Monday, August 25, 2014

The Islamic State!

I strongly suggest you watch “The Islamic State,” a 45-minute film produced by VICE News.  It is available on You Tube.  It shows what ISIS looks like from the inside.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Whack-a-Mole World!

We bounce from one disaster/war/horror to another in an endless cycle.  Just pick a starting place, any one will do:

From Ebola in Africa to
Rockets from Gaza in Israel to
Bombing of Gaza by Israel to
Police shooting of boy in Ferguson to
Chokehold death on Staten Island to
War in Syria to
War in Ukraine to
War in Iraq to
Chinese incursions in the South China Sea to
Violent demonstrations in Pakistan to
Violent demonstrations in Missouri to
Family violence in California to
Suicide bombing in Afghanistan to
Rape in India to
Earthquakes in China to
Mudslides in Nepal to
Insider trading on Wall Street to
Influence peddling in Washington to
Ebola in Africa . . .

A Whack-a-Mole World!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Footie!

The football season begins Saturday.  No, not the NFL, the real footie season, beginning with the English Premier League and then moving on to Spain, Italy and the rest later this month.

I think Real Madrid will be dominant in Spain.  They’ve just got too much talent.  I read that the team they played in the Super Cup this week (which won 2-0 against Sevilla) represented $650 million in transfer fees.  Spending a lot of money doesn’t guarantee success, but it does give you a leg up on the competition.  I hope Barcelona surprises me and wins, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

I’m not sure about Italy.  Can Juventus win its 4th Scudetto in a row?  I hope so but doubt it.  I think the other big teams have strengthened themselves and will be serious challengers.

In Germany it’ll be Bayern Munich again.  And PSG in France.

It should be a good season in England.  Manchester United will rebound strongly.  Chelsea will be in contention.  Manchester City will be good, but not good enough to win the title.  Arsenal the same – good but not good enough.  I don’t have a good feeling about Liverpool.  I’d like them to win, but without Suarez they are missing a dominant player.  Tottenham?  I don’t think so.  Everton?  Maybe in the top six but probably not.  So I’m left with Man U and Chelsea as the most likely winners. 

With more and more TV coverage of European football it will be a good season for the growing American audience.  I’m looking forward to it.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Oddities!

With thanks to today’s Wall Street Journal Review:

2013 Ig Nobel Prizes for improbable research include the following:
  
Scientific confirmation that the more alcohol you consume the more attractive you think you are.

Proof that some people can run across the surface of a pond, but only on the moon.

A finding that there is an overabundance of dandruff in the Pakistan army.

Accurate predictions about how soon a cow will stand up after lying down.

Demonstrating why sawing horizontally is easier than cutting straight down.

Evidence that male chess players choose riskier strategies when playing against attractive female opponents even though they know it does not improve their performance.

Wearing socks over shoes reduces the likelihood of slipping on ice.

A new study summarizes 35 years of measuring how fast fingernails grow.

Your ears continue growing throughout your life.

It’s not true that you can get drunk by soaking your feet in alcohol.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

In Case You Missed It!

Atheist TV, a new streaming service, is now available on the Internet.  Good idea.

Colorado is moving ahead to mandate labels on goodies infused with marijuana.  Good idea.

New start-ups are at work on biotech drugs for pets.  An untapped market.

A Wall Street Journal editorial criticizes Republicans in Congress.  Must be pretty bad for that to happen.

A lawsuit has been brought by Friends of Animals because they don’t trust the Port Authority to live up to its policy to trap and relocate snowy owls in NY area airports rather than killing them.  Again, government can’t be trusted.

The World Health Organization says that the Ebola virus is spreading faster than efforts to curb it.  Sounds like the plot of “The Last Ship.”

Lawyers for the inmate who took two hours to die by lethal injection say he was given 15 times the standard dose of the sedative used.  I wonder what good the lawyers will do for the dead man.

Sundance will do a Film Festival in Hong Kong in September.  It’s their pivot to Asia.


Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Following the Familiar!

I’m a news junkie.  But in this 24/7 news world, the torrent of events is a never-ending cascade.  There’s no way I can pay attention to everything.  What, then, do I focus on?

I’ve noticed that what interests me are subjects that I’m already familiar with, and especially those with which I have a personal relationship.  For example:

There is a lot of turmoil in Libya these days.  Do I care?  Not a lot.  I’ve never been there, know little about the place and have little emotional response to their problems.  Not far away is Aleppo, a focal point of the Syrian civil war.  Do I care about what’s happening there?  Yes.  I was there not long ago, enjoyed myself and am distressed when I see the places I visited being destroyed.

Less dramatic, but still always on my radar screen is India.  I lived there, have an affinity for the country and the people, care about what happens.  So put a story about India, even innocuous, in front of me and I’ll likely read it.

As with life itself, we spend a lot of time reinforcing, validating, what we already think or know.  To be sure, we can make room for something new, but it must be compelling enough to get over the high bar we put in its way – the bar of the familiar.