Saturday, January 25, 2020

Sundance 2020: Getting More Colorful Every Year

The Sundance Film Festival 2020 opened Thursday in Park City. Thus begins 10 days of the 36th annual “fest” around here. In years past the Festivals kickoff began with Robert Redford, president and founder of the Sundance Institute, giving his annual Day One speech. This year he was replaced with a “Day One Press Kit.”

Sundance skipped its traditional opening day press conference where Redford, the festival's ever-sunny face, has presided since the 1980s. Last year, Redford made only a brief cameo at the press conference and said he would be stepping back. “We’re at a point where I can move on to a different place,” Redford said then.

Robert Redford SundanceHe looks like he’s already got one foot in “another place

Each year thousands of visitors, some with famous faces, most not, pour into this small mountain town where they book up every hotel room, throw huge parties, overrun local restaurants and bars and literally take over many local businesses to create temporary “hangouts.” Although it’s a nightmare for local residents trying to go about their daily lives Sundance is a boon to the local economy.

Honestly though, Utah’s local economy hardly needs a boost: the state’s unemployment rate is the lowest ever recorded - 2.3% – which ties for the lowest in the nation. And the state led the country in non-farm job creation last year at 3.1% which is more than double the national rate. (Shout out to President Trump! But keep you head low, this is Sundance.)

I always find it amusing that the industry that revels in deriding capitalism in all its forms of “big industry” other than Big Entertainment comes with such an excess of, well, capitalism.  Case in point, the virtual take over of Park City’s Main Street where this year’s licensees include giants from the entertainment, digital, alcohol and automobile industries:

• Silvercar/Audi, 2300 Deer Valley Drive

• TNT, TBS and HBO Docs, 306 Main St.

• Heineken USA, 710 Main St.

• The Walt Disney Company, 738 Main St.

• Fox Searchlight, 675 Main St.

• Tao, 1251 Kearns Blvd.

• Stella Artois, 1251 Kearns Blvd.

• Mastercard International, 427 Main St.

• Nestle Coffee/Chameleon Cold Brew, 427 Main St.

• Los Angeles Chargers, 710 Main St.

• CNN, 562 Main St.

• HBO, 268 Main St., 804 Main St. and 306 Main St.

• Kia Motors America, 890 Main St.

• Molson Coors Brewing Company/Peroni, 890 Main St.

• Facebook, 801 Main St. and 804 Main St.

• Apple/NVE, 657 Park Ave.

For a hefty fee these corporate entities obtain licenses from the city to temporarily lease local businesses for their purposes, mostly promotion. Some are for private entertainment purposes and some are open to the public offering food, drink and free logo merchandise (looty). It’s a boon to local businesses who charge these corporate entities exorbitant rates for a 10 day rental; some say it pays their rent for the entire year and without it they couldn’t afford to operate on Main Street – where rents themselves are exorbitant.

Many of the corporate interests return annually for Sundance with elaborate remodels that involve dismantling the inside of a temporarily leased space, rebuilding to their own specifications and then returning the space to its pre-fest appearance. Park Record

This is the normally staid Meyer Art Gallery, temporarily repainted hot pink and purple for whatever temporary LGBTQ+ purpose it will serve.

Don’t think for a minute that these people aren’t providing social value however: first of all they are doing their bit for diversity, apparently the holy grail of not just the U.S. Congress but also the movie industry:

In December, when Sundance unveiled its slate, the festival touted its statistics of filmmakers as it gets closer to reaching its goal of gender parity. Out of the 90 directors of the 66 films in the five competition categories (U.S. narrative and docs, World narrative and docs and NEXT categories), 40 percent are women, 40 percent are people of color and 9 percent are LGBTQ+. 

And of course they are tuned into politics:

"As we head into an election year, freedom of the press, and freedom of expression more broadly, are facing very serious threats in the U.S. and around the world.”

So says Keri Putnam, Sundance executive director, without a whit of irony. Of course the threat she and the Hollywood ilk is worried about comes from their competition, the streaming services:

But increasingly, content is being selected by only a handful of globally dominant entities and served up by algorithms designed to keep you watching," Putnam said.

Again, not a whit of irony. That’s what I love about Sundance: complete obliviousness.

Stay tuned: as the impeachment grinds on I will be providing alternate programming including coverage of Hillary’s attendance at her 45th biopic premiere later today, as well as a movie review of the Obama’s first movie for Netflix premiering at this year’s fest, “Crip Camp.” Yep, that’s short for “cripple,” because when you carry the Race Card, membership has its privileges.

Image result for obamas race cardPlus other projects worthy of a mention:

This year’s lineup of more than 100 movies also features a Gloria Steinem biopic, non-fiction films about the ACLU and March for Our Lives and a horror movie about a killer black weave that doubles as an allegory about racial inequality.  Variety

A killer black weave that doubles as an allegory about racial inequality?” Disappointing - I don't even have to write my own material anymore.

Friday, January 24, 2020


I suspect Melania Trump has grown much wiser since her husband’s election. I bet she could always spot snakes and weasels from a mile out but I suspect now she can also smell them from that range.

Image result for melania trump wedding

I wonder sometimes if she had any idea how dramatically her life would change with her husband’s election. I suspect not, how could she? How could anyone?  Who would ever think that a simple tweet honoring an honorable man:

would become fodder for a late night hack’s mockery of our FLOTUS? Such is today’s cultural milieu.

On the upside I imagine that Melania is relieved she no longer need spend 4 or 5 nights a week pretending to be impressed with the likes of what passes for the social set: a miasma of pols, tycoons and celebrities who all think they could save the world, if they only decided to try.

In fact I like to imagine that Melania is relieved to be able to spend more of her evenings at home with her husband and son, cultivating her other interests. And ignoring all the ignorant and malicious lies told about her and her husband.

I do know that the same media that fawned over how “schtrong” Michelle Obama was, as she whined her way through her husbands 2 terms, is the same media that portrays Melania as meek and complicit. Further proof that they wouldn’t know a strong woman if one bit them on their butt.

Image result for melania trump

I suspect she will ultimately beat them at their own game.

Oh and happy 15th anniversary Mr and Mrs. Donald J. Trump.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Throwback Thursday: Russia/Crimea/Ukraine Edition

We are currently in the throes of an impeachment trial because the Democrats dislike the President’s foreign policy in general and are appalled by his Ukraine policy in particular.

They prefer the Obama administration’s approach to foreign policy with respect to Russia/Ukraine which, if I recall correctly, entailed Obama getting a message to Putin that he would “be more flexible after the election.”

And when Russia invaded Crimea and threatened Ukraine there was Joey B, bragging about withholding Ukrainian aid until the prosecutor investigating Burisma was fired. That’s some fine standup foreign policy for you.

“I said, ‘You’re not getting the billion.’ I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money,’” Biden recalled telling Poroshenko. “Well, son of a bitch, he got fired…”

The prosecutor he got fired was leading a wide-ranging corruption probe into the natural gas firm Burisma Holdings that employed Biden’s younger son, Hunter, as a board member.

And note that when Russia invaded the Crimean peninsula, Obama declined to provide Ukraine with lethal weapons and instead opted for sanctioning Russia and gave Ukraine tools such as night-vision goggles and communication devices. That’s also when Obama’s State Department launched their formidable hashtag diplomacy campaign:

jen psaki hashtag diplomacy

Since it’s Throwback Thursday, here’s how I reported on the Crimea affair at the time:

Because in Russia All Our Former Peoples Are Belong To Us:

Yesterday (Obama) skipped a meeting of his national security team at the White House to discuss the Russian invasion of Ukraine to work on his fantasy football picks. He was briefed later by Susan Rice, because she’s known for her ability to cut through the facts and present just the simple parts. Then, after they sent Sam Power to the UN to put a scold on Russia, Big Guy called Putin himself.

After 90 minutes of trying unsuccessfully to persuade Pooty to pull his troops out of the Crimea he told him that he was left with no option other than to proceed with the inaction he called for on Friday afternoon. Accordingly, he cancelled plans for planning the Russian-hosted G-8 summit scheduled in June, and Putin hung up on him. So, rude letter to follow.

Alrighty then, sanctions it will be: because they

“make a very strong statement in a way that is less drastic than bombing a country and more impactful than sending out a cable from the State Department.”

We all know how Barry feels about bombs and if there’s one thing No-Drama-Obama is known for it’s being less drastic.

Needless to say that didn’t work out very well for Crimea.

so you can-WM

It’s no wonder the Dems are trying to impeach President Trump. He sure does make their Black Jesus look like weak cheese.

putin obama

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

There Is A Crack In the Universe

It was a dark and stormy night. Also icy.  Stop me if you’ve already heard this one.

Image result for ice storm nightOK, there was a full moon so it wasn’t actually dark.

We had an ice storm in Michigan the night before our departure for points west. By morning everything was still icy but road crews had done their thing and the major roads and highways were reportedly clear and wet so we proceeded with our plans. We had packed the car the day before and left it in the driveway overnight as it doesn’t fit in the garage with the car top carrier on so needless to say it was covered in ice. Raj warmed it up to clear the  ice off the windows.(BTW, that is illegal here in Park City, land of the woke; no carbon spewing car idling for you!)

Imagine our surprise to discover the melting ice left behind a yuge crack from the middle of the driver’s side to the middle of the passenger side. Best we could tell it grew from a tiny chip that appeared last June but oddly hadn’t broken through either side of the glass. In fact when we had the Safelight tech out to repair it he said he really couldn’t as the chip was completely contained inside the window. He’d have to break through the surface in order to inject his epoxy and that would cause more damage including the possibility of – you guessed it – creating a much larger crack. Nothing to do we were told but wait for it to grow worse on its own.

And sure enough, 6 months later, at the most inopportune moment, it chose to “get worse.”

Image result for cracked windshield“What light through yonder window crack breaks.”

I thought we should delay a day and have it fixed. Raj determined it to be fine as it was mostly below eye-level and like the original chip was completely contained within the glass. Fine, except for the caveat that we would be embarking on a cross-country trip with a weakened and compromised windshield making it more vulnerable to shattering if hit with the stray rock or ice chunk. And then there’s weather: despite having a forecast that gave us a 4 day window of clear weather all along our route when we only needed 3, experience has proven time and again that weather forecasts 3 days out can change on a dime.

Well, the windshield held out but the weather didn’t. The last day was indeed a hellish mix of wind, snow and ice. But we made it to our destination intact. I assumed once we landed in Park City we could get the Safelight crew to come to the house and change the windshield out, like you see on TV. Which of course they could…as long as the temperature remains above 32 degrees which, when we made the appointment, it wasn’t. Also given the amount of electronic sensors built into our model’s windshield which need calibrating and testing they prefer to do it in the shop, oh, and takes about three hours. Once again all the advanced technology intended to make you safer, happier and your life easier fails to deliver, at least on that last part.

So we drove into Salt Lake yesterday and dropped off the Jeep. Fortunately Salt Lake has proclaimed itself to be a “progressive city” – which they certainly are based on the city policies and the elected officials for the past 10 years. And no truly progressive city worth it’s salt (cwidt?) would be without a first class mass transportation system. So while we waited for our new windshield we were able to hop on the TRAX (“UTA's light rail system, offers convenient connections to community destinations, shopping centers, schools and universities”) and spend the morning at City Creek.

Image result for city creek mall

City Creek is a massive mega-billion dollar urban renewal project encompassing retail, office and residential space in the center of downtown. The project was conceived and financed by the Church of the Later Day Saints (What!? Urban renewal, not done by the government!?) It encompasses 3 entire city blocks and contains a lot of upscale retail space, as well as a real live stream stocked with brook trout.

So I spent the morning window shopped for conflict free diamonds:


enjoyed an overpriced latte:

And marveled that they welcomed dogs into the enclosed mall area where they presumably were also welcome to do their business as doggie bags of a different sort were provided for dealing with the aftermath of that “business.”

And then we hopped back on the TRAX and headed back to pick up the Jeep with it’s sparkling new windshield embedded with sensors and who knows what else.

Now I’m not telling you all of this because I think you really care about our windshield travails, nor do I expect you to be interested much in Salt Lake’s non-government dependent urban development. I just see this little story as an allegory. A tiny chink, a minute defect, embedded deep within the infrastructure of an otherwise strong edifice left unattended will one day manifest itself as an insidious crack threatening the integrity of the entire structure. At that point it must be dealt with categorically, radically, decisively. The damaged component needs to be chucked and replaced with something stronger, more reliable, more true.

The Deep State may have begun as a small fissure but it has grown into a deep fracture in our governmental agency. It, not PDJT, is what must be removed and replaced.

Image result for crack in the universeThere is a crack in our universe: it must be resolved

Ladies and gentlemen, I rest my case.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Worst White Supremacist Rally

Worst White Supremacist Rally ever. No White nationalists showed up to commit violence and create havoc, as suggested and promoted by the MSM.

Image result for virginia gun rights rally

Nope, nothing but a bunch of Pro-Second Amendment advocates, exerting their right to gather peacefully and petition the government. Just like the Founders imagined. Only one arrest was made, a young woman who refused to removed the bandana over her face.

In fact the Virginia rally participants were so well behaved you’d almost think they were Canadians.

Image result for virginia gun rights rally

Related image

Except maybe the Marines.

Image result for virginia gun rights come and take it sign

It reminded me of the Tea Party rallies of yore – you know, those violent racist hoards that descended on D.C. en masse back in 2009.

Image result for tea party rally washington dc

Like then,

the pre-ordained narrative will trump the facts. But I’d suggest the media and our government overlords start paying closer attention to what people are actually saying.

Tea Party rally, 2009

Because unlike lying journalists *spit* and forked tongued politicians, when the people speak they mean it.

Image result for virginia gun rights rally heavily armedThis time we didn’t.

Your move.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Martin Luther King Day 2020

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... – Martin Luther King

It’s Martin Luther King Day, and all across the land people are once again expressing outrage over the lack of diversity in this year’s Oscar nominees. It’s like 2015, the first time Hollywood people of color protested #OscarsSoWhite.

selma obama oprah photobomb copy2015: Obama joined David Oyelowo, who portrayed Martin Luther King Jr. in the movie "Selma," and Oprah, who produced the film, in protest against the Academy’s racism.

This year USA Today was compelled to ask “Is this progress?”

Monday morning's Oscar nominations delivered more frustrating certainties than happy surprises.

Black British actress Cynthia Erivo was the lone person of color nominated across 20 acting categories…The rest of the acting nominations were white…And out of five directing nominations, all nominees were male.

But the snubs. They span Jennifer Lopez ("Hustlers"), Eddie Murphy ("Dolemite Is My Name"), Awkwafina ("The Farewell"), Lupita Nyong'o ("Us"), Song Kang-ho ("Parasite"), Alfre Woodard ("Clemency"), Jamie Foxx ("Just Mercy") and Zhao Shuzhen ("The Farewell").

To put the shock in perspective, 28 out of 32 industry experts on awards prognosticating site Gold Derby predicted Lopez would receive a nod, and 20 out of 32 predicted Awkwafina's name would be among nominees.

Just to keep things in perspective I would point out that 99 out of 100 political experts on polling prognostication sites also predicted that Hillary would win in 2016, but she didn’t, did she?

I don’t know what’s more pathetic about this odd entitlement attitude: the fact that the Race Hustlers have imposed a de facto racial quota system on every aspect of our society despite the Supreme Court having ruled such quotas unconstitutional, or the irony that 50 years after Martin Luther King’s death those same (Black) Race Hustlers – some of them close friends and colleagues of Dr. King – refuse to let us judge people by the content of their character and the quality of their work rather than the color of their skin. For their part they seem quite satisfied “staring into the starless midnight of racism.”


Sunday, January 19, 2020

If Donald Trump Had a Dog…

It’s equal time for doggies day.

What do you suppose makes this little Jack Russell Terrier pup so appealing?

dog, cute, and puppy image

Is it the stocky little body? The swagger? The authoritative stance? The self-assurance that his presence just exudes?

Is it the set of those almond-shaped eyes? Or perhaps his unusual coloration: the white spot on his nose, the black eye, the black smudge above that determined little mouth?

Or wait, maybe it’s the tail, held high and proud? You can tell this little guy knows where he’s going and means to get there.  Yes, I think it’s definitely the FU tail.

Alpha-dog, for sure; who wouldn’t want to be in his pack?

If Donald Trump had a dog it would definitely be this little guy.