Black Panther

[4.0 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

So we went to see a theater movie, one that pretty much everyone else in America has seen by now: Black Panther. There was a surprisingly decent crowd in the theater for a 12:50pm Monday showing.

The hero, of course, is T'Challa, in line to ascend to the throne of the Kingdom of Wakanda with the blowing-up death of his father in the last Captain America movie. Wakanda is trying to keep secret its vast riches and technical prowess, a result of its sitting on a vast amount of vibranium, the major ingredient in Cap's shield. It turns out it's a major source of technological mumbo-jumbo as well.

But there are problems, because the bad guys are figuring out the vibranium stuff, too, notably "Ulysses Klaue", who masterminds the theft of an invaluable vibranium weapon from a British museum. He is assisted by "Erik Killmonger", who (it turns out) has reasons of his own for wanting to torment T'Challa and Wakanda.

So: a rich story, very good acting, very very good special effects. I'm pretty immune to the hoopla about finally having a superhero of African descent. (Hey, we're all of African descent, kids.)

Last Modified 2018-11-26 7:02 AM EDT

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[Amazon Link]

Looking forward to another nor'easter today. Accuweather predicts 12 to 24 inches of global warming. And the Red Sox home opener is 23 days away; hope they can get the snow off the field by then.

  • Proverbs 15:30 is surprisingly upbeat:

    30 Light in a messenger’s eyes brings joy to the heart,
        and good news gives health to the bones.

    I'm not going to argue with that. Although I would also recommend calcium, vitamin D, and physical activity.

  • At Cato, Jeffrey A. Singer notes the obvious: The War on Opioids Has Become a War on Patients.

    As Anne Fuqua recently pointed out in the Washington Post, non-medical drug users accessing heroin and fentanyl in the underground drug market are not the only victims in the opioid crisis. Many patients whose only relief from a life sentence of torturing pain are also victims. That is because policymakers continue to base their strategies on the misguided and simplistic notion that the opioid overdose crisis impacting the US, Canada, and Europe, is tied to doctors prescribing opioids to their patients in pain.

    Data point: just last night our local TV station reported on the sentencing of Rekha Luther, convicted of bringing fentanyl and steroids to her workplace, Pembroke Academy, where she was Dean, back in 2016. (She got three months in jail.) And of course:

    She told the court that she got hooked on opioids the way many people do, with prescription painkillers.

    I am skeptical about that. Ms. Luther's then-fiancé, Jonathan Pesa, reportedly died of a drug overdose in 2015.

  • At NR, Jim Geraghty provides Ten Reasons We Can’t, and Shouldn’t, Be Nordic. What, only ten?

    Spoiler alert: the big reason is that our government is largely dysfunctional:

    A lot of progressives seem to think that conservatives distrust the government because of some esoteric philosophical theory, or because we had some weird dream involving Ayn Rand. In reality, it’s because we’ve been told to trust the government before — and we’ve gotten burned, time and time again.

    Government doesn’t louse up everything, but it sure louses up a lot of what it promises to deliver: from the Big Dig to; from letting veterans die waiting for health care to failing to prioritize the levees around New Orleans and funding other projects instead; from 9/11 to the failure to see the housing bubble that precipitated the Great Recession; from misconduct in the Secret Service to the IRS targeting conservative groups; from lavish conferences at the General Services Administration to the Solyndra grants; from the runaway costs of California’s high-speed-rail project to Operation Fast and Furious; from the OPM breach to giving Hezbollah a pass on trafficking cocaine.

    The federal government has an abysmal record of abusing the public’s trust, finances, and its own authority. Now some people want it to take on a bigger role? If you want to enact a massive overhaul of America’s economy and government to redistribute wealth, you first have to demonstrate that you can accomplish something smaller, like ensuring every veteran gets adequate care. Until then, if you want to live like a Norwegian, buy a plane ticket.

    That's an impressive list, and I'm sure anyone who's been paying attention for the past few decades could add a number of items to it.

  • Jake Rossen of Mental Floss answers the burning question you didn't realize you needed to ask: What is the Riot Act, and Why Don't I Want It Read to Me?

    The idiom, which has been in use for centuries, is generally thought to mean the admonishment of a person or persons who have committed an error in judgment. But the origin of the term "riot act" concerns a very particular wrongdoing—an unlawful public assembly that peace officers of the 16th century fought with a pre-written warning to disperse or face serious repercussions. Like death.

    Fortunately, the phrase has gotten a lot less literal in the intervening centuries.

  • But there's good news from the Bablyon Bee: Harvard Now Offering Four-Year Degree In Feeling Oppressed.

    Responding to consumer demand, Ivy League bellwether Harvard University announced Monday its new four-year Bachelor’s degree in Feeling Oppressed.

     “For those lucky enough to be able to afford the quarter-million-dollar cost of attending our prestigious school, we are offering a comprehensive program that will prepare you for a lifetime of convincing yourself that you are a perpetual victim and nothing that happens in your life is your own fault,” Harvard president Drew Faust announced in an afternoon press conference.

    Well, that's good, that they're making that official.