Posted: December 9, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Tags: Nelson Mandela, Newt Gingrich
Well, if you were thinking the flurry of internet activity and thoughts over Nelson Mandela’s death were going to end – you were wrong.
Next Gingrich has now released a statement on Mandela that compares him to the United States’ liberty seeking, ambitious and no holds barred founder – Patrick Henry.
(This blogger has no specific stance on the issue, it’s just something happening in the world right now.)
Posted: December 7, 2013 at 11:34 am | Tags: Britney Spears, Christmas Trees, Democrats, Nelson Mandela, Paul Walker, Republicans
For my labor of love this blog, you get a “Saturday Surprise.”
It was an interesting week and the start of the official Christmas festival season. Or as one non-Christian this blogger knew many years ago put it “The Winter Solstice Celebration.” For seasonal events the Christmas tree as lit in Rockefeller Center on Wednesday night and the White House Christmas tree was it on Friday night. This week also included the end of Hanukkah which ran through Thanksgiving this year making it Thanksgivukkah.
So Paul Walker passed away on November 20, 2013 in a blaze of fire after crashing his porsche. Apparently, a friend tried to pull him out of the car, but was stopped by a first responder.
Walker had successful career as an actor in the Fast and Furious series. The cast actually joked about how they would just keep making the movies before his death. It’s hard to say what will happen to that series now that it is over. Walker’s career was ironic in the sense that he made this huge series of films but did not appear to have a lot of other big movies outside the series. For anyone who has followed actors in Hollywood this kind of boxing in, can have some stress and disappointment despite the huge gift that regular work on major films is for any actor. This blogger would be curious to know what other projects he wanted to pursue. His death has definitely impacted the industry and fans. It was such a fun series of movies with devotees.
Nelson Mandela passed away with the same controversy that followed him in life this week.
Republican Women in Office
Lots of talk lately about how women could shape Congress into a better place, for those who don’t like Congress currently, there is a belief that the country should elect more Republican women. Or maybe just more Republican women into office period. The theory is that Republican women are reasonable and interested in compromise.
This blogger isn’t sure it’s exactly compromise but that women tend to be more interested in stating things diplomatically to get their way. The thing is, women have a horrible time as Republicans when they run for office and even just being in the party as leaders. Republican women as leaders have to be three times as tough as anyone else in either party, because they get attacked by Democrats for not being a Democrat (LOL) and there is that segment of the Republican party that just thinks women shouldn’t be in leadership roles. Basically, Republican women in leadership fight a two front battle at all times.
And that is why America does not have more lovely Republican women in office – we walk the hardest road. We’re always judged in our party as not being pure enough ideologically, and the Democrats come to our doorsteps to tell us off for not being a Dem. It’s ridiculous. That doesn’t stop the women who do it anyways, we’re the tough ones.
This week Brit Brit’s album “Britney Jean” became available for purchase. It’s a nice easy ride with some pretty decent techno songs that delve into deeper issues which is what one wants out of quality techno music – it is not light pop if you pay attention to the words. Although the song “Perfume” makes me laugh when Ms. Britney talks about putting her perfume all over some guy to keep him faithful, this blogger just thinks – if you have to remind a guy with perfume to stop him from cheating – the relationship might be a lost cause.
Also “It Should Be Easy” with will.i. am is great as well as “Passenger” which is about Brit Brit’s relationship with Jesus. Yep, she’s got a Jesus reference in the album. Of course the song “Work” which came out first from the album is a great workout song.
That’s my two cents. Have a good week-end!
Posted: December 4, 2013 at 11:33 am | Tags: 12 Days of Christmas, Christmas songs, Mariah Carey, Rudolph
This year was a good year to get out the Christmas music early, nothing like some Mariah Carey to get a day started as the weather turns cold. But a friend recently pointed out that Christmas music is in fact, generally depressing when you pay attention to the words minus the songs which are outright happy. For Happy: You’ve got “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” and “Joy To The World” which are pretty uplifting and fun.
But most Christmas songs actually express sadness, longing and a need for things to be perfect in an imperfect world if you listen too carefully – take “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” it ends with the line “if only in my dreams.” It’s a song about longing to be with people, family or a certain person in a home which may or may not actually exist. Even Mariah Carey’s song “All I want For Christmas” is about wanting to be with someone and wanting nothing else. Boo. It has a happy beat and is great at parties, but you better not spend too much time on the words.
Heck, even “Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer” is about a deer that is considered deficient until one glorious day his disability turns into a great asset.
Even many of the religious songs about the holiday express uncertainty and ambiguity despite joy. This blogger didn’t particularly think about this facet to Christmas music until someone recently asked her not to play Christmas songs because they are sad at a party over Thanksgiving. And if you think about it, Christmas music could only inevitably have some notes of sadness since it is supposed to be this joyous holiday where people are with loved ones. Except, everyone doesn’t get to spend their Christmas with loved ones, some people are overseas, on business, can’t afford to travel, have to work or don’t have family.
And then you have the Wham hit “Last Christmas” which was redone by the Glee cast and a few other performers, it’s an annoyingly catchy song which is really depressing if you think about the meaning too much, but it’s just great as a background song. Eh, the song is popular because people relate to it’s meaning each year.
The holiday has a way of delineating what is not instead of what is compared to other times of the year. Some of the best Christmas songs are the ones that poke fun at the holiday. Back in Wisconsin we used to play an alternative version of “The 12 Days of Christmas” which made fun of trying to compete with your neighbors over decorating and hangovers.
Still, this blogger really enjoys a good round of Mariah Carey holiday music followed by some “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.”
Posted: November 25, 2013 at 4:17 pm | Tags: Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Finland, Jean Claude Van Damme, Kanye West, Thanksgiving, Zappos
Hello! It’s Monday Mania because this blogger has been busy! And there may not be a lot of blog posts this week. So enjoy your week of turkey time and try not to act like a turkey even when provoked. Get it? BTW – Every fitness instructor in town has been telling people to enjoy eating and get back to the gym on Friday.
Policy? There’s no policy work done on weeks off with holidays. None, not in this town. But last week -
Really? Some kind of deal has been reached with Iran during the . You can see an entire graphic from the New York Times. Basically Iran gets $6-7 billion in relief. However, about $4 billion is from their own blocked assets. The goal is to see if Iran calms down on nuclear arms development given some freedom from economic punishment. Most sanctions remain.
This can go two ways. Pretend, Iran is basically your misbegotten crazy cousin, who has been ostracized and cut off from the family for bad behavior in an effort to get him to calm down a little and maybe get his act together, you give him a little more freedom to see family and offer limited support. Most likely, he will if desperate enough get his act together, but if he’s truly nuts, all the reprieve will do is create a need for even further distance.
If Iran misbehaves in this scenario, it’s going to be really bad for everyone, if the country acts responsibly it could mean a de-escalation of political tensions. You don’t need a fancy degree to see that reality.
U.S. House Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers
Congratulations! She had a baby on Nov. 24. Her office sent a link over to the Instagram picture. It’s actually amazing, this is the third child she has had while serving in office. The office noted:
Mom and Brynn Catherine are doing very well.
Chair McMorris Rodgers is the first to give birth three times while serving in Congress – big brother Cole was born in April 2007 and big sister Grace in December 2010 – as well as the first to do so while serving in leadership.
She looks forward to continuing her duties as House Republican Conference Chair and running again for re-election next year to represent Washington’s Fifth District.
Your Moment of Zen
About a year ago, this blogger found out she was party Finnish, not German – part Finnish. It’s not obvious to others. Anyways, a friend had to send me this blog post where an artist featured pictures of older Finnish people with ‘natural’ hats.
Zappos Vs. Kanye West
Sorry, but when you (Kanye West) argue with a guy who is trying to give back to the community, people are bound to be against you.
Additionally, James Franco spoofed the Kanye/Kim video it’s on TMZ and is meant to make people understand how uncomfortable that video actually makes people. For some reason, this just makes me think of the blogger who wrote a letter to the unborn baby now called “North” title “A Letter to Kimye.” Anyways.
Jean-Claude Van Damme Volvo Ad
The new Volvo ad came out last week and people really liked it, er were impressed by the ad. It’s actually an amazing ad both for the vehicles and a testimony to Van Damme’s fitness. And then Channing Tatum spoofed it.
Yucky Instagram Pics
This blog post is pretty timely and more and more women keep using Instagram to promote themselves – in a sexual manner – there’ s no mental promotion going on with these Instagram pictures. None – zero – zip. And there’s nothing wholesome, family oriented, professional or anything even remotely related to personal triumphs around this specific trend. Please women! Put up pictures of your puppy! Your dinner! Your kid! Geez.
Your Moment of Zen
About a year ago, this blogger found out she was party Finnish, not German – part Finnish. It’s not obvious to others. Anyways, a friend had to send me this blog post where an artist featured pictures of older Finnish people with ‘natural’ hats. Cute, right?
Have a good week!
Posted: November 21, 2013 at 1:55 pm | Tags: CBS, GOP, Obamacare
If you wait long enough everything changes around – CBS the always more liberal network for news which makes them dependable in this case, has produced a poll which says even 80 percent of Democrats want Obamacare repealed or reformed.
And then look over this article from The Washington Examiner.
The numbers don’t spell out a win or rise in the GOP (yet), but they do spell out a need for changes in the legislation.
Posted: November 20, 2013 at 7:33 pm | Tags: companies, leadership, organizations, Politics
There are a lot of articles on leadership qualities, principles and development. But one indicator of a leader having had a good effect or a good term regardless of whether they were in charge of a country, party or company is the ability to spawn other leaders. In addition to spawning leaders they usually have created a path for other people to follow after them in order to keep an organization on track to success. So it could really either be the creation of a simple path or the development of those who will follow after them.
One example would be the way Steve Jobs set things up at Apple for the company to run and continue to develop quality products for years after his death. Another would be the way Reagan set up the country for economic success with his policies.
At the same time, a bad leader will create an unclear path for leading an organization after they are gone despite the appearance of success during their tenure and it is difficult to find leaders to follow after them. No future leaders were created and no one was set up to run the organization after the fact.
It’s much like the way that family members set up wills to manage assets and create a path for the family to continue.
Just a thought.
Also, this article on the new style of angling for getting the nomination to run for president in 2016 was making the rounds today.
Posted: November 15, 2013 at 3:27 pm | Tags: Dirty Dancing, Love, Love and Other Drugs, Politics, The Legends of the Fall, The Remains of the Day, World War I
This blogger decided to take a break from fry-ups out of deference to the impending holiday season. The holidays are a nice time to reflect on life and WATCH MOVIES. All of these films have the same common themes: life is hard and not pretty, be brave, seize the day, be happy in the moment and none of them actually have cute little endings – they all grasp the strange complexity of life. So here is your Fall movie list.
1.) The Remains of The Day – This film is an epic, drama set in England pre-World War II, the film covers the strange political atmosphere in the country among the wealthy before Hitler reached the country. Basically, Anthony Hopkins plays James Stevens who works as head of household for Lord Darlington. The Lord is educated, elite and FASCIST. Lord Darlington is part of that startling group of liberal Europeans and Americans who were duped by Hitler before the War and that actually agreed with the milder representation of his ideas which EVERYBODY wants to forget. Because if anyone had really figured out what was happening with Hitler well let’s just say things might have gone differently for everyone.
But that is the backdrop, the more focused story is on the fact that Mr. Stevens completely missed an opportunity to have a real relationship with Miss Kenton in those years. Miss Kenton played by Emma Thompson, serves as the head of the female staff to Lord Darlington. Due to Mr. Stevens emotional issues, he never tells Miss Kenton he loves her and like everything the opportunity passes. She becomes frustrated and leaves Lord Darlington’s service to marry another man. By the time Mr. Stevens catches up to her years later on a day trip and expresses his feelings, it’s still too late because she wants to be near her grandchild and frankly doesn’t want to return to service. BUT – they both get to tell each other how they felt at the time and fully recognize, what could have been, what passed and what will never come to pass.
Mr. Stevens does get to take “what remains of the day” to spend his life after that trip serving Mr. Farraday an nice American businessman who has purchased the estate of the late Lord Darlington. (Note: this is after the war is over.) And he gets to live with the knowledge that he has come to terms with his past relationship.
The Takeaway – Seize the day, once opportunities pass you by – sometimes that really is it and life has a way of moving faster than people think. And don’t waste the opportunity to do something different when given the insight.
2.) Legends of The Fall – That was not supposed to be a play on words, but you can take it that way. This movie is about three brothers and their father, their lives, love and struggles out in the West during war as well as peace. It’s a bittersweet film and one that falls into the epic category because it spans so much time and events as well as the style in which it was shot.
Also the three brothers happen to be very good looking, they are played by Aidan Quinn, Brad Pitt and Henry Thomas. And actually, Anthony Hopkins as the father is still quite attractive since he was younger at the time (although that was never why I kept watching the movie over and over and over). As one of my male friends used to say he thought the film featured an awful lot of good looking men being good looking on camera and interacting with one another “I’m very attractive, you’re very attractive too, we’re all very attractive men” was his joke. Julia Ormond gives a great performance as a woman caught between the two brothers and she really adds to the film.
Notably the two brothers Tristan and Alfred become the focus of the film as one pursues politics and the other pursues well, whatever he wants to pursue.
The Takeaway – Life is beautiful but also , brutal and rough. What is here today can be gone tomorrow – only the strong survive. The film has political tones as well on honesty, arrogance and personal freedom.
3.) Love and Other Drugs – A friend pointed this movie out – it has a lot of um, comedic nudity in it. The movie is about a man who is very successful at selling pharmaceuticals (makes lots of money) and he falls in love with a very fun and enchanting woman with MS. When the main character meets her, she is living a wild life trying to get the most of her time before MS steals her ability to live.
It has a happy ending, but it’s not the she miraculously gets well ending and for that reason some critics were not happy with it. One critic said he found the premise at the end hard to follow. Maybe, but this blogger would have to disagree since a heck of a lot of people have spouses with MS or other diseases which will lead nowhere pleasant. It’s a movie.
The Takeaway – Love is love, gravy is gravy, money is not everything, life is sometimes unfair, let people in and seize the day. Also Jake Gyllenhaal was really buff in the film- just sayin’ -
4.)Dirty Dancing – This may be the most fun film on this list – but it is one of the three films with a political background. Baby or Frances Houseman a young woman from a wealthy family travels with her parents and sister to a resort in the Catskill mountains. Baby is sheltered but not stupid. She plans to go to college in the 1960′s and change the world with her soon to be had understanding of economic policy. And then she learns what it really means to change other people’s lives.
Over the Summer, she falls in love with Johnny Castle a dance instructor at the resort- played by the deceased actor Patrick Swayze. Along the way she actually learns about class issues and social tensions as well as difference in life style among the hotel staff vs. the guests. For example, her boyfriend Johnny Castle is expected to sleep with the wealthy women that visit the resort if they ask – under the guise of giving them dance lessons. The casanova is a house painter during the cold weather months and as Johnny confides to Baby, someone that has been “used” by these women.
The movie also covers abortion, class issues and even takes a shot at “The Fountainhead.” Furthermore, It’s actually a pretty heavy movie and if it weren’t a pop musical with great music it would be depressing as all get out. Before it’s over, Baby’s father learns that she is not a good little girl but is a social activist which he’s not thrilled about to say the least. Like they’re coming of age movies and then there are movies that are like “Hello, grow up.”
At the end Baby and Johnny are not going to ride off into the sunset. Oh no, Johnny has lost his job with the resort because he stood up for himself and you know Baby is going to college. BUT – Johnny and Baby get that last dance at the end where they get to be who they are, happily with each other. And the dancing in the movie is pretty spiffy.
The Takeaway- Be happy in the moment despite the circumstances, seize the day, be brave and most of all stop doing the mambo on the first beat. It’s the second beat.
Have a nice week-end!
Posted: November 13, 2013 at 10:24 pm | Tags: Cuba Libre, Hispanic Leadership Fund, Policy, Republicans
Last night the Hispanic Leadership Fund celebrated their 5 year anniversary at Cuba Libre in Washington, DC. The organization was launched 5 years ago and it was time to celebrate. HLF’s purpose is to put forward public policy solutions related to free enterprise, limited government and individual freedom.
HLF’s President Mario Lopez said last night, a the intimate dinner in the back room at Cuba Libre, that “Hispanic Issues are American Issues” in reference to the group’s focus. Over the years the group has received some good buzz including a supportive quote from George P. Bush. In 2010, this blogger interviewed Mario for an article that was related to the place of Hispanics in the Republican party and politics. A number of congressman attended the event in addition to supporters.
A picture with Congressman Valadao from California.
Posted: November 12, 2013 at 8:50 am | Tags: Culture, Dracula, Jonathan Rhys Meyers
A culture post – please exit the page now if you want bloody political talk. That was a pun. (Also it’s 11/12/13 so one might as well deviate from the norm.)
So this blogger took some time to watch the new “Dracula” TV series with Jonathan Rhys Meyers which only has a few episodes out so far this year. As an uber snob on all things vampire and someone who studied vampire folklore (I’ve been into them since I was 13) this writer can judge the show. It’s no small task to try and rework the old Brahm Stoker story without ruining it and most modern writers have only succeeded in reworking the blood drinker storyline be completely inventing something new. Notably Anne Rice and Charlaine Harris have both managed to reinvent the story line without trouble – they are also both from Lousiana whatever that means for vampire story innovation.
Here it goes:
A..) Jonathan Rhys Meyers sounds like Christian Slater – yes his accent sounds just like the actor who kind of sounds like Jack Nicholson which means this Dracula sounds like – Jack Nicholson - well not quite.
B.) The plot is well developed and the idea of Dracula as an American industrialist competing with other businessmen to make money off an innovative technology is pretty decent. The interweaving Dragon plot sounds more applicable to today than anything.
C.) The costumes are well done and not abominable. Sometimes the costumes for these stories are just – bad. And all Dracula stories require attractive costumes. It’s just part of the myth which somehow adds to the horror of the wealthy aristocrat who eats people.
D.) Acting is good and there is nothing jarringly tacky or ridiculous about the show – no laughable “Twilight” moments. (Twilight makes me laugh really hard, I can’t watch it without laughing out loud by myself. Ridiculous.)
E.) Jonathan Rhys Meyers can do whatever he wants because he’s “Hottie McHottie McHottie Pants.” Yes I said it, who cares! The man can traipse around and people will watch. But this show is lacking something – there is some level of deepness or complexity that is missing right now – maybe it will get better. The problem with Vampire storylines is that they can go from interesting gothica to weirdness pretty fast. It’s a hard line to walk.
Posted: November 11, 2013 at 11:17 am | Tags: DC, Events, Veteran's Day, Washington
D.C. is very quiet today as many people are not working due to the holiday. Don’t forget to thank a veteran today for their service, shouldn’t be too hard with so many military people in the area. Maybe you have one in your family.
This story from Buzzfeed about a veteran’s passing is quite touching and worth reading today. Read it. And Huffington Post put out a whole list of events in the area for those that are interested.
This was your 2013 Veteran’s Day post!!!