From LA to LV for a Week

I returned back to LA to LV tonight.  My plane was delayed by 45 minutes on the tarmac.  I’m hot and sweaty as it was high of 98 today.  I sat next to a tall British guy.  It’s only spring, but feels more like summer.  It was nice to get back to LA and see people I haven’t seen for a while.  I’m looking forward to sleeping in my own bed tonight.  I’m tired and need to go to bed.  I’m also looking forward to getting back into the grind of my weekly routine.  I’m now a master at using Uber.  I’m looking even more forward to the weekend and not traveling.  Until more later and goodnight everyone.

2019

Poem: Just Enough of an Itch

I know the itch I can’t reach.

I know the one. 

It’s on my back just far enough away.

My fingers can’t get to it no matter how much I want to relieve it.

I run to any person nearby to scratch it.

She misunderstands me.

I run to the next person, and he can’t follow orders either.

I think people should listen more.

No one else sees me because their backs are turned.

I feel it’s done purposely.

There are garbage cans on every corner.

They stink including the forks with food caked on them.

A used napkin is good enough in desperation.

I shouldn’t litter even though food will stick to my hand.

Nothing to see here as my arm reaches behind me.

You cross my mind as I get some relief.

The itch has stopped.

I know the one, returning when I least expect it.

2019

 

Documentary Recommendation: The Untold History of the United States (2012-2013)

Quote from The Untold History of the United State by Oliver Stone: “Americans, like people everywhere, are in thrall to their visions of the past, rarely realizing the extent to which their understanding of history shapes behavior in the here and now.  Historical understanding defines people’s very sense of what is thinkable and achievable.  As a result, many have lost the ability to imagine a world that is substantially different from and better than what exists today.”

untoldhistory

Executive Producers: Carlos Guillermo, Chris Hanley, Oliver Stone, Tara Tremaine, Robert S. Wilson, Serge Lobo, and Rob Wilson

Director: Oliver Stone

Writers: Matt Graham, Peter Kuznick, and Oliver Stone

Major Cast: Oliver Stone, Alan Shearman, Jm Ward, André Sogliuzzo, Chris Cox, Chris Edgerly, Alex Veadov, Daniel Hagen, Greg Berg, Mark Jeffrey Miller, Tim Russel, Mark Ivanir, Jeff Bergman, Jack Blessing, Michelle Bruce, Bill Farmer, and Eidan Hanzel

Rating: Not Rated but would say TV-MA

Episodes: 12

Running Time: 58 minutes per episode

*******

Whether you like or hate or somewhere in between Oliver Stone for whatever reasons, he will continue to be interested in history and how the U.S. influenced the world.  This 12 part documentary covers elections, wars, ideas, competition, and domination that you probably won’t find in high school history books.  It starts with World War II and Franklin Roosevelt’s relationship with Joseph Stalin.  It progresses into the time after the war when Democrats were scared of Henry Wallace and Britain’s desire to maintain their colonies.  The third episode focuses on the atomic bomb and Harry Truman’s entry into politics.  The Cold War and Joseph McCarthy’s anti-Communist tirades dominate the late 1940s into the early 1950s.  It continues with Dwight Eisenhower and his fight against Communist influence.  We head into John F. Kennedy and the CIA’s failure in Cuba regarding Bay of Pigs.  When JFK dies, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon are all guns blazing into the Vietnam War.  The eighth episode blazes past Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan and his strained relationship with Mikhail Gorbachev.  There is a shift when George Bush and Bill Clinton are sworn in regarding how America is viewed by the world.  The Iraq and Afghanistan Wars lead us into a state of heightened security especially after 9/11.  Barack Obama is the last episode where security and economy are the two most important issues during his presidency.   There were two prologue episodes during the early 1900s including World War I, Russian Revolution, Woodrow Wilson, and Smedley Butler.  If Oliver Stone is correct that invasions often turn into long, unnecessary wars, started from greed, superiority, and narcissism, then many suffer directly and indirectly including demonstrators and revolutionaries if that occurs.  I found most interesting his question of how much one country should try to influence another whether it be for dominance or altruistic reasons.  It appears when it comes to U.S political elections and results, the jockeying for influence and power is still with us, and more so than ever with twitter debates and news coverage.  Does it really matter who is ahead and who is doing what when it comes to space exploration, technological advancement, economic power, and social influence?  To a degree, yes, because cyber attacks should be taken seriously.  And yes because we live in a time of nuclear weapons.  And even more of a yes because I’d rather not have any country invade another one for reasons not substantiated.  And yes the concept of warfare and political dominance have been around for so long that it’s become a part of our social makeup, but remaining static is not good either.  I watched this because I like history, but these were some of the questions Stone offered.  In case your wondering, I’m undecided on who I would like to see elected as the next President of the United States.  Yet, I’m looking forward to seeing how it all materializes.

I rate The Untold History of the United States GREAT at 90%

pcratingfour

2019

 

TV Show Recommendation: A Crime to Remember (2013-)

Quote from Kurt Vonnegut: “Being a humanist means trying to behave decently without expectation of rewards or punishment after you are dead.”

acrimetoremember

This ID (Investigation Discovery) show recreates crimes in between the 1920s and 1970s.  It is told by the viewpoint of someone living during that time period as well as those involved in the crime who survived, conducted the investigations, and others associated with it in some way.  The archival footage also supplements as the criminal investigation comes to a close and you find out who is responsible for the murder.  For many of us who were not living during this time, it’s a window in the past.  The first three seasons can be seen on Hulu and season four and five are on Amazon video.  You can also watch the episodes on the ID GO app.  Long live the ability to stream.

*******

Creator: Christine Connor

Executive Producers: Christine Connor, Lee Beckett, Christopher K. Dillon,  and John Block

Directors: Ellen Greven, Jeremiah Crowell, Nicholas McCarthy, Lisa Robinson, Christopher Dillon, Tony Glazer, Ido Funk, and Tim O’Connor

Writers: Christine Connor, Elisa Greven, Chloë Boxer, Bruce Bennett, Nocholas McCarthy,  Cruz Angeles, Sarah Hodgson, Alrick Brown, Annie J. Howell, Alex MacInnes, Nicole Cattell, Kathleen McLaughlin, Jeremiah Crowell, and Maria Bea Travis

Major Cast: Marc A. Hermann, Michelle McNamara, John Mirabella, James Zeiss, Joni E. Johnston, Kurt Grube, Steve Machita, Robert Nicolay, Francis Reilly, Thom Waclawik, Jonathan Katzoff, Damir Mrkulic, Vincent Yacovelli, Matthew Bochman, and Steven Weiss

Rating: NA but I would say TV-MA

Episodes: 6 season one and 8 season two through five

Running Time: 43 minutes

2019

 

Book Recommendation: When to Rob a Bank

“The most remarkable thing is that even after we figured out our eleven-cent contribution, we still felt good about the fact that we had saved a little patch of land as big as the room we were eating breakfast in.”

-Steven D. Levitt-

“It’s a lesson in opportunity cost: if you spend all your time catching the little fish, you won’t have time-or develop the technique, or the patience-to ever catch the big ones.”

-Stephen Dubner-

whentorobabank.jpg

 

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks

Original Publication: May 5, 2015

Reprint Publication: May 10, 2016

Page Number: 387

This is the last book I’m going to recommend by Levitt and Dubner.  I promise.  The end.  They again focused on economic subjects and personal interests.  Some I found less exciting to read about such as poker, golf, NFL, and the Pittsburgh Steelers.  I did find much more interesting the coverage of the taxes, voting, tipping, gas prices, greenness, crime rates, gangs, guns, prostitution, homelessness, and pirates.  It’s basically a book about rants and suggestions, as they comment on the cover, in the form of their best blog entries.  I definitely didn’t agree with everything they wrote including their views about changing how voting is conducted and the same with their views about gas prices.   I happened to read this primarily while on the stationary bike, but feel free to read it while not exercising.  You’ll probably find yourself less re-reading of sentences like I had to do.  Enjoy.

2019

Book Recommendations: Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles

It’s been a long time since I’ve read Anne Rice’s books.  Like with Stephen King, I stopped about halfway through one her books and never picked it up again.  It’s still sitting somewhere half read with her signature on one of the first few pages.  I’ve only read four of them from The Vampire Chronicles series and highly recommend them because they are well written and completely engaging.  I’m not sure about the rest of them, but I couldn’t get through Memnoch the Devil.  The reason escapes me, but it must have been something to do with changing of what I wanted to read.  The first book focuses on a vampire called Louis and his relationship with other vampires during the late 1700s in New Orleans and Paris.  The second book focuses on Lestat’s Parisian roots and goes back and forth in time from the late 1700s to the 1980s.  The third book focuses on Akasha, mother of all vampires, and how she came to be and remained powerful.  The fourth book focuses on Lestat’s quest to find meaning in what he is and becomes friends with David Talbot.

Interview with the Vampire was published in 1976 by Knopf and is 371 pages hardcover and 342 paperback.

The Vampire Lestat was published in 1985 by Knopf and is 560 pages long.

The Queen of the Damned was published in 1988 by Knopf and is 448 pages.

The Tale of the Body Thief was published in 1992 by Knopf and is 448 pages.

ar5

Memnoch the Devil is the fifth book in The Vampire Chronicles.  Again, I got about halfway through it.  Again, I think it was a mixture of finding other things to read and it wasn’t as captivating as the previous four.  I’m willing to give it a shot again, but just not right now.  It focuses on Lestat and David, as well as Lestat’s meeting with Memnoch.  It was published by Knopf in 1995 and is 354 pages.

This is where I have nothing to offer about these books except they are continuations of vampires and themes found in the previous five novels including life and death, loyalty and betrayal, spirituality and religion, and ruins of immortality and lust.  I did read one complaint that dominated and that is the change in Lestat’s speaking style.  Some readers perceived him as whiny.  If you happen to read any of them, let me know what you think.

The Vampire Armand was published by Knopf in 1998 and is 387 pages hardcover and 400 and 520 pages paperback.

Merrick was published by Knopf in 2000 and is 307 pages.

Blood and Gold was published by Knopf in 2001 and is 480 pages.

Blackwood Farm was published by Knopf in 2002 and is 544 pages.

Blood Canticle was published by Knopf in 2003 and is 320 pages.

Prince Lestat was published by Knopf in 2014 and is 464 pages.

Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis was published by Knopf in 2016 and is 480 pages hardcover.

Blood Communion: A Tale of Prince Lestat was published by Knopf in 2018 and is 272 pages hardcover.

2019

 

Coloring

10 Circles

10circlescopy

pc2019

10 Movies I Shouldn’t Have Watched but Did Between 2000 to 2015

Watch these movies at your own discretion.  I am not responsible for time lost or gained.

Hard Candy (2005) was one I struggled with and thought was overall bad from start to finish.  It was casting, story, and pacing all rolled into one.  There wasn’t enough suspense to keep me engaged.  I understand Hayley’s how to catch a predator mission, but it could’ve been more effective had it focused less on that.  I didn’t get a good sense of who had the real power.  It seemed to sort of fall into her lap throughout the movie.  The ending with Sandra Oh?  What a waste.  Enough said.  It stars Patrick Wilson, Ellen Page, Sandra Oh, Odessa Rae, and G.J. Echternkamp.  It is rated R for disturbing violent and aberrant sexual content involving a teen, and for language.

hardcandy

Alone in the Dark (2005) was entertaining to a tiny point, but bad because there’s a supernatural detective in it.  What is a supernatural detective?  I’ll tell you.  This kind of detective finds paranormal subjects and lets them meet their justice.  Think about human experimentation, paranormal, and demonic creatures to complete this not very believable story.  The door has now opened.  It stars Christian Slater, Tara Reid, Stephen Dorff, and Frank C. Turner.  It is rated R for violence and language.

aloneinthedark

Daddy Day Care (2003) had decent actors and actresses, but Daddy Day Care versus Chapman Academy is a little far-fetched.  It’s clear those in charge wouldn’t have an abundance of parents leaving their children in their care.  The good thing about this movie is Eddie Murphy and Steve Zahn but the laughs are few and far between.  It also stars Anjelica Huston, Regina King, and Jeff Garlin.  It is rated PG for language.

daddydaycare

Return to Sender (2015) was okay as it had some promise, but then it completely went off the rails by the end of it.  The character’s profession did not match her actions.  Sure, there are secrets healthcare professionals have, but not to this extent.  Strong beginning, but weak ending.  It stars Rosamund Pike, Shiloh Fernandez, Nick Nolte, and Camryn Manheim.  It is not rated but has adult material not suitable for children.

returntosender.jpg

Tree of Life (2011) is one I thought I’d like, but didn’t because it was too back and forth without making much sense.  I like to consider myself pretty good at understanding concepts in movies, but I needed a little more clarity and direction in this one.  Sure, it had spiritual and natural elements, but the ugly wasn’t ugly enough.  It stars Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain, Hunter McCracken, and Fiona Shaw.  It is rated PG-13 for some thematic material.

thetreeoflife

Twilight (2008) is the movie where vampires sparkle and the dialogue includes all the words tweens recognize.  Everyone wants to be bitten by Edward and protected by Jacob.  Remember the ridiculous looking wig Taylor Lautner wore?  I won’t deny I saw New Moon and Eclipse, but I stopped there.  What was I thinking?  Just think if it wasn’t for this series, there would be no Shades trilogy.  It stars Kristen Stewart, Billy Burke, Taylor Lautner, Robert Pattinson, Ashley Greene, Jackson Rathbone, Kellan Lutz, and Nikki Reed.   It is rated PG-13 for some violence and a scene of sensuality.

twilight

Stealth (2005) is one I saw in the theater with someone I’ve apologized to bringing him there more than a few times.  This movie failed because artificial intelligence danger in the form of an unmanned fighter jet needs a little more substance.  Getting shot down in enemy territory still needs something else to accompany it.  There just wasn’t enough.  It stars Jamie Foxx, Jessica Biel, Josh Lucas, Sam Shepard, Joe Morton, and Wentworth Miller.  It is rated PG-13 for intense action, some violence, brief strong language and innuendo.

stealth

White Chicks (2004) can’t be taken seriously because look at Shawn and Marlon Wayans’ faces.  They are trying to pass as two young socialites in this movie with their zombie like eyes and rubber faces.  Even if we are to suspend reality here, it’s about disgraced agents needing to work their way back in the ranks of their agency.  I’m okay with this, but less makeup please.  It stars Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Jaime King, Brittany Daniel, and John Heard.  It is rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, language, and some drug content.

whitechicks

Catwoman (2004) was obviously not memorable because I hardly remember it.  Therefore, I am putting it into this category.  As we all know, comic book fans will rip an adaptation apart if it doesn’t keep the candle lit.   What I do remember is her petting a black cat that appears in her apartment and the rest is downhill from there.  It stars Halle Berry, Benjamin Bratt, Sharon Stone, and Lambert Wilson.  It is rated PG-13 for action violence and some sensuality.

catwoman

Coyote Ugly (2000) is the movie where liquor, women, and dancing come together and all because a NYC transplant didn’t rocket into a singing career as she hoped.  Lucky for us she meets a wannabe record agent and now has to become a bartender.  Another important question is how do you afford an apartment in NYC on the salary of a bartender?  It stars Piper Perabo, Adam Garcia, Maria Bello, Tyra Banks, Bridget Moynahan, Izabella Miko, and John Goodman.  It is rated PG-13 for sensuality.

coyoteugly

2019

Netflix Documentary Recommendation: Saving Capitalism (2017)

savingcapitalism2

Executive Producers: Steven Firestone, Nick Morton, Rick Rosenthal, Justin Schein, Stephen M. Silberstein, and Ryan Smith

Directors: Jacob Kornbluth and Sari Gilman

Major Cast: Robert Reich

Rating: TV-PG

Running Time: One hour and 13 minutes

*******
The one thing I got from this documentary is that if American politicians as creators and enforcers of policy really care about the bottom rungs of society as they are about the very top without many of their constituents laughing from all sides, then there has to be an overhaul of how Washington is influenced and run.  As I continued watching Saving Capitalism, taken from Robert Reich’s book by the same name, he offers some insight into what broke apart the “American Dream.”  Now that the bubble has broken and the contents have fallen more on the negative than positive side, he offers not a solution but the promise by talking with younger generations in the hope of a better run America.  He points out how American capitalism can function as intended.  It’s clear people should have a legitimate right to this economic growth.  It’s clear there is fracturing within both parties resulting from their disillusionment of the American political system including the greed of Wall Street where certain taxpayers are targeted.  I wish it had gone a little more in-depth with solutions and facts, but Reich even regrets not trying harder in his earlier years.  We aren’t at the point of being completely shattered, but I’d prefer no more breaking to occur.  I’m like many people, who can see an ideal end game, but leaving others to hopefully steer America on a modified, better path.
*******
Here’s a few quotes by Ray Dalio, an American billionaire investor, about capitalism.

raydalioquote2

raydalioquote

I rate Saving Capitalism GOOD at 80%

pcratingthree

2019

 

10 Movies I Liked That Many Did Not Between 2000 to 2015

Sanctum (2011) highlights the fear of many people: being trapped somewhere without a way out.  As Frank McGuire and his team find out, nature and human survival can bring out the worst and best in people.  The questions of will they survive and who does survive is why you watch this.  It stars Richard Roxburgh, Ioan Gruffudd, Rhys Wakefield, Alice Parkinson, Dan Wyllie, and Christopher James Baker.  It is rated R for language, some violence and disturbing images. 

sanctum

The Fountain (2006) is about the past, present, and future.  The three stories include love, immortality, and fate with elements of fantasy and spirituality.  The first story centers on a conquistador and his captured queen.  The second story deals with a researcher and his dying wife.  The third story involves a space traveler on a personal journey.  As the stories intersect with each other, the meaning of life and death is the basis of this movie.  It stars Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz, Ellen Burstyn, Mark Margolis, Stephen McHattie, Cliff Curtis, Sean Patrick Thomas, Donna Murphy, and Ethan Suplee.  It is rated PG-13 for some intense sequences of violent action, some sensuality and language.

thefountain.jpg

Eight Legged Freaks (2002) is about a common phobias to cross the minds of people.  Spiders are fast moving suckers, and now are a much bigger menace for a small town called Prosperity.  Two of the townspeople, Chris Mccormack and Sam Parker, have no choice but to rally those brave enough to go head to head with these behemoths.  It stars David Arquette, Kari Wuhrer, Scott Terra, Scarlett Johansson, Doug E. Doug,  and Rick Overton.  It is rated PG-13 for sci-fi violence, brief sexuality and language.

eightleggedfreaks

John Carter (2012)  is about a Confederate Army captain and the time when he was transported onto another planet called Barsoom.  There he gains powers beyond human ability.  This allows him acceptance on Barsoom, finding friends and a love interest, but predict the unpredictable.  There are others not happy he’s there, and now has to scramble to save himself no matter what planet he’s on.  It stars Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Samantha Morton, Willem Dafoe, Thomas Haden Church, Mark Strong, Ciarán Hinds, Dominic West, James Purefoy, and Daryl Sabara.  It is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action.

johncarter
House of Wax (2005) is definitely a guilty movie of mine I’ve seen too many times.  It involves six friends who find themselves on a little detour in a small town called Ambrose.  As they explore Ambrose, everyone realizes the town isn’t what it appears.  There’s enough cheesiness for everyone in this movie.  Besides, how can I pass up a movie with Paris Hilton?  Better question, where’s the popcorn?  It stars Elisha Cuthbert, Chad Michael Murray, Brian Van Holt, Paris Hilton, Jared Padalecki, Jon Abrahams, Robert Ri’chard, and Damon Herriman.  It is rated R for horror violence, some sexual content and language.

houseofwax

The Gunman (2015) is about a sniper who goes into hiding after a successful mission. Terrier returns to the Congo on a job, but has to go back into hiding when it is clear certain people want him dead.  He works from the start to find out who is trying to kill him and innocent people close by.  It stars Sean Penn, Jasmine Trinca, Javier Bardem, Ray Winstone, Mark Ryland, and Idris Elba. It is rated R for strong violence, language and some sexuality.

thegunman

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012) is about the end of the world in the form of an asteroid.  People have named it Matilda, and she’s hurtling towards Earth ready to kill.  What would you do in the last weeks of your life?  Dodge decides to find his high school girlfriend with his neighbor.  Long live the past.  It stars Steve Carell, Keira Knightley, Adam Brody, and Connie Britton.  It is rated R for language including sexual references, some drug use and brief violence.

seekingafriend.jpg

G-Force (2009) is about a team of elite guinea pigs, mole, and fly on a mission for the US government because we all know you can train any of them to be a part of a FBI team.   With the help of animals they meet along the way, they devise a plan to win the war against a billionaire and his household appliances.  It stars Bill Nighy, Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Kelli Garner, and Tyler Patrick Jones.  It is rated PG for some mild action and rude humor.

gforce.jpg

Along Came Polly (2004) is about a newly married man, Reuben, who is unlucky in love.  He reunites with a high school classmate and goes on a few dates, but he’s too rigid to let things naturally evolve.  It doesn’t help that his friend, Sandy, is an embarrassment and often gives him bad advice.  It stars Ben Stiller, Jennifer Aniston, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Debra Messing, Alec Baldwin, and Hank Azaria.  It is rated PG-13 for sexual content, language, crude humor and some drug references.

alongcamepolly

Run All Night (2015) is about a been around the block a few times hit man, Jimmy Conlon.  Things get complicated when his old boss, Shawn, is out for blood.  The cat and mouse game plays throughout the night.  It stars Liam Neeson, Ed Harris, Joel Kinnaman, and Boyd Holbrook.  It is rated R for strong violence, language including sexual references, and some drug use.

runallnight.jpg

2019

%d bloggers like this: