The Universe and Me

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Fubar, yah? Okay, then.

Series: Fargo, Season 2. I expected the body count to be even higher than Season 1 and sure enough, it was, by far. Luckily there was a whole buncha good acting (Danson, Smart, Dunst, etc.) to go along with the steamer full of stupid that was these crazy characters. My favorite moment had to be when Danson said to  Dunst, "Well, you're a little touched, now, aren't you?" To put it diplomatically. In a few areas I questioned motives, particularly when Hansee (I kept expecting someone to call him Fonzie) betrayed, well, everyone. Perhaps he'd had enough of being treated like an inferior and the racist remarks didn't help. Also, the uncle killing his niece was mighty cold and the UFO appearance was strange, but handled funny by Peggy. Interesting foreshadowing back to Season 1. Made me want to watch that again. I'm not sure there's any plastic surgery that could physically turn Hanzee into Tripoli, though. Perhaps they should have implied he traded places with Billy Bob. A minor gripe: while they chose interesting songs, I don't think any of them were from March 1979. It was as if they grabbed a CD called "Hits of the 70s" and thought, good enough. With the internet, it's easy to find out what was in the top 40 then.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Happy Trails to them

Movie: A Walk in the Woods. Produced by and starring Robert Redford as he returns to a buddy film. Originally optioned in 1998 for Redford to team up again with Paul Newman but sadly Newman's health didn't allow it. In a way the rapport Redford and Nolte had reminded me a lot of Redford and Newman from Butch Cassidy and The Sting movies. Redford has that marvelous sarcasm with perfect timing and tone. We laughed out loud several times throughout the movie. Rated R most likely for some colorful language. Made me interested in reading Bryson's books. On the list for: someday.

Monday, March 14, 2016

My friends from college, they're all married now

Documentary: Meet the Patels. While I'm sure the Patel parents are wonderful people - they seemed very nice from what we saw - I am grateful to have been born to parents who never pressured me to marry and give them grandchildren. And especially didn't pressure me to meet as many potential spouses as possible and choose one who wasn't so bad and from the right neighborhood. I am not married and have not ever been married. From the point of Papa Patel, there appears to be nothing I have to offer society. Wow. The son was obviously totally infatuated with the ex-girlfriend and wouldn't or couldn't look beyond his feelings for her to even see anyone else. The ex-girlfriend wanted him to commit and it seemed he couldn't because he was afraid his parents would disapprove of his marrying a white woman (which it seems they did, especially the mother.) I hope for everyone's sake things work out and the grandparents can enjoy and dote on their eventual grandchildren they were so desperate to have.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

I laughed at all of your jokes

As Downton Abbey closes permanently, let's look back on some wonderful quotes from my favorite character, Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham:

  • "No Englishman would dream of dying in someone else's house."
  • "I couldn't have electricity in the house, I wouldn't sleep a wink. All those vapors floating about."
  • “First electricity, now telephones. Sometimes I feel as if I’m living in an H.G. Wells novel.”
  • “Everyone goes down the aisle with half the story hidden.”
  • “I don’t dislike him, I just don’t like him. Which is quite different.”
  • “I wonder your halo doesn’t grow heavy. It must be like wearing a tiara around the clock.”
  • “We can’t have him assassinated. I suppose.”
  • "Vulgarity is no substitute for wit".
  • "All this endless thinking. It's very overrated"
  •  "You must know by now, I never answer any question more incriminating than whether I need a new rug."
  • “My dear. A lack of compassion can be as vulgar as an excess of tears.”
  • "At my age, one must ration one's excitement."
  •  "You are a woman with a brain and reasonable ability. Stop whining and find something to do." 
  • "It always seemed rather dark when my mother-in-law lived here; but then, she made everything rather dark." 
  • "I have plenty of friends I don't like."
  • "That is the thing about nature, there's so *much* of it."

Monday, March 07, 2016

The long and winding solar road

During our often snowy Western New York winters, I find myself wondering why we don't have solar roads and sidewalks. And for that matter, driveways. It seems like in the long run, not having to pay for workers to plow and plows and upkeep on plows in addition to salt and sand, solar roads would be less costly and safer. In the Netherlands, they are already working on Solar Roads, or SolaRoads. A couple years ago they built a 70 meter (230 foot) test track along a bike path on the outskirts of Amsterdam. The panels underneath the road generated over 3 thousand kilowatt hours in six months. Enough to provide a household with electricity for a year. Cheap mass produced solar panels are layered between glass, silicon rubber and concrete. If one panel breaks, only that panel is switched off. Developers are working on solar panels that can take the weight of buses and large trucks. Eventually electric cars might be able to make use of the energy created.