Talking Oscar and God, Ukraine and Venezuela, and (not the Seinfeld) Kramer

Just some Monday morning armchair quarterbacking.

Enjoyed the Academy Awards show last night. Watched the whole thing. Ellen DeGeneres is a fun presence, although I thought she wilted toward the end. Leonardo DiCaprio wanted none of her pizza. Maybe he had to get the tux back to the rental this morning.

Like how they paid tribute to the past, with appearances by Kim Novak (ghastly facelift and all) and Sidney Poitier on the 50th anniversary of his Oscar win (!). They also honored the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz, one of the greatest movies of all time not to win Best Picture. It had the misfortune to come out in 1939, an annus mirabilis of movies; Gone with the Wind won that year. Contrast the picture of slavery in that epic with 12 Years a Slave. Admit to great surprise when best supporting actress Lupita Nyong’o thanked her training at Yale University’s drama program. (“Such joy from suffering.”) Clark Gable barely graduated high school.

No, I cannot watch last night’s Best Picture winner. One mainstream news media review used the word “endure” in its opening sentence. I can’t endure movies. Just as I did not submit to The Passion of the Christ. Barely withstood Schindler’s List and will watch no more Holocaust. It hurts too much.

Don’t remember so many great speeches by the winners. (A great book or film clip might highlight the best and worst Oscar Night acceptance speeches — with outtakes of speeches prepared but never delivered by the disappointed.) Did Matthew McConaughey even mention AIDS? No, he did not. Not even a lapel ribbon. But he gave thanks to God, and that was a startling reminder that no one in Hollywood talks about God. (The Blaze has the video.)

The glittering audience reacted with stunned silence. Repeat after a worthy role model: “We were taught to respect ourselves and when you do you are better able to respect others.” Nobody makes movies like Going My Way. But everyone brought their mothers to the ceremony last night, it seems. Or pointed to the heavens. I guess that will do.

Was Sandra Bullock crying after she was passed over for an admittedly deserving Cate Blanchett?

The website MetaCritic aggregates movie reviews and comes up with a score. This year’s best picture nominees scored like this: 12 Years a Slave 97, Gravity 96, Inside Llewyn Davis 92 (not nominated!), American Hustle 90, Her 91, All is Lost 87 (not nominated), Nebraska 86, Dallas Buyers Club 84, Captain Phillips 83, Blue Jasmine 78 (not nominated), Philomena 76, Wolf of Wall Street 75.

Still, best line of the night from Ms. DeGeneres: “Possibility number one: 12 Years a Slave wins Best Picture. Possibility number two: You’re all racist.”

The trouble in Ukraine I am no fan of the Obama administration, but I got to admit, Secretary of State Kerry going to the Crimea is powerful. Like a human hostage. That said, maybe the Crimea should return to Russia. It is mostly Russian, its sympathies lie with Russia, its fleet is anchored there. The old czars’ summer palace is there.

Deke Rivers put me onto the linguistic and ethnic maps of Ukraine. In the first map, the blue areas in the eastern one-third voted for the Russian-backed Yanukovych, now in exile. The second map shows Crimea as ethnically Russian and that eastern third a mix of Russian or Russian-speaking Ukrainians. Still, these are things that can be resolved across a table.

Revolution, blood, and violence We noted how The Progressive magazine is all in for Venezuela and its heritage of Hugo Chavez (no enemies on the left). This is the same magazine that exhorted its readership to make Wisconsin “ungovernable” to show the popularly elected governor a thing or two. Venezuela is its bright lodestar, apparently because it has achieved ungovernability.

CNN ran a photograph of a line of Venezuelans five blocks long queued up for groceries. Where do the Koch Brothers find all those Hollywood extras?

The Socialist Worker declares the unrest in Venezuela “a right-wing revolt.” There are big socialist-worker hopes for Bill DiBlasio in New York City — a city, we are told, “ravaged by two decades of explicitly neoliberal administrations.” Ah, for the good old days of Mayor Dinkins, soaring murder rates, and the squeegee extortion artists! RAVAGED!

A word count on the Socialist Worker Party’s Internet home page Sunday shows 10 instances of the word “fight,” 10 of “union,” nine takes on “revolution,” seven variations of “racism,” six of the word “struggle,” four of “revolt,” four of “solidarity,” four of “organize,” three of “boycott,” three takes on “blood,” three on “dissent,” two of “violence,” one of “demonstration,” but zero of “governance.” None for, you know, actually managing anything.

The most frequent word? Aside from “workers,” at 14 — which is, after all, the name of the organization — “teachers” clocked in at 12 mentions. Kind of explains the other words, no?



“The Great Disappointment” Sometimes a picture really does tell a story. Just look at the young people’s faces in the cover photo in the Weekly Standard as they are being lectured by the Hope and Changey Guy. Young woman at bottom right is thinking, “I can see the exit from here.” Woman just about the masthead at upper right ran out of NoDoz. Girl below the “d” of masthead looks like she’s ready to blow chow.

Memo to the corporation that speaks as if it were a person but doesn’t think yours should: President Obama earned PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year, not the Wisconsin senator who called him on it. Donna’s Story: “My plan was canceled.”

Drunk and disorderly I have witnessed State Rep. Bill Kramer intoxicated. At noon on a weekday. Why, indeed, was he recently given a leadership position when Rep. Kapenga, it is reported, warned the Republican caucus? But then, why didn’t I report it here? But then again, why does the Democratic Party keep Graeme Zielinski on hand? Milwaukee County Exec Chris Abele recently gave the guy a limited-term job.

Let’s quote Hillary on the big Walker email dump: At this point, what difference does it make?

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