Black Panther

I went to the earliest possible show today. The trailers began at 12:00 PM. I got to the ticket window of the multiplex at 11:50 AM and was the only person there. I was a little surprised, so I asked the ticket-seller “Where’s the crowd?” He responded with “It’s Monday. It’s always slow on Mondays.” So I picked a seat and paid $8.52 with tax and a senior discount for my ticket.

Well, that made the experience a little easier. I got inside and found just two people ahead of me in the concession line. I loaded up, paying $14.32 for a medium bag of popcorn and a medium Coke™.

After half-a-dozen trailers that I can’t remember, the movie began about 12:20 PM, and for the next two hours I was thoroughly entertained. The plot isn’t as outlandish or as predictable as I expected it to be from my memory of superhero comics (weird villain out to take over/destroy the world, Ver. 1909). In fact, the villain Killmonger’s goal is perfectly understandable. Not that I was rooting for him, you understand. T’Challa’s character is much more sympathetic.

There are lots of whiz-bang special effects and futuristic gadgets. Shuri is a kick as the head geek and inventor — she’s a far more amusing Q than any one that James Bond ever had. She plays the smart-ass younger sister to King T’Challa perfectly.

She’s only one of several really strong female characters in this film, too. In fact, T’Challa has no male buddies I can remember. He’s surrounded by women and takes their advice quite happily. They’re brave, strong and valiant in battle, too.

I don’t know what awards this movie might get nominated for, but the costume design has to be recognized by the Academy. Not just the flashy suit that the Black Panther wears, either. The warrior’s costumes were wonderful, as were the ones worn by the tribal representatives at T’Challa’s coronation.

Two thumbs up!

#Boycott NRA takes off

United and Delta cut ties with the NRA.

…in abandoning the NRA, the airlines followed car rental giants Avis, Hertz and Enterprise, the Best Western hotel chain, the global insurance company MetLife, and more than a dozen other corporations that have severed affiliations with the gun group in the last two days.

Good. Couldn’t happen to a more worthy bunch of extremists at the top of the organization. We’ve repeatedly been told that most NRA members would go along with sensible curbs on guns, including fixing the gun show loophole, raising minimum ages, and other things meant to reduce the number of unstable people with guns. Their executives, however, have been spouting bizarre claims about their opponents for years. Just yesterday at the annual CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) meeting

[CEO] LaPierre told them “you should be anxious and you should be frightened” about the potential of another Democratic takeover of the House, Senate and White House.

“If they seize power … our American freedoms could be lost and our country will be changed forever,” he said. “The first to go will be the Second Amendment.”

LaPierre spent a significant portion of his remarks warning against the expansion of socialist political ideas, despite the fact that Republicans control both chambers in Congress and the White House…

To his audience this is red meat. Once upon a time CPAC was on the fringes of the Republican Party; now it is the Republican Party, as was obvious when the sitting President gave a live speech to the assembled crowd.

We can hope that the average NRA member enjoys his discounts from the above companies and rises up to say to his organization’s leaders “Enough!” I ain’t bettin’ on it, though.

Trump’s corruption

Forbes magazine has done a deep dive into the President’s real estate holdings and discovered that he’s getting paid approximately 175 million bucks a year in rent from tenants like the government of China and major banks like UBS, Barclays, J P Morgan and Bank of America. Coincidentally (or was it?)

In December, Trump tenants UBS, Barclays and JPMorgan, plus Trump lender Deutsche Bank, got waiver extensions from the Department of Labor that allow them to avoid part of their punishment for illegally manipulating interest rates and foreign exchange rates.

There’s more, of course. Read the article and decide for yourself whether Walgreens’ heavy lobbying of the White House facilitated its merger with Rite-Aid this year, a merger the Obama Administration and its monopoly regulators had declined to approve. Maybe it was on the up-and-up; then again, Walgreens’ brand Duane Reade pays Trump $3.2M per year in rent at his building at 40 Wall Street in NYC. Do you think the regulators knew that?

The man is a grifter and a lawbreaker.

Anyone recognize Karla Bonoff?

She wrote three songs which appeared on Linda Ronstadt’s Hasten Down the Wind album way back in 1976, but she’s also a singer in her own right. She, Kenny Edwards, Andrew Gold and Wendy Waldman formed Bryndle and released several albums over its life. All four were (Gold and Edwards died several years ago) and are solo artists of note.

Here’s Bonoff singing one of her more famous songs.

If you like that you should hunt up her other albums.

Science: what good is it?

Trump is considering privatizing the International Space Station.

You know, that’ll probably play well in Bumf*** where the Trump voters can reliably be found, according to the anthropologists at the New York Times and Washington Post. No future astronauts or engineers or people like that live out in rural America, I’m sure.

When can we get rid of this idiot?