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Archive for June, 2019

Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people we personally dislike.
  ―  Oscar Wilde
[All good humor has an element of Truth as its basis.  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2018 From My Soapbox
2017 The Single Most Effective Thing For Health
2016 A Trumpet Solo
2015 Potential Is A Heavy Burden
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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When you love someone you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment.  It is an impossibility.  It is even a lie to pretend to.  And yet this is exactly what most of us demand.  We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships.  We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb.  We are afraid it will never return.  We insist on permancy, on duration, on continuity, when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity — in freedom.
  —  Anne Morrow Lindbergh
From her book:  “Gift From The Sea
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On This Day In:
2018 America: Paging #45
2017 Near By
2016 Maybe Someday
2015 How’s The Cow?
2014 Mind Made Up
2013 On Purpose
2012 The Dream
2011 What Could Be More Comfortable?

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Because I am a novelist, one thing I know very well is that close, sustained, careful, daily attention is a profound form of love.
  —  Lauren Groff
From her opinion / editorial: “Prairie Escape
Appearing in:  Time Magazine, 6 August / 13 August 2018
[It sounds like being a good parent or a good friend to me.  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2018 One Brick At A Time
2017 Order The Rope, #DumbDonald
2016 Chains Of Habit
2015 That You Shall Remain
Did You See That?
2014 True, Vibrant And Open
2013 Remembering, Yet Again
2012 Something Of Value
2011 Sleep All Day

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I am no longer young.  But the memory of all that lingers.  In every life you leave your loved ones behind, through death, by omission and sometimes because the chasm between them and you is too great.  You leave your town by choice or by the inevitable unspooling of life.  But at some point you realize that you loved some parts of it.  Even when it is flawed.  You can even love a failing chicken restaurant and a speedway you never went to.  You were young.  When those days come to mind, you will want to call your people, even the ones who are no longer there or anywhere.  You will want to declare: I have loved you through time and space.  It is hard to be us.  It is hard to be anyone.  You will want to tell them, I forgive, I forgive you everything.
  —    Stephanie Powell Watts
From her article: “Race Day
Appearing in: Time Magazine, dtd: 6 August / 13 August 2018
Online, the article is titled: “Memories From the South: Fried Chicken on Race Day
And is at: https://time.com/5349504/stephanie-powell-watts-race-day/
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On This Day In:
2018 A Sure Sign Of Age
Before The Fall – Cheat
2017 Distant Goal
2016 More Lives
2015 Go Shopping More
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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Any society contains propaganda, but it is important to distinguish this from art and to preserve the purity and independence of the practice of art.  A good society contains many different artists doing many different things.  A bad society coerces artists because it knows that they can reveal all kinds of truths.
  —   Iris Murdoch
[Found at one of the blogs I follow:  http://allisonmarieconway.com/
The specific link to the post this was from is: http://allisonmarieconway.com/2018/08/13/on-art-democracy-dangerous-play/
Please visit the blog if you have a free moment.  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2018 What Did You Bring Up?
2017 Waiting For My First Strike
2016 Mostly Just Masticating
2015 Don’t Mess With Mosa
How Long Is This Run?
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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On the phone, I ask Li if she imagines there could have been a way to develop AI differently, without, perhaps, the problems we’ve seen so far.  “I think it’s hard to imagine,” she says.  “Scientific advances and innovation come really through generations of tedious work, trial and error.  It took a while for us to recognize such bias.  I only woke up six years ago and realized ‘Oh my God, we’re entering a crisis.’ ”
On Capitol Hill, Li said, “As a scientist, I’m humbled by how nascent the science of AI is.  It is the science of only 60 years.  Compared to classic sciences that are making human life better every day — physics, chemistry, biology — there’s a long, long way to go for AI to realize its potential to help people.”  She added, “With proper guidance AI will make life better.  But without it, the technology stands to widen the wealth divide even further, make tech even more exclusive, and reinforce biases we’ve spent generations trying to overcome.”  This is the time, Li would have us believe, between an invention and its impact.
  —  Fei-Fei Li  (being quoted)
Quoted by: Jessi Hempel
From her article:  “The Human In The Machine
Appearing in: Wired Magazine, December 2018
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On This Day In:
2018 MAGA?
2017 Neutral
Family Over Ego
2016 Hard Learners
2015 Goals
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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Continuing in my pursuit of viewing all things “Pride & Prejudice“, I offer two more tangential movie reviews: “Pride & Prejudice & Zombies” and “Austenland” and a third made for TV series: “Lost in Austen“.  The reviews are in the order I watched them, not in preference or year of release.  Because this post covers three “films”, it will be considerably longer than normal.  Feel free to skip it and come back another time if you’re not “into” P&P.
Lost in Austen” (2008) – TV Series 4 part on YouTube
This is a four part TV mini-series for a privately owned (not-BBC) channel in England called ITV.  The movie is a rom-com adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Pride & Prejudice” book, but is really kind of a “Back to the Future” (back to reality?) feel.  Basically, the lead (Amanda Price, played by Jemima Rooper) is so in love with the book, she stumbles into it through a portal in her bathroom.  She retains all of her knowledge of the book and Elizabeth Bennet (played by Gemma Arterton) “replaces” her in our time.  Basically, what happens in a romance story if you know all the story but as soon as you join the story, the story is irrevocably altered.  Mostly, comedy (and romance) ensues.
The rest of the main characters are: Elliot Cowan as Fitzwilliam Darcy, Tom Mison as Mr Bingley, Morven Christie as Jane Bennet, Tom Riley as George Wickham, Hugh Bonneville as Mr. Claude Bennet, and Alex Kingston as Mrs. Bennet.
Once you know the premise, the TV-series is 70-80% predictable.  Given that, I still enjoyed it.  Rooper is not brilliant, but she carries the load and does it more than adequately.  Cowan is not “my” idea of Mr. Darcy, but he’s not bad.  Strike that.  He is better than most.  He is stern and formal without being Hollywood handsome.  And then he comes out of the pond…  LoL!  Adequate is true with the rest of the cast with the exception of Bonneville.  For whatever reason (mostly “Downton Abbey“, I think), I really like him as an actor and I thought he is very good as Mr. Bennet adding depth which is not always in some of the other portrayals in other versions of P&P.
The series uses the characters from P&P and kind-of follows the novel’s plot, but has (and ends with) significant variance.  Final recommendation: strong.  If you are a “P&P” fan, I think you’ll enjoy this series as an addition / alternate universe to Austen’s P&P.  If not, it is at least tolerable as rom-coms go.  I found it better than “tolerable”, but that may just be my taste.  If you are not a “P&P” or rom-com fan, why are you even bothering to read this review? (Just kidding…)
I watched this on YouTube for free and I would definitely consider buying it if it ever came out in my price range ($5).  Each episode is about 40-45 minutes, so you are looking at almost three hours of viewing commitment.
Pride & Prejudice & Zombies” (2016)
I know that “everything” goes better with Zombies these days, but I really didn’t know what to expect before viewing this version of P&P.  I need to preface this review with a comment: I am not a horror or slasher film watcher.  Mostly, I find them repetitive, boring, or offensive. I stopped watching them about 1977 or so.  I very occasionally will touch base with one if it becomes a “societal” touchstone, but even then, it’s rare.  I have never seen a Jason, 13th, Halloween, Hellraiser, Saw or any of those series.  I have seen and do like some of the classics: “Wolfman“, “Psycho“, “Jaws“, etc and I also enjoy “monster / SciFi” films: “Predator“, “Alien“, “The Birds“.  I’m not sure why I like some and not others. I guess it’s just me.
Anyway, this is actually a rom-slash / martial arts / action film.  It is a “take-off” on P&P, so I thought I’d give it a chance.
Lily James plays Elizabeth Bennet, Sam Riley plays Mr. Darcy, Lena Headey plays Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Matt Smith plays Mr. Collins, Jack Huston plays Mr. Wickham and Charles Dance plays Mr. Bennet.  I like Lily James and love Lena Heady.  James makes a surprisingly good martial artist actor.  I don’t know how much is actually James doing the fighting, but “her” portions looked great.  Headey plays her typically serious role, even when it’s in a ridiculous role, like this one.  (I love the eye-patch.)  Dr. Who, I mean Matt Smith is outstanding as the incompetent and obsequious Collins.  Riley is handsome and gallant enough as Darcy, but seems (to me) a bit too young (and movie handsome, not really ruggedly handsome).  He looks like he should be in a boy band instead of on a parapet killing zombies.  And, finally, I liked Dance as Mr. Bennet.  I haven’t cared for him as much in other roles (GOT and “The Imitation Game“), but I thought he fit in this role.
Between the two threads, P&P and the zombies, this movie is 90% predictable.  The 10% which was unpredictable was whether James, Headly and the other ladies could pull off the martial arts scenes.  They do and quite well, too!
As a P&P fan, my final recommendation is moderate to strong.  I liked the sets, the costumes and the martial art set pieces.  I enjoyed this movie as a different “parody / take” on P&P even though I didn’t care for any of the zombie portions of the film.  They were merely action figures inserted to give the main characters moving targets to slice and dice.  I watched this on my “On Demand” TV service.  I’m not sure if I enjoyed it enough to actually buy a copy if ever comes in to my price point (yeah, still $5).  Despite James and Headey, I’m not sure I’d pay for this P&P theme movie.  And the movie ends as a setup to a sequel (which I will probably miss).
Austenland (2013)
This movie is supposed to be a “rom-com” about a late-20’s young lady who visits a theme park dedicated to re-enacting Jane Austen period life, social settings and romance.  The problem is while there is romance, there is almost no comedy.
So, who’s in this movie? It stars Keri Russell as Jane Hayes (the Austen fanatic), J.J. Feild as Henry Nobley (kind of a Mr. Darcy who looks vaguely like Tom Hiddleston), Bret McKenzie as Martin (the love interest for Russell’s character in the park), Jennifer Coolidge as Miss Elizabeth Charming (I thinks she was meant to be the comedic character, but she is an offensive “rich, unread, ugly American” instead – but with a kind heart), Georgia King as Lady Amelia Heartwright (another offensive rich guest – also American), and Jane Seymour as Mrs. Wattlesbrook (the proprietor of the resort).  There are also a number of other characters who aren’t really worth bothering to mention.
Russell is a “girl-next-door” version of Michelle Pfeiffer.  To be honest, I thought Russell might be Pfeiffer’s daughter or much younger sister.  She is the second best thing in this movie.  Feild is the first.  He makes both an interesting Nobly (Mr. Darcy) and a likeable history teacher.  The only other “interesting” actor was Seymour playing a manipulative park director.  The camera (or director or makeup crew) was not kind to her in this film.  She looks old in her closeups – much more than the early 60’s she would have been when this was filmed / released.  And not, evil / craggy / old – just old.  Like I said, “interesting”.
Final recommendation: moderate (at best). I did like Russell and Feild and thought there was pretty good chemistry between them.  So, “rom” is the limit of this rom-com.  As a P&P fan, at least I can say I gave it a shot and watched it.
Thanks to any of you who made it all the way through this post / these reviews…
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On This Day In:
2018 Dead Red
You Ain’t Done Yet
2017 Just Because
2016 As Close As They Can Get
2015 And So I Blog
2014 Take Flight
2013 Contributing Joy
2012 More Than A Race
2011 Institutionalized Leadership

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A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end.  You live several lives while reading.
  ––  William Styron
[In life, a great partner / soulmate / spouse should share their life and deepen yours.  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2018 Dead Red
You Ain’t Done Yet
2017 Just Because
2016 As Close As They Can Get
2015 And So I Blog
2014 Take Flight
2013 Contributing Joy
2012 More Than A Race
2011 Institutionalized Leadership

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A book is a version of the world.  If you do not like it, ignore it or offer your own version in return.
  ––    Salman Rushdie
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On This Day In:
2018 The End Of Asgard (For Now)
I Learn The Hard Way Every Time
2017 For Some
2016 Fragile And Explosive, Provocation And Privacy
2015 Bound Up
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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Image of my Hil at SFO before flight to Liverpool

Hil at SFO before flight to Liverpool

Today I drove my wife to San Francisco International (SFO) Airport to catch a flight to Manchester so she can be with her family (in Liverpool).  Hil flew back earlier in the year to spend time with her mum before her passing.  Her mum’s health has been poorly for some time and has recently taken a turn for the worse.  She has just been released from hospital to hospice care.  It is a time of mixed emotion for us as while we will miss her mum, she will be joining her husband (George) who has been waiting on her some 20 years now.  I guess “Papa’s” calling her home is finally getting too much for “Nana” to ignore.
Here is a photo of Hil’s mum and dad (“Nana & Papa” to our kids) in happier times:

Nana And Poppa With Big Smiles

Hil’s Mum and Dad with Big Smiles

And here is a post of mine from back in 2011:   Things I’ve Learned From Life – Nana Carter
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On This Day In:
2018 What I Tell You Three Times Is True
2017 And So On
2016 Kept
2015 Envy * 2
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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You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going.  What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith, and hope.
   —  Thomas Merton
[This quote is from one of the blogs I follow:
The blog is:  http://meditationsinmotion.wordpress.com/
The specific post can be found at:  http://meditationsinmotion.wordpress.com/2019/04/14/fixing-the-fixer/
Please give the site a visit if you have a free moment.  —  KMAB ]
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On This Day In:
2018 What I Tell You Three Times Is True
2017 And So On
2016 Kept
2015 Envy * 2
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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He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts… for support rather than illumination.
  —   Andrew Lang
[Of course, given #LyingDonald’s proclivity for telling lies and incoherent rambling, one should probably substitute “speech” or “speaking” for the word “statistics” and “distract” or “confuse” instead of “support”.   —   KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2018 Start Building
2017 Woof! Woof!
2016 Cast Out
2015 Small Pieces
Happy Father’s Day!
2014 Uncertain Work
2013 Unpatriotic And Servile
2012 What Price Freedom?
2011 Particular Importance
Three From Bette…

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Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose.
  —  Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
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On This Day In:
2018 Just Bake The Cake, Man
2017 Visible Proof
2016 Poor Enough Means
2015 Still Standing
Follow Your Heart
2014 Just Reminded
2013 A Fine Balance
2012 One Measure
2011 Seeking The Common Ground
In Brightest Day…

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Is this a metaphor for life?
At the end of March, my daughter gave me a puzzle for my birthday…  (see image below)  She knows:  I like puzzles.  I like trains.
So, after much diligent effort, I got it assembled!  (see image below)  Well, almost…  If you double click on the image to see the large version, you’ll notice one(1) piece is missing.
Now, because I am OCD, you have to understand, to solve a puzzle, I do the following:
1) separate out all the edge pieces;
2) assemble all the edge pieces;
3) if not complete, return to (1);
4) separate out and assemble (in order) all the pieces of the largest or most visually obvious items; trains, tracks, bright leaves, bridge structures, the rest;
5) Hmmm…  separate train pieces – check.  Assemble train pieces – check.  Ooops!  Piece missing.  Back to 4)…
Now, understand.  1,000 pieces total.  Edges and corners: approximately 100 pieces.  Two trains: let’s be generous and say 300 pieces.  That leaves me 600 pieces to search through looking for one specific piece.  Okay…  We do it the old fashioned way: pour them out and go through them one at a time.  Did I mention I’m kind of OCD?  No luck…  Search floor.  Search under couch and other near by furniture.  No joy…  Look at dog with accusatory glare.  She licks her lips nervously and slinks away.  Pour out pieces and try again.  No joy…  Pour out pieces and try again!
So, after three full piece searches (what I call “positive visual confirmation”) over two days (this is in my “spare” time), and did I mention about five(5) hours(!), still no joy.  I come to accept conclusion that either my wife or daughter are playing an evil trick on me (saving the final piece for themselves), or the piece was never in the box.  I ask casually and they both proclaim their innocence.  Ow, well…  Complete the puzzle anyway.  Maybe it will turn up…
Upon completion, my daughter comments that her friends have this happen to them frequently(!).  What????  Yes.  Several times her friends have bought puzzles and then had them miss a piece.
I am stunned, but unappeased.  I jump online and go to the web site (www.sunsout.com) for the manufacturer.  I email them with the information they request and ask for the piece.  I receive a response the next day.  (Great customer service!)  They respond they will send me a new puzzle in 2 to 3 weeks.  They include the message they are not able to send individual pieces and do not guarantee the puzzle will be from the same die-cut.
A little over a week later, I get my replacement puzzle.  (Again, great customer service!)  I tear it open and the pieces are shaped completely differently.  Arggghhh!!  I don’t even have to open the plastic see-through bag to tell the pieces are cut differently.
Now I have to consult with my wife.  Should I complete the replacement puzzle?  I have no guarantee this version won’t have the same issue: missing piece(s).  Should I toss them both?  Should I search out the missing piece and its neighbors and then cut them to fit my puzzle?  Should I use a close up of the box cover to overlay the missing piece by getting a physical picture and backing it with cardboard?  She says email them back and request a different puzzle.  Then, if it’s missing a piece (too), at least you didn’t solve the same puzzle twice.
In the end, I trash the (almost) completed puzzle and put the unopened bag back into its box to re-gift to someone else…
Somewhere, deep inside…  a frustrated little OCD train loving child is crying.
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On This Day In:
2018 I Doubt #45 Is Listening?
2017 Life’s Oddity
2016 Just Asking…
2015 Two Thoughts On Thinking
2014 From The Top, Please…
2013 You Are The Stars
2012 Just One??
2011 Anything But

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In this sad world of ours, sorrow comes to all, and it often comes with bitter agony.  Perfect relief is not possible, except with time.  You cannot now believe that you will ever feel better.  But this is not true.  You are sure to be happy again.  Knowing this, truly believing it, will make you less miserable now.  I have had enough experience to make this statement.
  —  Abraham Lincoln
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On This Day In:
2018 I Doubt #45 Is Listening?
2017 Life’s Oddity
2016 Just Asking…
2015 Two Thoughts On Thinking
2014 From The Top, Please…
2013 You Are The Stars
2012 Just One??
2011 Anything But

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