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Posts Tagged ‘Netflix’

Before my first cup of coffee, Bob said, “Have you seen your texts?”

California is at risk of floating away from a series of heavy storms, so my first thought was, “Are the kids evacuating?” Most of the rain is in Northern California but you never know.

Bob assured me everything was alright, while I looked at him incredulously. After an early morning series of text messages with the Bride, he couldn’t wait for me to read the news. While scrolling through the New York Times it seems the Bride came upon a familiar face – her brother! Yes, the very one who lives above a canyon in LA! We had failed to tell her he’d been interviewed during the summer about his work, but in fairness he wasn’t sure when the article, or even IF the article would be published.

I always thought the Rocker’s face would be on the cover of Rolling Stone someday, but for an old-fashioned news reporter, landing in the Grey Lady is the epitome of greatness! I sipped my coffee as I read the essay about the latest trend in trailer music and my son’s specific contributions.

While we were in Malibu I knew something had changed. One day I heard the Rocker laughing with his sister while the Groom was looking at his phone. My adult children know that TikTok is a bridge too far for me to cross, so they did their best to explain what had happened with my son’s latest trailer for the new Black Panther: Wakanda Forever movie. Someone on TikTok connected the dots back to his company, Totem, and was giddy over the musical re-mix.

“The way it goes from No Woman No Cry into Alright and then how the music just goes into another gear at that 1:45 mark…,” another fan on Twitter said. And right before our eyes, Totem was blowing up on YouTube. I think that’s the right terminology.

When the Rocker was in high school, along with playing guitar in his band, he would always write his own music and play around with the oldies that our generation loved. His Fender Strat never left his hands. Since we had wonderful neighbors in the land between two rivers, the drum set stayed in our garage. Playing at the iconic Stone Pony in Asbury Park was just one highpoint of years and years of practice.

But to be honest, it wasn’t an easy trajectory. He left college to tour the world with The Parlor Mob; sleeping in vans and getting signed by one major record label only to be dropped and picked up by another. Some booking agents were better than others and of course they had to sell merchandise. He never complained. The accommodations improved, and the bar food was getting tastier as they worked their way up the ranks, but the entire music industry was changing around the boys in the band. Making a cohesive album of songs turned into 99 cent singles on your cell, or hearing your anthem play at an NHL arena.

He started off as a young boy listening to vinyl LPs in our living room, went straight into the teenage mixed cassette tape era crammed into his car’s windshield visor, and wound up with streaming music everywhere. Now he’s in the NYTimes! This is Eric Ducker’s intro:

“He’s played a crucial role in some of pop culture’s biggest recent moments. But few people outside of the space where the entertainment and marketing industries overlap know his name. As a composer, Rosen is at the forefront of the trailerization movement: He’s in demand for his ability to rework existing songs to maximize their impact in trailers for films and TV shows.He married vocals and motifs from Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” to a thunderous version of the “Stranger Things” theme in the lead-up to the second volume of the show’s fourth season. He intertwined the Nigerian singer Tems’s cover of “No Woman No Cry” with Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright” in the teaser for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” symbolizing the meeting of the franchise’s future and its legacy.” 

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/01/06/arts/music/trailer-music-trailerization.html

Granted Ducker’s essay included other trailer houses, but it led with Totem and a close-up of my son’s face. What I love, besides that punim, is how the Rocker took a song from the 80s, and introduced it to a new generation. Kate Bush, who recorded Running Up That Hill when the Rocker was a newborn, has now made over 2 Million dollars in royalties since its debut in Stranger Things. https://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2022/07/08/kate-bush-stranger-things-how-much-did-she-earn/

That’s a nice retirement package!

What I really really love about the Rocker is his humble heart. His wife Kiki, or his sister have to tell me when he’s received an award or is working with a famous director. He would never brag about his accomplishments and would always be the first to offer a friend a couch to sleep on. He’s even helped other East Coast artists adapt to the West Coast vibe. When he needed children to sing a lullaby, he turned to our little California cousins. And most importantly, the Rocker never stopped hugging me in public, even in Middle School.

While 90% of California is currently on flood watch due to atmospheric rivers of rain, we’ve been interviewing contractors about our HVAC system. It can barely keep up with the swing in Nashville temperatures. And I can barely keep up with technology. But the wind has always been at my son’s back.

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Netflix has my number. They know that I like film noir, thrillers of the John Grisham type – not too much violence with a psychological twist. A good old-fashioned intellectual mystery like Murder on the Orient Express is my jam. And since reading The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, there’s no place I like my intrigue better than a snowy Scandinavian country.

Enter The Girl From Oslo. I had finished with Succession, and had about all I could handle with Emily in Paris. We were between snow storms in Nashville, the pantry and fridge were full to bursting. The electrician was still working at the new/old house and Bob wasn’t feeling so good. I had the remote all to myself, when Netflix suggested https://www.netflix.com/title/81147725

It was easy enough to watch, short episodes filmed in Israel, Gaza and Norway. A young Norwegian girl is kidnapped by ISIS while traveling with a brother and sister from Israel. The acting was almost soap operaish, but the action kept me intrigued. So much pain and violence ‘in the name of God’ would normally not interest me, but I had to see how it ended. It is one of the top five streaming shows on Netflix worldwide.

Bob interrupted this reverie one night to tell me we had to pick a paint color! It was time to pick the off-white wall color for our remodeled kitchen with dark blue cabinets. Do we want lavender or yellow undertones? Who knew there are a million off white colors, not to mention the pale grays. The Bride had turned me onto Havenly, https://havenly.com/ for some help, a website trying to democratize design. Their algorithm said my style was somewhere between Boho and Transitional.

I was wondering why my style wasn’t Scandinavian, when I returned reluctantly to reality and let Ms Bean out in the garden.

She jumped off the porch and right onto a possum! They tussled for a bit, then the possum ambled slowly under the house. I thanked Ms Bean for keeping us safe at her elderly age and went to charge my phone before bed. That was when I read about the synagogue in Texas.

My fictional Netflix evening about Middle East terrorism turned into a real time terrorist news event. A Palestinian was holding four people captive after shabbat services, including a rabbi, and demanding the release of his ‘sister’ who was serving 86 years nearby for shooting at soldiers and FBI agents in Afghanistan. The terrorist was an Arab British citizen who had entered the US legally and then bought a gun, legally.

Needless to say, I was no longer sleepy. I forgot to mention that Bob had been running a fever and felt like he’d been hit by a truck. His rapid at home test was negative for Covid, but the Bride wanted us to drive through a Metro testing site to get a more reliable PCR done. We still didn’t know the result. But ever since the holidays, Bob has been so careful and deliberate, wearing an N95 if we venture into a grocery store, that I thought if HE can get this Omicron variant, we might as well all give up and toss our masks and cares to the wind.

This morning I’m grateful that all the Jewish hostages survived. But since the L’il Pumpkin will be joining his sister in Hebrew School this year, my gratitude in tinged with concern. Why are we still fighting over ancient, Biblical conflicts? Why have anti-Semitic attacks in the US reached a historic high in 2021?

Mehnaz Afridi:
I think for anyone antisemitism should be an important topic and subject. If it’s going on in Pakistan it should be important to someone living in Kansas City. We are a connected global community.

https://www.ushmm.org/antisemitism/what-is-antisemitism/antisemitism-today

Bob’s PCR is negative, YIPPEE, so we may venture out to a paint store for some samples. Wish us luck on our choice of “colours.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtJRJVdUFx4

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When I bought a chunk of land in Virginia, before Bob even got a chance to see it, friends thought I was crazy. But we’d been looking for a house for over a year and had finally decided to build our own Big/Little Home; so I trudged through a small forest at the edge of Albemarle County to see the Blue Ridge Mountains appear magically through the trees. I knew this was it. This was the place my dreams would come true.

When I brought Great Grandma Ada to see the 14 acres of wilderness her daughter-in-law had talked her son into buying, she kept looking down. She was picking up rocks and pointing out the flora. I had to coax her to look up and out at the mountains. She never really understood why we left NJ, and frankly I’m not sure either.

But with the grace of time, I realize now she was focused on the ground because she just didn’t want to fall. I look down a lot these days too.

Bob and I spent New Year’s Eve on the couch watching “Don’t Look Up!” on Netflix. I had no idea what it was about, and at first was pissed that Meryl Streep was smoking cigarettes as POTUS. I know she’s one of kind, but really? Slowly its true meaning became clear… the world is about to end, from (name your catastrophic event, a virus maybe, or climate change, or a meteor) and nobody cares. Politicians care about their polls, and the rest of us? We just ignore the inevitable and watch stupid animal videos. It’s an accurate allegory for our distracted, divided times.

“Two astronomers go on a media tour to warn humankind of a planet-killing comet hurtling toward Earth. The response from a distracted world: Meh.”

https://www.netflix.com/title/81252357

Now for the backstory. We’d just finished watching the Grands while the Bride and Groom went into battle every day at their hospitals in full PPE gear. Covid was back with a vengeance thanks to a surge of Omicron variant. Every night I watched as my daughter returned home, not to hugs and kisses, not before she showered and washed her hair. I could feel her pain, her exhaustion. I never saw the Groom, he was gone from 6 am to 9 at night, and then taking calls through the wee hours.

And I’d just finished reading Hillary Clinton and Louise Penny’s new book, “State of Terror.” It was their first collaboration and I hope it won’t be their last. Let’s just say the ex-president in State of Terror bears a striking resemblance to a certain twice-impeached Palm Beach resident. And yes, this book is fictional, but the geo-political thriller is a little too close for comfort. When I closed the final chapter, I couldn’t close my eyes.

We threw open our garden door on New Year’s Eve to hear country music float up from the Bicentennial Mall where the Nashville note would drop. People were standing shoulder to shoulder, unmasked, as if they were living in an alternate universe. Bars were open. A friend texted me – her hairdresser is moving to TN from NY, why? Because she wants to get away from Covid restrictions.

Needless to say, this was NOT an auspicious start to 2022. Comedians do riffs on toilet paper cozies and nobody seems to mind. Children have gone back to remote learning, leaving me to wonder how our mental health system will cope with these future teenagers. I’m thinking about strapping a sign board on myself with these words, “THE END IS NEAR” and walking down Broadway. Really.

Whatever you do, DO look up!

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Why are we Americans so obsessed with the Royals?

I blame Disney. My generation wanted to grow up and have Tinkerbell spread some fairy dust over our heads, thereby turning us into princesses. I laughed out loud when watching “Hamilton” with the Grands whenever King George appeared – poor dear, he never thought you could just LEAVE your post the way George Washington did.

If you were born a Royal, you stayed a Royal, well, usually… until two American divorcees named Simpson and Markle came on the scene.

I was also enamored of another American girl, Grace Kelly. She was the beautiful Hitchcock actress who married her Prince Rainier of Monaco. The Flapper never let me forget that Kelly was also a Pennsylvania girl.

Thanks to Netflix’s “The Crown,” I’m feeling a certain camaraderie with the Windsors. And I was sorry to hear of Prince Philip’s death at 99. Married to Queen Elizabeth for 74 years, the Prince was known for sometimes appearing out of touch. I simply delighted in their love story.

The “Dr Who” actor, Matt Smith, didn’t quite do the Prince justice; the real Philip looked more dashing and debonair while playing second fiddle in real life to Queen Elizabeth. He had to leave his homeland in Greece because of a coup when he was just a baby, growing up without an anchor. Philip was a poorer, distant cousin without a castle, and Elizabeth fell in love with him when she was just 14 years old.

I need to catch up with the series, I’ve heard that Tobias Menzies brings a certain charm to an older Prince Philip.

But before I get lost in the streaming universe, I’ve got to finish gardening. It’s so warm here now that planting has begun in earnest. In the north, I wouldn’t start planting until Mother’s Day; but here in Nashville it’s usually Tax Day! Climate Change is messing with our timing, maybe we should say April Fool’s Day?

We’re almost done with vegetables and my herbs and flowers have been potted. Doves are dining on the tree stump next to the bird feeder. I keep a bowl of fresh water out too and was surprised to see a dove frolicking in the water.

“We still have to plant some impatiens in the ground,” I told Bob.

“And by WE, you mean me?” he replied.

Sometimes I don’t mind being the second fiddle at all. But mostly, it’s nice to be Queen.

The First Born sitting in our neighbor’s garden with the Second Born

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I started off in 1966 at a college in Beacon Hill. Our children were born in the Berkshires. We spent every Spring on Martha’s Vineyard. I’ve always loved the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and I remember fondly strolling around the Boston Commons watching the gorgeous swan boats in the pond. So I was a tad surprised when Bob mentioned, “the tragedy of the commons” while we were listening to President Cuomo. Our lives in New England were the opposite of tragic!

Turns out this is the perfect term to describe where we find ourselves today – starting to reopen the country amid a cultural war over masks.

“The tragedy of the commons is an economic problem in which every individual has an incentive to consume a resource at the expense of every other individual with no way to exclude anyone from consuming. It results in overconsumption, under investment, and ultimately depletion of the resource. As the demand for the resource overwhelms the supply, every individual who consumes an additional unit directly harms others who can no longer enjoy the benefits. Generally, the resource of interest is easily available to all individuals; the tragedy of the commons occurs when individuals neglect the well-being of society in the pursuit of personal gain.”  https://www.investopedia.com/terms/t/tragedy-of-the-commons.asp

Bob usually has no luck trying to interest me in economics, but this was different, it’s behavioral economics. The tragedy (sometimes called “paradox”) of the commons refers to selfish individuals going after a “common” resource, like toilet paper, only to undermine its infrastructure causing the total collapse of the resource. And supposedly its origin is from the Old English – 18th Century settlers who would let their animals out to graze in the park at the center of town, the commons. This would result in very little park left for the people, or the animals for that matter.

Remember, in Europe only the wealthiest landowners had beautiful parks and gardens behind high, closed walls to enjoy. Designing parks in the center of our colonial cities represented America’s wish to avoid another class/caste system. And so we had a paradox. Over time, the “tragedy of the commons” came to represent not just landscape destruction, but road and bridge decay as well. It became a metaphor for power and authority trampling over the common good.

Whenever the ME became more important than the WE.

Last night I tuned into Netflix to watch The Great Hack. It is a stunning documentary that helps to explain how we actually got here in the first place! I’ve become accustomed to seeing ads for something I was looking up on one site appear on another, but I had no idea how incredibly my data, and yours, have been harvested, tracked and targeted – in particular by governments and political parties. The film delves into Cambridge Analytica, and how they weaponized our data to influence our 2016 election.

Maybe you’re not one to watch horror movies during a pandemic, but this shows you how, without a drop of blood, Mr T the first ME president, was elected by 0.23% in Michigan!

“…this data trail is being leveraged against us, every day: to sell us things, get us to vote or to stay home from the polls, to divide or unite us according to the whims of whoever has paid enough to take our digital threads and weave them into a web of their own desires….

It uses the scandal as a framework to illustrate the data mining structures and algorithms that are undermining individual liberty and democratic society, one Facebook like and meme at a time.”  https://www.wired.com/story/the-great-hack-documentary/

It’s strange isn’t it? The Boston Tea Party of 1773 kicked off our liberation from colonialism, and Mark Zuckerberg turned a dating site for Harvard’s elite students into a data capturing monolith. From his dorm room, long after I was walking through the Commons to Filene’s Basement. Could it be that this great technological connection we are all needing more and more, isn’t at all about the WE?

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Last week I screwed up my courage and went to the doctor. As usual, it took months of misery and complaining to get me there because I’m surrounded by doctors and don’t want to trouble anyone with my minor problem which will most likely get better with time. You heard that, right? I have a major martyr complex.

Instead of dealing with my problems, and because i thought for now the threat of WWIII might be over, I focused my time on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex – aka Harry and Meghan. https://sussexroyal.com/

So much stuff and nonsense. I’ve always been an Anglophile, like most Americans who love the British Royal Family precisely because we don’t have them – I’ve been eagerly anticipating the CNN special about the Windsors.

…binging on the Crown for awhile now too. Why? Maybe it’s the Queen Mother’s tiny purse, the assortment of Welsh Corgis, or the non-stop intrigue. Yes, they have castles and scads of money, but the Royals are also imprisoned in centuries of pomp and history.

I get that we can’t escape our destiny, even if we do live in a country without peerages and aristocracy. Princess Dianna wasn’t the first to chuck it all, let’s not forget King Edward VIII, Harry’s Great Grand Uncle, and Wallis Simpson – another poor, divorced American girl.

At first, I thought Meghan’s problems with life in the UK might have been what was keeping me up at night. Then I realized it was really my chronic neck pain; added to that was a severe pain in the ball of my foot if I walked Bean more than a block. Mind you, not sleeping and not being able to walk was all it took to get me to an adorable sports medicine doctor.

Yesterday I started Physical Therapy, because Bob has finished his round of PT and this must be what our future looks like! So while the Queen held a summit with her son Prince Charles, the heir apparent (let’s not forget Prince Andrew has already been banished from royal duties) and her grandsons, I was learning how to walk properly!

Queen Elizabeth II ultimately supported the young couple, Meghan and Harry, even though they jumped the gun with their press announcement:

“Today my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family.

“My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family. Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working Members of the Royal Family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family.

“Harry and Meghan have made clear that they do not want to be reliant on public funds in their new lives.

“It has therefore been agreed that there will be a period of transition in which the Sussexes will spend time in Canada and the UK.

“These are complex matters for my family to resolve, and there is some more work to be done, but I have asked for final decisions to be reached in the coming days.”

So said HRH the Queen! https://www.npr.org/2020/01/13/795955373/after-summit-queen-says-royals-respect-and-understand-harry-and-meghan-s-decisio

In other words, let’s not drag this out, let’s not wait months and months before you call a doctor, or/I /mean figure out a way to make part-time Royalty work. Meghan phoned her thoughts in while staying with friends in Canada. Baby Archie and the Duke and Duchess had just spent a long holiday break in Victoria, British Columbia, without one single paparazzi spotting them; they must have felt the kind of freedom we commoners take for granted.

I believe they will carve out a new path for the next generation. Good on them and Godspeed! 962FFB38-8C7E-4018-B1D6-CE090BF7DED0

 

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The South doesn’t do snow.

Bob and I were supposed to be Grandparenting this morning, but the temperature plummeted and ice is supposed to turn into snow, so the Grands are home from school with the Groom. He is a great Dad and told us he can work from home; also pancakes are his specialty!

And in light of the racist slurs that came from Mr T yesterday, I made Bob sit down on the couch this morning and put Netflix on his iPad. I heard that President Obama was going to be David Letterman’s first guest on his new gig, “My Next Guest” https://www.netflix.com/title/80209096

Cue the bluebirds. We laughed, we even teared up a little, as we listened to Obama talk about bringing his oldest to college. They were having fun with each other and when Letterman told him he really respected Obama – as a man – and embraced him, I felt so much longing for those days. For a President that could make me dream again.

So it was a bittersweet interview, because I miss that man, and nobody mentioned Mr T at ALL. Which was refreshing, but in his absence, in his void, lies uncertainty. Like children of alcoholic parents, we the American people never know what to expect from his mouth or his Twitter fingers. We were getting so close to a deal on DACA yesterday, that I have to think Mr T’s racist remarks were calculated for his base. Just another bright shiny object to deflect the press. We already knew he was a bigoted nationalist, now I wonder if this president is either terribly sinister, stupid, or suffering from Alzheimer’s. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/01/12/trump-denies-he-called-countries-s–holes-rejects-senators-daca-deal.html

I did not, will not and could not watch Mr T sign a proclamation for Martin Luther King Day earlier. Instead, to commemorate Dr King’s life, I hauled myself out to the outskirts of  Davidson County and registered myself to vote in TN. And I have an idea about what to do on Monday. I will print off voter registration forms and leave them at our local coffee shop.

I recently left a book there with a post-it that said, “Free book from your local Book Fairy.” In Ireland they have a Book Fairy group that does this all the time, and you’re supposed to try and do it without being caught. Yesterday I noticed someone had left another free book in their window. It felt so good to know a mitzvah was being paid forward.

It should not be so hard to vote in this democracy. That bears repeating, “IT SHOULD NOT BE SO HARD TO VOTE IN THE USA!!” President Obama talked about strengthening the habits of the heart; the more we help others, extend our hands and really connect with others, the more we advance our democracy and our own humanity.

My Nana had a saying, “When you throw your toast out on the water, it comes back with jelly on it.”

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Sorry to be quoting a Russian, but we spent a recent evening at an art show to benefit the Love Bug’s school. And because we had a mini-tour the day before with Nancy and Great Grandma Ada, who has converted her family room into an art studio, we had a long conversation with one of the Lost Boys from South Sudan. James Makuac paints memories from his dreams of Africa. They are bright, vivid colors, and some are not for the faint of heart. http://jameskuolmakuac.tumblr.com

His work is about resilience, about people fleeing their homes in the midst of war, walking through rain with the ubiquitous yellow water barrel on a woman’s head.

And I thought of all the artwork my Sister-in-Law Anita collected over the years. She left my brother Dr Jim surrounded with bright California images and fragile pieces of art glass. He loved her with all his heart, their last years together spent tenderly caring for each other, collecting Amish quilts on sunny rides through the country. And as we tried to organize, to make sense of her collections, it dawned on me that she too was trying to recapture her home. To bring the Northern California aesthetic into her Twin City life.

And I wondered yet again, what will my children do with the things I leave behind? Will they find them beautiful, or will they be a burden?

One night, in the midst of my visit to Dr Jim’s MN home, we watched the Minimalism documentary on Netflix. It opens with the abundance of cheap stuff people fight over the day after Thanksgiving. And the take-away is that we should:

“Use things, and Love people!”

The Bride had wanted me to see the film, because she thought Bob and I are heading in that minimalist direction, divesting of “stuff” and living a simpler life in our two bedroom town home. And it is somehow freeing, to put out on a table or up on a wall only those things I love, that bring me joy.

For instance, I have an Irish ceramic vase that had lived its life on display in my VA guest bedroom, one of four bedrooms. It is now happily holding utensils on my small kitchen counter. I couldn’t part with it because it had been a gift from my Irish cousins, but I also loved its line. To me, it is beautiful.

Fyodor Dostoevsky said, “The world will be saved by beauty.” He also said

By interpreting freedom as the propagation and immediate gratification of needs, people distort their own nature, for they engender in themselves a multitude of pointless and foolish desires, habits, and incongruous stratagems. Their lives are motivated only by mutual envy, sensuality, and ostentation.

Maybe our country needs to adopt a new interpretation of freedom, because the American dream, like all dreams, is changing. We need to stop loving cheap shiny objects that appear at Walmart and on our Twitter feed, and make a point of listening to the people we love. Finding the truth in another’s story. Understanding why we are in Niger. Stop fighting proxy wars, and search for beauty in the world, and not on Google.

Painting by James Makuac

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How else can one explain what is happening in China over the last few years? Mr T Tweets at 3am, and now he’s calling the Taiwanese Prez, which is like snubbing your nose at your big (or little depending on your POV) brother or sister. Only this sibling doesn’t sleep, and could suffocate you with his or her pillow all while continuing to pollute our environment.

Remember back in February when I recommended a compelling non-fiction book about China? “Age of Ambition – Chasing Fortune, Truth and Faith in the new China” by Evan Osnos. https://mountainmornings.net/2016/02/27/mj-fever/

If you’re not one for the long read, how about a couple of articles in this month’s Atlantic, “China’s Great Leap Backward?” Kisssinger explains China 101 and tells us how to avoid a trade war, among other things. And James Fallows tells us that freedom is even harder to find in the new China; “It has become repressive in a way that it has not been since the Cultural Revolution.”

We Americans have been asleep. We don’t want to wake to the nightmare of last month’s election, and why should we? We would rather come home from work, open a craft beer, and watch Netflix. Only the latest sci-fi series I told you about, Black Mirror, is actually coming true in China! https://mountainmornings.net/2016/10/25/feeling-twitchy/

If you need a respite from politics, and all the mud-slinging of this election, I have a Netflix show to recommend from England. “Black Mirror” (a trope to our attachment to the smart screen) is about how technology is changing the course of human history in a very scary, sinister and smart way. I’ve only seen the first few episodes of Season 1, created by Charlie Brooker, but if you are wondering where our dystopian obsession with devices is going, tune into the future.

So that’s what I said in October…and now China is creating a nightmare for its citizens with their tacit consent.

It is collecting “Social Credit Scores,” in other words, the dragon has a highly developed Big Brother with a big pillow under his head. All electronic purchasing data, social media networks, and algorithmic sorting devices are being collected to give each citizen a score between 350 and 950. This system not only monitors whether or not you could pay for your apartment. but how compliant you are politically, and what kind of spouse you might make! If you hit a score of 700+ you are allowed to travel to Singapore…

Black Mirror is no longer science fiction, it is becoming fact. The Regime can now keep a tally of any message with a mention of Tienanmen Square for example, which would not only lower your score, but those of your friends and family! All of the scores are available to everybody in China online, and strangely enough like salmon swimming furiously upstream, citizens have embraced this system.

And just like the American 12 year old I overheard bragging about how many Instagram followers she had, I am finding this brave new world frightening. After all, we have Google and Amazon and Facebook et al collecting our data, but our government isn’t quite yet in cahoots with them, is it? http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-34592186

It’s enough to make me want to crawl right back under the covers and hibernate the winter away. But first a prayer for what it’s worth, please God, let Mr T pick Romney over Giuliani for Secretary of State. We don’t need any more bulls roaming free in a China shop. Let me know when it’s time to wake up and get off the grid. From an exhibition in LA at the Broad Museum – this is Jenny Holzer 1979 – it’s strangely prescient

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Almost every day I notice something about technology and its intrusion on our species.

The feeling leaves me twitchy, which is the opposite of feeling groovy. Feeling nervous, even jumpy about the upcoming election might be normal, but here’s where it gets downright “nasty.”

The new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll — conducted among 1,999 registered voters Oct. 13 through Oct. 15 — shows that Trump’s repeated warnings about a “rigged” election are having effect: 73 percent of Republicans think the election could be swiped from him. Just 17 percent of Democrats agree with the prospect of massive fraud at the ballot box.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/10/poll-41-percent-of-voters-say-the-election-could-be-stolen-from-trump-229871#ixzz4O6sJNgAE

Now I always thought we could trust in our electorate to bring us the best democracy, with a capital “D,” in the whole wide world. I thought the Trump supporters, fully one third of the voting public, were just delusional about the system being “rigged.” Sure it’s rigged when the polls show their candidate losing, and fine when he was neck and neck. And if somebody says something enough, some people are bound to believe it.

But then I read about bad technology, via a Katie Couric Twitter link to US News. Granted it’s an opinion piece, and Jason Smith uses the word “could,” but it made me think. Maybe it’s not mass hysteria, maybe there is something rotten in Denmark?

U.S. elections offer scant assurance of accuracy or security, and our nation would fail recognized international election criteria that we impose on emerging democracies. This November, millions of Americans will cast their ballots on unverifiable paperless voting computers. These machines incorporate flawed, buggy software that would not pass a college freshman computer science class.  http://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2016-10-18/our-election-could-be-rigged-because-of-bad-technology

Today 32 states employ some type of internet voting, and let’s face it, the computers they are using are dinosaurs – think the kind of behemoth we lugged into the Bride’s dorm room almost twenty years ago! Even when I was studying Technology in the Classroom at the Master’s level, we were always told to keep a back-up lesson plan IN PAPER at hand because you never know. Modems can get hit by lightening. Russians or a middle school student could hack them!

And to top it off, after a delightful dueling chef’s dinner last night benefitting “Georgia’s Healing House,” Bob and I sat down to a PBS episode of “GerryRIGGED.” A documentary film featuring politicians from both sides of the aisle, including Tim Kaine who probably didn’t know he would be the Veep pick at the time, explaining how legislators in both houses can redistrict their state to ensure their reelection every few years.

Gerrymandering is the enemy of representative government. It deliberately manipulates the system to take away from voters the very choice that should be a hallmark of our system,” says program producer William Oglesby. “We hope with this documentary to help citizens understand that this isn’t the way it has to be; that the voters have a right to choose their representatives rather than the representatives choose them.”

Needless to say I was up and wandering about at 3 am again. Our country is just like Great Britain drawing lines in the sand of its post-Colonial empire.  Let’s get a few more Republicans over here in District 12 shall we? And VA had a chance at reform, but who would vote for their own demise? Certainly the Old Dominion didn’t.

If you need a respite from politics, and all the mud-slinging of this election, I have a Netflix show to recommend from England. “Black Mirror” (a trope to our attachment to the smart screen) is about how technology is changing the course of human history in a very scary, sinister and smart way. I’ve only seen the first few episodes of Season 1, created by Charlie Brooker, but if you are wondering where our dystopian obsession with devices is going, tune into the future.

Parental warning, the first episode of “Black Mirror” involves a pig in a compromising position. Like any great science fiction writer, the truth isn’t too far off.   http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2016/10/black-mirror-nosedive-review-season-three-netflix/504668/

Forget the myth of voter fraud, put your feet up and your devices down, talk to your children about kindness and nastiness, and maybe go leaf-peeping this week!   img_5481

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