Happy Halloween 2016!

Happy Halloween! (or for some of us: National Novel Writing Month Eve!). May you have the sincerest pumpkin patch! (to quote Linus, from Charles Schultz’s Peanuts comics).

Let me get on the soap box for a moment: as we get closer to Election Day, please do not forget to vote. I’ll point to the ABA’s site on Vote Your Voice. This election season has been horrific, but this does not mean that you do not have a civic responsibility. The system is only as “rigged” as it is because we the people don’t take responsibility to do what’s right.

By the way, that doesn’t mean that you get to vote twice, as with this bizarre story, reported over at Slate about how this lady allegedly voted twice out of fear that her vote was going to be counted for Hillary Clinton. She was so afraid that the system was “rigged,” she self-fulfilled a prophecy by voting twice and rigged the system herself because she was NOT supposed to vote twice.

Fear is speculative; don’t make  a bad situation worse. Sigh. This would be funny if it wasn’t stupid, assuming this story is even true at all (I’m hoping it isn’t, but…?)

So, yeah, spooky Halloween all right.

The latest late October revelation about Clinton e-mails, with its knowns and unknowns, is something that Hollywood couldn’t have written (I think so, anyway, but what do I know?).  I’m disappointed in Americans (the so-called undecideds, anyway) for taking this out on Hillary, when there are too many unknowns about this. Otherwise, let the FBI figure this out, you know, with a warrant. Figure out facts, not speculation, of which there’s too much. I don’t want to hold it against FBI Director James Comey (I’m glad that I don’t have his job).

But, (a) this is NOT Watergate; (b) you can’t tell me that voting for a Republican candidate who can’t even be honest about his basic charitable giving, or how he treats women, is somehow “better.” And, (c) focus on having a Congress that does its job. Don’t get distracted and don’t let this stop you from voting.

(as a sidenote: even John W. Dean in today’s NY Times says that the Clinton e-mail situation is not comparable to Watergate, and he ought to know, having been the former White House counsel involved at the time!).

Frankly, I don’t know what people are thinking. Nothing seems to matter anymore – not that the Republican candidate probably treated women terribly and lied about his charitable donations (as in, he gave far less than he exaggerated about giving). Slate’s Jamelle Bouie said it this way, which I’m very sympathetic:

The folk theory of American democracy is that citizens deliberate on the issues and choose a candidate. That is false. The truth is […] that that voters are tribalistic. Their political allegiances come first, and their positions and beliefs follow. [….] When it comes to elections—or at least, presidential elections—this leads to an important conclusion: What a candidate believes is less important to voters than his or her partisan affiliation. [….] Simply having the nomination is sufficient to put anyone in firing distance of becoming president, regardless of larger circumstances or events or personality deficiencies. There are still battles to fight, but they happen on the margins and involve a small share of voters. This polarization is so strong, in fact, that it renders the gaffes and incidents of recent elections almost irrelevant.

So, as much as I’d like to think that people would deliberate (as in, think rationally), they probably won’t. Facts? Nah. Personally, I think it’s barely party affiliation, really, but I’ll concede to Bouie’s analysis that we’re in a pretty partisan condition at this point. So, maybe the e-mails won’t hurt Hillary as far as the election is concerned. But, they won’t help in the long run.

I wish people could just put aside the pettiness after Election Day and focus on proper governing. But, that’s probably wishful thinking on my part. The gridlock and do-nothing will probably continue and we’ll go to hell in a handbasket. Or maybe a miracle might happen.

After all, hey, Chicago Cubs won Game 5 yesterday, in the World Series against the Cleveland Indians, preventing the Indians from winning the World Series at Wrigley Field. Who knows what can happen? I’d rather have nice distractions than post-apocalyptic scenarios, though.

Meanwhile, here’s hoping that this crazy election season mobilizes Latinos and Asian Pacific Americans to be engaged. AALDEF will poll APA voting and watch out for problems.

First-time voters might feel a little disappointed, since this isn’t exactly an uplifting election, but there are still lots of reasons to vote, as this op-ed by Emma Roller over at the NY Times points out (I liked how the article quoted the people who do not take voting for granted). Here’s a thing: voting is disappointing; it can be exciting, but you don’t always get what you want. Plus, after voting comes governing – and nothing is easy. Don’t take anything for granted. But, hey: breathe!

BTW, I found this fascinating profile on Ronny Chieng, the Daily Show’s correspondent, on his take on becoming more engaged as an Asian in America, after he did his takedown of the offensive FOX News man-on-the-street bit in Chinatown. (Chieng was a law student in Australia before he went to comedy; apparently, there really is a path other than the law). (h/t Museum of Chinese in America (MoCA)‘s post on its Facebook page).

In the meantime, FC and family are in California. And the NAPABA Convention 2016 is in San Diego this week (so… stay tuned: I might wind up posting a “Not in San Diego” post the next couple of days).

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).

 

Oscars Sunday

(The following was written as I was more or less watching the Oscars; what a nutty, agonizingly long night).

Oh, Hollywood!

JK Simmons, for Best Supporting Actor! Nice, brief, touching speech, to remember your parents.

“Everything is Awesome” – the song from “The Lego Movie” – had a powerfully weird presentation.

I suppose this is the Year of the Weird Oscars. Hmm!

People are going to ignore the music and do their speeches. It’s their moment, gosh darn it. (this is still tv; timing, people).

Liam Neeson presenting the clips from “Grand Budapest Hotel” and “American Sniper” for Best Picture.

Shirley MacLaine had a nice grace in presenting “Boyhood,” “Birdman,” and “The Theory of Everything.”

Is it me or is it agonizingly longer than ever? (well, I stepped away; I know – very bad). Perhaps lengthiness is the Oscars thing; it’ll never go away.

Terrence Howard was strangely quite dramatic in presenting “Whiplash,” “The Imitation Game,” and “Selma.” It was as if he had watched the movies, got so teary, and was so pushing for all of them. Uh…

“Glory,” the song by John Legend and Common for the movie, “Selma” – quite a presentation for that stage. So powerful.

And, “Glory” won! Powerful speech by John Legend and Common. The fight for social justice is a never-ending one, indeed.

Why is Lady Gaga singing “Sound of Music”? Am I missing something? It’s beautiful, but… wait, is it the 50th anniversary of “Sound of Music”? Is this just to make the Oscars long as usual? It just doesn’t feel very necessary, and very anti-climactic after John Legend and Common’s making a big Oscar moment.

Sometimes someone gets to make a good speech – short, sweet, inspirational. Graham Moore, for “The Imitation Game” in Best Adapted Screenplay, said that it’s okay to be weird and to “stay weird”; one, day, that person will be on the Oscars stage one day too. That was a lovely Oscar moment too.

“Birdman” won for Best Director and…?

Patricia Arquette, Eddie Redmayne, Julianne Moore – lovely speeches.

“Birdman” for Best Picture! (“oh” to Sean Penn for dragging the moment out!).

Lots of moving speeches, with the attention to the families, the producers (yep, them), and social issues.

I just wished they’d cut out the unnecessary stuff. It didn’t feel like they did as much of the usual “Let’s learn about the history of films and have film appreciation” as much (which they usually do for the viewers who are unfamiliar to the Oscars and/or films). Neil Patrick Harris’ opening was nice and encapsulated the appreciation for movies in one full swoop.

But, as I said, Lady Gaga’s moment was just oddly needless, even though she sang well. And, the clips of the acting moments of the nominated actors and actresses – well, they were spoilery of the films they were in. The Oscars just went on and on. Well, it was still something to watch and we’ll see what this year’s movies will make us say!