The Lion King

It took me a couple of hours to defrost my freezer. I went out to Trader Joe’s to buy a few items, and I went to the record store to buy CDs of Cream, Buffalo Springfield, and Sly and the Family Stone. I went out to the theatre that was showing “The Lion King.” There were fewer people out to see it than I expected. The movie was animation that looked fairly realistic, so that it seemed that we were looking at one of those Disney documentaries in which the animals behave like human beings. James Earl Jones and Elton John were back from the original in 1994 to work on this new film. The pace sure felt slow, so I have doubts about whether kids will like this movie. Also, the message of the film seems to be that children are idiots, so I wouldn’t think that young people will be excited about seeing all of this. The constant moving shots were difficult to look at after a while. Watching “Russian Ark” made me think of the limitations of the camera so close to the action. This film most of all feels unnecessary, existing only to add money to Disney’s fortunes. If there were differences in the plot from the original film, I couldn’t detect them. I think I missed Jeremy Irons. The audience reaction was lukewarm. I didn’t hear any applause. I can’t recommend this movie. It is stale, and watching it feels like a chore. One of the few actors I enjoyed hearing was Seth Rogen, although part of the lesson of this film is that slackers of the type who smoke too much weed waste your time and turn you into an unmotivated slug. Looking up the running times of the two films, the original was 88 minutes, and this new film is 118 minutes. That extra 30 minutes consists of too much filler. Jon Favreau as an actor was in the latest Spider-Man movie, and as a director did “Elf,” the first two Iron Man movies, and “The Jungle Book.” He was born in 1966. It’s discouraging that Disney didn’t spend the money to make this film on developing new and fresh ideas. Some of the people who died on July 19 include Joe Flynn (1974), Lefty Frizell (1975), Jack Warden (2006), Frank McCourt (2009), James Garner (2014), and Garry Marshall (2016). Today is a birthday for Benedict Cumberbatch (43) and Brian May (73). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for July 19, Sun Records released Elvis Presley’s first single, That’s All Right,” in 1954. In 1974, Joe Flynn drowned at age 49 in his swimming pool in Beverly Hills.

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Gender-Neutral Beatles Songs

Thinking about the Berkeley City Council vote on gender neutral language for municipal codes, I starting singing Beatles songs in gender neutral language: “Why they had to go I don’t know, they wouldn’t say…” I looked at the Beatles albums in order of release and thought of what the gender neutral song titles would be:

“I Saw Them Standing There”
“I Wanna Be Your Person”
“And I Love Them”
“Another Person”
“You’re Going to Lose That Person”
“Nowhere Person”
“They Said They Said”
“They’re Leaving Home”
“Being for the Benefit of Mr. or Ms. Kite!”
“Your Parent Should Know”
“Baby, You’re a Rich Person”
“Parent Nature’s Child”
“I Want You (They’re So Heavy)”
“Sun Royal”
“Mean Mr. or Ms. Mustard”
“They Came In Through the Bathroom Window”
“Your Majesty”
“Thank You Person”
“They Love You”
“This Person”
“They’re a Person.”

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Planet of the Apes

After I went out to do my laundry, I browsed through the record store. I thought about what my trip this weekend would be like. I heard on the news that the Berkeley City Council voted to use gender neutral language in municipal codes, such as “maintenance hole” replacing “manhole.” I thought of what they might do to Beatles songs if given the chance, such as changing “She Loves You” to “They Love You.” I watched “Planet of the Apes.” I couldn’t help thinking of how stupid the astronauts were to leave their clothes and backpacks unguarded as they went swimming. The plot seemed to require the traces of their intelligence to be destroyed. People like Edward G. Robinson, Ingrid Bergman, and Raquel Welch didn’t want to be in the movie. I think their presence could have made it better. The apes originally were more advanced, but for budget reasons, that was changed. Also, the ending of the novel was more like the Tim Burton version, which would have been more believable but less dramatic. I liked how we don’t see the apes until half an hour into the movie. It makes the anticipation greater. I wasn’t impressed with the apes’ intelligence. The one with the fire hose was especially stupid. Linda Harrison was Nova, and she appeared to get the part because of her relationship with Richard Zanuck. Nova was going to be pregnant, which seemed likely to happen, but that idea was nixed. Harrison would go on to appear in “Beneath the Planet of the Apes,” “Airport 1975,” and “Cocoon.” She did make an appearance in the Tim Burton film. She is 73 years old now, and she will be 74 on July 26. Kim Hunter won an Oscar for playing Stella Kowalski in “A Streetcar Named Desire.” She was in two Planet of the Apes sequels and the TV movie “Born Innocent.” One of her last films was “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” She died of a heart attack at age 79 in New York City on September 11, 2002. I enjoyed watching “Planet of the Apes” again because of its Twilight Zone connection with Rod Serling. It has interesting implications with racial issues and other social issues. I wished the sequels hadn’t been made.

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Homer Bailey’s Winning Debut

I went out early to the Coliseum.  I went to the food trucks and bought a California burrito.  The late morning was warm.  I bought a soda and bottled water and went to my seat.  The A’s had a new pitcher, Homer Bailey, who was making his debut with the team in this afternoon game with the Mariners.  Bailey gave up a double to the first batter he faced, but he got three consecutive outs with the help of Robbie Grossman, who made a good catch of a line drive.  Bailey allowed a single to start the second inning.  After getting two outs, he allowed a triple that gave the Mariners their first run.  Another single made the score 2-0.  Another single and a stolen base put Bailey in danger of giving up two more runs, but he got a strikeout to end the inning.  The A’s had a reply in the bottom of the inning.  Ramon Laureano hit a fly ball up into the Coliseum sun that the third baseman couldn’t see, and it dropped in for a double.  After Khris Davis struck out, Jurickson Profar took a good swing and hit a home run to tie the game at 2-2.  Bailey had a clean third inning, and he allowed only a single in the fourth inning.  Matt Chapman left the game with an injury, allowing it wasn’t apparent what it was.  In the bottom of the fourth inning, Mark Canha hit a home run to make the score 3-2.  Bailey pitched a clean fifth inning.  After two strikeouts in the sixth inning, he got into a bit of trouble when he allowed a triple, but he got a ground out to end the inning, and he would leave the game.  We heard Electric Light Orchestra’s “Mr. Blue Sky.”  In the bottom of the sixth inning with one out, Canha hit his second home run, making the score 4-2.  Laureano doubled.  Davis made an out, but Profar walked, and Chad Pinder hit a home run, and the score was 7-2.  We saw a Big Head race, and Rickey Henderson won.  Yusmeiro Petit allowed a single to start the seventh inning, but he got three consecutive outs.  Joakim Soria pitched the top of the eighth inning.  He allowed a two-out walk, and a fly ball drove Laureano to the centerfield wall, where he jumped and made a fantastic catch for the third out.  A couple of minutes later, he came up to bat and hit a home run, making the score 8-2.  Davis singled, and Profar hit his second home run of the day, and the A’s sixth of the game, making the score 10-2.  Blake Treinen pitched the top of the ninth inning, and he allowed only a walk with one out, as his ERA went down from 4.60 to 4.54.  This game had started at 12:37 with a game time temperature of 74 degrees, and it ended at 3:26.  The attendance was 19,171.  I headed home.  I did my laundry and ate a salad.  Some of the people who died on July 18 include Caravaggio (1610), Jane Austen (1817), Machine Gun Kelly (1954), and Nico (1988).  Today is a birthday for Elizabeth McGovern (58), Richard Branson (69), Martha Reeves (78), and James Brolin (79).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio program for July 18, Elvis Presley made his first recording in 1953, “My Happiness.”  In 1960, Hank Ballard and the Midnighters released “The Twist.”  In 1966, Bobby Fuller was found dead in a car parked outside his Hollywood apartment.  In 1992, Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown were married at her mansion in New Jersey.


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Matt Chapman’s 5 RBI

I ended up seeing “Yesterday” for a third time. I noticed that Jack was slightly off with the lyrics. He sang “Now it seems as though they’re here to stay.” The romantic comedy cliché of announcing your love in front of a crowd was painful when taking to an extreme, like a stadium full of people. I took the bus to the Target store, where I bought sunscreen, and then I walked over to Best Buy, where I bought a Blu-ray copy of “Good Morning, Vietnam.” I took the buses over to the Fruitvale BART station and headed to the Coliseum. I listened to the Rolling Stones’ “December’s Children” album. I went to my seat and watched batting practice, and then I headed to the food trucks. I bought the kalua pork and a Rice Krispies ice cream sandwich. I went back to watch the end of the Mariners’ batting practice. Daniel Mengden was the A’s starting pitcher. He allowed only a double with one out in the first inning, but in the second inning, he gave up a home run and a double, so the score was 1-0 after two innings. After the double, however, Mengden pitched a good stretch, getting fifteen consecutive outs. Meanwhile, in the bottom of the third inning, the A’s started scoring runs. With one out, Josh Phegley singled and Marcus Semien doubled. Matt Chapman, looking like one of the best players in the American League, singled for two runs. In the bottom of the fifth inning, after Phegley had grounded into a double play, Semien walked. A wild pitch put Semien at second base, although that wouldn’t matter, as Chapman hit a home run to make the score 4-1. Five pitches later, Matt Olson hit a line drive that went over the fence for a home run and a 5-1 score. In the bottom of the sixth inning with one out, Ramon Laureano doubled. He stole second base, and a bad throw by the second baseman to third base went for an error, allowing Laureano to get to home plate for a 6-1 score. There was no Big Head race on this night. Mengden’s string of consecutive outs ended with a single in the seventh inning, but he got the next two outs on just three pitches, and that would be the end of his night. He lowered his ERA from 4.73 to 4.21. In the bottom of the inning with one out, Semien doubled, and Chapman also doubled to drive in another run and make the score 7-1. Lou Trivino replaced Mengden for the top of the eighth inning. He allowed just a double with one out. In the bottom of the inning, Mark Canha hit a foul ball that was caught for the first out. He was 0-for-4 in the game. Laureano singled, and Chad Pinder followed with a single, and Laureano went to third base. A wild pitch allowed Laureano to get to second base. Franklin Barreto struck out, but Phegley singled for two runs, making the score 9-1. The A’s had scored at least one run in four consecutive innings, and five out of eight innings. Blake Treinen was sent out to pitch the top of the ninth inning. He got the first two batters out on ground balls to Chapman, but he gave up a home run on a 2-2 pitch, giving the Mariners their second run. A line drive to Canha in right field was the out that ended the game. This game started at 7:07 with a game time temperature of 67 degrees, and it ended at 9:51. The attendance was 18,718. The Mariners looked ugly on a fly ball that dropped for a hit, with two players running into each other. We saw a delay in the game when the home plate umpire had to leave the game. Kara Tsuboi played a high-low game with a fan, and the first four numbers were 10, 20, 30, and 40. The fan somehow didn’t get it that the next number would be 50 and went low. Kara didn’t reward this lack of perception and gave the tickets to someone else. The scoreboard results were favorable for the A’s, except for the Cleveland Indians’ win. The only negatives from the game were Khris Davis’ 0-for-4 and the run that Treinen gave up. Davis’ batting average went down from .235 to .232, and Treinen’s ERA went up from 4.57 to 4.66. With an afternoon game coming up, we wanted to return home quickly in order to sleep fast. One of the ushers said goodbye to me on my way out, and a few of the fans were friendly to me as I took BART home. Perhaps they recognized me. I listened to a Bob Dylan album. I watched Stephen Colbert talk about The Squad before I went to sleep. Some of the people who died on July 17 include James Whistler (1903), Robert Wiene (1935), Billie Holiday (1959), John Coltrane (1967), Harry Guardino (1995), Geraldine Fitzgerald (2005), Mickey Spillane (2005), Walter Cronkite (2009), and Elaine Stritch (2014). Today is a birthday for David Hasselhoff (67) and Donald Sutherland (84). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for July 17, “High Society,” starring Frank Sinatra, Grace Kelly, Bing Crosby, and Louis Armstrong, was released in 1956. In 1959, the Alfred Hitchcock film “North by Northwest,” starring Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint, was released. In 1967, John Coltrane died of cancer at age 40. Also in 1967, The Beatles released their single “All You Need is Love” in the United States. In 1972 in Montreal, a bomb blew up a Rolling Stones equipment van. In 1987, “RoboCop” was released. In 1999, Helen Hunt married Hank Azaria.

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After I was done with work, I took the crowded bus to the library and borrowed a DVD of “Slacker” and CDs of the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, and Waylon Jennings. I went home to watch the movie, directed by Richard Linklater, known for “Dazed and Confused” and “Boyhood.” This film doesn’t have a plot. It follows one character after another as they interact or even just pass each other in the manner of Luis Buñuel’s “The Phantom of Liberty.” Linklater himself sets things up as a passenger in a taxi, as he talks about his dream and his idea of separate realities. The taxi driver listens to all this with a stone face. Linklater says that he is “kind of broke,” which seems to apply to a lot of people in this city of Austin, Texas. We don’t see him pay the driver. Linklater sees a victim of a hit-and-run lying in the street, and the camera follows the driver of the car, and then others in succession until the end of the film. We hear someone say that it has been twenty years since the moon landing. More than one person has a conspiracy theory, as one person working in a bookstore has a life that seems to revolve around the JFK assassination. Someone else claimed to have an item from one of Madonna’s medical examination. It appears to prove that Madonna had dark hair. There are political discussions coming out of the first Bush era the year before Clinton’s election, a reference to the Charles Whitman shooting, and kids taking cans of soda from a vending machine. The acting isn’t great. The film covers 24 hours and so goes from day to night to the next morning. I kept wondering about how Linklater filmed this movie, having to keep actors for two scenes and having to film consecutive scenes at the same time of day. It gives a sense of the city now twenty-eight years ago that makes me think of the Portlandia television series. I thought I saw some seeds of the Before films in this one. I don’t think it is quite as satisfying to watch brief scenes of many people than to see extended scenes of two people. I thought the height of Linklater’s career was “Boyhood.” “Slacker” is one of those early films from a director that shows promise for its different approach. Linklater deserves a lot of credit for progressing impressively and giving us meaningful films. “Slacker” could have used rewrites on some of its scenes, but it is an interesting time capsule. Austin has become a prominent city. It’s too bad that Linklater didn’t take his camera out of Texas, though. I watched some late-night talk shows. Jesse Eisenberg was a guest on one show, and Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen acted out some scenes from romantic comedies on James Corden’s show. This was a rerun, as they were promoting “Long Shot.” During the night, I heard a news report that Zoonie’s, the candy store on College Avenue, had closed down. They auctioned off store fixtures, such as an autographed photo of Gene Wilder. This morning I saw a CBS special report on the 50th anniversary of the launching of Apollo 11. They showed the five minutes before the launch with Walter Cronkite’s commentary. The footage reminded me of those days when my brother, father, and I got excited watching rocket launches early in the morning on television.

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La notte

I woke up and saw Gianna Franco in a news report about a Taco Bell.  I saw Norah O’Donnell talking about her preparations for the CBS Evening News program.  I went out to shop at Trader Joe’s, and then I returned to watch Antonioni’s “La notte.”  The stars were Marcello Mastroianni, Jeanne Moreau, and Monica Vitti.  Marcello plays an author named Giovanni, and Jeanne is his wife Lidia.  The two pay a visit to a dying friend in a hospital.  Not very much happens in this film, aside from this couple going to a party.  Lidia expresses boredom, which is what people viewing this movie might feel, too.  Jeanne Moreau had an entire career come out of that frown of hers.  I liked the photo of Giovanni that was on the cover of his book.  It seemed just right.  I looked at those kids shooting off rockets in the field and thought that they might start a wildfire.  There were shots that at first looked like double exposure with the characters looking like ghosts.  It was a reflection from glass.  The party was not like Blake Edwards’ film “The Party.”  I kept thinking that the swimming pool was incredibly big.  Monica Vitti had her big moments on film in Antonioni’s work.  I read that she is 87 years old but is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.  “La notte” shows Antonioni’s talent at its best, as he would slip towards irrelevance and pretentiousness with “Zabriskie Point.”  Stanley Kubrick has said that this is one of his favorite films, but it’s hard to see why.  I thought this was a good movie, but it didn’t excite me.  I wondered why the last shot was on a golf course, but it was too tiring to think about it for too long.  Some of the people who died on July 16 include Harry Chapin (1981), Heinrich Böll (1985), Herbert von Karajan (1989), John F. Kennedy (1999), Celia Cruz (2003), Johnny Winter (2014), Nate Thurmond (2016), and George A. Romero (2017).  Today is a birthday for Barry Sanders (51), Will Farrell (52), Phoebe Cates (56), and Jimmy Johnson (76).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for July 16, the movie “Topper” with Cary Grant was released in 1937.  In 1966, Tommy James and the Shondells reached Number One on the singles chart with “Hanky Panky.”  In 1982, “Young Doctors in Love,” starring Sean Young, Harry Dean Stanton, Dabney Coleman, and Patrick Macnee, was released.  In 1993, “Free Willy” was released.  In 2001, Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan were divorced.  In 2017, George A. Romero, director of “Night of the Living Dead,” died at age 77.

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