Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019)

Rotten Tomatoes
Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019): Our hero saves Europe from evil Elementals...or someone else. European city backgrounds were my favorite part of movie. Also, the usual Marvel humor. And I guess the teen love story adds human interest. Full of plot holes. Overdone CGI. C+

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

POTD: Nikolsky Cathedral Bell Tower

From 2018 08 19 Uglich

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Volga River in Russia. When the Baltic-Volga Waterway was constructed, the network of dams, reservoirs, and locks connecting a two-thousand mile long waterway sometimes drowned villages and towns. The bell tower is all that remains of the Nikolsky Cathedral.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Blocked on Twitter

The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a New York judge's ruling and found that [President Donald] Trump "engaged in unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination by utilizing Twitter's 'blocking' function to limit certain users' access to his social media account, which is otherwise open to the public at large, because he disagrees with their speech." ... The judges on the appeals court concluded that "the First Amendment does not permit a public official who utilizes a social media account for all manner of official purposes to exclude persons from an otherwise-open online dialogue because they expressed views with which the official disagrees."
Source: CNN.
After the jump, my own experiences being blocked on Twitter.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

POTD: Cruising the Volga

From 2018 08 19 Uglich

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Uglich Reservoir lock on the Volga River in Russia. The bow of our cruise ship is just visible as we enter the lock behind another cruise ship. The Baltic-Volga Waterway is a network of dams, reservoirs, and locks connecting a two-thousand mile long waterway. The whole is an amazing feat of engineering.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

POTD: My Uglich Watch

From 2018 08 19 Uglich

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Uglich, Russia. There's a story behind it. I haven't worn a wrist watch in years. But I was in Uglich. How could I resist buying a watch in Uglich? Uglich was known as a watch-making center in Russia. Nikita Khrushchev, while attending the 1955 Geneva Summit, bragged that Uglich watches were better than Swiss watches because, as the joke goes, Russian watches run faster. So I decided I'd buy an Uglich watch, as long as the price was cheap. I found the perfect watch at this souvenir stand. It featured "President of Russia" on the face, along with a tsarist double-headed eagle and Vladimir Putin's signature. And it was cheap. Later that day, Ellen said it was time for dinner. I said we still had an hour. She said no we didn't. I double checked my new watch and noticed it had stopped running. So much for my Uglich watch.

Close-up after the jump.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Review: The Soul of America

The Soul of America
From The Soul of America, by Jon Meacham:

Open quote 
For many, the fact that we have arrived at a place in the life of the nation where a grand wizard of the KKK can claim, all too plausibly, that he is at one with the will of the president of the United States seems an unprecedented moment. History, however, shows us that we are frequently vulnerable to fear, bitterness, and strife. The good news is that we have come through such darkness before."

The bad news is that the same shit keeps happening, generation after generation. It's not Meacham's thesis, but like playing Russian roulette, eventually the bad shit is going to kill us.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

An Ad that Didn't Age Well

Younger readers may need an explanation. It used to be that to make a long-distance telephone call, you'd have to use an operator. (And if you're too young even to know what long-distance means, or what an operator is, use Google.) It was an exciting innovation when direct long-distance dialing was introduced. In the UK and Australia, the feature was called "subscriber trunk dialing," abbreviated STD. STD was still a big thing in telephone service when this ad appeared in Australia in 1976. Now you know. Hopefully, I don't have to explain the other meaning of STD.