Trump the Chump – (nearly) One Year In.

Trump has surprised me in many different ways.  Perhaps the biggest surprise is his incredible level of stupidity. I’d forgotten that some people born to great wealth never see the need to seek knowledge, wisdom, or perspective. That seems to be Trump’s reason for being profoundly stupid. He learned early on that you can sell anything to anyone if you don’t mind lying. Trump obviously doesn’t mind lying. This is the second big surprise. From his well documented behavior, I knew he had a habit of making grand promises to close any deal with zero regard or intent of ever keeping said promises.  He’s not changed his approach at all.

And I suppose I can’t really be surprised at the behavior of his supporters.  Imagine how it must feel to have voted for this chump.  Imagine the effort it must take to ignore the obvious.  I can’t.

On the positive side, if you’d ever wanted to imagine a reality where you were much smarter that the POTUS, congratulations!  You are!  Almost all of us are. How ironic that the only people not smarter than this chump are the people that voted for him.


The Debt

The Debt

One day they came from a deep blue sky.
Tiny dots that grew to great and shining ships.
Each as big as a city.
Featureless as a faceless silver statue.
Silent. Serene. Terrifying.
They perched hundreds of feet above every major city.
We watched and waited.
Silent. Anxious. Terrified.
The occupants came.
Robed in gray, they came.
They appeared at the government houses.
They came and stood.
And our leaders waited.
They spoke.
“There exists a great debt.”
“We are here to see that the debt is paid”
Our leaders spoke.
“What is this debt?”
They named the debt.
“But we have paid this debt.”
“All has been made right.”
And among the leaders and the people,
Everyone knew this was a lie.
“You have not paid the debt.”
“You do not truly admit the debt.”
“We are here to see that the debt is paid.”
“How can we possibly pay this debt?
Our leaders asked in certain and knowing terror.
They outlined how the debt must be paid.
“It is too much for us!”
“It was too much for them.”
“The children are innocent!”
“They were innocent.”
“It will cause too much pain and suffering!”
“It caused them much pain and suffering.”
Many other exhortations were voiced.
Each was met with the ugly and historical truth.
Then there was nothing to say.
One lone leader spoke in a final plea.
“We accept that we owe this debt. But if we pay it in the way you suggest,
it will cause even more hate and animosity between us.”
“That is true. But it will also result in understanding and perspective, bought by terrible hardship. ”
“Through this, your people of all colors, may begin to heal.”
“And if we don’t?”
“Then there are other debts to be paid.”
Let us hope you do not need to pay them all.”
There was no more to be said.
The arrangements were made.
One year later it began.
In a great nation,
Every person.
Between ten and twenty.
Born with white skin.
Was taken.
Transported far away.
To another great nation.
Where they worked.
Until they died.
After four generations.
They say the debt has been paid.
Now we hope for understanding.
Now we hope for understanding.


The Magic of Music.

What some kinds of music means to me.

Oh My God.

This music has been filling my  head since seeing the movie. And I am very happy about that.  It fills me with a spontaneous and joyous excitement.

It’s not the only piece with that affects me.

Oh yeah.

The Asteroid Field is the first piece of music that affected my emotions profoundly.  Anytime I hear it, tears come immediately. My eyes close and the sweeping sound carries me up and down on a aural roller coaster of  pure adventurous joy.  It peaks at the 2:18 mark when the music builds to a shattering crescendo that is as near to a non-sexual orgasm as I ever expect to have.

More Magic.

The best Star Trek movie.  The best story, the best music, the best everything.

But that music.  In particular this scene.  When the music starts, slow and suspicious, you know you’re in for something explosive.

And then there’s The Doctor.

This music causes me to laugh, smile, and fills me with exciting anticipation. Something very fun is just about to happen.

But it’s not all joy.

This beautiful theme, haunting and ethereal, is somewhat sad even without the tragic association. But the deep emotional memory of profound pain and loss, even when fictional, reaches into my heart and tears it into tearful sobs.

Ending where we began (sort of).

While this doesn’t quite have the quite the emotional punch, it does always make me happy in a silly kind of way.

I believe in heroes which is to say I believe in heroism; the idea that a person can sometimes rise above their own abilities and, briefly perhaps, become something, someone remarkable. The characters that inhabit my imagination are emotional avatars of that possibility in everyone, even in me.  Believing in them, at least in spirit, gives me hope that I can become better than I am when the need arises.

That’s an important belief for all of us. Especially in these times.



Who is Donald Trump?

How I came to see Trump.

young trump

My first exposure to Trump was probably in the late 80’s.  He was making a name for himself as a NY mover and shaker.  The pictures of him made him appear to be an urbane and cultured gentleman.

And then I heard him speak.

I’m not sure of the year.  I think it was during an interview with Barbara Walters. He didn’t make a very good impression.

He was going through a divorce from Ivanka, his first wife.  Gone was the urbane and cultured gentleman.  He sounded rude, arrogant, and ignorant.  He said something during that interview that made me understand his profound ignorance, stupidity, and arrogance. Barbara asked if there was no way he and Ivanka could work out their differences. (She was divorcing him because he had been seeing another woman.) He said something that has stuck with me throughout the years. It says more about him than any of the smoke and bluster he’s said through the years.

He said (paraphrasing here) he didn’t think he should have to work at it.


Chances are, if you are married or know anything about being married, you understand that it’s not all peaches and ice cream.  It takes work.  A lot of it.  Hard work, pain, sacrifice, and commitment.

Trump’s words made it clear he didn’t get any of that.  Throughout the years, he’s done nothing to change that impression.  He’s never given the impression of being thoughtful or intellectual.

And today anyone with any shred of an open mind can see him for the charlatan he is.  Google him and you’ll see the hundreds of times he’s screwed people out of their money.  You’ll see the hundreds of times he’s lied and been caught lying.  You’ll see him bragging about cheating on his wives.

This man is not worthy of public office.

Frankly, he’s not worthy of anyone’s attention.

Dawn Of Justice: Oh My.

Too long. Too slow. Too grim. Too much.

After my (mostly) positive experience with “Man Of Steel” I thought surely “Dawn of Justice” had to be better than I had heard.

I was wrong. I was very wrong. That was mistake one.

I chose to watch the extended version (or the “Ultimate” version). That was mistake two.

This version was three hours. That’s easily an hour and maybe an hour and a half longer than this movie should have been. That’s not actually fair. This movie should never have happened.

That’s harsh but there were just so many times during the movie when a supposedly intelligent character did something very stupid.


Spoilers Ahead

Here are a few off the top of my head:

Lois sees someone we know is a very bad person. We know that because we recognize him. She apparently does too because she walks up to him and says “Don’t I know you?” He turns to her and she’s terrified.  Why? Did she think he was someone else? This makes no freaking sense at all.

Superman must get Batman’s help to save his mother. Now let’s think about this; If you or I (or any sane person) needed someone’s help we’d go to them and lead with that. Not Superman.  He goes to Batman and says some stupid crap that’s beside the point.  Batman starts to fight.  He does this because he’s been 100% geared towards killing Superman from frame one of the movie. At no point does he seem to question his own conclusion that Superman, being powerful, must be destroyed. So they flail around for 20 minutes or so and Batman gets the upper hand. Just before he skewers Superman with a Kryptonite lance, Superman says “Save Martha”. And of course Batman gets all confused. We know this because we are now shown Bruce Wayne’s tragic childhood trauma again.  All of it, because we just might have forgotten just what drove Mr. Wayne to be The Dark Knight in the preceding two hours.

Superman’s earthly dad keeps telling him he was sent here for a reason. But then he also tells him don’t do anything that will reveal what you can do. Make up your mind Mr. Kent.

Luthor engineers a brilliant plan to destroy Superman. Of course, if the giant Kryptonian “Doomday” monster had killed Superman, (and we all know that Superman isn’t really down for the count.) what then? There’s no indication that Luthor had any plan for dealing with this god killer. This movie goes to great pains to be as realistic as a superhero movie can be about people’s motivations. Superman is wracked with conflict. Batman is obsessed with killing Superman. Why does Lex do what he does? He’s murdered countless people just to set Superman up as the bad guy. But there’s no contingency plan if that plan fails. So you’re telling me that someone who can successfully set up Superman, kidnap Lois, kidnap Martha, manipulate Batman into stealing and weaponizing Kryptonite, and create a Kryptonian god-killer can’t come up with some kind of plan b? This is just too dumb for words.

And there’s just so many more annoyances. I got really tired of the choir coming in over the already overblown score to remind me that something important was happening. I got really tired of apparently important scenes being dramatized by slow motion. Once, sure. Twice, no problem. But not ten times. Please.

The best thing about this movie is Wonder Woman. And yet even her involvement isn’t without it’s annoyances. We see scene after scene of her seeing information about what’s happening between Superman and Batman. And she does nothing other than look concerned. It basically take the crap hitting the fan and every news channel basically saying “There’s a god monster about to destroy the world.  Superman and Batman may not be able to stop it. Oh if there were only some other superhero around!” to get her involved.

The operative word for this movie is dumb. My wife can tell you that I have a bad habit of screaming at the television when the characters or story make no sense. I spent a lot of time screaming at this movie.



Man of Steel: Flawed but impressive.

And yes, I know I’m very late to this party.

I finally took the time to watch “Man Of Steel”.  It’s amazing to me that it took me this long to see it considering my overall love of the Superman character.

But reviews were not overly positive and a part of me was afraid that seeing this beloved character portrayed badly would somehow damage my feelings.

Luckily, there nothing to fear.

Overall “Man Of Steel” was completely true to my understanding of Superman. The characters were magically brought to life and the majesty and awe of this super being. The story ambled but in a good and deep way.  Nothing seemed forced or dissonant. Overall I liked the movie very much.

Spoilers Below

Yes, I know this movie has been out for years.  And it’s amazing that I managed to somehow not know the particulars of the story. But I did and I’m glad of that.

The story of how Kal-El came to Earth is no mystery.  But the Krypton here is very different from the one with which I grew up. I suppose I get the concept that Krypton’s flaws are what drove Jor-El to send Kal-El to Earth; not to simply save him but to potentially save Earth from Krypton’s mistakes. It’s an interesting idea but I think it actually muddles the story a bit.

And then there’s General Zod and his grand plans. This is where the film begins to stumble. It’s just too much. There’s just too much story here. Superman’s introduction to the earth would have been better served and cleaner if he were to defeat a home-grown or non-Kryptonian threat.

I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy the spectacle.  I did.  And that’s just what it was; a big, loud show of force, danger, and might. Watching Superman defeat the last vestiges of Kryptonian hubris was thrilling. Watching Superman and Lois embrace after was perfect.

And then I realized that there was a lot more time left in the movie. So we now have a showdown between Superman and General Zod. It’s big and pretty and loud.  And it was fun to watch. But I was really ready for the movie to be over before it started.

This is another reason this particular conflict would have been better saved for another movie. “Man Of Steel” would have been a better, cleaner movie if the threat had been something not quite so epic.

But that’s where we are now. It’s always the end of the world.  And I can’t say I care for it.

This idea can be most clearly seen as the primary difference between the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” movies versus the television shows.

The Enterprise and it’s crew weren’t saving the universe in every episode.  They were going about their mission and that was almost always enough.

But the movies were all about defeating something monstrous that was an imminent threat to all life as we know it.  And they were less about the entire crew and more about Captain Picard and Data.  And that made them so much weaker.

It’s interesting that movies have become more and more about spectacle and less about story. Thank goodness for the many varieties of television.  Be it cable, internet, or even the networks, they’ve taken up the mantle of being the perfect medium for the long narrative. That’s where you’ll find the stories being told.