Angry Robot

Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg on what’s next for Tumblr

WordPress maker Automattic bought Tumblr from Verizon for pocket change and I don’t usually get excited about corporate deals because they are usually either boring or depressing but this one I am very happy about. I don’t know if Tumblr will ever be an alternative to Facebook et al but Automattic is the best possible company to give it a shot.

Fintan O’Toole: Ireland can stop a no-deal Brexit. Here’s how

Disney announces $12.99 bundle for Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+

This is quite cheap really. Wonder if there will be an option for Disney+ on its own though?

How the Cover Song Conquered Movie Trailers

Thanks again for the link, y

‘Never On Tuesday’: The Real Story Of The Bizarre Nicolas Cage Cameo That Lit Up The Internet

Thanks for the link, y. Great clip but mostly I want to mention this anecdote:

I had gone to a party that he was at, maybe a year before. A friend said, “Oh, you want to go to a party that Nic Cage is having?” We went to an apartment in a famous old building called El Royale in Hollywood. Went up to whatever floor the party was on. There were very few people there. And Nic was there with Crispin Glover. I’m not even sure if it was Nic or Crispin Glover’s apartment, but there was a giant aquarium and there was a baby shark just swimming back and forth inside. He just sitting on the end of the bed, and he sat there for maybe an hour just watching the shark going up and down.

Children’s Village Forever

In designing Children’s Village, his driving philosophy was simple: “What would I, as a child, like to do.” But his conception of what a child might like to do was shaped by a childhood so full of Dickensian deprivation and casual violence that the idea of transplanting that experience to quiet 1970s Toronto is impossible to imagine.

To Impeach or Not Impeach

I place a lot of stock in the opinion of Josh Marshall at TPM, who thinks, if I can summarize: impeachment that is sure to die in a Republican-controlled Senate is a waste of time, so Democrats should focus on the other ongoing investigations, and possibly pursue impeachment at a later date if the needle starts to shift. Here’s one article on the topic, and here’s a more recent one.

(Brief summary of how it works: the House of Representatives, now controlled by Democrats, would start an impeachment inquiry. This would be a “trial” in the House in which evidence is presented, testimony given, etc. They would then vote on articles of impeachment, and then the vote on whether to actually remove Trump from office is done by the Senate, and requires a supermajority of 67. The Senate is currently controlled by Republicans.)

On the other hand, there are some great points in this article. First, impeachment proceedings themselves will move the needle.

Richard Nixon’s approval rating was at 65 percent when his impeachment process began and only 19 percent of the public supported his impeachment. By the end, the numbers had flipped: his approval was 24 percent and support for impeachment was 57 percent.

Second, even if the Senate lets Trump off, this is a better position for Democrats than failing to impeach:

If the public believes Trump is guilty but the Senate lets him off anyway, he won’t ever be truly exonerated—he’ll be O.J. Simpson, assumed guilty but sprung by allies and circumstance. Some Democrats have argued that we should skip impeachment and vote Trump out instead. But if the House impeaches Trump and Senate Republicans fall in line to protect him, the argument that the ballot is the only way to remove him will be supercharged… By contrast, declining to impeach Trump validates his claim that Mueller exonerated him.

Finally, this sobering point:

Even more ominously, Trump’s weaponized Department of Justice under Barr, who has shown himself to be Trump’s eager and obedient partner in abusing the power of the state to advance the president’s political interests, will inevitably invent a pretext for investigating the Democratic nominee. Democrats should consider whether they’d rather engage that fight against a president who has been impeached for serious crimes, or against a president strengthened by the de facto exoneration bestowed when his opponents declined to pursue the evidence against him.

Here’s an article by Greg Sargent that goes into more detail about how impeachment proceedings against Nixon affected poll numbers. Essentially, support among Republican voters was never more than one third, but the proceedings galvanized Democrats and swayed independents.

Josh has just posted this morning on the topic, clarifying some points, but unfortunately it’s behind the paywall (totes worth paying for btw). Here’s the crux fo me:

Historically impeachment inquiries have lasted about eight weeks, give or take. So once you commence an impeachment inquiry I think you’re starting a timer that leads you to a vote on articles of impeachment in a couple months. It seems crazy to me to put a two month time limit on the mountain of things Democrats need to be investigating. In theory, you could just declare its open-ended and say it won’t be bound by any arbitrary timeline. This was actually my thinking at first. But that’s naive. This greases the skids for actual impeachment on a pretty short timeline and ‘when will they impeach’ will become the question that overwhelms everything else.

Two points here. First, even if you concede that the inquiry must not last longer than two months, that’s still a lot of time when you consider these would be televised daily – and of course there is a shit ton of evidence. Second, even if you are strategic about timing, potentially this leaves a fair amount of time for the various committee investigations to hold their hearings and present their findings. The earliest you would want to have the impeachment inquiry would be fall 2019 (no one watches TV in the summer). Perhaps you want the committees to get airtime in the fall; you hold the inquiry in the winter, or the spring of 2020. I’m not sure it works to wait until September 2020 given that the election is early November, and you want to have the Senate already have voted at this point.

I’ll say this much. I’d get cable again just to watch it.

Timothy Olyphant on ‘Deadwood’ Movie, David Milch and Why Series Ended

The Deadwood Movie is Friday.

Playdate. A New Handheld Gaming System

Panic is making a console. Hardware design by Teenage Engineering.

‘Anyone Ever Seen Cocaine?’ What We Found in the Archives of Bernie Sanders’s Long-Lost TV Show

Bernie looked ancient at 45

10-cent thrift shop record sends Toronto artist on a years-long reggae investigation

(via retro)

“Neural network generating technical death metal, via livestream 24/7 to infinity.”

Joy Robot and Destroy Robot

As you can probably tell from the URL I like robots.

My daughter “wrote” two “books”. By “wrote” I mean she drew a series of pictures, and by “book” they are probably more like a zine comic book, as put together by a six-year-old, of course. But she read them to us, decoding the pictures as if they contained words, sometimes getting mixed up and backtracking. Let me try to summarize the plot:

Once upon a time there was a robot, called Joy Robot. (Note: this robot contains a little girl in its belly that looks awfully similar to my daughter.) But then… a terrible robot appeared! This is Destroy Robot (who contains a little boy, identity unknown). The two robots had a war. They fought and fought, until the Queen of the Mermaids appeared. She tried to help. But Destroy Robot used Mind Control! And then the Queen and Joy Robot fought. But after a while, Joy Robot remembered who she was, and she and the Queen fought Destroy Robot. And Destroy Robot was destroyed!

I’ve never told my daughter about this site. It’s quite possible, however, that she witnessed my love of robots first hand, and thus her behavior was guided. Or, it could be in her DNA.

But one way or the other, I’ve never wanted to change the name of my site more than I do now.

Once Again Back Is the Incredible…

… blog post about how the blogger hasn’t been posting a lot lately.

I have Many Thoughts about blogging, about this blog, about whether I should keep doing it. These range from disinterest to a species of Zuckerberg-inflected despair to “I miss it”. In many ways I started blogging because writing helped me clarify my thoughts, which were often muddled. I have other ways of doing this now. And let’s face a facsimile of facts, I had a lot more free time when I started. Now I have two kids and two jobs so the idea that I might put a few hours into polishing a blog post that will do nothing other than clarify my thoughts, make me feel a fleeting sense of accomplishment, and mean something to a handful of people is basically laughable? But in a sad way, so sort of a broken-up chortle, where maybe I cough out a mouthful of hamburger, reflect for a minute, and then begin sobbing into the sloppy food waste that lies in front of me.

Also these are dark times for the internet. I’m sure the reader can infer from my references to old school blogging, the time stamp of this article along with recent events in history like the growth of Facebook and Twitter, and their destabilization of whole governments, never mind their sabotage of the open internet… hey hey! I was supposed to let you infer all that.

So yeah, no time, dark times. Another thing that afflicts me from time to time is that I pretend to know what this site is about. Mostly I try to guide it toward subjects of tech, nerd stuff, video games, or film/TV stuff, because I tell myself that’s what I’m into. But then for long stretches I’m not into that stuff, so I feel like the things I am into aren’t suitable material to post about. Which is just another example of how the most effective jails are our own minds.

Well then! I’m returning to this thing, because I’m not giving up on this yet, because even if it’s just a catalogue of my thoughts and valuable only to me, that’s still of value. I’m also returning because I can’t figure out why I do it, and maybe I don’t have to know that. Maybe I should just do it. Maybe if there are rules or explanations or expectations I should ignore them. Maybe this site needs to become whatever it becomes.

That was a lot of fancy talk for: I’m a try posting here again.

If they think they’re going to get all of this planning and analysis done plus building by 2027, they really must be on cannabis or something.

Netflix shares audience numbers for (some of) its TV shows and movies

And they are very large. 80 million worldwide for Bird Box, 40 mil each for You and Sex Education.

How to Talk about Impeachment: Preventing Harm to the Country

Convincing

The 20 best TV series of 2018

OK, I’m not going to link to every end-of-year list that comes my way, but this one is good.

If 2019’s best picture Oscar winner could talk…

I don’t agree with Rad’s take on Roma, but the optical politics of this year’s Oscar pick will be interesting to say the least. It’s extra-interesting because of the Netflix angle. Honestly I strongly doubt Roma will win, given that two of the four listed here are serious Oscar bait. Also, surely there are some other December releases that could slip in there.

Side note: Roma is the only one of these that I have seen, and I thought it was a masterpiece.