Tuesday, May 10, 2016

G.O.P. Ideas on the Debt per Paul Krugman, My Letter to an Editor, Thoughts on Texting and a Movie Review

Movie Review
Papa: Hemingway in Cuba is one of those movies which received unfavorable reviews, but which I enjoyed enormously.  It is the ‘true” story of a reporter who makes a friend of Ernest Hemingway and travels to Cuba to visit with him during the tense days just prior to the revolution led by Fidel Castro. While the name of the reporter is changed, I get the feeling that most of the material in the film is close to the truth. 

 Scene from the movie                                                 After the movie

While it is not a documentary film, it is the first American motion picture filmed in Cuba since 1959, affording viewers a wonderful opportunity to see how the island looks today, even though the story takes place over half a century ago.  While travelers to the island nation can today visit Hemingway’s estate near Havana, they cannot go through the rooms in the house, into which the film takes its cameras.  The actor playing “Papa” even fingers Hemingway’s actual typewriter there.  Perhaps my enjoyment of the film was enhanced by the fact that after seeing it, we adjourned to my favorite local Cuban restaurant (Don Ramon on Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach) where I had some lechon asado along with a couple of Daquiris out of respect for “Papa” while listening to a singer performing the kind of music the film includes.
Jack Lippman


Telephone "Dialing" and Texting

There used to be a weekly comedy program on TV many years ago called “Your Show of Shows.It featured comedian Sid Caesar (along with the unforgettable Imogene Coca).  One skit which sticks in my memory is Sid in a phone booth dialing a call.  For those of you who don’t remember, telephones used to have rotary dials on which you put your finger in a hole for the number or letter (telephone exchanges used to start with letters) you wanted to call and turning the dial all the way to the right until it stopped.  Eventually that was replaced with push buttons, just like appear on your cordless or mobile telephones these days.  But Sid was in a phone booth, dialing a very, very, very long number.  Digit after digit he dialed, one after another.  Ten seconds, twenty seconds, thirty seconds, almost a minute elapsed.  Sid kept dialing and the audience roared.

Well, nobody “dials” phone numbers any longer and the word “dial” is now more associated with soap than with communications.  Things have really changed.

When Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, it provided a means for people to speak with one another over distances.  Today’s phones, mobile and otherwise, still have that capability … but they also do many additional things, including communicating by e-mail, sending text messages and utilizing other electronic ways of reaching others such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.  In fact, smartphones, as most of them are called, are used less and less these days for spoken communications.  I believe that one of the things this this does is taking the confrontational aspect out of communications.

If you tell George and Betty that you can’t make it to their party next week by a text message, you avoid the necessity of telling them why unless they come back to you with their own text asking you why.  But they may suspect why and not bother to ask you.  And sending a text avoids your confronting them with your feeble excuse. It gives you time to think up a better one, perhaps, if they text you back.  So texting is for cowards and communicators who are not quick enough on the draw to come up with an instant response to someone speaking to them directly in a phone call.  People just don't talk to one another anymore the way they used to, and that is a bad thing. 

But texting does has its place, like when my dentist texts me reminding me of my appointment on Friday.  That’s better than a recorded message to that effect because it leaves control of when I receive the message to me.


Krugman on the Debt


Republicans have been talking about the danger the nation's debt presents for years.  According to Nobel-prize winning economist Paul Krugman, that's just a myth, but not one that Donald Trump hasn't hesitated with which to run.  I believe he has said something about not fully paying off our creditors, as many unscrupulous business people routinely do.  Check out his column on this subject in which he points out that Donald Trump's ignorance has been shared by the Republican Party for years.  Check out his column here.


A Letter to an Editor


The Palm Beach Post was nice enough to publish a letter from me last Sunday.  I include a copy of it below.  Let me know if you disagree with me.

Monday’s front page article “Glut of low-wage jobs fueling voters’ anger" raises the question of who should be out there looking out for the interests of those voters.  Certainly not their employers, whose focus should be on their bottom lines. And the government’s role in being an advocate for working people has varied depending on who is in office. 

It’s difficult for such voters to figure out which candidates are really on their side. Throughout most of the last century, working people’s interests were defended by labor unions. Sadly, however, their membership has plummeted over the last 50 years, when many believed job creation would be enhanced by weakening unions with such gimmicks as “right-to-work” (for peanuts) laws. 

That is where we stand today, and it is time for a re-flowering of the labor union movement in this country, in cooperation with business, so that low-wage jobs might be replaced by ones with decent wages and benefits, and that domestic manufacturing, with the aid of government, once again will flourish.
Jack Lippman


(Last week's posting featured a Monarch butterfly.  Today's features a Giant Swallowtail.  Both inhabit my yard.)

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