Category Archives: General

History Repeats Itself…

…again.

Read about actor Jussie Smollett? He’s an openly gay actor known for being in the TV show Empire. Here he is:

On January 29th of this year, he reported to the police that two people attacked him while in Chicago. He alleged they hurled homophobic and racial slurs at him, put a rope around his neck, and poured a chemical substance on him.

(For more details and a timeline of events regarding this case, check out this article by Sopan Deb and presented on The New York Times).

Needless to say, the assault and details Mr. Smollett provided were harrowing. Only thing is… it now appears that Mr. Smollett may not have been telling the truth. It appears he may have staged the event himself, something I can’t even begin to understand why.

Ah, but you ask: What’s this whole “history repeats itself” thing you mention at the header?

See, when you get older and if you pay attention to the news and have a pesky habit of remembering things from years to years, you begin to realize that, indeed, history does have a weird habit of repeating itself.

Way back in the 1980’s and before the rise of the Rush Limbaughs, Ann Coulters, and other right wing fanatics, there was this TV personality, now deceased, named Morton Downey Jr. who had a very wild right wing TV show. Here’s Mr. Morton Downey Jr as he appeared on his show:

Image result for morton downey jr

And here’s the very same Morton Downey Jr. photographed in 1989 after he was allegedly attacked -as he claimed- in a public bathroom by youthful hoods that, among other things, drew a swastika on his face:

Image result for morton downey jr

You can read a little more about this alleged attack on this site:

Bogushatecrimes.com

As you can tell by the website’s name, this attack on Mr. Downey Jr. wound up being… well… bogus. There proved to be too many discrepancies in his story and, amusingly, the Swastika was drawn on his face backwards. You know, as if he was looking in the mirror and drew it that way.

As it turned out, Mr. Downey Jr.’s TV show was suffering and was looking like it might be cancelled. It was theorized he set up this bogus attack as a way of getting attention on himself in the hopes of bringing the ratings of his show up and, thus, save it.

Alas, the show was cancelled anyway and Mr. Downey Jr. declared bankruptcy and appeared in other markets before his eventual death in 2001. I distinctly recall watching one of his shows way back when, where he puffed maniacally on his cigarette and blew smoke right at the camera, his provocative way of telling those who would dare try to stop him from smoking to go fuck themselves.

The big irony is that in 1996 Mr. Downey Jr. developed lung cancer and had to have one of his lungs removed. He went from being that very pro-smoker to a staunch anti-smoker but, clearly, by that point the damage was done.

I know there are rumors Mr. Smollett’s actions, if indeed the attack on him does turn out to be bogus, were motivated by perhaps being in danger of being dropped from Empire, just as Mr. Downey Jr. allegedly did what he did for fear his show was on the rocks.

Either way, if indeed Mr. Smollett did stage this attack, it looks like its in the process of being found out.

Not what you want to hear…

…if you’ve invested in cryptocurrency. Found on gizmodo.com and written by Tom McKay:

Crypto exchange says it can’t repay $190 million to clients after founder dies with only password

At the risk of giving away everything in the article, let me quote the first paragraph in it:

Canadian crypto exchange QuadrigaCX says it cannot repay most of $190 million in client holdings after its 30-year-old founder Gerald Cotten, the only person who knew the passwords to its “cold storage,” unexpectedly died in India in December 2018.

While I suppose one shouldn’t generalize, reading this sure makes it sound like investing in crypto currency is at the very, very least… risky? And that maybe, just maybe, there should be more guardrails/regulations involved in crypto currency exchanges to avoid something so seemingly …stupid… from happening to one’s investments, no? Especially when they come to $190 million!

Here’s the thing, and I really do hate sounding like some kind of conspiracy theorist… but isn’t this rather convenient?

Also from the article (the bolding is by me):

Some other reporting has suggested it is possible some of the funds in question moved after the case was publicized, and though the evidence was not definitive, it and the strange circumstances of Cotten’s death spurred accusations that his demise was either faked or the pretext for an exit scam by other parties with access to the holdings, according to CCN. However, Robertson included a death certificate in the filings, CoinDesk wrote.

According to CBC, the government confirmed a Canadian had died in India, but could not offer more details due to privacy laws.

Okay then.

Granted, evidence of funds being moved after the date Mr. Cotten supposedly died was “not definitive” and therefore we cannot say for sure some funny business happened, it is weird that beyond a death certificate we can’t get more evidence to prove he did indeed pass away.

But, even if he did pass away in India and hasn’t “faked” his death to cover some financial crime, who’s to say Mr. Cotten was the only person to have that password? Is it possible someone else within his company or family had that password and maybe used it after the fact?

Pure speculation, mind you, and based on the article alone there’s absolutely no reason to believe anything beyond what’s presented.

Still, the whole situation is beyond weird.

Oh my…

Ran across this article by Patrick Redford and presented on Deadspin.com yesterday:

The sports highlight of the day

The header is pure sarcasm, the topic is this video:

After you watch the video, check out the article which offers some pretty funny comments about this wonderful neighbor row. I especially loved this line:

New highlights pop up every time I watch this video: the 11-second gap between the peacemaker trying to break things up and grabbing a plank of her own

Yeah, that was my favorite part as well! 😉

Winter Weather…

Apropos of nothing much at all:

The other day day, there was much ridicule heaped at the folks in/around the area I live in for things like this:

Image result for miami weather warning temperature

This is a Channel 10 weather “alert” that notes we’re about to have a “weekend winter blast” with morning temperatures “Near 50” and afternoon temps in the 60’s.

This provoked much ridicule by the folks from colder climes up north, who scoffed at the idea that you needed a “coat” for such temperatures, that in their neck of the woods, such temperatures didn’t merit a long sleeved shirt, much less a “coat”.

Or, to put it bluntly: Jeeze, you guys are freaking wimps!

Here’s the thing:

When I was very young, I lived in Nova Scotia, Canada. I LOVED the winters there, and recall at least a couple of below zero blizzards that passed through and caused the city I lived in to essentially shut down for everyone’s safety.

Back then, I was easily one of those folks who, upon seeing a graphic like the one above, would have scoffed at the idea that weather “Near 50” would cause anyone any trouble.

Thing is, the human body adjusts to the climate they’re in.

After Canada, I lived a while in Venezuela (pre-current craziness) which had a suffocating (for a winter boy like me) tropical climate. I eventually moved to Florida but, for my first year in college, I chose to attend the University of Ottawa in Canada.

I froze my ass off that year, the first time in nearly a decade I once again encountered a genuine winter.

Luckily for me, I had the option of continuing in Ottawa or transferring to a University in Florida.

I chose Florida.

This one time winter boy had acclimated himself to the warmer climate and switching to such cold proved incredibly difficult.

The point is this: Don’t laugh too hard at us, friends from the north. Your bodies are adjusted to take the colder climate and, trust me, if you spent a year or two in Florida or any other more moderate/warm setting, your winter weather body will also adjust to the warmer climate.

And, yes, when the usual temperatures around 80-90 degrees drop to 50, you too might find it quite uncomfortable once your body adjusts to the warmer weather.

I know… I know…

Doesn’t matter.

We’re wimps. 😉

Breaking (political) News…

POLITICS… BEWARE…!!!

Today’s latest lunacy, from CNN and written by Katelyn Polantz, Sara Murray, and David Shortell:

Mueller indicts Roger Stone

Image result for roger stone
The man himself…

Mr. Stone’s home was raided, he was arrested, and later today he’ll be in court (11 AM, according to the news) for his part in the Trump Presidential Campaign’s dirty tricks… specifically involving Wikileaks, Russia, and the stealing of various Democratic official’s emails and their release.

All designed to bring down/hurt the Hillary Clinton campaign and aid the Trump campaign.

As more and more time passes, I find the whole thing depressing because I’m becoming more and more convinced this was very much an election that was stolen by the use of fake news (which people like Trump are so fond of talking about… projection at its best!), disinformation, and clever use of social media.

It’s taken a while -two years now!- since the election but it seems more and more of the dirty, and illegal, details behind this election are coming to the fore.

The big question is: Now that he’s been arrested and indicted… will Roger Stone flip?

He’s spent many, many months saying he’d never talk, but now that he’s facing jail time, one wonders. It’s easy being brave and talking tough when you’re in your home and environs. It’s quite another thing when you’re facing that cell.

What a cluster… well… you know.

New Horizons and Ultima Thule

Been a little while since we got an update/picture of the Ultima Thule asteroid found in the Kuiper Belt.

That changed yesterday:

This image, from NASA, offers an even clearer view of the mysterious dual asteroid found far beyond Pluto. A fascinating, fascinating look at an incredibly distant object circling just outside our Solar System.

The article I found the photo:

Ultima Thule latest image, John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory

Fascinating, fascinating stuff!

Hmmm… what took them so long…?

Politics, BEWARE…!

Though it has been looked at before, it appears that in these past few days a greater focus seems to be finally, finally developing with regard to Donald Trump’s very odd fascination with Russia and its ruler.

Considering all the things he’s done so far (from changing the Republican platform to the weird private/secret meeting with Putin to the glowing things he’s said about him while lambasting our allies), it’s about time.

2018 (soon to be) in the rearview mirror…

Over at Salon.com, author Mary Elizabeth Williams notes sanguinely…

2018 Has Been The Longest Year Ever

She lists a bunch of stuff that’s happened… I recall it all… but what’s shocking is that it all happened this year.

Holy Moley!

So much stuff has happened this past year, much of it related to Trump and his highly competent and not at all corrupt (cough) government, that it’s hard to keep track of everything going on.

Ah, for the days when things were calmer and we weren’t lurching from one “big” news event and into another!

John Allen Chau…

Is the name familiar to you?

If you’ve been following the news …well, the news outside of whatever latest lunacy Donald Trump’s been involved in… John Allen Chau is the Christian missionary who earlier this month went to a remote Indian island with the intent of converting an isolated tribe there to Christianity.

He was killed by the remote islanders, who are isolated and have had no outside contact with “civilization” and thus know nothing about Christianity or current events and, no doubt, came to view Mr. Chau as a threat to themselves.

Over on Slate.com I found this fascinating article by Ruth Graham titled…

Martyr of Dickhead?  Why missionary John Allen Chau’s death on a remote Indian is so unsettling to Christians

Christian missionaries entering potential “hostile” territories is nothing new.  Part of their mission (they are “missionaries”!) is to convert people to the Christian cause, and no doubt Mr. Chau viewed his outreach as trying to spread the word of God to those who needed it.

The article is most fascinating in the early paragraphs, where the author offers the following history:

In January 1956, five young American missionaries decided to make contact with a small tribe of natives in eastern Ecuador, with the purpose of converting them to Christianity. Instead, just a few days after their first direct contact with the group, they were speared to death on a secluded beach. News of the missionaries’ deaths spread quickly in the United States. Life magazine devoted a 10-page spread to the story of “five devout men who sought to bring the word of God to a fierce tribe of Stone Age savages.” The reverence for the missionaries went even deeper in Christian circles, where believers saw the men as martyrs killed for their faith.

Back in 1956, the author goes on to note, the killing of these missionaries was viewed as a repugnant act by a “savage” people.

Today, as you can tell by the link/title of the article presented above, society’s views of missionaries has changed.  While Christians no doubt view Mr. Chau’s death with sympathy and outrage, clearly there is a large segment of people out there that view his actions as the height of hubris/arrogance.

In other words, he got what was coming to him.

Now, I view his death as a tragedy.  Then again, I feel anyone with a sliver of a pulse should view the death of any young person by such violence as a tragedy.

But another part of me completely agrees that he was a well-intentioned but supremely arrogant man who walked into a very dangerous situation and -surprise, surprise- met his end because of that arrogance.

I can’t help but think of the longer history, though, well beyond 1956 and the way Christianity in general has spread throughout the world.  The Crusades, for instance.  The initial forays into the “New World” and the way the Native Americans in South and Central America were treated and at times violently forced to convert.  Hell, our own U.S. history and the way we’ve treated Indians.

What fascinates me the most about this article is that it shows a societal/world view certain shift in perspective.  The “civilized world” no longer automatically sides with the zealous missionary and his holy crusade.

We have developed the capacity, maybe several hundred years too late, to realize that our world view shouldn’t be imposed upon others, that a rarity like the remote tribe in that Indian island should be allowed to live their lives in peace, as they have for generations, and we have no right to impose upon them.

A fascinating shift, for sure.