Thursday, February 25, 2021

Kill the filibuster

That raising the minimum wage would not pass muster in the budget reconciliation process is not unexpected. I'm not sure $15 is the right minimum wage for a low-wage state like Arkansas or Mississippi, but given the tradeoffs I'd say let's give it a try. Not gonna happen.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Your FSA/OWI Photo of the Day

Driving While Black (and young and male) in 1941 Pacolet, South Carolina (population 352 in 1940), must have been... well, you'd like to ask these fellows...

Untitled photo, possibly related to: Negro youngsters and their Model "T" near Pacolet, South Carolina, Jack Delano, 1941.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Milford Graves, RIP

 Sui generis. With the great David Murray.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Sand hills of Santa Cruz

 A unique landscape and habitat. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

The Expanse

I've enjoyed this Amazon Prime space opera, which recently finished its fifth season. Humans have colonized Mars, and much of the drama revolves around the political tensions between Mars, Earth, and the "belters," the proles who mine the asteroid belt. Being subject to imperialist/extractive global powers, the belters are prone to revolutionary-nationalist impulses, and the more radical among them are capable of inflicting horrific violence on the innocent to gain their independence and respect... or fear. On top of all that, humans have to contend with mysterious and highly powerful artifacts left behind by ancient alien civilizations– in particular, the "protomolecule," which makes the novel coronavirus look pretty harmless!

The best thing about the show is its look and feel. From expansive outer-space scenes and alien landscapes to claustrophobic interiors, the producers have done a lot with their budget. Zero-G is convincingly rendered. Suspenseful set pieces make you feel like you are there. Whether they use CGI or models, the buildings, mines, and mountains are lovely to look at. Some of my favorite scenes show cargo containers docked at the space station Tycho, floating in rectangular blocks and looking for all the world like the cargo of ships docked at the Port of Oakland. Also enjoyable are the incredibly diverse casting, and the sometimes barely comprehensible patois of the belters.

Having said all that, what makes The Expanse feel a little flat compared with its predecessor, Battlestar Galactica? Well, I'm sorry to report, the dialogue and the acting: Clunky, and clunky. Too bad: It's damn near a classic.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Johnny Pacheco, RIP

Fania Records... maybe the best music there is.