"When faced with a problem you do not understand,
do any part of it you do understand; then look at it again."
~(Robert A. Heinlein - "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress")

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Friday, October 14, 2016

Dead Man Switch ...

... in case something happens to me.

I see at least THREE ways that the financial situation described in "Abyss" can KILL me; two of which are ...

a) Heart failure or stroke, from tension (of which there is a LOT). I have had blood pressure issues as far back as 1984, when I was suffering from flu and a visit to the Davis Clinic (in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan) resulted in Dr. Jennifer Kozar declaring, "To HELL with your flu; your BLOOD PRESSURE is in the STROKE range". Well, she DID get my attention, and I've dealt with THAT until my IT job was outsourced in 2004 and I went into early retirement; doctors and prescriptions becoming luxuries I could no longer afford.

b) Accident, caused by near constant worry dominating my attention.

The "Dead Man Switch" is a mechanism for AUTOMATIC action if I don't PREVENT it.

I can write a blog post ("THIS is probably what KILLED me"), detailing the circumstances that most likely led to my demise, and set it to be published two weeks later.

I can also write a notification email, to the 20 or 30 people to whom I normally tell about new posts, and set IT for two weeks later.

THIS way, when the time comes, it wont matter if my computer is online or even working; my little bombs are ALREADY on commercial servers that are backed up and maintaind by competent IT staff. They WILL go off, UNLESS I intervene.

Each week, I can log on to update, reschedule release another week down the line, or cancel if I no longer deel the need for this.

If I CANNOT log on, bacause of computer problems or whatever, I have a solid week before detonation to deal with it. If I can't fix the problem, I can go to a branch library and use one of their computers.

I think THAT will work.

Since few people ever bother checking links to other posts, what follows is the "Abyss" post, in it's entirety. It's what this situation is all about.

Abyss ... - UPDATE - 20 SEP 2016
... to be close enough to gaze down into it, without leaning forward, is NOT a  good feeling.

It's been awhile since I posted anything new on this blog. I've got a LOT on my plate, financially.

You may have noticed that I've just restored the PayPal  "Medical Donation" button near the top of the left column on this page. I've had that button up a couple of times before.

In mid 2013, I tripped and fell in my apartment, catching my right arm on a table and broke the humerus bone near my shoulder. That cost me two months of lost work (and the pay), and loaded  me with about $6,000.00 worth of hospital bills that I paid on, a little bit at a time.

In early 2015, my car began experiencing major problems, rendering it undriveable, and I had to walk (with difficulty because of lower back pain) and ride the bus. I was planning on using an expected tax refund to get it fixed. BUT, on the Memorial Day weekend, I slipped in some mud at a bus stop, fell HARD, and fractured my right ankle and tibia. ANOTHER lost couple of months and several  thousands of dollars MORE in hospital bills.

My income is early retirement Social Security (which did NOT increase a single penny this year), and the meager earnings as a part-time grocery cashier. I'm getting FEWER hours because my age and pain makes it almost impossible to keep up with other cashiers maybe a third my age. This affects my productivity, which in turn affects how many hours I get scheduled.  Consequently, my income is going DOWN, while everything else is going UP.

I used to say that I bleed financially when I get fewer than 20 hours per week. Now, 25 is a more
accurate figure.

The bleedind has reached a CRISIS point, where, in a few weeks, I  may have to refrain payments on
some of my accounts, at which point things will REALLY HIT THE FAN.

I think the sanest option for me is to clear the decks with Chapter 7. I have an absolutely CRUSHING  load of credit card debt, built up over YEARS, and it is literally KILLING me. Disposing of it will NOT put me into LUXURY, but elimination of interest payments on those accounts will at least permit me to LIVE.

I figure it will take me about a month to get ready to file (LOTS to do, including the MOTHER OF ALL PAPERWORK).

From what I've researched, the lawyer fees, and filing fees could run somewhere from twelve to
fifteen hundred dollars. I'm damn near BROKE at present. And, I suspect that an attorney who
doesn't insist on HIS fee up front is probably NOT someone you would trust with this.

SO, I've restored that button (PayPal) in hope of help. Alternatively, a check can be mailed to
 Paul Gordon
 3433 West Dallas St, Apt. 1102
 Houston, Texas 77019

 Email: gordpnp@airmail.net

I'm NOT really expecting much; I know most of you have problems of your own.

But, if you CAN help a bit, Thank you.

I'm asking for donations to help me go bamkrupt.

If THAT doesn't redefine IRONY, I don't know WHAT will.  :-)

UPDATE - 1750 CDT 20 SEP 2016 - Well, it's been two weeks now, and my plea for help has resulted in three donation; two via PayPal and one very nice check. Unfortunately, I'm nowhere NEAR ready to deal with the fees for Chapter 7.

To JP, MM, and AK: Your donations have pushed doomsday  a couple of months further down the road, and my gratitude is inexpressible.

Thank you.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Shaking our tree.

- 04 Oct 1957 - SPUTNIK!!!

This little dingbat scared the Hell out of many of us then ...
from citizenship typepad.com

Nothing but a polished metal sphere of 585 mm (23 inches) diameter with a mass of 83.6 kilograms (184 lb) and carrying only a radio transmitter, it definitely got our attention.

THEY got there FIRST! Oh, Man!!!

You see, this was the thrilling days of yesteryear when the Soviet Union was ruled by Nikita "We will bury you" Khrushchev who, just the year before, had sent columns of tanks into Hungary to crush a rebellion there (just his way of stating "THAT is a NO-NO!").

The days of "Duck and cover" drills in public schools (not at all insane; if a nuke hit several miles away instead of on top of you, that could make the difference between surviving versus being shredded by glass blown in by the shock wave if all you did was just stand there and gawk at the explosion. Nukes are powerful, but not infinitely powerful. They can be survived, and have been. See reports of Hiroshima and Nagasaki for hard evidence. (Although, in an essay on civil defense, Robert A. Heinlein advocated situational awareness (paying attention to what's going on in the world) and summed up surviving the bomb in seven words: "Don't be there, when it goes off!" ))

That innocent looking thing was placed into orbit by ...
from on6wj-sputnik.blogspot.com

... the R-7 launcher (for a long time referred to as T-3), which evolved from an ICBM whose primary purpose was to transport a thermonuclear bomb from Point A (somewhere in the Soviet Union) to Point B (somewhere in the USA).

The local newspapers ...
San Antonio Light, 05 Oct 1957 - from newspaperarchive.com

... published times of when to see it in the morning or evening, when it would be brightly lit by the sun.

To read or hear about the Soviets (listening to the radio when they were stomping on the rebellion in Hungary was heart-wrenching) while they were on the other side of the world was bad enough, but a bit abstract.

To walk out into your back yard and actually see this bright little silver dot in the sky slowly moving overhead, and realizing there they are;  well, that's a whole 'nother story.

(Originally published  1239 CST,  03 OCT 2012)

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

CALL it "The Freedom Tower" ...

... Not that mind-numbing bureaucratese of "One World Trade Center".

(Originally published 1404 CDT 10 SEP 2011 - Updated below)

"Freedom Tower" is what it was originally meant to be called anyway, until somebody got their panties in a twist and thought that such a name would be a gigantic Foxtrot Yankee to those who tried to bring us down. (Sounds to me like an excellent reason to so name it.)

From the Wikipedia entry (for what that's worth) ...
In 2009, the Port Authority changed the name of the building from "Freedom Tower" to "One World Trade Center", stating that this name is the "easiest for people to identify with".

All I can say is (EXPLETIVE DELETED!!!).

I saw a NOVA special on TV a few nights ago, all about the design and construction of the  1 WTC Building (They've already forgotten the original name) and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

The Presence of Absence ...
That's what the architect of the memorial said it was to evoke;  the sense of loss in the footprints of the original twin towers.

That's not a bad description of what appears to be the attitude of Obama and many of his minions who will appear at the 10th anniversary on 11 Sep 2011.  An attitude of "Let's put this behind us and move on." ;  a good sentiment in some circumstances, but in this context almost like saying that the Holocaust Museum should never have been built.

In the Shadow of the Freedom Tower ...
To add to the mix, we also have the Ground Zero mosque, except we're not supposed to call it that on account of it ain't located directly on the former World Trade Center site, Ground Zero, nor is it primarily a mosque,  ("A rose by any other name ...")

Although the City of New York refused to let a Greek Orthodox church that was destroyed at Ground Zero be rebuilt, they appear to have no problem with this abomination.

Maybe some solace can come from the fact that its location, about two blocks northeast of the Freedom Tower suggests that in the fall (around Sep 11), each afternoon it will lie in the shadow of the tower.

So, where are we now? ...
I don't have a date for the picture on the left, but it would probably be several months ago. The two open squares will be the memorial (hopefully completed tomorrow 11 Sep 2011). The picture on the right is how the tower should look when completed a couple of years from now.  (All images in this post are from www.nyc-tower.com )

This one is dated 24 Aug 2011

And this was taken on 01 Sep 2011 - coming right along.

Where was I on that fateful day? ...
The same place most of you were;  at work that Tuesday morning 11 Sep 2001.  Being in IT, they tolerated my occasional surfing of the internet, but it was other workers who urged me to check out the CNN website that morning; something about an airplane crashing into one of the World Trade Center towers.

I immediately thought it was a horrible accident, with Murphy's Law working at peak efficiency that it would be the tallest thing in Manhattan to be hit.  Indeed, that even made sense as it would be a more likely thing to happen because of its height.

I had read, many times, about the July 1945 incident in which a USAAF B-25 Mitchell bomber tried to land in zero visibility (because of fog) at LaGuardia Airport and the pilot became disoriented and crashed into the Empire State Building between the 78th and 80th floors.  At the moment, I felt that, because of the proliferation of tall buildings near landing approaches, such an accident was almost inevitable sooner or later.

Of course, that second plane hitting the other tower made it painfully clear what had really taken place.

The most horrific part was when the South Tower collapsed.  Most of the people killed would have been those trapped on the upper floors.  By that time, the ones below would have already been evacuated, with the only people still below being responders and others desperately trying to reach those still trapped.

What a horrible word is "only" when applied to people like that. The most merciful thing in their case was that when the rumbling started, they probably barely had time to wonder "What the Hell is that?" before it was over.  It was half an hour later before the North Tower went, and I believe that rescue people were still trying their level best there, knowing all too well what could happen and being totally aware when it did.

A year later, I took a driving vacation and, among other places, visited the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

On display in one wing of the museum was a U-2 reconnaissance plane.  On one wall, curving up from the floor, was a huge aerial photo, taken from that (or a similar) plane, of Manhattan Island.  What you could see so clearly in that photo were the Twin Towers, and it literally took your breath away realizing what was now gone.  I was trying very hard to hold back tears, and I don't think I succeeded. (If any reading this have been to the museum recently, I'd love to know if that photo is still on display.)

Update 27 Jan 2012 - As nobody has volunteered that information, I emailed the museum and received this reply:
Your inquiry of January 26, 2012, regarding an exhibition has been received in the Smithsonian’s Public Inquiry Mail Service for response.

The oblique U-2 photo of the New York metropolitan area in the 1970s is still on view in the Looking at Earth Gallery (110) in the National Air and Space Museum on the National Mall.


Update - Sunday, 09 Sep 2012 - What was, ...
(Couldn't find a date for this picture)

... what is ...
As of April 2012 - from urbanpeek.com 
(The only image in this post not from www.nyc-tower.com )

As of today (Sunday, 09 Sep 2012) - from live camera

The steel structure is complete, with work on glass still proceeding and the spire to follow.

... and what shall be ...

The Tower is scheduled to be ready for occupancy in 2013, and at present has about 55% of its leases filled. The current economy isn't exactly helping, but those who worry about being able to find tenants should recall that the Empire State Building and the original Twin Towers took decades to fill to capacity.

Bottom line, about that name ...
I hope this will be read by bloggers with far greater readerships than my humble 3 or 4 hundred a month, because I beg you to launch a campaign to make "Freedom Tower" the official name of this magnificent structure, or failing that, at least make it the de-facto name.

For my part, from here on out, I shall never refer to it as anything else

If honoring the memory of those who fell there was the only reason, that would be more than enough.


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

"NEVER tell a soldier ... (Updated 28 JUN 2016)

... that he does not know the cost of war."
~Alan Rickman as Lt. General Frank Benson in Eye in the Sky (2015)

One of the official trailers on youtube

Caught this yesterday (26 APR 2016), mainly because it starred Helen Mirren (I'd watch almost anything with her in it), and discovered that her co-star was Alan Rickman (in his last performance before his death from pancreatic cancer on 16 JAN 2016 --- see "... and call off Christmas!!!" )

He picked a fine movie to go out on; a wonderful performance in a truly intelligent film.  He will be truly missed

The questions raised in this movie just don't have any good answers.  It will probably be gone from theaters in another week ot two, but I've seen a July 28 release date for DVD and Blu-Ray.

Update 28 JUN 2016:  That release date above was wrong. It's being released June 28 - TODAY.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

"... and call off Christmas!!!" - (R.I.P. Alan Rickman - 14 JAN 2016)

There actually was something really good in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991).

That something is Alan Rickman, as the Sheriff of Nottingham.

In my previous post, I kinda dumped on The Syfy Channel a bit, for the inclusion of distinctly non-science fiction items in its lineup, including that movie.

(In a conversation with a clerk at Barnes & Noble, I learned that a writer, asking one of the people running The Syfy Channel about why they had changed their name from The "Sci-Fi Channel", was told that "Sci-Fi" is considered shorthand for "Science-Fiction", implying that would be the content;  whereas "Syfy" is in fact just a totally meaningless bit of noise, and gives them license to schedule whatever they wish.  Okay ... )

Back to Alan then.

Of all the people in this movie, he alone appears to be actually having fun, being so deliciously nasty.

After the Sheriff  has said he'll cut out Robin Hood's  heart with a spoon ...
Guy of Gisborne: "Why a spoon, cousin?  Why not an axe?"
Sheriff: "Because it's DULL, you twit.  It'll hurt more."
(Said with a sneer that only Alan Rickman can manage; he has an absolute lock on that.)

Sheriff: (to a wench"You.  My room.  10:30 tonight."
Sheriff: (to another wench"You.  10:45 ... And bring a friend."

Upon hearing from a scribe about the relationship Robin Hood has with the people...
Sheriff: "Just a minute. Robin Hood steals money from my pocket, forcing me to hurt the public,  -- and they love him for it?"
The scribe nods.
Sheriff: "That's it then.  Cancel the kitchen scraps for lepers and orphans, no more merciful beheadings,  -- and call off Christmas!!!"

One thing I'll always wonder: Was that last parting shot scripted?
Or, was Rickman on a roll at that time and he just ad-libbed it?

At times, he seems to be in an entirely different movie than the rest of the cast is, and almost succeeds in making this bloated epic truly watchable.  Unfortunately, as with Ian McShane in the latest "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie, he can't do the job all by himself  (although he does what he can). 

What put him on the map was his role as Hans Gruber (one of the all-time great villains) in Die Hard  (1988), opposite Bruce Willis...

Problem with getting on the map that way is the danger of typecasting.  In Quigly Down Under  (1990), opposite Tom Selleck, he played a villain with a mustache almost fit for twirling.  He seemed to be at the top of any list for playing a back-stabbing, conniving SOB, and got quite a bit of work as such.

But, that's not the only side to him.  Right after "Quigly", he appeared in Truly Madly Deeply (1990), wherein he was a ghost hanging around his girlfriend who really needed to get on with her life, but found it a bit difficult with him and his ghost friends around all the time, watching videos (what else do you do with all that time in the afterlife?)  It was a sweet, warm role totally unexpected for the guy who played Hans Gruber.

His latest work has been as Professor Severus Snape, the "Darth Vader" of the Harry Potter series...

He's actually the most tragic figure in the story, very multi-layered (Yes!  I'm quite aware that I use that phrase a lot;  I'm drawn to characters that rate it).  Rickman succeeds in the challenge of taking a character you've learned to hate, and making you almost weep for him near the end of the last movie.

What can I say?  The man is simply so damned good.
UPDATE Thursday, 14 JAN 2016:  I've just learned that Alan Rickman has left us today...  

...  FAR TOO SOON.  Rest in peace, Sir.  :-(
frown emoticon(Originally published 2102 CST 08 AUG 2011)

Monday, December 14, 2015

"He WON the ones he HAD to."

... Bottom line reply of a couple of British historians on George Washington's military prowess, in response to an argument that, "He LOST more battles than he WON."

I suspect that North Vietnam's General Võ Nguyên Giáp would have understood PERFECTLY. 

During our Bicentennial in 1976, CBS ran a number "Bicentennial Minutes" (short educational American television segments commemorating the bicentennial of the American Revolution). 

In one of them, U.S. Army Colonel Harry G. Summers, Jr. talked of his participation in the Paris Peace Talks, in 1973, as part of the delegation negotiating our withdrawal from Vietnam. At that time, he felt deeply humiliated at being party to what amounted to a surrender on our part. 

He recalled that one time, when leaving the conference room, he tore into one of the Vietnamese delegates, "You know, you never beat us on the battlefield". 

Instead of the argument he was spoiling for, what he got in return was, "That may be so, but it is also irrelevant."

He acknowledged THAT to be "the shortest, most succinct lesson in strategy I have EVER been privileged to hear".

Recently, on The History Channel, I came across Washington the Warrior (2006), (which I now have on order from Amazon). This is an uttelry fascinating look at our first Commander in Chief, which I cannot recommend too highly. There is NOTHING stuffy or boring about him.

To go along with that I would also recommend The Crossing (2000), about Washington's crossing the Delaware to attack a Hessian brigade at Trenton, New Jersey, at a time when his army was almost disintegrated from lack of supplies and support, figuring that the Hessians had everything he was in need of.

Hunt these up and enjoy History at its' best.

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Accountant

"Since the birth of time, humanity has endeavored to restrain evil men in prisons. But since Cain fled the murder of his brother, evil men have fled the walls of punishment.

"So, it doesn't matter if you're a badass motherf****r on the run, because you think you're better than everyone else, and somehow entitled to do what you gotta do.

"No. Because, you see, badass motherf****rs are never fast enough. In the end, they will all be accounted for."

~The Accountant (Satan's Accountant) in the movie Drive Angry (2011) ...

... a movie I truly love, but am hesitant to recommend.  You see, it is R rated for a reason. There are scenes in it that pretty well qualify as porn. But if you can get past that, you'll find that The Accountant more than makes up for that.

John Milton (Nicholas Cage) escapes from Hell (in a black Buick Riviera) to go after some men from a Satanic cult, who have murdered his daughter and taken that daughter's baby to be used as a human sacrifice when the moon is full in a few days.

Milton is pursued by The Accountant (William Fichtner, dressed like a lawyer of coarse :-) who, while never forgetting his primary mission to bring Milton back, decides to help him recover his grandchild when he learns what the cult has done and is preparing to do.

In the third scene of that clip, two young stoners happen upon a crashed car and wonder if anyone is inside, when the door flies off (kicked by The Accountant who was inside) and knocks down the Second Stoner. That scene starts when The Accountant emerges ...

First Stoner:  "Jesus!"
The Accountant:  "-Carpenter. And despite what you've heard, prefers short hair."
Second Stoner:  "You almost fuck**g killed me, man."
The Accountant:  "Not even close. I won't see you again until you're 73."
(to the First Stoner):  "You, I'll see in three months."

It's rare for Nicholas Cage to be upstaged in a movie he's starring in (the best example I can think of being "The Rock", in which he's partnered with Sean Connery) but Fichtner so owns this movie that when he's on scene, the other actors might as well have stayed home.

Now, in truth, WITHOUT Fichtner, I would have classed this movie as VERY mediocre.  But it DOES have him, and that makes all the difference in the world. 

I first saw him in "Heat", where he's mob boss Roger Van Zant, who was the owner of a lot of bearer bonds stolen by Neil McCauley (Robert de Niro). When a deal is made for him to buy them back for an amount that would be covered by insurance money, he double crosses McCauley with an ambush (figuring that the LAST thing he needs is for punks on the street to think it Ok to steal from him). After surviving that ambush, McCauley phones Van Zant to tell him, "Forget the money."
van Zant: "Forget it?!!!  What are you doing?"
McCauley: "What am I doing?  I'm talking to an empty phone.  Because there'a dead man on the other end of it."

Fichtner has been in "Contact", "The Perfect Storm", and many others, and always first class.

But, he appears to be having a real blast playing The Accountant, and admits to exactly that in one of the interviews on the DVD.  You could make a really fine movie just devoted to this character, and I suspect he would be just fine with that.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Six times

When asked by the arraignment judge, “Why did you shoot the man 6 times?"

The woman replied under oath, “Because, when I pulled the trigger the 7th time, it only went click.”

Found on facebook ...

Sadly, the article ends with ...

(Yes, this is a joke. Sort of. Don’t think you can get away with purse snatching in Texas. You can’t. Our women are well-armed, know how to defend themselves, and beautiful. And it’s Texas – the law is on their side.)

Oh, Well. New Texas Urban Legend is born. :-)

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


Apologies to all for my recent whining, posted at the beginning of my "The Martian" post ...
Thanks to my accident just before Memorial Day, I don't get out to movies as often as I used to, or as often as I would like. My current situation (inoperable car, not a snowball's chance in Hell of obtaining the funds to make it usable, being half crippled and sometimes barely able to walk a couple of blocks to a bus stop) makes that arduous and painful.

Some of you know that I am definitely in a "down" right now, but I DO have options.

If I can make it to March, without doing anything drastic and final from pure despair, I might be able to do something about that car, which will be a true Godsend. Because of my age, and my income status, I will very likely get ALL of my Federal withholding tax returned, which looks like it will be a bit over $1200.00. I'm confident that THAT should be enough.

Additionally, the absolutely CRUSHING financial position I'm in right now could be relieved by doing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. I'm not real keen on THAT, as it involves the MOTHER OF ALL PAPERWORK.

But, as an alternative to my final option, it is definitely on the table.

I've had major ups and downs before - a LOT of them. And I'm STILL here.

About thirty years ago, I had such a deep bout of severe depression, I had to see a shrink to avoid losing my job.  Now, she was only doing her job, trying to lift me out of the funk I was in, when she told me that she "saw a survivor. You pulled up stakes and moved halfway across the country to start a new career. Wimps don't do that.".

I treasured that. I HAVE to survive this; if for no other reason, than to avoid proving that lady wrong.

Wish me luck  And, Thanks.  :-)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

War of Worlds Musical

Watching the episode of "Fargo"  I recorded last night, I found a bit of THIS music in it. Sadly, this album appears out iof print; Amazon.com listed ONE new CD at $265.00. If you're interested, you may have no alternative to downloading the music. ...

Narrated by Richard Burton, this is truly an amazing album, well worth the trouble of finding a download of the full album, if that's the ONLY way you can check it out.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Martian

Thanks to my accident just before Memorial Day, I don't get out to movies as often as I used to, or as often as I would like. My current situation (inoperable car, not a snowball's chance in Hell of obtaining the funds to make it usable, being half crippled and sometimes barely able to walk a couple of blocks to a bus stop) makes that arduous and painful.

THIS movie, The Martian (2015), was WORTH the ordeal.
From polarbearstv.com

Astronaut Mark Watney is left behind, presumed dead, after a violent storm has slammed a piece of equipment onto him and forced the rest of the crew to leave before their vehicle is damaged by that storm.

But, in fact he is still alive and has the problem of remaining so for several years before a rescue mission could get there.

For the most part, the science is pretty solid (although SOME liberties are taken, most specifically in the storm that is the CAUSE of the emergency in the first place).

What I particularly liked was the professionalism of the characters in this story. Although they have disagreements, I don't recall any of the stupidity in their actions that you all too often see in movies of this sort.  In short, the movie does not insult your intelligence.

This is director Ridley Scott's best work since "Alien" and "Blade Runner".

Bottom line:  Check it out while it's on a BIG screen, in 3D if you can. :-)


Friday, October 02, 2015

Riders on the Storm ...

... by Jim Morrison and The Doors.

The things you come across when you're looking for something else. While searching for a good video of "Riders on the storm", by Jim Morrison and The Doors, I found THIS piece by Ray Manzarek, keyboardist of The Doors, about how "Riders" came to be ...


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

"Moby Dick":

... The inspiration.

In 1820, the whaling ship Essex was attacked and sunk by a whale. The story inspired Herman Melville to create his masterpiece, "Moby Dick".

Ron Howard's In the Heart of the Sea (2015) covers the Essex story ...

Originally scheduled for a March 2015 release, the studio decided to move it to 11 DEC 2015, to make it more prominent to those who make Academy Award nominations, indicating a very high degree of confidence that they have a winner here.

This is VERY definitely on my "must see" list.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

If you remember THIS song, ...

... then, BOY, are you OLD.  :-)

While the video is obviously of fairly recent vintage, the song by The Four Lads was a #1 hit in 1953)

Monday, September 14, 2015

THIS you can trust.

... the philosophy of movie director John Milius.
He was a great believer in taking care of things yourself.
Conan the Barbarian opens with the casting, forging and tempering of Conan's father's sword, and concludes with the father telling a very young Conan ...
"Fire and wind come from the sky,
"from the Gods of the sky.
"But Crom is your God,
"Crom, and he lives in the Earth."

"Once giants lived in the Earth, Conan.
"And in the darkness of chaos...
"they fooled Crom,
"and they took from him the enigma of steel."

"Crom was angered,
"and the Earth shook.
"And fire and wind struck down those giants,
"and they threw their bodies into the waters."

"But in their rage,
"the Gods forgot the secret of steel and left it on the battlefield."

"And we who found it...
"are just men.
"Not Gods. Not giants.
"Just men."

"And the secret of steel has always carried with it a mystery."

"You must learn its riddle, Conan.
"You must learn its discipline."

"For no one,
"no one in this world can you trust;
"not men, not women, not beasts."

(Pointing to his sword):
"THIS you can trust."

The script for Conan is credited to Milius AND to Oliver Stone, but what I've seen of his movies tells me that speech above is pure John Milius, and describes perfectly his philosophy of life,



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