Friday, December 25, 2020

Keller Texas Cops Needlessly Arrest And Pepper Spray Father And Son

I don't begrudge anyone for having a bad day. Depending on the job I may not take it personally if a person is occasionally a jerk. I have mentioned before that a worker at my neighborhood post office is not the nicest woman in the world. She is abrasive, abrupt, and condescending. I am not the only local who has complained about her attitude. But there is a massive difference between being an unpleasant post office worker and being an unpleasant police officer. I can avoid post office workers. 

I'm unconcerned about a post office worker jumping over the counter and assaulting me because I didn't follow an unlawful order quickly enough or looked her in her eyes without fear. Given that police officers have the legal authority to use violence, up to and including lethal force, society can't tolerate officers, who because they are in a bad mood, take it out on their fellow citizens. Police officers must follow the law and treat everyone the same, not make up laws and assault people for not obeying them. 

A North Texas man is suing two officers in the Keller Police Department following his arrest in August. Keller PD demoted Sergeant Blake Shimanek for his role in the incident. The arrest occurred Aug. 15 when 22-year-old Dillon Puente was pulled over for making a wide right turn. Puente was on his way to his grandmother’s house when he was stopped in the Riverdance neighborhood.   

Bodycam video shows Shimanek ask Dillon to get out of the car before he places him in handcuffs. In a police report obtained by WFAA, Shimanek said he detained Dillon because he was worried about his safety. “He was ticketed and taken to jail for a wide right turn,” said Dillon’s dad Marco Puente in an interview with WFAA.  

Marco Puente was following Dillon to his grandma’s house, and he pulled up his vehicle after he saw his son was pulled over by police.  (Watch Video Below)

Movie Reviews: Murder My Sweet

Murder My Sweet
directed by Edward Dmytryk
This was the first film adaptation of one of novelist's Raymond Chandler's Phillip Marlowe's detective stories. Leading man Dick Powell, previously known as a baby faced song and dance light comedian type played against type as the hardboiled detective Marlowe. This film mostly worked I thought. Powell's version of Marlowe is different than the Marlowe I knew as interpreted by Humphrey Bogart.
Although both actors convincingly bring across Marlowe's cynicism, distrust and quick witted snarky one liners, in my opinion Powell doesn't quite show Marlowe's occasional ruthlessness or menace the way that Bogart did. But YMMV. 
One good thing about this film is that despite sharing a lot of themes and even plots with the Chandler inspired movie, The Big Sleep, it is INFINITELY easier to understand.
Watching movies like this can make one wonder at just how influential writers like Chandler and a few others were at establishing the basic outline of modern American based detective thrillers. So this film may not have too many surprises for the modern viewer other than how familiar and up to date it seems.

Old Time Snowball Fight

When's the last time you were involved in a good old fashioned snowball fight? Sometimes there's nothing better as this recently colorized video from 1897 Lyon, France shows. This short film was shot by the Lumiere Brothers, who despite being among the very first filmmakers in the world, thought that the film business was a novelty game that would never go anywhere. So they got out of it about a decade after they shot this footage. Although they couldn't predict the future, as indeed none of us can, this film they left behind is another demonstration of the fact that regardless of differences in time, culture, and nation, humans are more alike than different. I liked how dude on the bicycle almost made it through the gauntlet. 

Television Reviews: Britannia Season One

produced by Pippa Harris and Sam Mendes
Season One previously aired on British television and Amazon prime almost three years ago but just started running on American cable channels this past year. Some people made an immediate positive comparison to HBO's Game of Thrones. I don't think that was an accurate comparison. Britannia's writing is not as high quality as that of the first few seasons of Game of Thrones. Britannia does not convince the viewer to see one group as the protagonists or good guys. It's more of a descriptive show.
The show's sets weren't that extravagant though it makes up for that drawback by spending as much time possible outside-to be fair the narrative often requires it. I liked the lush outdoor camerawork. If you are an outdoors nature loving person you will enjoy this aspect of Britannia. The show was shot on location in the UK and the Czech Republic. 
Britannia concerns the Roman invasion of the titular island in or about AD 43. It's a historical drama with few battles though there is violence. This could be because of budget or just because of where the writers and producers wanted to direct the viewer's attention. This is NOT an action packed drama full of swordfights. Those happen rarely.

Britannia is coy about magic. The show smartly flips back and forth between depicting magic as superstition and fear, something that only seems real because of copious psilocybin mushroom consumption, con man/con woman tricks, or (later in the season and definitely in second season) as something very real and dangerous.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Trump Lost The 2020 Presidential Election

Trump lost the 2020 Presidential Election. Trump lost because enough people in enough states decided that Joe Biden was the better choice.  Trump lost because the Republican Party is on a national level non-competitive in the Northeast and starting to show cracks in the South and Southwest. 
Trump lost because the Republican Party has reached the current limit of political popularity that it can have throughy open appeals to white racist resentment, white nationalism, anti-intellectualism, anti-urban feelings, conspiracy theories, and various other dubious emotions or stances. Trump lost because even some otherwise Republican leaning voters looked at Trump's general corruption and specific ineptitude combating the coronavirus pandemic and decided that enough was enough. 
Trump lost because his support slipped among white men, his most devoted base. Trump lost because he is congenitally unable to frame appeals to people that are not rooted in hate. Trump lost because he's unwilling to reach out to people who are not his base. Trump lost because he's incapable of conceiving a scenario where he loses. His ego can't accept that possibility.

Chicago Police Raid Wrong Home And Hold Naked Black Woman At Gunpoint

The Chicago Police are notorious for both brutality and for getting things wrong. When you have the legal authority to detain, arrest, hurt and even kill people getting things wrong more than a few times is not something that society can tolerate. 
I have noticed that it seems as if a disproportionate percentage of the times the police get things wrong they do so with Black people. It's rare that I read about a mistaken militarized police raid in a white and/or wealthy area. 

The city of Chicago attempted to block a local news station from airing recently obtained body camera footage of police mistakenly raiding the wrong home with guns drawn and handcuffing a distressed, naked woman.
CBS2-TV released body camera footage on Monday night of officers forcing their way into the home of Anjanette Young nearly two years ago. The 50-year-old clinical social worker, who helps victims of violence and mentors people of color going into her profession, had just finished her work shift at a hospital and was undressing in her bedroom when a group of male officers broke down her door with a battering ram.
In the disturbing Feb. 21, 2019, footage, officers appear to have their guns drawn while they yell for Young to put her hands up. She can then be seen in the video fully naked with her hands raised, looking terrified and confused (CBS2 blurred parts of the video in which Young was shown naked). One officer puts Young’s hands behind her back and handcuffs her, leaving her with no way to cover herself as police search her home.

Movie Reviews: Jailbait

directed by Ed Wood

I am always looking for a good film noir to watch so I decided to check this one out. It quickly became apparent that this 1954 movie wasn't a good film noir. In fact it wasn't a good film of any kind of genre. This was because as I later learned this film was both written and directed by Ed Wood. I wouldn't have watched this film if I had known Wood directed it. The crossdressing Wood became infamous not only for his fetishes but for being unquestionably the worst director to ever work in Hollywood. Hands down. Think about whatever inept writer or director comes to your mind and then realize that Wood was worse. Far worse. He's probably the worst director to ever work on this planet. 
People who have no skill, experience, or even interest in directing, camera work, acting, or writing could fly out to Hollywood tomorrow and create much better work than Wood ever did. It is difficult to express in words just how horrible this film was. I later discovered that the version I saw, bad as it was, wasn't even the worst variant. There is an edition out there where either Wood or his southern film distributors decided to insert a lengthy blackface performance by a white comedian, his wife and a minstrel band. All of this was completely unrelated to the narrative. Someone evidently thought that white people of the time, particularly in the South, would find it drop dead funny.

Landlord Removes Tenant's Door Because Of Late Rent

As the pandemic continues to rage we will see more stories like this. How many of us could lose our job or other source of income or savings and be just fine for a significant amount of time?

A Missouri woman who lost her job amid the coronavirus pandemic said this week that her landlord temporarily removed her front door after she fell two months behind on rent payments. Hannah McGee told Fox’s St. Louis affiliate station, KTVI, that she has struggled to keep up with living expenses after losing her restaurant job. 

McGee, who has lived in the same apartment in Fenton, Mo., for three years and whose mother has rented the apartment next door for over a decade, said she now owes her landlord $1,000. “He’s always been a good landlord. I guess it just took one slip up,” McGee told the outlet. “I’ve lived here without a problem, no incidents whatsoever, I’ve been on time every month, but since COVID happened, I lost my job.” 

McGee said she began using her closet doors where her front door used to be, with her 4-year-old daughter forced to stay at her grandmother’s apartment in order to stay warm. “At night it gets definitely really cold, it’s kind of unbearable without it [the door],” McGee added.

Watching Morning Television

Scanning morning television while working from home over the past nine months I learned a few things. These include:
1) I need to call the Medicare Coverage Hotline right now to make sure I'm getting everything I deserve!!
2) I must immediately buy gold because these are uncertain times.
3) Jon Taffer can solve any problem by yelling at someone until s/he does better.
4) For just 3 easy payments of $24.99 I can have the best non-stick pan ever invented.
5) I should call a local ambulance chaser law firm because they're family.
6) Apparently people who badly lost their House, Senate, or dogcatcher race are the go to political experts on every cable channel.
7) Mike Lindell is interrupting this post to give a you a special deal on MyPillow!
8) With exceptions noted, to be an anchor on Fox News a woman must prove she has an unbroken line of "Aryan" descent to at least the 1700's. Male anchors can not have an IQ over 80.
9) Special guests on cable shows must always have their library as a backdrop to emphasize what a "SERIOUS" intellectual they are.
10) The IRS is going to come get me unless I call this tax relief firm and pay them a small fee.
11) If I order right now I can get an extra 20% off!
12) Fox News is convinced that whatever bad happens in America is either Black people's fault or is not as bad as whatever Black people are doing at this exact moment. Be scared. Be very scared!!! 

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Book Reviews: My Work Is Not Yet Done

My Work Is Not Yet Done
by Thomas Ligotti
I hadn't read anything by this Detroit born author though I heard good things about him. So I decided to read the 2002 titular short story/novella. It also comes packaged with two other short stories. This is probably a horror story but that's just an easy surface description. This is weird fiction. This work owes some debts to people like Poe, Dunsany, and Lovecraft but is not a pastiche or homage. 

Ligotti is a singular voice. I will read the story again to fully understand events and their meaning. The writing is very atmospheric. There is a very dream like aspect to the descriptions. Even before the obvious supernatural elements intrude upon the reader, the reader might wonder about what is real and what is in the protagonist's head.

The protagonist, one Frank Dominio, opens the story by saying he has always been afraid. This turns out to be integral to the story because Frank is a very unreliable narrator, whether from fear or other failings. Frank is not entirely a schmuck but he's close. I think that many people may recognize themselves and/or their co-workers in Ligotti's description of Frank and his work associates.

In my own experiences, I didn't immediately realize that in work environments, rivals and enemies don't often reveal their hand and attack you openly and honestly. Some do, but that is rare. More often it's the "accidental" exclusion from business lunches or after hours conclaves, supposed jokes that are always at your expense, the damming with faint praise, a grudging meets expectations review, or an assignment to a task or path that gets little respect and no upper management visibility that limit someone's rise on the corporate totem pole.

Friday, December 4, 2020

Twerking at True Kitchen Restaurant

Let's say you invite a guest to your home. The guest puts her bare feet on your couch, throws her chewed meat bones on your carpet, and writes her name in permanent marker on your walls. When you politely ask the guest to stop this behavior she ignores you. 
She continues to disrespect you and deface your home. Upset, you eject the guest from your home, using some harsh language in doing so. This is not really news. It becomes news when other people who have the same warped values as the ejected guest blame you instead of the guest for the situation.

Kevin Kelley, owner of True Kitchen + Kocktails, tells TMZ that his anti-twerking speech has had a positive impact on his eatery. The Grio previously reported Kelley was filmed yelling at Black female patrons who were twerking and dancing on the furniture. In the clip, he makes clear that he is running a restaurant, not a club.
‘We’ve received an outpouring of support that we did not anticipate online and in person.’The Dallas restaurant owner who went viral for cursing out his customers over a twerking incident says business is booming.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Movie Reviews: Five Against The House

Five Against The House
directed by Phil Karlson
Although some consider this a film noir, I don't. It looks like one but it's just a heist movie and not one that's very engaging, with the exception of Kim Novak. It has some comedic asides about college life. It has some muddled thoughts about post traumatic stress disorder and what society owes to those veterans suffering from it. 

Five Against The House has Novak for the va-va voom factor. She definitely brought that element but had little else to do. There's no real conflict in her character or in her interactions with any of the other actors. She was no femme fatale. Not every noir movie has a femme fatale of course but they are common enough in the genre to be noticeable when absent. 

The film's other failing was that except for Novak the actors were simply too old to be believable as college students. The film addresses this problem by making the older looking characters law students instead of regular underclassmen but I still thought the other would be college students looked too old. 

There are some actors and actresses who can get away with playing 18-22 year olds well into their late twenties or early thirties but I didn't think any of these guys did that here. Four college students from Arizona take a weekend trip to a Reno casino. They have fun but obviously lose money. That is after all the point of a casino.