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Archive for September, 2012

A little while back I re-watched the original “Tron” movie (1982).  I picked it up with the latest version, “Tron: Legacy“, some time ago, but have not sat down to watch them both together.  Well, I still haven’t.  But I did watch the first to see what I remembered – not much.  Well, not much about the movie anyway.  What I took away from the re-viewing was the sense of deja vu from knowing but not remembering a movie.
The word “tron” comes from the programming contraction of “trace on”, which is a programming tool for helping to see what’s going on in a running program.  “Tron” turns the process on and “Troff” turns it off (“trace off”).  Yes, programmers are an original lot when it comes to naming things.  None of this is mentioned or explained in the movie.  That would have been TOO geeky for the average audience.
Anyway, I went to see the movie at the theater (back in ’82) because I was (am, but less so now) a computer geek.  A programmer.
Setting aside the geek factor, is Tron a good movie?  No.  Not even for its day.  Did that really matter to me?  No.  Not even to this day.
It’s a “cool” movie with reasonable special effects which incorporates a number of Sci-Fi and Computer Science related terms and I loved being on the “inside” of knowing what it (the movie) was about.
The real question is can I give the movie a “High” or “Strong” recommendation or not.  Well, if you’re of a certain age and certain background (geek), you will probably really enjoy the movie the same as I have.  If you’re not a historic geek (too young) or not a computer geek (a user not a programmer), you probably won’t get much out of the movie except as the prequel to the “Legacy” version.  So, where does that leave me…  I highly recommend this movie because it reminds me of what it was like to be geek before geek was normal.  We knew we were “cool”, before our future became everyone’s present.  (Resistance was futile…)
Somehow, looking back like this only makes me feel older…  Maybe if today had happened sooner, I’d be able to enjoy it longer (still).
Today’s second review is: “Streets of Fire“, which came out in 1984.  This is a “rock & roll fable”.  I’m not sure what that means, but that’s how it was advertised to us way back then.  It’s a simple movie: girl gets kidnapped by bad-guy, girl gets rescued by good-guy, big fight at the end.  Simple.  What’s good about the movie?  Well, aside from the stylish filming, there are a couple of well done fight scenes – a short one at the beginning to introduce the hero, and a longer one at the end – the crescendo.
There’s also a couple of pretty good songs (MTV videos in the old days) in the movie.  The best one (“I Can Dream About You“) is the main song for the lead-in group and the final song is “Tonight Is What It Means To Be Young“) is performed immediately afterwards with the lead-in group singing and dancing backup.  Because of a bizarre twist of fate, “I Can Dream About You” was showing on MTV all the time the year I met my wife, I fell in love with her, she went back home to England, and it (the song) became my theme song until she returned to me.  Twenty-eight years later and I still dream (day dream) about her…
If you’ve never seen this movie, it’s well worth the viewing.  If nothing else, you get to see a young Michael Pare (good-guy) and a young Willem Dafoe (bad-guy).
It also has Amy Madigan in a terrific supporting role as good-gal, side-kick.  She almost steals the movie.
I highly recommend this movie for anyone interested in early adaptations of MTV to movie cross-pollination’s.  If you haven’t seen either song in the movie, both are available on YouTube.  I highly recommend “I Can Dream About You“, but then I would, wouldn’t I?
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Many years ago, I used to watch an interview show called: “The Dick Cavett Show“.  The host (Dick Cavett) was an intellectual who interviewed a wide variety of people.  If you saw the movie “Forrest Gump“, Dick Cavett was the guy interviewing John Lennon and Forrest Gump and implied this is where John came up with the idea for the lyrics to the song “Imagine“.
Anyway, in the show I was watching, Cavett was interviewing a couple of Cowboy poets.  Now, I never imagined there were such folks, but they read a few of their poems and I remember being very impressed.  I remember thinking, “If I ever get a chance to pick up one of their books, I will.”
Well, decades have gone by and I’d not found any (nor had I seriously looked), but about six weeks ago I had a dream in which the memory of the interview re-played.  As it rarely happens that I remember my dreams, I thought it amusing to have had this particular dream.  The following afternoon, I had to go to the bank which is immediately across the street from the used book store I frequent (Half-Price Books), so I thought I’d take a quick gander at the $2.00 closeouts.  Lo and behold, I found “Cowboy Poetry: A Gathering“, (1985©) edited by Hal Cannon.  As a firm believer in serendipity, I bought the book.
Some of the poems are intended to be humorous, some serious; but all have a “stuff of life” simpleness about them.  Friends, drinking, being alone, feeling loneliness (which is different), danger, and mainly freedom.  The freedom which comes from a sense of being part of the cycle of earth and nature and just getting “it” done – whatever “it” happens to be that day.
If you want to understand the “Western” mentality of Cowboys in America, this kind of work is a very good place to start.
It’s not Shakespeare or Nashville, but very much Chris LeDoux.  Recommended reading.
PS: if you’re not familiar with the works of Chris LeDoux, just YouTube his name.   Unfortunately, he has passed away, but his music remains…
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Even the most gifted individual, whether poet or physicist, will not realize his full potential or make his fullest contribution to his times unless his imagination has been kindled by the aspirations and accomplishments of those who have gone before him.
  —  Commission on Humanities (1963)
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Life is not measured by the time we live.
 —  Crabbe
[Duration is one of many rulers used to measure length, but not quality… — KMAB]
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The business executive was taken down a peg:
“You may well feel proud of yourself, young fellow,” he said to the life insurance agent, “I’ve refused to see seven insurance men today.”
“I know,” said the agent, “I’m them.”
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Take time to play…
it is the secret of youth.
Take time to read…
it is the foundation of knowledge.
Take time to work…
it is the price of success.
Take time to think…
it is the source of power.
Take time to dream…
it hitches the soul to the stars.
Take time to laugh…
it is the singing that helps life’s load.
Take time to love…
it is the one sacrament of life.
Take time to enjoy friends…
it is the source of happiness.
[The above list was copied from a birthday card I was given many years ago.  The words are still worth the time taken to read and enjoy them.  —  KMAB]
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Pity me that the heart is slow to learn
What the swift mind beholds at every turn.
  —   Edna St. Vincent Millay
From: “Pity Me Not
[For whatever reason(s), this quote reminds me of the lyrics from “Bless The Broken Road“.  If you’ve not read them in a while, check them out and let me know if you agree…
There are unknown reasons why things happen in each of our lives.  Sometimes, we cannot appreciate the flower until after the winter – or the reason for lost love until true love arrives.  —  KMAB]
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