Lunatic Bill Alert #3: Sweeney Ed

by Categorized: Politix, Year in Review Date:

250px-mred mredep22






Last year there was Scuppy. Now this. 

Connecticut seems like a tough place to be a horse.

h/t to whateversusan on this one.

Robin Hood, Packing

by Categorized: Politix, Uncategorized, Year in Review Date:

I’m going to reserve judgment.

I’m not going to call this the lunatic bill of the 2015 session. Not yet. There’s a lot I don’t understand about this, I’m sure. But it sounds like a Daryl Dixon and Sarah Palin blind date. (Unless you buy into the whole thing about Daryl maybe being gay.)

It does raise a bunch of questions, starting with: what predators are we talking about? We don’t — officially speaking — have mountain lions or wolves. Except in North Stonington. Black bears? You’re going to drop your bow and bust off a cap in a black bear? Zombies? Is this about zombies?

Anyway, I always thought the whole idea of bowhunting was to even the playing field, a little.


The First Family of Aggression

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You really have wonder what kind of person says this from the stage  on Inauguration Day:

The most emotional moments of the inaugural ceremonies came not from Malloy but from his wife, Catherine Lambert Malloy. “My kids are going to be freaked out if I start crying,” she said at the start of her remarks, which included a quick “campaign commercial” that she didn’t get to do during the actual campaign. “Unlike the other guy,” Connecticut’s first lady said, “he’s got a plan.”

I’m no big fan of Tom Foley, but that’s a cheap shot under the most inappropriate of circumstances. The mood of this day — even among people who are probably going to be brawling on the ice come April — was otherwise noble and conciliatory.  I was especially –well, “moved” is not the right word — impressed by the fuss the House Democrats made over the new Republican minority leader Themis Klarides. Her opposite, majority leader Joe Aresimowicz, went on at some length about how much he valued her friendship and their working relationship. Time will take care of that, but it’s the right way to act on swearing-in day.

Never remember anybody kicking a vanquished opponent from the inaugural stage. Let’s nip this new tradition in the bud. What is wrong with these people?

Cathy and Dannel Malloy kiss as they enter the House Chambers before Malloy delivered his State of the State Address. (Mark Mirko)

Cathy and Dannel Malloy kiss as they enter the House Chambers before Malloy delivered his State of the State Address. (Mark Mirko)


by Categorized: Moon Pitchers, Uncategorized Date:

mrturner THE IMITATION GAME“The Imitation Game” does not trust us to love a movie about its subject — the sad, brilliant, socially stunted mathematician Alan Turing. As the film tumbles along, you can feel director Morton Tyldum pulling out organ stops and dumping ballast out of the hot air balloon basket. About two-thirds of the way in, you can feel him panic and bolt, like a rabbit, in the direction crowd-pleasing nonsense. It may please the crowd, but it did not please me.

“Mr. Turner,” director Mike Leigh’s biopic about the painter J.M.W. Turner, is a more trusting creature. Eschewing all conventions of plot and narrative, Leigh imagines an audience that will trundle and grunt across the English landscape with its trundling, grunting protagonist. That audience may not exist in droves, but some of us embody it.

You should see both of these movies, but you should make a special effort to see “Mr. Turner” on a big screen with good equipment. There are some movies that don’t make any sense on a 46-inch Samsung, and this is one of them. “The Imitation Game,” by contrast, will wait. Turing is important. His story is important. But you can watch it the way you watch “Masterpiece Theater” and not miss out terribly.

“Mr. Turner” is almost entirely about seeing. Timothy Spall, as the painter, suggests a man so ravished and overwhelmed by the way the world looks to him that he has let pretty much everything else — from the power of speech to human relationships — slide into a ramshackle matter-of-factness. You will notice the word “suggests.” Leigh is never pushy.  One of the best dramatizations of an artist is not a movie but Sondheim’s “Sunday in the Park with George,” but “Mr. Turner” is blissfully free of feverish exhalations about color and design and harmony. Only once, in a fumbling art class speech about reflective surfaces, does Turner tell us anything, and even then he seems like a caveman struggling to acquire language. Spall is fabulous in the role, and his gruff and grunting Turner makes Brando sound like the Great Enunicator.

Leigh uses the same actors over and over, and this film makes me want to go back and re-watch “Topsy Turvy,” another movie about how artistic greatness comes at the expense of something, maybe everything. But certainly Leigh has never made a movie so visually arresting. Taking on a subject like Turner amounts to pointing to the bleachers, right? You’ve got to hit the long ball, optically speaking, and that is what Leigh does.

I wish I liked the “Imitation Game” better. I’m fascinated by Turing and spent a lot of time recently getting ready for a show about him. Like all citizens of 2015, I am also a dedicated Cumberbatchean. The man can do no wrong, and he is an excellent Turing, dancing neatly on the edge that divides the know-it-all from the man who actually does know it all and a second edge that divides the mere milquetoast from man whose mental life has rendered his physical self nearly meaningless.

But, risking a mild spoiler, I can tell you the precise moment at which this movie exhausted my patience. Turing and his team of math geeks have cracked the Nazi code. Seconds later, his friend with no benefits Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley) decodes a German message. Clarke whips her head toward a map with pins in it. Oh my goodness! She can somehow tell that a convoy is about to be hit by the Germans. We have only minutes to stop it! We can’t, not without letting on that we’ve cracked the Enigma code, says Turing. Wait!, says one of the other geeks. My brother is on one of those boats! This all happens in the space of two minutes, and by the end of it, you’re rooting for Graham Chapman to march in and say things have gotten too silly.  Which they have.

None of that constitutes an excuse from seeing “Imitation Game.” We are not excused from anything. But one does wish the movie truckled less and trusted more.


Why public radio is a bad influence

by Categorized: Uncategorized, Year in Review Date:

From fascinating NYT story on defeating the psychology and branding of ISIS:

“I want to engage in a long-term conversation to understand a commonly held view of the psychological, emotional and cultural power of I.S. in terms of a diversity of audiences,” the general said. “They are drawing people to them in droves. There are I.S. T-shirts and mugs.”

Archer ISIS Logo Mug, FX Shop Shows Archer , Fox Shop


You Cannot Be Serious

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Today’s Courant showcases legislative leaders making the preposterous caseQuadrocopter,_ISPO_2014_Munich_(03) that they are looking downfield and addressing cutting edge questions before they boil over. Money quote:

“Many people think that government tends to be reactive,” said House Speaker Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden. “But some things are happening so quickly that we have to [be] proactive and get out ahead of them.”

First things first. Connecticut legislative leaders should not be allowed to discuss ANY of their intentions without first answering the following question: Do you intend to change your slovenly, chaotic and cynical work habits? At the end of every session, important bills — exactly the KIND of bills these guys are talking about in the article — die on the calendar or, far worse, are kept semi-alive so they can be traded out in a hideous late-night bazaar that makes a mockery of the legislative process. It is — as we will see — insane for anyone to suggest this legislature gets ahead of the curve on anything, and one reason for that is that they’re way too wedded to their dysfunctional process.

OK.  Now.  Drones.  Uber. Data collection. These are the issues you’re getting out ahead of, proactively?

The first one rankles me on a personal level. In March of 2012 — almost three years ago — while preparing for this show about non-military drones, I called state officials to find out if Connecticut had any policies in place about domestic drones. I swear to God, you would have thought I was asking about Martians. But let me put it another way: when there’s already been a national headline-making altercation on one of your state beaches about the use of a drone, chances are you’re a little late in getting legislation in place.  (At least 16 other states do have laws.)

Uber? I’d almost give them that one, but really the regulatory fights over Uber date at least as far back as 2011 in California and 2012 in nearby Massachusetts. So, if you’re being “proactive,” looking downfield, you’ve already got something in place on this three-to-four-year-old issue.

Data collection? A new issue?  Nutmegger, please.