2010 Movie – has the sequel to “2001” held up?
Passing by the hot dogs in the cooler at Zuppardo’s Family Market this morning got me thinking about how much I enjoy them. They also made me miss LT Firstborn, who could survive for weeks on end (and probably still does) on Hebrew National Hot Dogs.
I’m one of those folks who immediately associates hot dogs with ballparks. One of the most memorable scenes for me in Field of Dreams is when Ray and Terrence are at Fenway:
But my favorite hot dog interlude is in 2010: The Year We Make Contact. Dr. Heywood Floyd (played by Roy Scheider) talks with Dr. Walter Curnow (John Lithgow) about what they miss, because they’re on a spaceship near Jupiter:
Naturally, I fell down a rabbit hole of thought, which often happens while I’m sitting alone, waiting for a train to come by. Curnow likes the hot dogs in the Astrodome, and any good baseball fan knows the Astros don’t play there anymore.
So, my first reaction was, Curnow’s remark didn’t age well with respect to the real world. Shit, the entire premise of the film didn’t age well, given that the first NASA expedition to Jupiter was supposed to happen in 2001. While I’m willing to accept how that went off the rails, the details are more fascinating.
2001: A Space Odyssey vs 2010 Movie
2001 was a fantastic film, a Stanley Kubrick masterpiece. Like many films, 2001 was true to the novel’s spirit. While maintaining Clarke’s story, the film was more about the cinematography. That meant a lot of detail didn’t make the film. From Clarke’s original short story, The Sentinel to the book, there was a great extended story arc. An arc that needed completion.
That completion came sixteen years after the 1968 release of 2001, with the 2010 movie. I was fascinated! 2010 movie leverages the changes in tech from 1968 to 1984 nicely. It’s like the difference between Star Trek: TOS and ST:TMP. The story line for 2010 movie postulated a continuation of the Cold War political environment of the Reagan Years. That’s acceptable, in that nobody saw the fall of the Soviet Union a scant five years later coming.
Using a Soviet deep-space vessel to get out to the abandoned Discovery was quite prescient. Since the discontinuation of NASA’s Space Shuttles left the agency with no way to get to and from the International Space Station, Russian spacecraft haul supplies and replacement crew members into orbit. It’s taken to just the last five years for NASA to get re-supply going, with the SpaceX Falcon/Dragon hardware. Those have yet to bring humans up to ISS, though. So, NASA hitching a ride in the movie is quite believable. Doing so while the two countries are still picking at each other, yup, that’s not a stretch, either.
The technology behind the concept of deep-space travel isn’t all that much of a stretch. We have “medically induced comas” now, for slowing down bodily functions until the patient can heal enough for <insert surgery type here>. That’s aged well, as it were. Would that, in these days of the novel coronavirus, we could put folks into hibernation for six months to a year, then vaccinate them when we wake them up.
Cold War getting hot
A naval blockade and incidents leading to shooting incidents is rarely a stretch. The Russian Navy of 2010 was nothing compared to the Soviet Navy of 1984, but the attitude and possibility still existed. While the fifth column war we fight against Russia isn’t naval battles, the tension exists.
The backdrop of political tension on Earth as astrophysical tension builds up near Jupiter is solid. Being that far out brings Russians and Americans together. Being astronauts binds them. Clarke’s 1982 novel that inspired the movie offers more asides than can be included in a film. My favorite was the combined crew’s battle against “Russlish,” like you can stop tech geeks from lapsing, be it japanese and English, Dutch and English, or Chinese and any language.
The hot dog aside made the cut, and that made me happy. Floyd’s disdain for the Astrodome is typical of many who spend time in both Houston and DC. In either timeline, movie or reality, Houston is a different world. Floyd turning his nose up at “growing hot dogs indoors” may be influenced by having to go to Mission Control. Yankee Stadium seems too easy or mass-market a response for me, but the Washington Nationals weren’t part of the 1984 landscape.
The Brown Mustard
It is indeed important. Yellow mustard has its place, but a dog with mustard and relish needs to have brown mustard. Chili, cheese, and onions? Yellow is acceptable. The brand? I’m OK with Nathan’s, particularly since you can get their dogs at ATL Airport, but I opt for Hebrew Nationals, even though LT Firstborn has long left home.
Did it hold up?
Yes, the 2010 movie did just fine. Now, I’m off to go watch it again.
Support restaurants by ordering takeout or delivery
“Flattening the curve” is a legitimate thing. Stay away from people. Don’t gather in groups. Switch to remote. It all makes sense, and hopefully will keep a lot of people from dying. Of course, the businesses that rely on crowds, such as restaurants and bars, take a big hit when they can’t open. Revenue dries up, workers don’t work, and we all hope a couple of weeks is all that’s necessary.
There’s not much we can do about bars and clubs. We go to them to socialize, and, well, that’s what we’re distancing right now. Musicians are going to live-casting on various platforms. That’s a start. For many of us, it’s not just the crafty cocktail we crave, but time with our friends. Hopefully this all will improve.
Dining out is an important social event for New Orleanians. We go out to eat for the experience of going out to eat, not because we’re on the way to a show or something else. this makes it all a struggle.
While it’s difficult to support bars right now, we can support restaurants. Many places changed their model to delivery and/or takeout. Order your meal, run in, get it, and get out again. Less than ten people, not breathing on anyone, and you’re in your car most of the time. Socialize from a distance, maybe Skype or Facetime your meal with a friend.
Is Takeout a problem?
Yesterday, I shared the above post from Chef CDB at Revel Cafe and Bar to several groups on the Book of Zucker. The post is not all that different from the ones I shared from other restaurants. In one of the larger NOLA-focused groups, a woman commented, coming for the concept of takeout dining. While her comments were at a high level, she directed her venom at a single restaurant.
Well, that didn’t sit well with me. Chris is a good man, a talented chef, and an old soul. He and his place don’t deserve that sort of attack. I reported the comment to the group’s admin team, and it was quickly removed.
Stop this shit
If you see others coming for restaurants, please consider nipping it in the bud. Our friends, family, and neighbors work in the service industry. We want them to have jobs to return to when this passes.
Hashtag #rexcomus has been overrun by assholes
Hashtag #RexComus evolves into something awful
Live-tweeting the “Meeting of the Courts” as WYES broadcast of the bal masque of the Rex Organization isn established #NOLATwitter tradition for the last few years, The combination of the event’s television hosts and the activities at the ball make for fun Twitter fodder.
Rex Ball, Rex meets Comus
The “Meeting of the Courts” happens on Mardi Gras Night. The balls began at 9pm, back in the days when the Mystick Krewe of Comus paraded. Comus currently only presents their ball. The organization stopped parading in the 1990s. The tradition of the meeting dates to 1882, when Rex was ten years old.
As Carnival approaches its end, Comus extends an invitation to the King of Carnival and his court to join him at the senior krewe’s ball. Rex makes his farewells to his ball and heads to the Comus soiree. The two monarchs, along with their queens, perform a Grand March. After that march, general dancing continues. While they march at Comus, Rex ball-goers continue their party.
So much fodder for satire and humor here! It’s as if the Meeting was created for Twitter. Local folks on Da Twittah comment on all aspects of the event. From Peggy Scott Laborde’s gaffes to Errol Laborde (her husband) being more of a curmudgeon than the Curmudgeon Class of #NOLAtwitter, to the antics of the two carnival organizations, local folks are merciless in mockery.
Anger is not a good look
Over the years, hashtag #rexcomus became a place of anger rather than mockery. The event offers an opportunity for folks who are angry at Trump and conservatives to lash out. What was once satire is now flooded with bitter remarks.
I empathize with people who are not OK since Trump became President. It’s back to the old adage that liberals have no sense of humor. It also doesn’t help that Senator Sanders’ stature within the Democratic Party’s race for a nominee is falling. That exacerbates the anger among what I call “nonpartisan liberals.” They hate All Things Democratic Party. Unfortunately, they use hashtag #rexcomus as an outlet.
Nothing is permanent
I like to think that most of these angry people will slink away after this fall’s election, should a Democrat defeat Trump. The nonpartisan liberals usually only come out for the Presidential election cycle. We saw this in 2018, when many red Congressional districts went blue, thanks to the hard work of mainstream Democrats. I anticipate a better, funnier, less-angry hashtag #rexcomus in 2021.
Chris Roberts suicide deserves the benefit of the doubt from us.
Chris Roberts, dead at 42
Chris Roberts died yesterday, down off Engineer’s Road in Plaquemine Parish. From Da Paper:
The Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office is leading the investigation into Roberts’ death, which an agency spokesman described as an apparent suicide. The spokesman declined to elaborate.
A law enforcement source with knowledge of the situation said Roberts’ parents had reported him missing to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office earlier Wednesday. The Sheriff’s Office tracked his cellphone to a wooded area off Engineers Road in Belle Chasse, near the Jefferson Parish line, and found his body there.
Roberts resigned his seat on the Jefferson Parish Council last year, under the shadow of an extensive federal indictment. He served on the Council for fifteen years. Before his Council service, Roberts sat on the Jefferson Parish School Board. For those unfamiliar with the workings of the Jefferson Parish Council, the body consists of five district and two at-large members. Since so much of Jefferson Parish is unincorporated, the district members function as the “mayors” of their respective neighborhoods. When a district member decides an issue, the others usually respect their decision and vote as they do. Therefore, politicians like Roberts carry a lot of influence.
Until they’re indicted by feds, that is.
Fall from grace
In 2018, the Department of Justice dropped a pallet of bricks on Roberts, with an extensive indictment filing. Again, from Vargas at Da Paper:
Most of the counts related to his work managing a Terrytown-based landscaping company from which he allegedly used money for personal purchases. Roberts was also accused of hiding hundreds of thousands of dollars in income over a seven-year period, and only filing amended tax returns accounting for the income after he learned of the federal inquiry.
The indictment painted a picture of Roberts as a profligate spender who used business and campaign funds to purchase a $16,000 engagement ring and spent thousands more at area casinos.
Then, to make matters worse:
In October, federal prosecutors added 10 new wire fraud counts to the indictment, ramping up the pressure on him. The new indictment also accused Roberts of improperly spending business funds.
So, the whole notion of deputies finding this guy dead in the woods, likely by his own hand, doesn’t sound far-fetched. When I read the initial tweets, it sounded like a classic case of, get your affairs in order and take care of your problems.
Benefit of the doubt
Chris Roberts presented himself as an arrogant asshole on social media. His attacks on Mike Yennni were bush league. His supporters say he worked hard for his district. The feds say he’s a thief. Suffering from depression was never part of Roberts’ public persona. That doesn’t mean it didn’t exist! So many people struggle with depression, and it does indeed claim them. I can see the weight of his world crashing in on him taking that toll.
“Doing the right thing for the family” isn’t the same these days. People do time for white-collar crime regularly. They come back from prison and often do right by the community. It’s not like a guy like Roberts faced hard time for his crimes.
Influence of family and friends
People coping with depression need a support network. If someone doesn’t feel that support, their depression can deepen. That can lead to suicide attempts as a cry for help. Or worse, you go out to the woods and end it. It’s certainly unclear how much support for his condition Roberts got from friends and family. It’s too late for Roberts, but it’s not too late for those you care for. Check your people.
Coming home to the #YatCats is heartwarming.
The #YatCats developed routines over the last few months. I attribute their consistency to the wife’s insistence we stick to a tight feeding schedule. They start to move around when her alarm goes off at 6am. They eat within the next half hour or so, then go off to do kitten things. Like cell phones, they need to recharge. So, when i come home from the coffee shop, I usually find them crashed out.
This is Nala’s typical coming home position. Helen’s tried a number of techniques to keep her off the dining room chairs. You can see the success of these attempts. Nala content to sit and watch Arwen be more active.
If Arwen had a smartphone, she would be one of the most active people on NextDoor. She loves to sit in the front window and look out. There are times when she’s playing, sometimes she’ll get all oooh-shiny and check what’s going on outside. We’re still not sure what she thinks about Rusty, the ginger tomcat who is the neighborhood mayor.
After writing in the morning, I need to rest my eyes. I come home around lunchtime, make a sandwich or a hot dog, then read a bit. When I sit on the couch, Arwen often jumps on the top of the back cushion and sprawls out. Yesterday was different. She walked up behind me, then slid down to sit next to me! Cuddle time in the afternoon. Hard to tell if I was missed or if she needed warmth.
Nala, of course, slept. Such a ginger kitty.
After a couple of eps of Star Trek: Discovery, Arwen got up to stretch. She joined Nala on the bed in LT Firstborn’s old room. Wife converted the room into an office for her and a guest room.
If you live in the New Orleans area, be sure to check out Animal Rescue New Orleans!
Cantrell silence is unacceptable
Cantrell silence on #kailascollapse
There’s an odd silence surrounding City Hall, from the mayor’s office to the City Council chamber. Politicians are not usually quiet creatures. They’re ambitious people. For the most part, they’re always running for something. While not every politician grandstands like Rudy! and Bush43 in the wake of 9/11, they are aware of the need to get out front and lead.
There’s no from City Hall or the Council Chamber on the collapse of the development at 1031 Canal Street that took place on 12-October-2019.
Uncharacteristic Council Silence
Why, then, are Mayor Cantrell and the seven members of the New Orleans City Council silent? The last two mayors, Mitch Landrieu and C. Ray Nagin, could barely drive home in the evening without coming under scrutiny from members of the council. Council members jump in front of microphones. More recently, they take to social media. They speak to the issues. They look forward. While some don’t aspire to remain in public service after their term, many look towards the next office. Silence creates a vacuum. Others fill vacuums. Voters listen to political aspirants as much as they do office-holders. The council behave like people who have something to hide, not leaders.
What do they have to hide?
“Laying low” makes sense, when you’re on the wrong side of an issue. Advisers and consultants tell politicians, let it pass. Laying low saved many a politician. David Vitter comes to mind. After becoming entangled in a prostitution scandal, Vitter stood up with his wife, confessed to a sin, and proceeded to keep his mouth shut. Silence enabled him to win re-election. Council members know this strategy can be successful. No accusations of wrongdoing have surfaced with respect to the current council. Nobody’s looked at, for example, campaign finance records, to see who took money from Kailas and his partners. Perhaps oppo researchers have this info in their back pockets.
Lawyer up, sluggo
Every time Donald Trump, Jr., says something incredibly stupid on Da Twittah, Charlie Pierce replies back with those three words. “Lawyer up” is a common action when one is even tangentially involved in a criminal investigation. The Kailas collapse is a homicide. People died, and not by accident. There are (hopefully) local and federal investigations moving forward, behind the scenes.
Silence enables politicians to ride out bad times. It also enables potential criminal defendants to avoid jail. Is this why our city government is so quiet?
Supper time for the #yatcats is pretty regular
One thing Mrs. YatPundit’s done with the #yatcats is to keep them on a tight schedule for feeding. Since they’re inside cats, they don’t forage on insects, birds and lizards like Amber did. The #YatCats lunge at the kitchen and bedroom windows when lizards climb the screens. Not sure if Hill’s Science Diet’s “Indoor Kitten” food is better than lizard or bird, but that’s what they eat.
Nala certainly has bulked up since gotcha day. She was a tiny thing, and now she’s over nine pounds. Arwen eats less than Nala. At first, we worried that Arwen muscled Nala out. No problem! Arwen isn’t gaining weight like her buddy, though. While her weight isn’t a problem, we’ve noticed that’s she’s just not keeping up. It’s hard to tell if Arwen dislikes the food, or just isn’t as hungry. No crisis, mind you, just something to monitor.
The kittehs know when it’s supper time. They know who feeds them, too. When Mrs. YatPundit left town for a work trip for a few days, the kittens didn’t stalk me as supper time approached. I sat on the couch or worked at my desk undisturbed. They heard the food bag, but didn’t see the regular feeder! On the next day, still no reaction. I wasn’t in charge of the food, and that was that.
They know the drill. I heard the door to wife’s car close and the beep indicating she locked it. Nala zoomed to the front door. She joined Arwen in the front. Tux kitty continued what I call her “NextDoor” shift. Arwen is a ginny-woman. Not sure if she’d use the app, but she sees a lot.
Other than a love for the milk left in my cereal bowl, these two eat just the Science Diet food. They sniff table food and move on. We’ll see if that changes!
String, bags, kittehs!
String, bags, kittehs
The #YatCats don’t miss me being up in Columbus, Ohio, teaching for Hitachi Vantara this week. Arwen (tux) took down the Christmas tree over last weekend, so it didn’t survive until Twelfth Night. Both of them were upset when it went out to the side of the house, to await pick-up for wetlands restoration.
The string on top of Arwen is over ten years old. I can’t remember where it came from, but Amber took to it at the time and played with it. LT Firstborn discovered she liked it and would play string with her. They were such a great pair.
When we brought home the kittens, the string remained hidden. It returned when LT Firstborn came home. He played with both kittens and the string so much over the holidays. While Nala (ginger) took to LT Firstborn, Arwen was a bit skeptical of him. Then the string came out and the three of them became fast friends. The boy would dangle both ends at the same time, and the kittens would go for it.
Amber’s string is a now part of the regular cat toy inventory. Kiddo’s girlfriend, who loves to entertain them so much, took up where LT Firstborn left off. Now, Arwen ends up with the string in various positions, just like her predecessor. Circle of Life. Or String, as it were.
Nala likes the string, but nowhere near as much as Arwen does. The ginger kitty is a Destroyer of Cardboard. She also destroys bags. We firmly believe this is some sort of Jungian-collective-conscious thing among ginger kittehs, since Amber did the same thing. Arwen likes to crawl in boxes and bags that are on their sides, but Nala rips them apart. Whenever there’s a box nearby, there is likely a corner with small pieces of cardboard around it. Total mess! This bag is easily the third or fourth she’s wrecked since coming to her forever home in August.
Iran background reading includes The Shia Revival by Vali Nasr
Iran background reading
Remember when The Daily Show with Jon Stewart was the go-to for folks looking to keep up with current events? Thirteen years later, the dynamics have changed. While the sources expanded, the process of learning about interesting nonfiction has not.
I watched Stewart interview scholar Vali Nasr in 2006. Nasr appeared on the show as part of his book tour for The Shia Revival, his book about Shia Islam, Iran, and Iraq. It was fascinating! I learned a lot about Shia Islam, and even more about how Persians think.
Nasr’s stories of how Iranians think kept my interest. Since 1979, way too many Americans view Iran as some evil monolith. That’s changed over the years. The Iran-Iraq war killed so many on both sides. Watching in horror from the US wasn’t a spectator sport, it was a nightmare. Both countries reeled from that war for a decade. Still, there was no real need for Iran background reading.
I didn’t think much about Iran in the 80s-90s. That changed, post 9/11, when the focus on radical Islamists grew. In the early aughts, we heard and read more about Iraq, naturally. As we did, the differences between Sunni and Shia Islam entered our discourse. Nasr’s book offered excellent Iran background reading. The author opened a door into the monolith.
That bit of Iran background reading sparked ideas in my head. When I wrote a story about dragon eggs, the notion of an “ancient Persian trading concern” popped into the thought stream. I discovered that legends hidden cities in the desert extend to Iran. I learned, like on so many other subjects, monoliths are not black-and-white. There’s the government, there’s culture and religion, and there are the people who walk the tightrope through these.
Keep up with Vali Nasr
I plan to re-read The Shia Revival next week. Additionally, I followed Nasr on Twitter. So, while following him, I also added a couple of people recommended by Da Twittah who connect to him. Check him out. I’ll share some excerpts from the book in your new Zuckerd00d group, YatPundit’s Pub.
YatPundit’s Pub is now a Facebook Group
I’ve been “YatPundit” on the Internet since the 1990s. @YatPundit is my primary account on Da Twittah. When I joined the Book of Zucker, YatPundit became my political presence, as a “page” under my main account, which is my name. While this works for my writing, it didn’t work for interaction.
The original page concept wasn’t bad, but the d00ds went public and needed to provide a return to shareholders. That’s when they started extorting page owners. Post something on your page, and you got “notifications” suggesting you “boost” the post for a fee. Then came the notifications that sounded like a protection racket in New York. “That’s a nice page you got there. Pity nobody’s going to read your posts.” The d00ds limited the reach of page posts. Even if thousands of users “like” the page, it may only be visible to hundreds. Unless you “boost.”
Page owners pushed back. They asked their friends to set “get notifications” for the page. Page visibility increased. Still, it wasn’t a good situation.
The last US election cycle exposed Zuckerbook as a bad actor in the process. One of the steps taken by the d00ds to rehab the image was to shift focus from pages to groups. They clam to have tightened up pages, so Petrograd bot farms can’t just create them and spread misinformation. The effectiveness of this move remains to be seen.
To improve user interaction on the platform, “groups” now have a bigger role. The d00ds want users to stay on the platform as long as possible. With pages taking a back seat, groups offer users gathering places. Post visibility increased. Group owners set their own rules. While they’re not quite “safe” spaces, it’s an improvement.
YatPundit’s Pub – come on in
The Pub welcomes you! Be warned, the politics are left-leaning and the beer is strong. If you’re a Trump supporter, or you hate Mitch Landrieu, this probably isn’t a good place for you to be. Otherwise, speak up, lurk, do whatcha wanna.