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Saturday, October 31, 2020

RIP: Sean Connery

Sad to see that actor Sean Connery has passed away.

Connery is probably best known for his early James Bond movies and he's done a lot of recent work, but here are the movies of his that I most liked, all from the 80s and 90s ....

- Outland ...

a 1981 British science fiction thriller film .... Set on Jupiter's moon Io, it has been described as a space Western, and bears thematic resemblances to the 1952 film High Noon.

- Highlander ...

a 1986 fantasy action-adventure film .... It stars Christopher Lambert, Sean Connery, Clancy Brown, and Roxanne Hart. The film chronicles the climax of an ages-old war between immortal warriors, depicted through interwoven past and present-day storylines.

- The Untouchables ...

a 1987 American crime film .... The film stars Kevin Costner, Charles Martin Smith, Andy García, Robert De Niro, and Sean Connery, and follows Eliot Ness (Costner) as he forms the Untouchables team to bring Al Capone (De Niro) to justice during Prohibition.

- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade ...

a 1989 American action-adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg, from a story co-written by executive producer George Lucas. It is the third installment in the Indiana Jones franchise. Harrison Ford returned in the title role, while his father is portrayed by Sean Connery.

- The Hunt for Red October ...

a 1990 American submarine spy-thriller film ... starring Sean Connery, Alec Baldwin, Scott Glenn, James Earl Jones, and Sam Neill. The film is an adaptation of Tom Clancy's 1984 bestselling novel of the same name. It is the first installment of the film series with the protagonist Jack Ryan.

- The Rock ...

is a 1996 American action thriller film directed by Michael Bay .... The film stars Sean Connery, Nicolas Cage and Ed Harris, with William Forsythe and Michael Biehn co-starring .... In the film, the Pentagon assigns a team comprising an FBI chemist and a former SAS captain with a team of SEALs to break into Alcatraz, where a group of rogue US Force Recon Marines have seized all the tourists on the Island and have threatened to launch nerve gas filled rockets upon San Francisco ...

Of all of these, I guess my most favorite one is The Rock, which I actually bought because I liked it so much. I remember going to see it at the theater with a friend from my church RCIA group.

What a career! Sean Connery will be missed.


Trump jr. says the deaths from the virus now are "almost nothing" (actually about 1,000 a day), and Trump sr. says doctors are lying about the number of virus deaths in order to get more money.

E.R. doctor Stephen Sample of Jasper Indiana comments ...

God, I understand his anger. I feel it too.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Captain America: voting

Saw this video mentioned in the news - apparently it's gone viral. It's unknown who created it, but it's a combination of a clip from the Avengers Ebdgame movie (Captain America giving the other guys a pep talk before their mission), with content about voting. Kind of stirring :) ...

Monday, October 26, 2020

Shave Ivanka’s Head

Sunday, October 25, 2020


I watched the 60 Minutes interview with Trump. God, you cannot watch that interview without seeing how Trump tries to roll over people like the interviewer with lies, intimidation, insults. Lesley Stahl wouldn't go along with his shtick, so he had a hissy fit and ended the interview early.

During the interview, when asked what he wanted to accomplish as president, all Trump went on and on about was the economy. Money really is all he cares about, and all most Republicans seem to care about as well.

The thing Jesus spoke the most about in the gospels was money - the evils of being obsessed with it, with having a lot of it. If Trump and the Republicans ever met Jesus, they wouldn't recognize him.

Here is a clip from my favorite Jesus movie, Jesus, of the sermon on the mount ...

Saturday, October 24, 2020

May It Be

These are tough times. We could probably all use a benediction. This one is from The Lord of the Rings, by Enya ... May It Be

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Sam Elliott

The Lincoln Project has a new ad for Joe Biden aimed at men ...

It's narrated by actor Sam Elliott, who has such a great voice. I've watched his acting career for a long time, from a 1982 tv western, The Shadow Riders, in which he played one of two brothers (Tom Selleck was the other) who fought on opposite sides in the Civil War ... to Cher's motorcycle-riding boyfriend in Mask ... to Wyatt Earp's brother in Tombstone ... to General Ross in Marvel's Hulk.

I can't say I know what having a good father around is like, or that I've had much personal experience of good men. Maybe my grandfather comes closest. But I do know that Trump is the antithesis of what I believe a good man to be.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

The Pope and civil unions

In the news: the pope has called for secular governments to allow LGBTQ people to be in civil unions ....

Pope Francis, in Shift for Church, Voices Support for Same-Sex Civil Unions

Pope Francis, who since the beginning of his pontificate has taken a more tolerant tone toward homosexuality, appeared to break with the position of the Roman Catholic Church by supporting civil unions for same-sex couples, according to remarks Francis made in a new documentary that debuted in Rome on Wednesday.

Speaking about pastoral outreach and care for people who identified as L.G.B.T., Francis directly addresses the issue of civil unions in the film.

“What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered,” Francis said amid remarks in which he otherwise reiterated his support for gay people as children of God. “I stood up for that.” ...

Before we start feeling all warm and fuzzy about the pope, we have to remember a few things ...

Francis has *not* suggested changing the Catholic church's stance on gay people, their actions, and their relationships. The Catechism still states ....

Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved .... Homosexual persons are called to chastity ....

And Francis has himself rejected the idea of marriage equality for gay people in his exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, writing ...

There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family ...

Francis likes to tell the secular world how to treat people, while he supports a church that treats them worse. What Francis has done is a kind of blame shifting, and he did it with women too. The Catholic church treats women like non-sentient breeding machines, while not allowing them to be priests, deacons, or to even have equality of opportunity in other Vatican jobs. Yet in Amoris Laetitia, he wrote ...

I would like to stress the fact that, even though significant advances have been made in the recognition of women’s rights and their participation in public life in some countries much remains to be done to promote these rights. ... I think of ... their lack of equal access to dignified work and roles of decision-making.

The irony is painful.

I guess we're supposed to be grateful that a guy who thought of gay marrige as the work of the devil is now ok with secular civil unions, but civil unions for gay people are already an anachronism in a world that has moved on to a truer equality - marraige for LGBTQ people. The pope's endorsement for civil unions, while sort of interesting, is so 'too little too late'.

It's time the Catholic chirch let go of their archaic teaching on LGBTQ people and joined not only the other Christian churches that support gay people and marriage equality, but also the actual Catholic people, a majority of which support that as well.

You might argue, "but the church's stance is based on the bible". It's not, actually, but that's a post for another day.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Dr. Fauci

Dr. Fauci, who was deemed "a disaster" by Trump on a recent campaign call, speaks out on 60 Minutes. It's a really interesting interview - we get to meet his wife and they delve more deeply into his work. I have to say that I admire Dr. Fauci for all the Trump-poop he has been willing to put up with, including death threats, in order to help the American people.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Caribbean Blue

Old song by Enya.

Friday, October 16, 2020


A baby possum looks for a stray bit of cat food. It's hard to tell in the photo, but he's only about the size of a small hamster :)

Friday, October 09, 2020

A Closer Look

Sometimes you have to laugh or you will howl like a banshee, so it's time for A Closer Look ...

Thursday, October 08, 2020

The fly :)

Whether you watched the vice-presidential debate last night or not, you doubtless know about the fly that landed on Mike Pence's head and stayed there undetected for minutes.

Was it all just chance or was it a kind of omen about a second Pence/Trump presidency? I think historian Michael Beschloss nailed it: "Be Afraid. Be very Afraid".

Trump's investments

In a strange video message in which it looks like Trump's discovered a new shade of makeup, he says that everyone should use the same drugs he is on ... Regeneron and Remdesivir ... to "cure" the virus. Maybe we could if only he wasn't going to destroy Obamacare. Oh, and he complements his doctors - is the reason they've been so weasley because they signed non-disclosure agreements too?

I'm sure it's just a coincidence that Trump owns stock in Gilead Sciences, the company that makes Regeneron, and that he's pals with the guy who owns Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. And, oh look, Regeneron and Gilead Stock Jump as President Trump’s Health Remains in Focus. I'm sure that's just an unforseen consequence of Trump's drug promotion video.

[...] Trump's team revealed Friday that the president received the drug, called REGN-COV2, which is being used to alleviate symptoms and reduce viral load. Shares of Regeneron surged 7% Monday, bringing the stock's year-to-date gain to more than 60%. The stock reached its highs of the day after Trump tweeted that he will be leaving the hospital Monday evening.

Regeneron CEO Dr. Leonard Schleifer and President Trump are acquainted: The CEO has been a member at Trump's golf club in Westchester, New York, and his company also received $450 million in government funding in July as part of the president's Operation Warp Speed plan to quickly develop a vaccine and other treatments for Covid-19.

Meanwhile, Trump also recently owned shares of Regeneron (REGN) -- as well as Gilead Sciences (GILD), maker of the antiviral drug remdesivir that the president is also taking. Both stocks were listed as assets on Trump's 2017 filing with the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, though neither were holdings on the president's most recent filing for 2020 ...

While I was looking for this stuff, I was distracted by the stories from the beginning of Trump's presidency about his investments - he had to file Federal Election Commission (FEC) financial disclosure forms in 2016. Part of that showed stocks that he owns, and some of them, like Gilead Sciences, seem to be a conflict of interest.

From Forbes: Trump's Stock Portfolio: Big Oil, Big Banks And More Foreign Connections ...

[...] The Donald owns anywhere from $500,000 to $1 million worth of shares each in Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase , Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs -- in other words, five of the famous “big six” banks ....

Despite campaigning on the pledge of “taking on big businesses,” Trump own shares in big pharma companies including Pfizer, Merck, Celgene and GlaxoSmithKline; retailer Walmart, and consumer goods firms Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson. He also hold stakes in a variety of multinational oil companies like Shell, Chevron and Exxon Mobil.

The connections to the energy industry doesn't stop there. The climate-change skeptic owns shares in Phillips 66 - a joint venture partner in the controversial Dakota Access pipeline, where demonstrations are ongoing, and in Kinder Morgan, another pipeline giant facing resistance for its plans to connect the Canadian oil sands to Vancouver, British Columbia. Trump also has a small investment in Canadian energy company TransCanada, the developer of Keystone XL pipeline, which was rejected by President Barack Obama last year but supported by Trump.

The populist billionaire has other Canadian holdings, including $500,000 to $1 million investments in the Bank of Nova Scotia and the Toronto Dominion Bank, and $1 million to $5 million worth of shares in the Royal Bank of Canada. Such investments add to the array of connections Trump already has with foreign entities - including nine figure debts owed to German lender Deutsche Bank and China’s state-controlled Bank of China ....

A reaal man of the people.

Sunday, October 04, 2020

Eight Miles High

Real life only gets weirder - an infected and contageous Trump is taking joy rides outside the hospital so his cult members can view their dear leader. I guess this means the Secret Servvice guys in his car now have to quarantine for 2 weeks. I need to listen to some music.

I like this song, the singing parts and the lyrics more than the guitar parts, though I always like Roger McGuinn's 12 string (the guy on the far R). Anyway, the theme of the song seems to go with our current events. Eight Miles High by the Byrds, 1967 ...

How to ...

... spread a virus.

If you want to see how far a contageous and sometimes deadly virus can be distributed, learn from this helpful Republican event. Here's a video showing the announcement of Amy Coney Barrett as Supreme Court nominee in the White House Rose Garden on Sept. 26.

Be sure to seat everyone as closely together as sardines, have everone go without masks, have a period after when everyone can hug and kiss and schmooze. And then move the whole thing inside the White House for a reception in the Oval Office and Diplomatic Room, to increase the chances of contageous spread.

Within days you should start to see the first instances of new infections, in this case: Trump, his wife, Kellyanne Conway, Senator Mike Lee, Senator Thom Tillis, John Jenkins of Notre Dame, Chris Christie, Hope Hicks, Ronna McDaniel (RNC), Kaylee McInerney, etc. Then each of those who've been tainted should go about business as usual, infecting as many others as possible before their vector status is made public (or if you're Trump, even after that).

Don't worry if it hasn't gotten to you yet, there's still time.

Saturday, October 03, 2020

Fixing things

John Oliver explains why the process that has given us Amy Coney Barrett as Supreme Court Justice is so undemocratic, and what we can do to fix things.

Don't forget

Trump is in the hospital, his condition and treatment remaining somewhat murky.

Joe Biden has wished Trump well and has stopped using all negative ads against him while he is ill (the Trump campaign continues to run negative ads about Biden).

This reminded me of how Trump responded during the 2016 presidential campaign when his opponent, Hillary Clinton, was ill with pneumonia. He mocked her ....

Trump is sick, and everyone hopes he gets well, but let's not forget who and what he is.

Thursday, October 01, 2020

Just fiction?

It's getting scary, with Trump cosying up to white supremacists, Trump choosing a conservative judge who wants to take away rights from women and gay people, Trump recruiting an "army" to invade polling places, Trump refusing to guarantee a peaceful transfer of power, etc.

When I was watching The Handmaid's Tale, there were flashbacks that showed how the religious conservatives went about their insurrection, one that no one really believed was actually happening until it was way too late. It made me feel sick, because that dystopian fictional narrative is beginning to seem possible now.

Here's a scene showing how a peaceful demonstration goes terribly wrong - remember Lafayette Square? ...

And here's a scene showing women being forced to quit their jobs, as a creepy citizen militia stands around with long guns. One of the women asks why they called in the army, and another responds, "I think that's another kind of army" ...

And here's a scene where a gay professor is barred from teaching ...

Just fiction. No worries. This can't happen here. Right?