Tuesday, March 29, 2016


Feds Withdraw Legal Action Against Apple
This one screams conspiracy.  The Feds are dropping their dispute with Apple because they found other means to open up the terrorist's iPhone.  Sure they are. Maybe I'm still thinking too much about House of Cards, but isn't this a perfect Frank and Claire way to back down, save face and drop a hot potato?  And yes, it will take lots of time to de-code any information found on the phone.  Time.  The best way to hide your mistakes.

Supreme Court Won't Hear Blago Appeal
Let Blago out already.  The tsunami of fake outrage against the bungling ex-Governor got everyone in Springfield padding their political profile.  And to what end?  Illinois drowning in bad government.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Haunted House

I don't read Stephen King or go to scary movies.  Vampires and zombies hold no appeal.  But I think I understand their ratings because I have been binge-watching House of Cards and I can't turn away. This is our Shakespeare-style take on American power and it is cruel and painful to watch.  There is manipulation to the point of murder and still it rings true.

The opening credits let us know that Netflix went all in on this one.  Really good writers and producers are attached to this story.  Yes, it's a dark and stormy tale and the White House is the haunted house but they want you to take it seriously -- or else.

Last week, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump (our "real life" House of Cards players) got into a pissing contest about their wives.  Cruz quoted almost verbatim a line from The American President, the movie that presents a fairy tales antidote to the Cards brand of poison.  Cruz seemed to claim it as his own.

Okay, I'm taking it seriously.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Download This

"Facts" have been under attack for awhile now and it's getting more relentless every day.  Some of it is motivated by evil intention:  "If you tell a lie long enough . . .".  Some of it comes from the allure of relativity:  "my observation creates reality."  It's getting to the point where I cling to  2+2 = 4 like Tom Cruise hangs on to the edge of the skyscraper.

The Internet of Us is a new book by Michael Lynch which gets into other ways to topple the facts.  He takes us into a world where we "rarely discover facts, we download or upload them".  (I love it when my companion whips out a smartphone to settle a question. )   Lynch considers that we may actually google ourselves out of our capacity to reason.

Every once in awhile I make myself do the multiplication tables in my head.  Up to 10.  The rest of the time?  Of course, it's the calculator.

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Darkest Dance

Sex and War -- we cannot live without it.  Those who chanted "Make Love Not War" understood how to change the balance, but so far no takers.  So now we have the excellent film "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot." (Don't be put off by the unfortunate title.)

The is the story of a woman's adventures as a journalist in Afghanistan, just as we were getting tired of that war and had already moved on to Iraq.  It is about the addiction to action that grips many war correspondents.  And, about the addiction to ratings that grip our TV networks.  Sexual abandon and sexual taboo move the plot.

Back in Hollywood, woman are demanding more opportunities while the suits are counting the change from Star Wars.  Maybe Tina Fey can tip the scales just a little.  She was the woman who saved us from Sarah Palin so she deserves a chance.

Saturday, March 12, 2016


Quentin Young died the other day.  Chicagoans paused to praise his extraordinary life. He was our hometown -- and national --  health care hero.  When fighting for a National Health Plan, he would always say:"Everyone in, nobody out."

Young took care of Martin Luther King when he was hit with rocks during the Marquette Park march.  Young was "doctoring" in Grant Park in 1968 when war protesters were attacked by the police during the 1968 Democratic Convention.  Historians called it the "Police Riot" during the "Battle of Chicago."

And now, I'm still here to witness a "Trump Riot" at the UIC Arena and out on the streets.  It's only a block or two away from where Quentin Young served as the head of Cook County Hospital.

 Another round of messing with our fragile city.  Our city already exploding in gun fire and constant death.

I don't know if there were any wounded last night, but if so, I hope some young doctor ran over from the hospital with some bandages -- and courage to be in the middle of it all.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

In the Cards?

Why do people cheat?  I haven't been tempted very often. I think that's because, when it comes to competition, I'm a bit of a wimp.  I'm not determined to be NO. 1.  And, I'm uncomfortable around those types when they do show up.  Most often for me they show up at the Bridge table.

No smiles.  No banter.   Often arguing with their partner about how they played the previous hand. Quick to recite the rules.  Challenge every score.  Cheaters?  Most often, definitely not.  But if your looking . . .

Content with my mediocre game, I finally found a place to play.  Most of the time my partner and I land in the middle.  Sometimes, when the better players are away, we reach the top.  Fine with me.

There is an article in this week's New Yorker about cheating in the stratosphere of the international game. There is so much "security" at this level that Bridge players actually bid behind a screen!    This is creepy.  Even those scary Poker players limit their camouflage to hoodies and sunglasses.

Are Bridge players morally inferior? Bridge is supposed to be a 'thinking man's" game.  If the "thinking" extends to "how will I not get caught," we are dealing with more than the cards here.