Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun

Pure Opinion

Beach Blanket Blandness: MTV Portrays Laguna Beach Students as A-List Losers

AT THIS TIME LAST YEAR, the incessant blogbuzz around the election caused my head to explode. While it was being rebuilt, my wife took over some of my "duties" and took an up close and personal look at MTV's "Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County." Now like the Asian Flu, the show is back for a second season because, well... because in America anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

Here's a look back which will be, because teenagers live a life of enervation and repetition, just like a look ahead.


Contributor's note: Of course I was mad. I was the one who had to clean up all that gunk and brain matter when his head exploded. As the reassembly nears its final stages, he wrote out in a shaking hand, "Post, please. You must post, something...anything." So here is something. -- Mrs. VdL

GrouppicI watch "Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County"on MTV with the same mixture of horror and fascination you feel when you�re driving by a bad car crash. You don't want to gawk, but you can't help it.

I recognize the beaches. I recognize downtown. I recognize the Surf and Sand Resort. But I don't recognize any of these characters. Because these teenagers have to be characters. They can't be real high school kids. At least I hope and pray that they're not.

Continued...
Right Idea. Wrong Lawyer

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"...firms "risk becoming poster children
for attorney greed at a time when the
profession is already under attack

Tobacco lawyers to Mass.: we'll sue for the whole $2 billion

Law firms Brown Rudnick Berlack & Israels and Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein now say they'll sue the state of Massachusetts for the whole $2 billion they say they're entitled to -- a 25 percent contingency share of the state's $8 billion tobacco-settlement booty -- rather than accept the measly $775 million they've been awarded in arbitration. The Associated Press says the firms "risk becoming poster children for attorney greed at a time when the profession is already under attack for high damage awards. 'This lawsuit is about greed and it's about selfishness. They should be ashamed of themselves,' said former Maine Attorney General James Tierney, who worked with attorneys general from around the country to help negotiate the $246 billion master settlement." ("Law firms go to court to make Massachusetts pay full tobacco legal fee", AP/San Francisco Chronicle, Nov. 3; Steve Bailey, "Pigs at the trough", Boston Globe, Oct. 10) For earlier coverage of the Massachusetts fees, see May 19; Jan. 2-3, 2002; Aug. 13-14, 2001; Dec. 22, 1999.


From:Overlawyered


Posted by Vanderleun at Nov 8, 2003 1:53 PM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Salon $191,250 Closer to Breaking Even

One of the last staggering dinosaurs of the dot.com era lurched about $200K closer to solvency today when it dropped Michael O'Donnell, the grossly overpaid chief executive. O'Donnell said he felt "it was time to move on," to the relief of his family who were terrified he was about to "spend more time with them."

In a SF Gate article:Salon chief calling it quits after 7 years we are informed:

O'Donnell earned an annual salary of $191,250, with his contract entitling him to nine months of severance pay if he left for "a good reason," according to filings at the Securities and Exchange Commission. O'Donnell declined to discuss his financial arrangements.

David Talbot, Salon's chairman, editor in chief and new chief executive, said the "richly deserved" severance package was "mutually agreeable."

Well, we agree. Although we think that the 54 surviving employees might be muttering, "Where's the Kool-Aid?"

Still, this is arguably the best step Salon has taken since making itself into a pay site where items such as the bulk of Joe Conason's Journal and its carping revisionism are safely hidden behind a begging screen.

Unfortunately for the struggling site, David Talbot remains at the helm to treat us to such car-sized sauropod coprolites as this morning's effort at transforming the quasi-quisling Joseph Wilson into "A true American hero."

[Clue to Talbot from a recent post somewhere in the blogsphere: "Dave, it's about the book deal. It is always about the book deal."

Evidently as long as there are silly silicon millionaires willing to dump pocket change into Salon's always lint-ridden pockets, Talbot's annual quarter-mil plus is secure.

It's good that the investors are all men and not "Mothers Who Think."


Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 10, 2003 8:46 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
The Only Game in Town

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Player groups can achieve incredible success
in ways you wouldn't expect, and that helps
keep real life fresh and interesting.

Gamespot always has great reviews of fascinating new games, but this week Greg Kasavin takes you to whole new levels in his brilliant review of Real Life

Real life is densely populated and features a wide variety of places to explore and activities to engage in.Real life isn't above reproach. In one of the stranger design decisions in the game, for some reason you have no choice in determining your character's initial starting location, appearance, or gender, which are chosen for you seemingly at random.

However, over the course of your character's life, you have tremendous opportunity to customize and define a truly unique appearance for yourself--not only can you fine-tune your hairstyle and hair color, but you can also purchase and wear a seemingly infinite variety of clothing and influence your body type using various in-game mechanisms. For example, if your character exercises frequently, you will appear fit and muscular. You may also choose from a huge variety of tattoos and body piercings, and later you can even pay for cosmetic surgery, though this is expensive and there's a small chance that the operation will backfire.

At any rate, real life offers a truly remarkable amount of variety in determining your character's outward appearance, and this depth isn't only skin deep. The only problem is you're relegated to playing as a human character, though the game does randomly choose one of several different races for you (which have little bearing on gameplay and mostly just affect appearances and your standing with certain factions)

Easily one of the most appealing and insightful reviews of a game in recent memory. Read it all. It might even make you want to play.


Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 19, 2003 8:43 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
DRIVE-BY: Wrapping Up the News of the Day

GREENPEACE AND SIERRA CLUB FUND RAISING UP IN SMOKE IN SUMMERHAVEN

Wildfire Burns 200 to 250 Homes in Southern Arizona Mountain Hamlet

TUCSON, Ariz. June 19 —
A wildfire driven by winds up to 60 mph roared through a southern Arizona mountain community Thursday, burning 200 to 250 homes, a fire official said.

It took less than an hour for the fire to tear through an area of Summerhaven with about 500 homes, burning some and sparing others, said Larry Humphrey, commander of the team directing the fight against the fire.


GROUP HUG FOR BENTON HARBOR DECLARED BY MICHIGAN GOV. JENNY GRAHOLM. COMMUNITY WARMS UP TO COOLING DOWN.

Michigan Gov. Granholm Urges Healing After Surveying Riot-Torn City of Benton Harbor

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. June 19 —
Gov. Jennifer Granholm urged healing and reconciliation Thursday after surveying the damage from two nights of rioting and meeting with leaders in this city plagued by poverty and racial tensions.

"The state must wrap its arms around this community," Granholm said.


Continued...
Posted by Van der Leun at Jun 19, 2003 8:31 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
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SIDELINES

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By Mail: Gerard Van der Leun | 6616-D Clark Road #176 | Paradise, CA 95969

Your Shower Is Lame, Your Dishwasher Doesn’t Work, and Your Clothes are Dirty

It’s not just about the showerhead.
The water pressure in our homes and apartments has been gradually getting worse for two decades, thanks to EPA mandates on state and local governments. This has meant that even with a good showerhead, the shower is not as good as it might be. It also means that less water is running through our pipes, causing lines to clog and homes to stink just slightly like the sewer. This problem is much more difficult to fix, especially because plumbers are forbidden by law from hacking your water pressure. | Foundation for Economic Education [HT: Never Yet Melted]


In 2016 the Western political system had a stroke.

The American political system is operating in the curious condition of being an impaired state.
It's not really thinking -- about China, Russia, Syria, Kurdistan. It's not really thinking about anything except half remembered slogans from 1968. Like a person afflicted by a stroke, it can't take a consistent view of external reality because it's regressing into atavisms by a loss of brain function. Impaired


Fake News. At the same time of the political putsch, the mainstream media outlets,

in particular the Washington Post, the New York Times, CNN, MSNBC, and the major networks, via broadcasts and social media, began an orchestrated campaign of defamation and delegitimization.
The crazier and more diverse the media mythologies, the better. Melania Trump was a former call girl and illegal alien. Ivanka Trump was peddling her business wares from the West Wing. Jared Kushner was a profiteering collusionist. Steve Bannon was a racist, Sebastian Gorka an unrepentant Nazi. Baron Trump was a spoiled, autistic child. The late elder Trump had run a racist campaign for mayor. And on and on. Resistance & Regime Change: Any Means Necessary – Lies, Leaks, Violence | National Review


Crime simply does not pay as well as politics or banking.

That may be the way to look at something like the Clinton Foundation and, coming soon, the Obama Foundation.
These are not explicitly criminal organizations, but they certainly play outside the spirit of the laws. Obama is out of office and prohibited from running again, but he still controls the Democratic party. The Clintons would be in charge, if not for the fact that the voters took their under boss out in the Tuesday Night Massacre, otherwise known as the presidential election. Even so, the Clinton Family is still a player. Late Phase Capitalism | The Z Blog


Bodymore, Murderville”

Most whites have become habituated to the reality of life in this part of the world.
Everyone, white and black, knows the reality on the street. The blacks with anything on the ball do exactly like the whites and that’s put distance between themselves and the black ghetto. That does not stop the Progressive maniacs from ranting about racism, but they do it from high up in the towers of their whites-only neighborhoods. As a result, no one hears them and so they can be ignored. The Killing Season | The Z Blog


New Blog Arriving Soon

Some have asked, "Gee whiz, Unca Gerard, where is that thar new blog you keeps a promisin'?"

I am hoping for sometime tonight. Hoping. We've been having some issues getting this winged dinosaur landed.


Drink Tea

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Drink tea, together with your friends; pay attention to the tea, and to your friends, and pay attention to your friends paying attention to the tea. Therein lies the meaning of life. The Essence of Peopling

We would love to cut a deal with the noble indigenous peoples across the Earth—

you can have your Navajo panties and aboriginal dot paintings and every last freaking burrito on the planet so long as you give us back our computers and cell phones and cars and indoor plumbing and electricity and air conditioners. Deal?

If people go their separate ways such a divorce would be an astonishing defeat for the Left.

As late as 2016 it was possible to imagine an America led to a "progressive" future by Hillary Clinton;
an EU guiding all of Europe to a similar destiny and the G20 taking the whole world to the same destination. Indeed everyone told they were fated to follow an Arc of History. Yet after Brexit, Trump and G-Zero it is no longer possible to visualize this outcome. A blue-red division would confirm the failure to create a "progressive" world. No conceivable rollback will ever put Humpty Dumpty together again. Opportunity


Trump, Julius Caesar, and killing tyrants

The Roman lower classes, with whom Caesar was popular, became enraged that a small group of aristocrats had sacrificed Caesar. -- neoneocon

Execute Trump? Nah, You First.

Draining the swamp means not only ejecting Trump from the presidency,
but also bringing himself and everyone assisting in his agenda up on charges of treason. They must be convicted (there is little room to doubt their guilt). And then — upon receiving guilty verdicts — they must all be executed under the law. Impeachment Is No Longer Enough; Donald Trump Must Face Justice | HuffPost [Retreived from GoogleCache after it was expunged from the Huffington Post]


A bee in her bonnet

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Thousands of bees took over a car in the UK and beekeepers are struggling to make them leave -
At first it wasn't clear why the bees chose the blue Nissan car and he and a colleague were trying to determine whether this was just a temporary stop or a new nesting site. But as the bees moved to the inside of the bonnet, filling every nook and cranny, things got more serious. "They're building a lot of wax in there now, and of course once they start doing that, they're reluctant to leave it, because it's the start of building a house. They put a lot of effort into producing the wax," Coulson told Hull Daily Mail. "I've got a feeling this might be their chosen permanent home."


[Bumped] "They send one of ours to the hospital, we send two of theirs to the morgue."

Baseball Shooter a Big Wake-Up Call for the Left | Roger L. SimonRobespierre is alive and well in 2017 USA.

This pathetic character in Alexandria is, now was, the left's ungoverned id. By any means necessary -- that's for sure. They will undoubtedly try to shove him under the rug as quickly as possible, just one more aberrant individual to be forgotten, just one obscure Bernie volunteer gone bad. Sanders did his best to separate himself within minutes of the revelation. Yes, it's undoubtedly true that this was just one rotten apple, but it's also true that only five years ago Bernie was recommending Venezuela -- now ground zero for starvation, kidnapping and murder -- as a path for us to emulate.



Greatest antitheft device when the thieves are millenials:

Man leads Jeffco deputies on low-speed chase in stolen flatbed truck after unable to get out of 1st gear The driver - later identified as 29-year-old Randy Dewayne Vert - refused to stop and continued driving south on Center Point Parkway, Christian said. Vert was apparently unfamiliar with the complexities of a modern manual transmission.

The natural impulse of a political system in institutional crisis is to dig in.

Too many institutions in the West remain decades after their birth, frozen in the moment of their creation.
NASA, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the university system and the United Nations rule us from the past. Public life has become a museum of memes from which nothing can escape without a mummy hand dragging the fugitive back into the darkened interior. It is perhaps no coincidence the two most popular leaders of the Western left, Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders, might credibly impersonate Boris Karloff. They are here to lead us back to 1968. Stuck


The Japanese. Nuked Too Much... or Trying to Get Their Mouths Around Fujiyama Volcano Plate

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We put Japan's most phallic-looking roast beef meal into our mouth at VolcanoKitchen | SoraNews24
Since we’d already become somewhat desensitized to the initially unsettling sensation of peeling strips of meat off the top of the shaft, we mercilessly crushed the egg, sending viscous, gooey liquid running down to the base of the meat rod.
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The power of the press is a figment of the imagination -- humbug --

Oscar Diggs behind the curtain projecting the image of Oz the Great and Powerful!
The Internet did not kill the power of the newspapers. It was suicide. And not just because most of them had Marxist editorials, editors, and reporters. Newspapers lost their sense of community -- and their credibility -- when the heirs to hometown publishers didn't want the paper, sold it to a chain for $1,000 per subscriber to a chain -- Gannett, Knight-Ridder, Thomson -- and moved on. Don Surber: Craigslist killed newspapers


When terrorists enter your children’s school and begin to execute them...

will the gun ban (you favored) in school that prevented abiding staff and teachers from saving your child, come to mind as a good idea?
If the answer to any or all of these and many more reasonable questions, is 'yes,' then you may be a delusional liberal, and likely a coward, and almost as big a threat to our nation as the terrorists who are at war with us." - Morgan K. Freeberg


"Happy birthday, Mr. President...."

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First truth which has been grounded into dust, must spring forth from the earth again.

At the present time . . .he who practices loving-kindness is esteemed and sought after, while he who champions the truth in word and in deed is persecuted and shunned. 
For men desire to base their affairs on everything except the one incorruptible truth which has been set down before us by God , and therefore these affairs have no permanent value . . . only when love and truth meet together, only when men come to understand that the highest act of loving-kindness is to bring men to know and practice the truth, only then will the marriage of love and truth produce that condition on earth in which everyone and everything will occupy the place which has been assigned to it by the will of God. Truth and Peace - Men Of The West


What happened to Nuclear Winter?

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As the media glare faded, its robust scenario appeared less persuasive;
John Maddox, editor of Nature, repeatedly criticized its claims; within a year, Stephen Schneider, one of the leading figures in the climate model, began to speak of "nuclear autumn." It just didn't have the same ring. A final media embarrassment came in 1991, when Carl Sagan predicted on Nightline that Kuwaiti oil fires would produce a nuclear winter effect, causing a "year without a summer," and endangering crops around the world. Sagan stressed this outcome was so likely that "it should affect the war plans." None of it happened. Raconteur Report: Aliens Cause Global Warming by Michael Crichton


If it's consensus, it isn't science. If it's science, it isn't consensus.

I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks.
Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus. - - Woodpile Report


Joe Biden’s niece dodges jail after $100K credit card scam

She walks on a major felony? Of course she did. And who believes she'll keep her end of the deal? In her defense, we're assured she's "a very complicated girl who has a lot of feelings and a lot of issues." Oh ... okay. That explains everything. Hugs from all the little people. Woodpile Report

Why is English so weirdly different from other languages?

There is exactly one language on Earth whose present tense requires a special ending only in the third‑person singular.
I’m writing in it. I talk, you talk, he/she talk-s – why just that? The present‑tense verbs of a normal language have either no endings or a bunch of different ones (Spanish: hablo, hablas, habla). And try naming another language where you have to slip do into sentences to negate or question something. Do you find that difficult? | Aeon Essays



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