Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Random Thoughts: Holiday Pro-Tip for May Poles

Tweets from May, 2022:
  • 2022-05-01: Holiday Pro-Tip: If, like me, you forgot to buy a May Pole again this year, repurpose that Festivus Pole in your attic. Only you will know the difference.
  • 2022-05-02: RISD's Eron Linn (who won't see this because he's blocked me) is running a quiet campaign for re-election. He raised little money. Endorsements on his website haven't been updated since 2019. The last time an incumbent lost an election was Jim Herblin in 1995. Deja vu?
  • 2022-05-03: The US Supreme Court is intent on returning women to a status of second-class citizens under the US Constitution, despite a hundred years of rulings gradually recognizing women's right to rights given to men. In 2022, they're about to lose the right to control their own bodies.
  • 2022-05-04: Latest fundraising email from DJTjr has the subject: "My father does not care what they think. He never has and never will." On the contrary, there's never been a more thin-skinned politician than Donald Trump.
  • 2022-05-05: Severance (TV 2022): Sci-fi mystery. Ever wish you could free your mind of work when you leave the office? With Lumon's mind chip you can. Four co-workers grow suspicious. Show is slow to reveal what's going on, even slower why, setting up Season 2. Equally devious and absurd. B-

After the jump, more random thoughts.

  • 2022-05-06: Doctor Strange (2016): Origin story. Insufferable neurosurgeon recovers from a car accident by going to Kathmandu and studying sorcery. In the process he becomes even more insufferable and has to save the world from the darkness. Occasional wise cracks keep matters light. B-
  • 2022-05-06: A new anti-public education PAC is advertising on Facebook. One of the first comments it attracted was this: "What happened to separation of state from schools?"
  • 2022-05-06: "I did several things this week on the internet. I bought a whole new car. I financed that car. I discontinued the Toll Tag on my old car and ordered a new one. I updated my insurance policy. What did I not do this week on the internet? Vote." -- Bethany Erickson, D Magazine.
  • 2022-05-07: The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (2022): Nicolas Cage plays a movie star (himself) who gets mixed up in a CIA plot to capture an arms dealer. Billed as an action-comedy, it comes up short on both. Also fails as a character study of a fading star. For Nicolas Cage fans. C+
  • 2022-05-07: Headline: "Clarence Thomas says he worries respect for institutions is eroding." He's referring to leaks of SCOTUS papers, not Capitol insurrection cheered on by his wife. No hint of irony anywhere in his statement.
  • 2022-05-08: Dallas County Final Unofficial Election Night Report.
    RISD District 5: Rachel McGowan received 51.01%. Congrats to Trustee-elect McGowan.
    RISD District 2: Sherry Clemens, 41.8%, Vanessa Pacheco, 40.8%. We're headed to a runoff. Mark your calendars. Vote again in June.
  • 2022-05-08: In District 2, we'll have a runoff on June 18. In District 5, it's all over except for the insurrection.
  • 2022-05-09: The Batman (2022): Long, dark, and repetitious. No humor. Batman has to catch a serial killer. No mystery. Riddler and Penguin are villains, but not evil geniuses. Catwoman is defined by her relationship to men. They are all lifeless comic book characters. Need another reboot. C-
  • 2022-05-09: Grifters all the way down.
  • 2022-05-10: Pachinko (TV 2022): Four generations of a Korean family in Japan. Story jumps back and forth in time, which is part confusing, part spoiler because you see the family's future. American viewers will learn some history that Japanese viewers won't like. Ends without resolution. B-
  • 2022-05-11: Texas ranks dead last in the country in caring for soon-to-be and new mothers." But somehow we've managed to get the "pro-life" label assigned to us, so there's that.
  • 2022-05-11: Headline: "Trump wanted to court-martial prominent retired officers, book says." Maybe someone should look into impeaching a retired president. For the third time.
  • 2022-05-13: Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty (TV 2022): Magic and Kareem are here, but this is owner Jerry Buss's story. Characters are surface thin. Script takes too many liberties with history. But it's watchable, maybe even if you don't follow the NBA. Maybe. B-
  • 2022-05-14: After six power plants went down unexpectedly Friday — and with hot weather expected across Texas this weekend — the Electric Reliability Council of Texas on Friday evening is asking consumers to conserve electricity." The "Reliability" in the name is ironic, I assume.
  • 2022-05-14: I loved the novel, "The Godfather." I came to the movie afterwards and loved it. It's my go-to example of a movie that didn't ruin a book. There's room in the pantheon for both. But not for Bill Buckley.
  • 2022-05-14: He pretty much covers it.
  • 2022-05-14: As I get older, I find more occasions for me to say, "Not that there's anything wrong with that."
  • 2022-05-14: Silicon Valley - S01 (TV 2014): Satire about computer nerds trying to strike it rich with a tech startup. 8 years old, but it still feels fresh. The nerds and the VC billionaires are equal targets. The characters are all ambitious and earnest, but each is unique in own way. B-
  • 2022-05-14: I'm not superstitious. I got my COVID-19 booster shot on Friday the 13th. So far, so good. Or...maybe I am superstititous. Maybe I subconsciously feared something bad would happen if I put off getting boosted another day. In any case, I'm boosted. You get your booster too.
  • 2022-05-15: TIL: In baseball, first and third base are placed inside the diamond, whereas second base straddles the diamond, making the angle from the centers of 1st to 2nd to 3rd base less than 90 degrees.
  • 2022-05-16: Moon Knight (TV 2022): Marc/Steven and a superhero struggle with dissociative identity disorder and a pair of fighting Egyptian gods. Story runs out of things to say well before its short six episode run concludes. A miss by Marvel. C-
  • 2022-05-17: The Outlaws (TV 2021): 7 misfits performing community service bond despite widely different backgrounds. A duffle bag full of drug money raises the stakes. More comedy than thriller. Can writers resolve all their predicaments by end of series? No, but by then you don't care. B-
  • 2022-05-17: Get vaccinated and boosted, folks. "Vaccines could have prevented at least 318,000 Covid-19 deaths between January 2021 and April 2022."
  • 2022-05-19: Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022): Dr. Strange is under attack in an alternate universe. Great CGI. No plot arc. Marvel squeezes as many characters into the movie as they can. Afterwards, I wished I lived in a universe where I hadn't spent 2 hours on this movie. D+
  • 2022-05-19: "Turkey's objection stems from...grievances with Sweden's perceived support of the banned Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK." So once again the Kurds are going to get thrown under the bus in the service of big power politics.
  • 2022-05-19: John Cornyn wouldn't admit to being "embarrassed" by Ken Paxton unless he thought Paxton would lose with Cornyn's involvement. What private polling is he looking at?
  • 2022-05-20: Ted Lasso - S01 (TV 2020): Workplace sitcom. American football coach is hired by English soccer team. He doesn't know the game. He cares more about being nice than winning. Occasionally funny. That it won Emmys is a sign viewers are tired of mean. Or that the sitcom is dead. B-
  • 2022-05-23: Slow Horses (TV 2022): Slough House is where MI5 sends agents who screw up. No one wants them to do anything but this team of spies can't help getting involved in a terrorist kidnapping. Back story secrets and coverups at HQ add to the intrigues here. Gary Oldman is superb. B+
  • 2022-05-23: Kevin Sherrington, in DMN, writing about the chances of the Mavs, down three games to none: "History is up, 146-0. One of these days, you figure, some team is sure to snap that streak. The odds practically demand it." No the odds don't demand it. That's the gambler's fallacy.
  • 2022-05-24: Review: The Idiot: Elif Batuman's debut novel is a first person account of her freshman year in college, followed by a summer teaching English in Hungary. She has a keen eye for detail. She shows wry humor throughout. You learn about love and linguistics along the way. B+
  • 2022-05-24: Keep an eye on these two. With the City of Richardson's tradition of appointing a City Manager from within, one of these might get that job in 15 years or so.
  • 2022-05-24: Tear it down.
  • 2022-05-24: This weekend in Texas...
  • 2022-05-25: Well, Paxton survived a challenge by Bush, despite Cornyn being embarrassed by Paxton. Expect Cornyn to very quickly get over his embarrassment.
  • 2022-05-25: It doesn't seem to be working.
  • 2022-05-26: Read the whole thread...
  • 2022-05-27: Downton Abbey: A New Era (2022): If you're not a fan, you'll be lost in all the characters and subplots. If you are a fan, you'll laugh and cry. You'll love the sets and costumes. There are twists and turns and head fakes to keep you guessing. Is this the last Downton Abbey? B+
  • 2022-05-27: Disappointed in RISD. Proud of LHHS Valedictorian Sara Shelton.
  • 2022-05-28: Teachers and administrators spend their entire careers learning how to control students and classrooms. It's a skill they need in order to perform their second career goal, teaching. Control becomes instinctive. 1/2
  • 2022-05-28: But sometimes, control becomes counterproductive to that second goal, teaching. And when the public sees them do it, it can even become embarrassing. This is one such case. 2/2
  • 2022-05-30: A Very British Scandal (TV 2021): Argyll v. Argyll, the trial of the century, 1963. The marriage and divorce of the Duke and Duchess. Both unsympathetic characters, at first exploiting each other cooperatively, then at each other's throats, literally. Deliciously scandalous. B+
  • 2022-05-31: Wouldn't it be nice if Richardson had these?

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