Music Slice of Life

42 years ago today…

Tony Pierce reminded me that two formative parts of my youth entered the world on this day…

42 years ago, on July 25th, 1980, one of the greatest albums of all time came out: AC/DC’s Back in Black, the band’s first album after the death of original vocalist Bon Scott. Brian Johnson debuted as the vocalist on this album, and it ended up being the third best-selling album of all time.

Brian Johnson now lives a 90-minute drive south of me in Sarasota.

Also released on this day 42 years ago: Caddyshack!

So now you know two elements that warped my youth.

Money The Current Situation

Someone’s sitting pretty in this economy

Some noteworthy facts from a recent post in Jordan Uhl’s newsletter, I Hate It Here And Never Want To Leave:

  • I’ll open with a direct quote from the newsletter: 75% of middle-income families say their wages are falling behind inflation, according to a new report from Primerica and Change Research. 77% say they’re expecting and preparing for a recession, with 71% already cutting back on spending to help make ends meet.
  • Corporate profits are at 70-year record highs. Since 2020, the after-tax profits made by corporations who aren’t in the business of finance have grown by a trillion dollars:

    Chart: FRED’s “Nonfinancial Corporate Business: Profits After Tax (without IVA and CCAdj)” chart, showing corporate profits since 1970, with the big leap in the years 2020 - 2022 highlighted.
    Tap to view at full size. You can also see this graph at its source.
  • There was a record level of stock buybacks: $882 billion! A stock buyback is the act of a publicly traded company (one that issues stock to the public) using cash to buy its own stock on the open market. This reduces the supply of the company’s available stock, raising its price, which is what shareholders like.
  • The rise in global food prices…
    …has created 62 new “food billionaires” in the past two years.
    If you combine the energy-for-biologicals industry (food) with the energy-for-machines industry (what we call “energy”), they’ve grown their fortune by nearly half a trillion dollars in the past two years.
  • I’ll close with another direct quote from the newsletter: “The average S&P 500 CEO received $18.3 million in total compensation in 2021, an increase of 18% in one year. During that same period, average hourly earnings for workers fell 2.4%.

At the same time, you’ve got the hue and cry from the executive class, with that same old “nobody wants to work” refrain. It’s nothing new, and suggests that the current situation isn’t a labor shortage, but a wages and worker treatment shortage:

America The Current Situation

“The courage of one’s convictions” requires COURAGE and CONVICTIONS. Josh Hawley has neither.

Photos: How it started (Josh Hawley raising his fist) and how it went (Josh Hawley running away).
Tap to view the chicken-shittery at full size.

Here’s a life pro tip: Live in such a way that your hometown newspaper doesn’t mock you for not having the courage of your convictions, as the Kansas City Star did to Missouri Republican Josh “Brave Sir Robin” Hawley:

One of the discoveries of the January 6th hearings is that after waving his fist in support of the mob who would descend on the Capitol in an act of terrorism and sedition, Hawley was seen in a later video running for his life from that same mob. At the hearings, this brazen chicken-shittery elicited some much-deserved laughter.

That’s one of the challenges of having “the courage of one’s convictions” — the prerequisites are courage and convictions, neither of which Hawley appears to have in an appreciable quantity. He stoked a crowd with a lie, and ran when he had to deal the consequences of said lie.

Oddly enough, Hawley is currently working on a book on a particularly pathetic obsession of his: his somewhat warped view of manhood. Titled Manhood: The Masculine Virtues America Needs, it purports to be an antidote for a country that has forgotten the masculine virtues, one of which is taking responsibility. One might think that taking responsibility might include stopping the violent crowd you incited or maybe not inciting them in the first place, but that it would require those pesky courage/conviction things. Like Jordan Peterson’s books, it’s really just another attempt to hustle money and attention from mediocre white men who’ve discovered that they’re nothing special and aren’t handling it very well.

I think the whole thing is best summed up by Michael Fanone, a D.C. police officer who was injured during the January 6th sedition that Hawley encouraged and then ran from: Josh Hawley is a bitch. And he ran like a bitch.

Tampa Bay The Current Situation

Stay away from Tampa Convention Center this weekend

Why? Because the right-wing student indoctrination group Turning Point USA is holding their Student Action Summit at Tampa Convention Center, and the base is coming out. And these days, with the mainstreaming of what used to be the conservative fringe, that means Nazis are showing up, and the organizers aren’t shooing them away.

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And to no one’s surprise at all, they’re DeSantis fans.

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Oh, and they’re blaming the Jews…

Tap to view at full size.
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For more, see. Creative Loafing’s article, Photos: Neo-Nazis gather outside Turning Point USA summit at Tampa Convention Center.

And before you say “No, this is the fringe,” let me disabuse of that false notion right now. This is the new mainstream, and it’s been part of the alt-right playbook for years now:

Slice of Life

Happy Friday!

Photo: Sign above door that reads “Be amazing today.”
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Be sure to follow the advice of this sign, which hangs above the door of St. Pete’s Chai Mixology, who make a damned good poke bowl:

Photo: Poke bowl with beer and accordion in background.
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It Happened to Me

London travel diary / Camera roll (Saturday, June 11, 2022)

Joey and Anitra on Blackfriars Bridge.
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For family, friends, and the curious, I’m posting some selections from my camera roll from last month’s trip to London.

Day 1

Our flight left Tampa on Friday evening, and we landed in London on Saturday morning, a little before 9:00 a.m. local time.

Upon deplaning, we saw a couple of Queen tributes. Here’s the first one..

Photo: Freddie Mercury pictured on the tail of a Norwegian Airlines jet.
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…and here’s the second:

Photo: Photos at Gatwick airport assembled to create two giant portraits of Queen Elizabeth II — one of her when she was crowned, and one of her today.
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We made the trip from Gatwick to London in pretty short order on the Gatwick Express, which ends at Victoria Station, and we took a cab to the hotel from there:

Photo: Main hall of Victoria Station.
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Auth0, my employer, put us up at the Sea Containers hotel, located right on the Thames’ south bank and just west of Blackfriars. Here’s the view from our hotel room.

Photo: The view from our hotel room, with 1 Blackfriars in the foreground.
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After a nice post-flight shower and change of clothes, we stepped out the hotel’s riverside doorway and took our first proper trip selfie…

Photo: Joey and Anitra posing by the Thames’ south bank, just outside Sea Containers hotel.
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…and then we worked our way east along the river…

View of the Thames from the south bank, just east of the Founder’s Arms pub.
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…then a tiny bit south…

Photo: Stonecutters Lane mural.
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…towards our goal, Flat Iron Square, for lunch.

The scene at Flat Iron Square, Southwark, London.
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It’s a fun, open-air beer garden with food stalls, tables aplenty, and a lively crowd. The South Bank seems to have no shortage of these places.

The scene at Flat Iron Square, Southwark, London.
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We got lunch from Lil’ Watan, who serve Lebanese food out of a shipping container…

Lil’ Watan’s colorful shipping container, labelled “From Beirut with Love.”
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…and drinks from the bar under one of the arches.

After lunch, we set off to explore the South Bank a little more. In my handful of trips to London, I’d stayed mostly on the north side of the Thames.

Southwark has a lot of railway bridges, and the locals have gotten pretty creative with the underpasses:

Anitra Pavka poses with against the wall of the Southwark Street tunnel in London’s Southbank.
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Joey deVilla poses with his blue accordion against the wall of the Southwark Street tunnel in London’s Southbank.
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Photo: Wall mural depicting swans.
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We passed by Crossbones Graveyard, and there were these great posters nearby:

Photo: “This is still the crossbones graveyard” poster depicting skull and crossbones with Union Jack background.
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And while we were in the area, I made sure to pass by this building on Redcross Street, which is known for its “Take Courage” ghost sign:

Photo: Brick building with “Take Courage” sign painted on its side.
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Stranger than Fiction

Yet another reminder to have someone else check your work

Again I remind you: see if you can have someone else check your work. There’s a chance they’ll catch something you might have missed because you’re a little too close to it.

Also: There’s nothing wrong with loving Jesus, but that’s quite different from looooving Jesus.