Thursday, June 11, 2015

Naked On The Mountaintop

There seems to be an informal tradition among some to strip when reaching the summits of mountain peaks. I remember climbing Mt. Rob Roy in New Zealand and meeting a Swiss fellow who insisted on dropping his drawers. But it's important for foreign tourists to remember that they must follow local laws. It's a good idea to follow local customs too, lest one be judged properly as arrogant and disrespectful:
Then, said Mr Nor, one of the group came up with the idea of removing their clothes.

“I don’t know whose idea it was, but obviously it was improvisation.

“I told them not to be naked on Mount Kinabalu, because it’s not appropriate,” he said. “I told them other groups of tourists were nearby and they may feel offended – but they wouldn’t listen.”

He said that no one in the group asked whether it was acceptable.

“The guys started to take their clothes off, and those women start follow.

“The girls were not so wilful – they just changed into their underwear. After they took off their bras, they put their clothes back on. They were just half-naked, they didn’t take off their underwear.

“But the guys were stubborn. When they didn’t take my advice I could only leave them and walk away.”

Exposing The Right Wing On McKinney

The McKinney pool brawl kerfuffle just gets more and more interesting, with the woman from CoreLogic now on administrative leave and as FOX News' go-to guy on the scene turns out to have started the fight:
And perhaps what the Officers, and even Fox News, should have done is investigate and interrogate Sean Toon the way that Buzzfeed has done because they would have found that before he called the police he was the one shouting racial epithets at the host of the party and that it was his wife Shannon Barber Toon had been with the two women who had called them "black fuckers" and took part in that attack on that 19-year-old girl which they themselves had initiated.

Political Correctness In Humor

I'm not worried about Political Correctness killing comedy. Comedians have always had to pay close attention their audiences, and if established comedians have to start paying closer attention to their audiences, then it's a welcome kick in their pants and keeps them from getting lazy. But Chris Rock does have a point: "Before everyone had a recording device and was wired like fucking Sammy the Bull, you’d say something that went too far, and you’d go, “Oh, I went too far,” and you would just brush it off." So, comedians have now lost the privacy of comedy clubs that would allow them to make mistakes and move on. That's because of technology, not out-of-control PC.

I remember seeing Bob Hope in an arena setting, late in his career. I think it was around -1980? Although the times weren't that favorable for gays, and thus it was mostly open season on them comedy-wise, Hope let loose homophobic "joke" after "joke" that made me cringe. Then he threw a tantrum because someone in the audience was filming him without permission. The appearance became unfunny. And I think it was mostly-because Hope had more-or-less stopped caring what the audience thought. These jokes would likely have been unfunny in any decade, although for different reasons, depending on the year.

And there are examples when PC changes instantaneously and people get thrown under the bus. One of my favorite professors from my undergraduate days made a joke on 9/11 - a joke that would have been quite funny in Vietnam days - that forced him to fight off an angry biker in his carport and ended his career under a dark cloud 2 years later.:
Treason. This is a loaded word. It gave a sense where Fuller and the far right were coming from. Free speech was not important in the wake of terrorism. This was around the time that the USA PATRIOT Act was passed, where if you were labeled a terrorist you had no constitutional rights. The wave of fascism was around, and Fuller would have been a perfect fascist.

But, hey, we're worried about PC, not this other stuff....

Car Keys

Walking Bella past the AM/PM at 1 a.m. Wednesday morning, I could see two women desperately trying to get their hands through a narrowly-open back door window! Ah, keys locked in the car! I joined the effort, as did others, including one guy who tried using his flip-flop shoe as a tool. I decided to walk home and get some tools.

When I returned with tools, everyone was happy. Shoe Guy had had a narrow stick - he called it a cricket stick - that allowed him to reach in and unlock the car. He showed his war wounds too: dented flesh on his forearm from working in the narrow window slit.

A happy, Good Samaritan neighborhood project!

Attack of the 14 Year Old Black Girl!

Coming soon from McKinney Texas Police Productions, it's the next summer horror science fiction cop flick, Attack of the 14 Year Old Black Girl! A frightening teen girl in a bikini terrorizes the police force of a small Texas suburb, making them respond with excessive force and brutality reserved only for the worst of America's swimming thugs! Who will protect our nation's pool parties from this monster? Rated R for Racist! Featuring Emma Stone as the Asian Neighbor

Ooh! An App To Identify Birds!

Now THIS is useful!:
The newly developed ‘Merlin Bird Photo ID’ acts as your own personal ornithologist. So how does it work? All you need to do is take a snap of a bird you're keen to identify, upload it to the website and let Merlin do the rest.

The website, brought to you by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Visipedia research project, can recognize 400 of the most commonly found birds in the United States and Canada. Once users have taken a photo, they draw a box around the bird, click its bill, eye and tail and tell Merlin where and when the photo was taken.

“It gets the bird right in the top three results about 90 percent of the time, and it’s designed to keep improving the more people use it,” said Jessie Barry, the Merlin Project Leader, in a statement. “That’s truly amazing, considering that the computer vision community started working on the challenge of bird identification only a few years ago.”

Björk Goes Caving

Björk goes caving in Iceland! An excellent diversion! I kept thinking that she's not wearing a helmet or shoes, however, and lava flows are not particularly forgiving, even for the artistically minded.

McKinney Pool Brawl

The video of the McKinney, TX, event is rich with interesting detail. I especially like how the white kid doing the filming and his friend return the officer's flashlight, thereby currying favor to continue filming without being molested. The kid with camera kept his head in a chaotic situation and purchased the right to run his own agenda. He was being ignored by the cops not just because he's white. And I like how Officer Casebolt's orders to leave contradict the orders of the other officers to sit down, which just compounded the confusion.

The black kids were polite and obedient too, just baffled as to why they were being ordered about, until Officer Casebolt yelled in their faces. And as the girl in the bikini goes down she calls for her mother. A child confronted by warrior zeal.

I'm intrigued about the portrayal of the event in the right-wing talk-radio medium. I was listening Wednesday morning to Dennis Prager (from LA) on 650 AM KSTE from Sacramento. His guest (Mark Davis, 660 AM in Dallas/Ft. Worth) was giving a more-or-less dispassionate blow-by-blow of the events in the video. As Davis recounted it, the teenaged girl is told to sit on the grass by the cop, and was manhandled when she disobeyed. But you can easily look at the video and see how she is ordered several times to leave, and because of the slow response of her and her friends, and probably also because of backtalking (out of hearing range), is then manhandled and thrown about. Davis talks on his radio blog about how many times he's explained this incident to others, so it's strange he'd get it so, so wrong, unless he was deliberately misstating facts. So, casual radio listeners are being misled here. Interestingly, that portion of Prager's broadcast was quickly hidden behind a paywall - the free summation doesn't mention the misstated facts - and complete verification would cost $$$ I'm not willing to pay.

And why is it important to misstate facts? Many people didn't see the video and they are thus malleable in their opinions. And memories are being made now, so if the simplified memory summary is corrupted now the event can be used later on for other purposes.

Commentators have long noticed how the right wing comes to different conclusions about events than the rest of society. Part of that is simply because they are being told different things than the rest of society. Wrong things.