Gregory Peck Weekend Removed a Few Times

Quote from Moby Dick by Captain Ahab: “Sleep? That bed is a coffin, and those are winding sheets. I do not sleep, I die.”

Quote from On The Beach by Julian Osborne: “In the end, somehow granted the time for examination, we shall find that our so-called civilization was gloriously destroyed by a handful of vacuum tubes and transistors. Probably faulty.”


I regard Gregory Peck as one of the best actors of all time to grace the movie screens.  The first movie I watched him in was To Kill a Mockingbird and he will continue to be a screen legend.  Like this movie, Moby Dick and On the Beach, include pressing societal issues and in the case of Moby Dick, mental issues as well of Captain Ahab.  Peck would be nominated for five Academy Awards in his career and finally won and Oscar for To Kill a Mockingbird.

Moby Dick (1956) is an adventure and drama about Captain Ahab and his quest to get revenge on the white whale who physically injured him, but more to seek revenge for his damaged pride.  It is told from the viewpoint of Ishmael, one of his crew.  I have yet to finish reading the book, which has sat on my shelf for over two decades now.  This story is adapted from Herman Melville’s book, screenplay by Ray Bradbury and John Huston, and Norman Corwin where no credit was given.  It is directed by John Huston and stars Gregory Peck as Captain Ahab, Richard Basehart as Ishmael, Leo Genn as Starbuck, James Robertson Justice as Captain Boomer, Harry Andrews as Stubb, Bernard Miles as The Manxman, Noel Purcell as Ship’s Carpenter, Edric Connor as Daggoo, Mervyn Johns as Peleg, and Royal Dano as Elijah. It doesn’t have a rating and is 1 hour and 56 minutes long.

The film opens with Ismael meeting a Polynesian cannibal named Queequeg.  He along with Queequeg agree to take part of a voyage despite being warned about Captain Ahab.  On the Pequod, there are others who serve as company and some of them comfort to Ishmael including Starbuck, Stubb, Tashtego, Flask, Daggoo, Peleg, Elijah, and Fedallah.  It takes a while for Captain Ahab to appear, but when he does everyone finds out how ruthless and unforgiving he is when it comes to whales.  As they find success on these hunts, stories are bountiful including the real reason Ahab never wants to be on dry land.  The various ships they encounter have stories that paint a bleak picture for them.  Ahab might never find the white whale, but he will continue until the sea or the whale stop him.  When Moby Dick is finally seen, Ahab does everything in his power to weaken the white whale.  The chase is on and after Moby Dick destroys boats and terminates lives, Ahab has no choice but to go eye to eye with him.  The visuals in this movie are stunning, and while it clearly is not an actual whale, the final scene between Moby Dick and Ahab is one I will remember for a long time.  Despite Captain Ahab being a character I would not want to meet, I give Moby Dick a rating of 100% for the acting, direction, production design, and everything else that makes it a perfect movie.

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On the Beach (1958) is a drama and romance about Commander Towers and his duty to his crew and survivors of the radiation fallout after World War III, including Moria Davidson who grabs his attention despite increasing tensions between the two.  This story is adapted from Nevil Shute’s book and screenplay by John Paxton. It is directed by Stanley Kramer and stars Gregory Peck as Cmdr. Dwight Lionel Towers, Ava Gardner as Moira Davidson, Fred Astaire as Julian Osborn, Anthony Perkins as Lt. Peter Holmes, Donna Anderson as Mary Holmes, John Tate as Adm. Bridie, Richard Meikle as Davis, John Meillon as Ralph Swain. It doesn’t have a rating and is 1 hour and 56 minutes long. I would say this is more depressing of the two films because of how death is presented.

The film begins in Australia where devastation from war has killed most of the inhabitants in the northern hemisphere.   It is in the south where people seek refuge including the American Commander Towers.  Most of them know the severity of the situation including Lt. Holmes and encourages his wife to face the fact they might die.   A few remain hopeful that the radiation poisoning will not reach them.  Despite the small chance of finding a few survivors, Towers and his officers sail on the USS Sawfish in search of them.  When they reach the west coast, the reality of the situation becomes authenticated in several ways.  This leads to the officers dealing with the inevitable in their own way whether it be through car racing, romantic getaways, or nostalgic monologues.  As USS Sawfish submerges underwater for the last time, it’s a somber ending to what could have been.  Unlike Captain Ahab, I wouldn’t mind meeting Commander Towers, but not under these circumstances.  The acting in this movie too was perfect.  It didn’t hold my attention as much as Moby Dick, but it was a near perfect movieTherefore, I give On the Beach a rating of 96%.

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2019

 

Top Ten Deadliest Dictators from the Past

dictatorshipI’ve been on a huge history kick lately.  I’ve been watching movies based on historical incidents, shows with historical aspects, and reading various material out there with historical elements.  It’s easier to focus on the glaring downside of political leadership.  For example, dictators who kill with impunity their own people.  While it’s more advantageous to focus on the present and the situations nations and people face today, the past is just as important.    Given the differences of views and jockeying for power within and between the political parties and factions, let’s hope for the best, concerning today’s political climate.  As I recently was told, sometimes you have to disconnect from what is happening on the political stage because the issues will always be there.  Piggybacking on this, changing the angle you’re standing at sometimes helps your perception of the issues.  While they may be the world’s most talked about political leaders and dare I say influential (mostly bad than good), how they came into power and retained power is fascinating.  Here are the top ten deadliest dictators according to World Atlas.  They rank in the order of the number of lives taken, which ranges from the low millions to almost half a billion people, and the worst part is some of them believed they did nothing wrong.

#1 Mao Zedong

“When there is not enough to eat, please starve to death.  It is better to let half the people die so that the other half can eat their fill.”

Mao Zedong was the Chairman of People’s Republic of China from 1946 to 1976.  He is responsible for killing around 47,263,517 of his own people. Of the 47.2 million that died, 36 million was from starvation.  It is known as the Maoist Catastrophe.  Zedong died in 1976 after a heart attack.

#2 Adolf Hitler

“How fortunate for leaders that men do not think.”

Adolf Hitler was the Chancellor of Germany and then Führer of Nazi Germany.  He is responsible for killing an estimated 13,674,790 Jewish Europeans and those he deemed a threat to the “Germanic Europe” he envisioned.  It is known as the Nazi Holocaust, but Soviets, Poles, Roma, Disabled, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Gays, Blacks, and opponents died as well.  Hitler died in 1945 by suicide.

#3 Joseph Stalin

“Death is the solution to all problems.  No man – no problem.”

Joseph Stalin was the General Secretary and revolutionary of the Soviet Union.  He is responsible for killing about 13,038,405 of his own people.  It is known as the Great Purge, meaning he killed anyone who was a threat, but the Gulag and famine killed millions as well.  Stalin died in 1953 of a cerebral hemorrhage.

#4 Chiang Kai-shek

“We live in the present, we dream of the future, and we learn eternal truths from the past.”

Chiang Kai-shek was the military leader and politician of Republic of China. He is responsible for killing around 10,511,124 of his own people under Nationalist rule including Taiwanese during the White Terror.  Chiang died of natural causes in 1975.

#5 Leopold II

“I do not want to miss a good chance to getting us a slice of this magnificent African cake.”

King Leopold II of the Belgians was the sovereign of Congo Free State.  He is responsible for killing an estimated 10,588,090 Congolese Africans.  He brutalized the inhabitants of Congo through starvation, forced labor, and violent deaths.  Leopold II died in 1909 of natural causes.

#6 Hirohito and Hideki Tojo

“They do not depend upon mere legends and myths.  They are not predicated on the false conception that the Emperor is divine and the Japanese people are superior to other races.”

“It goes without saying that when survival is threatened, struggles erupt between peoples, and unfortunate wars between nations result.”

Emperor Hirohito and Prime Minister Hideki Tojo were the leaders of Japan. They are responsible for killing about 9,317,081 under Imperialist rule from East and Southeast Asia, Oceania, and the Pacific.  Hirohito died of duodenal cancer in 1989 and Tojo died in 1948 by execution (hanging).

#7 Pol Pot

Since he is of no use anymore, there is no gain if he lives and no loss if he dies.”

Pol Pot was the leader of Kampuchea (now Cambodia).  He is responsible for killing around 2,039,657 under Khmer Rouge regime.  It is known as the Cambodian Holocaust with mass executions, forced labor, and malnutrition.  Pot died in 1998 of natural causes because other ways suggested have not been confirmed.

#8 Enver Pasha

“You are greatly mistaken.  We have this country absolutely under our control.  I have no desire to shift the blame onto our underlings and I am entirely willing to accept the responsibility myself for everything that has taken place.”

Enver Pasha was Triumvir of the Ottoman Empire (also known as Turkish Empire).  He is responsible for killing about 1,989,284 as leader of the Young Turk Revolution.  It is known as the Armenian Holocaust, which were those who lived in the Ottoman Empire.  Pasha died in 1922 by the Russians although accounts vary of who killed him.

#9 Kim Il-sung

“The most important thing is our war preparations is to teach all our people to hate U.S. imperialism.  Otherwise, we will not be able to defeat the U.S. imperialists who boast of their technological superiority.”

Kim Il-sung was the leader of North Korea.  He is responsible for killing an estimated 1,576,388 of his own people due to oppression from labor camps, starvation, and executions.  Kim died in 1994 of a heart attack.

#10 Nicholas II

“I am not ready to be a tsar.  I know nothing of the business of ruling.”

Nicholas the II was the Czar of the Russian empire.  He is responsible for killing around 1,161,895 of his own people although this number seems low.  His ineffective leadership during the Russian and Austrian war led to massive casualties, as well as deaths resulting from worker revolts.  Nicholas the II died in 1918 by a firing squad along with his immediate family.

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This is by no means exhaustive because when you account for world leaders that aren’t dictators and/or probably care to preserve their political image a little better, especially in today’s world, the offshoots to this are many when you account for other variables.  For the sake of time, simplicity, and statistics, these were the leaders that consistently rank among the top as ruthless and/or careless dictators year after year.

2019

Journal Entry Type #5

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I live with someone who thinks I should listen to more music.  He’s probably right.  I should.  I no longer have my CD player that most everyone had as they graduated high school and went off to college or worked a job somewhere.  The CD player eventually stopped working, but the cassette player was still fine.  I seem to be stuck in the 90s as that is the decade I was in high school.  Maybe, I’m just missing those years and having some nostalgia.  Why?  I don’t know.  The Reality Bites movie was all the rage and Winona Ryder still hasn’t won an Oscar although people have clued into the weird faces she has the ability to make.  A recent poll asked who was the best grunge singer: Eddie Vedder, Layne Staley, Chris Cornell, or Kurt Cobain.  My roommate asked me this all important question.  We had the same answer and in the same pecking order.  Two minds think alike even though he’s a Millennial and I’m a part of Generation X.  And if you’re wondering what the answer is, it is should be this: Chris Cornell, Layne Staley, Eddie Vedder, and Kurt Cobain.  Sorry, Kurt but Chris blows your voice out into outer space and then some.  Sure, Eddie Vedder has that voice, but Chris Cornell really had that voice.  Does anyone remember Layne Staley? I sure do.  Don’t get me started about the current singers, pop stars in particular, although K-Pop is an interesting phenomenon.  Do I listen to it?  No.  Will I give it a try?  Probably not.  This brings me to the Millennials.  They get a bad rap and while some of it might be true, a lot of it is not.  Unfortunately, I have adopted some bad Millennial stereotypes myself such as being glued to my iPhone too much and addicted to social media at times.  I catch myself being too absorbed with what is going on with the British Royal family although lately I’m like enough about the supposed fights among the members and then by way of that seeing the boneheaded things certain reality stars are doing or not doing.  I call it social media pollution where I have to ask myself again, “who the hell gives a crap about person X or person Y?”  Or another question, “why the hell does this bother me so damn much?”  Or better yet, “why am I looking at this?”  I try my best to give everyone a fair shake and forgive those who I feel are severely lacking, but for a select few there isn’t much they could do to change my mind.  They take up precious oxygen that could be used by others who need it more. 

This brings me to the purpose of this blog, I suppose, and that is how much should a person fight for the things they believe in and when do they let go of the fight when it clearly isn’t working in his or her favor.  I used to get amped up more back in the day about topics I was passionate about, but now it’s like “I’m no longer in my 20s or 30s and while I’m not freaking out that my life is passing me by (okay maybe a little bit), I’ve taken a more “not give a rat’s ass attitude and get on with my life as best I can.”  I might sound a little jaded here, but I’ve lived a life trying to better myself in every which way possible and while sometimes I failed miserably, other times I didn’t.  I plan on writing a humorous, sarcastic, realistic, and maybe somewhat emotional book later about what it means to have my brain.  I think it could be fascinating and entertaining at the same time.  Someone once told me it must hurt to have my brain because I think so damn much, and at this point in my life, I doubt I’ll change that much.  Yet, when it comes to the power of my brain and its overload, in some ways I have because I can now learn to think “fuck it,” say “fuck it,” and do “fuck it” in the sense of fucking scrap everything I had planned on a certain day and just exist.  Some days I need to just exist and not have a massive plan written down on paper and in my head and just live.  This is what my life has always been, constantly trying to catch up and as my roommate says, “jam packing a thousand things into one day.”  As you can probably guess, this isn’t such a great way to live, let alone healthy.  It causes great stress among other things such as pressure.  So, as I inch closer to 50 although as of right now I’m closer to 40, it won’t be that way forever.  This begs the question of why some people think it isn’t right to ask a woman her age.  My response to this is “I don’t care if people know my age,” because I would hope you’d be able to ballpark it given how the more than a few strands of white hair on my head  are clearly visible (still not sure how I feel about this) and the lines on my face that used to not be there are definitely there.  For the first time, I admit that if I had an unlimited supply of money I might do something to decrease the size of my pores and the wrinkles on my face, but this is vanity speaking.  It’s better to think about the things I don’t have in terms of illness and focus on the things I want in life that mean way more to me than losing my wrinkles. 

I’m at a point where I’m subtracting crap that doesn’t work for me (mainly mentally and emotionally) and hopefully working to add stuff I desire (mainly physical and monetary).  I live a life of plotting, editing, and sorting enough that writing without much planning is a good thing.  I call it diarrhea of the mouth.  I also call it a reminder to get my ass back in gear with my rewrite because my life is a circle of continuous action and non action.  I don’t have time for sharp edges like triangles and squares anymore.  I don’t have time for overly caustic people who can’t even put themselves into another person’s shoes.  I’m not asking for a week’s length of time, maybe a few minutes, but I find this lack of commonality alarming.  I get humans are different people because of race, class, and values. We all don’t have to think and act the same.  We seem to be in conflict as a collective whole where people minimize important issues while exploiting others that are taken way out of context.  We’ve never reached the middle ground as a society, and while I’m a loyal supporter of a few causes and beliefs (being you will never convince me that dog fighting is a good thing or that you will never convince me to sit down for a complimentary paid lunch at the fanciest restaurant LA can offer with any of the Kardashian family including Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner), I think it has to be there somewhere. It’s hard given the current political atmosphere to remain quiet all of the time, and while I might post something that will irritate some people (those hardcore supporters that will go down in flames defending their beliefs), I’m not going to be silent because of fear I will upset someone.  I consider myself respectful in most circumstances, but I’m not a shameless agitator either.  I realize the political climate is fragile and not just in the U.S. although from where I’m sitting, it seems the U.S. is dominating world headlines for all the wrong reasons.  I often wonder how the world views the U.S. as a collective whole.  As I’m learning not to carry the weight of others and world issues on my shoulders, I’m curbing my need to also not over think these issues either.  My focus has been more inward, on what I have control over and can change.  With this in mind, I think it’s time to crack out any one of my CDs collecting dust and crank up the tunes and forget about labels and get shit done without pressure.  You know how it goes, right?

2019

Book Recommendation: SuperFreakonomics

“Most of us want to fix or change the world in some fashion.  But to change the world, you first have to understand it.”

-Steven D. Levitt-

“I’m a writer.  I’ve been a journalist for my whole adult life.”

-Stephen Dubner-

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Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks

Original Publication: October 20, 2009

Reprint Publication: May 11, 2011

Page Number: 320

This is the follow-up to their popular first book called Freakonomics.  It is written by the same people who wrote Freakonomics.  Levitt continues to be an economist and has had some controversy along the way.  Dubner continues to be a writer and journalist.  SuperFreakonomics explores interesting topics as the first book, and did not take much to read it in a short span of time.  The various topics from prostitution, suicide bombers, drunk driving versus drunk walking, hospitals and hand washing practices or should I say lack of, global warming effects and solutions, and altruistic intentions are all included in this book.  I may not have agreed with everything written, but it opened my eyes on entertaining other points of view.  When you factor in the statistics, most of it is pretty self-explanatory.  The evidence shows you are more likely to get hurt walking drunk than driving drunk.  They explain why suicide bombers should be life insurance even though it makes no sense when you think about it. A small group of highly intelligent scientists, inventors, and others who belong to Mensa differ in how to reverse global warming, and it is this part I found most fascinating because it challenged some of my core beliefs.  There is no disputing that science and technology serves a positive purpose for future improvements and longevity for humans and overall survival.  In what paths are taken, this still remains the question.  If you admire people doing all the hard work to provide interesting material that’s easy to read, this is the book for you.

2019

10 Foreign Movie Recommendations

I’ve been thinking of the foreign films I’ve watched in the past.  Here are the ones I remember from each year starting in 2000 to 2009.  The countries chosen are from Mexico, France, China, Hong Kong, Italy, UK, Germany, Austria, Spain, Taiwan, and South Korea.  Here they are in order of year.

2000

Amores Perros (2000) is a drama and thriller movie from Mexico.  It is rated R for violence, gore, language and sexuality.  It runs 2 hours and 34 minutes.  The story centers around three strangers: Octavio (Gael García Bernal), Valeria (Goya Toledo), and El Chivo (Emilio Echevarría).  Taking place in Mexico City, dogs and dog fighting, social classes, and different forms of violence make the three stories gritty, dark, and realistic.

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2001

Amélie or Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain (original title) (2001) is a comedy and romance movie from France.  It is rated R for sexual context.  It runs 2 hours and 2 minutes.  The story centers around Amélie (Audrey Tautou) who had a sheltered childhood because of her father.  As an adult, she spreads her wings in Paris and searches for the meaning of life including finding love.  It also stars Matheiu Kassovitz as Nino Quincampoix.

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2002

Hero or Ying xiong (original title) (2002) is an action, adventure, and history movie from China and Hong Kong.  It is rated PG-13 for stylized martial arts violence and a scene of sensuality .  It runs 1 hour and 47 minutes.  The story centers around an officer who doesn’t have a name (Jet Li).  Nameless tells of how he defeated three enemies of Qin, the ruler.  It also stars Tony Chiu-Wai Leung as Broken Sword, Maggie Cheung as Flying Snow, Ziyi Zhang as Moon, and Donnie Yen as Sky.

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2003

The Dreamers (2003) is a drama and romance movie from France, Italy, and the UK.  It is rated NC-17 for explicit sexual content, but the R version is basically three minutes shorter.  It runs 1 hour and 55 minutes.  The story centers around two twins, Théo and Isabelle (Louis Carrel and Eva Green) and how they influence an American student, Matthew (Michael Pitt), to give up his conservative mindset during the 1968 Paris student riots.

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2004

Kung Fu Hustle (2004) is an action, comedy and crime movie from China.  It is rated R for strong stylized action and violence .  It runs 1 hour and 39 minutes.  The story centers around the Axe Gang and how Sing (Stephen Chow) in his quest to be a part of it leads to a battle between the gang and residents of the town.  It also stars Xiaogang Feng as Crocodile Gang Boss, Wah Yuen as Landlord, Zhihua Dong as Donut, and Kwok-Kwan Chan as Brother Sum.

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2005

Downfall or Der Untergang (original title) (2005) is a biography, history, and drama movie from Germany, Italy, and Austria.  It is rated R for strong violence, disturbing images, and some nudity.  It runs 2 hours and 36 minutes.  The story centers around Traudl Junge (Alexandra Maria Lara), Adolf Hitler’s (Bruno Ganz) secretary, and their time together before he kills himself.  It includes those closest to him during this time, Heinrich Himmler (Ulrich Noethen), Joseph Goebbels (Ulrich Matthes), and Eva Braun (Juliane Köhler), and how despite their presence, Hitler’s increasing fragility is all too evident.

 

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2006

Pan’s Labyrinth or El laberinto del fauno (original title) (2006) is a drama, fantasy, and war movie from Spain, Mexico, and the US.  It is rated R for graphic violence and some language.  It runs 1 hour and 58 minutes.  The story centers Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) who copes with her new stepfather and home by immersing herself into a world of fantasy.  It also includes Captain Vidal (Sergi López) and Mercedes (Maribel Verdú), and Fauno/Pale Man (Doug Jones).

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2007

Lust, Caution or Se, jie (original title) (2007) is a drama, romance, and history movie from Taiwan, China and the US.  It is rated NC-17 for some explicit sexuality. It runs 2 hours and 37 minutes.  The story centers around the attempted assassinations of Mr. Yee (Tony Chiu-Wai Leung) and whether Mai Tai Tai (Wei Tang) will be able to successfully asked what they were sent to do.  It also stars Joan Chen as Yee Tai Tai, Leehom Wang as Kuang Yu Min, and Tsung-Hua To as Old Wu.

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2008

Persepolis (2008) is a biography, drama, and animation movie from France and USA.  It is rated PG-13 for mature thematic material including violent images, sexual references, language, and brief drug content.  It runs 1 hour and 36 minutes.  The story centers around Marjane Statrapi (voiced by Chiara Mastroianni) and her family during the Iranian Revolution in 1979, and how she handles this change when she returns from abroad.  It also includes Danielle Darrieux (Grandma), Catherine Deneueve (Mom, and Simon Abkarian (Dad). 

persepolis

2009

Mother or Madeo (original title) (2009) is a drama, crime, and mystery movie from South Korea.  It is rated R for language, some sexual content, violence, and drug usage.  It runs 2 hours and 9 minutes.  The story centers around a mother (Hye-ja Kim) who seeks to find out who framed her son Do-joon (Won Bin) for the brutal killing of a woman, in order to prove his innocence.  It also includes Goo Jin as Jin-tae, Je-mun Yun as Je-moon, and Sae-byeok Song as Sepaktakraw Detective.

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2019

 

Poem: Push, Shove, Pull, Yank

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This is what has been happening to us, a reflection of a much bigger scale.

The one where divisions have been occurring at a rapid pace.

Some are trying to find a way back to normalcy.

Others have different ways to find it.

People push and shove without much thinking.

Wanting a reaction to serve some kind of selfish purpose on all sides.

I am the best and you can’t convince me otherwise.

This is the climate of today, hot and hotter.

It snowballed from one influential event.

There were committed errors, desired errors, and vindicated errors for some.

It was the disappointment of personal passions, visions, and beliefs for others.

What happened belonged to the masses: those in the puddle and outside of it too.

We have become a jockeying gridlock of sorts.

This is what the opposite of implosion looks like, but there has to be something else.

Two options can’t only be it, and if it is, then much better ones.

This small net must and should be larger and smarter.

2019

 

 

A Little Over Mid March Quotes

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2019

Netflix TV Docuseries Recommendation: Losers (2019-)

Question from Losers by Netflix: “In a ‘winning is everything’ society, how do we handle failure?”

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Producers: Jennie Bedusa, MIckey Duzyj, Aaron Ernst, Jason Fisher, Adam Goldberg, Jason Heilig, Lisa Leingang, Victoria Millin, Mona Panchal, Adam Pincus, Rick Ramirez, and Karla Zambrano

Directors: Mickey Duzyj

Writers: Brin-Jonathan Butler

Major Cast: Michael Bentt (boxer), Torquay United (as they say in England football) Surya Bonaly (figure skater), Pat Ryan (curler), Mauro Prosperi (endurance racer), Aliy Zirkle (dog sledder), Jack Ryan (streetball player), and Jean van de Velde (golfer)

Rating: NA

Episodes: 8

Running Time: approximately 30 minutes long

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I wasn’t sure what to think about this show and it took me a few episodes to really get into it.  I started with Surya Bonaly (ice skating) and next watched Aliy Zirkle (dog sledding).  Being such different athletes but both with interesting stories although I’d say one more mirrors Tonya Harding’s story in which the judges didn’t give her a fair shake where the other is just plain frightening, I moved onto the next episodes.  As I continued and left the sports I was least interested in for last (sorry English football and golf), the inclusion of accidents, mishaps, winning, and defeat made those tolerable as well.  I surprisingly thought the golf episode was entertaining.  Probably not to Jean van de Velde, but I’m sure golf enthusiasts can relate to his struggle.  The grossest one is the endurance racer, the saddest one is the boxer, and the best turnaround is the streetball player.  You can decide for yourself, but I hope Netflix keeps this going.

I rate Losers PERFECT at 100%

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2019

 

Titanic: Artifact Exhibition

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Quote from Eva Hart, Titanic Survivor: “And it wasn’t until we were in the lifeboat and rowing away, it wasn’t until then I realized that ship’s going to sink.  It hits me there.”

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There were no pictures allowed in the exhibit, but I will try to my best to write what I saw and provide pictures or videos found elsewhere so you get a good idea of what I heard and saw.

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It started with the people behind the creation and building of the ship.  White Star and Cunard were two cruise lines catering to wealthy guests in the early 1900s.  In a bid for domination on the water, J. Bruce Ismay met with shipbuilders, mainly William Pirrie, to construct large vessels built for comfort.  They would become White Star’s trio of ships: Olympic, Titanic, and Britannic.  We know what happened to Titanic when it sank on April 15, 1912, but Britannic didn’t fare well either.  It sank on November 21, 1916 after hitting a mine in the Aegean Sea.  Olympic made it until 1935 with 24 years of service.  The construction of the Titanic cost 7.5 million and 180 million by 2016 standards (Money Magazine).  It took basically three years to build.  The tonnage was 46,328, length was 882 feet and 9 inches, height was 175 feet, and depth was 54 feet and 6 inches.  The crew number was 892 and there were 20 lifeboats (only capable of holding 1,178 guests).  Titanic had 2,228 guests and 1,523 were lost. 

The nine decks were as follows.

The Boat Deck held the lifeboats, captain and officer’s rooms, bridge and wheelhouse, and first and second class entrances.

The A or Promenade Deck where only first class guests could walk and also held their rooms, lounge, smoke room, reading and writing room, and Palm Court.

The B or Bridge Deck held first class rooms with private promenades, luxury dining, second class smoking room, second class entrance, and machinery and anchor housing.

The C or Shelter Deck was the highest uninterrupted deck and held the third class promenade, crew rooms, and third class public rooms.

The D or Saloon Deck held three public rooms (first class reception room, first class dining saloon, and second class dining saloon), firemen rooms, and all class rooms.

The E or Upper Deck held all class rooms, crew rooms, and passageway used by third class guests.

The F Deck or Middle Deck held second and third class rooms, crew rooms, third class dining saloon, swimming pool, Turkish bath, and kennels.

The G Deck or Lower Deck held food storage, squash court, post office, and guest rooms.

The Orlop Deck was below the waterline and held cargo spaces, as well as engine and boiler rooms, electrical generators and turbines.

Who were the major officers on Titanic? 

The Captain was Edward J. Smith.  Henry Tingle Wilde was the Chief Officer.  William McMaster Murdoch was the First Officer.  Charles Herbert Lightoller was the Second Officer.  Herbert John Pitman was the Third Officer.  Joseph Groves Boxhall was the Fourth Officer.  Harold Godfrey Lowe was the Fourth Officer.  James Paul Moody was the Sixth Officer.  Smith, Wilde, Murdoch, and Moody died while Lightoller, Pitman, Boxhall, and Lower survived on lifeboats.

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Captain Edward J. Smith (born on January 27, 1850 and died on April 15, 1912)

I continued to the third class living quarters.  I doubt I would get much sleep.  It was pretty loud with all the machinery.  I’d need ear plugs to try to drown out the sound.  It was nothing fancy and guests slept on bunk beds with a total of six in the room.  There were only two bathtubs available for all the guests.  There were 710 total, but this really didn’t pose a problem since the poor believed frequent bathing caused respiratory disease.  They cost between $15 and $40 and 2018 prices would be between $389 and $1,039 although I also found it listed as $172 to $460.  The second class living quarters I could sleep in without any issue.  There wasn’t much noise to be had and there was a little more space as the beds were built into the walls.  There were two to four to a room, but each room had a washbasin and chamber pot.  They also used communal bathrooms.  They cost $60 and 2018 price would be $1,559 although I also found it listed as $690.  The first class was the best living quarters where you could stretch your hands without hitting anything.  They were mid ship rooms with decoration to different period styles.  The parlor suites came with wardrobe rooms, private baths and promenades.  The rooms had phones, heaters, lamps, table fans, and bells.  These rooms had interconnecting doors too if you bought two adjacent rooms.  They cost $150 and 2018 price would be $3,899 although I found it listed as $1724.  The parlor suites cost $4,350 and 2018 price would be $113,078 although I found it listed as $50,000.  There is quite a bit of variation in these numbers, but I found the higher costs to be more accurate based on what I found.  Either way, many people wanted to go on the Titanic’s maiden voyage and willing to pay for a ticket.

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As Mrs. Isidor Straus, I was enjoying all the comforts of first class.  The fact my husband owned a Macy’s store in New York City counted for something.  What I didn’t know was when Titanic hit the iceberg, it would cause personal valuables to be separated from their owners, but worse countless lives to be lost.  A few people I knew were John Jacob Astor IV who died at age 47, Benjamin Guggenheim who died at age 46, William Thomas Steed who died at age 62, and my beloved husband Isidor Straus who died at age 67.  After the iceberg damaged the ship on that dark night, the next few hours into the next day of April 15th, were full of terror and chaos.  People scrambled to the lifeboats, and you couldn’t get onto them quick enough.  When the ship broke apart, the bow disappeared under water.  Within seconds everyone was gone and within minutes they had all perished from hypothermia.  I could have survived this tragedy, but I wasn’t willing to part with my husband.  He didn’t want to go so neither did I.  On April 15th I, Ida Straus, gave my life to the water and was 63 years old when I died. My husband’s body was recovered, but mine was not.
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Isidor and Ida Straus

Here is the video by National Geographic with James Cameron of what happened when the Titanic hit the iceberg and then sunk.  Those that survived would later be rescued by Carpathia (a Cunard ship) including the Straus’ maid, Ellen Bird.  There were clear indicators before Titanic hit the iceberg of possible issues, but these were ignored. The officers should’ve listened to other ship communications and had binoculars.  The lifeboats should’ve had a lot more people onboard as they had been tested for weight.  As the ship was no longer visible because it was now at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, the lifeboats never returned in time to save the others who managed to not sink with the ship.  After the incident, blame was flung at anyone within the vicinity.  The Titanic is located at about 41°43′57′′ N, 49°56′49′′ W (bow section) and some 13 nautical miles from the position given in its distress signals.  It is speculated low-quality steel or weak rivets may have contributed to Titanic’s sinking.  Ulsterman Thomas Andrews may have suspected this as he was the engineer who oversaw its construction.  He stayed on the ship until the very end and died with it.

 

The exhibit included personal belongings and kitchen items used in the different class rooms including dishes still stacked in a row.  There were cigarettes, perfume bottles, wine bottles, alligator purse, clarinet, and spectacles.  In addition to this were parts of the ship including “the big piece.”  This was, one of more impressive things to see, although the last remaining survivor thought it shouldn’t have been preserved.  Millvina Dean was two months old on Titanic and died on May 31, 2009 at the age of 97.  This part of Titanic is from the C Deck and were parts of C-79 and C-81 on the starboard side.  The rooms were unoccupied during the voyage.  This weighs approximately 15 tons and measures 26 by 12 feet.  Part of the glass in the porthole was still there.  This is basically the end of the exhibit although I neglected to mention this seemed one of the few ships at the time to allow children from the stories I read.

Here is a brief timeline of the Titanic from its conception to its watery end.

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Hulu and Netflix Recommendation: Fyre Fraud (2019) and Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened (2019)

Quote by Fyre Festival: “Things got off to an unexpected start at day one of Fyre Festival, thank you for bearing with us as we work through the growing pains that every first year event experiences.”

Fyre Fraud (Hulu)

Producers (main): Lana Barkin, Cameron Davison, Dana Miller Ervin, Kate Ferraguto, Kelsey Field, Angela Freedman, Jenner Furst, Sharmi Gandhi, Michael Gasparro, Jed Lipinski, Alec Macrae, Julia Willoughby Nason, Patrick Newell, Alyssa Raimann, Michael Swaigen, Lavell Wells, and Joanna Zwickel

Writers and Directors: Jenner Furst and Julia Willoughby Nason

Major Cast: Billy McFarland, Ja Rule, Bella Hadid, Austin Mills, Cameron Davison, Maria Konnikova, Ava Turnquest,  and Matthew Burton Spector

MPAA Rating: NA

Running Time: 1 hour and 36 minutes

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Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened (Netflix)

Producers: Guy Belloch, Gabriel Bluestone, Danny Gabai, Jon Karmen, Brett Kincaid, James Ohliger, Max Pollack, Mick Purzycki, Matthew Rowean, Cassie Sagness, Chris Smith, and Elliot Tebele

Director: Chris Smith

Major Cast: Billy McFarland, Ja Rule, Jason Bell, Gabrielle Bluestone, Shiyuan Deng, Michael Ciccarelli, MDavid Low, Samuel Krost, Andy King, J.R., Brett Kincaid, Mick Purzycki, James Ohliger, Grant Margolin, Keith van der Linde

MPAA Rating: NA

Running Time: 1 hour and 37 minutes

*******

Along the same veins of Ponzi scheming and insider trading, these documentaries cover the disaster of the music festival called Fyre Festival that was supposed to happen in 2017, conceived by Billy McFarland and Ja Rule.  Fyre Fraud, a Hulu production, was released before Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened, the Netflix production.  While both covered the same event or should I say lack of event, both managed to include insight and coverage the other did not despite the final consensus that the Fyre Festival was a complete disaster from start to finish.

McFarland was born in the year to make him a millennial, where social influence is more abundant than ever before, and he saw an opportunity to get a slice of the American pie as an entrepreneur.  When you combine all three, the Fyre Festival was conceived and while it might have been a good idea on paper, a music festival of this magnitude takes a lot of timing and planning.  This is where McFarland failed in a big way.  He probably should’ve stayed in school because he might have learned a half thought out conceived plan rarely goes well, and combined with his delusion things went from bad to terrible.  He clearly didn’t have the patience or years to know you just can’t live the high life and earn millions of money without adequate effort and work.

Fyre Fraud included the interview of McFarland after he was charged with mail and wire fraud.  He seemed to have a blank stare on his face most of the time, a huge disconnect with what the documentary filmmaker was asking, which to me is a sign he still hadn’t absorbed what he had done and probably the magnitude of it either.  While there was some coverage of those McFarland had financially hurt, it was more prevalent in Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened.  It might have been done to draw attention away from Jerry Media’s involvement, but the stories tended to be more personable.   Those who suffered because of this failed music festival, from the workers on Great Exuma to the concertgoers to the American investors, were basically duped. The only people who got paid their due were the celebrity promoters.

This puts me near the end of this music festival, barreling toward the grand finale that turned out to be pretty chaotic in most respects and dismal on the music front.  There was no Blink-182 because they had dropped out.  They obviously smelled the danger from far away.  For whatever reason, maybe to take pity on the people who paid thousands of dollars to attend, a local band offered a few hours of their time.  The disaster relief tents leftover from Hurricane Katrina served as the luxurious housing promised and were completed with soaked mattresses from prior rain.  There wasn’t adequate lighting so when the sun disappeared and night fell, you can imagine the horrors that occurred when people had to use the portable toilets.  Good luck washing your hands because there was no running water.  People couldn’t get cell phone reception either.  I could go on and on, but seeing this part further made me realize McFarland didn’t care about anyone but himself.

I wish I could say McFarland learned his lesson after this doomed luxury music festival, but he did not.  I’m not sure he will learn his lesson after he comes out of federal prison, but only he knows that.  Given how many lives he wrecked along the way, I’m not sure anyone would give him another chance.  The Netflix documentary primarily focused on McFarland’s delusions, victims of his actions, and his true character behind the scenes.  The Hulu documentary focused on his character as well, but it didn’t go in-depth of his life prior to the Fyre Festival as much, although both were willing to place most of the blame on him.  I encourage anyone who likes documentaries to watch either one or both.

I rate both documentaries GREAT at 90%

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2019

 

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