📺 Madam Secretary, S3 E18 “Good Bones”

Good Bones, S3 E18 (Madam Secretary (CBS))
Elizabeth enlists the help of a Hollywood starlet to free victims of human traffickers in Kyrgyzstan. Henry's finds the bomb he's been looking for when his undercover agent brings it to a local mall but uncovers an even deadlier plot.

This episode seems to be speaking directly to the fact that the Trump administration has recently called for gutting the budget for State in preference for military spending and how that could potentially play out. Possibly one of the most depressing episodes of this show in memory.

📺 Madam Secretary, S3 E17 “Convergence”

Convergence, S3 E17 (Madam Secretary (CBS))
When a computer sting uncovers the possible mole in the CIA arms smuggling ring, Elizabeth's questioning of the suspect makes her think that a larger, more dangerous force is behind the operation. Also, Henry worries that the doomsday cult is drugging his embedded operative, and Elizabeth and her State Department staff come up with an unorthodox approach to solving black rhino poaching in Namibia. Enrico Colantoni guest stars.

Interesting to see the solution presented for protecting the black rhino. This is an interesting example of the complexity of the world and both how and why science can be used as a tool to move policy.

📺 Madam Secretary, S3 E16 “Swept Away”

Swept Away, S3 E16 (Madam Secretary (CBS))
Elizabeth's landmark global climate treaty with more than 200 countries is jeopardized when China threatens to back out due to her meeting with an ailing Dalai Lama. Also, Henry worries about his undercover operative's safety, and Jay is surprised when Abby serves him with a custody agreement for their daughter.

📺 Madam Secretary, S3 E15 “Break in Diplomacy”

Break in Diplomacy, S3 E15 (Madam Secretary (CBS))
Elizabeth visits the newly elected President Andrada to advise against withdrawing from the Singapore Interchange agreement. Progress is made on the BoJ compound while Jay looks into Kevin Park's research.

The president of Philippines here is a very thinly veiled version of Donald Trump, and as a result makes it an interesting think piece for considering how other countries are viewing the United States right now.

🎞 Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (RKO Radio Pictures, 1948)

Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (RKO Radio Pictures)
A man and his wife decide they can afford to have a house in the country built to their specifications. It's a lot more trouble than they think. Director: H.C. Potter; Writers: Eric Hodgins (novel); Norman Panama and Melvin Frank; Stars: Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Melvyn Douglas |

It’s always fun to watch classic pictures like this one. They’re such an interesting look back on the subtleties of how the world used to be. This is a great example of when married couples had separate beds, men used shaving brushes, there were shower caps, everyone wore hats, and electric razors were becoming popular. The opening in particular has some interesting social commentary about society, class, and progressiveness. It also has commentary on advertising and people apparently becoming more open to having analysts (therapists).

This even has a snippet about current fashion in home decoration with mentions of a cobbler’s bench, a breakfront, a hooked rug, a pie cooler (whatever that is), and a Martha Washington desk.

An interesting linguistic relic I caught in the opening was a phrase that “New York has 7 millions” [referring to number of people]. Today, most would use the singular million instead.

I could easily see a case one could build for the original book and this film as the likely inspiration and precursors for comedies like The Money Pit (Universal, 1986), Funny Farm (Warner Bros., 1988), and even a bit of Baby Boom (United Artists, 1987).

I’m curious to know in how many movies Cary Grant played an advertising executive. Leading characters with this profession during this time period must have been romantic seeming at the time, but they always give an additional layer of meaning when watching them decades after the fact.

Quotes

Mr. Blandings (in his best pitch-man voice talking about his razor): “I prefer the clean sweep of the tempered steel as it glides over…”
Mrs. Blandings (curtly): “No advertising copy please.”

Bill Cole: “I had no intention of sending you to Reno.”
(At the time Reno was one of the few (only) places to grant divorces.)

Interesting tidbits of history

This was a Dory Schary presentation when he was still at RKO prior to his reign at MGM. The generally great black and white cinematography was by a mid-career prolific journeyman cinematographer James Wong Howe. This also features an appearance of Jason Robards. Robards Sr. that is, father to the more well known Jason Robards, Jr.

Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House

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🎞 Margin Call (Lionsgate, 2012)

Margin Call (Lionsgate)
Follows the key people at an investment bank, over a 24-hour period, during the early stages of the 2008 financial crisis. Director: J.C. Chandor; Writer: J.C. Chandor; Stars: Zachary Quinto, Stanley Tucci, Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Demi Moore

An interesting morality play of sorts. Not quite as compelling as The Big Short. Though there was some finger-pointing and drum beating on the morality issue, it wasn’t nearly as on-the-head as I expected it to be.

More interesting to me would have been some of the backstory of the people letting things slide along the way. I would have liked to know and see more about the last-minute dealmaking a trading firm does when it has an incredibly good idea that it’s not going to be a going concern anymore. Here this piece was sadly brushed under the rug a bit as was the broader effect on the every day consumer.

Watched via Amazon Prime on iPad.

Margin Call, Lionsgate, 2012

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🎞 The Edge of Tomorrow (Warner Bros., 2014)

The Edge of Tomorrow (Warner Bros.)
A soldier fighting aliens gets to relive the same day over and over again, the day restarting every time he dies. Director: Doug Liman; Writers: Christopher McQuarrie (screenplay), Jez Butterworth (screenplay); Stars: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson; Genres: Science Fiction, Adventure, Action

I’ve had this on the HD-DVR for ages and I’m not sure why I’d skipped over it so many times. I should have known that Doug Liman wouldn’t disappoint.

Certainly an entertaining ride for a time-shifting movie in the vein of Groundhog Day (1993) for the time function while more similar to Inception (2010) for the action and drama.

Live. Die. Repeat. The Edge of Tomorrow

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📺 Charlie Rose: GOP Health Care Bill; March Madness

GOP Health Care Bill; March Madness - Charlie Rose (Charlie Rose, 03/15/2017)
Journalists Bret Stephens of the WSJ and Reihan Salam of The National Review on the growing divide within the GOP over health care. A preview of the NCAA's March Madness with NY Times columnist William Rhoden, Washington Post sportswriter John Feinstein, and Joe Nocera of Bloomberg View.

Taking a quick lunch break to exercise the mind a bit.

The discussion on politics here is very smart and sober and lays out a better path for what the Republican party and the executive branch should be doing right now to have a chance to keep their seats in the quickly approaching midterm elections.

I was leery about the NCAA March Madness conversation, but it actually managed to be the shining star of the episode–a difficult task given the strength of the first half!

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📺 The Daily Show with Trevor Noah – Season 22, Ep. 78 – March 8, 2017 – Tressie McMillan Cottom | Comedy Central

The Daily Show, Season 22, Ep. 78 - March 8, 2017 by Trevor Noah (Comedy Central)
The GOP unveils a disastrous replacement for Obamacare, Michelle Wolf details Ivanka Trump's problematic brand of feminism, and Tressie McMillan Cottom discusses "Lower Ed."

The Ivanka takedown was just brutal.

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Celebrity Jeopardy | SNL

Celebrity Jeopardy (Saturday Night Live, Season 40, 2015)
Alex Trebek (Will Ferrell) tries his best to keep contestants Sean Connery (Darrell Hammond), Justin Bieber (Kate McKinnon), Tony Bennett (Alec Baldwin), Burt Reynolds (Norm Macdonald) and Matthew McConaughey (Jim Carrey) in line.

Celebrity Jeopardy!: Kathie Lee, Tom Hanks, Sean Connery, Burt Reynolds | Saturday Night Live

Celebrity Jeopardy!: Kathie Lee, Tom Hanks, Sean Connery, Burt Reynolds (Saturday Night Live, Season 34, 2009)
Kathie Lee Gifford (Kristen Wiig), Tom Hanks, Sean Connery (Darrell Hammond) and Burt Reynolds (Norm Macdonald) take on Alex Trebek (Will Ferrell) in a new round of "Celebrity Jeopardy!"

FBI Simulator | Saturday Night Live

FBI Simulator (Saturday Night Live, Season 41, 2016)
A training exercise puts an agent's (Kenan Thompson) ability to distinguish between a threat (Beck Bennett, Leslie Jones, Jon Rudnitsky) and a harmless civilian (Aidy Bryant, Larry David, Vanessa Bayer, Bobby Moynihan) to the test.

Haunted Elevator (ft. David S. Pumpkins) | Saturday Night Live

Haunted Elevator (featuring David S. Pumpkins) (Saturday Night Live, Oct 23, 2016)
A haunted elevator attraction tries to spook its riders (Beck Bennett, Kate McKinnon) with an original character, David Pumpkins (Tom Hanks). #SNLoween

In preparation for understanding:

Live Q&A: ownCloud contributors create Nextcloud

Live Q&A: ownCloud contributors create Nextcloud by Bryan Lunduke (YouTube)
Ask questions in a live Nextcloud Q&A Hangout with Frank Karlitschek and Jos Poortvliet, moderated by Bryan Lunduke at 18:00 PM Berlin/Amsterdam/Paris time, 10:00 AM Pacific time on June 2nd, 2016.

Nextcloud Q&A Hangout with Frank Karlitschek and Jos Poortvliet, moderated by Bryan Lunduke at 18:00 PM Berlin/Amsterdam/Paris time, 10:00 AM Pacific time on June 2nd, 2016.