadliness landed on our shores. That would be the 69-70 Hong Kong virus. In fact, Woodstock the first was held during that pandemic. I don’t want to be a beaucoup cynic, but the more I look at everything, the more it seems like the folks in power are ignoring actual scientific studies and just doing whatever they can do that gives them the most power with the minimum backlash.

        One last point of paranoia: why is it called social distancing and not physical distancing?

  2. Okay, so here’s a small-scale ethics anecdote.

    As some might know, I left my beloved Maine a few years back for family reasons, moving to Cape Cod (which, if you’ve got to move for family reasons, is hardly a disagreeable place to end up. The area in which I live has several large cranberry bogs, and the owner of said bogs is very generous in allowing the public to stroll – with their dogs, no less – around the work roads. These areas are very popular as a result.

    One day, I found a pair of what appeared to be prescription eyeglasses on one of the bogs. I brought them home, posted an ad to the L&F section of the local Craig’s List, and reached out to the local newspaper (they run L&F classifieds for free. All of this took about 15 minutes.

    A week later, I got a call from a neighbor – the house is about 200 yards away, but I’ve never actually chatted with this gal – who said she’d indeed lost a pair of spectacles. I said “No problem, nice day for a brief walk, I’ll bring them right over.” And I did. They were, in fact, hers.

    Now, all of this so far is just my commitment to being a good neighbor and engaging in the Golden Rule. But then she wanted to give me a reward.

    “Oh, heavens no,” I said. “There’s no need for that.”

    She insisted – “These are really expensive glasses. I feel I should give you something.” I demurred again, saying all I was interested in was making sure they got back to where they belonged.

    She still insisted. I’ve learned that when people are trying to press an unwarranted tip on you and don’t appear ready to give up, you can waste an awful lot of time. So I told her “Look, really, you owe me nothing. If you feel you MUST give some money somewhere, please make a donation to [the name of the local food bank] or [the name of the local animal shelter].

    By this time she had the cash in her hand, and said “Okay, here’s the money. YOU make the donation!” And she pressed two five dollar bills into my hand.

    So: I’d already spent a grand total of half an hour reuniting her with her glasses, and she expected me to spend MORE time – including depositing the cash in the bank and then going online to donate (or go to the post office and purchase a stamp to do so) in order to send ten bucks to one of the local agencies. Frankly, it pissed me off.

    The way I’ll resolve the situation is to spend the $10 and the next time I make a donation to one of those agencies I’ll bump up the total by the equivalent amount. But I do think it was rather churlish for her to insist on an unwanted reward and then being too lazy to manage the contribution to a worthy agency instead.

    • The reward dilemma is a problem. The beneficiary of the boon has an obligation to offer it, but the ethical thing is to refuse it. Insisting on giving it takes the ethical content out of the altruistic act. (I’ve actually explained this to people while refusing the reward.)

      • Interesting.
        I was taught that, when offered a reward in such circumstances, you should take it and thank them. That way, you let them enjoy the warm feeling of rewarding you (You can always donate the reward if that’s your thing). The ethical requirement is not to do a kindness in expectation of reward, but for itself.

    • I’m still not comfortable with this notion of the insurrection was “due to his reckless rhetoric”. You have people like Maxine Waters actually inciting physical responses and no actions were taken against her. How many double standards do we have to tolerate in our woke society???? Trump is basically just a clumsy speaker and doesn’t choose his words carefully enough – if he even could. Perhaps Trump should have been more forceful in requesting peaceful protesting but I still think it’s completely abhorrent what they are doing to Trump.

        • This reminds me of Erika Mann’s discussion of mathematics education (Völkisches Rechnen or people’s arithmetic) under Nazi rule in the 1930’s, in her book School for Barbarians. Here’s an example (page 67):

          An airplane flies at the rate of 240 kilometers per hour to a place at a distance if 210 kilometers in order to drop bombs. When may it be expected to return if the dropping of bombs takes 7.5 minutes?
          -From National Political Practice in Arithmetic Lessons.

          A question like this may not initially point to a scholastic propaganda problem until the other questions come into play. Questions like: What was Germany’s population loss due to the Versailles Treaty? What is the load capacity of four gas bombs? How many people can fit into a bomb shelter? What percentage of the German population is home to “alien” Jews?

          It suddenly becomes more clear that these questions are preparing these kids for war…and compliance to the state.

          Now one could ask fairly, if I’m using the the Nazi examples unfairly. However I make this comparison because the point of this supposed “equitable” education has a similar purpose; to prepare these kids to go along with the new racial orthodoxy, rather than foster intelligence or skill retention.

          On page nine of the PDF Steve shared, the text notes the purpose of this antiracist math is to:
          -Cultivate mathematical identity
          -Recognize how POC engage in math (hello stereotypes).
          -Teach culturally relevant math (more stereotypes).
          -Provide opportunities to use math as a form of resistance.
          -Center ethnomathmatics.
          -Teach that math can solve specific community problems and “can be used as a solution to their immediate problems, needs, and desires.”

          “Whoever has the youth has the future.” Hitler on this had a point. Those who fancy themselves proper and righteously “Elect” in education may be well intended. Some kids of color in the past, and maybe even now, have been left behind due to some lingering racism.

          At the same time, as linguistics professor John McWhorter, who is black, notes, getting rid of Gifted and Talented (something I personally benefitted from, which led to greater self-esteem and a lifetime love of learning) programs and not directing students of color who fall behind, to the many free resources for test prep and skills improvement, is its own kind of racism. McWhorter conveys his disillusionment with antiracism based education by saying:

          I shudder at the thought: teachers with eyes shining at the prospect of showing their antiracism by filling my daughters’ heads with performance art, teaching them that they are poster children rather than individuals.

          https://johnmcwhorter.substack.com/p/the-elect-neoracists-posing-as-antiracists-e2f

          Unfortunately my home state is at the forefront of what I consider the dehumanization of all students, including those of color, in the name of a set of principles that are oppositional to student success. The point is to create a new creature, steeped in racial myth and Marxist propaganda, that will unquestioningly load those bombs if the day should pass, and make sure the “alien” whites get “what they deserve.”

          Following in the footsteps of Horst Weasel, it wouldn’t surprise me if one day, we hear students sing out:

          Listen to the drums, boom, boom, boom –
          Listen to the trumpets, tateratata!
          Come on, clear the camp!

          And they’ll be dumb as bricks and as vicious as tyrants while they singing it.

          • It’s been decades since I’ve read Mann’s book. You are absolutely right. The Nazis made sure to incorporate their racial and political theories into classrooms, even into subjects that had nothing to do with them. The late Holocaust survivor, Eva Kor, told how, in her native Romania, lessons were suddenly introduced during the occupation that asked students to calculate how many Jews were left if you shot x number of them.

            By the way, I finished “Digital Minimalism”. Thank you for the recommendation. It has been very helpful in helping me decide how to curate my electronic presence.

            • Thank you, as usual,for your thoughtful comment about Kor’s experience. I’m going to look her up.

              I’m glad you got something out of the book. I use it as an occasional refresher when I notice the internet is making me less happy.

    • I’ve been very open with my daughter (2nd grade) that what she learns in school is not mathematics, it’s “math education”. Mathematics is the field in which mathematicians toil, who in turn teach the next generation of mathematicians. “Math education” is a sub-discipline within the Faculty of Education, and it is the domain of educators. Academics tend to be a prideful bunch, so math educators aren’t terribly keen about letting actual mathematicians come into their sandbox, let alone run the show, never mind their entire discipline is nominally about transmitting the latter’s corpus of knowledge.

    • I would like to see some of these “no right answer” people program a computer, engineer a bridge, or mix up a batch of medication for a cancer patient. Scratch that, no I wouldn’t.

      There are, in fact, right answers and wrong answers in this world, and some of those right answers are very, very important. People in a crashing plane, on a collapsing bridge, or in the path of a missile tend not to care if the horror was created with anti-racism in mind. Someone who’s bank account just erroneously got turned a million dollars negative by a computer glitch doesn’t care that saying 2+2=4 might be racist. Someone who needs the proper dose of chemo or their car not to speed out of control probably wants the math behind their meds and automobile to use the “right” answers.

      There is such a thing as objective truth. There is such a thing as right and wrong answers. If the idea that right answers and objective truth exist is racist, then racism is a good thing.

  3. Well, on to defeatism. After the superbowl, I saw comments by people asking “Is there anything in this country that isn’t rigged?”

    Our elections are rigged. You can even find people bragging about it.

    Our legal system is rigged. Look at Carter Page and Michael Flynn. Look at the fact that Democratic members of Congress and the Vice President helped raise funds for bail and legal defense of looters and rioters, but people who wandered into the Capitol to take pictures can’t find an attorney who will defend them at any price

    Our schools are rigged. Look at the people buying their way into good colleges. Look at the rich kids getting to go to school while the rest of us pay taxes for teachers who haven’t taught in a year.

    The economy is rigged. Look at the outrageous manipulation of the GameStop stock by the hedge funds
    (shorting more stocks than even exist). Look at the fact that almost every single ounce of physical silver in this country was purchased in just 4 days, but the spot price went DOWN (due to the spontaneous creation of billions of ounces of ‘virtual’ silver by the banks). Now, actual silver is sold FAR above the spot price, buy you sell at below the spot price. COMEX is writing contracts with silver producers to buy silver for the next 6 years at $12/ounce while silver is selling at over $30/ounce.

    Our money is rigged. We have doubled the supply of our money and are told there is very little inflation.

    The media is rigged. No comments needed.

    The Impeachment is rigged: Look at the impeachment coverage. They are making it look like it was an assassination attempt on all of Congress and Michael Pence. When we did have a protest that set off a bomb to actually try to assassinate Republican Senators, that person was given a tenured professorship and a seat on the board of BLM. The Senate has stated that the fact that Trump instigated a riot and that this was an ‘insurrection’ cannot be challenged. They have also stated that his silence will be construed as an admission of guilt. On with the Court of the Star Chamber!

    The government is rigged. Donald Trump had to deal with Obama appointees as heads of all his departments until his candidates were confirmed. Biden had his people installed on January 20. Trump couldn’t just fire all the Obama hires in the government. Biden is firing all the people hired during the Trump administration. FBI agents, DOJ lawyers, Inspector Generals can all fabricate evidence, lie and evade punishment even if caught. Our Treasury Secretary made $7 million in speaking fees from Wall Street last year. She is currently investigating a firm that paid her $810,000 for a single speech last year.

    The Superbowl was rigged: I am not sure, I didn’t watch it. However, the memes about it before it was even over suggest the officiating was anything but evenhanded. This goes right along with numerous previous cases of the NFL, NBA, etc rigging championships for financial reasons.

    The military is rigged: It was reported that only troops who swore an oath of loyalty to Joe Biden himself were allowed to have weapons at the Capitol. Commanders went through the troops removing ammunition and magazines from people determined to be disloyal. The Pentagon is apparently planning a standdown for the entire military to ‘root out disloyalty’ to Biden. Those who fail are supposed to be dishonorably discharged.

    The Coronavirus response is rigged: From bad tests, changing test criteria during critical political times, nonsensical (unless corrupt) distribution rationale and methodologies, the seeming lack of extra dead people, death totals that seem to happen in politically convinient ways, and the fact that the person evaluating the ethics of Fauci’s plans is Fauci’s wife. The government claims that there is no and will never be a drug that is effective in treating Coronavirus. Really? Does this have anything to do with the claim that it is illegal to fund vaccine research with taxpayer money if a treatment exists (I have seen this claimed, but can’t find confirmation or refutation of it)?

    The question is: Is there anything that isn’t rigged? Golf, maybe?

    Sorry to depress everyone.

    • The military is rigged: It was reported that only troops who swore an oath of loyalty to Joe Biden himself were allowed to have weapons at the Capitol. Commanders went through the troops removing ammunition and magazines from people determined to be disloyal. The Pentagon is apparently planning a standdown for the entire military to ‘root out disloyalty’ to Biden. Those who fail are supposed to be dishonorably discharged.

      Who reported this?

  4. I wouldn’t call the average Marvel superhero film very deep, but some scenes inspire me when I’m feeling down. One moment I particularly like came in the quiet discussion between Ultron and the Vision toward the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Vision is reminded of humanity’s flaws and weakness, but chooses to care for us despite that. Superhero films are filled with heroes who seek revenge or fight for the people they love, but it’s good to contemplate simple, unqualified benevolence as something to emulate.

  5. When I was about 11 years old, a local TV station began showing “The Twilight Zone” (the original one as this was before endless inferior remakes were made). It is, today, still my all-time favorite program. Not long after that, I discovered Serling’s other, lesser work “Night Gallery”. Perhaps, I just didn’t get H.P. Lovecraft (many of the stories were adaptations of or inspired by his work) or maybe the more morbid nature of the show just didn’t appeal to me. I found myself not paying much attention. Furthermore, about half of the show had episodes that just didn’t seem to fit with the other ones, were pretty boring and all starred Gary Collins.

    My adolescent self shrugged it off and dismissed “Night Gallery” as “that Gary Collins show”.

    Fast-forward to a couple of months ago. I discovered that Comet – a sci-fi channel-like station that actually shows sci-fi programs and movies – was airing “Night Gallery” on Saturday mornings. I joked with my husband about how half the episodes starred Gary Collins. Thinking that, maybe, I’d just not been old enough to appreciate it, I tuned in for a few episodes here and there. Sure enough, Collins began making his appearances. Curiosity piqued, I checked IMDB and was surprised to find only four “Night Gallery” episodes credited to him.

    He was definitely showing up in more than four.

    About two weeks ago, I caught Gary in the credits again and, this time, I decided to pursue the truth. Thinking Collins may have just done a bunch of uncredited appearances, I did a general web search to find out. After entering something along the lines of, “How many uncredited episodes of ‘Night Gallery’ did Gary Collins make?”, the first hit gave me my answer.

    “Technically, none”.

    https://thenightgallery.wordpress.com/tag/gary-collins/#:~:text=Simple.,the%20same%20rerun%20too%20frequently.

    I recommend reading the whole entry – on a WordPress blog called Shadow & Substance – about a 40-plus-year bait-and-switch that’s been pulled on American audiences.

    “Night Gallery” originally aired in mostly hour-long episodes with two or three segments of varying length. 43 episodes were made. Local TV stations wanted to air reruns but were reluctant to do so with so few episodes, fearing audiences would get tired of seeing the same ones repeatedly. So they chopped up the episodes into 30-minute shows (and chopped them up quite badly, in fact) to make more of them. And that’s not all they did.

    Once upon a time, there was a so-so paranormal television show called “The Sixth Sense” that starred Gary Collins as an investigator with ESP named Dr. Michael Rhodes. It aired 25 episodes and was cancelled. Ordinarily, such a show would have gone the way of most single season programs and disappear into television history, forgotten and never to be heard of again. In this case, they decided to chop up the episodes, get Serling to film “Night Gallery”-esque intros for them and air them as episodes of “Night Gallery”.

    And it’s been aired like that in syndicated reruns ever since.

    It explains why Gary Collins is in amost half of the episodes, why the even heavily-edited segments seem not to fit the “Night Gallery” premise and why I was sometimes seeing “The Sixth Sense segments directed by…” verbiage in the opening credits of many so-called “Night Gallery” reruns.

    Here are my ethics observations.

    1. I’m sure every t was crossed and every i was dotted to make sure that everyone in charge of “The Sixth Sense” and “Night Gallery” was okay with this merging of programs. Does that make it right? Is it ethical to take art – even lesser art like “Night Gallery” – and pad it with subpar art just to get it into syndication?

    2. I had to go look for the answers myself after decades of just not getting it. Is it ethical to mislead TV audiences into believing that they are watching episodes of one program when, in fact, they are actually watching episodes of a completely different show?

    3. “The Sixth Sense” has been heavily edited. Granted, the original show would probably have never seen the light of day for the past few decades were it not for this merger, but is it ethical to significantly alter art to make it fit into different art?

    4. IMDB needs to update its listings. “The Sixth Sense” appears in Collins’ filmography on his page, but he did not appear in any episode of “Night Gallery” and should not be credited with it.

    What do you think?

  6. What became of life? No one thing became of life, Jack. A combination of things became of life.

    The first thing that became of life was the internet. Because of the internet, anyone can run any search and make himself an instant expert on any subject, or so he thinks. Anyone can also say anything he damn well please and make sure it gets out there, no matter how obnoxious, ridiculous, or rude. Anyone can also make anyone he disagrees with disappear at the touch of a button. Anyone can also decide not to leave his computer much since it’s not required for interaction. Now, anyone can also be made to disappear if he fails to toe the line politically.

    The second thing that became of life was the pandemic. Because of the pandemic, people are that much more separated and denied a lot of the things that make life worth living. What’s more, every time it looks like things are about to get better, the goalposts move: another strain, another study, something to show we really don’t have a handle on this and really aren’t any closer to getting a handle on it than we were March of last year. Biden’s latest pronunciation is that we’ll be wearing masks well into next year. What’s more than that, it’s devastated the economy and ruined who knows how many lives and businesses.

    The third thing that became of life is really twofold – the presidency of Donald Trump and the reaction to it. In all my life I have never seen any president so roundly hated and defied openly. Part of it is his own damn fault, for having limited capacity for communication and almost no capacity for learning. However, the lion’s share is the gross overreaction and open defiance of him, a duly elected president. I won’t go into all the details of what happened again, we’ve done that again and again and again here. What I will say is that a lot of really bad precedents have been set, and the Democratic party doesn’t give a damn that they set them. There’s a reason that their calls for unity are falling on deaf ears. I also think they did a fair amount of damage to themselves without really realizing it. People used to be magnanimous in victory. The Democratic party is acting like a spouse who’s gotten the upper hand in a divorce action, doing anything and everything possible to punish and even destroy the other side, some of it just for spite. They don’t want to defeat the other side anymore – they want to break them too. That goes with spending four years fighting someone and thinking they are evil.

    The fourth thing is the explosion of racial issues this year that have been simmering for almost a decade, bubbled up in 2017 but didn’t quite boil over, and boiled over last year. Again, no point in rehashing, but that also set some very bad precedents.

    In a matter of not much more than a year, we’ve gone from being a prosperous, free, fun, and relatively tolerant nation to being a poor, ill, afraid, and shamed nation split into two halves that can’t stand one another, and there’s no sign that things are going to get better any time soon, or even any time not so soon. You just have to walk down main street or take a drive to see how bad it is. What’s more, no one trusts government, or the other political party, any more. We all spent this last year watching the president try to deal with the biggest crises since 2008 certainly, maybe even since 2001, and not only not a damn bit of help did he get from the other party in Congress, not a damn bit of help did he get from the governors not of his party, those folks FOUGHT him like he was a hostile power. No one gave a damn who was helped or hurt, as long as they could deny the other side a win. That’s what it’s become all about now. It’s not about solving problems, it’s not about finding a way forward that everyone can accept, it’s not about succeeding. It’s about leveraging problems and blaming the other side when they don’t get solved, my way or the highway, and no success except on my terms. Ordinary people are just pawns in this game. Right now, you and I are really no better off than the serfs who would get killed or have everything destroyed just because the nobles brought their fight to where the serfs were. Is it any wonder people are unhappy?

    • Not to mention- the pressure and hatred has steeped down to an individual level. Individuals aren’t rooting for political teams anymore – they’re on them. It’s one thing to know that the Senators on opposite sides of the aisle hate each other. Now, though, you are subject to that same hatred just for going into a certain store, or greeting the wrong person,or not wearing your mask correctly. Social distancing and race mania have been further blows on the same wedge driving person from person. It’s not nationally anymore – it’s personal. Every person in the country is going through a divorce at the same time – no wonder the national mood is so dismal!

  7. I am an awesome, amazing, intelligent, mind-reading, *humble* genius!

    From the Thread on Stephens:

    FEBRUARY 12, 2021 AT 10:05 AM

    Let’s involve the other story; One of the interesting things with the Gina Carano debacle was that she was under some kind of double-secret probation; Lucasfilms has already scrapped the spinoff series they pitched at Investor Day last year, and reports are that they were just waiting for her to do something so they could fire her. While she might not have known how close Damocles’ hammer was, she knew she was in shit. She knew her spinoff was dead.

    So… Real question: Was she trying to get fired? Spinoff: dead. Future work prospects: minimal. What did she have to lose? I’m not saying that Lucasfilm has cause, or what they did was right… But the writing was on the wall, and we live in the real world. I’ve had this attitude before, particularly when speaking to progressives (which she was also doing); Eventually, you’ll say something they’ll decide to take offense at, it’s inevitable. Hell, you could quote their own words back at them and they might still go off… So why try? If the destination is the same one way or the other, pad the exit chute and blast away.

    FOUR MINUTES LATER

    https://deadline.com/2021/02/gina-carano-mandalorian-ben-shapiro-hits-back-cancel-culture-1234692971/

    “Gina Carano Hits Back, Announces New Movie Project With Ben Shapiro’s Daily Wire: “They Can’t Cancel Us If We Don’t Let Them””

    “EXCLUSIVE: Less than 24 hours after her explosive ouster from Star Wars series The Mandalorian for incendiary social media posts, Gina Carano has hit back at her detractors and revealed a new movie project she is making with conservative website The Daily Wire.

    Carano told us today: “The Daily Wire is helping make one of my dreams — to develop and produce my own film — come true. I cried out and my prayer was answered. I am sending out a direct message of hope to everyone living in fear of cancellation by the totalitarian mob. I have only just begun using my voice which is now freer than ever before, and I hope it inspires others to do the same. They can’t cancel us if we don’t let them.””

    That does *not* happen in 24 hours. This was planned. I am psychic!

  8. This is hilarious:

    “The author of a tweet introduced by Democrats at the Senate impeachment trial said Thursday her statement “we are bringing the Calvary” was a clear reference to a prayer vigil organized by churchgoers supporting Trump and not a call for military-like violence at the Capitol riot as portrayed by Rep. Eric Swalwell.”

    https://justthenews.com/politics-policy/all-things-trump/impeachment-blunder-author-tweet-introduced-trial-says-it-was

    If that isn’t signature significance, I don’t know what is. Eric, you ignorant slut. And weren’t you the guy banging a Chinese spy?

  9. Yesterday was National Roast Day where people are apparently ask to be insulted. Wendy’s (the restaurant) seems to be king at roasting where many companies like Oreo are asking and receiving responses such as “New flavor idea: don’t.”

    Is it unethical to insult someone who ask to be insulted, ick, or good fun?

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