Posts Tagged ‘00’s’

William O. Douglas – enigma?

Mon ,26/11/2018

So just finished my second Justice Douglas biography, Independent Journey by James F. Simon (1980), published not too long after Douglas’ passing in 1975. I had read Wild Bill: The Legend and Life of William O. Douglas by Bruce Allen Murphy (2003) immediately prior.

I had heard about the later book originally via a New Republic article some years ago, a book review by Judge Richard Posner. But after having read it, and the second book having mentioned the earlier bio in the end credits, I really felt I needed to read the earlier book. You see, while certainly Murphy’s book is an amazing example of dedicated scholarship – it largely focuses on Douglas’ personal shortcomings – and while there are many, many such egregious examples of them, Simon’s earlier book provides a much better balance of the actual SUPREME COURT activity Douglas engaged in and in some cases, led. Murphy spends so much time uncovering all the personal flaws, problems and misdeeds of Douglas that he largely blows off most of the Court stuff (why he wrote the book, hello?). Unlike Simon’s book, which tells a lot of detail behind two huge cases for example (Brown v. Board of Education in the 50’s and Roe v. Wade just before the end of Douglas’ career) – Murphy doesn’t really deal much with either one, if at all.

Ultimately, The Nation sums it up best for me in talking about both books and then about Douglas the man. Because so many of the *results* Douglas wanted to see (or helped bring about as part of the Warren Court or earlier as Chairman of the SEC) – are still RIGHT. So as bad a human being as he was in many, many circumstances, The Nation still makes the best final statement of him to me: “If more present-day Justices and judges embraced William O. Douglas’s ideals, constitutional liberties would be far safer than they are.” (and throw in environmental protection too, because while not part of his jurisprudence, he was d*** right on that one and way ahead of his time.

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The Face of Winter: Warren Miller – RIP.

Tue ,20/11/2018

So one of the true pioneers and icons of the ski industry, Warren Miller, passed away this past January at 93(!) years old. We went to see the latest film from his company (he hadn’t been filming with them for many years now), The Face of Winter. I’ve been to WM movies off an on over the years but not for some time, but this year wanted to go again in tribute to the man and his amazing career.

The movie was pretty good – while there were a couple tiny #MeToo moments in it (IMHO) and a few too many ‘fake sly’ product placements, it was still good – the usual mix of heli-skiing crazy extreme glaciers and remote mountains (this time mostly in AK, Chile, Iceland, France and Switzerland), with classic clips and WM testimonials throughout. I did not realize he was making movies as far back as the 50’s – crazy stuff.

anyway, here’s the trailer, it’s still touring around the country if you get the chance to see it:

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Ah, Norm….

Fri ,14/09/2018

Funniest bit is at the 12 minute mark – Burt Reynolds, RIP.

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The Darkness – Rocks!

Wed ,04/04/2018

Went to see The Darkness at Showbox Seattle last night. While they aren’t on the level of Flight to Mars or Fishbone musician-wise, they still definitely put on a good show.

We skipped the opener, Diarrhea Planet – both of us watched a KEXP clip of theirs on YT earlier in the day and concluded they weren’t for us (if the band name wasn’t enough deterrent to begin with?).

So I’ve liked The Darkness for some time, but mostly the first two albums, hadn’t heard the latter 3 until just recently (right after I got tix) so wasn’t as familiar with that material, but either way, they delivered it well.

Among other silliness seen were a constant rotation of hats thrown up from the audience; the audience banter with Justin Hawkins (singer and band leader), a bit of actual crowd surfing by same, and (sadly) some actual mosh pit action by the end….

Justin Hawkins may be many things, but it’s clear he’s definitely influenced by glam rockers such as Bowie, Marc Bolan and likely Mick Jagger, possibly even The Sweet (which may be closest to the pop rock of The Darkness, sound-wise) – witness the full-body ‘leopard skin’ slinky outfit he had on (the rest of the band looked fairly normal, barring the bassist resembling a rougher fro-headed Borat).

But that crazy falsetto he has is still in good shape, even at 43 years old (he opened the show last night by insisting they were all 28, but later Jeff Carter (math wizard) correctly noted there’s no way they were that young, and it turns out that’s how old they were when they started.

Speaking of when they started, their biggest hit was the last song of the night, which some Seattle nerd captured on their phone and posted on YT (of course) – enjoy! Their albums have also largely made it onto YT also, and the second video below is a full 2015 concert from Chicago, many of the same songs….enjoy! candybowl

RIP, Mr. Young.

Mon ,08/01/2018

a true American hero – RIP.

From the Seattle TimesNASA: Legendary astronaut, moonwalker John Young has died

“….NASA called Young one of its pioneers – the only agency astronaut to go into space as part of the Gemini, Apollo and space shuttle programs, and the first to fly into space six times. He was the ninth man to walk on the moon.”

“…His NASA career lasted 42 years, longer than any other astronaut’s, and he was revered among his peers for his dogged dedication to keeping crews safe — and his outspokenness in challenging the space agency’s status quo.

Chastened by the 1967 Apollo launch pad fire that killed three astronauts, Young spoke up after the 1986 shuttle Challenger launch accident. His hard scrutiny continued well past shuttle Columbia’s disintegration during re-entry in 2003.

“Whenever and wherever I found a potential safety issue, I always did my utmost to make some noise about it, by memo or whatever means might best bring attention to it,” Young wrote in his 2012 memoir, “Forever Young.”

He said he wrote a “mountain of memos” between the two shuttle accidents to “hit people over the head.” Such practice bordered on heresy at NASA.”

candybowl

I miss The Office…

Tue ,26/12/2017

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Five simple words…

Sat ,18/11/2017

“the world needs Iron Maiden” – and yes, we DO.

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K2: Siren of the Himalayas

Thu ,02/11/2017

So I’m on a bit of a mountain climbing movie kick now, for whatever weird reason, following on from the Everest Unmasked movie of mid-Oct. This time, it was the recent K2 documentary from 2009. I’ve also decided that I don’t want to watch either ‘movies’ of mountain climbing unless there’s some other aspect of the plot too (e.g James Bond flick or something) – I’d rather just work through the scary-enough truth of these crazy climbs via actual documentaries. Besides these two movies, I’ve seen Touching The Void several years ago not long after it came out.

So once again in watching this film, there were parts of the movie where I wanted to just shut it off – they are up SO high. Plus on K2, unlike others, they do a up-down style so they can survive acclimatizing to the extreme lack of oxygen and climb itself, so they go up to Camp 2, then back down, then up to Camp 3, then back to 2, and so on.

The personalities here are a bit more interesting than the two guys in Everest Unmasked, but R. Messner from that climb went on to become one of the greatest climbers of all time in the decades since (they briefly mention his summit of K2 years ago on what seems to be the most difficult possible way).

Even the drive to get them into the mountains and then long hike to base camp seem far more extreme than Everest by contrast, even though Everest is of course the highest peak on earth (K2 is #2). But they show stats early on about how much tougher and far fewer summits have been done on K2 vs. Everest.

Finally, a great counterpoint in this documentary is the story of the first summit attempt, way back in 1912, by an Italian duke. They intersperse that story with the modern one throughout the movie, makes it even more impressive for both expeditions in the end, in my opinion.

Check it out!

Other perspectives:
Rotten Tomatoes

candybowl

It was worth it…

Wed ,11/10/2017

we had (literally) nosebleed seats that summer when the reunion tour hit Key Arena (as the YT notes show, 7 years *after* this VH1 show), but it was definitely worth it to see one of my all-time fave bands…

candybowl

Business Hours are Ovah!

Mon ,18/09/2017

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