The Oscars

by L

Totebaggers, which movies have you seen lately? Which stood out as the best of 2015 for you? Oscar nominees, or others?


Typically, I only ever see 2 or 3 out of the Oscar nominees. This year, I particularly liked The Martian and Spotlight; for my DH Star Wars would be far and away the top movie. We also enjoyed watching Inside Out with the kids.

My favorite category at the Oscars is costume design, although I almost never agree with the winner! I never watch the ceremony, but will always follow the arrivals and red carpet fashion online.


180 thoughts on “The Oscars

  1. I almost never see enough of the contenders to be able to judge fairly. But Matt Damon in The Martian was just fantastic.

  2. Of them all, have only seen Inside Out. We rarely attend movies in theaters – its a cost and time factor. Usually, when a movie comes out I want to see, we usually have lots of other activiies booked, its not in a theater close by and/or it isn’t in theaters very long. It’s $50 plus if our whole family goes to see the movie. Unless it is something we REALLY want to see, we wait a bit and see it on DVD, Netflixs, etc.

  3. What did you all like about The Martian? I enjoyed it also. Since I don’t enjoy movies in general and I don’t watch many, I’m curious. I liked the mix of science and human relationships. I thought the humor was good. The only part I did not like was the improbability of some of the stuff, but I guess that’s what makes it interesting to most people. If the ending were more realistic, it might not be as emotionally satisfying? I’m not sure.

  4. The Martian is the only movie nominated for best picture that I’ve seen. I thoroughly enjoyed it as did my family. I’d read the book as well which is also good.

    Any thoughts here on the fact that for two years in a row all of the acting nominees are white? Someone (I think Chris Rock?) made a comment that the Oscars are now the white version of the BET awards.

  5. I also loved the Martian. I loved the humor, but also have a fondness for man against nature survival type movies.

  6. The only part I did not like was the improbability of some of the stuff,

    It’s in many ways similar to Apollo 13, so I didn’t find it all that improbable.

    As an example, when they took the windows out of the capsule and he went into orbit with it covered by a tarp. As they explained in the movie, with a surface pressure 0.06% that of Earth, the tarp would work.

    The only part I found improbably was how large the living spaces were on the ship they used for the journey between Earth and Mars. That said, their could be a reason they were so large. Perhaps research had found that below X cubic meters per person psychological and interpersonal problems increased dramatically so it had to be a rather large minimum size?

  7. I took the kids to see Inside Out last summer at the drive in and it was cute. DH brought our two oldest kids to see Star Wars over winter break and that’s all we’ve seen (and neither of us has seen both movies). DS basically told me all of the spoilers for Star Wars (can’t stop a four year old from disclosing major plot points) so I’ll just wait until it comes out on DVD. I read that Room book years ago so not sure I really want to see the movie.

  8. So since I wrote this post, I also saw Mad Max and The Big Short. Mad Max was OK *I guess*, but nothing really happened – it was a 2+ hr chase scene with lots of violence and unintentional (?) hilarity (like the guy playing the guitar on the front of the truck). The Big Short was great – I didn’t really like the breaking-the-4th-wall interludes at first, but got into it more as it went on.

    Have no desire to see Room or The Revenant. I do want to see Bridge of Spies though – we tried to go see it when it came out but it was sold out the one chance we had.

  9. I liked The Big Short. When DW and I saw it in the theater, a number of people in the audience vigorously commented in agreement during the scene when the woman at the ratings agency confesses that they’re being forced to give only AAA ratings to the mortgage bonds because they’ll lose the business otherwise.

    It would be interesting to see how audiences in different areas, like NYC, react to different plot points.

  10. I have only seen Bridge of Spies. I completely enjoyed it. I know I will see The Big Short.

  11. “We’re only 6% away from it being and official bear market. Oil is now at 26.92 a barrel.”

    I’m borrowing $ from my brother to pay for the boat; I don’t want to reduce stock purchasing at this point. He’s sitting on a big lump of cash while they’re in between houses, so win-win for both of us.

  12. rhett, I come here to get away from all of the bad news. It is the same reason that DH doesn’t want to see The Big Short. It is just a bad reminder of a horrible time, and we would have to pay for the pleasure. We both read the book, and I really want to see the movie. I went to the conference every year that they show in the movie. The movie is about some people that I knew, or would see at industry conferences.

    I convinced DH to see the Big Short this weekend because DD has a long bday party, but I have a feeling it will get canceled due to the snow.

    I really liked Bridge of Spies. I didn’t know the story before I saw the movie, and I was very interested in the real history. When I read about the prisoner swap with Iran this week, it reminded me of all of the real drama that must have gone on behind the scenes for that swap.

    I liked Joy, but I didn’t think it was great. I am a really early QVC shopper so I was interested to see that part of the story. It also reminded me of how important Shark Tank is for people like Joy Mangano today.


  13. I’m borrowing $ from my brother to pay for the boat;

    I never expected to hear that from you! It’s almost as traumatic as finding out that Saac voted for Reagan.

  14. We’ve seen The Martian, Inside Out, Star Wars, and DH saw Mad Max. I enjoyed the ones I saw, and DH liked Mad Max. L, I think he liked it because it was one giant chase scene with points of hilarity.

    Matt Damon made The Martian for me. His video diaries (I guess he broke the 4th wall…) were spot on. If it were any other actor, I don’t think I would have liked it as much.

    I’ll have to check out Bridge of Spies.

    DH and I were talking about the “racism” in the Oscars. And how many stars are boycotting and calling Chris Rock to back out of hosting. I can’t decide if the racism is real, or a quality/quantity thing, or both. I’m going to assume the racism is real. Then, i\If Hollywood increases the numbers of minorities in lead roles, but those movies/roles aren’t Oscar quality, did it solve the problem? Is the Oscar Committee ignoring minority driven quality films because their metrics are outdated? Does the Oscar Committee need an overhaul as well? Neither one of us watch enough movies, or know enough about the decisions behind the Oscars to answer any of these questions effectively.

  15. Rhode – From what I’ve read the Oscar voters continue to be a lot of old white men but I haven’t seen any of the movies this year so I have no opinion on the whole thing.

    We always get a rather large tax return (I know we shouldn’t but I do like getting the big check) so I’ve told DH he can have that for extra $ to invest in our taxable account if things get worse.

  16. “I never expected to hear that from you! It’s almost as traumatic as finding out that Saac voted for Reagan.”

    LOL. I remember that.

    I’m paying him 3%, and obviously, it’s tax-free for him. I don’t have to reduce investment allocations nor go through the credit thaw process. If they find a house that they want to buy and they want every bit of cash they can muster, my Dad said he’ll take over the loan. This was all hashed out almost jokingly over Christmas dinner.

  17. The only one of these movies I have seen is The Big Short, which I enjoyed quite a bit. I took my 13 and 15 year old to see it too. It was fun because DH works in that sector, and we had kind of front row seats to the crash in 2009 (people at his company were scrambling when Lehman went down). We had some good discussions on the car ride home.

  18. Oh wait, we saw Inside Out which is up in the animation category. I was shocked. Couldn’t they have found something else? The animation was so boring – it looked like every other animated kids flick out there. I took DD to see it, and found myself wishing I could find enough light to read a book or something.

  19. I looked down the list for ideas on what to see. I would like to see The Martian, Trumbo, and Steve Jobs. I think we will wait until Amazon or Netflix gets them. I also see there is a Japanese animated film up in that category that looks like a good choice for family movie night. I would also like to see the Amy WInehouse documentary. She reminded me a lot of Janis Joplin – a huge powerful voice, often stuck with not-so-great-songs, and a tragic story

  20. “The animation was so boring – it looked like every other animated kids flick out there.”

    It’s supposed to be about the characters and plot, not a tech demonstration.

  21. Rhett – I negotiated a new contract with Comcast, and they sent me new “X1” DVRs with–get this–VOICE-ACTIVATED remotes. They work as well as Siri. You press the button and say “Find Downton Abbey” and it brings it right up, with all the choices for recording and storage options.

  22. MM,

    That reminds me I need to add The Wind Rises to my wish list. You’ve seen all the Hayao Miyazaki.movies, right?

  23. The story was boring too. But I think that category is supposed to take both into account. If it were purely characters and plot, animated films would just compete in the general category

  24. Rhett, yes, we are all huge Miyazaki fans. I actually own a Totoro music box, which I keep in the kitchen, and a hoodie with a Pickachu-meets-Totoro design on it. The kids all have Tshirts with Miyazaki graphics too.

  25. I guess Star Wars was the only film I saw in the theater last year . . . we’re more prone to live theater for a family night out. I don’t know how I missed the fact that there was a Shaun the Sheep movie. I can think of a household member who’d like to see it.

    We heard the story The Revenant was based on in the course of some audiobook or other, and of course the controversy over whether it involved bear rape was entertaining, but I don’t know that I need to watch a whole movie of it.

    I’ll just look at the red carpet fashion reports the next day.

  26. a hoodie with a Pickachu-meets-Totoro design

    My daughter has a t-shirt with the cat bus full of Pokemon riders.

  27. MM, it was just that someone (mb Drudge?) reported pre-release that the bear raped as well as mauled the guy, and then the director indignantly responded that there was no bear rape in the film and in fact the bear was a sow, and for a couple of days it seemed like the whole internet was debating whether the movie involved bear rape based on scenes from the trailer. It was a hilariously stupid controversy and much more entertaining than the reporting on the Republican primary.

  28. LfB, Moxie, Cat, SWVA, ShpFrmr –

    At least 1 foot of snow most probable: Appalachians from eastern Kentucky into most of West Virginia, Virginia except southeast portion, Maryland, D.C., northern Delaware and extreme northwest North Carolina. Parts of these areas may see more than 20 inches of total snowfall.

    Strongest wind potential: Delmarva Peninsula, Chesapeake Bay, New Jersey and Long Island Saturday. Occasional gusts to 60 mph, coupled with the weight of wet, heavy snow in some of these areas, will likely lead to power outages, downed trees and limbs, and perhaps some structural damage.
    •Additional strong gusts: Washington and Baltimore metropolitan areas, where blizzard conditions are possible

  29. I saw the Martian in theatre, which I never do-but DH loved the book and wanted the IMAX experience-and it was a great movie! I always prefer waiting till movies come on Netflix/In Demand, and I saw Mad Max at home-the whole time watching it , I was waiting for the story/plot to emerge…but alas, it was not very interesting in my opinion. And not at all enough screen time for Tom Hardy!!

  30. VOICE-ACTIVATED remotes

    What I really want is to be able to control my Fire TV with my Echo. I have the voice remote for the the Fire TV so if you hold the mic button you can talk to Alexa but you can’t use the always on Echo to do the same thing. Amazon says they are working on it.

    Going forward, you’re going to have an Echo like product in every room. The key to the Echo is (and this is the part that creeps out PTM) that it’s always listening. You can already connect your Nest thermostat to your Echo, so you can just say, “Alexa – increase temp 2 degrees.” I can already control almost all the lights with either my phone or the Echo.

    We are so living in the future!

  31. And Rhett, Alexa can read books to the kids and my kids tested it by asking it multiplication tables.

  32. Louise, do your kids have the Mirror Mirror skill turned on? That and the Animal Game are favorites here.

  33. The Martian was awesome. Star Wars was the same movie over again with different characters who will go on to be action figures.Yuck.

  34. Milo — Where’s your boat now? Is it stored in your yard? If so, make sure it’s not parked under a tree limb if you’re going to get a big storm!

    I am embarrassed to say that I haven’t seen any of the Best Picture nominees. DH is currently reading The Martian, so we’ll probably watch that when he’s done. He’s a big wilderness guy, so he wants to see The Revanant, but I’m sort of “meh” about that idea. Everyone says Room is a really great movie, but there’s no way I could handle that subject matter.

  35. So is the Echo kind of like having a cylindrical Siri?

    With a high quality speaker so you can just ask it to play The Clash and it will play a selection of songs or London Calling and it will play that particular song. You can ask it to play one of your Pandora stations, read you one of your audio books, play a podcasts, if you ask it for your daily briefing it plays the a customized NPR new segment.

  36. “Going forward, you’re going to have an Echo like product in every room. The key to the Echo is (and this is the part that creeps out PTM) that it’s always listening. You can already connect your Nest thermostat to your Echo, so you can just say, ‘Alexa – increase temp 2 degrees.'”

    But will it open the pod bay doors for me?

    Nasty crawly-skin feeling right now. . . .

  37. I hate going to see movies in the theater. All I can think about are the emails from school about lice, and then wonder who was leaning their head up against the seat right before me. And I’m not usually a germaphobe, but something about theaters brings it out in me. Plus I always seem to sit next to the stinky person.

    That said, I took my nieces to Inside Out and the boys to Star Wars. Loved both of them.

  38. And Rhett, Alexa can read books to the kids and my kids tested it by asking it multiplication tables.

    When you get home ask her the mass of the universe.

  39. NoB – It’s still at the dealership. I don’t plan to take delivery until April, at which point it will go straight into a lifted slip, since I have nothing strong enough to tow it.

  40. But will it open the pod bay doors for me?

    Yes, if you buy the Garageio Smart Garage Controller which integrates with your existing garage door.

  41. And just FYI, since you have USAA, you’re eligible for boat insurance through their agreed rates with Progressive.

  42. Yeah, I was a little surprised when they transferred me to Progressive. It’s $250 annually for comprehensive and $500k of liability.

  43. Lark, my DD was supposed to go to a birthday party at a local cinema last week, but it was rescheduled to a bowling place because of LICE at the cinema!! The infestation was all over our news.

  44. OK, I think I have finally hit my geezer point. I just cannot deal with the idea of “Alexa” managing my life for me.

  45. I bought an Echo for DH for Christmas-but I still don’t know what to use it for other than listening to music. My 7 year old likes to have it tell jokes and he asks it random questions, but I am still trying to figure out what I can do with it!

  46. “My 7 year old likes to have it tell jokes and he asks it random questions, but I am still trying to figure out what I can do with it!”

    Well, given that my kids’ version of Echo-free entertainment is to ask Siri random questions and scroll through ifunny for silly jokes, I think this question answers itself.

  47. @Milo — funny, I thought about posting about the storm, but you beat me to it. You think it’s really going to be that bad? I think it’s going to fizzle, at least up by me — we seem to be on the warm/rain/wet side of everything this year. I’m kinda bummed, though. Partly because I like snow, and partly because I’m sort of laid up with a crick in my back (I refuse to legitimize it by using a more serious term, as that would imply the possible need to go to the doctor), so it would be awesome to have an excuse to sit inside and watch movies and drink hot cocoa (a/k/a “what I want to do anyway”).

  48. LfB – I’m usually a skeptic about sensational weather journalism, but when it’s a bust, it’s usually because the system produced mostly rain rather than snow. However, in this case, it’s pretty cold already and even the projected highs for Friday and Saturday are below freezing. The forecast for high winds means I need to top off the gas cans for the generator.

  49. “The forecast for high winds means I need to top off the gas cans for the generator.”

    Yeah, rub it in. #humblebrag

  50. I saw The Big Short and liked it, and have seen parts of The Martian. I like the story behind the book – apparently he was a NASA employee and was writing it a chapter at a time and putting it online. He got a lot of interest from science people, who corrected his science as he went along. People asked him to bundle it all together so they didn’t have to download a chapter at a time. He did that through Amazon but did not want to charge people, so only charged the minimum. From what I heard only about a week after he put it out there he was contacted by a publisher who wanted to publish it, followed immediately by someone who wanted to turn it into a movie. So this went from just a hobby to blockbuster success in a very short timeframe

  51. I am so hoping the storm fizzles. We have tix to the Met (La Boheme) for the Saturday matinee. Of course we can take public transit to get there, but the idea of slogging through bad snow, and tramping into Lincoln Center with big snowboots on, doesn’t sound great.

  52. it was rescheduled to a bowling place because of LICE at the cinema

    Well there you go. I’m never going back in a movie theater again. And now I can’t stop scratching my head.

  53. Update from the suburbs: just looked out my front window to see two police cars on my dead end cul-de-sac. Au Pair standing in the middle of the road. Supposedly, someone matching her description was trying to open the front doors nearby. Everyone was all smiles when I walked out of the house and told them that we were all a little anxious because a child needed to be picked up from preschool In 8 minutes and that she lived with me. I think a relatively terrifying experience for her.

  54. Only movie I saw was Brooklyn, which I really liked. Its an old movie style story that you could feel comfortable watching with your grandmother or an 11 year old. It was that or the Benghazi movie starting around the time we got to the theater, so I went in knowing nothing. It was beautifully shot, too.

  55. I went to see Sisters with girlfriends and one of them had an issue with putting her head back on the chair because of lice. I had never heard of that before. That’s a thing?

  56. I want to see Brooklyn. It looks great, but it was playing in the lice theatre so we couldn’t go to see it. I can deal with lice, but this particular theatre was accused of having bedbugs. That is beyond gross since it is so hard to get rid of bedbugs.

    I bought a new sled today so of course it won’t snow now. She reminded me that her old sleds were too small. I was looking at it this morning, and I keep forgetting that she is almost a teen.

  57. SSM,

    I like Chris Rock.

    I have no interest in the Oscars ever. This year is only slightly more self-serving than past years. Every industry gives itself its own awards, and this industry gives itself MANY awards and yet all it ever really is is white guys giving other white guys awards.

  58. I got my DD an igloo maker for Christmas since she likes to play in the snow. It looks like she can finally use it.

  59. Oh, they have wifi enabled crock pots now! Your husband txts that he’ll be late? “Alexa, set corckpot to low.”

    I could certainly imagine one of MM’s brighter students getting a job at a Crock Pot or GE interfacing appliances with Alexa, Cortana and Siri.

  60. Rhett, companies like that generally outsource their app development because they don’t usually have expertise in-house.

  61. Maybe not GE because they have a lot of technical people – but I imagine their consumer division is separate from engineering. I wonder how independent their units are

  62. I’m no lice expert, but the musical literature says that you need direct contact. Which is why aap makes a fuss about kids should not be taken out of school for lice.

    Bedbugs, however, I’m terrified of those.

  63. Rhett, companies like that generally outsource their app development because they don’t usually have expertise in-house.

    Then they could get a job with the outsource company.

    What is Google/Androids version of Siri, Cortana and Alexa? Google’s version seems to be the best but it doesn’t seem to be branded like the other three.

  64. Rhett – When I set up the DVR in the bedroom, one of the first screens asked me if I wanted to link the cable remote to the TV (yes), what is the manufacturer (Toshiba), enter this code, done. I thought that was pretty good. No browsing through a manual.

    When I did the one in the family room, it asked if I wanted to link the cable remote *TO MY PANASONIC TV”? Now how on God’s green Earth did it know the brand?

  65. Milo,

    If I google Flight 123 it knows that I mean the 123 Flight that I’m on tomorrow and displays all the info including flights status, gate, seat, etc. How does it know I’m on flight 805? It reads my gmail and sees and parses the reservation e-mails from AA.

  66. It’s nine years old.

    Was it plugged in via an HDMI cable? Maybe they talked via the cable when you plugged them in. Sort of like how DHCP works?

  67. Apparently that theater was cited for reports of infestation, but from what I read actual evidence was not found.

    National Amusements also issued a statement Tuesday, saying the theater “has been checked thoroughly and there was never any infestation of any kind.”

    It said that movie house management worked with the city to address concerns in a timely fashion and that 16 inspections by four different pest control companies, including the one selected by the city, were conducted in response to the complaints.

    I smell a prank.

    I think about pests whenever I board a plane.

    Yeah, generators are cheap but I’m too lazy to shop for one.  Maybe I should splurge on a personal household manager to take care of it for me.  :)

  68. Ada, I don’t quite understand. That was your au pair? A young woman of her description was reported trying to open doors on your block? Is she black? In any case, is sounds distressing.

  69. Rhett – They must have spoken through the HDMI cable.

    I was just thinking that we use the actual TV remote upstairs for setting the sleep timer. But now with everyone wearing FitBit and other lifestyle watches, it shouldn’t be too long before that’s handled automatically.

  70. HDMI specifically requires the device implement the Enhanced Display Data Channel (E-DDC), which is used by the HDMI source device to read the E-EDID data from the HDMI sink device to learn what audio/video formats it can take.

    It looks like the TV uses that to tell the cable box which formats to send. Presumably the data includes the make and model? At least that would be my guess.

  71. It’s strange that the upstairs TV, the Toshiba, is newer, but they didn’t talk to each other as well.

  72. Speaking of HAL. The one creepy thing Alexa does is look at you when you talk to her. There is a ring of light around the top that can display various colors. When you say “Alexa” the lights swirl around and form a point that’s “looking” in your direction. It must have a system of stereo microphones that allow her to determine from what direction she heard her name called.

  73. I think it was a prank because they had a couple of independent tests that didn’t find anything. I had to go to one of their other theatres because they run so many of the movie theatres that are nearby.

    I think there are potentially lice, germs and other stuff on airplane seats and movie seats. I just try to be careful, but you never know when you will pick up something nasty unless you stay home forever.

  74. “I’m no lice expert, but the musical literature says that you need direct contact.”

    Would that be Mozart or Schubert?

    Sorry, my inner Finn decided to come out to play. Now I can’t get “Charge of the Lice Brigade” out of my head.

  75. But that’s poetry, LfB. You’re looking for Lice of the Valkyries. Or perhaps Lice Irae.

  76. On the au pair, my first thought was that all the houses in Ada’s suburb look alike, and the new au pair was confused as to which one she lived in, and was trying various doors.

  77. Milo-Everyone here is taking the weather forecast very seriously. The grocery store was packed this afternoon and many shelves were bare. I have never seen it so busy on a Wednesday afternoon. We had our first lambs of the season born yesterday, which is always a good indication that bad weather is coming! Kids had Monday off and a two hour delay on Tuesday due to really cold weather. They are hoping for no school tomorrow.

  78. Yeah, this is not going to be the good week for school — M and T were scheduled days off; then today, DD’s school closed at 10:30 because they had no water. I am sure we will do our preemptive weenitude and schedule closure for at least part of Friday before the first flake has fallen. So I guess I picked a good week to be working from my recliner. . . .

    But this has been a happy day with groups of DD’s friends traipsing in and out (the benefit of being on the route to the local pizza parlor). Now they are all happily playing cards in the other room, and I just ordered a mess of pizza for everyone. You always want your place to be “that” house, where the kids just hang and talk and be silly, and it’s a good group of kids and fun to see DD so happy.

  79. Our Au Pair is not black, but does not fit in our neighborhood appearance-wise. She had been at home, so was clearly not going up and down the main road trying to open doors. It may have been a totally legit stop (and required a back-up officer) – but one does become suspicious that she was targeted. I do wonder what might have happened had I not see it unfold from the kitchen window and rushed out.

  80. Sheep Farmer – Dumb question, but do you generally need to assist with the deliveries, or do they just kind of show up?

  81. It is sleeting here but that is enough for my kids to think that school will be cancelled. With the three day weekend so soon following the Christmas break, they are yet to get their heads wrapped around schoolwork.

  82. Milo, lambing always sounded like a lot of work for farmers in the James Herriott books (excellent TV series of them used to be on Netflix and may still be, if anyone is looking for recommendations :) – All Creatures Great and Small).

  83. “I’m borrowing $ from my brother to pay for the boat”

    I’m surprised. I thought you would pay for it with a credit card, then pay off that card before incurring any finance charges.

  84. This is the first year that I can remember that school hasn’t been disrupted with unscheduled days off for snow, hurricanes, or ice storms before MLK holiday. DD already had a couple of tests and projects since the holiday break, and they’re quickly approaching the mid point of the school year.

    I was in her school today to pick up early for a dental appointment, and the administrators aren’t expecting any time off for this storm. The schools never close here just for cold temps, and the snow isn’t supposed to start in NY until after midnight on Friday. I don’t mind being snowed in for a Saturday as long as the power stays on during the storm. We lost power for an entire day during a windy rain storm in early Jan, but it was warm enough that it was just a nuisance.

  85. “we’re more prone to live theater for a family night out.”

    Where do you go? MVT? DHT?

  86. “no black nominees in the acting categories since 2013”

    I think there have been a lot more black nominees than nominees from many other minority group.

  87. “partly because I’m sort of laid up with a crick in my back ”

    Do you pronounce that, “crick,” or “creek?”

    Oh, sorry, wrong discussion.

    LfB, no massage chair yet?

  88. DW is at her church group meeting tonight. After dinner, I thought we’d go to McDonald’s for ice cream. I was surprised to pull out of the garage and see that less than half of an inch of snow had fallen, but didn’t think much of it. As I drove out of the neighborhood, then to a bigger, but twisty road, and then to a main road, it kept getting worse and worse. After I passed two cars that had spun out into the woods, I decided we’d better turn around, and McDonald’s is only about five miles away total. It continued to get more slippery as I drove home, and most of us were crawling at 15 mph. Then a van overturned in the median. As I approached my neighborhood, this jacka$$ was riding my bumper, and he would not let up. I put my hazards on, and he still wouldn’t back off. When he followed my into the neighborhood, I slowly stopped in the middle of the road and walked back to his car to politely ask him to not stupidly follow me so closely. He was kind of dumbfounded, and could only offer that someone behind him had been doing the same thing (true, but a dumb excuse).

  89. Rhett, are you using an iPhone?

    And yes, those chairs are amazing. Last time I looked they started in the $2500 to $3000 range. Ours only massages the back, but was only about $600 and worth every bit (going back to our splurge discussion).

    If only I could find one that did a good job massaging shoulders….

  90. Revisiting yesterday’s discussion, I just saw this:

    “Everything that’s in the redesigned SAT is knowledge and skills that kids are learning in classrooms every single day. It’s not left field,” Cyndie Schmeiser, the board’s chief of assessment, said in an interview.

    This is the sort of thing that’s leading me to believe that the new SAT will be less about testing general intelligence and reasoning ability, and more about testing what the testees (is that a real word? anyway, don’t drop the last e) have learned.

  91. Finn, usually those, TAG (the one near Costco), Arts at Marks Garage, Hawaii Theater. Occasionally farther afield like Windward side or the LCC theater if it’s something worth driving for or someone we know is involved. And then Blaisdell for the operas, of course. One of my kids is singing in the fairy chorus for the upcoming one.

  92. Oh, and Kumu Kahua sometimes too, although it’s been a few years since I last went to one there.

  93. Milo, I hate those tiny snow storms. We had one of those here on Sunday night, and I think it is more dangerous than accumulating snow when the temps are low. My town puts down some kind of mixture on the main roads that is supposed to help, but it doesn’t seem to work. It is too little for them to plow, so ice or black ice usually forms on the roads. There was a big multi car pileup on a parkway near several of us in the county as a result of that type of weather on Sunday night.

  94. Oh, so late to the movie comments: I loved Brooklyn and Spotlight – I recommend them both. We are going to see The Big Short soon.

    Of course I saw and loved Star Wars, and we went together as a family to see it on the Imax screen – DS and DD for the second time. They were very excited about seeing it again.

  95. @Rhett — Swap out the iPad holder for a wineglass holder and I’m in!

    I did actually go look, and the nice, comfy ones in the store that I liked were closer to $5K. But my new recliner is *awesome* (even if it doesn’t come with magic fingers).

  96. I agree with qqqq on Brooklyn being a sweet movie to see with your daughter – 11 or 12 and up, depending on the kid.

  97. @SSK — we also splurged on the iMax 3D, and it was the first movie I can really think of that was totally worth it. I *loved* that movie — totally verklempt, totally gutted — and the 3D was so seamless that I completely forgot I was wearing the glasses (which basically never happens).

  98. My son’s school is offering the new SAT at school during a school day in March. It’s my understanding that they won’t release scores until after the May sitting. Is it supposed to be similar to the PSAT?

  99. Sky and Milo,
    If the ewe needs help from us (usually because the lamb is too big), then she is in serious trouble. It is financially not worth it to call the vet; we would spend more on the vet bill than the sheep is worth, and then there is still a chance that the ewe won’t survive, so the sheep is mostly on her own. Luckily, animals are tougher than people and most do just fine giving birth. After the lamb(s) are born, we put the mom and lamb(s) in a stall. I cut the umbilical cord and make sure mom is producing milk. We check on them every few hours that first twenty four hours, going out at least once in the middle of the night. If a ewe has triplets (fairly common), the smallest one is sometimes pushed out of the way by the larger lambs and then we have to take over. Feeding is every four hours, night and day, for the first week, and then every three hours for the next several weeks. Not a lot of fun to go out to the barn on a cold night to feed lambs! Some ewes have no trouble taking care of three lambs at once. It really just depends on the individual mom and the disparity between the sizes of the lambs. When the lambs are about two days old, they get a couple of shots, males that we know won’t be used for breeding are castrated (rubber bands are used, in case you are wondering), and tags in the ears so we can keep track of them. Mom and lambs are then released back into the herd the next day. It’s a fun time of year, but a busy one too.

  100. So the obstetrical dilemma, with the non-fully formed human brain at birth, is why a baby lamb can walk around and find its mother for milk while a baby human just lies there in its own feces. Interesting.

  101. PTM is missing, so I will play devils advocate about the Oscars.
    Can you think of any Asian women that you think were unfairly denied a nomination?
    or does the problem really start at the studios where they continue to cast people that predominately look the same in 2015 as they did in 1935.

    I think TV has really started to change; one example is Greys Anatomy. That show represents to me an example where it seems like almost any part could be played by an actor of any race or ethnic background. The movies don’t look that way, and I think the nominations are really a reflection of the problems that start at the planning stages for the movies.

  102. I think about pests whenever I board a plane.

    OMG OMG OMG now I can’t unthink it. And I’m flying next week.

  103. bring clorox wipes or smiler on the plane. The Lice Lady said the easiest thing you can do is to just wipe down the back of the seat. I was already doing that for arm rests, media controls and tray tables, but I never thought about the seat until DD had lice. Many are leather now so you can just wipe down.

  104. Honolulumother – Those are fun! Have you seen the SNL “movie” where Kylo Ren takes part in Undercover Boss? It is hilarious.

    My only problem is that having watched him in Girls, I have a hard time picturing him as an evil villain!

  105. I wish Idris Elba had been nominated for his role in Beasts of No Nation – I did not see it, but would certainly loved to have seen Stringer Bell at the Oscars.

  106. Sheep Farmer, I was bored in the hospital with twins so I read the local extension service information on lactation for ewes with twins and learned that a ewe needs about 25% more calories when nursing twins than when not nursing or strangely, if I read the brochure correctly, nursing a single lamb.

    My cousin and one of my college roommates helped sows give birth on their farms. My cousin who became a vet chose that profession based on helping ewes give birth on their farm.

    Rhett, given that two of my children had 90th percentile heads, I have pondered the obstetrical dilemma extensively. I don’t like Mr WCE (Mr 90th percentile head) when I’m in labor. Two of my children (the one whose brain didn’t grow and died at birth and one of my twins with a treatable birth defect) had anomalies in their brain/skull development. The human brain continues to develop for such a long period of time that there are lots of opportunities for error.

  107. So the obstetrical dilemma, with the non-fully formed human brain at birth, is why a baby lamb can walk around and find its mother for milk while a baby human just lies there in its own feces.

    Yet who ends up eating who? It’s all about engineering tradoffs.

  108. “or does the problem really start at the studios where they continue to cast people that predominately look the same in 2015 as they did in 1935.”


    as said, I see much more diversiy in television than in film

  109. Milo,

    From the NYTimes, “The study analyzed nearly 80,000 pregnancies in Oregon, and found that when women had planned out-of-hospital deliveries, the probability of the baby dying during the birth process or in the first month after — though slight — was 2.4 times as likely as women who had planned hospital deliveries.

    To which some indignant commenter replied, “Birth isn’t a disease that needs to be treated.”

    To which I thought, “For humans it sure as hell is!”

  110. Rhett,

    Those commenters are the same people who don’t understand how many babies and mothers used to die during childbirth.

  111. Lack of insurance (or insurance with a ~$10k deductible) is a primary reason the people I know who choose home birth choose home birth. Cost-risk-benefit analysis is very complicated in medicine because people weigh risks so very differently. Medicine has certain black-and-white points (implantation defines pregnancy, viability is at 24 weeks) but this doesn’t translate easily into personal choices.

    I remember a mother of six I was acquainted with commenting that when she lost her seventh pregnancy after five months, she had mixed feelings, because in some ways she was ready to be done. I was reminded of her comment when another mother of seven or eight chose home birth for her last couple pregnancies. Her youngest and Baby WCE are about the same age.

  112. In British TV shows there seems to be a concerted effort to include a more diverse cast of characters. Now, I am not sure if their detectives and police force is really that diverse but that’s what they show. In Happy Valley they showed a policewoman tackling drug dealers without a gun, getting beaten up and nearly dying. In another scene a police woman was deliberately crushed by a bad guy with a car. I was thinking to myself, surely their cops could be better armed with a taser at least instead of a baton and good running shoes.In the Killing, and American TV show, the woman detective with the same stature as myself has a gun and I was more relieved to see that.

  113. Rhett – before I read WCE’s response, I was going to say that the increased infant mortality associated with home births is even more blatant when one considers that it seems to be chosen almost exclusively by the crunchy wing of the Totebag demographic (well-educated, middle class, not on drugs…) This describes my cousin-in-law with her three home births (all except the firstborn). And they’re into the whole raw milk thing, so clearly they have minimal use for post-18th century medicine. But it’s not like you can just point to demographic factors and claim correlation.

    Louise – Olivia Benson carries a gun on L&O SVU, and she seems to have the worst luck imaginable in terms of being abducted by deranged serial killers in one season, and recently taken hostage in a home invasion reminiscent of the DC extortion/murder/fire of the rich developer. I think the writers like her face as someone who does exasperation and suffering well, like Anne Archer as Mrs. Jack Ryan.

  114. The kid across the street was born at 26 weeks and is now 6 months old and healthy. He was born in a hospital.

  115. I know everything about this storm is uncertain, but the sites I trust most (such as Weather Underground) just aren’t showing a big deal for NYC. Tri State Weather is saying 6 to 12 inches for NYC, not a small amount, but not huge either. The NWS’s winter storm watch for Westchester says 4 to 8 inches.

  116. The areas north of NYC are supposed to get less snow, but I think the winds will still be tough. I hope you will be ok with the opera if you can walk to the train. My issue is that we have a long drive to the train so I hope our plans for Sat night get canceled.

  117. yes, we can walk to the train. But trying to enjoy a performance while stuck in soggy wet clothes – ugh!

  118. Mooshi – snow or rain pants, coat, boots, shoes in backpack, coat check >>> dry enjoyment of show. :)

  119. I guess the ball gown will not be worn to the opera this time? :)

    “ I put my hazards on, and he still wouldn’t back off. When he followed my into the neighborhood, I slowly stopped in the middle of the road and walked back to his car to politely ask him to not stupidly follow me so closely.”

    I cannot imagine myself doing this, even in my very safe neighborhood. I’ve been the target of road rage aggressors, and it can be scary.

    Not really related, but from yesterday: the first homicide in Scarsdale since 1977 CPA/attorney stabbed his doctor wife.

  120. CoC – ya, I’d never do that either… Too many times in my life where I’ve been the target of aggression, or witnessed aggression. I think growing up in the shadow of NYC in the 1980s altered my perception of people – while many are nice, I truly prepare for the people who aren’t. How many people here actively watch their surroundings when out and about? Even in the nice neighborhoods?

  121. L, at the Met, there is no space in the seats to store backpacks, boots and snowpants!

  122. L, at the Met, there is no space in the seats to store backpacks, boots and

    They don’t have a coat check?

  123. Yeah, they have a coat check but I don’t think they take boots and backpacks. The official site says they don’t take large bags. I’ve never used it because I don’t want to stand in line for 30 minutes after the performance. Weather has never been an issue before.

  124. LfB – I’m working from home today with a similar “crick” in my knee. I was making the bed last night and had to yank the contour sheet to fit the last corner. My elbow smashed into that tendon above my knee and OMG, the pain. It was sort of like a funny bone hit, where it’s really intense for a while but you know it’ll go away soon, so I was writing around on the bed and laughing and calling myself stupid (to quell DD’s concerns – she was with me and thought I’d had some major hip thing happen). I told her I was sure it would be fine by morning. Morning comes, and I’m limping on the dam8 thing! I can’t believe it. I swear, if I even look sideways at a knee or a hip, I end up with some surgery-requiring complication. I’m hoping this is a bruise or some other minor thing in the CRICK category, and that a day under the blanket with the MinPin will fix it. I can send her your way if your back crick doesn’t resolve itself soon …

  125. CofC,

    Is it me or does that NY Post story read like a New York Times Wedding Announcement?

    Dr. Robin Goldman, 58, a graduate of Cornell and the Einstein College of Medicine was murdered by her husband Julius Reich, 61, a graduate of NYU, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and Brooklyn College. The murder was performed with a knife, specially appropriated from a knife block in the kitchen, in the master bedroom of their elegant home on Lincoln Road in Scarsdale’s exclusive Heathcoate neighborhood.

    This is the first murder in Scardsdale since Yale student Bonnie Garland was bludgeoned to death at her home by her ex-boyfriend, Yale grad ­Richard Herrin.

  126. I have to comment on my painful “crick”. It developed because I was carrying a heavy fancy handbag without a shoulder strap just the two handles. All the weight must have caused a muscle to pull in my arm, making it very painful to lift anything heavy. I ditched the bag and started to use one with the shoulder strap in addition to handles. I am also thinking of carrying my computer in a more ergonomic bag. Any suggestions for a good looking yet ergonomic computer bag ?

  127. Around New Year’s, we took the kids ice skating. Toward the end of the free skating session, #2 was holding my hand and stumbled a little, pulling me down at the same time. I hit my knee much harder on the ice than I thought was possible. It was OK for walking, and even jogging, but excruciating if I tried to kneel on it. I skipped Pilates for a week because I wouldn’t be able to do any of the stuff on the mat. Only now, three weeks later, is it mostly gone.

  128. Louise – this is an area where men have it better. DH has a few very cool looking leather laptop backpacks that he uses for travel. I haven’t found anything similar for women. I do have a cross body laptop bag I like, but I don’t carry my laptop daily. For travel, my “good looking yet ergonomic” laptop carrier of choice is DH. :)

    Milo – It really is astounding how much it can hurt when you hit ice.

  129. “good looking yet ergonomic” laptop carrier of choice is DH.


    I also have a nice, big handbag I can no longer use, too heavy and hurts my wrists

  130. Louise – I use an ergonomic, not attractive backpack. DH has one from Swiss Army (my old backpack), and I have from Dell that my employer gave me. I did have a very stylish shoulder bag that holds my personal laptop (and isn’t too heavy). I used it in grad school and still drag it out for conferences. Very grownup. Not really ergonomic…

    Risley – you and I have the same laptop carrier of choice! It’s so freeing to not have to worry about it.

    Milo – Last year, my skate got caught in a groove on the ice while I was turning, and I crumpled onto my left hip. I think it took about 3 weeks for the bruise to finally go away. Ice hurts.

  131. Risley – Yeah. I think a lot of people blame age, and that might be true for the slow recovery, but I was also crashing into the ice with an extra 20-25 lbs that weren’t there in college. It’s horrible all around.

    Louise – my favorite backpack is from Dick’s, and it has shock absorbers at the top of the shoulder straps. They stretch and bounce with the weight. It’s incredible how comfortable a heavy backpack becomes with those elastic bands at the top, but it cushions the weight on every step. I wore it all around Disney World with frozen water bottles and snacks and whatever.

  132. @Louise — the thing that made a big difference for me was getting a cross-body bag with a wide strap. It keeps the bag from slipping down, but it also distributes the weight more comfortably. I have had excellent luck at the Coach men’s store — they’re not cheap, but they last forever (and still look good).

    Meanwhile, thanks to y’all for making me feel slightly less alone in my stupidity and weenitude. :-)

    You know what really felt stupid? We hit one of those D&B wannabes in Fl and I went to play Galaga — and I couldn’t do it! My right hand got tired out super-fast. So I swapped hands (steer with right, fire with left) and had no problem, which means, crap, I have carpal-tunnel or something like that in the right hand. So there’s another doctor’s appt. I’m ignoring. All this stupid crap piling up is making me feel old. Pffflbbbttttt.

  133. Milo – I slipped on an icy driveway (slope + black ice) once when I was walking to work about 10 years ago, and MAN that knee bruise took forever to go away. Not just age. ;)

    Mooshi – ” I don’t want to stand in line for 30 minutes after the performance” – in that case, your choice between comfort and time. :)

  134. ” have carpal-tunnel or something like that in the right hand. So there’s another doctor’s appt. I’m ignoring. ”

    see about it, take it from me, you don’t want to put it off

  135. Milo – do you have a link for that backpack? It sounds perfect for my needs this spring.

  136. My DD’s school was 2 hours late on Tuesday because of the frigid early-morning temps, then dismissed 2 hours early yesterday because snow was to start right at dismissal time. That actually turned out to be a good call. But then they cancelled for today and it’s 40 & sunny with the next snow not supposed to start until midnight. Of course I’m assuming no one will go to school or work tomorrow – just hoping the university closes so that I don’t have to take leave time. Fortunately, school closings are not my problem this week, so I’m looking forward to a quiet weekend alone with Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Any suggestions?

  137. “Any suggestions for a good looking yet ergonomic computer bag ?”

    I’ve been using a backpack for work since back in the days when I commuted by train while pregnant. My favorite is a no-name nylon bag that I still own and has held up well. Today they’re easier to find, and most men and some women use backpacks these days. I prefer nylon over leather because of the weight. Here are some examples.

  138. “Is it me or does that NY Post story read like a New York Times Wedding Announcement?”

    Knowing the NY Post, I’m going to assume it’s supposed to read that way.

  139. Louise, back pain led me to abandon a purse for daily use. My phone case holds my drivers license, a couple of cards and cash, so I carry just that about 90% of the time.

  140. Louise/LfB – yeah, that must be why I like my cross-body bag–weight distribution. I got mine at a luggage store. It’s black leather and really nice looking but not a name brand. Wide strap like LfB advises, and that makes a big difference. I looked for a while to get one that is VERTICAL in its orientation, rather than horizontal, b/c I’m not the world’s tallest/biggest person, and a horizontal one would make me look puny. Very glad I took the time to look — and it does take time, b/c horizontal orientation is by far the most popular available.

  141. I also have a High Sierra backpack similar to the one in Milo’s link, with the suspension shoulder straps. It also has a padded pocket for a laptop. I got it from Costco for around $10, making it an excellent value, although the price on those backpacks seems to fluctuate.

    One thing it does not have, and which I have not seen on any High Sierra backpack, is the little strap that pulls the two shoulder straps together in front of your chest. That strap serves the same purpose as sticking your thumbs under the shoulder straps and pushing them together, which reduces the pulling of the straps on the shoulders.

  142. SWVA – On Amazon prime, I would recommend the series Bosch and Mozart in the Jungle. Also the pilot for Sneaky Pete was quite good – I hope they make a full series out of it.

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