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Archive for June, 2015

There is nothing with which every man is so afraid as getting to know how enormously much he is capable of doing and becoming.
  ―  Søren Kierkegaard
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On This Day In:
2014 Fear Not, Weep Not
2013 Half Way There
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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Sir, she walks, she talks, she’s full of chalk.  The lacteal fluid extracted from the female of the bovine species is highly prolific to the nth degree!
[This is some pointless information I once learned when I thought I might be attending the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.  I was watching the movie: “Annapolis” and the upper-classmen were asking the plebes this question at the dinner table.  I didn’t realize it was shared “knowledge” across the various Academies.  It made me smile to remember my “Bugle Notes“.   I guess some traditions never die…   —   KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2014 Mind Made Up
2013 On Purpose
2012 The Dream
2011 What Could Be More Comfortable?

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Over the last couple of days I watched a couple of movies and read a book.  In order, the two movies were: “Captain America: The Winter Soldier“, “Transformers: Age Of Extinction“, and the book was: “Casca: The Eternal Mercenary #1” (1979©).
It’s been a year since my first review of CA:TWS (see original review here).  Well, I picked up the DVD and thought I’d take another look.  My initial review is still pretty much spot on…  This is a look at the darker side of technology as used by today’s governments to try to “maintain” security and “protect” the people.  It is also a general statement about the need to minimize secret organizations – even when they purport to be providing security and protection, as it is far too easy for them to fall into the wrong hands.  Final recommendation: still highly recommended!
The second movie T4:AoE also came out in 2014 and stars Mark Wahlberg as Cade Yeager (a more-or-less unemployed robotics expert and single parent living in Texas and, of course, trying to mind his own business), Nicola Peltz as Tessa Yeager (Cade’s daughter, who when threatened, becomes daddy’s reason to get even with the bad-guys), Stanley Tucci as Joshua Joyce (a billionaire corporatist who thinks a lot of himself and yells a lot at his minions), Kelsey Grammer as Harold Attinger (the CIA bad-guy and front for the evil transformers), Jack Reynor as Shane Dyson (the daughter’s boyfriend and a race car driver).
This is a movie with lots of sound effect (explosions) and special effects (mostly computer generated transformers but also explosions), who’s main purpose seems to be to move away from the main human characters of the three previous movies and create a new thread for the franchise to follow.  Fair enough, but is the movie any good?  Within the strict paradigm of an action movie (large robots fighting, car chases, and multiple explosions) – yes, it does.  Quite well, in fact.  If you are looking for simple-minded entertainment (please don’t even try to think about the plot), this is a high quality production which delivers action and explosions.  My one “real” fault with the movie is it is loonnggg – 2 hours and 45 minutes – and actually seems longer.  I don’t usually say that about “action” movies, but this felt too long.
Final recommendation: moderate to strong recommendation.  If you’re into the Transformer movies (and I am), you’ll enjoy this addition.  If you believe this is just another movie to market toys to youth, well, yeah, it’s that too.
The book – Casca: TEM#1, is the first in an ongoing series of books about a fictional / mythical character – based on the Roman Legionnaire who put the lance in Jesus Christ’s side.  There are 42 books in the series so far.  In this first book, Jesus looks down at Casca and says: “You are content with what you are.  Then that you shall remain until we meet again.”  Henceforth, Casca is cursed to live forever – or at least until the second coming.  Each book in the series is about a segment of his 2,000 years (so far).  The series was initially written by Barry Sadler of “Ballad of the Green Berets” fame.  I have the first 22 volumes in the series.  These are the ones written by Sadler (or at least ghost written for him with his name on the book).  I have not read any of the subsequent volumes.  This volume covers most of his first two centuries of life – Roman rule times.
The books are adult, historical fantasy / fiction.  The main character is Casca Rufio Longinus and is loosely based on the Christian legend Saint Longinus.  Being Catholic and knowing a little (very little) about the Spear of Destiny, I picked the book up and thought I’d have a laugh.  I was very pleasantly surprised that it completely captivated me.  In fact, I’ve read the book several times, about once a decade, since I purchased it back in the early 1980’s.  I’ve also re-read a few of the other volumes, but they never seemed to capture me the same way this initial book did.
Final recommendation: Highly recommended book (and series).  If you enjoy historically based fiction about combat / war, this is a very good book / series.  Caution: it can be graphic in the depiction of violence so this is not appropriate for youth – probably up to late teens.
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On This Day In:
2014 True, Vibrant And Open
2013 Remembering, Yet Again
2012 Something Of Value
2011 Sleep All Day

 

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The turning points of lives are not the great moments.  The real crises are often concealed in occurrences so trivial in appearance that they pass unobserved.
  ―  George Washington
[Sometimes, but not always.  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2014 True, Vibrant And Open
2013 Remembering, Yet Again
2012 Something Of Value
2011 Sleep All Day

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Go Shopping More

It is easy to be brave at a safe distance.
   ―  Aesop
[This is true for love and war.  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2014 Say What?
2013 Accepting Beauty
2012 Transitional Choice To Ride The Wave
2011 Freedom Isn’t Always Perfect
Just That Simple

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Jurassic World – movie review  (Spoilers coming.  If you haven’t seen the movie – STOP NOW!!)
Last Sunday (Father’s Day), Sarah (my youngest) took me to see “Jurassic World“.  Sarah loves dinosaur movies and all things John Williams.  Okay, John didn’t contribute to this film, but some of the compositions have little samples from John’s original score from the first “Jurassic Park“.
So, what’s the movie about and is it any good?  Uh, dinosaurs and heck YES!!
So, the plot is basically, intro scenes, some talk, (blah, blah, blah, ethics lesson,) dinosaur eats human, (blah, blah, more ethics lessons, blah,) dinosaur kills other dinosaurs, blah, blah (arggh, MORE ethics!), dinosaur kills and/or eats more humans, and repeat until biggest dinosaur (Mosasaurus) eats not as big, steroid-raptor dinosaur and T-Rex roars: “Not in MY house!!”  (Okay, I kinda made that last part up, but just kinda.)  And then we fade to a happy ending – surviving.
The acting is okay.  The pace is pretty good.  The special effects are great – but I may be biased.  I love dinosaur movies (there I said it!), too.  And of course, one of the bad guys escaped with some amber for a sequel.  Final recommendation: Go see it again!  The film has raked in over $1 Billion dollars in just two weekends.  If you haven’t seen it, get out from under your rock or outta your cave (or wherever you’re hiding) and go!  Highly recommended summer action and adventure movie.  As usual, a disclaimer – some intense (munch) scenes may be too much for small children; it’s also not realistic science.  It is an entertaining movie.
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On This Day In:
2014 The Importance Of Being Forgetful
2013 Anyway
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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There are but two powers in the world, the sword and the mind.  In the long run the sword is always beaten by the mind.
   ―   Napoléon Bonaparte
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On This Day In:
2014 The Importance Of Being Forgetful
2013 Anyway
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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Our goal must be – not peace in our time – but peace for all time.
   —   President Harry S. Truman
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On This Day In:
2014 Switch To Dogs…
2013 Times Change
2012 Ashes Not Dust
2011 A Handful From Saudi
None Of This Happened
Take Responsibility

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The story of History is properly more than a succession of dates and events, of crisis and controversy.  It is illuminated, at its best, by the acts and words of its participants.
   —    Robert F. Kennedy
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On This Day In:
2014 Take Flight
2013 Contributing Joy
2012 More Than A Race
2011 Institutionalized Leadership

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The joy of living, its beauty is all bound up in the fact that life can surprise you.
   —   Frank Herbert
From his novel: “Children of Dune
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On This Day In:
2014 Economic Engines
2013 Weren’t You Supposed To Be Reading?
Absent Friends
Where I Stand
2012 Hangin’ With His P’s
Help Save
2011 Six Facets Of Good Leadership

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The confidence of amateurs is the envy of professionals.
   —    George Jean (G J or Gj) Nathan
[And the optimism of youth is the envy of the older.    —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2014 Destiny For The Talented
2013 I Do Not Fear It
2012 Until Found
2011 Reducing Goods To Data
The Fog Of Civilization Building

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Home,
which used to seem
so far away
Is now
just beyond
tomorrow’s dawn.
It rushes
towards me
and I welcome
it
as a small
piece
of a dream
achieved.
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On This Day In:
2014 Uncertain Work
2013 Unpatriotic And Servile
2012 What Price Freedom?
2011 Particular Importance
Three From Bette…

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Here’s a few videos for all the Dad’s out there…
A Love Without End, Amen
My Dad
That’s My Job
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On This Day In:
2014 Uncertain Work
2013 Unpatriotic And Servile
2012 What Price Freedom?
2011 Particular Importance
Three From Bette…

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Today’s movie review is for the SciFi classic: “The Day The Earth Stood Still” (1951).  This movie starred Michael Rennie and Patricia Neal.  Basically, an alien spaceship lands in Washington, D.C. and the ship pilot – Klaatu, played by Rennie – announces he is here to deliver a message to all of Earth.  He is wounded, rushed to a hospital from which he escapes and then he moves into a boarding house where he attempts to learn about humans “first hand”.
At the boarding house he meets a single mother (Neal) and her son, who befriends the alien and gives him a tour of D.C.  While playing tourist, Klaatu sets out to meet the smartest man on Earth so the alien can convey his message.  Fade to much later…  Klaatu tells Mrs. Benson (Neal) that if anything happens to him she is to tell his robot / guard (Gort) the (now famous) line: “Gort, Klaatu barada nikto.”  Klaatu is killed by the military.  Mrs. Benson delivers the message to Gort.  Gort recovers Klaatu’s body and brings him back to life using alien technology.
Klaatu delivers his message of warning to Earth’s scientists that the planet will be destroyed if we attempt to take our nuclear weapons into space.  He then says good-bye and leaves Earth.
The movie is about fear of the unknown and fairly anti-war.  As such, it was very much ahead of its time – this being the real beginning of the “cold war” period.  It has many “quaint” images in it.  I particularly enjoyed seeing the old style switchboards and operators.
I will always remember Rennie for his role in this movie and in my young mind it (the movie) defined SciFi for me for many years.  The only three equals (for me) were “Village of the Damned” (1960), “The Blob” (1958) and “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (1956).  All four of these are excellent period SciFi movies and I would highly recommend any of them.
Final recommendation: Highly Recommended!!  After 60 years, the movie still holds up well as SciFi and as a commentary on the United States at that time.  I guess we must have heeded the message of the movie as we have never tried to take our nuclear weapons into space.  More accurately, we’ve made no “serious” efforts to go to space.  This is not to denigrate the multiple craft we have sent to the ends of our solar system.  It is a criticism of the fact that we haven’t set foot on the moon in 40 years (1972).
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On This Day In:
2014 Just Reminded
2013 A Fine Balance
2012 One Measure
2011 Seeking The Common Ground
In Brightest Day…

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I know the sun will rise every morning, even when there is fog.  I know the whippoorwill sings melodious songs because I have heard them from the enclosure of my room.  I know the sky is blue looking through the haze, that the grass is green even when I stand in the desert.  I know the branches of trees dance to the movements of the wind even though now it is still.  I know the flowers have beautiful smells, that the ocean never sleeps and that snow falls upon high mountains.  I know deeply, that all human beings are beautiful if they are born free to follow their hearts.
It has been said, long before these written words, that if you build an archway for your heart, with neither lock nor door, life will pass freely in harmony with your senses.
TOUCH…  your friends, your lover; a stranger, then they are stranger no more.  Hold them, feel the beauty of their skin, their face, their hair  …  as you would touch the delicate petals of a carnation or put your hand in a gentle stream or feel the sand beneath your feet or climb the rocks and crags of the shoreline.
LISTEN…  to their words, their breathing, their heartbeat, their footsteps on the carpet of leaves as they come to you  …  as you would listen to the rain or deer running through the forest or the bark of a dog or the cascading of a waterfall or a tiny breeze.
SEE…  the expressions on their face of their different moods.  See in their eyes the longing for love, companionship and a meaningful purpose to their lives.  See their hands create their being  …  as you would see a tidepool, the splash of a wave, a new portrait made by falling snow, the landscape of a valley, the changing of a sunset.
SPEAK…  to them of love, of the harmony of nature, of quiet understanding among men, of the simple things in life in which one can find peace, of the truth you have found  …  as you would speak to God.
Ride the crest of the wave of the shore.  Follow the river till it emerges with the ocean.  Look at the clouds till they disappear.  Watch the sun rise, its path across the sky, then vanish.  When you have experienced these things you will know your heart  …  follow it.
  —  Written by:  Walter Rinder
[I’ve seen the last paragraph / stanza in several formats.  The one shown is the way I copied it to my journal back in the mid-70’s.  —  kmab]
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On This Day In:
2014 Just Reminded
2013 A Fine Balance
2012 One Measure
2011 Seeking The Common Ground
In Brightest Day…

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