Groovie Movie deserves another look

Attention all Lindy hoppers and Collegiate Shaggers!!

Iris Dolowitz Tarou in San Francisco, recently posted a video showing lindy hoppers dancing on a translucent rooftop dancefloor — but the view was from below! All you see is disembodied and shadowy black feet.

I was reminded of one of the seminal Swing Era videos, “Groovie Movie” (1944). This was ESSENTIAL VIEWING during the so-called “style wars” of the early years of the swing revival, and absolutely mandatory educational material for anyone pursuing “Hollywood” or “smooth” Lindy styling. During the early years of the revival, as a community (and in countless sub-sets in every city where there was no easy access to active old-timers), we had to kind of exhume and reconstruct the dance, teaching ourselves from videos and an awful lot of trial-and-error on the dancefloor. This comic take on an instructional film was core curriculum.

High-quality complete Groovie Movie short film:
I don’t think most people who’ve taken up swing dancing in the past 5-10 years have seen it and YOU ALL SHOULD. It’s nine minutes and it’s an absolute joy. Share and discuss amongst yourselves!
More info:
And special “oldskoolers” bonus:
Blog post about one of the “Groovie Movie” reunion/teaching weekends held in DC during the early revival years, with photos of many of the cast members and popular teachers of the early 2000s:
Necessary disclaimer: Like so many artifacts of the Jim Crow era, this video is lily-white and makes no mention of its African-American origins, save for the brief appearances of two black children. Also there’s a moment of yellowface that’s mocking, unnecessary and kind of weird. All of which is obviously distasteful. The dancing is great but it’s definitely gentrified, which is unfortunate.
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Dance talk: lead & follow /= dominant & submissive

Question raised:

When dancing, one person leads and the other follows. I had a discussion tonight with someone who equated this to dominant versus submissive in terms of gender relations. I don’t agree but didn’t really know how to articulate my position. And I’m still trying to figure it out.

It is very hard to articulate. I follow, but I do not submit. If I am dancing with someone who seems to demand submission, I do not enjoy the dance, and I avoid repeating the experience. Obviously one must make allowances for a leader who is learning, and only has so much resilience when the follower does not execute exactly what the leader is expecting. But once the leader has a certain amount of experience and skill, there is a lot of room for follower expression.

Generally, the goal of the experience is for the leader create a plan, and make suggestions, which the follower can adhere to closely or offer variations on/enhance. Many leaders welcome the variations, because it lessens the burden of making all the choices. Follower expressions can include things like counter turns, breaks, syncopations, slides, level changes, variations in speed or direction, vocalizations/snaps/claps, and more. Done well, all of these are individualized assertions and personalized contributions that still fit within the form the leader is spontaneously creating, which may alter but do not destroy the intention. The leader should receive them joyfully and with appreciation, because it means that the follower is fully participating, not hijacking or defying them… as might be the interpretation in a dominate/submit experience.

I guess the best analogy is to consider any kind of leadership, which at its best makes people in any organization feel empowered and secure, rather than disempowered and dictated to. 

Think of a great boss who had a clear vision, expectation and directions, but welcomed your input and wanted to see you grow, versus a bad boss who tried to micromanage everything and make the people under them feel small. It’s really a very similar dynamic.
The above is my personal experience and interpretation, though I think it is fairly common among contemporary followers… who don’t get into this because we want to be controlled. That said, I am sure that there are many people who are attracted to social dancing because there is a clear leader, who they prefer to be dominant, and a clear follower, who they want to be submissive. And those desires can be found equally in those who practice either role. So I get that it definitely exists, no question. It’s just not my jam.


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I work for capitalists. Also: fuck fracking

Note: This post is a little more screaming left-wing than my usual but I was pushed further down the spectrum by this event and its followup.

During a companywide conference (we make AI software), our CMO highlighted the guy who invented fracking as an example of someone who “changed the world by just trying to do his job”: junior engineer Nick Steinsberger. People then speculated on how much $ he’s now worth. Meanwhile I was stewing because whatever he gained from the discovery, it’s blood money, IMO. Fuck fracking.

Later research proved bitterly satisfying. The crowd was optimistic, as aspiring capitalists often are. Because Steinsberger works for capitalists, he got NOTHING. Although it was nice of our CMO to name him — instead of his boss, George Mitchell, who has taken all the credit. Steinsberger received no bonus or equity stake for his breakthrough, just his ~$100,000 salary, and three years later, his boss sold the company for $3 BILLION, pocketing $2 BILLION all by himself, and now George Mitchell is considered the “father of fracking.”

Robber barons, all.

And because I will never give this lobbyist/blogger more clicks, here’s Steinsberger’s story (highlights mine), included in its entirety through the eyes of an admirer who does not even recognize the many gross injustices he describes:

Fracking Inventor Goes to Mexico

Written by Christian DeHaemer
Posted October 9, 2017 at 1:01PM

The greatest economic miracle of the last ten years has been hydrocarbon fracking in the U.S. The benefits are plentiful and rich.

Some 750,000 – to 1,000,000 jobs have been created.  Utility bills and gasoline bills have been slashed.  Manufacturing boomed and continues to expand due to the low cost of fuel stocks.  Equity values climbed by more than $2.5 trillion.

Furthermore, fracking has put pressure on malevolent dictators including Russia, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia.  The U.S. has ramped up crude and natural gas exports to the tune of 1.984 million barrels of crude a day as of two weeks ago.

Almost inconceivable 15 years ago, America is on the verge of energy independence – a national goal that’s been pursued for over 40 years.

To put this in perspective, Kuwait ships 2 million barrels a day.  Furthermore, U.S. crude is $6 cheaper than Brent.

Hug a Fracker

The benefits of fracking are so enormous you’d think the rest of the world would dive right in… they haven’t.  Some of this has to due with geography.  North America has the layered formations that make fracking possible. For example, China has been trying for years with little success.

Some of it has to do with politics and mineral rights.  Just last week the Scottish government overwhelmingly rejected fracking despite evidence of major oil deposits.   In many places traditional oil and gas producers own the regulatory environment and don’t want the competition.

Fracking also requires lots of water and mid-stream infrastructure such as pipelines.  The U.S. has both.

But perhaps the most important item is expertise.  Fracking was invented and developed in the United States over the last 70 years.  It was perfected in the mid 1990’s by a small Texas gas company called Mitchell Energy.

George Mitchell, the owner lived the American dream.  He began his life in 1919 as the son of Greek goat herders and ended with the sale of his company for $3.1 billion.  Along the way his company produced a number of innovative geologist who combined hydro-fracking with horizontal drilling.  This changed the world.

Now this same group of Mitchell engineers have formed their own company and are in Mexico to make a fortune on virgin fracking land.

You see, the same geological forces that created the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford, also created similar basins down into Mexico.

And since Mexico liberalized their oil industry two years ago, and has the geography and political will all the conditions are in place for a fracking boom, including expertise.

South of the Border, Down Mexico Way

oil formations north south America 600x744

Team of Experts

First a little history on the Mitchell fracking experts.  Gregory Zuckerman’s book, The Frackers, is sitting on my desk as I write this. The names you see below are some of the main characters in the fracking legend…

Mitchell Energy
In the 1980s and 1990s, Mitchell Energy had holdings in the Barnett Shale region of Texas. They knew it had tons of natural gas but couldn’t make it profitable. The company didn’t have enough money to buy more expensive holdings, so it kept drilling and experimenting with proppants and horizontal drilling, hoping that its cash flow would hold out until it scored.

Through hard work and dumb luck, it finally figured it out.

Here is a summary of the book by Canadian Business:

The story Zuckerman tells is in many ways the prototypical narrative of American business success. A group of low-level players, operating in fields the big companies long ago abandoned, bucked all expert opinion to create billions in value out of virtually nothing.

McClendon’s co-founding investment in Chesapeake, to cite one example, was just $50,000. By 2008 his stake was worth $3 billion. And he enjoyed spending it. From $10,000 wines to homes all over the world and even his own NBA team (McClendon bought a 19% stake in the Oklahoma City Thunder), the resource player’s lifestyle was especially outlandish. But getting there, for him or the rest of the fracking pioneers, was never easy or guaranteed.

The men Zuckerman profiles, and they are all men, took on enormous debt and sometimes risked ridicule to get ahead of the shale-gas curve. In many cases they were buying up access to land before they even had the technology to profitably drill it. When George Mitchell, the president of Mitchell Energy, a Texas natural gas company, wanted to lease more acreage in the Texas shale in 1998, even his own board scoffed at him.

The breakthroughs that finally made the process profitable didn’t come quickly, or even on purpose. A Mitchell engineer named Nicholas Steinsberger discovered the right mix of fluids to shoot down into fracked wells largely by accident. He then pursued the process despite skepticism and even open mockery from his senior engineers in the company. (He also received no bonus or equity stake for his breakthrough. In the year he helped make fracking profitable, he made about $100,000.)

In 1999, George Mitchell’s company was under tremendous financial strain and heading for bankruptcy. By 2001 production was up 250%, and he sold Mitchell Energy to Devon Energy for $3.1 billion. George Mitchell went home with nearly $2 billion.

Nicholas Steinberger, as well as three others from Mitchell Energy, now work for a tiny $0.20 company I’ve been recommending in Crisis & Opportunity.

I would love to tell you all about this unique opportunity, show you the charts and the maps…  Tell you how Mexico will create vast fortunes of hydrocarbon wealth.  However, I am over my 1000 word limit.

If you are interested in the massive upside of Mexican fracking, please read this special report.

All the best,

Christian DeHaemer

@TheDailyHammer on Twitter

Since 1995, Christian DeHaemer has specialized in frontier market opportunities. He has traveled extensively and invested in places as varied as Cuba, Mongolia, and Kenya. Chris believes the best way to make money is to get there first with the most. Christian is the founder of Crisis & Opportunity and Managing Director of Wealth Daily. He is also a contributor for Energy & Capital. For more on Christian, see his editor’s page.

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Of scorpions and turtles (or frogs or crocodiles…but always scorpions, tho)

Remember how, after the Correspondents’ Dinner, it seemed like every single news report took pains to finger-wag at Michelle Wolff for saying super-mean things about Sanders even though *press secretary* Sanders openly loathes the WH press corps (and journalism in general)?

Yeah, Sanders doesn’t, either. 

Ms. Sanders, without much evidence, went on to accuse the news media of using “personal attacks without any content other than to incite anger.” She also cited her experience at this year’s White House Correspondents Association dinner, during which the comedian Michelle Wolf mocked Ms. Sanders’s “smokey eye” makeup and compared her to “an Uncle Tom” for “white women.”
“You brought up a comedian to attack my appearance and call me a traitor to my own gender,” Ms. Sanders said.

Y’all, I love you but this is why Wolff’s speech also called out all the craven and complicit attempts to mollify (and profit from) these assholes, btw.

Journos, please: STOP TAKING SCORPIONS ON YOUR BACK AND ASKING THEM TO LIKE YOU. The whole Administration is telling you, over and over, that they consider this an adversarial relationship. They are not ever going to tell their supporters to think otherwise. It is in *their best interest* for supporters to see responsible and challenging political reportage as suspicious, and to only trust the Dear Leaders. Do what you have to do to signal you’re never gonna quit exposing them, OK, but for sanity’s sake, stop begging for crumbs. It’s beneath your dignity and a waste of your valuable time and precious energy. Don’t do this:

Mr. Acosta tried again, with more oomph.

“This democracy, this country, all the people around the world watching what you are saying, Sarah, and the White House for the United States of America — the president of the United States should not refer to us as ‘the enemy of the people,’” he said. “His own daughter acknowledges that, and all I’m asking you to do, Sarah, is to acknowledge that right now and right here.”

Ms. Sanders replied: “I appreciate your passion. I share it. I’ve addressed this question.”

At that, Mr. Acosta promptly walked out.

He’s asking her to say something she’s not going to say.  I mean YES, keep reporting, keep pressing, keep criticizing, keep calling out bullshit, but don’t ask her, politely, would she please tell the mean people in the bleachers to stop picking on us. She isn’t going to, Trump isn’t going to, and the minions aren’t going to. To do so plays into their narrative of loathing weakness.

Frame questions more assertively, maybe:
* Why does President Trump use the phrase “enemy of the people” to describe journalists bringing truth to ordinary Americans?
* Despite the disrespect you and the President have shown journalists, [CNN’s] audience deserves an answer to this question: “….”
* This Administration falsely equates journalists pursuing facts with foreign criminals hurting our democracy. Could you tell my audience how you make that connection and why? 


Just fight back. Politely if you must but with teeth. These questions are not impolite and they are not personal. There are 100 ways to do this, probably way better, but without simpering.

Fight! But don’t ask for validation or acknowledgment. It’s not coming. Ever.

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A short NYC drama

Here I am waiting for a train after midnight on a Monday, tired but dang the music sure was great and I had some laughs. I sure would like to get home soon, but first I will reach into my bag and …


I use a Help Point to call for help. They were reasonably helpful, but had no idea how long it would take for a worker to arrive. Ugggghhhh fine. My fault, my problem. Fine. They remind me not to go onto the tracks for any reason no matter how long it takes. Yes, yes, of course. I resign myself to a wait.

Train coming in, will phone survive?!?

Train departs…YES!! Unreachable but unharmed. So close, yet so far away.

Sadly staring down at my phone pitifully staring up at me, I also realize I am kind of lucky it landed on a relatively clean grate above the super filthy filth and certainly toxic watery soup that’s often found on the track. There is a chance I will get my phone and data back in one piece. A super dirty single piece, but still. I’m traveling in a week and I do NOT want to deal with the heartbreak and hassle of replacement. So, we live in hope.

Looking down the length of track, I see REFLECTIVE VESTS YAAAAAAASSSS

I march myself down to the far opposite end of the platform. These guys are construction workers, not here to help me, but let’s see.

I make nice without making like I am helpless damsel but yes I am super cheery and acknowledge that I am definitely asking for a favor. Nice man walks with me clear to the other end of the platform! He is going to get my phone for me! But first, another train comes through.

After it departs, he hops down, hands me my phone, walks the nearest ladder and comes back up to the platform. Now he has to listen to me telling him that he’s my hero and I really appreciate it and he did me a big favor and thank you and should I now call the information people? He laughs and says no. Do we need to let anybody know that you grabbed it for me? He says no. Hey, can I get a picture of you so that I can tell all my friends that you’re my hero? He very says no. I am figuring out that he is not really supposed to do this. But really all I care is that he did it and I’m going to get on the next train and it is not going to be an hour and I’m going to get to bed before dawn, yay.

And I’m home 10 minutes after I got on the next train, less than an hour after the drop, and I scrub my phone with rubbing alcohol a few times so I can tell you this slice of NY life story.


PS: Update with insight from a person who knows: Officially, not even MTA workers can go on the tracks without notification and a flag person in place. So, yeah, he wasn’t supposed to do that. Do I care? noooooooo

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How one says “I drink your milkshake” in Russian

Well, OK then. Here we have a clear and highly understandable perspective and a bald statement of intent. Putin offers a calm and intelligent explanation that is simply impossible to misinterpret or ignore. His is unparalleled confidence and certainty of one’s position. Zero shame and at this point, not even any politesse. Thus, it’s not going to stop, at all, any more than American interventions and actions around the world will stop. He is, on this aspect, *correct* It’s reasonable to call out American double standards on this– it’s only because we are Americans that we don’t see our actions and beliefs as hypocritical. We think what we do is noble; Putin does not. We’re not alone (yet) and neither is he. In theory, we want rule derived from the people; in his thinking, rule should derive from powerful and wealthy elites. We are ideological opponents at cross-purposes, which is how it’s been, is, and will be. Thanks for being so straightforward about it, Vlad. We still are, or are again, in a Cold War. Coooool.
So, what is the US leadership going to about it? (Continue to submit, complicit in treason and the Russian takeover, obviously. They aspire to Russian oligarchy! They see that as #goals!
Goodbye America… was nice knowing you.

This link is probably linked to Russian propaganda sites/groups, but it’s a high-quality video clip. Visit if you like but be aware:

PS: Milkshake =

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One minute?

Your exact reaction to this story may vary along the horror–>disgust–>fury spectrum depending on how close you are to the news industry. But if you’re a worker, anywhere, you have to agree: This lede is *chilling*.

The meeting lasted less than a minute. By the time it was over, reporters and editors at The Daily News had been told that the newsroom staff was being cut in half and that the editor in chief, Jim Rich, was out of a job.

Personally, I’m covering the entire spectrum all by myself. Yeah, the Daily News is a tabloid, but it’s important in its own way and that institution — and its STAFF — deserve so much better than this humiliating insult. This is an outrage to community journalism, the public value of a free and vigorous press, the readers, and every hardworking person who ever contributed to that newsroom.
A one-minute “meeting” to callously destroy dozens of careers and change a newspaper to little more than a sales circular?

Go fuck yourself, Mr. Whitmore, and Tronc, and all your shareholders, and pure capitalism.

Posted in Advocacy, Media savvy, Stupid bullshit, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment