But I’m not getting really worked up by this supposed scandal with the IRS. Sure, they should have investigated 50(c)4 groups that had “Liberal” in the name, equally to groups called “Tea Party”. They should investigate why they should be tax exempt at all?
But what I’m really worked up about is the notion that a blatantly political group can call itself a “social welfare” association. Political financing is way out of hand. Congress made this massively stupid law, and I’ll investigate it but probably under the guise of campaign reform for the purpose of controlling the abuses of money in politics. And of course it created more politics/money abuses.
Carl Rove created American Crossroads political action (SuperPAC) committee and spun off Crossroads GPS which is a “social welfare?” organization?
This Republican House should repeal this 501(c)4 section of the law, and stop at 37, the times they’ve tried to repeal The Affordable Care Act.
Republican politics, has not only gone around the bend, it has become Orwellian. Politics is now charity. Its insipid. Its insidious. Its surreal.
To me the obscenity in this scandal is the law itself.
Sunday, I made my trip up to Montezuma to visit with Ethel and Albert. I didn’t see Al, but Ethel was sitting on some eggs. No eagles today but some other osprey were present and several GBH. A scaup and some other ducks were home.
“The crowd and its team had finally understood that in games, as in many things, the ending, the final score, is only part of what matters. The process, the pleasure, the grain of the game count too.”
― Thomas Boswell, Why Time Begins on Opening Day
And my favorite “Judge slowly. No, more slowly than that.”
Read Thomas Boswell. If you’re a Yankee fan read the part about the Boston Massacre. If you’re not a Yankee fan, see the above quote about the Monster.
A weird thing didn’t happen to me in the last two days, despite the fact that I’d gone to see a doctor two days in a row.
In part, this is why I need a wife. I know what you’re thinking and that’s not it. The thing about wives is, well, a thing about wives is, you get to talk to them. You can tell them some of the little things that happen in your day. The option of offloading is a really wonderful option. “Hey honey, guess what happened to me today …” Or bitching. Venting if you’re a man, requires more than a cat. Even an affable dog probably doesn’t deliver the same satisfaction that telling your wife about the wierd thing that happened to you delivers.
I call it offloading. Chit chat seems far too casual. And its not important stuff, its just stuff. Say it once stuff. I have a lot of say it once stuff that I haven’t offloaded. Maybe I could rent a wife. No. I think they frown on that.
Weird, because I could hire a young woman in a dark bar wearing a string bikini who will sit on my lap and wiggle, which is a disturbing prospect in a way, no, a couple of ways, and pay her only a couple of bucks. That would be weird. But I can’t rent a wife.
Talking is more important. And perhaps, the whole listening thing is the key. I don’t think I could pay a young woman in a bikini enough to listen to me. You can listen to me. Sorry. I hope you don’t mind. But here goes.
Nobody stuck their finger in my ass in the last two days.
I just felt I needed to report that to someone. After two days of doctors appointments. Modest humiliations, frustrations – like standing at the reception desk and finding that you were supposed to stand at the “Line Forms Here” placard, even though there were no people to form a line and two of the three receptionists had signs that said go away. (Ok, they said this desk not available or some shit like that). But while you waited for the woman in front of you, to get her mother an appointment for TEN FUCKING MINUTES, a line formed and naturally at one of the closed desks a woman calls out “Next person in line please” and you’re on the opposite site of this four person desk and two hillbillies who weren’t even alive ten minutes ago are waited on while the receptionist near you has TWO phones in his ear!
You need to tell people this shit.
And speaking of shit, nobody stuck their finger up my ass in the last two days. Is that good honey?
And then you walk outside and its Cooperstown, NY and that’s my town because that’s my river and that’s my lake with my Monty Python tower in it and that’s my game and so it is, it has to be, my town, I own it. You can share it with me. In fact I wish you would. And all of the sudden seeing this and not having anything shoved up your ass turns into a pretty good day.
I liked JP2. I never liked Ratzinger though I liked his choice of name. I think he should have stayed Pope. I found that the way JP II made himself vulnerable by showing his frailty at the end of this life heroic.
I was raised Catholic. Got a first rate education through my 12 years of Catholic education and was never harmed by anyone other than a few whacks from a nun or two, and a still memorable 8th grade crush on a nun, that, sadly remains unrequited.
I learned “modern math” in first grade. I firmly believe that “Counting Men” with clothespin fingers started me down a road of visual thinking that has both blessed and cursed my wicked memory. I always got good grades, never the best, except for 1 year when I won the award for highest score in Religion. I think it broke my Dad’s would-someday-be Jehovah’s Witness heart.
I loved the history of the church, the ritual of the church, the goodness of the church and its people. But eventually I rejected my gift of faith for the blessings of reason and I parted ways with the catechism.
But I like Catholics. I liked Catholic School. I liked (and feared) (and loved) my teachers. No one ever molested me. No one ever came close. In fact, I admired Father Toomey, our parish priest among all the adults I’ve met ever. He not only ran the little church and church-school to which we processed during Lents and Advents and May processions uncountable, but Father Toomey always taught to be us proud of ourselves. Its a not wonder I thought that the world had evolved just to arrive at, me! “Who are the greatest children in the Triple Cities?” he would ask. “We are Father Toomey!” we would shout. And he would bless us.
And so it is with a sense of nostalgia and real hope, that I look to the coming College of Cardinals. I like the American. I like the Ghanan. In fact I hope they pick the American based upon what I saw on CNN today. And I hope whomever he is he cleans up their act, because there is a lot of love and goodness in the Catholic Church and that they’ve become a punch line has made me sad. Great works of charity, great hospitals, great schools and great people deserve the respect of the wider world.
Is this Pope John the 24th?
I may not belong to the faithful, but I still root for the Catholic Church.
I thought it was amazing watching “Lincoln” that something that I knew happened could be so suspenseful. Argo raised this to a higher even than that standard.
You remember waiting for the monster in the first Alien movie? This was worse than that. Unlike Lincoln I watched this from my living room, and literally couldn’t stay in my seat. If most dramatic tension is the qualifier for best director, than Ben Afleck should have won tonight’s best director Oscar.
If historical accuracy is required then neither “Argo” nor “Zero Dark Thirty” will make perfection. Who knows about “Lincoln”?
Interestingly three of this years top movies are historical. I like that.
Now to the movie. 1979 brought the Iranian hostage crisis to the United States. Most of us, including myself, had forgotten that six of the members of the staff of the U.S. Embassy in Iran were sheltered by the Canadians in their embassy. No one knew, until Bill Clinton declassified these documents, that their safe return came via an American (U.S.) CIA effort led by agent Tony Mendez.
But we do know they came home. As we know that all the Americans were returned home eventually, though the remaining hostages were held 444 days.
Afleck as Mendez is brilliantly understated as he goes about an incredibly dangerous mission to rescue these increasingly endangered escapees. The script, the editing, the story itself is the real star. The Americans have shredded much of their documentation, but their Iranian captors have collected all the shreddings and are slowly, and through the hands of children, piecing together the pictures of the missing.
Meanwhile Mendez is putting together a fake film company, complete with fake rehearsals and costumes and a real script as well as a real costume designer and real Hollywood producer in a fake production company to create a cover under which the Americans will fly out of Iran in front of the Revolutionary Guard members all over Tehran who learn they are out there and are looking for them. The story gets worse when the Iranian government wishes to walk these Americans through the bizarre showing them possible shooting locations. Oh and the Canadian Ambassador’s Iranian housekeeper is aware of who the Canadians are sheltering and the Canadian government has recalled the staff.
Brian Cranston is, as ever, brilliant as Jack O’Donnell, Mendez’ senior staffer. The movie bounces between the six in the embassy and O’Donnell, Mendez and the fake production company. Alan Arkin deserves an oscar for his Jack Warner like character, “completely comfortable in his own skin” he negotiates the purchase of the real script in a classic Hollywood, crusty executive scene where the script is vital to the lives of the Americans and he’s asking for it for less money. A perfect scene, perfectly play by Arkin, who should get an Oscar.
John Goodman as John Chambers is wonderful, neither overwhelmed nor made nervous by the fraud they are about to purport. Chambers loves the whole thing. Goodman is a wonder and I’d give him an award too if I could.
The story is the story here. The suspense is unbelievably believable! Tight editing, Chris Terio’s tight script (albeit with some liberties of history) and Afleck’s own directing make “Argo” a stressful yet riveting night at the movies in your home. One quibble, is you may not like all of the hostages in the embassy, that’s by design, but I think Tate Donovan as Bob Anders stood out among the crew within the Canadian embassy, with a special mention for Sheila Vand as well as perhaps Page Leong.
The whole of Argo is amazing. Afleck has something special here. Its not fun, its history, and once again it is history that will have you on the edge of your seat.
Portraying, no, revealing our most revered president, our most portrayed president may well be the task of a lifetime for as even a gifted actor as Daniel Day-Lewis.
Revealing a complicated setting, with partisan bickering, among a host of little known and unknown politicans and all the while driving a storyline that is at once our most famous American story and utterly unknown in the detail is a job, perhaps, for only Stephen Speilberg.
Slicing off a bit of history and explaining it in great detail, I am told, was superbly done by Doris Kearns Goodwin in her book “Team of Rivals”. Alas I’ve yet to consume that tome and can only pass on the laudits that I’ve heard. They were many.
So we have a great story of a great man written by a great author, though the screenplay was written by Tony Kushner, directed by a great director and acted by a great actor, it somehow becomes a great story, and great great performance, and something less than perfection.
Something about the recreation. Something about the settings, the characters, it may well be the production desgin; something doesn’t work completely in “Lincoln”, but it is not Daniel Day-Lewis.
This writer’s preconceived, perphaps prepackaged ideas of Lincoln the man, were jolted at the open. His manner. His movements, he walked more quickly than I thought that Lincoln really walked. His voice, higher, thinner. But realization arrives eventually in that we don’t actually have recordings of Abraham Lincoln speaking. So we are prejudiced by the work of Gregory Peck and others into thinking we know Lincoln, the man.
Stephen Speilberg’s Lincoln. Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Lincoln. Maybe most importantly Tony Kushner’s Lincoln, doesn’t exactly fit our predispositions.
An act to amend the constitution which would be the 13th amendment is the locus of our exploration of Lincoln. We are introduced to Mary Todd Lincoln (Sally Fields), Tadd Lincoln, Robert Lincoln, William Seward (Robert Strathaim) a host of politicians of the era, both petty and proper, both Republican and Democrat. As a student of history, I admit to falling down here for it seemed to me that the house of representitives should have not been a place where the question was this close with the southern representitives absenting themselves by means of cessession.
The key point is the abolition of slavery. It is represented by the 13th amendment. Abraham Lincoln’s popularity, intellectualism and pragmatism are desplayed in various brief monologues where he gets to the point about how his emancipation proclaimation regards the seizure of property and therefore implies that slaves are property. He means to declare slavery illegal so as to establish the inhumanity of slavery, rather than its impact on tactics, strategy and commerce. This movie is important because of this point.
Helping Lincoln, his hard headed impatient, irrascible ally and rival is Thaddeus Stephens (Tommy Lee Jones), long time abolistionist and equal rights advocate. A rare breed in 1865.
Straitham (Seward) gives a totally in the moment, composed and compelling portrayal of Lincoln’s right hand man as Secretary of State. To me Straitham is always Seward, while Tommy Lee Jones is getting much pub for his supporting role, it is Straitham who should be receiving much of that. Kudos, also, to James Spader for his portrayal of the irrascible W.N. Bilbo, a hireling of Seward’s who’s been retained along with his cohorts, to garner those last 20 Democrat votes for the 13th, by any means short of bribery. And indeed, maybe just a little bribery.
Mary Todd Lincoln as the suffering, insufferably wife (Sally Field) has received some push for an award and this reviewer is a huge fan of Sally Field, but, for whatever reason Sally and the sons seem more distracting than reveling in this framework. This is a story of politics. “Mrs and Mrs Lincoln Go To Washington” would be a fine movie to make, but they feel glombed on here.
This is a story of Lincoln, the politician. How his mind worked. How his soul worked. Desplaying his intellect and most importantly his drive toward one goal, saving the union. In Daniel Day-Lewis we see a new Lincoln, more frail, more physically slight and more intellectually keen. Lewis or perhaps Speilberg, bends our Lincoln quite often. It is words that Lincoln fights with and the words fight for him. An inherent contradiction here is the long winded story telling Lincoln prone to parable and lithe with patience and yet when he pounds the table as his cabinet surrounds him and insists he must have the 13th for the good of the nation we understand the power of his will, despite his bent frame and thin, high and reedy voice.
Day-Lewis’ Lincoln seems distant, reserved and occaisionally we’re not sure he’s tracking, and then bam he’s right on point, quick witted and succinct. As we watch we go from suspecting, at first, that this is not our Lincoln, our hero, to loving him for his pure goodness. It is a wonderful performance. Daniel Day-Lewis deserves the Oscar not for portraying Lincoln for us, but for creating him anew.
As for the movie as a whole, the scenes in the House of Representitives just don’t work. In large part the actors don’t move, don’t inhabit their clothes, their, of-the-era, hair and beards, their very chairs as if they lived in them. Something is wrong here. I suspect it is just too much to bring into one film. Too much, too many stories are required by exposition. Yes, the great Speilberg doesn’t quite pull it off. I think it is just too much.
We know, we can’t not know, he is going to get shot. We don’t know, we would have had to study more or at least read Doris Kearns Goodwin, to know all that was involved.
And yet, there is suspense and great drama. How did Stephen Speilberg and Tony Kushner put me on the edge of my seat about a story I thought I learned in 5th grade.
And so. Go see “Lincoln”! Then go see it again. I think that I will watch it many times. Perhaps in time it will fold together in a narrative whole that can be digested in one bite. Till then, Daniel Day-Lewis IS Lincoln and that’s enough.
My sister loves music. She’s come to like some of my favorite songs, and I’ve added some of her favorites to my podcaster and we listen in the car. One of my songs that she loves is “39″ by Queen. Its a rock and roll song, written by Brian May, (who holds a doctorate in astrophysics after completing his dissertation on the velocity of interplanetary dust). Its a song about space and time travel. But I digress.
Its a rock song, right? Rock and roll. So we’re listening in the car, and singing along to “39″. Dum da da dum, dum da da dum, daa daa dum da da dum. Brian May on a 12 string is inspiring. Dum da da dum, dum da da dum, daa daa dum da da dum. (You can hear it here.)
Anyway the guitar is blazing and Paula goes “Eeeeh ha!” And I think, that’s cute, but this isn’t country music this is rock.
Some time later I’m watching the live version (above) on you tube and one of the band members pulls a “Eeee ha!” and I realize, two things. 1. The girl just has music in her soul. And 2. … it IS a country song.
You may have heard a lot of buzz about this movie. You may have heard about a realistic portrayal of mental illness. A tour deforce performance from an outstanding cast. Academy Award nominations x 8. Another 41 honors already awarded according to IMBD.
Here’s my take.
“Silver Linings Playbook” revolves around two troubled people. We meet Pat Solitano as his mother claims him from a mental institution where he is released back into the care of his parents, after beating his wife’s lover “nearly to death” (his words) and finding out that he is bi-polar. Pat believes that by looking for silver linings and managing his health in mind and body he can overcome his illness without his meds.
He fails for the most part, but he manages to engender sympathy as he struggles to control his impluses. Eventually giving in to the medication, which may be a controversial point. There’s a brilliant dialouge between Pat and Tiffany where they exchange opinions of how badly certain pharmacuticals make you feel. SLPB does a nice job of both defending and decrying the mental illness pharmacopia.
Robert DeNiro and Jackie Weaver do sympathetic work as Pat’s parents and the script brings us into the world of a loving dysfunctional family. All the characters including Pat’s therapist are die hard Philadelphia Eagles fans and the movie offers us a chance to compare things like belief in “juju” and sports superstitions that the father is obsessed with, to the “mnental illness” of bi-polar disorder. Perhaps suggesting a little strongly that there is a causal relationship. Perhaps not. But the movie gets a little off track with DiNero’s gambling and juju and while his peformance and Jackie Weaver’s are complex the script waivers a bit here.
The beauty of the film lies in the relationship of the two principles. Jennifer Lawrence, herself up for Best Actress, should win based upon this performance. She plays Tiffany, sister of Pat’s friend’s wife who has fallen apart after her three year marriage ended when her police officer husband was killed. She’s lost her job for sleeping with everyone in her office. The exposition scene where we (and Pat) find out what she did is brilliantly smoking hot, and subtley funny.
Now she lives in her parents garage out back, after using his insurance money to fix it up.
We learn later that she had begun witholding sex from her husband during the time right before his death and can assume that her acting out is in some way informed by guilt. She is wild and impulsive in a different way than Pat is wild and implusive. They spark on screen.
Tiffany’s perfectionist, demanding sister (who’s character is revealed more by exposition from other characters) sets up a dinner where the Pat and Tiffany meet. Immediately sparks fly at the dinner table and on screen. Cooper’s acting is always under control and never goes too far in his antics or his composure, which is brilliant since he is playing someone who is trying to control himself and is barely hanging on. Even his outbursts are this side of crazy, I mean, really crazy.
Jennifer Lawrence … wow. Jennifer Lawrence plays sexual, damaged and struggling for control heroically. She explodes with restraint. Tiffany refuses to hide her sexuality and frankly admits to sleeping with almost all of the people at work. She is at once both bold and wounded. Unappologetic of her sexuality and still struggling to keep it from being the most important fact of her life. She is bold on screen and she is golden.
There is a nice juxtaposition between the two wounded individuals and the two healthy “normal” people Ronnie and Veronica, where Veronica (Stiles) is quietly perfect and Ronnie (John Ortiz) who explains to his friend that he is so stressed by his life that he goes into the garage and punches things to heavy metal music.
One critique this critic has is the direction/cinematography. Monster movies and scary movies use tight camera positioning to build suspense and not let us see beyond what the director demands that we look at. The camera is so tight, so often in “Silver Linings Playbook” that it made this reviewer wonder if the director had complete confidence in his script. Yes, they’re beautiful people. And yes, we’re supposed to feel the tension, but these two lead actors are so good, and so beautiful, you would look at them, you would follow their movements even if you stood three feet away. I felt like I wanted to give them their space, but still stay in the room.
The last quible is with the story which gets a bit slapstickish with the football scene and the gambling story. But at least with that, along with the running sequences we are released from being right in the face of one of the principles.
“Silver Linings Playbook” is smart and sympathetic and (spoiler) romantic. The performances of the leads and supporting casts are composed, sympathetic, vulnerable powerful and perfect.
The direction is a bit too purposeful and the script just couldn’t completely figure out if it wanted drama, comedy or romance at intervals, but the characters and the actors win you over so completely that it is a see again kind of movie.
Take your wife. Take your girlfriend. There’s not much here for the kids as the story is adult though not too vulgar at all and not really violent. There’s a tiny bit of from behind shower nudity. The violence is suggested and in no way traumatic. The dialgoue is straight forward and briefly adult. Its a grown up film any teenager would say is mild.
Its a really good movie, with just a bit of heavy handed direting. I’d give it 4 out of 5 Smiling Maqz’s.
U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 113th Congress – 1st Session
as compiled through Senate LIS by the Senate Bill Clerk under the direction of the Secretary of the Senate
Question: On Passage of the Bill (H.R. 152 )
Vote Number: 4 Vote Date: January 28, 2013, 06:09 PM
Required For Majority: 3/5 Vote Result: Bill Passed
Measure Number: H.R. 152 (Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013 )
Measure Title: A bill making supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2013, and for other purposes.
Vote Counts: YEAs 62
Not Voting 2
Vote Summary By Senator Name By Vote Position By Home State
I’ve noticed its fun to make fun of hippies these days …
How many people now are on board for social justice, anti war and environmental protection. All features of the hippie movement.
Some say they liked to smoke a lot of dope. Ask Washington state and Colorado.
Here’s a lyric from a hippiest of bands. Jefferson Airplane. Artys cool lyrics and a modern sentiment. So next time you bad mouth a hippie remember they had a lot right.
ESKIMO BLUE DAY
Snow cuts loose from the frozen
Until it joins with the African sea
In moving it changes it’s cold and it’s name
The reason I come and go is the same
Animal game for me
You call it rain
But the human name
Doesn’t mean shit to a tree
If you don’t mind heat in your river and
Fork tongue talking from me
Swim like an eel fantastic snake
Take my love when it’s free
Electric feel with me
You call it loud
But the human crowd
Doesn’t mean shit to a tree
Change the strings and notes slide
Change the bridge and string shift down
Shift the notes and bride sings
Fire eating people
Rising toys of the sun
Energy dies without body warm
Icicles ruin your gun
Water my roots the natural thing
Natural spring to the sea
Sulphur springs make my body float
Like a ship made of logs from a tree
Redwoods talk to me
Say it plainly
The human name
Doesn’t mean shit to a tree
Snow called water going violent
Damn the end of the stream
Too much cold in one place breaks
That’s why you might know what I mean
Consider how small you are
Compared to your scream
The human dream
Doesn’t mean shit to a tree
“Eskimo Blue Day” as written by Grace Slick, Paul Kantner
Internet favorite Johnathan Coulton may just have enough chops to get them to treat the independants better as they abused him by taking his unique arrangement of Baby Got Back by Sir Mix-A-Lot and gave him no cash. No credit.
Johnathan Coulton is a special artist, let’s stand behind him.