Monday, October 24, 2016

A Call to Christians

If you are a Christian and are voting for Trump, you should take another look at your candidate.

Here's what we KNOW:

  Trump is a serial adulterer
  Trump is three-times divorced
  Trump has expressed racist attitudes towards blacks, Mexicans, and other ethnicities
  Trump has cheated people who worked for him out of their paychecks
  Trump has scammed thousands of people out of their paychecks.
  Trump is very likely guilty of sexual assault.
  Trump has encouraged violence and assassination.
  Trump says he's a Christian but doesn't seem to know very much about Christianity.

Now why would any Christian vote for such a person?

There are basically three reasons that I can think of.

 - Hatred of Hillary Clinton.  Despite her decades of public service, working for the public good, conservatives, including Christians, have been indoctrinated to hate her. Hillary is a committed Christian and has always pushed for the welfare of women and children. There's no real reason behind the hatred, just politics.

 - Abortion.  This is, in my view, the biggest reason Christians are voting for Trump. Hillary will clearly fight for abortion rights, while Trump will likely appoint conservative justices who would try to overturn Roe v. Wade. Christians seem to be willing to stomach Trump's obvious antipathy towards their values in order to stop abortion. While I completely understand that, you have to look at the bigger picture. It's likely Trump will tank the economy, including the world economy, putting millions out of work and wrecking lives. There's also a good chance he'll start bombing Syria and the possibility he'll nuke Syria or Iran, killing millions of innocent people. Finally, it's also likely he'll stiff our allies, or at least shake confidence in the U.S., destabilizing large parts of the world.

It is immoral to support Trump to destroy abortion rights while ignoring the very real misery and death he'll likely inflict on the world.

 - Captured by Republicans.  And finally, there is the reality that many Christians are now Republicans first, and Christians second. The Republican party fought to take over Christianity for decades and has largely succeeded. Many Christians will vote for Trump because he's a Republican, and that Trumps all other considerations.

If you are a Christian and voting for Trump, you should take a real hard look at what you believe. You should think about whether or not he represents your values. You should consider that the lives he will ruin are worth protecting.

The fact is, Hillary is going to win the election in a big way. But if you vote for Trump and you call yourself a Christian, you can never make a candidate's character an issue again. You have given up all pretense of being a "values" voter, forever.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Walking Meh

The season premier of The Walking Dead is in 90 minutes and I'm at a crossroads. I've watched the show since the beginning and enjoyed the acting and storytelling so far. It's a bleak show portraying a very bleak zombie apocalypse, but I like the characters and the world-building.

Last Spring, the previous season ended on a cliffhanger. The new big bad guy, Negan, has caught most of the main cast and is about to kill one of them with a barbed-wire covered baseball bat to the side of the head. We know it's going to happen but don't know for sure which character is going to die. (I'm betting Glen. He's the one who gets batted in the graphic novels.)

But why do I want to see this? Why am I waiting months just to watch one of my favorite characters on the show get graphically and brutally murdered? The show is really just torture porn at this point.

So tonight may be the last episode I watch. I don't mind grim storylines (see Battlestar Galactica) but hopelessness and sadism isn't something I enjoy watching.

Dear Americans

Despite what Donald Trump says, you CANNOT get an abortion in the ninth month.

If there were circumstances where an abortion was necessary, say, for example, the mother is going to die from birth complications, then they would just perform a Cesarean and deliver the baby. What mother would say, "Oh, just kill the completely viable baby?"  And what doctor would kill a completely viable baby?  The idea of abortions in the ninth month is a fantasy concocted to make abortions sound more horrific than they are.

Don't believe me or a mountain of common sense? Here are two experts weighing in.

Dear Donald Trump: I'm an OB-GYN. There are no 9-month abortions.

Donald Trump Confuses Birth With Abortion. And No, There Are No Ninth Month Abortions.

If you believe that anyone in the United States is conducting abortions in the ninth month of pregnancy, then you are an idiot.

Wait, let me rephrase that.


Saturday, October 15, 2016

Lunchtime Haunts - Department of Education

Last week, I was exploring the area near my office building when I circled around the Department of Education. The Lyndon Baines Johnson Department of Education building is directly across the street from the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, so I've seen it plenty of times, but I'd never gotten close to it.

The building, with its clean, fantastic Modernist design was constructed from 1959 to 1961. Modernist design isn't too far removed from Googie architecture, my favorite futurist style, so I was predisposed to like it.  At the front of the building sits a huge, open courtyard with trees, benches and some tables.

Click pictures to embiggen.

What most surprised me, though, was the large, lower level courtyard on the eastern side of the street level courtyard. This lower level can be reached by a long stepped ramp which is conspicuously gated about halfway down.

You can see that the lower level has been abandoned for some time; it's unkempt and rotting. The windows under the walkway seem to be on a library or storage level on the bottom floor.

Even the support poles for the walkway are rotting away.  Look closely through the windows and you can see the bookshelves beyond.

This is a federal building housing a Cabinet-level agency, a few hundred feet from the National Mall, across the street from the second busiest museum in the world. And it has an unused, decaying courtyard that's obviously been closed for years.


Sunday, October 09, 2016

Well, that about wraps it up

The Donald Trump campaign has been an ongoing dumpster fire that this week imploded into a crapstorm of epic and historical proportions with the reveal that Trump ::GASP:: doesn't respect women and ::SHOCK:: is sexually aggressive to the point of sexual assault. I mean, what a total surprise!  (Raise your hand if you didn't already think that was the case.)

In any event, I think it's time to remind those Republicans who are now, finally, jumping off the Trump train of their history of support.

Republicans supported Trump when:

  • He said that Mexicans were rapists and criminals.
  • Trump University scammed thousands of Americans.
  • It was discovered that The Trump Foundation bought personal crap for Trump and paid off his business debts. Oh, and it's not actually a licensed charitable foundation.
  • We learned that Trump had violated the Cuba embargo in the 1990s.
  • Trump called on the Russians to hack Hillary Clinton and repeatedly praised Putin.
  • Trump suggested that Hillary be assassinated.
  • Trump said that an Indiana judge couldn't be impartial to Trump because his parents were Mexican.
  • Trump attacked a former Miss Universe after originally attacking her years ago.
  • We learned that Trump was sexually aggressive while running beauty pageants.
  • Trump didn't pay many of his contractors and workers.
  • Trump likely pays NO FEDERAL INCOME TAX.
  • Trump used to discriminate against Black Americans when he owned housing.
  • Trump broke casino regulations when he owned casinos.
  • Trump hired a bunch of actual white supremacists to be on his campaign team.
  • Trump called John McCain a coward for being captured in Vietnam.
  • Trump wouldn't repudiate his KKK supporters.
  • Trump mocked a disabled reporter.
  • Trump attacked a still-grieving Gold Star Family.
There's more, but I'm exhausted. Many establishment Republicans supported this terrible, terrible, person through all of that. But one use of the "P" word and they've finally seen the light.

It should also be noted that many Evangelical leaders, those who profess to love family values, still support Trump, even today, despite his serial cheating his way through three marriages and attempted rape and all. The list includes Ralph Reed, James Dobson, and Jerry Falwell, Jr.

Another group of Republicans want to support Trump's running mate, Mike Pence. Pence seems to be benefiting most from Trump's meltdown. So let's remind everyone of the kind of guy Governor Mike Pence of Indiana is.
  • Pence signed incredibly restrictive abortion legislation that required women who had abortions or even miscarriages to cremate or bury the fetus at the mother's expense.
  • Of course Pence wants to outlaw abortion altogether, even though it is a CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT.
  • Pence passed legislation that explicitly allowed businesses to discriminate against LGBT people.
  • Pence is against same sex marriage and thinks it should be outlawed.
  • Pence is against raising the minimum wage.
  • Pence doesn't believe in climate change.
  • In Congress, Pence often voted to cut benefits in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
  • Pence lied his ass off in the only Vice Presidential debate.
  • Pence made a burgeoning HIV epidemic in Indiana worse by ignoring it until it had spread.
In short, don't get all excited because Pence seems to be reasonable when he's standing next to Trump. He's also a terrible, terrible person who should get nowhere near the seat of government.

Republicans seem to be unable to learn from past mistakes. It won't be until the House, Senate and the White House are Democratic that we'll actually move forward as a country again. So let's all get out there and VOTE BLUE. Not just for President, but up and down the ticket. 

This is our chance.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Pence "won" the debate

If you watched last night's Presidential debate, you had to know this was coming.


Thursday, September 29, 2016

State laboratories

I'm not a huge fan of Bill Maher, he's an anti-vax douchenozzle, but he absolutely nails the comparison of conservative-controlled states versus liberal-controlled California. This is something I've been following for a long time. Check it out.

Warning, some language.

Reasons to vote for Hillary

I've made a lot of posts about why I think Donald Trump is not only unprepared to be President of the United States, but absolutely unfit for the office and just a terrible, vindictive, cruel, ignorant, selfish, and assholish person. I've also posted why I think Gary Johnson is a bad choice for progressives who want to "send a message" and not vote for Hillary Clinton.

But if you're looking for some positive reasons to vote FOR Hillary, here you go.  (This is obviously a partial list).  See the links below to two articles.
Just what has Hillary done?

I am incredibly enthusiastic about voting for Hillary Clinton. Here's why.

If you're a fan of Bernie Sanders, then Hillary Clinton is the obvious choice. Don't throw your vote away on a pointless protest vote for a terrible, right-wing candidate or the anti-science left wing nut.  Hillary is a progressive with a long record of helping Americans, especially children. She is smart, caring and will lead America with a conscience.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Presidential Debate #1

That was a blowout.

Hillary remained collected, calm, but passionate and knowledgeable. Trump quickly lost his cool and grimaced, sniffed, and gulped water through the entire debate. Much of what he said was complete gibberish. He lied about things that are easily provable, and his responses on his birtherism and tax returns were transparently absurd. At one point Hillary directly addressed our allies, Japan, South Korea and others, to calm them, as Trump's nonsense has made quite a few nervous.

Hillary will get a big boost from her performance tonight.

John Oliver on Candidate Scandals

In this new clip, John Oliver works through the scandals of both Presidential candidates. He explains them really well, with some amount of context, and of course, humor. Warning: some language.

Check it out. It's really important.

The Enterprise Lives! (revisited)

You may remember that a few months ago I went to see the newly restored Enterprise model at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. I was disappointed that the model's new lights weren't on when I visited. Well, last week I went back.


My understanding is that they turn on the lights only twice a day, at 1PM and 3PM. I don't know for how long they stay on, so if you go, get there on time. It's definitely worth seeing live.


Sunday, September 25, 2016

Gary Johnson, Libertarian

It's been said that a lot of Democratic, progressive, or at least anti-Trump voters are so disillusioned with Hillary Clinton that they're going to cast a protest vote for Libertarian candidate, and former Republican governor, Gary Johnson. Of course, progressives who voted for Ralph Nader in the 2000 election gave the Presidency to George W. Bush over Al Gore, and that worked out really well, right?

 Nevertheless, before you cast a protest vote for Johnson, please see this list of policy positions Johnson endorses.

  • Johnson wants American corporations to pay a 0% tax rate.
  • Johnson thinks we shouldn't do anything about climate change and, in fact, supports building more coal power plants.
  • Johnson wants to replace the income tax with a national sales tax, which would effectively raise taxes on the poor while resulting in huge tax reductions for the rich.
  • Johnson would abolish, or at least privatize, Social Security.
  • Johnson wants to eliminate the Department of Education and all financial support for American college students.
  • Johnson opposes ALL forms of gun regulation.
  • Johnson wants to completely eliminate the minimum wage and opposes equal wage laws.

 12 Ways Gary Johnson is a Hardcore Right-Wing Radical and The Myth of Gary Johnson.

So, please, rather than cast a protest vote for someone with horrific, selfish, unrealistic policies, take a closer look at what Hillary Clinton is proposing. There are a TON of detailed policy proposals on her website and in her stump speeches. While Trump can't name a specific policy to save his life, Hillary has been very specific about what she wants to do. Hillary's policies are neither radical, nor impossible, but represent good, progressive ideas that will help America and Americans.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Uh . . .

One of the biggest problems we have in the United States today is a lack of knowledge and understanding of history. We didn't just get here yesterday and America's journey to this point in time should be both instructive and cautionary. We have to know what problems we've encountered, what mistakes we've made, and what solutions we've tried in order to move forward with wisdom. 

You wouldn't know that from some people.
Speaking at a rally in Kenansville, North Carolina, Trump again stumbled in an apparent attempt to endear himself to black voters.
“We’re going to make our country safe again. We’re going to rebuild our inner cities because our African-American communities are absolutely in the worst shape that they’ve ever been in before,” he said. “Ever, ever, ever.”  Link
Ever, ever, ever.

There's no question that despite decades of progress for black Americans, things seem to be getting worse. The Obama Presidency has brought the racists out of the woodwork. The racists were there all along, but had been getting more and more quiet as America became a more multicultural society. That is, until the modern Republican party decided that their usual, subtle racist dog whistles weren't enough and chose to nominate an out of the closet racist for President. 

But to suggest that things have never been worse is to ignore history and undermine all the progress that has been made.

Ever, ever, ever.

Tell us another one, Trump.

Haters gonna endorse

What a shock!! Ted Cruz totally lied about never supporting Donald Trump!
“After many months of careful consideration, of prayer and searching my own conscience,” Cruz wrote on his Facebook page, “I have decided that on Election Day, I will vote for the Republican nominee, Donald Trump.”
This is after Trump basically called Cruz's wife ugly in a Tweet and insinuated that Cruz's father had a role in the JFK assassination.  This was also after Cruz made a defiant stand at the Republican National Convention against Trump.
"I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father," Cruz said at a morning meeting where he faced sharp questions from the Texas delegation in Cleveland.
Except when he is.  Apparently politics is more important for Cruz than family.

But no worries, Trump said he would never accept Cruz's endorsement.
If he gives it, I will not accept it," Trump said at a news conference in Cleveland at the close of the Republican National Convention. 
Except that he is.
“I am greatly honored by the endorsement of Senator Cruz,” Trump said. “We have fought the battle and he was a tough and brilliant opponent.”

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Computers suck


My computer died over the weekend.

A few weeks ago I suddenly stopped getting video through the HDMI connection. I switched it over to the DVI port and that seemed to work fine, so I assumed the culprit was a dead HDMI port. But this weekend, no video output at all, no matter the port. Some testing (and the continuous beeping when I boot it up) suggests it's the motherboard.

I'm in the market for a new PC into which I will transfer both existing hard drives and my other equipment. And then hope I can get back to some video editing I'm doing for work. Oy.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

This week in violent rhetoric

Have you noticed how one of the two major political parties in America likes to talk in violent rhetoric? Here's a sample from just the past few days.

First up, Kentucky Governor, Matt Bevin.
I did an interview and they said, “Do you think it’s possible, if Hillary Clinton were to win the election, do you think it’s possible that we’ll be able to survive? That we would ever be able to recover as a nation? [...] I do think it would be possible, but at what price? At what price? The roots of the tree of liberty are watered by what? The blood, of who? The tyrants to be sure, but who else? The patriots. Whose blood will be shed? It may be that of those in this room.  Link
Yes, if Hillary is elected, there is apparently a significant chance that we won't even survive as a nation!  But it's okay, because blood will be shed in order to save the country. Please note, this is the GOVERNOR of a state saying that violence will be necessary if Hillary is elected President. (Admittedly, it's Kentucky, but still.)

Next up, Rudy 9/11 Giuliani continues his horror tour of attempted relevance.
The Geneva Conventions prohibit countries from seizing others' property, even in war -- the exact justification the United States used during its 1990 invasion of Iraq, after Iraq had seized Kuwait's oil.
But in an interview with ABC's on "This Week," George Stephanopoulos pressed the former New York City mayor over the legality of his claim, with Giuliani saying: "Of course it's legal. It's a war."
"Until the war is over, anything's legal," he said, laughing. "If we're going to have lost that many people in Iraq, we should have something to say about how that oil is distributed."  Link
Yep, good old Rudy wants plunderin' to be our national policy.  And then of course, a little ravaging wouldn't be out of line, would it? I mean, if we don't ravage their women, who will? It's war, after all.

Speaking of war, Donald Trump wants you to know that if those Iranians disrespect us with their fancy gestures and all, we'll just have to fill them full of lead.
Speaking at a campaign rally in Pensacola, Florida, on Friday night, Donald Trump indicated that, as president, he would attack Iran if their sailors made improper gestures toward the U.S. Navy. After promising to build more ships for the Navy, which has a base in Pensacola, Trump tossed in an aside referencing the recent run-ins that U.S. warships have had with Iranian attack boats in the Persian Gulf. During those encounters, small Iranian speedboats controlled by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, which opposes the country’s nuclear deal with the U.S., have harassed U.S. ships in ways the Navy has deemed “unsafe and unprofessional.” Said Trump, to the delight of the crowd, “When [the Iranians] circle our beautiful destroyers with their little boats, and they make gestures at our people that they shouldn’t be allowed to make, they will be shot out of the water.”  Link

Yep. nothing like a war because somebody flipped off one of our "beautiful" destroyers.

And finally, what list would be complete without a pastor, an actual pastor, calling for people to be shot because he doesn't deem their protests American enough.
An Alabama pastor delivered a message on Friday that was not found in any Bible passage. He told the crowd at a high school football game to rise for the national anthem... or get shot.

“If you don’t want to stand for the National Anthem, you can line up over there by the fence and let our military personnel take a few shots AT you since they’re taking shots FOR you,” Pastor Allen Joyner said before a game in McKenzie, Alabama, according to a now-deleted Facebook post that was preserved in a number of places online:
Ahhh, America, love it or leave it. Protesting about things you don't like is just right out. Unless you're Trump, of course, who can badmouth the American military, the government, American cities, prisoners of war, the parents of dead soldiers, and anything else he decides he doesn't like. You see, that's okay and we'll vote for him. But if you protest the national anthem, well then you should be shot.

Any guesses as to which party all the people above belong to?  And what religion do you suppose they practice? Maybe the one with the "Prince of Peace"?

(Triple bonus points if you can find anything said by Democrats over the past week that even comes close to any of these violent statements. Good luck with that.)

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Happy Anniversary Star Trek

This week (specifically Thursday) was the 50th anniversary of the premier of Star Trek on NBC. I was about 17 months old when it premiered and four years old when it was cancelled.  When I was in grade school, I started watching reruns of the show during that period when Trek was over and there was no anticipation of any future Trek. I don't remember exactly how I discovered it or which episode I saw first, but I was quickly consumed by its high tech, diverse and hopeful vision of the future.

I love Star Wars and the Lord of the Rings; I encountered both during the 1970s and immediately became a huge fan. But Star Trek has always been my favorite and had an incalculable impact on who I am today. Star Trek has not only given me thousands of hours of entertainment, but has helped to shape my world view.

Star Trek portrays a future where humanity has discarded all the old -isms that have lead to nothing but sorrow, pain and death. Racism, sexism, nationalism, hatred and criminality have all been erased by the show's fictional 23rd century. Humanity is united in peace, democracy and the idea that every individual has the right of self-determination but that we work best together as one people. Of course, it's easier to do that in Star Trek's world of limitless resources, but it's a vision of a kinder, more benevolent and enlightened humanity that's worth striving for. It's a vision I've seen us move towards during my lifetime, but there's still far to go.

So thank you Star Trek. You've spawned hundreds of episodes of four (soon to be five) additional TV series, 13 movies, hundreds of books, and millions of fans. Despite setbacks, cancellations, slashed budgets, and feuding stars, Star Trek endures.

And hopefully carries the rest of humanity along with it.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

I have seen the light

I really, really have to apologize to Donald Trump. He has saved me.
David Brody: “Who is God to you? What are some of your thoughts on this? Clearly, you’re a smart man, you’re a smart businessman, you’ve contemplated this before or have you contemplate this?”
Donald Trump: “Well I say God is the ultimate. You know you look at this? Here we are on the Pacific Ocean. How did I ever own this? I bought it 15 years ago. I made one of the great deals they say ever. I have no more mortgage on it as I will certify and represent to you. And I was able to buy this and make a great deal. That’s what I want to do for the country. Make great deals. We have to, we have to bring it back, but God is the ultimate. I mean God created this (points to his golf course and nature surrounding it), and here’s the Pacific Ocean right behind us. So nobody, no thing, no there’s nothing like God.”

Hallelujah! God is the ultimate! I mean, he created Trump, who made one of the great deals . . . of ALL time! I was saying to Carol just the other day, "Hey, remember that awesome deal Trump got when he bought that golf course on the Pacific Ocean? That was just a great, great deal! One of the best of all time."

Trump is so Presidential in this quote, I just can't get over it. Forget "Four score and seven years ago," and "Ask not what your country can do for you."  

Now we've got, "So nobody, no thing, no there’s nothing like God.”

Trump has made a believer. Out. of. Me.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Mother Teresa

On this day that Mother Teresa became a Saint of the Catholic Church, let's remind ourselves why she wasn't one.
Although she had 517 missions in 100 countries at the time of her death, the study found that hardly anyone who came seeking medical care found it there. Doctors observed unhygienic, “even unfit,” conditions, inadequate food, and no painkillers — not for lack of funding, in which Mother Theresa’s world-famous order was swimming, but what the study authors call her “particular conception of suffering and death.”  Mother Teresa Was No Saint
Mother Teresa’s organization received and receives extensive donations which would enable them to transform the homes for the dying into modern, clean hospices that provide a decent level of palliative care. Mother Teresa was not, however, interested in mitigating suffering so much as celebrating it. As such she concentrated on opening new Missionaries of Charity convents and homes in many different locations around the world as opposed to channeling its extensive funds into their existing homes for the benefit of the people they claimed to be trying to help.  10 Misconceptions about Mother Teresa; She was no Saint

Hitchens’s critiques of Mother Teresa may come across as polemical, but it’s far from the only criticism. British medical journal the Lancet published a critical account of the care in Mother Teresa’s facilities in 1994, and an academic Canadian study from a couple of years ago found fault with “her rather dubious way of caring for the sick, her questionable political contacts, her suspicious management of the enormous sums of money she received, and her overly dogmatic views regarding, in particular, abortion, contraception, and divorce.” Multiple accounts say that Mother Teresa’s nuns would baptise the dying and that she had a reputation for proselytising. Chatterjee also published his own extremely critical book on Mother Teresa in 2003.  Mother Teresa: Why the Catholic missionary is still no saint to her critics
It wasn’t just a select few cynical journalists who criticized Mother Teresa’s hospice care, either. In her hospice care centers, Mother Teresa practiced her belief that patients only needed to feel wanted and die at peace with God — not receive proper medical care — and medical experts went after her for it. In 1994, the British medical journal The Lancet claimed that medicine was scarce in her hospice centers and that patients received nothing close to what they needed to relieve their pain.  Why On Earth Is The Catholic Church Making Mother Teresa A Saint?
“There is something beautiful in seeing the poor accept their lot, to suffer it like Christ’s Passion,” Mother Teresa said. “The world gains much from their suffering.”

That right there is some pure evil.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Star Trek Beyond

This is a FANTASTIC poster. If you don't know why, Google Star Trek: TMP

I saw the thirteenth Star Trek movie on opening weekend, over a month ago. I wanted to see it again before I posted about it but time hasn't allowed that. So, here are my thoughts.

First up, the non-spoiler points.

Star Trek Beyond has the same DNA as all the Abrams Trek movies. The visual effects are fantastic, the acting and production is first rate, but the story is filled with holes and goofiness.

I liked a lot about the movie, most notably that the cast continues to knock it out of the park. I really, really love these actors in these roles. I also loved that they don't visit Earth in this movie. It seems like a small thing, but while the original series never visited 23rd century Earth, the movies can't stay away. Of the 13 movies, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, and 12 all feature extended scenes on Earth, which kind of undercuts the whole "explore strange new worlds" thing. It was a huge relief that Beyond stayed away. I enjoyed the addition of more humor, thanks to writer Simon Pegg, no doubt, and the movie had a really good sense of the history of Star Trek, especially the series Enterprise.

The things I didn't like, and there are many, as well as more positive things, are dealt with below.

Spoiler Alert

I hate, hate, hate that they once again destroyed the Enterprise. This timeline's Enterprise didn't make it nearly as far as the Original Series Enterprise which was destroyed in Star Trek 3. This one was destroyed in the third year of the original five year mission. Sheesh. (Also, I'm not sure how much of a spoiler this is since they showed the ship get creamed in almost every G-D trailer!!)

I hate, hate, hate that everything is once again resolved with violence. Star Trek is supposed to be the cerebral, thinking man's science fiction. But every movie ends with Kirk and Spock in a fistfight with the bad guy. Damn. And while I appreciate that they gave some actual motivation to this villain, they didn't develop him enough to make him compelling. He's more or less just another guy who hates the Federation and is out for revenge. Sheesh.

I enjoyed them pairing off the crew while they're stranded on the planet. It allowed the characters to play off each other in a lot of fun ways, giving us some great Spock/McCoy scenes and allowed Chekov much more to do while running around with Kirk. I also really enjoyed the new alien ally, Jaylah, who helps Scott. She was pretty bad-ass and awesome.

I HATED the cruel fate that befell the majority of the Enterprise crew. The original timeline Enterprise had a crew of 430. This Enterprise is supposed to be twice as big (which is stupid) and so presumably has a bigger crew. But even if it only had 430, only a few dozen at best survive this movie. The rest are horribly killed by the initial attack, the crashing of the ship, or by having their life drained out of them by the villain in particular gruesome fashion. I DON'T want to see the crew of the Enterprise slaughtered like they're all expendable non-entities. Damn, it's really nasty and harsh.

I can believe that you could transport a guy sitting on a motorcycle. I DO NOT believe you could transport a guy riding a motorcycle very fast. How did that work? Did Kirk drive into the transporter chamber at forty miles an hour? Stupid.

I can't wait for this series to get the hell over the Beastie Boys.

The stupid brewery engineering sets are gone! Hooray!

While I liked the visual of Yorktown base, it was basically a substitute Earth for purposes of the plot, so the movie loses some points (see the point about Earth above).

If they had so much trouble getting through the nebula that they needed the Enterprise, why didn't the Enterprise (or another ship) just go around the nebula? And how did they get back through the nebula without any trouble in a much older ship?

And finally, I'm not really happy with Kirk's arc in this movie. For some really unexplained reason, he's grown tired of Captaining the Enterprise and is considering a promotion. Sure, this is a new timeline and Kirk has had very different influences shaping him, but that still seemed really out of character.

I liked this movie better than Into Darkness, and maybe on par with or slightly better than Star Trek. I really need to see it again to figure that out.

College and Festivals and Gaming, Oh My.

I think we're finally through with the busiest weekend we've had in a long while. Whew!

First up, we took Ben to college. Yikes.

He's attending York College of Pennsylvania as a music and recording major. We drove him up on Friday morning, arriving just after 8 AM. The upper-class RAs were lining the road as we drove in, cheering. Other RAs were standing by to help unpack his stuff and in short order we were setting up Ben's room. His roommate, Conrad, arrived while we were out getting last minute stuff at Target so by the time we got back to the room, his half was set up too. Conrad is an accounting major and it seems like they'll get along fine.

On the way home, Carol and I stupidly ignored Google Map's desperate attempts to get us to take another route and we got stuck in Baltimore traffic. What should have been a 90 minute drive home took 3 hours. Ugh.

On Saturday and Sunday, we attended showings of two of Rachel's student films at the 2nd Annual Global Impact Film Festival held at the beautiful Renaissance Hotel near Gallery Place in DC. The festival is a pretty small event so far, which is a shame because they showed a bunch of great short films, but we enjoyed seeing Rachel's films with an audience. They had a Q&A after each and Rachel spoke and answered questions.

Afterwards on Saturday we drove north and played games for several hours with one of our gaming groups.

 So it's been a lot for one weekend and very tiring. But Ben is all set up at school and Rachel is getting ready for her Richmond theatre adventure. Very soon Carol and I will be empty nesters. Then we'll have a lot of time to fill.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

If you still support Trump after this, you need to seriously reexamine your politics

If you missed Hillary Clinton's speech in the news today, check it out. After months and months of racially divisive speech from the Republican frontrunner, Hillary went through the facts, point by point in devastating fashion.  She also explicitly called out Trump's association with and adoption of the politics of the white nationalist movement, known as "Alt-Right".
This is what I want to make clear today:
A man with a long history of racial discrimination, who traffics in dark conspiracy theories drawn from the pages of supermarket tabloids and the far reaches of the internet, should never run our government or command our military.
If he doesn’t respect respect all Americans, he can’t serve all Americans!
Now, I know some people still want to give Trump the benefit of the doubt.
They hope that he will eventually reinvent himself – that there’s a kinder, gentler, more responsible Donald Trump waiting in the wings somewhere.
After all, it’s hard to believe anyone – let alone a nominee for President of the United States – could really believe all the things he says.
But the hard truth is, there’s no other Donald Trump. This is it.
Maya Angelou once said: "When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time."
 . . .
When asked in a nationally televised interview whether he would disavow the support of David Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, Trump wouldn’t do it. Only later, again under mounting pressure, did he backtrack.
And when Trump was asked about anti-Semitic slurs and death threats coming from his supporters, he refused to condemn them.
Through it all, he has continued pushing discredited conspiracy theories with racist undertones.
Trump said thousands of American Muslims in New Jersey cheered the 9/11 attacks.
They didn’t.
He suggested that Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the Kennedy assassination. Perhaps in Trump’s mind, because he was a Cuban immigrant, he must have had something to do with it. Of course there’s absolutely no evidence of that.
Just recently, Trump claimed President Obama founded ISIS. And then he repeated that nonsense over and over.
. . .
The latest shake-up was designed to – quote – "Let Trump be Trump." To do that, he hired Stephen Bannon, the head of a right-wing website called, as campaign CEO.
To give you a flavor of his work, here are a few headlines they’ve published:
"Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy."
"Would You Rather Your Child Had Feminism or Cancer?"
"Gabby Giffords: The Gun Control Movement’s Human Shield"
"Hoist It High And Proud: The Confederate Flag Proclaims A Glorious Heritage."
That one came shortly after the Charleston massacre, when Democrats and Republicans alike were doing everything they could to heal racial divides. Breitbart tried to enflame them further.
Read the whole thing or watch the video here.  It may be the most important speech Hillary has ever given. Really.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

In every revolution, there's one Ipecac with a vision

So here's my last portrait.

I got a new style of glasses a few years ago but that wasn't a huge deal.  As of Sunday night, though, I actually underwent a major life change.  Here's what I look like now.

It still feels weird, but I'm getting used to it. Now that I'm no longer my evil doppleganger, I guess I'll have to stop being such a villain.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Was this for Christmas? April 1? Tax Day?

Wow, this is bizarre, uncomfortable and psychologically rich.  I present to you, Donald, Melania and Barron Trump.  [click to embiggen]

Nothing like a family photo with your son waaaaay on the other side of the picture.

Just study that for a while and take in all the many, many issues.

Thanks to kos.  Check out the link for many more observations.