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Friday, November 30, 2018

Michael Cohen's significance



So, how significant is it that Michael Cohen has admitted to lying to Congress about the duration of plans for a Trump towerr in Moscow? Really significant! The Russia crime story which has highlighted Cohen this week started with Flynn and Manafort, and even had a bit part for Maria Butina. Trump was in a multi-million dollar real estate deal with Russia, with the help of sanctioned Kremlin-connected VTB bank .... and candidate Trump advocated dropping financial sanctions on Russia (Newsweek: Is Donald Trump’s Dark Russian Secret Hiding in Deutsche Bank’s Vaults?) ... and the deal was ended on the same day the news of Russian hackers trying to affect the election to help Trump. Why? Rachel Maddow gives details.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Throwback Thursday

Cleaning out my drawers, I found all kinds of stuff from the distant past .... an autographed Agent Mulder (David Duchovny) postcard, rubber fish, a crystal, my tarot cards ...



And a Star Wars photo, which will now be living on the refrigerator with my cat magnets :) ...


Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Hear no evil



Neither Bolton nor Trump will listen to the audio tape of the murder of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi. Why not? The heard reality of a grisly killing by a man (MBS) they are embracing for their own personal benefit is just irrelevant to them ... accessories after the fact.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

More music history

In my recent quest to experience more about music,I'm now stuck on Queen. I've come to the Live Aid concert that took place on Saturday, July 13, 1985, at Wembley Stadium in London. Lot's of bands performed to raise cash to help with the famine in Ethiopia. Some who were there were David Bowie, The Who, U2, Dire Straits, Led Zeppelin, and even Paul McCartney.

Queen was there too and created arguably the best performance of the concert (Rolling Stone: Flashback: Queen Steal the Show at Live Aid ). This was due to good sound in daunting circumstances, but also to Freddie Mercury's voice and force of personality :) In the time they had they squeezed in renditions of Bohemian Rhapsody, Radio Ga Ga, Hammer to Fall, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, We Will Rock You, and We Are the Champions ...



And here's an interview with them before the concert ...


Monday, November 26, 2018

More on the immigration issue

Tonight on The PBS NewsHour they interviewed Scott Shuchart, a lawyer who worked as a senior adviser in the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties at the Department of Homeland Security for both the Obama and Trump administrations, and is now a Senior Fellow for Immigration Policy at the Center for American Progress. I thought what he had to say about the situation was exactly right ...



See him on 60 Minutes too

At the border



Yesterday Trump closed the border crossing between California and Mexico (in San Diego) for a time, and US troops, who are now authorized to use lethal force against unarmed migrants, used tear gas and pepper spry on those who approached the barrier.


- Trump demands Mexico send migrants back to countries of origin after border patrol fires tear gas

How long before Trump calls for air strikes to protect our nation from those scary migrant moms and kids? Will this help him get the racist Republican contender in the Mississippi race elected? Will it help him fund his wall? Will it get him re-elected?

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Crazy Little Thing Called Love

More from Queen ...

Friday, November 23, 2018

Bohemian Rhapsody

Reading about the recently released film Bohemian Rhapsody ...

a 2018 biographical film about the British rock band Queen. It follows singer Freddie Mercury's life, leading to Queen's Live Aid performance at Wembley Stadium in 1985 ... Bohemian Rhapsody was announced in 2010, with Sacha Baron Cohen cast as Mercury. After Baron Cohen left the project in 2013 following creative differences with producers, the project languished for several years before Malek was cast in November 2016. Principal photography began in London in September 2017 with Singer as director. In December 2017, Singer was fired for absence and clashing with the cast and crew, and Dexter Fletcher was hired to complete the film. Singer retained sole director credit as per DGA guidelines, while Fletcher received an executive producer credit. Filming concluded in January 2018.

I really only noticed the movie when I read that the director had been Bryan Singer, also a director of an X-Men movie who has been multiply accused of sexual misconduct. The reviews of the film were not great (Freddie Mercury: Bohemian Rhapsody is no tribute. It’s full of unconscious homophobia), but I've signed up for it at Netflix and will give it a chance.

Here's a trailer ...



Here's a video of their song that I like best :) ...



Someday I must check out the past Doors movie too.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving



I'm not very good at being grateful. Usually I notice what's going wrong more than what's going right, and most of the time, I experience life like this ....



But even I try to notice all the good stuff once a year on Thanksgiving :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

How to get away with murder



Trump's tweet giving credit to Saudi Arabia for lower gas prices is, shocker, full of lies. We only get 9% of our oil from them (40% from Canada). Trump has been lying about everything that has to do with Saudi Arabia, from how much money they are spending here to his own personal financial connections with them. As The Washington Post opines, "Flash enough money in front of the president of the United States, and you can literally get away with murder.".


Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Pro-life?



Religious conservatives excuse their support for Trump by saying it's worth it to get pro-life judges on the Supreme Court. I must admit, I never really bought that explanation .... I don't think the pro-life movement is actually about saving lives but about controlling women. Now that Trump has released a statement making it clear that he will stand with MBS because of financial rewards (his own?), even given that he is a murderer, I do not doubt that those religious conservatives will continue to support him. Woe to you hypocrites.

Trump’s latest statement on Khashoggi was a betrayal of American values

Monday, November 19, 2018

I was blind, but now I see

Last night I re-watched Stargate: The Ark of Truth. It was a movie continuation of the Stargate tv series and dealt with how the good guys finally managed to defeat the bad guys from another galaxy who worshipped evil ascended beings called the Ori. The way they did this was not through force of arms but by finding and using a contraption built by good ascended bings, known as the Ark of Truth ... a relic that causes people to realize the reality of a situation, despite their previous mistaken beliefs.

Here's a clip that shows our heroes confronted by the one remaining evil Ori and her high priest (Julian Sands as the Doci) and the Ark of Truth. The good guys manage to turn on and open the Ark, changing the heart of the high priest and through him all the hearts of those around the galaxy who had worshipped the Ori, thus rendering the Ori vulnerable. The high priest says, "Have mercy. I was blind, but now I see." ...



I wish there was an Ark of Truth that could change the hearts of Trump supporters.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

You Like Me Too Much

Another of my favorite Beatles songs, from their second movie album, by George - You Like Me Too Much ...



xx

Yard photos

It's cool but sunny here. Out in the yard with the cats ...

Here is Lucy ...



Here's a Thompson Seedless grape leaf, a bit beaten up ...



My step-father planted the grapes long ago and now they've gone wild ...



Here's Hansel, sitting on the stump of the deceased magnolia tree ...



Here are my little clones :) We need more plants because so many have died in the drought, so I'm trying to make cuttings to get more plants without having to buy them. These are from a Photinia bush ...



Here's Snowy, trying to nap ...



And her mom, Marie ...



Leaves. So many leaves. I see a lot of raking in my future ...


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The fires

Very smoky here today because of the fires ...



It's really hard to think about all of the people and animals killed in the fires - burned alive. Things like this make me wonder what Christians believe about a God who lets such suffering happen. When I say my prayers at night and ask that all my loved ones be safe, I have to wonder what the point of doing that is. Does God care about us? Does he even exist?

Monday, November 12, 2018

RIP: Stan Lee



As someone who grew up reading Marvel comics,I was sad to see today that Stan Lee has died. From Wikipedia ...

Stan Lee (born Stanley Martin Lieber /ˈliːbər/, December 28, 1922 – November 12, 2018) was an American comic-book writer, editor, and publisher. He was the editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics, and later its publisher and chairman, leading its expansion from a small division of a publishing house to a large multimedia corporation.

In collaboration with several artists—particularly Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko—he co-created fictional characters including Spider-Man, the Hulk, Doctor Strange, the Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Black Panther, the X-Men, and—with his brother, co-writer Larry Lieber—the characters Ant-Man, Iron Man, and Thor. In doing so, he pioneered a more complex approach to writing superheroes in the 1960s, and in the 1970s challenged the standards of the Comics Code Authority, indirectly leading to it updating its policies ....


Stan often appeared in funny cameo roles in the Marvel movies. My favorite one is when he played a FedEx delivery guy who misreads the name on a package for Tony Stark (Iron Man) in Captain America: Civil War ...



A lot of people credit their family or their church with having raised them with a certain ethical foundation. I do credit my family, of course, but I also owe a lot to all those comics I read. The guys like Captain America and Thor and Spider-Man and Reed Richards and others taught me how important it is to be honest and kind and brave and persistent. I'm not always those things, but I learned that they are goals worth working toward because of Marvel comics :)

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Veterans Day: WWI



My grandfather actually served in WWI (1914-18) in the Army Air Corps ... he was born in 1894, which seems impossibly long ago. Here's a pic of him when he was young (far left) and his father (who immigrated here from France) and his brothers ...



Here's a pic of him later when he was a bird colonel in the army ...



And here he is even later, with me and my sister :) ...


Saturday, November 10, 2018

John Oliver: immigration

Immigration: one of the biggest issues used by Trump to stir up hate and fear among his zombie horde of supporters. This despite the fact that Trump's grandfather was an immigrant from Germany, his first wife was an immigrant from Czechoslovakia, and his third wife was an immigrant from Slovenia. . Here John Oliver discusses the immigration situation ...

Friday, November 09, 2018

Paradise is burning

Outside it's very smoky and the sun had been reduced to a little red orb. About 100 miles north of here in the Sierra Nevada foothills is the town of Paradise and it's on fire ...



I've never been to Paradise but I always wanted to visit after having watched the old tv western of the same name. It's scary and sad to see so much devastation.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Kitty pic

Still looking at my pile of floppies. One disk I opened had a picture I made in an art program ... back in the olden days we were playing around a lot with different graphic programs. Here's a kitty I made :) ...



Floppy

Lately I've been trying to figure out how to get some extra money and the thought occurred that I could self-publish my ancient book-length story written many years ago. Amazon makes it easy to self-publish kindle books. It's free and you can keep 70% of the selling price. My brother-in-law does this: here's his vampire novel, The Shake ...



But anyway, I looked for my copy of my old story in the bottom drawer of my grandmother's dresser (on which the computer now sits) where I have all my ancient floppies ...



Then I realized my present computer couldn't read floppies and had to send away for a floppy disk drive. Then when I downloaded it to the desktop, I couldn't open it because the program I had been using, Claris, was so old. I was pretty depressed but my sister suggested I try to open it with BBEdit, which worked. Except then all the formatting was gone. I put it in Word for Mac but I'm having to go through it line by line, formatting.

It's been so long since I wrote it that I can't remember all that happens in it and I'm having to rewrite a lot of it, but it takes place in San Francisco, mostly at Golden Gate Park, and an anaconda snake is involved. It's going to take a long time - I'm only on chapter 1 of 30 chapters - but it's kind of fun to be taken back to when I wrote it in the late 90s :) Hope something comes of it.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Religious belief and voting

Pew has some research on how various religious groups voted in the 2018 midterm election. It's kind of depressing - about half of all Catholic voters voted for Republicans and half for Democrats, but almost 80% of white Evangelical Christians voted Republican. If this election really was a referendum on Trump, that means that a majority of Christians voted for the policies of a man and party that are diametrically opposed to the teachings of Jesus. They chose hate and fear and greed instead of love and kindness and self-sacrifice.

How religious groups voted in the midterm elections

California :)

While there were electoral disappointments in other parts of the country, here in California things went pretty well. As soon-to-be governor Gavin Newsom said in his victory speech ...

"To those who wonder whether polarization is permanent, who think today's big dreams are tomorrow's broken promises, who question whether a 40-million-person melting pot of different faiths, families and futures can live and prosper together — California is your answer!"

John Cox, the conservative Republican who ran against Newsom, was a Trumpist, a multimillionaire businessman from Illinois, who said that he was in the race to help all the people in California who couldn't afford housing, gas, and food in this ill-run state .... why do I find his stance disingenuous?

My senator, Dianne Feinstein won - yay! - and although a rent control proposition I had hoped would pass did not, prop 12, the Prevention of Cruelty to Farm Animals Act, did pass. It was hard to decide how to vote on that because some animal welfare groups like PETA were against it as being too wimpy, but I voted yes, thinking that I shouldn't let the best be the enemy of the good - the SPCA and many other animal welfare groups agreed with me.

Overall, it is good to be a Californian.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Now the Dems have the House ...



All the votes are not yet counted, of course, but it looks clear that while the Democrats lost sadly in some important races, they will have control of the House. What will they do with that control?

Some say we should be nice and work across the aisle to support bipartisan deals. That's ok. But some say we should not start any investigations. That's insane - of course we should!

There has not been such a corrupt president/administration in Washington in our lifetimes, but for the last two years the Republican members of the House have acted as Trump's spineless henchmen, enabling every rotten thing done instead of providing oversight. You can kiss that syncopathic situation goodbye.

Monday, November 05, 2018

Vote!



Don't forget to vote tomorrow, if you haven't already done so. I voted a couple of weeks ago by mail This is the first mid-term election in which I've voted for everybody and every thing on the ballet. I picked organizations whose opinions I share - the Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood, and the Democratic party - and checked their voting guides to help me choose. This could be one of the most important elections in which I've voted. If the Democrats are able to win the House (and Senate?), they could slow down Trump and his agenda, if not stop it cold. So, vote!

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Goodby, Goldy



This morning when I was outside feeding the cats, I saw that a small possum was dead in the back yard. Sad. I couldn't tell how he had died with my bad vision, but my sister was coming over today so I was going to wait for her to decide what to do.

But then later that morning, when going around to the other side of the yard, I found Goldy. I couldn't tell what had killed him either. It seems too much of a coincidence that they would both die at the same time, so I called the lady at Animal Control about it but she wasn't there and I had to leave a message. Meanwhile I wait for my sister to come and help me decide what to do.

As I wait, I've been thinking about Goldy. He first showed ho here a little over a year ago as a kitten ...



He was really afraid of me but he became one of the many cats here in the yard and eventually got used to me. We got him neutered this spring. He was a sweet cat, never aggressive, and I will miss him. It seems so sad that he got to live such a short life, that he didn't get to be someone's indoor pet, that I am the only one who will know of him and love him and cry at his passing. Goodby, Goldy.

Friday, November 02, 2018

Trump: what women want



Trump gave a speech on the immigrant caravan yesterday from the Roosevelt Room, in which he said, among other things, that the army would consider rocks that were thrown at him as firearms and shoot back (which, if on American soil and if lethal, would be manslaughter/murder).

Trump also opined that the women of the US don't want those scary male migrants coming here and that what women really want most of all is "security". He's not speaking to women here, of course, but to other white men, and the message is "hey guys, we can't allow our property (women) to be appropriated by those out-group males".

Women aren't domesticated animals or pieces of cake - we are people who want basically the same things men do. The reason Trump thinks women want security is because the only women who spend time with him are those who want money/power.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Hey, Yoda ...

Wake up from your nap so I can take your picture ...



Ouch, let go of my knuckle ;) ...


All Saint's Day

A song for All Saint's Day: Brother Sun, Sister Moon by Donovan, from the movie about Francis of Assisi ...