Robert debates Rafael… I mean Beto O’Rourke debates Ted Cruz

Both Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke and Rafael Edward Cruz joined the federal legislature representing Texas in 2013 – Beto in the House and Cruz in the Senate. Both are now vying for the next term of Cruz’s job in the Senate and the fact that a Republican incumbent in Texas has agreed to debates show just how tight things have become.

Some thoughts on the first debate from September 21st… Continue reading

Summer Movie Roundup – some quick thoughts starting from “terrible” progressing to “not bad”

Ready Player One PosterReady Player One
It’s The Matrix if you replaced all of the characters with teenagers. Frankly, I can’t think of anything that is improved by replacing experienced professionals with teenagers.

Actually after seeing RP1, I re-watched all 3 Matrix movies and despite the fact that they are almost 20(!) years old, they have aged remarkably well. Surprisingly, the Animatrix has not aged well.

Rampage PosterRampage
It’s a movie based on a video game which was based on more movies. It’s so tired and derivative that the Rock looked like the only presence in the theater who was having any fun, and that included all the other actors, the CGI monsters and the audience.

Solo PosterSolo was underrated. Was it the best Star Wars movie? No, not even close – but it was still a good enjoyable movie and definitely worth a see.

Mission Impossible PosterMission Impossible – Fallout
What is it with Tom Cruise and running? All of his movies have extended scenes of him running and this one does not disappoint either. No jumping, no dodging, no weaving left to right… just running as fast as he possibly can… in a straight line… alone. Is he perchance spending the rest of his life compensating for losing out on a part in Chariots of Fire?

I will say tho, my inner “internet nerd” was very excited to see this movie just to experience the other side of Mustachegate. For those not caught up on this little side show… just prior to the filming of Mission Impossible, Henry Cavill had finished filming in Fox’s Justice League as the clean shaven Superman. Subsequently, Justice League went through a director change and new leadership desired additional footage and had to call the actors back. Well, filming on MI was in full swing at this point and MI’s studio Paramount wouldn’t let Cavill shave the mustache that he grew for MI so Fox shot the new JL scenes with a hirsute Cavill and then had the mustache digitally removed. The CGI was pretty poorly done and it resulted in some pretty creepy “uncanny valley” scenes (you know, when the CGI is good, but not good enough for you to know it isn’t fake).

At least Cavill was a good sport about it.

Anyways, back to the original point, Mission Impossible was not a perfect movie – the helicopter scene at the end was a touch long and not having seen the previous couple of MI movies, there were a few too many characters who you didn’t know exactly where they fit in but overall it was solidly entertaining summer blockbuster fair.

Priebus Zoo

In the new Bob Woodward book, Fear: Trump in the White House, he vividly quotes Reince Priebus on the chaos of the Trump White House’s decision making. “When you put a snake and a rat and a falcon and a rabbit and a shark and a seal in a zoo without walls, things start getting nasty and bloody. That’s what happens.”

Reince Priebus Zoo
Frankly doesn’t look so bad to me.

Some mundane observations from a grocery store in the Azores

I have always enjoyed going to grocery stores while visiting other countries. It gets you out of the tourist district and gives you great sense of how the locals actually live. I love trying new snacks, seeing what types of food the locals eat, seeing what brands dominate, what they pay for it etc.

As I wandered the aisles of this particular store on Terceira Island in the Azores, Portugal, the first thing you are struck with is the foul stench of death. I mean fish. It’s everywhere. Observation #1, Azoreans love their fish.
Continue reading

Don’t tell me what you want. Don’t tell me what you really want. Tell me what you really really want. What I really really want? What you really really want.

Ahh, the 90s. How times have changed. Aside from 2 year bookends, we had a Democrat in the White House and we loved our sexually harrassing president. We didn’t ask, and we didn’t tell. Google wasn’t evil. Apple only made computers. Social media meant going to a movie with friends. Apparently Will Smith made music.

Actually, I listened to a LOT of music in the 90s. I went to college in the 90s and hung out with a group of friends who were also very into music. We played a lot of Encore. The majority of my disposable income was spent on CDs. I *love* the music from that decade.

However, time has passed. I have the benefit of a little objective distance and have spent an extensive amount of time recently listening to the the “90’s on 9” Sirius XM station and have come to a terrible world changing conclusion…
Continue reading

I just saw Cars 3, A.K.A. Pixar does Rocky

My son is a huuge fan of the Cars movies. He doesn’t leave the house unless he is wearing Lightning McQueen and owns more than his fair share of Cars toys. As such, it was a foregone conclusion that we would be seeing Cars 3 on opening weekend. Having just returned from this, I was initially struck by the incredbile similarity with the single most awesome Rocky movie ever, Rocky IV. However, upon further examination, I am realizing more and more similarities with the significantly more terrible (but still oh, so awesome) Rocky III.

Let’s delve into this in a little more detail…

Theme from Cars 3 Rocky III Rocky IV Notes
Bad guy’s name is an obvious play on the good guy’s name Come on, Lightning/Storm, Rocky/Clubber
Hero is motivated by the death of a coach Rocky sure had a lot of coaches die. Seriously, the worst job in the world is a redshirt on the USS Enterprise and second is being a trainer for Rocky
Bad guy making inappropriate advances to the hero’s lady partner Well, as inappropriate as can get in a Pixar movie
Hero has to recover confidence after being soundly defeated by a black man
Training montage Honestly, Rocky 3 may have had one, but the montage in 4 really sets the bar for all time
Bad guy is a product of technology while the hero is all heart
Bad guy trains in a super modern facility while hero roughs it
Running on the beach as training
Babe who leers menacingly at the hero Granted the statician babe car is no Bridgette Fonda, but you get the idea
Hero finally beating his trainer proving he’s ready to finally do battle with the bad guy Nice play on this in Cars
Conquering age to be the champ again Fine, this didn’t actually happen in either of these Rockys. However, considering they made at least 3 more Rocky movies (Rocky V, Rocky Balboa and Creed) after Stallone turned 80, I have to think that this theme must have been touched on at some point
Competition at the end between coach and student with outcome uncertain

Verdict: Clearly, the more memorable Rocky IV should not overshadow the influence that the terrible (but oh so awesome) Rocky III had on this movie.

One of these things is not like other…

My wife and I have frequently stated during the election that Kellyanne should take away Trump’s access to his twitter feed (and when I say Kellyanne, I really mean *anyone* on Trump’s staff) – unfiltered access to every thought that pops into his head makes him seem like a thin skinned capricious petty vindictive child.

It is now clear tho, for his sake at least, that if you can’t take away Trump’s access, you probably should at least take away Kellyanne’s… take a quick look at the last 3 tweets from el hombre del peluquín‘s twitter feed :

Watched protests yesterday but was under the impression that we just had an election! Why didn’t these people vote? Celebs hurt cause badly.

Wow, television ratings just out: 31 million people watched the Inauguration, 11 million more than the very good ratings from 4 years ago!

Peaceful protests are a hallmark of our democracy. Even if I don’t always agree, I recognize the rights of people to express their views.

Unlike the other 2, the third one sounds like it was written by adult. Moreover it is direct conflict in tone (if not a full contradiction) to the first. As such, (IMHO) is clearly not written by the same person.

There is a solid clarity of message which is lost when you try to correct for Trump’s missteps and while it still seems insane to me, his strategy/style is working for him. At the end of the day, you either need to totally reign him in or just “let Trump be Trump”. There is no middle ground and pretending any different is just SAD.

Believe me.