'..If you can’t see this next crisis coming, you’re not paying the right kind of attention .. Financial politicians..' (no replies)        
'..If you can’t see this next crisis coming, you’re not paying the right kind of attention..'

'This Fed has already engineered the next crisis, just as Greenspan kept rates too low for too long, ignored his regulatory responsibility, and engineered the housing bubble and subprime crisis. If you can’t see this next crisis coming, you’re not paying the right kind of attention. The Trump Fed is going to have to deal with that crisis, but we still have many questions as to what a Trump Fed will actually look like or do.'

John Mauldin (Source, Jun 25, 2017)


'..Their empathy circuits get turned off.'

'Powerful people everywhere routinely make decisions that hurt others. We see it in central bankers, politicians, corporate CEOs, religious groups, universities – any large organization. The old saying is right: Power really does corrupt. And corruption is a barrier to sustainable economic growth. This is more than a political problem; it has a serious economic impact.

Recent psychological research suggests that powerful people behave remarkably like traumatic brain injury victims. Controlled experiments show that, given power over others, people often become impulsive and less sensitive to risk. Most important, test subjects often lose empathy, that is, the ability to understand and share the feelings of others.

..

Powerful people also lose a capacity called “mirroring.” When we observe other people doing something, our brains react as if we were doing the same thing. It’s why, when you watch a sporting event, you may unconsciously mimic a golf swing or the referee’s hand signals. Some portion of your brain thinks you are really there. But when researchers prime test subjects with powerful feelings, their mirroring capacity decreases.

You can see why this is a problem. The Protected-class members of the Federal Open Market Committee must feel quite powerful when they gather in that fancy room to make policy decisions. It’s no wonder they forget how their decisions will affect regular working-class people: Their empathy circuits get turned off.'

- Patrick Watson, The Wedge Goes Deeper, June 30, 2017


'..I now feel that it's highly likely we will face a major financial crisis, if not later this year, then by the end of 2018 at the latest..'

'Re-entering the news flow was a jolt, and not in a good way. Looking with fresh eyes at the economic numbers and central bankers’ statements convinced me that we will soon be in deep trouble. I now feel that it's highly likely we will face a major financial crisis, if not later this year, then by the end of 2018 at the latest. Just a few months ago, I thought we could avoid a crisis and muddle through. Now I think we’re past that point. The key decision-makers have (1) done nothing, (2) done the wrong thing, or (3) done the right thing too late.

Having realized this, I’m adjusting my research efforts. I believe a major crisis is coming. The questions now are, how severe will it be, and how will we get through it? With the election of President Trump and a Republican Congress, your naïve analyst was hopeful that we would get significant tax reform, in addition to reform of a healthcare system that is simply devastating to so many people and small businesses. I thought maybe we’d see this administration cutting through some bureaucratic red tape quickly. With such reforms in mind I was hopeful we could avoid a recession even if a crisis developed in China or Europe.

..

One news item I didn’t miss on St. Thomas – and rather wish I had – was Janet Yellen’s reassurance regarding the likelihood of another financial crisis. Here is the full quote.

Would I say there will never, ever be another financial crisis? You know probably that would be going too far, but I do think we’re much safer, and I hope that it will not be in our lifetimes and I don’t believe it will be. [emphasis added]

I disagree with almost every word in those two sentences, but my belief is less important than Chair Yellen’s. If she really believes this, then she is oblivious to major instabilities that still riddle the financial system. That’s not good.

..

Financial politicians (which is what central bankers really are) have a long history of saying the wrong things at the wrong time. Far worse, they simply fail to tell the truth. Former Eurogroup leader Jean-Claude Juncker admitted as much: “When it becomes serious, you have to lie,” he said in the throes of Europe’s 2011 debt crisis.'

- John Mauldin, Prepare for Turbulence, July 9, 2017


'..Market distortions – including valuations, deeply embedded complacency, and Trillions of perceived safe securities – have become only further detached from reality. And the longer all this unstable finance flows freely into the real economy, the deeper the structural maladjustment.'

'This week marks the five-year anniversary of Draghi’s “whatever it takes.” I remember the summer of 2012 as if it were yesterday. From the Bubble analysis perspective, it was a Critical Juncture – for financial markets and risk perceptions, for policy and for the global economy. Italian 10-year yields hit 6.60% on July 24, 2012. On that same day, Spain saw yields surge to 7.62%. Italian banks were in freefall, while European bank stocks (STOXX600) were rapidly approaching 2009 lows. Having risen above 55 in 2011, Deutsche Bank traded at 23.23 on July 25, 2012.

It was my view at the time that the “European” crisis posed a clear and immediate threat to the global financial system. A crisis of confidence in Italian debt (and Spanish and “periphery” debt) risked a crisis of confidence in European banks – and a loss of confidence in European finance risked dismantling the euro monetary regime.

Derivatives markets were in the crosshairs back in 2012. A crisis of confidence in European debt and the euro would surely have tested the derivatives marketplace to the limits. Moreover, with the big European banks having evolved into dominant players in derivatives trading (taking share from U.S. counterparts after the mortgage crisis), counter-party issues were at the brink of becoming a serious global market problem. It’s as well worth mentioning that European banks were major providers of finance for emerging markets.

From the global government finance Bubble perspective, Draghi’s “whatever it takes” was a seminal development. The Bernanke Fed employed QE measures during the 2008 financial crisis to accommodate deleveraging and stabilize dislocated markets. Mario Draghi leapfrogged (helicopter) Bernanke, turning to open-ended QE and other extreme measures to preserve euro monetary integration. No longer would QE be viewed as a temporary crisis management tool. And just completely disregard traditional monetary axiom that central banks should operate as lender of last resort in the event of temporary illiquidity – but must avoid propping up the insolvent. “Whatever it takes” advocates covert bailouts for whomever and whatever a small group of central bankers chooses – illiquid, insolvent, irredeemable or otherwise. Now five years after the first utterance of “whatever it takes,” the Draghi ECB is still pumping out enormous amounts of “money” on a monthly basis (buying sovereigns and corporates) with rates near zero.

..

Thinking back five years, U.S. markets at the time were incredibly complacent. The risk of crisis in Europe was downplayed: Policymakers had it all under control. Sometime later, the Financial Times - in a fascinating behind-the-scenes exposé - confirmed the gravity of the situation and how frazzled European leaders were at the brink of losing control. Yet central bankers, once again, saved the day – further solidifying their superhero status.

I’m convinced five years of “whatever it takes” took the global government finance Bubble deeper into perilous uncharted territory. Certainly, markets are more complacent than ever, believing central bankers are fully committed to prolonging indefinitely the securities bull market. Meanwhile, leverage, speculative excess and trend-following flows have had an additional five years to accumulate. Market distortions – including valuations, deeply embedded complacency, and Trillions of perceived safe securities – have become only further detached from reality. And the longer all this unstable finance flows freely into the real economy, the deeper the structural maladjustment.'

- Doug Noland, Five Years of Whatever It Takes, July 29, 2017


'..This whole episode is likely to end so badly that future children will learn about it in school and shake their heads in wonder at the rank stupidity of it all, just like many of us did when we learned about the Dutch Tulip mania.'

'While I've written about numerous valuation measures over time, the most reliable ones share a common feature: they focus on identifying "sufficient statistics" for the very, very long-term stream of cash flows that stocks can be expected to deliver into the hands of investors over time. On that front, revenues are typically more robust "sufficient statistics" than current or year-ahead earnings. See Exhaustion Gaps and the Fear of Missing Out for a table showing the relative reliability of a variety of measures. In April 2007, I estimated that an appropriate valuation for the S&P 500 stood about 850, roughly -40% lower than prevailing levels. By the October peak, the prospective market loss to normal valuation had increased to about -46%. As it happened, the subsequent collapse of the housing bubble took the S&P 500 about -55% lower. In late-October 2008, as the market plunge crossed below historically reliable valuation norms, I observed that the S&P 500 had become undervalued on our measures.

Again attempting to “stimulate” the economy from the recession that followed, the Federal Reserve cut short-term interest rates to zero in recent years, provoking yet another episode of yield-seeking speculation, where yield-starved investors created demand for virtually every class of securities, in the hope of achieving returns in excess of zero. Meanwhile, Wall Street, suffering from what J.K. Galbraith once called the “extreme brevity of the financial memory,” convinced itself yet again that the whole episode was built on something more solid than quotes on a screen and blotches of ink on paper..

..

..greater real economic activity was never the likely outcome of all this quantitative easing (indeed, one can show that the path of the economy since the crisis has not been materially different than what one could have projected using wholly non-monetary variables). Rather, Ben Bernanke, in his self-appointed role as Mad Hatter, was convinced that offensively hypervalued financial markets - that encourage the speculative misallocation of capital, imply dismal expected future returns, and create temporary paper profits that ultimately collapse - somehow represent a greater and more desirable form of “wealth” compared with reasonably-valued financial markets that offer attractive expected returns and help to soundly allocate capital. Believing that wealth is embodied by the price of a security rather than its future stream of cash flows, QE has created a world of hypervaluation, zero prospective future returns, and massive downside risks across nearly every conventional asset class.

And so, the Fed created such an enormous pool of zero interest bank reserves that investors would feel pressure to chase stocks, junk debt, anything to get rid of these yield-free hot potatoes. That didn’t stimulate more real, productive investment; it just created more investors who were frustrated with zero returns, because someone had to hold that base money, and in aggregate, all of them had to hold over $4 trillion of the stuff at every moment in time.

When you look objectively at what the Fed actually did, should be obvious how its actions encouraged this bubble. Every time someone would get rid of zero-interest base money by buying a riskier security, the seller would get the base money, and the cycle would continue until every asset was priced to deliver future returns near zero. We’re now at the point where junk yields are among the lowest in history, stock market valuations are so extreme that we estimate zero or negative S&P 500 average annual nominal total returns over the coming 10-12 year horizon, and our estimate of 12-year prospective total returns on a conventional mix of 60% stocks, 30% Treasury bonds, and 10% Treasury bills has never been lower (about 1% annually here). This whole episode is likely to end so badly that future children will learn about it in school and shake their heads in wonder at the rank stupidity of it all, just like many of us did when we learned about the Dutch Tulip mania.

Examine all risk exposures, consider your investment horizon and risk-tolerance carefully, commit to the flexibility toward greater market exposure at points where a material retreat in valuations is joined by early improvement in market action (even if the news happens to be very negative at that point), fasten your protective gear, and expect a little bit of whiplash. Remember that the “catalysts” often become evident after prices move, not before. The completion of this market cycle may or may not be immediate, but with the median stock at easily the most extreme price/revenue ratio in history, and a run-of-the-mill outcome now being market loss on the order of -60%, the contrast between recent stability and likely future volatility could hardly be more striking.'

- John P. Hussman, Ph.D., Hot Potatoes and Dutch Tulips, July 31, 2017


Context

(2017) - '..a deeply systemic debt crisis akin to the aftermath of 1929 .. the stage has now been set..'

(Banking Reform - Monetary Reform) - '..debt is our biggest security threat..'

'..the Next 30 Years: “Everything is Deflationary”..'

                  

Source: blog.brainztorm.com


          Selena Gomez Tears Up During Heartfelt Speech, Leighton Meester Covers A Rock Song, And More        
We did it! Happy Friday! Before your brain shifts into weekend mode, please enjoy these pop culture headlines. Selena Gomez delivers an emotional speech, the cast of Lost attempts to explain the complicated series in 30 seconds, and an upcoming Fox reality series tricks its competitors into thinking they could marry Prince Harry. Yikes. Those … Continue reading
          TV Finale Alert: What’ll You Watch?        
Happy Monday…hope you had an awesome weekend. First up, we’re sending all good wishes to rockstar (and reality star) Bret Michaels, who remains hospitalized in Los Angeles following a brain hemorrhage; his reps say he’s a fighter and we hope he’ll be back on his feet soon.  Happy birthday Carol Burnett, Tom Welling & Channing … Continue reading
          The Picture Book Dummy: Made Easy        
It's time to admit something: No matter HOW many times I've done it, no matter how MANY of them I have published, no matter HOW I repeatedly try to convince my brain that page 1 really starts on page 6, I often begin a picture book all wrong. Picture books, those lavishly colored, wildly intoxicating, altogether breathless mix of word and art, they follow a very specific format -- one necessitated by production techniques, cost considerations and, alas, literary tradition. Of course there are execptions to the rule, but when we talk about a "picture book" we're speaking of a "32-pager" (or depending on how liquored up your editor is) a "40-pager". Think of it this way: you as the artist only have to worry about 15 spreads, a title page image, a single page finale and, of course, the cover. When the book is finished you'll have to create some really snazzy endpapers (those sheets that hold the pages of the front and back cover to the book), but don't worry about that right now -- an idea from those will come later. So, now that you have written your picture book, your opus, your masterpiece that's gonna pull every kid in the country away from a 48" inch flat screen blasting 'Grand Theft Auto' into their eyeballs and deep into your story, you need to dummy the whole thing. Use this dummy. Print it, follow it, don't deviate from it -- just make your books follow the "15 spreads and a finale page" rule. It's as easy as that -- and you have NO idea how many times I've been off by a page or two. Oh, wait -- one more thing: Just because you adhere to the traditional dummy it doesn't mean that your book will actually get published. At the end of the day, that's kinda the toughest part. Start the easy way though -- with this.


          How Machine Learning Is Helping Neuroscientists Crack Our Neural Code        
A big challenge in neuroscience is understanding how the brain encodes information. Neural networks are turning out to be great code crackers.
          Side-Talk: FIX Cafe at Ah Hood Road        
Met up with my friends few weeks ago to take time off from studying. I suggested that we have dinner at FIX cafe. Have been eyeing this place ever since it got its halal certification. Their desserts look so photogenic on photos. However its location is a little out of the way from where we usually hangout. Suggested this place because the others do not have any better suggested, so we went….

We took a bus there and it took us almost an hour to reach but it was worth it. Got seated near the pool. It was not very crowded and the lighting of the cafe was good for photo taking. You have to the counter to order. I went to the counter to order but forget what my friends wanted to buy as soon as I was about to order haha. I bet the cashier thought I was weird. Went back to our table and asked my friends to come with to order haha. They also commented why I went to cashier without bringing my wallet -.- Scumbag brain.

Okay back to the food we ordered. We had Chicken Tikka Naanwich, Turkey Ham and Cheese Naanwich, Fish & Chips, Soy-glazed Chicken Drumlets and Strawberry Pistachio Rose Tart. For drinks we had ice-lemon tea, Iced Mocha and Iced Chocolate. The price came about $51 dollar, if I remembered correctly. And that is very reasonable.

Didn't manage to take lot of the photos of the food because we were all very hungry and could not wait to dig in. Here is my take on each of the item we had.





1) Chicken Tikka Naanwich (S$11)

This main comes with a cup of Nachos. The chicken tikka was nicely spiced and goes well with everything else. The portion of chicken was pretty generous. The only complain I have is that there was  too little cheese on the Nachos.

2) Turkey Ham and Cheese Naanwich (S$11)

Likewise this main comes with a cup of Nachos. I like the combination of everything. The oozing yolk completes the dish. The naan is not too hard and it is buttery. The turkey ham is good too, but felt that the slices were too little. It might look difficult to eat but you can just cut into sections and eat it. The ingredients complements each other well.

3) Fish & Chips (S$11)

The fish is quite plump. The inside is soft and the outside has just enough crust. I can actually taste the slight peppery taste to it. The fries is quite mediocre in my opinion.

4) Soy-glazed Chicken Drumlets ($7)

The skin of the Chicken has a nice crunch to it. However, the soy-glazed is kinda sweet for my liking. Maybe I should have squeezed more of the lemon slice that came with it.

5) Strawberry Pistachio Rose Tart ($6)



I was really to the tart visually. I also like how FIX presents their deserts, it looked quite luxurious. Some of the strawberries are sweet and some were not haha. We shared the dessert and my friend kept getting the sour ones haha. I like the pistachio base, because I like anything that is nutty. Anyway, my sister particularly like the combination of the pistachio base with the strong tasting strawberry jam. The sweetness is just right and it is a pretty light dessert.

Don't be deceived by how the mains look, they are pretty filling. Initially we all said that we are going to order more but we were extremely full and couldn't even finish the chicken. What I like about this cafe is that the prices are reasonable, a lot of halal cafes out there have ridiculously expensive food and they are not even good :/. Overall I will come back again. I really can't wait to taste their other desserts. The owner of FIX cafe is going to open another halal establishment called FIX grill. It is located just beside FIX cafe. Gonna give it a try after my exams. 

          The Punt: Monday April 3rd        
Sam Norris dissects the bets from the brain of Derek McGovern ahead of a full midweek fixture card in the Premier League.
          The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma        
The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma
author: Bessel A. van der Kolk
name: Marisa
average rating: 4.62
book published: 2014
rating: 0
read at:
date added: 2017/07/09
shelves: to-read
review:


          Scans may show brain changes in Gulf War illness        

Robert Ward, a 1991 Desert Storm vet who’s had Gulf War illness since his 1991 deployment.Robert Ward can't work full time and his constant fatigue makes running a distant memory. The Desert Storm veteran hopes a brain imaging study he took part in will start to shed light on why he and thousands of other Gulf War vets suffer such strange symptoms.



          Contact sports leave pattern of brain injuries        

Years of hits to the head in football or other contact sports lead to a distinct pattern of brain damage that begins with an athlete having trouble focusing and can eventually progress to aggression and dementia, a study released on Monday says.Years of hits to the head in football or other contact sports lead to a distinct pattern of brain damage that begins with an athlete having trouble focusing and can eventually progress to aggression and dementia, a study released on Monday says.



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411488
          Forty summers ago – July 5, 1977 – grand jury began hearing testimony, piercing, slightly, the ongoing Showalter hit-run cover-up in New London, CT        


Editor’s Note: The Showalter grand jury is noteworthy in that forces for justice – Judge Joseph Dannehy, Special Prosecutor Austin McGuigan and as many as 17 Connecticut State Police detectives – could only knock down some of the walls protecting New London Police, State’s Attorney C. Robert Satti, Asst. State’s Attorney Harold Dean, Judge Angelo Santaniello, former Mayor Harvey Mallove and others who escaped complete discovery. The cover-up continues to this day, highlighted by the suppression and disappearance of the grand jury transcripts.




The foundation for investigative reporting in this case was developed by John Peterson, who was managing editor of The Norwich Bulletin during the grand jury. The grand jury began hearing testimony on July 5, 1977
.








Special Prosecutor McGuigan became Chief State’s Attorney, then was fired after convicting appointees of the governor and many other public officials.

---
Chronology, Grand Juror Report, Follow-up Columns
Via
Law And Justice In Everyday Life, CT Law Tribune


F. Lee Bailey on Law and Justice in Everyday Life and the Showalter case:

This book - which is mainly about public officials, police, judges and lawyers either shaming or shining - is a good read. Many of the stories stand alone, like slices of life. Others will appear early in the book, with follow-up chapters later. The crown jewel, in my view, is his handling of the strange death of Kevin Showalter, who was slammed 50 feet down the road in New London, Connecticut on Christmas Eve 1973 while changing a tire on the traffic side of a parked car. For many years, Andy Thibault dogged a case which public officials seemed determined to let die, despite the presence of a likely suspect. He tells me his mentor, John Peterson, broke the case open and then handed over the torch. Joined by the victim's mother, Lucille, who revealed herself as a determined but delightful woman as the story unfolds, Andy beats up on police, prosecutors, judges and governors until finally there is action. Spurred on by an appointment hastened by Gov. Ella Grasso, Judge Joseph Dannehy conducted one of the most brilliant and thorough investigations I have ever seen. If this book were only about the Showalter case, it would be worth the price.

APPENDIX

THE SHOWALTER CHRONOLOGY – A FOUR YEAR SEARCH FOR JUSTICE


New London, Ct.

1973

December 24

Approximately 11:10 to 11:20 p.m. Kevin B. Showalter is killed. Car leaves scene. Only taillights observed by a neighbor.

There is much confusion. Mr. Showalter had been changing a tire on his companion’s car. His companion Debra Emilyta, was sitting about six feet away from the car on a stone wall.

Ms. Emilyta told police she heard a thud, but did not see the car which struck Mr. Showalter. She said she ran across the road, a well-lit section of Pequot Avenue near Plant Street, before seeing Mr. Showalter’s body.

Mr. Showalter’s body was thrown 22 feet from the believed point of impact, onto a sidewalk near a large tree. The police report prepared that night noted the deceased’s shoes were found 110 feet apart. Part of a leg bone was found 75 feet away.

Michael Buscetto of Mike’s Auto Body gives police body putty, apparently from the car which struck Mr. Showalter. The putty never made it to the police station. Det. Lt. Konstanty T. Bucko later denies its existence.

December 25

Autopsy performed. No trace of alcohol or drugs found. Cause of death listed as lacerated liver and broken neck.

In efforts to console Mrs. Showalter, friends, neighbors, witnesses and officials volunteer information about the accident. She quietly listens for about six weeks, taking it for granted that police are acting on the same information. December 26

New London police begin full-scale search for red car.

1974

February 6

FBI report describes paint particles on Mr. Showalter’s clothing as “racing green” or “forest green” used on 1968 Chrysler products.

February 7

Mrs. Showalter notes she had the impression local police were not actively pursuing the case. She began interviewing those persons who came to her voluntarily and made a written record of her findings.

During the next three weeks, Mrs. Showalter spends much of her time making telephone calls and knocking on doors. She and her youngest son Craig, then 14, visited a number of local auto dealers and garages. She said in most cases they were told police had not made any inquiries of them.

February 28

New London police conduct first interview with Harvey N. Mallove, the downtown merchant and former mayor and city councilor. Mallove stated he drove by Pequot Avenue near Plant Street shortly before 11:15 p.m. on Christmas Eve 1973. Seven people near the accident scene contradict what he said he saw.

April 20

Mrs. Showalter writes to State’s Atty. Edmund J. O’Brien, requesting a one-man grand jury investigation into her son’s death. O’Brien never responds.

On the same day, Atty. Thomas Bishop, representing Mrs. Showalter as the administratix of Mr. Showalter’s estate, asks Atty. Joseph Moukawsher to conduct a coroner’s inquest of the hit-run death.

April 23

Moukawsher agrees to conduct inquest but must confer with New London police before setting date.

June 4

Mrs. Showalter writes to New London Police Chief John J. Crowley, asking for a progress report on the investigation by his force. Crowley neither acknowledges receipt of letter nor responds. Copies of letter were sent to City Manager C. Francis Driscoll, and Abraham Kirshenbaum, then chairman of the City Council’s Public Safety Committee.

June 10

Mrs. Showalter asks Superior Court Judge Angelo Santaniello to call for a grand jury investigation.

June 24

Santaniello notes Moukawsher has agreed to conduct coroner’s inquest. He tells Mrs. Showalter, “If it appears that during any stage of this proceeding that any further intercession is necessary, appropriate action will be taken at that time.”

July 2

Mrs. Showalter writes to City Manager C. Francis Driscoll, asking for a report from his office assessing the police department’s handling of the case. She also asks for a reply to her June 4 letter to Police Chief Crowley.

July 9

Driscoll tells Crowley to prepare a complete report for Mrs. Showalter.

July 10

Bucko completes report on fatal accident.

July 25

Driscoll sends Mrs. Showalter Bucko’s report. The report said Mr. Showalter’s body was in the road, but the ambulance crew which took Mr. Showalter to Lawrence Memorial Hospital said they found him on the sidewalk several feet away. No police officer ever saw the body at the scene since the first officer arrived as the body was being placed in the ambulance.

Bucko says paint particles from a 1968 Plymouth at the U.S. Naval Submarine Base in Groton are similar to those found on Mr. Showalter’s clothing, but the same paint is used on any 1968 Chrysler product.

Bucko also says a piece of metal Mrs. Showalter found near the accident scene is in the detective bureau. When Mrs. Showalter first offered the metal to police, they refused to sign a receipt for it.

August 6

Mrs. Showalter writes to Driscoll regarding Bucko’s report. She lists six pages of comments on allegedly “serious omissions” and “strictly opinion judgments” by Bucko.

Mrs. Showalter also writes to Chief State’s Atty. Joseph Gormley, asking him to send a representative to the coroner’s inquest. She includes copies of correspondence with local officials and Bucko’s report.

August 9

Mrs. Showalter requests a meeting with the City Council’s Public Safety Committee.

August 15

Bucko updates report, at request of city manager Driscoll.

Bucko said of the body location, “the position he (Mr. Showalter) was found in at the scene of the accident, in my opinion, would not help in solving this matter.” Erroneous on the report is the position of the car jack which is shown on the front bumper. The car Mr. Showalter was working on, a Ford Pinto, had to be jacked from the side of the vehicle.

Omitted from the report is the location of a car mat seen to the rear of the car and the spare tire Mr. Showalter never got to put on the car.

August 20

Gormley writes to Mrs. Showalter, telling her the local police investigation “has proceeded smoothly,” and there is “no reason for this office to initiate its own investigation.”

August 28

The Public Safety Committee of the New London City Council meets in closed session for one hour to discuss the hit-run death. Chief Crowley requested the closed session. He said there is evidence that could jeopardize future action.

Mrs. Showalter submitted a 12-page statement for the meeting, but did not attend.

Crowley said the case is not closed and it appears an arrest may be made.

August 31

Mallove submits official statement to New London police.

November, 1974

After being postponed several times, the coroner’s inquest hears testimony from 50 persons. No findings issued.

1975

January 24

A state police detective participating in the federal grand jury probe of the city police department has told one of its patrolmen they identified the driver of the car which struck and killed Mr. Showalter on Christmas Eve, 1973.

“We know who killed the Showalter kid, how come you don’t?” the detective was quoted in The Norwich Bulletin as saying.

March 19-22

The Bulletin, in a four-part series, shows:

- Eyewitnesses and what New London police called “near witnesses” drastically differed in their accounts of the accident.

- Microscopic paint particles found on Mr. Showalter’s clothing on which police based their search may not have been left by the vehicle which struck him.

- Evidence entrusted to police officers at the scene has never been seen since.

- A claim by police that it would cost as much as $1,200 to trace vehicles possible involved in the mishap was declared false by the state Motor Vehicle Department.

The Bulletin, when preparing the series of articles, made repeated efforts to discuss the case with police officials but Lt. K.T. Bucko, who headed the case, on the advice of then Police Chief John Crowley, would not.

April 3 State police conduct an extensive door-to-door inquiry in the Pequot Avenue region. State police have been looking into the case as part of a federal grand jury investigation into alleged corruption within the city force.

July 12

The state of Connecticut offers a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the hit-run death of Mr. Showalter. A total of $3,000 is now being offered. Classmates and friends of Mr. Showalter’s have already collected $1,000.

July 21

A community effort by friends and classmates raises the reward to $5,000.

November 8

The transcript of the coroner’s inquest of the hit-run death conducted nearly a year ago has yet to be typed, Coroner Joseph Moukawsher confirms. He said he wants to review the transcript even though he believes his six-day long inquest did not establish any guilt in the case. He said he has not spoken with the court reporter assigned to the case since the early summer.

December 10

Mrs. Showalter writes to State’s Atty. C. Robert Satti, requesting a one-man grand jury investigation. No response.

1976

January 6

Satti refuses to confirm or deny the existence of Mrs. Showalter’s request. Mrs. Showalter has also asked Satti’s office to ascertain the location of recorded tapes made during the coroner’s inquest.

January 9

Mrs. Showalter sends a special delivery letter to Satti asking for a response to the December 10 request. No response.

February 19

In a feature article, also carried statewide by the Associated Press, The Bulletin profiles Mrs. Showalter on page one.

Some public officials regard her as a persistent nuisance, someone to be ignored and sidestepped, but Mrs. Lucille M. Showalter will not breathe easily until they tell her who killed her son, Bulletin reporter Fred Vollono wrote.

“The official comment seems to be there is nothing to it,” Mrs. Showalter said. “It is just the ramblings of a grief-stricken mother. But there are many people who urge me to go on. They say, ‘Lucille, if you stop, then nothing will ever be done.’”

February 23

Mrs. Showalter receives a letter of confession from an inmate at Somers state prison. The inmate said he was plagued by news accounts of the death. Every time he seems to forget the accident, the inmate said, he reads another news story.

April 2

Mrs. Showalter submits a third written request to Satti for a grand-jury probe. No response.

May 6

Common Pleas court Prosecutor Harold Dean quashes the only lead in the two and a half year old investigation, The Norwich Bulletin reports. The lead was the letter of confession written by the inmate at Somers Prison. State police arrested the inmate for harassment of the victim’s mother, Mrs. Showalter, to whom the letter was sent. Dean nolled the case and allowed it to be dismissed despite a prior meeting with state police when the significance of the arrest was discussed.

State police did not believe the letter writer was responsible for the hit-run death, but they thought the letter contained possibly significant information. Dean said he was certain the accused had no knowledge of the case, because he was incarcerated when Mr. Showalter was killed.

August 7 The day following the Bulletin’s report of Dean quashing the lead, Chief State’s Atty. Joseph Gormley says he had “no idea” why the lead “which very well could have led to something,” resulted in a dead end. Two state police officers had met with Gormley to discuss the letter of confession.

August 6

State police list the investigation into the killing of Mr. Showalter as “closed pending further development.” That classification came 31 days after Dean threw the harassment case out of court.

August 30

Mrs. Showalter again asks Superior Court Judge Angelo Santaniello to call for a one-man grand jury probe.

September 1

Mrs. Showalter publicly renews her efforts to have a one-man grand jury reopen the investigation into the hit-run killing of her son. In a statement sent to 22 media outlets, Mrs. Showalter says she made the appeal in an August 30 letter to Superior Court Judge Angelo Santaniello. She says she was asking the judge to “make good on a promise” he made to her in June 1974. Santaniello wrote in a June 24, 1974 letter, Superior Court intercession would be possible if the investigation required it.

Santaniello said, “probably the proper person” to approach would be State’s Atty. C. Robert Satti. But Mrs. Showalter said she is ignoring Satti because he failed to respond to her December 1975 letter asking for the grand jury.

September 23

State’s Atty. C. Robert Satti says he needs another three weeks to review information on the killing of Mr. Showalter before deciding whether the investigation should be reopened or shelved.

Satti says he had hoped to have the matter resolved by today, but the sinking of his 35-foot cabin cruiser two weeks ago, an unexpected report of crimes by New London police, and a new trial forced him behind schedule.

November 23

Mrs. Showalter turns to Governor Ella T. Grasso for help.

“I cannot endure this loss of a beloved son in the midst of a governmental system that appears to neither act nor care,” Mrs. Showalter says in a letter to the governor.

Mrs. Showalter says she is skeptical the New London County State’s Attorney’s review of the case will result in the one-man grand jury she has requested. Satti today said he is still reviewing transcripts of the Coroner’s Inquest and refused further comment.

December 21

Just three days before the third anniversary of the killing of Kevin B. Showalter, the state’s chief court administrator orders the city’s only unsolved hit-and-run case reopened.

John P. Cotter signs an order creating a one-man jury to probe the death, renewing hopes that allegations of police bungling and mishandling of the case will be settled.

“I can’t yet believe it,” says Mrs. Showalter, calling the action a “literal miracle.”

Cotter, a justice on the state Supreme Court, selects retired Superior Court Judge Raymond J. Devlin to head the one-man grand jury.

An attorney representing Mrs. Lucille M. Showalter also files a $600,000 lawsuit against the unnamed person(s) responsible for the killing of her son. Atty. Averum J. Sprecher of East Haddam says the suit is aimed at protecting Mrs. Showalter’s rights.

“The action as I have filed it will definitively preserve her rights when the investigative bodies finally determine who killed the boy,” he said. The suit is aimed at heading off fears the state’s statute of limitations might preclude Mrs. Showalter from pursuing civil action if the killer is found.

December 24

Superior Court Judge Joseph F. Dannehy is ordered to replace State Referee Raymond J. Devlin as the one-man grand juror investigating Mr. Showalter’s death. Chief Court Administrator John P. Cotter says Judge Devlin had asked to be taken off the case because he was too busy with other duties, and would be unable to commute from his New Haven office.

1977

January 4

Austin J. McGuigan, the special prosecutor assigned to the one-man grand jury probing the hit-run death of Mr. Showalter promises to pull “all the stops” in his investigation but says he needs help from the public to succeed.

McGuigan has worked for the state for two years as the top investigator of organized crime. He appeals to anyone with information to call him confidentially.

February 8

State Police Commissioner Edward P. Leonard, as part of a last-resort effort, makes a personal appeal to area residents for information about the killing of Mr. Showalter. In a letter to the people who live near the Pequot Avenue site where Mr. Showalter died, Leonard asks for facts – “No matter how insignificant they may appear” – which might shed light on the car, the driver or the accident scene.

Special Prosecutor McGuigan says police “had no suspects.” However, he says if a suspect is found police believe there is sufficient evidence to tie the person to the case.

April 18

Investigators say they feel confident the Showalter case will be solved.

The new optimism comes after a public appeal netted more than 300 leads, new laboratory analysis of existing evidence, and an accounting of each of the more than 10,000 green Chrysler products registered in Eastern Connecticut when Mr. Showalter was killed.

The new evidence means “there is a significant possibility the vehicle in question was not a green Chrysler,” Special Prosecutor Austin McGuigan says. While the investigators will not say what other color the car might have been, the evidence apparently opens new avenues for the investigation. Previously, other theories on who drove the death car, theories which have had some substantiation, were locked into the green Chrysler theory, police acknowledge.

May 10

State police investigators spend two and a half hours recreating and filming the Pequot Avenue death scene where Mr. Showalter was the victim of the hit and run.

May 18

State police again film and re-create death scene.

June 22

The Bulletin reports that one of the most intensive investigations in state police history, the probe into Mr. Showalter’s hit-run death, will be given to a one-man grand jury July 5 in Windham county Superior Court.

Judge Joseph F. Dannehy, the grand juror, imposes a gag order on all investigators assigned to the case. Special Prosecutor McGuigan and 17 state police detectives had gathered evidence for the grand jury.

June 23

More than 50 persons will be subpoenaed and the scope of the probe will be expanded to include subsequent actions connected with the accident, The Bulletin reports.

June 24

Eleven New London police officers, including the top detective involved in the first of three investigations of the hit-run death, have been subpoenaed, The Bulletin reports.

July 5

The grand jury begins behind closed doors with testimony by New London Det. Lt. Konstanty T. Bucko.

Outside, a television camera crew drips with sweat under the glare of a hot summer sun.

Inside it is quiet and cool – almost like any other day. The state police detectives and reporters talk about golf, baseball and other summertime activities. Because of the gag order imposed by Judge Dannehy, they can’t talk about what is most on their minds, what has brought them all together – the unsolved hit-run death of Kevin B. Showalter.

The session lasts about five hours and also includes testimony by Mrs. Showalter and Debra Emilyta, Mr. Showalter’s companion the night he died.

Ms. Emilyta has been sitting on a wall about 6 feet from Mr. Showalter when he was killed. She told police she only heard the 20-year-old Mitchell College student struck, and did not see the car which struck him.

July 6

Witnesses include Michael Buscetto of Mike’s Arco in New London. What he identified as body putty, apparently from the car that struck and killed Mr. Showalter, has never been seen since police officers placed it in an envelope that night, according to sources.

Ms. Emilyta concludes testimony.

Also testifying are Dr. Robert Weller, members of his family, and a friend, who while returning home from church drove past Mr. Showalter as he was changing the tire. They were among the last persons to see Mr. Showalter alive.

Other witnesses include Mrs. Ruth P. Hendel and Mrs. Charles (Shirley Pope) Alloway, her daughter.

On Christmas Eve, 1973, Mrs. Hendel had just turned away from the window of her home on Pequot Avenue where she had been watching Mr. Showalter work on the Emilyta car. She heard the noise of the car striking Mr. Showalter and turning back quickly she caught a glimpse of the taillights. Her first impression of the fleeing southbound car was that it was bright-colored, possibly red.

Mrs. Hendel continued to watch the accident scene as she telephoned Mrs. Alloway, the wife of a New London police officer.

Arthur Adams of New London, a Mitchell College security guard and former state policeman, also testifies. Aside from Ms. Emilyta and the hit-run driver, Adams may have been one of the last persons to see Mr. Showalter alive.

Adams saw Mr. Showalter working on the car and Ms. Emilyta sitting on the stone wall, swinging her legs. He observed the girl with a coat collar wrapped around her head, in conversation with Mr. Showalter, after the Weller party had driven by.

Adams continued on his rounds towards the Montauk Avenue side of the campus. Sometime after 11 p.m., he saw an ambulance heading for the hospital and two police cars heading down Plant Street.

July 7

Some of the last persons who saw Mr. Showalter alive and one of the first who saw him dead testify.

Six members of the Sitty family, who were celebrating Christmas Eve and occasionally watching Mr. Showalter change a tire from inside a house on Pequot Avenue, tell the grand jury what they knew about the case, Edmond Sitty had brought out a blanket and a corduroy coat to put over Mr. Showalter’s body after he had been struck and killed.

A New London High School classmate of Mr. Showalter, Arthur Petrini, was a passenger in a car that passed the accident scene sometime after Mr. Showalter was killed and before the ambulance and police arrived. He also testified.

July 12

Witnesses included two firemen and a dispatcher, two nurses and an orderly, the New London County Medical Examiner, the first man to officially identify Mr. Showalter, and a woman who lives near the accident scene.

Larry Grimes, a security guard who knew Mr. Showalter from Mitchell College, had made the preliminary identification at Lawrence and Memorial Hospitals, where he also worked. Mrs. Dorothy Bryson of Pequot Avenue, who came upon the accident scene, also testifies.

July 13

New London police officers pack the waiting room of the Windham County Courthouse. Of the 11 who were subpoenaed last month, at least seven are present.

The 11 include Patrolmen Vincent McGrath, Steven Colonis, Thomas P. Bowes Jr., and Cpl. Joseph Chiapponne, all of whom were involved in the initial investigation. With the change of shift, Sgt. Joseph Jullarine, Patrolmen Richard West and Glenn Davis and Det. Sgt. Konstanty T. Bucko joined the probe. Bucko was off duty at the time.

McGrath filed the motor vehicle report of the accident and the sketch on the report was by Bowes. Bucko took photographs of the scene and gathered evidence. His photographs may be the only ones taken. Bucko also went to the hospital and got the victim’s clothing, according to sources.

Colonis, the first officer on the scene, apparently arrived as Mr. Showalter was being placed in the ambulance. He interviewed Ms. Emilyta and took her to the station to file a 13-sentence statement.

There is some confusion of whether Colonis drove an unmarked police car that night. Sources say police made conflicting statements on that question.

July 14

Thomas Wainwright, who played tennis with Kevin Showalter at New London High, saw his lifeless body on a sidewalk on Pequot Avenue before an ambulance or police arrived, and is among those testifying today. Arthur Petrini, who testified last week, was a passenger in Wainwright’s car.

Mr. and Mrs. Donald Wainwright, who were stopped by police after circling the scene in another auto, also testify.

At least seven New London police officers are at the courthouse, but it is not known how many are testifying.

July 19

The grand jury shifts beyond reconstructions by “near witnesses,” as Sgt. Joseph Jullarine, now retired, testifies. He was the squad leader who reportedly conducted “an intensive investigation” for a red car during the 11:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. shift on Christmas Day 1973.

July 20

The grand jury investigators spend much of the day alone reviewing physical evidence and testimony. Only three witnesses – New London police who have already appeared during the proceedings – are present.

July 21

Det. Bucko appears for at least the fourth time in the nine days the grand jury has convened. The session begins at 10 a.m. and ends about 5:45 p.m., with his departure.

A nurse’s aide who knelt by Mr. Showalter’s body, feeling for a pulse, also testifies, Sue Costello, who heard the report of an accident as she was leaving Lawrence and Memorial Hospitals in New London from her shift, had arrived on the scene before ambulance personnel and police.

July 26

The scope of the grand jury probe goes beyond Mr. Showlater’s death and runs smack into a crucial area of dispute with the appearance of New London police detective Walter Petchark.

On Christmas Day 1973, with evidence already missing and news of Mr. Showalter’s death on the radio, Petchark reportedly received a call from former mayor Harvey N. Mallove. Mallove later told The Bulletin there was no truth to the report. But he allegedly told Petchark he thought he saw the accident the night before.

Three city police detectives – Bucko, Petchark, and Carmello Fazzina – were present at the inquiry. They were followed by laboratory technicians from the FBI, who lent their expertise in the analysis of headlight glass possibly belonging to the death vehicle.

July 27

The former counsel for the estate of Mr. Showalter testifies. Atty. Thomas Bishop confirms his representation of the estate was severed in June 1974.

Thomas and Donald Wainwright return for further testimony.

July 28

Witnesses include Mrs. S.F. Zimet of Ledyard. Mallove said he was visiting at her home on Christmas Eve 1973, left about 10:45 p.m., and was home in New London about half an hour later.

Mrs. Zimet is accompanied by her attorney, L. Patrick Gray. Gray, like Bishop, is a member of the New London law firm Suissman, Shapiro, Wool, and Brennan.

Other witnesses include New London city Manager C. Francis Driscoll and Elise Mallove, Mallove’s daughter. Miss Mallove was home for her Christmas vacation in 1973.

The grand jury begins a four-week recess. More than 50 persons were called during the first 12 days of the inquiry.

August 30

New London police investigators and a newspaper editor who has followed their unsolved hit-run death case for three years are among the witnesses.

Retired Police Chief John Crowley and Det. Lt. K.T. Bucko, who refused repeated pleas by The Bulletin in March of 1975 to discuss the death of Kevin B. Showalter, gives testimony – as did the paper’s managing editor, John C. Peterson.

Peterson testifies for three hours.

August 31

The attorney who conducted a coroner’s inquest into Mr. Showalter’s death, the results of which have never met public scrutiny, is the first witness today. Atty. Joseph Moukwasher, who heard testimony from 50 witnesses during six days in September and November of 1974, is one of the few persons familiar with the substance of that investigation.

It took more than two years for the transcripts of the hearings to be typed and submitted to State’s Atty. C. Robert Satti.

State Police Sgt. Donald Crouch, who in 1974 and 1975 worked for the federal grand jury investigating alleged corruption in the New London force, also testifies. Other witnesses included Rosemary Benson and Carol James.

September 1

Physical exhibits appear to outnumber witnesses in the 15th day of proceedings. Two state police technicians from the crime lab in Bethany carry satchels concealing evidence into the closed courtroom. One exhibit is a light colored automobile fender, which was dented and streaked.

September 2

Det. Edward Pickett of the New London County State’s Attorney’s office, who helped administer a lie detector test to Ms. Emilyta, testifies. Ms. Emilyta passed the test.

Another detective, private investigator Joe Harris, is also called. A former Waterford police sergeant, he worked on the case for a brief time, on his own.

Other witnesses in a short session include State Police Sgt. Charles Trotter, a principal investigator in the federal grand jury probe of the New London city police.

September 12

Two persons who saw Mr. Showalter on Christmas Eve 1973, hours before he was killed testify.

Ramona Ricci, a coworker of Mr. Showalter’s at a Waterford discotheque, attended one of two parties Mr. Showalter had planned to go to after work that night. Nancy Wicksham, who also testified, had joined friends that holiday evening at the club.

September 18

Mallove says his status as a suspect in the case is “nothing new.” During testimony in a New Jersey courtroom, Connecticut State Police revealed Mallove is a prime suspect in the hit-run case. The testimony concerned refusal by two New Jersey men to comply with a subpoena issued by the one-man grand jury. Trooper Charles Wargat also testified he was told the two men repaired Mallove’s car on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day 1973.

Mallove tells The Bulletin he did not know the men and never had a car repaired at their shop on Reed Street in New London. He says he didn’t kill Mr. Showalter and doesn’t know anything about anybody who did.

September 19

One of the two men who testified with immunity today has said in a published account he has no knowledge of the case and denied any car was repaired in his New London shop on Christmas Eve 1973.

Walter String Jr. made those comments in the New Jersey Courier Post. He and his son, Walter String III, had been ordered to appear today by a New Jersey judge, after refusing to comply with a subpoena.

Among the dozen or so witnesses are New London city police Sgt. Donald Sloan and Cpl. Charles Alloway. They took the first full statement from Ms. Emilyta, five days after the accident.

September 26

Darlene Barnes, a friend of Mr. Showalter who patronized the Waterford discotheque where he worked, is among the witnesses today. Ms. Barnes was also one of the 50 witnesses during the coroner’s inquest of 1974.

October 3

Larry Grimes testifies again. The Mitchell College security guard who made the first identification of Mr. Showalter at Lawrence and Memorial Hospitals, was also at the courthouse on July 12, and Sept. 26.

The grand jury will be in recess until October 17. It has convened 20 times since July 5 and heard about 90 witnesses.

October 11

Judge Dannehy says published reports that Mallove is a prime suspect in the case “couldn’t bother me in the least.”

“They (the newspapers) are free to speculate if they wish,” Dannehy says. “I am not concerned with their claimed right to freedom of expression.

I think that sometimes their attitude is to publish and be damned, but they don’t bother me.”

“Why don’t you wait” for the grand jury report? Dannehy asked.

October 17

The sales manager of a New London auto firm who said he has sold a number of cars to the family of a suspect in the hit-run case testifies.

In 1970, Peter Emmanuel Sr. of New London Motors sold a Lincoln Continental to Harvey N. Mallove, whom state police have identified as a suspect in the Christmas Eve, 1973 death. A compact car was among the other autos the New London firm sold to Mallove.

State police were looking for a green Chrysler product when they first questioned New London motors personnel, Emmanuel said before he testified. But the firm didn’t sell Mallove such a vehicle, which police had believed was the death car, he added.

October 24

The grand jury does not convene today because the investigators were not ready to proceed, Judge Dannehy said. He said he plans to conduct several more sessions before adjourning to write the final report, but did not specify.

November 14

The grand jury meets for its first regular session since October 17 and hears one witness. The witness, Gary Jordan of New London, said he was dating Elise Mallove on Christmas Eve 1973.

Sources say the grand jury conducted at least one special session since October 17, but it was not known who testified.

November 21

State police continue working long and irregular hours probing Mr. Showalter’s death as they re-create the hit-run scene on Pequot Avenue near Plant Street for at least the third time.

November 29

The man whom state police have said they consider a prime suspect in New London’s only unsolved hit-run death has his day in court.

Harvey N. Mallove testifies for about four hours before the secret grand jury probing Mr. Showalter’s death. Atty. Leo J. McNamara accompanies Mallove to the Windham County Courthouse.

Mallove says he was one of a number of persons who drove by the accident scene shortly before or after Mr. Showalter was killed. But a four-part series by The Bulletin in March of 1975 showed Mallove saw a scene that seven other persons said could not have taken place.

Mallove passed the accident scene within a minute or two after an ambulance call was logged. His statement to New London police – dated eight months later – conflicts with accounts of seven persons at the scene or looking out their windows seconds after Mr. Showalter was struck.

Mr. Showalter was struck by a car as he changed a tire on a friend’s parked Ford Pinto, on a well-lit section of Pequot Avenue near Plant Street.

In his statement, Mallove said he saw an automobile parked at an angle in front of the Pinto. None of the seven persons saw any car stopped at the scene immediately after the victim was hit according to the July 10, 1974 report by New London Det. Lt. Konstanty T. Bucko.

Mallove’s vivid description of a middle-aged man talking with a girl near the car also conflicts with statements by the seven persons.

In his statement, Mallove said he assumed the man was a member of the police department. But Bucko claims in the July 10 report that Mallove told him the talking to the girl was “NOT” a policeman.

Bucko’s report also claims Mallove learned on Christmas Day 1974 that “a man had been killed and he remarked to some people that he saw the body.” But Bucko continued to report that after Mallove viewed photographs of the scene he realized what he mistook for a body was a floor mat. In his statement, Mallove said he saw a “flat object which I assumed was a blanket or a mat.”

In his August 31, 1974 statement, Mallove said, “Seeing no trouble, accident, or any evidence of anything out of place…I continued on my way home.”

In the July 10, 1974 report, Bucko claims; “Mr. Mallove stated he was going to stop because he realized there had been an accident.”

Mallove has told The Bulletin that Bucko misquoted him.

December 7

The calling of witnesses ends with Mallove’s second appearance.

The proceedings included a film screening, apparently of the death scene as re-created by state police.

After the 35 minute screening, Special Prosecutor McGuigan and Judge Dannehy questioned Mallove for about 40 minutes. That was the bulk of the afternoon session.

The question of whether indictments should be handed down in New London’s only unsolved hit-run death now rests with Judge Dannehy.

After 24 sessions and more than 100 witnesses, Dannehy said the next step for the grand jury is the final report on who killed Kevin B. Saltwater.

1978

Feb. 17 Report filed.

Feb. 22

Report made public.

  • THE DANNEHY REPORT


  • SHOWALTER COVERUP COLUMNS

    Chapter 1

    Law and Justice in Everyday Life

    Cover-Up In New London

    Hit-And-Run Continues To Mock Justice


    Sept. 4, 2000

    If Connecticut Chief State’s Attorney John Bailey wants to bring closure to cold cases, here’s one from New London that should top the list: The Showalter hit-and-run cover-up is a dark chapter in Connecticut history, a tale more appropriate for a Third World country.

    And yet, only one thing bothers former New London County State’s Attorney C. Robert Satti about the Showalter case: that it was investigated at all.

    Satti, now retired, made the point again and again, most recently this year. Satti’s complaint, made during the wake of the late state police Detective George Ryalls, was that Ryalls’ obituary mentioned the suspect the prosecutor refused to pursue in the Showalter probe.

    Kevin B. Showalter, a 20-year-old Mitchell College student, was killed at 11:12 p.m. on Christmas Eve 1973. He was changing a tire on a well-lit section of Pequot Avenue on the New London shoreline when he was struck and killed. His girlfriend, sitting only 6 feet away on a stone wall, claims she saw nothing.

    Auto body putty from the death car disappeared after a tow truck driver gave it to New London police. The evidence file that was supposed to contain the putty was stuffed with bathroom tiles. The file that was supposed to contain headlight glass from the death car instead contained glass from three different headlights. State police and others suspected that, in order to throw legitimate investigators off the trail, the late young man's clothing was pounded on a different-colored car than the one that killed him.

    The victim's mother, Lucille M. Showalter, tried to get a grand jury investigation of the cover-up. She was rebuffed repeatedly by the presiding judge, Angelo Santaniello who, it later became clear, was best friends with the leading suspect. Santaniello then referred Showalter to prosecutor Satti, who happened to be his former law partner. Satti refused to acknowledge registered letters from Mrs. Showalter pleading for a grand jury probe.

    Satti did finally meet with Mrs. Showalter in 1978, after Judge Joseph Dannehy of Willimantic, acting as a one-man grand jury, named former New London Mayor Harvey N. Mallove as the probable driver of the hit-run vehicle. Satti called the three-hour meeting, in which he repeatedly told Mrs. Showalter that there never should have been a grand jury investigation under Dannehy.

    Mallove held a good hand; he had the best legal muscle in New London County on his side. New London police would not question him for more than seven months, and then only in a perfunctory manner. They would say they inspected his cars, but they did not. Significantly, Mallove’s Lincoln had been repaired, but it wasn’t until state police took over the case four years after the accident that the fender was finally seized.

    Santaniello would arrange for a coroner’s inquest and put his niece in charge of typing the transcript. Only after two years of intense public pressure would the transcript be typed. But the inquest never issued a finding.

    Santaniello tipped off Mallove that he was a suspect. The judge was also aware of what local police knew about the case. Mrs. Showalter memorialized the admissions in tape-recorded telephone conversations.

    “I did talk to Harvey,” Santaniello told Mrs. Showalter on Oct. 17, 1975, “and I said, `You’re suspected.’ As a matter of fact, at that time a police officer came to him on the same day or the next day, and told him you were making accusations about him and that he was a prime suspect.” The day before, Mallove told Mrs. Showalter, “Judge Santaniello is of the opinion that you fingered me.”

    It was not until 1977 that state police, who took over the case at the behest of former Gov. Ella Grasso, formally named Mallove a suspect. Next week, I'll propose a means to solve the Showalter cover-up.

    Showalter Cover-Up Is New London's Shame

    Sept. 11, 2000

    New London, where I grew up and began working in the 1960s and ‘70s, was a dirty little city with character.

    It had a restaurant called the Hygienic that was everything but. There were at least a couple bars where the cops couldn't do anything, except maybe a little business.

    The top pimp in town never went to jail until he was about 60 and a certain court official retired.

    New London will always be the city that tried to cover up the Christmas Eve 1973 hit-and-run death of Kevin B. Showalter. It's been doing a pretty good job for nearly 27 years, but the onion is beginning to peel.

    The local daily newspaper admitted -- in its official history published this year -- that it did a shoddy job on the Showalter case. Specifically, The Day admitted its failure to explore the relationship between a former mayor and a top judge, and their influence on the course of the criminal investigation. That’s a beginning.

    Political and police corruption goes back a couple generations in New London. By the 1970s, New London police were widely known to be involved in the selling of women, dope and refrigerators, among other things. A federal grand jury took note. But as with the Showalter case, there were these little problems with the evidence.

    A jewelry store owner and former city mayor multi-millionaire Harvey Mallove was the prime suspect in the hit-and-run death of Showalter, a student at Mitchell College. Showalter’s date that night, Christmas Eve 1973, said she saw nothing from her vantage point six feet away, sitting on a stone wall under a streetlight on a residential street as a young man changed the tire of her car.

    Harvey was everybody’s pal. He would take kids to the Super Bowl, then, down the road, get them jobs as cops. He was friends with bums in the street and bums in high political office. He was wired. The standing joke among reporters became: Harvey's a great guy to have a beer with, just don't change your tire if he's driving by.

    “I didn't kill the kid in any way, shape or form,” Harvey told me many times. As mayor, Harvey helped hire a few police chiefs. His best friend was the administrative judge for the county; that was the judge who controlled the early stages of the investigation, specifically a coroner’s inquest that never issued a finding.

    State police followed up a report that Mallove’s best friend, County Administrative Judge Angelo G. Santaniello, was with Mallove on Christmas Eve 1973. Santaniello reportedly was No. 11 on a guest list for a party at the home of his political mentor, the late state Sen. Peter Mariani. The Mariani party was one of two Mallove attended that night.

    Santaniello told reporters he never went out on Christmas Eve.

    Another state judge, Joseph F. Dannehy, conducted two grand jury investigations. In 1978, Dannehy named Mallove as the probable driver of the hit-run vehicle, but said evidence that might have ensured conviction was either mishandled or destroyed.

    Mallove died a few years ago with this legacy. Others still have time to come clean and tell the truth about the cover-up. Mrs. Showalter tried unsuccessfully to have Satti, Santaniello and others prosecuted for hindrance of prosecution (CGS Section 53a-166) warning of impending discovery, providing means of avoiding discovery, preventing discovery by deception. Because a conspiracy to hinder prosecution is an ongoing crime, those with information could tell Chief State's Attorney John Bailey, who has begun an initiative to solve some of the state's cold homicide cases.

    Isn’t it time? No one kept the system honest when it counted, though some tried. Most stood by as the system that was supposed to protect the victim and his family betrayed them all.

    Where is the conscience of the community?

    Cold Case On Ice Forever

    Nov. 6, 2000

    One way to deflect attention from a suspect is to get investigators involved in meaningless, time-consuming tasks. Another way is to create a bogus suspect who is then exposed as such, causing a belief that the case is just too hazy to pursue.

    Both of these devices were used repeatedly in the cover-up of the Showalter hit-run case in New London. Whether this was happenstance, indifference, incompetence or malfeasance, the result was the same. The system failed.

    And now, it seems, the truth will remain buried forever.

    Judge Joseph F. Dannehy, the grand juror who investigated the case, wrote in his finding of fact: “After December 25, 1973, the New London Police Department did virtually nothing to solve the hit-run death of Kevin B. Showalter.” The accident occurred the night before.

    Local police and court officials, however, were pro-active in another sense. Their actions served to protect the assailant.

    For example, New London police claimed it would cost as much as $1,200 to trace vehicles using data from the state Motor Vehicle Department. The motor vehicle department declared there was no such charge.

    Nevertheless, New London police spent their time hand-sorting local motor vehicle cards. They looked for a green Chrysler. That was likely a false lead; state police said paint particles found on the victim's clothing did not come from the car that killed him.

    Former Mayor Harvey Mallove began meeting informally with police and court officials as early as Dec. 25, 1973. Mallove wanted to know what the police knew.

    The only lead after two and a half years was quashed by then New London Common Pleas Court Prosecutor Harold Dean in May 1976. The lead was a letter of confession written by a Somers prison inmate to the victim’s mother, Lucille Showalter.

    “I told Harold how important that was to me,” Mallove, the prime suspect, confided to an associate. He also acknowledged discussing the purported confession with his best friend, the presiding judge for the county, Angelo Santaniello.

    The author of the letter was known to be connected with “fences,” or purveyors of stolen goods in the New London area. State police arrested him for harassment of Mrs. Showalter. Two state troopers met with Dean for an hour. They told him the letter contained possibly significant information. State police also believed they could connect the dots in New London between the letter writer and the powers-that-be. Did he owe some favors? Was he paid? Police knew the author had no liability for the accident; he was actually in Florida at the time of the hit-run.

    Dean nolled and dismissed the case without telling the troopers or Mallove. Soon thereafter, state police listed the killing of Showalter as “closed pending further development.” Upon learning of Dean's action, Chief State's Attorney Joseph Gormley remarked he had “no idea” why the lead, “which very well could have led to something,” resulted in a dead end. The case would remain closed for six months, until Gov. Ella Grasso brought the matter to Justice John Cotter.

    Was there criminal activity connected with the Showalter cover-up? It appears we will never know for certain. Dannehy named Mallove as the probable driver, noting that evidence which might have ensured conviction was destroyed. The Chief State’s Attorney’s Office reviewed aspects of the case this fall after a series of columns appeared in The Law Tribune. However, the statute of limitations for the most likely potential charge, conspiracy to hinder prosecution of motor vehicle misconduct, has expired. This shameful case, it appears, is destined to stay on ice forever.

    - AND:

    Olympic Gold for Missing Evidence


    November 28, 2005

    Judge Ellen Gordon was in way over her head with what she tried pass off as a ruling in Day Publishing v. State's Attorney.

    Clueless Gordon was handed a hot one, a case no one has ever wanted in the so-called New London Judicial District. Every single time this case has come to court, begging for justice, The Robes, the prosecutors and their minions have either desecrated their oaths or looked the other way. Clueless Gordon, fairly new to the scene, has managed to join the list of those who are both ostriches and failures.

    The Day newspaper asked Gordon this year to release the grand jury testimony regarding the cover-up of the 1973 hit-run death of Kevin Showalter. Before Gordon probably ever heard of Showalter, five New London County judges recused themselves from a John Doe civil suit against the driver because they were friends with the prime suspect, Harvey Mallove. Mallove -- the late mayor of New London and multimillionaire jeweler who picked police chiefs, planned to run for Congress and starred in the social scene -- was prone to say, "I never killed the kid -- in any way, shape or form."

    It's not like we could expect a New London judge to show guts or brains in this case. Compelling testimony from the first of two grand juries implicated local law enforcement and court officials in a widespread cover-up.

    On Christmas Eve 1973 at 11:12 p.m., as the call came in, a high-ranking New London officer, said, "F--k him, he's dead," and then left to go home. Showalter, a 20-year-old Mitchell College student, lay dead on a well-lit section of Pequot Avenue by the shoreline. His body was thrown 22 feet from the point of impact. His shoes were found 110 feet apart. A leg bone was 75 feet away.

    A tow truck driver gave police auto body putty from the death car. The putty was never seen again. New London police mixed headlight glass from at least three different cars in what they called the evidence file. Replacing the auto body putty was bathroom tile. A local coroner's inquest never issued a finding. State police, who took over the case at the behest of Gov. Ella Grasso, were bewildered and angry when they could not find the transcript of the coroner's inquest. Mallove's best friend -- the presiding judge for the county, Angelo G. Santaniello -- had put his niece in charge of typing that transcript. Santaniello also tipped off Mallove to his status as a suspect.

    Now, Clueless Gordon can't find the 3,000-page transcript of the first grand jury. Does she care? Court clerks allegedly performed a diligent search. Would any reasonable person believe or accept any of this?

    Among the last persons known to possess the grand jury report was the late State's Attorney, C. Robert Satti. Satti, who refused to investigate the case before a special prosecutor was appointed, claimed he returned a copy to the grand juror, then Willimantic Superior Court Judge (later Supreme Court Justice) Joseph Dannehy. Both Dannehy and Satti are dead. Did "Do Nothing Bob" -- Mallove's moniker for Satti -- take it with him? We might as well ask Harvey, also dead, or Kevin.

    Gordon's pathetic decision, dated Nov. 7, went on for about a sentence before its first fatal error. It might sound like a technical error, but it's much, much more than that. She actually said New London police investigated the case.

    Before this, I thought it might take generations to remove the stench from the New London courthouse. Alas, for New London, the stench of this cover-up is forever.


    Find & Open
    the Showalter File

  • Hartford Courant Editorial








  • more COOL JUSTICE








  •           Hit-and-Run Chronology, Grand Jury Report & Follow-up Columns, Re; Library Discussion 9-22-16        

    Open
    the Showalter File

  • Hartford Courant Editorial




  • Cool Justice Editor's Note:
    This post is primarily for patrons and guests of the Sprague Public Library, who might participate in a discussion on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. A link to announcements of that event is at the very bottom of this post. Thanks for reading, AT.


    Via
    Law And Justice In Everyday Life


    F. Lee Bailey on Law and Justice in Everyday Life and the Showalter case:

    This book - which is mainly about public officials, police, judges and lawyers either shaming or shining - is a good read. Many of the stories stand alone, like slices of life. Others will appear early in the book, with follow-up chapters later. The crown jewel, in my view, is his handling of the strange death of Kevin Showalter, who was slammed 50 feet down the road in New London, Connecticut on Christmas Eve 1973 while changing a tire on the traffic side of a parked car. For many years, Andy Thibault dogged a case which public officials seemed determined to let die, despite the presence of a likely suspect. He tells me his mentor, John Peterson, broke the case open and then handed over the torch. Joined by the victim's mother, Lucille, who revealed herself as a determined but delightful woman as the story unfolds, Andy beats up on police, prosecutors, judges and governors until finally there is action. Spurred on by an appointment hastened by Gov. Ella Grasso, Judge Joseph Dannehy conducted one of the most brilliant and thorough investigations I have ever seen. If this book were only about the Showalter case, it would be worth the price.

    APPENDIX

    THE SHOWALTER CHRONOLOGY – A FOUR YEAR SEARCH FOR JUSTICE


    New London, Ct.

    1973

    December 24

    Approximately 11:10 to 11:20 p.m. Kevin B. Showalter is killed. Car leaves scene. Only taillights observed by a neighbor.

    There is much confusion. Mr. Showalter had been changing a tire on his companion’s car. His companion Debra Emilyta, was sitting about six feet away from the car on a stone wall.

    Ms. Emilyta told police she heard a thud, but did not see the car which struck Mr. Showalter. She said she ran across the road, a well-lit section of Pequot Avenue near Plant Street, before seeing Mr. Showalter’s body.

    Mr. Showalter’s body was thrown 22 feet from the believed point of impact, onto a sidewalk near a large tree. The police report prepared that night noted the deceased’s shoes were found 110 feet apart. Part of a leg bone was found 75 feet away.

    Michael Buscetto of Mike’s Auto Body gives police body putty, apparently from the car which struck Mr. Showalter. The putty never made it to the police station. Det. Lt. Konstanty T. Bucko later denies its existence.

    December 25

    Autopsy performed. No trace of alcohol or drugs found. Cause of death listed as lacerated liver and broken neck.

    In efforts to console Mrs. Showalter, friends, neighbors, witnesses and officials volunteer information about the accident. She quietly listens for about six weeks, taking it for granted that police are acting on the same information. December 26

    New London police begin full-scale search for red car.

    1974

    February 6

    FBI report describes paint particles on Mr. Showalter’s clothing as “racing green” or “forest green” used on 1968 Chrysler products.

    February 7

    Mrs. Showalter notes she had the impression local police were not actively pursuing the case. She began interviewing those persons who came to her voluntarily and made a written record of her findings.

    During the next three weeks, Mrs. Showalter spends much of her time making telephone calls and knocking on doors. She and her youngest son Craig, then 14, visited a number of local auto dealers and garages. She said in most cases they were told police had not made any inquiries of them.

    February 28

    New London police conduct first interview with Harvey N. Mallove, the downtown merchant and former mayor and city councilor. Mallove stated he drove by Pequot Avenue near Plant Street shortly before 11:15 p.m. on Christmas Eve 1973. Seven people near the accident scene contradict what he said he saw.

    April 20

    Mrs. Showalter writes to State’s Atty. Edmund J. O’Brien, requesting a one-man grand jury investigation into her son’s death. O’Brien never responds.

    On the same day, Atty. Thomas Bishop, representing Mrs. Showalter as the administratix of Mr. Showalter’s estate, asks Atty. Joseph Moukawsher to conduct a coroner’s inquest of the hit-run death.

    April 23

    Moukawsher agrees to conduct inquest but must confer with New London police before setting date.

    June 4

    Mrs. Showalter writes to New London Police Chief John J. Crowley, asking for a progress report on the investigation by his force. Crowley neither acknowledges receipt of letter nor responds. Copies of letter were sent to City Manager C. Francis Driscoll, and Abraham Kirshenbaum, then chairman of the City Council’s Public Safety Committee.

    June 10

    Mrs. Showalter asks Superior Court Judge Angelo Santaniello to call for a grand jury investigation.

    June 24

    Santaniello notes Moukawsher has agreed to conduct coroner’s inquest. He tells Mrs. Showalter, “If it appears that during any stage of this proceeding that any further intercession is necessary, appropriate action will be taken at that time.”

    July 2

    Mrs. Showalter writes to City Manager C. Francis Driscoll, asking for a report from his office assessing the police department’s handling of the case. She also asks for a reply to her June 4 letter to Police Chief Crowley.

    July 9

    Driscoll tells Crowley to prepare a complete report for Mrs. Showalter.

    July 10

    Bucko completes report on fatal accident.

    July 25

    Driscoll sends Mrs. Showalter Bucko’s report. The report said Mr. Showalter’s body was in the road, but the ambulance crew which took Mr. Showalter to Lawrence Memorial Hospital said they found him on the sidewalk several feet away. No police officer ever saw the body at the scene since the first officer arrived as the body was being placed in the ambulance.

    Bucko says paint particles from a 1968 Plymouth at the U.S. Naval Submarine Base in Groton are similar to those found on Mr. Showalter’s clothing, but the same paint is used on any 1968 Chrysler product.

    Bucko also says a piece of metal Mrs. Showalter found near the accident scene is in the detective bureau. When Mrs. Showalter first offered the metal to police, they refused to sign a receipt for it.

    August 6

    Mrs. Showalter writes to Driscoll regarding Bucko’s report. She lists six pages of comments on allegedly “serious omissions” and “strictly opinion judgments” by Bucko.

    Mrs. Showalter also writes to Chief State’s Atty. Joseph Gormley, asking him to send a representative to the coroner’s inquest. She includes copies of correspondence with local officials and Bucko’s report.

    August 9

    Mrs. Showalter requests a meeting with the City Council’s Public Safety Committee.

    August 15

    Bucko updates report, at request of city manager Driscoll.

    Bucko said of the body location, “the position he (Mr. Showalter) was found in at the scene of the accident, in my opinion, would not help in solving this matter.” Erroneous on the report is the position of the car jack which is shown on the front bumper. The car Mr. Showalter was working on, a Ford Pinto, had to be jacked from the side of the vehicle.

    Omitted from the report is the location of a car mat seen to the rear of the car and the spare tire Mr. Showalter never got to put on the car.

    August 20

    Gormley writes to Mrs. Showalter, telling her the local police investigation “has proceeded smoothly,” and there is “no reason for this office to initiate its own investigation.”

    August 28

    The Public Safety Committee of the New London City Council meets in closed session for one hour to discuss the hit-run death. Chief Crowley requested the closed session. He said there is evidence that could jeopardize future action.

    Mrs. Showalter submitted a 12-page statement for the meeting, but did not attend.

    Crowley said the case is not closed and it appears an arrest may be made.

    August 31

    Mallove submits official statement to New London police.

    November, 1974

    After being postponed several times, the coroner’s inquest hears testimony from 50 persons. No findings issued.

    1975

    January 24

    A state police detective participating in the federal grand jury probe of the city police department has told one of its patrolmen they identified the driver of the car which struck and killed Mr. Showalter on Christmas Eve, 1973.

    “We know who killed the Showalter kid, how come you don’t?” the detective was quoted in The Norwich Bulletin as saying.

    March 19-22

    The Bulletin, in a four-part series, shows:

    - Eyewitnesses and what New London police called “near witnesses” drastically differed in their accounts of the accident.

    - Microscopic paint particles found on Mr. Showalter’s clothing on which police based their search may not have been left by the vehicle which struck him.

    - Evidence entrusted to police officers at the scene has never been seen since.

    - A claim by police that it would cost as much as $1,200 to trace vehicles possible involved in the mishap was declared false by the state Motor Vehicle Department.

    The Bulletin, when preparing the series of articles, made repeated efforts to discuss the case with police officials but Lt. K.T. Bucko, who headed the case, on the advice of then Police Chief John Crowley, would not.

    April 3 State police conduct an extensive door-to-door inquiry in the Pequot Avenue region. State police have been looking into the case as part of a federal grand jury investigation into alleged corruption within the city force.

    July 12

    The state of Connecticut offers a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the hit-run death of Mr. Showalter. A total of $3,000 is now being offered. Classmates and friends of Mr. Showalter’s have already collected $1,000.

    July 21

    A community effort by friends and classmates raises the reward to $5,000.

    November 8

    The transcript of the coroner’s inquest of the hit-run death conducted nearly a year ago has yet to be typed, Coroner Joseph Moukawsher confirms. He said he wants to review the transcript even though he believes his six-day long inquest did not establish any guilt in the case. He said he has not spoken with the court reporter assigned to the case since the early summer.

    December 10

    Mrs. Showalter writes to State’s Atty. C. Robert Satti, requesting a one-man grand jury investigation. No response.

    1976

    January 6

    Satti refuses to confirm or deny the existence of Mrs. Showalter’s request. Mrs. Showalter has also asked Satti’s office to ascertain the location of recorded tapes made during the coroner’s inquest.

    January 9

    Mrs. Showalter sends a special delivery letter to Satti asking for a response to the December 10 request. No response.

    February 19

    In a feature article, also carried statewide by the Associated Press, The Bulletin profiles Mrs. Showalter on page one.

    Some public officials regard her as a persistent nuisance, someone to be ignored and sidestepped, but Mrs. Lucille M. Showalter will not breathe easily until they tell her who killed her son, Bulletin reporter Fred Vollono wrote.

    “The official comment seems to be there is nothing to it,” Mrs. Showalter said. “It is just the ramblings of a grief-stricken mother. But there are many people who urge me to go on. They say, ‘Lucille, if you stop, then nothing will ever be done.’”

    February 23

    Mrs. Showalter receives a letter of confession from an inmate at Somers state prison. The inmate said he was plagued by news accounts of the death. Every time he seems to forget the accident, the inmate said, he reads another news story.

    April 2

    Mrs. Showalter submits a third written request to Satti for a grand-jury probe. No response.

    May 6

    Common Pleas court Prosecutor Harold Dean quashes the only lead in the two and a half year old investigation, The Norwich Bulletin reports. The lead was the letter of confession written by the inmate at Somers Prison. State police arrested the inmate for harassment of the victim’s mother, Mrs. Showalter, to whom the letter was sent. Dean nolled the case and allowed it to be dismissed despite a prior meeting with state police when the significance of the arrest was discussed.

    State police did not believe the letter writer was responsible for the hit-run death, but they thought the letter contained possibly significant information. Dean said he was certain the accused had no knowledge of the case, because he was incarcerated when Mr. Showalter was killed.

    August 7 The day following the Bulletin’s report of Dean quashing the lead, Chief State’s Atty. Joseph Gormley says he had “no idea” why the lead “which very well could have led to something,” resulted in a dead end. Two state police officers had met with Gormley to discuss the letter of confession.

    August 6

    State police list the investigation into the killing of Mr. Showalter as “closed pending further development.” That classification came 31 days after Dean threw the harassment case out of court.

    August 30

    Mrs. Showalter again asks Superior Court Judge Angelo Santaniello to call for a one-man grand jury probe.

    September 1

    Mrs. Showalter publicly renews her efforts to have a one-man grand jury reopen the investigation into the hit-run killing of her son. In a statement sent to 22 media outlets, Mrs. Showalter says she made the appeal in an August 30 letter to Superior Court Judge Angelo Santaniello. She says she was asking the judge to “make good on a promise” he made to her in June 1974. Santaniello wrote in a June 24, 1974 letter, Superior Court intercession would be possible if the investigation required it.

    Santaniello said, “probably the proper person” to approach would be State’s Atty. C. Robert Satti. But Mrs. Showalter said she is ignoring Satti because he failed to respond to her December 1975 letter asking for the grand jury.

    September 23

    State’s Atty. C. Robert Satti says he needs another three weeks to review information on the killing of Mr. Showalter before deciding whether the investigation should be reopened or shelved.

    Satti says he had hoped to have the matter resolved by today, but the sinking of his 35-foot cabin cruiser two weeks ago, an unexpected report of crimes by New London police, and a new trial forced him behind schedule.

    November 23

    Mrs. Showalter turns to Governor Ella T. Grasso for help.

    “I cannot endure this loss of a beloved son in the midst of a governmental system that appears to neither act nor care,” Mrs. Showalter says in a letter to the governor.

    Mrs. Showalter says she is skeptical the New London County State’s Attorney’s review of the case will result in the one-man grand jury she has requested. Satti today said he is still reviewing transcripts of the Coroner’s Inquest and refused further comment.

    December 21

    Just three days before the third anniversary of the killing of Kevin B. Showalter, the state’s chief court administrator orders the city’s only unsolved hit-and-run case reopened.

    John P. Cotter signs an order creating a one-man jury to probe the death, renewing hopes that allegations of police bungling and mishandling of the case will be settled.

    “I can’t yet believe it,” says Mrs. Showalter, calling the action a “literal miracle.”

    Cotter, a justice on the state Supreme Court, selects retired Superior Court Judge Raymond J. Devlin to head the one-man grand jury.

    An attorney representing Mrs. Lucille M. Showalter also files a $600,000 lawsuit against the unnamed person(s) responsible for the killing of her son. Atty. Averum J. Sprecher of East Haddam says the suit is aimed at protecting Mrs. Showalter’s rights.

    “The action as I have filed it will definitively preserve her rights when the investigative bodies finally determine who killed the boy,” he said. The suit is aimed at heading off fears the state’s statute of limitations might preclude Mrs. Showalter from pursuing civil action if the killer is found.

    December 24

    Superior Court Judge Joseph F. Dannehy is ordered to replace State Referee Raymond J. Devlin as the one-man grand juror investigating Mr. Showalter’s death. Chief Court Administrator John P. Cotter says Judge Devlin had asked to be taken off the case because he was too busy with other duties, and would be unable to commute from his New Haven office.

    1977

    January 4

    Austin J. McGuigan, the special prosecutor assigned to the one-man grand jury probing the hit-run death of Mr. Showalter promises to pull “all the stops” in his investigation but says he needs help from the public to succeed.

    McGuigan has worked for the state for two years as the top investigator of organized crime. He appeals to anyone with information to call him confidentially.

    February 8

    State Police Commissioner Edward P. Leonard, as part of a last-resort effort, makes a personal appeal to area residents for information about the killing of Mr. Showalter. In a letter to the people who live near the Pequot Avenue site where Mr. Showalter died, Leonard asks for facts – “No matter how insignificant they may appear” – which might shed light on the car, the driver or the accident scene.

    Special Prosecutor McGuigan says police “had no suspects.” However, he says if a suspect is found police believe there is sufficient evidence to tie the person to the case.

    April 18

    Investigators say they feel confident the Showalter case will be solved.

    The new optimism comes after a public appeal netted more than 300 leads, new laboratory analysis of existing evidence, and an accounting of each of the more than 10,000 green Chrysler products registered in Eastern Connecticut when Mr. Showalter was killed.

    The new evidence means “there is a significant possibility the vehicle in question was not a green Chrysler,” Special Prosecutor Austin McGuigan says. While the investigators will not say what other color the car might have been, the evidence apparently opens new avenues for the investigation. Previously, other theories on who drove the death car, theories which have had some substantiation, were locked into the green Chrysler theory, police acknowledge.

    May 10

    State police investigators spend two and a half hours recreating and filming the Pequot Avenue death scene where Mr. Showalter was the victim of the hit and run.

    May 18

    State police again film and re-create death scene.

    June 22

    The Bulletin reports that one of the most intensive investigations in state police history, the probe into Mr. Showalter’s hit-run death, will be given to a one-man grand jury July 5 in Windham county Superior Court.

    Judge Joseph F. Dannehy, the grand juror, imposes a gag order on all investigators assigned to the case. Special Prosecutor McGuigan and 17 state police detectives had gathered evidence for the grand jury.

    June 23

    More than 50 persons will be subpoenaed and the scope of the probe will be expanded to include subsequent actions connected with the accident, The Bulletin reports.

    June 24

    Eleven New London police officers, including the top detective involved in the first of three investigations of the hit-run death, have been subpoenaed, The Bulletin reports.

    July 5

    The grand jury begins behind closed doors with testimony by New London Det. Lt. Konstanty T. Bucko.

    Outside, a television camera crew drips with sweat under the glare of a hot summer sun.

    Inside it is quiet and cool – almost like any other day. The state police detectives and reporters talk about golf, baseball and other summertime activities. Because of the gag order imposed by Judge Dannehy, they can’t talk about what is most on their minds, what has brought them all together – the unsolved hit-run death of Kevin B. Showalter.

    The session lasts about five hours and also includes testimony by Mrs. Showalter and Debra Emilyta, Mr. Showalter’s companion the night he died.

    Ms. Emilyta has been sitting on a wall about 6 feet from Mr. Showalter when he was killed. She told police she only heard the 20-year-old Mitchell College student struck, and did not see the car which struck him.

    July 6

    Witnesses include Michael Buscetto of Mike’s Arco in New London. What he identified as body putty, apparently from the car that struck and killed Mr. Showalter, has never been seen since police officers placed it in an envelope that night, according to sources.

    Ms. Emilyta concludes testimony.

    Also testifying are Dr. Robert Weller, members of his family, and a friend, who while returning home from church drove past Mr. Showalter as he was changing the tire. They were among the last persons to see Mr. Showalter alive.

    Other witnesses include Mrs. Ruth P. Hendel and Mrs. Charles (Shirley Pope) Alloway, her daughter.

    On Christmas Eve, 1973, Mrs. Hendel had just turned away from the window of her home on Pequot Avenue where she had been watching Mr. Showalter work on the Emilyta car. She heard the noise of the car striking Mr. Showalter and turning back quickly she caught a glimpse of the taillights. Her first impression of the fleeing southbound car was that it was bright-colored, possibly red.

    Mrs. Hendel continued to watch the accident scene as she telephoned Mrs. Alloway, the wife of a New London police officer.

    Arthur Adams of New London, a Mitchell College security guard and former state policeman, also testifies. Aside from Ms. Emilyta and the hit-run driver, Adams may have been one of the last persons to see Mr. Showalter alive.

    Adams saw Mr. Showalter working on the car and Ms. Emilyta sitting on the stone wall, swinging her legs. He observed the girl with a coat collar wrapped around her head, in conversation with Mr. Showalter, after the Weller party had driven by.

    Adams continued on his rounds towards the Montauk Avenue side of the campus. Sometime after 11 p.m., he saw an ambulance heading for the hospital and two police cars heading down Plant Street.

    July 7

    Some of the last persons who saw Mr. Showalter alive and one of the first who saw him dead testify.

    Six members of the Sitty family, who were celebrating Christmas Eve and occasionally watching Mr. Showalter change a tire from inside a house on Pequot Avenue, tell the grand jury what they knew about the case, Edmond Sitty had brought out a blanket and a corduroy coat to put over Mr. Showalter’s body after he had been struck and killed.

    A New London High School classmate of Mr. Showalter, Arthur Petrini, was a passenger in a car that passed the accident scene sometime after Mr. Showalter was killed and before the ambulance and police arrived. He also testified.

    July 12

    Witnesses included two firemen and a dispatcher, two nurses and an orderly, the New London County Medical Examiner, the first man to officially identify Mr. Showalter, and a woman who lives near the accident scene.

    Larry Grimes, a security guard who knew Mr. Showalter from Mitchell College, had made the preliminary identification at Lawrence and Memorial Hospitals, where he also worked. Mrs. Dorothy Bryson of Pequot Avenue, who came upon the accident scene, also testifies.

    July 13

    New London police officers pack the waiting room of the Windham County Courthouse. Of the 11 who were subpoenaed last month, at least seven are present.

    The 11 include Patrolmen Vincent McGrath, Steven Colonis, Thomas P. Bowes Jr., and Cpl. Joseph Chiapponne, all of whom were involved in the initial investigation. With the change of shift, Sgt. Joseph Jullarine, Patrolmen Richard West and Glenn Davis and Det. Sgt. Konstanty T. Bucko joined the probe. Bucko was off duty at the time.

    McGrath filed the motor vehicle report of the accident and the sketch on the report was by Bowes. Bucko took photographs of the scene and gathered evidence. His photographs may be the only ones taken. Bucko also went to the hospital and got the victim’s clothing, according to sources.

    Colonis, the first officer on the scene, apparently arrived as Mr. Showalter was being placed in the ambulance. He interviewed Ms. Emilyta and took her to the station to file a 13-sentence statement.

    There is some confusion of whether Colonis drove an unmarked police car that night. Sources say police made conflicting statements on that question.

    July 14

    Thomas Wainwright, who played tennis with Kevin Showalter at New London High, saw his lifeless body on a sidewalk on Pequot Avenue before an ambulance or police arrived, and is among those testifying today. Arthur Petrini, who testified last week, was a passenger in Wainwright’s car.

    Mr. and Mrs. Donald Wainwright, who were stopped by police after circling the scene in another auto, also testify.

    At least seven New London police officers are at the courthouse, but it is not known how many are testifying.

    July 19

    The grand jury shifts beyond reconstructions by “near witnesses,” as Sgt. Joseph Jullarine, now retired, testifies. He was the squad leader who reportedly conducted “an intensive investigation” for a red car during the 11:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. shift on Christmas Day 1973.

    July 20

    The grand jury investigators spend much of the day alone reviewing physical evidence and testimony. Only three witnesses – New London police who have already appeared during the proceedings – are present.

    July 21

    Det. Bucko appears for at least the fourth time in the nine days the grand jury has convened. The session begins at 10 a.m. and ends about 5:45 p.m., with his departure.

    A nurse’s aide who knelt by Mr. Showalter’s body, feeling for a pulse, also testifies, Sue Costello, who heard the report of an accident as she was leaving Lawrence and Memorial Hospitals in New London from her shift, had arrived on the scene before ambulance personnel and police.

    July 26

    The scope of the grand jury probe goes beyond Mr. Showlater’s death and runs smack into a crucial area of dispute with the appearance of New London police detective Walter Petchark.

    On Christmas Day 1973, with evidence already missing and news of Mr. Showalter’s death on the radio, Petchark reportedly received a call from former mayor Harvey N. Mallove. Mallove later told The Bulletin there was no truth to the report. But he allegedly told Petchark he thought he saw the accident the night before.

    Three city police detectives – Bucko, Petchark, and Carmello Fazzina – were present at the inquiry. They were followed by laboratory technicians from the FBI, who lent their expertise in the analysis of headlight glass possibly belonging to the death vehicle.

    July 27

    The former counsel for the estate of Mr. Showalter testifies. Atty. Thomas Bishop confirms his representation of the estate was severed in June 1974.

    Thomas and Donald Wainwright return for further testimony.

    July 28

    Witnesses include Mrs. S.F. Zimet of Ledyard. Mallove said he was visiting at her home on Christmas Eve 1973, left about 10:45 p.m., and was home in New London about half an hour later.

    Mrs. Zimet is accompanied by her attorney, L. Patrick Gray. Gray, like Bishop, is a member of the New London law firm Suissman, Shapiro, Wool, and Brennan.

    Other witnesses include New London city Manager C. Francis Driscoll and Elise Mallove, Mallove’s daughter. Miss Mallove was home for her Christmas vacation in 1973.

    The grand jury begins a four-week recess. More than 50 persons were called during the first 12 days of the inquiry.

    August 30

    New London police investigators and a newspaper editor who has followed their unsolved hit-run death case for three years are among the witnesses.

    Retired Police Chief John Crowley and Det. Lt. K.T. Bucko, who refused repeated pleas by The Bulletin in March of 1975 to discuss the death of Kevin B. Showalter, gives testimony – as did the paper’s managing editor, John C. Peterson.

    Peterson testifies for three hours.

    August 31

    The attorney who conducted a coroner’s inquest into Mr. Showalter’s death, the results of which have never met public scrutiny, is the first witness today. Atty. Joseph Moukwasher, who heard testimony from 50 witnesses during six days in September and November of 1974, is one of the few persons familiar with the substance of that investigation.

    It took more than two years for the transcripts of the hearings to be typed and submitted to State’s Atty. C. Robert Satti.

    State Police Sgt. Donald Crouch, who in 1974 and 1975 worked for the federal grand jury investigating alleged corruption in the New London force, also testifies. Other witnesses included Rosemary Benson and Carol James.

    September 1

    Physical exhibits appear to outnumber witnesses in the 15th day of proceedings. Two state police technicians from the crime lab in Bethany carry satchels concealing evidence into the closed courtroom. One exhibit is a light colored automobile fender, which was dented and streaked.

    September 2

    Det. Edward Pickett of the New London County State’s Attorney’s office, who helped administer a lie detector test to Ms. Emilyta, testifies. Ms. Emilyta passed the test.

    Another detective, private investigator Joe Harris, is also called. A former Waterford police sergeant, he worked on the case for a brief time, on his own.

    Other witnesses in a short session include State Police Sgt. Charles Trotter, a principal investigator in the federal grand jury probe of the New London city police.

    September 12

    Two persons who saw Mr. Showalter on Christmas Eve 1973, hours before he was killed testify.

    Ramona Ricci, a coworker of Mr. Showalter’s at a Waterford discotheque, attended one of two parties Mr. Showalter had planned to go to after work that night. Nancy Wicksham, who also testified, had joined friends that holiday evening at the club.

    September 18

    Mallove says his status as a suspect in the case is “nothing new.” During testimony in a New Jersey courtroom, Connecticut State Police revealed Mallove is a prime suspect in the hit-run case. The testimony concerned refusal by two New Jersey men to comply with a subpoena issued by the one-man grand jury. Trooper Charles Wargat also testified he was told the two men repaired Mallove’s car on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day 1973.

    Mallove tells The Bulletin he did not know the men and never had a car repaired at their shop on Reed Street in New London. He says he didn’t kill Mr. Showalter and doesn’t know anything about anybody who did.

    September 19

    One of the two men who testified with immunity today has said in a published account he has no knowledge of the case and denied any car was repaired in his New London shop on Christmas Eve 1973.

    Walter String Jr. made those comments in the New Jersey Courier Post. He and his son, Walter String III, had been ordered to appear today by a New Jersey judge, after refusing to comply with a subpoena.

    Among the dozen or so witnesses are New London city police Sgt. Donald Sloan and Cpl. Charles Alloway. They took the first full statement from Ms. Emilyta, five days after the accident.

    September 26

    Darlene Barnes, a friend of Mr. Showalter who patronized the Waterford discotheque where he worked, is among the witnesses today. Ms. Barnes was also one of the 50 witnesses during the coroner’s inquest of 1974.

    October 3

    Larry Grimes testifies again. The Mitchell College security guard who made the first identification of Mr. Showalter at Lawrence and Memorial Hospitals, was also at the courthouse on July 12, and Sept. 26.

    The grand jury will be in recess until October 17. It has convened 20 times since July 5 and heard about 90 witnesses.

    October 11

    Judge Dannehy says published reports that Mallove is a prime suspect in the case “couldn’t bother me in the least.”

    “They (the newspapers) are free to speculate if they wish,” Dannehy says. “I am not concerned with their claimed right to freedom of expression.

    I think that sometimes their attitude is to publish and be damned, but they don’t bother me.”

    “Why don’t you wait” for the grand jury report? Dannehy asked.

    October 17

    The sales manager of a New London auto firm who said he has sold a number of cars to the family of a suspect in the hit-run case testifies.

    In 1970, Peter Emmanuel Sr. of New London Motors sold a Lincoln Continental to Harvey N. Mallove, whom state police have identified as a suspect in the Christmas Eve, 1973 death. A compact car was among the other autos the New London firm sold to Mallove.

    State police were looking for a green Chrysler product when they first questioned New London motors personnel, Emmanuel said before he testified. But the firm didn’t sell Mallove such a vehicle, which police had believed was the death car, he added.

    October 24

    The grand jury does not convene today because the investigators were not ready to proceed, Judge Dannehy said. He said he plans to conduct several more sessions before adjourning to write the final report, but did not specify.

    November 14

    The grand jury meets for its first regular session since October 17 and hears one witness. The witness, Gary Jordan of New London, said he was dating Elise Mallove on Christmas Eve 1973.

    Sources say the grand jury conducted at least one special session since October 17, but it was not known who testified.

    November 21

    State police continue working long and irregular hours probing Mr. Showalter’s death as they re-create the hit-run scene on Pequot Avenue near Plant Street for at least the third time.

    November 29

    The man whom state police have said they consider a prime suspect in New London’s only unsolved hit-run death has his day in court.

    Harvey N. Mallove testifies for about four hours before the secret grand jury probing Mr. Showalter’s death. Atty. Leo J. McNamara accompanies Mallove to the Windham County Courthouse.

    Mallove says he was one of a number of persons who drove by the accident scene shortly before or after Mr. Showalter was killed. But a four-part series by The Bulletin in March of 1975 showed Mallove saw a scene that seven other persons said could not have taken place.

    Mallove passed the accident scene within a minute or two after an ambulance call was logged. His statement to New London police – dated eight months later – conflicts with accounts of seven persons at the scene or looking out their windows seconds after Mr. Showalter was struck.

    Mr. Showalter was struck by a car as he changed a tire on a friend’s parked Ford Pinto, on a well-lit section of Pequot Avenue near Plant Street.

    In his statement, Mallove said he saw an automobile parked at an angle in front of the Pinto. None of the seven persons saw any car stopped at the scene immediately after the victim was hit according to the July 10, 1974 report by New London Det. Lt. Konstanty T. Bucko.

    Mallove’s vivid description of a middle-aged man talking with a girl near the car also conflicts with statements by the seven persons.

    In his statement, Mallove said he assumed the man was a member of the police department. But Bucko claims in the July 10 report that Mallove told him the talking to the girl was “NOT” a policeman.

    Bucko’s report also claims Mallove learned on Christmas Day 1974 that “a man had been killed and he remarked to some people that he saw the body.” But Bucko continued to report that after Mallove viewed photographs of the scene he realized what he mistook for a body was a floor mat. In his statement, Mallove said he saw a “flat object which I assumed was a blanket or a mat.”

    In his August 31, 1974 statement, Mallove said, “Seeing no trouble, accident, or any evidence of anything out of place…I continued on my way home.”

    In the July 10, 1974 report, Bucko claims; “Mr. Mallove stated he was going to stop because he realized there had been an accident.”

    Mallove has told The Bulletin that Bucko misquoted him.

    December 7

    The calling of witnesses ends with Mallove’s second appearance.

    The proceedings included a film screening, apparently of the death scene as re-created by state police.

    After the 35 minute screening, Special Prosecutor McGuigan and Judge Dannehy questioned Mallove for about 40 minutes. That was the bulk of the afternoon session.

    The question of whether indictments should be handed down in New London’s only unsolved hit-run death now rests with Judge Dannehy.

    After 24 sessions and more than 100 witnesses, Dannehy said the next step for the grand jury is the final report on who killed Kevin B. Saltwater.

    1978

    Feb. 17 Report filed.

    Feb. 22

    Report made public.

  • THE DANNEHY REPORT


  • SHOWALTER COVERUP COLUMNS

    Chapter 1

    Law and Justice in Everyday Life

    Cover-Up In New London

    Hit-And-Run Continues To Mock Justice


    Sept. 4, 2000

    If Connecticut Chief State’s Attorney John Bailey wants to bring closure to cold cases, here’s one from New London that should top the list: The Showalter hit-and-run cover-up is a dark chapter in Connecticut history, a tale more appropriate for a Third World country.

    And yet, only one thing bothers former New London County State’s Attorney C. Robert Satti about the Showalter case: that it was investigated at all.

    Satti, now retired, made the point again and again, most recently this year. Satti’s complaint, made during the wake of the late state police Detective George Ryalls, was that Ryalls’ obituary mentioned the suspect the prosecutor refused to pursue in the Showalter probe.

    Kevin B. Showalter, a 20-year-old Mitchell College student, was killed at 11:12 p.m. on Christmas Eve 1973. He was changing a tire on a well-lit section of Pequot Avenue on the New London shoreline when he was struck and killed. His girlfriend, sitting only 6 feet away on a stone wall, claims she saw nothing.

    Auto body putty from the death car disappeared after a tow truck driver gave it to New London police. The evidence file that was supposed to contain the putty was stuffed with bathroom tiles. The file that was supposed to contain headlight glass from the death car instead contained glass from three different headlights. State police and others suspected that, in order to throw legitimate investigators off the trail, the late young man's clothing was pounded on a different-colored car than the one that killed him.

    The victim's mother, Lucille M. Showalter, tried to get a grand jury investigation of the cover-up. She was rebuffed repeatedly by the presiding judge, Angelo Santaniello who, it later became clear, was best friends with the leading suspect. Santaniello then referred Showalter to prosecutor Satti, who happened to be his former law partner. Satti refused to acknowledge registered letters from Mrs. Showalter pleading for a grand jury probe.

    Satti did finally meet with Mrs. Showalter in 1978, after Judge Joseph Dannehy of Willimantic, acting as a one-man grand jury, named former New London Mayor Harvey N. Mallove as the probable driver of the hit-run vehicle. Satti called the three-hour meeting, in which he repeatedly told Mrs. Showalter that there never should have been a grand jury investigation under Dannehy.

    Mallove held a good hand; he had the best legal muscle in New London County on his side. New London police would not question him for more than seven months, and then only in a perfunctory manner. They would say they inspected his cars, but they did not. Significantly, Mallove’s Lincoln had been repaired, but it wasn’t until state police took over the case four years after the accident that the fender was finally seized.

    Santaniello would arrange for a coroner’s inquest and put his niece in charge of typing the transcript. Only after two years of intense public pressure would the transcript be typed. But the inquest never issued a finding.

    Santaniello tipped off Mallove that he was a suspect. The judge was also aware of what local police knew about the case. Mrs. Showalter memorialized the admissions in tape-recorded telephone conversations.

    “I did talk to Harvey,” Santaniello told Mrs. Showalter on Oct. 17, 1975, “and I said, `You’re suspected.’ As a matter of fact, at that time a police officer came to him on the same day or the next day, and told him you were making accusations about him and that he was a prime suspect.” The day before, Mallove told Mrs. Showalter, “Judge Santaniello is of the opinion that you fingered me.”

    It was not until 1977 that state police, who took over the case at the behest of former Gov. Ella Grasso, formally named Mallove a suspect. Next week, I'll propose a means to solve the Showalter cover-up.

    Showalter Cover-Up Is New London's Shame

    Sept. 11, 2000

    New London, where I grew up and began working in the 1960s and ‘70s, was a dirty little city with character.

    It had a restaurant called the Hygienic that was everything but. There were at least a couple bars where the cops couldn't do anything, except maybe a little business.

    The top pimp in town never went to jail until he was about 60 and a certain court official retired.

    New London will always be the city that tried to cover up the Christmas Eve 1973 hit-and-run death of Kevin B. Showalter. It's been doing a pretty good job for nearly 27 years, but the onion is beginning to peel.

    The local daily newspaper admitted -- in its official history published this year -- that it did a shoddy job on the Showalter case. Specifically, The Day admitted its failure to explore the relationship between a former mayor and a top judge, and their influence on the course of the criminal investigation. That’s a beginning.

    Political and police corruption goes back a couple generations in New London. By the 1970s, New London police were widely known to be involved in the selling of women, dope and refrigerators, among other things. A federal grand jury took note. But as with the Showalter case, there were these little problems with the evidence.

    A jewelry store owner and former city mayor multi-millionaire Harvey Mallove was the prime suspect in the hit-and-run death of Showalter, a student at Mitchell College. Showalter’s date that night, Christmas Eve 1973, said she saw nothing from her vantage point six feet away, sitting on a stone wall under a streetlight on a residential street as a young man changed the tire of her car.

    Harvey was everybody’s pal. He would take kids to the Super Bowl, then, down the road, get them jobs as cops. He was friends with bums in the street and bums in high political office. He was wired. The standing joke among reporters became: Harvey's a great guy to have a beer with, just don't change your tire if he's driving by.

    “I didn't kill the kid in any way, shape or form,” Harvey told me many times. As mayor, Harvey helped hire a few police chiefs. His best friend was the administrative judge for the county; that was the judge who controlled the early stages of the investigation, specifically a coroner’s inquest that never issued a finding.

    State police followed up a report that Mallove’s best friend, County Administrative Judge Angelo G. Santaniello, was with Mallove on Christmas Eve 1973. Santaniello reportedly was No. 11 on a guest list for a party at the home of his political mentor, the late state Sen. Peter Mariani. The Mariani party was one of two Mallove attended that night.

    Santaniello told reporters he never went out on Christmas Eve.

    Another state judge, Joseph F. Dannehy, conducted two grand jury investigations. In 1978, Dannehy named Mallove as the probable driver of the hit-run vehicle, but said evidence that might have ensured conviction was either mishandled or destroyed.

    Mallove died a few years ago with this legacy. Others still have time to come clean and tell the truth about the cover-up. Mrs. Showalter tried unsuccessfully to have Satti, Santaniello and others prosecuted for hindrance of prosecution (CGS Section 53a-166) warning of impending discovery, providing means of avoiding discovery, preventing discovery by deception. Because a conspiracy to hinder prosecution is an ongoing crime, those with information could tell Chief State's Attorney John Bailey, who has begun an initiative to solve some of the state's cold homicide cases.

    Isn’t it time? No one kept the system honest when it counted, though some tried. Most stood by as the system that was supposed to protect the victim and his family betrayed them all.

    Where is the conscience of the community?

    Cold Case On Ice Forever

    Nov. 6, 2000

    One way to deflect attention from a suspect is to get investigators involved in meaningless, time-consuming tasks. Another way is to create a bogus suspect who is then exposed as such, causing a belief that the case is just too hazy to pursue.

    Both of these devices were used repeatedly in the cover-up of the Showalter hit-run case in New London. Whether this was happenstance, indifference, incompetence or malfeasance, the result was the same. The system failed.

    And now, it seems, the truth will remain buried forever.

    Judge Joseph F. Dannehy, the grand juror who investigated the case, wrote in his finding of fact: “After December 25, 1973, the New London Police Department did virtually nothing to solve the hit-run death of Kevin B. Showalter.” The accident occurred the night before.

    Local police and court officials, however, were pro-active in another sense. Their actions served to protect the assailant.

    For example, New London police claimed it would cost as much as $1,200 to trace vehicles using data from the state Motor Vehicle Department. The motor vehicle department declared there was no such charge.

    Nevertheless, New London police spent their time hand-sorting local motor vehicle cards. They looked for a green Chrysler. That was likely a false lead; state police said paint particles found on the victim's clothing did not come from the car that killed him.

    Former Mayor Harvey Mallove began meeting informally with police and court officials as early as Dec. 25, 1973. Mallove wanted to know what the police knew.

    The only lead after two and a half years was quashed by then New London Common Pleas Court Prosecutor Harold Dean in May 1976. The lead was a letter of confession written by a Somers prison inmate to the victim’s mother, Lucille Showalter.

    “I told Harold how important that was to me,” Mallove, the prime suspect, confided to an associate. He also acknowledged discussing the purported confession with his best friend, the presiding judge for the county, Angelo Santaniello.

    The author of the letter was known to be connected with “fences,” or purveyors of stolen goods in the New London area. State police arrested him for harassment of Mrs. Showalter. Two state troopers met with Dean for an hour. They told him the letter contained possibly significant information. State police also believed they could connect the dots in New London between the letter writer and the powers-that-be. Did he owe some favors? Was he paid? Police knew the author had no liability for the accident; he was actually in Florida at the time of the hit-run.

    Dean nolled and dismissed the case without telling the troopers or Mallove. Soon thereafter, state police listed the killing of Showalter as “closed pending further development.” Upon learning of Dean's action, Chief State's Attorney Joseph Gormley remarked he had “no idea” why the lead, “which very well could have led to something,” resulted in a dead end. The case would remain closed for six months, until Gov. Ella Grasso brought the matter to Justice John Cotter.

    Was there criminal activity connected with the Showalter cover-up? It appears we will never know for certain. Dannehy named Mallove as the probable driver, noting that evidence which might have ensured conviction was destroyed. The Chief State’s Attorney’s Office reviewed aspects of the case this fall after a series of columns appeared in The Law Tribune. However, the statute of limitations for the most likely potential charge, conspiracy to hinder prosecution of motor vehicle misconduct, has expired. This shameful case, it appears, is destined to stay on ice forever.

    - AND:

    Olympic Gold for Missing Evidence


    November 28, 2005

    Judge Ellen Gordon was in way over her head with what she tried pass off as a ruling in Day Publishing v. State's Attorney.

    Clueless Gordon was handed a hot one, a case no one has ever wanted in the so-called New London Judicial District. Every single time this case has come to court, begging for justice, The Robes, the prosecutors and their minions have either desecrated their oaths or looked the other way. Clueless Gordon, fairly new to the scene, has managed to join the list of those who are both ostriches and failures.

    The Day newspaper asked Gordon this year to release the grand jury testimony regarding the cover-up of the 1973 hit-run death of Kevin Showalter. Before Gordon probably ever heard of Showalter, five New London County judges recused themselves from a John Doe civil suit against the driver because they were friends with the prime suspect, Harvey Mallove. Mallove -- the late mayor of New London and multimillionaire jeweler who picked police chiefs, planned to run for Congress and starred in the social scene -- was prone to say, "I never killed the kid -- in any way, shape or form."

    It's not like we could expect a New London judge to show guts or brains in this case. Compelling testimony from the first of two grand juries implicated local law enforcement and court officials in a widespread cover-up.

    On Christmas Eve 1973 at 11:12 p.m., as the call came in, a high-ranking New London officer, said, "F--k him, he's dead," and then left to go home. Showalter, a 20-year-old Mitchell College student, lay dead on a well-lit section of Pequot Avenue by the shoreline. His body was thrown 22 feet from the point of impact. His shoes were found 110 feet apart. A leg bone was 75 feet away.

    A tow truck driver gave police auto body putty from the death car. The putty was never seen again. New London police mixed headlight glass from at least three different cars in what they called the evidence file. Replacing the auto body putty was bathroom tile. A local coroner's inquest never issued a finding. State police, who took over the case at the behest of Gov. Ella Grasso, were bewildered and angry when they could not find the transcript of the coroner's inquest. Mallove's best friend -- the presiding judge for the county, Angelo G. Santaniello -- had put his niece in charge of typing that transcript. Santaniello also tipped off Mallove to his status as a suspect.

    Now, Clueless Gordon can't find the 3,000-page transcript of the first grand jury. Does she care? Court clerks allegedly performed a diligent search. Would any reasonable person believe or accept any of this?

    Among the last persons known to possess the grand jury report was the late State's Attorney, C. Robert Satti. Satti, who refused to investigate the case before a special prosecutor was appointed, claimed he returned a copy to the grand juror, then Willimantic Superior Court Judge (later Supreme Court Justice) Joseph Dannehy. Both Dannehy and Satti are dead. Did "Do Nothing Bob" -- Mallove's moniker for Satti -- take it with him? We might as well ask Harvey, also dead, or Kevin.

    Gordon's pathetic decision, dated Nov. 7, went on for about a sentence before its first fatal error. It might sound like a technical error, but it's much, much more than that. She actually said New London police investigated the case.

    Before this, I thought it might take generations to remove the stench from the New London courthouse. Alas, for New London, the stench of this cover-up is forever.







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  •           Tại sao không nên tin vào chính mình?        
    Bertrand Russell có một câu nói nổi tiếng là “Vấn đề của thế giới chính là lũ điên thì lại chắc chắn về bản thân mình còn người thông minh thì lúc nào cũng trăn trở về điều đó.”

    Sau nhiều năm chiêm nghiệm, tôi đã nhận ra được tầm quan trọng của việc tìm kiếm sự an yên giữa những bất ổn và mơ hồ, giữa những thắc mắc về niềm tin và mộng ước, và hơn cả giữa những hoài nghi về chính bản thân mình. Trong các bài viết trước đây, tôi thường xuyên lặp đi lặp lại một thông điệp là bộ não của chúng ta thực chất không hề đáng tin chút nào. Chúng ta không hề có bất cứ một cơ sở nào về việc chúng ta đang nói, nghĩ, làm,…

    Nhưng tôi chưa có dịp để đưa ra những lý giải và dẫn chứng cụ thể cho vấn đề trên. Và bây giờ là lúc thích hợp để chúng ta cùng nhau khám phá ra 8 lý do theo góc nhìn tâm lý học tại sao chúng ta không nên tin chính bản thân mình.

    1. CHÚNG TA CÓ XU HƯỚNG THIÊN VỊ CHO BẢN THÂN VÀ TRỞ NÊN ÍCH KỶ DÙ KHÔNG HỀ NHẬN RA

    Có một thuật ngữ trong tâm lý học mang tên Góc nhìn sai lệch của người quan sát (the Actor-Observer Bias).

    Chẳng hạn nếu bạn thấy một người vượt đèn đỏ ở ngã tư đường, có thể bạn sẽ nghĩ người này thật đáng trách, chỉ vì không kiên nhẫn chờ nổi vài giây mà đã gây nên nguy hiểm cho bao nhiêu người đi đường.

    Ngược lại, nếu bạn chính là người đang vượt đèn đỏ, bạn sẽ tự nhủ với bản thân mình rằng đó chỉ là do vô ý mà thôi, bởi vì cái cây chết tiệt kia chắn mất tầm nhìn, bởi vì xưa giờ người vượt đèn đỏ có gây ra hề hấn gì đâu.

    Cùng một hành động, nhưng nếu người khác làm thì họ nghiễm nhiên trở thành một tên khốn, còn nếu bạn làm thì đó chỉ là do vô ý.

    Chúng ta đều có những lúc như thế, đặc biệt là khi phải đối diện với các vấn đề mâu thuẫn. Khi nói về một người đã từng làm tổn thương mình, chúng ta sẽ mô tả họ như một giống loài vô cảm, thiếu trách nhiệm, có ác ý làm hãm hại người khác. (1)

    Tuy nhiên, khi chúng ta nói về việc mình đã làm tổn thương ai đó, chúng ta sẽ viện đủ lý do chỉ để biện minh rằng hành động của chúng ta hoàn toàn hợp lý. Trong trường hợp này, tâm trí chúng ta ngụy biện rằng những tổn thương mà chúng ta gây ra cho người khác không đáng là bao, thế nên việc bị buộc tội bản thân thật là vô lý.

    Cả hai góc nhìn này đều hoàn toàn sai. Nhiều nghiên cứu tâm lý đã chỉ ra rằng cả thủ phạm và nạn nhân đều sẽ xuyên tạc sự thật bằng cách kể lại câu chuyện kèm theo quan điểm của mình.

    Steven Pinker gọi hiện tượng này là Lỗ hổng Luân lý (Moralization Gap).(2) Bất cứ khi nào xung đột xuất hiện, chúng ta thường sẽ đánh giá quá cao thiện chí của bản thân và ngược lại, đánh giá xấu chủ ý của người khác. Điều này khiến chúng ta luôn tin rằng những người kia đáng để bị trừng phạt trong khi chúng ta phải được khoan hồng.

    Tâm trí chúng ta lúc này hoạt động một cách vô thức vì kể cả khi đang biện minh cho chính mình, chúng ta đều luôn nghĩ nó hoàn toàn hợp lý. Nhưng thực ra sự thật không phải như vậy.

    2. BẠN KHÔNG HỀ BIẾT ĐIỀU GÌ LÀM MÌNH HẠNH PHÚC (HOẶC ĐAU KHỔ)

    Trong cuốn sách Stumbling on Happiness, Daniel Gibert, nhà tâm lý học tại đại học Harvad, đã chỉ ra việc chúng ta rất tệ trong việc nhớ điều gì tác động đến cảm xúc của bản thân trong quá khứ cũng như tương lai.

    Chẳng hạn, nếu đội thể thao ưa thích của bạn bị thua tại giải thi đấu lớn, bạn sẽ cảm thấy vô cùng buồn. Nhưng hóa ra trí nhớ về việc bạn cảm thấy buồn như thế nào lại không liên quan gì đến việc bạn cảm thấy buồn trong một khoảng thời gian nhất định. Nói cách khác, mỗi khi nhớ về những điều tệ hại lúc xưa, chúng ta thậm chí còn thêm thắt quá nhiều cảm xúc tiêu cực so với tình hình thực tế lúc đó. Tương tự, khi nhớ về những kí ức tốt đẹp lúc trước, chúng ta thường cho là chúng vui hơn so với thực tế lúc đó.

    Thế nên khi hoạch định về tương lai, chúng ta thường đánh giá quá cao niềm hạnh phúc mà những điều tốt đẹp sẽ mang lại cũng như tin rằng những điều không may mắn sẽ làm chúng ta cảm thấy tệ hại khôn cùng. Để rồi chúng ta thường không nhận ra được bản thân mình đang thực sự cảm thấy như thế nào trong thời khắc của hiện tại.

    Đây cũng là một lý do mà mọi người biện minh về việc không thể theo đuổi được hạnh phúc. Tất cả mọi thông tin chỉ ra rằng chúng ta thậm chí còn không biết hạnh phúc thực chất như thế nào thì làm sao có thể thực sống trong hạnh phúc.

    3. CHÚNG TA DỄ BỊ LỢI DỤNG ĐỂ ĐƯA RA NHỮNG QUYẾT ĐỊNH SAI LẦM

    Bạn đang đi trên đường thì bỗng có một người lạ lịch sự đến gần với mong muốn được tặng cho bạn vài cuốn sách báo “miễn phí”, ngay khi bạn cầm lấy chúng thì họ hỏi bạn tham gia cái này cái kia và quyên cho họ chút tiền vì họ đang gặp khó khăn. Đã bao giờ bạn lâm vào tình huống này chưa? Bạn biết là điều này thật kì cục và bạn muốn từ chối. Nhưng mà, cái này được tặng free đấy với cả bạn chả muốn bị coi là kẻ hờ hững với hoàn cảnh khó khăn chút nào.

    Yeah, đó chính là mấu chốt của vấn đề.

    Hóa ra là, quyết định của con người dễ bị chi phối bằng nhiều cách khác nhau, một trong số đó là việc tặng “quà” cho họ trước khi yêu cầu họ trả lại (điều này khiến khả năng giữ lại món quà cao hơn).

    Hoặc thử cách này, lần tới nếu bạn thấy một dòng người xếp hàng dài ngoằng và muốn chen lên trước, chỉ việc đưa ra một lý do cho mọi người – bất cứ lý do nào – chẳng hạn “Tôi đang vội” hoặc “Tôi đang ốm”. Theo thí nghiệm, chỉ cần nhờ lý do ngắn gọn này mà bạn có đến 80% cơ hội thành công để chen lên trước hơn là không đưa ra lời giải thích. Điều tuyệt vời nhất là: cái lý do bạn đưa ra không cần phải logic hay có ý nghĩa gì cả.(3)

    Các nhà kinh tế học thành vi đã chỉ ra rằng chúng ta dễ dàng có xu hướng tập trung vào một loại giá thành hơn các loại khác dù chả vì lý do gì. Hãy nhìn vào hình vẽ dưới đây:

    Ở phía bên trái, sự khác biệt về giá có vẻ lớn và không hợp lý. Thế nhưng, nếu thêm chai rượu mức giá $50 như hình bên phải thì đột nhiên, chai rượu với giá $30 bỗng trở thành một mức vừa phải và có lẽ là một món hời.

    Hãy thử xem một ví dụ khác nữa. Có người nói rằng bạn cần phải chi $2,000 cho chuyến đi Paris bao gồm bữa ăn sáng hoặc một chuyến đi Rome kèm bữa ăn sáng hoặc một chuyến đi Rome không kèm bữa ăn sáng. Hóa ra việc đưa thêm một lựa chọn “Rome không kèm ăn sáng” đã giúp cho nhiều người chọn Rome kèm ăn sáng hơn Paris. Tại sao vầy? Bởi vì nếu so sánh với chuyến đi Rome mà không có bữa ăn sáng, việc đi Rome kèm bữa ăn sáng có vẻ là một món hời. Thế là não bộ của chúng ta nhanh chóng quên đi mất chúng ta vẫn còn một sự lựa chọn nữa mang tên Paris.(4)

    4. BẠN THƯỜNG CHỈ DÙNG LOGIC VÀ LÝ LUẬN ĐỂ LÝ GIẢI CHO NHỮNG NIỀM TIN CÓ SẴN CỦA BẢN THÂN

    Các nhà nghiên cứu đã chỉ ra rằng kể cả những người đã bị tổn hại chức năng thị lực trên não bộ vẫn có thể “thấy” được ngay cả khi họ không nhận ra. Những người mù hay nói rằng họ không thể nhìn thấy được tay của mình ngay cả khi đưa nó ra trước mặt. Nhưng nếu có một ánh đèn lóe lên ngay trước mắt họ, dù ở phía bên phải hay trái, họ vẫn thường đoán chính xác được đèn lóe lên bên nào.

    Và dù vậy, họ vẫn cứ nói bạn rằng đó hoàn toàn là đoán đại mà thôi.

    Họ không hề có một gợi ý nào về việc đèn sáng bên nào nhưng vẫn có nhận định được ánh đèn nằm ở đâu.

    Điều này thể hiện một sự trớ trêu nực cười: kiến thức và cảm giác biết kiến thức đó hoàn toàn không liên quan đến nhau.(5)

    Và cũng giống như những người mù, chúng ta đều có kiến thức mà lại thiếu đi cảm giác biết kiến thức. Nhưng điều ngược lại, bạn có thể cảm tưởng là mình đã biết điều đó rồi mặc dù thực ra bạn không hề, cũng hoàn toàn là thật.

    Đây chính là nguồn cơn cho mọi thiên vị cũng như ngụy biện. Chúng ta không nhận thức được sự khác biệt giữa cái mình thực sự biết và cái mình tưởng là mình biết. Do đó, các lý do kèm động cơ và các ngụy biện đã được xác nhận cứ liên tục diễn ra trong đời sống hàng ngày.

    5. CẢM XÚC CHI PHỐI NHẬN THỨC CỦA BẠN NHIỀU HƠN BẠN NGHĨ

    Nếu giống như hầu hết mọi người, bạn thường có xu hướng đưa ra những quyết định tồi dựa trên cảm xúc. Đồng nghiệp chỉ buông vài câu bông đùa về đôi giày của bạn mà bạn đã nhảy dựng đứng lên, bởi vì đó là di vật bà người bà đã mất trao lại. Thế là bạn quyết định “phải bằm nát lũ người này ra”, bỏ việc và sống dựa vào tiền phúc lợi. Đây hoàn toàn là một quyết định không hợp lý.

    Nhưng việc tệ nhất chưa phải nằm ở đây đâu.

    Kể cả khi chúng ta đã nhận thức được việc cảm xúc chi phối các quyết định, chúng ta đã tránh việc đưa ra các quyết định trong lúc đang có nhiều cảm xúc trong lòng, thì đây vẫn không phải là một giải pháp lâu dài. Bởi vì, cảm xúc có thể ảnh hưởng đến chúng ta hàng tháng, hàng năm, kể cả khi chúng ta đã nguôi giận và bắt đầu “phân tích” tình huống trước đó. Những cảm xúc ngắn hạn tại một thời điểm nào đó, hóa ra, lại có tác động lâu dài đến các quyết định chúng ta đưa ra sau này.(6)

    Lấy ví dụ như thế này. Một người bạn bỗng muốn rủ bạn đi uống nước. Nhưng vì lý do nào đó, cơ chế phòng vệ của bạn bỗng được dựng lên. Bạn không muốn gật đầu cái rụp dù bạn cũng rất quý anh bạn ấy và muốn được trò chuyện với anh ta nhiều hơn. Bạn thận trọng trong việc đưa ra một phương án dù bạn không hiểu tại sao mình phải như vậy.

    Điều mà bạn đã lãng quên chính là bạn đã từng có một người bạn tính tình nóng lạnh thất thường trước đây. Anh chàng đó cứ thỉnh thoảng lại nổi đóa lên bất thường với bạn. Bạn bước tiếp trong cuộc sống và dần quên mất những chi tiết đó trong quá khứ. Mối quan hệ giữa bạn và người cũ thậm chí còn quay trở lại bình thường.

    Lúc đó bạn đã có đôi lần cảm thấy tổn thương và bực bội. Có thể về mặt nhận thức, bạn đã quên đi câu chuyện cũ, nhưng cảm xúc của bạn thì không. Nó vẫn đã từng nhớ mình đã cảm thấy buồn bã như thế nào. Để rồi khi giờ đây đối diện với một người hoàn toàn khác, trong một tình huống hoàn toàn khác, nó vô thức dựng lên hàng rào bảo vệ cho chính bạn.

    Chúng ta thường dựa vào kí ức về những cảm xúc mà chúng ta đã có trong một thời điểm nào đó trước đây để làm nền tảng đưa ra nhiều quyết định sau đó. Vấn đề là, bạn hoàn toàn không có ý thức về điều này. Cảm xúc mà bạn đã có 3 năm trước đây có thể ảnh hưởng đến bạn bất cứ lúc nào.

    Bàn về trí nhớ…

    6. TRÍ NHỚ KHÔNG HỀ ĐÁNG TIN

    Elizabeth Loftus là một trong những nhà nghiên cứu tiên phong trong lĩnh vực trí nhớ và cô ấy là người đầu tiên nói với chúng ta rằng trí nhớ của mình hoàn toàn không hề đáng tin.

    Về cơ bản, cô nhận ra rằng trí nhớ của chúng ta về các sự kiện trong quá khứ thường bị thay đổi bởi các sự kiện khác lúc xưa và/hoặc các thông tin thiếu chính xác mới. Cô đã khiến cho nhiều người nhận ra rằng lời khai từ nhân chứng không hẳn là một chứng cứ đáng tin.(8)

    Loftus và các nhà nghiên cứu khác đã chỉ ra rằng:

    Trí nhớ của chúng ta không chỉ bị mất dần mà còn dễ đưa ra các thông tin sai lệch theo thời gian.
    Cảnh báo mọi người rằng kí ức của họ chứa các thông tin sai lệch cũng không giúp làm giảm đi các thông tin sai lệch.
    Bạn càng có tính cảm thông nhiều bao nhiêu thì bạn càng dễ đồng nhất các thông tin sai lệch vào trong trí nhớ của mình bấy nhiêu.
    Trí nhớ của chúng ta không chỉ bị thay đổi bởi các thông tin sai lệch mà có thể toàn bộ kí ức của chúng ta đã bị tạo ra. Điều này thường diễn ra khi người tạo ra kí ức của chúng ta lại chính là những người mà chúng ta tin tưởng.
    Vì thế, kí ức của chúng ta hoàn toàn không hề đáng tin như mình đã nghĩ – thậm chí với những việc chúng ta nghĩ là đúng thì chỉ có phần chúng ta nghĩ là sự thật mà thôi.

    Trên thực tế, các nhà thần kinh học đã dự đoán lúc nào con người sẽ nhớ sai thông tin dựa trên các hoạt động trí não của bạn. Tại sao vậy?

    Họ lý giải điều này dựa trên việc so sánh trí nhớ với bộ nhớ của máy tính. Ban đầu, bộ nhớ sẽ ghi lại hết tất cả mọi thứ được đưa vào. Sau đó, chúng chậm dần, làm mất hoặc hư các file dữ liệu ngay sau khi bạn đã tạm dừng sử dụng. (10)

    Nhưng bộ não của chúng ta không chỉ chứa spreadsheet, và file chữ hay GIFs. Trí nhớ giúp chúng ta học được từ các sự kiện trong quá khứ để từ đó đưa ra những quyết định đúng đắn hơn cho tương lai. Nhưng trí nhớ thực chất còn có 1 chức năng quan trọng và phức tạp khác mà chúng ta ít khi nghĩ đến.

    Là người, chúng ta cần sự nhận dạng, chúng ta cần có cảm giác về việc “chúng ta là ai”, để từ đó điều hướng được các tình huống xã hội phức tạp cũng như để hoàn thành xong công việc. Trí nhớ giúp chúng ta biết được sự nhận dạng nhờ các câu chuyện trước đó.

    Bằng cách này, việc kí ức có chính xác hay không không quan trọng. Điều mấu chốt chính là các câu chuyện của quá khứ đã tạo nên nhận thức về chính bản thân. Và thay vì phải sử dụng trí nhớ với độ chính xác tuyệt đối để thực hiện điều này, chúng ta thực chất chỉ cần các kí ức mờ nhạt, sau đó thêm thắt vào các chi tiết khác nhau để phù hợp với “cái tôi” mà chúng ta tạo ra và chấp nhận.

    Có thể bạn nhớ rằng anh hay bạn bè đã từng bắt nạt mình rất nhiều và mình đã cảm thấy tổn thương như thế nào. Với bạn, đó là lý giải cho việc bản thân dễ nhạy cảm, hay lo lắng và khá e dè. Nhưng có lẽ kí ức đó không hề làm bạn tổn thương nhiều như mình đã nghĩ. Có lẽ khi nhớ về việc anh trai đã bắt nạt bạn lúc xưa, bạn đã dùng những cảm xúc ngay lúc này – nhạy cảm, lo lắng và e dè – và neo nó vào kí ức cũ, dù đống cảm xúc đó có khi lại chả hề liên quan gì đến việc anh trai đã bắt nạt bạn.

    Kể từ giờ phút này, kí ức về việc ông anh trai đã nhẫn tâm và làm bạn tổn thương, dù đúng hay không, cũng đã gắn vào đặc điểm nhận dạng của bạn – một người dễ nhạy cảm, hay lo lắng. Đồng thời, đặc điểm này đã khiến bạn đưa ra những hành động đáng xấu hổ và tạo thêm nhiều đau khổ trong cuộc đời mình.

    Có phải bạn đang hỏi tôi là: “Mark, vậy thì việc “tôi nghĩ tôi là ai” chỉ là một đống những ý tưởng bịa đặt do não bộ tạo ra thôi ư?”

    Vâng, đúng thế đấy.

    7. ‘BẠN KHÔNG PHẢI LÀ ĐIỀU MÌNH NGHĨ

    Hãy xem xét khía cạnh này: cách bạn thể hiện bản thân trên Facebook có lẽ không thực sự giống như cách bạn thể hiện bản thân khi rời “thế giới ảo”. Cách bạn hành xử lúc ở gần ông bà có lẽ sẽ khác khá nhiều so với lúc đi chơi với bạn bè. Bạn có “cái tôi tại công việc”, “cái tôi tại nhà””, “cái tôi trong gia đình”, “cái tôi khi ở một mình” và còn rất nhiều “cái tôi” khác nữa mà bạn dùng để điều hướng và sống sót trong thế giới xã hội phức tạp này.

    Nhưng đâu mới là cái tôi “đích thực”?

    Chúng ta có thể nghĩ rằng có lẽ một trong những bản sao ở trên thể hiện chính mình thực nhất. Nhưng một lần nữa, tất cả những việc bạn làm chỉ là lặp đi lặp lại câu chuyện vốn đã chiếm hữu trong đầu mình, những câu chuyện được tạo ra bởi các thông tin sai lệch.

    Trong hơn một vài thập kỉ, các nhà tâm lý học xã hội đã khám phá ra một sự thật mà chúng ta khó lòng nào chấp nhận: cái tôi đích thực (core self) – cái tôi không thay đổi, cái tôi bất biến – chỉ là ảo tưởng mà thôi. (11) Một nghiên cứu mới đang bắt đầu chỉ ra việc cách thức bộ não tạo nên cảm giác về cái tôi cũng như việc sử dụng các thuốc gây ảo giác có thể tạm thời làm thay đổi sự vận hành của não bộ, khiến não tạo ra những ảo giác tạm thời về các định dạng bản thân.(12)

    Điều trớ trêu là tất cả những thí nghiệm này – tuy được xuất bản trong những cuốn sách đắt tiền, được viết bởi những chuyên gia có tiếng – hóa ra chỉ đang lặp lại các triết lý truyền thống phương Đông mà các thiền sư giảng giải trong suốt hàng thế kỉ nay. Trong khi việc duy nhất mà các thiền sư làm chỉ là ngồi yên trong các hang động và không nghĩ gì cả trong vài năm.(13)

    Ở phương Tây, con người thường xuyên đề cao cái tôi cá nhân trong nhiều nền văn hóa – chưa kể tới trong ngành công nghiệp quảng cáo – khiến chúng ta không ngừng tìm cách “định dạng” bản thân mà hiếm khi chịu dừng lại đủ lâu để tự vấn rằng liệu điều này có cần thiết để lao đầu vào hay không. Có lẽ ý tưởng về việc “nhận dạng bản thân” vừa hại vừa giúp chúng ta. Có lẽ nó đang trói buộc chúng ta nhiều hơn là giải phóng chính mình. Tất nhiên, thật tuyệt khi bạn biết mình muốn hoặc thích gì, nhưng bạn vẫn có thể theo đuổi ước mơ và mục tiêu của bản thân mà không cần phải dựa vào ý niệm chắc chắn về sự định dạng.

    8. TRẢI NGHIỆM THỂ CHẤT CỦA BẠN TRONG THẾ GIỚI NÀY KHÔNG HOÀN TOÀN LÀ THẬT

    Chúng ta đang sở hữu một hệ thống thần kinh phức tạp. Nhờ có nó mà thông tin không ngừng được truyền đến não bộ. Theo một số tính toán, hệ thống giác quan – thị giác, xúc giác, khứu giác, thính giác, vị giác và sự cân bằng – gửi 11 triệu bit thông tin đến não chỉ trong vài giây. (14)

    Nhưng kể cả như thế, chúng ta vẫn không thể nhận thức được những sự vật sự việc li ti, khó nhìn thấy. Ánh sáng mà chúng ta thấy được chỉ là một phần nhỏ trong dải quang phổ điện từ. Chúng ta không thể thấy được điều này trong khi các loài chim hay côn trùng lại có thể. Chó có thể nghe và ngửi được những thứ mà chúng ta thậm chí không ý thức được sự tồn tại. Hệ thần kinh của chúng ta hoạt động vừa như bộ máy thu thập thông tin vừa như bộ máy lọc thông tin.

    Hơn hết, tâm thức của con người chỉ có thể kiểm soát được 60 bit thông tin trong một giây khi chúng ta đang tham gia vào các hoạt động gắn với trí thông minh (đọc sách, chơi nhạc cụ, …) (15)

    Có nghĩa là, bạn chỉ có thể ý thức được khoảng 0.000005454% phần thông tin mà não bộ nhận được trong khi đang còn tỉnh.

    Để dễ hiểu hơn, hãy tưởng tượng là với mỗi chữ mà bạn nhìn thấy và đọc trong bài viết này, có 536,303,630 chữ khác mà bạn không thể nhìn thấy.

    Về cơ bản, đó là cách chúng ta sống trong thế giới này mỗi ngày.

    Tác giả: Mark Manson
    Dịch: Hạnh Nguyên
    Nguồn: https://markmanson.net/trust

    Ghi chú:

    1. See Roy Baumeister and Aaron Beck’s Evil: Inside Human Violence and Cruelty.↵
    2. See: The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker, Chapter 8, to be exact.↵
    3. These experiments and more explained in Robert Cialdini’s timeless book Influence.↵

    4. This is a shitty summary of an experiment conducted by Dan Ariely of Duke University, discussed in his excellent book Predictably Irrational.↵

    5. In fact, your brain has completely independent processes for each of these and both function independently of logic and reason. See Dr. Robert Burton’s book On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You’re Not.↵

    6. Andrade, E. B., & Ariely, D. (2009). The enduring impact of transient emotions on decision making. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 109(1), 1–8.↵

              As the Conceptual Age fades the Meaning Age rises        
    For years, we filled our brains and the mouths of the transaction between the information age - the era of computerization - and the conceptual age in the hope that this could save western economies from the ultimate nightmare of globalization of work and offshoring. We believed that thanks to our supposed greater ability to design great products, experiences and eventually statuses, we may have succeeded to the threat. The news is that this is not happening.
              CASTLE BRAINSKULL UNDER SIEGE!        


              Elysium Artwork        
    We've finally been cleared to show some of the work we produced for Elysium! 
    So here are some of my favourite designs from the thousands we at Weta created.

    ROBOTICS
























    Fashion model robots:








    SYNTHETICS














    MILITARY HARDWARE





















    VEHICLES












    GRAPHIC NOVEL IMAGES
















              By: Catherine        
    Hi! I'm Cateure from Instagram, we just friended each other and I really love your blog and am so impressed that you were in Carol J Adam's book! That's so awesome! I just did a paper on why feminist ethics are the solution to animal exploitation...so I love her work and I am so intrigued with the connection between woman and body vs. male and brain and how that affects our diet and the exploitation of animals, which are seen as bodies like women...ANYWAY. :) OH and love the girl crush post.
              #059: Fünf Gewohnheiten für einen besseren Umgang mit dem Internet        

    Michael Hyatt, ein großartiger Blogger aus den USA, hat vor einiger Zeit in einem Podcast den Artikel “Tweets, Texts, E-mail and Posts: Is the Onslaught Making Us Crazy?” aus der Newsweek zusammengefasst und eine Antwort verfasst.

    Ich finde die Gedanken daraus so gut, dass ich sie auch ver-podcastet habe.

    Lernen Sie hier also die 5 Gewohnheiten kennen, die Ihnen helfen, besser mit den negativen Seiten des Internets umzugehen.

     

    Die Links aus der Folge:

     


              #013: So finden Sie (wieder?) zu mehr Klarheit        

    In dieser Folge will ich Sie anstoßen, sich mit den großen Linien Ihres Lebens zu beschäftigen. 

    Der Königsweg zu einem erfolgreichen Anti-Zeitmanagement und zu mehr Produktivität führt über den Laser (das ist der kurzfristige Fokus) und über den Adlerblick (Übersicht über die großen Linien des Lebens). Beides führt zu mehr Klarheit.

    ### So finden Sie (wieder?) zu mehr Klarheit

    Hier sind die Zwischenfragen, die ich in der Folge immer wieder einflechte:

    - Wie würde sich Ihr Leben verbessern, wenn Sie die volle Verantwortung dafür übernehmen?

    - Wenn Sie so weiter leben wie bis jetzt: Wo sind Sie dann in 10, 20 oder 30 Jahren? Freuen Sie sich darauf?

    - Was ist die eine Sache, die Sie gerne ändern möchten?

    - Was habe ich heute gut gemacht? Was kann ich besser machen?

    - Was können Sie in 15 Minuten erreichen? Und wenn Sie JEDEN TAG 15 Minuten einem einzigen Ziel widmen?

    - Den Wind können Sie nicht beeinflussen. Haben Sie Ihre Segel heute so gesetzt, dass Sie trotzdem vorwärts kommen?

    Am Ende der Folge gebe ich Ihnen fünf Schritte, die zu mehr Klarheit führen:

    1. Fragen Sie sich ganz ehrlich, ob Sie die volle Verantwortung für Ihr Leben schon übernommen haben.

    2. Machen Sie ein Brainstorming und überlegen Sie, was Sie in Ihrem Leben erreichen wollen. Bedenken Sie entweder Ihr gesamtes Leben oder beschränken Sie sich auf einen Bereich (z.B. Beruf oder Soziales oder sonst ein Bereich).

    3. Entscheiden Sie sich sofort für ein Ziel, dem Sie in den nächsten Wochen und Monaten besondere Aufmerksamkeit widmen wollen.

    4. Was raubt Ihnen den Fokus auf dieses Ziel? Welche Gewohnheiten wollen Sie ablegen? Suchen Sie sich eine davon aus.

    5. Was können Sie ab morgen jeden Tag tun, um Ihrem Ziel näher zu kommen? Vergessen Sie nicht: Jeden Tag ein bisschen ist mehr Wert, als etwas Grosses fast nie.

    ### Weiterempfehlen

    Hat Ihnen diese Folge gefallen? Dann empfehlen Sie den Podcast doch weiter. Damit unterstützen Sie gleichzeitig mich und meine Arbeit.

    Besonders hilfreich sind positive Bewertungen bei iTunes. Klicken Sie gleich weiter unten auf den iTunes-Link und schenken Sie mir ein paar Sterne. Vielen Dank!

    Die Seite zu dieser Podcast-Folge: http://www.blatternet.de/013


              Interview with Kas        
    I was talking to my coworker, Kas a few days ago and she told me she made $18,000 in the past two months. I asked her what she was doing. She said that she had this side business in addition to her day job. I learned that she was selling Christmas ornaments in the mall. It was her friend's business, but because she had been working with her friend for a while, her friend trusted her with the merchandise and gave her 20% profit-sharing. If her share was $18K net, imagine what her friend's was. According to my calculations, her friend made $72,000 in two months.
    The business was selling Christmas ornaments at a small area in a mall. They rented one of those cart spaces. The rent was $25,000 a month, it was a special deal because Kas' friend knows the owner. They hire a few helpers on an hourly base. They sold Christmas ornaments with personalized name labels on them. It was a perfect time because everyone was shopping for Christmas ornaments, and the lines were very long.
    I believe they made a gross profit of 100K+ in two months. The ornaments are from a distribution in Hawaii. I was told that you would need connections to get to the supplier. Kas' friend has connections to the supplier and the mall. She rents the mall spot for only two months and has the spot reserved for her every year. Kas' friend has been doing it for years, and she will continue to do it indefinitely. It's a no-brainer. Kas' friend owns many business, including gas stations.
    I was really impressed that Kas made $18,000 in two months. She did say it was hard work, it was very busy during the holiday season. But I think it paid off well. She seems to be very good at making money. She told me it's easy for her to make money. If you're willing to do some work, you can make money easily. I'm going to talk to her again and see what ideas she has in mind.

              Nanci Danison's "Backwards" series on the afterlife: I read her first book on Kindle         


    Title: “Backwards: Running to our Source for Answers”

    Publication: 2007, AP Lee, 314 pages, hardcover and Kindle (free), ISBN  1934482005

    This is the first of a series of several books in a series about the afterlife.  The most recent appears to be “Answers from the Afterlife”.  I will probably order that book later and review it in more detail on Wordpress.

    Danison says she experienced an NDE while having a breast examination, from a sudden drop in blood pressure or an allergic reaction.  She describes the experience in the last section of the book.


    Danison describes “God” (so to speak) as “Source” which divides itself infinitely into “Light Beings”.  Somehow a Light Being maps to a soul, which seems to be the granularity of individual identity. The soul then maps to a physical person at conception in the womb. It is possible to theorize that the microtubules in the brain cells are connected to the soul.


    Her idea of higher connectedness to others does not seem to depend on blood lineage. But some religions (like LDS) do maintain that. Furthermore, other animals (ranging from social insects to possibly dolphins) seem to exhibit distributed consciousness which would seem to require genetic allele transfer of information.  But if a soul can find a prospective infant to join in the womb very shortly after conception, there is a moral argument not only against abortion but even deliberate childlessness. 

    She does describe going through a “Core” or black void before coming to Light (like Eben Alexander).  But the afterlife is not a “place” in some geography.  It’s not like the First Dominion in Clive Barker’s “Imajica”. 

              Avoiding Death by A Thousand Cuts        
    By:  Andrew Johnson, Ph.D. Time.  You never seem to have enough of it and it is the great equalizer of companies of any size whether they realize it or not.  In a startup, you have a limited amount of time to get everything done so that you have a strong product launch before your funds […]
              The Next Two People You Need to Start Up Your Startup        
    By: Andrew Johnson, Ph.D. It seems that every week there is an article or post that bemoans the shortage of innovation in America.  However, this is not due to a lack of great ideas and the pace of discovery in the labs across the nation.  The problem is getting the right team to lead and […]
              Get the Biggest Bang for Your Tradeshow Buck with These Tips        
    By:  Andrew Johnson, Ph.D. Tradeshows can be a great place to get the word out about your product and also to keep abreast of late breaking news, trends and opportunities.  However, they can also be very expensive.  Registration fees, travel costs, shipping and other logistical costs, not to mention opportunity costs by having your sales […]
              Are we there yet? The Secret to Keeping your Company on Track        
    By: Andrew Johnson, Ph.D. Every summer as a kid, my family would pile in the car and drive to beautiful Lake Champlain, Vermont for a week of fun and relaxation.  The car ride itself felt like a quick detour to the 9th circle of a place a little less nice than Lake Champlain.  This was […]
              The New Age Of Cities        
    Over at GOOD they have an interesting brainstorm initiative about how to rethink our cities and the way we live.  If you click on each heading, it will bring you to a brainstorm/discussion starter.   To see the full list of ideas you can go here What
              How I Created a Genealogy Timeline To Show My Grandfather's Life        
    My grandfather Joe moved around a lot during his lifetime: Texas, North Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, back to Texas, elsewhere in Texas, Ohio, more places in Texas, various Ohio cities, South Dakota, Ohio again. 

    Timelines organize an ancestor's or a family's family tree data—dates, places of residence, jobs, historical events, children's births—in an orderly fashion. I love them.

    So when I was making a photo book about my grandfather as a Christmas present for my dad, I thought a timeline was just the thing to help summarize all those migrations. Matching up the timeline with a map of all the places would be even better.

    My Grandfather's Migration Timeline
    Here's the timeline and map I came up with:



    The right-hand page lists each place Joe lived, with dates and details about what he did in that place. The information comes from my research in censuses, city directories, newspapers and other genealogy records. I'm lucky to have copies of a job application my grandpa filled out with his work history.



    Looking at it now, I can see some things I'd change. But overall, I'm pleased with it.

    For the map, I first tried customizing a Google map using free numbered place markers downloaded from here (Google's marker options don't include numbers). To create your own Google maps timeline, add a generic place marker to the map, click the paint can to edit the marker style, choose More Icons, then Custom Icon, and select the marker image file from your computer. You'll need a Google account to save the map.

    I didn't love the result for my photo book, though, so I imported a map image into desktop publishing software I have access to through work, and added numbered place markers I created myself. Then I exported the file as a JPG to use in the photo book. 



    I know a few tricks, but I'm not a graphic designer, so there's probably an easier and more artful way to go about making the map.

    Using Timelines in Your Genealogy Research
    Timelines are among your best genealogy tools. In addition to helping you easily share genealogical information, they let you: 
    • get an overview of a person or family in historical context

    • sort out a confusing jumble of information you've found in records

    • spot problems (why was Great-grandpa here and Great-grandma over there?)

    • note periods of missing information

    • brainstorm answers to research questions, such as why a relative immigrated or where your great-grandparents met
    Our new independent study online course Using Timelines in Your Genealogy helps you take advantage of all these genealogy benefits of timelines.

    It'll show you how to use timelines to understand your ancestors' lives and solve research problems, and how to create a timeline by hand or using websites such as Twile and Treelines. Best of all, you can take this independent study course at your own pace and download the videos and research guides to keep.

    See all the details for our Using Timelines in Your Genealogy course and register at FamilyTreeUniversity.com.

    SaveSaveSave
              Oh how easily we forget! Months ago (a year?) the ...        
    Oh how easily we forget! Months ago (a year?) the server was consistently slow or down. Now it's smooth as a baby's butt and fast as the Google. Is Federer your server? I love it. My Mefi addicted brain thanks you.
              A S’Minchin of Miraculous Matilda        
    Matilda is one of the quintessential geek kid’s books; the story of a nerd girl who uses her brain to bring a pinch of justice to the world is bound to resonate with swots of all ages. A couple of years ago I managed to get myself to Stratford ‘pon Avon to see the RSC’s […]
              Stone Smoked Porter w/Vanilla        
    Stone Smoked Porter w/Vanilla

    Stone Smoked Porter w/Vanilla


    Stone Smoked Porter w/ Vanilla Bean was the brainchild of Small Batch Brewer Laura Ulrich, who had a stroke of genius after trying Stone Smoked Porter poured over a couple scoops of vanilla ice cream. The rest, of course, is history.

    Price: $4.99


              Spinal Cord Injury        

    The spinal cord is a collection of nerves that travels from the bottom of the brain down your back. 31 pairs of nerves leave the spinal cord and go to your arms, legs, chest and abdomen. These nerves allow your brain to give commands to your muscles and cause movements of your arms and legs. […]

    The post Spinal Cord Injury appeared first on Medical Treatment, Medical Treatment centre, Medical healthcare Centre.


              Brain Tumor        

    The post Brain Tumor appeared first on Medical Treatment, Medical Treatment centre, Medical healthcare Centre.


              Primate brains react differently to faces of friends and VIPs        
    Two newly identified brain areas reveal how rhesus macaques recognise the difference between intimately familiar faces and faces that the monkeys know less well
              Chemical controllers: How hormones influence your body and mind        
    Does testosterone make men bald? Is there a love hormone? Do pregnancy hormones turn your brain to mush? New Scientist sifts the facts from the fiction
              Brain box: Multitasking chips that can match the human mind        
    An electrical component once thought impossible is delivering machine minds that can think on their own
              Lead Paint Cases in Maine        

    Lead paint is toxic and has a number of dangerous effects on unborn infants and children. The risk of unwittingly being exposed to lead paint is particularly high in older houses. Symptoms of lead poisoning include behavioral problems, anemia, headaches, and impacts on the brain. In a recent lead paint case, a couple sued individually […]

    The post Lead Paint Cases in Maine appeared first on Maine Personal Injury Lawyers Blog.


              I've been wearing prints all week        
    Mondays are always busy for me. Often the youngest grandson stays on Sunday night and I have to get him ready, breakfast and then do the school run. Then it's back to get ready and off to the Red Cross from 9.30 to 1pm. I usually have a few things to pick up in town when I've finished there then I go home and have some lunch and do some chores. Before I know it, it's time to pick the children up from school. I didn't get to sit down on Monday until 5 pm!


    All jewellery charity shopped except watch, Christmas present 2016 and earrings which are from Sainsburys.


    This is the coral cardigan I bought from the Red Cross last week for £1.99. It's from Monsoon.


    Jeans, M&S; Top, George. All bought at the Red Cross. Boots; Christmas present 2015 or 2014.

    Tuesday was foodbank in the morning. I worked so hard I was actually sweating - although I did have a jumper, a thick cardigan and gloves on! After the foodbank I spent much of the afternoon sorting out kitchen stuff for eldest grandson who has moved to a new place in London. I went into town to look for a few extra bits for him and managed to get them in Poundland and in a couple of charity shops. I was very good and bought nothing in the way of clothes for me! I now have three bags of kitchen stuff waiting to be collected...

    I have finished 'A Harp in Lowndes Square' by Rachel Ferguson. It was quite a strange novel but really enjoyable; I do like this author and have another two books of hers waiting to be read; one of which is a Persephone book. I've only managed three books this month as I've been crocheting. If I want to achieve more books read this year than last I need to get on with it. I should save the crocheting for when I'm watching TV.


    I've been wearing animal prints quite a lot this week. In the picture above which was Wednesday's outfit I'm wearing an M&S blue animal print cardigan over black cords and a denim shirt. All charity shopped. I'm all crumpled because these photos were taken just before bed.


    The boots are also charity shopped.


    All jewellery charity shopped. The earrings were bought in Devon last weekend for a £1.00.

    I went walking on Wednesday as well as walking around town doing errands like renewing my parking permit. I walked about 7 miles in total. I'm also walking on Friday  - as bus walk from Milton Ernest back to Bedford. I just hope it doesn't rain!


    This coat is vintage - I think. There is no label; not even a care label. It is so reminiscent of coats from the 1960s; they sometimes also had a detachable fur collar and often the buttons were huge. My mum had one. I bought this in Devon at the weekend for £3.00.

    It has  a very musty smell unfortunately which I'm trying to eradicate. I had it hanging on the line all day and I sprayed it with what I thought was Febreze - only it wasn't. It was Febreze air freshener! The next thing to try is to steam it with my hand held steamer.


    On Thursday I took the youngest grandson for his UV treatment at the hospital. He suffers from eczema and the treatment is really helping his skin. I took him to school and then went and did the food shopping. I didn't need to go Sainsbury's this week just Lidl. I used to do my main shop at Sainsbury's and top up at Lidl. Over the years (since 2002) the balance has now shifted, so I do the bulk of the shopping at Lidl and top up with certain things at Sainsbury's.

    I'm wearing a dress from New Look and an animal print shirt from Per Una at M&S. Both charity shopped in Devon at the weekend. Boots from Sainsbury's; Christmas 2017 present from OH.

    All the jewellery is charity shopped. I bought this necklace in Oxfam in Newport Pagnell early in 2016.


     I did a bus walk on Friday with the Ramblers and walked 7 miles. It is so much more enjoyable walking across fields and through woods and by rivers rather than just road and street walking which is what I've been doing lately. It was muddy but that's only to be expected with all the rain we've had.  I saw a buzzard showing off  its lovely plumage and saw and heard skylarks. I always associate skylarks with Spring but they're here all year  round, I think.

     More animal print today; a tunic from M&S; gilet from  Mc and Co;  both charity shopped. Leggings M&S retail and OTK boots bought on line.

    All jewellery charity shopped.

    I have been so good this week. I've bought no clothes at all and have put the following in the charity shop bag; 3 cardigans, 2 dresses, 2 pairs of trousers and 2 tunics. I've sorted out one of my coat/jackets to take to Ireland at Easter as I have a replacement one now.

    I also had a brainwave this week, so I'll share it with you although you may have been doing it already! I ruin a lot of my tights as my big toes frequently poke holes in the foot (this is despite me cutting my toenails regularly!) There is nothing as uncomfortable as tights with holes in the feet. As I tossed yet another pair of tights in the bin this week, I suddenly thought why not cut the feet off and add socks to cover the missing feet? It works but only if you're wearing boots!


    We went to see my son  on Saturday. It's his 37th birthday on Monday. We all gave him money and a few little extras from me.


    Everything is charity shopped except the OTK boots - online retail. The dress was BNWT and came out of the 49p box at the RSPCA in Sandy earlier this year. They were obviously trying to get rid of their winter dresses. Yes, I'm wearing the mustard jacket again - it goes with lots of my clothes; it's by Country Casuals and was 1.99 at the Red Cross.


    Earrings are old and from Sainsburys about 8 years ago - tiered necklace 50p from Red Cross charity shop. Bangles, ring and brooch all charity shopped.

    I've got tomorrow and next Tuesday afternoon to recce my walk for the Ramblers on Wednesday. I just hope the rain keeps off. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

              Journalists' passion for their profession makes them the go-getters they are, says study        

    New Delhi: Many people are in the habit of consuming alcohol and smoking cigarettes, but a journalist-specific study turned out intriguing results.

    A research team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US have said that even though all the drinking and smoking can cause journalists' brain to function below par, their love and passion for what they do gives them the power of mental perseverance.

    "Journalist's brains compared to other groups showed a lower level of executive functioning – the ability of the brain to regulate emotions, suppress bias, switch between tasks, solve complex problems and think flexibly and creatively," said Tara Swart, professor at MIT.

    Swart recruited a group of 31 journalists to carry out a series of tests.

    Participants were required to take blood tests, wear a heart rate variability monitor, answer a brain profile questionnaire and record their eating and drinking habits.

    Researchers found that the highest functions of journalists' brain were operating at a lower level than the average population.

    This was driven by a number of factors including high levels of alcohol, sugar and caffeine consumption (41 percent of the journalist drank 18 or more units of alcohol a week).

    Researchers also found that dehydration affected brain function, as less than five per cent of journalists drank enough water.

    The job of a journalist is more often than not, a pressurising one, but that doesn't affect them, say researchers. Their ability to endure and bounce back from adversities in the long term is stronger than ever, because journalists believe that their work has meaning and purpose, giving them an edge over other professions by helping them cope with pressurised work and increasing their mental resilience, they said.

    Similar studies in groups of bankers traders, telecom and sales executives show that they are less able to cope with pressure than journalist are.

    "It's been great to see the role that meaning and purpose plays in achieving mental resilience. There is more that journalists can do to achieve peak performance – implementing a few really simple changes to help their brains perform even better," Swart said.

    (With PTI inputs)

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              Hidden Words!        
    Word game such as Hidden Words is not just for fun, but a great way of exercising your Brain. Expand your vocabulary and spelling Skills with Hidden Words. nnPickup words from random characters and spell as many 3, 4, 5 & 6 letter words as you can before the timer run out. So beat the […]
              My new brother in law Brian died today        
    He died this morning from pancreatic cancer that had possibly spread to the brain,
    My sister and her husband got married on August 18 before he had been diagnosed with the pancreatic cancer it was a beautiful wedding, I'm so sorry and sad for my sister being a wife and a widow in such a short time. I know he's in heaven but I know how hard it'll be for my sister. I talked to her a little bit today and I tried to go to the BBQ saying goodbye on Sat and it's not going to happen so the only...
              Diminishing Obesity's Risks        

    Mouse data suggest that, properly managed, obesity can be benign.

    Food for Thought

    Health-care professionals typically refer to an extremely heavy person as being morbidly obese. The term reinforces the idea that the individual is at high risk of diabetes, fatty-liver disease, and heart attacks. Researchers who have been working with mice now report that certain chronic diseases don't have to be consequences of obesity.

    The team accomplished the disconnect by tricking the animals' bodies into storing all their excess fat within their fat cells, or adipocytes.

    That's not what the bodies of rodents—or people—typically do. Initially, excess lipids—fat—are stored in these cells, making up what's called adipose tissue or simply body fat. These deposits lie primarily in the breasts, belly, and thighs. However, once adipocytes fill up, new storage sites take up the overflow. Those new depots usually develop in muscle and the liver.

    Of those two depots, the liver is more dangerous when it becomes fatty. Straightforwardly named, fatty liver disease can arise and lead eventually to hepatitis, cirrhosis, and death.

    A drop in the hormone called adiponectin is the body's signal to store fat outside adipose tissue. Sometimes referred to as the starvation hormone, adiponectin normally remains high in lean animals. With obesity, however, blood concentrations of the molecule fall.

    Philipp E. Scherer of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and his colleagues reasoned that keeping adiponectin concentrations high might fool the body into making extra adipocytes instead of sending surplus fat to muscles and the liver.

    The team has now investigated the hypothesis in a strain of mice that make copious adiponectin regardless of how fat they become. In the Sept. 4 Journal of Clinical Investigation, the researchers report that as the novel mice mature, they become unbelievably huge. Indeed, muses Scherer, these are "the fattest mice ever reported," with fat comprising 60 percent or more of their body weight.

    As hoped for, the mice deposit all their excess fat in adipose tissue. Also in sharp contrast to other obese mice, the high-adiponectin animals develop no signs of diabetes. They also avoid a metabolic disorder known as syndrome X, which puts animals, including people, at high risk of heart disease (SN: 4/8/2000, p. 236).

    So, although these barely mobile, blubbery mounds of flesh look like wrecks, they don't appear to be at high risk for several chronic diseases associated with obesity, Scherer told Science News Online. Actually, he says, from the preliminary data, the mice "appear perfectly healthy."

    He suspects that there's a lesson in this for investigators of human-obesity treatments. Drugs exist that raise adiponectin values in even overweight individuals. Most, like pioglitazone (Actos) and rosiglitazone (Avandia), are prescribed to treat diabetes. However, data suggest these drugs also reduce the buildup of fat in the liver.

    Unfortunately, diminishing health risks in morbidly obese people may require far more than just supersizing their treatment with the diabetes drugs—especially since data reported earlier this year linked rosiglitazone with an increased risk of heart attack (SN: 6/23/07, p. 397).

    Fat signals

    Tissues throughout the body communicate on a regular basis via signaling hormones. Adiponectin is one of those messengers released by adipocytes to inform the rest of the body about how full the fat cells are. If they aren't full, Scherer explains, the cells pour out copious adiponectin. The body then responds by directing its fat into those cells for storage. As adipocytes fill with lipids, they turn down the adiponectin signal, telling the body that it's time to find new fat depots.

    Adipocytes release several other messengers, among them leptin. As lipids swell the adipocytes, the cells crank up production of this hormone. Once released into the bloodstream, leptin circulates to the brain, where it offers a status report on how full the fat cells are. If leptin signals that there's plenty of fat on hand, a healthy body not only experiences satiety but also reduces its food intake and burns more calories.

    At some point, a spontaneous mutation in mice led to a strain of animals that lacked the ability to make leptin. The resulting rodents, always hungry and primed to store—not burn—any excess energy consumed, inevitably become obese. Scherer's group worked with this strain and engineered it also to make extra adiponectin. The new mice typically produce about twice as much adiponectin as a normal, svelte rodent does. This excess is comparable to what can occur when people take certain diabetes-controlling drugs.

    In the new study, the researchers compared normal, lean, leptin-producing mice with leptinfree, obese ones and the new leptinfree-but-high-adiponectin animals. By adulthood, the new mice far surpassed the girth of the original obese line. But instead of having high blood sugar and insulin concentrations—characteristics of the original obese animals that mimic type-2 diabetes symptoms—the new megafatties exhibited normal insulin and blood-sugar values. In fact, Scherer says, the engineered animals had about the same insulin characteristics as healthy, lean mice.

    "That was a real surprise," he concedes—"that the [new] mice could get so fat and yet remain very healthy, metabolically speaking."

    One solution: More fat cells

    Most people are like obese mice, chronically taking in more calories than they burn, Scherer says.

    Lipid buildup in the liver is "really the driving force for insulin resistance," a metabolic change that precedes the development of diabetes, notes Scherer When this develops, the body makes normal amounts of insulin, but finds itself increasingly unable to use it. The end result: Too little insulin is used to move energy into cells, leaving high concentrations of sugar in the blood.

    The new study with high-adiponectin mice shows that "if you can overcome this block of overexpansion of adipose tissue, there is no need for excess calories to deposit as fat in the liver," Scherer says. Instead, fat can accumulate where it does the least damage, "in the professional fat-storage cell, the adipocyte."

    But Scherer doesn't want to say that excess calories are benign when they wind up in fat cells. Bulging adipocytes send out a number of inflammatory compounds (SN: 2/28/04, p. 139). It's not yet clear how important a role these compounds may play in chronic disease, but some have been linked to diabetes. Moreover, extra weight may strain an animal's joints and even its heart. So, it's premature to give a clean bill of health to mice whose physiques rival that of Jabba the Hutt.

    Still, Scherer argues, "from a qualitative point of view, these [new] mice are relatively healthy." Indeed, he says, what happens in the animals' tissues may explain why some very obese people are able to retain good insulin sensitivity and dodge the diabetes bullet.

    People who develop diabetes as adults tend to put all of their fat into a few big, inflammation-prone fat cells. However, some people's bodies employ a different strategy, Scherer says. They pack relatively small quantities of fat into an ever-proliferating number of fat cells, ones that never seem to undergo stress-induced inflammation. This approach is triggered by a "local overexpression of adiponectin in adipocytes." That, in turn, switches on production of a key signaling molecule—PPAR-gamma—that serves as a master switch "governing how many fat cells we have," he explains.

    "None of this is an endorsement for obesity," Scherer cautions. "But it shows that if you can expand your fat stores in a healthy way to keep up with your caloric intake, this will improve insulin sensitivity."

    Overall, he argues, "the best strategy is to eat less and exercise more. But for the many of us who continue to take in more calories than we burn, it would be better to expand our fat-cell numbers than to store excess lipids in other tissues. That's our take-home message."


    If you would like to comment on this Food for Thought, please see the blog version.

    Citations

    Philipp E. Scherer

    Touchstone Center for Diabetes Research

    Department of Internal Medicine

    University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

    5323 Harry Hines Boulevard

    Dallas, TX 75390-9077
    Further Reading

    Dormandy, J.A., et al. 2005. Secondary prevention of macrovascular events in patients with type 2 diabetes in the PROactive Study (PROspective pioglitAzone Clinical Trial In macroVascular Events): A randomised controlled trial. Lancet 366(Oct. 8):1279-1289. Abstract available at [Go to].

    Harder, B. 2007. Fixes for fatty liver. Science News 171(March 3):136-137. Available at [Go to].

    Pawlak, D.B., et al. 2001. High glycemic index starch promotes hypersecretion of insulin and higher body fat in rats without affecting insulin sensitivity. Journal of Nutrition 131(January):99-104. Available at [Go to].

    Psaty, B.M., and C.D. Furberg. 2007. Rosiglitazone and cardiovascular risk. New England Journal of Medicine 356(June 14):2522-2524. Available at [Go to].

    Raloff, J. 2007. Fattening carbs—Some promote obesity and worse. Science News Online (Sept. 29). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2007. Infectious foie gras? Science News Online (June 30). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2007. Super-size mice—Fast food hurts rodents. Science News Online (June 9). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2004. Inflammatory fat. Science News 165(Feb. 28):139-140. Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2000. The new GI tracts. Science News 157(April 8):236-238. Available at [Go to].

    Seppa, N. 2007. Diabetes drug might hike heart risk. Science News 171(June 23):397. Available at [Go to].

              Marzo, el mes de DSi        

    Al loro dentro de dos meses, porque Nintendo desata toda la caballería para el mes de marzo. DSi XL, la portátil en que el tamaño sí importa. Aunque todos podamos ser clientes potenciales, es el público que más peina canas y con algo de cataratas el público objetivo, y Nintendo refuerza bien el lanzamiento del nuevo modelo con dos juegos de DsiWare preinstalados( un minijuego de Brain Training y y el Diccionario 6 en 1 ), los más apetecibles a este tipo de público y así de paso les enseñas qué es el DsiWare. No sólo en formato digital, también en físico lanzará un par de juegos para acompañar la consola. El puzle que ha reventado en ventas en Japón Picross 3D y 100 Libros Clásicos, o convierte tu DS en un e-book la mar de chulo. Ya se podía dar por perdido después de salir las navidades del 2008 sólo en Reino Unido, pero Nintendo lo ha rescatado para publicarlo el 5 de marzo, junto con el nuevo Picross y XL. De momento sólo hay la confirmación oficial de salir en Francia, pero será cuestión de tiempo que se oficilialice aquí también. El lanzamiento más importante, el de


    Para acabar de redondear la jugada, el 25 del mismo mes salen los remakes de Pokémon Oro y Plata y en febrero, un nuevo color para la DSi clásica, el rosa, acompañado del ( algo fallido en ventas aquí ) Style Boutique en un pack. Buf, todo esta amalgama de fechas y juegos sólo puede traducir en: DS nunca muere, sólo se reinventa. Para Wii, Nintendo confía en tirar del pack Wii negra más los dos Wii Sports, la secuela de Endless Ocean y lo que den de sí las third parties, que no es poca cosa. Si no aprovechan esta oportunidad para hacerse un hueco, peor para ellas.



              ãƒªã‚¹ãƒšã‚¯ãƒˆã¨SUPER THANKS        

    どうも、堀家です。

     

     

     

     

    ベストを尽くせ。

     

     

    最善を尽くせ。

     

     

    全力で。

     

     

     

     

    それが少しづつ、形を変え、姿を変え、

     

     

    意識から、意欲に、姿勢に。

     

     

    想いから、闘志に。

     

     

    凄い仲間。チームになりつつある。

     

     

     

    本当にリスペクトです。

     

     

    WISMの奴ら。

     

     

     

    だからこそ、

     

     

    胸を張って生きる。

     

     

     

    調子に乗らず、現状に満足せず、常に前に進む意識、意欲、姿勢で。

     

     

    誰も追いつけなくなるはず。

     

     

    最高。

     

     

     

    明日の入荷。

     

     

    WISM × SUPER THANKS。

     

     

    抜群なの入ります。

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170608205939j:plain

     

    半袖のコーチジャケット。

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170608210005j:plain

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170608210027j:plain

     

     

     

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170608205317j:plain

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170608205343j:plain

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170608205406j:plain

     

    田坂はBRAIN DEADのロンTに、昨日入荷したこちらもbkhtとの別注の新カラー。

     

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170608205533j:plain

     

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170608205604j:plain

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170608205623j:plain

     

    下からライトが当たってて、怖いね。

     

     

    色は着ているブルーとネイビーとベージュ。

     

    自分はブルーとネイビーにします。

     

     

     

    値段は驚愕の¥8800-。

     

     

    本当に頭が下がります。

     

     

     

     

     

    是非店頭で

    失礼します。


              ãƒ‹ãƒ¥ãƒ¼ã‚«ãƒžãƒ¼ Repelica        

    どうも、堀家です。

     

     

    LAからしっかりした鞄のブランドが入荷しました。

     

     

    ブランド名は、Repelica。

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170529223422j:plain

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170529223442j:plain

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170529223509j:plain

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170529223530j:plain

     

     

    とにかく、トラベル、旅に重きをおいているブランド。

     

     

    BRAIN DEADにも関わり、BASE MFGもやっているBenが新たに仕掛けるブランド。

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170529223557j:plain

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170529223617j:plain

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170529223642j:plain

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170529223725j:plain

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170529223744j:plain

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170529223810j:plain

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170529223830j:plain

     

     

    とにかく収納一杯。収納、収納。

     

     

    そしてコストパフォーマンスも優秀。

     

     

     

    一度手に取ってもらいたいです。

     

     

    是非店頭で

    失礼します。

     


              BRAIN DEAD        

    どうも、堀家です。

     

     

     

    昨日告知した、BRAIN DEAD。入荷。

     

     

     

    世界的にもわちゃわちゃしてきている、このブランド。

     

     

    グラフィックの良さは、昔から。最近は服への拘りも出てきていて、

     

    毎シーズン、直ぐに完売してしまう。そんな状況が続いている。

     

     

    今回の入荷で、個人的に気に入ってるのは、スウェット類。

     

     

    カナダ製のボディを使用し、しっかりとした質感で、

     

    厚すぎず、薄すぎず。なおかつ、色もグラフィックも最高。

     

     

    自分は、カーキっぽいフードに、UNUSEDのオーバーオール。

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170518205546j:plain

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170518205639j:plain

     

     

     

    麻喜は、ダンボのプリントに、ITTYとWISMのコーデュラのパンツ。

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170518205710j:plain

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170518205738j:plain

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170518210429j:plain

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170518210444j:plain

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170518210500j:plain

     

    ポーサは、REVENGEに瀬名パン。このアメコミっぽいの最高。

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170518205811j:plain

     

    女の人が剣を刺して、リベンジしてるんです。

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170518205854j:plain

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170518210342j:plain

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170518210358j:plain

     

    そして、キャンバスのヘリンボーンのコーチジャケット。

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170518210001j:plain

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170518210029j:plain

     

    これも、厚すぎなくて、絶好調。

     

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170518210137j:plain

     

    刺繍です。

     

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170518205058j:plain

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170518205114j:plain

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170518205138j:plain

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170518205152j:plain

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170518205209j:plain

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170518205225j:plain

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170518205242j:plain

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170518205259j:plain

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170518210647j:plain

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170518205358j:plain

     

     

    問合せも多いので、お早めにお願いします。

     

     

     

    是非店頭で

    失礼します。


              RISEYと明日入荷のBRAIN DEAD        

    どうも、堀家です。

     

     

    毎シーズン楽しみにしているRISEYのTシャツ。

     

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170517151527j:plain

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170517151539j:plain

     

    今シーズンのメインのグラフィック。

     

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170517151640j:plain

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170517151655j:plain

     

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170517151621j:plain

     

     

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170517151716j:plain

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170517151724j:plain

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170517151733j:plain

     

     

    どれも、これからの季節にピッタリの、ご機嫌なカラー。

     

    宜しくお願いします。

     

     

    そして、

     

     

    明日、遂に入荷。

     

     

    BRAIN DEAD。

     

     

    一部ですが、ちょろっと。

     

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170517153206j:plain

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170517154115j:plain

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170517153222j:plain

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170517153234j:plain

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170517153248j:plain

     

    f:id:hynm_horike:20170517153259j:plain

     

    店じゃなく、俺が撮った写真なので、だいぶ下手。

     

    そして、オフィス感、はんぱない。

     

     

    写真はごく一部で、沢山の種類が入荷。

     

    渋谷も堀江も明日から発売!!!!

     

     

    こちらも宜しくお願い致します。

     

     

    是非店頭で

    失礼します。

     

     

     


              SEE THRU EXHIBITION OPENED 8.14.10 GALLERY 825 LOS ANGELES        


    THURSDAY, AUGUST 19, 2010

    SEE THRU EXHIBITION OPENED 8.14.10 GALLERY 825 LOS ANGELES

    Professor Shinsuke Shimojo of CalTech, 
    a world-renowned researcher and expert in field of vision, 
    perception and cognitive neuroscience inspired artists from LAAA/Gallery 825 
    to create new work reflecting scientific principals 
    exploring the intersection between photography, neuroscience and the arts.

    Ann Marie Rousseau photographs Romann Weber for "Science and Surveillance" 
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook 

    SMALL GALLERY and MAIN GALLERY

    Science and Surveillance
    A.M.Rousseau

    Description:
    The work in this project plays off Shinsuke Shimojo’s studies on perception and the interplay of emotion, decision-making and consciousness.* Our eyes are constantly scanning our surroundings in rapid leaps, instantaneously accumulating information as they move several times per second, all without conscious effort or knowledge. Shimojo describes the “gaze cascade effect,” in which a subject's gaze between two objects under consideration gradually shifts to favor the object ultimately chosen.  Research has indicated that these gaze cascades, also called orienting, are deeply involved in higher-level brain functions such as decision making.

    In experiments asking subjects to compare two faces and label one as either attractive or unattractive, Shimojo discovered that the more that someone looks at a particular face, the more he or she wants to look at it, and consequently the more likely it becomes that the face will be labeled as “attractive.”  This happens even before the viewer makes a conscious decision.  His research also found that the participants' judgments of attractiveness versus unattractiveness could be manipulated by limiting the length of time they were allowed to look at a particular face. According to Shimojo, the unconscious, spontaneous movements of the eyes work in concert and affect what are presumed to be more deliberate cognitive tasks when making choices.  

    Various studies in cognitive and neuro sciences have demonstrated that images—of a face, for instance—and semantic contents such as verbal labels interact through various mechanisms in order to produce a stable and consistent interpretation of the image.  In today’s modern surveillance society, labeling occurs in myriad ways, both benign and nefarious.  This continual labeling has far broader scope and more serious consequences than ordinary judgments of "attractive" and "unattractive," but it is perhaps influenced by some of the same subliminal forces shown in Shimojo’s work.

    The lineup of "perpetrators" in this installation shows faces with labels quite contrary to the presumed task of security surveillance, which aims to identify malefactors, terrorists, criminals, dangerous subjects and other potential wrongdoers. Instead these labels, which have been loosely extrapolated from the Buddhist tenets of the ten perfections, seek to discern those with traits most useful, beneficial, lasting and constructive for society.  Although these labels are essentially positive, the viewer cannot help but approach them with a consciousness of what it is to be watched and labeled specifically, and an appreciation of the complex tensions inherent in labeling in general.

    •“Gaze bias both reflects and influences preference,” Shinsuke Shimojo, Claudiu Simion, Eiko Shimojo, & Christian Scheier, Nature Neuroscience, Advance online publication, 9 November 2003; doi:10.1038/nn1150



    Romann Weber






    Marcie Kaufmann


    Ginger Van Hook


    Elizabeth Tobias


    Krista Kahl


    Mei Xian Qiu


    Meg Madison

    Siri Kaur



    Ching Ching Cheng



    Shana Mabari

    Krista Kahl and Ann Marie Rousseau


    Krista Kahl, Mei Xian Qiu and Ann Marie Rousseau


    Krista Kahl and Ginger Van Hook during the installation 
    of Connection 1 and Connection 2. Photo by Ann Marie Rousseau


    ASSEMBLE
    Dori Atlantis, Ching-Ching Cheng, Meg Madison and Mei Xian Qiu
    6' x 17' x 13'   Digital Photographs, Plexiglass, Monofilament     
    Photo by Ann Marie Rousseau


    Color Space
    Ching-Ching Cheng
    9"x9"x9" Urethane, Pigment Photo by Ann Marie Rousseau


    Blue Volumetric
    Yoichi Kawamura, Shana Mabari and Shinsuke Shimojo
    42” x 42” x 42” Plexiglass Cube + Mixed Materials
    Photo by Ann Marie Rousseau 




    Color Space
    Ching-Ching Cheng
    9"x9"x9" Urethane, Pigment 
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook



    Blue Volumetric
    Yoichi Kawamura, Shana Mabari and Shinsuke Shimojo
    42” x 42” x 42” Plexiglass Cube + Mixed Materials (Photo by Ginger Van Hook)



    Optic Chasm
    Mei Xian Qiu
    Dimensions Varied – Plexiglass Cube, Water, 
    Used Motor Oil, Projector, Tempera. 
    (Photo by Ginger Van Hook)









              Rat Brains Wired to Communicate at a Distance        

    Can rats read minds? Perhaps not usually, but researchers at Duke University have developed what they call a brain-to-brain interface, which transfers information directly from one rat’s brain to another. The interface allows the decisions of a rat on one continent to control the behaviors of a rat on another. To accomplish this, researchers in […]

    The post Rat Brains Wired to Communicate at a Distance appeared first on 80beats.


              88th Academy Awards        
    ------------
    Note 1: This is the fourth consecutive year when I am doing this. Hopefully this one will be much more readable compared to my previous attempts. Hopefully. (prev: 87th, 86th, 85th) This year, I also wrote a story with the tag-lines of the Oscar-nominated movies.

    Note 2: I suspect the ratings for this year's Oscars are going to be very low. I mean, outside of #OscarsSoWhite, Studios and producers need to freakin' make the movies available for viewing online (or in theaters)! I will pay money to watch these movies BEFORE the Oscars goddamit! Events are successful when people talk about it. And to talk about it, people need context. What should we talk about instead of the movies themselves, Clooney's tux, JLaw's stumble, host's fumble, and hot cleavages?
    ------------


    This is one of those years when I am not particularly attached to any movie that has been nominated. Atleast not for the big awards. But this year's Animated and Documentary nominations are a bunch of powerhouses compared to any year in recent history for these categories. It beats me why Inside Out didn't get a Best Picture nod. This just might have been a year when a Pixar movie, or any animated movie for that matter, won the top prize. Instead, we get Oscar-bait movies such as Room, Bridge of Spies, or even The Revenant. Mad Max getting in there is quite a surprise, not so much in retrospect. And yet, the top prize this year remains wide open, probable front-runners being Spotlight, The Revenant, and The Big Short, with the race getting more interesting than the movies themselves.

    Emily Blunt's omission from Supporting Actress and Villeneuve's from Director (yep, I loved Sicario!) seems a little strange, but Villeneuve's time will come. His every successive movie gets better than the last! And Quentin, what did you do? He is forgiven though for getting too indulgent, considering that he might be nearing the end of his filmography. I hope though that I get to see him, among others, getting a Directing Oscar some day. Some day.

    Right then.




    Category / PickNomineesVishesh TippaniHit / Miss
    Motion Picture


    Spotlight

    The Big Short

    Brooklyn

    Bridge of Spies

    Mad Max: Fury Road

    The Martian

    The Revenant

    Room

    Spotlight
    The Big Short: After The Wolf of Wall Street's rollercoaster ride, this seemed like pony carousel. I mean, we get it. Financial meltdown happened, and no-one responsible went to jail. Bravo! Selena Gomez explaining Collateralized Debt Obligations was cute though. Heh.

    Brooklyn: It gets a lot of things right. Saoirse Ronan is an absolute delight to watch on screen, with a well-deserved Actress nomination for her. And the way the movie transports you to the 50s is incredible, effortlessly shattering a lot of things we take for granted today. And we are not talking about an ancient era, just 60-70 years ago. Brooklyn also does not resort to evil-looking people to further the plot in a way Titanic did, and in a way that makes the protagonists' struggles relatable, real, and very palatable - in a way that triggers a "Life is such," response rather than "They deserved this".
    "I'd forgotten what this town is like. What were you planning to do, Miss Kelly?" 

    Bridge of Spies: This is the "America is the best country in the World" movie for this year. Although both Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance nailed it with chiselled performances. Coen brothers wrote this, perhaps it would have been a much better movie if they directed it as well.
    "Aren't you worried?"
    "Would it help?"

    Mad Max: Fury Road: This movie was an adrenalin-induced delight without end. Stunning camera work, absurdist humour, and louder than loudest everything, so much that one literally felt exhausted after the movie did not give any breathing space during.
    "WITNESS ME!"

    The Martian: Someone please explain to me why Inside Out is not in this category, and why The Martian isn't in the Best Animated movie category instead? What is the line between special effects and animation? Considering the state of the art for motion capture and 3D rendering techniques, maybe it's time we do away with the distinction. Anyway, The Martian falls flat compared to Gravity, or even Interstellar. Maybe it was just an excuse to rescue Matt Damon... again.

    The Revenant: A lot of people, including the Academy, seem to be particularly fond of Iñárritu. I find his movies boring, the technical brilliance notwithstanding. Birdman was perhaps Iñárritu's most enjoyable movie, and I didn't want Birdman to win (Boyhood... sigh). If The Revenant wins this one, of which there is a more than significant chance, it will be several firsts, perhaps the most interesting one being successive wins by the same Director. Sure looks like Leo's year though.

    Room: This was a hit or miss and all over the place. Some scenes were striking, in particular the one towards the end where Brie Larson goes back to the Room. Jacob Tremblay was spectacular until he was inside the room, and made his escape. After that it seemed like the director just didn't give a shit anymore.
    "There's so much of "place" in the world."

    Spotlight: This is my favourite movie from this category. Tense, crisp, great characters, performances, writing, Spotlight ranks high up there.
    "We got two stories here: a story about degenerate clergy, and a story about a bunch of lawyers turning child abuse into a cottage industry. Which story do you want us to write? Because we're writing one of them."
    Hit!
    Director
    Alejandro González Iñárritu, The Revenant

    Adam McKay, The Big Short

    George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road

    Alejandro González Iñárritu, The Revenant

    Lenny Abrahamson, Room

    Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
    As much as I loved Spotlight, I am not sure if Tom McCarthy's time has come for a directing Oscar. The race mostly seems between Iñárritu and Miller, both of whom are really fine directors. If Iñárritu pulls this one off, back-to-back Director Oscars would be a tremendous feat.

    Although, if I had my way, Duke Johnson and Charlie Kaufman (directors of Anomalisa),  Andrew Haigh (director of 45 years), would have found a spot here. And when-o-when will Denis Villeneuve's (Sicario) time come?
    Hit!
    Writing (Original)

    Spotlight

    Bridge of Spies

    Ex Machina

    Inside Out

    Spotlight

    Straight Outta Compton
    Bridge of Spies is probably in here because... Coen brothers. Perhaps the movie would have been significantly better had they directed it as well.

    Ex Machina had some really smart writing as well, reminded me of "Her" in a lot of ways.
    Ava: "What will happen to me if I fail your test?"

    I loved the fact that Inside Out got nominated for this, if not for Best Picture. They really got me from the moment the "train of thought" arrives. As cheesy as that is, really made me chuckle.
    "Take her to the moon for me."

    And as much as Tarantino would like to say "I truly believe in the material" for The Hateful Eight, he needs to sit on the bench for this one.

    Spotlight though, crisp, taut, engaging from start to finish truly deserves this one.
    "If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse them."
    Hit!
    Writing (Adapted)

    The Big Short

    The Big Short

    Brooklyn

    Carol

    The Martian

    Room
    The Big Short is a no-brainer for this. I haven't read the book so I do not know how it reads, but this is one of those examples of an "adaptation", from a non-fiction, that would have truly meant a LOT of work.

    Aaron Sorkin could have been slipped in here (for Steve Jobs), again adapting a non-fiction. Plus, in my opinion, his approach with the source material was remarkable and creative. With all the different sorts of issues Steve Jobs ran into during production, Sorkin was probably the only one who did the cleanest job for this movie.
    Hit!
    Actor

    Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

    FINALLY, LEO! Boy am I waiting for his acceptance speech! SIXTH nomination, and what a journey! A story of survival, revenge, and life is also possibly the most fitting way he could have won this one!

    But this doesn't go without mentioning the other quite remarkable performances in this category. Trumbo felt a lot like Argo, even besides the 'Hollywood making a movie about Hollywood thing' and John Goodman's huge (literally) presence. And I love this "genre" (if you may) too - Sunset Bldv., Chaplin, The Artist, to name a few.

    Michael Fassbender did a fine job and literally saved the movie, but the most striking performance for me from this movie would definitely be that of Winslet's.

    There are some roles where it is unimaginable for anyone else doing them except for Eddie Redmayne (you know, the kind of feeling we get quite often for Benedict Cumberbatch). I doubt anyone else would have been able to do Theory of Everything or The Danish Girl.
    Hit!
    Actress


    Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years



    Prediction: Brie Larson
    Cate Blanchett, Carol

    Brie Larson, Room

    Jennifer Lawrence, Joy

    Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years

    Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
    Brie Larson seems sealed for this category. She isn't on my top 3 out of these 5, so I will be a little bummed about this one.

    I am conflicted between Charlotte Rampling and Saoirse Ronan for my top spot. 45 years is a stunning film, and deserved much more than the solitary nomination it received, but Charlotte is really the heart and soul of the film. After Emmanuelle Riva (Amour) lost to JLaw, I would be too pleased to see Charlotte win this one, for a movie that has too many similarities to Amour.

    I wouldn't mind Saoirse winning this one either. Her nuanced performance in Brooklyn left you yearning for more.
    Hit!
    Supporting Actor

    Christian Bale, The Big Short


    Prediction: Sylvester Stallone
    Christian Bale, The Big Short

    Tom Hardy, The Revenant

    Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight

    Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies

    Sylvester Stallone, Creed
    The one thing that I loved about The Big Short was Christian Bale's performance. In the very limited time that he occupies the screen, every freakin' scene is fireworks. He would be my pick for this one, but Sylvester Stallone makes for a great Oscar story, so yeah... Mark Rylance.
    Supporting Actress

    Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs


    Prediction: Alicia Vikander
    Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight

    Rooney Mara, Carol

    Rachel McAdams, Spotlight

    Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl

    Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs
    It's a shame that Alicia Vikander got nominated for The Danish Girl instead of Ex Machina. I am nuts about Alicia Vikander, she is what I would call "vanilla" beautiful. I know she is beautiful, I don't know why, and I find it hard to be able to figure it out. It's like she only registers when she's in front of me, but poof as soon as she's not, enigmatic almost. I think it was a stroke of casting brilliance to cast her in Ex Machina, a role which hinged significantly on this quality of hers in my opinion. You know, artificial... but not really, feels real... but can't put a finger on why.

    But between her performance in The Danish Girl, and Kate Winslet's in Steve Jobs, my vote definitely goes to Kate. Them glasses. Sigh. And a performance that stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Fassbender's as Jobs, that's really something.
    Hit!
    Animated Movie

    Anomalisa


    Prediction: Inside Out
    Anomalisa

    Boy & The World

    Inside Out

    Shaun The Sheep Movie

    When Marnie Was There
    What a collection of movies in this category! This is a collection which is missing The Peanuts Movie and The Good Dinosaur - movies which in any other year would have made the nomination cut and might even have won!

    I want to especially talk about three movie here, Anomalisa, Inside Out, and Boy & The World, although Shaun The Sheep and When Marnie Was There are brilliant movies in their own right.

    Anomalisa is one of those movies that leave you going "How on Earth did they pull this off on screen?!" The stillness of this movie, the calm, the poise, the detail - both in the little things and the not-so-little things - is astounding. I could write at length about this movie, but anyone who has spent any time travelling to a smaller city in the US (especially to the mid-west) will get all intricate details they have managed to so gloriously capture. The absolutely shocking sex scene, the long takes, the movie playing almost in real time... Anomalisa is an anomaly done right when it comes to pushing the boundaries of what can be done on animation.

    Talking about pushing the boundaries of animated films, Boy & The World is gorgeous! Such raw beauty, it is a spectacle to behold. Lovingly crafted hand-drawn animation, the colors, the playfulness, the airiness, the fireworks-y sparkle, the dazzle, every still of the film could be a framed painting in an art gallery. This is how, I wish, The Peanuts Movie had been made. HAND-DRAWN! I hope we get to see more of Alê Abreu's work.

    Inside Out is almost surely going to win this one. Don't get me wrong, it is a great film, perhaps one of Pixar's top 3, if not the best. But it is going to win it for the wrong reasons. Animation has very little to do with what makes Inside Out a great film, which is why it was much better off getting a Best Film nod, along with the Writing nod that it deservedly received.
    Hit!
    Cinematography

    Sicario


    Prediction: The Revenant 
    Carol

    The Hateful Eight

    Mad Max: Fury Road

    The Revenant

    Sicario
    The Hateful Eight is on this list because... 70mm, Ben Hur lenses, yada yada yada. It's not the tooling that maketh a genius. Nope. But okay Quentin, you were indulging yourself, you are allowed to do that, of course.

    It will be a big surprise if The Revenant does not win this one. The cinematography, after all, is one of the biggest reasons why it has been getting oh-so-much love. But, have you seen Sicario! Especially the one scene where they perform the extraction from Mexico, sent a chill down my spine. That is a scene in the same league as the car scene from Children of Men.
    Hit!
    Editing

    Mad Max: Fury Road

    The Big Short

    Mad Max: Fury Road

    The Revenant

    Spotlight

    Star Wars: The Force Awakens
    If there is one award that Mad Max truly deserves, it's got to be this one. How do you even cut this movie?! Hit!
    Production Design

    Mad Max: Fury Road

    Bridge of Spies

    The Danish Girl

    Mad Max: Fury Road

    The Martian

    The Revenant
    Hit!
    Score

    Ennio Morricone, The Hateful Eight

    Bridge of Spies

    Carol

    The Hateful Eight

    Sicario

    Star Wars: The Force Awakens
    The Hateful Eight, again, is here because... Morricone. This is probably Academy's last chance to give a real Oscar to Ennio Morricone rather than the honorary one they had to give him a few years ago.

    Sicario and Star Wars (obviously) truly deserve a special mention though.
    Hit!
    Visual Effects

    The Revenant

    Ex Machina

    Mad Max: Fury Road

    The Martian

    The Revenant

    Star Wars: The Force Awakens
    This category is really losing its significance extremely fast. It is too hard to tell what's special effects and what's not, considering almost every movie undergoes huge transformation during post-production. Ex Machina.
    Deserved!
    Documentary

    Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight For Freedom


    Prediction: Amy
    Amy

    Cartel Land

    The Look of Silence

    What Happened, Miss Simone?

    Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight For  Freedom
    Just like the Animated Feature Film category, this was another powerhouse collection of films. I wouldn't mind Amy winning this one, Asif Kapadia is an accomplished director, his Senna ranks amongst my favorite movies. And, to be fair, Amy is an amazing movie, except, I didn't care a lot about the subject matter.

    Winter on Fire, on the other hand, is a movie extremely relevant in today's day and age, and has managed to put together some really spine-chilling footage and beautifully. It also managed to give a first-hand glimpse into a country that we (I) know so little about, and around events that are being played out right now on the global political arena.
    Hit!

    Total: 13 / 15




              87th Academy Awards        
    ------------
    Note 1: Hello, and welcome to the annual edition of my pretending to understand how the average-age-55-years-white-American-old-men vote to find the best movie of the year! It's almost like how the new Pope is picked. Almost.

    Note 2: Post 3.0 is going to be awesome, just like my previous two posts. Also, this year, a bunch of us got together to make an AWESOME app for Oscars - Award Street. Check it out!
    ------------


    This year is pretty much going to be Boyhood vs. Birdman. A lot of people are going to get their predictions wrong this year depending on which way The Academy leans, unless your prediction is that a movie whose name starts with the letter 'B' is going to take home the grandest prize, and you can be sure about nailing it. Personally, I want to be screaming "It's a boy!" when it's announced. That man, Linklater, deserves a trophy by now. He got nominated for the last 2 movies of the 'Before' trilogy, and has made cult classics like Slacker, Dazed and Confused, Waking Life, and School of Rock. He might just walk away with 3 trophies in his hands this year and that would be AWESOME. If The Academy leans towards Birdman instead of Boyhood, it will be sad, and them trying incredibly hard to be cool. Boyhood is an achievement, period. A movie event we are going to be talking about for a long, long time. It will be fitting if Boyhood is announced for the Best Picture, and this plays:

    I don't wanna be a big man
    Just wanna fight like everyone else


    No major controversies with the nominations, although no love for Nightcrawler, The Lego Movie, and no cinematography nod for Interstellar broke my heart a little. But then, what's an Oscar without a little heartbreak, right?

    Right then, let's get on with it.




    CategoryPredictionPickVishesh TippaniQuotesHit / Miss
    Best Motion Picture of the YearBoyhood
    I think this category isn't even a contest. Boyhood is by far the best movie on this list. Also, instead of the standard Film/Director split the Academy is known for doing, I think this year is going to see a Film/Writing split, between Boyhood and Birdman.'You know how everyone's always saying seize the moment? I don't know, I'm kind of thinking it's the other way around, you know, like the moment seizes us.'Miss. Birdman. Oh well.
    Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading RoleMichael Keaton, Birdman
    Another year, BC! This year's going cleanly to Mr. Keaton.'A thing is a thing, not what is said of that thing.'Miss. Well, I am glad. Great performance by Eddie Redmayne in Theory of Everything.
    Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading RoleJulianne Moore, Still AliceRosamund Pike, Gone GirlThe chills Rosamund Pike gives you! Goodness. I wish she won this one, but she won't.From Gone Girl: 'I'm the cunt you married. The only time you liked yourself was when you were trying to be someone this cunt might like. I'm not a quitter, I'm that cunt. I killed for you; who else can say that? You think you'd be happy with a nice Midwestern girl? No way, baby! I'm it.'Hit!
    Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting RoleJ.K. Simmons, Whiplash
    The only thing going for Whiplash. Simmons' powerful performance made this movie worth a while. His performance took me back to when I was in school.'There are no two words in the English language more harmful than good job.'Hit!
    Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting RolePatricia Arquette, Boyhood
    Boyhood could very well have been called 'Motherhood', and it would have remained as true. Patricia deserves this gold!'I just thought there would be more.'Hit! YAY!
    Best Achievement in DirectingRichard Linklater, Boyhood
    Please. Starting to feel a little bad for Mr. Anderson though. Maybe Mr. Anderson is destined to be seventh time lucky another year.'I finally figured it out. It's like when they realized it was gonna be too expensive to actually build cyborgs and robots. I mean, the costs of that were impossible. They decided to just let humans turn themselves into robots. That's what's going on right now. I mean, why not? They're billions of us just laying around, not really doing anything. We don't cost anything. We're even pretty good at self-maintenance and reproducing constantly. And as it turns out, we're already biologically programmed for our little cyborg upgrades. I read this thing the other day about how When you hear that ding on your inbox, you get like a dopamine rush in your brain. It's like we're being chemically rewarded for allowing ourselves to be brainwashed. How evil is that? We're fucked.'Miss. Iñárritu, Birdman. Oh well. Another year, bigger movie, Linklater!
    Best Original ScreenplayBirdmanBoyhoodThis is going to be a close call, but I think Birdman will pull through in the end. Also, if it does, the Best Picture announcement is going to induce double the nervousness. Writing/Film split seldom happens. The last time this happened was with Argo (2012), and Million Dollar Baby (2005) before that.From Boyhood: 'I mean, what makes you think that elves are any more magical than something like a whale? Yoy know what I mean? What if I told you a story about how underneath the ocean, there was this giant sea mammal that used sonar and sang songs and it was so big that its heart was the size of a car and you could crawl through the arteries? I mean, you'd think that was pretty magical, right?'Hit!
    Best Adapted ScreenplayThe Imitation Game
    The better crop are the ones in the original writing category. The adapted is pretty non-exciting, unless American Sniper takes it because of the emotions involved.'Do you know why people like violence? It is because it feels good. Humans find violence deeply satisfying. But remove the satisfaction, and the act becomes... hollow.'Hit!
    Best Animated Feature Film of the YearHow to train your Dragon 2
    No nomination for The Lego Movie was really disappointing. Nothing much here.
    'Some of us were just born different.'Miss. Big Hero 6. Blah. I couldn't care less without The Lego Movie nomination.
    Best Achievement in CinematographyBirdmanThe Grand Budapest HotelNo nomination for Interstellar was a disappointment. A win for Grand Budapest would redeem it.'You're looking so well, darling, you really are... they've done a marvelous job. I don't know what sort of cream they've put on you down at the morgue, but... I want some.'Hit!
    Best Achievement in EditingBoyhood
    This is a no contest. Editing footage spanning 12 years into this masterpiece!'I find myself so furious at all these people that I am in contact with just for controlling me or whatever but you know they are not even aware they are doing it.'Miss. Whiplash. :/
    Best Achievement in Production DesignThe Grand Budapest HotelInterstellarWell, I am going to pick Interstellar for whichever category it's nominated in!From Interstellar: 'Mankind was born on Earth. It was never meant to die here.'Hit!
    Best Achievement in Costume DesignThe Grand Budapest Hotel

    'You see, there are still faint glimmers of civilization left in this barbaric slaughterhouse that was once known as humanity. Indeed that's what we provide in our own modest, humble, insignificant... oh, fuck it.'Hit!
    Best Achievement in Makeup and HairstylingThe Grand Budapest Hotel
    A lack of Theory of Everything here was a little bit surprising.'I must say, I find that girl utterly delightful. Flat as a board, enormous birthmark the shape of Mexico over half her face, sweating for hours on end in that sweltering kitchen, while Mendl, genius though he is, looms over her like a hulking gorilla. Yet without question, without fail, always and invariably, she's exceedingly lovely.'Hit!
    Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original ScoreInterstellar
    Zimmer's score made Interstellar more grandiose than it already was. Just 1 win for him from 9 nominations, I think he can use another win, and deservedly so. Theory of Everything has a good chance of taking it away.'Those aren't mountains, they're waves.'Miss. Grand Budapest Hotel. This movie is on a roll tonight! Desplat deserved a win, nominated for 2 movies this year, and 7 before this.
    Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original SongSelmaThe Lego MovieI like 'Lost Stars' from Begin Again. But my pick is The Lego Movie because it was AWESOME, and these buggers did not give it a nod for Animated Feature.From The Lego Movie: 'All this is true because it rhymes.'Hit!
    Best Achievement in Sound MixingInterstellar
    There was a bunch of controversy around Interstellar's sound. It doesn't matter. A couple of IMAX viewings is what those buggers need.'You're telling me it takes two numbers to measure your own ass but only one to measure my son's future?'Miss. Whiplash. For not giving it to Interstellar, I tell you, Academy, "Not my tempo."
    Best Achievement in Sound EditingInterstellar
    see: above. Although, American Sniper might snatch this one. Also, I think Fury should have gotten a nod here.'And that our greatest accomplishments cannot be behind us, because our destiny lies above us.'Miss. Sniper made a headshot at TARS.
    Best Achievement in Visual EffectsInterstellar
    This is a no-contest. Why are there even other nominees?!'Do not go gentle into that good night; Old age should burn and rave at close of day. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.'Hit! Although it's sad that Interstellar might end its count with this.
    Best Short Film, Live ActionThe Phone CallButter LampThis is the first time I got to watch all the live-action shorts before the event. Pretty great movies, all. My favorite's got to be Butter Lamp, for the sheer ingenuity of script.
    Hit!
    Best Short Film, AnimatedFeast
    It's a dog's life.
    Hit!




    Total:
    13 / 21


    Who are you rooting for?


    87th Academy Awards...

              86th Academy Awards        
    ------------
    Note 1: Well, I did a post on Oscars last year, so I am going to do one every year now. Talk about being clingy, heh.

    Note 2.0: Post 2.0 is going to be bigger and better, aww yeah!
    ------------

    It hasn't been a stellar year for movies compared to the previous year, neither there nor here. A year of massive snubs too (I weep for you, Coen brothers, Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson). '12 years a slave' emerges as the 'Lincoln' from last year, and TEN nominations for 'American Hustle', are you effing kidding me?! The race is wide open (which makes it mildly interesting), and my prediction is that this year predictions in general are going to go for a toss. My sentiments for this year's Oscars are best summarized by the movie nominated this year for Makeup and Hairstyling, a movie that will be selling DVDs with 'Oscar nominee' plastered on its cover - 'Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa'.

    The complete list of nominations is available here. This is going to be a difficult year for predictions, so whenever in doubt, I will stick to a golden rule - snub American Hustle!




    CategoryPredictionPickVishesh TippaniQuotesHit / Miss
    Best Motion Picture of the Year12 Years a SlaveThe Wolf of Wall StreetThe Wolf of Wall Street is by far the best movie of this year, its only fault being that it isn't "Best Picture material". F.U. American Hustle, I wish Jonah Hill peed all over you.From TWOWS: "My name is Jordan Belfort. The year I turned 26, I made 49 million dollars, which really pissed me off because it was three shy of a million a week."Hit! But they got it wrong. Time.
    Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading RoleMatthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers ClubLeonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Streetsee: Best Motion Picture of the Year
    P.S.: F.U. American Hustle.
    From TWOWS: "I am not gonna die sober!"Hit! So disappointed for Leo!
    Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading RoleCate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
    Kill me for saying it, but I don't think Amy Adams' cleavage deserves an Oscar. F.U."Who do you have to sleep with around here to get a Stoli martini with a twist of lemon?"Hit!
    Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting RoleJared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
    see: Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling"Relax, I don't bite. I guess you're handsome, in a Texas, hick, white trash, dumb kind of way."Hit! 
    Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting RoleLupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave
    If only Scarlett Johansson was nominated. Sigh. And F. U. JLaw, Eff. You. You didn't deserve it last year, you don't deserve it this year.From Her:
    "You know, I can feel the fear that you carry around and I wish there was... something I could do to help you let go of it because if you could, I don't think you'd feel so alone anymore."
    Hit! So much deserve! 
    Best Achievement in DirectingAlfonso Cuarón, GravityMartin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Streetsee: Best Motion Picture of the YearFrom TWOWS:
    'The name of the game, moving the money from the client's pocket to your pocket.'
    'But if you can make your clients money at the same time it's advantageous to everyone, correct?'
    'No.'
    Hit!
    Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the ScreenSpike Jonze, Her
    The writing is just devastating. Devastating. Isn't that what great writing is supposed to be?"Sometimes I think I have felt everything I'm ever gonna feel. And from here on out, I'm not gonna feel anything new. Just lesser versions of what I've already felt."Hit!
    Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published12 Years a SlaveRichard Linklater, Before MidnightAnyone who has followed the 'Before...' series will hardly contest that Linklater deserves this, but well...From Before Midnight:
    "Like sunlight, sunset, we appear, we disappear. We are so important to some, but... we are just passing through."
    Hit!
    Best Animated Feature Film of the YearFrozen
    ♥♥♥♥♥
    'Olaf! You're melting!'
    'Some people are worth melting for.'
    Hit! â™¥
    Best Foreign Language Film of the YearThe Great Beauty
    The Great Beauty is what To Rome with Love should have been, or rather what this movie should have been called.'We're all on the brink of despair; all we can do is look each other in the face, keep each other company, joke a little... don't you agree?'Hit!
    Best Achievement in CinematographyGravity
    Technical awards for Gravity is quite a no-brainer this year. From the camera-work to sound, Gravity is, without a doubt, going to sweep the technical awards.'Houston, I have a bad feeling about this mission.'
    'Please elaborate.'
    'Well, it reminds of a story.'
    Hit!
    Best Achievement in EditingGravityCaptain PhillipsCaptain Phillips' climax got close to Argo's climax. It's tough to beat Gravity for the technical awards this year.From Captain Phillips:
    "Shut up, Irish. Too much talking."
    Hit!
    Best Achievement in Production DesignAmerican HustleHerHer was a surprise (and deserving) nomination for this category, and the minimalism in the look and feel of the movie only goes on to show how much thought was put into it. Oh, and yes, F. U. American Hustle.From Her:
    "Your past is just a story you tell yourself."
    Miss. The Great Gatsby.
    Best Achievement in Costume DesignAmerican Hustle
    Probably the only good thing about American Hustle. Yup, Amy Adams' cleavage wasn't one."But, you know I thought you were mysterious like my mother. Until, it turned out... the mysterious just meant depressed." Miss. Because in-your-face costumes are the way to go. :| The Great Gatsby.
    Best Achievement in Makeup and HairstylingDallas Buyers Club
    see: Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
    Hit!
    Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original ScoreSteven Price, Gravity
    While I really wish Thomas Newman, after being nominated 11 times before this (including Wall·E), won this one for his great score in a music-heavy Saving Mr. Banks, I feel Steven Price deserves this one. Check it out.
    Hit!
    Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song'Let it go', Frozen'Ordinary Love', U2, Mandela: Long Walk to FreedomThis is a tough one to pick, between 'Ordinary Love' and 'Let it go'. I do want to see U2 win, after they didn't win the last time they were nominated. And while you are at it, 'The Moon Song' from 'Her' is absolutely heart-breaking.
    Hit!
    Best Achievement in Sound MixingGravity
    see: Best Achievement in Cinematography
    Hit!
    Best Achievement in Sound EditingGravity
    see: Best Achievement in Cinematography
    Hit!
    Best Achievement in Visual EffectsGravity
    see: Best Achievement in Cinematography
    Hit!




    Total:
    18 / 20


    Who are you rooting for?

    86th Academy Awards...

              Possible Evidence for Re-regulation of HPA Axis and Brain Reward Systems Over Time in Treatment in Prescription Opioid-Dependent Patients        
    imageObjectives: There is growing evidence for a neuroadaptive model underlying vulnerability to relapse in opioid dependence. The purpose of this study was to evaluate clinical measures hypothesized to mirror elements of allostatic dysregulation in patients dependent on prescription opioids at 2 time points after withdrawal, compared with healthy control participants. Methods: Recently withdrawn (n = 7) prescription opioid-dependent patients were compared with the patients in supervised residential care for 2 to 3 months (extended care; n = 7) and healthy controls (n = 7) using drug cue reactivity, affect-modulated startle response tasks, salivary cortisol, and 8 days of sleep actigraphy. Prefrontal cortex was monitored with functional near-infrared spectroscopy during the cue reactivity task. Results: Startle response results indicated reduced hedonic response to natural rewards among patients recently withdrawn from opioids relative to extended care patients. The recently withdrawn patients showed increased activation to pill stimuli in right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex relative to extended care patients. Cortisol levels were elevated among recently withdrawn patients and intermediate for extended care relative to healthy controls. Actigraphy indicated disturbed sleep between recently withdrawn patients and extended care patients; extended care patients were similar to controls. Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex activation to drug and natural reward cues, startle responses to natural reward cues, day-time cortisol levels, time in bed, and total time spent sleeping were all correlated with the number of days since last drug use (ie, time in supervised residential treatment). Conclusions: These results suggest possible re-regulation of dysregulated hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and brain reward systems in prescription opioid-dependent patients over the drug-free period in residential treatment.
              NBC is launching a streaming service for the worst TV imaginable        

    If your secret shame is reality TV, and you live in the UK, Ireland or Australia, then things are about to get a whole lot more disgusting with the launch of NBCUniversal’s new streaming service Hayu. You’ll now be able to watch shows like Keeping Up with the Kardashians and Real Housewives as new episodes air in the US, as well as binge-watching more than 3,000 pure, brain-melting past episodes. The platform will work across all major devices and costs £3.99 in the UK, €4.99 in Ireland or AU$5.99 for unlimited access, plus there’s a 30-day free day. Hayu will also have social integration with…

    This story continues at The Next Web
              Follow The Rainbow        
    Hello! hope you're enjoying this Friday! sharing with you a few things today, I create a cute baby mini tag album, chipboard was painted and distressed then I cover with paper and images, I decorated with all my favorite elements: seam binding, lace, flowers, buttons etc... some of the images can be found here:Baby Tickets, Darling Baby.

    Hola! espero que esten disfrutando este Viernes! hoy quiero compartir algunos proyectos, primero este mini tag album de bebe, pinte el chipboard y pase un poco de tinta distress en los lados, despues cubri con imagenes y papel, decore con mis elementos favoritos: seam binding, encaje, flores, botones etc... algunas de esas imagenes las pueden encontrar aqui:Baby TicketsDarling Baby.







    Next a card created using the collage Magical Unicorn, I printed a cloud from the Digital Stamp sheet in watercolor paper and painted in blue, the stamp is from Recollections and I use some dies to create the rainbow. I added some German glass glitter on the unicorn.

    A continuacion una tarjeta creada usando el colage Magical Unicorn, imprimi una nube de la hoja de estos sellos digitales: Digital Stamp sheet en papel para acuarela y la pinte en color azul, el sello es de Recollections y use unos suajes para hacer el arcoiris. Pegue un poco de German glass glitter en el unicornio.



    And last a lovely set of tags created with paper scraps and cardstock, I use chipboard hearts, tea stained twill tape, lace and flowers. Stamps from PTI. Pink paper from: Amore Backgrounds

    Por ultimo un set de etiquetas creada con recortes de  papel y cardstock, use corazones de chipboard, twill tape teñido, encaje y flores. Sellos de PTI. Papel rosa de: Amore Backgrounds


     Thank you so much for taking the time to visit my blog, have a great weekend!

    Muchas gracias por visitar mi blog que tengan un bello fin de semana!


              Sucessful challenges        
    My, these look awesome: Bags from Menswear from Oh Happy Day....

    I would love to make these as gifts this year, but I need more practice.

    I started to work on my curtain project - Just a simple curtain to put up in the bathroom just to get my straight-line sewing skills down. But, after I had ironed my fabric, I got to setting my up new to me machine. And I ran into an issue. ....2 hours later and a phone call to my awesome mother and skype to try and figure out the problem....the bobbin was wrong. the one empty bobbin that came with the machine (from craigslist) happened to be the incorrect TYPE of bobbin. So the machine kept "spitting" it out. And inexperienced me, had followed all the directions and I just knew I had installed it correctly, couldn't figure out why IT WOULDN'T THREAD.

    Mother to the rescue "well, is it the right kind of bobbin? If it is wrong, then it wont work in the machine." Lo, and behold - the bobbins were different. As soon as I used the other kind - poof! sewing abilities abound. But by that time it was a Sunday evening and I needed to finish up some work before the week started.

    Believe me - now that I have the machine figured out, once this *&$^# work week is over, I will be in front of that lovely, old-school Kenmore, working my brain around something artistic.
              May I Help You?        
    Happy Happy Cookie
    I wrote a huge long post about things that make me happy, and it made me realise that aside from the obvious such as hanging out with my family, there really are two main things that make me light up. So I deleted everything else and I'm just going to concentrate on those two.

    One is learning new things. Some of the happiest times of my life have been when I was a student. Lord knows I'm not wishing to go back to college a la Avenue Q. I mostly enjoy being a grown-up and cooking is definitely one of the joys of my life. But researching, learning, acquiring new skills and using that big brain of mine, so woefully under-stimulated most days, really make me happy. So obviously I need to look for something that allows or even requires me to do that. I've been taking online Continuing Education courses in Technical Communication from my local college and they have made my life so much better. Learning new things was the one part of my life as a research scientist that I loved.

    The other thing that makes me happy is helping people. Someone asks for a recipe and woosh, just like that, I can Google it for them. I can teach people to make sauerkraut. I can help them set up a website or Facebook page. I can edit their writing. I've supported a university professor in using Learn. I've tutored high school students. I volunteer for my kids' school and my synagogue as a coordinator, making sure volunteers are in the right place at the right time. I love doing all of that. It isn't even the thanks and kudos, although of course those are very pleasant. It's the act of ascertaining a need and fulfilling it. Helping people was the one part of my job as a high school teacher that I loved.

    All of this makes me think that I need to look actively for people to help. I can research topics and write reports about them. I am learning new skills such as website design (in which I've recently finished a course), editing and proofreading (ditto). I should learn more about Excel and Wordpress and find people who need help with them. Because I can learn quickly and well, and many people have less time and inclination than I do for these things.

    So, I'll be setting up a website for these things, and I hope you will consider coming to visit, and maybe sending your friends. I would love to help you if I can.
              Is the Negative Voice the Evil Inclination?        
    negative III was listening to one of my favourite podcasts today - Jonathan Roche's No Excuses Weight Loss on Blog Talk Radio. It isn't really about weight loss, although that may well be a welcome side effect of listening to Jonathan in the long term. It's really about the Lizard Brain, the Imposter Police, or what Jonathan calls the Negative Voice. Jonathan encourages listeners to exercise, eat well, but most importantly, to learn to silence that voice that tells them that they aren't worthy of all those loving efforts.

    So why am I blogging about this now? I've been listening to Jonathan for years. I enjoy his direct approach, his gentle humour, and his uncanny ability to put his finger on the real issues his callers are struggling with. But today he spoke with a long-time listener from Israel, a guy named Steve. That was interesting enough in itself as the overwhelming majority of Jonathan's callers are female, although Jonathan handles male callers with the same ease and aplomb, with no hint of awkwardness. Steve has been dealing with some major health issues, but he's been doing well recently - swimming, walking and becoming more fit. That's all good, but then Steve said something I found quite fascinating. Jonathan commented on his positive attitude in the face of his health challenges, and Steve said that the Negative Voice was "what we call in Hebrew the yetzer ha'ra  - the Evil Inclination."

    According to Jewish tradition, children are born with the Evil Inclination, but start to develop the Good Inclination (the yetzer hatov) after they become Bar or Bat Mitzvah (13 or 12 years of age for boys and girls, respectively). The Good Inclination's job is to control the Evil Inclination, to make a child who is only interested in pleasure into a responsible adult who is an asset to the community. It is a long struggle.

    But the rabbis did not see the Evil Inclination as a demon to be exorcised - it is considered the source of many good things in life. If the Evil Inclination were banished, there would be no marriage or procreation, no one would bother to work or invent anything, ambition would be gone. The Evil Inclination drives people to desire.

    How can this powerful force for creation be the Negative Voice or the Lizard Brain? The Evil Inclination is not fearful. It doesn't call us names - on the contrary, it flatters us into action we may regret. Maybe it convinces us to eat cake we don't need, but I imagine that the desire to increase health and energy comes from the same source. The Good Inclination doesn't lead to the kind of fierce joy we get from being strong. If anything, it is more likely to put us in our place - maybe the Negative Voice is more related to the Good Inclination? How confusing.

    It seems that the traditional Jewish concepts of Evil and Good Inclinations don't map easily onto the idea of a Negative Voice or Lizard Brain or Resistance that is trying to keep everything status quo, keep your head down and don't rock the boat. If anything, that much-lauded Good Inclination would play the bad guy role, as it takes the Evil Inclination's wild energy and bops it on the head and pushes it into socially acceptable directions. Yet, anyone who does not learn how to function in society, at least minimally, is going to be seriously distracted from their creativity and art by the difficulties of everyday life. Wheels within wheels and layers within layers!
     
    This has turned out to be a somewhat abstruse blog post, but I really love combining different parts of my life in this way. I hope you like thinking about these things, too.





              Book review: HOT MAMALAH by Lisa Alcalay Klug        
    Hot Mamalah by Lisa Alkalay Klug
    So here it is: the long-awaited review of Lisa Alcalay Klug's latest book, Hot Mamalah: The Ultimate Guide for Every Woman of the Tribe (affiliate link).

     Lisa's publisher very kindly sent me a copy of the book to review, so that's my disclosure.

    When I first started reading this book, I felt completely overwhelmed. It really reminded me of some Jewish women that I know, and am somewhat afraid of - you know, those loud, bossy, neurotic types. It looked like this book was a handbook for becoming one of those, and I didn't really want any part of it. I argued with the book, with its lovely line drawings and wild typography, its luscious recipes and brazen declaration of female fabulosity.

    But then, it started to grow on me. It made me laugh. It reminded me not to take it, and myself, so seriously. It reminded me that every one of those intimidating hot mamalahs in the gym was a daughter of G-d, a human with strengths, weaknesses and her own lovability. It reminded me that having fun is an important part of the human experience, that laughing and crying and being sexy and fabulous and funny and enjoying every delicious morsel you put in your mouth is our birthright as women, whether Jewish or not.

    I've been blogging recently about akrasia, about the lizard brain and our tendency to self-sabotage. So many women have trouble with the Imposter Police, the feeling that you are not your true self in your professional persona, that you will be unmasked as a fraud any minute and taken away for impersonating someone you are not. So depressing.

    Hot Mamalah is an antidote to this self-doubt. Deliberately working on an image of yourself as fabulous, strong and mistress of your own destiny, whether you follow the cocktail recipes in the book or not, has got to boost your self-esteem in all areas of life. At the very least, you can't brood while giggling your head off at some really preposterous statement. You don't really want to be someone whose "neuroses have neuroses", but you know somebody just like that. At the very least, be grateful you aren't her. How about "You know you are a Hot Mamalah because your hobbies include baking, knitting, eating and impassioned debate." Or "You know you are a Hot Mamalah because sultry, raucous, and nubile describes you ... and your appetizers."

    The book is structured in the form of a meal (of course!). Starting with Aperitifs, continuing with Hors d'Oeuvres, through Le Plat Principal to Dessert. Each section contains lists, jokes, recipes and even some thoughtful advice about life, as well as the best kind of handbags to buy.

    This is probably a good place to mention the fabulous giveaway at Modern Tribe. Lots of chances to win seriously cool merchandise! But don't delay, the winner will be announced on December 3rd. Also, do not forget Lisa's previous book, Cool Jew: The Ultimate Guide for Every Member of the Tribe (also an affiliate link).

    In summary, this is a book that will make you love it despite yourself, just like the Hot Mamalah herself. Nu, go ahead and buy it, it couldn't hurt.
              About the Imposter Police        
    ImposterIt's a funny thing - whenever I mention the Imposter Police, women immediately know what I am talking about, and men look at me as if I have two heads.

    I first encountered this concept when I was a student in the Physics Department at the University of Amsterdam. I helped organise a symposium about women in science, and we called it "Stepdaughters of Pythagoras and Archimedes", talking about how many women feel uncomfortable in the sciences, as if they don't belong there. One successful woman scientist mentioned the Imposter Police, the ones who were going to come and take us all away for impersonating scientists. We all knew exactly what she meant. Despite our demonstrated competence, we are sure that we couldn't possibly be as good as those confident guys (who are probably just as lost sometimes, but would rather die than admit it). It's a problem, and while it is probably not entirely unique to women, it does seem to be more prevalent in that population.

    I know scientists, mostly male, who fit perfectly in their professional skin. They work extremely hard and sometimes get frustrated, but they do not doubt their basic calling. In particular, one scientist told me that he studied physics because he loved it and found it intriguing and worthwhile as a career, and that he did not once pause to consider anyone else's opinion of his choice.

    For the rest of us, struggling with the Lizard Brain, that fear of being found unworthy by whomever judges these things can be incredibly paralyzing. Of course, one could ask who gave those supposed judges authority over us in the first place. I think this connects with the akrasia post from earlier this week - quite aside from physical cravings that could be connected to food addictions such as wheat or sugar, or micronutrient deficiencies such as minerals or salt.

    I would love to delve into the way women sabotage themselves, put themselves down and deliberately destroy their health. I know that men do all these things, too (heck, the Greek philosophers who coined the term were almost all men), but I imagine that the forces behind the behaviour are different - I could be wrong.

    Who is with me on this journey? I would love to hear your thoughts and insights. Especially if you disagree with me!
              The Greeks called it ἀκρασία        
    Day 12: ἀκρασίαI first ran into the term akrasia, acting against one's own self-interest, in a post by Mark Sisson. I've had blogging about akrasia on my to-do list for a while, and tonight I finally sat down to do it. Grabbed a chocolate chip cookie before I started writing. Sigh. Paleo, huh.

    I have to admit that I found Mark's first article on the subject kind of abstruse and difficult to follow, even though I minored in philosophy way back in the last century.  He talks about free will, the weakness of the flesh, and the interesting concept that we only have so much decision-making strength in a day, that having to make trivial decisions all day long leaves us without the ability to make important ones by evening. A second article by Mark explores the physiological roots of cravings - lack of sleep, lack of certain nutrients, fear of social exclusion. All of these can lead us to toss aside our carefully reasoned choices and decisions and just go with something we know will make us miserable in the long run. I like these ideas,but I think the real answer may lie deeper in our psyche. Not that I claim to have that answer, mind you.

    My real catalyst for writing about akrasia, aside from my own regrettable weakness for gluten- and sugar-filled treats that will make me pay dearly at 3 a.m., was a lovely comment that was left yesterday on this blog, on a post I wrote over a year ago - one of my first posts, in fact. It was about fighting the lizard brain, Seth Godin's term for the resistance. the part of our brain that shuts us down and fills us with fear. I think there is a relationship between akrasia and the lizard brain, although I'm not sure exactly how it works. It's something to think about - expect more posts about this in coming weeks.

    What do you think, do you sense a connection between self-sabotage and the fear of success? What kind of words do you think we could build to flesh out that connection? Talk to me!



              Blog Post: Rooted In Shallow Soil        

    Gamers were dumbfounded when PopCap announced it was transplanting the Plants vs. Zombies series from the backyard to the battlefield. To say the multiplayer-shooter spinoff is a huge departure for the casual game developer is an understatement, but the aesthetics and lighthearted tone are a wonderful change of pace for the violence-obsessed genre. Dig beneath the surface, though, and you find some fundamental flaws that hold back this family-friendly shooter.[Excerpt]

    PopCap is known for making highly polished games that virtually anyone can pick up and play. Unfortunately, that equation only rings half true for Garden Warfare. The developer's simplified approach to the genre does away with basic concepts like sprinting, melee attacks, and limited ammo, making it easy for anyone to get into the swing of battle. However, the gameplay is uncharacteristically buggy; players get hung up on other characters and geometry, corpses twitch on the ground, and even the slightest bit of network lag renders some abilities (like the all-star zombie's dash attack) ineffective. A variety of classes and unlockable characters add some nuance to the simple fun, but PopCap's limited mode offerings hamstring replayability.

    Garden Warfare only features two main competitive modes: Team Vanquish and Gardens & Graveyards. Team Vanquish is your run-of-the-mill team deathmatch. Gardens & Graveyards tasks zombies with assaulting a series of consecutive capture points in a map, similar to Battlefield's rush mode. A classic variant of each mode disables upgrades and unlockable characters (making them less interesting), and the beginner mode gives you more health the more you die, but you're still playing one of two basic formulas.

    Gardens & Graveyards is clearly the main attraction. Maps have unique themes, and capture points are built around interesting locations that facilitate large-scale confrontations. Every map features an interesting final objective, such as sneaking five zombies into Crazy Dave's mansion or destroying the roots of a giant sunflower growing inside of a lighthouse. Gardens & Graveyards provides hours of fun, but eventually you get tired of assaulting or defending the same points on the same handful of maps, and Team Vanquish does little to alleviate the boredom.

    Garden Warfare's co-op offerings are equally uninspired. Garden Ops is a four-player horde mode, which tasks players with defending a garden against ten increasingly difficult waves of zombies. Aside from the occasional zombie boss or special wave, you don't have much to draw you in once you've beaten a few matches. 

    Garden Warfare's most interesting twist is how it incorporates the series' tower-defense elements into matches. Players can spawn zombies or plants in designated locations on the map, which then attack opponents autonomously. Unfortunately, these characters are treated as consumable items that players must purchase before matches using Garden Warfare's microtransaction-ready economy.

    The vast majority of Garden Warfare's content is locked behind its PvZ Coin currency. Support plants and zombies, customization items, weapon upgrades, and even new class characters are bought with the coins you earn from matches. However, can't just buy what you want; instead you must purchase blind card packs of varying prices. Consumable card packs give you a handful of zombies and plants to summon during matches, while more expensive packs provide random upgrades or character stickers – though you have to collect all of the stickers for a character before you can actually play as them. Like any good pusher, EA gives you a couple packs for free, but after that the grinding for coins begins.

    This faux free-to-play approach undermines Garden Warfare's promising tower-defense elements. Each plant or zombie you spawn feels like a waste of money; regardless of how helpful they may be on the battlefield, buying consumable packs just holds you back from the larger goal of unlocking more playable characters, which is the only motivator to continue playing after you've learned the maps inside and out.

    Those extra playable characters are worth unlocking. Although they have the same class abilities, each character has its own unique twist on gameplay. For instance, the marine-biologist zombie features a higher rate of fire than the regular scientist zombie, and the fire sunflower deals extra elemental damage. Unfortunately, characters take an exorbitant amount of time to unlock, and because card packs are random, you can't just unlock upgrades or characters for the class you're interested in.

    [View:3255212410001]

    Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the economy is that there's no option to purchase coins with real money, but EA says it may institute such an option in the future. Frankly, I can't imagine a world where that change doesn't happen, but it doesn't really matter. The progression system and tower-defense elements are already broken to accommodate the possibility. Garden Warfare is designed like a free-to-play game, despite the $30 price tag.

    PopCap's approach to class progression also plays out for the worse. Instead of gaining experience points, you level up classes by completing a series of challenges. Things start out easy – deploy five potato mines, kill three plants with rockets – but more specific challenges distract players from what's best for the match and make leveling up a pain. Killing two scientist zombies with a sun beam or shooting down three garlic drones seems easy enough, but what if the other team isn't using those characters? I went entire matches making zero progress with characters simply because the right elements weren't on the battlefield. Some challenges are downright devious; spawning five conehead zombies first requires you to buy consumable card packs until you randomly receive enough of them to complete the challenge. Luckily, you unlock all of the abilities for a class in the first few levels anyway, so you can abandon the progression scheme after that.

    Before the tedium set in, I had fun with Garden Warfare. Spending a few hours with the accessible combat and charming world was entertaining, but the random card packs and achievement-style leveling system killed my desire to keep playing. Garden Warfare's simplified gameplay and limited map selection can only entertain for so long – without rewarding progression, there's no carrot (or brain) at the end of the stick.

    The Xbox 360 Difference
    While both the Xbox One and Xbox 360 versions have their share of problems, the last-gen incarnation fares considerably worse. While testing the 360 version, I ran into increased gameplay bugs, load times, pop-up, and embarrassingly blurry visuals as the game struggled to stream in the high-resolution textures. These shortcomings don’t ruin the experience, but they are significant enough to earn the Xbox 360 entry a lower score than the Xbox One version. 

              Blog Post: Rooted In Shallow Soil        

    Gamers were dumbfounded when PopCap announced it was transplanting the Plants vs. Zombies series from the backyard to the battlefield. To say the multiplayer-shooter spinoff is a huge departure for the casual game developer is an understatement, but the aesthetics and lighthearted tone are a wonderful change of pace for the violence-obsessed genre. Dig beneath the surface, though, and you find some fundamental flaws that hold back this family-friendly shooter.[Excerpt]

    PopCap is known for making highly polished games that virtually anyone can pick up and play. Unfortunately, that equation only rings half true for Garden Warfare. The developer's simplified approach to the genre does away with basic concepts like sprinting, melee attacks, and limited ammo, making it easy for anyone to get into the swing of battle. However, the gameplay is uncharacteristically buggy; players get hung up on other characters and geometry, corpses twitch on the ground, and even the slightest bit of network lag renders some abilities (like the all-star zombie's dash attack) ineffective. A variety of classes and unlockable characters add some nuance to the simple fun, but PopCap's limited mode offerings hamstring replayability.

    Garden Warfare only features two main competitive modes: Team Vanquish and Gardens & Graveyards. Team Vanquish is your run-of-the-mill team deathmatch. Gardens & Graveyards tasks zombies with assaulting a series of consecutive capture points in a map, similar to Battlefield's rush mode. A classic variant of each mode disables upgrades and unlockable characters (making them less interesting), and the beginner mode gives you more health the more you die, but you're still playing one of two basic formulas.

    Gardens & Graveyards is clearly the main attraction. Maps have unique themes, and capture points are built around interesting locations that facilitate large-scale confrontations. Every map features an interesting final objective, such as sneaking five zombies into Crazy Dave's mansion or destroying the roots of a giant sunflower growing inside of a lighthouse. Gardens & Graveyards provides hours of fun, but eventually you get tired of assaulting or defending the same points on the same handful of maps, and Team Vanquish does little to alleviate the boredom.

    Garden Warfare's co-op offerings are equally uninspired. Garden Ops is a four-player horde mode, which tasks players with defending a garden against ten increasingly difficult waves of zombies. Aside from the occasional zombie boss or special wave, you don't have much to draw you in once you've beaten a few matches. The Xbox One-exclusive modes are even more disappointing. The splitscreen mode is an endless version of Garden Ops, where the second player doesn't get to save his or her progress and the boss mode relegates you to providing support to your team during competitive matches from a topdown map of the battlefield.  

    Garden Warfare's most interesting twist is how it incorporates the series' tower-defense elements into matches. Players can spawn zombies or plants in designated locations on the map, which then attack opponents autonomously. Unfortunately, these characters are treated as consumable items that players must purchase before matches using Garden Warfare's microtransaction-ready economy.

    The vast majority of Garden Warfare's content is locked behind its PvZ Coin currency. Support plants and zombies, customization items, weapon upgrades, and even new class characters are bought with the coins you earn from matches. However, can't just buy what you want; instead you must purchase blind card packs of varying prices. Consumable card packs give you a handful of zombies and plants to summon during matches, while more expensive packs provide random upgrades or character stickers – though you have to collect all of the stickers for a character before you can actually play as them. Like any good pusher, EA gives you a couple packs for free, but after that the grinding for coins begins.

    This faux free-to-play approach undermines Garden Warfare's promising tower-defense elements. Each plant or zombie you spawn feels like a waste of money; regardless of how helpful they may be on the battlefield, buying consumable packs just holds you back from the larger goal of unlocking more playable characters, which is the only motivator to continue playing after you've learned the maps inside and out.

    Those extra playable characters are worth unlocking. Although they have the same class abilities, each character has its own unique twist on gameplay. For instance, the marine-biologist zombie features a higher rate of fire than the regular scientist zombie, and the fire sunflower deals extra elemental damage. Unfortunately, characters take an exorbitant amount of time to unlock, and because card packs are random, you can't just unlock upgrades or characters for the class you're interested in.

    [View:3255212410001]

    Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the economy is that there's no option to purchase coins with real money, but EA says it may institute such an option in the future. Frankly, I can't imagine a world where that change doesn't happen, but it doesn't really matter. The progression system and tower-defense elements are already broken to accommodate the possibility. Garden Warfare is designed like a free-to-play game, despite the $40 price tag.

    PopCap's approach to class progression also plays out for the worse. Instead of gaining experience points, you level up classes by completing a series of challenges. Things start out easy – deploy five potato mines, kill three plants with rockets – but more specific challenges distract players from what's best for the match and make leveling up a pain. Killing two scientist zombies with a sun beam or shooting down three garlic drones seems easy enough, but what if the other team isn't using those characters? I went entire matches making zero progress with characters simply because the right elements weren't on the battlefield. Some challenges are downright devious; spawning five conehead zombies first requires you to buy consumable card packs until you randomly receive enough of them to complete the challenge. Luckily, you unlock all of the abilities for a class in the first few levels anyway, so you can abandon the progression scheme after that.

    Before the tedium set in, I had fun with Garden Warfare. Spending a few hours with the accessible combat and charming world was entertaining, but the random card packs and achievement-style leveling system killed my desire to keep playing. Garden Warfare's simplified gameplay and limited map selection can only entertain for so long – without rewarding progression, there's no carrot (or brain) at the end of the stick.


              a feeling of wanting to punch people when I heard them eating        
    Researchers have discovered a biological basis for misophonia (previously): "Brain imaging revealed that people with the condition have an abnormality in the emotional control mechanism which causes their brains to go into overdrive on hearing trigger sounds." The full text of the study was published last week in Current Biology (open access): The Brain Basis for Misophonia.
              Canine Facial Recognition Area Identified        
    You Seem Familiar Probably not news to us dog owners, but Emory university researchers have confirmed via fMRI that dogs have a specialized brain region for facial recognizance. These are days of miracle and wonder, this is the long distance call.
              Scientists invent Neural Lace        
    Scientists have invented a flexible electronic mesh which can be injected into the brain of a mouse. Once injected the mesh unfurls and meshes with the mouse's brain. Neural nets of this kind have appeared in such famous works as William Gibson's Neuromancer, Larry Niven's Known Space and Episode 41 of the 1986 cartoon series The Centurions
              why we care about what we wear        
    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Why Can't a Smart Woman Love Fashion?
    I had learned a lesson about Western culture: Women who wanted to be taken seriously were supposed to substantiate their seriousness with a studied indifference to appearance. For serious women writers in particular, it was better not to dress well at all, and if you did, then it was best to pretend that you had not put much thought into it. If you spoke of fashion, it had to be either with apology or with the slightest of sneers. The further your choices were from the mainstream, the better. The only circumstance under which caring about clothes was acceptable was when making a statement, creating an image of some sort to be edgy, eclectic, counterculture. It could not merely be about taking pleasure in clothes. ... I dress now thinking of what I like, what I think fits and flatters, what puts me in a good mood. I feel again myself—an idea that is no less true for being a bit hackneyed. I like to think of this, a little fancifully, as going back to my roots. I grew up, after all, in a world in which a woman's seriousness was not incompatible with an interest in appearance; if anything, an interest in appearance was expected of women who wanted to be taken seriously.
    *Pacific Standard - What to Wear? *Avidly/LA Review of Books - Lady Professor Conference Fashions *Racialicious - Haute Couture In The 'Ivory Tower': "The spread presumes that when a professor walks into a classroom she is a blank slate, a model to be adorned in fine clothing and given an identity. The reality is that scholars of color, women, and other groups whose bodies are read as non-normative have never been able to check their race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation at the door. As soon as we walk onto campus, our bodies are read in a certain (often troubling) manner by our students, our colleagues, and school administrators. Our professionalism and our intellectual competence are largely judged by how we style ourselves. Therefore, we are highly aware of how we adorn our bodies. And, like our foremothers and forefathers who innovated with American "street fashions," we, too, use our fashion sense to define ourselves, our professionalism, and our research and teaching agendas on our own terms." Tamara Shayne Kagel: The Feminist's Dilemma: Why We Can't Stop Caring About How We Look
    I find myself constantly trapped in a world where I desperately want to be judged by my work but at the same time, I want other people to think I'm pretty. I'm permanently berating myself for caring about my appearance, because I am aware on a mental level that to care at all is to be superficial. But at the same time, I find myself squirming uncomfortably when I run into someone at the supermarket when I'm a sweaty, disheveled mess... This cognitive dissonance is a state that most modern women inhabit all the time, but refuse to acknowledge. Instead, we talk and write and judge like we live in a post-superficial world. [...] It's a rare breed of woman who truly doesn't care about her appearance, and there are some women who only care about their appearance. But most of us fall in the middle -- wanting to be appreciated and loved and valued for more than how we look, but unable to completely expunge all interest in our outward image. If this is where most of us live, shouldn't we be asking for acceptance to be in this middle space?... Isn't it normal to hope that the picture of you is not taken from a horrible angle the moment you wake up and at the same time be concerned with society's obsession about the ubiquitous worship of an unattainable ideal of the female form?
    Sociological Images - The Balancing Act of Being Female; Or, Why We Have So Many Clothes (previously): "And, of course, all women are going to get it wrong sometimes because the boundaries are moving targets and in the eye of the beholder. What's cheeky in one setting or to one person is flirty in or to another. So women constantly risk getting it wrong, or getting it wrong to someone. So the consequences are always floating out there, worrying us, and sending us to the mall." *This Kind Choice - I Am Woman, Watch Me Shop? Part 1 – The Ever Changing Clothes *Part 2 – Appearance as Identity, A Double-Edged Sword *The Nation - For Women's Office Wear, Who's Making the Rules? *The Atlantic - No, It's Not Sexist to Describe Women Politicians' Clothes *Feministing - Learning to dress "professionally" in a white man's world Already Pretty: Why Caring About Your Appearance Is Valuable to Self-Care
    In order to move through most peopled societies, we are required to wear clothing. Nudist colonies aside, we've all got to get dressed every day if we want to leave our homes for any reason... And in my opinion, since we've got to get dressed anyway, we might as well do it expressively and in ways that feel good. I've said it before, I'll say it again: Dress, grooming, and overall appearance constitute the first levels of information about ourselves that we offer to the observing world. They may not be the most important, but they are the first, which makes them worthy of effort and attention. ...I've already acknowledged that how you look isn't the most important thing about you... But thinking of your body as a brain-and-personality-holder strikes me as short-sighted. Consider this: Someone who focuses virtually all attention, care, and love on their body is generally considered to be vain. So why would focusing virtually all attention on your intellect, creativity, and personality be any less imbalanced? You're not a zombie – a body that moves through life without a functioning brain. But you're also not a brain in a jar – thinking and creating in the abstract alone. You have a body. As long as you are alive you will have a body. In fact, without your body, your intellect and creativity and personality wouldn't exist. Pitting your mind against your body is like cooking up a personal civil war.
    Bridgette Raes - Are You a Devaluist and Don't Even Know It? (Guest Post): "Clothing is often seen as a superficial shell, and fashion a frivolous, flighty thing that gets in the way of the serious stuff. The real stuff. But I don't believe that. I don't believe we can neatly divorce the way we look from the way we live. I believe the way we look is a reflection of the way we live." Dress A Day - You Don't Have to Be Pretty: "You don't owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don't owe it to your mother, you don't owe it to your children, you don't owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked "female". I'm not saying that you SHOULDN'T be pretty if you want to. (You don't owe UN-prettiness to feminism, in other words.)" (responses to "The Princess Effect", previously on MeFi) *Washington Post - Being informed and fashionable is natural for women *Flavorwire - The Catch-22 of Women's Magazines *Kat Stoeffel - Finally, 'Serious' Women Are Standing Up for Fashion Magazines: "As long as we all need to get dressed each morning, clothing will be a communication tool... Men and women both choose how they deploy the language of fashion; but women, deprived of the suit-as-uniform, still face unique challenges in fashion fluency... Women's magazines — especially when they work with women like Clinton, Abramson, and Mastromonaco — offer other women a map for navigating style and other sexist minefields without compromising their intellectual integrity. For that, we should celebrate them. And if we want to level the playing field, we should start by posing the same "frivolous" questions of men." *Ms. Magazine - If the Clothes Fit: A Feminist Takes on Fashion: "If feminists ignore fashion, we are ceding our power to influence it. Fortunately, history has shown that feminists can, instead, harness fashion and use it for our own political purposes." *GirltalkHQ - Fashion Vs Feminism: Can You Like Both? We Break It Down *Greta Christina - Fashion is a Feminist Issue: "In fact, fashion and style are so much like a language, I'm always a bit baffled when people say things like, "I want to be judged on who I am, not on the clothes I wear." It's a bit like saying, "I want to be judged on who I am, not on the words that come out of my mouth." ...Fashion is a form of expression. A language of sorts. An art form, even. It's also one of the very few art forms/ languages/ forms of expression in which women have more freedom than men... And I don't think it's an accident that it's typically seen as shallow, trivial, and vain." Medium (Backlash Book Club) - And Another Question: What Ever Happened to Pantsuits?: "Faludi writes about fashion as if women were totally subservient to its dictates (and as if its dictates were unified), but, of course, most women—precisely because they are judged so much by their appearance—know how to manipulate, subvert, and use clothes. To some extent, they're tools, like hammers." The New Inquiry, Vol. 20 - Sept. 2013, "Off Brand" issue (link opens PDF file) "We are told we must be clothed, and then that our clothes are not good enough.That fashion is predicated on this cruelty—making luxury of necessity, and necessity of a luxury—makes it as morally questionable as the behavior of foodies. Fine: We accept this. But we are also told that we must be bodies and that our bodies are not good enough, and fashion (at least for those who fit into it) can provide an escape from the disappointment of our flesh. Some of us feel we were born into the wrong body; for that, fashion is the first corrective. For others, fashion is the first rebellion... In selecting appearances, we want not only to be seen but sometimes to be heard before we speak. Fashion can be a weapon of the silenced, even when it is seized and wielded by those who have always talked loudest." *Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa - Fashion for Feminists: How fashion and dress shape women's identities *Migrant Woman Magazine - Asalet Tulaz: I like being the colour of feminism *Buzzfeed - How Iran's Young Women Are Using Fashion To Influence Politics *Minh-Ha T. Pham - Why Fashion Should Stop Trying to be Diverse *À l'allure garçonnière - Fashion Blogging Culture: Demanding Substance Over Style *Tanisha C. Ford - You Betta Werk!: Professors Talk Style Politics: "Below are excerpts from some of the interviews I conducted with women professors of color. Together, these interviews illustrate that studies on fashion and adornment politics offer a powerful lens through which we can explore other important issues such as women's rights, motherhood and relationship status, pleasure and sexuality, and the politics of "respectability."" Alison Bancroft - How Fashion is Queer: "The feminine is as much of a minority interest in culture as it is anywhere else in life. The only exception to this is fashion. This is why fashion is a radical creative space where heterosexual gender binaries are irrelevant and queer is the default setting, and it is also why fashion is routinely denigrated and dismissed." Final Fashion - so, is fashion feminist?: "Why is the visual aspect of fashion so inextricably linked to feminism, and why is it worth considering how to dress like a feminist?" Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie previously on MeFi: the danger of a single story
              'Whoa... big brain huh... cool!'"        
    Lovatt reasoned that if she could live with a dolphin around the clock, nurturing its interest in making human-like sounds, like a mother teaching a child to speak, they'd have more success. - stories from the NASA- funded project to teach Dolphins to talk using LSD (among other methods. )
              we know a lot, but not everything        
    Inside the Science of an Amazing New Surgery Called Deep Brain Stimulation
              BRAIN Initiative        
    President Obama recently announced a big new effort to map and understand the human brain. What are we trying to learn about our brains? One thing we will earn is how our brains are structured, "not this well-organized hierarchical control system where everything is in order." Another is how much of mental illness is shaped by experience and society, as opposed to chemical or structural factors. What do we already know about our brains? 12 Things We Know About How The Brain Works. And we know that unconcious processing improves decision-making. That brain structure may be linked to placebo response. And that unconcious brains can read and do math. We know a little bit more about how the brain responds to addiction. And we know that "genetic, molecular and cellular mechanisms" in childhood can have permanent ill effects. We think that differences in our brain reflect political differences. But we know that a lot of pop neuroscience is bollocks. What could we do with new information? Could we reverse-engineer AI? Manipulate our brains, neuron-by-neuron? Make better soldiers? Or record dreams? Or activate neurons with light? Or make better, crowdsourced brain maps? Neurotechnology, Social Control, And Revolution
    In our neuro-centric world-view, a person is equated to his brain. The neuro-discourse has penetrated all aspects of our lives from law to politics to literature to medicine to physics. As part of this neuro-revolution, huge military funding is supporting neuro-scientific research; a huge body of basic knowledge on memory, belief formation, cognition and sensory modalities has been gathered over years, with fieldslike social neuroscience, cultural neuroscience, neuroeconomics and neuromarketing has emerging to improve our lifestyle; neurotechnological know-how from wireless non invasive technologies to neuroelectronic interfaces is exponentially advancing; and neurotechnology business reports indicates the rapid increase in neurotechnological start ups and the willingness of bringing neurotechnological products to the market. In my opinion, all the aforementioned indicators indicate that neurotechnology can be potentially used to control social dynamics.

              BRRRAAAIIIIINNNNSSSS!!!        
    Pictures of some brains from the Texas State Mental Hospital. (Not for the squemish.) "I walked into a storage closet filled with approximately one-hundred human brains, none of them normal, taken from patients at the Texas State Mental Hospital. The brains sat in large jars of fluid, each labeled with a date of death or autopsy, a brief description in Latin, and a case number."
              Into the Future        
    Hey! The Bad Brains have a new album out! You can give it a spin here at ye olde You Tubes.
              Don't even Blink...        
    Your brain on pseudoscience: the rise of popular neurobollocks
              Mirrors of your dreams        
    Neuro Images posts images of brains and art based on them. Some of them are beautiful; some of them are grotesque; some of them are confronting or sad (the complete series is here); and some of them are strangely reminiscent. (previously)
              Squishy Goodness        
    Charlie Rose: The Brain Series
              At least smoke them in designated areas        
    I really have to ask, I don't mean to be rude, but would you gamblers please stop smoking vulture brains?. I mean, I know you think it brings you luck, but you're killing them, you know?
              Braaaaaains        
    "Animal brains have to be illegal, They're a gateway to human brains." - Those Below, short fiction by horror writer Jeremy C. Shipp.
              Thought for food.        
    Like eating brains? I know you do. Why not add some new dishes to your collection of recipes that use the "fifth quarter?" Despite some negative cultural stereotypes, the practice of eating brains is common in cultures all over the world: Kat-a-Kat is a traditional Pakistani dish containing brains Maghaz Masala is an Arabic course Here is a recipe for Toscano calf brains In France they are known as Cerveaux Chef Mario Batali's restaurant Babbo serves a popular lamb's brains ravioli Sesos in Mexico Some great recipes for Spanish Tortilla Sacromonte Fried brain sandwiches can be found in St. Louis and the Ohio River Valley Australian Slippery Bob This recipe for carpetbag steak would be great with some brains subbed for the oysters Here is an ancient Roman recipe for calf's brains custard German brain soup and brains au gratin Croquettes Lebanese, Syrian and Jordanian recipe for brain omelets Vegan Mock Brains You may be wondering if eating brains is entirely safe. Besides being high in cholesterol, the brain is the main area where prions known to cause transmissible spongiform encephalopathy congregate in the body. In cows it's called Mad Cow disease (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy), Scrapie in sheep, and Chronic Wasting Disease in deer and other wild game. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and Kuru are two forms of spongiform encephalopathy in humans. Kuru was intensely studied among the Fore tribe of Papua New Guinea from the 1950's to the 70's and it was determined that the high instances of it in the tribe were due to their ritual endocannibalistic funeral practices. It has been posited recently that a resistance to prionic diseases may have been selected for in our ancestors, suggesting that cannibalism was not uncommon. Also of interest to cephalovores may be the effects of aerosolizing pork brains and inhaling them, as were recently demonstrated in a pork plant in Austin, MN.
              Wake Forest Baptist Research Shows Positive Outcomes for Kidney Transplants in Children with Intellectual Disabilities        
    From the time he was born, Dylan Hill has faced an uphill battle. Born with multiple medical conditions, he had trouble breathing on his own, which caused brain damage. In addition, he was put on dialysis when he was just a month old. Shortly before he turned 2 – after Randolph County resident Donna Hill and her husband offered to adopt him – he received a kidney transplant at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Now 11, Dylan is able to eat, talk and walk, and is testing above his grade level in some subjects.
              Reduction of Post -Traumatic Stress Symptoms Associated with Non-invasive Neurotechnology        
    A closed-loop acoustic stimulation brainwave technology significantly reduced symptoms in people suffering from post-traumatic stress in a small pilot study conducted at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. The study is published in the April 19 online edition of the journal BMC Psychiatry. 
              Brain Volume Predicts Successful Weight Loss in the Elderly        
    If you’re trying to lose weight, what are your chances of success? Your brain may hold the key. Scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center believe they may have found a way to predict who will be successful in their weight-loss efforts with a quick, non-invasive brain scan. 
              Brain Changes Seen in Youth Football Players without Concussion        
    Brain Changes Seen in Youth Football Players without Concussion OAK BROOK, Ill. – Researchers have found measurable brain changes in children after a single season of playing youth football, even without a concussion diagnosis, according to a new
               Carbon nanotubes exert basic excitatory enhancement in rat brain slices         
    Varró, Petra and Szigyártó, Imola and Gergely, A. and Kálmán, Erika and Világi, Ildikó (2013) Carbon nanotubes exert basic excitatory enhancement in rat brain slices. Acta Biologica Hungarica, 64 (2). pp. 137-151. ISSN 0236-5383
               Carbon nanotubes exert basic excitatory enhancement in rat brain slices         
    Varró, Petra and Szigyártó, Imola Csilla and Gergely, András and Kálmán, Erika and Világi, Ildikó (2013) Carbon nanotubes exert basic excitatory enhancement in rat brain slices. Acta Biologica Hungarica, 64 (2). pp. 137-151. ISSN 0236-5383 (print), 1588-256X (online)
              What Makes or Breaks a Blog         
    Topic: What makes you want to read a blog and what doesn't
    I want to say that this topic really only pertains to book blogs, but honestly it doesn't. It can be any type of blog, to be fair. I'll just base this discussion post off book blogs since those are the main types of blogs that I read, because, you know, I'm a book blogger and all.
    The first thing that really bugs be about book blogs is their design. If it isn't readable and if it doesn't load quickly (it'll load slowly if you have a lot of sidebar objects), then I probably won't enjoy your blog as much as I'd like to.
    Readability is a big one for me. The font should be readable. I've come across a few blogs with cursive as the font for the body of their posts, and, I'm sorry, but I just can't stand to read that. I can read cursive just fine, but sometimes it's too much for my brain to handle. I like to be able to visit the post directly from the blog rather than on Feedly or an RSS reader, therefore I like readable fonts.
    My internet already sucks, therefore a fast loading blog is my best friend. If you've got a million memes with a million gifs and pictures (I have a bunch of gifs in this one post, and I regret it greatly), my internet may not load it as fast as I'd like it to. This one isn't really a big deal since I understand that maybe I should get better internet, and it won't make me not read your blog, but it'll make me not read your blog on the days when my internet is exceptionally slow.
    Lastly, design. I love pretty blogs. For example, The Story SirenRead by the Undead, and Utterly Bookish are tree blogs that I follow that have the most beautiful blog designs I've seen. I don't know if they code them themselves or if they buy their themes, but they're absolutely gorgeous.
    I've coded the majority of my blog, mostly the styling. The HTML is just whatever came with the basic layout for Blogger blogs, but other than the HTML, most of it's my own coding. (Basically, this is me accepting the fact that I'm pretty crappy at coding. I'm getting better!) And most of the graphics on this blog are made by me. Since I've coded a lot of my blog, I have respect for all those blogs that code themselves. It's difficult!
    There are things that make or break a book blog for me! Readability, load-ability, and design! (Yes, I made up a word there.)

    What about you? What are aspects that make or break a book blog for you? Let me know in the comments!

    

              Top 10 comedy films        
    There seems to be some debate going round at the moment about the best comedy films of all time after a list was compiled by a panel of comedy stars. This is Spinal Tap came top of that list. I thought I'd join in the  with my own favourites that didn't make their top ten. Listed of course in particular order.

    1. Duck Soup (1933)

    It's amazing how fresh this film still is today. Like many of the Marx Brothers' films there is a kind of anarchic, almost punk ethos that runs through it. This scene introduces us to Groucho's character Rufus T. Firefly, and has to be one of the smartest introductions in cinema history.

    2. Love and Death (1975)