Name: William Rivers Pitt
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 55,929
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 55,929
- 2013 (265)
- 2012 (359)
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Posted by WilliamPitt | Thu Dec 19, 2013, 11:29 AM (51 replies)
Creating a user name and account: easy.
Plowing through all the questions: easy.
Alas, I logged out to track down some personal info, and when I tried to log back in, it said the system was currently down.
...but then, Ermahgerd! A phone number: 800-318-2596
And it's toll-free, too!
So I'll be calling in the morning to finish the process.
No. Big. Deal.
Posted by WilliamPitt | Sun Dec 15, 2013, 01:01 PM (10 replies)
The 2013 Hater's Guide To The Williams-Sonoma Catalog
By Drew Magary
I have a house and, like most houses, it's an unfinished work. There are cracks in the paint. There are piles of old clothes and shoes exploding out of the laundry room, which doubles as a storage room because we don't have a storage room. The walls in our bedroom are bare because we haven't had time to hang pictures on them since we moved in 10 years ago. We need a pantry, but don't have one. We just cram cans of food and boxes of pasta into the front hall closet with the coats and shoes because there's nowhere else to put them. We do not have a larder. I don't know what a larder is but it sounds fucking great. It sounds like you keep LARD in it, and that suits me nicely. But for now, this loving house will do, in all its imperfections. I suspect most houses are like this. There's always some goddamn project that needs to get done and never does.
But that is not the kind of home that exists in the Williams-Sonoma universe. The Williams-Sonoma universe is a magical pristine alternate dimension where every room has crown molding and your wife can fart out a perfect red velvet bundt cake in nine seconds flat from her Wolf oven and you are fucking RICH. Just so rich you don't even know what to do with yourself, which is how you end up spending $48 on a tin of peppermint bark. You host fabulous parties with educated neighbors and you eat organic soup out of a tureen hand-crafted by a cedar farmer in Alaska who only makes four of these tureens a year. It's a fabulous world, chock full of copper cookware dangling from stainless steel hooks and a framed picture of Ina Garten in every room, even the parlor!
Item #54-1623164 Monogrammed Steak Brand
Williams-Sonoma says: "Put your initials on your grilled masterpieces."
Notes: It's bad enough that the poor cow takes a frat house iron to the ass before being led to slaughter, but now you gotta sign your steak, too? This is what I want to do, and tell me if I'm going overboard here: I want to brand a cow, kill that cow, cook a steak from its carcass, BRAND the steak, serve the steak at a party so that people know it's mine even though they already saw me grilling it, and then I want to eat the steak, shit it out, BRAND my shit with some kind of forged iron shit brand, and mail that turd to the cow's children. You will fear the initials DM, children. They will live in your night terrors.
Item #54-1718857 Miele Rotary Iron
Williams-Sonoma says: "Sit comfortably at this machine to press and fold large linens in as little as four minutes."
Notes: Every year, the Williams-Sonoma catalog features gifts that are clearly meant for your help. "Thomas Barrow, my dear footman! Look at what I've got you! Now you can iron my bedsheets in nearly half the time! SURELY YOU MUST BE PLEASED." This thing is the size of a Buick. A regular iron costs thirty bucks. If you have the means to buy a giant robot ironing device, you should save your money and give the difference to ME, because I'll spend that money on more important things. I will fill a pool with snowflake marshmallows and jump into it while stark naked. Two thousand bucks. For an iron. Jesus Christ. Add it to my kid's Christmas list.
The rest: http://deadspin.com/the-2013-haters-guide-to-the-williams-sonoma-catalog-1481230580
Drew Magary is a living God.
Posted by WilliamPitt | Thu Dec 12, 2013, 01:21 PM (15 replies)
Jimmy Greene holds a photo of his daughter, Ana Marquez-Greene, 6, one of the victims of the
shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, as he comforts his wife, Nelba Marquez-Greene.
(Photo: Ozier Muhammad / The New York Times)
Here Lies America: Shot to Death
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed
Thursday 12 December 2013
There was snow that morning, so the hiss of flakes against the windows was a constant companion as I got her ready for the day. I watched her eat a bowl of cereal and drink a glass of orange juice, helped her shrug into her winter coat, made sure her laces were tied, and held her hand as we managed the icy walk to the car. She kissed my cheek before stepping out into the controlled mayhem of the sidewalk in front of the school. I watched her as she was swallowed by the mob of children flowing in the schoolhouse door. I think I saw her look back and smile.
I was barely home before the phone rang. Something happened, something happened, I don't know what, but something happened. Turn on the news, and it's a view from a helicopter above her school, armored cops with rifles raised ("Like the ants that fight," you randomly remember from a Thomas Harris novel) swarming through the front door, children streaming out of the side of the building, is that her? Is that her? Where is my daughter?
No, that's not her, none of the screaming, hysterical, traumatized children on CNN are my baby, my baby is still in the building, face down in an ocean of blood and tangled in a pile of other dead children. Someone shot my baby so many times she doesn't have a face. Her jawbone is gore on the classroom wall, and I have to bury her with a closed casket so no one at the funeral throws up at the sight of her.
Welcome to the nightmare. As a parent, that scenario is one of many I am forced to deal with in my mind now, thanks to the Sandy Hook massacre.
I consider myself enormously fortunate, however, to have to deal only with the fear of someone randomly massacring my daughter. The reality of that horror is a national phenomenon. By a conservative estimate, at least 194 children have been killed by guns in the year since Sandy Hook. There have been more toddlers killed by toddlers with guns than there have been American adults killed by terrorists in this fading calendar year. The average age of the children who were killed by guns since Sandy Hook is six years old.
The folks who build small coffins for a living are enjoying a boom time.
It isn't NRA money, or right-wing pressure groups that bears all the responsibility for this. Neither would stand a chance against the kind of unified front represented by Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Remember MADD? They changed the country, changed the culture, because too many kids were getting scraped off windshields and sent home to their parents in zippered sacks.
We don't have the kind of grassroots public advocacy against the epidemic of gun deaths that we had against drunk-driving deaths, even though it is children who do the dying all over again. There is nothing close to that kind of campaign happening anywhere.
We just don't care enough to make it stop, because it happens to other people, right?
That, right there, is why and where this country lost its way. The fact that we can't keep thousands of our citizens from dying by guns, and that even attempting to do so amounts to political suicide, is a shameful epitaph.
Here Lies America: shot to death. Please omit flowers.
The rest: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/20582-here-lies-america-shot-to-death
Posted by WilliamPitt | Thu Dec 12, 2013, 10:35 AM (99 replies)
(Photo: Tony Fischer / Flickr)
Top Gun Santa
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed
Thursday 05 December 2013
Two years ago, nearly to the day, I penned an article about the degree to which the Christmas season generally makes me want to tear my skull out from under my face and lob it through the window of the nearest storefront that has the gall to play "Jingle Bells" on an endless loop from a sidewalk speaker. I have my reasons, valid ones all, and I'm pretty sure I'm not alone.
I am not, however, a curmudgeon. Sure, my "Christmas spirit" takes an annual beating when the commercials start in June, and the same songs are played all the time everywhere (I think the last new piece of Christmas music was written in the year 2), and the overwhelming commercialism of the whole thing makes me wonder why we don't all just live in the mall and get it over with...but then the day itself arrives, and I see family and friends, and get to watch them enjoy my gifts, and get to enjoy my own, and in the end, it's nice.
While I am not a to-the-knife defender of all things Christmas, I do believe it is important, especially for the children. All of my best Christmas memories are from before I was ten years old. There was a simple magic to it - the tree, the anticipation, the cookies and milk for the guy who would be coming down the chimney - that I still haven't forgotten, and this year, I get to share it with my daughter for the very first time.
So when I saw this article on Tuesday morning, I very nearly went around the bend:
As Santa streaks through the sky this Christmas Eve, Rudolph merrily guiding the way, he will be flanked by some new and unusual companions: a jet-fighter escort, bristling with missiles. That is the twist that - to the dismay of at least some child advocates - the US military has chosen to put on this year's version of its traditional animated tracking of the yuletide journey. This year's updated segment, now previewing on the military's website, depicts Santa soaring over snow-capped peaks with military aircraft keeping pace on either side.
Threats? To Santa Claus? Whose bright idea was this? Now, for the first time in history, children who see this nonsense will go to bed on Christmas Eve worried that someone might try to kill Santa Claus, an idea that no kid anywhere has ever been required to encompass.
You really have to see this turd to believe it. The martial drumming, the terrible graphics, the cameras and radar stations surveilling everything, and of course, the war weapons on Santa's six. You'd think the "defense" industry would treat Santa with more dignity. He knows if you are sleeping, he knows if you're awake, he knows if you've been bad or good, so for goodness sake, the guy should be on retainer with the NSA.
The NORAD tracking thing has been around for almost 60 years, and when I was old enough to know better, I loved watching how it made the younger kids lose their minds when Santa's "position" was reported by the local TV news stations...but this deal with the fighter jets is not just some cute new wrinkle they've added.
It is product placement and the creation of brand loyalty to the military in the minds of young children, which in the end makes it recruiting. Period, end of file.
The rest: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/20441-top-gun-santa
NORAD promo video:
Posted by WilliamPitt | Thu Dec 5, 2013, 10:45 AM (15 replies)
American soldiers with captured Nazi flag, WWII.
(Photo: Za Rodinu / Flickr)
The Last Dead Nazi
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed
Tuesday 03 December 2013
A piece of history died on Monday.
Heinrich Boere was 92 years old when he passed away in a prison facility in Froendenberg, Germany, where he was being treated for dementia. At the time of his death, he was the state's oldest prisoner, and perhaps its most notorious. After all, some 68 years removed from the end of World War II, how many living Nazis from the days of Hitler's Reich can there be left?
Boere was one such.
Boere was born in Germany to a German mother and a Dutch father, but moved to Maastricht in the Netherlands when he was two. When the Nazis invaded the Netherlands in 1940, he recalled seeing Stuka dive-bombers flying overhead, and remembered his parents being elated instead of afraid. At the time, his mother said, "They're coming, now things will be better." Many years later, during testimony he gave at his own trial in Germany, Boere said, "It was better."
Not long after seeing those Stukas flying above his adopted country, Heinrich Boere became a Nazi himself, wore the uniform, and fought for the Reich on the Russian front. Later, he volunteered for the Waffen SS, the para-military muscle of the Nazi Party that was the brainchild of Heinrich Himmler. By 1943, Boere was part of a hit squad targeting members of the Dutch resistance and anyone else harboring anti-German sentiments. He killed three people by his own admission, and aided in the killing of many more.
After the war ended, he evaded justice for some 60 years, fought the law once he was cornered, and was finally convicted for his crimes. On Monday, he died behind bars, lost in dementia. Only the orderlies, nurses and doctors know what demons were loosed from his mouth once his mind was gone, what confessions he made. He knew what he had done was wrong in the end, or at least he knew others thought he had done wrong; during his trial, he explained why he had never married: "I always had to consider that my past might catch up with me. I didn't want to inflict that upon a woman."
Heinrich Boere, known Nazi, known murderer, known collaborator with the filthiest tide to ever wash up on the human shore, is dead. He was not the worst of them, but he was willingly one of them. He did not die free, but in fetters on a prison bed without even his own mind left to him. More than some would say it was a better death than he deserved. Most would say that justice, at least to some degree, was finally served.
But what of us, the children and grand-children and great-grand-children of this awesome and terrible history?
In my own way, I mourn the passing of Heinrich Boere. Not because of what he believed or what he did; were I able, I would spit on his grave...and then light a candle, and stand a vigil, because Heinrich Boere is important to us all. When men like Heinrich Boere die, we are one step closer to forgetting that men like him lived at all, one step closer to forgetting that party-sponsored murder gangs like the Waffen SS ever existed, one step closer to forgetting that hate-fueled thuggery thrives in economic chaos, can take over, and can wreak bloody havoc.
When men like Heinrich Boere die, we are one step closer to having men like Heinrich Boere among us again, because we forget what they did when they are gone, and by forgetting, we allow them to live again. Sooner or later, inevitably, they rise when we forget.
The rest: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/20387-the-last-dead-nazi
Posted by WilliamPitt | Tue Dec 3, 2013, 10:06 AM (7 replies)
CNN: "The first takeaway from Black Friday 2013: Thanksgiving is changing. For all the talk of shopping boycotts -- on the grounds that family values exceed the desire to save a few bucks -- American consumerism has triumphed. The crowds that typically appear before dawn Friday showed up at what's traditionally dinnertime on Thursday."
"Alas, regardless of their doom, the little victims play!
No sense have they of ills to come, nor care beyond today."
- Thomas Gray
Posted by WilliamPitt | Fri Nov 29, 2013, 10:07 AM (15 replies)
(Photo: Greg Sailor / The New York Times)
Black Thursday: Thanksgiving in the Consumer Wasteland
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed
Thursday 28 November 2013
Tony Rohr was the general manager of the Pizza Hut in Elkhart, Indiana, until just the other day, when the company decreed that his restaurant was to be open for business on Thanksgiving for the first time in Rohr's long experience. For the sake of his own family, who wanted him to be with them for the holiday, and for the sake of all the other employees and their families, Rohr refused to do as they said.
Of course he was fired, but he went down swinging. "I am not quitting. I do not resign, however I accept that the refusal to comply with this greedy, immoral request means the end of my tenure with this company," wrote Rohr in a scathing letter to his former employer. "I hope you realize that it's the people at the bottom of the totem pole that make your life possible."
And so Tony - who started as a cook and worked his way up the ladder - will sit down to Thanksgiving dinner with his family today not knowing where his next paycheck will be coming from. Mr. Rohr has become, in a uniquely American way, a martyr to the new normal in this country. Never mind the fact that Thanksgiving is probably the last day most people would think to frequent a fa-chrissakes Pizza Hut - the restaurant will spend more money having the lights and ovens on than they will make from customers, bank on it - and focus on the singularly vile practice of robbing workers of a long-cherished day with family in order to maybe make a few extra bucks.
It's happening all over the place. Turn on a television, wait for the commercial break, and in no time you will hear something along the lines of CAN'T WAIT FOR BLACK FRIDAY? GOOD, BECAUSE WE'RE ALSO OPEN ON THURSDAY WITH STUFF AND DOORBUSTERS AND MORE STUFF AND LOOK AT ALL THIS STUFF YOU HAVE TO HAVE THIS STUFF OH MY GOD SO MUCH STUFF WHAAAARGARBL AND P.S. BLACK FRIDAY TOO!!!
Black Friday may be important to the retailers who depend upon the orgasmic gush of consumer spending to put their earnings for the year "in the black" - where the term came from, if you didn't know - but it has metastasized into perhaps the most gruesome display of everything that has gone sideways in American society.
Once upon a time, it was fun in its own odd way, I suppose, but now...now, people camp out for days in department store parking lots, risk stampedes, fist-fights and the occasional hail of gunfire in order to get their glutton on one day after a holiday dedicated to being thankful for what they have. Someone will die in a store on Friday over a flat-screen television or a power tool. That annual sacrifice upon the altar of More Stuff has become as predictable as the tides.
And now, that's not enough. Now, they are forcing workers to give up this cherished holiday - and yes, "forcing," because Tony Rohr can tell you everything you need to know about what happens when you refuse orders to work on Thanksgiving - in order to service the insatiable maw of American consumerism run amok. Dollars to doughnuts, the CEOs who are demanding their employees sacrifice their Thanksgiving celebrations with family are big "family values" guys. They will be with their families, you can sure-God count on it.
And yet, something to be thankful for: there is push-back...
The rest: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/20308-black-thursday-thanksgiving-in-the-consumer-wasteland
Posted by WilliamPitt | Thu Nov 28, 2013, 10:52 AM (20 replies)
Received via email:
Thanksgiving is a holiday I remember in blinks of memory.
My grandmother with her head bowed, leading the blessing.
My Aunt Bee proudly presenting her special green Jell-O molded salad for everyone to admire.
Our son Alex, racing through the house as a three-year-old, making monster noises and holding out his hands with pitted olives stuck on the end of each finger.
Seven-year-old Amelia and her eight-year-old cousin Michelle decorating place cards and deciding where each relative should sit (and arguing loudly over whether Aunt Nancy's name was spelled "Ant Nancy" or "Ante Nancy").
Nephew Dan coming in just before dinner, still muddy from playing in the traditional high school rivalry game between Plymouth North and Plymouth South.
Baking pies with my granddaughters.
Holding a tiny grandbaby and eating my dinner with one hand.
Somewhere, we probably have photographs from every Thanksgiving – but even if we don't, I have them all in my heart.
Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday – a chance for all of us to give thanks for all the things that previous generations have given to us. But it is also a chance to think about the world we are leaving to the generations that will follow us.
I'm deeply grateful for every blessing in my life. I'm also deeply grateful to have the chance to fight for a world that includes opportunities for all our children and a real chance for hard-working people to build some security.
I realize that the changes we need to make will be hard, and I know that we won't win every fight – but I know that if we fight, we have a chance to build something better.
Thanksgiving is a time for us to be grateful, and I'm grateful to have you by my side. Your stories, your hopes and wishes are with me today and every day.
From my family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!
Posted by WilliamPitt | Wed Nov 27, 2013, 12:32 PM (0 replies)
Animals Were Harmed: Hollywood's Nightmare of Death, Injury, and Secrecy Exposed
The Hollywood Reporter
The full scope of animal injuries and deaths in entertainment productions cannot be known. But in multiple cases examined by THR, the AHA has not lived up to its professed role as stalwart defenders of animals — who, unlike their human counterparts, didn’t themselves sign up for such work. While the four horse deaths on HBO’s Luck made headlines last year, there are many extraordinary incidents that never bubble up to make news.
A Husky dog was punched repeatedly in its diaphragm on Disney’s 2006 Antarctic sledding movie Eight Below, starring Paul Walker, and a chipmunk was fatally squashed in Paramount’s 2006 Matthew McConaughey-Sarah Jessica Parker romantic comedy Failure to Launch. In 2003, the AHA chose not to publicly speak of the dozens of dead fish and squid that washed up on shore over four days during the filming of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Crewmembers had taken no precautions to protect marine life when they set off special-effects explosions in the ocean, according to the AHA rep on set.
And the list goes on: An elderly giraffe died on Sony’s 2011 Zookeeper set and dogs suffering from bloat and cancer died during the production of New Regency’s Marmaduke and The Weinstein Co.’s Our Idiot Brother, respectively (an AHA spokesman confirms the dogs had bloat and says the cancer “was not work-related”). In March, a 5-foot-long shark died after being placed in a small inflatable pool during a Kmart commercial shoot in Van Nuys.
All of these productions had AHA monitors on set.
The rest: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/feature/
Posted by WilliamPitt | Tue Nov 26, 2013, 10:20 AM (0 replies)