Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Thoughts for the Day!

Independent of specific policy positions, some of which I agreed with and others not so much, when I watched Charlie Rose interview Hillary Clinton not long ago I was struck by the quality of her presentation.  Informed, articulate, clear, intelligent.  Order of magnitude more presidential than any of the Republicans clamoring for attention.

On the Republican side my preference is Trump.  Why?  Because he’ll be easier to beat than Cruz, Rubio or maybe even Bush if he resurrects himself.  If I’m living in a dream world and it really is possible that a majority of Americans would want Trump for president, then so be it.  We’ll deserve what we get.

Am I bringing my preconceived opinions into any political conversation, seeing what I want to see?  Of course.  That’s the way our minds work.

December is the month for season finales on TV.  I thought “The Affair” was very well done.  Even when the people and the story drove me crazy, I had to admire the skill with which they pulled it off.  Great acting.  “Homeland” was up and down this season.  Inconsistent, but overall enjoyable.  The best show now finished for a while was “Fargo.”  Preverse, surprising, shocking at times.  Great characters.  The total production was better than any of the others.

On to sports: So far during this off-season I’m satisfied with the new players acquired by the Giants.  We need starting pitchers; we got two.  Their recent records are less than great, so it may turn out that they won’t do well.  On the other hand, they both have the possibility of being very good, in which case they will be important positive additions.  We shall see.  Still need a left fielder that can hit.  The best news is that the season isn’t that far away.

I’m still mad at the 49ers for moving to Santa Clara, for having inept owners, and for making many bad player and coach decisions.  So that they are having a terrible year, are deep in the toilet, is just fine with me.

The Warriors, of course, are magical.

Good news from FIFA: More indictments.  Blatter and Platini banned for 8 years.  What we’ve learned so far, which is a lot, is just the tip of the iceberg of what is a snake pit of corruption.  The game is still beautiful.  I love watching every week.  It deserves better.  Will there be a real turnaround?  Don’t hold your breath.

So that’s it on politics, TV and sports.  I could go on to religion, but I’d better hold that for another day.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Something for Everyone!

Reading Sunday’s New York Times Book Review is like attending a useful multi-purpose seminar.  Not every subject interests me, but when I’ve finished reading I know a lot I didn’t know before.  For example, last Sunday I found non-fiction books that focused on:

n  Cancer
n  Fracking
n  Horses
n  Shakespeare
n  The Battle of the Bulge
n  Porcelain
n  War in the 20th Century
n  The Hamilton/Burr Duel
n  Paris
n  Philosophy

More than a dozen fiction reviews featured writers from around the world who gave us novels, novellas and short stories.

I read a lot, but there is no way I could read even a tiny fraction of what is published every day.  Book reviews help fill the gap.

Friday, December 04, 2015

Bye Bye Late Show!

I’m giving up on “The Late Show.”  I’ve watched every show since Trevor Noah took over in September.  I wanted it to be great.  I didn’t expect a better version of Jon Stewart, but I wanted it to be a winner.  That it didn’t happen is a disappointment.

For years I looked forward to a great hour of relevant, funny, often brilliant sketches from Stewart and Stephen Colbert.  A while ago I stopped watching Larry Wilmore, who succeeded Colbert, because I didn’t find it interesting or funny.  And now “The Late Show” has gone down the same tube.  I found that I was bored.  While the topics they covered were the right ones, the show didn’t have a cutting edge.  It was bland, too nice.

So Bye Bye Late Show.  I’ve got better things to do with my time.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

In Case You Missed It!

Polio resurfaces in Ukraine, the first cases reported in Europe since 2010.

Mexican archaeologists think they may have found a tunnel that could lead to the tomb of an Aztec ruler.  No such tomb has ever been discovered.

A Canadian man was arrested trying to smuggle reptiles into the U.S.  He was caught with 51 turtles taped to his body.

The former mayor of Bridgeport, CT will be sworn in for a new term on Tuesday.  He was mayor from 1991 to 2003.  He then spent seven years in a federal prison for public corruption.  They say he’s made a stunning comeback. 

Driving under the influence of marijuana?  Developed by UC Berkeley, a new breath test that indicates whether a driver has ingested pot will soon be tried out in the Bay Area.  Where else, right?

Californians are preparing for El Niño.  Requests for new roofing and generators are up 67 percent.

Hackers are attempting to compromise Hello Barbie, a doll that uses the Web to talk with kids.  The company that created the technology is offering a reward to security researchers who find and report vulnerabilities in their software.

The next full moon will be on Christmas night.

Colombia has declined to extradite to the U.S. a leftist rebel accused of drug trafficking as it pushes to conclude a peace deal with the rebel group, FARC.  Pablo Escobar would be proud.

The movie awards season began last night when the Gotham Award for best feature went to “Spotlight,” an investigation into the sexual abuse of children by Boston priests.

Five World Cup sponsors – ABInBev, Adidas, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Visa wrote to FIFA’s executive committee demanding “independent oversight” of FIFA’s reform process.  And good luck to them.