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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

So much happening!

It's hard to pick one thing to write about, so I'm going to cover it all :)

In politics ... wow, indictments against not just Manafort but George Papadopoulos as well. Here's Rachel Maddow on this ...

And did you see that General Kelly, the guy we thought would be the voice of reason in the White House, opined that fighting the Civil War was a mistake? ...

The Civil War Was Not a Mistake

When White House Chief of Staff John Kelly told the Fox News host Laura Ingraham that the Civil War was caused by the “lack of an ability to compromise,” that the war was fought by “men and women of good faith on both sides,” and that Confederate General Robert E. Lee “was an honorable man,” he was invoking a rosy view of the Confederacy echoing that of his boss.

Kelly was also reflecting a popular perception of the war that has persisted for decades, largely on the strength and influence of an organized pro-Confederate propaganda campaign that has been conducted for a century. While the scholarly consensus is that the Civil War was about slavery, popular opinion has not entirely caught up ...


Happy Reformation Day. One of the reasons Luther did what he did was that he Catholic had been selling indulgences, a practice which promised that sinful people could get time off from purgatory after death in exchange for money. It's a creepy idea: first of all, there's no biblical back-up for the existence of purgatory, and second, there's no reason to believe the church had the power to get people time off in exchange for cash even if purgatory did exist. Even creepier is that the church still grants indulgences, but now instead of paying for them with cash, people must pay for them by doing certain approved things like passing through Jubalee doors. Most of those at Vatican II thought the idea of purgatory and indulgences was just wrong.


Finally, happy Halloween. I must admit I hate Halloween. For someone as shy as I am, it's really stressful to have strangers constantly coming to the door. But having said that, I do kind of like scary movies, especially those with a religious theme. Here below are ten of them that I've seen in the past that may be worth renting on this scary night ...

- The Rite. Rated PG-13 and released in 2011, it stars Anthony Hopkins, Colin O'Donoghue (Captain Hook!), and Ciarán Hinds. The film is based on Matt Baglio's book, The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist. O'Donoghue portrays a young American seminary student, Michael Kovak, who travels to Rome to study exorcism at the Vatican before deciding whether to become a priest. Once there, he meets the resident expert in exorcism, a Jesuit named Fr. Lucas (Hopkins), who eventually becomes possessed by a demon himself. Kovak must find the faith he doubts he has in order to save Lucas. Roger Ebert gave it three stars ...

- Frailty. Rated R and released in 2001, it stars Bill Paxton, Matthew McConaughey, and Powers Boothe. The story is about a man who believes he's been instructed by an angle to kill a number of demons who are disguised as normal people. He captures these people and brings them home, enlisting the help of his two young sons, and killing his victims with an axe. Roger Ebert gave it four stars ...

- Fallen. Rated R and released in 1998, this film stars Denzel Washington, John Goodman, and Donald Sutherland. Washington portrays a Philadelphia Police Detective, John Hobbes, who's investigating a string of murders with a demonic theme. Clues lead him to a woman who confides that the murders are being committed by people possessed by a fallen angel. As Hobbes closes in on the demon, the people closest to him become possessed by it, and he is eventually forced to incriminate himself for the killings. Roger Ebert gave it two and a half stars ...

- Constantine. Rated R and released in 2005, it stars Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz, and Tilda Swinton. Based on Hellblazer, a graphic novel/comic book, the film revolves around John Constantine (Reeves), a psychic and exorcist. Constantine helps people who are possessed in hopes that he can buy his way into heaven with good deeds, after having tried in the past to kill himself. While investigating the death of woman who has committed suicide, he discovers an ongoing wager between God and Lucifer for dominion of the Earth, and that this wager is being circumvented by Lucifer's son. The religious stuff is unreliable, but the film does include some interesting occult artifacts like the Spear of Destiny, the lance that was said to have pierced Jesus on the cross. Roger Ebert gave it one and a half stars ....

- The Order. Rated R and released in 2003, the film stars Heath Ledger, Shannyn Sossamon, and Peter Weller. Ledger plays an American Catholic priest, Fr. Alex Bernier, who belongs to a (fictitious) religious order whose superior has mysteriously died. Bernier travels to Rome to investigate the death and discovers within the Vatican a Cardinal who's secretly a sin-eater. Sin-eating, a practice by which one person consumes the sins of another person, is considered by the church to be heretical magic and Bernier faces multiple dangers, including demons, in trying to bring the truth to light ...

- The Seventh Sign. Rated R and released in 1988, the film stars Demi Moore, Michael Biehn, and Jürgen Prochnow of Das Boot fame. The plot involves a pregnant woman (Moore) discovering that Jesus (Prochnow) has returned to break the seven seals, those mentioned in the Book of Revelation, thus causing the the end of the world, the apocalypse. With the help of a young Jewish scholar, she tries to change Jesus' mind, but she's constantly impeded by a mysterious Catholic priest. Roger Ebert gave it just two stars ...

- The Rapture. Released in 1991 and rated R, the movie stars David Duchovny, Mimi Rogers, and Patrick Bauchau. The story tells of a telephone operator, Sharon, who leaves her life as an after-hours swinger to become a born-again Christian, marrying and having a daughter. When things begin to go very wrong in her life, she questions her faith and goes into the desert with her daughter to await the Rapture, the end time when the chosen ascend to heaven. They wait and writ but nothing happens, and in despair, Sharon makes a terrible decision that seals her fate. Roger Ebert gave it four stars ...

- Night of the Demon (Curse of the Demon). Unrated and released in 1957, the film stars Dana Andrews and was produced in the United Kingdom. The plot was adapted from a short story by M.R. James, Casting the Runes, and tells of an American psychologist, Dr. John Holden, who travels to England to attend a convention and meet a friend there. Holden finds his friend has been mysteriously killed and suspects the killing was accomplished with the use of magic, as his friend had been investigating satanic cults. Holden eventually learns of the existence of a parchment with a magic rune upon it that, when surreptitiously given to someone, calls up a demon to kill them. This one has a cat named Grimalkin in it :) ...

- Stigmata. Rated R and released in 1999, it stars Patricia Arquette and Gabriel Byrne. Byrne portrays Fr. Kiernan, a Vatican postulator, a priest who investigates miracles. He meets Arquete’s character when she shows evidence of having the stimata, marks on her body like those of the crucified Jesus. Behind all this they discover a mysterious gospel that the Catholic church has been keeping under wraps, afraid it would destroy the church The sayings in this mystery gospel, such as “Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there” seem to come, in part, from the real-life non-canonical gospel of Thomas. Roger Ebert gave it two stars ...

- The Prophecy. Rated R and released in 1995, it stars Christopher Walken, Viggo Mortensen, and Virginia Madsen. The plot describes a civil war between Heacen's angels, as described in the Book of Revelation. Walkien portrays the archangel Gabriel, who's searching for a particularly bad soul located on Earth, but who comes into conflict with other angels and a police detective who had once trained to be a Catholic priest. Though the movie received poor reviews, it later became a cult classic and spawned a number of sequels. Especially spooky - Viggo as Lucifer ...

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Today on Meet the Press

On Sunday mornings as I drink my hot chocolate/coffee mixture, I usually watch the morning news programs on YouTube ... Meet the Press, Face the Nation, etc. Today I was so upset that I had to quit Meet the Press after about 10 minutes.

They had a poll showing that while almost 60% of the entire country thinks Trump is doing a bad job, about 80% of Republicans love him. Then Chuck Todd interviewed Republican senator Rob Portman of Ohio about this and Portman said (in essence) the same thing that most Republican lawmakers are saying .... that he doesn't care that Trump is a lying pussy-grabbing racist psycho who wants to take health care away from millions and food from the mouths of the elderly poor, and in fact he will mimic these Trumpian qualities, as long as this will insure that he himself can get re-elected. He and most other Republican lawmakers are spineless suck-ups without moral centers.

But what's really disturbing, is the 80% of Republican voters Portman and others like him are pandering to. This seems to say that either 1) almost all Republicans are racists and misogynists and idiots, or 2) that they are willing to accept ruining the lives of others in order to end up on top themselves. I have relatives who love Trump and it's becoming incredibly hard to keep believing they are good people. And I'm angry so much of the time. Job well done, Trump :(

Friday, October 27, 2017


The latest tv series I've been renting is Timeless ...

an American science fiction time travel drama series .... It follows the adventures of history professor Lucy Preston (Abigail Spencer), scientist Rufus Carlin (Malcolm Barrett) and soldier Wyatt Logan (Matt Lanter) as they attempt to stop Garcia Flynn (Goran Višnjić) from changing the course of American history through time travel ....

When an experimental time machine is stolen, a history professor, a soldier and an engineer are tasked with capturing the culprit only to learn that he plans to rewrite American history and that each of them has a connection to his plan as well as the mysterious organization that funded the machine's development.

Here's a trailer ...

I really like the show. I'm interested in history so it's fun to see what factoids will come up in each episode. One example - a book I've been thinking of reading is Eric Larson's The Devil in the White City: A Saga of Magic and Murder at the Fair that Changed America, and in one of the recent episodes of Timeless, the characters visited that particular World's Fair and came in contact with serial killer H. H. Holmes. Another episode had the characters traveling back to meet the actual person who would be the inspiration for the fictional Lone Ranger, Bass Reeves, the first black deputy U.S. marshal west of the Mississippi ...

Of all the themes of science fiction, I think time travel is my favorite ... there's something so compelling about the opportunity to go back and destroy the roots of some terrible present day wrong. This series has does a good job of exemplifying that wish.

Thursday, October 26, 2017



Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Who is Scott Lloyd?

The government’s grotesque abuse of power over a 17-year-old seeking an abortion

J.D. — SHORT FOR JANE DOE — is a 17-year-old immigrant living in a Texas shelter for undocumented minors. She is also pregnant and seeking an abortion. The federal government refuses to allow her to end her pregnancy.

Under the directorship of E. Scott Lloyd, an antiabortion activist appointed by President Trump to lead the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement, ORR began preventing federally funded shelters from “facilitat[ing]” access to abortion services unless Mr. Lloyd approved. Instead, shelters for undocumented minors may support only “pregnancy services and life-affirming options counseling.” Mr. Lloyd has personally reached out to several pregnant teenagers to counsel them against seeking abortions, reportedly viewing himself as a “foster father.” ...

Mr. Lloyd’s behavior toward J.D. is not just unconstitutional. It is also a grotesque abuse of government power over a vulnerable young woman far from her home. The government should not need a court order to do what is obviously right. It should allow J.D. access to the medical care to which she is legally entitled, immediately.

So who is Lloyd? Well, he's a conservative Catholic, an attorney formerly employed as Policy Coordinator for the Knights of Columbus (you know, they who spent so much money trying to doom marriage equality for LGBT people). Before that, in 2008, while working at HHS, he co-authored a "conscience rule" for doctors. Here's a bit from a New York Times story ...

The Bush administration, as expected, announced new protections on Thursday for health care providers who oppose abortion and other medical procedures on religious or moral grounds .... The rule prohibits recipients of federal money from discriminating against doctors, nurses and health care aides who refuse to take part in procedures because of their convictions, and it bars hospitals, clinics, doctors’ office and pharmacies from forcing their employees to assist in programs and activities financed by the department ....

Opponents of abortion, including the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Catholic Health Association, which represents Catholic hospitals, support the new regulations and say they are needed to protect health-care providers from being forced to perform abortions and sterilizations.

They are opposed by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, the American Hospital Association and the American Medical Association, among others. Opponents contend that the regulations are a threat to a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion, and that they are not needed in any event because the Civil Rights Act of 1964 already prohibits employment discrimination based on religion.

Here's a bit more about his conservative bona fides from This Week in Immigration ...

Prior to his appointment to ORR, Lloyd served on the Board of Directors of the Front Royal Pregnancy Center [a pro-life crises pregnancy center] and is Vice Chairman and co-founder of the WitnessWorks Foundation for a Culture of Life [an anti-contraception and anti-abortion organization]. He was a contributing writer at HLI America [Cardinal Burke is one of their heroes], as well as Veritas Splendor and the Center for Morality in Public Life's Ethika Politka. Lloyd also was a member of the John Carroll Society, Brent Society and the Federalist Society.

You can read some of his extreme opinions - I say extreme because the vast majority of Catholics support the use of contraception, the legality of abortion, and the worth of marriage equality for LGBT people - here at the religiously conservative site, Ethika Politika.

It seems Trump has chosen as ORR director the most biased and prejudiced appointee possible.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Jeff Flake

From The Atlantic: 'I Will Not Be Complicit'

Republican Senator from Arizona, Jeff Flake, thank you for speaking up ...

Lying is bad

Our government is now run by liars ... Trump, Sean Spicer, Sarah Sanders, General Kelly, and most likely droves of other administration minions, Republican toadies, and conservative apologists. Of course we all lie once in a while - even other animals do it - but most of us try not to lie and most of us understand how important it is to be able to rely on a common congruence between what people aver and actual reality. No one can make good and informed decisions if they are given false data. Liars lie for one reason, to advantage themselves at the expense of others. Liars are cowards. And those cowards are running our country.

More: An Utterly Untruthful President'

Monday, October 23, 2017

Mister, You're a Better Man Than I

I had posted this old song by the Yardbirds a while ago, but maybe it's time to revisit, given all that's been going on in Trump world lately ...

Mister, You're a Better Man Than I

Can you judge a man
By the way he wears his hair?
Can you read his mind
By the clothes that he wears?
Can you see a bad man
By the pattern on his tie?
Then Misty you're a better man than I
Yeah Misty You're a better man than I
Oh Misty You're a better man than I
Yeah Misty You're a better man than I

Could you tell a wise man
By the way he speaks or spells?
Is this more important
Than the stories that he tells?
And call a man a fool
If for wealth he doesn't strive
Then Misty you're a better man than I
Yeah Misty You're a better man than I
Oh Misty You're a better man than I
Yeah Misty You're a better man than I

Could you condemn a man
If your faith he doesn't hold?
Say the color of his skin
Is the color of his soul?
Or could you say if men
For king and country all must die?
Then Misty you're a better man than I
Yeah You're a better man than I
Oh Misty You're a better man than I
Yeah Misty You're a better man than I


Sunday, October 22, 2017

Some music :)

From Hozier ...

And the Police ...

And Eric Clapton ...


Saturday, October 21, 2017

More on the military/civilian divide

In the Washington Post - For some veterans, John Kelly’s remarks add to a worrying military-civilian divide ...

[...] Kelly’s defense of Trump — beginning with a vivid description of how dead troops make their way home — turned into a lecture on how Americans do not understand the military community’s sacrifice. And it alarmed some of those who study relations between the military and society .... Kelly’s remarks broaden what had been a relatively insular discussion among military families, veterans and scholars. It begins with a basic premise — that civil society and military circles are culturally, socially and geographically distinct, a form of isolation with real consequences for the country.

“The last 16 years of war have been carried by a narrow slice of the population, and the burden is heavy but not wide,” said Phil Carter, a former Army officer and director of the military, veterans and society program at Center for a New American Security, a Washington think tank. Carter said that Kelly’s comments echo a prevalent attitude in some military and veteran circles — a feeling of pride for taking on a tough job in some of the most dangerous places on Earth, coupled with a simmering resentment of civilians oblivious to their mission .....

More on this from The New Yorker: John Kelly and the Language of the Military Coup ... and ... John Kelly and the Dangerous Moral Calculus of Working for Trump

I'm still slowly reading Rachel Maddow's book, Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power, and she begins it with the idea held by Thomas Jefferson that there should be no huge standing professional army in the US, but that citizens and soldiers should be one and the same when necessary. Here Rachel gives a talk about the book at Harvard ...

Friday, October 20, 2017

What happened in Niger?

Today I watched the White House press briefing in which General Kelly spoke of Trump's phone call to the wife of a soldier killed in Niger. Kelly's talk was disturbing on a whole number of levels, from his sad mention of his son's death to his attack on Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson of Florida (After Video Refutes Kelly’s Charges, Congresswoman Raises Issue of Race) to his opinions on people who do and do not serve in the military.

The reason this even was a thing is because four US servicemen were killed in an ambush in Niger under what seem to be mysterious circumstances and Trump has remained mum about the event for the last two weeks ....

US launches investigation into deadly Niger ambush and confusion that followed

The Defense Department is conducting an initial review of the mission in Niger and the ambush by 50 ISIS-affiliated fighters that left four US soldiers dead and two wounded. Multiple US officials have described to CNN a scene of confusion on the ground during the unexpected firefight. The investigation will be an effort "to get all the facts correct," an administration official familiar with the review told CNN. The review will aim to determine precisely what happened -- something that is still not clear nearly two weeks after the incident occurred, according to the official ....

Rachel Maddow has an opinion on why Trump has remained silent ...

And more from Lawrence O'Donnell on Kelly's talk ...

More: What the Hell Happened in Niger?

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


Reading about The Movement of #MeToo ...

[...] On Sunday afternoon, the actress Alyssa Milano used her Twitter account to encourage women who’d been sexually harassed or assaulted to tweet the words #MeToo. In the last 24 hours, a spokesperson from Twitter confirmed, the hashtag had been tweeted nearly half a million times.

#MeToo wasn’t just mushrooming on Twitter—when I checked Facebook Monday morning, my feed was filled with friends and acquaintances acknowledging publicly that they, too, had experienced harassment or assault. Some shared their stories, some simply posted the hashtag to add their voices to the fray. And it wasn’t just women: Men also spoke up about their experiences with assault. Actors including Anna Paquin, Debra Messing, Rosario Dawson, Gabrielle Union, and Evan Rachel Wood joined in. The writer Alexis Benveniste used it to remind people that the messages they were seeing were only the tip of the iceberg. For every woman stating her own experiences out loud, there were likely just as many choosing not to do so ...

I'm among the many who has experienced this kind of harassment in the past. At one of my first jobs, working at a movie theater, the manager would regularly pinch the women employees on the behind. At a later volunteer job at a clinic, one of the docs groped my chest when we were alone in an elevator. A guy on a date forced himself on me. And there's no counting the cat calls and sexual jokes and propositions that most women, including me, endure from the time we're teens.

Many of the articles and news clips I've seen on this subject ask whether this recent attention will make any difference in the situation. I don't think it will. It would be great if tougher laws against harassment in the workplace came out of this, but that doesn't address the cause of the problem.

What seems to be the case is that some institutions in power over vulnerable people take advantage of those people (Hollywood and the casting couch, the Catholic church and child sex abuse). The same is true of individuals - sometimes women are the ones who take advantage, but in the vast majority of cases it is men who see women, children, and sometimes other men as sexual prey items instead of fellow people. I don't know what can fix this tendency, and I don't think most people care enough about the situation to try to fix it ... I mean, come on, we just elected a self-confessed sexual predator as president.

Friday, October 13, 2017

A movie and a book

The latest book I've been reading from the public library is House of Spies: a Novel by former journalist Daniel Silva. It's the 17th book in the spy series about art restorer and Israeli agent Gabriel Allon. I've read all the books in the series and enjoyed them all. This one is very good so far. Here's an interview with Silva about the book on the Today show ...

My latest movie rental was The Mummy ...

a 2017 American action-adventure film directed by Alex Kurtzman .... It is a reboot of The Mummy franchise and the first installment in the Universal's Dark Universe. The film stars Tom Cruise, Annabelle Wallis, Sofia Boutella, Jake Johnson, Courtney B. Vance, and Russell Crowe.

As you will recall, the earlier Mummy films starred Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz, and told of a treasure-hunting soldier who collaborates with a librarian to unearth Egyptian relics, one of which is a sarcophagus containing a still living and supernaturally dangerous mummy. This new film modernizes the story but basically follows the same path.

Sadly, the film got pretty bad reviews - I think part of the reason some critics didn't like it is that they didn't realize that many of the script choices were based on the earlier Mummy film. Here's a review from The Guardian: The Mummy review – Tom Cruise returns in poorly bandaged corpse reviver. Anyway, I enjoyed it. Here's a trailer ...

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Harvey Weinstein: the Trump era

Rachel Maddow discusses Harvey Weinstein (and Trump) and interviews journalist Ronan Farrow about his New Yorker article: From Aggressive Overtures to Sexual Assault: Harvey Weinstein’s Accusers Tell Their Stories ...

I first heard of Ronan Farrow when he wrote an essay in The Hollywood Reporter about his sister's allegations against their father, Woody Allen .... My Father, Woody Allen, and the Danger of Questions Unasked (Guest Column)

More: How NBC ‘Killed’ Ronan Farrow’s Weinstein Exposé

Monday, October 09, 2017

The kitty couch

Used a gift certificate my sis gave me to send for this outdoor couch from Amazon for the cats. It's supposed to be practically indestructible (all plastic) so hopefully it can survive out on the front porch, saying it doesn't get stolen. Fig seems to like it :) ...

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Coming to a Theater Near You

I love movies and often visit the Apple Movie Trailer place to see the future attractions. Here are a few of the movies I'm looking forward to seeing ...

- Earth - One Amazing Day ...

- Bill Nye: Science Guy ...

- Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House ...

- Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton ...

- Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle :) ...

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Drift: Rachel Maddow

My latest book from the library is Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power by Rachel Maddow.

Here's the beginning of the review of the book at NPR ...

In past wars, the U.S. practically dismantled its military after the troops came home. But today, says MSNBC News anchor and writer Rachel Maddow, we find ourselves in a state of almost permanent war.

In her new book Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power, Maddow invokes Thomas Jefferson, pointing out that one of Jefferson's main concerns was the danger of having a large military.

"That was a really animating thing going on for the Founding Fathers. I mean, they were very upset about what was going on with the British Empire and the British king, and there's a reason that the 'quartering soldiers' thing, which seems so random, is foundational in our founding documents," she says.

Her book argues that the U.S. military has grown bloated partially because the nation is insulated from the wars its soldiers fight ....

I'm up to the part in the book about when Ronald Reagan was president and launching the invasion of Grenada in 1983. For some reason I don't remember anything about the politics of the time, so it's really interesting to read all this stuff ... I had no idea that Reagan was such a proto-Trump, with his love of the military (and his lying). If you're interested in contemporary history, you'll probably find the book worth a read.

Friday, October 06, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

This week's movie rental was Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ...

a 2017 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team Guardians of the Galaxy .... It is the sequel to 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy and the fifteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film is written and directed by James Gunn and stars an ensemble cast featuring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki, Chris Sullivan, Sean Gunn, Sylvester Stallone, and Kurt Russell. In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the Guardians travel throughout the cosmos as they help Peter Quill learn more about his mysterious parentage.

I devoured The Fantastic Four, Thor, Captain America, and the Avengers comics as a kid, but never read Guardians of the Galaxy, so I'm not as much of a fan of this Marvel film series, but it's still pretty fun to watch. The characters are likeable, especially Rocket Raccoon ...

And there's lot's of music too, with Peter getting a whole new set of tunes, like Cat Stevens' Tea for the Tillerman ...

One of the nicest CGI/music scenes was when the characters arrived on the planet created by Peter's father, while George Harrison plays in the background ...

I'm looking forward to the coming Avenger's movie in which most of the characters of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including the Guardians of the Galaxy, will meet in what might be the final film.

The movie received good reviews. Here's one from Richard Roeper - ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ brings the funny and the feels

And here's a trailer ...

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Polanski: another past victim

Roman Polanski is annoyed that sexual assault cases hurt appreciation of his films

As Roman Polanski has returned to the film festival circuit, debuting his latest film, sexual assault allegations against him continue to mount.

On Tuesday, a fourth woman came forward to say that she was a victim of the acclaimed 84-year-old director. Former German actress Renate Langer filed a report with Swiss police claiming that Polanski raped her in February 1972, when she was just 15 years old, according to the The New York Times.

The day before, the Academy Award-winning director was at a press conference in Zurich, promoting his latest film, a psychological thriller about the relationship between two women and with the strangely apt title “Based on a True Story.”

The Polish-born director took a few moments away from talking up the film to tell reporters that it was “unfortunate” that his new work and his other acclaimed films — “Rosemary’s Baby,” “Chinatown” and “The Pianist” — are now viewed through the filter of the sexual assault scandals that surround him, the Hollywood Reporter said.

In offering a rare comment on this allegations, Polanski also argued the scandal should be behind him .....

I had written a blog post about him last August when a judge in the US decided not to dismiss the case against him here for having drugged and raped and sodomized and forced oral sex on a 13 year old girl against her wishes in 1977.

Poor rapist - so hard to enjoy your wealth and fame and the praise of suck-ups when these peaky victims from your past keep popping up. He has never shown a shred of remorse for any of these assaults.

Monday, October 02, 2017

RIP: Tom Petty

This from PBS NewsHour ...

Sad to hear this. I saw him in concert once with the ex. I especially liked this song of his ...

And here he is later in the Traveling Wilburys (he's the one standing by the window) ....

I'll miss him.


Can't sleep

Tonight, as I was outside sweeping the porch, the new neighbor across the street suddenly yelled at the top of his lungs, "keep your stinking cats on your own property". He's never spoken a word to me before, and this time he still didn't come over and talk, just left that bellow hanging in the air as a couple of the kittens ran across the road from his yard. If I could keep them in the yard, I would do that, but I don't see any practical way to make that happen. Now I feel sick and worried that he may harm the cats.

I know the cat situation is bad here. It has been like a snowball rolling down hill, getting worse every year. This neighborhood has always had a lot of stray cats around. I had my four cats who lived always only inside but even without there being any cat food outside, cats would tend to gravitate to my yard, probably because it's big and unkempt, with lots of places for small animals to hide. I would try to find homes for them when I could. After my four cats became elderly and sick and passed away, I decided not to have any more pets - my health isn't great and there's just no money for anything extra.

But a few years after my cats had died, another stray cat appeared during the winter. I felt sorry for him and left out some food. And I guess I was lonely here by myself, and I thought, "one cat - how bad could it be?" I called him Scruffy..

- Scruffy napping

There were two other cats who had been hanging around and now they joined Scruffy on the porch - Vicky and Olive. When spring rolled around, Scruffy the cat's family appeared - a mama cat and three babies (Thor, Dina, and Lucy). They were all semi-feral but I tried to figure something out. Every place I called or wrote to ... the SPCA, PETA, Happy Tails Pet Sanctuary, Alley Cat Allies, and a number of other organizations ... were no help. None of them would take the kittens to socialize and find homes for them. PETA and the SPCA actually recommended that I just euthanize them because they were un-adoptable and there were already so many homeless pet cats.

- Olive

- Vicky

- Thor, Dina, and Mouse

- Lucy

So I kept them and managed to catch them and get them spayed and neutered. They lived in the big yard and I fixed the garage up with some old cat furniture and pillows and rugs so they would have an indoor place. I wasn't lonely anymore, but I could feel a rising panic. Then spring happened again. A mama cat and a kitten showed up in the yard. I tried again to find some place that would take them, but couldn't. So Misty and her baby, Mouse, moved in too. Meanwhile, Mr. and Mrs. Scruffy disappeared, so there were seven cats now.

- Misty

And then spring happened yet again. Another mother cat and kittens appeared in the yard. The mama cat disappeared but the kittens remained - this time I was able to talk the vet into taking a few of the kittens to adopt out, but there were still two I couldn't catch no matter how hard I tried - Hansel and Gretel. Now there were nine cats and I felt pretty overwhelmed, but I eventually got Misty and Mouse and Hansel and Gretel spayed and neutered and thought to myself that maybe the neighborhood's stray cat cornucopia was finally empty.

- Hansel and Gretel

But then spring came and Marie and her five kittens appeared. This time the vet would not take any of the kittens and I turned to the County Animal Shelter for help. They couldn't promise the kittens would find homes, especially in kitten season when they had so many tamed kittens to give away. That meant they would be euthanized. Didn't matter because I couldn't catch them and the older they got, the less adoptable they became and I didn't want to send them off to die. So now there are fifteen, yes, fifteen, cats here in the yard, six of them not spayed and neutered.

- one of Marie's kittens, Snowy

I'm way beyond overwhelmed at this point. The neighbors hate me. The cost of the cat food is hard to come up with. I don't know what to do, and I just know that there are more cats out there. I hate the organizations and agencies that are supposed to help with this problem but which really don't. I hate the neighbors for always only making things harder instead of helping ... all these stray cats that keep appearing are not being spontaneously generated from nothing. And I hate myself for being so unable to be "normal" and do whatever it is normal people do in these situations.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Going crazy

When I read about stuff like this ... Trump attacks San Juan mayor over hurricane response .... it makes me crazy. As one commentator put it on today's Meet the Press, there's let-them-eat;cake Trump at his luxury golf club berating a woman mayor wading through sewage to save lives because she dared to question his response to the natural disaster in which she now lives. The crazy-making thing isn't just that Trump is blaming the victims, it's that his troglodyte followers and their Republican representatives support him on this and everything else.

Speaking of crazy, maybes some music will help. Here's The Decemberists covering Heart's Crazy on You, which was inspired by social unrest ....

But I still think the original is the vest version ...