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Archive for June, 2013

Equivocation is half way to lying and lying the whole way to hell.
  —    William Penn
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On This Day In:
2012 Sacrificed Any Lately?
2011 The Value Of One’s Character
2010 Intervals
On Being Human
Non-predictive Emergence
Events
Bodily Functions
Standing Thoughts
Sent Home Is Better Than Fixed

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Service is the very purpose of life.  What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.
   —    Ralph Waldo Emerson
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On This Day In:
2012 The Dream
2011 What Could Be More Comfortable?

 

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I’ve been thinking about today, and what I could say to you.  It suddenly occurred to me that one of the last speeches you will hear in college will be this one.  That scared me half to death.
I mean, what can I tell you?  I never finished high school. I never, sadly, attended college.  As a youngster, I was traveling the length and breadth of the British Isles, singing my head off in the Music Halls — a theater brat, with a freaky four-and-a-half-octave range.
You might assume that after a life in theater and film, I wouldn’t be nervous in a situation like this, but I can assure you that I am or was, before your very warm welcome.
Today is about celebration, but despite that, you might just also be feeling a little nervous — and, perhaps even fearful.  Believe me, feeling nervous is par for the course.
I remember saying once to my husband, Blake, on the eve of my return to Broadway after a 35-year absence, ‘You know, I’m really feeling VERY frightened about this,’ and I began to tear up.
He simply replied, ‘Darling, did you actually expect to feel anything else?’
I remembered — yet again — that fear is a part of life.  The trick is to recognize it and then press on anyway.  In fact, the real trick is to stop focusing on oneself and start focusing on others.
There was a time in my late 20s when I worried all the time what audiences thought.  Will they like me?  Am I up to par?  And it suddenly dawned on to me that everyone in the audience had paid good money to come see a show they really wanted to see, and possibly, they were there after a day of dealing with a lot of stress.  Maybe it was tax time, perhaps someone had a family member who was ill, or had a fight with a loved one — I could think of a hundred scenarios.  I realized that I was in a position to brighten their day, to make a difference, to give them three hours of surcease, of transcendence, and hopefully, joy.
From that moment on, I began to develop a mindset of giving.  I stopped looking inward, I began to grow up and I started looking outward, with an eye toward making a difference wherever and whenever I could.
Today, I invite you to start looking at life the same way.
There are so many opportunities for giving in this world.
Don’t engage in random acts of kindness; engage in planned acts of kindness.
Use your knowledge and your heart to stand up for those who can’t stand.
Speak for those who can’t speak.
 —   Julie Andrews
At the 2013 commencement ceremony for Colorado University
Found at:  http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/nfl/news/20130527/brian-urlacher-peter-king-monday-morning-quarterback/#ixzz2UYnJ2Ova
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On This Day In:
2012 Something Of Value
2011 Sleep All Day

 

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To be beautiful means to be yourself.
You don’t need to be accepted by others.
You need to accept yourself.
When you are born a lotus flower, be a beautiful lotus flower, don’t try to be a magnolia flower.
If you crave acceptance and recognition and try to change yourself to fit what other people want you to be, you will suffer all your life.
True happiness and true power lie in understanding yourself, accepting yourself, having confidence in yourself.
   –   Thich Nhat Hanh
[This quote is from one of the blogs I follow.  The site address is: http://lijiun.wordpress.com/
The original post is: http://lijiun.wordpress.com/2013/05/25/candle-light-procession/
It reminds me of the song “The Greatest Love Of All” – the lyrics are posted on my Poems page.  Some of us are fortunate enough to be physically “beautiful”.  Most of us just settle for being “normal” looking.  Our beauty has to come from within.
In the end, it is the greater beauty because it grows stronger and brighter with each passing smile (and day).  Love and accept yourself first (not only).
Then, even a life spent alone is a life spent in love.  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2012 Transitional Choice To Ride The Wave
2011 Freedom Isn’t Always Perfect
Just That Simple

 

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People are often unreasonable and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat on you.
Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough.
Give your best anyway.
For you see,
in the end,
it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway
  —  Mother Teresa
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On This Day In:
2012 Habit Forming
2011 And In The Other Hand(ful)
In Love With Words
Boundless Naïveté
Who Did You Say Signed Off On This Treason, Pat?

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A man who is used to acting in one way never changes; he must come to ruin when the times, in changing, no longer are in harmony with his ways.
  ―    Niccolò Machiavelli
From:  “The Prince
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On This Day In:
2012 Ashes Not Dust
2011 A Handful From Saudi
None Of This Happened
Take Responsibility

 

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“Kindness” covers all of my political beliefs.  No need to spell them out.  I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do.  To make others less happy is a crime.  To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts.  We must try to contribute joy to the world.  That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances.  We must try.  I didn’t always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.
  —    Roger Ebert
(1942-2013)
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On This Day In:
2012 More Than A Race
2011 Institutionalized Leadership

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Okay.  So I’m “supposed” to have been trying to get back into my reading (the main source material for this blog).  Instead, I’ve been watching a lot of movies.  Now, don’t get me wrong, movies are also a big source of material here, but I do tend to go overboard sometimes.
In this latest bunch of movies I’ve watched: “Superman Returns“, “Man of Steel“, “Limitless“, “Quartet“, “Terminator: Salvation“, “The Amazing Spider-Man“, and “Chariots of Fire“.  Obviously, given that large a number, I won’t be able to do more than give a cursory review and recommendation.
Superman Returns” came out back in 2009.  I’ve only seen the movie twice before this viewing – once on original release and then once on TV.  To be honest, I was not impressed either time.  The main problem I had with the movie was the “green kryptonite”, which is supposed to be deadly to Superman.  If you’ve seen the movie, you know what the problems are here.  Anyway, with the release of “Man of Steel“, I wanted to get psyched for the new movie, so I thought I’d rewatch the latest version.  Believe it or not, even though I didn’t particularly like the movie, I do own a copy of the DVD.  I collect comic-book movies and Superman is one of (if not the) the most important comic characters in comic book history.  So Friday, before going to see the new version, I sat down to watch it.
Reaction?  Much better than I remember!  It’s not a great movie, but it is a decent comic genre movie.  The star, Brandon Routh, makes a good Superman and Kevin Spacey makes a decent Lex Luther.  The film has a lot of problems, but it’s not bad as entertainment goes.  Spacey is much less “campy” in this Lex than Gene Hackman was and I feel that makes the movie a lot better than “Superman -the Movie” from the 1970’s.  This version doesn’t have the insider jokes which graced the 1978 version, so it will never be a classic among true fans, but it is a good, solid version.  Final recommendation: good but not great.  Enjoy it at home with pop corn!
Man of Steel” came out last weekend and I went to see it on the Saturday morning opening with my daughter Rebecca.  She is not a comic nerd, but does know some of the background.  She thought the movie was very entertaining and I thought it was terrific.  The movie starts out with a major re-imaging of Krypton – straight out of Avatar.  The movie progresses with lots of background info about Superman growing up and trying to find himself – blah, blah, blah – jump to costume.  Not bad.  Looks cool, but it abandons the red underwear outside of the blue pajamas.  Okay. I can live with that…
Bad guy (General Zod) finds Superman on Earth and demands his surrender to save the planet.  Big battle (20 minutes, I guess, but it felt longer).  The end.
Is it a good movie?  Yes!  Is it the best Superman yet?  It avoids camp, but has a few (maybe too few) moments of humor.  Everyone is saying they were going for the “darker” Batman type of movie.  The problem with that is Superman is NOT a dark hero.  Anyway, other than a few minor points (and the lack of humor), I’d say this is every bit as good as the Christopher Reeve version(s).  The overall cast is very strong and Henry Cavill is a “hunk” as the man in blue.  I gather he had to bulk up for this role and he is a LOT more buffed than Routh was in his version.  I’m a Kidder fan, so Amy Adams doesn’t do anything for me as Lois Lane, but she’s okay.  So, final recommendation: if you’ve gone to go see Iron Man 3, you need to go see this as it’s better all around.  Highly recommended!
Limitless” is a good Sci-Fi movie about a guy who takes drugs to use all of his brain (instead of just the 10-20% we all normally use).  Does he get away with it?  Does it improve his life?  And most importantly, is the movie any good?  Shockingly, yes, yes, and yes.  Despite the moral implications of getting ahead by using “performance enhancement drugs”, he does use them and he does get away with it.  Does it improve his life?  We’re left with the impression it did and it does and by extension, we should too.  Is the movie any good?  Yes.  It’s got decent action, a little skin, but no sex, reasonable special effects (if you believe that’s what being on drugs “looks” like), and the acting isn’t all that bad.  I enjoyed the movie (despite the moral implication mentioned) and give it a good recommendation.
Final comment, I don’t recall seeing Bradley Cooper in anything else, but he’s very good in the lead role.  I’ll look for more of him in the future.
Quartet” is a comedy/drama about old people in a retirement home.  Not just any home mind you, a pretty posh layout because the residents are all famous singers and musicians.  And not just any singers, but the finest quartet of British opera singers since WWII.  The movie is filled with heavy-weight British stars and is beautifully cast and shot.  If you like “fun” movies with great music and terrific older actors who still have “it“, you will thoroughly enjoy this movie.  It is, of course, very unrealistic, but who cares – it’s wonderful!  Final recommendation: Highly recommended!
Terminator: Salvation” is the latest in the “T” series (and yes, it does have a mercifully brief CGI role for Arnold in it).  This time, we’re back in the future and we’re trying to save John Connor’s father.  This is before the father has grown up enough to go back in time to become John’s father.  Yeah, I know, it’s all a bit of a paradox…  Anyway, lots of fights, guns, explosions, special effects and hero saving the day.  More or less everything you expect in the “T” series.  Does it work?  Is the movie any good?  Not really, but yes.  The first time I saw this was in original release.  I was seriously NOT impressed.  I did pick up the DVD and it’s sat on my shelf (unopened).  So….  I tore the plastic off and rewatched it.  Much, much better with time and distance.  I’m not sure why, but the story made no sense to me when I first watched it but it did this time through.  Go figure.  This version lacks the originality of the first movie and the break-though special effects of the second.  Having said that, it’s better than both T-2 and T-3.  At least, I enjoyed it more.  Again, go figure.
The Amazing Spider-Man” is the reboot of the series which I reviewed (Wall-Crawler Reboot) back in July of 2012.  That was a fairly long review, so you can go check that post out if you want to know more.  Suffice it to say my “highly recommended” rating still stands.  I would add that I was incorrect about it not standing up as well on the smaller screen.  I enjoyed it very much even though I only have a 32″ screen on my computer / DVD player.
Chariots of Fire” is a retelling of the 1924 British Olympic track team’s trip to Paris.  The movie came out in 1981 (yes, it’s over thirty years old now), and was up for (7) and won multiple (4) awards including best picture and original score.  I found the side-ways commentary about the classes in British society to be particularly interesting.  Needless to say, it’s a brilliant movie even if it’s not entirely historically accurate.  Final recommendation: this is a MUST see film.
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On This Day In:
2012 Hangin’ With His P’s
Help Save
2011 Six Facets Of Good Leadership

 

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Way back when (in the ’70’s), I got a chance to go to Frankfurt to see Pink Floyd live in concert.  It was a terrific event and I really enjoyed both the music and the show.  I guess this was a famous tour and I remember it distinctly because it had a giant pig come out from the stage and circle over the crowd.  They also had a large circular screen which showed artistic depictions of images from their albums including “rock dinosaurs” and prisms.
One of the songs I’ve always liked by them is a hauntingly melancholy plea to a lost friend, “Wish You Were Here“.
Sometimes I feel like a another lost soul livin’ in a fishbowl…
My mother-in-law fell recently and is now in the hospital with a fractured bone in her back.  My wife is upset that she can’t be there for her mum, so I’m upset for her, too.  If you pray, please offer up a prayer for her mum to get better soon.  If you don’t pray, be nice to someone and (I believe) the positive energy will still reach her.
I hope you’ll check out the lyrics on my Poems page and then go listen to the song on your favorite music provider.  Remember to go listen to as much live music as you can and support your local arts.
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On This Day In:
2012 Hangin’ With His P’s
Help Save
2011 Six Facets Of Good Leadership

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Self Portrait
It doesn’t interest me if there is one God
or many gods.
I want to know if you belong or feel
abandoned.
If you know despair or can see it in others.
I want to know
if you are prepared to live in the world
with its harsh need
to change you. If you can look back
with firm eyes
saying this is where I stand. I want to know
if you know
how to melt into that fierce heat of living
falling toward
the center of your longing. I want to know
if you are willing
to live, day by day, with the consequence of love
and the bitter
unwanted passion of your sure defeat.
I have heard, in that fierce embrace, even
the gods speak of God.
   —    David Whyte
From his book:  “Fire in the Earth
[I found this poem on a blog I follow: http://davidkanigan.com
The actual post is:  http://davidkanigan.com/2013/04/09/in-that-fierce-embrace-even-the-gods-speak-of-god/
The poem’s author is David Whyte, who you can find out more about at his own blog/web site:  http://www.davidwhyte.com/home.html  —   KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2012 Hangin’ With His P’s
Help Save
2011 Six Facets Of Good Leadership

 

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I know it is coming (death), and I do not fear it, because I believe there is nothing on the other side of death to fear.  I hope to be spared as much pain as possible on the approach path.  I was perfectly content before I was born, and I think of death as the same state.  I am grateful for the gifts of intelligence, love, wonder and laughter.  You can’t say it wasn’t interesting.  My lifetime’s memories are what I have brought home from the trip.  I will require them for eternity no more than that little souvenir of the Eiffel Tower I brought home from Paris.
   —    Roger Ebert
 [ I found this at: http://responsiveuniverse.wordpress.com
The actual post was: http://responsiveuniverse.wordpress.com/2013/04/05/roger-ebert-i-do-not-fear-death/   —   KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2012 Until Found
2011 Reducing Goods To Data
The Fog Of Civilization Building

 

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To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.
  —    Theodore Roosevelt
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On This Day In:
2012 What Price Freedom?
2011 Particular Importance
Three From Bette…

 

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So many books, so little time.
  —    Frank Zappa
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On This Day In:
2012 One Measure
2011 Seeking The Common Ground
In Brightest Day…

 

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Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded.  And, the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand.  It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics: You are all stardust.  You couldn’t be here if stars hadn’t exploded, because the elements – the carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, iron, all the things that matter for evolution and for life – weren’t created at the beginning of time.  They were created in the nuclear furnaces of stars, and the only way for them to get into your body is if those stars were kind enough to explode.  So, forget Jesus.   The stars died so that you could be here today.
 —  Lawrence Krauss
From: ‘A Universe from Nothing
[I found this quote at: http://interestingliterature.wordpress.com/2013/04/10/20-quotations-about-life-love-and-death/   —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2012 Just One??
2011 Anything But

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It’s better to be unhappy alone than unhappy with someone.
  —  Marilyn Monroe
[This quote was originally found on one of the blogs I follow, maintained by Deodatta Shenai-Khatkhate:  Deo Volente  at: (http://dshenai.wordpress.com/)
The actual post is:  http://dshenai.wordpress.com/2013/03/24/interesting-quotes-by-marilyn-monroe/
Thanks, Deo!  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2012 Implications
2011 Never Let Us Down

 

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