9-18-21 There’s been quite a bit of buzz about bisexual+ actress Kristen Stewart’s new movie Spencer in which she plays Princess Diana. From the photos I’ve seen, it looks like Stewart really got into the part as she attempted to recreate the tragic and beloved Royal. It also sounds like numerous critics are giving her very positive reviews with some even speculating on a potential Oscar nomination. At least one reviewer felt like Stewart really captured how Diana didn’t fit in well with the traditional rather stoic, stiff upper lip Royals. Since I haven’t seen the film yet, it’s obviously difficult for me to say if I agree with them, but I could definitely see Kristen Stewart potentially nailing this role. She has shown herself to be a very talented actress. I thought she was excellent in The Runaways where she played rocker Joan Jett in her younger days and Personal Shopper, a quiet independent psychological thriller whose story I don’t want to give away. Stewart made each of the characters she played in these films feel real and very believable even though they were quite different from each other, as were the films. Now, you may be wondering why I made a point to include the fact that Kristen Stewart is bi+ (bisexual, pansexual, fluid, etc). I did it because bisexual+ people still have to deal with so much lack of understanding, intolerance, and prejudice from too many members of the straight and gay / lesbian communities (which is why most bi+ are still in the closet and why of those who are out, a great number find dating terribly difficult to nearly impossible). For things to change, we need people who are straight and gay to open their minds and educate themselves and stop automatically believing unfair, negative stereotypes that don’t hold true for most bi+ individuals . Hopefully, having more people come out as bisexual+ will help this process. This is why it’s so important having celebrities such as Kristen Stewart be open about having bi+ feelings and desires. It helps humanize bi+ people so that more of society starts to recognize that bi+ are real and can be just as decent, kind, caring, and faithful as anyone else. If and when to come out is clearly an individual’s personal decision, and no one should be forced to do so. But I will say that I greatly appreciate all bi+ who have come out because it does help in the long term battle for understanding, acceptance, and equality.
9-15-21 I really like DC’s Legends of Tomorrow on the CW Network. Yes, you heard me right. You’re probably wondering why. Is it a deep, thought-provoking show? No. Absolutely not. Is it addressing contemporary problems plaguing society today? Nope. So why do I enjoy it you might wonder. Well, let me tell you. It’s a fun, entertaining show that allows you to escape your troubles for a little while and also has surprisingly good queer representation. Yep, it does. I don’t want to give away plot lines because this show has been going on for 6 seasons with number 7 coming soon. The general premise is that a misfit group of gifted individuals with a variety of abilities and powers was organized by a time traveler who had stolen a time ship called the Waverider. Together, they try to fix aberrations in time with the help of Gideon, the Waverider’s powerful AI computer. The show is an entertaining mixture of action and comedy. It can be campy in places and doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s not trying to be deep. And frankly, this combination makes it quite fun, entertaining, and endearing. Another aspect which makes it really enjoyable is how they often screw up lol. They make mistakes. These are not perfect superheroes. Sometimes they are total screw-ups, yet somehow or another, they find a way to get the job done. Another thing that makes it a really good show is its strong, positive queer representation. There are multiple important regular characters in the show who are queer, and refreshingly, their being LGBTQ is not a big deal and is totally accepted by the rest of the crew. For example, Sara Lance and Constantine are openly bisexual+, and in the last couple of seasons, Sara Lance has been in a monogamous romantic relationship with another important female character in the show. As a matter of fact, in addition to their relationship being completely normal to the rest of the crew, it’s also been included into some of the show’s plot lines. So, is DC’s Legends of Tomorrow going to win Golden Globe Awards? No. But is it a fun, entertaining show that will allow you to escape your worries for a little while and also includes strong queer representation? Absolutely yes! You can catch DC’s Legends of Tomorrow on the CW Network, Amazon Prime, and Netflix.
For many people, the Olympics is an amazing, magical time. Athletes all over the world train, sacrifice, and push themselves to their limits and beyond as they strive for a chance at Olympic Glory. But it goes beyond sports when you think about it, for nations, including those that are literally at war with each other, gather together for peaceful competition. It’s one of the few times where the world has some form of unity. But these days, a major problem is how exorbitantly expensive hosting Olympic Games has become. In Ancient Greece, city-states would send contingents of athletes to compete in the Games every 4 years at a permanent site in the southern part of the country, Olympia. Only men were allowed to compete, and there were also religious celebrations in addition to the athletic competitions. Artists were present looking for patrons and perhaps trying to sell some of their work as well as politicians on site trying to expand their influence. But it stayed peaceful, which was a significant accomplishment considering that the Ancient Greek city-states were often at odds with each other, and open warfare was not uncommon. Obviously, much has changed with regards to the Olympics. Thankfully, competition is not restricted to just men now, and the variety of events has vastly expanded. Also, modern Olympics include nations from all around the world as opposed to just the Greek world. Another major change is how the Olympics are held in different cities instead of being in one permanent location as was the case in the Ancient World. Having different cities host the Olympics is in many ways a noble idea. It helps uphold the concept that the Olympics are truly international and don’t belong to any one country or place. And while this lofty ideal has its merits, there are serious problems with it as well, one of which being the extreme cost that hosting the Olympics has become. Each time a new city is going to host the Olympics, that place has to build and expand infrastructure in order to meet demands of the Games and International Olympic Committee. This is no small feat considering how vast the Olympic Games have become in terms of numbers of athletes, supporting staffs, the variety of different events (some of which require very specialized facilities), and the growing need for increased security (both physical and cyber). The result is that host cities have to spend billions of dollars and frequently go into massive debt which can take them years, if not decades, to pay off. Here are some examples of the costs. According to Forbes.com, the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro cost approximately 13.7 billion dollars. The Sochi Winter Games of 2014 cost around 21.9 billion dollars, and the 2012 London Summer Games cost approximately 15 billion dollars. That is vastly expensive for something that will last only a few weeks. Another problem is how some of the facilities that have to be constructed are very specialized and often don’t have any use after the Games are over. There are numerous cases where such sites have literally just been abandoned, or more money needs to be spent revamping them or knocking them down to build something else that would be of use to the community. The result is that fewer cities are interested in hosting modern Olympic Games, and this is especially being seen amongst democratic countries. Fewer cities are competing to become future hosts, and what is likely to occur is that as time goes by, more and more of the host cities are going to be in countries that are run by dictatorships because dictators are less likely to worry about the financial costs. They tend to be more interested in using the Games as a way to try to expand their power and influence over their own people as well as other countries. So my thinking is that maybe it’s time to find permanent locations for the Summer and Winter Olympic Games. There could be one permanent site for each or one location that would host both. Countries around the world could contribute financially to building and maintaining the site so that the host doesn’t incur crippling debt. In terms of choosing such a location(s), I would recommend finding a place that is a stable democracy and is also neutral in terms of international affairs. Perhaps Switzerland or somewhere similar. This way, the spirit of the Olympic Games would live on and the financial burden would be lessened. The costs that would occur could be spread throughout the world instead of individual cities having to go into massive debt, debts that can easily take decades to get out of. Now, I realize that making this idea a reality would not be easy. There would be fights over where the permanent site(s) should be and battles over who pays what. But if it could be pulled off, I do think it could solve a lot of problems and help the Olympic Games thrive well into the future.
Washington DC. For many people these days, when they hear those words, they conjure up images of the vicious partisan politics which has been plaguing this country of late. They think of Republicans and Democrats in Congress at loggerheads against each other to such a severe degree that it often seems like little gets done. But what a great number overlook or forget is that Washington DC is one of the most beautiful cities in the entire country. Really, it is. Why, do you ask? I think it’s a combination of its distinctive layout, beautiful architecture, extensive monuments, and lovely parks. First, the layout. While Washington DC has the traditional north south and east west grid system of roads, it is also crisscrossed with impressive avenues that run diagonally through the city. This distinctive layout of streets creates unique intersections, such as traffic circles the centers of which often contain impressive monuments. There are also numerous parks, big and small, scattered throughout the city which frequently contain statues and other monuments. Then you have the impressive architecture of the city which includes a variety of styles such as Classical, Neoclassical, Greek Revival, Palladian, Second Empire, Modern, and Postmodern. Another vitally important facet of the characteristic look of Washington DC is the fact that homes and buildings are not allowed to exceed a certain height. There are no skyscrapers within the city limits. The reason for this is so that the US Capitol Building and other monuments can impressively stand out instead of being overshadowed. And of course, one can’t forget the heart and soul of Washington DC: the National Mall. This beautiful park runs from the US Capitol Building to the Lincoln Memorial between which stands the towering Washington Monument. Lining each side are impressive national museums, including the National Gallery of Art as well as multiple branches of the Smithsonian Institution. The result is one of the most beautiful cities in the entire country. And if you don’t believe me, check out these photos. I think they’ll prove my point Enjoy.
5-9-20 During these strange times of so much being closed and having to be at home way more than we are used to, don’t forget that you can still enjoy the incredible, magical world of art. Yes, art! Art can be a wonderful way to pass time and let your imagination wander. Experience a whole range of emotions such as joy, romance, happiness, sorrow, anger, excitement, curiosity, and more. You can get glimpses into the past or ideas of what the future might hold. You can lose yourself into a world of fantasy or explore images of stark reality. With art, the possibilities are endless! Yes, I know museums and private art galleries are closed right now due to the COVID situation, but you can still experience the magic of art! How? By using technology! Many great museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Louvre of Paris, the Getty Center of LA, and the National Gallery of Art in DC have substantial online collections that you can peruse and enjoy for free! Many private art galleries showcase pieces on their websites as well. Plus, you can do Internet searches for art. Type in an artist’s name, an art style, region, or whatever. Get creative and see what you can find. There is incredible art from all around the world that you can access at home with your computer, tablet, or smartphone. So go for it! Explore and perhaps lose yourself for a bit in the wonderful world of art!
Remember folks, think independently, whomever you are and whatever your background.
Don’t blindly follow anyone because frankly, there’s been a lot of that going around these days.
Get information from a variety of independent, reputable sources because while there is a lot of good information out there, there’s a lot of bad information out there too, especially when it comes to Social Media.
Double check things. Triple check them! And don’t just follow sites that will tell you what you want to hear. Seek out diverse, varied sources. Explore different points of view. Too many people listen only to one leader or get information from the same source over and over. In addition, too much of the population only interact with others who agree with them, and as a result of all this, they become too isolated from other ideas and points of view. This is a problem in politics, social issues, religion, etc.
Think for yourself!
Open your mind and broaden your horizons!
Strive to be an independent, renaissance person.
I think you’ll find the world is a much more fascinating place and life an amazing experience if you do.
Seeing how 4 Federal Prosecutors have withdrawn from Roger Stone’s case after higher up Department of Justice officials undercut them in sentencing, it sounds to me like Attorney General Barr and possibly others are following Trump’s wishes to go easy on Stone who is Trump’s friend.
If this is true, it is at the very least disturbing and in my opinion highly unethical. The DOJ is supposed to be more autonomous from the White House than other departments. It’s supposed to mete out justice fairly and impartially without White House interference.
Undercutting the Federal Prosecutors running the case in order to give special treatment to a Trump crony goes against what the DOJ is supposed to stand for. That is not impartial justice.
In my opinion, it sounds like gross favoritism and probably flat out corruption.
William Carney was born a slave in Norfolk, Virginia in 1840. His father, William Sr, escaped North via the Underground Railroad and after working hard, was able to buy freedom for the rest of his family. They settled in Massachusetts where young William learned to read and write, planning to become a minister. However, in 1863, 23 year old William Carney joined the 54th Massachusetts Black Regiment. He was now a soldier in the American Civil War. In July of that year, the 54th had joined other Union forces outside Charleston, South Carolina to take part in the assault on Fort Wagner, one of the installations guarding Charleston Harbor. On the 18th, the 54th was taking cover behind sand dunes about 1000 yards from the fort. When nightfall arrived, orders came through. The 54th was leading the attack on Fort Wagner. After dressing their lines, the regiment advanced across open ground under withering cannon and musket fire. Seeing the color bearer start to fall, Carney quickly dropped his gun and grabbed the flag moving to the front of the regiment. He and the 54th continued forward through a storm of bullets and artillery fire. Soldiers fell with terrible wounds but the regiment kept going with Carney at the front holding the American flag aloft. He crossed a ditch and clambered up the fort’s earthen wall. When Carney arrived at the top and looked around, he found himself surrounded by dead and wounded members of his regiment. He was the only one left standing. Seeing Confederate forces moving in on him, Carney worked his way back down the wall through the carnage and made it to the ditch that was now waist deep in water. Crouched down, he thought about his next course of action. As he rose up to get a look around, William Carney was shot. A second bullet struck him shortly after. While Carney was painfully pushing his way towards friendly lines, he spotted a soldier from the 100th New York. The man asked if he was wounded. As Carney responded, a third bullet grazed his arm. The soldier helped him and offered to take the flag, but Carney would not relinquish it. The two men, one black and one white, struggled together back to Union lines during which a fourth bullet grazed Carney’s head. When they made it back, he refused to give up the flag to anyone except another member of his regiment. Once they reached survivors of the 54th, Carney said, “Boys, the old flag never touched the ground.” In 1900, William Carney was awarded The Medal of Honor.