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Posted by Rebecca Tushnet

Wall & Associates, Inc. v. Better Business Bureau of Central Virginia, Inc., --- Fed.Appx. ----, 2017 WL 1437215, No. 16-1819 (4th Cir. Apr. 24, 2017)

The court of appeals affirmed the dismissal of Wall’s complaint for false advertising based on statements by the BBB.  Lexmarkrequires a plaintiff to show not only false or misleading advertising but also that such statements caused it actual damages.  Wall didn’t properly allege causation.  The false advertising alleged in the complaint was that the BBB falsely advertised and promoted a system for assigning letter grade ratings to businesses as “national, uniform, unbiased, and objective” when in reality the system was implemented based on “subjective, biased, and personal criteria.” Wall alleged that it was damaged by receiving received a letter grade rating resulting from “subjective, biased, and arbitrary decisions” when consumers believed that it had been subjected to a review process that is “national, uniform, unbiased, and objective” in nature.

Wall’s complaint, however, does not identify a single consumer who withheld or cancelled business with it or pointed to a particular quantum of diverted sales or loss of goodwill and reputation resulting directly from reliance on any false or misleading representations by Defendants of the letter grade rating system as objective and unbiased. Given the absence of such fact allegations, Wall did not adequately allege the necessary proximate cause between its alleged injury and Defendants’ allegedly violative conduct.

Does that mean that every plaintiff should identify consumers or allege quantified losses, or will more general allegations suffice when the harm is more direct/the advertising claim being challenged is more central to the decision?

Book Quote Wednesday

Apr. 26th, 2017 08:31
marthawells: (John Green Trees)
[personal profile] marthawells
This is for Book Quote Wednesday on Twitter.

The Murderbot Diaries: All Systems Red is a 140 page novella coming out May 2 http://www.marthawells.com/murderbot1.htm
vaznetti: (Default)
[personal profile] vaznetti
...and it isn't going to kill me.

It is great to see so much posting on DW these days. I haven't deleted or locked my LJ, but I also still haven't logged in to the new TOS, so I can't crosspost at the moment. But anyway, deleting what's there does seem counter-productive, although it was all imported here not too long ago. I spent a while looking at old fanfic and realized that I have vast quantities of stuff that never made it on to AO3, and I should probably get onto that. Much of it is still on my old personal website, which I can't even remember how to update. Ah for the days when we could all crochet our own websites!

I feel out of touch, although I read things here all the time. It is hard to talk about myself, or about what I think about things. Sometimes I feel like there's something actually weighing down my tongue to keep me from speaking, and there is something similar going on with writing as well. What do I have to talk about? I don't really know.

Here is a sample of what I have to say for myself these days, so you can all see what you've been missing. Spartacus passed into the second swimming level yesterday, a year after starting. This happened only because I needed to change his class -- it turned out that they were keeping his group together to move up as a whole class, and he was perfectly capable of moving up before this. Why am I grumpy? Because the class has two older children (S and a girl about his age) and the rest are about 3 years younger than them. So he could easily have been moved up months ago if they'd bothered to push him along a bit, instead of holding him back, and it's actually been bothering him that he's taken so long to move up a level. Physical things don't come easily to him in the first place, and it really upsets me that this was made to seem even more difficult for him than it was.

(Also, these classes cost money! I feel vaguely scammed. And my thoughts on how long he will need to stick with swimming classes have definitely changed because of this.)

Perhaps it will not be months before I update again, who knows?

Drive-by vid rec

Apr. 26th, 2017 09:03
kouredios: Yura from the Prince Hotel campaign (Yura)
[personal profile] kouredios
Especially if you love Yurio like I love Yurio.

Gotta go teach, but thanks to [personal profile] naraht I've been watching this vid almost non-stop, and I thought I needed to share the awesome.
[syndicated profile] badastronomy_feed

Posted by Phil Plait

WHAM all-sky survey

A new all-sky survey shows the location of warm hydrogen gas in the galaxy. And it's everywhere!

(no subject)

Apr. 26th, 2017 08:51
the_rck: (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
Pretty much all venting )

The chores I did yesterday were enough to make the tendinitis act up again, so I'm not looking forward to the walking I'll have to do today. Right now, my plan is to take a cab to UHS, get lunch somewhere nearby after the appointment, hang out somewhere (Espresso Royale, probably) until about 2:00 and then get the bus to the hospital. PT is 2:45 to 3:45, so I'll just wait for Scott to be able to pick me up after work. I really ought to make a lunch and take it with me, but I don't want to deal with that.

I've tried ice on the tendon. That hurts all the way up my leg. Right now, I'm applying heat. That's making my calf muscle ache, too, but I'm hoping it will loosen the dratted thing up enough that I can stretch it properly.

My left elbow has started giving me trouble. The pain is at the back of the joint and fairly pinpoint. It is, sadly, probably more tendinitis. I think it's stress from trying to compensate for not using my hands in the ways I normally would.

I didn't go with Scott and Cordelia to Cordelia's PT appointment yesterday. I was so very, very tired that I thought that staying home was a good idea. I haven't generally had the option, so that was nice.

Scott's avoiding pork products now. I'm not sure if he's going to try one more time to make sure that he didn't just have a bug last weekend or if he's just cutting all of that permanently. I think that, if it is an allergy, one more exposure won't make it suddenly as bad as the beef allergy, but I know that such things get worse with more exposure, so this isn't going to be something he can indulge in occasionally.

I'm working on clearing out all of the frozen stuff we've got that contains pork. Scott buys potstickers and spring rolls frequently, and he never looks to see what's in them as long as they don't say 'beef' on the front. It's resulted a few times in me not having easy options for feeding Cordelia's Muslim friends, so I've learned to check the freezer ahead of when I expect to have them over to see if I need to make Scott go out and buy something that will be okay.

New Book Wednesday is on a roll

Apr. 26th, 2017 07:26
marthawells: (Reading)
[personal profile] marthawells
(If you've been following my book rec and new book listing posts for a while, you may have noticed this already, but while most book lists emphasize books by popular straight white men, this one emphasizes everybody else. I include books by straight white men, but in about the same percentage that other book lists include everybody else. I also try to highlight books that are less well known.)

(I only link to one retail outlet in the book's listing, but most books are available at multiple outlets, like Kobo, iBooks, international Amazons, Barnes & Noble, etc. The short stories are usually on free online magazines.)

* Dream Eater: Portland Hafu Book 1 by K. Bird Lincoln
Koi Pierce dreams other peoples' dreams. Her whole life she's avoided other people. Any skin-to-skin contact—a hug from her sister, the hand of a barista at Stumptown coffee—transfers flashes of that person's most intense dreams. It's enough to make anyone a hermit. But Koi's getting her act together. No matter what, this time she's going to finish her degree at Portland Community College and get a real life. Of course it's not going to be that easy. Her father, increasingly disturbed from Alzheimer’s disease, a dream fragment of a dead girl from the casual brush of a creepy PCC professor's hand, and a mysterious stranger who speaks the same rare Northern Japanese dialect as Koi's father will force Koi to learn to trust in the help of others, as well as face the truth about herself.

* The Brothers Jetstream: Leviathan by Zig Zag Claybourne
ADVENTURE... just got 35% cooler. Milo Jetstream. Ramses Jetstream. Coming to save the world one last damn time against the False Prophet Buford in the battle to save the Earth, preserve the soul, and make sure folks get home in one piece. Cabals. Fae folk in Walmart. And the whale that was poured into the oceans when the world first cooled from creation. Sometimes it seems saving the world one last damn time is more trouble than it's worth.

* Comic: Sun Dragon's Song 2 by Joyce Chng and Kim Miranda
Yo Hi's life's dream has finally come true: He's been accepted into the Dragon Riding Academy. While his life will never be the same, unfortunately, some things may never change.

* Heroine Worship by Sarah Kuhn
Once upon a time, Aveda Jupiter (aka Annie Chang) was demon-infested San Francisco’s most beloved superheroine, a beacon of hope and strength and really awesome outfits. But all that changed the day she agreed to share the spotlight with her best friend and former assistant Evie Tanaka—who’s now a badass, fire-wielding superheroine in her own right. They were supposed to be a dynamic duo, but more and more, Aveda finds herself shoved into the sidekick role. Where, it must be said, she is not at all comfortable.

* A Minacious Appearance (The Elephant and Macaw Banner Novelette Series Book 8) by Christopher Kastensmidt
After an ill omen and an encounter with a fiery, headless mule, Gerard and Oludara are sidetracked by a Jesuit priest named Miguel Samperes and get caught between enemies both old and new. When tensions run high and violence erupts, the prophecy of doom becomes clear.

* Buffalo Soldier by Maurice Broaddus
Having stumbled onto a plot within his homeland of Jamaica, former espionage agent, Desmond Coke, finds himself caught between warring religious and political factions, all vying for control of a mysterious boy named Lij Tafari. Wanting the boy to have a chance to live a free life, Desmond assumes responsibility for him and they flee. But a dogged enemy agent remains ever on their heels, desperate to obtain the secrets held within Lij for her employer alone.

Short stories: Apex Magazine Issue 95

Short story: Uncanny Magazine And Then There Were N-One by Sarah Pinsker

Promo discussion: Episode 5x09

Apr. 26th, 2017 15:02
[personal profile] treonb posting in [community profile] theamericans
This post is intended to allow discussion of the upcoming episode, as reflected in the official show promos.

Please keep the comments spoiler free from anything not mentioned in the promos (interviews, articles etc)

Clip )


Apr. 26th, 2017 11:02
[syndicated profile] pinboard_pop_fandom_feed

Posted by pjbentley

Slavery. Slavery is worse. And fighting for slavery. And memorializing the fight for slavery with monuments to slav…


Apr. 26th, 2017 11:02
[syndicated profile] pinboard_pop_fandom_feed

Posted by trisignia

That monument being taken down in New Orleans? This is what it says on it. Context for when you see "traditionalist…

Mise en Place

Apr. 26th, 2017 11:02
[syndicated profile] pinboard_pop_fandom_feed

Posted by winekitteh

Pre-heat left him short-tempered and irritable, even worse than usual, but Hannibal had lingered in his office doorway and said, “Come along, Will. No reason to grade on an empty stomach.”

SSH Port

Apr. 26th, 2017 11:02
[syndicated profile] pinboard_pop_fandom_feed

Posted by jks

The story how SSH got port number 22. Never told before. #infosec #ssh

(no subject)

Apr. 26th, 2017 11:44
jekesta: Paul Hunter and Matthew Stevens mending Stevens' cue. (Paul and Matthew)
[personal profile] jekesta
John Higgins totally won his quarter final and now he's in a semi final and I'm just feeling confused. He was 11-5 going into this session and only needed two frames and usually when that happens he just couldn't care less about winning those two frames, he's just all relaxed and la la la, I'd rather win a final frame decider all things being equal, but instead of that he tried really hard and won 13-6.

Jason Muhammed is the current not-hazel. I don't like him as much as Rishi, I don't like him very much at all, but he's fine, he's not like worth complaining about. But it's always sad when people win a match and go for an interview and Jason is there instead of Hazel. It's doubly more awfully sad if fucking Peter Ebdon is there too. What was quite good was just that they interviewed John standing up and towering over him and he looked tiny and just laughed at basically everything Peter Ebdon said, because Peter Ebdon doesn't understand being good at snooker, so he was like 'you must have put a lot into being ready for this tournament' and John literally laughed and went 'not really Peter, I'm just lucky to be playing well' he said 'lucky' but he meant 'gifted'. And Peter asked him how he keeps so still on his shots and he just had to say it was something he had always done, by which he meant 'I'm just good at snooker Peter, I know it's confusing for you who are not good at snooker, but it's part of what it means to be talented'.

Anyway, his semi final is going to be against Hawkins or Maguire, and I don't really mind which one of those it is, and I think he obviously might not win it, it entirely depends on the day, but also I don't know the point of winning it because whoever wins it is going to lose to Selby in the final.

But then obviously out of the three of them, you'd have to say John is the most likely to even *try* to beat Selby in a final, even though I think he probably wouldn't, and he's equally likely to just collapse and embarrass himself. But still I think probably for the good of good it might be nice to have him there trying. But he's lost to him in a final before. Which bodes badly. And I'd like not to see him lose more finals, but he'd probably like to be in a final, but I think it would be horrific, but I think it would be a better final than the other two, but I don't know. Basically I can't decide whether to support him in his semi which I'm obviously actually going to do anyway and also which will have no bearing on what actually happens in the world because snooker more than anything ever doesn't bend to the will of fandom, not that my will is even the will of fandom, fandom doesn't even like JOhn Higgins.

I'm very much assuming Selby is going to be in a final, I hate him, he's infuriating. I don't hate him, he's inoffensive. He just tires me and he's dull and I don't like his voice or his face or his ability to just win snooker when I don't want him to.

Ding might beat Ronnie, Ronnie might beat Ding. I don't know. They're playing this afternoon. But I don't think either of them will beat Selby in the semi final, and I sort of very much actually don't want to have to watch Selby beat either of them and it's all awful. And a traitorous part of me is like 'Ronnie stands so much more chance in that semi final than Ding does, Ding should recognise that and let him pass'. But Ronnie loses to selby, becuase selby reminds him of John, so maybe it wouldnt even work, also maybe Ronnie is old now and dead like the bbc claim, maybe he'll never win a frame of snooker again, much less a whole match.

I have to take the dog out.

(I am so sorry to people I have friended recently that I am just posting seemingly endless terrible posts about snooker. It does end. It ends next Monday. I'm not always like this.)

damn this week

Apr. 26th, 2017 05:59
darthneko: Meerkat Manor - Sophie was considering eating her sister's babies. Again. ([personal] awesome job)
[personal profile] darthneko
Monday: go to work at 6am, leave at 9:30pm

Tuesday: go to work at 7am, leave at 11:30pm

Wednesday: go to work at 5am, leave...?

boss and I actually stayed at coworkers house nearby. i slept on the couch with their very adorable and fluffy and friendly cat. we were going to get hotel rooms on the company's dime, but literally all of the hotels nearby are booked solid, probably for the same event we're fucking doing all the signage for. and the event starts at 8am, and I'm still printing the programs which we only got approved at 9pm last night.

i have a headache of the type where there is a small intermittent ice pick being rammed up into one spot at the base of my neck, angled up into my head and bottoming out behind my right eye. it's not constant, it's not regular enough to be called throbbing, it just sort of spasms periodically (frequently) and makes me flinch. lacking drugs (including all my normal meds) I am heavily self medicating with fucktons of water and coffee.

and there's no break in sight, because as soon as this event launches and we can legitimately say we've done all we can for it, we have to hit the ground running to try to make some progress against the avalanche load of stuff that's backed up in the normal queue. we already reached the point yesterday of turning clients away because no, we can't promise a damned thing, not anything, not for the rest of the week, definitely not for same day fuck all anything.

thank god work only explodes like this once every handful of years. >_
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b posting in [community profile] gallifrey_times
Welcome to the Wednesday the 26th of April edition of Gallifrey Times!

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Apr. 26th, 2017 05:24
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"They keep the radio on up front here all day long. The news snippets come from FOX, on the hour. If you're just a casual listener they make it sound as if Trump is achieving all these things he says. Tax reform? I just heard it will be done on Wednesday. I bet there are tens of millions of people who believe he is doing or has done this stuff he boasts about. It's really remarkable. His bullshit is working. He pretends he has accomplishments and it sounds like he does." -- Kay, Balloon Juice, comments [thanks to [info] realinterrobang for quoting this earlier]

sovay: (Lord Peter Wimsey: passion)
[personal profile] sovay
All right. In hindsight of the continuing exodus from LJ, the third of April feels a bit like an international day of social media mourning, but I regret nothing about my decision to cope on the night by self-medicating with Leslie Howard. [personal profile] skygiants had sent me the link years ago for a propaganda short called From the Four Corners (1941) which I had never gotten around to watching despite it being a grand total of fifteen minutes long. It was directed by Anthony Havelock-Allan and produced by the Ministry of Information; there are no writing credits per se, but we are told that "[t]he incident originated with Leslie Howard and A. G. Macdonell," one of the co-writers of Pimpernel Smith (1941). With a title like that, you might as well brace yourself for Empire, especially when it opens by quoting the title music from the Kordas' The Four Feathers (1939). Like Howard's wartime features, though, it's subtler and stranger than simple flag-waving and it set off a thoroughly unexpected chain reaction in my head.

The story sounds like the set-up for a joke: three soldiers from the Dominions all meet at Nelson's Column, where two of them are looking for a pub and the third is sightseeing. Specifically, he is taking a picture of what he dryly terms "Typical scene of London air-raid panic"—four Londoners on a park bench in different attitudes of total unconcern. Embarrassed by the effusive patriotism of a woman who rushes up to praise them for "coming all those thousands of miles to answer the Motherland's call to arms . . . splendid fellows!" the soldiers are rescued by the drawling interruption of one of the park-bench Londoners, the one who was smoking with his hands in his pockets and his hat knocked over his eyes. He is credited as "A Passer-By"; he is Leslie Howard and he knows where to find a pub.1 Over pints all round, he quizzes the soldiers on their reasons for joining up, each of which furnishes a miniature flashback. Corporal W. Atkinson of the Australian Imperial Force co-owned a bicycle shop in Sydney; he made his decision after catching his business partner in a newsreel, marching to the troopship with the rest of the new recruits. Private J. Johnston of the Black Watch of Canada hails from a farm outside of Vancouver; his father was killed at Vimy Ridge and he not entirely jokes that he ought to finish his job. Private R. Gilbert of the Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force was a law student in Auckland, finishing up his degree when he wondered suddenly if common law would mean anything in the event of an Axis victory; he walked right out of his exams and into the recruiting office next door. They may be standing in for their respective countries, but they are also real-life servicemen playing versions of themselves, and they bridle when Howard professes himself unsatisfied with their answers. "Kick[ing] Hitler in the pants" may be an admirable goal, but what makes it so? What are they really fighting for? If not the Empire ("That's a lot of hooey!"), what have they left their homes and families to defend?

Like the academic he so often played, Howard takes it on himself to answer his own question. He brings the three soldiers up to the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral—itself already a vivid symbol of national resistance—and gives them a bird's-eye crash tour of London, pointing out its landmarks and sites of interest, tying each to a resonant moment of English history. Kingston, where the coronation stone of the Saxon kings still stands in the market square. Runnymede, the signing of the Magna Carta which formed the heart of all the Commonwealth's laws. For the Canadian Johnston, he points out St. Peter's Church in Petersham where Captain George Vancouver is buried. For Oceanians Gilbert and Atkinson, Greenwich Hospital because "Captain Cook had a job there once." When he shows them Bankside, he stresses that the audiences of Shakespeare's plays would have included far-flung soldiers on leave just like themselves. "And that's where your fathers and my fathers stood when we were threatened with the Armada and invasion," though most of Howard's forefathers in 1588 would have been somewhere quite different from Tilbury.2 Finishing up at the House of Commons allows him to (optimistically, in June 1941) include the Americans among the inheritors and defenders of their shared ideals. "Well, it's all yours," he concludes, "all part of London and part of ourselves . . . Yes, it's all there—British city, Roman city, Saxon, Dane, Norman—English." All the while he was talking, I was thinking that I had heard something very like it before, the visionary, scholarly, slightly laughing and slightly otherworldly voice layering time through itself and rooting it in the present day, spellbinding its listeners and waking them up to their history and inheritance, and the moment I made the connection I was seized with a desperate and conflicted longing because Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's A Canterbury Tale (1944) is the reason I love Eric Portman, but I would love too to know what the movie would have been like with Leslie Howard as Thomas Colpeper, JP.

Let me be clear: I don't think the Archers could even have approached him for the part. He was already under the Bay of Biscay when shooting began in August of 1943, and in any case their first choice for the magistrate of Chillingbourne had been Roger Livesey, whom I will always thank for turning them down. He found the role "off-key." He wasn't wrong. Colpeper is a deeply peculiar character, as difficult to pin down to a single interpretation as his signature wrongheaded act. He has the vision of a poet and the blinders of a missionary, the superiority of a judge and the guilt of a penitent; he gives mesmerizing lectures on local history and keeps breaking the slide projector. He loves his country and its deep, distant past that to him is as immediate and tangible as the warmth of the sun and the smell of wild thyme and he does some very silly, very dangerous things to try to fix history right where it is, not yet understanding that the earthquake of modernity will not erase the echoes of his beloved Kentish village any more than the last two thousand years have washed the Roman road away.3 He's a crank and a trickster, a magician and a fool, and like the other characters he's trapped until he gets his miracle, which comes in the last form he expected and the first he should have known to watch out for. He's not unsympathetic. He's never quite safe. I'm not knocking Livesey as an actor—he made three films with Powell and Pressburger and in all of them he was exactly what the part required, a tragicomic English archetype in The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943), an unforeseen romantic alternative in I Know Where I'm Going! (1945), and an adroit and skeptical advocate for science and love in A Matter of Life and Death (1946). Someday I'll even see him in a film by some other director and I expect he will continue to be very good. But I think he was right to refuse Colpeper: he would not have been weird enough for him. Portman was. And as Howard had proved almost from the start of his stardom, he would have been, too.

That's the trouble. You believe in miracles. )

This is fantasy casting at its finest. If any practical link existed between Leslie Howard and A Canterbury Tale, given my interest in both of these things I can't imagine I wouldn't have run across it before now. I believe what I'm seeing is a case of parallel evolution, drawing on the same shared resonances of myth and literature and national archetype like a collective unconscious of the country, and I have neither the scope in this post nor the professional credentials to diagnose exactly what that is. I just can't believe I didn't see the fit before. Howard had even worked with the Archers once before, playing one of his disarming intellectuals for 49th Parallel. I'd love to know what either of them thought of Pimpernel Smith, since I stand by my assertion that it comes the closest of any other British war picture to the off-kilter numinous of their work in general and A Canterbury Tale in particular; I've found nothing in the two volumes by Powell that I own. I need to get a biography of Pressburger sometime. To get back to the short that started this whole megillah, From the Four Corners is not A Canterbury Tale or even Pimpernel Smith, but it served admirably as a celebration of Howard's hundred and twenty-fourth birthday and an antidote to a really depressing evening and you can watch it yourself thanks to the good offices of the Imperial War Museum. I apologize about the watermark. I got used to it after a few minutes of dialogue, but it interacts unfortunately with the opening titles. Anyway, it'll take you less time to watch than this post did to write. The version where I actually did all the research I thought about would have gone on for even longer and run the footnotes off the bottom of the screen. At least I didn't pour glue in anyone's hair. This monograph brought to you by my transcendent backers at Patreon.

1. Honestly, in a film of this era, I feel it may be safe to assume that any angular, pipe-smoking person looking especially careless in public is Leslie Howard. If he's wearing an overcoat and has a tendency to lecture about abstractions, that clinches it.

2. Although the character is explicitly identified as the actor himself—glossed for non-British viewers who might not recognize the name by Atkinson's description of the local weather as "too Pygmalion cold"—I found myself thinking of him as Howard's Passer-By, like Dante's Pilgrim. He can say the line about his fathers at Tilbury (our fathers of old) and mean it literally. He's autochthonous.

3. Powell and Pressburger use it for wonder rather than horror, but the way they conceive of history leaving its imprint on time is interestingly close to the idea of residual haunting that Nigel Kneale popularized with The Stone Tape (1972) or the endlessly reenacting myth of Alan Garner's The Owl Service (1967): once a thing has happened in a place, it is always on some level happening there, echoing forever in the land. Where it happened transcends when. "And when you see the bluebells in the spring and the wild thyme and the broom and the heather, you're only seeing what their eyes saw. You ford the same rivers, the same birds are singing. When you lie flat on your back and rest and watch the clouds sailing as I often do, you're so close to those other people that you can hear the thrumming of the hooves of their horses and the sound of the wheels on the road and their laughter and talk and the music of the instruments they carried."

4. It is completely not Howard's fault that I flashed on The Magician's Nephew (1955) when I hit the line "Most of you, I'm sure, will know what I mean when I speak of the curious elation which comes from sharing in a high and mysterious destiny," especially since he meant just about the opposite from Andrew Ketterley by it. It does kind of make me wonder if Lewis heard the broadcast. If so, I guess he wasn't impressed.

5. It took me an absurdly long time to realize that none of the blessings received by the four modern pilgrims of A Canterbury Tale has to do with things changing for the better: each has to do instead with seeing things as they truly are, not as the characters have feared or convinced themselves they were. They are revelations, realizations. They are like archaeology. Nothing of the beloved past has been lost, not a girlfriend, a fiancé, or a vocation; things believed not to exist have come as naturally to light as an old coin in a field, reminders that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. They prove the constancy of time.

6. There is a tangential question here which I am not sure I am qualified to engage with: the degree to which it is possible or useful to read Howard's intellectual heroes as neuroatypical as opposed to merely very smart, knowing there's a significant Venn diagram of the two in popular representations of intelligence. Certainly I feel as though a case could be made for several of the characters discussed here, but I've seen Howard in seventeen movies and IMDb gives him thirty-eight acting credits; I don't think I have enough data. I also feel this study should be conducted by someone with a better idea of what "normal" behavior looks like. When Atterbury Dodd says, "I don't like parties. I don't know what to say to people. I just sit in corners and wish I might go home," I mean, that was me and socializing for years. All that changed was I started getting invited to a better grade of party.

7. I have appreciated for years that Howard, national treasure that he was, never had too much vanity to play against audience sympathy for as long as a script required. Smith may have some cold, abrasive moments on his way to rethinking the primacy of Aphrodite, but Higgins carries scientific detachment to the point of being a stupendous jerk; it is one of the reasons I suspect so many people, myself included, find the ending of the 1938 Pygmalion and its immediate descendant My Fair Lady more satisfying than the impervious curtain of the original play: he gets absolutely kicked in the ass by his own human susceptibility and he never sees it coming. Dodd is never deliberately insensitive, but he has to learn how to see people—including himself—as people, three-dimensional, fallible, worthwhile, not just numbers or functions. Even the narrator of The Gentle Sex, while he understands and appreciates intellectually that women will be part of the war effort, so repeatedly underestimates the extent and the impact of their contributions that by the film's end he's had to give up trying to predict what they'll do next and simply trust that it'll be all right. Alan Squier, let's face it, is a really charming trash fire.

Movie Review: Your Name

Apr. 26th, 2017 07:00
[syndicated profile] smartbitches_feed

Posted by Carrie S

Your Name is an anime film that has been a huge hit in Japan, China, and South Korea. You could watch it with a keen understanding of Japanese culture and Shintoism, both of which I lack. Or, you could watch it with two middle-school girls at the end of a very long day, with a solid case of PMS. The verdict from the girls: “The movie is pretty, but it’s very confusing.”

The first part of Your Name is a romantic comedy version of Freaky Friday. Mitsuha lives in Itomori, a small town in the countryside. It’s a beautiful but boring setting for a teen, especially a teen who feels pressured to live up to the expectations of various family members.

Mitsuha wishes she were a boy living in Tokyo. When she falls asleep, she wakes up in the body of Taki, a teenaged boy living in — you guessed it — Tokyo. In Itomori, Taki wakes up in Mitsuha’s body. When they fall asleep, they switch back, and so on. Gradually the two work out a system of leaving journal entries on each other’s phones. Taki helps Mitsuha deal with bullies at school and Mitsuha helps Taki get a date.

It’s weird, but fine, until they realize that they can’t call each other (“This phone is out of service”). This is the first sign that things are seriously awry.

Take and Mitsua

Eventually Taki makes a discovery that I will not reveal. This causes the movie to change tone, becoming in turns a mystery movie and a disaster movie. There’s a lot of running and strategizing and freaking out. There happen to also be several heart-rending moments in which characters yell, “WHAT’S YOUR NAME!”

These moments are probably more touching when you don’t have a middle-school girl next to you whispering “ALEXANDER HAMILTON!”

I went in with almost no idea of what the movie was about. Since it has some powerful twists and turns, I’m not going to spoil the plot. I will say, though, that the funny parts are very funny and the suspenseful parts very suspenseful. Periodically Taki and Mitsuha lose their connection and begin to forget each other. These sequences are horrifying and heartrending as they try to hold on to a wisp of memory of “something precious – something I don’t want to forget.” The more fragile the relationship seems to be, the more heavily the participants and the viewer invest in it.

I suspect that this movie would benefit from multiple viewings. For one thing, the plot is not entirely linear. It’s told from different points of view, and there are time skips of several years. However, it’s not as confusing as my teenaged review team suggests. I’m pretty sure I followed it, and with one more watching I’d have it down. In addition to helping make sense of the timeline, multiple viewings would show off a lot of facets and clues – you can tell the movie is layered with details, too many to catch at once.

Taki and Mitsua on a mountain at sunset

The themes of “union” are powerful, and the characters feel real, but the standout quality of this movie is how incredibly beautiful it is. Itomori is a town on a mountain, surrounded by forest, with a lake that is shown at different times of day in all kinds of lighting. Tokyo pales in comparison – but there are details like the blinking lights on a crane and the food in a café that are just lovely. The use of light and space, geometry and shape, reinforces the ideas about the importance of connection in a cosmic sense. There’s a contrast between the small people and the big world that makes connections between people seem more, instead of less, important. See this on the big screen if you can!

Some American viewers may think of anime as an art form involving science fiction and action and fanservice, all of which I enjoy considerably. However, Your Name is an example of an anime that is a character-centered drama with just a touch of the mystical. There are no overt fantasy or science fiction elements except for the body switching. There’s no sex, although Taki’s reaction to waking up as a girl is, inevitably, to start squeezing his/her breasts which gets more and more hilarious every time he wakes up and is inevitably caught by Mitsuha’s little sister. It’s a sweet, sometimes tragic, sometimes happy love story about two very confused teenagers growing up in a beautiful but sometimes catastrophic world. It’s geared towards adults but other than some language there’s nothing inappropriate for children.

Just keep in mind that they will probably react like this:


Your Name is in theaters now and tickets (US) are available at Fandango and Moviefone.

My father-in-law

Apr. 26th, 2017 08:39
happydork: A graph-theoretic tree in the shape of a dog, with the caption "Tree (with bark)" (Default)
[personal profile] happydork
My father-in-law passed away on Monday morning.

He was a kind man. Brilliant, playful, curious, funny, generous, loving — and kind. He loved to laugh and he loved to share, and his love for Amy shone out of him. He was so open to and enthusiastic about anything that made her happy — even if I hadn’t loved him for himself (and I did), I would have loved him for that.

I know he wanted to be remembered for who he was before the last few months of his life. The lively, silly, driven man who raced his small daughter down corridors (feinting the wrong way and giggling as she followed his misdirection), who trekked the world for charity, who took beautiful photographs, loved music, cooked and ate with gusto, and took great pleasure in so many things. But I’ll also remember how, at the end, he kept his kindness and kept his warmth. Every time we visited, I was struck again by how clearly he wanted Amy to feel welcome, to feel loved.

I was so lucky to have him in my life for the last few years. I'm far from the only one who'll be carrying him in my heart from now on.

April 2017

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