Archive | October, 2015

Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg

18 Oct

When I committed to writing something once a week, I had not intended my posts to be movie critiques.  Well, two weeks now, that’s what I’ve done.  It is still not the plan, but here we go.  I saw “Bridge of Spies” this week.  That Cold War era spy movie starring Tom Hanks and directed by Stephen Spielberg.  As I left the theatre, I said those two together just can’t make a bad movie.  There is just something about their collaborative product.  It just always works.  In this case, a great movie.  I have always been fascinated about that period in our history.  The post World War 2 era when we feared the Soviets and they feared us.  The Space Race.  The Arms Race.  The Red Scare.  However real all of it was, it was a time that this country feared an enemy.  An enemy we could see and know.  I read an interview with Stephen Spielberg in the New York Times about this movie.  He said, “There was a specific enemy, the Soviet Union, the 1950’s and ’60’s.  Today, we don’t know our enemy.  The enemy doesn’t have a specific face.”  I think he is right.  We can’t really put a name with a face on Isis.  We can’t do the same with the Taliban.  Yet, they are probably a bigger threat to us than the Soviets ever were.  “Bridge of Spies” reminded me of simpler times too.  Tom Hanks character, attorney James Donovan, probably could have never accomplished a secret spy swap like he did back then. I also wonder if his belief that everyone in this country, no matter what their charge or ethnicity, deserves a defense would play well today?  Let’s be clear… it didn’t play well back then either.  I want to believe we are better than that.  I’m not so sure.  As we talk about putting up walls to keep people out of this country, I realize we have the same fears we had in the 50’s and 60’s.  The names have changed, but we still have fears.

Duct Tape and a Tarp

11 Oct

I saw Matt Damon’s new movie, “The Martian.”  I had been warned that it was long and very technical.  Both true.  What I wasn’t ready for though was the ingenuity of it all.  I hear that NASA likes this movie very much.  That it is pretty realistic.  It sure can’t hurt the cause for the need to explore space.  What I liked about the movie was the “we have to get it done” attitude.  We have to get this stranded astronaut off Mars and back home.  President Kennedy said in 1962, “We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”  That was the attitude I grew up with.  Do the hard things because, well, they are hard.  “The Martian” made it look hard.  And when everything else seems to be failing, get creative.  Duct tape and a tarp.  With everything they had at their disposal, it was duct tape and a tarp that was key in getting Matt Damon’s character home.  I like that.  The whole movie made me proud.  I want to believe that we could really do that.  That we have the know how, the attitude and the people to get it done.  So often these days, I feel like we don’t try hard enough.  We do what it takes to just get by.  I needed to be reminded that sometimes we have to do things that are hard because they are hard.  Big things.  And maybe if it all starts coming apart, we can pull it back together with duct tape and a tarp.

Stuff Happens

3 Oct

As Governor of Florida, I thought Jeb Bush did a pretty good job.  While I didn’t agree with all of his policies, I thought he guided us through some rough times.  We had some bad luck with hurricanes while Jeb was Governor.  He handled them far better than his brother did with Katrina.  So, when Jeb said he was going to run for President, I thought, well, this has got to be better than “W.”  When he was asked this week about the coming Hurricane Joaquin, Jeb had a thoughtful response.  Basically, “It’s easy for people to be prepared, and public leaders have a duty to let them know they will be there when the storm passes.”  If you live in Florida or another coastal state, you know that.  Jeb just seemed prepared for the question.  Far better prepared than Ben Carson.  His response when asked about the coming hurricane… “Uh, I don’t know.”  Carson, by the way, continues to poll higher than Jeb.  Then, there was the question to Bush about the mass shooting in Oregon.  “Stuff happens.”  That’s what he said.  At the Conservative Leadership Project in South Carolina, Jeb Bush was asked about this latest mass shooting.  He said, “Look stuff happens, there’s always a crises and the impulse is always to do something and it’s not always the right thing to do.”  Stuff happens.  Yes, Governor, hurricanes happen.  But mass shooting on school campuses?  That, to me, isn’t “stuff.”  We can’t control a hurricane.  We can do something about a person getting a gun and shooting and killing people.  President Obama made a statement the day of the Oregon shooting.  It was raw.  It was emotional.  Not the usual public Obama.  He said, what most of us are thinking.  This is happening far too often.  Even gun owners have to agree that something is just not right here.  How can someone who clearly should not own a gun have one?  I don’t own a gun.  Don’t want one.  Many of my friends however, do.  They are responsible gun owners.  I respect them for that.  I don’t want to tread on their right to do so.  Enough is enough, though.  Is it a gun control issue or a mental health issue?  That seems to be where this is headed.  I’m not sure yet.  I just know we must address this.  The President is right.  We have become numb to this.  It’s become routine.  It’s time to address it.  As for Jeb’s, “stuff happens” statement, the President responded, “I think the American people should hear that and make their own judgements based on the fact that every couple of months we have a mass shooting.  They can decide whether or not they consider that ‘stuff happening.'”  Now, we hear that Jeb Bush says his comments were taken out of context.  How?  Please explain.  I had higher hopes for Jeb Bush.  His polling numbers are dreadful.  I’m not sure that he will even be taken seriously as a Presidential candidate in a few months.  For now though, we still have to listen to him.  When he says things like this, we have to question is this the kind of person we want running our country?