Posts

Showing posts from May, 2020

Mailing It In: Thoughts On The June 2nd Primary

I hadn't actually got around to changing my voter registration back to No Party after the caucuses, so I filled out the form for an absentee ballot (+1 to GOP Secretary of State Paul Pate for this-- well done, well organized from what I could tell) and after some pondering and research filledo ut and popped by absentee ballot in a mailbox this morning.
For the Democratic side of things, the Senate, State House District 86 and the Sheriff's race were probably the biggest ticket items-- the intersections and dynamics of that last race, especially with my Day Job made for some fascinating thinking. But I done voted. I hope you do too and we'll see what happens on June 2nd.
Senate:
I went with Admiral Mike Franken on this... I was told that he had just switched parties last year AND he still has a house in Washington D.C., but his military service plus the fact he's from Sioux City sort of won me over. He's from an area of the state that Democrats need more bench strengt…

Free Write Friday #20: Wrath/Gratitude- Part 2

My second entry for Wrath is a lot more fun that the first one, inspired by my hatred for fax machines:
“Why isn’t the damn thing working?”“Did you press 9 before you put in the number?”“Yes, of course I did!”There was a screeching noise and then the fax machine began emitting one, long continuous beep. The Dispatch Center wasn’t that small, but it was small enough that the noise caused heads to turn and cries of recrimination to rain down on the hapless Dispatchers attempting to fax a request for a phone ping to Sprint.Eventually, one of them had to crawl under the counter and the first Dispatcher, Martin was his name, began to sneeze uncontrollably.“When was the last time someone dusted under here?”“Probably never,” replied his counterpart, Aleecia. “Just think, there’s probably enough dead skin cells under there to clone enough dispatchers to get us back to full staffing.”“Oh wonderful,” Martin said. “Thanks for that image. Just what I need, thinking of how many Dispatcher skin cell…

Boozehound Unfiltered: Experiments In Mixology

Image
So, it's been awhile since I did an edition of Boozehound, so I figured I might as well share some of the things I've been up to in the old home bar. And let's just say the blender has been getting something of a workout:


I know 'traditional' bartending doesn't really focus on 'frozen' drinks- but the Missus is a huge fan of pina coladas and we scored an entire case of bananas from a school lunch pick up- so we had a couple of weeks where frozen banana daiquris (top photo) suddenly became my drink of choice. The recipe I found over on the Spruce Eats included both Triple Sec and lime juice, which struck me as kind of unusual as the classic daiquiri consists of simple syrup, lime juice and rum- so I'm not sure what Triple Sec brings to the party- but it made for a tasty drink, so I didn't care all that much. If there was a downside to the Banana Daiquiri is was probably that the banana flavor got buried a little bit- which makes me wonder if swapp…

Ambition Is Called For, But I'm Not Optimistic

The House passed another gigantic coronavirus relief package that's probably dead in the Senate- whether they launch another go-round of aid, I don't know, but the thought did occur to me that even if the price-tag of some of these initiatives make you grimace, this a moment where ambition, if carefully thought through, could well be called for. 
First, policy makers and wonks will be arguing about the efficacy of the choice for decades, but like it or not, we don't have one national response to this. In some ways that's been a hinderance to our actions, but in other ways it's been helpful. After all, New York City is not Iowa- and it's not Montana either. States should have the flexibility to respond to this based on the level of outbreak they're each facing. Granted, I know this notion has launched a million, "it's like letting people pee in the pool" metaphors that are becoming increasingly annoying, but it is what it is. I think the only th…

Netflix & Chill #79: The Rise of Skywalker

Image
Watched On: Disney + Released: 2019 Directed By: J.J. Abrams Starring: Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Naomi Ackie, Domhnall Gleeson, Richard E. Grant, Lupita Nyong'o, Keri Russell, Joonas Suotamo, Kelly Marie Tran, Ian McDiarmid, Billy Dee Williams Rotten Tomatoes: 52% Tomatometer, 86% Audience Score Pick: Mine
So, with the end of any trilogy, you've got to approach a review kind of on two levels: one, is it a good movie in and of itself and two, does it complete the trilogy in a satisfactory way. I'm not entirely sure that The Rise of Skywalker rises to meet even the most basic qualifications of those two points and I've been puzzling over it and trying to figure out why.
Picking up after The Last Jedi, it turns out Palpatine (last seen falling into the Death Star at the end of The Return of The Jedi) is alive and well and threatening the free worlds of the galaxy with something called The Final Order. This t…

Art vs The Artist

So I came across a random Reddit post the other day that kind of shook me a little bit. Apparently noted fantasy author David Eddings and his wife spent a year in jail back in the 70s for child abuse when they lived in South Dakota. His story was that they relocated to Denver and he took a job in a grocery store because he "didn't get a raise" at the small college he was at. Yeah, nope. Not so much. A year in jail and losing custody of the kids you adopted seems to have been the primary motivating factor for the relocation there, Dave. (It does get a mention on his wikipedia page- so it's not like people are actively trying to memory hole this- but still.)
And man, it bummed me out. It still bums me out because growing up, once I had devoured Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit, Eddings was my jam, man. I've read (and still own) the Belgariad and the Mallorean-- and the two prequels. I didn't love The Tamuli or the Elenium quite so much (his work is very deriviti…

Free Write Friday #19: Wrath/Gratitude- Part One

This was the first piece of writing that honestly made me pause and think about a Trigger Warning. In retrospect, I should have just put it in there, but I also wanted to let the piece land where it landed-- but I also don't know where this came from. (As in, I know I've got some modest game at this whole writing thing, but I felt like I dug deep for this one and didn't know I could pull something so raw off credibly.) I know what it's for, of course. (A character moment in Book 4-- I think. Book 4 is in the very early stages of development and mostly in my head at this point. So we'll see if this survives to paper.) But anyway, here's Wrath:
It was a warm summer night shortly after he turned thirteen when something inside him snapped and he let loose the wrath that had been building inside of him for years. The back door to the house crashed open and Dad staggered in, drunk as usual. Mom had become a master of hiding her emotions and reactions to Dad, but now h…

Squawk Box: Unorthodox/Counterpart

Image
Unorthodox: A four-part miniseries based on Deborah Feldman's autobiography, Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots, Unorthodox is groundbreaking because it's the first Netflix seris to be primarily in Yiddish- and, as a brief, 'making of' documentary shows, it also took a great deal of care and research to make sure they got as many of hte cultural nuances and details as right as possible. The show itself tells the story of Esty, a 19-year old Jewish woman who flees her arranged marriage in the Ultra-Orthodox community in Williamsburg, Brooklyn New York and moves to Berlin where her estranged mother lives.

The show opens with Esty (Shira Haas) fleeing to Berlin and her husband, Yanky Shapiro (Amit Rahav) and his cousin Moishe (Jeff Wilbusch) follow her to Berlin to try and find her and bring her back after finding out that she's pregnant. Esty's attempts to navigate secular life in Berlin are interspersed with flashbacks to her life in the co…

Nobody Knows Anything, So Buckle Up

I was going to do another listicle about ten things that I've been noticing in all this mess, but I've decided not too. I just can't anymore. It's emotionally draining on a good day and it's also because none of it actually matters, because finding the truth in a hurricane of shit is next to impossible. I'm sure, like Mulder and Scully in The X-Files that the truth is out there- but I've come to the conclusion that unless something changes- and there's an increasingly non-zero chance that something might change, then we're not just sailing into a post-industrial economy, we're sailing into a post-factual world.
Yes, everyone is entitled to their feelings and their own facts now. That's the world we live in. CBS News got caught faking a corona virus test line. The media is not structured to report on a pandemic where information is constantly being gathered, scientists learn more about this and waht works and what doesn't with every passin…

Bookshot #130: Presidents of War

Image
This is sneakily an incredibly timely book and I haven't really checked to see if it's getting some of the credit it's due, but I hope it is, because it's an incredibly timely book. Historian Michael Beschloss tell the story of the Presidents who have lead the nation into a major conflict, starting with Madison and the War of 1812 and then going through Polk and the Mexican War, Lincoln and the Civil War, McKinley and the Spanish-American War, Wilson and World War One, FDR and World War Two, Truman and Korea and finally LBJ and Vietnam.

For each President, Beschloss describes the circumstances of their 'war' and how the nation found themselves in that war. How the President declared war (or not) and then the effects- both political and personal- on each President as the war unfolded. In doing so, he helps to demonstrate just how far the ability to make war has evolved from the structure originally envisioned when the Constitution was written at the foundation o…

Netflix & Chill #78: The Willoughbys

Image
Watched On: Netflix
Released: April 22, 2020
Directed By: Kris Pearn
Starring: Will Forte, Maya Rudolph, Alessia Cara, Terry Crews, Martin Short, Jane Krakowski, Sean Cullen, Ricky Gervais
Rotten Tomatoes: Tomatometer 89%, Audience Score 69%
Pick: Family Movie Night!

Look, I'm just going to come right out and say it: if you're an adult, you're going to give The Willoughbys a lot of side-eye. You will say things like, "Well, that's fucked up." and "Damn, this is dark." But your kids will probably find it charming and kind of sweet- and once you get through the dark fucked up parts, there's a happy ending waiting on the other side.

A stray cat (Ricky Gervais) narrates the story of the Willoughby family. They had been great for generations: loving and adventurous and then the current Patriarch (Martin Short) and Matriarch (Jane Krakowski) of the Willoughby Family came along. Narcissistic and self-centered, they have children: Tim (Will Forte), Jane (Ale…