Friday, January 1, 2021

Random Thoughts: A Collision of Two Dump Trucks

Tweets from December, 2020:
  • 2020-12-01: When H-P and Compaq merged years ago, someone described it as a collision of two dump trucks. The wreck is being towed back to Houston.
  • 2020-12-02: Watching PBS series "The Rise of the Nazis" with this shit happening in Washington is like watching annotations to current events in the US. Enlightening and frightening.
  • 2020-12-02: Profile in courage. Not.
  • 2020-12-03: Germany wasn't special. America isn't somehow immune. "If [Hitler's] life and career teaches us anything, it is how quickly democracy can be prised from its hinges when political institutions fail."

After the jump, more random thoughts.

  • 2020-12-03: Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (2020): Too long at beginning and end, and the bad guys aren't bad enough, but it scores as a feel-good, old-style, Christmas musical with showstopping song and dance numbers (not enough of them). Crazy costumes. Could be a classic. B+
  • 2020-12-04: Roadkill (TV 2020): British cabinet minister juggling crises: cabinet infighting, financial scandal, infidelity, an adult daughter he didn't know he had. Four episodes go too fast to develop all the subplots and give the characters their due. Hugh Laurie makes a good rogue. B-
  • 2020-12-07: I Hate Suzie (TV 2020): So do I. Leaked sex pics ruin an actress's career and marriage. Eight episodes take her through the stages of grief (shock, denial, fear, shame, I skipped episodes 5-7, acceptance). Great acting, but more like acting exercises than an interesting story. C-
  • 2020-12-09: Dash & Lily (TV 2020): Lily leaves a notebook on a bookstore's shelf, with clues and dares challenging the finder to get to know her. Dash finds it and is hooked on the game, or is it a courtship? Whatever, it is a sweet rom-com. Christmas in New York never looked so inviting. A-
  • 2020-12-09: 61,736 voters participated in the November 3 DISD District 2 trustee election, which resulted in a runoff between Dustin Marshall and Nancy Rodriguez. In the December 8 runoff only 8,598 voters participated. Pitiful. Texas needs ranked-choice voting.
  • 2020-12-10: 17 of the reddest states joined Texas in asking SCOTUS to interfere and overturn the election in four blue states. What happened to conservatives' respect for federalism, local control and opposition to activist judges? Was that all a sham?
  • 2020-12-11: Review: The Glass Hotel: a novel like shattered glass reassembled at random. Read it all the way to the end and you eventually get the full story of rootless characters whose lives seem repeatedly shattered and reassembled. Does anyone find peace in the end? Maybe a little. A-
  • 2020-12-12: Just how many times does Trump want to lose this election?
  • 2020-12-12: A banner day for America: SCOTUS rejection of Trump coup attempt and FDA approval of COVID-19 vaccine both on same day. Two weeks before Christmas. Could peace on Earth and goodwill to man follow? (Give me a little time to bask in joy, ok?)
  • 2020-12-12: When people tell you they don't respect democracy, believe them.
  • 2020-12-12: The Prom (2020): Musical starts off wrong (Broadway snobs mocking small town Indiana) but eventually settles into an acceptable groove (protecting a lesbian teen from persecution at school and home). Meryl Streep and James Corden are all in, unironically, keeping me watching. B-
  • 2020-12-12: I'm old enough to remember when Republicans used to be against frivolous lawsuits. Heck there's a PAC in Texas named "Texans for Lawsuit Reform" that has spent millions electing Republicans. I guess it was all an act.
  • 2020-12-13: Front page, above the fold, Dallas Morning News headline: "Vaccines should arrive Monday." In the whole story, not a word about Dallas. It's a Washington Post reprint. Why do I subscribe to a "local" newspaper?
  • 2020-12-13: This is in accordance with the long-established rule that the number of votes needed to bring legislation to the Senate floor can never exceed the number of Republican votes in the Senate. /s
  • 2020-12-14: Mank (2020): Biopic of Herman Mankiewicz and the writing of Citizen Kane. Has look and feel of that great movie. See that movie first. Mank is a talented alcoholic inspired to greatness by his subject matter. Movie is filled with the sharp, fast, cutting dialog you'd expect. B+
  • 2020-12-14: Trump loses...again. He is getting more mileage out of losing than anyone since Wile E. Coyote.
  • 2020-12-15: Still getting Trump fundraising pitches today, but the volume is down and he's not promising to overturn the will of the voters. Instead, it's "I haven't heard from you lately, so to be honest, I'm worried I'm losing your support, Mark." Worry he should.
  • 2020-12-15: It's almost as if Republicans were waiting for the OK from Putin to acknowledge Biden.
  • 2020-12-16: Dick Johnson is Dead (2020): Documentary filmmaker and her aging father use his mental and physical decline as the inspiration to stage various accidental deaths for him on camera. It's their way of laughing death in the face. Eccentric and heartfelt. Bittersweet. B+
  • 2020-12-16: Pompeo quarantining after coronavirus exposure." SAD! This is sure to set back his planning for a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.
  • 2020-12-17: Today in striking counterfactuals: "What if the North had won the Civil War?"
  • 2020-12-17: I've read two and am reading another. I endorse the picks.
  • 2020-12-18: There's always a tweet. This one from 2017.
  • 2020-12-18: Let Them All Talk (2020): Author takes a cruise ship to England to receive an award and takes two old friends with her. There's time for lots of conversation, enough to surface long suppressed issues. Watching Meryl Streep, Candice Bergen, and Dianne Wiest work is a joy. B-
  • 2020-12-21: The Flight Attendant (TV 2020): Woman on layover in Bangkok wakes up with a dead man in her bed. Murderer and police are both after her. So is her alcoholism. Kaley Cuoco's performance is surprisingly good. Too many bad guys, too many murders, too many confusing subplots. B-
  • 2020-12-22: Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020): Adapted stage play about a 1927 recording session by the "Mother of the Blues." She demands respect. Her band's ambitious young trumpet player wants a shot at stardom. Energy like a tea kettle about to boil over. Deserves Oscar nominations. A-
  • 2020-12-23: How To with John Wilson (TV 2020): Quirky looks at subjects from everyday life (scaffolding, risotto, plastic furniture covers) that lead Wilson to quirky people. Part documentary, part comedy. Much of the humor comes from the film snippets he pairs with his commentary. B-
  • 2020-12-23: Not-so-Hot take: "The Thin Man" is a Christmas movie.
  • 2020-12-23: What life on Earth used to be...and could be again.
  • 2020-12-28: Wonder Woman 1984 (2020): Crystal in museum gem collection grants people's wishes, most of them bad. WW must get people to revoke their wishes before civilization ends. Villains are more like spoiled children than evil masterminds. Not even Gal Gadot can save this bad sequel. C-
  • 2020-12-29: The Undoing (TV 2020): A whodunnit that will keep you guessing 'til the end. I wanted to yell at Nicole Kidman, "Don't listen to your husband," and "Get your own lawyer." I couldn't believe she'd play the role of a weak woman. Turns out she was stronger than she was letting on. A-
  • 2020-12-30: The Midnight Sky (2020): After planetary disaster, the last man on Earth tells astronauts from Jupiter not to come home. Science and space, right? Then why the wolf attack during a blizzard in Arctic? Plot is goofy. Characters forgettable. Connecting element contrived. C+
  • 2020-12-30: No place is safe from Covid-19, not even a deserted island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. #RIPMaryAnn

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