Archive for April 24th, 2013

Over the weekend, I spent a couple of days with my brother and his son.  We caught a new movie:  “Oblivion” and watched a classic:  “The Long Ships“.  I had a couple of days off, and I meant to spend them getting caught up on my blogging, but sometimes life gets in the way of our “plans”.  Anyway, I’m also posting a bunch of lyrics to songs (seven in all) which I’ve been holding in a queue, waiting for me to find time.  This is a fairly lengthy post, so I hope you’ll hang in there to the end…
Oblivion  —  movie review
I am a big fan of Science Fiction in general and Sci-Fi movies in particular.  I’m not a big fan of Tom Cruise (the star of this movie), but I’m not anti-TC either.  I get why some folks think TC is a complete flake due to his faith (Scientology), but I don’t really care about those issues of his personal life as long as he continues to act in entertaining movies.  Oblivion was an entertaining movie for me.  First off, does it work as an action movie, yes.  Next, does the SciFi make sense (in the movie – not is it “scientific”), yes.  Is there a reasonable story line with a twist (a la “The Twilight Zone“) at the end, yes.  Are the special effects good, YES.
Okay, so now the down side:  Can TC act?  So-so.  No.  Well, not any better than usual.  Do the other actors make up for TC.  No.  Did I expect them to?  No.  Why not?  Because he’s the lead, so I expected TC to carry the bulk of the acting.  Does Morgan Freeman save the film.  No.  Is TC’s relationship(s) in the movie believable?  No.  Does the movie make sense scientifically?  Nope.  Are there big “what the heck’s” in the movie?  Yeah.  Do they matter?  Nope.  Is the movie a homage or a rip-off of a bunch of other Sci-Fi movies?  I can see both sides and don’t care about either side.  If a movie works for me on its own, I don’t care how many other movies it rips-off or what genre it pays homage to.  Bottom line:  if you’re a TC fan – must see.  If you’re a Sci-Fi movie fan – go see.  If you’re an action / adventure movie fan – go see.  If you fall asleep or go to the toilet a lot during movies – wait for the DVD.  Oblivion isn’t as convoluted as Inception, but you do have to sit there and pay attention.  Final recommendation:  Strong recommendation.
The Long Ships  —  movie review
This is a true classic!  The story of Vikings and Moors seeking a golden treasure (but for very different reasons).  This is an action / adventure movie – swashbuckling and epic with a bit of pre-Monty Python thrown in for good measure.  The lead is Richard Widmark and the “bad” guy is Sydney Poitier.  Widmark is a barbarian Viking and Poitier is a Muslim / Moorish king.  An interesting side note is that there is an inter-racial marriage in a movie dating back to 1964.  While I remembered this in the movie (as I was watching it), it didn’t “strike” me until after I’d finished watching it and looked up the date of the movie.  The other interesting thing for me, was seeing a African-American in a role of a King – more precisely, a non-African King.  If this wasn’t the first such occurrence, I can’t think of what was…  How would I rate this movie?  Let your 8 year old son watch it with a group of his friends and then watch them go berserker with broomsticks and garbage can lids.  (Do they still make garbage cans with lids in this day and age?)  Anyway, the 8 year old in me rates this movie:  HIGHLY Recommended!
A Lifetime of Song Lyrics
Sometimes songs from the past  just pop into my head.  Sometimes I hear a song and look it up and it leads to another (and another).  The following are a number of songs which I’ve either loved for years or recently heard and loved instantly.  In my head, they span a lifetime of feelings and relationships.
The first is one from my childhood:  I’m A Believer as I remember it being sung by the Monkees.  This is a song of young / teenage hope and despair.  Why can’t I find the one person who will love me / Oh, there she is now!  You know a song is a classic when it becomes a hit again 20 to 30 years after the original release (see Eddie Murphy as Donkey in “Shrek“).
As we get a bit older, loves (and lovers) come and go…  Love The One You’re With is the anthem to those “with company” on a “lonely” night.  Love The One You’re With is a classic from Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.
The next song is a “goofy” song which I remember from my 20’s.  It’s not deep or philosophical, it just makes me smile – even 30 years later:  Panama Red.  Panama Red is not a “classic” in the traditional sense of the word, but ask anyone who heard it a few times “back in the day” and they’ll tell you it definitely is.  The song was done by a quasi-country group called “The New Riders of the Purple Sage“.  In fact, NRPS was actually kind of a spin-off of the Grateful Dead (a quasi-psychedelic rock band).
Eventually, (if you’re lucky) you find the “right” person.  Time starts to pass and you realize that some people just make you a better person:  God Gave Me You.  This song has been covered by Blake Shelton and that’s the version my lyrics come from.
I was raised a Roman Catholic.  I’ve spent many years as both an atheist and as an agnostic.  Some time ago, I came back to my faith in a personal and loving God.  My personal faith doesn’t always correspond to what I see happening in the world and with the Catholic Church, but Catholicism is the faith I was raised in, it remains the faith I’m most comfortable with, and it’s the faith I try to practice.  This next song is a “faith” song.  It could easily be a RC or Protestant song, or a Muslim or Jewish song for that matter.  The song is:  You Raise Me Up

The verse I particularly like is:

There is no life –
No life
Without its hunger;
Each restless heart
Beats so imperfectly;
But when you come
And I am filled with wonder,
I think
I glimpse eternity.

Maybe it’s because I suffer from AFib;  maybe it’s because I’ve held each of my children, as newborn’s, in my hands and seen perfection.  The version I drew the lyrics from is by Secret Garden.
Almost inevitably, a “bread-winner” feels the burden of responsibility providing for their family.  The weight is heavy, but willingly accepted.  At some point, though, we must recognize the one precious thing we can truly give our family is our time.  Hence, the next song:  Don’t Miss Your Life.  This song is performed by Phil Vassar.  It really strikes me close to home – too close.  I only hope I have enough time left to make up for all the time I’ve spent “providing for”.
At the end of the day, we see our children grow up.  They set out on their own lives and all you can feel is the outpouring of pride and love which has continuously welled up over the years.  The next song:  Butterfly Kisses, isn’t so much a good-bye as it is a celebration of the continuity of life.  Giving life, sharing love and hoping for the future.
I know this has been a lengthy post and I’m grateful to any who’ve hung in there all the way through.  I hope you’ll visit my Poems page to view these lyrics, go listen to the performances, and then go spend some time with your friends and family.  Peace…

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There is only one important point you must keep in your mind and let it be your guide.  No matter what people call you, you are just who you are.  Keep to this truth.  You must ask yourself how is it you want to live your life.  We live and we die, this is the truth that we can only face alone.  No one can help us, not even the Buddha.  So consider carefully, what prevents you from living the way you want to live your life?
    —    Dalai Lama XIV
[This quote was found on another of the blogs I follow:  http://lijiun.wordpress.com/
The specific post was:  http://lijiun.wordpress.com/2013/03/18/purity-mind/
    —    KMAB]

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