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Archive for October, 2011

In nature there are neither rewards nor punishments; there are only consequences.
  —  Robert B. Ingersoll
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Better put a strong fence around the top of the cliff
Than an ambulance down in the valley.
  —  Joseph Malins
[Apologies to Robert Frost for the title, but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of medicine.  —  KMAB]
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Movie Review:  “War Games – The Dead Code”
This is the sequel to the classic 1983 original “WarGames” starring Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy.  I got it because it was on sale and, unfortunately, it wasn’t worth the sale price.  This updated version is not really a sequel.  It’s more of a reboot, re-run, sequel.  It has one of the original characters (the brilliant inventor) and the original WOPR.  The WOPR is the only thing that really makes the movie interesting – but in the end, it isn’t enough.  This version was made in 2007 but actually was released direct to DVD in 2008 and I’d never heard of it until I saw it on the rack.  It stars Matt Lanter and Amanda Walsh – neither of which I can remember from anything else (deservedly so if this is an indication of their work).  If you’re desperate to see an update of a classic from that time period, go see the new “Footloose” and leave this on the sale rack.
Movie Review: “The Happening
Another on sale DVD I picked up was “The Happening“, starring Mark Wahlberg and written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan.  Basically, I picked this up because I like Mark Wahlberg and some of Shyamalan’s works have been okay, too.  I thought Wahlberg was great in Invincible and Shooter and I’ve enjoyed him in some of his other films, so I thought, what the heck.  This film is about “something” mysteriously starts “happening” to get people to kill themselves.  The story takes place over a couple of days and then the mystery just stops (or does it?).  Anyway, it’s a mildly entertaining film and Wahlberg carries the role and the film.  It’s definitely not a scary film (horror) and definitely not action.  It’s just an okay film to pass an evening watching.  I may screen it again or I may not.  Some of Shyamalan’s work gets better with re-watching a couple of times, so I probably will, but this isn’t a movie you think, “Wow, I’m gonna watch that again next … (month, year, whenever).”  There is one gruesome scene in a zoo with a lion and there’s another scene where a couple of young boys are murdered, so I would not watch this with small kids (or the squeamish) around.
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First have something to say, second say it, third stop when you have said it, and finally give it an accurate title.
  —   John Shaw Billings
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Saying Just Enough

There is an accuracy that defeats itself by the overemphasis of details.  I often say that one must permit oneself, and quite advisedly and deliberately, a certain margin of misstatement.
  —  Benjamin Cardozo
Associate Justice
U.S. Supreme Court
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…For a marriage to survive, the ratio of positive to negative emotion in a given encounter has to be at least five to one.
  —  Malcolm Gladwell
From his book: “Blink
[This was the first time I ever heard of this type of comparison or the ratio for survival/success.  Intuitively, it strikes me as true.  Militarily for an “average” attack to be considered “probably successful” in advance, the force (attack to defence) ratio must be at least six to one.  It begs the question of how an individual can estimate (count) positive and negative emotions on the fly.  And yet, we are able to because we can all describe relationships as “happy marriage” or “unhappy marriage”.  —  KMAB]
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The first task of Blink is to convince you of a simple fact: decisions made very quickly can be every bit as good as decisions made cautiously and deliberately.
…So, when should we trust our instincts, and when should we be wary of them?  Answering that question is the second task of Blink.  When our powers of rapid cognition go awry, they go awry for a very specific and consistent set of reasons, and those reasons can be identified and understood.  It is possible to learn when to listen to that powerful onboard computer and when to be wary of it.
The third and most important task of this book is to convince you that our snap judgments and first impressions can be educated and controlled.  I know that’s hard to believe.
  —  Malcolm Gladwell
From his book: “Blink
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