1984 Business Computer Prop – Commodore PET

Watched the new D.C. comic superhero film, Wonder Woman 1984 last night, and in a tiny scene with an actor without a speaking part, there was this shot of an office, complete with a computer that made me giggle.

A Commodore Pet1, complete with a built in cassette deck, presumedly for programs as the floppy disk technology wasn’t advanced enough. The computing power in my old iPhone is leaps and bounds more powerful than that desktop. I wonder if this prop was working, or if the green text on it was just printed directly on the screen. Who would know?

By the way, my quick, pointless review of Wonder Woman 1984: meh. Gal Gadot is beautiful2, but superhero films are empty calories. I watch many of them, but I agree with Martin Scorsese that the genre is not great art. Also, the golden suit of armor complete with angel wings was eye-rolly. Graded on a curve, Wonder Woman 1984 was a solid B. Better than Shazam!, the last superhero film I sat through, but that’s not high praise…

Footnotes:
  1. probably []
  2. I kept imagining what she was like as a soldier in the Israeli Defense Force []

Odds And Sods

For over 25 years, I have saved various bits of the web on my local computer. Vintage ads, cool graphics, first edition book covers, images of paintings by the old masters and of sculptures, funny cartoons, comic book covers, pulp novel covers, photographs of famous musicians. A version of Pinterest, I guess, but for my own visual education, not the world’s.

For the most part, I have moved all these files into a folder called Odds And Sods, and I use it as the basis for my desktop image on a randomized basis. In the MacOS, one can point the system to a folder full of images, and every 15 minutes (or some other time frame), the desktop image will change to something else in that folder.

However, the files themselves are named haphazardly. Many of them are named something like 2004-1–20-14.38.jpg

Chicago Has Everything

This means the image is hard to search for. On my Family Sunday Zoom™, someone suggested using Reverse Image Search, and while that is an excellent suggestion, I feel it is unpractical for the thousands of images in my Odds and Sods folder.

I wonder if there is an automated solution? A software that does the hard work of uploading and renaming images? Especially since when I tried to reverse image search the above poster from the Fraser Label Company, my browser crashed.

Reverse Image Search crashes my browser

Merits further investigation…

By the way, this is the image that I used on my Family Sunday Zoom™, named on my computer: Screen Shot 2020-09-18 at 5.06.18 PM.png

art history

After I switched browsers1 I was able to use the Google Reverse Image tool on this painting – turns out to be painted by Pieter Bruegel The Elder and is called “The Battle Between Carnival and Lent,” ca 1559. I had read an article in the Smithsonian about him recently, I think because I was looking for images about the plague in the European Middle Ages.

I still want to be able to do this for all the poorly or obscurely named images saved on my computer.

Footnotes:
  1. from Safari to Brave []

Trump Is A Loser

These opening sentences in a NYT article by Maggie Haberman and Michael Schmidt made me laugh:

With four weeks left in President Trump’s term, he is at perhaps his most unleashed — and, as events of the last few days have demonstrated, at the most unpredictable point in his presidency. He remains the most powerful person in the world, yet he is focused on the one area in which he is powerless to get what he wants: a way to avoid leaving office as a loser.

Get Out Trump

A Loser. That is how Trump will be remembered.

He has been a loser for most of his life, but managed to fool some people, some of the time.

I cannot wait for 2021, probably won’t be until spring, but sometime in 2021, Trump won’t be in the news every goddamn day. Glorious silence.

He hasn’t been doing the job of president for most of his term, his lack of work ethic has gotten more noticeable recently:

He is almost entirely disengaged from leading the nation even as Americans are being felled by the coronavirus at record rates. Faced with an aggressive cyberassault almost surely carried out by Russia, his response, to the degree that he has had one, has been to downplay the damage and to contradict his own top officials by suggesting that the culprit might actually have been China. He played almost no role in negotiating the stimulus bill that just passed Congress before working to disrupt it at the last minute. It is not clear that Mr. Trump’s latest behavior is anything other than a temper tantrum, attention-seeking or a form of therapy for the man who controls a nuclear arsenal

A Loser by circumstance, and a Loser by deeds. In other words, Trump is for ever and ever a Loser!

Above Ground Sounds

Above Ground Sounds was taken on January 7, 2016, and processed in my digital darkroom December 22nd, 2020 at 4 AM when I couldn’t sleep.

Above Ground Sounds

Click here to embiggen. You probably should.

Approaching Northwestern University campus from the south, in Evanston one sunny winter day, I liked how the over-turned dumpster echoes the buildings in the background. Everything1 is technically wrong with this photo, but I like it nonetheless. The cropping is weird, the angle is a little off, who cares. I think it would make a great album cover – there is even some empty space for lettering.

Footnotes:
  1. well, many things at least []

DoorDash adds $1.50 Vulture Capital Fee in response to Chicago’s cap on Delivery Fees

Corned Beef from Manny's Deli

Phil Vettel, Chicago Tribune reports:

A little more than two weeks ago, the Chicago City Council took a bite at third-party delivery-service fees, imposing a 15% cap on fees that sometimes reached 30% previously.

Tuesday… DoorDash announced the imposition of a “Chicago fee,” a $1.50 charge added to all orders placed at city restaurants.

The new fee is charged to customers, not restaurants, so is not affected by the Chicago ordinance.
Customers ordering through DoorDash saw a $1.50 “Chicago fee” added to their orders. By clicking on that fee, the following explanation appeared:

Chicago has temporarily capped the fees that we may charge local restaurants. To continue to offer you convenient delivery while ensuring that Dashers are active and earning, you will now see a charge added to Chicago orders.”

(click here to continue reading DoorDash adds $1.50 ‘Chicago fee’ in response to city’s cap – Chicago Tribune.)

A kind of fcku you to Chicago diners, I would say.

Chicago Alderman Scott Waguespack agrees with me:

“This disgraceful fee is an outright attempt to pass this IPO of $3 billion,” he said. “Just pile on more fees and pass their IPO; that’s the only thing I can think of.”

Calling it a Chicago fee might also cause customers to think the charge is a city charge, Waguespack said.

“They might think it’s the city dinging them for an extra $1.50,” Waguespack said. “It doesn’t say ‘DoorDash fee,’ it says ‘Chicago fee.’ I think that’s their intention — to stick it to the city.

“It’s that kind of vulture capitalism mentality — we can do it, so we’re going to do it,” Waguespack said. “The billions of dollars (via the IPO, if successful) isn’t enough; they have to take this too.”

Not Even Wondering

Especially in light of:

The sudden onset of the pandemic in March sent the restaurant industry into a death spiral. Working in a notoriously low-margin business, many couldn’t withstand weeks of limited or no indoor dining. As a result, about one in six restaurants nationwide has closed permanently, and as of September nearly three million restaurant workers had lost their jobs.

Under pressure to pay rent and retain workers, some restaurants turned more of their attention to delivery, particularly from app-based companies like DoorDash, UberEats and Grubhub. Few restaurants that hadn’t done delivery in the past had the time or money to create their own delivery service, which typically brings in less money than dining rooms, where customers are more apt to order more profitable items like appetizers, desserts or a second round of drinks.

These restaurants have quickly found that the apps, with their high fees and strong-arm tactics, may be a temporary lifeline, but not a savior. Fees of 30 percent or higher per order cut eateries’ razor-thin margins to the bone. And a stimulus package that would bolster the industry has stalled in Congress, even as states and municipalities enact new limits on both indoor and outdoor dining.

…the fees are also funding a consolidation among the four largest players that together represent an estimated 99 percent of delivery market share and which will give them greater pricing power.

Though still unprofitable, Uber this month completed its acquisition of Postmates in a $2.7 billion deal. And DoorDash, also a money loser, is going public this week with hopes of raising more than $3 billion from investors. DoorDash’s I.P.O. will net already wealthy investors billions in profits, particularly galling as restaurants wither.

Dan Raskin, an owner of Manny’s Deli in Chicago, said his greatest frustration was the companies’ unwillingness to share customer information with him. That means he cannot verify their claims that they are bringing him new customers. Worse, they appear to be using that data to create competing virtual restaurants — which have no dining rooms, offer multiple cuisines from one location and operate only on the apps.

(click here to continue reading Greg Bensinger | Apps Are Helping to Gut the Restaurant Industry – The New York Times.)

WordPress and the Block Editor

Still A Virgin?

WordPress is really pressing their new-style editor, called the Block Editor. I can’t say I’m very enamored with it, at least in its current iteration. I find the Block Editor gets in my way more often than it is actually useful in creating a post.

Maybe I’m just used to using a 3rd party blogging software (namely, MarsEdit)? Maybe I need to use Block Editor more?

We’ll see.

A cult is a religion with no political power.

— Tom Wolfe

Malware Strikes Again

A cult is a religion with no political power.

— Tom Wolfe
Your Ballroom Days Are Over

My websites were flagged by my webhost as containing malware yesterday. After a little back and forth with them, I decided that I would fix the problem myself to save on the hard costs of hiring an expert. The sites in question1 had been hacked sometime in July, but the hacker’s payload was simply a proof of concept – the hacker created a file called lol.txt on each folder on the root level of my server.

Since I’ve been a customer of this particular webhost for nearly 15 years, there was a lot of extra folders left over from various projects that I didn’t need anyway. I took the time to back every single thing to my local hard drive, and then deleted thousands of files.

The malware was installed as a .php file in the directory /wp-includes in two different websites with a WordPress installation. I could have simply nuked all the WordPress files with the exception of files found in /wp-content but I was curious if I could find more traces of malware. I didn’t have anything else more pressing to accomplish today.

Eventually, I cleaned up all the miscellaneous debris left over from Blogger days, lo so many moons ago, and even delved into my Moveable Type installation from the Golden Era of Blogging. All clear, if clunky.

If you have a moment, take a gander at urbanseens.com or my photo blog to see if they are ok. My webhost gave me the all clear, and restored my sites to the internet.

Being told you have malware is like someone accusing you of having lice or a STD or something”

my brother quipped back:

what’s worse malware or herpes?”

Tell Me What You Want
Footnotes:
  1. not this one, but others []

President-Elect Joe Biden

Joe Biden and David Axelrod Take in a Bulls Game

Whew, that’s a relief to say. Try it, “President-Elect Joe Biden”

Thanks to everyone sane who voted overwhelmingly for Joe Biden. I will admit Joe Biden was not in my top three candidates for the Democratic nomination, but I will give him a chance to be a good president. And really, let’s be honest, yesterday’s coffee grounds would be a better choice than Donald J. Trump having a second term.

January 20th, 2021 cannot arrive soon enough.

Lobby Ceiling Millennium Biltmore Hotel was uploaded to Flickr

Los Angeles

1923 standards are different…
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_Biltmore_Hotel

embiggen by clicking
https://flic.kr/p/2jZnF92

I took Lobby Ceiling Millennium Biltmore Hotel on January 31, 2013 at 12:37PM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on October 26, 2020 at 09:32AM

Confutatis Maledictis was uploaded to Flickr

or something

embiggen by clicking
https://flic.kr/p/2jKPfRp

I took Confutatis Maledictis on September 24, 2020 at 03:23AM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on September 24, 2020 at 08:50AM


Obviously, didn’t take this photo at 3:23 AM in my local time, but there is some bug in the system that insists upon subtracting 5 hours from this automated time stamp. Usually doesn’t matter, but this photo is not of a moon.

confutatis maledictis

According to Google Translate, this phrase means, “Doomed”, but I don’t think that is completely accurate.

Wikipedia has two translations of this phrase from the Dies irae:

When the wicked are confounded,
Doomed to flames of woe unbounded,
Call me with Your saints surrounded.
Once the cursed have been silenced,
sentenced to acrid flames:
Call me, with the blessed.

Truthfully, Mozart’s Requiem came on my iTunes shuffle this morning, and I liked the phrase. Only later did I wonder what confutatis maledictis really means, and researched a bit (including asking my brother who studied Latin in school).

Name The Thing Without Naming It was uploaded to Flickr

reflection, Chicago’s Loop

embiggen by clicking
https://flic.kr/p/2jGABiX

I took Name The Thing Without Naming It on April 09, 2017 at 05:42AM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on September 14, 2020 at 12:41PM

The Streets Are Filled With Vipers was uploaded to Flickr

Alley, Wicker Park

embiggen by clicking
https://flic.kr/p/2jFEwyV

I took The Streets Are Filled With Vipers on September 26, 2015 at 12:28PM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on September 11, 2020 at 05:32PM

Where I Can Find Some Peace and Rest

Where I Can Find Some Peace and Rest

Rain, Chicago.1 

Tri-X 400, in emulation. 

Nikon D7000
85.0 mm f/1.8 

Aperture: ƒ/4.5
Shutter: 1/50
ISO: 400

 

I took this photo December 22, 2014, and processed it in my digital darkroom on August 16th, 2020.

I’ve taken many photos of the Lake Street bridge over the Chicago River over the years. I should collect them all in one place. Maybe later…2 

Footnotes:

  1. Click to embiggen []
  2. Title partially nicked from Peter Tosh. []

Trump Is Unsuited To Be President – Part the 543,678,654th

One Scared Little Man

These are not leadership qualities for an executive of a business, much less the president of a nation.

The lost days of summer: How Trump struggled to contain the virus – The Washington Post:

In Trump’s White House, there is little process that guides decision-making on the pandemic. The president has been focused first and foremost on his reelection chances and reacting to the daily or hourly news cycle as opposed to making long-term strategy, with Meadows and other senior aides indulging his impulses rather than striving to impose discipline.

What’s more, with polls showing Trump’s popularity on the decline and widespread disapproval of his management of the viral outbreak, staffers have concocted a positive feedback loop for the boss. They present him with fawning media commentary and craft charts with statistics that back up the president’s claim that the administration has done a great — even historically excellent — job fighting the virus.

A senior administration official involved in the pandemic response said, “Everyone is busy trying to create a Potemkin village for him every day. You’re not supposed to see this behavior in liberal democracies that are founded on principles of rule of law. Everyone bends over backwards to create this Potemkin village for him and for his inner circle.”

Government health officials are wary of saying anything publicly — even if they are merely speaking truth — that might be construed as contradicting the president or countering his rosy assessments.

One of the clearest examples of how fear and loyalty have infected the response came in Trump’s decision last month to begin formally withdrawing the United States from the World Health Organization. Many government officials hoped the president would not take that drastic step, but none had the courage to try forcefully to persuade him against a withdrawal by explaining that doing so would risk damaging not only the global response to the virus but also the U.S. response.
“Everybody is too scared of their own shadow to speak the truth,” said a senior official involved in the response.

What also has frustrated a number of the president’s allies and former aides is that he simply seems uninterested in asserting full leadership over the crisis, instead deferring to state leaders to make the more difficult decisions while using his presidential bully pulpit to critique their performances. He deputizes Pence to handle much of the actual communication with states and other stakeholders in the fight against the virus.
“If we want to return to school safely, we need not only adaptive safety practices at the schools but also lower amounts of virus in each community,” said Tom Bossert, a former White House homeland security adviser under Trump. “A suppression-level effort to shrink and not just mitigate the spread of covid requires a national strategy that includes standards and significant federal funding. Such a strategy is lacking right now.”