Author: Steve Prestegard

Presty the DJ for Nov. 30

The number one single today in 1968:

The number one bad single today in 1971 (shut your mouth):

Britain’s number one single today in 1985:

Today in 1997, Danbert Nobacon of Chumbawamba was arrested and jailed overnight in Italy for … wearing a skirt.

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Presty the DJ for Nov. 29

The number one single today in 1969 reached number one because of both sides, including one of the first songs about the singer’s future ex-wife:

The number one album today in 1986 was Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s “Live/1975–85”:

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Presty the DJ for Nov. 28

The number one single today in 1960:

The number one (for the second time) single today in 1963:

The number one single today in 1964:

The number one British single today in 1970:

Today in 1991, Nirvana did perhaps the worst lip-synching effort of all time of its “Smells Like Teen Spirit” for the BBC’s “Top of the Pops”:

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for Nov. 28”

An old fashioned post

Finally public radio gives us information that is of interest to the public, from Audrey Nowakowski:

The brandy old fashioned, bloody mary with a beer chaser, Tom & Jerrys — Wisconsin has laid claim to many cocktails, or perhaps just made them better. In a state that continuously ranks in the top margins for alcohol consumption, Wisconsin’s drinking traditions aren’t just cherished, they’ve rarely changed.

Freelance writer Jeanette Hurt’s latest book, Wisconsin Cocktails, contains the recipes, history, and traditions surrounding most of the Dairyland’s favorite drinks. But she says perhaps the most important part of this book is setting the record straight on exactly why Wisconsinites drink brandy old fashioneds.

The common story of why Wisconsin drinks so much brandy is credited back to the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. It’s there that Captain Pabst displayed his beer, Aunt Jemima demonstrated her pancake mix, and people tasted the Californian brandy.

Since Chicago was only a train ride away, many Wisconsinites came to the exposition. And it’s been told that German Wisconsinites, in particular, loved the Korbel brothers’ brandy, which then popularized drinking brandy in the state.

“Now that sounds really interesting and that’s the story that I even wrote about at one time,” admits Hurt. “But when I was working on this book, every time I’ve talked to the folks at Korbel they’d say, ‘Well, we can’t confirm that.’ So, I’m like well what is really going on?”

This question led Hurt down a long investigative historical research road, where she looked at more than 200 years worth of newspaper microfiche for every printed reference for “brandy,” “Wisconsin,” and “cocktails.”

Hurt discovered that in 1894 there was a cocktail revolution in Milwaukee among the young German men, and one cocktail that was popular was “the Old Fashioned,” but it’s not the one Wisconsin prefers.

“Once upon a time, we drank old fashioneds like everybody else [with bitters, sugar and whiskey]. So what happened between 1894 and now?” asks Hurt.

She eventually found a Milwaukee Journal article where a reporter, who was asking the same question, discovered a man who had been in the Wisconsin liquor distribution business from post-Prohibition to the ’70s, says Hurt.

This distributor notes that there was a lot of bad booze being served during post-World War II, in part due to distilleries being shut down to send grain to Europe. “But Wisconsin distributors found a cache of something, like 30,000 cases of really good, aged Christian Brothers brandy and they bought it up,” notes Hurt.

“So in Wisconsin, if you could get bad whiskey or good brandy, rotgut rum or good brandy — what were you going to drink? You were going to drink brandy. So, people started drinking their cocktails with brandy,” she adds.

Once we started drinking brandy, brandy makers naturally started marketing to Wisconsin and the rest is bitter and muddled history. So while it’s not as romantic as brandy getting popularized by the Wisconsin Germans who visited the Chicago Exposition, Hurt says it also gives a nod to Midwestern habits of finding a good product and sticking with it.

“It’s hard to figure our the origin of some of our cocktails, but this one I feel very solid about and I feel really good setting the record straight,” Hurt admits.

I come from a long line of brandy drinkers. My grandfather drank brandy and Coke. My father drank brandy and seltzer. (Which to me has no taste.) I started drinking Old Fashioneds once I got to Southwest Wisconsin.

Presty the DJ for Nov. 26

Today in 1967, the Beatles’ “Hello Goodbye” promotional film (now called a “video”) was shown on CBS-TV’s Ed Sullivan Show. It was not shown in Britain because of a musicians’ union ban on miming:

One death of odd note, today in 1973: John Rostill, former bass player with the Shadows (with which Cliff Richard got his start), was electrocuted in his home recording studio. A newspaper headline read: “Pop musician dies; guitar apparent cause.”

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Great moments in PR and journalism … not

A friend of mine sent me a big steaming lump of fail earlier today.

It started with a news release about a new hotel in Sister Bay:

Error number one was that the PR professional sent this news release to 84 people, all of whose email addresses were in the “To” field. The correct place for media email addresses is in the “BCC” field. That way no one knows who else is getting the release. Competitive pressures will make the publication of the news more likely since no one wants to get scooped by a competitor. (At least that’s the theory.) It also is a small step against inundating others with junk, superfluous or irrelevant emails. (Such as a letter to the editor I got at work yesterday from a California writer who believes his opinion about Donald Trump should be read by all the readers of a Southwest Wisconsin newspaper.)

The other reason you don’t put more than your own email address in “To” (so you can tell it got sent out because you get it back) is because if you do, this can happen:

No description available.

Yes, the editor/architecture critic of Door County Style magazine decided, either deliberately or by not knowing how email applications work, to tell all 84 recipients what he thought of the new hotel. He may not have intended to tell everyone who received the news release, but by hitting “Reply All” instead of “Reply” that’s what he did.

Not to be outdone, Mr. Critic then sent …

No description available.

… once again, apparently to everybody, because between emails he apparently didn’t learn the difference between “Reply” and “Reply All.” (One wonders if those two then exchanged further thoughts about the “f’ing ugly building.”)
The alternative theory to the technological ignorance theory is that said writer may have thought his opinion and his knowledge of PR was so important that everyone who got the original news release should be educated as to how smart he is. As I read this the writer has certainly educated at least 84 people about what a jerk he is, at least. (I use that term to replace a more pointed term that has seven letters and begins and ends with vowels.)

I admit I have no dog in this hunt, so to speak, no longer being in Northeast Wisconsin journalism or business journalism. You would think, though, that someone with the title “publisher” would realize that witlessly offending people to show off your brilliant intellect runs you the risk of losing business. (The publisher claims to be “providers of web-based business solutions in marketing and public relations,” which is ironic.) You would also think that someone with the title “editor” who has appointed himself as an architecture critic might be capable of better prose than “f’ing ugly,” which is f’ing amateurish.

You’ve no doubt read on emails “think before you print” to save on paper. (Door County Style proudly announces itself as a “paperless production.”) The better idea is to think before you send, both for content reasons and audience reasons.

 

Hayek vs. Orwell vs. Mencken

Facebook Friend Michael Smith:

Most people are familiar with George Orwell’s book, 1984.
In a post from this past week, I mentioned The Road to Serfdom, written by economist F.A. Hayek, and Orwell without noting that these two men were contemporaries and that Orwell had critiqued Hayek’s book. About Hayek’s thesis, he wrote that Hayek proposed that socialism inevitably leads to tyranny—and that the Nazis’ success in Germany was due to the fact that socialists had done most of the work for them, including “the intellectual work of weakening the desire for liberty.”
Something that was brought up in the discussion following my post is that what many do not realize is that the author of such warnings against the evils of socialist-style governments like Animal Farm and 1984, was, himself, a socialist.
How is it possible that a socialist could describe socialism as Orwell did in “1984” this way: “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.”

That question is worthy of an answer.

As brilliant a writer and intellectual as Orwell was, he could also be a very a conflicted socialist, suffering from cognitive dissonance – but the case could also be made that Orwell was a realist.

Of socialism and capitalism, he wrote:

“Capitalism leads to dole queues, the scramble for markets, and war. Collectivism leads to concentration camps, leader worship, and war.”

Both premises are historically true. Whether those truths are the fault of either the various ideologies or the humans who adopt and prosecute them is another discussion entirely. As many have noted, the most heinous and gruesome of events are often the result of “doing good” for nations, societies and the people who inhabit them.

Orwell held the Utopian view that in an ideal world, governments would combine the best of both socialism and free-market capitalism for the ultimate good and freedom of the people. He did say that he believed that politics would eventually turn toward a more collectivist and/or socialist model (if public opinion had anything to say about it) because given the choice, he thought people would generally prefer a regimented state government to economic slumps and unemployment.

And yet, from evidence found in his writings, Orwell did not seem to think either socialism or free-market capitalism would create a better world due to the faults in both. Of the Road to Serfdom, Orwell wrote:

“In the negative part of Professor Hayek’s thesis there is a great deal of truth. It cannot be said too often – at any rate, it is not being said nearly often enough – that collectivism is not inherently democratic, but, on the contrary, gives to a tyrannical minority such powers as the Spanish Inquisitors never dreamed of.”

Orwell could not reconcile his belief in socialism with reality and as almost every socialist does, they wrap themselves in the cloak of “democracy”, as if that cloak is the ultimate protection against criticism. Interestingly enough, the practical, and historically accurate, definition of democracy to a socialist is that every citizen gets to vote for the collective majority that, once elections are concluded, goes about ignoring those votes and proceeds to dominate the citizenry.

But as H.L. Mencken wrote in 1925, democracy is certainly no panacea or savior, democracy is the enemy of liberty:
“Liberty and democracy are eternal enemies, and every one knows it who has ever given any sober reflection to the matter. A democratic state may profess to venerate the name, and even pass laws making it officially sacred, but it simply cannot tolerate the thing. In order to keep any coherence in the governmental process, to prevent the wildest anarchy in thought and act, the government must put limits upon the free play of opinion. In part, it can reach that end by mere propaganda, by the bald force of its authority – that is, by making certain doctrines officially infamous. But in part it must resort to force, i.e., to law… At least ninety-five Americans out of every 100 believe that this process is honest and even laudable; it is practically impossible to convince them that there is anything evil in it. In other words, they cannot grasp the concept of liberty.”

The ultimate failure of any form of coerced collectivism (socialism, Marxism, communism) is something often touted as its greatest benefit – total democracy, i.e. the “dictatorship of the proletariat”. Unfortunately for collectivists, the democratic decision-making process is simply not scalable or efficient enough to successfully accomplish economic planning of a dimension necessary for a collectivist Utopia to survive. It always devolves to a small cabal of individuals who make the calls.

Of this, Hayek wrote:

“By bringing the whole of life under the control of the State, Socialism necessarily gives power to an inner ring of bureaucrats, who in almost every case will be men who want power for its own sake and will stick at nothing in order to retain it.”

The idea that any form of “democratic collectivism” is achievable is a farce because, to paraphrase Professor Hayek, “the worst get on top.”

It appears even a conflicted socialist like Orwell knew this.

The state of journalism is reduced to this now

Jeffrey A. Tucker via The Libertarian Republic:

This game of hunt-and-kill Covid cases has reached peak absurdity, especially in media culture.

Take a look at Supermarkets are the most common place to catch Covid, new data reveals. It’s a story on a “study” assembled by Public Health England (PHE) from the NHS Test and Trace App. Here is the conclusion. In the six days of November studied, “of those who tested positive, it was found that 18.3 per cent had visited a supermarket.”

Now, if the alarm bells don’t go off with that one, you didn’t pay attention to 7th grade science. If the app had also included showering, eating, and breathing, it might have found a 100% correlation. Yes, the people who tested positive probably did shop, as do most people. That doesn’t mean that shopping gives you Covid and it certainly doesn’t mean that shopping kills you.

Even if shopping is a way to get Covid, this is a very widespread and mostly mild virus for 99.8% percent of the population with an infection fatality rate as low as 0.05% for those under 70. Competent infectious disease experts have said multiple times that test, track, and isolate strategies are nearly useless for controlling viruses such as this.

This story/study was so poor and so absurd that it was too much even for Isabel Oliver, Director of the National Infection Service at Public Health England. She sent out the following note:

Thank you. One down, a thousand to go.

The New York Times pulled a mighty fast one with this piece: “States That Imposed Few Restrictions Now Have the Worst Outbreaks.” This would be huge news if true because it would imply not only that lockdowns save lives (which no serious study has thus far been able to document) but also that granting people basic freedoms are the reason for bad health outcomes, an astonishing claim on its own.

The piece, put together by two graphic artists and seemingly very science-like, speaks of “outbreaks,” which vaguely sounds terrible: packed with mortality. It’s odd because anyone can look at the data and see that New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut lead the way with deaths per million, mostly owing to the fatalities in long-term care facilities. These were the states that locked down the hardest and longest. Indeed they are locking down again! Deaths per million in states like South Dakota are still low on the list.

How in the world can the NYT claim that states that did not lock down have the worst outbreaks? The claim hinges entirely on a trivial discovery. Some clever someone discovered that if you reflow data by cases per million instead of deaths per million, you get an opposite result. The reasons: 1) when the Northeast experienced the height of the pandemic, there was very little testing going on, so the “outbreak” was not documented even as deaths grew and grew, 2) by the time the virus reached the Midwest, tests were widely available, 3) the testing mania grew and grew to the point that the non-vulnerable are being tested like crazy, generating high positives in small-population areas.

By focusing on the word “outbreak,” the Times can cleverly obscure the difference between a positive PCR result (including many false positive and perhaps half or more asymptomatic cases) and a severe outcome from catching the virus. In other words, the Times has documented an “outbreak” of mostly non-sick people in low-population areas.

There are hundreds of ways to look at Covid-19 data. The Times picked the one metric – the least valuable one for actually discerning whether and to what extent people are sick – in order to generate the result that they wanted, namely that open states look as bad as possible. The result is a chart that massively misrepresents any existing reality. It makes the worst states look great and the best ones look terrible. The visual alone is constructed to make it looks as if open states are bleeding uncontrollably.

How many readers will even know this? Very few, I suspect. What’s more amazing is that the Times itself already debunked the entire “casedemic” back in September:

Some of the nation’s leading public health experts are raising a new concern in the endless debate over coronavirus testing in the United States: The standard tests are diagnosing huge numbers of people who may be carrying relatively insignificant amounts of the virus.
Most of these people are not likely to be contagious, and identifying them may contribute to bottlenecks that prevent those who are contagious from being found in time….
In three sets of testing data that include cycle thresholds, compiled by officials in Massachusetts, New York and Nevada, up to 90 percent of people testing positive carried barely any virus, a review by The Times found.

All of which makes one wonder what precisely is going on in this relationship between cases and severe outcomes. The Covid Tracking Project generates the following chart. Cases are in blue while deaths are in red.

Despite this story and these data, the graphic artists at the Times got to work generating a highly misleading presentation that leads to one conclusion: more lockdowns.

(My colleague Phil Magness has noted further methodological problems even within the framework that the Times uses but I will let him write about that later.)

Let’s finally deal with Salon’s attack on Great Barrington Declaration co-creator Jayanta Bhattacharya. Here is a piece that made the following claim of the infection fatality rate: “the accepted figure of 2-3 percent or higher.” That’s an astonishing number, and basically nuts: 10 million people will die in the US alone.

Here is what the CDC says concerning the wildly disparate risk factors based on age:

These data are not inconsistent with the World Health Organization’s suggestion that the infection fatality rate for people under 70 years of age is closer to 0.05%.

The article further claims that “herd immunity may not even be possible for COVID-19 given that infection appears to only confer transient immunity.” And yet, the New York Times just wrote that:

How long might immunity to the coronavirus last? Years, maybe even decades, according to a new study — the most hopeful answer yet to a question that has shadowed plans for widespread vaccination.

Eight months after infection, most people who have recovered still have enough immune cells to fend off the virus and prevent illness, the new data show. A slow rate of decline in the short term suggests, happily, that these cells may persist in the body for a very, very long time to come.

How is it possible for people to make rational decisions with this kind of journalism going on? Truly, sometimes it seems like the world has been driven insane by an astonishing blizzard of false information. Just last week, an entire state in Australia shut down completely – putting all its citizens under house arrest – due to a false report of a case in a pizza restaurant. One person lied and the whole world fell apart.

Meanwhile, serious science is appearing daily showing that there is no relationship at all, and never has been, between lockdowns and lives saved. This study looks at all factors related to Covid death and finds plenty of relationship between age and health but absolutely none with lockdown stringency. “Stringency of the measures settled to fight pandemia, including lockdown, did not appear to be linked with death rate,” says the study, echoing a conclusion of dozens of other studies since as early as March.

It’s all become too much. The world is being seriously misled by major media organs. The politicians are continuing to panic and impose draconian controls, fully nine months into this, despite mountains of evidence of the real harm the lockdowns are causing everyone. If you haven’t lost faith in politicians and major media at this point, you have paid no attention to what they have been doing for the better part of this catastrophic year.

Least surprising news of the pandemic

Katie Pavlich:

A number of teachers unions around the country have been fighting to keep schools closed despite scientific evidence showing children aren’t a source of Wuhan coronavirus spread.

Last week New York City schools, which make up the largest school district in the country, were shut down with little notice to parents.

Now, additional data continues to show the devastating impacts of keeping schools closed and details which children are most negatively affected.

Special needs students have also suffered immensely.

President Trump has advocated for months that schools should be open, with precautions taken to protect teachers.

This isn’t news to parents of school-age children, and it shouldn’t be news to education reporters. But apparently it is.