‘Spanish laughing guy’ Juan Joya Borja dies

I am sad to report that the Spanish comedian, better known by his nickname El Risitas (which means ‘Giggles’), has died at the age of 65.

A video of him and his interviewer laughing uncontrollably over something he is saying in Spanish is so infectious that you laugh along with him even though you may not know the language.

The famous clip of him came from Spanish late-night show Ratones Coloraos, where he was interviewed by the host about his ill-fated experience working as a kitchen helper.

In the clip, uploaded on the show’s YouTube in 2007, Borja told Quintero how he once left 20 paella dishes in the sea overnight to clean them, only to return the next morning to find the tide had swept all but one away.

The story left him and the host slapping the desk in fits of uncontrollable laughter – with Borja’s signature wheezing and almost-toothless smile stealing the show.

That clip became a meme and people have taken it and added their own subtitles, in the manner of the Hitler Downfall parodies.

This is my favorite, perhaps because I own a MacBook and have the sneaking suspicion that this parody is close to reality.

Trump’s predictions were all wrong

In Trump’s final days in office, he seemed to relish the idea that things would fall apart in the US after he was out of office. He must be seething that none of his dire warnings have come true.

In October 2020, he had warned that the stock market, the only economic indicator that he cares about, would crash if Biden were elected, wiping out people’s wealth. But that has not happened. The stock market keeps rising to record levels. This does not mean that most people are doing well, but just that the investor class and the very wealthy are doing just fine.
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Boris Johnson’s sleaze catches up with him

It never ceases to amaze me when politicians who are by no means poor, get caught doing sleazy things in order to get luxuries that, in the grand scheme of things, seem quite petty. As someone once wisely said, what is astonishing is not that politicians can be bought, it is that they can be bought so cheaply.

In the UK, prime minister Boris Johnson seems to have got caught getting people to give him money to redecorate the apartment that he lives in in Downing Street, an episode now referred to as ‘Cash for Curtains’. (In the US, this would have been given the label ‘Curtaingate’, a tiresome practice that really should be retired.)
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Samantha Bee blasts Biden’s handling of refugees at the border

While Biden’s policies at the border are not as bad as Trump’s, that is an appallingly low bar and cannot by any means be trotted out as an excuse for the conditions that continue to exist at the southern border. Bee is to be commended for calling out the administration for its lack of swift action to correct the conditions under which children are still being held.

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Racist, and proud of it

Kiauna Larkins was delivering food in Akron, OH as part of her job with DoorDash. She was with her two-year old son in the car when she encountered James Rhodes who apparently did not like the presence of a black woman near his apartment building and let loose a threatening, racist, and profanity-laced tirade in the presence of the child.

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An unusual case of identity crisis

We have all heard of stories from fiction and real life of infants switched at birth. But the radio program This American Life had a true story with an unusual twist to this familiar tale.

Jason and Randy are identical twins, with Jason being born first and Randy emerging five minutes later back in 1972. Randy had to spend the first few days of his life in an incubator but after that the twins were identical, so similar that even their parents could not tell them apart. To keep track of which was Jason and which was Randy, their mother Annette dressed Jason in blue and Randy in red. As a backup, she would use blue diaper pins for Jason and pink for Randy.

All went well until they went for their six-week check up to the doctor. Annette dressed them in identical fancy outfits an aunt had sent them but kept the diaper pin system in order to tell them apart. But then the nurse took them from the mother, presumably for weighing, and when she returned she proudly told Annette that they had just started using pin-less disposable diapers (disposable diapers that used adhesive fasteners only came out in 1968) and she had put the boys in them, thus making them indistinguishable to their mother
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An amusing monologue by Jimmy Kimmel

Last night he covered several topics that have been in the news these past few days.

At the 4:45 mark, he mentions anti-mask zealot Fox News’s Tucker Carlson’s calls to people to report the parents of children who wear masks to the police or Child Protection Services for child abuse. I think we have to conclude that at this point Carlson has deliberately chosen to become a parody of himself so that he can gain attention by generating ridicule for the things he says. (Having scorn rain down on you and being seen as an idiot is, for some inexplicable reason, viewed as some kind of victory by right-wingers and is known by them as ‘owning the libs’.)

I cannot believe that even his loyal audience will follow his advice. If some do, I would love to listen to their conversations with the police and CPS dispatchers as they try to convince them of what abuse the children are being subjected to by wearing masks.

Long overdue recognition that Israel is an apartheid state

While some prominent people like Desmond Tutu and Jimmy Carter have labeled Israel as an apartheid state, some human rights groups and progressives in the US have long shied away from criticizing Israel’s awful treatment of Palestinians, earning them the label of PEPs, standing for ‘progressive except for Palestine’. Hence I am glad that at least one prominent human rights group has finally come right out and stated that what is going on in Israel and the occupied territories is nothing less than apartheid.
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India’s massive second wave of covid-19

It was just a month ago that I posted about how the numbers of covid-19 cases in so many countries in Asia and Africa were much lower than models predicted and India was cited as one example. That situation has changed dramatically since then. The average number of daily deaths in India had reached a low of less than 100 on March 8th but as of yesterday had rocketed up to about 2,500. This figure shows that it is now around Brazil’s daily death rate. That country’s leader Jair Bolsonaro is being blamed for his downplaying of the danger of covid-19 and ignoring expert advice on how to deal with it.

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A new low in US anti-vaccine misinformation

A private school in Florida (of course!) is actually barring vaccinated teachers from interacting with students. The school fees are pretty high which shows that this school caters to the high income and high wealth population.

A Miami school has discouraged teachers from getting the Covid vaccine, saying any vaccinated employees will be barred from interacting with students.

Centner Academy leadership cited debunked claims of non-vaccinated people being “negatively impacted” by contact with vaccinated people.
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