Elsewhere for June 23, 2018

You should read this for 6/23/2018:

Art and Film

Star Trek: TNG to Possibly Return as Alex Kurtzman Oversees Expansion of Star Trek On TV

Books, Writing, and Language

These Portuguese Libraries Are Infested With Bats—and They Like It That Way

LGBTQ identity is shaped by language. So what words will describe “queer” in the future?

It Can Happen Here


Bullies have no place in academia – even if they’re star scientists

Several well-known private schools in the D.C. area are scrapping Advanced Placement classes

Food and Drink

Via King Arthur Flour: Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

History and Archaeology

Monticello Is Done Avoiding Jefferson’s Relationship With Sally Hemings “A new exhibit grapples with the reality of slavery and deals a final blow to two centuries of ignoring or covering up what amounted to an open secret.”

Did John Adams Out Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings?

Bones of Civil War dead found on a battlefield tell their horror stories

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

Trump asked NFL players for pardon suggestions. On Thursday, they responded.

Where are the migrant
child facilities? Scattered across America “Help us map where children are being sent around the U.S. The Post is continuing to report on where migrant children were sent after they were separated from their parents. Do you know of a facility where these children may be? Crowd-sourcing for humanitarian purposes

Science and Nature

Thirteen bald eagles were found dead in a field. This is what killed them.


DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen Heckled Out of a Mexican Restaurant by Protesters

Hundreds of the Attorney General’ Jeff Session’s fellow church-members signed a letter claiming his “zero-tolerance” immigration policy had harmed “thousands of vulnerable humans.” In June 2018, members of the United Methodist Church brought church charges, including child abuse, against Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Koko The Gorilla Dies; Redrew The Lines Of Animal-Human Communication


Russian Trolls Weigh In on Roseanne Barr and Donald Trump Jr. “Newly identified Twitter accounts were until recently still tweeting out politically divisive messages as midterm elections approach”

In Major Privacy Win, Supreme Court Rules Police Need Warrant To Track Your Cellphone

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

President Trump seems to be saying more and more things that aren’t true

President Trump — a man already known for trafficking in mistruths and even outright lies — has been outdoing even himself with falsehoods in recent days, repeating and amplifying bogus claims on several of the most pressing controversies facing his presidency.

National Enquirer sent stories about Trump to his attorney Michael Cohen before publication, people familiar with the practice say

Elsewhere for June 16, 2018

You should read this for 6/16/2018:

Art and Film

The Book of Kells — in pictures Captions by Bernard Meehan, former TCD Keeper of Manuscripts. Read more about the Book of Kells.

Books, Writing, and Language

Neil Gaiman’s 8 Rules of Writing Pay particular attention to Rule #8.

A Passport to Washington Libraries: How many libraries can you visit?

Left to Their Own (Literary) Devices Just some of the reasons not to leave children unattended at the library. Also: Librarians are not child-care workers. They’re busy.

Food and Drink

Anthony Bourdain: Serving Up Inclusion

Another reason Anthony Bourdain mattered to so very many people. And here’s another reason why Bourdain meant so much to so many.

The Best of Anthony Bourdain “What to read, what to watch and what to listen to by and about the chef, TV host and author who died on Friday.”

How to Construct the Ultimate Burger

Sam Adams Summer Ale may be my perfect mass-produced Summer beer. It’s an American Pale Wheat Ale style beer with a touch of citrus, only available from April through August.

History and Archaeology

DNA study reveals fate of Irish women taken by Vikings as slaves to Iceland “Ancient Iceland settlers had even split of Norse and Gaelic ancestry”

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

This Woman Had The Perfect Response When ICE Boarded Her Greyhound Bus Speak truth to power. Represent.

Use your voice. Take a risk. Act an ASS. Because if you let them intimidate the poor Spanish speaking woman next to you, who do you think they’re coming for next?

Science and Nature

Ancient Teeth Unlock Plague Secrets “The findings suggest the pathogen’s ancestor is almost 1,000 years older than previously thought.”

Cleanse and Refresh “The New York Times’ coverage of buzzy wellness concepts like “detox” is a case study in pseudoscience creep.”


Madness “In Florida prisons, mentally ill inmates have been tortured, driven to suicide, and killed by guards.”


How eBooks lost their shine: ‘Kindles now look clunky and unhip’

 figures published today by the Publishing Association show that sales of consumer ebooks have dropped by 17%, while sales of physical books are up 8%. Consumer spending on books was up £89m across the board last year, compared with 2015. So why is the physical book winning through?

But wait:

The figures from the Publishing Association should be treated with some caution. They exclude self-published books, a sizable market for ebooks. And, according to Dan Franklin, a digital publishing specialist, more than 50% of genre sales are on ebook. Digital book sales overall are up 6%.

Washington State Is Now the Only Place in America with Net Neutrality “The state law only went into effect once the federal rules were officially repealed on Monday.”

The Washington law prohibits telecom providers from blocking content or devices, throttling traffic, or participating in paid prioritization.

Women’s Work

Was on a train from Cambridge earlier. Two young girls with beautiful face paint walked into my carriage and sat down about half an hour into the journey. A couple of mins later this man walked in and sat next to them even though the carriage was empty with plenty of empty seats

In Conversation With Mary Beard The Cambridge classicist on misogyny, power, and the future of women in the public sphere.

You unpeel the cultural layers and investigate the history and you will find that the ancients were having some familiar debates. Like Perseus and Medusa: decapitating women, silencing women, cutting women’s tongues out. There are things that are so resonant with now. If you look at what Twitter trolls tend to say when they want to target a woman, they go back to those tropes about cutting tongues out, cutting your head off and raping it. And I’m pretty certain that many of them have not read Ovid.

Melania’s Recent Behavior Is Right Out of Hitchcock: The lady vanishes.

The point is not that we should invade the First Lady’s privacy (which could have been protected with any simple, coherent explanation of her malady, eliding intimate details). The point is that Melania Trump is such a convenient blank space around which this administration practices weaving its inconsistent lies. She’ll be gone for a week; no, a month. She’s at the window; no, she’s not.

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

This Incredible Photo Of Trump Surrounded By G7 Leaders Is Like A Renaissance Painting The photo was taken by Jesco Denzel, a German government photographer. Tesco has a Website here: http://www.jescodenzel.com/. https://twitter.com/BWJones/status/1005637999038611457

Meet the guys who tape Trump’s papers back together Trump has a habit of ripping up all of his paper — his own “filing system” of sorts. Officials working in records management spend their days taping them back together to avoid violating Presidential Records Act

Report Condemns FBI Violations In 2016 Clinton Probe But Finds No Political Bias

Democrats, meanwhile, said the findings of the report made it clear that the FBI had effectively helped elect Trump — by damaging Clinton.
For example, the minority leaders of the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees cited Comey’s choice to reveal the FBI’s investigation into Clinton but not its counterintelligence investigation into Trump aides’ ties to Russians.
“As we warned before the election, Director Comey had a double-standard: he spoke publicly about the Clinton investigation while keeping secret from the American people the investigation of Donald Trump and Russia,” said Judiciary Committee ranking member Jerry Nadler of New York and Oversight Committee ranking member Elijah Cummings of Maryland.
The Democrats also said they are angry that Comey talked so much, so often, about a case that he ultimately had concluded should not result in any prosecution.

Here’s Comey’s response to the Horowitz report. And finally, the most astute comment by someone who’s read the Horowitz report: Rachel Maddow:

The inspector general finds that James Comey just didn’t care if he might be seen as acting in a way that might hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign,” she said. “But he really, really, really cared and he took great extraordinary action to avoid appearing like he might be helping Hillary Clinton in any way. that’s how he weighed those two consequences.

And as Maddow notes:

You wonder why the president and Republicans today are attacking the FBI and attacking the justice department all the time?” she asked. “This is why. I mean, if you can just hit them hard enough, if you can just use conservative media to attack them hard and consistently enough, then you can make the justice department and the FBI worry about the perception that they might be perceived as soft on Democrats. It might overcompensate, right? once they’re worried about that perception you’re halfway there to make them bend over backwards for you and in this case break policy for you to make sure they definitely don’t help the Democrats and they thereby help the Republicans instead.

Elsewhere for June 9, 2018

You should read this for 4/8/2018:

Books, Writing, and Language

The borrowers: why Finland’s cities are havens for library lovers “Helsinki’s state-of-the-art Oodi library will stand opposite parliament and boast a cinema, recording studio and makerspace. It’s a perfect fit for a literate nation taking public learning to the next level.”

at a time when libraries worldwide are facing budget cuts, a decline in users and closure, Finland is bucking the trend. According to local authority figures from 2016, the UK spends just £14.40 per head on libraries. By contrast, Finland spends £50.50 per inhabitant. While more than 478 libraries have closed in cities and towns across England, Wales and Scotland since 2010, Helsinki is spending €98m creating an enormous new one.


Federal School Safety Commission Holds First Public Session. DeVos Wasn’t There “The Trump administration’s school safety commission held its first public listening session Wednesday, a day after the panel’s chair, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, told lawmakers on Capitol Hill that the commission wouldn’t focus on guns.”

Food and Drink

I’m so sorry for the loss of Anthony Bourdain, who has grieving friends and families. Bourdain was a wonderful writer, a genuine humanist, and a huge loss. He came to the attention of world as a writer in 1999 when The New Yorker published Bourdain’s essay Don’t Eat Before Reading This. That essay lead to Bourdain’s first non-fiction book Kitchen Confidential. He was a killer writer, and a genuine mensch, not least for his support of #metoo, which was genuine and real.

From In-N-Out to Chateau Marmont, Anthony Bourdain understood what makes L.A. great

History and Archaeology

Arctic tomb preserves oldest known Inuit dress

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

Suicide is increasingly on our minds. Please let someone know if you’re struggling. You are not alone, and you absolutely do matter. There’s help available, and people who care about you. How to get help: In the US, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The International Association for Suicide Prevention and Befrienders Worldwide also can provide contact information for crisis centers around the world.

Science and Nature

The Lifespan of a Lie “The most famous psychology study of all time was a sham. Why can’t we escape the Stanford Prison Experiment?”




Apple’s WWDC

Women’s Work

The Quiet Rage Of Senator Mazie Hirono

In the Senate, Hirono is known as a “work horse, not a show horse,” as one of her colleagues put it. But she is the only senator who asks every nominee for any position if they have ever been accused of sexual misconduct, and if they have ever signed a nondisclosure agreement. She wants these answers on the record in case future information shows a nominee lied.
She is the Senate’s only immigrant and its first female Asian American, and she had kept a pretty low profile.

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

This Ohio factory thought it could bring U.S. jobs back from China. Then 💩🔥💰 got involved

An emoluments hearing: Can Trump flout the Constitution?

Every president until this one has voluntarily complied, jettisoning foreign businesses and assets and/or asking permission to receive foreign gifts. Not President Trump. He and his relatives who work in the executive branch retained businesses that operate overseas; they frequently receive all sorts of monetary benefits from foreign governments. Ivanka Trump just got a batch of trademarks from China. Trump hotels are filled with foreign dignitaries, paying handsomely so the president can see that they are filling his coffers.

Elsewhere for June 2, 2018

You should read this for 5/2/2018:

Art and Film

Laurie Anderson’s Favorite Things “The artist shares a few of her and her late husband Lou Reed’s favorite things”

June from the Da Costa Hours

Books, Writing, and Language

A Scrappy Makeover for a Tweedy Literary Fixture “He doesn’t go to book parties. He doesn’t do lunch. He maintains, he says, no literary friendships.”

The crucial thing that he does do, is love to read: he gives people favorite books. That, I think, says a lot. Add to that that he wants to not only increase the reader numbers for TLS, he wants to widen the readership in terms of kinds of people and what they read.


Via Forbes: It’s Not Liberal Arts And Literature Majors Who Are Most Underemployed

In other words, for every cliché of a barista or bartender with a liberal arts degree, there were ten with a degree in business.

Food and Drink

Via Gil Marks on Tori Avey.com: Sour Cream Coffeecake Perfectly moist streusel-filled bundt cake drizzled with icing. Serve with coffee or tea for a sweet afternoon indulgence!”

History and Archaeology

Who killed Bobby Kennedy? His son RFK Jr. doesn’t believe it was Sirhan Sirhan. “Kennedy was shot at point-blank range from behind, including a fatal shot behind his ear. But Sirhan, a 24-year-old Palestinian immigrant, was standing in front of him.”

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

NHMoves encourages Granite Staters to exercise with free passes to state parks “NHMoves, a project of The Governor’s Council on Physical Activity and Health, is challenging New Hampshire residents to exercise for 20 minutes or more every day in the months of June, July and August.
The council has partnered with the N.H. Parks and Recreation Division to provide residents with a pass for free admission to [some state] parks” listed at the link.


Bullshit Jobs: A Theory by David Graeber review – the myth of capitalist efficiency Grabber has written a new book, based on an essay he wrote in 2013 about “bullshit jobs,” jobs that are meaningless, don’t actually solve a problem or make the world better, but that produce income. Here’s an interview of Graber’s about his new book and bullshit jobs, from Vox.

As Graber says about bullshit jobs:

if they went away tomorrow, it would make no difference at all.
And that’s how you know a job is bullshit: If we suddenly eliminated teachers or garbage collectors or construction workers or law enforcement or whatever, it would really matter. We’d notice the absence. But if bullshit jobs go away, we’re no worse off.

Say Goodbye To The Information Age: It’s All About Reputation Now

We are experiencing a fundamental paradigm shift in our relationship to knowledge. From the “information age,” we are moving towards the “reputation age,” in which information will have value only if it is already filtered, evaluated, and commented upon by others. Seen in this light, reputation has become a central pillar of collective intelligence today.


Secret Commands Let Google Access All Your Android Text Messages

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

Trump falsely accuses the New York Times of making up a source. It was an official who briefed reporters.

Here’s How the FBI Investigation Into Russia and Trump Campaign Actually Started

Elsewhere for May 26, 2018

You should read this for 5/26/2018:

Books, Writing, and Language

Earliest Version of Our Alphabet Possibly Discovered “The earliest example of our alphabet — a possible mnemonic phrase that helped someone remember “ABCD” — has been discovered on a 3,400-year-old inscribed piece of limestone from ancient Egypt, a scholar believes.”

Food and Drink

The 18th-century chocolate champions “Chocolate was introduced to England around 1600, first and foremost as a drink, and remained popular in that form for over 200 years.”

History and Archaeology

Early evidence of use of a bit on domestic donkeys found in the Near East “Ancient donkey remains from the Early Bronze Age (EB) show tooth wear linked to bit-wearing” See also: Archaeologists uncover earliest evidence for equid bit wear in the ancient Near East This is a link to a .pdf of the original journal article by the researchers.

A robot submarine found the ‘Holy Grail of shipwrecks.’ It’s worth billions. “On June 8, 1708, during the War of the Spanish Succession, the San José’s gunpowder ignited during a battle with British ships, sending 600 sailors to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean — along with gold, silver and emeralds from mines in Peru, a total haul valued at some $17 billion in today’s dollars.”

London dig unearths Roman bones, jewels and single flake of gold—Museum to show rare artifacts alongside ethnically diverse human remains

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

Stop Throwing Cellphone Batteries in the Trash, You’re Firebombing Garbage Trucks

Science and Nature

Here’s why there are so many coyotes and why they are spreading so fast “Coyotes have been around forever. Today’s species originated from ancestors that lived alongside saber-tooth tigers, mastodons and dire wolves.”


Spurned advances provoked Texas school shooting, victim’s mother says

See also:

Incel, the misogynist ideology that inspired the deadly Toronto attack, explained


Here’s Amazon’s explanation for the Alexa eavesdropping scandal “

I mean, that all does sound pretty unlikely. But the fact that Alexa can interpret background conversation as a confirmation is a big problem.” I would not give Amazon or its devices access to my contacts list.

Women’s Work

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

💩🔥💰’s Unsecured iPhones Make Clinton’s Basement Server Look Like Fort Knox

This revealing anecdote unmasks 💩🔥💰’s dehumanization game

Elsewhere for May 19, 2018

You should read this for 5/19/2018:

Art and Film

Jinx Allen Craig obituary “Young American who was the subject of a famous photograph when she was gallivanting in Italy in 1951”

Report: The Wrath of Khan Director Reveals He Was Making a Star Trek Trilogy for CBS, But It’s Been Delayed

Books, Writing, and Language

Academics are being hoodwinked into writing books nobody can buy


A black Yale student fell asleep in her dorm’s common room. A white student called police. Napping while black. The student, a black graduate student, was in her own dorm’s common room, napping. A white student called the police.

Food and Drink

How a Wine Newbie Got an Unexpected Education

Via NPR: Washington Politics Adding To Mental Health Crisis Among Farmers “Suicide rates among farmers are higher than any other profession in the United States and now some experts and Senators worry Washington politics could be making farmland stresses even worse.”

History and Archaeology

Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer long wondered if he’s related to JFK. At 72, he learned the truth.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

96-Year-Old Secretary Quietly Amasses Fortune, Then Donates $8.2 Million “ylvia Bloom, a legal secretary from Brooklyn, worked for the same law firm for 67 years while quietly amassing a fortune. In her will, she left more than $8 million for college scholarships.”

For six decades, ‘the man with the golden arm’ donated blood — and saved 2.4 million babies

A barista refused to serve a man ‘being very racist’ to a Muslim. Her bosses backed her.

Science and Nature

The Really Big One “An earthquake will destroy a sizable portion of the coastal Northwest. The question is when.”

Republican congressman Mo Brooks (R Alabama) explains sea-level rise: it’s rocks falling into the sea


‘They don’t belong’: police called on Native American teens on college tour “A mother on the tour told authorities the young men were ‘creepy’ and ‘really stand out’, causing them to miss the rest of the event”

CIA Nominee Gina Haspel Faces A Senate Showdown

She was at a black site prison in Thailand where al-Qaida suspects were waterboarded in 2002. And in 2005, she wrote a cable calling for the destruction of videotapes that showed that waterboarding.

In other words, she assisted in torture, and then tried to have the evidence of that torture destroyed.

She saved thousands to open a medical clinic in Nigeria. U.S. Customs took all of it at the airport.

How the religious right is shrinking itself: Overzealous Christianity is driving people away “New study suggests that as the religious right grows ever more radical, it drives ever more people out of church”


Wild Ride: Turning School Buses Into Homes on Wheels

Women’s Work

Secrets Of A Maya Supermom: What Parenting Books Don’t Tell You

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

As the ‘King of Debt,’ Trump borrowed to build his empire. Then he began spending hundreds of millions in cash.

What is Mueller
 looking at? This is a concise, well-organized break down of what and who and why.

Elsewhere for May 5, 2018

You should read this for 5/5/2018:

Art and Film

An Investigation of Black Figures in Classical Greek Art

Books, Writing, and Language

Artificial Intelligence Is Cracking Open the Vatican’s Secret Archives “A new project untangles the handwritten texts in one of the world’s largest historical collections.” This is the kind of thing that the Internet makes possible. This particular piece about the OCR methodology being used to decipher Medieval and Renaissance hands also has one of the best explanations of how OCR actually works that I’ve ever seen.


British schools are replacing analog clocks with digital ones to help clueless students I’m not really a fan of the headline here; not being able to read an analog clock doesn’t make the students “clueless.” It does suggest that teachers need to start teaching little kids to tell time on an analog clock. I had a terrible time in third grade learning to tell time; it made not sense to a visually impaired dyslexic kit with less than solid spatial relation abilities. The teachers tried to teach us to tell time based on the position of the hands geometrically, that is, half past, or quarter to, and the like. My mom was the one who actually taught me to tell time. She taught me to count by fives, and then, to count by fives in terms of the minute or “long hand.” That worked, and eventually, the method of telling time based on the relative position of the hands (rather than counting) just sort of happened. I do think it’s a worthwhile skill, because it’s a very rapid way of gauging time, and because it also teaches the concepts of half and quarter and three quarters, which apply to not only counting time, but geometry in general, and analog clocks have spawned metaphors that are deeply embedded in English.

Food and Drink

Via Simply Recipes: Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp It’s rhubarb season, and this is a simple and great way to enjoy rhubarb and fresh strawberries.

History and Archaeology

40,000-Year-Old Stone Tools Unearthed in Australia Almost 100 flaked stone tools estimated to be up to 40,000 years old were uncovered in southeastern Australia during sewer work. The finds will be analyzed by the traditional land owners, documented and re-buried.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

A man sitting next to screaming children on an American Airlines flight helped their mom calm them down — and his act of kindness is going viral

Science and Nature

Horses Remember Facial Expressions of People They Have Seen Before
“A study by the Universities of Sussex and Portsmouth reveals that horses can read and then remember people’s emotional expressions, enabling them to use this information to identify people who could pose a potential threat.”


A Growing Problem for the Military Transgender Ban: Facts “In separate statements over the past month, the chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air Force; the commandant of the Marine Corps; and the incoming commandant of the Coast Guard, testified to Congress that transgender service members do not impair the cohesion of military units or discipline.”



Women’s Work

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

Trump Thinks Only Black People Are On Welfare, But, Really, White Americans Receive Most Benefits

Elsewhere for April 28, 2018

You should read this for 4/28/2018:

Art and Film

Watch This In-Depth Take on Everything Wrong With The Hobbit Movies “critic Lindsay Ellis has embarked on an epic journey of her own, to dissect the failures and follies of The Hobbit. In a series of three critical videos, Ellis runs the gamut through all three films and the morass of hubris and bad decisions that brought them together.”

‘Beyond the Nile: Egypt and the Classical World’ Review: A Cross-Cultural Journey Begins

Books, Writing, and Language

Collection of Jewish jokes shouldn’t shy from the sorrow behind the humor

History and Archaeology

Swedish archaeologists uncover brutal 5th century massacre

Remains of 140 children found in Peru, pointing to world’s largest ancient child sacrifice

 It’s estimated that the children — and 200 young llamas — were sacrificed about 550 years ago, when the area was home to the pre-Columbian Chimú civilization. The Chimú was the second-largest empire in Peru before Spanish colonization, next to the Incas, who were also known to sacrifice children during rituals.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

‘Being LGBTQ is not an illness’: Record number of states banning conversion therapy

13 semis line Detroit freeway to help man considering suicide

U Street assault victim gets new teeth, replaced for free by DC dentist

I reached out and offered full care because we are all members of a powerful loving LGBTQ community before anything else. It is through these acts of love in the face of hate that we will persist, thrive, and succeed in showing the world we want to be ‘one’.”

Science and Nature

At the Bottom of the Ocean, Octopus Moms Cling to Their Bad Decisions “ Scientists found them clustered on the sea floor, trying to grow their young in a warm bath that will certainly kill babies and moms alike.”


How Trump’s Trans Military Ban Backfired. Spectacularly.

Ever since July 2017, when Trump acceded to the religious right and tweeted a ban on transgender military service without consulting military leaders first, the administration has been dealt blow after blow, suffering two major defeats in the past week alone.

Women’s Work

Via the Getty Publications Virtual LibraryMary Beard ‘cut’ from US version of Civilisations, fearing ‘slightly creaky old lady isn’t ideal for US TV’

Julia Margaret Cameron: Complete Photographs

According to one of Julia Margaret Cameron’s great-nieces, “we never knew what Aunt Julia was going to do next, nor did anyone else.” This is an accurate summation of the life of the British photographer (1815–1879), who took up the camera at age forty-eight and made more than twelve hundred images during a fourteen-year career. Living at the height of the Victorian era, Cameron was anything but conventional, experimenting with the relatively new medium of photography, promoting her own art though exhibition and sale, and pursuing the eminent personalities of her age—Alfred Tennyson, Charles Darwin, Thomas Carlyle, and others—as subjects for her lens. For the first time, all known images by Cameron, one of the most important nineteenth-century artists in any medium, are gathered together in a catalogue raisonné.

Elsewhere for April 21, 2018

You should read this for 4/21/2018:

Art and Film

Randall Grahm On His Iconic Wine Labels

Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon Vineyard has blazed his own wine trail for decades. But it’s not just what’s in the bottle that has garnered attention. From Le Cigare Volant to A Proper Claret and beyond, the labels that adorn Grahm’s creations are equally compelling and original. He talks with us about the first labels that captivated him, breaking from the traditional design and his collaboration with a myriad of artists.

Books, Writing, and Language

Lots of coverage last week and this regarding James Comey’s about-to-be-related book A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership

This observation about Comey’s book in the Washington Post’s The Fix caught my eye:

Perhaps the only politician who comes off well in the excerpts so far is Obama. Comey says Obama’s kindness in the aftermath of the Clinton investigation nearly brought him to tears. The Post’s Rucker reports:

Comey writes that Obama sat alone with him in the Oval Office in late November and told him

“I picked you to be FBI director because of your integrity and your ability. I want you to know that nothing — nothing — has happened in the last year to change my view.”

On the verge of tears, Comey told Obama, “Boy, were those words I needed to hear . . . . I’m just trying to do the right thing.”

“I know,” Obama said. “I know.”

The Post’s Amber Phillips neatly sums up my personal take on Jame’s Comey’s book thus far (I haven’t read it yet):

But for nearly everyone else, this book is Comey’s version of the unvarnished truth, which can pretty much be summed up like this: At one time or another, the former FBI director felt pressured by members of each party to shape an investigation in their favor.

In other words, politicians will probably see this book the same way they see everything: through their own, often self-serving, partisan lens.

The Washington Post has posted some excerpts and commentary. This piece James Comey’s memoir: Trump fixates on proving lewd dossier allegations false by Phillip Rucker is one example.  It’s worth reading. It includes this:

Comey recalls being struck that neither Trump nor his advisers asked about the future Russian threat, nor how the United States might prepare to meet it. Rather, he writes, they focused on “how they could spin what we’d just told them.”

With [James R. Clapper Jr., then the director of national intelligence] and then-CIA Director John O. Brennan — both Obama appointees — still in the room, Priebus and other Trump aides strategized for political advantage, Comey writes. The Trump team decided they would emphasize that Russian interference had no impact on the vote — which, Clapper reminded them, the intelligence community had not determined.


From NPR: Arizona Teachers Vote To Strike, Sparking Statewide WalkoutTeachers in Arizona held a strike vote on Thursday that launched Arizona’s first-ever statewide walkout and turned down a proposed pay raise — instead demanding increased school funding.

But as the article points out, “according to the Associated Press”:

“Teachers themselves could face consequences in this right-to-work state, where unions do not collectively bargain with school districts and representation is not mandatory. The Arizona Education Association has warned its 20,000 members about a 1971 Arizona attorney general opinion saying a statewide strike would be illegal under common law and participants could lose their teaching credentials.”

Food and Drink

The Canadian Cheese Cartel

Dry-Fried Green Beans

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

At the Waffle House, she cut up a customer’s food for him. It changed her life.

‘This is my country’: how a Melbourne suburb defied the far-right to welcome refugees “The settlement of refugees in Eltham sparked far-right protests. But locals presented a different vision of Australia”

Woman Who Shared Philadelphia Starbucks Arrest Video Tells Her Story


UK’s Top Sgt Major Rips Racist Soldiers A New One In Twitter Video

Comey’s remarkable new admission helps explain how Trump won. Regarding Hilary Clinton and emails:

Under ordinary circumstances he’d never publicly criticize the subject. Comey has repeatedly said this case was extraordinary because the FBI would come under heavy scrutiny after closing a probe into a presidential candidate, and he didn’t want the public to lack confidence in the electoral outcome if Clinton won. Comey repeated this to NPR.

The take-home lesson from this:

As Jonathan Chait explains, Comey’s willingness to let such concerns influence these episodes reflects the success of a decades-long campaign by Republicans and GOP-aligned media to skew the political dialog by hyping fake scandals, which in this case led Comey to act to “avoid charges of favoritism,” thus willingly handing bad-faith actors leverage over law enforcement. It’s hard to read Comey’s NPR interview as anything other than confirmation of this. Worse, Comey also revealed that not allowing this to happen would have been a perfectly appropriate outcome.

From Starbucks to Hashtags: We Need to Talk About Why White Americans Call the Police on Black People


Fact-checking Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony on Facebook and data collection

In some cases, Facebook collects data about its users even when they’re not on Facebook’s website or apps. For example, third-party websites that feature Facebook’s “Like” button send some user data back to Facebook. Although the process is slightly different, “Share” buttons on websites and other tools essentially do the same thing.

Malestrom Lives!

Lawmakers question FBI’s decision to take Apple to courtA group of 10 representatives — split evenly between Republicans and Democrats—said the report raised concerns that the FBI officials didn’t exhaust the agency’s technical options “precisely because they wanted the suit against Apple to go forward,” the article adds.

What It’s Like To Be A Blind Software Engineer At Amazon “Michael Forzano has worked at Seattle’s e-commerce giant for nearly six years, using a regular laptop with a screen he’s never seen.

Facebook-quitting advice from a professional internet quitter “One thing I always tell people, and it’s something I wish I did a better job of putting into practice, is to ‘keep it small.’”

Women’s Work

Via NPR reporting on the research of Kelly Dittmar at the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.A Record 309 Women Are Running For Seats In The House (And 1,103 Men) While the number of women filing to run is almost a 90-percent increase over 2016’s numbers, the number of men running has also risen; the total percentage of women is still a mere 22%

‘Nerves of steel’: She calmly landed the Southwest flight, just as you’d expect of a former fighter pilot

Too Many Men “In China and India, men outnumber women by 70 million. Both nations are belatedly trying to come to grips with the policies that created this male-heavy generation”

The Woman Who Gave the Macintosh a Smile


In Closed-Door UN Meetings, Trump Administration Officials Pushed Abstinence For International Women’s Health Programs

The leaked Comey memos just blew up in Trump’s face

Simply put, the memos confirm that Trump did, in fact, try to exert a level of control over his FBI director, and over an ongoing investigation into his and his cronies’ conduct, that is wildly at odds with norms dictating that law enforcement should be free of political and/or presidential interference.

Elsewhere for April 14, 2018

You should read this for 4/14/2018:

Books, Writing, and Language

A Landslide of Classic Art Is About to Enter the Public Domain

An elegy for handwriting? This TLS review of two books about handwriting discusses Ann Trubek’s somewhat wretched and very slanted The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting. As a card-carrying Medievalist, I want to note that Trubek has wrenched her potted history of Medieval hands out of historicity and into the fantasy  land of what she’d like to be true, as a left-handed writer who felt victimized by the school system. Instead of Ann Trubek’s book, I recommend The Missing Ink: The Lost Art of Handwriting by Philip Hensher, or for the more scholarly inclined American, Tamara Plakins Thornton’s Handwriting in America A Cultural History (YUP, 1998), presently on my TBR list.

Via NPR: Why learning Latin stays with you forever In high school, my guidance counselor would not approve me taking Latin; she didn’t think I was, as she put it, “academic enough.” In fairness to her, I had struggled with French, ultimately deciding, on my own, to repeat the first year (learning languages is harder still when you’re dyslexic). In fairness to me, this same guidance counselor urged me to go to Colby-Sawyer, get a business degree and “Meet a nice young man going to Dartmouth for medical school.” I have, since that conversation at 16, earned a Ph.D. with philological emphasis, not at Colby-Sawyer. But Latin called to me, and I have continued to learn it, first via a summer cram course as an undergraduate, later by painstakingly reading and translating and, occasionally, pulling out my hair. Latin is still enormously useful as a grounding in how languages work, particularly, oddly, how English is different from Latin and works quite well. It’s also a wonderful language. As Frankie Thomas says in this interview:

Unlike beginner’s Spanish or French, which teach you to say, “I would like a salad,” and “Where is the library?” beginner Latin teaches you to talk like a supervillain.

The Language Rules We Know But Don’t Know We KnowThis BBC piece was inspired  when “a single paragraph from a book [Mark Forsyth] wrote called The Elements of Eloquence went viral. Forysyth manages to explain some of the more arcane aspects of English that native speakers know, but don’t know we know, like the ablaut reduplication process and adjectival precedence (why there may be little green men, but there are less likely to be green little men. Unless. Because in English, there’s almost always an exception.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s remains rediscovered in wine cellar I’m just going to live this here for you to read.


Beware The Academic Vanity Honeypot “How a hacker weaponized flattery and took over my Twitter account.”

This dot-ML seemed—because I was blinded by Larry Summers’ marquee macroeconomic celebrity—perfectly credible. Whoosh. I landed on a hinky page that asked for my .  . . Twitter credentials.

But wait, there’s more:

From the indictment: “In general, those spearphishing emails indicated that the purported sender had read an article the victim professor had recently published, and expressed an interest in several other articles, with links to those additional articles included.”

This kind of phishing attack; targeted, specific, and “normal” seeming is really successful. Falling for it is natural, but do be cautious. Be suspicious; not clicking isn’t going to hurt anyone.

Food and Drink

It’s Spring. Have some asparagus. May I recommend the Creamy Asparagus soup?

History and Archaeology

From the newly opened Getty Villa curator David Saunders on 10 Ways to Look at Ancient Greek Vases. This is art, history, and the early use of text. Also beautiful pictures.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

Building better maps for the disability community

“When I want to go to a bar or restaurant, I search on my phone for the menu or location,” she said. “I don’t need to check if I can use the bathroom there, or if I can reach the bar or a table. But that’s what my friends who use wheelchairs have to do.”

The Silence: The Legacy of Childhood Trauma This is a courageous piece; well-worth reading. It’s a reminder to reach out and make it better for others. Just acknowledging surviving is important and helpful.

Science and Nature

Puffin beaks are fluorescent and we had no idea

A Perplexing Marijuana Side Effect Relieved by Hot Showers

Newly discovered brain injury in vets linked to PTSD Scar tissue found in the brains of combat veterans who suffered from PTSD could mean that many cases of the disorder are caused by physical trauma


Embattled EPA chief’s calendar shows industry had his ear

In other words, based on an analysis of Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt’s schedule Reuters reporters did the math; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator Pruitt had 25-times more meetings with industry representatives than he had meetings with environmental advocates during his first seven months in office.

Via NPR: States Turn To National Guard To Help Protect Future Elections From Hackers

After Russian-backed hackers probed election-related systems in at least 21 states in 2016, election officials, whose focus has traditionally been on making sure that polling places run smoothly and that results are speedily reported, now have to focus on protecting their computer systems.

6 Facts About Fake News In The 2016 Election

For example, it’s still troubling if fake news convinces people at the extreme liberal or conservative end of the spectrum of things that aren’t true — even if it doesn’t change their votes.

And there is evidence that fake news is effective at changing beliefs. One 2017 studyfrom researchers at Yale University found that the more people were exposed to a given fake news statement, they more they believed it.


I’m moving away from Facebook as rapidly as possible. It’s not really feasible for me to completely abandon it given my job. That said, I suggest not deleting your Facebook account, but removing all the data, including friends where possible. Abandoning or deleting the account means that your name space, your name and identity, become available for someone else to claim. 

Send Facebook & Twitter a message: Use MeWe instead

How to see if your Facebook data was shared with Cambridge Analytica

Women’s Work

Why America’s Black Mothers and Babies Are in a Life-or-Death Crisis “The answer to the disparity in death rates has everything to do with the lived experience of being a black woman in America.”

Black infants in America are now more than twice as likely to die as white infants — a racial disparity that is actually wider than in 1850, 15 years before the end of slavery.

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

Trump Pulls Back Obama-Era Protections For Women Workers

On March 27, Trump revoked the 2014 Fair Pay and Safe Workplacesorder then-President Barack Obama put in place to ensure that companies with federal contracts comply with 14 labor and civil rights laws. The Fair Pay order was put in place after a 2010 Government Accountability Office investigation showed that companies with rampant violations were being awarded millions in federal contracts The two principles rules 💩🔥💰 revoked are pretty important for equal opportunity for women.

It’s official: Steven Mnuchin is the greatest sycophant in Cabinet history

$30,000 rumor? Tabloid paid for, spiked, salacious Trump tip