Monday, October 31, 2016

Adolescence is no longer a bridge between childhood and adult life | Aeon Essays

With the concept of adolescence, American parents, especially those in the middle class, could predict the staging of their children’s maturation. But adolescence soon became a vision of normal development that was applicable to all youth – its bridging character (connecting childhood and adulthood) giving young Americans a structured way to prepare for mating and work. In the 21st century, the bridge is sagging at both ends as the innocence of childhood has become more difficult to protect, and adulthood is long delayed. While adolescence once helped frame many matters regarding the teen years, it is no longer an adequate way to understand what is happening to the youth population. And it no longer offers a roadmap for how they can be expected to mature.

Deep time’s uncanny future is full of ghostly human traces | Aeon Ideas

Yet almost every piece of plastic ever made remains in existence in some form, and their chemical traces are increasingly present in our bodies. It is ironic that the characteristic ‘new’ smell of PVC is the result of the unstable elements in the material decaying. Although ostensibly inert, like Chernobyl’s ‘undead’ isotopes, plastics are in fact intensely lively, leaching endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Single-use plastic might seem to disappear when I dispose of it, but it (and therefore I) will nonetheless continue to act on the environments in which it persists for millennia.

Friday, October 28, 2016

The Nice Guys (2016) **

Begins promisingly as an amusing retro-noir but seems to care more about ostentatious displays of 70's-ness instead of any connection to physical or emotional reality. Russ Crowe does a nice job.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Syria’s “Voice of Conscience” Has a Message for the West

What do you say to those who concede that Bashar al-Assad is a tyrant but argue that he is a lesser evil than ISIS and should be kept in power to preserve stability?

For us, as Syrians, let me be frank: ISIS is the lesser evil. They have killed maybe 10,000 people, whereas Bashar al-Assad has killed hundreds of thousands. Ask yourself how anyone could tolerate such a situation. Could you imagine that in 10 or 15 years, after crushing all opposition, perhaps the son of Bashar al-Assad will proceed to rule the country after him? How horrible. How criminal. If Bashar al-Assad survives, after killing hundreds of thousands of people, expatriating 5 million more, displacing 6 million within the country, inviting the Iranians and the Russians and Shia militias from around the world to invade Syria, if such an abhorrent criminal survives and maintains his political power, the world will be a much worse place for everyone.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Café Society (2016) **

Stunningly photographed (a little too much yellow in the color correction however), this Woody Allen film is better than most thanks to Kristen Stewart who walks away with the flick.

Monday, October 17, 2016

The Most Important WikiLeaks Revelation Isn’t About Hillary Clinton | New Republic

Michael Froman, who is now U.S. trade representative but at the time was an executive at Citigroup, wrote an email to Podesta on October 6, 2008, with the subject “Lists.” Froman used a Citigroup email address. He attached three documents: a list of women for top administration jobs, a list of non-white candidates, and a sample outline of 31 cabinet-level positions and who would fill them. “The lists will continue to grow,” Froman wrote to Podesta, “but these are the names to date that seem to be coming up as recommended by various sources for senior level jobs.”

The cabinet list ended up being almost entirely on the money. It correctly identified Eric Holder for the Justice Department, Janet Napolitano for Homeland Security, Robert Gates for Defense, Rahm Emanuel for chief of staff, Peter Orszag for the Office of Management and Budget, Arne Duncan for Education, Eric Shinseki for Veterans Affairs, Kathleen Sebelius for Health and Human Services, Melody Barnes for the Domestic Policy Council, and more. For the Treasury, three possibilities were on the list: Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, and Timothy Geithner.

This was October 6. The election was November 4. And yet Froman, an executive at Citigroup, which would ultimately become the recipient of the largest bailout from the federal government during the financial crisis, had mapped out virtually the entire Obama cabinet, a month before votes were counted.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Mascots (2016) **

Disappointing near-reboot of Best In Show is not nearly as funny but it does manage a few guffaws. Note to director Chris Guest: Modesto, CA is not funny.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Knight of Cups (2015) **

A journey that doesn't go anywhere is interesting as a concept, unsatisfying as a movie. Beautifully shot images in the Malick style, good actors trying their hardest to do something.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Sunshine Cleaning (2008) **

Tries too hard to be quirky, and the direction is unoriginal and uninspired, but this indie dramedy is watchable thanks to the two leads.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Naoko Yamano Talks Kurt Cobain, Deep-Fried Shrimp, and 35 Years of Shonen Knife

What’s the future of Shonen Knife? Will we be talking during your 50th anniversary?

Fiftieth anniversary? How old will we be during the 50th? Hmm. But I’ll be younger than Sir Paul McCartney. I’d like to continue as long as I can. I have to keep myself healthy and continue to play tennis.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Alcohol Is An Antidepressant Too

I have to believe when Science discovers that alcohol also makes everyone around you more interesting, keeps you from wanting to be alone all the time and allows you to, even for a few hours, say things without your brain screaming, “Shut up you stupid idiot, why would anyone ever care what you think about anything?” it will caution against enjoying those effects for the same reason. The reason is Science hates you and doesn’t want you to be happy. You and Science have a lot in common, if you think about it.