Category Archives: Brooklyn

Things and Stuff

Now that the Olympics is over, some fun stuff, to distract from other things in life.

Slate shared the item from Associated Press – the White House dogs Bo and Sunny have schedules, and Bo thinks he has a job of monitoring the plants of the White House grounds. Sure, why not?

Awhile back, FC had shared with me, on Facebook, an adult Dora the Explorer parody; adult as in grown up, but still Dora (and probably “adult” in another sense). A ridiculously campy thing to share… trailer below.

Todd Van Luling wrote on Huffington Post about how he had been looking for Carmen San Diego  for 20 years (or trying to figure out who was the actress who played her in one of the tv incarnations of her). (h/t Slate‘s Facebook page post), and finally interviewed her. Personally, I was bummed to read from the article that the actress who played the Chief, Lynne Thigpen, had passed away. Thigpen was such a memorable character actress.

Slate posted this item of a short film, a la Pixar, about how Dust Bunnies are alive. Too cute.

Last but, least, the ridiculously talented Joseph Gordon Levitt, playing the drums on a subway platform in Los Angeles. He’s told that he reminded someone of Pee Wee Herman, who did something like that on the old Pee Wee’s Playhouse tv show. That was a guffaw generating moment. (h/t Time Out Los Angeles’s post, via something I saw from Time Out NY).

 

Summer 2016

Hey, extra-long post, as it has been awhile since I last posted.  I can’t believe how fast the summer is going.  I was dismayed by the weirdness, fear, and rage that the Republican convention presented this summer.  I was impressed by the sense of optimism of the Democratic convention.  Neither nominee are the greatest thing since sliced bread, but one is a delusional reality tv person, whose businesses aren’t impressive to me; and the other generates a lot of cynicism, but she works so hard.  Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said it best, at the Democratic convention: “Let’s elect a sane, competent person.”

Perhaps my own political inclinations made it easy for me to think that the Democratic convention had better speakers (Michele Obama! (As Michelle said, “When someone is cruel or acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to their level. No, our motto is, when they go low, we go high.”); Joe Biden! Barack Obama! and, oh, yeah, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Bill Clinton (who put the focus on Hillary herself)). And, Hillary Clinton had a good speech. She’s not perfect (really, no one is), but better we try than to botch everything.

What we really need is a Congress that will do its job (we still don’t have confirmation for a Supreme Court justice; sigh). You can disagree in politics, but to be obstructionist – that has to end already.  Well, we shall see what November brings.

Meanwhile, I’ve been terribly distracted by the heat, humidity, and coverage of Olympics. Rio 2016 had every potential to be messy and has been a weirdo Olympics, but it never ceases to amaze me how I get caught up watching the coverage as a nice distraction from all the bad news of Brazil and the world in general.  Every time I’m pretty sure that we’re going to hell in a hand basket (however the phrase goes, as I’m sure that I’m mangling metaphors), the Olympics stuff gives some spark of hope and cheer.

There’s an argument to be made that it’s a burden to put the costs of an Olympics on one city/country.  I thought that the Slate article proposing that Vancouver be a perpetual Olympics city is an interesting proposition.  Honestly, I didn’t realize that Vancouver financially recouped from their Winter Olympics within a few years. They did handle it well, despite the lack of snow problem. I do like the idea of doing the Olympics in a financially and environmentally responsible way, with a city that already has an infrastructure (rather than a city using the Olympics to rush urban (re)development). I especially like the idea of rotating among a few cities, so to avoid a burden on one city. (Vancouver being one of them ain’t a bad idea, if they want to do it again).

Team USA Swimming and American women gymnastics have been terrific in their respective events.  Michael Phelps is amazing – would anyone beat that? Simone Manuel and her significance as a first African-American swimmer with a gold medal. I didn’t get to watch all the women’s gymnastics, but Simone Biles is so impressive; she’ll be carrying the flag for the Closing Ceremony.

Jamaica’s Usain Bolt is incredible.

The track and field Americans have also been a solid watch; I admired the women for their efforts. Allyson Felix as most decorated of the American women track and field athletes was impressive. And, Ashton Eaton as someone who won gold medal in consecutive Olympics in the decathlon! Btw, the Best Buy commercial that has him and his wife, Canadian heptathlete Brianne Theisen-Eaton, was quite cute. (I think she also won a medal – bronze – in Rio).

Matt Centrowitz’s winning the 1500 m was impressive; I love it when an American athlete does something great in something America usually doesn’t do well (not since 1908!).

I always like watching the marathon; missed the women’s marathon last weekend, but caught the men’s marathon this morning.  Kudos to Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge for the gold; Ethiopia’s Feyisa Lelisa got silver; and American Galen Rupp got bronze. American Jared Ward got 6th.  American Meb Keflezighi got 33; he won silver way back in Athens 2004 and he has done so much for American marathoning, with the NYC Marathon and winning a Boston Marathon (after the Boston bombing).  I credit Meb a lot for what he has done.  He finished today, even if it wasn’t pretty to do it.

For a whole host of reasons, I thought that the criticism of American gymnast Gabby Douglas was unfair (see here for a summary/analysis by Rebecca Schuman over at Slate). Internet trolls are pains for obvious reasons.

And, the ongoing Ryan Lochte mess, in which he was allegedly mugged, but was in this drunken mess that everyone has an opinion about; well, sure, it was a distraction from a lot from other bad things out there. It has been all ridiculous, and annoying, but hopefully it’ll all work out? Well, that remains to be seen.  The clips from the interview Lochte had with NBC’s Matt Lauer in the aftermath was cringeworthy tv viewing.

If you want more (maybe not?), here’s the Slate item that gave a pretty good overview (hilarious, even); all it was missing was the apology from the US Olympic committee about the mess. There’s even the whole question of how did Lochte go from hunk to oaf in two Olympics.

Lessons from the Lochte mess (this assumes anyone’s going to learn any lessons from this): Never mess with the law, especially in a foreign country.  Drinking like a reckless buffoon when you’re in your 30s might not be a good idea; lying to your own mother or making a false police report are really not good ideas. Try not to embarrass your country. White privilege and the ugly American stereotype are not good to watch. So many lessons…

It does get a bit much over how ridiculous things have been. (green water in the diving pool? Huh? Russians and the doping issue, all but tossing athletes from Olympic dreams?).  We had the quadrennial (or two to four years) complaint on how NBC’s coverage is uneven (to be diplomatic; they seemed to air less awards ceremonies on tv; more streaming than ever, I guess).

I always feel sad for the participants who don’t win a medal; I know it’s about the journey and not the end, but one wonders a lot about why we do things that are so hard. (see here over at the NY Times for an article by David Segal on what happens to those countries that don’t medal – the frustration of a nation that invested money and getting barely a medal might be victorious anyway; agony of defeat/non-defeat indeed).

But, then there’s the story of the refugee team. There are those moments when the athletes are enjoying themselves and cheering other nation’s athletes (maybe even their training partners, since their sport becomes a community in itself). There’s hope and bright spots mixed in with the weirdness (even when those moments get a bit more attention than they should, as Justin Peters observes over at Slate; they’re still moments).

NPR’s The Torch has been doing good overviews of the Olympics. Enjoy what’s left of the Olympics and the summer of 2016.

 

 

 

Interesting Times

It’s been a week since last week’s primaries, in which Hilary Clinton was essentially the presumptive Democratic nominee.  Last Tuesday night, on Facebook, I noted, “Eight years ago, I was so moved to see history made when Barack Obama was the presumptive nominee and I so appreciated Hilary Clinton took it as far as she did then. Now that Hilary Clinton is the presumptive nominee, it’s still something significant that we’re living in history: the first woman all the way!”

(see here for that triscribe post from eight years ago).

I really felt moved by taking a moment that history was made.  I refer you to check out this item at NPR – it has a good overview of women in pursuit of the American presidency.  I realized that this could even go back to when Abigail Adams wrote to her husband, John Adams, to “remember the ladies.” It took awhile and we’re still not there yet (like with all the other “isms”); it’s good to be reminded of history (or even “herstory”).

But, then comes the cold, unpleasant reality: this is a hard slog of a long, long campaign season that has made the process so exhausting and more cynical than ever and will continue to be so. In past triscribe posts, I followed the past presidential campaigns with interest, as history in the making.  But, this one has been really something – almost something else.  I credit Bernie Sanders for taking it as long and hard as he could, and reminding Hillary and others of issues that might otherwise be forgotten.  I really appreciated Bernie and Hillary for making the Democratic debates look like a show with adults.

But, the Republicans… their presumptive nominee leaves so much to be desired, in my honest opinion.  I had to turn away from the headlines of the rhetoric from him and his supporters.

Then, over the weekend, the news of the terrible assault at the gay nightclub in Orlando – I’ve almost become desensitized by the mass shooting events.  I’m all for thoughts and prayers, but I really wonder when we will do something effective?

So, in the interest of trying to point to some reasoned analysis of how much that presumptive nominee for the Republicans and how he’s irrational and saying things that don’t make a lot of sense: see Slate’s William Saletan (pointing to the danger of what Trump says), Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick (pointing to the mockery of words from Trump), Slate’s Fred Kaplan (pointing to Trump’s lies and absurdities in his anti-terror speech), and Slate’s Jamelle Bouie (further pointing to the lies and absurdities of Trump’s speech). I went Slate-heavy there, but let’s be real; it outrages me that the presumptive Republican nominee – that Trump – can go this far and could become president, undermining even thoughts and prayers for Orlando, where terror and hate have combined to tragic proportions.

Sunday night’s Tony Awards telecast was a strange relief, moving and enjoyable.  James Corden was a major fun host (not biting as Neil Patrick Harris, but with this odd sincerity and, hey, he already has his own Tony).  I liked the Gothamist’s overview of the Tony Awards, and also liked Glen Weldon’s post on the Tony Awards over at NPR.org.  And i guess I ought to end this post with words of hope and thoughts and prayers anyway.  The creative minds and talents of the Tony Awards at least said so.

I found some words that will mean more to you than a list of names. When something bad happens we have three choices: we let it define us, we let it destroy us, or we let it strengthen us. Today in Orlando we had a hideous dose of reality, and I urge you Orlando to remain strong… We will be with you every step of the way.

– Frank Langella, forgoing the usual thanks in his winning the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play.

[….] When senseless acts of tragedy remind us/That nothing here is promised, not one day/This show is proof that history remembers/We live through times when hate and fear seem stronger/We rise and fall and light from dying embers/Remembrances that hope and love last longer/And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love/Cannot be killed or swept aside/I sing Vanessa’s symphony, Eliza tells her story/Now fill the world with music, love and pride

Thank you so much for this.

— Lin-Manuel Miranda, accepting the Tony Award for the Best Score for Hamilton.