Archive for the ‘Faith Family and Friends’ Category

Once Upon A Time In The West (1968)  —  movie review
OUATITW is a “classic” style “spaghetti” western directed by Sergio Leone who made Clint Eastwood a movie star with his “Man With No Name” trilogy.  This movie stars Henry Fonda in a role / type reversal as the movie’s main bad guy, a killer called “Frank”.  The movie includes Claudia Cardinale as Jill McBain – a New Orleans prostitute who comes out west after marrying a dirt farmer who has the foresight to buy land with the only available water in 200 miles; Jason Robards as Manuel “Cheyenne” Gutiérrez – a bandit who seems to get into and out of trouble for most of the movie, (kind of the good hearted bad guy); Charles Bronson, known only as “Harmonica” – not really a good guy, but the closest thing this movie has to one as he kills all the bad guys; and Gabriele Ferzetti as Mr. Morton – the background bad guy who hires Frank to force Jill McBain off the land, so he can take ownership.
I borrowed this DVD from my brother who claims it is one of his favorite Western genre movies of all time.  He also claims the Western genre is his favorite genre of all.  I don’t remember ever seeing this movie, so I brought it home for a look see…
My reaction: it’s good, but not great.  It’s long and I found it a bit confusing.  The movie tries to use flashbacks to explain things (particularly near the end), but it doesn’t do it well.  My brother says he remembers seeing a different version which has an additional twenty minutes and explains everything better.  Maybe, but I can only watch what’s before me…
So, does Fonda make a good baddie?  Does Robards play a convincing Mexican?  Does Bronson play a good Eastwood?  Is this a good Western?  Is this a good movie?  Three yeses and two noes.
Henry Fonda makes a surprisingly good “evil killer”.  He plays it straight and it works.  He’s believable.  Robards plays a terrible Mexican.  I didn’t even realize he WAS a Mexican.  I just thought Cheyenne was a nickname.  Even saying that, Robards plays a surprisingly great “good hearted bad guy”.  I like him.  He was threatening and likable (almost funny) at the same time.  Charles Bronson CANNOT play Clint Eastwood.  While the role was clearly written for Eastwood, Charles is just okay in it.  Not great, but okay.  And, finally, Claudia Cardinale is gorgeous.  I’ve heard her name before, but cannot honestly say I’ve ever seen her in any movies – even movies I’ve seen (LOL).  No, she is not believable in this role, but I think it would have been a tough role for any actress to pull off.  Having said this, she is good enough in the role it makes me want to see her in some of her other performances to see if she can act or if she’s just another pretty face who was okay in this role.
Is this a good Western and / or a good movie?  Yes.  To both.  Although it is LONG and a bit slow in parts, it is trying to tell a story and it mostly accomplishes that – and that (both, actually) in itself is pretty unusual for most Westerns.  I like gritty Westerns and this is one of those.  I like movies which have a story to tell and this one does.  I like movies where some of the characters evolve and some calcify, because that’s how people react in real life – and this movie shows this.  So, yeah, all in all it’s a good Western and a good movie.  It’s not Oscar material, but it’s an enjoyable watch.
Final recommendation:  Strong to highly recommended.  It’s no where near my favorite Western, but it’s a good movie and I really liked the good guy actor (Fonda) in this type reversal.
On This Day In:
2017 Faith In Science
2016 What The World Calls
2015 Say What?
2014 Start Today
2013 Fly!!
2012 Greater Love
2011 Before

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Silence Presence

We have to earn silence . . .  to work for it; to make it not an absence but a presence; not emptiness but repletion.  Silence is something more than just a pause; it is that enchanted place where space is cleared and time is stayed and the horizon itself expands.
  —  Pico Iyer
On This Day In:
2017 Feeling Small Standing In Front Of My Shelves
2016 Show Willing
2015 If He Only Knew…
2014 Dared To Love
2013 Strong Kung-Fu
2012 Two Tribes
2011 Made Any Assumptions Lately?

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Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them.
  —  Lady Bird Johnson
On This Day In:
2017 And Three
2016 Nine Parts Mystery
2015 Little Or No Common Ground
2014 Just Between Me
2013 Beyond The Strings
2012 Saving The Union
2011 Still And Too Often

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One of the oldest human needs is having someone wonder where you are when you don’t come home at night.
  —  Margaret Mead
On This Day In:
2017 Until I Think Of Something Better
2016 Who Are You?
2015 Renaissance Reptiles
2014 Book Return
2013 Keep Writing Your Truths
Perilous Times For The U.S. Military
2012 The Victor
2011 Forging Away At My Deadlines
2010 Try This With Your Shoes…

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The reality of the house is order.  The blessing of the house is community.  The glory of the house is hospitality.  The crown of the house is godliness.
  —  Frank Lloyd Wright
On This Day In:
2017 Got Education?
2016 Necessary Company
2015 Reality Vs Imagination
2014 Penalty Period
2013 Theft
2012 Cranky Old Man
2011 A Man’s Got To Know His Limitations

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Yesterday I went to the hospital for an Electrocardiogram (ECG) in preparation for my Lithotripsy today.  Basically, I need to have a kidney stone reduced in size so I can (less) painfully pass it / them.  The following is a description of the today’s procedure and is taken from the John Muir Hospital web site…

Shock Wave Lithotripsy

Passing a kidney stone can be very painful.  Shock wave lithotripsy is a treatment that helps by breaking the kidney stone into smaller pieces that are easier to pass.  This treatment is also called extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL).  Lithotripsy takes about an hour.  It’s done in a hospital, lithotripsy center, or mobile lithotripsy van.  You will likely go home the same day.  This treatment is not used for all types of kidney stones.  Your healthcare provider will discuss whether this is the right treatment for the type of stone you have.
Image of Kidney during Lithotripsy
Energy waves strike the stone, which begins to crack.
The stone crumbles into tiny pieces.

During the procedure

• You get medicine to prevent pain and help you relax or sleep during lithotripsy.  Once this takes effect, the procedure will start.
• A flexible tube (stent) with holes in it may be placed into your ureter, the tube that connects the kidney and the bladder.  This helps keep urine flowing from the kidney.
• Your healthcare provider then uses X-ray or ultrasound to find the exact location of the kidney stone.
• Sound waves are aimed at the stone and sent at high speed.  If you’re awake, you may feel a tapping as they pass through your body.

After the procedure

• You’ll be closely watched in a recovery room for about 1 to 3 hours.  Antibiotics and pain medicine may be prescribed before you leave.
• You’ll have a follow-up visit in a few weeks.  If you received a stent, it will be removed.  Your healthcare provider will also check for pieces of stone.  If large pieces remain, you may need a second lithotripsy or another procedure.

Possible risks and complications

• Infection
• Bleeding in the kidney
• Bruising of the kidney or skin
• Blockage (obstruction) of the ureter
• Failure to break up the stone (other procedures may be needed)

Passing the stone

It can take a day to several weeks for the pieces of stone to leave your body.  Drink plenty of liquids to help flush your system.  During this time:
• Your urine may be cloudy or slightly bloody.  You may even see small pieces of stone.
• You may have a slight fever and some pain.  Take prescribed or over-the-counter pain medicine as instructed by your healthcare provider.
• You may be asked to strain your urine to collect some stone particles.  These will be studied in the lab.
I had the procedure done twice before back in the 1990’s while I was living in Liverpool, England.  Hopefully, I’m good for another 20 – 25 years.  (LOL)
A big shout-out to the office staff, nurses and doctors at John Muir Hospital – Concord, CA, campus!  You were all terrific and I felt VERY well cared for!
I am home and resting comfortably.  And, another shout-out to my lovely wife (Hil) for driving me back and forth and looking after me in my recovery at home!   💖
Just a side note:  my weight at the hospital yesterday was 332lbs.  My weight today (at the hospital) was 330lbs.  2lbs difference.  My weight at home yesterday was: 325lbs.  Today it was 324lbs.  A 1lb difference.  I was wearing virtually the same clothes (shoes, shorts and underwear).  I was wearing a change of underwear, but they were the same types of briefs and V-neck T-shirts.  I just thought this was “interesting”.
On This Day In:
2017 Never Forget
2016 It’s All Greek To Me (Well, Latin Actually)
2015 Truism
2014 Thank You
2013 Really
2012 Ordinary Five Minutes Longer
2011 The Wealth Of Sons (And Daughters)

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Today my thoughts and prayers are for those who have lost their family members in Iraq, Afghanistan, around the world and here at home – and to all those (civilian and military) who’ve suffered injury and those still at risk serving their country and our communities.  God Bless You and Keep You.  Your country and fellow veterans honor your sacrifices as you have honored us with your service.
On This Day In:
2017 Never Forget
2016 It’s All Greek To Me (Well, Latin Actually)
2015 Truism
2014 Thank You
2013 Really
2012 Ordinary Five Minutes Longer
2011 The Wealth Of Sons (And Daughters)

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