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Archive for May 15th, 2011

Movie Review:
James and I went to the movies this afternoon to see “Priest“.  This was a movie I thought I wanted to see for some time.  It’s been advertised as a coming attraction for several months now.  Then, last night and this morning I lost my taste for it because I’d read some reviews and they were pretty bad.  Well, we went anyway and it was a pretty good movie!  Not terrific.  Not life-changing.  But definitely a good, entertaining summer action movie.
I gather the movie is based on some graphic novel and the movie is clearly set up to be the start of a franchise (which I would definitely see at least one more of).  I wanted to see it because I recognized the star (Paul Bettany) from the movie: “The DaVinci Code“.   I thought he was weird in the role of a monk-assassin, but it was strangely suitable.  I wanted to see this movie to see if that was a fluke or if he is an actor I want to watch out for.  After “Priest“, I think I need to see a lot more of his work, because he was again excellent in this role.
Now, don’t get me wrong, vampire movies are not normally my thing (although I have enjoyed the “Underworld” series).  But, this was (for me) an interesting and entertaining movie.  Like most “comic” book adaptation, it doesn’t bear close logical scrutiny – but for the price of a matinée ticket, it is a good way to spend an afternoon.
Book Review:
Today, I also finished a book: “If Not Now, When?“, written by Colonel Jack Jacobs (Ret.) and Douglas Century (2008).   Colonel Jacobs is a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient for action during the Vietnam War.  The sub-title is: “Duty and Sacrifice in America’s Time of Need“.
The book is autobiographical and it is incredibly funny, touching and up-lifting —  all at the same time.  This was another of the $2 books I’ve gotten at Half-Price books and I can honestly say this was among the two of the best dollars I’ve ever spent in my life.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand the type of person America and the U.S. military can produce – and what type of man goes on to earn a Medal of Honor.
I will be using the book as a source for many quotes.  Just a terrific read!!
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This book review is a bit late because life has gotten in the way…
Last Sunday (8 May 2011), I completed the book: “A Band of Misfits“, by Andrew Baggarly (2011©).  Baggarly is a sports columnist (and SF Giants beat reporter) for a local Bay Area newspaper.  The book is a collection of stories which follow the championship season (2010) of the San Francisco Giants.  The book is a fast, fun read.  The stories add a sense of humanity to the players which rarely comes out of a shorter form of writing – like a daily column.  You may get the same picture if you follow the column every day, but I’m not sure how many folks still do this.  To be honest, I’ve never done this (follow a columnist) until about a year ago, when I began regularly reading a pro-football columnist (Peter King) in Sports Illustrated.  Since I don’t get the paper or read Baggarly’s column on-line, I can’t comment on if the book is a mashup of his columns or if the stories are extra material that never quite made the column.  Either way, they are stories worth reading.
Anyway, as one of the many old-time baseball fans who jumped on the Giants bandwagon last year, I must admit I thoroughly enjoyed the book and reading about the lives and foibles of  some of the players.  I heartily recommend this book to any recently returning baseball fan!
Superman
Yesterday, Donnie and I went up to Fairfield to visit my brother Sean.  While there, we watched a movie titled: “Ip Man“.  The movie is a semi-autobiographical (dramatized) accounting of a famous martial artist from the early 1900’s.  Ip Man was a proponent (and master) of the Wing Chun (“Eternal Spring”) form of Kung Fu.  In later years, he was a sifu / instructor to Bruce Lee.
Some martial arts movies are great for martial arts and terrible movies.  This is not one of those movies.  This has both great fights and a great story presentation in movie form.  The acting is very good for a foreign film.  I don’t mean that in a derogatory sense for “foreign” films.  I mean it in the sense that, I don’t have the cultural background to relate to the nuances of most non-American films.  For example, there are multiple instances in the film where someone says the southern style of Kung Fu is for women.  Unless you know Ip Man himself taught the form was derived from a legend of a female who defeats a local warlord in battle, the comments appear to be a fairly common sexual slur.  I did not realize this until I did a bit of research about Ip Man and Wing Chun on the internet after viewing the movie.
If you like great martial arts flicks or if you’re interested in a small window of Chinese culture, this is a very enjoyable movie!  Check it out!
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In a world of almost zero packaging cost and instant access to almost all content in this format, consumers exhibit consistent behaviour: They look at almost everything.  I believe that this requires major changes by the content producers — I’m just not sure what changes!
  —   Bobbie Van-Adibe
CEO of Ecast (a digital jukebox company)
Quoted by:  Chris Anderson
From his book: “The Long Tail
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