Monday Morning Open Thread: Branding — That’ll Leave A Scar


Is “I only watch it for the ads” still a thing?

Apart from post-game recovery, what’s on the agenda for the start of another week?

Late Night Cheap Laffs Open Thread: #YoMemoJokes

Currently trending at the top of Worldwide Twitter!

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Open Thread: More Reasons Not to Leave the House Fly Commercial


ICYMI (In Case You Missed It)…

I actually checked Snopes, and it’s true. The peacock’s person — surprise! — is a “conceptual artist working in photography, performative experiences and social practice” while living in Bushwick.

Monday Morning Open Thread: (Fighting for) Respect

(Full clip here; explanation here.)

Apart from dishing the Grammys, what’s on the agenda as we start another week?


Meanwhile… “Oh mah garsh, Jethro, it’s a trend!” Will Bunch, in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

There are no sooty coal mines underneath the steep, foliage-shrouded streets of Mount Airy, no Formica-wrapped diner where men in flannel shirts and steel-toed boots load up on painfully bitter coffee and heaping platters of cholesterol while dissecting last night’s Hannity, no driveways where an unemployed factory worker parks his Chevy truck next to a “Make America Great Again” yard sign.

No, life on these blocks centers around a joint on Carpenter Lane called Weavers Way, the venerable corner food co-op that launched in the twilight of the hippie era in 1972, where today senior citizens and young social workers wander down from rambling old-stone houses with their reusable canvas bags to load up on bulk spices, home-baked muffins, or maybe a treat like pumpkin gingersnap ice cream…

Welcome to the throbbing heart of Anti-Trump Country, a land where — if you believe in polls — the majority of Americans reside, and yet a place that the mainstream media seem determined to ignore.

I decided to come to the Northwest Philadelphia neighborhoods of Mount Airy and Germantown after reading the 26th, or maybe it was the 206th, “Report from Trump Country,” where some wire-rimmed reporter from New York or D.C. parachutes into small-town Ohio or Kansas to hang out in a bacon-drenched breakfast spot to discover that the locals who watched six hours of Fox News Channel the night before still love it when Trump blasts the liberal “fake news” on Twitter, no matter how many promises the president breaks on bringing their jobs back or replacing Obamacare with “something really terrific.”…


Tragic coda, via commentor Gin & Tonic, “Mired in squalor, but still voting for Putin”:

In Soviet times, “monotowns” dedicated to a single industry were part of a proud industrial heritage. Today some are still home to about 14m Russians, or 10% of the population, but many others have been bulldozed and burnt. One of the ghost towns in the far north, Khalmer-Yu, has been used for military target practice. Putin, who relishes any opportunity to show off his manly prowess, went up in a bomber to launch missiles at an abandoned block of flats.

A few brave souls linger in Roza, a former coal-mining town named after Rosa Luxemburg, the German revolutionary. It is perched on the edge of a crater two miles wide. The air is filled with sulphurous smoke from burning subterranean coal seams that have caused land on the edge of the settlement to subside.

More than 4,000 have departed in search of better lives. Most of those who remain are jobless. “People are upset, angry and disappointed,” said Liubov Artiomova, 49, at the counter of the All You Need dress shop. “I rarely get any customers. All we do is exist.”…

Kurdyavtseva, a mineworker’s widow, suffers from severe asthma and her grandson needs to see a dentist — two of his front teeth are black. “There’s no dentist round here,” she said. “And we can’t afford to go anywhere else. All of my pension goes on getting us something to eat.”

She could barely afford to feed the child and her two sons. In spite of the hardship, she will vote for Putin on March 18. “Who else? He gave us a good life in the past. Others have let him down.”

If you’re old, like me, you can probably remember back when it was a point of American pride that even our most isolated, ill-educated hayseeds had an independence unimaginable to the dumb kulaks mooing adulation for whichever Strong Soviet Daddy was standing at the front of today’s parade review…

Today in West Virginny

I had to run Christion to work today because his car is in the shop, and on the ride home I was approaching a sharp curve around the Ghost Hollow Viaduct, and as I rounded the curve I came upon a car that was completely stopped in the middle of the road. I waited a second, and noticed they were not doing anything but sitting there honking, so I pulled up next to them and rolled down my window. It was two college girls from Bethany, and they rolled down their window and I yelled “Are you all ok? Are you broken down?” She looked back at me, said, “Yeah, turkey” and honked the horn again.

I now had no idea what was going on (Did she just call me a turkey? What a quaint insult.), and apparently she could tell I was confused as hell, because she yelled “TURKEY” again and pointed to the front of her car.

Sure enough, there was a wild turkey right in front of her car, just standing there chatting back at them as she honked the car. So I pulled in front of her, putting the turkey in between me and her car, put my hazards on, and went out to get the turkey out of the road. Oh, I am wearing overalls, just to set the scene.

It was a beautiful bird, with bright blue and red colorings on his wattle and snood, and he stood about four feet tall. I walked up to him and he let me get really close, and I shooshed him off the road while talking to him- “I don’t know what the word on the street is but I can’t adopt any more pets so you are just going to have to go about your business come on now let’s go get off the road you silly bird that’s it get off the road no not that way get over here come on you can do it that’s a good boy…”

I got him up an embankment into a little copse of trees that lead to the woods, and turned around to wave the girls on (by this time there were four cars behind them). As I was doing this, the turkey had turned around and was following me and had gotten back into the road. So I stood between the turkey and the road and got all the traffic cleared, and then shooed the turkey back up the embankment again and we had a bit of a stand off:

After a little bit, when I was sure he was going to head back up the hill into the woods, I went to go back to my car, and a car was coming from the other direction, and slowed down because they thought I might have a problem. The guy stopped, asked me if I was ok, and I said “I’m fine, was just getting that turkey out of the road” and pointed to where the turkey was and OF COURSE the god damned bird was nowhere to be found. He said “Uhh ok,” looked at me like I was a crazy person, and put his car in gear and left.


Thursday Evening Open Thread: Artistic Appreciation

The Guggenheim — it’s getting more and more noticed, you might have heard — is a tremendously classy museum, founded on a rich celebrity’s personal relationships with all the best people. Being courted by the Guggenheim, getting on their board, is a well-established marker of HAVING MADE IT in New York society. Donald J. Trump is *never* going to get that golden ticket… and if I know New Yorkers, he will never be allowed to forget this 18-carat insult…

The emailed response from the Guggenheim’s chief curator to the White House was polite but firm: The museum could not accommodate a request to borrow a painting by Vincent Van Gogh for President and Melania Trump’s private living quarters.

Instead, wrote the curator, Nancy Spector, another piece was available, one that was nothing like “Landscape With Snow,” the 1888 Van Gogh rendering of a man in a black hat walking along a path in Arles, France, with his dog.

The curator’s alternative: an 18-karat, fully functioning, solid gold toilet — an interactive work titled “America” that critics have described as pointed satire aimed at the excess of wealth in this country.

For a year, the Guggenheim had exhibited “America” — the creation of contemporary artist Maurizio Cattelan — in a public restroom on the museum’s fifth floor for visitors to use.

But the exhibit was over and the toilet was available “should the President and First Lady have any interest in installing it in the White House,” Spector wrote in an email obtained by The Washington Post.

The artist “would like to offer it to the White House for a long-term loan,” wrote Spector, who has been critical of Trump. “It is, of course, extremely valuable and somewhat fragile, but we would provide all the instructions for its installation and care.”…

Cattelan, reached by phone in New York, referred questions about the toilet to the Guggenheim, saying with a chuckle, “It’s a very delicate subject.” Asked to explain the meaning of his creation and why he offered it to the Trumps, he said: “What’s the point of our life? Everything seems absurd until we die and then it makes sense.”

He declined to reveal the cost of the gold it took to create “America,” though it has been estimated to have been more than $1 million…

Trump is certainly more capable of appreciating a solid-gold toilet than a genuine Van Gogh. And, yes, I suspect that once the original was in his sweaty little hands, it would never have been seen again… except by those individuals lucky enough to visit some Russian oligarch’s dacha.

Low-Impact Interlude Open Thread: “Murphy Brown” Is Being Rebooted

I love both Candice Bergen and her most prominent avatar as much as anyone, but isn’t it about time we stopped relying on 30-year-old arguments?

(On the other hand, if the news makes Mike Pence melt down in public… )