- 2020-01-02: The Two Popes (2019): Conversations between Benedict and Francis when Benedict decided to retire. Two very different men, with different philosophies, portrayed by two great actors. Only action comes from flashbacks to Francis's early career, which deserve their own movie. B+
- 2020-01-03: If you ever want to know what Trump is guilty of, look at what he accuses others of.
- 2020-01-03: Cats (2019): The costumes/makeup/CGI is distracting. The comic relief doesn't work (dancing cockroaches?). The plot is thin. But so? Cats is what it is, a musical made from a book of poetry about cats. It's always been about the singing and dancing. Critics hate it. I like it. B+
- 2020-01-05: Headline: "Iranian state TV reports Iran will no longer abide by any limits of its 2015 nuclear deal."
I'm old enough to remember when tensions in the Persian Gulf were down. There were no rocket attacks against U.S. forces. No attacks on Saudi oil facilities. Iran's nuclear program was verifiably locked down. And, oh yeah, Obama was President.
After the jump, more random thoughts.
- 2020-01-09: Bombshell (2019): Dramatization of sexual harrassment at Fox News. Gretchen Carlson and Megyn Kelly bring down Roger Ailes. Movie builds tension as stakes grow. For me it's not a satisfactory ending. Fox News is still #1 and the harrasser-in-chief is more powerful than ever. B+
- 2020-01-12: Trump: "We have a very good relationship with Saudi Arabia—I said, listen, you’re a very rich country. You want more troops? I’m going to send them to you, but you’ve got to pay us. They’re paying us. They’ve already deposited $1B in the bank."
America, now the world's biggest supplier of mercenaries.
- 2020-01-14: 1917 (2018): Two soldiers in race against time through no-man's land in WWI. 110 minutes of continuous intensity. Reminded me of Dunkirk. The praised long tracking shot became tiresome. Any WWI movie that doesn't end in senseless total disaster is false but still worth seeing. B+
- 2020-01-16: I Lost My Body (2019): French. The strangest animated feature of the year. Like "Lassie Come Home" but instead of a lost pet, it's a severed hand that seeks to return to its body. Accept it on its own terms and it's not ghoulish, it's sweet and even hopeful. But it is strange. B-
- 2020-01-17: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019): More of the same. Battles with everything from light sabers and blasters to flaming arrows against a fleet of star destroyers. No one stays dead, no one stays alive. Don't ask me who's related to whom. I don't care anymore. C-
- 2020-01-17: A focus on knowledge, "lower-order" thinking skills, cursive writing, "real" math, rah-rah, sis-boom-bah.
- 2020-01-17: Texas Tribune: "Reps. Ana-Maria Ramos of Richardson and Rhetta Andrews Bowers of Garland were easily out-raised by challengers Linda Koop and Will Douglas, respectively, who also have more cash on hand."
- 2020-01-18: Slate: "Trump's election and his persistent approval from more than 40 percent of Americans are a reminder that nothing in our national character protects us from becoming a rapacious, authoritarian country."
- 2020-01-19: Wayne Slater: Fox asking "if CNN unfair to Bernie Sanders".
Looks like GOP has decided to try to influence Dem primary by supporting Sanders.
- 2020-01-20: "This MLK weekend, Texas will again recognize Confederate Heroes Day." Two questions: Why? and WTF?
- 2020-01-21: The Report (2019): Dramatization of Senate's study into CIA's illegal and ineffective torture program and its cover-up. The CIA, DOJ and both Bush and Obama White Houses all look bad here. An important movie if too dry. Adam Driver is only actor with any life and that barely. B-
- 2020-01-22: "Lying" Ted Cruz is running for President in 2024. Why else sell his soul in 2020 to Trump, the man who gave him the nickname and accused his dad of killing JFK? Cruz pawned his self respect for Trump's favor. Sad.
- 2020-01-23: Headline: "The Trump administration secretly approved the transfer of nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia after the killing of Jamal Khashoggi without informing Congress."
It's beginning to look like Trump could have ginned up the Ukraine stuff himself to distract attention from the even worse corruption he's been up to with Saudi Arabia.
- 2020-01-24: The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot: A nature book. A book of geology, history, archaeology, literature, and poetry. A journal of walks in Britain, Palestine, Spain, and China. How to become one with nature by hiking. And a vocabulary builder to boot. B-
- 2020-01-27: Democrats should be concerned with a trap. John Bolton has never been on the side of truth and justice. His whole testimony might support Trump more than indict him.
- 2020-01-28: Headline: "Congressional Budget Office: Budget deficit to reach $1 trillion this year despite strong economy."
Oh, President Biden is sure going to catch hell for this in 2021. [/sarcasm]
- 2020-01-29: Just Mercy (2020): Racist legal system. This time in Alabama, where black men are guilty from the moment they are born. Sheriff, DA, judge send innocent man to death row because they care more for convictions than justice. Brutal and predictable, which makes it tough to watch. B+
- 2020-01-29: Trump, the candidate, said he'd "surround myself only with the best and most serious people" adding "We want top-of-the-line professionals." Trump, the president says about John Bolton that he made many "mistakes of judgement" and would have led us into "World War Six by now."
- 2020-01-30: Begs the question" is a phrase that if you use correctly, 50% of your readers will misunderstand you. If you use it wrong, no one will misunderstand you, but the other 50% will point out you used it wrong.
- 2020-01-31: Party Over Country.
GOP Über Alles.