Archive for the ‘oddities’ Category

There are the people in my neighborhood

One of the interesting things about having part of a movie shot in your neighborhood is the number of people who turn up, both your neighbors who you end up talking to and people from around the area. While I went outside a couple of times my wife spent most of the day outside getting up very early and taking photos and videos with the camera I usually use for interviews (which have been few and far between due to work and COVID although I had a pair of Catholic ones this week, more on that tomorrow). She pretty much shot a bunch of one minute clips and a fair amount of photos till she came home tired around 2 and crashed. The biggest take away I got from them was that despite the better pay a lot of acting, at least in movies which aren’t on the same deadline as a weekly TV show, is that like any other job there is a fair amount of tedious repetition.

Because she took so many shots I’m only uploading a few plus three videos. Be aware that the date on the Camera was set wrong. While the shoot had been scheduled for the 7th it was actually done on the 8th.

There are plenty more but I think this gives the gist of what is going on with the police controlling the crowd and traffic and the guys in charge letting people know when to be quiet etc.

I figured the Diner would have done pretty well with these folks but alas for Ed because there were three different days when the shooting might have taken place his regulars stayed away those days and he only got a quick burst of business when they called lunch the day of the shooting which didn’t make up for it.

Anyways here are the three videos here is one with a shot of their car pulling out

My wife shot a lot of those, didn’t upload the others since they were pretty much the same. DaWife says they did it about five times. Each time they pull out, when Clooney calls cut Affleck backs up and they get ready to do it again.

Here is another shot of Clooney joking with the kid and Affleck before another shot. This would be just visible from my front yard.

And finally here is a 3rd shot of him directing the kid before another shot and then the shot itself. The antique cars were parked in the neighborhood for about a week before the shoot but then again I’m old enough that to me they don’t seem like antiques they’re just the cars I remember from the 70’s. In fact my 1st two cars were a 67 Barracuda and a 75 Buick LeSabre both convertables.

My chief interest in all of these is how the work is actually done as I’m not experienced in it. Granted it’s not work in the sense that my dad worked or that I or my sons or my wife do but it’s work and it takes them away from their homes for long periods of time. Granted it would have been cool to get Clooney to sign the season 1 of ER that I bought my wife 20+ years ago and my son had hoped to get a Batman comic signed by both as they each (Clooney meh, Affleck actually very good) played the role but there was none of that.

And frankly in an age of cancel culture where people are looking to bring down folks for saying or doing the wrong thing the last thing you really want to do is mix with a bunch of strangers with cameras any one of whom might hold a grudge and be looking to get their 15 min of fame by giving you grief. That realization precludes Jimmy Stewart’s old advice to Raquel Welch about fans and autographs these days and must be a pain in the neck, particularly if someone happens to be affable by nature who previously enjoyed meeting the fans.

At least the pay is good.

As I said there are a lot more pictures and a lot more video but they seem too repetitive to upload to youtube and given how close to the vest things have been around here I can’t justify the extra bandwidth charges to put them all up. Feel free to hit DaTipJar to offset those costs.

By John Ruberry

Okay, I admit, the headline is provocative, and absolutely click-baity. But stay with me here. In two weeks the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump will begin. Presidents of course can be impeached by the House and removed from office for committing “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

There’s just one obvious problem here. On Wednesday Joe Biden was sworn in as Trump’s successor.

Last year on his Cabinet of Curiousities podcast Aaron Mahnke spoke of a “particularly dark and corrupt moment in the church’s past,” the Catholic church that is. That moment was the trial of Pope Formosus in 897.

The Holy Father was accused of a grab bag of crimes, including perjury, seeking to be the bishop of more than one jurisdiction, and coveting the papacy. Because he was unable to speak in his defense, a deacon was appointed for that task. Formosus was found guilty, he had three middle fingers cut off–the fingers used for blessings–and buried in an obscure cemetery not befitting the Bishop of Rome. His body was quickly exhumed and then dumped in the Tiber River.

If the prior paragraph doesn’t make complete sense it’s because Formosus, after a five-year papacy, died in 896. His successor was pope for just two weeks, the next pope was Stephen VI, an enemy of Formosus. He called for what historians label the cadaver synod. Stephen ordered the first exhumation of Formosus. His corpse was then dressed in papal robes, propped on a chair, and the conviction process began as there was certainly no doubt of the verdict, despite an earthquake during the trial that might have elicited a few doubts among Vatican officials.

Just as the guilty verdict of Formosus was set twelve centuries ago, so was the House of Representatives’ vote to impeach Trump a second time, just one week before the end of his term. Trump’s chances for an acquittal in the Senate are much better. In essence, the second impeachment process against Trump is his cadaver synod. It’s about making a political statement and playing to the base.

The justifications for the second impeachment from Democrats vary, but the primary goal seems to be preventing the former president from seeking another term in 2024. Another reason for impeaching and removing Trump from office, now moot, was that he possessed the nuclear strike codes. After the first Trump impeachment, House speaker Nancy Pelosi, knowing that the odds of the Senate voting to convict Trump were remote, called the lower chamber’s vote “an impeachment that will last forever.” Presumably this will be a second impeachment that will last forever. Oh, and it’s a splendid way for Pelosi and the Democrats to tar the Republican brand.

A third run for the White House, in my opinion, is unlikely for Trump. The former president will be 78 in 2024; yes, that is the same age as Biden, who is clearly an old 78. Three years is a long time for people in their 70s. And in the last 100 years no president who was defeated in a reelection attempt has tried to regain the White House. Only one, Gerald Ford, has seriously considered it. And Trump, again in my opinion, damaged his brand in the last weeks of his presidency by his slowness to condede defeat, his hostile phone call to the Georgia secretary of state asking him to change the election results there, and the riot at the Capitol–which by the way the president did not incite. And the riot, the destructive work of about 1,000 conspirary theorists and other screwballs, was not an insurrection. While Trump is a clearly a unique politician, political moods change. In 1980 Americans weren’t clamoring for Gerald Ford–they wanted Ronald Reagan.

The Trump cadaver synod is a two-minute hate for Democrat politicians and a way, perhaps for the final time, to fill their campaign funds in the name of Trump, and a hate that is being cheered on by the anti-Trump media, who will soon see a drop in readers and viewers now that their enemy is out of office.

In other words Impeachment Part Two is a waste of time.

As for Formosus, his body was recovered by a monk and buried–for the last time–in St Peter’s Basilica. His accuser, Stephen VI, was pope for little more than a year. After the cadaver synod Stephen was imprisoned and then strangled to death.

As for voters, a much more civil revenge will be to return the GOP to majorities in both houses of Congress.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

When I woke up on Thursday (when I wrote this post at first) I thought of my friend Hanna who had escaped from Iraq and now lives in Worcester MA.

I interviewed her for my interviews with immigrants series a while back and thought how familiar the violent scenes that she thought she had escaped must be and how she is reacting.

But it also hit me that she must also have experience in prep for these matters so as long as she and her family kept her head they were likely do better than Americans not experienced with this kind of thing and while there is tragically a lot of experience in my family defending one’s home and business from people trying to harm or kill us, most of it happened before I was born so I had to come up with a plan which I wrote it this post below. I thought of mothballing it but now it’s Saturday and I’ve read this:

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison is reportedly taking further steps in the murder case of George Floyd. Ellison is expected to up the charge against Officer Derek Chauvin to murder in the second degree. Chauvin was filmed kneeling on Floyd’s neck as he audibly said that he could not breathe, which ultimately led to his death on the scene; he was originally arrested on a charge of third-degree murder and manslaughter last week.

and realized this is a recipe for disaster. He is upping the charges to a level that requires intent to kill rather that reckless action the chances are excellent that a good lawyer can win this case meaning the chances are even better for a 2nd round of rioting (if that was the goal of his move is a post for another day) given that possibility I think it’s worth publishing my plan of action post for others future reference after all. Here it is. (note that 1, 2, 4-7 & 11 are good for any natural disaster)

  1. Have a bag packed with two days of clothing and some toiletries. If you are forced to flee you have more to wear than the clothes on your back. If the worst doesn’t happen go on an overnight with family sometime in the month so you can use the clothes and get them washed.
  2. Get a credit card count that you never plan to use and keep that card in that bag (if anyone charges you know it’s fraud) and if you have to flee and need cash or credit you have your full line to use.
  3. Make sure anything that can be used as a weapon against you is put away. No gas or oil for the mower or combustibles in view of a passing “protest” no cobblestones or other items to be thrown through your windows in easy reach of the yard.
  4. Have an escape route planned. If you are not planning to defend your property or even if you are and reach the point where such a defense is untenable know how you are leaving and by what route. If you get any news that said route is about to or has the potential to be cut off leave at once.
  5. Arrange at least two “bolt holes” in advance to hold up with family and / or friends. If at all possible choose definable locations & people who you know are well armed.
  6. Plan for contingencies. Will you lose power, will you lose internet? Will a lot of people be fleeing in one directly.
  7. Make sure you have key data on a SD card and at least one device “laptop, phone, etc ready to go. Make sure you have spare cables and chargers packed.
  8. Remember that if you are planning to defend your property make sure your loved ones are safe and gone. If they are nearby you will be distracted worrying about their safety which will get you hurt or killed.
  9. Know the lay of the land. What route are potential attackers coming from? Are there choke points where they can be stopped before reaching your home (bridges etc) that are more defensible?
  10. Base any defense on the weapons you have at hand. If the only weapons you have are for close quarters don’t get in a situation where you can be overwhelmed. If they are ranged then keep your distance and your advantage.
  11. Adjust to developing situations. It’s axiomatic that no plan survives contact with an enemy. Keep an eye on what is happening and adjust your strategy accordingly. Being signed on to some kind of police band is useful here.
  12. REMEMBER THE GOAL IS THE SAFETY OF YOUR HOME AND YOURSELF! You are not there to “punish” anyone you are there to keep yours safe. Be ready to defend an attack but don’t invite one or taunt those going by if they choose to go by even if they are taunting you. Choose the hill you’re going to die carefully because you may end up doing so and one rock through one window isn’t it.
  13. If there is no chance to save your home, BUG OUT. This isn’t the Alamo and you’re not Jim Bowie. If you can’t save your property get to safety.
  14. FINALLY. Lethal force is the absolute last resort to be used when every other option is gone but once you decide to use it USE IT. If you’re at the point where it is do or die DO! But be damn sure before you do that you are ready for the consequences of that choice physical and legal.

Postscript: Know yourself! If you are not capable either physically or temperamentally or mentally to defend your property or family calmly and rationally or make life or death decisions in a crisis follow steps one to seven, ignore the rest and get the hell out.

Had some interesting Corona Related personal side effects / stories over the last few weeks.

Yesterday (Wednesday) I went to the Market Basket near my house after dropping off my son to work and noticed that they were now offering Romano’s quality Prime steaks. It seems to me that if this was a crisis where panic buying was warranted such items would not be available. I shot a video on the subject that you can see here.


Because of the cancellation of Events in the area my youngest Son was unable to see Letterkenny Live in Boston on Saturday. Because he was free our family as a whole could go out together to celebrate DaWife’s birthday with our traditional “person who had the birthday picks anyplace they want” that night as it was the closest day to her birthday that we were all free and didn’t have dietary restricts based on Lent or other religious vows.

This turned out to be good luck for her because within 48 hours of that visit Massachusetts imposed a ban on eating at restaurants meaning that if we didn’t have the dinner that Saturday there would have been no birthday dinner out for DaWife.

To paraphrase Job, DaPanic giveth the Panic taketh away


Speaking of DaPanic taketh away my Doctor’s appointment for re-evaluation my shoulder was cancelled as the Governor also ordered all schools in Massachusetts to close which means that my Doctor who has small kids on no notice suddenly had no childcare so he had to stay home.

This meant that I won’t get my shoulder re-evaluated for another two weeks (the new appointment came through while writing this) which means my restrictions at work remain in place and that no decisions to continue or cancel rehab will take place. Yesterday Reliant called and said that due to the new restrictions and the desire to limit exposure they will do my appointment by phone. This means no x-ray but I seem to be progressing OK.

It seems to be that if still like this could be handled this way now it likely could have been handled like this before.


While this has been an inconvenience for me it’s has been a disaster for the Restaurant industry. When we went for DaWife’s dinner instead of the customary wait we were seated at once, there were empty tables and we noticed that they by 8:30 PM there was no sign of them being filled. Our server noted that there were very few people on and that her she and others were really being hit. Tipped her as high as I could afford and it’s a good thing too because as of today her tips are going to be exactly zero.

And that was weeks ago, yesterday I went to the local diner which is doing takeout only. They’re a two person business with no waitstaff so one might thing they could weather it. But Tina told me that business is down 90%+ and if it goes on much longer a business that weathered the great ice storm and the Obama years won’t survive.

Can you imagine being a restaurant owner who two weeks ago spent a ton of money of disinfectant to wipe down the tables with last week who now has a bunch of disinfectant and no tables to wipe?


Some people just can’t be pleased. Last week our place closed early when there wasn’t much work and people were groaning that they were worried about their jobs. This week, much to my surprise and most everyone else our place was listed as vital so remained open after the Governor’s order and now people are complaining about that.

About 35% didn’t bother to show the next day. If this keeps up it means that we will likely not have many, if any short weeks since there are less people to go around. Also yesterday I was practically the only person in my department for 7/8th of the day, the nearest body being 50 yards away.

Now that’s what I call social distancing.


Finally a quick reminder. I am now podcasting again. Rather than pre-recorded stuff I’m streaming live on YouTube Mondays at 12:35 AM EST and Fridays at 9:15 AM EST. I’m going to allow call ins on the Friday show using my old Radio show toll free number 888-9-FEDORA. Yeah it will only be my home phone on speaker but we’ll see if it works. If not then it will just be me.