Powered by Blogger

Saturday, June 30, 2012



Friday, June 29, 2012

THG - Catching Fire

So why do I find the guy on the right SO much hotter than the guy on the left (which is not prevailing opinion, as far as I can tell).  Maybe it's the eyes, or the jaw line, or the mouth.  Not sure, but he definitely melts my socks, while Liam H does absolutely nothing for me.  Hmmm.

While contemplating this important question, I heard some great casting news for the 2nd movie, Catching Fire (not due until November 2013 - seems like a long time - almost 2 years since they started filming the first movie):

Fricking Philip Seymour Hoffman as the new Gamesmaker, Plutarch (who has a big role in the 3rd book).

And I think Jena Malone would be terrific as Joanna - I could totally see her delivering some of my favorite Joanna lines.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

SCOTUS and Obamacare

So many mixed feelings:

I'm thrilled and relieved that the Supreme Court found the Affordable Care Act constitutional.

I'm very surprised and taken aback that Roberts voted with the "liberal" judges. (And I'm suspicious about his reason.)

I'm very concerned that reframing the penalty as a tax gives the Republicans ammunition for the fall election.

* * * * * * * *
Some of my favorite comments from FB:

"Brace yourselves - everyone on Facebook is about to become a constitutional scholar."

This comment on a friend's page is almost exactly what I think~

the free market has had over 100 years to get it right. the care that we receive is far too expensive. the u.s. has by far the highest cost per capita for health care in the entire world. and for those dollars our level of health care quality is very far from the highest. do you want to know what most of the countries that have the lowest cost, highest quality health care have in common? you guessed it: nationalization. so explain to me how nationalization is a bad thing. my body doesn't understand the difference between free-market and nationalized health care. it all feels the same to me. the free market has had its chance and i don't think it works for health care. actually the more i think about it, having a corporate profit motive on my health is starting to disturb me more and more.

And this, which I've said several times on this blog~

"The remarkable thing about the heated debates about the law is just how modest these reforms really are . . . there is no 'government takeover' underway. Some lower-middle-class families are going to get some subsidies to buy insurance, maybe ten million or so more poor people will be eligible for Medicaid. Insurers will get some new regulations that are popular even among Republicans."


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Self portrait

Had a great conversation with my sister Lisa today, during which I admitted that I feel unqualified to raise children, because I feel like I'm totally faking it since I had crap modeling for good parenting.  Plus, psychically I look like this shredded cloth above - that rag is not sufficient to wrap around little children!


Monday, June 25, 2012

"The Fault in our Stars"

The Fault in Our Stars

John Green has written a really wonderful book.  Almost as wonderful as The Book Thief.  I have about a million favorite lines and passages from the book, but this is probably my absolute favorite passage:

Hazel's father tells her:

"That's what I believe. I believe the universe wants to be noticed. I think the universe is improbably biased toward consciousness, that it rewards intelligence in part because the universe enjoys its elegance being observed. And who am I, living in the middle of history, to tell the universe that it - or my observation of it - is temporary?” 

Later Hazel says:

“We sat there quite for a long time, which was fine, and I was thinking about way back in the very beginning in the Literal Heart of Jesus when Gus told us that he feared oblivion, and I told him that he was fearing something universal and inevitable, and how really, the problem is not suffering itself or oblivion itself but the depraved meaninglessness of these things, the absolutely inhumane nihilism of suffering. I thought of my dad telling me that the universe wants to be noticed. But what we want is to be noticed by the universe, to have the universe give a shit what happens to us — not the collective idea of sentient life but each of us, as individuals.” 

This is also very good:

"I had been looking toward the Encouragement above the TV, a drawing of an angel with the caption 'Without Pain, How Could We Know Joy?'  (This is an old argument in the field of Thinking About Suffering, and its stupidity and lack of sophistication could be plumbed for centuries, but suffice it to say that the existence of broccoli does not in any way affect the taste of chocolate.)” 

And this:

"But thinking about Lidewij and her boyfriend, I felt robbed. I would probably never again see the ocean from thirty thousand feet above, so far up that you can't make out the waves or any boats, so that the ocean is a great and endless monolith. I could imagine it. I could remember it. But I couldn't see it again, and it occurred to me that the voracious ambition of humans is never sated by dreams coming true, because there is always the thought that everything might be done better and again.” 


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Cat drama

We adopted 2 cats last fall, from my dear friend Laura, who runs an animal shelter in NJ. They are both sweet friendly cats, who mostly sleep with Alana every night. The one, Tally, has taken to running outside when we open the door, but she returns, sometimes quickly and sometimes not, but always stands at the door and cries to come in when she's ready. Rosie, the cat we've had for a couple of years, also goes outside, into the back yard, and usually comes back promptly; she also stands at the door and asks to come in.

On Tuesday, the third cat, CeCe, ran out the back door when I had it open to move the ficus tree onto the deck (which I do every summer, once the chance of frost is past). I didn't even think about it, since the other 2 cats come and go.  But she never reappeared. Not that night, not the next day.  It was hard not to think the worst - our indoor/outdoor cat, Molly, was hit by a car near our house in PA. As more days went by, the less likely it seemed that she would return.  We finally made a flyer, for the neighborhood, hoping against hope that someone had taken her in (she's very sweet).  Alana, her friend Amelia, and the neighbor girl Meagan, took the flyers around Friday morning and put them in the newspaper boxes of the houses around us. (I was absolutely dreading having to tell Laura that we lost one of her very favorite cats that she had entrusted us with.)

Just a couple of hours later, who should I see at the base of the deck, but CeCe, looking quite spooked.  I went out, but she ran under the deck, where she's presumably been all this time.  I was relieved, but also really puzzled - why was she hiding from us? I had gone out onto the deck several times over the preceding days, calling her, and had never seen her.

We put out food and water, and spent the next 24 hours, trying to coax her out.  Caleb was finally able to bring her inside this afternoon.  She settled right back in, and was sleeping on Alana's pillow as usual tonight.

Which makes it all the more puzzling that she insisted on hiding from us, outside during the worst heatwave we've had in several years.

Side note: 2 people called in response to the flyers, one saying they had seen the cat in their yard, and another with the general advice to put our food and a blanket and see if she reappeared (totally prescient as it turned out).  Nice to have gotten such a great and immediate response.


Friday, June 22, 2012

What I have to look forward to . . .

I enjoyed this essay about a planned mother-daughter spa visit, but what really struck me was her insanely articulate description of adolescence, the prospect of which I find utterly terrifying. On the other hand, most of the article is about what happens after, so of course there's hope.

My Daughter's Startling Response To A Spa Invitation

by Lee Woodruff

I've been a little slumpy lately. Nothing major, just kind of in a middle-o'-life blah. I can't seem to get motivated to work out the way I used to, the get up and go is less "go" and more "harder to get up." I eat healthy for a while and then suddenly purchase a giant box of Dots or a tub of chocolate covered raisins and consume the whole thing almost without tasting. It's not that I feel lousy; I just don't feel like the old me.

That was the initial thrust behind the timing of a mother/daughter spa trip. I've been thinking about doing this ever since my baby girl was born, 18 years ago. And now she is home from her first year in college. All in all she's had a pretty good experience, with the expected ups and downs of leaving the nest for the first time. She's worked hard and made friends, all while trying to live up to the decidedly unhelpful "these are the best years of your life" advice that we parents have parroted to them for the last decade. That's a lot of pressure to put on someone as they tie the bandana on the stick and head out the door to live with four strangers in a room the size of a handicapped bathroom stall.
The last two years of high school she was a partial stranger to us, distant, most of her in shadow. I understood she was hard at work uncoupling from me, sawing off the umbilical cord, sometimes with a dull, Swiss Army knife. Mother nature has programmed our children during this period to be as judgmental, sullen and eye-rolling as possible, presumably to make it hurt less when they finally blow the pop stand. We were all ready for her to go, mostly her. And I honestly don't think my daughter would have wanted to spend a stretch of time with me anywhere back then. I had nothing to offer beyond my cooking, cleaning, step n' fetch-it skills, and my vague resemblance to a punching bag. So the thought of going to a spa with her in those years would have felt like a Club Med trip with Stockholm syndrome and no alcohol.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Reading progress

As June winds down, Goodreads informs me that I'm on track to reach my 2012 goal of reading 50 books, as I've now completed 25. I wish it were true.  Two of the books on my list I didn't actually read completely.

I've created 2 shelf categories, Gave up and Need to Finish, to capture books I started but didn't finish.  However, there's no way to eliminate them from the total count, because there's only 3 status categories: To Read, Currently Reading, and Read.

23 books is still impressive, though 2 of those are "novellas" (that I got free on Audible), so I'm not sure I feel right counting them either.

But even 21 books in 6 months is pretty darn good for me - just a few years ago (2007) I read that many books over the whole year!


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

"Conservative Jesus"

This is the image I posted that led someone to unfriend me on FB. There is, in fact, a Conservative Bible, being created by a group trying to purge all the "liberal distortion" from common translations (like KJV). However, this passage is a wild exaggeration and does not appear in the actual Conservative Bible - someone is clearly mocking them, and at the same time making a firm point about conservative values (I would love to know who created this!)  I think it's brilliant, and several of my outspoken liberal friends either liked the post or commented favorably on it.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Facebook unfriending

I've had a couple of baffling Facebook experiences in a row, like one right after another.

If you follow me at all on FB, I mean, read stuff I post, you know what I'm about, and it's not all cute kitten photos. I post a lot of pretty aggressive opinions, and I know not all my friends are comfortable with my views (on gay rights, on abortion rights, etc). Many just tolerate (or possible ignore) me, and a few have no problem challenging me in the comment (though it's not on those "hot button" issues - usually just on Obama and politics in general). Which is fine with me, of course - I like debate, I like the lively exchange of ideas. (As long as it's ideas and not personal - I did unfriend one person for making a mean personal comment, something like, "you think you're so smart blah blah blah" - fuck that, I didn't get online to get insulted by someone I barely know.).

So, the first thing that happened is that my uncle abruptly unfriended me when I liked a page with the F word on it (so each of the posts from that page, "I Fucking Love Science," that appeared on my wall contained the F word). I understand that it offended him, but he didn't even discuss it with me; he just sent me a message that he was unfriending me because of the page, and then he unfriended me. He subsequently refriended me, but I was a bit non-plussed by the whole incident. I mean, isn't his connection with me valuable enough to him to at least talk to me about the offending page? (Somewhat ironically, I subsequently unliked the page, not because it offended him, but because it had too much Carl Sagan worship for me - he was a great guy, but he wasn't a god . . . and my dad thought he was a sell-out.)

Then, maybe a week later, I saw a provocative fake quote from Jesus on a friend's page (nice liberal Jew), and I reposted on my wall.

Someone I know from Temple Concord (a convert), wrote a really scathing comment objecting to the post (she mentioned the 10 commandments, but I don't know which one she's referring to - does she mean I'm disrespecting God?) I explained why I liked it (mocking hypocrites is always worthwhile), but she insisted that she was owed an apology (the first such demand I have ever received on FB), and then she unfriended me without any further comment or communication.

I was surprised that she unfriended me because of that one post, though I should have realized once she demanded an apology, things were headed that direction. But I have to admit to being a bit taken aback. Again, people know who I am, they know what my opinions are. What I find a bit odd is that she's never commented on my posts or interacted with me at all on FB (I would have assumed that she wasn't actually following me at all). And we aren't especially good friends in real life either. I mean, we've talked, but we're not best buddies.

I have all different kinds of FB "friends" (and real life friends too) and many of them post things that I don't agree with (especially lots of "Jesus is Lord" stuff, and "repost if you love Jesus," which I'll admit, gets old - I'm not on FB to declare my faith; but on the other hand, they probably find my constant political posts to be a pain or a bore too). But I'm not kidding when I say it really doesn't bother me. I like finding out what people are about, especially when it's something I didn't know about them. I thought that was part of the fun. I thought that was part of the purpose. It certainly is for me (I'm particularly fascinated by an old friend, from grade school, who was a pretty rebellious young lady, and is now a very devout Christian with 4 kids - never would have predicted that!)

Oh well. I would say "good riddance," but I don't really feel that way. I would rather that she stay connected with me, and fight with me, than just tell me that I suck and storm off.  But I guess that's on her. That's her loss, if she wants to throw away the connection for that one thing.

Side note: I have a small confession - there are a couple of people that I have considered unfriending.  One, because her (infrequent) comments are kind of obnoxious, and a couple others because they post a lot and they're boring as shit. But I love a good fight, so I would never unfriend someone because I disagree with them.


I posted on FB about this issue and got some great comments, mostly from people saying they like my posts (how sweet of them to say so), but someone wrote this:

. . . sometimes in life as you get to know somebody, you find out that either they (sic) aren't the person that they thought you were, or your views about life issues are so far apart that being together brings no value to the relationship.

My gut reaction (besides questioning the very unkind phrasing - "brings no value to the relationship") is this: anyone who knows me for an hour knows exactly what they're getting with me - I have lots of opinions and I Don't Back Down. I'm not everyone's cup of tea, but I'm not an acquired taste either - I'm not some mystery that unfolds slowly. In general, I think this comment is true, that you can come to realize that you don't have anything in common. But I think I'm more knowable than most, because I don't hold much of anything back. This wording also puts the fault on me ("not the person they thought you were") rather than acknowledging that the person stormed off like a cranky child when they didn't like something I said.

Overall, the timing of this incident is interesting because I've been having a bit of an existential crisis about FB, like, why do I bother? and what's the value of it? So having this person unfriend me (so unfriendly!) and then to get all this encouragement - it's kinda perfect. Funny how the Universe delivered for me. (I have a couple more requests I'm working on sending out!!)


Monday, June 18, 2012

Bill Maher on the Occupy movement

Just loved Bill's New Rule about the Occupy Wall Street movement, wherein he said that the left desperately needs a Tea Party-like faction. In other words, we need to get these type of people elected, so there's a cohort in Congress that stakes out a position and won't compromise.  Here's an major excerpt:

. . . Maybe it's time for Occupy Wall Street to actually participate in the American political process

. . . Three years ago, the Tea Party was just a few hundred retired diabetics angry at blacks and gays for making them feel old.  But now, now they have 62 seats in Congress.  
. . . And that's because the Tea Party took it to the next level.  They mobilized.  They put on a nice shirt and their best teeth, and they got out there, and they drafted candidates, registered voters, and did all the stuff that when the left does it, it's called "using the methods of Saul Alinsky." [He basically invented community organizing.]
The Occupy movement could do the same thing for the Democrats.  In fact, we need Occupy to be our Tea Party.  An unwavering bloc that will force things to the left, as relentlessly as a new pair of jeans with a tight inseam.
A solid bloc of far-left intractable Democratic Congressmen, who Obama can point to and say, "You know, I'd love to renew your Bush-era tax cuts, but I have to deal with these crazy motherfuckers."  


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Weekend movies

Madagascar 3 - Took the kids to the drive-in to see this (it's so much cheaper than the theater, and it's still cool enough that the mosquitoes aren't too bad). Fun movie. I laughed out loud several times.

The Vow - Bleh! Not very romantic - they spend about 10 minutes with the couple falling in love and then you have to spend an hour plus squirming while Tatum Channing, playing the world's funniest and most charming man, gets rejected over and over and over again by Rachel McAdams. Downright painful.  And the ending was so muted - no payoff for the pain.  :(


Saturday, June 16, 2012

"If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" parody

I would actually find this a lot funnier if it wasn't true.  Mother's work is never done. Never.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Mankind reaches the edge of the solar system

Nasa's Voyager spacecraft is reaching the outer limits of the solar system - an area known as the 'stagnation' zone

Humanity escapes the solar system: 

Voyager 1 signals that it has reached the edge of interstellar space - 11billion miles away

UK Daily Mail

With absolutely no attempt at hyperbole, it's fair to say that this is one of - if not the - biggest achievement of the human race.

For, as we speak, an object conceived in the human mind, and built by our tools, and launched from our planet, is sailing out of the further depths of our solar system - and will be the first object made by man (sic) to sail out into interstellar space.

The Voyager 1, built by Nasa and launched in 1977 has spent the last 35 years steadily increasing its distance from Earth, and is now 11,100,000,000 miles away.

Indications over the last week suggest that Voyager 1 is now leaving the heliosphere - the last vestige of this solar system.

 . . . Voyager 1 - which is still managing to communicate with Earth with radio waves that reach us 16 hours later - is beginning to experience a bit of heat.

It is detecting more energetic particles around it, implying it it at the very edge of the heliosheath, which is like a bubble around the solar system, protecting us from the cosmic winds of deep space.

The Voyager entered the heliosphere in 2004.  According to The Atlantic, certain cosmic rays have a hard time entering the heliosphere, but as of last month, the sum of these slower particles increased by about 10 per cent.

This does not necessarily mean we have crossed over - but it means we are getting close.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Conservatives criticize Republican party

I've been thoroughly enjoying the growing list of Republicans who are openly criticizing the tactics and priorities of their party, starting with a lucid essay by David Frum that I commented on last fall.

Meaghan McCain has become a consistent critic of Republican extremism. And of course Jon Huntsman was taking moderate positions during the primary race, and continued to speak out, even after he suspended his campaign.

The latest addition to the list is Jeb Bush, who said recently, among other things, that both Reagan and his father would not be electable by the current party.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Exactly describes me!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

CNY Pride Service

Temple Concord hosted the annual interfaith service that is part of gay pride month activities in Syracuse. I felt strongly about attending, because if only the gay  members of Concord show that we're welcoming, than we're not really all that welcoming.

It was a nice service, with a wonderful collection of religious leaders, including many Christian denominations, Rabbi Fellman, and a couple of women from the Buddhist temple.  There was even supposed to be a representative from Islam (they were on the program, but not present, though there was no announcement as to why).

The group of clergy paraded up the aisle to their seats with rainbow ribbon-topped sticks, and many had stoles with rainbow patterns.

It wasn't a big crowd, but a respectable size, and the energy was so warm and full of love.  I teared up several times.  The speaker who probably affected me the most was the Methodist minister, who spoke so movingly of the recent unsuccessful attempt to change anti-homosexual language in the church's "Book of Discipline." (The church has a convention every four years, and the meeting was held in May this year.) She expressed her hope that eventually the church would remove the offending characterization, which calls homosexuality “incompatible with Christian teaching,” quoting Isaiah:

The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them.

Labels: ,

Monday, June 11, 2012


Greatly disappointed in this film.  I'd give it 3 stars, just for great actors and great production values.  But not much "there" there.  Definitely a case of my expectations being too high.  I tried not to read much about the movie, and the few reviews I read were very careful not to give away plot points (though it must be noted that the trailer already shows you a lot - I would have awarded it Trailer of the Year, but now that I've seen the movie, what were they thinking?  There were tons of spectacular images from the first half of the movie, why did they need to include so much from the last 30 minutes?)

There's very little character development, though to be fair, none of the other Alien movies give the viewer any background on the characters - you learn about them through their job assignment and their interactions with the other characters.  But the other movies were almost purely about survival, and this movie was ostensibly about something larger, so it's more important to understand why the characters are there.  Especially Holloway and his "fanatic" girlfriend, Shaw - what kind of scientist is he (are they)? How did he and Shaw come to be searching for these cave paintings?  Why were they in a position to have their trip financed by Weyland?  And why did they assume that the petroglyphs were an invitation?

A few other burning questions I had after I watched (*major* spoilers ahead):

Why did the Engineer just kill everyone, especially after being spoken to in his own language? Did he not have some curiosity about the humans standing in his spaceship after unknown years of hypersleep?

Did Weyland really think that the Engineer would somehow instantly grant him immortality? And why did he bother to hide his presence? I realize it creates a great reveal later, but upon further reflection, why didn't he just openly come along? There's no reason for the secrecy.

Why did David infect Holloway? It seems like he wanted to bring the alien back to Earth (like the Company person always does, in all the movies), but if Weyland was along on the trip, why would he need to take anything back with them? And was David counting on Holloway and Shaw having sex immediately after Holloway was infected, thereby implanting an alien baby in her? Why would David assume that would happen?

Why did David know how to press the hieroglyphs in the Engineer cave and ship in the correct order to open doors? Why did no one notice or question this? (I understand that he studied the language, but how did he know the correct code? Every time.)

Why did Fifield turn into some kind of superhuman monster zombie and return to the ship to attack everyone? Wouldn't he just die after having acid blood hit him in the face?

What was that black stuff oozing out of the canisters? Where did the snakes come from - were they in the canisters, in a really small form, or were they in the room? Are the snakes a juvenile version of the octopusy creature that came out of Shaw, or a totally different creature? (Snake has same acid blood as alien in other movies.) If so, are they both bioweapons created by the Engineers?

What was the original cave that the explorers found? Was it a storage room? Why did it have that big head/statue in it? Was it a temple?

Why did no one comment on Shaw's condition when she reappeared after her C-section (an astonishingly bloodless procedure for her, which I can attest is strikingly different from real life).

Why did so many characters behave in ways that made no sense? Why did the geologist want to go back to the ship? He wasn't the tiniest bit interested in the discovery of alien life? Why did the biologist act so playful with the snake who emerged from the scary black ooze? He was terrified by everything up to that point (a mummified corpse, some sounds down the hall), but he wasn't even a little nervous about this alien creature? Etc, etc, etc.

Why were there (conveniently) additional ships hidden under additional hollow domes on the planet? Were they also full of canisters, and if so, why did Shaw risk riding through space with them?

What's the connection among the petroglyphs on Earth? Did the Engineers come to Earth and warn the humans in various places? Or are we supposed to think that the knowledge of the Engineers' genocidal plans (to build a weapon of mass destruction on the moon of a planet far away) was transmitted through our DNA, even though it hadn't happened yet?  (Larry suggests they're saving the explanation for the sequel.)

Why was Weyland played by Guy Pearce in old age makeup? I thought they cast a young actor because he was going to reverse age at some point, a la Brad Pitt in Benjamin Button, but he never did.  So why not just cast an actor of the appropriate age? Unless it was solely for the marketing campaign, including this fake TED Talk video starring Guy Pearce as his real age, portraying Weyland in 2023, which would be super crass and lame.

I didn't hate the movie - there were some fun moments, especially in the first half, but it was such a mess, and ultimately so unsatisfying. You just left scratching your head. We spent time discussing the movie, but not the larger themes or cosmic questions, just our frustration with the vast illogic and all the red herrings.

* * * * *

The guest reviewer at Forbes actually feels exactly the way I did about the movie, but just says it much better - here's a sampling:

While stunning to look at, Prometheus contains none of the class or the evenness of tone of the first Alien, nor the substance of the lofty subject matter it portends to explore. It is a silly movie, filled with characters and situations that aren‘t remotely believable, driven by blatantly obvious plot developments and devices.
. . . Also shamelessly stolen are characters, concepts, themes, and designs from Dark CityContact, StargateA.I.: Artificial Intelligence and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Indeed, finding a single original idea in the entirety of Prometheus is a chore.
. . . Alien worked because of Sigourney Weaver’s iconic Ellen Ripley. She was a normal person like you and me, who found enormous inner strength when thrown into the middle of the ultimate claustrophobic nightmare, with nowhere to run. There were no giant, rolling spaceships. There were no screaming, alien-ooze-infected zombie attacks. There were nodeus ex machina squid monsters to save her. There was a woman and her fear, and nothing to save her but her wits and an indomitable will to survive. She was the opposite of the Xenomorph, the opposite of the murderous android, Ash. Ripley was human, and she embodied the very reason why scientists would travel to distant worlds to find out who and why we are.  Prometheus has no Ellen Ripley, no humanity, and as a result, says absolutely nothing about us worth hearing.

Here's a user review from imdb.com that also says it well:

The WHOLE MOVIE is a litany of ludicrous so-called science, schoolboy errors, and pseudo-profundity about the origin of species. Ironic really, when none of the crew would have a chance in hell in any sort of contest governed by Darwinian rules.

. . . There is spectacular cinematography and effects, but not one iota of originality has been squandered on plot, subtext, tension or characters - which are as shallow as the Prometheus's muddy little gene pool.

Ridley Scott is a hero of mine, but Prometheus is not the intelligent, emotionally satisfying prequel that Alien deserves. It's a derisory, empty experience - and anyone who loved Alien is surely too old and too smart to be fobbed off with something this bad just because it's shiny.

* * * * * *
One fun fact, amid my complaining, which I saw somewhere while obsessively reading reviews and analysis: the names of the androids in the successive movies are alphabetical: Ash, Bishop, Call, David.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Mad Men - Season Finale

Peggy's back! I literally danced around the kitchen!  Here's THE iconic image from the finale:

Some great quotes:

"You have no right to fill a man like that with ambition.”
- Rebecca Pryce

"Put that on your face, not in a drink."
- Joan Harris

"Don't be demure. You're already on the bed."
- Roger Sterling

“Not every little girl gets to do what they want. The world could not support that many ballerinas.”
- Meagan's mother

“But that’s what happens when you help someone, they succeed and move on.”
- Don Draper


Saturday, June 09, 2012

Old rocks, new information

Apollo 17 at the rim of Shorty Crater, December 1972

They're still studying the moon rock samples brought back by all 6 Apollo missions because they saved them, knowing that the technology to study them would improve greatly.  I heard this delightful tidbit on the Public Radio show, StarDate, out of the University of Texas McDonald Observatory.  So fun to think that something my dad was involved in decades ago is actually still going on (and on).


Friday, June 08, 2012

Post Secret postcard

Sadly, this Post Secret captures my feelings exactly.


Thursday, June 07, 2012

The lost art of conversation

"Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people."  - Eleanor Roosevelt

I read this quote the day after I attended an excruciating luncheon with some members of my department.  I was sitting between a stony faced secretary and a woman who is undoubtedly the most abrasive doctor in our department.  It was actually worse than the many tedious meals I've sat through with Larry's work colleagues.  I love talking to people. Absolutely love it.  And it used to be so fun to socialize, when I inhabited a mileau where the discussion of ideas was welcomed, embraced, and encouraged.  For years now, I feel like I'm trapped in a land where ideas are taboo - only the minutia of life are acceptable conversation topics. Only the most banal, pointless, meaningless subjects are allowed. It's so painful to me. And I don't know how to fix this - I keep joining groups, trying to cultivate friends with broader interests, but it really isn't working.  If Ms Roosevelt captured the reality of interesting conversation in such a pithy quote, I cannot be the only person on the planet who feels this way!


Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Mad Men

What a thoroughly depressing episode!  This scene was as painful to watch as the one last week between Don and Peggy was moving. And Don complaining that he can't trust Lane - delicious irony!  While I thought this scene was effective, I thought having Lane commit suicide was lame. Suicide in real life is the ultimate manipulation and it's the same in TV drama - when you've run out of ideas, have a major character off themselves. Lazy. But I understand that all the other characters' behavior in the show is ultimately there to frame Don and his moral struggles. This, along with the impact of Joan's choice and Peggy's departure, gives the writers lots to work with in the coming season.

I read some grumbling on other blogs about Don's presentation to Dow, but I thought it was awesome - classic Don.  "What is happiness?  The moment before you need more happiness."  And Roger was marvelous in this episode.  His line after the presentation was one of several classic Roger deliveries - "I'll buy you a drink after you wipe the blood off your mouth."

Only one episode left; 13 episodes in a season - what a gyp!


Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Liberal arguments

I felt so discouraged this morning listening to Morning Joe.  Chris Matthews was the guest.  He makes no secret of his liberal leanings, and he's openly pro-Obama.  But his comments, some focusing on economic issues, were quite critical. Among other things, he said that Obama shouldn't have delayed approval of the Keystone Pipeline, because it would have created jobs, and "no one even remembers the arguments against it."  Whoa, what? The environmental arguments against the pipeline are completely irrelevant or insignificant? Ouch.

Isn't that what always happens - when economic issues are pressing, as they admittedly are now, all other considerations are inherently overshadowed or outweighed. But it's such bad policy, it so doesn't result in the best decision making. (And lots of people remember very clearly what those arguments are!)

Side note: When I did a Google search on this, I found several bloggers complaining about Matthews' comments - I'm certainly not the only person who was annoyed.


Monday, June 04, 2012

No good deed . . .

I think I helped a lady buy drugs tonight.  And I feel bad.  Actually, I feel totally ambivalent about it - I felt really good about being the kind of person who would help a total stranger, until I started to realize that she was conning me.

I was leaving my book club meeting in Armory Square when a woman approached me to ask for money for a cab.  I should have realized right away that her story was bullshit, because where is she going that costs $43? She said she needed $20, which honestly, I would have given her if I'd had it, but I didn't. After I gave her the $8 I had, she asked for a ride to her mother's house, about a mile away. It was raining, and no real inconvenience to me, so I said sure.  But that's when I started to realize that her story was full of holes.  Why does she need cab money if I'm giving her a ride?   (She had a whole patter about being a church going girl, and having a pin in her leg from when she was hit by a car on New Year's Eve, maybe all true, who knows. She said she lives in Cicero, but when I offered to give her a ride there, she said, almost panicked, that her kids were at her mom's house.)

Oh well.  I tried to help, based on what she told me.  Should it be on my conscience if she lied? Once I realized she was lying, should I have refused to give her a ride, asked for my money back? At that point, I was just hoping she wasn't setting me up to be mugged or car jacked.

I also find myself wondering if this is a successful approach for people like her.  I know that most of the people who go to my book club wouldn't even engage in a conversation with her, let alone give her all the money in their wallet, plus a ride into the "bad" part of town.  The women who ride my bus would  run a mile in this situation, or they would mace her. But clearly it works with some suckers, I mean people, or she wouldn't even have tried.


Sunday, June 03, 2012

Supporting players

Schmidt photo

As both these shows ended their seasons, I got to thinking about the similarities between the character of Roger Sterling (John Slattery) on Mad Men and Schmidt (Max Greenfield) on The New Girl - they're both played by very talented actors, and both have all the funniest lines.  They're both charming, memorable, and have impeccable comic timing. And neither show would be as fun without them.


Saturday, June 02, 2012


A couple of weeks ago, I saw this quote making the rounds on Facebook:

"The cure for stupidity: remove all the warning labels, let the problem fix itself."

I wanted to write a sharp retort, but I couldn't really think of one.

I've been reading the latest book about the Columbine massacre, a very thorough treatment, written by a journalist who covered the story at the time and then spent several years digging deeper to tell the whole story without the filters of rumor and sensationalism.  It's a terrific book, though of course rather depressing.

Eric Harris, the leader of the assault, was not bullied or harrassed at school.  He was probably a certifiable sociopath, who had planned for some time to murder a large number of people mostly because they were too stupid to live. Think Unibomber.

And sadly, he documented his disdain on a website for over a year before the shootings at Columbine.  Imagine how disconcerted I was to hear this popular FB line quoted word-for-word on his website back in 1998 or so.  Intensifies my disgust for its reappearance.


Friday, June 01, 2012

Only the people at the top really matter!

Jesus wept.  The North Syracuse school district superintendent justifies raises for administrators, while teachers were convinced to accept a pay freeze, because higher salaries will attract "the best people."  Apparently we only need the best people at the top, not in the classroom.  This is the same fucked up argument that's been made in the private sector for decades, but now they're using it in the freaking school system.  Unbelievable.

Here's Kim Dyce Faucette:  "Every decision is grounded on the best interest of our students. The bottom line is we want to ensure we have quality people leading the organization to move our agenda forward . . ."