Atomic Blonde

Jason Bourne can just sit the fuck down. I’m not gonna say Atomic Blonde is a great movie. We could argue all day about that. I am gonna say it’s one of the better movies I’ve seen in a long time. Boy, oh boy… where to begin?

I’ve heard critics say there was no story. Well, if you need a story, take my library card and go check out Great Expectations. If you want an entertaining movie, look no further.

Now let’s talk about action. I thought the fight sequences in Atomic Blonde were as good (better?) as anything since the first Bourne movie. Remember the fight scene in Kill Bill: Vol.1 between Uma Thurman and Daryl Hannah (in Michael Madsen’s mobile home)? And the scene where James Gandolfini kicks the living shit out of Patricia Arquette in True Romance? Every fight scene in Atomic Blonde was at the level or a smidgen above.

You might not have noticed but after a long, protracted fight scene, male stars might have a cut lip and be breathing hard. Charlize Theron LOOKED and ACTED like she’d been in a brawl. And during the brawl? Grunting and screaming and gasping. I mean, you were _there_! Oh yeah. I’ll bet there was a half gallon of fake blood splashed on the camera lens during these scenes. And watch for the quick POV (point of view) camera shots.

What else? The sound track! Best I’ve heard in awhile. Every cut worked.

And last but not least… girl-on-girl sex. That’s become standard far in these liberated times. Every action movies needs some hot lesbians. Was Charlize Theron’s character a lesbian? Don’t know. But there was a 20 second scene that was so hot they should have handed out welder’s goggles as you entered the theater.

I was expecting a cartoon but got way more with this movie.

Tired: Ethan Hunt, James Bond, Jason Bourne
Wired: Charlize Theron in Atomic Blonde

Awaken

“Awaken is a new feature documentary by Tom Lowe detailing humans’ relationship with technology and the natural world. The project was shot in over 30 countries during a five-year period, all while making use of next-level cinematography techniques such as time-dilation and underwater photography, ultimately providing viewers with a look at the universe like never before. No post-production effects have been used for the picture, as everything has been captured and thus showcased ‘in-camera.'” (Release in 2018)

Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television

Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television (1978) is a book by Jerry Mander, who argues that many of the problems with television are inherent in the medium and technology itself, and thus cannot be reformed. From Wikipedia page:

“Television has effects, very important effects, aside from the content, and they may be more important. They organize society in a certain way. They give power to a very small number of people to speak into the brains of everyone else in the system night after night after night with images that make people turn out in a certain kind of way. It affects the psychology of people who watch. It increases the passivity of people who watch. It changes family relationships. It changes understandings of nature. It flattens perception so that information, which you need a fair amount of complexity to understand it as you would get from reading, this information is flattened down to a very reduced form on television. And the medium has inherent qualities which cause it to be that way.”

Evidence-based journalsim

Jimmy Wales explains evidence-based journalism:

“If someone is — by name and with their reputation at stake — criticising you, then the penalty for not clearly rebutting on the record should be that your side simply isn’t heard.”

And transparency.

“Let’s say we call someone up to get a quote on a hot-button issue. We have a 15-minute phone conversation and we use a section of it in an article about the issue. How do you know whether the quote was fairly reported, or taken out of context? By checking the source. Wherever we can, we’ll publish the entire conversation — audio and transcript — so you can check exactly what was asked, what was said, and even in what tone.”

If you could only keep 2,000 photos

I’ve been collecting digital photos for years. Since photos became digital, in fact. Along the way I scanned a few thousand photos. More than once. In the early days of the web I wanted to keep images small so they could be uploaded to the web and viewed with molasses-slow dial-up connections. 72 dpi, 640×480. Shitty little things. As the online world improved and I realized my mistake, I scanned many prints again at nice high (600 dpi) resolution.

When I got my first Mac I started managing all my photos in iPhoto (now Apple Photo). I titled every photo and put them in albums and added keywords and then forgot about them. At one point I guess I had about 5,000 photos. That’s nothing compared to most users. Lot of folks have ten, twenty thousand photos. More.

I’ve tended to be a little obsessive compulsive about my photos. If I had 20 shots of the pond at the bottom of our hill and they were all so similar I couldn’t tell one from the other, I’d delete all but the best. In time, my collection was down to about 2,000 photos. But I’d made a conscious decision regarding each one.

I trimmed a few hundred more photos in the past week. Why, for example, did I need photos of the Golden Gate Bridge? The Chrysler Building. The Space Needle. If the photo featured friends or family, I kept it. If there was some personal connection to the subject of the photo, sure. But if the only reason I was keeping the photo was I took it… not a sufficient reason (for me).

Why bother, you ask. Tossing the chaff makes the remaining wheat more valuable. And a couple thousand photos are manageable. While going through my photos I saw that many could be improved. I tweaked and cropped and added meta data where needed. You just can’t do that with 10,000 photos.

I think this is part of the “a place for everything” itch I’ve been scratching for a few years. Keeping only thing things I really care about and getting rid of the rest. Even if I have room to keep it.

Now that I have my collection down to a manageable size, I’m more picky about what gets added. And I’m a little more careful about how I take photos. I went through a similar process with my books a few years ago. When I finish a book that was just so-so, it doesn’t make it to the shelf. It goes to the county library book sale.

I’d call this a zen thing but anything you call a zen thing is definitely not a zen thing.

“Texas Ed” Pinner (WSLM)

I have a lot of photos of radio folk but this might be my favorite. “Texas Ed” Pinner, WSLM, Salem, IN. There’s all this ancient tech jammed into every corner. Reel-to-reel deck; Fidelipac carts; CD players (alas, I don’t see any turntables) and propped up in front of the controls… almost too small to see… an early iPod. Texas Slip is playing the hits from his iPod. Sigh. (Photo by Mike Cady)

Two movies about politicians and politics


The playlist above includes seven clips from two movies: Frank Capra’s 1939 classic, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (Jimmy Steward, jean Arthur, Claude Rains); and Dave (Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver, Frank Langella and the brilliant Charles Grodin). I’ve posted all of these clips but thought they’d make a nice, tidy playlist.

PS: the tiny horizontal lines with the pointer in the top-left corner, indicates a playlist of several videos.