The big picture

Spring training is underway! Time to sing along with a jingle of the day from the early ’70s, I think, about the Motorola TV set whose “works in a drawer” design let you pull out a panel in its giant cabinet to access some of the circuitry. To the tune of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”:

Watch your game on the sports set —
Quasar Color TV!
Insta-Matic tuning and Solid State
Are two of the features that make it so great!
Then you add one-button modules
To the Works-in-a-Drawer TV
And it’s one, two, three big ideas
In Quasar Color TV!


My grandmother had an even bigger Quasar with an elaborately carved Drexel cabinet on both sides of the picture tube. You didn’t mount a TV on the wall in those days; it rivaled the couch as your largest piece of furniture.

It’s more than Miss Universe Moscow

From Balloon Juice:

A guy neck deep in Trump’s shadiest finance deals suddenly hands ‘peace plan’ to Trump’s lawyer with apparent aim of toppling Ukraine’s govt? The ‘plan’ was to remove Poroshenko, let Putin keep Crimea in perpetuity and lift all sanctions.

But — but Vladi’s My Daddy tweeted I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA – NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING! Yeah, that’s right. Except those his son was thinking of in 2008 when he said, “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”

Oh no, my precious

I’ve been doing it for 35 years and I can tell you it’s not difficult to keep a personal computer up and running smoothly. For Windows, you just follow three simple steps:

  1. Install a top-rated anti-virus and anti-malware suite before you do anything else, and never click on anything you can’t personally vouch for.
  2. Backup your brains out. All drives — hard drives, solid-state drives, thumb drives — will fail; keep two if not three copies of everything valuable.
  3. Wipe and reinstall everything to give your PC a fresh start every six months.

I broke Rule #2 — ironically, all the files from my PC were backed up on my USB flash drive, my inch-long life, my everything, but not all the files on the flash drive existed on the PC. So when my magic key started throwing errors and “Windows cannot repair the drive” messages last night, there was nothing for me to do but wail.

Now I have to do Step #3, which sometimes I find a pleasant, tidying pastime in a Martha Stewart way, but I can’t spare the day it takes to do it. Back in the days of floppy disks and Disk Operating Systems (pronounced “doss”), I used to sing about it:

The light came on and the disk spun
I fought the DOS and the DOS won
I looked for my files and found none
I fought the DOS and the DOS won

Shooting the messenger

Yesterday Pajiba pointed out that one of the reporters who best covered Feckless Leader’s reeling, rude, racist press conference — pointing out Vladi’s My Daddy’s many lies, urging honesty re Russia, and generally expressing all right-minded people’s dismay at having an unhinged lout living in the White House — was none other than Fox News’ Shepard Smith. Today, of course, we learn that loyal Fox viewers are, as the Weekly World News’ Ed Anger used to say, pig-biting mad and calling for Smith’s head. It’s not that (h/t Balloon Juice) Dolt 45 could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody without losing his diehard 30 percent supporters; it’s that he could sit in the Situation Room and press a button.

If this be treason

I read Pajiba for the entertainment news (a TV sequel to Love Actually? oh, shoot me now), but there’s also a righteous headline quoting a national security authority quoting a senior intelligence official: “He will die in jail.” He, of course, is Donald Trump a.k.a. Vladi’s My Daddy, whose raging tweets don’t actually deny the ties between his campaign and Russia but merely rant about the leaks revealing them — leaks that, according to the national security authority, are about to “go nuclear” as the intelligence community Trump bashed and belittled ends up being his worst nightmare, if not the savior of the Republic.

I urge you to read the article along with Betty Cracker’s piece in Balloon Juice, which admits it’s not ideal to have our intel community neck-deep in our politics, but this is no ordinary time:

It was an outrage when Comey stuck his big, fat, morally upright thumb on the scales in the waning days of the election. So why cheer the intel community on now, hoping they dump enough dirt to bury the Trump admin?

Because this isn’t a normal administration. Trump referred to me and the 65 million other Americans who didn’t vote for him as “enemies” in his New Year “message.” He’s done nothing to reach out to anyone other than his rancid fan base. He’s stocked the government with racists, misogynists and bigoted kooks, and his top advisers are openly fomenting a global white nationalist effort to undermine Western democracies.

The Republicans who control Congress are willing to go along with Trump’s anti-American agenda if doing so will allow them to cut taxes for billionaires and take away people’s access to affordable healthcare. They’ve said so outright, so they can’t be trusted to do their job and keep our government from being controlled by a hostile foreign power.

… So, spooks it is. No, I don’t trust them completely. No, I don’t think it’s a good idea for the intel community to manipulate domestic politics (and I wish we’d mind our own business abroad too).

But desperate times call for desperate measures. If it takes leaks to force the Republicans in Congress to work with the Democrats and do their goddamned jobs, then bring on the drip, drip, drip.

Remember Hillary Clinton warning us about Russia and the Trump campaign in the debates? It’s part of another Balloon Juice post, which includes a glorious Bob Vulfov tweet of today’s presidential briefing outline (“Honestly, we are pretty boned … No way around it, boss … We should send an Edible Arrangement to VP Pence”).

Pulchritude in the news

Sixteen months after announcing that it would eschew the nude, Playboy is bringing back naked women, aiming for titillation that’s neither “dated,” as chief creative officer Cooper Hefner, 25, described the photos printed by his Viagra-drooling dad Hugh, 90, nor tacky and explicit, as seen for free all over the Internet.

The magazine, whose circulation is about a tenth of its 1972 peak of 7 million, unveiled the March/April cover blurb and hashtag #NakedIsNormal, which presumably means lots of shots of models in the shower or at the doctor’s office, since #ClothedIsOtherwiseNormal. As part of the war on datedness, the Playboy’s Party Jokes and Playboy Philosophy columns from the ’60s are returning.

Meanwhile, heading in the opposite direction, Hooters is opening a restaurant with both male and female waitstaff and without orange short shorts and tight tops. The first Hoots, located in Cicero, Ill., says “A Hooters Joint” on the outside but will have, um, both hooters and joints on the inside, along with a slimmed-down menu and counter rather than tableside ordering.

If nothing else, the crew should welcome the move. I’ve dined at a Hooters just once, on what happened to be Halloween night in St. Louis, and I’ve never seen so many women take the opportunity to cover up with floor-length witch costumes and princess robes instead of their usual skimpy outfits.

Snark across the sea

Comedian Frankie Boyle riffing in the Guardian:

Presidents always enter office with something to prove, it’s just rarely their sanity … He is a super-villain in a world without heroes … If the Queen ever has to shake Trump’s hand, she will put on so many gloves she’ll look like Mickey Mouse … He looks like aliens came to Earth and made a human costume after seeing one commercial for a car dealership …

We face a brief political period that, unchecked, will bring at least irreversible climate change and, at worst, nuclear war.

Way to bring down the house, Frankie. Buzzkill. (It’s still worth reading for his comments on Trump Tower and Melania.)