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Profile Information

Name: Paul McKibbins
Gender: Male
Hometown: New York City
Home country: USA
Current location: Catskill Mountains
Member since: Mon Jun 5, 2006, 05:16 PM
Number of posts: 19,882

About Me

Lifelong Democrat

Journal Archives

Ain't Velcro the best!

There was an episode of Star Trek: Enterprise where T'Pol's grandmother traveled to Earth from Vulcan and her ship crashes. She integrates herself into the local community while awaiting rescue from Vulcan. As an act of thanks, she raises money for a local kid to go to college by showing some Vulcan Velcro-like item to an entrepreneur who buys the technology. So Velcro is an alien invention! Who knew? I think the episode is called "Carbon Creek."

There was a "Making Of" documentary about Stanley Kubrick and 2001 where they describe how they filmed this scene as well as the one where astronaut Frank Poole is jogging around the perimeter of the rotating portion of the spaceship, Discovery. I couldn't find it quickly but it was enlightening.

There's an interesting tale behind the famous score from 2001. When editing a new film, the director will often create a "temp track" of music to give some presence to the film during post-production. This track is also helpful for the composer to understand the director's thinking about the underscoring. In this case, Kubrick used the Richard Strauss theme for the opening as well as the other Strauss's, that's Johann, waltzes for the trip to the Moon sequence. Additionally, Kubrick used music by Krystof Penderecki and Aram Khachaturian for the sequences aboard Discovery.

During the film's production, Kubrick commissioned Alex North (Spartacus) to compose an original score for the movie. This was recorded but in the end, Kubrick discarded it and stuck with his temp track. All of those recordings had to be licensed for the film and the commercially-released soundtrack was something of a hit release. Interestingly. Kubrick never told North that he didn't use the commissioned score and North only discovered it at the premiere! Ouch.

Apparently, North was so pissed off that he walked away from the music and the scores and recordings disappeared. Decades later, the music scores were re-discovered, edited and recorded for a CD release. One day, I was kind of bored so I cued up the recording and tried to sync it with the film based on the titles of the tracks. Mr. North wrote an excellent score but, frankly, Kubrick was right!

Self check out doesn't save anyone's time

It does, however, save money for the store.

Every time— I’m not exaggerating— I’ve used a self check out lane in these types of stores, something I’m buying requires a sales agent to clear the purchase (like alcohol or other over-21 purchases) or the equipment isn’t working properly. The result is that lines back up because there are only one or two agents.

It’s one of the many reasons Walmart, etc. no longer get our business. My time and sanity (not to mention my ethics) mean more to me than saving money on mediocrity.

It’s yet another way the corporations are squeezing the non-oligarch Americans through our money and our time!

What was Santos thinking?!

Really, did he think all of his lies would go unchallenged?

Is he so deluded he believes his BS?

In this age where we find out about every wart and wrinkle of everyone one from the British royals to Hollywood celebrities to national politicians, did Lyin’ George really believe he’d get away with his fantasies?

If so, he’s really stupid.

For years, I lived in the NY-03 district. I voted repeatedly for Santos’ predecessor, Tom Suozzi, for mayor of Glen Cove, Nassau County Executive and for Congress. Even Republicans knew who and what Tom Supzzi was and what he stood for. Santos is almost as big an election turnabout as going from President Obama to Trump. It makes my head spun!

Hey, Rudy!

So, you've messed with the Georgia prosecutors again, this time by lying that you're not medically cleared to fly. But then we see you bought airplane tickets after you lied. Oopsie. That's not going to go over well in Atlanta and those are the people you're going to have to face.

It's not going to work for you, you know, the delay-thingy. You're going to have to go down to Georgia and sit in the Big Chair.

That's when the fun begins!

See, you might remember this from your days as a prosecutor (you really sucked!), when a witness is in the Big Chair they cannot lie. They have to tell the truth! It's a beautiful and incredible thing.

Think you can do that? Go before the special grand jury and tell the truth? I'm thinking you can for one simple reason: You've lost.

You've lost your phony reputation as "America's Mayor."

You've lost your third marriage. By the way, have you paid your back alimony and fees yet?

You've lost your law license and hence, your job. You're 78 years old. How's that feel?

You've lost your BS reputation as someone who knows important stuff. (Hint: You don't know shit. No more TV appearances for you!)

You've lost your mind. We saw it dribble down the sides of your face at that wonderful lie-fest you had with the Kraken nut-job. That wasn't your best look, sir. (And let's not get into the Borat movie.)

You can appeal and delay but in the end, you'll have to testify. Your tactics are simply pissing off the people you're going to have to face. Remember, you were once a prosecutor. How did you react when a witness behaved as you have?

If you don't tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth you'll lose your freedom.

You've lost, Rudy. It's time to make that major life decision.

Here's a tip: Go and testify. Tell the special grand jury everything. It'll be cathartic and you'll feel so much better.

Here's another tip: Forget Trump. He's the reason you've lost! Your association with Trump has ruined you. Move on.

Besides, Trump never paid you for your legal services and expenses. (Who's not surprised?)

The Bible makes no sense

How could it? It was written by dozens of different people over several centuries. Then it's been translated dozens and dozens of times throughout the past couple of millennia. As anyone who has studied languages knows, words change meaning over time. Therefore, how could the Bible in my bookcase represent the "inerrant word of God?" There are dozens of other sacred writings that were rejected form the Bible known as the Gnostic texts. It's curious how many of those writings contradict or flesh-out things left in the "Good Book." What a mess and that doesn't even touch on Revelations!

The Bible is filled with inconsistencies and logical conflicts. It doesn't reflect any of the realities that the past 500+ years of scientific discoveries have provided us. It doesn't allow for fresh interpretations or corrections.

Here's an example: Most people know the creation story as told in Genesis 1. Turn the page to Genesis 2 and you'll find another creation tale that directly contradicts the first chapter. And then we're supposed to believe that everything that follows is true!

The book is full of nonsense like "God so loved the world that he sacrificed his own son for the sins of the creatures God created." How does that make any sense? Or this nugget, "God so loved the world that if you don't worship him and praise him you'll go to Hell for eternity where you'll be tortured." Wow, that's some special love you've got there, God. By the way, God's need for accolades and worship remind me of Trump.

Here's another piece of gobblety-goop: Joseph and Mary had to go to their hometown for a taxation census when Jesus was born in Bethlehem. The only problem is that there is no record of the Roman's conducting a census in that place at that time. The Romans, like the Nazis, kept impressive records of their rule and this event doesn't exist. If there had been a world-wide census, it would have been recorded. Oh, and Herod wasn't in power at the time of Jesus' birth.

The power and diversification of that religion, like many others, has resulted in wars, deaths and subjugation of far too many people. Humans need a second Age of Enlightenment.

The science of space is informative

Astrophysicists have shown that the universe is basically the same every where we look. The distant stars and galaxies are made up of the same elements that we know. If the chemistry is the same, it's likely that conditions on some planets will provide an opportunity for life to begin.

Not only are the elements the same throughout space, it appears that the physics are the same as we've learned. The ability to traverse the impossibly great distances of space would be a leap of knowledge that is far beyond our own technology, obviously. The ideas that have been proposed are worthy but far-fetched attempts, at least for now.

If I were religious, I'd find the enormous distances of space to be an important part of a creator's experiments in creating life. Each galactic Petri dish would be too far away from the others to cross pollinate and ruin each individual experiment.

Another idea is that given the really long history of the universe, perhaps interstellar civilizations don't exist at the same time so they haven't interacted.

My own belief is that the universe is teeming with life, most of which isn't what we call "intelligent." If there are species that are advanced enough to have interstellar transportation, they probably wouldn't be too interested in a civilization that burns fossil fuels.

All that I"m sure of is that we only have this planet to live on. We need to take better care of our home.

Sorry but this is not the time for Democrats to be generous towards Republicans

Maher is wrong on this as he so often is on other issues.

First, the Republicans haven't turned their backs on Trump, even if he's getting a small percentage drop in his support. At the CPAC conference last weekend, Trump was by far the straw-pole favorite to be the GOP nominee in 2024.

Second, There are still plenty of Republicans in positions of political power and influence who continue The Big Lie and constantly insult anyone to the left of Genghis Kahn. For example, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Loren Boebert, Matt Gaetz, Louis Gohmert, Sarah Palin, Paul Gosar, Josh Hawley and Rand Paul-- among many others-- have recently made many disparaging and nasty or insulting comments about Democrats and President Biden. Why in the world should we respect or compromise with them?! Get real, Bill.

Lastly, Republicans around the country at the state level have been furiously rewriting their voting laws, gerrymandering their voting districts, purging their voting lists and creating legislative ways to overrule the will of the voters. They know they will lose elections if there are fair, open and honest elections. Maher expects us to be magnanimous? Fuck them and fuck Bill.

Perhaps Maher has a good point about the way to engage with our enemies after they are defeated. But the political war in the U.S. isn't over yet. It's way too early to be accommodating to the traitorous Republicans who haven't demonstrated a drop of contrition. Maybe later but otherwise our fight continues.

We went to the movies last night!

We're in the Lower Catskills Northwest of NYC and the local movie theater is rather beautiful. It was built just after WWII and it was fashioned out of a quonset hut. It seats about 350 people with a beautiful digital projection system and a terrific sound system and wonderful seating. They make real popcorn with real butter and the owners make this one of the best movie theaters I've ever been to, (that includes my other favorite, NYC's Ziegfield).

We haven't been to the movies for a couple of years which has seemed like forever. In the past we would go to the movies 2 or 3 times a month. It's been a long drought, thanks to the pandemic. The Callicoon Theater, where we went, has put into place very good Covid protocols including roping off every other aisle, requiring masking everywhere (except at your socially-distanced seat) and providing hand sanitizers in many parts of the facility.

So, we went to see West Side Story with great excitement. Sadly, it was a huge disappointment. There's nothing in this film that improves on the original and there's an awful lot of stuff glommed onto this classic musical in vain attempts to make the story "relevant." I could go on and on-- as I did last night when we got home-- but I'd be wasting my breath. In short, it's no surprise that this $100 million dollar movie has crashed at the box office, earning back less than half its investment.

The cast, however, is excellent and their singing and dancing is superior, although much of the acting is stiff and/or stilted. The photography is exceptional and evocative and the music is glorious. Still, it's not enough to save this film which is overly long at more than 2 hours and 35 minutes.

It was an unexpected bummer.

Something's not right in this article

Sailors have known of rogue waves for a long time. They happen a lot more frequently than every thousand years.

In general, waves are caused by the friction of the wind on the surface of a body of water. The longer and stronger the wind blows in one direction, the larger the waves can become. Because of the hydro-physics involved, the depth of the water is directly related to the size of the wave.

But waves are not uniform in their period (frequency) or their amplitude (height). If waves are traveling at different speeds and heights, a random confluence of two or more waves can result in their combining forces thus creating the rogue wave. Interestingly, those waves will still maintain their "individuality" and the rogue wave will usually separate back into its constituent waves.

Having sailed in the North Atlantic Ocean and seen its forces, I can believe that these huge waves occur more than once every millennia. For example, the infamous 1991 Halloween Gale/Storm, also know as The Perfect Storm, saw giant waves and the proposition is that a monstrous rogue wave caused the capsize of the Andrea Gail. When added to the examples in the linked article, these behemoths occur more often.

I know what you mean

It's easy to become disenchanted and depressed about the direction of our country and society. My wife and I have discussed and researched moving abroad if we see things going in a terrible direction. So I've got plenty of pessimism informing my views.

But these negative events you wrote of happen to every president. Most of the things you cite are beyond the direct-- and maybe indirect-- influence of the White House.

The economy is too large and complex for one person to really control and I think we really want it that way.

Fuel costs are dictated by the oil companies and their markets. The president could use the strategic reserves to lower prices but that cannot be a continuous policy.

The financial markets are basically kind of stupid in their over-reactions to daily events. Consider that in the long-term, the markets have always gone up over time. An investor, whether large or small, only needs to be patient and mildly conservative in their choices of investments. For example, I've read that if Trump had invested the $400 million he got from his father in an indexed fund, without doing anything, today he would actually be worth several billion dollars.

President Biden has engaged with Putin and threatened him with the consequences of a Russian incursion into the Ukraine. Economic sanctions will probably be the primary response if Putin goes ahead. A military response would be folly and unsupported by a majority of Americans because we don't really have a stake in the Ukraine so why risk American lives and capital?

Regarding the January 6th investigations-- and I'm surprised at myself for writing this!-- have patience. Events are becoming clear and the facts are being assembled. The timing of the Congressional televised hearings will be powerful and revealing. Plus, the political bonus of showing how Republicans attacked our Constitution could be a big game changer for the mid-term elections.

Our so-call Democratic senators who behave against the Democratic goals are an enigma. All we can do is GOTV and try to get a few more Democratic senators so Manchin and Sinema become irrelevant. Aside from providing the president with a stronger Senate, it would be a glorious blow to these two narcissist's egos.

Optimism and positive actions are what we need to advance our nation away from the neo-fascists and Trumpists. The alternatives are too dark to dwell upon... for now.
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