Monday, April 18, 2022

Good News from my Birthday

 You know that nuclear and coal aren't declining sources of power (yes, coal should be, but it's not). So the fact that on my birthday (March 29th) wind replaced coal and nuclear on energy generation is great news for the environment.



Yes, this complete encompasses the nincompoopery of last week...

 


Sunday, April 17, 2022

Something to make you go.. What the fu...

 Tucker Carlsen, for those who may not know (Brits?) is a Fox News Host - but Opinions ONLY, that is why he wins lawsuits. You may know him from Russian TV where they play his Fox News snippets that Russia is only protecting themselves.

Or you may have seen his lips attached to President Trump's ass.

In any case, he is a dreadful person in my book. Here he is plugging a story (movie?) about how real men are being phased out. However...

In Tucker Carlsen's mind, "real men" run around shirtless, swinging axes, riding horses, and wrestling each other. In short, it short, a British narrates what looks a gay porn video. Seriously, it is hill-air-e-ous.


A Friend sent it and I thought it was funny.. sorry if you've seen it.

 


Friday, April 15, 2022

Why Do Republicans Accidentally Praise Hitler All The Time

Look, I know that most Republicans don't "love" Hitler. But you wouldn't always know that from their comments and actions. And here, we have a Tennessee state legislator favorably telling a story of Hitler's rise and perseverance. Really, see the image capture.

First Putin, now Hitler. I don't think they can actually find a worse analogy, but I thought that about Putin. And look how wrong I was. LINK (from FOX news (albeit local TV)!)

Replay of Old Tactic

Russia is replaying a tactic that has gained a lot of traction in recent conflicts. They are destroying Ukrainian culture and history in an attempt to invalidate the idea of "Ukraine" and play down any difference of the invaded from the invader.


While many traditional wars find the aggressors trying seek to impose their dominance over weaker people, often newer wars try to erase the idea that the conquered are a unique people altogether.

Russian has long held that Ukraine is an integral part of "greater" Russia. To reinforce this idea, they try to remove the signifiers of a separate culture and a national interests of the enemy. 

For example, there is a separate Orthodox Ukrainian Church and a separate Ukrainian Byzantine Catholic Church (the second largest Catholic Church, after the Latin Catholics). The Orthodox Russian Church is trying to remove the Kyiv Prelate and subsume the Ukrainian Orthodox into the Russian Orthodox system.

They also try to remove any Ukrainian symbols of culture: museums, churches and leaders (down to mayors - as we have seen). This same thing happened in Bosnian Herzegovina, even down to the destruction of the Bosnian National Archive and Library in order to destroy the written history of Bosnia. Serbs destroyed Mosques, saying that Bosniacs were not "really" slavic, but turn coats from the Ottoman Empire.

This is a different older conflicts, like the war of "Americans" versus the native Americans, or Turkey versus the Kurds. In these cases, the dominate culture expressly identifies the culture of the enemy as less important or strong. The enemy is "the other".

The result of Russia's attempts is the focus on removing the culture and history of the enemy, not just defeating them. Say in Mariupol, the Russians havre destroyed the city. If they hold it, they will rebuild with a distinctively more Russian cast and remove all "Ukrainian" influences. 

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Lithuania calls Bullshit on Russia

 Well, this is a story that can told best in pictures;

+++++++

First, the war in Ukraine, a previously neutral nation, has caused Sweden and Finland, also borderland close neutral countries, to rethink this whole "neutral" thing. Maybe they want a little alliance help in keeping Putin at bay.


++++++++++++++++++++++++

Putin responded to this in a very I am Putin way. He said - in a mafia voice, "Yeah. You wanna join NATO. That's cool, but now I'm going to station Nuclear Bombs right here. Next door. I don't think your wife's gonna like that." *

++++++++++++++++++++++++

This threat was just annoying to the Baltic Countries, which sit between Sweden and Russia. I mean, they had to fight the Soviets for their independence. So Lithuania's representative said, "Erm... Mr. Russia, you seem to have forgotten, you already HAVE Nuclear Weapons on their doorstep. In Kaliningrad.

+++++++++++++++++++++++


Kaliningrad!!! I just posted about that less than a month ago!

As I tell Ed continuously, "I am so far ahead of the curve it's scary." He tends to agree with the scary part.

* I supplied the translations. They may be a little off.

Bad News Day Yesterday


Yesterday, and perhaps the last few days, have kind of sucked - albeit external to my feelings and not the result of gluten. That is kind of why I am not writing today.

It wasn't anything in particular, but everything. I am going to list to try to purge myself - like throwing up, but negative energy. You don't have to read this, I just need to get this carp out of my system:

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Macbeth with Big Ass Names

Select to enlarge. Credit to Vanity Fair.
 
I saw Macbeth yesterday. I had tickets for a while, and it went yesterday. I was worried since it was to be the first show after a bunch were covid cancelled. But it went on without a hiccup.

Man was it great! Seriously.


It starred Daniel Craig from 007. And Ruth Negga, nominated for 2 Academy Awards for "Passing" and "Loving" (the story of the Supreme Court repeal of mixed marriage prohibitions.

Amber Grey as Perspheone


They were fantastic. As was Amber Grey. She is known much for stage work. I last saw here in Hadestown but John and Sue may remember her from 
Natasha, Pierre, & the Great Comet of 1812. Amber played Banquo (changing the character to female). It pulled more meaning actually that Banquo was a female and mother - no changes to the plot, but Banquo as a father was not as moving when he dies (it's not a spoiler if it was written 400 years ago).
Asia Kate Dillion from Billions


In the large picture at the top, Amber is braided hair directly behind Daniel Craig.

Asia is to the extreme left in that picture.

The final "big" US name was Asia KateDillon from Billions (pronouns "they" - so this is not a mistake). They played Malcom. Asia was good, but I cannot get easily past their portrayal in Billions. Kate's voice is so distinctive, that it is hard to see them as Malcom.

Finally the director was Sam Gold. He has done some shows I love and some.. not so much. In this I thought the unique pieces (and missing stage items) definitely did not help the production at all. It was horribly bad, but it was distracting.


Tuesday, April 12, 2022

The Williamsburg Bank - Brooklyn

When I saw Cyrano on Sunday, I traveled to Brooklyn. Just across from the "Atlantic Terminal" is the old Williamsburg Bank.

Now you have seen the inside on many many TV shows. see the bottom for the interior and the interior mosaic, which I have problem shared before.

Once again I was blown away by this architectural beauty. I wanted to share the full effect, and then some detail.

from street level

Lion detail on flagpoles

Entrance with the engraved signage

Interiors (not mine)

People at the Brooklyn Flea (Market). It's winter location is at the old bank.
 

Monday, April 11, 2022

I saw James McAvoy in Cyrano de Bergerac sunday

James McAvoy rocks it as Cyrano de Bergerac

Wow. Cyrano de Bergerac is playing at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music, but really much more). It was intense.

It is acted in "spoken word prose". that isn't from the playbill, that is my  thinking. It has a cadence, rhythm, and language all it's won (or maybe it is big in London). And it is like Shakespeare in that it takes a bit to get used to it all.

Roxane (Miller) and Cyrano

But McAvoy is mesmerizing and impossible to ignore. As is Evelyn Miller as Roxanne. Eben Figueiredo is Christian and, at least in this version, a handsome but witless suitor of Roxanne.

Cyrano schools Christian (Figueirecxo)

I was not / am not familiar with the story, aside from the giant nose and his words filling in for Christian's. But it is a tragedy in the olden times way. By the end, I loved it.

And BAM's Harvey Theater is a great place to see plays. It is the same place I saw Kevin Spacey tear it up as Richard III (yes, I know we hate Kevin now, but he is a hell of an actor - and who didn't know he was a super dirty old (gay) man!). 

Interior of BAM's Harvey Theater

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Welcome to Gilead, Texas

 Welcome to Gilead Texas in 2022. Where a woman past the 6 weeks cutoff for a Texas Abortion (technically unconstitutional right now, but still allowed in place in Texas) was arrested for murder.

Lizelle Herrera was in the hospital and had miscarriage (unclear whether she went in with miscarriage or had one at the hospital). There, she gave information to the hospital staff who then reported her to the police. The police arrested her for “intentionally and knowingly cause the death of an individual by self-induced abortion.”

It is undefined right now what she did. This would be anything she did after 6 weeks that might effect the baby.

 Now, other women have been charged in other situations where drugs or alcohol might have harmed or caused the death of a fetus. But this is first charge of MURDER against a woman trying to have an abortion in our country - okay at least in the last 50 years that I know of.

Thank God our Supreme Court held that this unconstitutional law in Texas makes woman - who may not have even known they were pregnant before 6 weeks - murderers.

By the way, I am sarcastic in the face of pure nastiness towards women, because I do not know how else to cope. Where are we going to?

Friday, April 8, 2022

Smithsonian: Essay and Photo Essay on Italy

 Smithsonian Magazine as a beautiful story on:

  How Italy Is Bringing Its Rustic Villages Back to Life. 

Take a photographic tour through the country’s effort to revitalize its rural town.

The story is here: and below are two of the images from it.


Another reason to visit.. Detroit?

Detroit, not a typical tourist destination. Long known as the most decaying city in North America (and before that Motor City where car was king) it doesn't seem a tourist hub.

Okay, except for the stunning pictures of sad decay.

Okay, and the stunning murals of Diego Rivera.

But now, I just discovered the Polk Penguin Conservation Center at the Detroit Zoo. It is the largest penguin facility in the world (you know, except in nature). It seems very much like the walk through exhibits in New York's Central Park Zoo and Penguin Encounter at Sea World. The Penguin Encounter has more birds, but Detroit's tank is much bigger and accessible.

Anyway, it has reopened - again, I didn't even know it was there! - and it is a reason to stop by, if not travel to Detroit. From their press release

PRESS ROOM

Polk Penguin Conservation Center Reopens at Detroit Zoo

February 14, 2022

ROYAL OAK, Mich., 

The largest penguin facility in the world has reopened to the public. Closed since September 2019 for waterproofing repairs, the Polk Penguin Conservation Center (PPCC) has also received numerous enhancements and welcomed a new species.

The PPCC is now home to more than 75 king, rockhopper, macaroni, gentoo and chinstrap penguins.

“The chinstraps settled right in and became avid swimmers. Once the lights come on for the day, TJ, Haiku, Kringle and Turtle immediately dive into the pool,” said Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) Curator of Birds Bonnie Van Dam. “They also had no problem integrating with the other species. Penguins thrive within larger colonies, and they are just exceptional at mingling.”

Upgrades to the PPCC include a section of glass flooring that allows guests to see birds swimming below their feet, repainted rock surfaces, the creation of more nesting areas, a second snow machine within the habitat, upgrades to the water and air filtration systems, enhanced lighting and exhibits that focus on changing climate and the resulting loss of sea ice.

(Images)



Thursday, April 7, 2022

The Minutes were GREAT.


Last night I saw a show that was not cancelled, not delayed and had no substitutions due to Covid (a first in the past 3 months). And it was great.

It is called "The Minutes" and follows a new City Council member trying to understand the city. The new member is played by Noah Reid. If you ever watched "Schitt's Creek", he was David's boyfriend - which is played wonderfully. He is married to a woman and so, he is straight, But played the role of Patrick for over 3 seasons, I never questioned his acting.

Noah Reid has acted a fair amount, but is also a singer with a nomination for best song at the Canadian version of the Academy Awards. He took over Armie Hammer's role when Armie had to drop out (that whole cannibalism thing). Now I love Armie's acting. If you haven't seen the movie Man From Uncle, watch it. He, Henry Cavil and Hugh Grant are a delight.

Just let me say, that I think Noah is undoubtedly a better fit for the role. Armie is too tall and handsome to play an annoying junior council member that people ignore.

Anyway, the play's first half is a hilarious city council meeting, with all the annoyances, interruptions and tons of laughs you would expect. The last 1/3 takes a swing into serious territory although done perfectly.

I LOVE IT.

Here is a picture of Noah you might recognize more easily.

New Judge on Supreme Court


 Ketanji Brown Jackson was just confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice. The Republicans have tried to paint here as soft on crime, terrorists and pedophiles. This is because she actually worked as a Public Defender for years - and was assigned various cases which she legally had to take (yes kids, she follows the law!). These cases were out of DC, so yes, she had to defend the terrorists. And no, despite smears to the contrary, she never accused the US of War Crimes.

Her approval to the court is great news because she will be the first Justice that acted as a Public Defender in many decades. She will bring a different viewpoint to the court. One of her uncles was the Chief of Police for Miami. And so her background is diverse and she brings both of these sides of herself to the Supreme Court.

Three Republican Senators voted to confirm here. Interestingly, earlier when nominated for the Appellate Court, Lindsey Graham voted for her, While in these hearings, Senator Graham stormed out of the hearings accusing her of .. i don't know something stupid.

Her confirmation hearings were exercises in smearing, grandstanding and theatricality. That is not unusual now. The same actions, smearing, grandstand and all, were present in Bret Kavanaugh's hearings as well, that time by the Democrats. It is a function of overt political partisanship in Supreme Court nominations. For non-Americans, Supreme Court nominations in our country are for life. That is not true in almost any other nation.

That used to be a reason to appoint learned judges to the court and they would be independent. It is now a case of putting very young and political judges that will rule years after that President is gone. FYI because of a fluke, President Trump got to appoint 3 of the 9 Justices.

Since they are appointed for life, some judges change positions over time. In answer to this, Presidents try to ensure their views will be faithfully represented forever.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Ed Showed me this, it is funny

 If you don't understand, read below. Otherwise, enjoy:


If you have not heard, Madison Cawthorn (who I promised to ignore, but this is funny) went on a conservative talk show and said that people he has admired his entire life (admittedly a short period) in politics have shocked him. Politicians aged 60 and 70 have invited him to orgies. AND he has seen anti-drug politicians doing cocaine in front of him.

This has Republicans freaked because this is their guy saying that. And he hates and never would associate with liberals, communists and pedophiles (as he describes all Democrats). So this is about his Republican colleagues. So they went after him. Being pro-Nazi, pro-Putin and calling the President of Ukraine a "violent thug", brought no condemnation, but Republicans are tripping over their Don't Say Gay bills to pull the plug on this. Going so far as to support his challengers in the primary!

Enjoy the karma while it lasts.



Nice Post

 


United Nations : Dissolution or Ineffectual Window Dressing?

In a post on March 4th, I discussed how the League of Nations (the pre-wWII predecessor to the United Nations) collapsed as countries first ignored resolutions coming out of it, then left the organization. I postulated then that inaction in the current situation could break the UN. In fact, here is my quote from then.

If the world (and the UN) do not act here, then the UN is sending the same message to others that the League sent to the world, "We are useless in the face of authoritarian power, if a member nation uses it." 

I reiterate that now. President of Ukraine Zelenskyy has repeated this line of thought at the UN for the past 3 days.

As the proof of genocide and widespread murders of civilians - long after the fighting is over - continues to be unearthed, with bother with the UN? Seriously. It accomplishes a lot in terms of humanitarian support, but let's change the mission to that. Or let's change our hopes for anything more.

I loath saying this, but I loath thinking it even more. We are swinging back to war as a means of power politics, and the US is often guilty of this as well, then let's get rid of the facade of international cooperation.

And I mean the US is guilty of using the military to achieve politic objectives (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya) the US is NOT guilty of widespread carnage as a power play. There is no equivalence meant to the horrors and war crimes of the Ukraine conflict inflicted by Russia. 

Covid and Broadway and Scott's Issue

I did post earlier that part of my frustration with Broadway lately has little to do with the stage or players. It is the constant Covid changes, cancellations and replacements. I shall give you two examples - the first of which announced today:

1. Plaza Suite

This has already opened, but now Mathew Broderick is out until April 15th with Covid. Suzanne and her family (2 sisters and mother) are coming the very next day for the week-end from Wisconsin. They have already purchased tickets for this show, based on the stars.

I don't blame the production, but it is infuriating. Right now Sarah Jessica Parker is covid free, but teh family didn't pay Broadway Prices for understudies. If Suzanne and all knew this, they might have purchased different shows. And, no tickets are not refundable or changeable for the shows that go on with understudies.

-------------------------------

2. Macbeth with Daniel Craig


Macbeth is now canceled through April 9th. I have tickets for April 12. Macbeth is refunding purchased tickets because it is sold out for the rest of it's very limited run. Since many other working actors have TV shows or movies to get back to, it cannot extend. So, if it somehow has to delay opening for the following 3 performances, I will not get to see it.

I won't be able to reschedule - sold out.

It is frustrating, not to be hyperbolic about it. But when it happens repeatedly, it gets so frustrating you stop planning and going.

So far my matinee performance of The Minutes is still a go (note from the poster, Armie Hammer has already dropped out - not due to Covid).



Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Very Good News: Sumatran Rhino Born

 It's good news, albeit in a troubled population. But a Sumatran Rhino was born in an Indonesian Sanctuary. It is rare good news for this species. Story

The Sumatran Rhino is the smallest of all Rhinos and only has 1 horn naturally (White and Black Rhinos have 2). It has already gone extinct on the Asian continent proper. It roamed from the mountains of India through Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia up to Vietnam and China. Now they only live on 2 Indonesian islands - I don't know if they are in zoos for captive breeding.

But it is great news.

Images of Sumatran Rhinos:

Totally Cute

Bottom Image from Malaysian Zoo


Thirty years since the siege of Sarajevo.

The siege of Sarajevo started 30 years ago. It lasted 2+ years, the longest siege in Europe since the middle ages.

The images and stories moved me to work with Project 1948. I am actually kind of proud of what I did in the past few years with that team.

There is an exhibition of photographs, many unseen before, of that time. It is both moving and makes you cry for Ukraine. The images here of actual attempted genocide by war are horrible. But they are nothing compared with what is coming out of Ukraine.

Here is the link if you want to see and read the words of the author.

Two images with some of the related text:



-------------------------------------------------


Fault


So, I purchased a Western Digital PRS drive for Plex and backup. It worked well for a while (like the length of the warranty).

Then 1 of the drives went into fault and was unrecoverable.

No worries, said I, I have a 2 drive system that auto backs up everything.

And so I blithely ordered a new back up drive and continued.

Well, before the new drive could arrive, the second (backup drive) blew up. So now everything I back up is pretty much gone.

I was working with old photos so, I have those in a different place. But I loaded my DVD movies on this thinking I could have them backed up now.

BUZZ - wrong.

About sums it up