Monday, February 26, 2018

Trump Says He Would Have Rushed in Unarmed to Stop School Shooting

Haven't we all known a blowhard asshole like Trump? Didn't we all find his bullshit insufferable? What I still don't understand is why regular Americans who have had to deal with bullying bragging jerks like Trump, and who would do their best to raise their kids NOT to be like that, and who are smart enough to see him for what he is, still could have voted for him. And may yet again.

Yeah, too many years in the NorCal bubble, I guess...

Saturday, February 24, 2018

American prints

The San Jose Museum of Art has a nice collection of them, many from the 1930s– some by artists you know, and some by ones you don't. The best of the lot is by one you know: Grant Wood's "Tree Planting Group" (1937). Beautiful in its composition and pointillism, American Gothic in its tone...

Thomas Hart Benton's "Cradling Wheat" (1939) is also eye-catching... a touch of Hokusai?

New to me was Leon Gilmour, a Latvian immigrant who spent much of life out west. His prints of heroic, brawny workers are impressive, but smack of socialist realism... his flowers and trees share the same energy, with less polemic...

Friday, February 16, 2018

You know you are getting old when...

... curling and skiathlon are more interesting than men's figure skating...

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

I know why Chipotle is doing poorly...

The food sucks! I have given them the benefit of the doubt so many times.  Something tells me the Taco Bell strategy will not help...

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Iambic pentameter

Like the fugue, or like the 12-bar blues,
a form with endless possibilities.

A Cabbage White
Andrew Motion

Transported by a sudden gust of wind
not felt by anything except itself,
a butterfly, a Cabbage White, blows in
and dithers through my yard considering
is this the place to rest, or this, or this,
and in the process fastens with a thread
I cannot see the drowsy flower-heads
each to the other and in turn to me,
until a second gust of wind arrives
and lifts it through my fence and out of sight.
Which leaves the yard exactly as it was,
except that now a sense of emptiness
insists a moment of my life has passed
which otherwise I would not think to miss.

Words to live by...

It is easy for little monkeys to forget...

NPR innumeracy

I really don't mean to pick on Rachel Martin in particular... she's not the most egregious of the insufferable NPR talking heads. But is it possible that she doesn't get the idea of percentage change? If you listen to the interview, yes, it is... (italics added)...
MARTIN: So we are of course talking because it has been a rollercoaster over the past couple of days. Yesterday was the single largest point drop in stock market history. What's going on? How are you reading this? 
RITHOLTZ: So let's put all of this in a little bit of broader context. Yes, yesterday was the largest single point drop. But you have to recognize this in percentage terms because when the markets fell, the most they ever fell, in 1987, in one day, 22 percent, it was about 600 points. So this turned out to be the 108th worst single day. That's bad, but it really isn't terrible compared to what it could be. If yesterday looked like 1987, we would've been down closer to 6,000 or 7,000 or points, not a thousand points. 
MARTIN: Right. There's so much more trading that happens. It's so much larger. 
RITHOLTZ: And everything is worth so much more...

Monday, February 5, 2018

Step Right Up

"It turns a sandwich into a banquet....
Gets rid of blackheads, the heartbreak of psoriasis,
Christ, you don't know the meaning of heartbreak, buddy..."

Featuring Jim Hughart on bass, Shelly Manne on drums, Lew Tabackin on sax...

Thursday, February 1, 2018


This 1971 Alan Pakula thriller holds up amazingly well. Like many other great popular films of its era, it is gritty and dark, and it takes its time. Which is not to say that it drags. The tension steadily mounts, with a bare minimum of explicit violence, but a climactic scene of genuine terror, delivered to the audience from a reel-to-reel recording, in the spirit of such other paranoid masterpieces as The Conversation and Blow Out.

Jane Fonda is given the role of a lifetime, and she nails it, as Bree Daniels, a prostitute who revels in her power and autonomy, even as she comes to realize her vulnerability to both masculine violence and emotional surrender– i.e., falling in love. She occupies a very large percentage of the screen time, and holds our attention every single moment. She confesses all to her analyst, and we get to listen in. But Bree/Fonda demonstrates time and again that just as the whore is actor, so the actor is whore. Are we, the audience, just another john? The movie ends with Donald Sutherland, and the audience, hoping that we have earned her true love, not just her services rendered. But we can hardly complain if the relationship has been purely transactional... we definitely got our money's worth.