Skyfall Asleep Review

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I went with some of the nuclear family (thank you LPA) to see the latest James Bond movie Freefall, no, Skyfall, wait is that two words? Actually, I think it’s a proper noun in the movie, the name of a ranch or something on the Isle of Skye (I might have made this up) where Bond supposedly grew up, nothing to do with falling.  Or maybe to do with it, falling asleep that is, as one in our viewing party did.  Now the movie wasn’t boring.  I liked it ok, but it didn’t have quite the cool factor that I’ve come to expect in Bond films.  There weren’t many nifty gadgets except for the old sports mota (as the Brits say) with the machine gun headlights.  I mean my black and white e-reader would have been as impressive as any technogadget from the flick.  Star Trek gadgets from the original series would have been an improvement.  And the screenplay was just too serious.  Not campy enough for my taste.  And where was all the wry British humour?  No where, that’s where.

Daniel Craig is a good James Bond, but no Sean Connery or Roger Moore.  He could have been their stunt double in this one.  You know who he reminds me of – an older version of Matt Damon from the Bourne series, which, incidentally, I thought were much better movies than the three Bond films Daniel Craig starred in.  But there is something likeable about him.  He’s like the Rocky character who gets repeatedly knocked down but keeps getting up only because he’s suffered one too many head blows and doesn’t have the good sense to stay down.

Javier Bardem’s character, the rogue agent and villain in the movie should get the nod for best actor in the film, and even so, I found him oddly inauthentic.  And here’s why – he looked too much like F. Murray Abraham who played Amadeus Mozart in the film Amadeus.  Every time he appeared I said to myself, “I need more popcorn and hey, it’s Mozart”.  Bardem’s character also vaguely resembles Robert Downey Jr.’s Sherlock Holmes and from time to time I forgot I was in a James Bond film.

I only saw the movie a few days ago, but I’ve already fogotten a lot about it and that’s more of an indictment on my memory than the flick, so I’ll just say this:   it wasn’t the best of the lot – my favorite, by the way was the one with all the skiing, wait a a bunch of them had skiing – maybe it was the one On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, anyway, the other thing I remember about FreeFall was that I ran out of a lightly buttered and heavily salted popcorn right after the movie previews and was left with 92 ounces (for just 25 cents more) of diet Pepsi to sip on for the rest of the movie.  I was a little annoyed that I hadn’t ordered the matching tub.  A medium popcorn in a bag; what was I thinking?

The End.

What I am Thankful For, For Whatever it’s Worth

English: Hostess Twinkies. Yellow snack cake w...

Spellcheck, and I’m a pretty goad speller.  (what, spell check is two words?)

The Cease Fire in Gaza – hope it lasts!

That President Obama was reelected.  Did you know that Mitt Romney’s total of the popular vote looks to be 47% when all is said and done.  Seriously and this according to Ezra Klein of the Washington Post and guest host on the Last Word with Laurence O’Donnell last night.

For family and friends near, far and farther, or is it further?

That you can still buy hostess orange cupcakes and snowballs…but not for much longer unless someone steps up to the plate.  Won’t miss Twinkies though, never much liked them – too spongy and that they look like hotdog buns is a little off putting.

The blogging community and readers in general who read my posts and all 66 subscribers to Ribbie’s Weblog.  I should rename it, I know.  I don’t recall even giving the blog a name.  After I completed the wizard, WordPress just named it Ribbie’s Weblog.  Is it we blog or web log?  I should sell some Ribbie’s Yuletide web logs.

I’m thankful that I did some cooking last night –  two vats of “cheesy” grits (I sure miss Mitt), stuff for the stuffing chopped, bird pardoned and prepped; wines from the “old world” arranged – redwhite and blush. (tap the links if you want to know what we’ll be drinking today).

Happy Thanksgiving to one and to Y’all!

Done with the Stuff

Styrofoam Man

Styrofoam Man (Photo credit: elmada)

Brookline, MA just banned it.  No, not cellphones – they did that back in 1995 I think.  McDonald’s would have been a good guess, but Coolidge Corner gave them the boot years ago.  Walmart, now that’s a good guess too except that Brookline never had one (which might qualify as a ban).  Speaking of Walmart, you won’t find one in Boston, – the closest one is near the prison in Walpole.  You know what Conan O’Brien’s hometown of Brookline banned? Styrofoam.  Yes, styrofoam! Funny name.  According to the New Oxford American Dictionary (that I got for free with my new Kindle Paperwhite), the word is derived from the words polystyrene + foam.  Say, where does the ro come from?  I’m not a chemist so if there’s a scientific explanation, well, there you have it.  As one who majored in English in college, I am inclined to believe that stryofoam had something to do with William Styron, the man who wrote Darkness Visible.  Ok, I say this because his name is the next entry after styrofoam.  But I do believe I am on to something, and not just the name similarity.  Darkness Visible, now that’s styrofoam defined.  Darkness visible for 1 million years.  Seriously, the stuff takes a million plus years to decompose.

I never much liked styrofoam.  I used to take bites out of coffee cups, – nervous habit like chewing on a pencil or popping bubble wrap.  The thing I dislike (hate is such a strong word) apart from its polluting properties, is that styrofoam squeaks, especially those $1.99 ice chests – the worst squeaking offenders of all.

Styrofoam.  Good riddance, but the thing is, try as you may Brookline – you can’t get rid of the stuff.  It’ll be floating around in pools of hazardous waste long after humans perish and our planet turns dark.

Top 10 Reasons Mitt Romney Lost

Photo by Christer Johannson (who is not affiliated with this blog or post)

10.  “…and they brought us whole binders full of women.”
9.  “Corporations are people, my friend.”
8.  The Conservative Bubble:  Karl Rove, Rush (“Hush”) Limbaugh, Dick (“it’s going to be a landslide“) Morris, Fox “News”
7.  Todd (“shut it down”) Akin and colleague Richard Mourdock
6.  “I’m running for office for pete’s sake, I can’t have illegals.”
5.  (I hunt) “small varmints if you will.”
4.  Voter Suppression backfire
3.  Ryan, Ryan, Ryan…”no, it’s Romney/Ryan”
2.  “Morning ya’ll…I had a biscuit and some cheesy grits for breakfast.”
1.  “I’m not familiar precisely with exactly what I said, but I stand by what I said, whatever it was.”

Fact Checking Cat Blasts Holes in GOP Chart

Great Depression Food Line

Great Depression Food Line (Photo credit: Kevin Burkett)

Warning:  If you are sick and tired of politics, don’t read this post.  Disclaimer:  I am sick and tired of politics and don’t plan to blog anymore about the elections until after November 6.  I just felt the need to respond to a right wing anti-Obama cheap shot.

I’ve seen this graph put out by an outfit called Being Conservative:

This is from the group’s facebook page which has over 2 million likes.  The graph above has been shared some 77,000 times.  And it’s misleading.  Here’s why:

First, let’s look at unemployment.  For a little historical context (because that’s what is lacking in the chart) in late 2008, the U.S. economy crashed under George W. Bush’s leadership.  When President Obama took over in 2009, he inherited the worst recession since the Great Depression.  I repeat, inherited an economy on the brink of utter collapse.  Thanks to the TARP bailout and ARRA stimulus spending, the economy has recovered, albeit slowly.  At the end of 2009, the unemployment rate was 9.3%, 9.6% in 2010, 8.9% in 2011 and now down to 7.9%; it is not 8.3% as the graph indicates.  For comparison sake, in the Depression Era from 1930-1939, the unemployment rate averaged 18.34%.  But get this, in years that would not be considered depression-like, the unemployment rates under Republican leadership were also high.  President Gerald Ford finished 1975 with an unemployment rate of 8.5%.  Under President Ronald Reagan, the unemployment rate at the end of 1982 was 9.7%; 9.6% in 1983.  At the end of 1992, under President George HW Bush (the elder), unemployment was 7.5%.

Now let’s look at gasoline prices. The graph shows that when the President took office, the price at the pump was $1.84; actually, the average price was $1.787.  It shows that the current price is $3.82 but that’s wrong too – it is, for the record as of this writing, $3.712 and for the year $3.684 on average, about 16 cents higher than it was in 2011.  For the sake of comparison, in June and July of 2008, under President George W. Bush, gas prices surged to over $4 nationwide.  I’m not making this stuff up.  To be fair, what is forgotten in all this is that the President has little direct influence on daily gasoline prices, which are largely a product of global events and global demand, that is higher now than ever before with India and China’s growing consumer class increasingly dependent on fossil fuels.  Now it is true that a comprehensive energy policy could impact the demand equation, but drilling isn’t the solution to lower gas prices.  Becoming less dependent on fossil fuels is the long term answer to a more sustainable planet.  As demand for oil decreases, so too will the price at the pump.  Investing in clean alternative energy sources not only could help us break our dependence on oil, it would reduce the amount of CO2 we spew into the air and slow down global warming and climate change, something I pray is not too late to do – I mean the ice is already melting and I believe it was Governor Cuomo who said, and I am paraphrasing, that we are seeing 100 year storms every two years.

Next, let’s look at the National Debt.  From Reagan through Bush I and II, the national debt increased by 12 trillion. This is not a misprint.  My cat Ella fact checked it.  How did they manage to rack up 12 trillion in debt? Well, it was a combination of reduced revenue from tax cuts, increased defense spending, unpaid for wars and ever expanding entitlement obligations, oh, and there is the not so little thing of the interest on the debt.  President Obama inherited this mess; he did not create it.  And he’s trying to work on the revenue side by raising taxes on the wealthy and ending corporate welfare, but with no cooperation from the Republicans who have all taken the Grover Norquist no taxes pledge. On the spending side, the President has ended the two Republican initiated wars (which of course had the full approval of Congress) and recommended reductions in military spending.  Now with the sequester set to trigger automatic cuts, there is hope that a balanced deal on revenue and spending can be negotiated.

And finally, declining wages.  Consider this:  The Republicans have blocked attempts to raise the minimum wage and voted against the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.  And corporations have been making record profits, as they have outsourced jobs and begged for more subsidies, arguing that the uncertainty is “killing” them and accounts for their reluctance to hire.  Notwithstanding this “uncertainty”, the rich have gotten richer and the middle class and poor even poorer.  Extending the Bush tax cuts didn’t help much.  An inherited wrecked economy that has recovered slowly, hasn’t helped things either.  Partisan gridlock has made matters even worse, that and the heightened rhetoric from the right questioning the need for a social safety net and blaming the poor, homeless, elderly and infirm for not taking responsibility for themselves.  The point being that the President is not solely responsible for declining incomes among the middle class.

I just wanted to give this graph a little context to show how misleading it is.  And now I am done.  The end.

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Don’t Drink 2,083 Cans of Diet Soda a Day

Coca Cola Zero

Coca Cola Zero (Photo credit: xcaballe)

Here’s the thing:  diet soda is bad for you, really bad for you.  At least that’s the suspicion.  There hasn’t been any study to conclusively link diet soda consumption to cancer in humans. Even the latest published study trying to find one concluded that some of their findings about the ill effects of artificial sweeteners could have been due to chance.  Nonetheless, the jury is out.

Confession:  I like diet soda – I do.  I am particularly fond of Coke Zero.  They’ve put something in it that I crave – I don’t know what it is, maybe it’s the zero, or the aspartame and its phenylalanine content, which apparently I am able to metabolize unlike some people with a rare genetic disease called PKU.  These folks should stay a mile away from the stuff.

Flashback:  In a high school debate round, I once argued that there was no reason for the government to regulate artificial sweeteners despite the fact that they caused cancer in laboratory rats.   I cited evidence that showed the rats were injected with the human equivalent of something like 700 cans of diet soda a day for a lifetime.  I imagine the study I referenced was looking at saccharine.  What ever happened to saccharine anyway?  I kind of miss it!  A more recent study concluded that with aspartame, the risk range for humans is between 8 and 2,083 cans a day.

I know I should just drink water all day, but that decaffeinated lifestyle is a little too stringent for me.  I figure as long as I don’t drink 2,083 cans of Coke Zero a day, I’ll be ok… I think.