Fact Check: Home Alone
We're just past Christmas and if you are anything like my family, in this era of subdued holidays, you watched all the Christmas movies over the last few weeks. Every Christmas Eve after the kiddos go to bed, Katie and I watch Die Hard. I don't want to get into the whole debate over whether Die Hard is a Christmas movie (her name is "Holly"...) but I do want to make a comment on WHY people want it to be a Christmas movie.
So much of the content explicitly labeled "Christmas" is in the Hallmark / Lifetime / RomCom zone. It is all very saccharine and smooshy. Which is great. But eventually you need something crunchy and umami, some bitter black coffee (but not too bitter!) to cut all that fondant. And that's where Die Hard drops in. Just old enough to be nostalgic. Just dark enough to bring a little shadowy contrast to Red Rider BB guns. Just muted enough to offset all the singing loud for all to hear. And containing an absolutely iconic Alan Rickman performance (RIP Snape).
Anyway, I digress, because this has nothing to do with Die Hard and is actually about Home Alone... Here's three quick links looking at one of the iconic classics from some fresh angles. -B
Home Alone: Taking 15 Family Members to Paris Is Expensive
Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
Pictures of the Collapse of Indonesian Tourism
In late March of 2020, Covid trackers sprouted on the internet like rain soaked mushrooms. One day late in that month, I pulled one up and saw red circles popping up all over the world, in Africa, South America, Australia, Europe. It was like War Games nuclear hits but with something less understandable and controllable (can't choose to win by not playing this game!). My stomach dropped and I knew at that moment that the pandemic wasn't going to fade away quickly and that we were, as the Brits say, 'in for it'.
When I read this thread by Stuart MacDonald, a travel blogger who lives in Indonesia, documenting the deserted beach bars and crumbling resort infrastructure in his area, my stomach again sinks and I worry we have no idea what the knock-on consequences of all this will be. -B
Preliminary Theory of the In-Group Contrarian
The group feels strongly about outsiders. But it feels even more intensely about the people inside the group who criticize the group consensus. To clumsily insert a medieval analogy, the group hates the infidel in a far away land and maybe sometimes even fights them. But the group burns the homegrown heretic at the stake, quickly and without hesitation.
This outsider who's inside is called an In Group Contrarian (IGC). You'll probably see me reference it moving forward so you should go ahead and get up to speed. -B
Sweet Meteor of Death 2020
The 10 Most Convincing Bigfoot Sightings
Bear, Gorilla-Suited Bob, or actual Bigfoot? Only you can decide.... -B
There are few things I love more on the Internet than listicles gathering large amounts of YouTube videos and/or articles about aliens, lost civilizations, or Bigfoot. Great find, B. - C
Pandemic Villains: Allianz Global Investors
Did Hedge Funds cheat their investors as the world panicked in March as Taibbi claims here? Or actually, as one commentor on this article stated, is the truth more complicated than an easy black/white narrative?
You are not supposed to sell in a sudden market dip, that is made clear to investors. My funds are not only back to where they were, they are higher than they were. They were down something like 35% at one point. I did not sell. I have collected the dividends - the same amount each month, throughout the pandemic.
Betting on the VIX going down just says the market is going to stop panicking, which is exactly what it did, and in rather short order.
_______ is not real life
“Amid” is the favorite word of the media during the Trump administration. It allows them to string together completely unrelated stories to give the hint of a scandal.
Americans, myself very much included, have decided over the last 4-12 years that the media isn't interested in telling us the truth but instead explicitly and implicitly uses "contextualizing" and other rhetorical tricks to disguise opinion as reporting. I hadn't thought about this trick in particular till now but of course now I'm seeing it everywhere. -B
Cornwall Sinkholes in 2020 caused by bronze age mining activities
Thousands of years of tin mining in the UK now lead to abandoned mine maws opening with frightening frequency. Read more about the trade routes that existed from the UK to the middle east as rare metals found only in the UK made their way eastward. -B
This launched me down a pretty deep sinkhole of YouTube videos of drones exploring sinkholes, like this one. -C
Inside Operation Boris
The industrialization of auto insurance fraud, now with Companion Twitter Thread. -B
I wonder who did it first. Kind of like last week's pizza arbitrage article, someone had to have done a trial run, and when it worked they took off the training wheels and just went for it. - C
Jordan Peterson Plays in the Left’s Cultural Sandbox
I'm low-key fascinated by Jordan Peterson. I bought and skimmed his book 12 Rules for Life and found it to contain interesting if standard self-help fare ("Make Your Bed"). I listened to a few of his podcasts / speeches and found him an independent thinker who clings tenaciously to what he thinks is correct no matter the social consequences. When so much of human interaction is lubricated by bending to each other what do you make of someone who does not bend?
Probably as a result of this stiffness and the insatiable desire of our tribes for in group contrarians (IGC) to cast out and denounce, Peterson has become an absolute lightning rod for the St. Elmo's fire of tribal conflict. The link above contains David French's comments on JP from 2018 when 12 Rules first came out. David French has recently become an IGC on the right as his Christian faith and conscience led him to publicly support Biden. So there are some interesting ouroboros IGC layers here. -B
Wikipedia has a ton of money. So why is it begging you to donate yours?
The ideological capture of so many of things of the 2002 era internet (i.e. Wikipedia is now controlled by an editorial cabal with an ideological agenda) makes me sad but that's probably just because I'm a middle-aged Gen-X'er experiencing for the first time all the BIG FEELINGS every generation always feels as they progress through middle-age. Irregardlessly, don't give Wikipedia any of your money...they really don't need it. -B
I'm having some pretty big feelings about you trying to sneak the use of "irregardlessly" by me...I'll leave it this time but you've been warned. - C
The Case for the Empire
This is either an actual repeat or a conceptual repeat but since we're in Order 66 territory I believe we are justified in this. Coming from the internet of 2002 (!!!!) is the first formulation of the compelling condemnation of the the lawless and terroristic rebel alliance who have brought nothing but pain, suffering, and loss to the galaxy through their actions. -B
I'd like to see this re-written to include the author's take on everything that has become canon now that Disney is behind the wheel. Like, how do Ben Solo and the First Order operate versus the Empire? Are they evil, or are they just ruthlessly pursuing order at all costs? And is there a line between ruthless and evil? So many questions. - C