Barb rubs elbows with celebs


If you write a nice check (for a good cause) you get your picture taken with the celebrities. (Barb 2nd from the left; the lady in the middle is Pam, a high school friend).

The artists appearing with Sheryl Crow were pretty much unknown to me. I knew their fathers but haven’t followed their careers. And they play country music. “Redneck Country” in the case of Noll Billings, singer for Blackjack Billy. Looks like David Nail had a #1 song in 2012. They all have wikipedia pages if you’re curious. Blackjack BillyTrent TomlinsonDavid Nail

I assume it’s damned hard to make it in the music business so it does seem noteworthy that four kids from a small (10,000) town in southeast Missouri managed to do so well.


The dizzying notion that everything in the universe might be conscious, or at least potentially conscious, or conscious when put into certain configurations. […] It is the argument that anything at all could be conscious, providing that the information it contains is sufficiently interconnected and organised. The human brain certainly fits the bill; so do the brains of cats and dogs, though their consciousness probably doesn’t resemble ours. But in principle the same might apply to the internet, or a smartphone, or a thermostat.

This is one tiny part of a longer, broader look at The Hard Problem (Consciousness). If this is your thing I recommend this piece by Oliver Burkeman.

A Walk Among the Tombstones

I’m a big fan of the Matthew Scudder novels of Lawrence Block. So I cringed a bit when I saw someone had made a movie based on the character. With Liam Neeson no less. In all fairness, I thought the first Taken movie was a pretty good flick and I didn’t see the sequals. I just didn’t see him as Matthew Scudder. But damned if I didn’t enjoy every minute of this movie.

The name Scott Frank (director) didn’t ring a bell but he wrote Minority Report; The Wolverine; Marley & Me; Out of Sight; Get Shorty. The last two being among my favorites. Turns out the guy can direct, too.


Went to see Blackhat today. What can I tell you, I’m a sucker for any movie dealing with computers and the Internet. And Michael Mann has directed some of my favorite movies. While sitting through this longish (2 hours+) movie kept reminding myself to suspend my disbelief. Like from the observation deck of that tall-ass building in Dubai. Or better yet, put your disbelief on a bus bound for Boise.

I think the Jason Bourne/Matt Damon movies ruined this genre for me. Few films measure up. And the villain in Blackhat? Meh. And it’s not like Michael Mann can give us a good villain. Tom Noonan as Francis Dollarhyde and Brian Cox as Dr. Hannibal Lecktor in Manhunter; Wes Studi’s Magua in The Last of the Mohicans; even Tom Cruise’s tool-cool-for-school hit man in Collateral. I fear that Mr. Mann’s mojo is on the same bus to Boise.

TV Night

I don’t recall the last time I watched more TV in a single evening. Wasn’t planned, we just sort of stumbled from one show to the next. A new series from Amazon; one from Netflix; and a new one on the Syfy channel.

  • The Man in the High Castle, based on Philip K. Dick’s award-winning novel, and executive produced by Ridley Scott, explores what it would be like if the Allied Powers had lost WWII, and Japan and Germany ruled the United States.
  • 12 Monkeys. I was a big fan of the Bruce Willis (Brad Pitt) movie so wasn’t expecting to enjoy this as much as I did. We’ll see if it has legs.
  • The big surprise of the evening was Lilyhammer. Steven Van Zandt plays a NY mobster who turns in his pals and has to relocate with a new identity and chooses Lilyhammer (Norway!) I think there have been two seasons of this so I’m late to the dance but boy I enjoyed the first installment. Van Zandt is playing the very same wise guy we got to know in the Sopranos but it some how works in the new setting.

I am so, so sorry

“A Fox News guest has been forced to apologize for suggesting Britain’s second biggest city was off-limits to non-Muslims.” [Story]

This story got me thinking about apologies. “I’m sorry” must be one of the first phrases learned by American children. Say you’re sorry.

Like everyone, I’ve done plenty of things to “be sorry” about but it sure feels like a meaningless expression. Even if you are sincerely contrite, so what? Does saying you sorry mean anything? Does it make a difference? It must because when someone fucks up, demands for a public apology are loud. But for the life of me I can’t see how it makes any difference. Certainly doesn’t unring the bell and more often than not it’s a half-assed apology (“I’m sorry if anyone was offended by seeing my johnson on Twitter. It was an error in judgement. My penis misspoke.”)

Let’s make it more personal. Your husband/wife gets caught sneak-fuckin’ and hopes to repair the damage with an apology. Is it somehow important to the injured party that the offender regrets his/her actions? (“Well, as long as you feel badly about what you did, okay.”) No. Not okay.

Maybe an apology is more about forgiveness than contrition. You won’t forgive me until I say I’m sorry. It just seem like bullshit to me. Maybe if I had kids I’ve have a better handle on this. They need to feel bad when they do something wrong. Is there no way to get there without an apology (genuine or half-assed)? And, honestly, I don’t have an alternative.

Reporter: The video shows you knocking the snot out of your girlfriend in that elevator. Are you sorry you did that?
Me: I wish I hadn’t done it but I did. Wish I had a do-over but I don’t.
Reporter: So, are you sorry or not?
Me: What difference would it make if I was. Wouldn’t change the fact I knocked crap out of her.

Maybe what I’m struggling with is after enough apologies, they become meaningless. A meaningless noise we’re expected to make. If I’m a dick, I’m still a dick no matter how many times I say I’m sorry.


“Laney had recently noticed that the only people who had titles that clearly described their jobs had jobs he wouldn’t have wanted.” — From William Gibson’s 1996 novel, Idoru