Lawyers for President Donald Trump are working on a conflict of interest case against special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, reports the Washington Post, and Trump has asked advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members, and himself, for any possible crimes linked to Mueller's probe.
One week and about ten hours ago, I decided to step away from Twitter for a little bit. The specific details aren’t important, and I suspect that many of you reading this now are already nodding in agreement because you grok why. But I took it off my phone, and I haven’t been to the website on my desktop since. For the first 48 hours, I spent a lot of time wondering if I was making a choice that mattered, and thinking about how I wasn’t habitually looking at Twitter every few minutes to see if I’d missed anything funny, or to see the latest bullshit spewing forth from President Fuckface’s mouthanus. I was, ironically, spending more time thinking about Twitter since I wasn’t using it than I spent thinking about it when I was.
It started out as a 24 hour break, then it was a 48 hour break, then it was the weekend, and here we are one week later and I don’t feel like I’m missing anything important. I feel like I’ve given myself more time to be quiet and alone, more time to reflect on things, and I’ve created space in my life to let my mind wander and get creative.
I’m not creating as much as I want to, and I’m starting to feel like maybe I’ll never be able to create as much as I want to, but I’ve gotten some stuff done this week that probably wouldn’t have gotten done if Twitter had been filling up the space that I needed.
Here’s a little bit from my blog post that became a short story that grew into a novella that is now a novel, All We Ever Wanted Was Everything:
My mother was leaning against her car, talking with one of the other moms, when we arrived. My sister was throwing a Strawberry Shortcake doll into the air and catching it while they watched. I walked out of the bus and across the blazing hot blacktop to meet her.
“Willow, catch!” My sister cried, sending Strawberry Shortcake in a low arc toward me. I caught her without enthusiasm and handed her back. “You’re supposed to throw her to me!” Amanda said, demonstrating. Her doll floated in a lazy circle, arms and legs pinwheeling, before falling back down into my sister’s waiting arms. The writer in me wants to make a clever reference to how I was feeling at that moment, about how I could relate to Strawberry Fucking Shortcake, spinning out of control in the air above us, but it feels hacky, so I’ll just talk about how I wanted to make the reference without actually making the reference, thereby giving myself permission to do a hacky writer’s trick without actually doing it. See, there’s nothing tricky about writing, it’s just a little trick!
It’s still in the first draft, and I may not keep all or even any of it, but after putting it aside for months while I was depressed about too many things to look at it, it feels so good to be back into this story.
Oh, speaking of writing, I got notes back from the editors on my Star Wars 40th anthology submission. I thought that, for sure, they’d want me to rework a ton of it, but all they asked me to do is change a name! And they told me it was beautiful! So I’ve been feeling like a Capital-W Writer for a few days.
And speaking of feeling happy for a change, Hasbro and Machinima announced that I’m a voice in the next installment of the Transformers animated series, Titans Return. And it feels silly to care about this particular thing, but Daily Variety put my name in the headline, which made me feel really, really good.I’ve always felt like the only thing that should matter is the work, and that the work should be able to stand on its own … but that’s not the reality even a little bit. Daily Variety is the industry’s paper of record, so when it chooses to put you in the headline of a story, people pay attention and it matters in the way that can make the difference between getting called for a meeting, or the last ten years of my life as an actor.
It’s also a good reminder that, even if I’m not getting the opportunities I want to be an on-camera actor, it is entirely within my power to create the space I need to be a writer.
After serving 9 years in prison for armed robbery, O.J. Simpson (70) was granted parole. He could be released on October 1.
From ABC News:
Simpson said in his nine years behind bars, he's been "a good guy."
"I was always a good guy, but could have been a better Christian, and my commitment to change is to be a better Christian." He said he took an "alternative to violence" course in prison, and called it "the most important course anybody in this prison can take because it teaches you how to deal with conflict through conversation."
"I had some problems with fidelity in my life, but I've always been a guy that pretty much got along with everybody," he said.
In an interview with the New York Times, Donald Trump said that Akie Abe, wife of Japan Prime Minister Abe, didn't even say "hello" to him at the G20 dinner because she doesn't speak English:
So, I was seated next to the wife of Prime Minister Abe [Shinzo Abe of Japan], who I think is a terrific guy, and she’s a terrific woman, but doesn’t speak English.
HABERMAN: Like, nothing, right? Like zero?
TRUMP: Like, not “hello.”
HABERMAN: That must make for an awkward seating.
TRUMP: Well, it’s hard, because you know, you’re sitting there for——
TRUMP: So the dinner was probably an hour and 45 minutes.
But a number of videos have surfaced showing that Mrs. Abe has a pretty great command of the English language. So, why wouldn't she speak with Trump?
A gentleman who didn't like AT&T trucks parked in front of his Hialeigh, FL home grabbed his revolver and calmly began shooting at the tires and engine of one, and then another truck. One of AT&T's technicians, Derrick Taylor, called 9-1-1. “He's shooting the truck right now. There's a guy shooting the tires and shooting the engines and everything.”
Someone put together a Google spreadsheet of Trump administration personal finances. It has links to the disclosure forms of nearly 500 people - Steve Bannon, Jared Kushner, Betsy DeVos, Trump, etc.
Trump owes between $55 million to $75 million to Deutsche Bank, the same bank that was fined $10 billion for its part in a Russian money-laundering scheme. That's a massive nothing burger.
U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has widened his investigation into possible collusion between Russia and Donald Trump's presidential campaign. Mueller is looking into Trump's financial dealings with with unsavory Russian businessman, including mobsters and corrupt Kremlin officials.
Mueller has his work cut out for him -- the August/September issue of The New Republic has an in-depth article about Trump's "decades-long ties to Russian mafia." Only someone brainwashed by ideology could read this article and not think Trump has been up to no good for a very long time.
From The New Republic's press release:
In “Trump’s Russian Laundromat,” veteran journalist Craig Unger details how the Russian mafia has used the president’s properties—including Trump Tower and the Trump Taj Majal—as a way to launder money and hide assets. “Whether Trump knew it or not,” writes Unger, “Russian mobsters and corrupt oligarchs used his properties not only to launder vast sums of money from extortion, drugs, gambling, and racketeering, but even as a base of operations for their criminal activities. In the process, they propped up Trump’s business and enabled him to reinvent his image. Without the Russian mafia, it is fair to say, Donald Trump would not be president of the United States.”
Based entirely on the extensive public record, the piece offers the most comprehensive overview of the deep debt that the president owes the Russian mafia. “The extent of Trump’s ties to the Russian mafia—and the degree to which he relied on them for his entire business model—is striking,” says Eric Bates, editor of the New Republic. “After reading this story, it should come as no surprise to anyone that the president continues to exhibit a deep loyalty to the world of shady Russian operatives who have invested vast sums in his properties.”
Trump's lawyer says the new direction Mueller is moving leads to a forbidden zone. From Bloomberg:
John Dowd, one of Trump’s lawyers, said on Thursday that he was unaware of the inquiry into Trump’s businesses by the two-months-old investigation and considered it beyond the scope of what Special Counsel Robert Mueller should be examining.
“Those transactions are in my view well beyond the mandate of the Special counsel; are unrelated to the election of 2016 or any alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia and most importantly, are well beyond any Statute of Limitation imposed by the United States Code,” he wrote in an email.
A young antelope harbors a vicious grudge against this guy, who seems to be half-scared, half-amused by the tiny angry ungulate. The only way he can restrain it is by grabbing it by the horns. He makes a half-hearted attempt to use a towel like a bullfighter's cape, but that doesn't work very well. Hiding behind a pole is a slightly better tactic. The video ends before we find out who wins.
Toronto officials are hopping mad that a rogue DIYer built a flight of stairs in community park for $550 instead of allowing the city to contract it out to a builder at a cost of $65,000-$150,000. Adi Astl, a retired mechanic, said he decided to build the stairs because several neighbors had taken a tumble down the steep path leading to the park. Park visitors were able to enjoy the stairs for a short while until the city taped it off. The city says the stairs will have to be replaced with stairs that meet regulations.
Obviously, the city needs to do something about this for insurance reasons alone. But I'll bet they could work with Mr. Astl to make a great, code-complying flight of stairs for a lot less than $65,000.
Astl says he hired a homeless person to help him and built the eight steps in a matter of hours.
Astl’s wife, Gail Rutherford, says the stairs have already been a big help to people who routinely take that route through the park. “I’ve seen so many people fall over that rocky path that was there to begin with,” she said. “It’s a huge improvement over what was there.”
Astl says members of his gardening group have been thanking him for taking care of the project, especially after one of them broke her wrist falling down the slope last year.
“To me, the safety of people is more important than money,” Astl said. “So if the city is not willing to do it, I have to do it myself.”
City bylaw officers have taped off the stairs while officials make a decision on what to do with it. However, Astl has not been charged with any sort of violation.
Mayor John Tory acknowledged that the city estimate sounds “completely out of whack with reality” on Wednesday. However, he says that still doesn’t justify allowing private citizens to bypass city bylaws to build public structures themselves.
“I think everyone will understand that it will be more than $550,” he said on Wednesday. “We just can’t have people decide to go out to Home Depot and build a staircase in a park because that’s what they would like to have.”
A screw with a stripped head can be difficult to remove.
There are a number of ways to remove screws with stripped heads. Lifehacker has a nice article on this subject.
My favorite method of removing a stuck/stripped screw is with a pair of screw removal pliers. They bite into the exposed sides of the screw head and you can twist the screw loose, then finish the job with a screwdriver. It's also a nice brute-force workaround for tamper-proof screw heads. This is the kind of tool you want to have in your toolbox now, instead of having to run out and buy one when it's needed.
If the screw is really stuck, you risk breaking the head off the screw. If that happens, all is not lost. You can try to drill a small hole into the center of the screw shaft and pull out the screw with a screw extractor.
My iPhone 7+ did a faceplant into gravel. There were 3 deep impacts but the screen saver took all the damage.
I'm a big fan of these tempered glass screen savers. I've been replacing iPhone screens with increasing frequency over the years, and these glass overlays are much cheaper.
The tempered glass does break in instances where the screen would not have, however I'm certain the damage it has fended off has saved me lots of time at the Apple store.I generally prefer a naked phone, in all its sleek minimalist glory, but my daughter insists I take better care of the devices she'll inherit.
OMOTON tempered glass screen protectors via Amazon
Hey there, I've been going to Burning Man since 1995 and a funny thing happened out there starting in 1997. I recently shared a shorter version of this story in my inbox zine. Mark saw it and thought Boing Boing readers might like it as well. So, here you are:
I’m 99.7% sure that “EAT FUCK KILL” is the playa’s first meme.
Let me explain.
It was the summer of 1997. Burning Man was right around the corner and I wanted to find just the right thing to gift out on the playa.
I was a regular at the local flea market here in the Bay Area and, on a Sunday just before the event, I went searching. I soon spotted a long open box full of black-and-white buttons. There were a few dozen of them and each one read “EAT FUCK KILL.” I knew right then and there that they were the perfect thing to bring to the desert. These irreverent buttons were exactly what I was looking for.
In small print, around the edge of the buttons, there was a clue to their origin: The Doom Generation. The buttons had been a promotional item for the poorly-reviewed 1995 film and now, two years later, they were just waiting for me at the flea market. That's me at the 1997 Burning Man, standing in front of the jankiest sign ever. If you're wondering why there is grass, it's because that year the event was held at Hualapai playa, which is located in a different part of the Black Rock Desert.
I got to the playa early in 1997 because I was the editor-in-chief of the now-defunct daily newspaper, The Black Rock Gazette (that is a story for another time). I started handing out buttons, maybe two dozen or so, mostly to Burning Man staff and volunteers. They were instantly popular. Strangers came out of the woodwork looking to score one.
On Saturday afternoon I wanted to leave camp to go shooting with friends, so I hid the box under a bench. When I returned, the box was gone. :: sad face :: The original button with Evil Pippi's kindler, gentler variation, "Eat Fuck Chill."
After the event, the buttons quickly took on a life of their own. Soon there were new buttons with all kinds of alternative messages (the greeters put “GREET FUCK CHILL” on their buttons, for instance). Bigrig Industries (me and my then-boyfriend), in our EFK work shirts, sitting down for a drink at the Mazda-licious Bar and Grill (Burning Man 1998).
The next year I made stickers and photocopied a set of postcards. I also silkscreened about a dozen used $1 work shirts to gift to friends (these shirts became the most highly-coveted EFK item).
Twenty years later, people are still talking about the buttons and asking me when I’m making more stuff with the EFK image on it. Well, that time is now.
From now until September 23, I’ve brought back EFK with an online 20th anniversary pop-up shop which has a bunch of limited-edition products. I've also dug deep into my photo archives and scanned in all kinds of EFK-related images from "back in the day." You can see those in this gallery.
If you want to make an EFK meme of your own, I've put a Photoshop file on the site. It's free to download. I would love to see what you come up with!
Live long and Eat Fuck, um, Chill.