Sunday, August 20, 2017

Farewell , Jerry Lewis

On this day of comedian and humanitarian Jerry Lewis's passing, let me tell you something you may not have heard about. He was a teacher at one of the most prestigious film schools in America, The University of Southern California. His students were George Lucas, Randal Kleiser, Peter Bogdanovich, and Steven Spielberg. (Hollywood Reporter) Lewis was a pioneer with video playback on the set. (The Guardian) He was a giant in comedy, and film. He raised billions of dollars for a cure for muscular dystrophy. His legacy will be with us forever.

Jerry could also sing. As the character "Buddy Love" in the film The Nutty Professor (1963) he sings the jazz standard "That Old Black Magic".

Farewell, Dick Gregory

Civil rights activist and comedian Dick Gregory passed away. Wikipedia Page. And check out his take on The First Amendment. God bless and thank you, Mr. Gregory.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Seth Myers on Trump's disastrous Charlottesville news conference

Here's Seth Myers with a Closer Look at conservative President Trump's horrific news conference where he goes off the rails on the Charlottesville riot. We might as well laugh because it hurts so much.

Stick Mike Pence with Donald Trump

If conservative President Donald Trump resigns or is impeached, Democrats must stick Vice President Mike Pence with him. Trump has recently demonstrated he is a racist by defending Nazis and has likely colluded with the Russians. If the Democrats are politically savvy they must attach Pence with him. That won't be hard to do. Use every interview where Republican Pence has kissed Trump's ass by obsequious devotion. Make sure he is damaged politically if Pence runs for President in 2020.

Of course, if Pence had anything to do with Russians then the mid-term elections become even more important. If the Democrats can take the House, a Democratic Speaker could become the next President if Trump and Pence have to leave before 2020.

Stick Pence with Trump like David Letterman jumping into a wall of Velcro.

Will Trump resign?

The Huffington Post is reporting that Tony Schwartz who co-wrote "The Art of the Deal" is predicting that conservative President Donald Trump will resign. He believes that the Russia investigation will do the Republican Trump in. Through his Twitter account, Schwartz argues that Trump will make deal for immunity rather than face criminal charges and resign.

A couple of things to demand from Trump if he wants immunity for resignation. And let's face it, Trump will probably get immunity for his son-in-law, Jared Kushner and son Donald Jr. Obviously Kushner must go as White house Adviser. Second, both Trumps and Kushner must admit that they colluded with the Russians. Third, they must cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller so that he may file a report about Russian meddling with our democracy.

Conservative Trump again defends the Confederacy and knows nothing of history

Republican President Donald Trump has just tweeted bemoaning the nationwide removal of Confederate statues. CNN report. Conservative Trump wrote:

"Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments." "You can't change history, but you can learn from it." "Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson - who's next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish!" CNN report.

If there was any question that Trump is a racist, is over. He is. These statues are monuments to the Confederacy. that's the "culture" he wants to preserve. And while some may have artistic value, almost all of them were erected to honor the Confederacy. And the Confederacy's prime issue was to preserve slavery. It should be noted that removing of Confederate statues is contested by racists and Nazis. By siding with the Confederacy and Nazis, Trump has now shown he is a racist. His support of the Obama birther issue is even more evidence.

Trump also does not know history. Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson fought and killed people to tear the country apart and preserve slavery. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, while not perfect, were the founding fathers of our great democracy.

Conservative President Trump defends Nazis

So I watched Republican President Trump's news conference on Tuesday about the Charlottesville riots. It was a whole dimension of crazy. Call it 3D crazy. It was so deranged that at first I thought his comment about some "very fine people" marched to protest the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue sounded reasonable. CNN Transcript. That is, until I thought about it. First, the protest was organized by far right racists. Second, look at videos of the march the night before the fateful Saturday riots. Those who were marching with torches were Nazis. The shouted "blood and soil." That is a Nazi motto. They also shouted, "Jews will not replace us.' (Vice News Documentary; caution this is video contains disturbing language and images. EVERY REPUBLICAN SHOULD WATCH THIS HBO VICE VIDEO.)   These people are Nazis.

President Trump stated that some  "very fine people" protested against the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue. Not true. When you march with Nazis, you are a Nazi/  . Conservative republican Donald Trump has just defended Nazis.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Trump defends the Confederacy by equating Robert E. Lee to George Washington

Yesterday, conservative President Donald Trump, showed his real self  in a press conference.   When addressing the Charlottesville  riots, Trump revealed he sympathized with the Nazis.  (Here's the CNN transcript.) Perhaps the most outrageous and egregious thing he did was to morally equate Robert E. Lee with George Washington. Here's what he said.

"You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name.
QUESTION: George Washington and Robert E. Lee are not the same (inaudible)...
TRUMP: George Washington was a slave-owner. Was George Washington a slave-owner? So, will George Washington now lose his status? Are we going to take down -- excuse me -- are we going to take down -- are we going to take down statues to George Washington?
TRUMP: How about Thomas Jefferson? What do you think of Thomas Jefferson? You like him?
TRUMP: OK. Good. Are we going to take down the statue? Because he was a major slave-owner. Now, are we going to take down his statue? So you know what? It's fine. You're changing history. You're changing culture. And you had people, and I'm not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally. But you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists.+

Hey President Trump, you blonde haired, orange skin idiot. Comparing Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson means you see them in the same light. Robert E Lee and Stonewall Jackson fought for the Confederacy. The Confederacy wanted to tear America apart and preserve slavery. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were Founding Fathers and created our country. Equating Lee and Jackson to Washington and Jefferson is Trump's way of supporting the Confederacy. Lee and Jackson should not be honored with monuments for fighting for slavery. And while Washington and Jefferson were flawed because they had slaves, they created our created our great democracy.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Stephen Miller should have learned diversity from Star Trek

Back on August 2, White House adviser Stephen Miller defended conservative President Trump's new policy to select English speaking people for legal immigration. CNN's Jim Acosta challenged the policy by raising the poem on the Statue of Liberty about the "huddled masses yearning to breathe free" and arguing that the administration favors immigrants from Great Britain, Australia, i.e. white English speaking countries. Miller then stated that the poem was added later to the statue and implied that it doesn't mean anything as it relates the the monument. He then accused Acosta of having a cosmopolitan bias. Which means Acosta believes in a kind of America that is a melting pot of races and ideas. Politico article.

While researching whether Miller is a racist, I found he is a Star Trek fan. Vanity Fair. I would suggest Miller follow the ideas of Star Trek. Its creator, Gene Roddenberry,  intentionally made a crew of multiple races to push diversity. (Video below.) So it's right for Star Trek, it's right for America. We are a melting pot. And diversity is our strength. Just look at the Women's Olympic Gymnastics team of 1996 and 2016 which won team Gold Medals.

Gene Roddenberry interview ABC Good Morning America, 1986; at 30 seconds made diversity of the crew a priority

Monday, August 14, 2017

Violence from the radical left is also wrong

I've expressed my opposition to Nazis and white supremacists. But here's where I agree with President Trump when he condemned all sides for the Charlottesville violence. Yes, conservative Trump messed up by not pointing out that it was a Nazi who killed a woman. He failed to condemn the Nazis for their ideas. After all, the initial protest was organized by white supremacists and Nazis. However, he is correct to criticize violence from the radical left.

Far left groups like the Antifa are right to oppose fascists and racists. But they should not use violence, or threats to shut down speech. The First Amendment protects even the fascists. By stooping to the level of the fascists, these far left groups give ammunition to them and diminish their cause.

Conservative Trump refuses to name Nazis and white supremacists as the cause of Charlottesville

Republican and Conservative President Donald Trump refused to call out Nazis and white supremacists as the cause of the violence and murder of a woman in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday. (Video below.) This is akin to saying that World War II was caused by all sides and refusing to call out the Germans and Japan. Let's be clear. Trump built his political presidential career on the racism of being the chief birther challenging Obama's American birth. There is a clear stream of racism in Trump.

And you conservatives still defending Trump over his refusal to call out Nazis and white supremacists,it makes a difference. I'm saying you Vice President Pence who is also a Republican and conservative. Here's a Huffington Post story with Soledad O' Brian's posting of the Nazis at the Daily Stormer celebrating Trump's response. They say "He loves us all." These Nazis feel emboldened.

Liberals must continue to fight and press Trump to condemn white supremacists and Nazis.

KKK leader David Duke was at Saturday's "Unite the Right" rally. He's at the :50 second mark.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Stephen Colbert teaches us how to love the bomb

Conservative President Donald Trump threatened North Korea with nuclear war. Yes, the blonde hair, orange skin idiot is freaking out the world with the idea of ending it with nuclear war. We need Stephen Colbert with his wit and sarcasm to make us laugh before we are killed by Trump.

The Dark Tower review

The Dark Tower is nowhere near as bad as other film critics say it is. The film is based on Stephen King's eight novels of the same name. It mixes a bunch of genres together. Fantasy. Science Fiction. Westerns. As this  is quite creative, it is also one of the problems with the movie.

The movie opens with a written statement that a Dark Tower keeps the forces of darkness from entering the universe and that a mind of a child can destroy it. Walter Padick aka The Man in Black wants to bring the darkness into the universe.  He is played by a tongue in cheek Matthew McConaughey. He gleefully wonders around the universe getting little girls to learn hate, kill children in a mind machine to see if they can bring down the tower, torture and kill people. He just twitches his nose and magic happens. Um... no that nose twitching is Bewitched.  But he might as well do that. He just says things like, "Stop breathing" and the victim does. It's so effortless that it comes off somewhat ludicrous and McConaughey knows it. He's having fun. It kind of begs the question. Padick is supposed to be a sorcerer.   Yet, he's not the devil and according to the movie he's worse. So can he be killed?

During Padick's search for the child who can bring down the tower, a New York kid named Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor) is having visions of The Gunslinger and the Dark Tower. He also has the "shine" which allows him to send telepathic messages to Jack Nicholson about "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." Okay, that stuff about Jack Nicholson is not in this movie but is in "The Shining."    The kid does have the "shine."  Anyway, if you can't see the role that Jake is going to play in this movie than you haven't ween any movies based on young adult novels in the last  five years. I mean it's not like the kid is going to get run over by bus five minutes into the movie.

Idris Elba is Roland Deschain aka The Gunslinger, the last of his kind. . He's uses magical six shooters which I think I heard somebody say were made from Arthur's sword, Excalibur?!  Here's a problem. The filmmakers do a terrible job of explaining this. Anyway, he's mad at Padick because he killed his father. And I think he's supposed to protect the Tower. The conflict is that Dechain wants revenge rather than keeping the universe safe. Hold on. Wouldn't killing Padick keep the universe safe? So, why do some aliens give him the guilt trip for trying to seek revenge on  Padick?

Anyway, Jake can also see aliens in New York because he supported Trump and thinks all Mexicans are bad hombres. Er... sorry about that. He can see aliens, the extraterrestrial type. Jake finds a building where he thinks The Gunslinger is at and finds a portal. He turns it on and goes through it and finds himeself on another world called Mid-World. He runs into the Gunslinger and asks him if there is going to be a Pacific Rim sequel. Yes, the sequel stuff aint' true. Anyway, Deschain figures the kid must be important to the plot and must protect him.

There are many problems with this movie. First, if you are going to mash together fantasy, science fiction and Westerns, you had better explain how somethings in your story work. I mean it seems Deschain has super abilities yet he can be killed. Padick's magic doesn't work on Deschain.  How?  And how do magic guns use real world bullets? I  mean wouldn't you need magic bullets to kill a supernatural guy like Padick? And who is Padick? If he's worse than the devil, how can he be killed? And why do almost all of the aliens look like humans? I get it that some aliens on earth use disguises. But why do the aliens look like people on Mid-World?

Director Nikolaj Arcel is skillful in delivering the dystopian visuals of Mid-World and action. The film is not boring. But as i stated there needed to be more focus on the world that the movie is about by showing us how things came to be. The kid with the shining er.. shine is not all that interesting. But Deschain's journey is. I mean the movie talks about killing with the heart, well where did Deschain get that from? Is it like using the Force?   Oh yeah before I forget.  Show the monsters.  When monsters attack, don't do it night or at least light the scene better.

If you are at the theater and can't decide on what film to see, please choose Dunkirk or Atomic Blonde. The Dark Tower should be last on your list. The grade is B minus.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Goodbye Glen Campbell

Glen Campbell passed away. God be with him. I grew up with his music. He was one of my first pop music loves. Let's honor him by posting some of his music from the periods I first heard his songs. I've also included a clip from the classic film True Grit (1969) where he saves John Wayne. There's a great line in that movie where his character while fighting death makes another heroic feat and says, "I ain't dead yet." Let's remember to live our lives and fight the obstacles like Glen did.

"Gentle On My Mind" with excellent Campbell solo.

"By the Time I Get to Phoenix" and "Galveston."

"Wichita Lineman."

Classic scene from True Grit (1969) where John Wayne faces four bad guys with the help of Glen Campbell at the end. Great score by Elmer Bernstein also.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Bill Maher exposes conservative hypocrisy about Trump and Obama

I've always said to you conservatives, "If Obama said that, you all would be marching on him" or if "Hillary Clinton did the Russian stuff we have on Trump, you all would be building the gallows for her hanging." I know you conservative Republicans.   You will defend Trump even as he does Russia's bidding.

Well, thanks to Bill Maher for this great comic piece. He shows conservative hypocrisy. Here he has an actor imitating Obama read Trump's actual words. And a warning. These ares some of conservative Trump's more adult and sexually charged comments. I'm talking the Hollywood Access tape. But if you followed  the election, you've heard them.

Conservatives, how do you feel if Obama said Trump's outrageous and terrible statements? Yeah, I see your reaction. Conservatives, put America first. Party should take a back seat to our patriotism.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Trump's bizarre comments read by Stephen Colbert's cartoon Trump

In case you missed it, Conservative President Trump had a bizarre interview with the Wall Street Journal and Stephen Colbert put some of the weirder quotes to Cartoon Trump. It's as if Trump said a person pays 12 dollars a year for health insurance. Um... sorry conservative Trump did. New York Times via Vox.

Trump shows Russia favoritism by blaming Congress for the bad relationship

Conservative President Donald Trump reluctantly signed the sanctions bill against Russia, Iran and North Korea.  He then blamed Congress for the bad relations with Russia.  Conservatives, I'm not kidding.   Here's what he said:

The vote was for the Russian sanctions was near unanimous bi-partisan support. New York Daily News. These sanctions were for the cyber-attacks against the Democrats but in essence it was an attack on our democracy. The bill passed the House by 419-3, and the Senate by 98-2. CNN By the way, Trump signed the bill because he could not veto it as the support was so complete that any veto would have been overridden. The New York Daily News noted that Trump trashed the bill. He then set out the above tweet.

Conservative Trump has hardly criticized Vladimir Putin. He rushes to defend him. And I agree with Congressmen that the  reason there are sanctions against Russia is not because of Congress but is the fault of Putin. He's the one that's seized the Crimea, interfered militarily in Ukraine's civil war and our 2016 elections. Why doesn't Trump see that? What does Putin have on Trump?

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Oh no. The Mooch is gone.

White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci aka The Mooch was canned.   He lasted only ten days.  Stephen Colbert is devastated for good reason.  There goes a good source of comedy.  Anyway, Colbert sings Bohemian Rhapsody with new lyrics for the departed.  Funny stuff from Colbert.

The Big Sick review

When Kumail Meets Emily, I mean The Big Sick is a romantic comedy that is based on Pakistani writer Kumail Nanjiani cross cultural and interracial romance with Caucasian Emily Gordon. She also co-wrote the screenplay. Now, when you see a romantic comedy get ready for the formula. Boy meets girl. Boy loses girl. Boy gets girl back assuming you want the Hollywood ending.

Kumail (played by the real Kumail Nanjiani) is a struggling Pakistani-American stand-up comedian in Chicago. During a performance, he's heckled by Emily (Zoe Kazan), a Caucasian woman. When Kumail finishes his set, he goes over to her and hits on her. Later that night, they have sex. Really. This never happens to me. There is a reason for  sex on the first meeting, I won't say impossible on the random sex act because I'm sure it happens somewhere. It's because this film probably would have been three hours long if the two waited for the third date.

Anyway, between Kumail's stand-up and his Uber driving, he is able to maintain a relationship with Emily. Kumail is also pressured by his Muslim parents, father Azmat (Anupam Kher) and mother (Zenobia Shroff) Sharmeen to marry a nice Pakistani girl. Hey it ain't going to be a bad girl. They arrange meetings with women at family dinners. You see in Kumail's culture, people are married by arrangement. And your new wife better be Muslim. It's like Fiddler on the Roof. You know where the Jewish father starts to sing "Tradition." Will I get in trouble by mixing Jews and Muslims? By the way, I can make jokes about Jews and Muslims since I'm a Chinese American. (That's a joke.)

Well, Kumail keeps his relationship with Emily a secret from his parents and that fact from Emily. All right, here it comes.  Boy loses girl.   Then girl goes into a coma.  Um... well it happens this way.  Emily gets sick and must be placed in a medically induced coma. What?! Is this thing turning into Love Story?. Guess what? I've researched this and it really happened to the real Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon. (People) So there. The big, crazy plot point is actually based on something true.   But why should we be surprised at crazy stuff in real life?   We've got a guy who brags he molests women, betrayed his country for the Russians as our President of the United States.   .

Anyway, Emily's parents, Beth (Holly Hunter) and Terry (Ray Romano) arrive to care for their daughter. I don't think Romano will ever shake his character in Everybody Loves Ray unless he plays a serial killer. But God love Holly Hunter. Her Beth is a passionate, loving, Southern liberal. Yeah, they do exist.

Kudos to Nanjiani and Gordon's writing.  You want to see how talented Nanjiani is?   He plays this guy in the video game Mass Effect: Andromeda.   He's the voice of Jarun Tann, a Salarian.  You know those guys with two horns for a head and nasal voices.

But I digress. This film succeeds because of two things. First, the jokes work. The writers are unafraid of poking fun at Muslim traditions, and other topics that do not lend themselves to comedy. There are jokes about 9-11 terrorists, dog erections and being in a coma. And while some of the comedians in the movie disagree about how much  humor is in dog erection jokes, I think they can be quite funny. Second, the romance works. Emily loves Kumail. But can he overcome his cultural upbringing to embrace his love for her?

The Big Sick is very funny, and has a big heart. The grade is A.

John Oliver exposes Alex Jones

Conservative President Donald Trump is a fan of InfoWars, Alex Jones' conspiracy website. As Megyn Kelly reports, he has the ear of Trump. (Beginning and at 2:40 below.) I've embedded Kelly's interview below. Yeah, Jones sounds crazy. But head over to YouTube and check out HBO's John Olive piece, "Alex Jones." First it exposes Jones as not just a conspiracy website but one which uses the stories to sell his products. Yep, I'm not linking because Oliver's piece has a graphic anatomical diagram.

Folks, there are conservative Republicans that follow Jones. Learn the truth about this conspiracy nut. He also pushed the "Pizzagate" story which alleged that Hillary Clinton was running a child sex operation out of a pizza restaurant. (Video at 12:30) A person took that literally and went in with a gun to "investigate." Shots were fired but no one was hurt. The shooter was arrested. That is the definition of "fake news", conservative President Trump.