Saturday, February 17, 2018

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Shame on John Shimkus A previous biblical tweet is causing him some difficulty.

Shame on John Shimkus

My representative in Congress, John Shimkus (R, Illinois-15), likes to post Bible passages on Twitter. Here’s what he posted today:

It’s possible that this tweet is the work of some automated verse-a-day service. But in that case, there would likely be contemporaneous tweets from other users showing the same passage. I find none. And hours after this tweet appeared, it’s still there.

I called John Shimkus’s Washington office to explain why I think that tweets about hanging people from trees are not appropriate: 202-225-5271. I left my number and await a reply.


2:50 p.m.: Shimkus is attempting an explanation of an earlier tweet that, in light of events in Parkland, Florida, struck some readers as utterly grotesque: “The one who touches the corpse of any person shall be unclean for seven days” (Numbers 19:11).

Shimkus’s explanation (that the tweet has nothing to do with Parkland) notes that the passages in his tweets come from his “daily Bible study” — in other words, he chooses them himself. He has finally commented on events in Parkland, offering “prayers” for “those victims, their families, and all who have suffered because of the evil in this world.” Nothing thus far about those who have suffered because of firearms in this country. Again: “The only variable that can explain the high rate of mass shootings in America is its astronomical number of guns.”

Shimkus has said nothing thus far about his choice of a passage about hanging people from trees.

Related reading
All OCA John Shimkus posts

From the Saturday Stumper

Today’s Newsday Saturday Stumper is by Lars G. Doubleday, aka Doug Peterson and Brad Wilber. I didn’t think I would finish, but I did. One clue that I especially liked: 14-Down, nine letters, “Company function.” No spoilers; the answer is in the comments.

[“Lars G. Doubleday” is an anagram, not of “edgy sour ballad” but of the names Bradley and Douglas. See these comments on a 2013 puzzle.]

Friday, February 16, 2018

It’s Mueller Time

Robert S. Mueller III, that is. From today’s indictment:

The conspiracy had as its object impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful governmental functions of the United States by dishonest means in order to enable the Defendants to interfere with US. political and electoral processes, including the 2016 US. presidential
More: “Thirteen Russians Indicted by Special Counsel in First Charges on 2016 Election Interference” (The New York Times).

[The indictment shows Mueller’s name with a comma before the Roman numeral. I follow many authorities in not adding a comma.]

“Redemption Song”

Another great episode of Soul Music (BBC Radio 4): about Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song”. I listened last night. It didn’t make me feel better, but it did make me feel.

Here’s the Marley recording that runs through the episode.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

“Prayers and condolences,” again

“Fuck you. We don’t need your fucking prayers. GET BETTER GUN CONTROL”: a tweet from a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Florida, responding to a presidential tweet offering “prayers and condolences.”

More here: “Students who survived Florida school shooting don't want President Trump’s ‘prayers and condolences’” (Daily News).

[My representative in Congress, John Shimkus (R, Illinois-15), has yet to offer a tweet of “prayers and condolences” or “thoughts and prayers.” Shimkus leads Illinois Congressional Republicans in total contributions from the NRA.]

“The only variable”

“The only variable that can explain the high rate of mass shootings in America is its astronomical number of guns”: “What Explains U.S. Mass Shootings?” (The New York Times).

See also: Call My Congress.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Editing his balloons

One more bit about Ernie Bushmiller’s care with words:

According to his associate James Carlsson, Bushmiller would line up each week’s worth of unfinished Nancy strips on his studio wall and scrutinize every line of dialogue. Harry Haenigsen noted that “Ernie said when he wrote his captions, he wrote them as if he were writing telegrams,” which are charged by the word. “He eliminated anything — any word that, to him, was not necessary to express his ideas. He was very careful about how he edited his balloons.”

Paul Karasik and Mark Newgarden, How to Read “Nancy”: The Elements of Comics in Three Easy Panels (Seattle: Fantagraphics, 2017).
Related reading
All OCA Nancy posts (Pinboard)
Bushmiller, Strunk, and Wilde

Valentine’s Day

[“Heart (ib) from string of amulets.” From an Egyptian tomb, c. 1070–945 BCE. Carnelian. 1/2″ × 5/16″. Metropolitan Museum of Art. From the online collection.]

Happy Valentine’s Day to all.

[More about the heart, or ib, and amulets here.]

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Foot Clinic sign

Los Angeles’s Foot Clinic sign (happy foot/sad foot) comes to life in a music video by YACHT: “Hard World.”

In 2011 I had the chance to see and photograph the Foot Clinic sign, which I first met in David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King.