Sunday, April 28, 2019

Avengers Endgame (almost no spoilers)


I have seen this movie and I have read a variety of reviews online and I feel compelled to fill in some gaps for those who are, shamefully, basically completely ignorant of this genre of entertainment but feel compelled to write about it, or talk about it, endlessly.

First, this is a Superhero movie, people, so get a grip.  Its not poetry, and it is not independent filmmaking.  But what it is, rather than what you want it to be, is still very impressive.

Second, it is not a standalone movie.  It is an ensemble piece based on about 7 decades of a form of children's literature known as the comic book and a decade of two films / year based on that literature.   Some of these films are better than others, true.  It might be useful to you to understand something about that genre and these films before going to see this movie.

Third, as far as I can tell, the directors, writers and actors are completely sincere in their desire to deliver an entertaining movie that is the finale of that series of films.  It may not be perfect, but at least they are not crass which is more than I can say about the exploitation and insincerity I see over at "Lucasfilm".

There are many more things we could say here, things that I liked and did not like, etc.  But I will mention one last thing because it seems to come up a lot.  Resorting to a form of "time travel" (its more than that, but nevermind) is a mostly legitimate approach to the plot lines in this genre.  It is a peril filled narrative choice, however, and like any story that uses this device it is filled with paradox.  I didnt mind even if I was confused and had to suspend disbelief once or twice.

Like I said at the beginning, this is a Superhero movie.  Get a grip and go with it.

Avengers!   Assemble.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The 800 lb Gorilla of Setup and Payoff


The 800 lb gorilla of "set up and payoff" is coming to a theatre near you on Thursday or Friday. Fan service of the type that audiences have loved since forever will be on display in this Marvel magnum opus. The test of character. The noble sacrifice. The desperate struggle to defend the innocent and right the wrongs that have so crushed the hope of billions. Sure that is the way it is in fiction. But how about real life? Will the Democrats stand up and confront Thanos whose evil and corruption in league with the Republicans, mutant and degraded lifeforms, so desperately need to be destroyed? 

Its sad, but I dont think so.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Internet Protocol (Not What You Think)


Nobody knows how to be polite on the Internet.  What are the proper hours for email?  What are the proper hours for texting?  If I know you dont read email, but you dont want to be texted, then that means that you are essentially saying "dont contact me".  Fine, but what if I am supposed to be working with you.  Another person says "dont send me attachments" and gets angry when you do, but you did not know he had this rule (and no one else does).  Another person says "dont email me when you are angry" but I wasnt angry, but if you say that they get angry and accuse you of not caring about their feelings.

So everyone has their rules and they expect the other party to know them and to comply.

Is this reasonable?  Is this treating the other party with minimal respect, or is it just self indulgent and self entitled?  In none of the cases are my opinions or feelings on the matter sought.  I am informed "how it will be" and if I dont like it, I can stop talking to them.

Which ultimately may be the best solution.

Isnt it great how the Internet has made communication so much better?

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Donation to Elizabeth Warren


I just sent another $50 to the presidential campaign fund of Elizabeth Warren.  She got out in front and called for the impeachment of that obvious traitor and criminal in the White House.  We need someone as president who has some balls.  Either Bernie or Elizabeth work for me as President, but I am rewarding Ms. Warren because she was not a coward like so many Democrats on this issue.  I encourage you to do the same.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

The Street Where I Live


I have often walked down this street before.  But the pavement always stayed beneath my feet before.  All of a sudden I am several stories high, just to be on the street where you live.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Time to Crack The Whip!


I contacted my Congressman's office twice this week.  The first time (really about the fifth time but the first time this week) was to ask what the position of my Congressman was on impeaching Trump.  The people who answer the phones are always the nicest people and they take a message, put me in the database etc.  The second time I called (this week) it was to tell them that I never, ever heard back and so I had to assume that Carbajal was a Trump supporter and that I would work to vote someone else into office at the next election. Of course you and I know that I have no such power, as an individual voter my influence on the political process is microscopic.  Nevertheless, the point I was trying to make was that there was no dodging this issue, no "smile and hope they dont notice" option.  People want to know where their elected representative stands on this issue.  Thats why they pay him the big bucks.  

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Santa Barbara Astronomical Unit / SBMNH


The Santa Barbara Astronomical Unit and the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History hosts a once a month "astronomy party".  They have a fabulous 20 inch telescope in the dome and a variety of other devices of about 9.5 inches and more outside and helpful people by each one.

The event was well attended, perhaps 50 or more people of all ages.

There was certainly some light pollution and coastal haze, as we would expect, but it was still very entertaining and value added.

I also determined that the Planetarium has an Evans & Sutherland Digistar 5.

Its Called A Coverup (stupid)


At the end of the day, people get the government they deserve.  The "guidelines" say that you can not indict a sitting president.  Really?  Who says?  Oh, the DOJ says, OK fine.  But the rules say you can not release publicly evidence of a crime if you are not going to indict.  Well, that makes a little more sense.

So if Mueller does not indict because of the rules, in spite of the obvious evidence of collusion, treason and obstruction, but then you do not release the evidence so that people can see what is discovered, well that is called a coverup.

Even if the report is released in full, which it will not be, the fact is that the FBI betrayed their country by failing to indict the treasonous piece of garbage that is Trump, his family and his enablers.  At the end of the day, the system failed and the country failed with it.

And those who make excuses for the system are enabling Trump.  That includes you, Nancy Pelosi.  You failed and took the country down with you.

Thanks, thats great, I really appreciate that.  Now people will attack me (the few who care) and say that I am wrong because I am angry.  Yeah, well, a little.  But mostly its not anger.  Its disgust and contempt.

Have a nice day, but the children in cages separated from their parents wont.  The men and women murdered in pain because of Gorsuch wont.  Kids, black, white, green or otherwise will grow up in an oppresive society. Poor women wont be able to get an abortion legally.  Pruitt went nuts destroying the environment but you didnt have the guts to stop him. 

What did you do to try and stop these people?

Friday, April 12, 2019

Jeff Vandermeer and the Next Novel

Jeff Vandermeer did one of his rare posts on Facebook.  I took this opportunity to tell him that "I was ready for the next novel, please".  And he replied "Soon, Michael, soon".  A small ray of hope in another wise dismal and self-destructive world.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Assange is Thrown to the Wolves


Ultimately they could not protect their agent, Assange, from the forces of counter intelligence.  Everyone who matters has known that he is a spy for Russia, but if Russia exfiltrated him, it would blow his cover with the many people who still believe that he was a selfless fighter for freedom.  So they could not bring him to Russia, the way they did Snowden.  And ultimately he had to go to protect their more important agent in place, Donald Trump.  They can be confident that Assange will not confess his role with Russian intelligence, he will go to his death protecting his place in history even though it is a lie. 

Monday, April 8, 2019

Not Angry, Exactly


For those of you who thought I have been too angry or obsessed with the political issues, here is a correction. Whether I was originally angry or not, I am not now.  Now I am disgusted and contemptuous, that's better.  As for being obsessed, well, maybe.  Its not everyday that you watch your country descend into fascism while your friends and colleagues pretend everything is OK. I have ascended to a higher plane!

Sunday, April 7, 2019

The New Republican Argument


Trump chief of staff Mulvaney says that the Democrats will never get Trump's tax returns and this is his argument:  1. Voters knew that Trump was not going to release his tax returns before the election.  (This is of course a lie, Trump said he would release his tax returns, but bear with me)  2. Voters elected Trump. (Actually it is not at all clear that Trump was legally elected). 3. Therefore, voters have legislated that it is OK for Trump to not release his tax returns, even if ordered to by a court. 4. QED

So in other words, he is saying something like this.  "You knew Trump was a criminal before you elected him.  You elected him.  Therefore he can commit any crime and it is legal".

This is an incredible argument.  There is no shame in these people.  There is no amount of hypocrisy that is too much for them.  This is why I say Republicans, all Republicans, are a cancer in our society and must be cut out.

[I checked with an attorney and yes, as I thought, the argument is nonsense.]

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Note to Andy Who Lives in Berlin


We have all had to self-medicate, each in our various ways. Perhaps when we read the glamourous histories of our favorite artists living through exciting times it did not occur to us how terrifying it must have been for them. And now for us. They may have indulged in wild sex, taking mistresses or lovers, writing short stories and plays, but we all do what we can. I write my blog, and I review the great movies of old, particularly involving the marvel cinematic universe. I read light-science about evolutionary behavior but avoid cosmology because it gives me a headache.

You are lucky to have excellent workers rights in Germany. And our friends Bart and Kimball are now in New Zealand. Dale Herigstad and Soren Ragsdale now are citizens of Great Britain. Many other friends and colleagues live in Vancouver or Hong Kong. Is there some hint I should be taking here?

You can not imagine what it is like to wake up every day and have to read about the crimes and insanity of Trump and the Republicans. The nightmare that would not end.

I am on edge to see Avengers: Endgame. They are doing a great job of hiding what will happen in this movie.

I just watched the FBI and the Dept of Justice betray America. Its really hard to come back from that.

Creation of the Humanoids! Terrified me as a kid.  I cant wait to see it again.  Yes, it is the small cultural contribution of Youtube.