Sunday, 25 March 2018

WOODY ALLEN bakes a turkey, and it's not even Thanksgiving

Poor Woody. He's lost the plot. Some critics say his personal life has spilled over into his movies. Well, whatever. WONDERWHEEL lurches along from one cliche' to the next. Tedious is too mild a word. Kate Winslett, married to a schlump (Jim Belushi) should have won an Oscar for over-acting. Justin Timberlake at the hunky lifeguard floats through his part as her picked-up-on-the-beach lover. The rest of the cast is ho-hum. But the plot...

Wonder Wheel, New York (Wikipedia)
Older women married to a shlump falls for a hunky lifeguard. Shlump's unloved and unwanted daughter comes back to the family nest after escaping from gangster ex-husband. He shows up and wants her back. Schlump's ten-year-old kid is an arsonist who sets fires all over the place, including his shrine's outer office. Lifeguard meets sexy daughter and falls in love.  He wants to dump older woman. She ain't happy and gets revenge. She alerts gangster to ex-wife's whereabouts. The action takes place in a saturated-colored Coney Island. It never looked so sad.

But for some reason, we stick with Woody. Every year he makes a movie and every year a lot of his fans go. 'Wonderwheel looked like it was made on the cheap. Sill, it made me nostalgic for the old Woody. Especially 'Manhattan Murder Mystery'. When Diane Keaton and Alan Alda sat in the car and did a stake-out on their suspect, I wanted to jump in with them and get in the game. Well, those days are gone.  WHAAAAA.

Source: personal opinion

After watching those kids march for their lives, and hearing their sad stories, next week's post will be: ACTIVIST MANIFESTO: MARX & ENGELS updated for the 21C

Note on Erkki's comments last week about saturated fats: He'll be happy to know my go-to medical advice, site, MAYO CLINIC, agrees. And here's another bit of good news. A friend and I were having lunch with wine. She dropped a bomb: she said she'd read in a reliable source, that one daily glass of wine was enough to raise the risk of accelerating certain cancers. AAAAARRRRRGGHH.

Note: I must admit I haven't seen any of the late Allen movies. Perhaps I should, if not else, just to have something to argue with Maggy ;-)


Monday, 12 March 2018

HYPOCHONDRIACS UNITE: we have nothing to fear but AI and the NRT

Who could guess that asparagus, or at least the compound, asparagine, that give it its name could help spread cancer? At least that's what a plant-based scientist at Cambridge University claims. Not everyone is on the same page. Other scientists have found that asparagine, and other foods with an amino acid, helps to slow the spread of breast cancer. It seems a lot of the food we eat is dangerous to our health. French fries, for instance, pack a triple whammy: 1. potatoes are BAD for people with high blood-pressure; 2. cooking in oil at high temperatures is a NO-NO. 3. the overdose of salt. That goes for chips too. Sugar is verboten – it causes the insulin to shoot out of the pancreas at an accelerated rate. It is now being compared to tobacco in terms of dangerous. Happy to report that butter, cream, cheese have been taken off the 'AVOID' list. It's been revealed that the research was bogus.

Heart Attack Grill (Photo:
AI I am being touted as being the answer to the answer to health care.  People of a certain age talk about getting a robot caregiver when they are really old.  Don't count on it. They sometimes crap out. And who wants a 400 pound, 5-foot hulking bot stalking around the house. And besides, experts such at as Sherry Turkle, media prof at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), wrote at the end of her book 'Reclaiming Conversation', that AI is the next big threat to us humans.

ALPHABET, the omnipresent tech-giant has got into healthcare with CALICO (an acronym for California Life Company). Its mission: health, well-being and longevity. It's connected with several research groups including, the University of Texas Medical school and the Broad Institute at MIT.

According to their site they are using their core values to guide them on their journey.  Well, good luck. But then there's THERANOS, whose founder is Elizabeth Holmes.  A Stanford University student, she left before she graduated to start her revolutionary nano-blood-testing company. Instead of having to take vials of precious fluid it would only take a pin-prick to get a complete blood profile. Walgreens, the giant drugstore chain, sighed up. Her board consisted of rich guys, including Henry Kissinger, Warren Buffet and Elizabeth. Both the New Yorker and the Wall Street Journal wrote scathing article s about her and her secretive company.. Walgreens backed out.

So fellow Hypochondriac, my advice is do not go online to check your symptoms – you will find a dozen or more fatal disease that fit. And do not buy Merck's Manual of Symptoms – it scarier than any horror book.  But if you cannot resist checking, I recommend the Mayo Clinic site. It has a lot of common sense solutions. And be happy if you don't live in the US where they run medical commercials on TV 24/7. Cheery visuals show happy healthy looking people who must take some serious meds to stay looking that way. A soothing voice tells you how fantastic they are. Then POW. A dead serious voiceover tells all the bad side affects that could occur. They usually end with the disclaimer: in case of (whatever the side affect) or death call the company. Cheers.

Sources: the Net, Wall Street journal, the New Yorker, TV, personal experience

Next week: WOODY ALLEN bakes a turkey and it's not even thanksgiving
Note: poor Woody.  He got forgotten for a couple of weeks, but his last movie deserves to be trashed.

Note: If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Unfortunately, as far as I know, butter, cream, cheese and other saturated fats are not off the hook. Delicious as they are, they are still bad for you, increasing cholesterol and the risk of heart diseases. The research was NOT bogus. The science still stands, despite what you may have read somewhere, or worse yet, seen on the telly.

- Eki

Monday, 5 March 2018

New PROJECT: making the CASE

The Shark and I came up with a project idea and I pitched to Erkki. He had objections. And I could see his point. It's a political 'VOTE' video about American kids and we want to use old footage (in public domain) to illustrate it. Our aim was to be nostalgic,  cheerful and appeal to Independents. Erkki said that's what the Trumpsters (mostly, but not all, Republicans) want: Make America Great Again. He pointed out that life is better now. He's right. Most things are, but not everything. And negative news and views get attention.

Making America Great Again, 1948 (Wikipedia)
For instance, while the infant mortality has dropped in all wealthy countries, the US is at the bottom of a list of  20.On the other hand back then more than twice the number of American infants died at birth than the 6% per 100,000 today. American schools have fallen behind to 14th place from 1st place in the world-ranking - income-inequality is given as the major reason. Between 1950 and 1960 there were 12 children killed at schools compared to 246 children killed in schools between 2000 and 2018. Now the kids at the high school in Parkland, Florida want action on gun control. They created the Twitter hashtag #neveragai and quickly organized  March for our Lives in Washington D.C. The students also confronted politicians and came out on top. 

Michael Moore has just completed a new documentary (1'52”). He compares schools and culture in Europe to those in the US. No. He's not fair and balanced, but some things hit the mark. Our problem is how to make a 'get-out-the VOTE' video using old footage and not fall into the 'Make America Great Again' trap. When bad news gets attention and good news falls flat. Erkki, any ideas?

Sources: OECD school rankings, the Economist, Financial Time Weekend, the Net

Next week: HYPOCHONDRIACS UNITE: you have nothing to fear but AI and the NET
It was scheduled to be posted this week but got lost in my machine. Now the Mac doctor has to find it.

Note: After writing this, Maggy came up with a completely new idea that took my objections into account. It will be different, but i think something we can agree on. Cool. This is how things work out, bouncing the ball back and forth.

-- Eki