All Hallows’ Forum

Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    An eight-year-old boy has become the youngest person to ascend the terrifying sheer rock wall of El Capitan in America’s Yosemite national park, his father said in a Facebook post.

    Sam Adventure Baker has been going up the huge cliff with his father since Tuesday. The duo are part of a four-person team, where one person climbs ahead and sets the ropes for others to follow. Nights are spent sleeping on the rock face.

    “I’m so proud of Sam. He completed the youngest rope ascent of El Cap! In a few years he might be be back breaking more records,” Joe Baker wrote.

    Sam’s mother, Ann Baker, told CNN they’ve been supportive of Sam’s adventures. “He seems really happy to be up there and spirits are high,” she said.

    But of course…

    However, the achievements of such young children is not without controversy. Some climbers say the method they usually use – known as “jugging” or a rope ascent – is not true climbing as the climber uses the rope to go upwards, not really interacting much with the rock face.

    I despise purists in whatever form they show up. When my sons were 8 years old, I was taking them to TAG where they were rappelling into 2-300+’ pits and climbing SRT. Most 8 yr olds aren’t even allowed to walk to school.

  2. Sleeping Dog says:

    Twitter is planning to start charging $20 per month for verification

    We’ll soon see how important twitter is to its current users.

    Also the NYT’s biz section has an article this AM that points out that twitter’s current revenue can’t support the debt load that Musk has placed on the company and that there are no easy answers to cut expenses. The rumored 50% layoff of employees would devastate both the sales/marketing group and engineering.

    Perhaps Musk should view twitter as several oligarchs have viewed the New Republic, a hobby that will never payoff, but makes you an important person in certain circles.

  3. Scott says:

    I find it fascinating that we can still find out new things about this country 240 years after events.

    Dig finds evidence of Revolutionary War camp that held prisoners from Battle of Yorktown

    Researchers say they solved a decades-old riddle this week by finding remnants of the stockade and therefore the site of a prison camp in York, Pennsylvania, that housed British soldiers for nearly two years during the American Revolutionary War.

    The location of Camp Security was thought to have been on land acquired by the local government nearly a decade ago. On Monday, an archaeological team working there located what they believe to be the prison camp’s exterior security fence.

    The camp housed more than 1,000 English, Scottish and Canadian privates and noncommissioned officers for 22 months during war, starting with a group of prisoners who arrived in 1781, four years after their surrender at Saratoga, New York. By the next year, there were some 1,200 men at the camp, along with hundreds of women and children.

  4. Kylopod says:

    Any thoughts on Brazil’s election? As of this writing, Bolsonaro has been publicly silent. His last tweet is from two days ago.

  5. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    The opportunity to hear from and interact with blue checks is a big reason people go to Twitter. If blue checks reject this demand then no one is ‘real’ and using Twitter means having no verifiable contact with anyone you want to follow.

    The question is whether the blues will succumb or tell him to fuck off.

  6. Michael Reynolds says:

    Presumably feeling out the army and security forces to gauge the likelihood of a successful coup.

  7. drj says:


    I’m enough of a climbing purist to object to the “youngest person” yada yada.

    The kid climbed a rope with the aid of a mechanical ascender, as well as a couple of adults pulling. It’s certainly a cool thing to do if you’re eight, but it’s definitely nothing noteworthy and an absolutely meaningless “record.”

    There is no achievement here.

  8. Sleeping Dog says:


    Great that Lula won, but the margin is so thin… As @Michael Reynolds: suggests, Bolsonaro is likely seeing if there is support in the military for a coup.

  9. Scott says:

    @Sleeping Dog: This will be entertaining for weeks. Here is what I will be watching.

    How the ‘free speech absolutists” will moderate and censor free speech?

    How Musk will try to weasel out of paying $200M in severance to the top executives he just fired? Will it cost him even more since apparently Musk defamed them by saying they were fired “for cause?

    How much intellectual capital will disappear from Twitter in the coming weeks?

    How much Twitter is now paying Tesla engineers?

    How many people just say Nah, I’m not paying $20/month. Screw that!

    Pretty sure there will be millions looking forward to this entertainment also.

  10. JohnSF says:

    The Brazilian situation is that Lula has a narrow win.
    But because the count was so quick, and there’s no “electoral college” nonsense, and because everyone knows Bolsonaro had edged as far in his favour as he legally could, it’s not likely to devolve into “stop the steal” farce.
    And indications the military don’t care that much.
    And can do without the odium.
    Several prominent Bolsonaro allies have already congratulated Lula.

  11. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds: $240/year for verification seems like chump change wrt their financial demands. How many people would actually pay it? I don’t know much about Twitter, but I would be surprised if there were even 100K people who would pay that amount, and I woudn’t be surprised if it was a tenth of that.

  12. JohnSF says:

    On Muskie’s latest “blue tick wheeze”, James Ball;

    Twitter’s revenue is about $5bn a year. There are around 300k verified accounts. If *one in five* paid $20 a month (a huge conversion rate) that amounts to…$14m a year.
    If it adds even tiny cost or turns off even the smallest fraction of ad spend, it’s net revenue negative.

    And the thing is, if I understand what I’ve been reading correctly, Musk can’t really afford to lose ANY advertising revenue.
    He’s financed the deal in ways that obligate him to investment partners, who are unlikely to be delighted if revenue drops.
    And loans on security of Tesla stock.
    And appears that if loan repayments can’t be met out of Twitter revenues, he may be forced to sell Tesla stock to pony up.
    And given the sums involved, and the nature of Tesla, that might just trigger a nasty depreciation in Tesla stock valuation, which could in turn require more sales of shares to meet the loan requirements.

  13. MarkedMan says:

    Musk’s tweet over the weekend about Paul Pelosi just reinforces my suspicion that he is devolving mentally, whether due to drugs or mental breakdown or a combination of both. He seems completely unable to control his impulses. There is no master plan wrt to Twitter. He made impulsive claims, which led to an impulsive buy, and now he can’t even control those impulses enough to even modestly reassure advertisers.

  14. Kylopod says:

    @JohnSF: Brazil has an equivalent to red mirage. Bols was in the lead initially, and it didn’t start to shift in Lula’s favor until more than 60% of the votes had come in. I was surprised Bols wasn’t adopting the Trumpian tactic of publicly claiming victory during the early count when he had the lead.

  15. Kathy says:


    He seems a lot like Donnie the Cheeto. When he loses, he goes quiet.

    I did read on the BBC that there was a “the polls are skewed” thing going on among Jair’s supporters, and they were stunned at the loss. after all, all the polls had Lula ahead, therefore Inacio should have lost by the biggest landslide ever! Instead it was O Rey Jair who lost? It doesn’t add up. he was behind in the polls.

    Hard to build a coup on that.

    News also report the Brazilian legislature will be dominated by Jair’s supporters. So Lula may find it hard to get anything done. It depends, I guess on how high on the GQP scale of obstruction Brazilians are at the moment.

  16. Jen says:

    @MarkedMan: Is that price for individuals or brands? Both?

    As a PR consultant, if a brand came to me asking if it was worth it, I’d say for $240/year, sure.

    But a lot is going to depend on what Twitter will look like. If things get worse and people start bailing, meh….

  17. Sleeping Dog says:


    twitter cratering Tesla has always been Musk’s Black Swan. Like the rest of the market, Tesla is down about 40% and given that new competitors with fresh designs are entering the market, it is doubtful that the stock will regain its lofty heights, and then there is the ticking time bomb of the DoJ’s fraud investigation into Full Self Driving. So yes he may need to sell lots of Tesla stock for twitter.

  18. MarkedMan says:

    @Jen: Do companies have Twitter accounts? If so, then sure, pay the $240, it’s nothing. And influencers. And really famous people who have brands to maintain. Does that run up to 100,000? I could see it for companies, but not for individuals.

  19. grumpy realist says:

    @Sleeping Dog: As I’ve said before, Tesla isn’t the company that’s got the technology for smart cars. I suspect that Tesla will go down in history as an expensive squib that sold the idea of bleeding edge technology to a bunch of gullible Silicon Valley bro-wanna-bes.

  20. Sleeping Dog says:

    Is that blue check mark worth it? And to whom?

    Benjamin Wittes
    The value of the blue checkmark is as a service to the user—so she can easily tell parody accounts from authentic ones. It doesn’t do anything for me to have a blue check mark by my name. And if it designated me as a sucker paying @elonmusk $240 per year, I would give it up.

  21. CSK says:

    This is interesting, although it gives no credit to Ira Levin’s novel:

  22. KM says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    As much as I hate to admit it, charging for blue check verification isn’t unreasonable. It’s going above the usual free service and provides clear value to both user and the general Twitterati that justifies the effort of having the check. That being said, $20 is way too damn much when you look at other subscription services that give you way more content for less. It’s value is more along the lines of $5 a month since Twitter isn’t actually doing any actual work after the check is awarded, merely offering you the coveted status.

    If it were anyone else or the price was lower, it would be less controversial to charge for it. Musk demanding $20 a month for something you already have on a site that’s rapidly losing social value specifically because of him and is actively getting rid of staff to make service even crappier. It ain’t gonna happen

  23. Jen says:


    Do companies have Twitter accounts?

    Oh, absolutely. Thousands, if not millions. Every major company I know of, and every one I’ve worked with in PR, has an official Twitter account. Go to any major brand’s website and it’s usually in the contact us section, if not on the homepage. @Pepsi, @TalbotsOfficial, etc.

    Look up a company on Google and in the biography box that pops up, there’s usually a profiles section that lists all of their social handles. It’s basic PR 101 to have these now.

  24. Kathy says:

    Growing up I picked up bits of conventional wisdom from the adults around me, and it’s remarkable how they stuck. I wonder how common this is.

    One such is: the book is always better than the movie adaptation.

    I don’t often both read the book and watch the movie, though that has happened a few times. Take “The Andromeda Strain.” The movie was fine, but the book was better. Ditto “The Hunt for Red October.”

    And then I read “Make Room! Make Room!” by Harry Harrison, which is the basis for the movie “Soylent Green.”

    No comparison. Had the movie been a faithful adaption of the book, it would have bombed so bad box offices across the world would no longer exist 😉

    The book ins’t bad at all. it’s a slice of life depiction of an average Joe in an overpopulated world (of eight billion!). But there’s little suspense, little melodrama, and no earth-shaking reveal at all. (trying not to spoil a novel and movie both more than 50 years old feels a bit pointless*).

    I should re-watch the movie, but as I recall it wasn’t really that good save for the earth-shaking reveal, and maybe for the existence of a euthanasia ritual.

    *Back in the 70s, all the talk about the movie was a massive spoiler about the earth-shaking reveal .

  25. CSK says:


    All universities, colleges, and private and public schools K-12 have them now, too.

  26. Kathy says:


    A lot of local, state, and federal governments, all over the world, also keep Twitter accounts. They come in handy in times of natural disasters.

  27. Sleeping Dog says:

    Sometime ago we had an ongoing discussion on the Utah senate race and if he’d caucus with one or the other party. The Bulwark as a summary of the rules if he were to win and chooses to remain an independent.

    He’s hoping for a close senate.

  28. Mister Bluster says:

    @JohnSF:..On Muskie’s latest
    It is Halloween so we might as well conjure up the ghost of a dead United States politician to kick around.

    Edmund Muskie
    United States Secretary of State
    United States Senator from Maine
    Governor of Maine
    Maine House of Representatives
    1968 Democratic Vice-President USA Nominee with Democratic President USA candidate Hubert Humphrey
    During the 1972 President USA campaign he was the victim of the Canuck Letter “reportedly the successful sabotage work of Donald Segretti and Ken W. Clawson.” (who can forget these scary guys?)

  29. Sleeping Dog says:

    @grumpy realist:

    True, but that isn’t much different from what happens at other car companies. Nearly all the electronic tech comes from vendors and then the mfg will tweak it to deliver the experience they want to present.

  30. CSK says:


    As I recall, the movie Rosemary’s Baby was exactly like the novel.

    In Hollywood, the saying has always been “good book, lousy movie” or “lousy book, good movie.” That’s not always true, of course.

    Nobody’s ever made a good movie of The Great Gatsby, because the book runs on its prose, which doesn’t translate to the screen.

  31. Kylopod says:


    As I recall, the movie Rosemary’s Baby was exactly like the novel.

    Yes. I read the book and saw the movie at roughly the same time, and it stands out as one of the more dead-on faithful book-to-movie adaptations I’ve ever run across–which is interesting given that Levin did not write the screenplay.

  32. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Michael – as you are in Italy now (or were a few days ago), any comment on the new fascist government there?

  33. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:
    @Michael Reynolds:

    Yeah, are the trains running on time?

  34. Kathy says:


    I wouldn’t know. I think the only horror movie I’ve ever seen is Repossessed.

  35. MarkedMan says:

    @Jen: So it makes sense for companies to go the verified route. I presume that most are not verified now? Because if there are only 300K verified twitter users that must mean that most companies don’t do it now.

  36. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: When the movie “Forest Gump” came out I think I was living in Atlanta, and the local alternative paper got some grief for how badly it panned the book when it came out years before. They reprinted the review (or maybe re-reviewed) and, my god, the book seems horrible. Absolute garbage. Offensive, even. From the review it seems that the fact that Forest was developmentally disabled was treated as a big laugh, and it was all about how a moron got injected into the most important events of American History.

  37. Kathy says:

    The Steelers seem to be on a heated race for the first draft pick next year. But it will be tough to beat the Texans, Lions, Jaguars, and Browns.

  38. MarkedMan says:

    @MarkedMan: Musk has reacted to the NY Times pointing out he tweeted a link to a lunatic fringe conspiracy site by basically tweeting out “I know you are but what am I!?? LULZ!!!” So, yeah, impulse control.

  39. gVOR08 says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I’m seeing commentary this morning that Biden congratulated Lula early as a signal the U. S. would not support a coup. There’s also some commentary that it’s something of a departure for the Blob to not support the RW would be South American dictator.

  40. Liberal Capitalist says:

    News from behind the front (Living in the red republic of Gilead).

    Spending some of my time here in the Pensacola area (home of the Blue Angels and a shitload of navy related business), it’s not surprising that “District 1” is Matt Gaetz territory.

    Lots of “Vote Republican”, “Keep Matt Gaetz Fighting” and DeSantis lawn signs…

    The majority of these folks here are the hardcore republicans and have been since, well…. since they were Democrats before that Johnson fella.

    Lots of christian radio when you are scanning through the stations (which I still do give a listen while out and about, thought the majority of time it’s Pandora via Bluetooth) and one of the stations gave me pause: It seemed that they were reassuring their loyal listeners that all was OK and that they did not have to give into the godless trends like others, and that come November all would be well and their worship can continue anew and undisturbed.

    Seems that there is a need for reassurances and safe spaces from that vile godless Halloween. All that madness and debauchery… good that these folks can be told who to vote for when they go back to worship as well, right? Keep it all right.

    Still, there is hope: The redneck couple across the bayou that spends their evenings drinking and talking very loud have finally taken down their Trump flag.

    Not sure if this is an active decision on their part… or just temporary. They have also taken down their US flag as well… so this could be an awakening, or just a brief pause before they get bigger flags.

    Time will tell.

    Looking forward to running the red gauntlet to get to the polling place on Nov 8th. I envision it as Eastwood and Peters in the ending of Pink Cadillac (1989), but likely it won’t be that rough.

    But still… might just take the bus there anyways. Just to be sure.

  41. Sleeping Dog says:


    I saw that as well. Regarding the blob, it has been sometime since it has been reflexively pro RW dictator in South America. While it has depended on the party in power the trend has been to support whomever accepts the rule of law. Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Columbia, Peru and Ecuador have all had left wing governments that the US has worked with. Those countries have had ideologically different parties come and go from power. Where the blob reacts to old behaviors, are places like Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba, and indeed the blob would prefer a dictatorship to be RW.

  42. de stijl says:

    Des Moines has a weird local tradition. Beggar’s Night is the night before Halloween, October 30th, not the 31st. The kids trick or treating thing happens on Beggar’s Night and not on Halloween. Why? It’s sorta unclear even if you dig into the history of it.

    This year it was bad timing because the 30th was a Sunday, and nobody wants to go trick or treating on a Sunday night, so by silent acceptance the community decided that Beggar’s Night should be on Saturday the 29th instead because it makes more sense for everybody involved. Hey, very adaptive tradition! I approve.

    When I first was here no one could properly explain Beggar’s Night, why it existed, when it came to be, or the history of it at all. It just was. No one knew the why, just that it was. Why are you questioning it?

    The actual history is pretty boring and dates to the late 1930s. To reduce vandalism – I’m not entirely sure how shifting the day by one accomplishes anything, but the newly coined “tradition” took off and stuck.

    It’s basically a silly local quirk, but it is kind of endearing.

  43. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @drj: There is no achievement here.

    What were you doing when you were 8 yo?

    FTR: I know exactly what he did. You want to denigrate his accomplishment? Fuck off.

  44. Kathy says:

    @de stijl:

    In Mexico Halloween is on Oct 31st*. It’s seen as an “imported” holiday, but try and keep children from getting free candy.

    Nov. 2nd is the Day of the Dead, which is just as imported** but very big among the population. Most people get the day off. I’ve seriously no idea what people are supposed to do, as I was Jewish before I embraced atheism (which is not a religion).

    *OCT 31 exactly equals DEC 25. Funny, right?

    **I’m absolutely certain the cultures native to Mexico had no November in any of their calendars.

  45. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    The opportunity to hear from and interact with blue checks is a big reason people go to Twitter. If blue checks reject this demand then no one is ‘real’ and using Twitter means having no verifiable contact with anyone you want to follow.

    I expect the check mark isn’t that important for a lot of the Twitter Stars. Gail Simone — comic book writer who is regularly getting tags trending such as #2ndhottestmalebuttincomics (there’s a general agreement that the hottest is Nightwing) — doesn’t have a check at all.

    The advertisers with the checks will be most annoyed. And the many, many reporters who are on Twitter. People who really don’t want to be confused with parody or namesakes.

    Of course, blue checks did nothing to prevent many governments from congratulating Liz Truss, random person, on being the new Prime Minister rather than the actual new Prime Minister with the less desirable Twitter handle. Luckily that situation resolved itself.

  46. drj says:


    You want to denigrate his accomplishment? Fuck off.

    Dude, the father presented his kid as some kind of climbing prodigy and even did some fundraising pretending that his kid was something special.

    The father went on national television to hype his kid’s achievement, for crying out loud.

    If you “know exactly” what the kid actually did (he basically climbed a ladder), you also should also know how completely ridiculous this is.

    You think it’s OK to mislead people by asking for money to fund an activity which, on closer look, turns out to have been pretty pedestrian?

  47. de stijl says:


    I am culturally unprepared to react to The Day Of The Dead properly. I think I understand the basics, but I think I am missing many, most of the nuances.

    Here is my take / understanding. I might be very wrong, please correct me! People are celebrating their loved ones who have died within their lifetime memory. The dead are nearby, next door practically, and tonight the door is open. We, the living, can feel them and commune a touch. I have seen “Coco”.

    This does not strike me as a Catholic tradition, but an ancient Mexican, cultural one that the Church semi-tolerates. Hey, Christmas and Easter are just flipped ancient celebrations absorbed into the calendar. The Day Of The Dead is an old pagan celebration that the local Church failed to quell and decided to adopt instead.

  48. de stijl says:


    I literally know nothing about Twitter culture. Is having a blue check next to your name a big deal? If so, why? I am ignorant.

  49. Mu Yixiao says:

    @de stijl:

    This does not strike me as a Catholic tradition, but an ancient Mexican, cultural one that the Church semi-tolerates.

    The Day of the Dead ties in with All Saints Day–which is very Catholic (Celebrated Nov 1st)–and goes back a very long way in Europe.

    All Saints’ Day, also known as All Hallows’ Day,[3] the Feast of All Saints,[4][5] the Feast of All Hallows,[6] the Solemnity of All Saints,[6] and Hallowmas,[6][7] is a Christian solemnity celebrated in honour of all the saints of the church, whether they are known or unknown.[7][8][9]

    From the 4th century, feasts commemorating all Christian martyrs were held in various places,[3] on various dates near Easter and Pentecost. In the 9th century, some churches in the British Isles began holding the commemoration of all saints on 1 November, and in the 9th century this was extended to the whole Catholic church by Pope Gregory IV.[10]

    There is, of course, a lot of blending.

  50. Tony W says:

    In my experience, companies and well-known individuals that have Twitter, also have Instagram and Facebook – and the content is duplicated between all three. It’s extraordinarily rare for somebody famous to read/respond to the comments on their top-level posts – so there’s little value there.

    Dropping Twitter is just less cutting and pasting for the administrative staff.

  51. Tony W says:

    @de stijl: Read this for a great rundown of La Catrina and some history of Dia de los Muertos.

  52. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Speaking of Day of the Dead…

    One year, many years back, last week of October, being in the tourist zone of Cancun… we just dodged a huge hurricane. Most Americans ran away, but I (& the wife & two nieces) stayed, watching the weather closely and realizing there was no need to run. Rain, but not the projected devestation.

    Already, as it was that last week in October, Halloween in Cancun is very wierd, because all the businesses outdo themselves to siphon off tourist money… but it just seemed a bit off. As Kathy pointed out, it’s not really their jam.

    So Sandy and I went into Cancun Centro (the small City itself) for dinner.

    So, here I am, walking with her at twilight, both of us tall, blonde, fair of skin. And I happened to take along some real cheap white vampire teeth with me.

    We walked, I smiled, and people literally jumped out of their shoes into the air out of fright!

    “Vampiro! Vampiro!” And then self-aware laughter that I was not… with good natured smiles all aound.

    Good times. 🙂

  53. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: I’m not surprised. One of the packages that I got from Kindle was a set of an original Thin Man novel paired with the screenplay (but not the script) Hammet wrote for the movie adaptation of the novel. The novel itself wasn’t any great shakes for length at about 200 or so pages, but the screenplay was fewer than 50, IIRC.

  54. dazedandconfused says:

    There is a possibility Musk, or at least the MBAs he has working at Tesla, have an awareness Tesla’s market is about to be flooded by the Big Boys of auto-making, and this twitter stuff reflects a knowledge the corp would be wise to diversify….bigly.

    Tesla had the niche pretty much to themselves and still wasn’t making a hell of a lot of money. Yet it had enormous resources from the stock speculation. In a truly competitive market with the likes of Toyota, GM, and Ford…well…those boys play hardball.

  55. Gustopher says:

    @de stijl: there are three parts to the blue check:

    First, in theory, it means you are reading something from the person you expect. There is some verification that the person behind the account is who they say they are.

    Second, it was implemented haphazardly, so no one figured out what to do if there are multiple people with the same name, etc.

    Third, it was rolled out to notable people first, so it’s something of a status symbol. But, the process also left out a bunch of people (see haphazard mess of point 2) so being unverified is also seen as a status symbol because it’s kind of funny how arbitrary it is.

    In theory, you can see the blue check and know that the Matt Gaetz is Rep. Matt Gaetz (sex trafficker), and not some parody account. So you can direct hateful comments to the right place (he deserves them).

    But, people are idiots, and either don’t read closely and send their hateful comments to Matt Gertz (a reporter, verified to be Matt Gertz) because his name is similar, or they don’t notice the blue check at all, and the Swedish PM sends congratulations to a random Liz Truss who responds by saying that she can’t wait to visit Sweden and can they please have meatballs.

    And you know that it is the real Steak Umms account tweeting about “pumpkin spice beef sheets”, and not some twisted parody.

    This is what Musk thinks is worth $20/mo.

    (To be fair, establishing trustable identity is hard — but Twitter completely botched it.)

  56. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: @Kathy: I had no idea of these things. Nor do I care, as I don’t need a lot of information from any of these groups. I was surprised to get an emergency text message from my town’s public works department about an emergency water shut off for my neighborhood recently. I wasn’t surprised about the shut off; I saw the break in front of my apartment building that morning going out for a walk. What surprised me was that my phone number has an area code from a different state and I’m not the rate payer for the bill as I live in an apartment and water is included in the rent. I’m a little curious about how they found me.

  57. Rick Smith says:

    @Gustopher: In addition, some people consider the blue check to be some sort of an endorsement of people’s opinions, resulting in people losing blue checks over unpopular opinions, even though they were really who they claimed to be.

  58. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: The most recent one–with…I want to say Johnny Depp, but the other guy–is probably the best version so far, but it is buried in voiceover narration as a device.

    I don’t see the problem with the movies not being good, though. The novel itself is only noteworthy for Fitzgerald’s abilities at crafting evocative language. The story itself is pedestrian, and almost any movie adaptation is bound to improve the story simply by making it visual. (For example, my ex-wife found the Redford/Farrow adaptation evocative in its emphasis of all the rich flapper girls having “purse/lap dogs” as a symbol of the shallowness of the culture*.)

    *What can I say. You tie a work of literature to a chair and beat it with a rubber hose, and it confesses to whatever interpretation you want.

  59. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    You may have missed my entire point. As far as I’m concerned, the only thing noteworthy about Gatsby is the remarkable prose style. Otherwise it’s a dull story about silly vacuous people and their empty lives.

    Exquisite prose doesn’t translate to the screen, so any movie of it is trying to make something of nothing.

  60. Stormy Dragon says:


    How much intellectual capital will disappear from Twitter in the coming weeks?

    Especially in light of the “dead sea” effect. The employees least likely to put up with Musk’s abuse are his best employees, as they can easily get employment elsewhere any time they want. In a few months, Musk may find his concern about performance has ironically left him with only the employees who are forced to stay because they’re unemployable elsewhere.

    Similar with charging for the check mark. The people most likely to switch platforms are the ones providing the most valuable content to Twitter’s users. So again, in a few months Musk my find his concern about revenue has ironically left him with only the trolls who are forced to stay because other platforms won’t tolerate them.

  61. wr says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: “a set of an original Thin Man novel paired with the screenplay (but not the script) ”

    Screenplay and script are generally synonymous, and (for a feature) neither is usually 50 pages, so I’m wondering what it is that was paired with the novel. Can you describe it a little?

  62. de stijl says:


    If I don’t have a satiric, parody name, or if I wasn’t a person with a name big enough to be satarized / parodied, why would I care?

    What does a blue check get me if I’m just your average run of the mill user?

    Also, I don’t get the business model. Are there are ads? If so, how implemented? Where, how does Twitter make revenue? I assume it is ads or selling aggregated and individual consumer data. Probably both.

  63. Stormy Dragon says:


    As much as I hate to admit it, charging for blue check verification isn’t unreasonable. It’s going above the usual free service and provides clear value to both user and the general Twitterati that justifies the effort of having the check.

    The problem is, the blue check isn’t providing a service to the person with the check, it’s providing a service to all the other users, as it makes it obvious to tell that the person they’re reading is real. If the check users don’t pay and it’s suddenly impossible to tell who’s an imposter, that’s a problem for Twitter, not the content providers

    I'm probably the perfect target for this, use Twitter a ton, can afford $20/mo, not particularly anti-Elon, but my reaction is that I've generated a ton of valuable free content for Twitter over the years and they can go fuck themselves.— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) October 31, 2022

  64. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    the real Steak Umms account tweeting about “pumpkin spice beef sheets”

    WA! Steak Umms are still a thing? I haven’t seen them in AGES. I thought they’d gone banko.

  65. Stormy Dragon says:


    And appears that if loan repayments can’t be met out of Twitter revenues, he may be forced to sell Tesla stock to pony up.

    My dream scenario is that Twitter goes bankrupt in about a year, Mastadon ends up as the main replacement, and Musk is forced to sell controlling interest in Tesla and Space-X to pay for it =)

  66. dazedandconfused says:

    @de stijl:

    Must may be using this business model…he just doesn’t know it yet.

  67. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: No, I’m pretty sure that I didn’t miss your point. I think what’s happening here is that we aren’t even “talking past each other,” but rather “talking at points tangent to the other.”

  68. de stijl says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I am kinda a F. Scott Fitzgerald fiend. I went to school in St. Paul. I have read everything from him ever published at least twice. I once lived on Summit Avenue in a high-rise about two and a half blocks from his home. The condo association have a big dress up party every year. There is a really nice cocktail bar on the ground floor that hosts. An actual, open to the public, real commercial bar with live jazz bands.

    Do you know how cool it is to have a bar downstairs in your building? It is very cool! And so handy!

  69. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @wr: [Checks Kindle for details] Aha! I’ve found it! The title page declares the text in question to be “The Original Screen Stories” After the Thin Man, Another Thin Man, and “Sequel to The Thin Man”. Looking back at a sample page, places where there is dialogue are marked in the manner of plays (Nick: Blah, blah, blah, Nora: blah blah). Beyond the dialogue itself, the “narrative” portions of the texts seem perfunctory (in the manner of the prose I used to write guaranteeing that I would never write the great American novel–a promise I have kept for over 60 years now.)

    By the counting of Kindle, the Introduction, “headnotes” and “afterwords” to the stories, and the stories themselves make a total of 4225 Kindle “whatever units” compared to 4208 for the trashy novel I’m currently reading and 11694 for an “annotated” (don’t ask me, I see no evidence of annotations) edition of The Moonstone. I have to conclude that the works themselves count as “short” even by my amazingly lax standards. I apologize for my memory being faulty–statistics tell me this eventually happens to a significant majority of all people who live to 85–though I’m not there yet, just getting a headstart.

  70. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I’ve never opened Twitter to get any news or emergency notices or advice. But when I look up the new online after a quake, which I do for almost all quakes, I see lots of links to Twitter notices of damage here, magnitude, no damage there, etc.

    On other things, something weird happened.

    Lately I’ve taken to order meat from a chain of stores called, for some reason, Wild Fork. They’re usually cheaper than at the supermarket. I order online on Fridays for pickup on Saturdays. Last weekend, I mistakenly chose a store 25 kilometers away. I realized this when I went to my usual store to pick up the order and they didn’t have it.

    Since it was only $5 (700 grams of chicken milanesas), I didn’t even remember to look up the website to see whether I could get a refund. Then today I get a text message from an unknown number telling me the order was cancelled. Next an email saying my money’s been refunded, along with another email from Paypal saying the same.

    Easiest refund I ever got.

    Now, if only they stopped selling all their meat frozen…

  71. de stijl says:

    Twitter makes money from advertising from promoted tweets and data licensing. Who could have possibly predicted?

    Data licensing means selling your profile and all of your clicks and likes to a shitty data vendor. I came quite close to working for a shitty data aggregator. Their HQ was out in Hayward not in downtown San Francisco. Had it been in downtown I likely would have said yes and I now would be one of those tech assholes in an overpriced apartment.

  72. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: I’ve read a couple of his novels and several short stories. Meh… I have my own “Zelda” story (actually 2), so I don’t need others, but for people who get him, more power to all y’all.

    I also have never lived upstairs from a bar, but given the damage taking prednisone for 25 years did to my liver, it’s probably just as well. 😉 Add my tendency to just sit in a corner and listen to the music while drinking and you get perfect storm conditions for a life as a (marginally) functioning alcoholic.

  73. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I think we are. It happens.

  74. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Before I go, my first reaction to the title for today’s forum was that reminding such a relentlessly secular audience of one of Christendom’s stolen events was an interesting choice. I would suggest “Samhain” for next year.

  75. de stijl says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I did prednisone. A steroid, right? Made me puffy.

    Up until 2005 I would get cluster headaches once or twice or three times a year and had always since I was 15. Cluster headaches are nasty foul things that come from hell.

    During a cluster I would get the oddest assortment of meds. Prednisone a pill or two daily as a prophylactic although I don’t understand how a steroid does that. Ergotomine which is a variant / precursor to LSD taken sublingual which has a 1 in 5 or 6 chance in knocking down an incipient headache. It’s worth a shot. Plus you trip a bit after.

    And a smorgasbord of pain killers over the years that never actually worked.

    The best were the options that did not actually kill or diminish the pain, they put me in a headstate where I could both feel it and be absent from it simultaneously. Heavy opiods. While concentrating, you could separate yourself from the pain and that pain existed several doors down the hall and it is decidedly there, but I am now in a different room in my head space so I am ignoring it. It is both there and I am absent from it.

    The most intense, concentrated pain imaginable. It feels like a half inch globe of molten metal in your head about an inch behind your right eye.

    That exact same thing happens 3 to 6 times a day and lasts for about an hour. Every day for about a month and a half. Then it stops, but starts again 4 or 6 months later over and over and over.

  76. Flat Earth Luddite says:


    apparently Musk defamed them by saying they were fired “for cause?

    Nah, the “cause” is “’cause I don’t want anyone telling me I’m wrong.

  77. Kathy says:

    @de stijl:

    Prednisone a pill or two daily as a prophylactic although I don’t understand how a steroid does that.

    I think it’s an anti-inflammatory agent. Whether that prevents headaches cooked up in Hell, I’ve no idea.

  78. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:
    I’ve left currently fascist Italy for formerly fascist Spain. Honestly I have a hard time taking any Italian government seriously. Fascist, Communist, it doesn’t matter, Italy is ungovernable. Here’s a note on Italy: remember LTE? You know, the F before the various G’s? That’s where Italy is. Their ‘governments’ last an average of one year. Too incompetent and anarchic to be fascists. It’s a nation of Momma’s boys on underpowered motorcycles. The food’s good though.

  79. Kathy says:

    Meantime, Israel is heading for its umpteenth election in four or five years (I’ve lost count).

    I make no predictions*, but I think the country’s heading where it shouldn’t. I mean, if Bibi were not running, its likely the right wing would win rather easily. Not Likud itself, but in coalition with a few of the less crazy small parties.

    The center and the left just don’t count for much any more.

    Sure, relations with other countries in the region have improved at the state level, but once the Iranian menace passes, what will become of the region?

  80. Mister Bluster says:

    I have looked at the Specimen Ballot for the General Election in Jackson County, Illinois on the County website.
    Since it is the Specimen Ballot it shows all the races in the County.
    It is not the Ballot that I will vote on that will be specific to my jurisdiction.

    I find it interesting that the ballot question for the Carbondale Home Rule issue includes wording to make it very clear that a “NO” vote means “yes. keep home rule.”

    Shall the City of Carbondale cease to be a Home Rule unit?

    A NO vote is stating that you want the City of Carbondale to KEEP its home rule authority.

    A YES vote is stating that you want the City of Carbondale to LOSE home rule authority.


  81. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: I did pred as a prophylactic for a period of time. The theory was that the small dose (my usual starting point was 4 on day one then 2 4 times a day gradually working down over a week) created cortisone (the hormone that prednisone replaced, IIRC?) in higher levels than normal. I don’t know whether that works or not, though.

    A common side effect for people taking large starting doses for asthma was eating binges. Some health people say that developing type-2 diabetes is common for people who took prednisone for asthma. I took it several times a year for about 15 or 20 years. I’m amazed that any of my organs still work at all considering the horror stories I hear about pro athletes and steroids.

  82. de stijl says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Not gonna lie, had the headaches not gone into remission after the last cluster in 2005 I would not be around today. I would have made my own peace one day if you catch my drift.

    That is no way to live. During a cluster every second you are interrogating your brain. Is that thing I’m feeling feel like the precursor event to another headache? In between clusters you are deadly frightened and terrified it is going to click in again at any second which can and will happen eventually.

    There is an upside. After the headache subsides you feel like a million bucks and are jacked up to hell and back.

    Your brain compensates and dumps a crap ton of feel-good chemicals and pain-killing chemicals directly on all of your axons so when the headache fades you feel super awesome and like the baddest motherfucker on the planet. The rebound lasts about 20 minutes. It isn’t nearly as intense as the soul killing pain that preceded it, but it is real and it is welcome and feels really great. It feels like a cocaine rush.

    Yeah, absent the unexplained remission I wouldn’t be here anymore. That level of intense pain and the constant uncertainty of when will it happen again would have worn me down eventually. I had access to a boatload of pharmaceuticals that would have done the job efficiently.

    Life is weird after the spontaneous unexplained remission. They generally get worse in your 40s and the clusters get more frequent as a general rule. I didn’t predict it or expect this happening. Mine just went away.

    It’s bonus time, so I want to take full advantage of it. Not piss it away like a fool. I am very lucky. I got a very good dice roll.

  83. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Glad you’re doing better. That’s all that matters in this health stuff!

  84. de stijl says:

    Oh my dear Allfather, Google Ad Services has now decided in their infinite wisdom that I now live in North fucking Dakota and has started serving up NoDak political ads.

    I really want Nov. 8 to come and pass quickly and please, please end with the unskippable political ads for states I don’t live in. In the last half year I have gotten innumerable political ads from Minnesota, for a few weeks from Chicago, and as of now for North Dakota.

    It could be worse, I could get actual political ads from the state I currently live in which would be even more insufferable.

    I don’t live in North Dakota. I have never lived there. I briefly dated someone originally from Morehead which is just across the border. I went to Fargo once for a very brief work gig. In and out in 3 days. I’ve driven across it 4 or 5 times on my way to Montana or points west. I once stayed overnight in Teddy Roosevelt National Park on a car camping trip. I was in a fairly serious relationship with a woman originally from Rapid City which is in SoDak, not NoDak. I have never lived there. I haven’t even been in North Dakota in pretty close to 20 years.

    Why does Google geolocation always never figure out where I actually live? It isn’t tough; there are numerous public records. I swear they are just fucking with me at this point for the lulz.

    It is working. They are driving me crazy. At least they show me D ads usually not R ads, or at this point I would be technically, legally insane. At one point they thought I lived in Omaha and spoke Spanish.