Reading Some More Tea Leaves

Tom Friedman of the New York Times is one of my least favorite people.  And the last thing I want to do is provide the NY Times with clicks.  But the teaser was just so delicious I couldn’t resist:

“I’m struck at how many people have come up to me recently and said, “Trump’s going to get re-elected, isn’t he?” And in each case, when I drilled down to ask why, I bumped into the Democratic presidential debates in June. I think a lot of Americans were shocked by some of the things they heard there. I was.”

And Friedman was far from the only panicky lefty begging the Democrat voters not to jump on the Crazy Train to Bizarro World.  That’s the place where $37 trillion green new deals come to life and send Democrat candidates over the rainbow but not into the White House.

Here are the links but don’t feel obligated to click.  I’ve suffered so you don’t have to.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/16/opinion/trump-2020.html

https://www.oregonlive.com/politics/2019/07/political-tastemakers-try-to-warn-democratic-voters-dont-go-too-far-left-if-you-want-to-beat-donald-trump.html

Looking at today’s RealClearPolitics poll numbers Creepy Uncle Joe Biden seems to have regained his large lead in all the primary polls available.  Now whether this is manufactured or not is always very hard to tell since gaslighting is their principal stock in trade.  After all the drama last week I was very curious to see if one of the zanier candidates like Booker or Beto might have benefitted from the show of solidarity for the Four Horsefaces of the Apocalypse by the House.

But anyway you slice it, less crazy Democrats are getting very worried that the nuttier positions that all the Democrat candidates have agreed with (e.g., full healthcare for illegal aliens) will scare away all moderates and independents.  And they should be scared.  Especially when we know that the next debate coming up will be powered by the rage engendered by President Trump’s masterful trolling of Ilhan Omar.  Without a doubt illegal immigration will be an important subject and nutty things are bound to come out.  And in that crowd, there will be a strong temptation to say way too much.

But maybe Friedman’s column and the other ones are a signal that cooler heads are already applying the brakes to the Crazy Train and that the next debate will be more about demonstrating the moderate and statesmanlike behavior that Creepy Uncle Joe displays whenever he’s tied to the two-wheeler and they remember to use both the bite mask and straitjacket.

This should be a very interesting week.  On Tuesday Boris Johnson will be appointed leader of the Tories and that will mean he’ll be Prime Minister as soon as they can get him a sword or powdered wig or whatever.  Johnson has sworn to complete Brexit by Halloween.  Well, that’s right around the corner so he’s going to have to get his butt in gear ASAP.  Making it happen will be far from a cakewalk so there may be fireworks on the horizon.

But the week after this is the next Dem debate.  And as I described above, it will be seen whether the grownups are back in charge or the lunatics are still running the asylum.  My money has been with the grownups and if I’m right Biden will have a very good night.  But, of course, what I’d prefer is for Spartacus or Mayor Pete to put his pinky next to the corner of his mouth and in his best Dr. Evil impression declare that he will demand that America pay “one googol dollars!” in reparations to everyone who doesn’t work for a living and won’t vote for Donald Trump.

I have to confess the last few weeks have been confusing but I’m encouraged by just how much naked fear is being expressed by the Progressives who have jobs in the Media.  I think they know that a second term will put an end to the success of the “Oust-Trump” bandwagon that they’ve been living off for the last three years.  They’re desperate and they know if the crazies run this campaign their goose is cooked.  Well, I think their goose is cooked regardless.  But fear, uncertainty and disinformation (FUD) is always wonderful when it’s running loose in the enemy camp.  “Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war.”

Texas Takes Steps Against Woke City Governments

San Antonio doesn’t think Chick-fil-A is sufficiently respectful of the LGBTQ agenda so they banned them from doing business at the San Antonio airport.  But Texas still has a majority of non-Leftists so Governor Abbott worked with the legislature to approve a law that forbids local government from punishing businesses for their religious beliefs

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/chick-fil-a-law-texas-governor-signs-law-prohibiting-adverse-actions-due-to-religious-views/

We need more states to bear down on the lefty cities in their jurisdictions.  The people in the conservative hinterlands will enjoy that immensely.

 

The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 5 Episode 1 – In Praise of Pip

Jack Klugman plays Max Philips a small-time bookie who lives in a cheap rooming house and works for a small-time hood named Moran.  The episode opens up with Max’s son Pip being carried into a field hospital in Vietnam.  The young soldier has been shot in the stomach while on patrol and the medic is sending him up the line to a real hospital to attempt to save his life through surgery.  But his prognosis is bleak.

We meet Max in his apartment and even though he is a crook we see the human side of him talking to his old landlady, Mrs. Feeney, and asking if any mail has come from his son Pip.  Next we meet one of his “clients,” a young man named George who stole $300 from his job to bet on a horse that lost.  He tells Max that if he can’t give the money back, he’ll go to jail.  Max seems very cynical and unsympathetic about all this.

In the next scene we are at Moran’s apartment where Max hands over his profits to his boss.  But Moran says that Max has stiffed him the $300 George owed.  Apparently, Max let him off the hook.  But Moran heard about it and sent a thug to beat the money out of George.  Both of them enter the apartment.  Now Max gets a phone call from his landlady telling him a telegram has arrived for him.  Max asks her to read it to him over the phone.  The telegram is from the Army stating that Pip was critically wounded and not expected to live.

Now Max regrets his whole shabby life and all of the times he neglected Pip while he was living his life of crime and drunkenness.  He throws George the $300 and tells him to leave but the thug blocks the door and reaches into his jacket.  Max pulls a knife and warns Moran to call off his goon.  But the gunman fires his gun and Max knifes both him and his boss allowing George to escape.

Max staggers away from the building.  He’s been shot in the gut and he’s reeling from the news that his son is dying.  He pours out his regrets and then begs God for the chance to talk to Pip.

Now we jump to the hospital where Pip is being treated.  After his surgery the surgeon tells the nurse that if Pip can last the next hour he should survive.

Walking into the deserted amusement park Max sees Pip but as the ten-year-old boy (played by Bill Mumy) who idolized him as his best friend.  In this dream vision they relive all the fun they had together riding the rides and playing the carnival games.  But after an hour Pip suddenly looks bleakly at Max and runs away.  Max runs after him and follows him into the House of Mirrors.  After frantically chasing Pip, Max hears Pip telling him the hour’s up and he has to leave because he’s dying.

Max staggers out onto the now deserted midway and begs God for another favor.  He asks Him to take Max’s life and spare Pip.  And then Max crumples to the ground.

In the next scene Private Pip Philips in uniform and walking with a cane is accompanying Mrs. Feeney and a young female relative of hers into the amusement park.  From the conversation we learn that Max died a few months before.  And as Pip relives the amusement park of his youth, he demonstrates the fond memories he has of Max.

This episode is a shameless and transparent attack on the audience’s heartstrings.  The whole setup is meant to elicit an emotional response using several of the oldest tropes in Hollywood; the gangster with a heart of gold, the dying child and the appeal to God.  But it’s also very effective.  I alternate between condemning it for rank sentimentality and praising it for the effectiveness of the melodrama.  Also, Jack Klugman and Bill Mumy?  How can you go wrong with that?  I’ll call this an A-.

Destination Moon – An OCF Classic Movie Review

The 1950 motion picture Destination Moon is in several aspects an odd duck.  It was an independent production under George Pal’s control.  He worked with Robert A Heinlein to adapt his novel Rocket Ship Galileo into a screen play.  In point of fact the plot changes involved make the movie and the book completely different stories.  For Pal who would go on to make such sci-fi classics as War of the Worlds, The Time Machine and When Worlds Collide this was a chance to make a realistic space flight movie with Heinlein providing the scientific accuracy.

After a government project to build an advanced rocket motor is sabotaged and abandoned a plan is hatched to overcome the loss of government funding in rocket design by recruiting patriotic business leaders to pool their resources to pay for and build a Moon rocket.  General Thayer and Dr. Charles Cargraves were the moving force behind the earlier government project and Jim Barnes is the principal industrialist who uses his aircraft design facilities to build the atomic powered rocket.  Along with Joe Sweeney who provides radio and communication expertise (along with Brooklyn-accented comic relief) these men will be the crew to travel back and forth to the Moon.

When local bureaucracy threatens to tie up the launch in the courts, the team decides to launch immediately.  Just as the sheriffs are arriving to serve the launch injunction the crew is riding the elevator up to the cockpit.  The ship takes off and the crew gets to experience the pain of eight gee take off acceleration and the nausea associated with zero gravity conditions.  Shortly after taking off they discover the need to do a space walk to repair equipment.  One of the astronauts carelessly allows his magnetic boots to become separated from the ship’s hull while not holding onto his tether and begins floating away from the ship.  One of his mates has to use an oxygen cylinder as a makeshift rocket to rendezvous with the lost man and bring him back.

As the rocket approaches the Moon, errors in the navigation (or should I say astrogation) force the crew to expend to much reaction mass from the rocket to land in their planned destination.  Mission control on Earth begins calculating how much weight must be removed from the ship to balance the reduced capacity of the ship’s fuel load.

Meanwhile the crew investigates the Moon.  The first thing they do is claim the Moon for the United States (for the good of all mankind).  Using a Geiger counter General Thayer discovers large deposits of uranium.  Later on, one of the astronauts takes a picture of Joe Sweeney holding his arm up in such away that it looks like he is holding up Earth in the sky behind him.

The calculations on the fuel are distressing.  The ship has to be lightened by over a ton.  The crew starts removing everything that isn’t required to get the ship back to Earth.  But even after sawing off any metal components of the ship that can be removed, they’re still short by one hundred ten pounds.

Barnes, Cargraves and Thayer realize that someone has to stay behind and each one of them tries to convince the other two that he is the one to stay based on authority, age or responsibility.  Meanwhile Sweeney takes it upon himself to take the last space suit and leave the ship.  He tells them to leave without him.  But Barnes figures out a trick to get them below the weight limit.  With a rat-tailed file Sweeney puts a notch in the outer door frame of the air lock.  A heavy oxygen cylinder is hung outside the ship from a line that runs through the notch in the door.  With the door closed the airlock is pressurized with only a slow leak from the notch.  Then Sweeney ties the space suit to the other end of the line.  Once Sweeney reenters the ship the outer door is opened and the weight of the cylinder drags the space suit out the door.  Then the ship launches back to Earth.

And the movie ends with the words THE END followed by “of the Beginning.”

Destination Moon is a landmark.  It is the first reasonably accurate portrayal of actual space flight.  Coming nineteen years before Apollo 11 it is remarkably realistic.  Now as cinema it definitely isn’t King Lear or even King Kong but it’s excellent propaganda for a space program.  And it does contain all the correct tropes of the time.  If you are a sci-fi fan this movie is a must see.