Wankette | Saturday, 18th of May 2013 at 07:15:34 AM
I stopped watching The Office right after Jim & Pam got together, but I tuned in last week and this past Thursday to see the series end. As many of these things go, it was overlong and self-indulgent — but much of it was beautifully done, too. The best moment? Steve Carell’s Michael Scott making a surprise cameo at Dwight’s wedding. (I shrieked for as loud and as long as I did all those years ago, during another epic reveal, when a doped-up Frasier Crane told Daphne that Niles was in love with her.)
It got me thinking about how many shows outlive their glory days. This is especially true of dramas — see the crapfests that Downtown Abbey & Mad Men have become! if only their finales had come at the proposal & the new agency start-up, respectively.
Some long-running comedies manage to work in character growth, which revitalizes the story lines; probably why I’d put the Friends and Sex & the City finales in my Top 5. I cried all the way through M*A*S*H‘s two-hour farewell, but the series had sucked since Radar left. I never watched Newhart, so the only thing it meant to me was: Greatest Coda Ever.
What were the best/worst/longest-delayed/most-regretted TV series finales?
Rank and organization: Shipfitter First Class, U.S. Navy. Born: 30 May 1876, Hubbard, Ohio. Accredited to: Ohio. G.O. No.: 341, 1917. Citation: For extraordinary heroism while attached to the Huntington. On the morning of 17 September 1917, while the U.S.S. Huntington was passing through the war zone, a kite balloon was sent up with Lt. (j.g.) H. W. Hoyt, U.S. Navy, as observer. When the balloon was about 400 feet in the air, the temperature suddenly dropped, causing the balloon to descend about 200 feet, when it was struck by a squall. The balloon was hauled to the ship’s side, but the basket trailed in the water and the pilot was submerged. McGunigal, with great daring, climbed down the side of the ship, jumped to the ropes leading to the basket, and cleared the tangle enough to get the pilot out of them. He then helped the pilot to get clear, put a bowline around him, and enabled him to be hauled to the deck. A bowline was lowered to McGunigal and he was taken safely aboard.
I will take this one opportunity to applaud a Philadelphia Eagle. Eagles offensive lineman Evan Mathis posted this photo on Instagram. And when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell tweeted about it Mathis retweeted…
@nflcommish I’m offended by the actions of Philadelphia Eagle player Evan Mathis peeing on the IRS sign in front of the IRS building.
Gosnell spent nearly forty years running his clinic. According to the grand jury report, during that time he performed hundreds of abortions on women who were well past Pennsylvania’s gestational stage for legal abortion, inducing labor and snipping the spinal cord of babies that were born alive. The procedures were filthy, frequently botched, and sent dozens of women to the emergency room with severe infections that left some near death. Anesthetics were frequently overused, which is what led to Karnamaya’s eventual overdose and death. The list of horrors goes on and on, but we’ll spare you further gory details.
This is bad enough on its own, but Gosnell and his trail of carnage could have been stopped decades ago if public oversight organizations had acted they way they’re supposed to. According to the grand jury report, when the Pennsylvania Department of Health performed its first inspection in 1989, ten years after the clinic was founded, it found numerous violations. Gosnell promised to fix them and received a pass. Upon the next inspection in 1992 and 1993, the Department of Health again found violations, but did nothing to ensure that they were corrected. Inspections then ceased for 17 years, largely due to the election of pro-choice Republican Governor Tom Ridge, who ended all inspections of abortion clinics because that would be “putting a barrier up to women.” Meanwhile, dozens of Gosnell-related complaints were flowing into the DoH. But even when it received notice of Mongar’s death, the department failed to act.
Nearly ten years ago the Pennsylvania Department of State received a detailed report on the entire scope of Gosnell’s operation from a former employee. An investigator was assigned to the case but neglected to inspect the facility or question other employees. Department attorneys dismissed the complaint as unconfirmed.
Over regulation’s doppelganger is the hard libertarian’s no regulation. Both extremes facilitate evil.
Rank and Organization: Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps, Company E, 2d Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, (Rein), FMF
Place and Date: West of Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam, 23 February 1969
Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an assistant machine gunner with Company E, in connection with operations against enemy forces. During the early morning hours Pfc. Austin’s observation post was subjected to a fierce ground attack by a large North Vietnamese Army force supported by a heavy volume of hand grenades, satchel charges, and small arms fire. Observing that 1 of his wounded companions had fallen unconscious in a position dangerously exposed to the hostile fire, Pfc. Austin unhesitatingly left the relative security of his fighting hole and, with complete disregard for his safety, raced across the fire-swept terrain to assist the marine to a covered location. As he neared the casualty, he observed an enemy grenade land nearby and, reacting instantly, leaped between the injured marine and the lethal object, absorbing the effects of its detonation. As he ignored his painful injuries and turned to examine the wounded man, he saw a North Vietnamese Army soldier aiming a weapon at his unconscious companion. With full knowledge of the probable consequences and thinking only to protect the marine, Pfc. Austin resolutely threw himself between the casualty and the hostile soldier, and, in doing, was mortally wounded. Pfc. Austin’s indomitable courage, inspiring initiative and selfless devotion to duty upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
When two Swedish economists set out to examine whether economic freedom made people any more or less racist, they knew how they would gauge economic freedom, but they needed to find a way to measure a country’s level of racial tolerance. So they turned to something called the World Values Survey, which has been measuring global attitudes and opinions for decades.
Among the dozens of questions that World Values asks, the Swedish economists found one that, they believe, could be a pretty good indicator of tolerance for other races. The survey asked respondents in more than 80 different countries to identify kinds of people they would not want as neighbors. Some respondents, picking from a list, chose “people of a different race.” The more frequently that people in a given country say they don’t want neighbors from other races, the economists reasoned, the less racially tolerant you could call that society. (The study concluded that economic freedom had no correlation with racial tolerance, but it does appear to correlate with tolerance toward homosexuals.)
Unfortunately, the Swedish economists did not include all of the World Values Survey data in their final research paper. So I went back to the source, compiled the original data and mapped it out on the infographic above. In the bluer countries, fewer people said they would not want neighbors of a different race; in red countries, more people did.
If we treat this data as indicative of racial tolerance, then we might conclude that people in the bluer countries are the least likely to express racist attitudes, while the people in red countries are the most likely.
Like most social science that is done competently, it tends to confirm what anyone with a lick of sense could tell you. But since a lot of folks don’t use the sense God gave them then maybe the sheen of scientific validity will convince them that the U.S. is nowhere near the most racist country in on our own continent, much less the entire world. Of course, the “America is racist” narrative is not based on sincere belief by and large but is used cynically as a cudgel to beat political opponents and well-meaning but weak-minded “moderates” into submission. But then our regular readers already know that because you use your common sense.
“Green Bay, Wis., is home to the World Famous Green Bay Packers and their fans: The Cheeseheads. These citizens don’t just bleed green and gold; they eat victory for breakfast. For them, being a Cheesehead is more than just being a fan. It’s a way of life.
This show will take viewers into the hilarious subculture through the eyes of a group of proud Wisconsinites as they navigate life in the only way they know how – loud, proud and with lots of beer. For these folks, there is no off-season.”
For six years, Rafat Shororo longed for the taste of a KFC sandwich he had eaten in Egypt. This week, he got his finger lickin’ fix at home in the Gaza Strip after a local delivery company managed to smuggle it from Egypt through underground tunnels.
“It has been a dream, and this company has made my dream come true,” says Mr. Shororo, an accountant, as he receives his order from the delivery guy.
The al-Yamama company advertises its unorthodox new fast-food smuggling service on Facebook. It gets tens of orders a week for KFC meals despite having to triple the price to 100 shekels ($30) to cover transportation and smuggling fees. The deliveries go from the fryers at the Al-Arish KFC joint 35 miles away to customers’ doorsteps in about three hours.
The fact that the tunnels operate quickly and cheaply enough for the Colonel’s secret recipe to be enjoyed in the tightly controlled Gaza Strip shows just how much of a sieve the Egypt-Gaza border has become.
“All you need to have any KFC product is a short phone call and a few hours, then you can enjoy the great taste of fried chickens,” says Shororo, checking over his chicken pieces, salads, and apple pies. Like other customers who are acquainted with KFC from their travels abroad, he says he doesn’t care how much it costs. “I just want it.”
KFC may be one of the stranger products to come through the hundreds of smuggling tunnels between Egypt and Gaza that have sprung up in the past six years in response to Israeli restrictions on imports to the Hamas-run territory, which allow cars, sailboats, motorcycles, weapons, fish, and now even drumsticks into the tiny coastal territory. While Egypt has a border crossing at Rafah, it is limited to foot traffic, and Cairo has so far refrained from opening a commercial crossing and thus risking Israel’s ire.
Ironically, one of the reasons smugglers agreed to start dealing in KFC is because Israel’s easing of restrictions on trade since the November cease-fire with Hamas has dealt a serious blow to the tunnel business.
Hmmm… now why won’t KFC build a restaurant in the Gaza Strip? Anyone?
Rank and Organization: Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps, Company F, 2d Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division
Place and Date: Binh Son, Republic of Vietnam, 21 April 1967
Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. On 21 April 1967, during Operation UNION* elements of Company F, conducting offensive operations at Binh Son, encountered a firmly entrenched enemy force and immediately deployed to engage them. The marines in Pfc. Martini’s platoon assaulted across an open rice paddy to within 20 meters of the enemy trench line where they were suddenly struck by hand grenades, intense small arms, automatic weapons, and mortar fire. The enemy onslaught killed 14 and wounded 18 marines, pinning the remainder of the platoon down behind a low paddy dike. In the face of imminent danger, Pfc. Martini immediately crawled over the dike to a forward open area within 15 meters of the enemy position where, continuously exposed to the hostile fire, he hurled hand grenades, killing several of the enemy. Crawling back through the intense fire, he rejoined his platoon which had moved to the relative safety of a trench line. From this position he observed several of his wounded comrades Lying helpless in the fire-swept paddy. Although he knew that 1 man had been killed attempting to assist the wounded, Pfc. Martini raced through the open area and dragged a comrade back to a friendly position. In spite of a serious wound received during this first daring rescue, he again braved the unrelenting fury of the enemy fire to aid another companion Lying wounded only 20 meters in front of the enemy trench line. As he reached the fallen marine, he received a mortal wound, but disregarding his own condition, he began to drag the marine toward his platoon’s position. Observing men from his unit attempting to leave the security of their position to aid him, concerned only for their safety, he called to them to remain under cover, and through a final supreme effort, moved his injured comrade to where he could be pulled to safety, before he fell, succumbing to his wounds. Stouthearted and indomitable, Pfc. Martini unhesitatingly yielded his life to save 2 of his comrades and insure the safety of the remainder of his platoon. His outstanding courage, valiant fighting spirit and selfless devotion to duty reflected the highest credit upon himself, the Marine Corps, and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
Floyd | Wednesday, 15th of May 2013 at 09:27:43 AM
Salon posted an excerpt from this book by Melissa Mohr a few days ago:
The 18th and 19th centuries’ embrace of linguistic delicacy and extreme avoidance of taboo bestowed great power on those words that broached taboo topics directly, freely revealing what middle-class society was trying so desperately to conceal. Under these conditions of repression, obscene words finally came fully into their own. They began to be used in nonliteral ways, and so became not just words that shocked and offended but words with which people could swear.
The definitive expletive of the 18th century was bloody, which is still in frequent use in Britain today, and is so common Down Under that it is known as “the great Australian adjective.” Bloody was not quite an obscenity and not quite an oath, but it was definitely a bad word that shocked and offended the ears of polite society. It is often supposed to be a corruption of the old oaths by our lady or God’s blood (minced form: ’sblood), but this is another urban legend that turns out to be false. Either it derives instead from the adjective bloody as in “covered in blood” or, as the OED proposes, it referred to the habits of aristocratic rabble-rousers at the end of the 17th century, who styled themselves “bloods.” “Bloody drunk,” then, would mean “as drunk as a blood.”
The career of bloody is interesting, because one can clearly see either its perjoration (becoming a worse and worse word) or the rise of civility in action — or perhaps both. In the late 17th century, dramatists had no problem including the word in plays seen by genteel audiences, and printers had no problem spelling it out in their editions of those plays: “She took it bloody ill of him,” is just one example, occurring in the 1693 Maids Last Prayer. Henry Fielding, author of “Tom Jones,” uses it in one of his plays in 1743: “This is a bloody positive old fellow.” And Maria Edgeworth has her hero exclaim of another man, “Sir Philip writes a bloody bad hand,” in 1801’s “Belinda.” If Miss Edgeworth — who wrote novels about young women finding love and good marriages for a largely female readership, as well as morally improving children’s literature (six volumes of “Moral Tales for Young People”) — had her young hero say “bloody,” it can’t have been that bad a word. Miss Edgeworth gets her “bloody” in at almost the last moment it is possible, however. At around this time, the word starts to get more offensive: It begins to be printed as b——y or b—— and falls out of polite use, where it continues through the Victorian era. When George Bernard Shaw wanted to create a scandal, but not too big a scandal, in his 1914 “Pygmalion,” he had Eliza Doolittle exclaim in her newly perfect posh accent, “Walk! Not bloody likely! I am going in a taxi.” The first night’s audience greeted the word with “a few seconds of stunned disbelieving silence and then hysterical laughter for at least a minute and a quarter,” and there were some protests from various decency leagues, but on the whole a scandal never materialized. Bloody became “the catchword of the season” and pygmalion became a popular oath itself, as in “not pygmalion likely.” Had he scripted Eliza to say “Not fucking likely!” (which he very well could have in 1914) there in all likelihood would have been a real scandal, akin to that generated by shift in “Playboy of the Western World.”
This was bloody at the turn of the century — a bad word, but not so bad that it was not in common use, according to Shaw, “by four-fifths of the British nation.” Perhaps because of this somewhat equivocal status, bloody comes in for more than its fair share of opprobrium from Victorian language mavens. In their definitions for fuck and related terms, for example, Farmer and Henley do not editorialize, merely defining the terms (“to copulate,” etc.) and providing examples of use. But they go off on poor bloody.
There’s more at the link and of course you can buy the book above. I’ve added to my list.
Wankette | Wednesday, 15th of May 2013 at 07:00:56 AM
The time has come for an update of the 3D BD files…If I haven’t posted a thread for you in the last year, please list your favorite frosting flavor & strip-o-gram preference, along with your actual birth date.
P.S. Kit, I’ll never get yours right on purpose, so don’t try sneaking in under an alias.
Floyd | Wednesday, 15th of May 2013 at 12:01:57 AM
DOOLITTLE, JAMES H. (Air Mission)
Rank and organization: Brigadier General, U.S. Army. Air Corps. Place and date: Over Japan. Entered service at: Berkeley, Calif. Birth: Alameda, Calif. G.O. No.: 29, 9 June 1942. Citation: For conspicuous leadership above the call of duty, involving personal valor and intrepidity at an extreme hazard to life. With the apparent certainty of being forced to land in enemy territory or to perish at sea, Gen. Doolittle personally led a squadron of Army bombers, manned by volunteer crews, in a highly destructive raid on the Japanese mainland.