A Merry Christmas To All

A very merry Christmas to all!

This is an open thread, all topics welcome -- from your family holiday traditions to cooking to politics.

Enjoy the day and your time with your families. Regardless of your religion, Christmas is a special holiday!

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    Merry Christmas back at you all! (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by scribe on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 10:56:23 AM EST
    I'm spending the day/week with family, taking care of my aging dad and getting some time with him while we still have it left.

    Starting to cook dinner now, as I write this.

    Best to all.

    Saw LINCOLN for Christmas (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Dadler on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 06:15:01 PM EST
    Loved Daniel Day-Lewis as I always do, didn't like the things that made it "A Spielberg Film," but did appreciate for my 12 year-old the scene of Lincoln pardoning a 16 year-old due to be hung for "being afraid" essentially. Recently, we were driving with a friend of my son's, a nice kid who lost his dad when he was six, and whose uncle (a kind of bitter guy) now is the male role model in his life. Somehow the topic of war and the draft and conscientious objectors came up and at one point this kid said, "I don't want anybody knowing I'm too chicken to go to war." It really disturbed me, and I did the best I could to enlighten the moment a little, but it's not your child so you don't want to give him the rant you'd give your own son if he said something a blithe and naive as that about a subject as serious as that. That moment in the film, however, and Lincoln's line about the kid not deserving the gallows for being afraid, I thank the filmmakers for the very effective, dramatic and incredibly well produced lesson for my son.

    It was odd, however, to think about "freedom" and "equality" in light of our Orwellian evolution to the WOT and indefinite detention with no charges and, say, being almost rock bottom in the world in terms of wealth inequality (140th out of 150, or some number close to that, but equally insane and infuriating and inexcusable...and ultimately fatal if not corrected).

    Speaking for myself only, I've always ... (none / 0) (#16)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 06:45:25 PM EST
    ... thought that the best time to fear war is well prior to its prospective commencement, when one can incentivize all doubts and trepidations to shout down those chickenhawks whom Mark Twain once so eloquently characterized more than a century ago as "the loud little handful." Because once war comes, common sense and best intentions will inevitably be swept away by the ensuing maelstrom.



    After much negotiation around the dinner table (none / 0) (#26)
    by Peter G on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 11:39:37 PM EST
    there was one veto for The Hobbit and one veto of Les Miserables, so we all went to see Hyde Park on Hudson.  Mistake.  Some great acting (Bill Murray, Samuel West, Olivia Colman, not so much Laura Linney despite some of the reviews) but a bad script, and no real point (except perhaps the implicitly sexist theme). We saw one young couple walk out. We should have chosen Les Miz.

    I am seeing Les Miz (none / 0) (#28)
    by TeresaInPa on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 12:15:23 AM EST
    tomorrow and can hardly wait, but for one thing.  Why didn't they cast a singer as Javert?  His music is so important in the score.  He has "Stars" for goodness sake.  

    That was my only real gripe after seeing it (none / 0) (#29)
    by ruffian on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 06:33:50 AM EST
    See my post above. Really too bad. I will probably see it again....maybe Crowe will grow on me? Probably not.

    We did not see it (none / 0) (#32)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 09:48:58 AM EST
    Because Les Miserable has been redone twice with big star casts right before Josh was born we decided that we would rent this one.  We went to the Hobbit.  It is only half the book though, it ended at exactly the place where when I was a child I secretly gasped that this is a really long book.

    I'm going to be kind of whiny and ask why we can't get an all star remake of Oliver Twist or Tom Sawyer?  Both great classic boy stories that contain some history about the children's workhouses and slavery.


    When it comes to musical adaptations ... (none / 0) (#43)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 03:07:40 PM EST
    ... of Dickens' 1838 novel Oliver Twist, it's rather hard to top "Oliver!" In fact, "Oliver!" is rather over the top in an of itself, but it's also boisterous and fun, and stands as one of my own personal guilty pleasures when it comes to film adaptations of Broadway musicals.

    For a straight up dramatatic adaptation of Dicken's 1838 novel, I very liked Roman Polanski's "Oliver Twist", which starred Ben Kingsley as Fagin, the creepy Jewish thief and racketeer who actually serves as the author's primary dramatic foil in telling the story of young Oliver.

    (We should also note that Dickens' work didn't shy away from reflecting the virulent anti-Semitism of 19th century England, any more than it pulled any punches in exploring the ruthless exploitation of orphans and poor children as mere disposable commodities by most all levels of British society.)

    Veteran character actor Ron Moody played Fagin for sympathy and laughs in Sir Carol Reed's 1968 musical, garnering a Golden Globe for Best Actor and and an Oscar nomination for his efforts, as a kindly if slightly befuddled old crook who saves young Oliver Twist from the vicious streets and takes him in to teach him how to pick a pocket or two.

    But Ben Kingsley's Fagin in Polanski's rather faithful 2005 adaptation of Dickens' book is much more dark and sinister in keeping with the author's original intent, a rather vile and foul man living on the very edges of society, who -- unbeknownst to Oliver, who comes to regard him at one point as both savior and benefactor -- cares for the lad and the other children staying in his tenement flat only to the extent that they're of use to him as pickpockets and thieves.

    I'd easily recommend both films, which could not be more different from one another, yet each works very well in telling the tale of Oliver Twist in their own respective ways.



    I don't watch Polanski (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 03:22:23 PM EST
    I just can't do it

    That's your choice. (none / 0) (#66)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 06:32:58 PM EST
    I fully understand and respect it.

    A conscientious objector. (none / 0) (#83)
    by oculus on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 03:30:37 PM EST
    No inside info from Donald today (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by CoralGables on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 02:35:42 PM EST
    but am expecting and looking forward to what may be the nomination to take the place of Senator Inouye later today.

    With a quick nominee, the newest Senator will become the senior Senator from Hawaii as of January 3. And depending on who is nominated, could become the first female Senator from Hawaii and gain seniority over all incoming Senators that will be sworn in January 3rd.

    Interesting notes:
    Hawaii will have their first female Senator next week no matter the newest nominee and the first female Buddhist and first Japanese born Senator when Mazie Hirono takes office.

    Two strong possibilities to replace Senator Inouye are Colleen Hanabusa or Tulsi Gabbard. If either are named Hawaii goes from never having a female Senator to having two.

    Hanabusa was the wish of Senator Inouye.

    If it's Gabbard, she would become the first ever Senator born in American Samoa, the first Hindu in the US Senate, the youngest current US Senator, and the youngest Senator since Joe Biden took office 40 years ago.

    Donald, correct me if I blew any facts there.

    An aside to MT (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by CoralGables on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 03:15:11 PM EST
    Gabbard went through National Guard OCS in Anniston, AL.

    Anniston AL always gives me the chills (none / 0) (#52)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 04:00:50 PM EST
    It is where Monsanto poisoned the population with PCBs.  It is small and very poor.  To be born in Anniston makes it difficult to escape Anniston.  Most of the people who live there have few resources, and to live in Anniston long term invites dying in Anniston before your time.  The personal stories of early deaths and children dying can curl your hair and singe your mind.

    Coral Gables (none / 0) (#44)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 03:11:58 PM EST
    I just watched the ESPN 30 for 30 on the U, very good.  I did not know it was in Coral Gables, interesting stuff.  

    Anyways, I just Wiki-ed Coral Gables and there is GD city flag, WTF, that is crazy.  So then I tried Houston, turns out we have a city flag too.

    Not real point, just weird that I never knew cities had their own flags and that if you haven't seen the film, I would recommend it just because there is a lot of Coral Gables history in relation to the University.


    One of my college trivia questions (none / 0) (#61)
    by CoralGables on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 04:53:36 PM EST
    Where is the University of Miami, and where is Miami University? Rarely does anyone get both right. One in Coral Gables, Florida and the other in Oxford, Ohio.

    And most people don't realize that ... (none / 0) (#63)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 06:04:25 PM EST
    ... the original name of "Miami" actually pertains to Ohio and not Florida, because the Miami were one of the native peoples in the so-called "Old Northwest" of the late 18th century United States, which eventually became the states of Ohio, Michigan, Inidiana, Illinois and Wisconsin.

    It was the Miami under Chief Michikinikwa ("Little Turtle") and Shawnee led by Chief Weyapiersenwah ("Blue Jacket") who delivered what still stands today as the most decisive and devastating military defeat ever suffered by the U.S. military at the hands of our country's indigenous peoples. At the Battle of the Wabash on November 4, 1791, Gen. Arthur St. Clair's force was utterly routed and nearly annihilated, suffering over 600 slain and nearly 400 wounded. Out of nearly 1,100 soldiers who marched off with St. Clair on that doomed campaign, only 48 of them escaped the debacle completely unscathed.

    This unmitigated disaster -- still known in popular reference as "St. Clair's Defeat" -- led President George Washington to sack his commander, and provided members of Congress the opportunity to convene the very first formal congressional inquiry in our nation's history.



    For even more fun (none / 0) (#77)
    by Towanda on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 08:40:49 PM EST
    CG, ask for the location of California University.



    Thought you might like (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by CoralGables on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 09:17:47 PM EST
    the new Senator from Hawaii. He was born in Ann Arbor.

    I had no idea about Cal U. in California, PA. They obviously haven't mastered the vulcan death grip in athletics.


    That he was. (none / 0) (#81)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 11:36:16 PM EST
    But Brian Schatz came to Hawaii as a small child when his father left the University of Michigan for a position at the University of Hawaii, and so he grew up here. He is a 1990 graduate of President Obama's high school alma mater, Punahou, and holds a B.A. in philosophy from Pomona College in Southern California.

    Brian was a member of the Hawaii State House of Representatives from 1998 to 2006, serving for four of those years as chair of the acaommittee on Economic Development and Business Concerns, and was elected lieutenant governor in 2010. He is Jewish, married to Linda Kwok (who is an architect), and is the father of two young children, Tyler and Mia.

    On a personal note, I've known Brian since he was a junior in high school. He's a good man, and will serve Hawaii well in Washington.


    Why did Inouye want Hanabusa and (none / 0) (#47)
    by caseyOR on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 03:36:15 PM EST
    not Gabbard?

    Having done a quick review of their positions on various issues, I'd be inclined to hope that Gabbard gets the nod over Hanabusa. This is based on the fact that, of the info my quick search turned up, Gabbard agrees with me on the big policy issues. :-)

    I couldn't find Hanabusa's positions on some of the issues, like marriage equality, regulating the big banks and Wall St. and the environment.

    What is the word on the ground, Donald?


    Tulsi Gabbard is only 30 years old. (none / 0) (#54)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 04:06:42 PM EST
    Further, her recent election to the U.S. House from Hawaii's Second Congressional District (Rural Oahu - Neighbor islands) should be seen as much more a resounding rejection by Democratic primary voters of our polarizing former Honolulu Mayor, Mufi Hannemann, than it should be taken as some sort of political testament to Ms. Gabbard's virtues as a candidate.

    Trust me, Gabbard comes to Congress with a ton of her own baggage. She did a complete 180 flip-flop on marriage equality only this year, right after she announced her candidacy for Congress. Prior to that, her own expressed opinions on the subject of GLBT civil rights were much more in line with truly odious views of her father, State Sen. Mike Gabbard.

    Further, at least until this year, Ms. Gabbard publicly subscribed to a particularly conservative and fundamentalist version of Hinduism, as expressed by Science of Identity Foundation founder and director Chris Butler, aka Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa.

    Even today, Tulsi continued to dodge our questions about her relationship to the Science of Identity Foundation, and still insisted on referring to Butler only as her "yoga instructor," as though he were the equivalent of an employee at Gold's Gym or 24-Hour Fitness Clubs, rather than someone whom a lot of us regard as the head of a pretty nasty and vicious Vedic cult.

    So, please do not pay attention to what mainland pundits on the east coast are saying about Tulsi Gabbard. Most of that is gleened from her campaign's own press releases, and they don't know what they're talking about. And again, speaking for myself only, the jury is still very much out on her.

    While young people quite obviously have tremendous capacity to develop, modify or change their own personal views on GLBT issues relative to those held by their parents, only time will tell in determining whether Ms. Gabbard's transformation onthe subject of marriage equality was truly heartfelt, or simply waved as a flag of convenience to get her successfully through the 2012 Democratic congressional primary against the heavily favored Mr. Hannemann.



    We're on lunch break right now. (none / 0) (#48)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 03:37:17 PM EST
    We've been hearing this morning from each of the dozen people who've applied for consideration as the successor to Sen. Inouye. Once we're through with that, we will go into closed door session to formally deliberate and then choose the three nominees to be forwarded to Gov. Abercrombie for his consideration. That person is expected to be named by Friday, per Sen. Harry Reid's request.

    As Democratic Party officials, we're all very much mindful of Sen. Inouye's expressed "last wish" that Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa be appointed to take his place in the Senate. But that said, we're also taking our statutorily required charge very seriously. I cannot and will not disclose any details from our internal discussions this morning, but will note to the extent possible that while Hanabusa will probably make the cut, Congresswoman-elect Tulsi Gabbard probably will not.

    Speaking for myself personally, having worked for Neil Abercrombie on Capitol Hill, I will tell you that the governor is very much his own man, and he won't shy away from choosing someone other than Hanabusa if he considers it in the best long term interest of Hawaii to do so.

    In my estimation, one complicating factor working against both Hanabusa and Gabbard is the fact that their respective potential elevations to the Senate would leave either one or the other of Hawaii's two U.S. House seats vacant, which would then trigger a winner-take-all special election conducted solely by mail.

    This is something which I in particular am quite anxious to avoid to the extent possible, because that's exactly the scenario by which we ended up with GOP Congressman Charles Djou for six months in 2010, when Neil Abercrombie resigned his seat to run for governor. Hanabusa and former Congressman Ed Case split the Democratic vote in the special election, and Djou stole the seat despite winning only 34% of the overall vote.

    If I were a betting man, which I'm not, I'd offer that the two obvious picks right now for Abercrombie's consideration are Hanabusa and Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz. A third candidate will probably be chosen from the ranks of the state legislature. Again, speaking for myself only, I was very impressed with State Sen. Donna Mercado Kim this morning.

    I'll keep you all updated, but will only disclose our choices once we've formally announced them to the public at large. I've probably already said more than I should as it is.



    Thanks for the scoop , Donald. (none / 0) (#50)
    by caseyOR on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 03:45:21 PM EST
    Let us know more when you can, please.

    News sccop could be out (none / 0) (#55)
    by CoralGables on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 04:11:52 PM EST
    Colleen Hanabusa or Brian Schatz or Esther Kiaaina.

    And there you have it. (none / 0) (#56)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 04:29:40 PM EST
    The question was called after break, and we went straight to a vote, which was conducted by secret ballot. I will disclose that I didn't support Esther Kia'aina with my vote (I preferred Donna Kim), but she doubtless impressed a lot of my fellow Democratic committee members, and I was not unimpressed. And in my estimation, she would be an excellent choice as successor to Sen. Inouye, as would both Colleen Hanabusa and Brian Schatz.

    By way of some background, Ms. Kia'aina is an attorney who has worked on Capitol Hill for many years on behalf of the State Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and she is both highly articulate and extraordinarily knowledgeable. And because she's a Native Hawaiian who's long been active in indigenous rights issues, her appointment by Gov. Abercrombie to the U.S. Senate would stand as a powerful statement on our continued determination to secure formal federal recognition of Native Hawaiians as a distinct and sovereign indigenous people.



    Thanks for the updates Donald (none / 0) (#58)
    by CoralGables on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 04:42:10 PM EST
    and the corrected spelling. When I saw she was native Hawaiian I knew I had likely spelled her name improperly. With a Masters from Johns Hopkins and a law degree from George Washington, Kia'aina is certainly qualified from an educational standpoint.

    If she is chosen, I ask in advance for a phonetic pronunciation so I do better with her than I did with Senator Inouye. I should be okay with Hanabusa or Schatz.


    A glottal stop (" ' ") in front ... (none / 0) (#62)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 05:36:53 PM EST
    ... of a vowel in the Hawaiian language, which is called an "okina," works as something akin to a soft consonant and serves a distinct purpose in breaking up vowels which might otherwise be mistakenly pronounced in conjunction with one another. Thus, the native Hawaiian word for a traditional festive gathering, "lu'au," is pronounced "loo-OW" and not "LOO-wow."

    For another example, were I to use the correct Hawaiian language spelling for my home island of Oahu instead of the Anglicized version with which most of you are undoubtedly more familiar, I would write it as "O'ahu." Further, its correct pronunciation  is "OH-AH-Hoo," accenting both the first and second syllables, rather than the haole-fied "Oh-WAH-Hoo" which you so often hear.

    As yet another example, the main active volcanic crater of the many which comprise Kilauea over on the Big Island is actually spelled "Halema'uma'u" in the Hawaiian language, instead of the Anglicized "Halemaumau." Therefore, it is pronounced correctly as "Hah-lay-MAH-oo-MAH-oo," and not the "Holly-MOW-MOW" used by white tour guides.

    The correct Hawaiian language spelling of my home state is "Hawai'i" and not "Hawaii." It is pronounced correctly as "Hah-VAI-ee" and not as "How-WHY-ee" or even "Hah-WHY-ee." The correct spelling for the popular resort island of Kauai is "Kaua'i," and it is pronounced "COW-ah-ee" with the accent placed on the first syllable, rather than "Cow-WHY" with its accent incorrectly placed on the second syllable.

    Esther Kia'aina's surname is pronounced "kee-ah-EYE-nah." And personally, I think her selection would be an inspired choice for Gov. Abercrombie.



    no problem (none / 0) (#73)
    by TeresaInPa on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 07:57:30 PM EST
    I've got it all now.  = )

    Well, that certainly didn't take long. (none / 0) (#65)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 06:31:33 PM EST
    Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie just announced that he is appointing Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz to succeed the late Sen. Daniel Inouye.

    Congratulations, Brian. (Yes, I know him personally, and he is a friend.)


    And he's off to DC on Air Force One (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by CoralGables on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 09:24:24 PM EST
    that's a nice flight to a new job.

    So, what tipped the balance to Schatz? (none / 0) (#70)
    by caseyOR on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 06:54:50 PM EST
    Do you think the deciding factor for the governor was that Schatz does not hold a Congressional seat, so no need for a special election?

    The special election was part of it. (none / 0) (#72)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 07:53:49 PM EST
    But to be honest, this is as much about the consolidation of political power under Gov. Abercrombie in the immediate wake of Sen. Inouye's passing, as it is about anything else.

    Now that it's all over, I can tell you that the late Sen. Inouye's "last wish" request that Colleeen Hanabusa be appointed to his seat, arriving as it did in Gov. Abercrombie's office on the very same day the man expired, was just a little too contrived and coincidental for my comfort.

    As I told fellow Democratic officials while taking pains to state that it was no reflection on Colleen Hanabusa, I thought that it appeared to be a crass effort to manipulate public opinion at the governor's expense, by making him appear cold and callous were he to deny the senator his final wish. Personally, I felt it to be an attempted power play by the senator's longtime staff to maintain their own personal relevance and influence. It didn't sit well at all with a number of us -- and probably not too well with the governor, either.

    As a bit of background, both Inouye's chief of staff and his campaign manager had a very serious falling out with Neil Abercrombie in early 2010, when he resigned his seat in Congress to run for governor without first consulting the senator -- and of course by extension, them.

    Those two women then worked mightily and diligently to undermine Abercrombie's gubernatorial candidacy, publicly backing Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann instead, and using the senator's clout to garner for Hannemann the public support of union leaders, etc.

    Unfortunately, things didn't quite work out as planned. The Hannemann campaign imploded thanks to some horrifically insensitive remarks from the candidate himself, and Abercrombie cruised by nearly 25 points in the Democratic primary, before winning an equally decisive general election victory over GOP Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona.

    Now, with Sen. Inouye's passing, the balance of power has inexorably shifted to Gov. Abercrombie's corner, and these two women and sundry other Inouye minions are suddenly finding themselves on the outside looking in. And with Schatz's appointment to the U.S. Senate, their services are officially no longer required, and they're done as of tomorrow morning when he takes the oath of office in D.C.

    I think that's a good thing.



    U.S. to hit debt limit on Monday. (5.00 / 2) (#49)
    by caseyOR on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 03:43:17 PM EST
    Where did this come from? All of a sudden, in the midst of this fiscal nonsense, we now are told that OMG! the debt limit is here!

    If we were this close to yet another debt limit crisis why are we just hearing about it now? This seems entirely too convenient for those who are aching for the Grand Bargain.

    Of course, if we fall down the fiscal incline on Jan. 1, revenues go up, and the need to borrow goes down. So, the debt limit crisis is put off for a while.

    Color me skeptical about the timing of this. And if Treasury and the WH truly did not know until today that we would hit the debt ceiling on Dec. 31, well, they are too incompetent to be in power.

    This has been Mentioned... (5.00 / 2) (#53)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 04:06:29 PM EST
    ...several times in regards to Social Security payments.  It's gotten little air play, but the two are intertwined which seems ridiculous to say the least.

    All this stuff to me seems like a gimme, it's a lose/lose for everyone, and they are essentially bickering over pennies.  And no one has been able to explain to me why there is a so-called cliff, so we cut some military spending and my tax rates go to what they used to be.  Not exactly a cliff, the market in Sept 2008 was a cliff, this is more like a financial bump, IMO.  I have to hear a solution better than the 'cliff'.

    But more importantly, if it is an actual cliff, as they say, why aren't the idiots who actually designed the cliff not being held to flame.  They keep acting like it's just there, they they didn't create it to begin with and everyone seems to be going along with that meme.  And if you legislated the cliff, why not legislate the GD thing away, why is this become Political Theatre ?


    Titanically funny! (none / 0) (#1)
    by Politalkix on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 09:26:45 AM EST
    Lost at sea-A cruise ship to to the early 20th century.

    I was well into the second page... (none / 0) (#25)
    by unitron on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 11:22:25 PM EST
    ...before I realized that this wasn't some made up satire--this really happened!

    It must have.  No one could have made up that line about the Aborigines.


    Best line from the article: (none / 0) (#33)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 09:51:03 AM EST
    "The people have spoken, the bastards."

    Very... (none / 0) (#35)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 01:19:50 PM EST
    ...Hunter Thompson-esque in it's creepy eerieness of real events told in a way that makes them seem fake.

    A cruise of middle aged angry white republicans, saying weird stuff:

    As Thomas downed the rest of his drink, Duane said the only way out of the current quagmire is a "revolution," citing the famous Thomas Jefferson line about watering the tree of liberty with blood from "time to time."

    What kind of revolution did he have in mind?

    Duane's eyes crinkled into a big smile. "You ever heard of guns?"

    His wife sat up: "How do you like the veal?"

    "It's awful," Duane growled, poking at it. "I can't hardly chew it."

    That is Oliver Stone script material; old people wanting revolution while complaining about the calf meat.

    And this gem from the comic relief:

    There were, to be fair, two black ­National Review cruisers, approximately three Indian-Americans, and two ­Korean-Americans. The latter were John Yoo, the former Bush Administration lawyer who helped formulate its theory on torture, and his mom. "My mother is a geriatric psychiatrist," he noted during a panel, eliciting a burst of laughter from the silver-haired crowd before he could finish the punch line. "I thought after the election this could be really good for the family business."

    Not comment.

    Ms. O'Sullivan then warned against watering down the purity of the conservative agenda to placate minorities or, as she put it, rather succinctly, "the bastardization of the product."

    "I do think it hits them hard. The fear I have, why this election stung, I think, Obama has successfully ­de-ratified some of the Reagan revolution in a way that Clinton never could and didn't even try to. That's what freaks people out, that feeling in their gut, either Obama has changed the country, or the country has sufficiently changed that they don't have a problem with Obama. That's what eats at people."  

    All I could think of.... (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by kdog on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 01:29:19 PM EST
    reading that piece was...imagine just booking that cruise on a whim, only to find you've set sail with the f8ckin' National Review crew of angry old rich white people.  What a nightmare!  

    I miss Molly Ivins far, far, more... (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by unitron on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 01:57:13 PM EST
    ...but it would be fascinating just the same to have Thompson's take on all of that what's connected to it.

    Also, it's a pity there was only one H.L. Mencken.


    Awesome share (none / 0) (#42)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 03:03:24 PM EST
    Thanks for the read.  Shocking and yet not, amazing and yet not, it is too hard to explain what the Repulican party has evolved into and yet denies it is right to your face.  I've never known people so lost and conflicted and disconnected from reality or the self as the Conservative of 2013 is.

    If there weren't photographs from the cruise though I would have insisted this writing was satire.  As usual though, you just can't make this stuff up :)


    Merry First Christmas (none / 0) (#2)
    by observed on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 09:41:55 AM EST
    I'll  wish you the 2nd one on Jan. 7, which is when they celebrate Christmas in Kazakhstan (Russian Orthodox calendar).
    Leaving Dubai in the morning. I'll miss all the friendly Filipino, Pakistani, Indian, Egyptian and assorted other nationalities I met here.
    I can't say for sure that I talked with a single person who is from the Emirates during my stay.

    I think that Dubai, like Las Vegas, ... (none / 0) (#75)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 08:12:37 PM EST
    ... is probably one of those cities where practically everyone you meet is from someplace else.

    Just hoping to survive (none / 0) (#3)
    by brodie on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 10:17:01 AM EST
    sitting through 2.5 hours of people on screen singing songs maybe some of 'em shouldn't aught be singing, or songs that shouldn't aught have been writ.

    I might have to make a few leisurely trips to the concession stand.  Too bad this isn't the Good Old Days when for the price of one ticket they offered a double feature, plus a cartoon or newsreel, something to save the day in case one movie turned out to be a turkey.

    What did you think? I'm assuming you (none / 0) (#18)
    by ruffian on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 08:21:43 PM EST
    saw Les Miserables. I saw it too. Liked it a lot - could have loved it with a different Javert. Spent a lot of time mentally recasting that role. It wasn't even entirely Russell Crpwe's singing - didn't he used to be a decent actor at least?

    Highlights- Hugh Jackman was great, as were Anne Hathaway and Eddie Redmayne. Actually Redmayne as Marius da** near stole the show IMO, given the absence of a string Javert.

    I really liked Sasha Baron Cohen's Tenardier- it was refreshing to hear it sung with a French accent instead of an English beerhalll Alfred P. Doolittle accent. Course it did make you wonder how he ended up with an English wife....

    Note to potential moviegoers: yes, Fontine becomes a prostitute. You should know this going in so that you don't spend ten bucks only to walk out in the first 20 minutes of the movie. Gees.


    A very kind relative (none / 0) (#19)
    by Amiss on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 10:14:42 PM EST
    Gave me the "new" 8.9" kindle fire. Couple of questions to ask you about a "really good new movie" that I get to dl free and a couple of books as well as a couple of audio books (btw some audio are original George Carlin" works. Am seriously thinking of " Abe Linciln" Circle of arivals. Any and all ideas welcome. I am disappointed " no flash drive" at least  yet.
    I imagine I will send my lil bit to Jeralyn for  her kindness in allowing me to vent and read a lot. It really, really, means so much to not only my mental but also my physical health. Many, many thanks to Mz. J, Armando and all the rest of the wonderful peoplewho have  become a type of on-line family.
    I wish you the best of Holiday Seasons,

    slould be rivals (none / 0) (#20)
    by Amiss on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 10:24:19 PM EST
    Lincoln. Circle of rivals.
    and I think it is "flash player" perhaps it is because it is HD? At least as of yet.
    Should be: people who

    I hope that repairs my post.


    I've listened to a lot of good audiobooks this yea (none / 0) (#30)
    by ruffian on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 06:43:53 AM EST
    Favorites on the lighter side: Gone Girl, Beautiful Ruin

    Also if you like biography I am currently listening to a bio of Charles Dickens written by Claire Tomalin. It is detailed enough without being too much and too long. Very enjoyable.

    I have the softcover of Team of Rivals but have not started it yet.

    If you like historical fiction, Hilary Mantel's first two parts of her Cromwell trilogy are fantastic - Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies.  I listened to Wolf Hall on audiobook but wish I had read it instead. It is such good writing I wanted to savor it more!

    Enjoy your Kindle! They seem really nice.


    A little better than I'd (none / 0) (#34)
    by brodie on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 10:28:54 AM EST
    expected, but a few gripes.  Film seemed about 20 min too long.  Maybe that was because I was subjected to Javert/Crowe's strained attempts at singing throughout.  

    The constant tight close-ups of the actors -- tiresome and perhaps a little too much detail for my tastes.

    Les Mis gets a passing grade plus, for the obvious noble efforts by the actors.  Too long and too gritty for me at times.  Or maybe I'm getting to the age where I need an Intermission after an hour fifteen.

    Actually it was longer than 2.5 hours:  in order to get a decent seat, we had to be seated a half hour early.  We got our good seats, but at least I paid a bit of a price.

    Still want to see Lincoln ...


    The Tribune review that ran in our local paper (none / 0) (#37)
    by ruffian on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 01:35:27 PM EST
    had the same comments about the tight shots, and also the constantly moving camera. Having read that before I saw the movie I was especially aware of it, and did find it annoying. But then I rationalized it a little- the thing that is missing when I see it on stage is getting a clear view of the actors' faces - I've never had good enough seats for that.  So after i thought  of that I relaxed and enjoyed it more. If I want to see good singers standing still and singing the songs I guess I can watch a PBS special.

    Never found a way to rationalize the casting of Crowe though...

    Also I agree about the length - did they really have to write a new song for Jean Valjean? That song he sings in the carriage with Cosette after he rescues her was written for the film. Probably something about being able to market the sound track.


    In the old days... (none / 0) (#39)
    by unitron on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 02:04:54 PM EST
    ...they would have cast him for the visual and had his singing dubbed by someone who could.

    Although it probably wouldn't have been Marni Nixon.


    HIs singing would have been dubbed by (none / 0) (#40)
    by shoephone on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 02:28:39 PM EST
    Bill Lee. He could match his voice to almost any actor's speaking voice.

    lol (none / 0) (#71)
    by TeresaInPa on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 07:09:56 PM EST
    I thought Marni could sing any character, but probably not Val Jean, you are right.

    With the tight shots, I found myself (none / 0) (#51)
    by brodie on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 03:46:20 PM EST
    unconsciously concentrating too much on the makeup, or lack thereof in some, and facial flaws -- natural or not?

    I'm sorta glad I saw it, and was able to fulfill a personal commitment, but generally I'm not a fan of the musical genre.  Or at least of the operatic kind where the singing is constant and spoken dialogue rare.

    Frankly, I probably would have preferred another complete screening of the 4-hour documentary The Sorrow and the Pity if I'd had that choice, or even Triumph of the Will, provided we got to the theater before the opening credits started.

    But hey, they say you should always try to broaden your horizons, and I can think of one very promising relationship in my prime in Paris which went south because I too stubbornly refused to at least accompany someone while she enjoyed her passion for opera.  Lesson learned.


    You may like the German film "Barbara" (none / 0) (#57)
    by shoephone on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 04:30:21 PM EST
    that has just opened here on the west coast. It's filmed in that quietly upsetting way that European directors can pull off to great effect.

    Well, I still want to see (none / 0) (#59)
    by Zorba on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 04:43:06 PM EST
    Les Miz.  I am more concerned about the quality (or lack thereof) of Crowe's voice.  From the bits I have seen, his is not a Javert voice.
    Do go and see Lincoln, when you get a chance.  We really enjoyed it.

    Oh. My. Gawd. (none / 0) (#76)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 08:17:26 PM EST
    brodie: "Just hoping to survive sitting through 2.5 hours of people on screen singing songs maybe some of 'em shouldn't aught be singing, or songs that shouldn't aught have been writ."

    You mean to tell us they've re-released "Mamma Mia!" as an extended director's cut?


    Inquiring minds... (none / 0) (#4)
    by DebFrmHell on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 10:30:18 AM EST
    want to know if Jeralyn got an Apple under her tree this year!

    I hope so.  She was very nice this year.

    Happy Holidays to All and Warm Cyber Wishes.

    not yet : - ( (none / 0) (#7)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 02:02:46 PM EST
    Still quite a bit short.

    Sad... (none / 0) (#9)
    by Cashmere on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 03:03:36 PM EST
    I will donate more after the first of the year.. :(

    I wish (none / 0) (#21)
    by DebFrmHell on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 10:25:26 PM EST
    I could help out more.  8-(  You really do so much for us.

    I truly, truly, (none / 0) (#22)
    by Amiss on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 10:45:03 PM EST
    Nwish I had more to give my insurane takes quite a lift the first and I spent most of Christmas unable to stand. I thank the "powers that be" with an upset tummy ( residual of pancreatitis) because I accidentally ate fresh fruit(a favorite of mine) and then dealing with degenerative disc disease.( thank you powers for a dog with common sense, you are better than Lassie dreamed of and yet you are such a tiny lil punk (shih-tzu). (I couldnt stand he went and got his Daddy who was playing a game with his headphones on).

    I HATE AUTO-CORRECT (none / 0) (#23)
    by Amiss on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 10:48:19 PM EST
    Ireally, really do.

    Merry Christmas and goodbye.. (none / 0) (#6)
    by desertswine on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 01:53:38 PM EST
    Charles Durning.  My favorite role of his was in "O Brother."

    My (none / 0) (#8)
    by lentinel on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 02:28:08 PM EST
    favorite role by Charles Durning is in a not-well-known film called, "Happy New Year!" - with Peter Falk.

    I also will never forget him in "The Sting".

    I don't know why they call some people "character actors".

    An actor is an actor.


    Character actor (none / 0) (#27)
    by TeresaInPa on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 12:03:31 AM EST
    free from having to remain young and beautiful, or ever being the romantic lead type to begin with, you can have a career forever.  Some of are born character actors and once you get past your teenage fantasies of playing the ingenue, you learn to be grateful for what you were given.  Being referred to as a character actor is a compliment.

    I'm not (none / 0) (#31)
    by lentinel on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 07:38:08 AM EST
    saying that it isn't a compliment, but it seems to me to be a false comparison with a "leading" man or woman.

    It seems to be saying that the "character actor" is not all that good looking.

    To me, an actor is an actor.
    The actor might be or not be in a leading role in a given movie.

    How would one classify Humphrey Bogart?

    All actors portray characters.

    My favorite people in films, with a few exceptions, are these "character actors". That is because they have character. I particularly enjoy the movies made during the heyday of the studio system, where one can see the character actors going from one film to another - each time with some similarities and some differences.

    I am a great fan of the films in which Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet appear together. The "Maltese Falcon", "Three Strangers", "The Verdict", "Across the Pacific" and others. In each one their relationship is dimensionally different, and yet we recognize their basic characters.

    Are they "character actors", or leads? They are the stars of the film.

    Anyway, I just reacted because of the obit of Charles Durning which described him as a, "beloved character actor". It just seemed like some unnecessary category. He was an actor. He had character, and he was a strong presence in the films in which he appeared imo.


    That's sad news (none / 0) (#10)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 05:40:39 PM EST
    and you have to love someone who:

    He told The Associated Press in 2008 that he had no plans to stop working. "They're going to carry me out, if I go," he said.

    I love that attitude!


    I think I'll remember him in three roles, ... (none / 0) (#11)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 06:00:05 PM EST
    ... all distinctly different -- (1) The police detective whose patience is sorely tested when negotiating with mercurial bank robber Al Pacino in "Dog Day Afternoon," (2) the would-be suitor who's smitten with Dustin Hoffman's "Tootsie," and (3) the corrupt governor who breaks into song and dance to "Sidestep" reporters' nagging questions in "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas." (And he was absolutely the very best thing about that otherwise very forgettable musical.)

    I would also note that Charles Durning was a distinguished Army veteran from the Second World War, and is the recipient of the Silver Star and three Purple Hearts. He never much liked to talk about his combat experiences, and probably with good reason. He was the only member of his unit to survive the first wave horrors of Omaha Beach on D-Day. He killed numerous enemy soldiers and was twice wounded during the Battle of Normandy. He was bayoneted in the leg by a German soldier whom he subsequently killed with a rock in the Battle of Hurtgen Forest. Then finally, he was taken prisoner in the Ardennes during the last German offensive of the war, the Battle of the Bulge.

    Rest in peace, sir. You earned it. Aloha.


    P.S.: It was also announced ... (none / 0) (#13)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 06:07:46 PM EST
    ... that Charles Durning will be buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery, amongst his fellow Army WWII veterans. That's wholly fitting.

    Tootsie was my favorite (none / 0) (#17)
    by ruffian on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 08:10:04 PM EST
    Could have been a stereotype role but he made it one of the most memorable.

    Merry Christmas (none / 0) (#24)
    by Eddpsair on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 11:19:32 PM EST

    While I don't comment much on your posts because we don't have much common ground to work with... aside from a mutual love of your home state where I spent 28 glorious months.  :-)...

    You are so right  about so many things here.  The Sidestep!!!!  Comical and accurate....   :-). My parents saw it on Broadway and then the movie...  It was my fathers favorite song from the show.  He dealt with our city council a lot....  :-)

    Durning was a true hero.  

    I interviewed several vets of Iwo Jima on the 50th Anniversary back in 1995.  I think I understand why they, as a group, don't talk about it much.  Saving Private Ryan was instructive for me as to why, more so then two combat tours to the sandbox.  

    WWII vets are a special breed.  My uncle flew B25s in the pacific, is in his 90s and is one of my heroes.  

    Guys like Durning (and my uncle) didn't think they were special.  They just did what they did.  

    One of his quotes off of IMDB:

    "I can't count how many of my friends are in the cemetery at Normandy, the heroes are still there, the real heroes."

    That made them all the more special.


    Thank you for the kind words. (none / 0) (#60)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 04:43:13 PM EST
    While I am an unabashed liberal Democrat, as a military brat and son of Marine Corps officer who was killed in the Vietnam War, I am also very sympathetic to the mission of the U.S. military, and never fail to respect the service of our veterans.

    Of particular interest to me has always been those who served our country in the Second World War. I grew up listening to stories first-hand from members of "The Greatest Generation," and I came to idolize them.

    People like Charles Durning and the late Sen. Dan Inouye are true heroes, and we should never forget what they accomplished on our nation's behalf as young men on the fields and seas of battle, when the future of western civilization and democratic values was on the line and the issue was very much in doubt.



    Staying home with my mom (none / 0) (#12)
    by Lora on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 06:06:45 PM EST
    ...while my husband and daughter go visit his family.  Hard to be split apart on Christmas day but cell phones with cameras really do help bridge the gap.  On the bright side, I missed a trying car ride, missed a too-large crowd (I do much better with small groups) and I had a quiet relaxing day -- the first in a very long time.

    Joyous holidays to all.  

    We Skyped last night with family members (none / 0) (#15)
    by Angel on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 06:33:00 PM EST
    who live far away.  Makes it nice to be able to see their beautiful faces and hear their sweet voices.  

    Oh, c'mon now! (none / 0) (#74)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 08:06:52 PM EST
    Spam has long been known as the official processed meat product of the Hawaiian Islands.

    "Mary had a little Spam.
    Her insides start to growl.
    And everywhere that Mary went,
    The air soon turned quite foul."


    Trust me on this, Donald (none / 0) (#78)
    by Zorba on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 09:10:46 PM EST
    It would definitely not be Turkish Spam, given that Spam is a pork product, and Turkey is a predominantly Muslim country.  

    The spam was deleted (none / 0) (#82)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 11:59:46 PM EST
    and the comments alerting me to it. I really appreciate the site violator comments. When I see them, I delete both the spam comment and the alert, so it doesn't distract from the thread.