Monday, August 19, 2019

Ten funny tweets
























































*More funny posts.

Today's deals of the day include 36% off the teenage Groot Marvel Legends set

Teenage Groot (with video game), Infinity War Thor, and Rocket. Also, this fierce, chibi Megatron is $85 off:

"Proud Boys Wander Lost Through Portland as Police Allow Wild Goose Chase by Antifascists"

WW:

The two groups wandered across downtown Portland this afternoon, but rarely encountered their adversaries, thanks to a police strategy that allowed the groups broad leeway to move along streets and sidewalks, so long as they remained far apart from each other.

So when the Proud Boys and their allies gathered north of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, the cops kept antifascists bottled at the west end of the Hawthorne Bridge. When a diminished contingent of the far right marched west across the Tilikum Bridge into the South Waterfront, police allowed antifa to stroll across the Burnside Bridge and wander among the warehouses of the Central Eastside.

...

(Because early videos were misleading, this post has been changed to explain who first wielded the hammer.)
Related:
Video: [Southern] California High-School Students [on the Boys' Water Polo Team] Sang Nazi Song and Gave Hitler Salute

...

The video was uploaded to Instagram by one of the athletes, who also posted lyrics to the song in his Instagram bio."

"In a Secret Bunker in the Andes, a Wall That Was Really a Window"

Jonah Kessel for the NYT:

We were in the mountains outside the capital, Quito. A van-sized, unmarked metal wall built into the mountain slowly opened to reveal the hidden intelligence bunker, and guards brought us into a small room.

We planned to interview Col. Costa for our documentary and story. Senain had carefully orchestrated the entire affair. Every member of our party had a name tag marking where we were supposed to sit. We were not allowed to film or to go anywhere else but this single room. We could not use our phones to take pictures either.

From an aesthetic point of view, the room was a disaster: It was very small, with loud air conditioning, an enormous table that took up the entire space, and the type of office lighting that makes everyone squint. And worst of all, there was a wall directly behind our subject, creating a lack of depth that I typically try to avoid.

And nothing was negotiable. The tension in the room was palpable, and the clock was ticking. It was a video journalist’s worst nightmare.

But it was a big interview, so I accepted my fate and tried to make it work as best as I could, starting by trying to turn off their air conditioning and lights so I could use my own. This is where camera people can get a little nosy; often, we’ll start pushing any buttons or switches we can see on the walls to optimize the lighting.

But one of those switches was not what it seemed.

It looked like a standard dimmer switch. However, this dimmer didn’t connect to a light. When I pushed it, the wall behind our subject — which I had no reason to believe wasn’t a normal wall — went transparent. It was frosted glass, and this dimmer controlled the level of opacity. I realized we were looking into a room filled with dozens of large monitors, and intelligence officers who were watching the screens.

My heart skipped a beat.
Related:

Rita Vrataski's sword was a downed helicopter's rotor blade (art roundup)

















































*Buy Rita Vrataski posters at Amazon.

Hot Toys Princess Leia & Wicket available for preorder



Available individually, but if you buy the set, you get the Imperial bongos.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

ESPN has moved away from politics and is sticking to sports, except...

Last month:

Pitaro has led the world’s largest sports media company for 17 months, and this is the image he has sought to cultivate: sports as an almost childlike escape from the real world, with his network set apart from the larger culture wars raging in the country.

...

When Pitaro was appointed president in March 2018, he saw internal data that showed a significant gap between how Republicans and Democrats viewed ESPN’s on-air talent and the entertainment value of the production. He held town halls with employees and stressed in public comments that politics would be discussed at ESPN only through the lens of sports. The network also says its research finds that fans, regardless of political affiliation, do not want to hear about politics on ESPN.

...

Last week, though, Le Batard, the son of Cuban immigrants, loudly and publicly challenged Pitaro’s notion of what gets defined as politics
Now on Sportscenter in partnership with USAA:
ESPN documentary shows Bleier’s emotional return to Vietnam

...

“Everyone we met was pro American. There is a whole generation that the war is for the history books and not an experience they were a part of. The viewpoint has changed,” Bleier said.

"In Beverly Hills, the Mountain’s fate looms as foreclosure auction gets delayed"

LAT:

The prized property burst onto the market last summer boasting a potentially record-breaking price tag of $1 billion with a snazzy branding strategy and a marketing budget of $1 million.

...

celebrities, moguls, investors and even royals have been tussling over the mountaintop parcel for nearly half a century.

Views stretch from downtown Los Angeles to Catalina Island, and the closest neighbor is half a mile away. Disneyland, at roughly 85 acres, measures merely half the size of the property.

...

The mountaintop was once owned by a sister of the late shah of Iran, the Princess Shams Pahlavi, who had planned to build a lavish palace there. It didn’t happen.

The property was later acquired by talk show host-turned-TV-producer Merv Griffin, who commissioned prominent designer Waldo Fernandez to create a marble-and-limestone mansion. It was never built.

After falling into financial trouble, Griffin sold the mountaintop for more than $8 million in 1997 to Mark Hughes, the founder of Herbalife, in a deal that reportedly set a price record at that time for Southern California.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles is going to start looking like the end stage of a Sim City 2000 game:
Competition for tenants who can pay top rents has grown so fierce that landlords are loading up their new buildings with goodies unheard of in years past when a swimming pool and laundry room were considered ample enticements for renters.

In a new downtown Los Angeles apartment complex, residents could be found on a recent hot Friday afternoon washing their pooches in a dog park that offers separate runs for large and small breeds. It’s just one of the tenant amenities on a sprawling 2-acre deck that unfolds like a garden courtyard eight stories above Figueroa Street at the towering Circa complex.

...

In addition to a gym, the building will have a two-lane bowling alley, a virtual reality gaming room, a golf simulator, dog-grooming space, demonstration kitchen, wine-tasting counter, billiard room and yoga studio. On the 42nd story will be a private rooftop garden and lounge.

...

plans to host events intended to entice tenants away from their electronic devices into communal activities such as bowling leagues, movie nights and backgammon tournaments. There will also be more high-minded events such as forums on astronomy or social inequities such as homelessness that may be open to visitors.
And in other Los Angeles news:
When Los Angeles officials gave their blessing to a new development to replace the Amoeba Music building in Hollywood, critics went to court to try to stop it, arguing it would destroy a “cultural resource.”

But one of the owners of Amoeba Music complained this week that the push to preserve its distinctive art “threatens the very existence of the business it is claiming to hope to preserve.”

In his statement, Amoeba co-owner Jim Henderson said that “using Amoeba without our consent in their battle against development is more likely to permanently close our doors than anything else we have faced to date.”

...

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation has been a controversial player in development debates in Los Angeles, repeatedly suing the city over planned projects that it argues will fuel gentrification and clog streets with traffic.

Ten funny tweets





















































*More funny posts.

"Experts in Pompeii Have Discovered a Female Sorcerer’s Mysterious Arsenal of Charms—See Them Here"

"In the same house, the team discovered a room containing the bodies of ten victims"

"has [Cathay Pacific] done enough to appease Beijing" over Hong Kong protests?

SCMP:

Cathay chairman John Slosar remarked at a press conference: “We employ 27,000 staff in Hong Kong doing all sorts of different jobs … we certainly wouldn’t dream of telling them what they have to think about something.”

...

British billionaire Merlin Swire was summoned to Beijing last Monday.

...

the CAAC put unprecedented pressure on the airline citing safety and security.
It demanded to be shown crew lists for all Cathay flights going over mainland Chinese airspace, making clear that any crew member involved in the protests would not be allowed to fly.

...

Four days later, on Friday, came the shock resignation of Cathay Pacific Group CEO Rupert Hogg, well liked and credited with turning the airline’s fortunes around during his two years in the job. His deputy, Paul Loo Kar-pui, also resigned.

...

In one of his last actions as CEO, Hogg told his 34,000 staff last week that their “actions and words” outside work did indeed matter and warned they faced the sack if they took part in unsanctioned protests. On this, he added, the airline would take a “zero tolerance” approach.

...

All eyes are now on Hogg’s successor, Augustus Tang Kin-wing
SCMP a few hours later:
Cathay Pacific Airways said on Sunday it was investigating online rumours about an anonymous letter said to be from its employees, reiterating their support for the ongoing anti-government protests in Hong Kong.

“While we cannot confirm the authenticity of this letter, we are taking the matter very seriously and are conducting an internal investigation,” the airline said in a statement.
In other protest news:




Closer to home:
Workers at the Pennsylvania petrochemical plant where President Donald Trump spoke Tuesday were told that if they didn't attend the event, they either had to use paid time off or receive no pay for the day.

At least some of the workers who attended the speech were instructed not to protest the President, who told the crowd of workers at the Royal Dutch Shell plant he would be imploring their union leaders to support his reelection.

Drama at Team USA basketball

This was two weeks ago:



And this was after Friday's game:
Kings PG De'Aaron Fox becomes latest to withdraw from Team USA

...

losing Fox is still a tough blow for the squad. Fox was reportedly a “standout” during his work on the U.S. Select Team and garnered praise from multiple teammates.

Despite that promise, Fox only played six minutes during Team USA’s friendly against Spain on Friday. That was the lowest total of any U.S. player who saw the court.

It was instead San Antonio Spurs guard Derrick White who saw more minutes behind Walker, which perhaps isn’t surprising considering the team is coached by Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.
He remains extremely popular with reporters:
Fox had been nothing but all in on the experience throughout Team USA camp in Las Vegas two weeks ago and again this week in Los Angeles. Both on and off the record, Fox expressed excitement about the process and the potential of playing for Team USA.

...

You need to be sure about what the commitment means before jumping in with both feet. Venturing on the road with no assurances of making the squad is a tall ask, but that's exactly what Popovich and Team USA managing director Jerry Colangelo asked of Fox and others Friday night.

While the experience could help with Fox's development - and likely already has - it also would put a tremendous amount of wear and tear on the 21-year-old. Just in airline flights alone, he'd be looking at close to 20,000 miles with Team USA.