Thursday, February 26, 2015

Beyond the Lights: Future Cult Classic?

I missed this movie in the theater too. I'd probably have seen it at the Kress (missed). The box office was lackluster but it looks as if it will find a bigger audience on video.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Fifty Shades Box Office Plummets

Fifty Shades of Grey Box Office Plummets. Presumably as word gets around that the movie was lousy.

All In With Chris Hayes may be cancelled. But MSNBC denies it.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Billy Ocean

"There'll Be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry)" (1986)

His first single, "On the Run" (1974: Lark Records), released under the name Scorched Earth.

"Suddenly" (1984)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Monday, February 09, 2015

MSNBC Ratings Low!

Al Jazeera America is having ratings problems too, but its foreign coverage beats Fox, MSNBC, and CNN.

Considering the Grammys

I watched the Grammys but switched between it and Family Guy then Bob's Burgers, so I missed the moments when Beck won the Album of the Year award for Morning Phase (which also got Best Rock Album). Sam Smith won Song and Record of the Year for "Stay With Me." He was also named Best New Artist and won Best Pop Vocal Album for In the Lonely Hour. Well-deserved, I say. What was undeserved was Beyoncé's Best R&B Performance award for "Drunk in Love." Jennifer Hudson's "It's Your World" (which should have won) and Ledisi's "Like This" were much worthier.

These were the Best R&B Performance nominees:

Drunk In Love
Beyoncé Featuring Jay Z
Track from: Beyoncé
Label: Columbia Records

New Flame
Chris Brown Featuring Usher & Rick Ross
Track from: X
Label: RCA Records

It's Your World
Jennifer Hudson Featuring R. Kelly
Track from: JHUD
Label: RCA Records

Like This
Track from: The Truth
Label: Verve

Good Kisser
Label: RCA Records

More later.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

A review of The World After Cheap Oil

Here. One of the authors responds in the article's comments thread.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Kunstler: Apocalypse Now and Forever

Kunstler on possible U.S. military aid to the Ukraine. I guess we're in the second Cold War.

Apocalypse Now and Forever

As a political psychoanalyst I find the Super-bowl halftime show the best concise index of how psychotic American culture is becoming from year to year, and the 2015 version signaled a complete break from reality, a nightmare of twerking robots in a hall of mirrors, as if America had utterly surrendered its tattered soul to some rogue motherboard pulsing deep within Dr. Evil’s subterranean palace of sin. Hence it is the perfect analog for understanding otherwise incomprehensible happenings such as the USA’s role in fomenting further chaos and mayhem in Ukraine.

How otherwise to explain things like this morning’s New York Times report that the USA “now supports providing defensive weapons and equipment to Kiev’s beleaguered forces, and an array of administration and military officials appear to be edging toward that position….”

Earth calling New York Times readers: I regret to inform you that this decision was already reached a year ago when we paid for the coup d’état against the elected President, Viktor Yanukovych, after the poor sap decided to not sign up with EU but rather the Russian-backed Eurasian Customs Union. Whoops! You’re so out of here, Bub, State Department Under Secretary Victoria Nuland burbled in a clandestinely recorded phone call to the American ambassador. Will somebody please find Yats! Yes Yats! [UKR politician Arseniy Yatsenyuk] and plug the Bluetooth earpiece of power into his skull!

And so it went this past year with a cabal of the USA, the EU, and the IMF shoveling financial support (billions!), armaments, and surely boots-on-the ground into the Ukrainian morass. Last week, a reporter in eastern Ukraine approached a soldier in UKR army battle garb only to be told, in pitch perfect American English, to “get out of my face.” Say what??? The You-tube clip was seen all over the world and to this minute no agent of the US government has been called to account over it. Like I said, a hall of mirrors.

But anyway, we get a little ahead of ourselves because all this really begs the question: what business do we have in Ukraine in the first place and why should it matter to us that they align with Russia? And more to the point: why is it not transparently obvious that Ukraine is solidly within Russia’s sphere of influence, and has been, really, for more than 500 years, and for an excellent reason that has been demonstrated most recently in Napoleon’s invasion of 1812 and then Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of 1941.

In both cases, Russia owed it survival to the vast expanse of flat geography represented by Ukraine where “General Winter” was able to carry out his own defensive operations of relentless howling wind, snow, sub-zero temperatures, and frostbite that eventually vanquished the invaders. Through most of modern times Ukraine has been under the explicit “protection” of the Russian Czars or has been an outright province under the former USSR. Hundreds of years before that, Kievan Rus was the center of an emerging Russian culture and kingdom that only later picked up and moved to Moscow.

You get the picture: Ukraine has a long association with Russia, a principal association, not always happy, sometimes tragic, but a fact of life and history that the US and its foolish stooges in the EU bureaucracy now wish to challenge for absolutely no good reason. Does anybody who is not whacked out of his/her head on crack, or focused like a laser beam on the gender schism within the Kardashian Klan, remember when the US ever challenged the Soviets over Ukraine? No. And for the excellent reason that we accepted the relationship for reasons stated above. So, whose idea is it now that we should start World War Three over this remote region where so many other reckless adventurers came to grief? And what, by the way, do our people mean by “defensive weapons?” Are not most modern weapons designed to work both ways? Anyway, I see the list includes “anti-armor missiles” (i.e. tank-killers) and “drones,” the latter presumably guided by comfortable American military gamers effortlessly targeting pixelated “bad guys” between Slurpee gulps and taco bites, not exactly American Sniper style.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Keynesianism vs. Degrowth?