Overnight Open Thread: Ripped from the Headlines… True Crimes Edition

You cannot make this stuff up. A guy named Schmuck attempted to teach an impromptu firearms safety course while drunk in front of the Quick Stop Deli on West Louther Street in Carlisle, PA (former home of me – Carlisle, PA, not a convenience store and deli on West Louther Street).

Christopher R. Schmuck, 39, was charged by the Carlisle Police Department on Friday after officers say they were called to the Quick Stop Deli on the 600 block of West Louther Street for a report of a man with a gun.

When police arrived, they found Schmuck at the front of the store, and they say he had a .45-caliber glock handgun tucked into his waistband.

Police say Schmuck, who was intoxicated, was giving a gun-safety lesson to two teenagers, and at one point, there was a live round in the chamber.

He did not have a license to carry the gun, police say.

Schmuck was charged with a weapons violation, reckless endangerment, public drunkenness and disorderly conduct, and is set for a preliminary hearing on Wednesday.

Needless to say: what a schmuck!



Ceci Ne Sont Pas Des Lunettes*

Calling all Sokals!

I know this is a case of chasing easy marks, but still, I laughed.

Two teenagers visited the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and they came away…underwhelmed:

The teenagers, Kevin Nguyen, 16, and TJ Khayatan, 17, both of San Jose, had been left scratching their heads at the simplicity of some of the museum’s exhibits, including two stuffed animals on a blanket.

“Is this really what you call art?” Kevin said in an interview over the weekend.

TJ added, “We looked at it and we were like, ‘This is pretty easy. We could make this ourselves.’ ”

Self-portrait_as_the_Allegory_of_Painting_(La_Pittura)_-_Artemisia_Gentileschi

Cue the long-standing first reaction to a Pollack:  “My five year old could do better!”

Nguyen and Khayatan, however, did the hard thing: put their ambition to the test.  Theirs was no instant success:

Inspired during their visit on May 21, they experimented with putting a jacket on the floor and then a baseball cap, but neither drew attention.

Like any driven artist, the two persisted, until, the breakthrough!

Kevin then placed his Burberry glasses on the floor beneath a placard describing the theme of the gallery. He said neither he nor TJ did anything to influence museum visitors, such as standing around and looking at the glasses.

The linked article has a picture of what came next…;-)

Not that the creators could fully appreciate their success. One does have to sacrifice for art:

Within about three minutes, people appeared to be viewing their handiwork as bona fide art, though Kevin said that without his glasses, he could not see what was happening too well.

Give SFMOMA credit, though, for a sense of humor about the matter:

Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 1.19.05 PM

That would be a reference to this, I believe (as does the NY Times…)

Anyway — good times!  And nothing to do with the ferret headed weasel (a sphinx for our times!), the senator from the north country, nor the lady whose nomination must not be acknowledged.  So I guess this makes it another politics free open-thread.  Have at it.

*Well.  Actually…they are, in exactly the sense that Magritte argued that his pipe was not.

Image: Artemisia Gentileschi, Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting, between 1638 and 1639.



Open Thread: On the Delicate Honor of Donald Trump, and His Most Fervent Supporters

I always enjoy Julia Ioffe’s journalism for her deadpan Sancho Panza/Twelve Chairs wit. When I read she was being twitter-mobbed by antisemitic Trump followers, I assumed their grievance would be associated with her latest Foreign Policy article, “On Trump, Gefilte Fish, and World Order”:

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I was eating my mother’s gefilte fish while watching Donald Trump’s foreign-policy address Wednesday afternoon. First, it was lunchtime; second, it is Passover; and third, the fish patties in front of me — an amalgam of lots of different ingredients (porgy, rockfish, matzo meal) that, mashed together, resemble nothing immediately recognizable as naturally occurring food — couldn’t help but echo the strange consistency of the policy combinations Trump put forward.

Punctuating his carefully scripted speech with Trumpian bursts of “believe me” and “very bad” — consider them bright bits of rhetorical magenta horseradish — Trump set out his vision of America in the world: America first, but America everywhere. America cutting down on its debt, but also expanding its standing army and revamping its nuclear arsenal. America standing up to China, but also striking an alliance with it. America supporting its allies, but also cracking down on them. America being restrained and judicious in its use of force, but also getting involved militarily and fighting to win…

Should’ve known better; the piece that so offended Der Trumpfuhrer’s fans was an apparently anodyne GQ profile of the woman a Stormfront blogger called “our Empress Melania”:

Back then, in 2005, it didn’t seem odd that she and Donald Trump would mark their happy occasion with the former president and First Lady, then a senator from New York. “When they went to our wedding, we were private citizens,” Melania reminds me. Just two private citizens getting hitched at the groom’s 126-room Florida palace. He in a tux; she in a $100,000 Dior dress that laborers’ hands had toiled upon for a legendary 550 hours, affixing 1,500 crystals—jewels fit for private citizens like them. A pair of ordinary people, really, uniting in matrimony in the presence of Rudy Giuliani and Kelly Ripa, as Billy Joel serenaded the couple and guests slurped caviar and Cristal in the shadow of a five-foot-tall Grand Marnier wedding cake.

Those were, in some ways, simpler times. But things change quickly—which is perhaps the enduring fact of Melania Trump’s entire improbable life—and when your husband works up a plan to make America great again, the very same Clintons you once smiled with on your wedding day can now become your family’s mortal enemies. And you can think, as Melania Trump says she does, that it’s no huge deal, really. “This is it, what it is,” Melania tells me. “It’s all business now; it’s nothing personal.”…
Read more



He Should Have Asked, “What Exit?”

It’s perfect that this guy’s from New Jersey:

Mr. Santillan, 28, arrived at Keflavik International Airport on Monday morning after a five-hour flight from New York and was eager to get to the Hotel Fron on Laugavegur, a main street in Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital, local news media reported. But the spelling error got in his way, according to Visir, an Icelandic news website.

While driving nearly six hours over icy roads, Mr. Santillan, who works in retail marketing, had an inkling that something might be wrong, local news reports said.

His suspicion was confirmed when he arrived in Siglufjordur, a remote fishing village in northern Iceland that is roughly 430 kilometers, or about 270 miles, from the airport and has a road named Laugarvegur.

There, a local woman informed him that he was not in Reykjavik, which is about 45 minutes by bus from the airport at which Mr. Santillan arrived.

Should have asked, “What exit?”

The Times scrupulously notes that, “his account could not be independently verified.” Even if the truth turns out to be somewhat stretched, however, we’ll always have Wrong Way Mike.








The Kids Are All Right

Yesterday started sadly so I thought I’d post something fun and tender to start the day today. We saw Jacques Tati’s Mon Oncle over the weekend. (Thanks Alamo Drafthouse!) Tati was a postwar French amalgam of Charlie Chaplin and Samuel Beckett. (Seriously, they played a short before the movie featuring David Lynch saying so.) His movies are sweet and weird and moving and funny all at the same time.

The scene that elicited the most guffaws needs no explanation:

I can imagine our H. erectus ancestor kids pulling the same prank a million years ago, and whoever succeeds us a million years from now doing the same.



Late Night Opposite-of-Nostalgia Open Thread

There’s been a certain amount of attention paid to Buzzfeed Ben Smith’s “What The Hell Happened To Mickey Kaus?” — mostly, IMO, for the wrong reasons:

I wrote a blog every day, more or less, from 2004 to 2011. Mickey Kaus was an old-timer when I started, and he was still going when I stopped. A pioneer of the platform, he is one of the handful who can lay claim to inventing the political blog — though he would never claim it, and indeed goes to great lengths to argue that he didn’t.

Kaus helped introduce elements of blogging style that still endure in online writing: the breathless, stream-of-consciousness style; the informal, self-referential voice; the disdain for the mainstream media…

Kaus mostly stopped blogging this year when he broke with the Daily Caller after criticizing Fox News — from the right. And while his old friends from top New York and Washington publications are now Top Thinkers and People Who Run Things, he is sitting in a coffee shop in Venice, talking about how he’s going to light up the congressional switchboard with calls about immigration. He now lives off his savings, and writes solely on Twitter, where he has emerged as an unlikely man of this political moment: a Democratic intellectual who thinks that Donald Trump is the “most credible” candidate for the presidency…

In other words, if not completely nucking futz, Kaus is an extremely quirky person whose idiosyncrasies gave him a foothold when the whole “political blogging” thing was being invented. Blogging has changed since those days, Kaus maybe not so much, and there isn’t a paying niche open at the moment for him. Sad commentary, if you’re the kind of online guy who seems to have grown up wanting to be Mickey Kaus…

Kaus also helped found the debate platform Bloggingheads with his old friend Robert Wright. (A Kaussian digression: I once debated Glenn Greenwald on Bloggingheads, on the proposition that my employer, Politico, was a right-wing proxy. The figure at the center of Greenwald’s theory was Joe Albritton, who he said owned Politico. I countered that the man was dead, and that his son Robert — without the CIA ties — ran the company. That turned out to be wrong — Joe was then alive, and in fact my boss’s boss; Greenwald very kindly allowed me to delete that portion of the audio, and save my job, and I’m reminded that he shares with Kaus [though being different in every other way] the quality of being a huge asshole on the internet but astonishingly gracious in person.)…

What I hear, reading that paragraph: Blogging was such a different and special place when it was just me and a handful of my bros, yapping for money from rich dudes whose politics we carefully chose not to understand! But now that just anybody can do it, the rich dudes have moved on!

And for some reason, I’m finding myself clean out of pity for Mickey Kaus, and all his fellows/imitators.



Darth Trump

You are welcome.