If anyone believes Donald Trump‘s explanation about abruptly reversing his beliefs about Russian complicity in 2016 election meddling (“I misspoke”), please explain why in rational, sensible terms. In Helsinki he said “I don’t see any reason why it would be” Russia; today he said he meant to say “I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be” Russia. I used to lie like this to my parents when I was eight.
Six days ago (7.11) I reported that my horrific iPhone 8Plus sign-in passcode problem was about to be solved. That morning a senior Apple tech person had written the following to Hollywood Elsewhere: “Thank you for your patience. We reviewed the documents you provided and [have] turned off the Activation Lock on your device.” I took that to mean that the six-digit, two-step security code that had been making my life hell since my iPhone 6s Plus was stolen would be sidestepped or neutered.
False alarm! The “activation lock turn-off” was some kind of red-herring or misunderstanding. Worse, all my contact information is now gone from the new iPhone 8 Plus.
I bought the new iPhone 8 Plus three hours after the 7.5 theft of the iPhone 6s Plus. I tried to Cloud-synch it right away, and was partially successful due to the thief not having fully persuaded Apple that his/her phone (ending in 14) was a trusted second device. So at least I had my contacts and notes. But when I showed up for a Genius Bar appointment at the Grove Apple store on 7.12, a guy wiped my iPhone clean, taking it back to factory settings. And then the info download failed because the “activation lock turn-off” was a non-starter.
I’ve been in fresh hell ever since. I’m in a slightly better place now in terms of history and receipts, granted, but I’m still unable to find the right Apple techie who can not only shrewdly assess the particulars but stay with me until the problem has been put to bed.
That’s almost the most difficult part — finding a high-end Apple support professional who not only has the smarts to understand and diagnose the problem (I’ve so far spoken to three people who fit this description) but one who won’t abandon me after two or three exchanges of information. This is what Apple people have done so far — helpfully engage and then vaporize — and I don’t mind saying I’ve become very perturbed about this.
I’ve dealt with two Apple senior consumer-tech-support persons — Stephanie Owen, who told me that she’s based in Hamilton outside of Toronto, and Charnae Shorter, who told me she’s based in Virginia. They were both very focused, constructive, caring and helpful until they flaked. Since then I’ve written and called repeatedly, pleading for follow-up — silencio.
I also spoke to an Apple iCloud engineer named Arryon Maiden, a bright and friendly guy (only 23) who’s based in Austin. As of last Saturday I’d sent him all the pertinent information that I had at that time (including copies of five email messages between Apple and the thief who took my phone — a guy who persuaded Apple’s system that his phone number, ending in 14, is a trusted second number of mine). Arryon said in a breezy, light-hearted way that he was satisfied that the problem would soon be taken care of, and that he’d be speaking to senior staffers and would probably be back to me “within a couple of hours.”
That was the last I ever heard from Arryon Maiden. I’m written and left phone messages, asking again and again, down on my knees…nothing.
I’m now back to square one, trying to find a responsible iCloud whizkid who can step in and solve the problem, and who won’t abandon me to fate and happenstance after a couple of encounters.
I’m now thinking my only prayer is to persuade a big-time tech or consumer-support columnist to write about this. Maybe David Lazarus, the “Consumer Confidential” guy for the L.A. Times. Or Walter Mossberg, former tech columnist with The Wall Street Journal, currently with of The Verge and Recode. I don’t know this realm very well, but the right columnist would only have to double-check my facts and then rewrite what I’ve already posted about this nightmare — article #1, article #2, article #3 and article #4.
You can tell right away that Joel Edgerton‘s Boy Erased (Focus Features, 11.2) is well acted, especially by Lucas Hedges (Manchester By The Sea, Lady Bird) as the real-life Garrard Conley, whose experience with Christian gay-conversion therapy was the subject of his 2016 novel, “Boy Erased: A Memoir of Identity, Faith, and Family.” Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman also quote good, it appears, as Hedges’ hardcore Christian parents. It also seems as if Edgerton is suitably abrasive and obnoxious as Hedges’ conversion therapist. You sense strong emotional currents. Obviously an awards-bait film, but how will the New Academy Kidz respond?
Remember the good old days (i.e., eight years ago) when directors of historical fables would deliver at least a semblance of historical realism? No one presumed that Ridley Scott‘s Robin Hood, Kevin Reynolds and Kevin Costner‘s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves or Michael Curtiz‘s The Adventures of Robin Hood were scrupulous representations, but at least they gave it a shot — half historical, half Hollywood costume values of the moment.
Otto Bathurst‘s Robin Hood (Summit, 11.21) is a perverse renunciation of the Curtiz, Reynolds and Scott approach. The idea seems to be “let’s nominally indicate that our Robin Hood is set in the distant past, but otherwise let’s undercut any hint of historical realism and turn the whole enterprise into a preening video game.” I’m thinking in particular of Ben Mendelsohn wearing a 21st Century, corporate-friendly, side-parted $250 undercut as the Sheriff of Nottingham, not to mention his costume looking like something he bought at Rag & Bone.
Journo pal: A third-party challenger can take down Trump against the flaccid Democrats. And this is the guy to do it. I hope he runs.
HE: Me too, but of course he’ll most likely wind up splitting the liberal vote, and thus ensuring Trump’s re-election.
Journo pal: If he runs as a serious independent he can peel off Republicans who don’t want to vote for Trump, and there are a lot of those. Democrats are going to make those voters choose between leftie socialism and Trump. But Avenatti can run without all that. So he’ll split the right. He’ll be like Ross Perot, not Bernie.
HE: Perot siphoned off votes from Bush, handing the ’92 election to Bill Clinton.
Journo pal: Yes, exactly. Perot took out George H.W. Bush after one term. That’s what we need. Fracture the right to allow the left to win. Bernie was basically Perot for the right. He ran as a Democrat but he all but destroyed the Democratic Party, handing the election to Trump. We need someone conservatives can vote for without them having to choose socialism. If none of the Republicans have the balls to do it, someone independent might be able to. But I see your point. He’s more likely to draw folks on the left. Maybe James Comey should run.
I never read Frank Herbert‘s “Dune” but I hated, hated, hated David Lynch‘s Dune (’84). I can still remember that feeling of my soul evaporating as I sat in a Universal Studios screening room, watching the damn thing and feeling more and more numb. If there’s one film I don’t want to see remade, it’s fucking Dune, and if someone’s going to remake it anyway Denis Villeneuve‘s handprints are the ones I’d least like to experience. I’m not saying this is the end of Timothee Chalamet, but it’s a a bad, bad thing that he’s probably going to play Kyle MacLachlan‘s role (i.e., Paul Atreides). First he threw Woody Allen under the bus, and now this. I’m guessing that Luca Guadagnino is weeping for poor Timothee right now in Crema. I’m gagging. Hey, Denis…why don’t you get Bradford Young to shoot it?
You don’t need a Masters in Political Science to get Betsy West and Julie Cohen‘s RBG, the hugely successful doc (a $12.5 million gross after nine weeks in theatres) about crusading Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It’s accessible to anyone — a sturdy, specific portrait of a great feminist jurist.
And yet nine out of ten moviegoers (especially those who flip through supermarket tabloids) will probably be more receptive to On The Basis of Sex (Focus Features, 12.25), the emotional narrative version from director Mimi Leder, and in which Felicity Jones portrays RBG.
Unfortunately there’s an accent problem. Jones clearly hasn’t mastered Ginsberg’s Brooklyn patois, at least in the opinion of yours truly as well as N.Y. Times contributor Bruce Fretts.) I would recommend the hiring of an accent coach and going back into looping sessions. It’s July — the film doesn’t open until Christmas Day. Plenty of time.
Armie Hammer, Justin Theroux, Kathy Bates and Sam Waterston costar in Leder’s film.
What’s the instant HE community verdict?
In a 7.15 opinion piece titled “Trump, Treasonous Traitor,” N.Y. Times columnist Charles Blow stated the obvious about President Trump. There’s no other way to put it. And yet somehow the general reaction outside the liberal beltway seems to me “well, yeah, Trump’s an asshole…whatever.”
Except treason isn’t a typical asshole trait. Treason is what Benedict Arnold was guilty of, and yet what Trump has done — is continuing to do — is worse. The problem is that millions seem to regard the concept of a cyber attack as somehow ethereal or vaporous. Meanwhile Trump has so spun and muddied the conversation (certainly within the red-hat base) that even “treason” doesn’t seem to be sticking.
Alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump said today (Monday, 7.16) in Helsinki that “I don’t see any reason why” Russia would interfere in the 2016 election. Helsinki = Surrender Summit.
Please explain how Blow is exaggerating.
“Whether or not Trump himself or anyone in his orbit personally colluded or conspired with the Russians about their interference is something Mueller will no doubt disclose at some point, but there remains one incontrovertible truth: In 2016, Russia, a hostile foreign adversary, attacked the United States of America. We know that they did it. We have proof. The F.B.I. is trying to hold people accountable for it.
“And yet Donald Trump, the president whom the Constitution establishes as the commander in chief, has repeatedly waffled on whether Russia conducted the attack and has refused to forcefully rebuke them for it, let alone punish them for it.
“Instead, Trump has repeatedly attacked the investigation as a witch hunt.
Initially posted on 11.27.15: The best thing about this photo, which was shot somewhere on the Lower West Side during the spring of ’77, are the folds in the woman’s stockings. That and the eye contact between us and my no-worries expression. And the cigarette. I wasn’t a constant smoker (I would guiltily indulge from time to time and then quit again) but I was definitely stinking of tobacco and nicotine when this shot was taken, and it didn’t seem like a problem. I was half-miserable at the time, but approaching an even more miserable chapter, which was my first three years in NYC (’78, ’79 and ’80) — restaurant jobs, freelance assignments for next to no money, a cockroach-infested apartment on Sullivan Street and then a one-room misery studio on West 4th Street near Jane, bad food (next to no vegetables, tons of sugar), getting half-bombed every other night, typewriter ribbons and white-out, a ghetto blaster and a couple of dozen cassettes for music. And yet for all the fretting and struggling and my particular form of weltschmerz, I was batting somewhere between .333 and .400 with the ladies.