The art of the steal?

How did I miss this?

President Donald Trump swiped some art from the residence of the US ambassador to France during a 2018 visit—the same visit on which he cancelled a trip to visit fallen First World War Marines at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery outside Paris after allegedly calling the dead “suckers” and “losers”. According to a recent report by Bloomberg, Trump fancied for himself several of the pieces in the ambassador’s historic residence in Paris, where he was staying and which serves as the flagship for the State Department’s “Art in Embassies” cultural programme. Without notifying the ambassador, Jamie McCourt, the president and author of The Art of the Deal had a portrait and bust of Benjamin Franklin and a set of silver figurines depicting Greek mythological characters loaded onto Air Force One to bring them back to the White House. A bureaucratic nightmare ensued for the State Department and White House staffers, who worried that the $750,000 cache of art might not be legally transferable. Meanwhile, a flummoxed McCourt was told that she would receive the work back in six years—or 2024, when a second term of Trump’s presidency would theoretically end.

The loot, however, was deemed legal to enter the White House since it was technically US property… and all of the works were replicas or copies anyway. It remains unclear whether Trump knew that none of the pieces were original when he decided to take them home with him, or whether he, in truth, was the real sucker.

Relatedly. This happened today:

Paging Jeff VanderMeer

A man brewed a tea from “magic mushrooms” and injected the concoction into his veins; several days later, he ended up at the emergency department with the fungus growing in his blood.

The man spent 22 days in the hospital, with eight of those days in the intensive care unit (ICU), where he received treatment for multisystem organ failure. Now released, he is still being treated with a long-term regimen of antibiotic and antifungal drugs, according to a description of the case published Jan. 11 in the Journal of the Academy of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry.

It has begun.

Action, Consequence

A Dec. 22 Facebook post to the Upstate Conservative Coalition provides Pineo’s email address for people to contact her to sign up for the bus trip to Washington. On Dec. 26, the same Facebook account that posted about the bus trip uploaded a photoshopped image of Donald Trump in despair in the arms of Jesus Christ. The profile picture on the account also shows a winged figure holding a sword with the statement, “Not all angels play the harp and sing, some are called to battle.”

MALTA – Sharon Pineo, the Round Lake resident who was involved in Wednesday’s siege on the U.S. Capitol, has resigned as a member of the Malta Zoning Board of Appeals.

Pineo, who has been on the zoning board of appeals since 2018, did not mention anything about her involvement in last Wednesday’s riot when hundreds stormed the U.S. Capitol while Congress was meeting to certify the 2020 Electoral College. While a photo shared on social media shows her being led from the Capitol by police officers with her hands behind her back, there has been no evidence Pineo has been criminally charged.


The manatee lay still, floating in the shallow waters of a Florida river over the weekend when a woman on a boat noticed something odd. As she moved closer and filmed with her phone, Hailey Warrington found a one-word message scrawled on the marine mammal’s back: “TRUMP.”

“This is just disturbing. One hundred percent disturbing,” Warrington, who discovered the defaced manatee in the Homosassa River, told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Now federal and local authorities are investigating who is responsible for etching the president’s name on the threatened animal’s back. Harassment of a manatee is a criminal offense punishable by a $50,000 fine and up to a year in prison.

Listening To…

  • Madlib – Shades Of Blue: Madlib Invades Blue Note. Hip hop producer Madlib was allowed to run through the entire catalog of legendary jazz label, Blue Note records; and he put his remixing skills to work. So we have remixes of tunes by the likes of Horace Silver, Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock, and others. The result is a lot of ‘chill’ hip-hop, mostly instrumental, very groovy. Unfortunately, I’m not familiar with most of the source material, so I can’t say how they compare to the originals. I do know this one, though, and it is pretty great.
    Madlib - Song for my father

  • Sumer Is Icumen In : The Pagan Sound Of British And Irish Folk 1966-75. Thirty (!!) songs from the folk music explosion. The quality varies, and the styles range from rough recordings of people sawing away on their fiddles to well-produced psychedelic folk (ex The Strawbs – the only of these bands that I’d heard of). It’s … interesting.

  • Gillian Welch & David Rawlings – All The Good Times. I think this is the first of their records where they both sing. It’s always been Gillian sings on “Gillian Welch” albums and David sings on “David Rawlings [+/- Machine]” albums. This is a mix of both; and there’s even one tune where they trade verses (Johnny and June’s version of “Jackson”, which they’ve been doing live for a while). Not my favorite collection of tunes, but it’s nice to get new stuff from either of them.

  • Low – Things We Lost In The Fire / Double Negative. I’m late to Low. They been around for a while, doing their low-key indie stuff, but I didn’t catch on till 2018’s (awesome) Double Negative. Things We Lost In The Fire is older, but newer to me. And it’s more organic and more delicate, without the electronics and extensive sonic manipulations that Double Negative has. But, they’re both full of beautiful, slow, droning songs that ebb and flow around you. Great in headphones.
    Low - Fly [OFFICIAL VIDEO]