Baroque sexual frustration and repression, Jimmy Durante, Peter Frampton, and more links for Monday 11/30/2020

There’s something happening here. [ Paul Campos at Lawyers, Guns & Money] – “I have a pet theory, which is that approximately 87.53% of right wing politics in this country is driven by the working out of various baroque forms of sexual frustration and repression.”

I find some of the right-wing AOC BDSM memes hilarious, even though I suspect they are hoaxes.


Jimmy Durante: Winner by a Nose – World famous jazz musician, comedian and celebrity, interviewed by the Saturday Evening Post in 1950:

The average man or woman with a physical peculiarity finds it a little embarrassing, and members of the acting profession regard a slightly prognathous jaw or thick ankles as nothing short of a calamity. But for the past 27 years one entertainer has gloried in his ugliness. That man, of course, is Jimmy Durante, who has frequently boasted, ‘Dere’s a million good-lookin’ guys, but I’m a novelty!’ Durante is the proud possessor of an ugly, oversized nose. He is short, almost entirely bald, recessive-chinned, weasel-eyed, and sloping-headed.

Jimmy Durante [Wikipedia]

James Francis Durante (/dəˈrænti/ də-RAN-tee, Italian: [duˈrante]; February 10, 1893 – January 29, 1980) was an American actor, comedian, singer, and pianist. His distinctive gravelly speech, Lower East Side accent, comic language-butchery, jazz-influenced songs, and prominent nose helped make him one of America’s most familiar and popular personalities of the 1920s through the 1970s. He often referred to his nose as the schnozzola (Italianization of the American Yiddish slang word schnoz “big nose”), and the word became his nickname.


When a deep red town’s only grocery closed, city hall opened its own store. Just don’t call it ‘socialism.’ – Baldwin, Fla., opened a town-run grocery store after becoming a food desert. [Antonia Noori Farzan/The Washington Post]


Evolutionary trait carcinization makes crabs of different species – Five different species of crustaceans have evolved into crabs separately from each other, at different time. Faced with the problem of surviving in similar economic niches, evolution finds similar answers.

Benjamin Bullard at SyFy:

The studied species all developed the same basic “crab-like habitus,” or basic outer structure that defines their body, despite having differing evolutionary ancestors. With some degree of specific variation, they all evolved similar hardened shells, in the same familiar broad, flat shape. But in a first discovery for the scientific world, the study even found that their internal anatomical structures — things like the vascular and nervous systems — also began to arrange themselves similarly over time.

The process by which this keeps happening, according to the study, is carcinization — literally, according to its Greek etymology, the crab-ifying of species. Researchers believe that, despite local differences, the reasons carcinization occurs are all physical: time, temperature, gravity, and the similar conditions of life in shallow aquatic reaches all converge — time and time again, it seems — to take a perfectly good original crustacean and pressure it into becoming more crab-like.

As a science-fiction fan, my mind instantly goes to Star Trek, and how all the aliens on that show seem to be humanoid. They’re carcinized!


Your Brain Is Not for Thinking – “Your brain’s most important job isn’t thinking; it’s running the systems of your body to keep you alive and well.” [Lisa Feldman Barrett/NYTimes]


In Nagorno-Karabakh, drones gave Azerbaijan huge advantage and showed future of warfare [Robyn Dixon/The Washington Post] – Inexpensive drones let Azerbaijan punch far above its weight in a recent 44-day war with Armenia, and signal a coming, profound change in ground warfare.

John Robb and P.W. Singer have been talking about this kind of thing for many years: inexpensive drones could be as big a change to warfare – and societies – as the invention of gunpowder or airplanes.


“This is a place where it’s always the early 2000s…. “ Members Only: SopranosCon and the Enduring Afterlife of Tony Soprano [Justin Sayles/The Ringer]


Peter Frampton Talks Fame, David Bowie, and The Simpsons [Dan Sheehan/Literary Hub] – Peter Frampton, who turns 70 this year, is a talented guitarist who had teen-idol good looks. He describes it here like that was some kind of curse.

Frampton Comes Alive was ubiquitous when I was 15 years old. Great album. I think I’ll give it another listen.


The Queen’s Gambit: meet the real Beth Harmon… Bobby Fischer [Jason Henderson/GQ-UK] – Controversial chess genius Bobby Fischer is the real-life inspiration behind The Queen’s Gambit’s fictional character Beth Harmon.


The Local News Business Model [Stratechery by Ben Thompson] – Local news is critically important and in crisis, but local newspapers are not worth saving.


10 years ago my brother reached out from addiction. I wish I could go back and take his hand. [Sosha Lewis/The Washington Post] – A brief, moving personal essay.


George Washington’s chef, Hercules Posey, cooked a Thanksgiving feast to celebrate liberty even though he had none [Ramin Ganeshram/WaPo]


The Idea Adoption Curve [Ben Thompson/Stratechery] – The New York Times’s subscription business model means it’s no longer the paper of record; it serves a niche audience (albeit a very broad and large one). BuzzFeed News/HuffPo aims to fill that gap.


New York couple finds more than 66 bottles of Prohibition-era whiskey hidden in the walls of their home [Kelsie Smith/CNN]


Henry Adams was “the brilliant, bitter and thoroughly unlikable man who brought the prominence of the Adams family, and expectations for the endurance of political legacies, to an ignominious end.”

The Brilliant, Bitter, Unlikable Scion of an American Political Dynasty [Amy S. Greenberg/The New York Times]


‘They created a false image’: how the Reagans fooled America [Charles Bramesco/The Guardian] – The Reagans parlayed show business success to the White House, and played the presidency as an acting role. Trump follows in their footsteps.


‘Someone’s typing…’: The history behind text messaging’s most dreadful feature [Dianne de Guzman/SFGATE]

Before they reached the iconic “someone’s typing” that we know today, the first iteration literally showed everyone what team members were typing, as they were typing it. Cue the first inklings of anxiety caused by messaging.

“[The typing awareness indicator] would literally put what you were typing and you would see it in real time,” [IBM’s Jerry Cuomo, credited with inventing the typing indicator, said.] “And then [reactions would be], ‘That’s not how you spell that word.’ It was getting embarrassing.”

To cure this, the next iteration changed the format to hide the message content, so the typing instead showed asterisks.

“As you typed, an asterisk would be in place of that letter, so it was somewhat anonymized until you were ready to send it, but sometimes you would see it as, someone would be typing [Cuomo imitates typing sounds] and then it would go backwards [Cuomo makes deleting sounds]. And then it would just say, ‘yes.’ And then we’d start yelling out again: ‘You weren’t going to say yes, you were going to say something more. What were you going to say?’ It got clumsy. So we just decided on ‘Dianne is typing’ and just left it at that. And that’s the way it stayed.”


“My Secret Life as a Mysterious Multimillionaire’s Personal Assistant” [DW McKinney/Narratively]


Katherine Devine aka “Little Egypt” scandalized Gilded Age America by dancing the hootchie cootchie (that’s actually what they called it) at a posh party for New York high society bachelors. She parlayed that fame into a burlesque career. Her obituary said was “arrested in nearly every city in the country.”

The hootchie cootchie figures prominently in Annalee Newitz’s time travel novel “The Future of Another Timeline,” which I quite enjoyed.

Meet the Kim Kardashian of the 1890s [Kat Vecchio/Narratively]


For What Are America’s Wealthy Thankful? A Worsening Culture War [Matt Taibbi] – When progressives and conservatives portray each other as dangerous monsters, billionaires are happy.


Are Covid Patients Gasping ‘It Isn’t Real’ As They Die? [David Zweig/Wired] – A ER nurse’s viral story about dying COVID victims still gasping that the disease is a hoax does not stand up to journalistic scrutiny. Same for stories about “COVID parties.”


The English Word That Hasn’t Changed in Sound or Meaning in 8,000 Years [Sevindj Nurkiyazova/Nautilus] – Also: How linguists figured out where our Indo-European ancestors came from, some 6,000-8,000 years ago. Ingenious!!

I believe the word this article focuses on comes to English just 80-some years ago, from Old and Middle High German, via Yiddish.


Why a Thriving Civilization in Malta Collapsed 4,000 Years Ago [Aisling Irwin/Nautilus] – The Temple Culture of Malta, in the Mediterranean, comprised just a few thousand people and lasted 1,500 years, before mysteriously disappearing in just two generations.