Links 5/17/2021

10 Tales of Manuscript Burning (And Some That Survived) Literary Hub

Mount Vesuvius victims died just moments away from rescue Ars Technica

At 95, Dick Van Dyke is still the consummate showman. And he’s desperate to get back onstage. WaPo

A New Look at a Wicked Emperor WSJ

Neutrons unlock the secrets of Antonie van Leeuwenhoek’s microscopes Ars Technica

‘We watch everything’: Dene Elders guide effort to save vanishing Arctic caribou The Narwhal

Sir Tom Devine: ‘I’ve always thought England would destroy the Union’ FT

Now Prince Harry describes America’s First Amendment law that guarantees freedom of speech as ‘bonkers’ but admits: ‘I still don’t understand it’ Daily Mail

Long before divorce, Bill Gates had reputation for questionable behavior Baltimore Sun

New Jersey wildfire burns nearly 900 acres of forest NY Post

Officer leaves job in military-industrial complex for the wedding-industrial complex Duffel Blog


England ban on indoor gatherings may need to be reimposed, warns expert Guardian


Hospitals overwhelmed as Covid cases surge in Osaka Guardian

Why Tokyo thinks the 2020 Olympics show must go on – even as Covid-19 booms SCMP

Japan’s Olympic-Sized Problem New Yorker


Covid-19 Drugmakers Take On Your Favorite TV Shows to Tackle Vaccine Hesitancy WSJ

Some vaccinated people are still getting covid. Here’s why you shouldn’t worry. MIT Technology Review

Sanofi, GSK announce positive early results for their Covid-19 vaccine candidate Stat

Ebola Response Veterans Urge WHO to ‘Dramatically Expand’ Global Covid-19 Vaccine Access Common Dreams


‘Not COVID’: Stunned by Data, Gujarat Blames Death Certificate Spurt on Duplicate Registrations The Wire

A Desperate India Falls Prey to Covid Scammers NYT

Like Modi government, India’s colonial rulers also knew that sight of pyres could be contentious Scroll

Virologist Shahid Jameel quits govt’s genome mapping group Indian Express


Britain eases virus lockdown but Asia outbreaks fuel concern Agence France-Presse

Singapore’s Covid success springs a leak Asia Times

Coronavirus: Taiwan’s outbreak surges with 333 new infections SCMP

Noise Pollution Matters Too American Conservative

The end of the line for climate migrants in Dhaka Qantara


Israel stages new round of heavy airstrikes on Gaza City AP

Dozens of Israeli air raids pummel Gaza Strip: Live Al Jazeera

Gaza rocked by fresh airstrikes after Netanyahu vows to keep attacks at ‘full force’ Guardian

When Fighting Erupts Between Israel and Hamas, the Question of War Crimes Follows NYT

Jewish New Yorkers march to Schumer’s home, demand end to ethnic cleansing in Palestine Mondoweiss

Class Warfare

Four-Woman Group That Fought U.K. Algorithms Steps Up for Tech-Worker Rights WSJ

‘We All Quit’: Restaurant Signs Claiming Staff Walking Out Are Popping Up Across U.S. Newsweek

In Washington State, the Left Won a Major Victory for Taxing the Rich Jacobin

Major Corporations Are Backing Politicians’ Anti-Voting, Anti-Protest Efforts Around the Country De Smog Blog

Here’s what’s getting more expensive CNN

Biden Administration

Teflon Joe muddies GOP’s midterm strategyPolitico

Lawmakers bicker over how to go after tax cheats The Hill

The Supremes

How Justice Amy Coney Barrett Is Already Changing the Supreme Court National Law Journal

Capital Seizure

Efforts to play down Jan. 6 insurrection ‘indefensible,’ Cheney says Politico. Liz goes all in.

Waste Watch

It’s on our plates and in our poo, but are microplastics a health risk? Guardian


Colombians Don’t Just Want a New Government — They Want an End to Neoliberalism Jacobin

South Korea

South Korea’s “Economic Miracle” Was Built on Murderous Repression Jacobin


India’s Gujarat state braces for most severe cyclone in over two decades Reuters

How Japan’s tiny forests are helping cool India’s heat islands in major cities like Mumbai and Chennai SCMP

Electoral Bond Sales Jumped by Nearly 16 Times During 2021 Assembly Polls The Wire

Central Vista: India’s Modi blasted for $2.8bn project amid COVID Al Jazeera


China’s private sector ‘uncertainty’ is pushing young jobseekers to look for work in its vast bureaucracy SCMP


Myanmar anti-coup fighters retreat from town as U.S. makes appeal Reuters

Antidote du Jour (mgl) “juvenile white faced herons (known as matuku moana in Māori language), as seen at Blockhouse Bay, Auckland NZ:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. upstater

    A huge white elephant is going belly up. Destiny USA is a 2.4M square foot mall that pays no property tax.

    Think about it: $715 million owed on a mall worth slightly more than $200 million.

    “The Canyon” is the name Pyramid gave to the section of the mall that holds entertainment attractions and restaurants, but the word could also be applied to the hole in which Pyramid finds itself.

    This cannot go on much longer. The Covid shutdown sped up a decline that has been years in the making. Destiny’s vacant storefronts are growing, and Pyramid stopped making its mortgage payments for most of last year.

    Pyramid has two mortgage loans, one for $300 million and another for $130 million.

    J.P. Morgan Chase, the global financial giant, wrote those loans in June 2014. But now the bank is off the hook.

    The bank bundled the loans and sold them on Wall Street as commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS).

    Destiny also still owes $285 million on bonds issued by the Syracuse Industrial Development Agency, a branch of City Hall, in 2007.

    The bonds are paid off by Pyramid’s taxes.

    Normally, businesses given tax exemptions by local government are required to make discounted property tax payments… But in an unusual arrangement, the city and Onondaga County agreed to waive their rights to those payments.

    Instead, they agreed, Pyramid could use the money to pay down the debt on the bonds for 30 years. In effect, the city traded property tax revenue for the sales taxes the mall would generate and the jobs it would create.

    Meanwhile, about 3 miles away a 3.8M Amazon warehouse is nearing completion, beneficiary of $75M in county taxpayer subsidies. Check back in 15 years and see how that is working out…

    1. timbers

      But Bezos is raising wages like, an entire $1 or $2 for the peasantry so it’s all worth it and also the libertarian crowd is crowing and posting articles we all owe our fantastic lifestyle to the Rich And Famous 1% and should adore and revere them because of that.

    2. Phil in KC

      I’ve never seen an audit of these tax expenditures/tax rebates/public-private deals that show how the citizens of city, county, or state benefited. In fact, I’ve never seen any audit of this type at all. But I am continually told by all involved in such deals that we will all be winners. BS.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “‘Soon he will not be wanted on either side of the pond’: Prince Harry sparks furious backlash in the US after calling the First Amendment ‘bonkers’ despite admitting he doesn’t ‘understand it'”

    I thought about making a comment but will yield the floor to comedian Bridget Phetasy from “The Dumpster Fire” YouTube channel who tweeted-

    ‘Bridget Phetasy
    I can’t get over the fact that this guy gave up being a badass Apache pilot Prince to ending up on a podcast talking about his daddy issues and Joe Rogan ???.’

      1. ObjectiveFunction

        They used to say Diana was more English than Charles. And of course there’s all those side by side tabloid photos of Harry with Captain James Hewitt. :-p

        …Regardless, I don’t think we can put this one down to ‘moonface idiot’ genetics. It’s more the bourgeois royalty phenomenon, which is to say the embracing of fashy-inable PMC idiocies by the SussexRoyals®.

    1. fumo

      From personal experience, I don’t think Harry’s comments on the US First Amendment are really much of an outlier for British people. I’ve heard a lots of first-hand skepticism of the unusual breadth of our constitutional free speech protections from Brits.

      1. juno mas

        Could it be that the US Constitutional protection of free speech is in place largely because of the Founders experience with the Brits?

        1. Count Zero

          You might want to remember that the Founders were themselves what you like to call “Brits.” Their dispute was with a king that was Hanoverian (subsequently part of Germany). A large part of the English populace were as disaffected as their colonial cousins.

      2. Phillip Cross

        With the high costs of legal action, it’s basically a license to slander.

        e.g. In the UK, you can only name defendants in court after they have been found guilty, but In the US, the police department sends out mugshots to the tabloids before charges are pressed.

        How many innocent people’s lives have been ruined by salacious “free speech”, that turned out to be lies or was later retracted as innacurate?

        1. show_me

          Really ? Since when ? Apart from specific cases where the judge requires defendants not be named I was sure that the media has a right to name them. No?

          1. Phillip Cross

            Naming defendants was one of the things Tommy Robinson got sent to prison for.

            1. show_me

              As I recall Tommy Robinson was jailed for contempt of court for defying a judge’s specific order against publishing information, including images of defendants, during an ongoing and particularly contentious jury trial for fear of prejudicing proceedings.

              As he was already under a suspended sentence for doing something similar in a gang rape trial he was jailed.

              There is no law against naming all and any defendants all the time as far as I am aware.

              1. Phillip Cross

                You’re right about Tommy.

                Look into libel laws.


                “Media organisations must be careful of publishing the identity of a suspect at this stage – via print, online, TV or radio – because if the police investigation does not lead to a prosecution, the suspect may be able to sue the organisation for libel.”

                “In his 2012 ‘Report on the Culture Practices and Ethics of the Press’, Leveson LJ stated that ‘save in exceptional and clearly identified circumstances (eg, where there may be an immediate risk to the public), the names or identifying details of those who are arrested or suspected of a crime should not be released to the press nor the public’.”

                The aim is to avoid “trial by media”.

              1. show_me

                Craig Murray was a stitch up.

                But once again not because of a blanket law against naming defendants.

        2. c_heale

          Sorry, but have to disagree with this, on the basis that the England and Wales have some of the strictest libel laws and going to court is very expensive in the world, which means it is very difficult to criticise the rich and powerful. Maybe this is what Harry would like to see in the US. Imo the US system is much better.

          1. Phillip Cross

            With libel, if what you are saying is a provable fact, you can say anything you like.

            If you don’t know if what you are saying is true, then you run the risk of legal action.

            What’s not to like about that?

            Do you think people should be able to slander each other with impunity?

            1. Fraibert

              I think there’s something to c_heale’s point in the English context. I’m not sure if you’re aware of a key fact: Until the Defamation Act 2013, the English common law of defamation held that truth was NOT a defense. The basic rationale was along the lines of “gentlemen do not publicly discuss detrimental information about other gentlemen.”

              In fact, the common law went much further–any “publication” of detrimental information was defamatory and “publication” could be as little as telling a friend in private confidence. Moreover, damages were presumed–meaning that the full suit could be ruinously litigated first, as proof of damages comes after proof of liability.

              The First Amendment, as interpreted by the U.S. courts, _requires_ that truth be an absolute defense. Unless the Constitution itself is amended or replaced, that rule is not going anywhere.

              On the other hand, Parliament could decide at any time to revoke the truth defense component of the Defamation Act and then the common law would be restored to force.

  3. zagonostra

    >Efforts to play down Jan. 6 insurrection ‘indefensible,’ Cheney says – Politico.

    I won’t be part of whitewashing what happened on Jan. 6..

    …the law enforcement officers, the members of the SWAT team, the rapid response forces, seeing them and their exhaustion. And they had been through hand-to-hand combat and — and, you know, people died. “

    It’s not “whitewashing” that is the problem, it’s “blackwashing” coming from Cheney. In fact this morning I read and viewed a new video (on Rumble) was just released showing Capitol Police giving protesters permission to enter Building. It also features “Buffalo Man.”

    The history of 1/6 is too close to know what truly happened. Those on the Right are convinced it was a successful psyop that outmanueverd Trump. Those on the Left think it was some kind of insurrection or more mildly a “Seizure.” I am skeptical on all accounts and continue to find it a source of curiosity.

    1. Procopius

      The “people died” is an overreach, in my opinion. Four people had strokes or heart attacks, and one person was shot. The phrase “people died” suggests Guernica. There were more casualties at a Rolling Stone concert. I’m glad the DoJ is prosecuting aggressively, and I understand the tribal signalling going on, but, [family blog], I’m tired of it. The hysteria since the rightful queen was denied her throne has been exhausting

      1. ObjectiveFunction

        You win the Commentariat today, comrade Προκόπιος! (And they say the Classics have nothing to teach us)

  4. jr

    I don’t know why I bothered even reading it but I hunted down this non-paywalled copy of the NYT article on Israel and Hamas:

    I say bothered because the title says it all, as if there is any question of war crimes, even ignoring Israel’s outsized role it’s a totally ludicrous statement. But read it I did and I was not surprised. The subtle manipulation starts immediately, Hamas’s actions are definitively illegal but Israel’s butchery is only in “probability” illegal. Given the events of the last few days, such arguments are no longer mere propaganda but have veered across lanes into a kind of madness.

    Reading the article was one of those moments when something you know becomes something you feel. Not that I wasn’t sympathetic to the Palestinians before this, I mean feeling it as in it hit’s you exactly how deranged the world really is at this time. This is one of those straws that have been killing camels in my head for a long time now. Seeing Bill Clinton trading honorifics with Kamala Harris at a gathering of young women in leadership roles was another. The CDC abdicating it’s role in fighting COVID with it’s insane unmasking decision was yet another. Sigh.

    1. David

      I read it as a technical, not a political judgement. As far as I can see, it’s a simple statement of what the law says. If you look at Article 51 of the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions, you’ll see it says among other things:

      “4. Indiscriminate attacks are prohibited. Indiscriminate attacks are:
      a) those which are not directed at a specific military objective;
      b) those which employ a method or means of combat which cannot be directed at a specific military objective; or
      c) those which employ a method or means of combat the effects of which cannot be limited as required by this Protocol;
      and consequently, in each such case, are of a nature to strike military objectives and civilians or civilian objects without distinction.”

      The kind of rockets that Hamas is using are obviously incapable of discriminating between military and civilian targets and their effects cannot be controlled. That’s inherent in the technology. They are battlefield weapons, whose use would be legal when directed against military targets, but which should not be used in situations where the target can’t be identified.

      The Israeli case is different, because they are using weapons which inherently are capable of being used against precise military targets. The question is whether they have been (in which case the law still insists that their use has to be proportionate) of whether they’ve been used indiscriminately or without due care.

      You can argue that the law is wrong, outdated, or should only apply to some groups, and not to others you support, but as far as I can see (and IANAL) the people interviewed were not saying anything particularly shocking.

      1. witters

        “The Israeli case is different, because they are using weapons which inherently are capable of being used against precise military targets.”

        Yeah, That’s what they are doing. /s

        1. Count Zero

          Well that’s exactly what they are doing. They are precisely targeting Palestinians.

      2. Jason

        The question is whether they have been (in which case the law still insists that their use has to be proportionate) of whether they’ve been used indiscriminately or without due care.

        Good god.

      3. Jason

        Variations on the destruction of what the entire world knew as Palestine and its replacement with an ethnic Jewish state is found in all the Zionist writings, texts, etc. It may not be a 10-point plan, but a formal outline of intent is easily discerned and any halfway competent lawyer can make a case against Zionism such that many of its practitioners would be prosecuted, just as members of the Nazi party were and continue to be prosecuted.

        This is why they went so batsh*t crazy when the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution in 1975 declaring Zionism a form of racism and racial discrimination. The vast majority of the world population agrees with this obvious sentiment. There cannot be even a trace of something that will establish a legal foundation for their prosecution.

        As long as they have the power they have, this will be hard to overcome, and their using language to prevent their own prosecution is another exercise of that very power.

        In the absence of power, we can use ridicule and appeals to conscience.

        Shame on those who hide behind the official language of the powerful to diminish the lives of human beings who are caged before our very eyes. Shame on them.

        “I wish you a refreshing bath of conscience. I wish that the spring of truth makes life more humane for you.”

    2. tegnost

      I mean feeling it as in it hit’s you exactly how deranged the world really is at this time.

      It’s truly a spectacle, practically otherworldly when I see sharp as a tack photos of biden on the twitters acting large and in charge, and if that is truly the case then we are well and truly effed.
      Biden supporters can use the space below to name one good thing he’s ever done. Something about leopards and spots….

  5. John Siman

    “Late-night host Jimmy Kimmel wore a white lab coat and head mirror strapped to his forehead on his talk show last month,” I read in the WSJ article about drugmakers taking on *my* favorite TV shows, “and talked about Covid-19 vaccines that use messenger RNA. ‘This technology could be a real game-changer,’ he says.”

    Now I have never actually owned a TV, and I assume that anyone using pushy phrases like “game-changer” is bullshitting me, but I continued to read, “The skit was sponsored by vaccine maker Moderna Inc., one of a number of direct-to-consumer advertisements paid for by pharmaceutical companies aimed at hesitancy and lack of awareness toward vaccines and drugs for Covid-19.”

    So Big Pharma is sponsoring a post-comedic Liberal Class celebrity in order to “tackle* vaccine hesitancy? Uh oh. Now I am truly worried about the long-term effects of mRNA. And I’ve just now started reading “ADVERSE EFFECTS OF MESSENGER RNA VACCINES: An Evidence Review from the Penn Medicine Center for Evidence-based Practice”

    1. The Rev Kev

      Hey, Martin Sheen is still alive. Perhaps he can go on TV as his old “West Wing” persona of President Josiah “Jed” Bartlet to make a plea for these vaccines. That would be for the Democrat PMCs. And for the Republicans? Just use a deep-fake Ronald Reagan. Sweet.

      1. ambrit

        Sarcasm alert. (I feel silly having to type this, but….)
        The Disney animatronic Ronald Reagan robot built to “portray” that President after he was fatally shot in 1981 should still be around somewhere. Give it one of those “Jedi Ghost Shimmer” halos and it’s all good. It’ll be “Mourning in America” all over again!
        Sarcasm over?
        (Watch the Joe Camel-a Show to see what I mean. [They’re literally trying to “blow smoke up your a**” here.])
        See, with optional barf bag:

      2. petal

        Sheen’s commercials for Single Care have been popping up when I watch YT. Maybe you can pitch him the idea because he must need the money…

        1. ambrit

          What happened to the “old time family values?” Sheen’s son, Emilio Estevez should help his Dad out with some of that money he made “counting cards” at the casinos. [From my admittedly limited exposure to ‘high rollers,’ one’s expenses always expand to the outer limits of one’s income. Past a certain threshold, of course; then ‘excess income’ becomes just numbers on a sheet of paper or photons on a screen.]

    2. Carolinian

      I don’t watch much TV either but Kimmel reportedly gave Hunter Biden a softball “what’s all this crazy talk?” interview to promote Hunter’s bomb of a book. Perhaps he’s competing with Colbert to be the Dem’s leading late night pander bear.

    3. John Siman

      More bad feelings about the use of messenger RNA in human subjects — my dyspeptic friend Jim Kunstler writes this morning: “An emerging pattern suggests that higher vaccination rates might generate new-and-improved iterations of the disease more efficiently — just as the government tries more aggressively to sell vaccination to the public. The public is also noticing the alarming statistics, and many remain unconvinced that the vaccines are even vaccines in the usual sense, but rather insufficiently tested exotic experiments desperately employed against something that looks more and more like a bio-weapon that the government itself was complicit in creating.”

    4. beatnikpicnic

      John, thanks for sharing this, Penn Medicine Center for Evidence-based Practice seems a useful resource going forward, and I agree, any institutions seeking more trust aren’t doing themselves any favors by pushing at folks via the American nobility (are celebrities more dukes or earls?)

      I’ll have to read on to see how they reconcile with their later report “COVID-19: MANDATORY VACCINATION”, where they refer to “Safe and effective vaccines against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus… introduced in late 2020”.

    5. Jeremy Grimm

      From the conclusion of the paper you linked to:
      “The current evidence base on messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines is made up entirely of small early-stage trials, nearly all of which examined only short-term outcomes. They lack sufficient power for testing the statistical significance of most results, and for assessing the risk of serious but uncommon adverse events.”

      In other words the Center for Evidence-Based Practice has no real evidence to work with. Millions have been vaccinated yet there still is no evidence to work with as of December 2020. Is anyone collecting the evidence such as would be part of a standard FDA approval process from the millions of vaccinations done on the EUA provided test subjects?

      By the way — Penn Med the source for the study you linked — is where the mRNA vaccines were developed: “Drew Weissman, MD, PhD, a professor of Infectious Diseases in Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine, and Katalin Karikó, PhD, an adjunct associate professor at Penn and a senior vice president at BioNTech, together discovered that exchanging one of the four building blocks of messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) molecules could greatly increase its therapeutic potential.” []

        1. Dirk77

          Glad I read all these papers after I got my mRNA shot. I always wanted to be a Reaver.

          1. tegnost

            Yeah I get my second moderna thursday and one island resident, who I think was pfizer (I don’t think there’s much difference between pfizer and moderna but idk)
            has had autoimmune problems for at least 3 weeks and can’t get a blood test because his insurance is in a network not found anywhere in washington….what a stupid system (unless you’re making risk free money off it, in which case I’m sure it’s working perfectly /s ) The worst is just having no idea what your own reaction will be as everyone reacts differently.

      1. Ping

        Unfortunately from personal experience and many others, I can report some adverse effects are not being assigned report #’s from VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reports) and a growing number of serious adverse events are occurring.

        “Tinnitus and Hearing Loss after Covid Vaccination” FB group which quickly acquired several thousand members. Last Friday Dr. Poland with Mayo Clinic Vaccine development, who is also suffering after his Moderna jab, kindly did a video chat with the group and is posted there.

        Another is Drug Discovery with many identified (not anonymous) persons comments, stressed or panicked, with side effects like hearing loss hours or days after mostly Pfizer or Moderna, constant buzzing or ringing in ears, cracking headaches with insomnia, pains and aches in ears, dizziness, fatigue now weeks or months after vax. ENT’s are seeing a surge in this.

        The VAERS system appears to be broken. My ENT tried submit the VAERS report online but could not so faxed it but did not get a report number . The phone number for VAERS is not functioning.

          1. Ping

            After ruling out infection or other possible causes, my ENT diagnosed “ototoxicity” or toxic exposure to the sensitive nerves

            The ringing or buzzing sounds, that can be intense, is a brain issue. Dr. Poland of Mayo Clinic (FB Chat posted on “Tinnitus and Hearing Loss after Covid Vaccine”) said even if the auditory nerve is cut, the internal sound will continue. I had the J&J but this adverse event is almost exclusively mrna jabs, possibly because that is what is mostly administered.

            He seems keen to confer with colleagues with his personal expense too and is gathering information from the FB group also as members are experimenting with ways to mitigate, subside or identify what triggers the are for various symptoms. I am also experiencing hyperacusis– some sounds are amplified in my head.

            Most who experience this after first jab will not get the second but some still considering completing with the second, asked for his advice and he hesitatingly said to weigh your risk factors and carefully consider whether to get the second was my takeaway which surprised me as a deviation from the “safe and effective” everybody in the pool without exception mantra.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        The paper is the same as John Siman linked to. Just out of curiosity, why is your link the proper link?

  6. Mikel

    Re: Hospital overwhelmed / Osaka

    “At the moment the only tools we have to fight the virus are masks, hand-washing and sanitising,” said Kaori Akazawa, who works at a facility that provides daycare services for eight older people, most of whom live with dementia…”

    Facepalm. The “only tools” because a total lack of awareness about aerosol transmission seems to be lingering.

  7. Mikel

    Re: “Some vaccinated people are still getting covid. Here’s why you shouldn’t worry. ” MIT

    Reading the article, I thought a headline like this would be apt:
    “Some vaccinated peopld are still getting covid. But here is some encouraging data so far”

    But I notice alot that these headlines want to tell you how you should feel. Check that.
    A total lack of ability to just give the reports…but the 1st emphasis is to tell you how you are supposed to feel.

    It’s almost a flag NOT to read the article…

  8. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, J-LS.

    Further to the Bill Gates link, is the, er, um, gentleman still “a fit and proper person” to receive funding from Her Majesty’s Government, and the French government for that matter, for disbursement according to a mandate or as he sees fit?

    NC readers associated with the City of London will know why I used that phrase.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “10 Tales of Manuscript Burning (And Some That Survived)”

    I’m surprised that Richard Francis Burton did not get a mention at all in this article. Who was he? He was a British explorer, adventurer, scholar and soldier. From Wikipedia-

    ‘Burton’s best-known achievements include: a well-documented journey to Mecca in disguise, at a time when Europeans were forbidden access on pain of death; an unexpurgated translation of One Thousand and One Nights (commonly called The Arabian Nights in English after early translations of Antoine Galland’s French version); the publication of the Kama Sutra in English; a translation of The Perfumed Garden, the “Arab Kama Sutra”; and a journey with John Hanning Speke as the first Europeans to visit the Great Lakes of Africa in search of the source of the Nile.’

    After his death in 1890, his wife burned many of her husband’s papers, including journals and ‘a planned new translation of The Perfumed Garden to be called The Scented Garden, for which she had been offered six thousand guineas and which she regarded as his “magnum opus”‘ She believed she was acting to protect her husband’s reputation, and that she had been instructed to burn the manuscript of The Scented Garden by his spirit.’ She was also religious and his work offended her sensibilities here-

      1. begob

        Fine movie, but have a read of his The Sentiment of the Sword on and you might change your opinion of him – macho colonialist down to his fingertips.

  10. polar donkey

    I’m in the restaurant business. Everyone I know who is also in it are stressed out and overworked. All restaurants are looking for staff. There is a simple solution. Pay more. Covid caused a time warp. 10 years of change in 1 year. People who thought there was no other option but doing restaurant work got to see there were other choices. Not going back to sh-tty paying jobs.I don’t blame them. Corporations and owners have to get past their own mental blocks of what they think a job is worth.

  11. Michael Ismoe

    Efforts to play down Jan. 6 insurrection ‘indefensible,’ Cheney says Politico. Liz goes all in.

    I am beginning to see how they intend to unveil Harris/Cheney 2024. Trump-hate is the only glue they got.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Will people even care by 2024 about Jan. 6? It hardly ranks up there with 9/11 or Pearl Harbour or the Kennedy shooting. Will it be spun out like the Mueller investigation until it too ends up with a sad old man with a bad memory? That is Robert Meuller I was just talking about, not Joe Biden by the way. :)

        1. Carly

          One thing is for sure, the New Improved American Security State will have to shut down guys like Peter Santenello before the cat’s are out of the bag:

          With nothing more than a iphone camera, with incredible picture and sound capability, plus a willingness to let people discuss their lives and work, he has created a monstrously popular travelogue that is blending into better journalism than any media outlet has ever provided.

          Want to see what’s happening on the border? Understand it in part, and make up your own mind? See his Open border channel

      1. RMO

        Rev: I’ve still not personally come across one person who knew about the March 1 1954 shooting of five representatives in Congress by Puerto Rican nationalists so January 6 would seem to be unlikely to persist in the public imagination too long – unless of course keeping it there serves the interests of people with power. Which it does for both halves of the US Monoparty. So expect it to keep hanging around like Russiagate.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Teflon Joe muddies GOP’s midterm strategy”

    ‘Biden is proving to be a less-than-ideal foil, forcing Republicans to rethink the traditional formula for 2022’

    I thought that it was supposed to be the Democrats pretending that they are incompetent. They seriously are hard pressed to think of something to attack Biden over? Really? How about I think of five things without even researching it.

    Well there was those $2,000 cheques that he promised voters and reneged on from day one. And the Republican can claim that not only was the missing $600 was Trump’s cheque, but that Trump gave more cash than the Democrats ever did in spite of controlling virtually everything. That’s one.

    Then there is Creepy Uncle Joe and there is plenty of footage on the net of him at it. As Republicans claim to be a family friendly party, they can nail him to the wall on this one as people seem to have some sort of attachment to children for some reason. And they do hate rock spiders. That’s two.

    Come to think of it, they could have Tara Reade give her opinion on his fitness to be in office. And I bet that she is not the only one. I saw a picture of Joe grabbing a women by the boobs from behind at a public event and though she thought it funny, what about those that did not? That’s three.

    Of course you have to mention the Ukraine here and his financial dealings with business groups in alliance with his son Hunter. Publicly boasting that he had a Ukrainian prosecutor fired who was investigating these financial interests is all sorts of dodgy. And the files from Hunter’s laptop will surely contain all sorts of goodies. That’s four.

    And finally there is the fact that old Joe is no longer firing on all cylinders. The Republicans could make out that it is Kamala and Nancy really running the White House which may even be true for all we know. They could air some of old Joe’s biggest gaffes starting with this one. And that is five- (7 secs)

  13. John Siman

    My Latin student Lizzy writes about recent Roman Archaeology, both bad and good:

    “The headline ‘Mount Vesuvius victims died just moments away from rescue’ seems to announce a new and definite discovery, but the article really only says that a skeleton was found which could have been part of a rescue expedition, the existence of which has long been known from Pliny the Younger’s account.

    “By contrast, an authentic and truly important achievement in archaeology is described in the obituary of Simon Keay: His study of Portus, which, in the first centuries of the Empire, was a greater port for Rome than Ostia”: the link is

    1. The Rev Kev

      Thanks for that obituary. I wasn’t really aware of his work at Portus and it sounds like he did a helluva job. As for that skeleton, if he was who hey said he was, then there must have been at least one ship and their crew that were killed by that pyroclastic flow as well. You either survived or did not. And in such cases I try to remember that old adage that nearly doesn’t count. But it was a brutal way for those people to have died-

  14. Andrew Watts

    RE: Sir Tom Devine: ‘I’ve always thought England would destroy the Union’

    If people don’t want to honor Hume because of his ignorant views then we should retain the freedom to deprive him of our esteem. How future generations come to terms with the sins of their forefathers and how they deal with it is up to them. The study of history otherwise devolves into hagiography and an insipid worship of fame, wealth, and so-called greatness that usually comes with a high bodycount.

    The manipulation of historical myths by conniving elites on the other hand is one of the more disheartening developments I’ve seen lately. Scottish nationalists are far from alone in that given the current situation in Catalonia and California’s governor referring to their state as a nation.

    It’s a good reminder that people who are distant from centers of power will use any means to expand their influence and consolidate their own power.

    1. c_heale

      And the UK is a prime example of how people who are in the centers of power will do anything to maintain that power. The fact the same families have been among the elite since 1066 and that elite (including the Royal Family) owns or controls nearly all the land in the UK demonstrates this. We also have a bullshit unwritten constition (i.e. no constitution) and hardly any checks on the governmental executive. The sooner the UK breaks up the better.

  15. lyman alpha blob

    RE: 10 Tales of Manuscript Burning

    I read Carlyle’s French Revolution mostly because the 1st manuscript had been burned. The extant version reads like it was written in a hurry and Carlyle was on fire when he wrote it. Definitely one for the history buff bucket list.

    And on a related note, bibliophiles may appreciate this work on more deliberate destruction: A Universal History of the Destruction of Books: From Ancient Sumer to Modern-Day Iraq. It’s a fairly short book on a very long history, and even in translation it reads like the author was in a hurry to get it done before the building around him burned down.

    1. begob

      T.E. Lawrence twice lost the MS for the Seven Pillars of Wisdom: one he left behind on a train, the other in a Bloomsbury S&M club – probably.

  16. lyman alpha blob

    RE: A New Look at a Wicked Emperor

    Can’t read the whole thing behind the paywall, but Mike Duncan makes a similar point about many of the “bad” emperors in his History of Rome podcast – they were considered evil by the elites of their day because they refused to play nice with the rich old oligarchs in the Senate, not because they were inherently demented. The “good” emperors themselves did quite a bit of invading and slaughtering and exiling and purging.

    What comes down to us about Nero, Caligula, Domitian, etc. is comparable to what people 2,000 years from now might think of Trump compared to other 21st century presidents if all they had to go on were Adam Schiff’s account.

    1. Adam Eran

      Michael Hudson’s …and forgive them their debts… documents a long history of victorious creditors writing the history. The debtor-sympathetic Greek rulers were called “tyrants” among other things.

      (consider the “Bypass Paywalls” extension for Firefox, BTW)

      The victory of the creditors has virtually been the history of “civilization” since Rome. … although that may be changing. The Poor People’s Campaign, among others, is calling for a debt jubilee, as well as reparations for the families of the enslaved.

      Should we call them “African-Americans”? Said one wag, no. We should call them “Kidnapped Americans.”

    2. Bruno

      If the word “hippie” had existed in his day, that’s what they would have called Nero. For an emperor, drowning his mother was quite forgiveable compared to portraying Oedipus on stage.

  17. Phil in KC

    How many people feel solidarity for low-wage workers on de facto strike, vs. those who are angry that there’s no one there to flip burgers for them? How many people feel more sympathy for the franchise owner than for the underpaid workers? The answer is important because if we are a Christian nation, IF, as many would insist, then Christians must insist on a living wage for the least among us. Such a stance is pro-life. On the other hand . . . well, “on the other hand” says it all. Cut the benefit, starve ’em out, and force them back to work will certainly work in the short term. Capitalism versus Christian social teaching: another win for the former.

    We don’t often see workers having the upper hand in the labor market, so make careful note of reactions to this!

    1. kareninca

      Who says these days that this is a Christian nation? The actual Christians that I know don’t think it is one. Appealing to the “Christianity” of the populace is not going to get you anywhere. There are still plenty of people who see themselves as Christians and try to act accordingly, sometimes succeeding and sometimes failing, but that is not the same thing.

      1. Phil in KC

        You are certainly right to question the assertion that the US is a Christian nation. Who says that these days? Start with Dr. Robert Jeffress, pastor of the 14,000-member First Baptist Church in Dallas, TX, and frequent FOX news guest. Franklin Graham, Billy’s son would be another, and Hagee, and all their kindred. So the idea is out there, spread by very flawed messengers, but yes, the practice of Christian ethics is wanting.

        I am not familiar with the teaching of protestant denominations in regard to wages and justice, but my own faith, Roman Catholicism, has on several occasions asserted that workers are due a llving wage sufficient to raise a family: Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum in 1891, Pius XI in 1931, and John Paul II in his 1981 letter Laborum Exercens are papal examples of such teachings. The American bishops have reaffirmed these teachings repeatedly.

        The point of my first post is to expose the hypocrisy of any politician–or actually anyone–who professes to be a practicing Christian who at the same time is more concerned with the profits of owners or their own personal convenience than the welfare of workers. I suppose that a lot of the commentariat here are already family with this phenomena, so maybe my point is stale, yet it is still pertinent. A secondary point is to highlight the waning of Christian ethics in our neoliberal capitalistic society.

        I will make an additional point here: there’s not a lot to like about the practice of American Christianity in our public affairs these days When you think of politicians who characterize themselves as such, the first words that come to mind are not likely love, mercy, wisdom or justice<.

    2. pasha

      met outdoors recently with several vaccinated friends, and it came out in discussion that we had all been waitstaff at various times in our lives, despite retiring as professionals. consensus opinion was that it takes real skills and experience to be a server in a restaurant. restaurateurs are finally discovering that skilled workers are not so easily replaced

    3. Procopius

      I wonder if any of the legislators demanding an end to the supplements to the miserly Unemployment Insurance have enough self-awareness to understand that they are engaging in the kind of “centralized planning” Alfred von Hayek warned leads to socialism? They are unwilling to let the market “work its magic,” because they are afraid they won’t like what the market does. For some reason it makes me wonder, once again, in Ayn Rand’s world, who washes John Galt’s underwear?

  18. Johnny

    “We all quit”…
    That’s OK, continuing immigration and the new Biden policy of allowing 170,000 “migrants” a month free entry into the U.S., buying them transportation to wherever they want to go, with 100 days of legalized freedom before their court date, will undoubtedly exert downward pressure on employers’ wage expectations.

  19. fresno dan

    So I ordered some large sewing needles from Walmart (you can’t get them in the store or do store pick up).
    So 4 days before the promised delivery day, a envelope is delivered from Amazon. Amazon??? As I hadn’t ordered anything from Amazon, my first thought was an error in who it was delivered to. But not the case, my name and address were on the package. And inside were the sewing needles*
    So I guess the Amazon delivery option is even the best option for Walmart…

    *I’m going to use the sewing needles to punch holes in my soaker hoses**. No matter what the water pressure, most of the water is coming out closer to the source, and the most distant part has scarcely any water coming out at all. I tried nails, but the pressure to make a hole in the hose caused the nail to go too deep and made a hole too big. I’m also thinking about applying small squirts intermittently of that spray on rubber to staunch the flow at the front end of the soaker hoses to try and get a more even distribution of water.
    ** I have brought a couple of different brands – and OF COURSE, the more expensive soaker hose works worse than the cheaper soaker hose…

    1. Alfred

      I have had ebay vendors use “Amazon Fulfillment” and also private websites. Are vendor’s sites clearinghouses for Amazon warehouses now?

      1. hunkerdown

        Drop shipping fits right into the Amazon services model. Say what you will about that familyblogger Jeff Bezos; applying service-oriented architecture to his business was a brilliant exploit of Conway’s Law.

        Many Aliexpress sellers also use Amazon fulfillment to ship to customers in “developed” countries. For myself, unfortunately there is one natural foods vendor using FBA from whom I order my cocoa a couple of times a year. It’s the only FBA drop shipper I can’t easily avoid.

      2. lordkoos

        I’ve been disappointed to receive items with Amazon packaging after buying on ebay specifically to avoid Amazon.

    2. Carla

      @FD — I feel ya. In any online shopping I do, I am scrupulously careful to avoid Amazon, including before I order, looking up the ownership of retailers to make sure they haven’t been acquired by Bezos’ giant squid when I wasn’t looking. So it is really disheartening to receive a package delivered by the most evil monopoly on the planet, with that fake penis plastered on it. I guess it is point of pride with Bezos to let us know, every minute of every day, who’s really in charge.

    3. juno mas

      Well, the water pressure in a soaker hose drops dramaticly along its length due to internal friction. There is not way to alleviate this physical phenomenon. Try black drip-hosing with pressure compensating emitters.

      1. Even keel

        A good work around is to run several soakers outward from a common point. Ie source in the center, rather than the end.

  20. Jason Boxman

    Wastewater COVID testing in action:

    Lookout also displays a geographic heat map of cases, a dorm view with room-by-room maps of positive and negative test results, and data from a new wastewater surveillance system, which tracks the coronavirus levels in the sewage flowing from various dorms. (People with Covid-19 shed the virus in their stool.) “As Lookout came together, it took this really complicated web of data and helped us start to both visually see it and to start making sense of it,” Mr. Marshall said.

    The wastewater data has proved critical. In late September, for instance, the team noticed a sudden spike in the viral levels in wastewater from Grand Mesa, a suite-style residence hall. They responded by strategically testing a subset of residents, making sure to get at least one from each suite or mavily. They found two positives, traced their contacts and sent the infected students into quarantine.

    The Future of Virus Tracking Can Be Found on This College Campus

  21. fresno dan

    So my news feed tells me the Fresno Bee, the local rag, says that a study says Fresno is the most romantic city in America. Must be the acres and acres of free parking, without any shade in a city that regularly gets over 100 degrees. Or all the vacant trash strewn lots. Anyway, the article is not accessible, but Google says:

    But Fresno does have a certain amount of romantic charm, especially if you are single. That’s according to the website, which released a study on the best and worst cities for singles. Among the findings: Fresno is the most romantic city in U.S. out of 150 metro areas surveyed.

    Well, I go to and what do you know – there is a table and Fresno is rated number one for romance!
    Here are the criteria used to evaluate romance:
    Romance – Total Points – 25
    Marriage Rates (~5 Points) Note: This metric measures marriage rates in the U.S. by thousand people, by state 2019 from the U.S. Census, American Community Survey.
    Sexual activity: Full Weight (~5 Points) Note: This metric measures the Promiscuity Index Score on a state level from a study by BestLifeOnline. This is based on STDs per 100,000 people, active Ashley Madison users per 100,000 people, sexually active high schoolers per 100,000 people, and median household income.
    LGBT Dating (~5 Points) Note: This metric measures statewide laws and policies that affect LGBTQ people based on the State Equality Index (SEI) from the Equality Federation and HRC.
    Bottle of wine: Full Weight (~5 Points) Note: This metric measures one bottle of mid-range wine.
    Dining: Full Weight (~5 Points) Note: This metric measures a meal for 2 people, mid-range restaurant, three-course.

    Well, back when I was working in the microbiology lab of a local hospital, and the number of test requests for Chlamydia, I would confirm that. So…if your gonna practice romance in Fresno, wear a mask, as well as something else that prevents the spread of cooties…

    1. Wukchumni

      I went on a date with Fresno and an hour alone with it seemed like a fortnight, and so clingy and suggestively dressed it was, you got the idea the medium sized metropolis wanted to go with me when I departed.

      It kept buying me drinks (Fresno is the most alcoholic city of size in the country) and I was able to pour them into a potted plant when it wasn’t looking, and slipped away under the pretense of going to the bathroom, fleeing the place where its always ash Wednesday, along with ash Saturday, ash Friday, ash Tuesday, ash and you will receive.

      1. fresno dan

        May 17, 2021 at 4:33 pm
        (Fresno is the most alcoholic city of size in the country)
        I would disputin that sir, but at 2pm in the afternonn, I am to sloshed to disputin that….
        (uh, it is embarrasing to admit that on a Moday, that I just go in after consuming 2 rum and cokes, and one whiskey and coke. Of course, I did that because the one bartender was leaving and another one was coming on duty, and I HAD to buy a drink so I could give the later one a tip. So alcoholism has very littelt to do with it)

  22. Jeff W

    South Korea’s “Economic Miracle” Was Built on Murderous Repression Jacobin

    While the article focuses on the years following World War II and the “growth-first” economic policies of Park Chung-hee in the 1960s and 1970s, there are also the perhaps lesser-known (for non-Koreans) “Social Purification Projects” of military dictator Chun Doo-Hwan lasting into the 1980s, where people—“disabled people, some orphan children, and even ordinary citizens who just failed to show their identification when asked”—or just an eight-year-old and his sister waiting for their dad—were abducted from the streets and sent to “social welfare centers”—in fact, concentration camp-like detention centers—like the infamous Brothers’ Home [형제복지원 Hyungje Bokjiwon] in Busan, where inmates were brutally treated, tortured, and killed.

  23. Maxwell Johnston

    “Lawmakers bicker over how to go after tax cheats”

    Without getting into the politics of it, just a glance at the numbers. Uncle Joe wants to give the IRS 80bn over 10 years, so 8bn a year. IRS budget currently is 12bn annually, hence this implies a 67% budget boost. The forecasted payoff is 700bn over 10 years, hence 70bn annually. IRS currently collects 3tn (that’s a trillion, or a thousand billion) annually, so divide 70bn by 3tn (sparks fly from my calculator, too many huge numbers) implies a tax revenue increase of (roll of the drums) 2.3%. Maybe I’m being too MBA-ish, but raising your costs by 67% to boost your revenues by 2.3% doesn’t look too great to me. Of course this assumes the government is correct in its projection of new tax collection, of which I’m happy to be labeled a skeptic.

    1. cocomaan

      We know exactly who will get hit with more revenue collection: small business owners who can’t afford hot shot lawyers and accountants.

      1. Laura in So Cal

        Back in the 1990’s I worked as the controller/finance manager for a small privately held business. We did mostly aerospace engineering work and didn’t handle cash. We got audited by the IRS 3 times in 5 years. We had excellent records, a local CPA who used to work for the IRS, and I was really pissed off that I was having to do all the extra work associated with the audits so I refused to roll over and inundated them with paperwork. We fought them to 2 no changes and 1 minor change that only had to do with timing (they made us depreciate computer software over 3 years instead of just writing if off i the year we bought it).

        They left us alone after that, but I spent a lot of man hours, and I think our CPA took at least one very nice vacation with the extra revenue he earned.

    2. Adam

      Wouldn’t this analysis go against the econ 101 fundemental (and not necessarily remotely accurate in real-life, but relevant to MBA think) economic principle that businesses will produce more until their marginal cost of production is equal to their marginal revenue of increased sales? If each additional dollar spent brings in additional 9 dollars, that’s nowhere near equilibrium (let alone a variety of other reasons why taking that particular proportion wouldn’t make sense).

  24. Terry Flynn

    Covid in UK. NHS app to be used to show your covid status and/or vaccination status. Published 10th May stating to go live next week. Well they got that right. It appeared today in the app on my phone, which I was perusing when bored at the hospital waiting to go see the consultant dermatologist about my obviously-covid-related-skin-issue-but-strenuously-denied-despite-in-press-paper-NC-linked-to.

    Up to date with my Friday (2nd) jab, so I am “fully” (add your own “harrumphs” as appropriate) vaccinated. Plus oh look, it has a pretty QR code too!

    I’d be more impressed if the app displayed the “OTHER” set of patient notes. The one that is never released to patients which often shows the consultant telling the GP (s)he is a rooster. Like the letter that is going to go to my GP from that consultant after today. She even WITHIN MY HEARING threw him under the bus saying he’d not done the main autoimmune test (lousy though it is – if you’re not lazy you link the result with other data to get a sensible diagnosis). Today was amusing to “pull rank” on a consultant who IMNSHO wasn’t doing a thorough job until prompted. Though the fact she was younger than me made me feel ooooooooold. However, be careful what you wish for. The “better” autoimmune test now looks for something that if I get a positive result on, given that this condition claimed the lives of two blood-relatives definitely considered close enough to be “relevant”, would mean I’m familyblogged.

  25. Ohnoyoucantdothat

    So far behind on my reading I just read about the cat falling from a burning building. One of our cats got pushed, by another cat, from the 9th floor window of our flat. Lucky for her, she hit some rain flashing on the floor below and was ejected away from the building (and it’s concrete apron) into a tree which broke her fall. Took a while to find her as she was so scared she crawled under a car and hid up inside the wheel rim. Found her by spotting her bushy tail sticking out. Other than a bruised ego she was fine and still lives at age 10. But was still amazed by her luck. We were sure she was dead.

    1. Terry Flynn

      Yeah I wasn’t the first on here to comment on the Chicago cat but it was incredible to see, even if it was “totally in line with the physics” as we understand regarding cats falling. IIRC cats falling from storeys 4(ish) through 7(ish) stand best chance of surviving as they have enough time to right themselves but don’t fall so fast that they splat. 9th floor sounds too high to survive normally so your cat had the proverbial 9 lives – bravo and so glad for you.

      1. JL

        Many years ago when I was a student in NYC I lived on the tenth floor of a building. One of my roommates had an extraordinary kitten. That is, an extraordinarily annoying kitten. An extremely agile, dexterous and active one. It would spend the day swiping and attacking you; playfully, but with use of its claws albeit lightly, but enough to be painfull and certainly endlessly distracting. When sitting it would jab at one’s legs. It would find a crack between the sections of the sofa to get you unexpectedly and unseen from below and behind. There were spare mattresses propped up in the long poorly lit hall way from which it would lunge onto your head as you passed. Annoying, but loveable and truly impressive in its gymnastic abilities. But to the story; One day I was alone in the apartment trying to write a term paper in my room and the cat was distracting me with its assaults on my legs under the sheet of plywood on milk cartons that served as my desk. Patience ending, I scooped the cat up tossed it into the service room and shut the door. I return to my room and there’s the cat. I figured it must have dashed out the door before I closed it without me noticing so I again grab it and to the service porch go. This time I was sure it did not dash out before the door closed. Back to the room. There’s the cat. What? Ok, I thought I must not have been paying close enough attention, its a fast cat. This time I took real care; cat in, door closed no escape. Back to room. There is the cat??? How is this possible??

        I suddenly realized the service room was on a wall perpendicular to that of my room separated by the intervening bathroom, so a minimum of eight feet probably ten separated the nearest window corners of the two rooms and the cat was leaping from one to the other. This again on the tenth floor. The cat learning from this challenge to its compulsion to annoy that I had inadvertently posed to it took to regularly leaping from apartment window to window even those on the same wall plane. That is from sill to sill which couldn’t have projected much more then an inch from the wall plane. That is how extraordinarily nimble and dexterous this cat was. Well, the story: one morning, again alone in the apartment I was frantically preparing for my final final exam and I rather not quite fully consciously noted that it was unusually peaceful in the apartment. Running a bit late I set of in a hurry to take the exam and as dashing up the street I noticed a dead cat on the sidewalk besides our building. A couple of blocks latter it occurred to me, is that my roomate’s cat? I rushed back, sure enough.

        I recalled at that point that earlier in the morning the cat had been chasing a large moth around the apartment. It was summer, hot and all the windows were fully open. My deduction was that the moth flew out a window and the cat just chased right after it. Alas, maybe if it had just been five floors. I think I might have, after one of the surprise leaps on my head ambushes that I threatened the cat’s demise, and therefore, have over the years worried that my roommate who really loved that kitten, harbors the suspicion to this day that I actually carried that threat out. But I didn’t, other then I suppose by incentivising it to take to window leaping that one day.

  26. wilroncanada

    Re Dick Van Dyke
    Note he rides a stationary bike for part of his exercise. I’m a decade and a half younger, but in honour of my career in the commercial office supplies business, I ride a stationery bike. I’ve lost 5 kilograms already, on paper. My doctor gave me an A4 effort.

  27. sbarrkum

    Could not resist posting this re

    At 95, Dick Van Dyke is still the consummate showman.

    A good looking man walked into an agent’s office in Hollywood and said
    “I want to be a movie star.” Tall, handsome and with experience on
    Broadway, he had the right credentials.

    The agent asked, “What’s your name?”
    The guy said, “My name is Penis van Lesbian.”
    The agent said, “Sir, I hate to tell you, but in order to get into
    Hollywood , you are going to have to change your name.”

    “I will NOT change my name! The van Lesbian name is centuries old, I
    will not disrespect my grandfather by changing my name. Not ever.”

    The agent said, “Sir, I have worked in Hollywood for years… you will
    NEVER go far in Hollywood with a name like Penis van Lesbian! I’m
    telling you, you will HAVE TO change your name or I will not be able
    to represent you.”
    “So be it! I guess we will not do business together” the guy said and
    he left the agent’s office.

    FIVE YEARS LATER….. The agent opens an envelope sent to hisoffice.
    Inside the envelope is a letter and a check for $50,000. The agent is
    awe-struck, who would possibly send him $ 50,000? He reads the letter

    “Dear Sir, Five years ago, I came into your office wanting to become
    an actor in Hollywood , you told me I needed to change my name.
    Determined to make it with my God-given birth name, I refused. You
    told me I would never make it in Hollywood with a name like Penis van
    Lesbian. After I left your office, I thought about what you said. I
    decided you were right. I had to change my name. I had too much pride
    to return to your office, so I signed with another agent. I would
    never have made it without changing my name, so the enclosed check is
    a token of my appreciation.
    Thank you for your advice..

    Dick van Dyke

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