Friday, December 21, 2018

Cinema Cycle - The Avengers '67 Vol 12

In these episodes, we get to see Mrs. Peel waterboarded, placed in a chastity belt, chased by a helicopter and go hand to hand combat with an entire town of thugs. Interestingly, the final episode here shows Mrs. Peel leaving the show with her long lost husband and the introduction of Steed's new (and last) partner Linda Thomson.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Cinema Cycle - On The Waterfront

Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb, Rod Steiger, Eva Marie Saint, Leonard Berstein, Elia Kazan and eight Oscars. An astounding film that you can't look away from. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Cinema Cycle - Sex and the City S2E3 - The Freak Show

In this episode, the freakish / repressed side of women, nurtured by anxiety is explored. Great Stuff.

Deconstructing the President (Book Review)

This is primarily a review of these two books regarding the initial years of the Trump Presidency.  I am not here to support or detract from the President.  I have encountered few people that don't have an extreme view of this presidency.  The actions and direction of his office are evident by the media coverage (both fake and real) along with the Presidents voluminous tweets. 

What I found interesting about these two books, are the similarities in each, even though they were done by different authors obtaining information from different varying sources, both on and off the record.  There are those Americans that see the behavior of this president as an adjustment to the political correctness that has descended on the United States and to counter what many see as the new fourth leg of government, which is the liberal-biased media.  Clearly, this president sees the 'big stick' approach as being more effective, and in our better long term interest, than the global group hug of his Democratic predecessors. 

While there are 'pro' books that have been written about the Alt-Right agenda and the Trump presidency, almost all of these have failed to gain traction with the public at large.  Apparently, because few current or former staffers have much good to say about their boss.  Both of these authors have extensive interviews with various individuals close to, or inside the White House.  In many aspects both of these books tend to corroborate each other, in that they basically say the same things, but the statements are from different sources at different times. 

Individually, the statements made by various parties in these books can be dismissed as hearsay or off the record comments.  However, when you have multiple sources saying the same thing about a given meeting, phone call or reaction in a crisis, you have to start giving what is being said some credence.  After reading both, I have walk away with the following conclusions about this presidency. 

1) He never expected to win.  His campaign was a PR stunt to market his brand and influence his business dealings.  As opposed to actually 'winning' the election, various insiders in both parties admit that what actually happened was, Hillary lost the election.  Trump didn't win it, he was simply the least offensive of both candidates in the eyes of the American public. 

2) He has limited intelligence.  While this might seem alarming, we have to bear in mind that the General does not need to know how to drive a tank to win the battle.  Leadership is something that is inherent in some individuals.  Personality has little to do with it either.  Few liked George Patton, but the man won battles.  However, high ranking government officials that have dealt with Trump in the first two years of his presidency have come away with extreme doubts regarding his competency to understand basic global situations.  In one particular meeting, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin has to repeatedly explain to the president that the Federal Government can not simply make more money to pay for the southern border wall, despite Trump's repeated solution to "lets just print more money".  Clearly there is a disconnect there regarding how various systems, both domestic and foreign, work.

3) He likely did not knowingly collude with the Russians to win the election.  Many long term friends and White House staffers admit that Trump saw business dealing with Russia as just another part of 'playing the game' of global finance, and the thought that the Russians might undermine our electoral process never really entered Trump's mind.  Like many staffers reference in the books, he just doesn't think that deep.  Ergo, it was easy for the Russians to dupe him into things in the political arena that Trump had little or no understanding of. 

4) He sees miss-direction and chaos as tools to control the media and further his agenda.  He speaks in vague statements that cannot be proven, never writes anything down or sends emails (outside of tweeting) and always claims ignorance and then never admits mistakes or apologizes.  Showing any weakness means you automatically lose in his mind.  Which leads to the mindset that, since he is the most important and powerful person in the room, anything he says is correct and cannot be disputed.  If he says it often and long enough, it will eventually become reality.  His will, will make it happen.

Both authors conclude, in rather depressing terms, that as his Presidency continues, he will likely become overwhelmed by situations that he cannot control or understand, which may lead to dire consequences.  Almost all of the staff that have left the White House during his first two years in office have done so to distance themselves from the likelihood that, if they stay, they will be drawn into situations that are illegal, either in domestic law or international law.

Stay tuned, I am sure there are more books in the pipeline.....

He Saw / She Saw - Fancy Pants

Cinema Cycle - Das Boot

An excellent film of the War genre, told from the losing side. Heroism and fear are plentiful on both sides. A man's film with no female characters. I am not a submariner, but based on the liner notes from the film, I have to believe that this film is pretty accurate.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Cinema Cycle - Mr. Write

Not a great film. It picks up a bit at the end, but most of the time I was checking my email. Paul Riser can be a bit hard to take in certain roles, especially in a romantic comedy. (However he was excellent in Aliens).

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Cinema Cycle - Naked City: When The Saints Lost Their Halos

A real treasure of 1960s television. I never got to watch this as a kid since some affiliates found the subject matter a bit to hardcore for their audience. A gritty crime series, shot entirely on location in New York in 1961. The list of guest stars reads like a whos who of Hollywood elite 20 years later. In this case, Peter Fonda, Martin Sheen and Jo Van Fleet.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Cinema Cycle - Glen or Glenda

The first watching of an Ed Wood feature is always an achievement, if not for the odd bizarre nature of the work, for the realization, that this guy really wasn't as bad as people say. He just really knew how to use a micro-budget. Here, Ed tackles the 1950s taboo subject of transvestites.....with Bela Legosi in tow.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Cinema Cycle - Fast & Furious

A basic adverse / buddy film who set aside their differences to go after the really big bad guy with a lot of fancy cars thrown in. A slick film with a good soundtrack, but its target audience (young boys who play video games) is obvious. A fun thrill ride, but hardly realistic or believable.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Cinema Cycle - The Brain That Wouldn't Die

This film is a "its so bad, its good' genre of film. Actually well done movie-making on the cheap. A pay-off film where everything leads to a climax ending (so that you will hang around the drive-in longer and buy more Pepsi and Popcorn). Lots of blood and gore (its cheap) with burlesque thrown in as well and the longest death scene (about 3 minutes) that I have ever seen.

Cinema Cycle - Courage Under Fire

A better film than I remembered. An excellent examination of the fog of war and how perceptions of a battle can vary. A good film that holds your interest, however, the military factual-ness of some of the combat scenes is pretty off.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Cinema Cycle - MadMen Season 6 Part 2 - New Business

One of those series that never gets old and you end up picking out more and more the more you watch. Here, Don and Megan split for good. The final scene of Don standing in his empty Manhatten apartment that has been stripped bare by his mother-in-law is priceless.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Five Frames - 12/03/2018

Five Frames

Images from my Flickr account that have never been published - - - till now. ...

Porch Swing

Los Angeles Union Station

Cochise County Near Sonoita

In Profile

Kurt At Work
These images and many many more can be found on my Flickr account.

Cinema Cycle - Call It Home

History and ephemera at its best. Half video shorts from the post-war housing boom, half documentation and print media that goes way beyond description. Another great example, of how looking back in hindsight, we didn't make the best choices after WWII.