Article: How The Palm Tree Came To Southern California

Here is the article from Garden Collage magazine.

DSC_2312

There is a pervasive image of Los Angeles– one can easily imagine the top down on a stylish convertible as it drives down a perfectly manicured road, loud music, palm trees rising on either side like the icons of a bygone age. It is an image that could be from any number of decades in LA’s history– the music and the car change perhaps, but the palm trees remain, tall and thin, pillars of towering opulence, and utterly ubiquitous.

unnamed-1

The first ornamental palms were planted in the Los Angeles area during the 18th century by Spanish missionaries, for whom they had both practical and symbolic dimensions– palm trees are a famously biblical plant and their fronds are used during Palm Sunday and Ash Wednesday observances. The date palms planted by the missionaries provided no shade or fruit (date palms require fertilization by hand in order to produce dates), and while the desert fan palm is native to Southern California, date palms, old Mexican fan palms, and queen palms would soon overtake Los Angeles.

Palm trees grew in popularity during the Victorian era alongside the development of greenhouses, which allowed them to flourish in otherwise inhospitable environments. During that time, palm gardens and palm conservancies were built throughout Europe–there was even a palm court on the ill-fated RMS Titanic. The palm trees encapsulated the Victorian ideals of exploration and conquest, leaving behind the religious associations they had carried since antiquity, and moving towards the exoticism that eventually came to epitomize 20th-century Los Angeles. The Orientalism of the mid-nineteenth century compounded a desire for imported attractions like the palm tree.

DSC_2326

As Los Angeles grew (rapidly, and in many directions), city planners set out to beautify the streets. For landscaping, palm trees proved to be a cheaper alternative to grander, classic trees like the magnolia, while still impressing a sense of grandeur and luxury. Moreover, the Los Angeles heat offered the ideal climate for palm trees to thrive.

Through careful marketing efforts designed to entice Easterners into the West, Southern California came to be known as a “semi-tropical” environmental, one that encapsulated the fantasy of faraway lands without the overseas travel and taxing humidity. Publications hailed Los Angeles as a paradise and featured the palm tree alongside articles enumerating the merits of the city. Even the University of Southern California embraced the emblem of the palm, declaring as their motto Palmam Qui Meruit Ferat (“Let whoever earns the palm possess it”).

DSC_2354

During the early 20th century, Los Angeles became an easy, accessible fantasy, and the rise of Hollywood ushered in the city’s aura of glamour and luxury. Many Hollywood films featured Middle Eastern locales, further imbuing Los Angeles with an exotic, “dangerous” appeal. Just as the Victorians had allowed themselves to be seduced by their own constructions of Orientalism, so too did more modern Los Angeles residents fall under the embellished foreign allure of the palm tree.

In the 1930s, the craze for palm trees in Los Angeles reached new heights. A massive planting effort was undertaken in part anticipating the Olympics set to occur in Los Angeles in 1932. Perhaps more importantly, the initiative also created employment opportunities during the Great Depression, and resulted in over 40,000 trees being planted. Today, L.A. is alive with earlier decades’ efforts to turn the California desert into a seductive cultural oasis.

In the past few years, however, Los Angeles’s urban palm trees have begun to die, as their 75- to 100-year life span reaches its end. The threat of diseases, as well as the incursion of the red palm weevil, has made palm trees a difficult horticultural tradition to sustain (even without factoring in their heavy reliance on water in an increasingly waterless California). The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power announced in 2006 that they would not be replacing the palm trees that die, and would instead be moving towards re-introducing native, drought resistant plants to cityscapes, like native oaks and sycamores.

DSC_23622-1600x1071

The desert fan palms native to California grow where there is water— for all that palm trees are associated culturally with the desert, they require an immense amount of water. In California, groves cluster alongside oases (an instance when the cinematic trope proves accurate)– hence the naming of “Palm Springs”. In recent years, however, changes in the water table have hindered native palm tree populations, and the drought has made the foreign palm trees of L.A. all the more impractical.

Over 2,500 species of palm tree exist and live in various climates– deserts and rainforests alike. They grow coconuts, betel nuts, dates, and açai berries– one can even make a wine from their sap. But their lasting impact in America has been in the sunny daydreams they inspire. Palm trees suggest perfectly-clear days free from woes. They promise relaxation and easy luxury. They symbolize a paradise full of warm beaches and crashing waves. They are the emblem of the American West– the nostalgic promise of better shores.

Advertisements

Song of the Day (4/26/2018)

Today’s song of the day is Ball and Chain by Social Distortion. I’d love to give a shoutout to the 1990s but this little doozy was released in 1990 – crazy to have come out so early in the decade given it’s squarely a 1990s feel.

Staying on the topic of balls and social distortions: Donald Trump’s PEN15. Maybe you’ve seen it, maybe you haven’t. We agree it’s there and it’s probably been inside at least one B-list pornstar’s fun box. A couple of amusing articles on the topic:

Changing subjects, a currently relevant photo that I loved:

And the world’s best email sign-off:

And a couple of baller license plates. You’ll have to be patient, I meant to do a real post here but ran out of time.

Arch Stanton Guest Posting: Teen Vogue Takes On “Capitalism”

Earlier this week I stumbled across a primer on “capitalism” by beacon of critical economic journalism, the Wall Street Journal…the Economist…Teen Vogue (https://www.teenvogue.com/story/what-capitalism-is). Yes, Teen Vogue is now branching out from “Cardi B’s Fashion Nova Collection”, “5 Hottest Prom Trends”, “Beginner’s Guide to Coachella”, and “Your Weekly Horoscope” (I swear these are all currently on their front page) to instead tackle THE REAL ISSUES, like capitalism versus competing methods of economic systems, despite our Dear Reagan having concluded this debate when he karate kicked the Berlin Wall down. Seeing this blasphemy being forced fed to me and our nation’s youth (really, one in the same), I had to take a look at this bullshit. You’re not going to believe this, but it’s not very good, poorly researched, and of questionable journalistic integrity. Let’s review some of the more pertinent sections:
“Capitalism is defined as an economic system in which a country’s trade, industry, and profits are controlled by private companies, instead of by the people whose time and labor powers those companies.”
This third-grade-presentation-ass introduction includes a hyperlink to merriam-webster.com, and already has misattributed the quote. Per the hyperlink, capitalism is defined as “an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market”. Hmm. That seems a bit less biased than the one our revered author Kim Kelly manufactured. One sentence in and we have identified a fabricated definition and the writer’s biased opinion. Certainly this will improve!
“The United States and many other nations around the world are capitalist countries, but capitalism is not the only economic system available; throughout history, other countries have embraced other systems, like socialism or communism…”
Interesting how she chose to refer to these other systems in the past tense.
“CNN recently reported that 66% of people between the ages of 21 and 32 have nothing saved for retirement.”
This CNN (FAKE NEWS) article cites a study completed based on 2014 Census data, or, shortly after the Great Recession, so the statistics are dubious. With one Google search, conflicting information was identified, including the New York Times saying Millennials save more consistently than previous generations (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/26/business/retirement/millennials-retirement-saving.html) and Fortune stating 1 in 6 Millennials already have over $100,000.00 invested for retirement (http://fortune.com/2018/01/24/millennials-saving-money/) and further stating Millennials have shown to be more rigorous in investment planning than their parents. Again, this was ONE search before we disproved this notion.
“The millennials Salon spoke to expect to see a grand societal shift in their lifetime, either toward socialism — a political and economic system in which the means of production are collectively and equally owned by everyone — or toward a sort of dystopian Mad Max nightmare in which resources have dwindled, rich plutocrats own everything, and ordinary people need to band together in small, autonomous communities to survive.”
Lots to unpack here! The shift towards socialism is a very fair and understandable point to consider. As many capitalist nations continue to expand social programs in order to care for their poorest and most disadvantaged, there is a legitimate discussion to be had here. For the record – I am not arguing against these programs. But the thought of shifting towards ever-growing government agencies responsible for my well-being… isn’t this more of a reason to save and fend for yourself?
And the second part – whooo boy! If Mad Max manifests itself in this world, all the Baby Boomers will be dead in a month, and the rest of us will be hanging out at Burning Man Plus.
“…socialism has become increasingly popular among young people in the past several years, following Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders’s underdog run for president and the authoritarian creep of the ultra-capitalist, anti-socialist Trump regime.”
Oh, so young people are just getting into socialism the last few years? Not Baby Boomers in the free-love era of the 60’s? Bernie was popular for the same reason Donald Trump was – he wasn’t Hillary Clinton (and the free college for everyone thing too, people seemed to like that). I don’t even know where to begin an approach on “authoritarian creep” and “ultra-capitalist”, but I can agree with Trump on the anti-socialist thing. A first time for everything!
Hey wait a second — isn’t this article supposed to be defining capitalism? So far we’ve spent three paragraphs with made up definitions and questionable statistics, but I still don’t understand why I’m supposed to hate capitalism! That is the point here, correct? There is still SO MUCH left here.
“You have probably heard the word “capitalist” floating around in the past couple of years…”
You maaaay have heard about capitalism, the agreed-upon best approach by countries and economists around the planet to managing a global economy, or in, ya know, middle school, since that is the target demographic for this article. Are you sure you wouldn’t rather look at pictures of ‘nose art’?” (again, a real article).
“The origins of capitalism are complicated, and stretch back to the 16th century, when the British systems of power largely collapsed after the Black Death, which was a deadly plague that killed off up to 60% of Europe’s entire population. A newly formed class of merchants began trade with foreign countries, and this newfound demand for exports hurt local economies and began to dictate overall production and pricing of goods. It also led to the spread of colonialism, slavery, and imperialism.”
Very nuanced, this Kim Kelly! I wonder what else we can irrationally extrapolate? Let’s see… humans domesticating animals has led to the Middle Eastern crisis. Prove me wrong. The Treaty of Westphalia has led to the explosion in the popularity of the Fast and Furious franchise. The Taco Bell I had last night led to the diarrhea currently plaguing me. Okay maybe the last one is true.
Kelly notably stands up for “local economies” of the Middle Ages. I imagine these local economies were basically John Cleese dressed as a peasant woman in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” stacking mud. At the direction we’re heading, we can logically expect the writer to conclude with a defense of Chinese tariffs, deconstructing NAFTA, and #MAGA since she is so concerned with “local economies”. Remember, we’re free to conclude anything we want!
“The death of feudalism — a hierarchical system often seen as oppressive that kept poor people bonded to their masters’ land…”
Feudalism wasn’t so much “oppressive” as “you have a sword, and all these people keep trying to kill me and rape my wife – if I work for you, will you use your sword?”. History can be fun!
“By the 18th century, England had converted into an industrial nation, and the dawn of the Industrial Revolution saw an explosion of manufacturing overtake the island. It is within those smoky factories and flammable textile mills that our modern idea of capitalism — and the opposition to it — began to fully flourish.”
People were VERY MAD about having more individual freedom and the ability to earn higher wages! Why you could say they were furious they didn’t have to, uhh, stack mud (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wx7zI1W_5JI).
“A capitalist nation is dominated by the free market, which is an economic system in which both prices and production are dictated by corporations and private companies in competition with one another, and places a heavy focus on private property, economic growth, freedom of choice, and limited government intervention.”
Are you guys as turned on as I am right now?
“Generally, those to the right of the political spectrum tend to be pro-capitalist; those on the left veer toward anti-capitalism.”
Damn! She makes a great point here that could never be assailed. People on the left are rarely interested in the continuation of capitalism. People like Hillary and Bill Clinton (estimated net worth: $111 million), John Kerry ($200 million), Al Gore ($200 million), the Kennedy Family ($163 million), Diane Feinstein ($53 million), and Nancy Pelosi ($30 million) all have stridently fought against capitalism!
“How does capitalism impact people? The kind of impact that capitalism has on your life depends on whether you’re a worker or a boss.”
No fucking shit.
“The more profits your company brings in, the more resources you have to share with your workers, which theoretically improves everyone’s standard of living.”
I may be wrong (note – never the case) – but was that something POSITIVE about capitalism?!?
“The problem is that many capitalist bosses aren’t great at sharing the wealth, which is why one of the major critiques of capitalism is that it is a huge driver of inequality, both social and economic.”
Ah, shit.
Notably absent of the effects of capitalism are: global decrease in poverty, infant mortality, large-scale conflicts, and global increase in vaccinations, life spans, health, education, literacy, democracy, which has had a ripple effect in countless other aspects. Were these deemed not important, or did the University of Phoenix journalism degree make it difficult for you to find these?
“They view it as the only sensible way to organize a society, insisting that alternatives like socialism, communism, or anarchism are doomed to fail.”
I love this. “Guys if only communism was given a fair chance! Anarchy has never been truly attempted by any modern government!” Unrelated, but I was recently blocked on Twitter by @SocialistParty after responding to a tweet about how USSR was never truly socialist because Stalin was not a true believer with “are you sure that’s THE ONLY reason?”
“They also believe that the competition between companies benefits consumers by making products more affordable…”
Have you noticed any positives brought about by capitalism are phrased as unfounded opinions whereas the negatives are firmly stated as beyond reproach? But again, we’re critiquing someone free-lancing politics for Teen Vogue, so what did you expect?
“Anti-capitalists view capitalism as an inhuman, anti-democratic, unsustainable, deeply exploitative system that must be dismantled.”
This is cited with a link to counterpunch.org. If you click to their homepage, the current trending article is, “When Zionism Rubs Up Against Reality”. I don’t believe I need to further prove the validity of this statement.
“As German Communist philosopher and economist Karl Marx — perhaps the most famous opponent of capitalism in history…”
…until Bernie showed up mumbling like Steinbrenner from Seinfeld.
“The essential anti-capitalist argument is that “the hallmark of capitalism is poverty in the midst of plenty.””
This quote is attributed to Jacobin magazine. If you were hungover staring at the girl sitting in front of you during your European History class (note – definitely not a biographical circumstance), Jacobins were a party during the French Revolution who turned a noble revolution into the Reign of Terror where they got reeeeeal flippant about the use of guillotines. Again, I don’t think we need to spend more time addressing the credibility here.
Unrelated, but when people talk about bloodthirsty monsters from history, we always hear Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot, but everyone always leaves out Robespierre. I got you buddy, you and your estimated 16,500 executions in Paris in less than a year.
“Capitalism and socialism are generally seen as polar opposites, and discussions of either system are often framed as in opposition to the other. There are many forms of socialism, but at its root, socialism is an economic system in which a whole community — not just bosses or private companies — control the means of production equally. It assumes that people are naturally cooperative.”
Our writer has clearly never tried to get a drink at a busy bar on a Saturday night or been stabbed in a Walmart parking lot on Black Friday.
“In a capitalist country, the focus is on profits over anything else; in a socialist country, the public is seen to be more important, and social welfare is a major priority.”
This is the final paragraph. She prattles on a bit about Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands and how well socialism has worked for them. And – FINALLY – China and the Soviet Union (as well as Cuba) are addressed. Granted, that’s it. No mention how sensationally the Soviet Union failed, no mention how China, despite being the largest socialist country in history has far greater economic disparity than the US (https://www.ft.com/content/3c521faa-baa6-11e5-a7cc-280dfe875e28), and Cuba, who only suffered half a century of dictatorship and public executions as a result of their shift to socialism.
So what was the point of this article being on Teen Vogue? Aside from “no one else would publish it” (YES I KNOW I’M BITCHING ON A BLOG WHATEVER), it really only exists to pander to easily manipulable teenage girls into… “The RuPaul Drag Race Queen Are All “Team Eureka’s Knee”” – I GOTTA read this hold on.

Arch Stanton Guest Posting: Most Incomprehensible Features by Rappers on Pop Songs

Following our last post that somehow featured two astonishingly bizarre feature tracks by respected hip hop artists on tracks to be featured on songs with music videos for middle school boys to masturbate to on TRL, I remain hinged on this odd subtopic of modern music. Which coked-out music producer thought these combinations were what was really necessary to put these albums over the top? I am to believe that someone thought this Christina Aguilera album was destined to failure unless Wu Tang Clan affiliate Redman made a PG guest verse about how rowdy he is? The 80’s are remembered as a time of excess (Reagan be praised!), but the 00’s brought us Virginia Beach drug-dealing-banger duo Clipse on a fresh-off *NSYNC Justin Timberlake single. Let’s begin our voyage there:
Ah yes! Back when Justin Timberlake was trying to act like a normal human being, who hangs out in front of a 7-11 popping and locking with his multi-ethnic group of friends. When do you think Justin Timberlake was last in a 7-11? Remember – he was originally from Memphis, and moved to Orlando to form *NSYNC. I don’t doubt that this was a thing he did, but dude’s been famous since like 1996; AT LEAST twenty years.
But this post isn’t about pop stars and their shopping destinations for slurpies and roller-cooked hotdogs. Pusha T and No Malice, the members of Clipse, who you may remember from 2002 hit “Grindin'” about drug dealing in a refreshingly unglorified way compared to the preceding 90’s, show up on this Justin single to lend credence to the notion he was definitely the coolest member of *NSYNC (as if there was any real doubt – was anyone thinking Chris Kirkpatrick was anything but a nerd in over his head?) In what is certain to be a recurring trend, the members of Clipse fart out some half-assed lines, just enough to make sure that check clears – Pusha rhymes “glow” with… “glow. No Malice mercifully ends this experiment with eight lines concluding with, “the name Malicious and I burn every track / Clipse and J Timberlake – now how heavy is that?” Dude, that is the least heavy shit ever. Pusha had to feature on like a dozen Kanye tracks to redeem Clipse’s integrity. To be fair, this song bangs, because anything with Pharrell-produced tracks is going to be good.
In the seasonal effort of Katy Perry to appropriate every culture from the world and history, this video features white people as Egyptian pharaohs, but with, like, neon and shit? I’m sure there’s an interview that I’m definitely not going to look up or read where she claims this is her voicing her support for the Egyptian people during the Arab Spring uprising against Hosni Mubarack; just assume this is truth, don’t doubt it, it’s real because I am typing it and it’s on the internet, and that’s enough for your mom, so it should be good enough for you.
Juicy J was a member of Oscar-winning Three 6 Mafia from Memphis (this is absolutely true – Katy Perry can’t even win a Grammy but Three 6 is out here winning in different fields. Never fuck with Memphis.) Juicy J is also notorious for screaming about spending $30K at a strip club and how everyone should SHUT THE FUCK UUUUUUUUP at the end of “Same Old Song” by the Weeknd. Juicy J can rap like a monster, but should not be your go-to when looking to capitalize on liquid assets.
Looking ahead to the coming songs, this has got to be the best song and verse here. One line goes, “she can be my sleeping beauty, I’m gonna put her in a coma,” which is not very progressive in light of the #MeToo movement. I’m sure Katy Perry would have strong opinions about this if she had ever listened to this part of the song before. On that note…
If you remember, this is a video about a sexually-frustrated diabetic’s nightmare, with Katy Perry pantomiming fucking lollipops, cans of whip cream, gummy bears and anything that could be even remotely identified as phallic. Katy Perry has a target audience, and it is me. You can judge all you like, but I know what I’m about.
Snoop comes out with the most remarkably half-assed verse in the history of hip, with almost every line coming it at under five or six syllables. The most technically-proficient line is probably, “bikinis, zucchinis, martinis, no weenies” which starts kind of on topic for the song (titties being the theme, if you didn’t watch the video or remember Katy shooting whipped cream out of her boobs), and then goes to two completely unrelated subjects that are at least lyrical consonances. Looking back from today, where Snoop has his own show with fellow ex-con Martha Stewart, it’s hard to remember that he was massively respected artist who ran with Dr Dre and Tupac in their primes. But such is life for hip hop stars – you remain credible and are shot in your prime, or become white suburban moms’ favorite “hippity hoppity” star.
(I would trade places with Snoop IN A HEARTBEAT.)
This is, without a doubt, the most inexplicable pairing in music history. Seriously, find me two more unrelated artists, at their primes, who decided to get together, and put it in the comments. The only acceptable pairing I would even consider would be when Metallica wanted to piss their fans off (again) and release an album with Lou fucking Reed. I would read a 10,000 word longread on the oral history of how this came to pass; namely, how many commas were in the check he got for the nine lines in this song? Do you think Taylor Swift tried to give notes on his verse? Do you think Kendrick read them? Do you think they’ve ever met in person? I could go on.
This video has Lena Dunham in it; I apologize for subjecting you to that. The good news is Kendrick’s verse is right out of the gate so you don’t have to fuck around with the rest of this tragedy of a Avengers-but-for-famous-and-beautiful-white-girls video. All in all, either Kendrick Lamar actually tried, in which case, God bless him, or he didn’t at all, which makes the case for him being a savant because the lines aren’t bad but… it’s on a second-rate Taylor Swift song. Do you think he has all of Taylor Swift’s albums? Do you think they are Snapchat friends? Do you think he’s ever in Nashville and thinks, “I should call up my dear friend Taylor for dinner this evening!” Jk, Kendrick Lamar’s never been to Nashville.
Nope, I’m afraid I prematurely blew my wad and now find myself in a sticky situation, because what the actual fuck is Future doing on a track with Ed Sheeran. There’s no way he was notified everyone’s favorite-Olive-Garden-waiter-in-training was going to be on the same track. Like the last Taylor Swift song, our featured guest bangs his verse out early and pretty strong if we’re being real, but the real gem is the two of them “making eyes” at each other in a Lamborghini in what looks like 80’s Miami, which is preposterous. Although – Future did get with Ciara, so maybe we shouldn’t sleep on Future’s ability to bed beautiful superstarlets.
Anyway, I really just need to address this Ed Sheeran situation. It sounds like he’s trying to rap here. Excuse me – trying to “rap”. His lines are a bit quicker, he makes some rap hand waves through his verse, and really looks like he wants Future to like him. In all of the infinite and still expanding universes, there is still not a single one where Future likes Ed Sheeran. If you watch the video (I recommend it! It’s a pretty good song actually!), you can definitely tell Ed was on set with Taylor, and definitely worked up his best good guy impression to swing a date with Taylor, to which she laughed hysterically, and told everyone on set how funny Ed was, and he joined in the laughing to try and cover how hurt he was she thought he was kidding, and then he went home and sadly masturbated. True story.
No hate here, this song fucking bangs.
Every Fucking Track Ludacris Has Been on Since 2004
Ludacris needs to fire his agent. He has featured on FORTY-SEVEN TRACKS according to Wikipedia. This list includes the greatest track of all time (“Yeah” by Usher), some great tracks (“One Minute Man” by Missy Elliot, “Oh” by Ciara, “Sugar” by Trick Daddy, “Tonight” by Enrique Iglesias, “All I Do Is Win” by DJ Khaled, “Gonna Break Your Heart” by Taio Cruz), two dozen forgettable ones, some real tragedies (“Baby” by Justin Bieber, “How Do You Sleep” by Jesse McCartney, “Glamorous” by Fergie, “Holidae Inn” by Chingy) and, I swear to you this is true, but a track with future United States Senator Kid Rock next to R Kelly. Remember when being associated with an alleged kidnapper, cultist, pedophile and piss-enthusiast was enough to preclude you from partaking in politics? (NOTE – this has never been the case).
Dear Ludacris’ agent, learn to say no sometimes. I am sure Luda is doing just fine with his Fast and Furious residuals that he does not need to keep cribbing lines for whatever bland white kid middle America preteens are currently swooning over. “Word of Mouf” was great though.
Goddamn, ODB was the best. Remember that time he was being filmed by MTV cameras lamenting how hard it was to feed his family as he was zonked out in a limo taking him to cash out his food stamps? We never deserved him in the first place. RIP Dirt McGirt, aka Ason Unique, aka Knifey McStab, aka Big Baby Jesus, aka Little Billy Clinton.
Anyway, ODB is in typically ODB fashion here – wildly animated, flailing his arms, jumping up way too close to the camera and grinning with his grill showing more lens flares than a JJ Abrams’ move poster. His first verse(??) is him introducing the song, asking if various locales are in the house, including, ahem, Sacramento. (Sacramendie?) His verse is, predictably, all over the place, talking about how all the “brothers should hit it from the back and front” and then goes into what has to be the most unforeseen reference to Donny and Maria Osmond of all time. ODB CONTAINS MULTITUDES. I am fighting the urge to turn this into a celebration of ODB right now. Perhaps another time.
A deep cut from way behind the arc! I had almost forgot about this, but ya boy never forgets a good song. The song is pretty ordinary Michael Jackson fare – some “yeeehees”, “sha-mon-aa”, pinched testicles and universal lyrics that apply to every person to have ever lived. Michael knew what he was about NOT diddling kids get your mind out of the gutter we are professionals (NOTE – I am not) and this is a serious piece of investigative work (NOTE – it is not). Biggie’s verse is remarkably dark for a pop song; it’s almost like a guy who named his albums “Ready to Die” and “Life After Death” with songs like “Suicidal Tendencies”, “My Downfall” and “Everyday Struggle” may have been going through shit emotionally. If we want to try our damnedest to find a silver lining here, at least he didn’t suffer much longer…?
I feel pretty bad about that.
This track is the first to work in an n-bomb; apparently rappers are wont to avoid the word in half-assed verses on corny pop songs by goofy white people. Biggie goes on about feeling alone, and how he would feel alone even if he wasn’t rich and famous, along with serious paranoid tendencies about trusting people. You have to imagine Michael angrily moonwalked out of the studio and onto the Ferris wheel in his backyard over a guest artist taking his bubbly pop song and adding real life shit to it. Biggie was real as hell before being real as hell was a thing in hip hop, and we salute him for somehow making a Michael Jackson song a bummer.
Who the fuck is Estelle? Kanye obviously felt the same way, because he has a short verse in the intro of the song, and then bombs out a peak-Kanye verse a dozen lines longer than the next longest listed here. The main artist here shambles around a bit in between Ye appearances, and during the second, Kanye proceeds to move from behind her, to next to her, to in front of her, to basically boxing her out of her own music video, which – did you expect less from Kanye? You knew what you were signing up for when you asked Kanye to pop in on your song. Anyway, this is a Kanye song now, just ignore it being here because no one ever heard of Estelle again but you recognize this song anyway.
Leave any good or unusual postings in the comments so I can tell you why they suck and how it reflects poorly on you as a human being.

Article: Alzheimer’s Disease Is Completely Reversed By Removing Just One Enzyme In New Study

Article link is here.  See below for the article:

An experimental treatment completely reversed Alzheimer’s disease in mice by reducing the levels of a single enzyme in the animals’ brains. The results further bolster the theory that amyloid plaques are at the root of this mysterious brain disease, and that addressing these plaques could lead to an eventual cure for Alzheimer’s.

The study, published February 14 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, found that slowly reducing levels of the enzyme BACE1 in mice as they aged either prevented or reversed the formation of amyloid plaques in the brain, a hallmark sign of Alzheimer’s disease.

Amyloid plaques, formed when bits of protein clump together in the brain, are found in high amounts in Alzheimer’s patients. BACE1 is a protein that naturally forms in the brain and helps produce beta-amyloid peptide, a protein also involved with brain plaque formation.

Scientists at the Cleveland Clinic theorized that reducing BACE1 in the brain would have a trickle-down effect, reducing plaque formation. In their experiment, they examined mice bred to both develop Alzheimer’s and gradually produce less BACE1 enzyme as they age, the latter through the removal of a crucial gene. These mice should have developed Alzheimer’s disease, but without BACE1, they did not. Instead, they developed normally and remained healthy well into old age.

The researchers observed that reducing BACE1 levels not only prevented Alzheimer’s in mice, but also reversed the disease in animals who had already begun to show signs.

Offspring of the original BACE1 knockout mice also showed a similar reduction in their BACE1 levels. But these offspring did not have the initial protection from the disease and eventually began to form brain plaques. As the second generation of mice continued to age, though, they continued to lose BACE1 activity. Eventually, their brain plaques began to disappear. By the end of the study, the mice offspring showed absolutely no plaques at all in their brain.

Dr. Richard Isaacson, director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medicine told Newsweek that the results were promising and added further evidence that BACE1 inhibitor could be an effective Alzheimer’s treatment. But he warned that it’s too early to celebrate just yet. Mice are too different from humans for us to take these results as anything.

“The completely other side of the coin is that 99 percent of all clinical drug trials [for Alzheimer’s disease] have failed, and we don’t know why,” said Isaacson, who was not involved in the new study. “Maybe amyloid [plaque buildups] isn’t the right target.”

And even if amyloids are the right target, Isaacson explained, we’d still have a minimum of five to seven years before we would know if the same approach is helpful in humans.

Still, Dr. Daniel Franc, a neurologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, said that regardless of whether this exact finding can be successfully translated to humans, the results are still important.

“I would say that this is an incremental finding. It’s not revolutionary, but it does add further support to current ongoing approaches,” said Franc, adding that if anything, the research simply gives him hope that we are on the right path to finding a viable treatment. “I don’t think there has ever been a better time to think that we will have interventions for Alzheimer’s.”

FUCK YEAH, AMERICAN INGENUITY!

Song of the Day (4/16/2018)

We begin with a snippet from a Bloomberg article:

In memory of Back Page, which I must admit, I never actually visited until seized by the federalis, todays song of the day is Big Pimpin’ by Jay-Z. Candidly, the song sucks and the artist is even worse but I have to pay homage to pimpin in all its forms, even Pill Cosby’s unique angle on the pimp roll:

In other news, I came across the following sign which provides an appropriate shoutout to Arch Stanton and his recent guest post on edible Star Wars characters.

And finally, back to the basics of Musings and Malarkey. This blog was originally intended to be a shrine to two great American Superheroes: Ronald Reagan and John Wayne. During a recent visit to Bass Pro Shops, I perused the six shooters (author note: in reality, I’m still against firearms and the second amendment has been stretched too far) and found the following which are absolutely amazing. Considering buying one for my John Wayne shrine:

These firearms would be highly complementary to this mustache (two photos, same man):