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Netflix Reviews

It’s late and I haven’t written a blog for a couple of days, so here is a throwaway blog about nothing important or relevant – I considered writing about Alec Baldwin but I don’t have anything to add to that conversation, except I’m surprised they use real guns at all as props. They are dangerous in the home, they are dangerous on a movie set. Everybody knows the blood in movies is fake blood, when you watch a movie about outer space, you know they aren’t actually filming it in space, so why use real guns? Couldn’t they just use a realistic looking plastic toy and dub in the gunshot sound? Anyway, horrible fuck up and I’d hate to be Alec Baldwin right now. But that’s all I have to say on the matter.
So, instead I’ll write about what I’ve been watching on Netflix lately, a couple of positive and a couple of negative reviews. Sometimes I like to watch shows that I missed but were popular with lots of people, so I’ll get the memes and cultural references and all that come up in conversations. So, I watched a few episodes of Orphan Black. The first couple of episodes I was riveted. But, despite the premise being interesting, basically it’s just a cop show, a murder investigation with a twist, bloody as hell, and I’m not into that. I lasted till about episode 4, and it’s five seasons long. So, screw that. Then, I decided to watch The Office, which I’d never seen. I found it cringeworthy from the start, and I’m sad to say that, because Steve Carell has definitely done funny stuff in the past. And, millions of other people liked it. Oh, well. I gave it two episodes, and I’m not going to give it any more.
With my wife, the only program we are intersecting on at the moment is a Danish series called Rita. The title character is a single mother of 3 children and an elementary school teacher. She is a devoted mother and a good teacher, quite popular with the students. She also smokes, drinks, swears a lot and occasionally drags strange men into the bathrooms of bars for random sex. I’m really enjoying it, especially the teaching scenes, because I can identify with that and think it’s a very realistic portrayal of school culture. I recommend this one.
My biggest binge of the moment, though, is Bill Nye Saves the World. Of course, it’s mostly Bill Nye explaining science stuff, with lots of bad jokes, but of the guest scientists he brings on it seems to me that a high percentage are really hot women. They are hot women with PhDs, he’s playing fair, but it does make the show more interesting. Also, there’s a segment called ‘Mad Scientists’ which is funny and interesting – featuring scientists from history who’ve gotten screwed out of the credit for their discoveries or have some other reason for being bitter with all of humanity. If you are interested in science at all, this show is an absolute gem.

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Weekend Goal

My goal for this weekend is to finish my next book, which I believe is going to be called Sentience, unless I can come up with a better title. That is the title of what’s probably the longest poem in the book, definitely the one I’m most proud of, even though it only got a tepid response when I posted it online and read it out loud at one of our recent poetry readings. I like it, and that’s what counts.
It’s an important concept, the idea of the poem being that sentience is actually a new development in the universe, and it stands the whole paradigm of physical laws and cause and effect and forest fires and floods as a natural and necessary part of the cycle on it’s head. We no longer have to accept the universe the way it is, we can create the universe we want.
We’ve been making sort of a half-assed, ill-educated attempt to do that for the past 65,000 years or so, but we’re getting better at it and may, if we’re smart, pull it off before we totally destroy the planet and commit mass suicide as a species, which also seems a likely possibility, but I’m against that.
I’ve got enough poems now that I can actually toss some of the rubbish ones aside so I think this book is going to be a good one. This weekend I must do three things. The first is to arrange the order, which I don’t waste a lot of time or mental energy on. I put my title poem first, try to come up with something snappy for the last page, and try to sort the ones in the middle so there aren’t too many long ones in a row or, which is more difficult, too many short ones in a row. The 2nd thing is the table of contents and the 3rd thing is the introduction. Easy peasy.

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Life Isn’t Fair

There is a phrase, which is often used to end an argument, but it is inevitably a bitter and unsatisfying end. “Life isn’t fair.”
Well, of course it isn’t. Life is nothing more than energized matter, which has evolved from single celled organisms to the plethora of living beings who inhabit the world today, including us. Along the way, billions of organisms have lived miserable, terrified lives before eventually succumbing to death, and it’s been incredibly unfair. If you are born as a rabbit, you are pre-selected to be food for a fox, and that is very unfair.
But, the universe today is not the universe that existed 100,000 years ago, at the dawn of mankind. Our existence, our self-awareness, our intelligence, has introduced a new element in the scheme of things. The sun and the moon do not care about fairness. The trees do not care about fairness, even though they are rooted to one place and never allowed to move, until they are cut down with a chainsaw and hacked into little bits, so we can eat food off of them.
But, human beings have, nonetheless, developed the concept of fairness. We expect it in sports, and we love our sports. We expect it in business, and in our legal system, although it often eludes us. Life may not be fair, but we feel, in the very core of our being, that it should be.
So, don’t tell me life is unfair. That’s what we’re trying to change. All our lives will be better the more our civilization embraces fairness. We’ve still got a long way to go, but it is a worthy quest.

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The Nuclear Argument

I just watched a documentary on Netflix about nuclear power, hoping to get some more information on the science of it all, because of all the issues in the world, from homelessness to war in the Middle East, it’s the one on which I don’t have a fixed opinion.
On the one hand, I’m much more an advocate of solar and wind power, which are perfectly clean and could probably give us all the power we need, if enough of them were deployed. On the other, nuclear plants can deliver much more energy for the amount of land needed, and also don’t release carbons into the air, making them much cleaner than coal or oil burning electrical plants which, despite Chernobyl and Fukushima, have killed far more people.
But, the documentary was much more about tracing the history of nuclear energy, and the opposition to it, with the implication that there are honest and decent people on both sides. On this issue, I actually believe that to be true. I don’t want to be friends with people who love war and urge more of it, or who think police should be allowed to murder all the black people they want, but I can totally be friends with people who are pro-nuclear.
There were a couple of things in the doc, however, which pushed me in the anti-nuke direction. One was a nuclear scientist talking about ‘the lesson to be learned from Fukushima,’ which was, in his opinion, that better safety procedures were needed. I thought, dude, you may have a PhD in nuclear physics and I don’t, but that is absolutely not the lesson to be learned from Fukushima. The lesson of Fukushima is that nuclear power plants should not be built near fault lines, and probably not near coastlines, either. In fact, Japan is not a good place for nuclear energy at all. Sorry, Japan.
The other was the fact that usually when they cited a politician who was supportive of nuclear energy, it was some corrupt, war mongering asshole. Republicans and Tories were there in abundance, but so was Tony Blair, who turned out to be as big a war monger as any of them.
Still, there wasn’t enough science in the program to sway my opinion one way or another. I still say IF it could be proven safe, then I’d be for it. But that’s very much a question for scientists to decide, and I don’t think they have a clear consensus on this issue yet. So, let’s keep pushing for more solar and wind energy. Unless a wind turbine happens to fall over and land on a passing cow, there isn’t much danger in them at all.

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That Rule Has Changed

For most of my life, it was considered bad form, and by many it still is, to say anything bad about someone who’s recently died. For most people, it still holds. If somebody was a worthless sod, lazy as the day is long, and owed everybody money, we still say how sorry we are that they’re gone, because we wouldn’t want to say anything bad in front of their family.
But, in some cases, I no longer feel that way. We could have a world where everybody lives in peace, has plenty of clean water to drink and fresh air to breathe, good schools and health care. We don’t, because there are those human beings among us on this planet who prefer spending trillions of dollars blowing people up, along with their homes and entire cities, inflicting massive amounts of pain.
Colin Powell was one of those people, and I’m glad the son of a bitch is dead. He sat in front of the U.N., and lied straight into the face of the entire world. He said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, and he knew perfectly well he was lying. The vial he was holding up was as empty as the ‘list of communists’ Joe McCarthy would wave about while he was speaking was blank. Any apologies made later were hollow.
The ones with the weapons of mass destruction were the Americans, and they unleashed them on the defenseless Iraqi people with a vengeance. Saddam Hussein could not have caused the same amount of misery in Iraq if he had ruled for a dozen lifetimes.
Powell is not forgiven. Not even in death.

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