Do people really do this?

In Sri Lanka, some people who are highly concerned about hygiene have developed the skill of pouring liquid from a container straight into their mouths without their lips touching it. Sometimes people do this even if they are served in a glass, because they fear that the rim of the glass may be unclean. I would not be surprised if this practice has its roots in the odious caste system that said that touching anything touched by supposedly ‘low caste’ people made you unclean.

But I have observed the other extreme many times in films and on TV in the US. Someone opens the refrigerator in a home, takes out a carton or bottle of milk or juice, and then drinks straight from it, putting their lips to the mouth of the container. This is even when the people live in a home they share with family members who presumably use the same container. This strikes me as pretty gross. But I have seen it so many times that I think it must be more common that I would have expected.

Is that the case?

Film review: Fahrenheit 11/9 (2018)

This latest offering from documentary filmmaker Michael Moore looks at the election of Donald Trump as president and asks the question: How the hell did that happen?

He says that the precursor to Trump was Rick Snyder who, a businessman with no political experience who won the Michigan governorship in 2010 on promises much like Trump’s, that his background in business was what the state needed. He then proceeded to run the state for the benefit of the wealthy, gutting democracy by putting major cities in the state under a state of emergency and installing how own people as administrators to run them, sidelining the local elected officials.
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Cue cards

One of the things that surprise me is that hand-written cue cards are still used on some live TV shows. I would have thought that teleprompters with giant screens and lettering would have replaced a person standing in front and whipping out one card after another. Via Rusty Blazenhoff I came across this video of how Saturday Night Live uses cue cards, as narrated by their head cue card person. He makes a good point that since the show is live, they cannot afford the risk of a teleprompter glitch and that the old fashioned cue cards are fail safe.

Heaven is in vogue these days

I have written before about the TV comedy The Good Place and now there is apparently another one called Miracle Workers. I have not seen the latter show because it is on a network that I don’t get but it is based on a novel of the same name by Simon Rich that I read recently. Both shows take an irreverent attitude to the idea of an afterlife but while the The Good Place takes this as an opportunity to examine the question of what ethics and morality consists of and leaves gods out of the picture entirely, Miracle Workers focuses on the life of god and the people who work for him, mainly those who work in the Department of Answered Prayers.
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Katherine Helmond (1929-2019)

The actress has died at the age of 89. In a long career as a stage and screen and TV actor and director, she may be best remembered as part of a terrific ensemble cast in the prime time parody of daytime soap operas called, appropriately enough Soap, that ran from 1977 through 1981. It was utterly hilarious must-see TV until its last season when it succumbed to the disease of shows that run too long when the plots become increasingly absurd even for a parody and the quality of the writing weakens.
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Oscar nominees for Best Picture

This Sunday will be the Academy Awards show that I never watch because not only do I hate awards shows in general but apart from everything else, the awards are often given to those films that have the biggest backing by their producers who spend a vast amount of energy and money promoting their films and undermining the competition. Marlow Stern and Kevin Fallon look back on the history of such vicious campaigns that were often successful in achieving their goals. They say that disgraced mogul Harvey Weinstein was one of the worst culprits.
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Bruno Ganz (1941-2019)

The Swiss character actor died last week at the age of 77. Many people may not be aware of him. I myself saw him in only one film late in his career. But he achieved YouTube immortality because his serious role in the 2004 German film Downfall, where he played Hitler in the last days in his bunker, became a meme, with English ‘subtitles’ of his words made up to reflect current events.
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How Brexit happened and what lies next

Over the weekend I watched the film Brexit: An Uncivil War starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Dominic Cummings, the brains behind the original Leave campaign. I must admit that I had not heard of Cummings before I saw this film. He seems to be someone who keeps a low profile and after running the campaign has largely disappeared again, leaving others to pick up the debris. The film highlights the use of data-mining people’s online activities to find out what drives them and targeting ads to exploit their fears, especially those who had dropped out of the system and no longer voted.
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