When You've Lost The Daily Show

From the YouTube description:

Meet Kamala Harris’s holistic thought advisor Dahlia Rose Hibiscus (Desi Lydic), who is deeply committed to helping the Vice President translate words into idea voyages. Hibiscus preaches the practice of speaking without thinking and encourages Harris to describe her journeys, molding our Vice President into a meditative guru

You may have seen some of these gems already:

Which brings us to our weekly odds summary:

Candidate EBO Win
Donald Trump 52.8% +2.1%
Joe Biden 38.5% -2.0%
Michelle Obama 2.8% +0.5%
Robert Kennedy Jr 2.2% unch
Other 3.7% -0.6%

Bone Spurs continues to increase his edge over President Dotard. Michelle Obama continues to impress some bettors. What kind of scenarios are they imagining? Wildly entertaining ones, I bet!

Ditto for RFKJr. Maybe a mutual Trump/Biden annihilation in the debates, causing critical states to break 34%/33%/33% in Junior's favor?

Also of note:

  • Ignored by the WaPo and Politifact, I think. Perhaps they believe a President who makes up stuff isn't a problem, as long as he's Democrat. But the UK version of the Daily Mail is on the story: Biden makes another gaffe by falsely claiming his Catholic school teacher was drafted by the Green Bay Packers.

    President Joe Biden got caught trying too hard to butter up Wisconsin voters when he told an apparently false story about a teacher at his Delaware Catholic high school being drafted by the Green Bay Packers.

    'My theology professor at the Catholic school I went to was a guy named Reilley, last name. And he had been drafted by the Green Bay Packers,' Biden said during a speech in Sturtevant, Wisconsin Wednesday.

    'And he decided to become a priest before that, so he didn't go. But every single solitary Monday that Green Bay won, we got the last period of the day off,' Biden said.

    The line first got flagged as a potential Ron Burgundy moment by online users who wondered why the president said 'last name.'

    But online sleuths quickly searched online Green Bay Packers draft records going back to the 30s, with no apparent Rileys or Reilleys having been drafted.

    I suppose Biden just assumed talking about the Packers would get him Wisconsin voters.

  • So you're saying there's a chance… At the Dispatch, Nick Catoggio examines The Case for VP Haley.

    You wouldn’t know it from my cheery disposition, but the polls lately have put me in a dark place, overcome with desperate thoughts.

    Where will I work after the Trump Justice Department shutters The Dispatch for publishing “subversive material”? What sort of contrived national emergency will be cited in 2028 to justify suspending the 22nd Amendment? Which Anglosphere country is most likely to grant me asylum?

    And this one, which is really dark: Should I hope that Donald Trump chooses Nikki Haley as his running mate?

    The prospect of a Trump-Haley ticket seemed to have died earlier this year when the nominee declared that anyone donating to her henceforth would be “permanently barred from the MAGA camp,” whatever that means. Ten days ago, however, Axios cited multiple sources alleging that Haley was “under active consideration” by Trump’s campaign for VP. Trump himself quickly denied it, but Trump denies a lot of things that turn out to be true.

    Well, that would be neat. Certainly it would make it more likely to check the box for Trump, instead of writing in Nikki.

  • Least surprising headline of the week. Christian Britschgi is (like me!) a "pro-life" libertarian. So he's a pretty good choice to point out some Golden State Governor hypocrisy: Gavin Newsom Is Pro-Choice on Abortion and Nothing Else.

    California has some of the nation's toughest restrictions on the interstate practice of medicine. With very limited exceptions, the state requires that doctors offering any sort of treatment, care, or consultation to California patients be licensed in California.

    While the rest of the country is changing regulations to accommodate telemedicine, California forbids out-of-state specialists from doing even remote follow-up appointments or consultations with their California patients.

    To lighten this regulatory load, Gov. Gavin Newsom yesterday signed into law Senate Bill 233. It will let out-of-state doctors to quickly get California medical licenses to serve patients there. The only catch is that the doctors have to be from Arizona. And they can only provide abortion-related services. Temporarily. To patients who are also from Arizona.

    Feminists used to complain bitterly that "if men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament".

    Well, guess what? Men still can't get pregnant, but abortion has turned into a secular sacrament for advocates, granting it privileges far beyond those extended to other "medical" procedures and policies.

I Exaggerate

My Brushes with Fame

(paid link)

I was (apparently) in the mood for a Saturday Night Live alumnus-written book. I enjoyed Kevin Nealon's roles over the years, especially as one of the Austrian bodybuilders "Hans and Franz". (I forget which one he was.) He was a decent newsreader on the "Weekend Update" segment. I thought "Mr. Subliminal" was hilarious. So, why not?

The book is not so much a memoir as it is Nealon's recollections/impressions of other folks, most of whom he rubbed shoulders with in the wide world of SNL and general celebrityness. The book's gimmick is that Nealon is a decent caricaturist, and there are dozens of his full-color works here, one or more for each subject.

As I said, he's met most of them. Some of them not; for example, there's a piece about Timothée Chalamet and Daisy Edgar-Jones, present only because he admires their talents. Humphrey Bogart shows up because Kevin got Lauren Bacall to tell him some stories about her life with Bogie.

But the best stories are the ones where Nealon recounts his own interactions with his subjects. This can get pretty funny; don't miss the yarns about Arnold Palmer or Brad Paisley. But, despite being a professional comedian, Nealon doesn't go out of his way to be funny here.

As far as the art goes, they're all recognizable. Except the portrait of Jennifer Aniston (page 161); I looked at it and said "Really? That looks more like… who is that other actress that I've seen in stuff?"

And a few hours later, I got it: Rosamund Pike! (At my age, it takes my brain a while to sort through its mental images.) Check for yourself; am I crazy?

To be fair, he did a better Jen approximation on Twitter

Klara and the Sun

(paid link)

I got this from the Portsmouth (NH) Public Library because Reason editor Katherine Mangu-Ward kept recommending it, most recently in the magazine's AI issue.

I haven't had the greatest luck with Reason writers' recommendations of SF novels in the past, but this one worked out. The author, Kazuo Ishiguro, is a well-respected author of "serious" fiction, and this wound up being a best-seller, and garnered heaps of critical praise. (Oddly, it doesn't seem to have been nominated for the Hugo or Nebula best novel awards.)

It's narrated by Klara, an "Artificial Friend" (AF). As the story opens, Klara is on display in the AF store, awaiting possible purchase. It's apparent from the start that Klara views the world around her in a distinctly different way. She's solar-powered, so her attitude toward the Sun is that of a loving disciple to a benevolent god. She studies the patterns sunlight and shadow make on objects, looking for portents. She notices details humans would find trivial; important-to-us stuff seems to be beyond her ken. Her perceptions of her surroundings are decidedly non-human, and strange to the human reader. (That would be me.) And she gets some wacky ideas in her CPU over the course of the book.

Also: it appears Klara's model line is being superseded by the "B3" AF units that have just appeared on the market.

But Klara gets lucky when young Josie and her mom appear in the store. Mom is looking for an AF for Josie. (It turns out Mom has hidden motives for that, which only become known later.) Josie takes Klara home, and they become close. But all is not well, because Josie is sickly. She has a rocky relationship with neighbor Rick, a boy with unrecognized promise. Eventually, other family members show up, present and past acquaintances appear on the scene, and dysfunctions are slowly revealed.

Speaking of dys-: most reviewers peg this as a "dystopian" novel. But since Klara is narrating, and she only has dim perceptions of anything outside her relationships with Josie and the Sun, you really have to pick up some subtle clue-dropping about the surrounding society. Some kids, it turns out, are "lifted", some are not. What's up with that? If you're not a careful reader, and I'm not as careful as I should be, you'll miss some important detail.

But the overall lesson seems to be a grim one at best: the impermanence of human relationships. Kara has no heart to break, but we readers do. Be warned.