Tuesday 25 October 2016

Sit back and enjoy as I regale you with tales of the first five movies I watched in October.

86. (1024.) The Sugarland Express (1974)
Steven Spielberg's first theatrical movie! It's not what you've come to expect from the master of mainstream schmaltz. In fact, despite having some very comedic elements, it's really a tragedy. Besides Goldie Hawn, what this movie really has going for it are some fantastic shots of Texas landscapes. It's far from Spielberg's best, but it's also much, much better than his worst.

87. (1025.) Foul Play (1978)
This movie is mostly a comedic take on the noir thrillers of yesteryear. The first two-thirds is pretty entertaining (it's easy to see Chevy Chase's eventual Fletch character here), but it runs out of steam by the last 30 minutes. By then, the ending was no longer in doubt and the long car race through San Francisco (more Blue Brothers than Bullit) felt like a tedious waste of time.

88. (1026.) Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (2016)
How was this only in theaters for two weeks? This is very much Spinal Tap for the Millennial generation. I know that my father's mother would have hated the foul-mouthed, uncouth lyrics, but I loved every satirical moment of it (even though I'm an Xer myself).

89. (1027.) Station West (1948)
Dick Powell stars as a hard boiled detective in the old west. It's not quite as good as that pitch sounds, but it's worth a watch if you like RKO detective movies. And I do.

90. (1028.) The Star (1952)
Hollywood sure loves stories about the dark side of Hollywood. There's some great writing and acting in this film (though not from Natalie Wood, who acts as well as her namesake). The film closes with a pointed slap in the face from the screenwriter. I found it a clever and effective ending to this depressing character study. Well done.

More to come.

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  Sunday 23 October 2016

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia is raising the monthly health insurance premium on my current health insurance plan to $338 for 2017. That's a 27% increase from monthly 2016 payments. I should probably be thankful it's that low. My 2016 premiums represented a 100% increase over 2015.

Perhaps you're thinking that $338 isn't a lot of money each month. If you can afford better, good for you. However, the Affordable Healthcare Act has destroyed insurance for self-employed professionals like me. The insurers are complaining that they're loosing money on individual plans, and I can understand why. No independent can afford their rates.

I don't think I'm being unreasonable. I don't mind paying for health insurance coverage; I've done it for years. But I don't see why the monthly amounts have grown so out of line with what I can afford. (Especially when it still won't pay for hospital visits!) We're not experiencing rampant inflation, and there doesn't seem to be any shortage of services. So what's driving these impossible costs? Perhaps its a liquidity crisis. We can't save anything for the future if we have to spend every penny paying for right now.

In the past year, my insurance has been billed for $479 worth of doctors fees. Comparing that number against the $4,056 or more I'll have to pay in premiums in 2017, it's clear to me that my best economic option is to cancel my insurance and pay the "individual shared responsibility payment" — the government's name for the ObamaCare penalty tax. At my income bracket, the government will penalize me $695 for the whole year. That leaves enough leeway for eight doctor's visits next year, and I'll still come out ahead!

So if you see me grab my chest and collapse, don't call an ambulance. There's no way I can afford that.

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  Friday 21 October 2016

This heavily scripted short "about" Emma Stone feels fabulously Old Hollywood, like an MGM promotional puff piece. Is Emma anything like the person appearing in this video? Who cares. More please.

(FYI: Note that the video was uploaded on October 18, but National Dress Up Your Pet Day is January 14. Has Vogue been sitting on that footage for nine months? Or was it released three months early? I guess those would have made it 75 questions.)

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  Wednesday 19 October 2016

Technically, Dr. Allen didn't prescribe this

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  Monday 17 October 2016

I may be guilty of this

It's funny because it's 10,000% true.

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  Saturday 15 October 2016

Frankly, there can be no more debate. The 2016 Georgia Bulldogs are not very good.

Vanderbilt 17, UGA 16

Even though I was there and watched every play, I can't tell you why exactly the Bulldogs lost to the Vanderbilt Commodores today. They ran and threw okay (offensive line is still a weakness), but couldn't get points. Special teams were as terrible as usual, if not worse, and I think that was the difference. Giving up 7 points to Vandy in the first 22 seconds (after an opening kick return to the 4 yard line) was probably more than this team could overcome.

At least losing to Vanderbilt 17-16 proves that the Hail Mary loss to Tennessee wasn't as painful as it seemed at the time. This Georgia football team will be nowhere near Atlanta when the SEC Championship Game in December, and rightfully so.

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To be continued...