I had no attention span today and I don’t imagine anyone else did. Times like these clarify at the same time they jitter your mind. You wonder how it plays out, and think the most likely outcome, a year from now, is a Washington Post headline:

A year after the invasion, a wary Europe seeks a path to stability

That’s far more likely than “Putin dead; umbrella suspected” or any other fantasy where he’s deposed by popular revolt. Hoping for the Oligarchs to depose him seems like Winston and Julia betting it all on the proles, perverse as that sounds. The support of the military would seem to be paramount. The guys with big yachts can sail away or shut up.

Why would a wary Europe seek a path to stability? To paper over their own weakness; to get the energy they need; to resume the liturgies of the religion of diplomacy; to seek assurances that there will be no designs on any FSU states.

Assurances are always sought by those who fear they have no power or will to respond. To be fair, it’s hard to know what the response to a Baltic invasion would be, but if the next year’s spent arranging for new energy sources (spoiler: it won’t, and if it is, what’s done, won’t be enough) then wary Europe - i.e., Germany and maybe the guys in Belgium waiting for the moment when they turn into the Federation Council - will wave a sad farewell to the Baltics. So long, and thanks for all the amber.

The people who grate my cheddar are the ones who blithely consign Ukraine to Russian possession - “I literally don’t care,” in the words of J. D. Vance, before he saw the polling in Ohio. Why do I care?

Ih. Well.

it goes way back to late-night bull sessions at the Valli, sitting in B-6 with the Giant Swede and Rick the DJ or Wes the Movie Guy, and the Crazy Uke. I learned a lot. I started from nothing, and got it all, full strength. Never heard the term Holodomor used - it was just The Famine.

The Giant Swede dated a Uke for a long time. I was on the edge of the community, but I came to be on nodding acquaintances with many. I got involved with bringing a Uke dissident to campus for a speech, one of the Crazy Uke’s greatest PR masterstrokes. We were living in the house at the same time, along with Victor, a Uke, a genial 80s guy with whom I’d work at Ralph & Jerry’s, until he burned his apron one night and left. I think he was a private investigator for a while, and then I heard he was a priest.

Years later I found myself at the church, observing the rituals, singing along as best as I could. I remember seeing a giant map of the home country in the basement, and standing alone in the empty room and imagining all the DPs and immigrants who’d come down here for fellowship with the image of the captive homeland on the wall. Wondering if their kids would ever see it free, wondering if they would care as much a generation or two on.

It was a great and tragic tale, and it seemed . . . instructive that no one cared, or waved it away - oh, they’re just Russians with a few different words for things - or failed to include Ukraine in the regular denunciations of imperialism and colonialism. I suppose if you regarded the USSR as a flawed but hopeful example of philanthropic collectivism, the opinions of the residents would be unhelpful.

Anyway, here we are. At least for now there is clarifying focus. Someone on Twitter fretted about a picture of people in the subway: Ukrainian vaccination rates were only in the 30s, and this looked bad - no one was masked. Made you think of Madonna’s attempts to remain relevant.

Speaking of Twitter: Where do you get your news about the war? Twitter has been frustrating, with more hot takes and dunks than useful information, but you get raw info and video before it climbs up the media ladder. You also see people who thought “no one cares, I can use this ‘invasion threat’ BS to pump up my cred as someone who really cares about America” sniffing the smoke on the wind and realizing that’s a bad look today.

Reddit has megathreads that wander off into endless questions from 18 year olds who have paid no attention to anything anywhere ever, or people gripped with Sudden Expert Syndrome.

You might want to see what RT.com is saying:

LOL, as the kids say.

The comments on a story about a Russian transport going down are fun. Rootin'-tootin'-Putin knob-slobberers out in force:

A shame you're brain dead. Putin is an elected leader, not the owner of Russia, unlike the corrupt western system that doesn't give you a vote. Rather go and play on CNN, or be here so we can say really "Nice" things about you when the hole that is your country finally disappears. When you are starving and being bombed by your neighbours, we'll sit here and mock your misery

Okay, dude in a concrete room with stains on the walls. Says another:

It's too bad that they died not for their country but for Putin's vanity.


They didn't die like tens of millions of civilians you've murdered in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Vietnam... You evil f trash talking won't get you anywhere

Tens of millions. Of course, no, trash talking will not get anyone anywhere, including, in your case, an invite to Putin's dacha for a hearty handshake and a solemn ceremony where you are awardeda medal for valor in the Disqus campaign.


It was the nazis ! Bandera and Hitler reemerge after 80 years of hot peace, to now suddenly strike Rus again

Bandera? Dude, Steve’s dead. You're the bad guys now.


One more floor to go.

Now, the Old:

The Rand Tower, now a hotel. The light hits the building in a way that makes it look as if you can drag a slider left and right and change the amount of brightness.




Since when has he been inclined to take anyone's word for anything?


Solution is here.



I'm figuring out what to do with this space this year. Little questions. Here Fred Allen is showing Carmen Miranda the town. Twenty-three seconds.


Question: why does the audience laugh?

This year we're counting down the top hits . . . of 1922. Why not?

John Steel warbling in the academic style.


The personal part of the bio is always more interesting than the professional one.

Steel had a tempestuous marital history. In 1919, he married Sidonie Espero, another member of the cast of The Maid of the Mountains. A son, John W. Steel, Jr., was born to the marriage on June 14, 1921. The marriage foundered in 1921 amid allegations that Steel had abused his wife and abandoned her and the infant child. It ended in divorce in 1925.

Shortly after his divorce from Sidonie Espero, Steel married Mabel Stapleton, a professional violinist. In 1929 he was named as co-respondent in the divorce suit of Walter P. Inman, a stepson of tobacco magnate James Buchanan Duke. Inman accused his wife (Helen Garnet Patten Inman) of infidelity with Steel.

In April 1930, in the wake of the highly publicized Inman divorce case, Mabel Steel sued John Steel for divorce. Mabel Steel was then living in Paris, and it was revealed that the couple had been living apart since 1927.

He died in 1978.


As I said a few weeks ago: I had way more 1968 South African commercials than I thought. Waaaay more.





There: that should do. Average quality stuff, but so much! Have a fine weekend, and we'll meet back here Monday morn




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