On this July 4 (an American holiday), I admit that my thoughts go often to Ukraine and the terrible events happening there. This is not even my country, but on any given moment my emotions alternate between anger/disgust/horror/pride/sympathy/admiration/optimism/amazement/detachment/gloom/hope. It’s a good thing that the American government is helping with economic and military aid, but it is late and probably not enough (I hope that this generosity can continue after peace finally comes).
From an article about US vets volunteering to train Ukrainians: (PAYWALL) “They are destroying whole cities, killing civilians indiscriminately. If that’s not escalation, what is? I don’t see this so much as being like the years before Vietnam. To me, it’s more like the years before World War II. People are going to wonder, looking back, why we didn’t do more sooner?”
Article on the art of subtitling.
Watched Season 4 of Ozark (without watching previous seasons). What a bore.
QUOTE: “They have all their heavy technology right up on the border. Every night at 11:00 pm, they just start pounding the city. They don’t even aim anymore; they don’t care who or what gets hit. It’s just a boring job for them,” my friend explains. He’s calm, but only because the panic and worry have already passed for him. No one can remember what life was like before this. My brother and his wife nod in agreement. My friend goes off on a tangent. We’re all taking in the view before us, looking at the city, and doing our mental calculations. “(Memories of living on the battlefront of Kharkiv, Ukraine by Maryna Prykhodko).
I don’t know how it turned up in my feed, but Jimmy Kimmel had a hilarious 2018 interview with Stormy Daniels about Trump. Amazingly, she reports that in one of their encounters, Hilary Clinton had telephoned Trump about something (this was 2006). Says one article summarizing the book, “Then, to make it crazier, Hillary Clinton called…He had a whole conversation about the race, repeatedly mentioning ‘our plan’… Even while he was on the phone with Hillary, his attention kept going back to the sharks,” (of Shark Week). “
MARVIN ZINDLER SPEAKS! Everyone in Houston knows about Zindler, a colorful TV personality and consumer advocate who helped hapless customers who were ripped off by businesses. His most famous claim to fame was closing down the Chicken Ranch brothel (and inspiring a Broadway musical –and movie — about it). Here’s a great 16 minute interview right after the movie came out. Everyone laughed about Zindler’s catchphrases (“SLIME IN THE ICE MACHINE”) but he did a lot of good for the community and seemed in this interview to be a fairly humble man.
MUSK AND TWITTER: “Whatever the outcome, it will be a test of what really matters in billionaire business in 2022. In one corner, there are laws and contracts and old-school conventions about the way negotiations work—most notably, the concept that when someone signs papers agreeing to do something, they have to do it or pay a penalty. In the other corner is complete and total bullshit, wielded by a bullshitter who is attempting to worm his way to a preferred outcome on the strength of being not just the richest person in the world, but also the most annoying. It is a heavyweight bout between how business is done by most people and how it is done by one person. We are all about to locate the outer limit of what hucksterism can achieve.
PLEASE CALL IT TERRORISM: “The deep, unanswerable question is whether war crime is even the correct term for what happened in Serhiivka (UKRAINE). In truth, the war in Ukraine now has a different nature than most of the wars we have seen this century. In the eastern part of the country, soldiers on both sides fight for territory on either side of a discernible front line. But elsewhere in Ukraine, something else is happening, something that looks less like war and more like multiple acts of terrorism…. If terrorism is defined as an intimidation campaign using violence, then the bombing of Serhiivka was terrorism. So was the June 27 bombing of Kremenchuk, in central Ukraine, when another Kh-22 anti-ship missile hit a shopping mall, killing at least 20 people. Terrorism could also describe the repeated use of cluster munitions in residential areas of Kharkiv, bombs that splinter into hundreds of fragments, causing death and injury, leaving traces across playgrounds and courtyards. Terrorism is also a good word for the July 10 attack on Chasiv Yar, where multiple rockets struck a five-story apartment building and emergency services spent many hours digging residents out of the rubble. Russia is not pursuing traditional war aims in any of these places…. But if the bombing campaign is not part of a “war,” as we normally understand it, that doesn’t mean it has no purpose. On the contrary, it seeks to achieve several goals. One of them may be to persuade people to leave, to become refugees, to become a burden and perhaps a political problem for Ukraine’s neighbors. Clearly the bombs are also meant to impoverish Ukrainians, to prevent them from rebuilding, to weaken their state, to persuade their compatriots who are abroad not to come home. Who wants to return to a country that features on the evening news every few nights, as another bomb falls on another apartment building or shopping mall? Who will invest in a place of smashed rooftops and broken glass? Sowing such doubts is a classic goal of terrorism too. ” (ANNE APPLEBAUM)
QUOTE: “Russia is facing a systemic manpower issue, and they are using multiple ad-hoc methods to fill in the gaps with volunteers, mercenaries, prison battalions, and personnel from other parts of the government like the national guard,. It results in minimally trained soldiers and presumable lack of cohesion at the unit level.” (DARA MASSICOT, Policy Researcher, Rand Corporation)
Apparently these crisis pregnancy centers (CPC) received governmental funding, but offered barely any medical services except a strong anti-abortion message. Conclusion:
CPCs are a unique and disconcerting hybrid of anti-choice activism, religious propagandism, and pseudo-medical practice. Their modes of operation are fundamentally unethical and undermine the respect to human life that they claim to protect. Currently, the government faces significant barriers to implementing regulation of CPCs. The overall protected status of CPCs exists in stark contrast to that of abortion clinics. As states across the country threaten to severely restrict, and in some cases eliminate, access to abortion, efforts to limit the influence of CPCs will become increasingly vital. Initiatives to promote transparency and protect people seeking unbiased medical care from deception by CPCs will require creative solutions. On a grassroots level, healthcare providers and pro-choice organizations need to remain knowledgeable about CPC operations within their communities and serve as reliable sources of information for patients. Structurally, in addition to pushing for greater oversight of these organizations, Americans should demand increased accountability from search engines and social media outlets regarding advertising of CPCs and the medical accuracy of their online content. There also needs to be widespread social and political support of public health policies that create legitimate, safe access to medical and financial resources that are currently offered under threat of coercion by CPCs. While reproductive rights advocates continue to demand responsible, appropriate action from local and national governing bodies, increasing patient awareness and education about these centers will hopefully protect anyone capable of pregnancy from erosion of their reproductive freedoms by CPCs.
Happy to learn the news that Albania and N. Macedonia entered accession talks with the EU.
This 30 minute interview takes a look at all the major acting roles of John Lithgow. (my fave actor) I loved him in Third Rock from the Sun, but am pleasantly surprised at how many movies he did in the 1980s and 1990s which I never have seen. (He was good in the underrated movie, 2010: The Year We Make Contact )
In addition to Netflix, full episodes of COMMUNITY are starting to be available on Youtube. Here’s the second episode — about the insane spanish teacher Senor Chang (played by Ken Jeong). I love this series to death.
NETFLIX SITCOM RECOMMENDATION: “The Upshaws” is a hilarious 30 minute sitcom/dramedy about the ups and downs of a workclass family with a complicated history; Bennie the car mechanic dad had a child with another woman; the aunt (played by Wanda Sykes) complains about Bennie but has to bail the family out during crises. Kim Fields plays the ambitious level-headed mother who has to manage all the chaos. This is a lovely show with great characters and outstanding actors. To “keep it real,” the show has a fair amount of profanity and R-rated humor and a lot of story development and unusual plot twists. We sped through two seasons — alas, Season 3 will arrive next summer. Made especially for Netflix with brilliant writing, this is now one of my favorite Netflix-only shows.
Mary Ann — SEQUEL?! A year or so before she died, Gilligan’s Island star Dawn Wells did some short comedy sketches with Terry Ray recreating her iconic character. This playlist contains 3 sketches totaling 15 minutes. These are amateur productions, but still lots of fun…