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Archive for July 25th, 2012

This afternoon I went to check out the latest version of Spider-Man.  This one is called “The Amazing Spider-Man“, as opposed to the “original” 2002 version simply named “Spider-Man” or numerically Spider-Man IV.  Is this one better or worse?  Is it worth the re-boot?  Did they wait long enough for the re-boot.  The answers: better, yes and not sure, but probably.
To start off with ALL of the actors are better – Garfield is a better Peter Parker and Spidey than Maguire was, Stone is better as Gwen than Dunst was as Mary Jane, Sheen is better than Robertson as Uncle Ben, and Fields is better as Aunt May than Harris (but Harris looks the part more than Fields).  Finally, the Lizard is a MUCH better villain than the Green Goblin.  Admittedly, I am not much of a DaFoe fan – but the 2002 Spidey was one of few roles I liked him in.  (Another being Raven in “Streets of Fire“.)
In addition to the actors being better, the whole movie seemed better paced and understandable.  I particularly liked them going back to the web shooters as opposed to the 2002 version of the webs coming out of Parker’s wrist.  It was another detail which made the movie more like the comics.  Were there things wrong?  Sure, but there are always things to nit-pick when you move from a comic to a movie.  Most of these issues come from trying to move the story along in the time allotted to keep new viewer interest up.
Is the character worth the re-boot and was 10 years long enough to wait for the re-boot.  Yes, the re-boot was required.   Maguire and Durst are getting too old for the target market (teens to mid-30’s), unless they want Parker to have a job and the characters be married and settled.  In a word – BORING!!  So, we’re back to high-school and teenage angst.  Which is okay, ’cause even if I don’t feel it at my age, I can appreciate it if it’s acted well – and it is.  Is 10 years between the re-boot long enough?  I had my doubts, but now, I think it is.  I don’t think the box office take is a valid measure as much as it might seem, but in this case the box was very strong.  I think Spidey just fits in with the run Marvel is on now.  He is a strong character on both sides of the mask and he can carry the weight of a franchise.  I will admit, I don’t look forward to Spidey being slotted into the Fantastic Four or the Avengers, but it kind of seems inevitable (particularly the Avengers).
So, a “highly recommended” for the new version of “The Amazing Spider-Man”!!!  And you definitely want to see it on a big screen.  Even close to a large home screen will not do this movie justice.  I can hardly wait for the DVD, so I can watch both versions and compare / contrast them in proximity.
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Last weekend I finished reading “Perfect Figures“, by Bunny Crumpacker (2007©).   This is a history story of how civilization developed numbers and thereby learned to count.  Obviously, there is a lot of supposition in here, because no one was really around writing the history of the “discovery” of “1” and “2” (and so on).  In any case, the book is a fairly good read and seems to make a lot of sense.
Essentially, our current numbers seem to have mostly evolved from other cultures and words used to express numerical concepts (values) and then over time were mispronounced until we arrived at today’s word (pronunciations) for the values.  What I found most interesting was the concept of “many”, as in, “1”, “2”, “3”, many…   Many seems to be the universal expression for more than we care to count at the present time.
Another interesting point was the documenting of a perception I’ve had for a number of years, but never really knew how to explain, that is, my inability to count past four to six items.  One number is more or less easy to count and remember.  So are two or three numbers.  But, when I get upwards of four numbers, I start to want to write them down or find some other way of assisting my memory.  According to the author, this is universal in our species and hence the cross line in to five by lines and the switch to “IV” for “4” in Roman numbers.  Four line (“IIII”) somehow starts to fool the human eye and five lines is “forget about it” (“IIIII”).  The interesting thing (for me) was that I had personalized this and thought it was only me.  I’d never heard anyone else complain about not being able to count by ones, so I assumed I was the only one with this problem.
Perfect Figures” is full of historical anecdotes and cultural references which made the book even more enjoyable for me as I enjoy glimpses into understanding other times, nations, cultures and languages.  I would like to give this book an unqualified “highly recommended” review, but for some reason I’m hesitant.  Although the book is fairly short (about 260 pages), it took a long time to read (almost a month).  I enjoyed reading most of it, but I never felt compelled to get back to it like I do most books I end up being totally “into”.  Normally, I’d have expected to pour through this book in a day or two.  But I didn’t.  The closest I can describe it to is like an old friend who you only want to visit with a half hour at a time.  You “feel” like you should spend the whole day with them, but in the end, you spend a half-hour and say, “No, I’m good.  See you in a couple of days…”
Be that as it may, I did enjoy the book and do highly recommend it to anyone interested in a lateral view of numbers and counting and an understanding how mankind “may” have learned to count.
Other Notes:
Just finishing my third day of vacation.  I’m planning to catch the new “Spiderman” movie and just relax.  I’ve spent the last four days working on my “Honey-Do” list.  I’ve finished the floor trim in the bedroom we just installed laminated bamboo in.  I’ve also helped a workman I hired for a couple of days take care of some other jobs: we removed a falling down metal shed from the backyard and hung a swinging gate on the side of the house (which used to be a solid fence.  He also did some ground levelling and removed an old wall heater from our hallway.  All in all, a VERY productive few days off!
Last but not least, my Giants have now won four straight series since the All-Star break and have the “hated” Los Angeles Dodgers coming up this weekend.  Go Orange and Black!!
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I imagine it great vanity in me to suppose that the Supremely Perfect does in the least regard such an inconsiderable nothing as man.  More especially, since it is impossible for me to have any positive clear idea of that which is infinite and incomprehensible.  I cannot conceive otherwise than that He, the Infinite Father, expects or requires no worship or praise from us, but that he is even INFINITELY ABOVE IT.
  —  Benjamin Franklin
[I do not believe God expects or requires worship or praise from us, and yet I still give it freely.  God is infinitely above it, but I am not burdened by it nor beneath God in offering it.  My faith is in a loving God, and it suffices me.  —  KMAB]
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