Sunday, October 8, 2017

Victoria and Abdul and A Mountain Between

Movies this past week were somewhat a snooze, with Judi Dench commanding the screen in Victoria and Abdul in the same performance she has given previously in her recent films. She is being typecast, so it's not her fault that all of her roles are the same from film to film, but I would have loved to have seen this role be a bit more interesting, more dynamic, and a whole lot less predictable. In a couple of places, I said the lines as she was saying them -- and I didn't write the screen script.

I give this film a C as it's pretty much not good enough for an A or B, and not bad enough for a D or Fail.

A Mountain Between is a story of a plane crash in the deeply snowy mountains which is survived by a man and a woman, and a dog, who then have to find either a way to be rescued (not going to happen) or a way to save themselves, which seems highly improbable. However, being a movie, they do get down the mountain and save themselves -- oh, did I just give away the movie? Really not really because it's that predictable. The acting is pretty good in the film, and the dog has a starring role and provides a bit of both comic relief and a moment of sheer terror, followed by heroism.

I almost want to give this film a B- as it's better overall than just average, but not really outstanding as it's too predictable. Even the ending, which you'll see coming a mile away.

If your theatre has a discount ticket price, I'd go for the least expensive showing as it would seem really not worth it if you paid full prime ticket sales amounts.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Ricky Martin Puerto Rico Relief

I'm not easily impressed with people who tout their own virtues in an effort to make themselves look good, but I appreciate those who simply go about their business and, if accolades accrue, modestly accept the praise. When Ricky Martin visited The Ellen Show a week ago, he asked for donations to help him purchase relief aid for the people of Puerto Rico who have been devastated by the recent tornado. He asked for as many viewers as possible to send any amount, even a dollar, and he assured the viewers that their donations will be put to work where they are needed.

Today, Ellen had Ricky Martin on her show and his visit was accompanied by a visual piece about his taking necessary supplies to Puerto Rico and going person-to-person to deliver supplies in the devastated communities. He warmly greeted the people in his path, sharing his wonderful huge grin and a heart-warming hug along with the disaster relief packages. It was easy to see how appreciative the people were who received the boxes, but it was also nice to see the real joy on Ricky's face. Most interesting is the fact that Ricky was amazed at how Ellen's viewers responded to his request for donations, and he had a quarter of a million dollars to spend on aid just from Ellen viewers.

Ricky Martin is going back to Puerto Rico this weekend and he wants to take another plane filled with relief aid. He asked viewers of The Ellen Show again to donate whatever they can afford, and made the point that one dollar, when combined with lots of other dollar donations, can make a tremendous difference to the people of Puerto Rico. He provided a web address ( for donations.

I pledged $100 and received an additional $37 credit for posting on Facebook. I urge anyone who reads this blogpost to consider a donation too, and to post it so the fund has the money to send many more planes filled with relief products to people who really need the help.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Book Boyfriends

I live life vicariously through what I fondly call “trashy romance novels,” but what others in today’s world call “book boyfriends.” I like the complete life cycle captured between the covers of an afternoon’s read – and it always ends well. Usually it’s a boy meets girl, they hop into bed together, then they find out about each other’s real life and have to find a way to either walk away in one piece or live happily ever after.

Lately, I’ve become addicted to Kaylea Cross’s assorted series of stories, most of which revolve around “superman” male characters and strong, forceful, but loving female characters. No matter the challenges to the relationship, they stay strong and come out the other end of adversity with a smile on their faces. The men are often either active military (such as Special Forces); retired military with special skills (such as piloting aircraft or advanced computer skills); or those who work for private contractors without benefit of military training. They most often work as a tightly-knit team, and the concept of teamwork is wound throughout the stories, emphasizing how a strong team can overcome most adversity.

Now the one part of the whole series that I’m not particularly interested in is the sex scenes. Back in the day there were love scenes, but today—it’s straight-up down and dirty sex for page after page after page. Because I like the stories without the sex scenes, I simply page through that part of the book and begin reading again after the sex is finished. It’s a simple fix to a personal preference, and I don’t try to shove my morality down anyone else’s throat. If you like the graphic sex part of the story, read it: I’ll save my reading time for something else.

I gave one of my friends one of the books to read and was shocked at the reaction she had. She literally pointed her finger and accused me in a rather loud voice of polluting her life with a trashy book. When I told her I enjoyed the story, she went straight for the raunchy sex, which is usually just one scene in any detail. I told her she should do what I do and turn the pages until the story is back: simple problem; simple solution. Well, she wasn’t easily placated and warned me not to give her any more of “those books” to read as she was offended by the content of the book I did give her.

You know, life is too short to be so caught up in such childish things. A simple, calmly-delivered “I didn’t like the sex scenes in the book you gave me” would have been fine. After all, we're all entitled to our own opinions.

Now, you'll have to excuse me: I have another Kaylea Cross to read this afternoon.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Pay Attention!

I think it is respectful to stand and pay attention to the playing of the national anthem, whether at an athletic event, a concert, or any public gathering at which the national anthem is played.

I think it is permissible for those who question their loyalty to the United States to protest the playing of the national anthem; however, not if that protest interferes with others' right to honor the nation by standing respectfully during the playing of the anthem. Athletes taking a knee or standing with their arms intertwined is okay, but not talking during the playing of the anthem and/or disrupting the event for other people participating in it.

What I think is not okay is the President of the United States of America trying to dictate what is correct and what is not when it comes to the national anthem. His comments are rude, inappropriate, and unnecessary, and don't add to the discussion of what taking a knee and/or standing with arms intertwined means to the people who are taking that action.

Twitter should delete the President's account as he obviously is using it as a his personal messaging service to the world, and he doesn't think before he tweets. Think "Rocket Man" and then how such a thoughtless remark could literally lead to world war.

Enough is enough and I cannot imagine another 3 years of this. I'm taking a knee on President Trump.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Immigration Dreamers

It seems to me that there is a simple solution for the Dreamers issue: within the next 12 months, all undocumented immigrants living in the US must apply for and receive American citizenship.

Just because you've lived in a country illegally does not mean that you can continue to do that with impunity because you birthed children during your illegal residence. There are consequences of illegal conduct, including illegally entering a country and staying there at risk of deportation.

If the Dreamers are under age, of course they have to return to their parents' country of origin: we are not going to develop small cities of apartments and care-takers to raise the children of illegal immigrants. When their parents apply for and are granted citizenship, the younger children can come back to the US with them.

Is this a good solution? Of course not, but it's actionable. The US did not create this problem, so it really doesn't have responsibility for fixing it. The law is fairly clear on illegal immigrants: they are deported. The law is fairly clear on legal citizens: born in the USA/stay in the USA.