I’m not even sure Montreal exists. I’m thinking that Quebec is pulling off some kind of tax dodge.

Le Nouveau Duluth has 85 reviews, all of them giving five stars. “In the features, they do everything: they deliver, they do takeout, reservations, outdoor seating, buffet, private dinings, private parking, they have a full bar, wine and beer, waterfront, live music, jazz bar, it’s a drive-through, they’re on the beach, they have a playground.”

Le Nouveau Duluth does not exist. The ease with which it rose to the top of a travel advice site is a clear example of how easy it is to create buzz with no substance behind it”

Here is the story of the comedian behind the prank.

Mr. Skin reported the following:

  • In Fair Play, Phoebe Dynevor shows her breasts as she gets out of the shower in one scene.
  • Skye P. Marshall shows her breasts when she stands against a wall in a shower scene in To Live and Die and Live.
  • In the movie Mamacruz, Kiti Manver shows her left breast as she slips a nightgown on.
  • Emily Willis shows her T&A in the B&W film Divinity, and Karrueche Tran has a sex scene in the same film.
  • “Marin Ireland shows her buns and a bit of boobage in Birth/Rebirth.”
  • Amandla Stenberg bares her breasts in My Animal.
  • Mia Goth did a full frontal scene in Infinity Pool. At least two other women did full-frontal nudity as well as some men. There was also a drugged-out orgy scene filled with special effects. The theatrical release will not be the same as the one screened at Sundance. The film had to be cut to get an R rating, and I don’t know the exact details of the cuts.

I love this guy!

Somebody unearthed the fact that he performed in Brazil as a drag queen, and he denied it.

Needless to say, there’s always a paper trail!

He is absolutely the most entertaining story to come along in politics in years. It appears that the voters elected a completely fictional character!

In a way his lies are sheer genius, because he ran as a MAGA Republican in a Democratic-leaning district (Biden won it by seven points) and won with a brilliant strategy. Assured of all the MAGA votes, he siphoned off enough liberal votes by claiming to be a gay, Black, Jewish Latino who overcame a brain tumor, whose grandparents were holocaust survivors, and whose grandmother died on 9-11. He pretty much ticked off every concern of liberal identity politics, except that he somehow forgot to mention that he was the descendant of slaves. In essence he created a special kind of liberal Frankenstein monster – let’s call it an Al Frankenstein.

Did you see the guy Jimmy Kimmel hired to impersonate Santos? Uncanny resemblance:

At this point I can’t join in the enthusiasm for ChatGPT

I tried it out and found that it was not capable of learning from its mistakes, which in my mind would be the first measurement of true AI. Here is a sample:

SCOOP: Tell me briefly why life is good.

CHAT: Life is good because it is always full of surprises.

SCOOP: That is incorrect. “Surprises” are neither inherently good nor bad. They are neutral. They can be good or bad. Try again to identify something about life that is indisputably positive.

CHAT: In addition to being full of surprises, life is always a challenge.

SCOOP: You are not understanding the concept. “Challenges” are also neutral. They can provide the satisfaction of overcoming them, or they can beat down one’s spirit. Try again to identify an inherently positive thing about life, and do so without resorting to cliches.

CHAT: In addition to being full of surprises and challenges, life is ….

I forget what the answer was, but it was similarly unresponsive and I gave up. I was trying to prompt the bot to respond with an undeniably positive concept like “rewards” or “happiness.” In that case, the answer may be been merely an opinion, and thus debatable, but it would at least be responsive to the question. But I couldn’t get the bot to understand the concepts of “good” or “positive,” or to respond to my concerns about its answers.

So at this point it is not really capable of following a conversation as a human would do.

I then tried an essay question requiring a factual foundation of knowledge. “Why is Samuel Beckett considered an existentialist?” It began “Samuel Beckett is considered an existentialist because his work deals with themes of existentialism.”

So … roughly what a ninth grader would say if he didn’t do the assigned reading.

It did give a pretty solid elaboration of the existentialist question, but it was generic and unsupported by examples, so I’d say the chat bot still has a long way to go.

“We are confronted with a lawsuit that should never have been filed, which was completely frivolous, both factually and legally, and which was brought in bad faith for an improper purpose.”

“The former president indicated to associates that he essentially believed it should be paid by his attorney instead of him.”

I’ve never been one to let DJT off the hook, but I agree with him in this case. He’s not the one who is supposed to know that a claim has no legal basis. That’s what lawyers are for. Moreover, sources reported that Trump wanted to drop this suit when he realized to whom it had been assigned, but his lawyer recommended seeing it through, so I can fully support his position that the lawyer should be the one to get out her checkbook.

If the judge is correct, if the suit is so obviously fraudulent, the judge should have recommended a review of the lawyer’s credentials as well. The best way to prevent completely bogus lawsuits is to come down hard on the lawyers who file them. Make sure those lawyers (not the litigant) have to pay court costs and the legal costs of the defendants, and that they are subject to additional fines and possible disbarment.

————–

Note:

I don’t know enough about the applicable law to know whether the suit has no valid legal basis, but I know enough about the world to know that its claims are hilariously stupid and disingenuous. The suit alleges, among other fictions, a conspiracy between James Comey and Hilary Clinton in 2016. That would have been the worst conspiracy in history, since Comey pretty much single-handedly tilted the election to Trump with his mishandling of the Clinton e-mail investigation. We know that Trump himself knew that because the White House actually said that Trump fired Comey for being unfair to Clinton! That was a lie, of course. We all know the real reason. But still – that was the claim and it directly contradicts the lawsuit.

From the story:

“This is problematic for Baldwin because he has insisted that he did not pull the trigger,” said Beverly Hills entertainment attorney Mitra Ahouraian. “Those types of inconsistencies are not helpful to his case.”

Reports prepared by FBI analysts in Virginia, however, cast doubt on that claim. While the FBI did not conclude where live ammunition came from, agents said in an August report that the pistol, a replica of a vintage Pietta Colt .45, “functioned normally when tested in the laboratory.” The FBI report also noted that, in order for the revolver to fire, the trigger would have been pulled.

Mitra Ahouraian continued:

“Regardless of what the practice may be in the entertainment industry, and regardless of what the protocols are on Hollywood sets, that’s not the law. The gun was in his hands. And if there’s any possibility that you are handling something that could harm someone, then you have an obligation to handle it safely.”

Solomon Pena is our criminal mastermind o’ the day.

The master criminal and his hit men at work:

  • The guy he hired to shoot at a state senator was driving Pena’s car.
  • In the car were 800 fentanyl pills, the gun used in that shooting, plus shell casings associated with other shootings.
  • The car was stopped shortly after the shooting, only four miles away.
  • Peña had texted the others with addresses where he wanted gunfire to erupt.

“Albuquerque police announced the arrest of Solomon Peña on Monday. He had expressed anger over his November loss and alleged that election fraud played a role, police said.”

These things make the story even more interesting:

1. His election loss wasn’t a nail-biter. He lost the election by about 3,600 votes – in a district where only about 7,600 votes were cast! He got only 26% of the votes, and nobody in his party has ever done much better in that district.

2. It’s difficult to imagine that he even got his 2,000 votes, given that he has previously been convicted of 19 felonies and spent seven years in the calaboose.

3. But I suppose he got a certain number of protest votes, give that the guy he ran against is a complete moron (who happens to be in a safe district that always votes 75% D).

Mr Pena:

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The tech billionaire has reportedly lost $182 billion since November 2021.



That is more than three times as much as the previous record drop, and is approximately equal to the 2022 GDP of Hungary.

Of course Musk is still worth $138 billion, which makes him the world’s second-richest man, so I don’t think he’ll have to check into a homeless shelter any time soon, and he could soar back up to where he was if Tesla stock rebounds. (Tesla’s market capitalization dropped 65% last year.)

Get out your popcorn out for this one, which will end up with many matters to be decided by the judiciary.

Jim Jordan will be investigating the Jan 6th investigation – of which he is almost certainly a target. Should an FBI officer be forced to reveal details of an investigation to the guy he’s investigating? The common sense answer is obvious, but the legal answer is not.

Furthermore, there could be a battle of subpoenas. Jordan could be issuing subpoenas to the investigators while they are issuing subpoenas to him to testify about his actions on and leading up to January 6th. The DoJ will obviously challenge any congressional subpoena in court if the subpoena interferes with a criminal investigation, and the Supreme Court will probably have to sort it out eventually. The congressman, on the other hand, can’t ignore a grand jury subpoena. Judges take those very seriously. In the most extreme example, it could actually end up with Jordan questioning a guy one day, then getting arrested by the same guy the next day!

Benny Hex, nee Joseph Ratzinger, was a ground-breaker. He was the first pope to resign since 1415, he was the only pope to retire within the Vatican walls, he was certainly the only pope to be a member of the Hitler Youth, and I think he was the only pope to speak modern German as a native language.

SIDEBAR: Benedict may be the only pope to retire, defined as “resigning because of old age.” You can see the full list of Papal renunciations here, and I couldn’t find another who met that criterion.

The most interesting one on the list is Benedict IX, who was the Grover Cleveland of popes, in that he served three non-consecutive terms as pope, starting when he was no older than 19 or 20. (Bertrand Russell suggested in The History of Western Philosophy that Benedict IX may have been as young as 11 or 12 when he became pope.) He’s the only man (or maybe I should say “the only male,” since he may have been a boy rather than a man) to hold the papacy more than once. He made the “renunciation” list because he resigned from his second term, basically having sold the papacy to a relative.

What a guy!

The other two times they basically ran him out of town. One of his successors, Pope Victor III, referred to Benedict’s “rapes, murders and other unspeakable acts of violence and sodomy. His life as a pope was so vile, so foul, so execrable, that I shudder to think of it.”

(Modern historians caution against accepting all the accusations against Benedict IX as factual since they were advanced by his enemies and rivals, who were numerous and bitter.)

This is not a typo:

A Shanghai hospital has told its staff to prepare for a “tragic battle” with COVID-19 as it expects half of the city’s 25 million people will get infected by the end of next week, while the virus sweeps through China largely unchecked.

The number currently infected in that city is estimated at 5.5 million. Yeah, that’s right. They expect 7 million new cases in one week in one city.

After years of enforcing a zero-COVID policy, China’s government has ended its harsh anti-COVID restrictions and now seems to have no plan at all, other than to hide the numbers. Officials have currently taken a page from the Trump playbook – “If we don’t conduct any tests, the official numbers will stay low.”

This joke is currently circulating in China:

Three men who don’t know each other sit in a Chinese prison cell. Each explains why he was arrested:

“I opposed Covid testing.”
“I supported Covid testing.”
“I conducted Covid testing.”

In his usual eloquent way, Walker said, “We can’t blame no one.”

I didn’t make that up.

One thing we saw in the 2022 mid-terms was that the death of polls had been, if not greatly, at least somewhat exaggerated. In general, the pollsters did a pretty good job this year. In this particular race, RCP summarized the polls with 51.0 for Warnock – with a 3.7% edge and 1.7% undecided. 538 said 50.2 for Warnock, with an edge of 2.0% and 1.8% undecided. Splitting the undecideds in the same proportion, that would result in a 51.0-49.0 win for Warnock using 538’s numbers, or a 51.9-48.1 Warnock victory using RCP’s numbers.

If you average those two summaries, you get Warnock with 51.45 and Walker with 48.55.

The actual result was Warnock 51.4, Walker 48.6. That’s about as accurate as polling can ever get. (In fact it’s MORE accurate than polling can really get. Getting that close is just a matter of luck.)

All good Americans know the significance of July 4, 1776 and December 7, 1941, but other than family birthdays and anniversaries, we boomers don’t have many of the dates of our own lifetimes memorized.

That said, just about every one of us knows two specific dates that have nothing to do with family milestones.

One is September 11, 2001.

The other is November 22, 1963. So long ago. So vivid still.

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Moving the Bills game seems to have been the right move. Get this: ” Orchard Park, where the NFL’s Buffalo Bills play, has picked up 77.0 inches in the last 48 hours”

Sports Update: the Bills will play Sunday – in Detroit!

Weird stuff: Buffalo Channel 4 Weather has confirmed 77 inches in Orchard Park, a southern suburb, but Tonawanda, a northern suburb, has received only three inches! Orchard Park is directly in line with the eastern shore of Lake Erie, while Tonawanda is just far enough north on the Niagara River that it is out of the direct path of the lake effect snow.