Thursday’s Forum

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. de stijl says:

    Oddly there was a weird, unexpected popularity blip trend on TikTok for No Children by the Mountain Goats. (A truly great song)

    A twenty year old folkpunk song about an alpha couple unable to divorce without getting mean and pissy at each other. Told from the dude’s perspective.

    Absolutely fascinating. It is a brutal song about petty misguided vengeance and spite. How bad spite can get twisted in your head.

    Between the lines, as to how stupid and pointless all that nonsense is. Just let go.

    Never in my life would have I thought ever that The Mountain Goats would trend on TikTok let alone for No Children. Fascinating.

    (Maybe for Up The Wolves which was featured on a The Walking Dead episode.)

    Would never ever had called that No Children. So unexpected.

    I am weirdly super okay with it all. I hope people are not going away with the surface take of that song. That would be very bad. It is a caricature of bad alpha male divorce behavior / thoughts.

  2. Scott says:

    Troops who refuse COVID vaccines won’t be guaranteed veterans benefits, officials warn

    Troops who refuse the coronavirus vaccine won’t see any extra protections or leniency in how their dismissals are handled, Defense and Veterans Affairs officials confirmed Wednesday.

    Instead, decisions on whether to give those individuals other-than-honorable discharges — potentially blocking them from a host of veterans benefits — will be left to local commanders, and their cases won’t receive any preferential evaluations for veterans’ benefits eligibility, despite recent lobbying from Republicans lawmakers for a less punishing approach.

    Not sure this is a good idea. Disparate consequences across and within services will create problems that I’m not sure are easily dealt with.

    As for the Air Force vaccine deadline:

    Nearly 8,500 active-duty airmen and guardians missed the vaccination deadline

    Nearly all active-duty members of the Air Force and Space Force complied with the mandate to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus by Nov. 2, but almost 8,500 troops did not — and are now in danger of being kicked out of the military.

    Another 1,800 or so secured exemptions from the requirement, a spokesperson said Wednesday. In total, 10,352 active-duty airmen and guardians remain unprotected.

    Of the 10,352 active-duty airmen and guardians who remain unvaccinated, about 2,800 haven’t started the process at all. Another 800 have verbally refused, the Air Force said.

  3. CSK says:
  4. de stijl says:


    I believe this a cult resistant to your basic bitch cult just predicted a thing on a certain date and that thing did not happen. Most folks would go “whoah” and begin to doubt.

    True believers invent a ret-con to explain it away. Next will be *true* apotheosis, guaranteed. It is very creepy. Retrogressive.

    The willingness to ignore the guaranteed last promise. Unbelievers thwarted and prevented the true revelation absolution ascension thingie! Death to unbelievers!

    Cults that make date based predictions get inventive and weird.

  5. de stijl says:

    Is Q a cult?

    Abso – god damn – lutely

    A bonkers insane one.

  6. de stijl says:

    Hare Krishna was a ponzi scheme.

    Eckankar was pretty big in Minneapolis in the early 80s. (Not big in numbers but big in presence.) They had the deed to a huge ass theater right downtown 5th and Hennepin. Massively desirable and expensive real estate. How?

    2 years later they were gone. Bumped. The space got turned back to a movie theater. A place where I spent many hours.

  7. CSK says:

    @de stijl: @de stijl:
    Oh, of course they have to keep moving the goalposts when none of their predictions come true. That never seems to bother them.

    Q as an entity seems to have vanished after the November 2020 election.

  8. Jen says:

    @CSK: It’s terrifying to me that this exists. There’s no other way to put it other than these people’s brains are not on a normal setting. I wonder how they cognitively process other stuff. Like, when they read a recipe are they searching for hidden ingredients? Do map directions contain messages? How does this propensity to see what is not there manifest itself in other areas of life?


  9. de stijl says:

    Way back when Eckankar folks desperately wanted to get new potential recruits into the building (theater at 5th & Henn).

    I think they must have had a really charismatic local leader back then. They sent out honey pot girls on the regular. It was full on creepy. Bar trolling for lonesome dudes. The machine needs new money and troops.

    Ek was very fucking weird.

    After the theater got bought out Ek folded and collapsed never to be heard from again.

    A couple of times a month me and my friends would schedule an off-site meeting to discuss mutually beneficial inter-commercial opportunities (i.e. go see a matinee movie at that same theater.) Shh!

  10. de stijl says:


    Q as a person who drops “intel” has disappeared. Q believers don’t care. It adds to the mystery. Cults self regulate.

    (PS – it was totally the 8 chan guy + his son.)

  11. CSK says:

    Yes. Banning QAnon on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram seems to have led them to disguise themselves with coded language. Typing three asterisks after your screen name means you’re an adherent of Michael Flynn.

    I also ask myself why two long-dead Democrats–JFK and JFK Jr. would be returning, or reappearing, to support a Republican.

    I don’t know if it’s a tendency toward clinical paranoia or self-absorption that leads people to believe there’s a plot, or a message, behind obviously innocuous events. I once knew a woman who was convinced that certain people were plotting against her. One of her neighbors, she was convinced, was spying on her. How did she know this? Well, the woman got out of her car and glanced toward my acquaintance’s house. Voila! A sinister conspiracy.

  12. CSK says:

    @de stijl:
    I know. And I agree with you that it seems to have been Ron Watkins. He’s running for Congress in Arizona.

  13. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: Eckankar is still a thing; just moved to another place in Minnesota. The interwebs tell me it has locations in 100 countries. Never underestimate the power of a good human-development scam.

  14. de stijl says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    The honey pot girls just creeped me out hard. Be less obvious.

    You are not gonna get laid if you go back to Ek hq.

    That was super bad mojo.

    Everyone is ignoring the good that came out of this. A new, good theater was created / recreated.

    My friends and I struck a true dagger in the heart of rampant capitalism by scheduling an off-site meeting that was code for “let’s see a movie on company time”. I stole 2.5 hours from my employer sometimes 5 hours a month. I was paid for 40 hours a week; I worked 50 regular or more. I worked 200+ hours a month and I was paid for 160. They were getting a bargain.

    Amongst the deadbeat club was a city DA and a public attorney. They were eye-balling each other way back then. A few years later those two hooked up, got married, made 3 very adorable babies.

    I got enormous thrill and self bad-assitude out of sneaking in a matinee a month. I was punching back at The Man! (I wasn’t).

    The Man is essentially unpunchable.

  15. wr says:

    @CSK: One thing I’ve never been able to figure out about Qanon — why the obsession with JFK Jr? He never seemed like anything but a mediocrity to me, and as I recall he was a fairly standard liberal Democrat when he was still alive. Is it just because he’s so much more impressive than Don Jr and Eric?

  16. de stijl says:

    The Deadbeat Club is a fantastic B52s song.

  17. de stijl says:


    Elaine on Seinfeld had a super crush on him. He was in her exercise class. Apparently his booty was noteworthy.

    Other than that I remember one afternoon where CNN was obsessed with his death. Apparent* death. 1999 I think.

    Q is a Seinfeld episode where Newman is Q.


  18. Kylopod says:


    why the obsession with JFK Jr?

    Why the obsession with Tom Hanks? The entire movement is a string of non sequiturs.

    It leads me to suspect it was started by someone British. Non sequiturs are a staple of British humor. It was probably some British prankster who thought, “How can I demonstrate that yanks are really fucking dumb?”

  19. CSK says:

    This is the best I can figure: In 1996, Kennedy Junior held his magazine launch (George) at Mar-a-Lago. A Trump connection!

    JFK Jr. didn’t really die in the 1999 plane crash; he faked his death to fight the “dark forces” who’d murdered his father.

    In 2018, a guy named Vincent Fusca turned up at a Trump rally, and the QAnoners decided that Fusca was actually JFK Jr. because Fusca resembles JFK Jr. (He doesn’t.) Fusca doesn’t, as far as I know, deny this, which adds fuel to the conspiratorial fire.

    And…”Vincent Fusca” in Italian means “to conquer the dark.” Actually, the word is Spanish and it means “gun.”

    Does that help? 🙂

    P.S. I’m not sure why JFK Jr. decided to fight the pedophiles. Perhaps because Trump is fighting them.

  20. Neil J Hudelson says:

    @de stijl:

    About a decade ago I was waiting in line to go into a show in an abandoned church–maybe the Decemberists? No, it was whomever was opening for the Decemberists performing a last-minute show after the Decemberists cancelled due to the flu.

    Anyway, waiting in line to go in and I see some flyers for upcoming shows. “Oh sweet, the Mountain Goats are coming to Indy!”

    [Guy at table]: No, they CAME to Indy. That was yesterday my dude.

    Me: Goddamnit.

    Jon Fucking Wurster standing next to me: Don’t worry, we can get a beer after the show.

  21. Kathy says:


    Maybe deep down they are aware that Benito El Cheeto is such a dumb, stupid, ineffectual, incompetent, f***ng moron, that even a dead, cremated liberal Democrat would perform better in office.

  22. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: I’m a little surprised Andy Kaufman hasn’t figured into this somewhere, as he’s kind of the ur-example of a celebrity with faked-death conspiracy theories, partially because it’s the sort of thing that’s easy to imagine him having actually attempted, and his death was itself rather bizarre.

    Nobody seems to remember Andy Kaufman, though, despite his influence a number of later comedians. I’m 44 and have vague memories of Taxi from when I was a small child, and I also saw the biopic about him, Man on the Moon (which I think is an underrated film). But maybe I’m making the mistake of thinking in normal terms; in a weird way invoking Kaufman conspiracy theories would be too mainstream and obvious for QAnon.

  23. Kathy says:


    And he could come back proclaiming: “HERE I COME TO SAVE THE DAAAAY!”

    According to the biopic (very underrated indeed), Kaufman engaged in several hoaxes and pranks, so a conspiracy like a fake death seems only natural.

  24. CSK says:
  25. de stijl says:

    @Neil J Hudelson:

    Oh. Goddamn it. Wish I was there then.

    I was at Bob Mould’s return to Minneapolis with Sugar and Copper Blue. We are kinda buddies in my head, but famous people have lots of buddies. I had full access tickets. Left for me with my name. All i can say. Watched from the sidestage for a bit. Copper Blue.

    It was so intense I went down and parked my skinny butt halfway between the speaker set up. My innards rattled and reverberated. My liver and kidneys jiggled and wiggled it was so loud. I was so intensely happy!

    Hoover Dam (Standing On The Edge Of The Hoover Dam)

    That song makes me so happy. It’s kinda a melancholy song.

  26. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy: I think the film itself leaned in the direction of insinuating that his death might have been faked (though I think it was intended as tongue in cheek). The wrestler Jerry Lawler played himself in the film, and it was apparently the first time he publicly admitted that his entire feud with Kaufman was staged and that they were actually good friends (though people had suspected this for decades).

    In 2015 Bob Zmuda himself fed into the faked-death conspiracy theories.

    When I gave the movie a rewatch a few years ago, I realized that it probably influenced my perception of Trump as a public figure, back when I first saw it in theaters in the late ’90s. (Another underrated film from around that time may also have played a role in my thinking, Howard Stern’s Private Parts. The two films are thematically similar–and, I should note, both costar Paul Giamatti.) I assumed Trump was some kind of performance artist playing a character, not unlike Kaufman doing Tony Clifton. When he had those feuds with Rosie O’Donnell, I imagined them going out to coffee together afterward and laughing about the public charade, much like Kaufman and Lawler.

  27. Joe says:

    @wr: I was aware that my then-wife had a celebrity crush on John John and was really struck when he died, but it wasn’t till I was boxing her stuff up that I realized she had collected like every magazine that had a major story about it.

  28. de stijl says:


    REM / Michael Stipe had a kinda obsession with Kaufman.

    Man On The Moon – a damn good song, and I am kinda sketchy on REM. Highly rec’d.

    Plus that song pulls in the moon landing conspiracy in an ironic manner.

    Cults are bad. Eckankar was / is laughable. Persistent and pervasive conspiracy belief amongst 30 – 35% of the population is way fucking worse. The Big Lie is not able to be laughed away anymore. It is endemic.

    Andy, are you goofin’ on Elvis? /
    Hey baby, are you havin’ fun?

  29. Kathy says:


    I assumed Trump was some kind of performance artist playing a character,

    I think he is, but not with the help of others.

    I’ve dug up an old quote from Asimov’s “The Gods Themselves,” about a Benito-like character, which goes “He’s a pygmy with only one talent, the ability to convince others he’s a giant.” And the first person he had to convince was himself. He knows he’s not the character he plays in public, but he may be playing the character for himself as well.

  30. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Apparently the QAnon strike force got to TMZ. The link is dead. 😉

  31. Kylopod says:

    @de stijl:

    Man On The Moon – a damn good song, and I am kinda sketchy on REM.

    I am not in the least bit sketchy about REM–I think they’re great, and their song “Man on the Moon” is brilliant. (How many songs that are tributes to specific celebrities are also thought-provoking?) The film may well be the most justified example ever of a film title based on an older hit song–a practice that’s usually tacky. In fact, you could almost make a case that the film is an adaptation of the song.

  32. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    That IS odd. I checked it after I posted it, and it worked fine. Anyhow, just Google “Vincent Fusca” and “John F. Kennedy Junior” and a number of comparison shots will pop up.
    If you’re interested, that is.

  33. gVOR08 says:


    How does this propensity to see what is not there manifest itself in other areas of life?

    I don’t know what the Q people do in the rest of their lives, but most people who insist on seeing things that aren’t there become religious and/or Republican.

  34. de stijl says:


    The thing I love about Man On The Moon is when Stipe goes into the roadhouse and all the regulars and barflies mouth along. It is very effective.

    Weird coincidence – Michael Stipe is also in the Deadbeat Club video too. Twice.

  35. de stijl says:

    Nothing is cool.

    A shit ton of us believe utter nonsense.

    How do you move forward with that millstone.

    Are we doomed?

    Right now, I am very pessimistic. If we are going to implode into neo-fascism I don’t want to be here for the full flowering. Fuck that.

    Still, need to stay. Preserve. Maintain.

  36. CSK says:

    @de stijl:
    At the risk of seeming Pollyanna-ish, I’m going to say that many people throughout history all over the world have believed nonsense.

    I agree with you, though, that the current nonsense seems unusually inimical. I blame social media for the proliferation of it. If QAnon had existed 30 years ago, they’d be communicating by badly-mimeographed or photocopied “newsletters” to a tiny group of like-minded cranks instead of broadcasting to thousands on crackpot websites.

  37. Kathy says:


    The early version of the conspiracy regarding cannibalism and child abuse, would not have been out of place in the 80s Satanic Panic. What made it preposterous by conspiracy theory standards, was the inclusion of well-known politicians, celebrities, and businesspersons listed by name.

    I suppose this requires a “deep state,” or how would such crimes across state lines persist under both Republican and democratic administrations. Then for some reason you need the first coming of Benito, and even that’s not enough and you require a second coming.

    Definitely there’s something massively defective in brains that fall for such things.

  38. de stijl says:


    We are on a bad path.

    It is now illegal in my state to speak truthfully about slavery in a school. Against the law. Dutifully enacted by a legislative majority and signed by the governor.

    I want to weep at the heartlessness. It so petty and feeble and lame, but it is now law. It breaks my heart. I cannot stand that that is true.

    How do you fucking cope with that?

  39. Jen says:

    @gVOR08: Heh, touche.

    I am genuinely baffled by people–like those who can’t seem to separate actors from their roles, or who get obsessed with celebrities, or these Q loons. When does the tether to the real world fall away? Is it gradual, or does something trigger it? Have there always been this many weirdos out there, or is there something in a pop media culture that feeds it?

    I mean, I can’t see people back in the Middle Ages getting obsessed with whatever the “celebrity” figure of the day was, but maybe the nuttiness just manifested differently?

  40. CSK says:

    Oh, yes, the Great Daycare Satanic Child Abuse Plague. I remember it well. The difference between that and Pizzagate, as you point out, was the involvement of celebrities in the latter.

    It was 4chan where Pizzagate originated proliferated. I can’t imagine what the Daycare/Satan conspiracy would have been like if promoted on 4chan.

  41. dazedandconfused says:


    First draft of the Trumper’s Book of Revelations. Unlikely it will have the same legs.

    An underestimated aspect of the con man’s game is how hard the suckers work at avoiding the knowledge they’ve been suckered.

  42. CSK says:

    Yes, the weirdos have always been with us. I recall reading an interview with a 1950s/1960s soap opera writer who talked about how when a character on the show got “pregnant,” the network would be bombarded with gifts for the non-existent baby: hand-knitted booties, blankies, teething rings…

  43. CSK says:

    The thing about most stone suckers is that the more you confront them with irrefutable evidence that they’ve been taken in by a con, the more vigorously they’ll deny it.

    How the people who go to Trump’s rallies could possibly believe that he cares for them escapes me, when there are years’ worth of documentation proving he despises them.

  44. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: David Dukes (the actor, not the Nazi) says he received death threats after playing the man who attempts to rape Edith Bunker on All in the Family.

  45. CSK says:

    Oh, I’m sure he did.

    I met Dukes once (at a party (in Cambridge, Ma.; where else?) when he was going with the poet Carol Muske, whom he later married. We had a long and very pleasant conversation. Nice guy. Good actor. Gone too soon.

  46. Monala says:

    @Jen: I read a quote by a Qanon adherent, who said something like, “We’re the people who couldn’t just accept what we were told, and so we became independent thinkers.” I think they really do believe that believing outlandish things means they’re “independent thinkers.”

  47. Gustopher says:

    @de stijl: Look at the bit that is quoted on TikTok.

    I am drowning
    There is no sign of land
    You are coming down with me
    Hand in unlovable hand

    This is often acted out with pets popping up behind furniture (the furniture is the waves). It’s great.

    TikTok hits are songs with a great 15-30 seconds irrespective of (and sometimes despite) context.

    I love it.

    (Yes, I am now a grown man who watches ridiculous TikTok videos sometimes instead of working, and who loves songs that suddenly have 20 seconds of greatness randomly embedded into them.)

  48. Mister Bluster says:

    It’s been 9 straight days that the sign on the door at Panera states that “the dining room is closed until further notice. Please use our drive up window or the Panera app to order.” This after almost a full week of the dining room open for regular hours. As I made the loop around the building through the parking lot I saw one of the managers, Daniel, headed to his car. “Still closed on the inside.” I said. He shook his head. “I just started back after hernia surgery eight days ago. I have a 10 lb. weight limit on lifting. There were six interviews scheduled today. One called and said that they overslept and two didn’t show up. I hired the other three but it will be next Tuesday before they are trained and in the system. I don’t know if we will open inside before then.”
    “Damn.” I said “Take care of yourself.”
    Everyday that Panerra is closed inside my Coffee Club subscription loses value. At $10.05/month (tax inc.) it works out to about 33¢ a day for all the mud I can drink if I can sit inside. I could order coffee at the drive up and sit in my car in their parking lot to access the internet. I’ve done that in the past however it can result in leg cramps and is not condusive to refills not to mention I have to run to Casey’s down the street when it’s time to check the plumbing.
    My first alternate to Panerra is MickeyD’s. 88¢ (tax inc.) senior coffee. Free refills and the internet connection works most of the time.
    Just discovered that Dunkin, my second alternate, is open inside again. Coffee is $2.35 (tax inc.) with the senior discount and a free donut with my AARP card.
    I stopped at Starbucks today. No discounts and the small coffee went up 23¢ t0 $2.74 (tax inc.) When I mentioned that the coffee was $2.51 two days ago I was informed that prices went up for the holidays. When I told them that I hoped they got a raise. The barista said that they did!
    Merry Christmas from Starbucks!

  49. CSK says:

    People who style themselves as “independent thinkers” are quite often the same ones as those who tell you to “do the research,” by which they mean “believe whatever hysterical paranoid bullshit The Gateway Pundit or The Conservative Tree House tells you.”

  50. de stijl says:


    What do I type after my name if I think Flynn is a loon? de stijl – – -?

    What if I thought he should be in jail for treason? de stijl # # #? Hashtags kinda look like jailbars.

    All this virtue signaling and name defining with symbols exhausts me. God damn snowflakes! Can’t we go back to simpler days when people said their preferred pronouns in their profile?

    I can say “they”. Not a problem.

    Cantonese has the same word for she, he, and it. You have to figure it out by context. Beat the Michael Reynolds’ two page pronoun action scene challenge by several thousand years.

  51. de stijl says:


    I kind of love you. You also frighten me.

  52. Kylopod says:

    @de stijl:

    Cantonese has the same word for she, he, and it. You have to figure it out by context.

    Hebrew has separate forms of you depending on whether the speaker is addressing a male or female. From their standpoint, our language is as “deprived” as Cantonese is to English speakers because we have to figure out from context what gender the “you” being referred to is.

  53. de stijl says:


    The preferred usage is “grown-ass man” as in “I am a grown-ass man…” “adult” also works.

    There is an absolutely adorable TikTok clip of a young woman desperately trying to contextualize the lyrics for the hoi polloi.

    A lot of the clips cut off after

    I hope you die

    and thus many clips did not include

    I hope we both die

    Important context. Flips the song. The lack of which drove the above mentioned TikToker a bit annoyed. Bless her. She is doing good work for the community.

  54. JohnSF says:

    Two bits of excellent medical news:
    UK medicines regulator approves molnupiravir, an oral antiviral for Covid.

    And research shows the HPV vaccine cuts cervical cancer risk by nearly 90%.

  55. CSK says:

    I saw that about the HPV vaccine. That is indeed good news for women the world over. And great news about the oral antiviral.

  56. de stijl says:


    A few months back I spoke to a group. I used “you”. You lot sounds too british. Y’all sounds too Southern, but it is a cool adaptation. Very smart. It distinguishes between singular you and multiple yous.

    I was a senior person brought in for two weeks. I stole time from them against plan. I kept it short.

    This was not in PA else I might have thought about Youse (Philly) or Yinz (Pittsburgh). Yeah, I could not pull that off ever.

  57. JohnSF says:

    IIRC several Slavic languages have pronouns and related noun cases as masculine, feminine, animate, inanimate, neuter.

    And there are languages that make finer distinction in collectives: masculine, feminine and neuter and mixed versions of they/them, for instance.

    OTOH, I think there are quite a few NE Asian languages that have no grammatical gender at all.

    Oh, and in German “girl” is actually grammatically neuter.

  58. JohnSF says:

    @de stijl:
    Scots and Northern Irish have “youse” for plural you.

    IIRC rural Irish from southern counties still use “ye” which was the Middle English plural you.

  59. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Vincent Fusca was adequate. I see the resemblance, though, so I guess I’m one of the gulls. (And no, I don’t believe it’s JFK, Jr., but like Elvis sightings… actually this is closer than most Elvis sightings.)

  60. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jen: In the Middle Ages–at least according to what history I was taught about it–most people probably never moved beyond the environs of their birthplace. Knowing about people was limited to cities–and even then, probably severely limited depending on economic status.

  61. de stijl says:


    There is video of a guy who goes by Handsome Homeless performing No Children during an anti-abortion rally.

    He is a fucking boss. So on point. That marriage generated two visits at least.

    Decent acoustic guitar cover version. Nothing really to write home at all about except that he did it directly in front of an anti-choice rally.

    I like people like him.

    He was a culturally astute thoughtful asshole.

  62. flat earth luddite says:

    @de stijl:
    I dunno… I was taught that “y’all” is singular and “all y’all” was plural. But then again, the descendent of the South may have been yanking my chain after they heard me humming “Play it All Night Long” at my desk.

  63. de stijl says:


    Pittsburgh “Yinz” is an elided, compressed version of you uns.

    Pittsburgh is basically Newcastle.

  64. wr says:

    @flat earth luddite: Now I’ve got to put on Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School…

  65. Kathy says:

    A little bit of Karma for the afternoon.

  66. de stijl says:

    @flat earth luddite:

    I have been addressed as y’all when I was alone. It was … odd.

    All y’all is frickin’ genius usage. I am awed.

    That was an unintentional almost poem.

    Why does Reynolds get a monopoly on language challenges?

    Construct a haiku that incorporates all y’all. It can count as 2 or 3 syllables. Your choice.

    All y’all are damn stupid
    This cannot be done proper
    Yinz are barking mad

  67. JohnSF says:

    @de stijl:
    IIRC Newcastle plural you is “yiz”; I’ve heard somewhere it derives from “youse” and was introduced to Newcastle by either Irish or Scots migrants in the 19th century.

    Personally I find “all you bastards” works just fine.
    It’s the formal mode of the second person neuter plural in Australia, I believe. 🙂

  68. JohnSF says:

    Nah, that’s not Karma at work, it’s her bad tempered yet lovable cousin, Nemesis.

  69. de stijl says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Elvis Is Everywhere

    I saw Mojo Nixon live. Hard rockabilly. That man truly loves Elvis.

  70. CSK says:


    This dipwad was one of a group who chartered a private plane to fly to D.C. to participate in the insurrection. We talked about her in the immediate aftermath.

  71. Kathy says:


    I sometimes think of Nemesis as the original Batman.


    I remember that. So, just catching up with old acquaintances, right ? 😉

  72. de stijl says:


    Pittsburgh might also be Sheffield. Or Newcastle + Sheffield. Pittsburgh used to be Steel City, USA.

  73. de stijl says:


    I vote Hubris.

  74. flat earth luddite says:

    “Detox Mansion” is playing right now…

  75. JohnSF says:

    And speaking of the doings of Nemesis, still unfolding in Britain the saga of Conservative MP Owen Paterson.

    Apparently saved from the judgement of the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner of paid undisclosed lobbying.
    Fellow Tories and media friend mounted a campaign on his behalf, Johnson (possibly for dodgy reasons of his own) gave it government backing, and the penalty was suspended pending a new standards “enforcement” system.
    Opposition parties refused to co-operate, and a quite remarkable wave of public and media outrage arose.
    So, Johnson promptly u-turns, throws Paterson under the bus, and leaves his MP’s looking a lovely blend of cowardly, hypocritical, venal, stupid and incompetent.

    MP: “…why take heaps of abuse for defending an unpopular government decision only for it to change its mind the next day?”
    Anonymous Minister: “a fucking disgrace and huge party mismanagement”

    Paterson ends up resigning, when if he had just accepted the sanction quietly he could probably have survived as MP (depending on local support re. recall petition and thence possible special election).

    It would take a heart of stone not to laugh.

  76. de stijl says:

    @flat earth luddite:

    Daft Punk Is Playing At My House

    It sounds like a total joke. It isn’t. LCD Soundsystem rocks.

    North American Scum is an all time fave.

    Paul Westerberg used to be playing at my house. I’ve since switched over to LCD Soundsystem.

  77. flat earth luddite says:

    @de stijl:
    Unfortunately at Casa Luddite, most of what I hear in my head is tinnitus. Or voices urging me to commit unspeakable acts. YMMV…

  78. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    If you like Gang Of Four try Daft Punk Is Playing At My House. Very skanky.

    Gang Of Four’s Damaged Goods used to be my go to punk rock karaoke choice.

    North American Scum is just straight up great.

  79. JohnSF says:

    @flat earth luddite:
    Curious; my voices keep urging me not to commit unspeakable acts.
    I ignore them, of course…

    (Also, similar re. tinnitus. Grr.)

  80. gVOR08 says:


    I am genuinely baffled by people–like those who can’t seem to separate actors from their roles, or who get obsessed with celebrities, or these Q loons. When does the tether to the real world fall away? Is it gradual, or does something trigger it? Have there always been this many weirdos out there, or is there something in a pop media culture that feeds it?

    Separating actors from roles. Remember Dan Quayle complimenting the Murphy Brown character for having the character to carry to term and not have an abortion?

    As to pop media and the weirdo population, a couple days ago James did a post on Nationalizing the Local. I think this is the same phenomenon. We’ve always had a pretty fair contingent of loons in the country, but now we hear about more of them. And it’s easier for them to find each other and clump together.

  81. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    But though Nemesis, in her original character, was the distributor of rewards as well as punishments, the world was so full of sin, that she found but little occupation in her first capacity…

    Who knew that John Calvin adapted a key feature of his doctrine from the ancient Greeks? (I know I didn’t. 🙁 )

  82. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: I recall a comic character named Nemesis from Charleston or some other late 50s early 60s minor publisher, but apparently the character was a second feature in another title, so I don’t see an internet entry dating that far back. But, yeah, the character was a Batman-like character specializing in getting justice for people who couldn’t get it by other means-.

  83. de stijl says:


    Man, those two weeks kinda got in my head.

    Part of me really wanted to dig in hard. Head down. Develop The Perfect Solution. Or at least a good enough solution until the next project comes along to clean up our old mess.

    A dirty secret is that 99% of queries get pointed a small tiny sliver of the full dataset. We have looked at past queries by frequency and have created a schema that answers those questions fast. We hold a copy of that most queried schema in memory so you never have to actually hit the big stuff. We have a back set that answers most of the less frequently too. Not as quick, but quick enough that people don’t notice or get annoyed.

    A bastard star schema is most likely. Some of the new DBMS products do amazing things with indexing. Things that have blown up my 35 or 40 year old head hard.

    Man, I really wanted to dig in again.

  84. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @flat earth luddite: Fortunately, the voices have gone away. I couldn’t understand what they were saying over the four different pitches/sound qualities of tinnitus ringing in my head. I guess they gave up.

  85. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I think that having to wear masks because of Covid-19 interfered with their speaking, too. I know that I usually only understand about 10 or 15% of what students say to me through their masks. (It also makes lip reading a lot harder. 😛 )

  86. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    I realize now that “very skanky” has two meanings. I was going for meaning 2.

    Skank is a dance form that came up out of ska, got picked up by punk ska, got picked up by punk. A hard step dance.

    My intention was that Daft Punk… was a really good skanking song. A person could to it skank to it easily. The rhythm works for skankability.

    You could probably find better more illustrative vids easier, but Ruby Soho by Rancid features some fine ass skanking.

  87. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    I lied about Ruby Soho. Great song, but no skanking.

    What I should have said was that Rancid’s Red Hot Moon features some fine ass skanking.

    You need Doc Martins to skank properly. You need a grippy sole to stick the landing and stay there. Maybe not Docs per se, but a good grippy sole.

  88. Jax says:

    @de stijl: (Giggling) you’ve always struck me as a skanker. There was a ska band I used to go see live in high school in Utah, let me see if I can still find anything about them online….my kids and I used to listen to them a lot when we were cleaning, they particularly loved the song FUZ.

    Ah yes. Swim Herschel Swim. I can still feel the the floor feeling like it was about to fall in! They’d pop up everywhere at house parties I was DEFINITELY not supposed to be at at that age. (Please don’t tell my teenager :-P)

  89. de stijl says:

    I saw a very clever comment on Youtube (yeah, I know, I was amazed too.):

    Daft Punk should put a song titled James Murphy Is Playing At My House

    Dance Yrself Clean is another LCD Soundsystem song worth checking out. Yes, Yrself is the correct spelling.

  90. Kathy says:

    Link to illustrate the reference to Andy Kauffman coming back and proclaiming “Here I come to save the daaay!”

    Ok. I laugh a lot when I watch it, but can’t explain why it’s funny.

  91. de stijl says:


    I am a total skank! Was.

    I can skank with best of them! Could.

    By “can” I mean I used to try. My right foot is shot now. Really good skankers are a joy to see. It is damn tiring. You run out of breath in a few minutes.

    Yes I am talking about definition 2.

  92. Gustopher says:

    @de stijl: I’m really not very frightening. I don’t know why so many people think I’m frightening.

    I’m far more unmoored than unhinged.

  93. Gustopher says:


    It leads me to suspect it was started by someone British. Non sequiturs are a staple of British humor. It was probably some British prankster who thought, “How can I demonstrate that yanks are really fucking dumb?”

    A lot of Q lore seems like the type of thing that happens when you one-up a conspiracy theorist. They don’t believe in the moon landing, so you try to convince them that the moon isn’t real.

    But, in the end, it’s just The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, with some random details at the edges. Jews sacrificing Christian children becomes Hollywood Elites and other Globalists extracting andrenochrome from children.

    Honestly, it’s boring. Incredibly dangerous, but boring.

    At least real Nazis dressed nice.