Monday, September 28, 2020

Enola Holmes (2020)

Rotten Tomatoes
Enola Holmes (2020): Sherlock's young sister's mother is missing. Enola runs away to find her. Sherlock and Mycroft search for Enola. Mystery and adventure ensue. Suitable for the whole family. Enola is smart, independent, and good with jujutsu. Young girls will love her. C+

Friday, September 25, 2020

The Social Dilemma (2020)

Rotten Tomatoes
The Social Dilemma (2020): Documentary. Former execs from Facebook, Google, Twitter warn us of the threat from the addictive design of social apps, which has led to a spike in depression and suicide attempts by young people. But they struggle in saying what can be done. C+

Thursday, September 24, 2020

POTD: Old Cataract Hotel

From 2019 11 19 Aswan
Today's photo-of-the-day is from Aswan, Egypt. It shows the Old Cataract Hotel, built in 1899 on the bank of the Nile. "Its guests have included Tsar Nicholas II, Winston Churchill, Howard Carter, Margaret Thatcher, Jimmy Carter, François Mitterrand, Princess Diana, Queen Noor and Agatha Christie, who set portions of her novel Death on the Nile at the hotel. The 1978 film of the novel was shot at the hotel."

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Loading More Responsibility on the Police

The death of George Floyd led to a nationwide "Black Lives Matter" movement that reached all the way to Richardson. The mayor marched with and addressed Richardson residents at a "Black Lives Matter" rally at City Hall. The City Council unanimously approved a statement condemning racism. The City Council called Chief Jim Spivey to brief the council on department policies. It all sounded so woke.

But. You knew there'd be a but.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Harriet (2019)

Rotten Tomatoes
Harriet (2019): Long overdue biopic of Harriet Tubman, a fierce, uncompromising, determined American hero. Reason #101 for defeating Trump: so Harriet Tubman can take her deserved place on the $20 bill. Cynthia Erivo owns the role. More action scenes than speeches. A-

Monday, September 21, 2020

POTD: Felucca on the Nile

From 2019 11 19 Aswan
Today's photo-of-the-day is from Aswan, Egypt. It shows a felucca, "a traditional wooden sailing boat." "They are usually able to board ten passengers and the crew consists of two or three people." "Despite the availability of motorboats and ferries, feluccas are still in active use as a means of transport in Nile-adjacent cities like Aswan or Luxor. They are especially popular among tourists who can enjoy a quieter and calmer mood than motorboats have to offer."

Bonus photo after the jump.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

POTD: Tombs of the Nobles

From 2019 11 19 Aswan
Today's photo-of-the-day is from Aswan, Egypt. It shows the Nile River and high above its bank, the Tombs of the Nobles, dating back to circa 2575 BC to 2150 BC. These were not pharaohs of Egypt, but a rank below — the nobility. Given the heated politics of today, I find it comforting to think of that vast span of time that separates us from the politics of ancient Egypt. How many governments rose and fell in the millennia since? No matter what happens to the American Republic in the near future (and make no mistake; democracy teeters on the brink), this too shall pass.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Broadchurch (TV 2013-2017)

Rotten Tomatoes
Broadchurch (TV 2013-2017). A dead boy is found on the beach of an English seaside town. Suspects are everywhere: neighbors and family. Detectives investigate. Focus is not just on solving the whodunnit, but on how everyone in town is affected. Character counts in Broadchurch. A-

#VeryTardyReview

Thursday, September 17, 2020

POTD: Mövenpick Resort Aswan

From 2019 11 19 Aswan
Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Mövenpick Resort Aswan on an island in the Nile River in Aswan, Egypt. The Mövenpick was our base for exploring Aswan and the Upper Nile. The Nile flows south to north, so the south is Upper Egypt and the north is Lower Egypt, a geographical detail that is endlessly confusing for some reason. In the background across the Nile behind the island that the hotel sits on, are the Tombs of the Nobles, dating back to circa 2575 BC to 2150 BC.

Bonus photos after the jump.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Polka King (2017)

Rotten Tomatoes
Polka King (2017): Biopic of rise and fall of Jan Lewan, a Polish Cold War defector who becomes a polka star and bilks his fans of millions of dollars. A PSA for gullible people. A Jack Black vehicle. He owns every scene, but his Polish accent just isn't up to the task. B-

#VeryTardyReview

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

The Man Who Would Be Polka King (2009)

Rotten Tomatoes
The Man Who Would Be Polka King (2009): Documentary of the rise and fall of Jan Lewan, a Polish Cold War defector who becomes a polka star and bilks his fans of millions of dollars. A short (69 minutes), low-budget film. Pay attention to his wife, a minor grifter herself. B-

#VeryTardyReview

Monday, September 14, 2020

Innovative Solutions for Texas Health Care

"Innovative Solutions for Texas Health Care." That's the headline on the campaign mailer for Genevieve Collins, GOP candidate for Congressional District 32. It's a fairly big card, certainly big enough to detail what the GOP's "innovative solutions" might be. This is what she offers:
  • Health Care That's More Affordable
  • Greater Access to Quality Care
  • Allow You to Keep Your Doctor

Friday, September 11, 2020

Class Action Park (2020)

Rotten Tomatoes
Class Action Park (2020): Documentary of a wild 1980s amusement park in New Jersey. Owner cared more for thrills than safety and let kids run the place. The result was something like "Ayn Rand meets Lord of the Flies." Adults reminiscing have fond memories of acting stupid. C-

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

I'm Thinking of Ending Things (2020)

Rotten Tomatoes
I'm Thinking of Ending Things (2020): A surreal trip by a new couple into the country (and a blizzard) for her to meet his parents. Slow descent into her delusions, or are they his? The kind of movie that your college friends would tell you to watch high. Not for everyone. A-

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

We Proudly Endorse the Racist

According to an article in Slate, and consistent with my own observations, "In response [to protests], elected officials, police chiefs, and certain other writers say that most police officers are decent people doing a tough job to the best of their ability. They say that while acts of brutality should be condemned and punished, existing mechanisms are an adequate means of doing so. They say that the American system of policing is basically just and effective, not intrinsically discriminatory, and that the country’s police departments are not run by officers who hold personally racist views and are predisposed to violence."

One candidate for President shares these views. He "is critical of officers who perpetrate unjustified shootings and beatings, and supportive of peaceful protests against overpolicing. But he says that 'most cops are good, decent people.' He believes that the existing levels of police funding should be maintained. He does not believe that 'qualified immunity' laws should be changed to allow for easier prosecution of police brutality."

Public opinion polls show majorities of Americans agree. The candidate with those views is Joe Biden. You might think that many police officers would also support this candidate. After all, his positions are in line with their own public statements. Endorsements, however, suggest you'd be wrong.

Monday, September 7, 2020

An American Pickle (2020)

Rotten Tomatoes
An American Pickle (2020): Immigrant falls into a vat of pickle brine in 1919 and is rescued in 2019. Just accept the premise. Seth Rogan plays the immigrant and his great grandson. Touching story of reconnecting with family and culture. Not what I expected from Seth Rogan. B-

Friday, September 4, 2020

POTD: Mosque of Ibn Tulun

From 2019 11 18 Old Cairo
Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Mosque of Ibn Tulun, the oldest and largest mosque in Cairo, Egypt.

Bonus photos after the jump.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Radioactive (2020)

Rotten Tomatoes
Radioactive (2020): Biopic of Marie Curie. Rosamund Pike plays an unlikable character, a prickly genius. It crams 60 years into one movie, as well as peeks at future benefits and ills of nuclear energy. You'll learn a lot about history, an amazing scientist and kickass woman. B-

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

POTD: Portrait of an Artist Sketching

From 2019 11 18 Old Cairo

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Mosque of Ibn Tulun, the oldest and largest mosque in Cairo, Egypt.

After the jump, what the unidentified artist is sketching.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Random Thoughts: How to Wear a Face Mask

Tweets from August, 2020:
  • 2020-08-01: During all that bus time, maybe the Marlins could work on how to wear a face mask.
  • 2020-08-03: @JohnCornyn in other words: "Who are you gonna believe, me or your own lying eyes?"
  • 2020-08-04: Crip Camp (2020): Documentary about a 1970s camp in the Catskills for disabled youth run by hippies. Fun, games, brotherhood and independence. What they learned at Camp Jened prepared them to fight the government for rights for the disabled, culminating in the ADA. Inspiring. B+"
  • 2020-08-04: @jonathanvswan: "Oh, you're doing death as a proportion of cases. I'm talking about death as a proportion of population. That's where the U.S. is really bad. Much worse than South Korea, Germany, etc.?
    @realdonaldtrump: "You can't do that."
    Swan: "Why can't I do that?"

After the jump, more random thoughts.