Sunday, October 11, 2020

The Expiration of the Stimulus Package 2020

 The cooperation between the two United States political parties of Republicans and Democrats which heralded into the passing of the Stimulus package has now been broken as the Stimulus has expired and so has the safety nest that the American people in these unprecedented times have comply to rely on. The plethora of heartbreaking news about people short on their rent and mortgages, and other daily expenses have been coming up daily in the news and the coronavirus that has devastated the world economies and also hurt the American people intensely and the vulnerabilities have been too much for the American people to cope with. Jobs are lost and have slowly been coming back but with the virus rearing its ugly head again ( no Thanks to some American people who chose to party and go mask less) have made sure that some jobs will not be coming back in the near future. The latest is the Airline industry that has started to lay off people due to the absence of any stimulus package to shield their employees from massive layoffs.

The lower middle income of which the minorities make a large part of have seen their jobs and income erode faster since they are the ones who are in the service industry where they have to go out and work as compared to the ones who have office jobs and mostly have transitioned to work from home. But even this segment of society may be vulnerable if the economy does not improve as the businesses will dry up. The only solution now is the pass a stimulus package in whatever shape and form and bring the economy back up and running with strict face masks and social distancing, otherwise, the minorities will continue to suffer and the economy will continue to sputter as I don’t see this virus going away anytime soon as the vaccines for which most of the people are seeing as the solution is not going to solve the economic problems as nobody knows what kind of vaccine will help.

A nightmarish trip to New Jersey Department of Motor Vehicles

 The pandemic has screwed the world as we know it with no end in sight. The NJDVM got closed in March 2020 and started opening on July 7, 2020. The people whose licenses were expiring uptil August 2020 had their extended till December 2020. I was not one of the lucky ones out of them. Mine was expiring in September 2020 so I had to get it renewed this month. I have read on line the nightmarish lines at the DMV since people were sharing their experiences online with text and pictures, so I decided to follow their advice and woke up at 4.30 am on  a Saturday Morning and drove to the nearest DMV around 6.45 am and as expected there was a long line and I guessed it that people have been here camping since late night as people had their chairs with them and some were eating too. I sat in the car for a while and then decided to join the line (which was the best timing which I will tell you later). I heard some people were saying that other nearby DMV’s were more nightmarish then the one I was standing in.

I just started to pray that my turn comes today cause it would be maddening that after waking up and standing in line for hours and one’s turn does not come up. Anyway around 8.00 am, the start of the opening of the office, two people came to provide some stuff to the people standing ahead. I didn’t know at that time that it was a ticket. They are also eliminating people who were mistakenly standing in line for a things that were not available at that particular agency (which I did not know until I saw it when approaching it at the entrance. Anyway the line started to move and when the two people came close up they eliminated two people ahead of me and gave me a ticket which happened to the last one, the people standing behind me had to be told that no more tickets are available and come another time. Still some of the people who came after me thought that it was just crazy that they stopped giving tickets at 9.20 am when the office would remain open till 3.00 PM. After this the line starting moving excruciatingly slow as I could not see what was happening. Some people were saying that they are allowing only limited number of people at a time. So my timing and also a great luck got my last ticket. One of the guys from the agency said that even if I have a ticket which was green one, I was not guaranteed that my turn will come. In case it did not come, I will given a white ticket, so the next time I will not have to wait in line and go straight to the office.

There was only one restroom available and I dreaded to go in there with no facility for washing hands like the one you see outside construction areas. Standing in the sunlight was a torture but lucky enough it had a nice cool breeze. But the standing or sitting part was a nightmare as there was no tent available to give people shade from the heat. As my turn approached, I found out why they were so slow, due to COVID-19 there was restriction of only 20 to be inside and only 4 to five people were allowed inside. Also there was no registration, title or number plates available at the agency only issuances and renewal of driving licenses. Since face masks are almost mandatory to enter any facility and people are universally following face mask protocols, it was much easier to keep it one since the heat was not that oppressive as compared to the summer months of June, July and August. I was the last one in and had my RealID done past the closing time and finally I did not have to show up for four years and hopefully, life will somewhat return to normal and we would not have issues or worries about the Virus. So a nightmarish (or daymarish and hellish day came to a conclusion successfully and I got my license finally.

On the lighter side-Movies-Master SO Dragon Subduing Palms 2 (2020-China)-Fengye LIn, Yue Pengfei

 Two guys investigate killings in a small town. Comedy with some action thrown in. In Chinese with English Subtitles. Not Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-The Devil all the Time (2020) – Donald Ray Pollock, Bill Skarsgard

 A Brutal film where evil is lurking at every corner in the 1950s and 1960s small town America. Available on Netflix. Recommended with caution.

On the lighter side-Movies-Wong-Fei Hung: Wrath of Sea (AKA Warriors of the Nation (2018-China)-Vincent Zhao, Miya Muqi

 Chinese Martial arts legend Wong-Fei Hung fight the Japanese in the Martial arts drama. Nothing new. In Chinese with English Subtitles. Recommended with caution

On the lighter side-Movies-Mulan Legend (2020-China)

 Chinese story about a Girl who decides to change her appearance to a man so that she can take the place of her aging father to fight war. Typical Chinese movie with emphasis on action. In Chinese with English subtitles. Recommended with caution

On the lighter side-Movies-Santana (2020-South Africa-Angola)-Paulo Americano, Dalton Borralho

 Two Brothers take revenge on the people who killed their family. Good effort by Angola. In English and Portuguese. Available on Netflix. Recommended with caution

On the lighter side-Movies- Sword Dynasty Fantasy Masterwork (2020-China)

 Don’t even try to watch this as it is a waste of time, Unless you are Chinese movies fan and ready to watch anything Chinese language. Not Recommended. In Chinese with English Subtitles.


On the lighter side-Movies-Detective Dee: Solitary Skies Killer (2020-China) – Yiheng Du, Yang Shu

 Whoever gets close to a girl gets killed. Detective Dee investigates. Usual mystery movie. If you are not into Chinese movies, don’t watch this one. Not Recommended. In Chinese with English Subtitles

On the lighter side-Movies-Detection of Di Renjie (2020-China) – Yiheng Du, Yang Shu

 Detective Di Renjie investigates murders in a city. Normal Chinese movie. Nothing special. Not Recommended. In Chinese with English Subtitles

On the lighter side-Movies- Blood Vessel (2019) – Nathan Phillips, Alyssa Sutherland

 At the end of World War 2, a raft with war survivors stumble upon an abandoned German Vessel which harbors an evil secret. Recommended with caution

On the lighter side-Movies-Framed (2017-Spanish) – Daniel Horvath, Alex Maruny

 A group of friends are attacked by three strangers who live stream their cruelty and torture towards the group. Bloody, gory and brutally disgusting. Recommended with caution. But not for mainstream audience.

On the lighter side-Movies-Impetigore (2019-Indonesia)- Tara Basro, Ario Bayu

 A woman who is trying to survive in a big city learns that she has inherited her Father’s house in a far of village. So together she with her best friend ventures into the village which harbors an evil secret. Okay horror, mystery movie. Recommended with caution. In Indonesian with English Subtitles

On the lighter side-Movies-Joint Security Area (2000-Korea) – Yeong-ae Lee, Byung-hun Lee

 After an incident happens in the joint security area between North and South Korea, an investigation ensues to determine what happened. Entertaining mystery with lots of Flashbacks. Recommended with caution. In Korea with English Subtitles.

On the lighter side-Movies-Blood Rain (2005-Korea) – Seung-Won Cha, Yong-Woo Park

 An entertaining movie regarding a small village plagued by gruesome murders. The government sends their best intelligence man to investigate. Recommended. In Korean with English Subtitles

Sunday, October 4, 2020

On the lighter side-Movies-The Lodge (2020) – Riley Keough, Richard Armitage

 Two siblings give it a try with their soon to be stepmom at a remote cabin but strange occurrences start to happen. Okay horror movie. Recommended with caution

The UAE-Israeli Deal

 An unsurprising surprise came just a few weeks before that the UAE (Knows United Arab Emirates ) the kingdom of seven small wealthy states in the Arabian Gulf has decided to establish ties with Israel under supposed pressure or nudging of the United States. Given that the Arabs have been staunch supporters of the Palestinian cause (supposedly) this came as a surprise to some but for others it was business as usual as they knew that the Arabs have been working back channels to establish relationship with Israel while giving lip service to Palestinian (it is their fault too)  cause which was just a fake support to appease their already subdued population as their population is already suppressed to the extent that they don’t care anymore what happens to other Muslims or even their so called Arabs brothers.

I was under no illusion that this would happen but for some it is a surprise but the hatred of Shiite Iran, a Muslim country, is so overwhelmingly that they are ready to make peace with the supposedly sworn enemy, Israel. It will not come as a surprise if we see more Arab countries (reportedly Bahrain and Oman next with Sudan already contemplating relations) embrace Israel as they fight dissident, poverty and rotten to the core their economies despites spending Billions from aid from rich and Western countries. But the embrace with Israel will not them make them prosperous as they know already and also know that they are unable to fight a very powerful and very technological advanced Israel and thus they are just following the English idiom “ the Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend”.

On the lighter side-Movies-Swat Duty: City Crisis (2020- China) – Zhang Xiaojun

 A city under threat of massive bombs is rescued by the Swat team. Full of action and then some. The last one is super patriotic scene which can be seen as propaganda piece. Police action, Chinese Style. Recommended with caution

On the lighter side-Movies-Death Worm (2020-China) – Zhang Bo Nan

 Chinese Creature feature in which a group of feature fights off against a giant worm. It is similar to Sci-fi creature movies with shoddy special effects and dumb characters getting killed one by one until a few manage to escape miraculously. Subtitled in English. If you love subtitles, watch this foreign language monster movie, otherwise Not Recommended 

On the lighter side-Movies-Horror Island (1941-B&W) – Dick Foran, Leo Carrillo

 A down on his luck guy arranges a bogus cruise to a supposed haunted mansion on a island only to encounter murder and real scare. Fun little dated movie. Recommended with caution

Fires all over again

 It is that season again in the Western United States particularly California that the fires are burring once again. And the latest news is that the fires have already consumed more area bigger than the State of Rhode Island and it is not stopping. It has now even engulfed the iconic Redwood forest. The State has already depleted most of its fire fighting resources and have called for Firefighters to come from other states to come and help them. I was already intrigued by the fires happening in the west with very less in the north east only in Southern New Jersey and very rarely in the heavily forested areas of upstate New York, Vermont and Maine. I started looking into why is that and without going into technical details, you can just say that Western fires have erupt in California mostly is the rest of different climate than in the Northeast with more drought and dry complete than the wetter climate we encounter in the North East.

With less rain to go along with in California and more trees than usual and more people living off the grid and near heavily forested areas, there is a tendency have more fires . Although there are calls for people to move away from these areas but some folks being stubborn and some can’t afford to move to pricier cities of California are unable to afford to move and hence they keep on enduring year after year of burnt homes and devastated communities but due to lack of resources keep on building in the same place abated by government who have failed to tackle the high cost of California living and thus precious resources which is supposed to help communities grow is instead spent on saving communities and lives in areas which are knowingly prone to wild fires every year like the government tolerance of supporting building in areas in the path of hurricanes. And thus the miseries of people keeps on going year after year with no end in sight. And the numbness of the pain inflicted on people has become normalized for most of the people.

On the lighter side-Movies-Chang’an Mystery (2019-China) – ZhengYao

 Right now I discovered a Site with a huge amount of Chinese movies with subtitles in several languages . Most of the subtitles are just horrendous and it is hard to follow stories with disjointed meaning and sometimes no meaning at all. This is also one of the ones which is not that hard to follow if you have used to connecting incoherent subtitles into some kind of meaning story. I am not going to even bother with the stars of some of the movies that will review which have Chinese names very unfamiliar to anybody outside Chinese speaking world. This movie is about the investigating of murders by government officials. The action typically in the Chinese movies which I am used to was just not there. Not Recommended

Whatever happened to the Minimum wage movement

 Just a few days ago, a thought struck my mind regarding the minimum wage movement that has been all the rage a few months back. This was a time when people were not worried about anything like this would happen, I mean the Covid-19 situation and most workers in industries which historically pay less like restaurants, fast foods and other places which are mostly staffed with minorities and elderly people and people with high school education who don’t see themselves moving ahead in life stuff in the menial jobs were clamoring for at least 15 dollars an hour, which they called livable wages and with the protest going on, many cities across the United States enacted laws to increase the wages to 15 dollars in phases sometimes going as long as the year 2023 to increase it to that level. The businesses mostly affected by these legislations were not happy about this sudden rise to their bottom line and they also started protesting but their protestation was largely ignored and drown in favor of the workers.

Those laws are still on the books of many states but everybody has been quiet for sometime as the Pandemic that has ravaged the economies of almost all states have not seen any protest to force business to increase their wages as they well know that in these times when jobs are scarce and businesses are shutting down due to lack of sales, they can ill afford to pay any type of wages. Although I sympathize with the plight of minimum wages workers but I was always skeptical about this huge increase which may in turn put pressure on the businesses to increase the salaries of their higher salaried employees, but with pandemic still raging on and some business shutting down permanently, it is no use to force businesses to pay this huge increase in minimum wage when you don’t have any sales left and people are hurting around with jobs lost and even people getting pay cuts and their hours reduced to make sure the businesses where they work survive in some form or another. This beautiful experiment in social distribution of wages need to stop for a while until the economy bounces back enough to the level before the Pandemic so that businesses have time to recover their lost earnings and profits before they start paying their employees these inflated salaries which have show mixed results thus far.

On the lighter side-Movies-Crocodile Island (2020-China) – Wallen Lo

 A plane crashes in an uncharted island where the survivors encounter giant animals and a deadly crocodile. A great effort on the part of Chinese to create an action/adventure movie but it is similar to Sci-fi channels monster fest that they occasionally put on several times every week. Subtitled in English with poor to average acting. If you into foreign language movies, take a look at this. Recommended with caution

On the lighter side-Movies-The Gentlemen (2019) – Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam

 An American tries to sell his Marijuana empire to some criminals in London instigating blackmail, double crossing and other shenanigans'. Recommended with caution

On the lighter side-Movies-Bad Boys for Life (2020) –Will Smith, Martin Lawrence

 Action packed comedy movie about two Miami cops facing off against criminals. A long time coming second sequel to Bad Boys series and competently done. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-The Hunt (2019)-Betty Gilpin, Hilary Swank

 Twelve strangers wake up in the middle of nowhere to find out that they are the hunted ones in this variation of the most dangerous game movie. Somewhat controversial but I just saw it as a movie. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-BloodShot (2020) - Vin Diesel, Elza Gonzalez

 A certified dead soldier is brought back to life with superhuman powers. Exciting action sequences. Recommended with caution

On the lighter side-Movies-Emma. (2019)-Anya Taylor-Joy, Johnny Flynn

 Jane Austen novel already filmed before about a wealthy girl interfering the love lives of others. Okay movie but sometimes hard to understand with its British accent. Recommended with caution

On the lighter side-Movies-Underwater (2020) – Kristen Stewart, Vincent Cassel

 A crew of people working in an underwater facility gets trapped when underwater earthquake happens. Nice little movie with tension but hampered by its rating of action and violence. Recommended with caution