Friday, October 28, 2016

5 Things on a Friday: Joanne

Happy Friday, everybody!  It’s almost time for the weekend.

Short of playing a Mockingjay, being Tom Cruise’s female co-star is the highest-profile showcase for women in the whiz-bang genre to kick ass, be sexy, and outwit their opposition, without having to worry about being grossly objectified or used as a prop to demonstrate the virility of a male lead. In his own strange way, you could make the case that Tom Cruise—onscreen, at least—is the feminist action hero 2016 needs…
[O]ver the past few years, Cruise’s action films have leveled up his female counterparts until their abilities have matched or exceeded his own. Emily Blunt's Angel of Verdun was the primary ass-kicker in 2014’s Edge of Tomorrow, and Cruise spent most of that movie learning how not to be a dead weight around her neck. And while Cruise was as capable as ever in last year’s Rogue Nation, franchise newcomer Rebecca Ferguson stole the show as a disavowed secret agent—so much so that she’ll be making a rare return in MI: 6 next year. And in Never Go Back, it’s Smuldurs who pops off the screen when Cruise slips into a kind of auto-pilot hero mode, finally getting the chance to be the action star we've only seen tiny teases of in the Marvel films.
I confess that I’d not noticed this until Slate pointed it out, but it’s one of those things that you can’t un-see.  There’s also a reminder here that I need to show Edge of Tomorrow to my kids.
Almost unnoticed outside defense circles, the Pentagon has put artificial intelligence at the center of its strategy to maintain the United States’ position as the world’s dominant military power. It is spending billions of dollars to develop what it calls autonomous and semiautonomous weapons and to build an arsenal stocked with the kind of weaponry that until now has existed only in Hollywood movies and science fiction, raising alarm among scientists and activists concerned by the implications of a robot arms race.
Not hard to see the appeal.  If you program the drones with the correct Rules of Engagement, then--at least in theory--you take human fear and error out of the equation.  In a perfect world, that would be a perfect system.
It probably doesn’t make war, which is to say the pursuit of political objectives through alternative methods, less likely, however.  In fact, I think that the drones that we already employ have made war far easier to wage at far less risk, increasing the likelihood of unending conflict.  If we get to the point where we can deploy robots overseas on an endless loop, then there won’t be any reason not to.  I’m not sure that actually helps policy objectives in the long term.
Y’know, I didn’t love the reboot of Robocop, but they had this issue right on.
3. Joanne

Been a fan of Gaga’s for a while, but the new album is sooo impressive.  I love it very much.  The first interview talks about the titular track, explaining as much as anything what she’s trying to do.   It's truly amazing work.
Well, I do think that one of the big issues in this year’s campaign—and I wouldn’t call it the elephant in the room, I would call it the elephant and the donkey in the room—is the fact that the two-party monopoly in Washington has begun to be quite counterproductive. All anyone is worried about is getting re-elected. The only silver bullet I can see for that is term limits…
The exception to that is if a credible third party has a seat at the table at the national political dialogue. That would make the other parties have to be more honest.

Bill Weld.  I wish he'd run at the top of this ticket.
I've been saying this for weeks.  This is the year for 3rd parties because both parties really need your support.  Voting for a candidate that you don't like "because the other guy is worse" is a vote for the continuation of toxic, artificially partisan politics.  It's admitting that you'll eat whatever shit they dish out, regardless of how bad it tastes.
Look, if you actually like Trump or Clinton, then so be it.  Vote your conscience.  I myself (very reluctantly) support Secretary Clinton because of a few specific policy points, namely her unqualified support of NATO and the hope that this nation can get tuition prices under control before I personally have to pay for college for my kids. 
That's MY self-interest.
You should vote your own self-interest.  If that hurts one of the other guys, then that's on them.  Because Bill Weld is right.  What we really need is to break the artificial, two-party stalemate that's drug this country into the muck.

5. Sally’s Birthday
My beautiful wife had a birthday yesterday.  Being a fine, upstanding young man, I expressed my thoughts in verse.  I then posted those thoughts on Facebook, so all of Sally’s friends could see.
That’s the same as sending flowers to the office, right?
My love is like
a rose in bloom.
Whenever I see you,
my heart goes BOOM!
You make me smile
when you walk in the room;
Losing you
would be my doom.
My love is like
the sun and stars.
You cannot find it
in pubs or bars,
nor is it hidden
in mason jars.
Instead look up,
it’s way past Mars.
My love is out there,
so you see
it’s super-large…
You give me purpose,
you set me free,
You’re my reason why,
my “A” to “Z”.
My love is like
a rose in bloom.
Whenever I see you,
my heart goes BOOM!
Can’t wait to see you,
and see you soon…
Happy birthday Sally
That’s all I’ve got.  Have a nice weekend.

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