'Diesel' by Wonkette Operative 'Grandma Snark'

Happy Sunday to all you people hunkering down. We have nice things for you! I spent most of Saturday offline and if if you can tear yourself away from your computer, I'd recommend the occasional break. After you read Wonkette, of course. I'm not a dangerous radical.


Patrick Stewart Has Some Sonnets For You

Patrick Stewart read a Shakespeare sonnet on Twitter, and people liked it, and then they liked the next one, so now he's working through them in order. It's been wonderful. Apart from the three minutes when I left up a tweet in which I somehow typed his name "Steward." No idea how I did that. Maybe I'd been assimilated by the Bork.


No, we're not going to embed all of 'em. You should already be following him, for heaven's sake. But isn't his expression at the close of this video perfect?

Need Access To A Library? The Internet Archive Can Help!

The Internet Archive announced this week that it's temporarily suspending its waitlist for digital books from its National Emergency Library, which allows readers to check out books from a number of institutions (the full collections of Phillips Academy Andover and Marygrove College, plus much of the library from Trent University, and a million other digitized books. In a blog post, the Archive splains,

This is a response to the scores of inquiries from educators about the capacity of our lending system and the scale needed to meet classroom demands because of the closures. Working with librarians in Boston area, led by Tom Blake of Boston Public Library, who gathered course reserves and reading lists from college and school libraries, we determined which of those books the Internet Archive had already digitized. Through that work we quickly realized that our lending library wasn't going to scale to meet the needs of a global community of displaced learners. To make a real difference for the nation and the world, we would have to take a bigger step.

"The library system, because of our national emergency, is coming to aid those that are forced to learn at home, " said Brewster Kahle, Digital Librarian of the Internet Archive. "This was our dream for the original Internet coming to life: the Library at everyone's fingertips."

The archivists acknowledge it's not as big a collection as you'd find in a big city or university library, but the 1.4 million books do fit a certain niche, namely,

materials published during the 20th century, the vast majority of which do not have a commercially available ebook. This means that while readers and students are able to access latest best sellers and popular titles through services like OverDrive and Hoopla, they don't have access to the books that only exist in paper, sitting inaccessible on their library shelves. That's where our collection fits in—we offer digital access to books, many of which are otherwise unavailable to the public while our schools and libraries are closed. In addition to the National Emergency Library, the Internet Archive also offers free public access to 2.5 million fully downloadable public domain books, which do not require waitlists to view.

The no-waitlist digital "checkouts" will be available through June 30 or the end of the US national emergency, whichever is later. That's pretty convenient, because...

Remember, We're Invading The Slog's Book Club Tuesday

It's Plague Doktor Zoom!

Just a quick reminder to grab yourselves a copy of Albert Camus's The Plague and read it up through at least Part Three so we can go invade the comments at The Slog on Tuesday, where they're doing a Quarantine Club book club thing. I spent much of yesterday listening to the audiobook version, and wow, what a novel to revisit right now. Yes, it's dark, but also incredibly good writing about the seemingly universal range of human responses to uncertainty and horror. As we mentioned the other day, The Slog started all this earlier this month, so we need to play catch-up; to get a sense of where their discussion has been, supplement your reading with their discussions of Part One and Part Two of the novel, and then we'll be all ready to show up for the Quarantine Club on Tuesday, March 31 (the discussion posts go up in the late afternoon). Bring cakes we like!

The reading schedule for the rest of the book is:

  • Part Three: Tuesday, March 31
  • Part Four: Tuesday, April 7
  • Part Five: Tuesday, April 14

And wouldn't you know it, there are multiple copies available, with no waiting list, at the Internet Archive's National Emergency Library. (In addition, we hear there are PDF versions out there on the internet, to which we shan't link because the translation is still under copyright.) Or you can buy the ebook or audiobook at Amazon and yr Wonkette gets a cut. In a reflection of These Times In Which We Live, Amazon is temporarily sold out of paperback editions, but will have them in stock April 5.

Australia Has A The Onion, Only Possibly It's Even Better

Australia has a wonderfully funny fake news source, the Betoota Advocate, which claims to be "Australia's oldest newspaper." We first learned of it in this tweet from ProPublica reporter Jessica Huseman, back in ancient history, during the week when everyone suddenly realized shit was getting real.

And in case you're wondering, Betoota is a ghost town in Central West Queensland, whose last permanent resident died in 2004, although he had closed the town's only business, a hotel, in 1997 and moved away. The source of all online knowledge says,

The town has been designated as Australia's smallest.[3] The only facilities in Betoota are a racetrack, a dry weather airstrip and a cricket field.[4] Visitors are drawn to the town during the annual Simpson Desert Carnival which is held in September.[4][5]

As for the Betoota Advocate, it comes from Sydney, and is a mix of politics, lifestyle, and media humor, like so, only they spell it humour.

https://www.betootaadvocate.com/breaking-news/parliament-hosts-roaring-20s-party-complete-with-great-gatsby-costumes-crippling-recession

We've edited out the ads, which while we were grabbing screenshots, were being served up by a PAC funded by the Trump campaign and the RNC. Ew. (A quick site search, we should note, indicates the Betoota Advocate hasn't mentioned Donald Trump since 2019, so there's another thing to recommend it.)

https://www.betootaadvocate.com/world-news/media-u...


https://www.betootaadvocate.com/advocate-in-focus/...


This one's for Robynhttps://www.betootaadvocate.com/world-news/compila...


https://www.betootaadvocate.com/world-news/america...

Seems to us the Betoota Advocate isn't a huge fan of Australian PM Scott Morrison, either; his in-house name is "Scotty From Marketing," as in "Scotty From Marketing Forces Bushfire Victim To Watch The Cricket," "Scotty From Marketing Selflessly Cuts Week Long Hawaiian Holiday Short By 45 Minutes," "Scotty From Marketing Flies Into Drought-Ravaged Community To Say 'Yeah, True' Then Goes Home," and this painful commemoration of last year's massacre at two mosques in New Zealand:


It's currently 12:45pm of the 15th of March, and Prime Minister Scotty From Marketing appears to be giving himself the day off.[...]

It's because if he doesn't do anything today, it means he doesn't have to acknowledge the anniversary of that horrific event that was perpertrated by a nameless Quiet Australian on this exact date last year [...]

This means that the bushfire ravaged communities still waiting for assistance after the unprecedented and poorly managed summer of climate-change-aided disaster will not be making any noise until after this virus thingy.
It also means that thing that happened this time last year is not being commemorated in anyway shape or form. This appears to be the best marketing approach to March 15, as many government officials fear any form of acknowledgment of this tragedy my also be perceived as an admission that prominent members of the current Coalition front bench may hold some sort of responsibility for the dangerous and growing ideology steeped at the centre of the horrific incident.

The best fake news should be funny and have a bite. Bravo.

Also, from the real Onion, there's this, which is an OK headline, but is just brilliant beyond the hed:

"In the coming weeks and months, people will have to make some really important decisions about some really important issues," Columbia University historian Douglas R. Collins said during a press conference, speaking very slowly and clearly so the nation could follow his words. "And one thing we can do, before making a choice that has permanent consequences for our entire civilization, is check real quick first to see if human beings have ever done anything like it previously, and see if turned out to be a good idea or not."

"It's actually pretty simple: We just have to ask ourselves if people doing the same thing in the past caused something bad to happen," Collins continued. "Did the thing we're thinking of doing make people upset? Did it start a war? If it did, then we might want to think about not doing it."

Fine Here Are You Cute Fun Tweets, Many With Animals

Dogs know who's good:

On that theme, check out this thread by Montana congressional candidate Tom Winter, who seems to be a magnet for puppers who need help:


(Yr Editrix helped him find a vet in Polson, too)

There's a theme here, it turns out:


We need to update that Oscar Wilde quote about how losing one parent is a misfortune, but losing both looks like carelessness: To help one lost dog is an act of kindness. To help four looks like Canine Intervention.

Oh, and there are updates: Tom Winter seems to have a dog.

America is applauding our healthcare workers.

And we're figuring out this social distancing thing:






(Before the schools started shutting down, I'd never heard of this videoconferencing outfit)







Walter Update:

Yoshi and Lulu update:




Dangerous levels of floofness ahead.

Musher Blair Braverman, who you should follow, falsely accused one of her dogs of snack-stealing. Amends have been made.

Also too, Historians at the Movies will be watching Alan Rickman Chews Scenery In A Robin Hood Movie, With Some Kevin Costner Parts. You may want the formal title, which is listed below. Fire it up on Netflix at 8:30 Eastern, and gab about it on Twitter with the hashtag #HATM.

Some lummoxes, knowing they don't have to think about social distancing, insist on allowing no distance or work at home at all:

Have a good Sunday, wash your hands, and read The Plague!

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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