Saturday, August 31, 2019
Thursday, August 29, 2019
One way to deal with more books per the Internet and all is to basically not read them. I skimmed over multiple books this week, including a little one on I Spit On Your Grave. There have been various books on horror movies, including from a feminist perspective over the years, as well as a blog named for the alternative title. The author of this generally interesting discussion seems not be familiar with her (saw no reference). I have spoken over the years of my respect of the original and disappointment with the remake (the author of that blog at one point made clear to me that she wasn't a fan either; she basically ignored it). Did not see the two sequels (one a redo of sorts; the other brings back Jennifer for a twist) or the original unofficial sequel. There is now a ridiculously long (over two hours!) sequel by the original director that I guess I need to see eventually. Anyway, I appreciate the effort. Meanwhile, have been watching Friends again, the Emily/Chandler and Monica hook up plot lines taking place. I'm definitely team Chandler/Monica, relating some to Chandler in general. There is a 25th anniversary coming around with some people bashing the show. A fairly unsurprising thing really though a bit silly.
Tuesday, August 27, 2019
Rachel Held Evans (RIP) first book was later released as "Faith Unraveled," a dubious title really. The original made sense (she grew up in Dayton, of Scopes Trial fame). Anyway, the first book has her voice but after a while seemed a bit stuffed. Plus, maybe at twenty-seven or so, it was a tad too young. Finally, at points, it was somewhat unconvincing. Her citation of Revelations regarding all nations being saved? Well, a segment. A lot will be damned. Her second book has some of the same themes with more content (even pictures!) mixed with her "project." The third was one I couldn't get into; it was the most "insider" of the bunch. The fourth was shorter one, perhaps since it was written around children, but a worthwhile analysis of the Bible with special creative content. Her husband has a new statement at her website about an "evolving faith" event later this year that she had some part in. RIP, RHE. Her blog and Youtube vids are still there to help some.
Sunday, August 25, 2019
The oral argument in Town of Greece v. Galloway underlines the problem -- multiple justices (leading even the opponent's lawyer to in effect throw the atheist under the bus) ridiculed the idea of a neutral prayer policy that covers non-theists. The problem seemed to be the effect of the policy was to favor certain religions but perhaps the nature of enterprise made retaining any prayer policy problematic. But, many places do manage to welcome non-theists giving invocations. A policy that explicitly doesn't goes further than even the Supreme Court did. It especially has a blatant sectarian purpose, not just effect. It is blatantly unfair.
Saturday, August 24, 2019
There was recently a day honoring black cats and Patricia Highsmith had one (Spider), even dedicated a book to him so will check out some books by her. I started by re-reading The Price of Salt (Carol), her second book-movie (if much later), starting off with Strangers On A Train. The movie is fairly loyal though makes Therese a photographer and takes out a few Therese scenes; to me, it works better. The book is good but seems a bit too long. I'm reading a fiction book [Amreekiya] I found by chance at the new Van Cortlandt Park Library (nice place) about a Palestinian-American. It goes back and forth from her childhood and early years of her marriage. Nice down to earth first effort. By chance, I found that the Danish t.v. show Borgen is playing on an arts channel and have a chance weekly to watch the third season. Fitting for the "Trump wants to buy Greenland" thing, which by now is almost old news. (Our ambassador had a short lived "Z" class movie career.) It skips forward a few, the first female PM now out of power and wanting to come back. Meanwhile, the Mets swept the Indians [sloppy play; As swept Yanks, pushing them into a Wild Card slot] in their "see they can beat more than bad teams" playoff race period but the Braves continue to trouble them. Still not quite in a WC slot.
Thursday, August 22, 2019
Wednesday, August 21, 2019
I did not read the 100+ page opinion (it was not really simply ideological -- each judge on the panel was nominated by a different POTUS), the "it's moot" dissent only a few pages. Did listen to the oral argument and the result does sound reasonable. But, as discussed here, it is far from clear and there are complications. The lower court opinion went the other way.
I would really try to avoid deciding the merits if possible. Will SCOTUS now decide? The issue of faithless electors might matter more in this day and age; if Trump won two of the three Midwest states that decided things, this thing could have came down to one or two electors. And, then there is the "show us your tax returns" primary challenge that some liberals are worried about. (Will it invite tit for tat? make a national popular vote compact harder?) The state constitutional claim looks like it deserves more attention. ETA: There was a move to make this an individual rights case, the electors having a right to vote, but independent electors were never really a thing. This made the 2016 "we need to stop Trump" fantasy just that in practice. There is some argument there but the text also seems to leave open broad power to the states (and Congress) to restrain as well. Plus, good policy would so hold. So, if possible, I would let political branches handle it.
Sunday, August 18, 2019
After a few years, there are many repeats that I saw, but this was a first time seeing this film. It's a good creepy effort from the beginning on. Extended set up works well. Familiar face for me is the local scientist who years before played something of a ne'er-do-well in The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. The ending aside, there was a sequel.
Saturday, August 17, 2019
Thursday, August 15, 2019
Sunday, August 11, 2019
In the march of "what else happened?!," the news yesterday was that arrested (maybe this time he would get real punishment!) Jeffrey Epstein -- "good! he didn't get bail!" -- committed suicide. He seemed to have tried before but his suicide watch was brief. The "oh well, just another victim of the system" takes are coming in. But, very rich defendants with friends in high places are not typical and this "oh well" doesn't quite wash. Conspiracy? Eh. But, that handwaving is too easy in this case. Plus, while investigations occur, this can't be allowed to close off a full true accounting. Epstein in no way committed his crimes alone.
Saturday, August 10, 2019
The Nats blow late inning leads when they play the Mets. That is what they do now. The Mets designated sucker was left in long enough last night to blow a three run lead (including a wild pitch insurance run) and one more to lose the game. Conforto lost his shirt and Smith was part of the celebration on his scooter (he's hurt). Tonight ... well, Luis Guillorme tied the game with his first home run. Them going ahead was obligatory. And, Lugo again was out for a second in a one run game. Oh, the Braves lost, blowing a big lead late vs. the Marlins. They are having bullpen woes. Mets half game back in the Wild Card race with DeGrom next. ETA: Sunday. DeGrom had a tough 1st, an error that looked to be his fault leading to three runs. He helped a rally with a bunt to later tie it but only went five. The bullpen gave up the lead and Diaz sealed the deal by giving up two. THIS time, the Braves closer did not blow a three run lead. But, two of three vs. rivals will do the trick if they are consistent about it.
Friday, August 09, 2019
After a district court who voiced its dislike of current law held this seal unconstitutional, the law changed some and the court of appeals upheld it. I think the law was unclear enough that a seal like that with various symbols might have been upheld anyway though some evidence the cross was added to honor Christians who founded the county (settlers came centuries ago; the seal is from the 1940s) made the lower court ruling unsurprising as well. I think this is a fair reading of what five justices would do and the 1940s time period suggests Breyer might go along too. But, altering a seal is different from taking down a display, especially those just endorsed (like from a patriotic group) by the government. Changing a seal to be more modern should be less controversial. This is an official government seal which is also more ubiquitous than a single monument or display, especially one only up for a holiday. Again, the justices likely won't parse like this but it suggests all displays are not equal. A representation of a large county should honor all. ETA: For whatever reason, these things tend not to explain, Roberts granted a temporary stay in favor of the government in a criminal case.
The preseason started with a Jets/Giants game so this based on a true story about a woman who coached in a Texas high school in WWII was well timed. The author was a sportswriter, coach and now educator so the character was appropriate. A town dealing with tragedies, not all involving WWII, was a major subplot. The real coach (I found this via a bit of online research) coached at a college so I guess the finale game is a dramatic creation.
Good book. I read a version with "P.S." material but it focused on the author. We get nearly nothing on the real person, even a photo, though I found more than one online. The author notes she fictionalized some material since various details were lost to history but again there is material. Various background biographical material is said to be based on real life. This might explain why some records are lost but you'd think articles and such ... oh well.
Jennifer Garner is only in her 40s so it's quite possible this can open up a second act (the director also helped Liam Neeson there), especially given her earlier action roles. The title is the ice cream her daughter (who has some spunk that you figure came from her mom even if she holds it down) ordered before being murdered along with her dad, ill advisedly tempted to cross the wrong person. The fix is in so the mom doesn't get justice for a few years. Garner is quite believable as an angel of vengeance though some thought her path was mpt made complicated enough. Eh, it did the trick. Touches on the power of social media etc. but Garner makes the movie. The supporting players are good enough to check the boxes.
Thursday, August 08, 2019
I read the book and checked out (some of) the movie on DVD. Steve Carell again is excellent in a serious role and the animated reenactments of his imagined stories are well done. But, especially since it starts after the "town" is set up and all (curiously; they could have started earlier, the book provides his backstory and how he created the town), was not really interested in watching almost two hours (he had to be pressured to give a victim impact statement at the sentencing of his attackers and the film ends with him managing to do it). I'll try the documentary; this review is a bit too negative but interesting.
Wednesday, August 07, 2019
I'm unsure how I survived, but sure did, before being online. For instance, how did I deal with not being able to look up pieces of trivia (always was someone attracted to such things)? Well, I read more magazines and (at times) books. Anyway, recently I checked out some videos at Porntube. It has a range in quality, including some pretty good story-lines. Some good acting, seriously. The mechanics of sex can only take you so far there [quality is duly noted] though yeah those who watch late nite Showtime type fare will find something called cock and penetration (except for on Japanese video where that was blocked). A bit addictive.
As noted here, even Citizens United supported disclosure laws (Doe v. Reed, involving a controversial referendum is even more on point). Disclosure is particularly about flags to deal with a form of legalized bribery but there are other reasons, including to see in general who is supporting a person or cause by means of large sums (my $5 for Gillibrand, e.g., is a lot less notable). When money is involved, however, there tends to be an overlap at any rate. This response seems to flow to even mere Trump voters, but the people Rep. Castro (twin brother of the guy running for POTUS) listed big donors in his controversial tweet. As I said in comments in both places, I'm wary of this sort of thing. Searching a database is different than selecting some names and tweeting them. It is different when their member of Congress does it and in effect shames them for donating to Trump. I fear tit for tat. And, no, I'm wary of everyone knowing such and such bakery or whatever supports "x" candidate. At least on the level of tweets to so many people. I fear what it will do to their families and communities. I hope legislators don't make a habit of this though the good faith of the people who are complaining repeatedly are likely to leave something to be desired.
Tuesday, August 06, 2019
The Mets started the second half well helped by a soft schedule but they won the two games vs. the Twins too. But, then hurt themselves by losing (in painful fashion) three of four vs. Wild Card (if the longshot brigade) competitor Giants. This seemed a come to earth moment but then basically (one time) didn't lose vs. scrubs. But, hey, the Phils lost two of three vs. the White Sox. Still, the teams are bad and the Mets' past foibles and limited (they HELPED a damn wild card competitor in one of their two moves!) trading deadline made me cynical. They are now in the midst of a four game series vs. the Marlins (who at times are pesky) and then play (with a break with the Royals) playoff types. Cano is hurt again but guess they are ready: they got to .500 (and DeGrom got a win) and then came back (and Famalia of all people got a win with a clean inning) to sweep a DH (fans at field ecstatic). They are two games from the WC. Do I believe? Sigh. They still have to deal with multiple teams and one place puts their odds under 15% (well better than 1% as they were recently). They have a shot but in '15 they got multiple pieces at the deadline. In '16, they got a bat and later (guess still have time with waivers) a bullpen arm.
I'm just tired of the team having the same shit year after year. Even yesterday, the manager was like "Diaz is our closer" and used him in a four run game and then Lugo for two innings in a one run game. It's so much b.s. And, Cano gets hurt (again.) Just tired of it all. I see them ending well, but not quite, people accepting and hopeful for the future. It's tiring.
Monday, August 05, 2019
It turns out that "When Cary Grant Introduced Timothy Leary to LSD" was part of a British series of a bunch of celebrity "moments" over time. Showtime had another episode, not as good (the other one was in large part basically a sort of LSD trip) but still worthwhile given the lead (who I saw in various things) with Marilyn Monroe. The snapshot of the filming of Some Like It Hot like the last episode overall gave a good sense of place and the other actors are good as well. Fun. The other one was more of a trip though.
Saturday, August 03, 2019
Friday, August 02, 2019
I hoped for more SCOTUS content and think the pope content could have been cut some (especially some of the detail). Alito's intro (quite charming) notes the author spoke partially from experience, including as an academic officer during the Korean War. Overall, very readable with multiple points of view. The author had some legal writings but also a long fictional bio of Peter and a shorter WWII volume with some of the characters of this book as well. "So-called homosexual marriage" referenced before cell phones, Mr. Alito.
Thursday, August 01, 2019
Another set of Democratic presidential debates with the whole field which I only "watched" via social media. Warren and Booker supposedly did well while Biden was decent but had his various tired Biden moments including shaking Harris' hand and calling her "kid." Usual Biden-stan comments such as worried about people going after a primary opponent since Trump is in the White House. So tiring. Can Biden just go? And, Sanders too. He got a few good bits in. But with liberal opposition, his purpose other than "hey these kids are stealing my message" is unclear to me. Too many also-rans will be in the next round. The Mets are in a seven game winning streak vs. scrubs (Pirates/White Sox a combined 3-17) with Pirates and Marlins ahead. You beat who you face and they are two under and four out. Unlike 2015, when they picked up multiple pieces, it is not just about beating one team and in. Then, the big boys. They picked up Marcus Stroman (two prospects) and helped their WC competitor Phillies (starter starved) with Vargas (getting a minor league catcher). Mets fans can be all gung ho but I'm pissed. They could have kept Vargas and traded Wheeler (multiple suitors; would have received multiple pieces). Keep him for maybe a draft pick? Plus, they made no other trades or pick-ups. One deadline this time.