Joe Bob Briggs: So Now Amsterdam Hates Tourists? Fine. (Taki's Mag)
Amsterdam has decided to stop advertising itself as a tourist destination and to tell everyone to go elsewhere because, according to a local architect interviewed by CNN, the tourists are "destroying our soul."
Jonathan Jones: The Trump Baby Blimp review - triumph of protest art or big bag of wind? (The Guardian)
It's reaching national treasure status and the Museum of London is after it. But is the joke on us?
Peter Bradshaw: The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert review - riotous return trip (The Guardian)
In this smart, lovable gem, now rereleased, a trans woman and two drag queens kick up the dust in Australia's outback.
Peter Bradshaw: Kind Hearts and Coronets review - the most elegant serial killer in history (The Guardian)
The Ealing genre reached utter perfection with this superb black comedy of manners starring Dennis Price and a miraculous Alec Guinness.
Jonathan Chait: Pelosi Wants Trump to Go to Prison. Here's How It Could Happen. (NY Mag)
Should he lose reelection, Trump is facing at least five reasonably serious criminal cases: 1. Obstruction of justice. Robert Mueller's decision not to formally charge Trump with obstruction of justice leaned heavily on the Department of Justice's rule that it cannot charge the president with a crime. But Mueller clearly presented Trump's behavior as criminal, and more than a thousand former federal prosecutors agreed that the acts cited in the report would be prosecuted as obstruction were Trump not president. Mueller's report also noted "a President does not have immunity after he leaves office" and that part of his task was to "preserve the evidence." This opens a very clear avenue for the Department of Justice to charge Trump with obstruction once his term has ended.
Jonathan Chait: What Will Trump Campaign On If There's a Recession? (NY Mag)
Third, Trump could blame the Democrats. This, too, is an idea he has already previewed. Trump routinely attacks the opposition for conducting oversight of his misconduct, a function he presents as mutually exclusive from passing legislation. Democrats, according to Trump, are forsaking a new infrastructure bill and other wonderful reforms because they have failed to close down the House Oversight Committee. Trump could ramp up this idea, too.
Matthew Yglesias: Public support for left-wing policymaking has reached a 60-year high (Vox)
But thanks to the Senate, it probably won't happen.
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Michelle in AZ
James Marshall (illustrator) and Harry Allard (author) created the characters of Miss Nelson, a teacher who is so nice that her students sometimes take advantage of her, and of Miss Viola Swamp, "the meanest substitute teacher in the whole world." The two characters may possibly be one and the same. Miss Nelson may or may not disguise herself as Miss Viola Swamp when it is necessary to restore order to her class or to make the football team win a game. Mr. Marshall once did a book-signing event in California. A teacher called him ahead of time and said, "I've got this wonderful idea. I'm going to come dressed as Viola Swamp. While you're signing books, I'm going to beat you with a ruler!" Mr. Marshall did not like the idea and said to her, "This is not a good idea. First of all, there are going to be people there who aren't going to know who Viola Swamp is. This could only work - possibly - in a school setting." The teacher replied, "Oh, I've got to do it. I've got to do it." At the book-signing event, Mr. Marshall heard a scream coming from outside and he thought, Well, she's arrived. The cosplay was partially successful. The teacher dressed and looked just like Miss Viola Swamp, and she really pounded Mr. Marshall with the ruler. However, a little five-year-old Japanese girl witnessed the cosplay, and Mr. Marshall remembers that "the little girl - well, they had to carry her out like a surfboard! She just froze. I think she's probably in therapy to this day." Mr. Marshall was motivated to be an illustrator of children's books. He had taught for a while and was not fond of it. Occasionally, he had dreams where he was teaching after having signed a 50-year contract with a high school. He would wake up in a cold sweat and scream, "But I want to publish books! I want to draw!" Then he would go to his drawing table and draw something good.
Teller of Penn and Teller fame was greatly influenced by a high-school teacher named D.G. Rosenbaum, who was also an actor and a magician. He wore pince-nez and a black goatee, and he smoked black cigarettes. On a snowy day that forced many students to miss school, he read a 1916 short story by Max Beerbohm titled "Enoch Soames" in which the title character, a man with a big ego, made a deal with the devil in which he exchanged his soul for a magical trip to the future-2:10 P.M. on 3 June 1997 in the Round Reading Room at the British Museum-so he could look at the shelves of books that would have by then been written about him. Unfortunately, he discovers that he has been forgotten. The only place his name appears in the library is in a short story by Max Beerbohm. Teller flew to England and at 2:10 P.M. on 3 June 1997 he was in Round Reading Room at the British Museum along with about a dozen people who had been impressed by the short story. In fact, a man did appear out of the stacks and did ask about Enoch Soames and why there were no volumes about him on the shelves before he disappeared back into the stacks. One of the people in the Round Reading Room said, "I'm having to fight tears." Did Teller hire an actor? He said, "Taking credit for it that day would be a terrible thing-a terrible, terrible thing. That's answering the question that you must not answer."
Walt Disney was a story man: He knew what made a good story. When he decided to make a movie out of Mary Poppins, he read the book carefully. He gave a copy of the book to songwriters Richard and Robert Sherman and said, "My daughters and wife think this is very good. I read it and think there's a lot in it. Read this and tell me what you think." They quickly read it twice and then scheduled a meeting with Walt. The book was a series of short stories about Mary Poppins rather than a novel, so they chose the short stories that they thought would make a good movie. Walt listened to them for a while, and then he asked to look at their copy of the book. They had underlined the six chapters that they thought would work best as a movie. Walt then showed them his copy of the book. He had underlined the same six chapters that they had underlined. Walt certainly knew his audiences. When his nephew's wife had a baby, Walt went to the hospital to see it. It was the middle of the Baby Boom and so lots of babies were there. Walt said, "Look at that! Seven years from now, they'll all be out there watching Snow White!"
Sandra Cisneros, the Chicana author of The House on Mango Street, grew up in a family without a lot of money. Her mother made sure that she had a library card, and young Sandra read many books. For a long time, Sandra thought that books were so precious that they had to be kept in a special building-a library. Her love of reading led to a love of writing. She often wrote when she was young, an activity that her mother encouraged. Whenever Sandra, who had two older and four younger brothers, was trying to write but was being bothered by her younger brothers, she would yell, "Mom! The kids are in here!" Her mother would make her younger brothers leave so Sandra could write.
Sometimes, even good writers sell few copies. Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Bront๋, authors of Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and the sustained feminist novel The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, once published Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell, using these pseudonyms instead of their real names. They sold two copies.
As you would expect, humorist Dave Barry is able to make even a list of Frequently Asked Questions (and their answers) funny. For example, this is one FAQ: "Where can I buy Dave's books? (We're not kidding, this is a frequently asked question!)" And this is Dave's answer: "At a bookstore."
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Jeannie the Teed-Off Temp
We are all only temporarily able bodied.
from that Mad Cat, JD
JD is on vacation.
Visit JD's site - Kitty Litter Music
In The Chaos Household
Hot & humid. Ack.
'Demagoguery Is The Enemy Of The People'
During last year's Tony Awards, Robert De Niro shocked the crowd when he said "F*** Trump" twice on air, although neither expletive got past censors. Sunday's show was far tamer and politics-free, save for a thinly veiled attack against President Don-Old Trump (R-Crooked) by Bryan Cranston.
Accepting the award for best leading actor in a play for "Network," in which he portrayed a fed-up news anchor, Cranston rousingly saluted "real journalists around the world," many of whom the president has railed against during rallies and on Twitter. Despite never mentioning him by name, the actor's abhorrence to Trump's "fake news" rhetoric was evident.
"(Journalists) are actually in the line of fire in pursuit of the truth," Cranston said, earning cheers from the audience at New York's Radio City Music Hall. "The media is not the enemy of the people. Demagoguery is the enemy of the people."
"It's absurd to think that the media is the enemy of the people," Cranston said. "If that message keeps getting propagated over and over and over again, sometimes it starts to seep in. And the perception of the truth is often more important than the truth, because if people believe it, it doesn't matter whether it's true or not.
"So the opposite message has to continue to be put out there, whether it's diversity or the fight against the media or women's reproductive rights or voting rights," Cranston continued. "It's important to keep sounding the alarm."
Brooklyn Street Renamed
The Notorious B.I.G.
Voletta Wallace's son is often called one of the greatest rappers of all time. Notorious B.I.G. had a distinct style and flow about him.
"A lot of love I see displayed out her for my son," she told a large crowd gathered in the Bedford Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn Monday to honor the rapper's memory.
In March 1997, Notorious B.I.G., whose birth name was Christopher Wallace, was killed in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles, a murder that is still unsolved.
Just up the block from the rapper's childhood home, St. James Place now bears his name at the corner of Fulton Street: Christopher 'Notorious B.I.G.' Wallace Way.
Voletta Wallace tells me she's been fighting for this for 22 years, since right after her only child was killed.
The Notorious B.I.G.
Dispute Gets Replay in Appeals Court
'Stairway to Heaven'
Led Zeppelin's lawyers will have an encore performance before a federal appeals court in an effort to avoid a second trial over whether the classic rock group copied the iconic intro of "Stairway to Heaven" - and the issue of whether juries should hear sound recordings in disputes over songs created before such recordings gained federal copyright protection will likely take center stage.
An heir of Spirit songwriter Randy Wolfe sued the band in May 2014 claiming "Stairway" infringes his 1968 instrumental piece called "Taurus." Jimmy Page and Robert Plant won the initial trial, when a jury in June 2016 found that they believed the Led Zeppelin members had heard "Taurus" before creating "Stairway" but didn't find the works to be substantially similar.
The 9th Circuit in September 2018 handed Wolfe's camp, via plaintiff Michael Skidmore, a win and ordered another trial. That panel found that the jury had been improperly instructed about unprotectable music elements and originality. It also held that even though "Taurus" was created before sound recordings were protected by federal copyright law and shouldn't be used to establish substantial similarity, the jury should have been able to hear the song because it would have been valuable for them to observe Page's demeanor while listening to it.
The 9th Circuit on Monday announced that a majority of its active and nonrecused judges voted to rehear the matter en banc.
Both sides had requested rehearing, taking issue with different parts of the 9th Circuit's decision.
'Stairway to Heaven'
Canadian actor Kiefer Sutherland is asking Ontario Premier Doug Ford to stop using his late grandfather Tommy Douglas's name and image as part of what he calls his "political agenda."
The Golden Globe-winning "24" and "Designated Survivor" star made the request on his verified Twitter account in reference to a recent tweet by Ford.
Douglas was the premier of Saskatchewan and leader of the New Democratic Party.
Sutherland's tweet concluded: "After all, I knew Tommy Douglas and you Sir, are no Tommy Douglas.
"P.S. You're lucky my mum's not active on Twitter."
Loses Festival Site
The beleaguered Woodstock 50 festival needs to find a new site: Watkins Glen International raceway announced today in a statement that it has pulled out.
In a brief statement issued this afternoon, the raceway's management announced: "Watkins Glen International terminated the site license for Woodstock pursuant to provisions of the contract. As such, WGI will not be hosting the Woodstock 50 Festival."
Details were unclear and reps for the raceway did not immediately respond to Variety's requests for comment; a rep for the festival said a statement will be forthcoming.
The announcement is the latest in a long series of setbacks for the anniversary festival, which is scheduled for the weekend of Aug. 16-18 and has been marred by reports of financial and management problems since it was announced back in January. While those reports were initially quashed when the festival held a splashy press conference in March announcing a blockbuster lineup including Jay-Z, the Dead & Co., Miley Cyrus and many others, but then the ticket on-sale date was abruptly postponed as the necessary mass-gathering permit had not been obtained, and then the festival's financial partner, Dentsu Aegis, abruptly pulled out late in April. Woodstock 50 and Dentsu have been embroiled in a legal battle ever since.
Nearly two months out from the festival's scheduled dates, tickets still have not gone on sale. O'Hearn told Variety that the festival's permit application was received months later than other festivals held at the raceway; tickets for such events are usually on-sale many months in advance.
A tree planted last year by French President Emmanuel Macron and President Donald Trump to symbolize 100 years of French and American friendship has died, according to French media reports.
The French newspaper Le Monde called the tree's demise a metaphor for a relationship that has taken a downward turn since Macron's visit to the White House in 2018.
Even the tree itself was symbolic - the sapling was harvested from Belleau Wood, the French site of one of the bloodiest battles in World War I for American forces.
The tree was removed by American authorities a few days after it was planted to be placed in quarantine like any other agricultural import to the USA. Gerard Araud, the French ambassador to the United States, took to Twitter to reassure people that the tree "will be replanted afterwards."
According to Le Monde, the tree will not be replanted. French newspaper Le Figaro confirmed the news. They reported that the tree died in quarantine, never to return to the White House lawn.
Evidence of Impact Crater Found
Some 1.2 billion years ago, an asteroid measuring over 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) wide smashed into northwest Scotland. Trouble is, scientists aren't sure exactly where the meteorite struck, as traces of the crater are long gone. With new research, however, scientists are starting to hone in on the impact zone.
A study led by Kenneth Amor from the Department of Earth Sciences at Oxford University suggests an asteroid measuring between 1 and 2 kilometers (0.6 to 1.2 miles) wide smashed into Scotland's Minch Basin around 1.2 billion years ago. The estimated location of this ancient collision is just off the Highlands coast, around 15 to 20 kilometers (9 to 12 miles) west of Enard Bay.
The crater is no longer visible on the seafloor, having been buried by younger rocks over the course of hundreds of millions of years. Evidence of the ancient impact was detected in the reddish-colored rocks of the Stac Fada deposit on the shores nearby. Analysis of these minerals allowed Amor and his colleagues to triangulate the location of the crater, which they describe in research published today in the Journal of the Geological Society.
Data presented in the new paper suggests the feature lies somewhere between the Scottish mainland and the Western Isles, but a geophysical survey will be required to provide definitive proof. Amor and his colleagues estimated the crater's size at about 13 to 14 kilometers (8 to 8.7 miles) wide and 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) deep.
Inklings of this ancient collision first emerged in 2008 when Amor, along with researchers from Aberdeen University, found evidence of what appeared to be the debris field of an ancient asteroid impact. The precise location of the crater, however, could not be determined.
In 1974, Stephen Hawking made one of his most famous predictions: that black holes eventually evaporate entirely.
According to Hawking's theory, black holes are not perfectly "black" but instead actually emit particles. This radiation, Hawking believed, could eventually siphon enough energy and mass away from black holes to make them disappear. The theory is widely assumed to be true but was once thought nearly impossible to prove.
For the first time, however, physicists have shown this elusive Hawking radiation - at least in a lab. Though Hawking radiation is too faint to be detected in space by our current instruments, physicists have now seen this radiation in a black hole analog created using sound waves and some of the coldest, strangest matter in the universe.
Physicist Jeff Steinhauer and his colleagues at the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa used an extremely cold gas called a Bose-Einstein condensate to model the event horizon of a black hole, the invisible boundary beyond which nothing can escape. In a flowing stream of this gas, they placed a cliff, creating a "waterfall" of gas; when the gas flowed over the waterfall, it turned enough potential energy into kinetic energy to flow faster than the speed of sound.
Instead of matter and antimatter particles, the researchers used pairs of phonons, or quantum sound waves, in the gas flow. The phonon on the slow side could travel against the flow of the gas, away from the waterfall, while the phonon on the fast side could not, trapped by the "black hole" of supersonic gas.
Sets the Record Straight
Robin Givens is spilling all the tea! The 54-year-old actress was recently a guest on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen, where she was asked to set the record straight on her past rumored relationships.
During one point in the show, a fan called in and bluntly asked Givens about whether rumors she ever hooked up with Brad Pitt were true. The rumors began in 2013, when Givens' ex-husband, Mike Tyson, claimed in his Undisputed Truth memoir that he once drove up to Givens' house following their split and saw her in a car with Pitt. Tyson also claimed that he caught the two in bed together while Givens was still married to him.
Later, Givens also opened up about what it was like dating radio personality Howard Stern, and whether his own claims about his "small penis" are accurate or just jokes.
"Oh my god! This is like a walk down memory lane!" she exclaimed. "I wish I was getting this much action now, Andy!"
"Howard Stern was a magnificent lover," she continued. "Like, unbelievable ... it was all good."