Wednesday, September 23, 2020

COVID-19 Spread After 9/22 Trump Rally in Moon Township, PA, Part 1

How many of his own voters does a maskless, crowded, shoutfest called a Trump rally sicken or even kill?

Trump had large rally in Moon Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania on 9/22. I don't have numbers; no news outlet made any estimates. Saw some photos and I'd guess maybe around 5,000 (unless the crowd was photoshopped as the famous Inauguration photos were).

Allegheny County has had fairly low spread since March.  We've usually been a "yellow" county; we were briefly "orange" after the bars were opened up more in July, but the spread has decreased some since then  when bar hours were restricted again.

Moon Township is in the Western central part of Allegheny County and is home to the Pittsburgh International Airport.  It tends to vote red, but just barely.  I worked in a Moon county district for 3 elections including 2016.  While the red candidates usually won, they never won by much.  Amazingly in 2016, both Hillary Clinton and Katie McGinty won by a few votes in that district, but lost at the state level (though not by much).  Location of Moon Township:

Here's current COVID19 info from Allegheny county & COVIDACTNOW stats. Will update at least weekly. Had low spread so far. Moon Township has had 92 Coronavirus cases/10,000 & 9 deaths. North Fayette Township has had 69 cases/10,000 & 3 deaths.




Probably worth noting - Beaver county is just north of the airport, Washington county is about 10 miles south of the airport.  The West Virginia panhandle is about 15 miles west, and Ohio is about 20 miles west.




At least once a week over the next few weeks, I'll update COVID county case information to see how many people Trump has made sick as a result of his 9/22 rally in Moon Township.

But I wondered - is there a pattern for counties to have a higher-than-average COVID-19 spread?

Here's a Johns Hopkins University map from 9/24, showing the COVID-19 spread in counties in southwestern Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, the panhandle of West Virginia and a bit of northwestern Maryland. The one dark-colored county indicating higher COVID-19 spread is Columbiana County in Ohio south of Youngstown. Interestingly, Pence spoke in Columbiana County 3 weeks ago (September 4).


The dark-ish county northwest of Allegheny County, adjacent to Columbiana County, is Beaver County. Beaver is very close to Moon Township (where Trump spoke on 9/22). Trump has spoken there a few times, but not since last June. However...when VP Pence went to Ohio on 9/4, he also stopped in Beaver County the same day. Not that you see masks at Pence rallies either.

So it will be interesting to see whether the COVID-19 rates start to go up in Allegheny County, in Washington County (which is also quite close to Moon Township), in the WV panhandle (Weirton area), and in an eastern Ohio like Jefferson County in the weeks following the maskless, loud Trump rally in Moon Township on 9/22.

Monday, August 31, 2020

You've Got to Be Carefully Taught...

I wrote this in response to a provocative photo of black children being taught to hate police on another person's Facebook page. While I wrote this as a fact-check, it can come off as politicking in someone else's living room, which I should not have done.

But I do stand by what I wrote, so I'll post it here:

__________________________________________________________________________

I agree that hate is taught, but it works in all directions. Remember watching TV news in the '60s? The white southerners setting dogs and water cannons on black protesters? Remember the 3 voting activists murdered for helping black people register to vote? Remember the 4 girls murdered in a church bombing? How about Louise Day Hicks in Boston, raving on and on about bussing? How about the white guy who attacked a black man with a flag in Boston in 1976? When people are treated irrationally, they tend to respond irrationally and sometimes violently. I do not support the violence, but I sure understand it.

__________________________________________________________________________

And, as a reminder to anyone who may teach their kids to hate cops, a black cop in Saint Louis was murdered while on the job this weekend. I do understand training black kids to be overly cautious around the police; it's sad "the talk" is still necessary but it may be more necessary than ever these days.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

What Republicans Seem to Believe...

Copied from Rebecca Phipps on Facebook 

Just a note for my right leaning family and friends from my left leaning self and on behalf of my left leaning family and friends as we near voting day: 

You're being told that we want to disband police departments (and that we hate the police). We don’t, that’s a lie. We want to weed out racism and unnecessary police brutality and for those who abuse their power to be held accountable.

You're being told that we want to release all prisoners. We don’t, that’s a lie. We want to weed out racism and ensure the punishments match the crimes and to deprivatize prisons. 

You're being told that we want open borders. We don’t, that’s a lie. We want asylum seekers to be given their chance to seek asylum. We want to help people who are coming from unimaginable terror and poverty and give them the chances we have. We want to ensure children aren’t separated from their parents and that nobody is kept in cages. But we do want proper vetting.

You're being told that we want to take away your guns. We don’t, that’s a lie. We want logical gun control to help prevent mass shootings.

You're being told that we want to wage a war on Christianity and Christian values. We don’t, that’s a lie. We want people of all religions to be able to practice and worship freely.

You're being told that we want to get everything for free. We don’t, that’s a lie. We want to work hard and make sure that healthcare and education are affordable for all.

You're being told that we want a war against traditional marriage. We don’t, that’s a lie. We want people of all sexual orientations to be able to love freely, no matter who you love.

You're being told that we want to destroy or rewrite history. We don’t, that’s a lie. We want to recognize the ugly parts of our past and do everything we can to say “that’s not okay, let’s not honor those aggressors, let’s not let those things happen again.”

You're being told that we want to take away your constitutional rights. We don’t, that’s a lie. We choose to believe science and we wear masks to prevent the spread of this disease.

You're being told that we hate America. We don’t, that’s a lie. We recognize our faults and want us to do better, be better. Wanting better for your country and everyone in it is the strongest form of patriotism. 

Stop with the us vs. them. 

Stop with the straw man arguments. 

Stop with the fake news. 

My position is one of empathy, compassion and logic. Stop believing the hype. Stop with the division. Just because we want equality for all doesn’t mean we want to take anything away from you or your family. 

❤️๐Ÿงก๐Ÿ’› ***Please copy and paste*** 

 [[Not written by me, but I agree with all of it.]]

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Uncommon SF & Mysteries Book Sale: Of Mice and Men

Uncommon SF & Mysteries Book Sale: Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

First Edition, Covici Friede Publishers, Good Condition







Sometimes, the books are neither SF nor fantasy but are uncommon.  This is a first edition of Of Mice and Men, published in 1937 by Covici Friede Publishers.  

Good condition - $30 + $8 shipping.

Interested in buying?  Email  Laurie Mann

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Save the US Post Office

Today is a day of action to support the United States Post Office.  Here are some of the things you can do to support this:  https://www.savethepostoffice.net/survey/save-the-post-office-remote-options/?

Someone on Twitter kindly posted the email addresses of the USPS Board of Governors.  I CC'd Louis DeJoy himself.   If you are staying in and can't protest at a post office, at least take a few minutes and write a letter to the Board of Governors:


To:
mduncan@inezdepositbank.com
,
barger.jm@gmail.com,
ron.bloom@brookfield.com,
roman@rmiv.com,
lee.moak@moakgroup.com,
DirectorAccessMailbox@cigna.com
cc:louis.dejoy@usps.gov

I am writing to you as you are supposed to have oversight over malfesance in the Post Office.  And yet, you are permitting damage to the Post Office by the federal government itself.  You don't care that people are dying as they aren't getting their medications in time.  You don't care that animals being shipped are dying en route due to delays.  You don't care about the damage you are doing to our democracy by your inaction.   I am disgusted but not surprised.  

Laurie Mann
McDonald, PA

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Uncommon SF & Mysteries Book Sale: Star Wars (First Edition)

Uncommon SF & Mysteries Book Sale: Star Wars by "George Lucas"

First Edition, Ballantine Books, Good Condition




Yes, this is the same title on sale now for well over $700 on AbeBooks.

It's been read, it's in good condition, no one (not even Alan Dean Foster) has autographed it.

Price: $200  (+ postage, estimated at $5)
Free delivery within 25 miles of McDonald, PA.

Interested in buying?  Email  Laurie Mann




 

Uncommon SF & Mysteries Book Sale: Bridge of Birds

Barry Hughart's Bridge of Birds: A Novel of an Ancient China That Never Was

First Edition, Del Rey Fantasy, Very Good Condition


Price: $7  (+ postage, estimated at $4)

Interested in buying?  Email  Laurie Mann

Monday, August 17, 2020

Uncommon SF & Mysteries Book Sale: Grand Masters' Choice

Andre Norton's Grand Masters' Choice

First Edition, NESFA Press, Fine Condition




Unnumbered, unsigned

Price: $50  (+ postage, estimated at $8)
Free delivery within 25 miles of McDonald, PA.

Interested in buying?  Email  Laurie Mann

Uncommon SF & Mysteries Book Sale: Plan[e]t Engineering

Gene Wolfe's Plan[e]t Engineering

First Edition, NESFA Press, Very Good Condition




Number 644 of 1000, unsigned

Price: $70  (+ postage, estimated at $5)
Free delivery within 25 miles of McDonald, PA.

Interested in buying?  Email  Laurie Mann

Uncommon SF & Mysteries

After many decades of collecting, we're working to downsize.

I will be selling some rare books. These items include out-of-print books like Gene Wolfe's Plan[e]t Engineering & Andre Norton's Grand Master's Choice (both in very good condition). Will also be selling some rare old mysteries from my father's estate, which include some Dell "Mapback" books.  And, when I can find it, a first edition of The Adventures of Baron von Munchausen.

I was going to do this on eBay, but eBay requires that I give them my phone number which I will not do. I took down an account I created in about 10 minutes. Instead, I'll do it through this blog.

Books for sale include (so far):

    If you live in the Pittsburgh area, you can pick up some things for free:

    • history books
    • computer books
    • fiction (especially science fiction & fantasy)
    • puzzles
    • games 
    • misc kitchen equipment
    • sleeper sofa (near a door you can drive to - no stairs)

    Drop me a note if you're interested in anything.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

When You Refuse to Hire Experts...

Here is what happens when you need an expert to do something and refuse to hire an expert and instead hire someone you go golfing with who'll do the job cheap. 



That describes everything that's gone wrong in our country over the last 3 years. 

Sunday, June 21, 2020

My Reaction to the #TrumpTulsaRally (6/20/2019)

The #TrumpTulsaRally teen TikTok ticket hack was the BEST combination of punking and a peaceful protest of the #TrumpRegime EVER! Way to go kids!


Happy National Selfie Day!

Saturday, June 20, 2020

100 Days of Quarantine

So we have now followed our state's "Stay Home" order for 100 days.

Jim had worked from home for 14 years and had been planning to retire in mid-April 2020 anyway. I have not worked regularly in years. While I was hoping to be doing some extra work, with all productions shut down that wasn't going to happen.

So when it was clear we wouldn't be spending much time in public in the future, we made one last trip to Wahlburger's, went to the grocery store (which was a mob scene) and went home.

I woke up on Friday, March 13 with a severe headache and body aches. I crawled into my chair and watched TV. I took my temperature regularly and it didn't go anywhere so I doubted it was COVID19. Some friends had reported a similar flu a few weeks before, and people had gotten over it in about a week, which I did.

Over the next few weeks, we got used to shopping in the morning during "geezer hours," buying and cooking odd cuts of pork, and, by early April, figuring out how to jury-rig a facemask. I made some out of odd bits of cloth then figured out how to make some clingy-facemasks out of an old jersey. We have since been able to buy actual facemasks.

We basically did #StayHome, other than visiting our daughter, whose company wisely went to work-from-home mode. As the weather got more spring-like, we also started doing more hiking on the local trails. Between the Montour Trail and the Panhandle Trail, southwestern Pennsylvania has the longest rails-to-trails area in the country.

So now it's been 100 days. We wear masks in public, go out mostly to walk or for quick stops for groceries. We connect with people online and are busy with some volunteer activities. We lost one person from COVID-19 we knew slightly early in the pandemic, we know a few people who were sick and recovered.

We won't get to go on a long-planned trip to New Zealand. This is the second time we'd planned a trip to New Zealand that we had to cancel. The first time was in 2010. We were going to the Worldcon in Melbourne Australia and planned to visit New Zealand after the conference. We were planning to go to Christchurch, as it's near the part of NZ we particularly wanted to visit. But then the first Christcurch earthquake hit so we had to cancel that (not that spending more days in Australia was a chore!). Due to other plans we had tentatively made for 2021 (if travel is a possibility), we may never get to go to New Zealand.

Being baby boomers meant that COVID-19 is our first experience with anything approaching a quarantine. Compared to the very restrictive quarantines in some places during the 1918-1919 flu pandemic, we really don't have it that bad. We can leave our house without being arrested so long as we wear our masks. From studying disease spread during earlier epidemics, staying home more and using masks matters.

I had all the usual kid diseases that kids had before the MMR, chicken pox and flu vaccines. Between November 1962 and April 1964, I was sick frequently. I had four stays in the hospital - three times with nephritis (a reoccuring kidney infection) and once with tonsilitis. But in that same period, I also had rubella, chicken pox and at least one severe case of the flu. Spent the rest of my childhood and adolescence being pretty healthy, and much as I hated getting shots, I realized the new vaccines that came out in the '60s were good for me.

I don't really remember any big flu epidemics growing up. There had been a major flu epidemic in 1957, the winter I was born. In January 1971, there was something approaching a flu epidemic in our school. The absentee list went from its usual 1 sheet to 2 sheets for at least a week. No quanrantine though and the flu breakout in our area was gone by February.

Since 1976, there were more threats of flu - swine flu that year and various other diseases since then. SARS and MERS were both frightening but never really spread much in the US. Always felt fear of Ebola was utterly overblown unless you were a healthcare worker. Even the year H1N1 broke out, there was sometimes talk of quarantine, but nothing happened (though we had a young friend hospitalized with it for 5 weeks - luckily, he recovered).

I know, we're lucky. Retirement means if you've saved money and can be frugal, you can get through pandemics without much worry. Many people we know have been able to work from home, and more businesses are finally understanding that working from home can be a really good thing. Southwestern Pennsylvania has been a mostly low-spread area - we're back around .84% which is good. So we plan to mostly stay home for "the duration," where "the duration" is until there is a widespread, safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine. Much as the movie Contagion really captured what would happen if a highly contagious, more deadly flu spread around the world, it was overly fantastic about the speed in which a vaccine was developed. A COVID-19 vaccine probably isn't months away - it's likely years away.

Friday, June 05, 2020

Militarization and the Police in Response to Protests After the Extrajudicial Killing of George Floyd

I found the obvious murder of George Floyd to be enraging.

But...as a fat person with high blood pressure and being over 60, I'm doing all I can to avoid COVID-19. So while I've participated in many protests over time, I have not been out yet to protest his murder or the overreaction of the Trump regime to it.

I have called Senator Toomey (pointless, I know as he doesn't listen to Democratic constituents). Today I sent the following letter to my senators and several others:


I am extremely troubled by the militarization of police to try to "quell" protesters. Yes, there have been some outside agitators causing trouble, but the vast majority of the protests have been peaceful.

There are unidentified military all over DC, some of whom are rumored to be border guards, which is ILLEGAL! (https://www.southernborder.org/border_patrol_gloating_on_twitter_about_being_deployed_to_clamp_down_on_protesters?fbclid=IwAR2lZm4L8Jj57puJI_-jvBGep43n4Uhq6pw6KdGVc7fWKWb8D7ycZwS5zUs)

Can the Senate act in some way to suppress this obvious abuse of power on the part of Trump? I have not been out protesting due to concern over COVID-19. When I do choose to go out and protest, I feel like I'm going to have to have a motorcycle helmet and something like armor in addition to a face mask because now I'm beginning to think the police could be a bigger danger than the virus.

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Remember When 45 Said...

I did not write this, but I completely agree with it. We must keep track.

Remember when 45 said...

  • ...he was going to donate his salary? Well he just accepted his second paycheck
  • ...Mexico was going to pay for the wall? He has asked Congress to appropriate the $25 billion of taxpayer money to cover costs
  • ...he was going to divest from his businesses? Changed his mind
  • ...he was going to release his tax returns? Changed his mind
  • ...he wasn't going to go on vacation or play golf? 5 of the last 7 weekends he went on vacation and played golf, costing taxpayers $11.1 million
  • ...he was going to use American steel to build these dangerous pipelines? Russian steel arrived last week for the Keystone Pipeline XL
  • ...he said would defeat ISIS in 30 days? He still doesn't even have a plan
  • ...he said he was going to appropriate money to HBCUs? He lied to get a photo-op
  • ...he was going to drain the swamp of Washington insiders? His cabinet is filled with lobbyists, oil and Wall Street executives
  • ...he wasn't going to cut social security and Medicare? The Republican bill does just this
  • ...he said that nobody on his campaign has any communications with Russian govt? 7 of his people have now admitted they spoke and/or met with Russian officials, AFTER they lied and got caught
  • ...he said that the Obamacare replacement would cover more people at lower cost? The AHCA that the GOP and 45 are now pushing; they now admit will cover fewer people at a higher cost

Share so everyone can remember what a liar this so-called president (45) truly is. If you agree, please copy and paste this to your timeline or at least link to it.


Not a Happy Time in Real Life

I have no reason to complain. Jim and I are comfortably retired, while we can't travel, we are in a rural area with relatively little COVID-19 spread.

Still....

The behavior of some cops in some cities, the installed President Trump and much of the Congress is utterly appalling.

I have been disgusted by Trump since at least 1989, between his treatment of women and his call in a full page ad to execute some young black men, without a trial, whom he said had attacked a white jogger. While the teens were convicted of some of the crimes (without physical evidence), they were later exonerated when someone else confessed to the attack. Trump has never apologized for calling to execute black men before their trial, and I knew he was a dangerous racist.

And over the last week, his inciteful behavior again shows us that he and his administration are all dangerous racists.

How low will Trump go?

Very low. Here is an excellent example of how Trump is misusing his office for the sake of a photo op:


A Force to Be Reckoned With

by Gini Gerbasi
Rector at St. John's Episcopal Church, Georgetown, Washington DC
Former Assistant Rector at St. John's Church, Lafayette Square

Friends, I am ok, but I am, frankly shaken. I was at St. John's, Lafayette Square most of the afternoon, with fellow clergy and laypeople - and clergy from some other denominations too. We were passing out water and snacks, and helping the patio area at St. John's, Lafayette square to be a place of respite and peace. All was well - with a few little tense moments - until about 6:15 or so. By then, I had connected with the Black Lives Matter medic team, which was headed by an EMT. Those people were AMAZING. They had been on the patio all day, and thankfully had not had to use much of the eyewash they had made. Around 6:15 or 6:30, the police started really pushing protestors off of H Street (the street between the church and Lafayette Park, and ultimately, the White House. They started using tear gas and folks were running at us for eyewashes or water or wet paper towels. At this point, Julia, one of our seminarians for next year (who is a trauma nurse) and I looked at each other in disbelief. I was coughing, her eyes were watering, and we were trying to help people as the police - in full riot gear - drove people toward us. Julia and her classmates left and I stayed with the BLM folks trying to help people. Suddenly, around 6:30, there was more tear gas, more concussion grenades, and I think I saw someone hit by a rubber bullet - he was grasping his stomach and there was a mark on his shirt. The police in their riot gear were literally walking onto the St. John's, Lafayette Square patio with these metal shields, pushing people off the patio and driving them back. People were running at us as the police advanced toward us from the other side of the patio. We had to try to pick up what we could. The BLM medic folks were obviously well practiced. They picked up boxes and ran. I was so stunned I only got a few water bottles and my spray bottle of eyewash. We were literally DRIVEN OFF of the St. John's, Lafayette Square patio with tear gas and concussion grenades and police in full riot gear. We were pushed back 20 feet, and then eventually - with SO MANY concussion grenades - back to K street. By the time I got back to my car, around 7, I was getting texts from people saying that Trump was outside of St. John's, Lafayette Square. I literally COULD NOT believe it. WE WERE DRIVEN OFF OF THE PATIO AT ST. JOHN'S - a place of peace and respite and medical care throughout the day - SO THAT MAN COULD HAVE A PHOTO OPPORTUNITY IN FRONT OF THE CHURCH!!! PEOPLE WERE HURT SO THAT HE COULD POSE IN FRONT OF THE CHURCH WITH A BIBLE! HE WOULD HAVE HAD TO STEP OVER THE MEDICAL SUPPLIES WE LEFT BEHIND BECAUSE WE WERE BEING TEAR GASSED!!!!

I am deeply shaken. I did not see any protestors throw anything until the tear gas and concussion grenades started, and then it was mostly water bottles. I am shaken, not so much by the taste of tear gas and the bit of a cough I still have, but by the fact that that show of force was for a PHOTO OPPORTUNITY. The patio of St. John's, Lafayette square had been HOLY GROUND today. A place of respite and laughter and water and granola bars and fruit snacks. But that man turned it into a BATTLE GROUND first, and a cheap political stunt second. I am DEEPLY OFFENDED on behalf of every protestor, every Christian, the people of St. John's, Lafayette square, every decent person there, and the BLM medics who stayed with just a single box of supplies and a backpack, even when I got too scared and had to leave. I am ok. But I am now a force to be reckoned with.


Thank-you, Rev. Gerbasi, for your decency and honesty. I wish we had that kind of behavior in our government and on more of our police forces where we need it desperately.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Happy Tales from Set: Oscar Isaac & Me

In 2011, I was an extra for Won't Back Down, a movie about a school in the inner city starring Viola Davis as a teacher and Maggie Gyllenhaal as a parent.

I was part of a big crowd scene. There was a really cute guy up with the teachers. I knew I recognized him but I couldn't figure out who it was and this bothered me.

After about an hour, someone yelled "Oscar!" and the cute guy left the school steps.

I realized it was Oscar Isaac. I turned to a friend and said "The last time I saw Oscar, he was naked!"

Well, naked on TV anyway. A few weeks earlier, I'd seen Robin Hood with a very attractive young actor co-starring as Prince John. The first scene in which Oscar Isaac appeared, he was quite naked.

But I had seen him at least one other time, as Orestes in the little seen-but otherwise excellent movie Agora. Agora starred a way too young Rachel Weiss as Hypatia, a scholar and librarian of the Library of Alexandria after her father's death. Oscar played a very tricky role very well, and I felt he was a potentially very interesting actor.

Like many science fiction fans, I'd read The Sparrow and Children of God, Maria Doria Russell's amazing books about an interstellar-traveling priest/linguist named Emilio Sandoz back in the '90s. There was some talk then that Antonio Banderas was attached to a possible production, and he would have been very good a Sandoz. That disappeared--perhaps the special effects needed to pull these movies off in the '90s wouldn't have been up to the tasks.

A few years later, though, Brad Pitt bought the rights to The Sparrow, and held them for a number of years.

Hmmm....Brad Pitt wouldn't be right for Sandoz...but Oscar Isaac sure would be. And by about 2010, CGI would have been good enough to pull off the necessary special effects.

I almost brought The Sparrow with me the next time I was called to set. I wondered if Oscar Isaac was familiar with the book and would want to be in a science fiction movie or two?

When you're an extra, you're not supposed to approach "the talent." I was usually pretty good about that beyond saying "Hi." Oscar was on set again, and this time there was more mingling between extras and "the talent" as a school festival was being shot. The assistant director sent Oscar over to one corner of the festival, and then sent me to the same corner.

So while we were waiting for the assistant director to call "Background!" (which is the call for the extras to start moving; this is said before the assistant director calls "Action!"), I told Oscar how much I'd enjoyed watching him in Agora (and did not mention Robin Hood).

"Thanks."

"Have you ever read Mary Doria Russell's The Sparrow? I hear Brad Pitt has the rights and you'd be a great Emilio Sandoz."

"Background!" the Assistant Director screamed and that was that. I saw Isaac from time to time, but we never had the chance to talk again.

Oh well.

At least we know now he has been in major science fiction movies, and he was very good in Ex Machina and the more recent Star Wars movies as Poe. He looks like he'll be an outstanding Duke Leto in Dune. And he's still not too old to play Emilio Sandoz.

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Happy Tales from Set: The "Quiet" Jack Reacher Bus Scene

Steveo Parys, AD extraordinaire, said on Facebook 

"Asking all friends from the world of entertainment to join the challenge of posting a photo of themselves in their workplace."

I'm a movie extra, paid for something like 30 different productions since 2008, and this turned out to be my favorite day on set:


The day was in early November 2011.  The place was east of Pittsburgh, in an old car dealership in Holiday Park. The movie was Jack Reacher.  It was my favorite day on set for a bunch of reasons - one of the Production Assistants was Mia La Monica, an utterly awesome PA who was very kind to me when I'd tripped on a step a few days earlier and spilled my lunch (which included rice) all over the floor.  I was hanging out with  Joyce Lynne who was always fun to hang out with.  I'd stood line line for the bus, listening to Rosamund Pike (whose voice I'd long adored) and Tom Cruise act their way through a long scene about Jack Reacher's life.  


(yes, that's me in the light blue jeans jacket beside Rosamund's nose)

I got to watch director Christopher McQuarrie work a few days earlier on an action scene and found him very interesting to watch.  2011 had been a time to watch directors named Christopher directing action scenes as I was in the stadium scene for The Dark Knight Rises, directed by Christopher Nolan, which had been shot in August 2011.

So this day for Jack Reacher had been a long day.  They always hired many more extras than they needed for Jack Reacher scenes, probably to give them more flexibility if they needed it.  I'd been on set for three days, and while my car wound up being featured prominently the day before, I never was in front of the camera myself.  Though...I did get to briefly meet Caleb Deschanel who was the Cinemetographer.  Very cool. And I had watched the then unknown David Oyelowo do many takes to successfully shoot at Jack Reacher.  A few years later, David starred as Martin Luther King, Jr. in Ava Duverney's brilliant Selma.

Somehow, Joyce and I did wind up being in line for the bus, and stayed on the bus, which was very lucky because a bunch of extras were taken off to make room for the camera and the crew.

It was late, somewhere around midnight. Everyone was exhausted, and almost every extra did the same thing - dozed.

"Wait, you can't all sleep," Christopher McQuarrie called into the back of the bus.  "You need to do something.  Any ideas."

Silence.

I'm not good with silence when someone asks for ideas.

"I could knit," I said.  I'd learned ages ago to always have a book and some knitting with me when I'm on set.

"Good," Christopher said.  "Move to the aisle seat."  Where Joyce had sat.

"Sorry, Joyce," I mumbered, and Joyce took the seat next to the window.

"We need more."

I said "Joyce could read my book."

"Fine."  

I passed Joyce my book and pulled out my knitting.

"We need something else."

I knew the young people on my right had come together, so I said "She could sit on his lap and stick her feet into the aisle."

"No!" the young woman objected.

I forget what Christopher said, but she decided it would be OK if her naked feet stuck out in the aisle.


Five minutes later, the scene was shot and we were sent home.

The movie came out in 2012, and I think the DVD came out in 2013.  I love to listen to director's commentary, which, for this movie, was both the director, Christopher McQuarrie and the star, Tom Cruise.  When this scene came up, they both made a point of saying how hard the Pittsburgh extras worked on this movie!!  So what was another reason this scene was my favorite scene - not only was I in it, but I got to suggest three bits of business that the director used!

Another cool thing about this scene  - a friend from England emailed me after seeing the movie and said, "You have a doppleganger in Jack Reacher," so I got to reply "That was no doppleganger, that was me!"











Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Yet More Reasons for the Senate to Convict and Expel Trump

In the fall of 2019, George Kent testified before the House Intelligence Committee, "You can’t promote principled anti-corruption action without pissing off corrupt people." This is the perfect description of the actions of Lev Parnas, RudyG & Robert Hyde (whom I think should now be called the SpyBoys) towards Ambassador Yovanovitch last spring. Actions at the behest of Trump.
Also at last fall's hearings, Ambassador Marie Yonvanovitch testified about her safety. She felt somewhat endangered. I assumed it was the Russians who were endangering her. It is beyond disgusting that it was likely Trump & his SpyBoys doing the endangering. Shouldn't this be another article of Impeachment?
I was a Nixon-supporting teen until I watched the Watergate hearings in 1973. The testimony made it clear Nixon was guilty, even though it took another year for him to resign. I could not support a criminal for president and stopped supporting Nixon in particular and his cronies.
I didn't think Bill Clinton was guilty of having an affair while in the White House and lying about it. When it was clear that Clinton was lying about it, I was angry about it, believed Monica, but didn't think a person should be impeached for lying about a personal matter, even under oath. I don't think Ike, JFK or George HW Bush ever publicly admitted to any of their well-documented affairs.
While I know the Senate has few Senators with any courage, it would be nice if some Republicans were capable of interpreting evidence and the Constitution and convicting Trump in the upcoming impeachment trial.