Saturday, May 18, 2019

Mixed bag of comments...

---Today Cedric Klapisch's film "Chinese Puzzle" was watched, and it was better than remembered when it was seen at the town theater in 2014, and I liked it then.  The third film in this trilogy finds Xavier in Manhattan, and the depiction of the city is exceptional, both thematically and visually.  With quirks like Schopenhauer and Hegel showing up to give the protagonist advice, plus multiple characters in large and minor roles that are all interesting, and two especially capable child actors, the two hour film seems to end too soon.  How it all tied together is sort of brilliant.  With large portions  set in areas of lower Manhattan that are so well known here, it was personally compelling. Yeah, still liked the film, a lot.

---As a sporadic but committed viewer of the four major golf championships, the PGA title event seems off kilter this year being played in May.  As has been the trend in professional golf, players with no personality are among the leaders, talk about Brooks Koepka and Jordan Spieth.  At least Justin Thomas did not make the cut but that was the fate of the character Bubba Watson as well.  Tony Finau, a recent favorite, is not in contention.  Tiger Woods did not show up, well he was there but probably still rattled by the broad ill will hoodoo coming his way after his widely publicized photos receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Trump.  Apart from his cozy relationship with the man, it reminds us that there are few redeeming characteristics of Woods other than his exceptional golf game and commitment to physical fitness.  No prior description of this award suggests that he deserved it. He left New York immediately to head back to Floridan on his massive yacht.  It does appear that his commitment to good works and charitable giving is on a par with Trump.

---New York Mayor Bill DiBlasio has joined the Democratic presidential rave.  While advocating some good causes and implementing a couple, he is a limited man who has also shown himself to be for sale.  What next, will John Edwards attempt a comeback?

---From afar, events in Venezuela seem dire, and prospects poor.  Nicolas Maduro was the bad guy to Hugo Chavez's good guy, if that routine could be imagined.  His only driving belief is to stay in power, as there are no longer many buses left to drive. This country is being, maybe already has been, destroyed.  An estimated three million people have already walked over the border.  The supposed opposition leader is Juan Guaido, but as in much of Latin American history the "good guys" are the elite, members of the privileged class.  Maybe six months ago, one news organization, not remembered which one here, did interviews with Guaido in Venezuela.  One was at his home and was sort of like a lifestyles of the rich and famous tour as well as an interview focused on the situation there.  The house would not have been out of place in the best neighborhoods of Miami.  Guiado is not exactly a man of the people.  His call for the people to rise up last week was a complete flop.  In fact, the military seems to have the same rationale to hang on as Maduro.  They have food and protection.  Outcome unclear, but this will end soon.  Russia cannot be seen as supporting the starvation and destitution.

---The stock market is holding up, but it is now a trader's market.  Volatility leads to opportunity but fragility exists.  Companies that have the most recent meaningful price increases are most vulnerable to sharp downturns, especially mid-sized companies in the tech space.


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