Presenting the Distortions Unlimited Holiday Greeting Cards

Set of 10 limited edition Distortion Unlimited 5″ x 7″ Christmas cards. The set includes 5 designs, two cards of each design, featuring the Andromeda, Creeton, Krem, Silarian and Werejaguar masks. Holiday greetings by Ed and Marsha Edmunds, owners of Distortions Unlimited and stars of The Travel Channel’s Making Monsters. Cards come with set of envelopes.

Order them here while supplies last.

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Presenting the Distortions Unlimited Holiday Greeting Cards

AP Style Guide for the Alt-right

Just as the country grapple with what to make of the “alt-right,” the media, too, needs a defined approach to dealing with this group/movement. John Daniszewski, vice president of standards at the Associated Press, offers a style and usage guide:

“Alt-right” (quotation marks, hyphen and lower case) may be used in quotes or modified as in the “self-described” or “so-called alt-right” in stories discussing what the movement says about itself.

Avoid using the term generically and without definition, however, because it is not well known and the term may exist primarily as a public-relations device to make its supporters’ actual beliefs less clear and more acceptable to a broader audience. In the past we have called such beliefs racist, neo-Nazi or white supremacist.

He also laid out a succinct definition of the “alt-right”:

Again, whenever “alt-right” is used in a story, be sure to include a definition: “an offshoot of conservatism mixing racism, white nationalism and populism,” or, more simply, “a white nationalist movement.”

The “alt-right” has managed to ride Donald Trump to the highest political office, doing so almost under the radar. The media deserves some of the blame for this. But now it’s time to be sober about this group. Daniszewski, although directing his comments to his colleagues at the AP, spoke to all journalists and conscientious citizens:

Finally, when writing on extreme groups, be precise and provide evidence to support the characterization. 

We should not limit ourselves to letting such groups define themselves, and instead should report their actions, associations, history and positions to reveal their actual beliefs and philosophy, as well as how others see them.

AP Style Guide for the Alt-right

Remember the future

Although we perceive time linearly, theoretical physics treat it as a fluid dimension, a definable variable in the universe. Renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking mused about how tantalizing it was that we could not remember the future. Our feeble minds, of course, could only recall the past.
 
Kurt Vonnegut had some advice about the future. In his introduction to the 25th anniversary edition of Slaughterhouse-Five, Vonnegut wrote:
 
“Stephen Hawking… found it tantalizing that we could not remember the future. But remembering the future is child’s play for me now. I know what will become of my helpless, trusting babies because they are grown-ups now. I know how my closest friends will end up because so many of them are retired or dead now… To Stephen Hawking and all others younger than myself I say, ‘Be patient. Your future will come to you and lie down at your feet like a dog who knows and loves you no matter what you are.'”
Remember the future

The Trump Presidency was foreshadowed in 2011

Quite prescient, really. Luigi Zingales, a professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of business, saw a striking parallel between Donald Trump and Silvio Berlusconi, who was prime minister of Italy for nine years between 1994 to 2011. Now that the inconceivable has happened, Mr. Zingales offered lessons from the Berlusconi debacle.

Regarding the massive protests happening across the country:

“These protests are also counterproductive. There will be plenty of reasons to complain during the Trump presidency, when really awful decisions are made. Why complain now, when no decision has been made? It delegitimizes the future protests and exposes the bias of the opposition.”

There are sound ideas here and Democrats should pay attention.

The Trump Presidency was foreshadowed in 2011

Kate McKinnon’s polysemic cold opening on SNL

Kate McKinnon gave a somber performance of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” in character as Hillary Clinton in SNL’s cold opening this weekend. Cohen passed away at age 82 on November 7, a day before Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election to Donald Trump.

Kate McKinnon’s polysemic cold opening on SNL

Things Poll Apart

An excellent read about the breakdown of the polls from The Weekly Standard. Of the many polling institutions, only one group was accurate: The Trafalgar Group headed by Robert Cahaly. From the article:

Cahaly reasoned that since the media was demonizing and caricaturing Trump supporters, and Hillary Clinton was campaigning against them as a “basket of deplorables,” Trump supporters would be reluctant to admit their support to strangers. (The phenomenon of people not willing to report their support is well known in polling—when white voters don’t want to say they’re voting against a black candidate for fear of being judged, it’s called “the Bradley effect,” for L.A. mayor Tom Bradley, who lost California’s 1982 governor’s race despite consistently leading in the polls. A similar phenomenon in the U.K. is known as the “shy Tory” effect.)

To counter this perceived unwillingness to register support, Trafalgar started asking a new question. “When you ask them who their neighbor is voting for, they’re more comfortable,” he says. It appears to have worked pretty well this year.

Where do pollsters go from here? Even superstar Nate Silver, who is getting a lot of flack his misses in this election, has some work to do to correct mistakes.

Things Poll Apart

Margin of Error

The post-election autopsy is well underway. The obvious question, of course, is why was everyone so wrong about the eventual outcome? (Even some Trump advisors were skeptical he would win. So…) Specifically, why were the polls so wrong when almost every single poll had Hillary Clinton ahead 3-4 percentage points.

Consider that most polls have a margin of error of 2-3 percentage points. Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com contemplates a scenario where 2 percentage points shifts to Clinton’s favor. This would be the equivalent of 1 in 100 voter changing from Trump to Clinton. The result:

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It’s a very different electoral map.

When you consider that Hillary is winning the popular vote and, if current trends hold, should eventually end up winning 1 to 2 points, were the polls really that far off? Were they within the margin of error? Maybe. That margin of error, however, translates to a drastically different electoral landscape. History, thus, is created in the margins.

Margin of Error

Everyone was wrong except for those who weren’t

How did everyone get it so wrong? All the polls, experts, newspapers, insiders and academics thought Hillary Clinton was going to win comfortably. The unthinkable happened instead. Donald J. Trump will be the 45th President of the United States of America.

What went wrong? Were there really “shy” Trump voters? All the predictions based on demographics were badly judged. Clinton underperformed on all the main markers that were supposed to hand her victory, Latino voters and women, in particular.

Much will be debated, discussed, dissected and analyzed in the coming days and weeks about how this stunning outcome took place. A lot of soul searching for the Democrats certainly as the Republicans swept both the Senate and House. Questions will need to be addressed. Did the Liberal Left ignored working class white Americans? Do intellectual traditional media matter? Is Trump’s victory a referendum on the professional political class? Where does America go from here?

Some answers will unfold in the coming Trump term. New realities will form in the duration. A new outlook on the future needs to develop. How things turn out is anyone’s guess. What’s for certain is all this will be unchartered territory.

It’s late now and things will set in more fully in the morning. So lots more will be written soon.

Everyone was wrong except for those who weren’t

Lady Gaga schools people about pop culture & history

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At Hillary Clinton’s final campaign rally in North Carolina, Lady Gaga made an appearance in a striking costume that quickly became controversial as some people were (erroneously) calling it a Nazi uniform.

Quick to vilify, these people apparently didn’t know the true history of what she was wearing. So to educated them, Lady Gaga tweeted this:

 

Lady Gaga schools people about pop culture & history