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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

New Year's Eve

A bit from Elizabeth Warren's New Year's Eve speech in Boston ...

More music

The political news is so disturbing ... more dirt on Trump/Ukraine and Biden wants to have a Republican VP ... God help us all. Will we "ever get out of here"?

Paul McCartney and Wings, 1976, Band on the Run ...

Monday, December 30, 2019

Beatles Radio

Listening to this song on Beatles Radio, though it's not Beatles in the purest sense :) ....

Sunday, December 29, 2019

The Witcher et al

Nope, I'm not dead, just haven't felt much like blogging. I've got a lot of health issues to deal with, a mean cat problem too, and then there's the really big conundrum - should I switch from Netflix DVD to streaming so I can watch The Witcher?

The health issues range from a pale optic nerve ... is it due to my eye disease, heavy metal poisoning, or glaucoma? Then there's an upcoming skin cancer operation - can't wait to look like Frankenstein again :( - and there's other stuff as well.

The cat problem is about Timmy. He showed up almost a year ago and was a feline bad-ass who chased and beat up the other cats. We got him neutered, hoping he would mellow out, but he hasn't. After he beat up Vicky so badly he had to go to the vet twice, we decided to take Timmy to the County and hope they could adopt him out. But they would not accept him (though we were mum about his personality disorder) and said we should try the SPCA. I've since made two appointments for interviews to "surrender" him there to hopefully find a new home, but both times I wasn't able to catch him. Meanwhile, Timmy's reign of terror continues.

So no surprise I'm distracting myself with The Witcher. It's a new fantasy tv series from Netflix that's based on novels by Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski. It stars Henry Cavill, who was really good as Superman/Clark Kent in Man of Steel. The show is being touted as a new Game of Thrones, but I'm hoping it will instead turn out to be more like Robert E. Howard's sword and sorcery classic, Conan the Barbarian. The only thing is, you have to be streaming at Netflix to see it and I'm not sure my old machine is up to the task. Here's a trailer for the show ...

Monday, December 23, 2019

Ad Astra

This week's movie rental was Ad Asrra ...

a 2019 American science fiction adventure film produced, co-written, and directed by James Gray. Starring Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga, Liv Tyler, and Donald Sutherland, it follows an astronaut who goes into space in search of his lost father, whose experiment threatens the Solar System.

The movie reminded me of Solaris because both movies are really psychological dramas about human relationships that just happen to be set in outer space. The special effects of Ad Astra are really good but what tends to stick with you is the main character's emotional situation.

The movie got good reviews. Here's the review from The Guardian: Ad Astra review: Brad Pitt reaches the stars in superb space-opera with serious daddy issues

And here's a trailer ...

Sham trial

Not talking about the impeachment, but this ...

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Christianity Today

Interesting that Christianity Today has an editorial calling for Trump's impeachment:. Trump Should Be Removed from Office ...

[...] Trump’s evangelical supporters have pointed to his Supreme Court nominees, his defense of religious liberty, and his stewardship of the economy, among other things, as achievements that justify their support of the president. We believe the impeachment hearings have made it absolutely clear, in a way the Mueller investigation did not, that President Trump has abused his authority for personal gain and betrayed his constitutional oath. The impeachment hearings have illuminated the president’s moral deficiencies for all to see. This damages the institution of the presidency, damages the reputation of our country, and damages both the spirit and the future of our people. None of the president’s positives can balance the moral and political danger we face under a leader of such grossly immoral character ...

Unfortunately, this editorial has not and will not have an effect on Trump's zombie horde of Evangelical followers (more than 80% of white Evangelicals voted for Trump).

Why not? Because conservative Christianity (including conservative Catholicism) isn't so much about Jesus and his teachings. It's more about consolidating political power to further an agenda, keeping money in the hands of those who use it for the cause, and keeping everyone else ... uppity women, racial and religious minorities, the poor, LGBTQ people, etc. ... powerless.

This makes for a perfect marriage between conservative Christians and the Trumpy Republican party. They aren't disturbed by Trump being a liar, a bully, a rapist, a crook, a white supremacist - he's actually the perfect guy for the job.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Little Women

There's a new movie remake of the book, Little Women. I haven't seen it yet but I hope to soon. I read the book when I was a little girl and it had a real effect on me. Here's a segment from the PBS NewsHour about the movie ...

The P word

Thursday, December 19, 2019

The debate

I am proud to be a Democrat! Right now I'm watching the latest Democratic debate at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. They are speaking up for the homeless, the poor, and the economically challenged. Trump would have us believe the economy is great, but that's not my experience and I'm not alone: Nearly 40% of Americans can't cover a surprise $400 expense. And they are speaking up about climate change too ... hard to imagine any issue more important than this one, but Trump and the Republicans pretend it doesn't even exist.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Trump's impeached


The House Republicans during the vote made some historic comments, including saying that Trump's impeachment was more unfair than Jesus' treatment by Pontius Pilate, and that this impeachment is worse than the bombing of Pearl Harbor ... Totally Sane Republicans Think Trump Is Jesus, Impeachment Is Pearl Harbor

Time will tell if the Senate trial will be fair. That doesn't look probable given that McConnell and Graham have declared they are *not* impartial and are working with Trump. Pelosi is going to hold on to the impeachment for a time in order to coax a reasonable trial from the Senate. I hope that works because I'm looking forward to seeing what John Bolton has to say.

Bye America

My last existing tie to Catholicism has been visiting and commenting at America magazine online. My opinions are in the minority there, however, and recently my comments have been deleted by the moderators because they don't represent the majority view. Makes me sad, but I guess I won't visit there anymore. The irony is that my views actually mirror the views of the majority of US Catholics. Most Catholics want women to be allowed to be priests, most Catholics want priests to be able to marry, most Catholics are Democrats, most Catholics support and use contraception, most Catholics support LGBTQ rights, most Catholics think it's ok to get a divorce, etc, etc, etc.

Vatican synod on family highlights discord between church teachings and U.S. Catholics’ views

Weeping guitar

George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Ringo, Jeff Lynne (ELO), Elton John, Mark King (Level 42), 1987 at the Prince's Trust Rock Gala at London's Wembley Arena. ...

Friday, December 13, 2019


Chris Hayes reminds us of a couple of facts: what Trump did was cheating, and when Republicans call impeachment a subversion of the "will of the people" they are ignoring that most of the American people voted *against* Trump, not for him.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Sign petition

Please help sea creatures ...

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

The IG report: more

Trump and his sycophant, AG Barr, continue to lie about the conclusions of the DOJ IG report on how the FBI worked Crossfire Hurricane, the counterintelligence investigation into the links between the Trump administration and Russia. I suppose the truth doesn't matter to Trump supporters - they worship a professional liar - but the truth matters to me. Here below Anderson Cooper lays it out ...

Monday, December 09, 2019

The IG report

The IG report came out today and found that the FBI Was Justified in Opening Russia Probe.

Of course, these results step all over Trump's crafted narrative of FBI misconduct, so Trump is doing what he always does - lying (Trump’s comments about the IG report turn reality on its head)

Sunday, December 08, 2019

Permanent Record

My latest check-out from the public library is The New York Times bestseller, Permanent Record, by Edward Snowden.

As Wikipedia states, it is ...

a 2019 autobiography by Edward Snowden, whose revelations sparked a global debate about surveillance .... The book describes Snowden's childhood as well as his tenure at the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency and his motivations for the leaking of highly classified information in 2013 that revealed global surveillance programs. Snowden also discusses his views on authoritarianism, democracy and privacy. The writer Joshua Cohen is credited by Snowden for “helping to transform my rambling reminiscences and capsule manifestoes into a book.”

I'm not far into it yet but it's really interesting so far. Here's just a bit from near the beginning that resonated with me ...

What makes a life? More than what we say; more, even, than what we do. A life is also what we love, and what we believe in. For me, what I love and believe in the most is connection, human connection, and the technologies by which that is achieved. Those technologies include books, of course. But for my generation, connection has largely meant the Internet.

Before you recoil, knowing well the toxic madness that infests that hive in our time, understand that for me, when I came to know it, the Internet was a very different thing. It was a friend, and a parent. It was a community without border or limit, one voice and millions, a common frontier that had been settled but not exploited by diverse tribes living amicably enough side by side, each member of which was free to choose their own name and history and customs. Everyone wore masks, and yet this culture of anonymity-through-polyonymy produced more truth than falsehood, because it was creative and cooperative rather than commercial and competitive. Certainly, there was conflict, but it was outweighed by good will and good feelings - the true pioneering spirit.

You will understand, then, when I say that the Internet of today is unrecognizable ...

That's how I felt about the Internet too when I first started computing with a loner from my sister, the Macintosh Classic.

I recommend the book!

Saturday, December 07, 2019

Trump & water

The emperor has no brain. This is the dingbat the Republicans have made the most powerful person on the planet. God help us all.

Friday, December 06, 2019

Cube-shaped poop

It may seem like all I think about is politics but that's not true. I like animals and I'm constantly learning new things about them, like the answer to that perplexing question "why is wombat poop cube-shaped?" :) ...

Thursday, December 05, 2019

Trump crushes the poor

Trump continues his war on the poor with a plan to take away food stamps from the indigent. Republicans often say that Democrats hate Trump the person and don't pay attention to his wonderful policies. Oh believe me, I have the bandwidth for both Trump the person and also his stupid, cruel, destructive policies. This one is an example ...

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Impeachment hearing today

Congressman Hakeem Jeffries questions one of the legal experts, Harvard Law professor Pamela Karlan, testifying in the impeachment hearing today (the name plate in front of him belongs to someone else) ...

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Lisa Page

Trump gets off by mocking Lisa Page at a rally, perhaps channeling his screwing of a porn star and a playboy bunny while he was married to wife # 3. The pot-kettle-black irony seems to eluded both him and his brain-dead followers. Why are Republicans are on their knees before this creep?

Monday, December 02, 2019

The Report

This week's movie rental (actually free streaming from Amazon) was The Report ...

a 2019 American drama film written and directed by Scott Z. Burns and starring Adam Driver, Annette Bening, Ted Levine, Michael C. Hall, Tim Blake Nelson, Corey Stoll, Maura Tierney and Jon Hamm. The plot follows staffer Daniel J. Jones and the Senate Intelligence Committee as they investigate the CIA's use of torture following the September 11 attacks. It covers more than a decade's worth of real-life political intrigue, exploring and compacting Jones's 6,700-page report ...

I had wanted to rent the movie sometime, but when I saw it was free at Amazon, I watched it last night. I'd wanted to see it because I like Adam Driver (Kylo Ren!) but also the subject matter was interesting - in a way it sort of follows the miniseries The Looming Tower, picking up the story of the intelligence agencies' anti-terrorism strategies after 9/11.

The story, not fiction but based on actual events, is pretty horrifying. Over 100 suspects were held (never any trials) in black sites in other countries where they were tortured ("enhanced interrogation techniques" like waterboarding), though the CIA knew for many years before this that torture was an ineffective tool that did not produce worthy information. Contrary to the common assumption, intelligence gained from these prisoners did *not* lead to finding Osama bin Laden.

Here's a segment from the PBS NewsHour on the movie ...

It's a really good film. We need to know about this stuff, this contemporary history of our failures, so that we don't repeat them. That's why it's so awful that now we have a president who pardons war crimes and wants to bring back torture. And just to be clear, I think torture is evil.

Sunday, December 01, 2019

Thor: the music

I re-watched Thor: The Dark World tonight. One of the things I like about it is the soundtrack by Brian Tyler. Here is Into Eternity, which plays during the death and funeral of Thor's mother ...

And here is the main theme, Thor: The Dark World, with Bryan Tyler conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra and Choir of London ...