Categories
Films

Hidden Figures

Saw Hidden Figures yesterday. 

The history was interesting. A group of black women working at NASA in the “computing” department. One in particular, Katherine Jackson, played a significant role in solving the mathematical problems associated with the project.

The movie itself though is not so great. Boring script, very predictable plot, cliche-ridden, and teeth-grinding bad acting. 

 

Categories
Films

Watch Spotlight

Good movie about the Catholic Church child abuse scandal. Centers around the  investigation of the Boston Globe which to exposed the church. Watched it, ironically, on the day our esteemed president declared that “the press is the enemy of the American people”.  

 

Categories
Poetry

Happiness

by Carl Sandburg

Categories
Books

A Year Without Pants – by Scott Berkun

Berkun’s discusses his year working at Automattic, leading teams designing enhancements to WordPress.com. He describes the unique culture of Automattic, the company behind the most popular by far content management system in the world.

In (very) short, he believes the very non-hierarchical, remote-centric, small team, informal culture at Automattic is the general model of the future work office environment.    

Categories
Films

Watched A Man Named Ove – by Hannes Holm

Directed and written by Hannes Holm. Swedish.

I liked it. Sort of the non-violent swedish version of Clint Eastwood’s Grand Torino. The movie is full of cliches, and the heart-warming ending can  be seen coming  from the very beginning.  Still, the movie is highly enjoyable. The characters are believable, and their relationships feel right.  It also has more than it’s share of laughs. 

 

Categories
Books

A Country of Vast Designs: James Polk – by Robert Merry

A lot of shit happened during Polk’s four years in office.

A Democrat, Polk was a disciple of Andrew Jackson. He promised to serve only one-term in order to placate rivals that he knew coveted the presidency. Not a strong leader and lacking charisma, he nevertheless succeeded in bringing about all four of the main items on his agenda:

  • Lowering tariffs
  • stabling the currency 
  • acquiring the Oregon territory
  • expanding country to the Pacific

He may not have done it exactly to plan – instead starting a war with Mexico – but he did  it.

Poor guy died four months after leaving office.

 

Categories
Films

Saw Paterson

Saw new film by Jim Jarmuch. Enjoyed it much. So beautiful, so poetic. Adam Driver was a good choice for a Jarmuch movie, he fits right in with John Laurie, Tom Waits etc.

The poetry written for the film didn’t really make it with me. I missed the humor of some of the older movies. 

Overall I really like it.

 

Categories
Books

John Tyler, the Accidental President – by Edward Crapol

  More detail than I wanted.

Basic story – undone by slavery, of which he was a avid supporter. Achievements: Border with Maine/Canada, trade agreement with China, annexation of Texas, Tyler Doctrine in Pacific (which eventually lead to annexation of Hawaii).

Believed expanding the borders would keep nation together, and eventually would lead to the end of slavery (weird idea). First Vice President to become President, played a large role in setting precedence that VP would become Pres. for rest of term. Constitution was unclear on that point. 

He was a Whig, but big on “states rights”, like his idols Jefferson and Madison. Caused him to become very unpopular within his own party. Was not even nominated for a run at a second term.

 

 

Categories
Poetry

We Are Three

by Rumi 

Categories
Films

Saw Iranian Film at AFI in Silver Spring

Saw “The Salesman”, written and directed by Asghar Farhadi, a well-know Iranian director working inside Iran. 

My impression was that the movie took way too long to get to the point. The last half-hour was engrossing as the movie worked it’s way to the  climax. I suppose the theme was revenge vs. forgiveness, the husband taking the side of revenge, the wife forgiveness.

Farhadi also made acclaimed The Separation, which I did’t like so much, and About Elly, which I did. 

 

Categories
Films

Watch Several Movies

Been trying to see some of  the “big” movies of the year.  List is roughly order of preference (best to worst).

  • Manchester by the Sea
  • Jackie
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Loving
  • Lion
  • Certain Women

Also saw Gimme Danger, Jarmusch’s documentary about Iggy Pop. 

Categories
Books

Scars of Sweet Paradise – The Life and Times of Janis Joplin by Alice Echols

Typical rock star on drugs story. I wish it had focused more on the music instead of her tragic life. Amazing the harm well-meaning parents can do do a child, especially if that child is susceptible to being affected by it.

 

Categories
Books

William Henry Harrison – by Gail Collins

The ninth president. Died after only one month in office. Ran as an Indian War hero, notably the battle of Tippecanoe. Actually did a poor job at that battle, but did better in subsequent ones. Ran as a man of the people, but actually grew up relatively rich (sound familiar?). First candidate to openly campaign for the office.

 

Categories
Books

Martin Van Buren – Ted Widmer

Excellent. 

Van Buren – first president for whom English was second language. poor man, yet lost re-election to a rich man who  campaigned as the  poor man (sounds familiar).  Founder of the Democratic party. Had misfortune of having a economic depression at the beginning of his  administration. Fair to say he was rather unprincipled in regard to slavery.