December 17, 2022

Pictures that say 1000 words

Pictures That Say 1000 Words

By Hal Brown

Archives on Right >

Background from InPixio, Hal Brown

Updated Dec. 19: 

As Elon Musk and Donald Trump compete for headlines with their self-defeating bizarre behavior I watch how editors decide to illustrate their stories. Today I found a opening page story for  Elon Musk Posts Twitter Poll Asking If He Should Step Down As CEO on HUFFPOST. It is no longer the top of the page story so you can't the it online the way I did.

It fits right in with the theme of the following story. Of all the photos of Musk they could have used they found one where his gaze was directed upward as if he was looking at the headline. For posterity, here it is:

Click above to enlarge

The symbolism of this above photo was lost when the story moved down the page because while his gave was up the title was under the much smaller photo. It happens to be to the left of another Musk article which happens to be about Mastodon which is the platform I now am active on.

Below is my original blog story:

This was the top story on the HUFFPOST website this morning linking to this article:

I don't know whether it was an actual photograph of was photoshopped and made into a dark silhouette. 

I did a Google Image search and found the photo was used several times before:

Click above to enlarge

It is credited to Justin Sullivan of Getty Images. It was used in this article among others:

Whether it was photoshopped or not I think the black background was added because most people who are photographed have a background behind them.

As I write this the top of the site article on HUFFPOST is about Trump's malevolent doppelgänger Elon Musk for this article. It isn't nearly as dramatic as the Trump illustration:

I would guess that the black background  was also added to replace whatever was in the background of the photograph to make it more dramatic but I can't prove it.

I would characterize the photo of Musk as not particularly flattering but not appearing as obnoxious as he does in some of the photos published of him.

When the Musk article was no longer the lead story and moved down the page this is the Photoshopped image HUFFPOST used which shows him as looking ominous:

A Google Image search shows the first photo being credited to Jim Watson of Getty Images. It has been used frequently:

For example, it was used to illustrate a New York Times June 9, 2022 article.
There are so many photos of Trump and Musk showing such a range of emotions for editors to choose from to illustrate articles. Editors do not decide which to use by accident. 

Generally the photos we see of people in the public eye come with some kind of copyright protection and there is a legal gray area about how they can be republished. On this blog I often use the amazing Photoshop manipulated images made by DonkeyHotey since they are free to use as long as you give him his well deserved credit.

I used two of them in this blog story:

I took the photo HUFFPOST used and with BeFunky made it look like this:

With InPixo I made this with Jan van Eyck's Crucifixion and Last Judgement diptych from Wikipedia as a background.

December 16, 2022

My Muskbashing morning Mastodon migration missives

My Muskbashing morning Mastodon migration missives
By Hal Brown


About this ongoing blog: Those who follow my stories know I have a thing for alliterations so the title saying these will me morning missives was just an excuse to use the word "morning" and doesn't mean I will update this just in the morning. I hope to keep the general theme going until Twitter suffers the same fate of the Edsel.

I originally posted links to Mastodon addresses in the Fediverse (interconnected websites) where people could view or join. There were so many that I decided to put them on a separate blog (here) which I hope to keep updating as I find new ones.

Dec. 18 Updates:

Taylor Lorenz is an American journalist for The Washington Post. She was previously a technology reporter for The New York TimesThe Daily Beast, and Business Insider, and social media editor for the Daily Mail. She is particularly known for covering Internet culture. (Wikipedia)

From MSNBC: Taylor Lorenz on being suspended from Twitter.

This is what Musk is posting. Talk about self defeating, he is actually giving publicity to alternative platforms she people may not know about.

I assume his algorithm searches text only and at least not yet doesn't follow links or what is in a tweeted image. At least he hasn't caught me. Here's my latest tweet:

Previous posts in this series:

Musk's going back and forth with his suspending and un-suspending journalists led me to make this illustration:

He's demonstrating that he's rubber room ready. Sorry Elon, for your own protection there's no WiFi in the padded cells.... 

There's another alternative to Twitter which was just mentioned on the Ali Velshi show. It is called Post. 

Here's an article about Post:

You have to get on the waiting list to join. If you click below you can help me move higher up the waiting list:

UPDATED DEC 16 10:30 Pacific time

Click to enlarge, does not link to Twitter

I am hoping I get banned from Twitter for writing this with a link to the blog:
 When I made FOIA request to the FBI to see if I had a file because of my college anti-Vietnam war activity I was disappointed when I didn't. I was too small time I guess. I am but a minnow in the online ocean. Getting recognized here would be a good story .

I will post the most recent additions to this blog on the top of the page.

Here's a toot I just put on Mastodon

I wanted to see what was listed as trending on Twitter to add hashtags to my link to my Mastodon blog story which doesn't mention it and saw #ThursdayNightMassacre and found out that we have a new member @joyannreid who tweets are still there (see screen grab of her tweet) so a BIG welcome to her. Hard to track all the journalists moving here. Welcome to @pkrugman@mastod and Rachel Maddow -

Twitter suspended the accounts of more than half a dozen journalists from CNN, the New York Times, The Washington Post and other outlets Thursday evening, as company owner Elon Musk accused the reporters of posting “basically assassination coordinates” for him and his family.

The Post has seen no evidence that any of the reporters did so.

The suspensions came without warning or initial explanation from Twitter. They took place a day after Twitter changed its policy on sharing “live location information” and suspended an account, @ElonJet, that had been using public flight data to share the location of Musk’s private plane.

Many of the journalists suspended Thursday, including Washington Post technology reporter Drew Harwell, had been covering that rule change, as well as Musk’s claims that he and his family had been endangered by location sharing.

Twitter did not directly respond to questions about the suspensions. But Musk suggested on Twitter, without evidence, that the journalists had revealed private information about his family, known as doxing. “Criticizing me all day long is totally fine, but doxxing my real-time location and endangering my family is not,” he tweeted late Thursday.

I originally posted this on Twitter like this:
Now my new tweet looks like this:

I was hoping some of my followers would click the first tweet but hardly anyone even looked at it.

Changed the tweet to see if I can lure more people to click on the link without getting kicked off Twitter.

This blog, despite the title, really has to do with the alternative to Twitter named after a prehistoric beast. It is growing in popularity.
The Twitter bird evolved for a few years (read about it here) but until Elon Musk bought it the bird, with notable exceptions, like most birds mostly tweeted. Now with Musk, it is screeching. 

We don't know what a mastodon sounded like but presumably it was something like an elephant. You can listen to elephant sounds here. Mostly they trumpet and this is how they are depicted in most movies. They rumble when communicating with each other, they also roar, bark, snort, and grunt. Tooting isn't on the list, but why quibble. I think the term "toot" conveys that Mastodon wants to be a civil and respectful town square.

Not tooting yet. Click above to create an account.
Not ready. Learn more about it here.

Mastodon is an innovative open-source and self-hostable microblogging platform similar to Twitter or Tumblr. Its development was started in 2016 by Eugen Rochko and since then Mastodon constantly attracted new users and communities looking for a social environment independent from big company logics and censorship.

Mastodon is not a Twitter clone: by concept, structure and functionalities it is something completely different and much more interesting!

This page is an introduction to Mastodon’s basic concepts and features which you should know to fully understand how Mastodon works. It is structured in independent sections which you can jump to from the Index (see the link in the upper-left side), but it can also be read as a single text.

The site also hosts an Instances search engine that you can use to find the Mastodon instance that best fits your needs.

I've posted the link to this blog on Mastodon and have been working to add as many links to Mastodon servers as I can find for those who want to get a feel for what it is like, and hopefully if they like it they will join. Scroll down to see the links.

This is what Twitter is doing to those who tweet a link to Mastodon 

This is what someone tooted (the same as a Twitter tweet) on Mastodon:

If you’re wondering about Mastodon’s impact, Twitter is now automatically marking links to mastodon as “sensitive” (aka dangerous) and forcing users who get them to “appeal” the claim. In case Elon didn’t seem desperate enough for you already…

Below is a screen grab of what they tooted with their identity blocked out by me because there's no established convention or policy there about sharing the identity of someone who posts there.

If you have followers on Twitter (I have 154) who you want to be able to know you are leaving there and moving to Mastodon you may be able tweet without running afoul of Elon's attempt to keep anyone from finding you. Just figure out a way to persuade your followers to click my link without alerting the evil genius.

If you want to promote Mastodon on Twitter you may be able to avoid their algorithm tagging their tweet by 1) not using the word Mastodon and 2) trying to outfox them by tweeting something innocuous which will also clue in your followers that you are doing something that you want them to know about.

I recommend you that if you have things to share that don't fit into the word limit for a toot that you try out a free website builder.  I  have used Google Blogger since 2012. It costs extra to have dedicated web address. I chose a dot org after my name because dot com was taken. I am an organization of one. If you have a website you can write anything at any length, include pictures if you like, and put a link to your page in a toot.

Most popular web building platforms have a free version and some you have to pay for extra features. Popular platforms are Wordpress, Weebly, Wix, and GoDaddy. Musk said he was open to buying another website platform, Substack, another popular platform. They weren't interested

 I can only see how many people looked at the tweet (impressions), 17 so far, but without paying I can't see how many people click the link (engagements). Before Musk took over a tweeter could see both for free.

This is what I tooted on Mastodon:

Click above to enlarge.

Musk and Trump vying to win the Gold Cup for Chaos Creation

 Musk and Trump vying to win the Gold Cup for Chaos Creation

By Hal Brown

Caricatures by DonkeyHotey

As I finished writing this and was watching MSNBC reporting on what Musk was doing on Twitter Mastodon was mentioned at least 10 times.

I think it was Jonathan Lemire on MSNBC this morning who said you can take any story about how Elon Musk or Donald Trump, through aspects of their personality, thrive on creating chaos and substitute one name for the other and the story would still be true. 

Yesterday I wrote about Trump and Musk here:

Click image to enlarge

I wrote about how the media normalizes megalomania and other psychopathology here so I won't cover the same ground again.

I think that over the past week we have both Musk and Trump to thank for making things better in a sense since they, for want of a better metaphor, have gone from being a "mere" train wrecks to being train wrecks where the toxic and flammable tank cars exploded engulfing everything around them in flames and deadly chemicals.

With the World Cup final game approaching I wondered it it could end in a tie. I looked it up (here)

World Cup games can no longer end in a tie now that the tournament has advanced to the Round of 16. Draws are only permitted in the group stage where there is a point system used to determine who advances out of the group. If a game ends in a tie at the end of regulation time, the match goes into extra time with two 15 minute periods. There is no golden goal so teams are guaranteed to play both periods for a total of 30 minutes plus stoppage time. Here’s how FIFA explains the “overtime” rules.
Between Musk with his making the news for kicking journalists off Twitter and Trump and his card con it seems like they are in the extra time part of the World Cup for Chaos game.

Musk gets a goal, Trump gets a goal, Musk, not to be outplayed, gets a goal, Trump comes up with an insane kick and scores, and it goes on and on.

I tried to figure out (here) what would happen if a World Cup final game remained tied indefinitely. From all I could tell it would continue until one team broke the tie.

This could mean that a game would end when enough players died. In a one on one game Musk has the edge because he's younger and presumably likely to live longer than Trump. Not to wear out the metaphor, but if US marshals came to arrest Trump I think he would forfeit.


December 15, 2022

I was writing about Elon Musk being nuts and then Trump posted a Superman video

I was writing about Elon Musk being nuts and then Trump posted a Superman video

Another example of the
Media making megalomania mainstream

by Hal Brown

If I posted this I'd be a candidate for a rubber room at Bellevue:

These are available for free.

As an early member of Duty2Warn and a retired psychotherapist I have written a lot about Trump's psychopathology and very little about Elon Musk's because the former was a danger to democracy and the later I viewed as a sideshow even though he got tons of media attention and it become evident how deranged he was.

Update: The idiocy of this is:

"MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT! My official Donald Trump Digital Trading Card collection is here!" the ex-president posted on his Truth Social account. "These limited edition cards feature amazing ART of my Life & Career! Collect all of your favorite Trump Digital Trading Cards, very much like a baseball card, but hopefully much more exciting. Go to & GET YOUR CARDS NOW! Only $99 each!

Presumably the worthless Trump University issued a diploma on paper to their grifted graduates, some of whom paid $35,000 for the Trump Gold Elite" package, which promised personal mentorship from experienced instructors "handpicked by Trump that would make them rich. Sycophant suckers in the card con don't even get something they can frame or stick on the refrigerator.

People are posting images like this from a tooter on Mastodon

Even Fox New news is treating this like it shows Trump to be a fool: 

Trump roasted after 'major announcement' turns out to be digital trading cards

This is how the Murdoch owned NY Post put it:

The 45th president’s new NFT* collection depicts — who else? — himself in various forms of, well, highly virtual reality.

Trump is featured with a chiseled chest wearing a cape, triumphantly riding an elephant and sporting a dapper James Bond-style tuxedo in the cards, according to his announcement on Truth Social.

“Hello everyone, this is Donald Trump, hopefully your favorite president of all time — better than Lincoln, better than Washington, with an important announcement,” Trump said in a tone-deaf video linked to the post. “I’m doing my first official Donald J. Trump NFT collection.”

The former leader of the free world then urged fans to buy the so-called Donald Trump digital trading tokens — which he described as “much like a baseball card” — for “only” $99 each.

*A non-fungible token is a : a unique digital identifier that cannot be copied 

The word I am reading the most frequently to describe this grift is cringeworthy.


I wasn't planning to write a blog story about Elon Musk today. I just put together an image that I posted on Mastodon for this toot:

Click above to enlarge image

By now if you have been paying attention you know Trump is teasing an announcement with a video on Truth Social showing him opening his shirt to reveal a Superman t-shirt. On "Morning Joe" Joe  reminded viewers that Trump had wanted to open his shirt to show a Superman t-shirt underneath when he left Walter Reed after he had Covid. 

Someone apparently didn't think this was a smart thing to do when so many people were dying of the disease and they managed to dissuade him. This was reported on in the media, The Murdoch NY Post for example.

Yesterday my favorite columnist, Heather "Digby" Parton, wrote 

Elon is the new Trump: But how long can he hold the No. 1 Troll title? on Salon

Thought bubbles added

Today Igor Derysh wrote, also on Salon: 

Free speech warrior Elon Musk bans, vows “legal action” against student for tweeting public info

Musk is so committed to free speech he wants to use the power of the state to suppress public info about him

In Musk and Trump we have two headline hogging people who meet the criteria for being a malignant narcissist. The malignant part is being sociopathic. The narcissism part means that they are so full of themselves that they often behave in ways that are self-defeating. 

Musk and Trump are grandiose narcissists whose lifeblood is getting attention. They have no deeply held political beliefs. They have no empathy for those who they hurt . They will dominate the news for at least the short-term future. 

This will not please people like Jim Jordan, Marjorie Taylor-Greene, Lauren Boebert (story), and Louie Gohmert (story) who hope to have the media spotlight on them when the new Congress convenes.

In the greater scheme of things Elon Musk is irrelevant though his craving for attention has been correctly compared to a toddler's tantrum the same way Trump's antics have.

Trump is only truly relevant in the longer term if he runs for president either as a Republican or an Independent.

Yesterday I wrote in my blog about DeSantis that Trump would be the easier candidate for Biden (or whichever Democrat runs) to beat than the other Republican's who have been mentioned as likely GOP candidates. I wrote:

There is one outcome we can hope for, though we can't to anything to make it happen. This is that Trump loses the primary, whether to DeSantis or anybody else, and decides to run as an Independent. His psychopathology strongly suggests he would do this. He doesn't have any loyalty to the GOP or anyone in it with the exception of his dwindling number of sycophants. 

Doing this keeps him in the public eye until Tuesday, Nov. 7th 2023 when he splits the vote assuring an easy Biden win. He can have his rallies and spew his hate speech and paranoia to his cheering cult.

Ye got media attention for his ludicrous announcement that he's a candidate. 

There's nothing to keep Elon from doing the same thing. He isn't running for president, at least not yet. After all if Ye and do it and Musk knows he isn't the brightest bulb in the pack. Why shouldn't the richest person in the world who could buy Trump many times over and who has reported 155 IQ do the same thing?
"Elect Elon" isn't a bad alliteration but "Make America Musk" might appeal to him as a slogan for a Twitter blue baseball cap.

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