Wednesday’s Forum

FILED UNDER: Open 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

Comments

  1. Jim Brown 32 says:

    Welp–it actually happened. Jim Brown has driven back and forth almost weekly from the Panhandle of Florida to Central Florida for the past 6 months. I started out taking the Interstate but have discovered shortcuts that are uber rural and forested.

    Driving on these roads I thought, “This would be a shitty place to EVER break down”. Well–my car freaking breaks down in what I think will be shown to be the fault of the quick lube oil change people that serviced the car before it I left central Florida for the panhandle.

    To compound the situation–it was a hour or so before dark. But thankfully, I had just exited a 20 mile stretch of dense woods (where I had no bars on my phone) onto a busier road. War has conditioned JB32 to respond to potential danger and fear with an adrenaline rush–so I quickly have to make a decision to stay with the vehicle or try to get to civilization. Thinking about breaking down in the woods was scarier than when it actually happened. I called my roadside assistance and they said at least an hour. Fuck that–I wasn’t staying around to be a target of opportunity for some rednecks. Being mobile, I surmised offered better security than being stranded. I grabbed my bag with my “little friend” and struck out walking. A blessed black queen stopped as I exited my vehicle and said, “Hey are you safe? Is anyone on the way?” I told her yes..Roadside assistance was on the way. “Great” she said, “Because you know where you are–and its about to be sundown”. I smiled and thanked her. In my head I thought…”Awwww shiiiit. Im in one of these parts of Florida.” As she drove off–I reached in my bag to made sure I had rounds racked in my safety equipment. Im a man of peace–but I dont mind getting down if someone wants war.

    I get about 2 miles down the road and I get a call from the tow company that they can only go to the vehicle and are coming from a different direction than Im walking. They cant pick me up from the gas station another 2 miles away that I was walking to and bring me back to the vehicle…so I have to turn around and walk back. Now its dark. No street light, woods dark. Several cars forced me to get off the shoulder onto the grass they came so close to me. Not sure if it was on purpose but they weren’t on the shoulder before the headlights hit me…then they were on the shoulder. After they passed…they were off the shoulder again. I entire time Ms Brown kept calling to make sure I was ok and wasn’t in a shootout with the Klan.

    I finally made it back to the vehicle at about the same time the tow guy showed up. Needless to say, I was so tired and relieved to be headed home that I wasn’t mad about the 90 mile tow bill or the fact that the operator objected to me wearing a mask in the vehicle. He said he was a country boy that grew up drinking pond water…Covid wasn’t going to get him.

    Now Jim Brown is Pro-Black–but I like good ole boys. We yukked it up pretty good for the 90 miles home. Lots of interesting stories about the crazy stuff you see as a Tow guy. I told him a few war stories. No politics talk–but a little talk about Covid vaccines and how forcing people to take them was dumb. I could appreciate the struggle and the hustle of a man out trying to earn money to feed his 4 kids. 12 hour days–6 days a week. I think I’ll stick to driving the interstate for a few months.

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  2. sam says:
  3. Jen says:

    @Jim Brown 32: I’m glad you’re okay.

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  4. Barry says:

    @Jen: seconded.

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  5. CSK says:

    @Jim Brown 32:
    Scary story. I’m happy you emerged from it unscathed.

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  6. Jax says:

    @sam: That was quite entertaining watching that Twitter thread happen yesterday from @emptywheel. What a dumbass!

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  7. Kathy says:

    @sam:

    Have you ever noticed these foolish pro se clients tend to get stuck with idiot lawyers?

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  8. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Jim Brown 32: Yes, because I’m highly familiar with many of those roads, I’d say you were very lucky (even with all the trouble you endured). There is one place called Tate’s Hell in that area where no one should be so unfortunate as to break down.

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  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jim Brown 32: I got 3 letters for you: AAA.

    Joining up was the best thing I’ve ever done. The people are great and no matter where I break down, they come and get me in a very reasonable amount of time, and the first 150 miles is free. I hear the 2nd is too. The same for the 3rd and the 4th… The catch is that you have to call for another tow after each 150.

    I’ve never had to resort to that tho so for all I know, it’s just an urban tale.

    eta WHOOHOO, an edit function! I’m gonna hit the lottery up for some tickets today!

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  10. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Jim Brown 32:
    I say this with affection: you dumbass. I know the panhandle, I was raised for a couple years in Niceville. I’m white and I wouldn’t drive those back roads. We’re already down Doug Mataconis and Steve Story, soldier, keep your head down in enemy territory.

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  11. Barry says:

    @Kathy: “Have you ever noticed these foolish pro se clients tend to get stuck with idiot lawyers?”

    My guess is that the only people who do that are either the truly desperate or the truly foolish people. And if you hire a fool for a lawyer, you’ve got a fool for a lawyer.

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  12. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    It sounds like Wrong Turn or The Hills Have Eyes.

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  13. Joe says:

    @Barry: As a lawyer, I have had my share of clients who think they know far better how to accomplish their goals than I do. I am always quite happy to be dismissed by these clients.

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  14. Kathy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I got 3 letters for you: AAA.

    We have or had something like that here called AMA. It was pretty good. You called a mechanic or a tow truck, depending on the situation. You didn’t even have to be a current member. You could sign up on the spot to get assistance.

    I haven’t used it in years, because these days most insurance companies offer roadside assistance in their car insurance policies.

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  15. Michael Reynolds says:

    @CSK:
    Or Deliverance.

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  16. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Yeah, that too. Cue the dueling banjos.

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  17. Kathy says:

    I’m toying with an odd idea.

    Suppose you land in an alien world, and despite precautions against contamination by microorganisms, some of the crew begin to show one or more of the following: headache, mild fever, fatigue, or muscle and joint aches.

    You have super advanced technology and are engaged in interstellar exploration, so at least you’re on a ship well-equipped to find the culprit. So you all get busy with blood and tissue samples and very quickly you fin, well, something.

    It’s a small thing that looks like a virus with a lipid coat and proteins protruding from it. except it’s larger than most viruses, and the proteins are different. That is, each thing has 10 or 12 different proteins, and they vary between things. It’s also too small to be a bacterium.

    You naturally look inside, and things get weirder. It has a chromosome (just one), and a bunch of enzymes, but no organelles. So it’s not a virus nor a bacterium.

    So you observe it. You let it loose on cell cultures, and immediately see it enters different types of cells (what with so many different proteins fitting many different cell receptors and all). and then it does something amazing. It uses its enzymes to hijack the cell machinery and it doubles itself ten times (netting 1,024 copies of itself), and then stops doubling. All those copies exit the cells they invaded and then they do absolutely nothing. They don’t consume nutrients, nor reproduce inside any cells they happen to come into contact with, until eventually they die.

    This makes matters worse. How does this lifeform survive if it reproduces so inefficiently?

    The afflicted crew stops showing symptoms after a day or so, and there are no further signs of illness. after a few days, you find antibodies for all of the proteins you were able to identify in the mystery microorganism you’ve been studying.

    So you go back to studying the planet, puzzled as hell as to WTF you found. You collect specimens and samples and begin to study them. You find viruses and bacteria, of course, in solid, in water, inside animals and plants. This is normal and expected. Then you notice these pathogens carry proteins consistent with those from the mystery thing you thought was causing disease earlier.

    Does this sound interesting?

    For the record, I do know what it is and where it comes from.

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  18. CSK says:

    L. Lin Wood is calling Marjorie Taylor Greene a Communist because she’s calling for the impeachment of Joe Biden, which means she recognizes Biden as president.

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  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: Were those the guys in the green pick ups? Back when I was regularly in Mexico, we called the “green angels.” Never had to use them, largely because who ever was driving made sure their vehicle could handle such a trip before going, and the few breakdowns I did experience were easy to fix.

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  20. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    Communist, and even more so Socialist, has become a general insult/slur on the right (wrong) end of the political spectrum.

    I expect shortly some GQP politico favoring the Cheeto Benito tariffs to say something like “You favor free trade? That’s Socialism!”

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  21. Kathy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    No, those are still around. They’re a free federal service handled by the tourism department, and operate only on highways.

    AMA mechanics traveled in yellow and black VW Beetles inside cities.

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  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: Ahhh… I never spent much time in cities but that color scheme on a bug rings a bell.

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  23. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Jen: @CSK: Thanks!

    @OzarkHillbilly: I’m going to look into AAA. Haven’t been happy with by current Roadside Assistance anyway. At first they only wanted to town me to a local repair shop but after I complained they offered to tow me home but would need to cancel the company they’d just sent out. Ain’t nobody got time for that when stranded in an unfamiliar place.

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  24. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    Yup. Everybody’s a Communist but Trump. Even Republicans. Romney’s a Communist. McConnell’s a Communist. Kevin McCarthy’s a Communist.

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  25. CSK says:

    @Jim Brown 32:
    I can highly endorse Triple A as well. If you have to do a lot of driving, it’s a must.

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  26. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Michael Reynolds: When the I told the story at work about the lady who slowed down to tell me: “you know its about to be sundown”– they were like: “Yeah, because of bears and animals out there…ha ha ha ha.”

    What I wanted to tell them was “No dummy—the lady politely told me:” RUN N1&&A RUN FO YA LIFE!

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  27. JohnSF says:

    @Jim Brown 32:
    A bit hair raising, to put it mildly.
    Glad you’re safe.

    @SC_Birdflyte:

    There is one place called Tate’s Hell in that area where no one should be so unfortunate as to break down.

    Really? When it has such a friendly sounding name?

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  28. Mu Yixiao says:

    Film & TV stagehands set to go on strike on Monday.

    International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees International President Matthew Loeb announced today that unless an agreement is reached, union members will begin a nationwide strike against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) on Monday, October 18 at 12:01 a.m., PDT.

    I was a stagehand for about a decade after graduating from uni. Never worked in Hollywood, but I do know the long hours and hard work those hands put in. If you thought a writer’s strike was bad, you ain’t seen nothin’. Not a single thing can get done without the stagehands.

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  29. JohnSF says:

    @Kathy:

    Communist, and even more so Socialist, has become a general insult/slur

    Maybe it’s more prevalent, but it seems to have been that way for some time.
    I’ve recently been reading some histories of FDR and the New Deal, and the label communist was certainly used then as a slur on people who were no such thing. And some who were, LOL.

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  30. wr says:

    @Mu Yixiao: “If you thought a writer’s strike was bad, you ain’t seen nothin’. Not a single thing can get done without the stagehands.”

    Yup. Studios can stockpile scripts, but they can’t stockpile manual labor.

    It’s not just stagehands, though. IA covers pretty much everyone below the line besides the drivers, who are Teamsters and a handful covered by the DGA…

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  31. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    Times change, don’t they? Way, way back when I was graveyard manager for Sambo’s restaurants (great pancakes with a side of racism) I regularly worked 60 hour weeks, and once hit 90. I managed the place and still picked up a wait station because: money. I went to far as to create my first ever alias* so I could take on extra hours without running into overtime. More work = more money. (And that’s not even counting the very moderate skim we had going).

    These kids today** see work as punishment, as an imposition that should be resented. Pouting employees doing the very least they can get away with, then bitching that they don’t get raises or promotions. Amazing. Despite switching jobs every time I got nervous, and living under an alias as a fugitive, I was always promoted. And I carried that work-a-holic, can-do, will-do attitude into writing and succeeded there, too. I try to tell wannabe’s that a big percentage of my success is simply showing up, making things happen, working my ass off because any manager/editor etc… is going to throw work to the guy who delivers on-time, on-spec rather than the self-pitying snowflake.

    *Hamlet Brown, taken from the ticket abbreviation for a ham omelet with hash browns.
    ** I don’t have a lawn to tell them to get off, but I do have a pool, because: work, bitchez.

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  32. Mu Yixiao says:

    @wr:

    It’s not just stagehands, though. IA covers pretty much everyone below the line besides the drivers,

    Yeah.. I know it’s more than just the hammer rats, hum heads, and wrench monkeys (the official name is, after all, the International Association of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Machine Operators, and Associated Craftsmen (of the United States and Canada))*.

    But “stagehands” is just easier to say. 🙂

    * I’m surprised I still remember all that!

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  33. Michael Reynolds says:

    @wr:
    My money’s on the union. A new deal may cut into profits but a work stoppage cuts harder and will tank entertainment stocks, too. What’s your read?

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  34. Mu Yixiao says:

    Fun IA story:

    I was in the airport in Seoul having a beer, when a blue-collar American woman walked up and started studying the list of beers. I happened to know most of the brands (Asian and German), so I asked what sort of beer she wanted, and we talked briefly. She was from Minnesota and in Seoul for work.

    A while later, I was at the terminal, and a small group of blue-collar American men were sitting in the next pod of chairs. I asked them if they’d watch my stuff while I used the bathroom. Sure, no problem

    I came back, and that woman was sitting with them. So… “Okay… what sort of work takes you from Seoul to Shanghai?”

    They all looked at each other cautiously… “You want to say it?” “Okay”. The guy sighed resignedly and said “We work for Metallica”.

    The look shock and relief on their faces was wonderful when I replied “Oh. IA. I’m local 470.” 😀

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  35. Gustopher says:

    Remember the woman who was shot by her kid on a zoom meeting? Way back in August?

    The guy who left the gun around has finally been arrested.

    He is facing 15 years for manslaughter. I’m hoping he gets enough to serve as a deterrent to people who are storing loaded handguns around children in Paw Patrol backpacks.

    Gun rights come with gun responsibilities.

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  36. CSK says:

    @Gustopher:
    Sort of like storing your loaded gun in the child’s toy box.

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  37. sam says:

    Speaking of movie production. As I’m sure folks in the industry know, Netflix is investing about a billion dollars here in Albuquerque. They intend to make ABQ the center of their North American production. To this end, they’re building 10 sound stages, a slew of post-production facilities, and even a day-care center. Locals have taken to referring to the enterprise as “Tamalewood”.

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  38. CSK says:

    Here’s more on the story @sam: posted upthread:

    http://www.rawstory.com/brandon-fellows-tin-foil-phone/

    Moron.

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  39. Mu Yixiao says:

    @sam:

    Well… Looks like we’ll be getting a lot of money soon, then. We’re their lighting supplier. 🙂

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  40. Kylopod says:

    @sam:

    As I’m sure folks in the industry know, Netflix is investing about a billion dollars here in Albuquerque.

    I’ll be quirky!

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  41. sam says:

    Film crews. I remember seeing an interview with Laurence Olivier. He was talking about the first movie he made. I think it was Wurthering Heights. He basically said he was an insufferable, supercilious asshole on the set. “Sniffing”, he said, “about this anemic little medium.” He went on to say that he was sure the crew had enormous fun at his expense.

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  42. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jim Brown 32: Some months ago a buddy of my son’s ran a staub thru his radiator while checking his bee hives on some land a few miles to the east of us. He’d been fighting with bad cell reception and a recalcitrant insurer for over 2 hours when I drove over, hooked a tow strap to his truck and towed it over to our house. I called AAA and told them it broke down just a few miles away while *we* were 4 wheeling and we had barely made it back to my house. They came and picked up his truck and drove it to the STL dealer he’d bought it from for free.

    **Yeah, I had to tell s little lie and say it broke down while we both were in it and I almost felt guilty about it for about 7 seconds, but the insurance covers any vehicle I am in, and he needed the help and the free tow. IIRC, the tow truck driver said it was saving him about $300.

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  43. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jim Brown 32: Sullivan MO, the town I live 11 miles from and do most of our shopping at, was a sundowner town until the mid 90’s. As far as I know, that is a distant memory but whenever I see a black face at the WalMart, a part of me wonders.

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  44. dazedandconfused says:

    @Kathy:

    The more I’ve read about our immune system the less I fear anything truly alien getting a foothold. All the bugs that cause us problems have evolved incredibly complex methods of fooling our immune system, it’s a war that has gone on for a billion years and all the players are pros, and they have to be so sophisticated and specific there is very little cross-transmitting of diseases between even terrestrial organisms. Our immune system is a m-fer. Anything truly weird gets nuked in a flash. The odds that an alien bug could either gain a foothold or recognize our cells as a potential factory are small indeed.

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  45. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: ” What’s your read?”

    When I first started hearing about the impending strike, it sounded crazy — the industry was finally opening up again, doesn’t everyone just want to get back to work?

    But reading further, it seems like this is part of the same workers’ rebellion we’re seeing all over the country. For years, employers decreased wages and increased the misery of the work experience, and people took it in stride, because one thing you can say about people, they can get used to almost anything. It all happened gradually, and any talk of how these jobs used to pay better, have working hours you could live with, and how you were treated with some kind of respect sounded like Grandpa talking about working at GM in 1963 again.

    But that year or so out of work opened an awful lot of eyes. People realized they were giving away their entire lives to companies that did not give a damn about them — and for less and less money, while the guys at the top were getting more and more. And having survived a year or more without these jobs, they’ve realized they don’t want to go back to the way things were.

    That’s why restaurants can’t staff up. It’s why school districts in shitty states can’t find enough teachers. It’s why hotels can’t offer you a clean room every day. Because they’ve all started to run on an economic system that depends on people working insane hours in terrible conditions for little money — and now people won’t do that anymore.

    I’ve read a lot about the threatened strike, and you know the one word I’ve never seen mentioned? “Money.” It’s all about working conditions. About eighteen hour days and eight hour turnarounds. It’s about skilled workers being treated like disposable objects, because that’s what contemporary capitalism runs on.

    I hate the idea of Hollywood shutting down. (Even if it may help the prospects of projects I’ve got in the Netherlands and Sweden…) But I can’t fault the union here. The system keeps spiralling down, and it’s never going to stop if people don’t make it.

    Until the Republicans get back into office, of course. Then they’ll make it illegal to refuse any job that pays more than five dollars an hour and America will be golden again…

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  46. wr says:

    @sam: ” He was talking about the first movie he made. I think it was Wurthering Heights. ”

    That was probably “Q Planes,” a British thriller he did with Ralph Richardson. Wuthering Heights was his first Hollywood movie, and he spent most of that shoot getting his ass kicked by director William Wyler, who taught him to understand the difference between film and theater acting. (Although maybe he responded by being disdainful of the medium…)

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  47. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: “The jack booted thugs will never look in here!”

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  48. Joe says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I live in Central Illinois and there were plenty of well known Sundown Towns in the area, some still had whistles that blew half an hour before sundown 20 or 30 years ago. When you drive into Decatur, Illinois, there is a bar at the edge of town called The Sundowner cause, hey, why not.

    @Mu Yixiao: My son is a recently minted Los Angeles stage hand now. He is not (yet) union and just finished a production a week ago so is now “between situations.” Hope this benefit him. Hope he understands how and why.

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  49. Kylopod says:

    @wr:

    who taught him to understand the difference between film and theater acting.

    Then there’s the (possibly apocryphal) story when he was working on Marathon Man, Dustin Hoffman was disheveled from the running he’d been doing to prepare for the role, and he said “You should try acting… It’s so much easier.”

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  50. Monala says:

    After our apartment fire almost a year ago, one of the things we had to replace was our TV. We replaced it with a Sony flat screen “smart” TV purchased at Best Buy. We also purchased at the time a modem/router, a WiFi extender, and a $100/year Geek Squad membership.

    We used the latter multiple times in the first month because the TV stopped working repeatedly. We’d call the Geek Squad and they’d walk us through resetting the TV or whatever; it would work for a little while and then stop again.

    Finally I asked someone from the Geek Squad to come out and look at the TV and determine once and for all what was wrong with it, or if it needed to be replaced. They did, and determined that it had an unstable IP address. I live in an apartment complex, and when the TV stopped working, it was because it was attempting to pick up on the WiFi for one of my neighbors. The Geek Squad guy stabilized the IP address so it only picks up on our WiFi, and now ten months later, we haven’t had any problems since.

    As I approach the year mark for owning this TV, Best Buy has emailed me to inform me that my $100 Geek Squad membership is converting to a $200/year Total Tech membership with all these great benefits!!! For products I don’t have and will never use. I hope and intend that the TV, router and extender will last for several years before needing replacement, and again, in the last ten months I haven’t needed any service at all.

    Thus, $200 is more than I want to spend, so I declined it. Any downsides to my decision?

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  51. gVOR08 says:

    @Gustopher: We have a local case of a IIRC 2nd grader finding a loaded gun in her backpack at school. The kid told a teacher, who called the cops, who took possession and unloaded it. So no one injured. Whether because of the mother or the local paper, the mother’s story is incoherent. Something about having reported the gun as stolen by her ex, then finding it in her storage locker with her other guns, so taking it to the cops. Unclear how it got into the kids backpack. And here in FL probably no one is going to question loaded? In storage? Multiple guns?

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  52. Mu Yixiao says:

    @wr:

    I’ve read a lot about the threatened strike, and you know the one word I’ve never seen mentioned? “Money.”

    There is a small attention to money–but it’s on the starting end of the pay scale, not for those who’ve been there a while.

    Otherwise… yep. It’s all about how they’re being treated, not about the pay. I’m out of the loop, but my expectation is that it won’t last very long. The demands are all very reasonable, and the workers far too valuable.

    Ironically, the shutdown last year is part of what kept us in business–more so from Broadway than Hollywood. Theatres took that time as an opportunity to do all the repairs that they needed. So while new orders slowed down a lot, repairs picked up some of the slack. And a not-insignificant number of venues that knew they could weather it actually did upgrades to their systems.

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  53. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Joe:

    My son is a recently minted Los Angeles stage hand now. He is not (yet) union and just finished a production a week ago so is now “between situations.”

    I wonder if the LA Journeyman’s test is the same as the NY one… *

    ============
    Old theatre joke: The Local 1 test consists of two questions:

    1) What’s your family name?
    2) So.. how’s your old man doing these days?

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  54. Michael Reynolds says:

    @wr:
    It’s very interesting the ‘pause effect.’ People thinking, ‘why am I doing this?’

    Knowing very little about production I’d guess the work hours thing is going to be tough. What do you do if you’re shooting 16 hour days? Swap in a new crew at the 8 hour mark?

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  55. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Covid is killing rural Americans at twice the rate of people in urban areas

    “There is a national disconnect between perception and reality when it comes to Covid in rural America,” said Alan Morgan, head of the National Rural Health Association. “We’ve turned many rural communities into kill boxes. And there’s no movement towards addressing what we’re seeing in many of these communities, either among the public, or among governing officials.”

    Here in Washington Co. the vax rate is at 30.2% and you know few are masking up. You just can’t save some people.

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  56. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Old theatre joke: The Local 1 test consists of two questions:
    1) What’s your family name?
    2) So.. how’s your old man doing these days?

    That same joke can be made of most unions.

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  57. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Monala:

    You can think of those programs as insurance policies against the cost of paying someone to come out to assist you or talk you through it. actuarially they don’t make sense, but the risk is a couple of hundred dollar bill for assistance if you need it. For myself, I usually figure it out on my own with the assistance of google and often user groups, but I’m pretty comfortable delving into that type of stuff, so I don’t bother with those service warranties.

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  58. Kathy says:

    @dazedandconfused:

    I wonder how life will have evolved elsewhere, and how compatible it will turn out to be. Perhaps biology observes laws like physics, and life can only develop along a narrow range of possibilities. If this is so, then we can expect pathogens that can infect us.

    Maybe.

    Maybe this is not so and life will prove even more varied, so that perhaps only Earth life can be dangerous to other Earth life.

    It’s one of those things we’ll need to find out by experience.

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  59. Kathy says:

    @Monala:

    If the TV fails again in a similar manner, call your internet provider for tech support.

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  60. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy:

    Perhaps biology observes laws like physics, and life can only develop along a narrow range of possibilities.

    Is it a law that marine vertebrates tend to have fishlike bodies?

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  61. Kathy says:

    @wr:

    Robert Reich says there’s a kind of undeclared, unorganized general strike going on.

    I’m reminded of the story of a Prussian officer who goes to a barber shop for a shave, and threatens to run through with his sword the barber if they nick his face. Only the most junior barber takes the assignment, and he does a good job without any cuts at all. When asked by the officer whether he was scared, the boy replies, “No, sir. You had your blade at your side, while mine was at your throat.”

    In the case of a strike, sometimes I wonder who has their blade at their opponents throat.

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  62. Kathy says:

    @Kylopod:

    I’m thinking on a more fundamental level, like cellular and molecular levels.

    The opposite is also fun to speculate about. Do you even need a complex molecule to encode information, or can that be an emergent quality in a given organism? That is, can you have living cells without DNA or a similar substitute?

    If memory serves, Crichton’s Andromeda bug didn’t even use proteins.

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  63. @Kathy: I think we are seeing an awful lot of people step back and reassess various life choices.

    We are seeing it with students nationwide who have either decided to take a pause in their educations or to abandon them.

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  64. dazedandconfused says:

    @Kathy:
    It’s just highly unlikely, not impossible. It could be life has many ways of coming into being but the processes are so alien to earth they could never happen here. Someone mentioned that if life were to evolve in the methane pools of Titan it would view liquid water the same way we view molten lead. “Life is not possible on that hell-hole.” The odds of a bug that could live in both Terrestrials and Titans? Nil.

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  65. Wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I think the idea is don’t shoot 16 hour days.

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  66. Kathy says:

    @dazedandconfused:

    Again, we don’t know.

    There is a kind of natural experiment. The Americas and Australia developed for millions of years largely isolated from the rest of the world’s land life. We know human disease did not proliferate in the western hemisphere, and what the consequences were when European diseases were introduced. I wonder, though, what toll indigenous animals suffered from disease…

    That’s limited, as western hemisphere life was the same and had common ancestors with eastern hemisphere life.

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  67. Kathy says:

    BTW, flu season is getting started. Unlike last year, fewer people are masking up, and more people are out and about in schools, restaurants, traveling, theaters, bars, etc. therefore we may have a more regular flu season this year.

    I wonder what the antivaxxers will do about getting a flu shot this year. It won’t be fun to get a severe course of flu when the hospitals are still saturated with COVID patients, or a double whammy of flu and COVID.

    I’m getting a shot later this week (it looks likely to be on Friday).

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  68. EddieInCA says:

    @wr: @Michael Reynolds:

    I’ve read a lot about the threatened strike, and you know the one word I’ve never seen mentioned? “Money.” It’s all about working conditions. About eighteen hour days and eight hour turnarounds. It’s about skilled workers being treated like disposable objects, because that’s what contemporary capitalism runs on.

    I hate the idea of Hollywood shutting down. (Even if it may help the prospects of projects I’ve got in the Netherlands and Sweden…) But I can’t fault the union here. The system keeps spiralling down, and it’s never going to stop if people don’t make it.

    There is a very interesting subtext to all this…. Yes. The Crews want shorter working days. BUT…. the sticking point is that they like and want the overtime pay. I’ve produced TV series where a full week after 10hr days, majority of crew is complaining about the size of their paychecks. A $35/hr job becomes $52.50/hr after 8 hrs. After 12 hours it becomes $70 per hour. Crews LOVE the overtime money, but they don’t want to work the overtime.

    The reason this strike may last is there is fundamental disagreement. The studios would be fine cutting hours, but asking for a 20% raise on top of shortened hours to make up the income shortage isn’t going to fly for the studios. You can have more pay, or shorter hours, but the studios aren’t going to pay more hourly wages for less hours worked. That doesn’t make sense.

    I’m very much a pro-union guy. But whereas a few unions should definitely be going on strike (871, 161, 705) several others (695, 600, 399) should be thankful you can make $55/hr for pulling cable all day for a sound mixer, or $40/hr for driving a van all day.

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  69. Mu Yixiao says:
  70. sam says:

    @wr:

    I think Olivier was talking about Wuthering Heights. It was an interview on American television. He probably said “first Hollywood movie” or “first American movie”, and, cinematic chauvinist I was at the time, I heard “first movie”. I do vaguely recall something about stage acting. What has stayed with me was the self-deprecation. I thought it was pretty cool that he could laugh at himself.

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  71. wr says:

    @Mu Yixiao: “There is a small attention to money–but it’s on the starting end of the pay scale, not for those who’ve been there a while”

    Yes, I read a little more after I posted and meant to correct myself. Thanks for catching that!

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  72. Monala says:

    A few days ago I asked whether I should get a second Moderna shot, having snuck in a Moderna booster recently after receiving the J&J vaccine in March (recent health issues led me to take this step).

    Well, the NYT reported this today:

    In the federal clinical trial, National Institutes of Health researchers mixed and matched vaccine doses to test their effectiveness. They found that:

    —People who got a J. & J. shot and a Moderna booster saw their antibody levels rise 76-fold within 15 days.
    —People who got a J. & J. shot and a Pfizer booster saw a 35-fold rise.
    —People who got two J. & J. shots saw only a fourfold rise.

    The authors cautioned about the study’s small size and noted that they did not follow the volunteers long enough to identify rare side effects.

    I don’t think I need the second Moderna shot. 😀

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  73. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Wr:

    I think the idea is don’t shoot 16 hour days.

    Isn’t that like telling a rock band they can’t trash hotel rooms?

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  74. dazedandconfused says:

    @Kathy:

    Not millions of years for the Americas, the land bridge was periodically open every ice age. Australia might be a better example. There were diseases in humans in the Americas, just different ones. I suspect the population density of Europe and China created a much more active bug v human battlefield and correspondingly enhanced both. Got the humans but the buffalo, bears, moose did just fine…until we shot them, which of course we did.

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  75. Jax says:

    I honestly thought I was out of compassion and empathy for my Trumpian neighbors and friends who had refused the vaccine. But now they’re actually dying, and it’s mostly my favorite old people and not the motherfucker’s who actually deserve it (because they’re all secretly vaccinated), and I mostly find myself sad and angry. 😐

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  76. wr says:

    @EddieInCA: “But whereas a few unions should definitely be going on strike (871, 161, 705) several others (695, 600, 399) should be thankful you can make $55/hr for pulling cable all day for a sound mixer, or $40/hr for driving a van all day.”

    I have no doubt you’re right. But of course the strength of any work action is the ability to shut a business down. So the ones who should be thankful go out in support of those who need help.

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  77. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “Isn’t that like telling a rock band they can’t trash hotel rooms?”

    I think it’s more like telling hotel managers they can’t force their staff to work 20 hours a day just because some rock band has trashed their hotel room.

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