Absolutely fascinating…

Back in November of 1997, William Moldt of Palm Beach County, Florida, disappeared without a trace and, for the years since, no one knows what happened to him.

Now, thanks to Google Earth, they do.

Amanda Watts, Natalie Johnson, and Amanda Jackson provide this absolutely fascinating article for CNN.com which reports on how…

The remains of a man missing for 22 years have been found – thanks to Google Earth

As always, and at the risk of giving it away, Google Earth provided the following picture of a neighborhood in Palm Beach County (I’ve taken this image from the article above):

The submererged car is on the top left side of the pond. See inset.

As you can see in the close up image in the square on the upper left side, what appears to be a car on its side is visible along the bank of this pond.

The vehicle turned out to be Mr. Moldt’s Saturn. The vehicle was lifted from the pond and his remains were found inside.

A tragic situation, certainly, but at least now the family/friends of Mr. Moldt will have closure and now know what became of him.

Do as I say…

One of the more infuriating things one comes across in life is hypocrisy. Most specifically, people who say one thing and do another.

Perhaps the most infuriating hypocrisy is the type you find in politics and, sadly, religion. People who talk about honesty and are the last people in the world you should trust with your money. People who talk about living a pious, religious life and, well…

In these past few days one Jerry Falwell Jr., son of the late, notorious Jerry Falwell, he of the so-called “Moral Majority”, has been in a wee bit of trouble for these very things.

He took over his father’s Liberty University and is a (who would’a guessed) strong supporter of “President” Donald Trump and talks about all the things that get religious conservatives’ blood pumping. How liberals are evil and sin so very much. How you have to follow the bible. How homosexuality/lesbianism is evil. How low taxes are wonderful and social services are bad.

You know the drill.

Thing is, Mr. Falwell Jr. is starting to feel pressure. People once in his circles (or perhaps still are, I dunno), are starting to whisper about his own… hypocrisy.

The latest salvo against him involves a trip he made to The Wall Club in Miami in 2014. Photos surfaced of him within the club and he vehemently denied being there on that date and with his son. He went so far as to publish an article in Politico stating that the photograph showing him in the club was “Photoshopped”. He is pissed because a religious conservative such as himself would never stoop so low as to go to a heathen, Bacchanal club such as that one. Never, never, NEVER

Well…

The problem with making such vehement denials and by implication accusing those who presented the photograph that showed you in this *ahem* position is that they may take umbrage at being called liars who Photoshop someone into their photographs to tear a “good man” down.

In fact, they may take such umbrage at this accusation that they decide to go back to their files from that day back in 2014 and see if maybe, just maybe, they have even more pictures which show our good “Christian” moralist in this club that he swears he would never set foot in and anyone accusing him of doing such a thing are liars with Photoshop skills.

…and maybe when searching through those pictures, they happen to find few more more showing Mr. Moral Majority right there, exactly in the club he swears he would never be in. And maybe, just maybe, when they do find these additional pictures they post them online for everyone to see…

Rebuke to Jerry Falwell Jr.’s comments to Politico’s “Someone’s gotta tell the truth”

Here’s the thing: There is no law against absolute moralists like Jerry Falwell Jr. and his son going to a popular Miami club. There is nothing wrong with him being there and drinking a little and (perhaps) dancing a little and having a fun time.

It’s not like these photos show him groping an underage boy or doing a line of cocaine or reaching for money to pay a well known prostitute as she’s unzipping his pants.

All we see here is Mr. Falwell Jr. and his son in a popular club alongside many other partiers. No big deal, right?

Sadly, for people like Jerry Falwell Jr., even showing up at such a “heathen” establishment runs counter to his strict, moralistic facade.

And, based on the photographs, it is a facade.

Had Mr. Falwell simply come out and said: “Yeah, back then I went to a club in Miami with my son and it was glitsy and loud and I didn’t really like it all that much and wouldn’t go there again” you wouldn’t have this mini-blow up.

He would likely be lying. He doesn’t look like he’s having a bad time at the club and what exactly did he expect to find there?

But it might have saved him this fresh embarrassment.

Well, that was painful…

This feels like something someone says at one of those meetings devoted to making you sober. The first step is usually admitting your problem:

My name is E.R. Torre, and I’m a Dolphin fan.

The rest of the people in the meeting room react with extreme horror. There are limits to helping people, and clearly I’m in need of a lot of help.

Today, of course, was the first Sunday of the 2019 Football season and for those that don’t know, my Dolphins played the Baltimore Ravens and got their asses totally pounded. The final score was 59-10 and it was every bit as bad as that score implies.

There was no offense. There was precious little defense. The team is a mess… and it was pretty much designed to be that way.

See, the Dolphins, since the departure of Don Shula and, a little later, quarterback Dan Marino, have been in this unrelenting funk. When Shula was coach and Marino quarterback, the Dolphins were a year after year SuperBowl contender. They were always in the playoffs and always seemed to be a legit candidate to make it to the big game.

But that was a very long time ago. The Dolphins, since Marino’s departure, seem to always be 7-9 to 9-7. There are a few exceptions, including a season where they went a ghastly 1-15, but they seem to always be stubbornly mediocre. Just being cut out of the playoffs and being just good enough so that their draft picks usually amount to not all that much.

Its been a sad state of affairs and, it seems, the owner and new Coach decided it was time to stop being mediocre and start the team from the ground up. To purge it of everyone and built it up again, younger and through the draft.

Which means this year, for all intents and purposes, is a season where they’re not expecting to win all that much.

Thing is, there’s a point where you’re not very good and where you’re purposely become horrible.

Maybe this first game is an aberration and they wind up winning a few games, say 3-4, in the season. Still wind up at the bottom and get good draft picks which they use to build themselves up.

At this point, though, and based on this first game, it sounds like they’re be lucky to do even that.

As I mentioned above, the Dolphins once went 1-15.

This year, there’s a very real chance they go 0-16.

How many fans remain after that?

Do you vape…?

Maybe you should stop.

Shannon Palus at Slate.com offers the following article concerning the rash of illnesses which are now appearing and seem to have a common denominator: People who vape.

What’s going on with these mysterious Vaping-related illnesses?

I’ve noted before that I don’t smoke. When I was younger, like most young foolish people, did try out cigarettes. Thankfully, I never got into it and, after trying it out a couple of times, simply gave up on it.

I’m thankful because in my later 20’s I developed an incredible allergy to cigarette smoke, to the point where my sinus blows up painfully and I sometimes came down with debilitating migraines that literally sent me to the bathroom to throw up or were so painful I had to get in bed to let their effect wear off.

Anyway, I’m glad I never got into smoking and, based on the above, maybe its best that those who are into vaping pause their behavior with that as well.

At least until they figure out what’s causing these illnesses.

Better to be safe than sorry, for certain.

Deep Insecurity…

So the other day, “President” Donald Trump was briefed about the projected path of Hurricane Dorian. Here’s a photograph of that projection and our illustrious leader looking at the graphic. This was the original graphic by the way…

Trump Dorian briefing 2

Here’s a close up of the actual graphic:

Hurricane Dorian

Pretty clear, no?

Welp, “President” Donald Trump goes on to state that, among other states in potential danger is… Alabama. Very promptly, NOAA issues a statement saying Alabama is NOT in danger from this storm. And later on “President” Trump shows up with this chart to PROVE that Alabama was indeed in danger…

U.S. President Donald Trump looks at a tracking forecast map on Hurricane Dorian as he receives a status report on the storm in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., September 4, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Can’t make it out? Here’s a close up:

Image result for trump weather map

See that black line at the end of the projected path, the one that bulges out and has Alabama now in its…

…sigh…

I just don’t know anymore. Look, Donald, you made a freaking mistake. Nothing big. Hell, if one were to take the original not-childishly-altered chart and project the movement of the storm forward, you could argue that Alabama might be in danger and, hell, a true adult would say so and say its good that Alabama isn’t in the path after all and, hey, no biggie.

Subsequent projections showed the storm didn’t take the path illustrated here after all, and that is what these things are: Projections which can be proven wrong in time (this is why, by the way, the final few projections in these charts are presented without the solid white background. They are far more theoretical at that point).

But no, childish Donald just had to prove when he said Alabama was in danger he was right, dammit, and the evidence he submits to prove it is this outrageously and obviously altered projection map with a (control your laughter) marker line added in to show/justify Donald’s statement that Alabama was in some kind of danger after all.

This is the United States today, folks.

I repeat: Sigh.

Hurricane Dorian some more…

It seems like the past few weeks have been nothing more than updates and fears regarding Hurricane Dorian.

As of today, the storm is moving generally northwardly after coming to a deadly stop over the Bahamas and, with its category 5 status, lingered there for nearly two full days.

It breaks my heart to think of the damage and loss of life which we will surely read about in the coming days and, given how close I personally live to that area, also think that I -and the people around here- were incredibly lucky.

Over at CNN.com, Patrick OppmannMadeline Holcombe and Jason Hanna have the following grim article:

The death toll in the Bahamas is likely to rise as Hurricane Dorian recovery begins, authorities say

I hope this proves not to be the case but, given the devastation we’ve seen so far, I suspect its sadly all too possible.

TMI…?

If you don’t know what the header means, its and abbreviation for “too much information”. In other words, if you were to say something in conversation, something very personal and perhaps more than a little embarrassing, someone might respond “TMI, man, TMI!”

One of the more interesting films that are about to be released is the latest Terminator film, Terminator: Dark Fate. The reason there is interest in the film is that for the first time since Terminator 2, actor Linda Hamilton returns to the role she is best remembered for, Sarah Connors. Sarah Connors was the target of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator in the first -and in my humble opinion best of the franchise films. She proved a tough as nails protective mother in the second film, ensuring her son would survive to protect mankind in the future.

There were several Terminator films that followed this one. Terminator 3 featured Arnold Schwarzenegger but not Linda Hamilton. In fact, if memory serves her character had supposedly passed away. Terminator: Salvation featured none of the original movie actors but Linda Hamilton did provide some uncredited voice-work in the film. Terminator: Genysis featured the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator and I felt the explanation for why he looked so much older was pretty clever. Alas, despite a decent first act -and some of the second act- the film truly went off the rails in its finale.

Thing is, every Terminator film past Terminator 2 did not feature director/writer James Cameron’s input and another part of the reason one may feel cautiously optimistic about this latest Terminator is that he’s back as a producer and was involved in the movie’s story.

Anyway, so I’m curious to see if this film will somehow be what most of the other post Terminator 2 sequels couldn’t, ie good, but that’s not why I’m writing about it.

Remember way, way back when I wrote about TMI?

Welp, Cole Delbyck at Huffington Post writes about how…

Linda Hamilton has been celibate for more than 15 years: “I love my alone time.”

Sadly, I can sorta/kinda see how this bit of information made it to the public: On a press/promotion junket, Linda Hamilton is interviewed by many about the movie and what she’s been doing the past few years. While she’s worked in the movie/TV industry pretty consistently, this is the first time in many years she’s returned to a very prominent starring role, and in what is her biggest role of her career.

I can see one of the interviewers asking her what she’s been up to and, gossipy question follows, who are you currently seeing?

And I suppose that’s where the TMI comes in. Ms. Hamilton probably doesn’t care at this stage of her life what is written about her. She’s noted that she purposely moved away from the spotlight because she didn’t feel comfortable there. Perhaps the response -and the too detailed information about her personal life- were calculated to get people talking about her and, therefore, about the film.

Who knows.

Still, and perhaps its the prude lurking in me (and that’s on me), but it seems when the question was asked she could have simply said she’s not seeing anyone currently and left it at that.

Then again, we wouldn’t be talking about her, and Terminator: Dark Fate, would we?

Is the new Joker movie any good…?

Since the announcement a while back that Martin Scorsese was involved in some kind of Joker film in the capacity of a Executive Producer (this was not to be), to the news that Todd Phillips, best known for the Hangover films, was set to direct this film and that it would star Joaquin Phoenix in the titular role, people have been curious, to say the least, as to what kind of film this would be.

We got photographs of Phoenix dressed in a gawdy, almost Batman-TV show-esq Joker costume, so it appeared they weren’t going for the prosthetic look of Jack Nicholson. But neither did it appear they were going for the grungy Heath Ledger version…

Related image

Intriguing stuff, certainly, and then we got trailers…

I wasn’t sure what to think of this new Joker film. On the one hand, Joaquin Phoenix is without a doubt a very high level actor, one who has received plenty of praise for his abilities. On the other hand, Todd Phillips, though he scored big with the first Hangover film, which my wife absolutely loves, also was responsible for Hangover II and III, films which were sooooo damn bad (as much as my wife likes the first film, she hates the other two. Alas, I’ve only seen the last two, which I agree are horrid).

Welp, the film had its world-premiere on August 31st at the Venice Film Festival and the reactions have, for the most part, been quite positive. Christopher Campbell on rottentomatoes.com offers the following article which encapsulates critical reaction to the film, which is still a month away from being given a general release. The article’s headline is quite positive:

Joker First Reviews: Give Joaquin Phoenix the Oscar, already

As intrigued by the film as I am, I’m not certain if I’ll be able to catch it upon its initial release. As I’ve noted too often, I don’t have the free time to go to films as much as I’d like to lately, and the fact that this sounds like something of a downer of a film (which is perfectly fine!) means I’ll likely have to go see it alone. My wife faces enough of that in her job so its highly unlikely she’ll care to go see this film.

One of the more intriguing things I’ve read and which are noted in the above article is that the film seems to pay tribute to two Martin Scorsese films in particular, Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy. Some have speculated that the film was originally an attempt to remake/update one or both of those films and the concept was married to the character of the Joker.

It’s still an intriguing concept, I feel.

Let’s see what others think of it when it is formally released.

2019 Summer Movies in the Rear-View Mirror

There have been very, very good summer movie seasons littered with great and interesting films and there have been other summers that didn’t connect quite that well.

Entering September, Autumn is just around the proverbial corner (it officially begins on September 23rd) and school has begun for most if not all students in the U.S.

What better time to look back and the Summer Movie Season of 2019 and assess it?

Matthew Jacobs over at Huffington Post does just that, and his views parallel my own:

Let’s face it: The 2019 Summer Movie Season was dreadful

Man, do I agree with almost everything he writes in this article. From his notes regarding Disney, the big winner at the box office not only for summer, but for the entire year, to the fact that too many sequels didn’t connect and there were almost no comedies that found interest among audiences.

Thinking about the summer movie season, we started with Avengers: Endgame, the concluding chapter of the “phase 1” Marvel films. I have yet to see the film, though I fully intend to, but it made a great deal of money during its release yet, curiously, it feels to me like it was a big splash in a rather shallow pool.

I don’t see people analyzing this or that about the film, it seems like they watched it, enjoyed it, and moved on to the next big thing. Disney, of course, doesn’t care if the film is five years down the road looked upon as some kind of modern movie masterpiece. Especially when they pulled in as much money as they did from its initial and second run.

From there, though, things get sketchy.

Disney did well, also with Aladdin, The Lion King, and Toy Story 4 but, once again, I’m getting this feeling that the films were seen, enjoyed, made their money, but they won’t linger too long in the public consciousness afterwards. Toy Story in particular feels like its been played out and I wonder how much longer Disney will be able to make “live action” versions of their animated films before people lose interest in that.

I could go on and on, but I fear I’m going to start cribbing more and more ideas presented so well in Mr. Jacobs’ article and there seems little point in doing so.

So if you have a moment or two and are one of those film geeks like me and want a rundown of the stuff that worked, and didn’t, in the Summer of 2019, click on the link above.

It’s interesting stuff.

Death of Rock Legends…

Rather depressing article I stumbled upon written by Damon Linker and presented on the week.com regarding…

The coming death of every Rock Legend

As they say, time ticks on, for wealthy and poor, and the reality is that most of the “biggest” rock legends, those who emerged in the 1960’s and 70’s, are getting awfully old. Some, like David Bowie, Lou Reed, and Tom Petty, have already passed, while its only a matter of time for many, many others.

At the risk of giving away the article, this paragraph illustrates only too well the current situation regarding many rock stars of that era:

Behold the killing fields that lie before us: Bob Dylan (78 years old); Paul McCartney (77); Paul Simon (77) and Art Garfunkel (77); Carole King (77); Brian Wilson (77); Mick Jagger (76) and Keith Richards (75); Joni Mitchell (75); Jimmy Page (75) and Robert Plant (71); Ray Davies (75); Roger Daltrey (75) and Pete Townshend (74); Roger Waters (75) and David Gilmour (73); Rod Stewart (74); Eric Clapton (74); Debbie Harry (74); Neil Young (73); Van Morrison (73); Bryan Ferry (73); Elton John (72); Don Henley (72); James Taylor (71); Jackson Browne (70); Billy Joel (70); and Bruce Springsteen (69, but turning 70 next month).

Oh my.

(Note Paul McCartney is listed but the other surviving Beatles bandmate, Ringo Starr, who is 79, is not listed!)

And as I was thinking about the people listed above, I couldn’t help but recall some people not on the list.

For example, how about Fleetwood Mac’s classic Rumours lineup? We’ve got Stevie Nicks (71), Lindsey Buckingham (69), Christie McVie (76), Mick Fleetwood (72), and John McVie (73).

Who else? How about the original members of Yes? Jon Anderson (74), Steve Howe (72), and Rick Wakeman (70).

Let’s move along to the original members of KISS. Paul Stanley is 67 (relatively young!). Gene Simmons is 70, Peter Criss is 74, and Ace Frehley is 68.

What about the members of Black Sabbath? Ozzy Ozbourne is 70. Tony Immi is 71. Bill Ward is 71. Geezer Butler is 70.

One more: The surviving members of The Cars (Benjamin Orr, the band’s bassist and lead singer on many of their biggest hits, including Drive, passed away from cancer in 2000): Ric Ocasek is 70. Elliot Easton is a very young 65, Greg Hawkes is 66, and David Robinson is 70.

I could go on and on, listing members of various bands or famous singers, and depress myself all the more about their ages and the fact that we will indeed, likely in the next decade or so, see many of these people pass.

It’s articles like this one that make what could be a bright and beautiful day all the more sobering. Enjoy life while you can!