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Saturday, December 29, 2018

The Predator

This week's movie rental was The Predator ...

a 2018 American science fiction action film directed by Shane Black and written by Black and Fred Dekker. It is the fourth installment in the Predator film series .... The film stars Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Tremblay, Keegan-Michael Key, Olivia Munn, Thomas Jane, Alfie Allen, and Sterling K. Brown and follows a group of PTSD-afflicted soldiers who must fight off an invading pair of Predators.

I remember seeing the original 1967 Predator movie with my sister - it starred Arnold :). This 2018 film is a sort of follow-up to that. It's rated R ... there's bad language, lots of violence, and the cast works overtime at being very bad-ass. There were controversies too - a cast member who was a sex offender and a weird take on childhood autism. The film got mostly poor reviews ... The Predator is a movie hurt by controversy — and by editing

Here's a trailer ...

I gave up on the movie after only watching about half of it, but if you can get past all the gore and the bad words, you might be able to find it entertaining.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Into the Magic Shop

I've been pretty depressed lately, worrying about so many things, from health to finances to the 16 (!) cats I'm trying to take care of. The other night I looked up depression online and eventually came across mention of a book, Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon's Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart by James Doty.

Here's a bit about him from Wikipedia ...

James R. Doty, M.D., FACS, FICS (born 1 December 1955) is a Clinical Professor of neurosurgery at Stanford University and founder and director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, an affiliate of the Stanford Neurosciences Institute. He is the New York Times bestselling author of Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon's Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart published by Penguin Random House on February 2, 2016. It has been translated into 31 languages. Dr. Doty is also the Senior Editor of the Oxford Handbook of Compassion Science (2017).

I got the book from the library but have to finish the Stargate book I'm reading first before I can get to it ;) Meanwhile, I'm watching this video talk he gave at Google ...

I've got to say, I'm not sure this book will be of much help to me. In the talk Doty says that it isn't the events in our lives that causes us problems, it's our reaction to the events that causes the problems. This neutralizing of events just strikes me as dishonest. If someone is suffering, there is no question that that is a bad thing. To be upset about that bad thing is normal. To find a way to evade the badness so that you won't have to be upset seems wrong to me. I'm not going to give up making objective judgements of the goodness or badness of events and I hope I don't stop being upset about the bad ones.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Welcome to Wednesday

Joe Scarborough gives a pretty good assessment of our political situation to date ...

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas

The choir of King's College Cambridge sings the Sussex Carol, one of the most cheerful Christmas songs :) ....

1. On Christmas night all Christians sing
To hear what news those angels bring;
News of great joy, news of great mirth,
News of our Saviour King's own birth.

2. Then why should men on earth be so sad
Since our Redeemer made us glad,
When from sin He set us free
All for to gain our liberty.

3. Now sin depart, behold His grace,
Everlasting life comes in its place,
And soon we shall its terror see
And poor and rich must conquered be.

4. Then out of darkness we see light,
Which makes all angels to sing this night
Glory to God and peace to men
Both now and evermore. Amen.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Ghosts of Christmas past

On holidays like this I think back on my family because we usually got together at these times. I am the keeper of the photos and I was looking at them all last night, trying to find any of us at Christmas. There weren't many - I think back then owning cameras and getting film developed was expensive for us. So much better with digital now :)

Here's one pic of my mom at a Christmas party she gave for her fellow workers ...

Here's a Christmas one of college-age me, looking grim, as usual ...

Here is a photo of my grandparents, Aunt Bev, and my four cousins, Sue, Cathy, Jill, and Ginny, at my grandparents' house, where we would all gather for Christmas dinner ...

Miss you guys.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

We need some more music

To get the icky political news out of our heads, here's Touch and Go from The Cars. This just makes me smile :) ...


The last few days

Not only will there probably be a government shutdown because Trump refused to sign a bipartisan bill from the senate to keep things going temporarily, a bunch of other stuff has been happening as well ...

- Trump ordered a complete withdrawal of the military from Syria.

- This caused General Mattis to resign.

- But it made Vlad happy. He said Trump's idea was great, except maybe he should also leave Afghanistan too.

- Trump then announced he's taking half the troops out of Afghanistan.

- Oh, and Trump's also dropping sanctions against his buddy Manafort's favorite Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska.

- And the guy Trump picked for temp head of DOJ has done an end run around the DOJ's ethics official's advice that he recuse himself from running Mueller's investigation.

There's more ... listen to Rachel (above) for the details.

Spineless Republican weenies ...

I never had much respect for Republican lawmakers before Trump won the election, but now Republicans in Congress are nothing more than ass-kissing cult members, tripping over each other to do their master's bidding.

Dangerous Type

Tonight my sister remarked that my kitten Yoda, who has turned into a real biter, reminded her of that song by The Cars titled Dangerous Type ;) ....


Saturday, December 15, 2018

Good luck with that

Yeah, that will happen (not) ... How Sarah Sanders became Trump's liar-in-chief .... she lies so much that I finally gave up watching the WH press briefings because listening to her actually made me feel sick.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Little girl dies

Little girl, migrant, dies of thirst while in Border Patrol custody ...

Heartless Kirstjen Nielsen blames the girl's family. She really is the apt pupil of her anti-immigration mentor, General Kelly.

When people wonder why some Democrats want Trump impeached as soon as possible, this is the answer. Every single day Trump and his minions like Nielsen are causing damage.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Mission: Impossible – Fallout

This week's movie rental was Mission: Impossible – Fallout ...

a 2018 American action spy film written, produced and directed by Christopher McQuarrie. It is the sixth installment in the Mission: Impossible film series, and the second film to be directed by McQuarrie following the 2015 film Rogue Nation. The cast includes Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris, Michelle Monaghan and Alec Baldwin, all of whom reprise their roles from previous films, along with Henry Cavill, Vanessa Kirby and Angela Bassett, who join the franchise. In the film, Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and his team must track down missing plutonium stolen to carry out a plot to permanently poison the main water supplies of three countries, while being monitored by a CIA agent (Cavill) after a mission goes awry.

I really like this series of movies (except the second one). The movies are usually set in a number of different countries, there are lots of stunts and special effects, and the characters of the IM team are truly good :) I think of the series as a much better American version of the UK James Bond films, minus the alcoholism and misogyny.

This movie got very good reviews. Here's one from The Telegraph: Mission: Impossible – Fallout review: spectacular and eye-popping, this is the blockbuster of the summer

And here's a trailer ...

I do recommend it.

Is it homophobic?

In the news: Mika Brzezinski Calls Mike Pompeo a ‘Butt Boy’ for a ‘Wannabe Dictator’

I've been watching Morning Joe these past few months as I wash the cat dishes in the morning, so this story caught my attention. Mika got dinged in the press as having made a homophobic remark. But I don't think her remark was meant as homophobic, anymore than Stephen Colbert's remark about Trump performing oral sex on Putin was meant to be a homophobic remark. Neither Mika nor Colbert mean to say that Trump and the others are gay - the remarks are about submission, dominance. It wouldn't matter what gender the people involved are, because this isn't about a sexual relationship, it's about a weaker person subservient to someone more powerful. Or at least that's how it seems to me.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Cardinal Pell found guilty of sex abuse

Third-Ranking Vatican Official Convicted of Sexually Abusing Choir Boys

Also in the news is that the Pope has let Pell (and a few other clerics) go from his top adviser group. This almost sounds good, but it isn't .... the Pope has not fired Pell from his important job as Vatican treasurer, nor has he issued one word of criticism for Pell.

And it's not like he didn't have a clue. Pell has had a bad reputation on sex abuse for decades - there's no way Pope Francis didn't know that when he chose him. Even his own sex abuse commission told him not to choose Pell in 2015, but he ignored them (Pope's commissioner for child protection says Cardinal Pell is a 'dangerous individual' and 'almost sociopathic').

I've been writing against Pell for the last five years. This post from last year has links to all or most of the things I've written about him, plus this video below with journalist David Marr which gives a view of Pell that's really chilling ...

But anyway, Pell will of course appeal the conviction, and the Pope will probably do nothing at all to him, certainly not un-cardinal him or fire him. If he is to be held accountable, it will have to be the civil authorities who do it, because the Pope doesn't seem to give a fig about the sexual abuse of children by his priests.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

James Comey interview

Listening to this interview from yesterday at the 92nd Street Y of former director of the FBI, James Comey, by Nicole Wallace ...

Most streamed song of the century

Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody becomes most streamed song from 20th century

Bohemian Rhapsody has been named the most streamed song from the 20th century, overtaking Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana.

The Queen hit, which reached No 1 in the UK in 1975 and then again in 1991 following Freddie Mercury’s death, has now been streamed 1.6bn times across services including YouTube and Spotify.

The song is currently as popular as it has been in a generation, following the release of the Queen biopic also entitled Bohemian Rhapsody, which has made almost $600m at the global box office since its release in November ...

Here's a live version of the song from June 1982 at the National Bowl in the UK ...

The official music video of the song from 1975 (Freddie looks so young) ....


Monday, December 10, 2018

Trump/Kushner ...

that cheesy crime family that's crafting our foreign policy.

Jared calls his best bud Mohammed to offer consolation and advice on how to weather the embarrassment of his murder-by-dismemberment faux pas.

The Wooing of Jared Kushner: How the Saudis Got a Friend in the White House

Friday, December 07, 2018

Individual 1

The new court filing on Michael Cohen by Robert Mueller and federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New York happened today. I was surprised that Cohen did not get a recommendation of no jail time, as Michael Flynn had received, but as it turns out, though assisting Mueller and pleading to having lied to Congress, he has a different relationship with NY prosecutors .... while he did plead guilty to campaign finance violations (paying off Trump's sex partners for their silence before the election), he did not sign a cooperation agreement with them.

But anyway, the information Cohen gave to Mueller about the Trump Tower project in Moscow seems pretty important. Mueller's filing shows that there is corroborating evidence that the project would have resulted in "hundreds of millions of dollars" for Trump and that the Russian government was involved. Now we know at least part of the *why* of Trump's subservience to Putin.


I've been singing this song ... Day-O ... to Yoda today for some reason. It's a traditional Jamaican folk song of graveyard-shift dock workers loading bananas on boats, waiting for daytime when they get off work. It's been covered by a score of people/bands, including The Kinks, but the most well known version is by Harry Belafonte. When I hear it in my head, I'm imagining the scene in the movie Beetlejuice, where guests at a small posh dinner party are possessed by ghosts who make them sing and dance to the song :) ....

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Some pics

Here's a fuzzy one of Prince Wendell - he's still pretty scared of me so I have to take his photo from far away ...

More dead leaves. This is like my primary natural resource (along with dead trees and cat poop). Wonder if I can box and sell them on Amazon ;) ...

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

The pope and gay priests

In the news: Pope Francis 'worried' about homosexuality in the priesthood

Pope Francis has said that homosexuality in the clergy is a "serious matter" that "worries" him. The comments were made in an interview about religious vocations, given to a Spanish missionary priest as part of an upcoming book. The pontiff described homosexuality as "fashionable", and urged clergy to observe their vow of celibacy .... "For this reason, the Church urges that persons with this rooted tendency not be accepted into ministry or consecrated life." ......

Pope Francis seems to believe that gay priests are more likely than straight priests to be sexually active, and he also seems to believe that sexual orientation is just a fashionable choice. For some people, the pope saying this is surprising, given his past comment about gay priests - "Who am I to judge?" But if you've been paying attention to the negative things the pope has been saying about marriage for LGBT people and about gender theory, this latest opinion of his, while depressing, would not be a shocker.

There is a high percentage of gay Catholic clerics - perhaps one third to one half of the priesthood. And it has been estimated that about 50% of priests, both straight and gay, are sexually active despite their vow of celibacy. The problem is not homosexuality, the problem is mandatory celibacy. I think that as long as the church refuses to ditch that doctrine, one chosen for primarily economic reasons, the institution will continue to be dogged by hypocrisy, secrecy, lies, and stuff like child sex abuse and priests living double lives.

Here's a pretty good article on the pope's comments from America Magazine ... Understanding Pope Francis’ controversial remarks on homosexuality in the priesthood


The eulogy for George Bush, given by his son. Funny and sad and inspiring ...

Monday, December 03, 2018


Brian Williams at The 11th Hour talks about Sully, the late President Bush's service dog ... George H.W. Bush's service dog Sully stays by his casket. He starts by saying ... "that photo yesterday that just took our breath away - it helps to understand it, of course, if you've ever loved a dog and that, of course, means you've been loved by a dog ..."

Saturday, December 01, 2018


Trump's two favorite journalist-murdering despts, Putin and MBS, greet each other at the G20.