Monday, July 16, 2018

Predictable!


The pundits are engaged in group apoplexy this morning.  About what?  The Trump-Putin meeting and what Trump had to say about it. 

Regarding Russian interference in our 2016 election, he threw the U.S. intelligence community and its conclusions about what happened under the bus and sided with Putin.  And he did so standing next to Putin after they met in Helsinki.  He gave Putin a pass on not only the election, but everything:  Crimea, Ukraine, Syria, etc.

The only thing surprising about him behaving this way is that anyone is surprised.  Trump is predictable.  After all, this was the end of a week in which he trashed our allies, NATO, the E.U., Theresa May, etc.  It is not possible to predict the specifics of what destruction he will sow, both at home and abroad, it is predictable that he’ll do something that creates the group apoplexy we’re seeing today.

One has to assume that he does this on purpose.  I doubt he figures it all out in advance; it is more spontaneous than that.  I don’t doubt that he revels in the chaos that is generated by his actions.  So the pundits and the rest of us feed into his game.  That too is predictable!



Friday, July 06, 2018

Speculation!


I read a lot – newspapers, magazines, online reporting.  As I go through these news sources I’ve noticed that there are some stories I skip, that don’t interest me.  What, I’ve asked myself, do these uninteresting pieces have in common?  One answer is “speculation.”  I’m not interested in what someone guesses might be going on or might happen.  For example:

Speculation about what Donald Trump thinks or why he may be thinking this, that or the other thing, is a waste of time.  Trying to rationally analyze what is an irrational process is a ‘don’t bother’ for me.

Speculation about what will happen in an upcoming election isn’t worth my time.  Wait until it happens and then talk about it.

Speculation related to the judicial process is usually boring.  What a judge or jury is going to conclude is just an opinion, often uninformed, by someone who probably doesn’t know any more about the subject than I do.

Speculation about rumors of upcoming trades in any sport can be titillating but is usually off the mark and of no value to either a casual or avid fan.

Speculation about the weather is useless.  Its either going to rain or it isn’t.  Its either going to be really hot (or cold) or it isn’t.  Preparations based on weather forecasting might be important if a hurricane is headed your way, but those events are the exception, so believing what your friendly weatherman has to say is a crapshoot.

Finally, speculation about the financial world is not only a waste of time, its risky.  If you think you can guess what the market is going to do tomorrow because of some tip you’ve heard or what some ‘expert’ thinks is going to happen, you better be prepared to flush your assets down the toilet.  Follow my lead, and don’t pay attention to such speculative stuff.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

TV!


If you like to be entertained by watching TV you are, indeed, in the middle of a Golden Age.  The demand for shows is insatiable.  A Golden Age for talent to express itself.  Writers.  Directors.  Actors.  And all the professionals less visible but just as important.

“The Americans” is finished, but left behind an outstanding legacy.

“Billions” ended its season and I can’t wait for more.

“Westworld” is also between seasons.  Incomprehensible at times, but with an addictive allure.

“The Handmaid’s Tale” is disturbing in the extreme, but brilliantly done.

“Fauda” from Israel is a winner.

I like watching some shows from the past:  “Law & Order: SVU,” “House,” “Homicide,” “The Twilight Zone,” and more.

“Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” is brilliant and will be missed.  Suggestion: Watch shows that have already aired, even if you’ve seen them before.

“Orange is the New Black” starts again this month.

“The Bridge,” both the U.S. and Danish version is a winner.

And on and on.  Yes, a Golden Age.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Slippery Slope!


Some definitions for your consideration:

Totalitarian:  A system of government that is centralized and dictatorial and requires complete subservience to the state.

Authoritarian:  Favoring or enforcing strict obedience to authority, especially that of the government, at the expense of personal freedom.

Fascism:  An authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization.  Tends to include a belief in the supremacy of one national or ethnic group, a contempt for democracy, an insistence on obedience to a powerful leader, and a strong demagogic approach.

Oh, you say, it can’t happen here.  Don’t kid yourself.  Not only can it happen here, it is already happening here.  Every day we see new moves to reverse the course of history and replace nearly 250 years of freedom with a totalitarian, authoritarian, fascist state.

One more definition:

Slippery Slope:  An idea or course of action which will lead to something unacceptable, wrong or disastrous.

Getting on a slippery slope isn’t something that may happen to us if we’re not careful.  We’re already on a slippery slope and gaining speed as we head downhill.

A certain group, not a majority, are wringing their hands in despair, bemoaning our fate.  Another group, not a majority, is cheering, applauding what is happening.  A third group is in the middle, wondering who to listen to, not knowing what, if anything, to do.  They will decide how this drama/trauma ends.

I’d like to think it will all turn out OK.  But I have doubts.  Serious doubts.  At the moment the bad guys seem to be winning.  Stay tuned . . .

Friday, June 15, 2018

In Case You Missed It!


A former Walmart store has been converted into a warehouse for 1,500 boys ages 10 to 17 who were caught crossing the border illegally.

The New York Philharmonic still requires female musicians to wear floor-length gowns or skirts.

The new Malaysian Prime Minister is 92 years old.

To create a good impression for World Cup visitors, the Russians are giving smile classes to railroad workers.

A new report by the U.S. Geological Survey says 39 high rise buildings in San Francisco are not built to withstand a big earthquake.

Italian prosecutors have dropped a sexual harassment case because they concluded the woman he allegedly groped was too old to be distressed by his advances.  The woman is 53.

As fighters backed by Saudi Arabia pushed toward the Yemeni port city of Al Hudaydah in what could be the bloodiest battle of the Yemen war, the Saudi Crown Prince was busy in Moscow attending the World Cup opening match with Vladimir Putin.  Russia beat Saudi Arabia 5-0.

In a travel diary he kept in 1922 on a trip to Asia, Albert Einstein wrote:
            “The Chinese are incapable of being trained to think logically.”
            “Chinese don’t sit on benches while eating but squat like Europeans do when they relieve themselves out in the leafy woods.”
            “The people in Ceylon do little and need little.”
            “The intellectual needs of Japan seem to be weaker than their artistic ones.”