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The following is a song I recently stumbled upon on YouTube.com. It’s not one I remember, so obviously it never changed my life, but I like it so much I’ve added it to the lyrics on my “poems” page. Enjoy the song, then read the lyrics…
The world I used to know…
Some day some old
familiar rain
Will come along
and know my name.
And then my shelter
will be gone
And I’ll have to
move along.
But ’till I do
I’ll stay awhile
And track the
hidden country
of your smile.
Some day the man
I used to be
Will come along
and call on me.
And then because I’m
just a man,
You’ll find my feet
are made of sand.
But ’till that time
I’ll tell you lies
And chart the
hidden bound’ries
of your eyes.
Some day the world
I used to know
Will come along
and bid me go.
Then I’ll be leaving
you behind
For love is just
a state of mind.
But ’till that day
I’ll be your man
And love away
your troubles
if I can.
But ’till that day
I’ll be your man
And love away
your troubles
if I can.
In the world
I used to know
Written by: Rod McKuen
Performed by: Jimmie Rodgers
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On This Day In:
2015 Waiting?
2014 Big C, Little B (II)
Where God Has Not
2013 Chasing His Dragon
Shaped And Molded
2012 Believe In Yourself
2011 Cultural Equivalence
Why Not?
Books About Books
The Basis For Adult Continuing Education

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Just the other night
at a hometown football game
My wife and I ran into
my old high school flame
And as I introduced them
the past came back to me
And I couldn’t help but think
of the way things used to be
She was the one
that I’d wanted for all times
And each night I’d spend prayin’
that God would make her mine
And if he’d only grant me
this wish I wished
back then
I’d never ask
for anything
again
Sometimes I thank God
for unanswered prayers
Remember when you’re talkin’
to the man upstairs
That just because he doesn’t answer
doesn’t mean he don’t care
Some of God’s greatest gifts
are unanswered prayers
She wasn’t quite the angel
that I remembered in my dreams
And I could tell that time had changed me
In her eyes too
it seemed
We tried to talk about the old days
There wasn’t much we could recall
I guess the Lord knows what he’s doin’
after all
And as she walked away
and I looked at my wife
And then and there
I thanked
the good Lord
For the gifts in my life
Sometimes I thank God
for unanswered prayers
Remember when you’re talkin’
to the man upstairs
That just because he may not answer
doesn’t mean he don’t care
Some of God’s greatest gifts
are unanswered
Some of God’s greatest gifts are all too often unanswered…
Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers
   —  Written by: Pat Alger, Larry Bastian and Garth Brooks
   —  Performed by: Garth Brooks
[The version I prefer is by Garth Brooks.  Unfortunately, he doesn’t allow most of his work on YouTube, so below is a cover version by Buddy Jewell.  I’m not a fan of Jewell, but this is one of the better covers of this song which I’ve been able to find.  —  KMAB]
    —  Video performance by: Buddy Jewell
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On This Day In:
2014 Pray, v.
2013 As I…
2012 But We Need Room
2011 A Definition Of Leadership

 

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I had a few days off last week, so I relaxed by watching a few films: Cash McCall, StarTrek Into Darkness, Fist of Legend, Interstellar, Annapolis and Atlas Shrugged 1, 2 and 3.  Because there are so many, I’ll apologize in advance for the length of this posting.  I hope some of you make it all the way through, though…
Cash McCall (1960)
Wealthy “youngish” industrialist Cash McCall (starring James Garner) makes his money by purchasing unsuccessful businesses, whipping them into shape and then selling them for a profit.  (Shades of Richard Gere in “Pretty Woman“.)  When Cash comes across a small corporation which manufactures plastics, he realizes it might be a gamble to buy the company, but the company’s owner, Grant Austin (played by Dean Jagger – better known as the General in the holiday favorite “White Christmas“), is the father of an old love interest, Lory Austin (played by a young Natalie Wood), he buys the business just to get a second chance at romance.
Well, that’s pretty much the “love story” aspects of the film.  Very predictable and, to be honest, not as funny / humorous as I thought it might be.  Be that as it may, there are a few interesting things about this movie.  First, Woods is absolutely gorgeous in this film.  She plays a “wealthy” daughter and nails the “acts very entitled” role.  The camera loves her.   Strangely, although Garner is only 10yrs older than Woods in this film – in real life that is – he “looks” much older.  Granted he’s still a sexy Hollywood male lead, but to me, the couple didn’t really gel because he “felt” so much older than her.
Perhaps the most interesting thing in the movie actually has very little to do with romantic comedy and everything to do with predicting economic reality.  Bear with me on this…  At the end of his second term as President of the U.S. Eisenhower warned of the dangers of the military / industrial complex.  There is a scene where Cash is explaining his view for the companies he’s consolidating (in the movie) – a plastics and an electronics firm.  The one he already owns is a financial conglomerate – which by the way owns a private security / detective agency and a credit / business checking business.  Anytime someone investigates him, Cash gets a report from both companies.  The second company is interesting because it’s a plastic firm.  If anyone knows anything about films from the mid to late 60’s, you almost certainly know the famous line “One word, son: Plastics”, from “The Graduate“.   Well, in this film, the star is saying (six years before “The Graduate”) you have patents on manufacturing plastics and the patents are worth more than your company because plastics are the future of manufacturing.  He then goes on to say, but that is only a bridge because the long term future is selling electronics (mounted on plastic) to the military and he doesn’t want the electronics company as much as he wants the retired general who is running the company, because he (Cash) wants an inside track with the officers in the Pentagon the retired general can provide access to (because he knows them all personally).  Who knew Hollywood could be so prescient about the future of industry in the U.S. (and the world).
Bottom line: a fairly typical rom-com with a very attractive couple.  If that’s all you’re looking for, this will be okay.  If you make the effort to look at the movie more deeply, there is a whole lot more going on…  Highly recommended!!  (By the way, I am a Jim Garner fan from his “Maverick” TV series days and I make no bones about my lack of objectivity.)
StarTrek Into Darkness (2013)
This is the sequel to the hit reboot of the movie franchise from 2009.  As with the second movie in the original StarTrek movies, this is about one of the series most popular villains: “Khan!!!” – or more accurately: Khan Noonien Singh.  Khan is a product of biological enhancement, essentially a superior man – physically stronger and a genius mentally.  The problem (well, one of them) is that Khan has little to no regard for “normal” humans.  Blah, blah, blah…  Long story, lots of special effects and a very good addition to the StarTrek legend.  This is a second review and you can read my original (and more detailed review) here.   This movie has “legs” and can definitely be re-watched again and again.  (Still) Highly recommended.
Fist of Legend (1994)
This movie is kind of a “classic” in the martial arts genre.  A Chinese martial arts student Chen Zhen (Jet Li) returns home to China to investigate the death of his Sifu.  Chen discovers his master was poisoned and goes about seeking revenge.  If you’ve spent any time watching movie fights on YouTube, you’ve probably seen at least one of the five (yes, count them 5!!) set piece fight scenes in this movie.  Hence my opinion that the film is a classic.  To be honest, although the movie is 20+ years old – and I’d never seen it before (!!!) – I felt as if I’d already seen the entire movie just based on the fights – which I have seen multiple times.  I would rate this movie right up with any of the early Bruce Lee movies (“The Big Boss”, “The Chinese Connection” or “Fist of Fury”) and definitely with any of the more recent Ip Man series.  Jet Li may not have the cinematic charisma of Bruce Lee, but he (Jet Li) certainly plays the part of acrobatic martial artist just as well.
Final recommendation:  Highly recommended!!  Come for the fights, stay for the interesting social commentary about national bigotry (from both the Chinese and the Japanese).
Interstellar (2014)
Now I never saw this movie at the theater, which is probably my loss, but I did not find the cinematic effects in this movie as awesome as everyone else seems to have found them.  Having said this, I feel the movie was a “real” attempt to bring some of modern science to the big screen.  So, kudos for that effort.
In Earth’s not to distant future, a global, unexplained, biological agent produces a crop blight and second Dust Bowl which together are slowly rendering the planet uninhabitable – nitrogen is being released and oxygen is not.  A brilliant NASA physicist – Professor Brand (played by Michael Caine), is working on plans to save mankind by transporting Earth’s population to a new home via a wormhole. First, Brand must send former NASA pilot Joseph Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) and a team of researchers (one of which is his daughter Amelia Brand played by Anne Hathaway) through a recently discovered wormhole near Saturn and across the galaxy to find out which of three planets could be mankind’s new home.  One of the movie’s tag-lines is: “Humanity was born on Earth.  It was never meant to die here.”
Of course there is a “conspiracy” and bad guys.  Hey this is Science Fiction, you know…  No, actually this is less a science fiction movie than it is a cinematic battle of ethics and morality.  In the end, time is malleable and family is everything, so the hero saves the day…  The movie works in a lot of different ways: as science, science fiction, special effects, acting.  The movie was nominated for multiple Oscars and deservedly so.  Final recommendation: highly recommended, but see it on as big a screen as you can find.
Annapolis (2006)
A cross between “An Officer And A Gentleman” and “Rocky“, this movie is about a fish out of water who goes to the U.S. Naval Military Academy at Annapolis.  (And, yes, that’s a bad pun.) The three main characters are:  Jake Huard (the “fish” – I mean star –  played well by James Franco),  Ali (the love interest played well by Jordana Brewster) and Cole (the antagonist played well by Tyrese Gibson).  Basically, Jake is only marginally qualified to be at the Academy and Cole is trying to force him to leave by quitting.  Ali agrees to help coach Jake in boxing for the brigade tournament and life ends happily ever after.
Just a few comments: I am not a big James Franco fan.  I thought he almost personally ruined a couple of the Spiderman movies.  Well, close anyway.  I have never heard of Jordana Brewster, but the camera loved her in this movie.  I had to check the Wiki-background on this actress because I could hardly believe she has done nothing I’ve seen in the eleven years since this movie came out.  She reminds me of a (Latin and younger) Jennifer Connelly.  Anyway, Brewster has worked, but I’ve just not seen any of it (TV or movies).  Finally, I like Tyrese Gibson!  I liked him in the Transformers movie series and I liked him in this role.  He and Brewster have both been in the Fast And Furious movie series, but I haven’t seen any of them so I can’t really comment on them in those roles.  Tyrese is multi-talented, but I wish he was able to focus more on acting.  I think he could be another Denzel Washington – and that’s saying quite a bit.
Final recommendation: better than most movies in this genre – moderate to strong recommendation.
Atlas Shrugged (1, 2 and 3) – (2011, 2012, 2013)
Back in 2012 I reviewed the first movie in this trilogy (see review here).  If anything, each movie in the series got worse.  I picked up I and II on sale for $5 each.  #1 was probably worth it.  #2 was not.  I saw #3 on YouTube.  The quality of the film was not high, but it was still better than anything else about the movie.   Terrible acting, terrible actors, terrible writing and absolutely no explanation of the reasons behind Ayn Rand’s popularity (objectivism or libertarianism).  Use the six hours of your life to do something productive and don’t watch these films.
Final recommendation:  not recommended movie(s).  You’ll get more from reading the book, than you’ll EVER get from watching these three movies.
Again, apologies for the length of this post but that’s four highly recommended, one moderate to strong recommendation and three not recommended.
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On This Day In:
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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In a funny way, although it has been over thirty years now, it seems like just yesterday I met my wife.

I was a lonely man with empty arms to fill.
Then I found a piece of happiness to call my own.
And life is worth living again.
For to love you to me is to live.
A one in a million, chance of a lifetime.
And life showed compassion.
And sent to me
A stroke of love called you.

I love you Hil.  You are my “one in a million chance of a lifetime“…  —  KMAB
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On This Day In:
2014 And Then I Met Her
2013 Defining Maleness
The Run Continues
2012 All Set
2011 Not Always

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At the time, I was living overseas in Liverpool, but I remember the days and days of news coverage…
On April 19, 1995, the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City was the site of a domestic terrorist bomb attack.  Carried out by two survivalist and white supremacists Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, the bombing killed 168 people and injured more than 680 others.  They were seeking to punish Federal law enforcement agencies for perceived attacks on anti-Federal groups at Ruby Ridge, Idaho and in Waco, Texas.
The following year, Garth Brooks sang “The Change” which is a tribute to those lost and injured and to those who rushed into harms way to provide aid.
See the video on YouTube.com at:   http://www.youtube.com/embed/LAJ9tNXZfu8 or you can click through the embedded video below.
The lyrics are available on my poems page at: “The Change
The song – and the memories it stirs – still brings tears to my eyes…   KMAB
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On This Day In:
2014 Who Was That Masked Man?
2013 Enemy Mine
2012 Strengthen Me
2011 Service, Please
2010 The Church In Crisis…

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Last night I completed watching the science-fiction, war series: “Space: Above and Beyond“.  The series ran for one year back in the mid-1990’s.  The basic storyline is that some outer-space Earth colonies are attacked by an alien race and so Earth is thrown into an intragalactic war.  There are five young folks who join the U.S. Marines for various reasons and they are the focus of the series.  They become Marine Corps pilots, but throughout the series, they seem to spend as much time fighting on the ground as they actually do in space.  The pilots become the 58th Squadron and are nicknamed: “The Wildcards”.
In addition to the principle story line of the war and the sub-arcs for each of the five pilots, there is a sixth principle character (their squadron commander) and multiple sub-arcs which include racial prejudice and subjugation, corporate malfeasance, and a prior war between humanity and a race of artificial intelligent androids/robots.
When I say I “completed” watching the series, that’s a bit of a mis-statement.  The series is available on Youtube.com, but three of the twenty-four episodes are missing.  The series is actually listed as having twenty-three episodes because the “pilot” is a two-part combined episode.  As it stands, watching the available episodes are more than sufficient to give you the flavor of the series.
I am a bit of a history buff and military history in particular.  I like this and the fictionalization of it in all formats – books, movies, songs, poetry, TV series, whatever…  This series is right in my wheelhouse / comfort zone!
About one quarter of the episodes are based on some historical occurrence, fictionalized and then referenced back to the history.  This is one of the classic ways civilizations use their “current” media to create / promote the heroes / legends of their past.  So as someone with a degree in Political Science, I find it is interesting to see a TV series do this “myth-making” for current generations.  I’m sure somewhere (in Heaven) Joseph Campbell is smiling.
One of the interesting sub-arcs is the proposition that a corporation has placed a colony on two planets they “knew” belonged to the alien species.  The colonies are owned by the corporation, but lightly defended by national troops – in one case, by the U.S. Marines.  When attacked (and slaughtered), the corporation demands the Earth go to war in retaliation for the “unprovoked” attack on their employees / “civilians”.
Another interesting idea from the main arc is the aliens make a point of mutilating our dead.  Earthlings, of course, assume this is an act of barbarism by a dark-hearted enemy.  In fact, we come to discover the aliens have no concept of an afterlife and “discover” this concept only by monitoring our electronic transmissions.  They don’t know how we manage to “rise from the dead”, but they are positive we believe we can.  So their act of mutilating the dead is actually just an attempt to ensure our soldiers don’t rise to fight again.
The series fell victim to time-slot shuffling and poor ratings and was cancelled late in the first season.  However, because the show was allowed to complete the season, the writers were able to come up with a terrific last episode with explanations (leading to more questions) and cliff-hangers galore.
While some of the acting is poor (particularly in the early episodes), the actual battlefield tactics are amateurish (if not suicidal), and the special effects are dated by today’s standards, the series remains very viewable and I highly recommend it.  I’ve read on the internet that the show is frequently re-run on the Sci-Fi channel and I will be keeping my eyes out for it so I can catch the three episodes I’ve missed.
Ooo-rah!  Semper Fi!!
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On This Day In:
2014 Winning?
2013 Still Inventing
2012 Motivated
2011 Waiting In Line At Starbuck’s

 

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Let me see if I’ve got this straight:  Back in the 1990’s a Republican came up with an alternative to “Hillary Health Care” (aka: “Socialized Medicine“), which was promoted by a conservative think tank (the Heritage Foundation), and which was tested in the real world by a Republican Governor (Mitt Romney in Massachusetts).  This same health plan was adopted by a Democratic Presidential candidate, who was elected.  The health care law was passed by both houses of Congress in March of 2010 (over three and a half years ago), with a phased implementation so the market place (and States) would have time to set it up in an orderly fashion.  The law was signed by the President and later approved by the Supreme Court (as Constitutional).
In 2010, Republicans took advantage of an off-year election (that is, no President running for office) to use (normally) low turnout to take over some state houses, most governorships and the House of Representatives.  Locally, they ran the advertised message as “Jobs, jobs, jobs!” and Republicans know how to “put people back to work”; their real promise was to make “this” President a failure and defeat him in his re-election.
Since 2010, the House has made NO effort to introduce ANY jobs bills, but has voted over 40 times to repeal “Obamacare”.  The Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare” is the signature piece of legislation to come out of President Obama’s first term in office.
In 2012, the sitting President was re-elected specifically running a pro-health care campaign with a five million vote majority (5,000,000) against an opponent who pledged to introduce a bill to overturn Obamacare his first day in office.  The House was retained by the Republicans by virtue of controlling a majority of state houses and thereby “gerrymandering” their districts so traditionally Republican districts were even more biased, yet if you totaled all the votes for all seats for the House, they “lost” the popular vote by over five hundred thousand (500,000) votes.  The Republicans DID lose seats, just not enough to lose the majority.  The Democrats picked up seven (7) seats, but they needed twenty-five to turn over control of the House.  By the way, the Democrats also picked up two (2) seats in the Senate.  Statewide voting for Senators is not subject to gerrymandering by the state legislatures and governors because each state is only allowed two seats.
Please watch the following opinion piece on what is happening regarding the current government shutdown and what it means to be a “conservative” in today’s Republican party…
— The video is from YouTube, but originally appeared on: “The Cycle” on MSNBC with Krystral Ball, who is one of the four hosts.
Romney/Ryan ran on a budget proposal which would have “slashed” the budget to a level ($967 Billion) which the nation soundly rejected.  “Soundly” here refers to the Electoral College landslide (332 vs 206), not the actual popular vote which was “only” 3% (five million votes) in favor of President Obama.
The column on the far left ($1203) is what the President’s budget asked for.  The column on the far right is the “Ryan Budget” proposal ($967).  The column next to it, second from the right, is the amount the Democratically controlled Senate is willing to pass as part of a “clean” Continuing Resolution (CR, $986).  Now, seriously, does this look like the Democrats are unwilling to negotiate?  Or, does it look like the Democrats have already capitulated and are willing to accept that even when you win an election, you still don’t get to run the country the way the people voted?
 — Image is from the MSNBC show: “Chris Hayes, All In
The next time you hear the “the American people” have spoken and we don’t want Obamacare or the Democrats don’t want to negotiate or that elections have consequences, understand the truth.  We The People have already decided in two Presidential elections and two of three House elections that we DO want the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and as far as the budget goes, there’s not much more to negotiate because we’ve already surrendered the whole pie to the Republicans.  Don’t look behind the curtain because the powers that be are getting what they want regardless of how We The People voted.
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On This Day In:
2012 What Are Your True Measurements
2011 What It Is All About
2010 The Magnificent Seven
Giants Fever!!

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Today I was browsing around on YouTube, just listening to this and that, and I found a song by someone I think is an under-appreciated artist: Glen Campbell and the song is “Less Of Me“.
Despite the fact that Glenn Campbell has had a phenomenal career spanning decades (50+ years!) with multiple hits (70 albums), I think he took a little flak for being in the transition period (when country was Nashville and fading) during the ascendancy of Rock / Disco and Rhythm and Blues (aka “Soul”) – in other words – Pop music.  It didn’t help his street cred that he had a variety show on TV.  In the background, Glen Campbell was a terrific musician and song writer who cut his teeth playing as a “session” musician.  Basically, he played a lot of background music for other artists.
Glen Campbell has retired now for health reasons.  I compare him to Willie Nelson (in country music), Bob Dylan (folk / pop music) and a hand full of others whose careers have spanned 50 years, we may never see his like again…
As always, enjoy the words / lyrics, go listen to the song on your favorite music provider and then go listen to some live music.  Support the Arts!  While you’re on my Poems page, feel free to check out some of my poems, some of my favorite poems and speeches (by others) and the lyrics of other songs I like.  Quite a few of them are older songs, some are funny, some are sad, some just remind me of past friends or earlier days.  Enjoy!!
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On This Day In:
2012 Rise Up!
The Gift
2011 Artful Courage
2010 A Handful of Lessons…

 

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Tonight I dropped on to YouTube to see where serendipity would take me.  She (“serendipity” has always been a female to me) usually takes me to oldies and sure enough I found many, but was particularly touched by three:  “Heard It In A Love Song“, “Everybody Plays The Fool“, and “Just Don’t Want To Be Lonely“.  All three were big hits back in the days when I was young enough to still be wondering if I’d ever find THE love of my life…
In reverse order then…  I think being such social creatures, men and women have an innate fear of not having friends or “finding” true love.  Admittedly, there are some who seem to be able to get by without either (or both), but I remain convinced loneliness is one of the great miseries of the human condition.  “Just Don’t Want To Be Lonely, is a great song about the fear of being unloved and lonely.  The particular portion which struck me listening tonight is:
I’d rather be loved
And needed
Depended on to give a love
I can’t give
When you’re gone,
When you’re gone
I don’t want to be lonely
The singer wants to be “depended on to give a love” he can’t give, when his lover is gone.  The contradiction there is stunning, because we are frequently left to love when lovers have left (particularly us older folks who face losing a spouse).  The obvious answer is that the singer is referring to physical “love”.  My question would be is that not the easiest “love” to find replacement for?  I would also ask if that is the kind of love which staves off loneliness?
The second song is called: “Everybody Plays The Fool” and was another hit by the same performers – The Main Ingredient.  This song is a cautionary tale about being hurt by giving your love to the wrong person.   In the throes of heart-break one is left to wonder, how you could not see what everyone else did?  Well, the simple answer is two-fold.  First, it’s hard to tell the true intentions of another, and secondly, it’s not something you learn “in school” (unless it’s the school of hard-knocks).  We each must take our turn.
Everybody plays the fool,
Sometime.
They use your heart just like a tool.
Listen baby.
They never tell you so in school.
I want to say it again.
Everybody plays the fool.
The third song lyrics I’ve posted on my Poems page is a “country” song (“Heard It In A Love Song“) about a person who is leaving a relationship even though he feels he is in love.  The line /phrase which has always struck me is: “I was born a wrangler and a rounder, And I guess I always will“.  While that’s the most interesting turn of phrase in the song, the equally interesting thing is the explanation / justification: because the singer heard it in a love song.  Obviously (to me), the singer has been listening to way too many “crying in your beer” songs and not enough “happily ever after” songs.  Just sayin’…
Always something greener on the other side of that hill
I was born a wrangler and a rounder
And I guess I always will
This last song has a great flute solo and so must be listened to to really be enjoyed.  It’s performed by the Marshall Tucker Band.  By the way, caution is in order before you go listen to these on your favorite music provider.  All three have great hooks and may end up being in your head for days.  A word to the wise will suffice…
And, as always, if you enjoy the lyrics, go listen to the performances, and finally, purchase the song.  Finally, believe it or not, both groups are still around performing…
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But Star Trek has done far more than that.  It has given us a legacy — a message man can create a future worth living for…  a future that is full of optimism, hope, excitement, and challenge.  A future that proudly proclaims man’s ability to survive in peace and reach for the stars as his reward.
Whither Star Trek?
It really doesn’t matter.  We have its legacy…  all we have to do is use it.
  —  Stephen E. Whitfield, Gene Roddenberry
from their book: “The Making of Star Trek
[One of my favorite scenes from the original series occurred in the episode “The Ultimate Computer“, in which Captain Kirk tries to explain how he feels about being the captain of the Enterprise:
Captain Kirk: “Do you know the one…  ‘All I ask is a tall ship?‘”
Dr. McCoy: “It’s a line from a poem, a very old poem, isn’t it?
Kirk: “Twentieth century Earth.  ‘All I… ask is a tall ship and a star… to steer her by.’
You…  You could feel the wind at your back in those days.  The sounds of the sea… beneath you, and even if you take away the wind and the water… it’s still the same. 
The ship is yours.  You can feel her.  And the stars are still there, Bones.
 
[The full poem being quoted by Kirk is titled:  “Sea Fever” and was written by John Masefield
I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way, where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.
Now personally, I’m a land-lubber, but even I can appreciate the sentiment of beauty, strength, grace, and hope in commanding a tall-ship and a loyal crew facing the vast challenge of the open ocean – which at that time must have seemed as immense as all of outer space now seems to us.  —  KMAB]
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This weekend I watched three movies – one DVD and two on-line: “The Jericho Mile” (1979), “Bruce Lee – The Legend” (1977), and “Woman of the Year” (1942).  They are all good movies for very different reasons.
The Jericho Mile” stars Peter Strauss as Rain Murphy, a man serving life for murdering his father.  The movie has multiple themes: crime, racism, friendship, corruption, justice and (mainly) running.  Rain is serving his time by running around the exercise yard of Folsom Prison.  He is fast and it gets noticed.  There are three rival racial factions in the prison: the Whites, the Blacks and the Hispanics.  Rain’s black friend and training partner runs afoul of the White gang and is murdered.  The gang tells the Black gang it was Rain’s fault and the leader of the gang beats up Rain.  Behind the scenes, the warden and the prison psych want to use Rain to inspire other prisoners to rehabilitate themselves and arrange for Rain to get a chance to run against some college runners in the hopes of getting a shot at qualifying for the USA Olympic Team.
My favorite line in the movie belongs to Murphy.  After getting beaten up, he promises to nail the Black gang leader for insulting his friend/brother and the leader asks Rain what he intends to do after that.  Rain, who is badly beaten and struggling to breathe, let alone stand up, replies: “I gotta finish my workout.
It is a terrific movie which I saw in it’s original broadcast back in 1979 (as a “Movie of the Week”).  The final running scene set against the Rolling Stones “Sympathy for the Devil” instrumental is a cinema classic (as far as I’m concerned”).  The movie just appeared up on YouTube.com, so you better go see it while it’s still up there!  Strauss won an Emmy for this role.  The movie won a total of three.
Bruce Lee – The Legend” is a documentary about the life and art (martial and theatrical) of Bruce Lee.  This is the first time I’ve seen the documentary and it’s a typical promotion of a dead star by the Chinese movie industry.  Having said that, the individual scenes of Bruce getting interviewed for a job and his describing Jeet Kune Do – the martial arts system Bruce created – is truly outstanding.  If you are interested in the background of a martial arts legend, this is a good place to start.  The question will always remain if Bruce was truly a great martial artist or just a handsome and charismatic actor who was also a superior athlete and martial artist.  Because there is no record (at least I’m not aware of any record) of Bruce Lee appearing in a “real” mixed martial art competition, I’m afraid it’s a question which will never be answered.  I watched this movie on HULU.com, which is a pretty good source of current TV shows and
Woman of the Year” stars Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy.  The film was their first movie together and their chemistry is obvious.  The movie is a about two competing newspaper writers – one on politics and the other on sports.  They meet.  Fall in love.  Marry.  And then the problems begin.  While the movie has some tremendously funny moments – especially when Hepburn’s character attempts to cook Tracy’s character breakfast, the movie is symptomatic of its time and has an incredibly sexist message that ultimately, every woman, no matter how successful, must ultimately define herself within her role as a wife (and eventual mother).  My daughter Sarah watched the movie with Hil and me and I asked her about this message.  She said she really didn’t see it that way at all and it was “just” a funny, but unrealistic movie.  I asked her why, and she replied, “One, she never would have married that far beneath her; and, two, she wouldn’t be able to stay home and live on only his salary when it was obvious she had a much more important (and well paying) job than he did.”  From the mouth of babes……
As I said, all three are entertaining movies for entirely different reasons, but I recommend all three – particularly “The Jericho Mile“.
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