What I’m Watching: Trigger Warning with Killer Mike

Rapper Killer Mike does stunts with a social purpose. But unlike, say, Jackass or Dear White People, he’s not stupid or preachy, and he’s funnier than the supposed professional comedians in those.

E01: Mike tries to live black for 3 days, only buying or using black products from black stores. Cue cruel and sadistic laughter, because that is really damned hard, even in Georgia. The “Figgers” phone is kind of a cheat, because it’s obviously an Android made in China, but it’s a real small network run by a black kid, Freddie Figgers. The look on Mike’s face in the BBQ shop is heartbreaking.

I look a little sideways at his refusal to smoke Mexican weed; I’ve only ever smoked Washington or Canadian, but surely Mexican can’t be that bad, they built a criminal empire on that stuff before legalization.

Still, he makes a good point about how the black community’s been economically destroyed. His idea of a good “Black Friday” where everyone tries to buy black is interesting… but impossible where I am.

E02: Mike proposes replacing STEM/liberal arts schools with trade schools, starting with 1st grade. This one Annoying Red-Headed Kid is, like, the worst example of honkie ambition driving everyone else down you can get. Did Mike ship this kid in by asking every school district in the area for their most awful nerd? I predict 100% that ARHK will make a startup that defrauds people, and he’ll never go to prison.

“I don’t think school teaches you to think. I think school, like prison, teaches you to obey!”

So then he moves on to unemployed adults, and they’re unmotivated, so he comes up with a great idea, which I won’t spoil. Unfortunately, I find most of the people in his idea too unattractive to be effective.

★★★★☆

Runes

A text filter to convert ASCII sequences into nice Unicode or emoji. Call it from your favorite editor, or on the command line:

% echo "BEFORE {circle:this is some hollow text.} AFTER" |runes.py
BEFORE ⓉⒽⒾⓈ ⒾⓈ ⓈⓄⓂⒺ ⒽⓄⓁⓁⓄⓌ ⓉⒺⓍⓉ⊙ AFTER

More instructions in the README file.

What I’m Watching: Netflix FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened

A documentary by Chris Smith, of “American Movie” fame. This is a lot glossier, better-produced, like a classic VH-1 Behind the Music special, just as much humor and schadenfreude as AM, but a lot less hope. Everyone who sits for an interview is great, especially the Bahamians; Chris did not interview Billy McFarland, who wanted to be paid for this, even though he’s a convicted criminal and it’s illegal to let him profit from a crime.

So, get a con man with a shitload of VC money, and a bunch of amateurs who’ve never organized more than a house party, to build a giant concert and housing on a Bahama island.

The, uh, “sacrifice” the elder team leader Andy is prepared to make is the turning point of this from badly-organized fiasco to Coen Brothers-level tragic-comedy.

“That’s not fraud, I would call that… uh… false advertising” —Ja Rule

This goes from some of Billy’s previous black-card scam Magnises, the setup and construction on the island, and a bit on the development of the app. Then the horrible launch day we all saw online, the aftermath, and one of the worst team endings I’ve seen in many years of shitty startups. And then after Fyre, there’s Billy’s next scam…

★★★★½

There’s also a Hulu “Fyre Fraud” documentary, but they did pay Billy McFarland to be in it. I haven’t watched it, and anyway don’t have Hulu anymore.

HuffPo interviews JackTwit

Not that picking on Twitter should be a steady activity for me, but it’s just so noxious even from a distance these days, and just read this goddamned interview:

(Warning: HuffPo is like 90% ads by page volume, so have AdBlock/uBlock/Better/etc set to kill, not stun)

ashleyfeinberg: Those are certainly words, though none of them appeared to answer my question.

ashleyfeinberg: And is there any situation at all in which you would decide to delete the site?
jack: Now I remember why I unfollowed you! Because that’s all you DM me, “delete the site.”
ashleyfeinberg: Well, that’s … Maybe half the time.
jack: But how is that going to help?

Seems like a damned good idea to me.

Who Ya Gonna Call?

They’re getting the band back together!

I’m surprised, Bill Murray’s been a stick in the mud about this for so long Harold Ramis died first. But maybe Bill needs money for drug or whiskey habits? His vanity overcame his trolling? He saw the terrible Feig film and thought he had to do something? Are you, Bill, currently menstruating?

Ernie Hudson will do any job, he pretty much is Winston Zeddemore; and Dan Aykroyd is still a great performer (and maker of the best vodka I’ve ever had). Get them and some newbie interns still doing the job, don’t be preachy, don’t make science look stupid; GB 1984 was all about science and a tech industry startup saving the world from the supernatural; II had real science with Egon’s puppy/child experiment, and absolutely stupid shit like the dancing toaster, but the guys followed the evidence and used the goo to fight Vigo, so it paid off; the Feig thing might as well have been incanting spells over wands.

Jason Reitman’s done mostly very straight, deadpan romance-drama things, but Thank You For Smoking shows some comedic talent.

Cautiously optimistic.

Using Twitter as a Bad RSS Feed

So, there’s no individual RSS feed for The Macalope on the rotting corpse of MacWorld. The Macalope used to have its own blog with an RSS feed, but it hasn’t posted regularly in months, maybe years. But, there is a Twitter feed @themacalope.

Back in the day, Twitter actually had RSS feeds for users, but then took them out along with closing down the API, because they want to be the Empire.

“The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.”

Turns out, FeedBin will let you add a Twitter URL and treat it as an RSS feed!

So the happy ending is I can see important current events like this, without opening birbsite:

Now let us turn to the person we would naturally turn to for the definitive last word on Apple.

“It’s hard to be a two-trick pony,” former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told me Thursday.

The Macalope just raised his eyebrows so far they went halfway down his back. He wasn’t even aware he could do that.

J-Pop Tuesday Music

2017 and 2018 were slow years, but at least the EPs show there’s something coming. PassCode’s interesting, another idol band changing style as they grow up, in their case doing both chiptune/rock and metal, “XYZ” could just as easily be an Anamanaguchi track.

What I’m Watching: Solo

Sigh. I wasn’t going to watch any more of these Disney “Star Wars”, but I’m a completionist and a glutton for punishment and terrible movies.

The special effects are fine, the sets are great, the 5-act plot of train job-failure-heist-Kessel Run-treachery is predictable and badly written, but it’s no worse than usual for Disney.

The soundtrack is a lame ripoff of John Williams’ score. Long stretches are too quiet, a few spots are very heavy-handed covers of the Force Theme or other parts of larger songs. I guess I don’t expect John to still compose at his age, but this was ham-fisted.

The incompetent schmaltzy Ron Howard direction and the terrible acting are the main problems. Everyone involved in this should’ve been fired and started over.

Alden Ehrenreich is not a pretty boy, and he’s a blank, emotionless drone, a terrible Harrison Ford replacement. His Han Solo is brash but never fun.

Emilia Clarke as Qi’ra is sort of Leia-like in looks, but she does nothing really, has little spine, mostly there to threaten to motivate Han. She has a position and combat skills, but they’re used only when nobody else is available.

Woody fucking Harrelson as Beckett. What the hell. Just a terribly out of place character, Woody’s never really been an actor, the script asks nothing of him and he delivers it.

Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca since Last Jedi is… OK. Chewie has a couple scenes where body language matters and plays the part well. Certainly the best dialogue in the film.

Donald Glover as Lando is as relentlessly mediocre at this as he is at everything else he does. He plays a vapid, cape-obsessed, loathesome, un-lovable un-rogue version of Lando.

The rest, Val, Rio, the crime lord, Enfys Nest, and so on, have no depth or plot arc to even make their characters matter.

You already know all the beats this has to hit to put every Han Solo backstory element in a single movie, a few days of his life. Then he sits around in a Tatooine bar for 20 years waiting for Luke and the old man to show up.

★☆☆☆☆