Re: The olden days

1

The place that used to be Hollywood Video by me has been taken over by Jewish Children and Family Services. I don't know why they hate Jewish Singles.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 7:38 AM
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...when people had to actually connect meaningfully with each other

This sentiment drives me up the wall. As though people used to only have deep, meaningful conversations and then along came the internet and everyone suddenly got shallow and short-attention-spanned. Most of the people I hear it from are old enough to know better, too.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 7:40 AM
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I don't know why they hate Jewish Singles.

They make your ham and cheese sandwich taste guilty.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 7:43 AM
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This always fills me with delicious schadenfreude.

In that case you'll be delighted to know that in Britain they're in administration, and planning to close at least 160 outlets in the first tranche.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 7:52 AM
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Sometimes I hear people say "People got along fine before GPS systems." I always say "No way man, I was fucking lost all the time."


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 8:06 AM
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So does anyone still use Blockbuster or a similar store? I suppose the spontaneity of choice could still be a bit of a draw.

I know my parents still use Vul/can Vi/deo, which has the advantage of decent curation and some rare stuff.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 8:09 AM
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I used to use a video store in Hayes Valley when I lived closer to it.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 8:13 AM
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There was a place here called "Discount Video" that had been part of the very first wave of video rental stores. They had an incredible selection of VHS foreign films -- lots of stuff that had barely been in print in the US. Which was good, because every other aspect of their business model was really shitty:
1. Movies were shelved vaguely according to genre, and not alphabetically, in a schema that was pretty much impossible to decipher.
2. So if you wanted a specific movie, you had to look in the big books of movies, find the code, write it on a piece of paper, and take it up to the clerk for them to check whether it was in stock. Frequently, it wasn't.
3. "New Releases" included films up to 5 or 6 years old, based on popularity (i.e. the more popular, the longer it was a "new release").
4. The only way to make their pricing competitive was to buy a $30 "membership" card, which came with punches for free movies which had to be used in the month specified. Otherwise you were paying something like $4/movie/day.
5. If you did not return your movie with the original receipt, they would claim that you never turned it in, and refuse to look for it.
6. Their late fees were ridiculously high.
7. They refused to start stocking DVDs until most other stores were majority-DVD.
7. Do I even need to add that their customer service was haughty and imperious?

Anyway, mostly it sucked, but I was still sad when they closed. The owners were this middle-aged gay couple who had never really done anything else in their lives.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 8:26 AM
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My experience with children, spouse, friends, business associates, et al is that no matter how connected we are, someone will get lost, someone will go to the wrong place, someone will be late (that "someone" is, regrettably, often me). Perhaps it happens less than before widespread use of the Internet, mobile phones, GPS et al, but the ease of communication appears to be somewaht offset by apparent continuing urges (i) to get distracted and/or (ii) to do things very casually, precisely because we're so connected.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 8:26 AM
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There's no 8 because of the shitty customer service.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 8:27 AM
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God, Blockbuster sucked so bad. Remember how they used to released censored versions of movies they found particularly violent? Schmucks.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 8:29 AM
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9 is so not my experience. You can supply someone an address and they easily find your house for the kids' birthday party. If they get lost, they just call and you clarify. All these acquaintances get their kids to the birthday party, easy-peasy. Nobody actually misses the party because they're circling in the wrong part of town for two hours.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 8:30 AM
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5: I do fine without GPS, which is lucky since the maps app on my phone has a constant ~1/2 mile offset to the north west. Wherever I am the app claims I am somewhere else. I can sort of figure it out since I know the offset exists and it's approximate magnitude, but a paper map and road signs are much more reliable.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 8:30 AM
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The one in my high street has been missing l t rs from the sign since at least 2008, and the trend has accelerated since going into administration; they're down to the possibly deliberate OUST R now.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 8:32 AM
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I thought Blockbuster had universally gone out of business.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 8:37 AM
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9/12: I just witnessed a perplexing incident of a misplaced person a few weeks ago: This person, who is a few years older than me, and very netted with all the Apple products and what not, was trying to get to a meeting at someone's house:
1. First they went to the wrong house.
2. Then they apparently didn't have the correct address.
3. So they drove around in a cab in the general area for a long time without calling someone else at the meeting.

It was so bizarre.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 8:38 AM
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Yes Blockbuster sucked it. OTOH most of the owners and high level executives who instituted all of the shitty policies made out like bandits. Wayne Huizenga is a billionaire, Viacom didn't do badly on it and it's now owned by Dish Network which picked it up for a fire sale price and can more or less happily sell it off for parts. I think Carl Ichan lost money on it but guess what he's still super rich anyway. So once again the joke's on us.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 8:39 AM
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15: Me too.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 8:40 AM
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You can supply someone an address and they easily find your house for the kids' birthday party.

When there is someone who somehow doesn't participate in the new world of easy-to-find everything, it is SO ANNOYING. The manager of the string quartet we had at our wedding kept emailing me to ask for directions to the wedding site, when he already had the address. It was all I could do not to send him a link to the google maps directions.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 8:44 AM
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The greatness of pre-Blockbuster video stores was that they had no money and VHS tapes were priced like they were made out of cocaine, so they'd only have one or two copies of popular movies and they'd fill up the shelves with whatever weird/sketchy stuff was available cheap. I saw a lot of really great movies that way! Also Faces of Death and I Spit on Your Grave.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 8:49 AM
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VHS tapes were priced like they were made out of cocaine

God, that was so insane. New VHS tape: $90! Slightly used VHS tape, a month later: $5!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 8:50 AM
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I do fondly remember wandering the cult and sci-fi sections of Videosmith collecting additional evidence for my theory that the elaborateness of painted covers varied inversely with the quality of the movie. Looking at you, Megaforce.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 8:52 AM
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Is it more sociably acceptable to be late now? (Because you can phone or text and say "see you in 20 min" and your friend can go and have a coffee, rather than waiting in the cold just in case you arrive?)

It may be just me - there are a lot of confounding variables e.g. my no longer being a teenager with a small, intense group of friends; nostalgia; most of my friendship group now being Spanish.

Thinking about it, that last in particular could be skewing my anecdata.


Posted by: Seeds | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 8:57 AM
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I remember planning to meet up with a friend who was driving cross-country.

Last year I had occasion to meet-up with three college friends with whom I had gone on a trip to New Orleans in the year or two after we all graduated from college. None of us could recall or retroactively figure out how it all came together, as two had been on the road in Wyoming working oil rigs, I was in an apartment they would not have known in Ohio, and the fourth was living with his folks elsewhere in Ohio. I think we sort of kept track via letters to last known addresses, or parents, or known friends of friends and at some point got phone numbers for those in fixed locations. But I actually cannot remember.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 8:57 AM
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I loved physical video stores, because they permitted me to watch movies while not having TV reception or cable. Now I need to have some form of cable delivery of unlimited movies/content into my house (Netflix would fall under this). Since I find TV to be one of the most addictive things ever invented this has led me to waste a lot more time and generally lowered my IQ. Basically, physical stores enabled all the precommittment devices that let me manage my TV addiction. Now they are gone. The internet era means that we all have to have mainlne access to delightfully addictive yet toxic pop culture at all times.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 8:58 AM
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19: I've had the opposite problem where my boss would give me extremely detailed directions to find a place based on landmarks. I have a phone and we live on a grid system, I'll find the place just fine!


Posted by: LizSpigot | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 9:13 AM
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Remember how they used to released censored versions of movies they found particularly violent?

Or, you know, sexually titillating! Paradigmatic point-missing: they chopped the running-around-the-pond-naked scene in A Room with a View. Not exactly sexual! Even if I did pause it a lot when I was 18 because Rupert Graves was a bit of a problem for me!


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 9:16 AM
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20: Yes, this, exactly. I saw every cheezy horror movie available in whatever regional chain I was dealing with in the 80s (in Annapolis it was Errol's). The Sentinel? Yes! Crawlspace? Sign me up!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 9:19 AM
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19: In, oh, some year or other I had a friend who proudly still did not have a cell phone and use to make a big deal about how little it hampered him, except of course it was always a huge hassle to meet him anywhere because everyone else in the universe had gotten used to the way you meet people when everyone has a cell phone.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 9:20 AM
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The one that I remember was that they cut the final scene from Gallipoli. Come on!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 9:20 AM
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For meeting up while on the road, A friend and I worked out a simple method: you call my mom to say where you are, then I'll call my mom a little bit later. Naturally mom wasn't home when one or the other called, and hilarity ensued.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 9:22 AM
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Crawlspace? Sign me up!

Ha! I remember Crawlspace. Now late-night Showtime Beyond fills that niche. Ticked Off Trannies with Knives! Pig Hunt! Albino Farm! Medium Raw!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 9:26 AM
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30: Really?! (It is very odd to remember that Mel Gibson was once super beautiful. Ugh.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 9:26 AM
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33: Watching the actors of your youth age is distinctly weird. Men more than women, for me, I think largely because actors playing leads when I was young were more likely to be in their late thirties or forties than women were, so they're old men by now. Beautiful doesn't apply, but the transition from Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally to the shriveled ancient thing he is now is a powerful reminder that we're all going to die.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 9:35 AM
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Die from laughter, maybe!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 9:36 AM
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You could have seen Billy Crystal as a shriveled ancient thing in The Princess Bride before you could have seen him in When Harry Met Sally. Plus, The Princess Bride is a better movie.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 9:38 AM
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Letterman popped up on some promo last night, immediately after the Super Bowl, and I said "Whoa, he must have stopped dyeing his hair after he went off the air!" Jammies said "What are you talking about? He's still on the air."

Letterman just looked so unexpectedly white-haired and elderly that I assumed he'd transitioned to retirement and just back-filled convenient fake facts to support that.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 9:38 AM
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34: Mickey Rourke FTW.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 9:39 AM
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I was stunned to realize that was Letterman. I mean, Letterman's been sick, but I didn't recognize him at all -- I thought it was an old-man character actor. I still think of him as vaguely a young man.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 9:40 AM
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everyone else in the universe had gotten used to the way you meet people when everyone has a cell phone.

I like cell phones, I love having online maps available, but I do get annoyed when people completely lose the old habits for meeting up. "Oh, yes, I know we had picked a place to meet, but I got there 10 minutes early, so I wandered off to do something else, and I have no idea why my cell phone didn't ring when you tried to call me."


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 9:40 AM
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Well yes Mickey Rourke but booze drugs random boxing and being super fucking bat shit insane does show up in one's facial features. Letterman just got weirdly super old.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 9:41 AM
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Wow, I always think of David Letterman as someone who's looked exactly the same for 20 years. He certainly went gray at least 20 years ago.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 9:42 AM
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Billy Crystal's public personality has always been pathetic, so he does not seem to be aging well. Patti Smith or Clint Eastwood have also gotten old, but I don't feel the same urge to look away.

Possibly BC is a great person and just plays a sniveling buffoon for a living.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 9:43 AM
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John Stewart always looks like a freaking baby when he shows clips of the Daily Show from the late 90s.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 9:43 AM
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45

Drew Barrymore looks very different from the first movie I saw her in.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 9:47 AM
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Here's last night's promo duo Letterman and Luck, in April 2012.

He seems to have aged a lot since THEN, actually.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 9:49 AM
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Right, the pic in 46 looks like totally normal Letterman, unchanged for about twenty years.

I didn't know he'd been sick lately.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 9:50 AM
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Yeah, I'd say the difference between 46 and last night's Letterman spot is the difference between looking on the north side of middle aged and looking old.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 9:51 AM
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He aged 10 years that night at the Kennedy Center.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 9:52 AM
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Letterman had an aging inflection point after his surgery.

Billy Crystal's face looked much more convincing in The Princess Bride than it does now.

I was disconcerted to realize a couple of years ago that Gene Hackman is just really darn old now.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 9:52 AM
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This is from last night, right?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 9:53 AM
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Time and money wasted over bullshit.

Yeah, the internet and cellphone have eliminated all that sort of thing and life now just flows as smoothly as KY fresh from the tube.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 9:55 AM
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Omar Sharif has always been an old man to me, but young Omar Sharif looks uncannily like Fontana Labs.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 9:56 AM
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Aging's like that, isn't it? Middleaged people look roughly the same for a couple of decades, and then all of a sudden they're old.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 9:59 AM
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There are also those actors who don't seem to age. I don't mean the botox'd scary ones. I mean people like Keanu Reeves.

Also, I would really like to know what the Hollywood baldness cure is. I mean I know, shitloads of minoxidil, transplants, etc. But it still seems like vanishingly few actors are bald compared to the average.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 10:00 AM
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Whoa, Keanu Reeves is 48? That *is* impressive.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 10:03 AM
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Matt Damon is surprisingly bald lately. (I mean, he shaved his head, but it's also pretty clear he shaved his head because he's seriously balding.)

Anyhow isn't a lot of the Hollywood baldness cure complicated, time-intensive uses of product by hairstylists? Every time I've seen older male actors or newscasters or, at that, Senator-types in person I've been astonished by how little hair they actually had. You can fake a fair bit on camera.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 10:03 AM
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54: Yes. And it feels like that too. IMX there's a sudden awareness of all the things one can no longer do and of all the aches & pains accumulated. I have NOT come to any sort of tranquil acceptance of this.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 10:03 AM
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In fact, I was just reading about how, during the filming of Bonfire of the Vanities, they had to do a lot of extra fussing with lighting so they wouldn't highlight the fact that Bruce Willis's personal stylist was spraypainting his head.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 10:04 AM
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59: I thought that was accomplished by cropping.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 10:05 AM
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Tom Hanks is the guy I've suddenly noticed. He retained enough of a boyish look that I could always reference him back to Big until quite recently.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 10:07 AM
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Bruce Willis is another one, although there the transition that impressed me was youth to middle-age. I was just talking to a couple of thirtyish friends about movies, and Die Hard came up, and I mentioned how much he changed right around that time, from a lithe guy with hair in Moonlighting to a stocky bald guy. They'd had no idea that he'd ever been in anything before Die Hard.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 10:07 AM
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Lots of people spraypaint their heads.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 10:07 AM
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Omar Sharif

Oh, right, the bridge player.

[R]epresented UAR World Team Olympiad 1964, playing captain of Egyptian team World Team Oplypiad 1968, National wins include Interclubs 1960, 1962, 1963, 1964.

Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 10:09 AM
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62: that's what I mean; he was pretty freakin' bald during Moonlighting, they just covered it up.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 10:09 AM
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I mean people like Keanu Reeves

Not having facial expressions really cuts down on the wrinkling.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 10:10 AM
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I mean, if this is the best you can do? There's not much up there.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 10:10 AM
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My reaction to CBS's big "thanks for watching us" promo had was "Good lord, is that Dennis Quaid?!?". He should have let himself age.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 10:11 AM
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Willis embraced his baldness quite early, though, I think. He's certainly seemed to stop pretending a lot earlier than most of his contemporaries.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 10:11 AM
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I agree with Sifu. Bruce Willis was pretty obviously going bald during Moonlighting.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 10:11 AM
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69: partly that's because he's older, and was already signifcantly balding -- and thirty -- by the time he was on TV, so he didn't have a fully-haired look to maintain, I bet.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 10:13 AM
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The picture in 67 is kind of funny. "Shut your eyes but still look at each other. GO!"


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 10:15 AM
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Going, over the course of the show, but it lasted five years or so, and at the end he was still balding rather than actually bald. The body-type difference was more striking; he got all blocky around Die Hard. Not fat, particularly, I think it was weightlifting (possibly with chemical assistance), but it made him look much older.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 10:15 AM
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Not to start talking about the joys and sorrows of actress aging, because that discussion is truly a hole that has no bottom, but I found out last night that Jane Krakowski is actually older than Tina Fey. She's 44! What?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 10:15 AM
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74 isn't surprising to me at all. Isn't she playing someone who is in her early 40s?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 10:16 AM
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If we're talking about older actresses bottoms, we should mention Mary-Louise Parker.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 10:17 AM
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I found out last night that Jane Krakowski is actually older than Tina Fey

How is this not completely obvious?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 10:19 AM
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I guess it shouldn't be completely obvious since she's not as much older as I would have guessed.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 10:20 AM
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You can do an awful lot on camera with makeup; for an actress who's been reasonably lucky in successfully maintaining her youthful body shape, the difference between 20-something skin and 40-something skin is well within the range of what you can do by spackling over flaws.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 10:20 AM
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I thought that HDTV was making it harder to do stuff like that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 10:23 AM
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at the end he was still balding rather than actually bald

I"m telling you, that was spraypaint.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 10:29 AM
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Does anybody know Cybill Shepherd?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 10:32 AM
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82: Are you hoping to be introduced?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 10:34 AM
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I have a distinct memory of a Moonlighting episode in which Rona Barrett asked David Addison (aka Bruce Willis) where his hair had gone.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 10:36 AM
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I remember the one where they did The Taming of the Shrew.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 10:37 AM
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I guess most of you have no idea who Rona Barrett is (I checked to make sure -- yes, she's still alive!)


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 10:47 AM
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86 - Were you concerned that masturbation to Ms. Barrett was illicit?


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 11:11 AM
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I"m telling you, that was spraypaint.

Yup! So delicious. See here.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 11:20 AM
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87: Of course! But I'm relieved to say that as of now, there's nothing to worry about.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 11:28 AM
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88: man, that book is so great. I don't know how I only just read it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 11:38 AM
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90.1 gets it exactly right.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 12:06 PM
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Regarding the OP, I'm surprised no one has mentioned the Thomas Schelling roadtrip: http://www.hks.harvard.edu/news-events/publications/hks-magazine/archives/summer-2012/game-changer


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 12:11 PM
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In, oh, some year or other I had a friend who proudly still did not have a cell phone and use to make a big deal about how little it hampered him, except of course it was always a huge hassle to meet him anywhere because everyone else in the universe had gotten used to the way you meet people when everyone has a cell phone.

Ugh. I have a friend who brags on not having a car. However, no, I don't want to meet you for a drink and then drive 40 extra minutes to "drop you off". Get a fucking bicycle already, if you're too virtuous for a car.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 12:17 PM
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Jane Krakowski would have to be in her 40s you would think as she was on Ally McBeal which started about 15 years ago.


Posted by: Ronald Wilson Reagan | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 12:21 PM
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95

How embarrassing!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 12:22 PM
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Jane Krakowski is a month and a half younger than me.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 12:23 PM
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How embarrassing!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 12:24 PM
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95 to 93.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 12:24 PM
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Wait. October comes before November. Month and a half older than me.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 12:24 PM
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100

I only watched a couple episodes, but it's the fact that she'd old the entire premise of her 30 Rock character?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 12:25 PM
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And aging quickly.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 12:25 PM
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96: It was a good year for sluts!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 12:26 PM
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And why is 94 presidential? Too embarrassed to admit to watching Ally McBeal?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 12:27 PM
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102: There are no bad years in that endeavor.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 12:29 PM
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I know my parents still use Vul/can Vi/deo, which has the advantage of decent curation and some rare stuff.

We are Minivet's aged parents. (We also use I Luv Video and the public library.)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 12:30 PM
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102: Jane, please don't feel insulted! I meant it as a compliment!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 12:32 PM
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Who amongst us are not Minivet's parents?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 12:43 PM
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When we were at an AT&T store recently, an employee really was momentarily speechless when we said we don't have any kind of paid TV. It was funny.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 1:28 PM
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103: Yes.


Posted by: Ronald Wilson Smearcase | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 1:42 PM
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108: I just ended a five year TV hiatus by getting 800 channels of crap piped into my living room on a giant screen. I don't know that it's really been an improvement. The first couple of days I was in a kind of shock due to overload of options and ended up just sitting in front of the damn thing clicking like rat in a Skinner box. Now I've roughly figured out the landscape I'm a little more restrained but I still have a sense that I'm missing some better show no matter what I'm watching.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 3:42 PM
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I still have a sense that I'm missing some better show no matter what I'm watching.

Just accept that there's some better thing you could be doing no matter what show you're watching, which is certainly always true, and then "some better show you could be watching" will just be a trivial subset of the potential better things you could be doing.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 3:47 PM
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110: I signed up for everything available a couple of years ago as a distraction and am considering getting rid of almost all of it. On the other hand, the cats like to watch Animal Planet in the evenings.

Yeah, I have the there-must-be-something-better-on syndrome too; there's lots of clicking or iPadding through the guide every night. Getting a life can be difficult but it does need to be done and watching TV isn't doing it for me.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 3:51 PM
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You should just suck it up and accept heebie's brunch invitation.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 3:54 PM
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113: Heh. Current wisdom says "About two years to approach normality" and I'd say that's about right for whatever normal used to be.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 4:08 PM
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The one year I had cable in my own apartment, I ended up watching mostly Law and Order and C-SPAN. Everything else required either commitment or eyestrain.

(It might have been extra-basic cable. There certainly wasn't HBO or MTV or any of the fancy channels.)


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 5:28 PM
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The DVR has largely put an end to my "there must be something better on" feeling. Instead, you just have a near-endless collection of shows or movies that you'd kind of like to actually watch. It's great. TV is awesome.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 5:32 PM
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Hearing that Blockbuster is closing more stores is like hearing that an old movie star has died and realizing that you thought they had died years ago.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 5:38 PM
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I had a similar realization when I heard that Newsweek still had covers on which to place stories last year.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 5:42 PM
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110: I don't know that it's really been an improvement.

Communist.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 5:43 PM
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If TV is so great, why doesn't Netflix have Tremors or Zardoz?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 6:14 PM
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Whose fetus is Tremors?


Posted by: heebie-heebie | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 6:15 PM
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Dude that's precisely why you need 8,000 channels of TV and a capacious DVR. Netflix is sort of OK but basically sucks it.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 6:16 PM
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92: I was waiting for someone to mention that. A friend of mine heard Schelling tell that story in person.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 6:20 PM
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121: Perfect for an unexpected baby to born in Arizona.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 6:26 PM
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Or any baby that will grow up to try to kill Kevin Bacon.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 6:29 PM
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I'm assuming nobody wants to kill Fred Ward and that wanting to kill Reba isn't specific enough.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 6:34 PM
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Dude that's precisely why you need 8,000 channels of TV and a capacious DVR a fast Internet connection and a BitTorrent client.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 6:38 PM
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Perhaps of interest:

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/culture/2013/02/house-of-cards-and-the-death-of-cable.html


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 6:45 PM
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127: shhhhh don't be hurtful.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 6:46 PM
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Anyhow everybody knows that TV is more fun when you're paying a $70 a month premium for the sixty sports channels you watch maybe once a year.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 6:50 PM
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129, 130: The funny thing is, I happily pay a ton of money to have soccer (and occasionally team handball!) on tap whenever I want it. I will admit it stings a bit when half the games I want to watch are only carried in SD on my provider, though.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 6:57 PM
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Team handball is a harsh mistress.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 7:06 PM
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1. Today I realized again (that is, I re-realized) that these fancy cell phones only make life simpler if you keep them charged.

2. On NPR they still introduce Tina Brown as "The Editor of the Daily Beast and Newsweek." Being editor of Newsweek is going to persist the way some royal titles persist, isn't it? Like how Elizabeth II is also Lord High Exoplexadont of East Eurasia.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 7:33 PM
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130, 131: We came got it for the soccer, stayed for the tennis, and fell in love with it for NFL Red Zone. The last is about the greatest thing of its kind ever (and I really had been falling away from pro football prior to discovering it). Every play of consequence in every NFL game as it happens (or close to) with no commercials. Made me plan to be at home from about 3-4:30 Sunday afternoons this fall*. Triple box madness!

*Sadly.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 7:34 PM
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I've appreciated having a cell phone, but I still haven't moved on to a phone that can give me directions. I'm hoping something like a no-contract Nexus 4 will work for me. Most no-contract phones don't look very good.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 7:50 PM
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The turn-by-turn directions on phones are astoundingly good now. Seems like standalone GPS devices will be the next gadget category to die.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 8:12 PM
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HM has surprisingly few weird titles these days, depressingly. (I mean, aside from all the funky Lord High Admiral stuff, but that's just the civil service using her as a kind of title-banking mechanism.) I think the best is that she's the Paramount Chief of Fiji.

Apparently they gave up out of sheer embarrassment on the really good ones, which is a bit sad really isn't it?


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 8:13 PM
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92: The Schelling roadtrip reminded me of a trip where I was to fly P'burgh to Des Moines and join friends there to drive all night to Steamboat Springs. My route was P'burgh -> Indy -> Des Moines, but weather trouble landed me at O'Hare at dark-thirty in the morning. In trying to sort out options, I called United (counters were all closed) and discovered that there was a reservation to Denver in my name first thing that morning. Once in Denver I had just confirmed how totally fucked I was on my luggage, and was standing in line to get a ticket for the Steamboat bus when my friend burst through the doors. Much mutual relief. (And my luggage even showed up in Steamboat eventually.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 8:16 PM
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was standing in line to get a ticket for the Steamboat bus when my friend burst through the doors.

...and that friend's name was Thomas Schelling.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 8:19 PM
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I don't know if 139 is an exercise in ultra-explicitness or a failure to remember the beginning of a comment.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 8:23 PM
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140: Neither, actually. Just a joke that fell flat, apparently.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 8:28 PM
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That's just what I would have done!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 8:30 PM
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Prince Philip is still a Royal Chief of the Order of Lohogu.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 8:31 PM
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Because you're really Thomas Schelling.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 8:32 PM
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144 -> 142.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 8:32 PM
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Although there are plenty of non-Royal people who are merely Chiefs or Commanders of the Order of Lohogu.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 8:33 PM
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141: no I laughed


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 8:33 PM
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144 -> 143!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 8:34 PM
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141, 147: OK , I see the joke now, but since it came at my own expense I was blind to it...

Jerk.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 8:43 PM
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In my capacity as Thomas Schelling I have also designated Prince Philip as a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Falcon, a Knight of the Royal Order of the Seraphim, a Knight Commander with Swords of the Order of Saints George and Constantine, a Member of the Most Distinguished Order of Izzuddin, a Member First Class of the Order of the Supreme Sun, a Knight of the Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau, an Honorary Colonel of the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment, and a Grand Commander of the Order of Maritime Merit of the San Francisco Port Authority.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 8:48 PM
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Is this thread dormant? If so, for those who care, more on Jared Diamond.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 9:18 PM
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151: Obviously I still haven't read the book, but if the descriptions of it I've seen are accurate those criticisms sound right on. There's a long history of anthropologists (and others) interpreting modern-day "tribal" societies as timeless and straightforwardly representative of prehistoric societies, which is just totally not true and tends to ignore a lot of major disruptions to indigenous societies inflicted by Western colonialism. Sounds like Diamond's new book is a particularly nefarious version of this.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 10:06 PM
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Pretty impressive that after being sued for libel 5 years ago by Papuan individuals over libels in a New Yorker article, Diamond has apparently doubled down sufficiently to now be sued for libel by multiple Papuan religious organizations and NGOs.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 10:22 PM
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I wonder how many libel suits it'll take for him to stop pretending to be an expert on Papuan society.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 10:28 PM
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OK but can we agree that using libel law for this kind of thing is a steaming pile of flaming bullshit and get a big whoop whoop for the First Amendment and the Warren Court?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 10:49 PM
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I don't know enough about libel law to have an opinion about whether this is a reasonable use of it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 10:53 PM
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As a well known voice of reasonableness, I'll say it's not.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 11:08 PM
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Fair enough. I still say Diamond's a jerk for writing this stuff (again, assuming the descriptions of what he's written are accurate) even if it's not actually libelous.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 11:10 PM
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151-54: agreed.

155: if you've got other mechanisms for the people in question to use, and you're willing to help them, I'm confident that they'll consider their options.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 11:19 PM
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I just agreed with myself.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 11:20 PM
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Despite what CN said, the most recent article doesn't say the groups are suing him for libel, just criticizing him, which is OK by me (although frankly the criticisms described in that article don't seem all that devastating to me). The current set of libel suits, though, are pretty much pure bullshit from what I've read, and of course people have other options.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 11:30 PM
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Well, you were correct that that link provides additional information on Diamond.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 11:30 PM
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162 to 164. To 161, yeah, I noticed that too, but presumed that Ned had some other information that the groups in question were suing Diamond for libel (perhaps from following some of the links).


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 11:31 PM
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164? 160, obvs.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 11:32 PM
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although frankly the criticisms described in that article don't seem all that devastating to me

I think it depends almost entirely on whether you believe in the concept of cultural sovereignty, and if so, if you think it matters. I say that because teo nails it in 152: there's a long history of archeologists -- and, more important, government entities -- using the ostensible primitivism of indigenous peoples as a pretext for subjugating them. At the same time, such portrayals obscure culpability in centuries of dispossession and, in some cases, near genocide. Given all of that, there are a lot of activists who believe that this kind of thing can't be allowed to stand, particularly not when it's the work of a best-selling author.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 02- 4-13 11:36 PM
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On Diamond in general, I agree with what someone in one of the previous Diamond threads (UPETGI, I think) said: "I don't care if Diamond is racist; I care if he's right." That is, I don't really care about Diamond personally at all. I also don't have anything against his general approach and methodology. If his theories are consistent with the archaeological and ethnographic records and have the potential to advance popular understanding of human history, then I'm interested in them. I haven't seen much evidence that that's the case. His theories seem to mostly be wrong, even if that wasn't necessarily apparent at the time he was writing, as increasingly seems to be true of his case studies in Collapse. He might be more correct in Guns, Germs, & Steel, or at least I've heard less pushback on that one. The new book sounds so ridiculous that I don't think it's worth engaging at all.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02- 5-13 12:21 AM
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I would think that Von Wafer of all people would have a healthy skepticism of libel suits as a tool for resolving disputed accounts of conflicts involving indigenous peoples. Just sayin'.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 02- 5-13 5:13 AM
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Guns, Germs and Steel is trivially wrong, as it takes a teleological approach where the then current state of the world was taken as its end point, without acknowledgement that this was neither an inevitability nor a permanent state of affairs.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 02- 5-13 5:42 AM
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I'm not sure 168 makes much sense to me. I don't think anything in the book makes any claims that everything that turned out was inevitable, or that it's a permanent state of affairs. It takes as explanandum the world as is and tries to provide an explanans (in terms of geography, climate, biological diversity, disease, etc). It might be a crappy explanation, but I don't think there's anything conceptually incoherent or trivially wrong about the project considered in abstract.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02- 5-13 5:58 AM
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166 is correct and I apologize for thinking he was being sued for libel again.

Diamond is confusing in a number of ways. For example, he's a 75-year-old American who comes across in interviews as a 60-year-old British man. Despite having a beard that went out of fashion in 1920, and being named "Jared", a name which I believe was only used in America between 1975 and 2000.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02- 5-13 6:49 AM
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The current set of libel suits, though, are pretty much pure bullshit from what I've read, and of course people have other options.

Well, hang on. I don't know which way the disputed facts are going to shake out, but Diamond's New Yorker piece named specific people as having murdered many other people. That's pretty damn libellous, if it's untrue.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 02- 5-13 7:26 AM
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I don't understand 168 either. There's nothing incoherent about saying "If we ran history again it's likely that residents of Europe/Asia/North Africa would eventually take over the rest of the world while spreading lots of disease, due largely to biogeography." It could be wrong, and certainly just knowing it happened that way once isn't enough to get that conclusion, but it's a coherent thesis.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02- 5-13 7:38 AM
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I wonder if there were big disease-driven die-offs during other continent meetings, say the Great American Interchange.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02- 5-13 7:40 AM
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Isn't she playing someone who is in her early 40s?

Yep. Last night I saw a 30 Rock episode in which the character's true birthyear was revealed as 1969; the actress's is apparently 1968.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 02- 5-13 7:49 AM
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How did I never notice that Jared Diamond and Jared's Diamonds are almost the same words?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 5-13 7:58 AM
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175: he was named for the store.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 5-13 7:59 AM
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174: There is a great scene where Jack grills her with a series of questions to catch her lying about her age. Oh here it is.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02- 5-13 8:03 AM
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171 -- it's not that the accusation wasn't defamatory if false, it is that it was a sourced piece and there's no indication that Diamond just made it up or was intentionally lying, in other words exactly what you don't want libel law to be punishing.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02- 5-13 8:08 AM
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Jared Diamond's accent is totally a variant of mildly highfalutin' Boston accent.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 5-13 8:12 AM
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Also he has the same beard my grandfather did.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 5-13 8:13 AM
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I wonder if there were big disease-driven die-offs during other continent meetings, say the Great American Interchange.

Probably not. The thing about the Columbian Interchange was that you got two previously isolated populations of the same species (humans) meeting. That didn't happen in the Great American Interchange - the fauna of South America were very different from the fauna of North America. Too different, almost certainly, to be susceptible to the same pathogens. You didn't get huge epidemics spreading through the kangaroo population as soon as the Europeans landed in Australia with their horses - kangaroos can't catch horse diseases.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 02- 5-13 8:14 AM
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It would be interesting if (CAUTION: WILDLY UNINFORMED SPECULATION AHEAD) the genetic bottlenecks that have made the "out of africa and back again" kind of hypotheses hard to untangle were due to disease-driven die-offs when groups of humans left or returned to the continent.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 5-13 8:17 AM
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I don't know, Ajay, a lot of pathogens infect multiple species. Think of rabies. Or bird flu (well, birds aren't segregated by continent, they migrate). Or tularemia.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02- 5-13 8:19 AM
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181: Good point. I guess other than human migrations there's just not going to be many examples in a short enough time frame.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02- 5-13 8:22 AM
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In fact most human diseases have animal "reservoirs", which makes them near-impossible to eradicate. I imagine most kangaroo diseases also have wombat reservoirs or whatever.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02- 5-13 8:24 AM
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Wombat pouches?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-13 8:24 AM
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By "diseases" I mean "infectious diseases that cause severe illness".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02- 5-13 8:26 AM
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I wonder about bat migrations...


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02- 5-13 8:31 AM
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Bats can't migrate very easily because they turn to dust if they aren't under cover by the time the sun rises.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-13 8:33 AM
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Au contraire, Moby:

http://www.discoverwildlife.com/animals/fruit-bats-africas-greatest-mammal-migration

I don't know, Ajay, a lot of pathogens infect multiple species. Think of rabies.

But the closer the species are, the more likely that is to happen. There are quite a few diseases that we share with apes; some with other mammals; almost none with reptiles, and none, as far as I know, with fish. South American mammals were quite genetically distinct from North American ones - a lot of them were, IIRC, marsupials (except for the males, which were parsupials) which is a lineage that's been separate from us placentals since the Cretaceous.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 02- 5-13 8:40 AM
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a lot of them were, IIRC, marsupials

But a lot of them weren't - xenarthra, notoungulates, litopterns, monkeys... Xenarthra did fine in the GAI and colonised the north quite widely, so did South American rodents; monkeys survived in situ; notoungulates and litopterns were reduced to a handful of species. If you've got a good story about why, Rudyard Kipling would like a word with you.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02- 5-13 8:57 AM
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Well, that suggests it was nothing to do with disease outbreaks, because you'd expect the genetically closer species to be more vulnerable to post-exchange diseases - so more of the placentals should have died out and the marsupials should have survived.

There's no overarching story about why families A-D of South American animals should survive and families E-V died out. But I don't think disease transfer would have had much to do with it.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 02- 5-13 9:08 AM
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marsupials (except for the males, which were parsupials)

Ajay just blew my mind.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 5-13 9:14 AM
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Agreed. My feeling is that "it's probably a bit more complicated than that". There were probably multiple factors in play. Disease transmission may well have been one of them, affecting some species here and there; but not the Angel of Death breathing in the face of the whole damn biota.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02- 5-13 9:16 AM
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I was about to say that Xanarthra were still pretty darn far away from North American mammals, but fact-checking it seems that Armadillo's are significant disease vectors. So I guess they're not far enough away.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02- 5-13 9:35 AM
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Armadillo are the main vector for tire diseases.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-13 9:36 AM
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Unfogged bate: Even when Vilsack brought up some of his [Steve King's] more extreme past statements he skillfully diffused them.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 02- 5-13 9:39 AM
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197: Could be accurate. Maybe it meant that, by discussing them, he spread them around widely.
"Unfogged bate" could also be accurate if it is in the subjunctive or imperative moods: grammatical errors can indeed cause Unfogged to bate, i.e. to rouse and flap angrily in the manner of a jessed falcon which has sighted its quarry.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 02- 5-13 9:45 AM
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How did I never notice that Jared Diamond and Jared's Diamonds are almost the same words?

Me either! We're not so bright, apparently.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02- 5-13 9:46 AM
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he was named for the store.

Just like the late businessman Armand Hammer was named for the baking powder.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 02- 5-13 9:58 AM
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198: that was why I found it interesting. Wrong, but not straightforwardly so. And thanks for standpiping "bate," you dork.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 02- 5-13 10:04 AM
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Yeah, defuse/diffuse is an error I see generally literate people making. It ruffles my feathers, but I don't think of it as particularly diagnostic of being an idiot.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-13 10:10 AM
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Back to the cell phone stuff, it's really an urban vs. rural thing, or at least, urban vs. some rural areas. It's odd visiting my parents, because they don't have cell phone reception at home*. The place has wi-fi, so I have e-mail access on my own gadget and can follow online discussions like this, but a phone isn't great for any online discussion or writing long e-mails. And I can't text and can't receive phone calls unless the caller knows my parent's number. If I want to go somewhere I've never been or meet someone at a restaurant or something, I have to plan ahead there a lot more than I do here.

* I can get one bar if I climb the hill behind the house, or walk up the road about a quarter of a mile, but no phone service in the house except for conventional phones. Downtown in the nearby town, my phone might get one bar of reception in good weather. On the roads in the area, it varies.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 02- 5-13 11:01 AM
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