Rose (Allison Williams) thinks it’s time to take her boyfriend of five months, Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), to meet her parents and family upstate over the weekend. “Do they know I’m black” Chris asks her when they pack. “No. But don’t worry. My father would have voted for Obama for a third time if he could have” she responds.

When they arrive, her parents, Missy and Dean Armitage, seem almost overly accommodating. There isn’t a moment of hesitation, an “oh” reflex of any type. It’s as if it was the most normal thing ever. But it turns out to be an unusual family. Dean is a neurosurgeon, Missy a psychiatrist and hypnotherapist. Soon she offers to break Chris’ habit of smoking by administering a ten-minute hypnosis session. But he declines.

Chris is well adjusted and secure, and he deals with the complicated and stressful situation remarkably well. Soon, however, small discoveries reveal that all is not quite what it seems. The black servants of the Armitages are exhibiting slightly “off” behavior, which he finds puzzling. And telltale signs of something not quite right start escalating when party guests arrive.

Get Out is not a movie about racism or race relations at all, even though it looks that way. Get Out is a thriller and its objective is not to educate us, or make us think. It’s to entertain. There is very little more I can say without spoiling things, so I won’t.

The critics on the Tomatometer gave this a 99, the audience an 88. This is a high rating for a movie where I recognized none of the actors, a movie which I watched not because I was interested about the subject, but because of the rating, and because it was highly recommended to me.

I was thoroughly entertained. I enjoyed the suspense. I appreciated the plot and its crescendo. And when it was done, I said “oh well” and knew I would soon forget all about it.

Why would our government craft bills that allow hunters to kill bears while they hibernate, or wolves and their young in dens?

There has been a public outcry about Trump’s initiative. Looking at it further, it’s less about bears and wolves, than it is about governmental reach and what conservatives call “wrongful seizure of authority.” Of course, this was supported by the NRA and the Safari Club International.

In reality, however, most of those practices were already prohibited to sport hunters under Alaska law, and some of them, including hunting coyotes in their dens and killing hibernating bears and cubs, were permitted to subsistence hunters even under the federal regulations.

The deeper issue all along was state vs. federal control of wildlife management. Despite support from scientific, environmental, and animal welfare advocacy groups, the federal restrictions were considered intrusive and unwarranted by many Alaskans. The state filed a lawsuit in January 2017 contending that the rules amounted to federal overreach, harming the ecosystem and citizens of Alaska. With the support of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and Safari Club International, Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) introduced H.J. Res. 69 in February 2017 to redress what he termed a “wrongful seizure of authority”:

— Snopes

If you read the Snopes analysis you will come away with the realization that as a result of this, no more or less bears will really be affected. It’s about Obama, and undoing his initiatives, relentlessly, one after the other.

Since Trump has no real convictions, or strategy, or vision other than self-aggrandizement, he will sign anything his special interest friends and kleptocrats will put in front of him.

Bears be damned.

Trump remarked on “Fox and Friends” in an interview Friday that special counsel Robert Mueller is “very, very good friends with Comey, which is very bothersome.”

I find it bothersome that our President of the United States is appears to be very good friends with Vladimir Putin, and he does not find it disturbing that a foreign adversarial power appears to have messed with our elections in 2016. I find it bothersome that the president is not doing his duty, defending the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

What do you find more bothersome?

Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.

— Mark Twain

If you have traveled in Europe and stayed in hotels, you are probably familiar with the power interlock for hotel keys. It works this way: Inside your hotel room, near your door, there is a slot, which fits the door key card. The hotel only gives each guest one key. As you enter the room, you insert your key card into the slot, and all power in the room is enabled. Without the card in that slot, there are no lights in the room.

Then, when you leave the room, you need to bring your key, and it turns off all lights automatically. While this seems odd and inconvenient, it works quite well and I am sure it reduces unneeded power consumption in hotel rooms.

Some American hotels are now trying this concept, and it is failing ludicrously.

I am currently staying at a Hilton Garden Inn in Olympia, Washington. This hotel has such a system. You can see the slot, with a hotel business card inserted at the red arrow in the photograph above.

Since Americans are likely to never have seen such a system, the desk clerk is spending extra time with every guest explaining in advance how the system works. I am sure too many guests call down and complain that there is no power in the room. Here is the solution applied in this Hilton Garden Inn:

  1. The hotel desk clerk spends an extra minute or two with each guest explaining this feature. Guests are baffled, as I observed as I stood in line. Guests could not figure out what this was all about.
  2. The desk clerk gives every guest a hotel business card to insert into the slot so he doesn’t have to use the key.
  3. I noticed that the housekeeping service plays right along with this. When I came back to my room at night, the room had been cleaned, the business card was in the slot, and all the lights were on.

Clearly, there is a serious disconnect between this hotel’s management and its power-saving initiative, and the hotel staff that sabotages the effort.

Here in America we like our lights on – bright.

In the United States we have less than 5% of the world’s population, but almost a third of all mass shootings.

Do my gun-supporting readers and friends have any idea why that is?

I am honestly curious about their insight.


Crescentem sequitur cura pecuniam / maiorumque fames.

— Horace, Odes Book III, poem 16, line 17)

Wolfgang in German: Dem anwachsenden Geldschatz folgt die Sorge / und der Hunger nach mehr …

Norbert in English: Growing wealth is followed by worry / and hunger for more …

I recently rented a brand-new Toyota Corolla. It had 1 mile on the odometer when I drove it out of the lot.

Since I have Southern California driving habits, which results in 80 mph speeds, I usually apply the cruise control in other states to avoid running into speed traps. New York State Troopers do no look kindly upon California speeders on their roads. So while going down the New York Thruway, I turned it on cruise control and set the speed to 72 mph.

I quickly noticed that it automatically adjusted down its speed when the car in front of me was going slower, and then sped up again when things cleared up. It also warned me with a gentle beep when I got too near the left or right lane markers, unless I indicated a lane change using my turn signal ahead of time. The slowing down went all the way to a full brake and stop when I was on a one lane road and the car in front of me had stopped for a left turn.

What surprised me was how quickly I adjusted my own driving habits to this feature. I would drive with the cruise control on and let the car do its driving. I simply took care of the steering.

Then I remembered that this was a rental car, and in a few days I’d be back to driving my 2011 Prius, which does not have these features. I thought I’d better not get used to the car slowing down automatically, lest I have some surprises rear-ending other cars.

I liked these advancements in this car, and I was surprised that I found them in a lowly car like the Toyota Corolla. I have to admit, though, as much as I liked the driver-assist features, I did not like its steering. The wheel seemed loose and not responsive. It drove a bit like a boat, albeit a small one, and as a result, I would not want to buy this car.

The driver-assist features were great, though.



I am staying at the Embassy Suites in Syracuse.

Check out the paint job on the bathroom door! All the doors in this room looked like this.

This is how much this hotel pays attention to detail!

It made me wonder how clean my sheets are.

This must be the weirdest cabinet meeting in the history of the United States.

Now, children, let’s all be grateful to be here. Could each one of you all tell me why you love me, and why I am so great?

Let’s all pledge allegiance to the supreme leader of our glorious and successful country.

This makes me feel so great, so successful, so powerful.


Who does this? If this had happened to me at junior high school I would have cracked up. Who subjects grown adults to peer pressure to say self-humiliating crap on national TV?

General Mattis did not look happy sitting there and going through this ridiculous procedure.

Children, all!

New York City [click to enlarge]

The tip of Manhattan from a ferry. The Statue of Liberty is right in front of the World Trade Center One tower. The Empire State Building is faintly visible on the left side of the picture.

When reading Rolland Kidder’s book Backtracking in Brown Waters I came to the realization that Vietnam is much larger geographically than I always thought. I thought it was a fairly small country is Southeast Asia.

Here are two superimposed images of Vietnam compared to the coastline of  the Eastern United States.

Source: Backtracking in Brown Waters, but Rolland E. Kidder, page 99

The above image is from of Kidder’s book referenced above.

Here is a similar image:

Source: CIA

The above comparison comes from the online profile by the CIA on Vietnam.

Trump now claims that Comey’s testimony vindicated  him, because Comey said that he was not personally under investigation by the FBI.

This is ridiculous. Just because the FBI wasn’t investigating him does not mean he didn’t do it.

That be like me wearing a hoodie on 5th Avenue in New York, shooting a passerby on the sidewalk and melting away into the crowd. Nobody knows who I was. So I am not under investigation.

Does that mean no crime has been committed?

That’s like saying a tree fell in the woods, and because the FBI wasn’t there to hear it, it didn’t make any noise.

Let’s just wait until they threaten to lock up Flynn for treason. When Flynn faces prison, he will sing like a bird, and Trump will stop tweeting.

So Trump sure looks like he committed obstruction of justice. We’re not even talking about the underlying possibility of treason by his staff and possibly himself. We’re just talking about his efforts of the cover-up.

Yet, here he is, making it sound like that’s all okay because Comey is the bad guy for finding out about it and leaking it? Kill the messenger, and now the alleged crime somehow goes away?

The way I see it, Comey is a national hero. Without him, the American people would not know about the kind of shit that is going down in the White House – in the name of the American people.

If Trump is eventually vindicated, and Mueller finds that he did nothing wrong, great! I will accept that. In the meantime, let’s not get distracted about the messages and messengers, let’s observe the facts.

Trump lied blatantly and openly many times on national TV. You really think he just now stopped lying?

Think again. Trump is a disgrace to our country.


photo credit: Imgur

Not only does this make me want to ride this road,
but it reminds me of this climb.

Good Times!

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