The U.S. Congress is my hero (for the moment)

“The major stressors of the twenty-first century—a fragmented media environment, profound demographic shifts, artificial intelligence and other technological advances, economic inequality, centralized power, and climate change—require a fundamental reassessment of U.S. political institutions, civil society ecosystems, and civic norms. If this was not already clear before COVID-19 revealed the strains on the body politic, it is painfully evident now.”
The Challenges, by Our Common Purpose, American Academy, 2020

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“Under this system, Los Angeles must plan for 456,000 new homes by 2029, including 184,000 that are affordable to lower-income households. Achieving this target would expand the city’s housing supply by one-third, going a long way towards relieving the shortage. Naturally, how L.A. plans for this many new homes is a critical consideration. We have an opportunity to transform our city for the better, increasing housing affordability, encouraging transit use, reversing segregation, and creating shared economic prosperity. To build this future, every neighborhood must be part of the solution.”
Op-Ed: One Year to Fix Housing in L.A., by Anthony Dedousis, Robin Hughes & A. Lenise Koutur, Urbanize, 14 December 2020

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AT&T can’t afford to be concerned with DC’s legacy, no matter what it represents to the U.S. comics market. The company took on an even heavier debt load following the WarnerMedia acquisition, and has much bigger problems, including the controversial move to shift all of WarnerMedia subsidiary Warner Bros.’s 2021 theatrical film releases to streaming in an effort to keep the newly launched HBO Max service alive in a streaming-media war it appears to be losing badly to Disney+.

“At the moment, DC’s value seems to be as a licensor of some very famous comics characters and logos that serve as the flagship of a popular consumer brand. That DC also publishes print comics that sell reasonably well in comics stores and the mass market (Walmart, Target), in addition to a strong and growing trade book program, is a bonus. The past, as far as AT&T may be concerned, is history. And that’s too bad, because to a lot of longtime fans, the past is what makes DC, DC.”
DC Comics Leaves Its Legacy Behind, by Rob Salkowitz, PW, 06 January 2021

Even the best of friends have got to part one day.

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“Perhaps, in the end, the name we use to describe social and cultural differences in risk perception matters less than what we do about it. This academic research is valuable but should not obfuscate the real-world violence and harm. Virtuous violence is still violence and there is nothing abstract about identity protective cognition’s role in White male supremacy. What the science seems to clearly suggest — and what people like Paul Slovic have observed for decades — is that society’s multiple overlapping crises can’t be solved when governing bodies composed primarily of White men, who are outliers in terms of risk perception, are tasked with making decisions about risks for the entire population. The individuals who hold power over decisions about what’s risky and what’s not should be representative of the community at large, and those individuals should have the agency and authority to be part of the final decision-making.”
The Science That Explains Trump’s Grip on White Males, by Catherine Buni & Soraya Chemaly, UnDark, 07 January 2021

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“Two deaths you may have missed last week – for the simple reason that you have better things to do with your time than monitoring the tech industry. One was the end of FarmVille, a simplistic, time-wasting online game that consumed the attention of millions of Facebook users over the years; the other was the much-delayed execution of Flash, the animation tool that powered countless games and assorted website tricks for two decades, but which will no longer be supported by most web browsers or by its maker, Adobe.”
How FarmVille and Facebook helped to cultivate a new audience for gaming, by John Naughton, Guardian, 09 January 2021

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“Last year ended with a grim total: 350 people were killed in the City of Los Angeles, a 36% increase from last year, according to Capt. Paul Vernon, director of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Compstat Division.”
Murders in Los Angeles hit highest level in over a decade, by Catherine Orihuela, Crosstown, 07 January 2021

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“Parler faces an uncertain future after Amazon reportedly said it would no long host the social network, and Apple suspended it from its App Store over its role in last week’s attack on the US Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.” ~snip~ “Earlier, Google suspended Parler’s app from its Play Store until it adds ‘robust’ content moderation. Apple gave it 24 hours to improve its moderation practices before following suit and banning new downloads. The move by the two Silicon Valley companies meant the network would still be available via browser but the move by Amazon could change that unless a new host is found.” ~snip~ “Earlier, Google suspended Parler’s app from its Play Store until it adds ‘robust’ content moderation. Apple gave it 24 hours to improve its moderation practices before following suit and banning new downloads. The move by the two Silicon Valley companies meant the network would still be available via browser but the move by Amazon could change that unless a new host is found.”
Parler may go offline after Amazon, Apple and Google reject social network, by Staff and Agencies, Guardian, 09 January 2021

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“Childhood friends Harvey Tweats and Tom Whitehurst are on a mission – to rewild Britain by restoring reptile and amphibian species that are either virtually extinct or have been extinct for centuries in this country. Their company, Celtic Reptile & Amphibian, will soon open what the pair believe will be the country’s largest outdoor breeding facility for reptiles and amphibians. They hope it will be the first step in restoring lost species so that British ponds, lakes and wetlands once more resound to the croak of pool frogs and agile frogs as well as other once-common lizards and frogs. In the long term, Tweats and Whitehurst hope that the European pond turtle (which they source from Moldova) and the Aesculapian snake, already unofficially released in a couple of UK sites, may be embraced as new native species after being absent from the country for thousands of years.”
‘Who doesn’t love a turtle?’ The teenage boys on a mission – to rewild Britain with reptiles, by Patrick Barkham, Guardian, 10 January 2021

Awwwww, and they’re so cute. The boys and the reptiles.

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2020 at the Wapshott Press

Past, present, and future on view in a wondrous machine. Everything everywhere in every universe. Better than YouTube, but can this device bring happiness to a young slacker looking for love and life’s meaning?”
Storylandia, Issue 32, Drunk on Time, by J. H. Malone

Haunting and harrowing in its portrayal of supernatural creatures, “A Route Obscure and Lonely” explores the road less traveled by restless ghosts, sexually curious aliens, cunning vampires, transgressive angels, regretful mermaids, defiant witches, surly goddesses, mysterious phantoms, fearless fortune tellers, and “goth’s Mr. Goodbar” himself — — Edgar Allan Poe. The boroughs of the dead invite you to approach the gate guarding their abyss.”
Poetrylandia, Issue 2, A Route Obscure and Lonely, by LindaAnn LoSchiavo

Storylandia, Issue 33, short stories, by Jim McCullen, Jason Feingold, Alice Wickham, Chip Jett, and Arthur Davis

Poetrylandia, Issue 3, Fortune Written on Wet Grass, by Eileen “Mish” Murphy

“Nopalito, Texas—1965, 1985, 2005. An aging liquor store proprietor faces the confines of small-town life 5,000 miles from the one place that offered happiness. A young man evades attraction to his charismatic but erratic cousin. An elderly widower is beset by visits from the dead in the aftermath of a near-fatal heart attack. Albert, Dusty, Berndt—each one faces a wordless question: how to live with an impossibility that cannot be changed.”
Storylandia, Issue 34, The Distance Between Here
and Elsewhere: Three Stories
, by David Meischen

Poetrylandia, Issue 4, Trio, by Karla Huston, Ellaraine Lockie, and Connie Posgt

Finding the late Mrs. Taggart’s missing jewels had made Freddie Babington famous. People with problems began to come to him, hoping to engage his services as a private detective. Freddie expected his new career to involve thrilling cases such as restoring diamond necklaces to Duchesses and secret plans to government ministers, perhaps rescuing a kidnapped heiress or two. Most of his cases were more mundane–but every once in a while, a client with a truly strange and interesting problem came to his door.
Publishes in November 2020
Storylandia, Issue 35, Odd Goings-on at Ferndell Farm and other Stories, by Kathryn L. Ramage

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Reading:

“Gunfighter Nation,” by Richard Slotkin
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Watching:

“Tenet” (loved it, and still trying to figure it out)

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Quotes:

Remember we’re all in this alone.
Lily Tomlin

Representation of the world, like the world itself, is the work of men; they describe it from their own point of view, which they confuse with the absolute truth.
Simone de Beauvoir

Retaliation is related to nature and instinct, not to law. Law, by definition, cannot obey the same rules as nature.
Albert Camus

Retirement may be looked upon either as a prolonged holiday or as a rejection, a being thrown on to the scrap-heap.
Simone de Beauvoir

Revolutions go not backward.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Right now I think censorship is necessary; the things they’re doing and saying in films right now just shouldn’t be allowed. There’s no dignity anymore and I think that’s very important.
Mae West

Save a boyfriend for a rainy day – and another, in case it doesn’t rain.
Mae West

Say what you want about long dresses, but they cover a multitude of shins.
Mae West

Science does not know its debt to imagination.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sex is emotion in motion.
Mae West

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