Howdy folks! Welcome to Friday – I hope the day goes by fast if y’all are working and that you get to have some fun. Let loose tonight, shake ya tailfeather as the Nelly would put it and wave that freak flag. Because I know I am. My wife is leaving town tonight and despite the urge to bring all the strippers and coke into my house this weekend, I will probably end up mowing the lawn, going for a bike ride and generally doing nothing. Ahhh, to be a bachelor again.
HIT ME UP Looks like United thinks money is the answer to all problems:
Scott Keyes, the founder of Scott’s Cheap Flights, a site that notifies travelers of dropped fares and discounts, spoke to Travel+Leisure about what he terms United’s “apology fares” and noted how drastically flight prices dropped after Dr. David Dao was “re-accommodated” on an overbooked flight:
“In the last 10 days alone, Keyes has found round-trip flights to Trinidad and Tobago for as little as $274 (typically $550); flights to Paris for $433 (typically $800); and round-trip fares to Mexico City for less than $200 (typically $500).”
“The latest evidence is United’s late-summer sale on flights to Sweden. Boston-based travelers can fly for $364 round-trip, while New Yorkers can visit this Scandinavian country for $381. Flight from the Californian cities San Francisco, San Jose, and Los Angeles are all less than $400.” [Uproxx]
This, on top of that $10,000 payout for overbooked passengers [fine print is fine print] is one way to change the PR disaster for United. That old adage of there is no such thing as bad PR should take a look at the dumpster fire United brought to their brand. This is going to take years of United actually being a good company and treating their customers like actual people – no amount of money or discounts is going to change people’s attitude overnight.
YES, PLEASE Taco Bell, you had me at Taco Burrito (that is a thing, BTW):
Starting May 5, the fast food retailer will work with OpenTable to book 32 guests for a dinner held May 19 at Taco Bell HQ in Irvine, California. The menu — prepared by the brand’s top chefs — will feature upcoming products plus “twists on Taco Bell favorites,” according to a press release. The dinner is free for whoever manages to snag a reservation, though you’ll have to pay your own way to get there. Guests must also be at least 21 years old to attend. Sorry, teens. Should you miss the opportunity to book a table through Taco Bell’s OpenTable URL on May 5, don’t fret— the fast food retailer plans to offer more dining events later this year. Bon appétit! [Mashable]
Ummm, yes I will pay money to eat weird concoctions of meat, cheese and baja sauce. Just hope they don’t forget about their loyal patrons here in the Midwest – we kinda live on this shit.
Awkward Kiss Cam Moment Number 324… pic.twitter.com/bA52qa5ndq
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) April 28, 2017
New Chappelle Show Skit: When Kiss Cams Go Wrong
OMG I cannot believe Prey is coming out next week. In the meantime, you can play the demo:
The first hour of Prey, Arkane Studios’ reboot of the 2006 first-person shooter of the same name, is now available in a free demo on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Known as “Prey Demo: Opening Hour,” the download weighs in at 13.6 GB on PS4 and 13.1 GB on Xbox One. You play as scientist Morgan Yu at Talos I, a research facility floating in space. (Prey allows the player to choose whether their Morgan is male or female, and this option is available in the demo.) It turns out that mysterious alien creatures are killing any humans on board the space station, and Morgan has to be the one to stop them from reaching Earth. [Polygon]
May is going to be a good month.
YOUR DAILY PUMP UP Let’s get funky. Sly and the Family Stone is a legend and I could see this showing up when the Guardians arrive to save the day:
Also, Alice Cooper needs some representin’ in this uber mixtape:
Welcome back to Mid-World, bookworms! Sorry it’s taken me so long to get to this point, but we’re here. And we’re gonna get through some spoilers, too.
A quick recap – we left our companions leaving the beach and heading towards…somewhere. With the lingering feeling that Roland would eventually betray both Susannah and Eddie for his precious Tower. I’m starting to see some similarities between Roland and Gollum (just a little bit).
The Wastelands starts out a few months after the second book where Roland is training both Susannah and Eddie in the ways of the gunslinger. Not much unlike a jedi knight in Star Wars. In this case Yoda is Roland and the force is same whip-fast reflexes and bullets. It only takes a few moments in the books before there quiet time together is broken up by a giant, ancient bear who turns out to have a radar dish spinning above its head.
After some thrilling action and Susannah proving her worthiness by taking a crackshot at killing the bear by hitting that tiny radar dish above its head. We soon learn this bear is a robot of some kind, created by the ancient ones long, long ago. This is where Roland starts to explain there are 12 portals in a circle and if you draw lines (‘beams’), you’ll see a center point and that point is the nexus where The Dark Tower lies.
Roland tells them they must travel along this beam in order to get to The Tower. He also explains that it could be a very long journey because A) it’s far away and B) the world keeps expanding. After finding their way to the bear’s layer, they find a path – the beam that will lead them to the Dark Tower. End scene.
We’ll pick up our story with Jake Chambers and his slow descent into madness this weekend!
Hello netizens, it’s Thursday! And we’ve successfully avoided a government shutdown…for another week (autoplay). I’m not even mad. It’s just too absurd and funny that the party in control of everything right now is too incompetent to even keep itself afloat. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this, nor will it be the last, but seriously, you have to wonder what effects this administration and congress will have in the long-term. Will there actually be any effects? Who knows!
DON’T WORRY Even though we might freak out about the impending destruction of Net Neutrality, there might be a way to keep it intact:
The FCC will vote on—and given its Republican majority, likely pass—the proposal during an open meeting May 18. But that will only start what promises to be a lengthy battle for the future of net neutrality. To truly torpedo the requirements, Pai will have to make the case that he’s doing so for good reason. A 1946 law called the Administrative Procedures Act bans federal agencies making “capricious” decisions. The law is meant, in part, to keep regulations from yo-yoing back and forth every time a new party gained control of the White House. The FCC successfully argued in favor of Title II reclassification in federal court just last summer. That effort means Pai might have to make the case that things had changed enough since then to justify a complete reversal in policy. “That’s a pretty dramatic reversal,” says Marc Martin, chair of communications law at Perkins Coie. “Presuming there’s an appeal, a court may find that arbitrary.” [Wired]
For the amount of fear and anger I have for this administration, they haven’t done jack and a lot of it has to do with people resisting and fighting back. And I know I’ve said this multiple times, the only fear I truly have is complacency. How much stamina does the resisting public and opposing officials have? My guess is that Trump loves the spotlight enough that he will continually, for the next 3 years, keep provoking people to react and make sure that liberties and rights remain intact. I don’t even think 2018 will be a good year for Democrats, but come 2020, they might just have a shot.
Sorry for the shortness today, today is a busy day folks! I’ll be back tonight for a catch-up on my Dark Tower series and
YOUR DAILY PUMP UP I’m gonna keep throwin’ up some classics for my GotG soundtrack. James Gunn, let me know if I’m on the right track! The Kinks are vastly underrated as a powerhouse of a band in the 60s, 70s and 80s. They’re penultimate album, Powerman has so many good nuggets of rock. I couldn’t help but think the title track is perfect for Drax:
Oh and why haven’t we heard from Chicago at all, Mr. Gunn? I mean, they’re practically meant for this series. I can imagine this song playing in a montage of the crew enjoying time together:
Guten Wednseday everyone! I do love me some springtime, but can we chill with the fluctuations in temperature, mother nature? It’s giving me hot flashes or what I think are the 30-something male version of hot flashes. I’ve had the heat on today full blast but then had fans blowing my body back to coolness as well. I even stuck my head in the freezer because hot dayum that’s a nice feeling. But I’ll take that sunshine, yo. No matter what temp.
OH GOOGLE, YOU HAD ME AT ALGORITHM Because we’re too lazy to do the work ourselves, Google is trying to rectify its sins of the so-called fake news frenzy:
When you visit Google, we aim to speed up your experience with features like Autocomplete, which helps predict the searches you might be typing to quickly get to the info you need, and Featured Snippets, which shows a highlight of the information relevant to what you’re looking for at the top of your search results. The content that appears in these features is generated algorithmically and is a reflection of what people are searching for and what’s available on the web. This can sometimes lead to results that are unexpected, inaccurate or offensive. Starting today, we’re making it much easier for people to directly flag content that appears in both Autocomplete predictions and Featured Snippets. These new feedback mechanisms include clearly labeled categories so you can inform us directly if you find sensitive or unhelpful content. We plan to use this feedback to help improve our algorithms. [BoingBoing]
I don’t know about you guys, but maybe we should be educating the masses to NOT TRUST ANYTHING ON THE INTERNET. I wouldn’t even trust the words I’m typing write meow. I mean, I have opinions and they’re pretty much garbage, so please don’t spread any rumors about my opinions. That’s why I quote things a lot – I don’t need people to think I’m doing actual journalistic work here. So, kudos Google, but I think our time would be better spent having people enroll in classes about fake news.
AND IN TRUMP NEWS More ethics violations is not a surprise for this administration:
Toner said that the post, which described the exclusive club’s use as the president’s vacation home as a “dreams-come-true” story for the mansion’s original builder, socialite and heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, was “meant to provide historical information and context relevant to the conduct of U.S. diplomacy and was not intended to endorse or promote any private enterprise.” He noted that “in light of some of the feedback we were getting about some of the article’s purpose, or rather, misperceptions about its purpose,” the story was removed. Prior to its removal, it was also featured on the website of at least one U.S. embassy — the mission in the United Kingdom. “This was in-house completely. This was a decision made by the content creators, the writers of the International information Program, IIP, and that is their mandate,” said Toner. “In retrospect, we made the decision to pull this article down because there was some confusion about its intent, but their mandate, if you will, is to create content that educates foreign audiences about significant landmarks, etc., in the United States.” Moving forward, Toner said that the State Department will consider whether any additional review of IIP content is needed before it’s posted. In ShareAmerica’s two-year history, they could not find a similar case where a privately or publicly owned property was promoted, he said. [ABC News]
Nothing to see here, just normal Trump stuff. No need to be outraged because this was some rogue individual. Nevermind the fact that Trump is going to make shit tons of money off of everything he does. It’s a win-win for him because he gets press about his businesses without paying for it. Classic Trump – he’s taking his game to a whole other level (specifically the federal one). Oh and speaking of federal levels:
President Donald Trump is set to order the review of tens of millions of acres of land and water set aside as national monuments by the past three presidents on Wednesday, a move that environmental groups warn will undermine a crucial conservation tool and open up sensitive areas to fossil fuel development. The review will be conducted by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and will encompass the dozens of monuments created over the past 21 years, although the main focus will be on President Barack Obama’s designation last year of Bears Ears National monument, as well as the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument protected by President Bill Clinton in 1996. Both of those are in Utah, and the state’s lawmakers have pressed to revoke the monument status for the two sites, which are believed to hold fossil fuel resources…environmental groups fear the review is a simply a pretense to unwind the federal protections in the future, since both Trump and Zinke have supported growing U.S. fossil fuel output. [Politico]
Teddy Roosevelt is rolling in his grave. But hey! We’ll have more fossil fuels for an increasingly dated and irrelevant part of the energy industry.
OH BOY OBERTO Remember the writers strike that basically cost us some amazing shows like Pushing Daisies and hurt shows during their peak like 30 Rock and The Office? It could happen again in an era where a lot of people think there’s too much good TV:
The Writers Guild of America has voted to authorize a strike, to the tune of 96 percent of the vote with the membership casting more than 6,300 votes. (That’s around 67.5 percent of guild members who were eligible to vote, which the WGA says is record-breaking turnout.) That’s a big deal. It means that if the WGA hasn’t signed a new deal with the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers (the group that represents studios, networks, and production companies that make film and TV) by the time the two groups’ current contract expires on May 1, a strike on May 2 is sure to follow. Such a strike would all but shut down the film and television industries, stopping the production of many TV series and bringing late-night shows, in particular, to a complete standstill…The two most persistent explanations are that the talks broke down over either finding a way to pay TV writers more for work they do on shows with smaller episode orders (10 or fewer per season) or getting the AMPTP to contribute more to the guild’s health care fund. (Here’s a breakdown of the health care aspect of the potential strike from Vox’s Dylan Scott.) These two ideas have also come up in the arguments in favor of a strike released publicly by the WGA. The most common read of the WGA’s strike authorization vote is that such a vote is the best bargaining chip the guild has when it comes to negotiating with the AMPTP. With lots of the writers voting to walk off their jobs, the increasingly lucrative — but still incredibly fragile — TV production cycle would grind to a halt, causing a ripple effect throughout the industry. [Vox]
And this could be a much bigger deal because it would affect a lot of movies as well. More than likely the affects wouldn’t be felt in film until a year or two out from the strike if it lasts a significant amount of time. Late night TV would be in shambles, which would deflate the increasing relevance and sharp writing that’s been on display since the election. Most experts think the strike either won’t happen or it won’t last a very long time. But they said that before and we got crappy television as a result.
To be fair, I would react the same way if it was a butterfly.
YES PLEASE Coming in at number 10 on my most anticipated list this year, Kingsman is looking pretty fantastic. More is better in this case and I can’t wait to see what all this star power can do to this ludicrously violent and funny story
YOUR DAILY PUMP UP Continuing on my theme of my own personal Awesome Mix Tape that would fit into the Guardians of the Galaxy Universe, I got a Deep Purple track that I could see Star Lord rocking out to as he blasts away from a planet.
BONUS! I would like to think T. Rex’s Cosmic Dancer is too on the nose, but hell with it! This works so well in this mix:
Oral History: TED, a Club for the Rich That Become a Global Phenomenon
Profile: Uber CEO and General Douche, Travis Kalanick
Long Read: Torching the Modern-Day Library of Alexandria
Watch: Who Was Bob Ross Really?
Movies: Marvel’s Phase 4 May Be Something Completely Different
Books: A History of the Card Catalog
WTF: Cancer Journal Retracts Over a Hundred Studies
FYI: I Cannot Keep Track of Colonel Sanders Anymore
Hell Yeah: Why Magic: The Gathering Beats Poker or Chess Any Day
Above: What the Hell is That Thing? [Via]
Howdy folks! We’re at the end of April and we’re inching closer to that bullshit measuring stick of 100 days (or is it 2 legit 2 quit?!) for President Trump. You’d think having control of the federal government and most of the state governments, we’d be living in some liberal dystopia (or GOP utopia?!) by now. I feel like I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. Like, somehow there is going to be a confluence of crises – foreign and domestic – that will either crush this administration and Congress or embolden them. Who knows? I just keep on collecting Twinkies in my basement for future dystopian nightmare scenarios that will likely involve North Korea and Russia.
TOUCHE It’s a runoff. Much like that Georgia election (although way quicker. Which BTW, WTF, Georgia? Take some lessons from the OG democratic society, France, and get your runoff elections over with in two weeks. None of this wait 2 months for people to not care about voting again BS), France is on its way to deciding between a liberal Trump guy or a literal Trump lady (okay, not literal, but I like the way it sounds):
Centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right populist Marine Le Pen advanced Sunday to a runoff in France’s presidential election, remaking the country’s political landscape and setting up a showdown over its participation in the European Union. French politicians on the left and right immediately urged voters to block Le Pen’s path to power in the May 7 runoff, saying her virulently nationalist anti-EU and anti-immigration politics would spell disaster for France. “Extremism can only bring unhappiness and division to France,” defeated conservative candidate Francois Fillon said. “As such, there is no other choice than to vote against the extreme right.” The selection of Le Pen and Macron presents voters with the starkest possible choice between two diametrically opposed visions of the EU’s future and France’s place in it. [WaPo]
I mean, if I’m betting, I’m putting all my money on Le Pen. I mean, it’s inevitable, right? Brexit, Trump, Le Pen – this feels like it’s just the beginning. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe this is just one last rally from the nationalists and populists who are scared of being the minority. I’ve always been a positive person and I’ve always enjoyed every single day of my miraculous life – having cancer will do that – but these events are shaking me to my core and I want to fast forward past the next 4-5 years (and maybe even fast forward another 5 because GD this could be depressing).
SPEAKING OF the next 10 years, Michael Moore would like to invite you into his house of horrors (aka his brain):
Michael Moore loves to predict things about Donald Trump. He thinks the new U.S. president is going to get everyone killed; he believes Trump will absolutely build a border wall and ban all Muslims. (Lest we forget, Moore also wrote a prescient essay predicting Trump would win.) Anyhow, Moore is back on the offensive and predicting another pressing matter on the minds of many citizens, specifically, when will Trump get impeached? “I would say some time in the middle of his second term,” he explained at a Tribeca Film Festival screening when asked about impeachment. “I think the equation is simple. It’s the American equation. Dumb down the population and make them ignorant and stupid. Ignorance leads to fear, fear leads to hate. Trump knew that part of the equation really well. And hate leads to violence.” [Vulture]
Moore can be eye-rolling obnoxious sometimes, but dude made a bold prediction when everyone was saying he was wrong. So I wouldn’t count out his prediction for a second term for Trump. Sure, if Trump were to run for president right now, we’d be celebrating Stuart Smalley as the next president. But we’re talking 3 and 1/2 years from now and a lot can happen. A lot of bad things could happen. But also, if we’re being honest, a lot of good things could happen that have nothing to do with Trump. So I won’t be surprised if we end up with 8 years with Trump.
Okay, seriously why isn’t there some insane crowd watching and then going nuts after the 12th strike? And also, I did not know that the grandma technique was in vogue.
LOL Say what you will about baseball (I will – it’s boring), the Cincinnati Reds do some fine trolling with their Bandwagon Cam on those Chicago Cubs fans who clearly only bought their first jersey after the World Series:
Gotta give credit for the person behind doing the research – they dug some deep nuggets for Cubs fans. I guess at the end of the day it really is just about pounding back a few Old Styles and forgetting that your team hasn’t won a championship in any sport for 26 years. God, I never realized growing up as an Ohio sports fan was probably the most miserable existence of any sports fan. I guess we’ll always have the Buckeyes and last year’s Cleveland win, because we sure ain’t seeing any other team win it all.
THE WORST Uber is really solidifying itself as the worst company on the planet:
According to the report, back in 2014, Uber had an incentive program to encourage drivers to pick up more fares. Savvy drivers in places like China started buying iPhones with wiped memories on the black market. The drivers would create multiple email addresses and create new accounts to request rides. They would then “pick up” this “new customer” who would be getting their discounted trial run with the service. The drivers received their extra cash for taking on more fares but Uber wasn’t growing its customer base. The problem was that when an iPhone is wiped clean, Apple insists that it be wiped one hundred percent clean for the purposes of protecting customers’ privacy. Uber wanted a work around for that and added some code to its app that would leave a digital “fingerprint” on the device even if it had been erased. But that violates Apple’s guidelines and developers have been booted from the app store for far less egregious transgressions. Kalanick and co. decided to use a technique called geofencing to prevent Apple from noticing. Basically, Uber’s engineers programmed their app to not display the offending code on any phones accessing the app in the region around Apple’s headquarters. It was a ruse with a short lifespan and Tim Cook called Kalanick up for a meeting. [Gizmodo]
The full story from the Times is a fascinating read, I highly recommend it be one of your 10 articles you can read for free this month.
YOUR DAILY PUMP UP With the hot new, actually really old, tracks lighting up the airwaves because of the Guardians of the Galaxy 2 soundtrack, I’d like to add my two cents into the ring this week with some classic bangers. First up, The Amboy Dukes with their psychedelic rocker, Journey to the Center of the Mind. This clearly is right up Star Lord’s alley and it just fits the mold for the more rock-oriented songs on the two soundtracks. Bonus: The Ramones’ version is even more rockier and awesome:
Hello to Thursday, you devil of a day. You’re like the flyover state of days. I think the above picture sums up my feelings of the whole O’Reilly dismissal. I mean, the man deserved it, but is that going to change the misogynistic climate at Fox News? Or any other corporation? Maybe, but I still think there’s a long road ahead to changing the culture in some workplaces.
IT’S GOING TO BE A BUMPY RIDE It looks like America is becoming the place to avoid now:
Emirates Airline says it is reducing its number of U.S.-bound flights because security restrictions imposed by the Trump administration have weakened demand in Middle East countries. The Dubai-based carrier will pare back flights to five of the 12 U.S. cities it serves. Flights to Boston, Seattle and Los Angeles will be reduced from twice to once daily, and in Florida, daily service to Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale will shrink to five flights a week. Overall, it’s a reduction of 25 flights per week for the airline, according to The Associated Press. “The recent actions taken by the U.S. government relating to the issuance of entry visas, heightened security vetting, and restrictions on electronic devices in aircraft cabins, have had a direct impact on consumer interest and demand for air travel into the U.S,” Emirates said in a statement announcing the decision. [NPR]
They were talking about this on NPR and one industry expert estimated that flights to the United States will be down 15% this year based on what he’s seen. That’s huge – there are a lot of businesses and cities that will see the hurt from the lack of tourism. As much as the economy is chugging along, this could be some sort of quiet crisis that we won’t know about until a year or two out with the ripple effects it could have.
SPEAKING OF quiet crises, retail employment is vastly underreported:
Overall retail employment has fallen every month this year. Department stores, including Macy’s and JC Penney, have shed nearly 100,000 jobs since October—more than the total number of coal miners or steel workers currently employed in the U.S. Even America’s richest areas are getting hit: Employment in New York City clothing stores has fallen three years in a row, the longest period of decline on record, going back to the early 1990s. When some industries lose workers, they win the consolation prize of empty political promises to turn back time. During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton went up and down Appalachia—and far beyond—to lament the job losses suffered by manufacturers and miners. The loss of these jobs has been devastating to many cities and towns. But department stores have lost 18 times more workers than coal mining since 2001. [The Atlantic]
It’s fascinating that we’ve ignored this problem mainly because it’s so spread out across the country, no one thinks to look into the details. But the article does go on to speculate that this might not be as bad – e-commerce jobs have grown into a healthy sector of the jobs market and wages are going up – something that probably wouldn’t happen in most of the retail jobs that have been lost. So, really this might not be a crisis after all – just a sea change in the way the economy works.
Only Gronk could humanize Sean Spicer.
At least you’re not this lady
IT’S OFFICIAL They’ve released the track list for GotG vol. 2 and I could not be more excited. Rolling Stone has a nice little breakdown of each song.
PLEASE BE OFFICIAL Rumor has it that the NES classic was such a hit that an SNES classic is ready to make an appearance:
Nintendo will follow up its smash hit NES microconsole with a mini version of the SNES, sources close to the company have confirmed to Eurogamer. The SNES mini (or, to continue Nintendo’s official branding, likely the Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Nintendo Entertainment System) is currently scheduled to launch in time for Christmas this year. Development of the device is already under way, our sources have indicated. Nintendo’s plans for SNES mini are also a major reason why last year’s NES mini did not see a reprieve from discontinuation, Eurogamer understands, despite the latter’s continued popularity and sell-out status. [Eurogamer]
Well, be sure to save your $60 and stake out a place in line for preorders because you know this one is gonna be gone in the first day. Nintendo ain’t going to listen to their fans by keeping these little nuggets available year round. Why would anyone think they would do something like that?
YOUR DAILY PUMP UP I really, really loved Paramore’s last album and it’s been 4 (!) years since then, so I’m ready for some more fun tracks from the group. Luckily for me, they’ve got a new tune and it’s catchy as hell: