Succulents Are The New Black

Have you noticed how succulents are popping up everywhere? No longer content to be a curiosity in the garden store, succulents have gone mainstream and more.

For a few years now it seems like every craft fair has hosted a few vendors selling tiny pots with a little sprig of a generic succulent stuck in it. “Oh yes, that will be $15 please.”

Now it is getting even worse. Designers are weaving succulent walls into cafes, beer gardens and anywhere else they can get away with it. Succulent pots adorn office reception areas. They have replaced silk flowers in toilets. There is no stopping them!

Someday the fad will run its course and we will be hit by the next big thing. Air plants anyone?

 

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Et Tu, Star Wars?

Somewhere, somehow, America’s unions lost their cachet. Even into the 1970s, Hollywood made heroic union movies like Joe Hill and Norma Rae that succeeded at the box office.

How the tables have turned. Star Wars, The Last Jedi, is an example. In one of the biggest films of the year, the heros put in a call for help to their friend Maz Kanata. It is a quick scene and when Maz, the proprietor of a popular bar appears, we find her in the thick of battle, dodging bullets and so on.

“Are you OK, Maz?”  “Yes, it’s just a little union dispute.”

Most of the people that worked on the movie were union members yet they had no problems slipping in a joke dissing unions. It is a testimony to how poorly unions are regarded that the union-disparaging joke enters the canon of one of the most popular film series ever.

The union’s PR situation will continue to deteriorate until they get some leadership that understands how the public forms its perceptions in the age of social media (and Trump). Maybe they can interest Steve Bannon in the job – he may be unemployed soon.

Financial Security in Sports

The other day I read a quote from a professional athlete that had just signed a contract. That previous sentence is actually contains a tautology, because if he was not playing professionally in one of the major sports leagues, there is no way I would have seen an article on him in the news. But no matter.

Anyway, he said something to the effect that he was glad to have signed the contract as doing so gave him financial security. Now this particular individual is not a rookie – he’s a veteran and making millions. Financial security? Really?

The minimum salary for a player in the National Basketball Association, the National Football League, Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League is about $500,000. Half a million dollars.

A professional athlete that works for two years would make at least a million dollars, less say 5-10% for his agent. That puts them in the 1%. It would take over 18 years for the average Joe to make that kind of money.

I am sure a lot of professional athletes don’t even make it to play for two years at the rookies’ salary, and many that do make it don’t manage their money well. But it is clear that there is a huge gap between their definition of financial security and the definition most of the rest of us go by.

 

Indigo Matters

flag

The rainbow flag is meant to be inclusive, right?

All of the colors are represented.

Not.

As anyone that has taken a science class knows, the mnemonic for the colors of the rainbow is Roy G Biv.
Biv = Blue       Indigo      Violet

But none of the rainbow flags I have ever seen show indigo. They only show six colors.

Which brings up the question: Who does indigo represent and why are they excluded?

Star Wars Seven [Four]

I have seen Star Wars – The Force Awakens three times now (don’t ask) and every time I see it I am less impressed with the filmmakers. Yes, Lucas disappointed the fanchise with episodes one though three. But I just cannot seem to get over how much Star Wars Seven was such a blatant rip off of episode four.

The first time I saw it, I left the theater feeling pretty good. I am sure the filmmakers figured that pushing all the ‘familiar’ buttons would elicit this reaction: bar scene, Kessel Run, etc. But then, the more I thought about it, the more I started resenting being manipulated. Lone fighter has to attack down a narrow alley to find the single point of vulnerability in the new ‘Death Star’? Really? I almost cringed watching that scene.

The second and third times I saw it, I left the theater feeling less good and more manipulated. It just felt like a weak, calculated effort.I understand that they needed to do this for business reasons: re-engage the fanchise (not that it ever disengaged) and set up a plot that would run over three movies, not one.

Would Lucas have gotten away with it if he had done this film? I suspect not. He would have been ripped for just rehashing his first success and really going nowhere with the story. Let’s hope things improve in Episode Five Eight.