Mixed Media

Watch This Boston Bro Totally Lose His Shit Over a Weird Fish

| Wed Sep. 23, 2015 11:11 AM EDT

This is what happens when a guy from Malden, Mass., sees a weird-looking fish in Boston Harbor, and decides to record his reaction, bro.

"I don't know, man. I went nuts. We didn't know what the hell it was," Michael Bergin told the Boston Globe. "It was scaring me to death, it was like a dinosaur. It was so ... ugly."

H/t to Business Insider's Facebook page (features some NSFW salty Boston language):

 

Today was a great way to end summer thank u

Posted by Michael Bergin on Thursday, September 17, 2015

By the way, it's an ocean sunfish, which, to be fair, looks pretty damn weird:

Wikimedia Commons

It's a strong contender for the new Double Rainbow:

Happy Wednesday.

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Donald Trump Was Just On Stephen Colbert—and It Was Bonkers

| Tue Sep. 22, 2015 11:30 PM EDT

"Knock knock"

"Who's there?"

"Donald."

"Donald who?"

"Donald Trump."

"Oh hey, Donald Trump. Come on in. America is in the living room, waiting to see how ridiculous you are."

Check out the full episode here:

Stephen Colbert Shuts Down Ted Cruz Over Ronald Reagan Legacy

| Tue Sep. 22, 2015 1:01 PM EDT

If there was one clear winner that emerged from last week's Republican presidential debate, it was Ronald Reagan, whose legacy was repeatedly invoked and showered with 45 instances of praise from his admiring disciples, including Sen. Ted Cruz.

The Texas senator's Reagan fandom was tested during an appearance on the "Late Show" last night, when host Stephen Colbert pointed out that Reagan famously supported both an amnesty program for immigrants and raising taxes—two policies Cruz has vehemently railed against throughout his own campaign for president.

"Reagan raised taxes," Colbert said. "Reagan actually had an amnesty program for illegal immigrants. Neither of those things would allow Reagan to be nominated today. So to what level can you truly emulate Ronald Reagan?"

"Could you agree with Reagan on those two things?" he asked.

Cruz was then forced to admit that no, contrary to his previously uncritical adulation of Reagan, he wouldn't be able to endorse two of Reagan's major positions.

The two continued to spar on policy items, including gay marriage. During one point, Colbert asked members of the audience to stop booing Cruz, who appeared visibly uneasy in his guest chair. We can't wait to see how Donald Trump will fare when he swings by the "Late Show" tonight. Stay tuned.

Viola Davis Becomes the First African-American to Win Emmy for Best Actress in Drama

| Mon Sep. 21, 2015 7:23 AM EDT

Last night, Viola Davis made history by becoming the first African American to win the award for best actress in a drama series. In her acceptance speech, the How to Get Away with Murder actress delivered a stirring message on diversity and the lack of opportunity women of color face in Hollywood.

"In my dreams, I see a line," an emotional Davis said. "And over that line, I see green fields and lovely flowers and beautiful white women with their arms stretched out to me over that line, but I can't seem to get there no how, I can seem to get over that line."

"That was Harriet Tubman in the 1800s. Let me tell you something—the only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You can not win an Emmy for roles that simply are not there."

Both her historic win and speech were met with congratulations on social media:

Bravo!

Go-Betweens Frontman Delivers Witty, Melodic Pop

| Mon Sep. 21, 2015 5:00 AM EDT

Robert Forster
Songs to Play
Tapete

Robert Forster was one of two gifted singer-songwriters in the jangly, beloved Australian band The Go-Betweens, which disbanded in 2006 following the death of co-leader Grant McLennan. On his first album in seven years, Forster continues to make witty, melodic pop that etches vivid portraits of everyday people in uncomfortable situations. Songs to Play sets his understated, gently sardonic voice against sleek instrumental textures, adding tart violin (and even a little trumpet) to the usual sprightly electric guitars.

As always, Forster's inventive tunes offer plenty to chew on, from the breezy "I'm So Happy for You," which may not be as affirmative as it insists, to the brash "I Love Myself (And I Always Have)," which finds the arrogant narrator proclaiming, "I hold myself in high regard," adding, "No, I'm not an only child" in the manner of Randy Newman's more obnoxious characters. Nearly four decades after the debut of The Go-Betweens, Robert Forster remains a smart, sneaky auteur who bears careful observation.

There Is New Evidence That Football Destroys Brains—and It’s Terrifying

| Fri Sep. 18, 2015 2:03 PM EDT

A new joint study by the US Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University found that 87 out of 91 former NFL players who donated their brains for examination showed signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the degenerative brain disease also known as CTE. The report out of the nation's largest brain bank, which received a $1 million research grant from the NFL in 2010, supports prior research suggesting that playing football could have long-lasting neurological effects over the course of an athlete's life.

As reported first by Frontline:

In total, the [Boston University] lab has found CTE in the brain tissue in 131 out of 165 individuals who, before their deaths, played football either professionally, semi-professionally, in college or in high school.

Forty percent of those who tested positive were the offensive and defensive linemen who come into contact with one another on every play of a game, according to numbers shared by the brain bank with FRONTLINE. That finding supports past research suggesting that it's the repeat, more minor head trauma that occurs regularly in football that may pose the greatest risk to players, as opposed to just the sometimes violent collisions that cause concussions.

CTE can only be accurately identified posthumously, and it's important to remember that many of the ex-players who donated their brains to BU did so because they thought they might have the disease. Still, the results are more bad news for the NFL, which for years has been criticized over its handling of concussions and brain research. The league has long denied a link between the sport and long-term brain disease—in its annual health and safety report, the league reported a 35 percent decline in concussions in the course of two regular seasons—but in April it gained approval for a $1 billion settlement with about 5,000 retired players, resolving concussion-related lawsuits. (The Will Smith film Concussion, which recounts the story of the doctor who first discovered CTE in the brain of a former NFL player, debuts on Christmas.)

An NFL spokesperson said in a statement to Frontline on Friday: "We are dedicated to making football safer and continue to take steps to protect players, including rule changes, advanced sideline technology, and expanded medical resources. We continue to make significant investments in independent research through our gifts to Boston University, the [National Institutes of Health] and other efforts to accelerate the science and understanding of these issues."

Dr. Ann McKee, who is the chief neuropathologist at the brain bank, told Frontline: "People think that we're blowing this out of proportion, that this is a very rare disease and that we're sensationalizing it. My response is that where I sit, this is a very real disease. We have had no problem identifying it in hundreds of players."

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Fox News Wants New American Citizen Emily Blunt to Leave Town

| Tue Sep. 15, 2015 2:40 PM EDT

Appalled by Emily Blunt's recent remark that she regretted becoming an American citizen after watching the first GOP debate—a joke that has since sparked the hashtag #GoHomeEmily on Twitter—Fox News is now telling the actress to remove her ungrateful, Anglophile self from Hollywood.

"Why don't you leave Hollywood, California, and let some American women take on the roles that you're getting, because Americans are watching your movies and lining your pockets," Anna Kooiman said, barely containing her hurt and anger, during a segment of Fox & Friends on Monday.

Kooiman's colleagues agreed. One even went so far as to open up old conservative wounds (and create a new verb in the process) when he compared Blunt to the once beloved, since branded traitorous Dixie Chicks.

"You know what Emily Blunt just did?" Steve Doocy said. "She just Dixie Chicked herself. She has alienated half the country that now will think twice about going to one of her movies."

The Dixie Chicks, you may recall, were outspoken in their opposition to George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq. In a 2003 concert in London, lead vocalist Natalie Maines said, "Just so you know, we’re on the good side with y’all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the president of the United States is from Texas." The group never recovered.

Harsh, Doocy. Fox News did, however, credit Blunt for being "very pretty."
 

Let John Oliver Show You How America's Overworked Public Defense System Screws the Poor

| Mon Sep. 14, 2015 7:42 AM EDT

On the latest Last Week Tonight, John Oliver took America's criminal justice system to task by highlighting the problems surrounding overworked and under-resourced public defenders across the country—including in one California county where only 60 public attorneys are responsible for a staggering 42,000 cases a year.

"A thousands cases in a year? That's nearly 3 cases per day," Oliver noted on Sunday. "Those are Gerard Depardieu wine consumption numbers—at breakfast. And with caseloads that heavy, public defenders cannot possibly prepare an effective defense."

As Mother Jones has reported in the past, such systematic failures are often paid for by the country's most vulnerable and poor.

To help make his point, Oliver recruited the likes of television detectives, including Dennis Quaid and Jeremy Sisto, to rewrite the Miranda rights warning to more accurately depict the public defense system's challenges.

Texas Tornadoes' Classic Albums Bring Rootsy Delights

| Mon Sep. 14, 2015 5:00 AM EDT

Texas Tornados
A Little Bit Is Better Than Nada—Prime Cuts 1990-1996
Real Gone Music

        

Call them a supergroup, or just a super group—either way, the Texas Tornados were a lot of fun. Featuring Tex-Mex great Doug Sahm, leader of the Sir Douglas Quintet, on soulful vocals and guitar, SDQ bandmate Augie Meyers on pumping Vox organ, crooner Freddy Fender and ace accordionist Flaco Jimenez, this lovably scruffy crew created the perfect soundtrack for a laid-back party over the course of four studio albums (the first of which came in English and Spanish-language versions). Offering 39 tracks on two discs, including a Miller Lite beer ad, A Little Bit Is Better Than Nada contains a slew of rootsy delights, among them Sahm's rousing "Is Anybody Goin' to San Antone," the classic Fender ballad "Wasted Days and Wasted Night," and Bob Dylan's tender "To Ramona." There's no better non-prescription cure for stress.

Anything Goes on the Final Unwound Compilation

| Sun Sep. 13, 2015 5:00 AM EDT

Unwound
Empire
Numero Group

The fourth and final chapter in record label Numero Group's fascinating history of the Olympia, Washington, trio Unwound collects the albums Challenge for a Civilized Society (1998) and Leaves Turn Inside You (2001), along with stray tracks from the same period. At this point, Justin Trosper (vocals, guitar), Vern Rumsey (bass), and Sara Lund (drums) are in full anything-goes mode. While some exhilarating songs reflect the band's familiar hard rock and grunge roots, others take entirely different paths, using mellotron, harmonium, and studio effects in unpredictable pieces that can run ten minutes, notably the freeform electro-psychedelia of "The Light at the End of the Tunnel Is a Train." Not everything works, but even the experimental misfires feel like an heartfelt attempt to develop new ideas without abandoning the anxiety-inducing tension that made Unwound so compelling in the first place.