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Archive for May, 2016

Beware of the person of one book.
   –   Thomas Aquinas
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On This Day In:
2015 What’s In Your Future?
2014 Light In Darkness
2013 How ‘Bout Just Obeying The Law?
2012 Or Maybe Not
2011 My Interval Is Too Short!

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Memorial Day 2016 message

Memorial Day 2016

Please take a moment to remember those who’ve served and their families.  “All gave some; Some gave all.”  —  KMAB
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On This Day In:
2015 A Handful Of Reviews
And You Can Quote Me
2014 Get Wisdom
2013 Enjoying The View?
2012 Adam’s Rib
2011 I’m Sure I Remember That…
Memorial Day, 2011

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It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today.  No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be…  This, in turn, means that our statesmen, our businessmen, our everyman must take on a science fictional way of thinking.
     —   Isaac Asimov
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On This Day In:
2015 Dawn Is Coming
2014 Back When I Was A Firebrand
2013 Pen In Hand
Word Up!
2012 Disturbing
Trying To Keep Up
2011 Unreliable And Selective
2010 Adult-Onset Athlete

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Captain America: Civil War (2016) – movie review
Okay!  Last night I finally got around to seeing the latest Marvel Comics movie: Captain America (3): Civil War.  Actually, this is more accurately titled Avengers 3 (Lite).  “Lite” in the sense there are no sightings of Thor or the Hulk.
So, the premise is: what happens in the real world when aliens attack the Earth and we’re protected by “super-heroes” and “meta-humans”.  The argument is that the “normal” humans (via their politicians) will try to control (regulate) the actions of the super-heroes to “sanction” their efforts to protect humanity.  Team Iron Man believes there should be some regulations.  Team Captain America believes you can’t trust politicians or governments and super-heroes have to be able to act on their own personal beliefs on what constitutes the best interest of humanity.
This is an old argument which does not need a great deal of exposition here.  My personal bias is Team CA, but that’s just me.  So much for plot, is the movie any good.  Yes!  This is probably the best “team” movie I’ve seen.  The only one which comes close is The Guardians Of The Galaxy.  All of the “new” Avengers are present, plus a couple of “new” heroes: Spider-Man, Ant Man / Giant Man, and the Black Panther.  A whole bunch of heroes!  But they all get their individual moments and nobody gets out-and-out lost.  This is mostly because it’s such a LONG movie – almost 3 hours.  But the thing is, if the movie had had an intermission, I would not have minded it being longer.  There was a ton of action and a whole lot of story.  And it all worked together beautifully.
If there is one problem with the movie, the bar is now set very high.  My prediction: get ready for some troughs.  Which will be too bad, because I’m looking forward to new singles (Spider-Man, Ant Man (2), the Black Panther, and, probably most of all, Doctor Strange.  If they are even close to this movie, they’ll be pretty good.  Only time will tell…
Final recommendation: a must see movie if you are a comic book, sci-fi, action / adventure, super-hero movie genre movie-goer (obviously I AM)!   This is a must see on the big screen movie!!
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On This Day In:
2015 I Resemble That Remark… (5!)
2014 The Writer’s Dilemma
2013 Just Paying The Rent
2012 Remembering…
2011 A Little Farther

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People are entirely too disbelieving of coincidence.  They are far too ready to dismiss it and to build arcane structures of extremely rickety substance in order to avoid it.  I, on the other hand, see coincidence everywhere as an inevitable consequence of the laws of probability, according to which having no unusual coincidence is far more unusual than any coincidence could possibly be.
     —  Isaac Asimov
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On This Day In:
2015 I Resemble That Remark… (5!)
2014 The Writer’s Dilemma
2013 Just Paying The Rent
2012 Remembering…
2011 A Little Farther

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I thought I had paid for everything.  Not like the woman pays and pays and pays.  No idea of retribution or punishment.  Just exchange of values.  You gave up something and got something else.  Or you worked for something.  You paid some way for everything that was any good.  I paid my way into enough things that I like, so that I had a good time.  Either you paid by learning about them, or by experience, or by taking chances, or by money.  Enjoying living was learning to get your money’s worth and knowing when you had it.  You could get your money’s worth.  The world was a good place to buy in.  It seemed like a fine philosophy.  In five years, I thought, it will seem just as silly as all the other fine philosophies I’ve had.
   —  Ernst Hemingway
From his novel:  “The Sun Also Rises
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On This Day In:
2015 The Critical State
2014 Dawn, n.
2013 Ouch!
2012 Just Lookin’ Around
Still Growing
2011 But Do You Want To?

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There is a great deal of difference between an eager man who wants to read a book and the tired man who wants a book to read.
   –  Gilbert K. Chesterton
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On This Day In:
2015 Either / Or
2014 Memorial Day – 2014
Perfection
2013 Memorial Day Video
Equal = Equal
2012 Congrats, Nephew!!
Doggie Vision Networks
The Flash: Omnibus
JLI: vol 1
Flash: Rebirth
Burning Images
What Do You Believe?
2011 Are We Still At War With The Poor?

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Slogging

I just felt like hitting the bricks for a while, so I went for a VERY slow initial jog.  Hil was a bit concerned because I’ve had so many episodes of palpitations lately, but I got through it.  Weighed myself this morning – 350lbs.
Four(4) laps around the school yard.  Maybe, one(1) mile.  Five minutes of stretching afterwards and twenty-five incline push-ups.  Maybe a total of 30 minutes.  It felt good afterwards.  We’ll see how I feel tomorrow…  LOL!
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On This Day In:
2015 Memorial Day – 2015
Content People Love To Share
2014 I Resemble That Remark
2013 Long Range Exploration
2012 UBI
2011 Opportunity

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Hacking is about exploring, extending boundaries, and searching for knowledge for its own sake.
   —  Wallace Wang
From the Introduction to his book:  “Steal This Computer Book 3
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On This Day In:
2015 Memorial Day – 2015
Content People Love To Share
2014 I Resemble That Remark
2013 Long Range Exploration
2012 UBI
2011 Opportunity

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Ip Man 3 –  movie review
Over the weekend I had my first viewing of “Ip Man 3” (2015), starring Donnie Yen, Lynn Hung as Cheung Wing-sing (Ip Man’s wife), and with a feature role by Mike (“Iron Mike”) Tyson.  Ip Man is a historic Chinese Boxer / martial artist who practiced Wing Chun (a style of Kung Fu) and who achieved secondary fame in the West as being the Sifu (“teacher”) of Bruce Lee.  This movie is set in the late 1950’s.  Ip Man has become a very popular figure in Chinese martial arts movies of late and there are many movies about him which have been released in the last ten years.  I own four of the Ip Man DVDs and I borrowed this one from my brother to view it.
The movie has three main sub-plots: Ip Man protecting Hong Kong from an evil foreign developer (“Frank” played by Mike Tyson); Ip Man defending his status as the primary Sifu of Wing Chun; and, Ip Man’s wife dying from cancer.  Of course, the main point of the movie is that the greatest fighter (Ip Man) is always the one with the purest heart.  As always, the sub-plots are meant to drive the action in the movie – this is, after all, a martial arts film.  And, they more or less do and the action scenes work.  Of the three sub-plots, the only interesting one (for me) is the wife’s cancer and Ip Man’s reaction to it and his love for her as she is dying.  It is poignant and the process of seeing her fade slowly into death is treated with a rare kindness one almost never sees in a martial arts movie (Hollywood or Chinese).  In the end, this is the most memorable part of the movie.
The fight choreography is excellent, as usual, but seems pedestrian after so many versions in the series.  My favorite scene is the weakening wife telling Ip Man that she misses hearing him practice hitting the wooden dummy.  It is emotionally evocative of “this is what you do, and this is a part of what I love about you”, in a way that few movies ever reach.  Final recommendation: Highly recommended.
The Dark Knight Trilogy #3: The Dark Knight Rises  – movie review
This is one of several reviews of this movie I’ve made.  TDKR (2012) is an enjoyable movie which I have rated “Highly” in both of my prior reviews (1010, Catching Up).  This “review” is really more of an additional comment than it is a review – and it is being made post-“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and with the qualifications that I’ve only seen BvS once and that was at the theater.  Generally speaking, I prefer Christian Bale much more than Ben Affleck as an actor in any role.  Even understanding that the role of episode #3 is supposed to be eight years after episode #2 and Batman is supposed to have been gone the whole time, and in BvS is “probably” supposed to be somewhere in that time span, Bale absolutely looks like he could never be (or have been) Batman.  Affleck, on the other hand, perfectly suits an older Bruce Wayne and looks way better in the “normal” (as opposed to the Iron Man) Batman suit.  Particularly in the various shirtless scenes, Bale looks tone-less, not just “less” than super buffed / fit.  I didn’t notice it at the time, or in my prior reviews, but Bale makes Batman look skinny when in the suit.  He seems well proportioned when standing by himself, but next to other people, I kept thinking: “Wow.  He’s skinny.”  And I don’t think of Batman as skinny…  I also don’t think of him as tone-less.  At least I haven’t since the days of Adam West and that was supposed to be a parody (I hope).
Anyway, that’s my only new comment.  I still find the movie solid entertainment and still recommend it highly.
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On This Day In:
2015 Memorial Day – 2015
Content People Love To Share
2014 I Resemble That Remark
2013 Long Range Exploration
2012 UBI
2011 Opportunity

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The successful revolutionary is a statesman, the unsuccessful one a criminal.
   —   Erich Fromm
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On This Day In:
2015 This We’ll Leave Them
2014 Sounds Like Faux News To Me
2013 Reasons
2012 American Libertarianism
2011 The Goal

 

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The wise man doesn’t give the right answers, he poses the right questions.
  —  Claude Levi-Strauss
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On This Day In:
2015 A New Friend
2014 Do I Have To Fall In Love?
2013 More Democracy, Please
2012 Speaking Of Love
2011 Limits

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I choose my friends for their good looks, my acquaintances for their good characters, and my enemies for their good intellects.
    –  Oscar Wilde
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On This Day In:
2015 About Character
2014 Your Gain
2013 Look Up
2012 Count Me In
2011 Pirates Four, Three Songs
Sir Charles
Look First, Not Last
2010 Par-a-diddle

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The Sun Also Rises  —  book review
Today’s review is for the quasi-autobiographical novel: “The Sun Also Rises” (1926© / 1954©), written by Ernest Hemingway.  The book has three main topics: expatriate life in Paris / Europe; fishing in Spain; and, bullfights in Spain.  The book follows Jake Barnes, an American newswriter living in Paris as he, in turn, parties, goes fishing, and then goes to see the running of the bulls in Pamplona and the subsequent bull-fights.  The story revolves around Jake, his love interest (Lady Brett Ashley), and a handful of other suitors as they go through the several weeks covered by the book.  I’m told (by Wikipedia) the book is based on a handful of trips Hemingway actually took with some of his “Lost Generation” friends in the early 1920’s.
My reason for reading “this” book was (again) my fear of dying illiterate, that is, without having read (and shared in) some of the great works (thoughts) of humanity.  (Yes, I know everything I read is in English, so I can’t possibly make the claim of sharing “thoughts”, but reading English translations is the closest I will ever come on that front.)  Back to my fear…  I avoided most of “great” literature when back in grammar and high school because I found what little exposure I did get to be incredibly boring.  I have come to feel that without a smattering of life experience, one (or at least I) could not appreciate the range of emotions and experiences the authors were trying to convey.  They simply were too far outside of my realm of experience and so meant nothing to me.  I interpreted this as “boring” and so I’ve avoided “great” literature as much as possible ever since.
Back in February, I quoted the poet Ezra Pound, who once said, “Men do not understand books until they have a certain amount of life, or at any rate no man understands a deep book, until he has seen and lived at least part of its contents.
And I think I mostly believed this.  Now, however, I’m sixty-one years old and it’s harder to use the same excuse.  And, yet, I’m finding it’s still true.
This IS another book which I’ve found boring and I think it’s simply because I can’t relate to it.  I’ve spent a few days visiting Paris.  I’ve done numerous dangerous (stupid) things in my life (not unlike bull-running).  I’ve been fishing.  And, in my early teens, I spent the better part of a whole summer watching bull-fighting on TV (both English and Spanish speaking channels).  Without actually having read the book, one would think I’d had enough common experience to be able to relate to the book.  But, in truth, I did not relate.  Or, at least, I didn’t feel like I did, which is probably the same thing.
So, all in all, I’ve now read a Hemingway, a Fitzgerald and a Steinbeck and found two of three uninteresting and a struggle to get through.  I guess it is possible I just don’t have the “socially literate” gene in me.  In any case, I will keep trying as occasionally I do enjoy one or another “classic”.
Final recommendation: tepid.  Who cares if a book is a “classic” if it’s such a struggle to get through.  My apologies to anyone who loves this book or who’s life was changed by reading it, but I’m just not feelin’ it.  If you’re one of these folks, drop me a comment, ’cause I’m not feelin’ it with you.
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On This Day In:
2015 About Character
2014 Your Gain
2013 Look Up
2012 Count Me In
2011 Pirates Four, Three Songs
Sir Charles
Look First, Not Last
2010 Par-a-diddle

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That’s what literature is.  It’s the people who went before us, tapping out messages from the past, from beyond the grave, trying to tell us about life and death!  Listen to them!
  —   Connie Willis
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On This Day In:
2015 Even If It Kills Us Slowly
2014 Fun To Play God
Of Anything
2013 Legal (Almost)
2012 Great Scots!
2011 The GI Bill – A Simple History Lesson
Breaking Even

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