Friday, March 16, 2018

Never Went to High School

Image result for jennifer lawrence 2018She is a middle school dropout who has been focused on her career since age 14. She is Jennifer Lawrence. Without any acting training she had a talent for immersing herself into a role becoming all the attitude and emotion   of any other person she wanted to be. Her diligence has gotten herself an award nomination for every movie she made. Having a fiercely independent spirit while growing up in Louisville, Kentucky was far away from Hollywood and the movies. Her   persistent nagging and poor grades in school helped her to convince her parents to support her and take her to auditions for modeling and acting roles. Where she was a failure   in school, she immediately became a success in her career.
Now in her thirties, she is one of the most highly paid actresses in Hollywood. She attributes her successes to having ambition, an appetite for acting and confidence over education.  She had to make acting work for her because nothing else interested her. She had no idea that it all would have worked so well for her in the past 10 years. At the age of 21 she shattered the myth that women couldn’t carry a movie as the main character. Her four Hunger Games movies earned almost $3 Billion dollars. Then she made three comedy dramas by playing unforgettable flawed resilient women. In the movie called Silver Lining’s Playbook she became a young widow with a fiery   temper.
In the movie called American Hustle she became a looney crazy housewife. In the movie called Joy she was a desperate mother turned entrepreneur. All big roles. All different. All very convincing. All three movies earned her Academy Award nominations and took home the Best Actress Oscar for Silver Lining’s Playbook. We all dream and wish we had the courage to stop everything we were supposed to do and to just convince our parents to let us go at a young age too. Sadly most kids don’t have this great career. They become waitresses or strippers or worse trying to pursue broken dreams. Jennifer Lawrence is one of the lucky ones or just one of the most talented ones or just one of the most persistent ones. Whoever she is. She is a success at what she always wanted to do.
She is not stupid. She realizes that she gets paid   a huge amount of money to do what she loves and is determined not to ruin it all. So all you zany, hyper-active poor grade students, take a lesson from her and go for what you like to do and maybe you can find peace with yourself and make those around you feel more comfortable too. At age 18 she stared in an independent film called Winter’s Bone   where her emotional performance earned her the   first Oscar nomination. In her new movie called Red Sparrow she is a Russian ballerina who gets convinced to become a Russian spy. It will be her first performance where she will be nude. Do you have the courage to pursue your initial dreams in life?

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Remember the Great

Don’t ever feel sorry for anyone with a disability because they are probably talented in ways you could never even think of. A champion of a person who fought a debilitating disease was recently deceased Stephen Hawkins. Even when his condition made him fail to speak, he said profound thoughtful things. With the aid of advancements in science and technology for the handicapped, the world was able to hear and read every educated thought in his head. We thank the technology and most of all we need to thank him.  Besides all his scientific theories he said: ”Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny.
Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.
Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet.
Never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it.
 If you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don’t throw it away.
Concentrate on things your disability doesn’t prevent you doing well and don’t regret the things it interferes with. Don’t be disabled in spirit, as well physically.
People won’t have time for you if you are always angry and complaining.
People who boast about their I.Q. are losers.
Next time someone complains you have made a mistake, tell him that may be a good thing. Because without imperfection neither   you or I would exist.
However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there’s life, there is hope.
Image result for stephen hawking youngSteven Hawking was born in 1942 and became a famous physicist and author. Now he is dead at the age of 76 and lived many years later than he was supposed to live considering his serious disability. He is the most famous scientist since Einstein proving that the mind can survive a failing body. He was diagnosed with ALS at age 21 and was expected like most people with the serious disease to live just 2 years. The famous ice bucket challenge was done to help find a cure for ALS.
Image result for stephen hawkingSteven explored the universe from a wheelchair speaking through an electronic device instructed by just one eyeball. Hawkins work on Black Holes and Relativity proved a turning point in modern Physics. He became famous after writing his book called A Brief History of Time where he explored from the big bang to black holes. He never let his disability hold him back. He did it all. He met Presidents, flew in hot air balloons and even floated in a space ship. Somehow he managed to live a life as vibrant as his mind. He died at his home in England. We need to remember the great people like him and forget the foolish.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Our Pope's Promises

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Our Pope Francis just celebrated his 5th Anniversary. The world loves him because he at least tried to change the secretive ways of the Catholic Church. When he took the job of replacing a living Pope to take over the job, he inherited two major issues to deal with. There was the issue of Priests sexually abusing parishioners that was being ignored by the Church and Church finances going un-reported since the collection plate is still a cash donation. Five years ago he promised to deal with both issues but here we are five years later and nothing much has actually been done in the form of reforming the Catholic Church.
Image result for pope francis 5th anniversaryThe Pope has at least publicaly addressed survivors. Pope Francis said, “God cries, the crimes of sexual abuse against minors cannot be kept secret any longer.” He did appoint a Commission in 2014 to investigate how the Church can deal with abuse cases. Now the problem is that as time went on and he approved policy changes not much has actually been changed. The Vatican is a large bureaucracy and as usual resists change of any kind. Does that mean the Pope is just a figure head? The implementation of Change in the Church hasn’t been done. We haven’t heard of any bishops being removed especially the ones who protected sexual abusing Priests. We haven’t even heard of any disciplinary procedures being taken.
Pope Francis even publically defended Bishop Juan Barros this past January who has been accused of covering up criminal Priests. The Pope called the allegations Fake News. When did anything ever that cropped up  become Fake News that a leader didn’t like about himself? Pope Francis has supported the clerical side in Chile and didn’t even talk to the survivors of abuse. This is all going back to the old days when the clergy believed other clergy but didn’t believe the victims.
Image result for god's bankers by gerald posnerPope Francis pledged to reform the Vatican’s finances but nothing has changed in that department either in the past 5 years. It wasn’t until the middle of World War II, 1942, that the Vatican formed the famous Vatican Bank. Read Gerald Posner’s book called God’s Bankers that describes the history of money and power at the Vatican. He describes the money in the Church as something between Goldman Sachs and the Federal Reserve. There must be between $15-20billion dollars in terms of assets. The Vatican is a very wealthy organization. Their cash business comes from mostly money raised from Third World missions and around the word for charities.
Under previous Popes before Francis there was almost no accountability about the Vatican Bank. In terms of finances it was unpredictable in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. Then Pope Benedict XVI comes in and was forced to put in some accounting rules by the European Union, but if you remember he was the flamboyant Pope who wore his flaming red designer shoes and chose to live in a palace. In Pope Francis’s first year it looked like he was going to provide accountability and change when he established his Council for the Economy. He made a Secretariat for the Economy, a whole new division that was intended to implement reform. He created an independent Auditor General designed to keep everyone honest. It all sounded so good 5 years ago.
Today there is no Auditor General. He quit last year. The Secretariat isn’t present so much of the original early promise of Francis hasn’t lived up to it just a few years afterwards. The Vatican has always been resistant to change. The Pope even joked about his failures. He said, “Reforming Rome is like cleaning Egypt’s sphinx with a toothbrush.” Pope Francis is still good at preaching good will but how long can he be respected without reform? It is Lent now and in a few weeks it will be Easter. Pray for the Pope to have clear leadership in the Catholic Church. We need a respected leader lately..

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Let's Hear it for the Old Guys

Image result for old 2017 nobel prize winnersWisdom still rules and age and intelligence is paramount. For recent Nobel Prize winners, age is just a number. 9 out of 10 recent winners in 2017 are over the age of 70. Winner Rainer Weiss is 85 years old and a physics expert. Albert Einstein famously said that “a person who has not made his great contribution to science before the age of 30 will never do so.” This past year’s Nobel Prize winners proved how wrong Einstein was on this one.
Just in the physics category three men ages 77. 79 and 85 were winners in 2017. Kip S. Thorne is 77, Barry C. Barish is 82 and Ranier Weiss is 85 years old so there is hope for most baby boomers to still make a serious contribution to society before they die.  These guys were honored for their work in gravitational waves conducted in 2015.
In fact 9 out of the 10 Nobel winners in science or  economics in 2017 were over 70 years old with the youngster being Michael W. Young , yes his name is Young, who is 68 years old. He is one of a trio of American winners in physiology or medicine for their work on circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms have to do with sleep disorders. They are the disruptions in a person’s circadian rhythm a name given to the “internal body clock” that regulates the (approximately) 24- hour cycle of biological processes in animals and plants.  
While some of the winners began their work as younger men, in most cases they made important refinements well past age 50. The 2017 winners were no fluke. It appears that genius level work is happening later in life much more often. Bruce Weinberg coauthored a study that looked at when Nobel laureates did their prize winning work. For physics winners the age was 37 years old in 1905. Today the ages is slightly over age 50. So, are people getting smarter later in life, or does life get in the way of their studies and it takes longer to achieve their educational goals?
The trend for older folks to accomplish their educational goals is not just in the field of physics and not just among Nobel Prize Winners. One of the most important patent filings in the past year came from researchers at the University of Texas at Austin who developed a cheap, fast charging battery that could revolutionize electric vehicles. The team leader in that patented discovery was whopping 95 year old John Goodenough. So, tell those youngsters to grow up, they still have a lot of work to do.
 The 2017 top 10 old great smart contributing to society Nobel Prize Winners are: Barry C. Barish, 82. Jacques Dubochet, 75, chemistry, Joachim Frank, 77, chemistry, Jeffrey C. Hall, 72, medicine, Richard Henderson, 72, chemistry, Michael Rosbash,73,medicine, Richard H. Thaler,72,economics, Kip S. Thorne,77,physics, Rainer Weiss,85,physics, and Michael W. Young,68 young years old at 68 in medicine.  

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Dirty Donald's Dirty Deeds

Image result for trump and melania with young barronSo ladies take that picture of yourself naked in front of the mirror that will show your full frontal and back and possibly Trump and his boys will want you to be your special friend. Or be a porn   like   Jenna Jameson who is worth $30 million dollars now for her occupation. Trump likes porn stars. Trump likes Stormy Daniels who he began an intimate relationship with in the summer of 2006 in Lake Tahoe that continued well into the year 2007. This affair was going on about 4 months after the birth of Trump’s son Baron. His porn star’s rea l name is Stephaney Clifford who started out as a stripper. She even had a brief appearance in the 2005 movie called The 40 Year Old Virgin
Apparently one of the possible necessaries to get a job as President for some leaders is to have affairs while being married. John F. Kennedy had fun times with Marilyn Monroe. Who can forget Clinton who just couldn’t tell the truth about his affair with Monica Lewinsky that ultimately led to his impeachment despite the fact that he was the only recent President who balanced the budget.  Can we impeach Trump for his dirty deeds?
It should matter that Donald is a Dirty Cheating Pig   because he has had a consistent pattern over the past year in office of denying truths and reality. Where is the outrage from his Religious Conservative Republican supporters who got him elected? Where is the outrage from Vice-President Mike Pence who won’t even attend a dinner with women unless his wife is present? He regard’s anything that displeases him or undermines him as “Fake News.” This private affair is no longer private despite the $130,000 hush money payment Trump’s lawyer paid off the porn star for her silence. THAT IS ILLEGAL. Even if the money came from Trump’s lawyer’s money, it represents an illegally large contribution for the Trump’s Campaign fund. It is a violation of American Campaign Laws. Paul S. Ryan, the Vice President for Policy & Litigation, Common Cause that is a nonpartisan watchdog group, filed complaints with the Federal Election Committee and the Department of Justice.
It is serious because Americans have the right to know who is spending money that is being used to influence our elections. This President was hiding money he was spending from the voters during the election. Will this impeach Trump? Probably not on its own. Right now Robert Mueller is investigating all sorts of violations that were made during this election. An affair is a concern but not the most important thing to do on the Special Counsels’ list of wrong doings in this Trump Administration.
But we are in the explosive era of “Me Too” where women are sick and tired of lies and sexual misconduct and Trump’s self-proclaimed policy of “grabbing them by the pussy” approach to befriending any woman, this affaire should NOT be swept under the carpet as being boys will be boys!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Solve The Problem

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Why should we support protestors? Having to protest disturbs everyone’s life especially the   protestors life. They are not working or attending school, often facing arrests and violence or even death. Why such courage for some remote cause? At the very least one’s personal life is overturned. We all are faced with a level of anxiety that Trump wants to generate every day.
So, what does one feel compelled to do every day besides be so angry? Which organizations or candidates should we endorse or support? How should we stand in opposition to his policies? He promotes the tearing down   of norms and institutions. He is tearing away our voting rights, women’s right, transgender rights and what do we do to keep pushing forward for the world that was created before Donald Trump?
This President as clearly displayed in his countless tweets, thrives on anxiety and insults that leaves us all always so very much to talk about. Unfortunately this administration is a collision between cruelty and incompetence which I find myself always calling him the Hero of the Stupid and I regret that my comment is necessary. Rather than just scream we go to protests or just urge people to vote. It seems almost every week now someone in the Trump administration gets fired or decides   to resign. How can any of that chaos get anything done on behalf of the American people? Granted anyone who works for the President certainly should expect to be scrutinized for whatever decisions she or he is making but for the decisions they must make on any given day but why are there so many reckless decisions being made in our government now?
It is just sad that we have a President that has a callous disregard for   a thoughtful coherent expert advised foreign policy. Who puts his daughter and son-in-law with no experience in foreign policy in charge of making decisions on how America is for or against the policies of foreign countries. I wish that regardless of the political spectrum Americans sit on, we could all agree on not encouraging nuclear wars with foreign countries like North Korea. Not befriend Russia that is funding the killing of civilians in Syria. Not ignore the Russian influence in American elections. Not have a President who hires his pool man, daughter’s fashion advisor, personal pilot, golf caddy and reality show friend to key important high paying jobs that they are clearly unqualified to perform on any competent level in our government.  
We need to never stop persisting for ethics and morals to be pursued in our world. Right now students are not going to their badly needed classes to stop what they are doing for their personal lives to protest and speak loudly and intelligently to law makers on the out of control gun issues. It has been revealed that Congress hasn’t even done any coalitions on gun violence in America in the past 20 years. Most Congressmen are heavily funded by the NRA so they have been ignoring the issue. Too many lives are being lost to gun violence in America now approaching the millionth number of senseless deaths.  How can we have a say in world problems if we can’t even solve our own problems? Don’t give up.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Riding the Wind in Texas

Image result for wind energy in texasWhat is going on in Texas? Most of the people there voted for Trump and are big supporters of anything he says or does except when it comes to energy. The days of the rich oil men are over. The state has gone to clean energy. That policy is the complete opposite from Trump’s policies. It is an energy revolution. Wind farms have been a growing trend for years but who expected big successes in that form of energy in Texas? Renewable technology is finding a home in Texas and the Red state is reaping real benefits from NOT going along with Trump’s policies.
There are towns in Texas like Rocsoe,   that used to rely on cotton as their cash crop but even that industry is going under big changes.  A German Energy Company called E.ON based in Dusseldorf, Germany put new life into Roscoe Texas that was so poor of a place of only 1,300 people that even once the Dairy Queen had to close down. Now Roscoe, Texas is home to the world’s largest wind farm thanks to the construction of the windmills by the German company. There is a quilt of windmills on leased land there. For a state that is known for its oil, this is amazingly progressive.
Texas has its own infrastructure and its own grid and less regulation. Meanwhile Texas’s former Governor Rick Perry is Trump’s Energy Secretary and   when it comes to energy policy, the Trump Administration and Texas is NO longer on the same page. Trump talks about his “clean coal” as a solution to employment in energy industries and NEVER talks about promoting alternative clean energy solutions. It is tragic that we had to rely on the generosity of a German company to invest in the resurrection of our poor towns and revitalize with good solutions. Rick Perry   does nothing not even for his home state who have elected him and Trump to big government jobs.
Trump’s desire to support the coal industry only employs about 51,000 workers.  Already the wind industry employs more than 100,000 workers and America has 84,000 wind turbines according to the American Wind Energy Association. States are taking matters into their own hands. New York is stepping up clean energy to power up by the year 2030,  1.2 Million homes. In West Texas renewable energy is becoming an economic boom. After all, Americans just want good jobs and want to feed their families and have a reasonably good life. Trump promises but doesn’t deliver.
Prosperity helps the tax base and then the schools and communities improve. Somebody needs to tell Trump that wind energy especially in the vast plains of this country can bring in immense wealth to the communities it serves. Land owners have embraced the wind and the change it brings in to now their surviving communities where Dairy Queens can open up everywhere to serve communities who can even just afford a good milk shake for a change. Can we change Trump with a good milk shake? Nah, he likes his chocolate cake.  

Sunday, March 4, 2018

The 90th Awards Ceremony

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Tonight is the Academy Awards where the stars assemble to collect awards. What makes a star a star anyway? This year there are directors who didn’t make a lot of movies up for awards but are they really stars if they are unknown artists yet? There is that place called The Hollywood Walk of Fame where folks get an actual star imbedded in the sidewalk for fans to view. Do they even realize that dogs will poop and people will spit on a star with your name on it? Nevertheless, it is an honor to get a star and an even bigger honor that validates your career if you can get the best awards like an Oscar, Grammy, Tony or Emmy. Some “stars” like Whoopi Goldberg have received all four major awards in the entertainment field.
There are other “stars” that are so well known that they have one name like Beyonce.  Why doesn’t she have a star on that Walk of Fame sidewalk? Soon Mark Hamill and Rupaul will be getting their sidewalk stars this month. Beyonce does have a star with her group called Destiney’s Child but she has done so many things solo since the trio. It is the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce who decides who should get a star and the entertainer needs to APPLY for a star. Aren’t stars used to getting things given to them? It’s insane that Beyonce has to apply for anything but rules are rules. Did you know there are requirements for a Hollywood Walk of Fame Star?
The rules are that you need at least five years in Radio/Film/TV/Recording/Live Performance Industries.
Have received awards or nominations.
Must do philanthropic work like have a foundation for a cause.
You must pay a $40,000 onetime fee that goes towards the maintenance, repair and the ceremony.
Why is buying a star in the sky cheaper than buying a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame?
Tonight we will see where Hollywood’s biggest stars will gather at the Dolby Theatre for the 90th Academy Awards. Yes we are generations of people that have grown up with the influence of the movies on our lives. They are even programing 90 years of movies into computers to help them figure out the human spirit of emotions and drama that is told only too well in the movies we love.  Tonight the movie called The Shape of Water leads the pack of films with 13 nominations. The rater R movie is about a janitor who has a love affair with a strange sea creature in captivity. OKAYYYYYY!
Jimmy Kimmel will host again for the second year in a row despite having to oversee the envelope mix-up that saw La La Land accidentally named best picture last year instead of Moonlight. I thought that was the most interesting part of last year’s festivities. I just didn’t like seeing the wrong envelope being snatched out of the hands of those elegant older acting greats like it was their old age mess up. I hope they will be back and announce the wrong winner again just for the fun of it all.
We all know that movie making is more about how much money the film made than the art of it all in many cases. The top box office gross of all time (adjusted for inflation) is Gone With The Wind made in 1939, That grossed $ 1,854,769,667 . Yes almost 2 billion dollars. The lowest grossing film in history is something called ZYZZYX Road filmed in 2006. That made $30 dollars. Really!

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Bucks for Bitcoins?

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The stock market is up and down quickly again. Should we just give up on investing in companies and go the way of bitcoins that has been pretty popular currency these days? What country does it come from? No particular country. What bank should I put bitcoins in? You can’t. Is bitcoins heavy like gold bars? You can’t hold them. What the hell is a bitcoin? Yet if you invested just $100 in bitcoins   8 years ago, your coin stash would be worth over $10 million dollars today. Where do I go to get some? No particular location. HUH?
We have to learn more about bitcoins. Just seek out the goings on at the WCEF, the World Crypto Economic Forum for some insight into what ever bitcoins are. They call it digital currency. In fact in the San Francisco Bay Area the WCEF has a conference planned called Bitcoin for Beginners to be held March 10-25, 2018.  There you can learn for a $395 fee.
But what if I don’t want to pay just to learn   what bitcoins are and why do I have to pay CASH to learn if it is a form of currency? The rapper 50cent who once declared bankruptcy made money again by asking people to pay for his album in 2014 by using Bitcoin and today that money is worth over $6 million dollars.  
Right now Bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency. It is a digital currency that you could use like cash. Unlike any other form of currency it is not backed by any government, bank and you can’t even carry it in your pocket. It is used solely online. You can use it to get a Hotel room on Expedia or buy furniture on Overstock. Is Bitcoin all just hype and what is it really worth from day to day? In 2009 it was created by  Satoshi Nakamoto  who no one even knows if it is a man or woman. Every time you use your Bitcoin it is recorded in a transaction ledger called a Blockchain.  It is used often now. Once it was used to just buy drugs and other illicit items on the web through a site called Silk Road the anonymous marketplace. That site was shut down by the FBI but they seized over 173,000 Bitcoins worth $1.5   Billion dollars today.
The main issue with using Bitcoins is that the value can fluctuate wildly. In just a few hours the value of a Bitcoin could fluctuate by 25%. Is that any different from the stock market lately? In large safe countries we can trust in our government backing up the value of our dollar but if you live in a place like Venesuela where there is no safe government, you can’t even trust your money there. Then Bitcoin is a better bet for your assets. Sometimes I think a shoebox or hiding your money somewhere is the best bet. Sigh!