Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Heard on plane just now

Hi, it says your child is allergic to peanuts. Now, do you want me to stop serving peanuts on the entire plane or just to your row.

"I don't care. He'll be fine. "

Well, airline police says I have to ask. So are you aright if I serve the rest of the plane peanuts or not?

"Then no. "
I so want to smack her. I don't even like peanuts. #littlebitcrankythismorning

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The KGB Spy Museum

Me as a poorly dressed KGB Officer....
Ed and I went to the pop up KGB Spy Museum yesterday. They had a potpourri of actual soviet and Russian spy equipment. It was fascinating.  Here are some pics.

Satlin's desk lamp and calendar.
Radio Equipment

Coding Machine

This was how it was laid out.

Cool Old Radio

Stalin's original record player and radio.

I Could Use This Right About Now...

Sunday, February 17, 2019

The Future of Poor People....

What happens to poor people in future years, and why?

We are living through a complex changing time. One of the biggest, but unheralded, changes is that a large base of citizens is no longer a pre-requisite for power or influence. And, because of that, the need for the powerful to support poor people (in many advanced countries) is falling quickly.

Much of what we consider societal goods, things like education, transportation infrastructure and medical support, arose through the need of the government to have a healthy, educated population base for war-making. You couldn’t fight a war with sickly men. And a basic education was necessary for your population to support a modern war effort.

The first time that education was mandatory in England was 1880s, when the Empire was expanding. For the United States, national education was not compulsory until 1918 – after the “Great War”. Public Health was first widely available under Kaiser Wilhelm in Germany introduced public health care to keep a war ready population. And the US Interstate system was undertaken by Eisenhower not as a public infrastructure good, but a response to a poor infrastructure for military transportation in World War II.

But now warfare doesn’t require a large population of healthy, intelligent people. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing but respect and admiration for our country’s military. However, we are moving forward with drones, satellites and bombs that are so powerful they make armies irrelevant.

And so, the demand from the government to feed and educate masses of people is reduced. And you see this in the voters of most stripes. We are moving away from public schools and tinker with private schools. The idea of publicly funded college is a joke. When I went to UCLA it was $700 a quarter. But, as people doubt the purpose of public education past high school, the price has increased to $7,000 per quarter, for in state. You see the slow decline of public schools at all levels, because government don’t want to pay for it.

In primary schools we see more and more private education for those that can afford it.

In the United States the fight is over Affordable Health Care. If the country doesn’t need healthy men to fight, then why try to keep everyone healthy? We spend a lot to keep our soldiers and veterans healthy and try to spend very little (of public funds) to keep the general population healthy.

Is the economic good of the country tied to population?

So, if the government doesn’t have to support poor people for military reasons, how about for economic reasons? Is there a tie between population and wealth?

I think there used to be. A large population was needed for farming and manufacturing and a large population made that much more possible. Granted, it helped to be the right type of population; once again, education played a large role here. But now, globalization makes a large population less important. Germany’s “power” didn’t grow when West Germany absorbed East Germany in the 1990s. Singapore is one of the richest countries in the world with a tiny population, almost no natural resources (albeit a great location). Nigeria has a massive population and is poor. Brazil has a massive population is reasonably well-off. Population doesn’t relate directly to power.  And we see the ruling class in the United States actively trying to reduce our population (we have grown for the last few decades mainly by immigration).

Saturday, February 16, 2019

An Interview with Pete ...

interview here....

Mascot Update: The Crime Doctor

As the third of my 4 spotlights on B movie sleuths, we have The Crime Doctor. Warner Baxter played the title character, who was based on books and radio fame.

 The Crime Doctor was Baxter's come back set of vehicles, although in the old studio system there really wasn't such a thing. Baxter had won acclaim, and the Oscar, for a series of Latin Lovers / Bad Guys.

By the 1940s Warner Baxter's young latin-ish looks had faded. But he was cast as The Crime Doctor, and played him for 10 more movies.

The plot (from IMDB with some tweeks by me). "Amnesia victim, Robert Ordway, becomes the country's leading criminal psychologist. So, this man wakes up with amnesia and no one can help, so he self-ecucates to become a criminal psychologist. When he is hit on the head (by someone from his past) he suddenly remembers his previous life as a criminal. He uses his psychological expertise and his criminal expertise to solve crimes for the police."

Thee movies are pretty rudimentary B movies, reused sets, training grounds for Directors and Cinematographers, but clearly had a following. You don't make 10 of them for no reason.

They are great, but they are great fun if you just want to hang back for an hour or so and be entertained. Some jokes, some crime, some solutions. Like the TV show "Elementary" for the 1940s (sans Lucy Lui).

The American Word is Now Worthless

When I was young, America's word was golden. Whether given as a promise or a treaty - we followed through. Sure it wasn't always true, but people believed it.

I remember my father (a lying sociopath, but a believer in America). Once, during an argument about a nuclear treaty, he complained to me that I was gullible.

He compared the Soviet Union (bad)  to American (good) by saying "You know how many treaties America has broken? Zero.* You know how many treaties The Soviets have broken? All of them! Wait, all but one, because the Hitler broke it first!"

We aren't that America anymore.

We pulled out of the Paris climate accords because we don't believe in science (conservatives don't believe in climate science, stupid liberals don't believe in vaccine science).

We pulled out of a treaty with Iran because the President doesn't like Iran.

We just called the lowest level of immigration in decades a National Emergency in order to bypass our Constitution to allocate money for building a wall.

We are the preeminent liars on the world stage now. At least we're the best at something.

*Of course that isn't true. The broken treaties with the Native Americans could fill a book. But that is what he thought.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Yes, I Like Pete Buttigieg

He has more governmental experience than our current President.
He has more executive experience than Mike Pence
He would have the most military experience of any President since George H W Bush.

Yes, not a chance in hell, but listen to him....

Amazon Leaves NYC : Idiots Declare Victory

Well, that was stupid.

NYC did promise them $3Billion, which annoyed many people. But the people who worked at Amazon (not to mention the ancillary jobs) would have contributed over $27 Billion in taxes over a decade, so it wasn't a bad deal.

But anti-Amazon rants sound good and so a boatload of liberals that I normal admire (Cory Johnson, Alexandria Ocaizo Cortez, and some state Senators I think of as hacks anyway) came out against the deal. And then some, AOC at least, were taking a victory lap like losing 25,000 + jobs is something to be thrilled about.

AND Elizabeth Warren chimes in on this as a victory. STFU. We don't go to Massachusetts and trash your deals, keep your idiot opinions out of our city.

And Bill DeBlassio, our idiot mayor, took credit when NYC got Amazon and yesterday took credit when NYC lost Amazon. He reminds me of those air-blown sales tools, in a suit.
Exactly as helpful as our Mayor

Thursday, February 14, 2019

CNN Has a Gorgeous Look at Trump's Statements Now vs. Then.

You must look at this, it is fabulous!! Trump's "Truths" NOW and THEN

It is laid out in the manner below and covers so many lies so easily.  It is funny. Sure, sad and pathetic and he may be re-elected, but I can't worry about that anymore.

The Latest Crop: Klobuchar, Booker and Warren

So, in a semi-random series, we are looking again at 3 candidates for the Democratic Presidential Primary (which starts a mere 11 months from now in snowy Iowa...).

We will start with Amy Klobuchar. She is running towards the center of the Democratic party. Hoping to get people who are afraid that a too liberal candidate will help Donald Trump's reelection.  I get it.

But I don't need a namby-pamby center of the road candidate. The government will force a center of the road discipline, so I like an honest person. The good news there is Ms. Klobuchar seems very real and honest in her centrist views.

She is also, apparently, a tryanical boss. That doesn't particular bother me, except that it means the bitter ex-employees might fly out of the wood-work. The fact that all her news after the announcement was about her temper and work habits is not comforting.

Cory Booker is a New Jersey Senator. His roll out has been great. He is well spoken and intelligent. I thought he was a bit of a grand-stander during the Supreme Court hearings for the Frat Boy, but it was well played.

He is probably tough enough to stand-up to Trump, but that same toughness might frighten some people. The Candidate Obama was the perfect mesh of intelligent and non-threatening. I think Cory won't look quite so good in comparison. That isn't a reason to rule him out, I'm just saying he suffers in the comparison.

He was the Mayor of Newark and, despite his positive record in the city, Newark has a reputation as a bit of a shit-hole, so that won't help him. I am not thrilled with him, nor and I against him. I'll wait and see.


Her roll out sucked. She is stiff and too wonky. I would (and will) say the same thing about Bernie Sanders; I'm not trying to be sexist or ageist, but just no.

She rose to the bait of Donald Trump and that pretty much strikes her out for me.

Latest Review

 (from Reviews Off Broadway)

The Waiting Game Brings a Bit of the Fringe to New York

The Waiting Game now at 59 E 59 Theater is direct from an award-winning run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival as Best Overseas Play. It is very much a Fringe play in that it is quickly paced, intelligent and demands a bit from an audience. When given its due, The Waiting Game is a rewarding and excellent piece of theater.

The Waiting Game explores how we hold on to people and experiences, and how we must proactively act to let them go. The story revolves around Paulo (a terrific Marc Sinoway). Paulo’s husband, Sam, lies in a coma in the hospital, brain dead, but his heart still beating a year after an overdose. Paulo is in a relationship of sorts with Tyler (Julian Joseph in a heartbreaking role). Tyler provides Paulo with companionship and sex while demanding very little in return. Paulo has trouble supplying even the little emotional support Tyler needs.

L-R: Marc Sinoway, Joshua Bouchard in THE WAITING GAME. Photo by Carol Rosegg
Paulo also must deal with Geoff (Joshua Bouchard), who was in a healthy relationship with Sam for at least a year before the overdose. Geoff believes that Sam was ready to leave Paulo and live with him, had the accidental overdose not occurred. Paulo resents the idea of Geoff much more than the reality of Geoff.  Geoff entered Paulo and Sam’s marriage as a sex partner, which was acceptable, but Sam and Geoff’s relationship grew, which was outside of the bounds of the agreement. Had Paulo and Sam’s relationship been healthy, the Geoff / Sam relationship would never have grown. As it is, Paulo resents Geoff, but doesn’t deny his importance in Sam’s world.
After waiting for Sam to leave Paulo, now Geoff is waiting for Paulo to let Sam go. Joshua Bouchard does a great job with the role of Geoff, who is sometimes very sympathetic and sometimes not sympathetic at all. On the other hand, Paulo is actively not sympathetic. Self-centered and callous, Paulo has channeled his hurt and confusion into anger and manipulativeness. He forces Tyler and Sam to jump through hoops, while offering very little in return.
The Waiting Game is not an easy play to love, as the pieces don’t fall neatly into place. It suggests emotions and forces the viewer to supply motivation. Why has Paulo retreated into himself? Is the casual drug use a symptom of Paulo’s pain, or was it the cause of Sam’s pain? Why is he such a dick to everyone? Having said that, I did love the show. I found the contradictions honest and raw.
Playwright Charles Gershman has crafted a unique vision at the crossroads of drug use, sex, marriage and HIV status. Nathan Wright has staged it interestingly and pulled out wonderful performances from the actors. It could have used a bit more dialog and a little less distracting stage business, that is where I think the straight transition from the Fringe environment hurts the result. But those are minor nits which are lost in the unique voice The Waiting Game brings.
The Waiting Game | Playwright: Charles Gershman | Director: Nathan Wright | Cast: Joshua Bouchard, Julian Joseph, Ibsen Santos, Marc Sinoway | website