Time is funny. On this day, 90 years ago, radio station WXYZ in Detroit began a serial called "The Lone Ranger," written by Fran Striker, who had probably never seen Texas or a Native American person in his life.
When I read that this morning, it struck me that the radio audience in Detroit had living memory of the closest historical analogue to the entirely-fictional Lone Ranger character. Deputy US Marshall Bass Reeves served from 1875 to 1907, retiring just 26 years before the radio show started. So to the radio audience, the period depicted in the show was only as far back as 1997 is to us. The Lone Ranger show, in other words, was as historical to the audience as Life On Mars was to its viewers in 2007, or NYPD Blue is to us today.
I remember growing up in the 1970s and thinking that the 1960s were this weird, long-forgotten time before my world existed. Kind of like my friends' kids think the 2000s were the same.
One other thing. In one of life's weird coincidences, 30 January 1933 also saw the appointment of a new German Chancellor who nearly destroyed Europe. The guy appointing him to the spot thought the grown-ups in the room could contain him. Glad we learned from that mistake.
With tomorrow night having the earliest sunset of the year, it got dark at 4:20 pm—two hours ago. One loses time, you see. Especially with a demo tomorrow. So I'll just read these while devops pipelines run:
Finally, John Seabrook takes a few pages to explain how to become a TikTok star. Hint: do it before you turn 22.
Man-shaped bag of feces Alex Jones may be "done saying I'm sorry," but a Connecticut jury suggests he should have tried just one more time:
The conspiracy theorist Alex Jones must pay $965 million to the families of eight Sandy Hook shooting victims and an FBI agent who responded to the attack for the suffering he caused them by spreading lies on his platforms about the 2012 massacre, a Connecticut jury found on Wednesday.
Jones had already been found liable by a judge after refusing to hand over critical evidence before the trial began, and this six-member jury was only asked to decide how much Jones should pay.
During closing arguments, Christopher Mattei, a lawyer for the families and agent, suggested that Jones should be ordered to pay at least $550 million, saying that the host's Sandy Hook content got an estimated 550 million views from 2012 to 2018.
“I’ve already said I’m sorry hundreds of times, and I’m done saying I’m sorry,” Jones said.
A defiant Jones said he believed Sandy Hook was a hoax when he spread his lies. “I legitimately thought it might have been staged and I stand by that. I don’t apologize for it.”
News reports suggest he can afford it—barely. And of course, he'll just make up more vile shit that the MAGA folks will eat, because we're at that point in an historic cycle of stupidity. Maybe this means the cycle could end soon? I hope so.
As far as I know, I'm moving in 2½ weeks, though the exact timing of both real-estate closings remain unknown. Last time I moved it took me about 38 hours to pack and 15 to unpack. This time I expect it to go faster, in part because I'm not spending as much time going "oh, I love this book!"
I'm taking a quick break and catching up on some reading:
Finally, a new survey says Chicagoans swear a lot less than most Americans, with people from Columbus, Ohio, swearing the most. Fuck that shit.
The plan for today I announced Friday has gone without a hitch, though I decided not to take a nap. And, unfortunately, I had to do one productive thing: laundry.
Cassie has enjoyed every moment of couch time while I binge Sandman, so that's a plus.
Regular posting resumes tomorrow.
However, to get to Sunday, I have to finish a messy update to my work project, rehearse for several hours tomorrow, figure out a marketing plan for a product, and walk Cassie for hours.
I also want to read these things:
And tonight I'm going to watch Neil Gaiman's Sandman on Netflix, which has gotten pretty good reviews.
Chicago's official temperature last hit 38°C (100°F) on 6 July 2022, almost 10 years ago. As of 4pm O'Hare reported steady at 37°C (98°F) with the likelihood of breaking the record diminishing by the minute. At Inner Drive Technology World Headquarters, we have 37.2°C, still climbing, but leveling off.
In other hotness around the world:
- The Texas Republican Party published their new platform this week in a bold bid to return to the 19th Century, including seceding from the United States. Dana Milibank says "good riddance."
- The Supreme Court, whose Republicans also want to return to the 19th Century, didn't overturn abortion rights today, but it take a hunk out of the Establishment Clause.
- Closer to Illinois, Anne Applebaum reads a thread by Democratic candidate for Congress Lindsey Simmons and concludes it "sounds like the Balkans, 1990s."
- Some of comedian Stephen Colbert's staff, including Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, found themselves detained at the Longworth House Office Building briefly, which the right-wing blowhards ran with.
- Hoboken, N.J., where I lived for a time in the '90s, hasn't had a fatal traffic accident in 4 years due to some pretty good street design.
- The Floating Jumbo Restaurant, long a staple of Hong Kong's tourist trade, capsized at sea while being towed for repairs.
Finally, Florida Fish and Wildlife Officials captured a 95-kilogram, 5.4-meter Burmese python, the largest ever discovered in the state. Apparently it had recently dined on a deer. So far they have found over 15,000 of the snakes, none of them quite so large.
Update: Not that I'm complaining, but after holding just under 37°C for three hours, the temperature finally started to drop. At 6pm O'Hare reported 36°C. So no record.
Chicago's two baseball teams gave up a combined 36 runs yesterday, with the Cubs losing to the Reds 20-5 and the Sox losing to the Red Sox 16-7. Perhaps the bullpens could use a little work, hmm?
In other news:
Finally, astronomers have produced a photo of the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy, and were surprised to see it looks nothing like Ted Cruz's head.
It's mid-July today, at least until around 8pm, when late April should return. The Tribune reported this morning that our spring has had nearly three times the rain as last spring, but actually hasn't gotten much wetter than normal.
Finally, via The Onion, Google Maps now shows you shortcuts through people's houses when they're not home.
Leading off today's afternoon roundup, The Oatmeal (Matthew Inman) announced today that Netflix has a series in production based on his game Exploding Kittens. The premise: God and Satan come to Earth—in the bodies of cats. And freakin' Tom Ellis is one of the voices, because he's already played one of those parts.
Meanwhile, in reality:
- A consumers group filed suit against Green Thumb Industries and three other Illinois-based cannabis companies under the Clayton Act, alleging collusion that has driven retail pot prices above $8,800 per kilo. For comparison, the group alleges that retail prices in California are just $660 per kilo. (Disclosure: The Daily Parker is a GTI shareholder.)
- Illinois Governor JB Pritzker (D), one of the indirect defendants in the pot suit, signed a $46 billion budget for the state that includes $1.8 billion in temporary tax relief. Apparently, I'll get a $50 check from the State that I can apply to the $600 increase in property taxes Cook County imposed this year, which is nice, but I think the state could have aimed a bit lower on the income cap for that rebate and given more help to other people.
- Shortly after US District Court Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle (a 35-year-old who never tried a case and who graduated summa cum mediocrae laude from the legal powerhouse University of Florida just 8 years ago and earned a rare "not qualified" rating from the ABA upon her appointment in 2020 by the STBXPOTUS) ruled against the CDC in a case brought by an anti-masker, the DOT dropped mask mandates for public transport and air travel in the US. In related news, the Judge also said it's OK to piss in other people's swimming pools and up to the other swimmers not to drink the water.
- While the Chicago Piping Plovers organization waits for Monty and Rose to return to Montrose Beach, another one of the endangered birds has landed at Rainbow Beach on the South Side. He appears more inclined to rent than buy, but local ornithologists report the bird has a new profile on the Plōvr dating site.
- NBC breaks down the three biggest factors driving inflation right now, and yes, one of them is president of Russia. None, however, is president of the US.
- Along those lines, (sane) Republican writer Sarah Longwell, who publishes The Bulwark, found that 68% of Republicans believe the Big Lie that the XPOTUS won the 2020 election, but "the belief that the election was stolen is not a fully formed thought. It’s more of an attitude, or a tribal pose." Makes me proud to be an American!
And finally, via Bruce Schneier, two interesting bits. First, a new paper explains how a bad actor can introduce a backdoor into a machine learning training session to force specific outcomes (explained in plain English by Cory Doctorow). Second, an attacker used a "flash loan" to take over the Beanstalk crypto currency voting system and stole $182 million from it. Because Crypto Is The Future™.