Sunday Bag o’ Just Deserts

Mister B doesn’t like having his photo taken. If he sees a camera he immediately turns away. I have to trick him into looking at me if I want a good photo.

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These were taken at a nearby shopping plaza. I had my iPhone on a selfie stick in order to get it down on his level, but would he cooperate? No. In the second photo, though, he’s a captive subject, trapped on the seat of our pickup truck, too high to jump, waiting for me to help him down.

I spend too much time thinking about the quality of my dog photos. There’s a Norwegian guy on Instagram who posts daily photos of his dachshund, a red short-hair named Reinert, and they’re all brilliant. Reinert’s a camera hound, and his human takes him everywhere, snapping away. Mister B is camera shy, and our Instagram photos can’t come close to theirs. I know, I know … it’s not a competition.

I’m supposed to head out on a week-long motorcycle trip through Arizona, Utah, and Nevada (with a possible side trip into southern California) this Thursday, but I suddenly have a toothache and think it may be serious. It’s coming from the last molar on my left lower jaw, next to a molar that required a root canal two years ago. I have a dental cleaning appointment Tuesday morning and will ask them what they think about the tooth. If they recommend immediate work, I’ll have to postpone the trip and cancel my motel reservations, all at the last minute. It’s always something, isn’t it?

Went to see Ad Astra with a friend who’s into science fiction. I had questions about the film’s depiction of gravity, but they’re the same questions I have about virtually every space opera. Two scenes on the Moon grated on me. In the first a group of people stride along normally, as if at one G, down an underground corridor at a lunar base; in the second a lunar rover sails over a crater’s edge, as it might in the Moon’s light gravity, then falls a couple of thousand feet before crashing into the crater’s floor without injuring its occupants.

What bothered me more, though, are the dress blue uniforms worn by members of Space Command. They’re modeled on contemporary military uniforms, but the astronauts don’t wear wings. That, my friends, would never happen, and anyone could have told the producers that. Brad Pitt, wearing major’s rank, sits at a table with two major generals. One two-star, an older man, is clearly in charge. The second two-star plays some sort of admin second lieutenant role, not only subservient to the other general but even to the major. That she’s female (and black) is a shocking anachronism in this day and age.

Then there’s the death ray Tommy Lee Jones aims at Earth from from an antenna on a space station orbiting Uranus, an antenna no bigger than the dishes one sees in trailer parks. I would have thought a death ray powerful enough to reach across the solar system and cause electrical blackouts on Earth would require a somewhat more robust antenna, not to mention a power source the size of a small star.

But if the whole idea was to create a star vehicle for Brad Pitt (with Donald Sutherland and Tommy Lee Jones reprising their earlier roles in another astronaut movie), then who gives a shit about the science? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you want good science fiction, you have to read it. It’s too hard to do in movies or on TV.

May I express skepticism about the impeachment inquiry? Does anyone else think they’re going to slow roll it all the way to the election, never deciding whether to impeach or not? Because I do. Everything I’ve seen from the Democrats in Congress tells me that’s what they’re up to. Why is another story, one I will probably never understand. More and more, I feel as if we’re getting what we deserve for our lazy, can’t-be-bothered tolerance of the racism and selfishness all around us.

© 2019, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.

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