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Archive for April 12th, 2015

Last night I finished binge viewing the new Marvel super-hero series “Daredevil” on Netflix.  My initial reaction was / is: “Wow!!”  Charlie Cox plays Matt Murdock (the good guy) and (so far) Vincent D’onofrio plays the arch-enemy (the bad guy) Wilson Fisk aka: the Kingpin.  This is comic-book storytelling writ large in a 13 hour multi-episode/chapter story for the first season of the Netflix show/series meant for adults.
First off, this is not a show for young children.  I would give it a solid “R” rating for graphic violence and topics.  I am less bothered by the “adult” language because it is infrequent and consistent with the storylines.  If any use of foul language upsets you, you will have a problem with this show.  Like I said, “meant for adults”.
The show is dark and gritty in an oily, smudgy, inner-urban way.  Even when it’s sunlight out, the city mostly looks run-down.  Now, I’ve only been to New York City once and I’ve never been to Hell’s Kitchen, so I can’t comment on the accuracy of the show’s rendition of the area, but that’s the impression I came away with.  That’s not good or bad, it’s just the impression I have.  This is important because this is the “goal” for the protagonist and antagonist is to “win” Hell’s Kitchen and help to drive it’s fate into the future.  Of course, the good-guy wants it for the benefit of the common man, while the bad-guy wants it for his own wealth and ego aggrandizement.
I think it is a sign of the times that TV / Internet shows are now using corporate malfeasance and greed as the new “evil” in our urban society.  This show has a heavy political/economic tone/message which has been infrequent or absent in recent years (at least since the early to mid-Reagan Presidency).  So, it seems, we are coming full circle…  Within this context we are asked two additional questions: can one person make a difference; and, how far can a “good” person go before they become a “bad” person.
There are, of course, multiple levels to review this show:  Netflix / binge-ing, super-hero action series, TV drama.  Let’s start with binge viewing:  I did this.  Two days/nights, eight episodes and then the concluding five the following night.  It’s a long haul, but it’s “worth” it.  The stories are well told.  The characters have time to develop depth and quirks which add to the stories.  This is not a story which could have easily been translated into a 2 or 3 hour movie format.  So, yes, the Netflix streaming worked very well (IMHO).  The only question is would I have watched the same episode 4 to 6 times before the next one came out if they were released one per week.  I don’t know – almost certainly – at least when I was younger – for certain.  Does Netflix “lose” by this?  I guess it depends on how many times I go back to re-watch.  I must admit to being a fan of the instant gratification of seeing the next episode immediately if I want to.
Super-hero actions series:  graphic violence and very well sequenced fight scenes.   Interestingly, characters get hurt and take time to heal across episodes.  Is the “graphic” violence necessary to the story?  No.  I don’t think it really is required, but it does add a sense of realism lacking in most TV shows and action movies.  After one of the beheadings, I said to myself: “That could never make it on regular TV!”  Of course, there is no realism in the amount of punishment the hero takes (and survives), but then you have to remember: it’s not just TV, it’s a comic-book adaptation.
TV drama:  Excellent!  Good vs evil and one person making a difference are always (to me) story arcs of interest.  This show tells a story (as unrealistic as it may be) and the characters develop.  Even characters who seem major because they span multiple episodes – are introduced, developed, breathe, have a life beyond the main arc, and (frequently) die.  But, it is mostly very good drama.  To be honest, I was surprised at the quality of the writing and acting.
Final recommendation:  Highly recommended!  This sets a much higher bar for TV series super-heroes – particularly comic-book based.
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On This Day In:
2014 I Blame Robocop
2013 Future Trustees
2012 Praise Not The Day…
2011 Educated Living

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If we can find a way of becoming positive in the present, then our brains work even more successfully as we’re able to work harder, faster and more intelligently.  We need to be able to reverse this formula so we can start to see what our brains are actually capable of.  Because dopamine, which floods into your system when you’re positive, has two functions.  Not only does it make you happier, it turns on all of the learning centers in your brain allowing you to adapt to the world in a different way.
We’ve found there are ways that you can train your brain to be able to become more positive.  In just a two-minute span of time done for 21 days in a row, we can actually rewire your brain, allowing your brain to actually work more optimistically and more successfully.  We’ve done these things in research now in every company that I’ve worked with, getting them to write down three new things that they’re grateful for for 21 days in a row, three new things each day.  And at the end of that, their brain starts to retain a pattern of scanning the world not for the negative, but for the positive first.
Journaling about one positive experience you’ve had over the past 24 hours allows your brain to relive it.  Exercise teaches your brain that your behavior matters.  We find that meditation allows your brain to get over the cultural ADHD that we’ve been creating by trying to do multiple tasks at once and allows our brains to focus on the task at hand.  And finally, random acts of kindness are conscious acts of kindness.  We get people, when they open up their inbox, to write one positive email praising or thanking somebody in their support network.
And by doing these activities and by training your brain just like we train our bodies, what we’ve found is we can reverse the formula for happiness and success, and in doing so, not only create ripples of positivity, but a real revolution.
  —   Shawn Achor
From a TED Talk located at:

[Originally found at one of the blogs I follow called “Rethinking Life” and is located at: http://gigisrantsandraves.wordpress.com/
The actual post is located at:   http://gigisrantsandraves.wordpress.com/2015/04/08/funny-and-great-talk-about-how-to-be-happya-ted-talk/
Well worth a visit to Gigi’s site, but caution, it can be addictive.   —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2014 I Blame Robocop
2013 Future Trustees
2012 Praise Not The Day…
2011 Educated Living

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