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Showing posts from May, 2016
The love for our troops was never been more personified than at the massive turnout for the memorial of Chris Kyle.  You can still watch the glorious "final salute" at Dallas Stadium in full on Youtube.  The service drew a wide range of relatives, friends, and politicians.  There was even a 200-mile funeral procession that ran from his home in Midlothian to Austin, where his body was laid to rest at the Texas State Cemetery.  All along the route, tens of thousands turned up at overpasses and by the roadside to pay their last respects.  It was a funeral service fit for a king.  To top it all off, there was a movie that served as his requiem, further cementing the "American Sniper" in history.

Unfortunately, many of the things said in his book and in the movie based on the book don't hold up.  It seems Chris Kyle stretched his medal count a little, as he did numerous other items previously reported.    No matter, in the minds of his fans, Chris will forever rema…

Hiroshima mon amor

I suppose Americans will always feel Japan deserved having two A-bombs dropped on it for the massacre at Pearl Harbor.  At least that is what Donald Trump is suggesting.  If it is any consolation to the Donald, the current Japanese PM offered deep repentance for Japan's actions during WWII, but for many Japan will never be sorry enough.

We had a long ugly war with Japan that saw many dead, but couldn't possibly compare to what China suffered during WWII.  China lost an estimated 14 million people.  Still, none of this justified dropping atomic bombs on Japan, especially with Japan on the edge of surrender.  The only thing left to discuss were the terms, which was going on at the time.  It seems Truman wanted to speed up the process before the Soviet Union tried to make more territorial claims to the region.  Plus, try out his new toys.

One can argue that Japan hasn't been overly contrite over the years.  MacArthur was never able to wrangle an apology out of Hirohito, alth…

The Round Mound of Rebound

... or Sir Charles as he likes to be called is not one to mince words.  When he is not taking down the latest crop of NBA players, he is going off on politics.  He even flirted with a political run of his own at one point, when he switched from the GOP to the Democratic Party as he floated the idea of running for Governor of Alabama in 2006.

The guy is sharp and opinionated.  He's been part of TNT's Inside the NBA for several years now, venting his full range of views whenever the moment suits him.  He has been decrying the current state of the NBA for the last four or five seasons as no heir apparent has emerged to take over the starring role of Kobe Bryant.  He admits LeBron James is a great player and the Warriors are one of the best teams ever but after that he poo-poos the quality of the league, claiming that players come out of college too soon and lack the fundamentals to play the game the way it should be played.

Another NBA legend begs to differ.  Larry Bird said rec…

The Godfather Notebook

Arguably, the best movie of all time is now a book.  Phaidon is already taking pre-orders for the signed special edition due out in November.  If $250 is too much, you can buy the paperback version for $50.  Whether it is the most important unpublished work is a matter of debate, but there is great value in the 720-page tome as it will shed light on Coppola's process behind the film, not that much of it hasn't leaked out in one form or another over the years, as this movie has been pored over by every major film critic.

Hard to believe it was 44 years ago that this film came out.  Coppola was only 32 at the time, with a handful of movies to his credit.  Only The Rain People stood out.  Coppola wasn't the first, second or even third choice to make the film.  He didn't even want to make it, until he read something in the novel that inspired him to think along Greek tragic lines, or so the story goes anyway.  He began assembling his loose leaf notebook while traveling th…
Barring some malicious October surprise or worse a November surprise, Obama stands to go out as the most popular president in the modern era.  Not bad when you consider Republicans have gone out of their way to stonewall him throughout his two terms of office.

You think of all the attempts to revoke, defund and challenge "Obamacare" at the state, federal and Supreme Court level, along with the open hostility toward the President's foreign policy, and the stunning midterm defeat in 2014, which many pundits thought rendered him irrelevant in his final two years of office, it is amazing this guy is still standing.  Obama has weathered all that abuse like a rock.  He may have a little more gray hair but he remains fit as a fiddle, and seems to have finally figured out he doesn't need Congress.

For six years, the President tried to work with Congress on health care, the budget crisis, long term deficit reductions, trade agreements, you name it.  At times he seemed sheepi…

Is it time to panic?

It's easy to hit the panic button when you look at some of the recent polls.  Hillary looked like she was on top of the world a month ago, well ahead of Trump in most polls, but now it is a virtual dead heat.  It is difficult to say whether these early polls mean anything, but Bernie is hoping to capitalize on some of the anxiety emerging by noting that he is still comfortably ahead of Trump in national polls.

As I said before, it is difficult to understand how two such disliked figures could emerge as the parties' nominees.  Attitudes appear to be softening, at least toward the Donald, who is no longer seen as quite so unfavorable at 58 per cent, where before 70 per cent of Americans openly disliked him.  Now that he is the presumptive nominee, more persons are willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, notably Republican leaders who before said they would never accept him as their nominee.  It doesn't seem to matter that he made a mockery of the Republican party, 80 …

One on One with Hillary Clinton

I was listening to Hillary on CNN last night.  She noted that she took her campaign all the way to the end in 2008.  It was one of the few sentences she was able to complete without Chris Cuomo inserting comments of his own.  This guy really has to simmer down.  Check this video out at the 2:40 mark, where he tells the joint Spelling Bee winners that they have to decide who's better "mano-a-mano."  Even his colleagues buried their heads.  John Oliver had the perfect comeback.   Hillary persevered, however, until the interview was cut short for "breaking news" on the Egyptair crash, in which CNN felt duty bound to provide us simulations of how the crash might have occurred.

As it was, the interview was all about the Egyptair crash until the ten minute mark, when Chris finally offered a few questions on the ongoing primaries.  Hillary didn't seem to take much stock in the news coming out of Nevada that Berniecrats supposedly turned over chairs and made a gen…

What does Bernie want?

The calls grow louder for Bernie to drop out of the race, especially since he has this nasty habit of winning primaries.  After Hillary's Nor'easter, where she took four out of five Northeast states, she hasn't fared too well.  She's now lost three out of the last four primaries, eking out a 0.3 per cent win in Kentucky, where she and Bernie split the delegates half and half.  She got pummeled in West Virginia, Indiana and Oregon, indicating that many Democrats still aren't satisfied with her as the presumptive nominee.

There is little mathematical chance that Bernie will edge out Hillary in pledged delegates, but he will make it close.  She has a big edge in superdelegates, who have already committed themselves to her often in defiance of their own states' primary and caucus results.  Take Al Franken, who defied the Minnesota electorate and pledged his support for Hillary.  Seems he was angling for being part of the November ticket, according to Politico, one…

Got Milk?

I tend to take most things vegan with a grain of salt, but I have to say that Cowspiracy gave me pause.  It is a documentary that shows the tremendous environmental impact of the livestock industry.  It's being billed as Leo diCaprio's production, but all the credit belongs to Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn, who initiated this project long ago, but had funding yanked when they pried a little too deeply into the way the livestock industry has managed to pull the wool over the eyes of environmental groups, which refuse to recognize the huge impact the industry is having on climate change.  According to Andersen, livestock produces three times more carbon emissions than the automotive industry.  They self-funded their work through a non-profit that Andersen created, later getting additional funding from DiCaprio and other sympathetic celebrities, which helped the documentary get significant airplay on Netflix.

Cowspiracy is well worth watching as Andersen presents it in a way we ca…

The Outrageous Donald Trump

One would have thought that when Donald Trump secured the GOP nomination, the news media might focus more on the ongoing race between Hillary and Bernie, but such is not the case.  The human hair piece continues to get an outsized amount of attention for basically doing nothing.  He hasn't filled in the threadbare outline of his infeasible policies or offered us anything new that I've heard, other than attempt to have us salivate over his VP short list.  At this point, Donald must be thinking this is so easy why didn't he run for President before.

The idea of Trump using a retired neurosurgeon he once referred to as "low energy" to manage this VP vetting should be enough to make anyone question Trump's judgement.  However, we should all know by now that Trump calls his own shots, and Ben Carson is nothing more than a foil to keep the media guessing.  And, guess it has.  So much so in fact that it is all we have heard about the past two weeks.

If nothing else…

Eurovision comes to America

Most Americans probably had no idea what hit them this past weekend when Eurovision was broadcast to homes across the country thanks to Logo TV.  Justin Timberlake even made a guest appearance, singing his latest song, but for commercial propriety reasons, it wasn't part of the broadcast.  We had to suffer through him in Europe as we awaited the final results of the week-long songfest that pits 42 nations against each other for song of the year.

It's been awhile since any of these performers achieved universal popularity thanks to their winning song.  The last person that comes to mind is Celine Dion, who represented Switzerland in 1988.  Still, the most famous winner remains Abba, which scored a yuge hit with Waterloo.  There have been other well-known performers over the years, who tried to use their universal popularity to win a trophy for their home country, like Katrina and the Waves, who brought back the crystal mic to the United Kingdom in 1997.  Unfortunately, the UK w…
It is really hard to figure out what was going through Ted Cruz's head when he chose to drop out and then say he would re-enter the race depending on how he did in Nebraska, only to lose big there as well.  It was one of those petulant moves, like a kid retreating to the corner of the playroom and saying he wouldn't come back to play until his playmates said how much they loved him.  As it turned out, the folks of Nebraska didn't love him.

No one really did.  He was just the last best hope for the Evangelicals to rock the GOP establishment, but when Ted started garnering all that support from political insiders in a last ditch off to knock off Trump, Cruz pulled the rug out from under the Evangelicals, so they begrudgingly flocked to Trump, who still projects himself as the outsider.  That may change now that Trump is getting all chummy with the GOP elite in an effort to "unite" the party, but for now the Donald gets to bask in all the glory, having finally put …

One Nation under Budweiser

Budweiser has wrapped itself in the American flag, coming out with a special can this summer to show off its patriotic fervor.  Interesting for a company that merged with Belgian brewing giant inBev for a cool $46.3 billion.  However, it still considers itself America's beer.

I never could understand the appeal of Budweiser beyond its heartwarming Christmas and Super Bowl ads.  The beer itself is one of the worst commercial beers on the market -- veritable horse piss or in this case Clydesdale piss.  For decades, it battled the original Czech Budweiser over its name, claiming it coined it first.  The rival breweries reached a truce of sorts in 2014.

On the whole, American Bud hasn't made a big splash in Europe, even though it has beefed up its alcohol content to 5 per cent, the average over here.  For years it was little more than a "near beer" at 3.2 per cent, the alcohol percentage by volume allowed in many states for domestic beers.  Still, it is over-carbonated,…

Cinco de Mayo

You certainly won't hear this in a Trump administration -- Obama offering praise for Mexico on its national holiday.  The speech is from 2014, but he celebrates the day every year, and a big event is planned today as well.

Unfortunately, all Trump and many Republicans see is a wall between us and Mexico when it has been a very fluid border throughout the centuries.  One that has benefited us far more than it has Mexico.  It took decades to finally get the Colorado River flowing into Mexico again, after all the dams we had built upriver to supply US farmland and provide electricity.  This was a signature moment for the Obama administration when it signed the US-Mexico Water Pact, the kind of relationship we should have with Mexico.

Instead, many of us see Mexico as an enemy, forever evoking the Alamo, which paved the way for one of the biggest land grabs in American history.  Not only did we take Texas, but all of the New Mexico territory and California, after the "Lone Star…

Obama drops the mic

What a week!  The President offered his farewell address to White House correspondents and a wide variety of guests, many of whom he singled out during the evening.  One person wasn't there, Donald Trump, but he had his two sons represent him, with Eric saying he was looking forward to his father addressing the White House Correspondents Association next year.

It may have seemed like a far-fetched idea last June, when he descended his escalator, but that reality came a step closer yesterday when Ted Cruz bowed out of the race, failing to hold the firewall in Indiana against the raging Trump fire.  It's too bad, we were all looking forward to the dream ticket in California.

First, the good news.  The President was in fine form, playfully teasing his audience, including Reince Priebus, the head of the Republican National Committee, who seemed to take the jokes in stride.  Obama even singled out Kendall Jenner, noting how his twitter followers will increase now that he has refe…

A Special Kind of Stupid

Apparently Sam Elliott wasn't all that keen about being cast as another cowboy in The Big Lebowski but he has since come to embrace this prototype, taking the roles that came with it.  However, I would have to think he would be a bit chagrined by how his "stranger" has come to be one of the most popular memes on social media, most often used to advocate gun rights.  The quotes you see attributed to him can be easily generated at such meme sites as imgflip.

I had my brush with Sam Elliott many years ago, when he came to Northwest Florida to film Frogs.  I was cast along with other neighborhood kids for the child roles in the movie, but alas I lost out to my classmate for the closing scene when a little boy shows a big frog to the kids who had survived the torment of amphibian and reptilian revenge.  Still, I got to meet Sam and Joan Van Ark and glimpse Ray Milland in one of his least memorable roles.  Sam would go on to better films, leaving Frogs far behind.  However, a…