- Josh Marshall takes another look at the astonishing bribe Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler paid to Jared Kushner and concludes it's not just a one-off favor; it's an ongoing relationship.
- Joan Williams argues that Democrats need to look at the class and economic aspects of the Right's economic populism, and maybe perhaps argue (correctly) that blaming people of color just takes the spotlight off the super-rich who are stealing from the middle?
- US Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) makes essentially the same argument, with a reminder that the mid-term election is only 202 days away.
- A homeless-rights organization in Chicago argues that increasing the transfer tax on property sales over $1 million could fund real homelessness relief for real people.
Finally, a quirk in US copyright law has created a bonanza for litigators, along with the original creators of such diverse works as The Thing and Hoosiers.
Actually, it's 5pm here. And I have a few stories queued up:
Finally, author John Scalzi puts Rogue One in third place on his ranked list of Star Wars films, with some good reasons.
Thursday evening, at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance:
That's Bill Kurtis, Peter Sagal, Karen Chee, Alonzo Bodden, and Helen Hong at this week's "Wait Wait" taping. The "Not My Job" guest was actor Matt Walsh:
Then yesterday, Cassie and I trundled up to Spiteful Brewing in the sun:
Not a bad few days, in all.
Via Molly White, a new company called Gripnr wants to monetize your D&D campaign, and it's as horrible as it sounds:
Gripnr plans to generate 10,000 random D&D player characters (PCs), assign a “rarity” to certain aspects of each (such as ancestry and class), and mint them as non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. Each NFT will include character stats and a randomly-generated portrait of the PC designed in a process overseen by Gripnr’s lead artist Justin Kamerer. Additional NFTs will be minted to represent weapons and equipment.
Next, Gripnr will build a system for recording game progress on the Polygon blockchain. Players will log into the system and will play an adventure under the supervision of a Gripnr-certified Game Master. After each game session is over, the outcome will be logged on-chain, putting data back onto each NFT via a new contract protocol that allows a single NFT to become a long record of the character’s progression. Gripnr will distribute the cryptocurrency OPAL to GMs and players as in-game capital. Any loot, weapons, or items garnered in-game will be minted as new sellable NFTs on OpenSea, a popular NFT-marketplace.
As a D&D veteran who once played a character (for 5 minutes) with Gary Gygax* as DM, I can't see how any gamer would want to do this. Molly White has spent the last two years documenting the ways scammers and grifters have used "the blockchain" and "NFTs" and other Web3 buzzwords to steal (or, as I believe, launder) billions of dollars. Gripnr seems like just one more scam, but I could be wrong: Gripnr could just be a lazy get-rich-quick scheme for its creators.
Now that I've got a few weeks without travel, performances*, or work conferences, I can go back to not having enough time to read all the news that interests me. Like these stories:
Finally, Michelin has handed out its 2022 stars for Chicago. Nothing surprising on the list, but I now have four more restaurants to try.
* Except that I volunteered to help a church choir do five Messiah choruses on Easter Sunday, so I've got two extra rehearsals and a service in the next 12 days.
Bonus update: the fog this morning made St Boniface Cemetery especially spooky-looking when Cassie and I went out for her morning walk:
The Apollo Chorus performed last night at the Big Foot Arts Festival in Walworth, Wis., so I haven't done a lot of useful things today. I did take a peek at the other weather archive I have lying around, and discovered (a) it has the same schema as the one I'm currently importing into Weather Now 5, and (b) it only goes back to August 2006.
Somewhere I have older archives that I need to find... But if not, NOAA might have some.
I won't belabor the point, or even inject my own opinion about Will Smith's Oscars meltdown Sunday night, except to say I'm amazed at how many articles, columns, and Tweets have appeared about it. I guess nothing else in the world matters right now?
We're about to get back on the road for our 700 km drive back to Chicago. Before leaving, I just wanted to highlight Ravinia Festival's upcoming 2022 season. In particular, note who they're partnering with for these performances of La Clemenza di Tito and Don Giovanni.
Oh, yes, I will be there.
I just finished upgrading an old, old, old Windows service to .NET 6 and a completely different back end. It took 6.4 hours, soup to nuts, and now the .NET 6 service is happily communicating with Azure and the old .NET Framework 4.6 service is off.
Meanwhile, the Post published a map (using a pretty lazy algorithm) describing county-by-county what sunrise times will look like in January 2024 if daylight saving time becomes permanent. I'd have actually used a curve tool but, hey, the jagged edges look much more "data-driven." (They used the center point of each county.)
Now it's 22:45 (daylight saving time), and I need to empty Cassie and go to bed. But I'm pretty jazzed by how I spent a rainy afternoon on PTO. It was definitely more rewarding than tramping out in the rain to a couple of breweries for the Brews & Choos project, which had been Plan A.
We had two incredible performances of Bach's Johannespassion this weekend. (Update: we got a great review!) It's a notoriously difficult work that Bach wrote for his small, amateur church chorus in Leipzig the year he started working there. I can only imagine what rehearsals were like in 1724. I'm also grateful that we didn't include the traditional 90-minute sermon between the 39-minute first part and the 70-minute second part, and that we didn't conclude the work with the equally-traditional pogrom against the Jews of Leipzig.
It's still a magnificent work of music.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the world:
Finally, Rachel Feltman lists five myths about Daylight Saving Time. Our annual tradition of questioning it without changing anything will continue, of course.
And it's about 16°C outside, so it's time to take Cassie on her third half-hour walk of the day.