So yeah.

Glad that Leo finally won, and Brie too--happy about that since she seems like least Hollywood-crazed of all the nominees in her category. 

Really happy, too that Stutterer won out for the short films, as it seemed the most lighthearted, beating the more serious and depressing ones.  Although I did like the German short Everything Will Be OK regarding child custody, would have been happy to see that one win as well.

Although my excitement (or was it more relief?) for Stutterer met immediately with despair when Son of Saul won for Best Foreign Film.  Ugh, another Holocaust movie winning a goddamned award! Loved director Laszlo Nemes' line in his acceptance speech; "in the darkest hours of mankind....a voice within us allows us to remain human."  I'm sick of this inundation with Holocaust Hallmarky shit.


Really enjoyed this article regarding Ben Carson and the other Republican Presidential Candidates, particularly the following passage

Before he quit the race, Jeb Bush was your divorced dad clipping a cell phone on his belt, drinking Diet Snapple alone at the airport, buying VIP passes for him and a date to a Red Hot Chili Peppers show, getting stood up and eating shrimp cocktail alone and listening to "Californication." Trump is the guy at the carnival positive he can guess your weight, and when he guesses wrong, he tells you impossible, you're lying, how much change you got in your pockets? Cruz has turned a presidential campaign into something almost militaristic. 
But Carson is just... just... out there, tumbling around the universe. He is fascinating for his delusions; if he has an identity it is that he seems permanently confused. Not an existential crisis, but, like, how'd all these cameras get here? If he said them more loudly, his theories on society, the economy, and religion would be outrageous......He says phrases and words out loud, things like "couple that with" and "via," that seem like they have only existed in press releases from pharmaceutical companies.


Better Call Saul

Bob Odinkirk and Mike McKean carry this show.  The blonde lady (Rhee Seehorn) is nice sidekick.  I love her low voice, and the fact that a pretty blonde character can have some cred w/out being fucked by someone on a regular basis.  Hm, yeah, that did really surprise me that she doesn't seem to have any love life, outside of a somewhat weak attachment to the Odinkirk character.

How can you really go wrong with McKean?  And love the Odinkirk character--kind of an innocent ne'er do well swindler.

Surprising lack of sex in this show.  I thought all shows needed gratuitous long sex scenes in order to be granted a second season.

It's a keeper.

They have a podcast at iTunes that's worth listening to too.


the Republican people are wonderful people.  They don't want people dying on the streets.

~ Donald Trump


Pope Francis' Claim that Trump 'not a Christian'

The Pope recently made these comments about Donald Trump & regarding his pledge to build a wall at the Southern US Boarder;

A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not a Christian......I say only that this man is not a Christian if he has said things like that.

I find it unbelievably disconcerting that the Vatican has made this statement, for two reasons.

First of all, Church likes to pride itself on saying that it isn't superficial, that it goes to the heart of things, examines things like motives, etc. in determining the morality of decisions.  And the Vatican loves to think that it does not quickly draw conclusions about a person's character, it takes the long view, say, on assessing a person's candidacy for sainthood (took 300 + years to name Teresa of Avila a Doctor of the Church).   And now for the Pope to make such a broad judgement on Trump's inner convictions based on a political statement that he's made......ugh.  Just unbelievable.

And let's look little more closely at the flagrant hypocrisy of this claim that Trump isn't Christian coming from the Pope's mouth.

Preceding the Iraq War, Pope John Paul II spoke out emphatically against the war, including meeting with world leaders in order to discourage such action.  Obviously, these leaders ignored his pleas and fought a bloody violent war in which many people died.
Following the war, Prime Minister and Iraq war advocate Tony Blair decided that he wanted to convert to Catholicism.  The Vatican allowed this, despite the fact that they disagreed with violent actions that he took in which many many people died and lives ruined--action which, according to his statements in his memoir A Journey, he has justified.  In short, they decided Blair was a suitable Christian.

Donald Trump has made outrageous statements regarding building a wall at the US Southern Boarder which more than likely are nothing more than the hyperbolic campaign promises that all the candidates are now making.  No one has physically been hurt from these comments; certainly no lives have been lost due to Trump's saying that he will build a wall.  And yet the pope has decided that Trump is not a suitable Christian.

Anyway, geez.  And for the Pope, too, to have jumped into the crass partisan fracas that Trump personifies.  Trump will certainly work to have the Pope's statement help his campaign; his platform seems to be something like 'all publicity is good publicity so get as much of it as you can."

Now even the Pope is making me embarrassed to be a Catholic.  I had higher expectations for The Church in these matters.  I guess that people's visceral response to Trump is exposing idiocy and superficiality in us all.


Ted Cruz and South Carolina Town Hall

I would vote for this guy.  Probably like him best of all the Republican candidates.  On these three points he makes himself particularly distinguishable;

>> A promise to rescind all of Obama's executive orders.  The NDAA and National Defense Resources Preparedness Act both desperately need rescinding, if we're to maintain anything even remotely resembling a free republic.

>> He wants to abolish the IRS!  Awesomeness!  After watching Aaron Russo's Freedom to Fascism, I became aware that we have no law that requires us to pay taxes to the IRS!  Un-fucking-believable. Yes, yes, please abolish this wicked institution

>> A promise to defund Planned Parenthood.  Need I elaborate.  

As wonderful as these promises are, I wonder, though, if they're perhaps fantastic?  The cynic in me goes back to Charlie Rose's comment that the Republican who's best prepared to actually serve in office would be John Kasich.  

Well, anyway, I really enjoyed listening to Cruz.  It surprised me.  He sings funny little songs to his wife, he enjoys impersonations, he sounds like a fun and personable guy.  

I like his theory about why he wouldn't need to come to the center in order to win in the general election; so many conservatives, he says, don't even bother to come out to vote in most presidential elections as the choices are too moderate; so many that he believes, were he to run as a true conservative and bring them to the polls, that he could take the election. 

Well that would be awesome.  


Dreams: A Way to Listen to God by Morton Kelsey

Great book.  I have read it probably 3-5 times over the past ten years.  It's probably out of print, but you could still find it on eBay or Amazon, I imagine.

Kelsey, an Episcopalian Priest, emphasizes over and over again how 'original' Christians, and Jesus himself (or pretty much any Christian pre-Thomas Aquinas) fundamentally rooted their understanding of life and religion in an acknowledgement the spiritual world.  For examples, Joseph decided to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt based on a dream, and Jesus in his healing ministry was well aware of how demons could affect a person's demeanor.

In more recent times, however, Christianity seems to not have high regard for dreams and visions, to the point that it's seen as a bit lonely for a person to claim to have seen visions or have received messages in a dream.


This is Water

Recommend listening to this commencement speech from David Foster Wallace

Unlike so much  of what I take in, he doesn't inspire a lot of cynicism.  I really bought him & his message.  That's rare for me.  Seems like a pretty sincere guy.  Is what I'm saying.



Spotlight tells the story of the Boston Globe team who researched and broke the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal in 2002.  The scandal, simply, involved Cardinal Law failing to prosecute sex offenders, and instead placing these priests in positions where they reoffended.  This Globe story acted as the catalyst for the revelation of thousands of similar Church scandals nation and worldwide. (which then caused the bankrupcy of numerous Archdiocese, Dioceses, and Religious Orders.)

The ostentatious revelation of this scandal recollects to Luke's Gospel passage; "Whatever you have said in the darkness will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed on the housetops." (12:3)  The Catholic Church made every effort keep incidents of pediphile priests under the carpet.


Amy Schumer Joke Stealing

Really painful, the tone of some of these comedians who are so playing a 'not-going-there' game for Amy Schumer regarding the accusation that she's stolen jokes from other comedians.  Consider this interview with Hannibal Buress, where Joe Rogan entirely dominates the conversation; Buress is essentially silent except to say that Schumer is a friend of his and so he doesn't feel comfortable saying anything negative about her.  Gag.

Love the point that Joe Rogan makes in this interview with Brian Redban; if it was anybody other than Amy Schumer, she'd have her head cut off for what she's done.

Dunno.  Guess that I just don't really like her, so it's painful to see how much the stand up comedy world is coddling her about this.

Does it sound like plagiarism to you?  You be the judge........(warning: vulgar video!!)


High Information Trump Voters

A lot of high information Trump voters...are very calculatedly, very deliberately giving a middle finger to the establishment, and they know that Trump is the most effective way of putting that middle finger up.  And they know exactly what they are expressing through him, even if they don't agree with everything he says.  The more outrageous he is, the more nativist he is, the more he uses inappropriate terms....the better he becomes as a symbol for what they think of the establishment.  Look, we we think so little of you that even Donald Trump is better.

There are some high information people who are voting that way.

~Ed Luce from the Financial Times


"There is Magic in the Air"

I am so thrilled that Kasich came in 2nd in the New Hampshire Primary!  Wow, what a finish for him, this was a bit of a surprise, given some of the predictions.  He was a big 'maybe' before the Republican debates last weekend.  Rubio's performance really hurt him, of his rather bizarre repeating of the same line about "Obama knowing what he was doing".  Hmm, it looked like a bit of a zero sum game, too, the back and forth between Christie and Rubio, in that both of them have emerged well behind, giving Kasich the opportunity to move ahead.

Well, Kasich seemed like the most level headed of the debaters, and as Charlie Rose said, one of the only candidates outside of Clinton who'd have a clue about what to do once he got into office.  Really liked his speech.

Although Trump has such an enormous lead it's hard to tell whether or not any of the other Republicans stand a chance.

South Carolina is a whole. new. ballgame.  And Cruz just may end up closer to the top in this Southern State.


Super Bowl Post Game Interviews

I made beef brisket for Super Bowl.  Man, was it good.

kind of struck by 'poor Cam Newton'.  How much the loss affected his aura, I mean.  The way that he went from dancing after the touchdown to visibly morose and angry at the post game interview, and even just towards the end of the game.   I wonder what got him down, obviously other than the loss.  I thought that these football players (the professional ones anyway) need to maintain a positive, I-can-still-win this attitude.  However, he didn't display that towards the end of the game.  It's as though he already decided that he lost when time was still left on the clock.

I guess that he's the kind of person who really has his emotions on display.  Some people are like that.  Honestly I just think it's a personality characteristic.

And quite frankly, as pathetic and unsportsman-like Newton's behavior was, I found Manning's Budweiser plug in his post-game interview even more unsettling.  It made the entire Super Bowl feel like one big fucking  commercial.

Maybe we'll discover that Levi Stadium is located inside of a Doritos Bag.


Trump and the Elections on Charlie Rose

Charlie Rose hosted several great discussions preceding Iowa Caucus.

Conservative pundit Hugh Hewitt was dead on in his predictions for the outcome of the Iowa Caucus for Cruz and Trump, and pretty close with Hilary/Bernie (he said that Bernie would win.)

"It's one hell of a year." Rose commented regarding the election and speculating on possible outcomes.

"Trump operated under a different set of principles, a different ground game, than any other that we've ever seen before."  Megan Murphy of Bloomberg News points out, particularly regarding his opting out of the Fox News Debate.

In his conflict with Ailes (refusing Ailes' efforts to reach out) I wonder what skills Trump is using; it makes me want to read The Art of the Deal.  How does handle the dynamics in order to be in the position of being pursued--is it similar to negotiating a contract?

Bernie and Trump have similar platforms regarding radical economic change. "I'm torn between who my favorite is; Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump" Megan Murphy echoes the sentiment of many voters.  What a hilarious statement.  I just love it.


Bernie Sanders Iowa Caucus Speech

Loved this speech.  Think that The Big Short increases awareness of some of the issues Sanders brings up in his speech, including his point that the American people bailed out the bankers.  Now, Sanders says, it's time for Wall Street to support the American people and pay for college education.

Wow, if he can beat Hillary that'd just be........awesome.  


Brooklyn x Two

Just saw Brooklyn for the 2nd time last weekend.  And I have to rescind some of what I said in my last review.  Or at least provide a 2nd reaction anyway.

I liked this movie simply because it told the nice wholesome story of a nice boy meeting a nice girl and the two of them getting married.  Every now and then it's good to watch a movie like this.

And honestly, considering some of the other movies that came out in 2015 (Carol, The Danish Girl, Spotlight, The Revenant) I'm a bit surprised that a story so basic is still even being made.