You're just as appalled as I am that 12.6 million people are unemployed, yet the wealth of billionaires grew over $10 trillion so far during the pandemic. That's too big of a number for us to fathom so let me write that out: $10,000,000,000,000. That is SOOO many fucking zeros. The richest motherfuckers in the world are getting unfathomably richer while the rest of us suffer.
And many of the companies owned or invested in by these people get massive corporate welfare from the government resulting in humongous subsidies. This means YOUR tax dollars are helping fund companies that already make billions of dollars. We should all be sharpening our guillotines right now. [...]
Whole Foods: Whole Foods is owned by Amazon, a company who spent several years paying $0 in federal taxes. Since you can't really "borrow" from an internet retailer, your next best option is to do so from their brick and mortar location. That means healthy and organic borrowings for you and your family! Don't feel bad, Amazon has received $2,379,871,238 in government subsidies.
Safeway: Safeway's parent company, Cerberus Capital Management has received $156,378,705 in government subsidies. Amongst their many holdings is the gun manufacturer Remington Arms, who has itself received $68,900,000 in subsidies. So yeah...gross.
Nike: You know what will help expedite your "borrowing" ventures? Some fresh new running shoes! Nike has been the recipient of $2,094,781,049 in government subsidies. Instead of shaming poor people for buying Nikes, we should be be shaming Nike for making billions of dollars while being on corporate welfare.
Which Companies You Should Shoplift From
DNA Lounge: Wherein it's New Year's Eve
I guess this is the day of the year where I'm supposed to make a blog post tooting our horn about all that we've accomplished in 2020.
Well. We're not dead yet.
I guess I'll count that as a win.
My first blog post of 2020 was the story about how, having noted that nightclubs are hotbeds of disease, I tried to figure out how to give away flu shots at the club, and failed utterly at this project.
That story was unpleasantly prescient.
In January, we had started a new live music showcase, Star Crash. We got to do our second one in February, and then, The Rona. We've kept Star Crash going as a monthly webcast while in lockdown, and I'm really happy with how those have turned out. You can find most of them on our YouTube channel -- the ones that didn't get blocked by robots, because YouTube and the Content Mafia are just The Worst.
We also got to do one last in-person Cyberdelia back in February! That was great.
And after that, the shitshow began in earnest.
During those first few months of lockdown we kept paying our employees for quite a while, and eventually some Payroll Protection Program money allowed us extend that, but now all that money is gone and we're stripped back to a skeleton crew running in low-power mode.
They say that a second round of aid will be coming, but until we've seen the backside of both Cheeto Mussolini and Kentucky Palpatine, I'm not holding my breath.
Once we entered the long nightmare of "paying rent and insurance on an empty building", we upgraded our network and video infrastructure, went HD with our webcasts, and basically transformed the empty club into a TV studio. We've managed to bring you several DJ performances each week, including Death Guild every Monday, Turbo Drive every first Friday, and a couple of live burlesque and variety performances each month, between Hubba Hubba Revue (every third Saturday, next one on Jan 16) and and Apothecary Raree (every first Friday, next one tomorrow). We've even had a handful of live bands! We've had:
- Centric81 at the May Turbo Drive;
- Crashfaster and E.N. Cowell at the August 8bitSF;
- Flesh Industry in September;
- Starpause, Bleeds and Triss at the September 8bitSF;
- Great Highway, filmed live at DNA for the September Star Crash; and
- Le Fomo filmed live at DNA for the October Star Crash.
All of these streaming shows are supported only by donations, since pay-per-view models for this sort of thing just aren't viable. So please kick in if you can.
We also got some nice press about our webcast series:
- SF Examiner: Keeping DNA Lounge on life support The legendary San Francisco nightclub was already struggling financially. Then COVID-19 happened.
- Broke-Ass Stuart: How DNA Lounge Is Keeping SF Weird During The Pandemic.
- SF Weekly: Trials & Innovations: Live Music During COVID-19. Socially distanced shows, live streams, and new tech won't be enough.
- And, we won "Best Nightclub" again in the 2020 Best of the Bay!
We had just re-vamped our parklet to make it be more comfortable for outdoor dining when Lockdown Two began.
And this year was our 35th Anniversary.
We had plans for that.
By the way, we've got like 300 of these 35th anniverysary buttons left, pictured up top. Clearly we overestimated your commitment to Sparkle Motion. How about ordering some?
Also we have a side business in selling some damned fine face masks.
Now would be a great time for you to join our Patreon, or up your contribution. It's one of the few things helping us keep our head above water. I haven't checked the December numbers yet, but for November I only had to print three new membership cards, which... is low.
Please tune in tonight for Kat Robichaud's Misfit Cabaret! It's an early show, 8pm to 9:30pm, and it should be awesome.
We don't have anything NYE-ish going on at Midnight, really, but after the show we will have our normal program of music videos, and I have set up a countdown overlay! So you can go "Woooo" at home. "Woooooo."
It is 'Bonkers' What Americans Believe
While only 17% said it was true, another 37% said they didn't know.
"It's total bonkers," said Jackson, "and yet ... essentially half of Americans believe it's true or think that maybe it's true. They don't really know. And I think that's terrifying that half of Americans believe that could be the case."
No mention of the Reptoids. Interesting.
So that's all going really well
Many states did not get the allotments of doses they expected. Worse: the stupidly-named federal "Operation Warp Speed" is moving so slowly that "Adequately vaccinating Americans will take 10 years at current pace," reported NBC News. [...]
"in many places, this first batch of vaccine is set to expire in late January, around the time Joe Biden, who has been criticizing the rollout and promising to accelerate it, is set to take office." [...]
Stanford University deserved all the ire it received when the first vaccine doses didn't go to frontline doctors and nurses but instead went to senior staff working from home (among others), blaming the favoritism on an algorithm. Well oops, they did it again: over the weekend non-clinical and non-frontline affiliates and researchers got the next round of shots in what they are characterizing as a "mistake." [...]
Two weeks ago we saw a new Covid-19 variant come out of the UK and learned that it made this extremely contagious virus somehow even more transmissible; it had traveled to various EU countries by last week. Now it is in the US, identified in Colorado and Southern California so far. [...]
What kind of people are going to restaurants during a pandemic? The worst kind.
"Working at a restaurant in 2020 has meant constant exposure to people who don't take safety, or the health of service workers, seriously. Abigail recalls overhearing a table at her previous restaurant discussing how they recently attended a huge party at a local creek in the hopes of catching COVID-19 and "getting it over with." "I had to warn the server and the bussers to make sure to wash their hands extra after dealing with this table," she says. "It's just so awful." [...]
"He offered to send a C.D.C. team to Wuhan to investigate, but Gao said that he wasn't authorized to accept such assistance. Redfield made a formal request to the Chinese government and assembled two dozen specialists, but no invitation arrived. A few days later, in another conversation with Redfield, Gao started to cry and said, "I think we're too late.""
Hopefully XScreenSaver can't crash your car.
Man receives his own taxidermied leg just in time for Christmas
"I had to get a custom waiver to get it released," Fernandes said. "If you can picture this, I'm just in this hospital, I don't even have a prosthetic leg at this point, I'm just hopping around, I'm stuck in bed and I'm sending 100 emails and dozens of phone calls all over the place."
Lovatt also had to prove to the hospital that PNHC was equipped for the job.
"We presented evidence that we could handle this in a safe manner and in effectively a clean room and in terms of the ethics board issues they had, we showed them the work we've done in the past...and showed them that our intent was to provide a clean, beautiful piece to help him kind of reconnect and heal from his trauma, as opposed to kind of make a freak show out of it," Lovatt said.
Once given the go-ahead, Fernandes had to find a funeral home to pick up and handle his leg to transport to PNHC, which he said was a "challenge," especially in a pandemic.
But eventually it all came together, months after the accident. "They pick it up, it's boxed, it's wrapped up, it's got biohazard stickers all over -- it looks crazy," Fernandes said.
PNHC staff brought Fernandes' leg into their cleaning facility, removed all of the soft tissue and then used peroxide to stabilize and whiten the bones "to make sure the resulting finished product would actually be sterile and safe," Lovatt said. [...]
"I have to remind myself that, 'Hey, that's your leg, you walked on that,'" he said. "It's hard."
It was also the first time he was able to see the damage his leg suffered in the accident -- all of the shattered and fragmented pieces.
Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.
DNA Lounge: Wherein Brexit's going really well, too.
Welcome to The Colonies, you guys! We've been dealing with this shit forever. You have our sympathy.
Brexit will be "catastrophic" for British touring artists, music industry warns:
On fears that the state of play could become similar to that with the US, which recently increased visa costs by 50% with another potential 24% rise looming, Pritchard added: "The American touring model is interesting because it shows us just how costly touring can be for just wanting to play in one country.
"If you want to play a 10-date tour in five different countries across the continent and the costs are anything like what they are in the States, then you're looking at costs of £7,500 per person before you've even left the country. For a minimum touring party of four of you in the band and three in the crew, you're looking at about £45,000. You aren't going to cover that in fees and t-shirt sales." [...]
"If you take t-shirts to sell, then you'd be importing them into the EU and have to report what sold and what hasn't. There were tales from the pre-EU days where you'd take out four pairs of drumsticks, bring back three and they'd charge you for the pair that you'd broken at your gig in Belgium."
But they have a petition, so uh, good luck with that.
For those of you who don't realize what a nightmare it is for small, non-US bands to tour here, here's how it works... Or used to work. In the Before Times, when tours were a thing that still existed.
- Show up on a tourist visa, without instruments. Tell customs you are "visiting friends". Don't even think about bringing a box of t-shirts to sell. Borrow gear, rent a van.
- Hope that every venue and/or promoter is willing to commit tax fraud by paying you in cash and not asking for your IRS form W9 or O-1B Visa.
- Hope that no one at Customs googles your name, because if they do, you get deported and can't enter the US again for any reason for (I think) a minimum of 5 years.
- Apply for a work visa. But that's easy! All you need is to show that you have "extraordinary abilities", and that "have received or been nominated for a significant national award in the field, or prove [you] meet three out of six criteria, including national or international recognition as shown by critical reviews in major newspapers or magazines, evidence of substantial remuneration as shown by contracts, and testimonials from recognized experts in the field in which [you] are engaged."
It costs several hundred dollars, and you have to schedule an in-person interview at your nearest US Embassy.
Oh, also this requires you to know the dates and details of every stop on your tour, a year ahead of time. "But," you say, "nobody books tours that far out." You are correct. Also, dates can't be modified after submitting.
- You won't get a response from the State Department until long after it's time to buy your plane tickets.
- Still no response. Panic. There's nothing you can do, so go ahead and keep panicking.
- Oh, they might deny you because they don't like your t-shirt art. Your tour is cancelled.
- You might not get a response at all before your flight leaves. Oops, now you're not getting on that plane. Your tour is cancelled.
- This is probably where you start getting hate-emails from your fans assuming that you're idiots who fucked up their simple, simple visa paperwork. You probably just sat around getting high instead of filling out a form, you jerks.
Sing it with me, ♬♬ "Everyyyyyyything is terrrrrrible!!"♬♬
I just got the latest Oglaf Kickstarter pack and it came with like, 60 hilarious stickers. It's hard for me to pick just one, but I'm going to pick just one, and say that this may be the greatest sticker ever made. It's either that or the Sasquatch shaving its butt.
Life at 50
To mark the 50th anniversary, the ConwayLife.com community -- which hosts the LifeWiki, with more than 2,000 articles -- created an Exploratorium, a large, explorable stamp-collection pattern. [...]
Life is the world's most wholesome computer game! True, it used to be dangerously addicting to some of us, but not so much now that nearly all of the theoretically possible gun and oscillator periods have been found. It took 40 years to find the coveted Snark, a stable pattern that reflects gliders 90 degrees.
But there are still open questions: for example, what spaceship vector velocities are possible, or what constructions are possible with glider collisions. A startling recent theorem states that any construction, no matter how large, can be accomplished with a reverse caber-tosser built from a certain fixed number of gliders -- that number was 32, but as of September it is now down to 17.
These days it has become harder and harder for an amateur to find a newsworthy pattern without fancy software and hardware. Perhaps Life can remain a gateway drug, luring newcomers into the effectively inexhaustible universe of different Lifelike rules.
Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.