Blerg! [DOT 29/9/21]

Happy Wednesday gang.

This week is going much better than last week. Probably because I went ahead and took Monday off work. Skipping Monday was a great improvement. Definitely going to do that a couple more times prior to year end.

How’s your week so far?

Shouldn’t they ‘retire’ to JAIL?

Two Fed officials announce retirements amid controversy over ethics and stocktrading

This seems super shady.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem called 2020 meeting of top state officials after daughter was denied real-estate-appraiser certification

I know not everyone has WaPo, but if you do this is a good round up of what is going on in the Canary Islands.

Lava Burns Through an Island in the Atlantic

That sounds horrible.

Rescue of trapped Ontario miners involved grueling climb to surface


Stocks could slide further as interest rates rise and Big Tech drags the market



Have a great day!



  1. The “Take the Money and Run” story is excellent. Unfortunately the cash was to be used in the artwork itself, some kind of visual representation of the average income of an Austrian vs. a Dane, which sounds dubious enough, and then the cash was to be returned to the museum, so this was to be art of the most ephemeral kind. Imagine what Hunter Biden would do with this. Instead of blowing paint through a straw, he could create something like “When [Crack] Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” and not give the money back at all, having smoked all of it.

    This reminds me of an article I read two or three lifetimes ago about Dutch funding for the arts, and I managed to find it:

    The Dutch were giving so much money to support the arts that they were drowning in the stuff, much of it mediocre at best, so a lot of it was warehoused, never to be seen again, or distributed to public buildings, nursing homes, hospitals, wherever the state could shoehorn it in. We (Americans) have nothing similar but some transit systems are obliged to use a tiny percentage of a budget to adorn the facilities with art. I know Boston, LA, and New York do this. It’s how this came to be:

    (This is by Nick Cave the American artist, not Nick Cave the Australian singer.)

      • It’s been that way for decades.  I remember going on a field trip in elementary school and part of the itinerary was visiting the local museum of modern art.  At one point I came across a piece that was prominently displayed.  It was three separate canvases, each painted a solid primary color.  I was probably 9 years old and understood then that much “modern art” is just straight bullshit.  There are certainly actual artworks out there which are worthy of viewing, but there are also way too many people out there who exploit the concept of “art” to a point where it de-legitimizes art as a whole.

        That being said, I actually really like that this guy did his “take the money and run” bit, because it really makes the whole sham obvious.

        • Read this and try not to laugh:

          In the old configuration of MoMA the 4th and 5th floors were devoted to paintings. I was a huge fan and through my company, which was located not too far away, I had a free pass and I used to visit my “friends” there once a week, during a long lunch hour or after work. I have a reproduction of one of their Rothko color field paintings mounted in our bedroom.  The Rauschenberg…

            • Also, Morley Safer covered this topic in 1993 on “60 Minutes.” Apparently it almost cost him his job, because a lot of wealthy and influential NYers and Los Angelenos collect this stuff and they weren’t happy to see their “taste”/money laundering ridiculed on what was then a highly-rated TV newsmagazine.

              • It’s also a lot of the art market — modern art in partucular — is tied up in money laundering and tax avoidance schemes, and owners are wary of anything that can hurt valuations.

                Works like Rembrandt paintings and Greek sculupture have a bad habit of being reassessed as works by minor artists or fakes, but modern art tends to have clear attributions and titles.

                The owners are happy to keep their art hidden in a vault as a part of a complex loan and donation scheme with a museum, but they get unhappy if something happens to change the appraisal while it’s locked away.

    • Those mosaics are great examples of what public art can be. Public art can be a mixed bag because the panels that judge proposals can easily get politicized or too far up their own bungholes. You can get a lot of members who don’t understand the practical issues of public art or its audiences. But when it works, it’s potent.

      • I’ve been through that passage many times but not since the art was installed. Apparently one of its genius effects is that as you hurry through the work kind of blurs a little, so you get the sense that it too is in a hurry.

        I think my favorite subway art is to be found at the 14th Street subway station at 8th Avenue. This is a hub, because the express A and the local C and E stop there, and it connects to the L, which runs east-west, one of the few lines that does this (the Grand Central Shuttle is the other one.)

    • Echh to Jeff Koons and stockbroker art.


      Also, I don’t know what you’re attempting with the Hunter Biden commentary, but it comes off poorly. He and his loved ones put in the work to move through the darkest moments of drug addiction.

      People can experience drug problems and not need to be pilloried about them by complete strangers for the rest of their lives. You can do better.

    • …don’t know as I’d go as far as “just you”…& it’s hard to tell without the picture that was complained about.,.but with the caption it apparently had I think I can see how someone might complain about it?

      …not sure cultural appropriation is the way I’d have described that but it does sound like they might have left themselves open to criticism if they thought a caption about looking like gang bangers while wearing doorags & making handsigns was the way to go?

      …it’s also possible it was an over-reaction…but without seeing the thing first hand I don’t think I could tell?

      • Among lots of other problems I’m having with this story, I’m hoping that the first call they made was not to a university professor to inquire about “cultural appropriation.”  I hope that first call was to their literal next-door neighbors at the police department, to see if they might have an actual gang issue.  I can’t give an opinion one way or the other without seeing the picture.  Do they think white kids don’t have gangs?  I worked in juvie, and I can tell you that they do.

        • …that’s also a very valid point…& in that regard I think if the response jumped past that possibility & went straight to the other thing that would be a kind of prejudice at work

          …but to some extent I also don’t think I know whether I’d guess that was what happened without knowing more about both the image & the kids involved…none of which is available in the text…so I think part of the problem I’m having is to do with how the whole thing is reported?

          …I’m also pretty sure I’ve now thought about it more than I think the piece itself probably deserved given how little I know about the underlying facts?

  2. Gov. Noem’s shakedown is supposedly being looked into by state Attorney General Ravnsborg, who killed a pedestrian a couple of years back with such force his body smashed the windshield and his glasses flew into the passenger compartment. Ravnsborg called 911 and claimed he hit a deer and drove off, never submitting to an alcohol test. He later pled guilty to distracted driving for a minimal punishment and refused to resign.

    South Dakota used to be a state that had a tradition of principled behavior that elected moderate Democrats. Then the hard right took over, even as state Democrats stayed moderate. But the narrative from the national press about this country is endlessly about both sides being at fault, because the national press knows nothing and doesn’t want to learn.

  3. I heard a story on a news magazine program that Frigidaire paid Pablo Picasso a large sum of money sometime in the 1960s to consult on a refrigerator design. He suggested white and rectangular. I haven’t been able to verify it but I hope it’s true. It seems like the sort of asshole thing he would have done.

  4. Florida Man gonna Florida Man:

    Now Florida is rethinking measles and mumps vaccines in schools? Where does this end?

    Paywall, so excerpts:

    It’s no surprise that some of Florida’s leading politicians are opposed to mandatory vaccines for COVID.

    But it might surprise you to learn that some of them are now questioning other vaccine mandates that have been around for decades — to combat diseases like polio, measles and the mumps.

    Why might that surprise you? Because it’s no longer the 18th century.

    {Insert me spitting coffee.] Apparently, “Republican Sen. Manny Diaz — one of the Florida Legislature’s leaders on both education and health issues — [said} last week that he wanted to ‘review’ existing vaccine mandates for Florida students.”


    Best part of the opinion piece:

    Take it from George Washington who ordered smallpox inoculations for his troops back in 1777 when the disease was ravaging American forces.

    Sure, Washington knew there might be objections and even side effects, writing: “This Expedient may be attended with some inconveniences and some disadvantages, but yet I trust in its consequences will have the most happy effects.”

    And guess what? You don’t run into many cases of smallpox anymore.

    But apparently the logic and settled science of revolutionary America in 1777 still manages to elude some of those leading Florida in 2021.


  5. Yesterday on the way home we got behind this old work truck and they guy guns it leaving us in a cloud of diesel soot.  I thought, what an asshole & then he did it about 3 more times before we could get around him and saw his shit eating grin.  Then my buddy tells me about this kid that did this shit…



    So, it is not just Florida Man that sucks.  Texas is definitely trying to come for the crown!

  6. New York is a very contentious city and nothing gets a New Yorker busier and more contentious than real estate. I believe the first lawsuit filed in the colony of Nieuw Amsterdam back in the 1630s was a land dispute. ‘Twas ever thus.

    Our presumptive new Mayor is like any other New Yorker in this regard.

    It’s widely believed that Adams actually lives in a co-op in Fort Lee, NJ, with his girlfriend. He, not she, owns the co-op. Occasionally he has been spotted doing overnights in his office at Brooklyn Borough Hall “because he works tirelessly for his constituents” (eyeroll.)* When questioned about the New Jersey co-op Adams played the race card, asking his interlocutor why they believed a Black man couldn’t own more than one property. That wasn’t really the question, but whatever.

    *At one rally Adams famously screamed that “people from Iowa, people from Ohio, go back to where you came from! We don’t want you here!” So he does not work tirelessly for all his constituents. Brooklyn contains enough Midwestern transplants to populate a fairly large midwestern city.

    His “primary” residence is a brownstone in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. Does it contain three units or four? Does he actually live in one of the units, or does his son, and this is an address of convenience, since the Brooklyn Borough President really should live in Brooklyn, but doesn’t have to by law?

    Is one of the units an illegal basement apartment, the existence of which the city is suddenly scandalized by, even though there are many thousands and have been for decades?

    The Department of Buildings would like to have a look (extraordinary for them to investigate anyone in the city bureaucracy above the level of summer intern file clerk) but Adams repeatedly blows them off. He never saw the notices posted on the door, which is believable, since he lives in Fort Lee, NJ. According to him he did, in fact, contact the Department of Buildings a couple of times but had a wrong number. This is unbelievable because a Borough President has very little to do, but one thing they can do is pester the Department of Buildings and all of them would have the Department of Buildings on speed-dial.

    This should be an interesting next four years. But just like having Biden replace Trump, at least we won’t have de Blasio and his grifting wife to deal with.

  7. There’s more re: the governor of SD!!!!

  8. I fucking love the blank canvas. It’s a wonderful piece of postmodern art.

    Why the museum didn’t anticipate something like that makes no sense when you look at how postmodernism intersects with artistic expression.

    • …one part I didn’t get to begin with is that the money is apparently some sort of loan…so there’s a deadline to give it back…& one commentator I heard on the radio suggested that if the artist were to refuse, go to court & end up in jail over the whole thing…you could view the entire sequence as a piece of performance art?

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