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Friday Five (its all about the tantrum edition)

It’s Friday! It’s the first Friday in 2019. I am typing the year correctly most of the time, now, so that’s an improvement.

I have reached the end of the anti-biotics and most of the related medications, and while I feel less sick, I don’t yet feel well. But no one is feeling great right now, so I’m in good company.

Anyway, welcome to the Friday Five. This week I bring you: the top five (IMHO) stories of the week, five stories about things that should need proving or explaining, five stories of interest to queers and our allies, five stories about science, five stories about the government shutdown and five videos (plus notable obituaries and things I’ve written).

Stories of the Week:

Cyntoia Brown Is Granted Clemency After 15 Years in Prison.

Black farmers were deliberately sold ‘fake seeds’ in scheme to steal their land.

Four Best Friends Were Buried Under ‘FRIENDS’ Tombstone.

The Daily Caller Bewildered to Learn Obama Has Secret Service Protection.

Gavin McInnes, Hate Group Founder, Writes Letters to Neighbors to Take Down Anti-Hate Signs.

This Week in Water is Wet and Other Revelations:

Fake news on Facebook is more likely to be spread by people over 65.

Millennials Didn’t Kill the Economy. The Economy Killed Millennials. “The American system has thrown them into debt, depressed their wages, kept them from buying homes—and then blamed them for everything.”

American Psychological Association links ‘masculinity ideology’ to homophobia, misogyny. Yes, we’ve been calling this phenomenon toxic masculinity for years.

There Is No Crisis At The Border – And DHS Stats Prove It.

Samuel L. Jackson: ‘Calling that Muthafukkah a Motherfu**er is not an issue, calling that Muthaffuqah President Is’.

Queer stories of the Week:

Queer Films Won Big at the Globes — But Queer Representation Did Not.

This Transgender Woman Says a Message From Her Doctor’s Office Turned Into a Transphobic Tirade.

Evangelicals Think LGBT People Shouldn’t Be Protected From Lynching and just hours later: Liberty Counsel Tries To Backpedal On Lynching LGBTs.

“Death To Gays” Pastor Apologizes For Fucking Hookers But Wants You To Know He Still Hates Gays.

3 in 10 California youth have been mocked by family for being LGBTI – Half have been bullied at school.

This Week in Science:

Zero is just 1,500 years old. Before it, there was nothing.

This Professor Teaches Advance Mathematics Through Knitting.

Milky Way to face a one-two punch of galaxy collisions.

Edinburgh scientists discover mammoth secret in ivory DNA.

New Report On HIV Viral Load and Transmissibility of HIV Infection Supports Undetectable Equals Untransmittable.

This Week in Government Shutdown News:

Trump Walks Out of ‘Waste of Time’ Meeting with Democrats: Shutdown Update.

TSA union says airport screeners are quitting as government shutdown continues.

HUD instructed landlords to use reserve funds during shutdown – not knowing federal program had expired.

FBI Agents Warn Shutdown Hampers Anti-Terror Work.

Common Saw Easily Cuts Through Wall Prototype.

In Memoriam:

Norman Gimbel, Oscar-winning lyricist of ‘Happy Days’ theme, ‘Wonder Woman’ TV series theme, and ‘Girl From Ipanema,’ dies at 91 .

Things I wrote:

Weekend Update 1/5/2019: It’s ugly, oh, so ugly….

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas, or Undecorating on Three Kings’ Day.

Public Service Announcement: How to Delete Online Accounts You No Longer Need.

Truth.

Fighting toward the light at the end of the tunnel—or why hope is important in sf/f.

Sometimes Extinction Arrives on Wheels — more of why I love sf/f.

Videos!

Marvel Studios’ Captain Marvel | Special Look:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Stephen Colbert Trump Just Wants To Be On Primetime TV:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert – Trump: It’s My Right ‘To Do National Emergency’:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Trump’s Wall Has Changed a Lot: A Closer Look:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Troye Sivan – Lucky Strike:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

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Friday Five (his shutdown continues edition)

It’s Friday! It’s the first Friday in 2019. I have to type the date a lot at work (I’m working on planning documents and such right now) and I keep typing 2109 as the year. I’m apparently ready to skip to the next century!

Since my cough was getting worse, I went to see the doctor and next thing I know I was at the pharmacy picking up five prescriptions: antibiotic, steroid, prescription cough tablets for daytime, codeine cough syrup for nighttime, and a new kind of inhaler. Apparently the doctor was not happy with what he heard through the stethoscope when he asked to to take a deep breath and I had another coughing fit.

Anyway, welcome to the Friday Five. This week I bring you: the top five (IMHO) stories of the week, five stories about writing and reading, five stories about deplorable people, and five videos (plus notable obituaries and things I’ve written).

Stories of the Week:

Gifting Burdens.

New Horizons images bring Ultima Thule into sharper focus, revealing snowman-like structure.

Ike’s Mystery Man review: astonishing tale of a gay White House aide.

The nation’s first two Muslim congresswomen are sworn in, surrounded by the women they inspired.

Under Speaker Pelosi House Passes Spending Bills to Reopen Governmen.

This week in Writing and Reading:

The Christmas Specials that Never Were – in which the blogger describes Doctor Who Christmas Specials that could had been if they’d done them for the first several doctors.

Speculative Fiction Links of the Week for December 28, 2018. I should start doing a special category of linking to one of Cora Buhlert’s awesome book/publishing/sf weekly round ups.

Edward Gorey and the Power of the Ineffable.

In the era of Trump and apocalyptic change, Hopepunk is a storytelling template for #resistance — and hanging onto your humanity at all costs.

Public Domain Day Is Finally Here!: Copyrighted Works Have Entered the Public Domain Today for the First Time in 21 Years.

Best LGBTQ+ Books of 2018: The Coil Staff Picks.

Awful, Deplorable People:

Sarah Sanders has ‘struggled’ to find a new job as the White House press office becomes ‘Night of the living dead’: report.

Gowdy: ‘I Will Not Be On The Ballot Ever Again’.

GOPer In NC Election Fraud Probe Asks Court To Declare Him The Winner.

Former Trump Tax Attorney Busted on Federal Extortion Charges.

Members of Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Cult Arrested for Kidnapping NY Kids.

In Memoriam:

Hector Xtravaganza, ‘Grandfather’ of House of Xtravaganza, Dies at 60.

Absolutely Fabulous Star June Whitfield Has Died.

June Whitfield, ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ and ‘Terry and June’ Actress, Dies at 93.

Daryl Dragon, “Captain” of music duo The Captain and Tennille, dies at 76.

Things I wrote:

Weekend Update 12/29/2018: Empty Seat in District 9, First Kisses, and Double Dads.

Sunday Funnies, part 32.

New Year’s Eve Links, or, News from the Dead of Winte.

My New Year’s Wish for You, 2019.

It’s the first day of your arbitrary time demarcation—embrace it.

Thoughts on a book recommendation list.

Hitchers, and Reapers, and Phantom Riders—more of why I love sf/f.

Videos!

Panic! At The Disco Performs “Hey Look Ma, I Made It” and “High Hopes” – The Voice 2018 Live Final:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Behind The Track: No Matter What With Calum Scott | Sound Bites:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Calum Scott – What I Miss Most (Official Video):

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Eli Lieb – Chemical Love:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Sam Smith – Fire On Fire:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Friday Five (market crash edition)

Shutdown solution seems unlikely before Dems take House

Shutdown solution seems unlikely before Dems take House: https://abcnews.go.com/amp/Politics/wireStory/shutdown-solution-dems-house-60045357

It’s Friday! It’s the final Friday in 2018, and I’m not quite ready for the new year to begin.

I’ve been on vacation all week, and that will continue until after New Year’s Day… but I’ve also been sick since Tuesday, so it hasn’t exactly been all fun and frolics. But we had a nice quiet Christmas at home and we’ve cooked some fancier meals than usual, so it’s all good.

Anyway, welcome to the Friday Five. This week I bring you: the top five (IMHO) stories of the week and five videos (plus notable obituaries and things I’ve written).

Stories of the Week:

Many Stories Are Told Through the Typography in Science Fiction Films.

Why I Buried My Siblings Alive. This is actually a story about how child abuse survivors deal with adulthood.

Markets stage one of worst Christmas Eves ever, closing down more than 600 points as Trump blames Fed for stock losses in a tweet.

A push for compromise on LGBTQ protections may tear evangelicals apart. I feel as if I’ve read this headline many times before, and so far, no.

Merry Christmas, the Seahawks Are in the Playoffs.

In Memoriam:

Donald Moffat, Commander Garry in John Carpenter’s The Thing, passes away at 87.

Larry Eisenberg, 99, Dead; His Limericks Were Very Well Read.

Things I wrote:

On the first day of Christmas Vacation, I drove into Trump Country….

Three Considerations On the Third Day of Christmas Vacation (or the Eve of Christmas Eve).

Christmas time is here, have some Christmas cheer—and jingle until you’re upsot.

Rainbow Christmas – Ho! Ho! Ho!.

Santa Baby, just slip a sable under the tree for me….

Embracing many realities, or why sf/f is about more than just ideas.

Videos!

This Beautiful Rendition Of Cher’s “Believe” Is Adam Lambert’s Gift To Us All:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

The Modern Strangers – Red Strip Lights:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Temptation // All Hail The Silence:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Leland – Middle Of A Heartbreak (Official Video):

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

O’Leary Car Ride: Showtunes 2018:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.

Friday Five (gingerbread people edition)

A gingerbread cookie decorated to look like it is dressed in heavy bondage gear. "Why I'm no longer asked to make gingerbread men for the church bake sale."

(click to embiggen)

It’s Friday! It is both the final Friday before Christmas and the Winter Solstice! Wow!

It was a month of insane deadlines at work, so I worked very long hours last week and this. In fact, it is actually in the wee small hours of Friday morning that I’m typing this, because it took my past midnight to finish the things that had to be done before I could leave for my Christmas vacation.

Enough of that. Welcome to the Friday Five. This week I bring you: the top five (IMHO) stories of the week, five stories about awful people, and five videos (plus notable obituaries).

Stories of the Week:

Neighbors Are Saying This Woman’s Christmas Dragon Decorations Are Inappropriate, So She ‘Fixes’ It.

Ursula K Le Guin remembered by her son Theo Downes-Le Guin .

How young is too young to talk about LGBTQ stuff?

Top of mind: ‘Justice’ is Merriam-Webster’s word of the year.

Bumblebee Review: For the First Time in Over 30 Years, Playing with Transformers Is Fun.

Awful, Deplorable People:

What happens when the No. 1 cable news channel is steeped in white nationalist rhetoric?

The stock market is on pace for its worst December since the Great Depression.

Investors seeking tax breaks skip poverty-stricken areas.

Suspected White Supremacist Arrested in King County.

The study found that black, mixed-race, Asian, and Latina women were mentioned in abusive or problematic tweets 34% more often than white women, while black women specifically were targeted 84% more often than white women.

In Memoriam:

Penny Marshall, ‘Laverne & Shirley’ Star, Director, Dies at 75.

Rosie, Madonna Mourn Penny Marshall.

Penny Marshall, Beloved Sitcom Star and A League of Their Own Director, Dies at 75.

Things I wrote:

A season of light and love in my queer taoist/wiccan household.

It’s time we hung some tinsel on that evergreen bough….

Need a little angel sitting on my shoulder… or, save me from the well-meaning enablers.

Mixing up some festive tunes… or, how else do you think I manage 2538 Christmas songs?

Videos!

Brandon Stansell: Hometown [Official Music Video]:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Stephen Colbert Destroys Fox News’ Tucker Carlson: ‘The Little Racist Who Could’:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Package Thief vs. Glitter Bomb Trap:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Def Leppard – We All Need Christmas:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

White Wine In The Sun by Tim Minchin – A sentimental song about Christmas:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Friday Five (oopsie edition)

It's easy to shop for me, really (click to embiggen)

It’s easy to shop for me, really (click to embiggen)

It’s Friday! It is the second Friday in December, but tomorrow is that third Saturday, and that’s important, because it means our annual Holiday Party along with the Ghost Story Challenge is this weekend! Woooo!

And as I’m assembling this post on Thursday night, after two very long work days, I barely have any of the Ghost Story finished! Eeek! On the other hand, most years this is exactly where I am at this point. As one of m

Enough of that. Welcome to the Friday Five. This week I bring you: the top five (IMHO) stories of the week, bottom five stories of AWFUL peole, my blog posts, and the top five videos.

Stories of the Week:

This religious right group forgot which side they’re on in the War on Christmas.

Jury Clears Man Who Blasted ‘F*ck Tha Police’ at Cop.

Canopy cameras shed new light on monkey business in Brazil.

A Gay Las Vegas Couple Was Beaten And Stabbed At Their Home In An Apparent Hate Crime And Bystanders Did Nothing .

The Queer Importance Of Dazzler, Marvel’s Disco-Inspired, Rollerskating Superheroine .

Awful People:

Michael Cohen Sentenced to 3 Years After Implicating Trump in Hush-Money Scandal. Something to keep in mind with this story. The federal judge, while passing sentence, stated as a matter of fact that the alleged President of the United States was complicit in the crimes Cohen is going to prison for.

‘This was a humiliation’: Report shows how Trump’s spiteful firing of John Kelly blew up in his face.

Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters: Did Trump shut down HIV cure study to appease religious right stance on fetal tissue? The answer is yes: Trump quietly shuts down HIV cure research to appease the religious right.

Speaker Paul Ryan retires: his legacy is debt and disappointment .

Washington Post Introduces ‘Bottomless Pinocchio’ Factcheck Level for Trump.

Things I wrote:

Doubling-down isn’t how you make sf/f for everyone… and being southern isn’t a license to condescend.

Weekend Update 12/8/2018: Guilty men sometimes face consequences.

So today is our wedding anniversary….

How do you make sweet potato pie. Only later did I realize I should have titled this one, “How do I make sweet potato pie”

Videos!

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – The Danish National Symphony Orchestra (Live):

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

United States Navy Band – Dueling Jingle Bells:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

AVENGERS 4 ENDGAME Trailer (2019):

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

John Legend – Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (Official Video):

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

The Minus 5 – “Christmas in Antarctica” (feat. Ben Gibbard) [Official Lyric Video]:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Weekend Update 12/8/2018: Guilty men sometimes face consequences.

Doonesbury, © 22 October 2017 Garry Trudeau: The Flashback Edition.

Click to embiggen: Doonesbury, © 22 October 2017 Garry Trudeau: The Flashback Edition.

Once again, a bunch of significant news dropped after I queued up this week’s Friday Five, and I just cannot wait until next week to share it. And, as is usually the case when I post these weekend updates, to comment (sometimes at length) on the new news. And some of this week’s is just, “Wow!” Buckle up!

First, thank goodness for the rule of law: Neo-Nazi Found Guilty in First Degree Murder of Heather Heyer at Charlottesville White Supremacist Rally. Remember those rallies, with those alt-right jerks chanting Nazi phrase while waving their tiki torches? You know, that ones that Trump called “fine people” and at another part referred to as “us”? And there were counter-protesters (the people Trump called “them” in the same sentence) who were there to speak out against hatred and genocide and so forth? And then there was the asshole who drove his car into the crowd on counter-protesters, injuring at least 35 people but worst of all, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer. The neo-Nazi behind the wheel of that car was arrested, charged with murder, among other things, and this week the jury returned their verdicts (plural):

James Fields found guilty on all 10 counts, including 1st-degree murder, for ramming car into a group of peaceful counter-protesters following Charlottesville white nationalist rally in 2017.
—NBC News report

Not everyone is happy with this development. There was a lot of commentary on the alt-right/neo-Nazi/InCel/Men’s Rights Advocates side of various social media very angry about the first degree murder charge, especially. I actually laughed out loud at some of the comments. It’s always enlightening to watch people who pride themselves on logic demonstrate their ignorance and irrationality. Painful, but enlightening.

But first, the link above is just a news brief, the BBC has a more indepth story: Charlottesville driver Alex Fields Jr found guilty of murder as does the Washington Post (though the paywall may thwart your reading): Self-professed neo-Nazi James A. Fields Jr. convicted of first-degree murder in car-ramming that killed one, injured dozens.

Those online lawyers are trying to claim that the jury found beyond a reasonable doubt that he intended to hurt people because of a meme he shared on social media three months previously of someone running liberals down with this car. That is not what happened. Instead, prosecutors showed the jury video of Fields sitting stonefaced in his car with the engine idoling, watching the counter protestors (who were all some distance away), and then, throwing his car into reverse, backing as far as he could on the street, throwing it into first, and peeling out aiming for the crowd. He wasn’t afraid, he wasn’t confused. He intentionally backed up so he could have more space to get his car up to as high a speed as possible when he hit it.

He drove 500 miles to participate in the rally. When his mother found out where he’d gone, she texted him urging him to be careful. He texted back (shortly before driving into the crowd): “We’re not the one who need to be careful.”

There was a lot of video (because it’s a big protest and people have their phones and Go Pros and such out), and numerous witness statements that there was no one standing near his car. Contrary to the tales his supporters are telling each other, he wasn’t surrounded, no one was yelling at him, nothing.

Yes, the Instagram post about driving over people was also part of the narrative for premeditation, but it was a tiny part. There were other conversations and comments made in the days leading up to the rally. And, of course, that chilling text message to his mother.

So, his intent to cause harm is established by his words shortly before the act, and the very deliberate act of slowing backing up to get more running room with the car. And twelve people on that jury came to a unanimous decision that the prosecution had established his intent to harm and that he had planned to do it before hand. An important part of premeditation isn’t just that it’s planning in advance, though. Part of the reason we think of premeditated murder as worse than an impulsive act of passion, is an opportunity to change one’s mind. I don’t know the precise jury instructions this jury was read, but the typical text from the judge includes that bit about premeditation: did the defendant have an opportunity where he could have stopped and decided not to go through with it, and then went ahead?

He could have, at any point during the backing up and staring at the crowd decided not to do it.

One of the other crimes he was found guilty of was fleeing the scene of the crime.

His defense team tried to disprove the intent argument by saying he was immediately remorseful, et cetera. But, he fled the scene. Sure, once he was tracked down and arrested he was sobbing, but I think we all know that he was upset because he had been caught.

Of course, Fields wasn’t the only alt-right jerk found guilty…

Takeaways from a frenetic week of Mueller filings: the special counsel left a series of public hints that prosecutors are closing in on President Donald Trump and his inner circle and Mueller Plays Truth or Consequences: In a slew of filings, the special counsel and Justice Department prosecutors slap (and praise) the witnesses who are making their case against Trump. Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York made a bunch of filings in federal court this week. The filings are related to the previously made guilty pleas of Trumps former campaign manager, his former lawyer, and his former National Security advisor.

So what does it all mean? Each of the three men has already pled guilty to serious crimes. Each made a plea deal to cooperate with Mueller’s invistigation, the U.S. Attorney’s investigation, and “other related prosecutions.” That latter is one of the few public hints we’ve been given over the 80-some weeks of the Special Counsel’s investigation that information is being shared with state (and apparently international) justice departments. That latter is important not just because of more crimes, but it has been a signal that even if Trump rushes in and tries to pardon everyone, it won’t keep the men out of jail. Presidential pardons have no effect on state criminal charges, nor of international ones (as are likely to be brought by various European countries we can assume since Trump’s banking associates were raided last week over there).

While a lot of people are focusing on the anonymous Individual-1 named in the filings (which is clearly Trump himself), and the fact that the men have already made statements and provided evidence that Individual-1 participated in their crimes, what I find a bit more interesting is that all three of these men’s cases came to this point today, and how very different they are. Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, according to the filings, has cooperated fully since he plea deal–everything he has told prosecutors has been able to be verified. So both Mueller and the U.S. Attorney are asking the judge for leniency on his behalf for the crime’s already pled guilty to.

Trump’s former attorney, who months ago bragged that he would take a bullet for Trump, on the other hand, has sometimes been less than cooperative. He has continued to lie about some things that the prosecutors can prove are lies. He has, on the other hand, provided a lot of evidence that Individual-1 committed a number of crimes related to the recent election. So, the prosecutors are asking the court to not go nearly so lenient on him, but don’t be too harsh, either.

And then there’s the former campaign manager, Paul Manafort. Manafort has lied and lied and lied in indisputable ways. So both prosecutors are recommending maximum penalties for all his crimes.

This is a strategic action. It warns all of the other people who are being or are about to be questioned by either the Special Prosecutor or the U.S. Attorney, that if you don’t cooperate, they will bring the hammer down. And if any Trumpkins are reading this and thinking smugly, “until the president shuts it down,” well that’s not easy. Yes, Trump has been maneuvering to shut Mueller down, but so far he’s been unsuccessful. And while I don’t think the Senate Republicans are yet ready to hold Trump to account if he fires Mueller, stopping the U.S. Attorney is much more complicated, and nothing the alleged president can do prevents a jurisdiction like, say, the New York State Attorney General, pursuing charges against many of these people. It doesn’t stop the Congressional Democrats, who are about to take control of that chamber, from holding hearings including asking a fired Mueller to come tell the public everything he found out.

I don’t think it is at all a coincidence that as this was coming to light that Trump went on a lengthy, angry, foul-mouthed attack on Twitter directed at his former Secretary of State. I think he’s starting to realize that he has backed himself into a corner, and the people he counted on to protect him are all going to behave like Flynn if they find themselves in the crosshairs. Donald Trump’s entire existence has just been set on fire

Right now, I just hope the country survives long enough for us to see a bunch of his inner circle carted off the prison.


Regarding the cartoon I illustrated this post with: I probably should do a new Sunday Funnies post about this site, but if you want to learn more about Trudeau’s long running comic, or just catch up, you ought to check out Reading Doonesbury: A trip through nearly fifty years of American comics

Friday Five (consensus edition)

© Greg Perry

It’s Friday! It is the first Friday in December!

It’s been an odd week. For instance, my bus commute is on one of the Rapid Ride lines. One of the things about the Rapid Ride buses is that all of the doors open at each stop, and most of the stops are equipped with a pay station so that passengers with a bus pass or pay card can pay before the bus arrive. Makes each stop faster, but also puts people on the honor system. So there are random teams of Fare Enforcement officers who board buses and check everyone’s passes while the bus continues. Normally I only see Fare Enforcement about once a week. This week, every single time I rode the bus, Fare Enforcement boards. And each time they found two people who hadn’t paid, who were then written up with a ticket. The best was coming home Monday night, though. A Fare Enforcement crew got on the bus just before we pulled out of downtown. They found two people, then they got off the bus at a later stop (where they wait for the next bus). Then, about 100 blocks later, a second crew got on the bus, and they also found and ticketed two people (and they were different people, because the others had left the bus by then). Fun, eh?

Enough of that. Welcome to the Friday Five. This week I bring you: five stories about one of the sweetest holiday specials Jim Hensen’s Muppets ever made, the top five (IMHO) stories of the week, five stories about writing and reading, five stories about awful people, and five videos (plus notable obituaries).

This week in Emmet the Otter:

For the First Time Ever This December, Two Jim Henson Holiday Favorites Hit the Big Screen: ‘Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas’ and ‘The Bells of Fraggle Rock’.

Paul Williams unearths lost ‘Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas’ Muppet soundtrack: ‘One of my favorite things I’ve ever done’.

Jim Henson’s Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas Soundtrack Gets First Ever Release.

Oscar Winner, Paul Williams, Talks Jim Henson, Muppets and Music on Tom Needham’s Sounds of Film.

‘Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas’ turns 40: An oral history of Jim Henson’s holiday Muppet musical.

Stories of the Week:

Exclusive: Sparkly, opal-filled fossils reveal new dinosaur species.

Osiris-Rex: Nasa probe arrives at Asteroid Bennu.

Latest House results confirm 2018 wasn’t a blue wave. It was a blue tsunami.

ACLU Files Suit Against School That Won’t Allow a Student Gay-Straight Alliance to Call Itself ‘Gay’.

Ocasio-Cortez shreds Mike Huckabee: ‘Leave the false statements’ to your daughter.

Writing and Reading:

“Don’t Lose Sight of the Big Picture” by Barbara Ashford .

“The Revision Machete” by Derrick Boden .

Hard Enough.

Through a Painted Door: An Ode to Children’s Science Fiction/Fantasy Art.

Better Worlds.

Awful People:

Milo Yiannopoulos’ debt crisis .

Republicans Brazenly Gut Voting Rights in Lame Duck Before They Lose Power.

FRAUD: North Carolina GOP Allegedly Destroyed Absentee Ballots.

Handgun reported stolen in 1990 found atop Seattle police officer’s locker.

Far-right terrorism in North America, Europe increased even as terrorism deaths declined: Report.

In Memoriam:

Buzzcocks singer Pete Shelley dies at 63.

Podcast: What It Felt Like to Live Through the George HW Bush Presidency.

Dead Poppy. “one thing that’s been left out in this rush to praise Bush as the Greatest Single-Term President in History or whatever other superlatives you wanna toss out there in the encomiums of doom is that he had no fuckin’ choice when it came to legislative goals except to do some rational shit. He had a Democratic House and Senate for his entire term.”

Videos!

The Danish National Symphony Orchestra – For A Few Dollars More (Live):

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

‘Captain Marvel’ Official Trailer #2 (2019):

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Jingle Bells | The King’s Singers:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Making Christmas (from ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’) – Pentatonix:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Tom Goss – Gay Christmas – This video is for those who have felt like an outsider on what is supposed to be the happiest time of the year. If you don’t feel at home this holiday season, I hope you can spend time with those that love you for all that you are:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Friday Five (puppies and wooly mammoths edition)

It’s Friday! It is the final (and fifth) Friday in November.

Today is the first of my string of Fridays off. For many years now, when I can, I have been taking the Friday between the Thanksgiving holiday and New Year’s Day off. Having a string of three-day weekends leading up to Christmas makes shopping and decorating and other holiday prep a whole lot easier.

Welcome to the Friday Five. This week I bring you: the top five (IMHO) stories of the week, five stories from the realm of science and sf/f, five stories of the blue wave, five stories about awful people, and five videos (plus notable obituaries and my blog posts).

Stories of the Week:

Rising from the ashes.

A Dutch church is holding non-stop services for a refugee family.

Why legal pot is forcing some drug dogs into retirement.

What is ‘Judeo-Christian,’ anyway?

Layoffs Begin At NRA’s Media Arm.

Science and Science Fiction stories:

Dog finds ancient woolly mammoth tooth in Whidbey Island backyard.

‘Siberian unicorn’ walked Earth with humans.

Humans ‘off the hook’ for African mammal extinction.

Twitter bans misgendering and deadnaming in pro-trans move.

A Note on Robert Silverberg.

This Week in the Blue Wave:

Black Voters Propelled Blue Wave, Study Finds.

Congress’s incoming class is younger, bluer, and more diverse than ever.

House Progressives Are Set To Wield A Lot Of Power In 2019.

Last undecided House race is in California; here’s the latest midterm tally.

The 2018 blue wave included quite a few LGBT wins – even though voters are still wary of gay, trans candidates.

Awful People:

He Says He Got Away With 90 Murders. Now He’s Confessing to Them All.

Salvation Army slaps ‘gag order’ on employees so they don’t talk about LGBTQ issues. Because when people find out their bigoted policies, they donate to other, more worthy causes.

GM Lays Off 14.7K North American Workers, Puts 5 Plants Up For Closure.

Trump gets ‘raging hot angry’ every time a staffer tells him something is ‘against the law’.

Alexander Acosta gave Jeffrey Epstein the deal of a lifetime.

In Memoriam:

Harry Leslie Smith was a gift. I’ll miss him.

“World’s oldest rebel”, wartime hero, author, activist and fierce defender of the NHS – RIP Harry Leslie Smith.

Harry Leslie Smith dead: ‘World’s oldest rebel’ dies aged 95 after long fight for the poor.

Harry Leslie Smith: War veteran who spoke out against austerity, the far right and Trump.

Andrew Burt (1945 – 2018). Appeared in classic Doctor Who, Blake’s Seven, and various other shows.

‘SpongeBob Squarepants’ Creator Stephen Hillenburg Dies at 57.

Things I wrote:

Weekend Update 11/25/2018: Pictures and headlines.

Don’t stop writing!

Stop digging, don’t you see how deep you already are?

Videos!

The Original Cinematic Universes (how certain unrelated historical films can be viewed like a franchise):

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MARVEL || Lions Inside (collab w/ djcprod):

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Once Upon A Deadpool | Official Trailer:

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“The Story Continues” Featurette | Mary Poppins Returns:

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Gwen Stefani – You Make It Feel Like Christmas ft. Blake Shelton:

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Friday Five (it’s spelled subpoena edition)

“Donald: since it's going to come up. It's spelled 'subpoena' not 'subpeena' and 'indictment' not 'inditement'. You're welcome”

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It’s Friday! It is the fourth Friday in November–the day after the U.S. Thanksgiving Holiday. This day has been called Black Friday for many years, though many retail chains have moved the beginning of the shopping day to Thanksgiving Afternoon, which ought to raise the ire of the same people who bitch about the so-called war on Christmas, yet somehow doesn’t. Regardless, while I used to avoid shopping on this day just to avoid the crowds, after the first time I read the story of some poor minimum-wage-earning retail employee being trampled to death in a Black Friday Sale, I have made it a priority to just stay home and not shop at all. Unfortunately, those of us doing that aren’t sufficient to bring an end to the insanity. I… I don’t know what else to say.

So, we find ourselves on the fourth Friday of November. Depending on where you live it is either the day after a major holiday or just another Friday. In either case, I guess it is time to get to my links. Before I get to that, though, I have a supplement to my irregular Sunday Funnies feature. Sheryl Schopfer is a long time friend who has multiple web comics. She recently suffered an accident that has interfered with the production of her comic. I am quite humbled that a very silly thing I wrote originally for her amusement a while back has been chosen to fill in part of the gap: Oh Deer, Oh Deer, Oh Deer.

Welcome to the Friday Five. This week I bring you: the top five (IMHO) stories of the week, five stories of the blue, and five videos (plus my blog posts).

Stories of the Week:

NCAA athlete disowned by family after coming out as queer ends fundraising after campaign surpasses $100,000.

An Atomwaffen Member Sketched a Map to Take the Neo-Nazis.

The Alt-Right is Killing People.

A dark matter hurricane is headed our way.

Former FBI agent: CIA leaked Khashoggi report because no one trusts Trump to ‘act on the truth’.

This Week in the Blue Wave:

How Big A Difference Does The House Speaker Really Make? Personally, while I want the Dem leadership go go in new directions, during this time when we only have HALF of one of the branches of government, I want the person who pushed through increases to social programs in the budget last year, thank you very much. We’re in the middle of a complex chess game against fascism, so we need someone who knows the system.

Nate Silver says media missed massive ‘blue wave’ while covering ‘stories about Trump voters in truck stops’.

View from the Left: Trump sunk Republicans in the midterms; we can help him do it again in 2020.

Architect of bin Laden raid: Trump ‘threatens the Constitution’ when he attacks the mediaThe Daily 202: Trump’s pattern of insulting war heroes continues with commander of bin Laden raid.

The Daily 202: Trump’s pattern of insulting war heroes continues with commander of bin Laden raid.

Things I wrote:

Word counts and other markings of the passing of time.

What are you serving, what are you talking about, and what are you avoiding during the holidays?

We are supposed to be giving thanks, after all.

Thanksgiving Links (ritual sacrifice, with pie edition).

Oh Deer, Oh Deer, Oh Deer.

Videos!

Christopher Sorensen – Afterglow (Official Music Video):

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Build a prom Macys Thanksgiving performance:

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Trump’s Weird Lie About Raking in Finland: A Closer Look:

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Tearjerkingly Perfect John Lewis Christmas Ad Shows Rock Legend Elton John’s Life in Reverse: :

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MMXJ – Memories (ft. SIDNE) (Official Music Video):

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Thanksgiving Links (ritual sacrifice, with pie edition)

“Hurray, I'm Gay, it's Happy Thanksgiving Day! How's that for a holiday family outing?”

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In the U.S. it’s Thanksgiving, a day which most of us were taught in school was to commemorate a peaceful feast between the the Pilgrims and their neighboring Native Americans. Of course, we are also taught in school the equally false notion that the pilgrims came to the America from England looking for religious freedom, when in fact what they came to do was establish a theocracy—they fled England because the folks back home wouldn’t let them persecute neighbors who worshipped very slightly differently than they did. So while the Native Americans whose land the Pilgrims were squatting on did occasionally meet and break bread with the colonists—and have to teach them how to farm since most didn’t know how and so forth—the traditional Thanksgiving story is a myth.

Being raised in evangelical fundamentalist churches, I was also taught that it was a religious holiday (after all, who would we be saying “thanks” to, right?), though there isn’t really anything very holy about what the European colonists did to either the Native Americans nor the environment we found here.

Anyway as Anya observed in that one episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: “To commemorate a past event you kill and eat an animal. A ritual sacrifice… with pie.” And I have to admit that the past events I am commemorating are the holidays spent with extended family back when all my grandparents and most of the great-grandparents were still alive. Which is why one of the dishes I’m cooking and serving today in sweet potatoes with heavy cream, molasses, and pepper… as close to how Great-grandma used to make it as I can get.

Since a lot of my bookmarked stories this week don’t really make sense to include in tomorrow’s Friday Five, in case you need something to read today, here are some Thanksgiving Links:

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Here’s What Your Part Of America Eats On Thanksgiving.

This Is How Long Thanksgiving Leftovers Actually Last .

The Ultimate Thanksgiving Dinner Menu .

It wasn’t just an episode of a sitcom, this community actually through turkeys out of planes at their annual festival: Tossing a Bird That Does Not Fly Out of a Plane: A Thanksgiving story about the limits of human empathy.

Why First Nations People Regard America’s Thanksgiving Day as a National Day of Mourning.

And let me remind you: don’t jump the gun on Christams!

"Slow down!! Let's eat the damn turkey first!"

(MemeGenerator.Net Click to embiggen)

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