Things I Don’t Get

I watched the movie “Boyhood” last night. I enjoyed it, but it was a tad slow and maybe could have been 15 minutes shorter. The performances and writing were excellent, though, and the conceit of using the same actors over a 12-year period aging in real time is cool and completely transparent in the movie. It actually succeeds in making the film’s events more believable and true-to-life.

Which leads me to a pet peeve of mine in casting for films and TV shows: two blue-eyed parents will only infrequently have a non-blue-eyed child. There just aren’t any dominant genes to go around or otherwise one of the parents would have brown (or at least hazel) eyes. In high school biology we all learned about the Punnett Square:

B b
b Bb bb
b Bb bb

50% chance of Brown, 50% chance of blue

b b
b bb bb
b bb bb

100% chance of blue, 0% chance of Brown

In fact, I actually thought it was impossible until I decided to do a little research to see if my beef was justified. Evidently, it is not uncommon for blue-eyed parents to have a brown-eyed child, because, as with most explanations, the Punnett Square is too simplistic. There are other eye-color genes that come into play that regulate the intensity of the recessive (blue-eyed) and dominant (brown- or green-eyed) genes. But judging by TV and movie casting, you’d think it was a sure thing. “Boyhood” featured one such actress, who also happens to be the director Richard Linklater’s daughter. She was very good, but she definitely had brown eyes (not just dark gray) and both her movie parents were clearly blue-eyed.

I guess the intention of casting directors is to find the best actor, regardless of eye color. But it seems a small enough thing to fix with contacts these days (or even CGI some blue eyes in there), especially for a movie like “Boyhood” that strives for authenticity.

I could probably fill a couple of blog posts with things that I just don’t get, ranging from the picayune (like eye color in movies) to meaning-of-life deep (like the nature of good and evil). For example, I’ve been seeing these commercials of Regular Joes (and Joannes) discussing how important it is for them to be Uber drivers, and how Mayor diBlasio is preventing them from doing so to protect the rights of the rich taxi medallion owners. They talk about how Uber is creating jobs in NYC so more people can support their families, as well as providing transportation to underserved populations in underserved neighborhoods. It seems simple enough, and I don’t comprehend the conflict: Why can Uber and the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (with the support of their ally, Mayor diBlasio) coexist?  Why can’t the two entities reach some kind of compromise so that Uber cars are limited in Manhattan proper, where yellow cabs are plentiful, but they can operate much more widely in the outer boroughs, where yellow cabs admittedly don’t want to go? The two car services can share the airports: text ahead for Uber, yellow cabs on demand on site. There are plenty of fares to go around. New York City is a big place with lots of people who need transporting. Seriously — solve this, people!!

But there’s one thing that’s been going on recently that baffles me beyond belief, and that is how people – anyone! – could have respect for the idiot millionaire Donald Trump and want him to be our representative on the world stage. He’s an ignorant hypocrite whose only interest is himself and his money, and the only thing he’s good at is jobbing the system to line his pockets. He’s very good at that. But that has very little to do – in fact, nothing to do – with statecraft.

I can’t believe that there are enough people in this country who would seriously vote for Donald Trump as president. And what will we do from mid-August until then end of “Democalypse 2016” without Jon Stewart to punch holes in The Donald and keep us sane? I can’t say I entirely understand why he would want to leave now, at the top of his game, in the midst of what is proving to be a Jabberwocky of a presidential election, although I do realize that he’s been doing it for many years and probably feels he has more to give to make the world a better place. Hopefully his voice of reason will never be quashed, even if he is leaving his daily platform. I wish lots of luck to Jon and his family in their endeavors to establish a sanctuary for rescued farm (and presumably all) animals in New Jersey. The Stewarts were inspired in part by Farm Sanctuary, whose president and cofounder, Gene Baur, appeared on The Daily Show last April, but I’m sure he was also motivated in no small part by the idiocy of New Jersey governor Chris Christie’s feelings about keeping pigs in containment pens. (Do I sense a little self-loathing there, Mr. Christie??) (By the way, Baur’s book, Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds about Animals and Food, is next on my reading list, so I fully expect I’ll have more to say about it in a future blog post.) But of course Jon Stewart would put his money where his mouth is. I confess – I have a huge crush on Jon Stewart. I will miss him desperately!

One final note, speaking of folks who rescue animals (and this I most certainly DO get!): Kudos to Linda Vetrano and Vanessa Vetrano Vaccaro (shockingly, NOT RELATED, but they somehow found each other) of Posh Pets Rescue for saving TEN cats and dogs from Animal Care and Control in Manhattan today, including a little pup who isn’t able to walk. My heroes!!

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