Friday, April 1, 2022

Random Thoughts: Gov. Greg Abbott Hates Kids

Tweets from March, 2022:
  • 2022-03-01: Gov. Greg Abbott hates kids.
  • 2022-03-03: Email from Trump: "While the Radical Left and Lamestream Media are working overtime to turn the Nation against me, it's important that you know that I've never cared what they think. I only care what you think, Friend." How do I tell him that I think the same?
  • 2022-03-03: The Kings Man (2021): A prequel no one needed. WWI fan fiction. British aristocratic spy puts himself in the center of every important event of WWI. Really bad history. Over the top, but not in a knowing, wink-wink way. Probably baffling to many. A waste of time. C-
  • 2022-03-04: The Courier (2021): Cold War spy movie. Benedict Cumberbatch is a businessman recruited to smuggle secrets out of USSR. Game gets riskier as his friendship with a Russian spy grows. Not a James Bond action movie. Instead it's based on real life, meaning the stakes are real. B+
  • 2022-03-05: We have at least one candidate for Richardson ISD school board trustee running on that claim.

After the jump, more random thoughts.

  • 2022-03-06: Pandering to one's boss is not a good look.
  • 2022-03-07: Ted Cruz mocks the US military as "woke, emasculated." Why is he siding with Putin?
  • 2022-03-07: Ala Kachuu (2021): Oscar-nominated live-action short. Kyrgyz girl who dreams of higher education is kidnapped and forced to marry. A cultural practice there openly accepted as proper, we see as barbaric. Depressing. Well-acted. Beautiful cinematography. Best of 5 nominees. A-
  • 2022-03-07: My ranking of the five nominees for Live Action Short:
    Ala Kachuu - Take and Run: (Switzerland/Kyrgyzstan) A-
    The Dress (Poland): Portrait of a lonely hotel maid with dwarfism. A-
    On My Mind (Denmark): Portrait of a man who uses karaoke to deal with loss. B+ 1/2
  • 2022-03-07: Please Hold (US): Man is unjustly incarcerated in an automated, robotic prison. B+
    The Long Goodbye (UK): Wedding in immigrant household is interrupted by a raid. B+
  • 2022-03-09: I'll take "Things you don't see on the news" for $100.
  • 2022-03-10: "It's official...103.3 FM has switched from sports to religion." Is there a difference?
  • 2022-03-11: Robin Robin (2021): 32 minute Oscar-nominated animated short. Orphaned robin is raised by a family of mice who sneak into houses for crumbs. Nothing special here, but executed well. Sweet, funny, uplifting, family-friendly. B+
  • 2022-03-11: My ranking of the five nominees:
    Robin Robin (UK): B+
    Boxballet (Russia): Beat-up boxer falls in love with a beautiful ballerina. Opposites attract. B+
    The Windshield Wiper (US, Spain): Asks "What is Love?" and answers in vignettes that show a lack of connection. B-
  • 2022-03-11: Affairs of the Art (Canada): Pickled animals. Stuffed pets. Macabre art. One strange and creepy family. B-
    Bestia (Chile): Ceramic doll with a bullet hole in her head recreates atrocities of the Pinochet regime. Jarring. B-
  • 2022-03-11: Looking for businesses to support? And not a governor? Look no further.
  • 2022-03-13: Turning Red (2022): Pixar. Adolescent girl's anxieties strain her relationship with mother. Outbreaks turn her into a giant red panda. She works through it. It's all part of growing up. 13-year-old girls should like it. Mothers, maybe not. Boys? Dunno. Lost on younger kids. B-
  • 2022-03-13: Russia's war with Ukraine is "a reminder that grievance-based ethno-nationalism and authoritarianism lead inexorably to conflict." Just something to keep in mind when you vote in 2024.
  • 2022-03-13: From the "be careful what you wish for" files: Alexander Solzhenitsyn was hailed a hero in the West for standing up to the Soviet Union and Communism. It's time he deserves a more critical examination. This one from 2014 seems prescient.
  • 2022-03-13: Something we should never forgive President Trump for was in 2019, when Russia/Ukraine tensions were rising, Trump ignored the risk to world peace and could only see how he could leverage it all for his own re-election campaign ("I would like you to do us a favor").
  • 2022-03-14: Tom Brady to Brett Favre: "Hold my beer."
  • 2022-03-14: Lead Me Home (2021): Oscar-nominated documentary short. Portrait of homelessness on West Coast. Lets the people and encampments do the talking. It's a big problem now and it's just getting bigger as it's swept under the rug. B+
  • 2022-03-14: My ranking of the five nominees:
    Lead Me Home: B+
    Three Songs for Benazir: Life in a refugee camp in Afghanistan. Focus is on Shaista and his wife Benazir, two normal kids in a world that's messed up. B+
  • 2022-03-14: Audible: Follows a high school football team of deaf players. Doesn't heroize or exploit. The kids have the dreams and tragedies of everyone. B-
    The Queen of Basketball: Portrait of "Lucie" Harris, the first women's basketball superstar. Great subject, mostly her talking. B-
  • 2022-03-14: When We Were Bullies: Not available. Grade TBD.
  • 2022-03-15: The best Russia can hope for is an agreement that lets them pull troops out and leave some kind of gov't in place that agrees to stay out of EU and NATO. That's not a win. Russia will still be a pariah state, even if formal sanctions are relaxed.
  • 2022-03-16: Lucy and Desi (2022): Amy Poehler's documentary about DesiLu, the original power couple in Hollywood. Talented, ambitious workaholics. Doesn't shed much new light on the well-publicized famous couple. This homage pairs nicely with last year's drama "Being the Ricardos." B-
  • 2022-03-17: The Gilded Age mentioned the overlooked Peshtigo fire, the deadliest forest fire in American history.
  • 2022-03-17: Probably why Richardson ISD decided not to show public speakers on camera when they appear at board meetings.
  • 2022-03-18: Texas A&M was right. They deserved to make the NCAA tournament. Kentucky should have been put in the NIT.
  • 2022-03-18: Review: Under a White Sky: Until recently man's dominion over all the earth was considered a sign of human progress. Elizabeth Kolbert lays out the downsides. Each time we try to "fix" nature, we break something else. B+
  • 2022-03-20: TIL: the full moon is amazingly bright when your neighborhood loses all power.
  • 2022-03-21: The Adam Project (2022): Pilot from 2050 travels back to 2018, teams up with himself as a kid to destroy the time machine and prevent the bad history to come. Steals from other sci-fi. It's really all about reconciliation with dad. Family-friendly fare. Smart aleck kid stars. B-
  • 2022-03-22: CODA (2021): Child of deaf adults is torn between keeping her family fishing business afloat and going to music school. Taut script that leads step by step to a predictable ending. Heartwarming, like a Hallmark movie, but not original. Featuring deaf actors is a nice touch. B-
  • 2022-03-23: In 1966, in the middle of the Vietnam War, Senator George Aiken of Vermont famously recommended that the United States simply "declare victory and get out." I hope Putin is a student of American history.
  • 2022-03-24: The Outfit (2022): Tense, psychological thriller out of the 1950s. A tailor is caught up in a gang war. Like a stage play, all action takes place in one shop in one night. The story goes from slow burn to boil over several times. Mark Rylance shines. Others are stereotypes. A-
  • 2022-03-25: I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas, one state under God, one and indivisible.
  • 2022-03-27: Crypto looks the other way in the Russia war on Ukraine: "The crypto industry — the ascendant force in finance, the recipient of so much talent and investment — has scruples far weaker than the vampire squid." [i.e. Goldman-Sachs]
  • 2022-03-27: Biden says "For God's sake, this man cannot remain in power." Media calls it a gaffe. This story line was on "The West Wing" in 2002 (S3 E17). Bartlet made a gaffe on a hot mic — only it turned out he knew exactly what he was doing.
  • 2022-03-27: I doubt Biden's "gaffe" was deliberate, but I also doubt that he's as concerned about the consequences as the world's media seems to be. Everyone, including the White House, can say he didn't really mean it, but he got the message out that he wanted to.
  • 2022-03-28: The lesson from CODA is that Hallmark ought to release its movies in theaters.
  • 2022-03-28: The Gilded Age (TV 2022) ): Costume drama set in 1882 NYC, where the nouveau riche try to crash old-money society. If you loved Downton Abbey, you'll like this. Only Julian Fellowes can make a robber baron a sympathetic character. If you want history, balance this with PBS. B-
  • 2022-03-28: Re: Will Smith assaulting Chris Rock.
    Lesson 1: jokes about hair styles are ok. A mullet has always been funny. But don't make jokes about a particular person's hair. Not a woman's hair. A Black woman. A Black woman with alopecia areata. Not ok. Just don't. 1/2
  • 2022-03-28: Lesson 2: hitting is not the right response to an inappropriate joke, no matter how inappropriate. 2/2
  • 2022-03-28: CODA < Little Miss Sunshine, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Precious, and Winter's Bone.
  • 2022-03-29: I wonder what Chris Rock would say about Bridgerton's Queen Charlotte's hairstyle.
  • 2022-03-29: We Are Lady Parts (TV 2021): Musical comedy. Five young British Muslim women form a punk band. Lead character gets stage fright because what she's doing is so out of character. The whole show is. These are real, believable people, all different, breaking stereotypes. A-
  • 2022-03-30: NY Times's film critic A.O. Scott nails this year's Academy Awards in four words: "Sentimentality triumphing over craft."
  • 2022-03-30: Kimi (2022): Psychological mystery by Steven Soderbergh with Zoe Kravitz as a tech worker who overhears a murder on an audio stream. Movie has a "Rear Window" feel and a pandemic quarantine claustrophobic feel. No plot twists, but a serviceable thriller nonetheless. B-
  • 2022-03-31: Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick wants the legislature to pass a law that would make college professors teaching critical race theory a cause for firing. What about teaching 20th Century history? Doesn't that require teaching Communism and Naziism? Are those better than CRT?

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