Best Documentary

We don’t often see the nominees for best documentary prior to the Oscars. But Netflix changes that. Currently three of the nominees are on Netflix: Strong Island, Last Men in Aleppo, and Icarus. We saw Strong Island. It was okay. We’re in the middle of Last Men in Aleppo, which is very moving so far. Looking forward to seeing Icarus. Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, I believe is available on Amazon Prime, so hopefully we’ll see that too.


Fat

Sometime around second or third grade I started to put on weight. Junk food and TV did it. Mom had to start shopping in the Husky Boys department of the clothing store. And no, that’s not a U of W thing.

At school I got teased a fair amount for being fat. My true friends were generally better to me. Right before my senior year of high school I lost a bunch of weight. That felt pretty good. Through college I managed to keep most of it off, but I wasn’t what one would call lean.

But, over time I gained it back. I actually weigh more than I ever did, but it doesn’t show as much due to having more muscle mass.

The thing that’s on my mind is the idea of body shaming. When I was teased for being chubby it hurt, a lot. But I was a kid and things hurt more then. I knew I wanted to not be overweight. What bothers me now is that we seem to have given up on the idea that carrying too much extra weight is unhealthy. We have to be cautious of how we discuss the topic. There’s a reason my late father-in-law, an insurance guy, referred to certain people as, “uninsurable.”

I hold with those who say obesity is a public health crisis in the United States, and we must be able to discuss it. It’s a complex issue, and the reasons for obesity are different for each case, but it has to be talked about. Even our President, who I do not believe had a golden-years growth spurt, needs to lose weight, and that ain’t happening with his diet and exercise routine.


It’s a Bad Day

I was already having a crappy day then I read this. This totally sucks. I mean really?

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-met-green-card-veteran-hunger-strike-20180131-story.html


Depression and Jesus

Comedian Jordan Temple on Conan (paraphrasing): There are people who don’t believe in depression who believe in Jesus.

Yeah.


Good News. Bad News.

The good news is the Cleveland Indians are going to remove “Chief Wahoo” from their uniforms. The bad new is they’re still the Cleveland Indians.

I would argue that the name Indians is less offensive than Redskins. So maybe we need to see some action in the District of Columbia next.

I’m trying to think of team mascots that are specific groups of humans. The first one that comes to mind is Vikings. This is an extinct culture from which I am descended. My college and my junior high school mascots were vikings. The mascot of Puyallup H.S., where Chris is likely to go, is Vikings. I’ve never heard any people from Norway say they were offended by this mascot. But apparently, at my undergrad alma mater there has been some discussion about whether a blonde haired, blue-eyed Norseman truly represents a highly diverse student body.

Another name that comes to mind is Trojans. Again, an extinct culture, but an homogenous people.

Mariners? Heck. Anyone can be a Mariner.

Warriors? I think that’s safe despite it’s common usage associated with male American Indians. It describes a wide variety of people trained for conflict.

49ers? If you want to be associated with gold prospectors, most of whom failed, go right ahead.

I could go on, but the point is if American Indian tribes find your choice of mascot offensive, do the decent thing and get rid of it.


Future Pulitzer Prize Winner?

Found this on the back of a student’s paper. Kid’s got a future.


Critics. Psh.

This guy was declared London’s most eligible bachelor a year ago. I guess that sort of thing makes one feel all high and mighty. Picking on IKEA like this.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jan/29/ingvar-kamprad-top-10-ikea-meatballs-products-rated?CMP=fb_gu


Music and Politics

Anyone out there not think Aung San Suu Kyi should have been freed by the repressive government of Myanmar? The current reality does not change the fact that she was a political prisoner. Now, as a leader, she must be held accountable. But not foreseeing her every future move does not make past supporters any less free to speak their minds.

And so it is with U2. Predictably, their Grammy performance brought forth the “shut up and sing” fetishists out of the woodwork, not to mention most of the other very political performances last night. Here’s some news folks: musicians have a right to free speech too. U2 has always been a political group, and I daresay that’s why most of their fans are so devoted. And, although I’m not as familiar with hip hop, I would wager that most artists in that genre have reasons for getting political.

My advice is, if you don’t want to hear political statements you disagree with, don’t watch TV, listen to the radio, or read. Stay home with the shades pulled. Oh, and don’t vote.


Mudbound

We watched “Mudbound” last night. It was excellent, although as aggravating as a story about racism in the post-WWII South should be. Mary J. Blige was good, but I don’t expect her to win Best Supporting Actress over the tough competition she faces.

The performance that really stood out for Laurie and me was Carey Mulligan. I think she was more Lead than Supporting, so not a direct rival to Blige, but I think she is better than Margot Robbie and Meryl Streep.

I think I hoped the story would escape the racist violence of the era, but it was handled as well as it could have been. Just heartbreaking.


Get Out

Laurie and I both really enjoyed “Get Out.” Unnerving story with a very appealing protagonist. I was grateful that Peale didn’t drag out the ending with additional resurrections of the murderous family. Some thrillers take it way too far in that department. It was on the verge, but it ended where it should have.

We are down to two Best Picture nominees: “Phantom Thread”, and “Call Me by Your Name.” We expect to see them before the Oscars are distributed.