Thursday, June 30, 2016

Morning Coffee (6/30/16)

ICYMI: My June book review was the delightful The Summer Before the War.

Nate Silver's general election forecast page is up. Now, I think people are making too much of this or thinking it's something it's not - it doesn't mean he's calling the election now, and he's certainly not saying that Clinton will get 80% of the vote - he's saying based on current polls there's an 80% chance Clinton will win, which is very different. But this is still very soothing and contains tons of fascinating data and I have bookmarked it so I can calm myself down as necessary.

The Second Amendment Hoax

This is an important and powerful read: Choosing a School for My Daughter in a Segregated City

Also important: Anti-Racism Erases Anti-Semitism

Look, another story about a Trump business being a scam: Trump Institute Offered Get-Rich Schemes With Plagiarized Lessons

Oh hey and another.

The president is not happy with Trump calling himself a populist.

As funny as the "Trump solicits liberal foreign politicians for donations" story was, it sounds right to me that it was probably a prank.

Heh: How to Cover Donald Trump Fairly: A Style Guide

Whoa: Tunnel Used by Jews to Escape Nazis Found

It's troubling that people are having to do this: To Secure Loans, Chinese Women Supply Perilous Collateral: Nude Photos

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Book Review: The Summer Before the War

The Summer Before the War, the second novel by Helen Simonson (who wrote Major Pettigrew's Last Stand), places itself at the end of the idyllic (for some) Edwardian age, when the world is clearly starting to change - and then changes a lot in a hurry with the start of the First World War. The main character, a young woman named Beatrice, moves to a small coastal town to teach Latin in the aftermath of her father's death, and there begins to sort out her place in the world and to put together a new family from the people she finds around her, especially an older woman named Agatha who supported her controversial appointment and Agatha's husband and nephews. It's sort of Downton Abbey meets Home Fires, using the war as a way to map the changes in society, though (unlike Home Fires) the narrative actually moves to the front at one point rather than remaining among those left at home.

I especially liked the way the novel dealt with the changing world in which the characters found themselves and their reactions to that, from the scandal of hiring a female Latin teacher to a subplot about Belgian refugees that feels very relevant right now. Most of the characters realize that the traditional class system is breaking down, and they're threatened or empowered by this; Beatrice and Hugh both believe that educating working class children is important, but the amount of progress they can really make there is limited by the conventional views of others in the community. The same could be said for Beatrice's feminist leanings, and I actually liked those limits - I get frustrated when a character in a historical novel seems to have thoroughly modern beliefs and to act outside of the bounds of her society, and Simonson did a good job of balancing her more progressive and more traditional characters here.

I went into The Summer Before the War primed to really love a book - the last few things I'd read had ranged from frustratingly mediocre to really not good - and it didn't let me down. I loved Beatrice's personal journey as well as that of her found family, and her restrained but powerful romance with Agatha's nephew Hugh. And the tone of the novel was pitch perfect: quiet and genuinely moving without being melodramatic or treacly, smart and funny while never losing sight of its grave concerns. Because this is a war book, and not everyone Beatrice loves will make it out of the trenches. Prepare yourself for some tears. In a good way.

(If you'd like to see more frequent book reviews, support the blog on Patreon!)

Morning Coffee (6/29/16)

Lewandowski loses $1.2 million book deal There's a lot to unpack here beyond the obvious. Was that a deliberate West Wing homage in the supposed book's title?? And has anything ever been Trumpier than this insistence that Lewandowski would never use a lit agent???

Jamelle Bouie on how Sanders's ongoing refusal to endorse Clinton is now turning to work against him: "He’ll still matter to the shape and direction of the Democratic National Convention, but he could have had a larger, more visible role. Bernie Sanders had his shot, and he threw it away."

Leaders of ‘Brexit’ Campaign, Having Won, Turn to Managing Expectations

A good reminder: Brexit is David Cameron’s fault

This piece about Corbyn is good but also I just love the headline: Labour’s Love’s Lost

Important: Trump promised millions to charity. We found less than $10,000 over 7 years.

Related: True: Fact-checking a single Donald Trump speech required 12 AP writers

Is Elizabeth Warren Really the Best Choice for Vice President? (No! The Senate is important!)

Amber Heard And The Narratives Of Domestic Violence

This is terrifying and I cannot imagine making it through: Lost at Sea on the Brink of the Second World War

Whoa: NASA Will Light a Fire Inside the Cygnus Cargo Spacecraft

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Friday, June 24, 2016

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Morning Coffee (6/23/16)

This House sit-in is wild; I woke up and turned on CSPAN and it's STILL GOING. Wow. Here's a primer on what's going on and why it's so unusual.

And here's the Guardian live blog.

Also, the Brexit vote is happening right now. Please hydrate, political junkies. Here's the Guardian live blog for THAT.

I do think things like this sit-in and Murphy's filibuster are useful for forcing the conversation, but this is an important point: For any actual change, we need to have fewer Republicans in Congress.

And Matt Yglesias makes good points here: Why House Democrats are eager to force votes on doomed gun control bills

Whatever you think of these specific issues, the fact that it's been covered via streaming video from the Congresspeople's own phones is worth noting. (Because the majority controls the TV cameras and turned them off.)

Donald Trump’s Clinton attack speech reveals just how little he understands the world

“Mad, conceited, learned beyond their sex”: Female Philosophers of the Early Modern Era

Ooh: More Treasures Recovered from Antikythera Wreck

I've been trying some things out of my comfort zone so I loved this from Hanna Rosin: Screw Mastery

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Morning Coffee (6/21/16)

Well. Corey Lewandowski is out. And FEC filings show that Trump has basically no money. And I feel like this campaign has been crazy enough that we actually don't have a firm grasp on what this all might mean, but... it can't be good, right?

Meanwhile: The Mystifying Triumph of Hope Hicks, Donald Trump’s Right-Hand Woman (She is FASCINATING.)

MEANWHILE: Last year, no candidate got more negative media coverage than Hillary Clinton

I'm glad someone thought to hire Rick Perlstein to cover this election. (Also here.)

I am puzzled that I'd never heard of LaCroix before this Vox piece - I pay attention to seltzer and food trends AND TV writers! - and/but now I want to try it because I'm very suggestible. Looks like it's not in any of the normal grocery stores around here, but maybe Target or Whole Foods.

What Did Internet Troll Chuck Johnson Know About Peter Thiel’s Secret War on Gawker?

!!! By the Way, Anthony Kiedis Saved a Baby’s Life During Carpool Karaoke

India and Nepal in Not-Very-Enlightened Spat Over Buddha’s Childhood Home

This was going around but in case you hadn't seen it, it really is a crazy story: The Married Woman Who Kept Her Lover in the Attic

PERFECT: "Now, if Elizabeth Warren and Jill Stein and Michelle Obama make a new Ghostbusters in a hypothetical four or eight years from now, I could get behind that idea. That vague notion that wouldn’t hold up under any scrutiny for a variety of reasons is CLEARLY a better option than this new Ghostbusters movie made by competent people that’s seemingly ready to be shown any minute now."

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Morning Coffee (6/16/16)

ICYMI: I updated my Emmy nomination explainer.

As a Connecticut native, I'm very proud of Sen. Chris Murphy's filibuster. Obviously much more work is needed, but this was the first glimmer of hope in quite a while that people might be taking gun control seriously.

WHAT: "Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn on Tuesday went a step further than McConnell, telling POLITICO he will no longer talk about Trump until after Nov. 8."

Among the many reasons we should not just write off Gawker: This Looks Like the DNC's Hacked Trump Oppo File

Good for him: Prince William Becomes the First Royal to Pose for a Gay-Magazine Cover

INCREDIBLE lineup: Broadway Stars Join to Record "What the World Needs Now Is Love" as Orlando Charity Single

!!! Bradley Whitford, Courtney B. Vance Board TNT Drama Pilot 'Civil' (And Toby Jones and Brian D'Arcy James! In a political show! Amazing.)

Ooh, Walgreens terminated its deal with Theranos. I hope some sort of juicy tell-all comes out of this whole thing.

Huh: Does Rodarte actually exist? The vaporous business plan of a fashion industry darling.

Fascinating and relevant: Citizen Khan

Oh well: Sunken Lost City? Not Really

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

How the Emmys Work (Annual Repost)

It's that time again! This is copied/pasted from previous years; I updated dates and links but not all the examples. It's possible some rules mentioned have changed slightly, but I think you'll get the idea.

The Emmy Awards nominating ballots were published recently, and there's been a lot of buzz and excitement among some fan communities about people and shows "getting on the ballot." I don't want to burst anyone's bubble, but since I'm No Fun At All and feel compelled to address People Being Wrong on the Internet, I will try to insert some sanity, or at least some facts, into the discussion. (Please note: I'm not an expert, and if I've gotten anything wrong, please tell me!)

What's a nominating ballot?

A nominating ballot is a list of all the people/shows/etc. who can be nominated in a category. They have not already been nominated.

How do you get on it?

You enter yourself, basically. I believe that as long as you pay the entry fee and meet the eligibility requirements (basically that you're on the right type of show for the category, and it aired in the right time frame in primetime on a station that's available in 50% of markets in the US), you get on the ballot. There's a caveat that they can consider entries on an individual basis if necessary, but this is not a selective thing. Being on the ballot does not mean that anyone but you/your publicist/your show/your network thinks you deserve an award.

How do we know it's not selective?

Did you SEE how many times The Cape appears on these ballots? [Note: I should update this reference but it makes me giggle every time.]

So Bradley Whitford/Ian Somerhalder/other actor I love being on the ballot doesn't mean he got nominated or won something?

Sorry, no.

So how DO you get nominated?

Members of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences get the ballots and vote on who should be nominated. Each member can vote for a certain number of entries within each category (usually five or six). All members can vote in the Best Program categories, and the other categories are voted on by their respective peer groups.

When do we find out who's actually nominated?

July 14.

And then what?

Then the Academy members vote again, among those nominations.

And the actual awards are given out . . .

September 18, right in time for all the presenters to plug their new fall shows.

Wait, what controls whether someone is on the ballot as a lead actor or supporting actor or guest actor?

The entrant chooses one of these three categories themselves. (I say "themselves," but the show/network/studio has some influence in this decision.) However, "guest" entrants must appear in fewer than 50% of episodes that aired within the availability period. So, for example, Rob Lowe entered as a lead actor for Parks and Rec, but Ian Somerhalder entered as a supporting actor for The Vampire Diaries. [Ah, how things change. This year Somerhalder entered as lead, of course.]

Who would YOU nominate?

Do you really want to know? There's nothing I love more than picking things from ridiculously long lists and being opinionated, so if there's interest I will construct my dream ballot.

I hope that cleared things up a bit. Questions? Anything I missed? Hit the comments!

Morning Coffee (6/15/16)

Me elsewhere: New Secret Garden movie?!?!

I'm enjoying the Post going all in: Donald Trump’s assault on our values

Oh: Gingrich: Let's Create New Version Of House Un-American Activities Committee

Russian government hackers penetrated DNC, stole opposition research on Trump

The case for, and the case against, Elizabeth Warren as Clinton’s VP pick (I find the "against" more convincing, but obviously I will support the ticket either way.)

Gawker Was a Great Place to Become a Journalist

Brilliant: A New Magazine Called 'It Ran' Will Run Any Ad You Make, So It's Eligible for Awards

Search Is On for King Henry I, Who May Be Buried Under a Parking Lot I'm starting to wonder exactly what percentage of England is covered in parking lots.

Shonda Rhimes shushing Art Garfunkel at Hamilton is my new favorite celebrity anecdote, and also kind of sounds like the product of Mad Libs.

Finally, TV Gets a Few Difficult Women


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Morning Coffee (6/14/16)

Yesterday Donald Trump revoked the Washington Post's press credentials. Here's the statement in response from editor Marty Baron.

Good for her: Clinton renews call for gun control in wake of Orlando attack

"It’s quite another for white Democrats to not appreciate how liberal minorities feel about the possibility of a Trump presidency and what that would say about the state of racial progress in America. It would be a slap in the face, the latest sign that a kind of white privilege—throwing a temper tantrum because they don’t get their way despite how much it hurts people of color—is deeply rooted within liberal, Democratic ranks as well."

An uproar about Turgenev translations in advertising!

The Tonys commercial breaks sounded more entertaining than the Tonys themselves. To wit, here's Sean Hayes and Jake Gyllenhaal singing "A Whole New World."

This is great, from Lizzie Skurnick: How I Chose a Sperm Donor

Ooh, interesting: The Watergate Hotel’s Renovation Isn’t Afraid to Embrace Its Scandalous Past

Profile of Ask a Manager! (If you're not reading Ask a Manager, you should be.)

“A’ghailleann”: On Language-Learning and the Decolonisation of the Mind

Bone Relic From Becket, Murdered Archbishop, to Return to Scene of the Crime

Monday, June 13, 2016

Morning Coffee (6/13/16)

Me elsewhere: TV news for the week.

Donald Trump's Exploitation of Orlando

If you missed the Tonys, make sure you see Lin-Manuel Miranda's acceptance sonnet.

My first reaction to jurors refusing to serve on the Brock Turner judge's cases was "good for them!" but then a lawyer friend pointed out that those are exactly the people we want to have serving on juries, and that if only people who agree with that judge serve on his cases that will make everything MUCH WORSE.

A musical thriller starring Tom Hardy and Olivia Colman?!?!?! Amazing news.

This headline is funny but the story is actually important and interesting: How Witchcraft Harms Economies

This story is CRAZY: Yoga Twins Blazed Path of Destruction Off Hawaiian Cliff

Brilliant: Nivea Made a Waterslide That Applies Sunscreen to Kids, So Parents Don't Have to Do It

"What is it about romance novels that provokes such scorn? Many have argued that it’s the same features that also make it extraordinarily popular (romance is a billion dollar business, and according to the RWA’s statistics it accounts for 13% of the entire adult fiction market): romance is a genre written by, for, and about women."

I had no idea that the personalized emoji business was such a big thing.

A Shocking Find In a Neanderthal Cave In France

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Morning Coffee (6/12/16)

Woke up to terrible news about ANOTHER shooting in Florida, this one at an LGBT nightclub, with mass casualties. I'm still catching up on the details, but here's the Guardian's liveblog.

Two Bossy Dames on Lady Rage is a must-read.

For a bit of good news: The Great British Baking Show is returning to PBS on July 1st. (So it's going to be on Fridays now? Interesting.)

How N.H. Went from Deep Red to Swing State Over the Course of a Few Elections

I'd somehow never read about this Mickey Mouse cartoon that was the last thing the BBC aired before going off the air in WWII and the first thing they aired when they came back.

God, I'd sort of forgotten about the Lizzie Grubman thing.

More realness from The Onion: Elderly Voter Never Thought She’d Get To See Female Presidential Nominee Called Heartless Ice Bitch During Her Lifetime

This look at Beyonce fans is interesting but they don't seem more committed or "obsessive" than fans of lots of other things.

I just like this headline: Searching for Atlantis Really Isn't the Best Career Move

Why Everyone Is Attracted To Baristas (It’s Because Of Late-Stage Capitalism)

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Morning Coffee (6/8/16)

I woke up to the news from California and THAT was delightful.

(Me elsewhere: Feed the Beast was disappointing.)

This is really happening: Hillary Clinton will be the first woman presidential nominee — that's a big deal beyond symbolism

The meaning of Hillary, and the long, hard climb to the top of the ticket

Hillary Clinton Made History, but Bernie Sanders Stubbornly Ignored It

No concession, but the Times says Sanders is laying off half his staff.

And I just read this and it made me both furious and so so glad that he will not be president, as he would clearly be terrible at it: Inside the bitter last days of Bernie's revolution

Reporters covering Clinton report harassment following AP call

I'm not saying what it is here but reading this Cursed Child spoiler about a certain character last night of all nights made me start crying again.

Stop the Bots From Killing Broadway

This piece on Dancing with the Stars casting was interesting even though I don't watch the show, and obviously if they got Bill Clinton (their dream contestant) I would WATCH EVERY MOMENT.

The Lost Literature of Medieval England

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Morning Coffee (6/7/16)

Well, last night was exciting. In case you were off doing other things: Based on a combination of pledged delegates and superdelegates, the Associated Press declared Clinton the presumptive Democratic nominee. Sure, it would have been more fun (and better optics) if this had happened on an election night - what changed Monday that allowed the AP (and then other news orgs) to do this was a combination of more results from Puerto Rico and previously unpledged superdelegates declaring themselves for Clinton - but this is still important, exciting, and historic - the first female major party nominee.

(But if you're in a state that votes today - go vote anyway!!!!)

Nate Silver has some good explanation and analysis: Hillary Clinton Will Be Nominated Because More Democrats Are Voting For Her

Related: "The nomination is won by adding up pledged delegates and superdelegates. Clinton has a large lead in pledged delegates, and an even larger lead in superdelegates. You could rely entirely on one or the other, or change the weights between them in any fashion, and Clinton would still win. Sanders simply refuses to accept the combination of the two, instead changing subjects from one to the other. Ask him about the pledged delegates, and he brings up the superdelegates. Ask about the superdelegates, and he changes to the pledged delegates. It’s an infinite loop of bullshit."

This seems like a good time to break for some celebratory Broadway Carpool Karaoke featuring Lin-Manuel Miranda, Audra McDonald, and more.

Welp: Florida AG Asked Trump for Donation Before Nixing Fraud Case

And: "Republicans working to elect Trump describe a bare-bones effort debilitated by infighting, a lack of staff to carry out basic functions, minimal coordination with allies and a message that’s prisoner to Trump’s momentary whims."

Good for BuzzFeed: "We don't run cigarette ads because they are hazardous to our health, and we won't accept Trump ads for the exact same reason." (I know this is, to some extent, a PR stunt, but honestly... so what? If we care about the public political stances companies take, then we should want PR stunts that mesh with our goals and priorities. Wondering what's truly in the heart of executives we don't know is a losing game.)

This is so good, especially about how we judge things young women are interested in: Why we're terrified of fanfiction

This piece on The Great British Bakeoff is delightful, as is the show: Let Them Bake Cake

Ooh: King Tut's dagger blade made from meteorite, study confirms

Monday, June 6, 2016

Morning Coffee (6/6/16)

Me elsewhere: TV news!

ICE CREAM TURF WARS are all I want to read about this summer. (And a follow-up.) (Obviously I am joking and real people are getting hurt and that is bad!)

Good for her: J.K. Rowling Slams Critics of Hermione Casting as "Bunch of Racists"

"Forty-seven percent of Americans, what are you thinking? I know Mitt Romney was mean to you that one time, but that's no reason for decision-making this awful. No matter your politics, you should be able to see Donald Trump would be a terrible guest at your barbecue."

Meet one of Hillary Clinton's biggest donors in California. They hardly ever talk politics.

Zuckerberg’s GOP Meeting Shows a Master Politician in the Making

This is... this is... something. Make Yourself Great Again! A group of millennial bros find salvation in the teachings of Donald J. Trump.

!!!!! Bagpipes the New Zealand penguin gets 3D printed foot

They took out a full page ad for Jonah Ryan, a fictional candidate on the show Veep, in the Union Leader, New Hampshire's largest nonfictional newspaper. What a time to be alive.

This video from the British Library of a conservation team caring for degraded silk flags is great.

Great House Therapy: The Dashwoods’ Casual and Tolerably Comfortable Cottage

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Morning Coffee (6/4/16)

If it's something you can handle, you should read the statement by the victim in the Stanford rape case in which the rapist was just given a light sentence because the judge wanted to avoid a "severe impact" on him. This is an incredible piece of writing and so, so important.

Big good news in another terrible situation: Francis gives Vatican authority to initiate removal of bishops negligent on sexual abuse

I agree with Jamelle Bouie here: How Should America Resist a Fascist?

CNN has finally figured out how to cover Donald Trump's constant lying

Not to be all "I PREDICTED THIS" but I totally speculated about this on Twitter a while ago: Some officials worry about briefing Trump, fearing spilled secrets

Conservatives’ new anti-Trump savior also said immigrants are rapists (Obviously I don't want David French to do well but I am sad at the thought of all the puns we won't get to make. French Revolution. French fries. French horn. French Connection. So many options. French - toast?)

Bernie Sanders and Rigged Elections: Sometimes You Just Lose

Explaining Ben Shapiro’s Messy, Ethnic-Slur-Laden Breakup With Breitbart

This was reasonably convincing: In defence of the "Dark Ages"

Ooh: Hoard of Coins and Bronze Statues Found Off Israel

Friday, June 3, 2016

Morning Coffee (6/3/16)

Happy Friday! As usual, we'll go with some lighter links today.

Me elsewhere: Some thoughts on the Outlander renewal and a new episode of The Fourth Wall!

!!!!!!!!!!! Netflix Sets ‘Julie’s Greenroom’ Preschool Series From Julie Andrews, Jim Henson Co.

I have never watched The Bachelorette but this guy is my new hero.

This xkcd showing how to estimate the dates of maps is amazing and hilarious.

New emoji are coming! I'm excited about some of the food ones.

You had me at Post-It note war.

The Rolling Stone feature on Hamilton and accompanying interview with Lin-Manuel Miranda are worth a read.

As is Esquire's delightful profile of Daveed Diggs, who plays Lafayette and Jefferson. (And I feel like in all the talk about him having the fasted rapping on Broadway, people don't even MENTION that it's in a non-native accent! [French, as Lafayette.])

This will sound familiar to anyone who has tried to get a toddler to pose for a formal picture: Mike Tindall opens up about daughter Mia's scene-stealing handbag moment in the Queen's 90th birthday portrait And of course the Queen was the one to realize how to get her to behave, because this is the kind of thing she's dealt with constantly her whole life. Never say Her Majesty isn't good at her job.

Heh: Kate Middleton May Have Called Prince William “Babe”: What Does It Mean?

Perfect: How To Tell If You Are In A Transcendentalist Essay

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Morning Coffee (6/2/16)

Wow: Germany is set to recognize the 1915 slaughter of Armenians as genocide. (Turkey is unhappy, obviously, and it will be interesting to see what affect this has on current refugee/migrant issues.)

Reid on Sanders: "I think he better do a little mathing." HA.

‘I Can Watch It on TV’: Excuses for Republicans Skipping a Donald Trump Convention Make sure you read all the way to the bit about Judd Gregg. You know those politicians and their notorious avoidance of crowds!

I really really hope this is correct: Why I think Bernie Sanders will drop out and endorse Hillary Clinton soon

Some interesting background and perspective on the Brexit vote: Cameron's Folly

Bill Simmons's new site The Ringer is up and this from Jon Favreau was one of its interesting launch pieces: Barack Obama’s Last Stand

This story is crazy: A warning left on a nanny’s car. License plates stolen. And a top Pentagon official in big trouble.

MSNBC’s year of standing up straight

This radio story on the opening of the world's longest and deepest rail tunnel was surprisingly fascinating, and the fact that this project came in on time and within budget makes me want to move to Switzerland immediately. Such good planning!

Whoa. This is a big deal: 75 Percent of Networks Will Use C7 Advertising Metric for Upfront Deals

Heh: Sir…Sir! You Need to Call the ‘Other’ Time Warner

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Morning Coffee (6/1/16)

It's June?!?!

This is terrible; you might not want to click. Remember the story about the tiger temple in Thailand? Forty dead tiger cubs were found and at least it sounds like they are now removing all the animals from this group. I hope they wind up somewhere safe.

Wow: From $4.5 Billion To Nothing: Forbes Revises Estimated Net Worth Of Theranos Founder Elizabeth Holmes

Rebecca Traister's Clinton profile is great: "These days, I think of her as General Leia: No longer a rebel princess, she has made a wry peace with her rakish mate and her controversial hair and is hard at work, mounting a campaign against the fascistic First Order."

"Last week, none of the three major cable news networks — CNN, Fox News, or MSNBC — carried Mrs. Clinton’s speech to a workers’ union in Las Vegas, where she debuted sharp new attack lines against Mr. Trump.
Instead, each chose to broadcast a live feed of an empty podium in North Dakota, on a stage where Mr. Trump was about to speak."

I don't agree with all of Matt Yglesias's interpretations here but his Bruenig explainer is a useful overview of what happened.

And then please read Sady Doyle's take.

Fascinating: How I used lies about a cartoon to prove history is meaningless on the internet

The supposed Guys and Dolls remake now has a supposed director. (I only say it that way because I feel like we've been hearing about this FOREVER.)

Aw, the baby prince of Bhutan is very cute.

Perfect: Gothic Novels, Now That The Housing Market Is Not What It Once Was