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Archive for April, 2020

Where, after all, do universal human rights begin?  In small places, close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world.  Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works.  Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination.  Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere.  Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.
    —    Eleanor Roosevelt
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On This Day In:
2019 Anything / Everything
2018 Touching A Nerve
Good Fences Make Good Neighbors
I Have Realities In My Past
2017 Did I See You In Chapter 13?
2016 As I Recall
2015 Less And More Irritation
2014 That Marvelous Feeling
2013 Exceptional
2012 A Wild And Crazy Believer
2011 A Lack Of Scarcity
The Joy Of Prevention

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Bullitt” (1968)  —  movie review
Today’s review is for the 1968 cop movie “Bullitt“, starring Steve McQueen in the title role as homicide Lieutenant Frank Bullitt.  The film also stars Jacqueline Bisset as Cathy (the girlfriend), Don Gordon as the partner (homicide Detective Delgetti), Robert Vaughn as US Senator Walter Chalmers, Simon Oakland as the gruff voiced boss (Captain Sam Bennett) and (in an early role) Robert Duvall as Weissberg (a cab driver).  There’s also a bunch of bad guys (who cares).
The basic plot is that some guy is running from the mob in Chicago.  He flees to San Francisco.  He is “made” by a doorman at a hotel and the mob sends a couple of professional contract hitmen to kill the runner.  We are introduced to the star and his partner.  Bullitt meets a big money / sleazy politician (Vaugh / Chalmers) and is assigned to protect a witness over the weekend until a Senate hearing on Monday.  The witness is (of course) the runner.
The protection goes south and the witness and the cop protecting him are shot.  The witness (ultimately) fatally.  Bullitt smells a rat and bends the rules to keep the case open.  Blah, blah, blah…  BIG car chase – for which the movie is FAMOUS.  The two killers are dead, but Bullitt feels the case still stinks and continues to work it (this time, with permission).
Blah, blah, blah…  Bullitt chases and kills the runner at the airport.  The END.
OK.  There are really only three reasons to see this film:  1) you are interested in seeing police movies from 50+ years ago.  2) you really are interested in checking out “Mr. Cool” aka Steve McQueen.  And,  3) the CHASE.  Did I mention the “chase” is over ten(10) minutes long and “visually” covers most of San Francisco?  No, in reality the areas filmed are not really contiguous, but what the heck…  IT is a GREAT chase scene!!
Final recommendation: strong recommendation.  This is considered a classic movie JUST because of the lead (McQueen) and the car chase, so normally I’d give it a “highly to must see” recommendation, but it’s really not that good a movie.  To me, the plot doesn’t make a lot of sense (even if it goes out of the way to hit you with plot checkpoints) and it is particularly unsatisfying.  The “real” bad guy in the movie is Senator Chalmers and nothing happens to him.  So, loose threads and no resolution.
Why “strong” then?  I like Steve McQueen as a big star in a number of films from when I was growing up, not the least of which are: “The Magnificent Seven” and “The Great Escape“.  And then, of course, there is “The Chase“.  Just as a bit of personal trivia / nostalgia, shortly after the movie, one of our local TV news stations shut down the block I was living on (a big hill in SF) and recreated the chase with one of their reporter cars jumping the intersections to “follow the news”.  It was cool to see our house on TV for months as this commercial was rebroadcast.  And, finally, if you watch this film, it’s easy to see where “Dirty Harry” (1971) comes from.
So, come for the “cool” and stay for the CHASE!
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On This Day In:
2019 True Piety
2018 I Would, Too (A music-video for all)
2017 100th Day (of the Trump Presidency)
Both Unlucky
2016 Or Blog
2015 Stretched Today?
2014 Outta Here
2013 Getting Words Right
2012 There’s A New Dog In Town
Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is
2011 A Conservative Is…

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Technology is so much fun but we can drown in our technology.  The fog of information can drive out knowledge.
    —    Daniel J. Boorstin
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On This Day In:
2019 True Piety
2018 I Would, Too (A music-video for all)
2017 100th Day (of the Trump Presidency)
Both Unlucky
2016 Or Blog
2015 Stretched Today?
2014 Outta Here
2013 Getting Words Right
2012 There’s A New Dog In Town
Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is
2011 A Conservative Is…

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Plans For Today, Tomorrow, The Next Day…

[The above image was found at (and “borrowed” from) one of the blogs I visit regularly:  Pacific Paratrooper
Please visit the site if you have a free moment or two…    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2019 Beautiful Rules
2018 Skepticism
2017 WWGD?
2016 Growing Greatness
2015 When It Is Darkest
2014 Knowledge And Doubt
2013 Three Thoughts
2012 Gentle Reader
2011 Leave The Light On For Me Anyway

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Our true nationality is mankind.
    ––    H. G. Wells
From his book:  “The Outline of History
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On This Day In:
2019 Beautiful Rules
2018 Skepticism
2017 WWGD?
2016 Growing Greatness
2015 When It Is Darkest
2014 Knowledge And Doubt
2013 Three Thoughts
2012 Gentle Reader
2011 Leave The Light On For Me Anyway

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Fury” (2014) — movie review
Today’s review is for the World War II action / drama “Fury” starring Brad Pitt as Staff Sergeant Don “Wardaddy” Collier, Shia LaBeouf as Boyd “Bible” Swan, Logan Lerman as Norman “Machine” Swan, Michael Peña as Trini “Gordo” Garcia and Jon Bernthal as Grady “Coon-Ass” Travis.  The movie gives the impression that it is all happening in a single day, but that seems improbable (if not impossible), but whatever.  It is late in the war, the Germans are on the verge of defeat, and four of the five main characters have been together for three years fighting and surviving.  The exception is Lerman’s character Norman / “Machine” who is a raw recruit brought up as a last minute replacement.  He was supposed to be a clerk / typist and knows nothing about fighting a war or manning a tank.
“Fury” refers to the nick-name the crew has painted on the barrel of the the tank’s main gun.
The movie follows the tank through a day of “war-is-hell”.  There are several battles, multiple random deaths, lots of gore, violence, and cursing and two implied sexual relations.  And then we have the main battle, where the tank doesn’t actually fight against another tank.  The tank is disabled at a critical road intersection and the men have an option to abandon the vehicle or stay and risk their lives in defeat in an upcoming battle against a several companies of SS-troops.  Pitt’s character chooses to stay and fight, but he gives his permission to the others to leave.  They also choose to stay / fight / die.
So, a movie which starts out as a morality play about the horrors of war and its debasing of the human spirit then reverts into a heroic / mythic journey with the “hero” leader (Pitt) staying behind to struggle against impossible odds to make a difference in the war (and to defend his emotional home).
Is this movie any good?  Is it an accurate depiction of combat?  Is it at least entertaining?  I found this movie to be very good as an action / war movie.  Yes, it is gory and some of the violence is random, but both of these things are by design / intent.  Real war IS hell and it can be heart-breakingly random.  If you thought the opening beach scene from “Saving Private Ryan” was “good” movie making, then you’ll almost certainly enjoy most (if not all) of this movie, because that’s pretty much what you get for almost two hours.
Final recommendation:  Strong to highly recommended movie.  If you can get past the gore and the profanity – it’s “R” rated and obviously not for folks with a weak stomach – I think you’ll find a lot of pretty good to very good acting.  And, by that I mean ALL five of the main actors do a great job in these roles.  There are telling glances, flinches and all out emotional confrontations.  Heroes don’t always have a happy ending to their story, but that doesn’t detract from their effort to do their duty.  I would add one qualification:  the movie stands on its own, but to “really” understand it you will need to watch the deleted scenes.  They provide a lot of character background info which I hope will someday in the future be integrated into a “Director’s Cut”.
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On This Day In:
2019 The Ones Worth Remembering, Anyway
Boot Edge Edge (My New T)
2018 To Reach The Next Threshold
2017 Streaking Tales
2016 Singular Reality
2015 He Says It’s Hard To Get There From Here
2014 Question From A Founding Father
2013 Make Heroes
2012 See And Hold
2011 Am Not, Are So

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If any readers share my need for the occasional lighter post, here’s an update on my front yard…

An angled view…


From the front door…

Angled view up the path…

Snapdragons and stones…

Snapdragons and frogs…
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On This Day In:
2019 The Ones Worth Remembering, Anyway
Boot Edge Edge (My New T)
2018 To Reach The Next Threshold
2017 Streaking Tales
2016 Singular Reality
2015 He Says It’s Hard To Get There From Here
2014 Question From A Founding Father
2013 Make Heroes
2012 See And Hold
2011 Am Not, Are So

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Our global civilization is clearly on the edge of failure and the most important task it faces, preserving the lives and well-being of its citizens and the future habitability of the planet.  But if we’re willing to live with the growing likelihood of nuclear war shouldn’t we also been willing to explore vigorously every possible means to prevent nuclear war.  Shouldn’t we consider in every nation major changes in the traditional ways of doing things, a fundamental restructuring of economic political social and religious institutions.  We’ve reached a point where there can be no more special interests or special cases, nuclear arms threaten every person on the Earth.  Fundamental changes in society are sometimes labelled impractical or contrary to human nature, as if nuclear war were practical or as if there’s only one human nature.  But fundamental changes can clearly be made, we’re surrounded by them.  In the last two centuries abject slavery which was with us for thousands of years has almost entirely been eliminated in a stirring worldwide revolution.  Women, systematically mistreated for millennia are gradually gaining the political and economic power traditionally denied them and some wars of aggression have recently been stopped or curtailed because of a revulsion felt by the people in the aggressor nations.  The old appeals to racial, sexual, and religious chauvinism and to rabid nationalist fervor are beginning not to work.  A new consciousness is developing which sees the earth as a single organism and recognizes that an organism at war with itself is doomed.  We are one planet.  One of the great revelations of the age of space exploration is the image of the earth finite and lonely, somehow vulnerable, bearing the entire human species through the oceans of space and time.
    —    Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2019 The Ones Worth Remembering, Anyway
Boot Edge Edge (My New T)
2018 To Reach The Next Threshold
2017 Streaking Tales
2016 Singular Reality
2015 He Says It’s Hard To Get There From Here
2014 Question From A Founding Father
2013 Make Heroes
2012 See And Hold
2011 Am Not, Are So

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I was wandering around YouTube today and stumbled upon this old favorite…  And, yes, it is one of the songs you can find off of my “Poems” page and more specifically off of my “Song Lyrics And Videos” page.  The lyrics are awesome and well worth reading after listening to / viewing the video and then (again) during the song.

If You Could Read My Mind

If you could read my mind love,
What a tale my thoughts could tell.
Just like an old time movie
About a ghost
From a wishing well.
In a castle dark
Or a fortress strong
With chains upon my feet.
You know that ghost is me
And I will never be set free
As long as I’m a ghost
That you can’t see.
If I could read your mind love,
What a tale your thoughts could tell.
Just like a paperback novel,
The kind the drugstore would sell.
When you reach the part
Where the heartaches come
The hero would be me.
The heroes often fail.
And you won’t read that book again
Because the ending’s
Just to hard to take.
I walk away
Like a movie star
Who gets burned in a three way script.
Enter number two,
A movie queen
To play the scene
Of bringing all
The good things out in me,
But for now love
Lets be real.
I never knew
I could feel this way
And I’ve got to say
That I just don’t get it.
I don’t know where
We went wrong
But the feelings gone
And I just can’t get it back.
If you could read my mind love,
What a tale my thoughts could tell.
Just like an old time movie
About a ghost
From a wishing well.
In a castle dark
Or a fortress strong
With chains upon my feet
But the story
Always ends.
And if you read
Between the lines
You’ll know that I’m
Just trying
To understand
The feelings
That you left.
I never thought
I could feel this way
And I got to say
That I just don’t get it.
I don’t know where we went wrong
But the feelings gone
And I just can’t get it back.
Written and performed by:   Gordon Lightfoot
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On This Day In:
2019 Impeach #45 – (#TraitorInTheWhiteHouse)
Time For Loving
2018 No Pride There
London To The Hague
2017 At Least Twenty To Go
2016 A Sweet Smelling Blog Post
Pre-Reacher
2015 Getting The Story Right
2014 Like Shells On The Shore
2013 More And Why
2012 How To Gain Effective Fire
2011 Patriot Act

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Image of Corona Virus Data as of 26 April 2020 (from Bing)

Corona Virus Data as of 26 April 2020 (from Bing)

In 2016, candidate Trump said America was going to win so much some of us will get tired of it and beg him to:  “Please, stop all this winning.”
It turns out, America has almost one out of every three known cases of Corona Virus (COVID-19).  FAR more than any other country in the world.  America also has almost one out of every four deaths related to the Corona Virus.  Again, FAR more than any other country in the world.  We’re so far ahead that every other country could double there numbers and still not catch us.  How’s that for “winning” and being “in first place”?
#LyingDonald told us we only had 15 cases and soon that number would drop to zero (26 Feb 22020 press conference).  How’s that working out so far?
#IncompetentTrump told us by April the change of season and increased temperature would kill the virus.  (“There’s a theory that, in April, when it gets warm — historically, that has been able to kill the virus.  So we don’t know yet; we’re not sure yet. But that’s around the corner.”)  I think we’ve turned that corner…
Chart of COVID-19 Deaths in the U.S. thru 21 April 2020

COVID-19 Deaths in the U.S. thru 21 April 2020

The U.S. started April with just under 5,000 deaths from the virus.  We are now just over 55,000!  A ten-fold increase!
We don’t know if the anti-bodies from recovered folks protects them from future re-infection, if the anti-bodies last indefinitely or if they stop working after “some” period of time.  A vaccine is probably still a year (or more) away…  But #IdiotTrump wants to re-open the economy and get us all back to work.
Ok!!  He was right!!  I’ll say it:  Please Mr. President, can we stop all this winning?  Let some other country be first in getting the virus.  Let some other country be first in deaths from the virus.  Let some other country be the first to go back to work and have the first “second wave” of pandemic.
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On This Day In:
2019 Impeach #45 – (#TraitorInTheWhiteHouse)
Time For Loving
2018 No Pride There
London To The Hague
2017 At Least Twenty To Go
2016 A Sweet Smelling Blog Post
Pre-Reacher
2015 Getting The Story Right
2014 Like Shells On The Shore
2013 More And Why
2012 How To Gain Effective Fire
2011 Patriot Act

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I think people in power have a vested interest to oppose critical thinking.
    —    Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2019 Impeach #45 – (#TraitorInTheWhiteHouse)
Time For Loving
2018 No Pride There
London To The Hague
2017 At Least Twenty To Go
2016 A Sweet Smelling Blog Post
Pre-Reacher
2015 Getting The Story Right
2014 Like Shells On The Shore
2013 More And Why
2012 How To Gain Effective Fire
2011 Patriot Act

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Amid the talk of Earth’s shortcomings and the promise of space, I found myself committed to going down with the ship.  Ashes to ashes, feet of clay — I’m happy to weigh my weight in pounds if it means I can be rooted on Earth like my ancestors and all of our ancestors and even the word ancestor, and indeed every language and piece of writing and every single thought.  At the same time, the Milky Way of the mind, as Bezos and Musk present it, is an exciting and sustaining fantasy — a place of boundless love, indiscriminate hospitality, and infinite resources.  Very like the God that humans on Earth once invented, or the one who invented us.
    —    Viriginia Heffernan
From her article: “Love And Rockets: Why I’m Staying Put
Appearing in Wired Magazine, dtd: Jan 2019
This article also appears online at:  https://www.wired.com/story/infinite-space-utopia-cant-replicate-earths-humanity/
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On This Day In:
2019 Are You Moving?
2018 We Can Only Pray
2017 Heavier At That End
2016 The Difference Is Craftsmanship
2015 However Vast The Darkness
2014 The Omnipresent Teacher
2013 Don’t Waste
2012 Earning Thanks
2011 Fuzzy Vision
2010 Movies and Book

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Today’s review is for the 2019 Rom-Com / Rock-Musical “Yesterday” starring Himesh Patel and Lily James.  Patel plays Jack Malik – a small-time songwriter / performer and James plays his part-time manager Ellie Appleton.  Jack “works” in real-life as a clerk at a warehouse style retail store.  Ellie’s real-life job is as a Maths teacher in middle-school.
After a string of failed performances, Jack decides to quit music and go back to being a teacher, himself.  He leaves Ellie to ride his bike home and along the way, the world shuts down for 12 seconds.  During that time, Jack is struck by a bus at a darkened intersection.  He wakes up in the hospital getting visited by Ellie.
At a hospital release party, Ellie presents Jack with a guitar to replace the one destroyed in the bus collision.  Jack plays the Beatles song, “Yesterday” and his friends surprise him by not recognizing the song and believing Jack wrote the song.
Jack’s life dream is to just once get cheered by a crowd at one of his performances.  Jack realizes he can “create” the Beatles songs and thus become rich and famous.  So, he does.
Blah, blah, blah, (actually great music and a few funny scenes) Jack realizes it is true love (and Ellie) that he really wants and not fame and wealth.  He also doesn’t want credit for songs he never wrote.
Because the “Beatles” never became famous, John Lennon lives into old age and Jack meets him to discuss life and philosophy.  The message is (IMHO) very much John Lennon: “Tell the one you love that you love them and tell the truth as often as you can.”
So, is this movie any good?  Yes, well, it’s entertaining and works for me!  The music?  It’s the Beatles – Duh!!  The acting?  The acting is pretty good to very good.  The story?  I didn’t really feel a “connection” between Patel and James, but it was close enough to be almost believable.  The key is the story…  No.  It is not at all believable, but it still works in a quirky rom-com way.  It has moments and lines which I found quite amusing.  Not “ha-ha” laughing funny, but amusing funny.
Final recommendation: strong to highly recommended.  Being an “older” person, the Beatles music has had a big impact on my life.  They were never my favorite group back in the 60’s, but their music and influence were always present.  As such, I admit to total bias in this review.  The movie portrays two additional people as remembering the Beatles and when they meet Jack they tell him they have no grudge against his taking credit for the Beatles music because they are just happy to have it (the music) back in their lives.  If this movie brings the Beatles to a new generation of music lovers, I can live with a bit of lack of credibility in a story line.  Don’t think about the plot’s paradoxes too much.  Just enjoy the movie for what it is – a Rom-Com with great music.
One quote from the movie that particularly tickled me:
Jack wants to fly from Los Angeles to Liverpool for inspiration and is asked: “What does Liverpool have that LA doesn’t?
Jack’s answer: “Mo Salah, Cilla Black, mushy peas, rain…
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On This Day In:
2019 An Epitaph For #45 (#LyingDonald)
2018 Before And After
2017 Verbs
2016 Not Too Tidy
2015 Little Understanding
2014 Open Early
2013 Movies And A Lifetime Of Lyrics
This Truth
2012 Cheaper To Hold
2011 Resistance Is Futile
One Great, One Enjoyable, One Terrible…
Unfortunately, No Approval Is Required

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In the aftermath of the intelligence failures in Iraq, Americans should have a healthy skepticism of military action justified by intelligence reports that leave Congress profoundly divided.  And given Trump’s fundamental dishonesty and alarming ignorance, Americans should have zero assurance that their president or his administration is accurately describing the nature of the Iranian threat.
While Americans deployed abroad have the inherent right of self-defense, the United States should not engage in offensive military action without Congressional approval.  The president cannot tolerate acts of terror against American forces, but the American people cannot tolerate an unconstitutional war.
Now is not the time to trust an untrustworthy administration.  Now is exactly the time for Congress to reassert its constitutional authority.  Merely receiving an intelligence briefing is not enough.  The message to the Trump administration should be bipartisan and emphatic.  There can be no new war without informed congressional consent.
    —    David French
From his opinion / editorial: “Blundering Toward War
Appearing in Time Magazine; dtd: 3 June 2019
This article also appears online, but it is a modified version.
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On This Day In:
2019 An Epitaph For #45 (#LyingDonald)
2018 Before And After
2017 Verbs
2016 Not Too Tidy
2015 Little Understanding
2014 Open Early
2013 Movies And A Lifetime Of Lyrics
This Truth
2012 Cheaper To Hold
2011 Resistance Is Futile
One Great, One Enjoyable, One Terrible…
Unfortunately, No Approval Is Required

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Unless you believe that the future can be better, you are unlikely to step up and take responsibility for making it so.
    —    Noam Chomsky
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On This Day In:
2019 Today’s Question
2018 A Moment Of Union
2016 Symptoms
2016 Tossers
2015 Hunger
2014 Outside Dependence
2013 Doing Right
2012 A Short Course In Human Relations
If Death Be My Future
Strive
Such A Fool
2011 I’m Working For A Living

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