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Archive for October, 2012

 
Go Giants!!!!
We are ORANGE inside…
Bring on Detroit!!!
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Today I watched the second movie in the Tron series: “Tron: Legacy“.  I originally saw and reviewed this film back in 2010 on its initial release.  I recently (back in Sept) reviewed the original movie “Tron“.
My reviews of both were not particularly favorable.  When I did the initial review of “Legacy“, I hadn’t seen the original in over 20 years and it (the original) was a vague memory at best.  The newer version suffered for comparison with my nostalgic memories of the original.  On re-watching the original (in late September), I realized how mediocre the original was, despite the fact that I personally enjoyed it for bringing back old (and good) memories of younger days as a geek programmer.
So, how did the newer version fare after a second viewing?  Surprising well!
The acting is pretty average: Jeff Bridges and Garrett Hedlund are particularly unengaging, although Olivia Wilde (with lots of sideways glances) is gorgeous and Michael Sheen practically steals the movie with a “Jack Nicholson-ian / Joker-esk” take as “Castor / Zuse”.  With the exception of the bike / fight scene, everything here (philosophy and special effects) has been done before and (mostly) better in the originals: “Tron“, “Matrix” and the various “StarWars“.  (The bike scene was very good special effects.)  But did this make it a “bad” (mediocre) movie?  I have to say not.  For me, the big problems were why certain things happened in the movie.  There was no ground work laid before a couple of things happened and then there was no subsequent explanation afterwards.  I can’t say much more without seriously compromising anyone’s viewing of the movie, but several times I just felt like saying: “Huh?”  If a movie character suddenly displays a power or a weakness, you kind of HAVE to explain to the audience what just happened (before or after).  Otherwise, the audience is placed in the position of not being able to suspend belief for the “universe” of the movie.
I believe I enjoyed it more on the re-watch than I did on the original (particularly Wilde and Sheen) – even though I’m not sure the movie played as well on the smaller screen.
So, my initial review pretty much stands: “Tron: Legacy” is an okay, enjoyable movie, but not a highly recommended.  As a “collector” of Sci-Fi movie with special effects and / or animation, I would get this movie at about the $8-10 price point or $15 for both as a set.  Otherwise, watch it on NetFlix or when it cycles through your On-Demand channel.
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God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants his footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never-failing skill,
He treasures up his bright designs,
And works his sovereign will.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take,
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break
In blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust him for his grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.
Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan his work in vain;
God is his own interpreter,
And he will make it plain.
   —     William Cowper
[An excerpt from this was offered back in March, (Trust Him Smile) but I thought I liked this poem enough to offer it in its entirety.   —    KMAB]
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I do not speed-read books; it seems to defeat the whole purpose of the exercise, much like speed-eating a Porterhouse steak or applying the two-minute drill to sex.
   —     Joe Queenan
From:  “One for the Books
[This quote is from a column posted on the Wall Street Journal online site titled: “My 6,128 Favorite Books“, and is an excerpt from Queenan’s book.
I found the link to this article on a blog I follow: Lead.Learn.Live maintained by David Kanigan.  Dave’s blog was titled: “He’s Read 6128 Books
Like most “readers”, I’ve been down the path of learning to speed-read.  From high school, to college, to multiple companies – everyone seems to want me to read faster.  I CAN read reasonably fast when I need to.  I know how to look ahead, skip non-critical words, change speed for content / purpose, etc ad nauseam.  But when I read, I tend to cherish words and ideas; thinking new thoughts about new things or in different ways.  When I read for pleasure – and I mostly read for pleasure – I take my time and cherish ever flavor, every nuance, every smell, every touch created by the author’s imagination and conveyed through the language of words to my imagination.  Of course, I enjoy a two-minute drill as much as the next person, but I don’t want EVERY experience to be a two-minute drill any more than I want EVERY experience to be a two-hour visit to the dentist (mixed metaphor/pun intended).  —  KMAB]
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Leisure

WHAT is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare? —
No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
   —    Written by: W. H. Davies
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I Am

I am: yet what I am none cares or knows,
My friends forsake me like a memory lost;
I am the self-consumer of my woes,
They rise and vanish in oblivious host,
Like shades in love and death’s oblivion lost;
And yet I am! and live with shadows tost
Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
Into the living sea of waking dreams,
Where there is neither sense of life nor joys,
But the vast shipwreck of my life’s esteems;
And e’en the dearest — that I loved the best —
Are strange–nay, rather stranger than the rest.
I long for scenes where man has never trod;
A place where woman never smil’d or wept;
There to abide with my creator, God,
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept:
Untroubling and untroubled where I lie;
The grass below–above the vaulted sky.
  —  written by: John Clare
[In moments of quite aloneness, I used to take solace in the feeling inspired by the third stanza of this poem (the italics are mine and not present in the original).  Strange to say, I’ve never read the full poem until today when researching this entry.  Here again is the joy of the internet – to be able to find more beauty where one knows a gem already exists.  —  KMAB]
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This undeveloped child of the earth as we call the moon is a goal, a treasury of information, and a desirable platform in space.  Practical scientific, industrial, and humanitarian reasons for going to the moon include employing its unique environment for research and manufacturing; mining it for useful materials and significant geological knowledge; locating on it meteorological and astronomical observatories, hospitals, and biological laboratories; developing it as a space port from which to explore the solar system and the universe; and utilizing its byproduct to massively stimulate our economy and to help prevent war.
   —    Neil P. Ruzic
From his book:  “The Case for Going To The Moon
[The book was published in 1965 and I read it about 1972.  Hard to believe that was over 40 years ago…  Maybe if we had spent a little more money on colonizing the moon and a little less on war, we’d have permanent facilities there by now.   —   KMAB]
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A Dream Deferred

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
   —   Written by:   Langston Hughes
[I’m not sure anymore if I’m just the 47% (the Republicans don’t care about) or just the 98% (and that’s the reason why).  Maybe, I’m both…
And yes, I know it’s already on my Poems page, but with the election looming, I felt like offering it up again.  After all, isn’t that what “favorites” are all about?   —    KMAB]
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The Clod and the Pebble

“Love seeketh not itself to please,
Nor for itself hath any care,
But for another gives its ease,
And builds a heaven in hell’s despair.”
So sung a little Clod of Clay,
Trodden with the cattle’s feet,
But a Pebble of the brook
Warbled out these metres meet:
“Love seeketh only Self to please,
To bind another to its delight,
Joys in another’s loss of ease,
And builds a hell in heaven’s despite.”
   —    written by:  William Blake
[Like many things, Love has two faces – the selfish and the unselfish…   —    KMAB]
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But love me for love’s sake, that evermore
Thou mayst love on, through love’s eternity.
— Elizabeth Barrett Browning
From: “If thou must love me… (Sonnet 14)
[You romantics seeking the full poem can find it here. — KMAB]
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But Star Trek has done far more than that.  It has given us a legacy — a message man can create a future worth living for…  a future that is full of optimism, hope, excitement, and challenge.  A future that proudly proclaims man’s ability to survive in peace and reach for the stars as his reward.
Whither Star Trek?
It really doesn’t matter.  We have its legacy…  all we have to do is use it.
  —  Stephen E. Whitfield, Gene Roddenberry
from their book: “The Making of Star Trek
[One of my favorite scenes from the original series occurred in the episode “The Ultimate Computer“, in which Captain Kirk tries to explain how he feels about being the captain of the Enterprise:
Captain Kirk: “Do you know the one…  ‘All I ask is a tall ship?‘”
Dr. McCoy: “It’s a line from a poem, a very old poem, isn’t it?
Kirk: “Twentieth century Earth.  ‘All I… ask is a tall ship and a star… to steer her by.’
You…  You could feel the wind at your back in those days.  The sounds of the sea… beneath you, and even if you take away the wind and the water… it’s still the same. 
The ship is yours.  You can feel her.  And the stars are still there, Bones.
 
[The full poem being quoted by Kirk is titled:  “Sea Fever” and was written by John Masefield
I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way, where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.
Now personally, I’m a land-lubber, but even I can appreciate the sentiment of beauty, strength, grace, and hope in commanding a tall-ship and a loyal crew facing the vast challenge of the open ocean – which at that time must have seemed as immense as all of outer space now seems to us.  —  KMAB]
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A person of low taste, more interested in himself than in me.
   —    Ambrose Bierce
From:  “The Devil’s Dictionary
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A person who talks when you wish him to listen.
   —    Ambrose Bierce
From: “The Devil’s Dictionary
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Subject: Revenge can be sweet

On the first day, she sadly packed her belongings into boxes, crates and suitcases.
On the second day, she had the movers come and collect her things.
On the third day, she sat down for the last time at their beautiful dining-room table, by candle-light; she put on some soft background music, and feasted on a pound of shrimp, a jar of caviar, and a bottle of spring-water.
When she’d finished, she went into each and every room and deposited a few half-eaten shrimps dipped in caviar into the hollow centre of the curtain rods.
She then cleaned up the kitchen and left.
On the fourth day, the husband came back with his new girlfriend, and at first all was bliss.
Then, slowly, the house began to smell.
They tried everything; cleaning, mopping, and airing-out the place.
Vents were checked for dead rodents, and carpets were steam cleaned.
Air fresheners were hung everywhere.  Exterminators were brought in to set off gas canisters, during which time the two had to move out for a few days, and in the end they even paid to replace the expensive wool carpeting. Nothing worked!
People stopped coming over to visit.
Repairmen refused to work in the house.
The maid quit…
Finally, they couldn’t take the stench any longer, and decided they had to move, but a month later – even though they’d cut their price in half – they couldn’t find a buyer for such a stinky house.
Word got out, and eventually even the local realtors refused to return their calls.
Finally, unable to wait any longer for a purchaser, they had to borrow a huge sum of money from the bank to purchase a new place.
Then the ex-wife called the man and asked how things were going.  He told her the saga of the rotting house.  She listened politely and said that she missed her old home terribly and would be willing to reduce her divorce settlement in exchange for having the house.
Knowing she could have no idea how bad the smell really was, he agreed on a price that was only 1/10 th of what the house had been worth … but only if she would sign the papers that very day.
She agreed, and within two hours his lawyers delivered the completed paperwork.
A week later the man and his girlfriend stood smiling as they watched the moving company pack everything to take to their new home.
…and to spite the ex-wife, they even took the curtain rods!
I DO LOVE A HAPPY ENDING.
[The above was from an email a friend sent me.  —  KMAB]
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When I am dead, my dearest

When I am dead, my dearest,
Sing no sad songs for me;
Plant thou no roses at my head,
Nor shady cypress tree:
Be the green grass above me
With showers and dewdrops wet;
And if thou wilt, remember,
And if thou wilt, forget.
I shall not see the shadows,
I shall not feel the rain;
I shall not hear the nightingale
Sing on, as if in pain:
And dreaming through the twilight
That doth not rise nor set,
Haply I may remember,
And haply may forget.
Written by:  Christina Rossetti
[What an incredibly sad, yet touching poem…   —    KMAB]
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