Went to a movie yesterday. I went to see “The Lincoln Lawyer,” starring Matthew McConaughey and Marisa Tomei. Good movie, although the director was a little obsessive with his extreme closeups. I’m really not comfortable with dermatological facial exams on the big screen. I know it’s done for effect, but the examination of someone’s pores and facial blemishes makes me downright uncomfortable. Makes we want to leave the theater, even if its a good film, and “Lincoln Lawyer” is a good film. Even with a prolonged commercial product placement for KTLA-TV near the beginning of the movie. They could have made it a little less obvious, but the reflection of the old KTLA tower on Sunset Boulevard in the glass wall of an elevator McConaughey is riding in goes on and on and on. See the movie. You’ll see what I mean. Refuse to be distracted by the commercial for my former employer, KTLA, and squirm through the closeups on McConaughey and Tomei, and just keep watching. I think it’s worth it. You may disagree. But that’s not why I’m writing this.
I’m writing this, because of two elderly people (could have been husband and wife), who were sitting a row in front of me at the theater. They had somehow become engaged in a conversation with a younger man, possibly in his late twenties or early thirties. The younger guy was complaining about how bad things are, telling the older folks that things went downhill when the Mafia went out of business, ceding control of the country to the corporations. “Those Mafia guys were real people” the young man argued. “They were working class guys, and there were jobs. Now, with the corporations in charge, all the jobs are gone.” Ergo, he said, we were better off under the Mafia.
The argument is full of holes and can easily be taken down, but it got me thinking. Or more correctly, the response of the elderly couple, got me thinking. “This too shall pass” they told the younger man. “This too shall pass.” It was a favorite phrase of my late mother. “Oh ya, it’ll pass” I thought to myself. “But how many people’s lives will be unnecessarily destroyed by avarice before it passes? And after that won’t this maddening cycle just begin all over again? Will we ever be evolved enough to get beyond this silly greed-driven economic engine that wrecks so many lives?” My wheels were turning. Just before the movie started I reached the inevitable conclusion that it’s more and more difficult to be optimistic. About anything, what with the economy, Russia backsliding into fascism, Libya and the rest of North Africa, the Middle East and the absolutely unbelievable disaster in Japan. It just goes on and on…
And then I got up this morning and looked at the paper. And it got even worse.
“The federal government’s radiation alert network in California is not fully functional, leaving the stretch of coast between Los Angeles and San Francisco without the crucial real-time warning system in the event of a nuclear emergency.
Six of the Environmental Protection Agency‘s 12 California sensors — including the three closest to the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant near San Luis Obispo — are sending data with “anomalies” to the agency’s laboratory in Montgomery, Ala., said Mike Bandrowski, manager of the EPA’s radiation program.”-LA Times
Suppose this is covered under the category of our crumbling national infrastructure?
Not that any of this should trouble you, but here in California we may really need it.
“The Daily Beast” has rated the vulnerability of nuclear power plants in America, and guess what? Out of 65 nuclear facilities on the list, San Onofre is ranked as the second most vulnerable in the nation. Only Indian Point in Buchanan, New York is rated as being more dangerous. Diablo Canyon isn’t far behind, coming in at fifth place.
So we have two out of the top five and the government’s radiation alert network isn’t working.
It’s difficult to find any reason for optimism.
Go see a movie. It’ll help take your mind off of things.